Ash is aged 20. He was born in Fina. His father was a merchant, but both of his parents were killed by raiders when their caravan was attacked deep in the Tahari desert. Ash escaped the attack; he has a brother who was taken by the raiders and he has not seen him since. Ash managed to get back to Klima, where he was cared for by the Head Physician. He was then delivered to Tabor for his safety. After being placed in the city kennel, he was purchased by the Chief Magistrate before becoming the boy of the blacksmith.
Ash is used to wealth and privilege, but submitted as a slave to survive. He does not have the mentality of a slave...putting a collar on him changed his status, not his personality.
Ash feels alone for the first time in his life and thinks he is not worthy of love or affection, but pretends to be brave and feisty. Life is lonely even with so many people around him.