“He has the freedom that comes with age, but it is not what he seeks. The ocean around his home a harsh reminder of the fact that there’s more worlds out there, beyond this tiny island he calls home. Perhaps it’s that knowledge that drives him to seek more, to seek to break the invisible walls that hold him. And, maybe he is the one to blame for what follows; a friend who has lost her heart and the other thrown into quest that was not meant for him to take.
Because he is young, impulsive, foolish — he opens the door he shouldn’t have, and releases darkness into the world and because he is so eager for escape: he embraces the darkness, and welcomes into his heart. In retrospect, he would say it was this that allows him to fall prey to those who would seek to use darkness as their tool. Once such person being the dark fairy, Maleficent. She finds him, alone and without his friends, offering shelter to the poor boy who has been stranded. She offers him a deal, to find his friends in return for his help. And, because he is foolish, he agrees. He does not know the consequences that will follow this choice.
As he sets out on his task, he first encounters his best friend, Sora. The boy that he grew up with, and that shared his dream of leaving their small world along with Kairi. Yet, his friend has new friends at his side and a weapon that is shaped like a key. He does not stay, though they are reunited. He doesn’t know why, really. Perhaps it was a feeling that twisted into his heart, that fed upon the darkness. The fairy, who’s motives are unknown and a cause for caution — he is at least smart in that aspect of this tale — tries to drive a wedge between him and his friend. She attempts to convince him that he has been abandoned by the one he had been so close to, that he replaced him with those new friends at his side.
Kairi is found by the fairy, who reunites them and tells him that her heart is gone. She tells him the only way to save her is to gain access to Kingdom Hearts. Desperate to save his friend, he continues to help Maleficent by gathering the Princesses of Heart. Again, he encounters his friend but this time with the knowledge of Kairi’s condition. He bids his friend to join him, but is refused. Stubbornly, he does not see the reason why his friend would say no. He does not see how close to the darkness he has become, how close he walks. Only he grows closer when Maleficent bestows the power of darkness to him; the power over the creatures of darkness called Heartless.
His next encounter with his estranged friend, he shows Kairi’s body without her heart, taunting him as he did. Sora’s warnings against the darkness falls upon deaf ears, as Riku distanced himself further from his friend. An impulsive decision to flee into the darkness leads to Maleficent taking advantage of the opportunity and unlocking the last of his dark powers.
Maybe that was the moment in which he became the most vulnerable, or, simply the beginning of where he would truly lose himself.
Sora finds him him again, and this time he takes the Keyblade from Sora along with the friends that had travelled at his side. He taunts him, far more cruelly than he had before, and leaving him with only a wood sword to defend himself. But, Sora has a strong heart and a strong light; he fought against the darkness that Riku threw at him. His friends return to his side and the Keyblade chooses Sora instead. Defeated, he escapes from his friend. And in this darkness, a cloak figure came and convinced him to give himself completely to darkness in order to become stronger.
He loses his heart and body, the cloaked figure that offered this strength took over everything he was.
Yet, Riku still hold some strength in his possessed heart. It is enough to hold back the possessor of his body, a man named Ansem. It is enough to save his friends before he falls back into the darkness. Until Sora defeats Ansem, and his body is restored in the Realm of Darkness. From there, he helps Sora seal the Door to Darkness, leaving him and a king called Mickey to find another way out.”
The hooded youth grows silent, his face obscured by shadow aside from the slight smile that touched upon his lips.
“This, however, is a story of finding one’s self. Of a young man who chose to walk the path of dawn instead of one over the other, instead of choosing light or darkness.
From the Realm of Darkness, he found himself in a slumber, only to awaken and be taken through a door into a castle. He is taunted by a memory of Maleficent in he refusal of the darkness. In fighting her, he seeks to prove that he no longer needs the darkness. Through his journey, he is guided by the voice of Mickey but he is otherwise alone. In climbing the levels of the basement within the Castle, he continues to refuse darkness.
He faces a replica of himself, one that mocks him of his fears. He prevails over this challenge, but comes to face with Ansem, who had possessed him before. He is told the replica is hoe he should be, but this only renews his desire to overcome his own darkness.
Through the trials of the castle, Riku comes to learn that he cannot really be rid of the darkness. It is part of him. He dons a blindfold, so that his eyes could not lie.
Because of the nobody Naminé, his friend Sora lay in sleep while his memories are pieced back together. He dedicates himself to making sure that his friend can sleep soundly, and does whatever he can in order to ensure Sora will awaken. He does so by going after Sora’s Nobody, Roxas, and Xion, who had began to take Sora’s memories from Roxas.
The task of doing so causes him to use the power of darkness to subdue an enraged Roxas, and he loses his own form, taking on the one of Ansem permanently. From then on, he begins to call himself “Ansem”. He works with a man called DiZ, intent on watching over Roxas in a digital town until he can reunite with Sora. He learns, in time, that DiZ is intent on getting revenge. Disgusted, and shocked that the man is using both him and Sora for his own selfish reasons, Riku only works with him so far as making sure his own goal is reached. He disregards any further requests from DiZ at that point and departs, intent on keeping space between him and Sora.
In truth, he was ashamed of what he had done in the past and what he had now become. It was because of him that they had fallen onto this path that they now walked. And though he keeeps his distance from his friends, he comes to their aid as they need it. Both Sora and Kairi, who is drawn into things by the wayward Axel, still suffering from the loss of his friend.
Appearing before Kairi and Naminé, his identity is revealed by the nobody. To his surprise, his friend can see him beneath the form he bears now. They remain together until Sora and Kairi reunite, in which he tries to make his escape, still unable to face Sora. She forces him to stay, and reveals who he is to Sora. Somehow, he, too, is able to see beneath the form to the truth of who he really is.
No longer does he run from his friends, staying with them to fight their enemies. DiZ, revealed to be the true Ansem tries to redeem himself and as a result of his attempt, Riku is returned to his true self. No longer cloaked in darkness, he sheds the blindfold and the cloak he had donned. Though he is remorseful still, Sora convinces him to go forward.
The final conflict leaves both himself, and Sora in the Realm of Darkness. They sit on the shore, reconciling their friendship over all that happened. He admits to his jealousy of his friend, and they grow close again, no longer distanced by what Riku had tried so hard to place between them. As they began to resign in their fate of staying in the Realm of Darkness forever, a letter from Kairi allows them to open the Door to Light and they returned to that tiny island he had considered a prison.
It is not long before they are called again by a letter from Mickey, summoning them to take the Mark of Mastery so they could become true Keyblade Masters.
They are told they are to be tested, but Riku does not hesitate to agree. With all that has come to pass, he does not believe himself worthy of wielding the blade he holds. To prove to himself that he is, to redeem himself of his past with the darkness, he welcomes the task. They are sent to the Sleeping Worlds where they were to awaken seven worlds that were restored by the defeat of Ansem but not brought from their sleep.
Through the test, he is antagonized by a young man in a black cloak who was accompanied by the Ansem that had come to possess him. They, too, tested him and tried to drag him back into the darkness.
He accomplished his task of awakening the Sleeping Worlds, only to realize that Sora has fallen into a deep sleep. He does not hesitate in rushing to Sora’s rescue, attempting to awaken his friend who is trapped in slumber.
Again, Ansem tries to drag him back to the darkness but he resists. Instead, he resolves to make his darkness his own power of good and make Ansem into part of his light. His success is like a weight off his chest, a relief that he does not have long to linger in. He hurries again to where Sora rests, attempting to rescue him from the plot that had thrown their test so far off course.
He is assisted by Mickey, along with a whole Axel, who calls himself Lea. Though their rescue is rather short lived, until Donald and Goofy throw the odds into their favor. Their enemy retreat and they are able to bring Sora home. Though, he still sleeps and Riku must dive into his friend’s heart to mend what has ben damaged.
He wakes in the real world, once healing the damage that has been done, and finds Sora as he always has been: cheerful and carefree. It is a relief, to see his friend has not truly been damaged by what he had been through. And he is named a true Keyblade Master, passing the test while Sora did not. Though, his friend recovered just as quickly as the disappointment came.
At the request of the former Keyblade Master, Yen Sid, he brings Kairi to learn how to wield a Keyblade. He learns the story of Aqua from Mickey at Yen Sid’s request. Initially, he is angry that the story had been hidden from them. Maybe it was impulsive of him to insist on saving her so soon after hearing the story, but he made the decision to follow his heart from now on. He and Mickey are given the task of rescuing the Keyblade Master, and as they set out, he found himself in a place that was far from home and even farther from his intended destination.
It was strange, to be alone now, when he had previously tried so hard to put distance between himself and his friends. Now, this loneliness was bitter and cold, unwanted. With no way home, Riku adapted to the life he found himself in. He became a drifter, set on continuing his path of dawn, walking between light and dark, never straying to far into one or the other. He followed the path his heart set, doing what he felt was right.
He became a mercenary, who did only good work that he felt was right. He did not allow himself to be manipulated as he had once been, seeking the full perspective when dealing with those who would be less than reputable.”
The young man rises from his seat, pushing his hood back as he does. Bright blue eyes hold a touch of sadness, lips lifted into a smile that reflects many emotions and it is hard to place just one.
“And, that, is my story.”