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Fifteen years ago, Queen Salem revealed herself to the people of Remnant with an offer: a reduction in Grimm across the globe, but in exchange, five children, one from each nation, were to be delivered to her as a hostage. Now, those children are returning to civilization for the first time, and no one knows what to expect or how they were changed by the experience.
Fanfiction Dot Net summary
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A RWBY story by Selene Sokal, Children of Remnant is an Alternate Universe Fic that asks a very unusual question: what if, fifteen years before the events of canon, Salem revealed herself to the world and demanded a child from each Kingdom? With Jaune Arc, Pyrrha Nikos, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Emerald Sustrai returning to human civilization, how will humanity react?

At its core, the story is not only a character study on its five leads, but it's also a very intense political thriller with plenty of organizations all competing to achieve their objectives at any costs. It also takes a deep look at Remnant's geopolitical status and international relations.

Can be read here at Fanfiction Dot Net.

Has a comedy AU, Children of the Grimmlands, where Salem found she couldn't go through with her plan and actually turned into a decent mother.

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Children of Remnant contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parent:
    • Marcus Black, as in canon. When he's killed, Mercury's only regret is that he didn't get to do it himself.
    • Salem herself. She spent the Claimed's entire lives grooming them to start a war with humanity, punishing them with torture whenever they experienced even the slightest setback to ensure they would succeed; this torture often included starving them and taking their own clothes away to shame them. Jaune got it the worst; whenever he was due to be punished, he would be locked in a dark hole for several days in a row with no food, water, light, or human contact and all of that is without mentioning the fact that she orchestrates his assassination in order to drive his sisters mad with revenge.
  • Accidental Hero: During Pyrrha's rampage in the forest, Emerald accidentally prevents her from summoning the Wyvern Grimm to her by provoking her into a fight.
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  • The Ace: With Pyrrha out of the world for fifteen years, Yang takes a similar role. She's the vaunted fighter with the powerful Semblance, to the point that she even performed Pyrrha's canon feat of beating all of team CRDL at once. She's given the nickname "Unbreakable," and is the leader of team YRRN. This is all largely due to Summer's influence getting her past her Unskilled, but Strong and immaturity faster than in canon.
  • Adaptational Badass: Pyrrha is shown to have far more confidence than her canon self, and, more importantly, has the strength and skill to back it up.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Due to not having the rage issues coming from Raven's abandonment of her, Yang is much more tactically minded than she was in canon; while she can follow orders in canon and gets better control of her emotions later on, this Yang is able to keep an incredibly calm head during her fight with Jaune and was made the leader of her Beacon team.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Pyrrha and Blake, having lived under Salem's caprices, are a bit nastier than in canon. The former is belligerent, paranoid, and ruthless toward those she perceives her enemies. The latter is a manipulative narccisist who has little problem stringing along her own biological parents if it means advancing Salem's aims. Fortunately, they both get better over time.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Jacques is a much better person than he was in canon because Weiss's capture and Willow's death made him realize just how much he was throwing away for the sake of profit. He thus resolved to be a much better person to his remaining daughter.
    • Cinder is far from the selfish, manipulative, controlling psychopath that she is in canon, showing a much wider and nicer variety of emotions than indiscriminate hatred.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Yang, Emerald, Qrow, and Clover, are all confirmed to be gay (Cinder is heavily implied to be gay but it's not outright confirmed), while Taiyang, Velvet and Neopolitan are bisexual.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Raven is apparently much worse than she was in canon; while this isn't demonstrated on-page, Qrow has already completely given up on redeeming her while it took him until Volume 5 in canon to reach that point.
    • Out of desperation and despair, Klein is willingly working with Cinder in an attempt to undermine Jaune's peace attempts and secure Salem's favor.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Because Salem's plan no longer requires the powers of the Fall Maiden, Amber is Spared by the Adaptation and Cinder never gets to taste even half of it.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Ruby at one point refers to a "Nana Maria", clearly referring to fellow Silver-Eyed Warrior Maria Calavera and implying that the two are a lot closer than they are in canon.
  • All for Nothing: After the battle between the Claimed and Beacon, Cinder is forced to face a harsh truth: despite her attempts to ensure she would never be impoverished or be inferior to another person again, throwing her lot in with Salem ensures that she will never accomplish either of those goals, and the only thing she has accomplished is proving herself to be a Dirty Coward who runs away from the consequences of her actions and lies to everyone around her.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • While Weiss' Familiar is clearly her birth mother Willow, it's not clear if it's the actual spirit of the person or if it's just a facsimile of them. Salem implies that Weiss killed Willow by ripping out her soul to serve as her familiar, but even she's not sure, and she's a liar anyway.
    • After the Claimed return to the Grimmlands, it's revealed that Cinder hired Dr. Merlot to convince the Schnees and Belladonnas to assassinate Jaune. With that in mind, it's no longer clear if anything he said during their one meeting is true, since he's the only source who understands the Claimed's auras but has every reason to lie.
  • Ancestral Weapon:
    • Jaune returns the Sword of Ozma to Ozpin as a gesture of goodwill and recognition of Ozpin's famous ancestor. Of course, Jaune is unaware that Ozpin is Ozma.
    • In the final battle against Salem, Jaune somehow manages to summon Crocea Mors, the ancestral weapon of the Arc family, despite having never seen or even heard of it.
  • Anti-Hero: All of the Claimed are this. While they are definitely overly aggressive and their moral codes are nonsensical at the absolute best, they're driven by their love for each other and they genuinely do mean to advocate for peace.
  • Anti-Villain: The Schnees and the Belladonnas are on the verge of starting a war due to their vengeful desires, yet they're grieving family members mourning the loss of their children, so it's hard to not feel sorry for them.
  • The Archmage: Weiss is the best in the world at magic; it's implied that even by the standards of the ancient world, she'd be considered pretty good. Unfortunately, her insanity makes her more of an unpredictable witch than a true archmage. When she temporarily makes herself sane, she is stated outright to be better at magic than Salem, who has had thousands of years to practice.
  • Badass Boast: When Salem tries to cow Pyrrha by reminding her that she once fought the Gods, Pyrrha has a very calm response:
    Pyrrha: Yeah, but you've never fought me!
  • Badass Transplant: Subverted. After Pyrrha cuts off Yang's arm in her rampage, Blake can tell she's considering cutting off her own arm and offering it as a replacement (Pyrrha can grow it back easily). It's unclear if this would have worked or not, but either way Blake talks her out of it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In an early chapter, Jaune and Yang are called to spar in Goodwitch's class. This is a common fanfic tool to establish someone, most commonly Jaune, as an Adaptational Badass; by having a controlled fight like this, authors are able to establish exactly how much better at fighting a character is compared to canon and why, and Yang herself is a common target because she's an expert but not untouchable in the way that Pyrrha is. In this one, Yang and Jaune square up, he gives a decent showing, and then she absolutely pummels him, subverting all expectations In-Universe and out.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Salem's original plan has two in one. The original plan relied on Cinder's desperation to prove herself, her children's lack of moral agency, and the humans' paranoia in order to start the war with humanity that she seeks. Unfortunately for her, that plan failed because her children proved themselves to have more self-control than she previously thought... but it's no matter, because in the process of proving that point, they integrated themselves with Cinder, giving her both their trust and the ability to betray them later down the line.
    • When a fight breaks out between the Claimed and Salem, Blake attacks her head-on and then shouts for Emerald. Salem takes the bait and turns around to block what she assumes is an incoming sneak attack, but instead, Emerald attacks from the front while she's distracted, drawing first blood and buying Pyrrha and Weiss the time they needs for their own attack.
  • Battle Trophy: An accidental case. After one of Pyrrha and Tyrian's spars, Pyrrha successfully cut off Tyrian's stinger, which he then presented to her as a trophy. Although she was disgusted, she didn't want to decline his offer, and it apparently still hangs up in her room.
  • Blue Bloods: The Claimed are all children of prominent families from each Kingdom (and Menagerie). Emerald is the only one who is explicitly of noble blood... or rather, she's supposed to be, but the King and Queen of Vacuo refused to give up their real daughter and just found a random orphan girl instead.
  • Breaking Speech: Salem gives one to Jaune detailing how her plan to have "children" was, in reality, a long con to raise his sisters as weapons capable of wiping out humanity - and managing to put all of the blame onto him in the process.
  • Canon Marches On: The author contemplated retconing Cinder's backstory into her canon one following the release of "Midnight", but they ultimately decided that their original backstory worked better and they're not that different in the long run anyway.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Considering the premise, this story has a surprising amount of funny and lighthearted moments, with stories including the Claimed attending a party and Emerald going on a date with Neopolitan - all of which goes to hell when Kali attempts to assassinate Jaune.
  • The Chessmaster: Cinder, as in canon. She spends the entire Beacon arc doing everything possible to start a war between Salem and humanity, all while appearing to be a relatively reasonable woman to most and an outright mother figure to the Claimed. It actually becomes deconstructed later on, as this is the only thing that Cinder is truly good at, and it leaves her a depressed and self-pitying wreck of a person who can't help but create contingency plans against people who care about her just because she might need it.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After Jaune gets wasted at the party, Cinder threatens retribution against Beacon for "poisoning" him. It takes Summer giving him her miracle hangover cure for her to realize that he really was just hungover.
  • Commonality Connection: All over the place at the girls' night.
    • Emerald quickly connects with Velvet and Coco upon realizing that girls dating girls is allowed, which allowed herself to realize that she was a lesbian. Upon realizing this, Velvet and Coco hug and comfort her as the realization sets in.
    • Weiss and Ruby quickly become close when Weiss begins admiring Crescent Rose, followed up when Ruby offers her cookies that she snuck into the party.
    • Yang and Pyrrha begin to break the ice between them when Yang realizes Pyrrha's feelings for Jaune and offers her advice on the situation, alongside asking Pyrrha for similar advice regarding Blake.
    • After the party, Blake begins to become friends with Ren over their similar personalities and music tastes.
    • The boys get a little too; Ren jokes that the one important thing they all share with Jaune is that they've all gotten their asses handed to them by Yang.
  • Cool Uncle: Watts seems to strive to be this, serving as a mentor to Blake and getting Jaune alcohol for a party.
  • Covert Distress Code: As Cinder and Emerald later reveal, "there's no place like home" is code for "the Grimmlands are compromised and everyone must evacuate immediately".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Marcus' attempt to assassinate Jaune ends in less time than it takes him to pull out his weapon; as soon as Blake sees what he's doing, she teleports to him and kills him instantly.
    • Pyrrha's battle against Beacon's entire population proves hopeless for Beacon's fighters. Despite their best showings, Pyrrha manages to take absolutely everyone on at once while still trying not to kill them, gets blasted with the Silver Eyes twice, and tanks an insane amount of hits - and the only reason why they win is because Pyrrha cuts off Yang's arm in her anger and collapses when she realizes it.
  • Cyborg: Tyrian has apparently been damaged by training Pyrrha to the point that he's more machine than man.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Claimed were tortured extensively by their "Mother" Salem, which included being starved, denied clothing, and, in Jaune's case, being locked in solitary confinement for several days.
  • Death by Adaptation: Jacques reveals that, shortly after Weiss was captured, Willow drank herself to death.
  • Death Seeker:
    • By the later chapters, it becomes clear that Jaune would actively welcome the conspiracy to kill him. Between blaming himself for the torture his sisters endured, the fact that Blake actively tried to murder her own mother to protect him, and his general status as an enemy of all humanity, he would consider death to be a release.
    • Cinder is revealed to be contemplating suicide after her actions almost get Jaune and the Claimed killed. The only reason why she ultimately doesn't go through with it is because she's more scared of dying than she is of living.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Salem trained her children to each have a specialty, meaning that as a team they are physically, mentally, magically, and politically unstoppable. Individually, however, their single areas of skill are the only skills they have, and this fic takes all of them to their logical conclusion:
    • Jaune: The Wise Prince. Jaune is much smarter than he lets on and does his best to secure a genuine peace between the Kingdoms and the Grimmlands, occasionally dropping pieces of wisdom for others in his attempt to prevent a war. Unfortunately, the stress of everyone around him messing up his plans drives him mad later on, and it soon becomes clear that he'd rather commit Suicide by Cop than keep fighting for a peace that no one else seems to want.
    • Pyrrha: World's Best Warrior. Pyrrha is a One-Man Army capable to curb-stomping the entire Beacon population when sufficiently provoked, but in the end fighting is all she can do, and her false belief that Jaune wouldn't care about her if he didn't have an enemy to fight makes her create enemies everywhere she goes. Notably, Salem encouraged this trait in her as a child, preventing her from training Jaune to defend himself by arguing that he won't need her anymore if he can fight his own battles.
    • Blake: Manipulative Bitch. Blake is a bonafide spymaster who can turn any situation to her own benefit if necessary, but it's not a skill she can just turn off, and it leads to her manipulating everyone around her out of sheer habit if nothing else, even when she has nothing to gain from it. It also drives her crazy with paranoia, which tends to make the situation worse.
    • Weiss: The Archmage. Weiss is a prodigious witch, capable of magical feats that even Salem couldn't pull off with her full power. Unfortunately, she is as powerful as she is because she absorbed more of the Darkness than her siblings, so she's childish and all-but completely insane. The result is that she does absolutely nothing to help the situation; every time she tries to help, her inability to understand what's going on around her only makes things worse, and it takes a Sanity Strengthening moment that almost kills her for her to finally help.
    • Emerald: Hitman with a Heart. Emerald was trained in the art of assassinations, capable of shapeshifting and killing any target with no one ever knowing of her involvement. However, she retains a strong moral code despite her training, and the difference between what she was trained to do and what she wants to do leaves her an anxious and self-conscious mess. It takes Neopolitan of all people to tell her that she's simply not cut out for being an assassin, even if she has all of the skills she could ever need.
    • Cinder: The Chessmaster. Cinder is a master manipulator capable of pulling every necessary string to almost single-handedly start a war, but much like Blake, it's not a skill that she can just turn off. Instead of being the calm and confident person that she pretends to be, in reality she's a self-conscious wreck who can barely look at herself in the mirror, largely because she's fully ready to do absolutely anything to anyone, including the people who care about her, out of nothing but the fear that she might need it.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After Salem is killed, Ruby declares that she and Weiss are having a sleepover. It's only after Weiss agrees that Ruby realizes that she has no idea how to throw one because she's never had one before.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In canon, Marcus dies before the story begins in a fight to the death with his son. Here, he's hired to assassinate Jaune and is killed by Blake during the attempt.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • All the other parents hate the King and Queen of Vacuo because, rather than giving up their own child as required, they kidnapped a random street urchin and passed her off as their own.
    • Klein's opinion regarding Jay Winchester. While Klein honestly believes that Salem is a true goddess who deserves his worship, he believes that Jay is simply an opportunist trying to ensure that he'll get to survive Salem's wrath.
    • Cinder spends her entire time in Beacon manipulating events to ensure that a war breaks out on Salem's behalf. Then, when the war actually comes close to starting, Cinder goes to her room and drinks, unable to face the consequences of her actions and lies.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Blake goes in and out of the first conversation with her parents convinced that she manipulated them into feeling sorry for her, all while she doesn't care. The very next section has Kali reveal that she could see right through her, and it pushes her to attempt to assassinate her.
    • Ruby models her social behavior after Emerald, who she believes to be an incredibly confident social expert. The audience is aware that this couldn't be further from the truth, and every social situation Emerald is in absolutely terrifies her.
    • James accuses Ozpin of lying when he says that Ironwood's plan to kill Salem will only work because the world will be destroyed with her. While Ozpin is well known for stretching or hiding the truth when he feels the need to, the audience knows that he really is telling the truth.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Weiss is actually a better mage than Salem, with a more intimate knowledge of the Darkness and magic in general. However, she's all-but insane and locked in a childlike mentality due to her trauma. It says a lot that she is still one of the greatest threats the Kingdoms have ever faced with that handicap. When she temporarily makes herself sane, she is able to find and teleport to Jaune from across the city, which is specifically noted to be something Salem would find impossible.
  • Driving Question: What is Salem's plan and how do the Claimed fit into it?
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Horrifically averted. After Blake reveals how her and Pyrrha feel about Jaune, she tries to pressure them into a threesome so that they can consummate their relationship. However, when she realizes that Jaune and Pyrrha are clearly uncomfortable with it yet aren't comfortable saying no, she's horrified and breaks down. On the other hand, Yang comforts her by telling her that, luckily, she didn't go too far over the line and can make up for it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While it's a stretch to call the Claimed "evil", just misguided at the worst, they all have a very clear love for each other as well as familial love for Cinder, who clearly returns the love despite trying her hardest to believe otherwise. That latter relationship was part of Salem's plan all along, something that even Cinder wasn't aware about.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Winter notices that even Marcus Black doesn't seem certain that trying to assassinate Jaune will be a good idea, and he's clearly wondering just how many will be dead by the time the dust settles.
  • Exact Words: To Ozpin's horror, Ironwood wasted one of Jinn's questions by asking if his plan to kill Salem would work. The plan would work - because the plan involves bringing the Relics together, which would destroy the entire planet alongside Salem.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: When she finally comes to blows with Salem after fifteen years of abuse, Pyrrha opts to use her bare hands above her vast arsenal.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Downplayed; to the audience, it was clear from the beginning that Winter was on her father's side over Ironwood's, but since James didn't see that, her suddenly usurping him from power and all but invading Vale comes across as a betrayal.
  • Familiar: The "Pretty Lady" is Weiss's familiar, her guide in magic. Unfortunately, she's Weiss's dead mother Willow (or at least a shade that looks like her), so Weiss is terrified of her and refuses to get help from her.
  • Freudian Excuse: Cinder reveals to Emerald that, as a child, her village burned down and she watched her parents die, which made her believe that, in a world like Remnant where life and death mean nothing, the only thing that truly matters is power.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While Ironwood's status in the Ozluminati is shaky at best, nobody likes Winter. Summer notes that the Atlas forces in Vale have all but become an occupying force under her charge, all of them are selectively picking what information she sees out of fear that she'll start a war, and even her own specialists have started to get nervous around her, which Summer notes is a recent development.
  • Gambit Pileup: While the story primarily follows Jaune's attempts to negotiate genuine peace between the Kingdoms and the Grimmlands, there are plenty of other groups all competing to achieve their objectives:
    • Blake, Emerald, Weiss, and Pyrrha are accidentally sabotaging his plan.
    • Cinder, Klein, Jay Winchester, and Roman are actively sabotaging his plan.
    • Yang and her team are trying to make the Claimed more comfortable at Beacon and show the world they're not inherently dangerous.
    • The Ozluminati are just trying to keep the situation under control.
    • The Atlas Council is actively preparing to fire the first shot of a war with Salem.
    • Jacques, Winter, Ghira, and Kali are trying to assassinate the Claimed.
    • And through all of this, Salem's plan remains completely unclear.
  • Gathering Steam: Pyrrha is arguably the strongest entity in the world at the start of any fight... but her power builds the longer she continues. While her enemies will inevitably weaken, her attacks grow stronger and her healing faster. During the battle against Salem, this almost lets her stand against Salem's Complete Immortality, but Salem attacks her psychologically, causing her to lose control of her strength and reset back to square one.
  • Grade Skipper: Ruby is implied to be a more normal one than she was in canon. She's still in Yang's year, but mention is made of her being in accelerated programs ever since she was a kid, and she didn't seem to have fought Torchwick and won her way into Beacon that way.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Pyrrha forgoes the use of her Armory when she fights Salem in favor of physically beating the hell out of the witch that tormented them for fifteen years.
  • Government Conspiracy: While Atlas doesn't officially attach itself to the Schnees and Belladonnas in their plan to assassinate Jaune, they clearly know about it and aren't trying to stop it. They even get Kali out of jail after she attempts to kill him, and once that's done they all but invade Vale to finish the war they've now started.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Subverted; Jaune thinks he's pulling one of these when he willingly submits himself for death to the conspiracy, but it's clear that not only is he essentially just pulling a Suicide by Cop and that his death would drive his sisters mad with revenge, it also ends up triggering the conspiracy's remaining moral fibers and they spare him out of guilt.
    • After revealing her betrayal to Jaune, Cinder holds off Tyrian long enough that he can get to his sisters and begin their rebellion. She kills Tyrian, but she dies in the attempt.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Salem's ultimate downfall hinges on the fact that she named Jaune her heir. It was a relatively minor part of her plan and just a political move, but she did forge a magical connection between them. He is able to use this connection to rip out her soul and, with the help of his sisters, destroy her.
  • I Gave My Word: One of Salem's most-repeated lessons for Jaune is that a royal must always keep their word. This is why he is confident that he can make peace work; she gave him the authority to act in her name, and if he successfully makes peace she will honor it. She didn't promise not to sabotage him, though. She even has Cinder set him up for an assassination, and when he survives and returns home she dismisses his diplomatic successes since he didn't secure any real promises or treaties, just good favor from people who are swiftly losing political power.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: At the party, Jaune is so desperate to appear normal to the other teens that he ends up ordering them alcohol and getting absolutely wasted.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After the battle between the Claimed and Beacon's forces, it's revealed that Cinder spent the entire battle nursing a bottle of gin in her room because she couldn't bring herself to partake in a battle that she all-but forced the Claimed to start.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite Kuroyuri not falling in this timeline, Ren and Nora still end up as a pair (in this case, it's because Ren's parents took her in upon realizing she was homeless).
    • Ruby is still in Yang's year in Beacon even though she didn't have her canon fight with Torchwick before the year started. In this case, it's because Salem's existence causes the Vale Council to put more emphasis on the training of Silver-Eyed Warriors, meaning they invited her to Beacon early.
    • Subverted; it originally seems that Pyrrha sliced Yang's arm off in the cafeteria fight, but Yang's POV reveals that it is still attached, if only just barely. And then it's played straight when Summer reveals that the doctors couldn't save the arm.
    • Roman, Neo, and Mercury Black still end up in Cinder's employ.
  • Internal Reveal: Chapter 39 has Jaune learn that Salem was the true mastermind behind his assassination attempt and that Cinder ultimately orchestrated it.
  • Irony: Yang notes how funny it is that Summer was the happiest for her when she came out as gay, even though she's straight while her father and uncle are bi and gay respectively.
  • Keystone Army: Grimm often operate this way, with Alphas exerting control over lesser Grimm; kill the Alpha, and the lessers are disrupted and easy prey. Dr. Merlot's scans show that the Claimed all have their Auras tied up in Jaune's, and theorize that killing him will free them of Salem's control. It's actually the other way around. Jaune is the primary thing keeping them all sane; Salem wants him killed so that his sisters go insane and make war upon the entire world.
  • Killed Off for Real: After a long and tense battle, Jaune manages to kill Salem by absorbing her Darkness and breaking her Complete Immortality.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The fic has its fair share of funny moments - except for whenever Salem is mentioned, at which point the humor completely vanishes.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Self-imposed examples: after realizing their actions almost led to a war humanity could never win, James, Jacques, Winter, Ghira, and Kali all resign from their posts, with the latter four all hoping to stand trial for their crimes.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Summer and Yang are shown to be a lot alike, even if there methods couldn't be more different - while Summer may be relying on the Council and Yang relies on her social skills, both are incredibly smart and headstrong women trying to do right by both the Kingdoms and the Claimed themselves.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Ironwood deliberately never informed Ozpin that he used one of Jinn's questions to see if his plan to kill Salem would work. This backfires horrifically when it inspires Ironwood to create a plan to kill her that involves bringing the Relics together, and when Ozpin tries to warn him against the plan, the friends become enemies.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Blake was trained in the art of spying and manipulation, meaning she is an expert on social cues, reading emotions, and manipulating others.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Emerald is apparently able to read Neo's facial expressions so well that she learns her nickname from them. It's not clear if it's meant to be Played for Laughs or imply that Emerald has some genuine form of mind reading.
  • Mercy Kill: Jacques, Winter, Ghira, and Kali are convinced that killing the Claimed would truly be good for them, since the children they used to be are already dead forever and all they'd be doing is putting down the monsters they've become.
  • The Mole: Klein pretends to be going along with the Schnees' plan to assassinate the Claimed, when in reality he's working for Cinder and telling her everything he knows.
  • Money Is Not Power: This becomes Played for Drama. One of the reasons Jacques is a nicer person is that he spent his life pursuing wealth, and none of it did him any good when his own daughter was taken away from him by Salem. He laments wasting his life on money and not family.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • The conspiracy to assassinate Jaune come to the conclusion that Jaune must be controlling Blake to serve him somehow since Blake was persuaded to attack her own mother in his name. Not once does it cross their mind that Kali, for all intents and purposes, isn't Blake's mother anymore, or that Kali stabbing her brother in the throat may have provoked her.
    • Salem, as per canon. When she holds the Claimed hostage so she can gloat to Jaune, she pins all of the blame for their negative emotions on the fact that his peace doesn't coincide with what they truly want in their lives - to play their parts in wiping out humanity. She conveniently leaves out the fact that she's mind-controlling them at that very moment and has been manipulating them to desire humanity's destruction for their entire lives.
  • Morton's Fork: After learning that the Claimed were tortured by Salem with the intention of becoming Child Soldiers, Qrow and Summer are left with the question of whether or not they should tell Winter. Summer argues that they should tell her because if she finds out that they kept the information from her, Winter will cut them out and fight them at every turn. Qrow then counters with the sad fact that if they tell her the truth, Winter will go ballistic and all form of peace will be completely obliterated.
  • Mundane Utility: Watts ends up having to use his extensive network of spies and connections to buy beer for Jaune and his friends.
  • Mutual Kill: Chapter 42 reveals that Tyrian and Cinder killed each other in their battle in Salem's castle; Pyrrha speculates that Tyrian thought she was finished and moved in to torment her further, only for her to get in one last strike before collapsing.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: James dislikes the Atlas Council pulling him out of Vale and getting ready to start a war, yet in the end this isn't enough to compromise his sense of duty and he ends up leaving the Kingdom.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Jacques has come to regret taking his family for granted and only caring about money, and is hitting the bottle to cope with the stress of it all.
    • Upon witnessing Jaune collapse to the ground in tears while begging for forgiveness for being unable to protect his sisters from Salem, the conspiracy realizes the horror of what they've done and ask for forgiveness as well. Kali, the one who stabbed Jaune, is the most affected by this.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: The biggest reason why Emerald struggles to get over Cinder's death is because she died before they could have any real closure.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • By attempting to assassinate Jaune, all Kali manages to accomplish is pushing the world towards a war and antagonize the Claimed into open combat.
    • If it hadn't been for the conspiracy recognizing the horror of their actions, Jaune would have played directly into Salem's desire for war when he walked to his death knowing full well they would kill him.
  • Odd Friendship: Jacques and Ghira are surprisingly good friends, driven together by the shared loss of their children. They purposely keep their friendship behind closed doors, allowing Ghira access to information that Atlas only wants Jacques to know.
  • Offing the Offspring: Salem and Jaune may not be blood related, but they still consider themselves mother and son, making it just as shocking when it's revealed that Salem ordered Jaune's assassination in order to drive his sisters to attack humanity.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Cinder and Tyrian's duel is enough to wreck the castle's main hall and kill both of them, and we see nothing but the aftermath.
  • One-Man Army: Pyrrha was trained to be a Front Line General, both the leader and the champion of Jaune's armies. With her Armory and black fire attacks, fighting against her is almost literally like fighting a full army with artillery support.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Ozpin gets noticeably sad when he starts talking about his daughters, to the point that even Jaune can see it.
    • After Pyrrha and Emerald's fight in the woods, the Valean and Atlas forces have a meeting to discuss it. Qrow and Summer spend the entire meeting feeling nervous about Winter's reaction... and when they realize that she never has a reaction, it tips them off that she's already planning something.
  • Parental Substitute: Winter reveals that after her mother's death, it was Kali who stepped in to comfort her and help fill the gap that Willow's death left behind. As a result, Winter has complete trust in her abilities and intelligence.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Summer notes that this is one of Ozpin's qualities that she can't help but respect - with everything that he says, it's near impossible to tell if it's just a statement of fact, setting up a new argument, or a thinly veiled insult.
  • The Power of Love:
    • This is ultimately how the battle between the Claimed, the conspiracy, and the Huntsmen of Remnant gets stopped. Blake and Emerald's bluster is revealed to be exactly that when they can't bring themselves to attack Qrow and Amber, Jaune revealing how much he was tortured by Salem provokes the conspiracy into a massive My God, What Have I Done?, and Pyrrha, despite being incredibly desperate and willing to attack anyone, comes to a screeching halt when she realizes that she almost cut Yang's arm off in her rage.
    • The Claimed's love for each other is what finally allows them to kill Salem - when Jaune absorbs her soul and it tries to kill him from within, his sisters all join forces, force her to spread out her efforts, and ultimately allow him to destroy her completely.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Despite her fake pretenses of calmness and wisdom, when the Claimed turn against her, Salem reveals herself to be nothing more than a petty and spiteful brat who thinks that her Complete Immortality makes her unstoppable and resorts to childish taunts and rants to try to force them into compliance.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Yang notes how odd it is that out of everyone requested to visit the Grimmlands following Salem's death, the group of Yang, Ruby, Summer, Taiyang, and Qrow is probably the oddest group of people to be chosen for the job.
    Two of them weren't even old enough to drink!
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Emerald lets this out when she discovers Cinder's dead body in the Great Hall. It quickly becomes a Big "NO!" and then a roar of Unstoppable Rage.
  • Reality Ensues: After Blake and Pyrrha confess their feelings for Jaune, Blake begins stripping so that they can have a threesome and consummate their relationship. In any other story, coitus would ensue and then they'd be in a happy three-way relationship. In this one, Pyrrha and Jaune aren't comfortable with it, and Blake gets about ten seconds away from being a full-fledged rapist before she realizes that she's pressuring them too much.
  • Realpolitik:
    • One of the key parts of the story. Yes Salem is an unrepentant monster, but she is also the head of state of the most powerful nation on the planet. The other nations simply cannot ignore her, or even censure her. As long as they play her games, she will negotiate. Even with her negotiating in bad faith, it's still better than her just sending the Grimm against everyone.
    • This is also one of the biggest factors working against Jaune. All he wants is peace, but even if everyone believed that (which they don't), they have other priorities.
    • After chapter 44, all five of the Claimed are immortal. Mention is made of the world governments scrambling to figure out how to deal with five unkillable abominations instead of just one. Their first move is "give them whatever they ask for and be very happy they just wanted a visit from their friends."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Emerald gives Pyrrha one that doubles as Tough Love when Pyrrha goes on a rampage in the Emerald Forest.
    Emerald: You don't get it. I'm mad at you b-because... Because you're better than me. You've always been the one who I turned to when I needed to not feel afraid. You're stronger than Mother and you shouldn't have to be afraid of anything! And it's... it's frustrating that you're letting yourself get pushed around like this!
    Pyrrha: I'm not getting pushed around.
    Emerald: You are! You stormed out of the room, ran out of the school, jumped off a cliff, and started breaking things and you think this is you in control?
  • Redemption Equals Death: Cinder decides to initiate a rebellion against Salem for the sake of the Claimed, only to die in the rescue attempt when she takes on Tyrian.
  • Reduced to Dust: When Jaune absorbs Salem's Darkness from her body into his own, her body crumbles to dust.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • The Schnees and Belladonnas are working together to assassinate Jaune, which, even if they succeeded, would start a war that humanity is simply not prepared to win. It's clear that their grief has destroyed their sense of judgement.
    • During their battle against Salem, Emerald gets distracted upon seeing Cinder's dead body and flies into a rage. Although she causes damage to Salem, the only reason why she survives the counter-attack she could easily dodge under a cool head is because Jaune distracts Salem long enough for Blake to pull her away.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Jaune rejects Pyrrha, she goes on a rampage against Grimm in the Emerald Forest that ends up leveling a large chuck of the woods. She even almost summons the Wyvern to fight her in her rage, and only stops because Emerald follows her and provokes her into a fight instead.
  • Sanity Strengthening: When Jaune is in danger, Weiss is able to build up her sanity piece by piece; at the end, she is in full control of her magic and the most powerful mage on the planet. However, this is a temporary measure, and liable to make things worse if she tries to hold onto it for too long.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The deliveryman who brings Jaune and the boys alcohol originally objects to leaving the alcohol with minors, but Sun gets him to leave by leaving him a generous tip.
  • Secret Keeper: Qrow and Clover clearly recognize Neopolitan on her date with Emerald but decide to let them be for the sake of not causing a scene.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: At some point, Cinder became aware of a secret that not even Ozpin or Salem know: Emerald Vacuo, the actual princess of Vacuo, is not only still alive and hidden by her parents, but also has the powers of the Summer Maiden. She ends up taking this secret to the grave.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yang encourages Pyrrha to tell Jaune about her feelings for him, hoping that by stepping up and taking charge then Jaune will be all for it. It gets much more complicated when she realizes that Blake is also in love with him.
  • Ship Sinking: The author freely admitted in one of their post-chapter notes that they were aware of all of the romantic subtext they were giving to Ruby and Weiss, but they also confirmed that there was no intention for either of them to get in any sort of romantic relationship, believing that the characters in this particular setting simply weren't ready for that kind of relationship.
  • So Proud of You:
    • Jaune is shocked when the Arcs are happy to see him. They make a token effort to convince him to come back to them, but when he says he gave his word to protect the other Claimed, they are proud that he is still a loyal, steadfast man despite his upbringing.
    • Ozpin tells Jaune that he's proud of the man that he's become despite Salem's influence.
  • Spanner in the Works: Fifteen years of indoctrination by Salem begins to be undone by Yang deciding to throw the Claimed a party.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • The fact that Salem's plan came to a screeching halt fifteen years ago means that Summer is still alive.
    • Salem no longer requiring Cinder to obtain the Fall Maiden's powers means that Amber never needed to die either.
    • Ren's parents are both still alive, as are the people who would have died in the fall of Kuroyuri had it fell as in canon.
  • Split Personality: Weiss has an entire second personality, called Nice Weiss, that is designed to handle more serious situations that she just isn't emotionally prepared to handle. She hates being Nice Weiss, so her siblings do their best to not need her to come out.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: All of the Claimed were tortured extensively by Salem throughout their life, yet they still love her dearly and call her Mother. Yang quickly realizes that, having grown up with Salem all their lives, they truly have no idea how much trauma they've endured.
  • Uncertain Doom: Marcus Black gets an appearance in the midpoint of the story, but there's no mention of Mercury. Considering that they got in a fight to the death before he met Cinder in canon, it's not clear if Mercury is still alive or something happened to make him lose the fight. He's later revealed to still be alive, and is only upset that he didn't get to kill Marcus himself.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Jaune has Super Strength and Super Toughness, but zero combat training. Pyrrha tried to train him once, but Salem cruelly struck at her insecurities by saying that if Jaune learned to fight, he'd have no need for Pyrrha (despite that being blatantly false). Since Salem was setting Jaune up to be assassinated, it appears she specifically didn't want him able to defend himself.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • The Arcs bring Jaune a childhood toy he used to love, a stuffed bunny, in the hopes that it would jog Jaune's memory of them. Instead, it triggers a mental breakdown, causing Jaune to pass out and almost creating an international incident.
    • Blake deciding to try to manipulate her parents fails completely, and all she achieves is convincing Kali and Ghira that she's gone forever and that they need to kill her.
  • Victory by Endurance: Salem is immortal; there is really no situation where she can actually lose, because she can keep going literally forever. The Claimed make great headway against her in their battle, forcing her to utilize ancient failsafes built into the castle itself, but ultimately their strength begins to flag by sheer exhaustion while she remains as fresh as ever. They only manage to win because Jaune exploits their connection to rip out her soul and immortality.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Pyrrha is this to Jaune, minus the girlfriend part, and will kill anything that even makes Jaune remotely uncomfortable.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In-Universe, Torchwick taunts Adam Taurus with what Adam claims to be a purposely exaggerated Valean accent designed to sound terrible and mock him - based on the spelling, Remnant's Valean is apparently the equivalent to Earth's French.
  • The Wise Prince: Jaune is genuinely trying to achieve peace between the Kingdoms and Grimmlands, and despite his young age he is accomplishing much towards that goal. It's a shame that so many different people are dedicated to actively sabotaging him and making the situation worse.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The one good thing that came from Weiss being taken away is that is made Jacques into a more empathetic human being.
  • Womanchild: Weiss was hit with the Darkness the most of her siblings, and it caused her personality to regress to that of a young child. "Nice Weiss" specifically exists so that she can be more responsible when absolutely necessary.
  • World's Best Warrior: Pyrrha, the Eagle, is a nigh-unkillable warrior able to butcher Tyrian Callows with no effort and demolish entire armies of Grimm single-handedly. Any time anyone lasts more than five seconds against her, it's because she is at a severe disadvantage and usually isn't trying to kill them anyway. At one point she curb-stomps the entire Beacon population, and the only reason why she doesn't kill everyone there is because she willingly backs down.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Salem's plan was elegant in its simplicity. Revealing herself and demanding five children caused chaos throughout Remnant. Raising the children as abused Child Soldiers left them unable to interact with the world in a normal way; while it's obvious that if Jaune died his sisters would go insane and start a war, if he lives they'll also eventually start a war because Salem intentionally gave them no skills whatsoever beyond that. And if by some miracle Jaune successfully conquers the world through diplomacy, she can live with that. Not to mention that no matter how pear-shaped her plans go, the fact remains that she has Complete Immortality; she can always just try again later. She failed to consider that the girls (especially Pyrrha and Weiss) are actually far stronger than she is, and thus might actually be able to stop her.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Ozpin gives one of these speeches to Jaune, telling him that no matter how much of a failure he may feel like now, he should be taking comfort in the fact that he's doing the best he can and is doing a very good job advocating for peace.
    • Neopolitan, of all people, ends up telling Emerald that, despite her bluster, she's just not an assassin. She may have the skills and she'd be an expert if she really tried, but it's clear that she's too good of a person to be a true assassin and she should try to find another purpose in life.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Rare heroic example. Jaune uses his connection to Salem as her heir to rip out her soul and immortality. As her original body crumbled to dust, she attacked him from the inside (possibly trying to steal his body for her own), but Jaune, with the help of his sisters, is able to stand strong and destroy her.

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