For the World of Remnant episode of the same name, see Dust (WoR episode).
Dust. By definition, it is a naturally occurring energy propellant that can be triggered by the Aura of Humans and Faunus. But in reality, it is much, much more.

A crystal of Dust

Dust is a source of energy in Remnant. The physical properties of Dust make it incredibly useful for a variety of purposes, particularly in the weapons of many characters in the series. It is known to make a distinctive "shimmering" sound passively and when in use.

The name "Dust" is implied to be a reference to the primordial state which mankind was born from. As a natural resource, it is sometimes poetically referred to as "Nature's Wrath",[1] or more prosaically as an energy propellant.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Mankind gains a valuable tool

According to ancient legends recounted during the opening narration of "Ruby Rose", mankind was fighting a losing struggle against creatures of darkness known as the Grimm. However, through their resourcefulness and ingenuity, Humanity managed to discover and harness a source of power they named "Dust" in order to battle the Grimm.

The advent of Dust became the turning point in the war. It would appear that after mankind drove back the Grimm and built civilizations, Dust became integrated into everyday life within Remnant.[1]

Despite its widespread use and prevalence in society, Humanity has yet to understand the origins or the implications of their involvement with Dust.[3]

Description[edit | edit source]

As an energy source, Dust can be triggered by the Aura of Humans and Faunus.

Dust in powdered form

Dust can be found in two distinct states, crystalline and powdered. Dust, whether crystalline or powdered, is highly explosive. For example, during the Dust store robbery, Roman Torchwick threw a crystal at Ruby Rose's feet and fired at it, causing a sizable explosion. The powdered form appears more volatile since something as innocuous as a sneeze is enough to detonate a cloud of Dust.

For unknown reasons, Dust does not function outside of the atmosphere of Remnant, precluding the possibility of space flight.[4]

Types of Dust[edit | edit source]

The four basic Dust forms

Dust crystals on display, showing a variety of colors

In the RWBY: World of Remnant episode "Dust", the four basic colors are shown to be red, blue, yellow, and green. These four types can be combined to form other types of Dust, each with its own unique properties.[3]

The colors of Dust that have been seen thus far:

  • Red
  • Dark Orange
  • Bright Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Pale Green
  • Dark Blue
  • Blue
  • Pale Blue
  • Cyan
  • Black/Purple - These are the same type
  • White

Bright Orange Dust[edit | edit source]

Among other things bright orange Dust can be turned to a fiery projectile when superheated, that splatters to the ground when blocked,[5] to make weaponry out of obsidian or some other form of black glass[6] and to melt ice by generating heat.[7]

It is first used by Cinder, whose dress has the Dust sewn into its designs, in "Ruby Rose". It is later seen in the fire biome of Amity Colosseum in Volume 3.

Combustion[edit | edit source]

Combustion Dust is used to power Yang Xiao Long's sports motorcycle, Bumblebee.[8]

Electricity[edit | edit source]

Electricity, or Lightning Dust, is yellow in color[9] and can be used to generate electricity in forms such as bolts of lightning and electrical currents.

Ilia stuns Corsac with Electricity Dust

It is first seen in use by Ilia Amitola, whose weapon, Lightning Lash, utilizes the Dust to generate electrical currents along its blade.

Hazel Rainart is later seen using Electricity Dust to shoot bolts of lightning from his fists, as well as electrically charge his touch and his attacks during the Battle of Haven.

Electricity generated from this Dust can be used to stun enemies, as seen when Ilia uses it on Corsac Albain in "True Colors". The electricity can also interfere with electronics, including prostheses, as seen in "Seeing Red".

In RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, the Kuchinashi prison uses Electricity Dust in its prison cell bars to keep even the most well trained Huntsmen locked up.

Mixing Gravity Dust with Lightning Dust will create a magnetic effect.[10]

Fire[edit | edit source]

Fire, or Burn[11], Dust is red in color[9] and can be used to create fire in various forms, such as fireballs and fire waves.

An example of Adam's sword trailing fire

It is first seen in the ""Black" Trailer", when Adam's sword trails fire as he fights Atlesian Knight-130 robots. In the show proper, it is first seen in "The Emerald Forest" when Weiss Schnee accidentally sets the Emerald Forest on fire.

Fire Dust has been used to create waves of fire, such as when Weiss uses it in the "Volume 5 Weiss Character Short".

Two examples of Fire Dust being used to launch fireballs are when Weiss sends them through glyphs in "Dread in the Air" and when Hazel shoots them from his fists during the Battle of Haven.

In "The Coming Storm", Weiss uses Fire Dust to create and control tiny fires, which she uses to light candles.

Fire Dust can be combined with Water Dust to create Steam Dust.[12]

Gravity[edit | edit source]

Gravity Dust is black,[9] sometimes purple in color and can be used to manipulate gravitational fields, often to pull objects or create a field that pushes outward.

Gravity Dust crystals in their natural state

Gravity Dust is used in public transport to make vehicles hover and some Huntsmen incorporate Gravity Dust into weapons for a stronger impact or to recall thrown weapons.

Naturally occurring Gravity Dust is seen in "Dread in the Air", the second episode of Volume 5. Giant black crystals cause the pieces of land in which they form to levitate, thus creating floating islands such as the ones above Lake Matsu in Anima.

It is first used by Ruby when she uses Gravity Dust ammunition in the "Red" Trailer. In the show proper, it appears to be first seen being used in conjunction with Weiss' Semblance to create black glyphs, as evidenced by the rotation of Myrtenaster's Dust chamber in the "Volume 5 Weiss Character Short".[13]

Roy Stallion's saws use Gravity Dust to return back to him when thrown.

The tracks of Argus Limited are lined with Gravity Dust. It allows the train to move faster and more efficiently by hovering above the tracks.

It is later seen in use by Maria Calavera with her weapons, Life and Death. When she had both sickles, Maria could choose to either use her Aura or press a button on either of the sickles to attract one sickle to the other. She could also utilize her Aura to levitate the sickles around herself.

Due to the properties of Gravity Dust, the public story behind Atlas' airborne city is that it is powered by this unique Dust type. In actuality, the City of Atlas remains afloat due to the power of the Relic of Creation.

In RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, Gravity Dust is mistakenly marked as Metal Dust in the character sheets of the game.[14]

Mixing Gravity Dust with Lightning Dust will create a magnetic effect.[15]

Hard-Light[edit | edit source]

Hard-Light Dust is cyan in color and can be used to form solid objects made of light energy. RWBY: Amity Arena says that it is the rarest type of Dust.[16] Caroline Cordovin notes that Atlas is "the father of Hard-Light Dust", indicating that Atlas is a major user and creator of technology that uses this Dust.

One example of its use is laser-like projectiles, first used by Weiss in "Players and Pieces",[17] with a similar version being used in the "White" Trailer".

Weiss blocks the White Fang Lieutenant with Hard-Light Dust

Another use for Hard-Light Dust is the creation of shields, by both people and technology. Weiss first uses it as a personal shield while fighting the White Fang Lieutenant in "No Brakes",[18] and its first technological use is seen in the Amity Colosseum throughout Volume 3.[19] The cities of Argus and Atlas also use it for defense. Shield technology appears to be its primary use.

In RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, Hard-Light Dust can be used to create display cases.

Velvet Scarlatina's weapon, Anesidora, projects Hard-Light Dust into the shape of weaponry that she has taken photographs of.[16]

It has also been seen in the pipes of a train engine in Mistral.[20]

Ice[edit | edit source]

Ice Dust is light blue in color[9] and can be used to create ice in any shape, such as crystals, thin sheets or even large structures like curved ramps or platforms that float in water.

It is first used by Weiss in the "White" Trailer, to trap an Arma Gigas' feet. In the series proper, it is once again first used by Weiss, who utilizes it in "Players and Pieces" to trap a Death Stalker's stinger and save Ruby.

It has been used many times throughout the series to create large ice crystals, often to trap or impale enemies. Weiss has created ice crystals to push White Fang members off of a train in "No Brakes", as well as to protect herself and her teammates from the train crash in the same episode.

Weiss forms ice into a giant sword

Weiss' ice beam

In "Painting the Town...", Weiss uses this Dust to create a thin sheet of ice on a highway to make an Atlesian Paladin-290 slip and fall.

In "Breach", Weiss briefly uses this Dust to create an ice sword resembling her Arma Gigas' sword, while using a glyph to swing the sword at a group of Grimm.

Blake utilizes this Dust in conjunction with her Semblance to form an ice sculpture of herself in "No Brakes".

In "Dread in the Air", Weiss fires ice beams at a group of Lancers. These ice beams are a somewhat darker blue than Hard-Light laser projectiles, have a snowy effect and do not curve through the air like Hard-Light lasers.

In "The Lady in the Shoe", Weiss spreads the effect of her Ice Dust through the ocean water in front of her ice platform to temporarily trap the Colossus' leg.

Ice Dust is formed by the combination of Water and Air Dust.[12]

Inconsistencies[edit | edit source]

In "The Shining Beacon", dark blue Dust is shown to be ice, as Ruby sneezes on red, dark blue and yellow Dust, resulting in fire, ice and lightning.

Plant[edit | edit source]

Plant Dust is green in color.[9] It was first revealed in The World of RWBY: The Official Companion, but still has yet to be used or even appear in the show proper.

Rock[edit | edit source]

Weiss uses Dust from her rapier to create a wall of rock

Rock or Earth Dust is dark orange in color[9] and can be used to create rocks.

It is first used by Blake when she combines it with her Semblance to create a stone copy of herself in "No Brakes".

When used with a weapon, Rock Dust can fire large stones as projectiles. This is first shown by Leonardo Lionheart, who uses his Stalwart to create a flaming rock and launch it during the Battle of Haven. This method is also shown by Cordovin's Colossus, which fires boulders from its cannon, some of which create spiky stone structures upon impact with the ground.

Rock Dust can also be used defensively, such as when Weiss creates a stone wall to block Cordovin's ice blast in "The Lady in the Shoe".

Inconsistencies[edit | edit source]

Blake and Weiss use Dust to create stone in "No Brakes" and "The Lady in the Shoe" respectively, despite not possessing orange Dust. Weiss' rapier, Myrtenaster, always contains red, blue, yellow, white, purple and cyan Dust, except in "A Minor Hiccup", when it temporarily had all green Dust and then reverted in the following episode. The Dust magazine that Weiss gives to Blake in "No Brakes" contains the same colors as Myrtenaster.

In "The Lady in the Shoe", the Colossus' cannon glows white, instead of orange, when firing boulders. When using the other types of Dust, the cannon glows different colors - yellow for Electricity Dust and blue for Ice Dust.

Leonardo uses white Dust to create the rock element in his flaming rock attacks, indicated by the sphere in the middle glowing white when it was previously red in hue.

Steam[edit | edit source]

Mercury's smokescreen, created by Steam Dust

Steam Dust can generate clouds of steam.

It is first used by Mercury Black in "Lessons Learned" during his battle with Coco Adel and Yatsuhashi Daichi, where he creates a large smokescreen to make an opening to attack the duo. It's later repeatedly in "Fall" in his match against Yang.

This type of Dust is created by combining Water and Fire Dust.[12]

Water[edit | edit source]

Water Dust is blue in color[9] and can be used to create water.

Steam Dust is created by combining this type with Fire Dust, and Ice Dust is created by combining Water Dust with Wind Dust.[12]

Wind[edit | edit source]

Wind, or Air, Dust can be used to create wind in various forms, such as gusts and tornadoes. It has been portrayed as both white and green in color in different appearances. According to The World of RWBY: The Official Companion, Wind Dust is white[9], but according to Lore Keeper Eddy Rivas, Wind Dust is pale green[21], while its effects are white.[22]

Dew's tornadoes move to surround Sage

It is first used by Dew Gayl in "New Challengers..."[23] when she creates three tornadoes, which surround Sage Ayana before combining into a larger tornado and tossing him out of the arena.

Weiss uses the Dust to create a whirlwind to block the sound wave blast from Flynt Coal's trumpet in "Never Miss a Beat", and Amber uses a Wind Dust crystal to create gusts of wind to push her enemies away in "Beginning of the End".

Inconsistencies[edit | edit source]

During Volume 2, Wind Dust was said to correspond to the green crescent shape in the World of Remnant episode, "Dust".[24]

In Volume 3, Dew uses her spear to create tornadoes, and the crystal inserted into the head of her spear is green. However, during that same volume, Weiss and Amber are seen using white Dust to produce wind. When Weiss chooses to use Wind Dust against Flynt, the camera focuses on the vial of powdered white Dust in Myrtenaster, and Amber directs the wind with the end of her staff that contains a white Dust crystal.

Wind Dust continued to be white in Volume 5, as shown by the white glow produced by Fennec Albain's Wind Dust dagger.

During the run of Volume 6, Rooster Teeth released a line of Dust-themed rock candies, with the green candy labeled as "Wind Dust". This conflicted with the color code shown on the Dust page of The World of RWBY: The Official Companion, which labeled white Dust crystals as "Wind".

Later, in RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, it is once again listed as green in color. Eddy Rivas revealed the previous color of white was an error and that Wind Dust is canonically a pale green.[21]

Uses of Dust[edit | edit source]

Dust serves as a power source for the majority of technology in Remnant, from airships to androids, though some alternative technologies do exist.[12]

Dust can still be used without the aid of weapons or machines and can be unleashed in its raw form such as lightning.

Technology powered by Dust is known to glow.[25]

The people of Remnant attempted to achieve spaceflight and space-based communications with Dust as propellant fuel, but its inability to operate outside of Remnant's atmosphere hindered these endeavors.

When Weiss slices an Atlesian Paladin-290 in half, the circuitry is revealed inside, indicating that it is powered by electricity; although, Dust as an additional fuel source is likely as well. Alternatively, this may reveal that Dust-powered objects also require circuits to function. Or simply that lightning dust can produce electricity in a way that can be used similarly to batteries or generators, allowing normal circuitry to function.

Combat[edit | edit source]

Myrtenaster and Dust

The discovery of Dust was instrumental to Humanity's initial defeat of the Grimm, and Dust continues to be used extensively in combat. Dust can be harnessed in a variety of ways, but when used in its raw form, its full potential requires both an Aura and the intelligence to use it, meaning Humans, Faunus, and certain artificial beings, such as Penny Polendina, are the only ones who are able to use it for combat in this state. Furthermore, the effective use of raw Dust requires a certain level of discipline to keep from losing control of it.[26]

Methods of using raw Dust include weaving it into clothing, fusing Dust with oneself, forging a blade imbued with Dust and inserting Dust crystals or powder into one's weapon.

Weaving Dust Into Clothing[edit | edit source]

Dust-imbued clothing is first shown by Cinder who first makes use of it with her original battle outfit in "Ruby Rose" and then again with her stealth outfit in "Dance Dance Infiltration", both of which utilized orange Dust. These two instances occurred before Volume 3 and, as a result, were prior to Monty Oum adding the Maidens to the story.[27]

In "Field Trip", Ruby mentions Cinder's clothes "lit up", leading James Ironwood to speculate that Cinder utilized Dust weaved into her clothing to enable her weapon, Midnight. He refers to it as "an age-old technique" and expresses that someone's identity cannot be proven simply by the fact that they utilize it as a weapon.

Fusing Dust With One's Body[edit | edit source]

Hazel is the first to display the method of fusing Dust with oneself, by stabbing fire and lightning Dust crystals into his arms.

Hazel, after infusing himself with Electricity Dust crystals

An effective, though unorthodox, use of Dust is physical infusion within one's body, as shown in "Vault of the Spring Maiden" when Hazel stabs a few Lightning Dust crystals into his arms. The process causes his muscles to grow exponentially, enhancing his strikes proportional to that growth, while the electrical overflow discharges from his entire body.

Apparently, there is a limit to how much raw Dust an ordinary person is capable of metabolizing at a time. A prime example of this is how Hazel Rainart is only capable of utilizing as much Dust as he does due to his Semblance rendering him impervious to the sensation of pain.

Dust-Imbued Blades[edit | edit source]

Raven swings an Ice Dust blade to create a path of ice

Dust-imbued blades are first shown by Adam Taurus and Raven Branwen, in two somewhat different ways. Adam's sword, Wilt appears to have a fixed blade, imbued with Fire Dust which he uses in the "Black" Trailer and the Volume 3 Opening.[28] Raven's sword, Omen, is capable of switching between multiple blades imbued with different types of Dust. She is first seen using the Dust in one of the blades during her fight with Cinder at Haven Academy when she swings her sword to produce a path of ice, which she uses to slide past Cinder.

Powdered Dust[edit | edit source]

Adding powdered Dust to one's weapon is first shown by Weiss, who inserts vials of powdered Dust into a revolving chamber in her weapon, Myrtenaster. Her weapon has an exhaust port at the base of the blade, which allows the powdered Dust to leak out onto the blade. Weiss can choose to activate this Dust in a number of ways. One method is to swing her blade, which disturbs the Dust, causing it to activate and follow the swing of the blade. Another method is to use her glyphs to active and direct the Dust. The third method is to utilize her Aura to activate the Dust and control its manifestation, such as when she directs tiny flames from the tip of Myrtenaster over to several candles in "The Coming Storm".

Dust Crystals[edit | edit source]

Adding a Dust crystal to one's weapon is first shown in different ways in Volume 3 by Reese Chloris, Dew and Amber. During the Vytal Festival Tournament, Reese pushes an orange Dust crystal inside of her hoverboard to give it the ability to produce heat. Dew has a cut Wind Dust crystal embedded in the head of her spear. Amber placed uncut Dust crystals within twisted wooden branches on either end of her staff.

Dust Bullets[edit | edit source]

Dust bullets are much simpler to use, merely requiring the user to pull the trigger. Ruby's weapon, Crescent Rose, has also been mentioned to use rounds containing different kinds of Dust.[29] Torchwick also makes reference to Dust rounds as being amongst the merchandise he stole, in the episode "Best Day Ever". It is mentioned that such rounds come in several different sizes and cartridges to be used for any given situation.

Weiss using a glyph with ice Dust in "No Brakes".

One prominent example of raw Dust usage is Weiss' Multi-Action Dust Rapier, Myrtenaster, which contains vials of numerous colors of powdered Dust in its revolving chamber. She can allow Dust to flow from an exhaust port[30] onto Myrtenaster's blade to augment her attacks, such as casting fire from her blade.[31] She can also use her glyphs to manipulate how Dust flows and manifests. She has demonstrated this ability numerous times with Ice Dust by manipulating what shape the ice would take.[32][33][34][35]

Dust and Semblances[edit | edit source]

Blake using Dust alongside her Semblance.

Another novel use of Dust is in the episode "No Brakes", where Blake Belladonna inserts Dust vials into her main weapon, Gambol Shroud, and uses it in conjunction with her Semblance. While normally her Shadow images are simply evanescent copies of her, with Dust, they take on the properties of an element, such as stone statues, ice sculptures or explosive fiery apparitions.

Amity Colosseum Arena[edit | edit source]

During the combat tournament of the Vytal Festival, Dust crystals are scattered throughout the arena for combatants to use. During the match between Team RWBY and Team ABRN, Ruby detonates Ice Dust to immobilize an opponent. Reese also combines orange Dust with her weapon. She later uses her weapon to freeze the leg of an Atlesian Paladin 290 in "Heroes and Monsters".

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Vehicles run on Dust. The Mistral Train has cyan glowing pipes, presumed to be Hard-Light Dust and Yang's Motorcycle, Bumblebee, was said to run on Combustion Dust.

Vehicles, such as trains and streetcars, make use of Dust in varying ways.

  • In "Kuroyuri", the train's pipes glow cyan when its active and fade to dull gray when powered down.
  • The Argus Limited's track has a line of Gravity Dust through the middle of it.
  • The streetcar that Teams RWBY and JNPR ride in "The Grimm Reaper" has a faint purple glow beneath it,[36] hinting to Gravity Dust being responsible for its levitation.

Just Rite, a refueling station, offers services to refuel vehicles somewhere in Anima.

Mundane[edit | edit source]

Mantle houses with Dust-powered systems

As Remnant's primary source of functional power, Dust has many uses in everyday life, across all walks of life and the full breadth of morality.

Nearly all screens from the commonly used Scrolls to computers are holographically projected in the air and are highly likely made with Hard-light Dust.

One example of this early in Remnant's history was when Mantle integrated Dust into a system built in their houses. Stoves use Dust to heat the burners, as indicated by Dust's signature "shimmering" sound effect when Ruby turns on a stove in "Known by its Song".

Construction workers in "The Grimm Reaper" are seen using a levitating cart to haul bricks. This cart makes the Dust "shimmering" noise when one of the workers drops a brick onto it.

It appears that buildings do not need to be connected to a central power grid in order to power lights, as Maria turns on a cordless lamp in the abandoned Brunswick Farms, in "Alone in the Woods".

Production and Distribution[edit | edit source]

The Schnee Dust Company is one of the largest producers of Dust in the world. Dust is mined from the Schnee Quarry, purified, and transported by railway lines[37] or by sea[38] to distributors. Dust is then sold to the public by Dust shops such as From Dust Till Dawn.

Crystalline Dust is apparently safe enough to leave out on display openly, whereas powdered Dust is dispensed from tubes on the wall and stored in portable cylindrical canisters. Bags that have been seen on store shelves have the same bright hues as the tubes and their Dust, but whether they contain Dust themselves is unknown.

Much like real-world resources, Dust has been said to be a limited resource as it is mined from the ground.[39] The RWBY: World of Remnant episode "Schnee Dust Company" depicts a crystal-to-bullet process, with a hint that this process is costly.

After the events of Volume 3, General James Ironwood has put an embargo on dust distribution in effect. This has made it harder to obtain dust throughout Remnant with some people having resorted to smuggling dust out of Atlas.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Monty had compared Dust to Materia from the Final Fantasy video game series.[40]
    • He went on to state that, originally, all of the Dust in Myrtenaster was going to be red but still have different effects. This was because he felt that red went well with Weiss' design, as well as the fact that, design-wise, he was uncomfortable with having a character with a certain color palette walk around with "a rainbow" on them. He ended up putting those feelings aside and deciding that it would be better for the audience if Dust was color-coded.[41]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 RWBY Episode 1: "Ruby Rose"
  2. RWBY Episode 2: "The Shining Beacon"
  3. 3.0 3.1 RWBY Volume 2: World of Remnant: "Dust"
  4. RWBY Volume 3: World of Remnant: "Cross Continental Transmit System"
  5. Ruby Rose
  6. Dance Dance Infiltration (Image 1, Image 2)
  7. "Round One" screenshot
  8. The World of RWBY: The Official Companion - Yang Xiao Long page
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 The World of RWBY: The Official Companion (Dust Page)
  10. RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant
  11. Volume 1 Directors Commentary "Ruby Rose"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Rooster Teeth Extra Life 2015 Livestream
  13. "Volume 5 Weiss Character Short"
  14. Eddy Rivas' Twitter
  15. RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant
  16. 16.0 16.1 RWBY: Amity Arena Velvet Scarlatina Card Description
  17. Players and Pieces
  18. "No Brakes" screenshot
  19. "Round One" screenshot
  20. "Kuroyuri" screenshot
  21. 21.0 21.1 Eddy Rivas on Twitter
  22. Eddy Rivas on Twitter.
  23. The World of RWBY: The Official Companion, page 103
  24. Kristina Nguyen's Twitter
  25. RTX 2013 Panel: RWBY
  26. World of Remnant: Dust
  27. Volume 3 DVD Commentary
  28. Screenshot examples
  29. Volume 1 Directors Commentary "Forever Fall"
  30. Image of Myrtenaster's mechanics
  31. RWBY Episode 6: "The Emerald Forest"
  32. RWBY Episode 8: "Players and Pieces"
  33. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 4: "Painting the Town..".
  34. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 11: "No Brakes"
  35. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 12: "Breach"
  36. "The Grimm Reaper" screenshot
  37. RWBY "Black" Trailer
  38. RWBY Episode 16: "Black and White"
  39. RWBY Livestream
  40. AfterBuzz TV Volume 2 Episodes 1 & 2
  41. AfterBuzz TV Volume 2 Episodes 1 & 2
Setting
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