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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers, and may reveal plot or quest information.

"How could you sleep, Elisabet, with a weight like this pressing on you? How did you, Rost, after you lost your family?"

The Looming Shadow is the twenty-first main quest in Horizon Zero Dawn.


After realizing HADES intention to capture the Spire to reawaken the FARO robots and obtaining the Master Override that will allow her to defeat it, Aloy journeys back to the Palace of the Sun to warn Sun-King Avad of the coming threat.

Relaying what she knows of the Eclipse and HADES, Avad agrees to have the Vanguard sent to the Spire as well as the city guard sent to defend the western ridge. While the defenses are organized, Aloy and Avad discuss the enemy. Afterwards, Blameless Marad informs her that allies have arrived from all over the Sundom, including a small force that has come for Aloy personally, bolstering the defenses at the ridge and the Spire. She is given access to Olin's Apartment, now abandoned, and told to rest before the battle. Knowing that all they can do now is wait, Aloy leaves to check on preparations.

Ridge Defenses

At the ridge, she encounters many people she has helped in the past. Because he cannot fight, Teb has been bestowed the position of quartermaster, responsible for setting up caches of ammunition and medicine during the battle. Petra has been invited to look over the city arsenal and has set up a number of improved Oseram Cannons to help defend the city.

Ally Prerequisite
Aluki Side Quest A Moment's Peace
Elida Side Quest Sun and Shadow
Janeva Side Quest Sunstone Rock
Nakoa Side Quest A Daughter's Vengeance
Nil Side Quest Cause for Concern - Farewell; Aloy must have declined Nil's offer.
Petra Always Present; dialogue changes if the side quest Heap of Trouble has been completed.
Teb Always Present
Uthid Side Quest Traitor's Bounty
Vanasha Side Quest Queen's Gambit
  • Aluki, the Banuk, remembers Aloy as the one who helped defeat the machines at the Banuk Encampment after they turned hostile. Eager to fight the army of machines, she gives Aloy her support.
  • Knowing that if Atral had lived they'd be fighting side by side, Elida has taken to helping prepare for the battle in any way she can including digging battlements and collecting herbs. She gifts Aloy with an Antidote although hopes she will not need it.
  • Called back to duty, Warden Janeva tells Aloy that Marad offered every prisoner in Sunstone Rock a royal pardon if they agreed to fight for Meridian.
  • Nakoa tells Aloy that the only other Carja the Nora feared and hated more than Zaid was Helis, vowing that she will do everything she can for the Nora that he terrorized. She also thanks Aloy, stating that because of her the Sacred Lands have been reopened, allowing her to finally go back home to her brother Yan.
  • Aloy approaches Nil by the river who tells her that despite the odds being stacked against them, he could not resist the challenge or chance to kill without consequence.
  • Uthid thanks Aloy for helping him see the value of living out his days.
  • Vanasha admits that her coming for Aloy was only half true; she is more intent on seeking vengeance on the Shadow Carja that stole away and killed innocents, who transformed Meridian into a slave pit and Sunfall into a bloodbath during the Red Raids.
  • While he has yet to forgive the Carja for the Red Raids, Aratak feels compelled to help his former chieftain, and joins Aloy in the defenses. Should Aluki and/or Inatut be present as well, he will make comments about them.

Spire Defenses

Leaving the ridge, Aloy makes her way to the Spire. There she encounters Varl, Sona and her Nora Braves, and Erend and his Vanguard. While visibly perturbed from being so far from the Sacred Lands and in foreign territory, Sona still pledges her support for Aloy in fighting the Metal Devil. Varl admits he is having difficulty trying to fathom the task at hand but is nonetheless grateful for all Aloy has done. He says that although it is by All-Mother's will that they fight, he would have come regardless for Aloy. Finally, Aloy makes her way to Erend and the Vanguard. He ensures her that he will not let anyone past them.

Ally Prerequisite


Side Quest The Forge of Winter
Erend Always Present


Side Quest Frontier Justice, Aggressive option chosen in Flashpoint
Namman Side Quest Honor The Fallen
Sona Always Present
Talanah Side Quest Redmaw
Varl Always Present
  • After Namman finishes praying, he tells Aloy that he believes the Sun he worships would bestow its favor upon her.
  • Along the path winding up the mesa of the Alight, Aloy comes across Talanah whom she is surprised to see is not defending Meridian. Talanah tells her that she could not allow one of her own to fight alone nor could she leave her Thrush. Before Aloy departs, Talanah requests that Aloy leave her the largest machine.

Satisfied with the preparations and with nothing left to do, Aloy returns to rest before the final battle at Olin's Apartment. Pondering how Elisabet Sobeck could have slept with such a heavy burden on her shoulders or how Rost could have after losing his family, Aloy finally drifts off. 


  1. Meet Erend at Red Ridge Pass (if The Field of the Fallen has not been completed)
  2. Discover what happened to Ersa (if Into the Borderlands has not been completed)
  3. Stop Dervahl's Plot to Destroy Meridian (if The Sun Shall Fall has not been completed)
  4. Go to the Palace of the Sun
  5. Talk to Sun-King Avad
  6. Talk to Blameless Marad
  7. Visit both Defense Sites
  8. Rest Before the Final Battle



The Looming Shadow - Very Hard - No Damage - Video Guide


The following datapoints are obtained automatically during this quest and cannot be missed.

Text Datapoints - Quests

Horizon Zero Dawn Quests
Main Quest A Gift from the Past - Lessons of the Wild - The Point of the Spear - Mother's Heart - The Proving - The Womb of the Mountain - A Seeker at the Gates - The War-Chief's Trail - Revenge of the Nora - The City of the Sun - The Field of the Fallen - Into the Borderlands - The Sun Shall Fall - Maker's End - The Grave-Hoard - To Curse the Darkness - Deep Secrets of the Earth - The Terror of the Sun - The Heart of the Nora - The Mountain That Fell - The Looming Shadow - The Face of Extinction
Side Quests A Daughter's Vengeance - A Moment's Peace - Acquired Taste - Ancient Armory - Blood on Stone - Cause for Concern - Farewell - Death from the Skies - Fatal Inheritance - Heap of Trouble - Honor The Fallen - Hunters' Blind - In Her Mother's Footsteps - Insult to Injury - Queen's Gambit - Redmaw - Robbing the Rich - Sun and Shadow - Sunstone Rock - The Forgotten - Traitor's Bounty - Underequipped - Weapons of the Lodge
Errands A Curious Proposal - Collateral - Deadliest Game - Demand and Supply - Hammer and Steel - Healer's Oath - Hunting for the Lodge - In Foreign Lands - Luck of the Hunt - Odd Grata - Sanctuary - Shortage of Supplies - Sun's Judgment - To Old Acquaintance
Activities Bandit Camps Blackwing Snag - Devil's Thirst - Gatelands - Hollow Fort - Shattered Kiln - Stone YieldFW - Two-Teeth
Cauldrons Cauldron RHO - Cauldron SIGMA - Cauldron XI - Cauldron ZETA
Corrupted Zones Corrupted Zones
Hunting Grounds Greatrun - Nora - SnowchantsFW - Spurflints - Sun Furrows - Valleymeet
Tallnecks Devil's Thirst - Copper Deeps - FrostfiguresFW - Rustwash - Spearshafts - Sun-Steps
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Quests
Side Quests Firebreak - For the Werak - Frontier Justice - Into the Frozen Wilds - The Forge of Winter - The Hunters Three - The Shaman's Path - The Survivor - Waterlogged
Errands A Secret Shared - Ikrie's Challenge - Geared Up: Forgefire - Geared Up: Icerail - Geared Up: Stormslinger - Out of the Forge - The Claws Beneath