Remnant is home to dragons alongside Grimm, humans and Faunus, and the latter two train with Dust-empowered dragons to keep the Grimm threat at bay. To this end, four dragon-training/combat academies exist in Remnant, each seeking to train both dragon and rider - as well as strive to improve draconic rights throughout the world. Four-person teams within each academy are formed when four sibling dragons hatch and pick out their partners. Each dragon within a team gets empowered with earth, wind, water, and fire Dust; all so they can fight the Grimm in any set of conditions. At least, that's how it usually works.
But when Ruby Rose gets sent to Beacon Academy two years earlier than normal for an act of heroism, she and her sister Yang Xiao Long bring a wind and fire dragon egg with them into the school. Weiss Schnee, having been given an ice dragon egg by dint of birthright, journeys to Beacon to train as well. Upon arrival, the three girls and their new dragons are teamed up with Blake Belladonna and her newly-hatched earth dragon. But Blake knows there are darker forces at work, and time will tell when said forces set their sights on the dragonries ...
''Wings of Dust" is effectively a blend of the main show, Avatar: The Last Airbender and How to Train Your Dragon, with divergence from the canonical plot occurring around volume 3 - barring the fact that team SSSN attend Beacon instead of Haven. Solora Goldsun also takes influence from a plethora of books and shows about dragons, most of which are listed in their author's notes.
On January 9th, 2019, the author quit working on the project, releasing notes on the basic plotline for open adoption. Whether the fic itself will be picked up on or not remains to be seen, at the time of writing.
Wings of Dust contains examples of:
- Adaptational Heroism: In chapter 55, Neo tells Roman that Lionheart, instead of being a mole, is cowardly and unable to hide the disabilities of the dragons within his charge, thereby making him an easy target for manipulation. He also doesn't know what Ilia, Emerald, Mercury and Neo are planning, and he was responsible for Mistral becoming the most progressive kingdom in terms of draconic rights.
- All for Nothing: Ozpin's efforts to save Sky's dragon Tornado from execution lead up to this.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Chapter 70 shows Ozpin get this treatment from Cardin; the latter insinuates that if he were to be expelled from the Academy, then he'd reveal the names of every single deformed dragon in his year.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The fic gets a case of it from chapter 54 (where Qrow and Salty are dragged into Beacon's infirmary after Cinder attacked them) onwards, spiking at chapter 61 with the culling of Tornado before going Up to Eleven with the Grimm attack at chapter 69.
- Had it continued, it would've gotten much worse: Lionheart committing suicide after his students join Cinder's gang, Ozpin and the Council both getting killed in a Cinder-manipulated standoff (and Beacon's students join as well), the three main teams try fleeing with Emerald and Mercury once they discover that Cinder caused the deformities - but with Emerald and Titan dying in the process - and all culminating in a massive battle between an alliance between Ironwood and the students, and Cinder's gang, which results in Cinder and Strike dying, and Storm's wings getting ripped off.
- Hell, even the backstories got dark: Cinder and Tyrian rode hybrid dragons that were culled in the Purge, and Hazel's dragon died trying to break out his sister's dragon from execution.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower: Pit, Blake's dragon has one; he has the ability to levitate other dragons.
- Deadpan Snarker: When he isn't minding his partner's behaviour, Qrow's dragon Salty is this towards his owner. "Rrrow Dum!" is essentially his catch-phrase to the humans he knows.
- Deal with the Devil: Sky gets on the receiving end of one in chapter 71, courtesy of Hazel, Adam and Ilia cornering him in the dead of night.
- Elemental Powers: Every trained dragon is injected in utero by Dust to get one of the powers listed below.
- Blow You Away: Wind dragons (such as Storm, Freya, Nimbus, Tornado and Gust) are the first of their brood to learn flight, and they can also create gusts of wind using their wings.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Earth dragons (such as Pit, Twiggy, Zircon, Mudslide and Ragnar) can cause small earthquakes and shift rocks.
- Making a Splash: Water dragons (such as Ao Guang, Nymph, Barracuda and Nautilus) can breathe underwater, swim for long distances, and can create water blasts.
- An Ice Person: Every dragon in the Schnee family (Specter, Steele, Glacier and the late Snowflake) can create ice beams, hold breaths for extended periods in either water or high altitudes, and survive in subzero temperatures. A major plot thread in the fic is Weiss getting filmed lessons from Winter about ice dragon powers and compensating for the lack of a water dragon within her team.
- Playing with Fire: Fire dragons (such as Fang, Titan, Huo, Tank and Pepper) can heat their scales up, breathe fire, and are usually hot-tempered during their infancy.
- Escaped from the Lab: Blake's earth/gravity hybrid dragon, Pit has this in his backstory, having been rescued by Blake when still within his egg.
- Fantastic Racism: Sun suffers this when eating noodles with Huo, his fire dragon.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Qrow and Salty have this dynamic between them.
- Friendly Enemy: Mercury and Emerald come across as this in the fic. Emerald genuinely likes Ruby and her nurturing ability with dragons, Mercury develops respect for Weiss's efforts to give her family a better reputation, and they both wind up wanting to recruit the two to their cause.
- Handicapped Badass: Fox is completely blind, but that didn't stop him from becoming a dragon rider. Nimbus, Scarlet's cross-eyed dragon, is regarded as the best flier of his year, and Jaune's dragon Twiggy is one of the smartest dragons in her year, despite being a runt.
- Hate Sink: Cardin manages to be nastier than Jacques Schnee in this fic. The son of a wealthy Jerkass who got all the combat training he desired as a child, Cardin constantly treats every dragon as receptacles for his abuse and refers to dragons as "it" over their actual gender, showing a toxic sense of entitlement with a side order of psychopathy. When the first-year students were ordered to switch dragons for a day, Ruby observed that his earth dragon Mudslide was being chronically neglected and physically abused, and promptly called Cardin out for his behaviour - he responded by threatening to get his father to take her dragon to the fighting pits. Cardin also showed no empathy when Tornado was executed, saying to Dove and Russel that he was looking forward to Sky getting a less crazy wind dragon. Cardin even blackmails Ozpin into letting him stay by threatening to tell the Council about all the deformed dragons in the Academy. Understandably, Dove, Russel and Sky have grown to disapprove of him, and the rest of the cast loathes him from the outset.
- Had the fic continued, Mudslide would've snapped and injured Cardin, before fleeing with Sky as her new Rider.
- Hiding In Plain Sight: Blake, as per canon, does this to avoid the White Fang. As of chapter 71, the Beacon staff and teams RWBY, JNPR and SSSN all know about it ... as do the villains.
- Ho Yay / Les Yay: Very prominent in this fic, especially within team SSSN.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Cardin gets on the receiving end of this multiple times in the fic.
- Knight Templar / Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Council of Dragon Affairs is shown to be like this. They've been resistant to the progress made by Ozpin and Lionheart for draconic rights, and are shown to be completely remorseless about executing any dragon for any legal reason - and have been since the extermination of the hybrid dragons years before. The fact that none of the members are current or former Dragon Riders doesn't help, and it's strongly implied that Cinder's plan involves eliminating the Council for their lack of empathy.
- Karma Houdini: Cardin, as of chapter 70.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Not only do we get the canonical characters, we also have their corresponding dragons.
- Manipulative Bastard: Cinder's manipulative nature here is no different to canon; however, she displays no sadism, and there's strong implications that part of her plan is to punish the Council of Dragon Affairs for their cruelty - the last of which is flat-out confirmed with her speech to the Dragon Festival attendees in chapter 69.
- Meaningful Name: Most of the dragons are given names that reflect their elemental powers. For example, team STRQ's dragons are called Tempest (wind), Quake (earth), Phoenix (fire), and Salty (water). However, there are some exceptions; Weiss's ice dragon was named Specter in reference to his totally black irises, and Yang's fire dragon was called Fang - presumably because of his habit of biting her when he was a baby.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Storm has an intense one when her rider gets knocked flat by Nimbus during a snowball fight.
- Not So Stoic: The faculty dragons are shown to be this when Tornado gets killed by the Council of Dragon Affairs.
- Reality Ensues: Ruby showers Storm with tons of love from the get-go. When Oobleck has Ruby complete a human-sized obstacle course with Storm mirroring on a dragonet-sized one, Storm keeps trying to follow Ruby up her course, due to child-like clinginess according to the author.
- When Tornado tries and fails to attack one of Jaune's sisters on Christmas Day, the Council responds by euthanasing him without remorse.
- Schizo Tech: Remnant relies on this, despite the lack of bizarre weapons present in the main series. The biggest example of this is Penny; a suit of draconic armour that features a sentient AI that can translate draconic language into human language.
- Slice of Life: The tone of the fic is reminiscent of the first two volumes of the main show, but with more character development towards Pyrrha and team SSSN - the latter of whom attend Beacon instead of Haven.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Huo and Fang, Sun and Yang's respective fire dragons, become this as the fic progresses.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Each of the dragons owned by the Haven spies (Justice, Jade, Rudder and Whisper) have this dynamic going on.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cinder styles herself as this by inciting a revolution against the Council of Dragon Affairs. Claiming to be a champion for dragonkind, she manages to cause a Grimm invasion in chapter 69 by pointing out Ironwood's Spartan approach to dragon-breeding, Lionheart's failure to stand up to the Council who murdered his dragon, and remind the audience of all the hybrid and imperfect dragons the Council's killed over the decades - ending with Cinder placing the Council in her crosshairs first.
- The author has now stated that Cinder lost her fire/wind hybrid in the Purge, and her quest was one of vengeance.
- What Could Have Been: The last chapter uploaded was a notice that the work was getting discontinued; as a consequence, the author released all the basic plotlines that remained. These include subplots like Oscar bonding with Ragnar after Ozpin gets killed, and the pair finding Whitley and Glacier after they escaped from Raven and getting into a relationship, and Adam getting murdered by Sienna and Hazel taking in his fire dragon - to major plot points like Ozpin getting killed by the Council, and the students and their dragons murdering the Council in response and Cinder's actively deforming the dragons getting revealed to the remaining Dragon Riders - who turn on her and force the Council to disband.