main quest in Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy sets off outside the sacred Nora lands. The route to Meridian requires her to pass through a Carja border checkpoint. En route, she sees the destruction wrought by the Corruptors.
Aloy gains the ability to override machines after destroying the Corruptor outside of Mother's Watch. She successfully uses the new device to override a Strider, which she uses as a mount to pass through Mother's Embrace. As she approaches the gates, she hears the sounds of fighting outside. Varl, a Nora brave, is fighting a group of corrupted machines. Aloy asks him the best way to reach Meridian, with Varl tells her to head towards Mother's Crown and seek Marea. He also warns her that the trail is dangerous and that the tribe is in disarray after the disappearance of War-Chief Sona.
Varl also tells Aloy to seek out Sona's war party and grants the quest The War-Chief's Trail. Aloy ventures to the edge of the Nora lands and meets Marea. She tells Aloy of a Carja fort to the west called Daytower. Marea tells her to clear the Corrupted Zones outside of the settlement and gives her advice on how to deal with the new machines. Aloy then travels to the Carja fort, where a Corruptor is causing chaos outside of its gate. After defeating it, the guards gladly grant Aloy entry. She meets with the commander of the fort, Balahn.
- Test the Override Device on a Machine
- Override a Strider
- Mount an Overridden Strider
- Talk to Varl at the Gates of the Embrace
- Go through the Gates of the Embrace
- Talk to Marea at Mother’s Crown
- 2/2 Clear Corrupted Zones;The Carja have closed the gate at Daytower because of the threat of Corrupted Machines in the Valley. Go to two Corrupted Zones and kill all Corrupted Machines in each to convince the Carja that it is safe to re-open the gate.
- Go to Carja Border Fort at the western end of the valley.
- Kill the Corrupted Machines
- "Aloy: Varl told me you'd know the way to Meridian.
Marea: The Carja capital? West will take you to it, but their soldiers will stop you long before you get there.
Aloy: They can try.
Marea: No. What I mean is, there's a Carja fort that guards the pass between east and west. Word is, the Carja have sealed the gate, out of fear of the corrupted machines infesting our Sacred Land.
Aloy: So if I clear out the corrupted machines, they'll open the border?
Marea: I suppose. But I can't spare any Braves to help you.
Aloy: Who said I needed help?
Marea: You'll clear the valley - all by yourself?
Aloy: I'm good with a bow.
Marea: For your sake, better than good, I hope."
The Carja fort
- "Aloy: So I'll find this Carja fort to the west? And beyond that, Meridian?
Marea: Yes. The Carja call the place "Daytower." It's not far from the forsaken village.
Aloy: What forsaken village?
Marea: It had a name once, not that it matters now. I was born there.
Aloy: What happened to it?
Marea: The war. The Carja destroyed it in one of their Red Raids. I was fifteen at the time. I got away. Others weren't so lucky. The Nora withdrew to this place, Mother's Crown. Relinquished our claim on the valley. Even now, with the war behind us, we've left the valley be, a kind of... buffer between the Sundom and our Sacred Land."
Carja and other foreigners
- "Aloy: Mother's Crown guards the edge of the Sacred Land, right? So do you see a lot of foreigners here?
Marea: Yes. Not here in the village itself, of course, but in the valley beyond. Since the war ended, foreigners have been allowed in the valley, and Nora can trade with them, if they choose. It's a kind of in-between place, neither foreign nor Sacred Land. If you're curious, visit Hunters' Gathering. It's a little more than a heap of dingy shelters and tents, but foreigners use it as a waystation.
Aloy: Sounds like a place where I could find out more about Meridian."
- "Aloy: So you're in charge of the defenses here?
Marea: Mother's Crown defends itself. During the war, it survived fifteen assaults, broke three invasions. We will endure."
- "Aloy: Captain Balahn? The guard at the gate said you'd been to Meridian recently. What can I expect on the trail?
Balahn: Nothing good - more machines all the time, and our scouts report corruption that way as well. So much for sealing things off. Keep to the roads, they're safe enough. Though after what you did at the gate, I'll wager you don't scare easy - it's a good quality."
The Way to Meridian
- "Aloy: Is there anything more you can tell me about the road to Meridian?
Balahn: Sun-King Avad has devoted considerable resources to making it safe. But by the Sun's witness... It's been harder to control in peace than it was during the war. The machines grow more dangerous all the time. Add to that bandits, and new reports of this corruption... We're stretched thin to protect a few outposts like this one. As for everywhere else, well, travel at your own risk."
Carja and Nora
- "Aloy: Where do things stand between your tribe and the Nora now?
Balahn: Sun-King Avad wants peace. So do the Matriarchs, I'm told. But old wounds are slow to mend, and both tribes are proud. My task is to make sure there are no further provocations from the Sundom. Especially now, after, well... While your people recover from this terrible attack, I mean."
- "Aloy: What's Meridian like?
Balahn: It's a changed place, a living city. Nothing like it was during the rule of Sun-King Jiran. Avad, our new king, has done all he can to make sure of that. Slavery has been abolished. There's a new alliance with the Oseram. And the Sun-Ring, where so many outlanders were killed, is now a memorial to the fallen."
- "Aloy: So the Carja are allied with the Oseram?
Balahn: Hard to believe, but it's true. Mad Sun-King Jiran raided the Oseram for years. Avad managed to get them on his side. He had help, of course. Ersa and Erend played a part - Oseram siblings, bigger than life. They gathered an army to free Meridian. I marched with them. Scaled the north cliff with my men and secured the Temple of the Sun. Sent Jiran's kestrels and priests packing. Now Oseram are a common sight in the city. And a common sound too - they sure bicker a lot."