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Before the Vanguard and the Last City existed, Zavala was the protege of Lord Saladin. One day, Safiyah approached Lord Saladin's gates to offer her skills in exchange for shelter. Acceptance of her offer granted her residence in close proximity with Zavala, whom at first she was frustrated and angered by, but eventually grew to respect, admire and love.
During a Fallen raid, an infant child was orphaned, and Saifyah and Zavala chose to adopt him as their own son. They named him Hakim. Together, they relocate and raise him in a small village where her sister resides.
One fateful day, Zavala was targeted by a group of Vandals, believing him to owe a death debt for the slaying of their Captain. Hakim had followed his father into battle and noticed the Fallen advancing towards Zavala, and placed himself between them. Kethiks, the Yet-Proven mocked him, before fatally wounding him with his spear. Safiyah could not save him, and he died in her arms.
Unable to cope with the grief caused by the loss of their son, Safiyah and Zavala parted ways, with Zavala returning to Lord Saladin and Safiyah travelling once again. She found love after Zavala and had a daughter.
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