people lived in peace, bathed in the warmth of light. Everyone loved the light. Then people began to fight over it. They wanted to keep it for themselves. And darkness was born in their hearts."
You were but a mere toddler when this story was told to you time and time again, and each time you listened as though it was brand new. The sweet, scraggly voice of your grandmother never failed to bring you comfort, even though there was a deeply-seeded force that told you things were bound to change. You would beg for this story almost every day - she never got bored of telling it, and you certainly never tired of listening.
"The darkness spread, swallowing the light and many people's hearts. It covered everything, and the world disappeared. But small fragments of light survived, in the hearts of children. With these fragments of light, children rebuilt the lost world. It's the world we live in now."
Perhaps it was the foreboding aura of the tale, or perhaps it was its sense of adventure, but you were drawn to it from the very beginning. When you began to go off and play on your own, you would explore every nook and cranny of Radiant Garden, finding new places to call your own and new people to greet. You were a child of unpredictability, though your curious innocence was never looked down upon. To your grandmother, it was the foretellings of a great leader, someone who refused to give up even in the most trialsome times. Maybe her story had something to do with that?
"But the true light sleeps, deep within the darkness. That's why the worlds are still scattered, divided from each other. But someday, a door to the innermost darkness will open and the true light will return."
As you continued to grow, a danger began to blossom throughout your home. Threatening creatures that would terrorize the inhabitants that your grandmother called Heartless. At the time, she couldn’t go into grave detail about the animal-like beings, but she was able to convey to you that they were not safe - that they would hurt you if given the chance. She wanted you to stay indoors, but of course you refused; nothing could keep you contained. Soon, the Heartless would lessen to give way to a different kind of enemy: the Unversed. Of course, there was no way you could have known what they were called. This new menace frightened your town and brought forth a new kind of fear unbeknownst to those around you. To you, however, it was nothing more than a trivial change.
Nothing could faze you. You were like determination on wheels and personified adventure, and there was a fire in your heart that could be extinguished by nothing in this world. Of course, a young child running amuck in the line of fire is never a good thing, and your good luck caught up with you eventually; you caught yourself surrounded by the Unversed, the little creatures twitching and practically drooling at the thought of extinguishing that great light you held just underneath the surface. They bled negativity and spread ruin in their wake; at first glance, your little being would have been nothing more than a snack for them, but there was far more to the story than that alone.
"But someday, a door to the innermost darkness will open and the true light will return. So, listen, child. Even in the deepest darkness, there will always be a light to guide you. Believe in the light, and the darkness will never defeat you. Your heart will shine with its power and push the darkness away."
A heroine in shades of blue came to your rescue, telling you to hide behind her to maintain your own safety. In your predicament, there was no such thing as argument; you complied. Unbeknownst to the both of you, your small hand grazed over the blade she held in her tight grip. At that moment, your heart and your life had changed, though there was no way you could have known back then. What you did know, however, was that her name was Aqua, and her warm smile made you feel as though you hadn’t a fear in the world. Despite being
so young, it instilled an urge within you - to protect others you loved, and to be there for those who were afraid. You wanted to be like her. You wanted to be the one to rush in and save the day, though you’d come to find in your later years it isn’t as simple of a feat as it might have once seemed. With a small touch on the necklace you wore, Aqua spoke to you comforting words that you almost didn’t have the knowledge to understand, but the gist was retained. A spell on you to guide you to those who could keep you safe. The light within you would guide you to the light of another, and in turn, you could provide clarity, hope, and happiness.
In the months to come, that spell would be the thing that saved both you and your grandmother from the destruction that overtook your home. The whole thing would be remembered in a blur, but the screams of terror from those you knew would remain in your memories forever. They would be suppressed due to their traumatic nature, but they would sit in the back of your mind, festering endlessly. People of Radiant Garden were dissipated into the darkness, their hearts - the thing that made them up as a person - rose to the sky only to get captured by the blackness, forming heartless all over again without any way for the townsfolk to protect themselves. You can recall your grandmother holding onto you as your home was raided, the creatures of the dark searching for the light you harbored in order to extinguish it for all eternity; you trembled in her grasp, hoping.. Praying, that you two would make it out alive. You were only six years old at the time you were forced to utilize the power of Aqua’s spell.
Your light made manifest into a milky aura while you shut your eyes tightly out of fear, the sounds of Heartless clawing at the walls to get to you being the only thing you could hear. They wanted you, and only you. They would not stop, would not rest until you were destroyed. You begged, you pleaded, you cried; then you were warm.
With tears still staining your cheeks, your bright blue eyes hesitantly opened up to see the world around you, a brand new vision awaiting. A gorgeous oceanic outlook from a sandy beach you and her rested upon, seagulls cooing in the distance and the gushes of rolling waves lessening the tension in your tiny body as the seconds ticked by. You were both bewildered, but were also saved - the questioning wasn’t necessary. Your grandmother told you it was because you were special, that the light had graced you with the power to keep you out of harm’s way. It had been nothing short of a miracle, but you soon realized that there were large pieces of your memory that were fogged, or had disappeared completely. Maybe that was for the best, but it would still prove bothersome.
It didn’t take you long to adjust to this new life here in Destiny Islands. Your arrival had been nothing short of mysterious, but you managed to learn how to push it aside in favor of trying to find friends. There were two boys that seemingly took a liking to you, and you returned the feeling wholeheartedly. Their names were Sora and Riku, and they meant the world to you. The three of you would play for hours on end on the beaches, splashing each other in the waves; they made you feel as though this had been your home for the entirety of your life, and if you weren’t careful, it was plausible that you’d believe it. It was only when Sora would ask you about your hometown did you remember that this wasn’t where you’d always been, that there was another place you used to call home that had been shoved into the back of your mind. You would tell him over and over that you couldn’t remember, but that never stopped him from inquiring. It was endearing and cute the way he took interest in something so trivial, but there was always something aching inside when he brought it up. You wanted to remember, but at the same time, found solace in remaining blissfully ignorant.
Through hard work and help from others, a small island just off of the shore from the mainland became your safe haven; an escape from the world at large. A place where you could explore to no end and simply be yourself. To you, this was more of a home than anything you’d experienced in the past. Lackluster wooden structures jutted from the sandy ground left much to be desired by most, but to you they were brilliant - they were flawless. With your friends, this small island was where you found most of your comfort, and when it came time to leave for the night, to return to the mainland and take refuge in their houses.. You never wanted to leave. It never failed to be the worst part of the day, despite how much you loved your grandmother. She would always ask you how your day was, and you would always respond with a story unlike any of the others. Every day, there was something brand new, something funny that Sora said, or how ridiculous both he and Riku were in their silly competitions, or how Wakka had been intent on teaching them a new battle move he thought was the best thing since sliced bread. She never failed to be interested in your activities even though her old age didn’t allow her to have a major role in your hectic lifestyle.
The same darkness that took your first home, however, had yet to truly stop. In fact, the entire time that you were here, having a good time and feeling safe, warm and cozy, it was chasing after you ceaselessly. It destroyed many worlds and ruined many lives, spreading like a plague and infecting like a virus. You were unaware, of course you were, but a deeply-seeded fear began to rouse; storms were raging almost every night. The thunder was loud and caused you to lose sleep - it would have been normal, but there was no rain. Nothing there to make it feel as though it were an natural weather occurrence, you began to feel the uneasiness creeping up your spine as each night passed over the course of a month or so.
Your eyes opened wide to stare blankly at the ceiling of your familiar room. Slowly, you moved into a sitting position to peer out of your window to find that your island had a massive storm lingering overhead as though it were about to tear it to shreds. You stomach twisted to knots and your heart sank to the floor - you refused to let your beloved sanctuary become nothing more than rubble. You refused to let it go down without at least putting up some kind of fight to keep things intact. You didn’t have much of a plan, but you redied yourself for the storming world outside of your house then set out for the shoreline. Once arrived, things appeared to be far worse off than you could have imagined. Small creatures that housed nothing but darkness stared at you with beady yellow eyes that showed blank hunger for the light you kept within; your head began to ache with lost memories attempting to come forth. These were them, the things that hurt you and those you cared for. The Heartless.
Feet carrying you to the place you found safety and solace, you wound up in the small cave in the center of your island, only to be met with a strange door that you’d never seen before. It was engraved into the rocks as though it had been there for centuries, though it reigned new to you. Something physically drew you to it, your body almost unwillingly advancing upon it. You were infatuated, but you were also saddened. Something inside of your chest began to ache. Your home was being destroyed yet again, and there wasn’t a single thing you could do about it other than submit. You had no way of fighting back. Then, you heard his voice. Sora said your name, though you lacked excitement while you turned around. You spoke his name.
The door behind you rushed open, a dark force propelling you forward. The pain that you felt was unreal, burning you from what felt to be the inside out; it was unlike anything you’d ever experienced before. When your body came in contact with his, everything went black. You lost your ability to see, you lost your ability to hear, and you lost your ability to feel connected with the outside world. What you did manage to process, however, was that you were… Safe. You could rest easy in here. You could finally rest.
That is until something disturbed you.
A rush of cold roused your sleeping heart from slumber, as though an opening had been made in some kind of wall. The next thing you could consciously remember was opening your eyes, sitting up only to see that your best friend was falling away into nothingness, his body dissipating just as yours had before you’d taken refuge within him. You rushed to him, you tried to grab him in your arms; nothing. He vanished into air, though you refused to believe just yet that he was gone. You were able to survive within him, so he was certainly strong enough to make it out alive. Something within you deemed it to be true - you knew to trust it.
The world around you had changed, but also felt achingly familiar. This castle made your chest heave in both pain and bittersweet joy, though seeing it riddled with Heartless certainly caused it to lean toward the former. Sora’s new companions helped you throughout your escape from Hollow Bastion; you were still quite unclear on how you’d come to be here in the first place, let alone how you reformed. The only thing that you were concerned with was finding Sora - ensuring he would make it out alright and be able to go home with you have to hte islands. If there was even anything to go back to, of course. You were filled in on a lot that had happened during your slumber taking refuge with Sora’s heart, but what you were told crushed you. Destiny Islands bad been destroyed thanks to the world of a Heartless called Ansem, and the only way to restore them to the previous splendor would be for Sora to face him and destroy him with the Keyblade. Without a way to fight on your own, the only way that you could be there for him was to give him your good luck charm you’d made long ago and hope that would suffice.
Sora did succeed, though the world around you began to crumble as things started to shift back to how they once were. Sora still had things to do with Riku being at large after sealing himself into the realm of darkness and King Mickey accompanying him. You were brought back to the Islands, the whole world reforming around you; stars fell into place, buildings rose from the rubble, and light transpired throughout the land. Whether you were aware or not, it certainly must have had something to do with your special heart.
After that, life had returned to normal. You attended school, you began to live the life of a normal teenager, though there was something rather peculiar about the entire thing. All memories of Sora had.. Vanished. You couldn’t remember his name, couldn’t think of his face, and were unable to recall the timbre of his voice. Every now and then, there would be a fragmentary memory that reminded you of his existence, that there was normally someone with you besides just Riku, but it would disperse as quickly as it materialized. As the days wore on, it became more evident that there was a force inside you attempting to convey a certain kind of message, but for the life of you, you were unable to decode it just yet. You couldn’t remember him, but you were positive he was there. All you knew to do was write him a letter and set it out to see in a jar, praying that one day.. It would reach him. You knew that at some point, your paths would cross once more and the three of you could finally be together again.
Soon after you released the letter, all of the memories regarding him began to flood back. His face, his voice, even little nuances and habits that he had. It was like he’d never left your memory; and old familiar friend, but at the same time someone brand new and foreign. You’d grown sick of waiting for them, tired of having to stand here on the shore and look out to the island you’d once called your safe haven. It was barren and empty now, even though people still went over to it to be with one another. Without your two best friends, there wasn’t a thing for you there. After you’d made the decision that nothing would change unless you took action, a man by the name of Axel appeared to you on the shoreline from a portal-like gateway that seeped darkness onto the sand. It made you uneasy, the way he spoke to you in a threatening manner while feigning kindness. It was clear he hadn’t been out to help you, but was only concerned on finding the person he’d lost himself. How they were connected to Sora, you hadn’t a clue. From him, you ran into the portal to find that the chilly touch of darkness refused to touch your skin; the light in your heart granted you protection from its claws, allowing you safe exit on the other side of the corridor.
More of these strange doors began to open for you, leading you to and from different locations. It would appear as though they were leading you somewhere. Without being able to guarantee your own safety, it was a gamble that you were certainly willing to take. You wound up in a place called Twilight Town, found by a group of kids your age that happily took you into their group. You told them you were on the hunt for a boy named Sora, and to your surprise they knew of him. They’d instructed you to remain here, as Sora told them during his last visit he would be back. The plan seemed to be bullet proof, though it was disrupted by a familiar face you hadn’t wanted to see again: Axel. He dragged you off into yet another corridor, bringing you to an eerie world known as The World that Never Was. A strange name appointed to an even stranger place. You were thrown in jail cell, basically being used as nothing more than bait to lure Sora straight into the heart of Organization XIII. Help, you’d known, could normally come from very unexpected sources, and this was no different. In the wall behind you, a corridor opened to reveal a petite blonde girl in a white dress with a face that was unmistakably a mirror image of your own. She offered a hand to you, and you took it. Her name was Namine. You can recall holding her hand and how at-ease you felt, as though she was a different part of you that had been long lost. The two of you were stopped by an Organization Member by the name of Saix and although you hadn’t a weapon of your own, you were more than willing to not go down without putting at least something along the lines of a fight. A hooded figure then appeared, keeping both you and Namine safe, though the mysterious girl was quick to disperse into thin air, leaving you by your lonesome once more. The Organization Member disappeared, leaving nothing but the cloaked figure that you knew… Your heart beamed with happiness to be in his presence.
It was Riku. You pulled down his hood to see his appearance had changed. At first, it was jarring, but… No matter the face, his heart was there. And you couldn’t have been happier. The two of you then set off to find Sora, your best friend handing you a Keyblade of your own. You took it into your hand to find that it didn’t dissipate like you’d expected, but instead made you feel as though you finally had a true place to belong. You could fight. You would fight. And you wouldn’t stop until you had your friends back at your side.
Hugging Sora once you found him was surreal. You’d almost forgotten what he’d felt like, what he smelled like, how warm he was - the both of them were your very best friends. They were the most important things to you in your life, and yet you’d almost forgotten him. After all of this was over, the three of you could return home, even if just for a short while. Those were the thoughts that drove you onward.
With the Organization defeated, you got your wish. For a short time. You’d discovered a letter with the King’s Seal on it in a bottle on the shore; a rush of excitement came over you. It had come to be known that sense of adventure hadn’t quite left it would seem. You gave the letter to your best friends and the three of you read it in unison - you’d been summoned to fight back against the darkness growing thanks to a man named Xehanort. You didn’t care much for the full story, but what you did care for was the fact that you would get to be traveling again with both Sora and Riku. The three of you set off for Yen Sid’s tower, the place the letter told you to meet.
While the two of them slumbered during their exam, saving the sleeping worlds, you were to train in the ways of the blade in order to aid in the fight. Both you and a new recruit.
Lea, the counterpart and reformed version of Axel, had come to aid in the battles soon to come. The two of you got along rather well despite the rocky beginnings. You trained well together, aiding the other warrior of light in hopes of getting him to summon his blade. As time passed, things began to become evident that something had gone direly wrong with Sora’s side of the exam; it had been tampered by Xehanort in attempts to force Sora to give in to darkness, which would allow the Seeker of the Dark to have his way with the keyblade bearer, making him yet another vessel for his deranged heart. Riku was able to save him from this horrid force, bringing him back to the awakened world and reuniting them once more. You weren’t as worried as you once were, knowing that Riku was more than capable of retrieving their dear friend - this wouldn’t have been his first time traversing through the darkness.
Soon after this, directly before you and your friends were planning to set off to aid the worlds in their endeavors against Xehanort’s havoc, you were pulled away all over again. As if fate had yet to test you enough, the world around you fell away in the middle of the night while you slept, a force dragging you down and removing you of consciousness for a length of time you cannot recall. When you awoke, you were face to face with a sunny blue sky and the sound of waves. For a moment, you could have sworn you were back in time, that you grandmother was behind her, holding you tightly in her arms. Quickly, you sat up in bewilderment to peer around; this was not Destiny Islands. Everything was different, and you were alone.