Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage - Story
Birth by Sleep
The Story So Far
- The Beginning -
Destiny Islands—a small set of islands, and the home of a young man yearning for adventure.
Years later, Master Xehanort, no longer a young man, returns home. Donned in a black coat, he carries at his side a young boy, Ventus, wrapped in white cloth. Ventus's eyes are devoid of life; he has lost a piece of his heart, the result of one of Xehanort's experiments.
Xehanort places him on the ground and begins to walk away when a miracle occurs: Ventus's heart manages to repair itself and a Keyblade appears in his hand. Through his surprise, Xehanort smiles as he hatches a new plan.
- Embarking on a Journey -
At the Land of Departure, a world protected by generations of Keyblade Masters, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus train under Master Eraqus in the hopes of becoming masters themselves.
The night before Terra and Aqua are to take the Mark of Mastery exam, the three gaze up at the night sky, each with Aqua's handmade Wayfinder in hand. Little do they know, this would be the last night they share together.
On the day of the exam, Xehanort is there to witness Terra and Aqua demonstrate their abilities. Though both are slated to receive the title of Master, Xehanort insists they both take the test.
During their demonstration, Terra finds Aqua's strength overwhelming and subconsciously resorts to using the power of darkness. For this, Master Eraqus grants only Aqua the title of Master.
Xehanort approaches the devastated Terra and encourages him to embrace the darkness. Feeling relieved, Terra finds himself placing trust in him.
A short while later, Master Eraqus and his students receive word from Master Yen Sid, a powerful sorcerer who watches ofver the realm of light. Dark monsters called the Unversed have appeared in all corners of the world, and the princesses of light are in danger. Xehanort is also nowhere to be found. Master Eraqus informs Aqua and Terra that they are to defeat these creatures and find Xehanort.
Meanwhile, a mysterious boy in a mask appears before Ventus and hints at Terra's bleak future. Worried, Ventus leaves the Land of Departure to chase after his friend.
As for Aqua, Master Eraqus instructs her to retrieve Ventus and to keep an eye on Terra.
- Footsteps in the Dark -
On his journey accross the worlds, Terra learns of Xehanort's interest in the pure hearts of light and the Unversed's connection to the masked boy. As Aqua watches from afar, she becomes worried about her friend and his affinity to the darkness.
Meanwhile, Ventus continues to search for Terra when the masked boy appears, Keyblade in hand. As the two battle, Ventus finds himself backed into a corner. Suddenly, a Keyblade wielder calling himself Mickey appears. Together, they defeat the masked boy.
Mickey explains that he's training under Yen Sid, and that he rushed off without permission when he realized the worlds are in trouble. In the same situation himself, Ventus quickly befriends his new ally.
Seeking the counsel of one wiser than himself, Terra visits Yen Sid. There the young man explains the appearance of the Unversed and the disappearance of Xehanort, and is told to think of them as one problem.
After departing from Yen Sid's tower, Terra hears Xehanort's voice call out to him. The two meet and Xehanort confesses to his past crimes: It is his fault the masked boy, Vanitas, exists. He is a creation of pure darkness that came from Ventus, and Xehanort requests Terra to right the wrong he has created. Terra accepts.
- Converging and Diverging -
Terra heads to the city of light, Radiant Garden, to fulfill his promise to Xehanort. Unbeknownst to him, his closest friends are there too.
Aqua sees a young girl being attacked by the Unversed and rushes to her side. Mickey arrives just in time to help her. After they defeat the monsters, Mickey and Aqua speak briefly before he is whisked away by the Star Shard. Sensing a special light within the young girl, Aqua casts a magic spell on her to protect her from the darkness.
Elsewhere in the city, Ventus is on the trail of a large Unversed when he crosses path with Terra and Aqua. The three combine their powers and defeat the Unversed, but their happy reunion is short-lived. Terra discovers that Aqua has been sent by Master Eraqus to follow him, and he storms off, feeling betrayed by his friends and mentor.
Shortly after, a man named Braig confronts Terra, claiming he's taken Xehanort hostage. He challenges Terra for his Keyblade, and the two battle until Terra emerges victorious. Having relied on the power of darkness to win, however, Terra is disappointed and convinces himself that he cannot return home. Freed from Braig's imprisonment, Xehanort explains to Terra that he had not been controlled by the darkness, but had successfully channeled it instead. He then convinces Terra to become his pupil; Terra accepts. Shortly after, he leaves to continue his search for Vanitas.
After her battle against the masked boy, Aqua decides to resolve everything herself without getting her friends further involved.
Ventus, left behind by the others, meets a young boy named Lea and the two become fast friends.
- True Ambitions Revealed -
While in the Lanes Between, Terra feels a warm light and follows it to Destiny Islands. There, he meets Riku and learns that the young boy wishes to become strong to protect the things that matter to him. Terra, seeing himself in Riku, bequeaths the power of the Keyblade to him and promises him they will meet again someday.
Guided by the same light, Aqua also finds her way to Destiny Islands. She realizes that someone had passed Riku the power of the Keyblade and wonders if it was Terra. Aqua, sensing the extraordinary strength of his friend Sora's heart, instructs Sora to stick by Riku and keep him safe.
While rescuing Mickey, Ventus runs into his former master, Xehanort. The reunion reawakens the boy's sleeping memories, and Xehanort urges his former pupil to clash with Vanitas in order to forge the χ-blade. He also tells the boy to seek out Eraqus to learn the truth.
Ventus returns to Eraqus in search of answers. But after hearing what his pupil had learned about the χ-blade, Eraqus raises his Keyblade, determined to eliminate the boy and thwart Xehanort's plan of forging the blade. Terra arrives just in time and battles his master to protect his friend.
Near the battle's end, Xehanort appears and strikes down the weakened Eraqus. He then urges Terra to meet him at the Keyblade Graveyard. There, Xehanort says, he can witness Aqua and Ventus fall with his own eyes.
Before his battle with Eraqus, Terra tries to move Ventus to a safe place—Destiny Islands. But Vanitas is already there and tells the boy that they must clash to forge the χ-blade. Ventus, however, refuses to fight. To spur him into action, Vanitas reveals his plan to deal with Aqua and Terra at the Keyblade Graveyard.
Aqua finds Mickey in the Lanes Between and returns him to Yen Sid. There, she learns that Master Eraqus has been struck down by Xehanort, and Terra. She races to the Keyblade Graveyard to confront her friend and discover the truth.
- Forging the χ-blade -
The three friends assemble at the Keyblade Graveyard, a barren plain filled with countless lifeless keys left behind from the Keyblade War. Xehanort claims it to be "the place where all Keyblade wielders leave their mark on fate." It is where the decisive battle would take place and in turn, summon Kingdom Hearts.
Terra tells Aqua and Ventus that he has come to settle the score with Xehanort, who had tricked him into defeating their master. Aqua insists that doing so was exactly what Xehanort wants. Ventus then confesses that he may have to fight Vanitas, which would result in the forging of the χ-blade. He urges his friends to put an end to him if it comes to that.
Xehanort and Vanitas arrive, and the battle begins. Terra, separated from his friends, stands alone as he faces Xehanort. Ventus attempts to protect his friend, but is frozen by his former master. Terra, consumed with rage, raises his Keyblade.
Aqua watches over Ventus, but Braig appears and the two clash. She defeats him, but is then attacked by Vanitas. Before he can deliver the final blow, Ventus summons the strength to unfreeze himself and fights Vanitas, thus forging the χ-blade.
Seeing the blade forged, Xehanort unlocks his heart and tries to possess the body of Terra. Terra summons his armor to protect himself, but it crumbles to the ground and his body becomes the new vessel for Xehanort, who becomes Terra-Xehanort. But Terra's heart is not gone. His will lingers within his armor and clashes with Terra-Xehanort.
Aqua awakens to the sight of Mickey and the body of Ventus fused with Vanitas. In Ventus's hand is the χ-blade. Mickey and Aqua are no match for the wielder of the legendary blade; however, by relying on the power of her friends, Aqua summons enough strength to shatter the weapon. Ventus begins fighting back from within Vanitas, and to prevent the total union of their souls, Ventus decides to destroy the χ-blade, even if it means his heart might vanish forever.
- Retrieving a Heart -
After the clash at the Keyblade Graveyard, Mickey finds Aqua and Ventus in the Lanes Between and takes them to Yen Sid's tower. Aqua awakens to learn that Ventus's heart is asleep and Terra's whereabouts are unknown. She then decides to seek out Terra and find a safe place for Ventus to rest.
Aqua returns to the Land of Departure with Ventus and sees Master Eraqus's Keyblade on the ground. She picks it up and, remembering her mentor's words, uses it to lock the Land away. It transforms into Castle Oblivion and Aqua hides the body of Ventus within one of its chambers. While departing, she hears the voice of Terra who asked her to put an end to him.
Aqua follows the voice to Radiant Garden where she encounters Terra-Xehanort. Quickly realizing that someone has taken over her friend's body, she fights the mysterious man to get her friend's heart back. During the battle, a light begins to shine from within the man's body. Realizing that Terra is fighting back, Terra-Xehanort turns his Keyblade on himself.
Without a heart, Terra-Xehanort begins falling into darkness. Aqua grabs Terra, but soon realizes that they both won't make it out in time. Aqua entrusts Terra's body to her armor, places her Keyblade in his hand, and sends him back to the realm of light. She herself continues to descend into darkness, promising to one day return to wake Ventus.
Back in the Radiant Garden, Ansem the Wise follows his disciple Braig to where the body of Terra-Xehanort lies. Though the mysterious man has lost his memories, he recalls his name—Xehanort. Hearing the familiar name, Braig grins.
Aqua wanders within the darkness, weary from her endless encounters with the dark creatures. Eventually, she finds herself surrounded by monsters and wonders if it's time to give up. Just then, two lights appear in the distance, and Terra and Ventus's Keyblades soar from the darkness and defeat the creatures. Filled with a new hope, Aqua smiles as she continues her trek through the darkness.
- Wandering through the Darkness -
As Aqua roams the Dark World, she comes upon a familiar sight—the Castle of Dreams.
0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage -
The world is coming to an end, as Kingdom Hearts envelops everything in sight—a beautiful spectacle despite the bleak reality.
A dark-cloaked figure watches from afar, a large, black box by his feet. His hands rest upon the hilt of a Keyblade decorated with an emblem of a goat. In the center of the blade is a giant, glistening eye that reflects countless Keyblades abandoned by their wielders.
As the battle with Xehanort draws near, Yen Sid reveals the existence of Keyblade wielders Ventus, Terra, and Aqua, three of the seven guardians of light. However, all have disappeared from this world.
The King had encountered one, Aqua, in the realm of darkness, and he shares their tale.
Dark World: Castle of Dreams
Wandering through the realm of darkness, Aqua discovers a familiar sight—the Castle of Dreams.
There, she sees Terra, but he vanishes without a word. Was it merely a vision projected by her hopes, her memories?
Dark World: Dwarf Woodlands
As she continues to explore the darkness, she comes across a glass coffin—identical to the one from Dwarf Woodlands. In it lies an illusion of Ventus. Seeing her friend, she's reminded of her promise to return and wake him.
Feeling as though she's being watched, she turns around to discover a mirror. She leans in to touch it, and a hand reaches out and pulls her inside. Once there, she's attacked by phantom versions of herself, all of whom try to break her resolve.
Aqua prevails and manages to escape that world. However, it makes her realize the darkness is slowly eating away at her through the weakness of her heart.
Dark World: Enchanted Dominion
Before Aqua stands another familiar sight, this one covered in ivy—Enchanted Dominion. As she's about to venture inside, illusions of Terra and Ventus appear. Though she knows in her heart her friends aren't really there, she chases after them.
Defeating dwellers of darkness along the way, she finally catches up to her friends. However, only Terra responds to her voice, as his heart is still connected to the darkness. Ventus, his expression vacant, still sleeps in his hiding place.
Terra explains that Xehanort is looking for Ven. As Aqua is about to reassure him, all of a sudden, Terra begins to act strangely. He's taken over by Xehanort, who yearns to discover where Ven is hiding. However, Terra's heart holds strong, and they struggle.
Out of nowhere, large hands grab Aqua and Ven, lifting them off their feet. As she loses consciousness, she watches Terra muster all his strength and pull away from Xehanort's hold.
Dark World: Destiny Islands
As Aqua drifts within the darkness, Mickey reaches out for her. She awakens, only to realize the images of Terra and Ventus are nowhere to be seen. She then learns from Mickey that ten years have passed in the realm of light, and that the threat of darkness looms ever closer. On top of that, Terra still hasn't been found. Mickey explains that he's looking for a Keyblade that could prevent the spreading of darkness, and Aqua decides to search with him.
Before long, they arrive on a beach beneath a clear blue sky. Aqua shares that this is the place she met Sora and Riku--Destiny Islands. Hearing that convinces Mickey they're in the right place.
They find a cave, and within it--behind a door--the Keyblade. Mickey takes it in his hand. A bright light engulfs them, and when they open their eyes, they find themselves before the open door to Kingdom Hearts. To prevent darkness from escaping and destroying other worlds, Mickey knows he must close the door with the combined power of his and Sora's Keyblades.
It's not long before Riku appears to close the door, but he's chased by a monster of darkness. Aqua steps in front of the creature's path and is swept outside the cave. The door to the outside world vanishes, separating Mickey and Aqua. As Aqua fights the monster, she realizes that she cannot go home yet, but knows she'll make it there one day.
Then together, Sora and Mickey close the door to Kingdom Hearts.
Laying on the beach, Aqua watches as the world restores itself around her. Left behind in the darkness, she falls deeper and deeper into the abyss. However, her expression is peaceful and serene.
"May our hearts be our guiding key."
In the Dark Margin, a figure in black stands amongst the rocks. Slowly, Aqua approaches him.
The King's story ends there.
Yen Sid reveals that he had forbidden Mickey from speaking of his meeting with Aqua because no one held the power to rescue her from the realm of darkness. However, things have changed, and the King and Riku are determined to save her. Meanwhile, the new Keyblade wielder Kairi begins her training with Lea under the wizard Merlin.
Sora returns from his journey to the Sleeping Worlds and reunites with Donald and Goofy. Yen Sid states that in order to defeat Xehanort, Sora must reclaim the powers he lost from nearly becoming a dark vessel, and acquire the ability to awaken sleeping allies.
With that, Sora, Donald, and Goofy embark on a brand-new adventure.