The Red Raids were a series of attacks conducted by the Carja military under orders from the 13th Carja Sun-King Jiran against other tribes. Units of Carja soldiers invaded the territories of other tribes, such as the neighboring Nora and Oseram, and abducted their people to be used for human sacrifice. It was only when Jiran was overthrown and killed by his son Avad that the raids were ended.
In the fifteenth year of Sun-King Jiran's reign, the machines, which had heretofore stayed away from humans, began to become more aggressive toward them, culminating in attacking humans on sight. This was called the Derangement of the machines. The 13th Carja Sun-King Jiran believed that the Derangement was a punishment from the Sun, worshiped as a deity in the Carja religion. Already notorious for his harsh treatment of his own people, Jiran decided that human sacrifice would appease the Sun, and ordered the Carja military to raid other tribes for victims. For years, units of Carja soldiers invaded the territories of other tribes and descended upon their settlements, rounding up residents for transport to holding facilities such as the Carja outpost Daytower, then to the Carja capital Meridian, where they would be sacrificed in an arena known as the Sun-Ring, killed by machines. The Carja soldiers and their commanders practiced severe cruelty toward the tribes that they raided. Unit commanders such as Zaid and Jiran's champion Helis became legendary for their brutality.
Some Carja tribespeople were disgusted by the raids. Among them were members of the Carja Hunters Lodge. Led by the hunter Talavad Khane Padish, members of the lodge raised strong objection to Jiran over the raids. However, Jiran had no issue with using dissenters among his people as well as foreign tribespeople for sacrificial victims, and threw the hunters into the Sun-Ring. The fight the hunters put up against the machines became part of the proud history of the lodge, but it went unrecognized until long after the raids ended.
But the members of the Hunters Lodge were not the only Carja who objected to the raids. Opposition also came from within Jiran's own house. Prince Kadaman, his eldest son, demanded that the raids stop. Jiran responded by having him executed. This proved to be his undoing. His middle son, Avad, seeing that the atrocities would end only with his father's death, fled Carja territory with soldiers who opposed the raids. In exile, he formed an alliance with the Oseram, one of the tribes that was most frequently raided. Under Avad's leadership, the alliance led a successful attack against Meridian. The Carja forces loyal to Jiran fled on Jiran's orders, while Jiran himself stayed behind to face Avad. Avad tried to no avail to reason with him, and then killed him. Taking the throne, Avad ended the raids. Furthermore, he sent envoys bearing written apologies from him to the tribes that his father had terrorized, and expelled soldiers who had participated in the raids from the Carja military.
The Red Raids left an indelible stain on the history of the Carja. Animosity toward the Carja remained strong for years among the tribes that were raided, particularly among the Nora.
Furthermore, the raids had repercussions that did not occur until years after their end. An Oseram inventor named Dervahl had attempted to lead his people against the Carja in retaliation for the raids while they were happening. In retribution, Jiran had Dervahl's wife and child captured and sacrificed in the Sun-Ring. This caused Dervahl to be consumed with revenge and lose all sense of balanced justice; he craved the death of every Carja, man, woman, and child, and the complete destruction of Meridian. His hatred grew to the point where he even became an enemy of his own people, to the point where they actively searched for him to kill him. Years after the raids, he attempted to enact a plan to destroy Meridian, but was foiled by Aloy, finally leading to his capture. The Red Raids thus indirectly almost caused the destruction of Meridian and the deaths of many Carja tribespeople who had nothing to do with them; while Dervahl was responsible for his own actions, it was the Red Raids that catalyzed his change into an enemy willing to butcher innocent people to get revenge, an enemy that even his own people wanted dead. Indeed, while speaking to Aloy about him, Avad mused on what great contributions Dervahl might have made using his talent, has it not been for Jiran's cruelty.