This is a story for a character that's appeared fairly frequently in my other works, and once she had her own story, but I took it down because I didn't end up feeling it was very good. I spent a good long while trying to decide what to do with her, and ultimately settled on this concept, with some similarities to old ones, with plenty new to chew on. Obviously, no prior knowledge of anything else I've written is needed to read this story.
Regardless of if you're a regular reader of my work, or new to it, I hope you enjoy!
Amber was dying.
There was no other way to put it. She had done exactly what Ozpin had told her not to do, she left without telling anyone where she was going, she wandered from village to village without any guards, and then she let her guard down.
They had tried to hold her down for… something. She didn't know what, but she had managed to get away with a well placed burst of kinetic energy. Despite her escape, she had received several fatal injuries during the fight, and by the time Qrow Branwen had arrived, chasing off the attackers, it was too late.
He carried her as quickly as he could, but she knew they wouldn't make it to a village.
Qrow kept saying he was sorry, he said they would make it, but she knew they wouldn't, and she was fine with that. She was dying, and that was okay, because she would become part of someone new.
She didn't know, because she knew no one that could shoulder the burden.
As a young woman, still in her prime, they hadn't exactly expected her to die so soon, so there was no successor lined up. Nobody in the wings. She just had to hold Qrow in her thoughts, the man who had saved her, to make sure her last thoughts weren't on the one who killed her.
Her eyelids grew heavy, her breathing was getting shakier.
All she could do was hope. Hope that whoever came next would do better.
Hope that whoever came next was heroic.
Hope that whoever came next was brave.
Hope that whoever came next lived a story worth telling.
The darkness came, and she knew no more.
It was 6 PM, and Violet Merino was just waking up.
It was somewhat of a surprise to her that she woke up when she did, she had expected to get another couple hours.
However, she hadn't exactly had a normal dream.
She had found herself in a featureless white void, and a girl came to her. She said something about 'great power' and 'great responsibility', and Violet felt that maybe she'd played too much Spider-Guy Remastered the day before.
She sat up in her bed. She had fair skin marred by the bags under her silver eyes, her neck-length brown hair was messy and unkempt, and a strange effect surrounded her, making the area that was immediately around her look as if you were staring at it through a heat wave, or gas fumes. It didn't prevent sight, but it was noticeable. She stretched, and her large, fluffy raccoon tail flicked across her bed.
Violet was wearing a black pajama top and matching bottoms, the top loose and only buttoned to her chest, which it seemed to struggle against, just as the legendary heroes from her favorite shows struggled against titanic forces of evil.
Her aura separated from her, forming a figure that looked a version of her covered in charcoal shadow, except it was six feet tall, whereas Violet herself stood at 4'8''. It stood first and reached out with an auric arm that stretched out like it worked on an old cartoon's physics before it flicked the lightswitch, then vanished, returning to Violet herself.
Her room was a mess, with clean and dirty clothes alike scattered everywhere. Underneath it was a fluffy dark blue carpet. The walls were white, with shelves built into them that held various figurines of characters from her favorite shows and series, some dressed and posed rather scandalously, others appearing more normal and heroic. Interspersed with those were collections of books, manga, and graphic novels, along with piles of collectors edition game boxes.
The only area that was relatively clean was her wooden desk, holding a dual-monitor computer setup. A tower sat on a stand next to it, kept off the ground. There were two standing fans aimed at the bed, currently on, the same as the ceiling fan.
As she stood, she lazily made to grab a shirt, when suddenly it flew into her hand, causing her to blink several times, "Huh…?" She reached out to grab some shorts, the same thing, they flew to her hand. She set them down and, on a hunch, turned her palm to face upwards. A flame burst from it without her even thinking about it, and she gasped, "Woaahh…"
She didn't notice the charcoal flames that ringed her eyes like a mask.
The flame disappeared, in her hand and around her eyes, "Was that dream real? Do I have… magical powers now?" She held her palm up to her face and a spout of water lazily burst forth, lightly spritzing her face before she cut it off, "I do! Awesome! This'll make it soo much easier to get stuff off the top shelf, I won't even need to get Aura to separate…"
After gathering up the rest of her clothes, Violet plodded off to take a shower. She had another day filled with games and anime to look forward to.
Ozpin was on his fifth cup of hot chocolate of the day.
It was bad when Amber ran off. Worse when he'd learned she left the city altogether. It built over several days, and then finally grew to be close to a worst case scenario, as it seemed that Amber had been ambushed and almost forced to give her power to someone else.
How, he was uncertain, even if he had a few ideas.
Qrow had stopped the theft from happening, but Amber was already dying. Qrow sounded incredibly distraught over the Scroll, but Ozpin assured him that this was a salvageable situation. Amber was dead, and that was something to be mourned, and she would be given a proper Huntress burial, her ashes scattered into the Emerald Forest. However, the primary problem had become…
Who had the Maiden Soul now? Who had inherited Fall?
He knew Amber hadn't thought of anyone, because she had nobody to think about. That made it even more difficult, because the Fall Maiden could have been anywhere, from the far flung reaches of Solitas, to the sands of Vacuo, to even the Kingdom of Vale itself.
Although, he was almost certain that, if she was in Vale, she'd be able to be found quickly. Powers of that nature weren't something that could be hidden easily, it would only take a couple hours for his informants on the ground to find whoever it was. The only way Fall could stay hidden in Vale was if they were some master of stealth, or misdirection, surely.
The hunt was on, because he had no doubt that whoever had the powers now was likely scared and confused out of her mind.
"HAH! GET DUNKED ON, SCRUB!"
The sound of gunfire and violence filled Violet's ears by way of her headphones, which were gray and had a pair of raccoon ears fixed to the top of them. She grinned as she continued to kill her opponents, listening to them rage at getting killed by a girl, especially one with as cutesy and high-pitched a voice as the one Violet was using, and then when she got thirsty, she reached to grab a can of Dr. Spicey off her desk, but realized that it was empty.
She sighed and then her eyes burned with Maiden Fire before she sent Aura out to retrieve another can from the fridge. She had figured out how to give her companion some basic elemental infusion, but so far, she'd only tried wind, because wind made Aura move fast, allowing her to grab the soda and be back in record time.
It had been a couple weeks since she got this power, and she'd made it just a part of her life. She still didn't entirely understand it, but she was more than happy to not question it and just take the cool abilities to make her life easier.
"Nice!" Violet grinned as she took the soda and set it on the desk before cracking it open, her Maiden Fire quenching itself as she finished the match, attaining victory for her team, "Man, how'd I ever get by without all these cool powers before? Life must finally be paying me back for all that shit it put me through. About damn time."
Her Scroll vibrated and she looked at it, "Oh shit! That sale's going on. I gotta get that collector's edition…" She got out of her chair and then took the Dr. Spicy, chugging it down in one gulp before crushing the can and tossing it in the trash while she burped, "That hits the spot."
She looked herself over. She was wearing a pair of gray sweatpants, a black T-shirt, a matching jacket that was unzipped, and a pair of socks and shoes. She thought about changing into something more presentable to the outside world ,but ultimately decided against it. She wasn't going far, nor was she going to be very long.
So, without needing to change at all, she just slipped her scroll into her pocket and headed out, with Aura merging back into her as she left. She lived on the second story, apartment 216, and her front door led straight to the outside, her apartment one of many that faced Vale's commercial district. She closed the door, locked it, and continued on.
It was late afternoon in Vale. Most people were going home from work, or going to work if they were night shift. The sky was slightly overcast, but disappointingly there was no sign of rain clouds. She always loved rain; it made for good white noise when she was laying in bed and reading or watching stuff online.
People paid no mind to her as she walked, and she began to hum a song under her breath as she walked, "Hello. I opened my window, whispering so no one could hear: How are you? Alone between these walls, there's no one but me…" In spite of the rather sad lyrics, she maintained a good mood as she kept going while closing in on her destination, "Morning, and here the daylight is covered up with pouring rain, tick-tock, can someone please come and wind me up, today~?"
The store she was looking for was 'From Dust Till Dawn', a fairly popular Dust shop that had been closed for the past few weeks due to having been subjected to a robbery. Luckily, very little was actually stolen due to the timely intervention of a Huntress-in-Training and a proper Huntress, so the weeks it was closed was mostly spent just upgrading security.
Now, however, it was open again, and so she could once again retrieve her manga, because they stocked more than Dust. While on her way there, she used her new power to cause some orbs of elements to dance in her hands, unaware of the flames around her eyes, and the looks she was getting.
Soon, she was at the store, and when she entered, she waved to the old man while cutting off the elemental powers. He nodded to her and smiled, then Violet turned her attention to the back, where he kept his non-Dust materials.
Unbeknownst to her, she had been seen. A dusty old Qrow was there, doing some routine shopping for Dust, as one does. He had also planned to buy a couple of Weapons Weekly as a gift for Ruby. He almost dropped the fire Dust crystal he had in his hands in shock. He watched as this strange girl called upon the power of magic to beckon a manga into her hand before the fire quenched itself again.
Qrow furrowed his brow, 'Well, my job just got easier.' He set the Dust crystal back where he had got it from before approaching Violet, walking past the aisles and saying, "Hey, kid." She looked at him with a mixture of surprise and anxiety, and he realized that he'd have to approach this one carefully, "I saw that, uhm, power there. Pretty cool. How long have you had it?"
Violet tilted her head, "You mean the cool wind and stuff? A few weeks, not long. Just woke up one day with it, saw some girl in a dream, but I don't know if that was real." She shrugged, "Sure has been handy though, lets me use wind to get stuff, like a soda or a manga, much quicker and easier."
Qrow wanted to facepalm.
Of course. Of course the powers of Fall would end up in the hands of someone who just treated it like some kind of quality of life tool. "Huh, that's cool. You know I think that kinda power has some real potential, you ever think about attendin' Beacon? I bet the Headmaster would be happy to have ya."
Violet shook her head and Qrow felt his heart drop, "Nope! I tried training for that, but I wasn't any good at it. Anyway, I gotta pay for this before I get back home, I need to be there for the premier of the next Two Piece episode!"
Oh great, she was a fucking weeb too.
"Ah, uh, alright." Qrow nodded, "Say, what's your name, kiddo?"
Violet made a face, "Why do you wanna know? Are you one of those weirdos who goes after younger girls to recapture your youth? You smell like a brewery!" She shook her head and walked off.
Qrow couldn't even be mad at her, because the way he had approached her, in hindsight, was probably kind of creepy. He could take offense to her thinking he was a creep later, he liked mature women, thank you very much! "Uhhh, sorry. Bye."
He went back to browsing, and only after Violet left did he go up to the owner. He knew the man, the guy had been running the shop since Qrow was in school, so at least he knew that Qrow didn't have ill intent when he asked, "Hey, what's that girl's name? It's… kinda important."
"Oh, her? That's Violet Merino, regular 'ere. Barely leaves her house, from what I gather, comes here every few weeks or months to get some new manga."
Qrow nodded, "Alright, thanks."
He then left, and headed back to Beacon.
His mind raced the whole way back, because now he knew who Fall was, and he knew that she was woefully unprepared if they found out who she was. This wasn't good, not at all. The girl seemed like a hermit, which was a positive for keeping track of her, but she was also totally uninterested in fighting, something that was absolutely not good for them.
When he got back to Beacon, he went straight to Beacon Tower, and up the elevator. Once that elevator reached Oz's office, he stepped in and approached the Headmaster, who smiled at him and asked, "Qrow, what do I owe the pleasure? Do you have an update on the situation?"
Qrow nodded, "Ooh yeah. Uh… I got good news and bad news. Good news is, I found Fall, and she's not the kind to go wanderin' out like Amber. Bad news, she's a total shut-in, and doesn't seem ta want anything to do with fighting. She tried before and said she was bad at it, so maybe we can work with that, at least."
Ozpin nodded, this was indeed fortuitous, any quirks could be worked with, and accommodated, so long as he could train Fall, "I see. What is her name?" He started to take a sip of his hot chocolate.
Ozpin, in an uncharacteristic display, spat out his drink.
Qrow watched as Ozpin fumbled for his scroll, and he was admittedly incredibly concerned about the sudden strange behavior. He hadn't acted that way since the academy! "Uhh, are you alright Oz?"
Ozpin nodded, "Yes, yes, quite alright." He dialed a number before Glynda appeared on the screen. He said, "Glynda, get the car. Autumn's come, and I think our fortunes have turned for the better."
After he hung up, Ozpin stood and fixed his suit, "The Brothers might be smiling upon us, Qrow. I'd almost call this divine providence, or mayhaps a belated birthday gift." He smiled slightly, "Pray do me a favor. Tell the staff to prep one of those bedrooms on the third floor of the Tower. I think soon it will have a new occupant, if I can persuade her."
Qrow felt like there was some backstory to this, but he could ask later. For now, Ozpin was already making for the elevator, and so he went to join him, "Uhh, alright." He took a swig from his flask.
He felt like things were about to get a lot more complicated around here.
Violet had been enjoying her afternoon, watching the new episode, reading her new manga—everything was going great. The encounter with the weird man had frayed her nerves a bit; she'd been replaying the conversation in her head and wondering if she should have been nicer. She had kind of just spoken without thinking…
She was sitting on her bed reading her manga when her evening was interrupted. She heard a knock on the front door, and almost immediately she panicked. Should she say something? Just be quiet and wait for them to leave? What if the landlord was finally coming to ask about the fact that she'd never paid any bills?!
Then she heard a voice, one she'd only ever heard on the news, very rarely, whenever something would happen at Beacon, like the Vytal Tournament, "Miss Merino, are you home? I'd like to speak with you for a few moments, if you wouldn't mind."
Suddenly, she felt that ignoring the door was probably the worst idea. So, she left her bedroom and started towards the door. She looked through the peephole, and she gasped when she saw who it was. She pulled open the door.
White, tousled hair, a snazzy suit, a serious looking blonde woman at his right… It was only solidified when he smiled and placed a hand on his chest, "Hello! I'm Professor Ozpin."
Violet looked around, "U-Uhm… P-Professor Ozpin, like, the Professor Ozpin?"
"The Headmaster of Beacon Academy, Professor Ozpin?"
"Once voted the best dressed in Vale?"
Ozpin blinked, "That was a long time ago, but still, I see you've done your research." He smiled, "And with me is the Deputy Headmaster, Glynda Goodwitch."
Glynda nodded, "Good to meet you. May we come in?"
Violet cleared her throat, "U-Uhm, sure! Sure." She stepped back, and was grateful that they'd likely only visit the living room. She barely left her room, so the worst that the living room got was a layer of dust, covering everything but the pictures on the wall, which she kept dusted. Pictures of her grandpa and her, pictures of her grandpa back in his heyday.
Pictures that, after the two entered and shut the door behind them, Ozpin walked up to, his cane thumping against the carpet as he walked. He stopped before them, "Citron Greyson Merino. Did he ever tell you of his time at Beacon, Violet?"
Violet nodded as she walked over, "He did, but not that much. He always said that a lot of the stuff that happened there wasn't 'his story to tell'. Like one of his other teammates was gonna come around, but he never even told me their names."
Ozpin smiled, "He was a member of my team, actually." That elicited a gasp from the girl, and he explained, "Team Legacy, L G C Y. Me, Lucian Ozpin, Glynda Goodwitch, Citron Merino, and Venro Yue-Long. We were quite the team, in our day. He spoke to me about you, but outside of making sure that you received his pension after his death, I kept my distance; I felt it would be better that way."
Violet felt like she was going to pass out from shock. Her voice dropped half an octave, and her inflection changed, becoming less bright and shiny, to her natural, more womanly voice rather than a fake and cutesy one, "Y-You?! You're the one who's been sending those checks? A-And grandpa was on your team?"
"Indeed, although I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate being called grandpa; some teams we shared a class with have children your age."
Her voice shook slightly as she looked away, "Well.. The only person I ever called Dad is… I don't want to associate anyone with that title again. I didn't have the greatest relationship with my birth parents. So, I made him my Grandpa." That was an incredible understatement, but she wasn't going to get into it.
Ozpin nodded, "Apologies for bringing up those memories. Let's move on." He turned towards her, "I've come to talk to you about those powers you've been displaying… Tell me, Violet, what's your favorite fairytale?"
Violet wasn't sure where he was going with this, but she crossed her arms and responded, "The Infinite Man. I've always found the story really interesting, and I feel so bad for The Infinite Man…" She looked down, and thus missed the way Ozpin stiffened, "He might have been immortal, but he's still just a man. You can't expect someone, no matter how old or experienced, to make the right choice all the time." She shook her head, "I also felt so bad for the girl. I think maybe she knew who he was when he came back the third time, and just… couldn't anymore."
"I-I see." Ozpin was glad Violet wasn't looking, it was hard for him to hide his conflicted emotions. Her view on the story wasn't entirely how he had meant it to be, but it was still a good view to have, "Have you ever heard The Story of the Seasons?"
Violet nodded and looked back up, "A callous old man gets his spirit lifted by four girls, each named after a season, and he gives them great power as thanks for helping lift his spirits. It's pretty nice, super wholesome."
Ozpin nodded and turned towards her, his face one of pure seriousness, "Would you believe me if I told you that story's been around since I was a boy?"
"Aw, Professor, you're not that old. If Grandpa isn't old, then neither are you."
In response, Ozpin smiled, before his face returned to its earlier seriousness, "What if I told you that it's true? That there exist four Maidens in this world with the ability to wield extraordinary, fantastical power, without Dust? Four Maidens who can use… magic."
Violet looked shocked, "H-Huh? Magic? I-" She looked down at her hand, "How does that work? Magic? I mean… I've always wanted to believe it's real, we've already got semblances and Dust, why not magic? But… There's never been any proof."
Ozpin's smile returned, "You are the proof. The powers of the Maidens are inherited, passed down upon the prior's death. Normally, one would hold someone in their mind, and as long as that person is a woman, they would receive the power. However, if the Maiden holds no one in their mind, or holds someone who does not qualify for the power, then the power will go to a random individual, somewhere in the world."
Violet felt that power in her soul, in her heart, stirring. She clenched her fist and then opened it, a small flame appearing in the middle of it, "I… I mean… I kind of just thought this was some weird upgrade to my semblance. Magic…?"
"Indeed." Ozpin looked the girl in the eyes as she looked back up at him, "Violet Merino, you have been given the gift of magic. Great powers, unbound by Dust, unbound by the elements, only limited by your skill and power, only limited by your resolve to forge ahead. You hold the power of, and you are now, and will be forevermore… Fall."
Violet stared at him, and she let the weight of his words weigh on her. 'Magic? Maidens? Fall? I'm… Magic?!' She stammered, "S-So, what am I supposed to do?"
Ozpin hummed, having expected a lot more from her reaction. More confusion, denial, maybe anger at possibly being lied to, but she accepted it easily. Maybe it had to do with her already having the power, but he had a distinct feeling that Violet had always had a more open mind, "I would like you to come live at Beacon Tower, so that I might help train you in your power."
She seemed trepidatious, and more than a little bit afraid. She bit her lip and glanced towards her bedroom door, "I don't know… Uprooting myself like that? I've lived here for so long now… I don't want to leave it behind." Her gaze shifted to another room, just down the hall from hers, the master bedroom, "A-And…" She sounded sorrowful, her voice shaky as she said, "I don't want to leave him either. I… I need to keep his room clean. Someday… Maybe…"
Maybe he'd come back.
But Ozpin knew that wasn't going to happen. Greyson had gone MIA on a mission those years ago, and never returned. He was still listed as MIA, because Ozpin himself refused to change it, but the reality of the situation was clear.
Both Ozpin and Glynda lowered their heads in silent memory of their fallen teammate. He had been warned not to go on missions anymore; he was too old, and beginning to get too sick, but he insisted. The reasoning, Ozpin would never know, but he had a feeling Violet did. Not that he was going to press her on it, "I… understand, Violet, but… Greyson would want you to take steps to move forward. To become your own person. If it helps, your room will be outfitted with the best amenities we can offer, and of course you'll have access to the Dining Hall. I won't ask you to become a Huntress-in-Training, for someone like you, it's far too much of a risk, and would raise too many questions among the student body, but… you can make Greyson proud, Miss Merino. I can see the potential within you, besides your new power. A small flame that needs only to be set ablaze, and I believe moving to Beacon would provide the kindling you need to start a forest fire."
Violet still looked uncertain, but eventually she took a deep breath and then put on a smile, placing a hand on her hip and speaking, her voice back to being raised half an octave, "Alright! As long as the internet's good, and I don't have to carry all my stuff there!"
Ozpin and Glynda shared a look of concern, because they knew that this was absolutely not a good thing. Violet was quick to jump back 'into character', and so soon after talking about something that personal… Maybe he would have to arrange for her to take therapy? That could be sorted out after she was moved, "Of course not." Ozpin began with a smile, "We'll have some movers move your things, and do not worry about the apartment, nor anything you choose to leave in it. We will make sure it's taken care of, so that you can return to it every so often, if you wish." Not that he expected her to, but still, it was the thought that counted.
With her onboard, things were looking up, Ozpin felt. However, he knew he was going to have to make sure to take some precautions, and that meant she was going to need someone who would keep a silent, distant vigil, in case any would-be assassins were somehow able to discover who she was and get past all other lines of defenses.
And he knew that the last line of defense was probably not going to be thrilled with his assignment.
Back in the office, while Violet was being shown around Beacon by Glynda, Ozpin broke the news to Qrow. To say he was in disbelief was an understatement.
"You want me to do what, exactly, Oz?"
"I want you to be Violet's bodyguard, from a distance of course. You know it's for the best."
Qrow had already drunk two flasks worth of whiskey that day, and now he was feeling like he needed a third. He knew, of course, that this was coming, because Qrow was one of the people Ozpin trusted the most, and as a Huntsman not tied down by obligation anywhere, he really could afford to hang around Beacon. Getting to see Ruby and Yang more would be a bonus, he loved his nieces, but… "Is that really necessary, Oz? She's a total shut-in, I'd be surprised if she leaves her room for days on end, so long as she's got food."
Ozpin leaned forward on his desk, bridging his hands, "While you are correct that Violet is not prone to wander, and thus won't need a close guardian, it's still imperative that you be there. We have to cover all angles, ensure that we have no weak points. We don't want her life to be endangered before she's gained a solid control of her powers."
Qrow grimaced, "I know, I know, but…" He looked away, "Oz… You've gotta have someone better for the job. I couldn't protect Amber."
"Qrow." Ozpin began, "I know you blame yourself, but you shouldn't. Amber was always a free spirit, she got away from me as well. From all of us. To shoulder the blame yourself is not the correct option. All we can do is learn, and improve, and I believe Violet is the perfect opportunity. She will not wander, and she has very clear interests, even if she has certain… strange proclivities. I'm not going to pretend it will be easy, it's clear she's hiding a lot of her internal turmoil, but I believe you can handle it."
Did Qrow even really have a choice?
There wasn't really anyone better for the job than him that was in the circle, and if nothing else, he could at least use the knowledge that she's also guarded by all of Beacon's defenses, from professors both in and out of the know, and, Gods forbid if it ever came to it, the students. Qrow wouldn't let it get that far, though, "...Fine. Should I… I dunno, introduce myself?"
Ozpin nodded, "If we are to ensure she doesn't take this the wrong way, should she see you again by chance, yes you should. You will need to watch over her, and treat her as family. In time, I believe you two might come to see each other as just that, family."
Qrow didn't believe that for one second, but he wasn't going to argue over it, "Alright, alright, I'll go looking for her."
Well, at least it could be worse.
Violet had been having a good time so far, admittedly.
Granted, it was helped by the fact that the school was mostly empty. Initiation for new students started in two days, which meant that the hopefuls would arrive the next day, and then older students weren't expected to return until initiation proper had begun, so she hadn't really had to deal with a lot of strangers, other than the few members of the staff she had met so far.
She was also wearing actual clothes at this point, just some ill-fitted jeans, a T-shirt with the word 'T-Shirt' written on it in a rainbow of colors, and her old running shoes. She figured she might as well actually wear something half-decent if she was going to be walking around a campus.
Glynda had just shown her around the Dining Hall, explaining that she could get just about anything she wanted made for her there, given her special status. In addition, she could have it delivered to her door! This was much better than having to rely on instant ramen, cereal, and chips.
While they were leaving the Dining Hall, they heard a voice that Violet recognized from their brief interaction, "Hey, Glynda, Shut-In." Both looked and saw Qrow Branwen walking over, one hand in his pocket while the other was giving a lazy wave.
Glynda raised an eyebrow, "Qrow, I assume your talk with Ozpin went well?"
"Eh." Qrow shrugged, "I ain't quitting, so I guess it went alright."
Violet blinked a few times and was quick to raise a question, "Hey, Creepy Drunk Old Guy! Did you follow me or something? I told you I wasn't interested!" She crossed her arms, maintaining a stand-offish pose.
Glynda raised an eyebrow at him, "Qrow?"
"Wha-! Look, you've got the wrong idea, kid!" Qrow shook his head, "Ozpin is my employer, I'm sorta a trusted lieutenant. Name's Qrow Branwen. I wasn't kidding when I said he would be interested in your powers, ya can tell that by now. I just wanted ta introduce myself, 'cause sometimes I'll be your bodyguard, if you're goin' out anywhere. Can't put you in too much danger, yeah?"
Well, that made much more sense.
Violet relaxed a bit, "Well… Alright, WDG. If you're working with him, then I guess you can't be all that bad." Having a bodyguard wasn't an unwelcome idea to her, but she did have a question, "So, only sometimes?"
"When it's necessary," he responded. In reality, he'd always be close at hand. Not watching her or anything, but just being on campus was more than enough for him to respond if something went wrong, "Most of the time you'll just catch me loiterin' around. I might have a room a few doors down from you, since those rooms are for VIPs that Ozpin wants to keep close by, like you and me."
Violet nodded, "Well, okay. So long as you don't always smell like a brewery when you come around." She yawned, "Man, I'm getting tired…My sleep schedule's all messed up."
It was the middle of the afternoon, her being tired was… strange, to say the least, given that she hadn't really done anything all day, yet it was also a day of big change, so in some fashion it made sense. Glynda saw this, so she cleared her throat and said, "Well, after the goings on with orientation tomorrow, we can continue your tour."
The idea of actually being in sight of some of the students made Violet's skin crawl, but she could manage so long as none of them talked to her. She had no idea what she'd say to anyone! She would have to fall back on her usual behavior, regardless, "Cool! I'm gonna go up to my room, then, and check it out, since the movers are finished."
She bid Qrow and Glynda farewell before doing just that, heading up to the third floor of Beacon Tower to see what her room was going to look like. The hallway leading to it, after getting out of the elevator, reminded her a bit of the hallway of a hotel, with carpeted floors and a well lit hallway that made her feel like she should be walking faster for no other reason than because she felt she could.
Her new room was much more impressive than the old, and a hell of a lot bigger! It was twice as big as her old one, even bigger than the master bedroom! It had plush, dark blue carpets, a queen sized bed covered in purple sheets with a dark red comforter and her pillows lining it, and her figurines and other collectibles spread across a pair of bookshelves that were against the wall opposite to the door, on either side of a large window which had its curtains drawn closed.
Her computer setup was, of course, situated on a fairly large desk in the back corner, her chair ready and waiting for her.
Violet took a deep breath and stretched, exhaling before stepping in and shutting the door, "Can't wait to tell everyone online about this… Though I guess I can't tell them exactly where I am or why…" That sucked, in her opinion. What was the point of magic powers if she couldn't flaunt them?
Oh well, she'd live.
She stripped down and changed into more comfortable clothes: her pajamas, same as before, then sank into her computer chair. She spent the next few hours playing games, and was only interrupted when there was a knock at her door. She was luckily between matches, and so she turned around and fixed her black pajama shirt before saying, "Uhm, hello?"
It was Professor Ozpin, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything, Violet, I have something to give you. Are you decent?"
Violet looked down at her outfit, just her pajamas, and shrugged, fixing some buttons on the top before saying, "Yep, come in!" as she stood up.
Ozpin entered, carrying something in his hands, a sheathed greatsword. The sheath itself was black with gold trimmings. He explained, "Since you're going to be learning to fight, Huntress or not, I felt this was the appropriate time to give you this." He approached her and held it out.
She took it in her hands and felt its well-balanced weight before she unsheathed it. Violet felt it looked like a scaled up kriegsmesser, a single-edged blade that curved slightly as she trailed her eyes up it. The metal was colored burnt orange at the hilt, before fading into a midnight blue as it reached the top. The hilt itself was black.
He explained, "This is Suncutter, your grandfather's first weapon. He switched to a different one later in his life, as you know, but he gave me this one. He said that, should you ever reach Beacon and he wasn't around to do it himself, I should give it to you."
'Suncutter…' Violet had vague memories of this weapon. Her grandpa had used it when he was a bit younger, before switching to something he felt complimented his fighting style better. She had thought she'd never see it again, but now it was in her hands, and it felt so much heavier, now that she remembered it.
There was a button on the side of the grip, and she pressed it, like she remembered seeing her grandpa doing before. The sword detached from the grip as gravity dust activated within it. It curled into itself before attaching with a click, becoming a floating chakram. Meanwhile, the grip in her hand shifted, extending out and altering shape until it became a gun, a type she recognized: a Mini-14, complete with a pistol grip, foregrip, close range optics, the works!
"I never thought I'd see this again…" Violet muttered, before pressing the button on the side of the gun, turning it back into a grip, before the sword uncurled itself and attached back to the grip. She smiled softly, "Thank you, Professor."
Ozpin smiled, "No need to thank me, it's yours by right. I'll have some magazines, ammunition, and other essentials delivered tomorrow." He turned to leave, "Enjoy the rest of your night, Violet. You will have tomorrow and the next day off due to initiation, but once that's over, your training will begin in earnest."
Violet nodded, "R-Right."
Once he was gone, Violet looked over Suncutter again before sheathing it. Aura appeared next to her, looking over the blade, and she smiled, "I know, right?" Aura responded by punching the air a few times, in a boxer stance, and Violet giggled, "You'll still get to punch stuff, but I can't only rely on you forever."
Aura crossed her arms and pouted but nodded nonetheless, then she returned to Violet. She set the weapon down against the wall before going to sit back down.
She'd eventually got some sleep, at around 2 AM, which was actually fairly early by her standards. Of course, she knew Glynda was going to want to take her around after orientation was finished, and indeed, around noon she was woken by a knock on her door as Glynda said, "Violet, are you awake?"
Violet yawned as she sat up, "I'm-" She spoke in her natural voice for a moment before clearing her throat and pitching up like she usually did, "Uh, I'm awake now. Let me get dressed and I'll be right out." She crawled out of bed and started sorting through her clothes in the dresser, before coming across an outfit she hadn't worn in a little while.
It was the one she had intended to wear as her Huntress outfit, but after she had given up on it over a year ago, she stowed the outfit for what she thought might have been for good. Yet, now that she was a Maiden, and expected to train to fight, she figured now was as good a time as any to use it.
After putting on some underwear, on went a black tabard with red trimmings, a pair of black short-shorts hidden under said tabard, and some black combat boots. It was simple, but in her mind, it looked cool.
When she went to the door and opened it, she saw Glynda there, carrying a small wooden box. She raised an eyebrow at Violet's attire, and she explained, "This is the outfit I was going to wear as a Huntress. I might not be training to be one, but I figured this is close enough."
Glynda looked like she wanted to say something, but stopped herself and changed the subject, "Before we begin, I brought you the supplies Ozpin promised. This should be everything you need to start your training in a couple days." Violet stepped back and allowed Glynda in. Once she was inside, she set the box on Violet's bed and opened it, "There's a strap to attach your sheath to your back, magazines and ammunition for your weapon's ranged component, a satchel and belt to attach it to, should you need it, and some Dust of varying types."
Violet grinned, "Thanks! So, what now?"
Glynda hummed as she turned back around towards the girl, "Now, well, we'll begin your tour again. We still have a few places to visit, but it shouldn't take too long, if we begin immediately."
"Great! Lead the way, then."
So, the two began their tour.
Violet was a bit apprehensive at the possibility of actually meeting anyone, but still, she was excited! Today, she felt, was going to be a good day.
Jaune Arc had been eager to meet new people.
'Had been' being the operative phrase there.
He vomited on the ship, got some in a blonde girl's shoes, and then flopped on the grass outside, knowing his Beacon reputation was already ruined with a capital R.
The only bit of positivity to come from this was meeting Ruby Rose, she quickly became his first friend at Beacon, and he already had a crush, too! On a beautiful snow angel known as Weiss Schnee.
After orientation, he began to wander, hoping to get a good look around the campus, and hoping to clear his head from the quickly amassing pileup of blunders. He'd already earned the nickname 'Vomit Boy', what was next?
'Come on, Jaune! Think positively. You've got some new friends, a crush you'll win over with your confidence and charisma, and…'
Actually, that was it. It wasn't much, but it was something.
He hadn't expected to really run into that many people, most seemed content to relax in the ballroom, or the Dining Hall, yet, he soon caught the sound of a few voices, around a corner that promised (based on the sign at least) to take him to the library.
The first was Glynda Goodwitch, "Alright, I think that's everything. Do you think you'll be okay from here on out?"
The second was a girl he didn't recognize. Her voice sounded cutesy, but a bit too cutesy, kind of like she was either forcing it or incredibly stressed, but it was just believable enough that Jaune didn't know if it was natural or not, "Y-Yeah! I should be fine, I'll just grab something to eat then head back to my room."
"Good. I'll see you later, then, Miss Merino."
The sound of high heeled footsteps walking away filled the air. The girl sighed and sounded as if she was about to walk in his direction, when a third voice called to her, "Hey!" It was Ruby! "Uhhhm, your eyes look super cool! I've never met anyone with the same eye color as me before."
"H-Huh? Oh, wow! Silver Eyes! I thought I was the only one, honestly!"
Jaune was curious now, but he realized that just eavesdropping was not only creepy, but generally a bad idea. So he stepped forward and turned the corner to take a look at who this 'Merino' person was.
To say he was a bit blown away was an understatement.
She wasn't a tall statuesque stunner like Yang, nor a small, adorable, girl-next-door type like Ruby. She was short, for one, over a foot shorter than Jaune himself. Her hair was messy, her skin a bit pale, a bushy large raccoon tail swishing behind her, and her eyes indeed silver. She wore a very, well, Jaune would just say interesting outfit. It wasn't flaunting like Yang's, but, wearing a tabard without a tunic? That was like wearing a short-sleeved jacket without a shirt!
Of course he had to note she was well-endowed, he was a teenage boy, sue him! He at least didn't keep his gaze there. He noted that she didn't appear to be quite as in-shape as others around the school. She wasn't fat, but it was clear she was a bit plush, but maybe that was just her body-type. Either way, he turned his attention to her face, heart-shaped with eyes that held some strange mixture of excitement and apprehension, and looked between her and Ruby as he approached, "Uhh, hey Ruby!" He raised his hand in greeting.
Ruby and the girl both looked in his direction, and Ruby's gaze lit up with recognition and excitement, while the other girl appeared nervous. Ruby waved, "Hey Jaune! I met someone who also has silver eyes! Meet-" She stopped as she realized she'd never actually learned the girl's name, "What's your name?" She smiled awkwardly, "I'm Ruby Rose."
The girl returned the smile and shifted in place, fidgeting slightly before responding, standing taller as she declared with a grin, "Violet Merino! Master of the Eight Blades of the Eclipse, and future Savior of Remnant!"
Ruby looked a bit confused while Jaune gasped, "Woah! You've read Super Blade Fighters X too?!" He had never actually met another physical person who liked those books before! They were all online!
Violet, in turn, was utterly shocked. She had no idea she could meet anyone who liked the things she did in meatspace! They all lived hundreds of miles away! Just like every person she'd ever crushed on but never tried to get with because reasons! "Yeah, it's one of my favorites! Did you watch Kamaboko?"
Jaune was taken aback, another thing he liked, more common ground between him and a new friend! He smiled, "Yeah! It kinda got real weird and abstract towards the end of Shippuden though."
Violet had never felt so at ease talking to a real person before, she returned the smile as she crossed her arms, "Big agree, honestly. The mangaka really dropped the ball. Do you prefer sub or dub?"
Oh no, Jaune knew this trap, and he knew the correct answer, "Depends on the show! A lot have terrible dubs, but sometimes you'll find one that's way better than the original. It's interesting that they still make subs at all, considering Mistrali isn't even that widely spoken anymore."
"It's tradition!" Violet responded, "Very important, you see." She then remembered Ruby was there, looking a bit overwhelmed, "O-Oh, sorry, Ruby."
Ruby smiled, "Oh, don't worry! I'm just a bit confused 'cause I've only ever watched a few anime, mostly mecha stuff."
Jaune tried to assuage any worry of her not fitting in, "Don't worry! It's not something everybody gets into." He might have suggested they watch it together, but he had only just met these two today, he didn't exactly anticipate they'd be thrilled at the idea. Maybe later. "So…" He tried to think of a subject that all three could get into, "Are you guys excited for initiation?"
Now Violet was the one who suddenly felt a bit like an outsider. What was she supposed to do? Lie and say she was? Tell the truth and say she was here for something else? But that would make them ask what she was doing there, and if they ever saw her around the campus again they were sure to ask questions! Even if she barely left her room.
Luckily, she didn't have to worry, because Ruby was more than happy to ramble, "Oh, super excited! I've waited my whole life for this and I didn't think I'd be doing this for another couple years but then Professor Ozpin moved me up and it's super nerve wracking but also really exciting!"
Jaune and Violet both listened along to Ruby telling her story, and Jaune had to admit that he found Ruby being brought up two years early to be staggering. She was kind of the opposite of him, in a way; she was there when she wouldn't be otherwise because she was just that skilled, while he was there, well… because he wasn't supposed to be.
Eventually, Ruby got a Scroll call and had to leave, talking about how she needed to go to her sister, Yang. That left Violet and Jaune, standing there rather awkwardly, and trying to figure out where to go from there. Jaune cleared his throat after a few moments, "W-Well, I should probably go and get ready for bed, I'll uh-" He started to walk away, "I'll see you at the-Woah!" As he turned around, his foot caught on the ground and he fell forward.
Violet's eyes widened, and Aura separated from her, going to help pick him up while she asked, "Are you okay?"
Jaune was a bit surprised at what, or who, he was being helped out by, "H-Huh? Oh- Is that… your aura?" He noted that his arm was scraped and frowned slightly, that was going to be annoying.
"That's Aura!" Violet smiled as Aura dusted Jaune off and then saluted before turning retreating back to Violet while formless, "That's why I've got the whole… weird stuff around me. I-" Then she stopped, "Hey… Your arm's scraped, why didn't your aura stop it?"
He knew he'd been forgetting something! He hadn't asked anyone to unlock his aura! He knew what it was, of course, why wouldn't he? It'd be kind of strange if he didn't, "O-oh, uhh… My… dad didn't want me to learn to fight, so I had to learn without it being unlocked?" He offered as an answer, "Uhm… I need to get it unlocked."
Violet furrowed her brow. She knew that a Huntsman-in-Training never having their aura unlocked was unheard of, and very dangerous, especially with what she knew about Beacon's initiation, "Well, that's not good. Want me to unlock it for you?"
"Please." He responded with a small smile, "I uh, I'd rather not die."
He was sort of surprised when Aura re-manifested and placed a hand on his arm, instead of it being Violet herself. Did she just not like touching people? Regardless, Aura began to glow brighter as Violet's eyes shone charcoal before she closed them and recited, "For it is inside that we find our true selves. Through this, we become greater than anything we thought possible, infinite in choice and unbound by suffering. I free your soul, and by mine own, release thee."
Jaune noticed that he was glowing, and the rush of energy that filled his body made him feel a million times better than he ever had before. His arm healed itself right before his eyes, and he gasped, "This feels incredible!" He then gained a worried look as he saw Violet look exhausted for a moment, "Are you okay?"
She responded in a voice a half-octave lower and with a more average inflection, confirming to Jaune that she was faking the cutesier voice, "Y-Yeah. It just takes a bit out of the person doing the activation."
It wasn't like her voice was particularly deep, in fact, it was somewhat light. Jaune felt the right word was 'silvery', pleasant, clear, and light, with clear femininity to it, but without veering into 'cutesy anime girl' and instead being, for lack of a better word, 'womanly'.
Yet, as soon as he heard it, it was gone as she raised her pitch and perked back up, "Anyway! How's it feel?" He had to wonder why she changed her voice like that. Did she think her normal voice wasn't good? He liked the way her normal voice sounded! It was pleasant, meanwhile the fake voice was… on the very edge of being grating, not quite there, but close.
"I-It feels great!" Jaune responded, looking at his hands as the glowing subsided. He wanted to ask about her voice, but felt that was probably not something he should be asking about at the moment. He looked instead to Aura, "So, uhh… Is… she? Sentient? Does she have a name?"
In response to the first question, Aura made a 'so-so' hand gesture, which just added more questions and answered nothing at all. At the second question, Aura looked at Violet, who rubbed her chin, "You know… I've never thought about that. Aura and I don't really talk to a lot of people, so it's never been important, but I guess it could get confusing now that I'm here… How about… Ultraviolet?"
Aura thought for a moment before making a gesture, as if she was pulling out a measuring tape as far as she could. Violet seemed to understand, "Too long? Uhh… Oh, I know! What about Yuvi? It's like U.V., but a name, Y U V I!"
Yuvi clapped her hands and jumped up and down, although neither gesture actually made any noise. Violet grinned, "Yuvi it is, then! Perfect." She crossed her arms, "So, I'll uhh… Maybe see you tomorrow?"
Jaune nodded, "Ah, yeah! Seeya!" He waved and started to leave, his mind turning towards maybe trying to find ways to impress Weiss, or get her to admit her attraction. Surely, she had hidden feelings, there was no way that her disinterest was genuine or rooted in some other deeper worry, right? Schnee? What's a Schnee? He sure didn't know.
Meanwhile, Violet was already feeling tired from all the socializing she'd done today. She started for her room in the Tower, intent on whiling away the rest of the day playing games and watching anime.
The next day, Jaune admitted, started off on not the best footing.
For one, he didn't see Violet anywhere, so that was minus one new friend to default to talking to. Then, he tried to flirt with Weiss, apparently knew nothing about some celebrity (who was Pyrrha Nikos, anyway?), and then got javelined to the wall for his troubles. He realized, then, that maybe he'd gone too far.
He apologized, and decided that he'd need to figure out some different, less weird ways to win over Weiss. However, that would have to wait, because it wouldn't matter if he couldn't pass initiation. Again, he didn't see Violet at the launch pads, and he wondered if she was okay, but decided to focus on the fact that he was being shot through the air instead.
Meanwhile, Violet herself sat in her room, watching the proceedings through a bunch of camera feeds Ozpin had let her connect to via Beacon's internet connection. There, she was able to watch as initiation played out, and followed along as people began to pair off. Of course, during all of this, Violet was eating a large bowl of popcorn and sipping on a soda, it was like a movie!
She watched as Ruby met with another girl, Weiss Schnee, who seemed… unpleasant, and kind of scary. Not in the good way, either: she seemed like she'd bite someone's head off for looking at her the wrong way. Meanwhile, Jaune's partner seemed considerably more pleasant, and incredibly skilled. Jaune himself didn't seem like he knew much about fighting, Violet felt like she'd learned more during her brief time trying to learn, a couple years ago. Did he really get trained?
She felt like the answer was probably 'no', but if he got into Beacon, Professor Ozpin must have seen something in him, even if it wasn't raw skill. He was like the underdog protagonist in an anime! For all she knew, maybe he had some hidden power?
Probably not, but it was fun to imagine. She was sure tons of stories could be written about someone like him.
Things started to get more intense as a Deathstalker burst out of a cave, with Jaune hanging on to its tail and Pyrrha fleeing as it chased her. On another camera feed, she watched as Ruby and Weiss encountered a Nevermore and held on to it as it soared through the air until Ruby found the right time to jump off, while Weiss remained holding on.
Slowly, eight students converged on the temple. Jaune, Pyrrha, an orange haired girl and a black haired boy that the identifier on the cameras said were named Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren, along with Yang Xiao-Long, Blake Belladonna, Ruby Rose, and finally, Weiss Schnee.
They all converged together, with Jaune managing to save Weiss from a fall that probably could have tanked her aura pretty badly, although she didn't seem all that grateful for the save. The two groups made the choice to bid a tactical retreat, otherwise known as run away, towards the cliff that would get them to safety.
However, things didn't exactly go as they planned, they were able to delay the Deathstalker and harry the Nevermore, but it seemed inevitable that they'd soon reach a dead end. That came in the form of a bridge that the Nevermore broke in half, splitting the two groups.
Violet was on the edge of her seat as she watched the goings-on, biting her lip as she worried about what was going to happen next. Especially as Jaune got knocked down, while Pyrrha was having trouble trying to break through the beast's armor. Similarly, Nora and Ren were taking hits and not able to hurt it much back.
The Nevermore situation wasn't much better, though that group seemed to be coming up with some sort of plan. She was more worried about the other group, especially since Jaune clearly didn't know much about fighting. She bit her lip as she watched Ren get knocked away again and almost fall off the bridge before he caught himself and recovered.
Unbeknownst to her, the stirring anxiety and concern resonated within her soul, and her eyes ringed with the Maiden Fire. As the four students gathered together, clearly trying to catch their breath to keep fighting, the Deathstalker attempted to move towards them again…
Before suddenly, it stopped in its tracks, as if rooted to the ground, and as this happened, several black circles that looked somewhat like glyphs appeared, rotating slowly on the ground. From the sky, several light blue beams of magical energy shot down into the glyphs, which spun faster.
Finally, it exploded upward into a massive, almost blinding pillar of magic and fire, causing Violet's mouth to fall open, and everyone on the ground to look in its direction as it happened, even the Nevermore seemed startled as it screeched louder than before. When the pillar cleared, there was no sign of a Deathstalker, only smoke rising from the ground.
Violet's Maiden Fire dissipated and suddenly she felt incredibly tired as she leaned back in her chair, "Woah… Did I do that? Oops…" She hadn't meant to use her magic! She didn't even know what she did just then was supposed to be. It seemed that magic was tied to her emotions, at least in some way.
The first to recover from the shock was Ruby, who told Weiss to launch her. Following that, the group of four facing the Nevermore got back to work, and Ruby was launched like a missile towards it. She caught it with her scythe and raced up the side of the cliff before finally cutting its head off as she stood at the very top, cape billowing in the wind like a hero.
Violet cheered, "Woo! Nice!" Yuvi appeared next to her and they shared a high-five, "I wonder what their teams will be called…" She yawned, "Ah well, I can figure it out later. Right now, maybe it's time to relax."
Meanwhile, on the cliffside, Ozpin and Glynda watched the explosion, and then they watched everything that followed. Glynda, wide eyed, asked, "Do you think that was…"
"Intentional?" Ozpin began, "No, I think Violet just got a bit too excited. It's quite alright, they won't suspect a thing." He sipped from his mug, "Fortunately…
"We'll have plenty of time to train her."