The Keyblade War (キーブレード戦争, Kīburēdo Sensō?), also known as the Keyblade Wars, is a legendary conflict that occurred more than a century before Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. It is a major driving force behind the events of the Dark Seeker Saga.
In the "age of fairy tales", the world was whole and full of light. People believed the light came from Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds, which was protected by its counterpart, the χ-blade. When the Master of Masters was a boy, the Keyblade War, a conflict between light and darkness began. This conflict continued without end for an unknown period of time. Long after, due to the secret manipulations of the Master of Masters, his students, the five Foretellers tasked with protecting the light, began to mistrust each other after receiving a prophecy of the coming war. They began competing over the world's Lux, believing it would give them the power to push back the oncoming darkness, but in the end, their efforts collapsed into an internecine conflict that embroiled the entire world.
Eventually, darkness covered the world, the χ-blade was shattered into twenty pieces, seven of pure light and thirteen of pure darkness, and the "true" Kingdom Hearts disappeared into the darkness. However, the world was restored by the light within the hearts of children, but as many individual worlds separated from each other. The remnants of the battlefield on which the Keyblade War took place became the Keyblade Graveyard, a scarred wasteland filled with the Keyblades of fallen warriors. The remaining Keyblade wielders resolved to protect the world from further destruction, becoming guardians of the world order.
The story of the Keyblade War passed into legend, and the Keyblade was depicted both as a bringer of chaos and destruction and as a weapon to save the world. The cause of the war, however, was distorted through the ages until it was eventually believed that over time, many people came to desire the power of Kingdom Hearts, introducing darkness into the world and that they had forged Keyblades in the image of the original χ-blade in order to take control of Kingdom Hearts.
Generations later, a Keyblade Master named Xehanort researched the Keyblade War and decided to unlock the mysteries of what took place at the Keyblade War's end through creating the χ-blade, summoning Kingdom Hearts, and setting off another Keyblade War. His motivation was to recreate the World as a balance between light and darkness, a balance he believed was lost in the current World. Xehanort discussed his interest with his colleague and fellow former student, Eraqus, but Eraqus tried to stop him, believing Xehanort to be giving himself over to darkness.
Years later, Master Xehanort attempts to forge the χ-blade by pitting a heart of pure light and a heart of pure darkness against each other. To that end, he forcibly removes the darkness from the heart of his pupil, Ventus, creating Vanitas. When Ventus barely survives the process, Xehanort leaves Ventus in the care of Master Eraqus, hoping that his light would become strong enough for him to face Vanitas. Eventually, he manipulates Ventus into fighting Vanitas at the Keyblade Graveyard, and the two fuse, creating the χ-blade. However, the union is imperfect, and the χ-blade is destroyed by the combined efforts of Ventus and Aqua.
As a secondary plan, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, prior to obtaining Riku's body as a vessel, travels back in time and meets with Master Xehanort's younger self, sending him on a mission to create an organization of thirteen different incarnations of Xehanort, thirteen darknesses for Master Xehanort to pit against seven lights, as the true method of recreating the χ-blade and starting another Keyblade War. The new Organization XIII comes to include Master Xehanort, Young Xehanort, Ansem, Xemnas, Xigbar, Saïx and six more hooded figures. Master Xehanort's plan to make Sora into the final vessel for his essence is foiled when Riku, Mickey, Lea, Donald and Goofy intervene, and the twelve current members disappear, returning to their proper points in time for the time being.
The Second War
Master Xehanort sent Xigbar, Young Xehanort, Marluxia, Vanitas, Larxene, Dark Riku and Luxord to different worlds so that they can find the black box, collect the New Seven Hearts and test Sora's strength against darkness. The real Organization XIII recruited Vexen for his replicas, which were needed to anchor the hearts of the past incarnations of Xehanort (Young Xehanort, Ansem and Xemnas) in the present as the presence of Master Xehanort kept them from staying. In turn, Sora is able to rescue Aqua and Ventus, completing the Seven Guardians of Light. Despite both groups being completed, the Organization had fewer Keyblades than the guardians - only Young Xehanort, Master Xehanort, Terra-Xehanort, Vanitas and Xion had Keyblades. Both groups took a day to prepare for the final battle. When the confrontation began, rather than outright fight the Guardians, the Organization released a horde of Heartless, Nobodies and Unversed to wear them down. Even after the horde was defeated, the Organization still refused to fight on equal terms; instead, Terra-Xehanort went to extract their hearts to forge the X-blade. After Donald exhausted himself using a powerful spell to blast Terra-Xehanort away, a Demon Tide attacked swallowed everyone into a dark void. Sora ended up in The Final World, where Chirithy helped him put himself back together and use the power of waking to save his friends hearts from the Lich. However, Young Xehanort appeared and explained Sora was using the power of waking incorrectly; there's a steep price to pay for using the power so foolishly. He cryptically warned there was no saving Sora.
Sora reunited with Kairi on his way back to the Keyblade Graveyard, learning her light kept him from fading like their friends. They returned to find their friends restored and ready to take another crack at the Organization; however, they were once again blocked by Terra-Xehanort. Thanks to Terra's Lingering Will, Terra-Xehanort was repelled, but Dark Riku summoned a new horde to defeat the Guardians. Thankfully, Yen Sid arrived and held the horde at bay with Donald and Goofy, so the Guardians could fight the Organization.
The Guardians split up to fight the Organization. Riku fought Dark Riku and Xigbar, Mickey fought Luxord, Larxene, and Marluxia, Aqua and Ventus fought Vanitas and Terra-Xehanort and Lea and Kairi fought Xion and Saïx. Sora helped each group defeat their enemies, with each victory, yielded a benefit: the Nobodies faded away to be re-completed, Dark Riku was extracted from his vessel by the original Riku Replica, so his body could be used to revive Naminé; Luxord gave Sora a "wild card"; Vanitas vanished for good, while Terra's heart was restored to his body; Xion defected from the Organization again and Saïx made peace with Lea before fading away. Roxas also returned, thanks to Vexen's work behind the scenes. However, Xemnas kidnapped Kairi to lure Sora, Riku, and Mickey into a final battle; Ansem and Xemnas were destroyed, while Young Xehanort returned to the past. With all but Master Xehanort defeated, it was revealed that each defeat his Organization suffered forged a copy of No Name. To force a final confrontation, Xehanort heartlessly struck down Kairi; Sora clashed Keyblades with him, unintentionally creating the thirteenth key. The Keyblades fused into the χ-blade, which Xehanort unlocked to purge the worlds.
Riku quickly devised a plan to seal away Xehanort by remembering that he can transcend time; they can seal him within himself. While Mickey, Riku, Ven, Aqua, Terra, Roxas, Lea, and Xion hold off Kingdom Hearts, Sora was joined by Donald and Goofy in sealing Xehanort. However, this didn't work out; instead, they were transported to Scala ad Caelum, Xehanort's boyhood training ground. Xehanort merged with the lingering essence of his Organization, becoming powerful enough to warp the world; however, he was defeated and forced to call on the χ-blade again to restart the purge. Despite this, Sora was able to fatally wound him. The rest of the guardians arrived and the spirit of Eraqus convinced Xehanort to accept "checkmate". Xehanort gave the χ-blade to Sora before passing on with Eraqus. With the help of his friends, Sora used the χ-blade to close Kingdom Hearts, bringing an end to the second Keyblade War.
In the aftermath, Sora decides to use the power of waking to find Kairi despite the warnings that it might cost him his own heart. They successfully return to the Destiny Islands, where everyone is celebrating. However, no soon do Kairi and Sora share a romantic moment, he fades away as a price of misusing the power of waking. The Foretellers are later summoned at the Keyblade Graveyard by Xigbar, who reveals himself to be the current incarnation of Luxu. As part of his role, he was to ensure a second Keyblade War. Not too far away is Maleficent and Pete, who have their eyes on the Black Box that Luxu has with him.
Notes and references