- For the other uses of "Vacuo", see Vacuo.
Overview Image Gallery
Like the rest of the Kingdoms, Vacuo is nominally governed by a council representing its people and their interests. However, the formal government's influence is marginal. The Huntsman Academy of Vacuo, Shade, is the only true source of law and order in the Kingdom.
The notable city of the Kingdom is its capital, Vacuo.
Vacuo is located in the center of the vast and harsh desert on the western end of the continent of Sanus. Although once at the site of a hospitable oasis, many years of unchecked Human activity have changed its climate into a barren wasteland indistinguishable from the desert surrounding it.
In "New Challengers...", Nebula Violette states that the desert terrain gave them a "home field advantage". "Round One" shows an environment very similar to a savanna or scrub land where several Faunus watch TV from a camper's van in the desert, potentially depicting Vacuo.
Vacuo has very few permanent settlements. Most villages are nomadic and are named after the tribe that originally settled them. When the tribe moves out, they take the settlement's name with them to reuse at their new location.
Vacuo was founded in a large oasis with lush jungles, abundant resources, natural barriers and the largest Dust deposit ever recorded in Remnant's history. These favorable conditions allowed Vacuans to flourish, and nomads would travel across the harsh desert surrounding Vacuo in the hopes of reaching the verdant paradise.
However, these comfortable conditions also bred complacency in Vacuo's people, who had no inclination to develop and adapt as others living in less ideal conditions were forced to. This unpreparedness made Vacuo an easy target for exploitation by other Kingdoms, who wished to claim their vast resources for themselves.
Years of warfare, mining, and ecological disasters exhausted Vacuo's resources and transformed the once rich Kingdom into a wasteland of heavy industry and makeshift settlements. Its people frequently moved from place to place due to scarce resources and attacks from Grimm.
About 1000 years before the events of RWBY, Malik the Sunderer ruled as the first king of Vacuo. It is said that his descendants have a crown-shaped birthmark to signify his bloodline.
Around eighty years before the beginning of the series, a massive ten-year conflict known as the Great War came to an end. In this war, Vacuo and Vale fought Mistral and Mantle. In the years prior to the Great War, Mantle and Mistral established a presence in Vacuo, due to the plentiful Dust mines. Because of this, Vacuo stayed out of the war at first, leaving Vale to fend for itself. After a while, Mistral and Mantle attempted to pressure Vacuo into fighting alongside them, and the desert Kingdom's citizens came to the realization that, if Vale fell, there would be no one left to stop the other two Kingdoms from conquering Vacuo. In response, Vacuo pushed the other two Kingdoms' presence out of their territory and allied themselves with Vale.
During the war, Grimm attacks increased worldwide, and as a result, Vacuo lost many of its settlements to the monsters, some of which were never reclaimed.
The Great War finally came to an end with the deadliest battle in the war's history. Mistral and Mantle attempted to take Vacuo's Dust mines to cut off Vale and Vacuo's supply. Vacuo's army fought alongside Vale's, which was led personally by the King of Vale. Historians believe that this feat was aided by the unusually violent weather and Mantle's inexperience in desert combat.
With the war over, the leaders of the four Kingdoms gathered on neutral ground on the island of Vytal to form a treaty and plan the future of Remnant. There, the four Kingdoms' governments were restructured, territories were redistributed, the tradition of the Vytal Festival was begun and the King of Vale founded the Huntsman Academies. Vacuo's academy, Shade, was secretly given a Relic to safeguard, and the King of Vale placed one of his most trusted followers in command of the school. As a gift from Atlas, a Cross Continental Transmit tower was built on Shade's campus, enabling communication between Vacuo and the other three Kingdoms.
It was following the war that a formal government was finally established in Vacuo, but its actual ability to govern was limited due to the people's disregard for its laws. The only widely accepted source of order in the Kingdom was Shade Academy. After the war ended, Dust companies like the Schnee Dust Company and the Mistral Trading Company drained Vacuo of its' natural resources of Dust.
At some point, Professor Theodore became the Headmaster of Shade Academy as well as a member of Ozpin's Group, learning of the existence of Salem. He later informed Xanthe Rumpole of this who joined the group too. Sometime in the past, Jax Asturias is expelled from Shade Academy due to his problematic behavior and his sister Gillian Asturias along with her team defect with him. After Jax believes that he is Malik's decedent, they later start The Crown, a group trying to restore Vacuo's monarchy while collecting people with powerful Semblances and brainwashing them to help them. Only Carmine Esclados and Bertilak Celadon stay at Shade to graduate.
Vacuo is first mentioned in "The Stray" when students from Vacuo are said to be visiting Vale for the Vytal Festival. Tukson planned to flee to Vacuo from the White Fang before he was murdered by Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai.
During the 40th Vytal Festival, the hosting Kingdom, Vale, was attacked, and Beacon Academy and its Cross Continental Transmit tower were destroyed, cutting off Vacuo's communication with the other three Kingdoms.
Following the destruction of Beacon, many of it's students Like Team CFVY transfer to Shade Academy to finish their curriculum. On their way to Shade, the encounter Edward and August Caspian who are later hunted by Carmine and Bertilak because of their Semblances. After a fierce battle, they are defeated by Team CFVY and arrested and they later encounter Team SSSN who inform them of the Battle of Haven.
Following the Battle of Haven, many of the students from Haven Academy transfer to Shade too. This causes some of the students like Team NDGO to harass them for being outsiders. Not too long after, Carmine and Bertilak escape from prison and Carmine leaves Bertilak to take the punishment for failing the Crown. After learning about the Crown, the Beacon Brigade tried to investigate them while Theodore sends Rumpole to investigate it and she is defeated by Carmine. Jax then brainwashes her to keep the students of Shade and Theodore from interfering with their plans until she is later freed with the help of Yatsuhashi Daichi and his Memory Wiping Semblance.
After Jax believes he has enough men, he begins his attack on Shade Academy, but the attack draws in the Grimm who help Shade attack the Crown. Once most of his forces are defeated, Gillian believes that they could survive if they retreat but he refuses and instead uses his Semblance to Brainwash her into giving him all her aura so they would die together. Yatsuhashi manages to save her thanks to her boosting his Semblance and using it on Jax to lobotomise him.
After this, all members of The Crown present are arrested and Vacuo managed to hold off the Grimm. Not too long after this, Vacuo receives Ruby Rose's message to all of Remnant publicly revealing the existence of Salem. As she asks for help with the situation in Atlas, the broadcast is cut short. In the end though, nobody came to help Atlas in time, as it is destroyed in "The Final Word".
After the destruction of Atlas, the Atlesian people were evacuated to Vacuo, which caused the Grimm in the area began to attack them. Thanks to the help of the new Winter Maiden Winter Schnee however, they manage to fend them off.
A lack of formal governance for most of their history has given Vacuans a disregard for laws and order. However, they live by the philosophy that anyone who is able to survive the harsh conditions of Vacuo is welcome to live among them, though there is a limit to this. When Fox's uncle Copper was murdered, the other members of their tribe killed the murderer upon catching him. This acceptance may also extend to Faunus, which could indicate that there is less racial discrimination in Vacuo compared to the other Kingdoms.
Additionally, Vacuans often form settlements and nomadic tribes, to avoid Grimm. Tribes can become extended families, such as Fox's tribe, Kenyte who raised him communally after his parents were killed and whom he explicitly thinks of as "his family." Despite their general disdain for official legal structures, the realities of so many people living together can force them to pick a leader from among them, such as Slate, the mayor of Tuff. These tribes occasionally merge to move in large groups. the Outwards displays of emotion are looked down upon by nomads, as they attract Grimm.
Popular Vacuan tourist gift shop t-shirts include: "Vacuo: The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time" and "A Terrible Place to Visit, but You Wouldn't Want to Live Here."
Certain phrases have different meanings in Vacuo, for example, "I'll take a rain check" is the equivalent to the phrase "when pigs fly." Additionally, Vacuans use expressions when talking about natural conditions, including: Wasting Winds (sandstorms), Misery's Kiss (sunstroke), Lasting Regret (food poisoning), and Sudden Demise (giant sinkholes).
However, in the City of Vacuo, the locals tends to have a different shade as compared to the nomadic desert tribes. Reminiscent to the Great War, citizens within the city are resentful towards other Kingdoms, only begrudgingly accepting people from Vale. This is particularly notable in Shade students, who caused an uproar at Professor Theodore opening Shade to more students from fallen academies.
According to "RWBY: The Grimm Campaign", Vacuo is known for its death metal music.
Sustenance and Diet
Vacuans are known to call sand their "local spice", as it is very hard to get it out of their food. Common food choices in Vacuo include: cactus leaves, coffee, fried crevice worms, cave beetles, desert lotus tea, cactus tea, gecko cake, bat stew, ale, flatbread, and breadfruit.
Additionally, mole crabs are considered a delicacy in Vacuo, as they are dangerous and hard to hunt. They can be prepared in the following methods: crab burgers, crab steak, crab cake, and crab rangoon.
- Main article: Shade Academy
Students from Shade Academy do not appear to have a standard uniform like the schools of the other three Kingdoms. Before being dispatched to their missions from an assembly at Beacon, they appeared in different assortments of casual clothes.
Beyond Grimm, Vacuo has a rich and diverse wildlife which can be dangerous. Such animals include:
- Mole Crabs: massive crab-like creatures that bury in the sands and move in herds. They have clear blood, contain black water in their bodies, and lay eggs.
- Flatback Sliders: gargantuan turtles that tower at about 100 feet in height that swim through the sand. These turtles are nearly blind, and are reddish in color. Flatbacks have black, obsidian shells which are covered in sand. Seeing a flatback slider is considered good luck in Vacuo.
- Crevice Worms
- Cave Beetles
- Xanthe Rumpole
- Rowena Sunnybrook
- Team SSSN (Transferred from Haven Academy)
- Team BRNZ
- Team NDGO
- Team CFVY (Transferred from Beacon Academy)
- Team ABRN (Transferred from Haven Academy)
- Iris Marilla (Transferred from Beacon Academy)
- Pyke Rite (Transferred from Haven Academy)
- Asher Mora
- Fenix Nemean
- Rae Noire
- Ariadne Guime
- Elektra Fury
- Olive Gashley
- Carmine Esclados (Immigrated from Atlas)
- Bertilak Celadon
- August Caspian (Immigrated from Vale)
- Edward Caspian (Immigrated from Vale)
- Finn Asturias
- Luna Asturias †
- Gillian Asturias
- Jax Asturias
- Starr Sanzang
- Umber Gorgoneion
- During the August 21st, 2014 RWBY livestream, Monty Oum forgot the name of Vacuo's Huntsman academy, due to being mentally exhausted from the RWBY crunch. To jog his memory, Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross began miming "shade".
- The phrase in vacuo is Latin for "in a vacuum" or "in isolation".
- As of Volume 3, the Kingdom is represented by the color orange in the World of Remnant episodes. Vytal Festival tournament contestants from Vacuo also have Aura monitors with an orange background.
- As seen with Shade and Oscuro, combat schools in Vacuo seem to be named after darkness and shelter from sunlight.
- Vacuo's emblem features swords, which is a reference to the Relic of Destruction hidden in the vault underneath its Combat School, Shade.