Back again everyone, missed me? I bet you did but that's neither here nor there. For everyone reading this tale for the first time, Welcome. For everyone returning, Welcome Back. I'll cut right to the chase; this is technically my second Kingdom Hearts fanfic, and my third fic in total. I'll give you guys a little refresher (it won't be so little though, given the amount of stuff that's happened, and I'll give a little behind the scenes information that I didn't give you guys as well) on what's happened for those who don't want to go back and read through all 391 388 words (give or take as I go through and nitpick) of Part I, The Beginning (gasp), and a brief summary of what's to come in this installment.

Review: Sora, Kairi, and Riku returned to Destiny Islands with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket after defeating Xemnas on Saturday the 16th of August (yes to all you newbies I like using dates). The Disney cast left on the 17th, and the trio got grounded for a week because their adventures were true. Unbeknownst to the keyblade wielding trio, Maleficent had taken possession of Xemnas' castle in The World That Never Was, and destroyed the world of Spira on the 19th. King Mickey saw the star vanish, and immediately set about trying to counter Maleficent. It was at this date that the fayth of Ixion was turned into a heartless and a Nobody, Nixion. Two days later, Maleficent found Ascalon, and began turning Charr into Charr heartless, the very first group of which turned Devona into a heartless and Nobody, Cossex. Both Nobodies were then persuaded to join her the next day. King Mickey was able to secretly make contact with PJ, who had been abducted by Pete, on the 22nd (the same day the Nobodies joined, try to keep up with me) and Axel arrived at Disney Castle after being reborn. King Mickey then returned to the Castle on the 23rd to find Axel there, and formulated a plan with Leon while writing the message to Sora, Riku, and Kairi, which arrived the day after. Both Axel and Yuffie arrived on the island of Felra the same day that the bottle reached the trio. Alice was also captured on this day and the Klondike (White Fang's world) was destroyed by heartless. School started the next day (Monday the 25th), Sora and Kairi in grade 11 and Riku in grade 12, with Axel and Yuffie teaching a weapons training class that Sora and Kairi were in; King Mickey sent for Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. It was revealed late that day to Riku while he was helping Axel program a simulator for the next day's class that a part of Maleficent's plan was to turn Sora into a heartless for her revenge. The next day, Sora and Kairi went into the simulator and took down a simulation program of Xemnas, and they confessed their love to each other after the battle was won, to the amazement of their class and friends. Sora begged for the party Yuffie had promised him and she agreed to throw it tomorrow. Cinderella was successfully captured by Nixion and Cossex failed to take Jasmine on this day.

At the party the next night they were attacked by Cossex, hoping to redeem herself for failing to get Jasmine. She fails even while mentally harming Sora and Roxas (healed by Kairi and Naminé), and Sora and Kairi are instructed by Axel to head for Disney Castle, which they do after sealing the keyhole. Pete left on Maleficent's orders to search for them. The duo reach Disney Castle on the 28th, and after a small planning session, they leave with Goofy's son Max to the Radiant Garden, and arrive in time to defend it from Pete and an army of heartless. King Mickey together with Donald and Goofy reach a new world on this day, Baker Street, and are able to quickly find and seal the keyhole while taking down Rattigan. Sora, Kairi, and Max reach orbit around Neverland that evening, and spend an actual three days there even though it is less than one because of a time warp between the worlds caused by the imbalance created by the heartless, which the characters are still as of yet unaware of. They then reach the Radiant Garden on the same day, and do a spot of training with Merlin while Sora buys Kairi a birthday present. Maleficent hatches a plan against the Islands as well, and Riku is informed on the Islands and King Mickey aboard his ship by PJ, who is acting as a double agent for their side. The three from the Castle arrive in Kingdom of the Sun, and regrettably are held there for too long. Sora and Kairi finish training in magic with Merlin on the 30th, and Snow White is captured by Nixion while Maleficent then calls together a council of villains throughout the worlds.

The 31st of August was a big day, for even though Sora and Kairi tied to win a Struggle Tournament in Twilight Town, the island of Felra, which is the main island upon which our characters lived, was attacked and the town destroyed by heartless and nobodies under the control of Cossex; Sora's mother, Riku's parents, and Kairi's adoptive parents were all slain personally by Maleficent's stooge, who truly took no pleasure in the senseless killings even through the emotions she emulated were those of sick pleasure. Before the horde struck, Riku and Yuffie decided the start going out. Twilight Town's keyhole was sealed the next day, and Sora and Kairi reached Beast's Castle, or rather Prince Alain's Castle, and defended Belle from an attack by Nixion and Pete. The survivors of Felra were transported via dark corridors to Twilight Town and Radiant Garden. The Land of Dragons was then destroyed in the early morning of the 2nd of September (also Riku's 17th Birthday), and the trio aboard the Highwind took out the fleet that was now moving towards Port Royal. The group then went to Port Royal and sailed through Dead Man's Chest through the next three days, Sora reuniting with his thought-dead, actually cursed father aboard the Flying Dutchman. They have a concert in Atlantica on the night of the 4th and King Mickey is finally able to seal the keyhole to Kingdom of the Sun and get away from Kuzco. Belle was unfortunately captured this day as well by Nixion and Cossex.

Sora and Kairi got Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher (don't worry, it's his only appearance and I may kill him just to tie up some loose ends) the next morning, as part of a prank in which Roxas and Naminé, who had been rank with sexual comments hinting at Sora and Kairi, appeared to have had sex the previous night after the concert. They didn't though, because it was a prank. Cranky at the nobodies, who always seemed to like poking fun at their somebodies, they landed in Agrabah and attended Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding, unfortunately cut short by the arrival of Cossex and Pete, who were successfully driven out but not before Sora was wounded. Maleficent concluded her meetings, confident in her new alliances. They then leapfrogged from Halloween/Christmas Town the next day, to Pride Lands on the 7th, where they fought one of Maleficent's Charr Blade Storm heartless for the first time. The 7th was also Kairi's/Naminé's 16th birthday, and incidentally the day that both she and Sora managed to get themselves captured in an ambush by Cossex and Nixion. That brought all seven princesses of heart together in the dungeons of the Castle That Never Was, for Jasmine had been captured the previous day. The news finally leaked out to the two that their parents had been killed, and it looked as if Maleficent's revenge would be completed in turning Sora into a heartless. A keyhole to darkness was opened in the moon of Kingdom Hearts, and Maleficent became infused with all the powers of darkness. A prophecy was revealed to her at that moment and her plans changed regarding turning Sora into a heartless. She then powered up Nixion, and betrayed Cossex, who then double-crossed Maleficent and allowed for Sora and Kairi to escape, Kairi unfortunately was struck by one of Maleficent's attacks and became separated from Sora. Roxas and Naminé became separated from their somebodies in the flight and became real (see chapter 26: Opening Skirmish for full explanation). Mickey, Donald, and Goofy led an assault on the World That Never Was that very evening, but Maleficent had retreated from the castle to another world. Over the next few days Riku began adventuring with Max and Yuffie and became the wielder of Dawn, Roxas started recovering from an injury he had sustained and was made a knight of Disney Castle, Naminé became known as Kairi's twin sister, now being real, and therefore a princess of Radiant Garden. She left for the Garden with Sir Roxas Dual Blade on the 10th in an attempt to get them to go to war against Maleficent, which worked on the 11th only after the Garden became under attack again, this time by Nixion. All had their minds dwelling on a prophecy they had heard on the 7th though.

Sora and Kairi were reunited in The New World on the 12th, and were captured once more, this time by the Native Americans, and escaped once more in the early morning to finish the Pocahontas storyline. The dynamic duo then went to the Digital World, where they found out that they were digidestined with digimon partners. They beat Devimon, who had been implanted with some of Maleficent's power, and even fought the sorceress herself, briefly. They were defeated but they at least survived the fight thanks to the digimon.

Twilight Town was attacked by Nixion and nobodies on the 14th, and while it was defended successfully, Roxas, Naminé, and Axel were all injured in a battle against Nixion; Roxas and Naminé critically. Both of them managed to pull through though in the night, and King Mickey returned to Disney Castle on the 15th, having received word that Donald, Goofy, PJ, and the knights of Disney Castle had returned safely from escorting all the other princesses of heart back to their respective worlds.

Riku, Yuffie, and Max arrived in Gaul on the 15th and met Asterix, who so happened to be another keyblade wielder who had survived a war that occurred eighteen years previously. Asterix was captured by heartless that night, and escaped the next day at night.

Hades, who had not been located when Riku, Yuffie, and Max had searched the Underworld on the 8th, reappears on the 17th disguised as a knight called Sedah when Sora and Kairi reached the continent of Server on the digital world to search for their crests with the other digidestined. Sedah was able to pass darkness into Kairi, which brought her under Maleficent's control. She was unable to be ridden of it until Ordona helped her on the 19th after finding her crest of Virtue and Sora's crest of Valour. They both then left for Destiny Islands to see the carnage with their own eyes, and Kairi lost her free will to Hades and briefly tried to assassinate Sora. Her attempt failed and Sora almost fell into darkness, but Cossex, who was now on their side, had found the idol in Kairi's shape that held her free will and gave it to Sora, who upon touching it, instantly knew what it was. Kairi had her free will returned to her, and Hades summoned Cerberus in retribution.

The astute reader will now be aware that I left you all off with several storylines at different times. I left you guys off with Sora and Kairi, their digimon Aiwemon and Menelmon, Cossex, Maleficent, and Hades on the 19th, however, Roxas, Naminé, Axel, King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are still on the 15th, Riku, Yuffie, Max, are on the 16th, and Asterix is on the 17th or late at night of the 16th.

That, in essence, was my recap. And you could either have suffered through this five-ten minute read to get a bit of the gist of what was going on, or you could go back for several days to a week to read the whole story. And now that you've read all that (or a lot more), is this story really worth getting yourself into?

You decide.

So you can get the gist of where and when I'm starting from when you get reading, and I'm not going to give you guys a summary here, because I believe you can all read what I wrote on the description and I don't want to give too much away. You will all notice that I placed this under teen, which is ages 13+, however it may switch to M (16+) due to actions that I will take. When these arise, I expect you all to be the mature young adults/adults that you are.

Disclaimer: This again? Fine. I do not own Kingdom Hearts, Disney, Final Fantasy, or any of the works in which I borrow characters, worlds, or plots.


The Annals of Darkness

Part II: A Week of Troubles

Chapter I: Deathly Dreams

There was a fevered pitch in the air of the building, an apprehensive excitement that ran through the veins of everyone within the building with the same intensity. Every sound seemed either magnified or dulled in the ears of each individual and every light and sight either brightened to the intensity that it hurt the eyes or dimmed into a shade of gray that left all feeling soulless. Each feeling was experienced differently by each individual within the building. The whirring and beeping of the machines reached peaks and lows with frightening irregularity, and the heavy, snapping footfalls of many quickly moving feet nearly drowned out the sounds of wheels rolling across the linoleum floors.

Men and women in white coats or turquoise smocks were bustling around two gurneys and speaking quickly to each other in frantic voices, the machines rolling alongside them with faint beeps sounding from them as fluid from IV tubes slowly drained into the two figures that were laid on the gurneys. They quickly passed by leafy green potted plants and a large fish tank, not even sparing its uncaring denizens a glance. People sitting on chairs or benches looked up apprehensively as the mob swiftly passed them by as like a wind. Even stranger to them though was the group following behind the white coats, trying to get words out of those who surrounded the gurneys or to even get glimpses of the two who were upon them. Tears streamed unchecked down the cheeks of two who followed, each blonde, each wearing turquoise. The group rushed past a man wandering the halls, who instantly raised his hands and flattened himself against the opposite wall to try and give them some more room.

"What in the superior's name is going on here?" the man asked in confusion as the two gurneys passed him by, and the crowd around them had prevented even his tall frame from getting a good look. The man's eyes grabbed those of one who followed the gurneys, and he felt a wrench in his gut when he saw the tears on the boy's cheeks. "Roxas," he barked. "What's happening?"

"It's Sora!" the boy replied.

"And Kairi!" the girl next to him yelled, her emotions clear on her face. The man turned back to look at the two gurneys as they were both wheeled into an emergency operating room.

"That's them?" he asked in apprehensive awe, managing to just catch a faint glimpse of one before the OR door slammed shut. He looked once more at the boy and girl before his eyes swept over the remaining members of the group that had been following the doctors. There was another boy among them, as well as a man and a woman, and another woman who wore a dirty and bloody black cloak. Blood shone on the clothes and skin of the other boy and the adults. Two different coloured heads rested in the arms of the two blondes, a white one with green eyes in the boy's and an ice-blue one with brown eyes in the girl's. All three of the youth were about sixteen in age. The blonde boy's hair was spiked upwards, and the girl's locks were parted and cut to about the length of her cheeks in the front, while the hair on the back of her head swept together on its own towards her right shoulder blade. Both of them wore the turquoise coloured hospital gowns and were bare-footed but the girl wore a circlet of silver on her forehead with a sky-blue stone set in its center. The other boy in contrast had jet black hair, cropped to about two inches in length, and was in a blood-stained jean vest over a forest green shirt and a pair of blue jeans, a pair of leather gloves on his firm hands. The boy's arm and leg muscles were defined from years of ranching chocobos alongside his father and mother, and his jaw and jade eyes were set. The two adults immediately behind him were of the same stock, his father with brown hair and his mother with the same black of the boy, except her hair was long and curled around her head. Both were in clothes similar to their son's, also bloodstained by the blood of the two youth that had been wheeled into the operating room. One other stood behind them, her yellow eyes strikingly familiar underneath the long blue locks that sprouted from her fair head, and her bloodstained and muddied black cloak was of the same that two others standing in the hall used to wear, and one still did.

That one was the man who had spoken, now garbed in the turquoise hospital gown that the two blonde youth in front of his were also wearing. His crimson hair was spiked back in many cones, and his teal eyes still were set upon the doors of the room that had swung shut. He turned to look back at the group that was in front of him, his eyes drinking in the blood on the clothes of the three ranchers.

"Would someone mind telling me what's going on?" he asked bewilderedly. "How did they get here? Where were they? How in the name of the Nobodies did they get so mutilated?"

"Axel," Roxas began, wiping away the tears that stained his cheeks with his arm, keeping the white creature in his arms somewhat comfortable, "we don't know."

"And neither do we," the man behind Roxas spoke. "We just got there in time to help her out." He jabbed his thumb back towards the blue-haired woman wearing the cloak of Organization XIII. "What's going to happen to my nephew?" Axel quickly looked between the closed door and the man.

"You're nephew?" he asked. He then looked pointedly at the blue-haired woman, who was averting her eyes. "I didn't know that Sora still had any living relatives Cossex. I thought Maleficent had you take care of that?" The woman shook her head.

"She never ordered me to attack Dunash," replied Cossex. "It was only Felra that took the blow." The man, woman, and boy looked at her incredulously.

"You know of what happened to Felra?" they asked simultaneously. The blonde girl next to them shook her head vehemently.

"That's not the point right now!" she argued. "We can talk about that lat-"

"Naminé!" they all turned their heads to see a woman running towards them, her brown hair askew and a white lab coat hastily done up. "What's happening?"

"Everyone seems to be asking that question lately," Roxas remarked dryly.

"Shut up!" Naminé snapped before turning to Aerith. "Sora and Kairi just showed up unconscious and went into OR. I don't know if they're going to make it." Aerith nodded.

"I'll do what I can," she said before rushing off to go through the door.

"Let me go with you!" Naminé suddenly cried, trying to follow Aerith.

Aerith turned towards her at the last second. "No Naminé!" she ordered, giving the girl a stern look that would have cowed Squall Leonhart. "You can't!"

"Why not?" Naminé argued in hysteria, unfazed by Aerith's glare and trying to break through the arms Axel and Roxas had flung around her. "She's my sister! I can't just sit back and do nothing! She could die Aerith!" Aerith gaped like a fish out of water for a second before turning to a nurse that was ambling by.

"Give the princess a sedative," she whispered quietly "and do it quickly." The nurse nodded and went away as Aerith entered the door.

Aerith Gainsborough took a long deep breath as she followed the proper procedures. She covered her hair in a net and put on a green smock and mask. Taking another deep breath, she entered the operating room, forcing herself the whole while not to feel nauseous or the pangs of sorrow.

Sora and Kairi were upon two separate operating tables, the vast majority of their clothes removed out of necessity. Aerith felt sick as she looked beyond the other doctors and nurses that were moving about them towards the two teenagers. Wounds, burns, and a few bite marks covered their bodies in multiple places; blood flowed almost freely out of some gashes and bites, and the entirety of Sora's left arm was missing. Where there should have been flesh there was instead a gaping hole, oozing out blood even as patches were applied to their skin and the doctors struggled to get the bleeding under control. But there was one other thing that concerned them, for the right and left hands of the two youth were intertwined, and none seemed able to break the grip with which they held onto each other.

Aerith could only guess as to what disaster had befallen them and set to work alongside Dr. Fraiser to try and save the lives of these two that she loved. She was glad that the viewing room had become sealed; otherwise she would have to constantly be looking into the frightened faces of those who also loved the keyblade master and princess.


Sora's eyes slowly fluttered open as he heard a voice calling his name. His cerulean orbs slowly gained focus, his surroundings taking shape around him and their colours appearing out of the gray haze that came from being half-asleep. He felt that he was lying on the ground, dirt and forest debris mere inches from his eyes. He groaned and raised his head, looking in awe at hundreds of great trees that stretched upwards, their canopies great and towering above the ground. Birds twittered unseen in the woods and the sun shone through the canopy in shafts of light that glistened. They were in a small clearing amongst the great trees, but even that didn't help too much apart from giving him some room. His black t-shirt stuck to his chest and his brown leather jacket, the images of a crossed Oathkeeper and Oblivion over a flame on the back, clung heavily onto him, weighing him down. His jeans felt uncomfortable as he lay on the ground, and the dirt sullied them. Of the two items that hung around his neck the tag that held his Crest of Valour stuck to his chest beneath his shirt and his silver crown pendant felt cool against his cheek, exposed to the world. Sora turned his head around as he felt a hand on his left shoulder and saw a girl sitting beside him on her knees. Her own blue eyes glistened in concern as she looked at him from underneath her auburn hair, and her white shirt and skirt were able to just catch a little of the sun's light and shimmer on one side. The girl's Crest of Virtue was hidden in the same manner as his, and the pendant he had given her for her sixteenth birthday was still in the pockets of his jeans. The chain needed replacing, because she had broken it while under Maleficent's control. But now, it all seemed so surreal.

"Kairi?" he asked, "where are we?" She shook her head.

"I don't know," she replied. Sora shook his head and some of his hair fell into his eyes. He moved to move it out with his left arm, as his right was currently pinned underneath him, but he felt only his shoulder move. Surprised, he turned to look at his arm, or, where it should have been. His eyes opened wide in twisted horror as he saw nothing but air and dirt, the faint breeze blowing against the muscles and bone that had been his arm socket.

"What in the name of-!?" he shrieked. He turned to look at Kairi again and she shook her head, a small, sad frown on her face.

"Do you remember?" she asked.

"Well yeah but," Sora began, and then his eyes widened in realization and he quickly glanced back at where his arm should have been and Kairi's face. "You did that?" She nodded slightly and Sora lolled his head around. "Ah man…"

"I didn't mean to," Kairi began quickly.

"It doesn't matter," Sora interrupted. "I guess it was fate. Nothing we can do but move on." Kairi blinked.

"So, you're not mad that I, kinda…" Sora laughed at Kairi's half-statement, if only for the sake of laughing.

"No Kairi," he sighed. "I'm not angry at you. And I forgive you for what happened." Kairi turned her head away sharply.

"Well I wish you were," she said stubbornly, drawing her arms defensively about her shoulders. "And I wish you didn't." Sora raised an eyebrow and tried to prop himself up into a sitting position with his right arm.

"Why?" he asked, finally succeeding after a minute with Kairi watching him sadly out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head and looked at him again, the pain clear in her eyes.

"Because look at you," she said shakily, her eyes drawn towards the place where his arm should have been. "Instead of healing your arm, I completely blasted it away." She let her head fall and wrung her hands. "I can't even forgive myself for it." Sora reached out and gently touched her upper arm with his hand, being very careful as he did it so he wouldn't over compensate for the loss of mass on his left side and fall over.

"Hey," he called quietly as she shied away from his touch. "We don't need the pity party right now."

"Sora…" Kairi moaned quietly. The boy slipped slightly and fell over, hitting his head on the ground with a dull thud.

He let go of Kairi and propped himself back up again with his one arm, giving her a look. "I mean it Kairi," he said seriously. "Just because you blew my arm into oblivion doesn't mean that you should beat yourself up about it. Remember how it was before you did that?" Kairi nodded slowly and Sora continued. "I was hurting you Kairi, and my arm was hurting me even while the pain I was causing you hurt my heart. You did what you had to."

"Maybe…" sighed Kairi. "But what are we going to tell the others?"

"How about that I just lost it to Hades' sword?" he responded, shrugging his shoulders and falling down again. "Oomph, it's kinda the truth. Not the whole truth exactly but-" he stopped, hearing a sound in the forest. The birds had stopped their singing without them noticing, and all now seemed too quite. There was a rustling amongst the undergrowth, the leaves moved eerily, and the sounds of people approaching were fast becoming clear.

"We should move," Kairi whispered, reaching down for Sora's arm.

He nodded. "Yeah, think you can help?" Kairi's eyes said all that was needed as she helped him to his feet, resting her shoulder in his armpit to steady him. The sounds were getting louder; now they could just about see people approaching; they looked apprehensively at each other. There would be no time for them to make a decent escape without being heard. Their eyes flitted about, trying to find a piece of cover from which they could hide. Sora spotted a tree with a large round trunk and nodded his head in that direction. Kairi nodded as well and began moving them towards the tree as fast as they dared. They flung themselves behind the trunk just before the people who were approaching reached the small clearing. The two that were hidden could hear the group breathing heavily, and from what they heard, there had to be many of them. Sora shared a look with Kairi, and they carefully peeked around the tree's trunk, Kairi making sure to keep and arm around Sora so he wouldn't fall while he parted his no longer spiked or gelled hair away from his eyes.

There were six standing in the clearing that they had just vacated, four of them being female and two male. They appeared to vary in age from around sixteen to nineteen or twenty. The oldest one was easily one of the two boys, his face showing his maturity compared to the other youth. Standing at around six feet, he had long blonde hair tied back into a ponytail, and his eyes shone with a clear blue over his handsome face, a goatee growing out from his chin with a small curl. He wore a white tunic, embroidered with gold patterns around the edges, and his pants were light and flowing over the pair of white boots he wore. His white garments, despite their current nature after running through a wood, were still illustrious and gave the impression that he came from royalty, or at the very least, nobility. His skin had a certain shine to it. A girl stood next to him, as blonde as the man but shorter by several inches, and she had her hair tied into a regal knot on the back of her head. Her eyes were as blue as the man's and her skin shone as well, in fact, the skin of all but one of the six in the clearing shone with the same hidden light. The girl was younger, roughly at sixteen or seventeen, and had donned a close-fitting robe, folds of fabric overlapping around her chest and flowing out in trailing wisps at her hips while her arms were left bare. A long skirt draped down her legs and a pair of short white hiking boots rested on her feet, and like the man next to her, she appeared to be from nobility or royalty.

The other boy appeared to be around fifteen or sixteen and stood next to a girl of the same age. Both were about the same height at five and three-quarter feet, and though the boy was slightly taller the girl would deny it. The boy's short hair was a vibrant red, like the colour of a fire, and his eyes contrasted it with a blue glow that kept his temperament cool. Despite the shortness of his hair, a tail of it crept down his neck. He garbed himself in a black vest, a white shirt underneath, and a pair of brown jeans that blended in with his brown boots perfectly. A silver crown pendant dangled from his neck. The girl next to him had a shock of chestnut hair, tied back into a bun on her upper neck. She was dressed in a light blue sleeveless shirt and a pair of blue jeans over a pair of blue boots. A silver crown pendant also hung from around her neck.

The other two girls stood somewhat in between the others. They were both at around seventeen, and stood at the same height as the blonde girl. One's hair was raven black and short, aqua eyes looked out from her fair face. Her skin did not shine like the others' but her eyes held all the fire that they needed. She wore a short brown vest over a black sleeveless top and a pair of jean shorts. Heavy boots made their way up her shins until falling just short of the knee. But the other girl was one that caught Sora's attention more than any of the others.

Her skin shone even more brightly from inside than the others, and her beautiful hair flowed past her cheeks and down to her shoulders. As she stood in the shade it appeared to be brown, but when she turned her head and the sun's light hit it the red that was infused within the brown came out to become an auburn beauty. Her body was covered by light clothes that fit her shapely curves well, a short grey skirt and a grey zippered top that reminded Sora of what Kairi had used to wear before their adventure together had started. Around her neck hung the same crown pendant as on the boy and girl, but Sora was more interested in her eyes, they were green.

He almost lost his grip on the trunk with his hand and fell from behind their cover when they began to speak.

"Did we lose him?" the blonde girl asked, the tone of her voice indicating that she had been educated in speech even if she wasn't using it. "I think we lost him."

"Not likely sis," the man next to her replied, his voice also showing his education.

"He's an elf Akeisha," said the red haired boy in a normal tone of voice. "And we're in a wood; we wouldn't be able to lose him that easily."

"Hey, I was only hoping," the girl replied before turning to look at the girl with the changing hair colour. "What do you think Niph?"

"Like our brothers said Keish," the girl, who now appeared to be called Niph, replied to Akeisha. "An elf would be very hard to mislead in a forest, especially one like this."

"Yeah," the raven-haired girl started. "But he's crazy! We all heard him. And he's got a beard, so I don't think he really is an elf."

"Then he's a half-elf Haruchi, it still doesn't matter," the red-haired boy said again, regaining much of his breath now. The raven-haired Haruchi glared at him from behind her panting eyes.

"Just shut up and don't jinx us Kas," she said. The girl next to the boy looked affronted.

"But I didn't say anything!" she said. Haruchi rolled her eyes.

"I didn't mean you Cassie, I meant your stupid twin broth Kasai. Damn it, from now on we're calling him 'Red'."

"But I like my name," Kasai protested.

"So what?" Haruchi retorted, "It confuses me!"

"Akeisha and I are not confused by their names," the blonde man said. Haruchi twitched her head slightly and placed her hands on her hips.

"That's because you're both related to them Roan," said Haruchi. "I still say should call him 'Red'." Niph then lightly grabbed her friend's arm.

"If anyone is going to be picking on my younger brother," she said, "it's going to be his older sisters."

"By two freaking minutes," Kasai muttered. Cassie whacked him upside the head.

"Stop whining about that," she said. "Remember, I'm older than you; you have to do as I say."

"But I'm bigger," Kasai countered with a humorously raised eyebrow.

"Says who?" Cassie immediately retorted. Roan and Haruchi placed hands to their heads.

"Here they go again," the young man muttered as the twins began arguing.

"Always the same argument," Haruchi added. "When will Cassie finally realize that her brother has gotten taller?"

"Hey Niph," Akeisha suddenly said, looking at the girl. "Is something wrong?" Sora and Kairi quickly withdrew behind the tree. The girl had been staring at where they were for at least ten seconds, and hadn't even flinched when her siblings began fighting.

"I thought I saw someone," they heard Niph answer. Her siblings stopped arguing, and Sora and Kairi did not need to look again to know that all eyes were either on Niph or the tree where they lay hidden. They heard the footsteps of the girl coming towards their hiding place and braced themselves behind the tree.

The girl's head suddenly spun in front of them, her green eyes looking at both of them from almost nose-to-nose distance.

Sora didn't know what caused it; he didn't know why he did it. But he did anyway without warning or thought and without the ability to stop himself.

He craned his neck upwards and kissed the girl's forehead.

"You've found us," Sora whispered. "And we've found you."

Both the girl and Kairi looked at him in horrendous shock, Kairi as if she was about to slap him into oblivion for doing something like that right in front of her. But Niph recovered from the shock first and she snarled, a blade forming in her hands pressed right up to Sora's neck. Sora dropped his eyes and looked at the sword that had materialized. It was a mother of pearl blade, the hilt resembling that of angelic wings that wrapped their way around in a cone towards the blade itself. The wings gave way and the tips of their feathers touched to a seven pointed star on the base of the blade. What was carved to look like circular shafts of light streamed around the cylindrical blade towards its end and formed a point, while a small, circular, silver disk protruded from the center of the cylinder near the end. A golden three pointed crown was woven intricately into the moon and hedged out slightly, so that the crown was over the moon and its points were beyond it. At the very back in the base of the hilt was a chain, and attached to it was a keychain resembling the very same crown that Sora and the three were wearing around their necks.

"A keyblade," Sora whispered in surprise, but for some reason he also nodded as if it was natural that she would bear one. Niph pressed closer towards him with her blade and surveyed both Sora and Kairi in interest, who upon such close proximity were forced to study the girl even more closely, and despite Kairi's jealousy and anger she did as well. Sora looked deeply into the girl's green eyes, and was startled at what he saw. They were the same green of his father.

Could this girl, and her siblings for that matter, could they be…? He shared a look with Kairi, who glared between him and Niph in disdain. Sora inclined his head towards Niph in a motion for Kairi to look again, and see past what he had done. She consented after a heavy huff. Sora saw her eyes lose the hardness they had held, and instead warmth spread into them.

"You're so beautiful," Kairi whispered in awe.

The girl looked back from him and Kairi in surprise, Kairi's sudden compliment and the sight of something in both of their eyes unnerved her. She dismissed her keyblade and backed away slightly, her eyes straying over Sora's lost limb and crown pendant for a second longer than she probably should have.

"Who are you?" she asked shakily. "And how do you know of the keyblade." In response Sora and Kairi summoned the Oblivion and the Oathkeeper into their grasp, and Kairi immediately had to grab Sora again to keep him from falling over.

"Because we wield keyblades too," Kairi replied, "Niphredil." The girl blinked and they dismissed their keyblades.

"How do you know my full name?" she asked.

"I don't know," replied Kairi. "But for some reason I want to hug you." This proved too much for the young woman and she backed away even more.

"Niphredil!" the voice of Roan called in distress. "We've got company!" Niphredil nodded and looked at Sora and Kairi.

"Stay out of sight," she murmured. "I want to talk with you both later." She walked back past the tree and Sora winced as Kairi's palm smacked his head.

"What was that for Kai?" he whispered.

"You could have at least told me you lazy bum," Kairi hissed. "Instead of nearly giving me a heart attack and forcing me to figure it out for myself!"

"So you saw it too?"

"I didn't see it and you probably didn't either. I felt it. Now let's see what's going on." Sora nodded and Kairi made sure to clutch onto him so that he wouldn't fall over as they leaned over the edge of the trunk again to look into the clearing. The six humans were still standing there, but now there was someone else with them, someone who had evidently been the one that they had been trying to elude.

A figure of nearly six feet stood casually next to one of the trees, and even though Sora had never seen one before in his life, just the sight of the creature and the commentary previously provided by the youth was enough to convince him that the figure was an elf of some sort. The elf's skin was pure ebony, a shock of equally black hair that flowed down from his head covered by a helmet of a design Sora had never before imagined. It was rounded in the front and covered as far down as the forehead, much like that of a helmet he'd seen on cyclists, but it swept back well beyond the elf's head and curved downwards to protect his neck. Two fins protruded at the bottom of the helm on each side and guided its way down the neck on the curve, flapping over and protecting the elf's pointed ears; dark crimson lines wove their way around the helmet's black metal, the red almost so dark as to blend in with the other metal. Directly on the center of the helmet at the forehead rested a blue mark nearly as dark as the red in the shape of a Celtic knot.

Truthfully, Sora could see very little of the elf's skin, only the head and hands were visible, and a small part of the elf's head was concealed with a white beard, the fine hairs curling down from the chin in an upside down 'T' shape and straightening out into long lines, the edges of which seemed to always be twitching. He was garbed in a set of armour that appeared impossible to exist, what looked like plate was practically skin-tight on the elf's body, and it was completely seamless, like it was a single sheet of metal that was perfectly fitted to the elf's body. Deep red and blue lines again wove around the suit of armour, forming the same Celtic knot in the chest of the armour, and like strands of silk they linked their way around the elf's back. On his hip was a belt with two sheaths, one strapped to each hip, the long silver hilts of two blades resting in their scabbards strikingly evident against the black armour. Upon each of his arms the seamless armour gained almost a covering of silver upon the top of two bracers that shifted between a pearlescent red and blue. Silver bands wound around the forearm and towards the bracers. A flowing green cape dangled from around the elf's neck, the edges along the bottom torn into what looked like forest green teeth.

He shrugged off of the tree, the sounds of his metal boots crunching into the ground amplified by the silence. He let his eyes wander over the six youth, and Sora and Kairi ducked down when they swept over both of them, but his eyes passed right by and fixed on Niphredil instead.

"Where were my manners last time?" he asked, spreading his arms wide. "I can't believe we forgot introductions."

"Introductions?" Haruchi asked incredulously. "You told us you were here to kill us!" The elf passed it off with a wave of his hand.

"All in good time female," he said, the three girls all immediately fuming at him. He chuckled. "What? You don't like a compliment from Rea'lintaeth Torahl Nightrunner of the house Ratanodin? Well, my house no longer exists thanks to my sisters and I, such is why I am called 'Nightrunner' instead of Ratanodin. I wonder how House Baenre fares?" He made a slight noise to himself and looked around again, his silver eyes suddenly sparkling in interest at something on the trunk of a nearby tree.

"Why look here," he said, moving to pluck it from its position on the trunk. The item in question was in fact a creature, a small jet black spider. The arachnid stayed still on the back of his ebony hand and he surveyed the creature in reverence while Akeisha and Haruchi backed away slightly in discomfort. "One of Lolth's most favoured creatures, the spider is, so mystical, avaricious, and cunning. You know, when spiders of a new brood are born, they will tear their brethren limb from limb to survive, as the Spider Queen expects of her worshippers. To even inflict damage to one of these sacred creatures, especially by a male such as myself, is punishable by death." He suddenly looked up at the confused faces of the six youth in front of him, his face showing that he had forgotten something. "I'm sorry, were we doing anything?"

Kairi looked at Sora with her mouth hanging open slightly, her expression both confused and incredulous. "They were running from this guy?" she whispered. She glanced back at Rea'lintaeth before looking at him again. "He's crazier than Demyx." Sora shook his head.

"I don't know," he replied. "Sometimes the crazier they are, the more dangerous."

The elf carefully replaced the spider on the trunk of the tree and looked again at the youth in the small clearing. "Oh, yes that's right! We were introducing ourselves. Forgive my manners once again." He bowed low and spoke again with his head lowered. "Forgive me, but Squinty did not inform me of your names, might I inquire as to what they are?"

"Isn't it part of the villain handbook to know the names of your enemies before you hunt them down?" Kasai asked sarcastically. Both he and Roan had silently and slowly moved to stand protectively in front of the girls while Rea'lintaeth was examining the spider. Niphredil stood just behind and to Kasai's right, she did not want to be left out.

"Witty as well male," Rea'lintaeth said with a laugh as he returned from his bow. "But come now; give me your names while your females have you stand guard over them. They are probably more than capable of defending themselves, but I will leave it to my sisters to deal with them eventually, for I shall not strike a female lest I incur their wrath." Sora felt his own eyebrows fly behind his bangs that once again threatened to block his vision, but now he did not dare try to move them out of the way.

"I like this guy," Kairi whispered, playfully squeezing Sora slightly.

"Ah, shut up," Sora moaned under his breath. "Just because he's the only guy we've found who won't take advantage of you and believes all girls are superior…"

"Well then," Roan began. "If you wish to know our names, I will tell you what they are. I am Prince Roan Axel Macilu of Radiant Garden and this is my sister, Princess Akeisha Alexandria Macilu."

"And I am Kasai Naur Elen of Destiny Islands," Kasai said. "And these are my sisters, Niphredil Estel Elen, and Cassandra Sora Elen."

"You forgot about me boys," Haruchi spoke up from the back, still visible behind the two. "I am Haruchi Gwaelin Allyourbasearebelongtous."

"Get serious for once Haruchi," Kasai moaned with a laugh.

"Sure thing Red," Haruchi said lightly. "Haruchi Gwaelin Ascalla of Twilight Town." Rea'lintaeth nodded at each of them.

"And you know my name, as I have just said it." He let his hands wander towards the hilts of his swords and he withdrew two shining scimitars from their scabbards. From the left scabbard, now in his right hand, was a long thin scimitar, its blade a pure crimson, and in his left, retracted from his right scabbard was an exact duplicate, the sword a clear blue. The hilts of both blades were long and slender, silver in their construction, and gently folded into the shaft of the blade, no guard present. From his distance Sora could make no sight of any grips, but he doubted if the elf would need any.

"Foradaltan, he said," emphasizing the red sword in his right, "and Gonbaltan," now he twirled the blue in his left to showcase it. He crossed both blades in front of him, the sound of the metal creating a sharp ring as a flare of fire came from Foradaltan and the hiss of steam from Gonbaltan. "Together they form Fluid Attraction, and together, they shall test you both, Prince Roan Macilu and Kasai Elen. Let us see if your blades and the stars are on your side."


There's the first chapter for you guys. I hope you enjoyed it and will enjoy the continuing story.

Three guesses as to who each of the six youth I just described are, or if they will even exist.

May the Grace of the Valar Protect You

Shire Folk