|A self proclaimed knight, of no renown. Wields a nail he carved from shellwood, named 'Life Ender'|
|Some rare creatures are so weak, so helpless, so inept and irritating, that hunting them gives no pleasure at all.|
While he claims to be the strongest warrior in the land, he is found trapped by weak enemies or claiming the glory of another bug's deeds. He disregards The Knight as beneath him, and accuses them of constantly getting in his way.
First Encounter, Greenpath
Found along the path leading to Greenpath. He is held in the mandibles of a Vengefly King, and the player will have the choice to either save him or leave him. If saved, he will complain that the player got in the way between him and his "prey", he will introduce himself and boast about his supposed mighty deeds.
Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?
What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.
Begone! Lest I draw my nail...
Know this, cur. I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. Cross me again, and you'll find out why they call my weapon 'Life Ender'!
Foolish beast... you dulled your mandibles by gnawing on my indestructible body. No wonder you were defeated by this weakling!
Second Encounter, Dirtmouth
He will show up in Dirtmouth, where once again he will talk to the player in an arrogant fashion.
You there! Why are you skulking about in the shadows?
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. Tremble before me!
While you were hiding here in your dingy little village, I ventured into the dark pit below us and slew a great beast. It had sharp mandibles and atrocious manners.
Yes, yes. All glory to me. But I don't have time for your adulation! I must rest and prepare for my next journey down.
That daft old fellow over there... He keeps talking absolute drivel. Seems to think the very air is deadly down in the caverns. Perhaps he should consider not breathing.
He keeps talking about dreams, too. Pfah! Dreams are for those too feeble to truly live.
Hmph. What a squalid little hamlet this is.The air is foul and the townsfolk have beady eyes. I'll be heading back down below as soon as possible
This dreary place... it reminds me of home. How ghastly...
Third Encounter, City of Tears
Zote will be found in a corridor leading back to the storerooms of the city. He will have forgotten the player and will introduce himself again.
Hoy! Watch where you're going, you soggy vagabond! I don't want you splashing me. I've had a miserable time trying to keep dry.
I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. If I decide that I'm going to stay dry, then that's what's going to happen!
Curse this wretched city! Water and monsters constantly fall from above! It's no wonder this blasted kingdom fell to ruin...
Have you seen them? The guards who still patrol this city, even after dying?
Hmph. Being overly devoted to one's duties is no virtue.
I suppose you're impressed by how tall the towers are here. Hmph. I've seen much taller towers in my travels. Much nicer, too.
Why does the air weep? Is this kingdom trying to mock me? I shed my last tear long ago...
Fourth Encounter, Deepnest
Found stuck in spider webs, presumably having been captured by the beasts of Deepnest. Once again the player has the choice to either save him or leave him, though this time leaving him will not result in his death. If saved he will once again complain about the Knight meddling in his supposed heroics.
Hoy! What are you doing, you clumsy little oaf?! Swinging your rusty little nail around in the darkness?
You almost struck me! And if you had, it would have been the end of you. Trust me!
I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. My weapon, 'Life Ender' has struck down hundreds of foes. Begone, or you'll be next!
Hmm? Are you lost in these dark tunnels? I don't care.
No, I won't lead you out. I know the way, due to my powerful memory, but I only travel alone. Begone.
So, the kingdom was hiding this dark nest full of deadly predators. Well, now the deadliest predator of all is here...
...Zote the Mighty!
Fifth Encounter, Colosseum of Fools
If the player saved him both times, he will be captured and found in the resting area of the Colosseum of Fools, where he will brag about his skills and how his capture was part of his plan. He then becomes the final boss of the first trial. As a boss, he deals no damage due to his nail being made of shellwood (a material normally meant for shields), the player simply has to whack him until the fight is over. He is quite inept in combat and regularly messes up his jumps. Beating him will reward the player with the 'Rivalry' achievement.
Hmm? What do you want, cur? Have you come to laugh at me as well?
Fools! Did you never consider that being trapped in this cage was precisely what I intended?!
Yes, by all means, release me into your arena!
I am Zote the Mighty! And as soon as I draw my nail, 'Life Ender', your laughter will turn into terror!
I have been fighting my whole life. I've slain hundreds, nay thousands, of foes.
And these fools think to face me in combat? Madness! It seems they've been gripped by a powerful desire to be destroyed.
Very well then. Zote the Mighty will grant them their desire...
Leave me be, you lowly worm! I must rest before my great battle. Pray we do not meet in the arena...
Dream Nailed while in cage
How miserable, to be stuck here instead of continuing my quest...
I came to this kingdom to fulfill a promise... and that is what I will do...
Dream Nailed in battle
Another fool to be cut down by Life Ender...
I'll kill a thousand more... Will that be enough, father?
Fear not, cur... Your death will be swift
Dream Nailed after being defeated in battle
Go on, cur! Scurry away! Lest I humiliate you further!
Final Encounter, Dirtmouth
After defeat he will return to Dirtmouth with the helmet of a Shielded Fool as a supposed "trophy" and claims that he is the new champion, while slandering the player's reputation. Bretta falls for him, her drawings and dolls of the player replaced by a single portrait of Zote. Here he will recite "The Fifty Seven Precepts Of Zote".
... but that's not the only danger I had to overcome in my quest for glory! You've noticed this trophy, haven't you? A keepsake from my final, triumphant battle deep in the pit below us.
Yes, 'Life Ender' claimed another victim, and the crowd erupted into ecstatic cheering. Cheering that was both loud and utterly sincere.
To what do I owe my long string of triumphs and victories, you ask? As I said earlier, the key is in my personal philosophy, the 'Fifty-Seven Precepts of Zote'. Particularly relevant here is the first precept: "Always Win Your Battles". As for the other fifty-six precepts? Well...
I came to this kingdom to fulfill a promise... and now I have succeeded!
That promise I made so long ago... A promise to myself...
A promise of glory! Glory for I, Zote the Mighty! I never doubted myself, never faltered, and now I have achieved everything I desired.
Precept One: 'Always Win Your Battles'.
Losing a battle earns you nothing and teaches you nothing. Win your battles, or don't engage in them at all!
Precept Two: 'Never Let Them Laugh at You'.
Fools laugh at everything, even at their superiors. But beware, laughter isn't harmless! Laughter spreads like a disease, and soon everyone is laughing at you.You need to strike at the source of this perverse merriment quickly to stop it from spreading.
Precept Three: 'Always Be Rested'.
Fighting and adventuring take their toll on your body. When you rest, your body strengthens and repairs itself. The longer you rest, the stronger you become.
Precept Four: 'Forget Your Past'.
The past is painful, and thinking about your past can only bring you misery. Think about something else instead, such as the future, or some food.
Precept Five: 'Strength Beats Strength'.
Is your opponent strong? No matter! Simply overcome their strength with even more strength, and they'll soon be defeated.
Precept Six: 'Choose Your Own Fate'.
Our elders teach that our fate is chosen for us before we are even born. I disagree.
Precept Seven: 'Mourn Not the Dead'.
When we die, do things get better for us or worse? There's no way to tell, so we shouldn't bother mourning. Or celebrating for that matter.
Precept Eight: 'Travel Alone'.
You can rely on nobody, and nobody will always be loyal. Therefore, nobody should be your constant companion.
Precept Nine: 'Keep Your Home Tidy'.
Your home is where you keep your most prized possession - yourself. Therefore, you should make an effort to keep it nice and clean.
Precept Ten: 'Keep Your Weapon Sharp'.
I make sure that my weapon, 'Life Ender', is kept well-sharpened at all times. This makes it much easier to cut things.
Precept Eleven: 'Mothers Will Always Betray You'.
This precept explains itself.
Precept Twelve: 'Keep Your Cloak Dry'.
If your cloak gets wet, dry it as soon as you can. Wearing wet cloaks is unpleasant, and can lead to illness.
Precept Thirteen: 'Never Be Afraid'.
Fear can only hold you back. Facing your fears can be a tremendous effort. Therefore, you should just not be afraid in the first place.
Precept Fourteen: 'Respect Your Superiors'.
If someone is your superior in strength or intellect or both, you need to show them your respect. Don't ignore them or laugh at them.
Precept Fifteen: 'One Foe, One Blow'.
You should only use a single blow to defeat an enemy. Any more is a waste. Also, by counting your blows as you fight, you'll know how many foes you've defeated.
Precept Sixteen: 'Don't Hesitate'.
Once you've made a decision, carry it out and don't look back. You'll achieve much more this way.
Precept Seventeen: 'Believe In Your Strength'.
Others may doubt you, but there's someone you can always trust. Yourself. Make sure to believe in your own strength, and you will never falter.
Precept Eighteen: 'Seek Truth in the Darkness'.
This precept also explains itself.
Precept Nineteen: 'If You Try, Succeed'.
If you're going to attempt something, make sure you achieve it. If you do not succeed, then you have actually failed! Avoid this at all costs.
Precept Twenty: 'Speak Only the Truth'.
When speaking to someone, it is courteous and also efficient to speak truthfully. Beware though that speaking truthfully may make you enemies. This is something you'll have to bear.
Precept Twenty-One: 'Be Aware of Your Surroundings'.
Don't just walk along staring at the ground! You need to look up every so often, to make sure nothing takes you by surprise.
Precept Twenty-Two: 'Abandon the Nest'.
As soon as I could, I left my birthplace and made my way out into the world. Do not linger in the nest. There is nothing for you there.
Precept Twenty-Three: 'Identify the Foe's Weak Point'.
Every foe you encounter has a weak point, such as a crack in their shell or being asleep. You must constantly be alert and scrutinising your enemy to detect their weakness!
Precept Twenty-Four: 'Strike the Foe's Weak Point'.
Once you have identified your foe's weak point as per the previous precept, strike it. This will instantly destroy them.
Precept Twenty-Five: 'Protect Your Own Weak Point'. > Be aware that your foe will try to identify your weak point, so you must protect it. The best protection? Never having a weak point in the first place.
Precept Twenty-Six: 'Don't Trust Your Reflection'.
When peering at certain shining surfaces, you may see a copy of your own face. The face will mimic your movements and seems similar to your own, but I don't think it can be trusted.
Precept Twenty-Seven: 'Eat As Much As You Can'.
When having a meal, eat as much as you possibly can. This gives you extra energy, and means you can eat less frequently.
Precept Twenty-Eight: 'Don't Peer Into the Darkness'.
If you peer into the darkness and can't see anything for too long, your mind will start to linger over old memories. Memories are to be avoided, as per Precept Four.
Precept Twenty-Nine: 'Develop Your Sense of Direction'.
It's easy to get lost when travelling through winding, twisting caverns. Having a good sense of direction is like having a magical map inside of your head. Very useful.
Precept Thirty: 'Never Accept a Promise'. Spurn the promises of others, as they are always broken. Promises of love or betrothal are to be avoided especially.
Precept Thirty-One: 'Disease Lives Inside of Dirt.
You'll get sick if you spend too much time in filthy places. If you are staying in someone else's home, demand the highest level of cleanliness from your host.
Precept Thirty-Two: 'Names Have Power'.
Names have power, and so to name something is to grant it power. I myself named my nail 'Life Ender'. Do not steal the name I came up with! Invent your own!
Precept Thirty-Three: 'Show the Enemy No Respect'.
Being gallant to your enemies is no virtue! If someone opposes you, they don't deserve respect or kindness or mercy.
Precept Thirty-Four: 'Don't Eat Immediately Before Sleeping'.
This can cause restlessness and indigestion. It's just common sense.
Precept Thirty-Five: 'Up is Up, Down is Down'.
If you fall over in the darkness, it can be easy to lose your bearing and forget which way is up. Keep this precept in mind!
Precept Thirty-Six: 'Eggshells are brittle'.
Once again, this precept explains itself.
Precept Thirty-Seven: 'Borrow, But Do Not Lend'.
If you lend and are repaid, you gain nothing. If you borrow but do not repay, you gain everything.
Precept Thirty-Eight: 'Beware the Mysterious Force'.
A mysterious force bears down on us from above, pushing us downwards. If you spend too long in the air, the force will crush you against the ground and destroy you. Beware!
Precept Thirty-Nine: 'Eat Quickly and Drink Slowly'.
Your body is a delicate thing and you must fuel it with great deliberation. Food must go in as fast as possible, but fluids at a slower rate.
Precept Forty: 'Obey No Law But Your Own'.
Laws written by others may inconvenience you or be a burden. Let your own desires be the only law.
Precept Forty-One: 'Learn to Detect Lies'.
When others speak, they usually lie. Scrutinise and question them relentlessly until they reveal their deceit.
Precept Forty-Two: 'Spend Geo When You Have It'.
Some will cling onto their Geo, even taking it into the dirt with them when they die. It is better to spend it when you can, so you can enjoy various things in life.
Precept Forty-Three: 'Never Forgive'.
If someone asks forgiveness of you, for instance a brother of yours, always deny it. That brother, or whoever it is, doesn't deserve such a thing.
Precept Forty-Four: 'You Can Not Breathe Water'.
Water is refreshing, but if you try to breathe it you are in for a nasty shock.
Precept Forty-Five: 'One Thing Is Not Another'.
This one should be obvious, but I've had others try to argue that one thing, which is clearly what it is and not something else, is actually some other thing, which it isn't. Stay on your guard!
Precept Forty-Six: 'The World is Smaller Than You Think'.
When young, you tend to think that the world is vast, huge, gigantic. It's only natural. Unfortunately, it's actually quite a lot smaller than that. I can say this, now having travelled everywhere in the land.
Precept Forty-Seven: 'Make Your Own Weapon'.
Precept Forty-Eight: 'Be Careful With Fire'.
Fire is a type of hot spirit that dances about recklessly. It can warm you and provide light, but it will also singe your shell if it gets too close.
Precept Forty-Nine: 'Statues are Meaningless'. > Do not honour them! No one has ever made a statue of you or I, so why should we pay them any attention?
Precept Fifty: 'Don't Linger on Mysteries'.
Some things in this world appear to us as puzzles. Or enigmas. If the meaning behind something is not immediately evident though, don't waste any time thinking about it. Just move on.
Precept Fifty-One: 'Nothing is Harmless'.
Given the chance, everything in this world will hurt you. Friends, foes, monsters, uneven paths. Be suspicious of them all.
Precept Fifty-Two: 'Beware the Jealousy of Fathers'.
Fathers believe that because they created us we must serve them and never exceed their capabilities. If you wish to forge your own path, you must vanquish your father. Or simply abandon him.
Precept Fifty-Three: 'Do Not Steal the Desires of Others'.
Every creature keeps their desires locked up inside of themselves. If you catch a glimpse of another's desires, resist the urge to claim them as your own. It will not lead you to happiness.
Precept Fifty-Four: 'If You Lock Something Away, Keep the Key'.
Nothing should be locked away for ever, so hold onto your keys. You will eventually return and unlock everything you hid away.
Precept Fifty-Five: 'Bow to No-one'.
There are those in this world who would impose their will on others. They claim ownership over your food, your land, your body, and even your thoughts!They have done nothing to earn these things. Never bow to them, and make sure to disobey their commands.
Precept Fifty-Six: 'Do Not Dream'.
Dreams are dangerous things. Strange ideas, not your own, can worm their way into your mind. But if you resist those ideas, sickness will wrack your body! Best not to dream at all, like me.
Precept Fifty-Seven: 'Obey All Precepts'.
Most importantly, you must commit all of these precepts to memory and obey them all unfailingly. Including this one! Hmm. Have you truly listened to everything I've said? Let's start again and repeat the 'Fifty-Seven Precepts of Zote'.
- Zote was the first character revealed in a Kickstarter update:
- "Times are hard for Dirtmouth, the small town built above the ruined underground kingdom of Hallownest. The townsfolk are slowly disappearing; savage creatures prowl beneath the surface and a strange poison in the earth refuses to let any vegetation grow. But lo! From the mists a proud figure emerges, ready to defeat the formless evil that plagues the populace. With his sword held aloft and a fiery determination to protect the helpless, this giant of bugkind strides confidently into the light and..."
- "Oh, it's Zote. False alarm everybody."
- "Zote, self-proclaimed "Knight of the People", recently turned up in Dirtmouth and started demanding free lodgings, food and attention from the townsfolk. Claiming to be a rival of the Hollow Knight and his superior in every way, Zote has supposedly come to Dirtmouth to defeat the evil creatures lurking in the depths and find the source of the poison."
- "When he isn't having one of his frequent rest stops in town, Zote will be exploring the depths of Hallownest with his unique, home-made nail in hand. He favours caution and patience above all else, so he doesn't always make the same kind of progress as the Hollow Knight. Nor does he have the same successes due to what he calls his "atrocious, appallingly unfair bad luck"."
- "If you see him during your travels, Zote will be more than happy to stop and chat, pointing out everything you've been doing wrong during your adventure so you can learn from his example."
- If the player fails to save Zote in Greenpath, after some time, revisiting the location will reveal Zote's cracked shell along with his Nail and cloak. Hitting the shell rewards the player with the 'Neglect' achievement for letting him die. Once Zote is in Deepnest, he cannot die.
- Hitting Zote with the Dream Nail throughout the game implies that he is trying to fulfill some nebulous "promise". However, hitting him with the Dream Nail when he's talking to Bretta will reveal that all along it was just an arrogant promise of glory to himself, even though his Dream Nail dialogue during the Colosseum fight reveals "Are you proud of me now father?" and "I'll kill a thousand more... Will that be enough, father?"
- Several of the Fifty Seven Precepts of Zote corroborate this, such as "Mothers Will Always Betray You" and "Beware the Jealousy of Fathers". It is unclear, however, whether Zote's parents' neglect is what caused his personality to twist, or whether he is simply exaggerating the mistakes of his parents in the same way as he exaggerates his deeds.
- Zote named his Nail "Life Ender" because names supposedly have power. Unfortunately, because it is made of shellwood, a material used to make shields, it is worthless.
- It is highly unlikely that Zote is or was a Vessel, as Vessels were specifically designed to have no personality and no ability to speak (while Zote has an excess of both). He seems to be purely a comedic foil, having a similar but more haphazard outfit and a presence and mindset completely opposite of the Knight's.
- One of the Kickstarter goals was for Zote to get his own DLC, but the goal was not reached. However, the Colosseum of Fools was also a goal that went unreached and was still included in the game. This means that Zote could potentially get his own DLC regardless of the stretch goal being met.