romans 4:5

I am so unbelievably and undeniably loved by God, and some days, that’s really hard to believe. However, my feelings and emotions do not determine who He is or how much He loves me. That’s humbling.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Be encouraged… this truth is not only meant for me, it is for you too. You are so loved. Do not let doubt cloud your mind and make you feel less.

6

Umm el-Omad (“mother of all needles”)

Wadi Nefud, Libya

200-400 CE


The tombs offers a couple of suprises. The Corinthian columns are completely Roman, but the shape of the monuments is Punic. The epitaph, for example, is flanked by two eagles, which is customary in this area. The false doors have their closest parallel in the art of ancient Egypt. Oddly, the false door in the northern monument faces the southeast, and not - as one would have expected - the west, the realm of the dead. Perhaps the person who lies buried here, a man named Ben Hamdan, wanted to connect his tomb to the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus), which in December rises in the southeast.

Can I take a minute to appreciate how good Roman was as our starter villain?

He was the kind that could only exist in vale so long as peace reigned. Where Cinder is a human rising to near-godhood through machinations, and Salem is a goddamned (maybe literally) force of nature, Roman was everything that a villain of peace could be. Opportunistic, suave, a theoretical normal human who just wanted to get by… With no qualms about how he did it. So for the whole of V1 toward the end of V3, Roman was a natural as our main villain.

He was every smooth-talking, self-obsessed fairy tale villain who takes advantage of the protagonists’ naive beliefs. But by the end of V3, when Cinder’s plans are made manifest, his actual beliefs are laid bare… With a very human motivation to boot; survive. This creates an interesting contrast to our heroes by the time V4 roles around. “Let’s Just Live.”

The difference between surviving and living is ill-defined but distinct enough to work here. Roman was basically the manifestation of humanity on Remnant’s will to survive by any means needed, even if it meant destroying others to do it. As such, Roman was more or less selling out the rest of humanity purely for his own (and Neo’s) survival. In being convinced by Cinder (and by extension Salem) that helping them was is only way to survive, he gave up any hope of redemption in a desperate crawl to safety. One that, in the end, made him loyal to Salem, and easily manipulated.

Living is much more idealistic. It’s not just existing, but experiencing the life you want to. Without giving up ideals or morals, and figuring out what you want most and pursuing it. And hey; that’s what RWBY is doing now, all through V4.

Weiss is being told to survive, to just sit in her room, shut up, and obey her father. But that isn’t living, that’s being a captive. So, to truly live, she started training, and made her escape. She’s living to solve her family’s legacy, not just surviving under it’s heel.

Yang barely survived at all, losing both her limb and a great deal of her ego to boot (for good and ill.) For most of V4 she was just surviving in Patch, quiet and afraid, but eventually gains the resolve to live again. To put that arm on, realize what it is she wants to do, (go after Ruby) and go forth. She’s living to protect what she cares about, not just surviving her own depression.

Blake is, at first trying to choose that both her and her friends only ‘survive.’ By running away and pushing them away, she can hide and none of them can be killed by Adam. But, after realizing that her problems wouldn’t go away with her hiding… And Sun helped her understand her friends (him included) were living by helping Blake? She finally chose to live once again, not just survive. She’s living to finish the fight of the White Fang, and save her people.

And Ruby herself? …Ruby never stopped living. Even when V3 ended she was making the choice to go out there, get to Haven, find answers. She was living her life without a moment’s thought to survival alone.

Roman was a great starter villain, but not just for a memorable design or portrayal. He really was acting as the anti-thesis of our heroines, one who isn’t living so much as he is surviving. And to watch the girls rise from that, truly living for themselves and their ideals, is beautiful to watch.