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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers. Read ahead with caution.


"As verdant limbs wither, roots rot in snow… Still the seed rises, as certain as stone."
―Zo

Zo is an Utaru gravesinger and major character featured in Horizon Forbidden West.

Appearance

Zo is a young woman, appearing to be no older than her early thirties, with dark skin and black hair held in a bun. Her face, upper back and right arm are decorated with white paint in patterns typical of Utaru.

Zo wears a sleeveless knee-length tunic typical of Utaru garments, although the color is an off-white rather than the usual verdant green. While in the wilds and in settlements, she wears a tall woven headdress with leaves trailing behind from the front.

History

Zo was born in a small village near Plainsong, a village where her grandmother said any seed could take root. As a young woman, she moved to the Utaru capital to apprentice as a healer.

Buried Years

During the Red Raids, Zo worked to aid those wounded by the Carja, burying the seeds of those that perished. While she wished to return to her village and check on her family, the sheer number of refugees forced her to delay her plans. When she finally returned, it was after a report of a Carja raid: none in the village survived, and the odor of charred flesh was burned in her mind.

When Zo's demand for retaliation was denied by the Chorus, she chose to take action on her own. Roughly a dozen other Utaru, inspired by her stand, joined her against the Red Raiders: aware they could not beat the Carja head on, Zo's squad relied on stealth and their familiarity with the land to enact guerrilla warfare. Their actions were noticed by the Tenakth clans, and they were allowed to join the assault on Barren Light that saw the Carja pushed out of the Forbidden West.

However, the stench of burnt flesh lingered once the dust cleared from the battle. Zo returned to Plainsong for a time, but found herself feeling as if she had never returned. She became a Gravesinger, hoping that in easing the suffering of others, she would ease her own.

However, her tribe's plights only grew. A blight began to fester in Plainsong's fields, while machines and Tenakth rebels forced the Utaru to desert distant villages. One day, the Land-God Fa entered the Sacred Cave without returning, and vicious machines began pouring out from the entrance.

Meeting Varl and Aloy

Zo was in Stone's Echo tending to the faltering Land-God Re when two Nora came to the settlement in great need: one of them, Aloy, was gravely injured and unconscious. Zo allowed the two inside and tended to Aloy's injuries. As Aloy healed over the next two days, Zo became acquainted with the other Nora, Varl, and the two quickly fell in love.

When Aloy woke on the third day, she amazed everyone present by repairing Re. With this feat, Zo agreed to speak to Aloy about the machine trouble in the mountains. Understandably, Zo was reluctant to let Aloy enter what her people held sacred: when Aloy explained that there was an entity (which she and Varl described as a "spirit" for ease of understanding) that could help end the Derangement and blight, Zo hesitantly agreed to speak to the Chorus and ask for permission on Aloy's behalf. While Varl initially declined on behalf of needing to keep an eye on Aloy, he ultimately accompanied Zo to Plainsong, much to the delight of both.

With Varl's help, Zo was able to assemble the Chorus for the request, one that breathed new life into the tensions within the tribe. Upon Aloy's arrival, the three went to the Chorus. During Aloy's argument, machines broke through the cordon surrounding the sacred cave: no longer needing permission to enter, Zo pushed forward with her companions, fighting through vicious machines along the way.

The Sacred Cave

Zo accompanied Aloy and Varl into the Sacred Cave, despite her reservations with trespassing. What awaited her inside was unlike she could have imagined or envisioned, beginning with an impassable wall of light. To enable Zo to continue forward, Aloy provided the Utaru with a Focus, granting her access to its "second sight". The three journeyed further into the Cave, which they surmised to be a unique Cauldron variant. Zo's companions helped her grasp what they were facing, with Varl in particular providing emotional support to the overwhelmed gravesinger. Through Aloy, Zo learned the Repair Bay had been overtaken by the entity HEPHAESTUS, which Zo saw in the purplish tendrils snaking through the facility like an infection.

A horrific sight awaited Zo at the Repair Bay's core: Fa had been converted by HEPHAESTUS into a Grimhorn, a weapon designed to kill any humans it encountered. Recognizing the blow it would deal to the Utaru's morale should Fa be unleashed onto Plainsong, Zo reluctantly joined her companions in killing the transformed Land-God.

GAIA

The ordeal left Zo's mind and beliefs shaken: in light of what she had done, the thought of even returning to Plainsong and facing her people felt like anathema. With no other option, she followed Varl and Zo into the facility connected to the Repair Bay, where the "spirit" MINERVA was hiding. Aloy went ahead to retrieve MINERVA when the entity blocked the group's process, after which Varl and Zo followed, joining Aloy and meeting the restored GAIA. As Aloy ventured out into the Clan Lands to gather GAIA's missing subordinate functions, and Varl went east to retrieve an old friend for help, Zo stayed behind in the facility to learn the true nature of the crisis and GAIA.

Healing the land-gods

GEMINI

Sometime before the mission began, Zo realized she was pregnant, but decided to wait until after the mission to tell Varl.

Attack on the Zeniths

Current status

Following the victory against the Zeniths, Zo left for Plainsong to warn the Chorus of Nemesis and hopefully gather their aid against the threat.

Personality

Zo is a woman whose soft-spoken nature masks her conviction and fighting spirit. She believes in actively fighting for the greater good rather than passively accept fate, an attitude which has led to conflict with the Chorus.

Zo holds many of her Utaru traditions dear, including vegetarianism, botany, music, reverence of the Land-Gods, and remaining connected to the earth and cycle of life. While her discovery of the terraforming system and GAIA caused her great turmoil, she was ultimately able to remedy her newfound discoveries with her culture and ideology.

Abilities

While her Utaru affiliation has led people to underestimate her (such as Erend and Kotallo), Zo's agility and archery prowess make her a formidable opponent. Her fighting agility is roughly on par with Erend's, with sparring between the two ending in stalemate. Like many in her tribe, she has a strong affinity for music and gardening.

Through her exposure with GAIA, Zo quickly learned how to read ancient glyphs, and currently has a rudimentary understanding of Old Ones culture, history and technology.

Gallery

Utaru Tribe
Chorus Members Fane - Kel - Shael
Tribe Members Bree - Daen - Emboh - Gana - Ioh - Jaxx - Jia - Kin - Kue - Lao - Lea - Lel - Mian - Milu - Nel - Rea - Vaus - Ven - Yef - Yull - Ziverra - Zo
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