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|“||It's not about overpowering the enemy. It's about taking away what power they have.||„|
|~ Cinder Fall after Mercury Black tells her she'll be able to defeat Pyrrha easily.|
Cinder's Faction was a group of people associated with Cinder Fall and the secondary antagonistic faction of RWBY. Most notably the main antagonistic faction during the first three volumes, members of the group have included Roman Torchwick, Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black, Neopolitan, and Adam Taurus, with Arthur Watts temporarily joining the group during Volume 8.
Cinder's group had strong ties to the terrorist organization White Fang and answer to the mysterious individual, Salem. Their goals were the destruction of Beacon Academy, and the attempted destruction of Haven Academy.
With Emerald's defection to the heroes' side, Mercury's promotion to Salem's Faction and Cinder's later betrayal against Neo for blackmailing her, as well as the deaths of Roman and Adam, the group is currently rendered defunct, leaving Cinder serving Salem alone alongside Mercury and Tyrian Callows, without any subordinates.
Cinder Fall was chosen by Salem to target the Maidens and steal their powers; her first target was to be the current Fall Maiden. In order to accomplish this goal, Cinder sought out rogues with abilities to help subdue her targets, help find the other Maidens and spread negativity to draw Grimm.
The beginnings of Cinder's group is portrayed in the Volume 3 episode "Beginning of the End". Prior to the events of the series, Cinder began recruiting members for her cause. Her first recruit was a young woman named Emerald Sustrai, at the time a petty thief whom Cinder found use for after witnessing her using her Hallucination Semblance to steal.
Cinder and Emerald then attempted to recruit the skilled assassin Marcus Black, but he was killed by his son, Mercury Black, before he could be recruited. Thus, Mercury joined the group in the place of his father. At Mercury's suggestion, Cinder also recruited Roman Torchwick, a criminal in Vale.
Cinder, Emerald and Mercury then met with the White Fang leader, Adam Taurus, in an attempt to gain the support of his terrorist group. However, Adam denied their offer on the grounds that he was unwilling to sacrifice his men for a human cause.
Cinder's next move was to attack Amber, the Fall Maiden at the time, in an attempt to steal her vast power. After a fierce and protracted battle, Amber was defeated by Cinder, Emerald and Mercury. Cinder then used a mysterious glove to steal Amber's powers, but she was interrupted by Qrow Branwen, who severed the connection before Cinder was able to steal all of Amber's power.
After Amber's defeat, Cinder returned to the White Fang camp with Emerald and Mercury. This time, Cinder was successful in securing the support of Adam and the White Fang through the threat of violence, as well as the offer of Dust and large amounts of cash.
After the battle, Cinder is heard speaking to an unidentified party. Only Cinder's half of the conversation is heard – she explains that Qrow had "severed the connection before it was complete", meaning Cinder was only able to acquire a limited portion of the Fall Maiden's power. Cinder says that this has left her with an "emptiness" and a burning hunger, but also promises she will "claim what is ours".
The next stage of Cinder's plan seemed to entail the collection of Dust. Throughout Volume 1, Vale was struck by a spate of Dust robberies orchestrated by Cinder's reluctant ally, Roman Torchwick. Two of these robberies were foiled, the attempted robbery of From Dust Till Dawn was foiled by Ruby Rose, and the attempted heist of a large Dust shipment from Atlas at the Vale Port was foiled by Blake Belladonna, Sun Wukong, Ruby and Penny Polendina.
Regardless of these few failures, by the beginning of Volume 2, Roman had illicitly amassed huge amounts of Dust, driving up Dust prices considerably. With this achieved, gathering Dust no longer seemed to be the goal, as Cinder moved on to what she called "Phase 2".
Phase 2 of the plan involved Cinder, Mercury and Emerald infiltrating Beacon under the guise of being exchange students from Haven participating in the Vytal Festival. Whilst undercover at Beacon, they gathered intelligence on various students, including Pyrrha Nikos, whom Mercury tested in a sparring match. They add Pyrrha to a mysterious list of people, though the purpose of the list is not revealed.
Later, as most of the staff and students of the school are distracted on the night of the Beacon Dance, Cinder infiltrated the Cross Continental Transmit Tower at Beacon in "Dance Dance Infiltration". She introduced a computer virus into the system and escaped after James Ironwood's arrival, although Ruby fought briefly with her. After she leaves, all the computer terminals at the CCT display a mysterious symbol: A black Queen chess piece.
A significant attack staged by Cinder's faction involved bringing the Grimm into the city of Vale by loading the stolen Dust onto train carriages in Mountain Glenn. The train then led the Grimm into the city by creating openings in the city's defenses with Dust bombs. This was orchestrated primarily by Torchwick and executed with the support of the White Fang.
While the plan was set off early due to the interference of Team RWBY and Bartholomew Oobleck, and the breach was ultimately contained by a combined effort of Beacon's huntsmen and huntresses and the Atlesian military, Cinder still called the day a success, as despite its deviation from the plan, the danger and destruction was still enough to worry the citizens of Vale.
The aftermath of the attack on Vale was widespread damage to the city. The Vale Council also responded by removing Beacon headmaster Ozpin as head of security for the Vytal Festival, and appointing General Ironwood in his place, though it is not known if this was factored into Cinder's plan. The loss of many White Fang members in the caves beneath Vale and Mountain Glenn also caused some concern as to the continuing loyalty of the group, but Adam Taurus reassures Cinder that he would personally maintain their loyalty.
In "Round One", it is revealed that Cinder, Mercury, Emerald and an undercover Neopolitan were formed as a team to participate in the Vytal Festival tournament. The team easily wins their first match and sends Emerald and Mercury up into the doubles round. Emerald was also sent to gather intelligence on Team RWBY by finding out who they would select to move into the next round of the tournament. The group is also seen watching various tournament matches from the sidelines.
In "It's Brawl in the Family", Mercury is alarmed to see that Qrow Branwen, the huntsman that had interrupted their attack on Amber, had reappeared at Beacon. However, Cinder opts to continue with the plan with the assurance that Qrow doesn't know their identities.
The virus Cinder introduced into the computer system also apparently has the ability to infect other computers connected to the Beacon network, as it infected Ironwood's Scroll after he uses it to project a holographic display of his fleet. Cinder refers to this as a "new access point."
Most significantly, however, it is revealed that Cinder's infiltration of the CCT has given her the ability to rig the Vytal Festival tournament matches by selecting which teams are selected for each match. She then rigs the next match: Emerald and Mercury go up against Team CFVY's Coco Adel and Yatsuhashi Daichi, whom they easily defeat.
Cinder uses Ironwood's access point to look into his files. She finds one on Penny and states that this discovery will make her plans much easier than she thought.
The next part of the plan takes place during the Vytal Festival singles round. Through her semblance, Emerald makes Yang see Mercury attacking her after their match. In her own defense, Yang breaks Mercury's leg. However, to the public watching the highly televised and publicized fight, it appears as if Yang had attacked Mercury unprovoked.
This causes widespread uproar and anger among the worldwide audience. Their negative emotions capture the attention of the Grimm lurking outside the city walls.
Under Cinder's direction, another illusion is played on Pyrrha in a subsequent Vytal Festival match. During the fierce match between Pyrrha and Penny, Emerald uses her illusions to make it appear as if Penny has thousands of swords. Pyrrha responds with an over-strength magnetic pulse using her polarity Semblance, which has the effect of violently destroying Penny, ripping her apart with the wires from her own swords. This reveals Penny's secret synthetic nature to the world at large, and it paints Pyrrha as a merciless killer.
Cinder then relays a message across all of Remnant by hijacking the Vytal Festival broadcast. In her message, she accuses the headmasters of the academies, who call themselves "guardians", of holding too much power and being unworthy of leading. She exposes Atlas' creation of synthetic soldiers disguised as innocent children, and claims that Beacon's students do not show honor or mercy. She also claims that conditions in Mistral are just as dire and concludes that the world is on the brink of war.
The enormous outpouring of negative emotion Cinder stirs up causes hordes of Grimm to swarm into Vale by both land and air. They are able to enter the city undetected, likely through Cinder's interference. As Grimm begin assailing in the city, people begin to panic and flee.
In the chaos, Neo frees Roman Torchwick from his imprisonment on the Atlesian airship. Together, they take control of one of the airships and use it to wreak havoc and destruction on Ironwood's fleet in the skies above Vale. They then introduce a computer virus directly into the Atlesian network, which causes all of the Atlesian Knight-200 androids and Atlesian Paladin-290 mechs across the city to go rogue and begin attacking civilians, Atlas soldiers and Huntsmen alike.
Simultaneously, Adam Taurus and the White Fang launch an attack on Beacon Academy, while also releasing captive Grimm across the city from their Bullheads, causing more mass panic. Ultimately, the terror being unleashed upon the city has the effect of awakening an immensely powerful Wyvern that was lying dormant beneath a nearby mountaintop, which flies towards Beacon Academy, spawning more Grimm along the way.
All the while, Mercury Black films the unfolding of these events and broadcasts them to the other Kingdoms from his Scroll, with the intention of spreading more fear. Adam Taurus is reunited with his former partner and protégé, Blake Belladonna, with whom he has a personal vendetta. He wounds her and her teammate Yang Xiao Long, cutting off the latter's arm, but allows them both to escape. After this, the White Fang begins to pull out.
Ruby Rose manages to disable Roman's airship, causing it to crash. During the mêlée, Roman is eaten by a Griffon and Neo is sent flying off into the wind, and does not rejoin the battle. The destruction of the airship causes the Atlesian androids and mechs which were running amok around the city to shut down.
During the Battle of Beacon, Cinder follows Ozpin, Pyrrha and Jaune down to the Beacon Vault in order to claim the rest of the Maiden powers. She then kills Amber with an arrow to chest, and hence gains the rest of her powers. She then faces Ozpin in an intense battle, which concludes in the headmaster's death. Cinder ascends to the top of Beacon Tower and begins communicating with the titanic Wyvern, telling it that the tower is now its home.
Cinder is interrupted by Pyrrha, whom she kills after a brief but fierce battle. When Ruby Rose, who had arrived to help, sees Cinder executing Pyrrha, she unleashes a tremendously powerful and unheralded power, which manifests as a blinding white light. The power petrifies the Wyvern and puts a very abrupt end to the invasion. Cinder is caught off guard and nearly killed, heavily scarred and almost completely mute, with her left eye also damaged.
In the aftermath of Cinder's invasion, Beacon is destroyed, and with it the CCT system, rendering communication between Kingdoms impossible. The titanic Wyvern remains petrified atop Beacon Tower, but is still alive and continues to attract hordes of Grimm to the remains of the school.
However, the city of Vale is under control, and people have attempted to rebuild, though they remain in the constant shadow of the enormous frozen Grimm, which is still visible from the city. People have also begun to deeply distrust each other, due to the fact that the last images received from Vale were of Atlesian Knights slaughtering innocents.
After the Fall of Beacon, Cinder is heavily injured and needed time to recuperate. Her faction moves back to Evernight to meet with the rest of the Inner Circle and Salem herself.
Due to their identities now being known, Cinder and her Faction then layed low within Salem's domain as they regrouped and planned out their next move. Cinder in particular, due to her injuries was confined to staying in Evernight Castle as she recovered and trained under Salem to further improve the use of her newly acquired Fall Maiden powers. Mercury and Emerald stayed by her side as her aides due to her still being weakened from her injuries and assisted her in communicating and training.
After healing from her injuries, Cinder and her underlings are sent to get the Spring Maiden, whom they learn from Leonardo Lionheart is being held by Raven Branwen. They head for the Branwen Tribe camp in order to further Salem's plan to destroy humanity. After a brief discourse, Cinder alters the attack plan on Haven in order to both claim the Relic of Knowledge and destroy all her enemies in one swift stroke. Raven and the apparent Spring Maiden, Vernal, agree to her terms.
Raven uses her Semblance to allow Vernal, Cinder and her acolytes to enter the Haven Academy Grand Hall and ambush Ruby and friends. Cinder's side quickly gains the upper hand, with Cinder personally taking down Weiss Schnee. Though she's later unnerved to learn Ozpin has returned in a new body, she quickly regains her composure and leads Raven and Vernal down to the Vault where the Relic is held, while Emerald and Mercury keep their enemies at bay.
Down in the Vault, Cinder betrays Raven and tries to steal Vernal's Maiden powers, but to no avail. She's stunned to learn that Raven is the true Spring Maiden, and they clash in a powerful battle that brings down large stalactites from the cavern above and shakes the Grand Hall. Though by the end, Cinder is shown to be losing, and is knocked into a deep abyss and encased in ice for good measure.
Back in the Grand Hall, Mercury and Emerald find themselves losing their own battle against Team RWBY, and once they see it's not Cinder returning from the Vault, they quickly retreat.
Cinder is later revealed to be alive, having landed in a lake far below the Vault. After she escapes, she steals a passerby's clothes and makes her way into Mistral, learning a whole month has passed since the Battle of Haven. She makes her way to Little Miss Malachite to learn where her enemies have gone, and is told to return a week later. Once she discerns they're heading for Atlas, Cinder makes her way to leave only to be ambushed by Neopolitan. After a brief battle, Cinder unveils her Maiden powers to force Neo to cease her attack, and gain her cooperation in killing Ruby.
Meanwhile, Mercury and Emerald are forced to return to Evernight to give account for their failure at Haven, though Hazel Rainart takes the punishment in their stead. Once Emerald admits that they failed because of Cinder, Salem reveals that Cinder is still alive, but may not return until she redeems herself.
Later, Neo acquires a Mistral airship, which she can disguise as an Atlas jet with her Semblance. Pleased with the results, Cinder joins her aboard as they fly towards Atlas in pursuit of Ruby and the Relic.
Following their arrival in Atlas, Cinder and Neo went into hiding in the city, taking a luxury apartment as their base of operations. During their time, Cinder ordered Neo to infiltrate the Schnee Manor during Jacques Schnee's banquet, where she was tasked to find the location of the Relic of Knowledge under the guise of a waitress at the party. Following Jacques' arrest, Neo returned to their apartment with the information needed, informing Cinder she had succeeded in her task.
Later, Cinder and Neo listen to Ironwood and Robyn Hill's broadcast, revealing they are aware Salem's forces, particularly, Arthur Watts and Tyrian Callows, are in the kingdom's borders, to Cinder's surprise. She decides to expediate their mission, ordering Neo to find Oscar Pine and take the Relic while she goes after the Winter Maiden's powers.
Once she arrived in Atlas Academy, Cinder went to Ironwood's office, forming a replica glass chess piece of the Black Queen Virus, the symbol that she had used during the Fall of Beacon. She stealthily left the piece atop Ironwood's office, signifying she was here and playing to Ironwood's paranoia, causing him to lose control over the situation and give into his fear of Salem. Ironwood orders Winter Schnee to take the Maiden's powers from Fria, leading Cinder to the Maiden.
Neo then makes her way to Atlas Academy, where upon successfully sneaking into the school's dormitories, begins her search for Oscar Pine and the Lamp and eventually successfully locates and ambushes him inside his dorm room by using her Semblance to fool him by disguising herself as someone else. However, Team JNPR appears and identifies her with Oscar's help. Their scuffle for the lamp is interrupted when Atlas Soldiers begin chasing Team JNPR and Oscar, who are on a wanted list. Neo then flees, making it past Oscar and Jaune with her agility and then Ren by playing with his feelings for Nora. Due to more interference from Atlas soldiers, she manages to escape.
In the Atlas Medical Facility, a rebuilt Penny and Winter fight against Cinder, who violently takes the fight outside of the building in a fit of anger. There, she breaks Winter's Aura and returns to the facility while Penny saves Winter from falling to her death.
Once inside, Cinder opens the Aura transfer pod containing Fria and attempts to steal her Winter Maiden powers, but Fria forces her to retreat by using her Maiden powers to unleash a massive freezing whirlwind. Without her Aura, Winter is unable to safely enter the room, so Penny enters in her stead and calms Fria.
With Fria's whirlwind gone, Winter is able to enter the room and cuts off Cinder's Shadow Hand to stop her from stealing Fria's powers. Although the arm grows back, the agony is enough to cause Cinder to direct her rage toward Winter. While Winter fights a losing battle against Cinder, Penny takes Fria's hand and inherits the Winter Maiden powers. Soon after, Ruby and Weiss arrive, and Ruby uses her Silver Eye powers, causing Cinder to flee by blasting her way through the roof.
After Ruby blasted her Silver Eyes, Cinder retreated far away from Atlas, screaming in anger at being stopped once again. She glares at the city of Atlas in anger, until Neo brings her the Relic of Knowledge, calming down and smiling in delight due to know having what she needs to return to Salem's good graces.
After successfully acquiring the Relic of Knowledge from Ruby and her group and presenting it to Salem, Cinder was officially re-welcomed back into her Inner Circle and regaining her previous Rank. After introducing Neopolitan as another "useful asset" and gaining Salem's approval of her, Cinder was once again reunited with Emerald and Mercury to presumably go back to working together as a team to assist Salem in destroying Atlas.
Cinder tried to get Salem's approval of her plan to check on Amity Arena, but was rebuffed. Cinder and Neo decided to go, reluctantly taking Emerald with them. Right before Amity could launch, Cinder melted through a stabilizer to let their stolen Atlas ship through the floor. Cinder targeted Penny to steal the Winter Maiden powers, while Emerald and Neo dealt with Maria Calavera in her exosuit. Penny managed to knock Cinder out, forcing Emerald to order Neo to get them back to Monstra.
Cinder woke up in Monstra under Emerald's care. Mercury joined them, mocking her and explaining that during Cinder's absence, he decided to officially join Salem. Cinder's Faction joined the rest of the Inner circle on the bridge, where Cinder was punished for disobedience and it was announced the attack on Atlas had begun.
Hazel, seeing proof of Salem's lies, decided to help both Emerald and Oscar escape off the Monstra meaning Emerald has officially defected and no longer works with Salem, and is therefore no longer a part of Cinder's group. Neo then uses the defection as a means of pilfering the Lamp, knowing Emerald would be blamed for its theft. She later uses the Lamp as a bargaining chip in hopes of making Cinder honor their deal.
After breaking through to Cinder, Watts helps her to aid in achieving her and Salem's goals. They strike a deal with Neo with the lamp in order to use Jinn to find Ruby's Group. As Watts takes down communications in the kingdom, Cinder and Neo attack Team RWBY and Penny to take the Relic of Creation and the Winter Maiden powers. The two succeed in the former, but not before Cinder betrays Neo for blackmailing her, knocking her and the remainder of Team RWBY in the void. Cinder battles Weiss, Jaune, and Penny, killing Penny, but is forced to flee with the Relics when the Winter Maiden powers are transferred to Winter Schnee instead of herself. With both the Relics in hand, Cinder destroys the Pocket Evacuation Dimension and uses the Staff to kill Watts, rendering the group defunct as she is the last member in it. Cinder returns to Salem, now in good graces.
- Cinder, Roman, Mercury and Emerald's first initials create CRME when put together.
- It's revealed at the end of Volume 3 that Cinder's Faction were merely pawns serving under Salem and their goals were the machinations of her group.
- The faction was formed by Cinder partially to keep Salem off Ozpin's radar for as long as possible; aince Hazel, Tyrian and Watts would draw attention as Ozpin knew Hazel hated him, while Tyrian and Watts were thought dead.
- Roman and Neopolitan have no real loyalty to the faction; Roman was being strong-armed and Neo was only using Cinder.
Creatures of Grimm