Disclaimer: I do not own RWBY, or any other fictional characters that might make bit appearances.
"Crocea Mors came around, and with a mighty swing your great-great grandfather cut through the Tyrant Scale's last head, saving the Princess!" Isabella Arc finished the story with a grand twirl of her arm to mimic the feat, even as a sleepy Jaune cheered her on.
"Yay! Tell it again Mom, tell it again!" he begged even as he tried to climb out from beneath the covers of his bed to reenact the daring fight with his toy sword. His clothes covered chair looked suspiciously like a Grimm in the low light, if you squinted and ignored the bright blue covering. It was just begging to be slayed.
Isabella laughed, and reached down to ruffle his hair, incidentally placing her other arm on the edge of his bed so he couldn't escape. "No, that was the last story. Now it's time to go to bed."
"But-" Whatever argument Jaune was going to make was cut off as a mighty yawn ripped its way out. He slumped back into his pillows, knowing that there went any chance of his mom actually telling him another tale, or letting him play a bit more. That didn't stop him from squirming when she went to kiss him though, not that it stopped her. With a wet smooch on his forehead, she tucked the covers up around him. "'Grandad was a knight, right?"
She gave him a small smile. "While you're forgetting several greats, not even he was old enough to be a knight like you're thinking of. He just used a sword and shield. Now, enough distractions, I'm going to turn off the lights now. And I better not find you out of bed playing again, understand mister?" She gave him a mock stern look, but he knew she was serious. Last time that happened he'd been without dessert for a week.
As Isabella reached for the lights, after ensuring his Crocea Mor shaped nightlight was plugged in and working, she paused when her son spoke. "Nu-uh. Granddad was a knight, he used a sword and shield and saved princesses and killed dragons." She couldn't stop a smile from spreading over her face at that childish logic, and the certainty behind the statement. To be young and trouble free again...or as much as she'd been allowed to be back then.
But Jaune's next words stole the smile from her face. "And I'm going to be just like him when I grow up." As she shut the door to his room, she prayed that he'd forget that dream come morning.
But Jaune didn't forget. For the next three years he clung to that goal with the tenacity of a child, that special kind of stubbornness only the young at heart, unburdened by anything else, can achieve. He pestered his parents for new stories about his great-great-grandfather, asked his sisters to take him to the Vale Library to look up knights, and was constantly running around with a wooden Crocea Mors his father had given him. Everything was about knights and princesses to him, Hunters and policemen having fallen to the side in his imaginary world.
While his classmates focused on the Blue Avenger or whoever the hunter of the day was, he was diving into ancient children's books from the dusty back shelves of the libraries and talking about the Green Knight or The Black Prince. Those were close enough to Hunter names to get the children involved, or at least tolerate his obsession, but as he dug deeper and pulled out even more obscure figures such as the Faunus Knight James Hawkwood or Guesclin they left him alone to his weirdness. The only reason he wasn't left totally alone was the recent release of the toy models of the newest Atlesian robots. As they were called the Knight Series, he was as into them as any of his classmates, and their imaginary wars filled the halls of their homes.
And then came his seventh birthday. Both his parents made sure to be home, not taking anything but local missions in the time leading up to it. While they tried to make every one of their children's' birthdays, it wasn't always possible with eight of them. But the seventh birthday was special, and without fail they'd never missed one. Violet, Shani, and Sienna had made it home from Beacon for the day to visit him, but Azure and Indigo were at Signal, and couldn't get a transport back from Patch in time. With Bianca in Mistral, and Olivia at home until Signal next year, the Arc family was as complete as it was going to get until the next vacation break.
There were gifts and cake, and several of his parents' teammates stopped by with their own kids. Children ran screaming around on a sugar high, chasing after and fighting the waves of sand Grimm created by Jacques Arc's semblance. To civilians, it might have been too much, but for Hunters' children it was par for the course. Classics like 'Put the Spear in the Boarbatusk' and a Nevermore shaped piñata rounded out the day.
That night, as Jaune crawled into bed in his new blue, fuzzy, onesie, his mom came to tuck him in. He wasn't having any of it, he was seven, almost an adult now. "But Mom, I'm too old to be tucked in, I'm seven now!"
"Well, I guess that means you're too old for a story as well then?" Isabella asked, as she slowly turned around to leave.
Jaune's eyes grew wide. "No! I'm not too old!" Stories were the only good part of going to bed.
"Well, alright then." Stepping in, Isabella sat on the edge of his bed, and proceeded to tell him his favorite story about his great-great-grandfather and the Tyrant Scale of Freshwater. As he had grown older the story had grown as well, details were fleshed out, and more of the truth was revealed. The enemy raid that devastated the town was told, and the awful follow up Grimm attacks as they sensed the town's sorrow and desperation. How the girl he rescued was the last of her family, the rest lost to the enemy or Grimm, leaving her alone in the world. How his grandfather had arrived too late to stop the first attacks, but still early enough to lead a desperate fighting retreat to the city of Vale, with people getting picked off by Grimm the entire time. In the end, his great-great grandfather had still won, saving those he could, including his future wife, but the full price of that victory was told to Jaune.
But with the truth of the horror of those times came tales of strength. Of how the Mayor's daughter had refused to give into despair, distracting the Tyrant Scale to let others flee, and being a constant support to the remainder of the town. A pillar of strength so strong she impressed the leader of the men sent to save them.
In fact, all his stories had changed like that over the years as his parents slowly stopped hiding him from the truth of the world, that Remnant was a dark and vicious place, and while good could triumph, often evil did as well. In Remnant, naiveté could kill, and his parents had sworn to never hide the truth.
And so, as Isabella finished the story, she asked her son one final time. "Do you still want to be a Hunter?"
Jaune nodded, determination shining on his face as he looked up at her, completely at odds with his fuzzy onesie. "I do Mom. I want to be a Knight like granddad, and to help protect the innocent like you and Dad."
Isabella started down at him for the longest time, trying to etch that happy, smiling face into her memory, knowing it might be the last time she ever saw it directed at her. But if that was the price she paid, so be it. "Alright, your training starts tomorrow."
"Wha?" It was still dark outside when Jaune woke up, which wasn't right. His parents had told him before, don't get up until you can at least see the sun. Getting up at night was only for emergencies.
"It's time for training Jaune, wake up." Isabella shook her son again as he tried to burrow further under the covers.
"But it's dark out!" And it really was, he couldn't even see the tree that sat right outside his window.
"That doesn't matter now that you're seven Jaune. Now, get up and put on the clothes I left for you. You need to be downstairs in five minutes." Ripping the covers off him, Isabella pointed at the stack of exercise clothes sitting on his chair.
It was a minute after she left that her words finally hit him. He was going to train! This was it, he was really going to be a knight! Hurriedly sliding off the bed, Jaune grabbed the clothes and pulled them on before dashing for the bathroom.
A few minutes later he was down in the kitchen where his Mom was waiting with water. "Drink this, then we get started."
He guzzled it down, curious about what they'd be doing. He knew his sisters would normally train with his Mom in the morning, so where was Olivia? Before he could ask, she took the empty glass from him and gestured to the door. "Now we run."
The forest behind their house was one of the few safe ones, tucked away behind the patrols, sensors, and camera. But even then the kids knew they weren't supposed to go there alone. But Jaune wasn't alone as they ran through the dirt trails. And ran. And ran. They ran until it hurt to breath, and his shirt was soaked with sweat. And when it finally felt like he couldn't run any more, when they were still surrounded by trees and shrubs, they kept running, or at least tried to.
Jaune collapsed, his leg giving out from under him. A yelp forced its way through his clenched teeth as his knee skidded on the ground, turning bloody under the assault of the twigs and rocks. Tears started to pour down his cheeks as he turned over, pulling his leg close to him as he tried to pull out a larger rock embedded in the skin. Instinctively he looked around for his Mom, like he had the hundreds of other times he'd fallen down.
"Get up." Isabella still looked perfectly fine, not even a drop of sweat on her brow from the run. But that wasn't what bothered Jaune, he knew she was strong after all. What bothered him was the fact she was refusing to look at him.
Jaune hiccupped as he abruptly stopped crying, his mind not comprehending what he'd just heard. He didn't understand it. He was hurt...bleeding, and his mom was right there, but instead of help….
"Get up. If you want to be a Hunter, then you need to run. If you want to give up, we can go home now." She was still refusing to look at him…
Lost...he felt lost...What was he supposed to do? She was supposed to help him...she had always helped him, even when Dad punished him...and now…
"Jaune? Are you giving up?" There was no tone in her voice, no love, nothing. It sounded just like one of the robot policemen they had showed off at school.
Jaune didn't know what to do, so he did the only thing he could do. He stood up.
And all Isabella did was say, "Keep running."
They did, back through the trees, back to the house where he threw up on the grass. He could see his father working in the kitchen, items whirling around as he used his Semblance as an extra dozen hands while cooking something, probably their lunches. All he wanted to do was go inside and rest, to curl back up in bed and forget about school.
But it wasn't over yet.
Isabella was standing over him, and he blinked wearily up at her, feeling the sweat stinging his eyes, shirt damp with splattered vomit, the stomach acid burning his throat. She handed him a bottle of water. "Swish and spit, then small sips."
He wanted to guzzle it immediately; once he cleared out the taste of vomit it was better than any soda, but his stomach protested the first huge chug, and he nearly heaved again. After that he took the smaller swallows until the water was almost gone.
"That's enough. We have more to do." The bottle was set by the side, and the workout started again.
Stretches, pushups and crunches of all types, leg lifts, planks. The exercises seemed endless. And then they finally stopped, because he stopped. His plank broke, his arms giving out, and he couldn't stop the face plant. He tried to roll over, but his body refused to budge, and so he sat there, face in the grass, tasting the dirt. He felt hands turning him over, replacing the green grass with a view of the now light sky above, even if the edges were tinged with blackness… Or was that just his eyes? Were the Grimm coming to steal his vision?
He wanted to ask mom, but all that came out was a grunt. Water dribbled over his face as she opened the bottle over him. But it wasn't her...it was…
"Alright Kiddo, can't sleep now, you've got school to get ready for." His father's hands were under his arms, lifting him as effortlessly as he would lift a stuffed toy.
Jaune swayed unsteadily, his father's hand on his shoulder keeping him balanced, before staggering into the kitchen.
Olivia, his youngest sister, was eating breakfast as he walked in. When she saw him, pale and sweating, with a vomit splattered shirt and bleeding knee, she turned as white as a ghost and rushed from the room, not pausing even as her discarded bowl hit the ground. The sturdy plastic bounced several times before rolling to a stop in front of him.
Jaune stared down at it, mind blank, before the thought that maybe he should pick it up slowly filtered into his mind. But he just couldn't muster the energy, and just looked at it, before his father's semblance whisked it out of site. "Here, drink this."
A cup was thrust into his vision, filled with a thick, green liquid that looked more like it belonged in a toxic waste dump then a cup. "I have to drink that?" Jaune's stomach roiled in protest at the thought...or maybe it was hunger. "Can't I just have some Pumpkin Pete's?"
Jack laughed, a deep one starting from belly, and that ended up shaking Jaune from the one hand still sitting on his shoulder. "Sorry, despite their motto of 'Breakfast of Champions,' it's not the healthiest. This here special concoction has everything a growing boy like you needs, and its Dad approved. So pinch your nose and bottoms up."
Seeing Jaune wasn't moving, Jack started to push the glass against his chest. "Jaune… Jaune...Jaune...Jaune...Jaune…"
Knowing his Dad wouldn't stop until he actually drank it, Jaune reached a hand up, absently noting his arm was no longer shaking, and grabbed the glass. It was heavier than he expected, and bubbled thickly.
Following his Dad's order, he pinched his nose, he threw the concoction back. He almost gagged, but then realized it actually didn't taste that bad...more fruity than anything, like a smoothie. Most importantly though, it stopped his stomach from aching, and he hurriedly swallowed the rest, tilting the cup and his head back to get the last few drops.
"See? Listen to your Dad, I know my foods. Now, hurry up and shower and change, your bus will be here soon."
Olivia met him at the top of the stairs. "Jaune, are you okay?" Even as she asked she was bending down to look at his knee.
"M'okay. I just fell when I was running. I'm going to be a hunter someday, I've got to be tough." He still felt exhausted, his words almost unclear.
"When you came in and I saw the blood and Dad was half carrying you I thought…" Olivia paused for a second, looking up at him. "Well, what I thought doesn't matter." Being almost twice his age she had a good foot of height on him when she stood back up. But then she crouched, looking him in the eyes.
Her blue eyes, the same blue eyes he had, and their father, and half their sisters, stared at him, looking out from a face that looked so similar to his own. But they were partially red, her voice sounded different, almost like she had been crying. "Jaune, promise me that if you get hurt, that if you want to stop...that if Mom...well, promise me Jaune that you'll let me know."
He didn't know what was wrong, so he gave her his biggest smile. "I will, but it's going to be fine, I'm going to be a hunter, just like you!"
Quicker than a snake her hand reached out to ruffle his hair, before she pulled him into a hug, ignoring how her tee-shirt got dirty in the process. Her words were muffled with her face buried in his hair, but he could still make them out. "Yeah, just like me. Now," she let him go, stepping back. "Hurry and get ready, hunters can't be late for school."
As he rushed off to the bathroom, he missed the brief flash of anger that appeared on her face.
With his Dad's order to eat all his lunch still ringing in his head, Jaune stepped off the bus to school. It was no combat academy, merely the normal school all Vale children had to attend. He'd thought it would be harder to stay awake, but whatever was in the breakfast his father had given him left him feeling fine, and the day passed without issue, and sadly, without any mention of knights or hunters.
At home it was the same rules as always, no playing until his homework was finished. But once he had finished it, he was free, or was supposed to be. "Not yet Jaune."
"But Mom, I finished everything due for tomorrow."
"And for the rest of the week?" Her stern voice and the fact she had her arms crossed let Jaune know that he shouldn't even consider lying to her, not that he would. He'd learned that last year with the science project.
"And the rest of the week. Even math." He hated math, history was so much cooler.
Isabella nodded approvingly before heading over to the bookshelf next to the table he was working at. Pulling out one battered book, she dropped it in front of him. "What's this?" It looked like one of those boring books, the kind with only a few pictures and tiny print. Only knights made those books fun to read.
"This," she stressed by picking the book up and opening it to the first chapter, showing a picture of a wolf like creature Jaune recognized as a Beowolf, "is your hunter homework. Read chapter one and take good notes. I want a definition of every underlined word in there."
Definitions, that meant the dictionary, which meant having to look up three new words for every required one. Why couldn't they use normal words in their descriptions? It was always so much easier to ask one of his sisters, or a librarian. With a sigh Jaune headed over to the shelf to get the book. He couldn't wait until he got his own Scroll and could just google things.
Jaune was finally settling into a routine of backbreaking exercise in the morning, school, homework, hunter work, and an early bedtime to be able to do it again the next day. He hadn't hung out with his friends since his birthday, having almost no time, but that was okay cause he was going to be a Hunter. So what if even the other hunters' kids hadn't started training yet? He had his books for the little bit of free time he had. And Mom and Dad had both been staying around, something that was rare outside birthdays; normally at least one of them would have gone on a mission by now.
So it was a little bit of a surprise that the doorbell rang, and then rang again. Olivia wasn't home, still at school, but Mom and Dad should have been home. Leaving his school work on the table, Jaune cautiously made his way to the door. He'd been told several times not to answer it by himself, but surely just peeking through was okay?
Unable to reach the peephole, he instead twitched aside the curtains. At seeing who was out there, he started fumbling with the various deadbolts and locks, trying to open them as fast as possible. Finally managing to get them all unlocked he threw the door open and dived out.
"Bianca!" Jaune crashed into the woman standing there, not even staggering her as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Immediately he was picked up and twirled around until his stomach started to protest.
"Hey tiny Jay, still got that weak stomach I see."
Staggering to the side, Jaune took a second to steady himself before turning to glare up at the blonde woman. "I'm not tiny, and Mom says motion sickness is common!"
Bianca laughed, reaching down in an exaggerated motion to ruffle his hair. "Sure, whatever you say Jay. Now, has Violet stopped by yet?"
Jaune's eyes lit up. Not one, but two of his sisters were coming by to visit, and it wasn't even a holiday. "No, not yet. What about Shani and Sienna, are they coming to?"
Bianca's face tightened for a minute before she smiled again. "What not happy with just your two oldest sisters?"
Jaune frantically shook his head, he recognized a trap when he heard one. "No, no, no, having you visit is great. You're my favorite!"
Bianca arched an eyebrow. "Uh-huh, that's not what Olivia said. Anyway, no, the Twins can't make it. They had...other things at Beacon. But I did bring my team." That's when Jaune realized there was actually a man standing with Bianca, and looking very amused.
"I finally get to meet your team?!" Jaune stared at the man with fascination, happy to finally get to meet some of his sister's team. He was tall, his curly hair hanging down near his shoulders, and a pencil thin mustache graced his upper lip.
But he was smiling as he bent down, offering his hand. "Hello, my name is Indigo Montoya. I've heard a lot about you, Bianca can't stop talking about her little brother, at least when she's not teasing me about having the same name as her sister."
"That's cause I'm awesome," announced Jaune. "And I'm going to be a knight someday."
"Oh-ho, really? Then can you tell me what this is?" Reaching to his side, Indigo drew his weapon with a flourish. The long silver blade glinted in the light.
"That's a rapier, but it's not a real sword. It's a frog-poker." Jaune said it with all the assurance and confidence a seven year old can have when they know they're absolutely right.
Indigo's mouth dropped open in astonishment, even as Bianca closed her eyes, unable to believe what Jaune had just said. "I like him."
Now it was Bianca's turn to have her mouth drop open in surprise, she knew just how much Indigo prized his sword. But she quickly regained her composure, shooting Indigo a look over Jaune's head. "Anyway, enough of that. Jaune, I need you to go pack, okay? We're going on a trip to visit Indigo on Patch Island."
"Really?" He'd never been outside Vale before, not even to Mistral to visit his Grandmother.
Bianca smiled down at him. "Really really. Now hurry and grab a jacket, it's colder on Patch. Olivia is waiting for us with your suitcase."
As he scampered into the house, Indigo turned to Bianca. "Think we have time?"
She just shook her head. "With Violet distracting her, either we have plenty of time, or we have no time and it wouldn't make a difference." She sighed, running a hand through her hair.
"Still thinking it should be you out there?" asked Indigo; he knew his teammate well enough to know what she wasn't saying. "You both agreed it had to be you getting Jaune; she's faster than you. And if all goes to plan, she'll never need to actually use it."
Bianca sighed again before heading toward the house, talking as she walked. "Hard to beat lightning in a race; I know that. But that doesn't stop me from thinking it should be me...I'm her older sister, and she's out there with my partner. But there's no guarantee this will work."
Indigo stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. "Work or not, we're here for you, and so's your sister's team. There's always plan B."
"Got your bag Jay?" asked Olivia. She'd been waiting at the Dustplane stop as promised with both their bags.
"Indigo has it for me." Jaune pointed to the Signal Academy bag, a birthday gift from Azure, which Indigo carried easily in one hand.
"The little man was looking a bit tired with it, and I didn't want it to get lost before we made it to the Dust Plane," said Indigo after he saw Bianca's look.
"Not you too, I'm not short!" Jaune would have hit Indigo, but the man was carrying his bag.
"Sorry Little Jay, but until you grow, you'll always be…" Bianca trailed off, making Jaune turn to where she was looking at.
"Mom! You came to see us off." She was standing right next to the terminal entrance where their Dustplane was waiting.
He ran to give her a hug, Bianca's grab just missing his shoulder. "Sorry Jaune, the trip will have to wait."
"But Mom, we were going to see Indigo. And I was going to get to ride my first Dustplane!" Jaune gave her his best puppy dog eyes, but all she did was give him a gentle smile and shake her head no.
"Maybe for one of their birthdays your father can take you out to visit them. But for now don't you want to go home and see Violet and the rest of your sisters' teams?"
"Ah, but we just left there, and the bus is already gone…" Jaune had really wanted to ride on the Dustplane, seeing his dream school of Signal and his sisters would have been great too.
"Don't worry, there's a cab waiting outside for us. And I'm sure Bianca and her teammate will meet us there?" Isabella looked at the pair over Jaune's head, her expression challenging them to say otherwise.
For a second it looked like Bianca would, but after a moment's consideration and a look the happily smiling Jaune, she just nodded. "Come on Olivia, you're riding with us."
"Whoa, you're even bigger than Dad! Can I ride on your shoulders? I bet I could see Beacon from up there."
Fezwick Legume, Bianca's giant of a teammate, let out a loud laugh, and swooping up Jaune with one hand, deposited the boy on his shoulders.
"There, now you're taller than Bianca," pointed out Buttercup, Bianca's final teammate and Fezwick's partner. "Make sure to point that out to her, will you?"
Jaune laughed, tugging slightly on Fezwick's hair to stay upright. "Quick Fezwick, let's show Bianca. Oh, and ruffle her hair! Now that I'm taller, I'm supposed to do that. Or at least that's what she always told me."
"Alright, but get ready to duck, it's going to be a tight fit." Fezwick had to nearly go on his knees to get through the door with Jaune on his shoulders, and even inside had to crouch while Jaune ducked.
Thankfully for his knees, he only had to do it a minute before, "Fezwick, quick put me down! I want to play with the dogs!"
"What about me? Am I chopped liver?" demanded a voice from the other side of the room.
Jaune froze mid scramble, eliciting a grunt from Fezwick when he accidentally stepped on the man's fingers. "Violet! Your eyes are glowing!' And they were, her normally brown eyes, inherited from their mother, were replaced by a bright and gleaming purple, the light of which seemed to almost spill over into the lines of her face.
His sister laughed, scooping him off the crouching Fezwick and pulling him into a hug. "Of course, don't all awesome people glow?'
"But I don't glow!" protested Jaune, even as he hugged his sister back.
"You're too young, and short, to be awesome. Now, didn't you want to see the dogs? You remember the first rule right?"
"Always check with the owner before approaching a strange dog," recited Jaune dutifully, having had the lesson repeated to him over and over again.
"That's right, so, why don't you go over and ask Rob and Jon if it's okay to pet Greywind and Ghost?" Violet pointed to the two men sitting on the couch behind their massive war hounds.
"Like they're going to pass up a chance to show off the loves of their lives. They won't mind kid, promise," said the third man on the couch.
In sync, the two men elbowed the third, making Violet snigger. "Theon, if he gets bit one day by a strange dog, I'm blaming you."
"Better a dog then a Beowolf." Everyone turned stare at him. "What's with the evil eyes? I'm just sayin."
"Enough of that. Now Jaune, you've met your sisters' teams. So, go finish your homework." At seeing his pleading expression, Isabella gave a small smile. "Just your homework for tonight. The rest can wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, I have something to talk about with your sisters."
By the time he finished his neglected homework, with Buttercup's help, it was dinner time, Jacques having gotten a truly massive amount of takeout to satisfy all the Hunters in the house.
And while Jaune might not have always known what his sisters were thinking, he did know when they were angry. It was a survival trait after all, between seven of them and a limited number of bathrooms. And they were angry, in fact, if he had to guess, everyone was angry. But they continued to smile and laugh all through dinner, and every time he started to ask, they'd ask him a question, or one of the dogs would nudge his leg and beg for food. It wasn't until afterward, when they were all getting ready to leave, the he got a moment alone with his sisters.
"Here Jaune." Violet passed him a piece of paper. "This is all our scroll numbers."
"Who's?" asked Jaune curiously, he already had all his sisters' numbers after all. "Your teams?"
Bianca shook her head. "No, Violet just gave you our emergency numbers. Mission or not, if we're in range of a communications tower, we'll get your call. So Jaune, if it's an emergency, if you want to give up being a Hunter, or you still want to be one but something happens in training, call us. Try our normal numbers first, and Sienna and Shani and Azure, they're close enough to help right away. But if you can't reach them, call one of those numbers, and we'll here as soon as we can get a Dustship."
"Even if we need to hijack one, it's a promise,' added Violet, even as she knelt down and pulled him into a hug, with Bianca engulfing them both in her arms. Jaune could feel a wetness on his cheek as she did. "Are you crying? What's wrong?"
Neither sister answered right away, instead they just continued to hold him for a minute, and sensing the situation, even if he didn't understand, Jaune let them, instead of trying to squirm out like he normally would. Finally, they pulled back, Bianca wiping off her cheek with one hand as they did. "Nothing, just you're my baby brother, and I'm going to miss you. I love you, you know that, right Jaune?'
"Of course, you named me, how could you not love me? And I love you both too." Despite having just gotten out of a bone crushing group hug, Jaune darted back to give them both a quick hug around the middle.
"Right tiny Jay. And remember, if you need anything, call us. The Twins and Azure are just a quick trip away."
With that final comment, both his sisters stepped outside to join their teams, giving one last wave as they disappeared down Vale's darkened street. Jaune continued to wave at them from the doorway for several more minutes before his Dad placed a hand on his shoulder. "Time for bed Jaune."
"Alright Dad. It was nice of them to come to visit with their teams, wasn't it? I thought we'd never get to meet them."
"Of course, always a rare treat when your sisters visit." Jaune didn't see the look on his Dad's face as he headed upstairs, or the look that was shared with his mother.
I'm blessed to be able to travel. Or perhaps I should say cursed with a bone deep desire to dig into the past. I don't know how people aren't constantly questioning what came before. So much has been lost, untold kingdoms consumed by the Grimm, their remains ground down into so much dust. Is everything we do know merely recreating the glories of the past? Or are we building on the shoulders of giants, scrambling ever upward, knowing to falter is to be consumed by the menace that has haunted us from before whatever history we've managed to dig up?
And so, in a time when most citizens are content behind their walls, living life without ever seeing the threat of Grimm, I will venture out into their world. Into the darkness between the lights of civilization to see what truths can be uncovered, what mysteries answered? Or perhaps I will merely add to them, one more person lost to our hostile world.
So, before we start, I just want to give a basic telling of what inspired this, and discuss a few things. First, I'll be grateful for any feedback you care to give. I'm trying to improve my writing, and would love feedback on anything from how it flows to pacing to characterization to dialogue. Basically, anything and everything. I'll admit, I struggle with originality. So, some of this might seem familiar, as I tend to build and expand on what the original story shows, adding in elements of plot points from other things I've read. And I've read a lot. So kudos if you see the various things I've added from other works, some are obvious, some aren't.
This story was inspired by several things. First is obviously RWBY itself, which I was introduced to thanks to Ryuugi's (rgm005) wonderful story, "The Games We play." I've borrowed part of his Jaune's backstory for basis of mine, as I've found he has one of the most fleshed out and imaginative takes on the RWBY world. He also gets the whole death world part of the setting, which a lot of writers seem to miss.
Second, is from my involvement with the SCA, an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Though I'm relatively new to it, one thing that stuck out to me was the fact that Knights in that organization are extremely proud (And rightly so in most cases) of their skill. And you better not call yourself a knight or use their symbols of rank unless you've earned it. Basically, the same as calling yourself a black belt in karate without holding that rank.
This ties into the fact that it seemed every other story I read with Jaune in it called him a knight.
So, now you have this story, which will be about Jaune actually trying to be a knight.
And thanks to College Fool and Coeur Al'Aran. Amazing stories like theirs are what inspire me to do more than just read, even if my works pale in comparison.