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"Green grows from the ashes of a forest blaze."
―Utaru proverb[1]

The Utaru are an agrarian tribe in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West. The Utaru homeland, Plainsong, which is a land of rich and fertile plains, is located within the Forbidden West.

History

Early history

The first Utaru settled upon the ruins of the Western Grand Array, which they named Plainsong. The surrounding land was tended to a collection of seven Plowhorns (whom the Utaru would dub "land-gods"), keeping it remarkably fertile. As a result, the Utaru flourished as an agrarian people, sustained within the abundance and safety of the land.

While the Utaru were plundered for some time by the neighboring Tenakth, they were able to obtain peace by appeasing the Tenakth with a portion of their harvest. Over time, this exchange developed into an exchange of people, with the Utaru exchanging youth to fight in the Tenakth Clan Wars and the Tenakth sending Veterans to teach the Utaru how to fight.

Derangement and Buried Years

Of all the tribes, the Utaru were arguably the worst affected by the Derangement. Aside from developing aggression towards humanity, the land-gods stopped entering the nearby Repair-Bay TAU (viewed by the Utaru as a sacred cave) for routine maintenance, causing them to slowly degrade and over-fertilize the fields of Plainsong. The tribe was forced to abandon a number of practices, such as the Rite of Discovery for new Chorus members and trading of tribe members with the Tenakth. New vicious machines began to emerge from the Repair-Bay, threatening the Utaru further.

If this was not enough of a blow, the Carja began to raid the Utaru for human sacrifices, under the orders of the 13th Sun-King Jiran. The Utaru tried to appease the raiders with gifts of grain, but these efforts were met with slaughter and enslavement.[2] The bloodshed was said to turn the harvest black with blood. Save for Plainsong, which was largely kept safe thanks to its advantageous geography, many of the Utaru's settlements were raided, if not burned to the ground. While the Chorus refused to do anything beyond mere defense, a small group of Utaru took a more active approach, enacting guerrilla warfare on the invaders.

After Jiran was killed and Avad became Sun-King, the enslaved Utaru were freed, and many presumably returned to Plainsong.

The Blight

Sometime after the battle for Meridian, Plainsong became infested by the Red Blight, killing much of the Utaru's harvest and putting them in existential danger. It was during this time that tensions began to take root: while many in the Chorus insisted on accepting extinction as part of the natural cycle of life, others pushed to fight for survival.

When Fa, one of the land-gods, returned to the sacred cave, the Utaru initially saw it as a sign that the cycle was returning. Unaware that she would be turned into a Grimhorn for hunting and killing humans, the tribe nevertheless became concerned when she did not return after three weeks, and vicious machines began coming from the cave.

Hope restored

Through her allegiance with Aloy, the Utaru gravesinger Zo learned of GAIA and the terraforming system. While their ability to repair the land-gods was limited without HEPHAESTUS, GAIA was able to develop a reboot code to repair their function. With Aloy's help, Zo installed the reboot code on the six remaining land-gods, allowing them to restore Plainsong to its former glory and save the tribe from imminent starvation.

Society and culture

Utaru culture is centered around two pillars: plant life (agriculture in particular), and song.

The Utaru have a long history of agriculture, which has been largely sustained by Plowhorns that tend to the land: for this reason, the eight Plowhorns which maintain Plainsong are revered by the Utaru as land-gods. Farming has historically provided the majority of the Utaru's material needs: food, clothing, tools, and even architecture come largely from plant material. Much of their knowledge of metallurgy comes from the Tenakth, and stonework is virtually absent among the tribe. The Utaru are primarily vegetarian, although the emergence of the Blight has forced them to supplement their diet with meat.

The Utaru are a largely peaceful people, rarely employing violence beyond necessary self-defense, although they will fiercely defend their home if necessary. Unfortunately, this has led to passivity from Utaru leadership, leaving them particularly afflicted by the tumultuous events of recent decades.

Worldview

The Utaru worldview is centered around the cycle of life, particularly the growth and death of plants, acknowledging that all life comes to an end and that through death they will sustain new life. In their youth, Utaru select a pouch of seeds to carry with them throughout their life. Upon their death, these seeds are planted, traditionally within their homelands. Thus, the Utaru will live on through the new growth and remain one with the rhythm of the world.

Due to this connection with nature, most Utaru believe in remaining tied to their home, and it is standard for their seeds to be buried within their homeland. Save for those whose seeds cannot be recovered, the exception to this rule appears to be criminals, whose seeds are banned from being planted in their home: instead, their pouches are typically sent down a river to take root in new lands.

Government

Main article: Chorus

The Utaru are loosely governed by an oligarchy called "the Chorus". The Chorus is a group of Utaru who are heavily respected, who vote on what to do to lead the tribe in the right direction, and although some Utaru will occasionally disagree with their opinions and decisions, they are ultimately highly respected.

Foreign relations

While not fiercely isolationist like the Nora, the Utaru are generally wary of outlanders and prefer to keep to themselves, although a few Utaru can be found outside their territory.

Tenakth

Despite their vast cultural differences, the Utaru's strongest tribal relationship is with their neighboring Tenakth. While there was initially conflict, they eventually formed a truce of mutual benefit. The Utaru provided the Tenakth with a portion of their harvests; in exchange, the Tenakth sent Veterans to join the Utaru, helping to train them in combat and hunting. This practice ceased soon after the Derangement began, but the two tribes remain largely at peace and there are still a few Veterans among the fields of Plainsong.[3]

Currently, with the exception of Regalla's Rebels, the Utaru have relatively cordial relations with the Tenakth.

Carja

The Utaru remain distrustful of the Carja, being the only known tribe to have declined the Carja's offers of reconciliation for the Red Raids.

Known settlements

Known members

NPC archetypes

  • Utaru Archer
  • Utaru Farmer
  • Utaru Fighter
  • Utaru Guard

Trivia

  • A couple of Utaru can be found at a bar in Sunfall, as well as the Lake Shrine following completion of Honor The Fallen. However, they cannot be interacted with.
  • Utaru names are almost always a single syllable long: only a few are two syllables long, and only Veterans have been seen to have three-syllable names.
  • The clothing of the Utaru appears to be based on the clothing of the many ethnic groups of Africa.

Gallery

Concept art

References

  1. Dialog with Mournful Namman
  2. The Mad Sun-King
  3. Dialogue with Zo
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dialogue during The Promontory
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Dialogue during The Oldgrowth
  6. Dialogue during In Bloom
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