|"But the nonbenders aren't a threat! They aren't trying to take anything away from us. They're just trying to live their lives."|
|— Ru to her mother.|
Ru was a nonbender residing Cranefish Town. The daughter of Liling, she initially assisted her mother and her bender supremacist allies in their plans by sabotaging the Earthen Fire Refinery, until she turned against the movement.
Ru and her sister Yaling were born in Ba Sing Se to Liling, a refugee from the northwestern Earth Kingdom. Following the Coup of Ba Sing Se, Ru and her family fled the city with only their clothes. This was a traumatic experience, and Ru's mother vowed to never lose a home again.
Conspiracy against nonbenders
Following the end of the Hundred Year War, Ru and Yaling accompanied their mother to the latter's original home area which had developed into Cranefish Town. Liling established a new factory there, and quickly grew prosperous. However, Ru's mother felt threatened when local nonbender-owned buisnesses developed machinery to replace bending workers, and launched a conspiracy to ruin the rival companies. At their mother's direction, Ru and Yaling tracked down a group of firebenders that had been causing unrest in the city. After Yaling broke down the door to their hideout, Ru presented the group with a new and potentially profitable job opportunity, noting that they could join a movement to "benefit benders and their families across the world". The leader of the group, however, dismissed Ru's offer, angrily ordering them to leave. Seeing that another approach was needed, Yaling proceeded to earthbend a large wall of rock at one of the firebenders, catapulting him back as the others looked on in fear. Continuing her attack, she bent a pillar of earth under another firebender before striking another with a chunk of rock to his forehead. The remaining firebender directed a blast of fire at her, but Yaling easily dodged his attack and retaliated by striking him on the back of the head with a rock, knocking him to the floor. The firebender leader, seeing his defeated comrades, quickly acquiesced to the sisters' demands, to Ru's delight.
The sisters directed the firebenders to sabotage the Earthen Fire Refinery, ultimately causing a large explosion that destroyed much of the factory. They remained close by and watched as the criminals attempted to flee the scene. When the firebender leader was caught by Avatar Aang and trapped in a pillar of earth on the edge of a cliff, Yaling used her earthbending to fracture the cliff, causing the firebender to plummet into the sea below. Ru expressed concern at the necessity of killing him, but Yaling reminded her sister that, as their mother has requested, she was simply making sure there would be no loose ends. Their conversation was cut short, however, when they witnessed Aang fly up into the air, holding the rescued firebender.
Returning to their mother, they reported to her that the Avatar had captured the firebender leader. Yaling defended herself, noting that she had done what she could while Ru had not helped at all, though Ru retorted that Aang's interference was not her fault. Liling quickly silenced her daughters, noting that it was unfortunate but more important things were at stake. Ru and Yaling both apologized for their outbursts and agreed with their mother that the plans she had set in motion would require them to be united as a family.
Ru and her sister were present at their home when Team Avatar visited Liling in his effort to convince the bender-owned businesses to support their nonbender counterparts. When their mother called them over, Toph Beifong had a reaction to the sisters' footsteps, recognizing them as the saboteurs from the previous night. After Yaling convinced Toph to teach her metalbending, Ru asked her sister if it was wise to hang out with Team Avatar, but her sister replied that Toph would come to her side, being a bender herself. While Ru was still unconvinced, Yaling informed her that she did not care what her sister thought, and asked her not to tell their mother about her lessons with Toph.
The secret rally
Ru accompanied her mother to a secret rally in one of the old mines under Cranefish Town, where Liling revealed Lao Beifong's proposal to ban public bending. Ru appeared disturbed when her mother claimed that the abilities of benders made them greater, more valuable, and more suited to lead than nonbenders. When Toph approached the podium, Ru was shocked to see the metalbender there, with Yaling claiming that Toph supported their cause. However, Toph chose to reveal her stance against the bender supremacists, and attempted to detain Liling.
As Team Avatar battled the bender supremacists, Yaling landed besides Ru during the former's duel with Toph before both sisters were confronted by Sokka and Suki. Sokka asked Ru how she could support her mother targeting nonbenders like them, but Yaling attacked before her sister could respond, with Suki chi blocking the earthbender moments later. Liling attacked Team Avatar with a burst of powerful earthbending in the battle, before bending a tunnel and telling her daughters and supporters to escape while she held off the Avatar and his allies. Ru and Yaling protested, but Liling replied that the most important thing was for them to ensure that her supporters remained free to carry on their fight.
Ru assisted her sister walking on the streets, but Yaling dropped to her knees, traumatized over being chi blocked by Suki. Ru assured her that her bending would return, but Yaling worried that it would not, and that she did not want to be like Ru. The nonbender was angry and unhappy at the remark, before telling Yaling that they should head home and come up with a plan to rescue their mother.
Yaling recovered from being chi blocked by the following morning, and wished to rescue Liling. Ru informed her that she was being kept at Earthen Fire Industries, guarded by Team Avatar and Lao's security guards, proposing that they sneak in at night. Yaling rejected her sister's plan, instead proposing that they draw Team Avatar away from the factory and break in to rescue their mother. When Yaling commented that they had to rescue their mother whatever the cost, Ru half-heartedly agreed.
Defection from the bender supremacists
After Yaling freed their mother from her cell while distracting Team Avatar with a fire at the Cranefish Town Business Council building, both returned home to an overjoyed Ru. The nonbender explained that she had packed as much of their clothing as she could, and that they'd be able to escape on a ship leaving the city that night. Liling refused to leave and give up the city to nonbenders, though Ru worried, believing that they could start over in another city. Her mother shushed her, explaining that she does not want to lose everything like they did when they had to leave Ba Sing Se after it fell to the Fire Nation. Liling made Ru explain that they had to leave because Earth King Kuei was a nonbender, which her mother affirmed. Ru angrily responded that it was the Fire Nation's fault, not Kuei's, that they had to leave, but Liling responded that the Fire Lord was only doing what any powerful bender would do, exploiting a weakness. Enraged, Ru asked her mother if she saw her that way for not being a bender. Liling assured her that she loved her as much as Yaling, but that nonbenders needed to recognize that they were not as powerful as benders. She revealed that she planned to take a group of benders to the factory and drive Aang out. Ru was left devastated at her mother's statements.
Having growing doubts about Liling's worldview, Ru went to Earthen Fire Industries. There she observed Suki teaching chi blocking to nonbending guards until she was spotted hiding behind a wall by Sokka. Realizing that had been discovered, Ru initially wanted to get away until Sokka beckoned her to talk to him. Ru explained that she had been thinking about what he said during their fight in the cave: if she was okay with what her mother was doing. She stated that even though she loved her mother and sister, she was not okay with what they were doing. Sokka explained that he knew someone who was in a similar situation, and that Zuko eventually stood up to his father and helped end the war. Ru contemplated Sokka's words before revealing that her mother was planning to attack the factory the next morning, and urged them to get out of town while they could. Sokka and Suki told her that they would not leave, but now could be prepared. Ru asked that they not hurt Liling, and also asked Suki to teach her chi blocking.
When Liling brought the bender supremacists to the factory, she questioned how Team Avatar could know about her planned attack. Ru revealed that she informed them about Liling's plans, much to her mother's shock and surprise. Ru admitted that she only went along with her mother's plans because she believed she was protecting her family, but now knew that everything Liling did was horrible. Ru did not believe Liling's claim that she did everything for her daughters, and ordered her to call off the attack. Her mother refused, and Ru attempted to chi block her, but Liling knocked her down, threatening to bury her for being ungrateful and creating a rift in the ground with earthbending.
As she fell deeper into the ground, she begged her mother not to continue, before being rescued by Aang, who airbent Liling away. He asked Ru if she was alright, and she told him that she was. When Aang entered the Avatar State and encased Liling in ice, Ru encouraged him to take her mother's bending away, while Katara told him not to, telling him that he could not simply do it because it was an easy solution. Aang exited the Avatar State, telling Liling that he would keep spreading the poison she had spread throughout the city. He and Katara flew off, leaving mother and daughter alone. Liling told Ru that she was a wretched, ungrateful child, with her daughter responding that she was a terrible mother.
Later that afternoon, Suki approached Ru and asked how she was feeling. Ru believed that she should be locked up with her mother and sister, but Suki promised that she should not be, and that she stood up to them when she had to. Ru regretted not doing it sooner, but Suki assured her that it was over, and that she needed to decide what to do next.
Ru was initially dedicated to her mother, assisting in carrying out her plans even though it meant breaking the law. However, she had her doubts about Liling's methods, questioning if killing a nonbender was truly necessary. Eventually, she turned against her mother and the bender supremacist movement.
- Imbalance trilogy
- Ru and her sister's respective designs were intended to hint at their personalities: Yaling, as the fighter, was designed "big and tough" and wears "practical clothes that are better for fighting", while Ru's clothing is fancier as she "relies more on talking to get ahead".
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Matera, Adele (colorist). Imbalance Part Three (October 1, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part Two (May 14, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part One (December 18, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
- Grunenwald, Joe (May 7, 2019). INTERVIEW: Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartman on their latest AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER GN. ComicsBeat.com. Retrieved on May 13, 2019.