Kingdom Hearts Story Summary (In Chronological Order)

Welcome to the Kingdom Hearts Story Summary.  As stated in the title, this Summary attempts to guide you through the story of the entire Kingdom Hearts franchise in chronological order of the games’ universe instead of the release order of the games.  If you would like a short overview of the order of the games without tons of spoilers, you can find it here on this older post.

As stated, this post WILL contain MASSIVE SPOILERS for the Kingdom Hearts series of games.  I’ve also included a FAQ section at the bottom for some of the more confusing details I’ve had people ask me about the story, and I’ve tried to answer them the best I can.  If you have a question you’d like me to try to answer, feel free to leave it in a comment or send me a tweet @Vrykerion with your question and I’ll see what I can do.

0.0) Chi/Unchained Chi/Back Cover

The tale begins in the Age of Fairy Tales where the Master of Masters has entrusted each of his five apprentices with a copy of the Book of Prophecies – a tome that contains the future but also contains other power like the ability to create worlds.  The Book foretells of a dire event coming where all out war will consume the world and Darkness will swallow the Light.  The Master of Masters warns his apprentices that this event is set in stone and is impossible to change, so not to fixate on it.  Instead, plan for what comes next.  He also bestows a special task on each of his apprentices:  Ira is given the task of being the leader, Aced is given the task of supporting Ira and taking his place should Ira prove unreliable at his task, Invi was tasked with observing her fellow apprentices and acting as a mediator, Ava was given the goal of training ‘dandelions’ – keyblade wielders that will go forth after the war to help rebuild, and Gula was given a ‘missing page’ from the Book of Prophecy that speaks of a traitor and is tasked with discovering who it is.  The Master of Masters final apprentice – Luxu – who was not given a copy of the book.  Instead, Luxu was entrusted with the Master of Masters’ keyblade that had one of his eyes grafted into it and told to take the keyblade and use it to witness the events in the future, so the Masters current self could see them and create the Book of Prophecies.  He also entrusts Luxu with a trunk that he is told to never open.  With that done, the Master of Masters vanishes without a trace and shortly after Luxu does as well.

The remaining five apprentices go about their other main task – the formation of Unions.  Unions would be a unified team of Keyblade wielders that would work to carry out each Union’s goals, namely the gathering of Lux (Light) from various worlds that are eventually revealed to be artificial worlds created by the Book of Prophecies.  This goal eventually starts to drive a wedge between the five apprentices – now called Foretellers – as accusations of stealing Lux and fierce competition creates animosity between the Unions.  All the while behind the scenes, the Foretellers grow increasingly worried about a potential Traitor among them and begin to plot against each other.  Finally, with the Unions at each other’s throats and the Foretellers turned against each other, do all five go to war.  In an event that history would come to know as the Keyblade War, scores of keyblade wielders died in a fierce battle between the Unions to lay claim to the light for their own faction.  Kingdom Hearts, the source of all Light, was swallowed up by the darkness and on a hill in the distance stands Luxu, holding the Master of Masters’ keyblade.

0.0) Union Cross

Following the events of the Keyblade War, the Keyblade Wielders that survived awoke in various worlds that they had visited in that were created by the Book of Prophecy.  The Keyblade War remembered only as a terrible dream as they continued on their adventures and making friends in Daybreak Town and various worlds.

However, things weren’t like they were before.  The Foretellers were gone.  In their place, five specially selected members of the Dandelions were to take over and form new Unions and lead the remaining Keyblade Wielders.  They were presented with special books that would guide them crafted by Master Ava.  One girl who received such a book – Sterletzia – is murdered by a shadowy figure and her book stolen.  The other new leaders assemble: Skuld & Ephemera (friends of the player character), Brain – an inquisitive fellow who hides his face with a big hat, Lauriam – a pink haired boy and Sterletzia’s brother, and Ventus – a blonde kid.  They begin to work together to figure out solutions for those who remain and how best to move forward.  To assist them, a single copy of the Book of Prophecy was left in the Foreteller’s Tower for them. So they start, not knowing that one among them isn’t supposed to be there.

Meanwhile, Malificent has appeared within the world and has begun to try to enact her plan before Sora could even exist.  But despite her knowledge of the future, she cannot even succeed in the Enchanted Dominion let alone escape to the outside like she had before.  A shadowy figure appears to confront her explaining that she can’t change the scenario that’s been created.  Inquiring further, the Shadow explains to Maleficent that without the Book of Prophecy, no worlds could be created. So in preparation for the events after the Keyblade War – Data Worlds were created instead. All of the worlds that the Book of Prophecy created were re-created in Data Form for the Keyblade Wielders.  When Maleficent leapt through time, she didn’t land in her Enchanted Dominion but the data version.  Because of that, she is stuck in the same loop regardless of what she tries to do.  However, the shadowy figure can help her get back to her own time.

(Union Cross is still actively being updated as of the time of this writing. I will attempt to keep this roughly up to date as plot points arise)

0.1) Birth By Sleep

In a more recent time, a trio of keyblade wielders named Ventus, Terra and Aqua seek to complete their training and earn their Mark of Mastery – a symbol of keyblade mastery that demonstrates one’s ability to resist the darkness.  Aqua and Terra are both being tested for the Mark under the supervision of Master Eraqus and his colleague and current wielder of the Master of Masters’ Keyblade – Xehanort.  Xehanort however tampers with the testing, allowing for the darkness to manifest during the trial.  Aqua manages to overcome the challenge and earns her Mark, but much to Xehanort’s delight Terra seems to give into the darkness.  While Eraqus will not grant Terra the Mark of Mastery, he has need of both Terra and Aqua to address the matter of a growing number of creatures in the worlds called ‘The Unversed’.  Eraqus then asks Aqua in secret to watch over Terra and make sure he doesn’t stray into the Darkness.  Meanwhile, Ven is provoked into leaving as well by Xehanort’s apprentice Vanitas. At this point, the three young keyblade wielders’ stories divide.

Terra’s journey has him seeking out the now missing Master Xehanort who appears to searching for the Seven Princesses of Pure Hearts.  On his journey, he unwillingly collaborates with a number of Disney Villains including Maleficent to discover the whereabouts of Xehanort.  At one point, Terra visits a world called Destiny Islands where he encounters a pair of young boys named Riku and Sora.  Seeing the potential of heroism in the young Riku, Terra performs a ritual that marks Riku as the next in line to inherit Terra’s keyblade.  When he finally locates the Master, Xehanort warns him that Eraqus is betraying Terra by holding back his potential and can’t be trusted.  This is only confirmed when Terra returns to Master Eraqus only to find him attacking Ventus.  Terra intervenes and ultimately ends up slaying his teacher and father figure, driving Terra to flee.

Ventus’ tale however confronts the matter of Ven’s dark past.  A former disciple of Xehanort, the Master pushed Ven to the limits to rip apart the boy’s heart and parsing out the Light from the Dark.  Ventus only survived the ordeal thanks to a young boy named Sora who agreed to lend the light of his heart to Ventus.  Xehanort hopes to pit Ventus against his darker half – Vanitas – to create a weapon known as the X-Blade (Chi-Blade).  The ultimate and original keyblade that is fabled to have the power to open up the heart of all worlds and the source of all light – Kingdom Hearts.  When Ventus confronts Eraqus about this fact, Eraqus realizes that the only way to stop Xehanort from getting the X-Blade and Kingdom Hearts is to destroy Ven.  The battle is interrupted by Terra who kills Eraqus and drives Ven into despair.

Aqua’s journey is spent trying to find her two friends who she worries about.  Visiting many worlds after Terra has visited them, she learns of all the horrible things Terra has done allying himself with the villains and fears that she is losing him to the darkness. She also struggles to convey her concerns to Ven, who lashes out at her like she was an over-concerned parent who doesn’t understand Terra.  Aqua too travels to the Destiny Islands where she meets the young boys Riku and Sora, and while tempted to bestow her keyblade to Sora like she senses Terra did for Riku, she worries that it would ruin their friendship.  Instead, she accidentally bequeaths her keyblade to a young princess she encounters on the world of Radiant Gardens named Kairi who unknowingly triggers the ritual by grabbing the handle of Aqua’s keyblade.  Aqua also meets at several points with the powerful sorcerer Yen Sid and joins forces with his young apprentice, Mickey Mouse, across several worlds before ultimately learning of Eraqus’ death and is ordered by Yen Sid to go find her friends at the Keyblade Graveyard.

The three friends reunite twice in their journeys.  The first is at Radiant Gardens after they have each had run ins with Xehanort’s newest lacky, a guard by the name of Braig who wants the power that Xehanort is offering.  The last time is at the Keyblade Graveyard, the site where countless years ago the Foretellers’ and their Unions did battle and brought about the destruction of Light.  It’s here where the climactic showdown with the grand puppetmaster behind their conflicts as well as the creator of the Unversed – Master Xehanort and his apprentice Vanitas – occurs.  Ven and Aqua face off against Vanitas only for Ven to have his heart absorbed and turned into the X-Blade.  Aqua is able to defeat Vanitas with the help of Mickey.  Terra however faces off with Xehanort himself but is defeated when Xehanort uses the Master of Masters’ keyblade to unlock his own heart and transfer into Terra’s body which turns his long hair a stark white and makes his eyes glow yellow.  However, Terra’s pure willpower is bound to his keyblade armor which acts on his own to strike down Terra-Xehanort.  At the same time, Aqua’s defeat of Vanitas and the shattering of the now declared ‘imperfect X-blade’ triggers a massive pillar of light to consume the graveyard.  Terra-Xehanort is swept away, Terra’s lingering will stays planted there, and Aqua and Ven flee to be found by Mickey.

In the aftermath of the battle, Aqua takes Ven’s now heart-less body back to the Land of Departure where they were raised by Eraqus.  The Land of Departure had been consumed by the Darkness after Master Eraqus’ death, but Aqua carries Ven into the throne room of the palace and uses Eraqus’ keyblade to put the entire castle into a secret lockdown mode.  She places Ven in a room where only those who already know where it is can find it and leaves sealing the reformed castle – now dubbed Castle Oblivion – promising to return to wake Ven up.  Aqua then travels to Radiant Gardens to find Terra-Xehanort who has lost many of his memories.  In attempting to help him, she triggers Xehanort’s dominant control on the body and they have one final battle before Terra-Xehanort tries to unlock his heart once more – wiping his mind and sinking Terra’s body into the darkness.  Aqua dives in after him but once it becomes clear that they won’t be able to escape together in time before the gateway closes, she grants Terra-Xehanort her armor and sends them back to Radiant Gardens where Braig has brought his lord, Ansem the Wise, to see the amnesiac boy.  Aqua floats off into the Darkness, her only comfort being that her friends are safe, Xehanort stopped and the Unversed dealt with.  Finally, Ventus’ lost little heart finds a new home safely within the heart of the boy who shared his light with him before – Sora.  

0.2) A Fragmentary Passage, Part 1

Lost in the darkness, Aqua wanders on and on.  Devoid of any sense of time, she is not even sure how long she’s been there.  She comes across worlds she once had visited but have been consumed by darkness and little by little she falls into despair as she wonders what horrible things must have happened in the world of light for all this to transpire.  She is constantly haunted by visions of Terra and Ven, until one point where she actually is able to contact Terra’s heart.  She is so overwhelmed by her happiness that Terra is there that she almost reveals where Ven is hidden in Castle Oblivion before the real Terra appears to stop the one who she was talking to – now revealed to be Terra-Xehanort.  The two Terra’s battle for control before vanishing and leaving Aqua alone again but now tempered with the knowledge that Xehanort was not defeated and her friends still need her.  She continues her long journey in the darkness before meeting up with Mickey Mouse again who is searching for the Keyblade of Darkness that belongs to that world.  Mickey explains that he and his friends are trying to stop the darkness and its minions – which he explains are called Heartless – by sealing the Door to Light.  Aqua agrees to help as their journey takes them to the darkness consumed world of the Destiny Islands.  There Mickey is able to get the keyblade.  He asks Aqua to come along so she can return to the Light, but she says someone has to defend them while they close the door.  As they succeed in closing the door to Kingdom Hearts – which Aqua notes looks nothing like the Kingdom Hearts she had seen before – Aqua rests on the beach of Destiny Islands.  Resolved to keep fighting before the Islands are reborn in the realm of light and Aqua slips back into the darkness once more.

Sometime after, she comes across an old man dressed in red robes who explains that he was helping a prococious youth save the worlds. Aqua inquires whether the youth’s name was either Ventus or Terra in hope of news that her friends are well, but the elderly gentlemen tells her a different name.  One that seemingly puts a smile on her weary face: Sora.

1.0) Kingdom Hearts

Ten years have passed since the battle at the Keyblade Graveyard with Master Xehanort.  On the sleepy little world of the Destiny Islands, the trio of friends – Sora, Riku and Kairi – dream of leaving their world and going on adventures.  They get their wish in a most unfortunate way, as a man in a brown robe tells Sora that their world has been “connected” and is attacked by black creatures known as Heartless.  Kairi mysteriously vanishes when she is thrown by a blast of wind into Sora and Riku invites Sora to come with him and that they shouldn’t fear the darkness because it is their way to other worlds.  Sora on the other hand resists the siren’s call of the darkness and calls upon a fabled weapon to fight back – a Keyblade.  

However, his efforts are for naught as the Islands are still consumed and Sora is tossed to a world for those who have lost theirs – Traverse Town.  There Sora encounters Leon, Yuffie, Cid and Aerith – survivors from another world – who tell him about the Keyblade.  How it can open any lock, how it can vanquish the darkness, but at the same time the Heartless crave it and will continue to hunt Sora and his strong heart so long as he carries it.  Sora then also meets Donald and Goofy, servants and pals of the now King Mickey Mouse, who came to find a keyblade wielder to help save the worlds.  Sora, Donald and Goofy decide to travel together and try to help the worlds and search for Sora’s friends along the way.

As they journey to different worlds, they learn of a plot by the villains from many worlds uniting to capture the Princesses of Heart – seven maidens without darkness in their hearts – and of the man named Ansem who once studied the Heartless before being consumed by the darkness himself.  Sora reunites with Riku only to find that his old friend is much more cold hearted and antagonistic towards Sora, mocking him for abandoning his friends to run around with Donald and Goofy with his shiny new keyblade.  Meanwhile, Riku has been searching for a way to help Kairi, who he has found with the aid of his new ally – Maleficent, the leader of the villains – only Kairi is trapped in a coma without a heart.  

This confrontation comes to a head at the world of Hollow Bastion, former home world of characters like Cloud, Leon, Yuffie and Cid and their once ruler Ansem, who experimented with Darkness and eventually unleashed the Heartless on the worlds.  Riku confronts Sora and proves that he has the stronger heart and thus takes the keyblade away from Sora.  Donald and Goofy likewise abandon Sora because they are under orders to follow the Keyblade Wielder.  Sora chooses to persevere regardless of having a weapon, and finds his way into the castle where he confronts Riku once more.  Riku laughs at Sora’s pathetic attempts and attempts to strike down his former friend but Goofy blocks it saying that while he would prefer not to disobey King Mickey, he refuses to abandon his friends either.  Donald then joins them as well, and using the strength of his friends to bolster his heart Sora wins back the keyblade.  

Riku in a panic flees and stumbles upon a brown robed man in the deep halls of Hollow Bastion.  The cloaked figure explains that in order for Riku to succeed, he must give in completely and open his heart to the darkness and forges his own keyblade using the hearts of the six Princesses of Heart gathered thus far.   Sora arrives and Riku explains that Kairi’s heart is trapped within Sora and that he will use his Keyblade to open Sora’s heart and take it so that Riku can open the Door to Darkness to find Kingdom Hearts.  Riku reveals that he is no longer Riku but Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness.  Sora manages to defeat Ansem-Riku, but then decides to use Riku’s keyblade on himself to free Kairi’s heart.  Kairi awakens just in time to see Sora vanish and turn into a Heartless. Fortunately, Kairi is able to call Sora’s heart back from the Darkness and return him to normal.

Now all that’s left is for Sora, Donald and Goofy to travel to the End of All Worlds and face off against Ansem a final time.  They defeat him at the gates of what they believe is Kingdom Hearts, but is actually the Door to the realm of darkness.  There they find Riku and Mickey who help to close the door and seal it once and for all.  Kairi and Sora share a final goodbye as the worlds consumed by Darkness begin to rebuild themselves and Sora, Donald and Goofy depart once more to find Riku and King Mickey.

1.5) Chain of Memories

Sora, Donald and Goofy’s journey to find the King and Riku takes them to a world steeped in darkness known as Castle Oblivion where they encounter the black hooded figures known as Organization XIII.  The Organization explains that Castle Oblivion holds the answers that Sora seeks but in order to find them he must forget.  Unsure of what that means and spurred on by his resolve, Sora begins to climb the Castle floor by floor with each taking the shape and form of a world he had previously visited.  With each floor however, Sora’s memories begin to change.  His lucky wayfinder, given to him by Kairi, Sora now claims was given to him by a girl he had completely forgotten back on the Destiny Islands named Namine.  In truth, Namine is a girl described by the Organization as a “Witch” that has power over Sora’s heart and is being used to rewrite his memories so that he serves their purposes.

However, things are not that clear cut within the Organization as it is revealed that the small number that occupies Castle Oblivion are actually a splinter group that seeks to take control of Sora and overthrow Organization XIII proper.  One member of the Organization named Axel is one by one either eliminating the traitorous members or is allowing them to be destroyed.

Sora meanwhile continues his journey through the Castle. He is confronted several times by what he thinks is his dear friend Riku, but is infact a cloned duplicate created by members of the Organization.  The Clone Riku further fuels Sora’s determination by mocking his attempts and claiming that he and not Sora will be the one to protect Namine.  Sora’s drive becomes so volatilely single-minded that he even lashes out at Donald and Goofy when they begin to question the changing nature of Sora and his memories.  Ultimately, Sora defeats Marluxia – the leader of the splinter group – and finds Namine who profusely apologizes for what has happened to Sora.  She explains everything and her part in the plan.  That she had been dismantling the chains that connect everyone to Sora’s heart, causing him and them to forget about Sora.  However, she says she can rewrite Sora’s memories to the way they were and reconnect all the chains inside his Heart.  The trade-off being that it would take nearly a year to do it all and Sora would have no memory of what happened inside Castle Oblivion. Torn between losing Namine, and remembering the others, Sora eventually agrees and is sealed within a chamber to sleep.

Meanwhile, in the basement of Castle Oblivion, Riku awakens from slumber after having drifted here following closing the Door to Darkness.  He begins his own journey down through the lower floors of the Castle where he confronts other members of the Organization whose battles with Riku are recorded as data that is utilized to create the Riku Clone.  However, his greatest challenge comes in the form of facing off with the spectre of Ansem that still lingers within Riku’s heart and forced to face the darkness within him.  Along with Ansem is a red-clad man who calls himself DiZ, who demands that Riku pick a side: Darkness or Light.  With Namine’s help, Riku realizes that just because he uses the Darkness does not mean it has to control him, that it’s as much a part of him as the Light and that he mustn’t fear it.  Riku’s awakens to using the powers of darkness and light to defeat the Ansem within himself and rejoins King Mickey, donning the same black coats as the Organization uses to travel through the Darkness, on their journey.  They meet with DiZ on the road who claims Riku has chosen the path to dusk, to which Riku smiles and responds that it’s not dusk, it’s the road to dawn.

1.5) 358/2 Days

At the same time that Riku and Sora are navigating Castle Oblivion, another story is taking place within Organization XIII.  This story is about a young man who has the power to wield the keyblade named Roxas, member number 13 of the Organization.  Roxas was found by the Organization is a world called Twilight Town that rests on the border between the Light and Darkness, there he was discovered and given his name by the leader of Organization XIII: Xemnas. Xemnas explains to Roxas that he is a Nobody, the physical form left behind when a person becomes a Heartless, and that Roxas in particular is special because he is a Nobody that can wield a keyblade because he is Sora’s Nobody created when Sora became a Heartless to save Kairi in Hollow Bastion.

Roxas is tasked by the Organization to carry out missions to eliminate Heartless with the keyblade which will release the Hearts and cause them to form Kingdom Hearts which the Organization will use to create new hearts and become whole people once more.  While out on his missions, Roxas befriends a fellow Organization member named Axel who joins him on daily post-mission ice cream sessions.

As time passes, a handful of members from the Organization are picked to carry out a special mission in Castle Oblivion, with Axel among the numbers.  With so many of the Organization going, Roxas is paired up with a mysterious fourteenth member: Xion.  The two work together to carry out missions that reveal that Xion too can wield a keyblade & Roxas eventually sees her face which appears as a black-haired incarnation of Kairi. The two begin to share post-mission ice cream just as Roxas had with Axel and they become close friends.  Not shortly after that, around the time Sora’s memories are being reconstructed by Namine, Roxas falls into a deep sleep.

When Roxas awakens, he discovers that all the members of the Organization that went to Castle Oblivion save Axel are dead. However, as Sora’s memory reconstruction proceeds under the watch of Namine and a red-clad figure named DiZ who have relocated the sleeping Sora to Twilight Town, Roxas’ own memories of his past existence begin to stir as well.  Xion is beginning to have doubts about herself as well after a confrontation with Riku where he proclaims her and her keyblade to be a fake.  Riku suggests that if she wants to be real, she should leave the Organization and merge with her true self.  Xion turns to the Organization in search of answers and learns that she was created as a clone of Roxas using stolen leaked memories from Sora so that the Organization had a backup in case Sora proved uncooperative or useless to Xemnas’ plans. Xion’s appearance resembling Kairi was in fact due to Sora’s strong memories of Kairi, but now that Namine has begun to weave the memories back together, Xion begins to take on the form of Sora more and more. However, Xion’s appearance also changes from person to person.  For instance, Xigbar – the nobody of the former Radiant Gardens guard, Braig – sees Ventus whenever he looks at her.  Others just see a hooded figure because they don’t view her as a person.  Faced with this truth, Xion flees Organization XIII.

The story comes to a head when Roxas and Xion confront each other once more. Xion – now taken on Sora’s appearance completely – has become fixated on becoming a whole and real person, and seeks to consume Roxas to do so. However, Xion’s true plan is to get Roxas to put an end to her existence and free her from her torture but knowing neither he nor Axel would do so willingly, she forces them into a confrontation.  Ultimately, she perishes and allows herself to be absorbed into Roxas and thus halts both Sora’s memory restoration by trapping her stolen memories within Roxas and Xemnas’ plans.  With Xion absorbed within him, Roxas gains the ability to wield a second keyblade and he sets off on a mission to fulfill Xion’s last wish: free the hearts being used to form Kingdom Hearts.  On his way, he confronts Riku who has been sent by DiZ to bring Roxas in.  Roxas defeats Riku and forces Riku to unleash the full power of his inner darkness on Roxas, transforming his body once more into the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.  Using his full power, Riku manages to defeat Roxas and bring the Nobody to DiZ who digitizes him into a virtual version of Twilight Town so that they can force the trapped memories out of Roxas and back into Sora.  The story ends with Roxas talking with a trio of kids – Hayner, Pence, and Olette – as they make plans for the final days of their summer vacation.

2.0) Kingdom Hearts II

The prologue of Kingdom Hearts II follows the final week of Roxas’ existence in the Virtual Traverse Town.  He is confronted by Axel who is under orders to try and bring him back or barring that not working, just destroy Roxas to free Sora’s remaining memories.  Either way, Xemnas wishes to have a tool to finish Kingdom Hearts.  Roxas – completely unaware of his true existence and only possessing the fake identity DiZ implanted into him – struggles to maintain his grasp on reality as Sora’s restoration nears completion.  At one point, his heart actually contacts Kairi’s, triggering her to remember Sora after forgetting him for a year and convincing her to begin her own search for Sora.  Namine attempts to interfere by hopefully convincing Roxas to willingly go with the plan by explaining that Nobodies shouldn’t really exist and that by merging with Sora, Roxas wouldn’t be destroyed – he’d become whole again.  Roxas however rejects this as he believes himself to be his own person.  However, Roxas is ultimately tricked by DiZ and Riku, who has now become so steeped in his own darkness that he only remembers himself as Ansem, into activating the final step and merging with Sora.

Sora awakens along with Donald and Goofy in Twilight Town with no memory of anything beyond the events that occurred at the end of Kingdom Hearts.  With no other leads beyond a mysterious entry in their journal to ‘Thank Namine’, they set back on their mission to find Riku and King Mickey.  It turns out that King Mickey is right there and offers them aid in dispatching a group of low ranking nobodies – Dusks – before ushering them onto a train with a promise of meeting again soon.  Sora and his friends then ride the train to the tower of Master Yen Sid, Mickey’s former master when he was training with a keyblade, where Sora bumps into Pete.  Pete is a former resident of Disney Castle before he was banished by King Mickey and joined forces with Maleficent.  However, it appears that he is quite behind in the news since he is unaware of Maleficent’s destruction a year ago.  Sora, Donald and Goofy scare off Pete and his heartless minions before meeting with Yen Sid who explains that Sora is needed to travel across the worlds once more and protect them from both the heartless and the nobodies.  However, no sooner than they leave it is revealed that Maleficent has resurrected herself and is out for revenge.

Over their travels, Sora and his pals learn about Roxas and Organization XIII as well as Maleficent, Pete and their new Heartless army. The journey comes to a head when Hollow Bastion, now renovated into a thriving township by Leon and his gang, discover the laboratory of Ansem – not the one that they defeated a year prior but the real Ansem.  It would seem that the Ansem that ruled over Hollow Bastion when it was a thriving city known as Radiant Gardens was Ansem the Wise.  The Ansem that Sora fought a year ago was in fact the Heartless of Ansem the Wise’s apprentice – Xehanort or more precisely Xehanort in Terra’s body – who simply stole his mentor’s name.  It’s revealed that just as Ansem was Terra-Xehanort’s heartless, he has a Nobody too: Xemnas, leader of Organization XIII.  The real Ansem the Wise has been missing for some time.  Xemnas however has his own plans in Hollow Bastion where he descends into the depths of the laboratory to a room dubbed The Chamber of Repose where he speaks to an empty suit of armor as if it were a dear friend – Aqua’s armor.

Meanwhile, Axel has been trying to bait Sora into becoming a heartless so that Roxas can be recreated.  To drive Sora towards the Darkness, he tries to capture Kairi who escapes with Pluto through the Corridors of Darkness to Twilight Town only for Axel to find her there and bring her back to their Organization’s headquarters.

Sora, Donald and Goofy set out to stop the Organization once and for all. Revisiting world by world until one-by-one they defeat the members of the Organization until finally they are ready to take the battle to Organization XIII’s world – The World That Never Was.  They battle through the city and into the floating fortress of the Organization where Sora is finally reunited with Kairi and Riku.  They also learn that Roxas and Namine were Sora and Kairi’s nobodies from the times they lost their hearts in Kingdom Hearts.  Kairi helps Riku regain his true form.  Sora and his friends battle and defeat the remaining members – including Kairi with her very own keyblade – of the Organization until only Xemnas remains.  DiZ and King Mickey are trying their luck to destroy Kingdom Hearts by digitizing the hearts that comprise it, and it is revealed that DiZ was actually Ansem the Wise all along.  Ansem the Wise tells Mickey to rejoin Sora and the others just before his machine explodes and takes a large chunk of the artificial Kingdom Hearts with it.

The group finally battles Xemnas and defeats the Organization once and for all.  Sora, Riku and Kairi are all returned to the Destiny Islands to celebrate.  Shortly after however, a bottle with a note bearing the mark of King Mickey arrives on the shore of the island.

2.25) Coded

After the defeat of Organization XIII, King Mickey, Goofy, Donald and chronicler of the journeys Jiminy Cricket all return to Disney Castle. There Jiminy and Mickey begin the process of archiving the records of their adventures when Jiminy finds a passage in his journal that he did not write: “Their hurting will be mended when you return it to the end.” To investigate, Mickey digitizes the journal and it creates a simulated world containing its own Data version of Destiny Islands and a Data version of Sora within.  King Mickey tasks Data-Sora with fixing the anomalies in the virtual world – dubbed ‘Bugs’ – while pursuing a mysterious cloaked figure through the various digital worlds within Jiminy’s journal.

However, in the real world, King Mickey and all his friends in the Castle find themselves trapped in a single room with Heartless pounding on the door to get in. To their surprise and confusion, they are saved by Data-Sora who barges in the room along with the cloaked figure who reveals itself to be a personification of Jiminy’s Journal itself using the visage of Riku who reveals that Mickey and pals are not in the real world as they thought, but within the Datascape themselves.  The Journal then sends Data-Sora off on a mission only to encounter the real world Maleficent and Pete who apparently survived their battle with the Heartless in The World That Never Was and made it into the Datascape to search for something that Maleficent calls The Book of Prophecies which is said to foretell the future and have the power to create objects even entire worlds.  She is suspicious that Jiminy’s Journal may have some manner of connection with the fabled book. Data-Sora then finds and teams up with Data-Riku to battle Maleficent before saving King Mickey and the gang by sending them back to the real world.

Mickey decides to erase the journal but this only opens a new passage that mentions that the information from the data versions of the worlds Sora visited in his previous adventures has been added to the Journal.  In search of answers, Mickey sends Data-Sora to adventure forth into a place that Data-Sora has no memory of since it was not from the journal that Data-Sora was created from and thus is quite dangerous.  Data-Sora realizes that even if he has no memories of someone, he still feels the sadness of knowing that someone was there and decides to press on. There they find Data-Roxas and Data-Namine who explain that the ‘bugs’ in the journal were actually created when Namine repaired Sora’s memories.  Data-Namine explains that Sora – the real Sora – is a ‘Key That Connects Everything’ and reveals that people like herself, Roxas, Axel and Xion as well as Terra, Aqua and Ventus are all in some way connected to Sora’s heart and as long as they are connected to Sora, they can be brought back.  In fact, it is Terra, Aqua and Ventus that Data-Namine created this whole scenario to try and get help for.  King Mickey promises that he will let Sora know all of this and bids the Data versions a fond farewell.

The story ends with Mickey sending a letter in a bottle with his seal to the Destiny Islands before meeting with his old master, Yen Sid, who reveals that with Xehanort’s heartless and nobody both destroyed at the hands of Sora it is only a matter of time before Master Xehanort reforms. Worse yet, Yen Sid fears that it will not just be a single Xehanort that is coming.  Yen Sid tasks King Mickey with bringing Sora and Riku to him. It is time that he administers the Mark of Mastery test on the both of them.

2.5) Dream Drop Distance

Sora and Riku are brought to Master Yen Sid’s tower where they are given their Mark of Mastery exam: Journey to seven “Sleeping Worlds” – Worlds consumed by the Heartless, then restored but never ‘woke up’ into reality – and awaken them.  To venture to the Sleeping Worlds, Yen Sid sends them back in time to just before the Destiny Islands fell into darkness.  Yen Sid explains that traveling back in time is possible only due to having a vessel of yourself there to ‘receive’ the consciousness. As Sora and Riku fall into the dream of the Sleeping Worlds, Sora catches a glimpse of a familiar brown robed figure that spoke to him on the Destiny Islands just before he received the keyblade.

In the Sleeping Worlds, Riku and Sora are seperated.  They exist in the same world at the same time, but cannot see each other.  However, their actions can affect the other.  Alone they are forced to team up with benevolent creatures known as Spirit Dream Eaters similar to the Chirithy that aided the Foretellers in the Age of Fairy Tales before the Keyblade War.  They must battle against Nightmare Dream Eaters that threaten the peace and stability of the Sleeping Worlds so that they can awaken them.

While on their journey however, Sora and Riku both encounter the heartless “Ansem” Seeker of Darkness, the Nobody Xemnas, and a younger incarnation of Xehanort.  The three never fight but always making passing references to some enigmatic purpose.  Ultimately, the three draw Sora to the World That Never Was and reveal the true purpose of Organization XIII: to prepare thirteen vessels for copies of Master Xehanort so that they may battle the seven guardians of Light and form the true X-Blade and that Sora is meant to be the last Vessel they need.  They submerge Sora deep into the darkness to be consumed, but his heart is protected by Ventus’ keyblade armor that forms around Sora.

Riku however learns on his journey that this entire thing was a set up by Xehanort.  That Xehanort’s body-less darkness at the Destiny Islands in the brown robe was used the same way Sora and Riku were to propel his consciousness back in time and infiltrate their mission before it began.  Riku hasn’t been able to see Sora not because they are in parallel dimensions, but because he is in Sora’s dreams of the Sleeping Worlds like a personal Dream Eater.  In fact, Riku’s coat bears the mark of the Dream Eaters on it.  Riku took up the job of protecting Sora from Xehanort subconsciously on their first ‘drop’ into the dream and thus has been part of it all along and never knew.

In the real world, a group of former nobodies that once comprised Organization XIII awaken in the laboratory in Radiant Gardens.  All of Ansem the Wise’s former students and guards save Braig, Isa, and Xehanort are present.  One in particular is eager to find out what happened – Lea, formerly Axel.  He travels to Yen Sid’s tower using his knowledge of the Corridors of Darkness and reveals that he’s a real person now.  A result of both his heartless and nobody being defeated by Sora and reconnecting into a whole person.  Just like Master Xehanort.  Lea reveals that his return to being a person isn’t all, he’s also able to wield a keyblade but can’t summon it on command yet.  Yen Sid decides then it would be best if Lea trained under Merlin to gain a better handle on his new abilities.

Riku ventures forth to The World That Never Was to save Sora and battles with his own Nightmare incarnation – the Anti-Black Coat – before confronting Young Xehanort, Xigbar, Saix and eight other hidden vessels along with the newly reformed Master Xehanort.  However, Riku isn’t alone either.  Donald, Goofy, King Mickey and Lea swoop in to aid Riku in saving Sora and spiriting them all back to Yen Sid’s tower.  Sora however is in deep sleep trapped in darkness.  It’s up to Riku to use his newly gained power of Awakening to dive into Sora’s dreams and bring him back.  Riku finds Ventus’ darkness infused nightmare armor holding Sora and battles it to free his trapped friend.  Riku awakens to find Sora already wide awake and eating sweets with Goofy and Donald.

With their journey finished, Yen Sid decides to announce the results of the test.  He declares that Riku has shown the Mark of Mastery but sadly due to his defeat at the Darkness, Sora did not.  Sora, undaunted by this, celebrates Riku becoming a Master before announcing that he has to go on a quick journey to do something for himself.  Yen Sid explains that Riku mastered the Awakening power needed to bring back one of the Guardians of Light they’ll need to counter Xehanort’s new forces.  Meanwhile, deep within Castle Oblivion, a sleeping Ventus smiles. The tale ends with Sora traveling to Traverse Town to say a fond farewell to all the Dream Eater buddies he made on the journey and Riku bringing Kairi to Yen Sid’s tower to begin her training as a Keyblade Wielder.

2.8) A Fragmentary Passage, Part 2

While Sora is saying his farewells to the Dream Eaters, Yen Sid explains that in order to combat Xehanort’s new Organization XIII they will need to gather the Seven Lights.  Three of the Guardians of Light would be Ventus, Aqua, and Terra who fell into disaster over 10 years prior. Mickey recounts the tale of meeting with Aqua in the Realm of Darkness to Riku and Kairi.  Riku yells at Mickey and Yen Sid about how he should have been told but Yen Sid states that he ordered Mickey not to share this information because Riku – and more likely Sora – would do something foolish like stage a haphazard rescue attempt and get trapped in the Darkness like Aqua.  However, now that Riku has earned his Mark of Mastery, he is ready to go with Mickey into the Darkness and retrieve Master Aqua from her shadowy prison.  Yen Sid also instructs Kairi that she must begin training with her keyblade to begin the process of becoming a Keyblade Master as well, and assigns her to work with Lea who they explain used to be Axel to Kairi’s shock but she relents and chooses to trust him since he did help Sora out.  Yen Sid grants both Riku and Kairi new clothing to help them along their missions.

Not soon after Riku, Kairi, and Mickey depart, Sora returns from Traverse Town to receive his own mission.  Since Sora failed to acquire the power of Awakening during his test in the Sleeping Worlds – a power Yen Sid insists is necessary for the ordeals to come – he tells Sora that he must go and train with another Hero who lost his power and regained it: Hercules.  Eager to visit an old friend, Sora, Donald, and Goofy jump into their Gummi Ship and head off to Olympus Coliseum to begin the next leg of their grand adventure.



Why was the Ventus/Vanitas X-Blade a false one?

Xehanort’s theory as presented in his reports is that a X-Blade could be created from a clash of light and dark in equal parts.  This theory is proven wrong when Ventus and Vanitas form an incomplete version of the blade.  The reason is because when the original X-Blade was destroyed, it broke into 7 pieces of light and 13 pieces of darkness.  Thus to summon a true X-Blade, you would need the same proportions as the original.  The 7 pieces of Light are stated to have become the basis for the Seven Princesses of Heart, thus all Xehanort needs is his 13 darknesses – his new Organization XIII.

What the heck is Kingdom Hearts?

Just like people and worlds have ‘Hearts’, Kingdom Hearts can be viewed as the Heart of the Universe.  It’s also the big heart shaped moon on the box art.  It was the source of Lux or Light until eventually it was drained and fell into the Realm of Darkness at the end of the Keyblade War.  According to myth it can be only opened with the X-Blade.  In KH1, the Seeker of Darkness tried to create a Door to Darkness from the hearts of destroyed worlds to open a gateway to where Kingdom Hearts is located in the Realm of Darkness, however his plans are foiled when instead of finding Kingdom Hearts to be darkness (Ansem’s Reports suggest the hypothesis that Darkness is the natural state of all hearts) he instead finds it to be filled with light, albeit surrounded by the darkness in the Realm of Darkness.  In KH2, Xemnas and Organization XIII attempt to create an artificial Kingdom Hearts out of released hearts from the Heartless.  This artificial Kingdom Hearts has a yellow-ish appearance instead of the blue hues that are normally seen with Kingdom Hearts and was destroyed.

What’s in The Box?

No one knows yet.  Judging by the Orchestra Trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, the Master of Master’s trunk is one of the artifacts that Maleficent seems interested in finding.

Who was the Traitor?

No actual answer was ever given to the riddle in Chi of who the traitor actually was.  There are three prevailing theories however:  The Master of Masters, Luxu or there never was a traitor.  I personally am of the mind that it was the last one.  All the tasks that the Master of Masters left with the Foretellers save for Ava’s Dandelions seemed to be based around building tension between the Foretellers. Aced’s task of being right hand man to Ira but also usurping him if Aced ever feels he is unfit to lead, Gula’s suspicions being the only one who knows about the traitor, Isa’s being the voice of reason for Ira but also supposed to be impartial – it all seems like it was an experiment to breed conflict and bring about the Keyblade War.

Doesn’t Chi and Back Cover Contradict Each Other?

Yes. They do.  In Chi (Unchained Chi/Union Cross), Luxu – not Gula – has the Lost Page.  The Lost Page is the one that talks about the Keyblade War happening, not a traitor.  There are also a lot of plot elements in Chi that are never included in Back Cover, like the ongoing crisis of the Nightmare Chirithy or the bizarre alternate ending where the Keyblade War was just a bad dream.  Given that there are many elements to the mobile game that seem to be built on just extending the mission count, and Back Cover was included in the “Final Chapter Prologue” collection – I tend to regard the Back Cover version of events as the canonical ones that will be used moving into Kingdom Hearts III.

UPDATE: After reviewing a ton of cut scenes from Chi, it’s not clear if Luxu had the Lost Page or simply knew what was on it.  And considering that Chi and Unchained Chi may not necessarily be simply a recreation (See: ‘Whats the deal with Chi’ below), the differences may be a result of what was real and what was a dream.

Why can [insert any name here] use a Keyblade?

In terms of the main cast, Riku was actually bestowed the ability to wield a keyblade by Terra, Kairi accidentally inherited the ability from her encounter with Aqua, and Sora can do it due to his connection with sharing a heart with Ventus.  However, while rituals to pass on the ability to wield a keyblade exist, it’s not the sole means to do it.  After all, in the Age of Fairy Tales there were thousands of keyblade wielders.  The only consistent criteria has been needing a strong heart, hence why someone like Lea was able to summon one.  However, it appears that those with direct or intentional transference of ability – like Sora or Riku – require less training than those who acquired the ability by accident or by sheer force of will – Kairi or Lea.  But that’s pure speculation based on what we’ve seen so far.

What’s the deal with the Book of Prophecies?

The Book of Prophecies is a weird little plot element that was part of Chi until it was brought into the main plot by Maleficent during the events of Coded.  The Book was supposedly created by the Master of Masters and it can predict the future with uncanny accuracy.  It actually accomplishes this not by having any sort of scrying ability but by the Master of Masters placing his All-Seeing Eye into a keyblade and giving it to his apprentice Luxu.  Whatever the keyblade sees, whenever it sees it, the Master of Masters instantly knows and is able to record future events before they happen.  However, this is not the only ability the Book possesses. It’s also said to be able to create objects – even worlds – out of nothing.  It’s revealed during the later events of Chi that the worlds the player has been visiting have not actually been real places but merely artificial worlds created by the Book.  The player technically has never left Daybreak Town.

Whats the deal with Chi?

The mobile game Chi/Unchained Chi/Union Cross is probably one of the most complicated and convoluted stories in the entire franchise. Yes, it makes Dream Drop Distance’s time travel body-swap story look easy to follow. Not helped by the fact that the story is still unfolding.  But after doing a lot of digging, reading theories, watching YouTube videos, this is what I have.  Chi was the story of the events leading up to and involving the Keyblade War.  Back Cover is the same events, but told from the point of view of the Foretellers instead of the player.  Unchained Chi is a dream of the events of Chi where the Keyblade War never happened – it takes place in the Sleeping Realm like Dream Drop Distance.  Finally, Union Cross is the actual continuation of the story of what happened after the Keyblade War, with five keyblade wielders becoming the new Union Leaders now that the Foretellers are gone, and most of the remaining Keyblade wielders blissfully unaware of the horrors that happened thanks to the Unchained Chi dream therapy.

Is that Ventus/Marluxia/Larxene in Union Cross?

YES! And we don’t know why yet. Sorry.  We do know now that before becoming Nobodies and being marked with the Recusant’s Sigil (The X in their names), that Marluxia was Lauriam and Larxene was Elrena.

If Pluto and Goofy are both dogs, why can Goofy walk and talk?

Considering that Disney Castle has an abundance of animals that can walk and talk, I think the bigger question here is: What the heck is wrong with Pluto?