Volume 6, Episode 3:
The Lost Fable
Jinn tells Team RWBY, Qrow, Oscar and Maria a fairy tale. It involves a legendary hero, a maiden trapped inside a tower, and how they fell in love.
It does not involve them living happily ever after.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Adam and Eve Plot: While Salem knows that Ozma has been reincarnated with a desire to unite humanity, he doesn't tell her the full truth of his divine mission until he learns her interpretation of 'unity' means destroying any humans she disapproves of. She decides the God of Light's command doesn't matter any more; instead of putting in the effort to redeem humanity, they can just remove the modern, depowered humans and replace them with their own descendants, all of whom will possess the magical abilities of the original human race and therefore be what the modern human race can never be.
- Apocalypse How: When Salem incites humanity to rise up against the gods, the God of Destruction responds by wiping out the whole of humanity. He leaves only Salem alive, to wander alone through an empty world, unable to ever die. A weakened and depowered version of humanity is able to return to existence once more and the God of Light reincarnates Ozma with a divine mission to give this new humanity a chance for redemption.
- Body Horror: When the God of Darkness appears before Salem in his domain he twists and contorts as he unfolds his body into a humanoid shape. His clicks, distortions and thrashing are almost the same as the Nuckelavee's movements in Volume 4.
- Curse Escape Clause: The gods inform Salem that "as long as the world keeps turning", she cannot die. If she wants to be freed of her immortality, she needs to learn the importance of life and death.
- Detonation Moon: When Salem tries to demand the gods remain on the world with her, the God of Light simply fades away. The God of Darkness chastises her for continuing to make demands of gods who are also her creators. To prove his point, he smashes through the moon as he departs, creating the shattered remnant that exists in the modern day.
- Didn't Think This Through: Salem incites humanity to rebel against the gods and leads an army to the Domain of Light. The army use all of its magical might to attack the gods, but that magic is captured in a single instance by the God of Destruction. Salem and the other humans are shocked, and the God of Destruction lampshades the foolishness of humans using magic to attack the very being that gave them magic in the first place.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Coming to the conclusion that the Gods are fallible, Salem raises an army to defy and overthrow them. The God of Darkness however doesn't take too kindly to humanity's uprising against their creators especially with the very gifts he gave them. Thus in response to this insolence, he effortlessly wipes out in a single flash all of humanity except for Salem.
- Driven to Suicide: When Salem is made immortal, it's to prevent her from being able to reunite with her dead lover in the afterlife. Over time she becomes bitter and spiteful towards the Gods, and tries to kill herself with a sword. When the gods destroy humanity and leave her to exist alone on an empty planet, she wanders aimlessly until she reaches the Pools of Grimm. Reasoning that the Pool of Life gave her immortality so the annihilation pools should remove it, she tries to drown herself in the pool only to discover how wrong she was: since infinite destruction cannot overcome infinite life, she becomes a being of both infinite life and destruction.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After Ozma's first reincarnation is killed in a magical battle with Salem that destroys their marriage, kingdom and children, he sinks into a cycle of pain. At least one of his incarnations attempt to handle the pain by turning to drink, and carries around a hip flask that is very similar to Qrow's.
- Empathy Doll Shot: When Ozma and Salem battle to the death, their four young children are caught up in the crossfire. What happens to the children isn't shown; instead, all that's seen is a badly damaged toy lying alone among the rubble.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: The God of Darkness has a PR issue with humans: because he's a god associated with destruction and darkness and all things monstrous, humans won't go anywhere near him and his domain, instead lavishing their worship and praise on his brother, the God of Light. Like most humans, Salem first seeks out the God of Light to resurrect Ozma after he dies. However, when the God of Light refuses, she decides to visit his brother. Knowing about the God of Darkness's issues, she's careful to claim that she's come to him first, knowing that only he has the power to do what she's asking. Flattered and thrilled, he resurrects Ozma without question. The God of Light immediately steps in to object, causing the brothers to argue to the point of almost fighting each other. They reunite when the God of Darkness realises how Salem manipulated him, and the two brothers punish Salem for her deception and arrogance. It's only much later on that Salem realises that the fact she almost succeeded in manipulating the gods as if they were ordinary humans means they can't be as powerful as humanity thinks they are. Seeking revenge, she manipulates humanity into forming an army to the overthrow the gods, but her army is easily defeated by the God of Darkness. She is then punished further when the God of Darkness destroys the whole of humanity before the two gods depart Remnant, leaving her completely alone.
- God Guise: When Ozma's reincarnation reunites with Salem, she mentions that the reason humanity is completely divided is because they are godless. She therefore suggests that, if Ozma wants to unite humanity, they should use their powers and immortality to take on the disguise of gods and bring people together. This works for a short period of time, until Ozma realises that Salem wants to take over the world this way and destroy any humans who don't conform. When he reveals the truth about his divine mission, she suggests it's irrelevant because they can wipe out this version of humanity and repopulate the world with their descendants, who possess the magic of the old world.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The battle between Ozma and Salem is so brutal that it's only shown in shadows and flashes of magical power. While buildings are shown being destroyed, their four young daughters are only shown to have died through the sight of a badly damaged toy lying alone among the rubble. Ruby and Weiss watch the fight unfold in absolute horror.
- Have You Seen My God?: After the God of Darkness wipes out humanity save for Salem, the two Brothers decide to leave the planet and abandon their 'experiment', deeming it a failure they will learn from. The God of Light eventually decides to reincarnate Ozma into a second, de-powered version of humanity to guide humanity to salvation. It is Ozma's job to find a way to unite humanity in preparation for a 'Judgement Day', where the gods will return to decide whether humanity has been redeemed enough for the gods to want to once more live with them and make them whole, or whether they should just be given up as irredeemable and the whole world be destroyed.
- Horned Humanoid: The two gods initially appear as humanoid figures to humans that approach them. However, the God of Light wears large antlers on his head, while the God of Darkness sports the curled horns of a ram or goat.
- Humanity on Trial: After the God of Darkness destroys humanity, the God of Light allows a second, weaker form of humanity to return to the world. He reincarnates Ozma with a divine mission: unite humanity in harmony and then summon the gods back for judgement. If humanity is living in harmony, the gods will return to live among them and make them whole once more. If the gods are summoned while humanity is still divided and fighting among themselves, they will judge humanity to be irredeemable and destroy the entire world. The problem Ozma has with this task is that Salem is determined to divide and destroy humanity; to save humanity, Ozma has to destroy Salem, but she cannot be killed.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: The God of Darkness is upset that while the God of Light receives worship and requests from humanity, no one comes to petition him for anything, unless they've already failed to get what they want from the God of Light. He is thrilled when Salem comes to him for help; to show he's worthy of her faith in him, he instantly resurrects Ozma with no strings attached.
- Love Makes You Evil: Salem's love for Ozma and her refusal to live without him started a chain of events that eventually spiralled down to the events transpiring today.
- Loving a Shadow: By the time she reunites and has a family with Ozma, Salem is so far gone that she cares less about being with the man she loves than being with the man the Gods tried to keep her from.
- The Magic Goes Away: When humanity was created, the God of Destruction gave every human the ability to wield magic. However, when humanity rose up against the gods, the brothers destroyed the human race and abandoned the planet. Although the God of Light allows a second version of humanity to come back to the world, it is a de-powered, fractured form of humanity that cannot wield magic. The God of Light reincarnates Ozma into this new world with the instructions to guide humanity back to unity and harmony, as a second chance for redemption. If Ozma succeeds, the gods will live among humans once more and make them whole again. If Ozma fails, the gods will judge humanity irredeemable and destroy the entire world. Salem, whose punishment from the gods means she survived the destruction of the original humans, can still use magic. Ozma retains his magic from his reincarnation as well. All magic in this new world comes from either Salem or Ozma: when Salem and Ozma's first incarnation had children, their children could wield the full magic of the old world; the four Maidens were created from Ozma's magic, as was the shapeshifting abilities of the Branwen twins.
- Magic Staff: Ozma travels only with a sceptre. He primarily fights by blasting magic from a green stone at the top of the sceptre, although he can use it as a fighting staff as well. It follows him through all his reincarnations, until one incarnation remodels the staff into its modern cane form.
- Meaningful Echo: When Ozma first rescues Salem, she asks him where they'll go now and he responds by offering his hand and saying "Wherever you'd like." When Salem is reunited with Ozma's second incarnation and he ask what they'll do now, the two hold hands as she responds "Whatever we like."
- The Narrator: To answer Ruby's question about what Ozpin is hiding from them, Jinn pulls the group into a blank, white world where she uses her mist to create visions of the story that she tells. She isn't visible for most of the episode, narrating the stories as the images play out their scenes. Only at the end of the episode does she reappear, as a vision from the past. She therefore still narrates the story over the actions and words her past self is carrying out.
- Never My Fault: The reason Salem is cursed is because she refuses to listen to the gods and understand the balance between life and death. Instead of contemplating her mistakes, she tries to incite humanity to rebel against the gods in the hope that she can either end her curse or make the gods suffer. She does neither, instead finding the severity of her punishment increased when the gods destroy humanity and abandon the world to leave her alone for eternity. Jinn mentions that she blames absolutely everyone for her plight except for herself, completely failing to learn the lesson the gods had hoped she'd learn.
- No Body Left Behind: When the Brothers wipe out life, they do so by completely disintegrating it. Ozma is repeatedly vaporized and brought back to life while the Brothers are arguing, and the God of Darkness unleashes an Apocalypse How whose aftermath includes ashes in the air as Salem finds herself alone where her army used to be.
- Not So Invincible After All: Ozma was a renowned warrior, able to best large creatures and challenges where many other warriors could not. He died not on the battlefield, but at home from an illness.Jinn: Ozma, the infallible hero of legend, fell ill. And where all the beasts and blades of the world had fallen short, a single sickness prevailed.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Numerous wails can be heard in the soundtrack as the God of Darkness decides to wipe out humanity when they turn against him and his brother.
- Origins Episode: The story explains where Salem and Ozpin come from and why they're fighting each other now. It explains how they first met, how they became enemies, and the kinds of abilities they're both capable of wielding.
- Our Dragons Are Different: While the brothers normally manifest to Salem in a humanoid form, when they become aggressive towards each other, they transform into dragons. The God of Darkness takes the form of a lizard-like dragon with four strong limbs, bat-like wings and the skull of a ram for its head. The God of Light transforms into a serpentine dragon with tiny legs, no wings and catfish-like barbels on his snout. Both of them retain their signature horns in their dragon form (ram horns for the God of Darkness and antlers for the God of Light).
- The Problem with Fighting Death: When Ozma died, Salem tried to bring him back by petitioning to The Two Brothers. Ultimately, they curse her with Complete Immortality for her attempts at circumventing the circle of life.
- Purple Is Powerful: The God of Darkness appears to be formed from darkness that takes a dark purple shade with lighter purple edges. When he uses his power, it also manifests in purple shades. When he destroys the whole of humanity, a wave of purple light sweeps across the world, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The Gods cursed Salem with immortality so that she can never be with Ozma after she inadvertently tricked them into reviving him and disturbing the balance of life and death. Following this, Salem unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide, before fomenting a crusade to overthrow the brothers. By the modern day, everything Salem does has been in order to spite the Gods and their creations and remake the world in her image.
- Reincarnation Romance: When Ozma rescues Salem from her imprisonment in her father's tower, neither of them are looking for love. They find it despite themselves. After Ozma dies, Salem never stops loving him, despite all the years her immortality forces her to live. When the God of Light reincarnates Ozma, he warns Ozma that Salem is no longer the woman he loved and that if he seeks her out, he'll find only pain. Ozma and Salem recognise each other instantly and rekindle their relationship. They eventually build a prosperous kingdom and have four children until Ozma learns that Salem wants to control the world and destroy all humans who don't want to conform. When she suggests they get rid of humanity and repopulate the world with their superior descendants, Ozma decides to leave her. Salem catches him stealing away with their children, and the two fight to the death, accidentally killing their children in the process. They have been bitter enemies ever since.
- The Reveal: The episode is Jinn's attempt to answer Ruby's question about what Ozpin is hiding. She covers how he and Salem met, fell in love, and all the tragedy, pain and suffering that has unfolded since his premature death from a sickness that couldn't be cured. Jinn explains how the pair became immortal, that Ozpin has a secret mission handed to him by the God of Light to try and guide humanity to salvation, and that Salem is trying to sabotage that mission from being allowed to succeed. After making it clear that humanity will be destroyed by the gods instead of redeemed if Salem cannot be killed and that it led to one of Ozpin's hosts asking her how he can destroy Salem, Jinn reveals the awful truth: he can't.
- Self-Mutilation Demonstration: To rally up an army against the Gods, Salem visited multiple kingdoms and kings, showing off her immortality to them by letting their mightiest warriors to try and cut her down. At one point, a bloodied axe is thrown onto the floor from off-screen.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: After being cursed with immortality to prevent her joining her dead lover in the afterlife, Salem eventually resorts to trying to stab herself to death. This is not directly shown, appearing instead as shadows on the wall that cut to Ruby witnessing the whole thing and covering her mouth in horror.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The God of Darkness represents destruction and annihilation, and his domain contains the Pools of Grimm from which come forth the Creatures of Grimm. He is an impulsive, impetuous god, easily prone to acting in anger or jealousy. The God of Light represents creation and life, and his domain contains the single Pool of Life. He is more thoughtful and patient than his younger brother.
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Salem's initial actions against the gods were motivated by genuine grief over her lost love, and by hiding the fact she planned to ask the God of Darkness if the God of Light turned her down, and that she had asked the God of Darkness second instead of first, she accidentally almost turns the brothers against each other. After being punished with immortality, she realises that the gods could only have made that mistake if they were fallible. As a result, she incites humanity to rebel against the gods in the hope of either ending her curse or making them suffer. She achieves neither and the gods destroy humanity, leaving her to walk the world alone for so long that she tries to end her life by falling into the God of Darkness's annihilation pools; it instead corrupts her into a being of pure destruction. After spending countless years alone, the newly returned humanity only know of her as a witch, an evil sorceress whom commands the beasts and Grimm but who avoids humanity and lives in isolation. When her lost love is reincarnated with a mission to unite humanity, she suggests they guide humanity by passing themselves off as gods. However, she ends up deciding to kill humans who won't convert and then plans to destroy humanity and replace them with her own descendants upon discovering that her children can use magic. When Ozma tries to take his children away from from, they fight to death, accidentally killing their children in the process. This triggers the bitter enmity that has existed between them until this day, and her determination to divide and destroy humanity just to see him burn.
- Start of Darkness: The episode mostly focuses on Salem's origins.
- Together in Death: After the Brothers cursed Salem, she tried and failed to commit suicide to be with Ozma. Ozma himself was originally content to remain in the afterlife when the God of Light offered to let him return until he learned that Salem wouldn't be there.
- Uncertain Doom: Ozma and Salem's children are present when they fight each other at full power. The strength and brutality of their fight destroys their kingdom and reduces the palace to rubble. Salem is momentarily destroyed but instantly reforms due to her curse. Ozma's body is broken by the battle and then killed by the restored Salem. A badly damaged toy is the only evidence that the children were ever present, but their fate is not spelled out for certain.
- We Can Rule Together: When Salem learns of Ozma's desire to reunite humanity, she suggests they become as gods to them and guide them to unity. Despite his misgivings, Ozma agrees. However, once he learns that she wants to kill humans who don't support them and that, due to their children manifesting magical abilities, she's contemplating wiping out humanity and replacing them with her descendants, Ozma turns his back on the plan.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Salem was cursed with immortality until she learns the importance of the balance between life and death. She tried to kill herself through mortal means but was unable to do so. Her attempt to use supernatural means by drowning in the Pools of Grimm don't succeed either; instead the pools turn her into a being of pure destruction.
- World's Best Warrior: Ozma was such a renowned and skilled warrior that neither beasts nor men could fell him. Instead, he dies young after contracting a fatal illness. During his first reincarnation, he and Salem fight to death. While severely injured, he succeeds in obliterating Salem. However, her form of immortality means she reforms completely unharmed, allowing her to kill his body and forcing him to reincarnate into a new body.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Salem is a being who combines the powers of Creation and Destruction to achieve the threat level she now poses to the entire world. Cursed by the Pool of Life to have infinite life, Salem tried to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm, waters of infinite destruction. However, waters of infinite destruction cannot destroy a being of infinite life. Instead of dying, she emerged as an unkillable force of pure destruction. With the magic she still possesses from her mortal life and the control over the Grimm she now possesses, she is unstoppable by both mortal and magical means.