Ruskaer is a strong, but short, Sparkclaw. His base color is orange, transitioning into a yellowy-orange at the lightest and dark orangey-red at the darkest. His wing membrane is a sort of rusty color of red, fading into a more true red at the darkest and a sort of sickly orange at the lightest. His claws are pinkish-red and his eyes are blue. He has four sets of horns and two nose horns on his head.
Due to hauling metal plates and hammering them into shape for many years of his life, Ruskaer is physically strong. He is much stronger than most Sparkclaws his size and can, with the right tactics, easily take on other Dragons older and larger than him. However, he is untrained in physical combat and is far too unsure of himself to try.
Ruskaer was born to a single mother who strived to have her only surviving son be the best he possibly can be. His father had died before he hatched in a cave-in, according to his mother. She taught him to distrust all Longwings, no matter how nice, and that he should only speak to those he thinks he can trust. She warned him to be careful and that society is dangerous; all the cautious words of a protective mother. He heeded them the best he can. He tried to follow every rule and usually succeeded.
Throughout his short school years, he was the silent kid in the back of the class, listening and doing work but not really understanding. He was too nervous to ask anyone for help and too confused to figure things out by himself. He ended up nearly failing his first few years before he ended up with a kindly young Sparkclaw teacher who took pity on him and tried to help him succeed. With her special teaching, he began to excel in school, much to the pride of his mother. This teacher moved on rather quickly, though, and Ruskaer's work started slipping once more. With careful urging from his mother, he got a hold on his work again and began to steady out at an average level.
Bullies often plagued him through his school years, picking on him for being so small, having no friends, and being the lone survivor of the clutch. He's worked up a barrier around his heart from this, keeping to himself and isolating himself from social interaction. One year, he tried to work up the courage to ask the Longwing next to him for help on some assignment he couldn't understand. He ended up tapping her shoulder, but then shied out, squirming away. Two big brutes found him after class that day, cornered him, and threatened to hurt him if he ever lay paw on a Longwing dragoness again. Then, out of the blue, a young Longwing named Tygressa popped up and laid a wing on him protectively. The bullies, not wanting a fair fight, turned tail and stalked off. With newfound respect, Ruskaer decided he owed a debt to this mystery dragoness for saving his scale. Not too long after, the two forged a bond akin to blood siblings. His mother heavily disapproved, but didn't speak directly against it to Ruskaer. She encouraged him to find Sparkclaw friends unsuccessfully, and Ruskaer ended up just growing closer to Tygressa. He considers her the sister he never had, as all of his siblings had died in the egg for one reason or another. One had hatched, but it was far too weak and ended up dying before it took its first steps. Starved for any sort of social interaction, Ruskaer quickly took to the Longwing dragoness despite their differences.
Ruskaer's schooling was cut short by the need for more income for his family, though, and he left after the initial years of schooling to help sustain his mother. He became a smith and worked with metals deep in the smithing caverns underneath most of the empire, using lava and fire as a tool. He works long days but has a few off, which he usually spends following Tygressa around aimlessly, sometimes getting into trouble.
While monotonous, Ruskaer enjoys his job for the reason that it occupies his mind; he can aimlessly work on something while lost in his own thoughts. He likes to think long and hard on things, sorting out ideas and planning for the future. Sometimes he can be so lost in his own thoughts that it takes his name being called by the local guard, Grathn, from the entrance to realise his shift is over.
Ruskaer still lives with his mother, currently, trying to help support her. She can probably support herself, but Ruskaer can't bring himself to leave her. They sometimes get into fights over this subject, bickering about Ruskaer needing to start his own life and not rely on his mother. Rusk often argues the opposite argument - that his mother needs to stop being so prideful and accept his help. When tensions are high like this in his home cave, Ruskaer will generally leave and try to find Tygressa, who will usually comfort him and shelter him for a few days. Since Ruskaer can't enter Tygressa's home without being kicked out almost immediately by her parents, Tyg often just curls up with him in a cold and abandoned side cave she finds in her patrols of the city. They sleep nose-tip to tail-tip, forming a sort of yin-yang symbol of race.
As hinted to from the start of Breakthrough, Ruskaer takes an interest in politics, as well; he is curious of the way that the government works and the inner workings of the Royal Family and how they can traverse the Empire quickly enough to visit many individual cities within the span of a couple of months. He is interested in the law, as well; especially how it states that Longwings and Sparkclaws are equal underneath it. In practice, Ruskaer sees this is not true. He wishes to get to the bottom of it, but considering his upbringing and best friend, he doesn't really understand the natural racism that his society boasts.
Ruskaer is a very shy, secluded drake. He doesn't like interaction that much and prefers to keep to himself rather than speak out. He's loyal to his friends and family to the end, though, and will gladly put his life on the line for them if he must. He's very slow to trust but quick to be friendly to people if he must. He tries his best to keep within the 'norm' of society, avoiding public situations when Tyg is at his side and only trying to stick in with the Sparkclaw crowd. He's kind to anyone he meets but most people know him as a Wingchaser, or a Sparkclaw who befriends only Longwings. Despite this, Ruskaer tries his best to be cheerful though he can seem pretty depressed at times. He's sensitive but knows how to handle his emotions. He has a lot of common sense as well as being quite smart. Ruskaer avoids trouble the best he can though he often gets dragged into it due to Tygressa's hotheadedness, where he often tries to diffuse the situation the best he can. This generally is unsuccessful, though, and he puts his strong legs to the test as he runs from angry Longwings or Sparkclaws Tygressa ruffled the scales of.
Ruskaer is one of the two main characters of Breakthrough, featured throughout the entire story with brief disappearances.