Raven was, at one point, a student of Beacon Academy. She graduated from the academy with Team STRQ. In "Known by its Song", Raven reveals that she and Qrow joined the academy to learn how to kill Huntsmen in order to protect their tribe.
Raven was a member of Team STRQ. It was mentioned by Taiyang that it was Raven's personality flaws that eventually led to Team STRQ disbanding.
Both Raven and Qrow were raised by a bandit tribe. Despite her brother leaving it behind, Raven still considers the tribe family, more so than her own biological relatives. Now under her leadership, they are responsible for attacks on villages in Anima, such as Shion. Her care for the tribe is shown in "Lighting the Fire", when she stopped an impending battle between the tribe and her daughter before it attracted the Grimm.
Yang Xiao Long is Raven's daughter, whom she had with Taiyang Xiao Long. Raven disappeared shortly after Yang's birth to return to the bandit tribe she was raised in. Taiyang kept secret from Yang who her true mother was until the death of Summer Rose, Yang's adoptive mother. After she found out, the young Yang began to search for her biological mother, putting her and her sister Ruby Rose's lives in danger. After being saved from certain death by the intervention of Qrow Branwen, Yang vowed not to let this search control her, though she continues to search for Raven in the present day.
The full extent of what Raven feels about her daughter and why she left her is not entirely known. Nonetheless, Raven did keep an eye on Yang for several years before their official reunion, usually appearing in her bird form so Yang would not recognize her, with one notable exception. During Team RWBY's mission to Mountain Glenn, Raven stops Neopolitan from killing Yang before once again disappearing.
However, Qrow later passes along a message from Raven, warning Yang that she would not do so again. Raven later finds out that Yang lost her arm but does not attempt to contact her, for which her brother Qrow is critical, claiming she has a skewed conception of family.
When they finally meet in "Lighting the Fire", Raven shows pride in the fact that Yang finally found her before saying that after all this time her daughter finally decided to visit her which only angers Yang as she spent years looking for her mother, she then attempts to recruit her into the tribe but is disappointed that Yang was simply looking for a faster way to get to Qrow and Ruby. In "Known by its Song", she tries further into recruiting Yang and even Weiss to her cause by revealing some uncomfortable facts about Ozpin, she however enrages Yang further by insulting Qrow and Taiyang and when confronted over the reasons of her departure and not being part of her daughter's life she dodges Yang's questions and reveals that she can turn into a corvid. She offers Yang an ultimatum: either stay with her and have a "proper" relationship or go through the portal to Ruby and Qrow and possibly die with them in a hopeless war; Yang chooses the latter, much to Raven's discontent. She warns Yang that the next time they meet she will not be as kind, only for Yang to retort that she was not kind this time either, which Raven solemnly agrees with. In "A Perfect Storm", when Vernal asks her about Yang getting involved with her plan, Raven dismissively counters that it was Yang's own decision, albeit with hesitation.
After revealing herself as an ally of Cinder's faction in "The More the Merrier", she looks squarely at Yang when she tells Qrow and the others that they made a choice.
In "Downfall", Raven is incensed when she sees Yang behind her, disrupting her moment of triumph. In "Haven's Fate", Raven is forced to reveal to Yang how she acquired the Spring Maiden's power, causing a heated argument between mother and daughter. Raven tries to justify her actions with her strength and survival, only to be ridiculed as a coward and hypocrite by Yang. She is then forced to relinquish the Relic to her daughter because of her fear of Salem. Raven tries to persuade Yang not to face Salem, but to no avail as she is pushed aside. Faced with her own cowardice and inability to stop Yang, Raven tearfully apologizes before using a portal to run away, abandoning her daughter once again.
Vernal was one of Raven's closest subordinates and was entrusted with the role of being a decoy Spring Maiden for Raven. Vernal is extremely loyal to Raven and her ideals, taking her orders without fail. Out of all her tribe members, Raven seems to put the most trust in Vernal, confiding in her alone her plans for the tribe. She's always thankful for Vernal's efforts, whether it be stopping a brawl from attracting the Grimm to their camp, coming to her aid if she's being threatened, or even serving tea. After their coup was discovered, Raven attempted to warn Vernal, only to be frozen solid by Cinder Fall, who then proceeded to stab Vernal in her attempt to claim the Spring Maiden's powers. Hearing Vernal's cries of pain allowed Raven to break free of the ice and reveal her true identity, showing she cares greatly for Vernal over keeping her cover. After Vernal succumbs to her wounds, Raven closes her eyes, thanking her for her last act of service.
Approximately seven years prior to the events of the show, Raven met a girl who had become the Spring Maiden but was running from her responsibilities. Raven took her into the tribe and sought to train her to better use her abilities, but found the training to be unproductive and the Maiden too weak to use her powers to their full potential. This realization, along with the reality that the Maiden would forever be preyed upon for her powers, prompted Raven to kill her out of "mercy", becoming the new Spring Maiden as a result. Afterwards, Raven had a tribesman assume the Maiden's identity in order to serve as a decoy, whom renamed herself Vernal to complete the ruse. It has been implied that Raven harbors guilt for killing the Maiden.
It is unclear what relationship the two had between each other, but both were teammates along with Qrow and Taiyang. After Raven's disappearance, Summer and Taiyang entered into a relationship.
In "The More the Merrier", Raven deems Ruby's speech about working together as something Summer would have said with a notable tone of spiteful hostility, further hinting that Raven did not have a very good view or relationship with her former teammate and now hold her in contempt.
In RWBY 1 Chapter 2, Raven, whilst in her corvid form, tells a young Ruby that Summer could never be a mother to Yang, calling both Summer and that Ruby was no better. She also states the stories Yang told Ruby about Summer were lies.
Taiyang was one of Raven's teammates along with Summer Rose and Qrow Branwen. The two at some point entered into a relationship that resulted in the birth of their daughter, Yang Xiao Long. Shortly afterwards, Raven leaves Taiyang and returns to her tribe.
In "Lighting the Fire" Raven was shown to be slighty frustrated at Taiyang for revealing her Semblance's power and its details.
In "Known by its Song", Raven calls him a fool for believing in Ozpin. Although not much is known about their relationship Raven did have significant feelings for Taiyang for her to create a bond with him for her Semblance.
After being told off by Yang in "Haven's Fate", Raven shows remorse for her previous actions and teleports to Patch where she spies on Taiyang, though she avoids talking to him directly.
Taiyang in turn has displayed obvious frustration at Raven when he noticed her spying on him in her Corvid form,showing that he still feels conflicted over Raven and is frustrated over her insisted separation from him and Yang.
Qrow is Raven's younger twin brother and they were once on a team together. They barely see each other any more, and according to Qrow, when they do see each other, it is only so she can give him information or pass on a message, after which she disappears. He strongly disagrees with her views on the world.
In "Family", it is revealed that Raven and her brother have a very hostile relationship. Raven's reason for that was because Qrow abandoned the bandit tribe they were raised in. Qrow's reason on his part was because Raven decided on returning to the tribe, which is comprised of "thieves and murderers", over any real involvement in Yang's life. It's likely that Team STRQ's dissolution also contributes to Qrow's enmity towards Raven.
Raven's true feelings toward her brother become more questionable in "A Perfect Storm". Despite demanding that Cinder kill Qrow, she is later seen transforming into a raven and teleporting to his location soon afterwards but makes no effort to contact him.
In "The More the Merrier", Qrow opens fire on her when Yang points her out, forcing Raven to reveal herself. She berates Qrow for shooting without provocation but admits she has the Spring Maiden. Qrow pleads with her to join them, but she refuses. Though once he realizes she's allied herself with Salem and has set a trap for him, Yang, Ruby and their friends, Qrow finally reaches his limit and disowns Raven as his sister and attacks her while Raven even goes as far as implying that they may have never been a family.
However, given that Raven possess a connection with him to use her Semblance, it is likely that she once possessed a familial relationship with Qrow prior to them separating due to him siding with Ozpin.
Though they had not yet met at the time, Raven is impressed that Yang would demand she use her Semblance for Ruby's sake. But she warns Yang that Ruby is a "lost cause", for being with Qrow, and by extension Ozpin. Seeing her daughter's determination in finding Ruby makes Raven relent in the end.
The two finally meet in "The More the Merrier", where Ruby tries to convince her that fighting Salem is not a lost cause. Her speech leaves Raven nonplussed, reminding her of her former teammate, Summer Rose.
In RWBY 1 Chapter 2, Raven, whilst in her corvid form, tells a young Ruby that Summer could never be a mother to Yang, calling both Summer and that Ruby was no better. She also states the stories Yang told Ruby about Summer were lies. Ruby did not recognize this as Raven, and assumed it was a Grimm mocking her.
Raven and her tribe come across Weiss as a crash victim and kidnap her. Though after Weiss escapes in "Lighting the Fire", Raven does not attempt to recapture her, valuing her tribe's well-being more than the ransom money Weiss entailed.
In "Known by its Song", Raven ignores Weiss' acerbic remarks towards her and reveals many troubling facts, which stun Weiss more than once.
In "The More the Merrier", Raven orders Vernal to take out Weiss, showing she has no further use for the former heiress.
During Team STRQ's time at Beacon, their Headmaster was Professor Ozpin. However, sometime after she graduated and unlike her brother and former significant other, Raven is shown to have little to no faith in the man, and condemns those who align with him. During her conversation with Qrow, Raven admits she knew that Ozpin would fail and Beacon would fall. However, she has a great interest in one of the Relics.
Her distrust is further hinted in "Lightning the Fire", where she warned Yang of Ozpin's "duplicity", something she learned from being around him at Beacon. She adds that Qrow is a fool for trusting him, and calls Ruby a "lost cause" for following suit.
In "Known by its Song", when Weiss relays what she thinks she knows of Ozpin's past, Raven rebuts by saying Ozpin planned his own ascension to the position of Beacon Headmaster since he designed the Huntsmen academies and had several loyal followers in each institution. Moreover, Raven adds that Ozpin granted her and Qrow the ability to transform into birds, demonstrating said ability outside her tent. She insists that Ozpin's war against Salem is impossible, and has resulted in countless deaths.
In "True Colors", Raven respected Lionheart's decision to betray Ozpin and side with Salem in order to survive, deeming it the correct choice. When asked who she was trying to convince, Raven promptly excuses herself.
In "The More the Merrier", Raven rebuffs Qrow's accusations of betrayal by saying Lionheart did what any "sane" individual would do: looked at the information on hand, assessed the situation, and made a choice.
Salem's Inner CircleEdit
Due to their time with Ozpin, Raven learned of Salem's existence and is under the impression she cannot be stopped, which she claims is the reason she left Ozpin's fold. She worries about Salem getting her hands on any of the Relics, so much so that she plotted to obtain the Relic of Knowledge in order to combat Salem on equal terms, knowing that collaborating with her would only lead to her death once she was deemed unnecessary.
In "True Colors", Raven's fear of Salem is noted by Lionheart, but she is quick to deny it. In "Haven's Fate", this fear is used against Raven by Yang. When her daughter reasons that Salem will come after her if she has the Relic, Raven is forced to relinquish the Relic to Yang to avoid a confrontation with Salem.
Raven only needed a single look to identify Watts as a fallen Atlesian scientist. She also deems him untrustworthy, hence why she was reluctant to agree to his terms.
Raven is cautious of Cinder upon meeting her, knowing she is the Fall Maiden, though she claims Cinder suffers from egomania, as evidenced by her obvious surname which she claims Cinder chose herself. Despite being all but trapped, Raven boldly demands Cinder kill Qrow in order for her to assist them in their endeavors. After some further discourse, Cinder agrees, and the two shake hands.
In "Vault of the Spring Maiden", Cinder taunts Raven by saying the stories about her are unfounded, and she encases Raven in ice. After a few seconds, Raven breaks free and reveals to a dumbfounded Cinder that she, not Vernal, is the true Spring Maiden.
In "Downfall", Raven is angered when Cinder calls the trust of the previous Spring Maiden a mistake and engages her in battle. At one point, Cinder's Grimm arm is embedded with shattered glass, and Raven calls her a monster who hungers for power. After an intense fight, she criticizes Cinder for not watching her back, prompting Vernal to distract the Fall Maiden. Raven then defeats Cinder by knocking her off the walkway and freezing her as she falls into the abyss.
Raven is unimpressed with Cinder's followers, citing them as children who Cinder tricked into following her. Mercury tries intimidating her, but Raven throws his efforts back in his face, inciting him in the process.