Ghosts of the Keyblade War
“I was told…the Master was struck down.”
“Yes…that’s right. I was stupid and helped Xehanort do it. The master…tried to hurt Ven. I only fought because I wanted to protect him. But I was tricked. Xehanort set the whole thing up…all so he could awaken the darkness inside me. You were right Aqua; and so was the Master. I did need to be watched. I went astray…but no more!”
“What else is darkness but hate and rage? Xehanort is feeding the dark fires within you…making you fight. You’ll go astray again. Tell me, how does that honor our Master’s memory, Terra?”
The final world loomed overhead. It was dry, and barren like the Badlands, except it was seeping with sadness and horror. Kiera and Ventus rose in silence as they entered the atmosphere. Kiera shuddered. As they grew closer, she realized that the flat surface of this world was nearly completely covered in keyblades, all stuck deep into the ground, millions of them, black and lifeless; symbols of a great and terrible loss of life that plagued these lands long ago. There was one prominent path, and that path wrapped around the world in the shape of an “x.”
Finally, Ventus and Kiera landed. There was a moment of silence. They both had a sense of dread as they looked over the land. Kiera grasped Ventus’ hand, tightly.
“You okay?” Ventus asked.
Kiera nodded, hesitantly. “Mhmm.”
Together, they began to trek the path, as the howls of a great war whistled in their ears.
Terra and Aqua could be seen up ahead. It felt like years since Kiera had seen their faces. There were no smiles upon their lips. They were somber, and quiet. Kiera clutched Ventus’ hand tighter as they approached. Terra and Aqua quickly noticed a change between the two of them, a new kind of bond, they both feared would not last long, with the trials ahead.
They stood in silence together, the four of them, in the center of where all the paths of the “x” met.
“Xehanort wants me and Vanitas to fight, and make some kind of ‘X-blade'” Ventus explained gravely, “But the master said we can’t let that happen…and he tried to destroy me for it.”
“‘X-Blade’?” Aqua echoed.
“I still don’t know exactly what it is. But…it scares me to death. Even just the thought of it…”
It was Ventus’ turn to squeeze Kiera’s hand. He shook a little. Kiera put her free hand on his shoulder.
“Relax, Ven. We’re here and we’re gonna take care of you” Terra assured, kneeling down slightly, also placing his hands on Ventus’ shoulders.
Ventus wasn’t so convinced. Even after his talk with Kiera before they arrived, he wasn’t sure if everything really would turn out alright.
“I may have to fight Vanitas after all; and if I do…Terra, Aqua,-” He glanced at Kiera, grieved, “-Kiera…I want you to-”
“No!” Kiera suddenly hissed, “Don’t even say it!”
“The four of us can never be torn apart, all right?” Terra responded firmly, “I’ll always find a way!”
Now Kiera was the one that wasn’t so sure. She had seen the way Terra had been crumbiling since they left. She knew he was trying to serve penance however he could to make up for betraying the sensibilities of his friends. She didn’t want to give up on him. But at the same time, she was struggling to believe in his words.
“We will always find a way” Aqua emphasized.
She bent down to meet Ventus eye-to-eye.
“Terra is right. We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to stay together, no matter what.”
Ventus closed his eyes. With his free hand, gently he pushed his friend’s hands away.
“I’m asking you, as a friend…”
He raised his head.
“Just…put an end to me…”
The wind gusts started to push again. Kiera spotted two figures over the horizon. Her eyebrows furrowed, and her fist clenched. Xehanort and Vanitas. The four friends straightened, standing in a line, awaiting their foes to grow closer, ready for anything. Xehanort sneered, and raise his hand to the sky in triumph.
“Behold!” he exclaimed, “These lifeless keys used to be full of power! United with the hearts of their masters! On this barren soil, Keyblades of light and darkness were locked in combat as a great Keyblade War raged! Countless Keyblade wielders gave up their lives all in search of one, ultimate key.”
“I have spent my entire life working to forge it; and soon, it will be mine!”
He stretched out his hand, and pointed menacingly at Ventus.
The warriors retorted. Their armor clad around them, and they summoned their keyblades.
Terra rushed forward. Xehanort lifted his hand. A great patch of Earth violently rose up, hitting Terra hard. Before Terra could recover, another piece of Earth soared above him where Xehanort stood, watching with sick glee. Terra would not give up. He jumped back to his feet and kept going. Vanitas pulled the dead keyblades out of the ground. Like a current, he began to ride them towards Ventus, Aqua, and Kiera. Kiera pushed Ventus out of the way in the nick of time. The keyblades hit Terra and spewed from above onto Aqua like lava from a volcano. Aqua was knocked into a crater, tearing off a third of her helmet. Kiera and Ventus rushed to her.
“Aqua!” Ventus cried.
Aqua struggled up. She lashed out her keyblade outwards. A crystal-like bubble was created from her keyblade, creating a force field surrounding Terra. Aqua finally got back on her feet. Ventus growled in frustration. Suddenly, he turned his heel and raced towards Terra.
“Ven! Wait!” Kiera cried.
She rushed to catch up with him.
Terra fell to the ground, lying in front of Xehanort. Xehanort summoned his keyblade ready to fight him. Ventus suddenly came up behind him and swung his keyblade as hard as he could. But the Xehanort in front of him suddenly fizzled out of existence. It was a fake! The real Xehanort violently grabbed Ventus by the head. Kiera rushed behind Terra.
“VEN!” They both exclaimed at the same time.
In a foolish act, Kiera bolted towards Xehanort.
“FIRAGA!” She screamed and let out a giant asteroid of fire towards him.
Vanitas suddenly appeared out of nowhere and deflected the blast. Xehanort raised his hand again and, with an aggressive force, an icy blast rolled and brushed Kiera off the cliff.
“Kiera!” Terra cried.
Kiera’s vision began to fizzle out as she lost control of her fall. She tried to position herself in a way she thought the crash would be smoother. It was fruitless. She saw the ground rapidly growing closer, and closer…
Kiera suddenly collapsed to her knees. The clashing of keyblades could be heard around her. Monsters snarled and growled. Her keyblade fizzled out of existence. She could see all her friends: Kairi, Riku-Ansem, Sora, Donald, Goofy, all fighting bands of heartless and nobodies combined. She could see a pile of Heartless overwhelm Kairi. Sora cried out in rebellion and struggled to get to her. She saw Riku-Ansem turn around and stare at her in shock.
“Kiera!?” his voice echoed.
Kiera’s head throbbed. Tears began to run uncontrollably down her face.
“VENTUS! TERRA! AQUA!”
Kiera hit the ground hard. Her body ached and her heart pounded.
“Kiera!” she heard Aqua cry.
Kiera struggled with all her might to stand up. She looked up. She could still see Xehanort, Terra, and Ventus from the high cliff. Ventus was struggling as hard as he could to regain control of his body so he could get Xehanort off of him.
“Where do you think we can go,V̴̘̆e̴͎͂ñ̶̘ț̶͐u̴̻͗s̸̝̀?” she asked, “Tell me, where else can we go where the Organization won’t find us!?”
“I’ll think of something!” V̴̘̆e̴͎͂ñ̶̘ț̶͐u̴̻͗s̸̝̀ insisted, “There’s always another way! I’ll bring you to your senses, and we’ll run together!”
“You promised!” He cried, “You said we would be together! You lied to me! You betrayed me!”
Her chest throbbed and ached.
“I didn’t lie to you!” She insisted, “We can be together! When our Others find each other, we will be together! I wish you could understand!”
“I understand plenty!” V̴̘̆e̴͎͂ñ̶̘ț̶͐u̴̻͗s̸̝̀ snapped, “You’ve given up! You want to go back to your Other instead of being your own person! WHAT HAS HE FILLED YOUR HEAD WITH!?”
“I have to release the power in my heart-“
He reached for his blindfold and removed it.
“-That I’ve been holding back-“
A pillar of darkness rose up from the ground, completely swallowing him. When it dissipated, R̸͓̈́í̴̡k̵͍̋u̸̩̅ was no longer there. Instead, a tall, strong built man with long gray hair and yellow eyes, and a giant heartless with a hollowed chest in the shape of a heart, covered mouth and huge fangs.
“-Even if it changes me…Forever…”
The Heartless grabbed R̷͓̾o̴̺͐x̵͍̕a̵̲̐s̸̞͗ by the waist, completely locking his arms to his sides. She watched in horror as he was being squeezed as the fist tightened. R̷͓̾o̴̺͐x̵͍̕a̵̲̐s̸̞͗ squinted his eyes and grinded his teeth. He looked over at me with pleading eyes.
“~~~-! Help me-!”
But I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless to stop him. Finally, R̷͓̾o̴̺͐x̵͍̕a̵̲̐s̸̞͗’ keyblades clattered to the ground and vanished. The Heartless released R̷͓̾o̴̺͐x̵͍̕a̵̲̐s̸̞͗, and he fell to the ground unconscious.