gust a suggestion:
Maybe there could be separate intro scenes for each character from when they were younger. Need not be exactly based on the book right?
Meilin: Setting: Morning till night. Huge assassination attempt on her and her father (important person in Zhòng). They were afraid that Meilin would grow up to produce heirs to the army and attacked. While trying to protect Meilin, her dad was injured but managed to get themselves to a safe house. Her dad explained the assassin's reason for wanting to kill Meilin and she wanted to protect herself. she didn't want to be one of those girls who didn't know anything or only worked at home and didn't have an education. So she started taking martial arts lessons and stuff (Ooooh you could do a transition shot from younger to older while she practices martial arts) and the story begins
Connor: Setting: Night. First day on sheep watch with his bros. and fave dog. Then suddenly the wolves attack. Connor tries to fend them off but ends up getting pinned down by a wolf. his fave dog comes to the rescue but eventually gets killed by the wolf. In fury, Connor successfully fends off that wolf on his own. With his brothers and the remaining dogs, they attack the wolves all together. In the end, the wolves are chased away but a few of their sheep and dogs died. Scene: Connor weeping over his face dog. Finally gets up and then makes a promise to become better in the future
Abeke: Setting: Afternoon till dusk. Sees a few boys from her village come back hunting while trying to make some pots. Mother berates her and says that she does nothing all day but daydream. Abeke still tries her best to make bracelets but fails and gets fed up. Then she sees a hunting knife and wants to try hunting. so she goes out into the woods all alone and tries to hunt like a rabbit or smth. Then she suddenly spots a rabbit up ahead in the clearing. As she is not used to walking so quietly, the rabbit hears her and then runs off. Abeke chases he rabbit and in her desperation, throws the knife. Beginner's luck I guess but the knife hits the rabbit. she goes home with the kill. mother is kinda impressed but reminds her that a girl's job (in that time and age of course) is to make lots and stuff. But Abeke keeps the hunting knife and at night she goes outside to sharpen it.
Rollan: Setting: Night. Ok, sorry but I forgot how Rollan,s mom got captured by the conquerors. Made up a story with a bit of memory of the book. So one day Rollan and mom were going to the market to buy stuff. Rollan wanders away, attracted by the smell of fresh bread or smth. He tries to find his mom and wanders into an alley. he could hear some scuffling, so he searches the alleyways, thinking it might be his mom. (And in that time, it got kinda dark and started raining as well he finds his mom restrained by two burly guys and one was pouring smth. (Bile) into her mouth. One of them sees him and chase after him, leaving the other with his mom. So he runs and runs and hides in this old crate, where he starts his life as an orphan thief in the streets.
Well this could be story starters as well. PLEASE LET THIS POST!!!! THANK YOU!!!