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Salem's Faction

The main villainous force that the protagonists have to deal with are lead by the enigmatic figure known as Salem. Possessing the power to control the Grimm, Salem also has human and Faunus followers that support her cause and enact her will. Salem is the mastermind behind the assault on Vale, which was successfully carried out by Cinder Fall and aided by Cinder's own subordinates.

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Voiced by: Jen Taylor [EN], Kikuko Inoue [JP]

Debut: Ruby Rose (voice), End of the Beginning (appearance)
"This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin. And I can't wait to watch you burn."
Click here to see her original appearance 

"A smaller, more honest, soul... It's true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire into the hearts of the weary. The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind's greatest attribute, which is why I will focus all my power to snuff it out. How does it feel knowing that all of your time and effort has been for nothing, that your guardians have failed you, that everything you've built will be torn down before your very eyes?"

The narrator of the first episode and the first four "World of Remnant" videos, providing the initial exposition on the fantasy setting of RWBY. She's credited as "Mysterious Narrator" at the end of Volume 1, and finally appears in the Volume 3 finale as the central antagonist of the show. Salem leads a campaign to bring about the Huntsmen Academies' downfall from the shadows, commanding the Grimm, Faunus, and humans to enact her will.

  • Affably Evil: Although she slips occasionally, Salem is calm, friendly and polite, tailoring her behaviour to a person's personality, such as when she expresses gentle disappointment with Tyrian's failed mission, knowing his worship of her will leave him devastated over displeasing her. She chastises needless malice and patiently schools her subordinates whenever they turn on each other, such as when she patiently reprimands Watts for mocking Cinder's injuries. With the casual ease of a dinner conversationalist, she tasks her subordinates with duties that will enable terrorism, murder and mayhem, and teaches that flaunting the power to destroy lives is unnecessary when anyone can be exploited. She only drops her affable nature whenever someone challenges her authority. When Leo accidentally tells her she "must" act quickly to obtain the Spring Maiden before Qrow, Salem instantly has him partially strangled while she conversationally reminds him of how terrifying she is.
  • And I Must Scream: After being forced to live a lonely, isolated life by her cruel father, Salem escaped him only to end up being cursed with immortality, which isolated her forever from humanity. After leading a failed rebellion against the gods, the God of Darkness destroyed humanity, leaving her completely alone in the world with only animals and the Grimm for company. Although the God of Light eventually brought humanity back, she is too different to live among them.
  • Ancient Evil: Salem has worked her evil from the shadows for thousands of years, tirelessly working to obtain the Relics and stop Ozpin from getting in her way. Ozpin's original incarnation was made to constantly reincarnate by having his soul, Aura and memories jump to a new person every time he died, forcing him to walk the earth for thousands of years trying to end her when it turned out the woman he loved was long gone.
  • Arch-Enemy: She regards Ozpin as her enemy. She implies his hope and optimism for humanity is an act of cruelty and therefore seeks to crush his hope completely. To achieve this end, she acknowledges that Ozpin is correct to believe a united humanity is extremely powerful and therefore seeks to divide and destroy humanity to undo everything he has worked for. She is also aware he has placed his faith in a "smaller, more honest soul", and she implies that she sees the destruction of that soul's optimism as the key to destroying Ozpin. The "soul" concerned is strongly implied to be the ever-optimistic Ruby.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed. While Salem is Affably Evil and treats her minions with respect, she expects their total obedience and to always put her plans above their own desires. When Hazel tries to take full responsibility for the failure at Haven, Salem flips a table over and summons multiple Grimm hands to choke and manhandle him before intimidating Emerald into admitting that Cinder is responsible for their loss. Salem proceeds to use Cinder as a lesson to the others: she will not be able to return until she has redeemed herself in Salem's eyes because no subordinate should ever put their desires before Salem's own.
    Salem: It's important not to lose sight of what drives us: love, justice, reverence... but the moment you put your desires before my own... they will be lost to you. This isn't a threat, this is simply the truth. The path to your desires is only found... through me.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Salem has been cursed with immortality to stop her from dying until she learns the importance of life and death. She manipulated the gods in an attempt to restore her dead lover to life, so the gods cursed her to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife.
  • The Beastmaster: Salem is able to command the Grimm. She communicates with a Seer Grimm in her fortress, using it to relay her orders to the Grimm that are gathering at the fallen Beacon Academy.
  • Big Bad: Salem is the force behind the villainous activity that Team RWBY has been investigating since Volume 1. She sent her sub-ordinate, Cinder, to Vale to engineer the destruction of Beacon Academy and the theft of the Fall Maiden's powers. Cinder used the local crime lord, Roman, to steal the Kingdom of Vale's Dust and to work with the White Fang to enable the plan to succeed. When Beacon falls, it's because of a co-ordimated effort between Cinder's activities, Watt's ability to hack the Beacon and CCT networks, Roman's local knowledge and Adam's control of the Vale chapter of the White Fang. After the fall of Beacon, she sets off the next phase of her plan: the fall of Haven. Her intention is revealed to be to steal four ancient Relics that are being protected by the four Huntsmen Academies and destroy the attempts of Professor Ozpin, her arch-nemesis, to unite humanity. She manipulates from the shadows, while her subordinates do the leg-work, she controls the Creatures of Grimm that prevent humanity from populating the entire world, and she's been fighting Ozpin for thousands of years.
  • The Chessmaster: Salem's entire methodology revolves around careful manipulation, using pawns to covertly act and cause destruction and chaos, while leaving her motives and even existence nearly impossible to determine. As a result, humans tend to blame each other for her manipulations, and Salem herself outright says that she divides and breaks apart humanity to weaken them. As Qrow puts it:
    Qrow: She works from the shadows, using others for her dirty work. That way, when it comes time to place the blame, we can only point at each other.
  • Cleavage Window: Salem has a unique symbol that looks almost like three eyes that are linked together, which dominates the back of the black robe she wears. The robe covers her body from neck to toe, except for a gap between her breasts that forms the same vertical elliptic shape as the central part of her personal symbol.
  • Complete Immortality: The gods have cursed Salem with immortality to prevent her from dying. They want her to learn the importance of life and death. When she tried to manipulate the gods into restoring her dead lover to life, Salem was cursed to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. She cannot be killed by mortal weapons, and the strongest supernatural method she knew of also failed to destroy her. When she and a reincarnation of Ozma battle to death, Ozma manages to reduce her to a pile of ash. However, she reforms quickly and kills him. When a different reincarnation of Ozma asks Jinn how he can destroy Salem, she tells him 'you can't'.
  • Curse Escape Clause: When Salem is cursed with immortality, the gods tell her that she must learn the importance of life and death. They specify that, for as long as the world keeps turning, she will not be allowed to die until she learns her lesson.
  • Delayed Narrator Introduction: The pilot episode begins with a woman narrating the history of humanity that begins as a fairy tale and ends with a grim declaration that someone she appears to be talking to will fail to achieve the strength they're seeking. Her narration is immediately countered by a male narrator who is introduced later in the same episode as Professor Ozpin. The female narrator, however, is only introduced in the final episode of Volume 3, where she concludes the conversation she and Ozpin were having at the beginning of the pilot episode.
  • Despair Gambit: Salem's Volume 3 finale speech suggest that her plan is to destroy Ozpin by turning the humans he watches over against each other and sinking them into despair. She strongly implies that the only way to truly undo Opzin is to destroy his faith in humanity and their future, but that Ozpin's faith will not be shattered until she has managed to destroy the hope and optimism his "simple soul" represents. The "simple soul" is implied to be the resolutely optimistic Ruby. Ozpin's mission from the Gods is to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the Gods. Salem is doing her very best to make sure Ozpin doesn't succeed.
  • Disappointed in You: Tyrian returns to Salem, sobbing and in total fear, and hesitantly reveals to her that he failed his task... but Salem does not punish him, and only softly and coldly tells him that he has disappointed her and walks off. However, this is still enough to reduce Tyrian to sobs of despair.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Salem is usually calm, preferring to present herself with an air of grace and elegance and dismissing unexpected developments with indifference. As a result, when Leonardo tells Salem that the attack on Haven has failed, Salem's Seer Grimm brutally murders him while Salem looks on with a nonchalant, dispassionate expression.
  • Divide and Conquer: The general theme of her plans. She knows that if humanity is united and works together, they are a powerful force. As a result, she works from the shadows to divide humanity and keep them fighting each other. Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to guide humanity towards unity. It is the sole chance humanity has to redeem themselves in the eyes of the gods after an ancient slight that humanity does not remember. If the gods return to Remnant and find humanity divided and fighting themselves, they will conclude that humanity is irredeemable and destroy the whole world. Salem is therefore trying to make humanity irredeemable by spreading doubt, mistrust, fear and hatred so that they turn on each other and tear themselves apart.
    "Your faith in mankind was not misplaced; when banded together, unified by a common enemy, they are a noticeable threat. But divide them, place doubt into their minds, and any semblance of power they once had will wash away."
  • The Dreaded: Salem is a dark and dangerous humanoid who possesses mastery over the Grimm, monsters that are instinctively attracted to negative emotions such as fear, panic, hate and grief, and which are attempting to hunt humanity into extinction. Although the Grimm dominate the world, her existence is not public knowledge. Her arch-enemy, Ozpin, is convinced the world will descend into panic and chaos if they knew, empowering the Grimm and therefore Salem in the process. He has therefore created a global conspiracy network that functions at the highest echelons of power to both search for a way to defeat her and prevent her existence from being public knowledge. Of those that know, Qrow describes her creations as fear itself, Ironwood is obsessively building an army he hopes can obliterate her, and Raven has abandoned Ozpin's cause to disappear into the wilds of Anima because she's so convinced Salem is unstoppable. Leo, Haven Academy's headmaster and Ozpin's oldest ally, is so terrified of Salem that she secretly turns him into a mole for her side simply by implying the continued existence of Haven and Mistral depends on his co-operation. Not even her own henchmen are exempt from this; Emerald and Mercury are constantly terrified of her presence, Tyrian worships her as a goddess and is terrified of failing her, and even the normally sarcastic Watts and the stone-faced Hazel are wary of incurring her wrath.
  • Driven to Suicide: Being cursed with immortality has left Salem alone and isolated for much of her existence. In the beginning, she tried to take her own life by stabbing herself with a sword. However, her immortality is complete, meaning that she cannot die by mortal means. When she tried to throw herself into the Pools of Grimm, hoping that the waters of annihilation would undo her curse and kill her, she instead became a being of pure destruction and infinite life.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Remnant has a history of violence and inequality between humans and Faunus, and both species fight the Creatures of Grimm to survive, which have an unnatural attraction towards destroying them. Salem controls the Grimm uses them as shock troops, while also recruiting both humans and Faunus to carry out the tasks she needs to achieve her endgame. Her plans led to an assault on Beacon Academy that consisted of combining human infiltrators with two armies that consisted of Faunus terrorists and Creatures of Grimm.l
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She doesn't like cowardice from her henchmen. When Cinder struggles to see the point of keeping weak and worthless people alive, Salem uses Leo as an example of how anyone can be useful for something. When Leo fails to obtain the Relic for Salem, he promises to find her and prove his usefulness. As soon as he realises that Salem doesn't deem him useful any more, Leo attempts to flee but Salem uses her Seer Grimm to kill him and coldly calls him a coward.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Salem was a young woman, she was rescued from her isolated existence by a hero with whom she fell deeply in love. His death triggers her descent into evil when she is cursed by the gods with immortality for daring to manipulate them into trying to restore Ozma's life. When she has a chance to live a normal life with Ozma's reincarnation, they happily raise a family for a while until their different relationships with the gods pull them apart. Their lives, home and children destroyed, they begin a cycle of anger, pain and hatred that has now existed for thousands of years.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: A long time ago, Salem was put into a position where she felt she had to manipulate two gods who lived on Remnant with the humans. She almost succeeded in fooling the younger god until his older brother reveals what she's up to. Her punishment is never-ending life until she learns the value of life and death. When her lover falls sick and dies, she attempts to convince the God of Light to bring him back to life. He refuses, so she visits the God of Darkness. Knowing the second god only wishes for someone to worship him the way humans worship the God of Light, she claims she came to him first because she knows only he has the power to grant what she's requesting. Thrilled, the God of Darkness immediately restores her lover to life. The God of Light instantly notices and arrives to explain the situation; upon realising the truth, the God of Darkness returns Salem's lover to the afterlife and the two Gods punish Salem for her manipulations. It's only much later that Salem realises that the fact she almost succeeded means the two gods are not infallible and it must therefore be possible to either defeat them or make them suffer, and thus begins her long slide into evil.
  • Evil Mentor: Salem acts towards Cinder almost like an "evil fairy godmother". She defends Cinder's accomplishments at Beacon to the rest of her subordinates and keeps Cinder close to her to help her recover from the injuries inflicted upon her by Ruby's silver eyes. She gives Cinder a replacement Grimm arm which also makes it easier for Cinder to steal Maiden power. She trains Cinder to master the Fall Maiden's power, and tries to teach Cinder the value of making use of people instead of simply killing them.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: At the end of Volume 3, we see the Female Narrator from the pilot episode, her back to the audience, completing the conversation she and Ozpin are having at the beginning of the show. It's obvious she's a white-haired woman in flowing black robes until she turns around... revealing a face as white as a Grimm mask, the black sclera and glowing red eyes of the Grimm, a mark in the center of her forehead like a partially-open third eye, and skin covered in what looks like reddish-black veins.
  • Fanservice Pack: A downplayed example is retroactively applied. Her original outfit didn't have the Cleavage Window. After becoming the witch, this is when she switched to the current dress that had it.
  • Freudian Excuse: When Salem was a young woman, she was trapped in a tower by her cruel father and lived an isolated existence until rescued by a legendary hero. When Ozma died from a fatal sickness, she was left alone again. She begged the gods to restore his life but was cursed with immortality for daring to manipulate them. Trapped by a curse that forced her back into an isolated existence, she slowly descended through bitterness and anger into destruction and evil.
  • Girl in the Tower: In her youth, her cruel father imprisoned her in a tower where she spent her days dreaming of freedom. Many heroes thought they could win her hand in marriage by rescuing her, but they all failed. In the end, she was rescued by a legendary hero who wasn't interested in winning her hand in marriage, he only wanted to correct injustice. She and Ozma fell in love despite themselves, thereby setting off a chain of events that leads the world to its present situation where a Secret War has been unfolding for thousands of years between Salem and Ozma's many incarnations, of which the latter is currently in transition from Ozpin to Oscar.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her red irises glow bright when she finishes her monologue and sneers at the screen. By this point, her plan is well underway and the people of Remnant are divided for most of the part. They also flare up when she's agitated and raising her voice. They also flare up and start glowing when she's using her magic to transform the Grimm into new creations with new abilities.
  • God Guise: For a while, Salem considered uniting humanity, but only by setting herself up as a god and making them worship her. She convinced the first reincarnation of her dead lover, Ozma, to join her in this since he wants to unite humanity so much and they were the only two magic users left in Remnant. Although they lived happily for many years with a large following and a blooming family, Ozma eventually realized that her plan to unite humanity involves killing anyone who defies them, and the discovery that their children possess the magic of the old world troubles him given the reasons the God of Light told him for why humanity no longer possessed magic. As Ozma's mission to unite humanity has been given to him by the gods, and the world will be destroyed if he fails, he turns his back on Salem and what they're doing; he tries to sneak away in the middle of the night with their children. Salem finds out and the ensuing battle destroys everything, including their children. Nowadays, Salem abandoned the idea of ruling humanity and focuses solely on its destruction.
  • Hates Being Alone: Salem was forced to live an isolated existence, trapped in a lonely tower by her cruel father. She was eventually rescued by the hero, Ozma, and falls deeply in love with him. When he dies, she falls apart and begs the gods to restore his life. Angry with her manipulations, they curse her with immortality, preventing her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. Isolated and alone again, she blames the gods and tries to incite humanity into overthrowing them. Instead, they destroy humanity, leaving Salem to completely alone in the world and unable to die. When the God of Light brings back humanity to give them a second chance at redemption, he sends Ozma back to guide humanity to that redemption. Although Salem and Ozma live together for a while and raise a family, Ozma is troubled by his task. When he realises that Salem's plan for 'uniting' humanity is to kill everyone who doesn't follow them, he attempts to take their children and sneak away in the middle of the night, leaving her alone once more. Salem catches him red-handed and tries to kill him. The battle is so brutal that it destroys their lives, their home, and their children. However, because Salem cannot die and Ozma reincarnates, they've been trapped in a cycle of pain and vengeance ever since.
  • Hope Crusher: One of her major goals is to completely destroy all sense of hope for the people of Remnant in general and Ozpin in particular. By dividing humanity, she hopes to crush and destroy them. Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the gods. If the gods return to Remnant and find humanity divided and fighting against each other, they will declare humanity irredeemable and destroy the entire world. As long as Salem lives, Ozpin's task is impossible and humanity is doomed.
  • Humans Are Flawed: She concedes that humanity has an amazing ability to find hope in even the darkest times, a trait that makes them great, and when united they are truly a force to be reckoned with...but she also adds that once that hope is crushed and they fall to their petty differences, they are beyond powerless. She's been taking steps to ensure the latter part comes true.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Salem is flexible and takes different approaches to coerce or guide those working under her, as the Volume 4 DVD Commentary confirms:
    • Tyrian is fanatically loyal to her and desperately seeks her approval. Simply telling him he disappointed her is enough to shatter his spirits for having failed her.
    • Cinder desires power above all else, so Salem serves as a mentor to Cinder, granting her power and teaching her how to properly use it.
    • Professor Lionheart is cowed into service through fear; when he shows a spark of authority in advising her, Salem reminds him of his terror by having a Seer Grimm strangle him despite the fact she's not in the same location as he.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: When Salem was a young woman, she was locked in an isolated fortress by her cruel father. She spent her days desperately longing to be free. She gained that freedom when rescued by a hero called Ozma. Although they fell in love, he fell sick and died. For trying to manipulate the gods into restoring Ozma's life, Salem is cursed with immortality. She then spends countless years trying to find a way to be free of both the gods and the curse, when she thinks she has finally found happiness with a reincarnation of Ozma, she and Ozma discover the awful truth about each other; in the ensuing battle, their home, family and lives are destroyed. Just as Ozma dies, Salem rages at him for destroying the freedom she feels they had finally found.
  • Invincible Villain: Discussed In-Universe. Raven once trusted Ozpin completely and whole-heartedly supported his quest to defeat Salem. However, the more she learned about the world, the more she became convinced that Salem cannot be defeated. She thinks Qrow and Taiyang are fools for remaining loyal to Ozpin instead of agreeing with her; she argues with Qrow that he should have seen enough about Salem by now to have realized that it's impossible to stop her. Professor Lionheart shares her opinion. As guilty as he feels about betraying Ozpin by acting as Salem's mole, he is too terrified of Salem to do otherwise; he's convinced the fight to oppose her is impossible. Even Qrow accuses Ozpin of sometimes being too optimistic about the situation with Salem; Ozpin has been trying to stop Salem for thousands of years, and he still hasn't figured out how to do it. It's eventually revealed that Salem has Complete Immortality; when a previous host of Ozpin's asked the Relic of Knowledge how he could destroy Salem, the Relic simply replied 'You can't'.
  • Ironic Name: In addition to her name being a reference to the eponymous witch trials, her name can also mean peace or completion in Hebrew terminology. Her final monologue in Volume 3 is literally her talking about how she'll divide mankind before stomping on whatever resistance humanity has to offer. Ozpin, in particular, is the subject of her wrath.
  • It's All About Me: It's perfectly clear that Salem only cares about herself. Her hatred of the gods isn't because of their capricious nature, or the damage they've done to the world. It's because of what they did to her. Even her hatred for Ozpin is solely because he won't take her side.
    Salem: The moment you put your desires before my own they will be lost to you. This isn't a threat, this is simply the truth. The path to your desires is only found through me.
  • I Want Them Alive: Salem initially instructs Tyrian to hunt down the Spring Maiden, until Cinder makes it clear she wants Ruby dealt with. Salem responds by instantly ordering Tyrian to prioritize the hunt for Ruby instead of searching for the Spring Maiden. Tyrian is thrilled but, when he begins maniacally giggling, Salem sternly reminds him that she wants Ruby brought to her alive. That instruction leaves Tyrian looking quite depressed.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Salem was a young woman living an imprisoned life in an isolated fortress until she ws rescued by a legendary hero. That day set off a chain of events that led her to a cliff-edge of evil. When Ozma fell sick and died, Salem begged the gods to restore her lover's life. Fearing rejection, she manipulated them into getting what she wanted. This angered the gods, who punished her with immortality, preventing her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife until she's learned the importance of life and death. Instead, she incited humanity to rebel against the gods; the whole of humanity is destroyed, leaving her entirely alone. She tried to end her life in the God of Darkness's Pools of Grimm, but waters of infinite destruction cannot negate a curse of infinite life. Instead, she was corrupted into a being pure destruction. When Salem eventually learns that the God of Light restored humanity to give it a single chance at redemption, Salem makes it her mission to destroy humanity's chance of being redeemed, pitting her against the person the God of Light has chosen to guide humanity to redemption — Ozma.
  • Kill All Humans: Raven tells Yang and Weiss that Salem's goal is to kill all of humanity, and that she cannot be stopped. She also states to Vernal that Salem will kill anyone who works for her once she no longer needs them. Originally, Salem was angry with the gods and tried to incite humanity into overthrowing them. Once the world had been abandoned by gods, she decided to become a god to the people of Remnant. However, her then husband put a stop to that in a terrible battle that caused the deaths of himself and their children. Now Salem fights to destroy humanity because Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to unite humanity so that they can be found worthy in the eyes of the gods and redeemed. If Ozpin fails and Salem succeeds, the gods will find humanity irredeemable and destroy the world.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Salem is an ancient evil sorceress who carries herself with an eerily serene and elegant demeanor, and wears a long black and red robe with eye designs. Although humanity now has no access to magic, the first humans who lived on Remnant were all magic users. As the last of the original human race, Salem retains that ability to use magic. When forced into battle, she fights with magic, using energy blasts, fire and telekinesis, among other powers. During a battle with Ozma's first reincarnation, she and Ozma destroyed each other and their entire castle with the power of their magical duel. While Ozma's body died, forcing him to reincarnate anew, Salem simply reformed in the same spot due to her Complete Immortality.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever Salem is on screen, instrumental refrains from the slower parts of the song "Divide" play, especially when she's scheming with her subordinates. It tends to play more slowly and softly than the original song to lend a creepy air to her presence in the scene.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Salem was once a lonely girl who longed for freedom. She found that freedom in the eyes of the dashing hero who rescued her and fell deeply in love. It did not end well. The man she loved, Ozma, died from a fatal sickness. For trying to manipulate the gods into restoring his life, she was cursed with immortality to prevent her from being with Ozma in the afterlife until she learned the importance of life and death. Instead, she incited humanity to rebel against the gods which led to the destruction of humanity and the moon. When the God of Light restored humanity, he gave humanity a single chance to earn redemption and gave Ozma the responsibility of making it happen. By then, however, Salem had dived into the God of Darkness's pools of annihilation; instead of ending her curse as she hoped, it corrupted her into a being of pure destruction. Now Salem and Ozma are bitterly opposed to each other, one trying to unite humanity to save it while the other tries to divide humanity to destroy it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: For the first three volumes, Cinder is the threat everyone is working to identify and stop. However, Cinder clearly communicates with someone that suggests she's not in charge, even though she adapts the plans on the fly whenever the situation on the ground changes. Salem is revealed in the Volume 3 finale, and Volume 4 makes it clear that Cinder's working for her and that it's Salem's plans she's been carrying out. Salem trusts her subordinates with enough freedom to adapt plans as necessary, and is generous with her praise when a subordinate successfully carries out a mission.
  • Meaningful Name: She's named after that same town where the infamous Salem Witch Trials took place, in which a populace was overcome with fear, paranoia, and malice, leading humans to blame each other for a crisis of their own design and sentence each other to meaningless deaths, dividing them through their own fears, vices, and dependence on a higher authority. This is exactly how Salem ensures that Ozpin can never complete the Gods' mission for him to unite humanity.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: From the back, Salem looks like a human woman with white hair that is worn in a bun. However, her skin is a ghastly white covered in reddish veins that are visible on her arms and face. Her eyes are black pits where the sclera should be, with glowing red irises and pupils that are vertically slit like a domestic cat's. Her appearance and colour scheme are shared with the Monsters of Grimm. The Grimm are spawned from the Pools of Grimm, pools of annihilation and infinite destruction, found in what used to be the God of Darkness's domain. When Salem dived into the pool with the hope of destroying her curse of immortality, she was instead transformed into a being possessed of both infinite life and infinite destruction.
  • Ms. Exposition: She tells some of the history of Remnant, including humanity's experiences with the Creatures of Grimm and the Dust. She also uses the narration to hint at a deeper, darker, history of humanity that has been forgotten by all but a few such as her and Ozpin.
  • Never My Fault: The gods cursed Salem with immortality hoping that she would learn why her demands of them were selfish and arrogant. They want her to learn the importance of life and death. Unfortunately for the world of Remnant, that first requires her to admit she did something wrong in the first place. When her lover Ozma died from a fatal sickness, she manipulated the gods into restoring him to life. When the gods realised, they took Ozma's life to correct the mistake and punished Salem with immortality to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. They instructed her to learn the importance of life and death, but she only learned how to manipulate both gods and men. She raised an army to fight the gods; in retaliation, the gods destroyed humanity and abandoned the world, leaving Salem to walk the world alone, unable to die. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Ozma to guide humanity towards their only chance for redemption. As a result, Salem's anger with the gods extended to encompass Ozma; she now seeks to destroy everything Oz is trying to achieve and is even further away from taking responsibility for her actions than ever.
  • Obviously Evil: Salem's appearance alone makes it clear she isn't a good person. She dresses in a black robe decorated with red eyes, and has a Grimm-like appearance with white hair, white skin, highly visible purple veins and black sclera with red irises. She used to be a normal human woman until she was cursed by the gods with immortality. After failing to either kill the gods or incite them into destroying her to end her curse, she finally ends up at the Pools of Grimm. In a desperate attempt to end her curse, she dives into them. It doesn't destroy her curse, instead it spits her back out as a being of both infinite life and infinite destruction. As the pools create the Grimm, it changed her appearance, giving her white skin and hair, red eyes and black sclera. It did not give her tainted veins or the mark on her forehead. Those appear to have occurred at a later date. The God of Light believes the woman Salem once was is forever gone.
  • Odd Name Out: Nearly every single character in the show has a name that references a colour in some way, even if it's just by association. Eighty years ago, a war ended that had tried to destroy artistic merit and individuality, so Remnant's naming scheme is a deliberate attempt to ensure that kind of war never happens again. Salem joins Ozpin as being the only two significant characters on Remnant whose names do not follow this color rule. In both cases, it's a hint that they are ancient beings who were born long before the war was ever fought.
  • Offing the Offspring: When Ozma realised that Salem's methods of uniting humanity weren't compatible with his own, he decided to abandon her. He gathered up their four children and attempted to steal away in the night. Salem caught him red-handed. Their fight was so brutal that it destroyed their castle and killed all four of their children in the cross-fire. Ozma also died in the battle. It's implied that he did manage to 'kill' Salem but, as a result of her curse, she reformed almost immediately.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Though an extremely powerful combatant, Salem prefers to let subordinates act in her stead. This is both to avoid uniting humanity against her, and also because she generally has a preference to watch from afar and direct her forces remotely. When she and Ozma ruled their ancient kingdom, she did not join her armies in battle and instead observed them remotely through a crystal ball, and when Ozma chose to finally fight her again, he isn't shown fighting her directly but only dealing with the Grimm that were the signs of her influence.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Salem wants Ruby brought to her alive and she also wants to negotiate for the peaceful surrender of the Spring Maiden instead of planning to take her by force. While Hazel actively honours her will by chastising the White Fang leaders for their violence and insisting on minimizing unnecessary killing, Cinder directly questions her attitude. Salem simply states that Cinder must never underestimate the usefulness of others, citing the recruitment of Haven Academy headmaster Leonardo Lionheart and turning him against Ozpin and his allies as an example. However, once the heist of the Relic of Knowledge from the vault below the academy fails, she sees no other reason to keep him alive even when he begs her for one, and kills him via Seer Grimm.
  • The Punishment: The gods punished Salem with an impossibly long life because they thought she needed to learn a lesson about life and death. She instead learned how to destroy by manipulating her enemies. She is punished with immortality for attempting to manipulate the gods into restoring the life of her dead lover because it prevents her from being reunited with him in the afterlife. The gods hoped she'd learn about the importance of life and death. Instead, she realised that by having tricked them in the first place, they had proven themselves to be fallible. She spent years manipulating humanity into rising up against their creators only to witness the gods destroy humanity for her audacity. They abandoned the world to leave Salem wandering the earth alone, unable to die. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Salem's dead lover to guide humanity to redemption. Now the fate of humanity lies in Salem and Ozpin's hands: one trying to divide humanity to destroy it, the other trying to unite humanity to save it.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: When Salem was young, she lost someone she loved very much. When the gods refused to restore him to life, she became embittered and angry with them. When Ozma died of sickness, Salem manipulated the gods into restoring his life. When the gods realised, they took Ozma's life and cursed Salem with immortality until she learns the importance of life and death. Instead it made her bitter and angry; she manipulated humanity into attempting to overthrow the gods, but the gods instead destroyed humanity for their audacity and abandoned the world. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Ozma to guide humanity back to redemption. However, Ozma and Salem were never able to find a happy-ever-after due to the Pools of Grimm corrupting her soul, and the God of Light tasking him with the unification of humanity. Salem's hatred for the gods is now as eternal as her life.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Salem is an ancient evil who has walked the earth for thousands of years, attempting to obtain the Relics and divide humanity. Several of Ozpin's former followers, such as Leo and Raven, abandoned Ozpin in the belief that she cannot be stopped. Ozpin has been cursed by the gods to walk the earth for as long as it takes to stop Salem; he refers to the curse as "reincarnation" as it doesn't stop his physical body dying, but transfers his soul, Aura and memories to a new physical body every time it happens. He confirms that he's been trying to stop Salem for thousands of years. The gods cursed Salem with immortality for trying to bring her lover, Ozma, back from the dead. She incited humanity to betray the gods, resulting in them destroying the human race and leaving her alone. The God of Light restored a weakened form of humanity and reincarnated Ozma among them to try and guide humanity back to redemption. Humanity's redemption won't be possible, however, until Salem can be stopped.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Her eyes are black pits with glowing red irises and elliptical pupils. This is similar to the glowing red eyes of the Grimm, and combines with her bone-white skin, red vein-like markings and black clothing to give her the appearance of a humanoid Grimm and make it ambiguous as to what kind of being she really is. As the main villain, controlling various individuals and organisations across the globe, including the Grimm themselves, her glowing red eyes reflect her malevolence.
  • Sole Survivor: Salem was part of a race of humans who was wiped out a long time ago, except for her. Her attempt to incite humanity to defeat the gods results in the God of Darkness destroying humanity and leaving her to walk the earth alone as punishment. The God of Light later brings back humanity in a much weakened form and reincarnates Ozma from the old race to try and guide humanity to redemption. Angry with the gods and Ozma, Salem is determined to keep humanity divided.
  • Summon Magic: Salem creates a glyph on the ground that is very similar to the glyph that was on the glove Cinder used to bring forth the parasite Grimm that stole Amber's Fall Maiden power. When Hazel tries to take responsibility for the failure in Haven, she blasts the huge conference table out of her path without even touching it then reaches out one hand towards Hazel, slowly curling her fingers as though she's grabbing air. From the glyph that appears on the ground beneath Hazel's feet, appears many Grimm arms that grab hold of Hazel and restrain him so that she can force his team to reveal the truth of Cinder's failure in Haven.
  • Tainted Veins: Black veins are highly visible against the ghost white of Salem's arms and face. Although she obtains her white skin and hair and red eyes with black sclera when she falls into the Pools of Grimm, she emerges without either the tainted veins or the mark in the centre of her forehead. Those appear at a later date.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: At one point, Salem decided to try and unite humanity to create a world where people live together in harmony. She attempted this by setting herself and Ozma up as gods to be worshiped by the whole world. Anyone who refused to convert or believe, she intended to kill.
  • Villain Song: During the show's pilot episode and the final episode of Volume 3, Salem gives a long speech about the origin of legends and humanity, and how Ozpin's right to consider humanity stronger when it unites. She boasts of her plan to divide humanity and destroy everything that Ozpin has worked for, concluding that she can't wait to watch him burn. The song "Divide" is one of the Volume 3 ending songs and takes its lyrics from Salem's two speeches, also ending with the desire to watch him burn. From Volume 4, certain refrains from the song play in the background whenever she is on screen and scheming.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Just like the Grimm, Salem has been around for thousands of years. When she lost her lover to a fatal sickness, she manipulated the gods into restoring his life. When the gods found out, they took back his life and cursed her with immortality; for as long as the world turns, she will never die until she learns the importance of life and death. The isolation from humanity and her lover caused by the immortality made her bitter and angry with the gods, starting her down a road to evil that hit the point of no return when she attempted to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm; instead of dying, she was corrupted into a being of pure destruction.
  • Woman Scorned: While the bulk of her hatred is directed towards the gods, her former lover is a very close second. When she discovered Ozma's first incarnation attempting to leave with their children in the middle of the night, she flew into a rage that resulted in the death of both him and all four of their daughters. This triggered a cycle of pain and suffering that would last for thousands of years as she works to destroy everything Ozma has ever tried to help humanity achieve just for the chance to watch him burn.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Salem is a being who combines the powers of Creation and Destruction to achieve the threat level she now poses to the entire world. Cursed by the Pool of Life to have infinite life, Salem tried to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm, waters of infinite destruction. However, waters of infinite destruction cannot destroy a being of infinite life. Instead of dying, she emerged as an unkillable force of pure destruction. With the magic she still possesses from her mortal life and the control over the Grimm she now possesses, she is unstoppable by both mortal and magical means.
  • You Have Failed Me: Salem isn't very happy with failure to obtain the Relic of Knowledge from Haven Academy, and demands to know who is to blame. Hazel attempts to take full responsibility for the failure, which makes Salem even angrier. She slams her table out of the way with a magical blast and pins Hazel to the ground with Grimm arms that have been summoned out of the ground. She lectures him on the fairness of his words then insists Emerald tell her who is to blame. When Emerald acknowledges it was Cinder, Salem states that Emerald must understand Cinder's failure and why Salem will not permit Cinder to return to them until she has redeemed herself.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She's willing to kill her own henchmen if they're deemed a liability. When Leo attempts to flee Haven after being defeated, Salem catches him with her Seer Grimm before he gets too far. Since he's no longer able to pass information from Ozpin's inner circle and provide access to the Relic of Knowledge, Salem has no further use for Leo and has her Seer Grimm violently stab him to death offscreen.


Salem's Inner Circle

    Dr. Arthur Watts 

Doctor Arthur Watts

Voiced by: Christopher Sabat [EN], Toru Okawa [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"My apologies, ma'am. I'm not particularly fond of failure."

One of Salem's associates. He is tasked with meeting one of Salem's informants in Mistral. A former doctor and scientist for Atlas, he has defected under unknown circumstances. He is the only member of Salem's group who speaks to her conversationally.

  • Admiring the Abomination: Seer Grimm are eerie jellyfish-like Grimm that move by floating through the air and can hover silently in one spot until they're needed. When Salem calls one into her hall, Emerald and Mercury shrink against the wall in terror to avoid it, and Salem instructs Cinder that she must not display anxiety in its presence. Watts, however, finds them absolutely fascinating, and has no problem with poking and prodding one to satisfy his curiosity.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His introduction involves him dissing Cinder's subordinates (Mercury and Emerald); he then mocks Cinder's injuries by suggesting they thank Ruby for shutting Cinder up as a result of Cinder's loss of speech. Subsequent appearances confirm he's a cynical man, prone to biting sarcasm and character-baiting, while being impatient with the personality flaws of others and intolerant of the mistakes that others make. The establishing scene sets up a future confrontation during Cinder's meeting with Raven, where he instantly identifies the flaws in Raven's plan and in Cinder's motive for accepting Raven's plan.
  • Evil Genius: Out of Salem's associates, Watts appears to be the group's planner and manipulator, and has some degree of programming expertise, as the virus Cinder used on the CCT computers bears the same signature "W" that he uses when communicating digitally with others. He admits that Seer Grimm fascinate him, and Salem puts him in charge of replacing Tyrian's broken tail. Raven calls him a "disgraced Atlesian scientist", a description he objects to because it misses the fact that he's "technically a doctor" as well.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Downplayed. He is generally polite and cordial with others, but often undercuts this with very biting remarks and sarcasm. Especially notable when he interacts with Lionheart. While his tone tends to be polite, there is an obvious atmosphere of menace he is trying to create just before having him talk with Salem. He also goes out of his way to taunt Cinder during this call, showing how thin his politeness really is.
  • Jerkass: He goes out of his way to mock and belittle Cinder and her team for Cinder's failure against Ruby, and clearly holds himself superior. The fact that Cinder can't speak in her own defense clearly doesn't bother him. He's also noticeably condescending to Professor Lionheart, clearly enjoying the latter's fearful demeanor when reporting to Salem, and enjoys watching him get strangled by the Seer.
  • Lean and Mean: Downplayed. Watts has a rather wiry and thin physique even by the show's standards. In addition to working with Salem, he is also rather unpleasant in general with how he mocks Cinder's injuries. He also shows clear relish in Lionheart's fear of Salem when he comes to him to set up a meeting.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He is referred to as a doctor, and is apparently the one in charge of giving Tyrian new tails, but he's working for Salem. Even if he doesn't know the full extent of Salem's world-destroying plans (and he does seem to), Salem indicates he's an accomplice to the fall of Beacon and all the associated deaths that caused.
  • Noodle Incident: He's mentioned to have once been an Atlesian scientist and doctor, but at some point was disgraced from his profession. The exact details are unknown, though it appears only his name made it outside Atlas, for while Raven recognized the name, she didn't recognize his face.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Dr. Watts prioritizes their mission for the Relics above anything else. When Raven demands that they kill Qrow so that she and Vernal will willingly unlock the Haven Vault, Dr. Watts is against the idea. He wants Qrow dead as well, but a drawn-out battle with him would jeopardize the otherwise simple and quiet Relic retrieval. He also accuses Cinder of endangering things to settle her score with Ruby.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Worries that Cinder will jeopardize their group's goals when she makes a deal with Raven for the Spring Maiden's help in obtaining the Relic at Haven. He's concerned she'll use the opportunity to settle her grudge with Ruby at the cost of actually getting the Relic. Cinder actually forgoes revenge at the moment but still ruins things by trying to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself; while Raven had planned to steal the Relic for herself while Cinder's group was fighting with Qrow's group, Cinder's determination to obtain both the Relic and the Spring Maiden's powers puts her into a position where she and Raven have to fight. As the more experienced Maiden, Raven defeats her.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Cinder. While they both work for Salem, it's painfully obvious that the two cannot stand each other as Watts goes out of his way to antagonize Cinder every chance he gets. Cinder, for her part, is implied to give back as much as she gets. This is confirmed later on when negotiating with Raven Branwen for her cooperation with the retrieval of the Relic of Knowledge; Watts tries to negotiate peacefully, but Cinder uses not-so-subtle threats when Raven snarks back at them. When Raven proposes a counteroffer (she helps them get the Relic in exchange for the death of her brother, Qrow, in addition to them leaving her and her tribe to live in peace), Watts immediately points out the illogicality of it, but Cinder is too enticed by the possibility of getting revenge on Ruby for the loss of her eye. When Watts catches onto this, he roughly grabs Cinder by the wrist and tells her that he won't take the blame if the heist fails because of her single-mindedness; Cinder merely burns his hand with her Maiden powers, and tells him to go back to Salem and "tinker with his machines".

    Tyrian Callows 

Tyrian Callows

Voiced by: Josh Grelle [EN], Yoku Shioya [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"My heart and body belong only to our goddess!"

"If you're not loving what you're doing, then you're in the wrong field."

One of Salem's associates, a scorpion Faunus. He is initially assigned to hunt down the Spring Maiden, but is later told to prioritize hunting down Ruby instead. Tyrian fights with two wrist gauntlets that are adorned with a pair of machine guns and razor-sharp blades. His Faunus trait- a scorpion tail- is also used in combat and can administer a deadly poison.

  • Animal Motifs: Scorpions. He sits in a manner similar to an arachnid, his wrist-blades resemble a scorpion's pincers, and his ponytail looks like a segmented scorpion's tail. Just like his actual tail, which is a scorpion's tail, complete with stinger.
  • Arm Cannon: His wrist gauntlets have a pair of machine pistols mounted into each one.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's very eager to be given tasks that involve hunting down people. When Salem orders him to go after Ruby, he mocks Cinder by implying he'll take Ruby's eye, giggling madly at the thought. When Salem orders him to capture Ruby alive, he's visibly disappointed. When Jaune makes it clear the gang won't let Tyrian take Ruby without a fight, he smiles and says "good". When Salem reveals she's disappointed in his failure to complete his task, he goes berserk; he leaps on a Beowulf and begins slashing it repeatedly while laughing and crying at the same time. Cinder watches him unravel in open-mouthed horror.
  • Berserker Tears: After Salem tells him that he has disappointed her with his failure in his task, Tyrian breaks down sobbing. A nearby Beowolf is attracted to his despair and attacks. Tyrian lets out all of his frustration on the Grimm, jumping onto its chest and stabbing it repeatedly all while his sobbing turns into maniacal laughter.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: He sports a scorpion tail with a wicked stinger at the end. He can use the tail as an extra limb for fighting and blocking, but when he pins down Ruby, he attempts to strike with the stinger just as a scorpion would. The stinger gets cut off by Ruby during their fight in Oniyuri, though it is later replaced with a prosthetic stinger courtesy of Watts.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Tyrian fights with a pair of blades strapped to both forearms, resembling scorpion claws.
  • Blood Knight: While he primarily loves killing and maiming, the look on his face whenever he realizes he's faced with a challenge is pure glee. When Jaune tells him that his group will fight him to prevent him from taking Ruby, he emphatically states "Good!" and when Qrow shows up to rescue them before Ruby can be stabbed, Tyrian looks thrilled.
  • The Bully: When not relishing in the anticipation of violence, Tyrian enjoys toying with other's emotions and childishly mocking those who can't fight back. When Cinder returns badly wounded from Ruby's silver-eye powers, Tyrian repeatedly laughs at her and promises to take Ruby's eye out the same way Ruby's powers did to Cinder's, while pointing at his own eye for added mockery. When Hazel returns with Emerald and Mercury after the failed attack on Haven Academy, Tyrian immediately comments Cinder's disappearance and laughs when Emerald begins to freeze up in anger before mockingly asking her if something happened to Cinder. When Emerald threatens to "cut off more than [Tyrian's] tail" in response, Tyrian immediately gets up in Emerald's face while warning her that Cinder isn't there protect her, scaring her until Mercury tells him to back off. He later spies on Emerald and Mercury while the latter is venting to her about his abusive upbringing and how it ties into his reasons for working with Salem, mocks his motives and assaults Mercury when he retaliates physically. He then tells them that they're in the wrong field if they aren't working for Salem because they want to and not for personal gain, but at the same time they can't leave Salem. He then tells, or rather begs them to do what makes them feel happy, while brandishing his new stinger at them in a manner that implies he'll be happy to hunt them down if they decide to leave.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He initiates his surprise attack on RNJR by charging in swinging, only stopping to talk or throw out fancier moves after the initial exchange shows none of the four are a serious threat to him. He seemingly indulges in pre-fight banter with Qrow, but attacks while the latter is mid-sentence. Notably, he does not stop fighting Qrow afterward, except to briefly swat away RNJR members when they futilely attempt to help. He envenomates Qrow with his scorpion stinger when Qrow is distracted by Ruby, although it costs him his tail at the hands of Ruby's scythe in the process. He decides to bug out of the fight and live to fight another day instead of fighting to the death, even though Qrow is no longer in a position to fight any further.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Tyrian enjoys violence and bloodshed and is a brutal fighter. However, he not only enjoys hurting others, he also seems to enjoy hurting himself. When Ruby takes potshots at Tyrian with Crescent Rose during his battle with Qrow at Oniyuri, he blocks the bullets with his tail and grins blissfully as the bullets strike. When Emerald threatens him after he repeatedly mocks and laughs about Cinder's apparent death, Tyrian slowly advances towards Emerald and rubs his face along the curves of her blades while threatening her right back. While he does this, he lets out a gaspy-sounding moan that indicates he probably enjoyed the feeling of the blade penetrating the skin on his cheek. As if to reflect this aspect of his personality, his fighting style is almost dance-like and involves him getting as uncomfortably close to his enemy as possible.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A Beowulf made the mistake of thinking that his hysterical state has left him easy prey. Tyrian instead whips the Beowulf right across the room and spends the rest of the scene savagely slashing it to pieces.
  • Dance Battler: He's elegant and light-footed when he fights. He's prone to including spinning kicks, somersaults, black flips, and bouncing off his opponents weapons. He doesn't simply look like he's fighting, he looks like he's breakdancing as well.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He spends much of his dialogue belting out wild peals of laughter, and nearly all of his dialogue is laden with verbose Purple Prose and dramatic gestures. Combined with his extremely expressive face and movements, he dominates most scenes he's in and treats the battlefield like it's an arena for a stage performance.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Tyrian adopts a poetic, theatrical manner of talking; he's engaging, conversational and uses flowery language with dramatic gesticulations of his arms. However, as poetic, friendly and polite as his words are, it's offset by a constant smirk and wild, staring eyes. When anticipating bloodshed, or taunting others, his odd speech patterns and eerie facial expressions are joined by lip licking and cackling laughter. When Qrow shows up to save Ruby, Tyrian's behavior becomes even more theatrical; he politely expresses dramatic awe, calling Qrow a true huntsman and bowing with a flourish. Moments later, he's not so much fighting Qrow as trying to rip him to shreds with his wrist blades, cackling madly the entire time and exulting at the opportunity to take down Qrow as well as capture Ruby. But the whole facade vanishes when Ruby cuts off his tail, with him belting out a livid "You bitch!" at her.
  • Flash Step: His movements come off as this even to speedsters like Team RNJR. At one point he goes from in front of the whole group to directly behind Jaune, and only Ren, the fastest member of the team, responds in time to cover Jaune before he gets stabbed in the back.
  • Giggling Villain: Every time he cracks a macabre joke or hears something gruesome that he likes the sound of, he starts giggling. When he hears what his assignment is, he breaks out giggling... until he realises he's got to bring his target back alive. That cools him off immediately.
  • The Hyena: He's constantly laughing and giggling, even in situations where it'd normally be rather inappropriate, such as fighting or normal conversation. It helps to make his character even more unsettling.
  • Implied Death Threat: When Emerald and Mercury debate whether or not they belong with Salem in the absence of Cinder, Tyrian reveals he's overheard their debate and suggests that if they're not doing what they love, they're in the wrong field. When Emerald asks if he's telling them to leave, he laughs and retorts that they can't. He then tells them he's "begging" them to do whatever makes them happy. He's filled with sinister glee and he points his scorpion stinger right at them as he says it. His message is clear: he relishes the opportunity to hunt them down if they do decide they want to leave.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Tyrian tries to kidnap Ruby, Qrow intervenes. Tyrian and Qrow fight so hard that both their Auras end up shattering before the fight is resolved. When it becomes clear to Tyrian that he cannot easily obtain Ruby, he chooses to flee the battlefield instead of fighting to the death. Ruby interferes in the fight which enables her to cut off Tyrian's scorpion tail while he and Qrow are distracted by each other after their Auras have shattered. Tyrian bugs out of the fight at that point.
  • Large Ham: He speaks in flowery phrases like he's peppering his speeches with poetry, and he gesticulates grandly as he speaks like he's an actor performing before a theatre audience. His words and actions are emphasised with exaggerated emotions, usually excitement and amusement, which is reinforced by his constant outbursts of insane laughter.
  • Laughing Mad: During the meeting, he breaks out into uncontrollable fits of laughter every so often. Sometimes it occurs when he cracks a macabre joke or when he's given information or instructions that he likes the sound of. His laughter is manic and lasts entirely too long, until he's brought out of it or collapses as if weary from the laughing fit.
  • Little Bit Beastly: He's a scorpion Faunus with a scorpion tail that his plait is designed to look like.
  • Meaningful Name: His name refers to a kind of purple dye. When he and Qrow fight each other to a stalemate, they shatter each other's Aura, revealing that Tyrian's Aura is purple-toned. When he's about to strike Ruby with his scorpion tail, his normally golden eyes turn the same vivid shade of purple as the poison that is stored inside his scorpion stinger. A victim's blood will also become purple if this poison remains in their system for long enough.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Part of his hamminess can attributed to his liking of extravagant gesturing.
  • Offhand Backhand: Uses his tail to casually bat Ruby's sniper shots away without even looking in her direction.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: When his stinger is severed, it releases a purple ooze that instantly melts divots in the stone where it splashed.
  • Precision F-Strike: He dropped the strongest language in the series thus far when he called Ruby a bitch after she severed the stinger off his tail.
  • Psycho Supporter: He's so utterly loyal and devoted to Salem that she only needs to express disappointment in his ability to carry out her orders to reduce him to a sobbing wreck on the floor. He then takes out his despair on a nearby Beowulf, slashing the Grimm over and over again until his sobs turn to maniacal laughter. His behaviour alarms even Cinder, who had previously enjoyed destroying Beacon Academy and killing hundreds of people.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Tyrian is one of Salem's inner cohort of villains, initially tasked with hunting for the Spring Maiden but transferred to tracking down and kidnapping Ruby. He possesses the speed and strength required to be able to fight Qrow to a stalemate. His name refers to a shade of purple and when he and Qrow shatter each other's Aura, his Aura is purple-toned. The poison contained within his scorpion tail is also purple. When Ruby blows it off it bleeds a purple substance that burns through stone. When his poison infects Qrow, it slowly turns Qrow's blood purple.
  • Purple Prose: Really enjoys using this when he talks, adding to his hammy and over-the-top persona, such as this line when he's fighting RNJR.
    Ruby: What do you want?
    Tyrian: (gasps melodramatically) The rose has thorns! My little flower, I'm here to whisk you away with me!
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Although he generally communicates in a verbose and melodramatic manner akin to an actor on a theatre stage, he has a very infantile emotional dependence on Salem. He regards her as a 'goddess' and is desperate to please her. When he fails to complete his task, he initially cowers fawning madly to himself that Salem will forgive him. When he reaches Salem, he crawls towards her, begging for forgiveness. When Salem gently, but coldly, tells him that he has disappointed her, he dissolves into sobs of despair that attract a Beowulf. Tyrian then takes out his despair on the Grimm, slashing it over and over until his sobs turn into maniacal laughter. Cinder witnesses his entire breakdown in open-mouthed horror.
  • Scary Scorpions: He has a psychopathic interest in attacking people and the opportunity to kill reduces him to fits of laughter. He wears a long plait that takes the shape of a segmented scorpion tail and and he sits in a manner similar to a crouching arachnid. When he fights, he uses wrist-blades that resemble a scorpion's pincers. Underneath his duster, he hides a long scorpion tail that looks almost exactly like his plait and reveals that he is a scorpion Faunus. When striking with the stinger, his eyes turn the same deep purple as the poison that's contained inside the stinger.
  • Slashed Throat: When Salem reduces him to sobs of despair, he takes it out on a nearby Beowulf. He slashes the beowulf's chest and throat, and then again. He keeps going, slashing over and over again until his sobs turn to maniacal laughter.
  • Slasher Smile: He does this a lot. He finds anything that's gruesome, malicious, or vindictive funny, and he loves being given assignments to hunt people down. It all produces a grin full of teeth that's far too big for his face.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: In "So That's How It Is," he openly mocks Cinder's apparent death to Emerald's face and laughs over it. Emerald immediately draws her weapons on him and threatens to "cut off more than his tail." Of course, Cinder isn't actually dead, but Tyrian didn't know it at the time.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played with in Volume 4. When Qrow interrupts his attack on Team RNJR, they do manage to stop and talk for a bit, but Tyrian ultimately attacks before Qrow can finish talking.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison from his stinger is a very bright purple that can burn cobblestones like an acid. When Tyrian uses it envenomate his victims, their blood eventually starts turning purple as well.
  • Three-Point Landing: During his battle with RNJR, he launches himself off of Nora's hammer into a building to get some distance from the team. When Ren demands to know who he is, he drops out of the building, theatrically flipping into a three-point landing before standing up and explaining why he's there.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Played with. He reveres Salem as a goddess, which initially comes across as him simply being fanatical. Considering she and Ozma were revered as Gods for some time though, it's implied he really does see her as a goddess. He's the only one amidst her forces that does though.
  • Villain Has a Point: While he may be psychotic, Tyrian does raise some fair points.
    • When Hazel, Emerald, and Mercury return from the failed attack on Haven, his mocking concern for Cinder causes Emerald to nearly attack him, only for her to begin cowering in fear as he approaches her. He points out to her that she is low on the totem pole there, and that Cinder was the only one "protecting" her. Now that she's gone, there's nothing stopping him from deciding to deal with Emerald.
    • Condescending as he may be in his analysis, his analysis of Mercury has little error. Mercury was indeed raised in an abusive environment, and thus has trouble in environments outside of similar ones. He's also correct in that Mercury's attempts at looking vile is only grandstanding, as Mercury does demonstrate more nervous behavior while in Salem's domain, and only attempts to be a larger jerkass when he's trying to come across as tough.
    • While it was mostly justification to get a rise of them, he makes a valid point to Emerald and Mercury before he departs for Atlas. If they aren't happy working with Salem, they have no reason to be there. They can't leave either, lest he be made to kill them. So they better find some enjoyment in their duties, or lose their lives instead.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Downplayed. When he ambushes RNJR in Volume 4, he makes it clear that he doesn't care about anyone there other than Ruby. He dismisses Ren and Nora, but pauses when his eyes land on Jaune, admitting that unlike the latter two, Jaune does interest him. He doesn't bother to explain why though, and quickly discards whatever interest he may have in Jaune in favor of getting back to his task of capturing Ruby.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Salem tells him that she is disappointed by his failure to capture Ruby, Tyrian collapses sobbing helplessly. A Beowulf tries to ambush him, thinking him easy prey, but Tyrian lashes out at the creature and sends it flying. He then leaps onto the fall Grimm and begins slashing at it over and over again while it struggles in vain to escape. As Tyrian slashes, his sobs begin to turn to maniacal laughter until he is crying and laughing at the same time. He doesn't stop even when the Grimm begins dissolving away into nothing. His breakdown is witnessed by Cinder, who watches it unfold in speechless horror.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Deals a Curb-Stomp Battle to the gifted but inexperienced RNJR, demonstrating quite clearly that the threats they wish to confront are out of their league. More importantly, his ability to fight Qrow to a standstill illustrates that even the most powerful of the protagonists may not be up to the challenge.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's thrilled when Salem assigns him to hunt down Ruby and is visibly disappointed when Salem warns him that she wants Ruby alive. When he fights Ruby's group with the intention of taking Ruby, he's thrilled that they decide to fight back against him and relishes the chance to strike Ruby with his scorpion tail.

    Cinder Fall 

Cinder Fall

Voiced By: Jessica Nigri [EN], Yuko Kaida [JP]

Debut: Ruby Rose
"I want to be strong. I want to be feared. I want to be powerful."
Click here to see her post timeskip appearance (SPOILERS) 

"It's nothing personal, dear. You're just not worthy of such power. But I am."

An ambitious and enigmatic woman with power over fire, Cinder Fall is the leader of an equally mysterious group closely associated with crime lord Roman Torchwick. She and her teammates, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, infiltrate Beacon Academy in Volume 2, posing as transfer students from Mistral's Haven Academy while subtly preparing the terrain for a war between the kingdoms, the results of which are coming to fruition by Volume 3.

Cinder typically fights with a pair of swords that she creates with her Semblance, the ability to manipulate dust. She's also demonstrated skills as an archer.

  • Achilles' Heel: Salem tells Cinder that she has a crippling weakness to Ruby's Silver Eye powers. As a result, Salem doesn't blame Cinder for losing to Ruby. During the battle for Haven, Ruby's silver eyes activate again. Cinder collapses in agony, clutching her covered left arm, which is later revealed to be a Grimm arm. There is no indication that the nearby Spring Maiden is affected by the Silver Eyes, implying that the reason Cinder is vulnerable is because she relies on Grimm to both be a Maiden and have a left arm.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her ambition for power has made her try and kill the Fall Maiden to take her powers for her own, and indirectly caused mass chaos and some other deaths. She sums up her ambition during a flashback and the Battle of Haven makes it clear that she thinks she's entitled to all four of the Maiden powers when she tries to steal Spring's:
    Cinder: "I want to be strong. I want to be feared. I want to be powerful."
  • An Arm and a Leg: Her left arm was seemingly injured in the Volume 3 climax. In Volumes 4 and 5, her sleeve covers it completely, leaving it ambiguous how much is left, and she avoids using it entirely, even in combat. When Ruby nearly hits her with the Silver Eyes again, she clutches that arm in pain. It turns out that her arm was replaced with that of a Grimm's, explaining how Ruby's brief activation of her anti-Grimm ability causes Cinder to stop in her tracks.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Adam refuses to work with her on the grounds that the White Fang members would be put in danger because of her, plus the White Fang does not work for a human cause like Cinder's. Cinder later offers him both money and Dust for his cause. After absorbing the Fall Maiden's power, she slaughters the White Fang members in front of him and reiterates that her offer can either benefit him as well as her, or just her alone. It's not the money and Dust that convince him, it's the threat. When she tries the same tactic on Raven, by threatening her tribe's continued existence, Raven is unimpressed. She offers her own deal as the price for her co-operation, having planned in advance for the day when Salem finally found her tribe. Cinder agrees to the plan, not realising just how extensive Raven's trick is.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Cinder is only able to become the Fall Maiden by murdering the current Fall Maiden, Amber, and using a special type of parasite Grimm, which absorbs the power and transfers it to her. As a result, she gains enormous power at the cost of becoming extremely vulnerable to Ruby's Silver-Eye power which exists to destroy Grimm. A brief exposure to it during the Battle of Beacon cripples her for an entire volume, where she has to relearn how to speak and is forced to wear a mask to hide the scarring on the left side of her face. During the battle of Haven, it's revealed that her left arm was destroyed by Ruby and replaced with a Grimm arm. Although she can use it as she would any other arm, and it allows her to absorb Maiden power from other Maidens, the Grimm do not have Aura. As a result, her left arm is entirely unprotected by her Aura as a result of being incompatible. It also makes the left side of her body much more vulnerable to future uses of Ruby's power.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Cinder's Grimm arm can be used like a Rubber Man one and lets her steal power from the other Maiden's but it makes her even more vulnerable to the Silver Eyes power that Ruby has and Raven notes that she can't use Aura to protect the arm.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed. While she treats her subordinates with respect and doesn't spend their lives needlessly, she expects their total obedience and loyalty and will not tolerate failure or disobedience, telling them to "don't think, obey". In Vol 3 Chapter 7, she's heard slapping a disagreeable Emerald and telling her to "know her place".
  • Badass Transplant: "Vault of the Spring Maiden" reveals that Cinder's left arm has been replaced with that of a Grimm. While her Aura can't protect the arm and it leaves her vulnerable to Ruby's Silver Eyes, it can stretch and steal Maiden powers.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Cinder has displayed the ability to fight competently without weapons, such as when she infiltrated Vale's CCT and when she ambushed Amber. However, when she returns to Little Miss to collect the information she's requested, she's forced into a bar brawl. She abstains from using her Maiden powers in public and is thus limited to unarmed combat. The skill that had been previously hinted at is shown in full against her more specialised opponent and shows a full range of abilities that encompass punches, kicks, acrobatics and claw swipes from her Grimm arm.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Can deflect shots fired from Crescent Rose with just her palm, due to using half of the Fall Maiden's power she stole. Once she took all of it, she can even catch Pyrrha's Milo and deflect a thrown Akouo barehanded.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her outfit in "Round One" is a sarashi and an open fur vest.
  • Barrier Warrior: Every attack she uses is done through Dust, which takes Aura to manipulate. She can block high-caliber sniper rifle shots with her bare hand. While Lie Ren blocked a King Taijitu's fangs in a similar manner, he visibly struggled to do so, while Cinder does so without even flinching. Later episodes imply that the blocking and Dust manipulation powers were results of the Fall Maiden's powers she stole, rather than Aura, but how exactly the Maiden powers and Aura interact is unclear as of yet.
  • The Beastmaster: In flashbacks, she summons a Beetle Grimm from a special glove on her right hand to steal Amber's Maiden powers. The act leaves a tattoo on her back. During the Volume 3 battle for Beacon, Cinder openly communes with the Grimm Dragon that joins the fight against Vale, softly comforting the creature when it becomes agitated. When she experiences more trouble than she expected against the powerful Pyrrha, the Dragon responds to her predicament and charges to her defense. It's the sight of the charging Dragon that distracts Pyrrha and allows Cinder to gain the upper hand.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; Cinder has been maimed by Ruby's power, and it's revealed in Volume 5 that she lost an arm and her Peek-a-Bangs hide gruesome scars.
  • Beware the Superman: The Maidens are supposed to use their power to protect Remnant. Cinder stole the power of the Fall Maiden for herself, largely to, in her own words, become strong, feared, and powerful, and currently uses said power to help Salem in her plans to destroy Remnant.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Cinder's weapon consists of a pair of curved blades that can be combined together by their hilts to form a bow. Flashbacks in "Fall" show she originally used a metal version of this weapon, but has since taken to manifesting it via Dust since acquiring half of the Fall Maiden's powers.
  • Big "WHAT?!": In the Volume 3 finale, Cinder cries out "What?!" in angry disbelief when white power bursts out of Ruby's eyes and engulfs the entire area, freezing the Grimm Dragon in the process and badly wounding her.
  • Black Swords Are Better: After absorbing half of the Fall Maiden's power she takes to using black glass versions of the swords she used to wield.
  • BFS: Summons a large, fiery one around three times her height in her fight against Raven. It's basically subverted though since it ends up breaking after a single Blade Lock.
  • Body Horror: From Volume 4 onward, she's been maimed by Ruby, and we see the full extent of her injuries in towards the end of Volume 5; her left arm has been replaced with that of a Grimm, and a significant portion of the left side of her face is a scarred ruin.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Her weapons are a pair of swords that can combine to form a bow. She used to have a metallic version of the pair, after absorbing half of the Fall Maiden's power, she can instantly create these swords using Dust.
  • Blunt "Yes": Her response to Pyrrha's last words, asking her if she believes in destiny.
  • Broken Faceplate: Downplayed. During the fight at Haven Academy, Cinder is briefly stunned by Ruby's short-lived use of the Silver Eyes power, and Jaune gets a strike in. Cinder manages to move her head just in time to avoid a killing blow, and the edge of Jaune's sword cuts a tiny chip out of the black ceramic covering of her ruined eye. Raven ends up breaking the mask altogether when she touches Cinder's face with her lightning-infused palm, pushing Cinder off the Vault's ledge.
  • The Bully: For all her skill and cunning, Cinder is nothing more than a smug, sadistic bully who enjoys flaunting her power and superiority over those she feels are inferior to her. As she herself states, Cinder wishes to be feared and hates being made to feel helpless in any situation. When Ruby scars Cinder with her Silver Eyes, Cinder develops an immense hatred for her. When fighting Jaune, Cinder needlessly toys with him, calling him "the dense one who can't tell when he's out of his league" and even taunts him over his failure to save Pyrrha. When Jaune manages to nick her mask with his sword, Cinder flies into a rage, ranting at him for daring to think he could actually beat her and impales Weiss with a replica of Pyrrha's spear in a replay of Pyrrha's death just to spite him.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Cinder has a habit of smiling even when witnessing the pain she's caused to others. Jaune makes an impassioned speech to call her out on it, while she remains silent. When he demands she say something in response, she asks who he is, then smirks as his temper snaps.
    Jaune: What is wrong with you?! How can you be so broken inside?! To take so many lives, and then come back here and rub it in our faces like it's something to be proud of?! All with that damn smile on your face! I'm gonna make you pay for what you did! Do you hear me?! Well? Say something!
    Cinder: Who are you again?
  • The Chessmaster: Cinder is carrying out Salem's long-running plan, which endangers the entire world. Her mission is the obtain the Fall Maiden's powers and bring down Beacon. She predicts most of the cast's moves and adapts with great flexibility when something occurs that hasn't been accounted for. She starts by recruiting Mercury and Emerald, then sapping half the Fall Maiden's powers, then recruiting Torchwick and the White Fang, then commanding Dust robberies and infiltrating Beacon. From there, she infiltrates the CCT Tower, taking control of almost every defense available through the system, including the Vytal Tournament match-ups and Penny. At the end of Volume 3, she succeeds in her mission, although she is badly injured in the process.
  • Chess Motifs: At the end of "Dance Dance Infiltration", a computer she was working on flashes the symbol of a black chess queen.
  • Combat Stilettos: All of her outfits include heels, even when roof-hopping and fighting off the soldiers that try to stop her from infiltrating the communications tower in "Dance Dance Infiltration."
  • The Cracker: Using a virus she's infiltrated General Ironwood's and the Vytal Festival's systems rather thoroughly, allowing her to set up the matchups to suit her plans.
  • Dark Action Girl: One of the most powerful fighters in the series, she's reserved with a touch of cruelty. She helped defeat the Fall Maiden and stole half of her powers, and as result she was able to duel Glynda in a magical battle, infiltrated the CCT and defeated a room full of armed soldiers single-handedly and held off Ruby using her Dust-crafted dual blades/bow. By the end of "Heroes and Monsters", Cinder has gained all of the Fall Maiden's powers after shooting Amber in the chest with her bow.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Cinder enacts all of her plans with a smug attitude of expecting everything that's thrown at her, or easily adapting to the few curveballs thrown her way. However, at the end of Volume 3, when subjected to Ruby's silver eyes, she finally loses her cool with an almost animal "What!?" When we catch up with her in the Volume 4 premiere, she has been badly scarred, rendered near mute, and utterly humbled.
    • At the end of "Vault of the Spring Maiden", Cinder double-crosses Raven and Vernal at the entrance to the Relic's chamber. Freezing Raven, she impales Vernal with her Grimm arm. Hoping to absorb the Spring Maiden's powers, she's shocked to discover there's no power just as Raven breaks free of the ice. Vernal was a decoy — the real Spring Maiden is Raven.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Her Semblance is telekinetic manipulation of sand and glass, most prominently shown in Volume 3 during her fight with Amber when she hardens molten dirt and sand into projectiles and throws them at Amber. Her most common application of this is using it to shape hot sand into glass, in conjunction with her Fall Maiden fire-manipulation abilities. She apparently uses heat to melt the sand together (either from her Maiden abilities or the Dust she enhances her clothing with), and uses her Semblance to reshape it into glass. She can even do this with projectiles and weapons mid-flight, such as breaking apart a glass arrow and reforming it to avoid Pyrrha's shield, and shattering the asphalt shards Glynda used to attack her aircraft.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "The More The Merrier", Jaune lashes out at Cinder with his sword and just barely scrapes the mask over the damaged portion of Cinder's face. She pins him to the ground with her foot while she rants about his audacity in thinking he could fight her. When she realizes he values his friends' lives above his own, she creates a javelin that looks similar to Pyrrha's and impales Weiss.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Everything Cinder says and does is executed with casual grace, whether she's making small talk with Ruby while disguised as a student or beating the crap out of CCT guards. Even when she's crippled Pyrrha and is preparing to kill her, her tone of voice remains calm and slightly smug. The first time Cinder loses her cool is when the power of Ruby's silver eyes activate during the battle of Beacon, catching Cinder completely off-guard. When Ruby's silver eyes briefly de-power her during the battle of Haven, Jaune takes advantage of that to strike for her face; shocked, she barely manages to dodge in time for his sword to do more than knick her face mask. She reacts with utter fury, pinning him to the ground and grinding his chest under foot while she rants angrily. And when Cinder attempts to drain the magic of the Spring Maiden from Vernal, she's so shocked to discover she can't do it, that the fact she can't find the power sends her into the sort of panic usually associated with addicts being denied the substance they're addicted to.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Cinder takes control of the computers of the CCT, Ironwood's army and Vytal tournament, which allows her to broadcast anything she wants, regardless of any security. When Pyrrha accidentally tears apart Penny, Cinder takes over the air waves to send a global message, condemning Ozpin and Ironwood, all four academies, the Atlas army and to claim the four kingdoms are at the brink of war. Even though Oobleck tries to cut the feed, the broadcast team can't do it.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Cinder's desire is to become strong, feared and powerful and she works for Salem because it gives her the opportunity to steal Maiden powers. While she only possesses half the Fall Maiden's power, she executes Salem's plan for the destruction of Beacon Academy with great cunning, patience and adaptability, and obtains the Fall Maiden's full power. While recovering from injuries inflicted by Ruby, she becomes increasingly intolerant of Salem's measured approach to pursuing her goals and is warned by Salem to wait patiently for further power. Once unleashed to lead the infiltration of Haven Academy, Cinder's leadership becomes increasingly unstable. She revels in bullying others by flaunting her Maiden power and she watches the Spring Maiden's demonstration of power with an expression of undisguised lust; when Raven concludes that Cinder is egomaniacal, Watts agrees. Cinder sacrifices caution and stealth for the chance to confront Ruby and uses the first opportunity she gets to try and steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself, revealing in the process that she's replaced her left arm with a Grimm arm that makes it easier for her to steal Maiden powers. As a result of her obsession, impatience and growing lust for power, she ruins Salem's plan; Haven Academy is rescued, the villains are forced to flee, and Cinder is cast into a bottomless abyss by the Spring Maiden.
  • Dual Wielding: When she infiltrates the CCT, she fights the guards and Ruby by creating a pair of combine-able swords made from Dust. In a flashback to before she gained half of Amber's powers, she used fighting a metallic, more conventional version of the swords. In Volume 5, she doesn't use her left arm since it's entirely covered in a long sleeve, at least until revealing it to be her trump card in absorbing the Maidens' powers, after which she begins dual-wielding again in her fight against Raven.
  • Evil Counterpart: For Ruby. A young girl being admitted into Beacon two years early contrasting with a woman infiltrating the same school illegitimately. Ruby relies on Crescent Rose almost exclusively during combat while Cinder has one of the most varied fighting styles in the entire cast. Both are looking to change the world, with Ruby hoping to give everyone a happy ending while Cinder appears to want to throw the world into chaos. They even share the same red-and-black color scheme, but where Ruby is accented with silver, Cinder is accented with gold. By the end of Volume 3 they both now possess legendary magical powers; while Cinder stole her Fall Maiden abilities by force, Ruby inherited her Silver eyed warrior powers naturally from her mother. Salem confirms that, while Cinder now has unimaginable power, it carries with it a crippling weakness - Ruby's power.
  • Evil Feels Good: After stealing half of the Full Maiden power, Cinder describes the feeling as "an emptiness that burns like hunger", and confesses she likes it.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: When Amber uses the powers of the Fall Maiden, she displays the ability to create tornadoes and bursts of fire. She can freeze leaves into flechettes and levitate. However, when Cinder absorbs the powers of the Fall Maiden, she only uses the levitation power and the fire ability. Prior to obtaining the power, she used heat to shape glass from melted sand, so fire is what she has an affinity for.
  • Evil Is Petty: Going hand-in-hand with her egomania. Cinder's driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. She agrees to a deal with Raven to kill Qrow in exchange for her services because it will also allow her to get back at Ruby for maiming her, blowing off Watts's argument that doing so could jeopardize Salem's plans, and when Jaune damages her eyepatch, she flies into an Unstoppable Rage, rants at him for his audacity in thinking he could fight her, and when he says that the others' lives are more valuable than his own, she impales Weiss with a flaming javelin reminiscent of Pyrrha's just to spite and hurt him.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Cinder starts off as a beautiful young woman who wants to be strong, powerful and feared. To obtain great power, she uses a parasite Grimm to steal the Fall Maiden's power, which leaves a supernatural tattoo on her back. Although becoming the Fall Maiden gives her enormous magical abilities, it also makes her vulnerable to Ruby's innate magical ability. During the Battle of Beacon, Cinder is badly injured by Ruby's power. She spends all of Volume 4 recovering from her injuries, which leave her scarred on the left side of her body. She initially wears a mask to hide the ruined half of her face and replaces her destroyed left arm with a full Grimm arm, which she initially hides underneath a long sleeve. When she returns to form, she is dangerously unstable, obsessed with seeking revenge against Ruby and is so overcome with lust for further power that she ruins Salem's plan to obtain the Relic of Knowledge by trying to use her new Grimm arm to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself. Raven even lampshades it, telling Cinder point-blank that she turned herself into a monster for power.
  • Evil Mentor: Cinder selects Emerald for her illusion powers and Mercury for his ability to kill. She teaches them to follow her orders and includes them in her plans, disciplining them severely when they cross her lines. She describes them both as her disciples, and in flashbacks is heard stating she wants to take on an apprentice shortly before recruiting them.
  • Eyepatch of Power: As a result of losing her eye to Ruby, Cinder's left eye now has a simple black patch over it. However, her Peek-a-Bangs makes it hard to see most of the time.
  • Eye Scream: Cinder's left eye is destroyed by Ruby's Silver Eye powers at the end of Volume 3, and she's given a nasty scar across the left-side of her face in its place.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: When she fights Ruby in Episode 1, her face is completely shadowed except for one burning eye. Due to this, when she and Ruby meet face-to-face, she's wearing different clothing so Ruby doesn't recognize her.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Outwardly, Cinder is a beautiful young woman and she has no trouble blending in with the students when the four Academies gather at Beacon for the Vytal Festival. While she and her subordinates play the part of Haven students who befriend the protagonists in classes and help to protect the Kingdom of Vale from the Grimm, she is in reality the one who assaulted the Fall Maiden and spends the school year secretly infiltrating security networks so she can rig the Vytal Festival tournament fights to ensure maximum chaos when her assault on Vale begins in earnest. Sadistic, cruel, and power-hungry, Cinder revels in the destruction of Beacon and the terror and death she inflicts upon the citizens of Vale. When she murders Pyrrha for trying to protect Beacon from her, she accidentally triggers a previously unknown magical ability linked to Ruby's silver eyes that subverts this trope when it leaves her permanently scarred on the left side of her body; from Volume 4, she wears a mask to cover the damage to her face and wears a long sleeve to hide her left arm, which is later revealed to have been replaced by a Grimm arm.
  • Fairytale Motif: Based on Cinderella. Cinder's name was originally drafted as "Cinder Ella" before being finalised as "Cinder Fall" and her footsteps are accompanied by the sound of tinkling glass as an allusion to Cinderella's glass slippers. Several shots hang on her high heels briefly, alluding to the glass slipper. She constantly uses fire and glass weapons. When she infiltrates the CCT, she has to be "home by midnight"; as the clock chimes midnight, she flees the CCT while transforming her clothes with Dust. Her mask is left behind on the floor. Her relationship with the true villain even appears to be similar to Cinderella's relationship with her fairy godmother.
  • Fanservice Pack: Inverted. For the first three volumes, she was a standard Ms. Fanservice and tended to have many shots and outfits that would exploit that. Her main outfit was a curve-hugging minidress with black Modesty Shorts underneath during many upskirt shots in Volume Three. In Volume Four, her outfit became much more conservative. It was still a dress that hugged her curves and showed off her figure, but it was longer and she covered up her left arm entirely. And with her disfigurement, her left eye was covered as well to hide her scars. Volume Five revealed that her left arm was cut off as well and she now has an extendable Grimm arm with scarring where the arm meets the stump. Volume Six takes this further when she has to find a disguise. The outfit she wears is rather baggy and doesn't show off much of her figure. It even covers more than her previous outfit did. The trope is played straight with her new outfit in the Volume Six finale. She goes to a sleeveless look with thigh highs.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: From Volume 4 onwards, she's taken to wearing a dress that exposes her right arm and leg while her left arm and leg are completely covered. Given the loss of her left eye and scarring on the left side of her face, it's possible that Ruby's power damaged more of her left side.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her egomania, with a side order of sadism and an insatiable hunger for power, all end up doing her in. Cinder's driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. If she thinks there's a way to fulfill Salem's mission and get what she wants she'll go for it, no matter how risky it is. Her cruel, arrogant lust for power finally gets the better of her near the end of Volume 5, when she falls for Raven's decoy and exposes herself to defeat by Raven's hand.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Cinder is very charismatic and capable of putting on a polite front as a means of getting what she wants. However, it is all a facade to hide her true sinister nature. When negotiating with Adam and the White Fang, she acts polite and respectful towards him and begrudgingly forces herself to bow in respect when he refuses her offer. However, once she obtains half of the Fall Maiden's power, she returns and slaughters his men to force him to join him. When overlooking the chaos in Vale, she revels in the carnage and tells Mercury to record it. As her sanity decays throughout Volume 5, Cinder's polite facade becomes less sincere as more of her sadistic side shines through, seen in her negotiations with Raven where her politeness is undercut by her thinly-veiled death threats towards her and her tribe.
  • Flaming Sword: During her fight with Ozpin, she is shown to be able to ignite her swords with fire. She does it again in "The More The Merrier" when she decides to get serious during her fight with Jaune.
  • Flight: Cinder has the ability to fly up the Beacon Tower's lift shaft and hovers every so often during her final battle of Volume 3. It's an ability she gains only after obtaining the full power of the Fall Maiden. In flashbacks, Amber is also shown to be able to hover when using the Fall Maiden power.
  • Foil: Volume 5 strongly contrasts Cinder and Raven, even placing them back-to-back in promotional posters. Cinder wants to be known and feared while Raven wants to be a hit-and-run criminal who avoids the limelight. Cinder seeks to be actively involved in the war between Salem and Ozpin while Raven has done her best to stay out of it. Cinder enjoys flashing around her Maiden abilities at every opportunity while Raven has tried so hard to hide hers that she even created a decoy to distract attention from her. Both also get their Maiden powers by killing the previous Maidens, but while Cinder shows no remorse in her pursuit of power, Raven shows some hint of regret of what she did and tries to justify her action as an act of mercy for the weak Maiden so she won't be hunted by Salem for the rest of her life.
  • Glass Weapon: Cinder's preferred weapons are a pair of swords or a bow that she can create out of black glass.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her eyes glow yellow when using her fire powers, and gain flaming streaks when enhancing that fire power with the Fall Maiden powers.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: The protagonists who have prosthetic replacements have limbs that are made with advanced Atlesian technology which function like their missing limbs and also incorporate their style of fighting to ensure they can still function as Huntsmen. General Ironwood uses clothing to completely hide the prosthetic part of his body, even when it means wearing one hand gloved and one hand ungloved, and he only uses his prosthetic arm in battle against the Grimm where its great physical strength allows him to fight without weapons. The Volume 3 finale sees both Yang and Cinder lose an arm which is replaced in Volume 4 by General Ironwood and Salem respectively. Yang chooses to paint her prosthetic in her signature color scheme (yellow with black accents), incorporating it into her asymmetrical fashion style and therefore displaying it openly. Cinder hides her prosthetic behind an overlong sleeve which allows her to use her new arm as a surprise attack: her new limb is a Grimm arm which is capable of stretching well beyond its normal range. It also enables her to easily steal the power of other Maidens by absorbing it as her victim dies in agony.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: During the battle of Haven, her mask is shattered, revealing the extent of the damage Ruby did to her at the end of the Battle of Beacon. From the right side of her nose across to her left ear, her face is a scarred ruin, her left eye sealed shut as a result of the extent of the damage.
  • Gunship Rescue: She arrives in a gunship to bail Roman out in Episode 1 of Volume 1.
  • Guttural Growler: After becoming heavily scarred and losing an eye from being maimed by Ruby's silver-eyes, Cinder begins to adopt this tone. Though she mostly speaks normally, when becoming agitated or enraged her voice gains a rough edge to it. It's a reflection of Cinder's gradual Sanity Slippage since the aforementioned maiming, as pre-scarring she spoke in a soft, faux-soothing tone while her plans generally went in her favor.
  • Hate Sink: Cinder Fall displays numerous negative traits that put her at odds even with her allies. She 'teaches' Emerald her place by slapping her when Emerald tries to question her decisions; when Jaune confronts her about Pyrrha's murder, she mocks his lack of ability to protect the people he cares about, then tries to make him suffer just for having the audacity to try and defeat her; after unleashing the Grimm and White Fang upon Vale, she watches the citizens dying with undisguised pleasure. Her lack of loyalty causes Mercury to call Emerald deluded for being so loyal to a woman who doesn't return it and even estranges her from Salem, whose orders she is only willing to follow until they conflict with her own desire to kill Ruby. She is self-aware, revels in her cruelty and shows no higher ideals, not even in distorted forms. Beneath her facade of a strong warrior, she is a petty, sadistic bully who needs others to suffer so that she can feel powerful.
  • The Heavy: After Torchwick's imprisonment at the end of Volume 2, she becomes the main villain focus, driving the villainous plot and being the woman that Ozpin's secret group is trying to find. Her role becomes more significant after Roman's death, and once Salem is revealed as the villain Cinder is working for.
  • Hero Killer: She orchestrates all of the tournament fights to ensure the right people are paired up to achieve her goals. She also doesn't hold back during the battle of Beacon, resulting in her actions getting several people killed. She orchestrates Pyrrha and Penny's fight so that Emerald can trick Pyrrha into destroying Penny. Later on, she shoots Amber dead to steal the remaining Fall Maiden power and then fights Pyrrha to the death. When Pyrrha's Aura finally runs out, leaving her without her Semblance, Cinder burns her to death from the inside out with a fiery arrow. Her attempt to re-enact Pyrrha's death by forcing Jaune to watch as she impales Weiss with a summoned replica of Pyrrha's javelin is what finally awakens Jaune's Semblance, the only thing that prevents Weiss from dying of her injuries.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Everything about her is shrouded in mystery. We don't what she wants or why she wants it. Although her boss and fellow villains are known, why Cinder wants to be involved is poorly understood, especially as it becomes clear early in Volume 4 that there are things about her position that Cinder was not previously told, much to her dislike.
  • High Class Gloves: Adding to the Cinderella imagery, Cinder wears shoulder length gloves on two separate occasions: A black pair in "Dance Dance Infiltration" as part of her Spy Catsuit, and a purple one in Volume 4.
  • Horror Hunger: In the flashback, Cinder attempts to use a strange piece of summoning technology, in the form of a white glove, to give herself more power. Cinder is only able to partially complete the process and, when on the phone to a mysterious contact, she describes the feeling she's been left with as an "emptiness that burns like hunger". She then adds that she likes the feeling. The glove summons a Beetle Grimm that absorbs Amber's Fall Maiden power. Qrow interrupts the process before it can complete, resulting in Cinder only achieving half-Maiden status and Amber being trapped in a coma.
  • Human Popsicle: Freezes Raven solid so that she can freely attack Vernal, although she manages to break out. When Raven defeats her, she sends Cinder flying into the Haven vault's chasm and freezes Cinder's falling body in the same way just for good measure. Cinder later awakens drowning in an underground lake surrounded by melting ice. When she gets out of water, daylight is seen through the crack in a wall, indicating she spent at least several hours frozen, as the battle of Maidens happened at night. Her "Wanted!" Poster implies it might be closer to a month.
  • Hypocrite: Cinder tells Pyrrha that it is unfortunate that Pyrrha was promised a power that was never rightfully hers. This is after Cinder stole the power of the Fall Maiden, which means Cinder's power is not rightfully hers.
  • An Ice Person: When Amber uses the Fall Maiden power, she demonstrates the ability to freeze leaves and use them as flechette weapons. Once Cinder steals the power, she initially favours the use of fire until her control of the ability improves. After that, she begins to use ice attacks to freeze her opponents solid. Cinder senses Raven moving to attack her from behind and throws an ice-based power ball at her; Raven freezes solid, allowing Cinder to freely attack Vernal.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Authority. Cinder is very authoritarian and direct when interacting with her subordinates Emerald and Mercury. She expects her instructions to be followed to the letter and does not tolerate any disobedience, telling them to "don't think, obey". She is also secretive, keeping Roman on a strict need-to-know basis. When Emerald disagrees with Cinder recruiting Mercury to the team, Cinder slaps her in response, telling her to know her place. Later, when ambushing Amber, Cinder tells them to execute the attack exactly as planned. Cinder later reprimands both Emerald and Mercury for murdering Tukson as it could've blown their cover.
  • It's Personal: She appears to have formed an intense hatred for Ruby due to being defeated and crippled by her silver eye powers, and makes sure to add during Salem's meeting that something must be done about her. When training during the Volume 4 finale, she has Emerald summon an illusion of a defenseless Ruby on the floor begging for mercy, before she burns it with her Fall Maiden powers in a manner more concentrated than when she was testing her powers on some Grimm.
  • Javelin Thrower: During the battle of Haven, she summons a javelin to use on the battleground. The javelin she summons resembles Pyrrha's and she throws it at Weiss just to torment her opponent, Jaune, by forcing him to watch a replay of Pyrrha's death.
  • Kick the Dog: When Cinder fights Jaune, she toys with him needlessly. When she pins him to the ground with her foot, he reveals that he values his life less than those of his friends. Instead of killing him, she steps off him and let's him watch as she recreates a fire-copy of Pyrrha's spear and impales Weiss from behind while Weiss is fighting her own opponent. In repeat of Pyrrha's death, Weiss is left kneeling on the ground, impaled through the torso and gasping for breath as the weapon burns away to ash. Vernal has all but defeated Weiss and needs no help; Cinder merely does it to pay Jaune back for actually managing to get in one hit against her that damaged the mask hiding the scarred left side of her face.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Adam threatens her with Wilt and Blush in order to get her to leave the White Fang alone, she decides to back out. However, she comes back when she's stolen Amber's power, and now that she's capable of annihilating the White Fang, Adam has no choice but to go with her.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: As the Fall Maiden, Cinder has access to incredible magical powers, creating streams of fire, turning shards of molten metal into ice or glass projectiles, and being able to completely immolate a corpse to ash with a single touch. She's no slouch in close combat either, being able to easily overwhelm Ruby in sword-to-scythe combat.
  • Lack of Empathy: She has absolutely no compassion for anyone. If she even acknowledges people, they are merely tools pushing her plans further or obstacles that need to be crushed. She looks onto the carnage of Vale by the Grimm and calmly says it's "horrendous" as if it is something to be admired. Jaune even calls her out on it, demanding to know how she could be proud of all the suffering she's caused. The only acknowledgement she has for people's feeling is how she can use them to manipulate or hurt them. Mercury outright states that she doesn't care about either of them when Emerald believes otherwise.
  • Lady of Black Magic: She's ever so composed and elegant, and a powerful user of fire. In her first battle during the pilot episode, she engages in a magical duel with Glynda, where she transforms whatever Glynda throws at her into a range of things that either become dust and scatter or attempt to strike Glynda and Ruby. During the fight, she's on a careening plane with an open hatch, but aside from poised, carefully placed leg movements, she rarely loses her balance. Once she gains the full power of the Fall Maiden, she can float in the air, conjure fire in her hands, and disintegrate and reintegrate her own arrows so that they can unnaturally bend around solid objects that get in the way of the flight path.
  • Lady of War: Cinder maintains an air of calm and reserve, even in the heat of battle. When she infiltrates Beacon Tower, she initially employs stealth, then fights the guards in a spinning and whirling style that makes it appear as though she's dancing, even when it buys her the time to manifest glass-based and Dust-based weapons in the middle of fighting. When Ruby confronts her, she makes summoning forth a bow and arrows while engaging in leaping dodges look effortless.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cinder wishes for nothing but to be strong, feared, and powerful, and appears to gain that by becoming the Fall Maiden and instigating the fall of Beacon Tower and Ozpin. After she is wounded in the Volume 3 finale, Salem forces her to stay close for healing, revealing that Cinder now has a crippling weakness to Ruby's power. Salem's other subordinates have no respect for her, view her as a failure and mock her injuries. Cinder didn't expect this outcome and resents it, having gone from strong, feared and powerful to weak, mocked, and protected.
  • Leitmotif: Her appearances tend to be accompanied by a chilling low string motif in contrast to Salem's piano motif. Said motif also gets fuller and longer if she's overwhelming her opponent or making major progress in her plans, always adding an equally low set of intense choral vocals when she engages in battle. It reaches a climax of sinister chanting when she kills Pyrrha, and is silenced when Ruby cripples her using her silver eyes. For the majority of volume 4, it's absent, only to make a return when she breaks out of her depression and burns an illusion of Ruby without hesitation. In Volume 5, the sinister chanting returns when she creates a copy of Pyrrha's javelin in a deliberate attempt to kill Weiss in a way that mimics Pyrrha's death, just to torment Jaune. An orchestral version of the tune plays when she falls to her assumed demise after her duel with Raven in "Downfall".
  • Loophole Abuse: Salem orders her subordinates to capture Ruby alive and bring her to Salem. Cinder, however, wants Ruby dead and thinks up a plan to try and achieve that without falling foul of Salem's wrath. When Neo turns up trying to avenge Roman's death by killing Cinder, Cinder tells her that the real culprit is Ruby and that they should team up to take her down together. Cinder admits that she's under orders not to kill Ruby but that Neo is not. As a result, once they find Ruby, Cinder will obtain the Relic for Salem while Neo is free to do what she likes to Ruby.
  • Lust: For power. Cinder wants to be strong, feared, and powerful by her own admission, and goes to such lengths as replacing her arm with that of a Grimm and murdering Amber to take the Fall Maiden power for herself. Even that isn't enough for her; she just wants more, and tries to take the Spring Maiden powers for herself as well, all while ranting that she's the only one worthy of it.
  • Mage Marksman: Skilled with archery along with her use of Dust. Her fight in CCT shows that she can conjure blades, bows, and exploding arrows from Dust, thanks to the Fall Maiden's powers.
  • The Man Behind the Man: For most of Volume 1, Roman Torchwick was seen as the prime antagonist. Then she shows up at the very end to prove that he's working for her. She herself is the subordinate of the true villain, Salem - Ozpin's Arch-Enemy.
  • Marked Change: The flashback reveals how Cinder obtains the tattoo on her back that lies between her shoulder blades. She uses a strange piece of summoning technology, in the form of a white glove, to give herself more power. The glove was absorbed into her body after use, leaving behind a Power Tattoo. The glove contains a red symbol of an eye inside a circle which summons forth a Beetle Grimm that steals half of Amber's Maiden power and transfers it to Cinder. After use, the Beetle Grimm vanishes and the glove faded into Cinder's arm, leaving behind the tattoo.
  • Meaningful Name: Her surname "Fall" is another name for "Autumn". The Fall Maiden's codename is Autumn, and Cinder steals the Fall Maiden's power in two stages to become the new Fall Maiden. Raven believes the surname is far too coincidental to be her real surname and suggests only an egomaniac would advertise herself in such a fashion. Watts implies that Raven's assessment is correct.
  • Meaningful Rename: Raven assumes that Cinder's surname being "Fall" and Cinder being the Fall Maiden is no coincidence and that Cinder deliberately gave herself that surname as a result of pure ego. Watts indicates that Raven's assumption is correct.
  • Minidress of Power: During Volumes 1-3, she has one of the shortest and most revealing dresses of any cast member, given the shortest part of the skirt has a slit up the side that reveal she's wearing either hotpants or a tight skirt underneath. Best seen in this rigging test of her character model.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She is certainly a voluptuous individual, and the camera angles are (in)famous for milking this for all of its worth, providing us with some tantalizing shots, the most famous of which being a butt shot in "Dance Dance Infiltration". Also, when given the chance, we see a bunch of the black shorts she wears underneath (as in the Season 3 opening, and "Beginning of the End"). It's downplayed by Volume 4, as while she is still very curvy, she now has an enormous, nasty scar running across the entire left side of her face, courtesy of Ruby's Silver Eye powers. Cinder hides the majority of the damage with a large eyepatch, but bits of scar tissue still poke through, hinting at just how bad the disfigurement is underneath. Volume 5 downplays it even further with the revelation that Cinder lost most of her left arm at the end of Volume 3 and has replaced it with an extendable Grimm arm, complete with noticeable scarring where the arm meets the stump.
  • Mugged for Disguise: When Cinder is down on her luck and has no other option available, she has no problem mugging the first woman she comes across to steal her clothes and change her appearance. Cinder escapes the Vault of the Spring Maiden by punching a hole through rock with her Grimm arm. Exhausted by her battle with Raven, she collapses on the ground where she is discovered by a passing woman, who stops to see if Cinder needs help. Cinder kills the woman and steals both her clothes and money. The clothes help hide her appearance from the Mistral authorities and the money helps her pay for an audience with Lil' Miss Malachite.
  • Mysterious Past: How she met Salem and joined forces with her is unknown. The only part of her past that is shown is her recruitment of her followers to set up the plan to attack Beacon Academy. She apparently wants to be strong, feared and powerful, but the reason for that is unknown.
  • Narcissist: Cinder admits that she wants to be "strong, feared, and powerful", implying a need for recognition by others. During her fight with Pyrrha, she attempts to de-legitimise Pyrrha's eligibility to receive the power to bolster her sense of superiority. When Ruby permanently injures her at the end of Volume 3, Cinder begins developing a vengeful obsession with her. While still recovering from her injuries, she is disgruntled and frustrated with having to suffer disrespect and insults from the rest of Salem's subordinates. When she first meets Raven, the latter concludes that Cinder has a "slight case of egomania" to have a name that is suspiciously fitting for a Fall Maiden. When she fights Jaune, she only stops toying with him when he manages to strike her mask, almost injuring her; she instantly flies into a rage, ranting about the audacity of someone as weak as him daring to think he could beat her. When she confronts the Spring Maiden at the Relic of Knowledge's vault, she outright claims that the only person worthy of possessing such power is herself.
  • Necessary Drawback: As powerful and dangerous as Cinder's Grimm arm is, able to extend and steal Maiden power, its nature means Cinder's Aura can't protect it. After one of her swords is shattered by Raven, a bit of shrapnel stabs into her arm while the rest of her is unharmed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The students only have a month in which to prepare for Salem's attack on Haven Academy, but they are nowhere near the ability needed to take on forces as powerful as Salem's subordinates. Salem's failure to procure the Relic of Knowledge is therefore entirely because of Cinder's impatience and hunger for power. She eagerly accepts a deal with Raven to kill Qrow in exchange for her aid in the attack on Haven Academy because it gives her an opportunity for revenge on Ruby. This puts Team RWBY into a perfect position to interfere with the villains' attempt to obtain the Relic. When she, Raven, and Vernal are at the door to the Vault, Cinder doesn't wait for Vernal to open the Vault; instead, she impales Vernal in an attempt to steal the Spring Maiden powers for herself. She discovers too late that Vernal was only a decoy and that Raven was the true Spring Maiden all along. The end result: Raven defeats Cinder, casting her into the Vault's abyss and freezing her into ice, allowing Yang to secure the Relic and forcing Salem's remaining minions to flee empty-handed. Salem knows that she survived, but makes it clear to her other subordinates that she will not allow Cinder to return until she redeems herself for her failure.
  • Nice Shoes: In episode one her shoes make a distinct clinking sound when she walks revealing them to be made of glass.
  • Not So Different: Invoked in "Downfall." When Raven expresses disgust at how far Cinder's willing to go for power and calls her a monster, Cinder retorts "Look who's talking!" While it seems like little more than a Lame Comeback at the time, it's revealed in the very next episode that Raven killed the previous Spring Maiden and took her power for herself, just as Cinder killed Amber for the Fall Maiden power.
  • Not Quite Dead: At the climax of the fight between Cinder and Raven, Raven manages to kick Cinder over the cliff into the Vault of the Spring Maiden's chasm. After a moment's hesitation, Raven freezes Cinder's body to ice to make sure she really does die. What Raven doesn't know is that the chasm ends in water. Cinder regains consciousness as she's drowning underwater surrounded by the remnants of melting ice. She manages to claw her way back to the shoreline, but she is so exhausted from battle and almost drowning that she can barely stand; she doesn't even have the strength to summon any reliable magic.
  • Oh, Crap!: An expression of utter shock is the last one to register on her face, courtesy of being frozen solid whilst being kicked into the abyss below Haven's Vault.
  • Older Than They Look: She's youthful enough to be a candidate for receiving Maiden powers, but is older than the main cast of teenagers. However, she easily passes as a student when she presents herself as a trainee from Haven Academy so her actual age is uncertain.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: During the Volume 3 finale, Ruby unleashes an ability neither she nor Cinder ever expected to exist. Cinder, who until that point had been carrying out the villainous plot with smug, self-assured pleasure, is shocked into panic as she unleashes an incredulous Big "WHAT?!". It's a game-changer for Cinder, revealing that the mythical powers she's been stealing have a crippling weakness to Ruby's inherited and equally mythical power. It leaves her permanently scarred down the left side of her body, forcing her to wear a mask that hides the left side of her face and resulting in her replacing her left arm with that of a Grimm. It takes her the whole of Volume 4 just to recover.
  • Parental Substitute: Emerald and Mercury argue over Emerald's reliance on Cinder. She believes Cinder cares about her because Cinder rescued her from poverty, trained her, and gives her things every so often. Mercury claims that Cinder doesn't care about either of them and that Emerald is in denial. When she says that she had no family until she met Cinder, Mercury sarcastically tells her that he's sorry she didn't have a mother who loved her. The argument strongly implies that Emerald looks up to Cinder as a mother-figure and that Mercury believes the feeling is not mutual.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Her left eye is covered by her hair. From Volume 4 onwards, it also covers extensive facial scarring.
  • Playing with Fire: After gaining the Fall Maiden's powers, Cinder began using fire attacks, both directly in the form of bursts of heat and force, as well as using the heat to shape glass weaponry and projectiles that she could manipulate using her Semblance. Even after she gains the entirety of the Fall Maiden's powers, which include ice, wind, and lightning abilities, she still mostly attacks with fire.
  • Power Glows: The patterns on the collar and sleeves of her dress (and on her catsuit) light up bright yellow when using Aura. The first Remnant History episode states that some "old-school" Dust Users put Dust into their clothing. When Ruby and Glynda discuss it, Ironwood points out it's such a time-honoured tradition that it can't be used to identify the villain's identity, indicating that it may be an "old school" method, but it's still very commonly used.
  • Power Parasite: Cinder absorbed the Fall Maiden's power from Amber by using some form of parasitic Grimm creature that appears from a portal conjured in her Tricked Out Glove. When she attempts to steal the Spring Maiden's power at the entrance to the chamber containing the Relic of Knowledge, she uses her left arm, which has been hidden since she was injured during the Battle of Beacon. The arm is now a Grimm arm which can extend out and, like the parasitic Grimm, can absorb a Maiden's power for Cinder's use.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Cinder berates Emerald and Mercury for killing Tukson without her orders, but not because she's against the murder, especially since she had ordered Torchwick to do so anyway. She's just pissed that Emerald and Mercury risked exposing themselves by killing someone when they need to keep their hands clean for the infiltration of Beacon and sabotaging the Vytal Festival. This goes out the window come Volume 5, due to her obsession with getting back at Ruby; she'll do whatever it takes to have an opportunity to do so, even at the expense of Salem's plan.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Whenever she feels she's on top of her enemies or has the upper hand, she will smile with smug glee at the pain and suffering that will ensue; when she witnesses the scale of suffering she's caused during the fall of Beacon, she smiles. As her sanity continues to degrade throughout Volume 5, her smiles become more frequent and more demented: Witnessing the Spring Maiden demonstrate her powers leaves Cinder leaning forward with a smile of longing and pure lust for power, giving her a deranged expression. When fighting Jaune during the battle of Haven, her smiles become almost wild as she torments him over Pyrrha's death and how badly Weiss is doing in her own fight against Vernal. When she fights Raven, their blades lock and Cinder's smiling face is almost unhinged as she starts to overpower Raven.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives quite the scathing one to both the kingdoms of Vale and Atlas soon after Pyrrha's (accidental) killing of Penny, questioning why a place like Beacon would make Child Soldiers who could be prone to Heroic BSODs so easily or why the heavily militarized Atlas would go and build Ridiculously Human Robots like Penny, make them combat ready and let them wander around so easily. She even claims that Mistral, the kingdom she and her associates apparently hail from, is just as bad.
  • Red Right Hand: The scars Cinder suffered along the left side of her body better reflect just how selfish and cruel Cinder is and, since becoming the Fall Maiden, she has become increasingly unstable, taking a sadistic delight in hurting others. The clothing style she uses to hide the left side of her body also hides the fact that her left arm has been replaced by a Grimm arm that can unnaturally extend at will. The arm possesses a similar ability to the Parasite Grimm she absorbed to enable her to steal Amber's power. Like the Grimm, she revels in the negative reactions of the people she torments.
  • Revenge: Cinder wants to get payback on Ruby for being crippled by her at the end of Volume 3, to the point that it's her main concern during the meeting at the start of Volume 4. Later on, she has Emerald creating illusionary copies of Ruby just so she can burn them. In Volume 5, Watts begins to believe that her obsession with hunting down Ruby is beginning to affect her judgement when negotiating a deal with Raven to obtain Vernal and the Relic of Knowledge that could allow Raven to double-cross her; though in that case Cinder's failure, while her fault, had nothing to do with her desire for revenge on Ruby.
  • Revenge Before Reason: From Volume 4 onwards, Cinder's entire motivation is getting back at Ruby for crippling her at the end of Volume 3, and it begins to eat away at her mind, leading her to adapt her plans for personal gain rather than necessity. Watts even lampshades it when Cinder agrees to a deal with Raven, calling her out on her growing obsession and fearing it may jeopardize Salem's plans. He's proven right when Cinder's hatred and obsession lead her to underestimate Raven; this leads to the villains failing to obtain the Relic or destroy Haven Academy, and Cinder herself being nearly killed by Raven and exiled from Salem's group. In Volume 6, Cinder realises she needs to obtain the Relic before she can return to Salem, but she still wants revenge against Ruby. As Salem wants Ruby alive and has ordered Cinder not to kill her, Cinder tells Neo that the person she needs to kill for Roman's death is Ruby; by turning Neo against Ruby, Cinder hopes that Neo can kill Ruby, thereby allowing Cinder to return to Salem with the Relic and not get into trouble for Ruby's death.
  • Rubber Man: Cinder's new Grimm-like arm can stretch just like the Nuckelavee's arms, which she uses to impale Vernal through the stomach before slowly walking up to her.
  • Sadist: Cinder takes pleasure in the pain of others. When she infiltrates the CCT, she defeats the guards with a smile on her face and assesses her network access in amusement while standing over their bodies. She describes watching the Grimm slaughtering Vale citizens as "wonderful", and when she stole the first half of Amber's power, she drew out the pain of Amber's last conscious moments with needless theatrics that gave Amber the chance to see what was going to happen to her and beg for life in horror. When she kills Pyrrha, she doesn't simply shoot her through the heart, her arrow also burns Pyrrha from the inside out — while Pyrrha is still alive. After Ruby disfigures her, she motivates herself to grow stronger by burning alive illusions of a begging Ruby that are created by Emerald. As her sanity withers away throughout Volume 5, her sadism becomes more and more pronounced. When fighting Jaune in "The More The Merrier", she constantly taunts him over his failure to save Pyrrha and when he damages her mask, she impales Weiss with a flaming spear just to spite him.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: For the first three volumes, Cinder is a calm and calculative manipulator who easily initiates Salem's plan to steal the Fall Maiden's power and destroy Beacon Academy; she also smoothly adapts, displaying smug pleasure instead of agitation or panic. whenever unexpected situations occur. This all changes when she's maimed by Ruby's Silver Eyes. Beginning with Volume 4, Cinder becomes determined to get back at Ruby for maiming her by any means necessary; she becomes increasingly unstable and violent, adapting her plans for personal gain instead of necessity and sabotaging her ability to achieve her own goals in the process. Watts even comments on Cinder's growing obsession, fearing that her hatred and thirst for revenge may prove detrimental to Salem's plans. He's proven right when her agreement with Raven results in Ruby's forces being able to interfere with the attempt to steal the Relic of Knowledge before she deviates even further from the plan by attempting to steal Raven's power. As a result, Raven throws her down a chasm while the protagonists secure the Relic of Knowledge, forcing Salem's forces to flee empty-handed. Throughout Volume 6, Cinder, exiled from Salem's forces due to her failure, seems to stabilize and regain some of her strategic mind, using Little Miss Malachite's network to track Team RWBY and convincing Neo to work with her to kill Ruby.
  • Sanity Slippage: After being horribly scarred by Ruby's Silver Eyes, Cinder harbors an intense hatred for her and motivates herself to grow stronger by having Emerald conjure illusory copies of a begging Ruby for her to burn. In Volume 5, it is becoming clear that Cinder's desire for revenge against Ruby and her insatiable lust for power is starting to have a detrimental effect on her sanity as she has become increasingly unstable and more openly sadistic than before. Watts even begins to worry that her vindictive, unstable nature may jeopardize their plans for Haven. When fighting Jaune in "The More The Merrier", she constantly makes several insane facial expressions as she taunts him over his failure to save Pyrrha, relishing in his torment. And when Jaune manages to nick her mask, she flies into a homicidal rage, screaming at him for thinking he could actually beat her and it takes visible effort for her to calm down. In Volume 6, Salem makes it clear to her subordinates that they are to leave Cinder isolated so that she can work her way back into Salem's good graces; forced to work for herself, Cinder's sanity appears to stabilise and she begins thinking and strategizing again, using Little Miss Malachite's network to find out where Team RWBY is going and then convincing Neo to join forces with her to plot Ruby's downfall.
  • Sarashi: Her combat outfit during the Vytal tournament consists of an open fur jacket over cloth binding her chest. She also has cloth binding her lower abdomen underneath the navel, as well as wraps on her arms.
  • Sinister Scimitar: When fighting Jaune in "The More The Merrier", she uses her power to create an obsidian scimitar to fight him to hide her trump card: Her left arm, which now has the arm of a Grimm designed to drain the powers of the Spring Maiden.
  • Smug Snake: Cinder is both a powerful warrior and a master manipulator, whose track record includes the Battle of Beacon, the successful theft of the Fall Maiden's powers and killing both Professor Ozpin and Pyrrha in straight-up fights. However, she also doesn't seem to factor in the possibility she could ever fail, which has blind-sided her whenever she's been confronted by variables she didn't know about in advance or failed to account for, such as Ruby possessing an innate magical power linked to her silver eyes or Vernal acting as a decoy Spring Maiden to disguise who the real Spring Maiden is.
  • The Sociopath: Cinder doesn't let anything get in the way of her goals, murdering without remorse or hesitation, ruining lives, and even plotting to unleash carnage on vulnerable city inhabitants and school students. She is happy to unleash the Grimm on Beacon Academy and the Vytal Tournament to further Salem's plans to destroy humanity, smiling at the massacre and ordering Mercury to record it. She negotiates humbly and politely to recruit Adam and the White Fang but, when that fails, she slaughters his men to force him to join. She desires power, strength and to be feared by all. After Ruby injures the left side of her body, she begins to develop rage issues and a reckless streak that includes a determination to settle the score with Ruby. Jaune even calls her "broken inside". When Jaune almost injures her face during the battle of Haven, she becomes enraged with his audacity and retaliates by trying to kill Weiss in a way that deliberately evokes the way she killed Pyrrha just to torment him with her superiority.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: In "Dance Dance Infiltration", when she spins around, her limbs illuminate orange, and she materializes a pair of swords made of Dust for battle. She later does the same when she whips out a bow with three arrows versus Ruby Rose. She summons a lot of swords against Raven, because her weapons were turning out to be very breakable in the fight.
  • Spy Cat Suit: She wears one in ''Dance Dance Infiltration" while breaking into the CCT tower.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Pulls this on Ruby in "Dance Dance Infiltration", disappearing from view during the brief period where Ruby turned around.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: She creates a magical glass bow out of nothing in Dance Dance Infiltration. It's capable of firing 3 arrows at once, and can split into two curved swords. Prior to acquiring the Fall Maiden's powers, she used a normal metal version of the weapon.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Cinder naturally possesses golden eyes. However, after stealing just half of the Fall Maiden's legendary magical power, her eyes begin to glow like golden fire whenever she taps into the power. By the time she obtains the Fall Maiden's total power, her golden eyes glowing like fire are a sign that she's about to do something extremely evil with her magical ability. To emphasise this, the camera often zooms in on her eyes just before they start to glow. Although the Fall Maiden possesses the power to use all types of elemental magic, Cinder's glowing golden eyes are a hint that her affinity lies with the fire element. Unlike the previous Fall Maiden whose power she stole, Cinder will only use the full range of elemental magic when necessary, as she favours defaulting to fire magic above all else.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Watts. While they both work for Salem, it's painfully obvious that the two cannot stand each other as Watts goes out of his way to antagonize Cinder every chance he gets. Cinder, for her part, is implied to give back as much as she gets. This is confirmed later on when negotiating with Raven Branwen for her cooperation with the retrieval of the Relic of Knowledge; Watts tries to negotiate peacefully, but Cinder uses not-so-subtle threats when Raven snarks back at them. When Raven proposes a counteroffer (she helps them get the Relic in exchange for the death of her brother, Qrow, in addition to them leaving her and her tribe to live in peace), Watts immediately points out the illogicality of it, but Cinder is too enticed by the possibility of getting revenge on Ruby for the loss of her eye. When Watts catches onto this, he roughly grabs Cinder by the wrist and tells her that he won't take the blame if the heist fails because of her single-mindedness; Cinder merely burns his hand with her Maiden powers, and tells him go back to Salem and "tinker with his machines", effectively shunting him out of the operation.
  • That Wasn't a Request: Cinder initially offers Adam the chance to bring in the White Fang on a "revolution" she has planned. He refuses on the grounds that he doesn't want Faunus dying for human goals. Cinder accepts that and departs but later returns with the offer of Dust and money to make it clear he can't turn her down. She also slaughters some of his men in the process, leaving him with no choice but to join her cause.
  • Traumatic Haircut: She spends Volumes 1-3 with long shoulder length hair that spills over her left shoulder. In Volume 4, she's recovering from terrible injuries gained as a result of her brief encounter with Ruby's power. Her hair is now cut short and her fringe covers her lost left eye, just barely revealing the extent of the scarring on her face underneath the patch and hair.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves: In the Volume 3, Chapter 7 flashback, Cinder uses a white glove emblazoned with Salem's emblem. The glove has a (possibly single-use) summoning power, which calls forth a Beetle Grimm from a portal. The Grimm has the ability to absorb Amber's power and transfer it into Cinder. Once the connection between the Beetle Grimm and Amber is severed, the Beetle Grimm is killed and the glove disintegrates, leaving behind the tattoo on her back that lies between her shoulder blades.
  • The Unfettered: Cinder is driven primarily by her ruthless ambition and relentless lust for power. Cinder is determined to uplift herself at the expense of everyone else and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Whether it's unleashing the Grimm on the Kingdom of Vale or stealing the powers of the Fall Maiden from an innocent girl, Cinder shows no hesitation or remorse for her actions. When she loses her arm to Ruby's Silver Eyes ability, she is willing to accept a Grimm arm if it means she can steal Maiden powers with it. Raven calls her out on this, citing it as an example of Cinder being willing to sacrifice her humanity for the sake of power.
  • Vague Age: She's described as "older" than the main characters, but still looks young enough to infiltrate Beacon posing as a student.
  • Worthy Opponent: Cinder has a measure of respect for Pyrrha, as in her words, Pyrrha's skill and subtlety in battle makes her appear to be destined for victory, but she's actually taken destiny into her own hands. During their confrontation, she has a brief conversation with Pyrrha, and tries to reassure her (in her own twisted way) that the Fall Maiden's power will be used properly, and tries to give Pyrrha a quick and efficient death.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Cinder has a talent in taking advantage of every opportunity that comes her way to make incremental gains. When she was initially disappointed that an assassin she was hoping to recruit was killed by his previously unknown and clearly hostile son, she just shrugged and took in the clearly more talented orphan. When Team RWBY provokes Torchwick into causing the Grimm invasion early, she lets the authorities take care of it so Torchwick can be a Trojan Prisoner and use the incident to discredit Ozpin and Beacon. She initially files away Pyrrha's Semblance as a useful factoid, but when her spyware eventually discovers that Penny is a robot of clear value, she immediately arranges the tourney match ups to pit the magnetism-using Pyrrha against the all-metal Penny. The fact that she has a very simple objective for her plan (causing terror, despair, and other negative emotion to bring in the Grimm) makes it even easier for her to adapt.

    Hazel Rainart 

Hazel Rainart

Voiced by: William Orendorff [EN], Akio Ohtsuka [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"Nobody needed to die today."

"He didn't tell you my tale, did he, boy? I thought you looked familiar, to think that evil was inside you when our paths first crossed. Your blood won't be on my hands, it'll be on his."

One of Salem's associates. He is tasked with meeting the White Fang and ensuring that they correctly perform the role Salem has assigned them. He has a history with Ozpin, being referred to as a man from the latter's past.

Hazel typically fights bare-handed or by augmenting himself with Dust, aided by his Semblance which allows him to block out pain.

  • Affably Evil: Always polite to people, even to his enemies (unless it's Ozpin). He genuinely regrets having to fight Nora and Ren, and he asks Oscar to forgive him before attacking him. He is also disgusted with Adam's cold murder of Sienna Khan, believing it to be pointless.
  • Anti-Villain: His murderous hatred of Ozpin aside, Hazel is the least antagonistic of Salem's enforcers. He abhors unnecessary violence, as seen with his anger at Adam's murder of Sienna Khan, and his reluctance to fight Ren and Nora. He doesn't take pleasure in attacking Oscar and Nora, instead seeing them as unfortunate causalities as a result of Ozpin. He's willing to take the blame for the failure at Haven rather than blame Cinder or let Salem go for Emerald and Mercury, and begins to keep an eye out for them after returning from the mission. Outside of his anger towards Ozpin, Hazel's a fairly decent guy.
  • Attack Backfire: He attempts to fry Nora using lightning Dust. Unfortunately for him, Nora's Semblance allows her to absorb electricity and convert it into physical strength.
  • Bait the Dog: Hazel is set up as the least malevolent of Salem's forces; when he runs into Oscar at a train station, he helps him get a ticket and gives him some advice on not letting small obstacles get in his way. When appearing before Sienna Khan at the White Fang's headquarters in Mistral, he pleads with Sienna to hear him out when asking her to join Salem, and insists that no one has to die. Hazel is then shocked and disgusted at Adam when he kills Sienna in a coup to become the White Fang's new high leader, believing the cold-blooded act of violence to have been entirely unnecessary. It's surprising then, when Hazel's hatred towards Ozpin rises to the surface after he finds out that Ozpin has reincarnated into the aforementioned Oscar, that he casts aside his beliefs in order to kill Ozpin, turning his violent rage onto anyone who tries to get in the way of Hazel's revenge.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Hazel doesn't rely on a weapon for battle, he fights with his fists and arms. Although when he carries Dust crystals that he can stab his arms with to power up, his style changes to lightning-powered bare-fisted blows.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Hazel's arms are so tough that he can block the blades of Ren's gun-blades and the sword blade of Qrow's sword-scythe using nothing but his bare arms. The blades don't even bruise his skin. Ozpin later explains that, because of his Semblance, Hazel can block out pain and carry on with no visible damage due to his constantly-recharging Aura.
  • Battle Strip: In a fit of rage, Hazel rips his coat into tatters with his bare hands upon learning that his hated enemy Ozpin had reincarnated into Oscar. This also frees up his arms enough for him to inject himself with raw electric Dust.
  • Beard of Evil: Most of the male villains are clean-shaven with the exception of Hazel, who sports a goatee-style chinstrap. Hazel is quiet and calm; he hates fighting and loathes unnecessary killing. However, he relentlessly carries out Salem's will to ensure the destruction of the Huntsmen Academies and the theft of the four Relics the academies guard, no matter how many people might die in the process. He also believes Ozpin is an evil monster who sacrifices the lives of children, and will stop at nothing to ensure Ozpin is killed, whom he blames for the death of his sister. Hazel therefore stands out among the villains for his personal connection to Ozpin, his conflict between his gentle nature and loyalty to Salem's murderous goals when not triggered, and the absolute insanity of his physically destructive rage when triggered.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Hazel talks rarely and is one of the more noble members of Salem's group. But the mere sight of Ozpin is enough to drive him into an Unstoppable Rage at which point he'll think nothing of murdering a child just because Ozpin reincarnated into him.
  • Boring, but Practical: His semblance, blocking out pain, is a rather mundane one in comparison to others such as speed, summoning, or duplication. However, combined with his physical prowess, use of Dust crystals to empower himself, and relentlessness in combat, it means he can fight and fight without concern for injury and keep shaking off attacks until he’s truly got nothing left in him.
  • The Brute: Physically, Hazel's the tallest character in the series at eight feet zero, which combines with his muscular build to make even tall characters look frail by comparison. Although Hazel appears calm, rational and pacifistic on the surface, he descends into a violent, unstoppable rage when in the presence of Ozpin, due to his undying hatred for the man he holds responsible for the death of his sister. Unlike most fighters in the setting, Hazel does not appear to use any weapons. Instead, thanks to a Semblance that allows him to feel no pain, he stabs Dust crystals into his arms which powers him up even beyond his physical limits. He then fights with his fists, empowered by the Dust crystals which give his fists elemental attacks, such as fire or lightning.
  • Cold Ham: He hardly speaks, and when he does it's often overly matter-of-fact. However, his presence is very hard to ignore; his entrance during the battle of Haven, instantly draws everyone's attention when he loudly slams the doors shut with the announcement that the White Fang is preparing to blow up the school and no one can leave. When he becomes aware of the presence of Ozpin, whom Hazel believes to be responsible for his younger sister's death at Beacon, he starts shouting Ozpin's name with melodramatically elongated vowels, tossing out gratuitous death threats such as declaring his intention of killing Ozpin over and over again, and loudly insisting that Ozpin is evil and a monster.
  • Death Glare: After Leo informs him that Ozpin has reincarnated as Oscar he stares at Oscar for a few seconds, gritting his teeth and his eyes slowly becoming wider with rage before he screams Ozpin's name.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Salem's cohort of subordinates is introduced in Volume 4, Hazel barely interacts with the other characters and therefore remains in the background. He later arrives at a train station just as Oscar does. Although Ozpin warns Oscar to be on his guard, Hazel isn't a threat to Oscar; he instead notices that Oscar is trying to obtain a train ticket and comes over to help force the machine to spit one out for him. He then advises Oscar to not let small things stand in his way before leaving. Subsequent appearances reveal him to be a man who loathes violence and killing; he tries to avoid needless death and tells his opponents that he has no wish to fight them. His establishing scene sets up his future confrontation with Oscar; his hatred of Ozpin is so great that he is willing to throw away all his beliefs just for the chance to kill him — even if means killing the innocent boy who currently and involuntarily hosts Ozpin.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though he's perfectly willing to kill Oscar, a young boy, in order to kill Ozpin, he nonetheless asks Oscar to forgive him before attacking. Additionally, he also tells Ren and Nora that he doesn’t wish to fight them, and was also disgusted with Adam for killing Sienna Khan in cold blood, insisting that nobody needed to die.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Hazel and his sister Gretchen are based on Hansel and Gretel, a fairy tale about two siblings who are lured into a trap by a wicked witch who wants to eat them, but who manage to escape by outwitting her. Hazel is intended to be an exploration of what might happen to Hansel if Gretel died. His story is that Gretchen entered Beacon Academy to train under Ozpin even though Hazel objected on the grounds that she was still a child. Ozpin tells Oscar that she died on a training mission, but Hazel indicates that she wasn't ready for the level of training Beacon expected of her and that Ozpin has a habit of deliberately putting children in danger to benefit himself. He regards Ozpin as evil and monstrous, which is exactly how Hansel and Gretel regarded the witch who tried to kill them.
  • Feel No Pain: Ozpin informs Nora that Hazel's Semblance allows him to block out pain, enabling him to endure directly stabbing Dust crystals into his body.
  • Foil: To Yang. Both are older siblings to younger girls that wanted to be Huntresses, both utilise a fist-based fighting style with a form of enhancement - gauntlets in Yang's case, and lightning Dust in Hazel's. Their semblances are also diametric opposites, Yang draws strength from pain, she builds up energy from the damage taken and enhances her strength, while Hazel blocks out pain, allowing him to do significant damage to himself while enhancing his strength with Dust.
  • Gender-Blender Name: While Hazel is a very common boy's name, it's more widely regarded as a female name. Hazel, however, is a real man's man who advises a child he briefly helps not to let small problems stand in their way; he solved the kid's problem with a ticket machine by punching it.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Hazel is able to empower himself further by stabbing raw Dust crystals into his upper arms. His arms noticeably swell up with his veins becoming more pronounced, augmenting his already fearsome strength.
  • Guttural Growler: Every time Hazel speaks, the tone is a low growl.
  • Hypocrite: Hazel hates Ozpin for his sister dying at Beacon... So he proceeds to attack children and try to kill them.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: While distracted watching the White Fang's antics in Haven's courtyard, Hazel is stabbed through the abdomen from behind by the stinger of the Queen Lancer summoned by Weiss, which proceeds to violently drag him back into the room he had been in.
  • Immunity Disability: He may be immune to pain thanks to his Semblance, but it doesn't stop him from taking damage, which Weiss and Nora take full advantage of to land critical blows.
  • Ironic Echo: When Adam shocks Hazel by assassinating Sienna in front of him, he justifies not having told Hazel in advance by saying it's his business (Faunus), not Hazel's (human). During the battle of Haven, Adam's small stealth force is overwhelmed when the Menagerie Faunus army led by Blake and her parents shows up with the Mistral Police in tow. When Adam turns to Hazel and asks when they should do, Hazel merely tells him this is Adam's business, not his.
  • It's Personal: Hazel is a calm individual who hates fighting and unnecessary killing. Except where Ozpin is concerned. Blaming Ozpin for the death of his little sister, who died during a Beacon Academy training mission, he is determined to see Ozpin destroyed. He knows that Ozpin cannot truly die, instead reincarnating into the body of a boy whenever his current host's body dies; regarding Ozpin as an evil monster who sacrifices the lives of children, Hazel vows to kill Ozpin over and over again — even if he has to kill children himself to achieve his aim.
  • The Juggernaut: Hazel is an unstoppable mix of Super Toughness and sheer willpower. Combine that with his Semblance to block out pain and you get a man who refuses to stay down no matter what the heroes throw at him. An entire flurry of strikes from Ozpin? Nope. A head-on blow from a Semblance empowered Nora? Minor annoyance. Getting impaled by an enormous stinger from Weiss' Queen Lancer summon? Still not enough. By the end of the battle at Haven, both Nora and Qrow voice their astonishment at how he's still going strong despite all the punishment he's taken.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Although Hazel objected to his sister's application to Beacon Academy on the grounds that she was a child and was not ready, Ozpin accepted her application regardless. When she was killed on a training mission, Hazel held Ozpin personally responsible and has been determined to make him pay ever since. He considers Ozpin a monster for putting children onto the battlefield and believes Oscar is harbouring 'evil' inside him. He insists that any children he harms to reach Ozpin, including Ozpin's current fourteen-year-old host Oscar, will be Ozpin's fault. Ozpin tells Oscar that Hazel is wounded in a way that cannot be healed.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Although Hazel doesn't like fighting, he doesn't hesitate to engage when pushed into combat. Upon realising he will have to fight, he first cracks his neck and then his knuckles before entering the fray.
  • Large Ham: While he is typically quiet and reserved, upon learning that he is in the same room as Ozpin, he starts screaming his name and loudly shouting death threats and how Ozpin killed his sister.
  • Logical Weakness: His Feel No Pain Semblance doesn't really stop him from taking damage, it just prevents him from feeling it. While useful in how it lets him stick giant Dust crystals into his arms with little apparent negative effect, Nora and Weiss still manage to hurt him despite this in "Downfall".
  • Meaningful Name: His surname translates to 'strong judgement' in German. On the surface, Hazel is a man who seldom speaks, and strongly disapproves of unnecessary violence, as shown when he berates Adam for killing Sienna Khan instead letting Hazel take the diplomatic route. Underneath that, however, is a man who holds a very strong grudge against Ozpin for his sister dying during a training mission at Beacon Academy, which Hazel holds Ozpin responsible for. His grudge is so strong that he judges Ozpin as 'evil', and calls him a monster for allowing children to die fighting for him, even if their cause of death is from Hazel fighting them to get to Ozpin.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: His large, muscular frame lends itself well to his unarmed fighting style, being able to throw fully grown men like Qrow like they were ragdolls. Before realizing that Ozpin has reincarnated in Oscar he is briefly seen with fighting Nora and Ren, staying mostly stationary and on the defensive. After stabbing lightning dust into his arms he becomes much more aggressive and quick but is unable to keep up with the smaller and more nimble Oscar.
  • Neck Lift: After Leo bumps into him at the end of his tumble down the stairs, Hazel lifts the professor up by his collar with one hand to reprimand him for letting a child (Oscar) make a fool of him.
  • Never My Fault: As Hazel's about to murder Oscar for serving as Ozpin's newest reincarnation, he claims that Oscar's blood won't be on his hands, but Ozpin's for dragging the boy into the conflict. Never mind that Ozpin has no control over who becomes his new host upon reincarnation. He also demands to know how many more children Ozpin will drag to their death...while pinning Nora to the ground and electrocuting her with an obvious intention to kill her.
  • Noble Demon: Salem tries to teach Cinder to understand that killing isn't always the right thing to do, that making use of people should always be the first port of call. Hazel is very keen to carry out this philosophy; he doesn't go out of his way to antagonize strangers, as shown when he helps out a complete stranger (again, Oscar) obtain a train ticket. He also works very hard to appease Sienna Khan's mistrust of humans, calmly, politely and submissively insisting that he does not want any unnecessary killing and that he just wants to talk. When Adam kills Sienna to take command of the White Fang, Hazel is furious because he feels Adam has engaged in completely unnecessary violence that is in complete opposition to Hazel's attempts to carry out Salem's orders. Later on, when confronting the heroes at Haven Academy, he doesn't deride the heroes the way Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald do, simply barring the doors and stating that no one is entering or leaving before taking on Ren and Nora. He tolerates his fellow operatives and doesn't engage in the bickering that Watts, Cinder or Tyrian like to partake in; he even acknowledges Cinder as a part of their fold while seeming somewhat surprised that she was defeated by a seemingly inferior opponent such as Ruby Rose, and is reluctant to pin the blame for their failure at Haven entirely on her.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Because Oscar doesn't have enough lien to buy a train ticket, Hazel slams his fist down onto the ticket machine, causing it to spit one out.
  • Playing with Fire: When his electic Dust starts running out he replaces it with fire Dust.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't engage in the bantering and mocking that Salem's other subordinates engage in. He only speaks when he has something specific to say, when directly addressed, or when confronted with Ozpin.
  • Reluctant Warrior: When Hazel visits the White Fang, he is adamant that no-one needs to die and that he isn't there to fight. He makes it clear that he doesn't like needless death. When challenged to a fight, he states he has no desire to fight but he doesn't hesitate to do so in the face of determined opponents. The only time he'll take the initiative is when confronted with his hated enemy Ozpin, who he's all too eager to rip limb-from-limb.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Ozpin blatantly says that his Feel No Pain Semblance is the only reason he can jam so much Dust into himself the way that he does.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Hazel hates fighting and unnecessary killing, and believes that Ozpin is an evil monster who deliberately sacrifices the lives of children. He also objects to Adam deviating from Salem's plan to recruit Sienna when Adam uses the opportunity to murder her. However, he blames Ozpin for the death of his sister, which occurred during a Beacon Academy training mission; the moment he realises Ozpin is present, he deviates from Salem's plan to destroy Haven and steal the Relic of Knowledge, decides killing the fourteen-year-old Oscar is acceptable because he's Ozpin's current host, and further decides to try and torture Nora to death via electrocution just so he can claim that Ozpin's responsible for two more child deaths.
  • Revenge Myopia: He's thrown his lot in with Salem, who is planning for the fall of humanity, despite the fact he hates violence and killing. He regards Ozpin as pure evil and the cause of his sister's death because Ozpin accepted his sister's application to Beacon, leading to her death on a training mission. While Oscar had nothing to do with this, Hazel is willing to kill him for being Ozpin's new host, and palm off the blame onto Ozpin, despite the fact neither Ozpin nor Oscar chose to undergo a soul-merge. Cinder indicates that Hazel and Tyrian have been killing all the huntsmen in Mistral, suggesting that Hazel has no trouble putting other families through what he blames Ozpin for putting him through. He also has no trouble hurting and electrocuting children in front of Ozpin while attempting to pin the blame for them being injured and in pain on Ozpin.
  • Shock and Awe: After Hazel injects yellow Dust crystals into his arms he gains yellow electric powers that enhance his already powerful strength. He can also fire bursts of electricity from a distance through his punches.
  • Super Toughness: While all characters with their aura unlocked have a degree of this due to aura acting as a personal force field, Hazel takes it further than anyone introduced so far. During the battle at Haven, he blocks strikes from Ren and Qrow's weapons using his bare arms without a second thought and shrugs off a barrage of blows from Ozpin when Ozpin forcibly takes over Oscar's body. Even after enduring all of their attacks, he continues fighting with no sign of his aura beginning to weaken, though he does show signs of tiring.
  • Token Good Teammate: Salem's team of subordinates include Cinder and Dr. Watts, who are both arrogant sadists, and Tyrian who openly loves battle and killing people. Hazel, in comparison, is calm, restrained, shows the occasional moment of kindness and detests unnecessary conflict, violence or killing. He regards Ozpin as pure evil for accepting Hazel's sister into Beacon Academy and then sending her on a training mission that led to her death.
  • Voice of the Legion: After empowering himself by stabbing himself with electric Dust crystals, they alter his voice to become a menacing echo.
  • X-Ray Sparks: When he injects himself with Yellow Dust crystals, it augments his body with lighting, and anyone unfortunate enough to come into contact with it is in for a nasty shock. Two of those victims are Qrow and Nora, whose skeletons are briefly visible when being punched into the ceiling and headpalmed into the floor respectively. Unfortunately for Hazel, this has the effect of buffing Nora's semblance, and her skeleton is seen as she lifts his hand up and throws him to the floor.
  • You Killed My Father: Hazel's younger sister enlisted into Beacon Academy and tragically died during a training mission. Hazel holds Ozpin personally responsible for her death and has vowed to kill him over and over again, something that is possible because Ozpin is cursed to not die like other people; when his host's body dies, his soul, Aura and memories transfer to a new host.

Cinder's Subordinates

    Emerald Sustrai 

Emerald Sustrai

Voiced By: Katie Newville [EN], Marina Inoue [JP]

Debut: Black and White
"I don't care about Salem. But I owe Cinder everything."

"It's almost sad..."

One of two "right-hand men" to Cinder introduced in the Black and White stinger. Often feigning an amicable demeanor, Emerald is a snarky woman who also has a habit of sneakily robbing people when they least expect it. She's a premier stealth fighter, preferring opportunity attacks over straight up confrontations.

Emerald fights with pair of revolvers that have retractable blades attached via chains. She can use her Semblance to generate auditory and visual hallucinations; although influencing a single target is straight-forward, she experiences increasing mental strain with each additional person she includes.

  • Affably Evil: Although she is capable of cold, calculating acts of assassination or petty theft, she is generally energetic and quirky. Although she fakes friendship with Team RWBY in order to gather information on the protagonists' tournament strategy for Cinder's fight-fixing, she also responds to the carnage Cinder's plot unleashes on the residents of Vale with a sense of pathos; although Mercury finds it funny and Cinder relishes the success of her unfolding plan, Emerald comments that the situation "seems almost sad".
  • Ambiguously Brown: Her skin is very dark but all nations are fantasy nations in this show. She's not native to Vale, that's all that's been said.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Emerald's hair doesn't fall down or indeed move much when she performs flips and acrobatics. This could be excused with products, but it also applies to the two tails hung over her back.
  • Back Stab: How she finishes off Coco in the double rounds of the Vytal Festival. It's so devastating that she put her down to the red in Aura levels and knocked her unconscious when Coco's levels were previously at 70%.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Exponentially. Emerald's top has two portions - a beige brassiere and a strip-like shirt of white with black outlines. Combined, it leaves a sizable chunk of her chest exposed in a quasi-triangular, vaguely arrowhead shape. Her outfit in the flashback section of "Fall" also bares her midriff.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Villainous variant. The reason she follows Cinder so loyally is because Cinder was the first person in her life to reach out to her and offer her something better than a life of stealing for her next meal. Of course, Cinder recruited her only because of her Semblance. When fighting Ruby in "The More The Merrier", Emerald outright tells her that she doesn't care about Salem or her goals, but she owes Cinder everything. When Yang returns from Haven's Vault with the Relic of Knowledge but Cinder doesn't, the obvious implication of her absence makes Emerald lose it.
    Cinder: Follow me, and you'll never be hungry again.
    Emerald: (genuinely grateful) Thank you.
  • Big "NO!": Emerald yells "No" in shock when she is unable to stop Yang from reaching Haven's vault.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Emerald's good at masking her true intentions with a polite facade. She acts very sweet to the old shop owner while trying to find the location of someone she's looking to murder in cold blood, stealing his wallet in the process. During the tournament, she acts super cheerful and friendly to Team RWBY but, as soon as they leave, she tells Mercury that she despises them; apparently she can't comprehend how they can be so happy all the time.
  • Cleavage Window: She wears a two-layered design. The green top barely covers her breasts, while a white bolero wraps around her neck. Together they create an exposed cleavage region.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Instead of taking on Yatsuhashi and Coco directly, she melts away into long grass so her opponents lose sight of her then sets herself up in the trees to engage in guerrilla-style ambush attacks. When she does finally confront her opponent directly, she attacks from behind. When fighting Ruby in "The More The Merrier", she uses an illusion of Cinder to distract Ruby so she can sweep her off her feet with her falx, causing Ruby to accidently fire a shot that nearly hits Weiss. And later, when Ruby activates her Silver Eyes, Emerald seizes the opportunity to strike her from behind, knocking her out cold.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: While she sees virtually no action in her doubles fight up until she drags Coco into the forest, Emerald easily defeats her opponent by inducing an hallucination of Yatsuhashi when he's been been beaten by Mercury beforehand, before going in for a strike in the back. One so powerful it knocks Coco's Aura from 70% to critical and promptly disqualifies her.
  • Dark Action Girl: Cinder's associate and a thief who uses stealth and isn't above employing under-handed tactics to defeat someone, as Coco can attest.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She's pretty sardonic at times. When Roman snarks about how "it's like a divorce" regarding him and Cinder, Emerald immediately counters with:
    Emerald: Spare us the thought of you procreating.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: When Emerald and Mercury discuss their situation in the absence of Cinder, Emerald insists that Mercury tell her why he signed up to Cinder's cause in the first place. She isn't thrilled by his response and tries to push him further. He says "It made sense" but she can't believe he'd sign up unless there was something in it for him. In the end, he just tells her that he was trained to be an assassin and Cinder wanted an assassin, so he feels he's exactly where he should be.
  • Dual Wielding: Emerald has a pair of gun knives she uses in battle, which she uses on both hands in Volume 2's finale.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Having grown up on the streets as an orphan, Emerald had no one to care for her. Though she only recruited her for her Semblance, Cinder was the first person to reach out to her and offer her a better life. Emerald has therefore been Cinder's most loyal ally, viewing acts such as Cinder purchasing things for her as evidence of affection and regarding Cinder as the mother figure she never had. When Cinder vanishes after her battle with Raven, Emerald breaks down and summons a giant Salem illusion. When Mercury tells her point blank that Cinder doesn't actually care about her and never has, Emerald loses her temper and attacks him, refusing to believe for a second that Cinder is just using her.
  • Evil Counterpart: She and Blake are snarky, aloof, balk at the innocent cheer of others, and have similar dual-fighting weapon styles. Emerald sports twin revolvers on chains while Blake uses pistol-swords on ribbons; Emerald manipulates the mind to deceive her opponents, while Blake generates shadow-clones to deceive hers. Both had harsh upbringings, fighting to survive poverty and inequality respectively and were guided by abusive mentors. While Blake eventually turned her back on the violence of Adam and the White Fang, Emerald has only shown a hint of doubt about Cinder's path, but otherwise loyally supports her.
  • False Friend: She acts friendly towards Team RWBY, but she's actually their enemy and in "Round One" she immediately starts telling Mercury how much she hates them as soon as they part ways.
  • Fanservice Pack: Retroactively downplayed. Flashbacks of Emerald's past in "Fall" shows that she used to wear a relatively conservative green tank top. In the modern day, said tank top has been replaced by a skimpier shirt that bares cleavage.
  • Five-Finger Discount: She enjoys pickpocketing, robbing the Dust Till Dawn shopkeeper from his wallet with nary a hint, and later snatches Roman's lighter as revenge for his earlier demonstration of pickpocketing.
  • Gainaxing: Suffers from this to an equal or even greater level than Yang. Regardless of the "actual" level of the gainaxing effect, the bouncing is much more prominent on Emerald compared to Yang thanks to Emerald's above-mentioned arrowhead cleavage window. Even in scenes where she's just standing still, her breathing alone is enough to send her breasts bouncing all over creation. The Animator Commentary reveals that they set her model up so that they each moved independently rather than as a single element, and found themselves having to go in and tone it down at times.
  • The Gunslinger: Her falxes are also revolvers, going along with the cowboy chaps she wears.
  • Gun Twirling: Seen when she pulls out her weapons during the Volume 2 finale before opening fire.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: During the fight scene in "Beginning of the End", she stomps on Amber after Mercury knocks her down, from above and with both feet.
  • Lack of Empathy: After murdering Tukson, Emerald casually jokes about about him with Mercury, and only feels bad about disappointing Cinder when she chews them out for not following her orders. It takes being involved in the massacre of an entire city to get even the slightest bit of remorse out of her.
  • Master of Illusion: Her Semblance, which allows her to project lifelike hallucinations into the minds of others, and is first seen when she unnerves Coco with a illusion that resembles Yatsuhashi. Unlike Neo's illusions, the hallucinations that Emerald creates lack substance and can easily be identified as fake via touch. In addition, she needs to maintain focus to keep the illusion going, and can generally only focus on one target at a time, any more than that leaving her with a killer migraine afterwards.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sustrai" is Basque for "thief". Emerald is a street rat who has become an exceptionally-skilled thief. Put together, her name essentially means "jewel thief" and on at least one occasion she made her living by stealing priceless jewelry.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: To Cinder. Though Cinder only recruited Emerald for her Semblance, Cinder was the first person in her life to reach out to her and offer her something better than a life of poverty. Because of this, Emerald has since become Cinder's most loyal ally. While she does display a hint of remorse during the fall of Beacon, it isn't enough for her to leave Cinder's side. During her fight with Ruby in "The More The Merrier", she outright tells Ruby that she doesn't care about Salem or her goals, but she owes Cinder everything.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: When Emerald manipulates Yang into believing Mercury's attacking her to frame her on global television as a vicious thug who enjoys hurting defenceless people, she has to manipulate the minds of the two paramedics who arrive to carry Mercury out of the arena. It leaves her with a pounding headache because she struggles to manipulate more than one mind at a time. During the attack on Haven, the villains find themselves surrounded by Menagerie's militia and the Mistral Police; she conjures an illusion of Salem to distract the nine people inside the building with her, clutching her head and screaming as she does so. When the villains are shown fleeing into the forest, Hazel is carrying the unconscious Emerald.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Sports a small one right before she hit Coco in the back of the neck with her falx, winning the fight.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The camera has a tendency to focus on Emerald's vivid red eyes whenever she's tapping into her illusion powers. Emerald's abilities are the main reason why Cinder is so successful in destroying Beacon Academy and becoming the next Fall Maiden. She can make a target perceive anything she wants, and all the senses are fooled, not just sight. She enables Amber to be ambushed by making Amber think there's a crying child in need of help, and ensures Amber has troubling seeing exactly where Cinder, Mercury and herself are during their fight. She also fools Yang into seeing and hearing Mercury attack her from behind after their tournament ends, resulting in Yang appearing to the watching world as though she's attacked a badly injured and defeated Mercury for absolutely no reason. This disqualifies Team RWBY from the tournament.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Emerald used to live on the streets, surviving by using her illusion powers to steal and facing a future filled only with constant hunger and no prospects. When Cinder witnesses Emerald steal an expensive ring by convincing the jeweller to 'voluntarily' give it to her, she decides to recruit Emerald to her cause. She corners Emerald in an alley and gives her the option between being caught by the cops who are closing in on her or becoming a part of something that will ensure she never goes hungry again. Since joining Cinder's team, Emerald has been completely loyal even when mistreated by Cinder or terrified by Salem. When Ruby tries to understand what Emerald is doing with Salem, Emerald emphatically declares that she doesn't care about Salem, but owes Cinder everything.
  • Rock Theme Naming: Emerald is named after the semi-precious stone, and her hair is green to match the name. Cleopatra, whom Emerald resembles, was said to have been both obsessed with and cursed by emeralds.
  • Selective Obliviousness: When Emerald and Mercury discuss their situation in the absence of Cinder, Emerald mentions how much Cinder cares about her, having saved her and looked after her. When Mercury tells her to wake up from her denial and accept that Cinder doesn't care about either of them, Emerald is furious. She regards Cinder as the only family she ever had and cannot handle being told that Cinder's just using her.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Emerald's weapons appear to be a pair of falxes with alternative gun functionality, each having a blade which folds against the barrel, and can detach with chains to create a kusarigama-like weapon. As such, they can be used for both hand-to-hand and ranged combat.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Back when she first meet Mercury she wasn't too fond of him, and tried to convince Cinder that they didn't need him for their plans, before Cinder reminded her of her place. Their relationship during the Vale mission consists of them teasing and mocking each other like constantly-squabbling siblings.
  • Undying Loyalty: Emerald makes it absolutely clear to Ruby that she doesn't care about Salem or what Salem does to people. Cinder saved her from poverty and starvation, and she therefore feels she owes Cinder everything. Even when Mercury tells her she's in denial to think that Cinder cares about her, she refuses to believe and attacks Mercury for saying it.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Her weapon's chain length is usually held at nunchuck size when fighting, but can extend really far away, as demonstrated during the Vytal Festival tournament when she drags Coco all the way from the middle ground into the forest.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Upon seeing Yang return with the Relic with no sign of Cinder, Emerald bursts into in tears at the thought of Cinder being gone. When pressed by Mercury to escape, Emerald screams to create one mass illusion that leaves her unconscious while Hazel carries her to safety.
  • Villain Song: Emerald and Mercury share the song "I'm the One", played during their fight with Team CFVY. Emerald's part consists of her smack-talking her opponents about her Semblance ability and uses some of the dialogue that occurs between herself and Coco during the fight.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mercury, most of their interactions consist of being sarcastic with each other to get under each other's skin. They still share a laugh every now and then, showing that they don't always annoy each other. They are also quick to back each other up when they get into an argument with Roman.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: After Cinder receives some injuries that make her near-mute, Emerald acts as her voice by repeating Cinder's whispers to others.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has pale green hair.

    Mercury Black 

Mercury Black

Voiced By: J.J. Castillo [volume 2], Yuri Lowenthal [volume 3-current] [EN], Hikaru Midorikawa [JP]

Debut: Black and White
"We're the guys you should be afraid of."

"My dad always said... 'if you need to know a city, ask the rats'."

One of two "right-hand men" to Cinder introduced in the Black and White stinger. Mercury is a laid-back man who frequently engages in friendly bickering with his partner Emerald. He fights primarily with his modified greaves and has absolute confidence in his combat ability.

  • Abusive Parents: His father, Marcus Black, was an assassin who hated Mercury. His idea of training Mercury to become an assassin was to subject him to brutal beatings on a daily basis. When Mercury unlocked his semblance, Marcus stole it with his own, telling him that Semblances were a crutch and that Mercury could get his back when he 'earned' it. Mercury never got it back.
  • Armed Legs: His weapon appears to be a pair of greaves that look and act like a dark version of Yang's gauntlets, complete with the ability to fire projectiles. They're also durable enough to withstand the full impact of Yatsuhashi's sword slam. It seems that the greaves function only to store the Dust he is carrying, and his prosthetic legs are his actual weapons.
  • Artificial Limbs: His entire legs from the knee down are revealed to be cybernetic prosthetics.
  • Awesome by Analysis: His entire fight with Pyrrha is him simply testing her abilities as well as figuring out her Semblance.
  • Badass Normal: Mercury is a very skilled fighter as a result of being trained by his father, an experienced assassin. Marcus claimed that relying on Semblances was a weakness so insisted that Mercury become as strong as possible through training his physical abilities. As soon as Mercury unlocked his Semblance, Marcus stole it with his own, stating that he'd return it once Mercury was strong enough. Mercury, therefore, had to train harder than others to get to where he is; he never got his Semblance back and, with Marcus being dead, he considers it lost. Despite this, he is capable of keeping pace with and even defeating other fighters who do have the ability to use Semblance to augment their abilities.
  • Because I'm Good at It: When Emerald wants to know Mercury's reasons for joining Cinder, he tells her "It made sense". He was raised his whole life to be an assassin and, right when he killed his father, Cinder showed up looking for that exact skill set. He claimed "it was just meant to be" and that he feels he's right where he belongs. Tyrian immediately deconstructs it by suggesting that what Mercury is really saying is that he's too afraid of leaving behind the life of pain and violence that he was raised into.
  • Blood Knight: While he keeps calm and collected in combat, he seemed to find his match against Pyrrha amusing.
    Mercury: Learning is so much fun.
  • Blow You Away: The developer's commentary on the Volume 3 DVD refers to Mercury's bullets as wind dust projectiles.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Emerald talks about how Cinder cares for her in Volume 6, Mercury bluntly tells her wake up from the denial and realise that Cinder doesn't care about either of them. Emerald is momentarily shocked then loses control of her temper. They end up fighting with each other about it.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Not so much the timing as the length but, during the battle of Haven, he and Emerald are distracted by Weiss's summon for twenty seconds, giving Yang the time to run toward the relic's room without them noticing until it's too late. Mercury can also been seen standing ramrod-stiff in the background when Yang first sees Blake.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the doubles rounds of the Vytal Festival tournament, not only does he completely dominate Coco and Yatsuhashi on his own before forcefully separating both of them with Emerald's help, but he then goes on to relentlessly strike Yatsuhashi until the latter is pushed into an erupting geyser, at which point Mercury ends his part of the fight with a merciless dropkick.
  • Dance Battler: He's a kick-fighter and his weapons are based around his shoes and ankles. His fighting style can make him look like he's break-dancing, involving lots of body rolling and spinning, to free his legs for attacking. He will even drop to the ground, spinning his body and legs to enable his weapons to fire in all direction. Additionally, it takes cues from Capoeira... which is basically the Martial Art of Dance Battlers.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Cinder and Emerald first meet Mercury just after he's killed the assassin they wanted to hire — Mercury's own father. Mercury is tottering on heavily bandaged and bleeding legs which are later amputated and replaced by cybernetic limbs from the knee down. When Mercury witnesses a drunken Qrow fighting Winter, he describes Qrow as smelling like his father after a long day, implying that his father was alcoholic. When Emerald asks Mercury why he signed up for Cinder's cause, he tells it that he felt that "it made sense". His father hated him and raised him from birth to be an assassin, forcing him through a level of training that felt like he was being beaten every day. He was expected to become as strong and skilled as possible and to never rely on a Semblance. Regarding it as a crutch and a weakness, Marcus stole Mercury's Semblance as soon as Mercury unlocked it and went to his grave never having given it back. Mercury has therefore been forced to become as strong as everyone else without having a Semblance to help him.
    Mercury: I'm sorry you didn't have a mommy that loved you, but I had a father who hated me!
  • Death from Above: He is very fond of taking flying leaps and bringing his right heel down on his enemies' faces. It's almost a signature move for him—he uses it twice in the doubles rounds, once on Yang, and even tries it (to no avail) on Amber. It even featured in his Volume 2 Opening scene.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Emerald uses her hallucination Semblance to make Yang see Mercury attacking her, fully expecting her to counter-attack and break his leg on a live broadcast when the real Mercury was already down. Considering his legs are prosthetic, it wasn't that big of a sacrifice.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: During his brief cameo in The Stinger of the Volume 1 finale, Mercury's design differs from the one seen in Volume 2 onwards in a number of ways. He lacks his fingerless gloves as well as the armor he wears on his arms. His hair is also significantly different, being purple instead of gray and styled differently in the front.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Yang. While both are generally in a good mood otherwise, Yang is much more boisterous and outgoing, while Mercury is more laid-back and low-key. Mercury's attacks are predominately kick based and he is calm and calculative during combat. Yang is a Boxing Battler who gets angrier the longer she fights. There's also their contrasting relationships with their fathers: both were taught by their fathers, but Mercury's relationship with his father is significantly more antagonistic that the supportive relationship Yang shares with her own father. Yang ends up with a prosthetic arm which she can use to enhance her fisticuffs-style of combat while Mercury has prosthetic legs that enhance his own kick-boxer style. Yang's journey has involved her learning that she's become dangerously over-reliant on her Semblance and then being trained by her father in Volume 4 to fight smarter and to think of her Semblance only as a last resort. Mercury's father stole his Semblance as soon as Mercury unlocked it, telling Mercury that Semblances are crutches that weaken fighters; he forced Mercury to learn how to become strong and skilled without one.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mercury is a laid back, casual jokey kind of guy, who has many funny and goofy moments. Like when he was bothering Emerald about getting them lost in Vale, or acting as Deadpan Snarker to Roman or Emerald. After his true allegiance is revealed, he still talks to Ruby and company in a cordial tone, asking if they should be treating their "old friends" with hostility. But under all that is a sadistic, sociopathic assassin, who finds the slaughter of hundreds of innocent people to be funny.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Towards his right side. The right side of his collar is folded while the left is popped, his hair is cut to hang lower on the right, and like Yang he has a cape (though in Yang's case it's a skirt) around his waist on the right side, bearing his sigil.
  • For the Evulz: When Cinder asked Mercury to join her cause, he asked her what was in it for him. When a White Fang member defected, he and Emerald assassinate him at the bookshop he owned; when they leave, he takes a comic book with him because he likes the pictures. After Mercury frames Yang for crippling him, Cinder orders him to lie low to avoid blowing their cover; he ignores the order and attacks Ruby; he lets Ruby understand just enough of Cinder's plan to realize why Penny and Pyrrha have been matched against each other at the tournament and then smiles as she collapses in tearful despair at the consequences. When Cinder orders him to record the Atlesian robotic army killing civilians instead of protecting them against the invading Grimm, he smiles and does so cheerfully. When Emerald asks him why he joined Cinder's mission, he claims he felt like it was meant to be — he'd been trained to be an assassin and that's what Cinder was looking for; he adds that being in Cinder's employment makes him feel that he's exactly where he's meant to be. Tyrian overhears their conversation and deconstructs Mercury's claim to be in it for the hell of it by observing that Mercury, who was raised his entire life knowing nothing but pain and violence, is simply too afraid to leave a life of pain and violence behind him.
  • Homing Projectile: Mercury can pull this off with the bullets in his greaves, guiding them around the battlefield by some unknown means. Twice he is seen crafting a miniature hailstorm of bullets before sending the whole thing at an enemy.
  • Jerkass: During his confrontation with Ruby in "PvP", he chases Ruby with the intent of capturing or killing her, and when he finds her outside broken up over Penny's dismemberment, he reacts by giving a smug sneer and then calmly shutting the door and leaving her to cry. Given how he also casually joked about murdering a man in cold blood and ruining Yang's reputation by getting her arrested on live TV, it's quite apparent Mercury takes great enjoyment from other people's pain and misery. When watching widespread slaughter and destruction, he takes absolute joy in catching it all on camera. When he confronts Yang during the battle for Haven, he tries to get under her skin by reminding her that she was tricked into breaking his prosthetic leg, and reacts to Jaune's tearful rant towards Cinder with a shit-eating grin.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Lost", he bluntly calls Emerald delusional for thinking Cinder cares about her. While he's unpleasant, it's true that Cinder has never displayed concern for anyone besides herself.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Yang returns to the group with the Relic, revealing Cinder had failed, Mercury wisely decides that he, Emerald, and Hazel need to retreat whereas Emerald is too heartbroken to move.
  • Laughably Evil: Mercury is prone to moments of snarking and overall goofy behavior whenever he’s not involved in Cinder’s plan or doing something he doesn’t take seriously. He mocks and playfully flirts with Emerald when she gets them lost in Vale while on the way to murder a man. He has almost childlike glee after fighting Pyrrha to discover her semblance. And sniffs a boot on one of the stands during the Vytal Festival, for no real reason.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His appearance is a mixture of greys and blacks to give the "silver" tones associated with the element mercury. His foot weapons and the winged helmet motif allude to the Roman god Mercury.
    • Mercury, or at least Hermes (his original Greek counterpart), was also responsible for transporting people to the underworld and thus was associated with death. Mercury Black has the first on-screen murder.
  • More Dakka: Seen twice, once to get the drop on Coco and Yatsuhashi and the other to land his final series of hits on Yang. With Yang, it's used to give her a Death of a Thousand Cuts pummelling that leaves her one point short of a loss.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: One of the ways he describes Qrow to Cinder in Volume 3 is "bad hair", apparently not realizing he and Qrow have very similar hairstyles.
  • Out of Focus: After netting a pivotal role in Volume 3, Mercury is reduced to a voiceless cameo in Volume 4, as the few scenes he's in instead focus on Cinder's struggles and the other members of Salem's group. Even Emerald has slightly more relevance since she offers to speak in Cinder's place.
  • Patricide: Mercury indicates his father may have been an abusive alcoholic. He killed his father either way. Cinder actually wanted to recruit Marcus; when she witnesses how Mercury dispatches his old man, she recruits him instead.
  • Sadist: Mercury enjoys hurting people and watching them suffer. He's entirely happy to taunt and terrify Ruby, and when he sees Ruby crying over Penny's destruction he has an immensely cruel and satisfied grin. Later, as Vale is being overrun by Grimm, he's recording the entire thing with another sadistic smile.
  • Slasher Smile: Lets out a few of these when he's going to do something sadistic. Like when he was going to murder Tuskon, beating down Ruby or filming the massacre at Vale.
  • Smug Smiler: When he is tasked to take on a combat role, interfere with an enemies activities or murder someone for the cause, he tends to sport a small smirk and a cocky, playful attitude. It creates the sense that he feels comfortable and confident in lethal situations and even enjoys fighting and killing; he knows how good he is at both and Cinder hired him precisely because of his ability to kill.
  • Smug Snake: While he is a very competent fighter and most of his smugness is justified, he's not completely aware of where he stands on the totem pole, and occasionally underestimates his opponents. His attempt to intimidate Raven is met with scorn, and when he disarms Ruby and starts mocking her, she cuts him off with a headbutt to the face.
  • The Sociopath: He murders a man only to discuss comic pictures and joke about the guy he killed. He's casually manipulative, interacting with others only as far as it will benefit himself, such as sparring with Pyrrha to analyse her Semblance and halting as soon as it no longer serves a purpose. He has a high opinion of himself and a great need for stimulation; he is not excited by killing but does enjoy fighting and tends to bore easily if he's not involved in Cinder's machinations; his skirmish with Ruby shows that he will attack someone simply to curb boredom, but stop as soon as it no longer proves interesting. Unlike Emerald, he displays no overt connection to Cinder and qualified when they first met that there needed to be something in it for him before he'd help her. Overall he displays a severe disconnect with other people; that is likely what makes him such a good assassin.
  • Spiteful Spit: When Cinder first meets Mercury, she asks for his father Marcus Black. Mercury spits before pointing to his recently murdered father's body.
  • Super Reflexes: Mercury is faster than he looks. His legs are capable of combating some very fast actions his opponents take. He can even stop Ruby when she's using her Semblance at top speed. Fitting for someone named after the Roman God who's often depicted as being incredibly fast.
  • Training from Hell: His abusive father put him through it, his idea of training Mercury to be an assassin amounting to subjecting his son to brutal beatings on a daily basis. When Mercury unlocked his semblance, Marcus stole it with his own, telling him that Semblances were a crutch and that Mercury could get his back when he 'earned' it. Mercury never did get his Semblance back, and as he tells Emerald, has had to work harder than anyone else to get where he is now.
  • Turns Red: After moving slower than normal and testing the waters, Mercury is uppercutted by Yang, who follows it up with a brutal elbow that knocks him on his stomach. After getting up from this and narrowly avoiding getting disqualified by getting knocked off the ring, he noticeably stops messing around. He moves nearly twice as fast afterward, blocking every blow Yang sends his way and blowing through her defenses like paper. It seems he started getting real after she landed a hit that actually put him on the defensive.
  • Villain Song: Mercury and Emerald share the song "I'm the One", played during their fight with Team CFVY. Mercury's part consists of him smack-talking his opponents about his combat skill and toughness.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Emerald. He constantly annoys her by trying to come onto her and being relatively lazier, but he does give her a good chuckle every now and then. They are also quick to back each other up when they get into an argument with Roman and Mercury begs Emerald to get up when they leave Haven.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Aside from going all-out on his female opponents, which is expected, he also attacked an unarmed Ruby just to keep her from running away. He then kicks her in the stomach and shoots her phone out of her hand.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: During the Battle of Haven Academy, Hazel, Emerald, Mercury and Leo are fighting the heroes to a standstill, but when Leo is shot by Ruby and his Aura breaks, he flees in panic, leaving the other three to fight an uphill battle. Mercury is not amused and voices this trope in verbatim.



"Voiced" By: Konomi Fujimura [JP]

Debut: Painting the Town...
Click here to see her post timeskip appearance 


An acquaintance of Cinder Fall and bodyguard of Roman Torchwick who first appears when Torchwick introduces stolen Atlesian Paladins to the White Fang. She bails him out of a fight with Team RWBY and later defends the execution of the White Fang's plan. She appears to be at least partially mute, as she never speaks but does occasionally chuckle or gasp. She adopts a disguise to attend the Vytal Festival tournament as Cinder's fourth teammate.

Neo fights with a parasol that has a retractable blade. Her Semblance allows her to generate glass illusions.

  • Avenging the Villain: Roman's history of petty theft was the scourge of the Vale police department. It is why he was hired by Cinder as part of her efforts to carry out Salem's plan to destroy Beacon Academy. However, Roman's alliance with Cinder leads to his death during the Battle of Beacon, something Neo is very upset about. She returns in Volume 6, hunting down Cinder to kill her for getting Roman killed. Cinder manages to convince her she's got the wrong target, and that she should be hunting down Ruby instead, though Cinder busting out the Maiden powers to force Neo to realize that she was outmatched probably helped there. Since Cinder also has a grudge against Ruby, the two women join forces against her.
  • Audible Sharpness: The blade inside her parasol, which can be heard even after it's out of the sheath.
  • Badass Adorable: She's really short (shorter even than Ruby and according to Monty's height chart is only 4'11'' in heels) and looks really young, yet she's able to utterly outperform Yang in speed and uses her maneuverability to make Yang's strength useless, all while wordlessly taunting her throughout their fight.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her tournament outfit includes a midriff-revealing blouse. This also extends to her new outfit in Volume 6.
  • Combat Stilettos: She's not the least bit hindered by her heels when battling Yang, adding to her graceful fighting style.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Despite not looking at all the part, any encounter she engages in quickly becomes this in short order. Ruby and Yang, two exceptionally skilled fighters, cannot land a single hit on her and get beaten down and nearly killed by her with style, and this was likely the case with an entire airship full of trained soldiers as well, judging by the aftermath. The one time an opponent catches her by surprise (the equally enigmatic Raven Branwen, someone to be feared by principle of being a grown Huntress alone), she still blocks both strikes sent her way before promptly disappearing. It's telling that the one fight where Neo has been on the back foot was against Cinder, one of the most powerful fighters on the show.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: While Neo does well against Cinder, it's very obvious that Cinder is holding back due to not wanting to use her Maiden powers in the enclosed environment of Malachite's bar. Once the fight is taken outside, Cinder quickly takes control of the fight and ends it in a draw.
  • Curtains Match The Windows: Her hair and eyes are multicoloured. The right side of her hair is pink with white streaks and the left side of her hair is brown. Her default eye colour is reversed: the left eye is pink and the right eye is brown. However, she can switch the colours of her eyes at will. Sometimes her eyes perfectly match her hair (left eye brown, right eye pink), sometimes both eyes are pink, or brown, or white. She can even turn her eyes green or purple. However, her default eye colour is always the reverse pink/brown combination of her hair.
  • Cute and Psycho: Showed an obvious glee as she was about to deliver a Coup de Grâce to a downed Yang, and later right before she stomped another poor dude's face. She takes over one of Ironwood's airships with a casual glee despite the bodies lying around her.
  • Cute Mute: She's said nothing in any of her appearances, stayed completely silent during her fight with Yang, and rare is the time when she might make a sound at all. This is lampshaded in Volume 6, when Cinder suggest that they talk, and Neo points to her mouth to remind her how one-sided that will be.
  • Dance Battler: All of her moves have an elegant flow to them; so much so that she even manages to calmly take a seat mid-fight. This aspect of her personality seriously irritates Yang, which Neo takes full advantage. She made use of her umbrella's parasol in parrying Yang, using it to catch her off guard and open her up to incoming blows, which she delivered with a series of skilled and highly acrobatic use of kicks. This is enough to keep (a highly irritated and consequently slower) Yang from her ability to tap into her Semblance, and it ends with Neo knocking her out by throwing her onto the ceiling, all in a graceful and elegant way that screams finesse.
  • Dark Action Girl: Torchwick's associate, she trashes Yang during their fight and came close to gleefully killing her.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Torchwick. Inspired by cosplayers note , her outfit is essentially a feminized version of his with softer colors (pink, brown and white vs. red, black and white), they both wield weaponised accessories associated with the gentry and they do so with a smirk on their faces.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Like the ice cream flavor of the same name, Neo's appearance is a palette of clearly separated white (vanilla), pink (strawberry) and brown (chocolate). Her eye colours rotate through the same palette depending on her mood, defaulting to one brown eye, one pink eye, but flitting between combinations of the two colours, one or the other, and turning white when terrified. Although she has used other eye colours such as green or red, they only occur when she seems to be using her illusory abilities to create disguises.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: During the Vytal Festival tournament, she disguises her appearance to take part in the televised fights. Her disguised form consists of black hair and green eyes, with a frilly black and white outfit reminiscent of Victorian dress.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Neo is a mute woman with exceptional combat skill; she works for Roman, to whom she is completely loyal. That is all that is known about her; why she's so loyal to Roman, why she's a better fighter than him, and what her back story is in general is completely unknown. As her Semblance appears to be related to the creation of illusions that shatter like glass when dispelled, even the nature of her ability to change eye colours is a mystery.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: She gracefully does this to introduce herself to Team RWBY after shielding Torchwick from one of Yang's blows.
  • Eye Color Change: During her second fight with Yang, her eyes change over a dozen times. Combinations include: both brown, heterochromatic (sometimes in line with her Multicolored Hair, sometimes opposite to her hair), to pure white when she flees in terror. During her first team fight in the Vytal tournament, her eyes initially appear green. before turning back to their usual set of colours as a cue to her identity. A similar thing happens in "Beginning of the End", except this time they appeared purple.
  • Fanservice Pack: Her outfit in the Volume Six finale has her materializing an outfit with a corset that also enhances her cleavage. The outfit also bares her shoulders and midriff.
  • Flash Step: She's fast enough to seemingly teleport Roman and herself away to an awaiting escape ship.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Neo has twice left an enemy open rather than finishing them immediately. The first time, she took her time preparing to kill Yang after knocking her out, which allowed Raven Branwen to get inside the train and stop her. The second time, she holds Ruby at knifepoint while Torchwick is monologuing, and it provides Ruby with the window of opportunity to pop her parasol open and send her flying.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She styles her hair like this while in disguise during the Vytal Festival tournament.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with her relationship with Roman, especially during their skirmish with Ruby. He prefers shooting fireworks, and even when he attacks physically, he tends to augment it with candle shots. On the other hand, Neo is responsible for solely physical beatdown, not seeming to have any long-ranged capability anyway.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: During her fight with Ruby on the outside of the Atlesian ship Ruby opens up her parasol, causing the wind to blow her off the ship. In other words, her own weapon took her out.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: While Roman was getting his ass kicked by Blake, Neo was completely and utterly destroying the even more powerful Yang.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • In the penultimate episode of Volume 2, after Raven stops her from killing Yang, Neo takes one look at her and realizes her identity, before making a swift escape.
    • In Volume 6, she only stops fighting when she realises that Cinder now possesses the full power of the Fall Maiden.
  • Lady of War: She maneuvers herself in a graceful manner while fighting Yang and maintains a dignified air throughout the fight, even taking a moment to take a seat on a crate, complete with crossing her legs.
  • Master of Disguise: Neo possesses the ability to alter her physical appearance, which can range from costume only to her actual physical body. Volume 3 shows her in disguise on three occasions and the process of her lifting the disguise is shown in Heroes and Monsters. The means by which she alters her appearance is clearly supernatural, but the exact nature of it is ambiguous.
  • Master of Illusion: Unlike Emerald who creates hallucinations that are only visible to the target, Neo creates something akin to mirages/holograms that are visible to everyone but are not physically real. While she can use this to disguise her physical appearance, such as hair colour and clothing, she can also uses it during combat. The illusion can hide her true location meaning that shattering the illusion only for Neo to become visible in a completely different location can make it look like she's teleported. Neo can use this misdirection to confuse opponents as to her exact location or to escape attacks. By creating a mirror image of herself and Roman, she creates a decoy that allows them to escape from Team RWBY in Volume 2; the image only vanishes when Yang tries to hit her, shattering the illusion like glass. Neo repeats this tactic again during her Volume 3 battle with Ruby atop the airship. In Volume 6, she reveals that she can disguise a Mistral airship as a much smaller Atlesian one.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Her umbrella has a gun function just like Roman's Melodic Cudgel, but so far she never uses it as a pistol and only uses it to teleport herself away. However, if you were to take away the canopy and its supports, the designs of the two are almost identical.
  • Multicolored Hair: The left side of Neo's hair is dark brown while the right side of her haif is bright pink. On the pink side of her hair, there are three white skunk stripes on the top of her crown.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: During her fight with Yang, Neo easily dodges most of Yang's blows. She fights, dodges and parries by using body language that is designed to mock the easily-angered Yang. When Yang attempts to punch Neo, Neo backflips away from the strike and lands in a sitting position on some cargo boxes, twirling her parasol with a cocky smile.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Neo is about kill the unconscious Yang, the appearance of Raven Branwen so terrifies Neo that her eyes turn white with fear. She flees as swiftly as she can.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", when Ruby opens her parasol on top of an airship, she has just enough time to gasp in horror before getting blown away.
    • When fighting on the streets of Mistral, Neo comes to a complete halt when Cinder demonstrates her full power. When Neo last saw Cinder, Cinder didn't possess the full power of the Fall Maiden, and demonstrating that power to Neo by levitating and summoning strong winds to swirl around her body leaves Neo staring in awe and fear.
  • One-Man Army: She's able to slaughter the crew of an entire ship singlehandedly to break Roman out.
  • Parasol of Pain: One that is strong enough to block Yang's powered-up shots and she uses it to great effect in her fighting style.
  • Parasol Parachute: Ruby forces her into one during their battle to take her out of the fight.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: In heels, she only reaches Yang's shoulders, standing at 4'11'' according to Monty's height chart. This makes her the shortest character on the show. Yang is unable to harm her, no matter how hard she tries. Yang is the strongest member of Team RWBY and gets stronger the more damage she takes. However, Neo doesn't flinch, doesn't appear to take damage, and easily knocks Yang out cold.
  • Quizzical Tilt: She does this in the middle of her fight with Yang, though she's obviously doing it to taunt her opponent rather than express confusion.
  • Silent Snarker: Even while silent, her body language and facial expressions show how much she's taunting Yang in their fight. The closest she comes to talking is texting "Guess who?" to Torchwick. When Cinder suggest they "talk" about how to kill Ruby and company, Neo's only response is to point a single finger at her mouth.
  • Slasher Smile: Pulls off one while about to deliver the finishing blow to Yang in "No Brakes", and again in "Round One" before stomping her opponent's head into the ground.
  • Smug Smiler: Whenever Neo fights, she uses her body language to tease her opponents. When fighting Yang, she taunts Yang with a mocking smile whenever Yang fails to hit her or fails to damage her when she does hit. During the fight with Ruby, Neo smiles whenever she gets the advantage, and especially when Ruby is hanging off the side of the airship by one hand. While it doesn't bait Ruby, it does successfully bait Yang. During her fight with Cinder, she often taunts Cinder with a mocking smile whenever Cinder fails to land a proper blow on her. Like Ruby, Cinder isn't easily baited.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Official material spells her name in two different ways; RWBY: Amity Arena spells it "Neo Politan" (based off the reference files they were provided), and all other materialnote  spells it "Neopolitan".
  • Stealth Pun: Neo isn't just short, she's pint-sized. Ice cream often comes in pint containers.
  • Super Reflexes: As much as or greater than Roman. When fighting Ruby, she flawlessly dodges every single attack thrown at her and disarms Ruby as though it's nothing. She can perform multiple flips and kicks in a single jump and land them all exactly on target, all while avoiding the massive spinning scythe headed her way.
  • Sword Cane: She has a sword hidden inside her parasol. She doesn't use it in fights, only to finish off downed opponents.
  • Sword Drag: In "Heroes and Monsters", she does this on top of the airship, preparing to kill Ruby.
  • Technicolor Eyes: She often displays heterochromia, with one eye being pink and the other brown. However, her eyes frequently change color depending on her mood and/or situation. The following combinations have been seen: two brown eyes; two silver eyes; brown in the left and pink in the right; brown in the right and pink in the left; brown in the right and silver in the left; green in both eyes during the Vytal tournament; and purple in both eyes while pretending to be a nurse.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Roman's death, Neo is angry that his involvement with Salem's forces got him killed. Determined to avenge him by killing his boss, Cinder, Neo now wears Roman's derby hat and a similar neckerchief to his as a reminder of what she's fighting for. Cinder convinces her that the real source of her revenge should be Ruby.
  • Troll: Seems to be one. She tricked Team RWBY with an illusion before escaping them, and then drove Yang nuts in their fight while stomping her. All with a big smile on her face, and occasionally taking a relaxing break in the middle to show just how little of a concern her opposition is.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Torchwick, apparently. It's not very obvious on her end but Torchwick displays his first emotions other than smug and annoyed when she gets blown off the ship. The fact that she's now seeking revenge for his death, first on Cinder then on Ruby when the former convinces Neo that she was to blame, seems to indicate that she cared a great deal about him as well.
  • Villain Team-Up: Neo uses Little Miss Malachite's services to track down Cinder, seeking revenge for Roman's death while in Cinder's employment. During their fight, Cinder convinces Neo that her blame is misplaced, and that the person she needs to target for revenge is Ruby. Neo stops fighting Cinder when she is given a demonstration of the Fall Maiden's full power, but becomes a little irritated with Cinder's suggestion that they talk it out because she doesn't speak, something Cinder momentarily forgets.

    Roman Torchwick 

Roman Torchwick

Voiced By: Gray Haddock [EN], Shin-ichiro Miki [JP]

Debut: Yellow Trailer
"I wouldn't exactly call it a little operation..."

"As for me, I'll do what I do best. Lie. Steal. Cheat. And survive!"

A crime lord who tries to steal Dust from a store Ruby is visiting. He has been stealing an enormous amount of Dust in recent months, and is working with the White Fang, though for what purpose is unknown.

Roman's weapon, Melodic Cudgel, appears to be an ordinary walking stick, but when activated it raises a crosshair and fires an unstable explosive round resembling a roman candle.

  • Affectionate Pickpocket: When he is visited by Mercury and Emerald in ''Best Day Ever", his initially acts friendly to them in order to steal the address slip from Emerald in order to find out where they were all day. Though this allows Emerald to steal his lighter.
  • Arch-Enemy: Ruby. By the time they meet in Heroes and Monsters, he's so fed up with "Little Red" that he gives her a Motive Rant and Breaking Speech just to rub in what he thinks of her idealistic heroics.
  • Back for the Dead: He missed the majority of Volume 3 after he got arrested at Volume 2's climax. Neo frees him in PvP and he gets to enjoy the freedom for two episodes before he gets Swallowed Whole by a Grimm Griffon in Heroes and Monsters, after which said Griffon is sent crashing into the Atlesian ship's deck courtesy of Ruby.
  • Badass Normal: By comparison to most other characters in the show. Roman never discovered his Semblance, and thus never had abilities beyond those of a typical Huntsman, but was nonetheless deadly enough to both keep up with Blake and Sun and outright beat Ruby in a one-on-one fight using only his wits, skill, and a bit of Dust.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Roman is positively gleeful at destroying government property. His speech at a White Fang rally also gives this impression. And when he gets the chance to destroy the Atlas air fleet in Volume 3, he's absolutely thrilled.
    Roman: I'd like to mention the fact that you and I all have a common enemy! The ones in control, the people pulling the strings, the dirty, rotten humans that run our kingdoms. Government, military, even the schools. They're all to blame for your lot in life!
  • Boom Stick: His cane can be used as a gun, with the base of the weapong flipping up to both expose the barrel and act as a targeting sight. When the cane fires, it uses explosive rounds that resemble a Roman Candle in design.
  • Breakout Villain: He was originally going to be a first-episode-only villain who does little fighting, but positive reception led to Monty making him more significant in the grand scheme of things (and more dangerous too).
  • Cane Fu: Roman has designed the cane to function as a gun, complete with the base flipping up to function as a targeting sight. However, the cane can also be used like a fencing sword or a club. When he is attacked by both Blake and Sun, is able to overpower Blake while at the same time parrying every shot from Sun's twin nunchuck-guns. When fights Ruby on top of an airship, he uses the cane in every single possible way while fighting her: as a gun to shoot her from a distance and as a means of blocking her bullets and her scythe-blade. When she goes down, he uses his weapon as a club to beat her into the floor while he rants about the short-sightedness of her heroic optimism.
  • Captain Ersatz: DVD commentary points out he's Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, wearing a Derby Hat, a white jacket, using a cane as a weapon, and even having Alex's eye tattoo. While Roman isn't Ax-Crazy like Alex, he's certainly a ruthless criminal mastermind.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Defeating him is just not enough to get him to shut up. Seriously; he has one-liners for almost every single instance his plans have been thwarted by the heroes.
  • Classy Cane: Roman is always smartly dressed in black trousers and a red-lined white overcoat. He accessorises with black gloves, a grey neckerchief and a red-banded black Derby hat. To finish off the look, he carries a hook-handled cane that is designed to fit in with his clothing: the handle is white, the staff is black, and there is red finishing where the handle meets the staff and at the base of the staff. The staff is designed to be a weapon; he usually fences with it or uses it as a gun, but he can also use it as a club where necessary. The weapon is designed to suit his style and his classy appearance.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The moment Ruby turns to tell Penny to stay back, he takes full advantage and blasts her. And when both arms are blasted off the Paladin he's piloting, he still kicks Yang away with the legs - not to mention having shoulder-tackled her into a pillar before that. When Ruby is knocked down by one of his blasts and on the verge of falling off the hijacked airship, Roman immediately walks up and tries to finish her at point-blank range.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Blake sneaks up on him in Black and White:
    Roman: Oh, for fu—
  • Dastardly Dapper Derby: He wears a Derby as his hat of choice and he's appropriately a suave villain. Volume 6 reveals that it somehow survived when he was Eaten Alive, as Neo shows up wearing it as a Tragic Keepsake.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When he fought Blake again in "No Brakes" she managed to surprise him by incorporating Dust into her attacks, a trick she hadn't displayed in their previous battle.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Roman and Ruby are fighting while surrounded by Grimm. Roman gains the upper hand, knocks Ruby to the ground and beats her with his cane while ranting about the idiocy of her positive, heroic idealism in a world where huntsmen die young and the only thing people can do is just try to survive however they can. Just as he emphasizes he's a survivor instead of a hero, he is abruptly swallowed by a Griffon. His rant had been highly negative, and Grimm are attracted to negative emotions, but the death is very abrupt, and unexpectedly mundane by this show's magical standards.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Yellow Trailer is the last prequel before the show begins and introduces Yang fighting Junior, a bar owner, and his men, when Junior fails to provide the information she's looking for. When Yang first enters the bar, Roman can just be seen in the background finishing a conversation with Junior and leaving. Roman is introduced in the show's pilot episode, robbing a Dust store with men he's hired from Junior's bar. The hired men don't do any better against Ruby than they did against Yang, much to Roman's sarcastic disgust.
    Roman: You were worth every cent. Truly, you were.
  • Eaten Alive: Right as he's in the middle of a loud rant to Ruby on why she should just give up, a Griffon lands behind him and chomps him. When it roars a second later, there's no sign of Roman.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The only time he shows any slight concern for any life other than his own is when Neo is blown off the airship by Ruby. He reaches out and calls her name as she's blown off the ship.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Roman is defined by his over the top personality. He can be superficially polite and makes jokes with people he dislikes as if they’re good friends, but always in a way that comes off as condescending, treating younger people like wayward children he has to deal with. When he runs into problems while out in the field his attitude changes to snark and heavy sarcasm. He can delve into melodrama and exaggerated theatrics as shown by him dramatically gesturing towards the dust he's stolen when Cinder questions him about not taking care of Tukson earlier. Other times he acts like a child, pulling faces at Cinder’s subordinates as she’s admonishing them and expressing a childlike glee in destroying things when he takes over an Atlesian battleship.
  • False Reassurance: In Vol. 1 Ep. 1 he and a few goons visit the From Dust Till Dawn shop. He assures the shopkeeper that he doesn't want any money... right before ordering his men to steal the Dust.
  • Fantastic Racism: Has a low opinion of Faunus and badmouths some hired Faunus mooks. The DVD Commentary clarifies that his racism isn't exaggerated to show villainy; it's Remnant's standard human perception of Faunus.
  • Foil: To Ruby. She's a naive, idealistic teenage girl who sees the best in everyone, has close friendships throughout her school, and wants to always do the right thing. He's a jaded, older male gangster who hates the people he's working with, has one ambiguous friendship with Neo, and whose only goal is self-preservation.
  • Gentleman Thief: Subverted, while Roman likes presenting himself as a dashing, polite gentleman as he's being a crime boss, he's willing to use violence when necessary; namely, when an Action Girl has just pulverized all his goons. He's still skilled at the thief part, and is able to fill an entire warehouse with stolen dust.
  • Giggling Villain: When he fights Sun and Blake, he lets out a series of maniacal, though low-key, cackles.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Torchiwick is the only character in the show to have been seen smoking and, like any good crime boss, he favors cigars. In the pilot episode, he stubs his cigar out on a glass display cabinet while intimidating a shopkeeper as his men rob the store of all its Dust. He also smokes for stress-relief, as he tries to smoke one after being threatened by Cinder at the beginning of Volume 2; he is thwarted because Emerald pick-pockets his lighter without him noticing.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Roman usually uses his cane as a gun, where the length of the staff acts as the barrel of the gun and the base flips open to act as a targeting sight. However, the hooked handle of the cane can be fired to grab a target and pull it back in towards Roman. He uses the grappling function in Mountain Glenn to capture Ruby when she tries to run away from him.
  • Guyliner: Roman's visible eye is traced with black eyeliner that contributes to his Pretty Boy looks, which contributes to his Alex Delarge appearance.
  • The Heavy: He is the only key villain focused on during Volume 1. The media mentions the manhunt for him and every time the protagonists run into a villain, it's Roman. In the pilot episode, he appears to order his female get-away pilot to fight Glynda while he takes over the controls, but The Stinger at the end of Volume 1 reveals that the shadowy, faceless woman in the pilot episode is actually his boss, and his Dust thefts throughout the volume have been ordered by her. In Volume 2, Roman remains the face of villainy for that the protagonists are trying to track down and stop while Cinder, Mercury and Emerald infiltrate Beacon as students. Once he's captured by General Ironwood's forces at the end of Volume 2, Cinder replaces him as The Heavy for Volume 3.
  • Karmic Death: When Ruby fights Roman and Neo on top of a flying battleship, she's knocked down and hangs from the side of the ship helplessly. Neo leans on her unopened weaponised parasol to kick Ruby off the ship, allowing Ruby to grab the parasol's catch; it opens, catches the wind and blows Neo off the ship, while Ruby regains her footing. Roman then brutally beats Ruby to the ground, ranting about her misguided idealism in a savage world where most huntsmen die young. His heightened negativity attracts the negativity-sensing Monsters of Grimm, and one swallows him whole just as he's stating that the only thing that matters is survival skill.
  • Know When To Fold Them: He's a very good fighter, but he knows better than to get into a prolonged fight with the main cast, so whenever it looks like he's just about to face some trouble, he hauls his ass out. It's implied that this was the reason he joined Cinder in the first place.
    Roman: I may be a gambling man, but even I know there are some bets you just don't take.
  • Laughably Evil: Roman's a ruthless crime lord whose every interaction with both allies and enemies is laced with condescending, sarcastic wit. He talks down to younger allies and enemies as if he's a parent and they're wayward children, and sarcastically flirts with female allies and enemies alike. He has a childish, petty attitude that makes him pull faces at allies when they're being reprimanded and excitedly press random buttons just to see how much destruction the Atlas ship he's commandeered can cause. When spanners get thrown into his plans, he becomes melodramatic and bombastic, such as when Cinder implies he hasn't been pulling his weight and he objects by theatrically unveiling the city's entire Dust stockpile that he's stolen for her.
    Roman: [When Cinder sends him Mercury and Emerald.] Oh, look! She sent the kids again! This is turning out just like the divorce.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Cinder keeps Torchwick on a need-to-know basis about their plans, and although he doesn't like not knowing what is really going on, he keeps his mouth shut from fear of Cinder.
  • The Nicknamer: He calls Ruby "Red" during their first encounter and continues to use it in future ones. His first encounter with Weiss results in him calling her "Ice Queen" due to the ice attacks she was using on him. He doesn't know others call her that because of her personality. After seeing Blake's cat ears, he refers to her as "Kitty Cat" during their next encounter.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: He has a right-sweeping fringe that is so long it hides the top half of the right side of his face and ear, almost down to the nose. His right eye is never seen.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: He's arrested in the Volume 2 finale, but remains completely confident and taunts Ironwood when he tries to interrogate him; it's part of the plan.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Despite being a villain, his scenes during the fall of Beacon are some of the few funny moments in the otherwise tense and dark situation. Him playing with the controls of the Atlas ship like a kid in a candy store, is one example.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He looks down on Faunus and calls them animals to their faces. He does acknowledge that they're both people and dangerous, particularly if the 'dangerous' aspect means in danger of getting his arse kicked by any nearby Faunus who are offended. It's a downplayed example because his attitude isn't because he's a villain; Faunus discrimination is wide-spread in Remnant, which is why the White Fang originally formed to fight for equal rights.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: When Cinder reprimands Mercury and Emerald for killing Tukson, Roman taunts them by childishly pulling faces behind Cinder's back. During the battle for Beacon, he's given control of an Atlas ship and randomly begins pressing buttons like an excited child to see what they do; blowing up an Atlas ship with the touch of a button thrills him into exploring what other chaos he can wreak.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Ruby forces Neo off the ship, she argues with him that she's going to stop him no matter what he tries. He drops the cute one-liners and executes a volley of moves to regain the upper-hand and rants about her determination to be a hero. He points out what a dangerous, crappy world Remnant is, that people who try to be a hero just get themselves killed, and that the only thing Huntsmen do well is die young.
    Roman: You've got spirit, Red, but this is the real world!! The real world is cold!! The real world doesn't care about spirit!! You want to be a hero!? Then play the part and die like every other huntsman in history!!! As for me? I'll do what I do best! Lie, steal, cheat, AND SURVIVE—!!!
  • Recurring Boss: The main cast do keep running into him. He and Ruby are introduced together when they run into conflict with each other while he's stealing Dust from a shop she's in. He later takes on Sun and Blake in two-on-one combat, fights RWBY, Sun and Neptune in a giant mecha, climaxing in a huge confrontation between RWBY and Roman's group that leds to Roman's capture - although being captured appears to be part of the plan.
  • Sigil Spam: A jack-o-lantern face is carved around the cane's tip. Judging from the episode 8 credits, it's probably his symbol.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The show depicts Remnant as a world where humanity clings to existence within four protected kingdoms while villages outside the kingdoms live a precarious, often short, existence. This is due to the Creatures of Grimm swarming all areas of the world, hunting down and trying to destroy humanity. While Huntsmen do their best to fight the Grimm and protect humanity, there are far more Grimm than Huntsmen, and Huntsmen often die young as a result. Ruby dreams of being a Huntress so that she can protect humanity like the heroes in the fairy tales she grew up reading; her desire to protect even extends to dealing with prosaic villains like Roman, who is a thief and killer. When he finally loses his temper with her constant attempts to 'save the day' he rants about her idealism being completely at odds with the reality of the world. He points out that Huntsmen always die young, and the only way to live in such a dangerous world is to become a pragmatic survivalist like him — cheating, lying and murdering as necessary for his continued survival. It doesn't dent her resolve.
    Roman: This is the real world!! The real world is cold!! The real world doesn't care about spirit!! You want to be a hero!? Then play the part and die like every other Huntsman in history!!!
  • The Social Darwinist: Episode 11 of Volume 3 gives him shades of this, when he tells Ruby that, since she wants to be a hero so much, she ought to die like one, while he does what he does best: "lie, steal, cheat, and survive!"
  • The Sociopath: Is referred to a "a destructive sociopath" in-universe. He's a ruthless crime boss who has been pulling a string of dust robberies all over Vale, which is revealed to have been done under his boss, Cinder Fall's orders. He has loads of charisma, as shown during a White Fang rally where he manages to sway dozens of Faunus onto his side, and drives an underground train armed with bombs towards Beacon in order to draw Grimm into the city. When he escapes from his imprisonment near the end of Volume 3 and hijacks an Atlas airship, he shows great pleasure in destroying other nearby airships, as shown when he presses a button on the controls pondering "What Does This Button Do?", and when it blows up another Atlas airship, he says, "Oh, fun!" He doesn't check all the requirements though, as he shows genuine concern when his right-hand gal, Neo, is blown off the side of the airship when Ruby unclips her umbrella.
  • The Social Expert: Being a stylish and charismatic crime boss, Roman can walk onto a stage in front of a mob of angry Faunus, use himself as an example of why Humans Are the Real Monsters, and still have them cheering for him by the end, courting them over to his side even when they are interrupted by Sun and Blake. His nature makes him a valuable pawn for Cinder, who herself is forced to rely on An Offer You Can't Refuse in order to recruit people.
  • Starter Villain: In the first episode, he organizes a simple store robbery only to be thwarted by Ruby and Glynda. His popularity among the fans and the voice actor's skill with the character convinced the creators to give the character a more long-lasting role as the face of the villainous threat Ruby's team begins to investigate while the real threat works undercover, unrecognised by Ruby and her team.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When he gets control of an Atlas warship, he spends all of his time figuring out how which controls make the best explosions.
    Roman: What does this button do? [distant explosion] Oooooh, fun!
  • Super Reflexes:
    • Despite Sun and Blake's superior speed, he's still able to keep up with both of them attacking him near-simultaneously, and able to dodge and/or deflect almost everything the pair sends his way, including point-blank shotgun blasts courtesy of Sun.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", he's quick enough to shoot a round from Melodic Cudgel, grab it with the cane's handle, then redirect the shot to Ruby.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: In the pilot episode, he has hired men to help him rob Dust stores. They're defeated by the teenaged Ruby in less than a minute. He's not at all impressed by the money he wasted on them.
  • Swallowed Whole: Gets swallowed by a giant Griffon just after finishing his rant to Ruby in "Heroes And Monsters". Ruby promptly trounces the Griffon and makes the Griffon, Torchwick, and the entire battleship explode.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: In the first episode, he chooses not to face Ruby head-on after she knocks his goons out. And in the sixteenth, he flees after watching Penny decimate the White Fang and destroy three airships in quick succession.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted in the Volume One finale. The moment Ruby turns to look at Penny and tell her to get back Torchwick blasts her with a direct hit from Melodic Cudgel. Averted again, this time against him, when a Griffon grabs him while he's monologuing.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • He clearly shows disdain for the Faunus, but he's forced to work with them under Cinder's orders.
      Roman: We're not exactly the most inconspicuous of thieves at the moment, so why don't you animals try and pick up the pace?
    • He can't stand Emerald and Mercury, and made it plain (and public) that Cinder is the only reason he hasn't tried to kill them outright.
  • Tempting Fate: He lectures Ruby that, in this harsh world, heroes just get themselves killed and she should do what huntsmen do best... die. He tells her that, unlike her, he's a master at surviving against the odds. He barely finishes the rant before he's swallowed whole by a Griffon, having forgotten they were surrounded by monsters that are attracted to negativity.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Roman is deliberately captured at the end of Volume 2 because Cinder's plan needs him on that ship. While Ironwood is happy to have captured him, Qrow is concerned it's an excuse for the "second head" of the enemy to work more freely. Cinder needs one of Ironwood's ships under her command to take out the fleet when she sets off the second Grimm invasion of Vale. Neo breaks out Roman, who takes control of Blue-2.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: He has a tendency to use a colleague as a distraction so that he can escape via a suddenly available airship. It's done in his debut departure in Ruby Rose and repeated in Black and White and Painting The Town.
  • Villain Has a Point: He has a point when he gives Ruby a good lecture for her idealism. Turns out in the real world, no matter how strong or determined you are, trying to be a hero when the odds are against you is a quick way to get yourself killed. He's proven right post-mortem when Pyrrha engages Cinder, who has now absorbed all of the Fall Maiden's powers, alone in a desperate attempt to save Beacon. This results in her dying tragically while Ruby can only watch on in horror.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Ruby forces Neo off the ship, she declares that she would never give up her fighting spirit no matter what he throws at her. Roman's fighting style becomes much more aggressive; he drops the cute one-liners and back-talk and concentrates on a swift execution of moves that overpowers Ruby and forces her to the ground. As she falters, he begins ranting at her and beating her over and over with his cane. He's so angry with her determination to be a hero that he doesn't spot the huge Griffon that lands directly behind him.
  • Villainous Friendship: While he treats most people like tools or morons, he does seem to legitimately care about Neo. The only time he displays anything nearing concern for anyone is when Ruby throws Neo off an airship.
  • What Does This Button Do?: While piloting one of Ironwood's ships in Battle of Beacon, he's seen pressing buttons on the control panel at random while saying this. One button sets off an explosion, while another causes the Atlesian Knights onboard to be jettisoned (though Roman thinks it doesn't do anything).
  • Worthy Opponent: Roman has respect for Ruby's stubborn nature and determination, even praising her spirit. On the other hand, he finds her idealism and desire to be a hero to be utterly infuriating, as it clashes with his brutally cynical view of the world.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ruby is a fifteen year old girl. Torchwick doesn't hesitate to fight her, and even when he's making his escape, he throws explosive uncut Fire Dust at her, requiring Glynda to intervene to protect her. In their encounter in Heroes and Monsters he gives her a real beating with his cane while she's curled up in the fetal position as he monologues to her about how meaningless spirit is in the real world.
  • You Have Failed Me: Junior implies that Torchwick did this to his hired mobsters, seeing how none of them returned after their dust heist, though he may have just left them to be arrested after escaping with Cinder. He also implies this will happen to a White Fang member who momentarily objects to his order to start the train early.


Example of: