With the seventh volume of RWBY on the horizon, the time draws closer for our return to the World of Remnant. Team RWBY and friends will soon be in Atlas, the most militarised, paranoid, divided, and frigid of kingdoms in Remnant. A key part of the series’ lore and characters, Atlas will be the stage for potential game changing elements in Volume 7. Before we get to the new season, let’s go on a refresher’s guide to the Kingdom of Atlas.
The World of Remnant is made up of four kingdoms: Vale, Atlas, Mistral, and Vacuo. Salem plots to destroy the four kingdoms, and seize the mystical Relics hidden beneath each kingdom’s Huntsmen Academy. As of Volume 6, Vale is a pile of rubble, Mistral is safe, and now Atlas is the next target for the Grimm to destroy. Being the most militarised and technologically advanced kingdom, Atlas could be more of a challenge to drag out of the heavens. Literally. Atlas is a floating city, using giant cables and gravity Dust to stay airbourne.
Atlas is built on the northern, frozen, unforgiving continent of Solitas. Its icy landscape and harsh weather allowed settlers to evade the threat of Grimm, but struggled to grow as a population. Humanity adapted to Solitas through use of Dust and developing technology, founding the Kingdom of Mantle. Mantle formed a trading partnership with Mistral. Following a major Grimm attack, Mantle’s leaders outlawed art and self-expression to suppress the populace’s emotions. Mistral copied them to an extent, eventually leading to conflict with Vale, kicking off the Great War. Mantle and Mistral fought against Vale and Vacuo, attempting to invade Vacuo’s prized Dust mines. The last King of Vale, implied to be Professor Ozpin, stormed the battlefield and laid waste to the invaders using the Relic of Destruction.
With the war over, and Grimm attacks at their worst in years, the four kingdoms made peace and Remnant restructured. The four Huntsmen Academies were founded in the kingdoms, each hiding a Relic beneath it. Atlas Academy already existed prior as an R&D facility called Alsius Academy, its technology improving life for Mantle and the world. As a gift to Remnant, Atlas created the Cross Continental Transmit System, with each communication tower built on each academy’s campus. Seems a bit of a flawed system, considering that the whole CCTS is taken out during the Fall of Beacon.
Anyhoo, Atlas Academy became the centre of the kingdom, with the military merging with it to create its current structure of power. As such, Atlas itself became the kingdom’s new capital, while Mantle was effectively left to rot. A large Faunus population live in Mantle in squalor, many working in the dangerous Schnee Dust Company mines, treated like second class citizens. And this is after slavery was abolished in Remnant.
Volume 3 saw the Fall of Beacon, the Atlesian sentinel robots attacking civilians. Consequently, Atlas’ council put an embargo on Dust export trading to prevent conflict, since Remnant now believes Atlas attacked Beacon. By the time Team RWBY have snuck their way into Atlesian territory, they find the whole kingdom is on red alert and ready for war.
Atlas is best known for its innovation and technological achievements, providing the other kingdoms with their snazzy tech. The field of robotics is at the point where they created Penny, the lone android capable of generating her own aura and personality. Technology was created that could transfer a person’s aura into someone else. Amber, the Fall Maiden, nearly underwent this process with Pyrrha Nikos, but we all know how that turned out.
Atlas’ military is the biggest in Remnant, led by General James Ironwood, who doubles as headmaster of Atlas Academy. Students in the academy are trained to be disciplined soldiers, though there are colourful teams like Team FNKI. Ironwood thinks that putting on a big show of force proves Atlas is a force for good, putting him in conflict with Ozpin. Winter Schnee, Weiss’ older sister, is a high-ranked special agent and serves directly under Ironwood’s command. Ironwood is committed to defending Remnant from the Grimm, but is quite paranoid, and has little faith that young Huntsmen could win a war. Well, they are doing better than you, mate.
And finally, we have the Schnee Dust Company, the most prominent and profitable dust mining business in Remnant. Not to mention the most corrupt. The SDC are run by such evil scumbags, they make Cinder look like she has morals. Founded by Weiss’ grandfather Nicholas Schnee, the company’s business earned his family great respect. But, Nicholas eventually grew old and ill, passing the company’s leadership to his son-in-law Jacque Schnee. From there, the SDC gained a reputation as being unethical. Like any giant evil corporation, its profits soared, and it took its natural path of corruption up to eleven. Shady business practices, cheap labour, and dangerous working environments for Faunus, made the company a target for the White Fang. Just look at how far they pushed Adam Taurus, burning an SDC logo onto his face.
The White Fang were particularly ruthless upon the SDC and Weiss’ family, leading to her difficult childhood. At first, Winter was the presumed heir to the company, but likely revoked her claim after joining the military. Weiss was up next, but Jacque cut her out of the line of heritage due to her rebellious behaviour. This leaves Weiss’ twat-of-a-brother Whitley as the heir. Gods, help us all. Weiss will likely plot to take back control of her heritage and company, hopefully leading to her father and brother getting their comeuppance. Blake’s character arc for RWBY Volume 7 may link to the downtrodden Faunus labour force who work for the SDC in Mantle. Perhaps they will rebel, or demand respectful workers’ rights.
And, at the centre of all this, is the hidden Relic of Creation, guarded by Ironwood, and presumably, the Winter Maiden. It will likely be the most secure of the four Relics, considering Atlas’ obsession with defences and protection. Not that will stop Salem’s league from trying to get their hands on the relic. Dr. Arthur Watts is a disgraced Atlesian scientist, presumably for questionable experiments, as all mad scientists do. Hopefully, we’ll get some more development for Watts in Volume 7.