Zexion, the Cloaked Schemer (影歩む策士, Kageayumu Sakushi, lit. Shadow-Walking Schemer), is the Nobody of Ienzo and is Rank VI in Organization XIII and an antagonist in Riku's storyline in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearrts Re:Chain of Memories. He weaves illusions to fight for him. Unlike the other Organization members, Zexion's weapon was originally unknown, and his talents were used only outside of normal combat. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Zexion's weapon was revealed to be a book called a Lexicon.
Zexion appeared in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a participant in the struggle within the Organization between the newer and veteran members. He is also central to the plot to use Riku as a puppet in Castle Oblivion. Zexion also appears in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, as one of the playable characters in Mission Mode.
Despite being one of the Organization's founding members, Zexion physically appears to be among the younger members, and is certainly one of the smallest in stature (save for Roxas). He wears the signature black Organization cloak, boots, and gloves, though his cloak's sleeves are slightly bell-shaped. Zexion has bright aqua colored eyes, though only his left one is clearly visible, the right one being covered by his long, layered bangs.
His steel-blue hair (appearing more grey in the Gameboy version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories) sports messy bangs that completely cover the right side of his face, reaching about an inch or two past his chin. On his left side, his bangs, though still rather long, are shorter than the right side, partially covering his ear. A few strands of hair fall over the exposed section of his face. The back of Zexion's hair is quite a bit shorter than the front.
Easily the most enigmatic member of Organization XIII, Zexion is sometimes seen smirking or grinning, something he and Larxene share. Unlike the other members, he conducts his tasks in a veil of secrecy. Zexion also holds a fondness for literature, the arts, and humanities, which is noticed in the weapons he utilizes and his manner of speech when speaking to other members. It was most notable in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days when he had assisted Roxas in his tutorial mission, thoroughly explaining details in a polite fashion. During the same mission, he indicated that he strongly dislikes laziness, insisting that Roxas should continue even after his main mission objectives have been fulfilled. In addition, it can be noted that he is very loyal to the Organization and it is reflected in his work ethic and quality, as seen during some instances in 358/2 Days.
His weapon panel in the Proof of Existence is shattered in Kingdom Hearts II, but it is revealed in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories that his weapon is, in fact, a Lexicon, which attacks through a flurry of pages and trapping people within it. Like Riku, Zexion has the ability to identify the "scents" of others, with great accuracy and at great distances. The "scent" he smells may be based off other things than mere odor, and is affected by presence of darkness in the heart, an entity's power in the castle, and other factors.
Zexion stands out in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as the mastermind behind the actions of those members who are actually loyal to the Organization. He is aware of the Organization's decline, calling it "deplorable". Zexion also takes his missions seriously (In contrast to Demyx or Xigbar, who do not).
Of the three senior members (the other two being Lexaeus and Vexen) with the lowest thrones in their meeting chamber, named "Where Nothing Gathers", he seems to have the highest, while Vexen's is the lowest, indicating he might be the most competent of the three, as he is the mastermind for the plot chronicled in the Reverse/Rebirth storyline, which only failed through Axel's betrayal of both sides; Axel's betrayal of Marluxia, by releasing Naminé, caused a chain reaction, as it was Naminé, in the guise of Kairi, who assisted Riku in breaking free of Zexion's trap in the Destiny Islands, which caught Zexion off-guard. Immediately after, Axel himself appeared and had the Riku Replica kill Zexion.
The fact that he acts as the mastermind behind Lexaeus and Vexen shows that his rank in the organization may in fact be higher than his number would lead one to believe. This is further reinforced by an additional scene in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix where he is seen to have a conversation with Xigbar. He reprimands Xigbar's habit of eavesdropping, and even talks down to him, stating that he should get back to work. When Xigbar informs him that he was hoping to just have a "friendly chat" with him, Zexion tells him he has more work to attend to, and finishes the conversation by telling Xigbar that if he is through working, then it would be in his best interest to get rest. In addition to this, Saïx had him eliminated so that he could rise in the ranks of Organization XIII.
Zexion to some appears to be emotionally distant, but this is not completely true. This is observed in his death. Upon Axel's dialogue with the Riku Replica, Zexion's horrified reaction shows that he clearly does not want to die. He has an undying sense of duty to the Organization, and goes to almost any length to ensure the success of his missions. At times, he can also be humorous and jest with other members when the moment shows itself.
A good example of this is in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories where it's shown that he and Axel are having a friendly gamble at which Organization member in the castle will be the next to die (something they've been apparently doing ever since Vexen got killed by Axel). Axel proves to win that particular round when he accurately predicts that Marluxia will be the next to die. Zexion is also particularly cheeky towards Vexen, giving dry and smart retorts when Vexen attempts to reprimand him with his superior ranking.
Zexion also prefers not to fight his opponents directly. As shown by his attempts to deceive Riku, Zexion prefers to use his powers of illusion to manipulate his enemies rather than directly fight them.
Initially, Zexion was never seen in combat, and his weapon and attribute were a mystery. In an effort to keep Zexion's weapon unknown, his gravestone in the The World That Never Was laid destroyed, as all the gravestones depicted the member's weapon of choice. Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix revealed his weapon as the Lexicon. Zexion can use his Lexicon to mimic the attacks of his enemies in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories.
He is also seen to be able to change how he appears to others. In Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, he takes the form of Sora to taunt Riku in Destiny Islands. He envelopes Riku in light, thinking that he would drown into helplessness. After freeing himself, Riku strikes Zexion, causing his disguise to fade and revealing himself.
This ability follows a trend where the Organization members bear abilities and skills mirroring those of Final Fantasy jobs (ex. Xaldin = Dragoon, Luxord = Gambler, etc.). In Zexion's case, his abilities mirror those of a Blue Mage, who can learn and mimic enemy attacks, or possibly a Mime who can perfectly imitate the most recently used ability.
In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, he has a unique fighting style; he steals and hoards his foe's cards until he has enough to use it in his own deck. He has copies of his lexicon float around and attack the opponent. His standard attack steals Riku's attack cards, and his standard sleight creates a tornado of dark energy that drags Riku in, and then damages him while stealing his cards. When Zexion hoards enough cards, he copies the Soul Eater and copies himself, gaining the uses of two new sleights.
In one, Zexion's copies vanish while Zexion grabs Riku and drains his HP. Zexion's other new sleight is a sleight in which he and his copies vanish and then reappear near the perimeter of the island and each fire an energy beam. The beams meet and slowly form a ball of energy as Zexion and his clones rotate around the island before the energy ball explodes over the entire island.
His standard attack now becomes a combo with each of the copies slashing once in turn. Meanwhile, the lexicons are spreads out through the island encased in blue flames. Each of those lexicons support and act as the health of a clone. Destroying a lexicon causes a clone to disappear, and the destruction of the last copy frees all the stolen cards, and Zexion reverts to attacking with his lexicons until he hoards enough cards again. However, even if Riku manages to steal his cards back, Zexion occasionally prepares a countermeasure of sorts by planting a dummy Soul Eater card amongst the scattered pile for Riku to collect. The card is distinguished by the "wing" of the blade's design being orange instead of red, as well as the Soul Eater facing the opposite direction. If the card is collected then used, it damages and stuns Riku momentarily, giving Zexion an opening to steal cards again.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Zexion returns as an optional boss. Zexion's fighting style is totally different; however, in the islands, his Absent Silhouette's only attack is to seemingly ensnare his prey in his lexicon, through use of illusion, causing them to hallucinate and physically feel any damage they believe they are taking. Once they have fallen victim to the illusion, they begin to see an area where lexicons float around, being conducted by Zexion, who makes himself appear as a lexicon himself to hide.
Only the reaction command, Dispel, used on Zexion after depleting his fake HP frees them from the hallucination. Meanwhile, they are either bombarded by lexicon copies and explosions, ensnared in life-draining lexicons, or have their commands mixed up. However, if the right commands are selected, HP, MP, Munny balls, or experience points can appear, while another command temporarily removes all the decoy lexicons.
His greatest attack involves creating another illusion, which causes the victim to see a pitch black room, save for three spotlights, one of which will be blue. The blue light will rotate between the three lights thirteen times until it comes to a complete stop, after which the entire area will be bombarded by meteors, with Zexion's laughing heard. However, the spotlight where the blue light stops on will be protected by a barrier. Zexion is also forced into the barricaded area, leaving him vulnerable to attack.
In both instances, he is shown to be a particularly powerful opponent, noted by many to be more difficult than Ansem, Seeker of Darkness in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories Reverse/Rebirth.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Zexion has a Limit Break called Meteor Mirage. During Meteor Mirage, Zexion and his open lexicon are brought into the air. While in the air, Zexion summons many balls of dark indigo energy to bomb the field, dealing a large amount of damage to enemies hit by the barrage. During the bombardment, Zexion cannot move around to hit enemies that are further away with the meteors but, if you press B, you can cancel the limit to run to a better position and then press A to resume the attack.
During Zexion's Final Limit, Zexion exerts more power into his lexicon for the attack. The meteors that he summons are larger and more plentiful, and crash down faster.
Also in 358/2 Days, during Mission 03 Zexion displays use of the Fire and Blizzara Panels.
Zexion uses a book called a Lexicon, the Greek term for a dictionary. It's main form is named the Book of Retribution. It is unclear exactly what the pages contain, but from what can be seen, it tells some sort of story and lacks a basic dictionary layout. The cover displays three interconnected Nobody symbols. The back bears the outline of another Nobody logo. The spine of the book displays a Roman number six (VI), along with the title "Hallucination—Another Side", superimposed over yet another Nobody symbol. Zexion has the power to seemingly trap people within the pages themselves, sending them to a different dimension where he can hide from them and attack.
Although it is quite possible this is just a hallucination that his foes experience after looking into the green light emitted from the lexicon. He can also hide himself in the pages through use of illusion to make it appear he is actually inside them.
An accessory based off the lexicon called the "Shade Archive" can be synthesized in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Ienzo appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as a minor character with no speaking lines. His parents passed away for an unknown reason. Disobeying the orders of his master to stay inside the castle, Ienzo was ultimately surrounded and attacked by Unversed until Ventus came to his rescue. Shortly after the battle, his escort Even arrived and gave Ventus both his and Ienzo's thanks, explained Ienzo's past and that he had been assigned to take care of him since the death of his parents, gave Ventus the directions to the Castle Garden where he would find Terra, and returned to the castle with Ienzo.
Ienzo is then seen in the secret ending of the game, sharing sea-salt ice cream with Ansem the Wise, the two holding hands as they venture through the castle basement. Ienzo then stops as Ansem follows suit, the two of them looking behind to see Braig and Xehanort walking off together, deep in conversation.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Ienzo was still one of six apprentices of Ansem the Wise, the ruler and scientist of Radiant Garden, alongside Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Xehanort. Worried the Darkness in people's hearts would eventually consume his world, Ansem began performing tests on Xehanort's heart. Eventually, at Ienzo's persuasive influence, he created a laboratory in his castle's basement for such experimentation. However, Ienzo and the other apprentices had their own intentions for the laboratory, and began conducting inhumane experiments on the human heart and the darkness within it. Such experimentation led to the creation of the Heartless. Ansem quickly discovered their secret experiments, and immediately ordered them to stop. One day, after being advised to review their research data by King Mickey, Ansem found that the effects of their experiments had become irreversible. Eventually, Ienzo and the other five apprentices dabbled too deeply into darkness through their continued experiments. Ienzo, along with the others, was consumed by the darkness, producing a Heartless. However, the apprentices all had strong wills, and so Ienzo became a Nobody ultimately named Zexion. The six Nobodies formed Organization XIII, and banished Ansem the Wise to the Realm of Nothingness.
Some time before Marluxia's official recruitment, Vexen tromped down the stairs of Twilight's View, calling out for Zexion and demanding to know where Xemnas was. Zexion answered that Xemnas was in the Chamber of Repose, and though Vexen complained, he decided to wait for Xemnas to return.
Xigbar was eavesdropping on the conversation, and dropped down after Vexen left. Zexion told him that he should continue his mission with Xaldin to recruit new members. After a short argument, Xigbar told Zexion that he had seen Xemnas, before they became Nobodies, conversing with someone in the underground laboratory. Even though no one was supposed to be there, Xigbar believed that it could be his other "friend".
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Zexion is present when Xion joins Organization XIII. Zexion later teaches Roxas how to fill the mission gauge in Twilight Town before being sent away to Castle Oblivion. True to his personality, he was patient with the Keyblade wielder, carefully and calmly explaining the filling of the gauge in great detail.
After Axel returns from Castle Oblivion, Axel specifically mentions that he had eliminated Zexion, during a conversation with Saïx. Some time later, Axel admits that he doesn't mind "getting his hands dirty" to Saïx, and comments on killing both Zexion and Vexen.
During Xion's nightmare on Destiny Islands, Roxas stands on the beach of the island, missing his friend. He later sees the hooded Xion and approaches her. She removes her hood and turns out to be none other than Zexion, who proceeds to taunt a younger version of Riku as he did in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The scene then begins to fade, Xion (in the form of the shocked Roxas) undergoing a series of transformations until she finally takes Sora's form for the first time.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
After Sora had been lured into Castle Oblivion, Zexion discovers two other scents deep in the dungeons of the castle. One of them belongs to a Maleficent formed from someone's memory, having been given life by Castle Oblivion's unique properties. Originally, he mistakes the other scent to be that of "The Superior". Eventually, however, Zexion and his cohorts determine that the scent belongs to Riku, who had appeared in the Castle by force of will after Sora's arrival. Vexen hypothesizes that the darkness in Riku's heart, "Ansem", caused Zexion to mistake him for "the Superior", calling the effect "fascinating." Specifically, Riku's heart is plagued by the presence of Ansem.
Zexion, as well as Lexaeus and Vexen, come to see that Marluxia, keeper of Castle Oblivion, intends to take control of Organization XIII, with the help of Larxene, by using Sora as their puppet. Though they see that they can use Riku to counter Sora, they decide to oppose Marluxia's plot by having Vexen investigate Marluxia under the guise of offering to help using the Riku Replica he creates with combat data from the real Riku. However, Vexen is eventually killed on Marluxia's orders by Axel, whom Zexion and Lexaeus had been unsure about trusting. Axel later tells them he had performed the deed only to gain Marluxia's trust, and continues to cooperate with Zexion in tracking Sora and Riku.
Seeing that Vexen's efforts to derail Marluxia's plan had failed, Zexion sends Lexaeus to sway Riku into joining them, but Riku refuses to allow darkness to control him and defeats Lexaeus in combat. With the last of his strength, Lexaeus manages to knock Riku unconscious, rendering him helpless. However, before he can finish the job, Ansem takes control of Riku's body and finishes Lexaeus with the power of darkness. Riku is then enveloped in his own personal darkness, where "Ansem" tries to corrupt him - however, he is saved by King Mickey and continues ascending Castle Oblivion.
After Lexaeus dies in his failed attempt to subvert Riku's resistance to darkness, Zexion discusses the Organization's fate with Axel and learns that Larxene has been killed as well, bringing the number of Organization members eliminated to three. Axel tells him that he himself was defeated by Sora as well, and that Marluxia is almost certainly the next to go. Zexion decides that with the possibility of Marluxia dying soon, Riku is no longer needed, and heads off to intercept him.
Zexion appears before Riku while he is between floors of the castle, shortly after the death of Marluxia. As the force of Marluxia's death shakes the castle, Riku halts with surprise and comments how a very strong scent in the air has died. Zexion materializes in front of him and tells him that Sora has just defeated Marluxia. Riku is surprised to learn that Sora is also in the castle, but Zexion tells him he would never be able to face him after having such darkness in his heart.
He gives Riku a World Card to Destiny Islands, and Riku winds up facing a Darkside Heartless. After he defeats it, Zexion reappears, and continues to play on his guilt, telling him Sora will always oppose him as a host of the dark. Sora then appears himself, brandishing his Keyblade and accusing Riku of being corrupt. He envelops Riku in light, rendering him unable to do anything. Instead of drowning Riku into helplessness, however, the predicament causes Naminé to come to his aid, in the guise of Kairi, telling him that he should stop rejecting the darkness within his heart, and instead tells him to draw on that power to free himself of the oppressing light and strike out at Sora.
He wounds Sora, whose disguise falters to reveal Zexion, who had been using his powers of illusion to deceive Riku. Zexion is astounded by Riku's ability to control the darkness, and is also enraged at his perseverance. He decides to engage Riku in combat himself, albeit wounded, but still puts up a rather difficult fight. However, Riku eventually overcomes and defeats Zexion.
After escaping from Riku, Zexion appears in a room, where Axel and a companion are waiting. In a panic, Zexion thinks Axel's companion is Riku himself, but then realizes it's only Riku Replica. Axel and the replica then approach Zexion, and Axel directs the replica's attention to his lack of wholeness. He tells him that if he can find strength that the real Riku doesn't have, he can become a whole person of his own, rather than a mere puppet or whole copy of Riku.
Axel then suggests that he should start by eliminating Zexion. Zexion is horrified by Axel's suggestion, but before he can do anything, the replica eliminates Zexion and takes his power; judging by Axel's line of Zexion finding out "way too much", Axel having purposefully set this up in order to move Saïx up within the ranks of the Organization.
Day 24: The Upper Floors
Marluxia has succeeded in leading the Keyblade master to the castle. I sense multiple threads at work, but details on each of the projects are scarce. I suspect some alleged Organization projects are secretly private machinations. Marluxia seems especially suspect.
Day 26: Axel's Actions
Simple deduction suggests Axel's outwardly inscrutable actions are the result of some directive from Saïx. Why else eliminate Vexen? He simply wanted to do research. Did we not all stand to gain from the fruits of his Program? What is Axel thinking?