Xigbar and MoM

So this is what happens when I think about KH after exposing myself to toxic glue fumes.

Spoilers ahead

So I’d seen this theory flying around that Braig and the Master of Masters (MoM) were the same person… And I thought it was bunk.

As if, amirite?

And I got to thinking on how to disprove it, falling down this crazy little rabbit hole of proving it to myself by mistake.

Connection 1: The Cloak
This is shared with the entire Organization, though. And it was first worn by MoM and Luxu, who would be documented by the Foretellers.

It seemed just as likely that choosing the cloak was a remnant of Terra’s studies as a Keybearer being accessible to Xemnas.

It didn’t have to be Braig that connected the cloak to the Organization. The evidence here just wasn’t strong enough to tie them, but it didn’t rule anything out either.

Conclusion: Too many variables with the cloak.

Connection 2: The Eye
One of the supports given for why Xigbar and MoM are the same person is that they both have one eye.

The issue with this one is a bit obvious. MoM had one eye in Back Cover, the other being in the Keyblade for Luxu.

Since he came before Braig chronologically in the canon timeline, how could Braig have two eyes at the start of BBS if he (as MoM) had one prior to that?

Note: I am assuming that MoM was telling the truth about his eye. MoM was deceptive, but he was generally honest in the information he did give. That’s what made his deceptions so effective.

The first way I thought of to make this work was if Braig came first chronologically. In that event, he would later become Master of Masters in the future and travel to that time in Back Cover after the business with Organization XIII.

But then… It’s confirmed in canon that Xigbar recruited Marluxia.

Which means he had to know as Xigbar to go to the world as it fell to darkness and collect Marluxia. How could Braig be alive before MoM, but have the knowledge as Xigbar to time travel to that era for Lauriam/Marluxia once the world fell?

Conclusion: They had to be different people, but somehow Xigbar knew about that world, Lauriam’s presence, and the certainty that it would fall.

Connection 3: Knowledge
So how could Xigbar know about the world’s demise in Back Cover and that Lauriam was there?

This information could only be obtained by someone who was there. A book in Radiant Garden could have mentioned this war that caused that world to fall, but it would be unlikely to mention Lauriam with enough detail for Braig to find him accurately.

And Braig doesn’t really seem like the bookish type

So he had to get this knowledge from a person who knew all about the events in Back Cover, and that could only be MoM or Luxu.

And all we have in canon about Luxu’s role in Back Cover was to watch as events unfold and then “do his thing” – take the crate, his Keyblade, and leave to get an apprentice he could pass that Keyblade on to so MoM could see the future.

But how would Luxu or MoM even meet or directly influence Braig? The one connection between them is Xehanort, who did have Luxu’s Keyblade – so he was an indirect apprentice of Luxu – but he wouldn’t know the details of Back Cover to give to Braig.

Even if he did, why would he tell Braig anything? He was only a guard at Radiant Garden, no one paramount like a Foreteller.

Here’s where the glue fumes kick in

There are two ways in Kingdom Hearts to get access to real memories that technically belong to someone else: be their Nobody or their replica.

And MoM disappeared well before the world fell, so it’s unlikely that he became a Heartless.

He’s way too dedicated to his own goals for that to happen

EPIPHANY: Braig is MoM’s replica.

Stay with me here.

MoM has the ability to create living beings in a lab environment, as seen when he created Chirithy.

It is extremely possible that he would apply this knowledge to the creation of replicas to make one of himself. Especially since Xehanort was present with Luxu’s Keyblade for most of his interactions with Braig and that means MoM saw him in the future…

Going on the canon data that replicas bear at least a small resemblance to the original (such as having the same eyes), MoM would recognize Braig for what he was and make the future happen.

Being MoM’s replica would allow Braig to know when and where to go for Lauriam. He likely didn’t know why or how he knew, only that he did.

It also explains other similarities, such as their mischievous personalities and general mannerisms.

But how did Braig end up on Radiant Garden?
And here’s where the crate comes in. In the case of Luxu, MoM tells him never to open the crate. And when Luxu says he wants to know what’s inside… MoM tells him and the player can’t hear what he says.

All you hear is Luxu’s gasp of surprise and asking why. MoM only responds, “You’ll see.”

If a newly made replica was in that crate, opening it would wake them up into their zombie state – like Xion – and that couldn’t happen too early for MoM’s scheme.

But what scheme would that be?
MoM is enigmatic but thorough. When he manipulated the Foretellers into the events of Back Cover, he knew they would all inevitably push that prophecy onward at exactly the right pace.

So there must be a plan with having a replica brought to the future by Luxu, who of course would open the crate eventually.

Theory: It’s about Kingdom Hearts.

How could it not be? It’s the name of the series, for one, and opening Kingdom Hearts was something the Master of Masters specifically told the Foretellers not to do – meaning he knew at least one of them was bound to try it.

Then Braig turns up as an orphan with amnesia on Radiant Garden, joins the guard because what else on this planet might get him closer to power, and surprise, surprise!

Braig ends up almost front and center in a scheme to complete Kingdom Hearts, losing his eye in the early stages of that scheme.

Conclusion: MoM is using XigBraig and the sight from Luxu’s Keyblade to steer the Organization to complete Kingdom Hearts.

Bonus for Xehanort:
Even better, being a replica made Braig a great candidate to be the first vessel. As a replica, Braig would have to grow his own heart over time. He wouldn’t come with one, so to speak, in a less literal sense than Nobodies.

And because of his personality, Braig never seems to feel anything but fear, disdain, anger, and mostly idle enjoyment of atrocities. He seemed to prefer that. Because Braig started off angry and bitter, I theorize that his ability to feel never fully developed into a complete heart.

There was almost zero risk he’d want that back after being Norted.

And this is the kicker.
If Braig had been able to be less spiteful, to forgive and try to grow as a person rather than in power, he’d probably have a Keyblade of his own just like Data Sora did.

He was a replica of a powerful Keybearer, after all. If he’d put any stock in his heart instead of going straight for power, he’d have it by now.

never said he was smart

And that’s the ramble!
Hope you at least had fun reading this madness.

May Your Heart Be Your Guiding Key

In response to the philosophies prompt on the Square Enix Amino, I’ve analyzed a recurring phrase in the Kingdom Hearts series, but specifically in Back Cover.

“May your heart be your guiding key.”

WARNING:

Spoilers Abound

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The one time the meaning of this phrase is explained is by the Master of Masters, who claims to say it all the time. In the Case of Invi, he tells her that “you ultimately need to do what your heart feels is right”. (He also says it to Aced during the Case of Aced, although he doesn’t explain it then.)

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But this is a fairly open definition. Its true parameters are defined by the heart, so each person is allowed to decide for themselves what it means. Add in context and you’ve got yourself a mission statement that can be perceived to mean anything.

So who says it when? What does it mean?

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After Ira’s announcement that he believes one of the Foretellers is a traitor backfires, Invi tells him this phrase as a comfort. In this context, Invi offers this familiar saying of their absent master to remind Ira that he did what he thought was right. And even if it didn’t turn out to be right, Invi wanted him to trust his heart.

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When Aced had to fight Ava, Gula, and Invi, Aced said the phrase to himself. For him, this phrase is to express certainty in his convictions.

Throughout the game, he frequently mentions that the Foretellers are comrades – this means a lot to him. To have them almost unanimously think that he is the traitor could not have been painless.

But saying this phrase to himself, the one their master repeated to them all, was a reminder to Aced that there are things more important than that. His heart told him to fight for what he believed, and so he did.

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Gula said it to himself after Ava refused to help him summon Kingdom Hearts in a ploy to make the Master return.

To understand the context of this phrase said here by Gula, you need to know his opinion of Ava. Before asking her to help him summon Kingdom Hearts, he tells her that she always does the right thing.

For someone whose role required him to trust no one, this is impressive. Gula holds Ava as a moral paragon. When she said she wouldn’t help him, it was as good as telling him that he’s morally wrong for wanting to summon Kingdom Hearts.

But still, he believed with all his heart that it was the correct choice. Maybe it wasn’t the morally right one, but his heart told him it was what needed to be done.

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Ava said this to the Keybearers she was training just before the war broke out. Until this point, all of the other Foretellers had done what they felt was right but several had deviated from the Master’s teachings.

In the earlier scene with Ephemer at the fountain, Ava said to herself that she would be glad to leave the future to those who see the world the way he did.

In this case, I believe that Ava told the Keybearers she trained to have their hearts be their guiding key because she truly believed they would make the best use of that phrase.

These Keybearers were the ones she regarded as the best of all unions. It’s not just their talent as fighters, but their perspectives that she valued. Their hearts could be their guiding keys because she believed they had the best, truest hearts.

I love Ava’s characterization, surprise surprise.

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Lastly, Luxu also said it as the final spoken line of the game (while hefting a box in the desert, no less). This meaning is a bit harder to interpret, but I think that’s the point of it at this stage in the story.

Nearly everyone else who used the phrase had gone against the tasks set before them, playing right into the prophecy (which I doubt was a mistake).

Does this mean that because Luxu was separate from the others, he actually succeeded in his entire role? Or did he “fail” as the others had, and open the box? The fun of this is that ultimately, we can’t say with what we see in this game.

In lengthy conclusion…

“May your heart be your guiding key” was the mission statement of the Foretellers, but it steered most of them in the wrong direction either inadvertantly or knowingly.

The intent of the phrase is to encourage people in dark times, but it was also used to justify bad decisions as good ones made as a personal sacrifice.

And that’s just in this game; the phrase comes back with the Wayfinder Trio. But that’s a subject for another post!