Well, here it is; the final chapter. Thank you Eddie Camp, kingawesome, Draconet, and caitlinkeitorin for reviewing last chapter!
Epilogue: Seven Hearts of Light
"What are you doing, Trevor?"
The Keyblader jumped at the voice. "Mala! You startled me." She smiled slightly, and he ruffled his hair. "I was trying to find a way to travel between the worlds."
"Don't the Corridors of Darkness and Planes of Light work for that?" Mala protested, walking over to look over his shoulder.
"They do," Trevor agreed, "but they're not safe." He sighed, rubbing his temples. "Things were so much simpler when it was just one world."
Mala couldn't help but agree. When Kingdom Hearts have given power to the children's light, it had restored everyone who'd been caught up in the initial explosion. However, instead of one world, there were many, all separated by walls of darkness and light. "I think it's all the kids could do," she commented thoughtfully. "And…maybe its better. At least this way, the likelihood of…that happening again is slim."
Trevor murmured agreement. He turned sad silver eyes to her, and together they shared the grief of what had happened. "I miss him," Mala confessed quietly.
"Me too," Trevor agreed with a small nod. After the restoration, they had been able to find Riun, Allia, and even some of the Silver Fang. Gillick, however, was nowhere to be seen.
Mala knew this was the reason Trevor obsessed over finding a way to different worlds; he was holding onto the hope that his brother would be on one of them. She allowed herself a small smile at that. She could just imagine him, sitting on some remote world somewhere, muttering thanks that there was no one around to bother him.
Her heart ached at the thought.
"Anyway," Trevor said, quickly diverting things from depressing memories, "I think I know something that'll work." He stood and summoned his Keyblade, holding it out, "If I combine the Keyblade with the power of the Planes of Light, then…"
People crowded in a large throne room. They were dressed in extravagant garb, eyes focused on a small baby girl who was in a cradle at the front. The people seemed slightly ill at ease; an odd occurrence had happened while the gifts had been given to the baby. However, the moment had passed, and slowly people were beginning to leave.
"Wait," a voice called, breaking the silence.
Several eyes turned to stare at the newcomer - a boy with black hair and amber eyes who was dressed almost completely in armor. He strode forward, calling, "I have a gift for the princess, too."
A blue fairy flew up to him, shaking her wand threateningly. "You…! Stay back!"
The boy sneered at her. "What do you think I'm going to do? Eat her?" he asked, exasperated. He pushed past the offended fairy, bending down over the cradle. Slowly, he reached down a hand. Touching his index finger to her heart, he intoned, "Upon you, princess, I bestow a part of the Key. May it protect you, and may the light in your heart protect it." His finger glowed, and there was a flash above the baby's heart. When the light disappeared, he slowly withdrew his hand.
The king and queen were looking at him in shock and awe. "Child…what are you?" the queen asked.
Gillick looked at them slowly. "I am the Knight."
Then he disappeared before their eyes.
Gillick hovered in the area between times, his wings beating slowly. He twitched slightly. It was very disorienting, being in a place where everything lasted for both a second and an eternity. He shook his head. Focus! You have one more person to find.
It'd been surprising to discover what had happened after he and Trevor had unlocked Kingdom Hearts and gave its power to the children. The world had reformed, becoming many separate ones, the various inhabitants scattered across them. Keybladers, after the horror that was the Keyblade War, became increasingly scarce. Kingdom Hearts disappeared back to where it'd come from, which was to be expected. He wasn't sure what happened to the other half of the X-blade's power, but he did know that he couldn't let his half loose; it would simply cause the same destruction as before.
He'd come up with the alternative: find a new vessel for his half of the power. Without the seal, the full force of it would be too much for any one human to handle. So whenever he returned to the one-world-turned-many - or the Temporal World, as the voice called it - he'd take a manageable chunk of the power and pass it on to someone. At first, he'd hardly been able to stand the pain, and had fled almost as soon as he passed along a small bit. As he rid himself of more power, however, it became increasingly easier to bear.
By now, he had given the power to six people; six babies, to be exact. After seeing the light the children had produced when everything had fallen apart, he knew that the only ones who would be worthy of this sort of power were the innocent children.
He had one chunk of power left inside him. He could keep it for himself, he knew; it was easily manageable now. However, the power of the X-blade had to return to the Temporal World; his fate was to remain here.
"Time to get moving," he growled, though he didn't know if the statement had any relevance in this place.
A portal opened before him. He walked through it, wondering in what time and place he'd end up next.
Gillick narrowed his amber eyes, lifting a hand to shield them from the blinding sun. Once his vision had adjusted, he allowed his gaze to travel across the area. The world he was currently in had a rustic sort of feel, the streets made of cobblestone and buildings looming up around him. Flowers were planted all around, small springs of water here and there. Strange place, he thought as he walked forward. A part of him wished to stay here for a while, but the power of the X-blade pulsed inside him, reminding him that he had a job to do.
Gillick turned his head at the voice. A boy was looking at him, nose scrunched up and eyes narrowed. "What?" he asked irritably.
The boy blinked at him, then commented, "You look funny."
"I look funny?" Gillick retorted, glaring at the boy. "What the hell do you think you look like?"
The boy placed two fists on his hips, leaning forward and replying snidely, "I look awesome, you freak."
"What did you call me?" Gillick snapped, whipping around with his eyes flashing dangerously.
The boy blinked in surprise at the sudden action, then laughed nervously and ran away, calling, "Later, weirdo!" Gillick's eye twitched. Maybe he didn't want to stay, after all.
He continued walking for some time, and was beginning to feel discouraged in his search. "You've got to be kidding me," he growled irritably. "I can't find one-"
He cut his words off when an elderly woman appeared around the corner, nearly bumping into him. "Watch where you're going!" he snapped.
"Sorry," she muttered, dipping her head apologetically.
Gillick snorted, about to go on when he saw a bundle in the woman's arms. He froze, his eyes widening. "Is that…?"
The elderly woman looked up at him curiously. "A baby? Yes, it is." She tilted her arms forward, allowing him to see the face of the child wrapped in the blanket.
His heart missed a beat. Auburn hair framed a face with piercingly familiar blue eyes. The woman cleared her throat, and he realized that he had a shocked look on his face. He wiped it off, explaining, "She looks like someone…I knew once."
The woman smiled knowingly. "Ah."
Gillick continued to look down at the small child. His heart cringed slightly, but he knew he'd found it; he'd found the final vessel. "I have a gift I'd like to give her," he said abruptly.
The woman looked surprised at his comment. "A gift? What for?"
"For protection." He extended his hand, placing his index finger above the tiny girl's heart. Touching her chest, he whispered, "Upon you, I bestow a part of the Key. May it protect you, and may your light protect it." A light flashed between his finger and the child's heart, and he felt the last of the X-blade's power leave him. He took a shuddering breath. "Always."
He pulled back, beginning to walk away. "Wait!" the woman protested. "Who are you? Where are you going?"
Gillick glanced back at her. "I am - was - the Knight," he responded. "And now…I'm going away." His wings spread out from his back as he looked away. He beat them and lifted into the sky. As he flew higher, his form began to disappear, fading into the realm between times.
He allowed himself a small smile. The seven princesses, he thought, bestowed great power by a Knight. This has turned out to be…quite the fairytale.
Then his form disappeared, his body and soul traveling to the place where time didn't flow, and where nothing existed. Nothing, that is, except for him.
"Grandma, tell me a story!"
The old woman laughed at her granddaughter's insistence. "Alright, Kairi," she conceded. Smiling at the child as she bounced excitedly on her bed, she asked, "What story would you like to hear?"
"The one you usually tell!" the young girl exclaimed, a grin across her face and her eyes shining brightly.
The elderly woman chuckled. "Again? But you've heard it so many times."
"But I like it!"
Her grandmother sighed in amused defeat. Slowly, she reached up a hand and ran her fingers along the helmet that sat nearby. It was an heirloom, passed down through her family for generations. No one knew who it belonged to, only that that person was very special…
For some reason, it reminded her of the knight that had visited Kairi when the child was only a baby.
She shook her head, drawing herself out of her thoughts. "Long ago, people lived in peace, bathed by the warmth of the light. Everyone loved the light."
Her eyes grew shadowed. "Then people began to fight over it. They wanted to keep it for themselves. And darkness was born in their hearts. The darkness spread, swallowing the world and many people's hearts. It covered everything, and the world disappeared."
She paused, and a small smile crossed her lips. "But small fragments of the light survived in the hearts of children. With these fragments of light, children rebuilt the lost world. It's the world we live in now. But the true light still sleeps, deep within the darkness."
She looked very seriously at Kairi. "So, listen, child, and remember…"
She trailed off. When she continued, it seemed as if her words were echoed by another; the voice of an amber eyed Keyblader, trapped between times.
"Even in the deepest of darkness, there is always a light."
And so, we have come to the end of Before the Beginning.
When I first started writing this story, I projected it to be around 40-50 chapters. And now here we are, at chapter 70 and 483 pages. Who knew this would go so long?
I would like to thank everyone who read this story; no matter how much fun a story is to write, knowing that others read and enjoy your work is amazing. So, to personally thank everyone who reviewed during the course of the story: BookGal26, SkyWarrior2, Burai Stelar, Grim Reaper Kid, KeybladeMaster97, Kamen Rider Ebon, DaniPotterLovesGod, Imagination Knight, UmmeiNinja, Graphicsnerd, caitlinkeitorin, Oishii Hanashi, Eddie Camp, Draconet, ThunderRiver411, kiyohunter, guest, Black Wolf XIII, Thaumaturgic Adversary, Cherished Tenshi, Twilight's Shad0w, Axel'sChakrams8, explosivebagel, Dracula X, Vixro, Destiny's Call, Flame Sergeant Reissem, JapanRules555, the traveler90, scrawlx1012, imademyfangirl, and kingawesome, thank you for reviewing through the course of this story! Thank you to everyone who favorited, alerted, or just simply read the story, as well. You guys are awesome for sticking with me this long.
It's…kind of hard to believe I'm not going to be brainstorming any more crazy plot twists or battle scenes for Before the Beginning anymore. But at least one of the characters I get to keep writing about in Phoenix Wings (Gillick). If you have the time and desire, feel free to check it out, along with its prequel, Guardian Twin.
And now that we've reached the end, there is only one thing I have left to ask of you: review?