This article contains both fanon and canon content. It is fanon, but features canon content.
The name "Dust" is implied to be a reference to the primordial state from which mankind was born. As a natural resource, it is sometimes poetically referred to as "Nature's Wrath", or more prosaically as an energy propellant.
According to ancient legends recounted during the opening narration of "Ruby Rose", mankind was fighting a losing struggle against creatures of darkness known as the grimm. However, through their resourcefulness and ingenuity, humanity managed to discover and harness a source of power they named "Dust" in order to battle the Grimm.
The advent of Dust became the turning point in the war. It would appear that after mankind drove back the Grimm and built civilizations, Dust became integrated into everyday life within Remnant.
Despite its widespread use and prevalence in society, humanity has yet to understand the origins or the implications of their involvement with Dust.
Dust is known as a naturally occurring, crystallized energy propellant triggered by the aura of Humans and faunus. For unknown reasons, Dust does not function outside of the atmosphere of Remnant, precluding the possibility of space flight.
Types of Dust
Dust can be found in four basic types. These four types can be combined both artificially and naturally to form other types of Dust, each with their own unique properties. Different colors of Dust appear to correspond to their different natures or effects.
In World of Remnant: Dust, the four basic colors are shown to be red, blue, yellow, and green. Other known colors include dark blue, cyan, white, purple, bright orange, dark orange and pale blue. Each color has its own unique property. During Volume 2, green was said to correspond to wind, but it appears that wind may have been changed to white Dust in Volume 3. Red is known to correspond to fire, and yellow has been shown to generate lightning. It is unclear what property blue corresponds to, but since both steam and ice Dust are "secondary" types of Dust partially consisting of water Dust, it follows that water Dust may be a "primary" Dust type.
- Wind or Air - A "primary" type of Dust, said to correspond to the green crescent shape in World of Remnant: Dust. However, as of Volume 3, it appears that wind may have been changed to white Dust.
- Fire or Burn - Miles states that red is fire Dust in the RWBY Volume 3 Live Stream. Miles also specifically informs the RWBY wiki in the Volume 1 Directors Commentary that these are called Burn Dust crystals.
- Water - Mentioned by Weiss in "The Shining Beacon" and mentioned by Miles as a type used to make steam and ice Dust. It is represented by a blue crystal in World of Remnant: Dust.
- Lightning - Mentioned by Weiss in "The Shining Beacon". Yellow Dust has been shown to generate lightning.
- Ice - A "secondary" type of Dust, formed by the combination of Water and Air Dust. In "The Shining Beacon", dark blue Dust is shown to be ice, as Ruby sneezes on red, dark blue and yellow Dust, resulting in fire, ice and lightning.
- Steam - A "secondary" type of Dust, formed by the combination of Water and Fire Dust.
- Gravity - First shown when Ruby uses Gravity Dust ammo in the "Red" Trailer. Gravity appears to have the colors black and purple in its released energy, as seen in "Reloading", the 3rd episode of RWBY Chibi. Gravity Dust crystals are black and can cause the pieces of land they form in to levitate, creating floating islands, such as the ones floating above Lake Matsu in Anima.
- Earth - First shown when Blake makes a rock clone in "No Brakes". Through process of elimination, the only Dust color that could have been responsible for the rock clone is white. However, as of Volume 3, air Dust has been changed to white, leaving earth as an unknown color.
- Bright orange-colored - This type of Dust is sewn into the designs on two of Cinder Fall's outfits, and crystals are seen in the volcanic biome in Amity Colosseum. Examples of its use include launching a fiery projectile that splatters to the ground when blocked, making weaponry out of obsidian and generating heat to melt ice.
- Cyan-colored - This color's type is unknown, and it has been seen in the pipes of a train engine in Mistral. There are multiple instances of Dust use resulting in cyan-colored effects, but it is unknown if this particular type of Dust is responsible. These instances include Weiss firing cyan lasers after spinning Myrtenaster's revolver, barriers generated by both Amity Colosseum and Weiss> and temporary weapons produced by Velvet's camera.
- Main article: Infinity Crystals
Crystalline and Powdered
Dust can be found in two distinct states, crystalline and powdered. Both crystalline and powdered Dust are known to be highly explosive. For example, during the Dust store robbery, Roman Torchwick threw a crystal at Ruby Rose's feet and fired at it, causing a sizable explosion. The powdered form appears to be even more volatile, since something as innocuous as a sneeze is enough to detonate a cloud of Dust.
Both powdered and crystalline Dust can presumably be activated by Aura. Weiss uses powdered Dust in her weapon, the Myrtenaster.
Dust serves as a power source for the majority of technology in Remnant, from airships to androids, though some alternative technologies do exist. One example of even mundane technology being powered by Dust is the stove in "Known by its Song". As the stove's burner heats up, Dust's signature "shimmering" sound effect can be heard.
Dust can still be used without the aid of weapons or machines and can be unleashed in its raw form such as lightning.
Technology powered by Dust is known to glow.
The people of Remnant attempted to achieve spaceflight and space-based communications with Dust as propellant fuel, but its inability to operate outside of Remnant's atmosphere hindered these endeavors.
When Weiss slices an Atkesian Paladin-290 in half, circuitry is revealed inside, indicating that it is powered by electricity; although, Dust as a fuel source is likely as well. Alternatively, this may reveal that Dust-powered objects also require circuits to function.
Cody Cuidightheach, with the Aedra Gauntlet, is able to use dust crystals as a prpojected elemental beam. By placing anu dust crystal in the 6 slots, he is able to project a beam from his palm producing the effect of that crystal being used. Such as if he used a fire-type dust crystal, the beam be a fiery beam. The crystal itself is the fuel for the offensive part of the gauntlet and when the crystal's gone, it wont be able to use it. Also, the gauntlet uses dust to fully power it for stability and strength usages by placing a crystal on the slot on the back of the gauntlet (though that can be used as a secondary elemental effect with the main projected beam of the dust on the knuckles).
The discovery of Dust was instrumental to humanity's initial defeat of the Grimm, and Dust continues to be used extensively in combat. Dust can be harnessed in a variety of ways, but when used in its raw form, its full potential requires both an Aura and the intelligence to use it, meaning Humans, Faunus, and certain artificial beings, such as Penny Polendina, are the only ones who are able to effectively use it for combat.
Dust bullets, however, are much simpler to use, merely requiring the user to pull the trigger. Ruby's weapon, Crescebt Rose, has also been mentioned to use rounds containing different kinds of Dust. Torchwick also makes reference to Dust rounds as being amongst the merchandise he stole, in the episode "Best Day Ever". It is mentioned that such rounds come in several different sizes and cartridges to be used for any given situation.
While this form is the most common and easiest way to use Dust in battle, it can also be used in its raw form, which is described as being "elegant, yet destructive" in nature and requiring a certain level of discipline to maintain control over.
One prominent example of raw Dust usage is Weiss Schnee's Multi-Action Dust Rapier, Myrtenaster , which contains vials of numerous colors of powdered Dust in its revolving chamber. She can allow Dust to flow from an exhaust port onto Myrtenaster's blade to augment her attacks, such as casting fire from her blade. She can also use her glyhps to manipulate how Dust flows and manifests. She has demonstrated this ability numerous times with Ice Dust by manipulating what shape the ice would take.
In "Field Trip", it is also speculated by James Ironwood that Cinder Fall utilizes Dust, which glows orange, woven into her clothing as |a weapon. Cinder's use of Dust also seems to allow her to generate dual black glass swords, which can be converted into a bow as well.
Another novel use of Dust is in the episode "No Brakes", where Blake Belladonna inserts Dust vials into her main weapon, Gamol Shroud, and uses it in conjunction with her semblance. While normally her Shadow images are simply evanescent copies of her, with Dust, they take on the properties of an element, such as stone statues, ice sculptures, or explosive fiery apparitions.
During the combat tournament of the Vytal Festival, Dust crystals are scattered throughout the arena for combatants to use. During the match between Team RWBY and Team ABRN, Ruby detonates Ice Dust to immobilize an opponent. Reese Chloris also combines orange Dust with her |weapon, imbuing it with fire-type properties. She later uses her weapon to freeze the leg of an Atlesian Paladin 290 in "Heroes & Monsters".
An unorthodox but effective use of Dust is physically infusing it within one's body. Shown in "Vault of the Spring Maiden", Hazel Rainart jabs a few Lightning Dust crystals into his arms. The process causes Hazel's muscles to grow and electricity to be discharged from his entire body, also enhancing his strikes with it. According to the World of Remnant episode, Dust, this can be done with other dust types as well.
Apparently there is a limit to how much raw Dust an ordinary person is capable of metabolizing at a time. A prime example of this is how Hazel Rainart is only capable of utilizing as much Dust as he does due to his Semblance rendering him impervious to the sensation of pain that is inferred to incapacitate or kill anyone else trying to attempt a similar feat.
Production and Distribution
The Schnee Dust Company is one of the largest producers of Dust in the world. Dust is mined from the Schnee Quarry, purified, and transported by railway lines or by sea to distributors. Dust is then sold to the public by Dust shops such as From Dust Till Dawn.
Crystalline Dust is apparently safe enough to leave out on display openly, whereas powdered Dust is dispensed from tubes on the wall and stored in portable cylindrical canisters. Bags that have been seen on store shelves have the same bright hues as the tubes and their Dust, but whether they contain Dust themselves is unknown.
Much like real world resources, Dust has been said to be a limited resource as it is mined from the ground. The RWBY: World of Remnant episode "Schnee Dust Company" depicts a crystal-to-bullet process, with a hint that this process is costly.
- Monty Oum had compared Dust to Materia from the Final Fantasy video game series.
- He went on to state that, originally, all of the Dust in Myrtenaster was going to be red but still have different effects. This was because he felt that red went well with Weiss' design, as well as the fact that, design-wise, he was uncomfortable with having a character with a certain color palette walk around with "a rainbow" on them. He ended up putting those feelings aside and deciding that it would be better for the audience if Dust was color-coded.