- For the World of Remnant episode, see Vacuo (WoR episode).
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. Oscuro Academy is a primary combat school in Vacuo, located in Coquina.
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.
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 (though this may also be a depiction of Menagerie).
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. These tribes occasionally merge to move in large groups. 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).
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
Vacuo's huntsman academy is named Shade. Due to the lack of recognition of the government's authority, Shade is said to be the only real source of law and order in the Kingdom.
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
- Sun Wukong
- Brawnz Ni
- Roy Stallion
- Nolan Porfirio
- May Zedong
- Nebula Violette
- Dew Gayl
- Gwen Darcy
- Octavia Ember
- Coco Adel (Immigrated)
- Fox Alistair
- Velvet Scarlatina (Immigrated)
- Yatsuhashi Daichi (Immigrated)
- Carmine Esclados (Immigrated)
- Bertilak Celadon
- Scarlet David (Immigrated)
- Neptune Vasilias (Immigrated)
- Sage Ayana (Immigrated)
- August Caspian (Immigrated)
- Edward Caspian (Immigrated)
- 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.