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- For the original Fall Maiden known as "Fall", see Maidens.
Cinder Fall is one of the main antagonists of RWBY and the primary antagonist of the Beacon Arc. She is a member of Salem's Faction as well as the leader of her own. She is also the current host of the Fall Maiden's powers. Her machinations are the driving force behind the events of the first three volumes of RWBY.
When Beacon fell, Ruby Rose unleashed the power of her silver eyes, permanently damaging Cinder. It is later revealed that she lost her left eye, had massive scarring over that side of her face and for a time had incredible difficulty speaking. Later it is revealed that her entire left arm had been completely replaced with that of a Grimm.
Cinder is a woman with fair skin, ashen-black hair and bright amber eyes.
Original (Volumes 1–3)
In "Black and White", she wears lipstick and violet eyeshadow. She wears a dark-red, off-the-shoulders, v-neck mini dress with yellow designs. There is a blue feather-like accessory on her right hip, at the top of an open portion of her dress. The dress ends in an upside-down triangular tail in the back, ending just above the knees.
There is a baseball diamond-shaped keyhole on the dress' upper back at the same height as her chest. The sleeves end in a triangle shape, which are wrapped or tied around her middle finger, with the gold designs of the sleeve taking over at the wrists. Her fingernails are painted dark red.
She wears black shorts underneath her dress, as well as a black choker on her neck. She has a gold loop earring with a black gem dangling from it on her right ear. She has dark, glass, high-heeled shoes and a jeweled anklet on her right leg.
On her upper back, in the keyhole of her dress, she has a black tattoo of what appears to be a pair of high heel shoes placed sole to sole, forming a heart shape inside. Whenever she uses the Dust that is sewn into her dress, the designs on the arms, back, and chest glow bright orange. Her eyes and earrings also glow.
It is possible that her appearance is influenced by East Asian culture, as the designs on her dress are styled similarly to traditional Japanese or Chinese patterns.
When undercover at Beacon, Cinder is seen wearing the uniform of Haven Academy, a more conservative dark gray outfit with a long-sleeved collared top and white armband. Unlike most female students, who wear silver knee-high socks, Cinder wears black tights.
During her infiltration of the Cross Continental Transmit System Tower, Cinder is shown wearing a black infiltration outfit, which she had previously been seen sewing together in "Extracurricular". The outfit consists of a sleeveless jacket, long gloves, stiletto heel boots, a black glass mask, and several straps with containers of powdered Dust lined across her pants. The gloves, boots and pants have black mosaic designs that are infused with Dust, which glows bright orange when in use. When needed, Cinder can instantly transform her infiltration attire into a formal black evening gown that has black glass designs on it.
When attending the Vytal Festival Tournament, she wears gray pants and boots; a beige leather, sleeveless jacket with light-beige details; brown gloves, a sarashi tied around her chest and another around her hips, and a pauldron on her left shoulder. She also wears a belt around her waist, which has multiple brown pouches attached to it. Her fingernails are tan in color.
During the events of "Beginning of the End", Cinder had shorter hair. Her previous attire looks similar to her current outfit except her dress has separated sleeves, and the dress is held up by straps tied around her neck in a bow. Her heeled shoes are made of a more typical material, rather than glass. She did not have her characteristic tattoo until after she stole a portion of Amber's Maiden powers. Her fingernails are a dark red color.
Post-Timeskip (Volumes 4–5)
After the timeskip following the Fall of Beacon, Cinder's appearance went through a drastic change. Her hair is much shorter. She wears a black mask that appears to be made of black glass over her missing left eye, and the scarring from said injury extends into a slight x-shape over the bridge of her nose, as well as having deformed and degraded the tissue of her left ear. She wears a long, dark red dress with one long, wide sleeve hiding her left arm. The edges of the collar and the opening for the right arm are gold-colored, and the upper chest and left sleeve are decorated with golden designs.
The right side of her dress is open from the hip down with two gold-colored straps made up of interwoven ropes connecting the front half to the back half of her thigh. Under the dress, she appears to wear black pantyhose. On the right hip, the dress has a black rhombus-shaped gem set in a gold-colored metal of the same shape, with feathers of varying shades of blue extending from the bottom of it. On her right arm, she wears a long, gray glove, the top of which has a gold-colored metal ring with curvy branching extensions going up her arm. Her right ear has a new, ring-shaped earring higher up than the dangling black gem earring.
Mistral Disguise (Volume 6)
After the Battle of Haven, Cinder kills a woman passerby and takes her cloak. This outfit consists of a light brown robe worn over a white shirt and pants with a shawl, sash and skirt of a matching dark brown color, black socks and light brown sandals. Her left Grimm arm is wrapped in bandages, and she no longer wears her black mask. Additionally, her model lacks painted fingernails.
Current (Volume 6)
In "Our Way", Cinder wears a new left eyepatch that has straps that run both above and below her right eye. She sports a black tank top and shorts that are mostly covered with a black cloak worn over her left arm, all of them having gold trimmings. Her blue feather accessory is over the right side of her chest. She also has a black and gold band over white bandages, a black band on her right wrist, a glove for her left hand and black knee-high laced, and heeled boots. Cinder also retains her two earrings from her previous attire.
Cinder is ruthless and cruel, as demonstrated when she delivers a killing blow to a clearly defeated Pyrrha Nikos at point-blank range and later throws a spear at a defenseless Weiss Schnee. Relentless in her imperious pursuit of power, Cinder demonstrates a cunning that shows in her successful manipulation of events and people throughout the first three volumes. Usually, she maintains a calm and collected demeanor and is willing to take over a fight if necessary.
Cinder is also arrogant and egomaniacal, and as such, relishes in dominance and gloating. She is strict with her subordinates and displays shameless pleasure in the misery she has caused others. Although she refers to her partnership with Roman as "cooperation", it is obvious she has the upper hand, for she very quickly makes an implicit, and not very subtle, threat to Roman by conjuring a fireball in her hand. Cinder also seems to be ambitious and demanding in this role. Often, she is very direct on the matter at hand, as shown when she quickly jumps to Roman's failure of robbing a cargo hold of Dust.
Cinder expects her subordinates to execute exactly as she wishes with what little she gives them. She does not seem to tolerate failure, seen with Roman, preferring for her goals to be successful regardless of the situation. Cinder prefers that such problems be solved quickly, is seen to give very direct orders and keeps Roman on a strict need-to-know basis, sharing a similar leadership style to Salem.
After the Fall of Beacon, Cinder is utterly humiliated from her encounter with Ruby atop Beacon Tower. She no longer displays her usual confidence, instead appearing sullen and taking insults from the other members of Salem's Faction without reply due to her inability to speak and thus relying on her subordinates. Later, in "Taking Control", she is visibly horrified by watching Tyrian Callows maniacally massacre a Beowolf. In "No Safe Haven", Cinder is shown to have a deep desire for vengeance against Ruby, going as far as to have Emerald create a hallucination of Ruby in a submissive state for Cinder to imagine burning alive. However, Arthur Watts notes that her desire for revenge against Ruby affects her judgment, shown when she negotiates a deal with Raven that would allow the latter to betray her by stealing the Relic from Haven Academy. After surviving the battle of Haven, she later strikes another deal to arrange Ruby to die at Neopolitan's hands, exemplifying her determination.
Cinder is overconfident, so new conflict elements do not faze her. Despite this, however, in the rare occurrence in which she is caught off guard, Cinder's monumental temper surfaces, showing her immense shock and outrage. This is most notable when Jaune Arc nicks the edge of her mask during the battle at Haven Academy and when Raven bests her in Haven's Vault. The explosive response to even the slightest attack on her shows Cinder's utter disdain to the fallibility and weaknesses of her humanity, especially in response to having them exploited by a perceived inferior foe. During her fight with Raven, she was more expressive and angry due to being outclassed and outsmarted, a far cry from her attitude in situations she can handle, such her fight with Pyrrha.
Despite Cinder's continuous descent into megalomania and the lengths she has gone to obtain power, she apparently detests being called out on it as shown when Raven cites Cinder's choice to take the arm of a Grimm. Cinder retorts angrily, showing she sees herself as being beyond judgment or the moral codes of others. This shows just how little she thinks of others, feeling that none have the right to pass judgment on a superior being such as herself, indicating that she is amoral, seeing no point to limiting oneself or ambitions based on a code of ethics. In this way, Cinder proves that she is willing to do anything to achieve power, even forsaking her own humanity, seeing herself already as being beyond humane. Regardless, she works with others, such as Adam and her personal faction to make ends meet.
However, Cinder's detesting of fear leads her to react poorly when others see her feel it, including Jaune Arc during their fight, Raven in the antechamber outside the Vault of the Spring Maiden, and most notably by Salem during her training. Cinder seeks to be feared and therefore detests being made to feel fear by both her enemies and her superiors alike.
Cinder's arrogant, narcissistic, and confident demeanor also brings out a tendency of hers to gloat in the face of her enemies. However, this tendency of hers is known to backfire, for it distracts her at the Fall of Beacon from the imminent threat that Ruby poses, catching her off guard. Of Cinder's many personality traits, her compulsion to bask in her enemies' defeats and her own triumphs often proves to be her undoing.
Powers and Abilities
Cinder possesses a high degree of skill that, in "Ruby Rose", rivals or even surpasses that of Glynda Goodwitch. She can make extensive use of raw Dust without difficulty. Her primary technique at the time of their battle was a highly forceful blast of fiery projectiles, which is powerful enough to block and knock back some of Glynda's manipulated debris. It was later revealed by the presence of her tattoo that Cinder had obtained half the Fall Maiden power prior to this confrontation, although the Maidens were not added as a story element until after Volume 2 and thus were not a canon aspect of the show at the time.
Cinder's capabilities also include summoning orange and black circles that can explode from the ground, as well as an Aura-based blocking technique, easily capable of withstanding Crescent Rose's bullets. It should also be noted that before her powers were stolen, Amber was seen doing the same thing with Emerald.
Noticeably, in early volumes, some of Cinder's abilities emit a high-pitched whistling sound when cast.
Cinder has a strong command over Dust, often wielding and manipulating it in battle. In "Dance Dance Infiltration", she is seen transforming a cloud of dust she had previously dispensed into several shards of what appears to be glass, which she proceeded to launch as projectiles. She also displays the ability to do this with ordinary dirt, after she kicks dirt into the air while fighting Amber in "Beginning of the End".
She's able to conjure a Dust-based pair of dual black glass swords, as well as seamlessly transform them into a bow with a series of black glass arrows ready to fire. Her most notable use of reforming her weapons occurs when she melts down and reforms an arrow as Pyrrha Nikos shatters it with her shield, maintaining its forward force and successfully piercing Pyrrha's ankle. Cinder is also capable of triggering this ability to change the shape of Dust-imbued clothes, as shown by her instantly changing into a dress for the dance in "Dance Dance Infiltration".
In "The More the Merrier" she shows the ability to summon more various weapons of scalding hot glass such as swords and spears which she can shatter to form weapons of pure flame.
She is quite skilled in both unarmed combat and swordsmanship, using such skills to fend off numerous Atlas Soldiers at once and easily defeating them without being hit once. She was confident enough in her skills to walk right up to them, despite the fact that this alerted them to her presence. Such confidence is also seen when she decides to reveal herself to Ruby, smiling while doing so and attacking the young Huntress instantly. She possesses enhanced speed, strength, reflexes and endurance. In "The Coming Storm", she was able to land a couple of hits on Neo in their fight, a feat that not even Ruby or Yang was capable of doing.
Cinder has shown to be quite stealthy as well, having sneaked around a guard to easily knock him out. She is skilled enough in infiltrating places without getting caught, able to calculate so that she can escape and blend in, as seen in "Dance Dance Infiltration". She also successfully infiltrates Beacon Academy along with her partners Mercury and Emerald without raising suspicion to herself and having others believe them all to be from Haven Academy.
Her marksmanship skills are shown during her infiltration of the CCT and her plan to capture Amber's powers in "Dance Dance Infiltration" and "Beginning of the End", respectively. She is capable of launching three arrows at once with great accuracy and pragmatically exploiting any advantage whenever possible, such as launching an arrow in Amber's back just as the latter was about to kill Emerald.
During the Fall of Beacon, Cinder gets hit by Ruby's Silver-eyed power and is crippled. Her left arm is replaced with a Grimm limb that resembles that of a Geist. Her arm is able to stretch very far and has incredibly sharp claws, which she uses to easily impale Vernal in the stomach. She can also use it to siphon the powers of a Maiden. While it cannot channel Aura, she is still able to channel her Maiden powers through it. It's implied that the arm itself possesses some sort of sentience, as Salem instructed her to make her new limb respect and fear her.
After fully acquiring the Maiden's powers, she is able to utilize more elemental attacks, though she most often chooses fire-based attacks, and gains the ability to fly. Additionally, she is strong enough to withstand great force and uses fire-based power to melt items in her grip. As the Fall Maiden, she has access to the chamber of the Relic of Choice.
Cinder is also adept at piloting, able to fly a Bullhead during one of Glynda's attacks.
Following an unexpected defeat during the Fall of Beacon at the hands of Ruby, Salem reveals that upon acquiring the powers of a Maiden, she gained a "crippling" weakness to the powers of the silver eyes. However, Salem does not elaborate on the specifics of her vulnerability, or whether it's a unique case due to her usage of a Grimm glove. After getting a Grimm arm grafted into her body, it's innately soulless status prevents Cinder from protecting it with her aura, leaving it vulnerable to other weapons and silver eyes. Upon her first exposure to the silver eyes, Cinder was greatly weakened and significantly injured, and during her second exposure, her weapon dissolved and her arm reacted badly.
- Cinder alludes to Cinderella from the fairy tale of the same name. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Cinder Fall/Behind the Scenes.
- Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross made a joke that they "originally wanted to call her Cinder Ella", using the Spanish word "ella" (pronounced "eya"), meaning "she". This joke references the fact that Cinder alludes to Cinderella.
- The first part of her name alludes to a partially or mostly burned piece of coal or wood, represented in her fire abilities. Her surname alludes to Fall, the American name for one of the four calendar seasons, which brings to mind amber and brown colors.
- Similarly to both the Remnant and Qrow Branwen pages, a user account registered as Montyoum made an edit, adding the surname "Fall" to Cinder's name on November 10th, 2013.