Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fanfic / Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jaune_arc_lord_of_hunger_7.png
"I just... I just wanted to be a hero."

"Jaune... he's been having... dreams. Memories even, of another man he's never seen before. A warrior that Jaune believes gave him his powers. And not just his power... Jaune, he thinks the man's memories or personality may be overriding or merging with his own. Anyone could tell that Jaune is different now. He's... he's becoming dangerous, both to himself and to others."
Pyrrha Nikos, "Chapter 16: Destiny"
Advertisement:

Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger is a crossover fanfic between RWBY and Star Wars written by WelcomeToEstalia. The first chapter was posted on December 31, 2019. The story is now completed with the final chapter being posted on August 29, 2021.

On his way to Beacon Academy, a chance encounter leads Jaune to stumble across a strange artifact, a white mask which calls out to him. Thinking little of it, he takes the mask with him to Beacon, unaware of the horror he has just unleashed upon the world...

The story explores what happens when Jaune is possessed by the spirit of Darth Nihilus and gains all the latter's abilities. The fanfic also serves as a continuation of Darth Nihilus' story in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and ties up a few loose ends from the Star Wars Legends continuity.

Advertisement:

The story can also be found here on Archive of Our Own.

Now with an extensive Character Sheet and a Recap page.


Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

     Tropes A–B 
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The chapters "Fear" and "Malachor" introduce several potential storylines that end up going nowhere.
      • The terentatek's remark about having not sensed a powerful Force-user like Jaune in "many centuries" implies that someone else from the Star Wars galaxy had previously visited Remnant. This plot point is immediately dropped and never gets brought up again.
      • The mere presence of a terentatek on Remnant opens up the possibility of other Sithspawn like it being present on Remnant. Outside of a few minor Call Backs, the terentatek is all but forgotten about in future chapters. Word of God eventually confirms that, yes, more Dark Side creatures like the terentatek do exist on Remnant, but makes it clear that they don't play a role for the remainder of the plot.
      • After Ozpin fails to glean any information about the terentatek from Jaune, he hints that he intends to keep a closer eye on Jaune as well as personally investigate the terentatek's origins at a later date. Nothing really comes out of this and Ozpin only starts paying attention to Jaune after the events of the Breach more than a month later.
    • There's a scene in "Chaos" where Nihilus uses the Force to mind control a flock of Nevermores, implying that these Grimm will play a significant role later on and paving the way for a potential power struggle between Nihilus and Salem over control of the Grimm. However, this scene is forgotten immediately and those specific Nevermores are never seen again.
  • Absurdly Sharp Claws:
    • The terentatek has claws that can rip apart an armored human as if they were made of tissue paper. A single slash is all it took to destroy Jaune's Aura, tear through his armored chestplate, and gut him like a fish.
    • The Wyvern's talons are able to tear through the armored plating of a military airship and damage the ship's engines without any difficulty.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • In order to condense the plot, scenes from RWBY that Jaune was present for but otherwise played a relatively minor role in are left out. This includes Weiss' fight with the Boarbatusk in Professor Port's class, Jaune's first meeting with Sun and Neptune at the start of Volume 2, the scene where Jaune tries to ask Weiss out to the Beacon Dance by singing a romantic serenade while playing a guitar, and nearly all of the Vytal Festival Tournament matches that featured Jaune as a spectator in the audience.
    • The fic condenses the entire Beacon Academy Initiation (an event that spanned five episodes in the show) into a single chapter.
    • The events of the two-part episode "The Badge and The Burden" are skipped with Jaune giving a two-sentence summary of the episode's events at the start of the chapter "Victory".
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • In the games, Darth Nihilus was given a Mysterious Past with almost nothing known about his life prior to the Battle of Malachor V. Here, he's established to have been a former Jedi who was mentored by Revan and joined the Revanchists to fight in the Mandalorian Wars.
    • Amber's backstory is expanded. She is revealed to have been a Huntress who graduated from Beacon Academy prior to becoming the Fall Maiden.
    • In Legends, the ability to enhance another's Force-sensitivity was a Force ability shown to be utilized by both Palpatine and Vitiate, yet it was treated as a one-off thing for plot convenience. This fic explains that the ability works by manipulating midi-chlorians through a ritual. It's also revealed that the ritual is forbidden even by the Sith since it acts as a Deadly Upgrade, strengthening one's connection to the Force at the risk of transforming the target into a living Force Wound like Nihilus. The implication is that only legendarily powerful Sith like Palpatine have the skill to pull off this ritual without accidentally creating a Wound in the Force, hence why this power was never widely used by the Sith.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Thanks to Jaune's Force powers resembling her own Telekinesis Semblance, Professor Goodwitch ends up taking Jaune under her wing and makes him her apprentice, while he was just another student to her in canon.
    • In canon, Jaune was an Unknown Rival for Cinder and she considered him an insignificant footnote in her plans. Here, she takes more of an interest in Jaune after seeing his Force powers in action during the Breach.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In canon, Jaune's parents allowed him to attend Beacon but otherwise didn't show much support for his dream of becoming a Huntsman. Here, they were extremely overprotective of him to the point where he had to run away from home in order to enroll at Beacon.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Jaune Arc is far more powerful than in canon as a result of the Force-sensitivity he gains from the Mask of Nihilus. This version becomes a Magic Knight with Psychic Powers, the ability to shoot lightning from his fingers, and a Healing Factor. In fact, he quickly rises to become one of Beacon's strongest students and nearly bests Pyrrha Nikos in a straight-up fight, something which would have been unthinkable for his canonical counterpart. However, this comes at the cost of his morality slowly eroding away due to the combined influence of Darth Nihilus' spirit and the Dark Side.
    • In the games, Darth Nihilus was overly reliant on his Force Drain to the point of it being a Crippling Overspecialization and the player easily defeats him in his boss battle. This version has a more diverse skill set, being a Master Swordsman knowledgable in several lightsaber forms and a powerful Evil Sorcerer who wields ancient Sith magic. He's also more action-oriented, being depicted as a One-Man Army who prefers his fights to be up close and personal rather than an Orcus on His Throne like in the games.
      • This also applies to Darth Nihilus' backstory. In Star Wars Legends, he was a textbook example of From Nobody to Nightmare. Here, he's Revan's former Jedi student and was a prodigy capable of going toe-to-toe with a pre-Sith Malak in a lightsaber duel.
    • In Star Wars d20, the Mask of Darth Nihilus only gives non-Force sensitives Dark Side powers roughly equal to that of a Sith apprentice. Here, it gives Jaune the powers of Darth Nihilus himself and doesn't even need to be worn to draw power from it. Subverted later on when it's revealed that the mask wasn't responsible for Jaune's Force-sensitivity, which was the result of an ancient Sith technique Nihilus used out of desperation for a new host.
    • Although capable of posing a threat to even Jedi Masters, terentateks can still be killed through conventional means and Revan's party in Knights of the Old Republic were even able to defeat two at once. Here, a single terentatek is depicted as an unstoppable juggernaut able to single-handedly take on nine Huntsmen with superhuman abilities, survive being shot with aircraft-mounted weaponry, and has its strength buffed up to the point where it could kill almost anyone in a single hit. Also, whereas lone terentateks in Legends were often outmatched when facing 2–3 experienced Jedi working together, the fic's author describes a single terentatek as being able to kill groups of Jedi.
    • During the Breach, the Grimm attack Vale with far greater numbers than in canon and include more powerful subspecies such as Griffons and Beringals, as well as a unique King Beringal variant. Unlike in canon where the Grimm are held back fairly easily by the heroes even before backup arrives, here they actually drive both teams RWBY and JNPR to the point of exhaustion and almost kill the heroes on several occasions. In fact, Jaune's Traumatic Superpower Awakening is the only reason that any of the main characters are able to survive.
    • Amber, the previous Fall Maiden, also gets hit with this. In canon, she was described as being an "inexperienced" Maiden, explaining away how Cinder was able to defeat her and steal half her powers. Here, Amber is established to have been a professional Huntress who graduated from Beacon and has already achieved full mastery over her powers.
  • Adaptational Context Change:
    • In canon, Jaune's friends noticed that he seemed depressed, which was caused by his feelings of inadequacy. Here, it's caused by the Mask of Nihilus' influence on Jaune's mind as well as sleep deprivation from his tendency to stay up all night.
    • Pyrrha asking Jaune whether he believes in destiny. In canon, it was related to Pyrrha being uncertain about whether she should become the next Fall Maiden. Here, it's asked in the context that Pyrrha is referring to herself and Jaune.
    • The scene from Volume 3 where Pyrrha accidentally uses her Semblance to throw Jaune into a wall out of stress is changed so that she intentionally does it out of self-defense when Jaune violently grabs her arm and almost uses his Force Drain on her.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: This fic's version of the Breach has Griffons and Beringels amongst the Grimm attacking Vale. In canon, both Grimm subspecies only debuted after the Breach. Griffons first appeared during the Battle of Beacon while a Beringel made its debut appearance in a character short for Volume 4.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In his original appearance, Darth Nihilus lacked a personality and was fairly simple-minded due to his One-Track-Minded Hunger having overtaken his mind. Here, he's depicted as a patient master manipulator who plays Jaune like a fiddle by taking advantage of his insecurities. Justified as his ghost is confined to an inanimate mask, forcing him to rely on others in order to fulfill his goals.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Alpha/Church from Red vs. Blue gets hit with a bit of this in his brief appearance. While canon!Church has always been a world-class jerkass, he's ultimately a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Here, he borders on being a Sociopathic Hero (albeit one that's played for laughs) and demonstrates a total Lack of Empathy towards anyone outside his own team. This version also has no problem acting as a hired gun for cutthroats and criminals, and is perfectly willing to endanger the inhabitants of an entire planet.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: Justified since the fic is being told from the perspectives of Team JNPR, who canonically don't meet certain characters until long after they've already debuted.
    • Penny makes her first appearance late in Volume 1 of RWBY. Here, she debuts as one of the Vytal Festival's finalists (which is set in the middle of Volume 3).
    • In canon, Neo first appears in the fourth episode of the second volume. Here, she appears right before Pyrrha's scheduled tournament match with Penny (placing her debut in the middle of the third volume's eighth episode).
    • The White Fang enter the story during the Fall of Beacon, as opposed to canon where they were recurring antagonists since the first volume.
  • Adaptational Origin Connection: In Legends, it's uncertain whether Darth Nihilus even knew Revan or Malak at any point in his life. Here, his backstory is that he was a former Jedi who was personally mentored by Revan and held a close friendship with Malak.
  • Adaptational Species Change:
    • In KOTOR II, the Twin Suns were a pair of Twi-lek assassins. Here, the duo are changed to being squid Faunus from Mistral.
    • In Star Wars d20, the players had a variety of different species to play as. However, all the species were organic and the players couldn't roleplay as droids. This is not the case here, where the characters meant to represent the players are Alpha and his team, all of whom are droids.
    • In the d20 mini-adventure, the smuggler group Sando's Boys consisted of mostly humans with their eponymous leader being the only known exception. Here, the gang's members are described as being made up of various Humanoid Alien races.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: In the Star Wars: Saga Edition mini-adventure, the Mask of Darth Nihilus gave its wearer Force powers equal to that of a Sith apprentice, at the cost of slowly encouraging the wearer to destroy themselves. Here, Nihilus's mask anchors his ghost to the mortal realm and allows him to hijack the body of its wearer.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Darth Nihilus is much, much worse in this fic than his Legends counterpart ever was. In the games, Nihilus was a Tragic Villain being forced to consume planets by his Horror Hunger and it's unknown whether he was truly evil or not. Here, he is a Card-Carrying Villain that actively seeks to bring about the end of the universe by devouring all life. This version also encourages rape and enjoys making other people suffer to the point where he will go out of his way to Kick the Dog.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The entire subplot of Jaune being blackmailed by Cardin is removed when Jaune unknowingly uses the Jedi mind trick to get Cardin to back off and leave him alone.
    • The Ursa Major that attacks Jaune and Team CRDL during their field trip to Forever Fall is removed entirely and its role is instead given to a terentatek.
    • Zwei is omitted from the story and doesn't appear during the Breach or alongside Yang during the Fall of Beacon. Ruby mentions him once in "Gnawing", but that's about it.
  • Admiring the Abomination:
    • When Jaune encounters the terentatek in "Fear", Nihilus briefly speaks through Jaune and identifies the creature by name while talking with a mixture of fear and respect.
    • As opposed to everyone else who reacts to Darth Nihilus's appearance with terror and hostility, Cinder finds the Sith Lord intriguing and watches in admiration as he mercilessly kills dozens of students and civilians.
    • When Darth Nihilus sees the Grimm in-person for the first time, he finds them enchanting and describes them as beautiful, while feeling envious of whoever created them.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: After using the last of his strength to help finish off the terentatek in "Fear", Jaune succumbs to his injuries sustained while fighting the monster and blacks out. He spends the next few days in a coma as he recovers in the hospital.
  • Age Lift:
    • Cinder's canon age is hard to pin down, but it's safe to assume she's at least a full-grown adult, albeit one who can masquerade as a teenager; here, an offhand comment from Nihilus calls her a teenager.
    • Like Cinder, Adam's canon age is left vague, though the voice actors for Blake and Yang estimate him to be in his early-to-mid twenties. Here, Adam is referred to as a teenager by the narration.
  • Aliens Speaking English: In all the flashbacks of Nihilus' past that Jaune watches through his dreams, he is able to understand what everyone is saying despite the fact that they are speaking in Galactic Basic which Jaune should have no means of understanding.
    • Subverted and justified with Darth Nihilus. During his confrontations with Cinder and later Ozpin's group, it initially appears as though he's speaking English. However, comments from other characters quickly reveal that he's actually speaking with the same indecipherable Starfish Language from KOTOR II. Cinder, Ozpin, and Pyrrha could only understand Nihilus because he was telepathically linking his mind with theirs when he spoke. Everyone else only hears a bunch of garbled, distorted sounds come out of Nihilus' mouth when he talks.
  • Almost Dead Guy: At the end of "Nihilus", Qrow sacrifices himself to shield a random civilian from the explosion caused by Ironwood's airship crashing into Beacon. The blast sends him flying into one of Beacon's empty hallways before he's impaled through the stomach by a piece of the airship's wreckage. By the time Ironwood and Penny find him, Qrow has lost too much blood and is on the verge of death. Just before he passes on, Qrow remembers that Ruby's scythe Crescent Rose was destroyed by Nihilus and entrusts Ironwood to give his weapon Harbinger to Ruby so that she won't be left defenseless.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Initially, it's unclear when the story takes place in relation to the Star Wars timeline with the author claiming that it's a spoiler. "Legends" puts the events of the fanfic over a century after the Galactic Civil War. The epilogue reveals that the fic is set in 127 ABY, just before the events of Star Wars: Legacy.
  • Anyone Can Die: This trope is in full effect during the Fall of Beacon as no major character is safe from being killed off. The events of "Nihilus" and "Chaos" see Roman die; Cinder, Emerald, Mercury, and Qrow all bite the dust in "Death"; Adam is killed by Nihilus in "Vengeance"; and "Sorry" sees the deaths of Ironwood, Penny, Pyrrha, and Jaune.
  • Arc Welding: "The Mask of Darth Nihilus" mini-adventure from Star Wars d20 is tied together with a sidequest from Star Wars: The Old Republic. In The Old Republic, while playing as the Smuggler, the player helps the Jedi Nariel Pridence find Nihilus's holocron. Here, it's established that the holocron was actually a container holding Nihilus's mask. While transporting the holocron through hyperspace, Nariel is killed by Nihilus's ghost and her ship is set off course. The ship is eventually found and looted by the Wavelength Gale, who take Nihilus's mask to their hideout on Volik, which is the setting for the aforementioned mini-adventure from d20.
  • Arc Words: Hunger.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • At the end of "Leadership", Ruby discusses with Jaune what being a leader is really about. She finishes her speech by telling Jaune that a leader shouldn't hide things from their team. When Jaune snaps that he's not hiding from his team, Ruby calmly asks why he's sneaking outside alone in the middle of the night. Jaune is unable to come up with a response to that.
    • In "Destiny", Pyrrha confronts Jaune over how he's been keeping secrets from her and makes her point by asking him if he was ever planning to tell her that his powers could drain Grimm. Jaune responds by opening his mouth to protest, only to pause as he realizes that he is unable to come up with an answer. He then closes his mouth and looks away, breaking his eye contact with her.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: At the start of "Breach", Weiss slaps Jaune across the face when he confesses to her that he accidentally used his powers to brainwash her into being his date for the Beacon Dance.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Mask of Darth Nihilus becomes one for Jaune. From the moment he lays eyes on it, he feels drawn to the mask. As his Force-sensitivity grows, Jaune spends more and more of his nights sneaking out of his dorm and meditating next to the mask in hopes of learning more from it. After the Breach, Jaune starts to secretly carry the mask everywhere with him and rubs it whenever he needs to feel strength or certainty. By "Destiny", this has turned in an almost Gollum-like obsession and the mere thought of being separated from the mask is enough to send Jaune into a blind rage of paranoia.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: The villains all make their moves during the Vytal Festival. Nihilus's spirit takes over Jaune's body and goes on a murder spree, killing dozens of students and tourists as well as all but destroying Beacon Academy by ramming Ironwood's airship into the school. Cinder takes advantage of the chaos Nihilus causes to enact her own plan and broadcasts footage of Nihilus's slaughter to everyone watching the Vytal Tournament, creating a worldwide panic that causes the Grimm to overrun Beacon.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: From the moment they're introduced, Qrow and Ironwood are shown to be Headbutting Heroes prone to constant bickering and requiring Glynda's intervention to back down. During the Battle of Beacon, when Ironwood stumbles across an injured Qrow, the first thing Qrow does is bemoan about how he doesn't want Ironwood's face to be the last thing he sees before blacking out. Despite this, Qrow spends his dying moments entrusting Ironwood with a Last Request to make sure his weapon Harbinger is passed down to Ruby. His last words are telling Ironwood that he considers him a good friend. For his part, Ironwood treats Qrow's dead body with solemn respect and immediately sets out to find Ruby in order to fulfill Qrow's dying request.
    Qrow: Heh. You know Jimmy… I always thought… you were a stubborn asshole. But… you're also a good friend.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • In the chapter "Legends", Alpha's team is trapped in a Mexican Standoff with Sando's pirates and Collan's cultists. Before anyone is able to shoot each other, Nihilus's ghost materializes in front of them all and kills the latter two, leaving Alpha and his droids victorious without having blood on their hands.
    • Roman Torchwick is killed (albeit indirectly) by Darth Nihilus, when the airship he was on is pulled down from the sky by Nihilus's Force telekinesis and crashes into Beacon.
    • Nihilus is later responsible for Cinder, Mercury and Emerald's deaths. He kills Mercury and Emerald in battle and Cinder stabs herself in the heart to prevent Nihilus from seizing control of her mind.
    • In "Vengeance", Nihilus is also the one who ultimately kills Adam Taurus.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Deconstructed by Jaune's use of the Dark Side. The Dark Side is fueled by embracing negative emotions and is ineffective without them. In order to use the Dark Side to its full potential, Jaune has to use it for evil. And because Evil Feels Good, Jaune quickly gets addicted to using the Dark Side without restraint.
  • Bait the Dog: During the final arc, it seem as though Pyrrha, Penny, and Amber are all going to be Spared by the Adaptation due to Nihilus' involvement causing the events of Volume 3 to veer Off the Rails. They all die anyway, albeit in different ways than in canon.
    • Penny's tournament match with Pyrrha never happens because Nihilus' appearance forces Cinder to launch her plan early. She is still destroyed by Nihilus when he telekinetically crushes her body into crumpled ball.
    • Cinder's death results in Pyrrha becoming the new Fall Maiden and Amber's soul surviving the process and Sharing a Body with her. Despite putting up a great fight, Nihilus manages to kill both her and Amber by impaling Pyrrha through the stomach with his sword.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • All Jaune ever wanted was to be strong enough to protect the people that he loves. Nihilus's mask gives him that power, at the cost of alienating him from the very people he once loved.
    • Amber had spent most of her time as the Fall Maiden wanting to travel across the world and use her powers to help those in need. After her last argument with Ozpin, she finally got her wish, only to be attacked, have her powers stolen, and put into a coma by Salem's followers.
    • Many decades ago, the Apex Society wanted to find the Mask of Nihilus in hopes of reawakening Nihilus' spirit. They succeed, only for Nihilus to immediately kill them all and feed on their Force energy.
  • Begin with a Finisher:
    • When Nihilus goes up against Adam Taurus, he doesn't even bother trying to toy with him and opens their fight by immediately trying to drain his life. In "Legends", this attack resulted in a One-Hit Kill on both occasions where he used it. Unlike Nihilus' previous opponents, Adam is able to dodge it at the last second thanks to his natural Super Reflexes.
    • The Final Battle between the remaining heroes and Nihilus in "Sorry" starts out this way. Since Nihilus knows that two of his opponents (Pyrrha and Ozpin) are powerful magic users, he drops his usual Smug Super act and tries to kill them from the get-go by unleashing a massive Force Drain. Ozpin blocks the attack by using his magic to generate a forcefield.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Darth Nihilus, or rather his ghost, is the central antagonist of the fanfic. He's responsible for Jaune's gradual turn to the Dark Side and is plotting to take control of Jaune's body. However, Cinder Fall is still a major threat and she orchestrates several major events in her bid to destroy Beacon and steal the rest of the Fall Maiden's power.
    • As part of a Sequel Hook, the epilogue sets up Salem and Darth Krayt as the future Big Bads for a possible sequel. Salem is seeking to claim the Mask of Nihilus' power for herself while Krayt is on his way to Remnant in order to eliminate Nihilus as a potential rival.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Collan Eislo is a wannabe Sith searching for the Mask of Nihilus due to his belief that Nihilus' spirit can grant him Force-sensitivity. From the moment he's introduced, he's made out to be a Spoiled Brat whose only remarkable trait is being slightly Force-sensitive. His enemies don't take him too seriously and see him as a pampered rich kid in way over his head. He ends up being unceremoniously killed off by Darth Nihilus, the very being he sought to summon from the mask. For his part, Nihilus finds Collan pathetic and considers him unworthy of even being a Sith neophyte (the lowliest rank of the Sith).
    • Cinder Fall ultimately turns out to be this. Unlike the other examples of this trope present in the fic, Cinder is a legitimately dangerous villain and in any other story, she would easily qualify as the Big Bad. However, here she is overshadowed by Darth Nihilus, who provides a much bigger threat to the setting as a whole. When she goes up against Nihilus in "Death", she is outclassed by the Sith Lord and dies shortly afterwards.
    • Adam Taurus views himself as some great revolutionary destined to spark a global Faunus uprising. He thinks that the Fall of Beacon is his main event and treats it as the culmination of his lifelong revenge against the Schnee family. In reality, he's an Unwitting Pawn for Cinder and serves as little more than a stepping stone for her true goal of stealing the Fall Maiden's powers. During the Battle of Beacon, he does little to contribute to the battle itself and instead wastes most of his time trying to settle a petty vendetta with his ex-girlfriend. When faced with Darth Nihilus, he is easily overpowered and dead in seconds once Nihilus gets his hands on him.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In "Fear", right as the terentatek is about to impale Pyrrha with its claws, Ruby swoops in with her Semblance and moves Pyrrha out of the way.
    • Near the end of "Nihilus", right as the titular villain has Ruby dead to rights, Flynt Coal blasts him away with his trumpet.
  • Big Eater: Starting in "Hunger", Jaune suddenly develops an insatiable appetite and gorges on all of Beacon's cafeteria food. This surprises his teammates since he had previously not been a big eater. This is caused by the Mask slowly transforming Jaune into a "wound in the Force" much like Nihilus.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Nora screams "NO!" when Jaune is nearly disemboweled by the terentatek in "Fear".
    • After seeing how Jaune is being influenced by Nihilus, Pyrrha suggests out of desperation to allow the person that stole Amber's powers to also take Jaune's. Ozpin is understandably not to keen on that idea and reacts by slamming his cane into the ground and shouting "No!".
    • When Pyrrha explains that she told Ozpin about Jaune's possession in order to help him, Jaune, already becoming The Paranoiac, screams "NO!" and accuses Pyrrha of "selling him out" to Ozpin and Ironwood.
    • Blake has this reaction in "Vengeance" when she sees Adam cut out Weiss's eyes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Overall, the story ends on a bitter note with some silver lining.
    • Jaune redeems himself and defeats Darth Nihilus, but at the cost of his own life. On the sweet side: the City of Vale is saved, Jaune is remembered as a hero by the public, Cinder and all her associates are dead, Adam is wiped out alongside many of the White Fang's extremists, and the Mask of Nihilus is locked away in Beacon's Vault with Ozpin being determined to find a way to destroy it. On the bitter side: Beacon Academy is annihilated during the final battle; Pyrrha, Qrow, Ironwood, Penny, and hundreds of others have perished, Nora and Ren are left emotionally scarred by their teammates' deaths, Weiss has lost both her eyes, Blake has gone AWOL after losing her faith in humanity, and Glynda's injuries leave her crippled for life. Jaune's death also means that everything Pyrrha went through in her quest to save him was completely meaningless. Furthermore, Salem is still out there and has set her sights on Nihilus' mask, meaning that Nihilus may not remain imprisoned for long. Darth Krayt is also revealed to have sensed Nihilus' presence and the One Sith are now headed for Remnant.
    • Ruby becomes the new Fall Maiden and Salem no longer has the Maiden's power under her thumb. However, as a Silver-Eyed Maiden, Ruby is now Salem's number one target and will be hunted for the rest of her life. She also has suppressed PTSD from having lost her uncle, her school, and three of her closest friends. Fortunately, her teachers are aware of this and are doing everything they can to help her cope with her losses.
    • Unlike in canon where the Fall of Beacon divided humanity and created distrust between the four kingdoms, Ozpin is able to use the tragedy of what happened to unite humanity. Ironwood's army successfully defends the City of Vale from the Grimm and helps restore the CCT network, leading to Atlas' military being hailed as heroes worldwide. However, while Ozpin is able to uphold The Masquerade, he does so by covering up everything that happened and pinning all the blame for Nihilus' crimes on the White Fang — a move that's guaranteed to set back human-Faunus relations by decades and foster even more discrimination against the Faunus.
    • While the One Sith picking up on the Force Wound created by Nihilus's resurrection is a bad thing, they are not the only ones to have sensed it; Kol Skywalker and the Jedi Knights felt the disturbance as well, and are on their way to find Remnant and lend their help to whoever may need it.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: The Remnantians (as Nihilus has taken to calling the humans of Remnant) are unlike any Human Subspecies Nihilus has ever encountered since unlike the other species in the galaxy, the Force doesn't flow through their bodies, instead weaving around them to form a forcefield known as Aura. Also, the Remnantians each have a unique superpower called Semblances which they draw from the Force, despite not having a connection to the Force.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: While his body is possessed by Nihilus's soul, Jaune's eyes turn pitch black in color.
  • Blackmail Backfire: When Cardin tries to blackmail Jaune with the knowledge that his transcripts to Beacon were forged like in canon, Jaune uses the Jedi mind trick to make Cardin back off on his threat and never bother him again.
  • Blade Lock:
    • During a flashback in "Dreams", a younger Nihilus and Alek lock their lightsaber blades in the middle of their sparring match. Alek breaks the stalemate by using the Force to throw pebbles at Nihilus's face.
    • In "Death", Cinder gets into this with Nihilus, locking her ten-foot Flaming Sword with the blade of Nihilus's Crocea Mors. All the while, Cinder keeps up with Nihilus's Super Strength by using her Maiden powers to shoot out flames from her feet and use them as thrusters. Nihilus is forced to break off the lock when Cinder's Hot Blade starts melting through his sword, though he's smart enough to move to the side. This causes Cinder to lose her balance from the sudden acceleration and go tumbling forward.
    • Winter gets into this twice during her duel with Adam in "Vengeance". She locks blades with him at the start of their duel when tries to lash out at Yang with his sword. Near the end of their duel, Winter and Adam lock their blades a second time, which Adam breaks by head-butting Winter in the face.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jaune later discovers that as a side effect of drawing power from Nihilus's mask, he's developed the same Horror Hunger that drove Nihilus insane.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • When Ren checks on Jaune after the terentatek tears his stomach open, blood gurgles out of Jaune's mouth as he tries to talk, indicating just how serious his wounds are.
    • After Nihilus uses Crocea Mors to impale Emerald from behind, blood is shown pouring out of Emerald's mouth shortly before she dies.
    • Near the end of "Sorry", Nihilus vomits out blood as his body starts dying from the psychic trauma caused by killing someone that his host had unknowingly created a Force bond with.
    • Both Pyrrha and Jaune have blood pour from their mouths shortly before their deaths due to being stabbed through the stomach.
  • Bookends: The story starts and ends with the Mask of Nihilus being hidden away in a sealed off chamber.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu:
    • During the showdown between Cinder and Nihilus, there's a moment when Cinder briefly gains the upper hand. She redirects Nihilus' Force lightning back at him, shattering his Aura and stunning him. She follows this up by stabbing both of her Flaming Swords into his collar bones while Mercury and Emerald send the Dark Lord to his knees with a barrage of attacks. As the trio learn the hard way, this only pisses Nihilus off and he quickly recovers before brutally killing Emerald and Mercury, and beating Cinder into submission.
    • While Darth Nihilus is ultimately defeated and his spirit is removed from Jaune's body, it comes at the cost of Ironwood, Penny, Pyrrha, and Jaune's lives as well as the total destruction of Beacon Academy. Becomes a literal case in the epilogue, which shows Ozpin did break one of his arms while fighting Nihilus. The battle left Glynda in an even worse shape, leaving her confined to a wheelchair due to the severity of her injuries.
  • Bullet Catch: Taken Up to Eleven in "Nihilus". When a squad of Atlesian soldiers and androids open fire on Darth Nihilus, Nihilus uses the Force to catch the thousands of bullets being shot at him mid-air.

     Tropes C–D 
  • The Cameo:
    • Revan and Malak appear in one of Jaune's dreams of Nihilus' past, where they're shown training a younger Nihilus in lightsaber combat.
    • Darth Traya and Darth Sion both finally appear in Jaune's dream of Nihilus' first meeting with them in "Gnawing".
    • Meetra Surik and Visas Marr appear in "Legends" where Nihilus' death on the Ravager is shown from Meetra's perspective.
    • The Voidhound, aka the Smuggler character from The Old Republic MMORPG briefly appears in "Legends" where he says his goodbyes to Nariel during a flashback.
    • The epilogue sees various Legacy characters like Kol and Cade Skywalker, Wolf Sazen, and Darth Krayt all make an appearance.
  • Canon Welding: According to Word of God, the Brother Gods in this fic are Celestialsnote  and Remnant is located within the Unknown Regions of the Star Wars galaxy. Additionally, both Aura and the magic on Remnant are made into extensions of the Force.
  • Can't Spit It Out: A lot of pain and suffering could have been avoided had Jaune told either his teachers or friends about the Mask of Nihilus. However, despite plenty of opportunities to come clean, he just can't seem to spit it out. At first, it's a result of Nihilus's spirit influencing Jaune's mind and compelling him to keep silent. Later on, Jaune keeps the mask a secret out of his own free will because he's become paranoid that everyone is trying to steal it from him.
  • Cargo Cult: When Alpha and his droids drop Nihilus's mask into Remnant's atmosphere, the container holding the mask crash lands near a monk, who assumes the mask is a gift from the Brother Gods and eventually forms a cult surrounding it.
  • Catch and Return:
    • During the Breach, Jaune kills a Nevermore by using the Force to catch the Feather Flechettes it hurls at him mid-air and send them flying back at the Grimm.
    • When Atlesian soldiers try shooting Darth Nihilus with their assault rifles in Chapter 18, he uses the Force to catch each of the thousands of bullets flying towards him. He then uses the bullets to form a dome around himself before using his telekinesis to send the bullets out in every direction, killing the soldiers as well as some bystanders caught in the crossfire.
    • Later in the same chapter, when Ruby fires two Dust rounds at Nihilus, he uses the Force to catch both bullets and fling them at Ren and Nora.
  • The Cavalry:
    • In the chapter "Fear", right as JNPR is about to be overwhelmed by the terentatek, Professor Goodwitch and team RWBY arrive and provide some much needed back-up.
    • Subverted in Chapter 18. Just as Nihilus has defeated most of the heroes and Ruby is about to lose hope, reinforcements arrive in the form of more Huntsmen, including FNKI, BRNZ, and even Raven herself. This isn't enough to defeat Nihilus, however, and he defeats everyone by using the Force to pull Ironwood's airship down from the sky and crash it into the school grounds where everyone was fighting.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless:
    • Like in canon, hours before the Breach, Jaune is contacted on his Scroll by Ruby, who attempts to warn him about Roman's plan to unleash Grimm into Vale through the subway. Since she's deep underground, all Jaune hears are garbled noises over his phone before Ruby gives up and hangs up.
    • When Ruby and Pyrrha are separated from their teammates during the Battle of Beacon, Ruby tries to contact Weiss and Blake on their Scrolls, only to find that her Scroll was broken from her earlier fight with Nihilus. This gets subverted when Pyrrha assures Ruby that her Scroll still works, though the pair are interrupted by some Beowolves before they use it. The duo then decide to hold off on calling their friends until they're finished clearing out the Grimm from the area and move to a more secure location.
  • Central Theme: Power at a Price; The story explores the idea that great power often comes at a staggering cost through it's main characters.
    • This is shown in the character of Jaune. At first, the Force powers that Jaune gains from Nihilus's mask seem to be the best thing that's ever happened to him. However, the more developed Jaune's connection to the Force becomes, the closer he slips to the Dark Side. Later on, Jaune willingly falls to the Dark Side during the Breach in order to obtain the power he needs to save his friends' lives. This comes at the cost of him losing his two most important qualities — his kindness and empathy — as well as eventually destroying his relationships with his friends.
    • Following his transformation into a parasitic Force entity, Nihilus becomes more powerful than he could have ever imagined. However, this costs him his very identity as he becomes a near-mindless force of nature whose entire existence is defined solely by the power he possesses rather than the person he used to be. He also loses his ability to choose as he is controlled by his hunger and has no choice but to try and satiate it.
    • In "Death", Pyrrha successfully has Amber's Aura transferred into her body and becomes the new Fall Maiden. However, the process merges Amber's personality and memories with Pyrrha's. Pyrrha loses her individuality as her mind is left in a dissociative state due to the mental tug-of-war between Pyrrha and Amber's personalities.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The famous "Jedi mind trick" is given this treatment as it is established to be a form of Mind Rape for the recipient. Weiss describes feeling as though something inside her is controlling how she thinks and feels, all while she's fully conscious of what's going on.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Not to say that the fic didn't have its dramatic moments, but once Nihilus takes over Jaune's body, things start to degenerate hard and fast. Numerous named characters get graphically killed, Anyone Can Die goes into full effect, and the situation seems more and more hopeless as Nihilus grows more powerful.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Due to the presence of Darth Nihilus, the Fall of Beacon becomes a bloodbath with at least sixteen named characters being killed off alongside all of the White Fang's forces and every single Grimm in the area. Out of the major characters, only Team RWBY, Nora, Ren, Ozpin, Glynda, and Winter are alive by the end.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • In "Dreams", Jaune mentions how his sword originally belonged to his great-great-grandfather, who used it to fight in the Great War. It's eventually revealed in a flashback that said family member was the one who originally hid the Mask of Nihilus in the cave from the prologue.
    • While shopping for a new Huntsman outfit to replace his torn hoodie and armor chestplate, Jaune picks a robed assassin garb which the store clerk explains was based off the outfits worn by a death cult that was active during the Great War. A flashback in "Legends" reveals that the cult was originally founded by Darth Nihilus masquerading as the God of Darkness.
    • The chapter "Legends" uses a quote from Darth Krayt of Star Wars: Legacy fame as its epigraph. Krayt later appears in the epilogue and is set up as the future Big Bad of a potential sequel.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • After building up Nihilus' past and his influence on Jaune, "Destiny" ends with Jaune succumbing to Nihilus' control and donning the Mask of Nihilus, leading his body to get hijacked by Nihilus' spirit as Jaune's friends watch in horror. The next chapter keeps the suspense high by being a Whole Episode Flashback about Nihilus' history prior to Jaune's encounter with the mask.
    • The chapter "Nihilus" ends on a few. Qrow is seemingly killed. Ruby and Pyrrha are separated from the others. The White Fang and Grimm launch an all-out assault on Beacon. All the while, Darth Nihilus is roaming the school grounds and killing anything that he encounters.
    • "Chaos" ends with Nihilus preparing to go after Cinder to drain her magic and Pyrrha finally agreeing to allow Ozpin to transfer Amber's powers to her.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • A non-fanservice example. In "Fear", Jaune's hoodie and armor are destroyed when the terentatek uses its Absurdly Sharp Claws to tear right through them and nearly disembowel his stomach. Unlike most examples of this in fiction, Jaune's combat gear remains destroyed and he spends the next couple of chapters wearing his school uniform as a substitute for his outfit.
    • Darth Nihilus has most of his shadowy robes disintegrated when Ozpin taps into his cane's power to generate a massive explosion similar to the one that took out the Monstra in Volume 8 of RWBY. What little remained of Nihilus' robes are later blasted off when Ruby hits him with her Silver Eyes.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Nora correctly guesses the origins of Jaune's powers during her Motor Mouth ramblings, where she talks about her theories on intergalactic cults and aliens, which her friends dismiss as completely ridiculous.
  • Colony Drop: At the end of "Nihilus", the chapter's namesake uses his telekinesis to pull General Ironwood's flagship down from the sky and force it to crash into the Vytal Festival. The resulting blast destroys the fairgrounds, leaves Beacon in flames, and knocks several of the heroes unconscious.
  • Commonality Connection: In "Dance", Jaune and Weiss bond over their shared parental issues. Weiss's father was emotionally abusive and a Control Freak, while Jaune had helicopter parents who were extremely overprotective of him. Both of them also came to Beacon as a way to rebel against their parents and strike out on their own.
  • Condescending Compassion: This is what Jaune's relationship with his team turns into under the Dark Side's influence. He wants to "protect" them, but he treats them like naive children who can't think for themselves. He secretly looks down on them and acts as though he's the only one who knows what's best for them.
  • Continuity Porn: Legends" contains all sorts of nods to the various works in the Legends continuity.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Chapter 7, JNPR and RWBY encounter a terentatek, a Dark Side creature fought in the Knights of the Old Republic game.
    • In chapter 17, Darth Nihilus is revealed to have knowledge of ancient Sith magicks that he learned from studying Marka Ragnos. Marka Ragnos was an ancient Sith Lord who first appeared in Tales of the Jedi and was the Big Bad of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
    • In "Chaos", Nihilus name-drops Naga Sadow and Exar Kun (two famous Sith Lords from Legends) while noting how Sith alchemists would have been envious of the Grimm.
  • Contrived Coincidence: While fleeing from a Beowolf in the prologue, Jaune just happens to seek refuge in the same cave that was being used to hide the Mask of Darth Nihilus. This gets even more contrived when a later chapter reveals that it was Jaune's ancestor who created the cavern and sealed Nihilus' mask inside to begin with. The first example is at least somewhat justified since Nihilus' spirit was subtly influencing Jaune's decisions through the Force.
  • Control Freak: When Jaune falls to the Dark Side, he becomes overly possessive and controlling of the people around him. When his team tried to perform an intervention with him, he used the mind-trick to make them forget. When he sensed that Professor Goodwitch was hiding something from him, he seriously considered using the Force to tear the information out of her head. He casually uses the mind-trick on Ruby simply for making the observation that his eyes are now yellow.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: In "Death", we finally get Darth Nihilus vs. Cinder Fall.
    • Darth Nihilus vs. Adam Taurus in "Vengeance" also counts.
  • The Corrupter: Darth Nihilus to Jaune. Over the course of the story, Nihilus slowly influences Jaune into drawing more and more power from the Dark Side. All the while, he's encouraging Jaune to use The Power of Hate and embrace his worst impulses.
    • The chapter "Legends" reveals that Nihilus is a master of this trope and was responsible for corrupting Petros Krizoz to the Dark Side and converting Krizoz's benevolent sect of the church into a ruthless death cult more than a century prior to the story.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Using the Dark Side to save his friends during the Breach exposes the full range of Jaune's Force powers to Ozpin, who begins to suspect that Jaune is more than he seems.
  • Creepy Cave: Darth Nihilus's mask was hidden inside one at the start of the story. The cave was artificially created by Alixandre's Geokinesis Semblance.
  • Crossover: Between RWBY and Star Wars Legends, although Darth Nihilus and the terentatek are the only characters from the latter that appear in the present day.
    • "Legends" features a crossover with Red vs. Blue of all things. The third segment of the chapter is consists of a Fusion Fic in which the AI units from Project Freelancer are reimagined as droid mercenaries operating on the fringes of the galaxy.
  • Cult:
    • The Temple of Shadow was a cult of Valean assassin monks who worshipped the God of Darkness (actually Nihilus's spirit pretending to be him) and carried out hundreds of human sacrifices in their god's name.
    • The Apex Society was a group of nobles who worshipped the ancient Sith and sought to acquire Nihilus's mask in order to gain his powers for themselves.
    • The White Fang are explicitly described as a cult and Blake is treated like a Cult Defector after she left the organization.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Jaune's fight with the terentatek in "Fear" ends almost as soon as it began. The terentatek No Sells his strongest Force push and knocks him out of the fight with a single strike from its claws.
    • Empowered by the Dark Side, Jaune easily defeats May during JNPR's match against BRNZ in the Vytal Tournament.
    • Unless that person's name is Meetra Surik, anyone who tries to take on Darth Nihilus quickly finds themselves on the receiving end of this. So far, the only one that's come the closest to dealing some lasting damage to him is Cinder, and even she is ultimately defeated once Nihilus decides to take her seriously.
      • During the Old Republic era, Nihilus's ghost appeared before Jedi Knight Nariel Pridence after she takes possession of his mask and holocron. The ensuing fight is completely one-sided as Nihilus drains Nariel of her life before she is able to get a hit on him.
      • In "Legends", we have Darth Nihilus vs. a pirate gang called Sando's Boys. The pirates go down quickly once Nihilus is awoken from his slumber and their blasters have no effect on the Force ghost.
      • The chapter "Nihilus" sees the titular villain effortlessly wipe the floor with Qrow, RWB, NPR, ABRN, and a squad of Atlesian soldiers.
      • During the Battle of Beacon, the Wyvern is drawn to Nihilus' Suppressed Rage at having failed to absorb the Fall Maiden and swoops down next to him, no doubt intending to make him its next victim. Nihilus kills the massive Grimm in seconds with his Force Drain.
    • When Blake and Weiss fight Adam in "Vengeance", they are easily dispatched due to being weakened from their earlier battle with Nihilus.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion:
    • Thanks to his Force-sensitivity and the combat form that he teaches himself by copying Nihilus from his dreams, Jaune runs circles around Cardin for the majority of their sparring match which ends with Cardin being driven to exhaustion while Jaune is barely winded. Cardin is able to briefly turn the tables on Jaune near the end when he uses his mace to knock Jaune to the ground after the latter makes the rookie mistake of taking his eyes off his opponent before the fight was over. However, this leads to Jaune tapping into the Dark Side and using a Force-Choke to end their duel.
    • Out of everyone who Darth Nihilus curb-stomps in the chapter "Nihilus", Qrow puts up the best fight, even managing to get a few lucky hits in and trip him up twice with his Semblance. Although he still gets thrashed, Qrow proves to be so resilient that Nihilus actually expresses frustration at how much he has to expend just to beat him.
    • During their showdown on Amity, Cinder manages to break through Nihilus's Aura and even damage his body enough to make him experience physical pain. However, the second Nihilus stops holding back, he easily turns the tables and knocks out Cinder before effortlessly finishing off Emerald and Mercury, showing that even with the Fall Maiden's powers, Cinder is still no match for him.
    • Adam Taurus is on the receiving end of one when he comes face-to-face with Darth Nihilus. He initially holds his own rather well, outspeeding his opponent and dodging most of his attacks. Adam then follows this up by landing a blow that would've been instantly lethal under normal conditions. Unfortunately for Adam, Nihilus was fresh off from supercharging himself with the energy he drained from the Wyvern. Because of this, the Sith Lord easily tanks Adam's strongest attack and proceeds to grab him by the neck and drain his life in the span of a few seconds.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget:
    • This is pretty much what happens to poor Jaune over the course of the story. He starts out as a well-meaning, if genre-blind, Idiot Hero. All his efforts to grow stronger through the Dark Side is fueled by one desire: to be strong enough to protect his teammates. Unfortunately, the Dark Side's corrupting influence twists this desire and slowly warps Jaune into something unrecognizable to his friends. By the end, he's turned into an overly possessive sociopath who's bought into a paranoid fantasy where everyone that disagrees with him is out to destroy him.
    • It's revealed early on through various flashbacks that Nihilus used to be a heroic Jedi who wanted to save innocent lives during the Mandalorian Wars. He started using the Dark Side to give himself the strength he needed to defeat the Mandalorians in battle. However, he slowly slips deeper into the Dark Side the more he used it, until eventually becoming a bloodthirsty sadist driven solely by his Fantastic Racism towards the Mandalorians.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to RWBY's first few volumes, there's a lot more swearing as well as graphic violence with detail to injuries. "Nihilus" officially takes the story much darker than canon, as a mass murder occurs and a teenager's head get splattered.
  • David vs. Goliath: Glynda, Team JNPR, and Team RWBY's battle with the terentatek in "Fear" plays out like this. The terentatek fights like a Mighty Glacier, being far stronger and better armored than the heroes, yet that same heavily armored carapace means that the creature can't keep up with the speed of its nimbler Huntsmen opponents. At the same time, none of the heroes' attacks do any meaningful damage to it, while a single hit from the terentatek would instantly kill anyone outside of a physical powerhouse like Yang.
  • Death by Adaptation: Due to the changes brought about by Jaune finding Nihilus's mask, certain characters who survive the events of Volume 3 are instead killed during the Fall of Beacon.
    • In canon, Team ABRN survives the Battle of Beacon. Here, they are all killed by Darth Nihilus shortly before the Battle of Beacon begins.
    • Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald all die during the Battle of Beacon — Nihilus kills Emerald and Mercury himself, while Cinder kills herself to prevent herself from being enslaved.
    • Qrow also dies during the Battle of Beacon after he's caught in an explosion caused by Ironwood's airship crashing into Beacon and winds up getting impaled by the airship's wreckage.
    • On a lesser note, Ivori and Kobalt of Team FNKI are discovered to be among those killed by the aforementioned airship's crash.
    • The Wyvern actually dies from having its essence drained by Darth Nihilus instead of having its outer body turned to stone by Ruby's Silver Eyes.
    • Jaune commits suicide during the Fall of Beacon as a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent Nihilus from being able to continue possessing his body.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Collan Eislo is killed by Nihilus, the very Sith ghost he sought to serve. To further add on the irony, Collan is a Sith wannabe who dreams of being able to use their powers, yet Nihilus only awoke from his mask and killed him because he detected that Collan was Force-sensitive. The very power that Collan revered and craved for so long ends up being his undoing.
    • Played for Drama with Qrow's death. His Semblance causes bad luck to everyone but himself. After being impaled by the wreckage of Ironwood's airship, he receives the type of injury that requires a lot of luck to recover from. His own Semblance guarantees that any doctor would have extremely bad luck while treating him and delays the emergency team from arriving to his location on time. Even though his Semblance didn't directly affect him, it still causes his death by giving bad luck to everyone that could have saved him.
    • Pyrrha's Signature Move is to use her control over metal to slightly alter the trajectory of her opponents' weapons during fights, causing them to miss their strikes. When she tries to run Nihilus through with her sword during the Final Battle, Nihilus uses his telekinesis to nudge her blade to the side, causing her to miss her attack and leaving her open to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Nihilus in turn.
  • Death Glare:
    • At the start of "Satiation", Jaune gives a withering look to all of team RWBY when he learns that they went after Roman Torchwick again without back-up and calls them out on their recklessness.
    • Later, Jaune gives one to Mercury as their sparring match is about to begin. It even gets some Lampshade Hanging from Mercury:
      Mercury: Man that's quite the glare you got there blondie.
    • In "Dance", Glynda gives Jaune one when he talks back to her without realizing that he said it out loud.
    • Weiss and Blake both give Jaune an angry glare in "Destiny" after Pyrrha tells them that he lost control and attacked her.
    • At the start of "Legends", Nihilus's spirit gives his former apprentice Visas a spiteful glare before entering his Deep Sleep inside his mask.
  • Death of Personality: This ultimately happens to Jaune after he goes past the Despair Event Horizon and puts Nihilus's mask on. As Nihilus's soul subsumes Jaune's mind, Jaune's body physically changes into Darth Nihilus. When this is over, the POV changes from Jaune to Darth Nihilus, symbolizing that Jaune is "gone" and Darth Nihilus is all that remains.
  • Deconstruction Crossover:
    • Jaune deconstructs the "anti-heroic invokedMarty Stu that uses evil powers for good" common in many fandoms. Whereas a lot of fanfics center around power fantasies, here the story focuses on what someone like this would be like in real-life. Rather than appearing cool, Jaune comes across as an abrasive sociopath who's a Nominal Hero at best. Also, rather than solve the setting's conflicts, Jaune just creates more and he ultimately becomes a bigger threat than the original villains ever were.
    • The entire story brutally deconstructs the invokedFandom-Specific Plot of turning Jaune into a Darker and Edgier Anti-Hero. It's pointed out how canon!Jaune is anything but a "dark, edgy badass" and the story explores the process of making Jaune undergo such a drastic change. The end result is someone who is the mirror opposite of everything Jaune once was. A twisted mockery of the Dark Side almost unrecognizable to his friends and teachers. Both Pyrrha and Glynda lament how Jaune has become a completely different person as a result of his powers.
    • I Just Want to Be Badass gets deconstructed as the whole reason Jaune continues to rely on the Mask of Nihilus is that he doesn't want to go back to being a Team Normal. The powers he gained from Nihilus's mask finally made him feel special, hence why he refuses to get rid of the mask despite knowing that the being trapped inside the mask is manipulating him in order to break free. Even when everything around him falls apart because of his powers, he still hangs onto the mask to the bitter end.
    • The idea of someone using the Dark Side for good gets deconstructed. It's shown that due to its nature, anyone who tries to exercise restraint while wielding the Dark Side weakens themselves since the Dark Side is fueled by negative emotions like anger and hate. Basically, the Dark Side is designed so that it's required to act without restraint and embrace one's worst impulses to use it to its full potential.
    • The famous Jedi Mind Trick typically used by the good guys to outwit dumb mooks? It accidentally gets used on Weiss by Jaune when he asks her out on a date. Unlike in the Star Wars movies, this is played for absolute drama as Jaune has essentially mind raped his friend into doing something that she doesn't want to.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Jaune Arc is the titular character, the fic's central POV character, and his slow descent into the Dark Side is the main focus of the story. About a third of the way into Act III, Darth Nihilus hijacks control of his body and Jaune's role as the protagonist is passed down to Pyrrha and Ruby.
  • Demonic Possession: Darth Nihilus's ghost takes over Jaune's body in "Destiny".
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Team RWBY goes from being the main protagonists to supporting characters and their canonical exploits are given the Hero of Another Story treatment.
    • Sun and Neptune are only given voiceless cameos in this fic.
    • Roman Torchwick gets hit with this especially hard. In RWBY, Roman was The Heavy for the show's first two volumes. Here, he's reduced to an unseen background character who's only mentioned but never makes a proper appearance. Even his death happens offscreen and everyone (except Neo) treats his death as an afterthought.
    • In the show, the White Fang acted as a Starter Villain of sorts for the heroes and were a major antagonistic faction for the first five volumes. Here, they are mostly just mentioned by other characters and don't appear until the Battle of Beacon, with most of their previous crimes getting treated with Offstage Villainy.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Jaune goes past this after he physically lashes out at Pyrrha in a fit of rage. When Pyrrha snaps him out of his rage, he's so horrified by what he's done that he runs away while chanting a Madness Mantra and comes close to throwing himself off a cliff.
  • Despair Gambit: "Destiny" reveals that Nihilus was setting one up for Jaune since the very beginning. He convinced Jaune to accept the Dark Side of the Force, causing Jaune to take a level in jerkass and become prone to lashing out. After Jaune loses his temper and attacks Pyrrha, Nihilus delivers a Breaking Speech where he blames Jaune for hurting Pyrrha. This pushes Jaune past the Despair Event Horizon and he willingly puts on Nihilus's mask, allowing the Sith to finally revive himself.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The terentatek definitely counts. Prior to its appearance, the story had mostly been about Jaune adjusting to life at Beacon Academy. The closest thing to an antagonist was the school bully Cardin. Midway through the chapter "Fear", the terentatek literally pops up out of the ground, scares off Cardin, and nearly kills Jaune while no-selling his strongest attack. Its existence had never been hinted at prior to this and it's the only villain who has no connection to the overarching Big Bad Ensemble. After the terentatek is killed, it is quickly forgotten and almost never mentioned again by the other characters.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Jaune's response when Professor Goodwitch offers dating advice in "Dance".
    Glynda: Jaune, while I know you will have more dances in the upcoming years, you shouldn't take them for granted. You need to ensure that you enjoy your youth, lest it pass you by too quickly and you become an old man with too few happy memories.
    Jaune: Is that what happened to you?
    Glynda: [gives Jaune a Death Glare] I'm sorry, what did you say?
    [cue Jaune's Oh, Crap! expression as he realizes he just said that out loud]
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • Instead of being Eaten Alive by a Griffon, Roman is killed when the airship he was imprisoned on is pulled from the sky by Darth Nihilus and forced to crash into Beacon, resulting in a massive Dust explosion that obliterates everything onboard.
    • In canon, Adam Taurus is killed by Blake and Yang near the end of Volume 6. Here, he dies during the events of Volume 3 after Darth Nihilus defeats him in a duel and drains his life.
    • Penny doesn't get her body torn apart during the Vytal Tournament since Darth Nihilus interferes and kickstarts the Battle of Beacon before her scheduled match with Pyrrha. Instead, Nihilus crushes her body into a ball of scrap with his telekinesis during the final battle in "Sorry".
    • Ironwood is killed by Nihilus during the Fall of Beacon instead of dying at the end of Volume 8.
    • Rather than be killed by a shot to the heart from Cinder's bow, Pyrrha is impaled through the stomach by Nihilus.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Telekinesis is considered to be one of the strongest Semblances out there and has a near-limitless application for those who've mastered it. However, Glynda explains to Jaune that it usually takes years of experience and twice the training of those with regular Semblances to properly control it.
  • Distant Sequel: "Legends" reveals that the story is set over 4000 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Pyrrha's reaction to Jaune's new personality and the way she talks about how he's changed is eerily reminiscent of a person who's dealing with a loved one that's been brainwashed by a cult.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • The title of the third chapter is "Victory", referring to how Nihilus and the Revanchists win a battle against the Mandalorians in a flashback, and how Jaune defeats Cardin during their sparring match at the end of the chapter.
    • Chapter 17 is titled "Legends", which, aside from referencing the chapter being a Flashback Episode, is also a nod to the first half of the chapter that covers Nihilus's history in the Legends continuity.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Word of God says that nothing short of the Two Brothers would be capable of stopping Darth Nihilus at full strength. To keep Nihilus from steamrolling all of Remnant in the span of a single chapter, various justifications are given for why he can't access all his powers. For starters, his defeat at Meetra Surik's hands left him with a mere fraction of his original strength. Additionally, he can only possess the bodies of Force-sensitives and the host must be a Willing Channeler. Finally, even after he possesses Jaune's body, he still hasn't regained his full strength, giving the heroes a fighting chance against him.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • While viewing Nihilus's memories, Jaune believes that he is witnesses events that took place on Remnant due to the presence of aliens which he mistakes for Faunus.
    • Much of the story's suspense draws from the assumption that the readers know what's going on, but the characters don't. A good example is in "Dance", when Jaune accidentally mind-controls Weiss and he spends most of the dance having no idea that he did it. Even when he finds out, he has no clue how his powers manifested as mind control, while the reader recognizes it as the infamous Jedi mind trick.
  • Dramatic Slip:
    • In "Fear", Cardin trips on a tree root while being chased by the terentatek and freezes in terror, forcing Jaune to jump in and save him.
    • When Darth Nihilus uses his telekinesis to send Ironwood's airship crashing into the Vytal Festival, everyone present immediately makes a run for it. A waitress who had worked at the festival's stalls accidentally slips on some blood and falls down. Qrow is forced to break off his own escape and use his body to shield her from the incoming airship. Justified, as Qrow suspects that his Semblance was responsible for causing the woman to slip.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: In "Destiny", Pyrrha tries pointing out to Jaune how Nihilus's influence has turned him into a complete jerkass. She cites his reaction to Yang's Frame-Up by Mercury as an example, criticizing Jaune for his Lack of Empathy towards Yang when he's supposed to be her friend. Jaune's only reaction is to show confusion as he internally wonders why he should care for Yang, labeling her as a "fool who refused to learn". This only further proves Pyrrha's point, but Jaune is still unable to see it.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: On the night before the Breach, Jaune has a seemingly prophetic dream where Beacon is in flames, the bodies of dead students and Atlas soldiers are everywhere, and the Grimm have overrun the school. This dream finally comes to pass in "Nihilus", after Darth Nihilus takes over Jaune's body and goes on a rampage, killing dozens of students and forcing an airship to crash into Beacon. At the end of the chapter, Ruby and Pyrrha witness Beacon burning down while the Grimm roam the schoolgrounds freely.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: After falling under the mask's influence, Jaune starts seeing Nihilus's memories in his dreams, witnessing Nihilus's journey from a Jedi learner under Revan to his transformation into a Sith Lord.
  • Driven to Madness: Over the course of the story, Nihilus psychologically torments Jaune and slowly pushes the latter to the edge of insanity. He starts by subtly compelling Jaune to stay up at night and meditate near his mask, turning him into The Insomniac. He later starts messing with Jaune's emotional stability, causing the latter to experience mood swings and a Hair-Trigger Temper. He then exploits Jaune's Horror Hunger to further chip away at his mental stability. After Jaune falls to the Dark Side, Nihilus drives him into complete paranoia by whispering into his head that everyone he knows is secretly conspiring against him. This is all part of Nihilus's plan to make Jaune cross the Despair Event Horizon in hopes that Jaune will lose the will to resist Nihilus's influence, allowing him to take over his body.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Whenever Nora absorbs Jaune's Force lightning, she transforms into an ultraviolent Large Ham who cackles maniacally as she wails on her opponents.
  • Dumb Is Good: At the start of the story, Jaune seems like a downplayed example of a Kindhearted Simpleton. When he falls to the Dark Side, he takes a level in intelligence at the same time he takes a level in jerkassery. He comes across as an Insufferable Genius in the segments told from his POV, he becomes prone to spouting out Kreia's philosophies about the Force, and his vocabulary rapidly develops to the point where he uses intelligent-sounding words like "inane" and "frivolities" in his everyday inner monologues.
  • Dwindling Party: A villainous example happens with Cinder's faction during the Fall of Beacon. Roman dies when Nihilus causes the airship he was aboard to crash into Beacon Academy. Neo jumps ship after being given the Offhand Backhand by Nihilus. Emerald and Mercury are killed by Nihilus not long afterwards and Cinder commits suicide to prevent herself from becoming Nihilus's slave. Lastly, Adam has his life force drained by Nihilus after his duel with Winter draws the Dark Lord's attention.

     Tropes E–H 
  • Eat the Summoner: In the chapter "Legends", a group of Sith cultists attempts to acquire the Mask of Darth Nihilus in order to reawaken the ancient Sith Lord's spirit. Upon being awoken, one of the first things that Nihilus does is turn on the cultists who summoned him and drain them of all their Life Energy. Justified since Nihilus's soul needs to feed on the Force to survive and had been spending thousands of years trapped in complete isolation within his mask. By the time he woke up, he was starving and instinctively attacked all living things within his vicinity.
  • Elemental Absorption:
    • Like in canon, Nora's Semblance lets her absorb electricity and use it to empower herself. After unlocking his Force lightning, Jaune takes advantage of this by using his lightning to send Nora in a battle frenzy during the Breach and later during a match in the Vytal Tournament.
    • In addition to having control over all the elements, the Maidens are also able to absorb any of the elements. Cinder uses this power to redirect Nihilus's Force lightning during their battle in "Death".
  • Enemy Mine: Defied in "Destiny". While trying to think of a way to save Jaune, Pyrrha suggests asking Salem for help in removing Nihilus's spirit from Jaune's body. Ozpin immediately shuts down that idea, explaining to Pyrrha that if Salem ever learned about Nihilus's existence, she would almost certainly ally with Nihilus rather than fight against him. Considering that Salem is a Death Seeker who wants to destroy all of Remnant as part of a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, and given Darth Nihilus's nature as a Planet Eater, Ozpin is right to be worried about the possibility of a Villain Team-Up between the two.
  • Enemy Rising Behind:
    • At the start of the Beacon Initiation, Jaune uses the Force for the first time to cushion his fall after being catapulted off a cliff. He proceeds to have a small panic attack over nearly dying and is so caught up in his thoughts that he doesn't notice a Beowolf sneaking up behind him. Luckily, Pyrrha kills the Grimm with her javelin right before it can attack Jaune.
    • While Nariel is transporting the Mask of Nihilus aboard her ship in "Legends", Nihilus's spirit slowly materializes behind behind her while she's preoccupied with piloting her ship through hyperspace.
    • During the three-way Mexican Standoff in "Legends", Nihilus's ghost slowly manifests behind Alpha's squad right before killing nearly everyone present.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • A lot of people misidentify the Mask of Darth Nihilus as a Grimm mask due to their visual similarities — both are white, appear to be made of bones, and have red markings. When Jaune first found the mask in a cave, he assumes that the cave is an abandoned White Fang cache since the White Fang's members are known for wearing Grimm masks.
    • After learning about Jaune's possession by Nihilus, Ozpin assumes that Jaune's sudden change in personality is being caused by a Fusion Dance similar to his own due to assuming that Nihilus is a similar entity to himself. Jaune's changing personality is actually the result of him being corrupted by the Dark Side.
    • Because of the misconception surrounding Nihilus's mask in the previous example, everyone on Remnant mistake Darth Nihilus for being some sort of sentient human-Grimm hybrid. This in turn convinces Ironwood that Nihilus is one of Salem's followers.
  • Epigraph: Every chapter starts out with a quote about Nihilus from Knights of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Mercury is genuinely disturbed by the possessive and controlling way Jaune acts towards Pyrrha in Chapter 10 and finds Jaune's behavior reminiscent of an abusive boyfriend. Emerald lampshades this trope by reminding Mercury that he's a deadly assassin.
    • Emerald, Mercury, and Neo are all horrified by the sheer brutality Darth Nihilus shows while slaughtering the students at the Vytal Festival.
  • Everyone Knew Already: For a couple of chapters, Jaune sneaks out of his dorm at night in order to meditate near the mask. In "Leadership", Glynda reveals that she knows about Jaune's habit of sneaking out at night by advising him to get more sleep when discussing an upcoming field trip. In "Fear", it turns out that Pyrrha was the only person who didn't know about this and she is surprised to hear Nora and Ren talk so casually about it. They even lampshade how often Jaune sneaks out at night and are more surprised that Pyrrha didn't notice.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune expresses frustration at Yang and Blake's insistence on continuing to rescue civilians during the Breach, not understanding why they would risk their lives for "random strangers".
  • Evil Costume Switch: After his clothes are damaged during his fight with the terentatek, Jaune takes to wearing the outfit of the Sith Assassin. This is used to symbolize his increasing corruption by the Dark Side.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: During the reign of the Galactic Empire, a group of Sith wannabes called the Apex Society tried to acquire the Mask of Nihilus to become Force-sensitive. Nihilus's ghost responds to their request by sucking the life energy out of the entire cult.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: A side effect of falling to the Dark Side is that those fallen tend to become warped and twisted in appearance. The eyes turn a sickly yellow and the skin becomes a corpse-like pale. This happens to Jaune after he falls to the Dark Side, and to Petros Krizoz as a result of spending most of his life under Nihilus's thrall.
  • Evil Mask: The Mask of Nihilus slowly corrupts its owner over time and that's without having to wear it. Putting on the mask enables Nihilus's spirit to take over whoever is wearing it.
  • Evil Overlooker: The cover art features Darth Nihilus towering over a depressed Jaune.
  • Evil Plan:
    • Darth Nihilus wants to corrupt Jaune to the Dark Side and groom him into a suitable host for his soul. After he possesses Jaune, Nihilus sets out to kill Ozpin and the Fall Maiden so he can absorb their magic and become even stronger.
    • As per canon, Cinder Fall seeks to steal the rest of the Fall Maiden's powers and destroy Beacon Academy. To this end, she orchestrates several events that are geared towards creating enough negativity in the public that the Grimm are attracted to Vale and overrun Beacon.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy:
    • Nihilus is often described as sounding gravely and distorted whenever he talks.
    • As the elderly leader of an assassin cult, Petros Krizoz speaks with a rasp in his voice. Justified since he's an old man whose vocal chords are likely worn down by his extreme age.
  • Evil Takes a Nap:
    • The terentatek from "Fear" had been slumbering beneath Forever Fall for an unknown period of time (implied to be centuries at the bare minimum). When Jaune visits the forest as part of a class field trip, the terentatek is awoken after detecting the Dark Side radiating off Jaune.
    • Darth Nihilus's soul slips into dormancy whenever there's inactivity around his mask and can only be awakened by the presence of a Force-sensitive. After his defeat at the hands of the Exile, he slept and briefly awoke during the time of Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG. He returned to sleep and woke up thousands of years later during Palpatine's reign over the galaxy. After being dumped on Remnant, he eventually goes back to sleep for roughly eighty years after Jaune's ancestor seals the mask in a cave.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • The chapter "Legends" sees Sando's Boys (a gang of Space Pirates) at odds with the Apex Society (an aristocratic Sith cult) over ownership of the Mask of Darth Nihilus. Neither side is portrayed as being good in this situation. Sando's Boys are shown to be ruthless criminals who are willing to stab their own allies in the back the moment it's convenient for them. Meanwhile, the Apex Society explicitly worship Darth Nihilus and seek to free his spirit from his mask so they can gain his powers and form their own Sith Order.
    • During the Fall of Beacon, we get several examples of this between Darth Nihilus and Cinder's faction. We have Darth Nihilus vs. Neo; Darth Nihilus vs. Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury; Darth Nihilus vs. the Wyvern; and Darth Nihilus vs. Adam Taurus. Nihilus wins in every single instance.
  • Eviler Than Thou:
    • In "Legends", we see a conflict break out between two villainous groups: Sando's Boys and the Apex Society. The winner? Darth Nihilus, who wipes out both factions in a matter of seconds.
    • Once Darth Nihilus possesses Jaune's body, he quickly becomes this to Cinder's faction. The savage violence he displays while slaughtering dozens of innocent people horrifies even a hardened killer like Mercury. His Force powers put Cinder's half-Maiden abilities to shame and even Cinder is left awestruck when she witnesses Nihilus pull an entire airship down from the sky. When the two finally come to blows in "Death", Cinder is unable to defeat Nihilus and kills herself to prevent him from enslaving her mind with the Force.
    • Discussed by Cinder when she compares Nihilus to Salem in "Death". She decides that Nihilus is worse since Salem at least has understandable motivations like wanting revenge on Ozpin. Nihilus, on the other hand, just wants to destroy everything.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags:
    • From Chapter 6 onwards, Jaune starts to sport heavy bags due to staying up at night and fixating over the Mask of Nihilus. It doesn't take long for his friends to notice this as well.
    • Glynda Goodwitch also is shown to have bags under her eyes in "Aftermath" as a result of working herself to exhaustion trying to fix the damage caused by the Breach.
  • Eye Colour Change: In general, falling under the Dark Side's influence results in one's eyes changing color to yellow. Jaune's eyes change from blue to a sickly-yellow after he falls to the Dark Side during the Breach. He hides it from his friends by switching his eye color back to blue whenever he's around them. His eyes change to pitch-black after Nihilus takes control over his body.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Jaune undergoes one over the course of the story as he is further and further seduced by the power of the Dark Side. It becomes official in "Breach" where Jaune falls to the Dark Side and discards most of his moral inhibitions.
    • The Mask of Nihilus seems to have this effect on people. It turned Petros Krizoz from a heroic monk into a mass-murdering cult leader. The Temple of Shadows, a Valean religious sect that initially protected nearby villages from the Grimm, became a death cult and an assassin guild under the mask's influence.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • While shopping for a new Huntsman outfit as well as a suit for the Beacon Dance, Jaune mentions that he's not used to clothing shopping and just buys most of his clothes from Gold Navy, a fictional counterpart to the real-life clothing store Old Navy.
    • The Atlesian military has its own fictional counterpart to the U.S. Navy SEALs called the Atlesian Naval Commandos. They even have the same "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" saying that the real-life SEALs use.
  • Foil: Has its own page.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Because of Nihilus' involvement, the Battle of Beacon starts a little earlier than in canon and Roman is killed before he can infect Ironwood's army with Cinder's virus. As a result, the Battle of Beacon goes a little better for the heroes since they have Atlas' forces to support them. Furthermore, because Atlas' army is never used by Cinder to stage a false flag attack on Beacon, Vale's relationship with Atlas remains positive, allowing for Atlas to lend Vale some of their military airships to use as temporary communication hubs after Beacon's CCT Tower is destroyed.
    • On the flipside, because Cinder kicks off the Fall of Beacon by revealing Darth Nihilus' existence to the world rather than exposing Penny as a robot, the global panic that follows is worse than in canon, resulting in the City of Vale getting overrun by the Grimm and forcing Vale's civilians to be evacuated from the city.
    • Pyrrha successfully fuses with Amber and becomes the new Fall Maiden after Nihilus causes Cinder's death, resulting in the stolen half of the Fall Maiden's powers returning to Amber's body while Ozpin was in the middle of transferring Amber's Aura into Pyrrha's body.
    • Due to Weiss telling to her sister about how Jaune accidentally mind-tricked her into being his date, Winter decides to stay in Vale longer than she planned to keep an eye on Weiss and make sure that nothing similar happens again. As a result, she is present for the Fall of Beacon and ends up fighting Adam Taurus instead of Yang.
    • Because Winter fights Adam in Yang's place, Yang doesn't lose her arm like she did in canon. On a less cheerful note, because Weiss was with Blake when she encounters Adam, Weiss ends up getting her eyes cut out by him.
    • Ironwood's death during the Fall of Beacon causes Winter to be promoted to Brigadier General and become the new head of the Atlas Military. Another result of Ironwood's death is Robyn Hill being chosen as the new Headmaster of Atlas Academy, resulting in her gaining a seat on the Atlas Council and becoming a member of Ozpin's inner circle.
    • Because Atlas doesn't lose their airships during the Battle of Beacon, the CCT network is able to be restored relatively quickly after the battle ends due to one of the airships being converted into a temporary satellite to replace Beacon Tower.
    • Jaune's death during the Battle of Beacon and Yang not losing her arm results in Yang taking Jaune's place when Ruby forms a new team with the remnants of Team JNPR after the Fall of Beacon.
    • In the Legends timeline, 127 ABY was the year when the One Sith sabotaged the Jedi's Ossus Project and manipulated the Fel Empire into breaking away from the Galactic Alliance, resulting in the start of the Sith-Imperial War. Darth Nihilus' actions during the Fall of Beacon end up creating a Wound in the Force so massive that it gets sensed by every Force-sensitive in the galaxy. This leads to both Kol Skywalker and Darth Krayt being forced to make a sudden departure for the Unknown Regions to search for the source. This means that both the Jedi and One Sith will be missing their leaders when the Sith-Imperial War breaks out, with the One Sith in particular being in a much weaker position due to Krayt having taken a good chunk of their forces with him to the Unknown Regions.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the prologue, the strongbox containing the Mask of Nihilus reminds Jaune of the boxes his family uses for storage. A flashback in "Legends" reveals that Jaune's great-great-grandfather was the one who hid Nihilus's mask inside the cave.
    • The black-robed outfits worn by the Temple of Shadows' monks (and later adopted by Jaune as his new combat gear) are identical to the uniforms worn by the Sith Triumvirate's assassins in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. This hints at Darth Nihilus' involvement with the Temple of Shadows and foreshadows the reveal that the Temple was founded by Nihilus shortly after his arrival on Remnant more than a century ago.
    • In "Gnawing", Glynda cautions Jaune against being overconfident, commenting "I would hate to see you fail because you thought you could handle a situation when you could not." Guess what turns out to be Darth Nihilus' Fatal Flaw? In "Death", Nihilus is so sure of his victory that he makes the mistake of toying around with Cinder, which results in him getting seriously injured. He fails to drain the Fall Maiden's powers for the exact same reason, attempting to mind control Cinder due to being so arrogant that he doesn't consider the possibility of her resisting his control and committing a Spiteful Suicide.
  • From Bad to Worse: As if Darth Nihilus' return wasn't already bad enough, he uses the Force to make Ironwood's flagship crash into Beacon. The blast from the crash knocks out most of the heroes. When Ruby and Pyrrha come to, they find themselves alone, weaponless, and both their Auras are depleted. Around them, Beacon Academy is in flames, the Grimm are everywhere, and the White Fang is roaming the school grounds while picking off any survivors they find.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Jaune goes from being a nobody who forged his documents for Beacon to a Humanoid Abomination in waiting.
    • In the decades preceding the Great War, Petros Krizoz was a humble Valean monk trying to eke out a living. By the time he's an old man, he's become the bloodthirsty leader of a death cult and is responsible for training the most feared assassins in the world.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Chapter 17, fittingly titled "Legends", ties up a loose storyline from the old Legends continuity. "The Mask of Darth Nihilus" mini-adventure from the Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG is given a proper conclusion as the outcome of the battle between the spacers, the Apex Society, and Sando's Boys over possession of Darth Nihilus' mask is shown. The spacers (here reinvented as a team of droids) claim the mask after Nihilus's ghost appears and wipes out the other two parties. Deciding the mask is too dangerous, the spacers dump the artifact on Remnant before continuing with their adventure.
  • Fusion Dance: Cinder's death means that Pyrrha gets the complete powers of the Fall Maiden, and the result is similar to Ozpin's reincarnation, with Pyrrha's personality combining with Amber's.
  • Fusion Fic: The chapter "Legends" sees Church, Tex, Delta, and O'Malley from Red vs. Blue reimagined as a team of plucky droids in the Star Wars galaxy with the Mother of Invention being their Signature Team Transport. They take the role of the player characters in a mini-adventure from Star Wars d20.
  • Ghost Memory: As part of the Force powers Jaune receives from Nihilus' mask, he also receives Nihilus' memories of his past life. An example of this is when Jaune and his friends encounter the terentatek. Jaune is able to immediately identify the creature by name, yet he doesn't understand how he could possibly know this.
  • The Glomp:
    • When Jaune visits his team at the hospital in "Aftermatch", Nora immediately leaps at him and latches onto his body despite being hooked up to an IV drip and a heart monitor.
    • Penny's reaction to reuniting with Ruby in "Vengeance" is to run towards her and hug her so tightly that Ruby briefly has trouble breathing.
  • Go Out with a Smile: At the end of the chapter "Destiny", Jaune gives Pyrrha one last tearful Broken Smile before putting on the Mask and giving in to Darth Nihilus's control.
  • God Guise: During the Great War, Nihilus's soul passed itself off as the God of Darkness in order to deceive an assassin cult into delivering him more victims for his mask to consume.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Discussed and defied in "Destiny". After learning how Nihilus is slowly overriding Jaune's mind, Pyrrha suggests asking Salem for help out of sheer desperation. Ozpin pointedly refuses, explaining that revealing Nihilus's existence to Salem would just make things worse and that Salem is more likely to side with Nihilus rather than with them.
    • In "Sorry", Ozpin resorts to using the stored energy in his cane to produce a Fantastic Nuke after the heroes' initial plan to defeat Nihilus fails. The ensuing explosion destroys whatever's left of Beacon and nearly kills the heroes, though leaves Nihilus critically injured as well.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The main conflict boils down to this with Jaune and his friends as the Good, Cinder Fall as the Bad, and Darth Nihilus as the Evil. Whereas Cinder wants to be feared and powerful, Nihilus seeks to consume all life on Remnant.
    • The overarching conflict is also like this with Ozpin as the Good, Salem as the Bad, and Darth Nihilus (again) as the Evil. Ozpin wants to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the Brother Gods, Salem wants to destroy humanity and end her curse of immortality, and Nihilus wants to end all of existence.
    • This dynamic changes up a bit after Jaune falls to the Dark Side. For the first half of the third act, we have team JNPR and RWBY as the Good, Dark Side Jaune as the Bad, and Cinder Fall as the Evil. Even under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune still wants to protect his friends, but has become an unfettered sociopath in the process. Unlike Dark Side Jaune, Cinder is just plain evil and is driven solely by a lust for power.
  • Gorn
    • When the terentatek slashes through Jaune's abdomen in "Fear", the injury is so bad that copious amounts of blood, bodily fluids, and bits of his intestines start falling out. He then continually vomits out blood from his mouth as he struggles to even speak. This comes across as rather jarring since the story had been pretty mild with its depiction of violence up until that point.
    • The deaths of the Atlas soldiers in "Nihilus" are extremely graphic with Ludicrous Gibs as their bodies are shredded into mincemeat by hundreds of bullets, causing their blood and organs to go flying everywhere.
    • Bolin's death is especially gruesome. Nihilus splatters his head using the crushed remains of Crescent Rose as a cannonball. This results in a fountain of blood shooting up from his headless torso and coating everyone nearby.
  • Great Offscreen War: While a portion of Chapter 17 is spent on a flashback that takes place during the Great War and Vale's army in even seen in action, the chapter never depicts the fighting between the various kingdoms and instead shows Vale's army battling against the Temple of Shadows.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Next to Nihilus, Salem is one of the greatest threats to humanity's existence on Remnant. Ozpin's focus is on defeating her and Cinder is ultimately carrying out her orders.
    • The God of Darkness is also one. He created the terentatek from "Fear" as part of his experiments and the Temple of Shadows worshipped him and murdered in his name.
    • Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire. Despite only being mentioned once during a flashback, the whole reason that a team of adventurers dumped Nihilus's mask on Remnant was to hide the dark artifact from them.
  • Gunship Rescue: During the RWBY, JNPR, and Professor Goodwitch's battle against the terentatek, a Bullhead arrives and provides air support for the battered students and teacher. Its weapons wound the terentatek enough for the heroes to be able to finish it off.
  • Happy Ending Override: Nariel Pridence's storyline during the Smuggler Route in The Old Republic ends with her retrieving Nihilus's holocron with the Player's help and parting on good terms with them. In this fic, shortly after Nariel's ship entered hyperspace, Nihilus' ghost (which had been residing within his holocron) awoke and killed her before setting her ship off course to be later found and looted by smugglers.
  • Harmful Healing: In "Fear", Jaune uses the Force to accelerate his body's healing process and repair the damage caused by the terentatek. Later, when he wakes up in the hospital in "Malachor", he learns that his use of Force healing had some unintended side effects.
    Professor Peach: Yes, your wounds stopped bleeding, saving you from dying of shock, but it came with a series of other complications. Instead of accelerating the normal healing process as Aura normally does, your Aura instead regenerated your flesh in the most efficient way to reattach muscles and stop bleeding.
    Jaune: And I'm guessing that's a bad thing?
    Peach: The regeneration ignored the way your organs were supposed to heal. So to prevent you from living in constant pain with no appendix and only half of your intestines, we had to do emergency surgery.
  • Haunted Fetter: During the age of the Old Republic, Darth Nihilus learned that as he continued to feed on the Life Energy of others, his body would slowly undergo a Cessation of Existence as it faded away into the Force. To keep himself anchored to the mortal realm, Nihilus bound his soul to his mask, which his spirit continues to haunt to the present day. Anyone who touches the mask ends up possessed by Nihilus's Force ghost.
  • The Hero Dies: After regaining control of his body, Jaune stabs himself in the stomach with his own sword, killing himself, but also ensuring that Nihilus will no longer be able to use his body to continue spreading destruction.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Team RWBY is given this treatment since the story is told from the perspectives of team JNPR. Some of their heroics like fighting Roman Torchwick at the Docks and tracking down the White Fang's hideout in Mount Glenn happen offscreen.
    • Church, Tex, Delta, and Omega are a team of adventure-seeking droids who seek out ancient artifacts in the galaxy during Palpatine's reign while battling pirates and cultists. They only appear once where they encounter the Mask of Nihilus on Volik and maroon the mask on Remnant after witnessing how dangerous it is.
  • Heroic Suicide: After having his body hijacked by Darth Nihilus, Jaune manages to briefly regain control near the end of the final battle thanks to Ruby unlocking her Silver Eyes. Realizing that he can't resist Nihilus' control for much longer and knowing that Nihilus will go on to kill even more of his friends, Jaune picks up his sword and stabs himself through the stomach, killing himself but also ending the threat posed by Nihilus for the time being.
  • Heroic Willpower: Alixandre Arc, Jaune's great-great-grandfather, was able to resist Nihilus's influence due to his strong moral compass and loyalty to his kingdom.
  • High-Voltage Death:
    • The majority of the Grimm present at the Breach are vaporized by Jaune's newly-unlocked Force-lightning.
    • In the chapter "Nihilus", the eponymous villain kills Reese Chloris and Nadir Shiko of ABRN by electrocuting them both with his Force-lightning.
  • History Repeats: A major theme of the fic is about how the story of the Mask of Darth Nihilus repeats itself throughout history. Nihilus is defeated and his mask is hidden away, only to later be found due to the actions of evil men and women looking to claim his power for their own. Upon being awoken, Nihilus causes some brief destruction and then attempts to find a host, only for circumstances to force him to return to slumber inside his mask. The mask is then hidden away again until it is found by another person who doesn't understand that Evil Is Not a Toy... and the cycle continues. Sure enough, the story ends with Ozpin sealing the mask inside Beacon's Vault and Salem immediately making plans to steal the mask after learning of its power.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Early on during the Breach, there's a moment when Jaune seems to have stopped the Grimm invasion after using his telekinesis to seal the Breach with building debris. This moment of respite is broken when the ground suddenly starts shaking before a massive Beringel bursts up from the ground and destroys the debris blocking the entrance, allowing the Grimm to continue flooding into the city.
    • In "Gnawing", Pyrrha notices how Jaune has been acting differently and manages to get him to open up to her about his insecurities and his inner conflict with Nihilus. During this scene, Jaune has a moment of clarity where he realizes that Nihilus has been manipulating him. He then seemingly accepts Pyrrha's help and, as the two hug, he promises her that they can beat Nihilus if they work together. The moment Pyrrha leaves for her meeting with Ozpin, Jaune immediately reverts back to his Dark Side self and reveals that he was lying to Pyrrha. In reality, he's lost hope of ever overcoming Nihilus' influence and believes that accepting the Dark Side is his only option.
    • In "Destiny", Pyrrha calls out Jaune on how he's changed for the worse ever since the Breach. She finishes her What the Hell, Hero? speech by pleading with Jaune to seek help from Ironwood, assuring him that the General has a plan to remove Nihilus's spirit from his body. This finally snaps Jaune out of the Dark Side's influence and, for a brief moment, he considers going with her to Ozpin. Unfortunately for them, Nihilus isn't quite finished messing with Jaune yet. The Sith spirit drives up Jaune's paranoia by showing him out-of-context visions that depict Pyrrha conspiring with Ozpin to steal his powers. This throws Jaune into a violent rage and he attacks Pyrrha while screaming accusations of betrayal.
    • Near the end of "Nihilus", just as the eponymous villain seems to have all but defeated the heroes, The Cavalry arrives in the form of FNKI, BRNZ, and Raven. Then it turns out that Nihilus was holding back the entire time, and he uses the Force to throw Ironwood's airship at the gathered fighters, demonstrating that they never stood a chance against him and that he could have easily ended the fight anytime he wished.
  • Horrifying the Horror:
    • The terentatek in the chapter "Fear" is able to scare Nihilus, who reacts to its appearance with a mix of Oh, Crap! and Admiring the Abomination.
    • During the Breach, all the lesser Grimm attacking Vale suddenly start cowering and backing down when they feel the ground start to shake from the presence of a King Beringel.
    • The Beowolf that Jaune uses Force Drain on during the Breach feels fear for the first time in its existence before it dies. The Grimm surrounding Jaune also briefly hesitate to attack him upon seeing this.
  • Horror Hunger: Starting in Chapter 10, Jaune starts to experience a feeling of hunger which he is unable to satisfy even after gorging himself on Beacon’s cafeteria food during the food fight. This eventually gets to the point where he seriously considers draining Velvet’s life force.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: At first, Jaune struggles to control his Force-sensitivity. Glynda, thinking Jaune has a Semblance similar to hers, takes him on as an apprentice to help him control it.
  • Human Aliens:
    • The humans in the Star Wars galaxy look just like the humans on Remnant to the point where it plays into Jaune's misconception that the dreams he has of Nihilus's past took place on Remnant. Since most of the people in Nihilus's flashbacks were baseline humans (and even the aliens were humanoid enough to be mistaken for Faunus), Jaune concludes that the memories he's seeing must have taken place on Remnant and he dismisses Nora's (correct) theory about magic aliens for this very reason.
    • Darth Nihilus comes to this conclusion about the humans on Remnant. He notes that while Remnant's people appear no different from baseline humans, none of them possess a direct connection to the Force, making them radically different from the other human species in the galaxy.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Force Wounds are empty vacuums in the Force that form whenever the Force undergoes extreme trauma, usually from a sudden loss of life on a massive scale. This normally results in a case of Evil Tainted the Place, but when such an anomaly centers around a living person, the result is an entity whose very existence is absent of the Force. Because the Force is supposed to flow through all life, this emptiness causes a Horror Hunger that drives living Force Wounds to feed off other Force-sensitives. In layman's terms, they're the Force-equivalent of a walking black hole that sucks the Life Energy out of everything around it. So far, only three of these have appeared in the story: Darth Nihilus, Meetra Surik, and Jaune Arc.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: After falling to the Dark Side, Jaune plays a balancing act with his friends where he pretends to be the same lovable dork from before while secretly trying to gain more power and digging deeper into the Dark Side's abyss.
Advertisement:

     Tropes I–N 
  • I Just Want to Be Badass:
    • Deconstructed with Jaune. All Jaune has ever wanted was to be strong. To have the strength to protect his loved ones and stand up for himself. Naturally, when the Mask of Nihilus gives Jaune the kind of power he's desired all his life, he becomes fixated on his Force abilities and refuses to give them up for any reason. Under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune's desire for more power becomes no different than Cinder's obsession with the Maidens.
    • There's also Collan Eislo, who desperately wants to be a Sith despite his impotent Force-sensitivity.
  • I Can Still Fight!: During the Breach, both Yang and Blake insist on continuing to fight even though both are clearly exhausted and in no condition to fight. Jaune resorts to mind-tricking them into evacuating to safety.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In the chapter "Gnawing", Pyrrha convinces a corrupted Jaune to open up about his feelings and helps him break free of the Dark Side's influence. During this moment of clarity, Jaune realizes that Nihilus has been manipulating him and that his use of the Dark Side has deteriorated his mind. Unfortunately, Jaune is addicted to the Dark Side at this point and he is still unwilling to give up his powers due to his total dependency on them. Rather than come clean to his friends about Nihilus' mask, Jaune doubles down and believes that the problem is he hasn't drawn enough power from the Dark Side. He then concludes that there's no point in trying to resist Nihilus' influence since he feels like he's already lost control over his life anyway.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The terentatek finally dies after Jaune and Glynda combine their telekinesis to form a giant stone javelin that they launch through the creature's body.
    • Though we never see Petros Krizoz's death, it's mentioned that Alixandre "ran Crocea Mors through him", bringing to mind this trope.
    • Emerald is killed when Nihilus impales her from behind with Crocea Mors as she is busy trying to drag an unconscious Cinder to safety.
    • While possessing Jaune, Nihilus murders Pyrrha (and Amber) by stabbing Jaune's sword through her stomach.
    • After Ruby uses her Silver Eyes to free Jaune from Nihilus' control, he drives the blade of Crocea Mors into his own stomach, killing himself and Nihilus in the process.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Within the Star Wars galaxy, Remnant is considered an unknown backwater within the Unknown Regions. It's because of this trope that a team of treasure hunting droids decided to dump the Mask of Nihilus on Remnant, as it was somewhere that the Empire would never be able to find it.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite the Battle of Beacon going very differently than in canon due to Nihilus' involvement, Penny still ends up being destroyed, Pyrrha is still killed, and Ruby unlocks her Silver Eyes after witnessing Pyrrha's death.
    • Even though Yang doesn't lose her arm like in canon and Adam dies during the Fall of Beacon, Blake still leaves her team and runs away after recovering from her injuries inflicted by Adam.
  • Involuntary Group Split: At the end of "Nihilus", the eponymous villain crashes Ironwood's airship into Beacon. The resulting massive Dust explosion causes the heroes to become separated in the chaos. Ruby and Pyrrha are knocked unconscious and wake up in the ruins of the fairgrounds, Nora and Ren are sent flying into the Great War Memorial, Qrow is Buried Alive beneath the remains of the airship, and Blake and Weiss go MIA.
  • Ironic Echo: Jaune's idealistic line about how he wants to be a hero takes on a darker turn at the end of "Destiny", where it's the last thing he says before giving in to Nihilus's Demonic Possession.
  • Irony:
    • The relationship between Nihilus's soul and Jaune mirrors the relationship Nihilus once held with his master Darth Traya. Like Kreia, Nihilus manipulates Jaune while using crumbs of knowledge to keep Jaune loyal to him. Nihilus is fully aware of the irony.
    • In response to a reviewer, the author explains that Jaune was motivated to become a Huntsman because he was inspired by stories about his great-great-grandfather and wanted to be more like him. He ends up wearing the outfit of the very assassin cult that Alixandre Arc destroyed and his body becomes possessed by the same evil mask that Alixandre sealed away. In trying to become more like his ancestor, Jaune ends up becoming the very evil that Alix fought so hard against.
  • The Juggernaut: The terentatek that attacks Beacon's students in "Fear". It's so strong that it can One-Hit KO nearly everybody that tries to go up against it. It has an armored hide that can tank anything short of machine-gun fire from a Bullhead and shrugs off everything the heroes try to throw at it. Even Professor Goodwitch is unable to do much more than lightly injure the beast. Once it detects Jaune's Force-sensitivity, it immediately zeroes in on his location while tearing apart anything foolish enough to get in its way.
  • Just Toying with Them:
    • When Qrow and the students attack Nihilus, it becomes obvious to any observer that Nihilus is barely putting in any effort for the majority of the fight. Once Nihilus decides he's had enough playing around, he telekinetically throws Ironwood's airship at the heroes, causing massive amounts of damage and killing half of the fighters present (while critically injuring the rest). Nihilus could have done this at any point in the battle, but held off on it because he wanted to show off just how much of a superior fighter he was.
    • Downplayed during Nihilus's fight with Cinder. Unlike his previous battles, Nihilus doesn't underestimate her due to sensing the Fall Maiden inside her. However, he's still clearly not fighting at his A-game and the two seem evenly matched for most of the battle, right up until Cinder shatters Nihilus' Aura and makes him feel physical pain. Cue an enraged Nihilus knocking Cinder's lights out in the space of five seconds, revealing that he could have easily defeated her anytime he wanted to.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Even after Jaune has fallen to the Dark Side and has all but undergone a Face–Heel Turn, his love for Pyrrha holds back his worst impulses. In "Destiny", Jaune snaps after learning that Pyrrha told Ozpin about his condition and nearly uses his Force Drain on her. When Pyrrha knocks some sense into him, Jaune immediately enters a mental breakdown which Nihilus uses to take control of his body.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • The rabbit that Jaune encounters in Beacon's gardens at the end of "Satiation". Jaune blacks out before draining the rabbit of its lifeforce, so the reader only sees the moments before and after it's killed.
    • Petros Krizoz's death is treated in a similar way to the rabbit mentioned above. The reader is only shown the prelude and aftermath of Petros's death rather than the death itself. Right as Petros is about to fight Alixandre, the chapter uses a Charge-into-Combat Cut to transition to the next scene which shows an exhausted Alixandre standing triumphantly over Petros's eviscerated corpse.
    • Roman Torchwick, who spent the entire fic as The Ghost, dies when the airship Ironwood was holding him prisoner aboard is telekinetically pulled down and forced to crash into Beacon by Nihilus, igniting all the Dust on the ship and creating a massive explosion that destroys everything onboard.
    • Ivori and Kobalt of Team FNKI (though they are never referred to by their names) were among those killed offscreen by Ironwood's airship crashing into Beacon. While searching through one of Beacon's abandoned hallways in "Death", Ironwood comes across their corpses.
    • Between "Vengeance" and "Sorry", the entire White Fang and Grimm army are all killed and absorbed by Darth Nihilus after he finished draining Adam. Ozpin and his allies only realize this when they notice that the entire school (which was previously a chaotic warzone) has become dead silent.
  • Killer Gorilla: During the Breach, team JNPR winds up facing a King Beringel, the King Mook variant of the regular Beringels. The ancient Grimm resembles a colossal gorilla that stands at 30 feet tall, is heavily armored, and is covered in spikes. It comes close to killing Nora before Jaune supercharges her with his Force lightning.
  • Knight of Cerebus: For most of the fic, the fic tries to stick to the light and comic tone of RWBY's first few volumes. That being said, there are a few villains capable of taking the story to incredibly dark places.
    • While not without drama, the story is fairly lighthearted at first, focusing on Jaune learning to control his new powers while bonding with his teammates. That all changes once the terentatek comes along. It's a nigh-unstoppable monster mutated by the Dark Side and more dangerous than any Grimm. It's the first serious threat that the protagonists face and comes the closest out of any villain to actually killing Jaune. The scene where it attacks Jaune also includes the first instance of Gorn in a story that had previously been tame with its violence. If it wasn't for a last-minute Gunship Rescue, the entire main cast would be dead. In addition, the terentatek's debut marks the start of Jaune's Protagonist Journey to Villain as he starts drawing power from the Dark Side and becomes more temperamental in later chapters.
    • All that above pales in comparison to the kind of horror that Darth Nihilus brings to the table. Whereas even Cinder had her humorous moments, nothing about Nihilus is ever Played for Laughs. He's an insidious Eldritch Abomination bent on consuming all of existence and his corruptive influence on Jaune is one-hundred percent Played for Drama. His involvement in the plot is almost single-handedly responsible for the story being Darker and Edgier than in canon and the plot immediately takes a darker turn whenever he appears. After possessing Jaune, Nihilus makes his official debut by curb-stomping the heroes, killing civilians en masse, and causing the deaths of several major characters as well as a dozen minor characters.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • In the prologue, Jaune gets attacked and chased through the woods by an Alpha Beowolf. At this point, Jaune is still a normal boy with no combat training and his only weapons are an antique sword and shield. Although he briefly considers fighting back, he quickly realizes that trying to take on an Alpha Grimm in close-quarters combat is suicide and instead does the only thing that he can realistically do, which is continue to run away as fast as his legs can carry him.
    • In the middle of Winter and Adam's duel in "Vengeance", Winter catches sight of Darth Nihilus walking towards her from a distance. Knowing that she is no match for him, she breaks off her duel with Adam and flees on the back of one of her Grimm summons. Fortunately for the heroes, Adam doesn't get the message and tries to attack Nihilus with predictable results.
  • Lady and Knight: Ozpin's group invokes this in Chapter 15 by choosing Pyrrha as the Fall Maiden with the hope that Jaune will become the Knight to Pyrrha's Lady.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Darth Nihilus stripped his master Traya of her power and cast her out, forcing her to resort to mentoring and manipulating the Exile until she eventually regained her connection to the Force. After his death, Nihilus was given to an identical fate, being starved of his power, marooned on an unknown planet in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and having to resort to manipulating his new host by mentoring him in the ways of the Force.
  • Life Drain:
    • During the Breach, Jaune develops his Dark Side powers to the point where he's able to drain the life out of the Grimm. This draws the attention of Ozpin, who begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems with Jaune.
    • Darth Nihilus's signature move is using the Force to drain the life out of his victims. In "Death", he kills Mercury by draining his life and then uses Mercury's Life Energy to heal himself.
  • Line in the Sand:
    • In Chapter 18, shortly before fighting Darth Nihilus, Qrow tells the present members of RWBY, JNPR, and ABRN that this is their last chance to Opt Out. None of them take it.
    • Just before the Final Battle at Beacon Tower, Ironwood informs Ruby that his men have helped her teammates evacuate the school and mentions that it's not too late for her to Opt Out as well. Although she briefly considers it, Ruby insists on staying behind to help Pyrrha defeat the Big Bad.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Team RWBY is locked out of the loop in regards to Jaune's possession by Nihilus. To a lesser extent, Nora and Ren are both unaware of the true extent that Nihilus has control over Jaune.
    • For most of the story, Darth Nihilus is in the dark about the existence of the Maidens. When he senses the Fall Maiden transfer its power from Cinder to Pyrrha, he assumes he's dealing with some sort of Force Ghost and is ignorant as to how the Maidens' succession works.
  • Logical Weakness: Due to their nature as soulless machines, droids are unaffected by Nihilus's Force Drain and are immune to the mask's mind control. In "Legends", this enables Alpha's team to transport the mask without endangering themselves.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: The story is primarily set on Remnant, a planet located in the Unknown Regions of the Star Wars galaxy, with no mention of Earth.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Darth Nihilus has developed into one following his defeat by Meetra Surik. Throughout the story, he uses Jaune's insecurities and feelings of weakness to gradually gain control over him. "Legends" shows that he also manipulated the Temple of Shadows cult by pretending to be the God of Darkness in order to gain himself a cult of assassins with Undying Loyalty to him.
    • Professor Ozpin is a benevolent example. After seeing the full extent of Jaune's powers, Ozpin wants to enlist him as part of his Secret War against Salem. He chooses Pyrrha as the next Fall Maiden because he knows that Jaune is deeply attached to her and hopes that this will pressure Jaune into joining him. This backfires when Nihilus tells Jaune about Ozpin's plan and pushes Jaune further into paranoia.
  • Marshmallow Hell: When Jaune wakes up in the hospital after his fight with the terentatek, he's subjected to this by a nurse. The nurse was monitoring Jaune's vitals and didn't notice that he was awake when she leaned over his bed to adjust his pillow, unknowingly smothering his face with her bosom. Because he still hadn't recovered from his injuries, Jaune nearly blacks out from being unable to breathe.
  • Mask of Power: Simply touching Nihilus's mask grants Jaune Force abilities on par with that of a Sith apprentice. Subverted later on when it's revealed that the mask doesn't grant Force-sensitivity, Nihilus used an ancient Sith art to increase the mid-chlorians in Jaune's body.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In "Nihilus", just about everyone present during the heroes' battle with Darth Nihilus has this reaction when Nihilus uses the Force to perform a Colony Drop with Ironwood's airship.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In-universe example with Nihilus. When Jaune tells Pyrrha that the spirit possessing him was named Nihilus, she finds it a fitting name as "Nihil" means nothing.
    • In "Legends", we are introduced to Petros Krizoz. The name "Petros" is Greek for "Peter" and originates from the Greek translation of the Bible. In the Bible, Peter was the most prominent of Jesus' twelve disciples and became the first pope of the Catholic Church following Christ's death. Like Peter, Petros was Nihilus's first follower on Remnant and later led a religious cult devoted to following the Sith Lord's teachings.
    • Also from the same chapter is Alixandre Arc, the famed general of Vale's army responsible for defeating the Temple of Shadows. Alixandre is the French form for the Greek name "Alexander", which roughly means "defender of man". A fitting name for a man who has devoted his service to protecting the Kingdom of Vale against those that would seek to harm its people.
    • The King of Vale during the Great War was named Osmund. Osmund is a name of Germanic origin which means "divine protector". King Osmund is the reincarnation of Ozma, a man who was resurrected by the God of Light and has taken it upon himself to protect humanity from Salem and the Grimm.
  • Mexican Standoff: During Nihilus's flashbacks in "Legends", a three-way standoff happens between Alpha's droids, Sando's Boys, and the Apex Society over ownership of the Mask of Nihilus. Omega calls their situation a "Tatooine standoff". The standoff is broken up by Nihilus's ghost, who drains Sando's pirates and the Apex Society of their life force before returning to dormancy.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The Atlesian Army is initially depicted like one. When they fight the Grimm during the Breach, Jaune ends up having to save them instead of the other way around. He even lampshades this, wondering what's the point of all their training and advanced technology if they're going to be worthless against the Grimm. When a squad of soldiers try going up against Darth Nihilus, he slaughters them with little effort. Subverted later on when Ironwood coordinates Vale's defense. The army is shown to be effective at fighting the Grimm and evacuating Vale's populace.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • One of the first powers that Jaune gains from Nihilus's mask is a Force-user's telekinesis.
    • Glynda Goodwitch's Semblance is Telekinesis and she is a proficient user of it. She actually makes Jaune her apprentice in order to help him refine his own telekinesis.
    • Naturally as a Sith, Darth Nihilus is also able to use Force telekinesis. He's powerful enough to use his telekinesis to pull an airship down from the sky.
  • Mirthless Laughter:
    • In "Fear", when Yang casually asks Jaune how he's doing after he's nearly disemboweled and is lying in a pool of his own blood, Jaune laughs at the absurdity of her question before responding with his own Casual Danger Dialogue.
    • When Nihilus telekinetically crashes Ironwood's airship into Beacon, Qrow can't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation while everyone around him stares up in horror at the incoming airship.
    • In "Vengeance", Amber starts ruefully chuckling inside Pyrrha's head upon seeing all the destruction caused by Nihilus due to feeling guilt from not being awake in time to stop him.
    • Ruby breaks down into laughters of disbelief and distress in "Sorry" when she sees that Nihilus is Not Quite Dead and somehow survived the blast from Ozpin's Fantastic Nuke.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Jaune goes to ask Ren for romantic advice in "Dance", he walks in on Ren after the latter had just finished taking a shower and was only wearing a towel. He proceeds to drag a half-naked Ren over to his bed before telling him how he feels as though he's formed a close bond with him. Ren misinterprets this as Jaune trying to hit on him before the latter clarifies that he wants advice on dating girls.
  • Moment of Weakness: General Alixandre Arc served the Kingdom of Vale with distinction and loyalty during the Great War. When King Osmund disbanded the military after the war ended, the general retired as a simple farmer. However, the Mask of Nihilus sensed that a small part of him was resentful at Osmund for this change. Taking advantage of this, Nihilus's ghost tells the general that he deserves better and nearly brainwashes him into starting a military coup. Thankfully, Alix is able to break free from Nihilus's control through his Heroic Willpower. Nevertheless, he's horrified that he even considered overthrowing the king and never tells anyone about his encounter with the Mask out of shame.
  • Moral Sociopathy: Jaune's sense of morality develops into this after falling to the Dark Side. He still wants to protect his friends and is aware that brainwashing them is wrong, but lacks empathy for everyone else.
  • Morality Chain: Pyrrha becomes one for Jaune as his corruption by the Dark Side deepens. Jaune's attachment to Pyrrha and desire to do right by her ends up being the only thing that keeps him from undergoing a full Face–Heel Turn and embracing his worst impulses.
  • More Than Mind Control: Jaune eventually admits that part of him likes the power that Nihilus gave him despite knowing that Nihilus is trying to take over his body. Even when Nihilus's influence has driven Jaune to a breaking point, he still won't get rid of the mask because he doesn't want to give up his new powers.
  • Motive Decay: Jaune starts out wanting to get stronger in order to protect his friends. Under the influence of the Dark Side, his motives change from "get stronger to protect my friends" to "get stronger because I want more power".
  • Multiple-Choice Future: In "Destiny", right as Jaune is about to go with Pyrrha to seek Ozpin for help, Nihilus's spirit shows Jaune visions of two possible futures. One has him using his powers to help Ozpin defeat Salem. The other shows him Strapped to an Operating Table by Atlesian scientists and being experimented on while Ozpin and Ironwood attempt to destroy Nihilus's mask.
  • My Beloved Smother: Jaune's parents were extremely overprotective of him and Jaune calls them the very definition of "helicopter parents". Part of the reason he ran away from home and enrolled in Beacon was to prove to them that he doesn't need to be protected.
    Weiss: What was wrong with your parents?
    Jaune: They were kinda controlling like yours, but in a different way. They were the ultimate helicopter parents. Overprotective. Over-invasive. It's like they were afraid I'd disappear if they weren't watching me.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In "Dance", Jaune has this reaction after discovering that he accidentally mind-tricked Weiss into falling in love with him. He's so horrified by what he's done that he runs away while crying Tears of Remorse.
    • Jaune in "Destiny", after attacking Pyrrha in a fit of rage, bruising her arm, and almost draining her of her life.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Named After Their Planet: In-Universe, Nihilus refers to the humans of Remnant as "Remnantians". This is justified since he's from a setting where naming one's ethnicity after their home planet is standard practice.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • One of Jaune's seven sisters is named Amber.
    • The King of Vale responsible for ending the Great War is given the name Osmund.
    • Jaune's parents are named Jacob and Isabella in this fic.
  • Never My Fault: After Jaune attacks Pyrrha during a fit of anger, he is unable to cope with the idea that he hurt her and is in complete denial, running away while repeatedly chanting that he "didn't mean to". When he's cornered by his friends (and Qrow), he shifts to blaming Qrow for "turning" Pyrrha against him. Qrow reacts by calling him out on this and tells Jaune that he has no one to blame but himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The chapter "Legends" gradually reveals that the entire plot started as a result of this. Over a hundred years ago, a group of spacers was trying to keep the Mask of Nihilus out of Darth Vader's hands. They planned to hide it in the most remote region of the galaxy. In a stroke of bad luck, Remnant happened to be the first world they came across and their leader dumped the Mask on Remnant because he was too lazy to go look for a different, uninhabited planet. Everything else, as they say, is history.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • "Legends" reveals that Nihilus really has no one but himself to blame for his own marooning on Remnant. Alpha's team was unaware of the Mask of Nihilus's supernatural properties and presumably intended to sell the dark artifact to a wealthy collector. Had Nihilus been more patient, he would have escaped Volik and gained access to a new host. However, in a hunger-driven craze, Nihilus's spirit manifests in full view of the droids and mercilessly slaughters Sando's pirates and Collan's cultists. By choosing to reveal himself, Nihilus plays his hand too early and his act of mass murder convinces Alpha's team that the mask is too dangerous for anyone to possess, leading them to maroon it on Remnant.
    • Nihilus kickstarting the Battle of Beacon by crashing Ironwood's airship causes a large number of casualties, but it also kills Roman and prevents him from taking control of Atlas's forces, meaning the battle goes slightly better for Vale than in canon.
    • After Darth Nihilus defeats Cinder, he tries enslaving her mind rather than simply killing her and draining her Maiden powers like he originally planned. This proves to be a mistake as Cinder has an Intrinsic Vow to never again be Made a Slave, and the anger she feels from having her mind violated gives her a second wind which she uses to commit a Spiteful Suicide. This causes Cinder's half of the Fall Maiden to return to Amber's body right as Ozpin was merging Amber's Aura with Pyrrha's, resulting in Pyrrha becoming a fully-ascended Maiden rather than a mere half-Maiden like Ozpin planned.
    • In order to heal from his injuries sustained during his battle with Cinder, Nihilus kills the largest Grimm he can find and drains it of all its essence. The Grimm he kills happens to be the Wyvern, which up until then had been singlehandedly turning the tide of the battle in the Grimm's favor. This immediately turns the battle back in Atlas's favor and provides their airships with some much-needed breathing room. He then proceeds to take this even further by draining all the Grimm at the Fall of Beacon. Although this greatly increases his power, it later results in Beacon Academy (or what little remains of it) being easily retaken by Vale's forces since the Grimm occupying the school were all killed by Nihilus.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The terentatek that teams RWBY and JNPR encounter in "Fear" is only killed after its body takes the full brunt of a Bullhead's chaingun and the remains are shot up by the combined power of RWBY, JNPR, and Professor Goodwitch.
  • No-Sell:
    • When Jaune attacks the terentatek with his strongest Force push, the creature is completely unaffected by it. Likewise, the terentatek doesn't even flinch upon being hit in the face by Nora's hammer.
    • In the chapter "Legends", a band of Space Pirates try firing on Nihilus's spirit when he shows himself to them. For obvious reasons, their blasters have no effect on the Force ghost and the bolts pass harmlessly through his form.
    • The fact that Nihilus can use the Force means that Neo's illusions and Emerald's hallucinations do absolutely nothing to him — even though he can see the illusions they create, he can tell they're fake.
    • After absorbing the Wyvern's essence, Nihilus's Aura becomes supercharged to the point of Nigh-Invulnerability. When Adam tries to go up against him in "Vengeance", Nihilus tanks his strongest attack without taking any damage.
  • Not Himself: After fully embracing the Dark Side, both Glinda and Pyrrha notice how Jaune is becoming more aggressive and callous than usual. His lovable dork personality has been replaced by a cold, paranoid, and morally pragmatic one.
  • Not Me This Time: Discussed. After learning about Jaune's claim that he's possessed by a magic Grimm warlord, Qrow and Ironwood naturally suspect that Salem is involved somehow. Ozpin dispels the notion, reasoning that if Salem could grant powers like he could, she would have already created her own Maidens by now. After seeing Jaune don the Mask of Darth Nihilus, Ironwood is only further convinced that Nihilus works for Salem due to the mask's similarities with a Grimm mask.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: Despite his experience with magic and the Maidens, Ozpin's allies are surprised to learn that he's just as in the dark as they are about the source of Jaune's seemingly magical powers. Ozpin's POV focuses on how he's dealing with factors that he has no knowledge about, like the Force, the terentatek, and a Sith ghost.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Nora tries to leave her dorm to ask Jaune an insensitive question about whether he's depressed, Pyrrha pins her to her bed to keep her from bothering him. Nora then teases Pyrrha about her crush on Jaune, causing the latter to start blushing. Of course, it's at this moment when Jaune enters his dorm and sees Pyrrha pinning Nora to her bed while having a Crush Blush, leading him to assume that they were being intimate.
    Jaune: You know, I don't mind if you guys want to, do stuff. But at least like, put a sock on the door or something.
    Pyrrha: This isn't what it looks like!

     Tropes O–S 
  • Oh, My Gods!: Because the Two Brothers are the dominant religion on Remnant, some characters replace "God" with "Brothers", "Dust", or "gods" in their expressions. Jaune in particular uses the phrase "Oh Dust and Grimm".
  • One-Word Title: All of the chapters have a single word as the title.
  • Opposed Mentors: For the first half of the fic, Jaune is caught between two mentors with clashing ideologies: Glynda Goodwitch (Jaune's teacher at Beacon) and Darth Nihilus (the entity responsible for giving him his powers). Glynda is of the belief that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility and teaches Jaune to use his telekinesis without being fueled by his emotions. Nihilus influences Jaune to embrace his worst impulses and to let all his negative emotions flow through him. At first, Jaune doesn't want to become like Nihilus and tries to follow Glynda's advice. After falling to the Dark Side, he chooses Nihilus and rejects everything Glynda ever taught him.
  • Origins Episode: The flashback dream in "Gnawing" shows how Nihilus first met Traya and Sion, as well as the moment when he officially joins the Sith and took on the name "Nihilus".
  • Our Humans Are Different:
    • The humans from the Star Wars galaxy (referred to as baseline humans) all share a connection to the Force, which runs through everything. Those who possess a strong connection to this Force are able to wield supernatural Psychic Powers.
    • The humans on Remnant lack any sort of connection to the Force, yet the Force still surrounds their bodies in a personal forcefield which is known as Aura. They also possess a strange power called Semblance, which manifests as a different superpower in each individual. Nihilus himself notes that while the people of Remnant may resemble baseline humans, their lack of a connection with the Force makes them so different that they might as well be an entirely separate species.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • Darth Nihilus is one for all of Remnant. Even in a World of Badass full of Huntsmen and Grimm, the ghost of an alien warlord turned planet-eating Eldritch Abomination is something that no one could have ever seen coming. Prior to his emergence, the people of Remnant were ignorant of life outside their planet, magic was a rare gift which only a carefully selected few could wield, and Ozpin believed himself to be unique in his abilities to possess others and bestow magic. Then comes along Nihilus, an Undead Abomination from outer space whose control over the Force gives him supernatural powers that rival the Maidens. Not only does he have powers similar to Ozpin's, but his are arguably superior since he shares none of the drawbacks that Ozpin faces. Additionally, Nihilus is the only person aside from Salem who can control the Grimm. There's also the fact that Ozpin and Salem knew nothing about Nihilus' existence prior to the events of the story.
    • The terentatek in "Fear" is an OCP for several different characters. It's a Sithspawn, an alien creature mutated by the Dark Side that specializes in hunting Force-users. Its appearance in Forever Fall creates a lot of trouble for the heroes, who are used to fighting Grimm and have never seen a creature like it before. For Jaune, it's the first enemy he's encountered that can No-Sell his Force attacks. For Teams JNPR and RWBY, it's the first supernatural entity they've encountered that isn't a Grimm. Additionally, the terentatek's extraterrestrial nature means that even Ozpin has no idea what he's dealing with.
    • Ruby becomes one for Darth Nihilus during the story's climax. Although Nihilus has easily slaughtered scores of Light Side users in the past, all of them were Jedi whose Light Side powers were defensive and passive in nature. However, silver-eyed warriors like Ruby weaponize the Light Side through bursts of pure Light Side energy released from their eyes. This is especially shocking for a former Jedi like Nihilus, who was taught that the Light Side cannot be used aggressively and has no experience when it comes to dealing with someone who can use the Light Side in such a destructive manner.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Legends" briefly switches from the future-fantasy world of Remnant to the sci-fi Space Opera of Star Wars where we see the history of Nihilus's mask in the Star Wars universe.
  • Painful Transformation If Jaune’s screams were anything to go by, transforming into Nihilus wasn’t a pleasant experience.
  • Perspective Flip:
    • The final segment of "Legends" retells the events of the prologue "Chance" from the perspective of Darth Nihilus's spirit from within his mask.
    • The first half of the chapter "Chaos" is spent retelling the battle from "Nihilus", but from Cinder's point-of-view as she watches the fighting from afar.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After the terentatek is killed, all the students who fought the creature drop to the ground out of exhaustion and relief. Jaune, however, blacks out completely once the adrenaline in his system wears off and his injuries catch up to him.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Darth Nihilus gets hit with this when he finally takes an active role in the story during the third act. To keep him from being a Glass Cannon compared to Remnant's fighters, he has Aura like everyone else, allowing him to trade blows with the heroes without getting crippled by a lucky shot. Justified because Nihilus was possessing Jaune's body, giving him access to Jaune's large Aura reserves.
  • Power Incontinence:
    • In "Dance", Jaune accidentally mind-tricks Weiss into being his date for the Beacon Dance. When he realizes what he did, he's horrified and Weiss understandably freaks out upon being freed of his control.
    • At the end of "Nihilus", Qrow's Semblance activates at the worst possible time. While fleeing from a crashing airship, Qrow's bad luck causes a nearby waitress to have a Dramatic Slip, causing Qrow to sacrifice himself by using his body to shield hers.
  • Power Misidentification: A lot of people misidentify Jaune's Force-sensitivity for some kind of Semblance. It's initially thought that Jaune has a telekinesis Semblance similar to Professor Goodwitch's. After he unlocks several different Force abilities, team RWBY assumes that he somehow possesses multiple Semblances. Pyrrha eventually concludes that Jaune has a Semantic Superpower revolving around the concept of control. Finally, Ozpin comes to believe that Jaune possesses the same magic as himself and the Maidens.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The whole subplot from Volume 1 about Jaune getting blackmailed by Cardin is removed for this reason. In canon, Jaune suffered from a lack of self-confidence during his early days at Beacon because he wasn't as good of a fighter as his teammates. The entire purpose of that subplot was to help Jaune develop more confidence in himself and more trust in his team. Here, that isn't necessary since Jaune's newfound Force-sensitivity has already elevated him to a power level similar to that of his classmates. The author even explains in one of their replies to a reviewer on FFN.
    WelcomeToEstalia: [replying to a reviewer] Yeah. In the show Cardin as a character was only a plot tool used for Jaune to develop confidence and trust with his team. With the powers he gets here, he has that confidence already so Cardin's role in the plot was less necessary as Jaune wouldn't bow down to his blackmailing.
  • Precursor Hero:
    • Meetra Surik, who appears once during a flashback set thousands of years ago, is the Jedi responsible for destroying Nihilus's physical form and saving the entire galaxy from being consumed by him.
    • Jaune's ancestor Alixandre Arc was a noble Valean general who fought during the Great War and was deeply loyal to Ozma's incarnation as the King of Vale. He was responsible for wiping out the cult of assassins that worshipped Nihilus's mask and imprisoned the mask inside a cave after resisting Nihilus's influence over his mind.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The plot follows Jaune's slow descent into the Dark Side as he becomes more like The Unfettered in pursuit of his goal to become strong enough to protect the people he loves. After falling to the Dark Side during the Breach, Jaune quickly goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope as he rapidly devolves into a power-hungry sociopath who views his friends as possessions.
  • Psychic Strangle:
    • A flashback in "Victory" shows Nihilus Force-choking a Mandalorian during a battle.
    • Jaune defeats Cardin during their sparring match by Force-choking him.
    • Darth Nihilus uses the Force to choke Arslan, shortly before striking her down with his sword.
    • During their battle in "Sorry", Nihilus starts Force choking Pyrrha after he realizes that she's using her Semblance to keep him from landing any hits with his sword.
  • Quizzical Tilt: This fic features a lot of head tilting from several characters.
    • When Jaune encounters an Alpha Beowolf in the prologue, he tries to hide from it by standing absolutely still due his misconception about the Grimm being Living Motion Detectors. While this doesn't keep the Beowolf from noticing him, the Grimm does take a second to pause and tilt its head in bewilderment before attacking.
    • In "Initiation", Pyrrha tilts her head in confusion upon hearing Jaune abruptly scream out "So that's what it was!" in response to hearing her explanation about how Aura and Semblances work. Noticing her confusion, he tells her about how he unlocked his Aura and retells the events of the prologue, though leaves out the part about Nihilus' mask.
    • In "Control", Pyrrha tilts her head in interest while listening to Jaune explain his theory that his powers are tied to his emotions.
    • Jaune does this twice in "Leadership". The first time is during one of his mentoring sessions with Goodwitch, where he tilts his head in confusion after hearing Glynda's advice to use his telekinesis visually rather than sequentially. Near the end of the chapter, when Ruby asks Jaune what he believes the role of a leader is, he responds by tilting his head in confusion before asking whether her question was meant to be rhetorical.
    • During a flashback of Nihilus' first meeting with Darth Traya, Nihilus skeptically tilts his head in response to hearing Traya claim that she sought him out in order to help him.
    • In "Legends", upon to Church explain his plan to dump the Mask of Nihilus on Remnant, Tex questioningly tilts her head before asking what happens if one of Remnant's natives finds the mask.
    • The first time that Nihilus encounters the Grimm is when a flock of Nevermores land in front of him in "Chaos". Due to his unique nature, the avian Grimm all tilt their heads as they try to ascertain what he is.
    • The Wyvern tilts its head in interest when it detects Nihilus' fury at failing to drain the Fall Maiden from Cinder. Upon arriving at Nihilus' location, the Grimm dragon turns its head again to get a better look at the source of the negativity that it previously felt.
    • In "Vengeance", when Amber tells Pyrrha her mantra to "let the past die", she reacts by tilting her head due to how strange but fitting she finds it.
    • Nihilus does this twice in "Sorry". The first time is when he slightly tilts his head to the side in contemplation upon hearing Ozpin demand to know the reason behind Nihilus' actions. Later in the chapter, he tilts his head in confusion upon noticing that his Force lightning failed to destroy Penny.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune rails against Professor Goodwitch when she tries to stage an intervention after noticing how Jaune's personality has become more aggressive ever since he unlocked his new powers.
    Jaune: [hissing] I don't need help.
    Glynda: I don't believe that Jaune. And more importantly, Professor Ozpin doesn't believe that either. Jaune, the headmaster is aware something happened during the Breach, and I cannot help you against any actions he may take unless you tell me something.
    Jaune: How many times do I have to say it!? I don't need help! You underestimate my power! I am strong now. Stronger than any of the students! Hell, I'm probably even stronger than you and Ozpin! I don't need your help, and I don't need you.
  • Rasputinian Death:
    • The terentatek in "Fear" is shot with hundreds of high-caliber bullets, blown up by several high-yield missiles, and hit by the combined firepower of JNPR and RWBY. Somehow, the beast survives all this and only dies after being impaled by a giant stone javelin formed by the combined telekinesis of Glynda and Jaune. And even then, the students still shoot its corpse into a bloody pulp just to be sure.
    • Darth Nihilus has thousands of tons of molten metal dropped on him and gets hit by an energy beam as strong as a turbolaser. He is then nuked with the energy stored in Ozpin's cane, has his left arm blown off, and is so badly injured that he can barely use the Force. From there, he gets beaten up by Pyrrha, nearly killed by a psychic backlash caused by a broken Force Bond, and is hit with a fully-powered blast from Ruby's Silver Eyes enhanced with the Fall Maiden's magic. He's still standing after all this and it takes being stabbed through the stomach with a sword to finally finish him off.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Darth Nihilus's Force ghost delivers on to Jaune in "Breach", telling him that it's his fault for being too weak to protect his friends. This speech is what finally pushes Jaune into embracing the Dark Side.
    Darth Nihilus: Power. You have the power to save your friends already, but you are simply too afraid to use it. Because you are too much of a coward.
    Jaune: What are you talking about!? If I had the strength I would be using it! I… I just didn't have enough time to learn how to control my power!
    Nihilus: Your excuses are as pathetic as you are. What you call control is just suppression. You have not tamed your power, merely run away from it. You have allowed yourself to fight with one hand, blinding yourself to the possibilities of the Force.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over:
    • To Ren's Aura Vision, Darth Nihilus's soul has a red and black color scheme.
    • Whenever, Jaune uses Force Drain, he shoots out black-and-red lightning which drains the life out of his intended target.
  • Red Baron: Various characters are known by different aliases.
    • Darth Nihilus is referred to as the Lord of Hunger.
    • Pyrrha Nikos is known as the "invincible girl" by those who know of her reputation.
    • Meetra Surik is called the Exile.
    • The smuggler who helps Nariel find Nihilus's mask in "Legends" is known only as the Voidhound.
  • Religion of Evil: The Temple of Shadows was a religious sect that worshipped the God of Darkness and carried out assassinations in his name during the Great War. They were actually a death cult centered around worshipping Darth Nihilus and used their cover as an assassin guild to sacrifice hundreds of people to Nihilus's mask.
  • The Resenter:
    • After the Great War ended, General Alixandre Arc became one towards King Osmund (one of Ozpin's previous incarnations). On the surface, Alix was the definition of a Humble Hero who embodied Undying Loyalty to Vale's king. However, a small part of him was resentful towards Osmund for disbanding Vale's military, believing that he deserved to be given some kind of reward for his loyalty and feeling like he was being discarded now that he was no longer needed. The Mask of Nihilus preyed on Alix's feelings of being unappreciated and nearly convinced him to overthrow Vale's newly democratic government in a Military Coup. Thankfully, Alix broke free from the mask's influence at the last second through his own Heroic Willpower.
    • Amber (the previous Fall Maiden) was also this towards Ozpin. After receiving the Fall Maiden's powers, Amber wanted to use her powers to help people all over the world. However, Ozpin refused to let her act on her own, wanting to keep her safe from Salem. As time went on, Amber grew to resent Ozpin and believed that he was holding her back from doing what was right. This came to a boiling point when she got into an extremely heated argument with Ozpin over the best way to use her powers. The argument ended with her storming off and leaving Beacon to Walk the Earth like she always wanted, resulting in her being found and attacked by Cinder's team.
  • The Reveal: The end of "Legends" contains a pretty shocking reveal about the nature of Jaune's powers. Turns out that the Mask of Darth Nihilus can't actually grant Force-sensivity. Jaune's Force prowess was the result of ancient Sith magic that Nihilus used to rapidly multiply the number of midi-chlorians in Jaune's body. It's also implied that the method Nihilus used is also responsible for slowly turning Jaune into a "wound in the Force".
  • Riddle for the Ages: How did the Mask of Darth Nihilus end up in an abandoned cave on Remnant? Finally answered in "Legends", where it turns out that some droids dumped the mask on Remnant where it eventually ended up in the hands of Jaune's ancestor, who resisted Nihilus's mind control long enough to lock it inside a strongbox and hide it in a cave.
  • Role Called: The first part of the title is Jaune's name followed up by Nihilus' title as the "Lord of Hunger", referencing how Nihilus' spirit possesses Jaune at the start of the story.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Compared to the first three volumes in RWBY, swearing and profanity are more frequent in this fic and characters even drop the F-bomb.
  • The Runaway: Jaune ran away from home to join Beacon Academy without his parents knowing.
  • Saintly Church: The Church of the Two Brothers was a religious sect based out of a monastery in Vale prior to the outbreak of the Great War. They were a group of warrior monks who took the role of Huntsmen during a period when the profession didn't exist. Their members would travel to undefended villages and act as a mix of community leaders and protectors, using their training to fight off Grimm attacks. Things quickly went downhill for them after one of their monks found Nihilus's mask and brought the Sith artifact back to their monastery.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Glinda tries to question Jaune on where his new powers came from, he sarcastically quips "I'm possessed by the spirit of an ancient, magic warlord that got turned into a Grimm." While he said that to throw her off, Glinda's experience with Ozpin leads her to immediately deduce that he's telling the truth.
  • The Scream:
    • At the end of the flashback in "Victory", Nihilus lets out a shrill, soul-shattering war cry after killing some Mandalorians during a battle.
    • Upon finally donning the mask in "Destiny", Jaune lets out a scream so loud that it overtakes all other sounds at the fairgrounds.
    • In "Vengeance", Weiss lets out a shrill shriek of pain after Adam slashes out her eyes. This actually saves her and Blake's lives since her scream alerts Winter and Yang to where she is.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Cardin's teammates in Team CRDL all abandon him and run away in terror when he's attacked by a terentatek in Forever Fall.
    • After realizing that Nihilus can see through her illusions and getting a face full of Force Lightning, Neo decides that it's hopeless trying to fight him and flees for her life. Seeing as how Cinder winds up dead as a result of trying to fight Nihilus, she made the right call..
    • Likewise, Mercury attempts to follow Neo's example after getting his ass handed to him by Nihilus and realizing that it's hopeless to try and defeat him. Unfortunately for Mercury, Nihilus isn't quite done with him and telekinetically pulls him closer when he tries to run away.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Nihilus's spirit is sealed inside his mask. The mask itself was stored inside a metal strongbox in a secret cave on Remnant.
    • The chapter "Legends" reveals that Remnant itself was one big Can for containing Nihilus's soul. A team of droids chose to hide Nihilus's mask on Remnant because the planet's civilization wasn't capable of spaceflight, leaving Nihilus with no means of returning to the galaxy.
    • As of the epilogue, Nihilus' mask is locked inside Beacon's Vault by Ruby and Ozpin.
  • Second Hour Superpower: At the start of the story, Jaune is at the same level of power that his canon self was prior to enrolling into Beacon Academy. He doesn't unlock his Aura or get his Force powers until the end of the prologue.
  • Seen It All: Given everything that Ozpin has experienced over his many lives, he has no trouble believing Jaune's Sarcastic Confession that he's being possessed by the spirit of a magic warlord.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Qrow dies attempting to protect a waitress from the crash of Ironwood's airship, but ultimately all that happens is that both of them die. The only positive is that Qrow lived long enough to give Ironwood his weapon for Ruby to use.
  • Sequel Hook: The story ends on a few which set up a potential sequel.
    • Ozpin has reorganized Ruby into a new team with Yang, Ren, and Nora. Clover Elbi is also mentioned to be Ruby's new bodyguard and meant to serve as a replacement for Qrow.
    • Winter mentions how Dr. Polendina is going to create prosthetic eyes for Weiss and that Weiss will need time to make a full recovery.
    • Salem now knows of the Mask of Nihilus' existence and makes plans to obtain the dark artifact for herself. She also sends out Tyrian to capture Ruby and orders Hazel to find a new recruit to replace Cinder.
    • It's revealed that Nihilus' revival created a massive Wound in the Force which draws the attention of every Force-sensitive in the galaxy, most notably the Legacy-era Jedi Order and One Sith. The final scenes in the epilogue feature both Kol Skywalker and Darth Krayt planning to travel into the Unknown Regions to find the source of the Force Wound.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Jaune's possession by Nihilus makes it clear that he was doomed the moment he picked up the mask; the only question was just how long it would take for Nihilus to finally break him down and take him over.
  • Shared Universe: In this fanfic, RWBY is set in the same universe as Star Wars Legends. Remnant is confirmed by the author to be located in the Unknown Regions.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Naturally, there's a lot of this between Jaune and Pyrrha.
    • Nora and Ren also get a fair bit of this.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • During the Breach, Jaune unlocks the ability to generate Force lightning, which he uses to supercharge Nora and destroy most of the Grimm present.
    • As a Sith Lord, Darth Nihilus naturally also has the ability to shoot Force lightning from his fingers.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: After Nihilus takes over Jaune's body, the story takes a deep dive into Darker and Edgier territory. Around the same time, Nora is put into a coma and is out of commission for the entirety of the Fall of Beacon.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page here.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Darth Nihilus's human form being depicted with dreadlocks in his hair is a nod to the cut content from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, as that was originally planned to be included in the game.
    • The segment in chapter 17 about the planet Volik and groups like the Apex Society and Sando's Boys could easily be thought to be an original story of the author's creation. It's actually taken straight from a mini-adventure featured in Star Wars d20, right down to the characters and the plot about Nihilus's mask.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Gradually happens to Jaune over the course of the story as he is corrupted by Nihilus.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • The Alpha Beowolf from the prologue only appears in a single scene where it attacks Jaune before disappearing from the story entirely. Despite this, it is responsible for putting the whole plot into motion by chasing Jaune into the same cavern where Nihilus's mask was being hidden.
    • Church, Tex, Delta, and Omega appear only once during a flashback in "Legends", yet the story wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for them. In order to keep the Mask of Nihilus from falling into Darth Vader's hands, they dump the mask on Remnant, setting off the chain of events that lead to Jaune finding the mask and eventually Darth Nihilus resurrecting himself.
    • The waitress from the end of "Nihilus" only has a grand total of two scenes in the entire story. However, she is indirectly responsible for Qrow's death (through no fault of her own). Because she tripped while trying to flee from a crashing airship, Qrow chooses to sacrifice himself by using his body to shield hers. She still dies anyway and Qrow winds up being impaled by a piece of the airship's wreckage, leading to his death from blood loss not long afterwards.
  • Space Pirates: Sando was a female Rodian who led a band of space pirates called Sando's Boys during the Galactic Empire's reign. They fought the Apex Society and Church's droid team over ownership of Nihilus's mask and were all wiped out by Nihilus's ghost.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Ozpin survives the Fall of Beacon.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff:
    • During the flashback in "Victory", a younger Nihilus twirls his lightsaber to deflect blaster bolts being shot at him by a trio of Mandalorians.
    • During their battle in "Death", Cinder shoots three glass arrows at Nihilus while he's seemingly distracted trying to fry Mercury and Emerald with lightning, only for him to twirl his sword so fast that it shatters all three arrows.
  • Spiteful Suicide: Faced with the prospect of forceful servitude to Nihilus, Cinder instead stabs herself in the throat on the spot, denying him herself and the Maiden powers.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Justified and ultimately subverted in "Destiny". After Nihilus's voice convinces Jaune that Pyrrha has betrayed him by telling Ozpin about his powers, Jaune violently grabs Pyrrha by her upper arm. Pyrrha initially doesn't fight back because she can tell that Jaune is Not Himself and doesn't want to hurt him. She finally uses her Semblance to lift Jaune up and throw him away when he unconsciously starts draining her life energy.
  • The Stations of the Canon: For the most part, the fic follows the same timeline of canonical events in RWBY like the field trip to Forever Fall, Jaune saving Cardin's life, the food fight, Mercury challenging Pyrrha to a sparring match, the Breach, the Vytal Festival, JNPR's match against BRNZ, and Yang's framing by Mercury. It all immediately goes Off the Rails once Nihilus takes over Jaune's body.
  • Stealth Sequel: To "The Mask of Darth Nihilus" mini-adventure from Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars: Saga Edition.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Darth Nihilus's ability to drain the Force out of all living things was already broken in a setting where the Force literally flows through everything. Here, his power is expanded to include magic and Aura as well. In the AN for "Vytal", the author states that nothing short of the Brother Gods would be able to stop a fully-powered Nihilus.
  • Strong and Skilled:
    • Under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune combines his unnaturally large Aura and Force-sensitivity with the knowledge implanted onto him by Nihilus's mask. This makes him skilled enough to go toe-to-toe with an expert martial artist like Mercury and strong enough to Neck Lift an Alpha Beowolf off the ground.
    • Darth Nihilus is an even more powerful example. After possessing Jaune's body and morphing it into his own, Nihilus combines his vast Force presence with the physical prowess of Jaune's body. The result is a Lightning Bruiser with the skills of a Master Swordsman and Combat Clairvoyance. This is also shown through his use of Force telekinesis. He's skilled enough to catch thousands of bullets mid-air without flinching and strong enough to pull an Atlesian airship down from the sky.
  • Stunned Silence:
    • In "Victory", Jaune's classmates fall completely silent when they see Jaune nearly Force-choke Cardin to death and then get violently thrown into a wall by Professor Goodwitch's telekinesis after he ignores her orders to stop.
    • When Jaune confesses to accidentally mind-tricking Weiss into going to the Beacon Dance with him, Weiss and her teammates react with wide-eyed eyed silence as the full meaning behind his words starts to sink in.
    • "Chaos" starts out with Emerald, Mercury, and Neo staring at Darth Nihilus in silent horror as they can't even begin to process how powerful he reveals himself to be.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Played with since Nihilus did speak in Legends, but spoke in Black Speech unintelligible to the audience. Here, he speaks clearly and his words are able to be understood. Justified, as the person who can understand his speech is currently being possessed by him.
  • Super Empowering: In order to make Jaune a suitable host for himself, Darth Nihilus used an ancient Sith technique to rapidly increase the number of mid-chlorians in his body.
  • Super Weight
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: This is generally a sign of someone being influenced by the Dark Side. As a human, Nihilus's eyes change to yellow after his hatred of the Mandalorians consumed him. Jaune's eyes turn yellow after he rejects the Light Side and fully embraces the Dark Side. Petros Krizoz also sports golden eyes in his old age as a result of being under the Mask of Darth Nihilus's influence for almost his entire life.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Force-sensitivity runs through the Arc family's blood, although it's inactive since there aren't any Force-users on Remnant. This is the reason why members of the Arc family have such a huge amount of Aura in their bodies.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: It's mentioned that Beacon Academy doesn't have any security cameras installed inside their buildings. Jaune takes advantage of this to sneak out of his dorm at night and meditate next to Nihilus's mask without anyone noticing (at first).

     Tropes T–Y 
  • Takes One to Kill One:
    • Invoked by Ozpin and his group as they believe that only a being of similar magical power is capable of defeating Jaune. This is partially why they choose Pyrrha to become the next Fall Maiden, as they want her to act as a contingency plan in the event that Jaune turns evil.
    • In addition to another Force Wound like himself, it's eventually discovered that Nihilus is also vulnerable to his own Dark Side energy. In "Death", a single Energy Ball made of redirected Force lightning was all it took to shatter Nihilus' Aura and stun him long enough for Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury to get several good hits in.
  • Taught by Experience: Nihilus's patience with Jaune is due to his last encounter with General Alixandre. When Nihilus tried to influence Alix into donning his mask, Nihilus's forcefulness actually snaps Alix out of Nihilus's control and leads to Alix sealing Nihilus's mask inside a secluded cave for the next eighty years. Upon being freed by Jaune, Nihilus decides to take a more hands-off approach with Jaune and lets Jaune do whatever he wants with his new Force powers while intervening only when it's necessary.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • On the day before their class field trip to Forever Fall, Jaune dismissively tells Ruby that it's just a field trip and asks what's the worst that can happen. Ruby responds by lampshading this very trope.
      Jaune: Sure, but I mean it's just a field trip. What's the worst that could happen?
      Ruby: [groans and throws her hands back] Jaune, why would you say that!? That's bad luck.
    • This happens again on the day before the Breach when Jaune talks to Ruby as she is about to depart with her team to Mountain Glenn. He tells her that he hopes her field trip goes better than last time, which Ruby lampshades by reminding him of the previous example.
      Ruby: Jaune! Why would you say that!? That's bad luck! You did the same exact thing last time and you were nearly killed!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Jaune Arc starts out as a well-meaning Nice Guy and gradually transforms into a Sociopathic Hero. Over the course of the story, he becomes increasingly aggressive and confrontational as the Dark Side amplifies the worst aspects of his personality. At first, he appears to have developed a temper. He later turns controlling and overly possessive towards his friends. Eventually, he turns callous and condescending towards anyone outside his team. This change is noticed by Pyrrha and Professor Goodwitch, both of whom become concerned that something is seriously wrong with Jaune and can tell that he's Not Himself.
    • Happens to Darth Nihilus in his backstory. A flashback shows that he was initially disdainful towards the Sith and only joined them out of desperation after Traya promised to help him control his Horror Hunger. Come present day, he proudly identifies as a Sith Lord and is a full believer in their philosophies. He also goes from consuming planets because he was being controlled by his hunger to trying to destroy Remnant because he wants to.
  • Tragic Hero: Jaune Arc. All he ever wanted was to become a hero, but this desire makes him easy prey for Nihilus's soul. In order to protect his teammates during the Breach, he willingly falls to the Dark Side. By the time he realizes that Nihilus is trying to take over, he's become addicted to the Dark Side and bases his every decision around it. His final words before putting on Nihilus's mask and allowing the Sith Lord to take over is to tearfully say that all he just wanted to be a hero.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • In "Fear", Glynda enters a calm fury upon discovering that the terentatek attacked her students and fatally wounded her new apprentice, Jaune.
    • While sparring with Mercury in "Satiation", Jaune outwardly seems calm and focused. However, he's raging inside and is barely able to contain himself from decapitating him.
    • Darth Nihilus does this whenever he taps into The Power of Hate. He lets his feelings of anger and hatred flow through his body and fuel his attacks while simultaneously appearing to be The Stoic on the outside.
    • After Adam cuts out Weiss's eyes in "Vengeance", a furious Winter attacks him and channels her anger into her strikes while simultaneously keeping an ice-cold exterior.
    • Upon meeting Darth Nihilus in-person for the first time, Ozpin demands to know his motivations for possessing Jaune and destroying Beacon Academy. Despite seeming calm, it is evident that he is furious at Nihilus and he concludes his questions by slamming his cane into the ground.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: When Jaune puts on Nihilus's mask, his eyes turn black, his body morphs into a shadowy mass, and his clothes are changed into Nihilus's iconic hooded Black Cloak.
  • Transformation Sequence: When Nihilus takes over Jaune's body, Jaune's body is covered by shadows as his clothes change into Nihilus's iconic outfit of a hooded black cloak.
    The shadows spread all over Jaune, completely covering his clothing and his face, only leaving a vaguely human shaped mass of darkness before them. The darkness soon began to refine, shifting and twisting as the details filled in. From Jaune's body came long, flowing black robes, his limbs wrapped similarly in all black. A matching hood covered Jaune's head, in fact the only part of Jaune that wasn't jet-black was the white-and-red mask on his face. Jaune's new form fell to one knee, as if he wasn't used to standing.
  • Trauma Button: Being accidentally brainwashed by Jaune into being his date pushed a big trauma button for Weiss as it reminded her of her emotionally abusive father's attempts to control her life. It also doubles as one for Blake, who is reminded of Adam's gaslighting back when she was in a relationship with him.
  • Tuck and Cover:
    • While fleeing from a crashing airship at the end of "Nihilus", Qrow notices a nearby civilian trip and struggle to get back up. Believing his Semblance to be responsible for her tripping, Qrow abandons his own attempt to flee and stays behind to use his body to shield hers from the explosion caused by the airship crashing into Beacon's courtyard. This gets cruelly subverted in the following chapters, where it turns out that the civilian died the moment the blast impacted her body and all Qrow accomplishes is getting himself fatally wounded as well.
    • Played straight in "Chaos", where Ren explains to Ruby and Pyrrha that when the previously mentioned airship crashed and exploded, Nora used her body to shield Ren from the blast. While Ren was protected from serious injury, Nora took the brunt of the damage and is laid in critical condition as a result.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan:
    • After seeing Jaune's brutal method of fighting and recognizing him as a sociopath, Cinder plans to set him up as a Red Herring Mole to distract Ozpin while she goes for the Fall Maiden. She had no way of knowing that Nihilus going to perform a Grand Theft Me on Jaune's body the next day, so she didn't even need to do anything for Jaune to distract Ozpin.
    • To keep the Mask of Nihilus from falling into Darth Vader's hands, Alpha dumps the mask on a remote world far from the Empire's reach. Church picked Remnant because its civilization hadn't discovered spaceflight. He had no way of knowing that Remnant's Dust technology doesn't work outside the planet's atmosphere. This means that even after Remnant undergoes an industrial revolution centuries later, they still don't have a space program, leaving Nihilus's spirit trapped there with no means of returning to the greater galaxy.
  • The Unreveal: The first half of the fanfic teases the possibility of learning Nihilus's real name by having Nihilus's spirit censor any mention of his original name in the flashbacks that Jaune sees while Dreaming of Times Gone By. In "Gnawing", it seems that Nihilus is finally about to reveal his real name during a flashback with Darth Traya... only for Traya to interrupt him at the last second.
    Nihilus: My… name is…
    Darth Traya: No. Who you were is irrelevant. That person died on Malachor, another unknown casualty in a war that killed millions.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • The Alpha Beowolf that attacks Jaune in the prologue. Had it not chased Jaune into the cave where Nihilus's mask was being hidden, Jaune would have never received his Force-sensitivity, Nihilus would still be imprisoned in that cavern, and the main plot would have never diverged from canon in the slightest.
    • Cinder Fall. By orchestrating the Breach, she indirectly causes Jaune to fall to the Dark Side, reveals to Ozpin the full extent of Jaune's Force abilities, and gives Nihilus the opening he needed to possess Jaune's body much earlier than he originally planned.
    • Alpha and his team of droids play this role in the flashbacks. They were the ones who dropped the Mask of Nihilus onto Remnant in the first place as part of a hastily thought out plan to hide the Sith artifact from the Galactic Empire.
  • Use Your Head:
    • During the Breach, Jaune uses Force lightning to supercharge Nora's Semblance, sending her into a battle frenzy. The first thing she does is repeatedly headbutt a King Beringel to death.
    • In "Vengeance", Adam breaks his Blade Lock with Winter by smashing his masked face into Winter's head.
    • Darth Nihilus does this to Ironwood and Penny during the final battle in "Sorry". On both occasions, the headbutt served to stun his opponent long enough for him to strike a killing blow.
  • Villain Episode: "Legends" is told primarily from the viewpoint of Darth Nihilus's soul as various individuals come into possession of his mask over the course of the galaxy's long history. It also shows how he ended up on Remnant and does a Perspective Flip of the prologue from Nihilus's POV.
  • Villain of Another Story: Darth Krayt. When he debuts in the epilogue, it's revealed that while Nihilus was busy on Remnant, Krayt had been spending years manipulating the galaxy's major superpowers into another war with the eventual goal of unifying the galaxy under his rule.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Mercury begs for his life when he realizes that he stands no chance against Nihilus; the Dark Lord couldn't care less and drains him on the spot.
  • War Crime Subverts Heroism: In "Victory", Jaune sees a memory of Nihilus's past during a battle in the Mandalorian Wars. In this memory, a then-Jedi Nihilus cuts off both arms of a Mandalorian warrior to prevent her from being able to attack him. After the Mandalorian warrior then drops to her knees in a mix of shock and pain, Nihilus proceeds to execute his helpless opponent on the battlefield despite his opponent being hors de combat.
  • Was Once a Man: Darth Nihilus was once an unnamed human Jedi who fought for Revan during the Mandalorian Wars. The mass shadow generator transformed him into a Force-draining parasite.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Hunger" significantly raises the stakes with the reveal that Jaune is slowly transforming into a Force Wound and has begun to experience the same Horror Hunger that drove Nihilus insane.
    • "Breach" sees Jaune fully embrace the Dark Side and use its powers to defeat the horde of Grimm attacking Vale. Both Ozpin and Cinder also witness the full extent of Jaune's power for the first time.
    • "Destiny" ends with Jaune entering the Despair Event Horizon after using his powers to hurt Pyrrha in a fit of rage and finally putting on Nihilus's mask, allowing the Sith Lord to take over.
    • "Death" is perhaps the biggest Wham Episode so far. Emerald and Mercury are killed by Darth Nihilus, while Cinder kills herself to prevent Nihilus from enslaving her mind. Qrow dies after being hit by a crashing airship and impaled by a large piece of shrapnel, but not before asking Ironwood to pass on his weapon Harbinger to Ruby. Finally, Pyrrha successfully merges her soul with Amber's and receives all of the Fall Maiden's powers following Cinder's death.
  • Wham Line:
    • The prologues ends on one:
      So with a nod, a smile, and a never ending sense of optimism, Jaune continued to make his way towards Beacon, having unknowingly become the newest owner of the mask of Darth Nihilus.
    • The ending of "Destiny" has one in the narration as it's being told from Pyrrha's POV immediately after Jaune puts on Nihilus's mask.
      This wasn't Jaune in front of her. This was Nihilus.
    • For most of the fic, it's deliberately left ambiguous just when the events of the story take place in relation to the Star Wars galaxy. In "Legends", Church reveals to the reader when the fic takes place during his explanation of why the Mask of Nihilus is too dangerous to leave behind on Volik.
      Church: We can't let this thing get back to the Empire. Trust me, Vader is the last type of person who should get something like this.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The final shot of "Satiation" shows Jaune waking up in Beacon's gardens after blacking out from hunger following a Cat Scare with a rabbit. His unbearable hunger has strangely disappeared. As Jaune walks away, doesn't notice the rabbit from before lying on the ground dead. All of its life was drained from its body, leaving a shriveled up corpse behind.
    • At the end of "Breach", when Ruby asks Jaune if he's okay, Jaune's eyes are shown to have turned a sickly yellow.
    • At the end of "Destiny", after putting the Mask of Nihilus on, Jaune undergoes a Transformation of the Possessed as his body and clothing change into that of Darth Nihilus.
    • During the Battle of Beacon, Ironwood and Penny stumble across an injured Qrow while shifting through some rubble. The scene then reveals that Qrow is lying in a pool of his own blood with a massive chunk of airship-grade aluminum impaling him through the stomach.
  • What the Hell Are You?:
    • At the end of "Control", Jaune asks "What are you?" to Nihilus's mask. Upon getting no response, he spends the night staring at the mask in an empty classroom in hopes of receiving an answer. He asks this again in "Leadership" after thinking that he heard whispers come out of the mask and failing to get a response from the mask through meditation.
    • After Nihilus kills her underlings and trounces her in battle, Cinder asks this of him.
      Cinder: What are you?
      Nihilus: I… am the inevitable, the end of all things. And you… are now mine.
    • A baffled Adam also asks this of Nihilus when he comes face-to-face with the Sith Lord for the first time in "Vengeance".
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • At the start of "Satiation", Jaune is tearing into all of Team RWBY for going after Torchwick with only Sun and Neptune as back-up. He calls what they did reckless and arrogant, especially since he and his team could have helped them had they asked.
    • Weiss and Blake call out Jaune big time when they learn that he had accidentally mind-tricked Weiss into attending the dance with him. Weiss slaps Jaune across his face and makes it clear that she never wants to see him again.
    • In the chapter "Destiny", Pyrrha finally calls out Jaune for not being completely honest with her about his powers (specifically hiding that he can drain Grimm of their life). She also calls him out on his Lack of Empathy towards Yang when she was framed for attacking Mercury.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Legends" is entirely devoted to telling the story of Nihilus's mask after his defeat by Meetra Surik on the Ravager. It's finally revealed how the Mask of Nihilus ended up on Remnant and shows the circumstances which led to his imprisonment in the cave.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The Mask of Darth Nihilus is bone-white. The first time that Jaune’s friends see it, they are hit with a feeling of unease.
    • The Creatures of Grimm have white bone masks and the White Fang's members wear masks fashioned after the ones worn by the Grimm.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Even without Nihilus's influence, using the Dark Side of the Force gradually erodes Jaune's mental stability. This reaches its peak in "Destiny" where he's become a short-tempered paranoiac.
    • He can also share this with Nora's innate ability to super-charge via his force lightning, but unlike her normal lightning-based power gain, this variation leaves Nora completely uninhibibited, letting her utter things that even her most caffine-charged-self would never say.
      Nora: KILL! MAIM! BURN!
  • Withholding Their Name: While showing Jaune memories of his past, Darth Nihilus censors any mention of his original name. Whenever someone in the flashbacks mentions Nihilus's real name, they are either cut off at the last second or their words become unintelligible to both Jaune and the reader.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The terentatek in "Fear" debuts by chasing off team CRDL, shrugging off Jaune's strongest Force attack, overpowering Pyrrha in a straight-up fight, and nearly One Hit KOing Yang and Jaune, despite both having the strongest Auras in their teams.
    • Upon his long-awaited resurrection, Darth Nihilus shows that he's the real deal by taking on Qrow, Pyrrha, Ruby, Weiss, Blake, Nora, Ren, and ABRN all at once and dominates the fight while not even seeming winded.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Ruby's Crescent Rose is destroyed by Darth Nihilus during their first battle. Nihilus uses his telekinesis to disarm Ruby of her scythe and then crushes it into a ball of scrap before her very eyes. He then uses the remains of Crescent Rose as an improvised cannonball to splatter Bolin's head. He did this solely for the sake of traumatizing Ruby by destroying her most cherished possession and using the crushed remains to murder one of her fellow students.
  • Wrong Assumption: The reason that Ozpin mishandles Jaune's possession by Nihilus is due to his failure to understand what's happening to him. The closest analogy that Ozpin can find to Jaune's situation is himself, leading him to the incorrect assumption that Jaune is a reincarnation of someone from the past. This causes him to mistake Jaune's corruption by the Dark Side for an Identity Absorption.
  • Wrong Context Magic:
    • The Force is this when compared to Remnant's magic and Aura. Unlike Semblances, the Force gives its user multiple powers and aren't drawn from Aura. Jaune's emerging Force-sensitivity quickly catches everyone off-guard and allows him to go from a novice fighter to one of Beacon's best students overnight. After seeing a recording of Jaune using Force lightning and draining the life force of Grimm, Ozpin compares Jaune's powers to that of a Maiden's.
    • When Darth Nihilus's spirit first found himself on Remnant, he was confused by the people's use of Aura, as they unconsciously wrapped the Force around their bodies instead of letting it flow through them. This made it nearly impossible for Nihilus to find a host, since no one on Remnant was actively Force-sensitive.
    • The Maidens are eventually revealed to be Force Ghosts like Nihilus. However, unlike typical Force Ghosts, who choose their hosts and exert total control over them, the Maidens are instead controlled by their hosts and their next hosts are determined by their previous hosts' dying thoughts. This proves to be an advantage when Nihilus starts hunting the Fall Maiden as his ignorance of how the Maiden's succession works leads him to kill Pyrrha, resulting in Ruby becoming the new Fall Maiden and using her new powers to defeat him.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The first time that Jaune encounters a Grimm, he assumes that it can only sense movement à la Jurassic Park and freezes up so he won't be noticed. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't work and the Beowolf even gives a Quizzical Tilt as though it can't believe the sheer stupidity of its prey.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Cinder's original plan was to have Penny destroyed during the Vytal Tournament and broadcast her death all over the world — the resulting public backlash attracting the Grimm to Vale. The sudden appearance of Darth Nihilus completely derails all of that. However, Cinder quickly improvises and has Mercury broadcast live footage of Nihilus slaughtering teams of Huntsmen. The existence of what appears to be an intelligent, human Grimm causes a worldwide panic that accomplishes Cinder's goal of drawing the Grimm to Beacon.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning:
    • During Jaune's dream of the Battle of Malachor V, the mass shadow generator creates a black hole that starts shooting out green lightning which chars the planet's surface.
    • Whenever Jaune uses Force Drain, he shoots out black-and-red lightning from his fingertips which drain the Life Energy out of their targets.
    • During a flashback in "Gnawing" which shows the aftermath of Darth Nihilus's transformation on Malachor, he is shown shooting out black-and-red lightning when he drains the life out of others. He starts using this power again after taking over Jaune's body.
    • During a flashback that shows the aftermath of Nihilus's death at the hands of Meetra Surik, his corpse is shown becoming one with the Force. This is depicted as a storm of red lightning that suddenly appears around his body and vaporizes the remains.
    • Nihilus's spirit is shown shooting out orange-colored lightning whenever he uses his Force Drain during the flashbacks in "Legends".
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Professor Goodwitch normally addresses her students by their surnames. However, when JNPR and RWBY are attacked by a terentatek during a field trip, she calls out to them by their first names to save time because they're in a life-or-death battle against a creature she has never seen before.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Both Pyrrha and Ozpin ultimately fail to stop Nihilus and Cinder from achieving their goals. Nihilus succeeds in taking full control over Jaune's body and curb-stomps all the heroes. Meanwhile, despite her plans going completely off the rails, Cinder is still able to cause a worldwide panic and overrun Beacon Academy with Grimm.
  • You Just Told Me: This exchange between Nora and Pyrrha in "Fear":
    Nora: Fine. We wait until tomorrow. But you better not chicken out, or I'll let Jaune know that you like to stare at him during Professor Oobleck's class.
    Pyrrha: [blushes] How did you know about that?!
    Nora: [grinning] I didn't. Until now that is.

Top