Worlds Bound by Shadow (RWBY/Warcraft)


Well-known member
Arriving on the shores of the Eastern Kingdom, High Priestess Tyrande & the Warden Maiev soon find their forces beset by unfamiliar beasts of bone and shadow.

Arriving in Mistral, Ruby Rose and her friends soon find themselves roped into investigating strange behavior in the local Creatures of Grimm on behalf of Haven's Headmaster.

Soon, both parties will find themselves staring down unfamiliar threats and alien worlds.

The light of the evening sun shone through the windows of the small hotel room, casting the wooden chamber in a bright shade of orange. In the pair of beds, Nora and Jaune both slept, and more to the point, snored, while between the bed Ren sat, meditating.

For her part, Ruby Rose sat at the small corner desk and tapped her pen against the blank sheet of paper. A hum reverberating in her throat as she tried to think of what to say.

'Just start how you always do and figure it out,' she finally told herself.

Pressing the pen to page she began to write the next sentence like it was an old habit.

Hey sis, I hope my letters have been reaching you and Dad. Hand-written stuff's never been super reliable, but I guess it's all we've got these days.

Anyway, in case you haven't been getting them, I want to say I'm sorry for leaving the way I did. I know you told me it was a reckless idea, and you were probably right but honestly... It's not been that bad.

We've fought a few Grim, got turned away at this one town but then we saved another and finally made it to
Oniyuri. They'd been hit by Bandits and then some Grimm but somehow managed to pull through! They hired us to protect their airship to Mistral to call for reinforcements and so uh... Here we are.

I won't act like it was all easy, it's scary not knowing what's going to happen next. Especially now that we're here and beginning our search for the people who attacked Beacon Academy.

Since arriving in Mistral our search hasn't had much luck. I also had a really rough time in this maze garden, but Madam Xahn helped me and I think it was good for me too, put things in perspective. Ren thinks someone is following us as well but we can't ever find them.

It's taken over a week to get an appointment with
Professor Lionheart, the Headmaster of Haven Academy. Hopefully he can put us on the right track.

I know you worry but this is what we were training for, Yang, to become Huntresses, to be the ones to stand up and do something about all the bad in the world. I know you need to focus on yourself before I can expect you to come out with me. But it sure would be great to get Team RWBY back together again.

I miss you so much. I miss Weiss and Blake too. But I think you'd all be proud to know that I made it to Mistral.

I'll be sure to give you the address of where we're staying in Mistral! I'd love to hear back from you and Dad, and I can't wait to fill you in on whatever's going to happen next!

Now that we've made it across Anima, I really think things are gonna start going our way.

Between the trees and across the mist-stained grass an army was on the move.

Deadly archers, doughty bears, mighty huntresses and priestesses moved with swift and silent steps. In the air soared birds, hippogriffs, and a pair of purple-scaled chimera.

While marching at the rear, their steps both booming and yet so in tune with the earth they may has well have been silent were the ancients, small mountains of stone and vine.

They marched in packs as part of a greater convoy, unwilling to leave anything but their rear-guard behind lest they be fallen upon by the Undead Scourge.

At the head of their march were two radically distinct figures.

The first rose astride a great white tiger, both it and she were bedecked in shining silvery armor that drank in the light of the moon. With dark purple skin, long flowing hair the color of a dark moonberry whine and holding a war glaive, the High Priestess Tyrande cut an intimidating figure.

At her side and marching on her own two legs was Maiev, leader of the Wardens and bedecked in her dark grey and gold lined armor. Her helmet shaped akin to a bird of prey and obscuring her features, from her hand hung a great Chakram that thrummed with shadowy power.

Maiev Shadowsong scanned the woods, too thin trees with peeling bark only half obscured by a sickly mist bereft of the clean moisture it needed to feel pure and the forest itself was all too silent.

"These woods are too quiet," Tyrande mused, grasping her sabers reigns as if to still the beast but letting the march continue, her dark purple ears twitching.

Loathed to agree with the woman, Maiev remained professional, "Indeed, not a skittering corpse or snake track. Even the insects seem silent."

Tyrande was frowning, "There should be something, these woods are too thin to obscure a large force and our fliers would surely have noticed a large contingent by now."

So far the only thing their fliers ad spotted were overgrown fields and a distant ruined town, seemingly several days dead at best.

"If there is an ambush awaiting us, the settlement might provide enough cover," Maiev offered.

Tyrande merely sent her an imperious stare, "Thank you Warden, but I am well aquatinted with warfare." She looked back to one of her lieutenants, "Send word, have the convoy brace for battle, the town is barely eight minutes out at this rate."

Before word could even reach the end of the line a great echoing sound boomed across the sky followed by a huntresses war cry.

"Black beasts approaching!"

Instinctively dismissing her confusion, Maiev braced for combat and scanned the tree line, well used to picking out targets in the shadows she snapped her blade to the ready at a blurring black figure. Its massive frame began ripping through the trees like they were mere twigs.

'Gargantuan!' But she had killed bigger.

"They come!"

"From above, and below!"

In the sky a black dot ripped through one of the druids, his small form not enough to save him from being devoured in one mighty bite by the black and white blur. Demonic roars began to shake the very air, the beastly sound tinged with a deathly sort of scream that was foul as any demons!

As the beast made it into range, Tyrande loosed the opening volley well before it could attack, a blessed arrow wreathed in silver flew accompanied by a dozen of its lesser kin. Each one struck with lightning speed but even the touch of their goddesses' magic did not still or even pain the beast!

"Defensive formations!" Tyrande bellowed.

The monster pounced, ripping through all that stood between it and crashing to the earth. Its landing shook the ground and crushed beneath its paws two huntresses, while a mighty swing of its tail snapped the neck of a lunging Druid.

Maiev had barely blinked out of its striking range before she shot forward, dragging her blade across its side.

'Tougher than leather!' she thought, even as her blade cut deep.

A bone white tail, bursting with barbed spikes surged down towards her, forcing Maiev to vanish into the shadows again. Its striking blow formed a crater in the earth as the monster bore another wave of arrows without a care. Though several bolts of moonlight did at least scorch its frame.

'Its angry,' she realized, as its maw began to burn, rippling flames tearing from its throat in a massive ball of seething red fury.


The order came in time, but the defensive barriers of the priestess didn't hold up, she, her archers and their Druid were engulfed in flames. From the sky fell a similarly scorched hippogriff and rider.

Tyrande roared, "Face Elune's wrath!" From her hands the High Priestess launched her glaive.

Sensing the danger the beast leapt, a deafening screech escaping its throat as its tail was cut.

'What is wrong with its body!?' Maiev could see naught but red inside the blackened fur and a dark miasma leaked off its body as it began to shatter.

It fell into place immediately, "They are magical constructs!"

From the crowd, she saw several bolts of what she recognized as disjunction spells flying loose, but while they struck the beast its form did not waver or fade. Instead it merely loosed another ball of fire, though this time the shield wall of the huntresses was tight and a silver barrier rose up dispersing the flames.

From the sky a chimera fell, one of the draconic beasts heads was missing and its guts were spilling across the woods.

"Enough of this," Tyrande seethed, her glaive already back in hand.

"Leave this one to me!" Maiev snapped, letting her rage and guilt bleed through the black crystal suffusing her blade she blessed the shadows with a prayer and from it came the dead. Shadowed specters of vengeance bursting from the bodies off the fallen, armed and blessed with a divine fury.

The monster's burning red eyes locked onto her, and then her creations, as if for a moment it was unsure who to attack. Finally, it lunged at her summons, each of whom swarmed it with gibbering, screaming fury, knives, arrows, and claws of shadow ripping into its skin.

Maiev saw the beast thrashing and worse, saw fire gathering in its maw and blinked below its bone white armored mane. Weaving around the sharp protrusions and with divine strength and enchanted armor she struck without reservation or restraint.

Maiev gouged a mighty wound in the monster's neck! Its flames, broken and stifled exploded in its head, sending bone fragments flying as it collapsed to the ground.

Not wasting a moment Maiev looked to the skies in time to see a star burst impact the flying beast, its body ripped to shred in a near instant by the silvery, divine light.

All forces stayed on guard, looking to the woods an across the sky for another attacker, but when none manifested a low key chatter began to emanate from the army. Healers raced forward to tend to the wounded as best they could and to prepare the dead for last rites if nothing could be done.

Glancing to where she'd felled her foe Maiev grimaced at the fading sight of black miasma, 'Nothing, no body to inspect, no knowledge to gather, worse than slaying a demon.'

Tyrande's voice rose above the din, "Call in our fliers, have each among them blessed with the mightiest shields and wards we can muster. What's more if they see another such creature, they are to focus on distracting it and not engaging the beast. Sentinels," She added with an authoritative call, "Form defensive war bands, and preference your protective spells first and foremost, finally, bring the giants to the front of the line!"

As the Sentinels hastened to obey, Maiev's own followers looked to her for permission to which she gave a simple nod. With that the two Priestesses turned to one another, Tyrande spoke first.

"Those were not any undead or demon I have ever known even if they fade from our world like the latter. Their speed was especially terrible, and did you see, they felt no pain or fear?"

Maiev nodded, "A mane of bone, horns of a Tauren, the maw of a Southern lion with the spiked tail of some great Terrorsaur and the magic to spill fire. I can say for certain I have never seen a creature quite like it in the shadows beneath the earth or a hunt."

"And worse still," Tyrande muttered, "I doubt it was only them."

Maiev grimaced and ducked her head, "Scouts perhaps, meant to assess our strength?" They had seemed to originate from the distant village.

The air quaked, as a deeper, yet more sibilant, screeching roar boomed across the skies. All eyes turned to the town as a monstrous creature nearly thrice the size of its lesser kin rose into the sky.

A body that was too long and too slender to be truly feline, bedecked in black feathered wings and a white snake head sprouting from its over-long tail roared. Its skull like face splitting open, too round, too short, and narrow to be anything familiar even as its skull evoked death. As its side rose several more flying lions and tearing out from the village came at least half a dozen of their ground bound companions.

Tyrande's voice. blessed with divine might echoed and boomed, "Sentinels, slay them all!"

In the nearby hills, a dark-skinned woman, with tiger stripes and matching ears pulled away her binoculars and called to her forces.

"White Fang, we are on the move."

Sienna Khan had been having a... trying few months.

The daughter of Kali & Chieftain Belladonna vanishing without a trace, a prime outpost in Vale obliterated, a litany of minor fires she needed to put out across Anima. All capped off with one of her highest lieutenants, Adam Taurus, unleashing a horde of Grimm on civilians across the kingdom of Vale!

Part of her still regretted not following her first instinct to execute the man when he swaggered back into Fort Castle with his wet behind the ears Valian recruits. She regretted it more when he simply began petitioning her to destroy Mistrals capital!

Madness, madness and stupidity and she had no idea of how to make him see it, maybe he never had?

But then, before it could come to ahead, she had Grimm trouble, the forest beneath her mountainous fort were swarming with disorganized mobs of the monsters. Not unusual save for the sheer excess of the beasts and the variety. Something was calling them and given the actions of Adam's human allies, the tiger Faunus could not take any chances.

Isolating Adam she'd summoned some trusted and professional soldiers, several platoons of elite scouts and a strong lieutenant. She was intent on clearing out the Grimm and above all finding the source on her own terms, it would hardly hurt to remind all who still led the White Fang.

She'd equipped her black, white-lined, combat kilt and Kevlar vest and red cape. With Cerberus's Whip wrapped around her armored black wrist bands, and adorning herself in reinforced grey leggings, laden with hidden Dust Blades, Sienna led the charge.

Those weeks ago felt like near an eternity as Sienna led her troops and their volunteers in another bloody charge against the Grimm. Her roared commands a match for any baleful cry of the Grimm.

"Gunners lay down covering fire, Skirmishers guard the gunners, Honor Guard reinforce their archers and Commander Crim!" Her gaze snapped to the sky where a Faunus with eagle wings, close cropped hair and wild eyebrows flew with three other wing mates, all bearing great spears. "Ground that Sphinx!"

"Hail High Leader!"

With that, the battle was joined.

Tyrande had turned her attention to the leader of the pack, leaving the groundlings to her subordinates and Maiev.

'To the pit with subtly,' she decided, reaching out to the sky, spectral hands and voice growing beyond her mortal shell. "Oh goddess, I beg of thee, call upon the stars to cast down our foes!"

The goddess answered as she always did and from the sky blistering balls of burning silver light burst to life and rained down. Each with enough force to incinerate an armored elf and all fell by the hundreds.

But though she could see the Starfall slowing and distracting the beasts, it was not tearing through them as hoped. Despite their great size they flew through the sky with a terrible speed and deadly elegance; the greatest among them was far too nimble and quick witted to be an simple animal. Each blow that landed on its lesser kin she could feel, the burning of black fur and seared bone, but it was not enough.

Cries in the ancient song of war rang out as spells and blessed arrows flew, the roar of the beasts, even divided as they were like a force unto itself when-

Dozens of figures raced down from the hills, most were adorned in black leggings and boots, and were in either white or more ornate red vests. They brandished scimitar, black spears with red indent that glowed with elemental power and many more carried what looked akin to Dwarven rifles! They all also appeared strangely inhuman, horns and tails jutting from their bodies as if they were master druids.

The figure at the front was a blur, practically materializing before one of the beasts and landing a kick to its head with such force the air cracked. Its open skull fractured and though it built fire up in its maw the dark skinned woman merely grabbed its horn and violently yanked downward, hurling the giant over her shoulder and cratering it into the ground before twisting its head off.

'They are on our side, everything else can come later,' she thought, shouting, "Join hands with them and drive off the beasts!"

Turning her attention back to the skies, Tyrande bit back a curse. The greater beast could spit flames as well and even with her Starfall it was landing blows on the convoy. Smoke filled the air and its roared with a sort of vicious glee.


But even as she tried to focus her goddesses ire on the greatest threat, her hands straining against space itself as she pulled at the cosmic tapestry she was failing to land a blow!

Just as it seemed a star was about to strike, one of the lesser lions flung itself between the star and its master, their body incinerated in an instant.

'No fear of death or pain, but they will die for each other, a dreadful combination,' she thought as the monster began to rise higher, its screeching bellows echoing.

"Don't let it escape!"

She did not understand the roar, but she could recognize its urgency. Tyrande's eagle-like eyes zeroed in on a silvery blur and she smirked as winged warriors weaved around the monsters' strike and loosed a spear that sang with ice and cold. The blow struck and in the skies the monster finally shuttered, a spasm ripped across its frame as the base of its wing froze and it began a violent surge downwards.

"I have you!"

She knew exactly where it was falling and Tyrande guided the flow of the heavens as a river led water to the sea, her firsts closing as hundreds of burning silver lights converged and crashed against the black beast.

One final roar escaped its maw and with it a burst of fire dwarfing any she'd seen that day, surging towards her.

'Oh goddess,' She intoned with reverence and slashed her arm through the air. A silvery owl's wing shone and dispersed the flames, leaving naught to wash over her but warm air.

"They are retreating!" Maiev proclaimed.

Tyrande turned to see indeed, the last few beasts surviving now fled into the woods in a chaotic sprawl. 'Cut off the head and the body will flounder,' she mused. The huntress in her pleased to see these new threats weakness. A small smirk lit up her face as a great boulder launched by an ancient struck true, crushing an injured beast.

"Tend to the wounded, Maiev, with me," She barked out, hopping off her mount, Ash'alah and rubbing the mighty sabers ears affectionately as she looked across the battlefield to see her newest focus.

Dark brown skin marked by black stripes and matching charcoal hair, the warrior had a chain wrapped around one arm and met Tyrande's silver eyes with piercing gold. 'They do not glow, but they share an intensity,' she thought, thinking to the golden-eyed elves she knew even as she forcefully shook off the comparison.

Instead, she turned her attention to the figure's head, namely the two dark tiger striped ears adorning them, though the shift in shades was subtle it was present. Unlike the golden hoop earrings that hung from all four of the warriors' ears.

'Such a strange creature, some mage's experiment perhaps?'

Just as Tyrande did with Maiev, the leader brought only one escort, the winged warrior who had landed the icy blow, spear having been reclaimed and resting comfortably in its holders. Their uniforms design was similar to the white garbed skirmishers but it hugged the body more tightly.

As those cool eyes drew across her frame Tyrande repressed an amused smirk, 'She's used to being the tallest in the room,' she realized.

Tyrande's grasp of common was functional if not elegant, "Greetings, Lordani?" Just then a familiar, divine voice whispered in her ear, 'Not born under this moon.'

The smaller, though by no means short given she towered over her companion, woman repressed a frown and answered in stilted common, "Foreign, from another place."

'Akin to the orcs then, what could his mean for the state of the world?' she wondered even as she offered the saber-ess her hands. There was a moment of contemplation before she reached out and Tyrande offered a prayer.

A cool tingling sensation ran through her skin and into the other figures making her almost jerk but back on instinct, but she held firm.

Then, Tyrande spoke.

"I am High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, leader of the Kal'dorei, and my ally, chief of the Wardens, Maiev Shadowsong."

There was a moment of surprise, but the woman rallied admirably, "I am Sienna Khan, High Leader of the White Fang, those who defend the Faunus, and this is my lieutenant, Sky Commander Krim."

"An honor to be sure, you have my forces gratitude for aiding us against those beasts," Tyrande's eyes locked onto Sienna, "They hail from the same 'place' as your people I take it?"

To her credit, Sienna showed no shock, merely nodding, "The Creatures of Grimm, they have tormented the world of Remnant since time immemorial. We know not their source or means of survival, merely that they seek to destroy all thinking beings and their works." She motioned to where the greater beast had fallen, "The elders among them can commander their lesser kin, but without such guidance they are usually a rabble."

'Even the lone ones were dangerous,' Tyrande mused.

The Faunus arched a sharp eyebrow and said, "Might I ask what brings your people to this land? None amongst the natives we have met seem to know you from spirits in the trees."

"How fitting given it is within the trees we dwell," Tyrande mused.

Maiev stepped closer, "We could ask your people the same question, High Leader. We travelled here in ships to hunt a demon, but what of you and your, White Fang?"

Tyrande loathed the reminder of their purpose and welcomed Sienna's explanation as a distraction.

"Something has been disrupting the behavior of Grimm in my territories. I went to investigate and found the beasts streaming through a dark rift in the world."

"You followed it?" Tyrande damn near scoffed.

Sienna's frown was bitter, "There is a known bandit with a similar... Power who operates outside my territory, I thought it her doing, that she was unleashing Grimm on settlements." Shaking her head the Faunus turned back to her soldiers, "We pursued and found ourselves under an alien sky. A man in shadowy robes with a golden four-point helm seemed shocked to see us but was spooked and fled before we could speak."

"And now you're stranded here," Tyrande said mournfully, to be away from Ashenvale was already a pain, to be a world away... She shook her head, "I assume you seek the man who summoned you?"

Sienna nodded, "Indeed, we must return soon, if nothing else, it is my duty to get my soldiers home." She rolled her shoulders and motioned to the motley gathering of people behind her, many of whom looked to be native, be they human, elf or even Gnoll! "Though as you can see we have picked up some stragglers, survivors from settlements fallen to this 'Scourge' and the Grimm."

Maiev's stern tone rose again, "Of course it would be a mage, but why summon these accursed Grimm? They hardly seem tamable."

The winged warrior scoffed, "Trust us madam, they cannot be."

Sienna merely cast a glance over her shoulder, "Grimm seek to kill all thinking beings, but they are drawn to those who are experiencing rage, or grief or terror."

The pieces fell into place with startling clarity, "This sorcerer, he summons the Grimm to fight the Scourge?"

"All we have seen and heard has it ring true," Sienna said, "But he does not understand the Grimm. Several Alpha have come through his rifts and unlike their lesser kin, they know how to wait in ambush, to strategize, even lying in wait for years. They will not simply be a weapon, though," She scoffed, "I can hardly fault his idea."

"It's madness, he endangers the world," Maiev seethed, "Not just from these Grim, but the very magic itself!"

"I'm no sorcerer, but I don't doubt this would affect my home as well, what is he doing to our planets?"

Tyrande quickly took over, "To use magic like this, that reaches beyond the skein of the material realm, to reach across such vast distances, the sorcerer does damage to the very fabric of the universe. If it is not stopped soon enough, or the rifts begin to compound, they may grow permanent, or allow other... Unseemly forces access, and I confess, that is a far cry from the worst case scenario where they destabilize and devour the world."

There was a moment of horrified staring as Tyrande had expected, but Sienna rallied quickly, folding her arms, "Then we need to find him and put a stop to this before it grows further out of hand!"

"Tyrande! We cannot merely ignore Illidan, with the Eye of Sargeras he could do a thousand-fold damage this petty sorcerer does in a fraction of the time!" Maiev exclaimed with a scowl.

She was right and yet... "Sienna Khan, it seems we will likely engage these Grimm again and your people are clearly experienced in fighting them. Would you care to form an accord?"

The Faunus smirked, flashing shining white fangs that would do even a Druid proud, "You want our aid in hunting this demon of yours and in return you help us return home?"

Tyrande crossed a hand over her heart, "I swear on my honor as High Priestess, we shall return your people home and save both our worlds from this sorcerer."

Sienna sucked in a low breath but nodded, "Very well, I will need time to rally my followers. My own soldiers can move easily enough and these 'Alliance' soldiers and Gnoll Warriors we found can do so well enough. But we have civilians from the lost village of Deadhollow with us." She motioned Southward, "We've been camping in Gaval Moch, a decrepit castle by the river."

"We were already expecting to march South," Tyrande mused, "Though with these Grimm lurking about, I'll want someone sent to escort Malfurion. He is powerful, but they are still unknown to him."

Krim flared their wings, "One of my Wing Mates could play the role, if you have someone show them the way."

Tyrande nodded, "Very well, let us make ready and begin marching South with haste."

Even as she said it, Tyrande could not escape the sensation she was running against an hour glass already half empty.

Haven Academy was not as expansive as its counterpart in Beacon but it was certainly more regal. Lush gardens bloomed through the white stone courtyard, while dozens of tall buildings rose around them marking by pure white stucco and dark, ridged tiles, with gold ornamentation everywhere.

Team 'RNJR' strode through the empty courtyard, taking in the sight as a chill wind washed over them.

Ruby self-consciously checked her beloved Crescent Rose, the high impact dual action sniper-rifle Scythe was fastened safely to her back, but just feeling its weight made her feel more confident.

"So," she said slowly, glancing at Ren, "Get any more bad vibes?"

The Mistrali-born martial artist frowned,

"Not since yesterday, though something... Something still feels wrong to me, I just can't place it."

"Maybe it's how creepy empty places are," Nora groused, rms swinging out wide as she howled, "Where is everyone!?"

"Uuh Nora," Jaune murmured, coughing into his armored hand, "Its term break."

Ruby frowned, "There should still be some people, Beacon was never this empty..." Her words trailed off as everyone's tone dipped at the mention of their former home. Forcing cheer into her voice, Ruby said, "Well that's just another thing to ask the headmaster when we speak to him, come on guys, race you to his office!"

She took off running, Nora following loudly if not quickly behind while Jaune and Ren pulled up the rear. With that little distraction in play, they reached his hall in mere moments and Ruby knocked loudly on the ornate oaken doors.

"Please, come in," Echoed a tired, but grandfatherly voice.

Pushing open the doors Ruby was greeted to the sight of a large, ovular office, book shelves and comfortable looking lounge running along the edges. Sunlight spilling out across the room from the back wall and a somewhat haphazardly organized desk. Sitting behind it was a grey haired man with lightly tanned skin, a well-trimmed beard and lion tail.

He smiled fondly, "You four must be the student team who wished to speak with me, a Miss Rose, Arc, Ren and Valkyrie correct?"

"Yes sir, that's us, thank you for seeing us," Ruby said politely.

Resting his hands on his desk, the man nodded, "No trouble at all, now then, what can I do for you all today?"

Swallowing Ruby began her pre-prepared speech, "Well sir, we were hoping you had any information on Cinder Fall, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai," That last one still stung especially hard.

Even before she'd finished speaking she could see the man's facing falling.

"I had hoped it would not be about them," he flicked some of the paper on his desk. "I can imagine why you're asking of course and if you made it here on foot, you're certainly skilled. But these are dangerous people and in truth, there's not much I can even tell you."

Jaune stepped forward fire on his tongue, "But they came to Beacon as Haven students!"

Lionheart bore it with calm, "And their papers, their names, their backgrounds were all forgeries. Incredibly well-made forgeries too, no one even noticed until we started plucking at threads we couldn't even see." He rummaged around in his desk and reveal a handful of papers, "This is all we have on them I'm sorry to say."

It was barely three pages and it looked double spaced.

Jaune snatched it up quickly, frantically reading as Nora & Ren crowded around it, Ruby caught a snippet, "His dad was an assassin?" But turned her attention to the headmaster.

"Thank you for that, if it's OK, we'd like to offer our help with the search, well, I mean we're already doing it on our own but maybe we can help in a more official way?"

Lionheart eyed her before smiling, "You're Ruby Rose aren't you? The Huntress who led the team that held the line during the Breach?" At her nod her chuckled fondly, "Well, I can see why Ozpin would trust you with that mission if you made it out here."

"Well it wasn't just me, my team was there, and JNPR, and Doctor Oobleck and so many others helped too!"

"Nevertheless, it's clear you've seen your fair share of hardships. As for the investigation, well I'm sad to say its stalled," He gestured around his office, "You might have noticed that we are not exactly fully staffed right now."

Nora huffed, "Yeah we saw that, is it really just you here alone?"

Lionheart shrugged, "There's some custodial staff? But otherwise, yes." He tapped his desk and a holo map was project showing the continent of Anima and dozens of alerts.

"Of all the four kingdoms, Mistral has by far the largest territorial claims and the largest population. Ever since the Fall of Beacon we've been getting a constant string of emergency alerts, so much so I even had to send out the professors. It's a never-ending battle just to keep the kingdoms head above water and things are only going to get worse."

"Are you expecting an attack sir?" Ruby asked, already priming herself for combat.

"Not... Quite," Lionheart said, glancing away from them, "You see, three days ago word got out that the leader of the White Fang, Sienna Khan is dead. Allegedly murdered by a Mistrali Huntsmen."

Jaune scoffed, "And?"

"While I obviously do not approve of the White Fang's methods what you need to understand is the public perception of them among most Faunus and especially in the South is that Beacon was a radical splinter faction. "

"But why would they think that?" Ren intoned.

"Simple really," the headmaster sighed, "The White Fang did not become popular solely by bombing trains and raiding the SDC. They also provided protection for many Faunus businesses from Mistral's various criminals elements. They have escorted caravans of merchants through the wilderness and protected Faunus settlements."

"But," Jaune muttered, "What about Hunters?"

Lionheart simply shrugged, "Some do their duty, others do so at higher rates, some drag their feet and, well you get the idea. The council certainly has little interest in helping either, I can barely get them to speak to me on a good day. Put simply, many people are in mourning and many more are gleeful and intent on making their misery worse. Just another problem upon an ever-mounting pile I'm afraid."

Ruby bit her tongue but stepped up, "Sir, how can we help?" Then she stopped and rubbed the back of her head, "I mean, I know we aren't official or anything but..."

Nora cut in, "It sounds like you could use all the help you could get."

Lionheart's expression turned wane as he began to tap a pen on the desk, "I do have something, it may well be tied to what you came here for as well." At that Jaune perked up. "Tell me in your travels have you noticed any odd Grimm behavior?"

Ren spoke up, "Yes, in the town of Oniyuri. They were struck by bandits and then Grimm, but apparently the number of Grim was minuscule compared to what they thought they should have faced."

Tapping her chin, Ruby added, "Also, when I was scouting a few weeks back, I remember seeing like, a huge pack of Grimm just come to a screeching halt while running and just sort of...wander off?"

Lionheart nodded with enthusiasm, "Exactly the sort of thing we've been getting reports of for several weeks now. We can't explain it, no disasters luring them in, no ancient Grimm, barely even any settlements caught up in the stamped. I had a team investigating the phenomena and we narrowed the source down to somewhere in the South-East, deep in the Hinoki forest."

Jaune gulped, "Did the team not come back?"

Lionheart waved him off, "They did, but the council felt their skills could be better used elsewhere because, well..." He stammered as if looking for a diplomatic way to phrase the next part.

Nora beat him to it, "They figured if it was someone else's problem it didn't matter, right?"

Lionheart sunk into his chair and sighed, "Indeed, but as you yourselves have seen, people can utilize Grimm, and there are...items in this world that hold terrible power. I likely should not be telling you this, but the pedigree of the Rose family is above reproach and you've all shown valor by coming here."

Ruby felt a little stunned as her friends' eyes turned to her, she knew at least in part what the headmaster was referring to. Her silver eyes, her mother's ties to some secret duties Ozpin and her uncle Qrow were involved in but to know it stretched this far felt... Heavy.

Standing up straighter she said, "Sir, we'd be happy to help, what do you need us to do?"

Lionheart smiled, "You're very kind and as to the mission," He motioned to the map and draw a wide line around an eastern section of the Southern forest. "I want you all to travel down to this region and investigate the area, look for anything strange be it flashes of light, odd structures, unfamiliar technology or suspicious characters. Keep your distance from the Grimm as best you can and simply try to find the source of all this."

He lowered the screen and stared at them grimly, "When you do, investigate only so far as you feel is safe and then return. Once we have proof of potential danger, I can have a larger team assigned to the mission." Easing down into his chair he smiled, "I can also give you all a line of credit for mission gear, including hotels and anything else you might deem 'necessary'."

Ruby wasn't sure she liked the way Nora was smirking at that 'necessary', but then she could already see a multitude of Dust cartridges flowing through her mind so who was she to judge.

Offering a respectful bow, Ruby smiles, "We'll get right on that, thank you for trusting us headmaster Lionheart!"

She didn't see his eyes dim as they left, his words trailing after her "No, thank you miss Rose," They sounded pained.

Leo sank into his chair with an exhausted sigh, only to shoot right back out of it at the sound of several foot falls.

"My, my, a wonder what a bit of preparation can do for a performance, don't you think, Tyrian?" Dr watts strode into the office, his sharp brown and yellow suit ruffled but it only added to the mans overconfident swagger.

At his side was a man in form fitting khaki combat clothes and a brown coat, long brown hair in a braid and a subtly manic look in his eyes as he eyed the door. "Oh, definitely doctor, it seems a true thespian sits before us."

But it's what was between them that truly made his heart quake.

Like a bastardized Jellyfish the Seer floated before him, blood red tendrils tipped with white bone dangling down from its small, black spherical body that shimmered like a smoky crystal ball. The sharp, bone-like plates and spikes only added to the menace, but in truth it was the visage within that chilled his soul.

My queen," He stammered, rising and offering a clumsy bow to the pale-faced, red-eyed mistress of the Grimm, her elegant yet cruel face framed by ornately decorated bone white hair.

"Leo," She said, voice like cracking ice.

He was grateful, so grateful when Watts spoke, tapping the Grimm with a fearless sort of arrogance, "Such a fascinating creation, I would love to know how it works."

Tyrian scowled at the doctor before bowing to Salem, "Your grace, what would you have me do now that the children are on the hunt?"

"For now, leave them to their investigation, follow them with a Seer at a distance and observe their findings and report back to me. If it seems we might lose the Rose girl take her, but otherwise we can remove them from the board at our leisure."

Her expression turned subtly more dower, "Right now, my interest lies in who is disrupting the Grimm. This is not our primary concern however, that remains the Relic of Knowledge beneath your feet, but it would be remiss for us to ignore something like this."

Tyrian bowed grandly and theatrically, "I shall make ready at once, my goddess."

Salem nodded before turning her attention to the doctor, "Arthur, for now you will remain here and support Tyrian and Leo's efforts from afar, but be ready to act should something of note be discovered."

Watts rested a hand over his chest and smiled, "That shouldn't be too difficult ma'am."

"And Leo..."

"Ye- Yes ma'am!"

A tendrils lashed out and trailed its bladed tip along his neck.

"Keep up the fine work."

And with that, the Seer drifted away, Watts only lingering long enough to enjoy the sight of Leo crumpling back into his seat.


Thanks to @Iscariotpaladin for editing and offering feedback, your assistance is a huge part of what made this story!

This is an idea I've been toying with in one form or another for ages, and when I finally hit on a mechanic I just had to start writing, 73 thousand words later and here we are, I hope you enjoy this story!
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So, one thing I was thinking of including was a sort of 'travel map' in as they relate to recent chapters and their developments. In this regard, I will be sharing a map of Silverpine Forest that shows the Night Elves landing zone, where the White Fang and Alliance survivors have been hold up, the Grimm nests and where they all converged.
I am using World of Warcraft maps as they are larger and more detailed than the WC3 maps, though I am playing fast and loose with some details by mixing and matching info from the RPG (Such as Gaval Moch's location) or the including of Warcraft 3's River that swept Tyrande away. The maps hail from Reddit user Searrard: Link


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Chapter 2
Silver Among Shadows

Ruby's scroll hummed and the redhead frantically waved her hand in front of the camera, muttering, "Is this thing on, oh beans it's already recording, OK."

Coughing into her hand, Ruby propped her Scroll up on a well-positioned rock beneath the sun obscuring trees and began her speech.

"This is Trainee Huntress, Ruby Rose reporting!"

The crimson-cloaked huntress adopted an 'official' stance, with one hand behind her back and the other raised up to point, just like she'd seen Weiss do when gearing up to lecture someone.

"For two weeks and three days my team and I have been investigating the Grimm migrations in Hinoki Forest."

She flicked a button on her scroll and recordings of Grimm began to play over her speech.

"Thanks to Ren's Semblance we've gotten by without too much trouble, but the Grimm in the area are really varied, much more so than they should be given what we read."

She flicked the scroll again and a small slide show began to play showing the dark towering woods flooded with masses of shadowy Grimm filling the fo9rest like floodwater.

"Still no signs of what's causing the weird behavior, we haven't found like, any ruins, weird Atlas tech or even people."

Ruby sagged a little as the recording came back to her, "Honestly it's getting to us I think, Jaune's really frustrated, Nora's bored, Ren's always tired and I feel like we're screwing up." She looked at her hands, slowly clenching her calloused fingers as she mumbled, "I feel like I should know what to do but I don't."

Stopping herself, Ruby shot forward and erased the last segment of the recording and capped it off with a new ending.

"We will continue our investigation, and report back our findings!" With that she sealed the scroll and marched back to camp.

Qrow drifted through the air on dark wings, surfing along the updraft and gliding over a slowly establishing camp that felt all too familiar. Ratty patch work tents, slowly decaying carts and one massive, ornate, mobile tent, adorned with spikes and draped in blood red cloth.

He didn't descend though, merely catching the eye of the dark-maned, red clad samurai barking out orders. The moment she turned to leave he began flapping his wing, rocketing towards a nearby clearing by the coast and welcoming it as his body twisted and snapped back into its true form.

Qrow Branwen landed with practiced ease on the rocky coastline, the waves crashing against the jagged stones below. Only turning when a rippling, writhing, reverberating noise echoed out, accompanied by a blood red light, as Raven Branwen stepped through her Semblance portal.

"Someone clip your wings?" He joked, as his sister doffed off her layered bone white Grimm mask.

"Funny, I'd ask if you came up with it, but we both know you don't do your own thinking," Raven countered, her rough voice extra gravelly, like she'd been drinking. Qrow would know.

"Well you know me, not one to sweat the small stuff," He popped out his flask open and took a sip as Raven merely glared him down.

'So we're doing this the hard way,' he thought with a sigh. "So, wanna tell me why you came all the way down to the ass end of Anima? Wasn't exactly quick and easy to track you down ya know."

"Felt like a change of scenery," Raven shrugged.

"Right," Qrow drawled, "One minute you're raiding wealthy towns like Oniyuri and the next you what, wanna come bait some mermaids, bully a few farmhands?"

"If you have nothing but inane questions for me Qrow, I'm leaving, some of us attend to our responsibilities."

"Responsibilities are exactly what I'm here to discuss," he snapped, taking his first step towards her. Seeing her hand come to rest on the hilt of her sword he stopped but added, "Last I heard there were some reports of freak weather phenomena near a stampeding pack of Grimm. Do you want to guess who I found out was in the area when it was happening?"

Raven rolled her shoulders and muttered, "We used a lot of Dust."

"Or, you used magic," Qrow said bluntly, "Where is the Spring Maiden, Raven?"

"Who knows?"

"Don't screw with me, Raven, we need her back now!"

Raven turned her scathing red eyes on him and snorted, "You haven't changed, but you won't find an obedient pawn here, little brother!" With a swipe of her sword, another rift opened and Raven was gone.

'So it's going to be like that, is it?' Qrow felt his chest tightening, like his ribs were pressing in on his heart before he let out a breath and just shook his head. 'Raven made her choice and it was the wrong one, now all that's left to do is play it out to the end.' But for that he was going to need some back up, and it was a long flight to Mistral.

With that thought, Qrow transformed and launched himself into the sky.

Hinoki forest was an ancient and gargantuan place. Taking up nearly a tenth of Anima's landmass, the dark woods and eastern mountains dividing it from the badlands had only ever been sparsely settled.

Nomads once roamed it freely and a smattering of city states and forts had risen and fallen, but never had the forest truly vanished. Thus, it was a thick and overgrown place where vines and strange plants competed for light beneath the canopy.

Ruby sat on the branch of an ancient elm larger than some apartment buildings. She gazed through her sniper-scythes lens with well-practiced ease, her black and crimson garments obscured by the layers of branches and leaves that made up her sniper's perch.

Silver eyes scanned the thick forests and the snarling masses of Grimm skittering about, lupine Beowolves rubbed fur with feline Manticors and Sabyr while heavy set Ursa trundled along between them. While raven like Nevermore and the harpy-ish Razorwings darkened the sky, their dark plumage contrasting sharply with the white insectoid lancers, their eerie buzzing, like a drill, in the back of her mind. Ruby could barely even guess at the horrors likely lurking just below the surface but the sights of tunnels and upturned earth on the ground floor told her Creeps and Centinels were on the list.

'And those are just the normal Grimm, all fangs and claws and sometimes fire. If Geists and Nightmares are running around we'll struggle to even see them!'

Ruby saw a Nervemore drifting by, the birds bone adorned head head turning to her hiding spot, all four of those blazing red eyes hovering over her hiding spot.

Sucking in a breath, Ruby forced the feelings back and down; with practiced ease she brought a piece of chocolate up to her lips and bit into it. Making sure to drink in and relish the taste and the thought of the friendly Faunus woman she bought it off.

The Nevermore's attention snapped away to one of it's larger kin and Ruby felt her heart swell with relief as she returned to her scouting.

The faint scent of Ren's cooking tickled her nose and a low sigh escaped her lips, 'He's back on a healthy eating kick.' Suddenly Ruby didn't feel so guilty she splurged not just on bullets and Dust but also on a pack of her favorite snacks hidden safely in her satchel.

Her Scroll buzzed to life with Jaune's voice, "Hey Ruby? Anything yet?"

"No, still just lotsa Grimm, but we're bound to see something soon, how's dinner coming along?"

Jaune took a moment to answer, "It''s green," he finally settled on with a subtle groan, Ren's voice reverberating in the background:

"It's healthy!"

"Whatever it is," Nora cut in with an aggrieved tone, "It'll be ready in a few minutes, want Ren to run some up?"

"Yeah, I think we're real close to a breakthrough, so I can't stop now," Ruby said with some humor, she was saying it so often she'd have to be right eventually right?

Jaune's tone was much less chipper, "Yeah... Right..."

Any response Ruby might have had was engulfed by a chorus of guttural, demonic cries, the roars, and screeches of beasts bled together as the forest floor began to shake.

"It's here, it's here!" She cried, frantically scanning the skies, and locking on a Nevermore with a missing leg. "Follow me!" She cried, not taking her eyes off the black bird as she began to leap and bound across the trees. Nora rocketing after her on her warhammer Magnhild with Jaune clinging to her for dear life and Ren racing through the trees on foot, only a few steps behind her.

Ruby could feel the energy thrumming in her veins, rose petals flickered and burst even as she forced her Semblance back. 'Can't leave the team behind, gotta be responsible,' she told herself. 'Even if finding out the source of these Grimm is an even bigger responsibility and if you mess it up more people are going to die and-'

Ruby forced herself to stop that line of thinking as she surged through the trees, Grimm of all kinds swarming below and overhead, some stampeding right over their fellows and shredding entre stretches of less sturdy forest as they went.

Their charge to the source came to a jerking stop as Ruby rebounded off a tree just in time to avoid a Nevermore and unleashed Crescent Rose. But no fight was coming, the gargantuan bird simply sat on the branch and more and more Grimm gathered, filling the forest with snarling, primeval shadows.

"Ruby!" She heard the others hissing, further back and cloaked by Ren's Semblance they might as well have been invisible to the Grimm and yet... 'They can't see me, no they don't care.'

Ruby sent the others a grin and waved them forward, leaping and rebounding off trees until she got a clear view to the heart of the swarm and she embedded Crescent Rose into the tree.

Nora buried the handle of her massive hammer into the tree and Jaune his over long sword, letting them both stand as Ruby did, while Ren dangled from a single blade of his Stormflower pistols.

"What in the world?" Jaune gasped.

Ruby couldn't blame him, the mass of Grimm had devastated a whole forest clearing and now sat in rapt attention, snarling and hissing, as if calling out to what should have been empty space.

But instead in the heart of the clearing was a shimmering, rippling mass of shadow, it stretched and strained and contorted, looking like something sickly and bubbling bursting from the skin of empty space as it tore itself wider and wider, becoming a gaping maw.

Ren's entire body convulsed, and he nearly lost his grip. "Something" he gasped, "Something terrible is on the other side of that!"

As if in answer to his words the Grimm's chorus grew into a maddened ovation, rising onto their haunches and dragging their claws through the air as if chanting and screaming at the rift.

"Guys, Alpha!" Nora hissed, and indeed there were.

On the ground stalked a grizzled Alpha-Ursa, it's spiked back scratched and burnt, as it reared back, black ichor dripping from its frame and roared like a general rallying their soldiers.

From the ground more insectoid Grimm burrowed up, sickening tendrils and carapaces wedging between fur and scales as they hissed and brayed. While swirling around them was a sight to make Ruby shudder, ghostly Geists and writhing Nightmares drifted among the horde, barely visible but very much there.

At the front of the amassing line of flying Grimm was a Queen Lancer; at its back were hundreds of soldiers and drones. Their white bone, segmented bodies and spindly spiked legs vibrating as the rift finally grew so large that it could have swallowed a multi-story house.

Then, as if some terrible leash had been cut the Grimm started surging through, the Alphas waiting as the first wave of Grimm began to swarm through in a black and white tide of violence. Soon though their patience broke and they tore into the crowds, anything too weak to stop them battered aside or crushed as they vanished into the vortex.

Jaune was shaking, Nora and Ren were deathly silent, barely able to even move.

But Ruby could.

The sight of Grimm had never scared her, not even a little. Maybe it was her training, or her eyes, or something even more innate, but she did not fear what might happen if the Grimm turned on her. She feared what they'd do to the people on the other side of the rift.

"I need to go," she said simply.

That forced her friends out of their shock, "Ruby no!" Jaune screamed.

Nora was practically reaching for her "That's nuts!"

"We completed our mission; we need to go!" Ren argued.

Ruby just dropped down to grab Crescent Rose, "We need to know what's on the other side and I'm the only one fast enough." They had no idea how long it would be open for, she needed to move! "I'll be back!" She cheered, glancing back at Ren and Nora who tried to reach for her hopelessly while Jaune just averted his gaze.

Then her entire world was rose petals, a swirling mass of crimson red color and sensation. She could see everywhere and nowhere and that was before she slipped through the portal.

Everything folded and twisted in on itself, all that surrounded her was blackness. For a moment it was like she and the Grimm were one, like Ruby Rose did not exist even as she somehow stared out at an endless array of white lighting and shadow in a celestial dance.

Then it passed, and she was once again a blurring mass of red petals and crashing her way into trees. Materializing with a pained groan, "Bad landing strategy!" Ruby launched herself up and into the nearest mountains crevasse for cover. "Ow... OK, where am I?"

She groaned, forcing herself to stand and assess how far she'd gone, 'Gotta hurry, gotta hurry!' She told herself.

Casting her gaze around and finding nothing familiar, a misty lake rose in the distance despite the late hour in the day, thin, withered trees struggled for life and vast patches of ground looked sick and dead.

Pulling up her scope Ruby grimaced, 'I flew so far,' she wasn't exhausted, but her body felt fragmented, drained and altogether to lose. Still, the portal was open, and she wouldn't need long if she got lucky and so Ruby turned her focus to the Grimm.

The Grimm were still streaming out of the rift, racing over a grey, forbidding landscape like a broken dam released water. Shattering withered trees and dispersing through the mist, Ruby watched as the Lancers and other fliers soared across a tepid lake, while the other Grimm began racing what she guessed was East

'What in the world?'

She finally spied the source, a broad figure in black robes, a four-pointed crown with gold lining, their face completely obscured by a mask that screamed 'bad guy' when combined with the Grimm.

Bracing to launch she froze at the sound of screaming, spinning around she saw an Ursa attacking someone, looming over and obscuring their would be victim. Ruby could barely catch glimpses of them behind the blurring of a wooden stave and a glowing barrier.

Instincts took over and she launched herself into the fray. In a burst of petals, she was standing before the Grimm Crescent reared back and the moment it snarls in her direction Ruby pulled the trigger.

An explosion of force rocketed her forward and she caught the blade in its open mouth and with a smirk cut through the top of its head. The thick, leathery flesh cut cleanly and the Grimm collapsing backwards with a thud before it began to fade.

Ruby saw the defensive barrier fading and looked at the person... she...saved...

'That is not a person,' some stupid part of her brain supplied, too stunned to really process anything else as the figure rose to its feet.

It was tall, obscenely so, standing nearly nine feet, with green skin, no... Yes, it was green skin, but with a layer of nearly matching fuzz. Covered in a loose colorful top of brown and greens, they wore a heavy looking battle kilt and wrapped around their belt were several strange idols. Finally, Ruby looked to its face, the creatures' features were sharp and lean like their entire body, with a long pointed nose, pointed ears and a mouth full of tusks and fangs.

Finally it spoke, a voice surprisingly high and sibilant, "Eeh Chuta?"

"She's taking too long; we have to go after her!" Nora screamed.

Ren looked and sounded as frantic as Jaune had ever seen him, "I can hide us, I can," he stressed.

They looked to Jaune who stared at the rift, again a Huntress gone, again he was left behind, again he'd failed.

"Jaune!" Nora pulled him to his feet and whispered, "Ruby's alive, she needs us, we have to move!"

Swallowing back his grief Jaune took a shaky step forward and another, nodding resolutely, "We need to move before- Its closing!"

Without thinking they started racing towards it, the Grimm horde still surging through the hole in reality alongside them uncaring as to their presence.

But someone else was.

A strangled, screeching "NO!" as terrible as any Grimm rang out from behind them and the survivors or JNPR were cast aside by a man in a brown coat. He leapt over the horde and into the rift, a strange Grimm drifting after him at an oddly sedate pace.

It had only been a moment, it shouldn't have been enough, but the moment Jaune forced himself to his feet he screamed at the sight before him, "RUBY!" As the wound in world surged and spiraled like a whirlpool and then slammed shut.

The darkness was gone and Jaune could barely even hear Nora's cry of horror and outrage.

The world only came back to them when Ren grabbed both their wrists as the the burning gazes of the Grimm turned on them and Jaune found his grief swallowed into nothing. A terribly blank absence of feeling as Ren's Aura washed over them and he frantically dragged them into the trees and away from the Grimm, away from another, fallen Huntress.

Tyrian's heart was ready to burst from his chest, vines of shame coiled in his lungs, Choking the life from him as the Rose girl vanished. His desperate cry of denial at his heresy, at failing, was swallowed by the cries of the Grimm even as he pursued.

His world became stretched and discordant a million screaming voices flooded his senses but none louder than the voice of his own chastisement.

'Failure, sinner, Incompetent!'

The darkness faded to reveal unfamiliar lands, touched with rot-cracked earth and tall, rocky hills from which the Grimm were disgorged like toxic water.

Tyrian case his gaze around, braid snapping like a whip as he searched for any sign of red, of flashing silver and gun fire but found nothing!

'Not a tree branch or a foot print, not yet, but I'll find you, I will, I must!'

His gaze snapped to the source of his troubles as it vanished from sight and standing before him was a nervous looking man in dark robes.

Tyrian was on him in an instant, vanishing into a blur, rebounding off the rocky hill and sliding his wrist mounted blades along the robed man's neck oh so gently.

"Who are you to touch the goddesses gifts?"

Just as his tail unfurled to sting, a burst of light launched him back, 'Like a grenade!'

The tingling pain vanished before it even had time to settle and Tyrian watched in surprise as the man's form shone, spilling out several copies. Tyrian smiled, moving faster than normal eyes could follow, he weaved through the clones' attacks, bolts of shadow and ice soaring passed him. With a slash of his blades, he began tearing one, two, three!

Tyrian turned to the summoners; the man's hands raised high as alien energies surged around him!

Only to fall to his knees, shaking, his haunted, harrowed eyes fell to his calf where Tyrian's scorpion tail had embedded its stinger before his eyes rolled back and he collapsed to the dirt.

Pulling his stinger away, Tyrian began to swift scout the surrounding, but barring a single indent in a tree and some disturbed grass he could not find his quarry.

'I can track her I must, I…' Tyrian looked to the sky and felt his heart lodge in his throat at the sight of it all. Not the divinely destroyed orb of broken fragments of Remnant but two, perfectly untouched moons shone down upon the land as the sun ducked beneath the horizon.

Tyrian simply fell to his knees, a baleful wail tearing its way from his lungs with a choked sob.

He had failed her, failed his goddess!

"Tyrian..." Her voice called, faint, oh so terribly miraculously faint.

His head lurched up and he saw the Seer hovering before him, its sigils coming to brim with crimson light as he answered, "I am here, I am here my queen, I beg-"

"You are... Far from... Me... Tell me... What you... See..."

Perking up Tyrian took in everything with perfect clarity.

"I see a world unlike our own my mistress, I see a foreign sky, grey hills steeped in rot and forests of silver mist. I see someone who has brought your creations here, a man in dark robes who lies before you thanks to my poison. I do not see the Grimm, they surged towards some far of place though I know not where."

"Follow... Them... Carry Him..."

"Of course your grace," he picked up his captive and started running, the Seer trailing after him, "But, my queen, the crimson rose?"

"She is... Not leaving..." Salem's voice intoned with dark amusement that only made Tyrian want to cackle.
Hi all, thanks again to @Iscariotpaladin for editing and offering feedback, your assistance is a huge part of what made this story!

Sorry this chapter is a day later than promised I lost track of the dates due to some visitors, but I hope you all enjoyed it; this is very much the last of what I'd call "set up" as things after this point will be progress faster as more factions meet and play off each other now that all the pieces are in play.

I tried to take some advise and give a bit more detail about the look of Grimm for the unfamiliar, though I was still wary of bogging the story down, so I hope this helped. Also for anyone curious, yes Tyrian is actually just like that, one of the reasons I enjoy him is his shift from "Cackling killer" to over dramatic, purple prose spouting weirdo.
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I have more maps, one in WOW showing the progress of the Sentinls and their allies, as well as Ruby's landing spot and the Grimm's movements and another showing where Ruby came from.


The maps hail from Reddit user Searrard: Link and from Twitter user KeithMontalbo: Link.


Well-known member
Chapter 3
Into the Shadowed Glenn

Sibilant and unfamiliar words rang loud in Ruby's ears.

"Eeh Chuta... Ruk MogOth..."

With each word the speakers tone got more stilted.

"Anaria shola.. Guzak narak?"

Ruby heard the creature's...the person's words but she couldn't make heads or tails of them. Holding her hand up in what she hoped was a universal 'stop' signal she spoke.

"I uh, I don't..." She pointed to herself and offered a stiff bow, "Ruby Rose."

The creature looked at her quizzically, seemingly giving up cycling through whatever languages it was trying and mimicked her, "Doth'Ra."

Waving awkwardly, Ruby glanced back to where she'd come from and her shoulders fell, even at this distance she should have been able to see some signs of Grimm or the rift but the forest was deathly silent.

She was jolted out her worry when a giant finger tapped her shoulder.

"Hi! Yes!?" She looked around frantically before her gaze zeroed in on the giant who squatted down and started drawing in the dirt with one of three giant digits. Peeking at the drawings Ruby quickly see a masked visage and fangs, two vertical slashes then the creatures flashed its fingers at her several times before rolling its shoulder looking unsure.

Ruby bit her lip and brow furrowed almost painfully as she glared at the drawing before things clicked into place. 'If I'm right, then its numerical right? Math is math!'

Dropping down she quickly mimicked the persons art piece but put two horizontal slashes and wrote one hundred, which was frankly charitable. Then she flashed ten fingers slowly, before doing so faster and fast until she hit one hundred.

The creature nodded, an unhappy grimace on their already rather harsh features. They did another quick sketch this one showing tents and people and then Grimm masks surrounding.

'A village, they must be worried the Grimm will attack their...' Ruby jumped to her feet and nodded frantically, "Grimm. Attack. Yes!" Nodding emphatically, then she brought up Crescent Rose and dragged the tip of the blade through the Grimm masks, "Help?"

She practically started dancing from one foot to the next as the creature looked her over warily, before the pained look in its eye was turned to the sloping, mist drenched mountain and finally it nodded, motioning for her to follow.

They broke into a run, racing up the thin mountain paths. The creature was fast by any civilian metric; giant legs and powerful muscles, as well as familiarity with the terrain letting them lead Ruby well enough. Still, she could go faster, so much faster it almost pained her to think people were in danger because they couldn't just give her directions!

But as they slid into the misty peaks, even Ruby needed to slow her steps to keep from losing her giant guide as they moved deeper into the mountain.
The journey felt longer than it really was, but every moment felt like an eternity when people were counting on you.

Ruby's guide led them through winding paths, often pausing to chant something under their breath before revealing a new path Ruby hadn't even noticed.

She would have felt useless if she hadn't at least been able to just grab the giant and Petal Burst them over the wildly flowing rivers and tributaries that snaked through the mountain.

But the deeper they went the calmer and larger the waters became, the more Ruby saw signs of habitation. From deep caves too well carved to be natural, tents and even scattered wooden huts.

All were empty save one, the mangled body of a dead being inside stilling her guide before he bowed his head in prayer and redoubled his efforts.
'At least its only one isn't exactly very comforting...' A part of her thought bitterly, even if that did likely mean the other villagers escaped... Or just got chased down.

Finally, she could see they were approaching some place major, the flickering of Grimm through the sky all too familiar. At the sound of shouting, Ruby glanced to her guide and pointed, they nodded, and she was gone in a burst of red.

Materializing in the heart of a massive, winding mountain valley, obscured by stone and ancient looming trees; ignoring the chaos with well practiced ease she took in the people, all of them some shade of green and gigantic, bedecked in hearty dark leathers and dull armor.

Axes and spears soared through the air as war cries echoed out and bursts of light and crackling lightning filled the air. Ruby gasped as she saw one green beings bodies swell monstrously, shining crimson red as they snatched a bat like Ravager from the air and shredded it.

'It's just some young fliers, we got this!'

Folding Crescent Rose into its heavy duty sniping form, Ruby locked onto a swooping Nevermore aiming for a being in ornate robes and blew the human-sized bird out of the air, black feathers and bone shrapnel splattering across the sky before its body turned to shadow.

The ringing of the gun shot drew not just the creature's attention but also the Grimm's. Maybe some sort of ancestral memory?

Ruby didn't slow for even a second, frantic sharp shots ringing out and bullets bursting across the sky, shattering Grimm masks and blitzing the bodies of the beasts.

Her arrival was apparently all it took to turn the tide as the Grimm's loose cohesion shattered and the locals began falling upon any isolated or confused Grimm with vengeance. Shredding them with glinting steel and bursts of powerful energy flying from staffs that she guessed had Dust in them.

Pushing deeper into the town, city, she wasn't really sure, Ruby continued her work, blurring between the roof tops of huts and great trees, shredding the larger Grimm and scattering the weaker ones to be picked off by the locals.

The numbers of fighters seemed to be swelling as more and more Grimm began to die or flee when an echoing shriek rang out.

Ruby exploded in a burst of red over the charging locals and arrived to see a fully grown Nevermore falling to the ground. There were several injured fighters around, but standing above all was a creature in dark armor lined with gold. His dark green mohawk was similarly touched by shining yellow dye and he stood atop a gargantuan turtle with a spiked shell, the beast spewing a gout of water at the already deceased and fading Grimm with enough force to shatter its leg.

'That's in hand,' she thought as what she guessed were medics started pulling away the injured. Instead her focus turned to the largest dam she'd yet seen and the mass of creatures on it with their turtles holding weapons but not striking.

'They were assaulting the dam!? Grimm this weak aren't that smart.'

A screech rang out making some of the giants cringe in agony, their massive ears making them even more vulnerable to the harpy like Razorwing swooping down on the Dams defenders.

Ruby grimaced unfurled Crescent Rose.

In a blur of red she exploded from the branch she was on and materialized behind it, hooking her blade around its neck and firing. The force dragging it from the sky and into the ground with a blast of force, cratering the monstrous creature.

It thrashed and slashed with its bone white talons but Ruby ducked around its painful strikes and cries, driving the sharp tip of Crescent Rose right into its skull the moment it tried to get away from her. Piercing right through it and letting her blade cleave the monster in half.

Not wasting a moment she hopped out of the crater and soon saw she was near the center of attention for the locals. Glancing around the sea of giants, Ruby leapt several stories into the air, looking about frantically for more Grimm but seeing nothing she let out a whoop of joy as she dropped back to the ground.

No one else was cheering however.

'Oh OK so that's the tone we're going for?' It made sense, these people probably weren't used to being assaulted by monsters.

The crowd hastily parted revealing the troll who she guessed was the villages strongest warrior from earlier. He stared her down, looking even more gargantuan from the back of his turtle before chuckling in a harsh, snake-like tongue.

"Zfuli, Jang-e!" He dropped down and with one giant hand clapped her on the shoulder, startling a little when she didn't budge before smiling with all fangs.

"Thank you?" She said, offering a quick bow to enhance the point.

The creatures arched those long, strange eyebrows and muttered something in another tongue, as chatter and some cheers began to fill the air.

Then a slightly familiar voice rang out, her guide pushing through the crowd and grinning at her widely. He threw back a sip of a drink in an ornate looking goblet with crystal blue glass and a thin neck before offering it to her.

'Yang said to never take food from strangers, but if it's the custom...' She took it and took a sturdy sip.

The assault on her senses nearly made Ruby spew it all back over him, tingling and hot on her tongue, it tasted like nails!

Swallowing it she offered a shaky thumbs up and a pained grin, "...Thanks..."

"Medicinal aids do not taste good, warrior," The creature answered with an amused huff.

Ruby lurched back, hugging Crescent Rose and sending the glass bottle flying into the air where it was snatched out of out by the warrior who took his own sip as she shrieked.

"I can understand you now! Did you change my tongue, or my ears or, no wait that makes no sense! What!?"

"It is a potion," he said simply, "It forges a bond to communicate our emotions when we speak. It is not always clear, but it will do."

"That... OK, yeah OK, sure, strange new world, I guess anything's possible. Say, did I hit my head?"

"I think we would have seen that little witch," The warrior rumbled.

Ruby turned to him and squared her shoulders, "My name is Ruby Rose, I'm a Huntress."

Her arched his brown and nodded, "Huntress then, I am Krag'Jin, leader to the Shadowglenn Trolls of Tal'Vass." He motioned vaguely as the crowd watching dispersed to reveal their settlement.

Ruby took in the sight of elaborate wooden houses, colorful yurts, and the signs of deeper habitation in what she could only guess were winding caves. There were small pig farms and well-tended to herb gardens as well as many ornate looking totems. Furthermore, she noticed poles and other art pieces. All seemed to have a nearly faint glow to them.

Her guide perked up, "Normally outsiders are not permitted here, this is our safe haven, but given the beasts..." He trailed off.

"You did the right thing, Shaman Doth'Ra," Krag'Jin said firmly, not really speaking to her so much as addressing their wary watchers. "This one is not the only outsider to visit us, the Witches of the Harvest do as well, and these days any friend is welcome." He turned to her, a grim look to his fierce features, "If, or when you leave, do not tell others of us, we have survived so well here only because none know of us."

Ruby saluted smartly, "My lips are sealed sir, and honestly I don't think anyone I could tell would do much damage anyway cause you see I'm not really uh, from here?" She looked up through the broken tree branches to see two moons rising in the distance and shuddered. "That probably doesn't make sense."

"More than you think," The troll intoned, "Our world has had other... Visitors, and I take it these beasts are native to yours?"

"They're the Creatures of Grimm," Zeroing in on the one thing that made sense to her in all this. "They exist to hunt and kill...well any thinking person I guess and destroy all they build." She shook her head, the idea of explaining Grimm felt like madness but they needed the crucial pieces now. "They don't sleep or get hungry; they just hunt and kill." She clicked her finger, "And they're drawn to negative motions too, so uh, try not to get freaked out?"

There was a very long moment where the two trolls stared at her and Ruby wondered if the potion had worn off before Krag'Jin clapped Doth'Za on the shoulder and said, "You were right to investigate your dreams Shaman, well done." He motioned for them to follow, patting his massive turtles side as they marched towards the dam.

"You say they destroy our creations too, yes?" He snorted as they came to a stop at the carefully constructed mass of stones and vines that looked almost natural. "That explains their attack on our dams, they have good eyes."

Ruby frowned, "Those were just juvenile Grimm, they shouldn't be smart enough to recognize a dam this carefully hidden." She missed the trolls looking to one another in alarm at her words and continued, "If they did see it then they probably have an elder Grimm guiding them."

She brought up Crescent Rose and started scanning the winding mountain slopes, looking through the trees and down to the lands below the hills.

Doth'Ra muttered, "Eyes of a Hawk," before clapping her on the back, "An elder is?" the Shaman intoned gravely.

"A Grimm that's survived lots of fights, getting larger, stronger and much smarter. They can order younger Grimm around so if they were attacking like this then..."

"They were assessing us," Krag'Jin intoned gravely.

Ruby bristled as she saw trees beginning to fall and distant shaking echoing on the hillside.

"I see it, two clicks!"

Ruby was already on it and grimaced at the sight. A hulking monstrosity of scarred and burned bone, a bulky, almost rotund frame that surged with muscle. The squared off maw of an Ursa that dripped black miasma from its frame.

"An Ancient Ursa Major," She whispered, glancing over the skittering masses of Grimm cavorting around their elder.

Ruby's finger flickered along the trigger and shots echoed across the mountains, the first bullet splitting open a Beowolf's head, more bullets flying as she thought. 'You trained for this, you had classes on this,' Ruby told herself through gritted teeth.

"It's out of fliers," She mused, weird but lucky. "Krag'Jin, lesser Grimm are afraid of fire, if you want to kill Grimm surround them and only go for the throat, they won't be whittled down, only go for lethal attacks and always keep moving."

"Get the bottled fire!" The chief roared.

As bolts of lightning started raining down from the dam Ruby pulled Crescent Rose back and grimaced, "I'll handle the Ursa," And then she leapt off the dam, her body a swirling mass of red.

Releasing her Semblance Ruby drifted in the air and slammed a new ammo cartridge into Crescent Rose, the metal made a heavy thud as she unleashed the first shot, the gravity dust sending her surging upwards.

The bullet cracked against the Grimm's skull to no effect, even as shot after shot was unleashed all she was doing was scuffing it!

'It's heading right for the dam!'

she could see fires were spilling out across the slops, as turtle and bear riding trolls swarmed around the lesser Grimm. Strange lights suffusing the as lightning and bolts of fired rained down on the Ursa.

Dragging her blade back behind her Ruby fired, surging through the air, once, twice, three times, the wind howling as rose petals flooded the skies as she flicked Crescent Rose into her spear mode.

Ruby pulled on her Aura, her very soul, dragging the energy to the surface, her body humming with power, red light buzzing around her skin, muscles contorting and swelling as her senses surged and she locked onto her target.

Ruby's world exploded into spinning crimson light, the air behind her howling as the explosion of speed radiating from her twisting form snapped the winds to her whims and dragged them from the skies into a blurring maelstrom.

Ruby released her Semblance with a crack, intent on colliding with the Ursa, but at the last second the beast flung itself back!

Ruby impacted with the ground like a comet, the earth sundering, shattering and spread around her in a wide trench, the howling winds kicking up a storm that hurled lesser Grimm into the air with shrieks and howls.

Ruby tried to ready Crescent Rose but could barely dodge the massive tree trunk the Ursa had snatched up to use as a weapon. Spinning in the air she slashed it only for the Ursa to thrust it at her like a fencer's blade sending her flying into the dam with a crack.


Even still, Ruby landed and braced herself for another charge as the sickening mass of bone and black miasma reared up for a charge.

"Huntress! Can you do that again!?" Krag'Jin called desperately from very far away.

The Ursa was closing in and Ruby screamed, "Only once!" She exploded into Petal Burst and roughly hooked Crescent Rose around the Ursa's head and with a ringing shot managed to redirect its charge. Only for the beast to slide out of it and release roar that felt like a punch to the face.

"Once is all we need!" The troll cried out.

Gritting her teeth Ruby sent a shot into the ground as the Ursa pounced barely avoid its follow up slash as she surged into the skies on a trail of red petals and began to spiral.

Then she felt it, saw it, lightning arcing through the skies touched by shimmering colors that sang like a chorus in her head. The power, the magic suffused the tempest that she was, Ruby felt like her eyes were about to burst out of her head from the raw power of it all and without another thought, she descended.

A spiraling tornado of red, crimson lightning crackling all around and the cry of a mighty beasts filled the sky.

The Ursa was no fool and tried to break its foes path with a massive boulder.

It was ripped through in an instant and Ruby crashed against the monster, her blade piercing right through its spiked back and tearing her through its hulking frame and into the ground. All around her she felt the winds and lightning scream, and in a blast of red and silver light the Ursa exploded.

A moment passed in which all Ruby could hear was her own breathing before she forced herself to clamber out of the hole, intent on continuing the fight even as her legs shook and Crescent Rose felt distant and numb in her hands.

Then she heard cheering, cheering so loud it shook the mountains and through blurry eyes she could see the younger Grimm retreating.

'That's weird,' some part of her supplied even as the trolls hooted and hollered.

Still, Ruby etched a grin onto her face and delivered a resounding thumbs up to Krag'Jin.

And then she passed out.

Thanks for reading and to @Iscariotpaladin for editing!

For the unfamiliar the Shadowglenn Trolls of Tal'Vass are actually canon, they controlled a network of dams in a Warcraft 3 mission map and Illidan killed them to move through waterways slightly faster. I added the Tol'Vass name and expanded the scale of their settlements to try and make them feel less like just a small gaggle of people hanging around on some waterways and to make them into a proper group in their own right.

I enjoyed writing this chapter for a lot of reasons, but one of them was definitely the trolls, another being Ruby, but another was doing the "How do we converse?" thing that I feel should come up more in crossovers like this. Its fun trying to see people from very different worlds and perspectives try to communicate through a language and cultural barrier.

As to what happened at the end, I hope it was clear, but long story short, Ruby got juiced up by the Priests and so her attack was way more powerful than before. Her canon one was already strong enough to create a powerful tempest so add god magic and now you're in business; but that kind of power is a lot to deal with so she's gonna take a little nap. One thing I really wanted to sell here was that the trolls are competent, but the Grim are also powerful and unfamiliar. Its hard to strike that balance but I think I got it.

Anyway, thanks for reading, feedback is always welcome, net chapter, we go back to Tyrande and Maiev!


Well-known member
Another map update!

No huge changes, but I wanted to outline where the Shadowglenn live in this story (In New Dominion they lived on the West Coast, long story) I put them here because in the games they were controlling rivers near Dalaran that could hasten the Naga's journey.

With that in mind, given what you need for a sustainable population, construction materials and the kind of labor pool to do that and the fact they were by all signs local, they needed somewhere to live that could sustain them and protect them from outsiders.

Thus, the outlines area basically signifies the areas under their direct influence, warded by magic, traps and camouflage, while the areas just outside it are loosely theirs. Ambermill is realistically way smaller than is presented on the map and doesn't represent much territorial influence.
The maps hail from Reddit user Searrard: Link


Well-known member
Chapter 4
Waking Nightmare

Maiev carried herself through the Silverpine woods with tension running along her frame. The trees were too far apart to be natural, the paths made of cut stone buried in death earth and they were all together too quiet.

Worse still, everywhere she and her scouts looked they found no signs of their quarry.

It put her ill at ease.

'Our loss of focus does not help,' she thought darkly, paying closer attention to the conversation between Tyrande and Sienna of which she was nominally apart.

"So you are in essence banished from your Kuo Kuna was it?" Tyrande said with a touch of softness to her usually steely tones.

Sienna nodded, "In a sense. It would be impolitic for me to appear there as an enemy to so many powerful humans, but my soldiers may still reside there so long as they do not wear their allegiance openly."

Tyrande hummed, "A painful fate for warriors, your people's political situation certainly seems complicated."

Sienna chuckled without humor. "From what you have told me Priestess your own people are dealing with some rather drastic complications as well."

"Complications, perhaps, I think rapid evolutions would be more apt; so much is changing so quickly and so little of it feels to be in our hands."

Maiev couldn't stop herself from cutting in, "There are many things that have slipped through our hands, it seems to be the way of things in this day and age."

Tyrande's silver eyes shimmered with offence, "If you have something to say, Priestess of Shadow, speak openly, even for one such as yourself veiled words are ill suited I would think."

Pushing passed the insult, Maiev answered, "I dislike our slow progress, Tyrande, we have yet to even see tracks of Illidan or his Naga."

"But," Tyrande said imperiously, "We have already determined his target. The fallen city of Dalaran is the only place with the confluence of Ley Lines necessary to make real use of the Eye of Sargeras."

"Assuming Illidan's intentions strikes me as unwise, Priestess," Maiev cut back and a dark part of her relished the flash of pain on Tyrande's face. 'Good, you killed my Watchers to unleash that monster.'

Sienna, surprisingly, slipped back into the conversation with practiced ease, "You followed his wind path did you not? Then this Illidan and his followers will be somewhere on this coast. If they did not pass through the Northern river, all evidence suggests they will be need to use this, River Arevass to make headways in land."

"Again we assume, he may well be camping on some wretched island or be travelling along the coastlines," Maieve retorted.

All three turned to see a man in duller gold and red armor drifting back to join then, the dark haired elven man saluted gamely before speaking.

"Fret not, noble allies, if this Illidan courts the coast he will have near certainly passed by Pyrewood or crashed headlong into Gilneas, and both such landings would be sure to leave a trail." The elf glanced out to the woods and shuddered, "And if he seeks to use this artifact then Dalaran is the natural choice. Though, perhaps Ambermill... Whatever the case his trail will be clear."

Maiev's gaze shot to the elf, "What of this Ambermill you mentioned? I heard no tell of this!"

Selin Fireheart, a royal guard captain of his now distant prince cringed before answering. "This should not have left my mouth, but it may be integral. Ambermill is a lumber town that sits atop a powerful Ley Line node. My Prince and the survivors of Dalaran hoped to weaponize it but lacked the resources; if this Illidan cannot make headway in Dalaran it is the next best stop.

"And either way," Tyrande said gamely, "We shall see as we pass through the South."

"Indeed so, Honored Priestess."

Maiev caught Sienna looking into the woods, "If nothing else, trekking through the woods means he will run afoul of the Grimm before we do."

"May they end each other," Maiev muttered.

A voice called from up ahead, "Pyrewood Village is in sight!"

An almost audible sigh of relief rang out from among the humans in their convoy, they'd already struggled to keep pace, but even their own soldiers looked relieved. In contrast, the smattering of Gnolls and Ogres looked far more tense, beady eyes wary.

"It will be good to get a chance to stock up on provisions, if we can," Sienna muttered, ears twitching and her White Fang soldiers slowly converging together, Gnolls and Ogres following them cautiously.

Tyrande was nodding, "Indeed, we're already pushing these weary forests and our ancients hard to keep us all fed."

Selin nodded, "I shall ride ahead with the village elders and inform the town of our presence, I'll also need a volunteer to go to the lord of the Keep." There was a low groan at that from the soldiers and the civilians.

"He is not popular, I take it?" Tyrande said bluntly.

Selin's ears twitched, a smirk playing on his lips. "It would be improper for me to say as such." He said before Selin motioned to Blood Elf with short, white hair in rough, silver armor. "Jaroth Lightguard, you're a holy man, go and spread the good word to his lordship, yes?"

The Paladin looked to his commander and sighed. "The Light may be full of mercy but you are not, milord," before breaking off.

'Hopefully this will be quick,' Maiev thought, eyes glancing across Sienna as the tigress watched the nearby mountains warily.

Tyrande had not seen much of human living, her brief accord with the Alliance Expedition and a single diplomatic visit to the still unfinished port city of Theramore hardly provided a wealth of experience

'Still, there are recurring patterns,' she mused, intentionally ignoring the horrid amounts of lifeless, rotting wood used for the homes and instead musing on how insular it all felt. 'Small families in small homes with small windows and doors, it must be so isolating, must it not?'

Even still the people seemed friendly enough, welcoming their Northern kindred with open arms, and even their expedition with more awed curiosity than wariness; though the likes of the Gnolls and Ogres were to keep to the woods a deal that seemed to suit both sides. Several pots brewed a hearty stew and Tyrande found herself bemusedly watching a local farm hand try to impress one of her bulkier huntresses with his feats of strength.

Yet her ears twitched at familiar foot falls and she glanced to the approaching archer, "Sentinel?"

The green-haired bow woman bowed. "Forgive this crude interruption, mistress, but the other... Commanders wished to confer with you at the council hall."

Repressing a sigh, Tyrande waved for her mount to stay put and marched off to the large wooden hall near the heart of the village. Awaiting her were Maiev, Sienna and Selin, all looking some shade of grim and serious, 'Though when do they not?' She mused, with a touch of irony in her heart at that thought.

"I sense we have a problem?" She said by way of introduction.

Maiev was swift to speak, "We have word from one of their outriders that Naga were seen in the River Arevass."

Tyrande grimaced, "Meaning they will likely be making for the Lodemare Lake and with it, Dalaran."

Maiev's hands squeezed her Chakram, "Allegedly the Scourge has fallen back to Dalaran, which may buy us time, but not much. Still with these woods, I'd be cautious to send even trackers after him."

'Meaning we either need to move every exhausted soul or wait, neither are appealing options,' even if part of her very much wanted to wait even as her duty demanded she march.

"There is more," Selin intone, casting a wary glance at the looming keep above them. "It seems we are less welcome than I had expected."

That left Tyrande befuddled, "I thought these people were part of your Alliance?"

Selin shook his head, "Like my own people Gilneas, of which Silveprine is apart, left the Alliance. But unlike my fair home they did not suffer over much for their hubris." He cast a bitter scowl to the distant mountains in the South. "The Gilnean heartland rests behind Greymane Wall and until recently he showed no care for the people beyond it. But apparently with the Scourge in retreat he has seen fit to reinforce his territories and the lord of these lands would like to see us gone once we've spent our coin."

Tyrande arched her brow, arms folding, "I see few soldiers here."

Sienna just scoffed, "Apparently the good lord Silverlaine decided his new soldiers would be better suited as tax collectors than guardians."

"I take it then that our theory that Gilneas is behind these rifts holds firm?"

"It seems more and more likely," Selin mused, "But that is not my only concern. My Paladin has yet to return from the keep, Silverlain was never a sociable sort but there are whispers he has fallen ill. That has given us time to recoup, but for all we know it could be an ambush. I cannot count the number of times we have found survivors or a hold out only for it to be a seedbed of the Cult of the Damned."

Tyrande hummed in thought, "The council told you all of this?"

"Obliquely, but yes Priestess."

"Then we may yet have allies here, but we must be cautious."

Sienna nodded, "A mixed watch would be best, ready to raise alarm at a moment's notice."

"Agreed, I can rearrange our camp outside the village so that we are prepared in case battle is joined."

Tyrande was surprised to hear Maiev speak up, "I can have some of my Watchers scout in the shadows and alleyways for anything suspect, be it demons, the dead or these dread beasts. But should nothing happen we leave on evenings rise."

"Agreed," Tyrande intoned, "We have a plan."

Maiev's entire body shuddered as she was forced awake, the sound of surging water and drowned screams, of blood drenched halls and a set of silver eyes so familiar they may as well have been her own haunting her sleep.

The Warden pushed herself to her feet, hand resting against the tree she'd been leaning against to steady herself as the sickly, too grey forest and crowded Sentinel camp righted themselves.

Taking in a breath she was almost immediately assailed by her lieutenant, Anyndra, the stout Watcher in sturdy armor saluted and offered Maiev a water skin she took with a grateful hum. At the Watcher's side was her perpetual hanger on, the bulky Druid, Sarius who somehow looked akin to a bear even without magic.

Swallowing the dull tasting water Maiev muttered, "Did I keep you waiting?"

"No Warden," Ayndra bowed, "You needed your rest, I am sorry I did not ply you to do so sooner."

"That was always..." Maiev swallowed Naisha's name like it was somehow the sweetest spice and most despicable medicine. Her watchers, thankfully, said nothing, merely casting their eyes to the moon in respect for their fallen comrade. Finally, Maiev spoke, "Has anything of note been found yet?"

The Watcher tilted her head to the side, sharp hawk-like helmet rattling slightly, "We have found no signs of the Scourge, demons or these Grimm, though we have more hearsay on the beasts."

"What is that thing the Saber-ess said? No news is good news," Maiev answered, pulling some dried meat from a pouch on her hip and tearing into it with her fangs.

"Indeed Warden, though," Anyndra cast a glance to the looming keep, "The High Priestess has apparently decided to inspect the local lord's malady."

Maiev just snorted, "Let her, it's not our business."

It said a great deal that neither Elf looked even remotely offended at the prospect, instead Sarius spoke up. "I do have some heartening news mistress, if not, ahem, critical to the mission..." He trailed off, welcoming a pat on the shoulder from Anyndra with flushing cheeks.

"Well, speak up man," Maiev offered with something akin to lightness in her tone. Brightening the Druid said:

"I have been conversing with several of what the local people call Harvest Witches. It seems Gilneas, for its many faults, served as something of a rallying point for the last practitioners of this land's Druidic arts among the humans."

Maiev let the surprise show on her face, eyebrows brushing the lining of her helmet as she answered: "Unexpected given what we have seen so far."

Sarius looked to the South and huffed, "I confess I care little for how their skills have been put to use, but their zeal is commendable. I also heard from Seraphine of the Winter that they will ritually hold court with some local trolls on hallowed eves. These trolls reside right alongside the very river we march for."

"Interesting... They may prove useful, good work, both of you."

Maiev looked to the sky and saw the sun beginning to set, 'Soon, soon we march, provided Tyrande does not drag us to a damned halt.'

Sienna marched at Tyrande's side and took in the stone keep with some interest. A mass of grey and white brocks and wooden beams, stretching out and along the great mountain flat. Circular towers and squared off walls gave way to an expansive courtyard littered with soldiers and winding paths from one sector of the keep to the next.

'It was designed to isolate invaders, turning each sector into a choke point, clever,' she mused.

Despite the view, Sienna did turn her attention back to the task at hand; namely accompanying Tyrande and one of her archers to 'inspect the health of one of the good Lord's servants.'

It was a crock of course, but it gave her the chance to investigate further and there was some novelty to accompanying someone deemed stranger than herself among humans. Though that hadn't stopped more than a few wary glances and mutterings not kept quiet enough.

They came to a stop outside a sealed room as the grey armored Paladin, Commander Springvale held up his hand. "Only the healer is permitted passed this point."

Sienna looked to the towering elf who glanced back, and they both snorted.

"You expect a lone healer to step inside a fortified chamber?" Sienna chuckled, "Good Paladin, I think you know very little about hospitality."

"Indeed," Tyrande intoned more gravely, "You do know that if I do not return within half an hour my Sentinels will tear this keep down brick by brick searching for me, yes?"

Springvale swallowed, blue eyes drifting to the Archer who eagerly flashed her fang like teeth. The Commander hastily pulled open the door, "If you would give me a moment... Ladies..."

His steps rang out as he marched down into the basement and moments later two sets of footsteps rang out and they were greeted to the sight of the aging elf paladin, Jaroth Lightguard.

He saluted smartly, but failed to hide his exhaustion when he began to yawn, "My apologies honored ladies, I've been having a devil of a time trying to purge this sickness from the staff."

"Is that so," Sienna hummed, glancing to the great circular chamber looming by the Western walls surrounded by guards, "The Lord himself would not see you?"

Springvale scowled but Jaroth merely nodded, "He was the first to fall ill, if I cannot push back the sickness from the lesser infected what good would I do there?" His tone said he felt otherwise.

Commander Springvale coughed into his hand, "You can see that we have nothing to hide, the other healers from priests to Harvest Witches are also residing here until a cure is found."

Tyrande locked eyes with the elf, her eyes shining brightly and reminding Sienna of tale about Silver-Eyed Warriors before she nodded resolutely and marched through the door. Sienna merely tilted her ears and listened intently for the familiar sound of scraping steel and angry heartbeats should the humans turn on them.

Tyrande was perplexed, an all too common occurrence in recent days by her reckoning and another reminder of how much her people had weakened themselves with their isolation.

'Yet for all the unexpected things they were recognizable, comprehensible, this is not...' She thought, looking over the ailing servants of Silverlain.

There were three in total, a soldier, a server and a cook, no familial connection, no close friendship, not even the same date of sickness, but all shared the same illness of their lord.

'A deep sleep from which there is no rousing them and thorny vines cross their skin as though it were inked.'

On its surface that is all it was, but to one attuned to the souls of her people, of ghosts and the afterlife, Tyrande could feel something amiss. A shallow emptiness where a vessel should be filled, empty bones that should be solid, nothingness where there should be light.

'It is not all gone, but it is distant, cloistered and drowning itself,' she thought a glowing hand resting on the servant woman's bare chest. Whatever she was pursuing it was quicker still than the Plague of Undeath. Almost instinctive, defensive, even... Animalistic...

Tyrande shot to her feet, "Call Sienna Khan here at once, now!" She snapped at the nervous guards, only to hear the flutter of battle gear as the dark-skinned woman materialized beside her and lurched back almost as quick.

Claws and fangs bared she snarled, "Nightmares, of course it would be Nightmares!" Snatching up her weapon and ignoring the gathering soldiers.

"Stand down creature!" Springvale snapped and was completely ignored.

"Sienna, what are these, Nightmares?"

"The Nightmares are a Creature of Grimm, they infest a host body and rest inside it until they grow vulnerable." Sienna's golden eyes practically shone as she took a steadying breath and watched the air around her warily as she spoke. "Striking deep into the mind they lock the victim in a nightmare that will compel them to give themselves over to it, and all the while it devours their Aura, their very soul to make them a seedbed for new Grimm!"

"Can they be exorcised?"

The Faunus shook her head, "If there are no Nightmare Hunters present, the afflicted needs to either fight their own way out...or be killed before they can spawn new Grimm."

Even as Springvale protested and threatened at the prospect of striking down his lord on the words of 'some Mage's pet' Tyrande felt her heart thud against her ribs.

'These beasts were dangerous enough when in small number, if they can reproduce here, this world might never be rid of them, we could be forced to huddle into the corners of the world as the Remnantians do!'

"You will not strike my lord, you will cure him or-"

"I will cure him," Tyrande intoned firmly, separating Sienna from the increasingly frantic humans and looming over Springvale even more than the tigress did. "Your lord has been infected the longest, take me to him, if he can be cured it must happen now before the Grimm hatch."

"You need to prove-" He stepped back as her goddess filled her being with a shimmering silver light, her muscles sang and her voice reverberated with divine power.

"Take me to your lord, now, or damn him as well as us."

Whatever courage Springvale still had fled and he bowed his head, turning and marching out of the basement muttering, "If you fail, you will answer to King Greymane," without any real heat.

Tyrande huffed at that as she followed him, sensitive ears keying into Sienna's words as the woman trailed behind her casting furtive glances back at the basement.

"You might do it," Sienna whispered, "There's stories in our world, of the power imbued into silver light."

"Maybe Elune has touched Remnant as well, even in her state there," Tyrande offered as they strode up the steps to Lord Silverlain's residents.

"I pray to the ancestors that you are right," Sienna answered, looking again to the mountains that loomed above the great keep.

Lord Silverlain looked from his castles balcony across his vast domain, a dark crown clutched tightly in his hand as he watched a burning light grow in the distance.

"My liege," Lord Springvale bowed at his side, "The enemy approaches, if we are to win you must summon your forces."

The silver light shone brighter and he hissed, holding his thorny crown of black metal closer to this eyes and drinking in the crimson red gem that studded the center. The power it radiated near palpable.

"My liege," Springvale insisted, "Only you can command this host, only you can lead your armies to glorious conquest, only if you give yourself the crown."

Squinting at the growing light, Silverlain murmured, "Yes... I need this... I deserve this..." He placed the crown upon his head and cheered as shadowy soldiers sprung to life, all racing towards the distant light.

He was blind to the sight of thorned vines encircling him, and deaf to the sound of a monster maw opening around his head, even as it engulfed him, there was not enough of him left to care.

Sienna had been milling around the crowded courtyard with Tyrande's escort at her side, the elven woman watching the tower intently, while Sienna watched for any betrayal. But both of them heard the shout from the tower at the same time.

Gaze snapping to the rounded stone edifice Sienna's ears pinned against her head as silver lights blew out the windows in a shower of screaming glass.

Sienna braced to leap ahead and drag the elven huntress with her when the tower exploded in a sea of black fur and white bone.

Tyrande's vicious war cry echoing on the winds as she was dragged from the ruin and into the air by a newly born Razorwing. The shrieking harpy was followed by several car sized Nevermores, a Griffon and a dozen more Ravagers.


'Dammit all!' Sienna yanked the elf out of the way of a pouncing Beowolf and caved in its skull with her fist, shouting, "Rally soldiers, strike for the neck at every angle and cow them with fire!"

But the soldiers didn't listen, many already fleeing and others charging at an Ursa shaking the broken body of Springvale in its jaw.

'Tax collectors,' She thought scathingly, as the Elven women loosed an arrow at an approaching Saber, making it snarl as its eye was torn asunder.

Dragging several of her Dust daggers into hand and readying her whip Sienna torn into the surging mass of Grimm, as more continued to rip their way from the writhing seedbed of black ichor to flood the keep.

Then, a scream hit her ears, high pitched and rough as gravel it ripped through the air like an assault on her senses, louder than any cannon or bomb she could name.

'Oh no,' She knew that cry, everyone on Anima knew it, 'The Black Rider.'

A twisted malformed imp larger than most grown warriors was violently conjoined with a bone adorned mare large enough to loom atop houses. The beasts charged down the hillside, exposed rib cages twitching and thrashing as clawed arms launched themself through the air to rip through the walls.

"What in Elune's name is that!?"

Sienna would have answered, would have turned to strike it, but the Grimm were zeroing in on her now, forcing Sienna to rip and tear her way through a surging mass of fangs and fur, shouting.

"Kill the infected, before it gets to them!"

The archer took off Running, Sienna trailing behind, loosing explosive daggers into the horde and letting her clawed hands tear out the throats of the swarming mass. Even still she was held down, helpless as the walls of the keep shattered and the Nuckelavee's scream echoed through the halls.

Sienna heard the archer's howling war cry cut short and loosed an Aura enchanted roar, the sound reverberating in her throat and landing like a blow at the approaching Ursa, tripping up its allies.

A frantic glance into the open basement sent a chill down Sienna's spine.

The dead archer dangling from ichor dripping fingers, the Grimm sported a new arrow wound through the eye but it was not nearly deep enough. The Nuckelavee used its free, violently spasming hand to encircle one of the ill, black ichor spilling from its frame and being drunk up by the infected skin.

"High Leader!" Crim cried, swooping down and launching their spear and creating a wall of ice between her and the massing Horde.

Sienna loosed her chain-whip and every Burn Dagger she had into the chamber below, the Grimm surging into the blasts with an agonized cry of rage even as it refused to die and flames began to flood the chamber.

"We need to fall back and prepare for a horde!" She snapped, leaping into the air and snatching the other Faunus's hand as they dragged her into the sky and towards Pyrewood.

Tyrande had seen the light of Elune rejected before, but never so violently, so explosively, the shock had for but a moment, left her unable to respond.

A moment had been all the Creature of Grimm needed to work its terrible magics. Engulfing Sivlerlain's body in thorns that were now terribly real the man had convulsed and exploded into a sea of black ichor from which a host of beasts had torn themselves free.

'Disgusting!' Tyrande hissed, grappling with the Harpy-like monstrosity that momentarily had her in its grip. A protective barrier encompassed her skin, repelling even this beasts' powerful blows and letting Tyrande rip a hand from its grasp. Pulling her glaive from her back it sung with Elune's fury and cut through the monsters wing in a single slice!

The devilish shriek stung her ears even as she dragged herself atop the thrashing monster, slicing but not destroying its other wing and sending them both careening into the Pyrewood town square.

The humans shrieked and cried as they crashed into the fountain, Tyrande slicing the monsters head off before turning to see dozens of flying Grimm swarming the town. Her soldiers and the few residents who could fight were already in motion and she could see Crim careening to the keep to aid their mistress.

Fangs gnashing, she raised both hands above her head, silver light rippling in violent, throbbing fashion like a star ready to burst. The evening skies above shimmered as stars sparked to life and began their descent in glorious fashion. Hundreds of burning beams of light surging down and into the Grimm, too young and inexperienced to maneuver as their elder kin, letting her begin to shred the beasts in mass to the cheers of her Sentinels and the people.

As their numbers finally abated Tyrande lowered her hands and repressed a sight, 'That took more from me than I expected, they are durable beasts,' she thought.

Several figures converged on her quickly, from Maiev, to Selin and several Pyrewood Elders, before they could even speak, Tyrande raised her voice.

"People, heed me! The Creatures of Grimm infested the lord of the keep, turning his very soul into a seedbed for their wicked selves and burst free. We must converge on the Keep and eliminate these beasts now!"

She saw Sienna and Crim landing nearby, the woman already rallying her soldiers, before casting a glance to her and crowing.

"It's not just the juveniles we need to fight, The Ghost that Eats has come to rally the young Grimm, the beast is even trying to expedite the Nightmares Growth to bolster its numbers faster!"

"Then we have no time to waste,"Maiev snapped, "Watchers, make ready!"

Ash'alah raced up to Tyrande's side and she flung herself atop the Frostsabre, unleashing a war cry as she led to the charge out of Pyrewood and towards the keep.

But there would be no further battle this night.

Their armies charge to the keep was hasty but well-practiced, all involved well familiar with needing to race across woods, hills and paths into battle. Sienna's White Fang served as the vanguard while the ancients and giants lingered behind to protect Pyrewood and everyone else brought up the middle in tightly packed platoons bearing long arms and healers.

But while they tore through a handful of isolated Grimm on their march up the hill, most had been moving East and more confusing still was the seeming retreat being led into the mountains by an abominable creature she overheard a White Fang skirmisher call 'Ruler of the Dead'.

"They are retreating!" Maiev announced, sounding very pleased.

Sienna snarled, "The Nuckelavee saw it had lost air superiority and our numbers. It is falling back to a more defensible position, nothing more. If we show weakness, they will surge down the mountains without a second thought."

Tyrande grimaced, "I am coming to greatly disdain these creatures base cunning as much as their savagery."

Crim chuckled, "Then if you ever see Remnant you shall fit right in Priestess!"

There was a chorus of low chuckles but all humor died as their slowing procession came upon the ruins of Silverlain's Keep. It was obvious the very heart of the building had been shredded, the Western corner had fallen, the Eastern walls ripped asunder, the courtyard was a bloody ruin. Human and a single Elven corpse lay mangled, mauled and several were impaled in brutal displays fit more for demons and Naga than animals.

Sucking in a breath Tyrande scowled and snapped, "Tend to the dead, we cannot chase these Grimm into unfamiliar mountains too hastily, but we can at least give these fallen souls their due."

The Sentinels and Alliances soldiers raced to work, while Sienna's White Fang and some Huntresses secured their Northern Flank against return attacks. Tyrande meanwhile took the other leaders aside to strategize.

"I know we have a mission here, but we cannot leave these people undefended," She opened with.

Selin smiled wanly, "You are very kind Madam Priestess."

Maiev looked less than impressed, "They may want to strike again, but that does not mean we can ignore the danger Illidan poses. What if he plans to use the eye to fuel another invasion by the demons?"

Tyrande scowled down at the woman, "We do not know his intentions, these Grimm however are malignant tumors on the world and must be erased. What's more we cannot ignore our obligations to those defenseless souls below us."

Maiev let out a sound that strained somewhere between a sob and a shrieking of laughter, "So say you now 'Priestess', yet it was you who slaughtered my Watchers to release Illidan. You care not for these people, only protecting your demon loving whore!"

"Still your tongue!" A nearby Sentinel snarled before the words could escape Tyrande's lips.

But the woman was near instantly accosted by a Dryad, snapping, "Does the truth sting sharper than any bow!?"

Several more shouts of anger rose up, Watchers and Sentinels snarling among themselves, as Tyrande and even Maiev tried to call for order, while Selin watched in growing terror.

They all fell silent when a painfully loud roar ripped through the air, Sienna's body near vibrating from the force of it. She began to growl between the soldiers, "All of you need to calm yourselves, this level of negativity will only lure the Grimm to us, and divided as you are, they will have an easy time of it!"

Repressing a sigh, Tyrande nodded, "Thank you High Leader Khan," Tyrande's gaze drifted across the mutinous looking Watchers, and she pressed on. "I maintain we cannot ignore these Grimm, but nor can we allow Illidan to roam free. If nothing else, some forces must stay behind to guard Pyrewood and secure this area in case we need to fall back."

Maiev, perhaps offering an olive branch or merely wary of causing another feud concurred. "The Ancients and the Giants are mighty but not so swift, they are also fair matches for these creatures and immune to the ills of the Scourge."

Tyrande was surprised to see Sienna raise her hand, "Some of my forces should remain behind as well. Not only do we know how to battle the Grimm best, but after this... Debacle, the Gilnean government may want to investigate. If they send their summoner here, that could secure our way home and put an end to the source of Grimm, from Remnant at least."

Crim was quick to raise their hand, "I volunteer High Leader, I can keep an eye out for approaching Grimm safely enough and have experience in command of not just soldiers, but militia."

The Saber-woman chuckled, "I would not have recommended anyone else, I shall give you four Crimson Guard, two gunners and two skirmishers to command."

Selin was next to speak up, "While I do seek to return to my prince's side, many of the soldiers among us are humans or volunteers. They may prefer to remain here, and given how Greymane has handled Silverpine thus far... I do somewhat doubt how quickly aid will be sent."

Tyrande nodded even as she bit the inside of her cheek, "This will deplete out forces somewhat."

Maieve however let out an amused huff, "If we can secure a Harvest Witch, I may have a solution to that problem, and if nothing else it may well grant us safe and swifter passage through the River Arevass."

'And right to Dalaran,' Tyrande thought, looking to the mountains and wishing she could be out hunting monsters, rather than her old friend. 'But it is necessary.'

Focusing herself, the Priestess raised her war glaive, "Then let us return to Pyrewood and then make ready to march!"

'Goddess willing, we shall settle this before it grows out of our power to control.'

Tyrian Callows was a blessed man, a holy man by his own reckoning, one buoyed and led by faith in his goddess and the divine destruction she wrought. Ever since the Queen of Grimm had rescued him from imprisonment and execution, he had followed her devoutly, faithfully performing ever task given to him.

So imagine his terror when the Rose he'd been sent to pluck flung herself into a horde of ravenous death and vanish? The terror of that moment and those that followed as he found himself under a strange sky would stay with Tyrian forever.

'But where there is chaos and surprise there is opportunity,' Brown coat and braid swinging hypnotically he danced and leapt his way through a fallen metropolis of stone and crystal. Trees decayed and the streets were strewn with dried blood, a sickening scent of endless rot assaulting the sense.

Tyrian flickered through another long-shattered window, vaulted across the churning street in a blur and silently decapitated the skeletal archer before its decayed senses even noticed his presence. 'So much death,' he mused respectfully, 'but what is the point in a death that never ends?'

Sliding into the ruined red brick hallway, Tyrian was pleased to see a stunned looking man, alive if pale and bedecked in bloody bones and tattered robes. His eyes glowed, a staff with a goat's head raised as he tried to shout!

Then he fell to the floor with a thud and Tyrian withdrew his Scorpion tail, coiling it back around his waist and well out of sight beneath his coat.

"Dear fellow, I do hope your constitution is made of Sterner stuff than the last of your friends I brought to her graces embrace," he murmured.

Hoisting the man over his shoulder and making for the next window, Tyrian engulfed not just himself but his unwitting passenger in his golden aura, he burst into action. Turning into a mere blur across the rooftops, soaring over corpse choked streets and weaving between ghosts and large stone bats.

Reaching the edge of the city and seeing the great lake, Tyrian dropped to the street just long enough to launch himself into the air, the force of his jump leaving a crater behind. A black blur emerged from the clouds and Tyrian landed atop the Griffon with practiced ease, chuckling as the clumsy corpses and their masters tried to array themselves only to vanish before the first arrow was loosed.

Hello again,

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, as always thanks to @Iscariotpaladin for editing!

We finally get back to the Night Elves side now that Ruby has been properly contextualized and oh, oh boy, this is a chapter I have been looking forward to writing and publishing for ages. The politics, the mixed species, the Nightmare Grimm I foreshadowed in chapter 2! So yeah, lots of stuff I like with this chapter.

Quick aside to the WOW fans, when Tyrande mentioned Elune's state on Remnant, she was referring to the moon having been shattered. Also for anyone wondering, the Nuckelavee's did indeed go through the rift, the nicknames come from the RWBY/DC crossover. One fun thing in this chapter was Maiev's "Demon loving whore" line regarding Illidan, mostly cos it was tied to me musing on how Night Elven society might frame someone like Illidan given its matriarchal. Also writing Tyrian is always fun, I love his theatrical, purple prose.

Anyway I hope you had a good time, feedback is always welcome!
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Well-known member
Another day another map update, we're back to tracking the Sentinels and White Fang's path through Silverpine and marking out the locations of Grimm based on their locations at the start of this chapter, naturally the Grimm at Shadowfang have since left.


The maps hail from Reddit user Searrard: Link


Well-known member
Chapter 5
Catching Up

Qrow soared through the skies of Mistral, wings coasting along an easy updraft as he circled Haven Academy. Occasionally swooping down and looking through every window only to find it distressingly empty. Unable to sigh, let alone drink, as a crow, the Huntsmen rounded on the central tower and flew in through the open window his body shifting into its human form as he landed theatrically before the desk.

"Ah!" Leo cried, papers flying into the air, "Don't do that Qrow! You nearly gave me a heart attack." the Faunus muttered, frantically tidying his papers, and looking all together frazzled.

Qrow took up his flask and enjoyed a hefty sip of burning alcohol before he answered, "Sorry, but I didn't feel like taking the long way up." He strode towards Leo's desk and plopped down in one of the seats before the older Huntsmen, eyes glazing over at the sight of his paperwork. "Seems you're keeping busy."

Leo groaned, "That is one way to put it, do you want to take over perchance?"

"I think that's what your own professors are for, speaking of which," Qrow leaned forward, hands clasping as he eyed his ally, "Where are they?"

Leo looked up at him and then down, hand running though his beard, shame-faced.

"Leo, we don't have time for this, where are Haven's professors? They're meant to be here protecting the Academy."

Leo snorted, "They are meant to be protecting the Relic that lies beneath it, Qrow, we both know that much."

Qrow leaned back and shrugged, "Tomato, tomato, they're meant to be here."

"A fact known only to myself and you on this entire plateau Qrow," Leo waved vaguely towards the city below. "I can't just keep some of the most skilled fighters this kingdom has to offer pottering around Haven when they are needed."

"That's exactly what you're supposed to do," Qrow snapped, "Oz left specific instructions."

Leo shot up from his seat, "Ozpin is dead, his academy has fallen to Grimm, and every day more threats appear across Anima." he shook his well-tended mane of grey hair, "Qrow it is all I can do to keep my position right now and ensure that at least someone is here."

At that proclamation Leo let out an exhausted sigh and simply collapsed into his seat, muttering, "This is all I can do."

Qrow felt is throat tighten up at that, he was hardly ignorant to the constant struggle Leo was under to accomplish anything in Mistral. It was a story almost as old as Qrow himself.

Sighing, the spy nodded, "Well that freaking bites, we kind of need-em."

Leo stilled, "Why? Did you get word of something, an attack perhaps?"

Shaking his head, Qrow met Leo's eyes and steeled himself, "I found the Spring Maiden, well, more or less." Glossing over Leo's quiet 'how', he continued, "She's hiding among Raven's gang, I got as much confirmation as I was going to from Raven, and the evidence I picked up on the road. She's there, and we need her here, especially if we can't rely on the council's help."

Leo clasped his hands, staring down grimly at his desk, "I see... I see... I suppose we need to make a plan of action then."

Qrow nodded, "Exactly, if the professors are away, we'll need to get help from elsewhere, I know some reliable fighters who won't ask questions and..." He looked around uncertainly, "Have you seen a team of four, my niece is on it, Ruby Rose. They might be able to help."

Leo nodded though he refused to meet Qrow's eyes, "I have met them, a fine bunch, I couldn't help them in their goals, I don't even think they know what they're wrapped up in."

"They don't, but they might have to if things keep going like this, where are they now?"

"Investigating Grimm activity in Hinoki Forest."

"What?" Qrow rasped, shooting to his feet.

Leo reared back and swallowed, "I- I thought it would be a way they could help without being in too much danger, it was strictly observation, nothing more!"

Qrow had been shadowing those kids all trip and now they were wandering into one of the deepest, most ancient and Grimm-infested forests on Remnant, when Grimm were already acting up.

"I'm going to find them, you rally some more fighters and when I get back-"

The doors to Leo's office flew open with a painful, splintering bang, revealing three figures he recognized as Ruby's friends.

The boys looked absolutely crushed and Qrow could already feel his head growing light as the girl began to speak.

"We found out what's luring the Grimm, it's a big rift that they run into and Ruby went in after them but then she didn't come out before it closed and we tried to find another but we couldn't stay hidden and we've got to find her!"

Qrow tried to take a step forward, his jaw fell open as his flask fell from his hand and without a word, he collapsed to the ground.

Weiss Schnee, once heiress to the Schnee Dust Company and now a vagabond, looked over the ornate desk of the Mistral Council's foyer with growing concerns.

"I am sorry to cause trouble, but I was under the impression the Mistral council would be able to direct me to my sister; Specialist Schnee. She's with the Atlesian forces stationed in Mistral but I can't seem to find them."

The light blue kimono-clad secretary with bee-hive bun and pale features looked at her with a quizzical frown.

"Specialist Schnee, along with the three Atlesian battleships charted a course back to Atlas weeks ago miss," Something scornful fell over her face. "Did your General not brief you on that either?"

Weiss clutched her suit case of Dust tightly as she answered, "I...took the scenic route and with communications what they are I suppose I didn't get the message."

The secretary's arched eyebrow suggested she didn't quite buy it, but finally she nodded and said, "Will you be needing help contacting Argus young miss?"

Weiss couldn't tell if the secretary wanted to be rid of her or was trying to be helpful, 'Or maybe you're not even legally allowed to be in this country anymore?!' A frantic, nervous part of her supplied.

Swallowing, Weiss ducked her head, "I think I'll head back to my hotel for the moment, I'm sure this will all blow over in short order." She turned and heels clicking the floor made for the exit.

"Miss, can I ask where you're staying?" The secretary called, "In case anyone calls for you?"

Weiss threw out the most expensive hotel she could think of, "I'm staying at the Jade Dragon, thank you, bye, bye!" She said in a falsetto of cheeriness as she shot out the automatic doors and disappeared into the throng of the higher tier streets of Mistral. Infinitely more packed than Vale, let alone Atlas's, she had to shove and weave her way around.

As she did so, Weiss kept her Dust and blade close, well aware of Mistral's reputation for cutthroats and pickpockets. 'Not that I have much to steal,' she thought mournfully.

Her Dust and weapons would be worthwhile, and maybe her jewelry, but with Atlas cutting itself off and her loss of status, Weiss knew her Lien-Cards would get her nowhere.

'I could probably pawn some of my Dust and jewelry but then what?'

Weiss looked to the towering plateau upon which rested Haven Academy and sighed, her shoulders and head sagging as weariness seeped into her frame.

'None of this is going the way it's supposed, nothing has since the Vytal Festival...' Swallowing back her grief, Weiss force-marched herself through the streets of Mistral with confidence she did not feel. 'First things first, when lost in unknown territory get a lay of the land.'

She'd figure things out, she had no choice.

A rough voice rumbled, "Get out of here kid, and don't come back without Lien!"

A diminutive boy with tanned skin, white shirt and patchy overalls raced out of a seedy, ramshackle bar on the edge of Mistral and into the crowded streets.

Clumsily ducking and weaving through the crowd, Oscar Pines kept his head down and his hands in his pockets, eyes frantic and searching the streets, hoping to spot his target.

Sadly, there was no lanky man in grey marching through the throng of outer Mistral, which meant another bar, and likely another tongue lashing when someone too young and more importantly to broke poked around and didn't buy anything.

'I think I see another tavern over there Oscar,' An almost playfully wizened tone echoed in his head.

Shoving his hands deeper into his pockets, Oscar muttered, "I see it, I just wish I had a choice in this." only to cringe the moment the thought left his mouth.

'You have a choice,' echoed the voice of the old man living in his head, 'And you have made the right one Oscar, I can assure you of that.'

Oscar nearly tuned out the familiar reframe, edging his way through the shadowy streets of lower tier Mistral. It seemed on every alley there was a watcher, and everyone was subtly armed, 'I feel like the only thing keeping me safe is I look too poor to rob.'

The newest bar stood on rickety stilts, rice paper doors looked faded of any detailing, and it was dim even late in the afternoon. Glancing about and taking in the sight of a hookah in the heart of the bar and several tails, claws and tusks the pieces fell into place, 'A faunus bar.'

'Its doubtful Qrow will be here, but let's do one circuit,' Ozpin intoned.

Oscar was already on it, shuffling through the bar, looking for a mop of slick dark hair and a heavy duty sword, but he saw nothing.

He did, however, hear something.

"Can you believe the nerve on that little bint?" One patron muttered making Oscar tense up.

"Dressing like a Schnee, and down here of all places."

'Oh good they aren't talking about me,' Oscar thought, shoulders relaxing, but he froze as Ozpin spoke.

'Listen to them.'

Oscar swallowed and glanced at the bear Faunus and their elk companion, both dowdy, but at least not bearing any weapons on their laborers garb.

"I still say it was the real thing."

"Don't be stupid, the Schnees are all up in Atlas it was just some stupid human playing dress up."

"The sword looked pretty expensive for cosplay."

Both began to grow silent, their gazes drifting to Oscar who swallowed and waved, weakly, "Um, hello sirs."

'Ask them where she went, I may know this Schnee.'

"Can either of you tell me where this uh, fake Schnee girl went?" Oscar rubbed the back of his head as they scoffed.

"What, looking for an autograph kid?" The bear-clawed woman asked.

"No it's just, ugh," He pulled out some of his left over Lien, "It doesn't matter why can you just tell me which way she went?"

It wasn't a lot of Lien, but it would cover a round of drinks and it seemed they both knew that, quickly answering.

"She was heading South, into the market district," The elk said.

His companion nodded, "Just look for Alizar's Armaments, biggest shop in the lower wrung, you can't miss it."

Oscar stamped the Lien into outstretched hands and shot out the door.

"Want to tell me what that was about?"

'Simply readjusting as necessary,' Ozpin intoned vaguely, 'You don't have the conditioning to fight without my cane yet, but if Qrow has somehow not arrived in Mistral we can perhaps secure Miss Schnee's... Protection.'

Oscar wanted to curse like his aunt, "Were you going to tell me I couldn't survive a fight, or just wait for me to figure it out?"

'Well technically I told you,' countered the voice with wry humor.

Oscar just shook his head as he weaved through the crowded, mismatched streets, silently cursing his lack of foresight.

'No wonder I listened to a spooky voice in my head and ran away from home.'

Weiss stepped out of Alizar's Armaments several Dust bottles lighter and not nearly heavy enough in her nonexistent wallet to be pleased with the trade.

Glancing around the still busy streets, she set off to where she did not know, save that she wanted to escape the scowling expressions and sharp eyes following her.

'I came down here because I thought people wouldn't recognize me; but I suppose the SDCs stellar reputation among Faunus is as heavy here as it would be in Mantle.'

That churned in her gut, the reality that she couldn't fix it anymore. That maybe her desire to right the course of her grandfather's company had always been out of reach and her father just let her delude herself into thinking she had agency when she was always in the palm of his hand.

The handle on her suit case squeaked and Weiss remembered herself and squared her shoulders, 'Well, no matter how lost or broke I might be, I'm free. Free to make my own path, wherever or however that may be.'

"Uh, excuse me, miss?" A nervous, jittery, and very young voice called from behind her.

Spinning around on the border between the low and middle tiers, Weiss blinked owlishly at the sight of the dark haired and tanned farmer lad standing before her. He shuffled his feet shyly and she almost wanted to lean down and ask if he was lost.

'Except I'm barely taller than him,' she thought, repressing a frown.

"Yes, how can I help you?" She asked, with that annoying chipper, borderline customer service voice her father taught her.

Swallowing the boy said, "Well it's just... I recognized you, from the Vytal Festival, you and your team."

"Oh, well I hope the matches were, entertaining," she smiled, trying to forget Yang's final match and the deception that heralded the Fall of Beacon.

There was an awkward sort of delay before he responded, "They were, you all fought really well; listen, I think I'm looking for someone you know, a Qrow Branwen?"

That name settled on Weiss's ears like sludge and she did not keep the disdain from her voice as she answered, "I'm familiar."

The boy looked away, as if snapping at someone who wasn't there, before rallying, "Listen, this is complicated and hard to explain, but I'm meant to deliver a message to Mr Branwen but I can't find him."

Hand on her hips Weiss arched her brow, "Why do you think I can help with this?"

He just shrugged, "I don't know a lot about this, but I know he's your team leaders uncle, and he, and maybe she as well are meant to be in Mistral and that its uh, imperative I get this message to him."

"And that message is?"

Oscar shrugged, "I'm just the carrier, like I said, it's complicated and doesn't make much sense. It's taking way longer than it was meant to and I'm..." He sagged, "I'm in over my head here."

Weiss looked around, half expecting skulking spies or a gang of ne'er do wells to have used her distraction to get closer, but even those glaring at her presence seemed to have lost interest.

Looking back at the exhausted, nervous boy, Weiss's tight posture laxed and she sighed, "Well it isn't as though I can do much else right now. How about we check Haven rather than dive bars?"

He looked briefly stricken before ducking his head, "That's a good idea, I don't think I could get up there without a Huntresses help."

"Well," Weiss pronounced proudly, "Now that you have my help things should work out just fine," she held out her hand and the boy clasped it.

"I'm Oscar Pine, thanks for helping me."

"A pleasure to meet you Oscar, now let's get going shall we? Daylight's burning."

As they began their trek towards the heart of Mistral, Weiss felt a little bubble of hope swell up in her chest. If Qrow Branwen was here, then maybe Ruby was too, maybe her whole team was? The thought of seeing them again, even just knowing they were well, brought a brilliant smile to her face.

Tyrian Callows wore a brilliant smile upon his face as he strode through the worked stone fortress, he and a host of Lancers and other aerial Grimm had made their home. The lifeless waters of the lake outside barely rippling in the decaying breeze and in the distance, he could see the great ruined city he had so recently been exploring.

Stepping into a great hall stone hall of the ruined keep, one could find the rotting remnants of tables and rusted metal strewn about in haphazard chaos. Insectoid Grimm skittered about but paid him no mind as he came to kneel before the Seer hovering at the back of the hall. Beneath it lay several people, the summoner, the goat staff bearer he'd taken, and others plucked from obscurity to bask in his mistress's glory.

Their bodies would normally be spasming by now, twitching violently as choked sobs and screams escaped them, the Seers red tendrils pulling memories to the surface over and over again. But right now, they lay unconscious, drawn, and exhausted.

"My Mistress," He beckoned falling to one knee and bowing his head low.

"Tyrian, our little test is in place then?" Her voice was stronger and clearer than when they first arrived and filling him with joy.

"Yes, your grace, Hazel's lost Seer is in place, and I have assorted a humble host of your lesser servants as requested."

"Marvelous… Sit and watch with me awhile," She intoned, voice so gentle it was like a surgeon's blade along his arteries.

"Thank you, your grace." Tyrian rose to his feet and watched as the Seer's body rippled and roiled into smoky, toxic orange clouds. They morphed into a clear if distant view of the Southern strip of the great ruined city.

Once white towers capped in colorful tiles turned ruinous and rotted by dust and decay. Each building a hollowed-out corpse, rather akin to the shambling miscreants marshaling on the border beneath the foothills, great pits and spike barricades raised up and staffed by skeletal archers.

On the Western side stood a bristling, battered Alpha Beowolf and capering around it were a host of vicious Grimm. At the beasts roar a handful of Beowolves, Sabyr and Ursa barreled forward. The feline Sabyr in front, weaving wildly, while the bulky Ursa brought up the rear guard and the ever nimble Beowolves danced between them.

As expected the spiked guards did nothing, leapt over, torn through, or weaved around. The pits had more of an impact but only to slow the first few Grimm rather than break them or halt the charge; the arrows little more than distractions as well.

"They have clearly some experience with Grimm, enough to expect an attack but nothing more, how tragic," he mused with a pleased sigh.

As the last barricade fell Tyrian's wicked smirk grew as he saw the dead had made preparations most fowl!

Storming out from the ruined city streets were a pair of mangled monstrosities, easily three stories high and hewn together from muscle and metal, squared off shoulders and fang filled maws screaming with dozens of voices as they unleashed the maces on the end of their wrists upon the Grimm. One adventurous corpse puppet even kicking a Sabyr that leapt for it and the other crushing a snarling Bewolf!

"Mighty I suppose, but rather slow, no?" Several of the Grimm killed hadn't even gone for them but tried to reach the city, only to be impeded by spiked barriers of ice bursting up from the ground.

Still, despite the strength of the dead, one of the giants was toppled by an Ursa catching its steel plated foot and flinging it backwards with a crash! The giant corpse construct was swarmed and shredded into screaming meat by several Grimm in moments as the Ursa bellowed in triumph.

Only to get crushed by the other's mace.

Apparently satisfied with its findings, the Alpha Beowolf unleashed a magnificent, air shaking roar and surged towards the city, over a hundred Grimm at its beck and call as more and more dead began to amass, walls of spiked ice rising and flaming arrows launching.

In the distance Tyrian heard a hollowed-out roar and watched a skeletal dragon shining with a light so akin to Aura it made his senses tingle swoop down upon the Alpha which retorted with claws and fangs.

Seeing his goddess's amused smirk, Tyrian decided to just lean back and enjoy the show.
And that's another chapter, sorry for the delay, my schedules been kinda wonky! Thanks as always to IscariotPaladin on SB for editing.
This chapter was very much a near interlude meant to get us some insight on the areas of the story less focused on, what Tyrian's doing, how Weiss & Oscar converge with the rest of the gang, how they are reacting to Ruby's disappearance ETC. Next chapter its back to Azeroth!


Well-known member
Chapter 6:
The Bare Necessities

Ruby was a light sleeper, which meant she could feel the bed beneath her wasn't her own, or Beacon's, or her sleeping bag. It was comfortable, but rustic, like the ones in a small farming village they'd stayed over at. She could faintly make out the sounds of people pottering about in long winding halls, the sounds reverberating through rock, and she pushed herself up.

"Uuh... Aaaahh," She yawned, letting the thick furry blanket pool around her waist, Ruby was pleased to feel she still had all her gear and a quick glance revealed Crescent Rose resting next to her bed.

Taking in the room, Ruby blinked as the memories came back to her and she... Stopped.

Just for a moment she stopped and felt like curling in on herself.

'I saved these people but... How do I get home?'

The others probably thought she was dead, and after Pyrrha, gods how could she be so reckless?

'And what about Yang, and-'

The door opened, with light spilling in, revealing a surprisingly large and ornate chamber of grey stone, shaped and smoothed into a home. Tapestries made of what looked like hemp hung on the wall alongside ornate cave paintings and hung jewelry. There were scrolls and large books that looked like they were made of bark and lots of carved wood boxes, shelves, and cases, all looking like patterns had been burnt into them.

Her brain zeroed in on the actual figure, a... Troll in a light white and black robe, with a dark red hair tided back in thick braid and severe but slim features.

"You have awakened, this is good news, can you understand me?" She, Ruby thought it was a she, asked in a surprisingly lyrical tone.

"Uh, yeah, is that normal, well, as normal as things get here?" She asked, scratching the back of her head.

"You have been blessed it seems," The troll answered in a way that told Ruby less than she'd known before. "If you are well, a bath can be made ready for you and your regalia cleaned, or you can join our leader for a meal."

Ruby's stomach loudly protested the thought of waiting another minute and Ruby flushed, "I ah, think I'll just go and eat. Don't wanna keep Krag’Jin waiting." Honestly she wanted a chance to wash off and think but she had work to do right now and hunger pains were bad enough on their own.

"Very well then Huntress, please follow me," The troll bowed.

Launching herself out of the absurdly-sized bed, Ruby snatched up and twirled Crescent Rose. Letting it fold in on itself and slot onto her magnetized bodice before bouncing on her feet, "Ready to go!"

The troll blinked owlishly at her before nodding and motioning for Ruby to follow through the smoothly crafted tunnels. They passed by trolls, all giants in comparison to Ruby, but all varying shades of unique. Be it in bulk, or clothes or shades of green and hair style. Most looked at her and offered what seemed to be friendly grins and swift salutes with a quick thump to their chests as she passed, Ruby waving awkwardly as they went.

Finally the tightly packed halls, that Ruby realized were lit up with some kind of amber buried in the ceilings, spread out to reveal a massive circular chamber. The stone was especially smooth and tiered, in the center of the chamber coals burned bright with a huge hot plate sitting atop them and the scent of cooking flooded Ruby's senses.

Licking her lips she started moving faster even as talked quieted, trolls scattered around the chamber on colorful mats stopping to watch her.

Then, a big booming voice rose up, "And so our Huntress of the hour arrives, welcome!" Krag’Jin cheered from the back of the room, on a large mat of his own along with cushions and plates of food. "Take up a plate and serve as you will, none of it shall do you any harm and warriors always eat well in my abode."

Ruby shot forward before skidding to a halt and forcing a rigid bow, "Uh, thank you, leader Krag’Jin," Before snatching up a large clay plat and a skewer and letting her nose and eye guide her as she snatched up more and more food, stacking it high on the plate.

Only once there was no more space to stack anything did Ruby put down the skewer and started eating even as she walked up to Krag’Jin's mat at his amused gesturing.

'Mhm, this one tastes like strawberry!'

"You like your food I see," He mused.

Ruby stopped shoveling food into her mouth and grinned, "Well, fighting builds up an appetite, hehe," She then shoveled another slab of meat into her mouth, the chewy, gamey texture barely registering.

"Indeed," Chuckled the troll, "You certainly know your way around a battlefield Huntress."

"Thanks, I mean it’s, ya know, what I trained for," She said, already halfway through her meal, while Krag’Jin continued to pick away at his own meal.

The troll arched his brow, "You trained to be stranded on another world, leading beings you've never seen in battle against monsters?"

That drew Ruby up short, she chewed on the last bit of meat on her plate and answered, "Well not specifically, but elements of my training, when liberally interpreted bear a close... You were joking, weren't you?"

Chucking the troll said, "I like you Huntress, grab another plate and some mead or water, there are weighty matters we must discuss, but only once you're fed and watered enough to focus."

"Thanks!" She shot off in a burst of rose petals and began filling her plate again.

Once Ruby had dusted off three plates of food and two cups of some kind of tangy juice that reminded Ruby of limes, the conversation had gotten serious. Krag’Jin and some of his people peppering her with questions about the Grimm, about Remnant and Huntresses in general.

This was mostly well and good in Ruby's opinion. She knew her Grimm better than the back of her hand and what she knew about being a Huntress could fill a book! Unfortunately, unlike her sister, she wasn't much for history, but Ruby liked to think her bullet points had gotten the gist across.

Now they sat in silence as trolls shuffled in and out of the chamber seeking meals or just to listen as Krag’Jin sat cross legged, his chin resting on a meaty fist as he hummed in thought.

"These Creatures of Grimm trouble me greatly, Huntress, if they find seedbeds on our world and begin to breed then in a few generations all of this land may come to resemble your Remnant. A world ruled by Grimm and survivors nestled away in hidden alcoves."

Ruby frowned, "Well gee it sounds bad when you say it like that," She looked over the rocky interior and tilted her head. "Though if it helps, you guys seem pretty well set up. Given you said your world doesn't have Grimm I'm surprised you're already using so many of the survival strategies we do."

Krag’Jin's grin was mirthless, "My people once rule over all the forests below, some argue otherwise but they lie. The great polities of Tel'Vass, the might of the Amani Empire, ah, in those days our ancestors lived free, but with the breaking of the Amani and the rise of the Arathi we were forced deeper and deeper into hiding."

"Oh... I'm so sorry," She said, not sure what else she could say to that.

The Troll huffed, "No matter how much you resemble the Arathians you are not one, so pay it no mind, and," His ears twitched excitedly. "With how things have been going recently, we have been returning to our old haunts, though these Grimm present a problem."

"Arathians?" Ruby had to wonder if humans or maybe Faunus had somehow fallen into this world a long time ago and set up shop.

Krag’Jin waved a hand, "They've got plenty of names, but they look a lot like you, though," His small, bronze eyes stared into her own. "The way your faces look is a bit different, you could be cousin species I am thinking."

"Huh, weird," She shrugged, "Still if they chased you guys into the mountains I probably won't be going to any family reunions."

"Fortunately, not all are so cruel, the Harvest Witches are a persecuted lot with old ties to my people and they attend yearly ceremonies with us to empower their magic and our own."

That perked Ruby's head up, "Right, magic, cos that's a... Thing..."

"You turn yourself into petals and call it Aura, I would call that magic, tapping into the soul for power is not a simple thing Huntress." The troll leaned back, tensing his impressive muscles, "Still, I do not suppose you are one who can awaken these powers?"

Ruby swallowed, "Well, I have the training so I can try?" She cringed a little at her own uncertain tone.

"Please, by all means, this could save my people and make dealing with the Grimm an easier thing."

Ruby stood up, brushing off her skirt, she took a breath and had to awkwardly motion for the troll to lean down so she could rest a hand on his chest and cheek, almost chuckling at the fuzzy texture before focusing.

The light inside her was deep and vast, it pulsed like a heart and thrummed like blood in her veins as she called the crimson red to the surface, strength and energy suffusing her being. She let the red light spread through Krag’Jin's armor and wash over the troll, his eyes widening as he felt his body strengthen and toughen as her essence suffused him.

"Bear your soul outward and become paragons of virtue and glory..." Ruby pushed his soul deeper, the bright light spilling rose petals into the air as her voice reverberated and echoed. "Death can't bind our endless story; infinite and unbound..."

She pulled away, slowly as she could and cringed as her hands fell to her side and a sigh escaped her lips, "I'm sorry."

Krag’Jin experimentally flexed his three fingered hand, brows raised high as he whispered, "I felt... Powerful, I felt your essence, but... Something did not fit."

"It's..." Ruby frowned, tapping her chin and groaning, "It’s like, OK, I could feel your soul. It’s there but... Different? No, not different but like, the path to get there is different. Does that make sense?"

"I think so, you are used to sailing a riving that flows one way and mine is uncharted I suppose?"

"Yeah, yeah!" She nodded, "It’s like the paths I was looking for weren't there, and I couldn't find the ones that were, I can hear the water, I can feel your soul but I can't see how to unlock it."

Krag’Jin sighed and for a moment Ruby wanted to shrink away before he rebounded, "Well, I have slain the beasts without this Aura before and with the blessings of the spirits, the land and the Loa I shall again."

Ruby stood up straighter, "I'd like to help with that! I can't call myself a Huntress and just let these Grimm run wild, plus I still need to find the guy who opened that wormhole thingy."

"The rift," Doth'Ra intoned from his leader’s side, "I sensed its vile power from afar and went to investigate. I know not the source of his power but it deep and terrible, far more than I'd trust any single arcanist to control."

Krag’Jin nodded, smirking, "Your intuition served us well in this Shaman and I thank you; as to whom Huntress, I cannot say for certain, but I am thinking it is a Gilnean. These beasts have been appearing in droves on and off for weeks, but only in Silverpine which is still nominally Gilnean territory. Besides, I can see Genn Greymane being arrogant and reckless enough for something like this, even for an Arathian he's audacious."

Ruby rocked on her feet, "That's what's been bugging me. What's the point in summoning Grimm? They just kill everyone they see; I saw them coming through too, they didn't seem to like, listen or wait for his command they just took off running. This is weird Grimm behavior, like them taking off after I took out the Ancient Ursa. Young Grimm usually fight till the last one dies."

"In this, I am thinking we can help," Krag’Jin said, "Your world has Grimm and they have existed since time immemorial. Our world does not, but a recent threat has arisen akin to the Grimm, a seemingly endless army of the living dead."

"Like zombies, who chomp you and then you turn into one and bite other people and turn them too?" She said, miming the biting motions with her hands.

There was a moment of blinking and the troll continued, "Somewhat, the curse is actually spread through plagued grain but being killed by the undead Scourge leaves you vulnerable to being corrupted by their essence and raised into Undeath."

Doth'Ra literally snarled, "Sickening, immoral, unholy things, they defame the soul and the Loa."

Ruby's brain raced frantically, pieces clicking into place, "Wait...soul? Don't tell me the dead person is still in there!?"
The trolls all nodded solemnly, "It is so, the empire of Lordaeron, the High Elves and the mighty mages of Dalaran to the East all fell to the Scourge and it seemed to be making inroads here as well."

Ruby clicked her finger, "Until someone got the bright idea to unleash Grimm on them, agh, that's so clever but such a bad idea!” She riffled her hair wildly, “Even a couple of Nightmares or Elder Grimm could make a whole new, way worse problem!"

"Indeed, as useful as its been to use in the short term, the Scourge seem to be driven out now."

Ruby picked up exactly where he was going and added, "Enough so that some Elder Grimm are sticking around to take out the not undead people."

The trolls merely nodded, all equally somber.

Starting to pace Ruby counted off on her fingers, "OK, so we need to make sure there's no stragglers lurking about, find the guy responsible for making bringing Grimm here and stop him, maybe do something about these Undead Scourge guys cos they seem like bad news and I need to get home.

Krag’Jin chuckled, "Quick to take command, I respect that, and I more or less agree with your plan, though securing our territories will be much more than one mere village." He unfolded a second finger, "Still, as that is happening, I can send some stealthy scouts to speak with the Harvest Witches, Seraphine of Winter is a sensible women, and they may be able to tell us who is behind these summoning’s."

Ruby felt a grin bloom on her face, "So, by the time we finished making sure there's no Grimm around, we might know whose behind it, yes!"

Rising to his feet the troll slapped his knee, "I like your enthusiasm Huntress, we make ready to leave on the hour. Did you leave anything in my chambers?"

"That was your room!?"

"Indeed," He shrugged, "We only have so much room to spare, and I had other matters to attend to than sleeping."

"Oh, uh, thanks and no, I'm ready when you are... Though if you like I could go on ahead?"

"You are fast," Doth'Ra intoned respectfully, "But the mists we cloak these hills in are thick and many traps await you, as well as settlements that would not know you as a friend."

"Ah, OK then."

"Fear not, we shall keep pace faster than you think, and in fact, I have something of a gift for you, and a guide, as well as a sign of gratitude to our kindred," The troll smiled, looking pleased with himself.

"That's a lot of things, what is it?"

The stables of the Shadowglenn were expansive, with the deep lakes taken by the giant turtles, their secondary mount of choice resided in small hidden valleys.

"Young Huntress, allow me to introduce your gift, A sacred Battle Bear, nearly as fierce as those of the mighty Amani but far swifter and I would say, smarter too!"

Great, hulking bears, nearly a match an Ursa major stood at attention. Wearing colorful wooden armors that somehow gleamed in places like fireflies and Ruby could 'feel' energy radiating from them as she flittered around the massive beasts in wide eyed excitement.

"You guys don't just have giant turtles but bears too!? And you can ride them! Awesome!" She reached out and tentatively rubbed one's fuzzy little ears and grinned as it leaned into the touch, "Best, bears, ever."

"Our turtles are fine companions, but the rivers do not flow everywhere, and," Krag’Jin shrugged, "We have been training them as companions since we were part of the Amani Empire. Giving them up would offend our ancestors and the Loa alike.

Ruby was mostly tuning out around the talk of gods, because she wasn't entirely sure what to say about it, but instead she just smiled and asked, "So, you're just... Giving me a... Battle Bear."

"Something like that," Krag’Jin said with an airy wave of his hand, "If keeping them becomes impossible you may return them with our blessings. But for now, this will let us travel faster and without needing to worry about every little step. Ah here is your mount, a touch smaller than their kin, but just as swift I swear."

Ruby grinned at the eager looking bear trundling towards her, its coat was glossy and bright compared to many of the others, and it was definitely the runt of its litter, but it still towered over her. "Oh, you are beautiful, aren't you?" She cooed, stroking their muzzle.

"The trainers called it little one, but I do not think it cares for the name," Doth'Ra offered.

"Hmm, well you are a bit small, and so brightly colored too," The bear leaned forward in something like an approximation of a hug as it took in her scent, one big paw brushing her cape and Ruby was inspired.

"Yang, I'll call you Yang Kōngtóu."


Hello again,
Sorry for the belated update, my personal life has been a bit odd recently. Anyway thanks as always to Iscariot Paladin on SB for editing this and for suggesting Ruby getting an animal companion, I love it! The bears name, if I recall basically means little gold bear, similar to how Yang means little sun dragon. Also, I love contrasting Remnant locals with other worlds not nearly so miserable, cos they are in a crapstack world, but generally like, pretty chill and normal about it and that's just fun.
When it comes to awakening Aura, I kept the structure of Pyrrha's speech but shifted up the dialogue to better reflect Ruby's character. I also went with the idea of it being hard to awaken Aura across species, cos while I get the impulse to make it easy, I feel that can unbalance things too quickly and take away from some of the fun of having characters needing to work around these challenges. Though, I naturally want to avoid the idea that X universe lacks souls, so I went with the idea people from different worlds have different soul structure.


Well-known member
Chapter 7
Birds of a Feather
Yang rocketed down a long dirt road on the Southern reaches of Anima, squinting at the sight of a distant camp; exactly where she was told it would be.

'Didn't think you'd be this easy to find,' Yang thought, face scrunching up in concern as she slowed her bike, watching the tree line for traps and ambushers but seeing nothing. 'Cocky too, huh?'

It lined up though, as shocking as the Branwen Bandits arrival in Southern Anima apparently was, they'd wasted no time in chasing off or subordinating every gang and pirate in the area. At least if the stories some very friendly mermaids and bitter pirates had told her were true.

At her approach the workers outside the camp stopped setting up their piked walls and started drawing weapons at her approach. Yang furrowed her brow and brought Bumblebee to a firm stop, hands still on the controls as she loudly announced, "I'm here to see Raven Branwen!"

The trio that came up to investigate were a bald older man in a rough white dogi, a woman with long black hair wearing a red combat kimono and a guy in of all thing's leather pants and jacket with a dark blonde mullet. The first two carried heavy looking dao swords and the last a pistol with a blade awkwardly welded to the base.

A part of Yang wanted to seethe, 'This is what mum us left for?' But she didn't, instead letting the threes leery eyes wash over her with practiced ease and repeating herself. "I'm here to-"

"We heard you," Snapped the bald man.

"We just don't care," Chuckled the woman.

"Though..." preened the front man, "If you play nice, we could be convinced to hand you over to her once we're done with you. We'll need the bike too as down payme-AAHH!"

The moment he got within arm's reach Yang dragged him off his feet and slammed him into the man on her left, sending both crashing to the ground.

The woman snarled, "Bitch!"

Her bladed bounced off Yang's prosthetic arm with a clang and Yang drove her metal fist, right into her throat and sent her slamming into a tree, gagging and coughing in agony.
The men shot to their feet, but her hands were already on the handlebars, so when the bald man swung his blade, she lifted herself into a handstand and vaulted over his attack landing behind them.

Ember Celica unfurled before they could even turn, and both fists crashed into the bandits faces sending them hurtling over Bumblebee and forced the dark-haired woman to dodge. Yang didn't give her the chance to get her bearing and launched herself over her fallen bike, around the bandit until she had her arms in a lock and snarled.

"Take me to my mother, take me to Raven, now!"

A bunch of approaching bandits froze up at that and the woman stopped thrashing, Yang waited a moment ready to make her demands clearer before a powerful, authoritative and above all, tired voice rang out.

"Welcome Yang, I'm sure we have much to discuss." Standing there, before the camp in a red and black battle kimono, a wild feathered mane of dark hair and familiar red eyes was her birth mother, Raven Branwen.

Seeing the bandits stepping aside and even the woman in her grip stopping her struggle, Yang released her and snatched Bumblebee back up. Marching through the haughty, offended and curious onlookers and right up to the bandit queen of Anima.

'I thought you'd be taller,' she wanted to say, because Yang was pretty sure even with heels, Raven was barely meeting her daughters eyes.

Raven just smirked, strutting around Yang in a tight circle, "I'm pleased with what I see here, you seem to have lost that softness, and tracking me down isn't easy you know. Yes, you've clearly come into your own," Raven stopped in front of her, a pleased grin on her lips, "So I'll give you the answers you want and after that-"

"I didn't come here for answers," Yang cut in with a hiss.

Raven blinked, but tried to rally, "Well if you want to join me-"

"I didn't come here for you at all," Yang countered, watching every subtle motion as Raven processed her words and tried to keep her calm.

"Well, that certainly isn't what you said to my followers was it?" There was still humor in her tone but edged now, like a knife drawn playfully along skin too light to break it.

Yang wasn't afraid of getting cut.

"I came here because your Semblance lets you open gateways to people you share a bond with and Qrow is out there somewhere with Ruby."

Raven's grin dropped entirely into a crooked, half lidded scowl, "Of course it would be about the little fool."

Yang's fingers clenched on the bike, teeth grinding but she only said, "Just take me to Ruby and I'll be out of your hair."

Raven's crimson eyes scanned the woods suspiciously before centering on Yang again, she looked like she was gearing up to say something when she just sighed... "Come to my tent."

"I don't want-"

Raven's hand cut through the air, "You'll get your rift, but only after I've told you the sort of lunacy Qrow has roped that girl into. If after that you still want to throw your life away chasing someone you already sacrificed your childhood fo,r well..." Raven shrugged, "That will be your decision."

Yang flexed her and clenched her fingers instinctively, wary anticipation of a fight not fading even as she stashed her bike behind Raven's massive tent and stepped into the older woman's home.

Unlike the shabby camp outside, Raven's place was nearly fancy. Richly colored mats adorned the floor, the thick material walls were decorated with art and Yang could see a large looking bed, a gold lined grandfather clock, as well no shortage of wine bottles that made her crinkle her nose.

Raven dropped down onto a red cushion before a new looking oak table and with a sigh, motioned for Yang to follow suit.

"Is this going to take that long?" She asked, eyeing a short haired brunette in red pants and khaki top bringing in a fancy looking tea tray.

"It will take longer if you waste both our time," Raven said, not even sounding angry so much as exhausted.

Yang huffed and dropped down, ignoring the tea and watching her mother intently.

Thumbing her teacup, Raven said, "Tell me Yang... How much do you know about what your uncle does, what he's drawn Ruby into, or about the academies where you were meant to be trained and kept safe?"

For a moment she considered telling Raven to get on with it but bickering would just slow them down.

"I know Qrow does work for Ozpin, I know Ruby's hunting the people behind the fall of Beacon and so is Qrow, as for the Academies," She shrugged, "What's to know?"

Raven just chuckled, "So nothing then, I guess that makes sense, Qrow and I didn't know anything when we first began being groomed by Ozpin for his secret war."

"Will you get to the point," Yang groused, "I don't care about Ozpin, I care about Ruby."

"Fine," Raven snapped, slamming her tea down as she began to count off on her fingers. "The Academies aren't there to train Huntsmen and Huntresses, they exist to hide four magical relics, each one with the power to change the world. That's what the raid on Beacon was about, you and your team and every other student was just a warm body between Ozpin's secret weapons and his enemies."

"Magic? Be realistic."

"Your idea of reality is about to start crumbling," Raven mocked.

With that her body started to hum and twist and contort, swirling lights of crimson red engulfing her as body was mangled into the shape of an all too familiar raven.

Yang launched the table away from her, skidding to her feet and rasping, "What in the... What are you!?"

Yang then watched in horrified fascination as Raven's body ripped itself from the Raven and she emerged fully formed and clothed as though nothing had happened. Taking up her tea cup Raven hid her obvious smirk with a sip before putting it back down and continue.

"Trust me Yang, that's just the tip of the iceberg."

Yang stalked around Raven's tent like a caged animal, every muscle tense, her blood thumping in her ears, she could feel her teeth grinding in her skull as her chest ached and her fingers coiled and uncoiled.

Raven just smirked, "You're taking this better than the others, they didn't listen at all."

Yang spiraled and turned on her, "And that's why you left isn't it? No one believed you about this Grimm witch woman being immortal. About Ozpin having no actual plan to stop her?"

Raven didn't answer, she merely shrugged and Yang returned to her frantic pacing.

She felt like the floor was going to swallow her up, like there was a chasm in her chest where all the hope she once had was sucked down into and just vanished.

'How do you beat something like that?' she asked herself, her entire body sagging before a gentle voice echoed in her memory.

'Will you and the other Hunters beat all the Grimm one day, mommy?'

'Maybe one day, but maybe not, they're like storms and sickness, just a part of life; but that doesn't mean we should give up.'

Summer held up her fist and grinned down at her daughter, 'Your mama chose to be a Huntress not because she thought she could save the day and win it all, but because she wanted to protect people.'

She ruffled Yang's hair, 'So long as we do our best and stick together, the Grimm will never win.'

Taking in a breath and forcing her heart to stop racing, 'The worlds the same as it was five minutes ago, I just know its worse than I thought, but Ruby… Ruby doesn't.' She centered herself on that fact alone; staring intently at the cold tea until her hands stopped shaking and finally murmured, "All right then."

Raven's head shot up, "No, no you are not just rolling over and accepting this!"

Yang turned to her with a smirk only half forced, "Oh I am, cause none of what you said changes the fact Ruby needs me, now more than ever. Once she knows," Yang's heart started to hammer again, "Once she knows, I'll decide what to do then."

"Don't be a fool, do you think she'll know what to do?!" Raven seethed, shooting to her feet, "She won't, she'll march blindly to her defeat just like-" Raven's voice grew strangled and she looked away from Yang.

Yang's brow furrowed, 'Is that what happened to mom?' She wanted to ask, desperately. But the thought of the answer terrified her and why would Raven know more than any of them anyway? Swallowing, she stepped forward, hands on her hip.

"I'm a Huntress and Ruby is my sister, I'm going to her whether you like it or not, because that's the right thing to do."

"You sound like your mother," Raven snarled, looking away from her.

"Good," was Yang's only answer before marching up to the woman, "Now, I think you owe me a gateway."

"Don't... Don't do this Yang," Raven whispered, refusing to look at her.

"Why, something else you wanted to share with the class?"

Raven's head shot up before looking away, then they both stilled as the brunette from earlier raced inside.

"Ma'am, its them, they're here," she gasped, fingers dancing nervously along her weapons.

"Who-" Yang was dragged back by Raven.

"Get out the back and stay hidden no matter fucking what," She looked to the brunette "Vernal, grab my helmet."

Yang bit back a snarl even as she followed the instruction, dropping down beneath the wooden stand Raven's tent rested on and watching intently as several sets of shows strode up to Raven and Vernal.

Raven spoke first, her tone much stronger than it was seconds ago, "I don't recall inviting so many guests into our home. Either I'm losing my memory, or you've all lost your spines!"

At the next voice Yang felt her entire body seize up.

"Don't be upset with them, Raven…"Coolly refined to the point of sounding synthetic and laced with mockery it was Cinder Fall, "Your men simply recognized the power of a Maiden..." But there was something strained about it, like the words had to fight to get out. Still, Yang would know the voice that echoed across the airwaves to announce Beacon's fall anywhere, "Which is why we'd like to have a word with you."

Another voice, Atlesian and haughty in the extreme spoke up, "Seems you hadn't even finished setting up shop yet, I do hope you didn't come all the way down here just to avoid our mistress. That would be rather... Well, pointless."

"I know Salem very well, but I don't believe we've met.

Mercury's cocky tone rang out, "We're the guys you should be afraid of."

'I wish I had blown off his leg!'

Her mother apparently agreed, disdainfully muttering, "I doubt anyone should be afraid of you."

"Oh yeah? Tell that to-"

"Quiet," Cinder rasped, her voice sounded much rougher all of a sudden, "I'm Cinder Fall… This is my associate, Arthur Watts, and my disciples, Emerald, and Mercury."

"Two children you've tricked into following you, a disgraced Atlesian scientist, and a Fall Maiden with a surname so appropriate, she probably picked it herself. Something tells me you've got more than a slight case of egomania, is that about right?"

Watts coughed, barely hiding a derisive snort, "Technically, I was also a doctor, but I must say, the rest was spot on."

Cinder let out a guttural rasp, "The only reason you're still breathing is because you have something Salem wants, where is the Spring Maiden?"


"This is the long lost Spring Maiden?"

"Show them what I taught you Vernal, our guests could do with a demonstration in case they start getting ideas."

Yang listened as the air above them began to rumble and crack, thunder and lightning booming as distant winds screeched and died down just as fast.

"Impressive," Cinder rasped, sounding about as genuine as a cat did happy when it was hacking up a hair ball. "Fortunately, there will be no battle today… We come bearing an olive branch."

The doctor spoke up, "The Maidens are merely a means to an end. Salem's true desires are the Relics locked inside the Academies. Come with us. Allow Vernal here to unlock the Relic of Knowledge, and all previous acts of defiance against Salem will be forgiven."

"You talk as if walking straight into Haven will be easy," Raven scoffed.

"It will be," Cinder countered, "Headmaster Lionheart is loyal to Salem… Now, all we need is the key to the vault."

"I don't believe you," Raven countered, "Ozpin chooses his dogs well, they don't turn."

"Why not?" The doctor mocked, "you did."

"Watch your tongue!" Snapped Vernal, a distant cloud rumbling.

"Calm Vermal, and as for you four, I don't want a part in any of this."

Cinder's retort was immediate, "That ship sailed when you chose to harbor a Maiden. But if you come with us to Haven, we'll leave you and yours be... We just... need... the Relic.

"I need time to think this over."

"You don't have time," countered the doctor, "We've scheduled the destruction of Haven Academy within the next few days, you can either choose us, or you can fight it out now."

There was a moment of silence before Raven answered, "Give me a day, I want to scope things out at Haven, see if you're telling the truth, if you are, then I'm in."

The doctor snorted, "You are in a poor position to negotiate."

"And you're fools if you think I'm just going to lead myself and Vernal into what could easily be an ambush, bend a little and you'll get a little, because if you don't I'll snap you like a twig."

A raspy chuckle escaped Cinder's lips, "Very well, but just know, there's nowhere you can run from our master."

"I've heard the spiel, piss off."

Yang watched as the quartet left, the doctor and Cinder quietly arguing before fading into the distance.

She heart Raven's heels click against the floor as pulled open a trap door and snapped, "Up here, now."

Yang practically blurred back into the tent and rounded on Raven, "Send me to Qrow now! No more jerking me around!"

Raven just waved her off, "I'm going to check on Lionheart, then we'll talk."

With that she turned into a bird and launched herself out of the tent.

Ember Celica sprung to life and Yang readied to race after her only to rear back at the massive electrified Chakram, the brunette snarling, "Don't you dare interfere."

"Get out of my way."

"You think I'm going to let you endanger us for your sister? Just stay put till Raven gets back?"

Neither one moved an inch.

"It's been over an hour," Vernal groused, her hands not even shaking as they continued their standoff.

"And I'm stubborn!" Yang retorted, weapons still brandished and ready.

The tent flaps fluttered and Raven transformed herself, staggering to her feet and barely catching herself on a tent pole.

"Ma'am!" Vernal rushed to the older woman's side, gently trying to steady Raven as she looked on absently.

"What happened to you?" Yang's stomach churned as Raven looked to her and then away, askance.

"They... They weren't lying, Leo's a traitor," She swallowed, steadying herself, "They're going to have him send Qrow and the others on some mission to get them away from the Academy and then there won't be anything between them and Jinn."

Yang filed that name away and pushed on, "Then you have to send me to Qrow, I can warn them, we can turn this whole thing into an ambush! I mean that has to be what you want, right? Or you'd have just done what they told you to."

"There's no point," Raven muttered, snatching up a bottle of wine and tossing it back in one fell swoop.

Yang thumped across the floor, shoving Vernal aside and hoisted Raven up by her kimono, "What happened to you?"

Raven stared at her mutely before muttering, "Ruby's dead."


"You're lying. You're sick to even -"

"She's dead, she jumped into some vortex full of Grimm and never came out." Raven shoved her off screaming, "The gir'ls dead!"

Some part of Yang knew her jaw was locking into place, her arms going slack as she wavered on her feet, but that all felt very, very far away.

Ruby was-

She couldn't be.

Her sister was strong.

The perfect huntress.

Yang had come for her!

Her little Ruby couldn't... Couldn't die...

'Just... Like... Summer...'

Something desperate and aching and mad clenched in her heart, "Open a portal to Ruby."

Raven looked at her dully from where she sat on the floor drinking, "She's dead-"

"We don't know that! She could be lost or hiding or captured, all you said is she didn't come out, she could need us!"

"You're delusional, and even if she wasn't dead I don't have a connection to her-"

Yang pulled Raven to her feet, "You spent my entire life stalking me, you have to have seen her, to have formed some kind of connection!"

"I didn't! She doesn't matter!"

"She matters to me!" Yang sobbed. "She mattered to Summer, don't you even care about her!?"


Raven howled, dragging her sword from its sheath in a clumsy swing before dropping it the next as she fell to the floor with a thud.

"Ma'am..." Vernal's cry was cut off as a surging, writing red and black rift tore open in the air before them, like a yawning chasm filled with emptiness it looked ready to engulf them all.

"Is that... Is that Ruby's!?" Yang looked to Raven and saw the woman's Aura crumbling before her, eyes flashing a burning red life fire.

Yang made to move, to fling herself through before it closed, only for a towering figure to burst out, dark skin and hair, tiger stripes and battle ready clothes she looked around wildly before turning and shouting.

"It's safe!"

Only for the rift to collapse in on itself.

"No, dammit we were so close!" She snarled, "Branwen, open it again!"

Vernal already had her weapon pointed at her but Raven just glared up at the Faunus uncomprehending, "Who are... What... Was that!?"

"You don't know," Yang gasped, "Then who was that portal too? Dammit Raven I need to get to Ruby!"

"Everyone shut up!" Raven screeched, hands on her head.

The tent flaps flew open, "Boss!"

"Get out!" Four voiced roared, sending the bandits running.

Yang turned back to the Faunus, some piece of the equation not fitting, and it seemed the woman felt the same, looking her over and then Raven, "You would not happen to be Yang Xiao Long, would you?"

"Y- Yes?"

She smirked, "I am Sienna Khan, your sister says hello."

Hello again!
Sorry for the belated notes, I spent the last week sick as a dog and so editing has been hard. I hope this chapter proved enjoyable. The next one will re-centre things on Azeroth, but I really need to set up how people are going to be getting back and forth in the interim now rather than later. Also tanks to IscariotPaladin on SB for editing!

For the unimitated, Yang & Ruby are half sisters through their father. Raven left before Yang had any memory of her and Summer Rose took over and eventually had Ruby. She disappeared when Yang was 5 & Ruby 3. Suffice to say, Tai didn't take it well and Yang, after a disastrous search for Raven upon learning she existed, ended up taking on the responsibilities of being Ruby's primary caretaker and keeping the family together, while Ruby just had to pretend this was all cool and normal and she was OK. Suffice to say, neither of them are OK.

Yang is handling the revelations regarding Salem and Ozpin better than canon, however in canon she like everyone else had just been lied to regarding the Relic of Knowledge being a Grimm lure, were separated from their allies and stuck in the snow after a train crash. This is still bad, but she can at least zero in on "Ruby needs to know" as a way to move forward here and is generally less panicked and off balance.

The conversation with Cinder is nearly a one to one with canon; honestly its fun to think about how that fight might have gone down. I'd argue Raven has the advantage unless enough Grimm come in, but Emerald's Semblance could well make or break things, though surprise Yang might shift things up further.

Suffice to say the V9 reveals regarding Summer's last mission and Raven and such gave me a lot of fodder for this segment, hence Raven name dropping the Relic of Knowledge's name and her utter freak out at the prospect of Ruby's death cos she has complicated feelings about her extended family and Summer's disappearance. Also I assume despite her efforts not to, Raven bonds with people fairly easily, given the nature of her Semblance. She hates it. Also yeah the reason Raven's bird form was familiar is cos she would follow Yang around in it watching over her.

Anyway, thanks for reading, any questions, comments or critiques are most welcome!


Well-known member
Map 5 (Remnant)

I have more maps, this one covering Yang & Raven's respective journeys, its not as important as some of the others but its a little fun and a chance discuss some interesting trivia I discovered.

As you can see Yang set out from Patch, I assume she rook the Forever Fall railway seen in the Black Trailer to get to the Northern coast near Vytal and then took a boat to Anima. The main area where her journey diverges is that she didn't need to travel that far cos of Raven's shifts.

Raven, as you can see, started moseying south after Shion went unexpected due to the off Grimm migrations. This had her booking it to a large collection of ports in the South both to put distance between anywhere they were seen using Maiden powers and to gain access to ships in case she needed to bail from the continent proper.

Thus, Yang arrived in the same port town as canon, was flirted with by some friendly mermaids and interrogated some pirates and set off to where they told her Raven's gang was setting up. Which happened to be a lot closer than canon was, essentially shaving at least a week or two off her journey.

Also for some odd reason Just Rite is listed as part of the kingdom of Vale on RWBY Wiki despite obviously being on Anima, I really need to see about setting up a new Wiki at Miraheze.

Buy yeah that's their respective journey, next chapter, back to Azeroth!

The maps hail from Twitter user KeithMontalbo: Link.


Well-known member
Chapter 8: Unlikely Alliances

True to the trolls' words their trek through the mountains was much faster than Ruby expected.

The hulking bears able to easily clamber over rocks and leap crevices while their saddles kept the riders dangling on. Paws pattering over rock and dirt fast enough and with enough stamina, Ruby was confident they'd make good pace even by Remnant standards in the wilderness. Even Yang Kōngtóu kept up, the little bears smaller size and weight letting them weave through tight spots and race along with their bigger fellows.

The fact Ruby probably didn't even weight half of what the trolls did probably helped.

The villages they'd visited so far were all rather similar to the eachother, cloaked in mist with hidden idols carved into stone and trees sprouting from the rocky hills. The ground above was mostly used for farming and livestock while the trolls dwelled in caves or smaller house-like watch stations in the various valleys. Thankfully, most had avoided any real Grimm save a few stray Ravagers or juvenile Nevermore' that were small enough to be overwhelmed by the local militia or shot from the air by Priests and Shaman.

'But that also means we have no idea where the 'summoner' is, or when he'll move next,' Ruby thought, frowning as she ruffled her mounts ears, earning a pleased chuff.

"Huntress, could you," Krag'Jin began and Ruby was already on it.

Their convoy came to a stop and she whipped out Crescent Rose as the Shamans and Priests began to mutter, strange, eerie lights drifting into the woods as she spied the low lands with her scope.

"No Grimm but... There's an awful lot of animals here today, they don't even seem to be doing anything," She frowned at the unnatural sight of a deer simply passing by a wolf, both looking a little sickly but far more energetic than the straining beasts they'd seen up till now.

"Indeed, my lord," Doth'Ra intoned, "There is magic in the air, natural and healthy but foreign to our own."

Ruby furrowed her brow at the sight of black, sleek fur and silver that didn't shimmer in the moon light, "I see people... Big, purple people," She amended as a purple skinned creature with massive troll like ears blurred through the canopy on a panthers back, a pale creature Ruby guessed was an Arathian with her in the saddle.

"There's only two, they're coming through the canopy," She added, and the trolls readied themselves but the leader himself remained at ease, only stiffening at the sight of the panther and person atop it.

The rider spoke in a deep, sturdy done, without much life, "Well met, trolls of the Shadowed Glenn."

'I can't understand a word of it,' she groaned.

"It's common, butchered but common," Doth'Ra offered.

"Hail outlander, and to you my dear Seraphine of Winter," Krag'Jin intoned, switching to the only tongue Ruby could understand, "Strange company you are keeping."

The pale woman had nearly white hair that reminded Ruby of Weiss's and wore hardy forest robes, she hoisted herself off the panther and approached the trolls without fear.

"It is a pleasure as always, Krag'Jin, master of the crag and lord of the forests," She offered a flourished bow. "I do apologize for this surprise, strange times I'm afraid, but I come on behalf of my fellows and in the name of the Kal'Dorei, who come here seeking aid in addressing a matter most terrible."

Krag'Jin snorted, "Is it a terror of their own making? That would be in keeping with tradition at least."

Ruby wasn't sure she liked where this conversation was going but was also distracted taking in the strange woman's appearance. She tilted her head and frowned, 'We do look alike but she's kinda... Is it weird I find trolls less weird?' The trolls were very obviously different from her, but something about the shape of this woman's eyes and bones felt just a little off to Ruby, like a funhouse mirror just a little too close for it to be obvious what was wrong.

Seraphine pressed on with a diplomatic smile, "They come for two fold causes, to hunt the traitor known as Illidan and his Naga servants, the elf has become a demon and slain many in his quest for power. Once he is dealt with, they also intend to dispense with the source of these Creatures of Grimm."

"Grimm, they've fought Grimm?" Ruby perked up, urging her mount closer to the conversation.

"Oh my, it seems you're keeping foreign company as well," the woman chuckled.

"It seems so," Krag'Jin said without any of his usual humor, still glaring intently at the elf, "And what would these elves seek of me in this?"

"They have had to leave many of their forces behind to guard our hamlets and would hope the mighty warriors of the woods would be generous enough to donate some brave souls to the cause."

Several of the trolls snorted, unimpressed, and Ruby had picked up just enough of their history to guess 'why' even if she really wanted them to help.

"And why should I trust their intent?"

Seraphine removed a herbalist dagger from her robes and in one swift motion slit open her hand, bloody spilling across the stone.

'What!?' Ruby almost shot out of her saddle, but Doth'Ra clapped a hand on her shoulder.

"In the name of the forest and the mountains, the rivers, and the sky, under the eyes of your gods and my ancestors, I Seraphine of Winter swear on my blood that the Elves will do you no ill. Oh lord of the forests and mountains vastness."

Her hands began to shimmer and shine as the blood drew back into her swound, the dagger, which Ruby now saw had far more in common with the weapons of the trolls than anything else the woman wore, glowed too.

Finally, when her wound sealed but left behind a scar, Krag'Jin sagged back in his saddle with a sigh, "Twist my arm why don't you? Very well, we shall confer with your elven friends," He offered the Arathian his massive hand, "Care for a turn in my saddle?"

The women chuckled and welcomed it as the troll hefted her off the ground and plopped her down in his saddle, larger frame practically engulfing her own.

The elf finally spoke again, "We have a consensus then?"

"We do, for the moment at least."

Ruby leaned over to Doth'Ra, "Is this a good time to mention I have no way to understand what they're saying?"

"This one will make you a translator potion before we arrive," offered the troll.

With that, the panther rider turned and vanished back into the forest, Krag'Jin dividing his escort up and calling Ruby to his side, "If things turn sour, I will be relying on your speed."

Swallowing, Ruby nodded, steeling herself for the confrontation that was to come.

'At least they have people from Remnant with them, so they're probably not all bad.'

Sienna heard tell the trolls and a full escort were approaching and she readied herself for vexation; as the rest of their camp continued their business with a touch more wariness.

'I have come to respect these traveling companions of mine, but even half-hearted histories and language barriers cannot hide the truth.'

The trolls were a people dispossessed of lands, seen as primeval and primitive at best and monstrous animals at worst. To say that she could see similarities between them, and her own people would be too mild.

'Even Maiev as the inciter of this plans seems less than enthused, merely seeing it as a bitter necessity, and the less said about the few Alliance soldiers in our midst the better.' The few Gnolls and Ogres however were much more inclined, viewing the trolls as favorable allies.

Whatever the case, she'd resolved herself to see this through, for now at least she could only concern herself with her own duties. Everything else would have to come later. Still, as the giant green figure approached on fittingly massive bears, Sienna prepared herself for anything.

"White Fang!" Cried a high, sharp voice, the sound of metal unfolding and slotting together familiar to Sienna's ears as rose petals flooded the divide between their camp. A scythe-wielding, hooded figure appeared in the midst a red whirlwind.

'Anything but that!'

Sienna bit back a snarl as two of her Crimson Guards raced forwards, spears shimmering blood red with Aura to face down the human as their companions watched on warily.

As if answering a question, the girl shouted, "They're terrorists and criminals on Remnant!"

"Typical human!" Auburn, a bulky ram Faunus snapped, leveling her spear.

Sienna let her Aura suffuse her vocal cords, her voice booming like an echoing roar, "Stand down!"

The guards and her approaching soldiers froze in place before violently jerking to attention as she brushed passed them and came face to face with the young Huntresse's Sniper-Scythe. The gears turned in her brain and clicked together with a name.

"Ruby Rose... Yes?" This girl had been a participant in the Vytal Festival and further was a teammate of the Belladonna's prodigal child.

Wide silver eyes met her golden as the girl braced herself, shifting to a defensive stance, expecting an attack.

"And who are you?" She offered tersely.

Hands clasped behind her back, Sienna answered levelly, "I am Sienna Khan," She saw the girls eyes widen at the name, "I take it Blake Belladonna has spoken of me?" Disappointing but perhaps not unexpected.

"Blake never said anything about you, but we'd know plenty about the White Fang even without her, you attacked Beacon!"

A low sigh escaped her lips, and Sienna rested a hand over her heart, "You have my sincerest apologies, that sordid display was enacted by a splinter faction and their human masters. I assure you; I have every intention of putting the masterminds behind that attack to death the moment I find them."

The grim frown on the girl's face did not abate, "And Blake?"

"She is the daughter of the Belladonnas," Sienna noted a flicker of confusion on Ruby's face, "a respected name among our people. Blake has done nothing I'd not expect of her, there is no quarrel with her, or yourself, Huntress." Ruby hummed as if in thought, brow arched before she pulled her weapon back and rested it on her shoulder.

"All right," The young huntress began, "you seem like the woman Headmaster Lionheart told us about." Sienna wanted to scoff at the thought of that servile traitor but kept her peace, "Though I guess this means you weren't killed by Mistrali Huntsmen."

Sienna's ears dipped, her fangs snapped together, "Adam, your ambition betrays you!"

She could hear her followers muttering among themselves.

"Adam? No, he wouldn't-"

"He would, you saw Beacon!"

Holding her hand out to instill silence she nodded, "Thank you for this Huntress. I had hoped he was merely misguided, but to use my absence to foster a reason to attack Haven" She shook her head. "When I return to Remnant I will need to dispense with Adam as well it seems."

The girl tapped her weapon, "He cut off my sister's arm, so if I see him first, I'm not gonna hang around waiting for you."

"A matter of family honor? I can respect that, until we part ways, allies?" She held out her hand and was pleased to see the girl not even recoil a little, reaching out and clasping her arm firmly.


Stepping apart, Sienna offered a respectful bow to her companions while the leading troll chortled, "Well, I feel completely upstaged, how about you priestesses?"

Tyrande offered a low chuckle, "Indeed, I think with that we have all had enough theatrics for the night, and thus should settle our business."

"This demon of yours and his snake servants, yes?"

At Maiev's nod the troll pressed on.

"Our Scouts reported such folk slithering their way through Arevass some days ago, from what our hawks have spied they have settled in Lordemare, on the coast to Dalaran." He rolled his large shoulders, "After that we were more concerned with the Creatures of Grimm and if they wanted to deal with Dalaran's undead, it was no concern of ours."

Maiev rubbed her chin, "All our reports say the dead have been retreating from the Grimm, its possible Illidan doesn't have the forces necessary to take the city, not if he cannot use the Eye of Sargeras without a Leyline nexus."

That evidently pleased Tyrande, "Then we may have time to stop him before things grow out of hand, though the fact he was not seen with his Naga concerns me."

Sienna looked to their Blood Elven compatriot, the man's blue eyes burning as he stared at the trolls and she said, "Your Alliance intended to take back Dalaran did they not?"

The captain stiffened and nodded, "Yes, there was already an aggressive front at Dalaran that I believe was meeting with some success, but if it was so heavily reinforced..." he shook his head, "It matters not, my prince would not party with a demon, even if it meant liberating Dalaran."

"Illidan could still find other allies," Tyrande hummed, "We will need to press on soon, Mountain Lord, would you grant us permission to travel via your water ways and hasten our journey?"

The troll frowned, glancing at Ruby and then to Sienna, she offered a respectful bow, "I can vouch for the honor of my companions and my own forces, Lordship. We'll cause your people no trouble and once finished ensure the Grimm trouble your lands no longer."

Taking in a deep breath, the troll nodded slowly, "I am of a mind to grant this, but a trade for a trade I am thinking, nothing untoward or grandiose, merely as a show of respect to use our long-guarded water ways."

"And that would be?" Tyrande asked gravely.

"We need to make offerings to the Loa as we pass through the rivers, a simple set of donations be it a beast or blade would suffice, though as to walking my domain..." his gaze drifted to Auburn's spear. "That weapon looks fierce, and I am a collector."

Sienna held out her hand and nodded in thanks as Auburn handed over her weapon, hand quickly going to the saber at her hip by habit as Sienna offered the troll lord the blade. "Without Aura you will likely not be able to use it to its full potential."

"This is true, no luck in awakening you comrades' souls then?" he asked, taking up the black and red blade.

"None more than I imagine your Huntress has had."

"A shame, but even still," He said, inspecting the temper, "This blade radiates fire, I am sure my Shamans can do something with it and if not, it will make a fine offering to the Loa."

"Bear it in health," she said with a bow which the troll returned.

With the deal done, the camp sprung into motion, Maiev muttering, "We'll be ready to move in half an hour."

"I'll send word," Krag'Jin answered, Ruby having stopped hovering at the trolls' side and came to speak with her.

"Hey uh, sorry for the whole, threatening you, thing," she said vaguely.

Sienna just shrugged, "You had due cause for suspicion, if I might ask, how long have you been here young Huntress, and how?"

"Uh, about two- and a-bit days, but my friends and I were investigating the weird Grimm migrations these portals were causing."

That made Sienna's ears perk up, "The Headmaster sent students on such a dangerous mission?"

"Well, I mean, we made it all the way to Mistral from Vale on our own," She chuckled awkwardly, "So you know, we're not inexperienced and ah, apparently the council wouldn't loan him anyone for the job."

"Well that at least sounds typical, still... That means there has not been another summoning since your arrival, at least anywhere we can see."

Ruby nodded, "Yeah, I mean I saw the Grimm break off their attack and head for Dalaran the moment the Ancient Ursa was dead, if there'd been more, we'd have seen them by now, but it's been so quiet."

"It could be further up North, but that land was already becoming infested when we led the refugees out."

Ruby perked up, "You guys' protected civilians?"

Sienna waved vaguely in the direction of their scattered Alliance allies, "Yes, there used to be more among our number from Northern villages, but they have found refuge in Pyrewood, where several of my kin protect them along with the Kal'Dorei forces."

"That's cool, I guess that whole, death to humanity thing was just a splinter faction thing," She swallowed, "Too blunt?"

"Inelegant, perhaps," Sienna offered, "Such extremism is not common among my forces. Anger and fear is there, certainly, for many among us bear the scars and loss of subjugation and torment. But even still, that is certainly not an ideal I would tolerate."

Ruby's expression did not ring with enthusiasm as she answered, "I mean you can say that, but I've still had a few hundred White Fang soldiers try and kill me and take part in destroying Beacon. Even if you don't like it, its obviously got an audience."

Sienna arched her brow, a vexed chuff on her lips, "Cruelty always has an audience, just look at the Atlesian soldiers who oversee prison mines staffed by Faunus. Many die by their hands and those that don't languish in chains."

"I never said that wasn't bad, but the White Fang is your army, so isn't it your responsibility to stop stuff like this?"

"I intend to, as I promised those who planned the Fall of Beacon will die." An idea struck her, "On that battle front anything you can tell me would be useful."

"Oh there's lots to say, like the time the White Fang got some of Atlas's experiential Paladin mechs and we had to fight it on a freeway." Ruby shook her head, "But that feels like you're dodging the question."

Sienna shrugged, "I only wondered if you hold James Ironwood to those same standards? That is to say, would you hold him personally responsible for ever act his soldiers take? Those that kill my people are not even rogue agents like Adam."

Ruby grimaced, "I feel like you're boxing me in here, cos I don't accept any of the stuff you're talking about, but I've never exactly been to a prison or a mine in Atlas. But I was there when Grimm were being airdropped into Beacon."

'How could they... A question for later. For now I need this tension between us resolved.'

"I'm not trying to box you in, merely questioning if other military leaders are held to the same standard. Its hardly uncommon after all, for violent that upholds the status quo to be more welcome than that which breaks it." She sent Ruby a grave look, "Or in other words, would you have drawn your scythe on General Ironwood as you did me?"

Ruby met her gaze, silver eyes shimmering as she seemed to seriously contemplate the question.

"Probably not, at least not then, maybe now?" Her head lolled to the side in thought. "Ugh, I hate this, its why I love fighting Grimm, no complex laws or moral quandaries there, you see it you kill it, nice and simple."

That left Sienna chuckling, "You've a good heart young Huntress, I could tell that much from your worry over dear Belladonna. Just remember evil exists everywhere, in every system, it's not unique to the White Fang."

"OK point, point," She accepted, "Though does that mean the opposite is true too? Like Yin & Yang?" The girl blinked and blushed as her golden bear trundled up and nuzzled her for pats, "Not what I meant but I'm happy you're here too."

"To answer your question, presumably, though whether that good is worth reaching for is always a question, a common debate among Faunus about reaching out to humans rather than defending ourselves."

"That makes sense, I mean it's not like I don't take the law into my own hands," She chuckled, "If we have time, I should tell you about the Paladin mech we fought, oh boy did we break some laws on that one."

"Charming," Sienna said with a genuine smile, "Before you do though, what can you tell me of your companions?"

"The Shadowglen? They're cool, they gave me Yang Kōngtóu for defending their village and are really good hosts, though, I get the sense there's a lot of history," She added, looking at the way the troll guards and Alliance soldiers in particularly seemed to be staring each other down even as the camp moved around them.

"Indeed, I hope it will not impede this mission, or us finding a way home."

"Yeah, well at least no one's gonna be crazy enough to work with this Illidan guy, so hopefully that's quick."

"We can only hope."

The Alliance resistance camp was overflowing with soldiers of all species and creeds. Ironforge marksmen unloaded new deliveries of black powder, while their Wildhammer cousins patrols the skies on Griffon back. Weary looking Blood Elves held their heads high as they marched alongside haunted looking humans still bearing the banners of their fallen nations.

Tents both worn down to a threadbare state and freshly imported from the South stood side by side. Ragged and pristine banners waved as the gentle winds of the Hillsbrad Foothills drifted through the camp. Carts of food bearing everything from purified grain to fish and even wine were being inspected with grueling intensity by mages and priests, the mostly human porters and farmers bearing it with practiced ease.

In the distance one could just make out the outline of Dalaran, once a shining beacon of violet towers and shimmering blue crystal. Now rendered a broken and jagged wreck that looked to have violently torn its way from the earth. If one looked closely enough, they could even see where the rolling green of Hillsbrad began to decay and die as it grew ever closer to the Scourges Southernmost stronghold.

At the heart of the military camp there was a great tent of royal blues and holy silver threads, bearing the crest of the Alliance and Lordaeron's royal family in equal measure. Those standing guard outside it stood at attention, but their focus was not on external threats, but instead, what resided within.

Othmar Garithos, Grand Marshal of Lordaeron and Grand Commander of the Alliances armed forces looked over his company moustache bristling as his gaze settled on the stranger in his midst.

Tall and lean, with pale pink skin, hair as black and knight and strange tattoos on his muscular form, the Night Elf looked to be a fierce warrior with his two great dual blades. But his ragged black pants that did not obscure his cloven hooves, the horns that looked to have ripped from his head and bat-like wings left Garithos wanted to cave the beast's head in with his war axe and be done with it.

'But he could be useful, for now at least,' The Grand Marshal assured himself, and if he did turn out to be an agent of the Legion, as opposed to a mere mutant elf, then they would kill him like any other.

Garithos followed the elves blind-folded gaze, the black band did nothing to obscure the toxic green glow of his eyes, or how they remained locked to the center of the map table.

Garithos's eyes drifted back to the center of the room where his mages, three survivors of Dalarans' Council of Six stood. Kael'thas, Modera and Drenden, each bedecked in violet robes muttered and whispered amongst themselves, several rolls of scroll had been used up and tossed aside.

As the words, 'If we are careful' rang out for a third time the Grand Marshal marched forward and planted his fist on the table.

"So, can his mad plan work, or not?"

The mages looked warily amongst themselves while Illidan just chuckled, "It will work, I assure you. I sympathize with their nerves of course; most are not as accustomed to using fire to fight fire as we Demon Hunters."

Garithos ignored the elf's preening and looked to his elite mages.

Madora grimaced, "It can work, the Ley Lines beneath Dalaran stretch to the Lich King's center of power in Ice Crown. With an artifact like that we can disrupt and destabilize the energies beneath it break the Lich King's power.

Drenden bristled, "Such an artifact is so dangerous however, I can hardly abide by demonic powers, even to fell the dead."

"Desperate times, call for desperate measures," Cut in Kael'Thas, tapping the table, "If we can secure Dalaran for the ritual I would endorse this plan, but only if we, the Council of Six cast the spell alongside Illidan."

"If," murmured Drenden before nodding his assent.

Madora looked to her despairing companion and added, "Once we are done with it, I move we destroy the Eye of Sargeras, so that it cannot fall into unseemly hands."

Garithos nodded, 'That can be discussed when the elf is no longer here,' he thought before turning to Illidan and barking. "Well, we concur, though with Dalaran so heavily reinforced your Naga will have to play their part."

Illidan just smirked, "I assure you, my Naga are already in position, once the attack begins, they shall slither up from the sewers devastate these wretched Undead. And then, then we can finally rid the world of this Scourge and deliver a crushing blow to the Legion."

There was something off about his intonation, about the ease with which he would see the Eye destroyed that did not sit right with Garithos. 'But for now, I shall trust him.'

"Then we begin moving at dawn."

Travelling along the River Arevass was, all in all, pretty pleasant in Ruby's reckoning.

The Shadowglenn had sent over a hundred cavalry with Priests and Shamans doubling up in the saddle of War Bears and giant turtles. The turtles were especially helpful, pulling along long boats of cargo, meaning they could all travel lighter and faster. Occasionally they'd pass by a hidden alter and offerings would be placed on it and then just… Vanish.

Ruby was still trying to come to terms with that.

This easy travel also meant more time for talking as well, which had steadily shifted from stuff like logistics or Grimm to their current target, Illidan.

"Ten thousand years!?" She screeched from atop her mount.

Maiev just scoffed, "It should have been eternal, he was condemned by the goddess for his countless betrayals, the death he wrought and endangering our very world."

Ruby nodded by habit but pressed on, "I get it, but I mean, that's such a crazy long time! I don't think a single nation on Remnant has lasted even a tenth of that time. At that point why not just," She grimaced, "Ya know, finish him?"

Maiev sent Tyrande a subtle glare, "I believe we should have."

Tyrande grimaced, "His imprisonment was intended as a mercy by his own brother, and however matters have developed all one can do when faced with such a decision is what they think is best. Illidan could have redeemed himself, but he chose not to, and now he will pay the price for that decision and every horror that followed."

Ruby got the vibe Maiev wanted to say something, but the woman kept her peace.

Krag'jin just snorted, "I much prefer letting the Loa sort these matters out when it is that serious. What of you, Remnantians, what does your justice look like?" The word justice rolled off his tongue like a joke.

Ruby glanced at Sienna who kept pace with the mounted warriors with no difficulty, the woman sent her a smirk before rolling her shoulders.

Taking that as a cue, Ruby said, "Well, cause of the Grimm we don't really like prisons much, they exist sure, but if they got too crowded or too bad, we'd be beating them off the walls."

Sienna's baritone cut in, "Instead, the courts relish in fines for certain classes of people and consigning others to serve as free labor, often in the more dangerous places of the world, beyond the kingdom's sight."

Ruby frowned but added, "Exile is also used, being barred from all four nations settlements and the like. Its not perfect, Remnant's pretty big and outside the Grimm pretty empty, there's lots of places to hide."

Sienna flashed her fangs, "In these or instances where the courts fail, violence can quickly become the solution, in one form or another. Though I should add, most towns have their own laws and can grow rather sordid out in the wilderness."

Ruby grimaced at the reminder of those back woods towns where Faunus would be killed and strung up. Instead adding, "A lot of it depends more on what the criminals did and can do, the more dangerous you are the less likely you're gonna be kept around unless there's a good reason for it or you have a really good lawyer."

Sienna, amazingly, didn't add anything to that.

"Exile," Tyrande clicked her tongue, "Would certainly have its place on your Remnant I… Think…" The High Priestess bristled, as did Maiev and Ruby found her bear shivering as a cold wind washed over her back. Yang Kōngtóu whirled around, and Ruby's eyes opened wide at the sight of another rift, like the very one that brought her here, but it was smaller and tinged a bloody crimson red.

"Dammit, brace for battle!" Maiev snarled, as Krag'jin did the same, only for Sienna to snap.

"No! This is not magic, this is a Semblance," Even she looked on guard though, wary, and wide eyed, "But how could she…"

Ruby looked to the woman, "What's happening, how do you know what this is?"

"That is the Semblance of Raven Branwen!"

"Yang's mom? So, wait, we can go home!"

Sienna's hand shot out, "We've no idea if it is even stable," She looked to her soldiers, "It is my fault you're here, I will ensure its safe and call if it is."


Ruby's call fell on deaf ears as Sienna launched herself through the rift and vanished, then seconds later, her voice echoed, distorted but clear.

"It's safe!"

And then the rift snapped shut.

Hello again,

Sorry this took so long, I got wrapped up in some things, from re-reading Travelogue. to modeling to participating in Bumbleby Week 2023. ANyway I hope this chapter proved exciting, things are going into higher and high gear from here on! Thanks as always to Iscariotpaladin on DB for editing!

I love expanding on the trolls and mob factions whenever I can, a lot of world building for the Shadowglenn here came from my New Dominion story even as I moved their territories further inland.

Writing Sienna & Ruby meeting was a challenge, a lot needed to be handled, but I like to think both are very pragmatic and even ruthless when it suits them so they can cut through the chaff well.

Bare it in health came from The Wire, which I had re-watched while writing this. The Silver Bullet Brotherhood comes from the first RWBY light novel, they were an extremist anti Faunus group.

Its often fun to jump from the MCs to see what others are up to and I wanted the Alliance's decision to work with Illidan to make sense. I tend to view Garithos's violent rejection of the Naga to be a mix of his prejudices, the fact the Naga had attacked his forces before and political scheming to remove Kael'Thas. Here however, the Naga and Illidan are way too useful to reject or kill... Yet.

Trying to figure out how Remnant handles crime overall when negative emotions draw Grimm is a fun quandary. Also, as much as I am not in favor of Illidan I do concur his punishment was pretty screwed up, likely not intentionally on the writers part but still, that had to come up. Also huzzah we get to the end of the last chapter with the end of this one XD

Thanks for reading, as always questions and comments are most welcome!

EDIT: Based on feedback from Matrix Dragon I made some edits to Ruby & Sienna's conversation. Sorry to those who liked the original version, but it kind of sent an off message to what I intended ><
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Chapter 9: Wheels Within Wheels

Tyrian Callows was a man who enjoyed his hobbies.

One such field of interest well suited to a skilled tracker like himself was 'reading the battlefield'. Looking over the remnants of a battle done and reconstructing how it came to pass.

In that case one might think the fallen city he now knew to be 'Dal-Ar-An' would be a fine venue for one of his proclivities.

But in truth the answer was no, for most of the damage had come from something akin to a natural disaster shaking the buildings apart. All signs of battle after that were just skirmishing points of stacked rubble and mobile fortifications, interesting but only so much so.

Tyrian sighed, squatting down on his perch atop a great tower and watching intently, Seer drifting by his side as forces clashed in the city below. Armored knights and snake folk with tridents clashed with screeching, shambling corpses and skeletal soldiers. Robed magicians unleashed balls of fire and ice only to be met with walls of decay and spectral songs. Cannon balls and cursed chunks of meat soared through the air.

'A dramatic duel for the fate of a fallen kingdom, how dramatic, how riveting, how fantastic!'

He sagged.

'If only it weren't so slow!'

The fighters were fair to be sure and some amongst them wielded enough power that they made his blood begin to run hot with excitement. But the average soldier, let alone the lurching dead simply lacked the speed, or the power, to prove all that riveting to one used to weaving through sprays of high powered machine gun fire.

Still, he did his duty and watch intently, his mistress silent by his side; both following the slowly, every shifting streets of churning soldiers as the living pushed deeper into the fallen metropolis.

'If my vision does not fail me then I think the living shall win the day. How lovely, living foes are so much more dynamic when in motion.'

The air of tension and abject misery suffusing the up-scale Mistral hotel was almost palpable and all too familiar to Weiss Schnee.

Not that she wasn’t contributing to it, head hanging low as she listlessly inspected her Dust. Memory constantly drifting back to the day she met Ruby, the squabbling, the early growing pains, and the friendship that followed.

Shuddering, she slammed the case shut, the noise barely registered in the quiet, ornately decorated room. Ren and Nora continued their own inspections, Ren’s mechanical and silent as Nora packed frantically and aggressively.

In the distance she could vaguely hear Jaune’s frantic, furious fighting against shadows as he tried to train the pain away. And of course, there was Qrow, the scent of his alcohol leaving Weiss bristling as Oscar tried to sober the man up in the kitchen to little avail after his hysterical breakdown.

I never should have left, we lost a home with Beacon, Yang lost Blake and her arm, Ruby lost her team and Penny, we all lost Pyrrha… We lost each other,’ she thought, shaking, ‘We lost everything, and I just let him take me home!

Had she been there for them, could she have stayed Ruby’s impulsive heroism, or at least raced into danger with her?

Weiss didn’t know and no matter what soft words of encouragement and hope Lionheart offered, she knew the chance of ever finding out, of finding Ruby were near nonexistent.

My partners gone while I was busy loafing about on an airship!

Any castigation was cut off with the sound of some low, roaring ‘thing’ followed by a garbled shout from Qrow.

Everyone moved as one, Weiss drew her blade and Nora simply jumped through the rice paper wall letting them see a writhing red vortex vanish from the air leaving two women in its place. One tall and bedecked in black and red with dark skin and tiger ears and the other blonde and-


The lilac eyed blonde ‘oohed’ in surprise and grinned brightly, “Weiss!”

Without thinking, she flung herself into the taller girls embrace, feet literally dangling off the ground as she quaked against her.

“Oh Yang, I… I missed you and I… I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”

Yang cradled her head, “Hey, hey, its OK, we’re all good.”

“No, I mean, Yang- Ruby she-”

Yang put her down and beamed, “Weiss, Ruby is fine, I know she is because someone just spoke with her like, an hour ago.”

Qrow who was slumped against the wall of the kitchen and looking like he’d thrown up on himself slurred, “That’s impossible, then where is she!?”

'Yikes, that bad huh,' Yang frowned, before motioning to the woman at her side. "Long story short, this lady was with Ruby. I got Raven to accidentally open a portal to Ruby, but she didn't know what it was and so I got Sienna instead of my sister. Raven will get her back to us later because of… Complicated stuff."

Jaune’s voice cracked, “She- She’s alive?”

The woman, Sienna’s smooth baritone rang out, “I tell no lie, the Rose girl lives and is doing fine work far from here.” Those piercing golden eyes fell on Weiss’s own and the woman’s fangs flashed, “A Schnee.”

“We had a deal,” Yang groused, interposing herself between them, but Sienna just let out a boom laugh.

“I know child, just appreciating the dramatic irony, there will be no conflict between us, certainly not before this battle is done.” She clapped Yang on the shoulder, “I shall be in touch.”

And with that she pulled a hood over her head, passing by the others and disappearing down the hall.

“Yang…” Weiss said slowly, “What in the world is going on!?”

Before Yang could speak Oscar spoke up, his intonation, his manner, even his voice subtly different, off, familiar, and wrong.

“Yes, I believe we would all like some answers Miss Xiao Long, Raven is hardly a… Trustworthy ally even in less troubled times and the White Fang have proven themselves the enemies of peace more than once.”

“Guys,” Nora murmured, “What happened to the adorable farm boy?”

“Ah,” Yang said, frowning, “You must be Ozpin’s new keeper.”

Qrow just waved a lazy hand, “Ozpin doesn’t die, he comes back in new people, Oscar’s the new Ozpin.”

Something snapped and Wiess shouted, “WHAT!?”

Everyone lurched back and Qrow cradled his head in agony, as Oscar, Ozpin, whoever said, “This is not the way I would have wanted this disclosed, but yes. My circumstances are… Complex.”

Yang just hummed, sounding vaguely disapproving before looking to her broken wreck of an uncle. “How about I try get Qrow to sober up and we compare notes?”

Weiss couldn't shake the feeling Oscar... Ozpin disapproved, even as he smiled and said, “That sounds like a fine idea Miss Xiao Long.”

Sienna looked out from her hiding spot in a minor Mistrali front owned by the White Fang, a humble tavern where the hookah smoke always danced on one’s senses. The owner and several of her soldiers, including an elk and a bear Faunus were standing at attention. She looked through the streets and down to one of their most integral safe houses, a great warehouse that had changed hands through several criminal syndicates for trafficking before Sienna bled them dry and took it for the Faunus.

Her Scroll vibrated, “High Technicist, speak to me.”

A face obscured by robes and an elaborate gas mask flickered onto the screen.

“It was as you said High Leader, Mistral’s systems are infiltrated," Their voice was one of gaseous hisses and mechanical filters. "Our pilfered Atlesian design documents and shadow network have let me obscure our presence. However, there is much damage already done, to Mistral and to us.”

“We shall deal with it, we always do,” She said, ears twitching, “Isolate Taurus and his lackeys, the Scout Master and I shall handle the rest and keep me updated if things change.”

“As you say, High Leader,” The figure rasped.

There was a near silent set of steps behind her and Sienna smirked, “Maze.”

The tanned, blonde Faunus’s prosthetic lizard tail wiggled excitedly as the camouflaged warrior bowed, “My scouts are in place High Leader.” They looked up at her through orange tinted goggles, “Do we begin?”

She looked to the soldiers and proprietor who saluted, “Indeed, we begin.”

The warehouse was dimly lit and heavily fortified, watched on every entryway, soldiers on Scrolls observing the cameras. Others rested or meditated or even gamed away their free time, waiting for the war to begin.

Overseeing the waiting forces was a dark-skinned Fox Faunus with short red dreadlocks, her tail swishing as she looked over the warehouse. Her distinct uniform signified her as of a higher rank, a Champion of the cause.

In place of the usual whites, she wore a zipper dark orange shirt with dark gray short sleeves, black arm warmers and buddle belt. With dark brown pants with three orange stripes, one on the middle and the other on the bottom, and black boots.

A hand rested on her Machete’s handle as Maze dropped through the skylight to stand before her.

“Scout-Master, what brings you here?”

“Why Vix, shouldn’t it be obvious? Our High Leader of course.”

“He hasn’t been officiated yet! Besides, I thought you hated Taurus.”

“Oh, they do,” Sienna intoned, having slipped in to stand on the catwalk with Maze’s distraction, casting off her cloak and letting all eyes fall upon her as she said, “And Taurus will never bear the rank of High Leader so long as I draw breath.”

“Impossible,” Someone gasped.

Vix stepped forward, “How do we know this isn’t a trick?”

Maze bowed, “No trick Vix, the High Technicist and I can confirm it, High Leader Khan lives!”

As confused and excited chatter filled the warehouse, Sienna met Vix’s eyes and let her voice boom through the sound-proofed chamber.

“My friends! Champions of the Faunus! Warriors of justice!”

“You have not merely been misled but manipulated and deceived by a traitor to our cause and our people!”

“Adam and his human masters plotted my end and embrace my absence to lead you away from our righteous path!”

"Their schemes will not bring you glory or our people justice, they will see our kindred across Mistral torn to shreds by Grimm as our warriors die in vain on the promises humans! Truly twisted and vile!"

“But I come back to you now, to turn the tide and drive out that which would corrupt and use the Faunus, the White Fang for their own selfish ends!”

She raised her fists, closing them as if crushing a man’s skull.

“Stand with me and the traitor shall fall, his human masters will die and then, then I shall lead you all to a new and glorious future, the likes of which you have never seen!”

Vix and Maze saluted, “Hail High Leader!”

The response was immediate, soldiers raising their blades, thumping their chests, and kneeling, all affirming one simple truth.

“We follow you, High Leader Khan!”

It was one safe house of many, but it was the most important step, it was the first.

As Sienna made her way down to greet the troops and fill her champion in, the High technicist buzzed in her ear peace.

“High Leader, the Belladonnas are in Mistral.”

Blake Belladonna had never been fond of the Mistral Council. The last few hours of secret deliberations in the opulent office chamber, spent standing beneath generations of wealth born of Faunus slave labor hadn’t exactly warmed her to them.

Still, she kept that to herself, standing dutifully at her father’s side, both guard and second in command as the giant of a man sat before the three-pronged desk.

The bald Councilor Xan was bedecked in fluffy red silks and a black vest like an ancient merchant, her gaze was piercing. Councilor Anza’s features were sharp and hawkish, belying their elegantly styled golden hair and ornate jade dragon robe. Councilor Kobe was perhaps the most mundane, older, with thick glasses and a goatee, he wore a subtly Mistrali influenced business suit of white and black.

At their side, just as she was at her fathers, stood Chief Yenna of the Mistral Constabulary, dark skin nearly all hidden by her dark brown and muted grey overcoat and black mask. She was one of several officers Blake could hear through the doors, and the scent of Burn Dust hung heavy in the air.

Xan tapped the table lightly and offered a politician’s smile, “We the Council of Mistral thank you, Chieftain Belladonna, for bringing this threat to our attention. As the duly elected officials of Mistral, we have decided to unanimously welcome the offer of your militia in defense of the capital and our nation."

Blake’s shoulders eased in their tension ever so slightly while her father beamed, brushing a hand through his dark beard he intoned. “Thank you, councilors, I hope that once this unpleasantness is behind us our nations can move forward in peace and harmony.”

Anza nodded, “Indeed, now given the risk of this venture, we will need to assign much of the Mistral Constabulary to the city itself in case things go wrong. But we will assign four airships overseen by Chief Yenna, and platoons of ten officers to each of your contingents.”

That’s not very much,’ Blake thought, hiding her bristling annoyance as her father grinned kindly and spoke.

“That will be more than enough, we’ve got no shortage of volunteers.”

Her father stopped speaking as the Holo-Projector on Counselor Kobe’s section of the desk began to hum.

“You said it was off,” Seethed Yenna.

“This is my emergency number,” The Councilor groused, answering it frantically only to lurch back in his chair, gasping, “How,” as Sienna Khan was projected across the chamber.

Yenna revealed her side arm, “You said she was-”

“You’re dead,” her father gasped.

Sienna offered a lightly mocking smirk, “Do not be so disappointed Ghira, that rumors of my death were the exaggerations of traitors.”

Xan was staring accusingly at her fellow councilor, “How did she get this number?”

“i- I must have been hacked!”

Sienna just chuckled, “No, it was a gift from one of your mistresses who is now well outside of your reach. But fear not, I come not to destroy but to offer you, my aid.”

“Aid?” Blake seethed, “You’re a killer, you led Adam, you turned the White Fang into monsters!”

Rather than confidence or mockery like she expected, Sienna actually looked… Sad.

"You've suffered much at that brute's hands, and for that I am responsible. Adam Taurus will die tonight, of that I promise. But there is more at work here than any of you see."

Anza practically hissed, “What, your attack dog turned, and you want to help us put him down?”

Her father bristled but kept his focus, “You are a criminal in this nation Sienna, your presence will only worsen the situation.”

“It’s hard to get worse than a nation with no warriors. Or did the Council not share that with you?”

Blake’s gaze snapped to the three councilors and the furious looking Captain as Sienna’s projections faded to reveal a scrolling list of dead and missing Huntsmen and Huntresses.

“What… What is this?” she finally asked.

“The work of Adam’s human masters and another traitor” Sienna reappeared next to several recognizable faces. “The criminals Cinder Fall, Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Blake are not mere hirelings, they along Dr Arthur Watts are the architects of Beacon’s Fall, Adam is a mere proxy.”

Xan muttered, “Watts was meant to be dead.”

“He is very much alive; He was seen conferring with the Branwen Bandits this very afternoon to secure their aid.” Sienna’s claws tapped along the chair she lounged upon, “What’s more, thanks to Arthur Watts, Adam has already been able to infiltrate your systems. Over three thousand White Fang soldiers are hidden in your city as we speak.”

“Impossible,” Yenna seethed, only to step back as several images began flashes across the sheen showing soldiers gathered in unidentifiable warehouses and building interiors.

“Rest assured they are now and again following my aegis,” Siena intoned. “I am offering to work with you, if I had no intention of aiding you, I would simply let this night run its course and move when the time was right, but the threat Cinder Fall & Arthur Watts pose to all life cannot be underestimated.”

“You want immunity,” Ghira concluded grimly, sliding back into his chair, purple overcoat ruffling ever so slightly.

“For the night, I and Raven Branwen will aid you in executing these people and then I and my forces shall leave Mistral in peace, and we can return to life as usual.”

Xan scoffed, “And if we refuse, you’re in the perfect position to tear Mistral apart from the inside out, is that it?”

Sienna’s silence said it all.

Yang patted her uncle Qrow’s back, the man finally forced back to a semblance of sobriety thanks to his Aura and now sculling water and food to fight off a headache.

If only it’d been this easy when I was five,’ she thought.

Turning away from that thought, Yang’s attention returned to the others as Weiss paced around the room. She was circling Jaune, Ren, and Nora on a blue lounge. Pacing past Oscar, or Ozpin, right now in a comfortable green chair and then circling around the green chair's counterpart and with it her and Qrow.

“All right, all right, all-”

“Stop saying all right,” Jaune groused, face in his hands.

Weiss looked at him squarely and strained out a third, “All right,” before jumping right to the next sentence. “So, just to see if I understand this correctly. The Maidens of the Season isn’t just a fairytale, its real, the Maidens are four women endowed with your magic that gets passed on when they die or its stolen.”

“Correct,” Ozpin said, Oscar’s eyes shining a subtle gold as he rested his hands on the cane that looked far too big for that young body.

Jaune scoffed, “That’s what you were trying to do to Pyrrha in Beacon’s basement, rip out the last Maidens soul and put it in her so Cinder wouldn’t get the rest of the magic.”

“Hey,” Qrow snapped, “She made her choice.”

“What kind of choice is that!?” Jaune screeched, “Do this horrible thing or people will die? Of course, Pyrrha agreed!”

“Indeed, she did,” Ozpin intoned gently, “She made the choice any true Huntress would, and its not our place to deride or disrespect her valor.”

Jaune looked somewhere between furious and hurt, unable to peak as Nora scowled at the man turned boy.

Weiss looked equally unimpressed but carried on, “You said the Creatures of Grimm have a leader, Salem and that you were cursed by the brothers of Light and Darkness, actual, real gods for failing to stop her.”

“Indeed, I failed to stop her once before and the gods ensured I would be incarnate into a soul akin to my own again and again until she was defeated. I failed in the past, but we must succeed now.’

Lie,’ Yang thought, years of practicing meaning no anger showed on her face.

“And to do that we need the relics?” Ren said, sounding unsure.

“We need to protect the Relics,” Ozpin corrected, “The four divine gifts from the gods that embody Knowledge, Creation, Choice and Destruction. Mistral holds the Lamp of Knowledge and though its questions have been used for this century.”

‘Another lie,’ Yang seethed.

“If it fell into Salem’s hands, she would undoubtedly be able to use it eventually and cause great harm, let alone what she could do with the likes of Destruction.”

Weiss pivoted on her heels and looked to Yang, “And that’s before we get into Ruby being on another world.”

Yang smiled, “Hey you already gave me the third degree over it.”

“And,” Weiss stressed, “You think we should work the leader of the White Fang and a bandit leader to ambush Cinder Fall and her cronies when they try to steal the Relic.”

“Pretty much, oh and before you ask,” she said, looking at Ozpin whose expression just radiated curiosity. “I barely know anything about where Ruby is. Sienna, Raven, and I were kinda busy figuring out how to stop Cinder, but Raven can get us there, but she won’t ‘waste the energy’ before tonight.”

Leaning back in his chair, Ozpin nodded, “Well whatever the case, I am impressed you managed to secure her assistance, even if the revelations tied to it are disturbing.”

Qrow took a glance at his scroll the list of dead Huntsmen and Huntresses was sickeningly long. “How could he do this to us?”

Ozpin ducked his head, “We may never know.”

Yang knew she wouldn’t get a better opening than that and so even though they only had a couple of hours, even though she knew it would hurt, even though it would make things harder… She said it, because it was the truth and her friends, her family deserved to know what they were in for.

“It’s because Salem’s immortal.”

The words fell off her tongue like they were the easiest thing in the world to say, and she kept her eyes locked on the man masquerading as a boy. Ozpin lurched back, Oscar’s rather adorable cherubic face growing ugly with a shocked snarl of anger and then almost animalistic desperation as everyone else’s gaze turned on him.

“Miss Xiao Long I assure you-”

“Raven knows, she also knows Jinn can answer two more questions, something else you lied about along with the gods punishing you for failing to stop her. You were sent back to, “She raised her fingers in quotation marks, “Unite the world” or else your gods will kill us. Salem and you even-”


The voice tearing its way out of Oscar’s throat wasn’t a child’s, it was a man’s, angry, desperate, and terrified.

“Oz…” Qrow asked, his voice shaking.

Yang patted his back, her own chest aching, only to startle as Jaune shot up from his seat.

“You liar!” He hurled the coffee table aside and hoisted Oscar off his feet, “You’re sending us to die and for what, to stall for time!?”

“I… I…” There was a flicker in Oscar’s eyes, and they returned to their more natural, not glowing orange shade.

“Answer me!”

“I don’t know, I’m not him!” Oscar begged, shielding his face from Jaune’s shouting.

Jaune snarled, shaking Oscar harder.

“Leave the kid alone!” Yang snapped, easily yanking Jaune off the boy and letting Oscar fall back to the lounge as she kept Jaune at bay. “He didn’t ask for any of this and unlike us, he can’t just walk out on Ozpin, you can!”

Jaune grit his teeth before throwing his hands in the air and stalking off to loom angrily in the corner as everyone else just stared at her, despairing.

Nora spoke first, “When you say immortal, like…”

“Not like Grimm, I mean like, you blow her up and she comes back kind of immortal,” Yang said grimly, watching as her uncle snatched his flask and poured its contents down his throat.

Dammit Qrow!

Yang clapped Oscar on the shoulder, "Hey kid, I'm sorry about that, are you holding up okay?"

Oscar shook like a leaf, “I don’t…” He swallowed, “I felt it when you said it, how much it upset it, how scared he was. It’s really hopeless, isn’t it?”

Yang swallowed but steeled herself, “No its not hopeless. Salem hasn’t won despite all her years on Remnant, so she has some limits. Better yet, we aren’t even fighting Salem tonight, just some of her lackeys and they are very mortal. Besides,” she added, forcing a cocksure grin on her face. “Maybe nothing on Remnant can destroy her, but apparently there’s whole other worlds out there, so who knows what we might find. Hell, maybe we can just shove her into a black hole,” she joked.

No one laughed, but no one looked quite like they were going to break down crying either, so she counted that as a win. Clapping her hands Yang said, “Look, if you want out, I’m not gonna blame you, but if we don’t do something a lot of innocent people are going to die tonight. Everything else can come later.”

Jaune’s fist collided with the wall, “Cinder’s going to be there, so you know I am,” Ren and Nora nodded with him.

Yang looked to Weiss and her uncle, the smaller girl’s lips pursed but she finally nodded, “I’m not leaving my team behind again, here or on this other world.”

Qrow however didn't answer, just shaking in his seat. Forcing herself to hide a sigh Yang marched up to him and pulled him into an over shoulder hug.

“Hey old man,” She said gently, “I know this sucks, and we can talk it out later, but remember, Ruby’s counting on us.” She turned his face to meet hers, “I need you to focus, just for a few more hours I need Qrow the Huntsmen, then, once we’re done with this fight, once we have Ruby back, then we can fall apart, okay?”

He started bringing his flask up to his lips but stopped at the last moment muttering, “For Ruby,” Before taking a hefty swig.

“For Ruby,” she said, looking back to Oscar who was curling into a ball on the couch. “Kid…”

“I’ll go,” He said bluntly, “I can’t fight well but that just means if Oz wants to stick around, he’ll have to take over and help you.” He gave her a heartbroken smile, “Its like you said, I don’t get a choice in this.”

Swallowing back the pained feeling in her throat, Yang ruffled his hair, “Don’t give up hope, whole new world of possibilities, remember? If that’s possible anything is, even slaying a witch and kicking old wizards out of your head.”

“For now, though,” she said, forcing a cocky tone, “You guys have a mission to prepare for, can’t have them suspecting anything now, can we?”


Hi, sorry this took so long, been very busy with things and easily distracted, I'm so sorry >< Thanks as always for Iscariot Paladin for editing!

Anyway, this is the last RWBY heavy chapter for awhile, next segment is super heavy Warcraft stuff. Anyway, I learned the term, 'reading the battlefield' from a Naruto Stargate crossover where a five year old has already started being taught to do that and SG1 are... Disturbed.

The White Fang having a Shadow CCT Network is a Headcnaon of mine, something I believe Sienna was working on and why Adam could communicate with the Albains from Mistral with the CCT down and the Albains themselves claiming to control the channels of communication. Vix is based on DCs Vixen who was a Faunus when adapting to Remnant in the crossover movie, I loved her design too much not to use her. For anyone curious why Sienna could get control so easily, its integral to remember Adam's canonical coup involved like 30 people, two of whom thought they'd be the one's pulling his strings. He also needed a martyr to launch an attack on Haven. Put simply. while not unpopular he was not going to take the High Leader position legitimately.

Also yay, Blake is back, wooh! Plus sad Rose-Xiao Long family feels. The circumstances around Pyrrha agreeing to be the Fall Maiden are shonky to say the least and I felt neglecting that would be unfair. Ozpin's lie is what he said in canon, specifically after Yang had spoken to Raven as well, so he'd tell it here too. Yang in canon was very committed to the idea of the truth so I kept that here. Yang's "Salem hasn't won yet so she has some limits" conclusion is the main one most people reach when given time, she's training to get there mostly by necessity, IE she has to process this shit fast if they all want to survive.
Anyway I hope this was enjoyable, thanks for reading and as always any feedback is most welcome!


Well-known member


As the hologram connecting Sienna to the council chambers dimmed, the deal made hung heavy in the air. Even still she could hear her some of her guards pleased murmuring.

"Really put those wretches in their place," Ringing out to her particularly.

Arms behind her back Sienna turned, "The council of Mistral are indeed a corrupt and hateful lot, but we are hardly in a position to criticize, not in this moment at least."

The crimson adorned guards nodded grimly, "Hail High Leader."

Turning her focus to Maize Sienna nodded, "The battle approaches and before the time comes I would meditate. Can you and Vix hold down the fort for half an hour?"

Spiked teeth gleaming Vix bowed, "As you say High Leader, so shall it be done. Soldiers, come, let's make sure no one on the council gets any clever ideas."

The guards looked to her but Sienna merely nodded, dismissing them with a salute that they returned before leaving.

Now alone in the dim storage depot chamber that served as a secretive communication hub Sienna felt her entire body shudder violently. But only when she was certain they were out of earshot did she let herself fall to her knees.

Claws digging into cement as she let out ragged breaths, unshed sweat pooling on her brow as the tension lanced its way across her frame. Old whip scarred marks burned and her blood ran hot even as her mind grew frantic and blurred.

'You almost lost it all! The cause! The White Fang! All that we've built reduced to mere ashes and accursed memories.'

Swallowing, Sienna barely forced herself to kneel, chest still heaving as she looked over the dark chamber.

'Too close, all of it, Adam, his master, the council and Ghira... Ancestors, did I make the right decision to lie?'

There were soldiers in Mistral, but Adam had always intended the Grimm to do most of the work and some were still loyal to him or at least not sure enough to contact. Still, if she couldn't present an immutable wall of strength the council would see them all dead no matter the cost.

'If I didn't masquerade as a mastermind, I would look all too weak. How much have I let slip through my grip because I trusted him? Because our foes 'deserved' their fates?'

She was tired, physically, mentally, and Sienna knew the coming days would be a trial by fire for everyone. She could not afford to show weakness nor meekness, not if she wished to retain control and right the course of the White Fang's crusade.

'I am walking on a knives edge, Adam's extremist on one side, the council on the other and soaring over head are a dozen blades from his masters to Azeroth and more.'

'I just have to see us through this storm,' she told herself, crossing her legs and adopting a meditative stance. 'I just have to stay in control.'

She just prayed to the ancestors it was enough.


I got some feedback from a friend regarding my handling of Sienna in the last chapter and wanted to address it, also thanks as always for editing IscariotPaladin.
Next chapter is all Warcraft all the time as we finally, finally reach Dalaran!


Well-known member
Chapter 10: A Duel in Dalaran

Chapter 10: A Duel in Dalaran

The disappearance of Sienna was simply another in a long line of troubles that had afflicted her campaign thus far. Fortunately, so close to their target they had been able to leave some Shadowglen behind to watch for her return as they moved to establish camp.

Beneath a small mountain that backed onto the lifeless Lordemare Lake and the river before them it was as secure as they were going to get. The water almost served as a dividing line between the plagued and dying lands surrounding Dalaran and the pained but still very alive Silverpine.

Without their Ancients the camp was mostly a smattering of war tents and raised earth fortifications, no one, not even the Remntantians were put out by it. The Priestesses had raised a small Moonwell and the Druids had enhanced the overgrowth to ward against trespassers, even the trolls contributed some defensive totems.

Maiev turned her attention back to the city of Dalaran and the Rose girl, "Any movement?"

"None yet, still just lotsa burning bodies, spike traps, spiky holes outside with lots of soldiers fortifying the place along with those snake people you mentioned."

"Dammit," She snarled, "Tyrande the longer we wait the more fortified Dalaran becomes and the harder it will be to stop Illidan's machinations!"

Tyrande frowned down at her from her mount, "We cannot race into battle against the Alliance, let us await Selin and his fellows return first."

"You assume they still draw breath, or haven't turned against us," Maiev spat, "While you dither away our time, Illidan makes ready and all that comes of it will fall on your head."

Tyrande's eyes flared, "I know of what I do Warden, you and the Watchers will wait."

Repressing a snarl, Maiev's ears twitched, and she spared half a glance at Krag'jin and the Rose girl who quickly tried to look like they hadn't been gossiping.

'If this continues, I will lose my damned mind!'

"The Archdruid returns!" An archer crowed from her tree top nest.

Not a minute later, Malfurion and his Remnantian escort swooped down into the heart of the camp, the Druids body shimmering and morphing into his elven form.

"Tyrande, Maiev, we must stop what Illidan has wrought!"

Any satisfaction Maiev might have felt at Tyrande being proven wrong -let alone the disappointment she failed to hide- was overwhelmed by dread at what could render the normally serene Archdruid so panicked.

"What's your boy up to?" Krag'jin intoned, forcing himself into the conversation with all the grace of a hammer to the skull.

"The forest flooded my mind with visions, in it I saw Illidan and several mages I do not know using the Eye of Sargeras and the Ley Lines of Dalaran to launch an attack on the Lich King. He is de-stabilizing the Ley Lines beneath his Frozen Throne in a bid to destroy him."

The troll snorted, "Madness aside, that's rather clever."

"Wait, wait, why's that bad?" Ruby added from her high vantage point, the winged Faunus nodding along despite themself.

"We don't have time for this," Maiev hissed, but Stormrage was already speaking, surprisingly gently compared to his panicked tone moments before.

"Such an act is not without consequences; his spell is de-stabilizing the Ley Lines and with it the lands of Northrend. Earthquakes, explosions of raw magical energy and worse are tearing at the roof of the world and they shall ripple back across the skein. If this is not stopped, he could unleash a string of natural and magical disasters not just on Northrend but the world."

"Let alone what he might wake up," Krag'jin added, rubbing his chin, "The Whispering Woods got some vile shit sleeping beneath them, but legends say much worse sleeps in the North. Wouldn't want them waking up."

"Which is why we must move to stop him now!" Maiev insisted.

Tyrande raised her hand, "I concur, this assault on the natural world must stop, but if we can confer with the Alliance, they may be willing to stop this ritual themselves." Before Maiev could even raise a protest, the High Priestess added, "And while I go to speak with them, you shall ready out forces for battle if I should fail."

Maiev stopped short, 'Damned woman, she's trapped me!'

Stormrage frowned but nodded, "If we can stop this without violence then we must, it would be swifter and safer for all, but if not, we must do all we can to spare the world this wound."

Krag'jin coughed into his hand, "If you are going to meet with the Alliance, might I suggest ya take our Crimson Huntress? She'd be a fine help if things turn sour."

The girl had already hopped down from her perch and was standing at attention besides her bear, "I can help."

Malfurion looked to Tyrande who nodded and said, "Then we must move swiftly, come let us be off."

The journey to Dalaran was a bleak affair.
Malfurion taking wing with his Druids as Tyrande rode along side her Huntresses and Ruby Rose. Their followers show no joy at being expected to linger behind the closer they came to Dalaran and the stench of burning flesh filled the air.

'Was it wrong to hope things would not come to this?' A part of her wondered.

Releasing Illidan had been an error she knew. And though she could not allow Maiev a victory over her before their followers her heart was haggard by the blood she spilled that day and all that had followed. Still, some part of her had hoped he would simply disappear, or fall silently, far from sight.

'Juvenile, he is not the boy he once was, maybe he never had been,' She thought bitterly. Playing back moments over millennia passed and looking for the moment if there had been one where things became irreparable.

When Ruby spoke, she welcomed the distraction.

"If they say no, are we going to have to fight them?" she asked, looking at the ruined city they approached with worried eyes.

"If we must, as lamentable as their situation is, if Illidan's plan is a success, it might well cause even greater harm than the Scourge and this old world cannot stomach more disasters so easily." Seeing that Ruby's ill mood did not fade she added, "We will try to avoid killing where unnecessary, and this matter if hardly your responsibility."

The girl swallowed and patted her mounts head as it chuffed and looked to her with worry on its face, "Thanks but…" She did not seem to know what to say, and she did not have the time either.

Malfurin landed at her side as an impressively large Arathian in black armor rode out to meet them only a little way away from the city's perimeter, accompanied by a pale highborn in red robes with golden hair.

The Arathian spoke first, moustache bristling, "I wondered when you would come out of the forests, Night Elves was it, and company?"

Tyrande bristled at his tone, "I am High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, and at my side is Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage and the Huntress Ruby Rose. We had hoped you would speak with us."

The Highborn was quick to cut in, "Ishnu-alah, night elves. I am Prince Kael'thas and this is Grand Marshal Garithos, we thank you for returning our missing soldiers, Salen spoke highly of you."

"It pleased us to aid such noble souls, though I must ask what they told you of the Naga and their demonic master."

Both men sent half a glance backwards before Garithos spoke up, "We are aware of this Illidan's nature and that of his snake servants. We will not suffer them long."

Tyrande dared to hope, but the particularities of his words stuck her and Malfurion was quick to add his voice to the chorus.

"You cannot suffer them at all, the spell Illidan would have you weave will have disastrous effects on the world. It will not be merely Icecrown that is struck low! It will tear asunder the Ley Lines of Northrend, unleashing disasters upon the land and its people and it shall not stop there."

While Kael frowned Garithos merely shrugged, "A continent of the dead is of no concern to me."

"There is more than just the Scourge in Northrend," Tyrande snapped, "Thousands yet live there and terrors you do not yet know sleep beneath the earth. You would condemn them and de-stabilize the very world we live on to deal a single blow to the Scourge!?"

"To defeat the Scourge," Kael'Thas said hotly, "The Undead tore through our lands, butchered our people and left us nearly spent. If we must stain our hands even for a time to see its threat ended, then let it be so."

Malfurion growled, "Illidan has no quarrel with the Scourge. If he is striking at them with something as dangerous as the Eye of Sargeras he has ill intent. You are being manipulated just as we once were!"

Kael'Thas rolled his elegant shoulders, "We have taken precautions and when the ritual is complete we shall dispense with the Eye of Sargeras. But we cannot halt the ritual, the Lich King must be destroyed if we are to defeat the Scourge."

"Do you though?" Malfurion intoned gravely, "Know I mean. Do you know that the destruction of the Lich King shall end the Scourge, or do you simply guess?"

There was a moment of ill silence, before Garithos snapped, "This matter is not of your concern; it is our business alone."

"The world is not yours to tear apart," Malfurion growled.

Garithos simply grasped his war axe, "Once this matter is dealt with, we shall dispense with your demon and his snakes. Why don't you return to skulking in your forests and fight these 'Grimm' Kael'Thas's men were so afraid of, matters of beasts seem more your kinds of talent."

"You dare," Tyrande hissed.

"If you will not stop the ritual," Malfurion intoned. "We will be forced to stop it, before your desperation dooms more than you could ever save with such a mad scheme."

"Your people might, you will not be leaving however," Garithos countered, raising his monstrous axe and his soldiers began streaming towards them.

Tyrande readied to run when Ruby Rose clasped her hand and grabbed Malfurion's shoulder and cheerfully said, "Yes we will!"

Then Tyrande's entire world became rose petals.

Malfurion had traveled many lands in many ways, on Hippogryph back and dragon, upon elk and his own sturdy wings.

He had never once before been turned into a swirling mass of rose petals and been sent hurtling along at the speed of howling winds!

Only to then return to his form surrounded by his and Tyrande's followers, staggering on his feat as the world tried and failed to right itself around him.

"I would like to never do that again," he said mildly, watching as Tyrande petted her irritated and confused mounts head and Ruby did the same to her bear.

"Sorry, but we needed to get out of there," Ruby answered simply.

"High Priestess, the human knights are moving."

"Damn it all, fall back," Tyrande hissed as they began to race towards their forest camp.

With the dizzy spell passing, Malfurion was quick to call on natures' bounty, the warm, earthy energies flowing through his being. With a slash of his hand behind them, the sickly grass began to grow and writhe before their pursuers, long rope like strands snagging knights off their horses and breaking their charge.

With that done he transformed into a Nightsabre and raced to catch up.

Maiev looked up from the magical map raised from the forest floor with an arched brow as Tyrande and the others approached, the High Priestess looking less then pleased.

"I am surprised you only sent an escort and did not order an attack the moment you saw us retreating from Dalaran."

"I wished to, but your forces refused to move," Maiev countered. She sent a scathing look towards the Priestess and Druid who had countermanded her orders leaving her and Krag'jin united against them and in a deadlock.

The pair kneeled, the Priestess intoning reverently, "We would not act without your orders High Priestess."

Rather than the approval Maiev expected Tyrande snapped her fangs, "You should have heeded your superior, now Dalaran has had more and more time to raise barriers of arcane and light energies."

The pair looked up in alarm before pressing their heads to the ground, "Forgive us!"

Tyrande waved them off, "Every moment we spend now is wasted, we need to marshal and move before-"

A chorus of jagged, agonized screams filled the camp, Druid and Troll Shaman alike falling to their knees as something subtle in the air shifted.

Malfurion clutched his heart, "The ritual… It has begun!"

Snarling Tyrande marched up to the table and looked over her work, "Why are so many forces in the rear-and Norther flank?"

Surprisingly, Ruby chirped, "The Grimm," like it was obvious.

The White Fang forces nodded along, one adding, "They can smell battles miles away ma'am, they will attack."

"Damned things," She muttered, "Very well, this single pronged strike will have to suffice, our goal is to disrupt the ritual, everything else can come later. We breach the city, strike into the heart, and fall back."

Maiev's eyes glanced to Ruby Rose who raised her hand, "Uh, if its just about stopping the ritual maybe I can help?" Seeing everyone staring for a moment she hastily added, "I mean I have a sniper rifle and I can move super-fast, this way less people have to fight too."

Krag'jin shook his head, "You can still be struck from the air in that state, no? Then you would be felled before you reached them and no matter your strength you would be overwhelmed."

"Unless" Maiev murmured, a desire to spare her soldiers more loss pushing her forward, "Unless I accompanied her, cloaking us in shadows, switching between her Semblance and invisibility. Escape may still prove difficult, but we could end their ritual."

Tyrande looked displeased a moment before nodding, "Acceptable. In that case when we march our forces on the city, we can spread them wider, focus on disrupting their defenses and distracting their forces so you can slip through."

Ruby grinned and Maiev feared she had misjudged the girl's maturity, 'It is what it is, this must be done.' The shadowy Crystal circling her Chakram thrummed against her mind, 'If worst comes to worst, I can always take my life and with it, several city blocks, leaving behind shadows of vengeance to finish my work.'

Tyrande's pals struck the table, "Then both of you be ready to bear every blessing and enchantment we can muster, Sentinels, allies, we march on Dalaran!"

Marching into battle against other people wasn't something Ruby had ever wanted to do. That it was happening on another world and for reasons that honestly felt somewhere between unreal to at least above her paygrade didn't help.

Still, she'd resolved herself to it and despite the idea not sitting right with her she at least felt she knew what to expect. Having fought with the Shadowglenn to defend their home and heard talk of the battle at Pyrewood she was fairly confident as they marched the fields of Hillbrad.

Looking around from atop Yang Kōngtóu, the bear gave her a decent view of the forces marching on the looming city of Dalaran and it was familiar. Sentinels and Shadowglenn having divided their soldiers up into small teams, with a few strong fighters who could hit hard & defend well at the front. Long range fighters with bows and axes stood behind them, while healers and magic users brought up the rear. There was plenty of space between each squad so they could maneuver around artillery fire too.

'It's like a battle from one of those classical era shows, before Dust cartridges,' she mused.

Her gaze turned to the city of Dalaran, its stained white and violet towers of broken brick and mortar half hidden behind shimmering walls of deep purple and golden lights. Those defenses at least seemed a bit more modern, like the Hard Light Shields around Amity Colosseum.

'Though those can be broken too,' she thought, dismissing the memory of the Nevermore divebombing the arena.

Instead, she looked to Maiev who marched at her side, long strides easily able to keep up with her bear.

"You said the signal for us to sneak in would be when Tyrande and Malfurion attacked right? How much time is that really going to grant us?"

The sharp-helmed woman glanced at her, something inscrutable in her expression before she said, "It should grant us more than enough time, if you are as fast as you claim." At her questioning her expression the woman simply said, "You will see, for now, focus, the battle is about to begin."

Ruby steeled herself, patting her mount's head and muttering, "when I go, you stay with Krag'jin OK?" She said, pointing at the nearby troll and earning a huff of discontent before Yang Kōngtóu nodded.

She said it just in time cos a moment later their march began to slow, and she watched the first stage of battle begin with cannon balls from atop the broken towers hurtling down towards their armies.

These were met with shining silver ballista bolts that flew unerring to their targets, while others got blown out of the air by bolts of lightning from newly born clouds.

Silver glaives and shining arrows and axes filled the air in massive number, surging across the skies and straining against the shields before some even began returning to their masters.

Totems began disgorging lightning while other Priestesses summoned beams of light and Druids bolts of green.

The city in turn started summoning up rains of icicles and balls of raging fire to accompany their cannons, some being belched out by massive tanks that spilled steam into the air as they rolled to the front.

It was colorful, chaotic and calamitous, but it was exactly what Ruby expected, everything she could see could be done in one form or another with Dust or machines and most of it felt slow to her eyes.

"The moment approaches, be ready," Maiev hissed.

Ruby didn't get the chance to even look around to see how Maiev knew that before the ground ahead of them began to roar and rumble. Vines as tall as houses and thick as trees tore from the earth coiling around the tanks and crushing them, while trees once sickly and weak swelled in size, fierce faces cut into their trunks while branches twisted into arms made only to bludgeon.

Even the enemy wasn't lacking.

Ruby's eyes widened as a burning bird as large as any Nevermore sprang to life, molten balls of fire rocketing down and scattering or scorching entire teams as it blazed across the sky.

But it was nothing compared to what came next.

The sky itself seemed to change from a dark blackness to shimmering violet, the stars shone brighter, and the moons seemed to blink. Then, orbs of silver began to surge down, each one as big as a person and as they crashed against the barrier, they exploded like frag grenades, but it wasn't just one or two or even a dozen. It was a cascading waterfall of silver light bombs.

This wasn't like any battle Ruby could name. These were like the heroes and villains of old stories, like the King of Vale or Leviathan Class Grimm. The kind of people who could reshape entire battlefields to their will.
It was terrifying, so much so she could barely move and yet, a part of Ruby felt her blood run hot at the sight of it.

She was only pulled from her awestruck staring when Maiev snapped. "The barrier is fraying!" motioning to a thinning in the shimmering wall of lights, one of dozens.

Ruby felt her body thrum with newfound energies as Priests and Shamans sent their blessings and as her heartrate surged, she grasped Maiev's pauldron.

'They'll do what they can do, and I'll do what only I can do, everything else can come later.'

"Brace yourself," Ruby said and before Maiev could bark an order, she let her Aura swirl around them, crimson red light engulfing their frames. The world faded into a writhing mass of swirling red petals mingling with shadow silvery that surged forward in a spiraling tempest.

The air strained and broke around them as they crashed against the barrier. The explosion of concussive force ripping through the magic and splitting a tower in half as they flew, howling winds trailing brick and mortar behind them.

Maiev's entire world bled back into place at once as she was practically ejected from Huntresses 'Semblance'. Nearly toppling from the sudden shift in angle, perspective and position, she snapped back into a guarded stance near instantly.

The room they were in was a wreck of dried blood and broken tables, likely once a recreation room given the fireplace and tattered chairs. It was also empty, but her ears twitched as metal footsteps rang out and Ruby looked to her expectantly.

In one smooth motion she engulfed the small huntress in her cloak and stilled the sight of the world around them, drawing them both into the shadows.

"They shall not see us if we remain slow and silent," She intoned.

Ruby nodded and stuck closer to her armored frame as the soldiers burst in, frantic and furious, swords at the ready.

"Dammit, where are they!?" One bellowed.

The other ran to the window, "Maybe they went into the alleyway?"

"Or upstairs?" A third offered, spear already held aloft as she raced up the steps.

As they prattled and fretted Maiev could hear more soldiers approaching and slowly guided herself and the huntress to a near window with a balcony. Half picking the girl up by her cape, Maiev stepped over the threshold and into the next apartments skybox.

Motioning to the sky bridge connecting two streets she saw Ruby nod, her cloak pulled over her head as she tiptoed close to Maiev as two more platoons arrived to search a building now bereft of them.

Only once they were out of sight of the main force did Maiev let the shadows' grace begin to slip away, letting them move at a swifter clip through ruined streets and bloodied houses.

"This feels too easy," Ruby whispered.

"This is a large city, and most fighters will be at the threshold or around the town center, but it is best to stay wary."

A knight trotted by on the streets but otherwise their travel was unhindered as they put two, three and four blocks between their pursuers and their landing site.

"Do you feel something off?" Ruby asked, her body shimmering faintly as if bracing for an attack with her 'Aura'.

Maiev nodded, her hackles long since raised, "We are approaching the epicenter of the city and their magic is powerful. In here," She commanded, ushering them in a large oval chamber. Once it was likely an office, it had been defiled by the Scourge and repaired to some extent by the Alliance, the walls had been cleaned and little resided within it save boxes of supplies.

What truly mattered though was that it stood above the central square and with it the ritual taking place. Easily two hundred Naga and a hundred Alliance soldiers stood at attention on the street as if in parade formation. In the heart of the square were several figures, one she could tell was the elven magus Tyrande spoke with, two others were unknown humans and a third was the vile Sea Witch Vashj.

The ground around them burned with a toxic green light, arcane symbols jagged and warped and throbbing with power. The air contorted and twisted around them as lesser mages maintained a protective barrier to both defend the casters and contain their power. In the center of the quartet floated the Eye of Sargeras. A jacked black stone indent with burning eyes crafted from demonic runes, fel fire spilled out around it and arcane script bled off its form like sparks from a fire.

'Wait, where is Illidan?'

Maiev rolled to the side on instinct, taking Ruby with her as a burst of fel fire spilling across the spit where she and Ruby had stood, turning the chalk white stone to molten, toxic green.

"How long I have waited for this," Illidan rasped, his twin dual blades thrumming with demonic power as his wings flared.

Maiev heard Ruby's weapon unfolding into a scythe and drew her Chakram, "You will not escape this time," She swore.

"It's you who should be seeking escape!" Illidan thrusts his hands forward and from them flew a writhing mass of writhing skulls. Before she could even call up a prayer shield Ruby threw herself into the attack, intent on slashing it out of the air.


Her weapon passed through it harmlessly and twisted tendrils coiled into her head, swirling around her and sending the girl to her knees as she bit back a scream.

"Flee in terror-" Illidan lurched back as the girl swung her weapon, carving up the floor as she staggered drunkenly, howling at shadows.

'Mother Moon free-'

Illidan launched himself towards her, demonic blades clashing with Holy Shadow, his demon warped skin contorting and cracking as he smirked.

"This is between us Warden!"

A burst of fire flew from his hands and Maiev blinked behind him, managing to score a slash on his wings before torturous pain lanced across her hand, forcing her back as Illidan barreled forward.

"For ten thousand years I suffered, locked away in that cell!"

Maiev loosed a trio of daggers wreathed in shadow, only one escaping Illidan's blades to leave a gash on his arm.

"It should have been eternity; it should have been death Betrayer!"

She weaved around the howling blades and carved a chunk from one of his wings, blinking out of the way of a retaliatory bolt in the form of a screaming skull that melted the box it struck in her place.

"I was betrayed, by my brother, my love, my people!"

Materaliaizng at his side, Maiev let her blades crash against Illidan's, Fel and Holy shadow dueling and sending both reeling back, but Illidan staggered on his hooves letting her land a cut on his belly.

"You betrayed us, you served the Legion, you sabotaged the war, you killed our people in your lust for power and magic!"

The demon launched himself back with his wings, the ground between them becoming a screaming mass of burning tendrils.

"I should have been a god! Instead, I am still here, scuttling around, fighting for scraps!

Engulfing herself in shadow, Maiev did the opposite of what he expected and launched herself over the tormenting surface. Illidan could not brace in time and though he blocked she slammed him against the wall, snarling.

"You're insane as the day we locked you away-aah!"

Illidan's tattoos exploded in toxic green light, the blast sending her hurtling back into the wall with a crack of steel on stone. His body swelled and warped, skin split and darkness spilled out as he transformed into his true self, a demon that stalked towards her.

"My prison was madness. I could never hate Tyrande or my brother, but you? I thought of nothing but killing you and your wretched Wardens for ten thousand years."

Maiev just scoffed, "Funny, I never thought of you at all."

She could see the rage fill his glowing green eyes and she brought her Chakram up to defend when the sound of Ruby's screaming stopped.

'Oh no,' Maiev looked expecting to see the girl gutted or having screamed herself to death only for there to be rose petals instead.

"What!?" Illidan barely had time to turn before she materialized before him, boots slamming against his chest the tiny Huntress launched Illidan through a wall, the demonic shade ripping from his body and his desperate attempts at shields fraying as he smashed into the next building.

'I can still sense him, damned wretch!'

Her ears twitched and she saw the humans and Naga swarming towards them and the ruined building.

"We need to move!" Maiev called, drawing Ruby's attention.

Clasping the Huntresses hand, Maiev's world became swirling red and silver as their tornado like form ripped through the crowd.

In a blurring instant Maiev was released into the air before the arcane shield over the ritual and crossing her Chakram over her chest she prayed.

'Elune, strike true!'

A blade of light tore its way into existence above them, passing through Maiev harmlessly and crashing against the defensives, it made a shockwave, sending the soldiers and casters hurtling off their feet and laying bare the Eye of Sargeras.

She looked over to see Ruby's hand cannon shining a bloody crimson as a blistering red bullet exploded from the barrel and pierced right through the artifact.

A desperate howl of despair rang out from the casters, from the soldiers, while one amongst them screamed, "Banish it!"

The Eye began to crack and scream, demonic energy tearing its way free into a toxic green pillar as Dalaran began to quake before, just as it was about to explode, the eye vanished, though the earth did not quiet so quickly.

Maiev's divine shields dispersed a burst of flame sent at her by the elf, screaming, "You ruined everything!"

In the distance she could see, could hear Illidan's howls, "No! I was not done!" His blazing eyes turned to her, his body bloodied, "Do you know what you've cost me!?"

Maiev saw Ruby land at her side and seeing the soldiers were still finding their feet, it was clear the girl wanted to leave.

'Damn your eyes!' She clutched the girls' shoulders and Elune's light flowed between them, suffusing her with protective energies as her world became naught but red and silver once again.

Tyrande felt the end of the ritual before it was even announced. The shaking of the earth, the Ley Lines beneath her feet practically sighing with relief and the pillar of demonic energy fading in a flash were all clear to her senses.

As expected, the Alliance forced were disarrayed and only the reality the Wardens would not break off the attack until their Mistress was safe stopped Tyrande from calling a ceasefire.

"Look to the skies, maintain pressure on the barriers, we must be ready to move with the Warden and Huntresses return!"

Raising her own hands high above her head, she called down another wave of scorching starlight on the weakened barrier. The Alliances despair and disarray sending their few vanguards recoiling deeper into their fortifications while the cannon fire nearly stopped entirely.

"Mistress," A scout whispered, "We have word of several Creatures of Grimm strafing the North and more heading for Dalaran."

"How many?"

"Barely a dozen, most seem to be ah, juveniles, but none akin to the monsters we faced upon landing."

That made Tyrande's brow knit together, if all she had learned of the beasts held true, they should have been surging for Dalaran like floodwater across a low plain.

"See out strike teams too it, but do not pursue to close to the city lines."

As the Huntress raced off, Tyrande's ears perked up at a Watcher's shout.

"The Mistress!"

Looking to the city she saw a chaotic spiraling tornado of red and shadowy silver swerving desperately around a chorus of spell fire and arrows.

'Oh, Goddess guard these warriors' path,' She prayed, motes of silver swirling around and surging into the sky to further enshrine the Huntresses' Semblance.

Even with that and Ruby's chaotic and blindingly fast path, they were not entirely spared as the phoenix roared again to life. The firebird took to the skies, and as the girl made to weave around it, the beast burst like a dying star, blinding firelight flooding the sky.

Squinting through the pain, Tyrande watched as Ruby and Maiev exploded back into their normal forms above the battlefield, silver light fading around them. Maiev's body bled into shadows and sparks, vanishing from sight and returning her to the ground. Ruby meanwhile brandished her weapon and began… Shooting at the ground, each shot slowing her fall until she hit the ground some distance away looking staggered but alive.

This did nothing to stop the Alliance from opening fire through the barrier, forcing both warriors to race towards the front lines, teleporting and blurring as their army provided covering fire. Tyrande herself was able to swipe a cannon ball hurtling towards Maiev from the air with her glaive before they finally got out of range.

"Begin preparations to fall back to the trees!" She bellowed and was pleased to see all sides heeding her.

It was not long before Ruby and Maiev found their way to her, Krag'jin having ridden out to meet them and returning Ruby's mount while Maiev herself had secured a Nightsaber. Both warriors looked haggard, but neither bore anything more obvious than a few scuffs and subtly burns, already healing.

"We stopped the ritual!" Ruby proclaimed proudly.

"So, I saw," Tyrande offered with a subtle smile, before looking to Maiev who was watching their forces with a critical gaze.

"Illidan still lives, though he is bloodied. You plan to withdraw," It was not a question.

Tyrande nodded grimly, "We cannot risk drawing more Grimm to us, let alone leaving ourselves vulnerable to the Scourge. Without the Eye of Sargeras Illidan is but a powerful sorcerer and the moment he leaves Dalaran we can take him."

"I concur," Krag'jin cut in, "This one does not want to bleed fighting these Alliance dogs." He turned and bellowed, "Shadowglenn! We're moving out!"

Ruby looked a little frantic before saluting, "It was a pleasure uh working with you!" Before following the troll on her bear.

Tyrande stared at Maiev who scowled back before finally nodding, "We hold the line at the forests edge?"

"Until we know the next move to make, yes."

Maiev sighed before looking to the sky where dozens of Moon Beams struck low a black feathered Grimm. "Well, at least there shall be something to keep us occupied while waiting for Illidan to stick his head out of whatever hole he hides in."

With that she turned and left Tyrande to her duties.
Decided to update early, thanks as always Iscariotpaladin for editing!

Justifying stopping the ritual that could potentially end the Scourge threat is tricky. I don't disagree with it, but its a tall order in universe. I was very glad when I hit on the revelation that there's no guarantee killing the Lich King would end the Scourge, what with all its regional commanders it may just mildly divide for anyone knows, or not changing anything at all.

One thing I always incorporate into my Warcraft battles is magical barriers for defenses of stuff like cities and fortresses. Given mages can rain fire and such, mundane defenses alone cannot be enough ya know? I am also really glad to get to show the Azerothians full potential power with this battle, primarilly through the named heroes but even the armies I like to think did well. I put RWBY & WOW on a similar playing field for a reason and this chapter demonstrated why so, and why figures like Tyrande are literal raid bosses in game. Also showing some more variety in magic with the user of the fear spell, IE, magic isn't just strong it can be every bit as out of context as weird Semblances.

Some might think Illidan performed poorly here, that is not the intent, but I also wanted to convey that while he's powerful he's spent ten thousand years doing nothing while Maiev has remained on too form. So between the two she is the better fighter. The "I should have been a god" line is taken from Illidan's own mouth in the Well of Eternity novels, I don't like them usually but they got Illidan down!

Anyway I hope this was enjoyable, as always any questions or comments are welcome!
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Hey folks, another map to show how far everyone has travelled!


The maps hail from Reddit user Searrard: Link


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Chapter 11: No Safe Haven

Dr Arthur Watts had been enjoying a perfectly humdrum evening in his somewhat upscale Mistral hotel that didn't ask any questions so long as your wallet was fat. With a pot of tea kept warm at his side and an array of holo screens projected before him, he was able sink into his seat and work with ease.

The streets of Mistral, the Academy, Council Chambers, and police stations all at his beck and call, along with several smaller spy drones and hidden cameras. Amusingly, even with Atlas's much more intense security camera system they weren't much better at stopping crime than Mistral which barely even tried.

'Does that say something about human nature, or human apathy I wonder?'

Unfortunately, the serenity of his work was ruined by his least favorite colleague and a host of hangers on marching into his office. Cinder's all too familiar voice intoning,

"We've been kept waiting for far too long, doctor."

Watts didn't even bother turning around, merely sighing, "Ah so your voice has fully returned, how dreadful for us all."

"Hey!" Emerald snapped, hands resting on her weapons, "Don't you dare-"

"Silence," Cinder hissed, marching up to his side and resting an all too hot hand on his shoulder, "What's taking so long?"

"Oh well you see I just enjoy being nagged by you, ah!" Swiping her now burning hot hand from his shoulder he activated his interface rings, each one humming a light blue.

"If you must know we're nearly ready," A flick of two fingers showed Qrow Branwen and his gaggle of miscreant children boarding an armored, Atlesian Cargo freighter. "Ozpin's lackey and his hangers on have taken a ship to go search for the Rose girl. Interesting, it seems they don't trust those provided by Mantle."

Cinder arched her brow, "They suspect something?"

"I think everyone suspects a little something," Watts flicked three fingers and coiled his thumb bringing up several recordings from Lionheart's office and the academy proper. "It seems the council has finally started to notice they are hemorrhaging Huntsman and Huntresses, though for now at least they think it mere incompetence on Leo's part."

"Are you sure?" Cinder pressed.

"As sure as I can be," He answered, "Whatever the case they dragged him over the coals for a few hours setting us back, but fortunately have returned home. Since then, Raven's been checking over the academy in case of ambushes." He sent Cinder a look, "The Spring Maiden is still alive, isn't she?"

Cinder's lips coiled into something like a smirk, "She's alive, as per our agreement, I wouldn't want her to start making too much noise before she died after all."

"Yes, well, just remember your instructions," He flexed his fingers and current projections of the academy came up, showing two dozen White Fang hastily setting up bombs. All under the watchful eyes of Leonardo Lionheart and Hazel.

"Hazel, dear chap, how are things progressing there?"

The man's mountainous baritone rumbled back, "We're on schedule and Branwen is waiting in the main hall. Once the White Fang finishes setting the charges, we can go to work."

"Marvelous," Watts intoned, smiling as the bombs around Haven began to light up. "See, a little patience goes a long way," he drawled at Cinder.

The woman huffed, "I already have everything I need, Arthur, just make sure our extraction ship is ready to go. Once we're done, Mistral will be drowning in Grimm."

Waving her off as they left to go find Vernal, Watts waited until he saw Raven open her rift and summon them into the main hall of the academy before turning off his screens.

"I do so love it when a plan comes together."

Emerald Sustrai didn't care for much, be it the law or the callous kingdoms, and she especially did not care to work with the likes of Watts or Raven Branwen.

'No matter how cowed she might be now, she's someone who went against Salem and not only survived but stayed free, at least till now.'

For Emerald, who found even being addressed by the Queen of Grimm harrowing. The knowledge that Raven had opposed her and resisted breaking before her made the woman an instant threat.

'Even more, because Cinder doesn't seem to take her seriously at all,' Emerald thought with a frown. Looking to her mistress whose confident swagger had seemingly returned as she strutted through the rift and joined them in the Haven Academy Hall.

Cinder's Gi-pao flowed elegant, obscuring her shadowy arm, and offering a sense of regality that should have fit the older woman like a glove. But something about it didn't fit right anymore, not since Ruby Rose ruined Cinder's plan, not since Emerald had seen her mentor humbled before her queen.

'The confidence is there but it's shallow, desperate, she needs this win, she deserves it, but…' Emerald swallowed as she looked over Vernal and Raven.

Both were sticking close together and Raven's expression was entirely hidden behind her massive, ornate Grimm mask, only her crimson eyes seemed to shine within its shadows.

'If they're planning something, it will come soon,' she thought. Calling up her Semblance with a shallow breath, she tuned out the ever-present thrum of other minds and zeroed in on Raven's solely. Careful not to impose her vision, or anything she might imagine over the woman's own.

'I just need to keep an eye on her and where better than when riding shotgun in her own head,' Emerald thought, a small smirk on her lips.

They all watched Leo remove a silver pocket watch from his vest and insert it into a chained marble statue of a woman in flowing robes. Before their eyes the raised dais whirred to life and began to lower into the floor.

Raven and Cinder mutually shoved past the Faunus and took up opposite sides on the platform, Emerald obediently falling in at Cinder's blind spot with Mercury at her other side next to Vernal. Once Leo stepped on the platform, shuffling his feet all the while they began their descent.

Through two sets of eyes, one set wreathed in a light obscuring helmet that by all rights Raven should never be able to fight in, she watched Cinder speak.

"You know, you should be proud Vernal, this is a momentous occasion, this vault hasn't been opened in eighty long years."

Emerald idly noticed Leo twitch at that but given how twitchy he always was who knew if that meant anything. Vernal, however, was much more expressive.

"Its nothing special, this is just like my powers, a burden. All I want it so see it done and return to our camp."

Cinder chuckled, "My, you certainly have her well trained."

Vernal bristled but Raven said nothing, seemingly did nothing and yet as the cavernous chamber came into view Emerald was sure she could feel something, see something on the edge of her senses.

Emerald's attention turned to the Relic Chamber, seeking the light dancing at the edge of her senses.

The Vault rested on a platform over a deep chasm. Three shining cyan circles wreathed in strange symbols lit up the pathway to the Vault. At the very back of the chamber rested their target.

An elaborate orange doorway that seemed to rest on rather than be embedded in a rock wall. Behind it is a large tree with glowing orange flowers shimmered while the doorway of golden fans layered on top of each other with a floral pattern.

Something flickered at the edge of her eyes again and Emerald looked back just in time to see Vernal moving and something shimmer around Raven, "Cin-"

An explosive wave of wind exploded out from Raven and sent them hurtling across the platform. Only Thief's Respite buried in the stonework and digging a trench in the rock kept Emerald from falling. Leo meanwhile crashed against the gate; Mercury had to shoot-kick himself back onto the platform. Cinder bore the surprise attack with ease, a shield of flame breaking the wind and buffeting her fall, letting her stand before Raven with her eye wide open.

"You?" She gasped.

Raven tossed aside her helmet to reveal eyes wreathed in crimson flame, "That's not all," And slashed her sword.

Whatever charge Cinder intended to make was driven back by a dozen screaming pink rockets and a string of spiky ice crystals surged from Raven's portal. From the writhing red vortex came Qrow Branwen, Nora, Lie Ren, Jaune, Weiss...somehow, and a boy Emerald didn't even recognize.

Finally, moments before the rift closed, a giant construct of silvery white stormed through the portal. A knight of pure Aura loomed overall, and Weiss smirked.

Qrow Branwen brandished his scythe and intoned gravely, "Now it's your turn to be ambushed, I hope you enjoy it."

Hazel watched the White Fang's preparations with a critical gaze, never entirely taking one eye off Adam, his dark leather tunic helping the redhead blend into the night. The young man's decision to declare the High Leader dead by Mistral's hands had it's uses for Salem, but it showed Adam's ambition outstripped his loyalty.

"Once those bombs are armed, we can start falling back to staging area 2!" Adam bellowed. Perhaps just so he'd look like he was doing something as he hovered about the courtyard holding his katana's hilt, as if waiting for a chance to shed blood.

Hazel's gaze drifted to the city below, though he couldn't make anything but the most distant houses out this high up, the light Mistral radiated was clear. All those humble little lives, beneath the shadow of Haven Academy.

The warrior repressed a sigh at what was to come.

'It will be better than Beacon, Haven will fall, but the city will be taken and occupied by the White Fang and they will heed Salem. It will be bloody for a few days, but no more than necessary.'

Still, something didn't sit right with the giant and he found himself casting a glance over his shoulder, expecting to see Cinder's return.

From the elevator shaft emanated a rumbling wave of explosive sounds that even at this distance echoed in his ears.

'Damn,' Hazel looked back to the White Fang as he doffed off his green and brown coat and flicking open his Dust Crystal satchels.

"Our allies have encountered resistance," He rumbled, every worker freezing.

Adam looked at him with something like amusement, "That's your business."

Hazel embedded a Burn Dust crystal the size of Adam's forearm in his shoulder and watched everyone, Adam included lurch back. All cringing as he added Ice and Lightning, then stone to the mix, jagged vein of light ripped open his skin and Hazel sensed his body swell, his deep voice rumbling and roiling with elemental power.

"Then leave this to me," He rumbled, turning away as fire began to dance at his fingertips, "But remember, if you begin your phase before we're done, there will be consequences."

He could see Adam's veiled anger, veins throbbing along his neck as he resisted the urge to lash out, but the subtle shiver of his hand on his blades told the terror already running beneath the anger.

"Of course," He said, voice tight, "We're allies after all."

Hazel just shrugged and dropped himself down into the darkness, hands going above his head and unleashing twin jets of flame as large as an airships to rocket him downwards. His journey was swift, and Hazel's feet slammed against the elevator floor, only his decision to let his Aura disperse the shockwave stopped him from cratering the ground entirely.

Years of combat experience and enhanced senses let Hazel take in the battle near instantly.

Raven and Cinder were flying through the chamber, swords of ice and flame clashing and shattering apart making shockwaves.

Emerald was half disarmed by survivors of JNPR and had just been sent to the ground by an explosion.

Mercury was on the run from Vernal, the Schnee and a massive construct of Aura.

Lionheart was already down, at the hands of Qrow and an unknown boy.

Decision made, Hazel let lightning course through his arms, crackling and surging to life in his fists as his foes began to turn their gazes on him.

With a roar he crashed his fists together, the lightning screamed, and thunder boomed, sending a sharp shockwave soaring over Emerald. The blonde and redhead were simply sent to the floor, but the dark-haired boy was sent sailing over the edge, drawing a scream of "Ren!" from the girl.

Hazel's gaze snapped to Mercury, but Qrow Branwen was already on him, massive blade slashing across his chest and sending Hazel slamming into the stonework, a scar embedding itself in the stone either side of him.

As Qrow raced forward, Hazel let the heat building I his lungs spill out, a wave of fire flowing from his mouth and sending the man retreating.

Letting lightning course through his veins, Hazel surged into the chamber, weaving around Qrow and gunshots. Lunging for the giant he clasped his hand, a spiked ball of magma-stone formed and slammed against the giant sending it tumbling back and over the edge.

He slammed his fist into the ground and the air hissed and cracked as walls of ice separated Mercury and Emerald from their attackers.

"Catch your breath!" he barked, taking a violent slash from Qrow's blade and a storm of icicles and gunfire from the Schnee and the bandit.

Unleashing another thunder shock, Hazel saw Qrow taking his distance and shouting, "Stop!" at the Arc boy, his sword and shield fused into one giant blade the blonde charged him.

Hazel lazily snatched it from the air and hoisted the boy up, "It's too heavy for you," He muttered, driving his fist into the boys' gut, and sending him flying across the chamber.

"Ah, Mr Reinhart," spoke an unfamiliar voice in an all too familiar cadence.

Turning he saw the boys' eyes shining gold as he brandished Ozpin's cane.

Everything else faded away as Hazel's voice echoed and boomed as loudly as the Maiden's duel above; he did not even care for the wave of attacks falling upon his back because here stood his foe.


Adam felt another quake beneath his feet and bit back a snarl, 'Quickly and quietly they said?' He thought with some mockery.

'Still, maybe its for the best, if they all die, I can take Mistral for myself, the Grimm will be a problem, but they can be dealt with. And once the humans are dead or in chains, I can pillage the likes of Wind Path and Argus, maybe even claim their Goliath and turn it on Atlas.'

Those were pleasing thoughts indeed, and Adam found himself tracing his finger across the trigger to the bombs, imagining pressing down and blasting away the academy. Imagining it somehow causing a cave in and Cinder Fall and her little gang all dying, crushed beneath the rocks.

'Less satisfying than with my own hands, but so undignified, so pathetic!'

It would almost be worth the risk of their ire if he failed, but Adam was not a man who gambled with his own life, and he didn't care to imagine what fate Cinder had in store for him if he tried to double cross her.

"Sir, should we do something?" One of his lieutenants asked.

"No, we stick to our part of the plan. Fall back to the staging area and have watchers at the ready so we know when to detonate." Seeing some doubt, he clapped the horned Faunus on the shoulder. "It's like he said, what goes on down there is Cinder and her lackeys business, if they can't solve their own problems, we aren't going to do it for them."

"A wise decision," Echoed an all too familiar voice, dripping with contempt and echoing across the courtyard, "Especially as you can't even handle your own problems without someone holding your hand."

Adam felt something in his throat, his heartbeat racing as he turned to see Sienna Khan stepping from the shadows and into the light projected from the academy's hall. Standing high upon the steps and looking down upon him, with naught but contempt.

Clutching his blades handle in one hand and the detonator in the other, Adam smirked.

"Ah, Sienna, returned to us at last, we'd begun to fear the worst."

The woman rolled her eyes, "Rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated, by you specifically Adam."

"Well, someone needed to take charge and look where we stand, ready to topple an institution and make its nation bow. This is what my vision has led us too Sienna, no more skulking in the shadows!"

His soldiers cheered but Sienna just shook her head like a parent despairing at a child eating mud.

'Arrogant bastard.'

"Your vision Adam?" She intoned, smooth baritone tinged with mockery, "Or that of your human masters?"

"I have no masters!" He drew his blade and his soldiers made ready to attack but Sienna didn't even look perturbed.

"Yet they whisper in your ears, and you wait obediently for their return, all that's missing is a collar around your neck."

His blade began to burn a crimson red, his Aura shimmering and writhing along the metals surface-


A voice nearly familiar as his own rang out from the tower behind him and Adam found himself whirling around to stare up at Blake atop the dormitory roof. Her golden eyes shone in the night, white coat flowing I the breeze and thanks to her short dark top he could see the scar he left on her belly.


Adam waved his hand, "Keep your weapons trained on Khan, this is personal," he said, striding forward, arms out wide. "To think I went through all that trouble to order you brought to me, and instead you come to present yourself of your own free well. How you must have missed me."

Rather than the expected look of haunted fear at the thought of being disciplined, Blake's expression was sharp, regal, and confident.

It made his gut churn.

"I didn't come here for your sake Adam, I'm here to put an end to this, all of it, your mad ambition and your masters' schemes end tonight!"

Adam bit back a snarl, "Nothing ends here tonight except your defiance, Blake!" He stopped himself from stepping forward, forcing his shoulders to ease, and added, "What happened. Did you run out of humans to hide behind, so you scurried behind Khan's cloak?"

Again, no reaction.

'What is WRONG with her!?'

Instead, Blake just drew Gambol Shroud, the Cleaver and Sickle nearly invisible in the darkness.

Instead, it was Sienna who spoke, "She's hardly hiding, but then you've made nothing but mistakes all night. Such as assuming she lacks those human friends."

Adam whirled around to see Sienna mockingly say, "Miss Xiao Long, care to join us?" and click her clawed fingers.

A shot gun blast echoed through the air and mane of golden hair stood out starkly against the moonlight as Blake's human partners entered the stage, cutting off another avenue of escapes. Her blazing red eyes locked on his before drifting up to the tower where Blake stood, looking enraptured. The red drained out of her eyes and Adam could practically hear the hushed, "Yang?" escape Blake's lips.

'Stop it. Stop looking at her like that! Stop it, stop it, STOP IT!'

Adam's howl of fury was ripping its way from his lips before he even started running, the ground cracking beneath his strides as he surged towards Yang, blade drawn.

The blonde braced, eyes bleeding back to red, but he could see the fear in her stance, frozen like prey before a-

"Get away from her!"

Blake's shout echoed across the courtyard just as surely as the sound of her boots crashing against his skull did. Adam's world tilted and he was slamming to the ground, bouncing along shattering stone before driving his blade into the ground and digging in his heels to force himself to a stop.

Glaring up he saw Blake put herself between him and Yang, intoning, "You are never hurting her again!" A look of vicious rage and fury the likes he'd never seen on her face.

"Sir! Sir we have incoming!"


Adam's entire body went rigid as he stood and watched Faunus begin bleeding out of the woodwork, civilians with shields and staves and White Fang alike. At the head of one group was Ghira Belladonna, another was that monkey Faunus who hung around Blake, another was Lieutenant Vix-

"Traitors, fools, what are you doing!?"

Ghira's gentle voice still boomed, "Not letting you, do as you please in their name."

Vix drew her blade and smirked, "Holding true to our chosen High Leader, and not some human's pet!"

The sound of whirring blades echoed above his head and Adam saw Kali Belladonna alongside the Mistral Constabulary as three airships circled the plateau.

"In the name of the Mistral Council, stand down!"

His head snapped to Sienna, "You! You're working with humans!?"

The tiger Faunus shrugged, "You made it seem like such fun."

"It's over Adam," An unfamiliar voice intoned, and Adam found himself staring at Yang again as she stepped up to Blake's side despite the other girl's obvious worry.

"Sir, sir what do we do!?"

The whole world seemed to fade away for a time and Adam squeezed the detonator in his hand as he looked over Blake.

"This is on your head Blake," he said grandly, before raising the remote above his head and he squeezed the trigger.

The ensuing silence was deafening.

"What are you doing!?" One of his soldiers screamed as Adam frantically pressed the trigger over and over again to no avail.

"What have you done? What have you done!?" He howled.

"Half of those are duds, dude," Yang answered with a forced jocularity.

"And the rest were disarmed," Blake motioned behind him, and he saw Ilia Amitola blend out of the shadows, skin returning to its natural brown pigment as she showed off half a dozen wires.

Chest heaving, mind whirling, Adam found himself screaming, "Kill them! Kill all the traitors! Don't stop until all of them are dead!"

He didn't even bother to see if his orders were followed, barreling towards Yang with his blade drawn.

Only for the blonde to shoot the ground and start leaping over him.

He tried to course correct, but Blake was on him, slamming her blade into his gut and forcing the air from his lungs as he skidded back.

Not even a moment later and Yang side checked him with a fist to the cheek sending him lurching off his feet and cracking into the reinforced cement.

Rolling to his feet Adam opened fire only for Blake to deflect the shots as Yang unloaded an explosive round into the ground at his feet, forcing him to stagger back from the violent wave of heat and shrapnel.

Then Blake was at his side, far away from his blade and delivering a slash across his face.

Yang materialized at his back and Adam screamed as both her fists impacted against his spine with an explosion sending him rocketing across the courtyard.

Sienna leapt into the air, body shining crimson as her Semblance enhanced her entire being and she drove her knee into his neck and sent him cratering into the ground.

His snarl was cut off by Sienna's foot slamming him face first into the ground again, the force sending the cement in every direction.

He felt her rip his sword away and a chill of terror ran down his back. Frantically he scrambled onto his back, firing shotgun blasts at the woman with his sheath, only for it to be kicked away as he frantically sought his sword out.

"I warned you not to grow reliant on your Semblance," Sienna whispered.

Her hands slammed either side of his head with a booming clap that rattled his brain and made his ears want to bleed. He felt her beginning to twist and cried out, "Sienna please-AH!" Her grip only tightened, and she looked out to Blake watching him with sadness in her eyes as the blonde human rested a hand on her shoulder.


There was a snap and Adam's head spun with a violent crack, his Aura fading as blood spilled out his mouth and Sienna let him fall limp to the ground.

As the darkness began fading in, he saw Sienna deposit a Burn Dust Crystal on his chest, muttering, "This will be your pyre. Warrior."



The first indicator that something had gone wrong was the quakes.

Then it was just how long her agents were taking to return.

And finally, the ambush of Taurus and his forces.

That was when it became obvious their plans had been uncovered and Salem, acting through her Seer began to move.

The Relic was important, perhaps more so than ever before, but it could also be reclaimed later. Cinder, however, represented too many years of effort to simply be left to her fate if things had turned against them.

Salem cast a backwards glance as Taurus through her Seer as she ordered it deep into the Relic Chamber, one word emanating from her lips.

Thanks again to Iscariotpaladin for editing. Also I am going on holiday in a couple of days so may not be able to update.

So this was the one and only villain centric chapter and I did it for the same reason lots of shows do that "Unspoken plan guarantee." While I don't take strict issue with a plan that is well put together going off, I can see why it might be a little eh for an audience. However, I didn't want to introduce nonsensical problems for the sake of drama, so instead I kept the plan sort of vague in the specifics and then told it from the villain's perspective to try and sell the confusion and danger.

Some other details include Hazel having had the chance to really fuck over the heroes, but Ozpin basically baiting him into distraction, also him reading Jaune like a book while also being a hypocrite. My HC for how Emerald's Semblance works, IE, I don't think she just whims a hallucination onto someone but basically has to impose her vision over their own, hence it causing her headaches if she has to be in too many heads at once. (Fun fact this is also how I write Nerubian mind magic.)

I also wanted to convey that Blake is feeling very protective of Yang and that Yang had a lot of time to psyche herself up for this but it was still hard. Also Sienna giving Adam a modicum of dignity once he was well and properly dead, not cos I think he deserves it but cos I think she would be inclined to do so for any Faunus. Also Watts was involved here in the same vein as Atlas because we know from Beacon he can influence a lot when he gets into a CCT and there was no reason to send him to Mistral if it was just to annoy Leo for a week and then leave. So I assume he was spying and sabotaging and obscuring their work to remove the Hunters, but cos Yang & Sienna's plan relied on Raven's rifts and a handful of secret conversations, plus the White Fang's own technichus helping he missed the entirely.


Well-known member
Chapter 12:
Haven's Salvation

Yang might have had a big part in organizing the ambush, but that didn't mean she liked every part of it.

Mostly the fact she was snuck into Haven by Raven and then left outside the Vault to serve as both watcher and 'extraction point' if things went South. The fact Qrow, even as wrecked as he was, had over a decade as a Huntsman on her and so was more needed in the Vault and that Sienna wanted someone, she 'knew' on hand further cemented her position.

So as much as she disliked it, she watched and waited.

Worry for the others had stayed perched in her mind even as she watched Adam begin setting up his bombs. Forcing her shaking metallic hand to still and breathing in, "One, two," and out, "three, four," She exhaled while waiting for the arrival of Sienna...and Blake.

The reality her partner had gone home had smacked of Raven going back to her bandits, even if a part of Yang knew that was unfair. She knew that Blake was coming back, if not for her then to deal with Adam. It was all… A lot to a lot to take in and she hadn't had much time to process it.

Even left with her own thoughts she hadn't gotten past the question of whether to even say hello when Blake inevitably revealed herself. The question of whether it even mattered stayed in her mind as well, even as she watched the big guy leave and Sienna take to the floor it had lingered.

Then Blake appeared and anything she might have said, potential speeches and questions and more fled Yang's brain like water down a drainpipe. She could barely breathe, seeing Blake again, her heart hammering in her chest as her eyes started to well up with tears.

She was grateful there'd been time for her to compose herself, even a little before, Sienna called on her. That brief window of time meant that when Yang launched herself from her hiding place and stared down the man who stole her arm she could do so with a mask of confidence and focus.

Only to find her eyes drifting to Blake's, terrified of what she might see in those golden eyes but unable to look away.

"Yang?" The gentleness in Blake's voice left any chance she had of forming a real response in ashes.

Then Adam attacked, and instinct took over.

She had fallen back into fighting with Blake like it was second nature and then stood back to watch Sienna… Execute him.

Yang had grown up in a household of huntsman, with Huntsman friends and teachers. She'd spent no small amount of time fighting gangsters in Vale on a fruitless quest for Raven. She wasn't stupid or ignorant to the fact she might have to kill one day. In truth she might have already, she had no way of knowing if the White Fang she fought during the Breach had survived.

So, seeing Sienna drive Adam into the ground, her Aura and shining like a burning, bloody beacon as she grew stronger with every blow and then snapping Adam's neck. It didn't scare her the way it might a civilian, but it still felt wrong in her gut.

'Or maybe how little it bothers me is the problem?' A part of her dreaded.

Her ears burned as she heard Blake gasp, the dark-haired girl watching intently even as she physically cringed away from the sight. Out of habit or instinct or something else, Yang reached out and put a reassuring hand on Blake's shoulder, the other girl looking to her just as Adam tried to call her name.

"You… okay?" Yang finally settled on, voice rough and hoarse.

"I… Yang I…" Blake looked back to Adam's dead body and then back to Yang, taking her prosthetic hand in both hers and shuddering, "I'm… I'm so sorry…"

Swallowing back a burning weight in her throat Yang murmured, "Its… Its fine, I get it, it was a lot."

What else could she even say when she could barely form words?

"I never wanted you to be in danger because of me again," Blake insisted hotly.

Yang felt her chest tighten and her cheeks burn, a confusing mix of emotions roiling inside her.

"Well, thanks. But you know, Huntress. Gonna be in danger one way or the other, for you or someone else every day of the week."

Their talk was interrupted as the Constable's ship land and the woman make a beeline for Sienna who looked to be bickering with a tall man who Yang guessed was Blake's father. "We should go… There's more going on, we need to move. We can talk later?" She asked, not sure if Blake would want there to be a later.

The Faunus clenched her hand tightly, "Of course, later."

"Your business here is done, Khan. The Chieftain is welcome to stay, but you need to take your soldiers and leave," The woman insisted.

"Not until Adam's human masters are dead. Speaking of which," The ground rumbled beneath them. "That would be our cue, coming children?" she asked, already striding towards the elevator shaft.

"Yeah, if Raven wants an out, she can use my dad." Yang suddenly looked to Blake, "Uh, I can explain later. There's a lot going on."

"I know, well, I know some things," Blake said, scowling at Sienna, as the Ilia girl and Sun Wukong of all people trailed behind them.

Sienna just waved her off, "You're welcome." Before jumping into the pit, Yang following not a second later.

The air whipped around Yang's face as the darkness swallowed them and she faintly realized Blake was still holding her hand. She couldn't quite stop her heart thumping against her chest at that even as they slammed against the hidden vaults' walkway, Aura rippling out and dispersing the force.

Yang's eyes glanced over Mercury who was lying barely awake on his side, one of his legs shattered. Emerald was still standing but was down a weapon, panting breathlessly as Ren and Nora pushed her back. Leo was also down and out, his unconscious body lying in front of a massive gate Yang could only guess was the Vault. In front of him were Cinder and the giant man, both keeping everyone else in the chamber at bay with blasts of elemental energy.

But it was clear Cinder was barely standing, as she screamed and howled like a wild animal.

"A Grimm!" Blake hissed and Yang's eyes shot towards the strange jellyfish like creature hovering above them all and without thinking, she opened fire alongside Blake as Sienna threw her daggers.

The creature let out a shrieking wail, bullets and explosions buffeting its body and sending it careening down to the ground, black ichor spilling out of its insides. But its body didn't start to fade, instead red runes began to flash and seethe along its body and the black ichor began turning into smoke.

"Destroy it!" Sienna roared.

But every shot drifted through the black smoke and as it began to form a face, they found themselves freezing in place as black and red eyes turned upon them. Looming over all was a face as white as bone, with silver hair and black veins running along that deathly skin, held aloft by a spectral smoke.

The fighting stopped as she turned and took in the room, voice like glass cutting into skin as she gently intoned.

"Ah, Miss Branwen, a pleasure," The bandit barely seemed able to move under those crimson eyes as Salem drifted through the chamber.

"Congratulations, brave Huntsmen and Huntresses, you have thwarted Cinder Fall and Hazel Reinhart."

Cinder's broken voice ripped through the air, "I can kill them now!!"

Salem barely even acknowledged her.

"Both of you, return to me, now."

Cinder let out a shriek, clutching her left arm before Salem's body began to swell and spill out in a wave of black smoke.

"Stay together!" Sienna barked, drawing her Wind Daggers.

Cinder and Hazel let out joint roars and beams of fire, rock and lightning surged upwards, striking at the stone cieling.

"Cave in!" Ilia screamed, lurching back against the wall as massive stones the size of houses began to fall upon them.

Nora turned her grenade launcher skyward and opened fire on a boulder.

Yang followed suit, Ember Celica blazing on her wrists as she braced for the first spiky stone, only for Blake to leap over head. Her blade unleashed a beam of purple and bisecting the stone.

"Look out!" Yang shouted, launching herself up and kicking away a boulder that had been careening for Blake, sending it shattering against the cavern wall.

She barely registered Sienna still trying to kill Cinder, daggers and outright boulders being hurled after the woman who rocketed by them.

A scream echoed out behind her, but Yang could still make out Nora and the sight of Sun angrily foisting a boulder off his back.

The light of Cinder's flames rose to a blinding blaze and a burst of burning air sent them all skidding back. Parting the smoke as the woman set herself and Hazel down on the shaft. Cinder snarled and revealed a blackened, spindly arm with claws in place of fingers, the Grimm appendage launched passed outward and snagged Mercury.

"Fire!" Someone shouted, but Yang was already moving, they all were. A wave of gunfire, light blades and rockets sailed towards Cinder, but Hazel projected a Hard Light shield blocking the blasts. Fire spilled out of Cinder's feet and like a missile she surged up the shaft.

Racing after her, Yang seethed as she watched the light fade, only for Blake to cut in, "She just burst through the roof of the academy… She's gone."

"Dammit, we were so close!" Jaune howled, violently hurling aside one of the smaller stones, a pained howl escaping his lips.

"Well, I mean we saved the Academy and caught Lionheart," Nora started before Qrow outright fell to his knees.

Yang was at his side in a blur, "Hey, hey you, okay?"

He sent her one of those grizzled, 'I'm too cool' smiles and answered, "Just worn-out firecracker, that Hazel guy packs a punch and unlike with Cinder I didn't have anyone taking the pounding for me." He sent an expectant look to Raven, but the woman seemed lost in her own world.

Sienna pulled a finger away from her ear, "My lieutenant says Cinder flew off into the night, she left some minor fires behind, but they are already under control." Her and Blake's ears began to twitch, and both looked behind their slowly gathering group. Yang followed their gazes to find a battered Emerald crawling up from the side of the platform.

"You!" Jaune snarled, racing past them.

Emerald made to open fire, but Jaune was on the exhausted girl too fast and slammed against her half standing form, slamming her against the wall with a scream.

"No Aura," Blake murmured as Emerald crumpled on the ground, hissing in pain, and crying out.

"C- Cinder, I'm sorry! I need you! Cinder!" Her voice increasingly frail and desperate as they started to gather around her.

"Sorry kid," Qrow said without any warmth, "But your boss seems to have left you and Leo holding the bag."

Emerald shot up, despite her bruises, gashes and a trickle of blood running down her mouth she shot to her feet screaming. "Shut up! You don't know anything!" She took a wild swing at Qrow that bounced off his chest.

"She's gone Emerald," Yang snapped, the ire she expected not really rising with so many other emotions competing for real estate in her mind.

Jaune lurched forward and dragged her back, "Where did Cinder go? How do we find her!?" He started sharking her, his own Aura was fraying but still there as Emerald frantically slammed her fist against his face, knuckles cracking.

"I'm not telling you anything!"

"Talk dammit!"

He drew back his fist and seemingly without thought, Blake stepped up and snatched his wrist, stilling him entirely.

"Let me go!"

The Faunus met his fiery gaze sternly, "She's done, Jaune."

Jaune's teeth snapped, "After everything she did!?"

Yang sighed, "No one's saying let her go," Yang said with a sigh, "but don't start beating on people who can't fight back. We're better than that." She stepped between him and Emerald and watched in real time as his will crumpled, forcing him to toss Emerald to the ground and stalk away, Ren and Nora offering apologetic nods before going to his side.

Emerald just curled up into a battle, "She'll come for me, Cinder will come for me, she will!"

"Cinder," Weiss stressed, "Didn't even spare you a backwards glance. Face it, she doesn't care about you anymore than you cared about us. You were just a tool."

Emerald's crimson eyes shimmered and without warning the girl simply collapsed in on herself, wailing into her hands and any effort to make her so much as speak was just met with more sobbing.

Blake looked to Ilia and Sun, "I need you two to keep an eye on her, thanks for your help tonight."

Both nodded gravely, Ilia actually dropping down to inspect Emerald's wounds.

"Blake?" Weiss asked, as if wholly registering who was around, "You're back?"

Blake rubbed her arm self-consciously, the confidence she'd been radiating moments before gone, "Yeah… I'm back. I'm not going anywhere," She said, looking pointedly at Yang.

Weiss flung herself at the taller Faunus, exclaiming "It's so good to have you back," and Blake broke eye contact to embrace the smaller girl, sending a sharp look Sienna's way.

"If we're done tending to the reunions and wounded," the Faunus intoned, clapping Raven on the shoulder, "We need to collect a Relic."

Ozpin was quick to cut in even as Raven shook Sienna off and silently stalked towards the doorway.

"I maintain we should not do this. If the Relic is out in the open it will be all the easier for Salem to steal it away from us."

Raven scoffed. "Then next time don't use people as keys, because once we find out how to deal with this other worldly madness I'm gone." She pressed her hand against the door and the vines adorning the door shimmered a light blue, the tree began to dim and the golden fans that made It up began folding in on themselves revealing…

"A desert?" Blake whispered as they began looking into the chamber, three stone circles that seemed to be disintegrating yet not fading sat in an endless desert of sand that didn't seem quite… There.

But all eyes turned on the Lamp, a shining light blue globe, encased in layers of elegant gold hovered above a simple stone pedestal.

It was beautiful and faintly alien in the same way the moon was, like something that shouldn't be touched. It was also…

"Really big," Nora mused.

Raven lazily snatched it up and like the literal magic it was the Lamp began to shrink until it looked more like a large toy from some claw machine.

"Well, that's one problem solved," Yang mused, "But there's still a lot going on upstairs and Emerald's not exactly out of earshot either."

Raven nodded but refused to so much as look at her. "After that fight I don't have the energy to try and open a rift to your sister, give me a night and then we can be done with this."

Sienna flicked her cape back, "If no one protests maybe I should guard it," She held up a hand, "I don't know the password after all."

Qrow just snorted, "Oh so you're sticking around then?"

Sienna sent him an unimpressed arched brow, "Until my soldiers are returned safely, our worlds secure and that witch pays the debt of blood she owes me I will be 'around'. So you'd best grow used to it, young man."

Yang was surprised to hear Blake speak up, "Seeing as he doesn't want to use it maybe uh… Ozpin, is the best person to guard it?"

The boy turned wizard sighed, "He's tired after the last fight, and he can't exactly run off with the Relic either before uh… Wearing me out," Oscar visibly cringed. "Mistral's as safe as anywhere else and certainly better than travelling through the wilds given it can lure in Grimm." His eyes widened, "It can what!? Ugh, you are the worst!" Oscar shook his head, "Its faint but it does lure Grimm, the city should obscure it though."

"Should," Raven scoffed, before lazily tossing it to the boy, "I'll go with Khan then, and contact you when we're ready to answer questions. Vernal, stick with us."

Then without even waiting for a response her body violently contorted and twisted into the shape of a bird, Blake and even some of the others who knew what to expect lurching back.

Raven just flew onto the Khan's shoulder, "Very well, we can convene in private tomorrow, and I can give you the rest of the intel we shall need to use the Lamp correctly." She offered a polite, if fast bow, locking eyes with Yang and Blake before marching away, Vernal at her heels.

Swallowing the mass of emotions threatening to spill out, Yang pointed a thumb behind her, "Well gang, guess we gotta go and talk to the cops."

"Great," Qrow groaned, hand running down his face.

"Sorry old man," She chuckled, clapping him on the back, "If you wanted some other adults around to take the heat off you shoulda brought Goodwitch."

"And somehow get detention? Spare me," Qrow snorted.

Blake had chosen to oversee handing Emerald off to the authorities, Ilia at her side as Yang had broken off to help manage her uncle and his talks with the Mistrali authorities.

The brown suited officer's black mask did not obscure her disgust at the sight of Emerald, "I remember this one. Reports said she helped orchestrate the attack on Beacon right?"

"That's right," Blake nodded. "Emerald Sustrai, along with Mercury Blake, Cinder Fall and Neapolitan infiltrated Haven to orchestrate their attack. Though," She added with a hum, "Our sources don't have anything on how they connect with Adam's splinter faction, save their relationship being over a year old."

The officer snorted, pulling Emerald away from them and two more officers were quick to begin binding her with electric, gravity Dust enhanced cuffs.

"We'll get it out of her," The woman muttered, "She has a mind-afflicting Semblance, make sure that's noted down, I don't want her waltzing out her cell the moment her head's together."

One of the officers hastily blindfolded Emerald.

Emerald didn't even respond, barely even able to stand and practically catatonic.

Blake's ears twitched at a dusty voice muttering, "I had to… I had to… It was the only way to survive… She won't die… She'll kill us all… You have to understand…" Lionheart rambled, tears streaming down his face as he was forced into the open wooden hull of the Mistrali airship.

"Wow," the officer muttered, "Did someone crack his skull or was he always like that?"

Blake hid a frown and carefully intoned, "From what we overheard it seems like he had some kind of nervous breakdown a while ago. I doubt much of anything he says will make sense."

"Seems like it," She snorted, "A shame the other ones got away, but we know their faces now. You'll all need to file a report with the Council on their skills and whatever else you know."

"I'll get right on that, take care officer," Blake said, letting the officer step onto the airship before marching away with Ilia.

The chameleon Faunus's skin cycled from brown to grey to brown again, "Ugh, I didn't like that at all."

"I know, its uncomfortable, but it's necessary."

"Yeah," Ilia sighed, "Still, Lionheart is meant to be one of us and that girl…"

Blake frowned, she was still angry Emerald had used and betrayed them all so easily, but still, the pathetic wreck she'd become when Cinder left her behind hit some wounds that Blake didn't know she had.

"I know how you feel, if you want, we can check up on how she and Lionheart are doing," She clapped Ilia on the shoulder, "Maybe they just need a second chance too, like we did."

Ilia chuckled fondly, smiling as she brushed Blake's hand away, "Don't even try to pretend you and I are on the same level there Belladonna. You knew when to get out."

"So did you," Blake insisted.

"Well, I got there, though I gotta say I wasn't expecting the High Leader here," She mused, casting a glance at the airship carrying Sienna and her soldiers away.

Rubbing her head Blake answered, "Its going to be complicated that's for sure, but one thing at a time."

"Right, like your blonde 'friend'," Ilia intoned, something playfully sharp in her tone.

Sun managed to practically fling himself back into he conversation, the blonde monkey faunus smiling brilliantly. "Oh are we gonna talk about that? Cos I think I wanna talk about that."

Blake's ears ducked and she looked to Yang, her uncle, her father, and the constable, "Let's keep this professional."

"Bit late for that, girl," Ilia snorted as they approached the quartet.

Qrow's weary tones touched her ears first, "… Once I saw how few of my old acquaintances were around, I knew something was wrong but couldn't say what. I linked up with my niece and her friends," he clapped Yang on the shoulder, "Who snuck off to go bounty hunting after that mad Cinder woman."

"The Dust Mage with the fire Semblance," The constable nodded.

"That'd be my best guess," Qrow said carefully. "Anyway, we compared notes and start poking around and that's how we ran across Sienna's forces, though we didn't know it at the time. Still, I had intel on the academies she wanted, and she gave us the date of the attack. I managed to sneak in and snatch up the key to that lift thing back there to set up an ambush and sent Yang back up with it before Leo even knew it was gone."

The constables squinted passed the man, "What is that thing anyway? The Academy schematics make no mention of it."

Qrow rolled his shoulders, "From what I picked up over the years it was meant to be some kinda fallout shelter installed by the King of Vale. No clue why it wasn't on the public record, I heard about it from Oz back when he was still around, but he wasn't exactly the most forthcoming guy," Qrow's tone growing sick and rancid.

"Anyway," Yang cut in carefully, "We had them cornered, but they started trying to trigger a quake and we had to prioritize stopping them from toppling the academy to avoid a panic. Sorry," she said, hand running through her long locks as her head drooped.

The constable just sighed, "You made the right call, bloody frustrating though… Oh Belladonna Junior, something you needed?"

Blake just sent her father a respectful nod, "All the prisoners have been loaded and sent off."

The constable sighed, "Which means soon we'll have the media sniffing about up here." Flicking her Scroll shut she added, "All right, Huntsmen you and the students are free to go, but I will be expecting a more detailed accounting come morning. Belladonna," She said looking to Ghira, "Still got your speech prepared?"

"Indeed, I do," he answered jovially.

"Then let's go and give the people what they want, the councils probably already setting up a podium at the foot of the plateau."

Blake felt Sun shove her lightly from behind, "Why don't you stay and catch up with your team," He said cheerily.

Ilia, traitor that she was leaned over and smirked, "I'm sure the other militia members and I can keep an eye on your father."

Both near instantly fell back as Ghira fondly patted her back and send Yang a small smile, "It was a pleasure to meet you miss Xiao Long. Hopefully when next we speak it can be in a less professional setting."

Blinking owlishly, Yang nodded, "Uh, yeah, sure thing, sir!" Her voice actually cracked.

Then it was just the three of them, Yang keeping her uncle from stalking off with a vice like grip on his arm.

"Look," he groused, "I don't wanna be here if you two are gonna discuss emotions and shit."

Yang just forced him to look her in the eye, violet flashing crimson, "No drinking, not till we get Ruby back."

Qrow glared down at her looking ready to snap before just pulling his arm away, muttering, "Yeah, yeah."

Sighing, Yang looked to her, confidence fading into something more delicate looking as she mumbled, "Sorry you had to see that."

"Its fine, I know things are hard, and," She tentatively stepped forward, "I promise to be here for you now."

Yang's expression flittered between something gentle and sour and back again before she smiled softly. "Thanks, I think what comes next is gonna be all-hands-on-deck, just like tonight."

"You mentioned Ruby, where is she?" Blake asked.

Yang motioned for her to follow, "Come see the others, we can explain everything at our hotel, it's a bit crowded but-"

"It'll be fine," Blake insisted, falling into step at Yang's side as they approached Weiss, Ren, Nora & Jaune, that Oscar boy hovering on the periphery as well. Whatever ire Jaune might have had for her had seemingly faded as like the others he was smiling fondly.

"So," Yang clapped her hands, "I say we head back to the hotel, splurge on room service and get Blake caught up on elves, zombies and trolls."

Weiss nearly doubled over. "Oh thank goodness, I've barely eaten since I got here."

"I can always eat," Nora said, "How bout you Oscar?"

"Oh, uh, yeah, kind of spent all my money getting here."

"Then we definitely need to eat," Jaune said resolutely, fist clapping against his hand.

As they set off for the path down the mountain the air was almost familiar, the people, the scents and sounds, but the absences ached all the same.

The next day's media circus dwarfed any seen in Mistral since the dual assassination of two sitting council members by the third almost two decades earlier.

That meant it was easy for Blake and the others to palm off some hastily scribbled reports by midafternoon and reconvene in her friend's hotel room. After that it simply became a waiting game, leaving them to watch the evening news. They were gathered around a low Komatsu, plush couch and two arm chairs staring at the Holo-Screen as the Constable, Council and her father stood together before Haven Academy.

"Our current timeline suggests that over a year ago, Headmaster Lionheart suffered a psychological breakdown. This was discovered and potentially even enabled thanks to the cultists Cinder Fall, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, who were themselves allies of the radical terrorist splinter faction, the Red Fang."

"Red Fang?" Nora asked, contorting herself from her already awkward upside-down viewing position to look at Blake.

"Sienna would only hand over captured explosives if the council kept the White Fang out of it."

"Thanks to the hard working of the Mistral constabulary, the efforts of Chosen Chieftain Ghira Belladonna and his Kuo Kuana Militia as well as a handful of skilled Huntsmen and Huntresses we were able to catch these terrorists in the act of sabotaging Haven Academy."

At the string of applause she added, "We have captured over ninety five percent of this organization, with no loss of life and only superficial damage to a singular ceiling. People of Mistral, this was a victory, and you can take heart knowing your kingdom stands strong."

Qrow's flask went flying through the holo-screen. "Strong, my ass." he snapped.

Yang, who Blake honestly thought should look frazzled mostly seemed inured to her uncle's behavior even as she cringed at how Weiss sought to get even further away from them.

"Look," she said sternly, "I know you're angry, but making people feel confident is kind of necessary right now."

"More lies," Qrow muttered, burying his face in his hand, and muffling out, "Where in the pit is Raven?"

As if summoned by her invocation a swirling red and black rift tore itself open at Yang's back, revealing Scout Master Maize, followed by Sienna and Raven.

"You're late," Weiss huffed.

"I got here when I wanted to, brat. Burn away those questions yet?" she added, sending Oscar a glare that he bore with more awkwardness than dread as he held up the lamp.

Folding her arms, Yang cut in, "Before we ask anything, can you get me to Ruby, yes, or no?"

Raven rolled her eyes, "I can open a rift to her, and I checked before coming here, she's still around. It's gotten easier to sense her since yesterday."

'Why is Sienna frowning at that?' Blake mused.

The tiger Faunus answered it for her, "That could mean the connection between here and there is growing stronger, which bodes ill for all of us."

"Here and there?" Raven scoffed.

Sienna ignored her, instead asking, "Belladonna, have you swept this place for bugs?"

Bristling, Blake answered, "I don't work for you anymore Sienna… But yes, I checked it over given I knew we'd be discussing sensitive things, its fine."

"That won't really matter," Oscar said quietly, head down, "I don't really understand it, but when the Relic activates… Well, what's outside our radius won't know what we're doing."

"Hmm, very well then, shall we begin?"

Oscar's eyes shimmered gold and it almost looked like Ozpin would refuse to grant her the lamp before passing it off to Raven and moving as far away from her as possible. A poor decision as it only served to put him right next to Qrow.

Raven looked around but met no one's gaze before under her breath she whispered, "Jinn."

Shimmering blue mist spilled out from the Relic, and as if bursting from the ocean rose a giant, beautiful woman. Her body cloaked in a nearly invisible spectral dress, her skin a sky blue, with eyes like the deep ocean and pointed ears. Golden chains, hoop earrings, choker and bracers flowered around her frame as she hovered in the air. The world itself seemed to come to a stop around them as Jinn began to stretch.

Yang felt the urge to look away, face flushed.

Echoing voice, like deep, tinkling glass emanated from dark lips.

"I am Jinn, a being created by the God of Light to aid Humanity in its pursuit of knowledge and, oh my, you again." Her gaze falling upon Raven who refused to look up from the floor, while Jinn's eyes drifted to Oscar, "And you as well old man, and so many others as well, this is unexpected."

Drifting through the air like it was water Jinn began counting of on her fingers.

"Well, I doubt I can answer every question floating around your heads, but I've been graced with the ability to answer three questions every 100 years. You're in luck, as I am still able to answer two more questions this era."

Qrow sent Ozpin a look of veiled disgust and Yang watched in real time as the boys' eyes widened almost violently and just as suddenly shimmered leaving just Oscar. She offered him a gentle hair ruffle which seemed to at least make him smile a little before all eyes turned to her and Sienna.

"Miss Xiao Long, if you wouldn't mind?" Sienna intoned.

"Go ahead, you know more than me."

Sienna nodded and strode up to Jinn, golden eyes locked onto the… Beings who drifted down to meet Sienna's gaze, elegantly sharp chin resting on her arms as she smiled at the Faunus.

"And what knowledge can I share with you?"

"Oh, honorable spirit of Knowledge, Jinn, I wish to know all that you can tell us about the source of the rift between Remnant and the land of Silverpine and its world. So that we may save both our realms from devastation wrought by reckless magic."

There was a moment where Jinn smiled, looking pleased and intrigued.

Then it snapped to a halt and her face, her whole body seemed to almost jitter, like an engine misfiring.

She drew back, eyes wide, form glowing more brightly as she looked to the endless sky, mouth moving painfully slowly until she finally whispered in a terrified voice.

"I don't know."


I'm back from my holiday, wooh, I hope people found this chapter engaging cos we are now racing to the finish line. Gosh I wish I had been able to finish the last update on Jinn's confusion, I am low key really pleased with that, but would love feedback, thoughts and questions.
Anyway, thanks as always to Iscariotpaladin for editing!
One trait I find fun about team RWBY specifically is that of them team members, the former revolutionary and the girl trained and basically raised by a would be soldiers have the hardest time with the prospect of killing anyone. Meanwhile the 'normal' one's can switch from "Let's be merciful" to "You have made yourself an obstacle and obstacles are for killing" real easy. I think it ties into Yang & Ruby being raised as Huntresses and thus trained to see enemies as monsters and problems to be solved first, while Blake & Weiss come at it from the angle of fighting a person first.
Also low key I want Blake to still be showing the protectiveness she did in V6 cos while she & Yang are reconciling they aren't done yet. Also its amazing how much V9 added to my Salem and Jinn scenes in regards to Raven >;3c Also V5 Jaune has not yet started to deal with his anger, especially as he hasn't even had it bite someone else in the ass yet, hence his treatment of Emerald. Mistral police are intended to be dicks.
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Chapter 13:

The Grendel was terrible to look upon, it's pitch-black skin was lined with pulsing red veins that seemed to break the skin. A kilt of bones swayed around its thighs, while others jutted violently from it's body, from which hung ghoulish trophies of dead creatures. Yet it's proportions were far too close to that of an elf for Maiev's liking, even it's jagged ears on a spike covered head. But the maw, the maw was a disgusting near circle of jagged fangs more suited for an insect.

Maiev flung herself back from the Grimm's club, the massive tree trunk shattering into a thousand pieces as Grendel bore down upon her. Because yes, it also happened to be three damned stories tall! Maiev teleported out of the way of a kick that ripped through the boulders surrounding the beast's mountain top lair.

Materializing on the air she quickly took in the battlefield.

White Fang soldiers barring the way of Bewolves and other beastly Grimm as her Priestesses, Druids and Troll Shaman stood behind them raining moon beams and lightning. Their own warriors guarding the casters against ambush. With practiced ease Maiev slashed an imp like 'Swindel' that tried to ambush her as she landed.

Only to barely dodge the ensuing burst of burning heat spewing from the Grendel's maw. The red 'plasma' Ruby had called it carving a smoking trench in the earth.

Several powerful shots rang out, Ruby's bullets impacting the monster's face and forcing it to rear back from the force of it. "Got the last Beringral!" She called, swirling around the battlefield, and materializing again to open fire on the massive Grimm again.

"Good, now let's dispense with this beast!"

Ruby was already blitzing the Grendel, manifesting from a spiral of red to open fire between its bony spikes and vanishing again. Swirling around its vicious clawed hands like a little tornado only to appear and drag the blade along it's frame.

Maiev leapt back onto some rocks overlooking the cavern as a powerful strike to the ankle sent the Grendel to its knee. But rather than keep fighting the monster coiled it's hands around its neck protectively and opened its maw. The air crackled and screeched and Maiev could already trace the trajectory to a gathering of warriors.

"No!" Ruby barely landed a dual kick to the Grimm's forehead, sending it snapping back and the plasma blast soaring into the sky.

The Grendel's hands shot up from it's throat and nearly swiped Ruby, but the girl launched herself away in time only for the Grimm to again target another batch of warriors.

"It's trying to distract you and wear you down!" Maiev barked as Ruby barely managed to send the Grimm's beam careening off into some rocks before having to retreat again.

The girl simply shouted back, "Then draw its fire!"

A third exchange followed and Maiev could see the Grimm getting closer and closer to snagging Ruby. She needed to act now but-

The memory of her first encounter with a Grimm came flooding back and without a moment's hesitation she flung herself back into battle. Racing to stand before the towering Grimm, Maiev dug into her every bitter, hateful thought and let them bleed out of other coalescing in the writhing crystal hovering within her Chakram. The shadows sprang to life, bleeding out from across her frame and manifesting in a screeching mash of gibbering shadows. A vile, hateful parody of a warrior, every bit as vile as the Grimm.

The Avatar of Vengeance shrieked and threw itself into the fray and just as Maiev hoped, the mass of hatred and madness was too appealing even for an elder Grimm.

Both the Grendel's hands tore away from its throat, and it slammed them to the ground, obliterating the Avatar. The hill quaked and roared as shock waves sent boulders flying and Maiev blinked into the air to avoid the worst of it, only to find herself sent hurtling back from the gale force winds.

'But it worked!' She thought triumphantly.

Ruby managed to hook Crescent Rose around the monster's unguarded neck. Bullets firing and her body shining crimson, she gave a mighty heave and cleaved the Grimm's head clean off!

Maiev was greeted by Ruby's grinning face as the girl blurred up to her side in the air, "Gotcha!"

Only a crackling, seething roar began to echo on the air and they both turned to see the Grendel loose one last blast from its crumbling skull.

Ruby clutched her tighter and the world vanished into red spirals only to shatter and send them both careening as they hit the blast zone.

Maiev managed to rob herself of any momentum by vanishing into the shadows and dropping back to the mountain side.

Ruby dragged her blade along the stone and dirt digging a five-foot trench with steel and foot in rock and dirt before lurching forward, muttering, "No, no, no!"

Grimacing, Maiev joined her, but she could already guess the casualties.

Lying on their side was a White Fang soldier, panting for breath and at her side were an elf and a troll, both blistered, with broken bones but alive.

'But their squad would have had five more.'

A quick look at the charred remains of a Troll's arm crumbling into ash at Ruby's tentative touch at least meant it had been quick.

"I- I'm sorry… I couldn't…" The Faunus panted.

Maiev waved her off, whispering to herself, "Oh goddess, grant these two your kindness and the departed your gentle embrace." Shimmering silver lights spilled over the injured pair, knitting bones and soothing burns, much to their obvious relief even as they sagged on the ground.

Maiev looked to Ruby and whispered as gently as one like her could, "Was that your first loss?"

The girl was already on her feet, Scythe clutched in a death grip, "I've lost people before," She muttered, bitterness and defeat on her tongue.

Then in a flash of red she was gone, the distant sound of sniper fire telling she'd gone to vent her rage on whatever Grimm still survived their master.

'Not that it's my place to say anything,' The Shadow Priestess mused.

Tyrande's war camp ran like a clear river, always in motion, always quietly productive, and always provided a subtle background noise to her every moment. Be it the idle chatter, bolstered by the temporary guests, or the sharpening of weapons and preparation of food.

Tyrande glanced up at the moons through which her goddess spoke that shone down serenely through the all too thin forests of Silverpine beneath the looming mountain home of the Shadowglenn. Letting the silver light wash over her a moment, Tyrande lowered her gaze to an approaching Night Elf.

Long, thin green hair, with a form fitting blue top and flowing green dress, only the dual swords hanging from her hips marked Illiyana Moonblaze as a Sentinel. In a sense of the word at least.

"You've returned swiftly," She observed coolly.

The woman just rolled her shoulders, "When there is little to see I need not stay long, my dear mistress."

"And what did you see, Sentinel?"

Straightening up, Illiyana answered, "The Alliance remains dug in and hostile, though I was surprised to see only sparse evidence of Grimm attacks. As to the betrayer and his snakes, I see no sign of them, nor do any other agents. Given we have watchers on ever waterway I can only assume magic is at play."

Perhaps seeing her frown deepen she added, "I did manage to see signs of troop movements, though they look to be marshalling to head Southeast."

Nodding slowly, Tyrande said, "Very well, take leave of your labors for the day and return to your duties come moon rise."

"Yes Mistress," She whispered before fading into the shadows to no doubt go and harass some poor unsuspecting novice.

Tyrande felt a feline head brush up against her leg, but she didn't answer by patting the beast, instead staring frown at the dark purple feline, and saying, "I am not one of your druids, if you wish to speak with me, then use your words."

The Nightsabre huffed before shimmering and twisting into Malfurion, short, broad and stocky, with feathered robes, a braided beard and large horns jutting from his head.

"You seem troubled, my heart."

Motioning at her map Tyrande answered, "I am troubled. Illidan and his servants have slipped away, the Scourge waits in the wings, we have left the Alliance aggrieved and something does not sit right with me about the Grimm being so passive."

Malfurion hummed, his tones reminding her of an ancient tree swaying in the wind.

"Nothing has gone to plan, and though we did what we must it was painful… This mission is no small matter, but it drags on myself as well. I cannot wait for us to return home."

Tyrande almost chuckled, "Ah, your time in the dream bears itself out again my dear. As far as military campaigns go this had been most swift, and though I long to return home I am prepared to maintain our presence here as long as necessary."

"But Tyrande, our forests…"

She tapped the map firmly, "These Grimm must be stopped Malfurion, and the rifts between worlds ended, let alone the threat of the Scourge. No, even if I do return to Ashenvale, I fear we will be invested in this land for some time."

Before Malfurion's sad expression could morph into the spoken word Tyrande perked up at the flash of crimson red atop a golden bear. Ruby was marching up to her alongside Krag'jin and Maiev, who seemed oddly subdued, while the troll was patting the girls back as they came to a stop before her.

"How many casualties?" she asked, making Ruby wince, even as Maiev answered.

"Three, one troll Shaman and two Archers; plus, several minor wounds.

Her brow rose at that even as she said, "May Mother Moon bless their rest. I take it the Grimm was dispensed with?"

"Uh yeah," Ruby murmured, "The Grendel and its pack are all dead, I… I'm sorry."

It took longer than Tyrande would like to fully process what the girl was apologizing for exactly. Millenia leading warriors and with a strong connection to their shared goddess, death was not often mourned the same way among her Sentinels as it was even her people's village dwellers.

Krag'jin spoke first, "You fought well and did what you could, Zar'Ran will be well rewarded by the Loa for her courage."

"Indeed…" She pursed her lips and added, "Ruby Rose, if not for you and the White Fang, I can assure you we would be taking far more casualties. The warriors sent to aid you will bear no grudge, nor do we and so you should bear no guilt."

The girl nodded, though Tyrande felt even as her expression brightened itself that it was just a mask.

Maiev began tapping the map, tracing a darkly armored finger across the marked out woods.

"As far as we can tell this was the main gathering of Southern Grimm, the rest reside North or due West. I'd prefer to deal with this Nuckeleave but apparently, it's a fierce and willy foe and unfamiliar as the Western Mountains are I'd be cautious of an ambush."

"Yeah," Ruby added, "It'd probably be better to try and whittle down the Grimm in that area with patrols. Grimm aren't exactly against causing avalanches so numbers won't help much unless you," she motioned to Tyrande, "Can go all thousand light grenades on them."

"The Goddesses Gift is not to be used lightly," She said slowly, "And its ill-suited for mountainous regions, I'd just as soon bury us as the Grimm."

Krag'jin clicked his fingers, "I'd prefer to focus on clearing out the one's along Lodermar's Coastal mountains. There's some good mines there which could prove useful and it's much closer."

"If we are going to be here for a time, that may be necessary," Malfurion murmured unhappily.

Maiev perked up, "Did something happen?"

Tyrande's gaze drifted to Ruby and the troll, "Thank you for your service, Huntress, take a rest and a meal." She was glad to see Krag'jin seemingly taking the hint and stepping back, Ruby, however...

"Oh, you're gonna be shouting," She sighed, pulling her mount back, "I'll be back when you're done."

Tyrande was a general, a warrior, the High Priestess of the worlds one true goddess and the leader of her people and had been all these things for ten thousand years. She was thus not used to being so bluntly assessed and more than a little lost for words as Ruby began to march away alongside the nearly giggling troll.

Maiev looked Tyrande over, barely able to repress a sneer as she said, "So… What cause have we to shout?" She could see some of the High Priestess's soldiers nearly snarling at her tone and where before she might have at least wanted to keep this hidden now her patience was frayed too much to care.

Tapping her finger on the map, Tyrande intoned gravely, "There have been no sightings of Illidan or his Naga servants."

Maiev leaned forward, armored gloves slapping against the table as she looked over the map and muttered.

"Meaning, he has most likely used magic to transport himself and his Naga beyond our reach."

Tyrande nodded, "With the Scourge in the North and mountains in the South & East, as well as us watching the West I feel there can be no other explanation."

Maiev's claw like gloves dug into the table, "The wound in the world left over from Archimonde's summoning would make it easy for Illidan to fling himself into the ether to join his masters."

Malfurion grimaced, "Illidan may no longer be a Kal'Dorei but he has wounded the Legion as much as aided it, I doubt he would risk venturing into their grasp."

Maiev just scoffed, "And what would you know of him, either of you," She glared at the two beloved leaders. "You Shando who slept in the dream, or you Tyrande who watched over our people as they danced under the stars? You had no born witness to him for ten thousand years yet still thought yourselves fit to release him, to merely banish rather than destroy him-"

"That is enough-" Malfurion rumbled.

Maiev slammed the table, the clap of steel ringing out like a crack of lightning.

"Enough!? When will the corpses of our people be enough? When will the trail of horrors and destructions Illidan leaves in his wake be enough? When will you stop seeking excuses to spare him while others suffer his wrath!?"

An arrow surged towards her, only millennia of training let Maiev shoot back and out of the way.

"Still your tongue-AH!" The archer let out a cry as a Watchers blade buried itself in her hand.

Another arrow flew and Maiev could see more of their forces racing to join the fray.

"ENOUGH!" Tyrande's voice boomed, her Sentinels began falling to their knees, the Druids still with her own forces kept moving.

"Hold!" Maiev barked, clasping her hand, and bringing her Watchers to a halt.

Tyrande looked over them for a moment, something like dread in her expression, before gaze snapped to the offending archer. Her voice roiled with divine blessings as she spoke.

"You have disgraced yourself, our order and myself with your disrespect."

"Priestess I-"

Maiev was surprised to see Tyrande backhand the woman to the floor.

"I am no meek boy in need of your slings and arrows, you discredit your war leader with such a display." She looked over the crowd, "Words alone are no cause to shed bled, return to your stations." She looked back at the archer who sat with her head bowed, "Get that wound sealed with holy fire and do not appear before me again."

Pressing their head to the ground the dark-haired archer shot Maiev a poisonous look before retreating.

Maiev just waved her hand lazily, letting her Watchers dismiss themselves as Tyrande returned to the map table, still looming over her and practically radiating rage.

She should stop this, should turn it to strategy or planning, but...

"So, I take it we will be forced to linger here and resolve these Grimm and rifts before one can even think of pursuing Illidan?"

Shando sighed, "Maiev, be reasonable, we have no idea where my brother even is and this new threat is, at least for the moment a greater concern to all."

"Yes, there is somehow always something more important, not offending the Alliance, the Grimm-"

Tyrande's fist impacted the table, too controlled to be true rage as it did not shatter.

"The Betrayer will be found, and he will be punished Maiev, the souls lost at Nendis and your own Watchers deserve that much justice." She leaned back, a steading breath billowing from her lips. "If you wish to take your Watchers and hunt him now, I will not stop you, but if you wait and help us safeguard the world, you shall have far more resources at your disposal."

"This all assumes Illidan and his followers are still somewhere that can be reached by us."

Tyrande closed her eyes and sighed, "A way will be found, Warden and this matter settled."

'So, you say.'

Shando however frowned, "This must be done of course, but I do ponder how long we can stray from home Tyrande. I'd not want to leave Fandrel and Broll to oversee the Cenarion Circle for too long, down that road is only disaster."

Tyrande's gaze drifted across Maiev and her Wardens, "We shall make a decision soon enough. For now…" She slowed as a Sentinel raced to her side.

"Mistress!" The Sentinel exclaimed, "A rift has opened between our worlds! Khan, she has returned!"

As Ruby took two full plates of food, she looked over the quiet gathering of Elves, Trolls, and Faunus spread out under the forest canopy on mats and even cushions. There was a little milling about, mostly from the White Fang, but she could see a troll shaman and a druid chatting away.

Still, Ruby quickly found herself gravitating towards the trolls, idly wondering what that meant as she plopped down on a purple mat.

"Hungry as always, eh?" Doth'Za chuckled as he tossed back some mead.

"Gotta keep my strength up," She answered cheerily, another troll clapping her on the back.

"You're strong enough little one."

"Pfft, you should see my sister, she once punched an Atlesian mech so hard it shattered."

The troll quirked her brow, "A… Construct? Impressive I am thinking."

"Well, it was like nearly three stories tall and made of reinforced military grade metal, but to be fair Yang was very cranky."

"Damnations," The troll murmured.

While, as if summoned by half their name Yang Kōngtóu plopped down at her side, still gnawing on a hunk of horse.

"Awe, you're so dutiful," She cooed, rubbing the center of the bears golden head as she tossed back food with her free hand.

"That one used to teach kids to ride and you are very small," Doth'Za murmured with an amused smirk.

"Ah! No way! Yang Kōngtóu, I'm not a kid to you right?"

The bear looked at her then to the shaman, then back to her and huffed before returning to its food.

Both looked to one another at the same time and said, "See?" Then burst out laughing.

'Yeah, this is why,' Ruby mused, as the conversation drifted from her to someone planning their trip home to check on their farm.

'The White Fang might be from Remnant, but I don't think we ever totally got passed me pointing a gun at Khan, and I have no idea if we're gonna fight again when I get home.' It was an unpleasant thought, one that left her keeping them at arm's length.

Ruby's gaze drifted to the elves who moved about the camp and even their meals almost silently. It wasn't even all elves, but the Sentinels, the ancient warrior woman moved silently and rarely spoke above a whisper. While the Druids loafed about as animals or chattered like birds, the women were nearly silent, moving like well oiled machines as they traded tools and took food with mechanical efficiency.

'Is it because they been fighting together so long, they just don't need to speak to communicate, or do they just having nothing left to say after so long?'

Ruby wouldn't lie, it was a little intimidating.

But despite it all, the atmosphere was still fairly light, even if part of Ruby felt it shouldn't be.

'Buts it's just like in villages back home, people know how to process this stuff quickly, they have too.'

Ruby's hand slowed, simply pressing the mince and vegetables wrapped in bread against her lips as a chill rested on her shoulders and Ruby felt something other than hunger or guilt gnaw at her insides.

Them as if summoned by the thoughts of home, a writhing mass of swirling red and black ripped open the world before her eyes. Ruby barely even had time to stand before a brown and blonde blur shot through and let out a cry.


"Ya-ng!" She cried, already scooped off her feet and grasped tightly in her big sister's warm, familiar embrace. Powerful muscles able to rip through monsters and machines, better known to Ruby as the steadying and protective presence that had been with her since she was born.

Yang ran a hand through her hair, cradling Ruby's head and whispered, "I love you." Those words sending Ruby back to the last time they spoke, Yang buried in pain and misery and unable to answer her back.

"Love you too," she mumbled, before Yang slowly pulled them apart. Lavender eyes taking her in with a familiar intensity as Yang tilted her from one side to the next, squeezing her shoulders as if to make sure she wouldn't break.

"Yang, Yang, I'm… I'm OK," She clutched her sisters' metallic arm and blinked, "When did you get this, is it okay?, how does it work? Wait, how did you get here!?"

The blonde huffed, "One question at a time Rubes, but first…" Yang stepped aside, and Ruby's eyes flew wide at the sight before her.

Weiss, Blake, Qrow, Jaune, Nora, Ren, let alone the horde of Faunus and Sienna Khan still marching through the rift.

"You're all- Ah!"

Ruby was bowled over by a chorus of shouts and hugs before she could even think to speak, worlds overlapping with one another.

"Never do something that reckless-"

"Missed ya-"

"I can't believe-"

"Never do that again!"

Ruby let out a pained wheeze, "I missed you guys too."
As they pulled away, Ruby let her gaze linger on Weiss and Blake.
"You guys came back." She murmured with a smile on her lips.
"Of course," Blake said nervously, gaze flickering to Yang.

Weiss tugged on her ear, "Naturally, now never worry us like that again!"

"Haha, well I'll try, ow, ow," Weiss was tugging on her ear until she whined, "Pinky promise?"

Weiss stopped her frantic tugging and with all grim seriousness offered the redhead her pinky.

Meeting Weiss's gaze, Ruby locked her own finger with the heiress's and said, "I promise to be more careful?"

Sighing, Weiss answered, "I suppose I'll accept that."

"So, Huntress," Krag'jin rumbled as he strode onto the scene with Tyrande and Maiev, "These are our companions?"

Ruby looked over everyone who seemed to be finally catching up with their surroundings and taking in the night sky and the denizens of the forests with wide eyes. Ruby was sure she heard someone, Nora, mumbling, "I didn't think she meant 'this' big."

Rubbing a hand through her increasingly wild hair, Ruby grinned "Yup, this is them!"

Before she could continue, Sienna snapped, "All right everyone, jaws up, you're here to work!"

"Hail High Leader!" The dozens of White Fang soldiers bellowed, each one kitted out with backpack and carrying a heavy-duty lock box twice the size of her torso.

"Sentinels, Shadowglenn, I hope you'll pardon our means of arrival, for we bring reinforcement and fine news." She looked out over her longstanding soldiers who had been trapped on an alien world and brandished her fangs. "My warriors, the traitor is dead, his human masters are on the run and a rift home shall open within but a few hours allowing you to return home and rest, you've earned it."

"Thank you, High Leader!" A dozen voices rang out.

"Well then," Tyrande intoned, "I believe we should get your new forces settled and discuss matters, a great deal has happened here."

"Uh, should I come?" Ruby asked.

Krag'jin grinned, "This one shall listen in on their little meeting, you enjoy this reunion Huntress."

Her shoulders went lax with relief, "Thank you."

Yang wrapped an arm around her, "He seems nice."

"Yeah, everyone here has been great!"

Her sister smiled, but there was a shadow in her expression as she looked over the world around them and then back to her.

"Now… I think we have a lot of catching up to do."

With Khan's return and questions of the rifts looming large, Maiev's disciplined mask fell back into place as they gathered around the map table.
"The first question, I think, is how did you bring so many this time?"

"I am no expert," Sienna pre-faced carefully, "But Raven Branwen claims it was both easier now that she was aware she could create the rift but even more that Miss Rose did not feel so… Distant."

Krag'jin cracked his knuckles, "Well that bodes poorly does it not?" His humor faded as he added, "The Harvest Witches whisper that their speaker has not left Greymane's manor, so they can be of no help to us in this."

Tyrande shook her head, "We must put an end to these rifts and purge the Grimm from these lands before the situation becomes untenable." She looked to Sienna, "With that in mind I imagine your reinforcements can aid us in this."

The Sabress flashed her fangs, "I offer to you thirty White Fang skirmishers, eight First Class Fighters, Twelve Crimson Guards, four of my elite scouts and…" she gestured to the Fox-trailed woman with dark skin and dark orange clothes at her side, "Lieutenant Vix to lead them should I be called to the other side."

Vix saluted, fist over her chest, "It's an honor."

"To you as well," Tyrande intoned with a quick salute of her own.

Sienna tapped the table firmly, "Before we discuss the rifts there is someone else from Remnant who may know of them. In fact, for all I know she may have a hand in them."

'Her world has no magic,' Maiev frowned and asked, "Who?"


Ruby had known they'd have a lot to catch up on, but she had perhaps assumed it would be her doing most of the talking. Not exactly a thrilling idea on its own, but at least expected. But it seemed everyone else had plenty to share with her as well. Thus, as their meals dwindled, and her own tale wrapped up and Yang began to talk…

Well, Ruby had been left nervously thumbing Crescent Rose as Yang spun a tale of immortals, divine relics, gods and genocide. It had even garnered an audience from amongst the Sentinels and Shadowglenn curious to learn more of their alien world. Now that Yang was done, silence lingered around the camp site.

Calloused hands traced along heavy steel, Ruby's fingers taking in the subtle scars and habitually checking every bolt and mechanism as she stared into the fire.

"That's… That's a lot to take in," She finally said.

"It is," Blake murmured, as Yang ruffled her hair.

"You're doing better than I did," Weiss offered companiably.

Ruby's gaze drifted to the new kid, Oscar who was currently nearly wriggling under the gaze of a Night Elven Priestess and a troll Priest.

"Two souls in one body, abominable, fitting only for the Scourge," The troll muttered.

The elven woman hummed, "If it's a divine curse, I dread to think the challenge of breaking it."

Oscar perked up, "You think you can get him out of me?"

The holy pair looked at one another uncomfortably before the elf spoke.

"Elune's power is great and while such an act is beyond my power, the High Priestess may be able to."

The troll rubbed his chin, "With enough offerings the Loa can do most anything."

That drew a snort of derision from the elf, "A sure sign of their lack of divinity."

"Oh, so you offer Elune the hearts of her enemies for fun then? How malicious."

Ruby thumped Crescent Rose against the dirt, "Hey, break it up, you guys know the rule about religious debates over dinner."

The pair looked a touch embarrassed, the troll even running a hand through their mohawk, "Whatever the case boy, you should seek something to be done about that, best of luck."

The Priestess offered a polite bow, "I recommend begging an audience with the High Priestess."

"Uh, thanks, I'll keep that in mind."

The troll chuckled, "At least you still know it's I and not we."

Ruby's gaze drifted over to Qrow who was currently being subtly interrogated by a feathered Druid.

"I am telling you, it is power borrowed from the source."

"I don't know what the source is man," Her uncle groused.

The Druid just looked despairing even as he rallied for another valiant attempt.

Ruby's gaze fell back on Oscar and she asked, "Hey, what does Ozpin think of all this other world stuff?"

Oscar's lips thinned to a frown before his eyes rolled back a bit as if thinking about a very hard problem before finally zeroing in on her. "To be honest, he's gone… Strangely quiet. After… Well after all this, I think he's questioning everything he knew, this might just… Take awhile."

"So helpful," Jaune muttered, still resting his chin on his sword.

"Hey," Ruby said, "Cut them some slack, this is a lot to take in."

Jaune shrugged, "This still doesn't tell us what to do about Salem or these rifts or anything."

"Well," Ruby hummed, "Krag'Jin and the others are probably working on the rifts right now. As for this Salem woman… I think its simpler than we're making it."

Blake looked to her with a hopeful expression, a small smile o n her lips and eyes nearly glowing gold in the dark, "What do you think Ruby?"

Standing up and spinning Crescent Rose Ruby smirked, "When I became a Huntress, I never thought I'd stop every Grimm out there. And given Salem hasn't just powered through all of us with her magic and immortality she has to have limits. If nothing else we can beat her back, put a stop to her plans and make sure she never gets the strength to make another attack again and hey."

She gestured to their eclectic company, "We're in a whole other world with its own magic and gods, for all we know there might be a way to take her down here. But even if not, we must fight her, because if we don't, a lot more people are gonna suffer for it."

Only now did Ruby entirely register than nearly the entire gathering was staring at her. 'Oh, please just let the ground swallow me.'

Then Yang let out a raucous laugh, "Oh Ruby, you're a Huntress through and through; I knew you'd know what to say."

Blake and Weiss both clapped her on a shoulder, "Well, we're with you," Blake said, Weiss smirking as she added, "You make it sound so easy, but I suppose you can count me in."

Ruby's chest eased and she let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding even as her shoulders suddenly felt very heavy, even as her teammates pulled away. She looked over to Oscar, her uncle and JNPR who were all to one degree or another nodding or at least not looking ready to argue.

"Well, uh, cool! Glad we're all agreed then, haha," She rubbed the back of her head nervously.

She turned at the sound of Doth'Ra snickering, "You said you were the leader, but I did not envision it until now and then you broke the spell."

"I'm working on it," She groused jokingly stomping her feet before dropping back to her seat.

Folding his arms behind his head the troll hummed, "Well if the connection remains between our worlds, you may have other volunteers too. Adventurous sorts who cannot bare to stay home and would likely relish the chance to stare down a witch queen." He tiled his head to the side, "Though no guarantees how long they'd last given the Grimm."

"Well, I mean if they had magic," Ruby stiffened, "Not that the warriors here aren't super strong! I'm just not sure how well it'd go without Aura."

Perhaps looking to save her from any other stumbled Yang cut in, "Yeah, I've been wondering about that actually. You guys have like fire balls and moon beams and stuff so… without Aura, I mean, why even have warriors?"

"Tis a fair question," Doth'Ra said, sitting up with a groan and holding up a giant finger. "First there is the fact magic is not in all of us. If you cannot hear the spirits or earn the blessing of a god then you cannot do magic, and even the likes of arcane is something that is tricky to master without a knack for it."

Rather than continuing someone else cut in, an elf with flowing green hair, elegant dress and twin swords, as well as a playful expression on her face.

"Reason the second, it is much faster to train warriors, even skilled one's, than it is to train even one spellcaster. Gather up a few thousand people and kit them out with spears and a month of training and they can march and kill well enough. But an arcanist, let alone a Priest or Shaman? They would not even be ready to cast a strong oath."

Perhaps rankled, Doth'Ra cut in, "Reason the third. Though we cannot awaken our Auras now, one must know that there have been legendary fighters even in our time who could maybe well match you. They thusly have likely awakened that power or found another source, but cannot easily share it."

"That makes sense," Ren murmured, "Aura can awaken from stress, trauma, a great need or through meditation, but if one didn't know that's what it was… Well, it might be hard to pass that on."

Ruby perked up at the sound of Krag'jin' amused intonation, "My ears are burning and I hear talk of great warriors, do you call upon me?"

"My leader," Doth'Ra intoned, bowing along with the other trolls, "Have you need of us?"

"Not at this time," his gaze drifted to Ruby, "Though our Huntress and her friends are invited to soon join us in welcoming a Gilnean diplomat."

Ruby jumped to hear feet, "Did something happen with the Harvest Witches?"

"Not from what this one has heard, but our scouts report them riding to our camp now, still a little ways out. Still, as they are Gilnean we can at least expect a spectacle," he added with an amused clap of his hands.

"Well," Ruby murmured, "Hopefully we can get them to stop summoning Grimm, I think this world has enough problems of its own."

"Too many to count, still, I overheard your chatter and wanted to join the fray so to speak. The assassin and Doth'Ra speak wisely but there are one other factor that makes warriors indispensable on the battlefield."

He strode passed them and stood before Doth'Ra, "A demonstration if you would?"

The troll bowed before brandishing a red lined idol, a ball of flames exploded from the hawkish carving atop it and exploded against Krag'jin's chest!

To absolutely no effect.

"What?" Ruby stammered, 'I've been here for over a week, how did I miss this!?'

Krag'jin brushed his armored chest, "Hehe, not even toasty, and that is but one example of counters to magic. An art created by my people's ancestors."

"And perfected by the Sentinels," cut in the green-haired elf with a sly smirk.

"So, wait, you guys have like, anti-magic?" Yang cut in.

"How did I miss this!?" Ruby mumbled, tugging in her hair.

Krag'jin shrugged, "You've only seen us fighting Grimm for the most part, and the siege of Dalaran was all defensive barricades so it has not come up. Still, the answer is yes, we have, heh, 'anti magic' as you call it. Potions made from herbs, enchanted armor, blessed relics and runes or serums; most if not all of these can be used or even made with no magic whatsoever."

Weiss nodded, "Well that certainly puts warfare here in a new perspective."

"There are limits of course," Krag'jin added gravely. "My armor might ward against fire, but it will not aid me against ice, a potion to resist the arcane shall not guard against a nature spirit and wards which snuff out holy magic could be burned away by a Warlock's curse. Still, it keeps up a good parity and no magus wants to walk onto the battlefield only to find every spell failing."

He smothered a laugh,

"My people still tell tales of the day an elven arcanist swaggered forth to kill a trollish woman only to find his spells bounce off her skin. Suffice to say, that day did not go as he planned."

A Sentinel scoffed, "We say that story too, though it used to be a horror story, it became more respectable after the Sundering."

"How unexpected," Krag'jin murmured sounding genuinely surprised.

A voice rang out in the distance, "The Gilnean Speaker is approaching the camp!"

"Well, with that in mind, let us go and get this waste of time over with I am thinking."

Ruby rose to her feet and nodded resolutely. Adding, "Her, maybe we'll get lucky?"

Luck, as it would happen, was not on their side.


Back again in a timely fashion this time, thanks as always to Iscariotpaladin for editing!
Grendels are mentioned in a world building text but we know nothing save that they live in swamps and that the name comes from the Beowolf saga so I looked up different 'giant' designs and did a mental composite. Maiev needed help with this because while she's a fair match for Tyrande she's more of an assassin build unless she's surrounded by her allies corpses and so doesn't have the same raw blasting power.
Some things I always like leaning on with the Night Elves is their rather vague geopolitical structure. Malfurion is leader of the Druids but Fandrel can just run off with dozens of them and make a small country. Tyrande is the leader of her people but Cenarius is a god and Shandris is technically the high general. Maiev has her own entirely distinct faction under her command that is deeply isolated from the rest of Kal'dorei society and so on. This can allow for a lot of flexibility and freedom but also mean personality cults and feuds spilling into violence in a way they might not in a more regimented environment.
Aside, I lean towards Ozpin and Salems native magic as being closest to Druidic magic given it tends to tie into the weather and transformations. Hence the Druid trying to explain to Qrow how Druidic magic works with little success.
Also yeah sorry for ending this on my world building rambles but I wanted to let the characters have time to bounce off each other and express curiosity about the world and through it impart some info to my audience.


Well-known member
Chapter 14
By Blood and Shadow be Bound

Lord Walden reclined in his ornate carriage, the comfortable mix of Gilnean silvers and his own family's dark greens a soothing and familiar sight.

Then, the world rocked around him, violently jolting him half out of his seat as horses brayed and he bellowed, "What is going on out there!?"

"A thousand apologies milord, this is off the beaten path, there's roots!" The driver called back.

"I did not ask for excuses, make that mistake again and I'll have your ears boxed!" He cast a glance out the window at his elite escort who all looked strangely perturbed. "Well, lets get a move on!"

"Yes milord!" They bellowed, taking off again at a subtly slower pace.

Snorting, the Lord admired his reflection in the emerald tip of his golden cane. Re-positioning his monocle and tidying his dark moustache. He might be in the wilds among the savage things, but a lord of Gilneas could be nothing less than presentable at all times.

They fortunately did not have another debacle before his carriage came to a slow halt, "We've arrived milord."

"Yes, obviously," He hoisted himself from his seat and strode out the golden door as King Greymane's own guard captain opened it with a bow.

Wrinkling his nose at the overgrown grass mingling with vines and roots, 'I shall have to cast off my boots before stepping back into my carriage.' Turning his attention to the people awaiting his presence, he ignored the subtle twinkles in the air and the strange hue to the sky to focus on the squatters.

'Let's see, all unfirmly oversized, too muscular to be all that bright and too little modesty to be blessed by the Light, just as I expected!'

Walden approached the tallest being who seemed to be at the center of his would-be welcoming committee. A sort of elven woman with dark blue hair and silver armor with robes woven through them. At her side was a half bestial looking man, a smaller elf in dark armor, and of all things a black armored troll.

'To think they've been in our land this long, the scandal!' He paid a little mind to the smattering of odd-looking humans hovering at the periphery, but after spotting a set of animal ears he smartly dismissed them. 'More primeval beast worshippers.'

"Presenting, the diplomat of his majesty Genn Greymane, Lord Walden!" The guard captain intoned, before falling in at his side.

The woman held out her hand, "Greetings Lord Walden, I Tyrande Whisperwind welcome you."

He did not take her hand, merely tipping his hat, "Somewhat strange to welcome a man to his own nation don't you think?"

Slowly withdrawing her hand, the woman answered more carefully, her voice too deep and crooning to be anything but off putting to a proper man.

"I merely meant to welcome you to our temporary camp your lordship, as I believe we have much to discuss, I wanted us to begin on good terms."

Fingers tapping along his cane, he planted it in the ground firmly and answered, "I am afraid that we actually have very little to discuss. You are cavorting with our enemies on our lands and spreading libelous rumors about the crown, these are the only matters I am here to discuss."

He could see some of the other 'elves' practically baring their fangs at him while Tyrande took a breath.

"Lord Walden, the message we had sent to you was not meant to be slanderous it was a warning, these creatures your nation is summoning and the spell itself is a danger to our very world!"

"Yes, yes," he sighed, "And mages dance with demons and harvest witches lay with trolls, I have heard it all before." He ignored the all too pleased smirk and subtle licking of lips from the troll and pressed on. "These creatures hate only the undead, they shall be summoned until the Scourge is wiped out and then be hunted down like any other animal."

One of the strange humans started yammering at him in a foreign tongue for which the troll of all things translated.

"She said that the Creatures of Grimm hate all beings with souls, that they are already breeding and will not be hunted as easily as you think, if at all."

Walden just snorted, "You take advice from a child, shameful."

"She speaks the truth," Tyrande insisted, "She and her compatriots hail from the world these Grimm were called from, it is a world ruled by these creatures. If the rifts do not tear apart our world, the Grimm surely will."

Walden looked around the grove a few times before shrugging, "The land seems strangely 'untorn'." As she made to speak again, he snapped, "I am not here to entertain the manic ravings of children, savages or animals! I come to deliver a warning! In the name of King Greymane, you will cease your occupation of Pyrewood and leave our lands by sunrise! If you do not, the Gilnean nation shall bring you to your knees!"

He sent a look to the troll and added, "This warning extends to all squatters."

"Lord Walden-"

He waved her off and turned, "We are done here, leave or be driven out!" As he marched back to his carriage, he nearly threw himself to the ground as a beam of light ripped into the sky well over his guards' heads as they fell in around him.

"Attacking a speaker under flag of truce priestess?" the troll intoned, hand wrapped around her wrist. "And I thought my people were the animals."

Sucking in a breath, Walden roared, "You will regret this and every other offence when we return!" Before leaping into his carriage and pressing a hand to his chest, heart racing as they began their trek home.

'Well… That went well.'

Tyrande snatched her hand away from Krag'jin as the human flung himself into his carriage and his soldiers watched on warily, guns and blades raised.

"One should have to accept hospitality before they can be treated as a guest," She snarled.

"It's better this way," Maiev murmured as the cart began to roll away, "We can send scouts after them."

Resisting the urge to massage her temples, Tyrande added, "Put them under Illiyana Moonblaze, she will know what to do."

As their lieutenants raced off to gather a mixed scouting force of Sentinels, trolls, and Faunus, Tyrande found herself wandering back to the map table.

"You know," Ruby murmured, "I don't think I can imagine how that could have gone worse, save that nobody died."

The white-haired girl with her looked away before adding, "I've seen worse exchanges with people equally insufferable, though his puerile attitude is a high bar to clear."

"It failed," Tyrande announced, "that is all that matters."

Ruby shuffled her feet, "So uh, what's the plan now?"

"What it was before I suppose. Divide our forces into scouting and hunting parties, begin purging the Grimm and seek out the one making the rifts and force them to stop." Tyrande slowed and frowned, "We may need to disperse camp entirely to avoid fighting the Gilnean army."

Krag'jin smiled wickedly, "Better idea. We destroy Gilneas's army and monarch, solving the army and rift problems in one, then we can dispense with the Grimm."

"I did not come here to fight a war for you," Tyrande intoned gravely.

"Yet you brought one to my doorstep when you invoked my aid," The troll countered, hands on his hips.

"Guys, guys, is this really the time for playing the blame game?" Ruby interjected, hands raised as she tried to stand between them, looking almost like a child to their larger frames.

"She's right," Maiev added smoothly, "an army makes ready to march, the Grimm and Scourge persist and if more rifts are made, we will all be in danger. Like it or not, this is a war, in one way or another."

Sienna was next to speak up, "I am of a mind to offer some White Fang forces to reinforce the Shadowglenn if requested.

Tyrande's chest tightened at the maneuver, she could envision why, could even see the practicality in aiding the Shadowglenn. For all she knew this danger would not pass for weeks, or months, abandoning an ally and safe harbor would be foolish.

'This was to be a small mission, personal and quickly resolved, instead it keeps evolving as I lead my people deeper and deeper into a war we cannot afford!' Yet she found herself pivoting in that very moment, fists clenching. 'I cannot ignore this and be loyal in my duties as a guardian of this world, as Elune's chosen.'

"Very well. But we are too exposed here and will need to divide our attention between the Shadowglenn territories, the Grimm and securing the coast if we need reinforcements."

"Tyrande…" Malfurion mourned, not truly contesting her but quietly despairing all the same. She leaned down and kissed his brow.

"May this conflict pass quickly, but for the safety of this world it must be fought my love."

Ruby was quick to jump back interview, "I volunteer to help, I mean, I don't really wanna fight people but I'm not about to turn my back on the Shadowglenn or stopping this problem from getting even more out of hand."

Tyrande's gaze drifted to the girl's companions all looking for a moment like deer caught in the gaze of a Sabre before the blonde woman grinned. "That's our leader, always doing the right thing, I'm with ya Rubes."

"The same," The dark-haired girl intoned gravely.

"I'd follow you into any battle, even one as absurd as this," Finished the white one.

"Uh," Cut in a tiny redhead, "What about the super evil Grimm Queen we have back home? Ring any bells?"

"Right, uh," Ruby hummed, "Well if Raven's portals don't make things worse, maybe we can split our time here. It sounds like Salem will need time to rally after Haven and unless someone has any hot leads on Cinder, I think we're kind of out of luck there."

Tyrande could see the blonde boy bristle even as he nodded. Returning her attention to matters of her own world, Tyrande spoke.

"Then it's resolved, and as near as I can tell Huntresses, this 'Raven's' rifts do not worsen our situation, they merely ride along the pathways torn by the reckless mage's spell work, but do not add to it."

"Not sure how long we can keep Raven on her best behavior," The blonde said, crackling her knuckles, "But we can only play the hands we're dealt."

"Speaking of unreliable allies," Maiev murmured, "Should we withdraw from Pyrewood, or seek to secure it as a direct line?"

Krag'jin leaned in, "Harvest witches have much say there, they might side with us, given the Grimm."

Sienna was quick to join again, "Assuming my forces concur I think we should at least offer them the chance to side with us, if nothing else, it's a safe port and an additional supply stream."

"It seems we have the beginnings of a plan, let's pray the scouts bring back fair news and get to work."

Walden was unusually pleased by the approaching sight of Ambermill. Once the land of that rebellious toad Crowley, the miserable little burg had withered on the vine as the Scourge ran rampant. But with the Scourge driven back and enemies on the prowl, Greymane had seen fit to make use of it again.

The Gilnean banner flew high in the air as marshalled soldiers milled about the camp while officers had taken to the homes of peasants. Walden himself had taken up residence in the town hall, a nice, fortified little place in the heart of the lumber harvesting town.

'I'm still a little way off a warm bath and a fine brandy however,' he mused.

Not far outside the town hall there was an elaborate arcane circle, sharp lines at odd angle adorned the edges and ornate lines woven their way to its core like vines. Gilnean Arcanists and Wizards hands and staves glowed as they agitated the Ley line and at the center of it all was Dame Alys Finnsson. Grey robes flowed and her jet-black hair stood on end as she wielded the missing Arugal's stave like a natural.

As his carriage came to a stop, Walden beckoned a reedy robed mage to the window, "You are Finnsson's assistant, yes?"

"Her apprentice milord," They whispered meekly.

"Yes, yes, now tell me, your mistress is confident in her plan?"

Perking up, the lad smiled broadly, "Yes, your grace, she and the other mages have studied Mage-Lord Arugal's notes extensively and with my mistress's master of shadow-ed arts… Well, she has every reason to be confident she can direct the beasts with even greater ease than Arugal himself!"

"Good to hear!" Walden doffed his hat and stepped out of his carriage, hastily scrambling to stand atop the richly ordained vehicle. Cane raised high, he held his enchanted staff to his lips and let his voice echo across the war camp.

"The invading savages would not see reason, they intend to fight us every step of the way, but I say if they hate the beasts so much, let them have at it!" Gesturing sharply to the mages he ordered, "Mages of Gilneas, commence the ritual in the name of King Greymane!"

A nervous cheer rose up from the war camp and the arcane lights of the ritual circle began to burn a blistering purple, so bright it lit up the entire camp. The ground beneath their feet rumbled and Walden could swear he saw pink tinged cracks in the earth.

'Must just be the Ley Lines,' he reminded himself, quickly clambering down his carriage and back inside. "Come along," he barked, "No need for us to linger here!"

The horse at the forefront brayed gratefully as they began to trot towards the town hall, but Walden couldn't resist a glance behind himself. A tremor running across his skin like a deathly chill at the sight of an ever growing, writhing whirlpool of shadow. Even the stalwart soldiers were hastening to part ways from where it 'seemed' to be aiming.

'Much larger than I expected, how impressive, she'll make a fine replacement for Arugal,' Walden mused, fingers toying with his moustache as pride welled inside his chest.

Then the howling began, and the screeching and the roaring, a cacophony of bestial sounds, each one as if interwoven with that of a screaming soul.

The ground shook, as a bipedal beast that was more jaw and leg than anything else burst from the rift, black ooze spiling from its bone spiked maw. Scampering in its wake were dozens of its lesser kin, all snapping, savage, and shrieking. More 'Grimm' began to spill out, Griffon-like beasts let out booming cries and in the distance he could hear trumpets sounding.

A rippling stream of shadowy light shot from Finnsson's stave and into the body of the largest of the beasts, its blood red eyes turned an even more blistered shade of red.

"Go forth and-"

In one violent snap of its jaws the monster ripped her body in two.

Ruby had a crate at least twice her own size held above her head and shouted, "Hey where do you want this one!?"

Doth'Ra perked up from his scribbling over supplies and answered, "Cart three is free."

In the blink of an eye or a burst of petals, Ruby was there and deposited another crate of supplies into the sturdy looking cart. A little way away she could see Yang already had a full cart with a layer of supplies and soldiers sitting atop it held aloft with one hand.

"Told ya it would be easy," She preened.

"Point proven," grumbled a bulky looking night elf.

She saw Jaune slide up to her and drop a crate into the cart, "I feel like a pack animal."

Doth'Ra chuckled, "Well you make an excellent one, with you all carrying the carts up the slopes we'll have this army moved into a secure position before sunrise."

The blonde sighed but nodded, "That's something I guess."

Both turned to the sound of humming energy and watched as Weiss, riding proudly atop Yang Kōngtóu, casually floated half a dozen crates of wood and stone into an idling cart, each peace slotting in perfectly. She capped it off with bow which the pair mimicked, earning gleeful praise from the girl.

Doth'Ra leaned down, "And you say this does not qualify as magic to you?"

"It doesn't," Ruby stressed, the words sliding through her teeth, "Weiss's Soul just has like, a different pattern than mine, so she can use it's energy to do lots of stuff."

The Shaman looked less than convinced, "… It still sounds-"

Shrieks and shouts rang out as the ground beneath them rumbled and roared, a deep, bone shaking quake left Ruby clutching Crescent Rose, expecting an elder Grimm to step on the scene.

But after a moment it faded and everything looked fine.

"Was that… Normal?" Ruby asked.

Doth'Ra shook his head, and then squinted, tilting it.

Blake's unsure voice cut through the din, "Does anyone else hear that?"

"Another quake?" Ruby asked.

"No, its like… Screaming," Blake then drew Gambol Shroud and Ruby followed suit with her own weapon.

Above them, a writhing rift tore open the air and a snarling Beowolf lurched halfway through before the portal snapped shut bifurcating the beast and sending its torso twirling towards the ground where it dispersed into miasma.

"What is happening!?" shrieked Nora, racing to join them from the other side of the camp, hammer at the ready. The rest of her friends coming up alongside her, Yang Kōngtóu nuzzling her with concern.

Patting the bears snout she started breaking away from the clustering group and outside of Yang's grabbing radius, "You guys wait here and keep an eye out for Grimm, I'll check with the leaders!" Before she could petal burst Weiss snagged her cape, blue eyes staring intently.
"We'll check," Ruby amended hastily, before grabbing the other girls hand and carrying them and her mount from one end of the camp to the other.

Materializing, she could see a disappearing Creep, and a few other signs of a brief scuffle or just more shredded Grimm. The heart of the camp was a dizzying place with messengers racing in and at the heart of it she could see Sienna and a White Fang agent fussing over a sturdy looking, portable radio projector.

"So, it happened here too?" She asked, cutting into Tyrande and Krag'jin's clipped chatter.

Malfurion was the one to answer though, groaning, "Far more than merely here child, this tremor was unnatural," He shook his head, face pinched with pain as he leaned against Tyrande. "The Ley Line has been ripped asunder… The very earth is screaming..."

She looked to the others for an explanation, and Maiev added, "A surge of energy like that can have devastating effects on the environment and if it was tethered to the rifts…"

A voice crackled in from over the radio.

"High Leader!"

"Speak to me."

"The humans! They were doing some kinda ritual, they summoned a huge Creep, an Ancient, and then tried to do something to it, but it just chomped her in half! Then her body exploded into purple light and their runes exploded! Now there's a giant hole in the ground like a bomb went off, purple lines of energy pulsing through the ground and the rift keeps writing, shrinking, and growing and there's more coming. Ancestors, there's so many Grimm, we can't contain them!"

"All forces reform and return to camp, that is an order."

"Hail High Leadeeeer!" Their voices was cut off by a roar and machine gun fire.

"Dammit!" Krag'in snarled, "This is exactly what we feared!" He cast a terrified glance to the mountains, ""If those rifts are opening everywhere my people are in danger!"

Ruby's heart began to slam against her chest, 'Not again, not again!' A name tore from her throat without thought, "Uncle Qrow!"

The gangly Huntsmen, already fast approaching looked at her, dull red eyes clear and focused.

"You can fly, I need you up on that mountain!" She pointed sharply to the distant peak.

"But kid-"

"I'll be careful, now go, people need you!"

Qrow stood just a little taller and nodded, voice rough, "Stay safe." And then he morphed into a bird and shot into the air like a bullet.

"Sky Scouts!" Sienna roared, "Follow him, full speed!"

"Hail High Leader!" Two soldiers cried, already soaring over head and blurring into the distance.

Maiev was quick to cut into the growing din, "All of this is pointless if the rifts are not stopped."

As if to prove her point another rift tore open in the sky with a guttural scream and threw it tore a Nevermore before it snapped shut.

Ruby shot it out of the air without a second thought.

Malfurion's staff struck the ground, "I may be able to seal the largest rift using Staghelm's techniques; that may let us stymie this."

Ruby was surprised to hear Oscar cut in, "I might be of assistance," his tone was urbane and familiar, "I have experience sealing away powerful magic."

Malfurion simply nodded grimly as Tyrande began tapping the map.

"We send the soldiers into the mountains and take only elite fighting forces to quell the rift and the Grimm, acceptable?"

Krag'jin grimaced, "I must go to, my people need me."

Sienna clapped him on the arm, "I will leave Lieutenant Vix with your forces then, soldier! Cast off anything that might slow our forces down and break camp within minutes!"

"Hail High Leader!" The woman saluted.

Krag'jin's fangs clicked together, as he clapped both Sienna and Ruby on the shoulder, "Thank you both. Survive."

"Same to you," She said softly, "And look out for Yang Kōngtóu, I don't want her in my fight." Despite herself the bear let out a sad groan, leaving her and Weiss to pat her head, "When I awaken your Aura," she promises, before motioning to Krag'jin.

"I'll watch her like she was my own," with that the troll raced off closely followed by the golden bear.

Ruby watched as Tyrande caught her eye, "Huntress, rally your team, we mount up and leave in five minutes."

Ruby swallowed, "Um, well time is of the essence, right? I had an idea about that."

The fact Sienna looked at her, the dread of the situation fading for a moment to show mirth told Ruby the Faunus had the exact same idea.

Genn Greymane had felt the land move beneath him. It had been a subtle tremor but felt all the same. Yet before he could so much as even finish hearing a simple report on it a guard burst in and threw himself to the floor.

"Forgive me my liege, but beasts attack the capital!"

For one brief, terrible moment his face felt entirely numb, and something rang in his ears before he flung himself to his feet bellowing.

"Explain yourself boy!"

"My liege! A portal appeared above the jail and monsters spilled out!"

Genn had already abandoned his lunch, suit jacket flowing behind him as he raced to the balcony and balked at the distant sight. Like griffon formed of shadow and bone, several of the beasts were ripping into houses and small platoons of the constabulary.

"How-," Genn gnashed his teeth together, "Send in a platoon of my royal guards and call on the city captain to stop wasting his time and get into action, go, go!"

The soldier and messengers scurried out of the room while Genn looked across his city cursing.

'Damn you Arugal and curse you Finnsson! What nightmare have you wrought upon my people?'

Krim cut through another Ravager and bellowed down to the soldiers and people of Pyrewood.

"That was the last of them, but we've no idea if more rifts will open, so bunker down and be ready!"

At the cries of affirmative as Pyrewood villagers armed themselves with pitchfork and spirits, and the White Fang readied the last of their small arms, Krim looked to the mountains.

'We just have to hold out a little while longer, The High Leader will come, she has to.'

When the end of day came what else did you have but hope?

The skies around Fort Castle Screamed as dark rifts tore open the sky.

Maize looked out from a hidden gunner position alongside the Branwen woman and Kali Belladonna at the snarling tears in reality.

"What in the world…" Kali murmured.

"Just like they warned us," Maize whispered.

Branwen said nothing but Maize could see her mouth moving as if in a silent prayer.

Ignoring them, the Scout Master tapped their radio and announced, "Another rift has opened, all White Fang forces, prepare for battle!"

The sound of Branwen slashing her sword through the air echoed behind Maize as the woman vanished into the red rift.

Cinder stood alongside Mercury and Hazel aboard a stolen Mistrali ship, the shadow lands of Salem's abode rife with chaos among the Grim like she'd never seen before.

All three of them stared from the open hull as a snarling vortex swallowed up a Nevermore before vanishing in a flash of shadow.

"What…Is that?" Mercury muttered.

Watts strode onto the deck, toying with his moustache, "I believe that is why Salem has called us back."

Malfurion had rode upon elk, raced through the woods as a bear and Sabre, he had taken wing and even been carried by his love.

He had, however, never been carried by a child nearly half his size, body tingling with a vibrating crimson aura as the world blurred by in bursts of speed.

Were he a lesser soul he might be huffing about the indignity of it all, but this was no time for pride.

'Though at this speed, strategizing is rather difficult!'

Despite himself he shouted over the winds, "The twin soul and I shall need all our efforts to focus on the rift, can you keep the Grimm away from us!?"

The Huntress Rose was quick to shout, "Ren, you use your Semblance, Jaune, Nora, can you back him up!?"

"G- Got it!" The blonde boy shouted as he strained to keep pace alongside the man disguised as a boy.

Maiev was next to join the call of war from the arms of the Rose sister. "I can lure the lesser Grimm to me easily enough, my shadows beckon them, If Tyrande's aim is true, we can cull their numbers."

"The goddess shall not harm you Maiev," Tyrande offered, hanging only slightly awkwardly in Sienna's embrace.

"Then that just leaves the Elder Grimm to us," Sienna offered, her gaze already far away, eyes shimmering, "And we have little time."

Casting his gaze eastward, Malfurion grimaced at the sight.

A violent torrent of twisting, thrashing shadows loomed large over the forest, Grimm were swarming across land and sky like stars in the sky or blades of grass. The howling of the rift was like screaming in his ears and it was somehow less than the painful howls of the earth below, a living wound ripped in the planet and bleeding endlessly.

"Disperse!" Tyrande bellowed.

And like that they began to move, Malfurion felt Ruby slow as her companions joined her charge and a sense of calm and ease washed over him, the world itself looking and feeling like another place entirely.

'This is a strange power…'

"This is Ren's Semblance, to the Grimm you'll be invisible," Ruby said, any haste or energy in her tone nearly absent. "Just… Don't draw attention to yourself if you can help it," She added.

They touched down on the ruined forest floor, among the snarling, thrashing, gnashing Grimm, their black and boney frames marred by scars and fresh blood.

Malfurion clasped his stave tightly, the living wood creaking as energies suffused it, he said, "When Tyrande's prayer is answered, I shall move up to the rift with the wizard."

Ruby nodded intently, "And my team and Sienna take out any big Grimm too smart for Tyrande and aiev while you guys keep the wizards alive."

"OK," Jaune cut in, "But when do we know her prayed is answered-"

As if an explosion had wrung out, the Grimm released united screams and began surging northward towards a collection of shadowy knights and in the sky, Malfurion could see the stars begin to fall.

Maiev watched as the Huntresses ripped apart the clearing with brutal efficiency. Bullets blasted away at chunks of Grimm, fiery daggers turned them to mere smoke and beams of light tore from blades to bisect the beasts.

Sienna's voice cut through the air, "LZ is clear, raise a wall and fall back for the payload!"

The white-haired maiden buried her sword in the ground and Maiev felt the earth rumble as walls of thick stone rose around her.

"That should give you a few moments!" She cried, as the other huntresses ripped some diving Grimm from the air.

Maiev clutched her Chakram and drank in the stench of death and terror on the air. The Shadow Orb pulsed and surged with unspent energy, as the sounds of dying screams echoed in her mind. Her Watchers, the Gilneans, her friends, her foes, Naisha…

"I have all I need," She murmured, fangs drawing blood from her lips as she raised her weapon high.

"Elune! I Beseech thee! Call back these vengeful souls, unleash the vessels of rage within my heart!"

The Shadow Orb began to scream, her shadow convulsed as a towering, living mass of darkness burst free from its confines, screaming. Its cry echoed along the winds and to its side came the dead, Gilnean soldier's echo's, memories of anguish and rage given form and fury began to flood the land around her.

The chorus of torment was overwhelmed by the baleful cries of the Grimm, Maiev watched as the skies above her darkened and the earth shook.

Turning her gaze to the sky, Maiev allowed a mocking little smirk at the flickers of silver in the blackness as the goddess's wrath began to rain down upon the unsuspecting Grimm. Blazing orbs of silver shrapnel buried themselves in the mass of darkness, burning through feather, leather and bone, before exploding in a wave of light, not one or two or even a dozen but so many more.

A 'Creep' managed to sneak through the endless barrage, a trio of knives sent it tumbling from it's pounce to the ground, where it was descended upon and torn limb from limb by her screaming specters

Sienna took a moment to appreciate and awe at the spectacle of Tyrande's prayer, 'If we survive, this world has much to offer us.'

But first they had to survive.

Her attention snapped to the largest lingering Grimm, a monstrous Creep the size of a fortress. Black ichor drooling from its shredded maw. Blades and burns touched its frame like insect bite and its burning gaze drifted over them suspiciously.

Then it moved, lurching to the left on surprisingly swift legs, the ground thundering beneath it, the Grimm made a beeline for-

"Tyrande!" Sienna bellowed.

"We'll slow it!" Ruby cried, snatching up Weiss and vanishing in a spiraling wave of red and white petals. Re-emerging before the beasts and being launched at it with sniper fire and Glyphs, Ruby delivered a double kick to its head, the shockwave of force and spiraling air sending it careening to the right.

"Blake!" Yang cried, hands outstretched, eyes wide and pleading.

Blake looked half frozen for a moment, worry clear on her face even as Yang shouted, "Launch me!"

"Together!" Sienna cut in, loosing Cerberus's Whip to Yang's left hand and Blake followed suit to the Huntresses right.

In the distance, Sienna could see Ruby and Weiss weaving around the Grimm's legs to try and trip the beast only for it to hop back and let out a roar. The booming shockwave sending both Huntresses hurtling into the forests.

With a roar, both she and Blake pulled Yang forward, dragging the blonde into the sky, her hair beginning to blaze like liquid gold. She surged like a comet and before the Grimm could fully turn its head, Yang slammed against it. Bone turned to shrapnel and an explosion resounded as the Grimm was slammed onto its side and sent skidding along the earth, tearing up trees and dirt in its wake.

Only to snarl and roll itself to its feet, bone mask cracked but still very much alive. As they all began converging on it the Creep reared back and unleashed another shockwave roar, the force of it sending rubble and bodies hurtling through the air and forcing them to bury their weapons in the earth or to simply shoot wildly against the tempest to even stay in place.

"It's going to charge us!" She yelled over the din, Aura straining her vocal cords into a painful roar.

"We need it! On its back!" Ruby called back.

"And seal it's mouth!" Blake cried desperately.

Looking to Cerberus's Whip just as the sound began to ease and the Grimm started its charge, "Blake, we seal its maw, the rest of you-"

"On it!" Ruby shouted, already bursting into rose petals with Weiss & Yang.

Not wasting a moment, Sienna and Blake raced forward, weaving between one another, and leaping into the air and either side of the Grimm's snapping maw. Lashing out with Cerberus's Whip her blade tipped chain coiled around the gun of Gambol Shroud and Blake used her Semblance to launch herself down, pulling Sienna with her and letting her slam on the Grimm's snout.

Hateful red eyes zero in on her and Sienna let her Aura blaze, drinking in her enemy's wounded state and roaring as she buried the hilt of her weapon in it's skull, drawing a painful roar that suddenly choked.

Blake launched herself back to the top of the head, whip straining alongside her chain but they managed to lock hands around each handle and with a snarling heave snapped the Grimm's jaw shut!

As the beast began to thrash, Sienna heard the faint sounds of ice forming and gunfire, looking to Blake they both pulled harder, drawing back the Grimm's head and exposing its underbelly. Beneath them, ice and stone and Glyph stilled the beast's clawed feet for but a moment, but that was all they needed.

A blazing tempest of red and gold surged towards the Grimm, dragging with it a tempest of shrapnel. Near the last moment, Ruby & Yang separate, the blonde being launched forward with a concussive explosion of sound as Ruby shot beneath the Grimm to snag her partner.

Sienna felt Yang's strike and the ensuing breaking of air and flesh as she exploded through the Grimm in time with the tempest, shredding it from chest to back and bursting out the other side. And like that, the Grimm fell to the ground with a resounding boom, black miasma bleeding into the air around them.

Blake barely paid it any mind, pulling Gambol Shroud free and shouting, "Yang!" and she leapt towards the half capsized blonde some ways away from the decaying Grimm.

Sienna cast a glance around, but seeing the skies mostly clear it was obvious any lingering Grimm were smart enough to be drawing away or were already shredded by Tyrande's wrath and she let out a sigh.

"We did iiit!" Cheered Ruby, spinning her partner around before putting the flustered Schnee back down.

Yang and Blake were quick to join them, racing to their sides as Sienna observed, "It seems Tyrande and Maiev have finished their work. We need to collect them and confer with Malfurion."

Ruby beamed, "Heh, already on it!" before vanishing into rose petals.

Clarity returned to Tyrande in a flash of red as they arrived at the rift.

She immediately found herself bracing as the raw energy suffusing the wind and whipped back her hair. A rainbow of colors flooded the air, looking like crackling lightning caught in a deathly duel with writhing shadow.

From a violent wound in the ground, tainted light and shadows were being engulfed by a tree, its trunk groaning as it grew faster and swifter. Stone drifted into the array, weaving themselves into the branches and roots, all glowing with ornate patterns.

'To see our magic mingle with Remnants…'

"What's happening!?" Weiss cried over the din.

The boy, a blonde, raced up, sword still draw. "He said something about, its too big to get rid of so he has to contain it!"

"I see," Tyrande murmured, raising her voice she explained. "The wound between our worlds runs too deep, even if this rift was closed another would open, so instead we must concentrate all that nascent energy to this one place and contain the rift within a framework!"

"Its not working!" Cried Malfurion, even as the tree continued to surge into he sky and the stones locked into place.

"Malfurion, speak to us, what can be done!?"

Her mate groaned, teeth gnashing, and Oscar's voice rose up, his contributions to the spell work somehow seeming rooted in his cane rather than his own body.

"It's the other side of the rift, we need to seal it as well or this amounts to a mere stop gap!"

Sienna's voice echoed in her ears, ""We can use Fort Castle, it's fortified at least but without Branwen-"

"Dammit! How long do we have till Raven gets here!?" Yang shouted.

As if summoned by her daughter's call, a writhing red rift torn open between the two sisters and a dark-haired woman in black and red battle robes stepped out with a long thin blade. Her sharp expression dimming to dull confusion at the sight before her.

"Raven, perfect!" her daughter cried, grasping the woman, and keeping her half in the portal.

"Oscar, Malfurion!" Ruby called, the boy already pulling away as the last stone slotted into place.

"I can hold it while Malfurion finishes here!"

"Take Ren!" The blonde boy called, "He might be able to hide the rift from the Grimm!"

Eyes widening, the man disguised as a boy nodded, "Ren, follow me!"

The pair swiftly pushed passed Raven and left through the portal.

Tyrande pushed through the haze of power and placed her hands on Malfuron's back, Elune's mercy bleeding through her hands and bolstering his body and will as the Great Tree began to sprout its final branches and with an exhausted groan Malfurion broke the spell.

All watched intently as he leaned against her and watched as the shadowy rift thrashed and writhed against its confines but could not slip free of its home of wood and stone.

"I can… I can move through the portal," he panted, "I'm ready, the other side will be easier," he insisted.

"I will be with you," Tyrande whispered, half carrying him through the red rip.

The sight that greeted her was a great, long hall of dark, worked stone. A dais rose behind her to a humble chair, banners of Sienna's faction adorned the walls and statues lined each side of the chamber in looming alcoves.

Malfurion was swift to join Oscar's side, losing a seed from his palm and letting it land beneath the rippling little rift that was quickly beginning to grow as more of its kindreds' energies were piled into it.

Emerald, green light poured from their staves and coalesced into the heart of the rift, stalling its growth at something like fifteen feet. Bricks began to drift out of the floor and roots spilled out from beneath the rift.

All watched with bated breath as the shadowy energies calmed and began to twist and shift into a shimmering mix of emerald and lavender lights.

Tyrande heard, she felt the audible sigh of relief at Malfurion's words.

"It's over."

Blake let out a low sigh of relief, instinctively leaning against Yang's side as the last twenty-four hours caught up with her all at once.

"So," she heard Sienna intone, "This means our worlds are bound?"

"It does," Tyrande said, "Perhaps one day the rift can heal or perhaps not. But for now and for some time these portals will connect us and through that, the Grimm."

Several eyes turned to Ren, his Aura already flagging, "I don't know… How much longer I can do this."

Blake's ears twitched when Maiev spoke up, "Hold fast child, Elune shall show us the way." She rested a hand on his shoulder, the shadowy orb, so like the rifts, rippling on her Chakram as she began to pray in an alien tongue.

Ren's body shone as it was filled with new strength, and Blake felt a sense of ease wash over her, followed by it being pulled away. The strange runic symbols on the gate shimmered and Maiev lowered her hands and said, "There… The Goddess has blessed us with a miracle. A blessing of calm and peace suffuses this spot now, and so long as it is maintained, the Grimm shall sense nothing of the other side."

"That's great!" Ruby cheered, hugging the intimidating, giant woman who looked more stunned than offended. Ren meanwhile was looking over the gateway contemplatively, Nora sliding a hand into his.

She almost reached for Yang, but everyone jolted when a shout rang out.

"Why are their roots coming down from the throne room!?"

The doors burst open, and Blake was surprised to see not just White Fang soldiers, but that Vernal girl and her mother!

"Stand down," Sienna ordered, "The crisis has been averted."

"Blake, you're back!" Kali intoned eagerly, "And with your team," she added, eyes practically sparkling, as her team looked like deer caught in the headlight.

"High Leader, what happened?" Maize asked.

"I'll explain shortly, but first we need to return and contact our forces on the other side." She offered a bow to the Night Elves, "Please enjoy the hospitality of Fort Castle and recover."

Ruby's eyes suddenly widened, "We need to get back to Qrow!" she shouted, grabbing and shaking Raven expectantly.

"Get! Off!" The woman snapped, slashing her sword, "There, go!"

"Thanks aunty!" Ruby shouted, disappearing through the portal, hastily followed by Yang offering Blake's mother an awkward little wave. Weiss stopped long enough to bow, and Blake kissed the older woman on the cheek, "Sorry mom, gotta go," before diving through the portal.

They arrived at a town in battle.

Several Grimm already lay dead and others were being driven back by trolls and Faunus alike.

Blake watched eyes wide as a ball of flames seemingly engulfed the trolls' leaders, only to disperse to in a flash of smoke.

"Not even warm!" he cheered as Qrow snuck up on the Manticore and decapitated it in one fell swoop.

Blake heard Crescent Rose unfurl, "All right team, mission, clear out the remaining Grimm!"


With her teams arrival, the city of Tal'Vass was spared any further damage and there was much rejoicing.

The rifts were under control and according to Malfurion it would require a place and people of monumental power to open more that could circumnavigate their gates.

The world, both worlds, might never be the same; but if these events were a story, this is where Blake would end it. Maybe just with an epilogue to wrap up loose ends?

Thanks as always to @Iscariotpaladin on SV for editing, and this is the second to last chapter. I hope to all reading it proved enjoyable!
One thing I think needs to be kept in mind regarding Gilneas is that, if we assume its even a slightly realistic kingdom that means either the nobility have had their power totally gutted and Greymane is essentially supreme dictator. Or that enough of the nobility share his brazen arrogance, isolation and contempt for outsiders. I went with the latter cos I think that aligns more closely with canon.

Krag'jin was also definitely hinting at something and if you're wondering why he was the one to stop the attack, its mostly cos while Tyrande is gaining more restraint this is still the person who killed the Wardens to free Illidan. She's not going to tolerate disrespect even under the vaguely defined rights of a guest.

Idle aside, but I always found how quick the NE went home in WC3 odd, given Tyrande seemed inclined to help the Blood Elves & the Scourge was running amuck. Maybe staying wasn't an option, but sending some people down the line would have been useful. Anyway, here there's a far more immediate existential threat in the rifts and potentially Grimm, so like with Dalaran they need to choose conflict even if they don't like it. Though there's no denying Krag'jin and Sienna both have a degree of vested interest in pushing for this too, outside the "I don't want the world to end" but that is the primary motive.

The Cehkov's gun from one of the earliest chapters just fire & yeeeaah, controlling Grimm is not easy, being of destruction incarnate, control hardly enters into it.

Aura is not used enough for mundane stuff, like casual displays of super strength, this is not a thing exclusive to RWBY which does do it occasionally but I def think shows with super powered characters should do it more often. Most Yang Kōngtóu scenes are new, thanks for reminding me to work them in!

I wanted a little segment to show the chaos this is causing on Remnant & especially to foreshadow the Fort Castle stuff near the end & Raven's presence. Plus I just love reminding that Raven is both someone who cares easily and fucking hates it & won't admit it. Also, finding more words for shadowy, darkness and violent is haaard XD

I chose Sienna as the primary perspective for the fight pretty much because she was an outsider to team RWBY and thus in the best position to observe them and cos she was not stuck in the thick of the fight as much as the others or otherwise did not lose sight of what others were doing for an extended period, with intent to make sure the fight stayed easy to understand for readers.

I love Ruby's "Super tackle tornado shockwave special" sue me XD

Yeah, much like the Dark Portal the rift between the worlds is too big to really get rid of at this stage. If the Ley Line hadn't been ripped open then it could have been healed and the worlds disconnected safely but I wasn't interested in sealing these settings off from one another.
I didn't think doing the battle of Tal'Vass was really ideal after the whole... Everything of this chapter, but it couldn't be ignored either. So, I leaned on Blake's meta preferences to serve as a framing device to wrap up this section of story and lead our way into the epilogue.

Thanks for reading, as always, any thoughts, feedback or questions is most welcome!


Well-known member
The Story Goes On
I confess I dragged my feet on editing this, in part cos I did not entirely want this story to end and also to let some new readers catch up; but I didn't want to risk entering a new year with an unfinished work hanging over head, so I hope everyone is ready!

Tyrande had seen a great deal of magic in her life, but there was still much to marvel at in her current circumstances. On another world, in a vast reception hall staring at a 'hologram' of Mistral's councilors, currently miles away.

The fact she had been here for several hours however was wearing thin on even a former immortal's patience.

"Honored councilors, it has been a privilege, but I am afraid the winds of time compel me to my own world to tend to matters there. But rest assured, the guardians I leave behind to watch over the gate shall speak with my voice and hold true to all we have discussed this day."

The trio took the polite end to their meeting for what it was, the central figure, a bald woman nodding.

"We, the duly elected council of Mistral thank you, High Priestess, and Chieftain, for your services to our world. We can assure you, Mistral will ensure the gateway does not fall into the wrong hands and we hope to speak with you both again, in the future."

Krag'jin clicked his fangs together, "May that day come soon, that our people's can travel openly and not only for brute necessity."

"Indeed," She cringed, every so subtly, "We will have agents dispatched to reinforce the gateway in short order."

"With of course," Sienna interrupted from the shadows, "Due respect to their accords of Kuo Kuana and the White Fang forces?"

"Of course," was the clipped response, before the screen vanished.

Rather than return through the portal immediately, Tyrande found herself drifting through the halls of Sienna's 'Fort Castle'. The carved mountain hall was bustling with White Fang and militia forces, as well as a handful of Sentinels and Shadowglenn, all of whom offered some show of respect as she passed.

"Mistress," Two archers intoned, the cloaked watchers at their sides merely inclining their heads as Tyrande approached one of the hidden bases 'cannoneer stations'.

"Be at ease," She intoned, striding into the curved chamber, far more cramped than anywhere else, it still held to the natural shape of the mountain outsides. Save for the metal tracks along the floor that let monstrously long cannons of steel slide towards subtle openings in the mountain to bombard approaching foes.

Kneeling at the split in the stone was Maiev, looking out intently at the ancient forests below.

Despite herself, Tyrande joined her, murmuring, "They are more akin to Ashenvale than some of our own world's forests."

Maiev's massive shoulder plates rolled as she shrugged, "I have long since grown used to living underground; I will be comfortable here."

Tyrande nodded slowly, "You intend to stay here then, guard the gate rather than continue your hunt?"

Maiev's stare was equal parts acidic and tried, "You know full well I cannot hunt what does not have a trace. If Illidan resurfaces then I must pursue, but for now… This is safer for all than both of us returning home with our loyal forces."

Tyrande's fangs traced along her lips ever so slightly, "It would not have to come to that."

"It would," Maiev said bluntly, "I can never forgive what you did, and if I were to return home, with no foe to chase, no Grimm to force us to work together." Her silver eyes burned, "How long would it be before blood was spilled?" Shaking her head, Maiev didn't wait for an answer, "I do not wish to bring woe upon our people."

Sighing, Tyrande nodded, "I shall ensure your Watchers are sent to join you, along with whatever forces you need. Krag'jin claims the Harvest Witches rule in Pyrewood now and we can establish a port there."

"That will do… Though where is the troll now? I expected he would want to confer on these matters as well."

Tyrande repressed a bemused huff, "He had business with Sienna, I imagine she intends to send him some young acolytes as she seeks to with us."

"Ah, ambitious, you intend to accept?"

"For now, it is ultimately for Elune to decide if they are blessed, but Malfurion is eager at the thought of new students, and it would be best they studied incorruptible magics than the arcane."

Maiev simply hummed in affirmation and continued to stare out into the forest.

Rallying herself, and well aware this may be her last chance, Tyrande said, "Sister under Elune, I-"

"Do not," Maiev ground out, "Do not speak words that cannot change what has passed." The shadows around her bristled, "Do not deny me even this!"

The words died on her tongue and Tyrande bowed her head, before rising to her feet and leaving Maiev behind.

Sienna was pleased to say she had sealed her deal with Krag'jin rather swiftly, the troll was canny and had his own ambitions, but she respected his claims, and both knew they would benefit more by working together than at an impasse. Besides he would never let 'elves' get one up on him.

After leaving the troll to return to his world, Sienna had made a beeline for a private chamber, not far from her own, mood souring almost immediately as a whole new topic rose to the top of her mind.

"Ah, Sienna, to what do we owe the pleasure of this invitation," Ghira intoned politely from his kneeling position at the Komatsu. Kali nursed a cup of chai at the desk and ignored them both, instead looking at the examples of reclaimed Faunus art hanging on the walls.

Letting the reinforced door click shut, Sienna snarled, "You know damn well why I wanted to speak with you, fool!" Ghira's affable façade crumbled into an equally displeased scowl as she snapped, "What were you thinking telling Mistral about the rift!?"

Sighing, Ghira answered, "I was thinking that they are our allies and should be informed of something so important."

"They are not our allies," she wanted to throw her hands in the air but sufficed for a vicious shaking of her head. "They tolerate you now because you are necessary, the second, the second Atlas is on the table, or they think they are strong enough alone, they will move to take the rift, Fort Castle and everything from us."

Claws tapping the table, Ghira countered, "Not if we interweave our interests, diplomacy, trade, cooperation. Through these things we build bridges and make betrayal not only morally unappealing, but utterly self destructive."

"You're every bit the fool you were six years ago if you think that there can ever be true cooperation with those who consider us less than people." She pinched her brow, "We had a chance to secure resources, information, potentially even land, all free of the kingdom's yoke and you handed it to them at our expense!"

Ghira huffed, arms folded, "We need their help securing the rift and clearing out the Grimm regardless."

"What help? They are a toothless Sabre thanks to Salem and her forces, a loadstone around our necks, profiteering on our labor, like always!"

"I am doing what I think is right!" Ghira bellowed, rising to his feet.

Claws drawn on both sides and fangs bared, they froze as Kali slammed her cup down on the table with a loud 'clink'.

"Both of you are acting like children! No!" She snapped as they made to speak. "No more shouting, no more blaming. Ghira you should have consulted Sienna first, Sienna, this could not have been covered up for long anyway. Now that it's done let us discussed how to manage it."

Seeing the woman's stare and lowered ears, Sienna sighed and dropped down to the table, faster and more smoothly than Ghira did she might add, pettily.

"Very well," she said, "In brighter news, I have secure apprenticeships for several Faunus in the arts of faith and magic on the other side. Krag'jin even thinks he can connect us to a mage for arcane studies, but it will take time."

Ghira nodded, "I will be interested to see these new avenues explored in full. For now, if we are going to be maintaining a presence on the other side, some civilian support staff will assist your forces with diplomacy and potentially infrastructure as well."

"Indeed, how many do you think can be freed up?"

"I believe at least…"

Dark Jade resisted the urge to brush down her red and gold lined Qipao, the 'Spiders' bar was a stingy, miserable place in her reckoning. But the overwhelming number of armed criminals within, rough and rowdy as they were, would have their uses.

"Well now aren't you just the prettiest thing to come on in here," Drawled a large, blond woman, with pouty purple lips and a tidy bob cut.

Bedecked in a white and purple dress and beads, Lil 'Miss Malachite did not look for even a moment like a mob boss. Yet every Spider bowed to her and the two purple and white clad guards, armed with vicious blade-daggers were proof of that.

Offering a bow, Jade opened her brief case slowly, flashing a small fortune of Lien, "A token, from my masters."

The woman chuckled, "Well your masters have awful good manners for council members," She looked to a nearby server, "Take it out back."

Letting the bartender take the lien and not letting her surprise show, Dark Jade took the seat across from the older woman.

"You're very well informed, a trait my masters respect greatly," She clasped her hands and leaned forward. "Are there any other nuggets you would care to share?"

Snapping her fan shut the woman smirked, "Beyond the fact if you ever take that tone with me again, I'll skin you alive?" Dark Jade respectfully drew back just an inch as Malachite continued, "Well, I know Mistral has bled most of its huntsman and huntresses dry, and that, oh my there's such a twitter about the capital. Faunus, foreigners and doorways, but well… A lady doesn't gossip."

That was more than enough to confirm Malachite was right for this offer. Smiling, Dark Jade said, "Madam, my masters would like to make you an offer."

"I'm all ears darling."

"There's no denying Mistral is in a hard place right now, low on fighters but hardly bereft. With Atlas's border closed but new borders opening, we stand at a crossroads. There are opportunities awaiting us beyond what we ever thought possible, but right now it's reliant on Faunus intermediaries."

"Oh my, how that must vex you~"

Clasping her hands tighter Dark Jade pressed on, "The Mistral Council will offer the Spiders full immunity and hire your fighters on as private security contractors for the areas already under your protection. As for your information network… Well, the Mistral Council would welcome you as an 'advisor'."

Malachite leaned forward, "Say it."

"The Spy Master of Mistral, Lil Miss Malachite, it has a nice ring to it no?" Dark Jade batted her eyes, "No one else is worthy."

"Oh my, well it seems flattery will get you somewhere other than my bed. I accept darling."

The 'for now' went unsaid, but that was enough. The gangs were just another means to an end, no different than the Faunus, the academies or anything else. All serving one purpose.

'The Mistali empire will rise again!'

Qrow was only marginally hung over and slightly drunk.

Which, given he was in the presence of his sister, meant he was soon going to be very drunk and later very hung over.

Raven for her part, looked calm and in control, but having known her since forever and a day, he could see the tight set to her shoulders, the way she held her head. She wasn't comfortable in the slightest even as she leaned against the counter of his and the teams temporary Mistral home like she owned the place.

"So, you aren't sticking around." It wasn't a question.

Raven shrugged, "You have a permanent portal now, it doesn't seem like I'm needed anymore and I have responsibilities to tend to."

"Yeah, yeah, can you drop the bullshit for even a minute?"

"Can you?"

"I have!" He snapped, flask flying out of his hand, "I know, I know now why you quit on us, why you ran. Ozpin's a liar, he's a bastard who dragged us into a war with pretty words and the promise of victory, I know now!"

"And yet you still stand here." she huffed.

"Cause what else am I gonna do Raven? Roll over and die faster?"

There was a moment of silence, her expression softened in a way he had thought lost to her.

"You could leave," she said quietly, "We could leave, all of us… Through the rift, to a world this war hasn't touched and make it our own." She looked hopeful, yearning even, and for a moment Qrow could picture, Branwen siblings against a new world of dangers and adventure, carving out a niche for themselves and never needing to think of Remnant again.

It was tempting.

But in the end…

"This is home Raven, if it's not worth fighting for then what is? That's what Summer would want; I think."

Raven's eyes had been closing in resignation only to turn on him, blazing, "You don't know the first thing-" She snapped her jaw shut and pushed herself off the cabinet.

"I'm done here."

"What about-"

Raven slammed the door in his face.

Yang didn't try to talk to Raven as she saw the older woman storming through the house, she hadn't meant to, not exactly.

They simply locked eyes across a dim hallway and for a moment something seemed to waver in Raven's crimson eyes. But just as fast as it came it was gone, her expression locked in an ugly snarl.

"You've made your choice, I can't stop you," the woman muttered.

"But you could stay." Yang whispered, not even sure if she wanted it, but wishing, for a moment to be chosen.

Raven refused to look at her, simply answering, "It's too heavy," and then, with a slash of her hand, a portal opened, and she was gone.

Sucking in a breath, Yang steeled her shoulders and marched back to her room. She held it together as her eyes began to burn until she locked the door and buried her face in a pillow, forcing herself to sob silently like she was still a kid.

Except, unlike when she was a kid, someone heard her.

The door opened with a creak and familiar foot falls hit her ears. Yang pushed herself up, choking out, "Blake? I thought I thought you were with your parents."

The bed sank as Blake sat down at her side, a hand gently brushed through her golden hair, "I wanted to see you," was her simple answer.

It was all Yang needed to hear.

Sitting up, she leaned against Blake, welcoming the other girls' arm around her waste and gentle hand cradling her cheek, forcing Yang to meet Blake's golden eyes.

"I promise," she whispered hotly, "I'm never going to leave you again."

It felt like the truth, it had to be, even if it wasn't… Yang would risk it anyway.

Embracing Blake and burying her face in her neck, she welcomed Blake's hands stroking through her hair.

Weiss was exhausted, and judging by the groans of everyone else as they began to loaf about their Mistral home's respectably sized sitting room, she wasn't alone.

Ruby flopped down next to her bear, Yang Kōngtóu huffing contentedly as Ruby patted the great beast. "I'm so glad that's over," she groaned.

Weiss was quick to join Ruby on her bear-turned-pillow, scratching Yang Kōngtóu behind the ears and letting Ruby lean against her drowsily.

"It did drag on," she admitted with a weary sigh.

"For over a week!" Nora shrieked indignantly from the back of Ren's brown leather chair.

"Can't exactly blame the Council for being thorough," Yang offered from a cushioned footrest she was splayed out atop.

Blake chuckled as she sank into her own comforter behind the blonde, "There is a lot they don't know after all."

All eyes turned to Oscar, or more, Ozpin, standing before the holo-projector and revealing the Relic of Knowledge. He smiled tiredly and said,

"I know you all have your doubts about obscuring the Relic. But wars have been waged over less than this power and given her abilities, if she fell into the wrong hands, it would be devastating."

Ren leaned forward, steepling his fingers, "Hence your new plan?"

Nodding Ozpin continued, "With a whole new world available to us, one where the Relic cannot be utilized, I feel it is best she be hidden there, further out of Salem's reach than I thought possible. That way, if it comes time to call on her, we can, without putting Mistral or anyone else at risk."

Weiss frowned, "I'm still not sure I like hiding this, or so much else from Mistral, but… I can't exactly deny your point. I know I would never want my father to have something like the Relic."

"An apt comparison Miss Schnee," Oscar's eyes shimmered gold and his posture loosened and curled in on itself a little as Oscar continued, "we're also hoping that the High Priestess can help with our, ah, soul curse."

Yang archer her brow, "Ozpin's OK with that? I figured he'd fight you on it."

Oscar shrugged, "He's not exactly in favor of it, but he's not against looking either. I think he's got too many questions and not enough answers. This is the most he's spoken in days and as you saw, he didn't exactly want to stick around either."

"So, he's just… Thinking lots?" Ruby inquired.

"More or less."

Weiss smirked gamely, "A shame it won't rub off on you, Ruby."

"Hey, I think tons!" Ruby giggled, only to sit up straighter and add more seriously. "Speaking of thinking, have you guys thought about the Council's offer?"

Weiss's ears perked up as Jaune tapped his sheath against the floor, "About getting licenses? It seems like a good idea, though I'm not sure we're ready."

"Not ready?" Nora groused, "We practically saved the world, we fought huge Grimm, we helped save Mistral and locked up a bunch of bad guys, well two, but still!"

Ren just shook his head, "We were in the right place at the right time, that doesn't mean we're ready."

Weiss folded her arms, "Well I think we should take them; it'd be nice to have something like that to my name."

"Also, money~" Yang sing songed, hands waving lazily.

Blake giggled at her, before adding, "It might be good for us to know what Mistral is planning for the rift, the same applies to Sienna Khan to be honest."

"Politics," Weiss muttered, "how droll."

Clapping his hands, Ren stood up, "Well let's think about it over dinner, I'll make us something."

Before he'd even left, Nora and Jaune were trailing after him, "Don't make it too green!" the girl shouted.

Yang arched her brow and shot up, "I'm gonna help, you wanna come with Blake?"

"Just don't burn anything," The Faunus chuckled.

"One time," Yang despaired, hands out wide, "One time I burn you a meal and I'll never live it down."

Seeing his chance, Oscar stole one of the comfortable seats with a pleased sigh.

Weiss looked at Ruby, surprised the girl hadn't jumped into the conversation again. Tapping Ruby's head she said, "Hey, are you all right? You aren't normally so quiet."

Ruby frowned, "I was just thinking about the stuff we did, or, what came of it. Its… There's a lot. There're so many things to consider its almost overwhelming and yet… I keep coming back to something that probably shouldn't matter."

"Maybe we can help?" Oscar said hopefully.

Weiss clasped her partner's shoulder and nodded.

Ruby sucked in a breath, "Okay, see, when I was helping Maiev with that Illidan guy he… Said some stuff. I wasn't exactly focused on him, but I still heard him and what Nora said about locking people up and just how much there is for us to do… Well, it gave me an idea, but I don't think you're going to like it."

Ruby would be right; Weiss didn't like it.

But that didn't mean she wouldn't stand by her.

'Blake and I both got second chances after all.'

Whether it would work was another question.

Emerald's entire world was darkness.

That wasn't some pithy, self-deprecating statement of misery either, it was fact.

Her vision was blocked by a thick sheet of metal wrapping around her face that connected to thick metallic earmuffs that locked behind her head and fed a thick metal cable into the wall of her cell. Each wrist and ankle had a similar manacle several inches of reinforced metal thick that also fed into the wall.

Emerald also knew, thanks to an all too happy to demonstrate guard that those cables fed right into the buildings power supply and could light her up with several thousand volts of lightning. So, she couldn't use her Aura, or she'd be shocked. She technically 'could' use her Semblance because they didn't understand how it worked, but only a little because of the lightning death.

So she was, in essence, trapped in a world of darkness.

Maybe if she had someone, something to go back too she'd figure a way out, fight her way through the lightning, rip her way to freedom or death.

But she didn't, because she barely even had the will to lift head for the gruel they called meals, her stomach aching in ways it hadn't in over two years as she let the darkness drown her.

'Maybe one day I'll just stop thinking?'

Despite herself, Emerald perked up as her Semblance instinctively picking up on a new mind entering her… Seemingly expanding radius, one that was familiar enough to make her grimace.

'What does 'she' want?' Emerald thought, keeping herself placid and unresponsive on the steel floor as one Ruby Rose approached her.

Despite herself, Emerald tapped just a little deeper into her Semblance, her world flooding with some dim lighting as she looked down on herself. She felt Ruby's roiling turmoil, too many emotions to parse, sorrow, anger, disgust, worry and- She heard her speak.

"This is cruel, I can't even talk to you like this."

Emerald twitched even before Ruby touched her helmet, a key card flashing and like that there was a beep as the helmet released with a clink and a hiss, letting the cells grimy, low lighting flood her senses.

"Ugh…" Vertigo assaulted her senses, and she drew back her Semblance, cradling her head as her eyes tried to re-adjust to having light for the first time in days.

"Need some water?" Ruby said, voice lacking the saccharine cheer Emerald was used to even as she held up a water bottle.

Swallowing her pride, Emerald nodded, and Ruby let her take it, sculling the entire thing in moments as her dizziness subsided and she leaned back against the wall.

"So, good cop, where's bad cop?"

"No cops, especially not bad ones," Ruby said, making Emerald snort as she pocketed her water bottle, silver eyes sharpening as they met Emerald's crimson. "What happened to your face?" She asked, reaching, and tracing a line around her eyes, "That doesn't look like it came from the helmet."

"One of the guards gave me a helpful demonstration how my security protocols work, want to see?" Emerald snapped, shaking her bound wrist in front of Ruby, well aware another few inches from the wall and she'd be electrified.

"They shouldn't have done that," Ruby said bluntly, her tone still lacking any of the usual joy or even petulant anger Emerald had been expecting.

"Oh, spare me the sanctified hero spiel, I stabbed you in the back and you came here for what?"

Ruby stared at her impassively, like she was searching for something, or maybe just didn't know what to say, before sucking in a breath and for a moment Emerald was terrified, she'd lock her back up and leave.

"I can multi-task Emerald," She finally settled on, making Emerald's brain screech to a halt in confusion. "Cos yeah, I did come to ask you something personal, but I can also be worried about you being tortured. Have any guards done anything else?"

Swallowing, Emerald let her head roll back, "None have taken any liberties yet, so you know, lucky me I guess." She hated that pitying, vaguely worried look that flashed over Ruby's eyes. "What do you want here?" She pressed again, eager to get this over with even if it meant going back to the darkness. She didn't want Ruby of all people's pity; she didn't want false sympathy and sad looks that amounted to nothing.

She didn't want to hope.

"I did want to know: why?" Ruby closed her eyes a few moments before staring her down again, "Why'd you, do it? All of it? I asked Torchwick on the airship, but he just seemed scared of Cinder, or maybe Salem; I don't get that from you, not after… Well, you know."

Emerald wished she had the energy for a snippy retort, but she didn't her head just hanging low.

"We weren't friends you know, I was just spying on you, so whatever you're hoping to hear you aren't going to get it."

Ruby barely even blinked, "Yeah, I know, I'm asking why you did all this? What made you think it was okay to even start, to continue after Beacon. Why are you…" She gestured helplessly, "Why are you someone who would help tear down entire kingdoms?"

Emerald could have shaken her head, scoffed, insulted her, but she didn't, instead she muttered.

"What have they ever done for me?"

Ruby's brow shot up, seemingly not expecting an answer, but now that she started Emerald's lip was warbling and she was rambling.

"What did anyone anywhere ever do for me while I was starving on the streets and fighting to get by? Nothing!"

She shot to her feet, blood pumping, chest heaving, "The only one, the only person who ever helped me, ever cared about me was Cinder, I owed her everything!"

And like that the fire died out and she fell back against the floor, head resting on her knees, "But I guess I didn't matter to her the way she did to me, and so, here I am... I hope you got what you wanted out of this."

Emerald closed her eyes and waited for the metal clamps, for the darkness, but there was nothing save the sound of her own heart racing and the tingling presence of Ruby's mind tugging at her senses.

"I did," Ruby finally said, "I don't like it but honestly… It's better than I hoped."

"What?" Emerald's head shot up, scowling at the redhead.

Ruby just shrugged, "I mean you could be lying but I doubt it and honestly finding out you did this because you cared about someone and thought the world screwed you over is... I dunno... it's better than doing it because you like hurting people."

"What difference does that make?"

Ruby's lips quirked, just a little, "A lot actually," She knelt before Emerald, meeting her gaze intently. "You know your situation is bad, Mistral wants you broken and then executed, Ozpin and my uncle might be gentler or maybe not, but they think you're too dangerous to well, exist."

Emerald just stared at Ruby, her Semblance reaching out to touch the girl's mind, looking for some lie, some deception if she could even sense such a thing.

"What do you want then?"

"For you to make things better, to have a chance to do better and you can't do that when your dead or in a cell and if we just leave you here well…" Ruby looked very far away for a moment. "Well, that could make everything worse for everyone in the long run."

"You must be joking, you're an idiot if you think that's a good idea!" Why was she even arguing against this? She should want it. But that roiling sickening pit in her stomach that had been assailing her since Beacon fell had reared its ugly head again and she didn't want to think things could change, if they did then…

"Yeah, yeah, naïve, too trusting, whatever" Ruby said with a lazy wave of her hand. "I'm not just gonna rip off your cuffs and let you do whatever even I'm not that nice."

Ruby held up her Scroll and Emerald's eyes widened at the alien creatures and vistas displayed on it.

"You know about the other world right, at least a bit?"

Emerald nodded slowly.

"Well, there's a lot of bad stuff there and Mistral, heck all of us need people over there to help keep things together. You could do a lot of good there and you'd not exactly have the connections to start causing trouble, see, I did think this through."

Emerald felt like the floor wasn't entirely 'there' right now and swallowed, "How would this even work? You're just a kid, you can't get me out of here."

Ruby rolled her eyes, "I'm young but I'm not a kid, and thanks to everything Ozpin's hiding from the council, how desperate Mistral is for fighters and some friends I made on the other side I can swing this. The question here is, do you accept?"

Emerald's jaw clicked in her head as she tried to form words, looking at Ruby who met her gaze without any of the hate she rightly should and a part of her wanted to sob and another to scream.

"Why are you doing this!? I'm the reason Beacon fell! I'm the reason Penny is dead!"

Ruby swallowed but didn't break her gaze, her mind flickered but it didn't seethe and rage the way Emerald thought it should.

"I know that, I understand that, maybe better than you do," she said firmly, rising to her feet and offering Emerald her hand. "Which is why I'm offering you a chance to try and make it right, to make things better, so something like that doesn't happen again."

Emerald stared at her hand, then up to Ruby's eyes and back again, thinking of the last time she took someone's hand when backed into a corner.

'Ruby isn't Cinder,' once those words would be damning, but now they meant something else entirely.

Emerald reached out and clasped Ruby's hand.

Dalaran was to fall again and just as the last, Kael'Thas was powerless to stop it.

His soldiers made ready at desperate barricades of magic and rubble, with even prison cells bars repurposed as wards. Archers hugged the interior of broken towers; well aware they would be forced to watch their fellows fall until they were among the last. Dragon Hawk Riders marshalled for a glorious last stand, intent defying the dead to the last.

His beloved Phoenix rose into the sky to join them, screeching at the approaching onslaught.

'The Scourge must have sent every last aerial force in the region against us.'

Flying horrors filled the sky, from discolored balloons woven from mutilated flesh; to hordes of screeching gargoyles alongside the haunting cries of the banshee. At the head of the rotted legion were eight Frost Wyrms, all glowing a blistering, unearthly blue.

Magic coiled around his fists as his nails dug into his palms, blood mixing with arcane for something just a fraction more potent.

'Damn you Garrithos, you bled my forces dry for your Northern March and left us here to die!'

As the nearest of the Frost Wyrms dipped it's wings and began to charge, Kael'Thas projected his voice through the streets.

"My people stand ready! This city was home to thousands and a bastion of magic and learning! The Scourge seeks it to sully and ruin this sight, to erase our works here, to subjugate our souls and spread across the lands but they will not! We will stop them here, for we are the Sin'Dorei! We are the vengeance of Quel'Thalas! Stand ready and teach these Undead drones fear!"

Ragged cries rang out, as half repaired guard towers crackled to life and made ready to fire.

That was when Kael'Thas's brow furrowed as the Dragonhawks began breaking formation. 'What are they doing, Aquel'Luer'Thala would never break, why-'

His eyes flew wide at the sight in the distance before him, surging in from Fenris Isle were the Creatures of Grimm. Buzzing insectoids, shrieking ravens, gargoyle and bat-like horrors and more he could not name.

Some of the Scourge looked to be moving to engage, but the dragon was still diving when a bolt of white and brown hurled through the sky. Not a weapon, not a spell. But a person!

In one explosive strike the figure ripped through the approaching skeletal dragon's head, the shockwave of his strike exploding its head into mere shrapnel. The magic animating it did not fade, but neither did the fighter. Somehow rebounding off a broken tower and shrieking as he landed on the dragon's spine and began shredding it to mere fragments with arm mounted blades.

In the distance, he could see the familiarly horrid sight of meat wagon meat spewing from the airship's cannons, only for the vessel to be swarmed by the insects, spindly spiked legs ripping it to shreds. Meanwhile the dragons and Gargoyles and ghosts began to swarm the Grimm, only to be met with rage and fury.

Kael'Thas shuddered as a boom resounded and he turned to see the first, largest Frost Wyrm shredded on the city streets, several blocks away from his own high vantage point. He blinked owlishly as a man in white jumped and rebounded off the city streets with a gleeful cheer and leapt towards him.

Guards stood ready, putting themselves between them, the Dragnhawks swooped down to encircle, but Kael'Thas just stared in dull confusion as the man stood atop the ruined wall. A scorpion's tail unfurling he bowed theatrically and in accented Dalaranese announced.

"Good day to you Prince Kal'Thas; my name is Tyrian, and I come to you and your noble people with an message from her grace."

Finding his voice, Kal'Thas steeled himself, "Who do you serve, Remnantian?"

Tyrian's smile was wide and sharp "Why, her majesty Salem of course, Queen of the Grimm and if you would welcome her, the liberator of Quel'Thalas."

"… I'm listening."
As always, thanks to my editor Iscariotpaladin, and to all of you who have read this story, left kudos, comments and conversation, you've been a wonderful audience and I can only hope this stories conclusion is as satisfying for you as it was for me.

I decided to leave things opened ended, partially so it could have a fairly tidy ending and because any sequel would be a massive undertaking and I've got several ideas that cannot fit together, so we'll have to see what happens. Also got some ideas for original works and other crossovers like this but we'll see.

I enjoyed writing Tyrande's segments, this has been a rough story for her with a lot of decisions she made being challenged and the thoughts they bring about really sticking with her. Maiev definitely does not want to start a civil war, which there is a legit risk of especially with stuff like the loss of the World Tree galvanizing political tension but she also cannot forgive Tyrande and is well aware her Watchers are in many ways evewn angrier than her, so she's decided to stay away, for now.

Meanwhile the Sienna scene and more, Ghira's decision is not meant to be stupid or bad strictly speaking but is less than ideal in some respects. A relative I know who works in diplomacy compared his plan to how a lot of western nations tried to ensure there'd never be another Cold War by tying Russian economic interests to theirs and how that ah, didn't work. So Ghira's idea is realistic, but less than ideal. Though Sienna's was in of itself, not super practical long term either, hence Kali being the one to force them to stop bickering & work together.

Dark Jade is from one of the RWBY games, pretty sure its not an official one but still I like the name and aesthetic and it fits Mistral and apparently its canon Lil Miss Malachite is one of the most powerful people in Mistral, so getting in bed with her is a bit like getting in bed with a lion.

Raven: I don't care (She said, caring a lot and hating it)
Also her final mission with Summer in V9 was such a shot in the arm for this chapter and her character in general. Also Yang's line about risking it ties into the song in V5 when Blake came back & basically had Yang saying she would risk getting hurt again to be by her side.

Ozpin is basically having a crisis of faith right now, up until this day he lived in a Remnant centric universe where he was the main character. Now he finds out there's other worlds, other gods and possibly a way out of his eternal curse, its left him with a lot to muse on.

Ruby thinks a lot more than is first obvious and her adventure in Azeroth was in many areas a study in grey, or at least in hard decisions with no right answers and the stuff she experience there weighs on her. So she wants to try and out as much good back in the world as she can, which has always been a trait of hers in one form or another.

Containing Aura users always struck me as something really hard unless they were cooperative & those with powers like Emerald would likely be deemed needing something extra. Plus Mistral is not known for its kindness. Also V8 established Emerald can sense people, this was a jy to me cos I always had it as a headcanon :D

I like Emerald & want her to have a chance, I also like Bloody Gems as a ship, not my primary one but its up there so a little dash of potential is always welcome. Also I like getting to show Ruby doing inspiring and canny stuff & her whole "I'm not that nice" thing cos one aspect of Ruby I love is that she chooses kindness but is not committed to the kindness, and it if becomes impractical she has a scythe gun.

So yeah, much like canon Garrithos did opt to stab Kael in the back, but here he decided on just leaving them exposed enough to be a juicy but bloody target while he makes ready for a major and he hopes final push to reclaim the capital. Naturally Kael is less than thrilled about this.

Fun aside, but Tyrians Semblance is hilariously good for fighting undead cos he can literally pierce through Aura with it, meaning he can attack the soul more directly than anyone else, partly why he shredded the Frost Wyrn.

& yeah that's where I leave things off, Salem is finally making her move on Azeroth and she's found the best option available to her. Given in canon Kael was desperate enough to team up with Illidan and flee to an alien world I figure this is not inherently a much bigger step. There's a lot of different ways this could go and ideas I have which is one of the things making a sequel tougher but also fun to consider.

Anyway, thank you all for reading, as always, questions, comments, discussion and more are most welcome :)


Well-known member
Map 8 (Azeroth Territory Map)
Hello again, sorry for the surprise post, but I had meant to get this up over Christmas but real life got in the way.
This map gives a general idea of how things shake out regarding territory post story.


So, broad summary of events post story:

The Sentinels have invested themselves in the Western Coast of Silverpine. They protect the surviving settlements of Gilneas which are by and large run b the Harvest Witches at this stage. With Remnantian allies they slew the remaining Grimm, including the Nuckleave with the aid of Ren specifically and secure the mountains and a direct line of access to the rift. There are efforts by the Druids to enhanche the Harvest witches and heal the lands, but outside of containing the Grimm threat and retaining a connection to Remnant the Night Elves have minimal interest in developing the region politically or as a colony.

The City State of Tal'Vass is once again on the rise, having used the Scourges weakness and damaged caused by the Grimm to absorb many Ogres, Gnolls and even some other Trolls and humans, they now hold sway over Lordemar Lake, East Silverpine and have some settlements secured in Hillsbrad Foothills, as well as a direct line to Remnant. Unlike their Night Elven allies, they are intensely interested in expanding on settlements, infrastructure and otherwise making their make on the land as a politically independent nation. For this, they also seek stronger ties with Remnant to access their resources and skills.

The Sin'Dorei have not yet opened the way for Salem, but there are pieces in play to secure her support and usher her armies into the world. With some of her and her allies aid they have already managed to re-secure the Northern edges of their land and the Isle of Quel'Danas where the remnants of the Sunwell still linger.

New Lordaeron is helmed by Grand Marshal Garithos. Thanks to the Grimm attacking the Scourge in the Tirisfal Glades and the Scourge expending so many forces to finally destroy the Nightmares spawning more Grimm and drive out the Grimm in general, Garithos had an easy time reclaiming more of Tirisal and uniting with the Western Branch of the Scarlet Crusade. The Western mountains are still a hotbed of Grimm activity however and while the Scourge is weakened it is not yet dead, worst still he's been cut off from reinforcements and supply by the Syndicate reclaiming their old stomping ground in Alterac.

The Alliance still holds its southern territories, but thanks to the chaos in the North, Daelin's ill advised ventures on Kalimdor and the chaos caused by the Grimm, they lost their majority hold on the Hillsbrad coast save for a singular military base and are unsure how to proceed. There are still some small holdouts in the Plaguelands that pledge allegiances to the idea of the Alliance as well.

The Wildhammer retain their traditional Hinterlands holdings and are protecting and otherwise harboring High Elves who could not rejoin Kael'Thas or left him due to fear of what an alliance with Salem would lead to.

The Amani Empire has been using both the weakness of the High Elves and the growing weakness of the Scourge to strike out and reclaim their old lands, but they hear word of Tal'Vass being reborn and Night Elves to the West, they are cautious, wary but intrigued.

The Kingdom of Alterac has been reborn, with the Alliances forces distracted in the North and their Southern holdings thrown into chaos and the Scourge grip on the lands weakening, the Syndicate was able to strong arm in many new recruits from refugees to Ogres. With these bolstered forces they swiftly reconquered their old lands in the mountainous kingdom and what was left of Hillsbrad was conquered along the way. They hold a neutral stance on the Alliance, trolls and Night Elves, but are quietly bickering with Tal'Vass over Dalaran and potential trade deal with Remnant.

Jintha'Alor, the mighty city state still holds sway over much of the Hinterlands and is intrigued by rumors spreading from the West and are probing diplomatic contact with Tal'Vass and through them Remnant, hoping to spread the word of Hakkar or turn the Grimm to their masters will.

The Undead Scourge is weaker than it has ever been, tens of thousand of drones were lost fighting the Grimm, let alone dangerous experiments and elite Necromancers wasted in Dalaran from one battle or another. They still hold much territory and several mighty fortifications, but with the Dreadlord brothers in a deadlock with Ner'zhul and his agents, all while their numbers dwindle, the fate of the Undead remains uncertain. Worse still, several powerful slaves have slipped the leash, among them Sylvanas Winrunner who dedicates herself to the murder of the Scourge and Arthas especially.

So yeah, Arthas was still returning to Lordaeron while all this was happening so he isn't home yet and may instead be called to Northrend to free Ner'zhul early if they think they can slip one by the Dreadlords. The Deadlord Brothers are basically flabbergasted Archimonde lost and that they just lost a third of their territory; but they are but also intrigued by the Grimm and are trusting Ner'zhul less and less. The situation is extremely unstable and increasingly precarious even without the threat of civil war.

I did not do one of these for Remnant, mostly because the land is like 90% controlled by Grimm or not super managed, and so you risk the factions looking teeny tiny or like they control entire continents. Plus not much territory has actually moved around there, if any, so while the political situation continues to evolve, the actual land controlled by who has not really changed. Though if folks are interested I could make one.

Meanwhile, I did not mark down the Withbark or go into what Stromgarde was doing cos I was unsure if the Witherbark would even get their Ogre allies or if working together they'd be enough to weaken Stromgarde so much. Thus I left that section largely blank due to uncertainty.

Gilneas survives, but there are Nightmare Grimm and elder Grimm stalking the woods and the capital not only got attacked but many rebels were freed from prison, while Genn's decision to summon the Grimm has left things open to escalate to Civil War.

But yeah that's more or less how I figure things shake out, at least in the semi-immediate aftermath, its important to remember that claimed territory and highly developed territory with multiple cities, massive infrastructure and populations are not quite the same thing.

The Night Elves,, for example, mostly have a handful of garrisons to defend their claims and allies, as well as aid the region, lots of land has nothing done to it and little in the way of patrols unless a traveler sees something odd or is attacked on the road ETC. This does mean dedicated invasion forces could potentially dislodge some of the more borderlands claims, but not without huge cost or the risk of it being taken back in a few weeks; hence the uneasy peace hanging over the land.

Also, both the White Fang & Mistral are poking and prodding the idea of creating their own colonies and in the former case already have some, like the islands in Lordemar Lake. However, given their tech is so reliant on Dust and it can only be imported for the moment, large-scale migration is for the time being considered unlikely, especially given elements like the Scourge and the risk of Grimm growth numbers if they aren't all culled.

Sadly that is all she wrote, lest inspiration strike again and I finally make a decision on what the heck I want to happen with the Blood Elves & Salem, and overall carve out what kind of overarching narrative I'd want things to go down. I have lots of ideas but they are sadly all heavily contradictory and so not all can be placed together in the same story and have it work.

But as always, thanks so much for reading and best of luck going forward!