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Dark Road: Chapter 3 - The Purpose of the Journey



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Cumguardian69

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^But that is exactly what evil is. It is a force that binds to people. And it IS a matter of perspective (situation dependant). IRL for example, party preservation is good for my party's purposes but it may come at the cost of outside party's well being which is bad for them but not my party's concern. An outsider looking in would say my party is bad for not "looking at the big picture". My party would disagree.

Truth is - and I'm glad KHDR and UX are steering in this direction - humankind is complicated asf and judging events is not objective no matter how much we try to divorce ourselves from personal biases.

///

Xehanort (and characters like him) deserve to be explored no matter the bs Disney backgrounds. The deeper KH gets, the better.
 

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Fwiw, it's not impossible for the Age of Fairy Tales to be many lifetimes ago (which it was, see Luxu's report), and for Brain to be Eraqus's grandfather. We know that some of the Five union leaders ended up far in the future like Ventus so it's possible that Brain travelled to the future and then had kids and grandkids. I think I still favour the idea of Brain receiving the Gazing Eye from Luxu and starting a line of Keyblade Wielders after they get out of the Data Cage in UX and thus being a distant ancestor of Eraqus but him time traveling wouldn't be implausible, relatively speaking.
 

astertide

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Fwiw, it's not impossible for the Age of Fairy Tales to be many lifetimes ago (which it was, see Luxu's report), and for Brain to be Eraqus's grandfather. We know that some of the Five union leaders ended up far in the future like Ventus so it's possible that Brain travelled to the future and then had kids and grandkids. I think I still favour the idea of Brain receiving the Gazing Eye from Luxu and starting a line of Keyblade Wielders after they get out of the Data Cage in UX and thus being a distant ancestor of Eraqus but him time traveling wouldn't be implausible, relatively speaking.
Yeah, I thought of that! Especially if Subject X turns out to be Skuld, then we know that the machine pod things don't always take them to the same point in time.

Ventus - four years before BBS
Skuld - sometime in Terra-Xehanort's time as a researcher
Ephemer - mid-KHIII...? (probably earlier)
Lauriam - maybe around 5 years before Days?
Elrena - maybe about the same as Lauriam, give or take a few years?
Brain - two generations before Eraqus?
 

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I liked the insight we got more insight into Eraqus' family. The trauma of possibly losing his grandfather to darkness must of stuck with him into adulthood. Would explain a lot of his actions in BBS.

Also the heartless the Queen conjured was badass
 

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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.
It absolutely does not need to be toned down seeing as this is what the series has been about for almost 2 decades plus it's a Disney series meant for kids. Plus they're fictional characters so trying to force realism into it just for the sake of it and to dress it up as "it's deep so it's good" is silly.
 

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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 was worried about this same thing after the latest UX update, but here we actually get a decent explanation of what is going on. Odin says that darkness used to work in one way and now works differently. The old way, which just happens to be equivalent to real world belief in the Devil, is associated with UX and therefore with the Master of Masters, just like several other outdated and/or harmful ideas (determinism and excessive secrecy are the big ones, you can find more if you look for them). While not everything in this makes sense yet, a lot of it does.

But has the nature of darkness really changed, or is it just the understanding of it? In other words, are the Darkness beings in UX really "devils" or just regular hearts that have fallen into darkness?

Without the Vanitas connection in ReMind, everyone here would now believe that the Darkness who is now confronting the union leaders is Ava. I think this was Nomura's intent, but people took that one line spoken by Vanitas more seriously than he expected, and incorrectly concluded that the Darkness and Vanitas are the same person. Now we have an obvious reference to the foretellers in those deadly sins. Xehanort assumes that the Queen's darkness is from greed, but it actually is from wrath. That incorrect assumption smells like a clue. Why is it there? Is it perhaps meant to be a hint that the Darkness is not Ava, but Ira?
 

AdrianXXII

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Huh, I'm surprised we didn't get another flashforward at the end of this episode, instead we got a flashback.

Personally I'm in the camp of those that don't believe that Eraqus' grandfather was Brain, but like him a descendant of Brain. My main reason for that is that there seems to be too much history in Scala for it all to have been established and collapse in just two generations. The only way that could work for me is if he time traveled like the other Union Leaders.
I'm more under the impression that ever since the age of fairy tales the Keyblade wielders and Darkness in its many forms clashed and that's probably how most of the other towns ended up deserted.

It's also interesting to see that Eraqus has a strong anti-darkness stance from basically the beginning even when he was more of a goofball happy go lucky type.

It is interesting that UX introduced us to characters named after the sinns and now DR is telling us that the 7 sins are the root of darkness. Part of me wonders, if there are 6 more sins to get it up to the much beloved 13.

Do we know if the upperclass man share the same master as our class does? It'd seem odd for Odin to send the Upperclassmen on a dangerous mission not expecting them all to return and then send the younger class to find them afterwards unless he's aiming to destroy the Keyblade Wielders.

Heh, looks like another cutie, but this time with Hoodie.
Heh, yeah Baldr seems to be a really sweet kid, who really cares for his sister. Sadly in KH sisters don't have a good track record so far.

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.
I feel like with the current naming scheme it's not loyal to the source mythos. At most I think certain characteristics might be borrowed from them like Vör bing wise, Baldr sweet and Odin being an old Wizard.

Didn't Sif and Thor's daughter Thrud also become a valkyrie?
 

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What if Master Odin - the Allfather - is actually a bodyhopping Master of Masters? Or a bodyhopping Luxu? Guyses I am worried for the future of these characters. Remember, Xehanort was handpicked by Luxu as THE Keyblade Master of Darkness. Nothing was done on accident.

When Baldr mentioned that his sis was sent on basically a suicide mission where only the atrong survived, we have to ask WHO sent her and her team on that mention.

We know Odin sent Team Xehanort on a similar mention of retrieval, which inherently would get the pensive Xehanort questioning more and more. Do you think Odin was a bodyholper?
 

Sephiroth0812

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I was worried about this same thing after the latest UX update, but here we actually get a decent explanation of what is going on. Odin says that darkness used to work in one way and now works differently. The old way, which just happens to be equivalent to real world belief in the Devil, is associated with UX and therefore with the Master of Masters, just like several other outdated and/or harmful ideas (determinism and excessive secrecy are the big ones, you can find more if you look for them). While not everything in this makes sense yet, a lot of it does.

But has the nature of darkness really changed, or is it just the understanding of it? In other words, are the Darkness beings in UX really "devils" or just regular hearts that have fallen into darkness?

Without the Vanitas connection in ReMind, everyone here would now believe that the Darkness who is now confronting the union leaders is Ava. I think this was Nomura's intent, but people took that one line spoken by Vanitas more seriously than he expected, and incorrectly concluded that the Darkness and Vanitas are the same person. Now we have an obvious reference to the foretellers in those deadly sins. Xehanort assumes that the Queen's darkness is from greed, but it actually is from wrath. That incorrect assumption smells like a clue. Why is it there? Is it perhaps meant to be a hint that the Darkness is not Ava, but Ira?
It would certainly a high end parallel to how real world's understanding of "evil" and its roots evolved.

The main issue with this would be the Darklings as if I recall correctly they were pointed towards what a heart turns into when it falls completely to Darkness and I think it was also stated somewhere that Darklings are not Heartless.
Dark Chirithy was also giving some hints towards this.
These "Darkness" beings look nothing like Darklings however so what are they then really? Raw Darkness getting sentience? They're clearly shown to be able to act, move and speak independent from the person they're hiding in, they aren't the person themselves fallen to Darkness.

The issue with Ira is not that far-fetched. I remember back during Back-Covers release and also during the final story beats of the original Browser-Chi there were theories of Ira actually being the traitor because he a) is the only one of the Foretellers having red eyes on his mask and b) several of the parts of the Lost Page Gula cited could apply to Ira.


It is interesting that UX introduced us to characters named after the sinns and now DR is telling us that the 7 sins are the root of darkness. Part of me wonders, if there are 6 more sins to get it up to the much beloved 13.
Funny but after you mentioned this I remembered the "new" chess game Young Eraqus sets up in the Epilogue of KH III where Xehanort says something akin to "seven dark pieces!?"

It is possible the whole 13 Darknesses is something that doesn't apply in Phase 2 and we have seven instead. Like the seven deadly sins actually.
Remember the "False lights" the MoM and Xehanort talk about in their meeting? Perhaps the Foretellers including Luxu and the MoM himself actually are the true "False lights" hence their sin names.

It is truly a tricky thing as while one can claim to want to protect the light and even believing it themselves all they want yet if their actions cause more harm than good can they truly be called Protectors of Light at all?
Here in Dark Road it is already brought up with the whole Darkness hiding in people maybe without them even knowing and how to deal with that.

Heh, yeah Baldr seems to be a really sweet kid, who really cares for his sister. Sadly in KH sisters don't have a good track record so far.
Yep, and ouch on the sister thing, is Nomura turning this into a macabre "running gag" in the narrative now?

I feel like with the current naming scheme it's not loyal to the source mythos. At most I think certain characteristics might be borrowed from them like Vör bing wise, Baldr sweet and Odin being an old Wizard.
Imho when characters in KH get mythology-based names the most they take on from the source is a certain theme to their character arc and narrative role as needed in KH's own story, but not the actual story beats their mythological namesakes followed.
 

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What if Master Odin - the Allfather - is actually a bodyhopping Master of Masters? Or a bodyhopping Luxu? Guyses I am worried for the future of these characters. Remember, Xehanort was handpicked by Luxu as THE Keyblade Master of Darkness. Nothing was done on accident.

When Baldr mentioned that his sis was sent on basically a suicide mission where only the atrong survived, we have to ask WHO sent her and her team on that mention.

We know Odin sent Team Xehanort on a similar mention of retrieval, which inherently would get the pensive Xehanort questioning more and more. Do you think Odin was a bodyholper?
I could believe Odin being secretly Luxu but not the MoM. He already appeared to Young Xehanort in Re:MIND looking the same as he did in Age of fairytales
 
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If Odin's method of choosing masters is the "see who lives" method, it's no wonder that after Xehanort and Eraqus' class, that there's basically no keyblade wielders left.

Unless we assume Luxu has possessed Odin at this point, and is working towards helping Xehanort understand his purpose/ using his bonds and friendships with the other wielders as a tool to just get Xehanort to the point where he's ready to start the next keyblade war... I don't know what else could be happening.
 

AdrianXXII

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Funny but after you mentioned this I remembered the "new" chess game Young Eraqus sets up in the Epilogue of KH III where Xehanort says something akin to "seven dark pieces!?"

It is possible the whole 13 Darknesses is something that doesn't apply in Phase 2 and we have seven instead. Like the seven deadly sins actually.
Remember the "False lights" the MoM and Xehanort talk about in their meeting? Perhaps the Foretellers including Luxu and the MoM himself actually are the true "False lights" hence their sin names.

It is truly a tricky thing as while one can claim to want to protect the light and even believing it themselves all they want yet if their actions cause more harm than good can they truly be called Protectors of Light at all?
Here in Dark Road it is already brought up with the whole Darkness hiding in people maybe without them even knowing and how to deal with that.
I guess Phase 2 could go for 7 Darknesses representing the 7 sins. However that leaves the 13 shards of darkness part of the χ-blade unaddressed. I doubt they'd do both 7 Darknesses of Sin and 13 Hearts of Darkness.
Also I can't help but wonder, if moving forward the 7 Darknesses each represent a sin, will the new 7 hearts each represent a virtue?

Yeah, it seems very likely that the false lights would be the Foretellers and their master. Eraqus himself is a good example of how being obsessed with protecting light and keeping it pure can lead to darkness within you. The foretellers weren't much better in that regard.

I actually like DR's question of is the Darkness really the person's own or was it seeded there by others. Could make for an interesting storyline. Part of me feels we'll be meeting Darklings and learning more about them as Dark Road continues on.

Yep, and ouch on the sister thing, is Nomura turning this into a macabre "running gag" in the narrative now?
Yeah, I'd hate if this really becomes a trend. It'd be nice to have a healthy living sibling pairing for once.

Imho when characters in KH get mythology-based names the most they take on from the source is a certain theme to their character arc and narrative role as needed in KH's own story, but not the actual story beats their mythological namesakes followed.
That sounds about right.
 

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I guess Phase 2 could go for 7 Darknesses representing the 7 sins. However that leaves the 13 shards of darkness part of the χ-blade unaddressed. I doubt they'd do both 7 Darknesses of Sin and 13 Hearts of Darkness.
Also I can't help but wonder, if moving forward the 7 Darknesses each represent a sin, will the new 7 hearts each represent a virtue?
But Eraqus mentions a new game with the 7 black chess pieces that look like they represent the foretellers, and instead of 13 new seekers of darkness or light, we have only the one Sora chess figure.

Sora Vs The Foretellers?
 

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Sooo... Let me get this straight:
  • Light and Darkness have always existed, but, there was a time where hearts were devoid of Darkness and only had Light in them.
  • At some point in time, Darkness decided to multiply by spreading itself to people's hearts
  • Darkness grew by taking advantage of people's emotions
  • Darkness became so attached to people's hearts that hearts were started to be born with Darkness and started creating beings out of their hearts: Heartless
  • With that in mind, we can say that Heartless are the original Unversed: beings born from the negative emotions out of people's hearts
  • The difference between Heartless and Unversed is that Heartless come from the Darkness of people's hearts while the Unversed come from the Darkness of an anomaly (Vanitas, the second half of someone else's heart, a second half that is pure darkness)
Also, a random thought: Baldr mentioning Eraqus' grandpa makes me think that he's an important figure and could have been the founder of Scala ad Caelum. And since Eraqus and Brain are very alike, is Brain Eraqus' grandpa AND founder of Sala? other than that, since we're talking about grandparents: could Ephemer be Baldr's grandfather?

By the way, the Mark of Mastery Odin ordered to Baldr's sister and the upperclassmen sounds very fishy.

Odin kept him busy with another mission I believe to keep him out of the investigation his other classmates are doing.
this makes the MoM even fishier.

Of course my first reaction is that it’s just Ravus and I’m waiting for the missing students to be the Verum Rex kids
I knew he looked familiar!!!

And the Mark of Mastery exam that Baldur's sister is participating in feels rigged... 🤔
That makes two of us. "Only those that return pass it" where were they sent to and what is their mission?

However that leaves the 13 shards of darkness part of the χ-blade unaddressed.
Will the xBlade be relevant again, tho?
 

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Perhaps the "unnatural" Princesses of Heart are more natural than we think.
 

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Of course my first reaction is that it’s just Ravus and I’m waiting for the missing students to be the Verum Rex kids
Woah, so, Yozora, Aegis, Magia and Not-Stella could be the Scala Ad Caelum upper-classmen?! What if Not-Stella is Baldr's sister? And Master Odin gave them an unusual Mark of Mastery exam that probably was supposed to get rid of them... He could be a body-hopping Luxu... Could he somehow change their appearances, change their names, replace their hearts?

Don't forget
"He's been changed beyond recognition- his heart replaced with another's"
"No, this isn't the real world, and I am here. But this isn't what I really look like. How'd you recognize me as Yozora?"

Time to start theorising.
 

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That luscious hair though...

Will the xBlade be relevant again, tho?
It's gotta be, considering said weapon never even appeared in the browser or mobile games yet despite carrying the titular letter.

Perhaps the "unnatural" Princesses of Heart are more natural than we think.
I didn't say unnatural but I did imply "exclusively natural." We know children have a lot of light, it's why the world was rebuilt. Maybe it's because the Tweedles are kids who live in world that doesn't believe in common sense?

As of right now, the only natural pure lights we know of are the Princesses. Purity that was induced artificially was Ven (and possibly one other), but right now we don't know if he's still pure, though the ReMind dialogue implied that might still be the case...probably.
 
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