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For the World of Remnant episode of the same name, see Dust (WoR episode).
Hist1 00005

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 from which mankind was born. As a natural resource, it is sometimes poetically referred to as "Nature's Wrath",[1] or more prosaically as an energy propellant.[2]

History

Dust

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

Dust is known as a naturally occurring, crystallized energy propellant triggered by the Aura of Humans and Faunus. For unknown reasons, Dust does not function outside of the atmosphere of Remnant, precluding the possibility of space flight.[4]

Types of Dust

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The four basic Dust forms

Dust can be found in four basic types. These four types can be combined both artificially and naturally to form other types of Dust, each with their own unique properties.[3] Different colors of Dust appear to correspond to their different natures or effects.

In the RWBY: World of Remnant episode, "Dust", the four basic colors are shown to be red, blue, yellow, and green. Other known colors include dark blue, cyan, white, purple, bright orange, dark orange and pale blue. Each color has its own unique property. During Volume 2, green was said to correspond to wind,[5] but it appears that wind may have been changed to white Dust in Volume 3.[6][7] Red is known to correspond to fire, and yellow has been shown to generate lightning.[8][9][10] It is unclear what property blue corresponds to, but since both steam and ice Dust are "secondary" types of Dust partially consisting of water Dust, it follows that water Dust may be a "primary" Dust type.[11]

1108 Players and Pieces 23608

Dust crystals on display, showing a variety of colors

  • Wind or Air - A "primary" type of Dust, said to correspond to the green crescent shape in the World of Remnant episode, "Dust".[5] However, as of Volume 3, it appears that wind may have been changed to white Dust.[6][7]
  • Fire or Burn - Miles states that red is fire Dust in the RWBY Volume 3 Live Stream.[12] Miles also specifically informs the RWBY wiki in the Volume 1 Directors Commentary that these are called Burn Dust crystals.[13]
  • Water - Mentioned by Weiss in "The Shining Beacon" and mentioned by Miles as a type used to make steam and ice Dust.[11] It is represented by a blue crystal in the World of Remnant episode, "Dust".
  • Lightning - Mentioned by Weiss in "The Shining Beacon". Yellow Dust has been shown to generate lightning.[8][9][10]
  • Ice - A "secondary" type of Dust, formed by the combination of Water and Air Dust.[11] 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. In "Volume 6 Adam Character Short", it is shown by Sienna Khan's weapon that ice Dust has changed to a lighter shade of blue.
  • Steam - A "secondary" type of Dust, formed by the combination of Water and Fire Dust.[11]
  • Gravity - First shown when Ruby uses Gravity Dust ammo in the "Red" Trailer. Gravity appears to have the colors black and purple in its released energy, as seen in "Reloading", the 3rd episode of RWBY Chibi. Gravity Dust crystals are black and can cause the pieces of land they form in to levitate, creating floating islands, such as the ones floating above Lake Matsu in Anima. However, Gravity Dust can also have a purple coloration, as seen in Maria Calavera's weapons, Life and Death.
  • Earth - First shown when Blake makes a rock clone in "No Brakes". Through process of elimination, the only Dust color that could have been responsible for the rock clone is white. However, as of Volume 3, air Dust has been changed to white, leaving earth as an unknown color. In Volume 6, earth Dust is shown to be white again when Caroline Cordovin uses white Dust in her giant mech's cannon to fire rocks and generate spiky rock formations.[14]
  • Bright orange-colored - This type of Dust is sewn into the designs on two of Cinder Fall's outfits, and crystals are seen in the volcanic biome in Amity Colosseum. Examples of its use include launching a fiery projectile that splatters to the ground when blocked,[15] creating explosive eruptions,[16] making weaponry out of obsidian[17] and generating heat to melt ice.[18]
  • Hard-Light - Hard-Light Dust is cyan in color. RWBY: Amity Arena says that it is the rarest type of Dust.[19] It was first seen in use by Weiss in "Players and Pieces", to fire laser-like projectiles at a giant Nevermore.[20] Weiss also uses it to create a shield in "No Brakes" while fighting the White Fang Lieutenant.[21] Velvet Scarlatina uses a box that projects Hard-Light Dust into the shape of weapons that she has taken photographs of.[22] Its primary use in conjunction with technology appears to be for shields, as seen with Amity Colosseum[23] and Caroline Cordovin's giant mech. 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. It has also been seen in the pipes of a train engine in Mistral.[24]

Crystalline and Powdered

Tubes

Dust in powdered form

Dust can be found in two distinct states, crystalline and powdered. Both crystalline and powdered Dust are known to be 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 to be even more volatile since something as innocuous as a sneeze is enough to detonate a cloud of Dust.

Both powdered and crystalline Dust can presumably be activated by Aura. Weiss uses powdered Dust in her weapon, the Myrtenaster.

Uses

Dust serves as a power source for the majority of technology in Remnant, from airships to androids, though some alternative technologies do exist.[11]

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, circuitry is revealed inside, indicating that it is powered by electricity; although, Dust as a fuel source is likely as well. Alternatively, this may reveal that Dust-powered objects also require circuits to function.

Combat

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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 effectively use it for combat.

Dust bullets, however, 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.[26] 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.

While this form is the most common and easiest way to use Dust in battle, it can also be used in its raw form, which is described as being "elegant, yet destructive" in nature and requiring a certain level of discipline to maintain control over.

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

One prominent example of raw Dust usage is Weiss Schnee's 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[27] onto Myrtenaster's blade to augment her attacks, such as casting fire from her blade.[28] 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.[29][30][31][32]

In "Field Trip", it is also speculated by James Ironwood that Cinder utilizes Dust, which glows orange, woven into her clothing as a weapon. Cinder's use of Dust also seems to allow her to generate dual black glass swords, which can be converted into a bow as well.

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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.

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 Chloris also combines orange Dust with her weapon, imbuing it with fire-type properties. She later uses her weapon to freeze the leg of an Atlesian Paladin 290 in "Heroes and Monsters".

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Hazel, after infusing himself with Lightning Dust crystals to increase his strength

An unorthodox but effective use of Dust is physically infusing it within one's body. Shown in "Vault of the Spring Maiden", Hazel Rainart jabs a few Lightning Dust crystals into his arms. The process causes Hazel's muscles to grow and electricity to be discharged from his entire body, also enhancing his strikes with it. According to the World of Remnant episode, "Dust", this can be done with other dust types as well.

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 that is inferred to incapacitate or kill anyone else trying to attempt a similar feat.

Mundane

Due to being Remnant's only source of power, Dust has many uses in everyday life that even civilians utilize.

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Mantle houses with Dust-powered systems

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 the stove in "Known by its Song".

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".

Vehicles, such as trains and streetcars, make use of Dust in varying ways. The trains seen in "Kuroyuri" have pipes that are a dull gray when the train is powered off and glow cyan when the train is active. 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,[33] hinting to gravity Dust being responsible for its levitation.

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.

Production and Distribution

Dust-making Process
  • The Schnee Dust Company emblem
  • Dust deposits are searched for.
  • Dust is mined by workers.
  • Dust is taken to factories.
  • Dust crystal
  • Vial of powdered Dust
  • Dust bullet

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[34] or by sea[35] 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.[36] The RWBY: World of Remnant episode "Schnee Dust Company" depicts a crystal-to-bullet process, with a hint that this process is costly.

Trivia

  • Monty Oum had compared Dust to Materia from the Final Fantasy video game series.[37]
    • 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.[38]

References

  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. 5.0 5.1 Kristina Nguyen's Twitter
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Never Miss a Beat"
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Beginning of the End" Example 1, Example 2
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Shining Beacon" Image 1, Image 2, Image 3
  9. 9.0 9.1 World of Remnant: Dust
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back" Image 1, Image 2
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Rooster Teeth Extra Life 2015 Livestream
  12. RWBY Volume 3 Live Stream
  13. Volume 1 Directors Commentary "Ruby Rose"
  14. "The Lady in the Shoe" screenshot
  15. Ruby Rose
  16. "Ruby Rose" screenshot
  17. Dance Dance Infiltration (Image 1, Image 2)
  18. "Round One" screenshot
  19. RWBY: Amity Arena Velvet Scarlatina Card Description
  20. Players and Pieces
  21. "No Brakes" screenshot
  22. "Heroes and Monsters" screenshot
  23. "Round One" screenshot
  24. "Kuroyuri" screenshot
  25. RTX 2013 Panel: RWBY
  26. Volume 1 Directors Commentary "Forever Fall"
  27. Image of Myrtenaster's mechanics
  28. RWBY Episode 6: "The Emerald Forest"
  29. RWBY Episode 8: "Players and Pieces"
  30. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 4: "Painting the Town..".
  31. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 11: "No Brakes"
  32. RWBY Vol 2 Episode 12: "Breach"
  33. "The Grimm Reaper" screenshot
  34. RWBY "Black" Trailer
  35. RWBY Episode 16: "Black and White"
  36. RWBY Livestream
  37. AfterBuzz TV Volume 2 Episodes 1 & 2
  38. AfterBuzz TV Volume 2 Episodes 1 & 2
Setting

Start a Discussion Discussions about Dust

  • Primary Dust Types

    7 messages
    • The world of remnant on Dust really shouldn't be treated as an indisputable source of canon. They've changed so much about this s...
    • EmBELLEm wrote: If I'm not mistaken gravity dust is actually the only dust we've seen appear in nature. (not counting amity coloss...
  • Ideas for unique uses of dust?

    11 messages
    • The crystal would probably cause him to die, depending on the crystal, good thought, but dust in particle form with condense (depending on ...
    • Jack Rapture wrote:The crystal would probably cause him to die, depending on the crystal, good thought, but dust in particle form with conde...