- "I know my duty to them - and to you. I'm here. And wherever you go... I will follow."
- ―Rost, to Aloy on the day of her naming
Rost is a major character in Horizon Zero Dawn. He was once a member of the Nora tribe, but, like Aloy, became an outcast before the story's start. Aloy is entrusted to him by order of the tribe, and he raises her and later trains her to be a hunter and run in the Proving. He is the only parent she's ever known, and the lone influential figure in her life.
Rost is a heavily-built man with a barrel-like chest and powerful arms and legs. His beard and hair are braided and slightly grayed with age.
Like other Nora, his clothes are very reminiscent of Native American and Viking attire: leather, furs, a boar's skin on his left shoulder, and blue/red fabrics with metal and machine parts woven onto his right shoulder, braces, waist and boots. In some appearances he has a cloak made of black bird feathers. Also in Nora tradition, he has blue facepaint. He carries a bow across his back and a quiver of arrows on his right hip.
Life before Aloy
Rost was born around 2990 prior to the Red Raids and the the Derangement and grew up in Mother's Vigil, now known as the Forsaken Village. Other than this, little is known regarding his early life. As a young adult, Rost presumably competed in the Proving which he successfully passed, upon which he gained the rank of Brave and became a member of the Nora Tribe. He later married a woman, and together they had a six-year-old daughter named Alana.
One day, twelve outlanders suddenly struck without warning, killing his mate and taking Alana and several tribe members hostage. Heading for Devil's Thirst, they camped there for two days. The Nora tribe was unable to attack the outlanders, as every time a Brave came close to them, a hostage was killed. For unknown reasons, the outlanders suddenly retreated back to the border and disappeared, prompting Rost and several other Braves to track them. At the time, there were six hostages still alive, including Alana. Rather than release the hostages, the outlanders slit their throats and left their corpses just a little across the border as a mockery, knowing that the Nora would not leave the Sacred Land to either collect the bodies or pursue them.
Despite being wracked by grief, Rost still would not break the taboo of leaving the Sacred Land. Instead, he begged to be made a Death-Seeker, one who dies to go seeking, and in seeking, brings death to others. Becoming a Death-Seeker was the most terrible and secret rite of the Nora tribe; it involved dragging the spirit from one's body, therefore "dying," and releasing it into All-Mother's care, allowing one to carve a path of death and destruction without any moral inhibitions. Rost, now a Death-Seeker and no longer part of the tribe, set out in pursuit of vengeance, tracking all twelve outlanders to the ends of the Earth and killing them off one by one.
- "And then he set out in pursuit, not as an exile, but a weapon of vengeance. A barbed arrow, shot from a bow, never to return."
- ―High Matriarch Teersa
He returned a year later with grievous wounds sustained from the final outlander. Delirious and in agony, Rost collapsed at the border of the Sacred Land, intending to die as close to his homeland as possible, where a hunting party chanced upon him. By tribal law, he was supposed to be killed where he lay. However, one of the Braves broke taboo and dragged him back, as she had lost her mate and two sons to the very outlanders that Rost was chasing. It is hinted that this Brave was Odd Grata, who was outcast around the same time as Rost and to whom he implies he owes a debt of gratitude. Rost's return put the Matriarchs in a difficult position, as in becoming a Death-Seeker, he was no longer part of the tribe. By law, Rost should have been driven out. However, the Matriarchs could not bring themselves to do it, and thus proposed a compromise: make him an outcast on the condition he never told anyone that he was made an exception. Rost was overjoyed to be allowed to live in the Embrace, the land that he loved. He wholeheartedly agreed to spend the rest of his days in solitude.
- "It is one thing to hunt a beast. It is another to hunt a machine."
- ―Rost's first lesson to a Aloy as a child
One day, a mysterious baby girl was discovered within the heart of All-Mother Mountain. The Matriarchs were torn on what to do with her. While Teersa wanted to accept the child into the tribe, the other two Matriarchs, Lansra and Jezza, thought of the child as cursed since she was seemingly born out of nowhere. As much as she despised this child, even addressing her as a "thing" or "curse", Lansra could not bring herself to kill the baby, putting the council at an impasse. The child was put under the care of Rost as an outcast. He happily took her in to his home and named her Aloy.
From that day on, Rost loved Aloy as if she were his own daughter, raising her to be strong and wise, teaching her to hunt and defend herself, and even ignoring certain traditions for her sake, despite his otherwise unwavering adherence to Nora tradition and superstitions.
Preparing for the Proving
One day, Aloy came to Rost, begging to know who her mother was, or why she was outcast at birth. Although unable to tell her, he told her that if she won the Proving ceremony, she would not only become an accepted Nora Brave but be granted one wish that she could use to learn about her birth. Initially, he discouraged this but, seeing Aloy's determination, he trained her for years until she was ready. Two days before the Proving, he led her to hunt and kill a Sawtooth, to teach her an important lesson about her duty to protect the tribe as a Brave.
Before Aloy entered Mother's Heart to participate in The Proving, Rost said his last goodbyes to Aloy as he decided to stay out of her life if she were accepted back into the tribe. As a farewell gift, he gave Aloy a necklace that once belonged to his own daughter, the same one he had given her during her naming ritual.
- "This... attachment to me will only hold you back.
It's my wish that you embrace the tribe."
- ―Rost to Aloy before parting
Although Rost stated that he would stay out of Aloy's life, he secretly watched over her during The Proving until the Eclipse began their attack. Rost intervened and saved Aloy from almost being killed by Helis. He bravely attacked the formidable Eclipse warrior and fought well, almost gaining the upper hand during the fight. Sadly, for all his bravery and skill, Rost was fatally stabbed by his opponent. Using his remaining strength, Rost told Aloy to survive, pushing Aloy off the cliff before dying in an explosion set off by the cultists.
What little remained of Rost after the explosion was given a proper burial at his home. Aloy would later learn from Teersa about Rost's story of how he became an outsider, and had the option to visit his grave and share her experiences. During the Battle for the Spire, Aloy would kill Helis, avenging Rost in the process.
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 metal ruins, though he relented after she used it to save a Brave trainee'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 is given a burial close to his home, an honor not typically provided for outcasts. War-Chief Sona knew him well enough to "consider him a good man," and several Nora NPCs may reply that Rost's memory will live on, implying that he was a well-known man even after his exile.
Wife and Alana
Long before the Red Raids, Rost lived in Mother's Vigil with a unnamed woman and a daughter named 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. When the six-year-old Alana was taken hostage, Rost tracked the outlanders to the border of the Sacred Land, but failed to rescue her before she was murdered. Although incredibly distraught, Rost did not dare break taboo and cross the border to even recover Alana's body; however, he still desired revenge, and in order to leave the Sacred Land and pursue the attackers, he requested that he be made a Death-Seeker. He returned Alana's body to the Sacred Land before tracking down and killing the outlanders.
Because of his history as a father, the High Matriarchs entrusted the baby Aloy to Rost, confident he would raise her to one day be part of the tribe. 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 ceremony 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|