Words could also be considered a type of magic. An art of persuasion and vividness that could breath life into a world bereft of a much sought-after peace.
Yet at the same time, they gave hope, an idealistic imagination of myths and monsters leading towards an eventual 'good' conclusion.
Even now she could still remember them, the words spoken by Yang in her childhood. Fairy tales of Heroes and Magic, about the protectors that had once guarded Remnant in a tumultuous time of violence and death.
They whose strength could cleave the mountains and create miracles, spurred on by the shackles of Oaths and Duties.
Legendary figures and Mankind's Last Guardians in the times before Dust.
As such, for the greatest duration of her life, that was what she and everyone else had always thought of him as, a manifestation of a Hero from the fairy tales. He who remained by her side despite her numerous faults.
It wasn't until it was too late that she realized what he had meant to her and just how much he had done for her and Remnant, creating even Vermilion its newest Kingdom. Honestly speaking, it may have been one of her greatest regrets that she would bury with her to her grave.
The fact that she had taken him for granted.
The fact that she could never repay his favours.
And the fact that she had been too indecisive.
Her hands balled into fists, a silver gleam shadowing her weary eyes as the cloak over her shoulders billowed in a turbulent wind, rose petals drifting into a storm with every step she took.
The area around her was dark, the clouds up above writhing with tendrils of electricity before the rain began to fall. Withered trees bare of leaves and blackened like the aftermath of a forest fire paved a way towards an ominous tower in the distance surrounded by pools of black filth whose apex was reaching towards a void in the sky.
The lessons he taught her.
The memories she cherished.
All of it was threatening to explode out from her in a rage that she had never felt before.
Which was why,
Salem was going to pay.
Fate had brought them together, something he had once said to her on an occasion she had felt the most helpless. Two individuals sharing similar goals and carrying similar ideologies; neither willing to give up on anyone or wishing to see others suffer.
Allies of Justice.
Her lips thinned as she felt the patter of the rain over her face.
He had saved her, the memory still clear in her mind.
Then again, that was where it had all began.
The fairy tale of a little girl, and the Hero by her side.
The Huntsman of Red.
Chapter 1: Beginnings
Her name was Ruby Rose, the youngest daughter of the Ex-Huntsman Taiyang Xiao Long, a graduate from Beacon Academy, School of Huntsman and Huntresses tasked with defending the world, Remnant, against the Grimm.
She didn't know much about who or what the Grimm were do to the relative scope of her limited exposure to the world of Remnant, but she had always heard that they were the monsters that her mother and father had once fought against.
All kinds of thoughts occupied her mind as she thought of them. Were they tall? Did they have claws? Did she have to fear one hiding beneath her bed or in her closet?
She shivered at the concept as it seemed all too likely for her five-year old mind to believe. More so when the outer boundaries of her worldly experiences were defined solely by the dreadful reaches of the menacing plastic play-fence her father had set up by the doors barring her in.
However, this time was different.
She was going to see the world outside of her home in the island of Patch.
Fumbling with the hood of the over-sized red-cloak she had over her head, she eventually loosened the straps around her neck such that a rounded and pudgy-cheeked face popped out, flushed red form the effort.
Tufts of red-coloured hair, tussled from her earlier actions fell over her eyes, but she could hardly care less before she brushed them off and looked excitedly around her.
The sound of rolling wheels echoed into her ears as she adjusted her position on the small wagon she was sitting on, hands finding purchase at the edges before lifting herself up to get a better view of her surroundings.
It was all forest, the thick foliage impairing her view, yet the experience itself was new enough that she still felt that she was on an adventure. The only thing that was missing in her opinion was her mother and father's presence, then everything would have had been perfect. Recently though, she was slightly troubled as to why her mother hadn't come back yet, but her father had explained to her before that it was probably a minor set back and that she would return shortly.
Young as she was however, she had failed to notice the anxiety present in her father's eyes, happily returning to her playpen to distract herself with her toys. Still, no matter how she tried to put the matter aside, by the third day of her mother's absence it was all that she could think about.
As such, her elder sister's sudden decision to take her outside on an adventure was a welcome method of distracting her.
Realizing that she had seen enough of the forest on one side of the wagon, she immediately shifted her position to stare at the other side, a clearing in the forest revealing a field of red roses.
She was captivated, and for a moment, she didn't realize that she had been moving too much in her daze, but the one pulling the wagon did.
"Ruby, can you keep still?"
The voice that called out to her was childish, with a high pitch similar to her own.
It was her elder sister, Yang Xiao Long.
Unlike herself, Yang had long flowing golden-coloured hair that she generally kept unbrushed and falling down her back. Yang didn't prefer wearing her cloak and was more comfortable wearing a simple blouse and brown jacket.
Unlike her wide silver eyes which glanced away in guilt, Yang's lilac eyes were somewhat narrowed as she lightly admonished.
"Sorry," she said, head drooping as she relaxed herself back in the wagon.
"Mhm," Yang only grunted, a troubled expression over her face.
Ruby peaked up at Yang subtly when she thought that Yang wasn't looking, and sooner pursed her lips. Young as she was, she couldn't understand what was happening in her home lately. Yang always seemed like she was close to crying and her father was speaking to her less and less as the days went by.
She didn't like it, not a single bit. If only her mother would come home sooner, she'd definitely find a way to cheer them up.
Sad as Yang looked, Ruby felt that it was better for to keep quiet and instead just enjoy her first outing from her home.
Small bruises ran up and down Yang's arms, but most of them had been caused due to her own negligence and inexperience when pulling the wagon through the forest. In the end, the thing that was affecting her the most was still her exhaustion.
Yang was panting, her breaths coming out in clouds of white vapour due to the temperature of the Fall season.
Ruby already felt bad that she was adding on to Yang's exhaustion by continuing to sit in the wagon, but Yang insisted that she didn't get off. It was the duty of an elder sister or something like that.
Eventually, Ruby got bored of staring off into the scenery as a child would and began to simply stare absently into space. Of course, Yang noticed this and eventually began recounting the fairy tales she had read and heard from both her mother and father to pass the time.
Yang's voice, the soft crunch of the dirt beneath, and the babbling of a five-year old were the only sounds to echo in the silent forest in Patch.
Although Yang was the elder sister, she was only two years older than Ruby. The extent of her stamina could only take her so far, making it fortunate that the two eventually discovered an abandoned building.
Worn and brittle looking, the planks of wood and timber that made the foundations of the building reeked with the pungent smell of moss and rot, yet the building itself seemed to be in a good enough condition. Patterns of some sort were etched into the ground, some like ancient runes, while others resembled magic circles that Ruby only briefly remembered seeing in a show Yang had once been watching.
"I-It has to be here," Yang muttered to herself, but Ruby couldn't understand the context and just stared curiously.
Wheeling the wagon beside the house, Yang pulled Ruby out and held her by the hand as the two entered.
"Yang," she called out softly. "What are we doing here?"
"It's okay Ruby, just trust me," Yang brushed aside the question, eyes falling onto a table found past the entrance of the building.
On the table were messily laid out papers and strange looking books. However, that wasn't what Yang was interested in as her eyes focused instead on the food left behind. It wasn't rotten, and that was all Yang needed to know that someone had visited this place recently.
In her excitement, she let go of Ruby's hand before running towards the table to search it for clues.
Left behind, Ruby placed a hand to her chin, and decided to explore, moving away from Yang and towards a room that appeared vacant. Dust clung to the furniture within which was scattered around haphazardly and there were no signs of footsteps evident on the floor. The dust still remained completely settled, meaning that she herself was the first to enter the room.
Looking at everything, there wasn't anything that really caught her attention, but do to her small stature she did catch sight of a red jewel necklace tucked away within an old tome left thrown in a corner.
It was a shining glow amidst the grey, her curiosity taking the better of her.
She crawled towards it, a collapsed hutch propped up by a worn chair blocking her way.
Determined as she was however, she toddled on the floor to make use of her size and slipped through a narrow opening. Her arm reached forward, her tiny fingers stretched until they were just able to grasp at the old tome.
Smiling in victory, she pulled the book and jewel towards her, curiosity filling her gaze.
The red jewel was interesting enough, but she was more interested in the book as Yang had told her that all the fairy tales she had read to her originated from them.
Ruby had long since heard the many stories Yang had said and it was to the point where Yang had even repeated some. As such, she was somewhat excited at the prospect of discovering another story depicting Heroes. For she herself wanted to be one.
Nonetheless, she was bound to be disappointed.
All she saw when she flipped open the old tome was a strange marking designed in a circular fashion and depicting something resembling the circles she had seen outside. Face scrunching in disappointment, she was just about to toss aside the book when Yang's panicked screams echoed.
"Ruby!" Yang yelled desperately. "Where are you!"
She stiffened as a result, before scrambling back towards where Yang was, assuming that Yang was just mad at her again for doing something wrong.
In her haste, she ended up bringing the old tome with her in her hands.
"Yang, I'm over here!" She said in an apprehensive tone, shying away from a scolding.
However, the anger she expected to see on Yang's face when she appeared was different from reality. Instead of scolding her for leaving her side, Yang pulled her into a tight hug and gestured with a finger to keep quiet.
Deep guttural sounds were coming from outside, and the scraping of claws against the wooden walls of the building were distinct.
Held in Yang's arms, she could feel the way Yang was trembling.
"G-Grimm," Yang whispered, pulling her to hide behind a piece of furniture. A ruined couch based on its design.
Hearing the word Grimm, Ruby furrowed her brows, not knowing the true significance, but understanding that they were the monsters she feared were hiding beneath her bed.
She shivered, her arms clinging around Yang, but not finding any warmth in them, rather, when she stared up at Yang's face, it was to see that it had paled considerably.
"R-Ruby, get behind me a-and close your eyes," Yang stuttered.
"W-Why?" She replied back, attempting to glance behind her.
"Don't turn your head!"
The desperation in Yang's voice was enough to stop her actions immediately. Currently, Yang was still pressing Ruby's to her chest, making Ruby unable to see what Yang was seeing, but the growl and warm breath that washed over Ruby was enough indication that she would not like what she would see.
Yang's grip slowly relaxed around Ruby before Yang quickly forced Ruby behind her.
"A-Are your eyes closed?" Yang asked, the fear in her tone evident as the growling intensified.
"Y-Yeah," Ruby lied, her eyes set on Yang's quivering back.
"Good," Yang said solemnly, her shoulders drooping in helplessness. "I just want you to know Ruby, I'm sorry."
Ruby stiffened unable to understand why Yang was apologizing. Even now, Yang's back was preventing Ruby from seeing what was in front.
"What do you mea-"
The words died in Ruby's throat along with a pitiful scream as she watched a clawed hand strike Yang at the side.
One moment Yang was there, and in the next, she was gone.
"YANG!" Ruby cried out, tears falling down her eyes as a pale masked visage stared her down.
The Grimm, black bodied soulless monsters, and creatures of destruction.
They who preyed upon the Humans of Remnant, drawn by negative emotions.
The sadness, despair, and fear Ruby was feeling at the moment was more than enough to draw the attention of the Grimm before her. A black beast with a muscular hide and standing on its hind legs.
A Beowolf, a more common variant of the Grimm that resembled werewolf-like creatures.
She had never truly understood just how frightening Grimm were just from the stories, but seeing the one before her now, she could understand why they were said to be so frightening.
She cowered backwards, falling to the ground before pushing herself away with her hands.
Her mind was spinning, the tears in her eyes causing her cheeks to puff up as she desperately attempted to locate Yang, yet she could find nothing through the dust cloud conjured up after the Girmm's attack.
"Yang!" She screamed, watching as the Grimm slowly approached her.
Yang didn't respond, frightening Ruby more.
Help! Someone Help! Daddy! Mommy!
She began trembling, her hands pulling her knees to her chest, and dropping the old tome upon the ground. Unbeknownst to her, in her struggle to back away from the Grimm, she had pricked her hand upon a splinter, leaving a trail of blood on her palms which soaked into the pages of the old tome originally still in her possession.
It was the workings of fate. The unseeing hands that wound the realities of the world.
That which should not have existed, yet existed anyway within an axis parallel and independent of a continuum.
An ethereal light basked the room in its radiance, archaic seals flashing as symbols floated in the air.
An ancient magic, a means outside the common norm.
Shut and fill.
Thy cup that holds thy blood and dreams.
Connecting together two individuals that were the most suited to working with each other. A connection made to the Throne of Heroes.
A fairy tale given life, a power distorting reality itself.
And in her moment of desperation, all she saw was a flash of red, followed by the pained howl of the Beowolf before its body faded into mots of black light.
Bronze coloured orbs stared into silver, the silence between the two deafening before the man acted, inclining his head.
"By your summons, Servant Archer has answered your call."
She stared dumbly at the man before her, wincing only when she saw the red crest that appeared at the back of her palm, but unable to pay too much attention to it as the man knelt gingerly before her.
"Henceforth, my bow is your bow and your fate, is my fate," he said, brows furrowing. "Now can you tell me,"
The man paused, as if debating whether or not to ask the question but doing so anyway in the end.
"What exactly is going on here?" He asked, only to receive the most illogical of answers.
"Yang!" was all Ruby said before dashing off, confounding the man who stood in a daze before sighing.
Why was it always him?
Thanks for Reading!
This was something of a revamp for the Huntsman of Red as its current story was written during RWBY's first and second season, making some plot points and character traits in the story rather different from the actual canon. As such, I've decided on making this new story starting from the beginning while watching the new seasons that have come out.
The first Huntsman of Red has the possibility of continuing as an AU story depending on how many people like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own RWBY or Fate