In Horizon Forbidden West, the events of Horizon Zero Dawn receive a lot of attention, rightfully so because of Aloy’s exploits and the Battle of the Alight. However, not all of it is positive and some past events threaten to undo the tenuous state created after Aloy’s victory against HADES.
The aptly titled “Shadow from the Past” Side Quest is one such instance of Aloy’s past coming back in an attempt to haunt her. Read below for your step-by-step guide on completing the Side Quest.
How to start “Shadow from the Past” Side Quest
To obtain this quest, you need to have reached Barren Light. Inside, you’ll see a green exclamation point and it’s…the prisoner being guarded to the top right, away from where Erend is drinking. You can talk to Erend if you want (and should), then speak to the prisoner, Conover.
Conover and the guard retell the story of Conover killing a fellow guard, a crime punishable by death. Conover doesn’t deny killing the guard, but says he did it because the guard was working with the Eclipse, the cult that wreaked havoc at the Proving all that time ago and set Aloy on her path to save the world.
However, the guard says that without solid proof, Conover will be executed and his word is not enough. Conover reveals he followed the guard to a certain spot on the map, where the guard met with another party. Conover says he heard the word “Eclipse” and then sprang into action, but the third party fled. Well, now you have a location.
Following the trail and tracking the Eclipse
Head to the marked location on your map. Hear, use your Focus to see that there are several things needing further examination. First, examine the blood on the ground, which Aloy surmises came from the killed guard.
After you examine the blood, examine the branches just up and slightly to the left. It seems like someone was in a hurry as they made their escape.
Turn to see some footprints in the ground. Examine them to reveal that it seems like they went off in the same direction. Use your Focus to scan the path and highlight it with R1 so that it constantly appears in your vision.
Follow the path and there will be a few times you have to find the track once more. You’ll pass a river, which erases the scent, for example, where you can examine a roll of discarded, bloody bandages. You’ll also come across some machines during your tracking; take them out or sneak past, but it’s always recommended to defeat them for experience and loot.
You’ll come across a defeated machine in the path, but with a bit of blood underneath. It seems like whoever killed the machine didn’t escape the encounter unharmed. Make sure to examine the blood before proceeding.
Eventually, the tracks will lead you to a cave. Enter and you’ll see a cutscene where indeed, Eclipse cultists are planning an attack. While Aloy stays hidden during the cutscene, there really is no place to hide after and don’t be surprised if you’re noticed immediately by the cultists.
The good news is that human enemies aren’t as strong or fast as machines, but they can still be a problem. They’ll seek to shoot you with arrows until they draw close, to which they’ll shift to a spear. If possible go for headshots with your bow for not only quick kills, but the most experience. Human kills also net you a lot more experience than machines, so make sure to kill all of them.
Note that there are numerous caches for you to loot here as well. After you deal with the cultists, head to the back and outside to find Rayad’s corpse. Rayad is who met with the guard that was killed by Conover and succumbed to his injuries from the fight with the machine you came across earlier. Examine his corpse to take his Eclipse mask to present as proof.
Return to Barren Light and speak to Conover. Aloy will inform him and the guard that the Eclipse were planning an attack and Conover saved a lot of lives. Aloy will present the mask to the guard, who says it’s enough to grant Conover his freedom. With that, “Shadow from the Past” is complete.
Completing this Side Quest opens up the next Side Quest in the chain, “Shadow in the West.” This will only be accessible after the main story quest “The Embassy” is completed as you need access beyond Barren Light. Make sure you complete “Shadow from the Past” to unlock “Shadow in the West.”
With that, you know how to complete “Shadow from the Past.” The most difficult part will be the battle with cultists because of the lack of hiding spots and the cramped space. However, the rewards are worth it, particularly in unlocking another quest.