Rutejìmo (Jìmo for short) is a teenager of the Shimusògo clan. While growing up, he was unremarkable and had little skill to make himself notable. But, over the years, he slowly became something more.
Rutejìmo was the youngest living son of Chyojímo and Hikòru. Born after three miscarriages, he was younger than his eldest brother, Desòchu, by fourteen years.
A week after he was born, his mother fell when she tripped on a path inside Shimusogo Valley. Already weak from Rutejìmo’s birth, she died from blood loss and her injuries.
Four years later, Hikòru and Desòchu still blamed Rutejìmo for his mother’s death. Hikòru drank heavily and became a disruption on the clan while Desòchu mimicked his father’s actions and abused Rutejìmo in private.
When it became obvious that his father was a danger to Rutejìmo, the clan kicked Hikòru out of the clan and declared him a banyosiōu). Desòchu was left to care for his brother, but it was only days later when Desòchu almost shoved Rutejìmo off a cliff. Realizing that Desòchu was also unable to see past his rage, the clan forced Rutejìmo’s older brother into his rite of passage. These events are told in Raging Alone, a serial that appeared in various issues of the Journals of Fedran.
After the events in Raging Alone, Desòchu moved out of the family cave and Rutejìmo moved into his grandparent’s cave. Living with Tejíko and Somiryòki was a different experience for Rutejìmo. He was no longer subject to the abuse from his father and brother, but Tejíko was strict and had a short temper. She beat Rutejìmo, but it was for not obeying her rules. The rest of the clan watched her carefully, to see if the abuse remained with the family, but Tejíko was well-known for her punishments and she doled them without bias to anyone who transgressed the rules.
Rutejìmo did not flourish with Tejíko. Over the next thirteen years, he struggled to keep up with the frequent contests and requests the elders inflicted on the clan’s youth. It quickly became apparent that he was slower and weaker than anyone besides Pidòhu. The other children his age were all more capable, but not even them could keep up with the pride of the clan, Chimípu.
Frequently, Rutejìmo came to blows with Tsubàyo and Karawàbi, but rarely won the resulting brawls since the two teenagers remained near each other and easily defeated Rutejìmo. Unable to prove himself to anyone, he found himself drifting without any aspirations to reach his brother’s powers or Chimípu’s obvious skill.
Sand and Blood
At the beginning of Sand and Blood, Rutejìmo was seventeen years old. He had not gone through his rites of passage because the clan elders felt that he did not have the emotional maturity to become an adult.
Being that Sand and Blood is written from Rutejìmo’s point of view, there are relatively few descriptions.
[…] Like all desert folk, she had dark skin and green eyes. But where she was as dark as obsidian rock, Rutejìmo was the softer brown of sun-bright soil. She wore […].
In contrast, Rutejìmo wore a pair of white cotton trousers and remained bare-chested. A few sparse black hairs dusted his pectorals. The only representative traits of the Shimusògo were hard, muscular legs and lean bodies adapted to running across the desert for hours.
Rutejìmo had dreams of keeping up with Chimípu even though he knew he wasn’t capable of doing so. He chafed underneath her obvious skill, wishing he would push himself harder but knowing that he wouldn’t.
Later, during the rite and when Chimípu ran off to try to find the elders, Rutejìmo was willing to let Tsubàyo and Karawàbi take charge. Even when Karawàbi was trying to knock Pidòhu off a rock, Rutejìmo felt guilt for not doing anything when the teenager fell and broke his legs. The same attitude remained with him when he let Tsubàyo bully him into abandoning Chimípu and Pidòhu and going off on their own.
It wasn’t until Rutejìmo started to feel the power of Shimusògo and the abusive way that Tsubàyo treated him that he was willing to stand on his own. When Tsubàyo tried to steal horses, Rutejìmo finally stood up for himself and refused. That led to a fight with Tsubàyo and, later, Karawàbi, before Rutejìmo ran back to rejoin Chimípu and Pidòhu.
He realized his mistake and offered his throat to Chimípu who refused to take his life. She reluctantly allowed him to retain but didn’t lash out.
Through the adventures that followed, Rutejìmo found that he had no taste for violence and was quickly becoming a pacifist. He made some attempts to fight Tsubàyo over Pidòhu, but he couldn’t bring himself to attack the teenager. When he saw violence, he became sick to his stomach and would later beg to save Tsubàyo’s life.
During this time, Rutejìmo also acquired a fear of the dark much to the realization that he was too weak to survive on his own. A night clan warrior, Pabinkue Mikáryo, enforced this when she saved him from a giant snake. It was during this time that he started to have feelings for the warrior that would later haunt him.
Sand and Ash
Between Ash and Bone
Sand and Bone
The novel, Sand and Bone ends with Rutejìmo’s death.