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Ruto appears in two shapes, child and adult, but her general characteristics are noticeable in both. Like all Zora, she is a light blue color and wears no clothing. While most Zora have two tendril-like protrusions on their heads, Ruto instead has a wide, blocky head.
When first encountered, she acts rather spoiled and bratty towards Link but becomes more friendly after spending some time with him.
Ruto was introduced as the daughter of King Zora XVI, ruler of Zora's Domain, and was the caretaker of the Zora's patron deity and guardian, Jabu-Jabu. One day while feeding him, she got accidentally swallowed along with Zora's Sapphire, the Spiritual Stone of Water. Link later appeared to obtain the Sapphire and was ordered by the King to save his daughter.
Link traveled through Jabu-Jabu's innards and found Ruto, who demanded that they found the Zora's Sapphire, as it once belonged to her mother. Link managed to save both Ruto and the Sapphire after defeating Barinade, a monster that was harassing Jabu-Jabu from the inside. Ruto then told Link that her mother had told that she would give the Zora's Sapphire to the man she would marry, so she handed the gem to Link and considered them to be engaged.
Seven years later, Ganondorf had conquered Hyrule, and frozen Zora's Domain solid, Ruto included. She was however rescued from the ice by Sheik and went to the Water Temple to find out what had happened. Link later arrives at the temple as well, and Ruto scolds him for leaving her for such a long time. She also reveals that she is Link's fiancee. After Link defeats Morpha, a monster in the temple, Ruto is revealed to be the Sage of Water and gives Link the Water Medallion. She then tells him that the two while she would love nothing more than to offer her eternal love to him, they cannot be together, at least not until his quest is over.