Welcome to the Legion!

Raven is one badass Ronin, basically. No surprise that the woman who trained a Maiden for the last decade effortlessly exudes danger.

RWBY V5CH.9: ‘A Perfect Storm’

Maiden of Choice Meets Maiden of Destruction

In the opening animation for this Volume, the two known Maidens, Cinder Fall (voiced byJessica Nigri) and the Spring Maiden Vernal (voiced by Amber Lee Connors) meet face to face. That much-anticipated meeting is this episode. The moment that immediately preceeded “Salem’s Followers” at the foot of Raven’s tent was the assumed murder of Shay D. Mann (the bandit who was creeping on Yang) by Emerald Sustrai (voiced by Katie Newville).

All the devils are here.

Vernal enters Raven’s tent to inform her the Enemy is here, and Raven to her credit is neither upset nor outwardly afraid, she’s resigned. But she’s also confident as hell. She rises and asks for Vernal to fetch her mask, and that “we’ve prepared for this.”

I’m a sucker for wide-shot pose downs. (from left to right: Watts, Cinder, Mercury, Emerald, Raven)

The show has pretty consistently shown the divide between Raven’s personal and public personas. Her murmured “okay,” when Vernal tells her “Salem’s Followers are outside” was soft and loaded. Her curt barks to her men that “either I’m losing my memory, or all of you have lost your spines!” ensures once she exits her tent her performance is once again on. It’s a subtlety I just love about this show. So when Raven questions her men about why they let guests in unchallenged, Cinder does this to prove a point:

To remember the words of Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender, “How do you fight [someone] that shoots fire with their mind?!”

Introductions are in order. Surprising no one, Mercury is immediately proves himself a petulant child. He tries to seem like a big man and scare Raven, even Emerald rolled her eyes at her frenemy, Raven blows him off. He seemed like he tried to make a jab at Yang. But Cinder is not eager to alienate Raven yet. She cuts off Mercury.

How old is Cinder to have blended in on a team with these two “children” and Neopolitan? How old is Neo anyway?

Raven takes this gap in the banter to call out each of them while offering a little exposition. She casually dismisses Watts as a “disgraced Atlesian scientist,” Emerald and Mercury as two children Cinder convinced to follow her, and the Fall Maiden Cinder with a “surname so appropriate [you] probably picked it yourself.”

 

“Do you believe in Destiny?”-Pyrrha Nikos Yes, Cinder really does.

Watts hurried to add that he was “also technically a Doctor,” but that she had everything else “spot on.” I love villains who can banter.

It doesn’t take them long to get down to business though. Cinder tells Raven the only reason that the Bandit is still alive is because she has the Spring Maiden. The Fall Maiden then ventures, if that’s not the case…

Cinder Fall: killing it with fire since Volume 3.

Raven cocks her head and calls out, “Vernal!”

I’m here, and I’m queer…is not something that was actually said this episode unfortunately.

And the maiden steps out of the tent to stand alongside her surrogate mother/mentor/Warlord boss. Cinder requests a demonstration. Vernal looks annoyed, but Raven nods her assent.

This isn’t too unlike the Force to be honest.

With a long-suffering sigh, Vernal extends her hands and calls down a storm. It’s a similar power to what the former Fall Maiden Amber displayed when she fought Cinder Fall, Emerald, and Mercury. A fight she lost because she underestimated Cinder.

Just a casual reminder of how badass Cinder is.

Cinder isn’t content to just stand tall in the hurricane winds Vernal is causing, she makes this face too:

“UNLIMITED POWER!!”-The Emperor, Darth Sideous…and probably Cinder in her own head.

Satisfied that Vernal is truly the droid they’re looking for, Dr. Watts steps forward saying the Maidens are only a means to gain access to the Relics that Ozpin has hidden at each academy. Considering that women with the power to do battle on level with the gods of our various faiths and myths, the Relics’ power is being hyped up a great deal.

Negotiations

Dr. Watts offers Raven and Vernal clemency from all their past transgressions against Salem, and that they will be free to leave unharmed, so long as Vernal gets them access to the Relic at Haven Academy. A Relic only she can interact with, per Ozpin’s story.

Raven doesn’t want any part of this. She hates Salem, she doesn’t work for Oz anymore, and she just wants to be left alone.

Cinder points out that Raven involved herself in the War between Ozpin and Salem when she “harbored a Maiden.” Raven isn’t surprised that they’re not letting her off the hook, so she says something that surprises even the cold-hearted (though badass) villains standing opposite her.

Raven’s condition for giving her aide to Cinder and company: “I want my brother dead.”

At Cinder’s open shock, Raven elaborates that he knows that Vernal lives with her. He’d be a problem after whatever happens at Haven academy if both twins and Vernal live.

Dr. Watts concedes that while Qrow is someone who is quite high on their list of, “people we very much want dead,” Qrow will not go down without a fight. A fight would draw attention from “the authorities” they really don’t want. Watts wants this to be a simple heist job. And no matter how much he wants Qrow gone, he has to acknowledge that a battle with Qrow is not efficient.

Cinder points out that Raven isn’t the first to turn against Ozpin, Leo Lionheart is working for them now.

Raven doesn’t seem too surprised by this.

Raven suggests they have Lionheart lure Qrow into a trap, easy-peasy.

 

Emerald is quick to point out that Qrow isn’t the only enemy who could make things difficult at Haven. The students are there too. Emerald name-drops Ruby Rose.

I’m so happy Emerald is back. I hope she doesn’t die.

Cinder’s bloodlust is unashamedly on display, and Watts is none too pleased about it, they don’t need to overcomplicate things by battling Qrow.

Cinder proposes that this issue would be solved by postponing their attack a couple weeks to the full moon. That way, when Adam’s White Fang razes Haven Academy, any evidence of their battle would be rendered moot. Postponing also gives Lionheart an opportunity to send Qrow into an ambush. It’s not like he hasn’t already murdered at least a dozen men and women that way this volume off-screen already. They reach an agreement that this is probably the best deal they’ll reach, so Cinder wants to shake on it.

I love that the juxtaposition of these two villains endears Cinder to me even more.

Watts isn’t too thrilled, saying that if everything goes to hell in a hand basket because of “[Cinder’s] grudge with a child, I will not be taking the blame.” He makes the hilarious mistake of grabbing her hand as she’s about to shake with Raven. Cinder sets his hand on fire a little bit. I wonder how long she’s waited to put him in his place? Years, surely? She dismisses Watts, telling him to “fly home and tinker with your machines.” I hope she means the construction of Tyrion’s new tail, or maybe an evil version of Penny.

This is the two most powerful female combatants of the show (Salem and Deus Ex Ruby excluded) shaking on a deal neither intends to keep…I’m excited.

In Raven’s next scene, we learn she sent Vernal to track Salem’s Followers back to their operating base, which is a boat about two kilometers away. Which actually makes sense since Weiss crash landed very close to their camp flying south from the northern-most continent.

 

Vernal asks Raven if she thinks Cinder and Watts  will honor the agreement: after Vernal secures the Relic for them, she and Raven will be free to return to their home in the wilderness. To her credit, Raven scoffs and says of course Cinder and Watts will try to kill them as soon as the relic is in their hands. It’s how Salem operates, not unlike Sith Lords.

Raven proposes they use the Relic to essentially fight their way out of the chaos at Haven. Vernal brings up that Yang, Raven’s daughter, will potentially be in the crossfire. Raven pauses for a moment before brushing Venal off with the ‘she made her choice’ line.

Meanwhile at the Belladonna House

Black cat indeed.

We jump straight into the fight here, Ghira Belladonna is jumping around like the badass cat he is, and taking down White Fang thugs like he does it for fun.

I bet that White Fang rabbit girl is currently re-thinking her life choices.

Fennec and Corsac lead the assault, and it takes both of them to even hold Ghira’s attention. Sun shows up through a window to knock down one of the would-be assassins and calls out to Blake for help when Fennec and Corsac have him on the ropes after his little window-breaking diversion.

He actually looks more badass without the robe. I think this one is Fennec?

Blake (voiced by Arryn Zech) makes her entrance like the boss she is. She completes a ‘hero landing’ and when the twins try to kill her, she uses her semblance to freeze them.

Cat got your arm? Also, that’s a dab.

Ghira sends Blake out of the room, telling her to find her mother. Blake leaves, and winds up in a large room, where Ilia Amitola is just waiting for her, perched on the wooden handrail like a ninja.

‘Battle of the Heroes’

They stare at each other for a long moment. Ilia reaches for her weapon, but she hesitates, letting Blake draw first.

 

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Nathan Levine

Nathan is from Culver City, California. Follow him on twitter @BellicoseEmpath.

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