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Before Remnant

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Salem and Ozma escape the tower

Salem was born millennia ago in an age where Humanity lived alongside their creators, the brother Gods - the God of Light and the God of Darkness - and magic was a force that all could wield. Salem spent her life locked away by her father in a grand tower until one day a great warrior by the name of Ozma arrived to liberate her from her prison. After their escape, the two fell deeply in love, planning great adventures and a full life together until Ozma fell gravely ill and passed away.

Heartbroken and angry, Salem traveled to the Domain of Light, where the God of Light dwelled. There, she pleaded with him to resurrect her love but was denied. Desperate for help, she traveled to the lair of the God of Darkness, explaining her plight and taking care not to mention her visit with his elder brother. Pleased with her apparent loyalty, the God of Darkness rewarded her by bringing Ozma back from the dead. However, at that moment, the God of Light intervened and returned Ozma to the afterlife to preserve balance, only for his brother to revive him again. The God of Light explained to his brother that Salem had gone to him first and had turned the Gods against each other. The God of Darkness then destroyed Ozma once more as punishment.

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Salem cradles Ozma as the Brother Gods face off

Salem, enraged, prepared to attack the God of Light before she was taken to his Domain. Here, the Gods cursed her with immortality, hoping she would learn the error of her ways and come to understand the purpose of life and death. This burden of eternal life drove Salem towards one goal, the destruction of the Brother Gods. Salem traveled the world, manipulating kings and queens into turning against the Gods and eventually led a great army to the Domain of Light. Here, Humanity met its end at the hands of the God of Darkness, who killed everyone but Salem as a final punishment. The God of Light spoke sadly of his disappointment in Salem and Humanity, declaring the planet a Remnant of what it once was. The Gods then abandoned the planet, shattering Remnant's Moon in the process.

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Salem is transformed

Salem, the last Human alive, wandered the Remnant alone before finding herself back in the God of Darkness' home, the Land of Darkness. Here, she found the blackened pools responsible for spawning the creatures of Grimm, the legacy of the God of Darkness. Hoping that the pools would take away her immortality and finally reunite her with her beloved Ozma, she threw herself in. The pools of Grimm were unable to destroy a being of eternal life, and they instead warped Salem's mind and body, transforming her into a being intent on destruction.

At some point after Humanity's destruction and eventual return, Salem made herself a home in a dilapidated cottage on the outskirts of a village, becoming known only as "the Witch". One day, a man came to her door, a man she recognized despite never having seen his face before. Ozma had returned, reincarnated, and the two began a new life together, though both harbored dark secrets from the other. Realizing they were the only Humans left in existence able to wield magic, they set about using their powers to act as Gods on Remnant and united the new Humanity under their rule. Their kingdom prospered, and the two eventually came to have four daughters that developed the ability to wield magic.

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Salem's family

Around this time, Ozma began to show his doubts in regards to Salem's methods, which were becoming progressively more brutal and totalitarian. He revealed his secrets - the deal he had made with the God of Light and the existence of the Relics. Salem had decided that Humanity was unworthy and spoke of her wishes to replace them with something better. Ozma, realizing that his love had gone too far, attempted to run away with their daughters. A great battle was fought between the two, destroying their home and apparently killing their daughters in the process. Salem murdered Ozma, and so began the centuries-long conflict between the two former lovers.

For many centuries, Ozma fought against Salem, trying to protect the Relics and find a way to destroy her for good.

In recent history, she has gathered a group of followers to aid her in her goals.

RWBY

A Voice of Warning

In "Ruby Rose", Salem narrates the early days of history, of Humanity, born from dust. She tells of their struggles against the Creatures of Grimm, their discovery of nature's wrath, Dust, and the beginnings of civilization in the absence of the shadow of the Grimm. While Salem maintains that strength would not bring victory, Ozpin counters by saying victory lies within simpler things that require "a smaller, more honest soul."

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Salem cannot wait to watch Ozpin burn.

After the fall of Beacon Academy and the death and destruction wrought upon Vale, their conversation is continued in "End of the Beginning". Salem declares that Beacon's fate is merely the first step in her plan to divide Humanity, and thus to snuff out all hope for their survival. She threatens to destroy everything Ozpin has built and challenges him to send in his Guardians, believing they will fail as will his "simple soul".

Episodes Covering These Events

After the Fall of Beacon

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Salem, adjourning the meeting

After the fall of Beacon, Salem holds a meeting with her subordinates in the Land of Darkness. She orders Arthur Watts to meet with the informant in Mistral, Professor Leonardo Lionheart. She sends Hazel Rainart to meet with the White Fang leader, Sienna Khan, and Tyrian Callows to hunt down Ruby Rose whilst Cinder Fall stays at her side for treatment. She claims Haven Academy will be the next to fall. Salem's treatment of Cinder includes telling the Maiden that "it" can sense her fear and that she has to make it fear her instead.

After a Seer floats into the meeting room and gives a message to Salem, she turns to Cinder and adamantly asks Cinder for a final answer confirming that she killed Ozpin. Cinder reaffirms Ozpin's death. Salem orders the Grimm to reinforce their numbers at Beacon Academy, stating "The Relic is there." She mutters to herself, "What are you planning?" Salem puts Cinder through intense training to control her powers and is not impressed with her progress. When Tyrian appears and reluctantly reports his failure in capturing Ruby, Salem tells him that he disappointed her and leaves the room. Sometime later, Salem watches and smiles as Cinder masters her power.

Episodes Covering These Events

Sights on Haven

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Salem learns of the Spring Maiden's location.

After Cinder's training, Salem learns from Watts and Lionheart that the Spring Maiden is with Raven Branwen. She decides to send Cinder and her team to Anima to find the bandit leader and convince her to cooperate with them. Salem also has Watts work on a "new" tail for Tyrian. Afterward, she tells Cinder to understand everyone's usefulness and to be patient and ready to deal with Ruby.

However, as the Battle of Haven concludes, she later finds out from Lionheart that things have gone awry. Disappointed, Salem uses a Seer to kill Lionheart for his cowardice.

Episodes Covering These Events

After Haven

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Salem explains to her subordinates the consequences of putting their desires before hers.

After Hazel, Emerald, and Mercury returned from their failed mission in Haven, a displeased Salem asks who is responsible for their defeat. Hazel attempts to take the blame, but Salem sees through his lie and shows her discontent by summoning Geist arms from the floor which grab Hazel and drag him down. Salem then asks Emerald, who admits that they failed because of Cinder. Salem confirms her answer, stating that Emerald must understand the failure, and adds that Cinder "must be left to toil in her isolation until she redeems herself".

Salem tells her subordinates that no matter what drives them, they must not put their desires before her own. She discusses the Relic of Destruction in Vacuo's Shade Academy, but Hazel interrupts and informs her about Ozpin leading Qrow's group and taking Relic of Knowledge to Atlas. Upon hearing the news, an enraged Salem demands everyone to leave the council chamber. Once everyone has departed, Salem calms herself while seething with anger, but suddenly delivers a powerful scream that shatters all the windows.

Sometime later, Salem orders Watts and Tyrian to head for Atlas before Ironwood calls for help from Vacuo. Outside of her castle, Salem creates winged Beringels from the Pool of Grimm, which Hazel deems as proof of Salem finally taking matters into her own hands.

Episodes Covering These Events
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