Like the other Elder Dragons, Zhaitan is a creature of ancient times and little is known of its origins, though the Durmand Priory believe it last awoke around the time the Giganticus Lupicus were wiped out. Zhaitan feeds on magical energy to survive, using Mouths of Zhaitan to consume magical artifacts throughout Orr, while its most powerful servants, the Eyes of Zhaitan, bear their master's vision and carry out its will. The forces of its undead army are known as the Risen.
Zhaitan, like the other Elder Dragons, is thought to have last awakened 10,000 years ago, around the time of the disappearance of the Giganticus Lupicus, and then fallen back into slumber from consuming all life they could find. For more than a millennium, it rested beneath the land that would become the Kingdom of Orr. When the Six Human Gods revoked the gift of magic back into the Bloodstone to split it into the familiar four schools in 1 BE, they tapped into the dormant dragon's energy and increased the power of magic in doing so, not knowing of Zhaitan's existence.
In 1219 AE, Zhaitan awoke and brought the lost nation of Orr (which had previously been destroyed by the Cataclysm) to the surface. Cobiah Marriner had seen the rising of Orr, seeing thousands of swarming Risen on the rising lands over a tidal wave later called the Great Tsunami. The Great Tsunami drowned thousands, sank hundreds of ships, flooded Lion's Arch and the Battle Isles, and dramatically reshaped the coastline of the Sea of Sorrows. Corsairs who took refuge docked in the shattered peninsula were wiped out, and in its place there came an undead navy of Dead Ships, manned by the Risen servants of Zhaitan. The black-sailed ships swept across the Strait of Malchor towards the Ring of Fire and the southern Sea of Sorrows, blocking sea access to Cantha and Elona, and beginning an age of isolation for Tyria.
Afterwards, it sent Captain Whiting on the Indomitable to lead his Risen forces to decimate the most populated ports along the Sea of Sorrows, starting with Port Stalwart in 1229 AE, and attacking Lion's Arch in 1256 AE which ultimately failed with the death of Whiting. Sometime afterwards, Zhaitan's forces had decimated Port Noble. Most of the time until recent years, Zhaitan had focused sending its forces along the eastern shores of the Sea of Sorrows, only recently sending risen to the Tarnished Coast. In the height of its reign, the dragon's domain reached from the Ring of Fire islands to the northern borders of Elona, to the pockets along the northern shores of the Sea of Sorrows.
In 1325 AE, Zhaitan launched an attack on Claw Island, defeating the Lionguard stationed there and readying an attack on Lion's Arch. With the Elder Dragon poised to rip out the heart of Tyria, the Vigil, the Order of Whispers, and the Durmand Priory pooled their collective resources and formed the Pact to retake Claw Island. The combined forces of the Pact, under the leadership of the sylvari Firstborn Trahearne, managed to defeat the champion Blightghast and launch a counter-offensive into the Steamspur Mountains and eventually Orr. In a battle above the skies of Arah, the Pact airship The Glory of Tyria, incorporating engineering secrets of every race and crewed by a reunited Destiny's Edge, engaged the Elder Dragon and crippled it using the ship's MEGA-LIT cannon. As Zhaitan made its final stand, The Glory of Tyria bombarded it with special anti-Elder Dragon armed cannons, and the Elder Dragon fell defeated, crashing on the eastern edge of the City of the Gods.
Since Zhaitan's defeat, the corruption of Orr has begun to reverse, and the Risen forces have thinned but remain a threat.
- Chapter 8: Victory or Death
- Size comparisons
Size of Zhaitan (left) compared to Tequatl the Sunless (right).
- Concept art
- Zhaitan was designed by Kekai Kotaki, and modeled by Katy Hargrove. The model's design was so complex that it had to be animated in several stages.
- The name "Zhaitan" is very similar to "Shaitan," the Islamic version of Satan.
- Zhaitan is approx. 506 metres long (1660 feet) and its wingspan can reach up to 570 metres (1870 feet). (measured by original model, ripped from GW2.dat)
- Zhaitan's tail can be seen in the Durmand Priory's Special Collections's library.
- Zhaitan's body can be seen in the Ruined City of Arah Story dungeon by breaking out of the intended explorable map.