Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Makings of Team CRME

Go To

The characters appearing in RWBY fanfiction series The Makings of Team CRME. Spoilers for My Name Is Cinder and Volumes One through Four of the show are unmarked.

Characters from specific stories:

  1. My Name Is Cindernote 
  2. An Emerald Unearthednote 
  3. The Black Heartsnote  Spoiler 
  4. Roman's Empirenote 
  5. CRMECanon  OCs  Spoiler characters 

    open/close all folders 


The eponymous unofficial team of the series.

General Tropes:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Cinder and Emerald have some pretty dark pasts compared to what is revealed in the show. Mercury’s is even worse than what’s implied on the show.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The only one who doesn’t have one is Roman.
  • Driven to Villainy: Other than Roman who chose organized crime, the other three have been through tough experiences that have pushed them in the direction of becoming villains.
  • Saved by Canon: They obviously won’t be killed in these stories since they're origins. No matter what peril they may face, they will make it out unscathed.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Sociopath: Other than Emerald, they all have traits of this. See the folders below for details.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Everyone has issues working with someone in the team or in Salem's faction in general. See individual folders below for details.
  • Vague Age: Averted unlike in canon. By the end of CRME, Cinder is 22, Emerald and Mercury are 18, and Roman is 30.
  • Villain Protagonist: All except Cinder are criminals by the time the story starts. Cinder is becoming the villains she was in canon during her story. By the time CRME comes along, they are explicitly this trope.


Cinder Fall

Formerly known as "Cinder Autumn Stark". Coming from a rich family, she was abused by her gold digger mother and ended up burning the woman alive out of retaliation. After being on her own, Salem found her and promised her immense power. From there, Cinder began forming her team.


  • Adaptation Name Change: In the show, her surname is “Fall” and the only thing suggesting otherwise is an implication from Raven. Officially, it is her actual name. This series explicitly runs with the implication that “Fall” isn’t her real surname.
  • Alliterative Name: Her original name, Cinder Stark, counts phonetically.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: She's been called crazy and a sociopath a few times, but she has a host of other mental issues that cannot be pinned down to one place. Due to her mother's abuse and Salem's manipulations, she develops a callousness towards others and a desire to dominate everyone around her. She is prone to occasional bursts of anger when she faces opposition and will act out with violence in those moments. This is also combined with her egocentricity. With Watts and Mercury's comments about her being emotionally stunted due to her mother's abuse (an issue that wasn't helped by Salem's coddling of her), part of her issues might come from PTSD. She did have nightmares about her mother's abuse, but another symptom of her disorder quelled them: her sadism. She said that memories of burning Brigit alive calmed her down. She was triggered by Melanie Black's presence because she reminded her of Brigit, but her reaction was more violent than a usual victim of abuse like that. Because of all this, Cinder in this series is a psychological mess, and it starts to explain a lot about her canon personality. A lot of her traits seem to line up with malignant narcissism. See Ax-Crazy, Narcissist, Psychopathic Womanchild, and The Sociopath below for more details about her symptoms.
  • Ax-Crazy: Downplayed. Underneath her elegance is a sadistic and vengeful young woman. As such, she has brief moments of this. She “Mercy Killed” her sister by stabbing her in the throat, set her abusive mother on fire and watched her burn, slit Grayson’s throat simply for being a hypocrite, strangled Melanie Black with a Slasher Smile, began abusing Emerald when she was being defiant, stabbed Tank in the throat with an incendiary arrow; and shows way too much pleasure in slaughtering White Fang members. While she has a surprising amount of self-restraint compared to most examples, it is mostly a Mask of Sanity hiding her ever-present instability. Chapter 13 shows that Emerald had to remind her to calm herself down after another bout of anger.
  • Bad Boss: She will treat Mercury and Emerald well when they follow orders, but the pleasantries end when they don't do what she wants. She abuses Emerald and threatens Mercury when they grow too bold and defy her. She also has Emerald Mind Rape Mercury when he undermines her relationship with Emerald when she needs Emerald's support to manipulate her. Later on, she is very hard on Mercury and Emerald when planning their attack on the Fall Maiden. And she backhands Mercury when he insults her persuasive abilities.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Abusive mothers. She can barely stay under control when she talks to Melanie. The final straw is when Mel slaps her. It makes Cinder beat her up and strangle her.
    • She also doesn’t like people questioning her decisions. She has threatened to kill Watts and Mercury and she slapped Emerald because they criticized her way of doing things.
  • Big Bad: A Villain Protagonist example with Salem as her Greater-Scope Villain. Everyone on her team answers to her and she is setting up the machinations that cause the conflict of the first three volumes of the show.
  • Broken Bird: An evil version. Brigit’s abuse has left her completely broken as both Salem and Emerald note. She has become a damaged sociopath who believes that taking out her anger on the world is acceptable. It doesn't help that Salem was enabling that interpretation.
  • Can't Take Criticism: She has a very low tolerance for people insulting her. She absolutely hates Watts since he keeps putting her down and ends up violently attacking him after a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. She also backhands Mercury when he jokingly insults her persuasive abilities.
  • Catchphrase: She seems to like introducing herself by saying, "My name is Cinder Fall." Possibly a reference to the title of her solo story.
  • Classic Villain: She represents Pride, Wrath, Ambition, and Lust for power. She is in the pursuit of gaining strength to be feared by all out of resentment of the world that allowed her to have a mother like Brigit Stark.
  • Composite Character: The writer admitted to using elements of the backstories for both Mercury (an abusive parent that they murdered and burning down their home) and Emerald (living on her own and stealing for a living) in Cinder’s backstory. In addition, her relationship with Salem also mirrors Roman's relationship with Kincaid (a sociopathic mentor that she looks up to who inspires them to become sociopathic in a pursuit of power).
  • Control Freak: She needs to be in control of every situation she gets involved in. When she doesn't, she will lose her shit way too easily. When she finds out that Emerald had sex with Mercury, she doesn't care that much. She lets Emerald take care of her sexual needs elsewhere when she needs it, but Cinder wants to make sure Emerald's heart belongs to her.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Much like the show, this series deconstructs Cinder's egomania. It puts in in the context of being a petty response to being hurt in the past. And because of this, she's basically an egotistical brat who has trouble controlling her impulses. Chapter 13 especially shows that she is not yet The Chessmaster who is always in control like she is in canon. Right now, she's still a very unstable child who only cares about getting what she wants. Someone with such an insatiable lust for power doesn't have much natural self-control. She must learn to keep herself calm under pressure. Emerald even has to remind her to calm down. Cinder can be the sophisticated, calculating villain, but that's only when everything is going well for her. When she loses control of things, she loses her composure and starts throwing tantrums.
    • As mentioned below under Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse, it also deconstructs the idea of a villain with a tragic backstory. Many theories in the FNDM about Cinder's past show that she must've had a rough childhood. However, none of this excuses her actions in this story. She claims that her mother hurting her in the past is the reason she does what she does, but she takes on many of her mother's worst behaviors, making her look like a hypocrite. Her story is a tragic one, but she is far from being a Tragic Villain.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: She takes a moment to admire her own naked body in the mirror.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After years of dealing with Brigit's abuse, she finally retaliates by letting her burn alive.
  • Domestic Abuse: She and Emerald are in a relationship (from Emerald’s perspective, at least) and she brutally slaps her for “mistaking her place” when worried about Mercury joining her team. She later slaps Emerald for being worried about being ignored. Cinder also emotionally abuses her by threatening to throw her back out onto the streets if she doesn't comply with her orders, something she knows would break Emerald's heart. She also has some subtle emotional manipulation in Chapter 19. And the dissonance of her behavior and her disdain for her mother is definitely called out.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted with her family. She starts out caring about her father and sibling, and it seems like a major factor in her revenge against Brigit. However, she completely dissociates with them later on and Mercury says that she barely talks about him. And that's not even accounting for the fact that she thinks that killing her sister was a Mercy Kill since she didn't want her to live without a mother or share Brigit's fate. In addition, the idea that she loves Emerald is emphatically refuted many times in the story.
  • Evil Is Petty: See Can't Take Criticism above and Psychopathic Womanchild just to see how petty she can be.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She can be cordial, polite, and soft-spoken. However, she's still a vengeful person who is capable of committing horrendous acts of violence. This mask slips when she confronts Melanie Black. But she can still threaten you while sounding affable.
    [after holding a knife to his neck] "Don’t take it the wrong way. I do like having you, Mercury. Just don’t make me regret it."
  • Foil: To Mercury. See that entry under his folder.
  • For the Evulz: There wasn't really any reason for her to kill Tank. While it's unlikely he'll be mourned, it wasn't necessary. She even felt good about it.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her abusive mother is a big reason for her sociopathy. Brigit driving her father to suicide, the abuse she suffered, and her mother's behavior influencing her are all major factors as to why she eventually snapped. Salem only enables her villainous tendencies.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: However, while she often cites the pain that Brigit caused her, lashing out at the world for this even after she killed her mom is Disproportionate Retribution at best. And eventually, none of that even matters when her lust for power grows. CRME goes to great lengths to show this. Mercury even calls her out on it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Cinder Autumn Stark was treated like dirt by her family and while they were rich, the Stark family was not known much outside of the elites. However, Cinder Stark was on her way to becoming the diabolical Cinder Fall.
    Roman: I've certainly never heard of you, so what kind of threat could you possibly be?
  • Hates Their Parent: She outright states it and shows on no uncertain terms that she absolutely despises Brigit. And not without good reason. It's to the point that she doesn't even consider her to be a mother, much less her mother
  • Hidden Depths: She is a decent cook (as she admits, "I manage") and, as implied in canon, she's good at sewing.
  • Hypocrite: While she seemed to hate hypocrisy in her story, Mercury calls her out for being one when she slaps Emerald.
    Mercury: You know, it just amuses me that you talk about how terrible your mom was, but you seem to be a lot more like her than you think. But I guess we’re alike in that way since the apples don’t fall far from their trees.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Authority like in canon. She demands obedience and will severely punish them for defying her.
    • She controls Emerald through her infatuation as she admits in Chapter 2.
  • I Have No Son!: She denounces Brigit as a mother when she leaves her for dead, stating that she was a mother only in the fact that she birthed her. Whenever Cinder brings her up, she rarely directly refers to her as her mother. She'll usually refer to her as something along the lines of "the woman [she] called a mother."
  • It's All About Me: She's incredibly arrogant about getting the power she thinks she deserves, and only cares about her own desires and ambitions. Most of her actions are motivated by advancing her own agenda.
    Roman: [about Cinder and Kincaid] Hell. Maybe you two could even have a go at it. I'm sure she'd love that.
    Cinder: I wouldn't unless she had something to offer me.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: When Roman brings up Kincaid's comment about shooting a lover who has been taken hostage, Cinder says she wouldn't do that to Emerald… because her Semblance is useful.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Abusing Emerald for being worried about Cinder ignoring her is easily an example.
    • Her most prominent moment so far is making Emerald project several images of Mercury's parents to mentally torment him as a means of punishment.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's tough to say that Brigit and Melanie didn't deserve to be killed by her.
  • Lack of Empathy: She starts losing her empathy around the time she kills Clementine. After that, the narration notes that she tries to feel bad about Emerald’s parents being killed, but the idea of empathy now is an alien concept to her. People are either tools or obstacles for her as Roman points out.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: While she tries to distance herself from her mother, she starts becoming more like Brigit than she realizes. Not only does she develop sociopathy, but she manipulates Emerald’s love for her in the same way Brigit did for her husband, she only cares for her own desires, and she’s willing to throw anyone under the bus just to get what she wants. Not to mention that she starts using her looks to sway people. She even starts physically and emotionally abusing Emerald. The only thing she admits to being similar between the two of them is her sadism and her good looks.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: A deconstruction that shows how dangerous this trope can be. Cinder makes herself this for Emerald so that she can use her for her plan to get power. And Emerald starts breaking down whenever Mercury tries to expose the fact that Cinder doesn't care about her.
  • Love Is a Weakness: She firmly believes this after she kills Brigit. She even says such in the fifth chapter of her story. Manipulating Emerald only proves this to her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Something that Salem taught her to be to get what she wanted. She manipulates Emerald's affections for her to keep Emerald completely devoted to her and manipulates with Roman by offering him sex to make him keep working with the White Fang.
  • Meaningful Rename: She changes her name from "Cinder Autumn Stark" to "Cinder Fall" to dissociate with her family after their deaths. Apparently, only Salem realized the connection to the Fall Maiden when Cinder first suggested "Fall" being her new surname. It was only until later that Cinder realized the connection.
  • Mind Rape: A proxy example. While Emerald was the one who was actually creating the illusions to distress Mercury, it was all Cinder's idea.
  • Ms. Fanservice: One thing she can truly thank her mother for since even she is a fan of her own body as Chapter 17 shows. And CRME tends to milk this for all it's worth by giving her several nude scenes and sex scenes as well as her just exploiting it on her own with certain outfits and behaviors. Emerald is certainly a fan since she can’t help but notice how good she looks in shorts and a tank top. And her getting topless is also something that excites Emerald. Mercury, Roman, and Neo also say she has a nice butt. In fact, her having a nice butt is almost used to the point of a Running Gag.
  • Mundane Utility: She uses her powers to cook a meal after Emerald broke the oven, and she also uses it during sex with Emerald.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: She is perfectly, fine with Emerald having sex with others to get her needs out elsewhere after seeing that she had sex with Mercury.
  • Narcissist: Reading over her character in this series, this trope becomes increasingly apparent. She’s incredibly egocentric and overconfident about her abilities and even brags about her Maiden powers before she even gets them. She’s also insanely needy for validation since it’s not enough to just be strong and powerful. She wants to be feared for it, too. She also responds to criticism negatively, shown when she backhands Mercury for insulting her. She tends to only consider others in the way that they relate to her. She is fond of Mercury because they have similar experiences with abuse and share certain traits. And that fondness is strained when he starts undermining her connection with Emerald that she uses for her benefit. She likes having Emerald around because she is devoted to Cinder, but she will put Emerald down when she starts being too bold. She wants total obedience. And she hates Watts because he makes it his mission to take her down a peg. She also doesn’t like having her decisions being criticized. Having Salem treat her as the favorite child only helped to enable her ego. And being praised by her for successfully training Mercury and Emerald also helps to stroke that ego. This also proves how Emerald and Mercury are extensions of herself in her mind. They help her get praise from Salem. She even takes the time to admire her own naked body when looking at her reflection in a mirror. And she was jealous that Emerald was bustier than her (by only one cup-size), but she brushes it off.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Much of her motivation is getting back at the world for the injustices committed against her.
  • Not So Different:
  • Not So Stoic: She isn't as poised and controlled as she appears. As such, she has several bursts of rage breaking past her dissonantly serene exterior. Specifically, the moment she killed Melanie was an impulsive act that described her as looking deranged. She even gains a Slasher Smile as Melanie dies.
  • Power Perversion Potential: She uses her Fall Maiden powers at a lower level to make kissing and having sex more intense for her partner. Emerald is pleased with the results.
  • Pragmatic Pansexuality: She is asexual, but she notes that she has absolutely no problem with using sex to further her goals. She regularly sleeps with Emerald to string her along, sleeps with Roman to keep him from complaining about working with the White Fang, seduces men in a bar to get information about Roman, and makes out with Tank as a way to draw him away to kill him.
  • Precision F-Strike: She drops one at the end of the first chapter of her narration in My Name Is Cinder. She also drops one in CRME to Mercury.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Her arc in My Name Is Cinder and CRME just shows her getting progressively worse as a human being with no signs of slowing down. And we're all aware of how it ends…
  • Proud Beauty: She takes the time to admire the reflection of her naked body and is not at all shy about showing off how good she looks, even using it to her advantage. She clearly has no problem with people pointing it out. When Roman says that having "a pretty face and a nice ass" won't be enough to distract him to whatever cons she'll pull on him, she straight-up admits to having a nice ass.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: It’s subtle at first, but it becomes more obvious later. While she has a very sophisticated and mature demeanor, her motivation of wanting people to fear her because she was hurt in the past can come off as childish.
    • Her attack on Melanie Black shows that she hasn’t really moved on from her younger years. Later on, she’s willing to kill Watts for insulting her. In Chapter 13, she starts throwing tantrums when she can't take control of a situation. And she spends time playing with her powers while sitting on her bed like she just got a new toy. Watts’ comments in Chapter 7 seem to imply that Cinder is somewhat stunted emotionally since she can’t move on from the pain that Brigit caused her. Salem’s apparent coddling of Cinder seems to have contributed to this.
    • One of her threats to Watts in Chapter 6 of CRME is to tell Salem that he isn’t complying with her request to assist her by erasing Melanie from the hospital records after murdering her. Basically, she was going to tattle on him because he isn’t doing what she wants. It’s no wonder he makes a remark about her (lack of) maturity.
    • Mercury even calls her out on this by saying that she has the temperament of a middle-schooler and listing her childish traits.
    • When Watts calls her an egotistical brat, her response is to attempt to attack him and rant about how superior she is compared to him. (Something that really does not help her case.)
  • Psychotic Smirk: She'll often have a sadistic smirk when committing or thinking about violence. She also has one when she makes Emerald Mind Rape Mercury.
  • Riches to Rags: She came from a wealthy family, but she abandoned this lifestyle when she killed Brigit. However, with how Brigit treated her, she probably didn’t enjoy the wealthy lifestyle much in the first place. Regardless, she ends up penniless by the time Salem finds her.
  • Sadist: She says she picked it up from Brigit. And she says this before leaving her to die in a house fire while handcuffed to a banister. As an added layer torment, she leaves the key to the handcuffs just outside of Brigit’s reach. She said that thoughts of Brigit’s death calmed her nightmares about the abuse. Later, when she kills Melanie Black, she is enjoying it way too much. The narration even said that choking Melanie and seeing the same fear that she saw in Brigit’s eyes excited her. She also takes pleasure in watching Emerald mentally torment Mercury. The narration lampshades her sadism during the whited-out action. When she attacks Amber and sucks out her powers, she says that will be the fun part. And she takes way too much pleasure in slaughtering the members of Adam's camp.
  • Self-Made Orphan: By the time she murdered her mother, her father was already dead. So, killing Brigit effectively made her an orphan.
  • Sex for Services: Offers this deal to Roman to make sure he keeps working with the White Fang.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: In Chapter 15 in front of Roman. She drops her robe exposing her black lingerie to let him know what she's offering to get him to keep working with the White Fang.
  • Sex Goddess: Her sexual prowess never fails to satisfies her partners. It helps that her heat powers can be used for pleasure.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: She doesn't seem all that bothered when Neo walks in on her being naked on top of Roman. She's rather comfortable with her body.
  • She Is All Grown Up: She acknowledges that her body has been maturing, looking more like her mother's. It's the only thing from her mother that she actually appreciates.
  • Sibling Murder: She kills Clementine before burining her house down with Brigit inside it. She says it was a Mercy Kill to keep her from sharing Brigit's fate or growing up without a mother.
  • Slasher Smile: She usually has a Psychotic Smirk, but she has two moments when she has an outright smile. The first is during the murder of Melanie Black. The second is when she attacks the White Fang camp.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Watts calls her out on this in both My Name Is Cinder and CRME.
    Watts: You are not some sort of goddess of death. You are nothing more than an egotistical brat with delusions of grandeur because you're still angry that your mommy hurt you in the past.
  • The Sociopath: A reputation-defending example. She starts showing signs of this after killing her sister, an act that she admits that she doesn’t feel guilty about. The narration in CRME stated that things like empathy are alien to her. She openly admits that she’d kill anyone for power and starts manipulating Emerald to get her to be devoted to her. All while stating that Love Is a Weakness. She only cares about her own desires and her own feelings regardless of whether they're justified or not. She also has no qualms about threatening to torture Mercury if he gets out of line. And it's not an empty threat. She sees no problem with having Emerald Mind Rape him just for undermining her authority. Later chapters show that she also has some issues with impulse-control, something she has to consciously mitigate. Mercury calls her a sociopath when Emerald calls him one.
    Roman: Oh. I see here. People are tools to be used and obstacles to be crushed. Is that how you think?
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Cinder is rather formal in the way that she speaks (even when she's fourteen), but she has a Precision F-Strike in both My Name Is Cinder and in CRME. She also has a few other moments of profanity, including a comment about having a great ass.note 
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She absolutely hates working with Watts because he's always making it his mission to knock her down a peg.
  • The Unfettered: At the end of her story, she admits that she’d even kill innocent people to get the power she wanted.
    Emerald: Cinder! Listen to yourself. Things are getting out of control way to fast. How far are you gonna go?
    Cinder: As far as it takes!
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She did use to care about her family (other than Brigit) and she did have some standards. However, being abused by Brigit, losing her father to suicide, and Salem’s manipulations all drive her into becoming the power-hungry monster that she is in the series.
  • The Vamp: She tends to use her body to entice people into doing what she wants or to lure them into a trap.
  • Villainous Aromantic Asexual: The writer explicitly states that she is asexual. It’s one of the reasons that she states that she has no desire for love. Despite this, she has no problem using sex to manipulate others as she later admits to Roman after having sex with him. Even though she does regularly have sex with Emerald, she only sees it as a tool. When Roman suggests that she and Kincaid could've had a go at it, Cinder says she would've only done it if Kincaid had something to offer her. When Roman doesn't believe her since she has sex with Emerald so often and considering how much effort she put into their own sex session, she still says she's not repulsed by it and if she's going to do something, she might as well be good at it – that includes sex.
    • Later, she says that she doesn't care if Emerald doesn't care if she gets her rocks off elsewhere while she's gone. As long as her heart belongs to her.
    • It is mentioned that her use of sex can also use it for control and domination as she tries fingering Emerald in a dressing room.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: She has a woobie-ish backstory with her history of an abusive household that eventually drove her to become the power-hungry egomaniac seen in the show. She is similar to the Penguin from Batman Returns in that while many of her actions were much less than sympathetic, you can kinda see where she's coming from when you see the Hell that her life was. Especially since it is clear that her mother's abuse continues to have lingering effects on her.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: She's still getting the hang of this. In Chapter 13, she remembers that she has to work on adapting to a situation and making it work in her favor. Her need to work with Adam was in response to Roman's Dust robberies not getting Ozpin's attention. When that doesn't work, she takes extra preparations for Mercury and Emerald to attack Amber anyway and uses her power to make Adam work with her. She also sleeps with Roman to keep him from complaining about working with the White Fang. Later, when she decides to talk to Roman about plans in Vale, she sees Branden talking about his crackdown on Roman operation, making her decide against going to meet with him. When Adam ultimately decides to redirect the majority of his resources elsewhere, she tells Roman to find other workers. Finally, when Watts tells her about the Atlas aircrafts and notes that Roman can get his hands on some, she finds a use for the aircraft in the robbery.
  • You Are What You Hate: For how she talks about hating her mother for being selfish, manipulative, callous, and abusive, she starts taking on all of those traits and amplifying them. She becomes worse than her mother ever was.


Roman Torchwick

Infamous criminal and gangster. Growing up with a family involved in organized crime, Roman joined the family business and tried to rise through the ranks to become the top mob boss in Vale.


  • Ambition Is Evil: He strives to be the head of all organized crime in Vale and he is rather ruthless.
  • Arms Dealer: His main method of revenue aside from Dust-trafficking.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed. He belittles his workers for minor screw-ups, doesn’t hide his prejudice towards his Faunus employees, and doesn’t care very much about their lives. And initially, he didn't pay them that much, saying that they'd get paid more if he started making more profits. He gets slightly better once his success starts flourishing. However, one of his former workers mentioned that he set them up as bait for the police and lied about bailing them out. Completely averted with Neo.
    Roman: We just need to get the word out again. Let them know I’m hiring.
    Dwight: Oh, yeah. I’m sure that a lot of people would be lining up to work with the guy that’s been hassled by all the other bosses in town. It certainly helps that you can’t pay any of them yet.
    Roman: It’s fine. Just don’t post the mortality rates when you start advertising for the job.
    • When he starts working with the White Fang, this trope was inevitable with his prejudice towards Faunus. He constantly belittles and insults them while calling them animals. He also uses Neo to intimidate them into doing as he says.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He has been a proud mobster for all his life and openly identifies as a criminal and a bad guy. He even strives to be a professional mob boss and openly states that you have to lie, cheat, and steal to survive in this business.
  • Co-Dragons: With Dwight under Kincaid’s employ. Though she favors Roman.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Roman thinks nothing of Kincaid’s threat to kill Reed’s family just to make a point. And his earlier comments about his father shows that he has completely accepted that this is how things work in the mob.
  • Consummate Liar: He mentions that one of the things he's good at is lying to get ahead. And he basically does this to his workers when he leaves some of them as bait for the cops.
  • Covert Pervert: As Cinder walks away, he takes a long look at her butt and implies that he should get her number once he gets bailed out. He later indulges in his sexual appetite when he sleeps with Cinder.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: He definitely believes this. And he starts living a bit of it out when he becomes more successful. He's more interested in running the business and controlling a criminal empire though rather than the leisurely stuff like Kincaid.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even when his story is a World of Snark, he still manages to stand out. His narration has no shortage of snarks.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He seems to care about his mother enough to not let her know that Kincaid killed his father. He starts to care about his wife, Chloe, but it seems rather one-sided and she also handles his finances. And he doesn’t seem to upset about her getting tortured or killed, but he does say he did like her. However, the one person he does truly care about is Neo. And not just because she’s useful. He grows to be genuinely affectionate towards her. He even gets angry when Kincaid touches her.
  • Fantastic Racism: He shows his distaste for the Faunus in his narration. He outright states that he has a problem working with them when Cinder suggests that he start working with them. Him calling a donkey Faunus a jackass and calling the White Fang "the Lunatic Furry Brigade" shows his disregard for the species.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can be very charismatic when he wants to be and always provides snarky commentary. However, he's still a ruthless mobster willing to do anything to get ahead.
  • Graceful Loser: Even when he gets arrested after the ending of his story, he still accepts it because he knows he'll make it out of it okay. He shows himself to be rather calm when he's in his cell during CRME.
  • Hidden Depths: He can speak sign language. He learned it to insult people to their faces without them knowing. (Though, he says he’d have no problem doing it openly.)
  • Ignore the Fanservice: While he recognizes the sexiness of Kincaid and Cinder, he doesn't let that get in the way of his decisions. He regularly declines Kincaid's attempts to sleep with her and lets Cinder know that her good looks won't distract him from any con she'll try to pull on him. Subverted when he ultimately has sex with Cinder anyway when she offers herself to make him keep working with the White Fang.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Inverted. Not only is his story Lighter and Softer than the rest of the solo stories, his introduction to CRME introduces a lot more jokes than before.
  • Lack of Empathy: He shows no concern about lives lost, not even his father. His workers are susceptible to being left behind as bait for the police and he only expresses mild annoyance at the fact that Stacy killed his men. And the quote under Bad Boss really shows how much he values them. He also laughs in Kincaid’s face when she tries to torture Chloe. Even when Cinder decides to have sex with him to make him keep working with the White Fang, he only shows a fleeting concern for Emerald's feelings before having sex with her anyway. This is only averted for Neo.
  • Large Ham: In Chapter 20, Roman just can't help but ham it up when he's presenting the airship he delivered.
  • Last-Name Basis: Most people under him and people who don't know him personally will usually refer to him as Torchwick.
  • Laughably Evil: He's a ruthless, sociopathic gangster, but he never takes things too seriously. He always offers sarcastic jokes and his bickering with Dwight tends to provide humor. His early overconfidence is kind of a source of comedy. One moment of this is when he threatens to have Stacy Green killed by Neo if he doesn't meet his demands. While he demands to have weapons and Dust shipments back along with free access to run his business, one of his demands is for him to stop calling himself "The Stace". He and Neo provide a lot of the comic relief in CRME.
    • When Cinder comes to him pretending to be his wife to bail him out of jail, he distracts the guard by making various sexual comments to Cinder to make them leave the two be. He also refers to the White Fang as "the Lunatic Furry Brigade."
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: He isn't to terribly let down by being left in jail. In fact, he notes to Cinder that he could've gotten himself bailed out at any time.
    Branden: Well, well, well. The infamous Roman Torchwick. I hope you've been enjoying your stay because you'll be here for a long time.
    Roman: That's what you think, Branden. I'll be getting out of here scot-free.
  • Narcissist: He is incredibly arrogant and seems to see other people as extensions of himself. Even his future wife is mostly to be a queen for his criminal empire. The other part is because he says they’re both attractive and attractive people should be together. He responds favorably to praise (willing or reluctant) and gets offended when he isn’t seen as a criminal mastermind. The author noted that Roman was written with narcissistic personality disorder in mind.
  • Pet the Dog: He doesn’t leave Dwight empty-handed after firing him. In fact, he offers him 150 million Lien.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Of the fantasy type just like in canon. He casts many disparaging remarks towards the Faunus and doesn't hide his prejudice.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He starts getting better with this after Kincaid is killed and he gets out of jail. He tells Cinder that he needs to lay low because the commissioner has been watching him closely since he got bailed out. And while part of the reason he doesn't want to work with the White Fang is because of his prejudice, he also notes that working with terrorists is a good way to put him back on Branden's radar for good.
  • Precision F-Strike: In Chapter 3 of Roman's Empire when he sets Neo on Stacy's men, he tells her to "Fuck 'em up."
  • Psychopathic Manchild: His dream of becoming a top-level mob boss seems to come off as immature when he reveals that he married a woman just to have a queen for his empire. Overall, while he conducts himself in a professional manner, his attitude is more like that of a child at play with the city of Vale as his sandbox. He certainly fills the psychopathic part since he tends to use Neo to settle disputes often. And this tactic is basically him bullying others to get what he wants. His appearance in CRME shows him childishly taunting the police commissioner when he's in jail and after he gets bailed out. He petulantly disagrees with Cinder's decisions to make him work with the White Fang. Mercury lampshades this when he and Adam have a childish argument.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: He wins his criminal empire back from Kincaid, but he’s still arrested at the end of his story.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: He defies this with Kincaid despite her constant propositions to sleep with him. He does sleep with Cinder when propositioned. However, considering she's much younger than Kincaid, he might be more willing.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In the early days at least. Dwight notes how Roman’s ego is already out of proportion. He starts to back up this ego once he has Neo with him to enforce his control.
  • The Social Darwinist: He starts to explicitly show the trope at the end the second chapter of Roman’s Empire.
    [To Dwight] “That’s the way the world works. You either survive in it or you get crushed by it and the stronger survivors. I learned that a long time ago. And that couldn’t ring truer in this business. So, you can either suck it up and deal with it or just leave.”
  • The Sociopath: He has shades of this. He already has a distinct lack of empathy and diminished morals. Combined with his narcissism and superficial charm, it makes this very likely. He also only really sees Chloe as useful to him as both a financial manager and a queen to his empire. And notes that he willingly will cheat and lie to people to get ahead. The only person he shows any actual care for is Neo and initially, he only saw her as "a valuable asset." When describing Cinder's sociopathic mindset (see her folder above), he says he has no problem with it. He even says he has a similar mindset.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Dwight. They constantly bicker with each other even when they are out being enforcers for Kincaid. He later forms a similar relationship with Neo, only they're on different levels of authority.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He doesn't look forward to working with the White Fang. Making his business relationship with Cinder much more strained.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Not a big one, but it's still significant. He starts to mellow out in his self-centered behavior (though it doesn’t completely go away) and comes to truly appreciate his wife as more than eye-candy (even if it is just something that makes her useful to his empire.) The biggest hint of this is his fondness for Neo.
  • The Unfettered: There are few things that he isn’t willing to do to be the top mob boss in Vale. Dwight quickly learns this when the police commissioner interferes with his business. He still has to be pragmatic at times to work in his best self-interests, but he doesn't have many moral limits.
  • Villainous Friendship: He used to have one with Dwight, but he quickly shifts to having one with Neo.
  • Villain Protagonist: The most obvious example since he is already a gangster by the time his story begins.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Implied when he says he's considering using the police commissioner's wife and daughter as leverage. He seems to show no qualms about causing harm to an eight-year-old. Considering he is willing to beat up a fifteen-year-old in canon, it's not implausible to think it wasn't an empty threat.


Mercury Black

The son of a sadistic assassin. Mercury was abused by both his father and mother for most of his life. His father forced him into his profession. After having his legs damaged during a fight with his father, Mercury killed him and was found by Cinder to join her team.


  • All Men Are Perverts: He makes many suggestive comments about the nature of Cinder and Emerald's relationship. While that could possibly be just to troll Emerald, he even comments on Cinder's ass and Salem's Cleavage Window. Emerald later noted that he might be listening in on her and Cinder having sex.
  • Amazon Chaser: He thought the idea of Emerald breaking another girl's wrist was hot.
  • An Arm and a Leg: He needs to have his legs amputated so that he can get his prosthetics because Marcus knee-capped him and reconstructive surgery could only do so much for him. He wouldn’t be able to fight without completely replacing his legs.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: He has a lot of it with Emerald. Chapter 18 shows them resolving it.
  • But Not Too Bi: Justified. The idea to make Mercury bisexual was a retcon, so his attraction to women was already firmly established in CRME. The bonus chapter for The Black Hearts came along months after the story concluded and in it, he says he still prefers girls. That doesn't mean he won't have a hardcore make-out-session with a guy.
  • The Corrupter: For Emerald. When she starts having doubts about working with Cinder, he helps her get over those moral limits. He even encouraged her to kill a child to get through her remorse about the jobs.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of the Stepford variety. He starts growing more into his role as this in CRME.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He fights and murders Marcus.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Even in the opening paragraph of his story, he outright says he doesn’t need our pity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Believe it or not, he had more standards before the abuse made him abandon them. In his story, he didn’t like the idea of shooting a young girl’s father right in front of her despite Marcus’ insistence. He at least thought that it shouldn’t be the last thing she ever sees. Remnants of his morals can be seen in CRME. He also seems a little perturbed by the fact that Cinder killed her sister. Not enough to care, but it’s still something. But the clear thing he notes is Cinder's hypocrisy about being abused and saying her mother is awful, but she manipulates and physically abuses Emerald, and has Emerald make illusions of his parents to punish him for insubordination.
  • Foil: To Cinder. They're both sadistic sociopaths who became that way because they were abused by their parents. They also ended up killing their respective abusers and taking on many of their behaviors. However, their ways of dealing with it are directly opposed to each other. Mercury just wants to forget his past and live in the moment, not caring about what happens. Cinder refuses to let go of her past and is fueled by a desire to conquer the world that allowed her to suffer from it. She considers herself to be a leader and he simply follows whatever directions he is given. He accepts that he has very little control over his life, while she does everything to attain control and power over everyone else. There are other notable points. Because of the last point, Cinder fancies herself as a leader while Mercury is fine with being a follower. They also deal with the similarities to their parents differently. Mercury seems to acknowledge that he has taken after his father (aside from the drinking problem). Cinder refuses to see any similarities between her and her mother other than sadism and good looks while still decrying her mother. While he sees an abusive relationship for what it is and rightly calls it out, she is so hypocritical to the idea that she is emotionally abusing Emerald.
  • For the Evulz: Cinder says that the job provides entertainment, and he’s satisfied as long as he gets to kill people.
  • Freudian Excuse: Explained in more detail in his solo story. Not only does he have a sadistic, alcoholic assassin for a father, but his mother is also verbally abusive.
    [to Emerald] "There's something you don't understand about [me and Cinder]. We've been through Hell in our lives. So, what if your parents were killed in front of you? For us, we would've begged someone to do that to our parents. What we've known for most of our lives was cruelty. After a while, you get desensitized to it. You stop caring about what others think. For me… I stopped caring to the point that I go with the flow. Your dad made you a thief? Mine made me a murderer. When you've already been forced to kill a ton of people by your fifteenth birthday, it gets harder to be anything else."
  • Harmful to Minors: His childhood in a nutshell.
  • Hates Their Parent: Both of them. Not only does he despise his father for forcing him to become an assassin and physically abusing him, he hates his mother for verbally abusing him (including homophobic abuse) and not caring about what Marcus dose to him.
  • Hidden Depths: He learned how to cook from his mom. His quip about being better at working with the oven than Emerald was not just a way to insult her.
  • It Amused Me: He goes off in a dead-sprint against Watts’ commands just to test out his new legs. This is also the reason he tries to aggravate Emerald.
  • It Gets Easier: Mercury admits this much to Emerald. All the years of being forced to kill people have desensitized him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite the excessively dickish manner in which he tells her the point, he's not wrong about Cinder. She's a complete sociopath who only cares about herself and her desires. And Cinder is willing to do just about anything for power. These are things that Emerald doesn't realize and even refuses to believe.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Things start to change with Cinder and Emerald’s relationship once Mercury comes aboard. She starts being more willfully cruel to her and Mercury notices this. He also starts driving a wedge between them that makes the relationship more strained. He later inverts it by becoming just as snarky as his canon self. The tone shift is especially notable in the latter half of Chapter 10 in CRME. And he goes back to a straight example for Chapter 16 with what he encourages Emerald to do.
  • Lack of Empathy: He admits this to Emerald in Chapter 13 and tells her that she needs to stop putting personal emotions into the job.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He openly admits this when he says that Cinder applies to this trope as well. He has become a sadistic sociopath that enjoys killing people. Though, he is nowhere near as Ax-Crazy as Marcus. And as he notes to Cinder when they first meet, he doesn't have a drinking problem.
  • Male Gaze: He makes a comment about Cinder's ass and then comments on Salem's Cleavage Window, asking if Emerald also couldn't help but look at it.
  • Mind Rape: Cinder has Emerald subject him to this. She makes Emerald project several images of his parents insulting him to torture him after causing Emerald to doubt if Cinder loved her.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He starts having a couple of Shirtless Scenes and Emerald does seem interested (much to her embarrassment and annoyance). She eventually gives in and has sex with him.
  • Not So Different: Watts compares him to Cinder and even she says that they are kindred spirits. They both had abusive home lives that turned them into sociopaths and left them bitter and angry with the world. They even killed the abusive parental figure in their lives. And they are both sadistic and apathetic to the suffering of others. The main differences that Watts notes are that Cinder was more elegant about it, and Mercury decided to forget about his past pain while Cinder focuses all her energy on getting revenge for it.
  • Of Course I'm Not a Virgin: As soon as Emerald identifies him as a virgin, he tries to deny his virginity.
  • Patricide: Though, of course, this was to be expected.
  • Pet the Dog: See Even Evil Has Standards above. Aside from that, he also tries to tell his mother that staying with Marcus is a bad idea. She’s just too stubborn to actually listen to him at first. He also tries to warn Emerald about Cinder abusing her. Something he definitely didn't have to do, but still chose to do anyway (even if it was just partially to mess with her). And he helps her get over her remorse about killing people. While this ties into his role as The Corrupter, this is something he definitely doesn't have to do. He could've just as easily let her wallow in self-loathing considering everything else about their relationship.
  • Psychotic Smirk: While he's usually a Smug Smiler, it becomes this when he's committing violence.
  • Real Men Cook: He picked up some cooking skills from his mother.
  • Sadist: He starts showing traits of this as he gets older thanks to his father’s influence. He notes that while he hates his father, torture is one thing they actually can bond over. He liked hearing about how Cinder killed her mother. He asks Cinder if Melanie suffered when she killed her and is pleased when Cinder says she did. He also takes pleasure in Cinder torturing Amber and killing some White Fang members.
  • Sarcasm Failure: He is unable to snark when he sees Salem for the first time. He can barely snark in his internal monologue.
  • Ship Tease: With Emerald even though she's in a relationship. The payoff finally comes in Chapter 18 when they hook up.
  • Shirtless Scene: He has one at the beginning of Chapter 12 and Chapter 16, and Emerald is slightly interested (much to her embarrassment).
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: He and Emerald fight each other towards the end of Chapter 18 just before hooking up.
  • The Sociopath: His story shows him developing a Lack of Empathy towards the victims of his father’s profession while also taking enjoyment in watching him torture people. He also has a blatant disregard for rules when he starts sprinting through the hospital with his new legs against Watts’ orders. His snarky behavior in CRME also correlates to his superficial charm. While he previously had standards, he starts losing them as he stops caring about everyone else thanks to his abuse. He even says he'll be satisfied with the job as long as he gets to kill people. Chapter 16 shows him getting easily bored when he's not involved in doing things for Cinder. Emerald calls him a sociopath when he shares Neo's taste for meaningless violence.
  • Stepford Snarker: His snarky behavior originally began as a way of commenting on his terrible home life. He constantly snarks throughout his narration and snarks when discussing his parents with Cinder in CRME. Watts brings this up later and he responds by saying this:
    "Most of my life has been pain and cruelty. After a while, you just get tired of crying about it."
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He starts having his doubts about Cinder when he sees how much of a hypocrite she is. Their work relationship becomes excessively strained after she forces Emerald to Mind Rape him.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: He takes this attitude as he gets older. Especially when he's working with Cinder.
    "When you've already been forced to kill a ton of people by your fifteenth birthday, it gets harder to be anything else [other than a killer]."
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Emerald in CRME.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After leaving his parents and joining Cinder, he starts losing his moral scruples and begins acting like the egotistical douche that he is in canon.
  • Tragic Villain: His years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of parents, coupled with his father’s habit of taking his job home, resulted in Mercury becoming a sociopath. After a while, he just knew that he wouldn't ever have a normal life, so he decided to embrace it, especially after joining Cinder.
  • Troll: He enjoys messing with Emerald. He also takes a dead sprint with his new legs against Watts’ orders.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Implied. He did use to have more moral scruples but spending time with his parents seems to have all but obliterated them for good.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He attempts to punch Cinder in the face when she tells Emerald to Mind Rape him. Also, he wasn't kidding when he said he'd beat the crap out of Emerald if she tried to mess with his mind again. He grabs her by the throat and slams her against a wall for doing that. He later punches her in the face for bringing up the fact that no one ever loved him when he was a child. He also attempts to attack Neo.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He used to have a problem, but later in CRME, he congratulates Emerald on picking a child as a target for her test to kill someone. He even outright states that he has no problem with killing children.


Emerald Sustrai

A pickpocket living on the streets after a loan shark killed her parents. After living on her own for six years, she was picked up by Cinder after nearly failing an attempt at a robbery.


  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The outfit she wears when she met Cinder? She wore similar outfits when she was twelve. Her father has a bit of a problem with it and Silva lampshades it as well.
  • Amazon Chaser: She thought it was hot when Cinder beat up a group of perverts in the bar.
  • Anti-Villain: She’s not truly evil, just too loyal to Cinder. This is seen when Cinder abuses her and disregards her after bringing Mercury in. She also starts expressing doubts about working with Cinder when she sees how far she's willing to go to get power.
  • The Artful Dodger: She lived on the streets for much of her life. Her story shows that she uses her wits to get out of trouble often. Her way of dealing with Silva at the end shows this.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: She starts really opening up to Cinder after she gives her food to eat and a place to stay. She says it’s the first time anyone has been this genuinely generous to her in years.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: She has a lot of it with Mercury. Chapter 18 shows them resolving it.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: Mercury expects this to happen when she kills the child, and the chapter about it is named after the phenomenon the trope is based on. Both her and Mercury's surprise, the trope is subverted. Emerald only feels numb after killing him.
  • Break the Cutie: Losing both her parents and growing up on the streets left her rather bitter.
  • Broken Pedestal: Averted. Even knowing that her father wasted all their money on gambling doesn’t change her opinion of him. Proven when Silva tries to insult him posthumously.
    "So, yeah. My dad may have been a real piece of shit, but at least he was trying to make things right in any way he could. And at least he had a conscience, unlike you."
  • Buxom Is Better: Her breasts get brought up often. People of both genders seem to like them a lot. Cinder was jealous of it for a little while.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The moment Roman jokingly suggests the idea that Cinder should blow him and Adam to make them get along better, Emerald pulls out her gun and points it at him. He then realizes that this is one reason he shouldn't disclose his arrangement with Cinder. Emerald literally clings to her when it seems like Roman is flirting with Cinder.
  • Combat Pragmatist: She uses her Semblance often to get the upper hand. Often to make the opponents think she’s in a different place so she can pull a sneak attack or retreat if necessary. She uses it once to punch Mercury in the face.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: She very desperately wants Cinder to stay in bed with her. Unfortunately, Cinder isn't having it.
  • Covert Pervert: While it's clear that she has genuine affection for Cinder, it is also clear that lust is a factor in her attraction as well. She took a glance at her when she was wearing a tank top and some shorts, and she was even fingering herself while thinking of Cinder immediately after the latter left the room in the opening of Chapter 7. She also gets flustered when she sees Mercury shirtless, but that one is a bit less covert he saw her admiring his physique.
  • Dark Action Girl: She taught herself how to fight and won’t hesitate to kill people when necessary.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Cinder catches her doing this when she leaves her alone in bed. Mercury later jokes that she was doing it later when Cinder leaves them alone at the apartment for a few days. Considering the fact that she walks out topless and only wearing pants, it's possible that he wasn't wrong.
  • D-Cup Distress: She mentions that she's actually a D-cup and mentions that it might be a problem with wearing her current outfit.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Cinder. Unlike most versions of this trope, we know this isn’t a good thing.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Letting Silva get beat up by his own guys and then shooting him.
  • The Drifter: She became this after her parents were gone. Stayed in Vacuo for a few years before fixing up a van and moving to a larger city.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: She goes and gets drunk after Cinder slaps her twice and Mercury tries to say she doesn’t love her.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She clearly loved her parents. And she loves Cinder more than anything. So much so that the prospect of bringing Mercury onboard is enough to make her worry if Cinder will replace her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mercury says that her biggest issue is that she puts way too many emotions into the job and that she needs to stop caring about that so much. Especially when she's working with Cinder.
    • While she was initially on board with the idea, she seems to be a little disturbed by Cinder when she starts taking a little too much enjoyment out of making Emerald mentally torment Mercury.
    • She's also very disturbed by the fact that Neo was killing people For the Evulz.
  • Fanservice Pack: Invoked by Cinder. Cinder mentions that Emerald's figure is much fuller ever since she has been properly nourished. After that, she buys her the skimpier top that Emerald currently wears.
  • Flipping the Bird: She drunkenly does this to Mercury.
  • Friends with Benefits: Well, she doesn't exactly consider Gavin to be her friend, but she still has some no-strings-attached sex with him.
  • The Gadfly: Her Semblance allows her to be this. She messes with a Jerkass proposing to a girl who was clearly not into him. After pickpocketing the wedding ring, she makes him think he still has it to make him look like a fool. She also messes with a lecherous man trying to hit on her by making him chase an illusion of her. Even when she has Silva at her mercy and could kill him easily, she decides to convince his goons to beat him up first for his Bad Boss behavior to show what little power he really has. When Mercury starts annoying her too much, she creates an illusion of herself as a demon to scare the crap out of him.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: She doesn’t like the idea of anyone taking Cinder’s attention away from her. When Cinder is insistent on Mercury joining her operation, she is scared of being replaced. Mercury’s behavior doesn’t put her at ease.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: She gets flustered when she saw Mercury shirtless. And her loathing of his personality doesn't make this easier. Even she can't help but admit that he's attractive culminating in her sleeping with him in a moment of impulse.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her father and Cinder call her "Emmy".
  • Kick the Dog: Mercury encourages Emerald to invoke this by killing an innocent person. She leads a young boy into the middle of the woods to kill him. However, the chapter ends before she pulls the trigger, making it ambiguous as to whether she shot him or not. We don't have it confirmed that she did kill him until about halfway through Chapter 18.
  • Lack of Empathy: After her talk with Mercury (certified master of the trope), she tries to force herself to have this. Her thoughts just before attacking Amber show her trying to suppress the urge to feel guilty about what she is going to do. And she's somewhat disturbed by her lack of response about killing a child.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Her dependence on Cinder shows how dangerous this trope can be. Emerald starts breaking down and becoming very defensive whenever Mercury tries to expose Cinder for being a heartless manipulator who is only using her. And this interpretation certainly fits with what happened in Volume Five: she admits that she owes Cinder everything and she has a Villainous Breakdown when Cinder doesn't return from the vault. CRME shows just how dependent Emerald is, and Cinder does not hesitate to use that against her. Even knowing about Cinder's flaws and how she treats Emerald, she still needs her badly.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Especially when you're in love with a sociopath. Emerald's devotion to Cinder makes her go down some dark paths. Mercury even cites Cinder as a reason to kill a child to help her get over her remorse for killing people. She keeps reassuring herself that she's doing it for Cinder.
  • Love Martyr: She endures the abuse because Cinder helped her stay off the streets. She felt like she needed her, as she admits to Mercury. The implications of this are explored in full during the final scene of Chapter 18 when she tearfully admits that she knows Cinder might not actually love her.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Invoked by Mercury to help her get over her remorse about working with Cinder. He encourages Emerald to kill an innocent person to help push her over it. And she chooses a child to do that. She feels like she has crossed it at this point.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She gets a lot of attention for her looks when she gets older. Even Silva takes notice of how much she has developed. She even has several scenes where she is featured topless and one where she was caught in the middle of A Date with Rosie Palms. With her usual attire and certain physical attributes, it's only natural.
  • Noodle Incident: Somehow, she broke the oven in the apartment. Mercury cut her off before she could explain how.
  • Oh, Crap!: After pissing off someone with immense power, she obviously has this reaction as Amber raises her spear to kill her.
  • Only Sane Man: Relatively speaking. She's the only member of Team CRME without serious psychological issues. She's still a Love Martyr and obsessed with Cinder, but she doesn't have a severe psychological disorder like Roman, Mercury, and Cinder.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mom was killed when she was young, and her dad died a few years later. She spent six years living on her own before she met Cinder.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Something she has to dish out usually to guys often. She even has to break a girl’s wrist for trying to cop a feel.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Mercury thinks this is the case. Emerald might realize what a power-hungry egomaniac Cinder is, but she doesn't want to be left alone again. The problem is that she has to face the harsh realities about her since a lot of them influence the horrible things she'll be required to do. It turns out that she might be aware of Cinder's Lack of Empathy and realizes that she may not have changed from when they met. She just couldn't bear to think that Cinder would ever leave her.
  • Sex for Solace: In her story, she goes to Gavin to have sex with him the day she finds Silva again. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for her. It seems like she does this with Mercury at the end of Chapter 18.
  • Ship Tease: While she is in a relationship with Cinder, there is some teasing between her and Mercury. The teasing ends when she decides to hook up with him.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: She fights Mercury near the end of Chapter 18 just before hooking up with him.
  • Street Urchin: Called this by Watts a few times. And this is how she has lived for most of her life before meeting Cinder.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She defies this, specifically mentioning that she steals birth control.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Having to work with Mercury already proves to be an unpleasant experience for her. Especially since he keeps trying to annoy her and (correctly) claim that Cinder doesn’t love her.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Mercury in CRME.
  • Token Good Teammate: Downplayed. She may be a murderer and a thief, but she’s not a self-absorbed sociopath like the other members of Team CRME. She even has trouble with the prospect of attacking an innocent person.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Subverted. She makes fun of Mercury's virginity, but she later states that there isn't anything wrong with being a virgin. She just knows that it would annoy him. Even after taking it, she keeps bothering him about his lack of experience.
  • Virgin Vision: She immediately (and correctly) assumes that Mercury is a virgin. After taking his virginity, she confirms that he never had sex before.




An Ancient Evil that is the Big Bad of RWBY.


  • Affably Evil: Salem is rather protective of Cinder and defends her from Watts’ criticisms of her and Tyrian’s attempt at a practical joke. She also speaks cordially with Mercury and Emerald, being genuinely complimentary and reassuring when they seem shocked by her appearance. However, she is still an Omnicidal Maniac intending to destroy humanity at all cost.
    [to Emerald] "Do not be afraid, young one. As Cinder knows, I can be kind."
  • Ambiguously Bi: She starts being very sexually affectionate towards Cinder once she turns eighteen, but she also says that she only offers intimacy for Cinder’s sake rather than her own. When she meets Mercury and Emerald, she briefly touches them in affectionate ways. Cinder was surprised that she didn't kiss them right there. Even the writer says that her sexuality would be a bit complicated to understand. (They say that she would more likely be analogous to an asexual.)
  • Ambiguously Human: Watts straight up says that he has no idea what she is. Both Emerald’s and Cinder’s first impressions of her is that she’s some kind of Grimm. Salem never takes the time to clarify when Cinder asks.
  • Benevolent Boss: She treats everyone under her very well when they do as they're told.
  • The Dreaded: Tyrian is cowering in fear when she raises her voice to him. Watts outright states that Salem is dangerous. While he acts calmly when he is in her good graces, the only indication that he fears her is when she mentions this after he states he wouldn’t follow Cinder’s commands if it weren’t for Salem. Even before then, he only begrudgingly follows her orders.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Mercury feels a chill when she touches his cheek.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Her role as Cinder’s fairy god-mother is retained. She is very protective of Cinder and gives her the opportunity for a better life. It is even expanded upon when Salem gets her the dress with Dust woven into it.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: To Cinder's Big Bad in this series. She currently plays no direct role in any villainy, but she is still the overarching Big Bad in this universe. Her role in the story is to oversee everything that Cinder is doing.
  • I Have Many Names: She tells Cinder that she has gone by many names in her centuries of life.
  • Indy Ploy: She admits that adaptability is an important skill when Watts notes that she seems to be making up her plans as she goes.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: A subtle version not related to sexuality. She seems to like subordinates who have a taste for violence and destruction. She immediately likes Mercury when he says that he just wants to kill some people.
  • Manipulative Bastard: It’s clear that Salem is taking advantage of Cinder’s vulnerable state and vengeful attitude. It doesn’t make Cinder any better since the vengeful attitude is still her own, but Salem uses it to get her to work with her.
  • Mysterious Watcher: She had been watching Cinder from the time she was picked up by bandits.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: She is the biggest threat to Remnant in this story, but she never does anything herself. She only works through her pawns. She has a rather hands-off approach to how she allows Cinder to operate – allowing her to come up with her own plans and supervising her decisions. And it's unlikely that she'll be seen fighting in this series. The most action she gets is when she uses the Seer Grimm to discipline Watts and Cinder and even then, she's not directly doing anything to them physically. Lionheart mentions that she was able to slaughter a group of henchmen, but considering she can control the Seer Grimm from a distance and might have more powers that don't rely on physicality, she may not have been doing much to win that fight.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: While she doesn't go around invading people's personal space, she can still get pretty handsy with others. Cinder knows this very well. She also starts touching Mercury and Emerald's faces when she meets them in person.
  • Parental Substitute: Manipulation and attempted sexual affection aside, she was a much better mother to Cinder than Brigit could have ever been.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: For an Omnicidal Maniac, she still listens to Watts' concerns about Cinder's rash decision making. And she immediately puts both of them in their place when they start arguing in front of her.
  • So Proud of You: She does all but say it when Cinder returns with the Fall Maiden's powers.
    Cinder: I will claim what is ours.
    Salem: I know you will. You are my most valued piece of the puzzle. And I know you will not fail.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: The only time we've seen Salem raise her voice was during Chapter 17.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She puts down both Cinder and Watts when they get into one of their petty arguments.
  • Villains Never Lie: She is remarkably honest with Cinder when she first meets her. And she never disguises her intentions to use Cinder for her own purposes.

    Dr. Watts 

Doctor Arthur Watts

An Atlesian doctor and member of Salem’s inner circle.


  • Admiring the Abomination: He expresses interest in the Seer Grimm.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He can’t help but snark around Cinder and her associates. He even gets up to some Snark-to-Snark Combat with Mercury.
    [When Watts makes fun of the relationship between Cinder and Emerald]
    Cinder: Why must you refer to her in that way?
    Watts: Oh, are you really developing feelings for her? I would’ve never guessed.
    Cinder: [scoffs] I know you’re trying to disrespect me by saying that.
    Watts: Me? Disrespecting you? I would never!
  • Evil Genius: He serves this purpose to Cinder being both a doctor and her main source of intel. He is also the creator of the Red Queen virus and known to be very tech-savvy.
  • Faux Affably Evil: His sarcasm thinly veils some vicious threats. Especially towards Lionheart in Chapter 17.
  • Irony: He is relieved that Hazel will be stuck with “babysitting duties” when Cinder is fifteen. However, in CRME, his job is to assist Cinder when she needs it. And considering the fact that he thinks that she hasn't become any more mature in that time, he probably thinks that it still is babysitting duties.
  • Jerkass: He makes it his mission to put down Cinder at any chance he gets.
  • Not So Above It All: Watts calls out Cinder for being childish, but he continuously taunts her in a childish manner to provoke her, much like a bully. Salem calls him out on this.
  • Only Sane Employee: He seems to be the more reasonable one and tends to call out certain points when Cinder does something irresponsible. He's also very wary about working with the White Fang – Adam Taurus in particular. It also takes a slightly literal meaning since he's the only one of Salem's subordinates without serious mental issues.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Subverted, unlike canon. He is shown working at a hospital when Mercury needs to get his legs repaired.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He's working with Salem and Cinder, but he is rather reasonable in how he operates. But it doesn't change the fact that he's willingly working with two incredibly destructive people. He just knows when to lay low and not draw attention to himself. Something Cinder still has momentary struggles with in her early days.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He clearly does not want to work with Cinder and her associates but has to or else he faces retaliation from Salem.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gives a scathing one to Cinder about how she's nothing more than an egotistical brat whose ego is too big for her own good. And that certainly hurts Cinder.


Neopolitan (Neo)

Roman Torchwick’s personal assistant.


  • Affably Evil: When she's not being Faux Affably Evil. As much of an Ax-Crazy maniac she is, she can still be nice to people that she likes.
  • Ambiguously Gay: She says that Chloe looks pretty which could just be considered a compliment. However, she is also one of the many people to say that Cinder has a nice butt (implying that she decided to look for herself). It is completely possible that could also be just a platonic compliment, but it's rather unlikely given the context. Chapter 20 sees it becoming even less ambiguous when it seems like Roman outright states that she also enjoys Cinder's butt.
  • Ax-Crazy: She shows herself to be this when she attacks Stacy’s men. Even after Roman tells her to stop, she still has to get one last stab in. She’s always gleeful at the prospect of having to kill people for Roman and is disappointed when he says it isn't necessary. She's crazy enough to be called both a sociopath and a psychopath (even if she doesn't quite fit the trope).
    Roman: I'm pretty sure if she didn't work for me, she'd be a serial killer.note 
  • Badass Adorable: Roman notes that this is one advantage. Those who don't know her will never see it coming. Chloe calls her an "adorable death-machine."
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Even before Roman starts genuinely caring about her, he was still the first mob boss to really give her a chance. And she has been loyal to him ever since.
  • Character Exaggeration: Her characterization in this series seems to follow the FNDM's Memetic Psychopath interpretation. And her cuteness is also deliberately exploited.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: While she isn't an actual sociopath, many of her Ax-Crazy antics are Played for Laughs. Especially when juxtaposed with her cute appearance.
  • Cute and Psycho: She’s more explicitly sadistic and violent in this series. She can still be adorable despite her violent tendencies.
  • Cute Mute: Chloe loves how cute she is.
  • The Dragon: She comes to Torchwick to be his dragon.
  • The Dreaded: The mere mention of her is enough to strike fear into the hearts of the organized crime community. Even Junior and the Malachite twins are scared of her. Six men cower in fear when she walks into a room with Roman. She has also gained this status in CRME when she becomes a Serial Killer to pass the time while Roman is in jail.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Still, no backstory is given to her.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She truly looks up to Roman as a mentor and a father figure. She always gives him a hug whenever they meet up.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She can be nice and friendly, but she will just as easily stab you in the face for kicks.
  • For the Evulz: Why did she start killing people when not working for Roman while he was in jail? No clue. She only gives a shrug.
  • The Glomp: She does this to both Emerald and Mercury when they pick her up.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: In the chapter when Neo walks in on Roman and Cinder, the author's note at the end states that this isn't the first times this has happened. It has happened a few times with Chloe before she was killed.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: She viciously kills Kincaid.
  • Killer Rabbit: Her adorableness is played up in this series. As is her sadistic side. Roman notes that this is an advantage against people who don't know her. They'd never see it coming.
  • Made of Iron: She was apparently trapped under some rubble by Kincaid but comes out not much worse for wear.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: She's so Ax-Crazy that she'll immediately suggest this whenever Roman has a problem. Roman has to reign her in usually.
  • Older Than They Look: When she’s introduced, she says she’s twenty-two. Roman and Dwight have trouble believing that. Chloe mistakes her age momentarily when she asks Roman to adopt her. He quickly notes that she's twenty-five. Mercury can't even believe that she's older than him and Emerald.
  • Precision F-Strike: In Chapter 6 of Roman's Empire, she responds to the fact that Kincaid and Dwight are about to fight them by signing, "We're fucked, aren't we?"
  • Psycho Supporter: She is not the sanest of Roman's employees.
  • Psychotic Smirk: If you see her doing this or Slasher Smile, it was nice knowing you.
  • Put on a Bus: She was sent off in Chapter 20 to take care of Roman's mob ties.
  • Sadist: Oh, she definitely likes to cause people pain.
  • Silent Snarker: Even when she’s not signing, she can be just as snarky as Roman.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: She likes to do this. Especially when she kills Kincaid.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Roman in CRME.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Roman. He was the first person to really give her a chance.
  • Villainous Friendship: She grows to have one with Roman.
  • The Voiceless: She can’t speak out loud, but she does sign when she needs to say more. She writes on a whiteboard for Emerald and Mercury.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: