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"There's so much more to discover before the world ends."
―Sylens

Sylens is a main supporting character in Horizon Zero Dawn. He is a wandering traveler and researcher, and the founder of the Eclipse. He has a deep fascination with the history and technology of the Old Ones, and allies with Aloy to discover the truth behind the machines and the fate of the Old Ones.

He is voiced by and modeled after Lance Reddick.

History

Background

Sylens's early life among the Banuk is unrecorded, although the circuitry sewn into his arms and face suggest that he may have been a Shaman. At some point, Sylens left the tribe, and dedicated his life to uncovering the secrets of the Old Ones. He was the first to explore the GAIA Prime ruins following its self-destruction, although he was unable to venture far into the facility without the required clearance.

A defining moment came when he discovered a heavily damaged Focus in an ancient ruin.[1] After spending weeks repairing his Focus, Sylens detected a faint signal. Curious, Sylens followed the signal to the jungles of the Jewel, where he found a buried and shattered Titan containing the corrupted AI HADES.

Sylens repaired the AI to the point where it could speak, and thus a deal was struck between him and HADES: Sylens would serve HADES and teach it everything he knew about the new world (particularly regarding the Spire). In exchange, Sylens learned about numerous academic fields, including physics, calculus, and computer science.

Creating the Eclipse

The Liberation was a welcome opportunity for Sylens; he arranged a meeting with Bahavas and Helis, the leaders of the Shadow Carja. Presenting HADES as the Buried Shadow of Carja lore, Sylens manipulated the Shadow Carja into creating the Eclipse: a cult to serve HADES and take back Meridian. On HADES' orders, Sylens found and repaired dozens of Focuses for the Eclipse army, and began creating a Focus network built to the AI's specifications.

While Sylens never trusted HADES, he did not question its motives until it began reviving ancient robots. Wary of HADES' motivations, Sylens created a backdoor in the Focus network which allowed him to listen to all communications that occurred within the network.

After Sylens completed the Focus Network, HADES decided that Sylens had outlived his usefulness and ordered his death. Sylens managed to escape and has been a fugitive ever since.

Allying with Aloy

Sylens learned of Aloy's existence upon Olin meeting her, which also caught the attention of HADES, who sent a kill order via the Focus network to eliminate Aloy. Initially perplexed as to why HADES saw a Nora savage as a threat, Sylens then noticed Aloy's Focus, as well as her uncanny resemblance to Dr. Elisabet Sobeck, a renowned scientist from the Old World. Upon confirming that Aloy survived the Proving massacre, Sylens began observing her through her Focus. The longer he watched, the more he realized that Aloy was the key to finally learning the secrets of the Old Ones.

He made his first introduction to Aloy by contacting her Focus, but did not reveal his name, and helped her to disable Eclipse Focuses as she tried to confront Olin. Sylens later contacted her again when she was directed to the ruins of the corporate headquarters of Faro Automated Solutions, providing her with a supply crate and some datapoints to help her better understand the building. Through Aloy, Sylens learned about the Faro Plague, confirming his suspicions that Faro robots destroyed the Old Ones' civilization, and Project Zero Dawn, the countermeasure created by Sobeck. When Aloy voiced her frustration about not finding the answers she wanted, Sylens scolded her for whining when she had discovered more in minutes than he had in decades of searching. He made a proper introduction via hologram and helped redirect Aloy, arguing that her own mystery was part of a larger web of secrets, all tied to Aloy's connection with Sobeck. The two quickly agreed that investigating Project Zero Dawn would provide both of them with the answers they wanted, and after answering Aloy's questions (albeit reluctantly), Sylens pointed her to Sobeck's last known location: U.S. Robot Command, now known as the Grave-Hoard.

Within the Grave-Hoard, Aloy uncovered the location of the Zero Dawn Project Facility. Checking his data, Sylens confirmed that the facility was directly underneath the palace at Sunfall. The amount of Eclipse agents with Focuses would make HADES finding Aloy almost certain, at which point the Eclipse and entire Shadow Carja military would be sent after her. At Aloy's suggestion, Sylens pointed the Nora Brave to a weak point in the network which would allow her to crash it, slowing down the Eclipse dramatically. Once Aloy arrived, Sylens gave her the specifics of the task, including that the weak point was inside the Eclipse's base. Aloy quickly deduced that Sylens was part of the Eclipse. Sylens admitted to "assisting" the Eclipse, but refused to elaborate further.

In the Zero Dawn facility, Aloy learned of the project and its goal of recreating the world after the Faro Plague. However, the Eclipse entered the facility and Aloy was captured by their leader, Helis. She was taken to an arena and prepared to be sacrificed to a Behemoth and several Corruptors, but Sylens appeared with several overridden machines and rescued her, revealing his connection to Helis in the process. He explained to Aloy that HADES was attempting to lead an army of Corrupted Machines to the Spire in order to capture it and broadcast a signal that would awaken all dormant Corruptors and Deathbringers, and instructed her to locate a master override device inside the GAIA Prime facility that would allow her to destroy HADES.

Sylens appeared again in the ruins of the GAIA Prime facility, revealing that he had been attempting to enter the facility for years but was never able to crack the door. Aloy is able to enter, however, and learns of Elisabet's sacrifice to save GAIA Prime from premature destruction as well as Ted Faro's destruction of the APOLLO project and his murder of the Zero Dawn staff. Upon learning of Faro's actions, Sylens expressed his displeasure and lamented the waste of unfathomable ancient knowledge. Sylens appeared in person for the last time as Aloy left the facility, revealing his past connections to HADES and the Eclipse. He wished Aloy good luck and departed after giving her a lance that would help inject the Master Override into HADES.

After Aloy stopped HADES from broadcasting his signal and reviving the Faro machines, HADES remained alive. Sylens, having apparently intended for this to happen, captured HADES in a mysterious lantern-like device. With HADES as his prisoner, Sylens revealed his intentions of discovering who awoke HADES in the first place:

"Hello, old friend. Remember me?
We've still so much to discuss, so much you never revealed.
Your Masters, for example. The ones who sent the signal that woke you.
Knowledge has its rewards, don't you think?
Well.. let's begin.
"
―Sylens (to HADES)

Personality

Sylens is an intellectual to the core. He is a well spoken and educated individual albeit reckless in his pursuit of knowledge. From a young age, he was deeply fascinated by the technologies of the Old Ones. As such, he has made it his life's goal to discover the secrets of their demise and the world they lived in. When it comes to expanding his knowledge base and research, Sylens has very few ethical boundaries. He has no compunction with manipulating and exploiting others so long as he gets the answers he seeks.

Sylens can be extremely blunt to the point of being deliberately callous. He was insensitive to the emotional turmoil that Aloy felt after realizing her own origins, only remarking that she had two mothers; a dead woman and a machine. Sylens also has a tendency to be quite condescending, assuming that Aloy believed that the Earth was flat, much to her chagrin.

In spite of his negative qualities, Sylens is capable of seeing his mistakes, admitting that he was foolish to serve HADES (although he would gladly do it again).

Skills and Abilities

  • Skilled Programmer: Sylens has an unrivaled proficiency in the usage of Old Ones technology. He was successfully able to create a network of Focuses, as well as a back door that he could use to monitor them undetected.
  • Polymath: Due to his interactions with HADES, Sylens is well-versed in physics and calculus.
  • Tribal Knowledge: Sylens has shown himself knowledgeable in Banuk and Carja lore. He is versed in the Carja faith to the point that he could present HADES as the Buried Shadow, and is at least somewhat familiar with the practice of Banuk shamanism.

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Horizon Zero Dawn Collector's Edition Guide, p. 605
Banuk Characters
Shamans Brin - Siluk - Tikuk
Tribe Members Aluki - Ardik - Kikuk - Kimik - Nulat - Opitak - Sylens - Ukan
Lore ArnakIli - Signak - Tektuk

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