The Lingering Will is the mind of the Keyblade wielder Terra. It took control over Terra's discarded Keyblade Armor after his body was possessed by Master Xehanort. The Lingering Will is playable for a short time at the end of Terra's scenario in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep; it made its debut appearance in the Kingdom Hearts series as a secret boss in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
When Master Xehanort extracts his heart in an attempt to possess Terra, Terra summons his Keyblade Armor in a desperate attempt to defend himself. The Keyblade wielder is just a moment too late, however; his body emanates darkness, and his Keyblade Armor falls to the ground to reveal Terra-Xehanort. With Master Xehanort's Keyblade in hand, Terra-Xehanort walks off in triumph, only to become trapped in the Will's Cage. Terra-Xehanort turns in shock to see Terra's Keyblade Armor reassembled and standing before him, animated by Terra's mind, which has found residence within it. Determined to stop Master Xehanort at all costs and get back its body, Terra's "Lingering Will" challenges Terra-Xehanort to a battle. Angered by Terra's continued resistance, Terra-Xehanort readily engages it.
In the end, the Lingering Will is victorious. Terra-Xehanort is knocked unconscious, and the armored figure plunges its Keyblade into the ground. It kneels as Terra-Xehanort is consumed by an immense sphere of light that was created by the destruction of both Vanitas and the χ-blade through Aqua and Ventus. The clouds that have masked the Keyblade Graveyard in darkness cover Kingdom Hearts in the sky above, and the Lingering Will is left alone. It silently promises Aqua and Ventus that someday, it will set things right.
Kingdom Hearts II
Eleven years later, a portal to the Badlands appears in Disney Castle. Sora, Donald, and Goofy enter it and find themselves standing before the kneeling Lingering Will. The animated Keyblade Armor mentions Aqua, Ventus, and the Keyblade, and it mistakes Sora for "the one it had chosen." Realizing its mistake, the Lingering Will asks why Sora is not him; it then wonders if Sora is Xehanort, slowly pronouncing the latter's name. Determined to fulfill the promise it made long ago to avenge itself and its friends, the Lingering Will rises to its feet and picks up its Keyblade. Sora and friends draw their weapons in preparation for the upcoming fight, and after an intense struggle, they eventually defeat their silent attacker. Upon its loss, the Lingering Will senses Ventus's presence within Sora and kneels back down. If Sora returns to battle the Lingering Will after this, it accepts his challenge, but it states that it has nothing left to give the young Keyblade wielder other than its contempt for Xehanort.
Before Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-
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Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
In the opening credits of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, the Lingering Will is seen kneeling down after the defeat of Terra-Xehanort.
The Lingering Will is an animated suit of Keyblade Armor. Its helmet is mostly gold, except for its black visor, and it sports two red prongs (one on either side of the helmet) that point upwards. The arms, legs, and ribs of the Keyblade Armor are black and have orange patterns decorating them. Its knee guards, gauntlets, breast plate, and armored boots are gold, and there are other, smaller pieces of gold armor on its legs. The Lingering Will wears black pauldrons with gold edges. The front of the armor on its torso is red, as are small pieces of armor on its lower legs and gauntlets. The Lingering Will also wears gold anklets with red spikes on the back that curve upward sharply.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, the Will's armor is much darker in coloration, possibly due to rust. It also wears a cape that is gold on the outside and dark blue on the inside. This cape was removed from the Lingering Will's design in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep in order to avoid framerate issues. However, it was reintegrated in the cutscene after the Lingering Will defeated Terra-Xehanort at the end of Terra's scenario in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX.
As the Lingering Will is not truly a living being, it cannot feel or possess a personality of its own. Since it was brought to life by Terra's discarded thoughts and emotions, however, it is able to "feel" a strong contempt towards Xehanort, as well as a close connection and devotion to Aqua and Ventus. The Lingering Will also possesses a familiarity with Sora, who is carrying Ventus's heart inside him, and Riku, Terra's successor.
The Lingering Will, like Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix's other secret bosses, is difficult to defeat; its most basic move is a Keyblade combo almost identical to Sora's. The difference, however, is the Lingering Will transforms its Keyblade into a drill-like object for the forward thrust that serves as the combo finisher. This is just one of many forms the Lingering Will's Keyblade assumes during the battle against it; another form it can assume is a whip that deals less damage than its blade form in exchange for greater speed and range. The Lingering Will can also fly at high speeds and use Terra's Ultima Cannon Shotlock. Unlike when Terra's Shotlock is used, however, the resulting blast can be deflected via a well-timed Guard to damage the Lingering Will instead. This leaves it vulnerable to further attacks. The Lingering Will can also transform its Keyblade into a Keyblade Glider or cog-like object to perform extremely quick attacks.
The Lingering Will can also create a large rune on the ground below it as lightning rains down from above. At this point, the Lingering Will enters a berserk state that causes its arm gauntlets and helmet to emit a bright red aura. The Lingering Will gains the ability to split its Keyblade into two, making its combos extremely lethal. In its berserk state, the Lingering Will cannot be damaged normally. Only after an attack's completion or by deflecting the blast from its Ultima Cannon attack can it be harmed. After the first two slashes of the Lingering Will's rapid combo have been evaded, the last few attacks can be blocked by Sora via a well-timed Guard.
The Lingering Will is also quite skilled at wielding magic. It can create an unusual-looking seal that either creates an orange or blue orb. An orange orb prevents Sora from attacking, while a blue orb blocks the use of magic and items. The Lingering Will may sometimes use Blizzaga while executing a Sonic Blade-like attack at low HP or when riding its Keyblade Glider. It will also use Magnega while atop its Keyblade Glider if Sora is too far from it. The Lingering Will can conjure drone-like objects which fire lasers at Sora, Donald, and Goofy, as well. It may sometimes trap Sora in a triangular-shaped seal that drains his health at a fast rate; only a "Break Free" command can save Sora from it. If the player chooses the wrong command while Sora is trapped, Sora will expire regardless of Once More or Second Chance, although Peter Pan's Auto-Life ability will allow him to continue fighting.
When playing as the Lingering Will during the final battle with Terra-Xehanort at the Keyblade Graveyard in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, it loses Terra's ability to use D-Links; the D-Link Gauge is empty and unable to be refilled for the entire battle. The Lingering Will does, however, retain Terra's immense power and has access to any abilities that were equipped to him before the battle begins. The Lingering Will also can use Terra's equipped Shotlock and all commands that were placed in his Command Deck. While Terra was able to wield any Keyblade of the player's choosing, the Lingering Will's weapon is preset as Ends of the Earth.
When Terra-Xehanort is created, he sacrifices Terra's Keyblade Armor and forsakes the Ends of the Earth Keyblade in favor of Master Xehanort's Keyblade. Because Terra's mind finds residence within it, the Lingering Will picks up the Ends of the Earth upon its assemblage and uses it to conquer its possessed body. The Ends of the Earth remains with the Lingering Will in its solitude at the Keyblade Graveyard; the animated Keyblade Armor uses the weapon a second time to battle Sora eleven years after its struggle against Terra-Xehanort.
The Lingering Will is a very capable Keyblade wielder; its weapon is able to assume various forms. The Lingering Will shares Terra's ability to summon a Keyblade Glider, using what was once a form of transportation for the lost hero as an offensive technique. Other forms the Ends of the Earth may take through the Lingering Will's influence include a chain whip, the massive cannon-like form used in Terra's Ultima Cannon Shotlock, a drilling gauntlet, and a harken-like weapon. Save for the Keyblade Glider and Ultima Cannon, these forms are all unique to the Ends of the Earth when it is wielded by the Lingering Will. The Lingering Will also holds the weapon in a different fashion in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix than in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep; the latter's version is identical to that of Terra.
Notes and references