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I think you're wrong, by the way. I highly doubt you're in the same place you started. I-I mean, yeah, you guys have been getting your asses kicked, some of that my fault, but, like, you're at war. You're gonna take hits. Look, I'm just gonna be super pissed if you all finally decide to give up the moment I switch sides.
~ Emerald's redemption.

Emerald Sustrai is a major character and former antagonist from the American animated webseries RWBY. She is a thief who dedicated herself to Cinder Fall after being rescued by her, and was a servant of the villainous Salem. However, after seeing the pain and destruction Salem brought upon the world and Cinder's apparent disinterest in her, Emerald began a slow path to redemption, allying herself with her former enemies Team RWBY in order to put an end to Salem's destructive conquest.

She is voiced by Katie Newville.


Emerald's past is mostly shrouded in mystery, though it has been hinted that she had a bad relationship with her mother or caretaker, causing her to leave home at an early age and begin a life of thieving in order to survive, using her Semblance to trick people and make stealing from them easier. One day she was found and recruited by Cinder Fall to aid her in her actions taken in service of Salem. Emerald considered Cinder's recruitment of her to be a salvation, as she no longer had to scavenge for food, and she viewed Cinder as her one and only friend. Together they recruited Mercury Black, and later helped Cinder ally with Adam Taurus and the White Fang. At some point they are introduced to Salem and her group, and made aware of Salem's intentions to divide the world.

Emerald worked in service of Cinder in Vale, with Cinder teaming up with local crime boss Roman Torchwick to acquire Dust and prepare an attack on Beacon Academy. Emerald served as a spy and enforcer, going and helping Mercury kill a White Fang deserter. Later, she, along with Mercury and Cinder, infiltrate Beacon posing as students. There, they identify students that pose threats to their plans, such as Pyrrha Nikos, and analyze them. During the Beacon Dance, Emerald covers for Cinder while she plants a virus in the Cross Continental Transmit System Tower.

Later, when Torchwick and the White Fang breach Vale to allow Grimm into the city, Emerald retains her cover by fighting the Grimm.

When the Vytal Festival Tournament comes around, Emerald, Mercury, and Cinder prepare to put their plans into action. Emerald continues to serve as a spy, keeping tabs on the fighters and fighting in a few matches along with Mercury, Cinder, and Torchwick's right-hand Neopolitan.

During a semifinal match between Mercury and Yang Xiao Long, Emerald uses her Semblance to make Yang perceive an attack. Yang retaliates in self-defense, appearing to the audience to have attacked and broken Mercury's leg unprovoked. She is disqualified, and Emerald pretends to leave with Mercury to a hospital. However, Emerald returns to further manipulate the contestants, and is seen by Ruby Rose. When Ruby tries to warn someone, Mercury stalls her. In the match, Emerald creates illusions for Pyrrha, which causes her to accidentally unleash her Semblance and kill her robotic opponent Penny Polendina.

As Cinder, the White Fang, and Roman Torchwick initiate the Battle of Beacon, Emerald watches the chaos and destruction unfold, a slight hint of remorse as she watches people die. After Cinder is disfigured in the battle, Emerald returns with her and Mercury to Salem's domain, where Emerald helps nurse Cinder back to health as they plan their next move.

Later, after Cinder's recovery, she, Emerald, Mercury, Hazel Rainart, and Arthur Watts are tasked with recruiting Raven Branwen and her tribe to attack Haven Academy and retrieve the Relic of Knowledge. During the Battle of Haven, Emerald and Mercury fight Yang and Ruby as Cinder goes down to the vault with Raven, intent on betraying her for the Relic. Yang escapes down to the vault, where Raven has defeated Cinder and gives the Relic to Yang. When Yang returns to the Academy alone, Emerald is devastated by Cinder's apparent death, unleashing an illusion of Salem so that she and her allies can escape. The dislay of power overtaxes her and knocks her unconscious, and Mercury carries her back to Salem's domain.

Emerlad, Mercury, and Hazel are shamed by Salem for failing. When Salem reveals that Cinder is still alive, but unwelcome until she proves herself worthy of returning, Emerald is relieved but upset. When Mercury and Tyrian Callows mock her for her loyalty to Cinder, informing her that she means nothing to her, Emerald lashes out and refuses to belive it. When Tyrian mocks her for acting for Cinder and not for her love of destruction, Emerald begins to doubt her alliances.

Later on, Salem brings Emerald and her group to Atlas to wage an attack on the city. Emerald is reunited with Cinder, but is disappointed when Cinder dismisses her. She later decides to help her and Neopolitan attack Amity Colosseum in an attempt to have Cinder steal the Winter Maiden's powers, now under the control of a revived Penny, but this fails and Salem punishes Cinder.

After Salem and captures Oscar Pine, the reincarnation of her former lover and longtime enemy Ozma/Ozpin, she has Hazel torture him. Emerald eavesdrops over the torture, and learns of Salem's true intentions to unite the Four Relics and destroy the world. Emerald tries to tell Mercury. He at first does not believe her, but Salem's goals are confirmed by Tyrian, and Mercury decides to stay anyway. Emerald, however, facing Salem's true plans and Cinder's dismissal of her, begins to doubt her place.

Later, she, along with Hazel, who also has begun to rethink his role as a villain, interrogate Oscar as to what he knows about the Relic of Knowledge. After showing them the being within the Relic, Jinn, both Hazel and Emerald are convinced that they are on the wrong side. When Yang, Jaune Arc, and Lie Ren arrive to save Oscar, Hazel and Emerald help them escape, with Hazzel seemingly giving his life to fend Salem off so Emerald can escape with the heroes.

Despite helping them escape, the heroes still do not trust Emerald, taking her weapons and holding her at gunpoint as they escort her back to their meeting area. Emerald admits that she does not want to ally with Salem anymore, but her actions cause both sides not not trust or like the other. After seeing the evacuated peopleof Atlas and Mantle, Emerald feels guilty, and is taken to Schnee Manor to meet with the other heroes. Though she is initially deemed untrustworthy, Oscar stands up for her despite tension.

When Penny, who has been infected with a virus by Watts, almost leaves to open the vault and kill herself, Emerald surprisingly joins the heroes in helping restrin her long enough for Jaune to help her suppress the virus. Emerald then admits that she is partially to blame for the hardships the heroes have faced, but announces that she is switching sides, and Oscar welcomes her.

The heroes come up with a plan to subdue Ironwood and get Penny to the Vault of the Winter Maiden, and Emerald joins in. Using her Semblance to disguise herself as Penny and hide the others, they ambush Ironwood and manage to subdue him while Team RWBY and Penny go to the Vault and call upon the Spirit in the Relic of Creation, Ambrosius, for aid in evacuating Mantle and Atlas. He helps them as well as makes a human body for Penny, leaving her infected robotic body to crumble, and the people of Mantle and Atlas begin evacuating to Vacuo through Ambrosius' magic doorways.

Emerald, along with Oscar and Ren, lead the people out into Vacuo, but enter in a sandstorm. Finding they cannot go back as Ravagers and Sulfur Fish begin to attack, Emerald joins in in fighting back the Grimm. Winter Schnee eventually emerges from the portal with the powers of the Winter Maiden, confirming to Emerald the death of Penny. However, she is still unaware of Team RWBY and Jaune's apparent deaths from falling into the void.


In her early days as a thief, Emerald was very cold and serious, only working to survive and not allowing herself to become attached to anyone or anything. She was very confrontational and even violent. She is often stern and even wrathful, angry at heroes for being "Happy all the time" and being easily annoyed by pranks and other antics. She retained much of this personality after being saved by Cinder, though she became open and affable towards Cinder.

After Cinder's apparent death, she fell into mourning. Even when Cinder returns colder and harsher, Emerald tries to be open and happy with her, only to feel rejected by her and Salem. Despite her stern and oftentimes angry personality, she was one of the few servants of Salem that rarely enjoyed the chaos and misery she spread. Though she had her sadistic and torturous moments, she mainly acted in villainy as servitude to Cinder and Salem, feeling hints of remorse upon witnessing devastation. When Tyrian Callows mocks her by saying that she should not be an ally of Salem if she does not enjoy the chaos and misery involved, Emerald surprisingly considers it.

Following Salem's torture of Oscar and witnessing the devastation brought to Atlas and Mantle, along with Cinder's apparent disinterest and Hazel's own redemption, Emerald begins to regret her villainous actions, and when she comes across the heroes, makes the choice to defect from Salem, though her devotion to Cinder is possibly still intact. Despite her inital reluctance to aid her former enemies, as well as her stern and angry personality creating tension between her and them, she insists that she has renounced Salem, and tries, albiet with struggle, to try and better herself to somehow right the wrongs of her past.

RWBY: Amity Arena

Emerald appeared as a unit in the defunct mobile video game RWBY: Amity Arena. When deployed, she could create copies of friendly units within her range. Despite lower health, these units functioned identically to their originals in abilities and damage output.


Mercury, I will seriously pay you to shut up.
~ Emerald to Mercury while they were both villains.
No, I'm with blondie. You don't like me, I don't like you. So how about we just part ways and you never have to see me again.
~ Emerald intitally wanting to part ways with the heroes after betraying Salem.
(Ironwood: You've... done the right thing.) I have. Feels weird.
~ Emerald, disguised as Penny, to Ironwood before dropping her facade.


  • The name "Emerald" is a word meaning a gemstone that is most often found in green colors. "Sustrai" (capitalized) is the Basque word for "thief" while "sustrai" (not capitalized) means "roots" or "undercurrent". It may also comes from the Spanish word "sustraer" which means "to steal" or "rob".
  • Emerald alludes to Aladdin from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.
    • She is a thief like Aladdin
    • She is referred to as a "master thief" and a "street rat", and her name and emblem allude to a "diamond in the rough", allo f which are used to describe Aladdin from Dinsey's 1992 animated film adaptation.
  • American actress Kyliegh Curran is a fan of RWBY and specifically a fan of Emerald. In the 2019 film adaptation of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, Curran's character Abra Stone has RWBY merchandise in her bedroom, including Emerald posters and a figure. When Rose the Hat enters into Abra's mind, Abra briefly takes Emerald's form, her hair being the prominent feature. Ironically, Emerald's semblance is illusions.


           RWBY.png Heroes

Ruby Rose | Weiss Schnee | Blake Belladonna | Yang Xiao Long

Jaune Arc | Nora Valkyrie | Pyrrha Nikos | Lie Ren

Sun Wukong | Scarlet David | Sage Ayana | Neptune Vasilias

Coco Adel | Fox Alistair | Velvet Scarlatina | Yatsuhashi Daichi

Flynt Coal | Neon Katt | Kobalt | Ivori

Cardin Winchester | Russel Thrush | Dove Bronzewing | Sky Lark

Arslan Altan | Bolin Hori | Reese Chloris | Nadir Shiko

Brawnz Ni | Roy Stallion | Nolan Porfirio | May Zedong

Nebula Violette | Dew Gayl | Gwen Darcy | Octavia Ember

Summer Rose | Taiyang Xiao Long | Raven Branwen | Qrow Branwen

Beacon Academy
Professor Ozpin | Glynda Goodwitch | Peter Port | Bartholomew Oobleck | Qrow Branwen

Atlas Academy
Penny Polendina | Ciel Soleil | James Ironwood | Winter Schnee

Ace Operatives
Clover Ebi | Elm Ederne | Harriet Bree | Marrow Amin | Vine Zeki | Winter Schnee

Happy Huntresses
Robyn Hill | Fiona Thyme | Joanna Greenleaf | May Marigold

Arrastra Skye | Asher Mora | Fenix Nemean | Pyke Rite

Amber | Ambrosius | Emerald Sustrai | Fria | Oscar Pine | Ozma | Caroline Cordovin | Maria Calavera | Ghira Belladonna | God of Light | Jinn | Ilia Amitola | Kali Belladonna | Pietro Polendina | Klein Sieben | Saber Rodentia | Rhodes | Willow Schnee | Whitley Schnee | Zwei