- "The strength to stand, Aloy, is the strength to make a stand; to serve a purpose greater than yourself."
- ―Rost speaking to Aloy
Rost is a major character in Horizon Zero Dawn. He is a Nora outcast, and the guardian of the Nora huntress Aloy, herself an outcast during her childhood. Tragic circumstances led him to willingly become an outcast for the rest of his life. He raised Aloy from infancy and trained her, ultimately sacrificing himself to save her life. He is responsible for her unparalleled skills as a hunter, tracker and warrior. He is the only parent she has ever known, and the lone influential figure in her life.
Rost was a burly man, with a barrel-like chest and powerful arms and legs. His beard and hair were braided and slightly grayed with age. He wore a boar's skin on his left shoulder, and blue and red fabrics with metal and machine armor plating woven onto his right shoulder, braces, waist and boots. Specifically, this plating came from a pre-Derangement version of a Stalker. Outdoors, he wore a cloak made of black bird feathers. Like other Nora, he wore blue facepaint. He carried a bow across his back and a quiver of arrows on his right hip.
Rost was born sometime around what the Old Ones would have called the year 2990. He grew up in the Nora settlement Mother’s Vigil, now called the Forsaken Village. Like all Nora youth, he underwent the tribe’s Proving rite, and was made a Nora Brave upon successfully completing it. Sometime after, he took a mate; together they had one child, a daughter they named Alana.
Six years after Alana’s birth, a band of outlanders raided Mother’s Vigil. They killed Rost’s mate and took his daughter and several tribespeople hostage. They then proceeded to the ancient ruin known as Devil's Thirst, where they camped. Braves shadowed them, but the outlanders prevented intervention by killing a hostage if any Brave approached to within bowshot. Rost was one of the Braves who shadowed them. After two days at Devil’s Thirst, the outlanders suddenly made for the Sacred Land’s border. They still had six hostages, including Alana. The Braves continued to shadow them, ensuring they did not approach too closely. The outlanders crossed the border with their hostages. But instead of releasing the hostages, they slit their throats and left the remains just beyond the border. The Nora High Matriarch Teersa believes that they did this out of cruelty, knowing the strong Nora taboo against leaving the Sacred Land; thus they presumed themselves safe from the tribe’s vengeful pursuit.
With nothing left to lose, Rost entreated the High Matriarchs to be made a Death-Seeker. The High Matriarchs agreed, and performed the ritual on him. Now considered to be ritually dead, he left the Sacred Land in pursuit of the outlanders to kill them all, never to return. He tracked them far and wide, pursuing one far as the distant land of the Utaru, and succeeded in killing them. But the final quarry severely wounded him. He returned to the Sacred Land's border a year later. He did not cross the border, knowing that he no longer had any place in the tribe, but wanted to die as close to home as possible. A Nora hunting party chanced upon him. One of the Braves, a woman who had lost her mate and two sons to the outlanders, chose to save him. She crossed the border and dragged him back across, violating taboo.
Rost’s return put the High Matriarchs in a quandary. Though as a Death Seeker he no longer had any place in the tribe, they could not bring themselves to have him driven out. Thus, when his wounds healed, they approached him with a compromise: provided he never spoke of it, he would be allowed to live the rest of his life in the Sacred Land as an outcast. He joyfully agreed. He constructed a homestead in the hills to the north of the Nora sacred mountain, in The Embrace, out of the way of any settlements, and settled into his life of solitude. However, though the tribe did not know why he was outcast, the Braves knew who he was. Guards at the Embrace’s main gate opened the gate to let him come and go, a courtesy they would not normally give to outcasts. Furthermore, they silently greeted him with a respectful nod when he passed through.
In the year that the Old Ones would have called 3021, a mysterious infant girl was discovered in the heart of All-Mother Mountain. The High Matriarchs disagreed over what she was. Teersa thought her to be a blessing, but her fellow High Matriarchs Jezza and Lansra believed her to be a portent of doom, Lansra especially. This was because she seemingly appeared from nowhere; she therefore seemingly had no mother, and motherhood is highly sacred to the Nora. This put them at an impasse, similar to that with Rost. They ultimately decided to turn her over to Rost to raise as an outcast, and did so. Rost joyfully took her in. Devoutly following the tribe’s religious practices even though he was an outcast, he named her Aloy in a Naming Ritual blessed and witnessed only by Teersa. When Lansra arrived and angrily rebuked him for what she believed was his profaning of the ritual by performing it on an outcast, and worse, on what she believed to be a curse, he endured her wrath, his fatherly love for Aloy unaffected.
However as Aloy grew, she began to experience situations involving the tribespeople that steadily built up her resentment about how they treated her, and made her wonder about her origins. One such incident resulted in her running away in tearful frustration and falling down into an ancient ruin where she acquired her Focus. Rost tried to take it from her, considering it to be taboo, but she refused to surrender it. Rost then determined that if she could go storming off by herself, she should learn to hunt Machines and survive. He thus began to teach these skills to her. During the course of a lesson, an incident with a young Nora man named Teb resulting in Rost realizing that Aloy’s Focus was far more than the Old World trinket he had believed it to be. However, a subsequent incident involving a Nora child named Bast resulted in her finally getting fed up and demanding of Rost the identity of her mother. Rost of course could not answer, as he did not know. However, he told her how she could find out: by winning the Proving. She therefore became utterly determined to do so, and thus he began intensively training her.
Parting with Aloy
Rost trained Aloy for 12 years, up until she was 18. After administering a final test to her involving her singlehandedly hunting a Sawtooth, Rost met her outside the Nora capital Mother's Heart. There, to her great distress, he told her that they would never see each other again, as she would join the tribe as a Brave, while he would remain an outcast. He then took his leave of her.
But though Rost took leave of her, intending their parting to be a permanent farewell, he watched her from afar as she undertook the Proving the next day. Presumably he was extremely proud when she won. However, the secret Shadow Carja cult known as the Eclipse immediately attacked upon the rite’s conclusion. Rost did not intervene, presumably since Aloy competently killed the attackers and provided many of the new Braves with an opportunity to escape. Then the cult leader Helis personally attacked Aloy and almost killed her. At this, Rost valiantly came to her defense and engaged Helis. At first, he held his own. But Helis ultimately prevailed, and fatally stabbed him before briskly ordering the site razed and then departing. As the cultists set explosives, the dying Rost summoned his last reserves of strength to crawl to Aloy and push her over a cliff into the river below, before the explosives detonated and killed him. His last word to her, before pushing her over, was an exhortation: “Survive!”
Rost’s remains were buried at a grave on the grounds of his homestead.
Aside from being an outcast, Rost embodied many of the qualities of the ideal Nora: honorable, wise, faithful to Nora traditions, a skilled hunter, and dedicated to his family. The people who knew Rost prior to his casting out agree that he was a good man, regardless of his status.
Rost believed firmly in the Nora way of life. As such, he considered the Old Ones to be wicked and faithless, and shunned the Metal World. He insisted on keeping the tribe's traditions despite being an outcast, going as far to leave Aloy to ensure she would not break tribal law for his sake.
Rost preferred to teach lessons through experience, and would merely guide Aloy rather than tell her directly. While Aloy was often frustrated by his refusal to answer questions, she acknowledged that Rost taught her everything she knew about surviving.
Rost loved Aloy as if she were his daughter, ultimately giving his life to save hers.
Rost was given the task of raising the baby girl found by the High Matriarchs, in part because of his past experience as a father. Rost willingly accepted her into his home, caring for her and giving her the name Aloy. He acted as both caretaker and mentor to her, teaching her how to hunt and training her for the Proving. Although deeply devoted to her and raising her with patience and wisdom, he often maintained a serious and solemn demeanor around her, and he had the capacity to be strict with her. However, he made sure never to leave her alone in dangerous situations until he judged her to be capable of handling herself. Even so, he was constantly looking out for her, and was willing to put himself in harm's way for her.
Rost's conflicts with Aloy stemmed from his remaining commitment to Nora traditions, which Aloy struggled to understand, having only been shunned by the tribe. However, he was prepared to bend tradition (if not fully break it) on occasion for Aloy's sake. He was initially reluctant to allow Aloy to keep the Focus she found in the ancient ruins within the Embrace, though he relented after she used it to save Teb’s life. He was also insistent on maintaining the rule that forbade contact between tribe members and outcasts, while Aloy showed willingness to break this taboo. His greatest hope for Aloy is that she find her place among the Nora, hoping that she'd come to love the tribe once she was accepted into it, despite her obvious contempt for them casting her out as a baby. He also pushed Aloy to find answers to her questions herself, and he was secretive about his own past with her.
Being the only real relationship Aloy had for most of her life, Rost was the most influential and important figure to her; his teachings and training preparing her for what she would eventually face.
Rost was a devoted member of the Nora tribe, showing great respect for tradition. Even after he was made an Outcast, Rost still upheld the tribe's traditions as best as he could. Though he was still openly shunned by the tribe, some within the tribe still respected him, as he "reaped honor before disgrace." Very few were aware of his becoming a Death-Seeker and thus unaware of his reason for being an Outcast. After his death, he was Buried close to his homestead, an honor not typically provided to outcasts. War-Chief Sona knew him well enough to consider him a “good man”, and several Nora commented that Rost's memory will live on, implying that he was a well-known and respected, even after being cast out.
Wife and Alana
Long before the Red Raids, Rost lived in Mother's Vigil with his mate and a daughter Alana. Not much is known about Rost's mate, other than that she was presumably a hunter or Brave as she died fighting the outlanders who attacked the village and took hostages.
Because of his history as a father, the High Matriarchs entrusted the infant Aloy to Rost. Although Aloy accused this decision as being somewhat callous, High Matriarch Teersa believed Rost saw Aloy not as a burden, but as a gift – a second chance to raise and love a child. Due to his oath of silence, Rost never spoke of his family to Aloy, save for once when she was a baby. Before her Naming Ritual, and upon parting at the gates of Mother's Heart, he gave her Alana's necklace (though he omitted the fact that it was his daughter's the latter time) as a means to remember him by.
- Both the names Aloy and Rost may well be references to common phrases like "alloy" and "rust," seeing as metal is an important theme in the game.
- Rost also is the German and Swedish word for rust.
- At various points during the game, Aloy can return to Rost's grave and "speak to him," telling him of the various people she's met and the things she's done throughout her journeys.
- In a sad twist of irony, these one-sided conversations fulfill Aloy's promise that Rost wouldn't need to speak when Aloy came to 'visit' him.
- As of patch 1.30, Rost's facepaint can be applied. It is listed as "Deathseeker." The face paint feature must be unlocked by completing New Game+ on a certain difficulty level.
- Rost's design was added relatively late into the game. Early footage shows a man serving as Aloy's teacher, dramatically different in appearance from Rost. While this character shares Rost's face paint, his face more closely resembles that of Karst, and his attire is dramatically different.
|High Matriarchs||Jezza - Lansra - Teersa|
|Tribe Members||Aloy - Arana - Bast - Den - Dral - Dran - Enara - Ferl - Fia - Grist - Jarg - Jarm - Jun - Karst - Lut - Marea - Muns - Nakoa - Olara - Orn - Resh - Solai - Sona - Taim - Teb - Thok - Vala - Varl - Yan|
|Outcasts||Brom - Cren - Grata - Jom - Kam - Kurnst - Nora Keeper - Rost - Yun|