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Razo is a main character throughout The Books of Bayern and is the main protagonist of River Secrets. He is a member of Bayern's Own and is in a relationship with Dasha, is good friends with Beier, Isi, Geric, Enna, and Finn, and is very close to his little sister Rinna.

BiographyEdit

Razo was born in the Forest as the youngest boy in a family that already had five. He was often teased by his brothers for being the smallest and weakest of them all. As a small child, he wanted to have a little brother of his own that he could pick on and call runt, and so he was happy when his mother was finally expecting another baby. On the night of the birth, young Razo heard his mother crying from the labor pains. He was frightened to see his mother in pain and cried with her, begging for a way to make the pain stop. Eventually a neighbor arrived to help birth the baby and shooed him outside with his brothers and soon everyone forgot the pain and celebrated the birth of his new sister; but Razo never forgot.

When he saw his baby sister Rin for the first time in her cradle, all desire to tease his younger sibling drained out of him. Instead, he promised the infant that he'd teach her to climb trees. However, his Ma forbade her baby from climbing until she was older, so Razo impatiently looked his sister over every day to determine if she had grown big enough. By the time she was four, he had taught her to climb trees so well she could practically do it in her sleep.

Two years after Rinna's birth, when Razo was six, their father went into the deep woods to hunt and did not come back. Ma sent the older brothers out to search for him, but they found only his pack and some bear prints. For years afterward, Razo's face would betray the hollow sorrow of loss whenever he remembered his father. It became more difficult to pay their expenses, so when Razo was nearly twelve years old, he announced that he was going to the capital city in the hopes of earning more money to help out his large family. Unable to say goodbye and face his little sister's heartbreak at his departure, he snuck away in the early hours of the morning before she woke. He eventually found a job as an animal worker in the west settlements tending the king's sheep.

The Goose Girl Edit

Razo and his fellow sheep-boy Beier think up a prank to pull on their friend Enna, the chicken girl. For days, they sneak into the coop and carefully paint a certain hen's eggs bright colors, convincing Enna that the poor chicken must be sick. Alarmed, she buys the hen all sorts of medicines and witch-made charms, much to the boys' amusement.

Some time later, Enna bursts through the door to Mistress Ideca's dining house out of breath, begging the sheep boys to rescue her chick coop from a ram who beat a hole through his pen. Knowing the damage an angry ram can cause, the boys immediately rush to the rescue. However, when they open the door, a bucket of oat mush falls on top of their heads, slathering them in thick gray slop. Realizing Enna finally found out about their trick and pranked them for payback, the fuming boys return to the hall. Enna merely laughs and salutes them along with the rest of the hall, with cheerful laughter that does not completely break until they all go to bed.

Razo later joins Enna, Conrad, Bettin, and the new goose girl Isi to explore the Wintermoon festival together. Conrad and Razo are especially entranced by the javelin dancers: a ceremony that bequeaths Bayern boys a javelin and shield, marking them as members of the community. The boys must dance blindfolded within a sharp ring of javelins in the square known as the Thumbprint of the Gods. Its honorable if the boy survives the dance untouched, but they're given a javelin and shield anyway unless they die. Razo and Conrad stare with starry eyes, declaring that they'd do the dance right there and then if it earned them a javelin. Unfortunately, the prejudice against Forest folk prohibits any Forest boy from even trying.

As winter gradually slips into spring, Conrad tracks down Razo and warns him that Isi isn't normal: she acts like she speaks goose and stares oddly at the stuffed horse head mounted above the pasture gate. But Razo's seen how jealous Conrad has been of the goose girl's skill with birds lately and doesn't see how these claims are any different. Later, there's a light snowfall that gloomily reminds the workers about their struggling families in the Forest. Isi is asked what her family sells, and she replies that she doesn't know what they're doing now. Suddenly, Conrad laughs roughly at her, scorning her answer. Razo has had just about enough of Conrad's vicious jealousy and tells him to knock it off, but Conrad continues to mock her until he has the attention of every worker in the hall. He ridicules them all for admiring her skill with birds when she's not even from Bayern. He declares triumphantly that he's seen her hair and knows that she's a blonde "yellow girl", the one the Kildenrean guards have been looking for since they entered the city. 

The tense silence is split when Enna snaps at him to shut up, but he counters that she doesn't know what he does; he's seen her. Enna snaps that she has too and so he should shove his jealousies where the sun doesn't shine. His face as red as a sunburn, Conrad slams his fist on the table in frustration. Razo and Beier gently but firmly hold his arms as he challenges Enna to make Isi remove her headscarf and prove that she's Bayern.

Enna sadly explains to the hall that Isi's hair got burned off in a fire before she came to the city, and she's not going to embarrass her just to set Conrad straight. The workers study their potatoes with sudden interest, but Conrad is furious. He swears to prove that Isi's foreign, but no one responds. Angry that no one believes him, he squirms out of Razo and Beier's grip and stomps off in a huff.

Two months after Wintermoon, the goose flock is attacked by thieves. Isi somehow manages to drive them away all on her own, but she refuses to talk about it, leaving her would-be rescuers to tell the much-embellished tale to Razo and the rest of the workers. Some workers are sent to the goose pasture to collect the poles and sacks the thieves left behind, but they instead return with the palace pageboy Tatto. The young page grandly announces that the king has heard of the valiant protection of his geese and wishes to thank those involved, and Razo presumably cheers along with everyone else as Isi and Conrad follow Tatto out the door.

Later that evening, Tatto returns to dine with the workers and gossips about the rumors of war plaguing the palace. Tatto reveals that the princess sent from Kildenree to marry the Bayern prince told the king that she really was sent as a kind of decoy to pretend all is well. In reality, Kildenree is plotting an attack on Bayern. However, the princess has grown to like Bayern and does not wish to be a part of her country's deceitful ways. Tatto declares that the king is outraged and has decided to crush Kildenree in a preemptive strike as soon as the mountain passes are cleared of snow. Isi is horrified, but Razo reassures her that she doesn't need to worry; Bayern is strong enough to overpower Kildenree with little effort. Nevertheless, he hopes that the war will be large enough that the Forest boys will be required to join the king's army. Maybe then, Forest Folk will get the respect that the city's prejudice denies them.

That night, Razo and half the settlement hear a racket of angry geese and spot Isi running for her life from a large man named Ungolad chasing her. Enna leads a large segment of the workers after them, but they lose sight of the two in the nearby woods. Faced with everyone's questions, Enna reveals to them all that Isi is truly Princess Anidori-Kiladra of Kildenree. She was sent to Bayern to marry their prince, but on the journey half of her escort mutinied. They killed the other half and tried to kill Isi too so that they could replace her with her lady-in-waiting, Selia, but Isi managed to escape and has been hiding as their goose girl ever since. Razo is shocked to hear of Isi's true identity and worries that she may have been killed.

Soon after, the prince's upcoming wedding to the Kildenrean princess is announced and the whole city has a week-long holiday. Freed from work but having nowhere to go, Razo joins the rest of the workers in the dining hall. Suddenly, Isi herself walks in the door, accompanied by Finn and a Kildenrean man loyal to Isi named Talone. As soon as the room catches sight of Isi, everyone rushes to hug her and congratulate her on being alive. Razo and the other workers are determined to help their friend on her quest and volunteer to join her before she even has a chance to ask them.

Leading her group to the palace, Isi gains an audience with the previous prime minister Odaccar, who is now retired. He writes a very official note for the stable-master so they can get horses for their journey. They manage to acquire about a dozen horses, but not many animal-workers can ride. Those who can, including Razo, are chosen to accompany Isi all the way to Lake Meginhard, where the wedding is to take place. After a few days' journey they arrive at the manor, but are stopped by the king's guards. They insist that the princess see the king alone, forcing Isi's escort to remain outside. Nevertheless, they eventually gain access to the manor just as Selia and Ungolad's treachery is revealed to the King of Bayern. Ungolad attempts to kill Isi, but Talone bursts in the nick of time, distracting Ungolad by challenging him to a duel. Talone fights the vicious, maddened Ungolad as the workers rush into the room to help the king's guard fight the Kildenrean traitors. Razo spots a traitor named Terne advancing menacingly towards Isi and instinctively grabs a javelin, throwing it fatally through Terne before he can harm her. Razo stands frozen in horror at his first kill, but the battle rages on and after a moment, so does he.

As the Kildenreans lose their lives one by one, soon the only fight left is the one between Ungolad and Prince Geric. Knowing that if anyone tries to help the prince win his very first real battle it would be a great dishonor, the Bayern soldiers and animal-workers watch helplessly from the sidelines as their prince struggles against the vicious, maddened Ungolad. Ungolad manages to stab Geric in the side, but the pain seems to give Geric strength until he manages to give Ungolad a deathblow, ending the battle between the traitors and the Bayern as a whole.

The king symbolically declares Geric a man and decides to charge Selia with treason, making everyone notice that Selia is, in fact, nowhere in sight. Razo sarcastically grumbles about how her escape is just the cherry on top of the whole bloody sundae when everyone suddenly realizes that Conrad, too, is nowhere to be found. Razo and the others grimly look through the bodies of the dead when they hear screaming coming from the hidden passageway. They look inside to see a proud Conrad dragging a furious Selia along by her hair, having caught her just as she was trying to escape through a window. The king's soldiers swiftly carry her away screaming to the dungeons to await her punishment for treason: to be dragged through the streets in a barrel full of nails, a punishment she herself devised for Isi.

The next day, Razo is summoned to the dining hall where he is officially given a javelin and shield. As Razo takes his place among the newly formed hundred-band made up of the Forest folk, he is overcome with emotion and cries openly. Some days after the celebration, Razo attends the marriage between Isi and Geric in the Thumbprint of the Gods, a public city square where anyone, noble or commoner, can attend the wedding.

Physical DescriptionEdit

Razo is shorter than all five of his brothers and most of his friends. Consequently, he spikes his dark hair straight up with pine sap to make himself appear taller. He is very bad at hiding his emotions, to the point where his face is even said to be "a signpost for all to read".

AbilitiesEdit

  • Razo is the best slinger in Bayern's Own. He can:
    • Accurately hit moving targets, even if they're tiny.
    • Hit targets that are a hundred and fifty paces away.
    • Hit close targets with a distance sling.
  • Razo has excellent observational skills and a sharp memory, making him a useful scout and spy.

Trivia Edit

  • Razo owned a toad at some point while living in Tira.
  • Razo crosses his eyes for luck.
  • In the Bayern Justice League, a tactic Shannon Hale used for character development, Razo is considered to be Green Arrow.

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