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Belladonna Lilies is a RWBY fanfic and alternate universe setting created by DezoPenguin.

The year is 1889 and the Schnee Dust Company is powering Victorian England through a second industrial revolution fueled by a miracle substance called dust. Dust has reshaped the world at every level of technology and society, allowing for such wonders as airships, automatons, rudimentary computers and medical sciences decades ahead of their time. At the heart of this empire is corporate heiress Weiss Schnee, who is about to take her first steps in the world as a legal adult.


But on the eve of her twenty-first birthday, Weiss’s world is turned upside down when her birthday gala is interrupted by an encounter with Blake Belladonna, a thief hunting for SDC company secrets. Left with wounded pride and a scar across her eye, Weiss becomes determined to hunt Blake down and bring her to justice even if she has to do the deed with her own two hands. But what begins as a simple criminal investigation becomes substantially more complicated the more Weiss learns of her target, her motivations for the robbery, and the murky dealings of her family's company.

In addition to the adventures of Weiss and Blake, the setting is also home to another of DezoPenguin’s works. Burning Gold follows the adventures of this setting's versions of Yang and Ruby as they do battle with the nefarious Phantom Thief Roman Torchwick. Burning Gold is complete at sixteen chapters, and as of March 11, 2017, Belladonna Lilies has also reached its conclusion at 71 chapters. In addition to the above, a few bonus chapters have been published in DezoPenguin's omake compliation This Will Be the Omake.


More recently, the AU has been expanded on by a second author, Stewbacca94. Five days after the main work concluded with a list of story prompts, a Whodunnit piece revolving around Pyrrha and Jaune called Aeneus Idola was developed in response to one of the hooks, and it clocked in at 11 chapters when finished on April 30 that same year. On August 15, 2017, a second work called Said the Butler to the Huntress began, this time centering around Ren and Nora. After sporadic updating, it finished on the 30th of May, 2018. After a lengthy break, Stewbacca94 released Amaryllis and Aconite on the 18th of February, 2019 - and it finished after 20 chapters on the 19th of July that same year.

Furthermore, Stewbacca94's profile states that one more fic is being planned for the setting; Mechanica Aurantiaco, which has no set release date and seems to be about Penny (the title is Latin for "Mechanical Orange").


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    General Tropes 
  • Adaptational Dye Job: Instead of giving characters their default appearances, both authors gave certain characters more natural hair colours. For instance, Russel Thrush's hair is prematurely gray, and isn't styled in a mohawk. There's also no mention of the blue hair of Neptune; instead, the character wears a blue beret. Additionally Neo is revealed to be completely brown-haired. However, as a result of gripping the Eye of Ra without protection, her hair and eyes change to the ones seen in series.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Happens five times in the AU. The first instance occurs in the main fic (and boy is it a doozy), the second appears in Aeneus Idola when Jaune and Pyrrha realise their love for one another, the third and fourth instances happen in Said the Butler to the Huntress - between Ren and Nora, then Fox and Coco at their wedding - while the last instance is Jaune kissing Pyrrha at their wedding at the end of Amaryllis and Aconite.
  • Continuity Cameo: One of the omake chapters features a brief mention of Pyrrha, who in this setting is an Adventurer Archaeologist. This gets expanded on in Aeneus Idola, which centres around her.
    • In chapter 2 of Aeneus Idola, the gallery scene features Jaune, Ruby, Blake, and Weiss in it for varying reasons. Weiss also appears again in chapter 5, talking to Jaune briefly over the phone.
  • Continuity Nod: In the first few chapters of Belladonna Lilies, Ruby makes a brief cameo appearance during Weiss's birthday gala when she accidentally spills her drink on Weiss's dress. When we next see her in Burning Gold she's been functionally grounded from social events as punishment.
    • Chapter 2 of Aeneus Idola features three. The first one occurs when Pyrrha arrives in London - and sees the wreckage of Torchwick's dirigible from Burning Gold. The second merely references the night that Weiss and Blake met. The last one refers to the afore-mentioned omake chapter when Pyrrha opens the new gallery - both Ruby and Jaune are in attendance, along with Weiss and Blake.
      • What's impressive is that Belladonna Lilies and Burning Gold never mentioned specific dates, only that Burning Gold starts just as Belladonna Lilies finishes. The author of Aeneus Idola came up with a time frame for the story, placing it in the latter half of 1889, with only that to go on.
    • Chapter 1 of Amaryllis and Aconite picks up straight after the epilogue of Belladonna Lilies.
  • Description Porn: Given the nature of the AU, this features throughout all five fics - especially Said the Butler to the Huntress.
  • Elseworld: It's RWBY set in steampunk Victorian England.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed in the case of Nora, and subverted utterly by Pyrrha.
  • Flower Motifs: The main work is named after the amaryllis plant, which represents pride in the language of flowers. Likewise, Cinder wears a hat decorated with an aconite, which stands for misanthropy; the fifth work's title accordingly refers to the clash of the proud Weiss Schnee and the misanthropic Cinder Fall.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: The setting straddles the line between this and steampunk. Dust is usually used to justify the setting’s more advanced technology but Weiss’s use of Mrytenaster proves that it’s still possible to use it to create magical spells like her signature ice magic, though it isn’t called magic by anyone in-setting.
  • Genre Savvy: Weiss apparently reads enough penny dreadfuls that she can spot a few of the patterns when they wind up happening to her.
    "We don't have time for this clichéd nonsense," she snapped at her sudden captor. "It's bad enough that I just put my neck on the line to save yours, but I refuse to do the scenario where I'm immediately betrayed for showing an act of kindness to the villain like we're characters in a cheap melodrama. You should be ashamed of yourself."
    • Blake starts picking up on this too by the story's final act. When asked why she thinks Hyde might keep bodyguards or traps or other such unpleasantness in his inner sanctum she replies thusly:
    "I'm standing in an island fortress that's been transformed into a dedicated laboratory facility for a mad scientist's personal research project. 'Penny dreadful' is basically the decorating philosophy."
    • Pyrrha gets in on it when she's alone in her office in chapter 4 of Aeneus Idola. Thankfully, she gets better.
    As Jaune walked out, Pyrrha ruminated miserably on the increasingly appalling situation she found herself in. “This is just dandy. Who would have thought that I'd become the damsel in distress in some tenth-rate melodrama?”
  • Honor Before Reason: Weiss is subject to this even towards people she thinks are supposed to be her enemies. Amusingly, she lampshades this herself at one point when, instead of escaping from a building that is partially on fire and filled with murderous faunus out for her blood, she backtracks through pitch dark hallways to the operating room where Blake is trapped, on the grounds that leaving your apparent enemies to possibly burn to death is just not done.
    She took the radiant out of her mouth and scurried over to the imprisoned Faunus. Miss Black looked up at her with an incredulous expression.
    • Played with by Jaune when he decides to spare Ren from punishment for being part of the Grimm. Granted, the latter wasn't one to take on any dirty work, wasn't involved in the attempts on Weiss Schnee's life, and willingly sells out the rest of his cohorts, but he got off lightly for refusing to divulge information that could've prevented those things.
  • Mid-Season Twist: The confrontation at Saulbridge Sanitarium marks the point where Weiss and Blake's stories become intertwined rather than running parallel to each other. This ends Weiss's quest to bring Blake to justice and sees them join forces to resolve the conflict between the White Fang and Pandora Development.
    • A pocket of the Grimm survived the events of Belladonna Lilies ... and Ren was part of it.
    • The Grimm member who killed Dr Watts also tricked Pyrrha into finding the Eye of Ra. The identity of this person? Pyrrha's assistant at her museum, who is revealed to be Neo.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Yang is half-Chinese, half-English, with her apperance leaning heavily towards the latter side of the family. Later on, Pyrrha is revealed to be half-Greek, half-Irish. It explains why Pyrrha's got a Greek name, yet has auburn hair and bright green eyes, as Jaune points out.
    Jaune looked somewhat surprised at Pyrrha's choice in tea, but nodded affirmatively.
    "Sure thing. Never realised you were one for Irish tea, by the way."
    Pyrrha, clearly having heard that remark before, sighed and rolled her eyes.
    "Well, when your mother's an Irishwoman, you learn to love Irish tea really quickly."
    • In Amaryllis and Aconite, this is the description of Cinder's lineage.
    If a trained eye were to look at her in broad daylight, she would be identified as a person that could only be bred and raised in one location; Hong Kong. Half of her ancestry on both sides hailed from various parts of England, and she was a fluent speaker of the language. However, her mother's maternal family hailed from Hokkaido, and the family name her father had been bestowed with was Mandarin.
  • Mythology Gag: Ruby, in the middle of using Steel Thorn's repulsion dust charge in a manner reminiscent of Crescent Rose's recoil jumps, laments that this would be a lot safer if she could surround herself with "some kind of field of force," a nod not just towards aura but also to Jaune's particular explanation of it.
    • At one point in Belladonna Lilies Weiss is having trouble figuring out how to deal with a pair of guards nonviolently, and the narration laments that in a perfect world her team would have had someone in the role of a field commander with a talent for redefining the problem and coming up with unconventional solutions. No points for guessing who the story is referring to.
    • In chapter 65, Blake and Weiss trap a certain doctor servant of Hyde's inside a deep pit with a grille over the top. The good doctor's name is Edgar Heywood. As for the remark that invoked the trope afterwards, take a wild guess.
    • In chapter 1 of Aeneus Idola, Pyrrha fights off a pair of eight-foot long asps during a dig. The narration itself provides a metaphor which brings back an ugly memory from the series:
    Without hesitation, Pyrrha moved as though she was duelling an arrow with a mind of its own ...
    • In chapter 4 of Aeneus Idola, Tyrian attacks Pyrrha with an harpoon wrapped around his belt, which had been laced with air Dust. Take a wild guess at what Pyrrha does to it. Also, Qrow inflicts an injury to Tyrian's stomach.
    • Then in chapter 6, we get the origin story for Nora; complete with her beginning as a huntress. She randomly ran into a thief on her way home, broke his legs when he tried to steal from her, and wound up claiming her first bounty.
    • Chapter 7 then gives a good one to RWBY Chibi with this passage:
    As the pair made it to Inverness Airfield, Nora asked a question that had been bugging her ever since she'd met Pyrrha. “If you don't mind me asking, how come you haven't started snogging Jaune yet?” Pyrrha's face went fish-eyed as she gasped and fainted.
    • Chapter 8 features Coco jokingly suggesting that if she had a weapon, it would take the form of a Gatling gun within a handbag.
    • Said the Butler to the Huntress has one in its first chapter. When Ren walks in on Nora at Neptune's smithy, he hears the following exchange:
      "... So as I was saying, I ended up wrestling the she-bear to the ground and fed it my last Dust grenade."
      "Good heavens," the blacksmith replied. "Whatever did you do next?"
      "Well, after the bear was broken, I patched my wounds up, retrieved the amulet that thief placed on the bear's neck, and made my way back to the Rosslare Ferry."
    • Also in that chapter, we see Nora hit a ginger-haired man in the nadgers with Magnhild. Of course, it's Scarlet from Team SSSN - No prizes for guessing why that counts.
    • Chapter 3 of Amaryllis and Aconite has Cinder calling Weiss Eiskonigin, which is German for Ice Queen.
    • Chapter 8 then reveals that Constables Heyman and Burns are named Joel and Michael respectively - but Heyman didn't find out until questioningly calling his cohort Burnie.
    • Chapter 14 features Weiss spotting Cinder driving a prototype tank; appropriately, she yells OH SHIT! CINDER'S IN A TANK!
    • Chapter 17 has a period-appropriate version of the Maidenbowl.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Ashton and Garnet both count as this despite supposedly working for Weiss herself. Papa Schnee also qualifies despite not actually appearing in the story except through telegrams with Ashton. The three of them together functionally lock down Weiss's access to company resources and ultimately force her to resort to extreme measures to continue the plot.
    • If the word of Qrow is anything to go by, then the chief inspector that Jaune reports to invoked this.
  • Official Couple: Aeneus Idola features two of these. First, we get Coco and Fox (who are already engaged). Then in chapter 8, Jaune and Pyrrha become this - and in the first chapter of Said the Butler to the Huntress, they get engaged, then they get married at the end of Amaryllis and Aconite.
    • Chapter three of Said the Butler to the Huntress features the titular couple - namely, Ren and Nora - become a couple. Chapter four details Coco and Fox's wedding.
  • Original Character: Most of the supporting cast in the first two fics is composed of original characters, owing to the Elseworlds setting and the fact that the story was first published during RWBY's early days when the cast of named characters was still reasonably small.
    • Avoided to a point from Aeneus Idola onwards; given that it started being written after Volume 4, there are now plenty of characters to draw from. However, a few minor characters from Burning Gold crop up here and there, and Amaryllis and Aconite introduced an OC as well.
  • Police Are Useless: Both invoked and subverted during Burning Gold. At the start of the story the police prove completely unable to handle the Phantom Gentlemen without the aid of huntresses like Ruby and Yang, and the resident officer in charge of the case is Jaune, which does nothing to dissuade the impression that this trope is in effect. But when Yang blows her lead on Torchwick's location while playing Vigilante Man, it's Jaune's influence and the manpower and resources of Scotland Yard that are able to follow up on her leads and find Roman before he has a chance to leave the country, and the final showdown with Torchwick is a joint effort between Yang and the police.
    • Subverted for the most part in Aeneus Idola. Jaune shows a reasonably good ability at procedural work, such as interrogating witnesses and coordinating affairs at a crime scene. Additionally, Qrow is no slouch either. However, their investigation gets shut off prematurely by Jaune's chief inspector, even though one of the Grimm members is (according to them) still on the loose. To make matters worse, the chief inspector overlooks Jaune's efforts and gives sole credit to Qrow for the work. The former of the two doesn't take it well.
  • Race Lift: Played with. Most of the character's racial origins (with the exception of Blake, for certain reasons) are accurate to their names, with Ruby being of English stock, Weiss's family hailing from Austria, Pyrrha growing up in England with mixed parentage (see Mixed Ancestry for details), and Yang and Ren both coming from China. However, it's played straighter in the cases of Neptune and Nora; the former is completely Greek, and the latter completely Irish.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Happens to Jaune and Pyrrha twice (dating, then engagment), and once to each of the other couples (Coco and Fox get married, while Weiss and Blake fall in love and Ren and Nora start dating).
  • The Reveal: The faunus aren’t humans given animal traits, they’re animals granted humanity.
    • Margarethe Schnee is the one responsible for funding Hyde's experiments.
    • Hyde and Heywood perfected the Faunus so they lack the need for the Psycho Serum, and have also enabled mass-production of the Faunus. Sun and Velvet are products of this new technique.
    • There's a plethora of these in chapters 3 and 9 of Aeneus Idola. See the Wham Episode section for details.
    • Additionally, the former chapter reveals that Ren was a member of the Grimm that survived the SDC's attack.
    • Chapter 5 of Aeneus Idola reveals the person who murdered Watts and tricked Pyrrha into taking the Eye of Ra; it was Pyrrha's assistant, Neo.
    • Then chapter 6 revealed the true nature of the Eye of Ra ... in reality, it's a crystal of ebony Dust.
    • But perhaps the biggest one of all is found in chapter 10 ... the albino Egyptian is Salem.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ruby's injury sends Yang on one of these. It backfires.
    • The reveal that Pyrrha possesses the Eye of Ra drives Tyrian into one of these. It also backfires.
  • Scenery Porn: Another common feature of the fics, though more evident from Aeneus Idola onwards.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous references are made to Victorian-era literature such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
    • One major example is Hyde's Psycho Serum, which behaves exactly like Dr. Jekyll's potion right down to the colors it changes when it is brewed.
    • Aeneus Idola contains a few to Indiana Jones, which is natural given that Pyrrha is an Adventure Archaeologist in this AU.
      • It also contains one to Sherlock Holmes in chapter 3's title. This gets followed by a blatant one to the first scene of The Importance of Being Earnest in chapter seven, one to "Don't Give Up" in chapter eight, and a subtly romantic one to "God Only Knows" in the final chapter.
      • Additionally, there's one to the fan base in chapter 9 when the name of the dragon Neo is trying to summon is examined; it's the Arabic form of Kevin.
    • Chapter 17 shows Ironwood channelling Monty Python's The Meaning of Life after Raven kills Cinder in front of a stunned Qrow and Jaune.
  • Shown Their Work: Blake’s apache pistol is a real gun, if also a very obscure one. The author also makes reference to other very real Swiss Army Weapons like the Elgin cutlass and tries to use period-appropriate vocabulary when possible. Also subverted though in that Dezo chooses to incorporate anachronisms whenever not doing so would interfere with the setting or characterization, such as forcing Yang to speak in a posh English accent.
    • This continued since Stewbacca94 took the reins, both with weaponry and real life events. Pyrrha's weapon is a modified version of the world's first repeating shotgun (the Winchester 1887), and both the sarcophagi she finds in both Saqqara and the Valley of the Kings are speculated to be in those places in real life. Also, the somewhat forgotten origin of the fedora as a woman's hat gets touched on in the second chapter.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: In this AU, where the canonical unusual hair-colours aren't followed at all, Pyrrha certainly qualifies. Averted with Nora, due to the author going with blue eyes.
  • Spanner in the Works: Blake's robbery probably would have gone off without a hitch if Ruby hadn't accidentally spilled her drink on Weiss's dress, forcing her to return to her room and notice evidence of the break-in.
    • If Pyrrha hadn't tripped backwards over the stairs, then Tyrian might have let her go unharmed.
  • Steampunk: Dust is the phlebotinum that makes most of the setting’s tech possible. This includes things like airships and clockwork golems, to domestic devices such as hair-dryers and refrigerators.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Gambol Shroud is this of course but in the first few chapters Blake uses an apache pistol, which is a combination of gun, dagger, and brass knuckles. She puts this contraption on the end of a length of wire mesh to use as a kusari-gama, just like canon. As if that weren’t enough, when she’s not using the mesh she wraps it around her arm and uses it as improvised armor.
    • Burning Gold also introduces us to Steel Thorn, Ruby's collapsible voulge which also has a single-shot spike launcher powered by a charge of compressed air and a single charge of repulsion dust on one end which allows her to emulate one of Crescent Rose's recoil jumps. In the epilogue she's also shown beginning to draw up plans for Crescent Rose, which in this setting is half scythe and half elephant gun. Yang, in lieu of Ember Celica, uses a pair of armored gauntlets with a built-in trigger mechanism that allows her to quick-draw a pair of scatterguns out of the sleeves of her coat.
    • Aeneus Idola then gives us the weapons of team JNPR.
      • First, we have Miló. In this series, it's a Winchester 1887 rifle with heavy modification. It now fires crimson dust blasts, has a straight body with detaching stock, and has four blade edges which spring out and converge on each other when the stock is released - thereby giving Pyrrha a sword-form for her weapon.
      • Next, we are introduced to Stormflower; here, it's a pair of modified Reichsrevolvers with customised verdant dust ammunition - with a pair of rotatable bayonets added on later.
      • Then in chapter 6, we see Akoúo̱ get reforged with a whip incorporated into the design - giving Pyrrha the capacity to make it return to her hand, just like she would do with her Semblance in-series.
      • Following that, there's Magnhild. When we first see it, it's an ordinary warhammer, with several fuchsia-Dust hand grenades used in lieu of a launcher. Then it gets the grenade launcher function integrated into the design. And that leaves us with Crocea Mors. In a slight departure from canon, one of the Arc line ended up modifying the blade to contain tangerine Dust, which is this setting's version of haste Dust (which Weiss used in Painting The Town ...), which Jaune accidentally uses to bring down Neo during the fight in chapter 10.
  • Wham Line: "No, you don't understand. I'm not human. I've never been human, not now and not before the experiments, either!"
    • "Let." "It be." "Done." "She shall feed." "The hunger of." "The creatures of Grimm!"
    • "As Seer of the Grimm tribe, and custodian of the Eye of Ra, I adjudge you unworthy of life."

    Belladonna Lilies 
  • Adaptational Heroism: Adam, owing to the fact that the story was begun in 2013, long before Volume 3 revealed him to be Blake's Psycho Ex-Boyfriend. Here he's cold and cynical but the worst he can be called is a pragmatic Anti-Hero placing his clan's well-being above anyone else's.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Blake. And by extension, most of the faunus as well. Just seeing Hyde’s face is enough to give Blake and Victor a PTSD reaction.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The last chapter has this in spades, given that Ruby and Yang meet up with Weiss and Blake a year afterwards to work on a mission together. The author also drops a short list of Sequel Hooks in his last set of notes; not five days after the finale was published, one of these sequel hooks was realised into Aeneus Idola.
  • Bedlam House: Saulbridge Sanitarium.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Jack the Ripper was a faunus who went too long without his Psycho Serum. Blake was responsible for taking him down when it became clear he was beyond help.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At the start of the story's second act Weiss cracks open a safe by using repulsion dust to manipulate the lock's internal mechanisms. During the attack on Ellespont Island some thirty chapters later she repeats the same trick to break open the hatch on the Landsknecht.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A rather chilling variation. Hyde doesn’t do anything to physically torture Blake while she’s in his care, he just drugs her with a serum that accelerates her mental degradation and leaves her strapped to an operating table, causing her to slowly lose her grip on her humanity.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Played with. Schnee Senior almost certainly doesn't know or approve of what Pandora Development is up to, but Weiss speculates that if he did know he'd probably have the faunus rounded up and quietly executed to cover up their existence.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Played with. When Weiss and Blake are imprisoned in Menagerie, Adam locks them up together in a prison cell with a hidden microphone in one corner of the room. Their ensuing discussion about the situation and their relationship with each other is then recorded and used by Adam as proof that they aren't plotting against the faunus, rather than as an admission of some crime.
  • Escaped from the Lab: All of the faunus have this in their backstories.
  • Evil, Inc.: Not the Schnee Dust Company, actually. Blake thinks this is the case until Weiss points out that the company is way too big for even her father to know about and approve of every single thing that its branch companies get up to. Pandora Development is another matter entirely, being formed specifically as a front for inhumane medical experiments.
  • The Fettered: Weiss knows perfectly well that the world doesn't work according to her moral code and sense of honor, but cannot be convinced that that makes either of those qualities worthless, weaknesses though they might be.
    "When we restrain our worst instincts, it's because it's necessary in order to have anything worthwhile."
  • Forgotten Superweapon: Myrtenaster sees use in only a single fight (against Blake) and then is misplaced until late in the story. It's also thoroughly justified in that Weiss left it behind deliberately when she was heading into a situation where carrying a weapon would send the wrong message, then was unable to retrieve it for the next chunk of the story.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Weiss herself bears this trope for a while, owing to the moral greyness of the White Fang situation and the need to figure out which side she should be on.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Blake can’t help but like humans despite being fully cognizant of the horrible evils they are capable of.
  • Mad Doctor: Hyde, appropriately enough, is the most prominent example, but there are several side characters who qualify as well.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The faunus are an entire race of them.
  • Psycho Serum: Both inverted and played straight. The faunus need periodic injections of a serum to help maintain their humanity or else their minds gradually backslide into a feral state. Hyde has a straighter example that accelerates the breakdown process.
  • Sequel Hook: Several are given in the epilogue's author's notes.
    After all, we never did get to see how the curse of the Eye of Ra stalked Dr. Pyrrha Nikos from the Valley of the Kings back to London and how she had to face a trail of murder and mystery alongside Inspector Jaune Arc. And just who are Emmy and Merc working for, and what Dust Company project are they threatening? And will Ironwood's desire to improve the quality of automation, particularly in the face of bio-technology advancements, eventually result in the creation of a certain freckled redhead? And what of the creatures of Grimm? Has the assassination group truly been destroyed, or might they be rooted in an older, more extensive organization.
    • Amazingly, the first hook listed was made reality a mere five days after these hooks were published.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Discussed. Weiss is often accused of being a naïve and sheltered Wide-Eyed Idealist with delusional ideas about the way the world works, especially by Blake. Weiss, on the other hand, considers herself a realist because she only holds herself to her lofty standards, and retorts at one point that if anything Blake is the idealist for being so disappointed that the whole world doesn’t live up to her expectations.
    "That's exactly my point. After all I've done to you, you still went and helped me, and for what? Some code, some sense or feeling that doesn't even exist?"
    "Maybe if more people did have a sense of honor then you wouldn't have to complain about everything that's wrong with the world!"
  • Spider Tank: The Landsknecht is a gaslamp fantasy variant on the idea, armed with two gatling guns, an artillery cannon, and numerous smaller gun ports so the crew can bring their own weapons to bear.
  • Super Prototype: Myrtenaster is an experimental blade built for Weiss’s personal use by the SDC’s engineering department. It’s also the only known device capable of harnessing the properties of dust to throw fireballs and perform other sorts of magic tricks.
  • Take a Third Option: Weiss's solution to the moral dilemma posed by the White Fang and Pandora Development: both the Fang and Pandora are in the wrong, so she and Blake will form their own team and resolve the situation on their own.
  • Take That!: Weiss takes an indirect swipe at a major plot hole in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by lampshading how utterly improbable it is that a completely random and undetected impurity in a chemical sample would be exactly what a potion needs in order to do its job. It's indirect because she's talking about the faunus's Psycho Serum, but that serum works almost exactly like Jekyll's potion.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Defied. Weiss is deeply disturbed by the White Fang's willingness to kill company guards who have no idea that their employer might be up to something nefarious. Some of them, of course, are in on everything but the majority are Punch Clock Villains. Blake eventually comes around to this thinking as well during the raid on the Ellespont Island, horrifying herself when she realizes that she killed three of Hyde's men in under a minute without any hesitation.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The faunus are one of these for the beastmen from The Island of Doctor Moreau, being former animals experimented on with surgical techniques until they became something similar to humans. Unlike the originals however it's more or less stated that the faunus are a near-perfect success, with Blake and Adam being able to live among humans without problems... so long as their supply of Psycho Serum doesn't run out.
  • Worthy Opponent: Weiss wants to see Blake as this for the first portion of the story despite knowing nothing about her.
    It was why, she realized, that she was happy Miss Black wasn't a mad-dog killer or callous murderer. The woman had become a rival, a trial for Weiss to overcome to define herself. A symbol. She was like some kind of reversed reflection, like a photographic negative, or one of those Chinese symbols with the comma-shaped black and white sections. A rival was supposed to be worthy. Like Achilles and Hector, Tristan and Palomides. The value of overcoming a challenge was inherent in the level of that challenge. The Miss Black in Weiss's mind's eye was a person who was worthy of respect, and therefore was worth defeating.

    Burning Gold 
  • And the Adventure Continues: Burning Gold's ending has shades of this. Torchwick may have been brought to justice but Ruby is still planning to become a huntress, and she has this brilliant new idea to combine an elephant gun with a scythe! In the second omake chapter, she is shown to have succeeded.
  • Gentleman Thief: Torchwick styles himself as this, but is too ruthless to qualify as more than a villainous Phantom Thief.
  • Heroic Bastard: Yang is Ruby’s half-Chinese bastard sister. This allows her to get away with quite a bit more than would normally be appropriate for a high society girl, like being an underground pit fighter in her spare time.
  • It's Personal: Yang was content to watch the Phantom Gentleman’s antics from a distance until Ruby got hurt trying to bring him in. Now she’s out for blood.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Junior was already pissed at Torchwick for poaching the Malachite sisters away from him and would have happily given Yang the info she wanted if she'd just asked. Unfortunately, Yang came to him in the middle of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and wound up getting Junior more pissed at her than he was at Torchwick leading to him warning Roman that Yang knew his identity and location. As a result, Yang's blind rage nearly ruins her one chance to bring Torchwick to justice.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Steel Thorn's repulsion dust charge is so strong that it shatters the bottom half of itself the one time Ruby uses it. Luckily it's still usable as a hand axe in that form. Not so luckily, Ruby doesn't know how to fight with an axe.

    Aeneus Idola 
  • Abusive Parents: To varying extents (and for varying reasons), both Jaune and Pyrrha experienced this in their backstories.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The head curator of Exham Museum is Dr. Arthur Watts. He is both mentor and father-figure to Pyrrha. Additionally, the albino woman qualifies big time; her actual name is Salem.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Amazingly, Ren is this when first seen ... to an extent.
  • Badass Bookworm: Pyrrha. By the age of twenty-four, she'd earned a doctorate from Oxford University, invented a unique Dust-based explosive for excavation purposes, went on at least two archaeology expeditions to Egypt (the first of which also happened in real life), can speak at least some Greek, and is cultured enough to appreciate Impressionist art and the Savoy Operas. Oh, and she's also an excellent shot with a rifle and can hold her own with a sword.
    • The impressive part is that doctorates in English universities are usually handed out to people twice the age of Pyrrha, and are only handed out to people who gave a significant improvement or innovation within their field of study. For reference, the youngest person to have ever gained an English doctorate was twenty-five years old - and Pyrrha was several years younger when she earned hers.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The reaction Pyrrha gives to the news of Dr. Watts's murder.
  • Bookends: Aeneus Idola starts with the lead-up to the exhibition that Yang gives Ruby a pair of tickets for in their first omake, and ends with Jaune and Pyrrha chancing upon Ruby and Yang immediately after the second omake's conclusion.
  • Background Music: The work comes with a soundtrack, listed in the author's notes along with their reasons. In order, it goes as follows:
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Eye of Ra, an ancient bronze shieldnote .
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The albino Egyptian woman is one.note .
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the first chapter, we see Pyrrha use a special Dust-based explosive to destroy a pile of debris blocking her path. In the seventh chapter, she and Nora destroy the boat a gang of thieves were hiding in with the same device ... plus two of Nora's grenades; the ninth chapter also shows the original trick as a means of interrupting the attempted Grimm summoning.
  • Cliffhanger: The author of Aeneus Idola seems to be fond of these; chapters 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9 all feature one.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh boy. Chapter 10 features a nasty one, which was inspired by the ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The albino Egyptian finds the Eye of Ra, and uses it to painfully turn Neo into a glass statue over the course of a minute. The albino promptly throws said statue up, and it promptly falls and shatters on the floor. After the albino teleports out of there, a somewhat scared Pyrrha then sweeps up the glass shards and throws the lot into a burning brazier ... only to hear Neo scream her last as her glassy form bleeds out. Ouch.
  • Deathbed Confession: Played with; Ren and Tyrian read the "confession diary" of Dr. Watts after he was murdered in chapter 3.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Jaune has shades of this, but it comes off as part of his strong sense of care for those affected by the crimes he tries to solve. Of course, given that it's Pyrrha he's assisting, his chivalry isn't surprising.
  • Enfant Terrible: If the account of Dr. Watts is anything to go by, then Emerald, his daughter was one.
  • Fantastic Racism: An unfortunate case of this drove a younger Ren to sign up with the group that became the Creatures of Grimm.
  • For Want of a Nail: One night of drunkenness on the part of Dr. Watts ultimately caused the Creatures of Grimm to be founded.
  • Genius Bonus: There's a subtle one in the tenth chapter. The Eye of Ra, which is a sphere of ebony Dust, is described as being capable of controlling and manipulating matter. Pyrrha notes that "matter is the counterpart of energy", the latter of which is controlled by ivory Dust in the AU. Physics nerds in the audience will recognise that this is a Dust-centric proof of energy-mass equivalence (which Einstein went on to prove with his E=MC^2 equation in the real world), and a reference to the idea that matter is a solid, concentrated form of energy.
  • Gratuitous French: Coco, being a Parisian emigrant, slips into this when talking to Pyrrha.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Aeneus Idola invokes this, though not in the fic proper. Instead, the title (which translates to "Bronze Idols"), and the chapter titles are all in Latin. Mercifully, the author provides translations.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ren does this throughout his first few scenes in the work.
  • Humiliation Conga: Jaune gets on the wrong end of one during chapters 7 and 8. First, his investigation gets canned prematurely by his superior, then the credit for the arrests goes to Qrow alone. The next day, his grandfather dies suddenly, and his inheriting Crocea Mors caused his father to hurl abuse at him; thankfully, he gets better.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Neo becomes this by holding onto the Eye of Ra. She's able to hold her own for a while against the entirety of Team JNPR, and she also gains her Semblance ability to conjure illusions.
  • Motive Rant: The ninth chapter features two of these. The first was Hazel trying to justify his actions (because he was ordered by his cohorts to dismantle the Grimm) and asserting that he wanted to return the Eye of Ra to where it came. The second of these was Neo explaining that her getting overshadowed by Pyrrha caused her to do what she'd done.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Watts - but unusually, the character doesn't invoke it at all; instead, his confession does it after he's murdered.
    • Ren in spades during the fifth chapter, and Hazel during the ninth chapter.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Jaune proves to be one in chapters 3 and 4 when he looks after a rather distraught Pyrrha after the murder of Dr. Watts.
  • One-Winged Angel: Happens to Neo when she touches the raw Dust crystal.
  • Precision F-Strike: Jaune, of all people, unleashes a nasty one after his efforts got credited to Qrow.
    Jaune gave Qrow a two-fingered salute as he left the room. “No doubt you're proud to take all the credit for my work, you boozy piece of shit!”, he snarled nastily over his shoulder.
  • Reforged Armour: What ultimately happens to the shield containing the Eye of Ra; it's reforged into Akoúo̱.
  • Religion of Evil: The Grimm are revealed to have their own.
  • Shipper on Deck: Amazingly, Qrow goes like this towards the two protagonists. Later on, both Ren and Nora get in on the act.
  • The Atoner: Ren becomes this in Aeneus Idola.
  • The Mentor: Dr. Watts is this to Pyrrha. Naturally, his murder leaves the latter in a fraught state until Jaune helps her out of it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After getting grilled by his career soldier father over inheriting Crocea Mors, Jaune delivers a succinct, yet brutal one to Colonel Arc that leaves the latter almost speechless.
    Jaune, retrieving the offending sword and shield from the wall, gave a remark that hit Noirtier where it hurt. “Yes, a man who protects the innocent was found to be more deserving of an heirloom than a brute who massacred Zulus by the thousands, helped enslave all that remained, and called it 'civilising lesser men and lesser nations'.”
  • Trauma Conga Line: Arguably, Pyrrha goes through one starting with the murder of her mentor. Next, she fights off a crazed cultist who's after something she found on a dig, and then learns that the person responsible for all of this was her assistant, who she'd trusted and considered a friend. Nora even refers to it as "a conveyor belt of trauma" - which is appropriate, given that the conga line wasn't known about outside its place of origin until the early 20th century.
  • Wham Episode: Two of them are found in Aeneus Idola.
    • The first is chapter 3. First, the chapter starts off with Dr. Watts, who is mentor and colleague to Pyrrha, being found murdered in his home. Later on, both Ren and Tyrian are handed Watts's diary which contains a confession. After being rescued by her twenty-four years before the series, Dr. Watts fathered Emerald with the albino Egyptian. When Emerald developed signs of kleptomania and sociopathy as a child, Watts abandoned her in France after her mother rejected both of them. Eleven years before the series, Watts founded the Grimm as a security force for hire. They duly stopped Emerald from killing Watts five years prior to the series, and Watts decided to resign and hand the business over to Emerald as compensation for his abandonment. Emerald then proceeded to turn the security company into a force of anarchy, bound to a false religion which was a mockery of her tribe's beliefs. It ends with Tyrian going insane from the revelation of his religion being false, causing Ren to abandon the cause.
    • The second is chapter 9. The Eye of Ra has been stolen, and an unusually narrow and unnatural storm is brewing over Westminster Palace. When heading there to deal with the problem, Ren informs the rest of Team JNPR that the target is a politician who'd used the Grimm for bodyguarding. Before he came to Jaune and Pyrrha, Ren had gone and informed him of their involvement in the main fic's events, causing the politician to contact an old friend in the force about this. Little did the man know that the policeman was the one orchestrating the whole thing, and the team find the politician - the Home Secretary, Leo Lionheart - murdered at the top of Big Ben, with the policeman - Chief Inspector Hazel Rainart, Jaune's superior - and Neo identified as the murderers. Then as Hazel explains his noble intent of returning the Eye of Ra to whence it came, Neo shanks him, and kicks him so hard he crashes through a windowpane - and he gets impaled in four places on the fence outside.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pyrrha thinks this almost word-for-word during the first chapter of Aeneus Idola. Given the sort of character she is, it isn't surprising.
    Of all the animals to run in to here, Pyrrha bemoaned as she rose to her feet, why in blue blazes did it have to be these sodding snakes?

    Said the Butler to the Huntress 
  • Awesome McCoolname: Nora's full name is revealed to be Leonora Jennifer Valkyrie in chapter 3.
  • Description Porn: Effectively serves as a B-plot in the work, and it fleshes out how Dust gets used for civilian applications.
  • Groin Attack: Nora inflicts one on Scarlet in chapter one with her hammer.
  • Scenery Porn: The fic gets a healthy dose of it when Ren lays eyes on Nora when the latter enters the Savoy Theater.
  • Shipper on Deck: Coco gets in on this when she sees Ren go balls-out over making Nora's lunch in chapter 2, and Pyrrha shows signs of joining in come chapter 3.
  • Shout-Out: The third chapter describes how the SDC developed their equivalent of the Varilite lighting system, almost a century before the real deal took shape.

    Amaryllis and Aconite 
  • Adaptational Name Change: In keeping with Weiss's family being of Austrian extraction, her father is appropriately named Johannes instead of Jacques.
  • Background Music: The work comes with a soundtrack, like Aeneus Idola. In order, it goes as follows:
  • Badass in Distress: Ruby gets jumped by Sage and Scarlet in chapter 4. Thanks to Nora, it doesn't last.
  • Benevolent Boss: Weiss proves to be one of these in Human Chastity Belt when she decides to hire Ruby and Yang in part-time roles as huntresses, on top of a fairly hefty paypacket for their work.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Nora jumps to Ruby's aid when the latter gets jumped by Sage and Scarlet.
    • In Chapter 12, Weiss and Jaune arrange for this to happen during the upcoming sting operation against Cinder and her allies, courtesy of the former clueing in General Ironwood and the latter tipping off Inspector Qrow Branwen.
  • Biker Babe: Yang and Blake are both this, as far as Victorian England allows at least.
  • Bookcase Passage: It turns out that Weiss has one of these that leads from her home office to her father's home office. However, being in Dust-punk Victorian England, the passage itself is cooler than most.
    Weiss turned towards the bookcase on her left side, then pulled the red binder in the very centre. The bookshelf moved inwards slightly, then slid to the left to reveal Weiss's private lift. It only stopped on one floor; the floor reserved for her father. It seemed such a trite indulgence, but her current office had jointly belonged to her father and her great-aunt when her grandfather built the manor in 1875 and began to lead operations there in his final years; it made sense for Margarethe and Johannes to have near-instant access to the top floor.

    Opening the doors, Weiss ensconced herself within the gold-plated carriage, and pressed the higher of two buttons. The doors shut themselves pneumatically, and the verdant Dust circuits began their work. As the carriage ascended the three floors between Weiss's first-floor office and the proverbial bird's nest atop the Snow Castle, Weiss checked her appearance in the mirror opposite the doors. She looked immaculate, and yet determined.
    Good, she concluded while turning to the doors. Father won't nitpick over my appearance at all. The lift ceased its movement at that point; once the doors hissed open, Weiss pushed out the false wall in front of her and strode out.
  • Breather Episode: After seventeen volumes of plot, chapter 18 serves as one of these; tying up the loose ends of police business and showing Weiss give job offers to JNPR.
    • In fact, chapters 19 and 20 also count as this. The former is a brief lunch for Weiss's birthday, and the latter shows Jaune and Pyrrha's wedding.
  • Canon Character All Along: Vernal's first mate, Vera Brennan, turns out to have been an undercover Sergeant Raven Branwen of Special Branch. Cinder was quite surprised, to put it mildly.
  • Cool Bike: Blake and Yang respectively drive Bumblebee and Ninja while working in the field. The sidecars that Dr. Verhart rigs up for them in chapter 14 qualify as well.
  • Cool House: Both the Snow Castle and the safehouse in Rotherhithe qualify.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting frozen from the inside out after having an eye gouged out isn't the kindest way to go, and Cinder learned this the hard way.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The end result of the sting operation in chapter 16 and the duel in chapter 17. The heroes win on both counts.
  • Flashback: The first scene of the story introduces Cinder, Emerald and Mercury that takes place two months before the story itself picks up.
    • Chapter 3 shows a retelling of the Grimm's recruitment in Belladonna Lilies from the perspective of Cinder.
    • Chapter 5 mainly consists of one that details the backstory of Vernal and her pirate crew.
    • Chapter 9 chiefly consists of one that reveals Cinder's tragic backstory.
    • Chapter 17's first section shows Raven handing over Cinder's ill-gotten blueprints to her boss while chapter 13 took place.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Cinder hadn't gone on holiday as a seven year old, then the Creatures of Grimm wouldn't have been corrupted - and consequently upending the second half of the plot of Belladonna Lilies.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Vernal is this. Born poor on the streets of Paris, Vernal eventually became a highly-sought after courtesan until she was raped by the manager of the SDC warehouse in Calais. She ended up recruiting a group of eight prisoners who were forced to work in said warehouse and looted it, stealing a prototype submarine along the way. Since then, Vernal became the sole pirate captain of note during the 1880's.
  • Gambit Pile Up: Played With in chapter 15, when Cinder's hijacking of the Spring Maiden gets ambushed by Weiss, Ironwood and Qrow's respective forces.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Neptune seems reluctant to help Yang and Nora with their mission in Chapter 11, Yang uses one doozy of a blacksmithing pun to make him change his mind.
    "Oh, come on, Neptune," Yang whined sensually. "Don't leave me in the cold like some musty slag."
    Nora almost choked on air as Neptune thought it over.
  • Groin Attack: When Nora loses three straight games of pool to Ruby in chapter 4, this nearly happens to Ren due to Nora hurling her pool cue at the wall.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Living within the late Victorian period, Weiss and Blake have had to adopt this - to the point where Blake's bedroom is actually connected to Weiss's room by a secret passage.
  • Internal Reveal: There's a jump-cut in Team Meeting that skips past the eight heroes telling one another about the events of Belladonna Lilies, Aeneus Idola and the fic so far.
  • It's Personal: Cinder feels this way towards the Schnee family as a whole, for reasons listed in the Wham Episode entry below.
    • In chapter six, the Submarine Pirates take it personally when Jaune arrests Sage and Scarlet, their informants - by burgling Exham Museum. In return, Pyrrha adopts this attitude when she and Jaune learned of it.
    • In chapter 17, Raven kills Cinder after the latter killed Vernal.
  • Mafia Princess: Cinder is revealed to have been one of these, as the daughter of a leader of a Chinese triad that owned China's Dust mines until 1870 - when Johannes ordered them killed to the last. Little did they know that said princess was on holiday with her grandmother in Xanadu at the time.
  • Noodle Incident: Twenty years ago, Johannes Schnee did something that gave Cinder cause to plot the downfall of the SDC. See the Wham Episode entry for details.
  • Not So Stoic / O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Once Weiss confirms a small detail about a pair of crimes, Johannes Schnee ends up panicking and reveals what caused Cinder's plans to Weiss, Blake, Yang and Ruby.
  • Pirate Girl: As the leader of her crew, Vernal definitely qualifies.
  • Reality Ensues: The pirates weren't expecting resistance when jacking the Autumn Maiden, and therefore brought knives to a Dust fight and lost.
  • Secret Keeper: Blake and Weiss's secret relationship, as of Chapter 13, is only known to one person: Yang.
  • Ship Tease: Chapter 11 sees this get sown between Yang and Neptune, courtesy of mutual, yet suppressed feelings and Nora discovering them.
  • Submarine Pirates: Cinder has hired a crew of these, lead by Vernal, to expedite her schemes.
  • The Leader: Ruby proves her leadership capability when she suggests a plan of action against the attempted theft of the Autumn Maiden. Weiss, who devised the original plan, quickly concurred with it - and it consequently worked.
    Weiss found herself agreeing with the younger woman's assessment. Even though she now oversaw the funding of the Schnee Dust Company's security team and led the investigators while Jonathan Strauss dealt with training and assigning the guards, Weiss hadn't had the years of field experience her employees had. Blake was better than any human could be at stealth, and Yang had long since proven herself to be equally strong and intimidating. But now, Weiss knew that she'd found a great field commander and strategist in Ruby Rose; with her knowhow and resources backing the fledgling team, she now felt more confident in their chances of preventing a robbery.
    • Weiss shows her leadership skills in Team Meeting when planning the protection of the Spring Maiden and delegating various tasks to the rest of the group.
  • True Companions: After their first mission together, Yang and Ruby go out of their way to befriend Weiss and Blake. Both of them don't hesitate to help when Weiss is alerted to more plotting from the villains, and Yang assures Blake that her and Weiss being lesbians doesn't bother her.
    Blake looked at Yang in wondrous amazement. "You don't object to us being sapphic with one another?"
    Yang sighed, and looked earnestly at her colleague. "Given that I'm an acknowledged bastard of a wealthy member of the gentry, I have no right to judge any form of love – especially when it's deemed shameful by society."
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: What Chapter 15 amounts to, mostly - due to the villains driving a prototype tank to the docks to hijack a cargo freighter with two motorcycles and sidecars with machine guns fitted on the latter in pursuit.
  • Wham Episode / Whole Episode Flashback: Chapter 9, The Fallen Triad, is two-thirds flashback to 1870, where a young Johannes Schnee tries unsuccessfully to buy out China's dust mines in exchange for building a massive railway and communications network between Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. When Margerethe Schnee proposes a business alliance with the owners of the Dust mines, we discover that they are Cinder's family and the leaders of a Chinese triad. After said proposal gets violently rejected by Cinder's father, Johannes accidentally orders his head of security to kill the family outright. Once that happens, the murderers find blueprints for an auto-navigation system years ahead of its time, and hand them over to Johannes. The end result? Cinder, the lone surviving member of the family, has until the end of the year to reclaim her family's mines from the Chinese government, elsewise they go to the Schnees. To aid in her task, she's attempting to steal any one of the four top-of-the-line vessels that had said system installed to prove her claim, along with any prototypes that she can get her hands, so that she can restore her family's empire. Her end goal? The complete domination of the world's Dust trade, by eventually buying out the Schnees.


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