- “Denizens of light, answer this: Why do you hate the darkness?”
Xemnas, (the Superior of the In-Between|狭間の指導者|Hazama no Shidōsha) is the Nobody of Terra-Xehanort. He is the leader of Organization XIII, the former ruler of The World That Never Was, and a member of the True Organization XIII. He is the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts II, and a supporting antagonist in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
Xemnas wields the power of nothingness, and he channels this into his weapons, red blades of energy called Ethereal Blades. He commands the Sorcerer Nobodies. Xemnas, as the Superior, is the founder of Organization XIII and has dominion over all other Nobodies. He is also the Organization's most powerful member, to the point that Marluxia would not dare to face him alongside Larxene and Axel until Sora was also under their control.
Being the founder of Organization XIII and apparently the oldest of Nobodies, Xemnas is truly emotionless and does not even remember what it was like to have these feelings. He claims that this allows him to have a clear understanding of the heart, but in reality, this has warped his mind into believing that only anger, hatred, and other negative emotions make up a heart.
His lack of emotion deprives him of remorse over his actions, as well as the loss of the other members of the Organization. The only thing he truly cares about is Kingdom Hearts and his desire for power, and even laments it when it is damaged. However, on some occasions, he has appeared to value friendship, as he is shown to converse with the armor of Aqua in the Chamber of Repose and desperately seeks to find Ventus in the Chamber of Waking, although this is likely due to the influence of Terra within him. Unlike the other members of the Organization, Xemnas does not seem to want Kingdom Hearts for a true existence. Rather, much like his Heartless counterpart, he wants it to use it to obtain power and remake the universe in his image. This concept is furthered as Xemnas thinks that nothingness is the source of much power and does not seem to despise it in the slightest. This goal stems from that of one of his two original personas, Master Xehanort, whom also desired to unlock Kingdom Hearts for the same purpose in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
In other matters Xemnas speaks with calmness and deep authority, strangely similar to Eraqus. He has a tendency to be overly melodramatic making long-winded speeches, exaggerating his false rage and sorrow with wide sweeping arm movements and hand gestures, like many villains. While ridiculous in nature, his exaggerations are representations of his lack of emotion. He's very intelligent overall, and knows how to manipulate others, particularly Sora and his friends.
Xemnas's personality seems to share traits from both beings who composed his original persona, Master Xehanort and Terra. From the former he inherited his manipulative nature and the ideas for the black coat and adding the letter "X" to rename himself and his fellow Organization members. It is unknown how much he inherited from Terra, but there is at least the familiarity with Aqua's armor and his desire to find his other "friend" in Castle Oblivion, Ventus.
Like all the Organization members, Xemnas wears the basic black cloak, boots, and gloves. He has amber-orange eyes and dark skin (though it appears much lighter in-game than in some artwork), much like his complete being, Xehanort. Xemnas's hair is long, reaching to about mid-back, silver in color, and some of it falls over his shoulders. His hairstyle is reminiscent of Xehanort's hair, including his bangs, the color, and the length. It also shares traits with Terra's hair, including its layered, messy look and the spike on the top of his head. Xemnas's face is identical to Terra's, albeit being older and having darker skin. Xemnas's eyes are amber, the same shade as Ansem's.
Powers and Abilities
As the leader of Organization XIII, Xemnas wields Nothingness, and manifests this as blades of energy called Ethereal Blades. In his encounter with Sora as the "Unknown" in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, and their first battle in Kingdom Hearts II, Xemnas is very agile, and attacks with swift acrobatic combos with his blades. He can also teleport, fly, and create energy barriers to shield himself. Besides using them as melee weapons, Xemnas can fire his Ethereal Blades as laser-like projectiles, and can either fire them directly from his hands or create them in mid-air. In all three battles with Xemnas's unarmored form, Xemnas also incorporates some sort of attack that drains his opponent's health with a sphere of dark energy, though the exact manner of this has varied (see below).
In Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, in his encounter as the Unknown, Xemnas also had the ability to encase himself in a blue ball of energy that made it impossible for Sora to attack him, and would also fire out a set of powerful lasers. The ball would follow Sora around if he ever to tried to get away from it. In his first battle with Sora in Kingdom Hearts II, Xemnas can encase him in a field of dark energy that steadily drains his health, that can only be broken by using the reaction command. In the final battle in Kingdom Hearts II, Xemnas uses an attack known as the "Invitation to Nothingness", in which he ensnares opponents in a sphere of dark energy that slowly drains their life force.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Xemnas has a limit break named All-Vanity. During All-Vanity, Xemnas summons a barrier around himself, and hovers around the field. Any enemies that touch Xemnas's barrier will take damage, and cannot deal damage to Xemnas. During Xemnas's Final Limit, Xemnas creates two large powerful lasers from his hands that he fires around himself at a long range. Any enemies that are hit take heavy damage.
While in his armor and aboard the World of Nothingness, Xemnas has access to the powers and weapons of his fallen Organization comrades, such as Xaldin's lances and Demyx's power over water. In this form he remains in his throne, attacking enemies with his massive sword when they come close. He can still project barriers, and summon crests of light in the air to fire white beams of energy at his enemies.
In the final battle of Kingdom Hearts II, Xemnas's power increases dramatically. He can create copies of himself, summon torrents of white and black thorns much like Twilight Thorn, and retains his normal ability to use his Ethereal Blades and project barriers. As his ultimate, final attack, Xemnas summons thousands of Ethereal Blades around Sora and Riku to bombard them from all sides with no hope of escape.
Xemnas uses weapons called Ethereal Blades (エアリアルブレード Eariaru Burēdo , lit. "Aerial Blades"). They are beams of red energy and extend directly from the palms of his hands, without any hilt or handle. He can summon or disperse them at will, and is able to change their length as well. They are solid despite their appearance, but do not seem to have any cutting ability and are used as bashing weapons, more in the style of a club. The Ethereal Blades can also be used as projectiles and can suspend themselves in midair around a target before firing at them. As a desperation move, Xemnas can surround his enemy in darkness and fire an amazing amount of Ethereal Blades at them.
The names of Xemnas's various Ethereal Blades seem to be references to iron-fisted leadership. Perhaps due to his preeminent power among the Organization, only one of his Ethereal Blades, Infinity, grants him a support ability.
Xemnas's origins as Terra and Master Xehanort indicate that he may have been capable of wielding a Keyblade, but just preferred not to. His use of Master Xehanort's Keyblade Armor during his battles with Sora and Riku further supports this. In addition, in one of his secret reports, Ansem the Wise reflects on how Xehanort was able to open the door to Radiant Garden's heart. Although Ansem dismisses the mystery as moot, it hints to Xehanort having abilities of a Keyblade wielder.
Between Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
Terra-Xehanort assumes the name of his master, Ansem the Wise, and he and his fellow apprentices banish Ansem to the Realm of Darkness. Their subsequent experiments cause them to lose their hearts in darkness, and Xehanort's being is split into a Heartless and a Nobody. The newly-born Xemnas then goes on to recruit the Nobodies of Ansem's other apprentices, and together, they form Organization XIII. While Xemnas's goal is ostensibly to summon Kingdom Hearts, he also seeks to gather thirteen vessels, each to bear a piece of Master Xehanort's heart.
- “He looks a lot like you.”
- ―Xemnas and Roxas talking at the Dark Margin
The Organization's final member piques Xemnas' interest greatly, as he is the Nobody of a Keyblade wielder. Xemnas tracks down the young boy in Twilight Town and names him Roxas, taking him to his new home in The World That Never Was where he introduces Roxas to the rest of the Organization. Xemnas arrives at Hollow Bastion shortly after recruiting Roxas, in order to observe Sora, Roxas's original being. The Princesses of Heart sense his incredible power, and Sora, Donald, Goofy, and the Beast go to the Chapel to investigate. Xemnas walks through Sora, intangible, causing Sora to experience many of his memories in rapid succession. Sora asks who the man is, and Goofy wonders if it is Ansem, and though Xemnas says he is familiar with the name, he does not clarify how or who he is. He then launches an energy attack at Sora, who manages to barely deflect it. Xemnas remarks Sora looks like "him", and is not complete, but this only confuses Sora. He then attacks the Keyblade wielder, intending to test his power. After an intense battle, he backs off, almost appearing to be defeated, but quickly abandons the facade. He explains that he finds Sora fascinating, and says that they will one day meet again and disappears, but not before making an ambiguous comment on how he is but "a mere shell".
- “Let us all welcome the Keyblade's chosen.”
- ―Xemnas introduces Roxas to the Organization
On Roxas's sixth day in the Organization, he meets Xemnas at the Dark Margin. Xemnas tells Roxas that he has been to see Sora and remarks that they look alike. Roxas asks Xemnas who he is, but Xemnas answers cryptically before asking Roxas if he knows his own real name. As he leaves the beach, Xemnas calls Roxas, "Sora".
Once Roxas is inducted into Organization XIII, Xemnas makes use of Roxas's ability to use the Keyblade to release captured hearts and use them to form Kingdom Hearts. At the same time, he uses his experiments on the Replica Program and creates a clone of Sora. The result is Xion, who Xemnas hopes to use as an alternative in case Sora proves useless to his plans. To that end, Xemnas plans to have Xion gradually develop Sora's abilities and then merge with Roxas to become a complete clone of Sora.
Xemnas sends the members of Organization XIII on their missions to further their plans while placing Xion in the care of Roxas. Xemnas eventually extends their operations to Castle Oblivion. With this fortress in his control, he sends five Organization members, Marluxia, Larxene, Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion, to conduct experiments on memory with the use of Naminé who is being held prisoner by the Organization. Xemnas places Marluxia in charge of Castle Oblivion and charges Vexen with the task of continuing the Replica Project. Xemnas was also the one who handed down the order to Marluxia to lure Sora to Castle Oblivion and experiment with the hero. However, once the Dusks brought back rumors of traitorous activities occurring in the castle, Xemnas sends Axel to neutralize the threat. Additionally, he instructs Axel to search for Chamber of Waking within the castle.
Xemnas's plans falter when five Organization members are eliminated and Naminé escapes, but Xemnas continues his plans for Xion, placing Axel in charge of capturing her whenever she tries to escape the Organization. He would also repeatedly send Axel back to Castle Oblivion to continue searching for the Chamber of Waking, to no avail.
By the ninety-third day following Roxas's induction into the Organization, Xemnas gathers the rest of the Organization atop the Altar of Naught to see their Kingdom Hearts come into existence following the three months Roxas and Xion have been gathering hearts for it. Giving a speech about how they will regain hearts, but not be swayed by their recovered emotions, Xemnas ends their meeting and sends the other members back to their missions.
To fuel their Kingdom Hearts until it was "ripe" enough, Xemnas orders the other members to do all they can to create powerful Heartless for Roxas to defeat. Later, after Xion starts becoming more and more powerful—which drains Roxas of his own strength—he arranges for Roxas and Xion to fight, deeming it unnecessary to have two Keyblade wielders in the Organization.
On Day 354, after Xion escapes for the last time, Xemnas assembles the Organization in the Round Room, and he, Xigbar, and Saïx inform everyone of Xion's nature and the Replica Project. Xemnas sends Axel to retrieve Xion, and he brings her back to the Castle That Never Was before fainting. Xemnas reprograms Xion and sends her to absorb Roxas. However, Xion is defeated and absorbed by Roxas. As she fades away, Xion tells Roxas to free Kingdom Hearts and prevent Xemnas from getting it, as he would use it only to gain supreme power. Xemnas and Saïx meet in the Round Room to discuss Xion's defeat, and Xemnas orders the retrieval of Roxas.
In the last Secret Report, Xemnas reveals that his true reason for his lust for Kingdom Hearts, rather than acquiring a heart, is becoming a great being and remaking the universe in his image. He refers to the conquest of all that lives as his "true" goal that no other member knows of save Xigbar, possibly stemming from his previous existence as Master Xehanort.
- “The Keyblade...a truly marvelous weapon. Were it only in more capable hands...”
Roxas has a dream of his meeting Xemnas at the Dark Margin. True to Xemnas's words, he and Sora meet again at Hollow Bastion, the same world in which they first met, accompanied by Demyx, Xaldin, Xigbar, Luxord, and Saïx, all of them hooded. Sora doesn't recognize Xemnas or his coat from their first encounter. The Organization taunt and mock Sora, only angering him. After that point, Xemnas primarily remains at the Castle That Never Was while the other Organization members travel to different worlds, stirring up the Heartless and driving Sora to defeat them.
During the early stages of the Battle of the 1000 Heartless, Xemnas comes to Ansem the Wise's computer room, where he opens a path to the Chamber of Repose. He enters the Chamber, located below the Heartless Manufactory, where he visits the armor of Aqua and briefly speaks with it. He then goes to the Great Maw, where he looks upon the Heartless army that had temporarily halted. King Mickey, upon seeing his face, finally remembers that Xemnas is the Nobody of Xehanort. Xemnas leaves the battlefield, but King Mickey gives chase and engages Xemnas in combat, while Sora, Donald, and Goofy are blocked from following by the Heartless.
After an exhausting battle, the three make their way to the cliff overlooking Villain's Vale, finally catching up with the King. Sora demands to know where Riku and Kairi are, but Xemnas claims to know nothing about Kairi while telling Sora to ask Mickey about Riku. Then, he vanishes into a corridor of darkness, followed by Mickey. At some point, Xemnas shakes Mickey off his trail and returns to the World That Never Was.
When Sora and company arrive at the Castle That Never Was, Xemnas is standing upon the highest tower of the castle, asking Kingdom Hearts to share its power with all Nobodies. Saïx then appears, asking whether Kingdom Hearts is complete. Xemnas says it is nearly complete, and orders Saïx to finish Sora and his friends off.
After all Organization members save for himself had been eliminated, Xemnas comes to greet Ansem the Wise, who had been attempting to digitally seal Kingdom Hearts away. The former pupil mocks his teacher, stating that he is the source of all Heartless, for inspiring his student to go where Ansem himself did not dare to venture. Though Ansem admits that his foolishness was the source of much misery, he questions Xemnas on how this was what he had been seeking. Ansem's Encoder overloads and explodes, seemingly killing Ansem, and causing massive damage to Kingdom Hearts itself, ruining Xemnas's plans. In the fray, Xemnas flees back to the top of the castle.
Sora and the others then travel up to the very top of the tower, where they find Xemnas lamenting the damage done to Kingdom Hearts. He asks the three Keyblade wielders to fetch him more hearts, and when they refuse, he proceeds to face Sora one on one in Memory's Contortion, a phantom version of Memory's Skyscraper, where Riku once fought Roxas.
Although Sora fends off Xemnas and is returned to the Altar of Naught, the Superior is not yet defeated, and reappears before his Kingdom Hearts urging it to join with him to grant him the power needed to destroy his enemies. Sora and the others try to stop him, but Xemnas fuses with Kingdom Hearts anyway. Fortunately, the worlds create a door for Sora and the others to enter. They follow Xemnas into Kingdom Hearts, but they see that Xemnas has taken its power and transformed the realm into a place resembling the World That Never Was with a giant fortress in the middle. He hurls a building at them, causing Kairi and Mickey to be separated from the others, but even so, Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku proceed. Xemnas dons Master Xehanort's Keyblade Armor and uses a combination of powers from his fallen comrades to battle them, but he is still defeated. Following this, Xemnas apparently fades into darkness.
With the help of Naminé, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and the King get safely to Destiny Islands, but before Sora and Riku can follow, Xemnas attacks once more, having merged with a gigantic mechanical dragon. After another clash, Xemnas takes Sora and Riku to a realm of nothingness, with Xemnas wearing a robe representing both light and darkness. Throughout the following battle, Xemnas assaults them with streams of Nobody thorns, spheres of energy, body clones, and barrages of Ethereal Blades. He also knocks away Sora's Keyblade and attempts to forcibly extract Sora's heart, but Riku comes to Sora's aid each time. After he and Sora successfully defend against a bombardment of Blades from all directions, Riku takes a crushing blow while defending Sora. However, he passes Sora Way to the Dawn, and Sora deals a flurry of powerful strikes to Xemnas before he and Riku use Sora's Keyblade to fire a beam of light through Xemnas's chest, mortally wounding him. Xemnas then finally fades into darkness, making him the last Organization member to fall.
Some time after decoding Jiminy's Journal, Yen Sid explains to Mickey that the destruction of both Ansem and Xemnas has revived Xehanort and will eventually revive Master Xehanort. As Mickey recalls the destruction of Ansem and Xemnas, he sees mental images of the two of them.
- “Sora...the bits and bytes that have made up your life so far...can you say for sure they're not just copies of someone else's?”
Despite his destruction, Xemnas returns to the Realm of Light, thanks to Young Xehanort, and encounters Sora numerous times during his Mark of Mastery exam inside the Sleeping Worlds. At Prankster's Paradise, he claims that Sora is not so different from himself, while at The Grid he reveals that the world is the basis of Space Paranoids, while also getting Sora to question whether he was acting of his own free will, or merely following "his program".
Finally, in the World that Never Was, Xemnas appears before Sora and explains to him that the true purpose of Organization XIII was to find twelve vessels for Master Xehanort to place fragments of his own heart and make into clones of himself, but the unforeseen independence of each member made this impossible to realise, despite Xemnas's lies about Nobodies not having hearts to earn their cooperation. Xemnas tells Sora that he is Master Xehanort's intended final vessel of the new Organization, but Sora refuses and engages Xemnas in battle once again. Though Xemnas loses the fight, he succeeds in damaging Sora's heart and retreating to the Castle That Never Was.
Later, Xemnas appears in Where Nothing Gathers along with Master Xehanort, Ansem, Xehanort, Xigbar, Saix, and the other members when Riku arrives with Mickey to rescue Sora. When Master Xehanort attempts to turn Sora into the thirteenth vessel, Xemnas stops Mickey from reaching him, but Lea, Donald, and Goofy arrive and foil Master Xehanort's plan. Xemnas promptly flees with the rest of the Organization.
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