Xanthe Rumpole is a professor at Shade Academy and the right-hand woman of Professor Theodore. She sent Team CFVY on an away mission in response to a distress call from a desert settlement. As shown in RWBY: Before the Dawn, she is the history teacher at Shade.
Rumpole is described as a woman with a deep tan, whose age is hard to tell due to her short stature, standing at about four feet tall, and of her fine features and mischievous expression. Rumpole's sandy brown hair reaches her ankles, in a long braid bound by a golden cord. She has a wide, squarish frame that exaggerates her shortness, and she wears brown pants with a loose, dark green tunic cinched with a brown leather belt at her waist.
The most notable part of Rumpole's outfit is a sleeveless long coat, dark brown and coarse on the outside with glittering flecks, speculated by Coco Adel to be pyrite-infused rocks or cloth studded with Dust and a silky, gold lining. Coco describes it as both rustic and gaudy and likely costing a fortune.
Coco describes Rumpole as somebody who is similar to Glynda Goodwitch, with a stern and harsh personality, though not someone who's overly cruel. She is said to be very stylish and is the only Huntress other than Glynda who Coco seeks approval of. She is trusted by Theodore, serving as his right-hand woman. Furthermore, Rumpole is shown to be the one person who is able to put Theodore in his place, keeping him from challenging students to brawls.
She's also implied to be very skilled when it comes to the art of detective work as she mentions that she'll be doing her own private investigation into The Crown’s criminal activities.
Xanthe is also very secretive, keeping very little traces of her history public, as well as her first name, something not even Theodore knew for years.
Rumpole is a relentless teacher, with the ideology of pushing her students to the breaking point so that they can be vicious enough to survive in Vacuo without needing anybody’s help. This includes having other students beat on their peers until they’re out of Aura, and picking on students she deems to be weak.
Rumpole believes that Remnant is due for another global war, abruptly swapping her class' studies from the foundations of Shade Academy to the Great War. She is aware of Salem’s existence and has taken to being extra cruel to her students after Haven Academy’s fall so that they can be prepared for her inevitable arrival.
Upon being freed of The Crown's influence, Rumpole was horrified at the prospect of her actions putting students in danger. Showing that she does care for their well-being, despite her strict methods.
She later makes her debut in Before the Dawn, where she teaches the history of the Great War to several students including Team CFVY, Team ABRN, and Iris Marilla, and relating it to the Fall of Beacon. Team CFVY requests that Rumpole tell Theodore about wanting an opportunity to hunt down the Crown, Carmine Esclados, and Bertilak Celadon, but Rumpole takes to investigating the criminal group herself instead, leaving Theodore unaware.
Sometime after this, Coco sneaks into Rumpole's office, finding she had no information on the Crown but had asked for a report on Grimm activity and a list of missing person cases linked to a club in the Pits, a nightclub in Vacuo.
Rumpole is present for Theodore's new initiation, having suggested the idea to him. When the students get ready, she is seen grinning wickedly as she watched the Shade students drop into the desert to find new teams.
After initiation, students attend Rowenna Sunnybrook’s weapons training class, Rumpole takes over and removes Sunnybrook from the class, deciding to teach the lesson herself. Rumpole praises the students for the initiation, but pulls no punches, having students train without their weapons of choice. She calls out Nebula Violette and Velvet Scarlatina to fight. Despite protests from the Beacon Brigade, Rumpole brushes this off, claiming a weak teammate is worse than a strong enemy.
Once Velvet is defeated by Nebula, Rumpole insists that the two keep fighting, claiming Velvet only beat herself by stopping the fight when she still had Aura. Rumpole tells the group she knows the threat that caused Beacon to fall is coming to Vacuo, and they have to prepare for that inevitability, before taking her leave.
When Neptune Vasilias, Yatsuhashi Daichi, and Fox Alistair prepare to go find Velvet and Sun Wukong at The Mirage, Rumpole intervenes, ordering them to stay in the academy. The students make it clear they won't stay without a fight, and Xanthe obliges to that request, engaging them in battle. Rumpole wagers a bet as they fight; if they can guess her first name, she’ll let them through. After some time, a crowd forms around them, including Theodore, who doesn’t do anything to help. After some more name guessing by Fox, they finally come to her true name. Rumpole stops and lets them pass, to the audience’s cheer. As Neptune passes by, Rumpole reveals her Semblance and transforms his entire jacket into pure gold as she tells them the fight’s not over. With Neptune immobilized, Yatsuhashi uses him as a shield to fight Rumpole. He attempts to use his Semblance on her, accidentally breaking her mind control and revealing she had been brainwashed. Theodore tells them to stop and go to his office.
At Theodore’s office, Rumpole comes to her senses and tells him she wasn’t herself and wouldn’t have called the re-initiation or curfew. Theodore asks her what happened before the mind control, and she explains she had gone to the Wastelands to after receiving a tip on the Crown and was attacked by Carmine Esclados at the Mirage’s cage and put under control by the Crown. She was then instructed to hinder Shade as long as possible. The group decides to form a rescue operation at the Wastelands and the Mirage.
Later, after the students at the Mirage are rescued, Gillian Asturias' plot is revealed, and Yatsuhashi is captured by the Crown, Rumpole talks about the Asturias’ past in the Academy, and of their expulsion from school. She 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. During their time in Shade, Jax Asturias and Gillian had been interested in history, obsessed even. 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. The remaining members of CFVY and SSSN decide to investigate the Asturias while Rumpole recovers.
Later, Theodore begins to stress over the Crown, complaining about Jax's corruption of his sister and decides that the authorities can handle the twins due to bigger threats, referring to Salem. 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 the Crownsmen are an advanced force just like the White Fang had been in Haven Academy. Theodore roars that Shade isn’t Beacon, punching a wall with his gloves, leaving a crater in the room, and cracking Ozpin’s portrait in his office. Teams CFVY and SSSN convince him to let Shade deal with Jax and Gillian, and Theodore restores the original teams effective immediately. Soon after, they hear gunfire outside and discover the Crown has launched their attack at Shade Academy. Rumpole participates in the charge against them, throwing herself in the middle of the fight.
After the Battle of Shade, Rumpole congratulates the students for defending their school.
Powers and Abilities
Being an experienced Huntress, Rumpole is a very capable fighter. Overwhelming Yatsuhashi, Neptune, and Fox simultaneously with ease. She has impressive physical strength, cracking the floor beneath her with one stomp. Rumpole can also toss her weapon with enough force to knock down larger opponents like Yatsuhashi.
Rumpole's Weapon is a spiked wheel that is kept hidden beneath her hair. The golden cord that keeps her braid bound is a part of the wheel, which she can use to spin and find at will. Rumpole can also use the cord to bind targets.
- Main article: Golden Touch
Rumpole's Semblance is Golden Touch, where she is able to transform matter into gold upon physical touch. This is best shown when she turns one of Carmine's sai into gold, rendering it useless, or when she turns Neptune's jacket into solid gold. The effect is irreversible.
- Rumpole alludes to Rumpelstiltskin, a popular fairy tale. It also comes from the Norman personal name Rumbald, composed of the Germanic elements rum 'wide', 'spacious' (or, more plausibly, a byform of hrum 'renown') + bald 'bold', 'brave'.
- The name 'Xanthe' is a female name meaning 'golden,' and is of Greek origin.
- Goldie comes from the color gold.
- Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, evoking golden colors.
- Cressida is a medieval English name originating from the Greek name Chryseis. In Greek Mythology, Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses (meaning 'golden'), and she was named in honor of her father. Cressida, therefore, means 'golden'.
- Rumpole's Semblance may be another reference to Rumplestiltskin, as she is able to change things into gold just like the titular character who could spin straw into gold.
- It may also be a reference to King Midas, who wished to be able to turn anything he wanted to gold just by touching it, exactly how Rumpole's Semblance functions.
- Rumpole's weapon could also be another reference to Rumplestiltskin, with her wheel like rope weapon being an allusion to the spindle wheel used by Rumplestilskin to turn the straw into gold.