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|“||Because of your efforts, Beacon has fallen. And Haven will be next.||„|
|“||It's important not to lose sight of what drives us: Love, justice, reverence... but the moment you put your desires before my own... they will be lost to you. This isn't a threat, this is simply the truth. The path to your desires is only found... through me.||„|
|~ Salem to her subordinates.|
Salem's Faction is a group of people aligned with Salem who are aiding her plans and serve as the main antagonistic faction of RWBY. Their objective is creating a new world order on Remnant through the use of the four Relics and the destruction of the Huntsman Academies. They are also hunting down the Maidens, as their powers are the keys to unlocking the Vaults holding the Relics. The group is closely connected to the Creatures of Grimm, as their headquarters is located in the Land of Darkness originally occupied by the God of Darkness.
Salem has explained that she will help each member of her group achieve their own respective goals, but only after the Relics are collected. She has warned that putting their own ambitions before hers would ensure failure.
Although her followers believe they will be making a new world order, in reality, Salem's true goal is to summon the Gods to destroy Remnant in a bid to remove her immortality.
Known members of the group have included Cinder Fall, Doctor Watts, Tyrian Callows, Hazel Rainart, Mercury Black, Tock and The Hound. Some of the known associates of the group have included Cinder's subordinates Emerald Sustrai, Roman Torchwick, Neopolitan and Leonardo Lionheart, as well as some elements of the White Fang under Adam Taurus.
Currently, the members of Salem's faction include Cinder, Tyrian and Mercury.
Tock was a member of the group decades prior to the events of the series, until she was killed and decapitated by Maria Calavera after the former slashed her silver eyes out.
Roman, a wanted criminal mastermind operating in Vale, was an ally to Cinder and, by proxy, Salem, from shortly before the events of the series until the Fall of Beacon, when he was eaten by a Griffon atop James Ironwood's airship whilst battling Ruby Rose.
Lionheart, Haven Academy's headmaster, served as an informant in Mistral, until he was killed by Salem for his cowardice during the Battle of Haven.
After the former White Fang's fragmentation following the Battle of Haven, Adam tracked the heroes (mainly his former partner Blake Belladonna) across northern Anima to outside Argus to enact revenge. He was later impaled by Blake and Yang Xiao Long outside the city after an intense duel.
The Hound, a Grimm experiment by Salem using the remains of a Silver-Eyed Warrior, met his end during the Battle of Atlas while attempting to track down Penny Polendina at Schnee Manor. He was crushed under a giant statue by Whitley and Willow Schnee.
Hazel was a member of the group until the Battle of Atlas, when he realized the reality of Salem's goals and assisted Emerald and Oscar Pine to escape Monstra. After a vicious battle with Salem herself, Oscar fired a colossal blast from his cane, destroying him and Monstra. Emerald defected soon after to join Ruby's group in saving Mantle and Atlas.
Neo, a former ally of Cinder and the late Roman, rejoined Cinder to exact revenge on Ruby for Roman's death, soon losing her patience in Atlas and blackmailing Cinder with the Relic of Knowledge to achieve her goal. She was later betrayed by Cinder in Ever After for her action and was thrown into the void along with Ruby.
Watts was a member of the group until shortly before Atlas' collapse onto Mantle, when he was trapped in a blazing Central Command by Cinder to ensure her lie to Salem about Ruby and Jinn would be kept intact. He is presumed to have been burned alive in the chaos.
Ozpin's group which runs the Academies are the major enemies of Salem and her forces to prevent her goal from coming to fruition.
The origins of the group are not clear, but it is shown to have existed for millennia. In the past, Salem had sent a female warrior to kill an incarnation of Ozma known as "The Infinite Man", and later his group The Circle. The warrior, using Gravity and Lightning Dust blades, fought the Infinite Man and eventually killed him when Ozma chose to die in order to prevent collateral damage.
Following this, the warrior and her raiders slaughtered The Circle, leaving only Ozma's most loyal follower alive as a message for him in his next incarnation.
Decades before the start of the series, Salem had taken Tock as a subordinate to hunt down Silver-Eyed Warriors. Salem served as a mentor to Tock, advising her on how to properly use her Semblance despite her follower not taking heed, ultimately leading to her demise at the hands of Maria Calavera.
In recent history, Salem recruited Cinder Fall to be the vessel for the Maiden powers, so she could collect the Relics hidden beneath the academies founded by Ozma. Needing a fighter who could kill without qualms, Salem rescued the serial killer Tyrian Callows. She recruited Hazel Rainart following his attempts to kill her. Finally, she brought on Arthur Watts who wanted revenge.
The activities of Cinder and her group, including the recruitment of Adam Taurus and the White Fang, the theft of the Fall Maiden's powers and the destruction of Beacon Academy, were carried out under Salem's direction. Cinder's status as the Fall Maiden is described by Salem as being "key" to their further moves. However, due to Cinder's new unspecified "weakness", Salem instead opts to keep Cinder close to her.
The actions of the other members are not known in detail. Tyrian has been on the hunt for the Spring Maiden for some time, though at a meeting following the Fall of Beacon, he is reassigned to capture and retrieve Ruby Rose after she defeated Cinder. At the same meeting, Watts is assigned to carry out Cinder's role in meeting with Leonardo Lionheart in Mistral. Hazel is to attend a meeting arranged by Adam with the leader of the White Fang, Sienna Khan, in order to bring her to heel.
Tyrian fails to defeat Ruby due to the intervention of Qrow Branwen and loses his tail in the process, but Watts' meeting with Professor Lionheart goes well and leads to Lionheart's complete obedience with Salem's plans. Additionally, Hazel's meeting with Sienna leads to Adam killing her and taking over the White Fang, much to Hazel's discontent.
Hazel and Tyrian kill a majority of professional Huntsmen in Mistral whose identities were supplied by Lionheart after he allied himself with Salem. Qrow found out after trying to gather allies for their battle against Salem.
Following Beacon, Haven Academy is their next target. Lionheart, Cinder's Faction and Hazel, with aid from Raven Branwen, Vernal and Adam's White Fang troops, plan to enter Haven Academy's Vault to retrieve the Relic of Knowledge and destroy the CCT when they are finished to make their escape.
However, the attack proves to be a failure: Cinder is defeated by Raven in the Vault, while Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black, and Hazel are forced to retreat, Lionheart flees the battle and is killed shortly after by Salem, and the White Fang are stopped by the combined forces of the Menagerie Faunus and the Mistral Police, with only Adam escaping capture. Ozpin's forces retrieve the Relic and plan to take it to Atlas.
While the original plan was for the group to tackle Vacuo, word of Ozpin's reincarnation prompts Salem to send Tyrian and Watts to Atlas instead. Cinder, surviving her defeat, allied herself with Neopolitan and travels to Atlas herself. Tyrian kills off people opposing James Ironwood, while Watts allied himself with Jacques Schnee to gain access to Mantle. During the attack on Mantle, Watts is arrested, Tyrian escapes, and Neo acquires the Relic of Knowledge which she gives to Cinder.
Salem herself personally leads an army of Grimm towards Atlas. She gathered the largest Grimm army ever created and brought her entire Inner Circle using Monstra as her base of operations. Cinder and Neo arrive at Monstra where Cinder gives the Relic of Knowledge to Salem, taking credit for it. After everyone else arrives at the throne room, Cinder declared her attempt to go after the new Winter Maiden, Penny Polendina. However, Salem put her in her place as she did not order that plan.
Later, Salem had The Hound search for Oscar Pine in order to learn how to use the Relic. The Grimm succeeds in its goal, and brings him to her. After Oscar refuses to give any information, Salem has Hazel beat the boy. In the hallways of Monstra, Cinder again asks for permission to go after Winter Maiden, only for Salem to refuse. This causes Cinder to go behind Salem's back to the Amity Communications Tower along with Neo and Emerald.
Cinder, Neo and Emerald fight against Maria and Penny. Unfortunately, Cinder and Neo are defeated by Penny and the girls are forced to return to Monstra. Emerald tries tending to Cinder only to be interrupted by Mercury, who announces he will no longer be taking orders from her and explains Salem wants them at the bridge. Meanwhile, Oscar and Ozpin form a plan to turn Salem's pawns against her, starting with Hazel.
On the bridge, Salem tells her underlings that Watts has gained some control over Penny, and briefly tortures Cinder for her disobedience. She then decides to have Cinder find Watts, who can then lead her to Penny while The Hound conducts its own search. Ozpin tries to warn everyone that Salem will destroy the world, but is silenced by Hazel.
After Salem's assault on Atlas begins, Mercury and Tyrian were ordered by her to head to Vacuo, presumably to begin preparation for her eventual arrival to the Kingdom. Cinder locates Watts, freeing him from Ironwood's custody while the Hound is killed during its search for Penny in Schnee Manor. Upon seeing Jinn, Hazel decides to let Oscar go free and had Emerald assist him.
- Due to Salem's immortality, various incarnations of the group have existed; their fates likely either being imprisoned when caught carrying out her orders, or killed by Salem herself when she no longer finds them useful.
- The group made no progress in obtaining the Maiden's powers to unlock the vaults for the Relics didn't make any progress until the present day; as the Maidens identities are kept secret from the public by Ozma's group.
- Watts, Tyrian, Cinder, and Hazel's first initials create WTCH (pronounced "witch") when put together. It is possible that this is related to the meaning of Salem's name.
- In a panel at RTX Sydney 2017, Miles referred to them by the same name.
- Although not an official name, composer Alex Abraham named the theme that plays when Salem walks into the meeting room in "The Next Step", "A Dark Cabal", most likely referring to Salem's faction.
- With the exception of Tyrian, the current members of the group are dark reflections of classic story characters.
- Watts based on John Watson, if teamed up with Moriarty instead.
- Cinder from Cinderella.
- Hazel on Hansel if Gretel died.
- Tyrian, meanwhile, is based on the Scorpion from the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog" if the Scorpion survived but the Frog died.
- Mercury Black later leaves Cinder's employ to properly join this group.
Creatures of Grimm