The Hero of Istan has shown us that good people can't sit idly by while evil ones threaten the innocent. He's young, but he's everything a Sunspear should be: a champion of the oppressed, who knows peace without justice is surrender.
Zaeim was born in the Domain of Istan and was trained as a Sunspear by First Spear Kitur on the Elonian mainland. However, when the rogue god Balthazar's Forged army assaulted King Palawa Joko's lands in 1330 AE, Istan suffered from the Awakened regime which became more tyrannical and demanding in response to supply the mainland's troops who were defending Elonian settlements from the Forged. Zaeim learned of Istan's plight and, against his mentor's protests, returned home to aid his fellow Istani. He vowed to bring the Sunspears out of the shadows as a symbol of hope to those oppressed by Joko.
The first person Zaeim recruited was First Spear Hakima, and many others followed as they conducted their operations from their hidden headquarters below the archives of the Astralarium. The Istani Sunspears eventually convinced Zaeim to take the title of Spearmarshal, leader of the Sunspears. He was the only person among the Istani Sunspears to know a way into Fahranur, the First City, and guarded that secret with his life.
When the nobles of Palawadan, Jewel of Istan decided to keep food shipped from the mainland to themselves, people on the countryside objected. The Temple of Joko responded with claims that the people outside Palawadan's walls were disloyal to the regime and thus did not deserve food. Issnur Isles had enough and declared their independence from Istan, and the loyalists to Joko's regime traveled there to make an example out of the dissidents. Zaeim had taught his Sunspear recruits guerrilla tactics, however, and they crushed the loyalist incursion.
In response to the Sunspears' actions, the Mordant Crescent sent fifty Awakened to find the Spearmarshal and end his rebellion. Although the exact details of how that encounter went are unknown, two facts remain undisputed: Zaeim lived, and the Awakened sent after him lay dead. People of Istan began calling him the Hero of Istan, galvanizing the whole island behind him.
As a result of Zaeim's victory, the Mordant Crescent imposed martial law everywhere on the island, conscripting the living and Awakening the dead. With supply lines broken and families being recruited, it became harder for the Spearmarshal and his Sunspears to find more recruits for their cause.
Albeit weakened at first because of the Forged attacks causing many Awakened casualties in Joko's absence, the Awakened suddenly reorganized and retaliated in Istan with boosted numbers, taking back settlements such as Champion's Dawn which the Sunspears had previously liberated. Zaeim had been planning for weeks to raid Palawadan, but decided to ride south to reclaim Champion's Dawn from the Awakened after learning the news. Before leaving, he left the raid on Palawadan in the capable hands of Hakima. He also came to learn of the Pact Commander's deeds against Balthazar and the Elder Dragons Zhaitan and Mordremoth thanks to being informed by Shadows Agent Kito sometime earlier. However, Kito had also made him falsely believe that Kito had had an important part to play in the deaths of Balthazar and the two Elder Dragons.
Zaeim was ambushed by Sayida the Sly and her corsairs, however, and was carted off to be sold to the Mordant Crescent who then took the captured Spearmarshal to the jail in the Mordant Crescent Great Hall. While waiting for his punishment there, Zaeim witnessed a new prisoner being taken in. After chatting with this prisoner, the Spearmarshal introduced himself and learned the prisoner's identity as the Pact Commander who had come looking for him to find a way into Fahranur. Although the Commander claimed to have come to rescue him, Zaeim remained skeptical that the Commander could find a way out, only to be surprised by the Commander's resourcefulness.
After they were out of their cells, the pair found their confiscated armor and weapons and headed out, only to be confronted by Warden Amala. They fought the warden with the help of Sayida's corsairs whom the Commander had contracted for the mission. After defeating Amala, the group were greeted with reinforcements consisting of Sunspears, Dragon's Watch as well as the dragon Aurene who helped clear out the remaining guards. In gratitude and after learning that Joko had seemingly returned and kidnapped the Commander's friend Taimi in Fahranur, Zaeim instructed the Commander to meet him at the old docks of Issnur Bay. He also told the Commander not to take Sayida with them as he did not trust the corsairs. He then left to prepare the Sunspears to reclaim Champion's Dawn as he had originally planned.
After having finished with Champion's Dawn, Zaeim traveled to the old docks and urged the Commander to go ahead while he would look for Dragon's Watch members Canach and Rytlock Brimstone. The trio eventually caught up with the Commander and braved the traps of the First City and the Awakened lurking within it. As they hurried on, Zaeim explained the city's history, including its fall to the dreaded Scarab Plague and Kormir's involvement in waking up the fallen god Abaddon centuries ago.
Much to the party's surprise, they discovered not only Branded battling Awakened in the fallen halls but asuran technology as well as corpses of Inquest agents within the city despite Zaeim's belief that Joko had expelled the asura from Elona decades ago. Even more surprisingly the asuran corpses rose as Awakened and attacked the party with an enraged Awakened abomination joining the fray as well. The bombs Canach had set up to clear an obstacle nearly buried the party if not for the timely intervention of Rox and Braham whose protective bubble kept them all from harm.
After brief introductions from everyone present, Braham and Rox joined the party in their search for Taimi, only to find the young asura trapped deep within the complex while an army of Awakened led by a mysterious figure exited through the many asura gates found within. While the Commander and Braham hurried to help Taimi, the rest of the party stayed back to fend off attacking Awakened who were trying to reach the pair.
Once the party had saved Taimi from a tampered Scruffy 2.0, they learned that the Awakened had used the asura gates to begin an assault on Tyria in retaliation for the Commander's earlier interference in Joko's kingdom. Zaeim pledged his Sunspears to the Commander's cause, not wishing to see Tyria fall to Joko like Elona had. The Commander promised Zaeim that Dragon's Watch would help end Joko's reign in Elona once and for all now that the lich king was posing too great a threat to the world to ignore.
After Joko's attempt to unleash the first generation of Scarab Plague had been thwarted in the Free City of Amnoon in 1331 AE, Taimi sent word to the allies whom the Commander had gained during their stay in Elona and asked them to travel to the Tomb of the Primeval Kings where she and her friend Blish were setting up a portal to Joko's last known location, the Domain of Kourna. Zaeim rallied his Istani Sunspears and went through the portal with other allies to assist the Commander in establishing a foothold at Zelbahn Garrison from which the allied army would stage an assault on Gandara, the Moon Fortress where Joko was maturing the deadly third generation of Scarab Plague.
After securing the area around the Allied Encampment, Zaeim was ordered to command his Sunspears from the main camp and send them scouting the north to protect the army's flank. Zaeim understood the Commander's concern to not subject any of the human Sunspears to the Scarab Plague. After hearing his scouts' reports, Zaeim let the Commander know what troubles were brewing throughout Kourna and directed the Commander to many sites where the allied army hoped to stop Joko's plans to spread the Scarab Plague and secure new allies from the locals.
Following the Commander's successful recruitment of allies, Zaeim reported that the army's assault on Gandara had stalled because they needed high-grade explosives to break the defensive structures guarding the fortress. He also let the Commander know of Lord Faren's dangerous mission to acquire the explosives and expressed concern over Faren's safety, prompting the Commander to go after Faren.
Once news spread that the third generation of Scarab Plague had been destroyed and Joko had been killed for good in the Battle of Gandara, Zaeim and the Sunspears were asked to stay in Kourna for a time to watch for the now dazed and masterless Awakened and make sure the Awakened would not hurt themselves or anyone else once they came to their senses.
Some time later, Zaeim sent invitations to various factions to attend a summit at the Fortress of Jahai where they would discuss a post-Joko ruling council for Elona. Despite his initial attempts, the Spearmarshal had difficulty convincing the Free Awakened, the Joko Loyalists, the Mordant Crescent and the Order of Shadows to agree to the Sunspears' proposal to end old animosities and work together. Tensions grew among the delegates when the Commander's exhausted dragon ally Aurene, who had devoured Joko in Gandara, landed in the fortress, and Zaeim was relieved to see the Commander arrive shortly after and convince Aurene to leave the fortress so the negotiations could continue.
Angered by what he perceived as the Commander using Aurene to intimidate him, Archon Iberu and his Mordant Crescent staged a coup in which they attempted to kill everyone present so Iberu could lead a united Elona. The Archon's ambitions were cut short by the timely arrival of Awakened Koss Dejarin who killed Iberu with a single blow and intimidated the Mordant Crescent to agree to the Spearmarshal's treaty. Former Grand Vizier Utumishi was less receptive to signing the treaty despite Zaeim's pleas, however, but their arguing was cut short by the sudden attack from the Death-Branded Shatterer which was hunting for Aurene on behalf of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik. The invading Branded forced the Commander and the delegates to flee into the courtyard before it gave chase to Aurene.
Following the fall of the fortress, the Order of the Sunspears decided to move survivors of the Branded attacks in Jahai Bluffs and local refugees to a safer location to withstand future Branded incursions. Zaeim learned that a group led by the Commander had secured an old cave which had been dubbed Sun's Refuge, and escorted Aurene and the refugees to the cave alongside the Commander's allies. He witnessed another Branded invasion from rifts which suddenly appeared there and ensured the refugees' safety while the Commander took a small group to fight the Branded head-on.
After the invasion had been thwarted, Zaeim witnessed the Commander return to Aurene with the ghosts of Eir Stegalkin and Snaff who had come with great urgency: Kralkatorrik was devouring magic in the Mists, and Aurene needed to confront the Elder Dragon before it would become too powerful to face. Aurene shared her visions of multiple futures, however, in which she died no matter which allies she brought with her for the confrontation, and fled while leaving the Commander and the allies behind to worry about the future.
To stop panic from spreading, the Commander's ally Blish pointed out that he and the Commander already had a plan to attach a tracker to Kralkatorrik via a magical lure, Balthazar's greatsword, so they could monitor the Elder Dragon's movements and evacuate settlements before the Branded could invade populated areas. In response, Zaeim sent word to the Sunspears throughout Elona, hoping they would answer his call for action to come protect Elonians from the Branded. He also asked the Commander to place recruitment posters around Elona and Central Tyria to add more able warriors to the Sunspears' ranks.
While organizing the forces stationed at Sun's Refuge, Zaeim got to know General Almorra Soulkeeper's stranded Pact forces and came to respect their duty to protect Tyria from the Elder Dragons. Upon receiving recruits and witnessing Vabbi Sunspears answer his call, Zaeim learned from them that Spearmarshal Tahlkora, who had been guiding the Vabbi branch of the Sunspears, had given him her blessing to officially succeed her as Spearmarshal. The news lifted Zaeim's spirits as deep down he had always wondered if he had had any right to be called Spearmarshal. He also granted permission for Koss to seek out Tahlkora, and talked with Redeemer Kossan and Lord Faren about their personal accomplishments.
As the Pact mobilized under Marshal Logan Thackeray and traveled to Thunderhead Keep to help the Commander and Aurene prepare for the confrontation against Kralkatorrik, Zaeim was one of the Commander's many Elonian allies who decided to join the Pact in the keep to offer their assistance in gratitude for what the Commander had done on their behalf. While he made preparations in Sun's Refuge for the journey ahead, he delegated Second Spear Koja as his representative in the keep until his arrival in early 1332 AE. Zaeim participated in the battle against Kralkatorrik and helped the Commander get past the Branded. Despite the Pact's efforts, however, the wounded Kralkatorrik managed to decimate much of the Auditorium and Brand several soldiers in it, kill Aurene and flee back to the Mists, leaving the Commander and surviving allies to mourn the losses.
- Episode 1: Daybreak
- Episode 3: Long Live the Lich
- Episode 4: A Star to Guide Us
- Episode 5: All or Nothing
- At Sun's Refuge
- Welcome to our base of operations. We'll build this place into a haven, same as our predecessors did.
What can I do to help? (before unlocking the collection)
- First thing is to restore the Order to its former glory. We need new Sunspears. That means recruits. From Elona, Ascalon, Kryta—doesn't matter.
You want to recruit Sunspears from that far away?
- Elona can be found throughout Tyria. We migrate. Also, to fight the Crystal Dragon, we'll take all the help we can get.
Fair point. How can I help recruit?
- Spread the story of the Sunspears. Hang these posters in cities, in highly visible places. Here, I'll give you a list.
- Poster Child)
I can do that. (Unlocks
- Sun's Refuge will fill up before long, I'm sure.
- I bet you're right.
- Another time.
- I'll help in other ways for now.
- I can't travel that far right now. I'll come back later.
How goes recruitment? (once the collection has been unlocked)
- Well, thanks to you! We're seeing new recruits from all over Tyria. There are so many, in fact, we've opened a dueling ring.
- Nothing like a duel to keep you on your toes. Try it out. Bring your friends. Show the recruits how it's done.
- I might just do that.
- I'll have to check that out.
Tahlkora's approval must have meant a lot.
- It did. The Sunspears called me Spearmarshal, but some part of me always wondered. Was I playacting? Was I claiming a role I had no right to?
You've made the title your own.
- With your help. If you hadn't broken me out of that jail cell in Istan, we both know I'd have met a fate like Tahlkora's. If not worse.
I'm glad you trusted me.
- I trust you even more now. Battle brought us together.
- That it did.
- I'd rather not think about it.
- I understand.
- I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
- ^ First Spear Hakima
- ^ Priest Sazeer
- ^ Champion's Dawn
- Priest Sazeer: The Spearmarshal. Yes, he did come to our defense. I thought he might be able to turn back the Awakened—
- Elder Priest: Then Sayida the Sly and her Corsairs ambushed him. Carted him off to sell him to the highest bidder.
- ^ Convincing the Corsair
- <Character name>: So I give you the coin, you give me Zaeim. Simple.
- Sayida the Sly: Not simple. I gave him to the Mordant Crescent an hour ago in exchange for the bounty.
- ^ Be My Guest
- Taimi: We should ask the Sunspears to watch for Awakened coming to, and make sure they don't hurt themselves or anyone else.
- Taimi: I mean, it's fine right now while they're all sort of dazed, but what happens when they snap out of it?
- <Character name>: I honestly don't know, Taimi. But that decision's not up to just us.
- ^ Sun's Refuge ambient dialogue
- ^ Second Spear Koja
- ^ Tweet by Heather Conover, Twitter.com