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Varl is a major character in Horizon Zero Dawn. He is a Nora Brave, the son of War-Chief Sona and the older brother of Vala, whom Aloy competed against in the Proving.

History

Growing up as the son of legendary Nora War-Chief Sona, Varl was constantly competing with his younger sister Vala for her attention. Once Varl came of age, he competed in the Proving and became a Brave.

When it was Vala's turn to compete, the Proving was attacked by the Eclipse, killing Vala and most of the Brave candidates. The Nora quickly formed a war party to retaliate, but in their haste for vengeance, many of them were killed in an ambush. Sona quickly recovered and gathered another party to lead a counter-attack. When Varl attempted to join them, Sona ordered him to escort the wounded to the Embrace and guard the Embrace Gates.

Getting Vengeance

Some time later, Varl was approached by Aloy about the path to Meridian. While initially confused as to why she would seek exile, Varl pointed her to Marea in Mother's Crown upon learning of Aloy's Seeker status. Before she left, Varl asked her to help search for Sona, who had gone missing after launching her attack. Varl remained at the Embrace Gates until Dran returned with word of Sona's location. Eager for revenge, Varl left the gates in the hands of his fellow Braves before heading to Devil's Thirst. Varl located the war party and Aloy, joining them just after they killed off a group of Eclipse cultists. Upon arrival, Varl was berated by Sona for disobeying orders, prompting Aloy to look around the base. The Seeker would find the location of the remaining killers: the Ring of Metal in Devil's Grief, taboo to the Nora. Agreeing with Aloy that there wasn't time to beg the Matriarchs for an exception, Varl convinced Sona to break the taboo. Aloy met Varl and the rest of the war party at Red Echoes, where they worked to disable the three checkpoints set up by the killers.

Once the camps were dealt with, Varl volunteered to join Aloy in entering the Ring of Metal to exploit the base's weakness. The two worked together to clear out the Eclipse in their path, eventually making their way to the main area. On Aloy's instructions, Varl went back to the War Party, leading them to the side of the Ring where she would create an opening. Once Aloy ignited the killers' entire stockpile of Blaze, a hole in the Ring was created for the Nora to charge through. A fierce battle ensued, ending with the Nora's victory. For the time being, Aloy and Varl parted ways, as her journey was far from over.

The Eclipse's Assault

Sometime after, the Sacred Lands fell prey to a devastating attack from the Eclipse. Varl and Sona were among the few Braves to survive the invasion, and retreated with the rest of the Nora into the Sacred Mountain. The Braves could do nothing but watch through a barrier as the Eclipse unleashed a Corrupted Thunderjaw on the entrance, trying to bring down the mountain. However, Aloy eventually arrived and began to fight the Eclipse. Revigorated, the Braves rushed to Aloy's side, with Varl chanting "For Aloy!". With her help, the tide quickly turned, and the killers were wiped out. Aloy and Varl spoke about the attack briefly before heading inside the mountain to speak with the High Matriarchs.

Varl, along with the rest of the tribe, watched in awe as Aloy entered the chamber inside in the mountain to "speak with the goddess". Upon emerging, Aloy told a watered-down version of her origins and purpose, causing the tribe to fall to their knees and praise her. Aloy instantly rejected the gesture, refusing to accept the title of "the Anointed", and warned them that the entire world was in danger. Varl asked how they could help, upon which Aloy gave instructions to meet her in Meridian. Varl, along with his mother and a number of Braves, were made Seekers so that they could venture beyond the Sacred Lands.

Before leaving, Aloy spoke with Varl a final time. Varl expressed his shock at the events, as well as his confusion. Aloy offered to take him into the chamber, which Varl quickly declined, but he was open to the idea of Aloy sharing what she had been learning with him.

Meridian

After arriving in the Sundom, the Braves made camp upon the Alight to wait for the invasion. Varl met Aloy as she toured the defenses, reminding his fellow Braves that Aloy hated being bowed to. The two discussed briefly, with Varl admitting his discomfort of being in the Tainted Lands and his difficulty towards balancing his admiration of Aloy with respecting her wishes.

When the Eclipse began their final attack, the Braves worked with the Vanguard to protect the Spire. However, HADES and its Deathbringer broke through the defenses, and proceeded to transmit the signal that would end life on Earth once more. Varl and Erend were among the few still able to fight (along with Sona or Talanah, depending on whether Aloy had joined the Lodge or not), and were preparing to go face HADES when Aloy arrived from the village. Varl immediately insisted that the three of them accompany Aloy to the Alight. While Aloy fought the Deathbringer guarding HADES, Varl and the others directed their attention to the Corrupted Machines surrounding them, allowing Aloy to focus on the Deathbringer.

Eventually, after a fierce battle, the machines fell and Aloy purged HADES with the Master Override. As she walked to the edge of the Alight, she was joined by Erend and Varl, who began cheering with the rest of Meridian in their victory.

Personality

Aside from Teb, Varl is the first true friend that Aloy makes among the Nora. The two form a close bond while taking vengeance on the Eclipse. While Varl's appearances are quite limited, it is apparent that the connection between Varl and Aloy remains close and unwavering throughout the game. Like many Nora, he is a Brave firm in the Nora faith, although he is willing to stray from tradition should the situation demand it. Unlike Sona, Varl is not disdainful of the Sundom, although he expresses his discomfort at being outside of the Sacred Lands.

While he respects Sona immensely, Varl has a strained relationship with his mother, due to her high standards and the pressures of having to live up to her name.

Gallery

Nora Characters
High Matriarchs Jezza - Lansra - Teersa
Tribe Members Aloy - Arana - Bast - Den - Dral - Dran - Enara - Ferl - Fia - Grist - Jarg - Jarm - Jun - Karst - Lut - Marea - Muns - Nakoa - Olara - Orn - Resh - Solai - Sona - Taim - Teb - Thok - Vala - Varl - Yan
Outcasts Brom - Cren - Grata - Jom - Kam - Kurnst - Nora Keeper - Rost - Yun