Zambalo was born to a military family. When he was eight, his mother, a lieutenant in the Popa Army, was killed during action against the Dagze. Zambalo never forgot this, and eventually joined the Army at the age of fifteen. He was promoted relatively quickly to the rank of captain. At the age of twenty, he received a vision from the previous Xian of Life naming him as her successor. This, combined with his natural skill at resource management, led to him being quickly promoted to Major.