Wraith

Chapter One

Beta: Smithrooks

The Lord of Hunger

Beacon had always been a special place.

For nearly a thousand years a mighty fortress had stood where the school was now, but the castle had been laid low in the tail end of the Faunus War. The once grand structure had been reduced to little more than charred rubble and scattered ash, a testament to the destructive powers of mankind.

To the people of the world, the destruction of the oldest intact structure had been a tragedy, a saddening loss. But still something they could recover from in due time.

To the leaders of the world, this caused absolute chaos.

With the resolution to build huntsman academies across the world, the leaders of Vale reconstructed the fortress of Beacon post-haste. The leaders of the kingdom swiftly congratulated themselves on their choice as well; after all, they now had a good reason to keep the greatest hunters in the kingdom centered at the school, a perfect cover for the real reason behind the fortress.

Not to train the next generation, that was just an added bonus.

The real reason was because of the threat that this location posed to the rest of the world.

Beacon was built on the Rift.

The Rift had been studied for as long as mankind was aware of it; there were hundreds of theories trying to explain its existence. Some scientists called it a weak point, others called it the nexus. Regardless of titles, they all agreed that the location was both the single most dangerous, and exceptional location on all of Remnant. The reason behind this was simple: sometimes… things... came out.

The current leading theory was that the Rift led to a different dimension.

Things would appear in a flash of brilliant violet light, objects that defied all reason and explanation. Modern science had advanced in leaps and bounds by studying whatever came through. Mecha-shift weaponry was created after a half-melted sword appeared, nearly a decade before the Faunus Wars. Scrolls had been designed, and later mass-produced, from a near shattered tablet-like device. The aircraft had been invented nearly two centuries prior due to a broken wreck crashing into the castle in a haze of violet light.

But not all that came from the Rift aided mankind.

Hundreds of years prior to the Faunus War, a deadly plague had infested the world, millions of people dying horrible deaths ridden with disease. The infection appeared just days after the Rift had spat out a glowing chunk of rock, and humanity had only narrowly survived the plague.

From then onwards, the Rift had been treated like a double-edged sword. It could bring either great prosperity to the world… or it could bring damnation and suffering.

But never in the entire history of Vale had a person ever come through the Rift… until today that was.

Today, five people came through.


Beacon, present day.

It was the day after initiation, and all was calm and peaceful throughout the school. Students were attending their first lessons of the year, and teachers were lamenting the end of their holiday.

But it was… peaceful.

Headmaster Ozpin was mulling over the situation with Amber, the current Fall Maiden. Or more accurately, half the current Fall Maiden.

With the aid of Qrow, they had been able to sneak the broken shell of a girl into the school. The ruined girl was now situated in the basement of the school, close to where the Rift was.

How could this have happened? Ozpin wondered to himself. The Maidens were nigh unstoppable, so how could Amber be beaten so easily? And if what Qrow said was true, how could Amber have been beaten by only three people? The Maidens could literally bend the environment around them to their will, without the aid of any kind of dust.

Amber may have been young, just barely 22, but her powers weren't exactly feeble. She had only been the Maiden for about six months before the attack happened, yet to actually master the full world-bending abilities offered by the Wizard so long ago… but she was skilled in her own right.

Even now, far above where Amber was currently resting Ozpin could feel her. He could rage and scream in a vain attempt to reach out and crush the shadow that had destroyed the Maiden… but she was so much less now than she used to be. Amber was now more than half a machine; she was like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf. Very distantly, Ozpin could feel the other half of the power, far away from him and all of Beacon. But the power Amber could now touch was only a memory, a fraction of the soul that was once hers.

Ozpin was no fool; he knew that the machines that kept her alive were a short-term fix at best. Even if he were to locate the being that had stolen the power and defeat it, Amber would never be whole again; her body was dying a slow and drawn-out death… all because she had her soul ripped out.

Was this what mankind had come to? Savage beasts that clawed for whatever scraps of power they could? When had they become so complacent, that the Grimm became a secondary threat compared to the evils wrought by mankind?

If only it didn't have to be like this…

If only…

A sudden, piercing wail rang out through the room, snapping the aged headmaster out of his ruminations.

Ozpin could only pale and let out a shaky breath as the sound began. He knew what it was; every headmaster of Beacon had been trained and drilled for this situation.

Something had arrived through the Rift.

With all the considerable speed that the aged headmaster could muster, he darted towards the elevator. He needed to get down to the school's basement quickly and ensure that whatever had come through was properly contained, and could do no damage to what remained of the Fall Maiden.

The elevator doors closed, and he began riding the car downwards. The lift felt agonizingly slow compared to the frantic pumping of his own, aged heart.

Ozpin forced himself to take a deep breath, calming his somewhat frayed nerves. As the elevator descended further, he quickly snatched his scroll out of his pocket and called Glynda; no doubt she would wish to be aware of the situation.

"Hello?" her pleasant voice intoned from the small device, "What is it, Ozpin? I am in the middle of teaching."

"We have a situation Glynda," he replied, his voice sounding like the epitome of calmness despite how he actually felt, "the Rift just opened, I'm on my way down now. Join me as soon as you can."

The other side of the call was silent for a moment, the younger huntress honestly surprised at the information. "... I understand headmaster, I will be there momentarily."

With that, the call ended.

The elevator came to a stop with a gentle ding, and the doors opened to show the green-lit basement of Beacon. The long corridor stretched outwards for nearly twenty metres until it split off into two separate directions; the left leading to where Amber was currently housed, and the right to the secured and constantly monitored Rift.

Ozpin bolted towards the exit zone, his cane held firmly in hand.

As soon as he drew near the secured portal, he stopped dead.

Every headmaster of Beacon was expected to learn the full history of things that had passed through the nexus point beneath the school, and Ozpin was no exception. He knew every single object that had arrived in recorded history.

But that's all they had been… objects.

The… man... that currently paced around the containment chamber was no such object.

Ozpin could hardly believe his eyes, never before had anything living passed through the Rift.

Although the creature before him may be living however, Ozpin would hardly call it a man.

The creature had skin that was so eerily pale and white that it was almost as if sunlight had never graced it. Its hair also bore the similar lack of colour, stark white lengths of hair that trailed down to its shoulders. Both of these stood in sharp contrast to the achingly black robes the being wore. The robes seemed to draw light into it but never let any out… only the bare whiteness of its face and fingertips were visible under the heavy robe.

All of this Ozpin could accept; some people had odd fashion choices after all. But what really cemented the man before him as inhuman were its eyes, a sickly yellow that seemed to glare out like lasers and make the aged headmaster feel weary to his bones.

Whatever this thing was… it wasn't human.

Ozpin watched it pace around the containment chamber slowly, the sickly yellow eyes darting around wildly and a feral grin splitting its face.

Slowly, the headmaster drew closer to the transparent steel window that allowed him to see the creature. Perhaps… perhaps it could understand me if I try to communicate with it? He thought to himself as he stared at the… man.

Mind made up, Ozpin pressed down on the intercom button. "Hello?" he asked softly, not wanting to startle the creature before him. "My name is-"

In less than the blink of an eye, the man appeared right up against the transparent steel window, his yellow eyes narrowing on Ozpin. "Headmaster Ozpin!" the creature cackled. "HAHA! Back again?! I saw your past headmaster, so much blood and death!" the creature screeched in delight, eyes alight with mad joy. "But now I know your future! Like her, like her…"

Ozpin pulled away from the window sharply. That was impossible, this creature… it couldn't know him, could it? Surely that wasn't possible.

Seeing that it wasn't going to say anything else until he replied, Ozpin cautiously inched back to the intercom button and pressed it downwards. "You know me?" he asked, curiosity getting the better of him. "I don't recall ever meeting you before, Mr…"

The creature licked his pale lips, showing a very sharp looking set of teeth in doing so. "Know you!?" he cackled, eyes alight with amusement. "You were delicious! So old and wise! A soul shadowed in pain, but brightened by false hope! Such a tasty little morsel you were… like warm chocolate..."

Ozpin had absolutely nothing to say to that. What was the creature talking about? Had this thing… eaten someone from wherever it came from? And it tasted like chocolate?

"I…" the headmaster started, unsure of what exactly he could say to that. "I'm afraid I don't catch your meaning…"

It was at exactly that moment when Glynda burst out from the elevator and dashed around the corner. "Ozpin, I came as soon as I could-" her words stopped dead in her mouth when her green eyes landed on the being on the other side of the containment chamber window.

"Oooh, the little witch is here too!" the pale man announced in delight, insane yellow eyes narrowing on the female professor. "She tasted so nice… like pineapple!"

"What… what is that?" Glynda demanded as she drew close to where Ozpin stood. "That… that couldn't have been what came through could it?"

"It is," Ozpin responded grimly as he eyed the pale man. "It… doesn't seem particularly sane."

Whatever Glynda was going to say next was cut off when the creature began speaking again, but this time it wasn't directed to either of the hunters.

"SHUT UP!" it roared in sudden fury as its head snapped to the side to glare at empty air. "MORE! I NEED MORE!"

Ozpin was quick to try and calm the being; not knowing the extent of its capabilities could lead to a very dangerous scenario if it escaped.

"Please," the headmaster said soothingly. "What is it you need? Perhaps we could acquire it for you."

The man's sickly yellow eyes leveled on Ozpin once again, and instantly the headmaster knew he had made a mistake.

"MORE POWER!" the beast screamed as its hands shot outwards and collided with the solid steel walls of the containment chamber. "I HUNGER!"

The metal bent outwards as soon as his fists collided with the steel, Ozpin barely had time to push himself backwards and out of the way before the entire wall shot outwards and crashed against the ground.

Instantly Ozpin and Glynda held their respective weapons at the ready, both hunters absolutely ready for whatever the creature intended to do.

But something was wrong. As the man stepped out of the now ruined containment chamber, a feral grin adorned his face.

Ozpin and Glynda collapsed to their knees, their strength leaving them in seconds as their auras were sucked away by an unseen force.

"Where I'm from, I have many names…" the creature said as it strode past them and towards the other side of the basement where Amber was currently being kept alive. "Such pretty little gifts people give me…"

Ozpin tried feebly to strike at the beast with his cane, but his aura was leaving him too quickly and the strike just bounced weakly off its robed leg.

"But most of them just call me the Lord of Hunger."

No… Ozpin thought weakly as the man neared the thick metal pod that housed Amber.

Slowly the robed beast ran his pale white hand down the glass, eyes alight with what Ozpin could only describe as hunger.

A second later the metal door to the pod was torn away, leaving what remained of the Fall Maiden exposed to the self-proclaimed 'Lord of Hunger'.

The creature swooped down on the Maiden like a bird of prey, his yellow eyes dancing over the prone form of Amber like she were food to a starving man.

"Hahaha!" he cried as he slowly lowered his left hand to her heart, "I hope she tastes better than last time!"

But mere moments before his hand settled onto her chest, the room exploded in a haze of violet light. The creature reared back violently, screeching foul words and curses as four armour-clad figures stepped out of the glowing purple Rift.

The armoured beings were covered from head to toe in dull grey armour plating that showed absolutely no skin at all, thus leaving it impossible to determine gender and appearance. Each carried different weapons; one had shining golden gauntlets around the wrists, another had dual black swords attached to a long black ribbon that was wrapped around its owner's hand. A shining rapier was held aloft in the left hand of one of the other armoured beings, the weapon adorned with multiple chambers filled with dust.

In the last, and obviously the leader's, hands a long red scythe was gripped tightly, ready to cause damage at a moment's notice.

Even in the haze caused by the quick loss of his aura, Ozpin recognized the weapons of the armoured beings before him. But it wasn't possible; it shouldn't be possible… because those weapons belonged to the members of team RWBY… the team he had formed yesterday.

Unless… unless this was a different version of team RWBY. A version from wherever that… thing had come from.

The creature spat and hissed at the armoured bodies before him, "I came to escape! To breathe! To EAT! You weren't meant to follow me, she promised that you wouldn't follow me…"

But the newcomers weren't here to listen to the delusional rants of the creature; all four of them raised their weapons and pointed them at the robed man threateningly. "Enough talk," came the heavily distorted voice of the scythe wielder. "Submit yourself to us, and you shall receive a quick and painless death."

The armoured fighter with the golden gauntlets snorted and spat, "Or don't, that would be more fun."

But the pale man was having none of this, his sickly yellow eyes blazed with fury and power as a sudden wind picked up in the room. Slowly, he began to hover as a hazy black mist oozed out of his robes. "Freedom, I just wanted freedom! Then hunger, always hunger. I WILL NOT RETURN! NEVER AGAIN WILL I GO BACK TO THE RAVENS!"

The walls of the basement shook as the stone and metal came loose under the tremendous power of the self-proclaimed 'lord'. But the armoured team was quick to respond, firing their weapons at the floating man.

The effect was minimal however, their attacks disintegrating to little more than ashes as soon as they drew near.

But the creature was angered; with one violent swing of his arms, golden lightning sprouted across his form and shot out towards his attackers. They all scattered and dodged just in the nick of time, but it was already too late. The man swung both his hands above his head, and the chamber they were in rumbled before the ceiling split open above them.

Ozpin could only watch in horror as the robed man rocketed upwards towards the surface, free to do whatever he wished to the world above them.

Glynda had long since passed out from the poisonous effect the creature had on their aura, she lay still and the only sign that she was alive was the gentle rise and fall of her chest.

But Ozpin could feel his aura returning very slowly; with the man gone, the sickening feeling of his aura being sucked away had left.

Slowly, Ozpin rose to his feet and looked over the armoured beings that were staring at him. "You wouldn't be professor Ozpin, would you?" the scythe wielder asked, voice distorted by the armour.

"That is my name," Ozpin answered, dearly hoping that these people were of a better disposition than the other visitor. "You came through the Rift, who are you?"

A short, unseen conversation went on with the four, using the radios built into their suits. But soon the leader slowly began removing her helmet, and Ozpin's suspicions were confirmed.

It was Ruby Rose.

An older Ruby Rose.

She looked around 20 to 25, her face having lost all of its baby fat that the 15-year-old version of her still had. "My name is-"

"Ruby Rose," Ozpin interrupted. "Leader of team RWBY… the team that just finished initiation yesterday."

The older Ruby grinned as the others began taking off their helmets; all of them looked older and far more experienced than their current counterparts. "Yesterday, huh? I didn't realise that the Nexus would spit us out in the past."

"We have time for idle conversation later," the older Weiss hissed to Ruby before turning and regarding the headmaster, "we came here to stop a dangerous criminal, the… man that arrived before us."

Ozpin slowly gathered up Glynda in his arms as the girls were speaking to him, he needed to take her to the medical bay. He gestured to RWBY to follow him. "What was he?" he asked, "he was able to drain my aura within moments of breaking out of containment."

It was Blake that answered, "That was the Lord of Hunger," she said somberly. "But you might know him as Jaune Arc."

Ozpin almost tripped in shock.


Vale, many years ago.

Jaune Arc boarded the giant airship with a grin on his face. He was going to Beacon. Beacon, the school of heroes, where hundreds of hunters had been trained to fight the forces of darkness and protect the people.

He was going there, he was going to be the next great hero.

Jaune could feel it in his bones.

He was going to be a hero.

A/N

And so begins the tale of Jaune Arc in my new story.

This story will be told in two different fronts: present day (which most of this chapter was) and many years ago, which I'm sure you've all realised is going to show how Jaune became the monster that he is in the present.

I honestly don't expect people to really get into this much, but I hope that I can give a few people something pleasant to read.

So please leave a review! Tell me what you like and what you don't, tell me what works and what doesn't.