Please accept my deepest gratitude for the invitation to witness your pupils' accession to the office of true Keyblade Master. It was a heavy mantle our Master placed upon your shoulders naming you Successor, but you have nonetheless persevered and raised two Masters yourself. I know it cannot be easy.
I did you terrible harm in the past over a petty difference in opinion, and just a few years ago selfishly thrust my own burdens upon you. I think of you like a younger brother, and yet, fool that I am, I have never availed myself of countless opportunities to apologize or thank you for opening your home to the boy. Yet not once have you blamed me; on the contrary, here you are inviting me to such an important ceremony. I intend to be there to offer you all my blessings.
Our Master chose his heir wisely. Ours is a bizarrely ironic task - to watch over the light from the shadows - but in the face of that, the warmth in your heart and unfailing dedication to the light impress me to no end.
I have taken to wandering the World, and seen much darkness hiding in the light. Lately, I fear it has taken a turn for the worse. Perhaps Yen Sid has already told you about the Unversed? These fledgling emotions derive from negativity, and I can now sense their presence in nearly every world.
And on the topic of darkness: we must speak of another matter that concerns me, one related to the upcoming ceremony. When I visited several years ago, your pupil Terra drew my attention. His power is immense, to be sure, but within his heart I could see darkness just waiting to be awakened. I know this is none of my business, but I have reservations about welcoming Terra as a true Keyblade Master without taking certain precautions. The traditional examination, perhaps, to see if he has the Mark of Mastery? The choice is yours, and I will humbly respect your decision.
Take care. I eagerly await our long overdue reunion.
Much time has passed since I left the home of my youth behind, and in the myriad worlds I have visited, I have gained much knowledge. On these pages, I intend to record a portion of that knowledge, and put the course of my life to paper.
Upon reflection, my life underwent the most considerable sea-change when I arrived at that place. Yes, it began when I found a Master, and another I would later call my brother - when I found a new home.
Then there was the Keyblade. For what purpose was it begotten, and by whom? During my training as one of its wielders, the precepts offered a clear answer: the Keyblade existed so that we who watched over the light could protect the world from the shadows.
But was that the TRUE answer? Could there not be more to it than that? My heart sought knowledge, and so I sometimes visited other worlds - though such travel was forbidden unless duty required - and found what my heart sought.
Our Master instructed us to don armor while traveling between worlds, so that we might shield ourselves from the darkness. But there, in the Lanes Between, I could feel the force of it - the power - and from then on, I forwent my armor's "protection." I had been told the darkness would devour me, but what terrors could it possibly hold, so long as I found the strength to control it?
The World is vast - and the worlds within the greater World, uncountable. Like little islands, they dot a great Ocean Between which keeps them ignorant of each other, uncorrupted.
Each world had its own order. Unlike us, they could not know of the World in its entirety, and we were never to enlighten them.
In ancient times, no such buffers kept the larger World divided; there were no walls of light enclosing each smaller world the way they do today. Nothing prevented one from physically interfering with the next.
At that time, the World was filled with light, and a great many Keyblade wielders. But without buffers, the worlds began to squabble over ownership of the light. You see, they learned of the Keyblade's true use. War broke out as each of the Keyblade wielders struggled to lay claim to an almighty entity known as Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts could be described as an aggregate of hearts. Worlds, too, have hearts, just like people; each world's heart is concealed from sight, beyond a hidden door. By gathering all the hearts of all the worlds in a single place, one may complete Kingdom Hearts.
And when Kingdom Hearts is complete, it is said the one who opens its door will bring about the creation of the Next World. Such a feat is above any human. Or, to put it a different way: whoever opens that door will be reborn as something far greater than human.
Light and darkness are two sides of the same coin; without darkness, there is no light. The Keyblade wielders' great war over Kingdom Hearts was fought by defenders of the light, servants of darkness, those who sought to reconcile the two, and those motivated by nothing more than lust for power. A whole spectrum of thought was swept into the conflict, and the worlds that did not go to war found the war brought to them. In the end, the whole World was cast into darkness. That was how the ancient Keyblade War drew to a close. To this day, no one has ever managed to open the door to Kingdom Hearts.
Some time later, the little light that remained in the hearts of the few gave rise to the World we know today: one made of many worlds behind just as many walls, so that the Keyblade War would not be repeated.
At present, the lanes and corridors that run between the worlds may only be traversed by us Keyblade wielders, and those who have given themselves over to darkness.
As the former, our duty is to cross the chasms between the worlds and guard against the latter, whose darkness corrupts and contaminates, so that no world need ever be lost again.
Few Keyblade wielders remain now; I have heard of but a handful of others outside my circle. But the world is vast, and more of our kind may be out there.
Now, in addition to the realm of light in which we reside, there is also a realm of darkness, and the realm between which connects the two. The realm of darkness is most forbidden; I am told none who set foot there have ever returned.
There are three families of Keyblades: the Keyblades of light we wield, Keyblades of darkness, and Keyblades of heart.
The first and second families differ only in origin; Keyblades of darkness are found in the realm of darkness, and are counterparts to the Keyblades we use in the realm of light.
The third type of key, the Keyblade of heart, came into existence when the World was reorganized after the Keyblade War. Without this key, Kingdom Hearts is forever beyond a person's reach. Only by gathering seven hearts of pure light--hearts completely devoid of darkness--may one forge a Keyblade of heart and open the door to Kingdom Hearts.
And, as stated before, opening this door arguably gives that person control over all worlds and all people.
I have uncovered the Keyblade's ultimate mystery. You see, besides the three families of Keyblades, there is another "Key Blade." While it may sound the same when spoken, it is notated uniquely: "χ-blade." And make no mistake, while it resembles a normal Keyblade, it is something altogether different.
Keyblades are said to be man-made counterparts to Kingdom Hearts. The χ-blade, however, coexists with Kingdom Hearts.
It is only forged when two hearts of equal power intersect--one heart of pure darkness, one heart of pure light. At the time of its forging, Kingdom Hearts appears. It must be noted, though, that this Kingdom Hearts is special. Unlike the Kingdoms brought about forcibly and artificially through the collection of hearts, THIS Kingdom Hearts is a perfect and complete union of ALL the worlds' hearts. Surely it was over this that the ancient Keyblade War was fought.
If so, the walls that divide the worlds today are of little consequence. With the χ-blade, all their hearts could be instantly reunited--and the Keyblade War, refought.
My brother pupil Eraqus thinks only in absolutes. He has persuaded himself that light is the only way, but forgets that light cannot exist without shadow. I believe a balance of light and darkness is what sustains our World, but too much of the darkness has been stamped out, disrupting that balance. Someone must tear down this tyranny of light and reorganize the World around the darkness which then creeps back in.
Eraqus and I did not see eye to eye. I left, and wandered the World. This was perhaps the first time I felt truly free since that day I departed my boyhood home. But free to do what? I had already shown the Mark and become a Keyblade Master - but having been passed over as a Successor, all that remained to me was the road of teacher.
Ordinarily, Keyblade Masters take pupils under their wings, malleable minds in which to impress the precepts of the Keyblade wielder and keep our profession alive for generations to come. Was my time drawing to an end, then, after all I had accomplished since casting away the place of my birth? Surely waiting for a quiet death would not do, not when there was still so much I needed to see for myself. Powers help me, I thought, my body is so old...
We Keyblade Masters have a special gift. We can extract a heart, be it our own or that of another. By continuing this cycle, it is possible to remain in the world of the living forever.
As a boy, I dreamed of seeing the farthest reaches of the World. If I only went far enough, there had to be a world out there in which no one had ever before set foot. And now I know of just such a world. If I become the first to open Kingdom Hearts' door, I can create the Next World in which light and darkness exist in perfect equilibrium.
So there I stood, with vast knowledge in one gnarled, dying hand, and newfound purpose in the other. The next step was clear: I needed a new vessel.
And that was when I met Ventus and made him my pupil. We were destined to meet, and I could sense the potential within him, but the boy was too benign for his own good. I came to the conclusion he was too frail to serve as a vessel, and decided to use him for a second purpose I had in mind.
I would remove the darkness from his heart and split him in two. Then I would have my heart of pure light, and my heart of pure darkness.
As was to be expected, Ventus lacked the constitution for such an ordeal. I was able to remove the darkness inside him and create Vanitas, a heart of pure darkness, but Ventus drifted into the clutches of sleep.
Ventus' heart of pure light and Vanitas's heart of pure darkness...If both could be made strong enough to one day clash, I know the χ-blade would be forged.
But Vanitas took too much of Ventus's heart, and from that fracture, I could see the last of Ventus's light was slipping away. The boy deserved a place to spend his final moments peacefully. And what should come to mind but my own boyhood home.
My legs took me there unbidden, and as I stood there on the same beach where I had made my choice so many years ago, I thought: not a single thing has changed. Here, in this quiet world, time marches in place. Content that Ventus would find peace here, I started to walk away - but just then, the boy held up his Keyblade. The light within him had not died.
Ventus and Vanitas were not matched in power; I could not train them, or Vanitas's darkness would gnaw away what little Ventus had left.
Of course, since I needed a place where the boy's light might flourish, the answer was obvious: Eraqus, and his absolutes.
Considering how we had parted ways, I expected friction - but if anything, Eraqus seemed delighted to see me again. He readily agreed to take care of Ventus. Now I need only wait for the boy's heart to get stronger.
I had not visited this second home of mine for some time, and discovered Eraqus had already two pupils of his own. Within one of them, Terra, I sensed something. The boy, though well-intentioned, seeks power single-mindedly. And that kind of hunger is a seedbed for darkness.
I had found my vessel.
The time has come. I have received word from Eraqus that his pupils are to become true Keyblade Masters. Terra and Aqua...They will be easy now to lure into the outside world. But Ventus! I will get nowhere without him.
Vanitas can feel some of what Ventus feels, and he says Terra is the key. Ventus has loved Terra like a real brother ever since he let him keep his old wooden Keyblade. It seems we have found a loose thread at which we can tug to unravel Ventus's heart.
The first step is to get Terra alone; then we need to plant the seeds of doubt in Ventus. Let him carry his faint light as he chases his brother into the darkness.
Let the darkness make his light stronger, then let the light deepen the darkness. And where the two finally meet is where the stuff of legends will become real.
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