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Magic is a mysterious power that has existed in Remnant since its creation. The Gods created the world through magic and the God of Darkness gave its people the power to wield it. After Salem persuaded Humanity to rebel against them, the God of Darkness purged the planet and left with the God of Light. Later, the second era of Humanity blossomed, but they had no magic nor any knowledge that it had ever existed.
Salem, Ozma, and those who possess some of his magic are the only known users left in the world.
The Gods are two immensely powerful magical beings and the creators of the World of Remnant. They are two brothers, the elder being the God of Light and the younger being the God of Darkness. The God of Light created life, and the God of Darkness created agents of death, including the Creatures of Grimm. At one point, they compromised and created Humanity together.
The Gods appear as translucent humanoid beings with featureless faces, horns and antlers. Both can transform into dragons.
The Gods are nigh-omnipotent entities of immense power and knowledge. The two created Remnant and Humanity together as well as their own individual creations. The two together are essentially invincible and have no actual weaknesses besides being fallible. The God of Light also created the four Relics, which are the manifestations of the four gifts to Humanity, and each Relic is immensely powerful on its own.
Both Gods are able to manipulate matter and energy, are able to interact with entities through multiple plains of existence including the afterlife and are able to use their abilities with pinpoint precision. The God of Darkness was able to wipe out all of Humanity except for Salem without harming any other form of life on a global scale.
The God of Light is one of the Gods who created Remnant and the older brother of the God of Darkness.
In his humanoid form, the God of Light appears as a golden humanoid male with a crown of antlers. In his draconic form, he resembles real-world Eastern traditional dragon. In this form, his eyes appear to emanate a pure, white glow.
As a being with abilities that transcend multiple plains of existence, the true power of the God of Light has yet to be seen. As a being that represents creation, he is naturally attuned to its forces.
He presumably shares his brother's ability to create and resurrect souls from the afterlife, as his refusal to bring back Ozma was a matter of principle-over-power. He also shares in his brother's powers of teleportation, energy and matter manipulation, shapeshifting, flight in dragon form, immense physical strength and powers of creation.
He is able to alter the very nature of a person's soul to enter the afterlife, as was the case with Ozma, who he burdened with the task of redeeming Humanity and reincarnating endlessly in order to do so, and Salem, who he cursed with immortality.
The God of Light is also a skilled sorcerer, able to create the four Relics, each with a quality that embodies the four ideals on which Humanity was founded around. These inanimate creations tend to sport ornate designs yet thus far appear to carry a spark of life all on their own, such as Jinn and Ambrosius, the spirits that reside within the Relics of Knowledge and Creation.
He is believed to be the originator of the Silver Eyes, as he was shown capable of obliterating his brother's Grimm with a similar white light as them.
The God of Darkness is one of the Gods who created Remnant and the younger brother of the God of Light.
In his humanoid form, the God of Darkness appears as a purple male with curved horns. In his draconic form, he resembles a real-world Western dragon.
While the majority of his abilities have yet to be seen, the God of Darkness is an unfathomably powerful being whose power transcends the mortal world. As a being of destruction, he is naturally attuned to its forces.
He has the ability to shapeshift between a humanoid and draconic form, the power to create sentient life, recall a soul from the afterlife, teleport and unleash massive waves of magical energy. He is precise enough with it that only those he target are affected, such as when he vaporized an entire species on a global scale while leaving everything else untouched, or when he unleashed a torrent of energy to kill Ozma while leaving Salem unharmed despite her holding on to him. In addition, he can manipulate matter and energy to a great extent, such as creating a physical body for Ozma's soul that is identical to the one he originally possessed. He is also the one who bestowed magic to Humanity.
While in his dragon form, the God of Darkness possesses the power of flight, immense physical strength and the power to breathe a torrent of dark energy from his body. His physical powers are of such magnitude that he was capable of shattering the moon with no discernible care or effort.
The existence of an afterlife was confirmed in "The Lost Fable". No details were given as to its nature. However, the God of Light was able to return Ozma's soul to the world of the living.
The Creatures of Grimm are soulless monsters created by the God of Darkness that hunt Humans and Faunus.
The Grimm were created by the God of Darkness in order to destroy his older brother's creations of life before the Brothers reconciled and created Humanity. After the Gods left, the Grimm roamed Remnant preying on the second era of Humanity. Their current master is Salem.
They are described as "creatures of destruction" that lack a soul; hence, they are unable to use Aura. They are also drawn to feelings of negativity - such as envy, sadness, loneliness and hatred - often congregating towards the source of these emotions.
Grimm normally spawn from viscous, tar-like substance pools, commonly seen around the Land of Darkness. The Wyvern also showed the ability to exude the substance from its skin. When droplets of the substance impacted the ground, lesser forms of Grimm, including Creeps, Beowolves and Ursai rose from the black liquid. Sabyr's were also shown to spawn from them in RWBY: Amity Arena. Monstra also had the ability to spawn multiple Grimm by spitting out the same liquid.
The Relics are four powerful objects presented to Ozma by the God of Light. They are the key factor of Salem and Ozma's plans and are the main driving force of the plot of RWBY.
- Relic of Knowledge - A Lamp that contains Jinn, a spirit capable of answering any question so long as it doesn't pertain to the future. She can be summoned by the user calling out her name, at which point Jinn can answer three questions every one hundred years.
- Relic of Creation - A Staff that houses Ambrosius, a spirit with the magical power to create anything. However, he requires specific details to fulfill the users request. Also, he can only be used for one task at a time, as the previous creation will be destroyed the moment he finishes a new one.
- Relic of Choice - A Crown that gives the wearer visions of the future, regarding a choice they will have to make. The only known limitations of the Crown's power is that the user has no control over what they see, as the visions are completely random.
- Relic of Destruction - A Sword whose abilities are currently unknown.
Jinn is a spirit created by the God of Light and though the full extent of her powers is unknown, it is clear she is an omniscient keeper of knowledge and secrets. She knows the answer to any question and knows any secret or knowledge that other people possess or have witnessed, such as Oscar being the current incarnation of Ozma.
She also appears to be able to transport others into another dimension which she can freely control and shape at will in order to show her users visions or memories from the past. However, she cannot answer questions about the future - only present or past knowledge. Jinn is also able to sense if a person has a question for her when she is summoned. Upon being summoned, time stops, with the exception of Jinn and the people asking the question. She implies she has some degree of control over being summoned, as she alludes to not allowing herself to be "used" unless the user intends to ask a question.
Ambrosius is a spirit created by the God of Light. The full extent of his powers is unknown, but is clear he is a very powerful being with the ability of creation.
He has the ability to create anything provided that he is given precise details on it. He was able to conjure an exact copy of Penny Polendina using her existing robot parts as well as create a new body to house her soul, effectively transforming her into a Human. He also showed the power to manipulate space-time to not only create a dimension similar to the Vaults, but portals to everyone in Atlas that exit to Vacuo, all without any effort. Despite this, only one of his creations can exist at any time, as the previous one will be undone the moment he starts another task. He is also forbidden from resurrecting the dead.
His creations appear to have no limit, as Ambrosius was able to generate an infinite supply of energy to keep Atlas afloat indefinitely as well as an endless amount of flames upon being requested by Cinder Fall.
When the Gods decided to create something together, they created Humanity and blessed them with the ability to use magic. They have been shown to conjure magical blasts of different colors, as well as control different elements such as fire and lightning. They are also capable of other types of magic such as forcefields and augmenting weapons. The Gods lived on the planet and Humanity was free to interact with them by giving them tributes or asking them for favors.
After Salem's rebellion, the Gods left the planet and the God of Darkness erased the entire population except for Salem, leaving her the only one left. When the second era of Humanity evolved all over again the God of Light reincarnated Ozma in a new body, leaving him as another member on the planet, although in soul only.
Salem is an ancient and extremely mysterious figure from Remnant's forgotten past and the primary antagonist of RWBY. She was a part of the original Humanity, before being cursed with immortality and falling into a Grimm Pool. She was married to Ozma before their ideologies tore them apart making them mortal enemies.
Salem, being a member of the original Humanity has access to magic. She is shown to be able to fire large energy blasts from her hands, as well as generate electricity around her. In addition to her other magic, she appears to be able to project telekinetic force as seen when she crushed a Nevermore and shattered the windows in her council chamber in a fit of uncontrolled rage. Furthermore, she is capable of flight and possesses some form of superhuman strength, as she easily flips the massive table in her headquarters, all while seated. She also processes clairvoyance, as she is able to observe a battle going on through her crystal ball.
She displays more feats of magic in "Fault", when she conjures shadow images of her daughters and later when she tortures Oscar Pine with an energy beam for refusing to divulge any information. In "Witch", she makes use of several types of magic when fighting Hazel Rainart, such as summoning a large cyclone to both lift her and move around quickly, as well as firing a barrage of energy beams. She is also capable of traveling as a cloud of smoke, which she used to quickly reach the Atlas Vault after reforming in "The Final Word".
Salem was cursed with immortality by the Gods, making it impossible to destroy her. Any injuries she sustain regenerate, even being turned to ash. The time it takes for her to regenerate can vary, with the longest being a few hours.
She is not restricted in movement while regenerating. In "Witch", she immobilizes Yang Xiao Long while her chest is caved in. When Hazel blows her head off, she restrains him with Shadow Hands while it is reforming.
After the Gods destroyed the first era of Humanity and left Remnant, she jumped into the Grimm Pools in the Land of Darkness which altered her body and gave her more powers and abilities. She is the Grimm's master and can command them to do her bidding, the most impressive moment being when she controlled an entire army of Grimm against the Atlas Military in "War".
She can alter the physiology of Grimm and mutate them. She causes Beringels to sprout wings in "Our Way" and gives Cinder a Shadow Hand. Furthermore, She can create Grimm that possess unique abilities, such as Seers for messaging or Monstra as a mobile battleship.
In addition, she has the ability to summon Shadow Hands on command as seen in "So That's How It Is" to restrain her opponents.
She has also experimented with creating Grimm hybrids, as seen with The Hound.
Salem possesses the means to steal the powers of Maidens, a feat of which was never accomplished before according to Ozpin's Group.
Ozma, now known as Ozpin, was an ancient warrior of first Humanity before dying. Ozma was revived by the God of Darkness but killed again by the God of Light soon after. Ozma was eventually given a choice by the God of Light before he abandoned Remnant; he would be able to return to the land of the living to act as a guide for Humanity and protect the Relics, powerful items that when brought together would summon the Gods back to Remnant.
To do so, the God of Light gave him the ability to reincarnate after death, joining souls with another like-minded person so that he would never be alone. After returning to Remnant, Ozma reunited with Salem. The two used their magic to act as gods and create a prosperous Kingdom. They eventually started a family with four daughters, but turned on each other after Salem wanted to take over the world and get rid of Humanity. Their children were killed in the ensuing battle and Salem murdered Ozma, who reincarnated again. Thus began the millenia-long feud between the two, with Ozma making it his mission to protect the world and oppose her.
At the start of RWBY, Ozma's current incarnation is Professor Ozpin, the Headmaster of Beacon Academy. Following Ozpin's death at the hands of Cinder Fall during the Battle of Beacon, Ozma's soul joined with Oscar Pine.
As one of the original Humans during the time of the Gods, Ozma could perform powerful feats of magic, such as large energy blasts channeled through his scepter, as well as reflecting magical attacks. He was also capable of flight. At the time of Humanity's second coming, his powers were so great that people worshiped him alongside Salem as gods.
In "Rest and Resolutions", Ozpin reveals that he himself possesses powerful magic that he used to create the original Maidens, as well as grant Qrow Branwen and Raven Branwen the ability to shapeshift into corvids. It is stated that the amount of power expended in the creation of the Maidens greatly drained his magic. It is also dwindling, although the exact reason is unknown. Despite this, he still has enough to aid him in combat. During his battle with Cinder, he is able to conjure an energy barrier to protect himself from her attacks.
In "The Enemy of Trust", Oscar is capable of wielding the same magic as his predecessors. He conjures an energy barrier through magic to burst through the bottom of Atlas. Later, he conjures another barrier to survive his fall. The barrier is similar to one that Ozpin conjured in "End of the Beginning".
In "Witch", he fires an energy beam at Salem during his escape from Monstra, though it merely causes her to stagger.
Due to accepting the task of uniting Humanity, Ozma has been endowed with the ability to reincarnate, which causes his soul to transfer to a new like-minded host when his previous body is destroyed. The merging process eventually results in the host gaining all of his memories and abilities.
Currently, Ozma's soul is attached to and merging with that of Oscar's. Oscar can grant Ozma control of his body, enhancing his combat prowess and the strength of his Aura. In addition, he can forcibly take control of Oscar's body, though this severely drains him afterwards.
Ozma and Salem had four daughters and the eldest inherited their magical abilities. This triggered Salem's plan to replace Humanity with their own magical line instead of trying to redeem the currently-existing Humanity. Ozma disagreed with her plan and attempted to leave with their children, leading to a battle that resulted in their deaths.
The four Maidens are the hosts of a vast magical power that has existed in Remnant for thousands of years. They are said to be the physical embodiment of the four seasons. They were given their powers by Ozma to spread kindness across the world.
There are four Maidens in existence at any time, each one corresponding to the four seasons - Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.
Powers and Abilities
The Maidens have displayed several astounding abilities like being able to levitate and manipulate the elements. They are able to use any elemental power they choose, not being limited to their season, and some Maidens simply prefer certain elements over others. In battle, they are capable of conjuring weapons comprised of the elements.
When a Maiden uses their powers, their eyes are surrounded by a fiery glow based on their Aura color.
The Maidens are also each tied to the Vaults hidden under the four main Huntsman Academies. Their powers open the chambers to the Relics. Spring can access the Vault in Haven, Fall can access the Vault in Beacon, Summer can access the Vault in Shade and Winter can access the Vault in Atlas.
The powers of the Maidens have been passed down for thousands of years upon the holder's death. Under normal circumstances, the next Maiden, who is always a young woman, is the last person that the previous Maiden holds in her thoughts before she passes away. However, if the person in the dying Maiden's thoughts is male, too old, or not eligible to receive the power, the next host is chosen seemingly at random.
The original Maidens, as well as the origin of their powers, has been memorized as The Story of the Seasons, a fairy tale passed down through the cultures of Remnant.
The story tells of how Ozma, then known as just an old wizard, was visited by four sisters who each in their own unique ways show kindness to him. The old man gives the four sisters great powers in return for their kindness, and as the embodiment of the four seasons, they go through Remnant spreading their gifts. They were shown being able to freeze water, cause plants to grow, create fire, and control wind.
Amber was the host of the Fall Maiden powers before Cinder took them. She was said to still be inexperienced in using her powers.
In her battle against Cinder, Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Black, she displays several astounding powers, including the ability to levitate in the air, create wind, freeze leaves and make them solid to create deadly projectiles, manipulate the weather and bring lightning down upon her enemies, as well as shoot deadly fireballs.
Cinder Fall is one of the main villains and one of Salem's underlings. She is the current host of the Fall Maiden's powers which she stole from Amber using a special glove. She also possesses a Shadow Hand that replaced her left arm after her damage by Ruby Rose's Silver Eyes at the Fall of Beacon.
After acquiring the Maiden's powers, Cinder is able to utilize many elemental attacks but often chooses to use fire-based attacks in conjunction with her Semblance. She is also able to use her magic to forge different weapons to wield such as swords or spears. She even used the power of earth to create a giant flaming molten rock sword out of thin air. Finally, Cinder demonstrated the ability to use fire to fly by creating blasts underneath her feet and in the palm of her hands to act as thrusters.
In "Downfall" she conjured a small blast of ice to freeze Raven Branwen and the power of wind to levitate herself and fly at high speeds. In "Worthy", she creates a vortex of fire similar to the one Fria made out of ice.
As the Fall Maiden, she has access to the chamber of the Relic of Choice.
The World of RWBY: The Official Companion states that Cinder has some control over the Wyvern through her Maiden powers, being able to influence its behavior.
During the Fall of Beacon, Cinder gets hit by Ruby's Silver Eyes and is crippled. Her left arm is replaced with a Grimm limb known as a "Shadow Hand". Her arm is able to stretch very far and has sharp claws which she uses to impale her enemies. The arm is capable of siphoning the powers of a Maiden. While it cannot channel Aura, she is still able to channel her Maiden magic 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. The Shadow Hand gives her a weakness to Silver Eyes.
Fria was the host of the Winter Maiden powers and as such, had the same elemental magic as her fellow Maidens. Upon being confronted by Cinder Fall attempting to steal her powers, she was able to create a tundra vortex of snow and ice with temperatures easily capable of freezing and burning flesh and blood of someone without an Aura shield, as seen when Winter's hand was instantly frost burned the moment she reached out. Fria's frost was also strong enough to flash freeze Cinder's Grimm Arm seconds after activating her powers and freeze the entire area in a thick layer of ice, effectively rendering the area inhospitable.
Also it was noted by Winter Schnee that Fria had already "fully realized" her powers as a maiden, hinting that Fria's level of power and her skill in using her magic was far superior to that of the younger generation of Maidens. This was shown when she managed to instinctively repel and overpower Cinder despite her already declining mental faculties.
Penny Polendina was the Winter Maiden after Fria passed on her powers to her. As she had them for a short while, she was relatively inexperienced in their usage, but her robot abilities allowed her to learn and adapt quickly.
In "Strings", she has been shown to use wind, where she created a large gale of wind to blow away the Ace-Ops with enough power to fling them out of their feet. She has also showcased the ability to create storm clouds that generate green lightning. Finally, she is able to cause the storm cloud to produce hail, through not particularly powerful, as it only bounced off Marrow Amin.
She displayed more powers in "Amity", such as generating blasts of ice to freeze and make large chunks of ice, as well as create weapons of ice shaped like the swords of her Floating Array. She is also capable of siphoning the lightning generated from her storm clouds and focus them to further empower her beam blasts. When holding Amity Colosseum to ensure it does not drift down, she augmented her foot thrusters with blue fire to increase her strength.
During her battles with both James Ironwood and Cinder Fall, she displayed numerous feats such as being able to fly by emanating snowy wisps around her body, create a layer of ice capable of reflecting concentrated blasts of Fire Dust and produce powerful blasts of ice and electricity at her targets.
Upon arriving in Vacuo, Winter also showcased the ability to create large gusts of wind capable of blowing away hordes of Grimm.
Raven Branwen is the leader of the Branwen Tribe and the current Spring Maiden. She is also a former agent for Ozpin, who gave her the ability to transform into a bird.
She hid her Maiden powers from the public and Vernal covered for her as the Spring Maiden. As the Spring Maiden, her power can be used to open the chamber at Haven Academy, which contains the Relic of Knowledge. Her eyes gain a dark red aura when she demonstrates her powers.
Raven was able to cause much of the damage to Shion village with her destructive Spring Maiden powers. She is able to generate a lightning strike in "Lighting the Fire", summoning it from the sky like the previous Fall Maiden Amber could. In "A Perfect Storm", she is able to summon strong gusts of wind and turn the sky from clear to cloudy in an instant.
In "Downfall", during Raven's fight with Cinder, she makes use of several different elemental powers. She can generate ice, either by condensing it into weaponry, forming ice spikes or freezing from a distance. She can also generate electricity from her hands, using them to supercharge her weaponry, release it in close-ranged strikes, and generate fields of electricity around her. Lastly, she demonstrates the ability to fly, which she has been able to use additionally to propel herself at high speeds.
Her ability to transform into a bird was given to her by Ozpin when she worked for him as his agent. The power allows her to take the form of a small black raven at will. While being transformed she is still capable of using her Semblance.
Qrow Branwen is the twin brother of Raven, a former member of the Branwen Tribe and an agent for Ozpin.
His ability to transform was given to him by Ozpin when he worked for him as his agent. The power allows him to take the form of a small black crow at will.
In RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, it is revealed that magical artifacts are hidden in ruins of civilizations from bygone eras. Some of their origins are unknown, but are presumably relics from the first Humanity. In recent history, multiple groups such as the Wave and Hana Guild came into possession of these artifacts and plan to use them for their own ends.
According to Templeton, all of these artifacts require Aura in order to be used. Some of the artifacts shown are a gauntlet that can fire blasts of energy, a black, bead-shaped artifact that can be used as a bomb repeatedly, an amulet that has the ability to hide it's user from the Grimm and an ancient form of Dust that has the ability to recharge it's user's Aura but is very unstable.
The Long Memory is Ozma's weapon and was built during one of his previous incarnations. Ever since, it has been used through every incarnation, making the cane thousands of years old. It has the ability to store kinetic energy, which can later be used to release immense magical power. It is currently wielded by Oscar Pine.
The Long Memory when activated allows its user to use magic. When Oscar is falling through the base of Atlas, Ozpin speaks to him, prompting him to grab the cane and hold down on the handle. This causes the gears in the cane to glow gold, allowing Oscar to conjure an energy barrier around himself to survive his fall.
In "Witch", he activates The Long Memory and releases the power stored inside. The result causes a massive explosion, destroying Monstra as well as Salem.
In RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, Lemon, the leader of the Wave, acquired a Mythical Necklace after assassinating Javi Pastel, the man who discovered it in Kuchinashi's mountain pass. However, it was stolen from her by Abigail Pyre who killed her. It eventually came into the possession of Asher Mora.
The Necklace allows the wearer to seize control over the Creatures of Grimm, in which the Grimm's eyes glow a bright blue instead of red and they answer to the user's whim. The Necklace can be used over long distances, and can coordinate the Grimm strategically.
The Cloak of Displacement is a magic artifact that can displace light. It was in the possession of the Wave crime syndicate before Team SAFR stole it from them. Templeton originally gave it to Fenix Nemean, but Fenix later gave it to Asher Mora for safekeeping. In order to activate it, a person needs to use their Aura.
- In an Reddit AMA, Eddy Rivas confirmed that there is a link between Semblances and Magic, but did not elaborate on it.
- In Remnant, animal transformation isn't considered common magic and implies that what Ozpin did to the Branwen twins was shady.
- Volume 6 Crew Commentary
- RWBY Reddit AMA with Eddy Rivas
- Volume 5 Directors Commentary Chapter 6