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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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"This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin.
And I can't wait to watch you burn."
Click here to see her original appearance 

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

Debut: Ruby Rose (voice), End of the Beginning (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 Huntsman Academies' downfall from the shadows, commanding the Grimm, Faunus, and humans to enact her will.

  • Agony Beam: Salem has the ability to create streams of magic that strike her target, causing excruciating agony. She captures Oscar to learn how to use the Relic of Knowledge from him. After Oscar refuses to co-operate, she strikes him with the energy streams, causing him to scream in agony and leaving him with a scorched chest.
  • Alien Blood: Her inhumanity is more than skin deep as injuries dealt to her yield the same reddish-black ooze Grimm are spawned from rather than blood.
  • 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 brother Gods in an attempt to restore her beloved back to life, so they 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 coordinated 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 Huntsman 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.
  • Blow You Away: One of Salem's magical abilities allows her to conjure powerful tornadoes and gusts of wind. During her battle with Hazel, Salem conjures a tornado beneath her feet to regain her balance after being sucker-punched, and uses it as a perch to stay out of reach of his attacks. Hazel counters this by using Wind Dust to create a tornado to launch himself at her and bring her to the ground.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Salem has no interest in the people she's killed or the pain of their surviving relatives, and has committed so many atrocities over the centuries that it's become everyday business for her. When Yang angrily calls her for failing to handle one bad thing happening in her life as a comparison to how much Salem has taken away from her, Salem simply asks her who she took from Yang in a bored tone, only showing any reaction once Yang elaborates it was Summer Rose.
  • 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.
  • Chess Motifs: Salem's Calling Card is a black chess queen. In Volume 1, Qrow sends Ozpin a warning message saying "Queen has pawns", referring to the fact that she has sent Cinder to Vale. While there, Cinder installs a virus designed by Watts on the Beacon security network that manifests a black chess queen. When Ironwood interfaces his scroll with Ozpin's desk, his scroll briefly displays the black chess queen to show it's been hacked by the virus. When Cinder takes control of the Vytal Festival Tournament to declare her manifesto to a global audience, the TV feed displays a black chess queen. The motif reappears several times during the Battle of Beacon to show what technology is under the control of the villains, including the scroll Neo gives to Roman that lets him hack the Atlesian robot soldiers and control Ironwood's flagship. In Volume 7, Ironwood recalls to Oscar how helpless Salem made him feel in Vale because of how she chose to manifest her presence through the black chess queen. When Cinder decides to smoke out the hidden location of the Winter Maiden, she leaves a chess queen made from black glass on Ironwood's desk; this panics Ironwood into thinking that Salem has been one step ahead of him the whole time, causing him to send Winter to the Winter Maiden thereby revealing the Maiden's location to the watching Cinder. When chastising Cinder, Salem describes her war with Ozpin as a "game" and describes Cinder as neither a "pawn" nor a "player".
  • Cleavage Window: Salem's first outfit 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 of Light and Darkness have cursed Salem with immortality to prevent her from dying so that she will learn the importance of life and death. When she tried to manipulate them into restoring her beloved back 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 Ozma battle to death, he manages to reduce her to a pile of ash. However, she reforms quickly and kills him. When a different incarnation of Ozma asks Jinn how he can destroy Salem, she tells him 'you can't'. This also bleeds into her fighting style; she will not attempt to dodge mortal blows, because she knows she'll reform almost immediately, even if she's vaporized. Even Oscar unleashing the equivalent of a nuke on her through the stored power of his cane does little more than delay her reappearance.
  • Conducting the Carnage: During the assault on Atlas, Salem treats the invasion as if it was an orchestra. Inside the whale, Salem stands above the mouth, rocking back and forth while waving her arms as if she is an orchestra conductor. In sync with her movements, the whale rocks back and forth, more ooze gushing out of its mouth with every forward motion, allowing the Grimm army to keep regenerating.
  • 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 walk its face". Salem therefore believes that, if she can destroy the world, she can escape her curse and finally die.
  • Death Seeker: When Hazel and Ozpin discuss why Hazel works for Salem, Ozpin explains that the reason Salem's so destructive is because she has a death-wish. While Salem's subordinates believe she's seeking to create a new world order, Ozpin reveals that she's actually trying to destroy the world itself. By dividing humanity beyond repair and bringing together the Relics to summon the Gods of Light and Darkness, she believes that they will judge humanity to be irredeemable and destroy Remnant; she hopes this will end the curse they placed upon her and she will finally be able to die.
  • 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 worships Salem as a goddess. When he returns to her, sobbing and in total fear, he hesitantly reveals to her that he failed his task. Salem's response is to softly and coldly tell him that he has disappointed her and walks off, which is 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 brother 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. Her Villain Song, "Divide", is based on two speeches she makes where she describes her goal to destroy Ozpin by turning his allies against him.
    Salem: 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 being who possesses mastery over the Grimm. Although the Grimm dominate the world, her existence is not public knowledge. Her arch-enemy, Ozpin, is so convinced the world will descend into panic and chaos if they knew, that he has created a global conspiracy network to both search for a way to defeat her and prevent her existence from becoming public. Of those that know, Qrow describes her creations as fear itself, Ironwood is 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 convinced Salem is unstoppable. Her subordinates also fear her: Emerald and Mercury are terrified of her presence; Tyrian worships her as a goddess but is afraid of failing her; and Watts and Hazel are wary of incurring her wrath. Leo, Haven Academy's headmaster and Ozpin's oldest ally, is so terrified of Salem that she is able to turn him into a mole for her side simply by implying the continued existence of Haven and Mistral depends on his co-operation. In Volume 6, Ozpin is forced to admit that he actually has no plan to defeat Salem because even he believes she cannot be destroyed; the news demoralises the heroes, estranging them from a broken Ozpin and questioning the point of opposing Salem. In Volume 7, learning that Salem is both immortal and on her way transforms Ironwood into a villain who is prepared to lash out at the heroes as well as Salem's forces in his attempt to find a way to protect Atlas from her.
  • 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. Her goal is now to ensure that humanity is divided so that when she brings the Relics together and summon the Gods, they will destroy Remnant and in turn, the curse on her allowing her to die.
  • 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 and 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 combined human infiltrators with two armies that consisted of Faunus terrorists and Creatures of Grimm.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Salem's love for Ozma triggers her descent into evil after she dies. However, even after she has been corrupted by the Pools of Annihilation, she still loves him and builds a family with his reincarnation. Thousands of years after their relationship fell apart, Volume 8 hints that she still grieves for her lost daughters; after capturing Oscar, she is seen briefly watching magical smoke-silhouettes of her children playing happily while she waits for Ozma's latest host to regain consciousness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She dislikes 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.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While Salem acknowleges that hope can drive humanity even in the darkest times, she's unable to comprehend why humans would continue to fight against seemingly impossible odds. In Volume 8, she angrily asks Ozpin why he continues to fight against her, even diminishing himself to help this "ruined world".
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: A long time ago, Salem was put into a position where she felt she had to manipulate the brother Gods who lived on Remnant with the humans. She almost succeeded in fooling the God of Darkness until the God of Light reveals what she's up to. Her punishment is never-ending life until she learns the value of life and death. When Ozma 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 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 Ozma 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 they 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. It goes slightly further in the Volume 7 finale when she appears with a dress that bares her shoulders and shows more of her chest.
  • Faux Affably Evil: 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. In Volume 7, she attempts to convince Ironwood to give her both the Relics of Creation and Knowledge in exchange for her sparing Mantle and Atlas, speaking to him in a reassuring, almost motherly tone. However, it is painfully clear to both Ironwood and the audience that her promises are hollow lies. In Volume 8, when interrogating a captive Oscar, she is initially polite and cordial to create a "working relationship" with the boy, but quickly resorts to intimidation and aggression when she interprets his sarcastic attitude as an attempt to pretend to be Ozma. When Oscar refuses to give her the password for the lamp, Salem tortures him with a blast of magic before letting Hazel try beating the information out of him.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Salem lived in imprisonment due to a cruel father until rescued by the hero Ozma, with whom she fell in love. After losing him to sickness, she began her descent into evil after warring with the gods for refusing to resurrect him. As bad as her life was, it's made clear that this does not justify her vendetta against Ozma and the gods, or her attempts to destroy humanity. Yang tells Salem to her face that nobody gets a fairy tale ending and having something bad happen to them doesn't justify the endless death she's causing to the whole world.
  • Girl in the Tower: In her youth, Salem's cruel father imprisons her in a tower where she spends her days desiring only freedom. Although many heroes attempt to rescue her in the hope of winning her hand in marriage, they all fail. She is eventually rescued by a legendary hero who, instead of seeking her hand in marriage, only wants to correct injustice. Salem and Ozma fall in love despite themselves, thereby setting off a chain of events that leads the world into its present situation — a Secret War that has unfolded for thousands of years between Salem and the reincarnating Ozma, who has to transition from Professor 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: When reunited with Ozma, Salem considers uniting humanity since it seems to matter so much to him. As the only two magic-users remaining on Remnant, they use their powers to mimic gods and build a kingdom in which their worshipers live. Although they live happily for many years and have a family together, Ozma eventually realizes that Salem's goal is to take over the entire world and kill anyone who defies them; upon discovering their children possess magic troubles Ozma, given then reasons the God of Light gave him for why humanity no longer possesses that ability, but Salem sees it as sign they should wipe out this version of humanity and replace them with their descendants. Horrified by this discovery, Ozma tries to sneak away in the middle of night with their children. Salem catches him in the act and their ensuing battle destroys everything — including their children.
  • 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 realizes 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 brother Gods. If they 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 exists, 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.
    • Hazel wants justice for his sister's death; when they first met, Hazel killed Salem several times before he was too tired to fight anymore. It was then that Salem convinced Hazel to redirect his desire for vengeance onto Ozpin, promising to create a new world order with no more huntsman academies to send children to fight in a hopeless war.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Imprisoned from birth by a cruel father until rescued by a hero with whom she fell in love, Salem longed only for freedom; when Ozma died young from sickness, she tried to rescurrect him by manipulating the gods; instead she was punished with immortality and spends countless years seeking freedom from both them and the curse. Her attempt to find freedom with Ozma's first reincarnation fails when they turn on each other, destroying everything they'd built together. Now she seeks freedom in death, dividing humanity to make them irredeemable in the eyes of the gods so that they will destroy the planet and, consequently, her curse.
  • Implacable Woman: Discussed Trope. When Hazel first went after Salem, it didn't matter how hard or for how long he fought her, her Complete Immortality meant that she kept coming back. The longest he could stop her was just a few hours. Only when he finally broke from exhaustion and hopelessness did she stop and offer him the chance to take revenge against Ozpin instead of her. When Yang's team rescues Oscar from Salem's clutches, it takes a combination of Hazel burning himself and Salem alive while Oscar detonates almost all the power Ozpin had spent multiple lifetimes storing in his cane just to buy the heroes a few hours to evacuate the kingdom before her inevitable return.
  • Invincible Villain: Discussed In-Universe. Raven tells Yang that she once trusted Ozpin until she learned that Salem can't be defeated; she later discusses with Leo his guilt over betraying Ozpin to Salem due to his terror of her invincibility. The Relic of Knowledge reveals to the heroes that Ozpin has been fighting Salem for thousands of years because the gods punished her with Complete Immortality; even when Oz obliterated her, she swiftly regenerated back. When Oz asks the Relic "How can I destroy Salem?", she tells him "You can't". In Volume 7, Nora speculates that perhaps Jinn means Salem can be destroyed by someone who isn't Ozpin.
  • 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, egotistical nature, or the damage they've done to humanity. 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 momentarily depressed. Cinder also later objects to Salem about the decision to keep Ruby alive because she wants Ruby dead. Salem doesn't explain why she wants Ruby alive, but intimates she does have a purpose in mind.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Isolated and imprisoned from birth, Salem was rescued by a legendary hero, with whom she found love until he died from sickness. For trying to manipulate the gods into resurrecting Ozma, she is punished with immortality. After getting humanity destroyed by turning them against the gods, she tries to end her life by diving into the Pools of Annihilation; instead, she energes as a being of infinite life and pure destruction. Once she learns the God of Light has given humanity one chance to be redeemed, she makes it her mission to make humanity as irredeemable as possible, pitting her against the person the god chose to carry out his will — 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, which she hopes will end the curse on her allowing her to die.
  • 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, they both 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite her delicate frame and the fact she rarely engages in fighting, Salem is more dangerous than she appears. She can use both Grimm and magical abilities to give herself inhuman speed, make herself physically stronger than expected and her immortality allows her to keep fighting or come back from any attack.
  • Living Relic: Salem is the last survivor of the ancient world, the last human born with the Gods' blessing of magic. For untold eons, she was the only sentient being on the planet, living alone with the animals and the creatures of Grimm. In time, life returned in the form of a second incarnation of humanity and the beast-like Faunus. Salem remained in the shadows as civilization returned to the world, briefly reuniting with Ozma and attempting to rule mankind as a Goddess. When this failed, she settled into her current role as an ancient evil that continues to threaten the existence of Remnant's younger civilizations.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Salem is able to use Grimm-like abilities to augment her magical abilities. She can stretch her arms, summon Grimm hands from portals to restrain others, and fire webs of black liquid to drag Yang towards her. When she moves at inhuman speeds, it's not by moving her body, she leans at a strange angle before zooming across the ground on a pillow of black smoke. Her regeneration also seems to have become linked to this as injuries reveal her body contains a mass of black ooze that reforms her body when regenerating.
  • 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.
  • Master Race: Salem once argued to Ozma that the second incarnation of humanity were inferior, arguing that their guidance was required for creatures that were literally "godless". After their daughter demonstrated the ability to use magic, Salem suggested that they wipe out the "inferior" humanity, and replace them. This was the final nail in their marriage, and the beginning of their ancient war.
  • 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.
  • 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 beloved Ozma died from a fatal sickness, she manipulated the gods into restoring him to life. When the gods realized, 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.
    Jinn: Once again, Salem was alone. She cursed the gods. She cursed the universe. She cursed everything... everything but herself.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Salem will invade an individual's personal space as a method of intimidating them. When interrogating her subordinates about their failure to retrieve the Relic of Knowledge, she issues her commands while assaulting Hazel with summoned Grimm arms and standing right next to Emerald with a hand on her shoulder. When interrogating a captured Oscar, she is willing to stand right in front of his face; sometimes she will cradle his face with false affection and sometimes grabs his face roughly in anger depending on whether she's mocking his plight or enraged by his defiance.
  • Not So Similar: Volume 8, Episode 6 reveals that Salem and Madame have very similar abusive maternal roles in Cinder's life, but differ in one key respect. The similarities cause Cinder to appease Salem's wrath by using demeaning submission phrases drilled into her by Madame, and suffer flashbacks to Madame torturing her with a Shock Collar when Salem tortures her with the Grimm arm. While both women torture and demean to enforce obedience, Salem combines it with emotional manipulation. She stops torturing Cinder for disobediently attacking the Winter Maiden, claiming she's erred in holding Cinder back, and gives her permission to hunt the Winter Maiden. Madame, by contrast, didn't know when to stop, eventually torturing Cinder into snapping and killing her.
  • 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. Tyrian even lampshades it in Volume 8; when Emerald, Hazel, and Mercury discover that Salem plans to destroy Remnant outright rather than simply take it over, Tyrian remarks that it should have been obvious from the moment they met her.
  • 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 realized 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, killed all four of their children, and each other. Being immortal, Salem reformed immediately while Ozma reincarnated into a new host. The children, however, were mortals whose lives were lost forever.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Though a very powerful fighter, Salem prefers to work from the shadows and let subordinates act in her stead, as it enables her to turn humanity against itself and leave them pointing fingers at each other instead of her. She directs her forces remotely from the remnants of the Domain of Darkness. After she learns in Volume 6 that her subordinates failed to obtain the Relic of Knowledge, which is being carried to Atlas by a newly reincarnated Ozpin, Salem decides to personally take action.
  • Overarching Villain: The heroes only make a conscious decision to oppose Salem in Volume 5, but they have been unknowingly investigating her villainous activity since Volume 1. Volumes 1-2 portray Cinder as the villain behind Roman's activities, but she is carrying out Salem's plan for the destruction of Beacon Academy. Although present in the pilot as the Female Narrator debating with Professor Ozpin, she is properly introduced at the end of Volume 3. Team RNJR only learns about her existence in Volume 4, with the rest of Team RWBY finding out in Volume 5 when they all learn the Secret War between Salem and Ozpin has spanned thousands of years.
  • Parental Substitute: She's presented as a maternal figure to Cinder, but nowhere near a healthy one. Salem speaks to her in the same quasi-motherly treatment she gives others, but her and Cinder's dynamic is much more intimate because of it. Volume 8 makes it clear that Salem is an abusive mother figure to her, with Cinder repeating the lines her abusive adoptive mother would teach her, and Salem harshly scolds or reprimands Cinder on at least two occasions in a manner similar to how a parent would ground a teenager, while taking condescending jabs at Cinder's 'wants and thoughts'. By the time the show directly compares Salem torturing Cinder with the Grimm arm to how The Madame would shock her, subtlety is out the window.
  • 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 honors 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.
  • Princess Classic: Salem serves as the inspiration for the heroine in a classic fairy tale, recalled as an innocent, golden-haired maiden rescued from her father's castle. But unlike the story, the real Salem was a far more complex person and ultimately Subverted the trope. While it's true that she started out as a sheltered maiden, her magic was strong enough to allow her to fight alongside Ozma. And while she was innocent, she was emotionally immature rather than pure of heart. She refused to accept Ozma's death, demanding that the Gods return her lover to her, and too proud to back down even after being cursed. With time, she has developed into a cunning manipulator and a terrible Queen, but retains her stubborn pride and unwillingness to let Oz go.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Although she initially deals with Oscar patiently and Ozpin with calm superiority, when they finally push her too far, she grabs Oscar's head with both hands and airs what truly frustrates her about her former lover with emphatic, staccato words: his determination to keep fighting her no matter what.
    Salem: Why. Do. You. Keep. Coming. Back?
  • The Punishment: Salem is punished with immortality for attempting to manipulate the gods into restoring the life of her beloved 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 realized 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 Ozma 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 her beloved Ozma to illness. Salem manipulated the gods into restoring his life, but the gods realised what she did, took Ozma's life again, and cursed Salem to be immortal until she learned 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 hubris 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 beloved, 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 organizations across the globe, including the Grimm themselves, her glowing red eyes reflect her malevolence.
  • Rubber Man: One of Salem's Grimm-like abilities gives her the power to stretch her arms to grab distant targets. In Volume 8, she stretches her arms from her shoulders to grab a fleeing Emerald and drag her body close to her.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: In Volume 7, Ruby stands up to Salem, declaring they know everything about her thanks to the Relic of Knowledge and she may be immortal, but she's still fallible and can be stopped. Salem's response is to tell her that her mother said exactly the same thing to her and was wrong, leaving Ruby sobbing on the ground in front of her.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Salem carries herself like a queen, rarely raising her voice and infallibly polite regardless of who she is addressing at the time. She can speak with a warm, motherly tone whether she's praising someone, issuing an ultimatum, or torturing someone as punishment. This simply adds to her menace as a villain, as she rarely loses her composure and the things she says with a gentle voice are rarely reassuring. When she does raise her voice or otherwise lose her composure, it's enough to send her servants fleeing in terror.
  • 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.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Salem was cursed by the gods with Complete Immortality, deliberately Barred from the Afterlife until she learns the value of life and death. However, the terms of the curse include the phrase "So long as this world turns, you shall walk its face". Because she refuses to take the blame for any of her actions, including turning the gods against humanity, she thinks her only escape is to destroy the world. She knows the God of Light tasked Ozma with the divine mission to unite humanity, so she has decided to divide humanity with hate so that when the gods are summoned, they will see humanity as irredeemable and carry out their warning to Ozma: if they decide humanity is irredeemable, they will destroy the world itself, which Salem hopes will also terminate her curse.
  • Summon Magic: Salem can create glyphs from which she summons multiple Grimm arms that can be used to bind people to the ground or walls. She uses it on Hazel after he tries to take responsibility for the failure at Haven, restraining him while she forces the team to reveal the truth of Cinder's failure. Her summoning glyphs have been previously seen associated with the summoning of the parasite Grimm from Cinder's arm to steal Amber's Maiden power and by a Petra Gigas that summoned its natural arm after Team RNJR destroyed its rock arm. She uses them repeatedly when fighting Hazel in Volume 8 to toss him about, restrain him, and and try to strangle him.
  • Super Speed: Through the use of magic, Salem can move at speeds much faster than normal humans. When she moves at inhuman speeds, it's not by moving her body, she leans at a strange angle before zooming across the ground on a pillow of black smoke.
  • Super Strength: Despite her lithe physique, Salem is far stronger than her delicate frame suggests, easily tossing a table aside. During her battle with the heroes in Volume 8, Salem causally tosses Yang at Oscar when he blasts her with magic and during her battle with Hazel, she grabs him by the back of his head and repeatedly slams his face into the ground.
  • 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 center of her forehead. Those appear at a later date.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Salem doesn't appear to have any combat skills. She's relies on her Grimm abilities and magic to fight while relying on her regeneration to compensate for the attacks she can't stop from striking her. However, she has so many abilities, along with inhuman speed, strength and immortality, she can do a great deal of damage to opponents; at her worst, she can simply outlast any strong and skilled fighter due to her immortality.
  • 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 No Longer Idle: Salem prefers to work from the shadows, through subordinates that turn humanity against itself, leaving people pointing their fingers at each other instead of her. After learning in Volume 6 that Ozpin has already reincarnated and is taking the Relic of Knowledge to Atlas, she decides to intervene personally. Watts and Tyrian turn Atlas and Mantle against each other, exhausting Ironwood and his military in preparation for her arrival with an army of Grimm. From Volume 7, she is actively involved in her subordinates tasks and allows her existence to become public knowledge.
    Hazel: There's an old saying. If you want something done right... do it yourself.
  • 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 beloved Ozma 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 beloved 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 Behind the Woman: For the first three volumes, Cinder is the threat everyone is working to identify and stop. By the time of Volume 4, it turns out that Cinder is actually working for Salem, who trusts her subordinates with enough freedom to adapt plans as necessary.
  • 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 reincarnation 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.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Salem yearned for freedom, locked in isolation by her father until rescued by the legendary hero, Ozma, with whom she fell in love. Devastated when he dies from sickness, she begs the God of Light to resurrect him and then, when he refuses, the God of Darkness. Restoring Ozma provokes a confrontation with the God of Light, where Ozma is repeatedly killed and resurrected in front of Salem's eyes until she turns on the two gods in rage. They punish her with immortality to prevent her reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife until she learns the value of life and death. Driven to Suicide, but unable to die, Salem raises an army against the gods; in retaliation, the God of Darkness destroys humanity before both gods depart the world, leaving Salem to exist alone for years until she tries to end her curse by throwing herself into the God of Darkness's Pools of Annihilation. She's instead transformed into a being of pure destruction. When humanity returns to the world, the God of Light reincarnates Ozma to guide them to redemption. Salem finds freedom by raising a kingdom and family with Ozma until he becomes so worried by her destructive urges that he absconds with their children. Confronting him, their ensuing battle destroys her freedom, home, kingdom, and children. Now Salem is determined to ruin Ozma's mission by dividing humanity, ensuring that when she brings the Relics together and summons the gods, they will destroy Remnant and in turn, the curse on her allowing her to die.
  • 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

Salem has several subordinates who carry out her will around the world. All have very different personalities, motivations and skillsets... and, while they all share the goal of furthering their leader's plans, that doesn't mean they always get along with each other.

    In General 

Associated Tropes:

  • Resignations Not Accepted: During Volume 6, the absence of Cinder leaves Mercury and Emerald unsure of their place within Salem's group and experiencing doubts about staying with her. Tyrian overhears them and makes it clear that, once signed up with Salem's cause, there is no leaving it. He also makes it clear that if they do try and flee, he'll enjoy hunting them down.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Watts and Tyrian hate Cinder and regularly mock her; the feeling is mutual. Watts considers her a failure for being defeated by Ruby during the Battle of Beacon while Tyrian mocks her lost eye. In Cinder's absence, Tyrian enjoys bullying and mocking Mercury and Emerald, who hate him back. When Cinder gives Salem the Relic of Knowledge, Tyrian snidely suggests that reveals more about Ironwood's intellect than her own; she snipes back that his and Watts' attack on Atlas ended with Watts' capture, which doesn't bother Tyrian. Although Hazel agrees with Watts' assessment of Ruby defeating Cinder, questioning how one of them could lose to a novice, he doesn't mock or insult others and tends to glare when Watts or Tyrian do so. After their defeat at Haven, Tyrian's attempts to mock and taunt Emerald and Mercury cause Hazel to tell the kids to ignore him.

    Cinder Fall 

For more information on Cinder Fall, please see RWBY: Cinder Fall

    Tyrian Callows 

Tyrian Callows
"My heart and body belong only to our goddess!"

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

Debut: The Next Step

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

One of Salem's associates, he is initially assigned to hunt down the Spring Maiden until redirected to hunt down Ruby Rose instead.

Tyrian wields The Queen's Servants, a pair of wrist gauntlets adorned with a pair of machine guns and razor-sharp blades. His Semblance allows him to corrode Aura and bypass it to attack a foe directly.

  • 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.
  • Arch-Enemy: Tyrian has continuously caused Qrow grief throughout their encounters. The first time they meet, the Faunus is gunning for Ruby and despite being chased off, still manages to poison Qrow and leave him near death. Much later in Atlas, Tyrian happily stabs Clover, a Huntsman whom Qrow considered a friend, In the Back with Qrow's own weapon, thereby framing him for the kill. At this point, Qrow furiously swears he'll kill Tyrian. Tyrian for his part simply says their score will have to be settled another time on account of him escaping the authorities.
  • Arm Cannon: His wrist gauntlets have a pair of machine pistols mounted into each one.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: His Semblance appears to create an opening in someone's aura, bypassing it entirely and allowing him to attack a foe directly. However, this effect only seems to work if his hands actually touch the target's body; Tyrian channels his Semblance in both hands during his fight with Clover, but the latter blocks it with his fishing rod and shows no signs of his Aura being corrupted in the process.
  • Arrow Catch: During his confrontation with Robyn, Tyrian is able to catch her crossbow bolts in a variety of different ways, such as between his two fingers when she fires one directly at his face. When fighting Robyn, Qrow and Clover together, Tyrian is able to effortlessly evade, deflect and catch almost all of her bolts. Robyn eventually uses this against him; when he catches one with his teeth, it turns out to be an explosive bolt, which detonates in his face, shattering his Aura and leaving him open for the final blow.
  • 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. Winter directly calls him a homicidal maniac when recounting his backstory.
    Watts: You need to keep their attention on Mantle for as long as possible.
    Tyrian: You want more chaos than a Grimm invasion?
    Watts: If anyone on Remnant could deliver that, wouldn't it be you?
  • 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.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Brawn to Dr. Watts' Brains. In Atlas, Dr. Watts uses his hacking expertise to support Tyrian's fieldwork and assassinations from the sidelines, whose speed and strength are only rivaled by Qrow.
  • 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 on 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.
  • Character Tics: Tyrian is extremely fast, acrobatic and talkative. He will hide his scorpion tail to catch new opponents by surprise with a "fifth limb", he'll mix up his behaviour so his opponents are never sure if he's going to talk or strike; if an opponent tries pre-fight banter, Tyrian will attack them mid-sentence. When trapped in a three-way battle between himself, Qrow and Clover, he exploits his opponents emotions to help Qrow against Clover, setting up a grudge match that leads to Clover disarming Qrow, who in turn breaks his Aura; Tyrian then stabs Clover from behind with Qrow's dropped weapon.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tyrian is extremely fast, acrobatic and talkative. He will hide his scorpion tail to catch new opponents by surprise with a "fifth limb", he'll mix up his behaviour so his opponents are never sure if he's going to talk or strike; if an opponent tries pre-fight banter, Tyrian will attack them mid-sentence. When trapped in a three-way battle between himself, Qrow and Clover, he exploits his opponents emotions to help Qrow against Clover, setting up a grudge match that leads to Clover disarming Qrow, who in turn breaks his Aura; Tyrian then stabs Clover from behind with Qrow's dropped weapon.
  • 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 disturbs Emerald by moaning as if enjoying the feeling of the blade cutting his skin. His fighting style is almost dance-like and involves him getting as uncomfortably close to his enemy as possible. He is willing to crash an airship he's travelling in, and has fun while doing so. He then escapes his bonds by dislocating his right thumb, quietly giggling all the while. Even when he grunts in obvious pain, it immediately turns into a pleasured sigh. He then crunches it right back where it belongs with equal joy.
  • Crazy Sane: Tyrian is unquestionably a disturbed lunatic and easily the most mentally unbalanced member of Salem's inner circle. However, it makes him the most lucid of Salem's true intentions. All of Salem's subordinates have been bribed into working for her in some way. (i.e., Cinder wants power, Hazel wants revenge, Mercury is promised high status, etc.) All except Tyrian, who just wants to see destruction. He sees Salem as destruction incarnate and has no misconceptions (selfish or otherwise) about what Salem's success will mean, even if he dies from it as well. He corrects Mercury when the latter doesn't believe that Salem is trying to destroy the world, and gleefully informs him of the true nature of her grand plan. He is the only one who isn't deluding himself into thinking that Salem's mission is about something it isn't.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Tyrian makes short work of Team RNJR, taking no serious damage until Qrow shows up; they usually rely on powering up up Nora lightning Dust to end fights for them, but he even shrugs off her most powerful attacks with ease.
    • 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.
  • Hero Killer: Volume 5 reveals that he and Hazel, with Lionheart's aid, were able to isolate and pick off a large portion of Mistral's Huntsman population. Clover and Winter are very disturbed when Ruby reports seeing Tyrian in Mantle and ask her to confirm by showing her a picture they have. He has a record in Atlas and Mistral as a serial killer who has murdered multiple Huntsman and left a bloody trail of bodies across Anima. When his transport ship went down under mysterious circumstances, he was assumed dead until he showed just to murder the officer who had helped apprehend him. One of the reasons Ironwood has for keeping his plans secret from the population and Council is because the idea of a mass murderer being on the loose in Mantle will only create the kind of panic he's trying to avoid. In Volume 7, Tyrian is ambushed and captured by Qrow, Clover and Robyn; however, when Clover is sent a message to arrest Qrow, he takes advantage of the former allies turning on each other to kill Clover, frame Qrow for it, and escape from the authorities once again.
  • Hidden Depths: He hides it well but Tyrian has a very sharp mind that allows him to very accurately observe his targets. Volume 6's commentary even calls him one of the smarter people on Salem's team, and his intelligence is most clearly seen when picking apart Mercury's reasons for serving Salem in "Lost".
  • Horrifying the Horror: Cinder is nothing short of a murderous, spiteful, manipulative sociopath, and even then the sight of Tyrian butchering a Beowulf out of anguish over disappointing Salem is enough to terrify her.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal: Though the emity between Qrow and Tyrian isn't as mutual on Tyrian's end as it is for Qrow, he does still acknowledge that they have a score to settle. He seems to treat his rivalry with Qrow with great glee, enthusiastically stating that he looks forward to their next rematch as he flees later in the episode.
  • 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 as while Ruby and Qrow are weakened, the rest of RNJR are ready to tip the balance.
    • After crashing in the tundras of Atlas, Tyrian decides to leave after impaling Clover on Harbinger, as Qrow's about to be taken in for the supposed murder of the Ace Operative and Tyrian takes joy in Qrow's psychological torment over Clover's death.
  • 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.
  • Lecherous Licking: In "Menagerie", Tyrian startles the waitress that had previously been serving Qrow. Before interrogating her for information, he pauses to slide his tongue over his lips in a disturbing manner and laughs hysterically when the woman shrinks away from him.
  • Like a God to Me: Tyrian was a Serial Killer in Mistral before he was caught by authorities. As they were transporting him to prison, they were attacked by Salem and the Grimm to rescue Tyrian and recruit him into her cause. Since then, he has worshiped Salem as his goddess and has done everything in her name. He has known from the beginning that she seeks the destruction of the world and not the new world order the rest of the villains believe. He thinks anyone can't immediately figure that out is insane. As he worships her as "destruction incarnate", he regards her plan as the definition of beauty and eagerly works to help her achieve it.
  • Little Bit Beastly: He's a scorpion Faunus with a scorpion tail that his plait is designed to look like.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tyrian is a psychopath who delights in bloodshed and killing, but underneath his apparent lunacy hides a keen sense of observation and psychology. From the moment Emerald and Mercury return from the failed attack on Haven Academy, he deliberately gets under their skin for the sheer fun of it. When killing Robyn Hill's supporters on election night and framing Penny for it with Watts' assistance, he deliberately leads Penny to the stage where Robyn is in order to make it look like she attacked the latter, knowing that the former would leap to defend her from him. After being arrested by Qrow, Robyn, and Clover, Tyrian eggs the three on when the former third receives an order from General Ironwood to arrest Qrow and takes advantage of the chaos when his restraints are broken in the struggle in order to escape and crash-land the shuttle they're on. Once Qrow and Clover continue their fight on solid ground and Tyrian gets involved, the latter offers to help Qrow get Clover out of the way so that he and Tyrian can settle their score, which Qrow agrees to after Clover gets in his way too many times. After Clover's Aura is shattered, Tyrian runs him through with Harbinger and leaves Qrow to take the fall.
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Volume 6 commentary points out that Tyrian is more cunning and observant than he seems, with his apparent lunacy hiding an ability to analyse, manipulate and destroy people psychologically. This is most clearly seen when he effortlessly picks apart Mercury's reasons for serving Salem in "Lost".
  • Offhand Backhand: Uses his tail to casually bat Ruby's sniper shots away without even looking in her direction.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Tyrian is a psychotic Serial Killer with a love for death and chaos. He joined Salem after she rescued him from the authorities that were transporting him, enamored by the destruction she caused. It's revealed that he alone is aware of Salem's intentions to reunite the Relics to summon the Gods back to Remnant so that they will see humanity irrevocably divided, and destroy Remnant and all life on it, including Salem herself. Tyrian eagerly support's Salem's ambitions to destroy the world, praising her as "destruction incarnate", despite the fact that this would also result in his own death.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: When his stinger is severed, it releases a purple ooze that instantly melts divots in the stone where it splashed.
  • Practically Joker: Tyrian is a serial killer who is infamous for a string of murders across Mistral, who speaks in exaggerated, theatrical prose, and who has a purple Colour Motif that is represented in both his name and the purple poison that his scorpion tail produces. He loves killing and serves Salem as her assassin, kidnapper, and as an agent of chaos to distract enemies from Salem's real plans and goals. Unlike the other villains, he serves Salem because he worships the chaos and evil she represents and revels in spreading it to the world. The only time he disappoints her, he's so distraught that he lashes out at a Grimm, hacking while his tears turn to manic laughter as a horrified Cinder watches. Orders to hunt and kill make him grin with pleasure; enacting them makes him laugh with glee. He delights in making macabre jokes, such as telling Cinder to get 'an eye for an eye' against Ruby for her maimed eye. He tells Emerald and Mercury they're in the wrong job if they don't love Salem's violent, murderous work; he then begs them to flee Salem just to give him an excuse to hunt and kill them. When he commits a massacre on Atlas's election day, he thrills at the carnage and chaos he causes. When Watts's needs even greater chaos in Mantle than a Grimm invasion, it's Tyrian he turns to for help.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Serial Killer: Tyrian is one of Salem's primary assassins, sent to murder in her name and his own sadistic glee. He, along with Hazel, systematically killed off most of Mistral's professional Huntsmen to deprive Haven of protectors. His mission in Mantle is to murder protestors speaking out against Atlas and General Ironwood, framing Ironwood in Mantle's eyes. Per the general, he's killed at least three targets within a single week - and goes on to kill at least ten more victims in as many seconds at Robyn Hill's election rally. His Amity Arena bio and the information Winter's got on him reveals that he was captured for a string of murders in Mistral before getting picked up by Salem.
  • 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," which Tyrian just takes as a challenge. Of course, Cinder isn't actually dead, but Tyrian didn't know it at the time.
  • Stealth Expert: Watts disabling security cameras in their vicinity helps, but Tyrian proves in Mantle that he is very good at going unnoticed when he's not being theatrical. During Robyn's preemptive celebration, all it takes is for the lights to go off, and he proceeds to cut down multiple people in seconds. This is despite there being eight Huntsmen and Penny in the warehouse; only two know the Faunus is there (Ruby, who caught a glimpse of him just before the massacre began, and Penny) and he still evades their sight. Even when he's right next to Robyn after wounding Fiona, neither of the two notice him; only Penny sees Tyrian, and that's because he wants her to push Robyn out the way.
  • 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 to 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 among her subordinates who does.
  • Undying Loyalty: He regards Salem as a goddess and is willing to do absolutely anything to please her. When he fails to capture Ruby in Volume 4 and crawls back to Salem begging forgiveness, Salem only has to tell him she's disappointed for him to fall into hysterics. His loyalty to her is so strong, he's willing to crash the airship he's travelling in just so he can escape to continue serving her.
    Qrow: What are you doing?!
    Tyrian: The will of our goddess!
  • Villain Has a Point: While he's psychotic, Tyrian is also extremely perceptive; he often sees the truth of a person or situation faster than others and revels in revealing uncomfortable facts. After the failed attack on Haven, he baits Emerald by mocking Cinder's absence to point out how precarious her situation is now that her only protector is gone. He unsettles Mercury when revealing that he knows Mercury's only playing at being a villain because his violent upbringing has left him too afraid to break the cycle of abuse. And when Mercury dismisses Emerald's concerns about Ozpin's claim that Salem is secretly planning to destroy the world, Tyrian informs them that it's completely true and he can't understand people not figuring that out the moment they first meet her.
  • 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.

    Hazel Rainart 

Hazel Rainart
"Nobody needed to die today."

Click here for his appearance during the Solitas Arc 

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

Debut: The Next Step

"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, and is someone who shares history with Ozpin. He is tasked with meeting the White Fang and ensuring that they correctly perform the role Salem has assigned them.

Hazel typically fights bare-handed or by augmenting himself with Dust, aided by his Semblance "Numbing Agent" 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.
  • And This Is for...: Hazel hates Ozpin so much that he's willing to assign every punch he throws to whatever wrong he blames on Ozpin. When Salem captures Oscar to learn how to use the Relic of Knowledge, Oscar refuses to cooperate, even after she tortures him with magic. She therefore allows Hazel to physically beat him; Hazel specifies his first punch is for Haven and everything else will be for his sister.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: His RWBY: Amity Arena bio identifies Gretchen as his twin sister, as opposed to a younger sibling. His grief over her death shapes his entire character, fueling his desire to destroy Ozpin at any cost.
  • Anti-Villain: As Salem's least antagonistic enforcer, Hazel abhors Adam's unnecessary violence, is reluctant to fight Ren and Nora, and doesn't take pleasure in attacking Oscar. He justifies his actions as Ozpin's fault for monstrously putting children in harm's way, but tries to take the blame for Haven's failed mission to protect Cinder, Emerald and Mercury from Salem's wrath; he looks out for Emerald and Mercury's wellbeing from then on. When assigned to torture Oscar, the boy realises that Hazel is holding back because it's Ozpin he hates, not Oscar. He is able to convince Hazel to ask the Relic for the truth about Salem, which triggers Hazel into turning on Salem and rescuing Oscar and Emerald.
  • 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. He gets a hammer to the gut for his trouble.
  • 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 leave bruises. 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. When he turns on Salem and prepares to fight her, he discards his shirt altogether before putting even more Dust into his now bared shoulders.
  • 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 Huntsman Academies and the theft of the four Relics the academies guard, no matter how many people might die in the process. He also blames Ozpin for his sister's death and sees him as an evil monster who sacrifices children, and will stop at nothing to ensure Ozpin is killed. 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: He is a huge man with enormous physical strength and a Semblance that does nothing fancy, just blocks out pain. His fighting style is therefore simple: overwhelming brute force. When his 8-foot-and-muscular physique isn't enough, he stabs himself with Dust crystals for extra force and elemental effects on his punches. He uses his Semblance and rapidly-regenerating Aura to shrug off both enemy blows and the side effects of the Dust, allowing him to keep a fight going while opponents tire.
  • 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 in most situations, 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 to power him up 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.
  • Covered in Scars: Hazel's arms are covered in scars, which seem to be connected to the way he uses Dust: injecting Dust directly into his body by stabbing raw crystals into his arms. He can only use Dust like this because his Semblance allows him to feel no pain. When Hazel rips his tunic to fight, his upper body is also covered in scars.
  • 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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hazel only began to follow Salem after she thoroughly proved that it was completely impossible to stop her no matter what anyone tries to do to her. Part of his rage with Ozpin is that Ozpin keeps fighting this unkillable force and encouraging others to do so, something Hazel believes is just throwing lives away. During his interrogation of Ozpin, he admits that Salem gave him every opportunity to kill her to prove her Complete Immortality. He killed her over and over again, but the best he could manage was to delay her return by only a few hours. Once she had convinced him, she rebuilt and redirected his rage towards Ozpin by feeding him the vision of a world without kingdoms or Huntsman Academies. He concluded that Ozpin was the greater evil for using the Huntsman Academies to willfully throw away the lives of children against an unstoppable force of nature by encouraging them to keep fighting an unwinnable war rather than give in to the inevitability of her immortality like he did.
  • Determinator: While all Huntsmen and Huntresses can recharge Aura once it's depleted, Hazel's recharge rate is something special. While his Semblance allows him to Feel No Pain and shrug off blows that would normally be crippling, he's still vulnerable to damage, whether it be getting thrown like a ragdoll and pummeled through the entrance of a building courtesy of Nora, or being impaled courtesy of Weiss' Queen Lancer summon. However, Hazel amazes the heroes by still being able to fight afterwards; Nora notes that the former can recharge his Aura faster than she's ever seen and Qrow comments that it seems to be sheer force of willpower. While Ozpin says that "all" they need to do is get him to his limit, it's something none of them achieve by the end of the encounter, despite Hazel being vastly outnumbered. When Salem came to recruit him Hazel, by his own words, killed her over and over until he couldn't lift his arms anymore. After everything, the longest she stayed dead was only a few hours.
  • 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.
  • Extremity Extremist: Hazel doesn't rely on a weapon for battle, he fights solely with his fists and arms. When he stabs Dust crystals into his arms to power up, his fists become capable of discharging lightning or fire with every blow.
  • The Fatalist: According to his Amity Arena bio, Hazel believes that there is no point in fighting as a Huntsman since no matter what any of them do, nothing ever changes. The world is still filled with the Grimm and drowning in darkness, so why should they bother trying if nothing ever gets better? After Gretchen died during a training accident, he held Ozpin responsible for making her believe she could make a difference and convincing her to attend Beacon. So he swore he would force Ozpin to answer this question with his dying breath, no matter how many times he needs to kill him. When he first met Salem, he tried to kill her but could not due to her immortality. Once she had broken him, she gave him the vision of a world without kingdoms or Huntsman Academies. He later redirected his rage towards Ozpin, due to seeing him as the greater evil for using the Academies to throw away lives against an unstoppable force of nature.
  • Feel No Pain: Ozpin informs Nora that Hazel's Semblance allows him to block out pain. This is a much better power than it looks like because it's supported by his strong Aura (meaning he doesn't have to worry about accumulating injuries) and it allows him to inject Dust directly into his body, which most people can't do because it's excruciatingly painful.
  • 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.
  • Gentle Giant: Hazel is the biggest of Salem's inner circle and the least villainous (provided Ozpin isn't in the room). He doesn't insult or provoke Cinder like the rest, he is also rather courteous to Emerald, carrying her during their escape from Haven Academy and gently leading her out of the room when Salem's rage surfaces.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Hazel's inner elbows are littered with scars, the result of stabbing Dust crystals directly into his arms during battle. The location of the scars and their method of creation are disturbingly similar to the track marks commonly seen with substance abuse. Even when fully clothed, Hazel's scars peek out from under his sleeves and add to his intimidating presence.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Salem assigns Hazel to torture Oscar and Ozpin into revealing the password for the Relic of Knowledge, knowing that Hazel will use it to take revenge on Ozpin for his sister's death. However, Oscar realises that Hazel is holding back against him but likely won't if Ozpin takes control, something confirmed by Hazel when he tells Ozpin to give up the password to spare Oscar further pain. Oscar gives Hazel the password in a gesture of trust, telling him he can ask the Relic itself for the truth about Salem. When Hazel learns that Ozpin told him the truth about Salem, he turns on Salem and rescues both Oscar and Emerald from her in the process.
  • Held Gaze: In Volume 8, Hazel and Emerald exchange a long look with each other. In the episode "Witch", he decides to fight Salem to give Emerald, Oscar, Yang, Jaune and Ren the chance to escape from Salem. Emerald is close to tears and shakes her head at him, but he simply gives her a tender, fatherly smile before urging her to run.
  • 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 who is one of the strongest non-magical beings in the entire world. 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 harboring '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 accusations and death threats.
  • 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: Hazel blames Ozpin for his sister's death, refusing to believe Gretchen chose to become a Huntress and instead accusing Ozpin of manipulating her to death. He is therefore willing to murder Oscar simply for being Ozpin's new host, claiming that Oscar's death will be Ozpin's fault for dragging the boy into the war against Salem; this is despite Ozpin having no control over who becomes his host. Hazel is willing to kill the teenage heroes by blaming Ozpin for putting them in harm's way; he's willing to torture Oscar on Salem's command by blaming Ozpin for the boy's suffering; and he believes Ozpin is more evil than Salem because Ozpin encourages people to fight against an Invincible Villain who just wants a Huntsman-free world. Only when he finds out that Salem's really seeking the planet's destruction does he turn against her; even then, he never accepts fault for the things he's done to Ozpin.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: In Volume 4, Hazel encounters Oscar, who's unable to get a train ticket due to insufficient funds. So, he helps Oscar get the ticket and continues on his journey. This is the scene that establishes him as a complicated character when it comes to children, and sets up both his hatred for Ozpin and the interactions he later has with Oscar and Emerald.
  • Playing with Fire: When his electric 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.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Hazel becomes increasingly protective of Emerald, ultimately leading him to abandon Salem when he learns her true intentions. But when Salem corners Emerald and Oscar during their escape attempt, Hazel chooses to sacrifice his life to buy them a chance to escape. He literally holds Salem while setting them both on fire, keeping her restrained long enough for Oscar to unleash a Fantastical Nuke that vaporizes Salem, killing Hazel and the Grimm Whale in the process.
  • 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 realizes 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; this is despite the fact that neither Ozpin nor Oscar have any control over a process that is automatically triggered whenever Oz's body is killed. 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.
  • Secretly Selfish: When Ozpin asks Hazel if he knows why Salem recruited him, Hazel tells him exactly why he's following her. Ozpin points out that supporting someone as monstrous as Salem isn't acting in the name of justice, it's acting for himself because Salem made him believe that taking out his rage on Ozpin would help him. He then asks Hazel if it's helped.
  • 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.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Despite Solitas being a frigid ice-continent that can freeze people to death in hours, Hazel changes his outfit to wear a sleeveless tunic even most other characters change their outfits to something warmer than they were wearing before. This exposes his powerfully muscled and scarred arms, emphasing through his physique that he's the power-fighter of Salem's subordinates.
  • 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: Downplayed. 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. While the other three treat Emerald and Mercury with either disregard, disdain, and/or malice, Hazel is almost protective of them as he repeatedly tries to shield them from Tyrian's jibes and Salem's wrath. 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. That said, Cinder mentions he and Tyrian killed all the Huntsmen in Mistral, indicating he will murder when ordered to.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Hazel hates Ozpin because he feels the Huntsman Academies are throwing away the lives of children. While Ozpin agrees with Hazel's perception of him, he's baffled as to how Hazel can justify opposing him by helping Salem, given how monstrous her actions are. While torturing Ozpin for the password to the Relic of Knowledge, Hazel admits that he did go after Salem first. She let him kill her over and over again until he had nothing left, leaving him broken by the futility of opposing her Complete Immortality. She then rebuilt and redirected his rage at Ozpin, promising him a world without Huntsman Academies if he helps her stop Ozpin by obtaining the Relics the Academies are protecting. Part of his hatred for Ozpin is because, unlike him, Ozpin refuses to succumb to the futility of fighting an unkillable force of nature and for encouraging others to keep fighting, too. Upon hearing Hazel's reason for working with Salem, Ozpin decides to tell him the truth about Salem's real end-game: destroying the world to end her immortality curse. When Hazel refuses to believe Ozpin, Oscar decides to give Hazel a possible way out of his situation: he hands over the password to the Relic of Knowledge in the hope that Hazel will seek the truth for himself rather than give the password to Salem.
  • Villain Has a Point: In "Midnight" Hazel expands on his grievances with Ozpin, claiming that he sends children to die in a war that he knows can not end against an enemy that can not die. Hazel is correct about Ozpin recruiting others into the war against Salem with the full knowledge that she has Complete Immortality and hides it from anyone who is brought into the Secret War, leaving them to believe that she can be defeated rather than share the truth. Ozpin himself doesn't even try to fight the accusation, only arguing back that Salem has to be fought because she threatens the entire world.
  • Voice of the Legion: After empowering himself by stabbing himself with electric Dust crystals, they alter his voice to become a menacing echo.
  • Volcanic Veins: When he injects himself with Dust, he develops veins through his arms of the same colour as the Dust; the veins produce effects based on the Dust he's used. Lightning Dust makes his veins yellow, and they crackle with electricity. When he uses Fire Dust, the veins turn red and spark with flames.
  • 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 Gretchen 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.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In "Witch", Hazel demonstrates that he was in fact holding back when he fought Nora, Ren and even Ozpin at Haven. After abandoning Salem's service, he resolves to get Emerald and Oscar to safety. Their escape attempt is discovered and Salem quickly subdues them all while unaware that Hazel has betrayed her. Hazel uses this opening to return the Long Memory to Oscar and then attacks Salem to give the children a chance to escape. Even knowing that she cannot die, Hazel uses multiple forms of Dust and even sets himself on fire while holding on to the Witch in an effort to slow her down.

    Arthur Watts 

Doctor Arthur Watts
"My apologies, ma'am. I'm not particularly fond of failure."

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

Debut: The Next Step

"I'm still just so fascinated by this creature. Cinder, dear? Are we coming through? Can you see us clearly? Well, as clearly as you can!"

One of Salem's associates. A disgraced doctor and scientist from Atlas, he is skilled at hacking, coding and cybernetics.

During fights, he relies on a revolver and a Hard Light shield.

  • 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.
  • Arch-Enemy: Watts has a personal vendetta against Ironwood. Although he calls Ironwood by his first name, something Ironwood only allows friends to do, Watts is bitter that Pietro's project was chosen over his own; he feels as though Ironwood took him for granted and didn't give his genius the credit he feels he deserves. As a result, he's determined to get revenge against Ironwood by any means necessary. He therefore uses his skills to hack computers and Atlesian technology in Vale to turn Ironwood's army against Ironwood and Vale; he then hacks Mantle's security to discredit both Ironwood and Pietro's technology, setting in motion a series of events that leads to Ironwood unravelling from stress. Pietro's project was Penny, who is assigned the duty of protecting Mantle. By framing Penny for a massacre of Ironwood's political rival, Robyn, Watts turns Mantle against him; he then manipulates the election to ensure Jacques wins so that he can use Jacques to infiltrate the Atlesian security and make Ironwood's life a living hell.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: His revolver may be tricked up with Dust rounds and has a large ammo capacity, but reloading it mid-fight is impractical enough that Watts has to count his shots while evading Ironwood.
  • Badass Bookworm: He typically aids Salem's cause through his intelligence and hacking skills, but when pushed into a corner he is perfectly capable of putting up a hell of a fight against the heroes. Ironwood ultimately has to pull his arm through a force field that tears the skin off his arm in order to bring him down. When Cinder has him dangling off the edge of a building, he has the guts to dissect her flaws to explain exactly why having strength and power is useless without the intelligence and patience to use it wisely. She backs down instead of killing him.
  • Badass Mustache: Watts, along with Hazel and Hei "Junior" Xiong, is one of the few male villains with facial hair; In Watts' case, his is a black, scruffy mustache. Watts is a skilled hacker who, while normally stiff and formal, conducts himself with style and flair while performing complex hacking maneuvers and direct combat.
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Watts fights Ironwood, Watts plans every move he makes and uses technology to his advantage as they battle. Although Watts clearly has a good understanding of Ironwood's personality, Ironwood's resolve takes him by surprise at one point in the fight. Watts exclaims "What?!" when Ironwood tears his arm free of the hard light ripping all the skin off in the process.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Brains to Tyrian's Brawn. In Atlas, Dr. Watts uses his hacking expertise to support Tyrian's fieldwork and assassinations from the sidelines, whose speed and strength are only rivaled by Qrow.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: During his fight with the heroic General Ironwood, he compares his own brains to Ironwood's brawn and notes that they are evenly matched. Ironwood is clearly the superior fighter in straightforward combat, but Watts makes good use of his hacking skills to control the terrain of Amity Colosseum and keep pace with him.
  • Counting Bullets: Watts' revolver has twenty rounds in the cylinder with many different dust bullets. Since reloading on the fly would be impractical, Watts quietly keeps count to himself every time he fires a shot, planning his next move accordingly.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Watts is aware that his mind is his best weapon and stacks the deck in his favor. In Volume 7, Ironwood tricks him into visiting Amity Arena and locks them down; Watts hacks the system and manipulates the environment to his advantage, repeatedly using the biome system to thwart his physically more capable opponent. When it looks like Watts is finally cornered, Ironwood drops his guard because Watts was counting bullets throughout the fight and knows Watts is out of bullets. Watts did that deliberately because the point was never the gun; he was hiding a Hard Light shield trap, which he uses to pin Ironwood by the arm. Ironwood has to sacrifice his arm to escape.
  • The Cracker: The virus that hacks Vale's system to enable Cinder's mission during the first three volumes is designed by someone whose signature is a cursive 'W'. In Volume 5, when Leo is communicating with Watts, Watts' signature is the same cursive 'W', confirming that he's the Vale hacker. In Volume 7, Watts is walking through Mantle talking to Tyrian by earpiece and apparently paying no attention to anything that's happening in the city around him. However, as he travels, security systems start behaving in ways that benefit him: security cameras turn away or de-activate so that his presence on the streets isn't detected, and safety bollards rise in the road whenever he steps off the pavement, causing vehicles to crash into them, but allowing him to cross the road whenever he feels like it. Watts helped design the codes that control Mantle's security infrastructure. While Ironwood is paranoid enough to keep updating Atlesian security software and protocols, Mantle — as it always is — has been neglected and is still using the software and security protocols he helped design. As a result, it's easy for him to hack the Mantle infrastructure. Later, Watts helps Jacques into a seat on the Council in exchange for his log-in credentials, thereby granting him even more control, to the point where he can turn all of Amity Colosseum into a weapon against Ironwood. Ironwood himself coerces Watts into working for him so Penny can be brought back to his side, and the doctor eventually comes up with a way to shut her down remotely.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dr. Watts isn't above using condescending sarcasm to address others.
    Watts: A spitting image of you, this young lad [Whitley], Jacques; creepily so, if I might add.
  • Defiant to the End: When Cinder decides to kill him in Ultimatum, he just laughs at her and delivers an absolutely savage "The Reason You Suck" Speech. It's so effective that it causes Cinder to (temporarily) spare his life and begin to rethink her methods when going about her schemes.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Watts is very clever, but he can still be caught off guard. For one, he doesn't think of the true purpose behind the colosseum's remodeling until Ironwood publicly announces it was meant to become a communications tower. Then he decides to personally sabotage the structure upon hearing it's finished, not realizing the general has set a trap for him. Even after snaring him with a Hard Light shield, Watts turns his back on Ironwood, thereby being completely shocked when he pulls himself free and then scrapes him across the floor.
  • Driven by Envy: Watts is a disgraced Atlesian scientist who blames Ironwood for what happened to him. When Pietro came up with the idea of creating Penny, a number of scientists were competing for project support. Ironwood chose Pietro's project over the others and Watts is furious that Ironwood didn't recognise his genius, calling Pietro a "fat imbecile". When forced to find a way to take control over Penny, Watts throws a few snide jabs at his former colleague more than once.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The earliest mention of Watts comes long before his formal introduction to the series, in the form of his distinct "W" signature. He is the creator of the program Cinder uses to control Vale's network, with his signature appearing in the bottom corner of her scroll whenever Cinder accesses systems.
  • Entitled Bastard: As revealed in volume 7, a significant portion of Watts' motives are because he felt General Ironwood took his genius for granted and denied him the respect and credit he felt was rightfully owed to him. The final straw was when Pietro Polendina's project was chosen over his own; Watts, out of jealousy and spite, joined up with Salem and devoted himself to getting revenge on Ironwood by any means necessary.
    Watts: You never appreciated my genius, James. You just stood atop it and called yourself a giant!
    Ironwood: I gave you everything you could have wanted!
    Watts: You chose that fat imbecile over ME!!
  • Establishing Character Moment: His introduction in Volume 4 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.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • His RWBY: Amity Arena profile reveals that Watts and Pietro Polendina were once friends. As Pietro's research gained more focus, Watts became increasingly jealous and ultimately joined Salem's faction. When battling Ironwood, Watts lays the blame at his feet for not "appreciating" his genius and choosing Pietro over him.
    • He was also close to General Ironwood. He habitually calls the general "James", something Ironwood only lets close friends do. Watts personally feels betrayed by Ironwood for his own scientific endeavors seemingly being passed over in favor of Pietro's P.E.N.N.Y Project, which spurred his defection.
  • Evil Genius: Out of Salem's associates, Watts appears to be the group's planner and manipulator; his programming expertise allows Cinder to plant a virus on the CCT computers in Vale that bear the signature "W" that he uses when communicating digitally with others. He admits that Seer Grimm fascinates 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. In Volume 7, he confirms he helped write the code for Mantle's security codes and, because Mantle's security is so outdated, he can easily hack the system remotely, ensuring his ability to walk openly on the streets without being electronically detected. A photo on Dr. Polendina's desk also shows a younger Arthur, implying he was part of the program that led to Penny's creation as well.
  • Evil Is Petty: In addition to his constant unnecessary jibes towards Cinder and her injuries, in his first appearance in volume 7, Watts causes several traffic accidents and a full-on collision just so he doesn't have to break his stride as he walks down the street. Because Mantle's security software is so outdated it still uses the programming code he helped design, he can remotely hack the system to control traffic lights and road bollards, ensuring lights change whenever he wants them to, and the bollards rise to prevent cars from cross the road where he is walking. That's not even getting into the reveal that a significant portion of his motive for joining with Salem is out of jealousy and spite that Ironwood chose Pietro's work over Watts' own and denied him the respect and credit he feels he deserves.
  • Faking the Dead: While Raven was able to identify Dr. Watts as "a disgraced Atlesian scientist", the majority of Atlas and Mantle who know of Watts assume him to be dead, per his design. When Watts pays Jacques a surprise visit, Jacques is astonished because he's supposed to be dead. Watts mildly admits that's what he wants people to believe.
  • 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.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Dr. Watts wears a pair of dark purple fingerless gloves on his hands. They are most likely meant to protect his hands should he get into a fight while also allowing him full dexterity for hacking.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Watts knows that in a straight up battle, Ironwood would be able to decimate him in no time at all. As such, much of their firefight happens while Watts runs from Ironwood, using the Amity Arena to give him an environmental advantage.
  • Hack Your Enemy: Dr. Watts' programming skills cause no small amount of trouble for the protagonists. Cinder uses a virus he designed to steal information from Beacon Academy and take control of the Atlesian Knights stationed there. Later in Atlas, Watts manipulates the digital voting for Councillor position so Jacques Schnee can win, then once Jacques' authorization has been extended, shuts off the heating in Mantle to raise tension for a Grimm attack. He even takes control of Amity Coliseum to even the odds in his battle with Ironwood, but is still caught and locked up. The general decides with Pietro gone, he can force Watts to put his talents to use for his side; Watts has the Ace Ops steal one of Penny's blades and later installs a chip that takes control of Penny herself.
  • Hand Cannon: While he prefers to work from the shadows, his weapon of choice when forced to fight is a revolver. Unlike Ironwood's more modern and utilitarian design, Watts' has a distinct Old West design along with an enlarged cylinder and lots of ornate gold trim. The cylinder carries 20 shots and leads to two barrels; Watts can therefore alternate between single and double shots when he pulls the trigger. The handle is also solid enough that he can use it for bludgeoning in a pinch.
  • The Heavy: Acting under Salem's orders, Watts is the primary driving antagonist throughout Volume 7. He spends his time masterminding a plot to subvert Atlas from within and prepare the terrain for Salem's arrival; his malevolent intent makes him directly responsible for all problems affecting the heroes, with Tyrian following his orders and Jacques being his Unwitting Pawn.
  • It's Personal: While he's acting on Salem's will in attacking Atlas with Tyrian, Dr. Watts has a personal grudge against General Ironwood that he's all too happy to act on while doing his job. Dr. Watts was one of Atlas' top scientists, one of the five General Ironwood commissioned to improve the military's technology. Watts resents Ironwood because he claims that the general never appreciated his work, but took the credit for it while also choosing Pietro's P.E.N.N.Y. project over his own genius.
  • 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 watches as the professor is strangled by Salem via the Seer with a bored facial expression.
  • Lean and Mean: 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.
  • Lack of Empathy: Dr. Watts doesn't care for anyone other than himself. He snidely derides Cinder's injuries, doesn't so much as blink at Lionheart being strangled by Salem's Seer Grimm, and the only reason he objects to Raven wanting them to kill her own twin brother is because it could be too messy. Come Volume 7, the disgraced doctor has Tyrian turn Robyn Hill's party into a bloodbath while framing Penny in the process, the only reaction being satisfaction at the fear generated. He then shuts off the heating systems in all of Mantle which is pretty much a death sentence via either Grimm or the temperatures. Even after being captured, Watts sees dark clouds on the horizon, heralding Salem's coming with her Grimm army; after a brief moment of surprise, he gives a pleased look.
    Watts: [watching the aftermath of the party's killings] Fine work, Tyrian. I think we're done for tonight.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Watts is at his deadliest from a distance. Throughout Mantle, he shoots down the suggestion of a stationary hideout and stays mobile so as to ensure he can't be caught while hacking into the system. His weapon is also a revolver that can chamber more rounds than most models, but seems to lack an alternate form for close combat. Ironwood tricks him into heading to Amity Coliseum so as to stop him, but Watts takes control of the biome system and fires at him from far away. His entire strategy revolves throughout the fight around keeping Ironwood a fair distance away from him while the doctor attacks him with Dust shots and the arena itself. He shows some capability in hand-to-hand combat, but every time Ironwood gets in close, Watts takes a beating.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In addition to his skill at manipulating technology and coding, he's also skilled at manipulating people. When meeting with Jacques Schnee, Watts entices him with advice on how to win the upcoming council election and recoup his lost profits from Ironwood's embargo. Jacques later appears on a public broadcast informing the kingdom that he's forced to shut down his "non-essential" factories due to the embargo, while promising to restore them by opposing said embargo if he's elected councilman. The news incites riots throughout Mantle, spiking negativity at a time when tensions are already palpable. Watts rigs the election to ensure Jacques wins in return for login access to Jacques' account. He also frames Penny for a massacre he engineers with Tyrian's assistance. Jacques' elevation to the Atlas Council gives Watts full security access, enabling him to shut down Mantle's heating grid and lock Atlas out of its own network to prevent anyone from stopping him. This causes widespread rioting that triggers a full-scale Grimm invasion of Mantle.
    Jacques: I always knew you were a good scientist, Arthur... but I never knew you were such a good salesman.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: Dr. Watts is an intellectual first and foremost; he can access his Aura, but never bothered to unlock his Semblance, considering it time he could spend on more scientific work. Still, he shows prowess in marksmanship and is at least not helpless in a physical battle. Upon Ironwood trapping him in the Amity Colosseum, Watts not only hacks control of the arena's biome system, but pulls out his revolver and exchanges shots with the general. Some even hit their target in all the chaos of the battle. The doctor also combines strategy and manipulation of the battlefield with surprising agility for his build to stay out of reach. And when they get up close and personal, Watts flips his pistol so he's holding the barrel and comes in swinging. However, he's clearly nowhere near as skilled a physical fighter as his colleagues in Salem's court or Ironwood.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He is referred to as a doctor, and was a disgraced scientist before joining the ultimate evil of Remnant as her technological expert (for instance, he was in charge of giving Tyrian his new tail). Even if he doesn't know the full extent of Salem's world-destroying plans (and he does seem to), he was crucial to the fall of Atlas, and Salem indicates he's an accomplice to the fall of Beacon too.
  • Noodle Incident: Councilman Sleet expresses disbelief upon learning Watts is still alive. He mentions that Watts was supposed to have perished in something called the Paladin Incident years ago. There is no further elaboration on what happened.
  • Not So Above It All: Watts is stiff and formal, does not tolerate failure and will not allow the possibility of Salem's plans being jeopardized. However, he is shown to have a somewhat immature, playful side as well. While reporting to Salem with Lionheart, Watts interrupts to poke and prod at the Seer Grimm - professing his fascination towards the creature that is currently serving as a means of communication to Salem - while taking a jab at Cinder and her injuries. When Raven sums up Cinder, Watts, Emerald and Mercury in a ridiculous manner, Watts concedes that her summation is spot-on but for the fact that Raven neglected to acknowledge that the former was a doctor as well as a scientist. While executing a complex feat of computer hacking in order to ensure Jacques Schnee's election to the council, and cover Tyrian's tracks for the murder of Robyn Hill's supporters by framing Penny for it, he waves his arms around like a musical conductor in a manner that suggests he takes enjoyment in it.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Watts is generally calm, collected, and sarcastic, making it all the more shocking when he's not. In Volume 8, he loses all patience with Cinder's attitude and repeated failures, furiously tearing apart her motives with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the point that he all but screams in her face.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Watts is one of the most professional villains, rarely letting his emotions cloud his judgement. When Raven demands that they kill Qrow to obtain the Spring Maiden's aid in unlocking Haven's Vault, Watts opposes the idea because it ruins Salem's more efficient plan of sneaking undetected into the Vault just to give Cinder a shot at settling her score with Ruby. When the pair argue in Atlas, Cinder is furious that Watts' virus will destroy Penny after the Vault is opened and, with it, her chance to steal the power; Watts abrasively informs her that he doesn't work for her, and that her power lust isn't his concern.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Volume 7 reveals he carries an Old-West style double-barreled revolver with 20 rounds and fire, lightning and ice Dust loaded for personal combat. He first uses it when in battle with General Ironwood.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Cinder's desire to make a deal with Raven leaves Watts concerned she'll jeopardise Salem's goal to steal the Relic of Knowledge just for the opportunity to get revenge on Ruby. Cinder actually forgoes seeking vengeance during the battle of Haven in favour of trying to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself, but is blindsided by a gambit that Raven is also playing. The villains therefore lose both the Relic and Cinder, vindicating Watts' fear even though the situation didn't play out like he thought it would. He throws it in Cinder's face during their Volume 8 argument as one of several examples of her obsessions leading to half-baked plans that always backfire.
  • Ring of Power: In Volume 7, Watts starts wearing rings on all his fingers. At the touch of a hidden button, Watts can discreetly run any programming command he's installed in them, and use them in combination. He can achieve effects such as creating Hard Light shields, disabling all nearby security cameras, remotely hacking media networks and a political rally to frame Penny for Tyrian's massacre, and gain control of a technological environment as large and complex as Amity Colosseum to use its biomes and arena. Extensive use wears them down and he later complains to Ironwood that it'll take a lot of painstaking work to rebuild them.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Dr. Watts certainly makes an effort to appear sophisticated; his regular attire consists of a gray suit over a purple waistcoat and yellow shirt with tie. While in Mantle, he takes to wearing a stylish purple overcoat with fur lining the hood.
  • The Sociopath: Although Watts listens to Salem, he is prideful, holds himself in high esteem and openly disdains his allies. He will manipulate, maim, frame and enable the murder of anyone to achieve his goals, and is particularly skilled at creating chaos through his aptitude for programming, security and engineering. He shows no remorse for the carnage and destruction he helps bring to Mantle and delights in hacking the heating grid to freeze Mantle's citizens to death. Even when he's arrested and imprisoned, he tells Ironwood he hopes that the general will sacrifice everything to fight Salem; even though it could mean the destruction of the entire kingdom, his reaction to the arrival of Salem is to smirk with pleasure.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • While both he and Cinder work for Salem, it's painfully obvious that the two cannot stand each other as Watts goes out of his way to antagonize her 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".
    • Volume 8 sees him working with an old acquaintance, with neither side happy about it. Ironwood enlists Watts to find a way to take control of Penny, armed guards and the prospect of more "motivation" always around the fallen scientist. Watts for his part goes along with the abuse while subtly manipulating the situation to his favor; he succeeds in hacking Penny, but instead of returning to Atlas, she crashes in some part of the tundra. Watts claims he did what Ironwood had ordered him to do and that the girl may be rebooting, but snatches up a damaged Scroll James threw at him in frustration when no one's looking.
  • Tempting Fate: Watts is very confident in both his command of technology and his ability to analyse and factor in the personalities and behaviours of the people he's dealing with. During his battle with Ironwood, he traps the general's arm in a Hard Light force-field. Smugly pointing out that Ironwood would have to flay the skin off his entire arm to escape it, Watts turns his back to investigate how best to sabotage Amity Tower. He is shocked when Ironwood promptly rips his arm out of the force-field with a declaration that he'll sacrifice anything to stop Salem.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's a former Atlesian scholar and the most well-dressed and eloquent of Salem's inner circle, and even his revolver is adorned with ornate filigree.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: When Watts is finally defeated, it is not without receiving injuries on both sides. Even with the skin ripped off his arm, Ironwood still manages to grab Watts by the collar and forcibly drag his face across the Amity Arena's floor before holding him over the edge. It leaves quite a nasty burn on the left side of his face; later in a cell, the burn has lessened in size, but is still noticeable.

    Mercury Black 

Mercury Black
"We're the guys you should be afraid of."
Click here for his appearance during the Solitas Arc 

Voiced By: J.J. Castillo (Volume 2), Yuri Lowenthal (Volume 3 onwards) [EN], Hikaru Midorikawa [JP]

Debut: Black and White

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

One of two subordinates to Cinder introduced in the Volume 1 stinger. Mercury is a laid-back man who frequently engages in friendly bickering with his partner Emerald. He fights primarily with his modified greaves named Talaria and has absolute confidence in his combat ability.

  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted. After losing his match to Yang, the episode ends with the audience seeing Yang inexplicably attack a defeated opponent who is lying on the ground. They angrily begin booing Yang in support of Mercury. However, Emerald made Yang hallucinate Mercury attack her, so she fought back in self-defence. The audience couldn't see the illusion and didn't know that Mercury had prosthetic legs, so was neither in pain nor danger.
  • Awesome by Analysis: His entire fight with Pyrrha is him simply testing her abilities as well as figuring out her Semblance. Once he gets the info he needs, he immediately quits.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike most of the series' fighters, Mercury doesn't fight using his semblance, because he no longer has one after his father stole it. This doesn't stop Mercury from being one of the best fighters in the series, keeping up with those whose semblances significantly enhance their own abilities quite frequently.
  • 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 cycle 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.
  • Breaking Speech: When Mercury says he joined Salem because it felt right, Tyrian takes apart his flimsy reasoning and explains Mercury is just scared of leaving the only thing he's ever known, pain and violence.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Having his Semblance taken away by his asshole of a father hasn't slowed him down any, as he is still capable of going toe-to-toe with experienced fighters like Yang, Pyrrha, Yatsuhashi, and Coco.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Emerald talks about how Cinder cares for her in Volume 6, Mercury bluntly tells her wake up from the denial and realize 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.
  • The Chain of Harm: Mercury was raised to be an assassin by his father who brutalized him as 'training' and took his Semblance. Mercury later killed him and allied with Salem, becoming particularly enthusiastic about fighting and causing destruction. Tyrian points out that Mercury only joined to perpetuate the cycle of abuse because he never learned anything else and is too afraid to leave 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 has been seen performing extremely difficult breaking moves like air flares to fire his weapons. 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 features 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.
  • De-Power: Mercury was trained by his father, Marcus, to be an assassin, if training can be defined as ‘brutalizing one's child on a daily basis'. As part of this, when Mercury finally activated his Semblance, his father used his own power to steal it, telling his son it was a crutch and he would receive it when he got strong. Unfortunately, even after killing Marcus, Mercury never got his Semblance back.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Has a mutual example with Emerald in The Lost, as he thinks her admiration of Cinder is misplaced and she in turn is incredulous in his lack of emotional investment.
  • 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.
  • Extremity Extremist: Mercury primarily attacks by kicking his opponents, using a deadly combination of taekwondo, capoeira and breakdancing. His fighting style is also enhanced by his metal, prosthetic legs and a pair of boots called Talaria which he uses to fire projectiles.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Salem's methods and plans are something Mercury and Emerald struggle to cope with; they're both horrified upon discovering the Grimm are endlessly generating from the Pools of Annihilation in the Domain of Darkness, they cringe in fear of Salem's Seer Grimm, and they're horrified when Salem begins transforming the Grimm into new forms in preparation for battling Atlas. While Mercury claims to Emerald he's right where he's supposed to be and is fine with helping Salem create a new world order, he's deeply unnerved by Salem's relationship with and use of the Grimm and becomes very unsettled when Tyrian confirms Emerald's claim that Salem wants to destroy the world instead of remake it.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Yang Xiao Long. Like Yang, Mercury fights with Artificial Limbs that use Dust in battle, and has suffered a traumatic experience. Whereas Taiyang used compassionate wisdom to teach Yang how to fight smarter, use her Semblance as a last resort, and move beyond her pain, Marcus subjected Mercury to his abusive Training from Hell, trapping his son in a cycle of pain after permanently stealing his Semblance. Both are protectors; Yang for her sister, Ruby, and Mercury for his friend, Emerald.
  • 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: Discussed and deconstructed. When Cinder first asks Mercury to join her cause, he wants to know what's in it for him. Her answer isn't revealed, but his subsequent behaviour shows he enjoys the work they do, such as being thrilled when Cinder orders him to record the Atlesian robotic army killing Vale citizens instead of protecting them against the invading Grimm. He will even ignore Cinder's orders to lay low to pursue violence: he threatens the secrecy of the villains' plans by assassinating a White Fang defector and taking a comic book from the bookstore as a momento; he also resurfaces after framing Yang for crippling him just to attack Ruby and reveal enough of Cinder's plan for Ruby to realise Pyrrha and Penny's tournament fight has been fixed, smiling while she collapses in tearful despair. When Emerald asks him to confirm why he joined Cinder's cause, he claims it feels right and that he's right where he's supposed to be. Tyrian overhears this and deconstructs him by observing that Mercury, who was raised by a violent, abusive father, is only involved with Cinder and Salem because he's too afraid to walk away from a life of pain and violence.
  • Freudian Excuse: Mercury has one of the darkest backstories in the series, according to Word of God. His father, Marcus, was an abusive, alcoholic assassin who raised Mercury to be a killer by regularly brutalizing him under the pretense of training. When Mercury finally unlocked his Semblance, Marcus used his own to take it, telling Mercury it was a crutch that would make him weak and promising it back when he was strong. However, Mercury eventually killed his father in a fight, which was implied to have cost him his legs, but never regained his Semblance. Oddly enough, Mercury actually denies this has anything to do with why he joined Salem, claiming he works for her because he felt like it, though Tyrian suggests he's just too afraid to leave the cycle of abuse.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Mercury usually teams up with Emerald during fights, and faces opponents up close with fast and devastating kicks while Emerald targets them with her revolvers and hallucinations, setting Mercury up to ambush them.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Downplayed. Unlike Emerald and Cinder who have very obviously different hairstyles during the flashbacks in Beginning Of The End, Mercury's hair is almost exactly the same as his current look, just with a less spiky fringe.
  • Hates Their Parent: He despised his father, Marcus, and has made it clear the hatred was mutual. Mercury was raised by Marcus to be an assassin, and was often brutalized by him. Eventually, Mercury killed Marcus for unknown reasons, but he makes it no secret that he loathed his father.
    Mercury: He never went easy on me! Every day of training was a beating. And when I unlocked my Semblance, he stole it with his! "This is a crutch!" "This makes you weak!" He told me I could have it back when I was strong. So I got strong, but I never got it back!
  • 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.
  • I Let You Win: He explicitly throws his fight with Pyrrha, and it's heavily implied that he would have beaten Yang during the Vytal Festival had the plan not required his defeat (Yang's aura, as seen in the background, is just one percent above the knockout threshold).
  • I Shall Taunt You: Though he doesn't talk much during battle, Mercury's cocky attitude and demanour, alongside his mocking smirks during combat do their job at riling up his enemies.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Mercury is strongly associated with silver, metallic, and grey color themes, and he has matching metallic grey hair and eyes.
  • Jerkass: While in Vale, he casually jokes about murdering a White Fang defector in his own bookshop and ruining Yang's reputation by getting her arrested on live TV; his confrontation with Ruby during Penny and Pyrrha's tournament match only ends when he finds her collapsed on the ground in horror at the consequences of the fight; he smiles smugly and calmly departs, leaving her weeping with despair. When the full plan unfolds, he takes great pleasure in capturing the slaughter and destruction of Vale's citizens on camera. It's clear he takes great enjoyment in other people's pain and misery and even doubles-down on what the villains did to Vale when confronting the heroes at Haven Academy months later: he mockingly suggests Yang apologise for being tricked into breaking his prosthetic leg and reacts to Jaune's tearful rant about what Cinder did to Pyrrha 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.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After Mercury intentionally loses to Yang during the Vytal tournament, Emerald makes her hallucinate Mercury attacking again, prompting Yang to retaliate in self-defense, but appearing to the crowd as her randomly breaking the leg of her defeated opponent which enrages them.
  • 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.
    • He sniffs a boot on one of the stands during the Vytal Festivalnote , which allows Emerald to claim he's too "socially awkward" for Team RWBY to be allowed to spend time hanging out with the undercover villains.
  • 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 in the entire series.
  • Mercury's Wings: Rather fittingly, his updated design features little add-ons to his boots that resemble wings.
  • Missing Mom: It's never exactly discussed what happened to his mom, as he never makes a mention of her.
  • Misery Builds Character: Mercury rants to Emerald about the abuse he suffered from his father and how, as a result, he has had to work harder than anyone else to achieve his position in the world. Tyrian then deconstructs Mercury's stance by observing that, since abuse is all Mercury has ever known, he's only following Salem because he's too afraid to leave the familiarity of pain and suffering and forge a different life.
  • Misery Poker: Emerald and Mercury fight over Emerald's belief that Cinder was the mother she never had after growing up without a family. Mercury retaliates that while she didn't have a mother, his own father abused him, and goes into detail about just how horrific it was.
  • 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.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: While all of Salem's minions have some kind of emotional investment in her plans, Mercury and Emerald do not. Emerald is there for her devotion to Cinder, and Mercury joined because he felt like it. However, Tyrian strongly suggests Mercury joined out of fear of leaving his life of violence.
  • No Social Skills: Emerald jokes to Team RWBY that he lacks social graces when they see him sniffing a boot in the Volume 3 premiere. Given his childhood likely spent a lot of time in the wilderness training, he may genuinely lack them.
  • Oh, Crap!: He reacts this way when he notices Salem about to lose her temper, and when he witnesses her mutate the beringels.
  • Out of Focus: After netting a pivotal role in Volume 3, Mercury is reduced to a voiceless cameo for much of the Mistral Volumes, as the few scenes he's in for Volume 4 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. Volume 5 isn't much better, but Volume 6 does give him and Emerald an extended scene where he elaborates on his backstory. Volume 7 marks the first volume where he and Emerald don't make a single appearance.
  • Patricide: Mercury bluntly talks about how his father may have been an abusive alcoholic. He killed the bastard either way. Cinder actually wanted to recruit Marcus; when she witnesses how Mercury dispatches his old man, she recruits him instead.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Marcus' reasoning for taking Mercury's Semblance. After Mercury unlocked it, Marcus used his own Semblance to steal it, explaining it was a crutch that would only make Mercury weak, but told him he could have it back when he got stronger. Eventually, Mercury killed Marcus but never got it back.
  • Rank Up: In Volume 8, Mercury informs Cinder that he will no longer be taking orders from her and now works directly for Salem. When Salem gathers everyone before her, Mercury joins Salem's group rather than staying off to the side with Cinder's underlings.
  • 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's 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 enemy's 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.
  • 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. Volume 3 gives him several impressive feats, including a Flash Step across an arena to get behind Coco and Yatsuhashi, stopping Ruby when she's using her Semblance at top speed, and dodging lightning during his fight with Amber. 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 Decay: While he was never the main villain, Mercury started out as a fighter leagues above Team RWBY and even easily held his own against Coco and Yatsuhashi. After Volume 3, he is way less of a threat with the introduction of Salem's Inner Circle. In Volume 5, he needs Emerald's help to deal with Yang and gets headbutted in the face by Ruby after taunting her. Yang doesn't even bother fighting him when he tries to stop her from getting into the Vault of the Spring Maiden.
  • 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 attacks 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.
  • Zipperiffic: Like many of the other characters, Mercury gets a much more complex design for Atlas, which includes numerous zippers. Each of his pant legs features a zipper directly on top of where Mercury's prosthetics attach, and there's even fan art playing off of how ridiculous it would look if they were unzipped.

Cinder's Subordinates

Initially recruited to help her carry out Salem's plans for Beacon Academy, Cinder continues to find uses for them even after they leave the Kingdom of Vale.

    Emerald Sustrai 

For more information on Emerald Sustrai, please see RWBY: The Heroes.


Neopolitan/Neo Politan

"Voiced" By: Unknown [in RWBY], Casey Lee Williams [in BlazBlue] [EN], 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 is at least partially mute, as she never speaks but does occasionally chuckle or gasp.

Neo fights with a parasol named Hush that has a retractable blade. Her Semblance "Overactive Imagination" allows her to generate glass illusions.

  • Achilles' Heel: Neo's biggest flaw in her fighting style is that she indulges her sadism and loves to draw out the actual kill when she has her target at her mercy. Her waiting to kill Yang allows Raven to appear and save her, while Ruby is able to see the release button on her parasol and trigger it to send Neo flying off the side of the airship.
  • 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. Neo stands down when Cinder uses her Maiden powers, and Cinder insists that Ruby is the real enemy and that they should 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.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Neo partners with Cinder in order to achieve their goals of stealing the Relic of Knowledge and killing Ruby. However, Neo is vastly more successful than Cinder but receives not even a hint of gratitude for her work, making her increasingly frustrated. When presenting Salem with the Relic, Cinder steals the credit for procuring it from Neo and refers to her as an asset. Neo expresses her dismay and anger with this through her upset facial expressions and folding her arms angrily across her chest, becoming increasingly uncomfortable the more she heard Cinder and Salem interact. Despite being unable to talk, her expressive body language makes it clear that she doesn't like her association with Cinder.
  • Breakout Character: Neo was originally designed by Monty after seeing a genderbent cosplay of Roman, using her to give Roman an escape route during the Paladin fight. Her design and subsequent Curb-Stomp Battle against Yang quickly propelled her into becoming one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise, enough that not only did she make a grand return in Volume 6, but Rooster Teeth specifically requested that she be the first post-RWBY RWBY fighter in Cross Tag Battle.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: Originally, Neo's only presence on screen was whatever Roman needed her to be. Aside from being someone who toyed with her opponents, dragged out battles and took her time going for the kill, Neo's role was mostly as background support to the main villains. In Volume 6, she comes back from an extended hiatus by ambushing Cinder and fighting her with her usual panache and style... only for the fight to change tone when her illusions disappear and she reveals her true form to Cinder: a solemn, lonely girl with torn clothing and wearing Roman's hat as a memorial to him. From that moment, her characterisation has solidified into something more jaded, with her showing increasing levels of impatience with Cinder. While her fights retain some of her mocking elements, she's now more efficient, doesn't waste time taking them down and is much more willing to use her blade in battle.
  • 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 fews fights where Neo has been on the back foot were against Cinder, one of the most powerful fighters on the show, and against Maria, whose age hasn't dulled her fighting capabilities and whose Semblance serves as a perfect counter to Neo's combat style by allowing Maria to counter her every move before she even makes it.
  • 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 Window: 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. The only time she's made any vocal sounds is a mocking giggle in Cross Tag Battle. This is lampshaded in Volume 6, when Cinder suggests that they talk, and Neo points to her mouth to remind her how one-sided that would 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.
  • Determinator: She is hellbent on getting vengeance for Roman, no matter the cost. Neo crosses two continents, endures working with Cinder, steals the Relic of Knowledge twice, blackmails the Fall Maiden for a shot at revenge, and even while falling through a seemingly endless void, she attacks Ruby with the intent to kill in a last-ditch attempt at accomplishing her goal.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Roman 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 weaponized accessories associated with the gentry and they do so with a smirk on their faces.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Although Neo was the person who located and retrieved the Relic of Knowledge, Cinder blithely tells Salem that she was the one who stole the Relic. Unable to say anything because she's mute, Neo visibly expresses shock and then folds her arms across her chest in anger at Cinder's lie. When Cinder does finally acknowledge her, it's only to describe Neo as an "asset". Cinder's love of "collecting assets" amuses Salem, but leaves Neo emoting visible distress at being discussed as though she's only a tool.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Like the ice cream flavor of the same namenote , 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 colors, one or the other, and turning white when terrified. Although she has used other eye colors 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.
  • Enemy Mine: Neo goes after Cinder, blaming her for Torchwick's death. However, Cinder tells her Ruby is the one at fault and that she also has a grudge against her, prompting the two to team up to kill Ruby.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Roman's love for Neo was clearly reciprocated, if her heartbroken and vengeful reaction to his death is anything to go by.
  • 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 colors 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 at the end of Volume 6 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.
  • Heartbroken Badass: She's still reeling from Roman's death by the time she reappears in Volume 6 and seeks vengeance on the people she holds responsible for his death. She first takes out her grief on Cinder until the latter convinces her to direct her hatred towards Ruby.
  • 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: Neo is an extremely competent side-kick no matter whom she's partnered with. While Roman was getting his ass kicked by Blake, Neo was destroying Yang and would have killed her if not for Raven's timely arrival. When Neo teams up with Cinder, Cinder fails to obtain the Winter Maiden's power but Neo successfully steals the Relic of Knowledge from the heroes.
  • 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 realizes 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.
  • Leitmotif: Most of her appearances are punctuated by the sound of a waterphone.
  • 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 it's implied it's her Semblance doing.
  • 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 color 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.
  • Multicolored Hair: The left side of Neo's hair is dark brown while the right side of her hair is bright pink. On the pink side of her hair, there are three white skunk stripes on the top of her crown.
  • Nice Hat: From Volume 6, Neo wears the red-banded black Derby hat that used to be Roman's signature accessory as a reminder that she is now fighting to avenge his death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Though normally Neo isn't disguised for battle, if she's caught in a disguise she'll use it to her advantage. While disguised as Nora, Ren has lunged at her for the next attack. Neo completes the Nora appearance and looks up at Ren with such fear and sadness it robs Ren of his will to attack, letting Neo slip past him and make her escape with the Relic of Knowledge.
  • Shapeshifting Trickster: Neo enjoys messing with her opponents if she's allowed to, and silently taunts them for her own amusement. Her Semblance also enables Neo to alter her appearance and even mimic others.
  • The Silent Bob: She is mute but pretty expressive in her facial expressions and gestures.
  • 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.
  • Spanner in the Works: For the heroes in Volume 7, alongside Cinder. If they weren't in Atlas when the volume was happening, then Ironwood wouldn't have Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, the Relic of Knowledge would've been safe, and Clover wouldn't have been killed.
  • The Speechless: Neo is incapable of talking. She can vocalize effort sounds in combat and even giggle, but she is unable to actually speak. When Cinder tries to make a deal with her in Volume 6 and asks for her response, Neo points to her throat in exasperation to remind Cinder that she cannot verbally respond.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Official material spells her name in two different ways. Her lack of a credited voice actor doesn't help matters.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Before her reappearance in Volume 6, Neo's holograms shattered with a single clean hit, making them excellent distractions but ultimately a defensive tool at best. After the Fall of Beacon, her Semblance has grown to the point that she can fight Cinder on even footing with just one of her holograms (albeit, while Cinder is withholding her Maiden powers to avoid drawing unwanted attention).
  • 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.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Neo is only introduced to Salem's circle in Volume 8, so is inexperienced with this level of villainy. She steals the Lamp to blackmail Cinder into giving her Ruby; Cinder apologises, vows restitution, and creates a plan with her and Watts to achieve all their desires. As soon as she obtains the two Relics, Cinder flings a surprised Neo into the Void Between the Worlds for daring to threaten her. Neo underestimated both Cinder's vindictiveness and how successful she is when indulging manipulative scheming.
  • 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 Song: "One Thing" plays during Neo's battle with Cinder in Volume 6. Cinder is initially mystified about why a former ally is attacking her until she locates the real Neo. Upon seeing that Neo is now wearing the deceased Roman's signature derby hat, Cinder realises that Neo blames her for Roman's death. She tells Neo that her blame is misplaced and that she should be blaming Ruby. She then offers Neo the opportunity to join her so that they can both seek vengeance against Ruby together. The song lyrics are about the singer's desire to avenge the death of a close friend, and it's later used to represent Neo in BlazBlue.
  • 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.
  • Waif-Fu: Neo is the smallest adult human and stands around 4'11" tall when including heels. She is also one of the most expressive, graceful and acrobatic of all fighters, dodging the blows of enemies with ease, using moves such as pirouttes, somersaults, kicks and fencing or parrying with her parasol. She also appears to deflect attacks with her parasol or legs the rare few times they do appear to connect. She easily defeats the much taller, super-strong Yang, who can't even land a blow on her; she fights evenly with a villain as dangerous as Cinder in non-magical combat; and she can easily defeat multiple opponents. If she does ever end up in a corner, she can fall back on her Semblance... creating illusions that can fool multiple opponents at the same time.

    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 based in Vale who works with the White Fang and spends months stealing the kingdom's Dust supplies when he encounters Ruby Rose in a Dust shop he's robbing.

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. He hasn't unlocked his Semblance.

  • 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: In the first three volumes, Ruby is a constant thorn in Roman's side, whom he derogatorily nicknames "Red". Roman goes from being amused by a little girl standing up to him to being irritated by her mere presence. Her constant idealism and optimism so infuriates him that, when they fight during the Battle of Beacon, he launches into an enraged rant about how detached from reality he thinks she is. As far as he's concerned, a world this harsh and cruel needs survivors, not heroes, and he just wants her to die.
  • 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: Interestingly, Roman never unlocked his semblance despite being an active fighter, yet he's still good enough to be able to deal with Blake and Sun at the same time, as well as Ruby on her own with little difficulty.
  • Bad Boss: Aside from Neo, he's very abusive and demeaning to any employees under his command, particularly if they happen to be White Fang members.
  • Benevolent Boss: To Neo, and only Neo. The two are respectful of one another and work well together, even able to wordlessly coordinate attacks even with Neo throwing illusions around. It helps that Neo is the only person Torchwick cares about besides himself.
  • 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: Roman has no problem using everything he can to win a fight. Against Sun and Blake, he starts shooting hanging shipping crates to try and drop them on his opponents. When Ruby turns to tell Penny to stay back, he immediately blasts her. During their battle on top of an airship, Roman takes advantage every time Ruby falls, at one point delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with his cane while she curls into a ball to protect herself.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Blake sneaks up on him in Black and White:
    Roman: Oh, for fu—
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He and Neo dish one out to Ruby in their 2-on-1 fight as they defeat and corner her with relative ease, and Roman soon begins to give her another one before his overwhelmingly negative emotions cause a grimm to promptly interrupt the fight.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a sharp wit and usually snarks in a calm voice. Most of his dialogue with other characters consists of him making sarcastic quips about everything from their mannerisms to the situations they're in. The few times he drops it is when he's being intimedated or he's sufficiently pissed off.
    Roman: Well, you were worth every cent. Truly you were.
  • 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.
  • 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 a trainee Huntress 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: Torchwick 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.
  • Hidden Depths: During his final fight with Ruby, she can't understand why he's helping Salem's group. Roman's response implies that he actually doesn't want to be involved with these people at all, he was stuck with an offer he couldn't refuse because he realised that these villains are too dangerous for him to oppose.
  • Ironic Last Words: Near the end of his rant during his Villainous Breakdown about the futility of heroism, just before he gets Swallowed Whole by a griffon:
    Roman: As for me, I'll do what I do best. Lie, steal, cheat, and survive!
  • 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 out of fear of Cinder.
  • Nice Hat: With the exception of his mugshot, he is never seen without his stylish black bowler hat.
  • 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 almost 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.
  • Sedgwick Speech: During the Battle of Beacon, Roman goes on a furious rant when he believes that Ruby has been beaten. In his arrogance, he completely ignores the on-going battle and the numerous flying Grimm all around him. His speech is cut short when a large Grimm lands behind him and swallows him.
    Roman: As for me, I'll do what I do best: Lie, steal, cheat, and survive! [Griffon swoops down and eats him]
  • Self-Deprecation: When he tells a large group of White Fang recruits in Volume 2 that "humans are the worst", he uses himself as an example of what he means, indicating he's well aware of the rather less than stellar life and reputation he has.
  • 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 he is — 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 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).
  • 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.
  • You Got Guts: During his final confrontation with Ruby, her resolve to keep fighting leads him to admit that she's got spirit; he then adds that this attitude won't get her far in life.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: His reaction ("You can NOT be serious") when he finds out Ruby, of all people, managed to board the ship he hijacked.

Other Members



Voiced By: Ruth Urquhart

Debut: The Grimm Reaper

"And these... are the last sixty seconds of your life."

A crocodile Faunus that served Salem in the past, tasked with hunting down the Grimm Reaper. Tock fought with two sabres and her Semblance, which makes her Aura nearly indestructible for sixty seconds but immediately depletes her reserves after the timer runs out.

  • Ax-Crazy: Tock relished in her status as a "predator", modifying her teeth to enhance her frightening appearance and give her a devastating bite. She enjoyed playing with her victims ("food") to the extent that Salem warned her against it, but Tock enjoyed the game too much to give it up.
  • Combat Compliment: Despite being sent to kill Maria, she compliments her on a close fight and respects her decision to keep fighting even though she's been blinded and is about to die.
  • Cruel Mercy: Tock is sent to kill Maria but takes great pleasure in the fact that she blinded her instead. She mentions that she was sent to put an end to the power of Maria's silver eyes so concludes that blinding Maria is just as good as killing her. She offers Maria the chance to live in this blinded state, but takes it back when Maria refuses to lie down and die.
  • Delinquent Hair: She is a villain who is sent after the Grimm Reaper with the intention of assassinating her. As part of her appearance, she sports a green mohawk that is styled in a spiky fashion.
  • Dual Wielding: When she fights the dual-wielding Grimm Reaper, she draws a pair of swords, and fights with a combination of dual sword attacks and physical combat.
  • Evil Brit: She has a Cockney accent courtesy of Ruth Urquhart and has been sent to kill Maria because of the power of Maria's silver eyes. When she blinds Maria, she takes great delight in offering her the chance to live blind instead of dying.
  • Hour of Power: Her semblance amplifies her aura for 60 seconds, turning her invincible. The drawback is that once the 60 seconds end, her aura immediately shatters, leaving her vulnerable. To keep track of how long she has, she uses an alarm clock on her waist. She also tries to keep her fights within the 60 second time limit for the same reason.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Although she looks human, she's a Crocodile Faunus. She has pale green skin which is heavily scaled in a darker shade of green.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Tock was a Crocodile Faunus, and has replaced her teeth with a set of steel jaws similar to that of a bear trap. A single bite from those jaws allowed her to bite right through one of Maria's kama, breaking the dual scythe mode they were in and leaving Maria defenseless.
  • Off with His Head!: After being impaled in the back by one of Maria's kama, Tock is finished with a swipe of her other kama to the neck, decapitating her. The scene cuts to black just before the swipe is completed.
  • Posthumous Character: Tock and Maria fought decades before the series began, and their fight ended in Tock's death.
  • Sadist: After slashing out Maria's eyes, she gloats over it while Maria is screaming in anguish, and takes great delight in offering her the chance to live blinded rather than die.
  • Scary Teeth: Intentionally invoked to enhance her crocodilian appearance. Tock had razor-sharp metal teeth implanted into her mouth, allowing her to terrorize her victims and bite with enough force to break Maria's kama.
  • Slasher Smile: When Tock fights Maria, she enjoys flashing broad grins that show off all of her razor-sharp metal teeth.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When Maria has been blinded, Tock thinks she's now helpless and therefore drops her guard. However, Maria can remember where her weapons fell, allowing her to reach for the one that's lying next to her so that she can activate the Gravity Dust that recalls the second weapon back to her. Tock, who is standing in between Maria and the recalled weapon is impaled in the back by the returning kama's blade. This allows Maria to swing the other kama in front of her to decapitate Tock, whose Aura has been drained by the deactivation of her Semblance.

     Vermillion Raddock 

Vermillion Raddock

Debut: Grimm Campaign

A man in an intimidating Animal mask, that suddenly appeared in Kuchinashi and overthrew the leader of the Hana Guild. Under his leadership, the organization began to focus on weapons and gathering artifacts.

He is the primary antagonist of The Grimm Campaign, which takes place prior to the main series.

  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: His tanned skin and bright red hair add to his intimidating and wild character.
  • Epic Flail: He fights with a flail, suited to his overwhelming physical presence.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Eddy Rivas describes him as having a deep-accented voice, which adds to his intimidating presence.
  • Full-Boar Action: He wears a mask designed to look like a Boar's head,
  • The Juggernaut: Nothing phases him. His attacks are strong enough to leave Pike momentarily stunned, and nothing Team SAFR dishes out even slows him down. In the end of their encounter, all Team SAFR and Taupe can do is run away.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: He's the leader of a criminal gang, wears a mask resembling a boar's head, and is generally very intimidating.
  • Power Copying: His Semblance allows him to use the Semblances of those around him. When attacking the heroes, he copies Pike's Fate's Hand - allowing him to suss out the location of an artifact currently in their possession.
  • Villain of Another Story: The villain of a Prequel side story, known as the "Kuchinashi Incident". Whether or not that incident was his last mission for Salem remains unrevealed.

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