The Keyblade Graveyard is a world that appears in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts III. It was first revealed in Kingdom Hearts II's secret ending, "The Gathering". It is made up of unending, rocky badlands, scarred by the battles of the Keyblade War. Before its formal introduction as a world, the Keyblade Graveyard is known as "The Badlands" (謎の荒野, Nazo no Areno?, lit. "Mysterious Wasteland").
Settings and Areas
Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Throughout Birth by Sleep, Terra and Ventus periodically follow Master Xehanort or Vanitas to this world at the Badlands (荒野, Areno?, lit. "Wasteland"), a wide, rocky field situated atop a steep cliff. The Vanitas Remnant later appears here, where it challenges intruders to battle. In Kingdom Hearts II, the area is linked to the Hall of the Cornerstone via a Corridor of Darkness, which Sora's party uses to encounter and battle the Lingering Will.
Each of the heroes in Birth by Sleep eventually enters the true battlegrounds of the world at the Seat of War (古戦場, Kosenjou?, lit. "Ancient Battlefield"), a small outcropping of rock overlooking the shattered vista below. It leads into the Twister Trench (砂嵐の道, Suna-arashi no Michi?, lit. "Sandstorm Road"), where literal storms of raw emotion roam freely. Unversed lurk within the Eye of the Storm (嵐の中, Arashi no Naka?, lit. "Within the Storm") inside each twister, ready to attack all who are captured by the maelstrom. Past the storms is the Fissure (峡谷, Kyōkoku?), a small ravine containing a save point and a Moogle Shop. The final area, the titular Keyblade Graveyard (キーブレード墓場, Kīburēdo Hakaba?) are two crossroads, covered by the Keyblades of the wielders who fell during the Keyblade War. During his battle with the heroes, Master Xehanort creates a pillar of rock from the graveyard, and summons Kingdom Hearts to shine down upon it.
After Master Xehanort steals Terra's body and is reborn as Terra-Xehanort, Terra's soul animates his armor as the Lingering Will, locks them both within the Will's Cage (思念の檻, Shinen no Ori?), and forces him into a final battle. Meanwhile, Ventus and Vanitas have reunited into Ventus-Vanitas, and Ventus is forced to fight off Vanitas's control within Ventus's Mind (ヴェントゥスの精神世界, Ventusu no Seishin Sekai?, lit. "Ventus's Soul World"). Both of these areas vanish after the battle ends.
Kingdom Hearts III
In Kingdom Hearts III, the Keyblade Graveyard serves as a new base of operations for the real Organization XIII, with a circle of stone pedestals serving a similar purpose to the Round Room's thrones at the Castle That Never Was. It is also the site of the Organization's final showdown with the Seven Guardians of Light.
The Badlands (荒野, Areno?, lit. "Wasteland") return as the world's first area in the game, but with a different layout compared to previous games. Here, the area consists of a wide crater in the middle of a circular valley, where the Guardians of Light battle innumerable amounts of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed shortly upon arrival in the world. On the outer side of the ridge is a wide, barren field accessible through a long crevice, which contains a save point. It is in this field that the Guardians experience their initial defeat against Terra-Xehanort and the Demon Tide before Sora uses the power of waking to undo it. Going further north leads to the next area. After Master Xehanort summons Kingdom Hearts, a pink portal leading to The Final World appears in the southern side of the Badlands next to Battlegate 13.
The Skein of Severance (断絶の迷宮, Danzetsu no Meikyū?, lit. "Labyrinth of Severance") is a sprawling labyrinth created by Master Xehanort at the crossroads of Keyblades, serving as the world's second area. The labyrinth is split into three sections, with the first two each containing a pair of square arenas where Sora must battle two or more of the Organization's members alongside one or two fellow guardians. Spaced between each pair of arenas are a save point, a shop, and a portal to Battlegate 0, followed by a forked road leading to either arena; Sora must navigate a unique booby trap under a time limit to reach the first arena he picks, or else the doors to the arena will close and he must start over, with a simple corridor leading to the other once the battle is won.
The labrynth's first section is the Trail of Valediction (乖離の別れ道, Kairi no Wakaremichi?, lit. "Crossroads of Divergence"). The left path leads to a battle with Riku against Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Xigbar, and Dark Riku, and must be reached by sliding behind stone barricades to avoiding large slabs that rush towards Sora. The right path leads to a battle with King Mickey against Xemnas, Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene beyond a series of walls that Sora must first climb over and under.
After winning the first two battles, Sora must complete a puzzle of colored doors and switches to advance to the next section, the Twist of Isolation (孤立の回廊, Koritsu no Kairō?, lit. "Corridor of Isolation"). Here, the left path requires Sora to jump over and around a sequence of slabs rushing towards him before he can join Aqua and Ventus's battle against Terra-Xehanort and Vanitas, while the right path has square pillars shooting up from the ground impeding Sora's way to Kairi and Axel's battle with Saïx and Xion.
The second pair of battles are followed by a short and straightforward corridor to the next section to the final section: the Tower of Endings (終焉の塔, Shūen no Tō?, lit. "Tower of Demise"), a massive tower that Sora can run up easily. At the top of the tower, Sora joins Riku and Mickey in battle against Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort, with Master Xehanort observing from atop an even higher pillar of rock. After Master Xehanort is sent to Scala ad Caelum, a portal appears in the middle of the tower that allows access between the two worlds.
Kingdom Hearts χ
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Keyblade wielders eventually clashed over the world's light. Some sought to steal the light, some to usher in darkness, some to balance the two, and some to protect the light. Only Ava's secret faction did not take part in the Keyblade War. Eventually, this clash resulted in the destruction of the original χ-blade, which split into seven lights and thirteen darknesses, forever leaving the true Kingdom Hearts beyond reach. Luxu watched the conflict to its conclusion, with No Name in hand to allow the Master of Masters knowledge of how the war ended. With the Keyblade War done, the barren wasteland it was fought on remained littered with the Keyblades of the fallen wielders.
Between Kingdom Hearts χ and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
The barren wasteland became known as the Keyblade Graveyard, and would remain undisturbed for several centuries.
In order to strengthen the darkness within Ventus, Master Xehanort brought his apprentice to the graveyard and set Neoshadows on him. However, Ventus was unwilling to rely on his darkness, so Xehanort used his Keyblade to split the darkness from Ventus, creating Vanitas. The procedure mortally injured Ventus's heart, so Xehanort took him to the Destiny Islands to allow Ventus to expire in peace.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
After defeating the Spirit of the Magic Mirror, Terra is informed that Master Xehanort dwells "where war was waged upon the fells", referring to the Keyblade Graveyard, but does not understand the riddle. However, as part of his plot to lead Terra astray, Master Xehanort himself calls Terra to the Badlands, then sends him to Radiant Garden to confront Vanitas. Shortly afterward, Vanitas leads Ventus to the Badlands and attacks him, but Ventus is rescued by Mickey's timely arrival.
Shortly before Ventus arrives at Neverland, Vanitas finds Mickey there and abducts him to the Badlands, leaving behind his Star Shard. Ventus finds the shard and is whisked away to the home of Mickey's mentor, Yen Sid, who is able to locate Mickey. When Ventus arrives to rescue his friend, Xehanort intercepts him and reveals his plans to use Ventus to create a new χ-blade, then casts him back to the Lanes Between while mockingly advising him to question Master Eraqus. He then calls Terra back to his side and manipulates him into following Ventus and fighting Eraqus.
After Ventus reaches Eraqus, Terra intercepts him and casts him through the Lanes Between to Destiny Islands, where Vanitas tracks him down and reveals that he was created from Ventus's extract darkness by Master Xehanort at the Keyblade Graveyard. At the same time, Master Xehanort kills Eraqus, destroys the Land of Departure, and tells the shocked Terra to come find him at the graveyard, while Aqua learns of these events from Yen Sid's divinations.
Now aware that the Badlands were, in fact, the legendary battlefield of the Keyblade War, all three make their way there and find Master Xehanort, Vanitas, and their co-conspirator Braig. Master Xehanort sends Vanitas and his ally Braig to attempt to kill Aqua and to force Ventus to fight Vanitas, thus fusing the two and creating the χ-blade; once the fusion is successful, Master Xehanort unlocks his own heart and possesses Terra's body, being reborn as Terra-Xehanort. However, the plan backfires when Terra's anger animates his discarded armor as the Lingering Will, who knocks out Xehanort, while Aqua and Ventus shatter the χ-blade in the ravine below. The lightstorm created by the χ-blade's destruction rips apart the landscape and casts away everyone but the Lingering Will, who goes into hibernation while vowing to one day correct the wrongs committed by Xehanort.
Kingdom Hearts II
Eleven years later, a portal to the Keyblade Graveyard opens in the Hall of the Cornerstone under Disney Castle. Per Queen Minnie's request, Sora, Donald and Goofy pass through it and meet the Lingering Will. It attempts to identify Sora, but ends up mistaking him for Xehanort. However, after a long and grueling battle, the Will ends the fight as it can sense Ventus's heart inside Sora, and acknowledges Sora as a Keyblade Master.
Kingdom Hearts III
Master Xehanort chooses this place to fittingly recreate the second Keyblade War as Sora and his allies. Each clash between light and darkness brought him one step closer to creating the χ-blade once again. Upon the thirteenth clash between Sora and Master Xehanort himself, the legendary Keyblade was remade again and he utilized its power to once again summon Kingdom Hearts to purge the worlds in darkness as it had in the past. Using their combined powers, the guardians of light utilize Xehanort's own powers over space and time against him, to trap him in Scala ad Caelum where Sora would follow in after to finish him off.
When the battle concluded, the Keyblade Graveyard returned to its natural state before the fights began. Not long afterwards, Luxu summons the other foretellers, with the exception of Ava, back at the crossroads and reveals his current form as Xigbar and explain to them his role over the centuries.
The Keyblade Graveyard appears in the game's opening FMV, in which Master Xehanort battles Sora, Riku, Terra, Ventus, Aqua, Roxas, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey at night.
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Notes and references