Personality and traits
Ayama's appearance was depicted as unattractive and graceless. Her body was solid, "short and round as a beer jug," and her feet were flat. Her voice was harsh, loud, piercing, and made people wince. Due to the time she spent sleeping on the ashy kitchen hearth, Ayama's skin was usually more grey than brown and her braids were untidy.
Upon becoming the king's messenger, Ayama's hair was oiled and rebraided. She wore one of Kima's dresses, which was too tight for Ayama, a sky-blue apron, and a wide hat that originally bore a band of red poppies. When she returned from the thorn wood, she carried a sprig of magical white quince blossoms tucked into her apron pocket and her braids.
When Ayama chooses to spare the beast, she becomes a monster. Her tongue becomes forked, her eyes glow like opals, and her hair becomes "serpents of flame that licked at the air around her in ribbons of orange and gold."