Ro is a thin and pale girl, of about ten years of age.
Ro grew up on a farm near the town of Squaredeal in Near Country with her mother and siblings Shy and Pit. One day, a scarred nine-fingered Northman named Lamb turns up at the farm, and is taken on as a farm-hand. When her mother dies, Lamb promised to look after the children.
Red Country Edit
Shy take her farm’s crop to market in Squaredeal, accompanied by her surrogate-father Lamb. While they’re away, bandits led by Grega Cantliss attack the farm, burned it out, and hang the old farm-hand Gully. She and her little brother are kidnapped.
As they and the bandits move west, Cantliss gathers more and more children. Eventually, there are twenty-one children, none older than ten. Ro is one of the oldest children, so she tries to keep the others fed, cleaned and quiet. At one point, a boy named Care runs away, but one of the bandits chases him down and kills him; no one tried to run after that. Another time, one of the men shakes her wakeful at night, and started talking about how she reminded him of someone, but Pit hits him, and Cantliss drags the man away and killed him.
They travel by land and boat until they reach a region of hills with geothermal activity called Ashranc; Ashranc is the home of the Dragon People, a settlement carved into the mountainside. Waerdinur pays Cantliss for the children in ancient gold. He tells Ro that he is her father now, and hangs a necklace around her neck, with a piece of dull, grey metal in the shape of a teardrop, that he calls a dragon scale.
One night, Ro tries to leave, but Waerdinur tracks her down. She warns him that Shy will come for her, but Waerdinur tells her that many children come to the Ashranc, but no families have ever come to claim them. He promises her that they can give her a purpose in life, and show her wondrous things. Ro and Pit settle into life with the Dragon People, receiving the lessons of the Maker, and working to make spears. Ro agrees to have her head shaved, like all the other Dragon People.
Eventually, Cantliss leads Shy, Lamb and Cosca and his mercenaries to Ashranc. The children are liberated, though Lamb almost kills Ro while in his Bloody-Nine state. Pit is fine, but Ro seems altered by her captivity, empathising with the Dragon People, similar to Stockholm Syndrome.
As they journey back to Squaredeal, Ro is sullen and withdrawn, and continues shaving her head like the Dragon People. At one point, some of the children including Ro decide to run away back, but Lamb catches her. Back in Squaredeal, Ro slowly seems to be recovering from her captivity, and eventually stops shaving her head.