I've always favored characters with a complicated past, specifically the ones who were bad for a time and had to go through some sort of redemption arc to become who they are now. Riku was lost to the Darkness, becoming Ansem's puppet, but eventually fought back with the help of Mickey, and now uses the darkness for good, rather than allowing it to control him. And rather than completely lock his darkness away, or be lost to the darkness, he instead forges a new path, his own path; the Way to Dawn.
Riku grew up on the world of Destiny Islands with his best friend Sora, a spiky haired boy who was one year younger than Riku. The two of them would often visit one of the smaller islands via a small boat and spend the whole day playing on the sandy beaches. But even at the young age of 5, the islands felt small to Riku, and he knew that one day he wanted to get out and explore the world beyond what this ocean could hold. During one of his and Sora's visit to the smaller island, they noticed a strange man had also arrived on the island. At first they paid him little mind, but as they were getting ready to head home for the day, Riku stopped to approach the man. Riku asked him if he was from the outside world, much to the man's surprise. During their exchange, Riku tells him about a boy who was able to leave the islands, and the man comments on Riku's interest with the outside world. Riku tells him that he would find the strength he needs in the out there, the strength to protect the things that matter. It is here that the man decides to pass on the power of the keyblade on to Riku, and made Riku promise to keep it a secret. Though this moment faded into memory, it made Riku all the more determined to find a way to leave Destiny Islands. The island was then visited by one more stranger, this time a woman. Riku and Sora spotted her while playing, and she approached them and asked them their names. They introduced themselves, and she asks Sora to keep Riku safe, and to help him should he ever lose his way.
Some time later, Riku and Sora go to investigate a monster that was supposedly hiding away in a cave on the island, and while Sora swears he heard it, Riku has his doubts. Before they enter the cave, Riku entertains the idea that there could be a monster inside, and asks Sora if he thinks they could defeat it. Sora replies confidently that it would be no problem, that they could do it. When they entered the cave to investigate, they discovered that it had simply been the wind causing the strange noise, via a small opening at the roof of the cave. Instead of a monster however, they discover a strange door at the end of the tunnel, but it had no handle, no latch, and seemingly no way to open it. Finding that their venture had been fruitless, Riku turns to Sora and suggests that when they grow up, they leave the island and go on real adventures. Sora agrees to this, and then mentions a new girl who arrived during a meteor shower. As they begin to leave the cave, Riku looks back and catches a glimpse of a keyhole on the door behind them, though it would remain a mystery to him for many years. He and Sora continued to compete with one another over the years, whether it be racing across the island or sparring with wooden swords, and due to their competitive natures kept a growing tally between each other, with Riku always seeming to keep the lead on Sora. And with the appearance of the new girl from another world, Kairi, they all became a very close group of friends.
About 10 years later Riku, Sora, and Kairi plan to finally venture out from the island by building a small raft to carry them out to sea. They worked to gather supplies like food and water, as well as building materials for their raft. That is, when Riku didn't catch the others slacking off, as he would always jest. They had no clue if the raft would carry them to other worlds, but they had to try. The fact that Kairi had somehow gotten to Destiny Islands from some other place made Riku feel certain that there was a way they could leave and find those other worlds too. Everything still remained a competition between Sora and Riku, they even made a game out of collecting the materials they would need for their journey. Riku even takes it a step further and creates a bit of friendly rivalry between him and Sora about their feelings towards Kairi. It was clear to Riku that Sora was fond of Kairi, and he enjoyed teasing him about it wherever he could. At first Riku plants the thought in Sora's head about the paopu fruit on the island, and how when two people share one, their destinies will become connected. When Sora becomes confused by this, Riku later tells Sora that he will share the fruit with Kairi if Sora doesn't do it first.
On the night before the gang was going to leave Destiny Islands with the raft, Riku remained on the island alone, to take one last look at the mysterious door that remained untouched in the secret spot for all this time. It was the one place he and Sora had been unable to explore after all this time, the only unknown in his life apart from what lies beyond Destiny Islands itself. He imagined the keyhole on the door's smooth surface, the one he'd caught a glimpse of all those years ago. A voice called out from behind him, and as Riku turned to look, a cloaked figure stood at the mouth of the cave. Riku demanded to know who he was, and how he got to this island, but the stranger simply told him that he was here to guide Riku. He said he sensed a great power within Riku, a power that wished to be released, a power that could open this door. Riku just simply had to will this power to appear. The man’s voice almost seemed familiar somehow, but Riku couldn’t quite place his finger on it. All the same, something told Riku that what the man said was true, so he turned back to the door and focused on releasing this power the man spoke of.
There was a flash of bright light, and once it faded, a large key-shaped weapon hung loosely in Riku’s grasp. As he examined the strange weapon he had summoned, the voice behind him told him that this weapon could unlock the door before them, and that this was truly the only way off the island. Riku turned back and asked him what would happen to his friends, to which the man replied that they would all be brought along with him. When Riku still seemed unsure, the man wondered if Riku wished things to remain as they were now, here on the island, and asked if Riku was afraid. Riku paused for a moment before lifting the weapon up and directing it at the door. A soft beam of light shot out from the key and into the lock on the door. Something in the lock clicked, and the door swung open, pouring darkness out into the cave. Riku slid backwards from the sheer force, and when he glanced back the strange figure was gone. Whatever dark energy that seemed to be escaping the door now was spilling out of the cave.
Riku ran outside to see a storm brewing on the horizon, and as it grew closer, strange black creatures with beady yellow eyes began to sprout up from the ground. Riku fought them off easily enough with his new weapon as he made his way up to the small island with the paopu tree. Eventually Sora finds him there asking him where Kairi was. Riku tells him that the door is open, and that now they can reach the outside world. When Sora persisted they find Kairi, Riku tells Sora that she’s coming with them. He tells Sora that this may be their only chance, and that they couldn’t let fear get in their way. He exclaims that he is not afraid of the darkness, as he holds his hand out to Sora. Darkness swelled at their feet as Sora tried to reached out for him, and then everything went black.
Eventually he wakes up in a place he would later learn to call Hollow Bastion, where he is found by a witch named Maleficent. She offers to help him find his friends in exchange for helping her locate and collect the seven princesses of heart. He doesn’t completely trust Maleficent at first, but he didn’t seem to have any choice if he wanted to find Sora and Kairi. So he sets out to help this witch with her task, and while he seems unable to summon his key again, he instead gains access to a different weapon that he comes to know as Soul Eater.
During his travels he eventually finds Sora in Twilight Town accompanied by a new set of friends and a familiar looking key. While they’re talking, Riku snatches it from Sora to get a closer look, hearing one of them mention it was the Keyblade. He tosses it back to Sora, silently wondering why Sora had the weapon instead of him, and as Sora starts arguing with one of the others about bringing Riku with them, Riku slips away feeling frustrated. He and Maleficent later spy on Sora and his new companions, with Maleficent telling him how Sora had replaced him, and encourages Riku to forget about Sora. She assured him that she could help him find Kairi, not this silly boy who seemed to have all but forgotten about Riku.
Shortly after collecting a Princess named Jasmine and bringing her back to Hollow Bastion, Maleficent revealed to Riku that she had located Kairi. Maleficent tells Riku to go with Captain Hook to his ship, where Kairi was waiting for him. Before leaving, Riku questions Maleficent’s motives behind helping him and she assures him that she has no motives, that she simply cares for Riku like a son. She also reminds him that she kept up her end of their bargain by delivering Kairi to him. However Kairi’s heart seemed to be lost to darkness as she remained asleep and unresponsive, no matter how much he tried to wake her. He decides to seek out a talking puppet in the belly of a whale, hoping that the puppet would be the key to recovering Kairi’s heart. Here, he runs into Sora once again. When Sora asks him about Kairi, Riku simply deflects the question and proceeds to toy with Sora throughout the maze of the whale to try and keep the puppet, Pinocchio, away from Sora. Maleficent appears to him briefly, questioning if he still cared for Sora, before warning Riku about the darkness in his own heart. When Sora finally catches up to Riku demanding to know why Riku had been doing these things, apparently on the wrong side of the battle. All Riku could see was how Sora only cared about playing hero with that keyblade of his, and wondered if Sora even wanted to look for Kairi. Sora was unable to give him a response, as Pinocchio suddenly cried out, having been caught by the heartless. Riku needed the puppet to help Kairi, so he joined Sora and company and successfully fought the heartless off. Once Pinocchio had been freed, Riku took his unconscious form deeper into the belly of the whale. He waited until Sora caught up with him and then suggested that Sora join him, but Sora refuses, indicating that Riku had lost sight of his conscience. The heartless appears again, and Riku is forced to leave through a corridor of darkness, empty handed.
He returns to Captain Hook’s ship, where Maleficent tells him another way that he may save Kairi, by opening a door to the heart of all worlds. With the untold wisdom that lay beyond the door, they would surely find a way to restore Kairi’s heart. Before she leaves, Maleficent bestows upon Riku the power of darkness, allowing him control over the heartless and the ability to conjure anti-sora. Soon after they find Sora’s gummi ship and ram them, taking them prisoner. He shows Sora that he had found Kairi, while Sora had been ‘goofing around’. Sora demands to know why Riku has sided with the heartless, to which Riku answers cooly that the heartless obey him now, and that he has nothing to fear. Sora only warns him that they’ll swallow his heart, sooner or later. Riku simply gloats about the strength of his heart in response, before showing off his new dark powers and locking Sora away below deck. Sora and company eventually escape, and Riku is forced to flee through a Corridor of Darkness with Kairi in his arms. Having crossed over without a proper vessel to protect his heart, he returns to Hollow Bastion, feeling weakened by the journey. Maleficent scolds him for acting so careless, but then unlocks the last bit of dark power in Riku’s heart before sending him to deal with the Beast roaming the castle, as well as telling him that he should be the one wielding the keyblade.
He seeks out the Beast and defeats him, but just as he goes to land the final blow, Sora appears to stop him. Riku claims the Keyblade from Sora, telling him that he was simply ‘the delivery boy’ before tossing him a wooden sword and returning to the castle with Sora’s friends Donald and Goofy in tow.
Sora follows them to the Grand Entrance Hall, where Riku stops to fight Sora, warning him to quit now or be destroyed by darkness, to which Sora tells him that his heart is strengthened by his friends, unable to be destroyed by darkness. Riku takes on his new dark form and attacks Sora, only to have Goofy and Donald protect Sora from the attack. And even without the keyblade, Sora still insists on fighting back, informing Riku that his heart was his weapon. The keyblade disappears from Riku’s hand and returns to Sora, and Riku is forced to fight with Soul Eater instead. Riku is beaten, and flees, desperately trying to grasp how he could have lost the keyblade to Sora. The hooded figure from the island appears once again, explaining to Riku how the stronger of two hearts will win the keyblade, and how Riku’s heart had been weaker in that moment. He tells Riku that he can become stronger, by falling deeper into darkness, but when Riku does so, the figure possesses him, and everything goes black. It is only when the man possessing him, Ansem, tries to attack Kairi later that Riku emerges, albeit temporarily in order to hold Ansem off while Kairi and the others escaped.
It isn’t until later that Riku surfaces again, but now Riku seemed to be in a realm of shadow. He thought perhaps this was the afterworld, but was not prepared to give up just yet, not after the way he’d left Sora and Kairi. He meets King Mickey here, in the Realm of Darkness, who tells him that his heart won the fight against the darkness, but it was too late for his body. After all Riku had done, he realized that he just wanted to know one thing: if his friends were okay, and Mickey tells him he already knows the answer, simply by looking into his own heart. He goes on to help Mickey in closing the Door to Darkness from their side, trusting in Sora to be there on the other side to lock it. When Sora arrives, Riku helps him, Donald and Goofy to pull the door shut, telling Sora that they can do it together. As the door begins to close, Riku takes one last look at his best friend, and makes Sora promise to look after Kairi. And then, Sora and Mickey successfully sealed the Door to Darkness, with Riku and Mickey trapped on the other side, in the Realm of Darkness.
Riku then found himself alone, drifting in between light and dark. A voice called out to him, suggesting that he either sleep here or move towards the truth. Then a card appeared before Riku, and the voice explains that it would lead him to the truth, but at the cost of causing him pain. Riku takes it, confidently expressing how this place would be a boring place to nap anyways. The card begins to glow, and Riku is transported into a hall with white walls, floors, and ceilings. With no way to move but forward, Riku enters the door at the end of the hall, and continues through this strange place he’s now found himself in. On the other side, he meets Maleficent who mocks him for refusing the darkness, but he knows now that he can’t rely on the darkness, deciding instead that he would get through this on his own strength. He wouldn’t be made a puppet again.
He defeats Maleficent and proceeds through the next door only to encounter Ansem on the other side. The man attempts manipulate Riku as he did once before, so that he may possess him. He almost loses to Ansem when Mickey reaches out to him from the Realm of Darkness, projecting himself as a light to protect Riku. Mickey tells him that the Light will never give up on him and that he would always find it, even in the deepest Darkness. With Mickey’s reassurance, Riku fights Ansem off, who then tosses him a card, telling him that chasing after the light was not the way and manipulates the darkness within Riku before disappearing. Frustrated, but determined not to rely on the Darkness, Riku continues through Castle Oblivion.
As he continued through, he began to notice that he could sense Darkness around him, even on himself, and he was able to sense it in others. Though he is discouraged by the Darkness clouding himself, Mickey appears in ethereal form to reassure him. Even if the Darkness has a hold of him, Mickey told Riku not to let go of who he is. He also instructs Riku to fight the Darkness inside him, though it would be difficult. Mickey reminds him that even in the Darkest Darkness, there’s always a little bit of light. All the proof they needed was the light they say when the Door to Darkness was opened. Mickey promises to find a way to get to Riku, and with that, Riku continues on.
The next person Riku meets is a man named Vexen, a man with a black coat. Riku assumes the man is affiliated with Ansem, to which Vexen replies that he is half right, hinting that he is affiliated with a different Ansem than Riku is thinking of. When this confuses Riku, Vexen goes on to say that ‘he walks neither the light or the dark, but the twilight in between.’ Vexen compares Riku to this analogy, making him similar to this new Ansem, as well as Vexen. Riku admits to the darkness within him, but still challenges Vexen to a fight, claiming darkness to be his enemy, and that Vexen reeked of it. But this all seemed to have been a ploy to lure Riku into the battle so that Vexen might study him.
Further up the castle Riku went, until next he came face to face with a mirror of himself, a duplicate. This copy explains as much, that he is a replica of Riku created by Vexen. Riku calls the replica a fake, which aggravates the copy. The replica then states that there is one difference between them; the replica feared nothing, accusing the real Riku of being a coward because he was afraid of the darkness inside of him. The replica battles Riku to prove he’s better by using the power of darkness, but is defeated. The replica vows to become stronger and face him again before running off further into the castle. Though Riku won the battle, being called a coward really crept up under his skin.
Riku follows after him, and as he continues up, Ansem appears to encourage Riku to be more like his replica and how he accepts the dark. He toys with Riku, and his fear of the darkness, but Riku still resists, and Ansem is forced to hand him another card and let him be on his way.
His next opponent turns out to be Lexaeus, and Riku identifies his scent as being a nobody, like Vexen. Again, Riku is looked down upon for fearing the darkness, and Lexaeus encourages him to embrace this power. When Riku refuses, Lexaeus feels he has no choice but to attack. He knocks Riku unconscious, and as he moves to land the final blow, Ansem takes over Riku’s form, killing Lexaeus. Once again Riku is left drifting as Ansem acts as puppet master. Ansem reaches out to Riku’s heart, trying to get Riku to give in. Ansem exclaims that the more Riku thinks of him, the closer he is to awakening, where he can then claim Riku’s heart. It wasn’t the darkness that Riku feared, it was Ansem, and the control he had over Riku. Once again Mickey interferes, saving Riku from being possessed.
Riku wakes up back in the halls of Castle Oblivion, alone, but in control of his own body. He realizes then that while Mickey was not here physically, he was still with Riku, in his heart. Their hearts were connected, as Mickey had said once before.
As Riku reaches the next floor, he senses that one of the Nobodies had been defeated. A man appeared at the end of the hall to inform Riku that the keeper of the castle had been killed by the keyblade master, Sora. Riku had no idea Sora was even here in Castle Oblivion. Zexion, the man before him, asked if he could even face Sora the way he was now, with darkness in his heart. Zexion explains how Sora’s enemy is darkness, and that meant that Riku was Sora’s enemy. He then tosses Riku a card, inviting him to see the truth in the next room. The card contained an image of Destiny Islands. Zexion disappeared, and Riku proceeded through the door.
The Destiny Islands that presented itself to Riku depicted the night when his world fell to darkness. Zexion appeared again, telling him as much, and pointing out that this all happened because of Riku. Simply because he wanted to leave the island, Riku opened the Door to Darkness, destroying Destiny Islands. In that moment, Riku fell to the Darkness, and still belonged to it now. As Zexion spoke, an image of Riku appeared in front of him, before becoming a Dark Side, what Zexion claimed Riku really was.
After Riku defeated the Darkside, Zexion was nowhere to be seen, and instead, Sora stood at the edge of the crumbling island with his back turned. Riku called out to him, but as he approached, Sora attacked him. Sora claims that he can see what Riku has truly become before he zaps Riku with a beam of light from the keyblade. Riku’s knocked to the ground, and Sora questions how the light can hurt him, wondering if Riku had really become a creature belonging to darkness. Sora resolves that he must destroy Riku, now that he has stooped too deeply in darkness and raises his keyblade up to summon a bright light.
Riku begins to lose consciousness, thinking he is fading into light, when a voice like Kairi’s calls out to him, telling him he can’t fade. She tells him that neither the light or the dark could defeat him, so he shouldn’t run or fear either. Kairi tells him that both would make him stronger. Riku is unsure, as he has tried to push the darkness away all this time, but Kairi tells him to understand the darkness is there, but not to give into it. This strength would allow him to escape the deepest darkness, and see through the brightest light. She finished by telling him to follow the darkness in order to find his friends, and when Riku asks if he can face his friends, another voice echoes over Kairi’s, asking him if he didn’t want to face them. Riku decides that he does want to see them, and that he will, with his dark strength.
He awakens, summoning his dark form to strike Sora down, who turns out to be Zexion in disguise. When Zexion questions how Riku could see him, he simply says that even the light couldn’t mask Zexion’s Nobody scent. They battle, and Zexion is defeated by Riku and his dark powers. With Zexion gone, Riku reverts back to his normal form and continues through the castle.
Ansem’s voice breaks through again, taunting Riku as he has now opened his heart to darkness, allowing Ansem a way in. When Riku refuses, Ansem demonstrates his control over Riku by paralyzing him where he stood, showing him that the more darkness entered through Riku, the easier it is for Ansem to win. A light reveals itself once more and fights Ansem off, allowing Riku to remain in control. Mickey appears behind Riku, having finally found his way to Castle Oblivion from the Realm of Darkness. Riku collapses to the ground out of relief, grateful to not be alone anymore, and to have a friend there with him. Riku asks Mickey how he got to the Castle, and Mickey explains that a card appeared in front of him, allowing him to escape the Realm of Darkness, and with it, he could see Riku’s heart through the Darkness.
They enter the next room, which takes the form of a place called Twilight Town, but Mickey seemed to have vanished. Ansem appears once again, prepared to battle Riku, and after a moment or two, Riku realizes it's not the real Ansem. He discovers this by the man’s scent, which is not Darkness, but something different. This man was the voice who originally guided Riku to Castle Oblivion, so that Riku could face his darkness. The man before him confirms Riku’s suspicions before transforming and introducing himself as Diz. Diz tells him to meet Namine, and then to choose between light and dark. He vanishes before Riku can ask any more. Riku continues through the town until he finds an old mansion out in the woods, supposing Namine may be inside.
He’s stopped by Replica Riku, however, and they fight one last time. The replica was trying to hard to be his own person, but he’d come to the conclusion that he couldn’t be his own person until Riku was gone. Despite this, Riku defeats him, and the replica seems glad to have his fake existence to meet its end. The replica wonders what will happen with heart when he vanishes; would it disappear? Riku tells him it will go somewhere, possibly to the same place Riku’s heart would go to, and the replica seems comforted by this before dissolving.
Riku proceeds into the manor, where he meets Namine and the sleeping form of Sora. The moment he sees Namine, he realizes she was the one who spoke to him about using his dark powers back during the fight with Zexion. Namine beckons him over, and he sees Sora. She explains everything about Sora’s journey here, and how his memory had been altered during his time here, and how Sora now slept in order for Namine to piece his memories back together. Namine offers to lock away his darkness, to prevent Ansem from emerging again, but at the cost of forgetting everything before he was lost to the darkness. Riku looked up to Sora sleeping in the pod, commenting on how his friend always found a way to slack off. Riku decides that he needs to tell Sora off when he wakes up, and he would need his memory to do that. He wants to fight Ansem on his own to prove that he could face him. To face the darkness, like Namine had told him in the form of Kairi.
As he exits the room, he rejoins Mickey and Diz. Again Riku asks Diz who he is, and Diz simply answers that he could be nobody or anybody, Riku just had to choose whether to believe in him or not. Diz provides both Riku and Mickey with dark coats like the Organization, so that they can conceal themselves from the Organization as well as protect them from Darkness. Diz offers Riku one last card, where Riku could finish his battle with Ansem. Before they enter the final room, Riku tells Mickey that he needs to do this alone, and instead asks Mickey to destroy him if Ansem wins and takes over. Mickey refuses, saying no matter what, he’ll be there to save Riku. They choose to believe in one another; that Riku would win his fight with Ansem, and that Mickey would save him if it became necessary.
Riku enters through the final door that lead into a long hallway. Ansem taunts him as he runs through, and Riku confronts him at the end. Ansem notes that Riku’s dark powers are maturing, but demands to know why Riku accepts the Darkness, but refuses him. Ansem wonders if Riku still has a fear for the Darkness. Riku replies that it's not about fearing the darkness, but rather, he simply can’t stand Ansem’s stench. Ansem then gloats about his powers, but Riku quickly retorts about how even with Ansem’s powers, Sora still beat him. In anger, Ansem swells with Darkness, coating the entire room and submerging them in a dark arena, depicting the place where the Door to Darkness had appeared after Ansem was defeated by Sora.
Riku defeats Ansem, landing a critical blow on him, but Ansem claims that he would one day return. As Ansem disappears, darkness overwhelms Riku, and with help from Mickey one last time, they return to Castle Oblivion. Mickey asks him what his plans are now, and Riku feels reluctant to return to the Realm of Light with Ansem’s presence still lurking deep within him. Mickey assures him that his darkness is his and his alone, just like his light. Mickey then admits that he thought Darkness should never exist, but then changed his mind after spending some time with Riku, seeing how light and dark could be used in balance. Mickey asks to see where this path Riku has chosen will lead, and they shake hands on it. Riku feels honored, and here they forge a friendship that could never waver. As they leave Castle Oblivion, now dressed in the Organization coats, Diz appears one last time to make Riku choose between the path to light and the path to dark. Riku states that neither suit him, and that he’ll take the middle road. While Diz calls this the twilight path to nightfall, Riku is quick to correct him by saying no, it’s the road to dawn.
After the events at Castle Oblivion, Riku and King Mickey don Organization XIII coats in order to spy on the Organization while staying under the radar. Riku also is forced to wear a blindfold over his eyes, because ‘his eyes could not lie’. At some point the two of them separated so that Riku could return to Namine and assist with the restoration process of Sora’s memories. According to Namine, the process had become difficult, due to some of Sora’s memories escaping from his nobody Roxas, and going to someone named Xion, both of which are Organization XIII members. Based on what Namine explains to him, there seemed to be only one way to deal with this complication.
He’s attacked by the one called Xion while he was investigating Beast’s castle, though he easily thwarts her attempt to stop him and knocks her to the ground. He then removed her hood, but much to his surprise, he saw Sora’s face under that hood. That didn’t make any sense though; Riku knew Sora was back at Castle Oblivion, resting while Namine put his memories back together. He demanded to know who Xion really was, to which she simply questioned why he was posing as an organization member. He vaguely answers that he dresses in the coat in order to let his bestfriend sleep in peace. Riku went to examine Xion’s ‘keyblade’, informing her that it was a fake, and when she attacked in protest, he easily knocks her back down. He tells her to get away from the Organization while she still can, and then started to take his leave. She called out to him, calling him the fake, and he simply agreed before walking off.
It seemed that Xion wanted to find the truth about her identity, however, as she snuck off to Castle Oblivion for answers. After meeting with Namine, she decides to seek out Destiny Islands, where Sora’s memories are leading her. Riku finds her here, collapsed on the ground, and when he sits her up, she begins to ask questions, about why she’s here, about the memories she was holding onto. Though Riku knows what has to be done to help Sora, Xion reminds him of his replica back in Castle Oblivion. He decided to tell her everything she needs to know, and let her come to the right decision on her own: to return Sora’s memories, at the cost of her disappearing.
Eventually things began to escalate: Sora’s memories had stopped entirely, and both Xion and Roxas still remained in the Organization’s clutches. Diz tells Riku that they must end this, so Riku meets up with Mickey. He updates Mickey on all that had been going on. He then asks Mickey to look after Sora, Donald, and Goofy should he be defeated or lost to the darkness.
Riku finds Roxas in the World that Never Was, and after witnessing Roxas feel Sora, tries to subdue him in order to bring him back to Diz’s base, but Roxas nearly beats him, and Riku eventually has to unleash his inner darkness in order to defeat Roxas. He brings Roxas back to Diz, who then creates a data-scape in the form of Twilight Town in order to hide Roxas away while Namine continued the process of repairing Sora’s memories.
After the fight with Roxas, Riku takes on the form of Ansem, having subjected his heart to darkness in order to defeat Sora’s nobody. He continues to work alongside Diz and Namine in order to keep Sora safe, and to ensure the Organization didn’t discover where they were hiding Roxas.
Without any memories of the Organization, Roxas lives in the data version of Twilight Town, where Riku gives minor nudges here and there whenever Roxas seems to be close to derailing the dataspace, buying as much time as possible so that Namine can complete her task. Their efforts eventually prove successful, and once Riku knows that Sora will awaken, he slips away, knowing that Mickey will maintain his promise to guide Sora and the others. And though Diz orders Riku to kill Namine, now that her purpose had been fulfilled, Riku refuses.
Throughout Sora’s adventure, Riku continues to work from the shadows, providing Sora with clues where he could, while also not wanting to show his face to his best friend, not the way he was now. However, he is forcibly drawn out when he discovers that Kairi has been kidnapped, and find both Kairi and Namine trying to make a daring escape from the Castle in the World That Never Was. As he goes to save them from an onslaught of Nobodies and Heartless, Kairi gets surrounded and a flash of bright light takes him by surprise when he reaches her. When it fades, the heartless are gone and a second keyblade rests in his hand. He hands it to Kairi, sensing that it belonged to her before they continued on through the castle.
Kairi and Riku find Sora, and as Riku, who Sora still believes to be Ansem, tries to leave, Kairi stops him and helps Sora see the truth. The three of them have an emotional reunion before continuing on to face Xemnas. On their way up the castle they find Dix with a machine as he attempts to copy Kingdom Hearts down into data, but the machine explodes, and somehow affects the darkness in Riku’s heart, allowing him to be himself again without the need of a blindfold.
Sora and Riku end up facing Xemnas in the final showdown alone, and once they defeat him they are left trapped in this strange new realm. They wander for what feels like ages, until within the Realm of Darkness, they find the darker half of Destiny Islands, with a moon on the horizon to fill their view. A message in a bottle drifts to the shore, and Riku hands it to Sora. Upon reading it, a gateway back to the Realm of Light opens, and the two of them finally return to their home back on Destiny Islands, with Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey all waiting for them.
I Think That In My Heart, Darkness Still Has a Hold.
After they all went back to their respective homes, with Sora, Riku, and Kairi all remaining at Destiny Islands, they eventually receive a letter from King Mickey, explaining a truth about Sora, and they are summoned by Master Yen Sid to partake in the Mark of Mastery Exams so that both Sora and Riku could become keyblade masters, while also gaining a power they would need in their fight against Xehanort. They become separated through these trials as they travel through sleeping worlds, and without knowing it, Riku had become a dream eater to protect Sora.
Towards the end of their journey, Sora falls to the darkness, and Riku has to delve into the nightmare in order to free Sora. Riku ends up having to face Ansem once again in his own nightmare, he still manages to defeat him and save Sora from the nightmare. Both Mickey and Lea aid them in rescuing Sora as well, and Riku goes on to become a Keyblade Master, having passed the Mark of Mastery Exam.
After the Mark of Mastery Exams, and finding out exactly what they were up against, Xehanort had made it abundantly clear that they would need to gather 7 Guardians of Light in order to fight his 13 Seekers of Darkness. After finding out that a keyblade master named Aqua was trapped in the Realm of Darkness after all this time, Riku is sent to look for her along with Kairi once she had finished her training. They set out to the Realm of Darkness, but managed to get separated along the way. The Realm of Darkness continued to churn and distort, becoming larger and filled with more and more worlds. It was clear that something was going terribly wrong in the Realm of Light, and the worlds were beginning to disappear one by one all over again. Sensing that Twilight Town was all that remained, Riku is left with no choice but to temporarily abandon his duty to find Aqua, and to also reunite with Kairi, in order to secure Twilight Town.
He's tall and muscular, with short silver hair and bright icy blue eyes. He wears a black zip up undershirt resembling the organization 13 coat he used to wear, as well as a white and yellow vest. He also wears baggy dark blue jeans, a silver studded belt around his waist, sneakers, and a white sleeve on his left wrist.
The Way to Dawn, a keyblade that resembles Riku's previous weapon, Soul Eater. It's hilt features two opposing wings- one of light, and one of dark. A crystal blue eye joins the hilt to the rest of the blade, a bat-like wing with a silver wing that forms the keyblade's teeth. The keychain forms the heartless symbol without the chains around it. The Way to Dawn represents the choice Riku has made : rather than choose between the light and the darkness, he took the middle path, a balance of light and darkness.
Offensive Swordplay: Riku has been training in swordplay since his childhood days on the islands, and was well known as the strongest among the other kids. Even beating some of the kids in a 1 v 3.
Dark Magic: Riku was manipulated into unleashing the darkness in his heart, though he now strives to be better. He uses this dark power towards a greater good, using it in order to protect his friends and stop the forces of darkness.
Dark Aura - Riku rushes a single or multiple targets from all directions by using dark portals, landing up to six hits before he drops down from above with a radial area of effect attack using dark energy
Dark Break - Riku leaps up and lands an attack on a single target, using dark energy
Dark Shield - In a flash of speed, Riku appears in front of an ally and casts a front facing barrier to shield his ally from an attack. This can also be used to protect himself
Defensive Swordplay: The drawback of fighting so aggressively in combat, is that it leaves Riku wide open, should he fight against someone strong enough to counter his relentless onslaught.
Darkness Within: Of course with great power comes great responsibility. Riku constantly has to be on his guard at all times, lest he lose himself to the darkness again. He has to remain cautious, and keep himself balance at all costs.
Riku is reserved and level-headed, always careful after being manipulated for so long and falling to the darkness in his heart. He wants nothing more than for his friends to remain safe, and to prove to himself that he is worthy of redemption, and worthy of the keyblade. He’s always striving to become stronger, so much so that he’s always competing with his best friend Sora to outdo one another. Though much has happened since their days on the islands, beneath the surface Riku is still that confident young kid that he used to be. But he’s not quick to trust others, unlike Sora, knowing that darkness lies in every heart, and while Sora trusts others openly, Riku hesitates. He’s not afraid of making the hard choices for the greater good, and he’s grown accustomed to working behind the scenes, as all keyblade masters should be.