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The Claws Beneath rearing up to attack the player.

"I am no longer a match for the Claws Beneath, if I ever was. If I face it, it will kill me. Of this I have no doubt."
Umnak

The Claws Beneath is a unique machine in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds.

About

The Claws Beneath is a legendary Rockbreaker found in the Cut . It is a Daemonic machine, and has killed several hunters over the years. Many Banuk have tried to kill it, but none were successful. This earned The Claws Beneath a reputation among the Banuk.

History

The Claws Beneath has terrorized the Cut for at least twenty years, killing countless Banuk. This angered the tribe, who dispatched hunters to kill it. None were successful, though according to one NPC in Song's Edge, a hunter managed to stick their spear in the monster's chassis, where it protrudes to this day.

A spear embedded in The Claws Beneath's chassis, confirming the NPC's story.

One hunter, Umnak, was renowned for killing very dangerous machines in his youth. He went on to become a sort of rival to The Claws Beneath. Every six winters, The Claws Beneath would emerge in a new location, and Umnak would face it. Unfortunately, every time Umnak fought the beast, it would cost fellow hunters their lives, while Umnak escaped with his. He claimed to know two chieftains it killed, though whether their deaths were reported to him or were witnessed by him is uncertain.

The last time Umnak faced The Claws Beneath occurred approximately twenty years before the events of the game. He and the then-chieftain of his werak traveled to face it together, but the chieftain was killed in the effort. This particular murder stuck with Umnak for the rest of his life.

Over the years, Umnak grew old. However, his feud with The Claws Beneath had become legendary. As such, when it reemerged in 3040, his werak asked him to try again. Umnak was willing to appease the request, hoping to complete the hunt in memory of his aforementioned slain chieftain. However, sometime between taking on the perilous task and meeting the huntress Aloy, he realized how dramatically old age had ruined his body and hunting abilities.

Realizing that his effort would be futile - and almost certainly fatal - he decided that it was more important to see the beast dead than to fight it himself, as the Banuk lifestyle would demand. Luckily for him, Aloy had traveled to the Cut, and when she arrived at Longnotch, he caught her attention and recounted his story to her. He asked Aloy to kill The Claws Beneath, not only in his honor, but also for those it had killed, and to stop it from ever killing again.

Aloy travelled to its site, and battled The Claws Beneath. It put up a mighty fight, but was finally slain by the outlander. Aloy would later return to Longnotch, and confirm the kill to Umnak, finally granting him closure and freeing the land from its reign of terror.

Associated Quests

Trivia

  • Although Unmak claimed he had hunted the same machine years before, Daemonic Machines are considered a recent phenomenon. This means that either HEPHAESTUS can turn non-Daemonic machines, or it created at least one before the events of The Frozen Wilds.
  • The Claws Beneath can be compared to Redmaw in several respects:
    • Both are individual, named machines.
    • Both are known to be especially deadly among their kind, felling countless humans and causing many hunters to seek it out.
    • Both were killed by Aloy, helping a famed hunter who wanted it dead because it had killed someone close to them.
    • Both were fought and killed in secluded, arena-like areas away from people.
    • Both had weapons embedded in their chassis, left by others who tried to kill them.
    • Both are mentioned in numerous lines of NPC dialogue across the world, showing how their respective legends have spread among the Carja and Banuk.
  • The Claws Beneath is designed differently than other Rockbreakers.
    • The spear embedded in its chassis is a unique visual distinction.
    • All other Rockbreakers have a predominantly grey, brown, and white color scheme. The Claws Beneath is unique in that it has light blue armor plating as well as white.

      The Claws Beneath's signature blue chassis

      • It is also different from other Rockbreakers in that it prefers to move around underground, only surfacing partially and momentarily. Its full body cannot be seen until it emerges to fight Aloy, while regular Rockbreakers can be seen moving on top of open ground when unaware of her presence.
        • If the machine was augmented by HEPHAESTUS, these changes in color and behavior could have been added to help it camouflage in the snow, making it more deadly to humans.
  • Umnak says that people called the machine by this name "when I was younger," but Banuk NPCs still refer to it by that title whenever Aloy hears them discuss it.
  • A Banuk in Song's Edge mentions an ancestor's spear being embedded in the machine's chassis, and it can indeed be seen if the player looks closely.
  • NPCs and Aloy refer to it by its full name, but when she meets Umnak, he calls it "the Claws" a few times during their conversation. He is likely the only one who does so, due to his familiarity with it.
  • Umnak says that The Claws Beneath "returns here" every six years. Whether he means the individual site seen in the quest or the entire region is not specified.
    • He also says that it reappears in a new location "Every few years". These two vague descriptions leave its traveling behavior unclear.
  • It is possible that the damage to Umnak's left eye was dealt by The Claws Beneath, though this is not directly addressed or confirmed.
  • Umnak claims to have fought The Claws Beneath "twenty winters past," and several times beforehand. If this is supposed to mean twenty years, this is a continuity error on the part of the writers. The Derangement happened twenty years ago, so The Claws Beneath would not be killing humans before this.
    • It is possible that due to their cold and snowy surroundings, the Banuk measure years and the concept of 'winter' differently than other tribes, creating a different calendar. This may be the only feasible explanation for the timeline discrepancy.
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