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I've grown stiff and tired over these many years and I've forgotten much, but the sound of the bell will always call me back.
-The Last Stag
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The Last Stag is an NPC in Hollow Knight serving as transport across Hallownest.

Lore

The Last Stag is a large stag beetle and the last of his kind in Hallownest.[1] During the kingdom's heyday, stags were used to transport bugs and goods across the land through the Stagways.[1] When Hallownest fell, travels died down and most of the Stag Stations were closed.[3][4]

The Last Stag travelling the Stagways

Even though his own kind disappeared and old age starts impairing him, the Last Stag remains faithful to his duties.[5][6] He transports any bug calling him with the bell of a Station, wherever they are. However, his memory has been lacking and he forgot where the Stations are located on the Stagways, even the Stag Nest.[7] Yet, the Last Stag keeps a good memory of the places he once visited and still remembers much of Hallownest's golden age.[8]

His dedication to the Stagways makes him dislike the Tramways the Pale King was building before the latter's disappearance.[9] He also makes no difference between his riders, despite his own feelings about them.[10]

In-game events

The Last Stag can transport the Knight for free to and from any unlocked Stations. He urges them to open any more Stations they may come across, as it may help him remember the location of the Stag Nest.[11]

At every station, he can tell the Knight more about its surrounding areas, providing a lot of information about the past of the kingdom and its inhabitants. However, he mentions that he was not aware of the existence of the station in the Distant Village and the Hidden Dreams Icon.png Hidden Station in the Palace Grounds.[12][13]

Empty Stag egg shells in the Stag Nest

After finding all available Stations, the Last Stag remembers the location of the Stag Nest and can provide a ride to it. Inside, many Stag corpses are found along with a broken egg and a Vessel Fragment and the Last Stag senses that more of his kind might be alive, which rejoices him.[14] His name is then changed to Old Stag.

Dialogue

First Encounter Greetings, little one! It's been an age since I last heard the ringing of a station bell. It echoed down the stagways and called me to you.

I've grown stiff and tired over these many years and I've forgotten much, but the sound of the bell will always call me back.
These stagways stretch the depths of Hallownest. If you want to travel them, hail me from the platform. I will take you where you need to go.

After opening 3 Stag Stations You've opened several stag stations now, haven't you? I'm thankful for the opportunity to once more travel through the kingdom.

As I visit more places I feel my memories returning to me, like the stagways of my mind are running once more.
Continue to open the stations and you'll have my deepest gratitude.

After opening 6 Stag Stations Ahh, many stag stations have been opened. Again I can travel the breadth of the kingdom. So many grand thoroughfares and old sideways I'd forgotten.

Somewhere amongst the lines lies the Stag Nest, the place where I was born and raised. I'd thought its location lost to my failing mind, but now I can almost remember the path.
If you keep opening stag stations and beckoning me through them, perhaps I'll again find that Nest. Ahh, I would like that very much!

After opening all Stag Stations Little one! I've found it! the Stag Nest, where I was born and raised.

I've yet to go there again. My duty binds me to travel only where I am called, but if you wished to see it yourself, I could take you there.
None may remain to welcome us, but the nest is still a sight to behold! Give me the word, and we will go there at once.

While holding the Delicate Flower That flower you're carrying... It looks quite beautiful, but also very delicate. I fear if you travel with me it will be ruined.

If you need to keep it intact, I'd suggest using your own legs to carry it to its destination.

Dream Nailed I tire so easily now, and my old legs seem to ache more and more. Still, I'm lucky to grow old at all... so many others haven't.

General dialogue Eager to travel the stagways? Just hop upon that platform, give me the signal and we'll soon be on our way.
In Dirtmouth This place... we are near the surface, I believe? There is a town here. You should take the opportunity to rest.

This place was once full of travellers coming and going. It seems much quieter now.

In the Forgotten Crossroads It was a long time ago, but I remember when these highways and crossroads pulsed with life. These are the paths I first carried passengers through when I was young.

Those travellers are long gone, yet still I remain. Now it seems it's just you and I and the furtive creatures scratching and squirming all around us.

In the Forgotten Crossroads, if Tiso is sitting on the Bench I see another takes rest upon the bench. There's something unpleasant about that one, but a stag station's doors are open to all.

If he requests passage, I'll offer it gladly. My duty as a stag far outweighs any personal distaste.

In Greenpath My, this place is much changed since I last saw it. The greenery grows so wild the station's like to be consumed by it.
In the Fungal Wastes, Queen's Station Ahh, this gladdens me. The Queen's Station has opened once more. This place was a bustling hub of travel, well-placed for travellers visiting the outer edges of the land.

You're quite the explorer to find this place.

In the City of Tears, City Storerooms I remember this station well. A common trip it was. Goods from all over the kingdom were transported here.

Not a lot was sent back the other way though.

In the City of Tears, King's Station Little one, we stand in the King's Station! Named of course for the King of Hallownest, he who ordered the building of the stagways and stations.

The King never rode the stagways himself, but I've heard he was a glorious bug to behold, bright and radiant in visage, so much so it hurt to look at him.

In Deepnest, the Distant Village Ahh, little one... Where are we? I have never been to this station. It has a strange air of danger to it. Let me take you somewhere safer, quickly.
In the Resting Grounds The Resting Grounds... Passengers would come here to conduct rituals for those who had passed on.

Not any more though. Perhaps the dead conduct their own rituals now?

In the Queen's Gardens Before you rang the bell, I'd almost forgotten this station existed. It was not often used by the common bugs, being a well-guarded retreat for our late Queen.

Even as overgrown as they've become, these gardens are still beautiful after all this time. I'm sure the Queen would be happy to know that.

In the Ancient Basin, the Hidden Dreams Icon.png Hidden Station Ah! What station is this, hidden all the way at the bottom of the world?

Until I heard the bell calling, I didn't even know the Stagways travelled so deep. You've discovered something quite astounding, little one!
No matter how old I grow, the world still keeps surprises like this stowed away...

In the Howling Cliffs, the Stag Nest Being back in my old home... I feel the weight of my long life bearing down on me.

I carry it proudly, though. Wherever I travel, the memories of my family and my kind come with me.

In the Stag Nest, after finding the empty eggshell What do you think of my old home, little one?

It was full of life, once. Stags coming and going, swapping stories of the places they'd been and the passengers they'd met.
For a long time now, I've considered myself the only one remaining. The last stag.
But being in the Nest again... there's something in the air. A smell, or a warmth, or a presence perhaps?
Could it be, other stags have made their way out into the wider world?
Yes, I will hold onto that hope. My kin, still alive, still out there, journeying beyond these lands.
But for me, I could never abandon the stagways. Not as long as passengers still need them.
I can tell you still have important work to do. I will be your companion as long as my old body still serves.
Let us enjoy the old stagways of this kingdom together a little longer.

After acquiring the Tram Pass That pass you hold! Is it not for that ghastly machine, the tram? I hope you're not thinking of riding on that grotesque contraption.

The thought a mere machine could attempt what we stags do! Foolish...Very foolish.

Gallery

Achievements

Achievement Connection.png Connection
Open half the Stag Stations
Achievement Hope.png Hope
Open all Stag Stations and discover the Stag Nest

Trivia

  • The Hollow Knight Beta contains cut sleeping sprites for the Last Stag. This animation was never implemented in the beta or the final game. The sprites were still present in the release version but were removed in later versions.
    • One of the sprites was re-used for a Stag corpse in the Stag Nest.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wanderer's Journal, p. 58.
  2. Message from Leth on Discord.
  3. Last Stag: "It was a long time ago, but I remember when these highways and crossroads pulsed with life. [...] Those travellers are long gone, yet I still remain."
  4. Elderbug: "I never thought I'd see such a thing. The Stag Station has opened! That building lay silent since before even my time."
  5. Last Stag: "I've grown stiff and tired over these many years and I've forgotten much, but the sound of the bell will always call me back."
  6. Last Stag: "For a long time now, I've considered myself the only one remaining. The last stag."
  7. Last Stag: "Ahh, many stag stations have been opened. Again I can travel the breadth of the kingdom. So many grand thoroughfares and old sideways I'd forgotten."
  8. Last Stag: "The Queen's Station has opened once more. This place was a bustling hub of travel, well-placed for travellers visiting the outer edges of the land."
  9. Last Stag: "That pass you hold! Is it not for that ghastly machine, the tram? I hope you're not thinking of riding on that grotesque contraption. The thought a mere machine could attempt what we stags do! Foolish...Very foolish."
  10. Last Stag: "I see another takes rest upon the bench. There's something unpleasant about that one, but a stag station's doors are open to all. If he requests passage, I'll offer it gladly. My duty as a stag far outweighs any personal distaste."
  11. Last Stag: "If you keep opening stag stations and beckoning me through them, perhaps I'll again find that Nest. Ahh, I would like that very much!"
  12. Last Stag in Deepnest: "I have never been to this station. It has a strange air of danger to it."
  13. Last Stag in Ancient Basin: "What station is this, hidden all the way at the bottom of the world? Until I heard the bell calling, I didn't even know the Stagways travelled so deep."
  14. Last Stag: "Wherever I travel, the memories of my family and my kind come with me. Yes, I will hold onto that hope. My kin, still alive, still out there, journeying beyond these lands."
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