- "Today you will be examined for the Mark of Mastery. Not one but two of the Keyblade's chosen stand before me as candidates... but this is neither a competition or a battle for supremacy—not a test of wills, but a test of heart. Both of you may prevail, or neither."
- ―Master Eraqus to Terra and Aqua[src]
The Mark of Mastery exam (マスター承認試験 Masutā Shōnin Shiken, lit. "Master Qualification Exam") is an event which serves as a test for those strong of heart that have been chosen by the Keyblade to become Keyblade Masters. Apprentices of Keyblade Masters who pass the test have two choices:
- The Keyblade Master may take on its own apprentices, and reshape its world to one more of its liking as Master Eraqus did.
- The Keyblade Master may go out on its own journey as Master Xehanort chose to do. Should one choose to embark on its own journey, many different paths open up to it.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by SleepAfter an intense evening of training, Terra and Aqua arrive before Master Eraqus, with their friend Ventus eagerly watching. Master Eraqus announces that his old colleague Master Xehanort has come to help judge their skills, then warns Terra and Aqua of the strong heart and will required to pass the test, and that their fate will be decided through the exam. As soon as his apprentices are ready, Master Eraqus proceeds to summon several Balls of Light for them to battle, but although Master Xehanort covertly infuses the orbs with darkness, forcing Ventus to help defeat them as well, Eraqus allows the test to proceed. Once the orbs have been destroyed, the second stage of the Mark of Mastery exam begins. Terra and Aqua engage themselves in a fierce battle, and as Terra begins to lose the battle, his inner darkness begins to emerge, but he quickly dismisses it. When the battle has ended, Master Eraqus acknowledges Terra's great strength, but chooses only Aqua to become a Keyblade Master due to Terra's reliance on his darkness. Master Eraqus states that he expects Terra to try harder the next time; he then tells Aqua he will later inform her of her new duties as a Keyblade Master, leaving behind a confused Terra, who soon leaves to get his head together.
In the meantime, Mickey Mouse takes his own Mark of Mastery exam under his master Yen Sid by journeying through different worlds via his Star Shard and aiding Ventus and Aqua in their battles against Master Xehanort, Vanitas and the Unversed. Not long after the disappearance of Terra, Ven, and Aqua and the appearance of Terra-Xehanort, he returns his Keyblade and Star Shard to Yen Sid, believing he has failed; however, Yen Sid hands the Keyblade back to Mickey to show that he has, in fact, passed.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Yen Sid orders Mickey to bring Sora and Riku to him to undertake the Mark of Mastery in response to the coming return of Master Xehanort.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- "To strike down Xehanort, we need the individuals King Mickey spoke of in his letter. We must lead them out of sorrow and slumber. To do so, seven sleeping keyholes must be found and unlocked, and a great power retrieved."
- ―Yen Sid to Sora and Riku.[src]
Despite the interference of Xehanort and his new Organization XIII, Yen Sid states that both Sora and Riku deserve to become Keyblade Masters, but since Riku went to the Realm of Sleep again to save Sora, Yen Sid names only Riku as a Keyblade Master.
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