Zaid was a captain in the Carja military during the infamous Red Raids. During these raids, he became infamous among the Nora tribe for his cruelty: while the exact depth of his atrocities are unknown, he is known to have personally tortured and killed Nora during the raids. Some Nora deemed him the worst of the Red Raiders (although he is generally feared less than Jiran's champion Helis).
Following the Liberation, the new Sun-King Avad ordered the investigation into war crimes committed during the Red Raids. While most of Zaid's unit was expelled from the military, Zaid escaped punishment by insisting that he had been mistaken for another commander. Zaid eventually became a prefect at Daytower, using a tolerant and peaceful persona to avert suspicion.
In secret, however, Zaid started a slave ring with the men of his former unit. He would direct vulnerable members of other tribes, such as those traveling alone, to an abandoned compound staffed by his slavers; they would then abduct the travelers to sell at slave auctions (presumably for Shadow Carja nobles, as the main Carja tribe banned slavery after the Liberation). It is known that several Carja soldiers, including Firiv, were involved in the operation, indicating that Zaid may have recruited other soldiers into the operation.
Sometime before the appearance of Corrupted Machines, Zaid was attacked by Nakoa, the daughter of one of his victims. Feigning innocence as usual, he had Nakoa released, ostensibly to show that he did not hold her "misguided" attack against her. However, as soon as Nakoa was out of sight from Daytower, Zaid had his men seize her, bringing her to his compound in preparations for selling her into slavery. In retribution for attacking him, he would beat Nakoa every time he visited, although not too much as to hurt her price at auction.
Some time later, he was confronted by the Nora Brave Aloy, who was searching for Nakoa on behalf of the latter's brother Yan. In an effort to lower her suspicion, Zaid told her about the incident with Nakoa, pretending to be unaware of Nakoa's whereabouts and again denying his crimes during the raids. Sensing that Aloy would be a threat, Zaid suggested that she go to Lonesome Rock, claiming that there were reports of a young woman being abducted by bandits nearby, in hopes that his men would overpower and seize her when she got there.
However, Aloy escaped Zaid's trap, and managed to locate and free his prisoners, Nakoa included. Zaid and a group of his men arrived just before Aloy could escape, planning to re-capture his victims and seize Aloy. He and his men attacked Aloy, but she killed the men and incapacitated him. Unable to stand or fight, he was helpless as Nakoa approached him with a spear from one of his fallen men, and ran him through with it.
With Zaid's death, his slaving ring was exposed, prompting Daytower to launch a full investigation.
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- The name "Zaid" is of Arabic origin, meaning "to prosper".
- Table adapted from Horizon Zero Dawn Strategy Guide (Collector's Ed.), p.254. Future Press, 2017.