RWBY: Before the Dawn is a RWBY novel published by Scholastic featuring minor characters after the events of RWBY: After the Fall. A preview of the book was released on June 5th, 2020. It was fully released in print and on digital on July 21st, 2020.
A storm is coming...
It's been a few months since Coco, Fox, Velvet, and Yatsuhashi's strange mission in the desert, and they've been working hard to track down Carmine and Bertilak's boss, The Crown, who is snatching up people with powerful semblances. The job should be easier with Team SSSN by their side, but The Crown continues to slip through their fingers. With nowhere else to turn, CFVY and SSSN try to get Theodore, the Headmaster of Shade Academy, involved, but Theodore has plans of his own.
Disturbed by the disasters at Beacon and Haven Academies, and struggling to take in the flood of refugee students, Theodore declares a new initiation for all Shade students-including the formation of new teams. Unsure of whom they can trust, CFVY and SSSN must contend with new teammates and uneasy rivalries, all while The Crown continues to plot their next move.
One month after the events of RWBY: After the Fall, Sun Wukong starts his first week at Shade, in which he sneaks out of the academy's campus at night. During this, he comes across a trio of thugs, known as Pink, Brown, and Green. He finds himself nearly defeated by their Semblances, and has to be saved by Velvet and Yatsuhashi. Sun asks the two what they're doing out there, and Velvet explains that Team CFVY has been patrolling the streets of Vacuo at night in search of a group known as the Crown, as well as criminals Carmine and Bertilak, since they got back to the city. In turn, Sun tells them in that his childhood friends have been disappearing, which while common for Vacuo, there was no trace of them left. Sun offers to help Team CFVY stop the Crown at the end of the chapter.
The next morning, Teams SSSN and CFVY meet up at Shade Academy to propose the idea of the former helping investigate the Crown. As it turns out, neither team is particularly enjoying their time at Shade, being harassed by Shade's Vacuan students. Since their arrival at Shade, Team SSSN has been divided, angered by Sun leaving them for months on end. Coco is unimpressed by the group, she decides to consider letting SSSN into her team's groups as Team CFVY have to go to a class. There, Xanthe Rumpole teaches history and on the Great War. After class, Coco approaches Rumpole in regards to her team's request to Theodore in regards to hunting the Crown, but Rumpole tells them she'll conduct an investigation herself and for the team to stop.
After classes, Teams SSSN and CFVY walk around the city, visiting the Weeping Wall at Vacuo, which has a list of missing people, including Rosa Schwein, who Sun recognizes as Pink. A young Faunus girl around their age breaks down when she realizes her older sister is now missing as well. With this information, the group returns to Shade Academy.
Sun and SSSN are introduced to the Beacon Brigade, who are survivors of the falls of Beacon and Haven. Sun finds himself to dislike the idea of the group, and tells them it's a bad idea. This leads into an argument between him and Scarlet, and Sun storms out.
At night, SSSN joins CFVY on one of their nightly patrols. During it, Fox and Coco watch the Pits, a local nightclub, in search of Huntsmen who had abandoned their duties. Coco explains that she had snuck into Rumpole's office, and the professor hadn't found anything on the Crown. During their patrol, they spot Green and Brown attempting to kidnap a merchant. Teams SSSN and CFVY chase them, eventually coming into an abandoned Dust refinery. The teams lose track of the thugs, and Fox senses nearly 50 Auras within the building, including Rumpole's. Coco decides she'll confront them the next day.
The next morning, Theodore and Rumpole call on Shade's students to an assembly regarding the group of students patrolling with business of local authorities at night. While Shade doesn't have many rules, Theodore tells them to accept responsibility for this, declaring a curfew in Shade. Furthermore, due to the influx of transfer students, he declares a re-initiation to form new teams.
During the Shade Academy Initiation, students are tasked to survive the desert and retrieve a golden trinket. Velvet has to be saved from a harsh fall by Octavia Ember, who begrudgingly offers to let Velvet follow her. They reach a Dust refinery in a chasm, where Octavia tells Velvet about her past. The two find a trinket, and are saved when attacked by Ravagers by an Air Bus with students. They return to Shade.
The following day, Teams ROSC, NOVA, BYRN, FNDU, and SSEA are formed. During a Beacon Brigade meeting, Scarlet eagerly waits to join his new team. Sun returns, and apologizes for storming out earlier. He maintains his opinion that the group seems elitist to him, but the Beacon Brigade respectfully disagrees. Later, ROSC and NOVA go to a weapons training class with Professor Sunnybrook, only to instead be taught by Rumpole. Rumpole has Velvet fight Nebula Violette without their weapons of choice, and once Velvet is defeated, orders Nebula to continue to beat her until her Aura is down. Arslan Altan and Coco protest, and Rumpole explains that she needs her students to be ruthless in order to be prepared for a looming threat.
Some time after this, Team NOVA are sent on a mission to Coquina in order to fix a CCT relay tower, alongside Oscuro Academy cadets (including August Caspian). During this, Velvet and Arslan argue with Octavia after she uses the children as bait for the Grimm, slightly injuring and scaring them in the process. Octavia ignores their criticism, and leaves the video call. Gus tells Velvet about missing cadets in Oscuro, and points her to the Mirage; the nightclub where they were last seen. Their mission complete, NOVA returns to Shade.
In Vacuo, Sun and Neptune Vasilias speak with Finn Asturias about the missing people, and learn about his children, Gillian and Jax Asturias. Bored, Sun leaves Neptune to finish the interview, and finds Velvet in the streets. Velvet and Sun decide to investigate the club on their own, and tell Neptune where they're headed before they do. At the Mirage, they find a hidden fight club, and see that Carmine's sai had been turned into gold there. They spot fellow classmate Umber Gorgoneion at the club, and try to warn her of the Crown. Before they can, however, Sun is called to fight in the cage.
Meanwhile, Team ROSC has been sent on perimeter watch in the Wastelands, a desert near Vacuo. Coco detects a breach, and decides to investigate, finding Carmine Esclados surrounded by the Grimm. Once Coco and Carmine defeat the Grimm, the former asks Carmine if she's with the Crown. Once Carmine confirms this, Coco attacks the older Huntress and is instantly defeated due to Carmine due to the Huntress' supernatural amounts of Aura. Team ROSC comes to Coco's aid, and Death Stalkers appear, giving Carmine a chance to escape as the Grimm attack them.
At Shade, Neptune's room is barged in by Yatsuhashi and Fox, who demand to know where Sun and Velvet is, worried due to people missing. Neptune's backstory is told in the form of a flashback, and the upperclassmen use his fears to force him to tell where they are. Neptune gives them the information, and the group is stopped by Rumpole before they can leave. Fox tells Rumpole they plan to ignore the curfew, and Rumpole attacks them to prevent them from leaving, with the bet that if they can guess her first name, she'll stop. The battle attracts a crowd, including Theodore, who watch the fight. Eventually Fox manages to guess Rumpole's first name, Xanthe, and she stops. Thinking she'll let them pass, the students begin to take their leave. Rumpole still attacks them, and Yatsuhashi attempts to use his Semblance to stun her, accidentally breaking a mind control that had been affecting her. Stunned, a now lucent Rumpole tells Theodore that she's been under control of the Crown for weeks, and wouldn't have called for the reshuffling of teams. She tells Theodore about the Mirage, and the group assembles a plan to rescue other students.
Yatsuhashi and Neptune enter the Mirage building, where they find Sun and Velvet had been put under mind control. He breaks Velvet's mind control, and sees Umber at a nearby bar. Assuming her to be under control as well, he attempts to break the effects on her mind, only to find she's working for the Crown willingly. Umber forces him into the Sage where he fights Sun and breaks his mind control, but is defeated and captured by Carmine who had entered the club. Neptune, Velvet, and Sun escape, stunned.
In the Wastelands, Team ROSC continues to be swarmed by the Grimm, only to be saved by Fox, Octavia, Sage Ayana, and Nolan Porfirio. The group realizes the Crown has a nearby hideout, and discover the Crown Bunker. Inside, they find a room filled with people in stasis, including Bertilak Celadon. They see Rosa Schwein and Gillian Asturias, along with Brown, preparing to go to war with Vacuo. Gillian uses her Semblance to transfer Aura to Rosa, and calls on their army to begin the process of preparing them. The group decides to leave in order to live to see another day.
In Shade, Sun looks around Rumpole's office, still dazed from the events at the Mirage. Rumpole talks about the Asturias' past in the Academy, and of their expulsion from school. Rumpole takes a painting from her wall, showing the group an artist's rendition of the very first king of Vacuo; Malik the Sunderer, who was alive 1,000 years ago. The group puts together they want things to go back to how Vacuo used to be, building an army to restore the old kingdom; as king and queen. Teams CFVY and SSSN go to Finn Asturias' home to learn more about them, where he tells the students of his children's past, and their motivations. He tells that Pink and Brown – Rosa Schwein and Argento Pocoron – had come by earlier, telling him to flee to the kingdom of Vale, which leads the group to believe the attack on Vacuo is imminent.
At night, Jax Asturias sits in his throne in front of a chained Yatsuhashi, seeing CFVY as nothing more than a team of glory-seeking hotshots. He interrogates Yatsuhashi, trying to get him to explain his Semblance, and believes that at full strength Yatsuhashi could wipe somebody completely clean of their memories. Jax offers a deal - join him and he'll spare CFVY. Yatsuhashi declines, and is put under mind control - serving under Jax. The would-be king announces now is their time to strike, using his Semblance to convince the others despite initial protest that they aren't ready. He gleefully thinks of future possibilities.
In Shade, Theodore rants about the Asturias' corruption, and decides that the authorities can handle the twins due to bigger threats. He believes chasing the two is a trap, and will only distract them from "the big one". Rumpole objects, saying the twins may be in line with the big one, and this Huntsmen Army is an advanced force just like the White Fang had been in Haven. Theodore roars that Shade isn't Beacon, punching a wall with his gloves, leaving a crater in the room and cracking Ozpin's portrait. CFVY and SSSN convince him to let Shade deal with Jax and Gillian, and he restores the original teams effective immediately. They hear gunfire and shouting outside.
Outside, the Crownsmen have launched their attack on the Academy's walls. The Beacon Brigade lead the defense alongside Theodore and Rumpole. Coco orders Velvet to take Octavia and go find Gillian and Carmine in the Wastelands, and Sun follows. Coco engages a mind-controlled Yatsuhashi in battle.
At the Wastelands, the three Huntsmen looking for Gillian and Carmine see the Grimm make their way to the city. They enter the Crown Bunker, and find it to be mostly emptied, bar the victims who had been used as Aura vessels. Sun decides to help them as Octavia and Velvet venture forward, coming across Carmine and Gillian. Carmine attacks them to protect her boss, but Gillian orders the Huntress to help her escape. As Carmine carves a tunnel to escape with her Semblance, she comes across a large fire Dust crystal. Octavia seizes the chance and causes an explosion, collapsing the bunker.
While helping the victims, Sun hears the blast in the distance. As he wonders what happens, Bertilak Celadon gets up from his chambers, and assumes that Velvet and Octavia were likely dead if they were fighting Carmine. He assures to Sun he has no intent to fight the younger boy, and helps lead the group to the explosion. There, they find Octavia and Velvet, as well as Carmine's sai, indicating that the criminals hadn't survived the encounter. Bertilak laughs at Carmine's apparent misfortune in regards to the irony of her motives, and takes her weapon for himself. Outside, he gives the group the password to the nearby CCT relay tower, "Malik", and leaves with the declaration that he's going to find Carmine and make her pay for stabbing him in the back. With this, Velvet tells Sun he'll be the one uniting Vacuo, handing him her Scroll.
Coco continues to battle Yatsuhashi at Shade, who eventually manages to break the effects of Jax's mind control. The two decide to use this to their advantage, and pretend that Yatsuhashi is still under the Crown's spell. The Crownsmen begin to push the Huntsmen into the interior of Shade, and Gillian arrives in battle. As the fighting continues, Fox has a flashback to when his uncle, Copper, would tell him fairy tales during his childhood. Fox looks for Gillian in the fight, and senses that her Aura is connected to Jax as more waves of the Grimm arrive.
As the sides begin to have to balance battling each other and the Grimm, the monsters begin to turn on the Crownsmen and only attack them, which both sides realize is due to the high amounts of Aura that the Crown has, making them a magnet to the Grimm. Sun's message arrives, revealing the Crown's crimes to Vacuo, causing the city to unite against them as well. As Gillian has a revelation about the Grimm's relation to Aura, she begs Jax to retreat with her, and to her horror, her brother tells her they'll win the fight or die in battle. Gillian begins to stop giving him Aura to convince him to run, but he uses his mind control to force her to give him Aura instead, draining all of her remaining strength away. As this happens, Yatsuhashi reveals himself, and attacks Jax. Using her Semblance, Gillian transfers all of Jax's Aura to Yatsuhashi, and the younger Huntsman lobotomizes the Crown's leader, leaving Jax in a vegetative state. When Yatsuhashi asks why Gillian did it, she says she'd do anything for his brother, which is why she formed the Crown with him, but she didn't want to die herself. Out of Aura, the Grimm begin to attack everyone again as Sun, Velvet, and Octavia return and help alongside a fully united Vacuo.
Days after the battle, the loyal Crown members had been arrested and the mind controlled members were let go, the Beacon Brigade meets to celebrate, and Sun apologizes to his team for being an awful leader. After this, Sun takes Velvet to see Starr at her dojo. Her business had picked up more clout since the battle, and she wants to know what Sun has been up to since he went to Haven. Team SSSN enters, and they begin to catch her up on their journey.
- Coco Adel
- Fox Alistair
- Velvet Scarlatina
- Yatsuhashi Daichi
- Sun Wukong
- Scarlet David
- Sage Ayana
- Neptune Vasilias
- Arslan Altan
- Bolin Hori
- Reese Chloris
- Nadir Shiko
- Nebula Violette
- Dew Gayl
- Gwen Darcy
- Octavia Ember
- Nolan Porfirio
- Qrow Branwen (Mentioned)
- Leonardo Lionheart (Mentioned)
- Ozpin (Mentioned)
- Glynda Goodwitch (Mentioned)
- Brawnz Ni (Mentioned)
- Roy Stallion (Mentioned)
- May Zedong (Mentioned)
- Blake Belladonna (Mentioned)
- Salem (Mentioned)
- Umber Gorgoneion (First Appearance)
- Jax Asturias (First Appearance)
- Gillian Asturias (First Appearance)
- Rosa Schwein (First Appearance)
- Argento Pocoron (First Appearance)
- Carmine Esclados
- Bertilak Celadon
- Theodore (First Appearance)
- Xanthe Rumpole (First Appearance)
- Will Scarlatina ((First Appearance)
- Meg Scarlatina (First Appearance)
- Starr Sanzang (First Appearance)
- Finn Asturias (First Appearance)
- Luna Asturias (First Appearance)
- Green (First Appearance)
- Iris Marilla
- Elektra Fury (First Appearance)
- Ariadne Guimet (First Appearance)
- Olive Gashley (First Appearance)
- Rowena Sunnybrook (First Appearance)
- Jupiter Vasilias (First Appearance)
- Malik the Sunderer (First Appearance)
- August Caspian
- Edward Caspian
- Team BRNZ were written in RWBY: Before the Dawn as a foil to Team JNPR, where only one member of BRNZ survived as opposed to JNPR having lost only one member in the fall of Beacon.
- Team NDGO were written as bullies to both avoid making a new team outright and to show how the Fall of Beacon had affected people.