This is taken from my prior post where I put all my big RWBY theories (Unrelated to characters or plot, that is). I felt this was something that was more pertinent to the current discussions around Volume 4 and wanted a smaller post that highlighted the last part of my presentation. This is the relevant part of the theory but if you wish to read my other post (Where I talk about magic, Grimm, Salem, Ozpin, and the enigmatic history of Remnant in a similar style) then feel welcome to do so.
I am not saying this is the definitive answer to all our questions, I am just saying this is a possible explanation for some of our questions. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions or clarification if a point I made is unclear.
Dust and Aura:
What is Dust?
Dust is not magic. Monty wanted that to be a clear distinction. Miles and Kerry make that distinction as well.
So, what is Dust?
Well, this is how I see it.
Dust is not a naturally occurring element. Not naturally occurring in that it isn’t an element on the periodic table.
No, dust is something else.
Before I go ahead and say what it is, let me just jog your memory about something Pyrrha said in Volume 1 about Aura.
She said that all living things have it, even animals.
All living things.
So, humans, plants, animals all have Aura?
Which means that means that Aura is something that comes from the world itself? Life on Remnant has evolved to have Aura in its genetics.
Now what happens when a living thing dies? It decomposes. What happens to the Aura-producing cells in its bodies? Well, it goes straight into the ground, along with rest of the biological matter.
Where, after a long period of time, it becomes Dust.
Dust is fossilized Aura. Dust is the fossil fuel version of Aura. Dust is the Aura of dead things returned to the earth.
Basically, dust is the “souls” of living things that have died.
That is why Dust is found in relatively simple forms. Its untapped, uncontrolled Aura. It’s pure energy. It’s the same thing that fuels Semblances. Destructive power.
That’s why Dust can be combined into newer forms. Different forms of energy can be made be made by combining the different varieties of powers left behind. Its why Dust can be triggered by the Aura of Humans and Faunas. It’s us simply activating a fossilized version of the same power in our own veins.
That’s why Vacuo had such a huge amount of Dust beneath its Oasis. It was described to be a jungle. Jungles produce lots of coal and fossil fuels from all the decaying plant and animal matter in them. Over time this would gather and become huge reserves of Dust. The immense ecosystem produced an immense amount of Dust.
Same reason why Atlas had a lot of dust. Places that have ice covering tend to have a lot of fossil fuels locked away from everything that once lived there before the environment changed or the continent moved or whatnot. Much like our own world. Except we don’t have the Aura gene on our own world.
To summarise; when a living thing dies, its Aura becomes fossilized in the form of Dust.
Which brings us to one final point:
The Natural Order of things:
So, if life evolved the Aura gene, than that is the first thing on Remnant that granted spectacular powers. Dust only came after sufficiently large amounts of things had died and become fossilized, which takes millions of years. And magic fitted in who knows where.
But magic was not something that was meant to be messed with.
Magic upset the natural balance of things. Magic ruined everything.
Hence why a natural anti-magic counter evolved. A magical foil.
A power that stopped ANY form of magic in its tracks.
Be it the power imbued in a Maiden or the magic behind Grimm, Silver Eye powers stops it. It does not discriminate because magic in ANY form is wrong. Magic disrupts the world and sets things into chaos.
Silver eyes is the way. People born with Silver eyes are destined to be warriors, but not Grimm hunting warriors. Grimm are just a part of that.
Silver eyed warriors were meant to hunt mages, and are a part of the natural order in the same way Aura and Dust is but magic isn’t.
This is why Ruby can see silver motes of light in the air when she wakes up from her dream in Vol 4. Episode 2.
What she is seeing is the souls, voices, consciousness, whatever you want to call it, of the living things all around her. She is becoming increasingly sensitive to these things now that her power has been activated and can begin to see the world for what it truly is…