CHAPTER ONE: SMALL AND HELPLESS BEACON ACADEMY VALE Spring was just beginning to give way to fall, with the air still warm, but touched by a cooler breeze. Amidst the bustle of students, a tall, lean young man with stark-white hair and dark spectacles made his way to Beacon Academy's outdoor observatory. Ozpin, a recent graduate of the Academy, kept an eager pace. For this was his first assignment as a full-fledged Huntsman. He could scarcely believe it. Four years of study, training, and hard work had finally paid off. As was customary at Beacon, Huntsmen and Huntresses - the elite guardians of humanity trained to defeat the monstrous beasts known as the Grimm - lived and studied together in tightly-knit groups of four. Upon graduation, some stayed together as the closest of friends-turned-family. Others went their separate ways. For Ozpin, the latter had happened. He would always cherish the bonds he made with Glynda Goodwitch, Peter Port, and Bartholomew Oobleck, but four years and much hardship found the members of Team POGO pursuing different destinies. Ozpin arrived at the observatory and made his way to its open-air deck. There, the aging Headmaster of Beacon Academy waited patiently for him, watching the younger students mill about from on high. "Headmaster," Ozpin greeted with a nod of his head. "Ozpin," the older man returned. He gestured to the view below with a sweep of his hand. "Tell me what you see." All the white-haired Huntsman saw were students. He recognized the sophomore, junior, and senior students, but the brand-new freshmen were obviously strangers to him. The headmaster continued, "All of this...may yet burn." Ozpin turned his head quizzically at the headmaster's grim pronouncement. "Sir?" The older man sighed tiredly. "The Grimm are growing stronger and more numerous every year, Ozpin. There is a large contingent of them near Haven." "We have Grimm attacks all the time," Ozpin said. "Surely that is not cause for such a gloomy prediction." "There is more to this than you believe," the headmaster replied enigmatically. "Something stirs in Haven. I need you to go there. You may take a team, if you wish. But I need this investigated." Ozpin briefly wondered how the headmaster knew there was more to the situation. But he also knew that the older man was a master of secrets, and kept his own counsel. So instead, Ozpin inquired, "Why me? If things are so dire, why send a green graduate?" "Because unlike others I could have sent," the headmaster began, "you took the time to study the history of our world in depth. I have reason to believe that such knowledge will prove critical in unraveling the mystery of the Grimm presence in Haven." The two faced one another, eye to eye. "Go and learn what you can, Ozpin."