Welcome to Kingdom Hearts: World Destiny! We are an AU Kingdom Hearts RP with no word count. World Destiny's story takes place post Dream Drop Distance, at which point we make considerable steps in our own story direction. Feel free to check out the Plot link to find out more!
All guests are welcome to drop in and say hi!
Nightfall: Chapter 2
Two years after the events of Dream Drop Distance, the Darkness became so great that it swallowed the worlds, locking them away within its merciless abyss.
Twilight Town, now covered in eternal night, stands as one of last Sanctuaries of Light. It is where players begin their journey.
Ever resourceful, the Moogles have created a safe place for refugees. They have charged the Denizens of Light with finding Castle Oblivion: it holds a key to the puzzle of the lost worlds.
But within the dark shadows of the sanctuary world a powerful dark force still looms, waiting to strike. Each survivor must choose whether to go to Castle Oblivion or stay behind to protect the world from the dragon that lurks in the shadows.
In the time that had passed since Xion had accompanied her to connect Castle Oblivion to Mognet, sleep had been something that escaped Aqua. The Nightfall that hung thick over the skies of Twilight Town reeked of Darkness, covering every nook and cranny with a menace that had Aqua’s senses on higher alert than they’d ever been in the Realm of Darkness. There, any sense of hope for salvation had already been long extinguished. Here, the thread of a chance they had of pushing back against the encroaching shadows had reignited a desire in her she’d long thought lost.
Given Ven’s predicament, the irony of Aqua’s own wasn’t lost to her. But sleep wasn’t something she could afford to focus on in the coming days or on the coming journey. The most important thing was to retrieve her friend before Xehanort could find him.
Light knew what that man would do with another empty vessel, just waiting to be turned towards the Dark.
She swallowed the knot that formed in her throat, shoving the images of that strange merger between Ven and Vanitas that she’d faced at the Keyblade Graveyard so long ago. Some memories were best left forgotten, especially those that might claw their way back to the present if fixated on. The Master had taught her that one day long ago.
Breath flooded into her lungs through her nose, head turned skyward and eyes closed as her focus turned away from the past. There was work to be done. People were counting on her to be strong for this; there could be no quarter in her heart for the weakness that the Realm of Darkness had beaten and battered into her.
The people of Twilight Town – by birth or by circumstance – were all counting on her to help set things right. If they wanted to fight back against the Darkness, they’d need all the help they could get. And beyond that, there were promises she’d made that she still had to keep. Ven and Terra had to – deserved to be her priority.
The time they’d agreed on was drawing near, and soon they’d be departing for Castle Oblivion. Who exactly had decided to come along and who would stay behind to defend the Town if that dragon Avari had encountered showed itself once again were still unknowns, though she had some guesses, or maybe even some wishes, as to who would end up where.
She stood from her position sat with her back to the nearby wall of a crumbling skyscraper, brushing the dust off herself as she did. The others would be here before long, and she needed to be ready to lead the charge. Come what may, she would get Ven back and then Terra after him. Master Xehanort couldn’t be allowed to continue down the path he was walking.
Aqua just hoped when the time came, she’d be up to the task.
The sound of his boots would echo off the buildings as Shaizen made his way towards the meeting point. His hands were slid into his pocket, his head tilted down just a little. He had decided he would leave his jacket behind, as there would probably be quite a bit of battle during the voyage. For now, however, he would leave it on. He liked to kept the tattoo on his arm hidden for the most part. It’s not that he wanted to keep it secret, he just found it weird trying to explain why he had it. He never actually knew his parents, after all. He only knew that which Gil had told him.
He would turn the last corner before his destination, looking up to see that Aqua, the Keyblade Master he had only recently met, already waiting. He couldn’t be surprised. From their first meeting he could tell she was one to take things seriously in most cases. That and the fact that this mission seemed to be personal to her. He would lift his head to get a better view, seeing that she appeared to be completely ready for the trip into this realm that was only recently discovered. Upon approach, he would nod a greeting to her, keeping a bit of distance between them as he spoke only her name in verbal greeting.
Shaizen was never one who could easily start a conversation, no matter what the situation. He could greet others and even keep a conversation going once someone else got it started. Starting it himself usually ended up with him overthinking what to talk about. The only time he had ever been able to start a conversation was when he was speaking about strategies. He had accepted this fact about himself long ago, and so kept from trying to start conversation himself whenever he could.
And so he would walk to a nearby railing, leaning against the metal structure as he looked around. Now that he had made it here, he began to think about the mission he was taking part in. He had no clue what to expect. The only world he had ever known about before coming to Twilight Town was Luniel. He had never even heard of the Realm of Darkness or any other worlds. And here he was, about to go on some kind of mission to yet another unknown world with some warriors he had only just met.
He would sigh a little and look around, fidgeting from his swords’ new angle. He had yet to get use to them. Having had them hang from his back for as long as he had them, he changed them to right-side up in order to ready for battle at a quicker pace. He felt he would need this small advantage where they were going.
*How many others will be joining in this voyage, I wonder? And will any of them be some of the few I have met?*
This thought crossed his mind as he waited, reaching up to take hold of his father’s necklace hanging around his neck.
To find the answer to this, all he could do was wait.
Post by Maxwell Tendas on Jul 15, 2019 6:49:02 GMT -4
He had one hand resting on the pommel of his sword as he entered Station Plaza, the other hand held up as he played with a trio of water spheres. They whirled around each other in a circle, so fast that they blurred together and almost looked like a solid ring floating above his hand. In the days since the town meeting, he had been searching Twilight Town with Mikhail for any signs of the heartless that had attacked Avari. Afterall, a heartless in the form of a dragon was too dangerous a threat to ignore outright, and it wouldn’t have felt right just leaving without at least trying to do something about it. Their efforts had been for naught, however, as their search turned up almost nothing.
It had left Max feeling agitated and uneasy. What if it decided to attack again while all of their strongest fighters were all either away or otherwise unable to fight? He didn’t even want to think of the destruction a dragon could wreak on Twilight Town in their absence. For that reason, he hoped that their trip to Castle Oblivion would be very brief. If they could keep this foray short, he wouldn’t worry about the people back in Twilight Town quite so much.
He pushed those thoughts out of his he neared the meeting point near the main railhouse. Such thoughts would just serve as a distraction from their little expedition into this new and likely dangerous world. He needed to keep his mind and senses sharp while they were there, or else they might not return with full numbers...
He sighed and adjusted the strap of the canister he had slung across his back. He’d found it while out with Mikhail the other day, and considering he didn’t know how much water would be at Castle Oblivion had decided to bring it along. Unfortunately, its weight tugging wt his shoulder with each step was a little uncomfortable, but he was willing to put up with it for a guarantee of water to use in a pinch.
As he neared the top if the hill, where the railhouse was, he returned his small water spheres to the canister as he stepped into the large open area in front of the railhouse. To his left, near the large building, was The Keyblade Wielder Aqua and the man Named Shaizen, who he’d met in the underground. As he approached, the soldier noticed Shaizen had changed how his swords hung on his back, the handles now facing up over his shoulders.
“Looks like you don’t have to worry about your swords falling out now,” he said, clapping the man on the shoulder with a small as he passed him, before turning to address the Keyblade Wielder, “Good morning, Aqua. Everything ready for us to leave? Or is there something i can help with while we wait?”
Twilight Town seemed deceptively quiet now, as Riku made his way to the meeting spot to see the others off. There seemed to be no sign of the dragon heartless that had attacked the young brown haired girl, Avari, just the usual level of heartless one would expect in such a bleak version of the Twilight Town he had once known. It was by no means safe with even the smaller heartless around, but adding a dragon to the list certainly didn’t help when so many of the city’s strongest were now leaving to pursue Castle Oblivion. Riku knew how important it was to keep this world safe, but it was also equally vital to find out about the other worlds, and to find Aqua’s friend, yet another wielder to bring into the fold to fight against Xehanort. They had no choice but to divide up their forces and tackle both objectives. They all had to find out what they could from Castle Oblivion, while at the same time ensuring there would be a world to return back to once they were done.
Riku was going to help keep Twilight Town safe while those leaving for Castle Oblivion were gone, just as Aqua had asked him to. While he was certain some of the refugees staying behind in town were perfectly capable warriors, the amount of keyblade wielders to spare left much to be desired; as far as he knew, it was just him, Aqua, and Xion for the time being, and with keyblade wielders being the only ones who could deal a finishing blow on the heartless, at least one of them had to stay behind. It was a tricky situation no matter how they framed it, but both tasks were equally important.
As he made his way through the streets of Twilight Town, he couldn’t help but think back to his time in Castle Oblivion. Floor after floor of worlds created from his memories, it may as well have been a labyrinth: a fortress designed to encourage trespassers to get lost, not just simply in their sense of direction, but also becoming lost in their memories. It had happened to Sora, all that time ago, granted the organization had orchestrated that entire situation, but it didn’t make Castle Oblivion any less difficult to navigate on its own. Hell, Riku probably wouldn’t have made it through if Mickey hadn’t been there to guide him; not when the darkness was still trying to tempt him back then.
Riku rounded the corner in the midst of his thoughts only to look up and see the three figures waiting for other arrivals: Aqua, Shaizen, and Maxwell. He gave them all a curt nod, “Came to see you all off.” He pondered for a moment before adding, “If Castle Oblivion’s anything like I remember, it’s gonna be difficult to navigate. I’m not really sure if I could give you any advice about it though.”
The seconds that ticked by in Aqua's idle spell seemed to flow more slowly than normal. She chalked it up to the anticipation. Time may have ceased to flow for her in the Realm of Darkness, but that didn't mean she was any less than painfully aware of the time she'd spent apart from her friends. Now with Ven so close at hand, she had to fight herself to not take off without the others and expect them to meet her along the way.
She began to run over the checklist in her mind once more. The people who knew about this trip they were making, those who were staying behind for one reason or another, and the ones who she could count on to come with her; the ones who counted on her to keep them from Darkness' embrace as they made passage to her old home. The numbers...were they too big or too small? At what point could she decide who she would need and who she was pointlessly putting in danger.
Heartless - the small ones, at least, she could take with just Xion at her side. But the maze of the castle and the chance of meeting someone inside it required others - people who she could put her faith in to stand against the threat of the long darkness should things turn south and they needed to retreat with no reliable way of returning to Twilight Town, and people who were willing to risk their lives to accompany her even if she couldn't.
The people you're throwing into the fire because you know you're too worthless to do anything yourself.
The voice caused Aqua's ears to perk to attention. She spun, the soles of her shoes scraping violently against the ground as she took a battle stance and prepared to summon her keyblade. The only other time she'd experienced something like this had been...
Footsteps resounded through the courtyard of the Station Plaza, and Aqua spun once more to meet with what was in their direction. Shaizen's silhouette cut a shape into the horizon in stark contrast to the image Aqua had expected, and to that extent she was relieved.
'I really must not be getting enough sleep. I'm starting to hear things,' she told herself, taking a deep breath and composing herself before her first ally made his way within earshot of her.
She returned his nod, but failed to follow up with his greeting. No matter how she tried to rationalize it, that voice she'd heard not moments ago hadn't belonged to Shaizen and it certainly hadn't been a figment of her imagination. Something could - and would - go very wrong if she wasn't careful about this. There was no room for risk when it came to retrieving Ven, but no time to focus on what had just happened either.
Lost in thought, Aqua remained entirely unaware of Max's presence until he spoke.
"Max," she responded with a nod to his greeting. "I...I think we're just waiting on a few more people. Xion and Mikhail, and perhaps Oswald and Avari as well. There seemed to be one other person that Bayde mentioned, but I don't think I've spoken to him before. Everyone else seems content to stay in Twilight Town while we're away. Or, well, underneath it anyways."
At that moment, a familiar presence hit Aqua's senses. Her eyes darted to the left, seeing Riku as he turned the corner that separated him from her field of vision. That was odd - he had agreed to stay behind and help with the defense of Twilight Town against the Heartless and that dragon Avari had spoken of. If he was here, did that mean he and Xion had traded places? Or was he seeing to it that she got here safely?
"Thank you, Riku," Aqua replied to his greeting with a genuine smile, if a little small. "Have you seen Xion or any of the others, though? We were supposed to leave around now - I'm starting to get a little worried."
It was a half truth - she was afraid, but not of any absentee members. The castle itself, the threat of who or what they might meet inside it, and the voice that had crawled out from the back of her mind were all occupying much larger parts of her attention right now. If they were missing two or even three people, they could make due. The priority, however, was to make sure they had another keyblade wielder at hand. Not only would it be safer, but it added a safety measure against herself.
Especially now, it may be something that was needed.
Post by Mikhail Rutherford on Jul 17, 2019 15:18:40 GMT -4
War wasn’t a foreign concept for Mikhail. He’d been trained for it since age five, modelled after the ideal warrior. Discipline. Courage. Fortitude. Audacity. Sacrifice. The pyromancer had been proud to embrace them all as a Knight of Audencia. Oh Zhaitar, how he’d longed to prove himself skirmish after skirmish. And for a time, he did enjoy the thrill of battle. The clang and clash of metal meeting metal, the taste of copper in his mouth, his dripping blade gleaming beneath the churning sky… hell, even the septic smell of death was exhilarating for him.
Still there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, at least not by a knight. Rutherford was fortunate enough to see that in the midst of his battle lust. Another sign of Mira’s character rubbing off on him, no doubt, but in the end, it had been his choice. He followed his conscience and refused to carry out that order. Following Elona’s fall to darkness, Mikhail found himself thrown into a bigger conflict: the fight against the Heartless and their leaders, the Dark XII. Mira wasn’t around anymore to serve as a moral compass, but others served that purpose throughout the years: Erika and Rubix, Caxnon and Drago, Jack…
They all seemed to be making progress for a time, dents in what they’d thought to be an unstoppable force. The Guardians of the Worlds became more than a thorn on the Dark XII’s backside and, against all odds, managed to thwart a handful of their schemes. More and more people were drawn to their cause. Mikhail truly believed they’d be able to win the war.
He grew confident. He relaxed just the slightest bit… and it doomed them. It doomed them all.
He couldn’t help feeling responsible for each of their fates. They’d placed their trust in him, in his leadership, and he failed to protect them. The five pillars upheld by the Knights were supposed to be enough… except they weren’t. And one by one their lights blinked out. The Guardians fell with the worlds they’d sworn to protect… all except for him.
Honor, chivalry and virtue just wouldn’t cut it anymore.
Now, with Twilight Town on the brink of joining the fallen, the stakes were higher than ever, and the looming threat of a dark dragon did little to ease their minds. Max and Mikhail had gone searching for it over the last couple of days but didn’t really find any clues leading to his lair. The uncertainty of it all was rather unnerving. While a handful of people had decided to stay back and hold the line if needed, he could only hope the trip to Castle Oblivion would be a short one. Twilight Town needed them… and he needed to feel like he was achieving something with his efforts.
Mikhail wondered what Mira would think of him now as he stepped into Station Plaza, right hand in his pockets. The lines he’d once seen so clearly were now blurred by the guilt of days past and the desperation of their current predicament. Even the way he fought had changed: aggressive, passionate, pragmatic… hell, even a tad reckless. Would she be disappointed in him, say he’d lost his way? Or would she understand his position and see that things weren’t as black and white as they’d once thought? His free arm absentmindedly rose to grasp the purple crystal hanging from his neck. The man would like to think she’d come around and see he was still fighting the good fight, despite everything that happened.
"I see you managed to patch up those swords of yours," the pyromancer grinned upon spotting Shaizen among the group, pushing his thoughts to the back of his mind for the time being. It was good to know the Tirealian would be joining them in full strength. Mikhail had seen what he could do back in the underground tunnels knew he wasn’t one to be underestimated.
The man finally stopped beside Max, clapping his comrade on the back in acknowledgment before turning to the pair of keybearers. "Aqua, Riku. It's good to see you both."
"Before we leave, it might be a good idea to brief everyone on what we might face in Castle Oblivion... just to know what to be on the lookout for."
Shaizen felt a little relieved as others started to join the group. While he felt that Aqua was more than capable of taking care of herself, he knew that ventures into a realm of Darkness was one that would need more than just the two of them. Lands of Darkness on Luniel were harsh enough, and they were mostly tamed by the Tirealians. From what little he knew, the realm they would be entering today was one that could be considered hostile, at the very least. They would be needing more to help watch each other's backs.
He would go over what he knew about those who joined in his head as he saw them. He was still rather new to town, and he wanted to make sure he remembered everyone he had met. So far he had met only a few. He figured he would be meeting at least a few extra during the voyage.
Maxwell Tendas. While he had only known this man for just as long as he had known Aqua, having met them both in the Underground. At first contact, Maxwell had seemed like a rather cautious man who leaped into action rather quickly, having kept a stance to protect Aqua in case Shaizen was an enemy. Once the situation calmed down, however, Maxwell had shown himself to be loyal to those he considered allies.
"Nice to see you here, Max. Yes, I figured that Twilight Town didn't need Peacekeepers, like Luniel did. It takes warriors to fight a war, yes? Still have to get use to having them sheathed this way, but it shouldn't take too long."
The next person was one that Shaizen hadn't yet met, and was someone who looked rather young. Despite this he had the appearance of one who had seen his fair share of combat, and he seemed to know Aqua on a more personal level, speaking to her directly and without hesitation. From her words, Shaizen gathered this young man's name to be Riku. The other name mentioned was one that belonged to another Shaizen had yet to meet.
The third to arrive was one that Shaizen had known a little longer than he had the others here., and had in fact already fought alongside even if not with his own weapons.
Mikhail was one that Shaizen had already seen the battle prowess of. Strong and alert when in combat, Shaizen knew he never would have gotten the materials to fix his blades were it not for this man. The two large Heartless they had fought would have been more than a match for Shaizen in the state he was in at that point.
"Ah, Mikhail. I wasn't sure when I would see you again. I have you to thank for helping me get my bag back. If it weren't for you I would either be weaponless or lifeless in the Underground. Now I can fight at full strength. I appreciate your help with that."
He would step forward from against the railing, keeping pace with Mikhail and taking his own place among the current ranks. Aqua, Maxwell, Mikhail and himself. It would appear as though Riku were only here to see them off. Mikhail said something about where they were going, and now Shaizen had another location to remember.
"Castle Oblivion? Sounds like a lovely place. Name has a certain... charm... to it."
Oswald rounded the corner, huffing slightly as he did, his remote in hand still as he walked over to the still forming group. Stepping over he looked at the group, and was met with a lot of swords of varying shapes. The keyblades Oswald having recognized from before, although the others just carried normal weapons. Focusing on one of the figures Oswald recognized he waved his hand up in the air. "Hey Maxwell! You're here too?" he said as he strolled over to the group.
Meeting up the group Oswald stood around, cause what does one do in a meeting that hasn't fully met yet. "So uh, this Castle Oblivion, what's so special about it anyway, it's just another world right, one that's somehow still out there." Oswald says, as he looks towards Aqua.
Post by Maxwell Tendas on Jul 23, 2019 17:20:00 GMT -4
“Max. I...I think we’re just waiting on a few more people,” Aqua said, a hint of hesitation in her voice, like she had been lost in her own head and Max talking had brought her back to reality, “Xion and Mikhail, and perhaps Oswald and Avari as well. There seemed to be one other person that Bayde mentioned, but I don’t think I’ve spoken to him before. Everyone else seems content to stay in Twilight Town while we’re away. Or, well, underneath it anyways.”
“Waiting it is, then,” Max said, leaning his shouldsr against a nearby wall. That was when another of the Keyblade wielders approached, Riku if the soldier recalled correctly, Announcing he was here to see them all off. Max just nodded in acknowledgement, his mind wandering to the trip at hand. It seemed Riku had been there before, but even he didn’t have any advice to offer as to what they might face when they went there. While Max wasn’t one to shy away from doing something because of unpleasant surprises, he definitely did not like them. It seemed that in this instance, though, they would have no choice but to face the unknown.
Soon more of their number arrived: Mikhail with a clap on Max’s back as he stopped beside him and addressed the Keyblade wielders, and a strange rabbit-like thing that walked on two feet and could talked. The rabbit-thing seemed to know him, though Max had no recollection of the rabbit whatsoever. The soldier just smiled and gave him a cordial response to his greeting. Then, he waited for a moment he could discreetly ask Mikhail about him.
“So who’s this weird rabbit-cat-person-thing? And do I know it?” He said very quietly, leaning over and whispering to Mikhail at the first opportunity.
Flying around town Fahe was looking for the meetup place mentioned by that moogle thing, he had written id down somewhere but had lost it so was now just looking down streets and alleyways. Passing by his living space in the woods he looked down at the main street of the town some people walking along while some simply talked. It was kind of depressing seeing them next to crumbling walls and destroyed buildings.
Finally seeing the group Fahe made a slow circling descent down to them before dropping the last few feet to the ground, folding his wings up behind him he surveyed the group over. "Hey, so this is the meet up for that castle journey?" Fahe said as he looked at the group, and they're lack of animal features, still bewildered by it, then looked down towards the legs of the group to notice a black rabbit looking thing tapping his foot."Oh wow, you guys have really big wildlife here."
Aqua's eyes scanned over the slowly amassing group before her. They were now only three strong - four, if Riku was counted among them. The number seemed small, but not for any reason Aqua could put her finger on. The paranoid, more fragile side of her heart told her that if they left now, they could avoid possible casualties by leaving others behind. However, the more rational side of her knew just what would happen if they left with such a small group of people.
Castle Oblivion was a maze of her own design - or lack thereof, if she were being honest. The magic she'd spun there was potent, and the only way to break the spell was to find their way to the innermost chambers. It would be hard, regardless of strength or aptitude for adapting to the castle's tricks. The most important thing going in - more important than anything else - would be trust.
Ah, make that five. It seemed Mikhail had made his way to the Station Plaza as well. And then six, as it seemed Oswald had also decided to tag along.
And with the winged one that had just landed, that made seven.
The questions seemed to come one after another and more or less line up - everyone was curious about the castle, and they were all eager to get going as soon as possible.
The unmistakable feeling of happiness bubbled up in Aqua's chest. Castle Oblivion wasn't exactly the key to sending anyone back home. In fact, there wasn't much to gain by going on this little adventure for anyone but her. The fact that so many of the town's residents were willing to take up arms and stand with her filled her with a warmth she'd thought she'd lost during all those years in the realm of Darkness.
"Right," Aqua smiled. "Well, I think this is just about everyone. I'm still a little worried about Xion - we were supposed to go together with her."
Perhaps Xion had decided to stay behind. Or maybe she was distracted by something else. Aqua didn't think the dragon that Avari had spoken of was on the move, but that didn't rule it out as a possibility either.
"But I suppose explaining the basics of Castle Oblivion is a good way to spend the time while we wait."
For a second, Aqua wondered where to begin. The stories of her, Terra, Ven, and the Master weren't important for the rest of them to hear, but it was nearly impossible to separate the home she'd been raised in from the place they were heading in her mind.
Perhaps a simple description of the spell she'd woven would do?
"Castle Oblivion is a maze without an end. Or, at the very least, that's what it's supposed to feel like. In reality, there's supposed to be a way for the creator of the castle to navigate it. And that's where this will come in."
With a flick of her wrist, Aqua produced her Wayfinder for the group to see.
"This is a charm that connects me to Ven, who I put at the center of the castle. Once we get there, I can handle undoing the spell and opening the way for us to get home. I might be making that sound a bit too easy though."
"I'm not sure who or what's made its way into the walls of Castle Oblivion. And we're all going to have to make our way through together if we want any chance of getting out. The maze doesn't follow the regular laws of space - if one of us takes a wrong turn or we get separated, there might not be any coming back. At least not until the maze is undone."
For now, she wouldn't mention Xehanort or anything of his ilk. There was no guarantee that they'd run into him, and therefore no guarantee that they'd need to know more about her past failures than she'd like them to.
"I know it sounds simple, but I guess the best way to learn is by doing. Are there any questions?"
Shaizen was a little surprised at how many different types of beings were taking shelter in Twilight town. While he knew that the denizens of different worlds were here, he hadn’t realized the extent of just how much difference there could be between the people of each world. A talking bunny, and a human with winged arms. Strange combination to someone who had only just recently discovered the existence of other worlds. But then again, Shaizen had seen many strange amalgams within Luniel.
*This is turning out to be a rather… interesting… group.*
His thoughts were cut off when he heard Aqua start to speak, turning his head once more to look at her. He would listen intently to her words, using one arm to prop up the other as he started fidgeting with his necklace. The words she spoke about Castle Oblivion were words that made him a bit mixture of intrigued and uneasy at the same time.
A castle that ignored the laws of physics, and seemed to change its own layout as it wished. Only the creator of said castle could find their way through safely. Aqua seemed to be this very person. She not only had knowledge of Castle Oblivion, but she also had a way to safely navigate its hall and had seemingly been there before. It also appeared that her being there before was the reason they were going back.
Someone named Ven had been placed in the castle by Aqua. Whatever the reason for this was, Shaizen decided not to question it, and instead listened more. Once she was done explaining, and asked about any questions, he decided to ask one that was going through his mind.
“If one of us gets separated, is there anything we should be weary about? You know, to try to survive until this maze is undone? Be better to let us know this now instead of when it's too late. If we really will be trapped for possibly a long time, we will need that information at least.”
Post by Maxwell Tendas on Aug 11, 2019 20:24:06 GMT -4
Max rested his hand on the hilt of Quicksilver as he listened to Aqua explain what they would be dealing with while at Castle Oblivion, her initial description of what it would be like causing him to raise his eyebrow. So they were supposed to find their way through a supposedly ‘endless maze’. Then she produced a small star-shaped charm, insinuating that it would be the key to reaching the center of the maze and undoing the spell on the castle. Despite Aqua glossing over it rather quickly, the soldier picked up on her mentioning that she put someone named Ven at the center of the castle. That raised a red flag in his mind that maybe there was a bit more to this that she wasn’t telling them. He didn’t think she had any ill intent, but he damn sure didn’t like being kept in the dark when he was about to put his life on the line, though he couldn’t quite put a finger on exactly why he felt that way about it.
Max looked over to Shaizen as he asked what someone should do if they got separated from everyone else. Before the Keyblade Master could respond, however, the soldier chimed in with his own question.
“What are you not telling us Aqua,” Max said, his voice calm, yet firm as he looked her straight in the eye, “Who is this Ven person, and why did you lock him away in Castle Oblivion? And how does this help us get closer to stopping the Heartless and the Nightfall? It seems like there’s something you’re not telling us about this, and I think we all deserve to know what that is, given we’re risking our lives to go to this place.”
The first one to speak was Shaizen - and his question was an apt one. There was no telling what was in that castle, though from what she'd heard from Xion there was a good chance that the forces of Darkness had claimed her home their territory in the past. She couldn't be certain - but it was quite possible that Xehanort was still looking for Ven. If he'd managed to bend the Heartless to his will, they could have flooded the maze in an attempt to solve it through brute force.
But those without a connection to Ven would find navigating it nearly impossible. Which means unless Xehanort had gone looking for Ven himself - and even then, if Ven had broken the ties in his heart with that man entirely there was no guarantee it would work - the Heartless would return with no results.
But Xehanort was nothing if not relentless.
"There's a good chance there are several Heartless inhabiting the castle. It lies on the precipice of the realms of Light and Darkness. Without a Light to defend it, Darkness may have taken the chance to reclaim the land. If we do get separated, you'll need to do your best to survive the onslaught until I can reach the center of the maze. For that, I recommend using healing or defensive magic; maybe even a few potions if you're not confident in your casting ability. It will be a test of endurance, not strength. Avoid the Heartless, keep moving, and only fight if you have no other choice."
She hoped that would be enough to assuage any concerns Shaizen or any of the others had. But if it wasn't, she was sure another question would follow.
And as circumstance would have it, Max was there to fill in the lull.
It was true, there were things she was still hiding from them. Worries, fears, and worst-case scenarios that had flooded her mind for nearly a decade now were constantly intersecting with her plans to retrieve Ven. What if she came across the Ven who'd been taken by Vanitas once more when she arrived at the castle's center? What if Xehanort had leveraged some of the bodies he apparently controlled now - with Terra among them - to capture the castle and the whole of Xehanort's might was waiting for them? What if they found Ven and couldn't wake him up at all?
While she and Xion had already made the trek to the castle and there were no signs she found concerning, there was no telling what had happened in the interim between then and now.
"Ven is the reason we're going to the castle, Max. He's an old friend who I needed to safeguard from the Darkness."
This was the first time she'd had to relay the information to anyone. Riku had already been informed, likely by Mickey or Master Yen Sid. But Max and the other wouldn't know anything about this.
Perhaps the pain of bringing it up was what kept her from keeping them all fully in the loop. But Max was right; there was no room to hide the facts now.
"He's a keyblade wielder - something we're going to need a lot more of if we want to fight back against the Nightfall in a meaningful way. But in a fight we were in against a man named Xehanort, his heart was fractured and he needed time to recover. We lost another friend that day, and I knew that Ven would be next if I didn't do something to keep him safe."
Her eyes were unwavering, switching to and locking with the gaze of each of the members of the gathered group in time. Her heart ached at the memories, but it had done so for a long time now. Trust required sacrifice, and this was a secret she'd refused to give up for too long now.
"Before my Master fell in battle, he entrusted me with the secret of our home - a place called the Land of Departure. I used this keyblade," she continued, summoning the Master Defender into her hand as she did, "his keyblade, to transform it into Castle Oblivion, and I put Ven at the center of it. But it's been ten years, and Ven's had plenty of time to heal. Someone just needs to wake him up."
Shaizen crossed his arms as he listened to Aqua answer, closing his eyes as he thought of certain strategies he could use to survive if he were indeed separated. A constant onslaught of Heartless sounded very familiar to him. It was to something very similar that he lost his squad, his family, not long before his world was taken. Could he fight such a force without his old team, or even someone else to back him up? He knew that to fight at his fullest he would need to ditch his jacket, leave it here in Twilight Town. He took the jacket off and folded it up, setting it down within a crate next to the shop he had bought his potions at. Once he had done that, he stood by the group once more, keeping his arms folded across his chest, the scar on his chest showing above them on his left shoulder. From here he listened to the rest of the conversation.
Max seemed to have his questions as well, though his were more on the history of this quest they were taking part in. Even if he was rather blunt about it, he also made a very valid point. Those standing here were risking everything to help save this person known as Ven, even when the only person currently going that was connected to him seemed to be Aqua. It wouldn't hurt to know just who they were saving.
And then Aqua's answer was one that caused Shaizen to see her in a different way. He had always thought she was just one who had taken up a leader-like position to help those in Twilight Town. She had lost those who were close to her, just like he had. He knew how that felt, and thus his respect for her grew. The difference here was that she had a way to get those people she cared for back. He wished he had that chance, but he had watched his friends in their last seconds.
"I know the feeling of losing someone. Even before my world was taken I was the last of those I knew as family. I don't have a way to bring them back, however. I can't speak for everyone else, but I'll do what I can to make sure you didn't go through all that for no reason. This man, Xehanort, wasn't it? Sounds like a tough character. Especially if he gave you a run for your money. Any chance he'll show up? If so then we should be cautious. And you will need to keep your attention on finding Ven, sonce only you can get through the maze."