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Dark Road: Chapter 3 - The Purpose of the Journey



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KINGDOM HEARTS Dark Road updated with Chapter 3 - The Purpose of the Journey, with quests up to No.70.

Watch cutscenes from the English version as well as Japanese-translated scenes by goldpanner!

ENGLISH

Japanese-Translated

(Xehanort’s monologues as he flashes back to leaving Destiny Islands, as he traverses through the Dark Corridor. He slowly makes his way through, struggling against the darkness.)

I took the first step of my journey──

As I made my way along that path, the darkness spoke to me.

Well, I don't think it used concrete words exactly.

Rather, it stirred emotions deep within my heart.

Those emotions solidified inside me, and words flowed into the back of my mind.

That was the darkness in someone’s heart. But whose emotions are these?

Hatred, jealousy and suspicion like I'd never experienced myself──

I didn't know it at the time, but these were the emotions of people I had yet to meet.

Among them were even feelings directed at me.

Would I be able to handle it?

Being the focus of someone’s darkness? Someone’s heart──

That was the moment something began to grow inside my heart.

Corridors of darkness──

Those who push on through them find their hearts tainted by darkness in the end.

I learned that not long after.

At the very least, one thing was certain. Darkness or not, I still had my emotions. My heart could still feel.

But there is a terror more alien, more fathomless than even the darkness.

It would still be some time before I came to know "nothingness."

(Back in present day. Xehanort and his group are still in Wonderland.)

Vor: Sooo, when are you going to tell me~?

Eraqus: Tell you what?

Vor: What you two were going to investigate together.

You guys are up to no good, aren't you? Let me in on it! 

(She flails against him, but to no avail.)

Eraqus: Um… It's not like, a fun thing…

Xehanort: It’s just that only the two of us needed to take the risk.

Eraqus: The truth is…

(Suddenly, the Tweedles show up.)

Everyone: !!

Xehanort: Who are you?

Twins: Where are your manners?

Eraqus: Oh, uh, sorry. I'm Eraqus.

Xehanort: Xehanort.

Vor: I’m Vor.

Twins: How do you do and shake hands.

Eraqus: Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee?

Twins: How do you do and shake hands.

Xehanort: Let’s get going.

Tweedle Dum: Why?

Xehanort: Sorry, but we’re in a hurry.

Twins: Why?

Eraqus: There's something we need to check out.

(As they turn to leave, the twins start whispering to each other.)

Tweedle Dum: Ohhhh, they're curious! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

Tweedle Dee: The oysters were curious too, weren't they?

Tweedle Dum: Aye, and you remember what happened to them…

Twins: Poor things!

Eraqus: What happened to the oysters?

Xehanort: Come on, Eraqus.

Tweedle Dee: Oh, you wouldn't be interested.

Eraqus: Try me.

Tweedle Dum: Oh, no. You’re in much too much of a hurry!

Eraqus: We could spare a little time.

Twins: You could? Well…

Xehanort: What? No, Eraqus.

Twins: ”The Walrus and the Carpenter”!

(Some time later…)

Vor: What was that all about?

Eraqus: I guess the moral is, "sometimes curiosity can invite danger".

Vor: What a sad story.

Eraqus: It's too bad we didn't get to hear what happened to "Father William".

Vor: No thanks, I think I’ve heard enough… There’s something weird about this place.

Eraqus: Yeah, no kidding.

Xehanort: A warning to the curious… Maybe it was directed at you, Eraqus.

Eraqus: No way! If any of us are "curious", it's definitely you.

Xehanort: Me? You're the one who was actually interested in that fable.

Eraqus: But YOU’RE the one who was so burningly curious, you even left your old world.

Vor: Alright, you're both curious. How's that?

Eraqus: And is that a problem? You know, curiosity can help you overcome fear. It gives you the courage to dive into the unknown even if you don't know what's going to happen.

Xehanort: So long as you don't dive right into a pool of darkness.

(They continue along.)

Vor: So? Is your little scheme about something that piqued your curiosity?

Eraqus: I thought you forgot.

Vor: Nope.

Eraqus: Hmm, well, you see…

(Just as Eraqus starts to explain, he’s interrupted by a loud voice shouting from close by.)

???: Oh, please! Be careful!

Vor: What now?

???: No, no! Not jam!

Xehanort: They're over there.

(They run off in the voice’s direction to find the White Rabbit at a tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter and March Hare. On the table are the remains of his pocketwatch.)

White Rabbit: Oh, my watch…

Mad Hatter: It was?

White Rabbit: And it was an unbirthday present too.

Mad Hatter & March Hare: Well, in that case…

A very merry unbirthday to you!

(The White Rabbit runs away with the two hot on his heels. The gang arrives just as he makes his escape.)

Mad Hatter: No room, no room, no room!

March Hare: We're full, we're full, the seats are all taken!

Mad Hatter: Oh what a day. And on my very own unbirthday party too.

March Hare: It’s very rude to barge in without an invitation.

Mad Hatter: Yes, very rude, oh how very rude they are.

(The wielders feel bad and begin to make their leave, but the two zany partygoers call them back.)

Mad Hatter: Oh, but you must stay for a cup of tea. Come, take a seat.

(They turn back to see Hatter holding a teapot.)

Mad Hatter: Tea?

March Hare: Sugar?

Mad Hatter: Oh, how could I forget? We can't have tea without sugar.

(He flips the teapot upside down and sugar comes pouring out.)

Mad Hatter: Oh dear, we're all out. We can't have tea like this.

March Hare: Well then, you'll just have to get us some more.

Mad Hatter: Good idea. Two cups now, two cups will do.

Eraqus: What is this absurdity?

Mad Hatter: Hey, it's not absurdi-tea. It's just black tea.

March Hare: The most just black tea!

Xehanort: These guys are worse than the Tweedles.

Eraqus: Much, much worse.

Vor: This is probably just a waste of time.

Mad Hatter: Excuse you! We just finished wasting time! Wait, no, it was a watch we wasted.

March Hare: Wake up, watch!

Mad Hatter: A very merry unbirthday to you!

March Hare: A very merry unbirthday to you!

Xehanort: Let's get out of here.

(They leave the Tea Party Garden and head back into the forest.)

Vor: Um, should we really leave those two back there? They were saying some crazy stuff, just like the Queen of Hearts.

Xehanort: No, not like the queen. The people here may be extremely chaotic, but she's the one upholding the order.

Vor: She is?

Xehanort: She's the only thing anyone here fears. That fear is what stands for order in this world.

Eraqus: Fear is order? Now who’s talking crazy?

Xehanort: These people are chaotic and lack restraint, but fear of the queen is something they all share. That forms the all-important order that maintains this world.

Vor: So fear maintains order…

But they didn't look like they were being controlled to me. They looked free.

Eraqus: Because they’re not like the queen. Their fear doesn’t manifest as darkness.

Vor: So, unlike the queen, the people don't have darkness "in" their hearts.

Xehanort: Oh.

Vor: Well that answers that. You two were going to sneak off and investigate the Queen of Hearts!

Why were you keeping it from me? Oh, wait! I see!

This mission is supposed to be about finding clues about the missing upperclassmen, but you guys found yourselves more interested in the presence of the darkness.

You were going to let me wander off somewhere and investigate by yourselves, was that it??

You big meanies! I can't believe you! I'm telling the Master!

Eraqus: No no no no, it was more like…

A shortcut! We thought it would be a shortcut to finding the upperclassmen…

Xehanort: That's right. We probably aren’t going to find anything about the upperclassmen in this world. I realized that after seeing the queen’s reaction. It seems like there haven't been any other intruders besides us.

I don't know exactly how it relates to the disappearance of the upperclassmen yet, but I think the presence of the darkness is the key. It has to be something on that level, for all seven of them to disappear, and all at the same time.

If we follow the darkness, maybe we’ll arrive at the truth.

Vor: But why do you have to keep it to yourselves? Come on, let me in on it.

Xehanort: Well…

Was the darkness I sensed in the queen something born from her own heart? Or did a being of darkness from another origin hide itself inside her…

And, is she even aware of it? There's too much we don't know yet.

Eraqus: If it was born elsewhere, and if she doesn't know, then there's a possibility that darkness could hide itself in the hearts of anyone investigating too. That's why I think it'd be best to keep our numbers as small as possible──

Vor: I know! Let's go hit the Queen of Hearts head on! Off we go!

Xehanort: But we don't know the way.

Vor: We're lost?!

Eraqus: We're lost?!

Vor: Taking down Heartless along the way must have had us going in circles…

(A while later…)

Xehanort: Looks like we won’t be able to leave this forest so easily. We can't even follow someone like we did last time.

???: Are you lost?

(Cheshire Cat appears.)

Eraqus: The cat! Perfect timing.

We need to find the Queen. Please tell us the way!

Cheshire Cat: Well, that's easy enough. All the ways around here are her ways.

(He disappears.)

Eraqus: Hey, wait, that's not what I meant! Which path should we take?

(He returns.)

Cheshire Cat: Which path? This one works, that one too. But if you ask me, I'd take a shortcut.

(A shortcut to the hedge maze opens.)

(The gang make their way through the maze until they reach the Queen’s court. As they enter, they pass a Card Soldier being led away.)

Queen of Hearts: Hm? Aren’t you…

(They approach the stand.)

Queen of Hearts: I see you've come to your senses and returned for execution. I've just sentenced the fool who tainted my roses. We can execute you together.

(Vor looks back at the convicted soldier.)

Vor: That guy we just saw… Is she really going to…?

Xehanort: Unfortunately, we didn't come back for sentencing. We came to talk.

Queen of Hearts: Humph. I have nothing to say to you.

Eraqus: We're not here to defy your rules, or challenge your order in this world. We’d just like you to explain something to us.

Queen of Hearts: What is it?

Xehanort: You said before──

Queen of Hearts: Not you! I'm talking to Ponytail here!

Eraqus: You said before that you decide everything for everyone in this land. Is that really true? 

Queen of Hearts: What do you mean?

Eraqus: We were wondering, is your heart really yours…?

Queen of Hearts: My heart? Of course it is.

Xehanort: Does your heart command you to be so arrogant? You're not being controlled by some dark being hiding inside, are you?

Queen of Hearts: Me, controlled by darkness!? I am and always will be the one doing the controlling here!

Eraqus: No. Your heart can't possibly be filled entirely of darkness. I believe that all hearts have at least some shred of light.

Queen of Hearts: Darkness, light, whatever it is, it's mine. Everything belongs to me.

Eraqus: Everything, huh…

Xehanort: So the darkness was born from the greed in her heart?

Queen of Hearts: Greed? I'm the Queen, I already own everything! Why would I ever feel something so pathetic?

Eraqus: Well then, what do you feel?

Queen of Hearts: I feel rage.

Brats like you make me angry. Fools make me angry. That's why everyone should just do as I say!

When people try to use their own judgment, they just end up making me angry!

Xehanort (thinking): (This doesn't seem like darkness that’s born from greed. The nature of her darkness lies in wrath - her "rage".)

(Flashback to one of Master Odin’s lessons.)

Hermod: So a person’s darkness reflects their natural disposition?

Master Odin: In ancient times, darkness hid in people, and puppeteered their emotions. They used such people as vessels, and spread silently through the world as though contagious.

Bragi: Like a disease.

Master Odin: Correct. But as the ages went by, something else began to happen. Not only was the darkness itself intentionally controlling people, people also began to birth darkness from their own hearts.

Vor: …You mean, the Heartless?

Master Odin: Yes. That is what we call the embodiment of darkness in people's hearts.

After many years, darkness and hearts became inextricably linked, so much so that people can now birth their very own darkness from their hearts.

Eraqus: Was it really necessary to give it another name? Why even call it the "Heartless"?

Darkness is darkness.

Urd: What triggers darkness to be born in people's hearts?

Master Odin: They are born from our negative emotions─ Greed, grief, wrath, envy… there are many.

These emotions sleep deep inside the heart, and are usually something one can control. But when they run rampant, they can manifest as darkness.

Perhaps it's accurate to say that over long years, the darkness has reshaped us…

(Back to present. Powerful darkness emerges from behind the queen, and then dissipates.)

Xehanort: It… smiled?

Vor: Huh?

Queen of Hearts: No more talk! Now, off with their heads!

(The darkness returns and grows even large, before leaping away and landing right beside them. The shadows make way and a powerful Heartless appears. The wielders prepare for battle.)

Eraqus: Is this the darkness born from the queen's heart?

Vor: Is this her will??

Xehanort: I don't know…

(The queen makes her leave.)

Queen of Hearts: It's just as I told you. My heart belongs to me!!

Vor: The Heartless… is it the same one as last time?

Eraqus: If it is, then this should be a piece of cake.

Xehanort: It looks different. Stay sharp!


(They defeat the Heartless.)

Vor: So, did we even learn anything in the end?

Eraqus: I think we managed to get the root of the matter…

What about you, Xehanort? Do you still think that investigating the darkness will help us figure out what happened?

Xehanort: Yeah.

We should share this with the others. Let's head back and sort out what we know.

(They leave Wonderland and return to Scala to meet up with the others.)

Hermod: I see, that makes sense.

Bragi: So basically, we should pursue the darkness.

Hermod: But you guys already defeated it, didn't you?

Xehanort: Darkness isn't limited to just one entity. A single ray of light can cast countless shadows. And as light’s guardians, we may be able to do the same.

The more we venture out in our travels, the more darkness may be uncovered.

Vor: Wait. Are you saying it was our fault the darkness showed up?

Xehanort: Well, it's a possibility.

Bragi: Then it goes without saying that the upperclassmen also clashed with the darkness.

Xehanort: Yes, I am quite sure of it.

Hermod: So we’ve got nothing on the whereabouts of the upperclassmen, but if we pursue the darkness, we might be able to find some clues.

Urd: Hmm. I get the logic behind darkness being wherever light is. After all, light is necessary because darkness exists. It's why we became Keyblade wielders, and spend each day devoted to our studies.

But light leading to darkness is a far cry from darkness leading to light.

Vor: Plus, darkness can hide in people, right? It’s not going to be easy to find.

I wish it would just pop out like the Heartless do, so we could tell!

Bragi: It's just like the Master told us. When the negative emotions deep inside someone's heart become uncontrollable, they manifest as darkness.

So was the Queen of Heart's darkness born from her own heart, or was it merely hidden there without her knowledge…

Xehanort: …Actually, I realized it doesn't matter much in the end.

Hermod: You don't think it makes a difference whether the cause is internal or external?

Xehanort: No, I don’t. In my eyes, queen’s darkness stems from her own ego. On the other hand, I can see how she could have accepted it into her heart unwittingly.

Eraqus: She was all, “Everything is mine!” and whatnot.

Xehanort: Exactly. It doesn't matter where the darkness originated. The problem is something else.

The queen's darkness, her rage, is what maintains order in that world. We can't operate under the belief that light is right and darkness is wrong. That's our problem.

Eraqus: Hey wait, what are you saying?

Darkness is evil. That's the way it's been for eons.

Who are we? We're light’s guardians, the ones who beat back the darkness. Don't lose sight of that.

Xehanort: Yeah, I know. I'm not. But if the upperclassmen faced the darkness, and that darkness was the world’s order, then it's possible they chose to side with it instead…

Eraqus: Never.

Hermod: Calm down Eraqus.

Our goal is to find the missing upperclassmen. That is what the Master entrusted to us. The mission isn't changing.

But if we do find darkness during our search, then it is inevitable that we must come into contact with it for clues.

Are we all on the same page?

(Everyone nods.)

[Flashback: One week ago]

(A kid looks out across the water, deep in thought.)

???: Hey, Baldr. Didn’t expect to see you here.

Baldr: Oh, hey Eraqus.

(Eraqus walks to his side.)

Eraqus: Something on your mind? I saw you zoning out, looking at the sea.

Baldr: Yeah. My big sister left on her Mark of Mastery journey. I've got a bad feeling about it.

Eraqus: Oh, so the upperclassmen are already taking the Mark of Mastery! But why the bad feeling? I’m pretty jealous, myself. Wish I could go a trip to the outside worlds.

Baldr: My sister said something before she left. She said whoever came back would pass the exam.

Eraqus: That's a weird way to put it. Was she not expecting to come back?

Baldr: Right? It's like this journey isn't just about broadening their horizons, but that the journey itself is the exam…

Not even that, it sounds more like a mission… It's nothing like the Mark of Mastery we were taught about.

It's got me all nervous.

Eraqus: I wonder what's going on… We could ask Master Odin, but he probably wouldn't tell us…

Baldr: I'm worried. What if my sister is taken by the darkness? I've had this bad feeling ever since she left…

Eraqus: The darkness?

Baldr: Oh, I'm sorry. I know you lost your grandfather in a battle with the darkness…

Eraqus: No no, it's alright. I don't know all the details anyway. It's just, whenever I hear that darkness is near, I get anxious… Maybe this hatred for darkness runs in my blood.

Baldr: Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up such a painful subject…

Eraqus: Don't apologize, it's totally fine!

Your big sister will be home safe before you know it.

Baldr: Yeah.

 
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Sephiroth0812

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Heh, looks like another cutie, but this time with Hoodie.

Seriously though, he looks like a fine mix. Similarities to various other characters yet also having a unique note.

He was also in Xehanort's and Eraqus' class wasn't he? It was his sister who was with the upperclassmen if I recall correctly.
 
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He was also in Xehanort's and Eraqus' class wasn't he? It was his sister who was with the upperclassmen if I recall correctly.
Yep. His sister and her classmates are missing. Odin kept him busy with another mission I believe to keep him out of the investigation his other classmates are doing.

Can't wait to see his official non-chibi artwork.
 
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AdrianXXII

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Another white haired and silver eyed character interesting. Like his design, wish we had a Nomura Render of him though.

Does anyone have ideas for a name for his Sister?
To my knowledge Odin in mythology didn't have any daughters, so that's a dead end. My current guesses are Sif or Freya, but i also don't know too many goddesses of Norse Myth.
 

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Another white haired and silver eyed character interesting. Like his design, wish we had a Nomura Render of him though.

Does anyone have ideas for a name for his Sister?
To my knowledge Odin in mythology didn't have any daughters, so that's a dead end. My current guesses are Sif or Freya, but i also don't know too many goddesses of Norse Myth.
Stella

:p
 

Dast

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Another white haired and silver eyed character interesting. Like his design, wish we had a Nomura Render of him though.

Does anyone have ideas for a name for his Sister?
To my knowledge Odin in mythology didn't have any daughters, so that's a dead end. My current guesses are Sif or Freya, but i also don't know too many goddesses of Norse Myth.
Baldur had a wife called Nanna in mythology so maybe Baldr's sister could be called that. Also, maybe the name of the remainig Norn, Verdandi.
 

AdrianXXII

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Baldur had a wife called Nanna in mythology so maybe Baldr's sister could be called that. Also, maybe the name of the remainig Norn, Verdandi.
Huh, I always thought Vör was named after Verdandi. But i just looked it up Vör is another Godess, so I guess Verdandi is still available.

Nanna seems like a good possibility.
 

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English videos are up!
 

Idreamaboutcats

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Another white haired and silver eyed character interesting. Like his design, wish we had a Nomura Render of him though.

Does anyone have ideas for a name for his Sister?
To my knowledge Odin in mythology didn't have any daughters, so that's a dead end. My current guesses are Sif or Freya, but i also don't know too many goddesses of Norse Myth.
Sif is Thor’s wife, so yea possibly if they aren’t strict about following the source mythos.

Freyja though, I’m not sure. In the myths, she’s generally Baldr’s mother and Odin’s wife (there might be some disagreement on this, but there’s a wide belief that Fricca and Freyja were the same goddess). However, while Odin has no recorded daughters, it’s written in some attestations that Freyja did, some of whom became valkyries.
Huh, I always thought Vör was named after Verdandi. But i just looked it up Vör is another Godess, so I guess Verdandi is still available.

Nanna seems like a good possibility.
Vör is a different goddess altogether from the norns, Odin’s aunt actually, so I found it odd that she’s a short kid when Odin is…well…that.
 

Sephiroth0812

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Interesting story beats to be sure. So according to Odin's explanations there are two different kinds of "Darkness" even if Eraqus claims it all the same, the (possibly sentient) kind that came from "somewhere" and "infected" people using them as vessels and the kind born from within people's hearts themselves, although it seems the latter form was not always a thing.

The whole issue about "Darkness" in the past controlling people's emotions also reeks of at least a connection to the Unversed.
They are said to be negative emotions given form after all.
Their symbol being in Scala ad Caelum also points towards it. Maybe the "Unversed symbol" is actually the sigil of "Darkness" as it can be interpreted as depicting a heart captured within Darkness.

Looking at Eraqus and Xehanort analyzing the Queen of Hearts it seems like they're at least partly indeed going for the whole seven deadly sins theme.
That monster they faced as a boss there tough, is that supposed to be a Heartless or one of those "Darkness" beings?

I also had to crack up at Young Eraqus behaving like Ventus and Sora with the whole arms-behind-head gesture multiple times.
 
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Idreamaboutcats

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Btw, did Vor say the same thing in Japanese, around the third video, about the Tweedles not having any darkness? I thought only princesses are naturally capable of that.
 

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They mentioned that Eraqus's grandfather fought Darkness...could that have been Brain? Just trying to keep up.

The new character, Baldr had a cool design, and the way he described the Mark of Mastery sounds like a setup. Not sure what to think about it, however I have a theory. His sister will be corrupt by the darkness and have the same dark suit that Dark Riku and Vanitas wear. Why do I think that? Just because. These KH mobile games are not very nice to sisters.

Vor remains my favorite new character and I want to see even more of her.
 

jacklak

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Interesting story beats to be sure. So according to Odin's explanations there are two different kinds of "Darkness" even if Eraqus claims it all the same, the (possibly sentient) kind that came from "somewhere" and "infected" people using them as vessels and the kind born from within people's hearts themselves, although it seems the latter form was not always a thing.

The whole issue about "Darkness" in the past controlling people's emotions also reeks of at least a connection to the Unversed.
They are said to be negative emotions given form after all.
Their symbol being in Scala ad Caelum also points towards it. Maybe the "Unversed symbol" is actually the sigil of "Darkness" as it can be interpreted as depicting a heart captured within Darkness.

Looking at Eraqus and Xehanort analyzing the Queen of Hearts it seems like they're at least partly indeed going for the whole seven deadly sins theme.
That monster they faced as a boss there tough, is that supposed to be a Heartless or one of those "Darkness" beings?

I also had to crack up at Young Eraqus behaving like Ventus and Sora with the whole arms-behind-head gesture multiple times.
the seven deadly sins tie into the foretellers too. I’ve seen this theory that the master is like Lucifer in all this. He was in the light but got convinced he was better then it and tried to surpass it.
 

The_Echo

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I wonder what the significance is of mentioning the Deadly Sins as sources of darkness, after having named the Master's pupils after those sins.

It seems like Eraqus' lineage might wind up being relevant. Obviously we're all thinking Brain, but could UX and DR really only be separated by a scant few decades between grandfather and grandson?
Odin knows way too much about "ancient times" and the period of time supposedly so uncertain as to be compared to a fairytale.

They did note that Heartless shouldn't be around, right? Because they have some knowledge of the Book of Prophecies and know Heartless appear in the future. But why does Odin talk like they've been around for a while?

At any rate, the upperclassmen definitely met some kind of cruel fate. I think Odin expects this to be the case, which is why Baldr is distracted with some other errand. I do wonder what Odin's thinking, though. If their Mark of Mastery exam was expected to be dangerous, and they might not come back, why send out the younger class to search for those who didn't? Something's up.
 

Chie

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So this story is in part about the kids not actually understanding the way the world works since they've never actually interacted with it before, right? Hence why they conclude that the Tweedles don't have any darkness in them even though that's not how this works at all? I think all their speculation on what darkness is is annoying (characters treating a vague made up concept as if it follows concrete rules, my least favorite kind of writing) if it isn't supposed to demonstrate that.

I really enjoy how the last part encourages us to be suspicious of Odin and the test, though. And Odin knowing about MoM-era "darkness" has me more inclined to think of a connection to MoM since the MoM/Luxu scene made it seem like MoM was the only one who knew about that era and never talked about it to maintain his narrative of being "the master of masters".
 

Cumguardian69

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YEraqus characterization is like Sora if Sora had a brain and any convictions about the world at all. I love it. Eraqus has basically a darkness hate-boner but he very clearly thinks highly of his friends and light-based characters oui Sora. Keep up the great work KHDR, hopefully we get another story update for december
 

AR829038

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So, there's a lot for me to talk about with these updates, but I'll try and keep my thoughts brief:
1) I like that we're getting backstory on Eraqus' absolutist anti-darkness ideology. And also, no, there's no way his grandfather is Brain like some people are saying. Brain and the Union X people existed hundreds, maybe even thousands of years ago. We've never gotten a concrete number, but all references to the Age of Fairy Tales are always couched in phrases like "ancient," "long ago", and "antiquity." Going back three generations does not line up with that kind of massive timejump. Whoever Eraqus' grandfather was, it'll be a new character.
2) I'm conflicted with how they're treating darkness in this story. I mean, it's Kingdom Hearts, and darkness has always been this quasi-metaphysical abstract yet also concrete emotional/cosmic force, but I feel like this story is starting to push the bounds even further. I mean, I see the connections they're trying to make to the Union X developments, but I have some reservations about where they're going with this. Mainly, I'm not sure the idea they're setting up with how darkness and the evil in people's hearts interact is a good message. In the past, darkness could manifest itself as strange powers or as Heartless, which is fine enough, but there was always an underlying understanding that said darkness originated from deep character flaws that would eventually be the undoing of the person who succumbed to their own darkness. The Disney villains in KH1 and 2, for example, all gained control of the Heartless because of darkness in their hearts that germinated from emotions like greed, envy, rage, etc. And they're sort of following that pattern here with the Queen of Hearts, but I don't think I jive with this idea that darkness is some kind of alien presence that entered human hearts and now just sort of co-evolved with them. That implies that everyone in Age of Fairy Tales was always pure of heart, which is demonstrably not the case. Furthermore, it sends (I think) a very questionable message to kids that evil is not something that grows out of your own failings, actions, or insecurities, but that it's something external to you, that you don't have complete control of your own actions regarding it. Maybe I'm giving it too much weight, but that kind of message just struck me as particularly off-putting.
3) I'm getting kind of ambivalent about how they're handling Xehanort in this game. I can see where they're going with his development, but it's very hard to take his journey seriously when one minute he's talking in these super-broody monologues about darkness and the next he and his friends are having conversations with Tweedledum and Tweedledee about walruses and carpenters. Nomura needs to work the story around Xehanort's character a bit better. Xehanort is NOT Sora. Going on adventures like this works for someone like Sora because Sora's childlike, carefree, lighthearted, and inquisitive personality meshes really well with the Disney aesthetic and characters. But Xehanort is a more dour, somber, contemplative, and mature character, and they need storylines and environments that help foster his development regarding his personality. It's just too jarring for the main character to be constantly talking about darkness while also having these abundant silly moments with the other characters. They had this same problem in Birth by Sleep as well—you can't just toss in these soliloquies about how people become corrupted and how characters struggle with internal moral conflicts, while in the next breath showing those same characters balling around in Disney Town and riding go-karts. It just doesn't work. Terra's storyline was an especially bad example of this. KH1, CoM, and to a lesser extent KH2 all managed this balance a lot better than subsequent games, CoM most of all imo. At some point, Nomura started treating each Disney world as an opportunity for simplistic hamfisted moral lessons. KH1 and CoM were better at just incorporating the worlds into the broader development of the character and their journey, showing us rather than telling us what they were supposed to learn from their encounters and experiences, and their journeys were more relatable, whereas Terra's and now Xehanort's are far too muddy and abstract. If we're going to go the route of showing a character build up from a curious youth into a disillusioned villain, then you have to do things to build the bridge between Point A and Point B that resonate on an emotional level with normal people. You can keep the light-dark cosmology for the sake of worldbuilding, but you need to put Xehanort through real, actual, relatable hardships instead of focusing on the mechanics of how evil works. And they probably will, to be fair. We know that Xehanort's friends die at some point, which is a good, mature example of what to do right in building Xehanort's character, but I hope there will be a buildup of smaller, gradually increasing losses, hardships, and frustrations leading up to that, because if they just throw that at him as the singular reason for why he turns evil and replace the rest of his development with all these other flights of pseudo-metaphysical ponderings, it's going to feel very blunt and unrelatable, like Anakin's turn to the dark side in the Star Wars prequels.
At the end of the day, I know it's still Kingdom Hearts and I shouldn't expect them to get too serious, but the earlier games always had this sense of groundedness to their characters—the light/darkness jargon needs to get toned down and replaced with words that real people would actually use to describe what they're feeling.
 
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