On the Aging of Nobodies



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Hobbe

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Posting this one here because the concept of Nobodies growing new hearts, although hinted at in previous installments, was first outright stated in this game... I think. I'm a little bit dusty on the lore and stuff. Also going to apologize now for always saying 'ten years between BBS and DDD' when it's really more like 11.5 or something... I'm rounding down =)

In DDD it is revealed that after a Nobody is created the empty husk is immediately eligible to begin growing a new heart to replace the old one, lost or discarded to the darkness. We also know that the heart is what determines the body's appearance, and that the heart does not seem to age while in certain possibly varying states of dormancy.

We see this with Ven, whose heart has not aged at all because it has been asleep the entire time after BBS. Thus in the 'creation' of Roxas, Sora's body takes on the appearance that Ven's heart tells it to. Good old reliable data transfer. That heart hasn't aged a bit, so its body shouldn't have either. Although data transfer can have error. Perhaps the change in eyebrow color and whatever else is just a copying error. Conversely, it could just as well be an effect of the new heart in Roxas adding some features of its own. I'm not sure if that is known yet.

Moving on, we see it in Master Xehanort himself. He is not fully in control of his heart from the moment he loses his memories at the end of BBS to the moment he recompletes at the end of DDD. This is a dormancy of its own, different from Ven's but having a similar effect. His heart having not aged a bit despite its presence in several host bodies over the decade of our story, he recompletes exactly as he looked back then. That's how recompletion works. Your heart isn't supposed to age once its left your body. Only Xehanort's incarnations were clever enough to keep the heart moving from host to host as the Nobody went on growing a new heart and doing what it wanted. Even despite being in a body or two for a whole decade, Xehanort's heart didn't age at all. And so he appears exactly as he did before when he finally rejoins his original body and heart. It's basically as though Xehanort and Ven were cryogenically frozen for ten years (Ven still chillin'). Time travel.

Why does Sora, then, age when in his own state of dormancy? He, much like Ven and Xehanort, had not lost his heart to darkness, nor had his heart been put into the same slumber as Ven's, nor had his heart transferred hosts and then fallen to darkness as Xehanort's [intentionally] had. It's a different kind of dormancy. His memories are so scrambled all over that his heart has basically collapsed and is just about to return to Kingdom Hearts (Naminé to the rescue!) Are they all the same type of dormancy? I predict that Sora's differs greatly from the others, and we can see that by his aging between CoM and KH2. How is he aging? Well, his heart fragments (memories) are scattered between Roxas and Xion, and perhaps due to their intrinsic connections (they're all basically Sora) they feel right at home. Roxas and Xion definitely have hearts by the end of 358/2 Days.

Those hearts are approximately one year old each, since the growing of their new hearts happened quite early on with the introduction of the Roxas-Axel-Xion dynamic. Since Xion and Roxas are supposed to be one, that year gets split in two. That's where the meaning of the title comes in right? A year old heart divided in two and eventually rejoined. Still a year. So when that new heart grows to age one and joins back up with its greater self inside Sora's body, that body ages a full year on the spot. Nobody seems to question why Sora aged because nobody there at the time knew about what had happened to Ven and Xehanort's hearts. They probably had no idea hearts don't age in dormancy. Sora's got four hearts in him now. Xion and Ven account for half a year each while that fragmented heart went off and aged a year. Ven doesn't account for any increase in age. Too sleepy to.

So moving on (again). We know that the aging of the Org. Nobodies seems to vary. Some characters, chiefly Vexen, Lexaeus and Xaldin, have not aged at all by the looks of things, whereas others (Xigbar, Zexion) and still others (Axel, Saix [depending on when they were turned into Nobodies]) have shown some pretty obvious signs of aging, roughly ten years of aging by my estimates. Regrettably estimates because we have no idea when after Nobodification (yup) their hearts first nurture and begin to age. It does look like ten or so years of aging for all four of them, right? Braig's getting pretty grey, Lea and Isa look much older, and Ienzo... not even a debate.

But the three apprentices haven't aged much at all. Their eyes are pretty much the same too (Even's a bit brighter, perhaps glowing with pride and elation at having discovered so much for himself about the nature of the heart and the universe). Xehanortification denied, really. Not like Saix, and not like Braig. And they're the two Org. members left in the new Org. - Xehanortification readily accepted. I won't go into my thoughts or predictions on Saix (unless asked) as I can't prove anything until KH3 is out =)

I will say my predictions on the others though!

As for Ienzo, it seems to me that his heart could have easily bloomed due to his possibly almost complete innocence at the time of his Nobodification. I think it definitely has something to do with his being a wide-eyed inquisitive child at the time and so very unmuddled with memories of the world. It's not like he's going out to Agrabah to hang with the Genie (RIP RW) or shootin' hoops with with Axel and Saix in a tough neighborhood in the World That Never Was and getting the kind of bonds that Roxas-Axel-Xion got to experience. So did Axel not grow a heart til he met Roxas? How was already aged then, huh? Well, I think he did and didn't know it. Same as Ienzo. Same as Saix. And it was probably the true friendship between Lea and Isa that survived beyond the absolutely trippy event of losing your heart and being an empty husk. They still had each other and their childhood memories. That's the catalyst for their new heart growth and it happens right away (I think!). That friendship eventually dies when miserable ole Saix-who-thinks-he-has-no-heart becomes more of a prick, but the hearts were there and aging by then. But I said I wouldn't get into the Saix-Axel debate here. So a last note on Ienzo (maybe).

I do think he was largely innocent in all this to an extent, pre-Nobodification. He was just a kid. It's clear that he is somehow special and a genius of sorts by scenes in BBS. Ansem the Wise treats him like his own son. [I have a prediction on that as well.] Ienzo clearly shares Ansem's burning passion for the pursuit of knowledge, shown by the reasonable expectation that Ansem would instill that mindset into his young 'son,' and more directly by the mention that it was Ienzo who suggested the machine be built, perhaps not even knowing what he's helping to cause. The innocence of children and their light is a huge theme. I don’t picture Ienzo as being some evil psycho child. I do however think that after his new heart begins to age he becomes the jerk we've seen in CoM and DDD (less so DDD I guess). That's all on him for now holy crap.

So that covers Axel, Saix and Ienzo. Braig is all that's left of the aging Nobodies (for the record the latter day Org. members, much as I like them, are totally irrelevant here until we're told or led to believe otherwise). He's Xehanort's only absolutely trusted minion on the whole team. So the same probably goes for Xemnas too, and since Xemnas knew that hearts were growing new, it stands to reason Xigbar knew this too (sure seems to act like he knew all along...). With that knowledge in mind his heart could have been better predisposed to nurture quickly and thus have its aging begin sooner.

That last chunk was all predictions and free unfiltered thinking, but it sounds solid enough to me and hopefully enough to you too that you bear with me still. Moving on. Xaldin, Vexen, Lexaeus.

What's the deal? Why not them? Their bodies are pretty much the same, so shouldn't they have guessed that something was amiss? Or maybe they were in on that particular detail as well. We really have no idea, but these 3 are definitely wild cards. Here's something. Even is a weird guy. Very hungry for knowledge in an unhealthy, not-unprecedented way (Xehanort?). He's the lead scientist for the whole damn operation from end of BBS to Vexen's demise in CoM. He was probably responsible for turning Ienzo against Ansem when all that stuff went down. He's a bad guy. But his will must have been tremendous if he was never successfully Norted. Must've been close to seeding properly though, for we find Even unstable and pushed offscreen with Dilan for the duration of DDD. Pretty bizarre considering their status as totally evil dudes. That's really all that can be said for Even at this point (maybe). I imagine they didn't know about Norting and will be totally pissed at Braig but still evil in their own right.

Then, scientists aside, the apprentices are just two castle guards. Wait, what? Why are castle guards getting involved in that shit? Well, Dilan's clearly not a good guy, right? Probably easily swayed into the fold by Braig who seems to be his boss. When all they really wanted was his strong body for serving as a Darkness. Funny. And Lex? Doesn't seem to be too bad. Referred to as the Silent Hero in 358/2 Days (original) and maybe also in KH2 (a game he has no part in). I say maybe because I can't find a list of inscriptions in the 'Proof of Existence' room of the World That Never Was and my PS2 is gone and it'll probably be changed to Taciturn Stalwart for 2.5 HD. Anyway. Has to be more to him than meets the eye, especially given his relationship to Ienzo.

So given his relationship to Ienzo, why hasn't he aged? Well, he's an adult, and he's lost his heart. He can't feel. Not til a new heart begins. With Ienzo growing up and Lex staying the same and being unfeeling, I'm sure there's going to be some drifting apart. Same with Axel and Saix. Now, I think he started to grow a new heart when he was stationed at Castle Oblivion with the rest of the basement gang. Being on a team probably spurred on that heart growth. He was probably only there to begin with to protect Vexen and Zexion who would have been doing Replica stuff. I only think he may have started to grow one before his demise because he doesn't seem totally unfeeling but who knows. 'Forgive me Ienzo..." ... Forgive me for what? Not being able to help you do an evil thing? I think Lexaeus was a good hearted dude who was brainwashed but was still too strong to be Norted and was probably too busy doing original member caliber of Heartless-making. Like how Vexen was probably too busy with the Replica program and etc. to grow one. Like Dilan. And Dilan was glad to be rid of his heart and was probably very busy turning people like Beast into Heartless for ten years straight. No friends, no new heart, right? Same age.

Xemnas, like Braig, had a new heart but no friends by which it could have been nurtured. I think they just know enough that they got theirs relatively early on. It looks like Xemnas has aged ten years, although perhaps less obvious since it's just hair and it was grey to begin with. And they knew about their current state and would grow very similar hearts to the ones they lost... but with the addition of Xehanort seeds. In fact Braig's seeding started pre-Nortification.

I will go back to Ienzo now for a second to say that his jarring transformation from innocent smart kid to total manipulative psychopath is pretty straightforward. Here's this kid who becomes a Nobody and gets a heart by the virtue of his own innocence. He loses that innocence when he banishes Ansem but the heart is there. He's aging still. But he spends most of his time with Vexen no-heart doing smart people stuff - working on the Replica program. No friends. How would Sora have turned out with no friends? Maybe a bit like Zexion. And in a way Zexion's scolding of Riku in CoM is perfectly poetic, as he too destroyed the lives of the only ones who loved him (Zexion by banishing Ansem etc, Riku by basically sacrificing his world and body to the darkness.).

I think that's all I've got now. I wasn't sure when I started thinking about all this stuff where I'd be going with it but I'm pretty happy with where my original few trains of thought brought me. It started as a bunch of interconnected thoughts about one of my favourite series and its mysteries and here we are.

Please take this essay as a bunch of free thinking just ready to be scrutinized. That's what it's all about. I'm sure I've missed stuff and made errors or maybe overanalysed or made some disagreeable predictions.

Dissect, Discuss, and Deliberate! I want to know what my fellow KH enthusiasts think. And thanks for getting through this. Holy Heartless Hades I've been writing this post too long. Extreme thanks for those who refused to say TL;DR and instead said LE;RT!

.... 'Long Enough, Read Twice'

Thanks folks.
 

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In DDD it is revealed that after a Nobody is created the empty husk is immediately eligible to begin growing a new heart to replace the old one, lost or discarded to the darkness. We also know that the heart is what determines the body's appearance, and that the heart does not seem to age while in certain possibly varying states of dormancy.

We see this with Ven, whose heart has not aged at all because it has been asleep the entire time after BBS. Thus in the 'creation' of Roxas, Sora's body takes on the appearance that Ven's heart tells it to. Good old reliable data transfer. That heart hasn't aged a bit, so its body shouldn't have either. Although data transfer can have error. Perhaps the change in eyebrow color and whatever else is just a copying error. Conversely, it could just as well be an effect of the new heart in Roxas adding some features of its own. I'm not sure if that is known yet.

Moving on, we see it in Master Xehanort himself. He is not fully in control of his heart from the moment he loses his memories at the end of BBS to the moment he recompletes at the end of DDD. This is a dormancy of its own, different from Ven's but having a similar effect. His heart having not aged a bit despite its presence in several host bodies over the decade of our story, he recompletes exactly as he looked back then. That's how recompletion works. Your heart isn't supposed to age once its left your body. Only Xehanort's incarnations were clever enough to keep the heart moving from host to host as the Nobody went on growing a new heart and doing what it wanted. Even despite being in a body or two for a whole decade, Xehanort's heart didn't age at all. And so he appears exactly as he did before when he finally rejoins his original body and heart. It's basically as though Xehanort and Ven were cryogenically frozen for ten years (Ven still chillin'). Time travel.
It's not so much ones heart aging but the body aging as the heart matures. The heart is an eternal aspect of a person, no matter what happens the heart remains/passes on in some form even if the body itself dies.

So while Ven's heart being damaged and dormant is certainly true it's not the same case for MX. MX has shown in DDD that he was very much in control of everything that happened from the moment Apprentice Xehanort split up till he reformed as Geezernort in DDD.

Ansem & Xemnas each followed two halves of MX's plan, not their own. And on top of that Ansem is "Xehanort reduced to just a heart". Ansem is MX's heart itself.

Not to say your wrong though, MX did definitely preserve his life for 10 extra years by doing all of this. It's just that he's remained the same since BBS for different reasons than Ventus has.

Why does Sora, then, age when in his own state of dormancy? He, much like Ven and Xehanort, had not lost his heart to darkness, nor had his heart been put into the same slumber as Ven's, nor had his heart transferred hosts and then fallen to darkness as Xehanort's [intentionally] had. It's a different kind of dormancy. His memories are so scrambled all over that his heart has basically collapsed and is just about to return to Kingdom Hearts (Naminé to the rescue!) Are they all the same type of dormancy? I predict that Sora's differs greatly from the others, and we can see that by his aging between CoM and KH2. How is he aging? Well, his heart fragments (memories) are scattered between Roxas and Xion, and perhaps due to their intrinsic connections (they're all basically Sora) they feel right at home. Roxas and Xion definitely have hearts by the end of 358/2 Days.

Those hearts are approximately one year old each, since the growing of their new hearts happened quite early on with the introduction of the Roxas-Axel-Xion dynamic. Since Xion and Roxas are supposed to be one, that year gets split in two. That's where the meaning of the title comes in right? A year old heart divided in two and eventually rejoined. Still a year. So when that new heart grows to age one and joins back up with its greater self inside Sora's body, that body ages a full year on the spot. Nobody seems to question why Sora aged because nobody there at the time knew about what had happened to Ven and Xehanort's hearts. They probably had no idea hearts don't age in dormancy. Sora's got four hearts in him now. Xion and Ven account for half a year each while that fragmented heart went off and aged a year. Ven doesn't account for any increase in age. Too sleepy to.
Your confusing sleep for dormancy. If one didn't age as they slept then nobody in KH would age during sleeping/nap time.
Sora's memories were scattered but his heart wasn't literally shattered like Ven's was. What kept ven young wasn't just that his heart left his body but that his very heart itself had to rebuild.

So moving on (again). We know that the aging of the Org. Nobodies seems to vary. Some characters, chiefly Vexen, Lexaeus and Xaldin, have not aged at all by the looks of things, whereas others (Xigbar, Zexion) and still others (Axel, Saix [depending on when they were turned into Nobodies]) have shown some pretty obvious signs of aging, roughly ten years of aging by my estimates. Regrettably estimates because we have no idea when after Nobodification (yup) their hearts first nurture and begin to age. It does look like ten or so years of aging for all four of them, right? Braig's getting pretty grey, Lea and Isa look much older, and Ienzo... not even a debate.

But the three apprentices haven't aged much at all. Their eyes are pretty much the same too (Even's a bit brighter, perhaps glowing with pride and elation at having discovered so much for himself about the nature of the heart and the universe). Xehanortification denied, really. Not like Saix, and not like Braig. And they're the two Org. members left in the new Org. - Xehanortification readily accepted. I won't go into my thoughts or predictions on Saix (unless asked) as I can't prove anything until KH3 is out =)
In the case of Xigbar keep in mind that he's been Norted since the end of BBS. The grey hair could just be MX's heart taking more and more hold. It's already gave him pointed ears and yellow eyes and as you mentioned heart dictates look.
So by the logic the more like MX Xigbar becomes the more like the old geezer he'll appear.

Also don't rule out norting of the other apprentices just yet. Even may lack the eyes or ears but Xaldin/Dilan does have pointed ears.

What's the deal? Why not them? Their bodies are pretty much the same, so shouldn't they have guessed that something was amiss? Or maybe they were in on that particular detail as well. We really have no idea, but these 3 are definitely wild cards. Here's something. Even is a weird guy. Very hungry for knowledge in an unhealthy, not-unprecedented way (Xehanort?). He's the lead scientist for the whole damn operation from end of BBS to Vexen's demise in CoM. He was probably responsible for turning Ienzo against Ansem when all that stuff went down. He's a bad guy. But his will must have been tremendous if he was never successfully Norted. Must've been close to seeding properly though, for we find Even unstable and pushed offscreen with Dilan for the duration of DDD. Pretty bizarre considering their status as totally evil dudes. That's really all that can be said for Even at this point (maybe). I imagine they didn't know about Norting and will be totally pissed at Braig but still evil in their own right.
As mentioned above don't rule them out just yet. We don't know who are seekers and who aren't and until KH3 it's kinda hard to category them.

We dont even know if Ienzo was an nort which makes his suggestions about labs even more suspect.

Xemnas, like Braig, had a new heart but no friends by which it could have been nurtured. I think they just know enough that they got theirs relatively early on. It looks like Xemnas has aged ten years, although perhaps less obvious since it's just hair and it was grey to begin with. And they knew about their current state and would grow very similar hearts to the ones they lost... but with the addition of Xehanort seeds. In fact Braig's seeding started pre-Nortification.
Even with friends I doubt that'd help Xemnas. To much of him is dictated by Xehanort and when Xehanort takes a host the host self is "swallowed" or imprisoned as Nomura put it.
It's actually a fan theory that Eraqus/Terra remained within Xemnas and acted as the means for MX to seed Xemnas and maintain control over the nobody. (which would explain Xemnas' allusions to Terra & Eraqus while Ansem is pretty much all MX)

As for the rest of your theory not to bad though since we don't know who Nomura has decided will be seekers and who wont it leaves the parts of your post about norting up to question and debate.
Although Xemnas' own statement they were "undoubtedly showing signs of a burgeoning replacement" does add fuel to the idea some members were farther along than others. (a big example of that is Zexions display of fear when he was destroyed by Repliku)

As for my own stance on it? I've more or less thrown out the no aging rule since BBS showed Axel, Saix, and Zexion as young kids. I haven't really bothered to analyze the specifics.
 
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