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Characters / Final Fantasy XIV Zenos yae Galvus

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Voiced by: Kosuke Toriumi (JP), Luke Allen Gale (EN), Saverio Maligno (FR), René Dawn-Claude (DE)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zenosarmor.jpg
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zenos.jpg
Race: Garlean
Discipline: Samurai, Reaper
"Man should fight for the joy of it. To live, to eat, to breed— lesser beasts snap and howl at one another for this. Only man has the wisdom and the clarity to embrace violence for its own sake."

Son of Emperor Varis, Legatus of the XIIth Legion and Viceroy of the occupied Ala Mhigo in the wake of Gaius van Baelsar's death. A cruel tyrant and a powerful warrior, Zenos cares little for politics or ruling; his only desire is to find someone that matches him in power, and fight them to the death.

Due to his extensive role in the story, expect unmarked spoilers.


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  • 0% Approval Rating: Seems to deliberately cultivate this with his wanton cruelty. His subjects loathe him, his underlings fear him, and his own family despises him. When you return to Garlemald, Maxima notes that he has been given the name "viator", a disgraced title reserved for outcasts and enemies of the empire, making the hate and disdain official.
  • Above Good and Evil: His belief in this regard is almost textbook Nietzsche, believing life to be meainingless with no inherent morality, and that most people who espouse higher morals and values are just looking to justify selfish wants under a veil of rightouesness.
  • Admiring the Abomination: He expresses open and enthusiastic admiration of Shinryu, particularly its unbridled rage and raw destructive power, right before fusing with the Primal.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Zenos was trained to wield arming swords and for the most part he continues to wield both gunblades and katanas in the same manner, only going into proper samurai posture for special attacks. Justified in that until the Warrior of Light, the vast majority of his opponents are so below his level they don't necessite him having to engage his proper skills, let alone special attacks.
  • And Then What?:
    • Deconstructed; Zenos is an extremely powerful, supremely intelligent prodigy who's been granted stewardship of two powerful Garlean provinces. The local resistances make little to no effort to fight back, and even if they try they are vastly overwhelmed by the empire's might. Combined with his sociopathic Blood Knight tendencies which make him find little enjoyment in anything but fighting, and Zenos is utterly bored with his lot, despite his vast power and wealth. So what does he do? Purposely restart a war with both Ala Mihgo and Doma in hopes it'll provide him a modicum of entertainment. Indeed, he finds it from the Warrior of Light, and after having a battle he believes can match no other, he kills himself.
    • In Stormblood, it's shown that his death doesn't take, and he returns later hoping to have an even 'more' epic battle with the Warrior of Light, this time while aiding an Ascian who's bent on the world's destruction. Zenos is willing to let him do so as long as it lures the Warrior of Light into battle; after all, there's no need to worry about what happens next if there's no "next" to worry about. Alisaie calls him out on this later, pointing out that he can't even have his desired duel if he just allows the end of the world to happen, since even if he doesn't care about the outcome, others do, and won't give him the time of day otherwise.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The concept of nihilism is meaningless to him, since he has long since accepted it. He believes that it is up the individual to discover and pursue their own meaning, everything else be damned. He says as much in the showdown at the Royal Menagerie and reiterates this point to Jullus during Endwalker. His words notably strike a chord with the Warrior of Light in the latter instance. Fittingly, this is what real nihilism is actually about — the belief that life has no inherent meaning, so a person must give it their own meaning. In any case, this puts Zenos up against the Straw Nihilist antagonists who become Omnicidal Maniacs for the sheer sake of it, which Zenos also finds incredibly dull.
  • Arch-Enemy: He's this to the Warrior of Light; not only is he the biggest and primary threat in Stormblood, he's also the first villain in the game to hand the Warrior of Light a proper Hopeless Boss Fight; his interest in the Warrior of Light also makes him much more personally involved with them, in contrast to other villains who saw the player character as a mere Spanner in the Works. When he comes back from the dead in the post-Stormblood quests, he spends all his time to one-up himself and fight the Warrior of Light in an even grander arena, cementing his role as the nemesis even after his expansion of origin. To add to this, he outright becomes a dark reflection of the Warrior of Light.
  • Arc Villain: Of Stormblood. He makes a return as a major adversary in Endwalker as well.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Endwalker, he gives one to Jullus to counter the latter's angry rant at him, asking if Jullus would truly feel any better about the horrors Zenos visited on the Garlean capital and people if they had turned out to be for some 'good' end. He in turn receives one from Alisaie so piercing that it ends up driving him into an Enemy Mine with the Warrior of Light against Meteion: spelling out for him that if all he continues to do is selfishly pursue his fight with the Warrior of Light, he'll end up utterly alone, and he won't even get what he wants.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He is, despite his bloodthirsty disposition, an aggressively intellectual fighter. When first learning to fight, his tutor (a captured swordmaster secretly plotting to assassinate Varis) would regularly beat on him with an unfamiliar sword style. When studying from books came up short, he took to carefully breaking the style down, day-by-day, beating-by-beating. Within a month of analysis and self-practice, he had mastered the style -The Unyielding Blade- to the point of completely surpassing his tutor.
  • Ax-Crazy: Played with. Zenos is a man that will slaughter every single person in his path without flinching, and then spare his enemies to make them fear and despair — or rise up again if they have the spirit to try again. To him, the world brings him no pleasure but his hunt for a worthy foe, so his murders don't even register as a mental insanity, just being The Sociopath. When Zenos fights the Warrior of Light once they've gained his attention, however, he starts Chewing the Scenery and showing his true colors; namely, that the man is batshit crazy. This also includes him killing an extensive number of his own people and even his father to get his way, solely to let the world burn as long as he gets his rematch. To give an idea of how badly he's considered this, Varis vehemently declares he'd never let Zenos have the throne to Elidibus shortly after Zenos' death because of how much of a monster he is.
  • Bad Boss: He inspires fear in his underlings, and is willing to kill them for things which aren’t even their fault. He kills Grynewaht’s commanding officer after the magitek weapons Grynewaht was field-testing get destroyed by the Warrior of Light because apparently delegating tasks to a subordinate is the act of a weakling coward, and later kills the centurion who brought him news of the Doman revolt, despite him having a hand in purposefully intigating it. He also carelessly slaughters his own troops when unleashing his power during his second showdown with the Warrior of Light.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed. In the end, Zenos is the only antagonist of Final Fantasy XIV to actually get what he wants; it's just that what he wants is a fight with the Warrior of Light instead of causing The End of the World as We Know It. After stopping the Final Days, he gets his promised rematch with the Warrior of Light, one-on-one. The fact that Zenos loses this fight ultimately doesn't matter to him; what matters to him is that he got exactly what he wanted, fulfilled his Blood Knight rush, and died in contentment.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Through the act of slaying his father and destroying the Garlean Empire's stores of Black Rose he's tied the loose ends on the Eorzean side of Emet-Selch's Rejoining plans, all while the Warrior of Light is busy dispersing the Flood of Light and slaying Emet-Selch on the First. Zenos may be doing it out of a truly demented desire to not have his "hunt" ruined but in a roundabout way he and the Warrior of Light both saved the Source from Emet-Selch.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: He studied the reports that Gaius had written in regards to the Warrior of Light's Echo ability and was very intrigued by what he read. This inspired him to have his scientists create an artificial Echo for the Garleans to wield, which in turn granted him insurmountable strength and the ability to merge with a primal to control it from within.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone besides him killing the Warrior of Light. In 5.0, he assassinates his own father to prevent the use of Black Rose for the sole reason that it would've killed the Warrior of Light. In 5.4, he threatens to kill Fandaniel after the Ascian informs him that his meeting Warrior of Light left them a bit burnt. Notably, it's the first time Zenos displays anything other than sheer disinterest toward Fandaniel.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When defeated at the end of Stormblood, Zenos is quite content with having found a worthy foe and the exhilaration that comes with it. Thus he regards the Warrior of Light as a friend and bids them farewell, brings his own katana to his throat, and commits suicide before Lyse can stop him. A potentially souring note to the freeing of Ala Mhigo because in the end not only did he get what he wanted, but by killing himself before Lyse could get to him, he robbed the Ala Mhigans of doling out justice.
  • Big Bad: Compared to A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, which respectively had Gaius and Lahabrea, followed by Nidhogg and Thordan, competing as Big Bads, Zenos stands out as the sole main villain of Stormblood.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Ultimately, his threat in Endwalker amounts to very little in the grand scheme of things: His plan to join with Zodiark is pulled out from under him when Fandaniel decides to do it himself, to ensure Zodiark's destruction, and in the aftermath of such and the onset of the Final Days he is quickly eclipsed in threat and priority to the Warrior of Light and the Scions, who are content to just leave him alone while dealing with the coming apocalypse. Ironically, this leads to Zenos entering an Enemy Mine situation with the Warrior of Light in the final battle, and he ends up being the only villain to actually get what he wants at the end.
  • Bishounen: Despite the fact that his helmet gives his armored appearance that of an older man with a sinister visage, under the mask is a smooth-faced young man who doesn't look any older than someone in their mid-20s. And unlike his dad or dear old great-granddad, his hair hasn't yet gone white and is still obviously blond.
  • Bishōnen Line: At the end of Endwalker, Zenos appears in the form of Shinryu again, to assist the Warrior of Light, and reverts to his human form at the end of that battle. In the subsequent duel with the Warrior of Light, he is able to use all the powers of Shinryu, while maintaining his human form. In some cases, he’s able to use the attacks even more easily. Ar that point, he is, essentially, Shinryu in a human shape.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Zenos finds pleasure when locked in combat with a foe that can actually challenge him — which is becoming more rare as time passes, and helps kick off the plot of Stormblood. Unlike most examples, Zenos does not find joy in defeating such opponents but the challenge of overcoming an obstacle. Not only is he trying to incite rebellion in Ala Mhigo and Doma just so he can have someone to fight again, he begins to delight in the fact that the Warrior of Light can actually stand up to him, which hasn't happened in years. Lucia sums it up best near the end of the story.
      Lucia: Zenos has never cared a whit for politics. He lives for war and war alone. Kill him, or he will kill you.
    • His love of the hunt, for the Warrior of Light specifically, is so great that he assassinates his own father, as he doesn't want the WoL being killed by "petty wars and cowardly weapons". Zenos has no plans to take over rule of Garlemald after killing his father, as his sole intent is to return to his hunt. He plans on making good use of the knowledge that the two Gods of the world are nothing more than primals by having himself and the Warrior of Light devour their powers so that they could have the greatest battle in the fabric of existence.
    • Endwalker sees this trope deconstructed as, unlike the events of Stormblood, the events of the expansion does not go Zenos's way and sees him constantly denied the rematch he desires. Upon his failures, Zenos begins to introspect on the futility of selfishly trying to provoke a true hero into a fight by threatening the lives of their loved ones and innocents when said hero is more concerned with helping them directly rather than indulge in a one-on-one. Zenos contemplates on what exactly he sought in the Warrior of Light in their first climactic battle. However, it is reconstructed as Zenos instead decides to help the Warrior to clear the stage of any "distractions" so that they can enjoy the battle for its own sake. But Zenos's final words indicate a smidge of regret that he could only find satisfaction in a battle to the death and wishes that things could have been otherwise.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Not a single drop of blood comes from Zenos after slicing his own throat open.
  • Bookends: The player can give him one. Before their final battle in Stormblood, Zenos lays out his nature and asks the Warrior of Light, whom he considers a kindred spirit, to accept him. If you do, he won't consider your answer sincere. But at the end of Endwalker, if the player admits that they, too, seek out ever-mightier battles for their own sake, Zenos will find his acceptance at long last.
  • Body Surf: After his death, his Resonant soul possessed the body of an elezen Resistance member. He would go on to possess a Garlean Centurion so he could safely return to Garlemald, where he eventually reclaimed his original body from Elidibus.
  • Broken Ace: Zenos was bred to the Garlean Empire's ultimate killing machine and is the single strongest soldier the empire has to offer. Not only that, Zenos was born with a genius-level intellect that allowed him to quickly master anything he put his mind to. Alongside being born as a member of the royal family and eventually becoming Crown Prince, Zenos was born on top of the world and had nothing to aspire to, nothing to work towards. The only time he truly felt challenged was when overcoming the attempt on his life by his sword tutor, an incident that affected Zenos so greatly that he seeks to recreate the rush he experiences by finding more and more deadly opponents.
  • The Caligula: Without question THE most depraved member of the Garlean royal line seen by far, showing sadism and bloodthirstiness outclassing all the rest.
  • Came Back Strong: After his "death" and possessing a weaker body, Zenos's strength only continues to grow as he starts mastering his Resonant powers. By the time he arrives at the Imperial palace, he can enter bodies at will and has becomes so powerful that Elidibus opts to flee and abandon Zenos's body rather than face him. Once reunited with his original flesh, he displays the power to cast magical force fields, the standard Resonant precognition, along with the Ascians' signature teleportation. He casually swats around Gaius and Estinien and remarks on how boring they are to fight.
  • Character Development:
    • Played with. He is what he is and makes no bones about it. Over the course of Endwalker his desire for a rematch with the Warrior of Light never falters, but he recognizes that they have more pressing problems than him, and his desire for their long-awaited rematch isn't going to happen as long as his "friend" is busy saving the world. When a confrontation with Alisaie makes him realize he may never get his much-desired battle with the Warrior of Light if he stays his course of wanton destruction, he strikes a bargain with Krile and helps the Scions save the day so he can get his rematch once there is nothing to "distract" you. And when Zenos does issue his final challenge, he says he will have accept it if you chose to walk away. While it's a stretch to say this change of mindset shows he's learned sympathy or empathy, he does seem to have learned genuine respect, which is probably as close as Zenos can come — recognizing what motivates others and accepting their decisions, and that it can be advantageous to work with them for mutual benefit if their goals do not conflict.
    • In addition, he begins Endwalker trying to possess Zodiark as a creature of unfathomable power as a means of instilling true despair in the Warrior and get them to fight him with everything they have. But when that plan falls through, Zenos is left watching them face a threat that would break an ordinary person a hundred times over while considering him beneath their notice. By the time he arrives in the finale as Shinryu, he's confused that the Warrior hasn't already defeated the Endsinger, a creature of pure despair, as he'd realized that the Warrior has triumphed over such a "banal" emotion time and time again.
    • In Stormblood, Zenos is convinced that the Warrior of Light is merely using their heroics as pretense to find stronger and stronger foes to pit themselves against. He's completely incapable of understanding that the Warrior has people and places they love and want to protect. Come Endwalker, he finally recognizes that the Warrior can only give their all when they're fighting for a cause they believe in, and that their heroic persona and Blood Knight tendencies are both facets of the Warrior's "true" face. When he issues his final challenge to them, Zenos asks the Warrior of Light to fight him not as a hero whose duty is to defend the star from people like him, but as an adventurer who can fight for no reason other than the thrill of it. Should the Warrior agree with this interpretation of their character, Zenos is positively delighted, happy that the Warrior has given him "acceptance at long last".
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: He was able to overpower the Warrior of Light with nothing but raw strength and his magitek katanas. Given the impressive victories the Warrior of Light already had in his belt, Zenos' strength is unnatural, even with an enhanced body. It is implied this may be due to his Ascian ancestry through his great-grandfather Solus.
  • Child Prodigy: He regularly surprised his tutors throughout childhood, easily overtaking them in whatever subjects they were made to teach him.
  • Coat Cape: He’s taken to wearing a white coat over his armor like a cape by Patch 5.2.
  • Collector of the Strange: Since his conquest of Doma, Zenos came to admire katanas and collects them as a hobby. Imperials often gift Zenos with rare and powerful katanas to enter his good graces. Yotsuyu offers him his most powerful sword, Ame-no-Habakiri, as a way to appease him after losing control of the Ruby Sea.
  • Composite Character: His design is effectively an amalgamation of the two most common types of main villains in Final Fantasy games: A tall, imposing Tin Tyrant that is also a long haired Bishounen.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The developers have described him as the opposite of Gaius in that he is someone who will earn no sympathy from the audience due to his ruthlessness and cruelty. Even his own father thinks of him as a monster.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • After the end of Stormblood all the way up to the Shadowbringers patch quests, he trades in his armor for lighter clothes and a white-and-gold Coat Cape.
    • Near the end of the Shadowbringers patch quests and in Endwalker his outfit changes again to a Red and Black and Evil All Over long robe that coincides him becoming a Reaper.
  • Coughing Up Blood: After Shinryu's destruction, Zenos crashes into the ground. As he tries to stand, he coughs up a mouthful of blood from the toll the fight and fall had on him.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: He artificially copies the godly blessing of the Warrior of Light and takes it a step further to subjugate Shinryu, the strongest primal seen so far. Surprisingly enough, he gains perfect control over the monstrosity. This spurs Zenos to take his chances with Zodiark himself, one of the ultimate primals along with Hydaelyn.
  • Deader than Dead: His physical body dies again after his duel with the Warrior of Light in Endwalker, and even if his soul were still capable of possessing another body to continue on, he died at the literal edge of the universe, all alone. His story has come to its end. Word of God even confirms it for those who weren't totally convinced.
  • Deal with the Devil Subverted. The Reaper is a Job made when someone enters a pact with a voidsent, gaining power in exchange for feeding the voidsent the aether of one's slain victims. In 6.2, it's revealed that Zenos and Fandaniel enslaved a voidsent for Zenos to draw power from, offering no transaction.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Fandaniel, when the latter admits to singeing the Warrior Of Light.
  • Demonic Possession: After his death and apparent return to the Empire, the Scions theorize that Zenos's corpse has been possessed by an Ascian to further their agenda. It's shown later on that Zenos himself pulled this on a unlucky resistance member while his own corpse is being used by Elidibus.
  • Discard and Draw: At the end of 5.4 after spending the whole cutscene examining it, he casually breaks Ame-no-Habakiri, stating that he needs to get a new weapon for his rematch against the Warrior of Light. He notably has trouble finding a new weapon to his liking but decides on one upon Fandaniel's urging which turns out to be a Sinister Scythe.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: The end of the MSQ in 5.2 shows he has a recurring dream of himself in a Coat Cape walking through the Final Days of Amaurot past the Ancients running for their lives. He isn't sure why he has them or what they mean, but it interests him enough to remember it in the following patch.
  • Driven to Suicide: After defeating him in Stormblood, he says "farewell, my first friend... my enemy" to the Warrior of Light, and slits his own throat with his katana. It's less the fact that he lost, and more the fact that Zenos feels like nothing can top that. Come the end of Shadowbringers, he gets better, and resumes the hunt for the Warrior in Endwalker out of the hedonistic desire for an ultimate clash. So while Zenos does commit suicide, it doesn't take.
  • Duel Boss: The final fight of Endwalker is a one-on-one battle with him.
  • Dull Surprise: Or rather, almost no surprise as nothing ever seems to faze Zenos. Death and unexpected resurrection is met with bemused annoyance and the advent of the Final Days elicits nothing from him but mild disappointment that the blasphemies are of poor sport to him. The only time Zenos is truly taken off-guard is when Fandaniel beats him to the punch of possessing Zodiark, and even then, it is merely a confused squint and nothing more.
  • Elemental Weapon: He wields The Storm, a lightning-enchanted katana as well as The Swell, a wind-enchanted katana.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Zenos is a very powerful swordsman who was able to crush the Doman rebellion unarmed; after becoming a Resonant, he freely wields magic through enchanted katanas. By 5.1, he has mastered his Echo abilities and is called by Krile as "an Ascian in all but name", capable of body surfing and teleportation.
  • Enemy Mine: Strikes a bargain with Krile at the climax of Endwalker: in return for aiding the Scions in their hour of need, he's permitted to consume the last of the Mothercrystal's aether and once more assume Shinryu's form. He makes a timely Villainous Rescue and bears the Warrior of Light on his draconic hide as they battle the Endsinger together.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: A rare case of this not being a positive trait. Zenos' chief lieutenants in Ala Mhigo and Doma are Fordola and Yotsuyu, two native women, in sharp contrast to the Garleans' typical Fantastic Racism. For Zenos, however, this is merely an extension of how little he cares about anything beyond bloodshed, including things like race or gender. And the reason he chose those two women as his minions is he thought their murderous hatred for their respective countrymen might stir up some conflict he can amuse himself with.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Introduced doing a full-blown Slouch of Villainy on the throne of Ala Mhigo's palace. When a sergeant comes in to report the Alliance taking Baelsar's Wall and Shinryu and Omega's disappearances after their combat and the damage the latter caused, he suggests diverting some of his resources to help repairs. Zenos's response is to do absolutely nothing— not move, not speak— and this still leaves the sergeant so terrified that he apologizes for offending him and all but sprints out of the throne room. Cue Zenos's face under his helmet curling into a smirk, and commenting that the days to come are going to be very interesting.
    • His first proper scene in Stormblood establishes why his subordinates are so terrified of him. Upon being informed that the unit tasked with field-testing prototype magitek weapons was wiped out by an Eorzean ambush and that Grynewaht was the only survivor, he declares that the XIIth legion is no place for cowards or the weak… before cutting down Grynewaht’s commanding officer for the “cowardice” of deferring such an important task to a subordinate. He then expounds his bloodthirsty philosophy, likening himself to a hunter and the Ala Mhigans to his prey.
    • The first time the Warrior of Light encounters Zenos, Diabolos’s theme starts playing instead of the normal Imperial boss music, letting the player know just how dangerous he is and just how screwed they are.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In contrast to his apathetic and casually murderous attitude towards his other officers, he consistently rewards Fordola's achievements. The soft spot he seems to have for her is mocked by some of the others, who infer that she's using sex to have her way with him; at the very least, she gets away with suffering defeat repeatedly – a lethal misstep in Zenos's court – simply because Zenos admires her attitude. He is also somewhat above the petty racism expressed by his underlings, and believes in using the right tool for the right job. Strength and power interest him more than anything, so if you prove to be interesting, he couldn't care less your birthplace, though he still holds some traditional views and is not above calling people savages.
    • In a more twisted example, Zenos kills his own father to prevent him using chemical weapons in war, as he didn't want to lose his "friend" and rival to such petty things.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In Endwalker, it's shown that Zenos genuinely can't comprehend why the Warrior of Light is fighting.
    • Zenos helps start the Final Days all to make the Warrior of Light angry enough to fight him so he can relive the greatest moment of his life. However, he is repeatedly left feeling put out as the Warrior of Light is not as interested in this duel as he is, as they are much more concerned with stopping the Final Days, and on more than one occasion actively avoid fighting him to focus on more pressing concerns. He eventually is shaken enough to begin contemplating exactly why he is so dead set on having his rematch. Though in the end, this only reaffirms his feelings that the only joy he ever had in life was from battles that pushed him to his very limits, and he decides to help the Warrior of Light stop the Final Days if for no other reason than there would be nothing else to distract them so he could finally get his rematch.
    • Before your final confrontation with him, you can reject his claim that you are ultimately the same, saying he can think what he wants but that you won't let him walk away alive. To this response, he accuses the Warrior of Light of lying and saying it doesn't matter if you want to 'play the hero', he knows what you truly are and that you truly seek the same adrenaline rush as he does. Even if you believe your Warrior of Light has truly selfless and heroic motives, and play them as such, Zenos refuses to accept them as earnest because to him, even if you truly are heroic, there has to be more to your heroics, and saying otherwise just doesn't make sense to him especially since your actions to fervently fight him now prove otherwise.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Both Zenos and the Warrior of Light are One-Man Army level mortals with the Echo (one natural, one artificial) and both enjoy combat on a personal level, but while the Warrior of Light is someone who uses their martial prowess to protect people and forms true friendships and has a surprisingly wide emotional range (despite having no voice acting to their lines) and can enjoy things other than fighting, like becoming a crafter, Zenos is a Blood Knight who disregards morality if it will grant him a greater challenge, and fights on behalf of an Empire he cares very little about, is unable to properly empathize with people due to his loveless upbringing as a weapon by his own father, viewing his allies as hounds for a hunt, and has no real cause to fight for other than his own satisfaction.
    • Zenos and Alisaie are both prodigies born into wealthy and prestigious families who are in their homeland's ruling class, both enjoy combat and look down on politics despite their family's position. both look down on what they see as petty conflicts and squabbles that they see beneath them (Alisaie's initial impression of Eorzea being that of a disappointing land with people fighting over petty conflicts rendering her grandfather's sacrifice meaningless, and Zenos's view on pretty much everything not related to fighting.) and take a great interest in the WOL. While Zenos was raised as a weapon, abused and neglected by his father who saw him as a madman and tool, Alisaie had a loving upbringing with a brother who she disagreed and argued on several occasions but still loves. Alisaie grows to care for Eorzea despite it's shortcomings, while Zenos fails to find anything to care for even as his homeland burns by his own hand. Lastly while Alisaie is a genuine friend of the WOL who she greatly admires, and cares for them as a person, Zenos is a hated Arch-Enemy to the WOL and projects his own lust for combat unto them and refuses to accept they can be motivated by anything other than fighting. Fittingly, it is Alisaie's speech towards Zenos that drives to latter to reconsider his approach and eventually aid the heroes.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Played with. Most of the time, Zenos is a Cold Ham at his loudest. Other than that, he's Fantastically Indifferent to the goings-on around him. But when he gets the chance to really test his mettle against the Warrior of Light, he starts Chewing the Scenery, shouting loudly, and generally reveling in finally being able to stoke his bloodlust against what he considers a Worthy Opponent. This is most prominent in the Post-Final Boss fight against him in Endwalker, where he drops all pretenses of civility and shows a high level of passion for the sake of having a no-holds-barred duel to the death with the Warrior.
  • Evil Is Petty: His sole motivation is to have an entertaining battle and he's willing to perform horrific atrocities to get it. The reason the Empire is so cruelly oppressive in Doma and Ala Mhigo is Zenos is trying to provoke rebellion so he can enjoy putting it down. After his resurrection, he intends to burn the world down and slaughter all of the Warrior of Light's loved ones. Not to provoke them to fight him, because they already would, but simply to motivate them to fight harder.
  • Evil Overlord: The Griffin describes him as an especially cruel overlord of Ala Mhigo in comparison to Gaius.
  • The Evil Prince: Son of Emperor Varis, and thus crown prince of Garlemald as his title "yae" denotes.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Since returning to Garlemald, Zenos's voice has become much lower and raspier, likely from slitting his own throat and damaging his vocal cords.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Ironically, Zenos ends up being instrumental in saving the star from the very oblivion his Ascian accomplice unleashed upon it. With Krile's blessing, he gorges upon what's left of the Mothercrystal and reclaims the power of Shinryu, then blitzes across the cosmos to rescue the Warrior of Light from the Endsinger. This is thanks to Alisaie enstilling some Pragmatic Villainy into his head — the Warrior of Light won't focus on him if they're distracted with saving the world, so it behooves him to help remove that distraction.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: A bloodthirsty tyrant who kills his own officers at the drop of a hat, but quite young and pretty underneath the helmet.
  • Fair-Play Villain:
    • Again, in his own warped, twisted sense of honor, Zenos will do his best to match an opponent with equal strength, such as using weaker katanas against weaker opponents to give them as fair a fight as possible. He is also completely disgusted by his father's use of biological weapons as a means of winning the war.
    • He also refuses to pick a fight with the Warrior of Light unless their heart is completely and utterly set on killing him. He may threaten the Warrior's loved ones to get them to come at him with everything they have, but he won't demand a duel when he doesn't have the Warrior's undivided attention. He's continually sidelined in Endwalker since his constant attempts to finally have his long-awaited rematch are interrupted by the threat of the Final Days. It's not until he gets an Armor-Piercing Question from Alisaie that he stops to consider that simply continuing as he is won't get him the fight he wants. So he strikes a deal with Krile to rescue the Warrior and help them defeat the Endsinger so the Warrior can finally face him without any distractions.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Upon arriving at the Meteia's nest and seeing the Endsinger, Zenos calmly notes it must be the Warrior of Light's "prey". He then expresses confusion that it's still alive since it surely is no match for the Warrior, and questions if he was mistaken to assume they were above something so "banal" as despair. Even when confronting a being that is the embodiment of all despair and pain in the universe, Zenos regards it as nothing more than a distraction from his duel with the Warrior of Light.
  • Flash Step: Aside from his Menacing Stroll, Zenos is able to seemingly teleport during his boss battle at the end of the Ala Mhigo dungeon.
  • Flat Character: Explored in Endwalker. Whereas Fandaniel and Meteion are given backstory and motivations to make them understandable, maybe even sympathetic, Zenos is not; he remains The Sociopath interested only in a Final Battle with the Warrior of Light and cares about nothing else. Fandaniel even comments on the paradox of Zenos having no reason to come back to life but to seek out a fight to the death again, and questions if there's really nothing else that interests him. Eventually while he doesn't go into how he became the man he is, by being such a flat character he is one of the very few people totally immune to Meteion's despair plague, simply because he finds such little interest in the concept of despair.
  • Four Is Death: He is fought four times throughout Stormblood. The first two fights end in the Warrior of Light's defeat, the third fight has Zenos simply walk away, and the fourth battle is where he finally meets his end.
  • Four-Star Badass: Legatus of the XIIth Garlean legion and, according to the Griffin, makes the Black Wolf look like a friendly puppy.
  • Friendless Background: Zenos was raised with no companionship or love, being far too highborn and talented to have anyone to relate to. Once finally faced with someone who could match his skills and posseses a similar standing in life, it is easy to see why Zenos has developed an obsession with the Warrior of Light.
  • Friendly Enemy: Develops into this toward the Warrior of Light in his own twisted way, due to both being their Arch-Enemy and considering them his Only Friend. He sees the Warrior of Light as a fellow Blood Knight willing to master their own power to defeat and crush their prey. There is even an option where the player can agree with his point of view. He even says that the Warrior of Light is his first friend during his last words. Further solidified upon his return to his own body, where he kills his own father to prevent the Black Rose from killing the Warrior of Light, and plots to have them both absorb the powers of Hydaelyn and Zodiark to have the greatest battle in his twisted mind. After Fandaniel decides to possess Zodiark himself and fight the Warrior of Light directly, Zenos's machinations are left in the dust, and later Alisaie warns him that his habit of causing wanton destruction and alienating everyone around him will leave him with nothing, not even the chance to recreate the battle he so desperately craves. And in response, Zenos takes this trope to the logical conclusion by outright helping the Warrior of Light defeat the Big Bad, following which he finally gets the rematch he's been pining for since the end of Stormblood.
  • Frontline General: He even looks down on people who delegate duties instead of going into battle personally. His accomplishments include putting down the Doman rebellion near-singlehandedly, personally leading the charge into the resistance base at the start of Stormblood, and even challenging the Warrior of Light to single combat and winning the first time, establishing himself as far greater than any earlier opponent they have faced.

    G-O 
  • Genetic Memory: Because his great grandfather was Emet-Selch, an unsundered ancient, the memory of the Final Days was passed down to him and has haunted him as a recurring nightmare since he was a child.
  • A God Am I: He declares both himself and the Warrior of Light to be greater than the gods just before fusing with Shinryu. Sure enough he plans on making Hydaelyn and Zodiark submit to his and the Warrior of Light as part of their greatest clash by the end of Shadowbringers.
    Zenos: We tower above the gods! You by your gift, I by my might! And before the Resonant, the gods shall be made to kneel!
  • Going Native:
    • Zenos adopted the katana as his weapon of choice, after brutally crushing the Doman rebellion. His fondness for them leads to one of the few ways one can curry favor with him without playing into his games; Gift him with a particularly rare and well-made katana, and he'll be genuinely pleased. He likes the weapon that much.
    • His armor has what appears to be a kimono wrapped around the midsection, likely signifying his discipline as a Samurai.
  • Graceful Loser: He takes his final defeat in Endwalker in stride, accepting his death and sincerely thanking the Warrior of Light for being the one spark of joy in his otherwise "banal" life.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens to him at the end of Stormblood. He later does this to the Warrior of Light as well in Endwalker courtesy of Fandaniel. He would have killed Alisaie and G'raha under the guise of their own friend if not for the Warrior of Light's timely arrival.
  • Gun Blade: Unlike most Garlean Legati, Zenos himself does not wield a gunblade in favor of eastern katanas, but even his katanas have firearm motifs, being stored in a holster resembling a revolver barrel and having handles that resemble pistol grips. Also extends to his new scythe, which is fitted with a gun barrel at the base of the blade.
  • Hates Small Talk: He sees the interests of others as banal and trivial, saying he doesn't understand their mundane desires. He actually laments this at the end of Endwalker, asking if the Warrior of Light was able to find fulfillment through others in a way he couldn't.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: He ends up saving the Scions from the Endsinger, fulfilling a pact made with Krile. When the threat has passed, he declares his final challenge to the Warrior of Light on even terms, making it clear that he'll accept your decision if you refuse. Quite the remarkable turnaround for a remorseless Big Bad Wannabe whose sole passion in life is fighting you. The player is made to accept this duel, and Zenos doesn't survive it, but what might have become of him had you walked away is a Riddle for the Ages.
  • The Hedonist: What his motivations ultimately amount to, though not in the usual methods of this trope such as sex, luxury, or substance use; rather, Zenos is a Blood Knight who only finds joy in combat and seeks the ultimate adrenaline rush from facing a Worthy Opponent. Alisaie even calls him out as being this in Endwalker during her The Reason You Suck speech.
  • Heel Realization: While him becoming an outright Face is nowhere near correct given that his primary motivation is still selfish as ever, he gets an absolutely brutal and deserved verbal dressing down from Jullus and Alisaie, and it makes him realize that, no, he's actually not entitled to have the attention of the Warrior of Light or anyone else, and should earn their respect rather than expecting it. This ends up working out for everyone, as Zenos comes to aid the Warrior and Scions against Meteion when they need him most, finally gets his fight, and dies a hero after sending the Warrior back with their friends as a final act.
  • He's Back!: After cutting his own throat and spending the next few patches possessing the body of a random elezen resistance fighter, Zenos reclaims his true body in dramatic fashion and usurps the empire all in the course of one evening, all for the pleasure of reuniting with his one true friend.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu:
    • The big twist in Stormblood is Zenos researching and reverse-engineering the Echo with the intention of controlling Primals rather than just being immune to being enthralled by them — and he doesn't choose just any normal Primal, but Shinryu. It works.
    • Learning the truth behind Zodiark and Hydaelyn prompts him to set his sights on them next at the end of Shadowbringers.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • Zenos leads an assault early in Stormblood to sack the resistance in their base. Everyone is crushed by his power, even the Warrior of Light.
    • It happens again midway through the story when Yugiri and the Warrior of Light attempt to assassinate him during his hurried visit to Doma.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: He considers all opponents as prey for his "hunt", and routinely tries to find someone who can actually challenge him, while collecting battle trophies from the fallen.
  • I Am What I Am: Fighting mighty foes is the only worldly "pleasure" that brings him any fulfilment, and he ponders this singular obsession now and again, but Zenos is ultimately a man content with his passion. When other characters pick his brain about this savagery, whether in curiosity or disgust, he's bluntly honest about what stirs his heart and feels no shame for it.
    Zenos: Yet you would ask me why. Ask any creature of this star and those above for answers, and they will tell you what suits their fancy. And they would be right to do so. What meaning there is to be found in the petty vicissitudes of your existence must be gleaned by you and you alone.
  • Identical Grandson: Well, not quite identical, but Zenos's facial features are similar to his great-grandfather Solus's in his youth, and they also share a rather deranged love for theatrics. However, their personalities could not be any more different, with Solus's madness being a mask for his inner sorrow and failure while Zenos's insanity is his true face.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: A twisted, villainous example. Due to being Lonely at the Top, Zenos is desperate for a Worthy Opponent he feels he can relate to. He's ecstatic once the Warrior of Light becomes strong enough to face him on equal terms, referring to them as his first and Only Friend, projecting all of his wants and desires onto them. As he lays slowly dying after their final duel in Endwalker, Zenos asks if the Warrior's journey was worthwhile, while also expressing envy at their ability to find meaning and joy in life beyond fleeting moments of pleasure. As Alisaie told him in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech, his life is devoid of true happiness because of his inability to relate to others.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Well, maybe not his katanas, which are relatively mundane, but his standard battle loadout is to have three of them in a gigantic revolver holster on his left hip. How the hell he can walk without listing to one side is a mystery for the ages. One scene in Stormblood shows that when he's sitting on his throne, the holster is set up like a golf bag with a built-in kickstand next to the throne. After he is truly resurrected after taking his body back from Elidibus he discards it with the rest of his Stormblood attire. As a result he now only carries Ame-no-Habakiri with him.
    • His new weapon turns out to be a scythe, which is considered a bit of this in-game as well. Fandaniel is slightly surprised by Zenos's choice, even calling it archaic in some localizations. He is the first character in the game to take up the Reaper job, and his scythe is ridiculously oversized and seemingly outfitted with Garlean magitek.
  • I Need You Stronger: By the time Zenos defeats the Warrior of Light a second time, he simply tells them to become stronger. His blood knight tendencies have clearly caused him to take an interest in them.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Zenos is a sociopath who when younger had difficulty perceiving those around him as people and impassionately excelled at everything he did. However when he first suffered a defeat in combat it inspired Zenos to find joy and comfort courting death in combat and since then his only motivation has been to do battle.
  • I Reject Your Reality: It's shown that Zenos can't accept any way other than his own. Should the Warrior of Light refute his way of thinking, Zenos instead just keeps claiming he's right.
    • In Stormblood, Zenos asks the Warrior of Light to accept him as a rival or deny him. The latter means that the Warrior is rejecting his philosophy that men should fight for the sake of it, and that Zenos is wrong. Zenos just responds that in doing so, it proves that he's right anyway, because he can't imagine that the Warrior of Light would continue to fight stronger opponents for any reason other than bloodlust.
    • In Endwalker, Zenos insists that the Warrior of Light is, at the end of the day, an adventurer who just wants to fight stronger opponents. One of the dialogue choices is to outright reject this, portraying the Warrior as someone who is a true hero, fighting for the sake of protecting those they love, and that's it. Zenos once again refutes this, if only because he can't imagine any reasoning other than his own, or that the Warrior of Light would keep fighting so hard for so long unless it was to fight stronger opponents. After beating him, Zenos expresses some disappointment that things turned out this way.
  • Irony: Zenos's whole plan in 4.0 was to die in one last glorious battle against a worthy foe and become immortalized as a new legend. However, his Resonant experiments unwittingly turned him into an immortal being, rendering him literally incapable of dying. Zenos is initially perplexed at his own survival and is at a genuine loss for what to do next. He even briefly considers turning over a new leaf, but eschews it in favor of sticking with his old plan, intending on repeating the fight once more on a far grander scale.
  • The Juggernaut: Zenos has a reputation as an unstoppable force in battle and has the bloodlust to match, wading through front lines and casually swatting even powerful foes like the Scions around like flies.
  • Karma Houdini: Played With.
    • By the time that Stormblood is over, Zenos seems to die at the end of the story, but he dies fulfilled, happy, and on his own terms. Lyse is specifically disgusted that Zenos died without suffering any real punishment for his crimes. Then it turns out he unwittingly survived, which at first annoys him since it didn't grant the epic death he wanted... until he realizes he can now fight the Warrior of Light again.
    • While his plans fall apart by the halfway point of Endwalker, he's quickly eclipsed by much bigger threats to face any real comeuppance for his actions. And in the end, he does get exactly what he wants, and dies satisfied after getting his longed-for rematch with the Warrior of Light...but only after he teams up with them to defeat the Big Bad first.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Zenos wields several katana sheathed in what appears to be a large gun barrel as his personal weapon of choice, and given his prestige is likely a Master Swordsman like his fellow legate. He had it made as he had developed a very strong fondness for the katana during the suppression of the uprising in Doma. In the post-5.0 story patches, he's grown sick of the weapon and deliberately breaks it, testing out new weapon types before settling on a Sinister Scythe for Endwalker.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: There is absolutely nothing heroic in Zenos's motives for killing Varis. It just so happened that Varis planned to use Black Rose on Eorzea and Zenos was having none of his crap that would ruin his desperately-desired rematch with the Warrior of Light.
  • Kubrick Stare:
    • He has quite a sinister one as he taunts the Warrior of Light on how they have yet to fully master the Echo while he proceeds to explain how his own artificial Echo will allow him to control primals.
    • Gives another rather chilling one right to the player in The Stinger for Patch 4.2, which revealed that he yet lives.
  • Lack of Empathy: Zenos is almost entirely incapable of an emotional connection due to his incredible natural talents and loveless upbringing. However, once he finally meets someone he considers as an equal, he immediately projects all of his woes onto him, believing himself and the Warrior of Light to be peerless beings destined to fight one another. All others, Zenos treats with complete disinterest at best. He even snaps his favorite sword, the Ame-no-Habakiri, on a whim, as Zenos decides he is due an upgrade for the rematch.
    • He gives a good display of it in Endwalker. When a survivor of the chaos he unleashed within Garlemald confronts him, demanding to know how the prince who ought be ruling their homeland could devastate it so, Zenos is completely apathetic. His dull lament is solely that the carnage and bloodshed amounted to nothing, as he didn't get his long sought-after rematch with the Warrior of Light out of it.
  • Large and in Charge: Like his father, Zenos absolutely towers over any other hyuran, including his fellow Garleans. He's significantly taller than male Roegadyn or Au Ra, even. The short story "Through His Eyes" states that his grandfather reached unprecedented height among Garleans, a trait Zenos obviously inherited, and it is implied that this is due to their Ascian heritage via Solus/Emet-Selch.
  • Leitmotif: "Meteor", though originally Nael van Darnus's theme, plays in most cutscenes featuring Zenos.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Zenos prepares his heaviest attack while meditating in midair, protected by a magitek barrier.
  • Limit Break: Storm, Swell, Sword. After meditating and channeling power from his three swords, Zenos rushes to each one to attack with them, ending with a leaping overhead swing that fills the area with destructive might.
  • Lonely at the Top: All of Zenos's talents have completely isolated him, having no friends whatsoever before seeing an equal in the Warrior of Light. All his men do nothing but suck up to him, terrified at the repurcussions of displeasing him. This can be best seen whenever he starts rambling about "the hunt" to his men, who, while uncomprehending, simply play along out of fear of displeasing him. Zenos is noticeably pleased at Fordola's initiative and honesty, despite her being non-Garlean.
  • Master Swordsman: In addition to his inhuman strength as a Super Soldier, Zenos is an incredibly skilled swordsman, utilizing his own variations on Doman and Hingan samurai techniques as well as techniques from the "Unyielding Sword" school from Corvos in Ilsabard.
  • Magic Knight: In Endwalker Zenos is able to freely use the magic from his Shinryu form in his human form using the six elemental spells of Ifrit, Titan, Garuda, Shiva, Ramuh and Leviathan as well as the magic of a Reaper.
  • Meaningful Rename: Late in Endwalker, what passes for the Garlean Empire's leadership after it's self-destructed denounces Zenos and declares him to be "Zenos viator Galvus", traitor to the empire and welcome in its borders no more. Notably, the game itself will refer to him as such past this point, though Zenos himself makes no mention of it. It's not commented on in game, but "viator" means "traveler" in Latin, which mirrors the Warrior of Light's status as the reincarnation of Azem, the Traveler of Amaurot's Convocation of Fourteen.
  • Meditation Power Up: To charge Storm, Swell, Sword he will meditate behind a barrier for his Aether Transfer.
  • Menacing Stroll: In most of his appearances, Zenos just very calmly walks through the middle of things like battlefields as though he was simply taking a walk through a park, never moving at anything more than a very casual pace. Even in his Hopeless Boss Fight, he never breaks his slow stride outside of the occasional Flash Step.
  • Mirror Character: In addition to the details noted under Shadow Archetype, he explicitly calls the Warrior of Light his mirror, as he interprets their oft-displayed capacity for destruction as a lust for bloodshed that matches his own despite our motivations and kinder actions as a "Hero". He twice puts the question to you, and you can concur with or defy his appraisal each time. If you choose to concur in Endwalker, he's ecstatic at the acceptance, and his rival begins their Final Battle with an eager sneering grin twin to Zenos'.
    • Reflects on this to the Warrior of Light as they both lay dying after their final battle at the End of Eternity, noting the emptiness he experienced most of his life and unknowingly repeating Hydaelyn's question by asking the Warrior of Light whether, as his reflection, they managed to actually find any meaning to their life after all they experienced.
  • Myopic Conqueror: He's an extreme Blood Knight and the crown prince of the Garlean Empire, who was assigned as the viceroy of Ala Mhigo and Othard after successfully conquering the regions (almost singlehandedly). However, Zenos is utterly uninterested in ruling and assigns another acting viceroy, Yotsuyu goe Brutus, in his stead. He chooses her for the position because of the utter hatred of her own people that drives her to cruelly oppress them and break their will. He hopes that this treatment will lead the Domans to start another rebellion so that he can find a Worthy Opponent to put down yet again. If not, then the Domans can simply wallow in their misery while he sets his sights elsewhere. He later even assassinates his father...not because he had any interest in the throne, but because his father's biological superweapon was too powerful and too boring, and would have spoiled the fun of Zenos's "hunt" of the Warrior of Light.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • As the legatus of the XIIth legion, he references Vayne Solidar, the viceroy of a conquered nation and Imperial Prince. He also eventually kills his own father in Shadowbringers and absorbs the powers of someone named Venat to transform into a dragon in Endwalker.
    • Additionally other plot developments in both Stormblood and Shadowbringers position him as similar to Kuja from Final Fantasy IX. Like Kuja, Zenos talks quite dramatically and speaks in metaphors namely hunting and occasional theatrical terms when addressing people, and both are emotionally stunted due to the way they were raised, Kuja being an artificial Genome who was created in adulthood while Zenos was emotionally stunted due to being raised as a weapon despite being the Garlean crown prince. Both are ultimately enforcers of greater ranked villains and despite being raised as tools, are ultimately selfish, assert their individuality, and have their own agendas separate of their masters. Both deliver hopeless boss fights to the heroes despite them being accomplished at this stage, both gain an artificial enhancement through sacrificing souls, the resonant for Zenos, and gaining the ability to Trance for Kuja. Lastly both foil the plans of the greater villain for their own selfish reasons, Garland for Kuja, and Emet-Selch and Varis for Zenos.
      • Endwalker expands on this, like Kuja, Zenos also goes through a downplayed heel-face turn, spends his last moments with the hero having gained some maturity over his own life and goals, and his last act is to send the hero to safety with their friends.
    • On a lesser extent, Endwalker makes him a parallel to Seymour from Final Fantasy X, though the similarities are often also in contrast. Both are long-aired pretty boy villains who desire to get control of an otherworldly, god-like being to furtheir their apocalyptic goals and fail in doing so, but while Seymour attempted to get control of Sin for, in his mind, selfless reasons of putting everyone out of their misery, Zenos wants to control Zodiark for purely selfish and self-centered reasons. Both also have parents who were turned into Anima post-mortem, but while Seymour was obsessed with his mother, Zenos shows absolutely no affection to his father, killed him personally and is only interested in Anima due to its Tempering powers.
    • To an even lesser extent, his arc in Endwalker references Golbez from Final Fantasy IV, both seek power located on the moon, are manipulated by another villain in service of this goal, pull a heel-face turn of sorts thanks to their connection to the hero, and aid them against the final boss.
  • Named Weapons: His three katanas are named the Storm, the Swell, and Ame-no-Habakiri.
  • Narcissist: He's an arrogant egotist with a Lack of Empathy so profound it borders on solipsism, with a single-minded obsession with self-improvement and self-gratification that ascribes significance to other people only as potential playthings and/or potential obstacles.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Humorously implied in Yotsuyu's Tales from the Storm. She's sent to spy on him, so she tries to loosen his lips with wine... only for him to continually down cups without showing the slightest sign of inebriation, to her incredulous annoyance.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He near-singlehandedly ends the Empire as a political threat by killing his own father and then explicitly refusing to succeed him, effectively plunging the Empire into anarchy and civil war. Two things: firstly, he doesn't care, as he only did so to ensure his "hunt" with the Warrior of Light is not interrupted; secondly, since he basically lets Fandaniel take the reigns of the broken Empire, and the latter is an Omnicidal Maniac, while he DOES stop the Garlean Empire as a political threat, he's paved the way for them to serve as an existental one instead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In their final confrontation in Stormblood he mocks the Warrior of Light for indirectly allowing him to capture and take control of Shinryu.
  • Noble Demon: Gets two notable moments in Endwalker. First, he keeps his word to Krile and comes to the Scions' aid on Ultima Thule. Second, he offers the Warrior of Light an out from the final duel he issues, content to leave their rivalry unresolved if that's your honest wish.
  • No-Sell: The Endsinger's negative Dynamis-based attacks are completely ineffective against Zenos as he is too emotionally stunted to experience despair as well having long since managed to accept nihilism on his own terms.
  • Not Quite Dead: He actually survives slitting his own throat, though he's thrown into a different body for a while due to the effects of his artificial Echo. The end of 5.0 sees him reclaim his body.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: He claims that he and the Warrior of Light are the same since both want to taste the blood of their enemies in battle and kill in order to become stronger. How the Warrior of Light responds to such a claim is up to the player.
    • Right before their battle at the end of the 4.0 section of Stormblood, Zenos asks the Warrior of Light what they would do with a chained primal, and whether they accept him (and thus his worldview) as worthy of the Warrior's attention. The player can either accept him or deny him, but Zenos insists that he's got the Warrior figured out, either way.
    • In Endwalker, right before their Post-Final Boss battle at the end of 6.0, Zenos asks the Warrior to hear him out, "not as a hero, but as simply you". Zenos then asks the Warrior of Light, as an adventurer, if they continually seek out stronger foes for the sake of passion and getting their heart racing. Should the Warrior agree with this, Zenos is positively delighted at the response.
      Zenos: Such pleasures, you seek for their own sake, and for no other reason. Is this not so... adventurer?
      Warrior of Light: (with a Grin of Audacity) That, I can't deny.
      Zenos: Ha! Acceptance! At long last!
  • Not So Stoic: In the early parts of Stormblood he comes off as a Soft-Spoken Sadist, rarely raising his voice and constantly sporting an expression of stoic indifference. But as the story unfolds and the Warrior of Light gradually proves themselves to be a Worthy Opponent, Zenos grows more animated and hammy. By the time you confront him in the Royal Menagerie, he’s shouting at the top of his lungs and Chewing the Scenery as he prepares to fuse with Shinryu.
  • Not Worth Killing: Alisaie warns Zenos that he's heading towards this trope in Endwalker, as Fandaniel's decision to hijack Zodiark directly left Zenos with no real relevance as a threat, and he's alienated and antagonized pretty much everyone around him to be anyone worth caring about. Zenos actually takes her words to heart and forms an Enemy Mine with the Warrior of Light in the climax, following which he does get the fight he's longed for, though the WoL's reasons for fighting him are left to the player to decide.
  • Numerological Motif: Legatus of the XIIth Legion, he is the son of the Imperial occupiers Emperor hand-picked to rule over a conquered city-state with an iron fist thus representing Final Fantasy XII. Like Vayne he is artificially infused with a man-made version of a Godly gift, and uses it to wield a dragon's power in the final battle.
  • Offered the Crown: After Gaius's death, the Emperor grants control of Ala Mhigo, which Gaius controlled after he personally conquered it for Garlemald, to Zenos.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Zenos expresses surprise exactly once during the game, and that is when Fandaniel gets the slip on him to merge with Zodiark. This marks a significant turning point in the story where the focus shifts from Zenos to the return of the Final Days and its cause.
  • Only Friend: The Warrior of Light, in his own twisted way, is the only friend that Zenos ever really had. He sees in you a kindred spirit and a most Worthy Opponent. Right before the fight with Shinryu, he asks you to either accept him or you can refuse. If you accept, he seems almost giddy that you are not able to see him as being the same. Prior to your final battle with him in Endwalker, you do have the option of reciprocating his friendship as fellows who love the thrill of battle. If you do, he's over the moon that you accept him.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: In The Stinger to 5.4, while he's not furious, he's quite miffed that Fandaniel's Lunar Bahamut even so much as singed the Warrior of Light, threatening to kill the Ascian for disrupting his hunt.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • In Stormblood, he fuses with Shinryu during the final battle.
    • In Endwalker, he goes into his very own Enshroud mode in the second phase of the Post-Final Boss fight against him. This grants him glowing eyes, glowing red limbs, and the ends of his hair seemingly fusing into black-and-red tendrils.
  • Out of Focus: Fandaniel gets far more attention than him in the beginning of Endwalker, but once Zodiark is defeated around level 83 and Zenos is revealed to have been nothing but a means to an end for Fandaniel his entire story is put on the backburner for a much bigger problem until the cusp of the story's final act. This status is outright lampshaded, as when he confronts the Warrior of Light in Garlemald, Alisaie tells him that as long as he refuses to do anything but concentrate on his fight, nobody will care about him at all because they have bigger things to consider, with him remaining on the back burner unless he makes an effort to care about them in turn on some level.
  • Overlord Jr.: The villainous son of Varis zos Galvus; unlike his father, Zenos couldn't care less for politics but rather find worthy challengers to fight.

    P-Y 
  • Parental Neglect: Between military campaigns and just general disinterest, Varis was largely absent throughout Zenos' childhood. They could go months at a time without seeing, let alone talking to one another.
  • Patricide: After he gets his real body back from Elidibus, he's just as quick to turn his blade on his own father.
  • Physical God: At the time Zenos reclaims his true body he is an Ascian in all but name.
  • Post-Final Boss: Of Endwalker. After working together with the Warrior of Light to defeat the Endsinger and stop the Final Days, he challenges the Warrior to one final duel. Said duel is rather difficult to lose, as you're equipped with a 6-stack buff that prevents your HP from going below 1, and Zenos just gives an insulting pep talk when you're on the brink of death, causing you to immediately recover.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When striking down his father Varis for threatening to kill the Warrior of Light.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gets an absolutely scathing one in Endwalker from Alisaie. After he soliloquies once more about how life is meaningless and morality is merely a construct designed by people to get what they want with the only meaning being whatever you choose it be, Alisaie points out that in his self-absorbed nihilism, he's driven away everyone else to the point that the one person he actually cares about thinks him beneath their notice. His life is only a void because he has no-one else to share it with and give it value, even by his standards, and ultimately, he will be alone and unable to get what he wants because for all his talk about it, his actions have run contrary to the meaning he chose for his life.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When he actives his Resonant abilities to merge with Shinryu
  • Rebel Prince: Of the rare Villainous Father, Even More Villainous Son variety. Considers the Empire's crusade against Eikons to be borne of fear and ignorance, and instead desires to hijack primals via an Artificial Echo.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In Endwalker, Zenos is perhaps the most unlikely person to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment, turning up to save the Scions from The Endsinger in the form of Shinryu, going on to become the Warrior of Light's mount in the Final Battle. This culminates in Zenos successfully achieving his goal to have his long-desired Duel to the Death on somewhat amicable terms, a duel which he offered to simply walk away from if the Warrior truly did not want to.
  • Redemption Rejection: Voices this opinion in 4.3, when it's revealed that he has possessed a member of the Ala Mhigo Resistance. He flat out refuses to use his second chance to redeem himself and make any sort of amends, intending to continue his "hunt" against his rival, the Warrior of Light.
  • Sanity Slippage: By the time of The Stinger of Shadowbringers, he has clearly lost whatever sanity he once had upon reclaiming his body, becoming so obsessed with his "hunt" for the Warrior of Light that he is more than willing to cut down his own father and plunge the Empire into anarchy just to ensure no one comes between them and him. Even moreso in 5.55 as he doesn't even care what Fandaniel is doing to cause The End of the World as We Know It, so long as he gets the hunt he wants with his "friend." even if it means us and him consuming the mightiest gods of the realm just to fight each other.
  • Self-Duplication: One of his powers in his boss battle is to generate phantom clones.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • He's this to the Warrior of Light. Both of them are unparalleled prodigies in the art of war renowned for their obscene strength capable of routing armies on their own. They are also portrayed as Blood Knights who enjoy the rush of putting their lives on the line, seeking exponentially tougher enemies and serving as the strongest fighter on their respective sides of the conflict. But the Warrior is also able to find joy in companionship and is revered by the people of Eorzea for their constant acts of heroism, while Zenos has been isolated his entire life by his talents and loveless upbringing, only finding happiness in "the hunt" and eschewing everything else. Zenos is essentially what the Warrior would be had they been born without their passion and empathy or companions to stand alongside them and treat them as something more than just a weapon.
      • Acrues a number of traits which are seemingly "coincidental" dark reflections of the Warrior of Light, the starkest of which is his new title of "viator" in Endwalker. "Viator" is the title Garlean's give to their most traitorous outcast citizens but means "traveler" in Latin, tying directly to the Warrior of Light's title during their previous life as Azem The Traveler, due to Emet-Selch's ongoing bitterness over them abandoning the Convocation of Fourteen.
    • Also increasingly becomes one to the player themselves, as discussed in Endwalker. Zenos is unable to find value in anything happening around him and is only interested in the thrill of battle, like a Straw Nihilist player who plays just for the enjoyment of the gameplay without caring about the plot, characters, etc, and finds them tedious annoyances that distract them from the fighting. He even gives a monologue to the Warrior of Light in Endwalker that is clearly intended for the player, asking if they found fulfillment in their day-to-day life (enjoying quieter aspects of XIV like the locations, characters, community, and so on) or only cared about finding ever greater challenges to fight (playing the game for the pure mechanical enjoyment of its systems).
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: To Jullus in Endwalker, when the Garlean soldier demands an explanation for the utter destruction Zenos visited upon their homeland and can't accept the "petty" reason given him. Zenos is utterly unsympathetic and reams the guy out for wanting a better motivation from him, as if a "good" reason might make him happier or justify the bloody outcome.
  • Signature Move: As a Recurring Boss, he has a full library of attacks, but two are of particular significance:
    • Concentrativity is a massive Sphere of Destruction that he uses to end his fights whenever he gets bored. Against enemies who can withstand it, though, it becomes his standard unavoidable roomwide AOE.
    • Storm, Swell, Sword is his true ultimate move, drawing on the power of all three of his magical katanas for a devastating combination attack.
    • In Endwalker, his new scythe-based fighting style has Swift As Shadow as his strongest attack. He rushes his target in an instant, knocking them to the floor, and follows with several additional slashes to finish the job.
  • Sinister Scythe: His weapon of choice as he takes center stage again in Endwalker for his final confrontation with the Warrior of Light.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Is sitting like this in the Endwalker trailer as the world goes nuts around him.
  • The Social Darwinist: All Garlean leadership is this, but Zenos takes it to such extremes that his own family balks at him. Oddly enough though, this isn't born out of the same racism that the Garlean's are known for, but based on power and strength, as he finds the Warrior of Light to be his Only Friend.
  • The Sociopath: Most conversations with Zenos are near-completely one-sided, as he rarely deigns to respond and seems to regard nearly everything with indifference. This is not so much stoicism but an inability to emote; very few things actually interest Zenos, and his line of thought is so far removed from conventional thinking that it makes him extremely difficult to read or predict. For instance, when learning of Shinryu from a soldier's report, the soldier takes Zenos's silence for fury and immediately apologizes when in actuality Zenos was pleased at the events unfolding. Similarly, when Fandaniel reports to him in regards to his preparations, Zenos spends the whole time staring at his favorite sword, seemingly in admiration, only to destroy it at conversation's end, declaring that he is in need of a new weapon. His sociopathy is so extreme, in fact, that he never bothers learning anything of Fandaniel's motivations, uncaring so long as the Ascian's manipulations get him his desired rematch with the Warrior of Light. When Zodiark is unsealed, Zenos is taken completely flatfooted when it's Fandaniel who makes the first move and takes control of the Primal instead of letting Zenos do it "like they had planned".
  • Spanner in the Works: No one is aware he survived the events of Stormblood, and since the Warrior of Light is not going to be on Hydaelyn for a long time for him to hunt, Zenos instead sets his sights on reclaiming his position of crown prince from Elidibus, who is possessing his original body. He ends up routing Elidibus and killing his father, sounding the death knell not only for Black Rose but the Empire as we know it. Elidibus even comments that Zenos' surprising intervention has caused decades worth of plans and schemes to completely collapse to the point that he's more or less resorting to shooting blindly in the dark and watching where everything goes.
    • Rather amusingly, even a mere copy of his personality designed for the Diamond Weapon's Oversoul system proves too much for the VIIth to control, making their test runs go haywire. Perhaps wisely, Valens orders it to be reprogrammed into obedience, as a rabid beast is too unpredictable and inefficient for a living weapon, no matter its combat prowess. Even Elidibus couldn't maintain a simulacrum of him, noting "it is no easy thing to see through the eyes of a beast such as him".
    • Most triumphantly, he's also this to Meteion in Endwalker. Passionate maniac that he is, Zenos is quite safe from the Endsinger's favoured tactics and pulls a Villainous Rescue to save the Scions – specifically you, his "best friend", of course – from a battle otherwise lost.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!: Just before the Post-Final Boss fight against him in Endwalker, he gives a "Not So Different" Remark to the Warrior of Light, asking if they seek out greater opponents for no other reason than the thrill of it. One of the Warrior's responses is "I've had enough of you. It ends here!" while giving a Death Glare to Zenos. However, Zenos only taunts the Warrior further, telling them to strike him down now that the Warrior has "finally mustered the desire" to kill Zenos.
  • Super Soldier: Zenos was an "invaulable test subject" that has gone under unspecified modifications that make him much more powerful then ordinary Garleans.
  • Superpower Lottery: As one of the foremost antagonists of the game, he has some of the most powerful abilities in the lore. Zenos was already an enhanced Garlean supersoldier and is a direct descendant of an unsundered Ancient, which gives him unparalleled physicality compared to other Garleans let alone other races. On top of that he acquires the Resonant, an artifical enchanced version of the Echo that gives him limited precognition as well granting not only immunity over primal influence but allows subjugation over them through a sort of reverse-tempering. His death apparently unlocked Ascian powers to his artificial Echo, such as the ability to body-hop, wield magick in spite of his Garlean body, and teleport. By the time of Endwalker Zenos has added the powers of a Reaper to his arsenal, which includes summoning a voidsent avatar to assist in combat and has even learned Enshroud, allowing him to merge with his avatar to further enhance his powers.
  • Stepford Smiler: His neutral expression can be best described as a constant slight but smug smile, regardless of what emotion he actually feels at that moment, making him dangerously unpredictable. In the rare moments he feels genuine excitement or joy, he goes full on Slasher Smile.
  • Straw Nihilist: Gleefully goes on about how nothing on the star matters, only the cycle of the strong killing the weak. Deconstructed in Endwalker; he continues to espouse the meaninglessness of existence and it is up to the individual to make their own purpose in life, even accusing all morality of being a farce to justify and veil one's selfish wants. However, he eventually realises that in his desire to bring about his rematch with the Warrior of Light, he has actually driven them away due to there being greater threats to deal with. Zenos learns that despite belieivng life has no inherent meaning, in the end he cannot simply do what he wants without consequence or strong-arm his quarry into placating his hedonistic desires, as once he comes across a person he can't coerce with violence like he has everyone else in his life, he has to actually compromise to get what he wants.
  • Stupid Evil: He initially seems like this, tormenting his own subjects seemingly for his own amusement, but ultimately defied. Zenos is actually a remarkably intelligent man with a keen understanding of human psychology. He is purposely trying to incite rebellion over the territory he is charged with overseeing to foster an opponent worthy enough of facing. In fact, he is displeased with Doma under Yotsuyu's rule since she is so tyrannical that its people are too terrified to incite meaningful rebellion. Regardless, nearly all the events of Stormblood progress as according to his plans, and he even succeeds in attaining the opponent he so desperately wanted. As during the events of Shadowbringers he's pragmatic enough to go straight to Garlemald to reclaim his body from Eldibus instead of fighting the Warrior Of Light or even following her/him.
  • Sword Beam: Several of his attacks are variations on this concept. Lightless Spark is a horizontal slash which creates a crescent-shaped Sword Beam that strikes everything within a large cone-shaped area-of-effect. Concentrativity (and its more powerful version, Vein Splitter) is a Sword Plant that channels energy into the ground, creating an explosion that hits the whole party. And finally, Art Of The Sword is a single slash that fires off four linear Sword Beams at once, one aimed at each member of the party.
  • Throne Room Throwdown: His boss fight in the Ala Mhigo dungeon takes place in the throne room of the Royal Palace.
  • Turns Red: In-universe, no less. When he pulls out his strongest, most obviously magical katana, his armor glows bright red to match.
  • Übermensch: Deconstructed during Endwalker. Zenos talks about how life is meaningless past what little value you personally eke from it yourself, and morality is a veil for selfish intent and want. He sees himself as superior for having stayed fast to his sole conviction of wanting an epic battle with the Warrior of Light, even to the point of being complicit causing an apocalypse, and doesn't care that his actions will end the world as long as he continues to strive for his sole desire. However, in doing so, he has rendered himself utterly beneath the Warrior of Light's notice, as they care more about the fate of the world than one petty duel to the death. In his self-perceived superiority, Zenos has driven off any sort of interpersonal connections and is utterly alone, which Alisaie points out to him during her The Reason You Suck speech. His isolation is also a major factor in his ennui to begin with, as he chose to never try and care about others and indulged his own petty, hedonistic wants instead.
  • The Unfettered: In Endwalker, Zenos slaughters countless Garlean civilians and ruins the lives of the survivors, as well as bringing the apocalypse to the doorstep, solely because he thought that it would incite the Warrior of Light's hatred enough fight him with all their might. His exchange with Jullus indicates he has some understanding of the ramifications of his actions, but he feels no remorse for his actions because that is what he thought he needed to do to bring meaning into his life nor does he hold pleasure in their deaths. His only regret is that it was all for nothing solely because it did not lead to the rematch he longed for.
  • Unknown Rival: Downplayed in Endwalker: he's consumed by an utter obsession with the Warrior of Light, and his entire Evil Plan is to provoke another confrontation of godly proportions with them, but much to his annoyance, his failed machinations are inadequate to focus his friend and rival's wrath upon him personally. It's only after the greater threats have been neutralized – with Zenos' help – that he gets his rematch. It's a downplayed example, since there are dialogue options indicating the WoL sees him as a threat just overshadowed by the Final Days.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Downplayed. Zenos is aware he's being used as part of Fandaniel's greater machinations, but his single-minded obsession with battling the Warrior of Light means he has no real interest in prying further into what those machinations are and presumes the plan is for Zenos to seize Zodiark for himself. This makes it easy for Fandaniel to manipulate him into helping him reawaken Zodiark with temptations of giving him another primal powerful enough to confront the Warrior before stealing the body of the Elder Primal himself. Once Fandaniel's ambitions come to fruition, Zenos' story is put on the backburner.
  • Victory Is Boring: Despite the fact that he can and has crush the rebellion easily, he finds it incredibly boring at how easily he can win. With no one suitable to challenge him, Zenos is quite bored while he rules over Doma and Ala Mhigo. He scoffs at the Warrior of Light when he defeats them the first time, but after beating them the second time, he quickly grows interested at how strong they have become since their last fight and encourages them to grow even stronger for their next encounter. Clashing with the Warrior of Light is the only thing that brings Zenos out of his boredom since he finally has an opponent that can stand up to him.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Urianger suspects it was Zenos' wish that ferried the Warrior of Light safely back to Ragnarok after their final duel.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • In Endwalker, he points out that it doesn't matter if he had a good or bad reason for helping Fandaniel start the Final Days, as it is what it is. He says life is ultimately meaningless and you have to make your own purpose in life; he's just chosen his to be something that is to the absolute detriment of everyone else. It's textbook Nietzsche 101, though The Anti-Nihilist dark viewpoint he uses to justify his actions does get called out and Deconstructed.
      Zenos: Would you be "happier" had I a "good reason"? […] If my motives met with your approval, would you no longer resent the outcome? If so, then perhaps a beast's skin would suit you better. Duty… honor… morality… all constructs of convenience when put to proof. Surely the war taught you how easily power becomes the tool of the self-righteous? How the people's "justice" was merely a means to their ends? Yet you would ask me why. Ask any creature of this star and those above for answers, and they would tell you what suits their fancy. And they would be right to do so. What meaning there is to be found in the petty vicissitudes of your existence must be gleaned by you and you alone.
    • In addition in the same expansion, he points out that the Warrior of Light is a Blood Knight, an adventurer at their core that seeks ever greater challenges regardless of the risk to life and limb as a part of their way of feeling alive, not unlike himself. The choices can let you tell him off or deny it, but he takes it in stride — and fully admitting it has him elated and outright commending you for being honest with yourself.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Zenos becomes obsessed with the Warrior of Light over the course of Stormblood, seeing them as the worthy opponent he's always wanted. By the end of Shadowbringers he can't go even one scene without an increasingly manic desire to fight them again. When he finally reclaims his body from Elidibus his first action is to kill his father for daring to even think of using Black Rose to wipe out the Eorzean Alliance as doing so would rob Zenos of his chance to fight the Warrior of Light again.
  • Villain Respect: During his journey to get the Warrior of Light to fight him one-on-one in Endwalker, Zenos never attempts to fight the Warrior when they aren't focused. He may go to extreme lengths to try to goad them into it, including threatening their friends, but Zenos believes that the Warrior of Light is deserving of more than a cheap shot or to be kicked while they're down. The only thing Zenos wants is a fair fight with an opponent ready and willing to face him, not distracted by anything; a battle in the purest sense. He even accepts his defeat gracefully when finally felled in the ideal battleground. His respect is so great, in fact, that the first thing out of his mouth upon seeing the Warrior just before the final boss of Endwalker is a demand to know why hasn't the WoL killed the Endsinger before Zenos got there. Bear in mind, the Endsinger is an Eldritch Abomination, the embodiment of pure despair, and a being capable of wiping out all life in the universe. Zenos sees such an opponent as beneath the Warrior's notice.
    Zenos: I take it this is your prey. But why does it still live? Surely it is no match for you. I had assumed you would be above something so banal as despair. Am I mistaken?
  • Villainous Rescue: Comes to the Warrior of Light's aid at the end of Endwalker by defending them against the Endsinger's attacks as Shinryu and then letting the Warrior ride him on his back as they give chase for the final battle. Further, while not confirmed, Urianger speculates that it might have been Zenos's wish after the final duel that saw the Warrior of Light's Ragnarok teleport device fall from the sky to land next to them and see them home, as the device itself had no such capability and emotions can shape reality in Ultima Thule.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Prior to Stormblood, Zenos is bored with all of the "poor sport" before him, only going through the motions of his duties as legatus while yearning for a fight that can truly thrill him. By the time of the final siege of Ala Mhigo, he goes from being a Soft-Spoken Sadist to Chewing the Scenery, giving a grand speech about his admiration for the destruction Shinryu is capable of. He even accuses the Warrior of driving it into his arms on purpose to prepare for a grand battle unlike any other. When the Warrior glares at him, Zenos apologizes in an oddly sincere way, admitting that he's simply not used to feeling so excited.
    Zenos: Oh... my. Have I said too much? Forgive me, this...sensation is wholly unfamiliar to me.
  • While Rome Burns: In the Endwalker trailer, he's shown sitting down and calmly staring at what's highly implied to be Garlemald turned into a towering inferno of flames.
  • Wild Card: In Endwalker, is Zenos an ally? Or is he an antagonist? The simplest answer would be "yes". In any case, any turn he makes is rather unclear.
    • The end of the 5.0 quests of Shadowbringers puts Zenos into this category. Zenos kills his own father, the Emperor, because using the Black Rose Deadly Gas might rob Zenos of his planned rematch with the Warrior of Light. And Zenos can't have that, so he slays the Emperor, destroys Black Rose, and sends the Empire into a bloody civil war, all to make absolutely sure that this rematch can still happen.
    • During the events of Endwalker proper, Alisaie manages to drill it into his head that the Warrior of Light will consider Zenos beneath notice unless and until the threat of the Final Days is stopped. This gets Zenos to help the Scions stop the end of the world so he and the Warrior of Light can have this fight, free of distraction.
  • Win-Win Ending: In the end, after Zenos helps to save the universe, something he doesn't care about at all, he gets exactly what he wants: a final fight against his beloved foe, the Warrior of Light. Victory or defeat, it doesn't matter: all that he ever wanted was a rematch, and by helping the Scions and the Warrior of Light he finally got his wish, as there is no more threat to distract his enemy from him. Zenos ends up dying at the edge of the universe, alone but satisfied.
  • Worthy Opponent: Comes to see the Warrior of Light as this, and craves it something fierce. He sees the Endsinger — the physical manifestation of despair — as beneath the Warrior's notice, and thinks that something so "banal" shouldn't be that much of a distraction for them. Zenos also maintains an air of being a Fair-Play Villain, only fighting the Warrior when they're at their full strength and not distracted by anything else, if only because doing otherwise would mean (in his own mind, if nothing else) that he didn't really win because his opponent wasn't able and focused. He even helps save the star if it means getting the chance to fight the Warrior one-on-one in a clash of titans.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Zenos shows zero reservation in harming women, from nearly killing Y'shtola to grabbing a fistful of Yotsuyu's hair and threatening to kill her if she fails him.
    • If the Warrior of Light is female, his duels with her are just as brutal as the male version.
  • Western Samurai: It's only since the subjugation of Doma that he has come to wield a katana, assimilating with Garlean magitek.
  • What You Are in the Dark: His pact with Krile was a desperate gambit on her part – once more in possession of Shinryu's power and given the means to traverse the stars, there was absolutely no guarantee Zenos would keep his end of the bargain and actually help the Scions. But he keeps his word.
  • World's Strongest Man:
    • He's a nigh-unstoppable juggernaut when he first appears, swatting aside even the Warrior of Light's at Rhalgr's Reach. Entire regiments of the finest soldiers in Doma fail to pose any threat to him as he blows them all away with a casual swing of his sword. Only after the Warrior spends the entirety of the story level grinding do they manage to overcome him with the help of their adventurer allies. Even then, the Warrior's victory over Zenos is razor-thin.
    • By the time of Endwalker, his status as one of, if not THE strongest mortal in the planet was reinforced: By the time of the final fight against him, he has, in no particular order: Superhuman strength, an artificial Echo of such strength to match an Ascian, the ability to transform into Shinryu at will given enough Aether, the ability to utilize the elemental powers of A Realm Reborn primals even in his humanoid form, the power of a Reaper alongside a unique Voidsent Avatar, all on top of the skills he already had as a samurai. It's telling that most of his regular melee attacks are parts of the playable Reaper's Level 3 Limit Break. In single, one-on-one combat, no other mortal can compare to him except the Warrior of Light.
  • Wrecked Weapon: After his first confrontation with the Warrior of Light, his nameless katana snaps in half. It's unknown whether it broke due to the Warrior of Light breaking it, or if it simply couldn't handle Zenos's raw power.
    • In The Stinger of 5.4, he steps on his sword, snapping it in half as he realizes he needs something much stronger for his prey.
  • Yandere: Much of his dialogue towards The Warrior Of Light blurs the line between violent and sexual, and it's easy to interpret his obsession as being partly based on attraction. Later on he gets violently protective of his 'only friend', killing his father and threatening to kill Fandaniel for harming or trying to harm them.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: At the end of Shadowbringers, Zenos becomes a Reaper, a Job that grows stronger by absorbing the aether of a slain victim's soul. While waiting for the Warrior of Light to eventually come for him in Garlemald, Zenos has gone on a murder spree to consume as many souls as he can and grow stronger in time for the rematch.

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