In RWBY volume 5 episode 9, Raven Branwen made a fateful deal with the enemy that proved what a ruthless character she really is. Voiced by Anna Hullum, Raven is a major antagonist in the Rooster Teeth produced anime. Raven was raised in bandit group the Branwen Tribe and rose through its ranks to become leader. Throughout the various volumes of RWBY, Raven has shown time and time again that the survival of the Branwen Tribe is what’s most important to her. More important than her own flesh and blood, in fact – hence she abandoned her only daughter Yang Xiao Long as an infant to return to the tribe and became estranged from twin brother Qrow Branwen too.
Raven isn’t just a one-dimensional villain though. She’s a complicated character and despite her fierce loyalty to the Branwen Tribe, Raven has demonstrated that deep down she does love and care for her estranged daughter. Not only has Raven kept a watchful eye over Yang while disguised in her bird form since leaving her, but she also saved her from being executed in the RWBY volume 2 episode “No Brakes”.
That said, Raven’s actions don’t always suggest her daughter’s well-being is top priority, as was the case in RWBY volume 5 episode 9, “A Perfect Storm.” The episode features a scene where Raven is visited by arch-villain Salem’s subordinates Cinder Fall, Arthur Watts, Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Black at the tribe camp. They’re there because Raven has someone – Vernal, the apparent Spring Maiden – they need to obtain the Relic of Knowledge that Salem has tasked them with stealing.
Cinder and her associates offered Raven a deal; join them in their mission to retrieve the relic from Haven Academy and Salem would leave Raven and the Branwen Tribe alone for good. Although Raven seemed reluctant to make a deal with the devil at first, she eventually agreed on one shocking condition – she wants Cinder to kill her twin brother Qrow during the attack on Haven Academy.
Raven does see Qrow as a traitor after he turned his back on the tribe to join Ozpin but ordering the death of her brother? That’s straight-up villainy. Not to mention the fact Raven is fully aware that Yang is with Qrow, having sent her to him via a portal in an earlier episode of RWBY. Later, when Vernal questions Raven about the danger her daughter will be in thanks to the fateful deal she made with Cinder, Raven replies that Yang has made her choice and that she must do what’s right for the tribe. By putting the tribe before her own family, Raven proved herself one of RWBY’s most ruthless characters – a move that would come back to haunt her in later episodes.