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Rito

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Majora's Mask Artwork
Rito
Quill
Quill, a Rito
First appearance The Wind Waker (2003)
Homeland Great Sea
Preceded by Zora
Distinctions Beaks
Wings
Notable members Basht and Bisht
Hoskit
Hoskit's Girlfriend
Ilari
Koboli
Kogoli
Komali's Grandmother
Medli
Namali
Pashli
Prince Komali
Quill
Rito Chieftain
Skett and Akoot
"As you can see, we of the Rito tribe are profoundly connected to the sky. We make our livings on the airways. We do so by the graces of the sky spirit, Valoo. When a Rito reaches adulthood, he or she journeys to the top of Dragon Roost to receive a scale from the great dragon. It is this scale that enables the Rito to grow his or her wings."
Rito Chieftain

The Rito, also known as the Bird-people, are a race of bird-like humanoids in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Their main habitat is on Dragon Roost Island, an island on the Great Sea. They have a tribal elder, with numerous followers and elaborately dressed guards. No Rito is born with wings, and instead, must visit the tribes' guardian, the great Sky Spirit, Valoo, to receive one of his scales which enables them to grow wings. It is a coming of age ceremony of the Rito to journey to the great Valoo to receive their scale.

Rito are viewed upon by outsiders somewhat dubiously. Some have an inexplicable bigotry directed towards them, perhaps out of jealousy. Still, Rito are widely accepted as mail carriers, as only they can traverse the seas without cumbersome ships. Rito are capable of flying quickly, and full-grown Rito can carry humans for a short time.

The Rito would be inspired by the Watarara race in the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga, generally considered not to be canon, as a joined interview of the artists and Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma at the end of the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past manga reveals that the design team for Wind Waker was directly inspired by the Watarara to create the Rito as Eiji Aonuma really liked the short story and they needed characters able to carry information to Link very swiftly across the open sea. The Watarara were more like giant birds than humans, but had a similar gaining of wings past a certain age and the same chieftain leadership structure. The Rito people resemble condors, or possibly hawks, and seem to have some relation with some sort of Native American culture, the most suggestible being Andean culture: males have dark skin and the main theme of the Dragon Roost Island contains some Andean instruments such as zampoña (or pan pipes) and charango.

Biology

Rito are a race of bird-like humans. They have a mix of human and animal biological characteristics, with very distinctive traits. The Rito appear to be covered by dark shaded skin with white hair, yet the only seen female Rito, Medli, has pale skin and brown hair. Most Rito have red colored eyes, although the Rito Chieftain has yellow eyes. They, like many other races in the series, have pointed ears. The Rito have bird-like feet as well, though oddly without talons. Rito also have some sort of beak where a human's nose would be found, though the shape and size of this beak varies through different Rito. Unlike normal birds this beak appears to be only used for smelling, and cannot be used as a mouth; the Rito have a more human-like mouth below this beak. Another biological factor may be the Rito's feet; It is unknown if the bird feet-like pattern on their legs is their true feet, or a tribal piece of clothing such as a cloth wrapped around their leg to symbolize a bird's legs.

Throughout a young Rito's childhood, he or she is called a Fledgling and is flightless without any wings. The difference seems to be noticeable due to certain physical characteristics, such as Prince Komali's hair color is a dark gray-ish white with a brown tip, which seems to become totally pure white later in the game. After a child reaches a certain age they can only receive their wings after they retrieve a scale from the dragon, Valoo. Their wings are unique in that they protrude from their forearms, similar to where a Zora's fins would be. These have an appearance similar to the sleeves of a cloak when the Rito is not in flight. While not in use wings of a Rito are mostly white with black colored plumage located along the ends. When in flight the top of a Rito's wings are colored brown with black along the edges while the bottoms of the wings contain white colored plumage along the wings interior. However, Medli has pure white colored wings, possibly suggesting that female Rito have white wings or that her wings are not fully grown yet.

Most Rito are able to fly over a great distance and can hover in place, but some, like Medli, have trouble flying for long periods of time. This is likely due to inexperience at flying, however. Like humans, Rito's heads are covered by hair that are of different colors and lengths for each person. Most males, however, seem to have white colored hair, even at a young age.

Evolution

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Medli

Medli of the Rito, whose clothing bears the symbol of Zora's Sapphire, closely associated with the Zora

According to Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma, the Rito are the evolved form of the Zora that appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.[1] This half-fish, half-human race makes multiple references to the Rito which further confirms this evolution. The most convincing is the fact that Medli shares the bloodline of the Zora Earth Sage, Laruto, similar to how Makar, who is a Korok, is a descendant of the Kokiri Wind Sage, Fado. Also, the symbol of the Zora's Sapphire, which is used as the Zora's royal family symbol, can be seen in multiple places on the Ritos' home of Dragon Roost Island. It is even on the clothes worn by some Ritos. Also, in their general physiology Zoras and Ritos have many similarities, like the fact that the Rito have wings that hang down at their elbows, and the Zoras have fins at the same place.

It is unknown why this change would have occurred since the Zoras in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages have been shown to be able to live in the sea off the coast of the island of Labrynna. However, unlike the Great Sea, the Zoras seemed to be living in a controlled environment without interruption from other sea dwellers. In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the Zora have trouble living in murky water or in water that is not at optimal temperature, thus suggesting that the change in water conditions might have forced them to evolve. This assumes however that Terminian Zora and Hyrulean Zora share the same characteristics. Also, as the Great Sea is quoted as being mainly devoid of fish to catch, it is possible that the Zora's main food source dried up, forcing them to become land creatures. As the Great Sea is filled with numerous monsters and other dangerous sea life, the Zora might have had to evolve to avoid being eaten or constantly attacked. This would explain why they now had to fly over the water rather than swim through it. A small rumor states that the goddesses did not want anyone to find Hyrule hidden beneath the Great Sea, and as Zoras would have found the land quite quickly, the goddesses evolved the Zora on their own. Though because of the appearance of Fishmen, who are also sentient beings that live in water this appears to be untrue.

History

Rito Outside Dragon Roost

Various Rito watching as Link defeats Gohma and calms Valoo

The Rito's first and so far only appearance has been in The Wind Waker. The Rito are first seen in the game in the form of Quill, a Rito postman who is delivering letters to Outset Island when the Helmaroc King is shot out of the sky by pirates trying to rescue Tetra. Shortly after Aryll's kidnapping by the Helmaroc King, Quill convinces Tetra and her pirates to transport Link to the Forsaken Fortress, so he can save her.

Later in the game Link again runs into Quill on Dragon Roost Island while searching for Din's Pearl. Quill invites him to come into the island and meet the chieftain of the Rito tribe to see what they can do to help Link. After the two meet the Rito Chieftain states the he wants to help Link, but he cannot due to a crisis the Rito are currently in. The Rito's guardian deity, Valoo, had begun acting with hostility and nobody can approach him. Because young Rito can no longer acquire the scale needed to grow their wings, the Rito's very way of life has become threatened.

Therefore, the Rito Chieftain says he needs to attend to the issue before he can help Link. He does, however, ask Link to try and help his son Prince Komali who has come under a stint of depression after his Grandmother had passed away. As he can not personally attend to his son at the time the Rito Chieftain asks Link to deliver a letter he wrote to his son which is being held by Valoo's current attendant Medli. Medli introduces herself to Link, and gives him the letter from the Chieftain to his son, but asks him to meet her again near the entrance to Dragon Roost Cavern.

As Link delivers the letter he notices that Prince Komali is in possession of Din's Pearl. Although Link gives Komali his father's letter it fails to calm him down and instead he acts hostile towards Link. Komali refuses to give Link Din's Pearl, but Link states that he can calm Valoo down. Although Komali believes that Link is lying he says that he will give him anything he wants if he can calm Valoo.

Later Link meets with Medli outside of Dragon Roost Cavern. Medli says that she wants to venture up Dragon Roost Mountain in order to try and find out what is wrong with Valoo. However the bridge connecting the Rito settlement to the cavern has been broken and the spring that once flowed there has been blocked by a volcanic rock. Link helps Medli enter Dragon Roost Cavern by throwing her against the far side of the bridge, allowing her to ride the wind. She gives Link a Bottle and ventures up to the summit of Dragon Roost Mountain.

As Link enters back into the Rito's settlement he learns from Quill that Medli has become captured by monsters on her journey up Dragon Roost. Using the bottle Medli gave him Link uses water to restore a Bomb Flower, which he in turn uses to crush the volcanic boulder, allowing him to swim across to the now-full pond and enter Dragon Roost. After fighting his way through the dungeon Link encounters Medli at the top of Dragon Roost Island where she has been imprisoned by Bokoblins. Link rescues her, and she tells him about the entire situation with Valoo.

Medli concludes that something is harassing the great dragon. In fact, he is being tortured by the tremendous monster, Gohma, hidden within the mountain, beneath Valoo's high peak. As Medli heads down the mountain to tell the other Rito what's happening, she gives Link a Grappling Hook. Link then uses the Grappling Hook to venture into Gohma's layer and slay the monster, finally calming down Valoo from his torment. As Link returns to the base of the island he meets with Medli and Prince Komali.

Komali apologizes for mistrusting Link, stating his desire to be like him. He gives Link his treasured Din's Pearl as a reward and also out of friendship. As Link goes to leave the island Valoo shouts down to him to use the wind gods wind. Medli doesn't understand what Valoo means by this but concludes it must have something to do with the wind shrine on the other side of the island. As Link sets off Komali regains his confidence and ascends to the top of Dragon Roost Mountain to get his scale from the Great Valoo and become a true Rito.

After acquiring the second of the Pearls of the Goddesses Link ventures to Greatfish Isle to get the last pearl from the Water Spirit, Jabun. Upon reaching the island however he discovers that it had been destroyed by Ganondorf's magic. On the Greatfish Isle Quill appears and supplies Link with information about the location of Jabun, but only after accidentally telling Tetra's Pirates about his location: a secret cavern behind Outset Island. Quill states that the island has become cursed and recommends Link not to stay longer than he has to.

Controlling Medli

Link controlling Medli in the Earth Temple

Later in the game Quill, along with Prince Komali and Valoo, helps rescue Link and Tetra from Ganondorf at the Forsaken Fortress. Link learns that the Master Sword had lost its power and needs to reawaken the Sages of the Master Sword in order to defeat Ganondorf. After learning from the spirit of the last Sage of Earth, Laruto that Medli is next in her bloodline to become a sage Link travels back to Dragon Roost Island. He then plays the "Earth God's Lyric", a song he learned from Laruto, to Medli. She briefly loses consciousness, sees Laruto in a vision, and awakens as the Sage of Earth.

Medli then comes with Link to the Earth Temple so that they can restore the Master Sword. If Link plays the "Command Melody" while in the Earth Temple near Medli, Link will be able to control her. Link can cause Medli to take flight, or use the harp that she carries to reflect and store strong beams of light. Using their combined abilities to work their way through the dungeon Link defeats the temple's boss, Jalhalla, and Medli restores the edge of the Master Sword.

After the defeat of Ganondorf, Prince Komali, as well as Medli can be seen on Tetra's Pirate Ship, celebrating Link's victory.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

Culture

Dragon Roost Island Interior

The home of the Rito inside Dragon Roost Mountain

All known Rito reside on Dragon Roost Island, a large and mountainous island in the northeast portion of the Great Sea. Here, the Rito's main settlement is built within Dragon Roost Mountain overlooking a small spring in the center of the island. Perched on the peak of the island is the great Sky Spirit, Valoo. Valoo is a spirit in the shape of a large dragon and serves as the guardian deity of the Rito. He is held to the highest of respect by the Rito who have a long line of attendants and caretakers to look after him.

The average Rito wears a dark red tunic with a belt around the waist. The tunic is usually rather plain in color, but often has a more colorful lining around the sleeves and collar. Also it is common to see Rito wearing delivery bags as they cannot carry things while using their wings. Some Rito wear more elaborate clothing, such as the Police Force who customarily wear white tunics with a blue stripe around the waist. Still others, like Medli and the Rito Chieftain, can be seen in unique clothing, likely due to the special jobs that they have on the island.

The Rito were stated to be the tribe that invented Grappling Hooks which were used before they had evolved wings. Grappling Hooks are still used by Fledglings until they grow wings of their own. Although it is unknown if these items was created by the Rito or not, Postman Statues clearly depicts their tribe. According to Zunari, the purpose of these statues are to bring Ritos to Windfall Island.

Government and economy

Rito Chieftain

The Rito appear to be ruled some kind of monarchy style chiefdom. The ruler of the Rito is always a chieftain who oversees everything happening on the island. His son holds the title of prince, and will eventually become the chieftain of the tribe (although since Prince Komali is the current Rito Chieftain's only child, it remains to be seen if there could be a female chieftain, or who the chieftain would be if there were multiple children). His rule is also assisted by several guards and other assistants who live on the island to help him and his people.

Given their ability to quickly and safely travel between islands the Rito have become the foremost postmen throughout the Great Sea. Most Rito appear to be employed as mail carriers or other jobs related to the postal service. Even though most of them appear to be employed this way, there still appears to be a shortage of staff at the Mail Center, which sometimes requires temporary help from a non-Rito, such as Link or Baito. Sometimes certain Rito will take a break from their work and fly to the nearby Flight Control Platform for the annual Bird-Man Contest every year to test which Rito can fly the farthest. Hylians may participate as well, as long as they have something with which to fly.

Like most races, they accept the Rupee as their form of currency.

Etymology

In the Japanese language, the race is known as the "Ri-To", and the Japanese word "tori" means bird. 'Rito' could also be a play on the name of Ruto, the Princess of the Zoras, the race from which the Rito evolved.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ 'Eiji Aonuma: We created the Rito as the evolved form of the Zora that appeared in "Ocarina of Time" and the Koroks as what the Kokiri became once they left the forest. They appear different, but they have inherited their blood. {Interview with Eiji Aonuma on Page 29 of Zelda Box (Part 1, Page 26 on the online download)}

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