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Px1 00 si zahuaMeeting 01

The barrel of fish Zahua is hiding in when first encountered by the Watcher

Zahua is a male savannah human monk and recruitable companion in The White March - Part I.

Background[ | ]

A seemingly random encounter in Stalwart Village leads the Watcher to an encounter with a man hiding in a fish barrel, beneath layers upon layers of fish. Upon inspection he leaps from the barrel, nearly naked save for a loincloth, and drizzled in fish viscera. Covered head-to-toe in scars - tears and punctures and the thorny imprints of lashings, most faded, like old memories, the man's condition is otherwise remarkable, the drooping skin at his flanks and elbows the only evidence of his advanced age. By his own admission, Zahua was resting his eyes and waiting for a revelation... And seems to have dozed off.

Zahua is the greatest living practitioner of Nalpazca beliefs, and even as the watcher meets him, he is in continual pursuit of their ideals, which he believes will transform him into an unbeatable combatant. Above all, he believes in suffering as the path to enlightenment, and nearly every inch of his body is covered in scars - mostly self-inflicted. While some might see that as a grim or depressing viewpoint, from Zahua's perspective, suffering is a thing of beauty, to be admired and revered, and he is often able to appreciate situations that would dishearten most others. (Perhaps with a little too much cheer for some people's taste.)[1]

Early history[ | ]

Zahua comes from an agrarian people known as the Tacan that dwells in the Ixamitl Plains to the north. Most Tacan have two choices. They can grow crops or they can become Nalpazca warriors. Zahua was the youngest of five children, a dreamer eneamored with the Nalpazca. They did not feel the same about him, however. Three times he tried to join their ranks and was refused each time. In his own words, in all that time spent dreaming, he had not thought to prepare. As a result, Zahua was lazy, uncoordinated, overweight. But eventually they were forced to accept him: The Tacan high priestess had a vision after tripping on malcachoa and several other choice drugs.

She saw Zahua as chieftain, leading a host of Nalpazca warriors to victory over the Quechmatl, a rival tribe. As the last chieftain had died over the winter and no other arised from among the Nalpazca yet, he was brought before Ixepillo, the great master of the Nalpazca, and became his pupil. Although Zahua still trained with the other instructors, sparred and meditated with his Nalpazca brothers and sisters, and learned from all of them, he received the chieftain's privilege as well: Learning from Ixepillo the secrets that could grant mastery over reality, invincibility in combat.

Conquest[ | ]

However, before Ixepillo taught him the final secrets of the Nalpazca, he died of old age. The Tacan still made Zahua chieftain, but doubt lingered at the back of his mind. As news of Ixepillo's death spread, enemies of the Tacan took notice. The chieftain of Quechmatl arrived bearing gifts soon after he learned of the news, to gauge Zahua's capacity as a leader and warrior. Zahua failed in his attempt to pose as the anitlei, the perfect warrior free of worldly snares. The Quechmatl attacked after three days.

Zahua managed to convince himself and the others that he was the anitlei and for a time, they managed to resist the enemy advance despite numerical inferiority. The clarity conveyed by his belief allowed Zahua to clearly see the path to victory and anticipate his enemies' actions... Until he faced their chieftain. Doubt crept in, sealing the fate of the Tacan. All were enslaved and Zahua taken prisoner, torturing him to death as per the tradition of their tribe. But in his suffering, Zahua became the anitlei and used this opportunity to escape captivity.

He swore to return after learning the lost secrets of his master, swearing to liberate his people. Though he grew stronger in the course of his pursuit, so did the Quechmatl. Despite years spent abusing hard drugs, inflicting pain on himself, and studying the ways of foreign monastic orders, the status of anitlei eludes him - and with it, the perspective of liberating his people. He returned home once, to try and instigate a popular uprising among the Tacan, only to learn that the men were broken by labor and the women Quechmatl wives now. Nahualtia, his wife, enlightened him... But he refused to accept it.

Interactions[ | ]

Icon head
This character is a party member.
Icon parchment
This character starts quests.

Secrets of the Tacan

Companion[ | ]

  • Zahua can be recruited at Stalwart. Simply approach the fishmonger's post near the fishery and interact with the head inside the basket of fish.

Quests[ | ]

Endings[ | ]

Zahua has a number of endings tied to quest Secrets of the Tacan (whether it is completed or not), as well as numerous dialogue options between himself and the Watcher during his time in the party. Zahua can either be reinforced in his belief that a legacy can exist beyond the cultures that created them, or he can believe that the Tacan still persist.

There are several conversations where the player can influence these traits. Zahua will not always prompt the Watcher for discussion.

Upon reaching The Mines in Durgan's Battery Legacy Persist
"A hopeless battle was waged in Durgan's Battery. They seemed to know their deaths had come, yet many fought on."
→ "For all the good it did them." -1 -1
→ "All men fight who fear death." -1
→ "They had built a great legacy. They had no reason to fear death." +1
→ "Even now, they continue to fight on." +1
Upon reaching The Foundry in Durgan's Battery, after the cutscene Legacy Persist
"So the dwarves of Durgan's Battery did not destroy themselves after all. They fell to invaders."
→ "And it seems they were completely wiped out." -1
→ "Perhaps, but they seem to have left much behind." +1 -1
→ "It's possible someone survived and escaped this place." +1
→ "A shame for them they were destroyed - they might have become great." -1 -1
After completing The Recluse of the White March and The Ogre Matron, or opening Durgan's Battery Legacy Persist
"My thoughts wander often to the lost builders of this fortress we seek. They were erased from the world."
→ "Everything happens with a purpose, even if it is unclear to us." +1 -1
→ "No one deserves that." +1
→ "If they all killed each other, then they had it coming." -1
→ "Maybe there are still traces of them." +1
→ "If they were meant to continue, surely the gods would have intervened." -1 -1
During Secrets of the Tacan, after defeating the giant dank spore and ice troll Legacy Persist
"But I wonder if it did not also make me proud, and foolhardy. If I ignored my own defeat because I did not believe it possible."
→ "The Tacan aren't defeated yet. You're still here." +1
→ "A source of hope is never a bad thing."
→ "You may liberate your people yet." +2
→ "You let your pride get the better of you." -2
During Secrets of the Tacan, after returning the waterskin to the haggered man Legacy Persist
"Is this what I am meant to see? That his teachings will always be beyond me?"
→ "Perhaps it's time to let them go." -2
→ "We aren't done here yet. There must be something more worth learning here." +1
→ "There is more to the Tacan than Ixepillo's teachings." +2
→ "It hardly seems to matter. the Tacan no longer exist." -2
During Secrets of the Tacan, after witnessing Zahua's last meeting with Nahualtia Legacy Persist
"The time of my people has ended. There is nothing more I can do for them."
→ "The Tacan lived their time and made their mark on the world. They need nothing more from you." +3 -3
→ "What you do from here on out is for your soul alone." -3 -3
→ "You are the last of the Tacan. What you do now, you do in their memory." -3 +3
→ "The culture of the Tacan and their Nalpazca warriors still exists within you. You can still carry it forward." +3 +3

Statistics[ | ]

Bonuses[ | ]




Initial points[ | ]

Zahua's initial skill, talent, and ability distribution depends on the level of the Watcher when he is first added to the party, but only if the "Auto Level Companions" option is checked in the difficulty settings.

With auto-levelling enabled, companions will be levelled following a preset point distribution. The player is still free to distribute points into whatever skills, abilities, and talents they desire when a companion levels up, and they may be completely retrained at an inn. Zahua always starts at a minimum of level 2 (the stats above are before he joins the party).

With auto-levelling disabled, companions are not levelled, and the player may choose their own point distribution. Zahua starts at level 1 with the requisite experience to level him up to the current player level or level 2, whichever is higher.

Level Skills Abilities Talents
1 Torment's Reach
2 1 1 2 0 4 Weapon Focus: Peasant
3 1 2 2 0 5 Force of Anguish
4 1 3 2 0 6 Transcendent Suffering 2 Two Weapon Style
5 1 3 2 0 7 Stunning Blow
6 1 4 2 0 7 Lesser Wounds
7 1 4 2 0 8 Transcendent Suffering 3, Rooting Pain
8 1 4 2 0 9 Bear's Fortitude
9 1 5 2 0 9 Duality of Mortal Presence
10 1 5 2 0 9 Transcendent Suffering 4 Vulnerable Attack
11 1 6 2 0 10 Iron Wheel
12 1 6 2 0 10 Mortification of the Soul
13 1 6 2 0 11 The Dichotomous Soul
14 1 7 2 0 11 Bull's Will
15 1 7 2 0 11 Skyward Kick
16 3 7 2 0 12 Snake's Reflexes

Gallery[ | ]

Behind the scenes[ | ]

  • Zahua was originally named "Forton" in early Kickstarter info, and was cut from the final version of the base game (although still shown on the cover).[2] He made it into the The White March - Part I expansion, but his name was changed to better reflect his place of origin.
  • Zahua was written by Eric Fenstermaker[3] and voiced by Jamieson Price.[4]