boundbynaught: (Default)
Arden [Riku Replica] ([personal profile] boundbynaught) wrote2014-01-07 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

City of Ariel Application

Warning: This character's entire application spoils the Kingdom Hearts re: Chain of Memories game, as well as major reveals from the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleep games.

□ Name: Frudence
□ Age: 27
□ Contact: Plurk/AIM: frudence
□ Journal: frudence
□ Do you play anyone in Ariel?: No

→ IC
□ Name: Riku Replica / Repliku / A Numberless Replica
□ Journal: boundbynaught
□ Series: Kingdom Hearts re: Chain of Memories (PS2 video game, not manga or the original CoM game script)
□ Canon point: Time of Death/Disappearance during Riku's second Basement Floor level, which is after Sora's gone to sleep on his side of the story.
□ History:
    Unfortunately this guy's history requires a brief rundown of the canon's metaphysics and stringing together canon extrapolations courtesy of the info dished out on Xion. In short, every 'normal' being in the universe (dubbed Somebodies) are comprised of a few parts: the metaphysical heart, a soul, memories, and a body. When you try to take the pieces apart and reassemble them, the universe tries to complete the being into something functional, if unnatural. Some of those unnatural beings are the well-known Heartless and Nobodies, and another are the Replicas. A Replica is what happens when the base component in this new creation is the 'memories' part, with an artificial body, a universe-supplied soul, and a scientist/creator-supplied heart.

    After KH1 happened and Sora defeated Ansem, a part of him - Xemnas, the Nobody part - founded Organization XIII for reasons. One of the goals, though, was to gain control of at least one Keybearer - namely Sora. We say at least one because Vexen, one of the more scientifically inclined Organization XIII members, decided that if they could not convince Sora to join them, they would just replicate him and give the Keyblade to the replica. That was the purpose of the Replica Program. So, Vexen and his crew went to Castle Oblivion with two vessels he'd created: the first went on to become Xion, and the second became Riku Replica ("Rep" from here on out, to be clearer). Xion was created from a set of real memories (Sora's) bound to the artificial body using Naminé's powers and then sent back to the Organization's HQ to train with Roxas, Sora's Nobody. The plan was that whichever of the two - Xion or Roxas - was stronger, they'd give the Keyblade. Now how to get the Keyblade... Why, lure Sora to Castle Oblivion and take it by force! When Riku showed up too, that gave Vexen another idea - since Riku was supposed to be the Keyblade bearer in the first place, maybe a replica of him would serve their purposes too! By that point the Organization didn't care how many duplicates they had running around, Nobodies or Replicas, so long as one of them could wield the Keyblade and remained under their control.

    Vexen took two anonymous hearts released from Heartless thanks to Roxas and bound them to his two artificial bodies, leaving the results dormant until the final element (memories) was added. He did this once (creating Xion) sometime in the weeks prior to the game 358/2 Days ("Days" for short), which has a conveniently labeled time for us to reference since the game re: Chain of Memories ("CoM" from here on out) parallels the events of Days -- and all of this before KH2 happens! Unlike Xion, Rep was created from a set of duplicated memories. That's important because it means Rep didn't get "forgotten" like Xion did by Axel and the other Org members who survived CoM. The memories he was made from didn't need to get re-absorbed into anyone but through game events dealing with Naminé's powers, some characters like Sora forgot about him anyway.

    So, Xion was awakened on Day 7. Let's get a timeline for CoM going straight from the Days gameplay. For reference, here's a script:

    -- Day 23: Axel left for Castle Oblivion (Roxas's Diary Entry)
    -- Day 24: The gameplay events of CoM begin, with Riku showing up a little after Sora (Secret Report: Zexion)
    -- Day 26: The Organization people at Castle Oblivion were terminated (game events / Roxas's Diary Entry)

    Rep wasn't made until just after Riku arrived, and Rep would have died shortly after Marluxia was defeated, so that's why Rep is 3 days old. Rep would have died/disappeared probably no later than Day 27 since Marluxia was defeated on the 26th. How the CoM events fill that 3-day span isn't detailed out, but it does mean that Xion's awakening predates Rep's by about 17 days. His "birthday" is around September 16th and Xion's is around August 30th if you go by the Japanese summer schedule referenced in Days, since she's the older replica by 17 days. Now we can jump into Rep's history proper, which all takes place in the CoM timeline.

    Soon after clearing the first basement level of Castle Oblivion, Vexen confronted Riku (the real one) and used the fight to sample Riku's memories. The resulting data - purely combat oriented memories - Vexen then tied to his second replica vessel. Unlike Xion, Vexen wasted no time in telling this replica about the nature of its existence, its purpose, and immediately sending it off for testing against the real thing without even naming it. Rep confronted Riku and lost in combat, but managed to escape anyway by invoking his dark powers to knock Riku away. Rep then used a Dark Corridor, leaving to report to Vexen, Zexion, and Lexaeus in the Organization's basement HQ room. Rep reassured the Organization members that he'd be able to defeat Riku, indicating that their clash was merely a test. As a subsequent test, Vexen suggested that Rep engage Sora. To facilitate this, they had to travel "topside" to where Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel were operating, probably to figure out where Sora would be for Rep to confront him.

    Vexen took Rep with him to speak with Larxene and Axel about an experiment to see if there was any merit to Marluxia's interest in Sora. They were interested in why Sora retained his own will when he changed into a heartless, but also in using Sora against the Heartless. The Organization needed someone to release hearts from Heartless so that they could be collected for Kingdom Hearts, and they already had Roxas and Xion for that purpose. Vexen basically wanted to put his junior members in their place by proving that Sora wasn't as powerful or interesting a research specimen as Riku, since Riku - and thus his replica - could harness the power of Darkness as well as wield a keyblade, the object that made releasing hearts possible. What Rep didn't realize was that the three Nobodies hit on the same idea when Axel supplied Vexen with a card containing some of Sora's memories: they wanted to remake Rep's heart by supplanting his memories, so far as to make him forget he was anything but the real Riku. Rep panicked, the only thing he ever appears fearful of, but was overpowered. When he went to fight Sora, he acted exactly as if the last time he'd seen Sora was in the closing moments of KH1, remembering nothing of the time when he was cognizant of his replica state. Henceforth, anything that happened to Riku (that Sora knew about) in Kingdom Hearts 1 or prior backstory (such as some Birth By Sleep moments), Rep could recall, making it impossible for Sora to tell he was talking to a Replica instead of his best friend.

    Rep tried twice to get Sora to leave Castle Oblivion so that he could protect Naminé all by himself, which was the new reason given in his false memories for his being in Castle Oblivion in the first place. He insisted that Sora's task was supposed to be to protect Kairi, and that he could handle protecting Naminé on his own. Rep lied to Sora about how Naminé didn't want to see him anymore, but justified it by drawing on false memories that blamed Sora for Naminé leaving Destiny Islands. A competition always solved things between Riku and Sora when they were little, so Rep challenged Sora to the fights believing it would settle who was better fit to protect Naminé. When that didn't work, Rep ran, both times, in a desperate attempt to salvage his pride.

    Rep wasn't bothered by the Organization members operating in the castle, presuming them to be part of the memories lost to the Castle's forced memory loss, but he did confront Larxene when she was picking on Naminé. KH-style memory loss is a lot like fugue, wherein the memories are suppressed, and can be brought to the surface with the right reminders. However, with Naminé's influences on his memories, Rep's only reminders in the castle circled back to her and his desire to protect her, making him believe she was the only thing worth remembering. The reason that Sora couldn't draw out any of Rep's false memories from Riku's childhood was because he was more grudging of Sora's friendship than the real Riku; Naminé's rewritten memories blamed Sora for her leaving, which Rep thought he forgot about until arriving at the Castle. Thus, Rep believed that Sora was actually two-faced in his attempts to befriend Rep, and to save Naminé so that Rep couldn't. Rep thought that Sora knew Rep wanted to do it all by himself (at least for Rep, this is a self-worth issue) and that Sora was choosing to deny Rep those wishes. To Rep, even Sora became an obstacle in the way of his goal, so he went back to face Sora again for a third time.

    This third fight was different, though. Vexen's death didn't even register as important to Rep, despite Sora believing Vexen had some control over 'Riku' and that telling 'Riku' Vexen was gone would make 'Riku' the way he used to be. As Naminé continued to feed Sora false memories of her time on Destiny Islands, Rep remembered more of those false memories too. Naminé specifically allowed Sora and Rep to both 'remember' the same scene from their rewritten childhood, such that they both thought they vowed to protect Naminé on the night of a meteor shower. The prospect of something about him being fake shook Rep, nearly making him remember his replica origins, but instead he assumed that Sora was lying, trying to trick Rep again. So, Rep decided to destroy Sora's "fake" charm -- a memento of that night, which was actually Kairi's good luck charm disguised. In doing so, that would make Rep's charm the only copy, and by default the 'real' one in Rep's mind. After the fight, Rep simply ran off again without another word, too worn out and distraught by the ordeal.

    With both Rep and Sora fervently believing they were acting in Naminé's best interest, she was getting a little upset, and Axel - the little saboteur - allowed Naminé to leave her room to confront both of the boys. She managed to meet up with Sora and tried to explain herself, as Sora started to realize his memories had been altered. Rep appeared, trying to spare Naminé any heartbreak that Sora might cause her due to his "trainwreck" memories, and challenged Sora a fourth time as Naminé slunk back. Sora bested Rep again, but tried to help Rep up as a friendly gesture. Instead of accepting Sora's friendship, Rep just knocked Sora away again. Naminé arrived and pleaded with Rep not to kill Sora, but quickly realized Rep wouldn't listen even to her. (Calling him "Riku" didn't help.) As a last ditch effort, she did the equivalent of a gut-check to his heart, knocking him unconscious. I've discussed this with a few other KH-knowledgable folks and what she probably did was make the metaphorical memory chains she'd been creating tighten sharply, enough to kind of short-circruit his mind. The point is that Rep actually heard everything that happened next, in the corner of his mind.

    Larxene appeared to taunt Sora, explaining that Naminé had rewritten Sora's memories, and Rep's too. On top of that, she told Sora that Rep wasn't the real Riku, that he was a fake. She didn't say why Rep was made or who made him, but that much was enough. Sora defeated Larxene and Naminé offered to fix Sora's memories, but she couldn't start the long process with Marluxia still around. When Sora left, Naminé was able to loosen the chains on Rep's heart, but Rep was in no state to stop Marluxia when he used a Dark Corridor to pull Naminé away during his fight with Axel. So Rep recovered on his own, but it was mostly physical. Instead of how he'd been the first time Riku met him, Rep now had experience believing he was 'real' just like everyone around him, yet understood that he wasn't. He spent at least a bit of time just reconciling what he'd heard, enough to reach a decision: even if the promise he made to Naminé to keep her safe was from a false memory, he wanted to uphold it, so he started looking for her.

    Rep used a Dark Corridor to arrive in the room where Marluxia's illusion was confronting Sora, Naminé, Donald, and Goofy. While Sora fought the illusion, Rep guarded Naminé. Once they realized that it was an illusion, Rep chased Marluxia away with a quick slash of his sword. As Sora, Donald, and Goofy prepared to take on Marluxia for real, Sora made a request of Rep: protect Naminé. Rep was stunned, but Sora insisted, and so Rep promised he would, believing Sora's words for the first time.

    When Sora returned victorious, Rep started to leave. Naminé offered to repair his memories - of his earliest time as a replica, back when he knew why he was created and had no problem with it - but Rep refused. What looked like a display of maturity to just "deal" was actually despondence; Rep didn't believe anything could fix his being a fake, even repaired memories. Sora tried to give Rep a pep talk, but Rep was still too raw. He even left Naminé behind with Sora, probably believing any threat against her to be gone - which meant he wasn't needed anymore.

    As Rep left the area, Axel of all people found him, and offered him the chance to be real. They both used a Dark Corridor to go down to the Organization's basement HQ room again, where a weakened Zexion had only just arrived after Riku defeated him. There, Axel presented Rep with an idea: if Rep acquired powers that Riku didn't have, that would make him someone new. "You won't just be a copy of someone. You will be unique, your OWN self." This probably resonated with Rep more than Sora trying to justify Rep's memories and heart because Rep was created from combat data. Any memories about friendship and expressions of it are second-hand from Riku, and so Rep would be loathe to draw on them. Zexion, understandably, didn't like this suggestion in the least, because it implied that Rep should absorb Zexion's powers. Rep did just that, by drawing on the power of Darkness. In much the same way that Xehanort forced his heart into Terra's body, and later into Riku's body as Ansem, Rep simply drew Zexion's heart and accompanying powers into him. Axel didn't stick around long, as Rep went off to find Riku and challenge him again.

    Even trying to sort out his newfound abilities didn't change Rep's mind, though, and he began to teeter on the edge of sanity. He realized that obtaining Zexion's power didn't make it feel like his own. "But... nothing changes... I'm still just empty! Everything about me is borrowed." His only recourse was to destroy the source of his frustration - the original on which his identity was based. So Rep went to the 2nd Basement Floor, where Riku was wandering near the fake Twilight Town's mansion. Unfortunately Zexion's power wasn't enough, and Riku soundly beat his replica. Rep started to disappear, claiming that he wasn't afraid of death and "good riddance to a phony life." He then asked Riku in his last moments where Riku thought a fake heart went. Riku suggested that it would go to the same place as his own. Grudgingly, Rep admitted that that would make him a faithful replica until the very end. "Oh well."

□ Personality:
    The key to Rep's personality is understanding the three stages he goes through - knowing he's a replica right off the bat, believing himself to be "real" (a Somebody, a normal person), and after he finds out he's not. At first, he's fully aware that he's a replica. You could say that his early identity died when his memories were rewritten, but I believe those facets he displayed to be some of the most core elements to the identity that emerges later. For a significant portion of the game, he is acting almost entirely identically to how Riku reacted in KH1 - namely as a very angry young man desperate to prove himself and who gauged his worth based on his ability to protect one person. For Riku Replica, that person was rewritten in his memories as Naminé instead of Kairi. His reasoning for being so antagonistic to Sora was the belief that Sora had betrayed him, and that he was taking away Rep's ability to protect someone on purpose out of spite. That being said, after Naminé "smashes his heart," as Larxene put it, Rep's outlook on life takes a very bleak turn.

     The only time he displayed fear before was at the prospect of his memories being rewritten and his identity subjugated. Thus, one of Rep's greatest fears, even after his memory loss, would have been such a thing happening again - his being too weak to stop someone from doing anything, but especially from destroying him in a way he can't defend against. His realization that that had *already happened* broke him. He was able to cling to "protect Naminé" for a little while, when he confronted Marluxia with Sora, but after the adrenaline of combat wore off, he became a much more subdued, despondent personality than he was previously.

     He despises being called Riku, but he uses offensive epithets to refer to himself: "just an imitation," "I'm a phony, a fake," "Must be nice being real," "I'll never be more than a shadow," etc. as if to constantly remind himself. He has memories that feel real, but they're not his; he can touch the world around him, but the hands are not his; his very heart is anonymous, stuck in him from some ephemeral place by Vexen. One reassuring speech from Sora was not enough to change his mind. Sora was trying to tell him that he was fine as he was, but Rep was too raw from the revelation of his origin to heed Sora's words. All of the anger he'd built up over the course of the game was suddenly directed inward, feeling that it was his own weakness that allowed him to be deceived. It echoed the way Riku had been manipulated by Maleficent in KH1, and that stung just as much.

    Partly influenced by his warped memories that make Sora out to be two-faced, Rep thinks that he has to do everything on his own and with his own power, mostly because he has no one else he trusts enough to *let* them help him. If someone offers to help him, he thinks they must have some ulterior motive, because that's exactly what the Organization did to him. However, he will still do just about anything if it's a means to an end, even be lead by the nose; he's very goal-oriented, and needs to check off blocks along the way. He's got blinders the size of most doors, which is why he didn't care that he was snuffing Zexion just to obtain greater power.

    He has no qualms letting go of unimportant things, be it memories or people or objects or anything. His ultimate insult to someone is not remembering them, which is not to say that he doesn't hold grudges. He could hold one forever if the original event mattered that much to him. It's more that he genuinely doesn't fret or worry over the little things, even if they're big deals to someone else. That being said, his own self-worth will be so low coming into the game that he'll consider himself an unimportant thing as well. He has nothing to be taken from him - potential harm to a body that's not his won't matter and risks to a shattered mind will leave him apathetic. If his hopelessness gets any worse, he has the potential to be suicidal; he treats death like a reprieve, since feeling anything hurts and he doesn't see any way to fix it. His two main reactions to death were "Good riddance to a phony life" and his final words on his fate were a simple "Oh well." So, he will enter Ariel in Stage 4 of the 5 Stages of Grief - Depression - due to currently failing to healthily reconcile his identity crisis.

    The one thing that shook him out of his endgame funk briefly was the possibility to be Real; he didn't go seeking it out on his own - he was too somber to be driven to action - but when *presented* with the chance he still took it. That's what it will take to stop him from drifting through the world again: something that makes him not feel empty anymore, something that doesn't resonate with his false memories. To the point, sex and orgasm will be a novel experience and something he will embrace with reckless abandon just as soon as he figures out that the experiences are unique to him, not a mirror of his false memories. Right now, he's pre-sexual; he wouldn't have even had enough time (or need) to figure out masturbation in only 3 days, and his memories from Riku via Sora wouldn't have included that. Of anyone to figure out sex by the immersive sink-or-swim method, Rep is a good choice since he won't suffer any of the conservative embarassment his fellow young castmates might have suffered from. This lack of self-preservation attitude is the same one that had him follow Axel - an Organization XIII member who by all rights he should not have trusted - towards a "chance to be someone, someone who's not at all [Riku]." Rep's the type to get something done quick, fast, and painless (for him, at least), without spending hours contemplating what other people think about his actions, or having some kind of reputation to uphold. For better or worse, Rep could be one of the most loyal allies you'll ever find, because he has completely given up the pride he inherited from Riku. He keeps people at arm's length so often that anyone he does allow close, he'll want to side with forever. This could be both stalkerish and possibly to his own self-detriment.

    Another facet is his slightly sadistic, trollish nature. He enjoys provoking others, exploiting their weaknesses, and laughing at their emotional/physical pain - especially if doing so proves that he's right about something, or takes away from the pain he's experiencing in the moment. It should be noted that, in the wake of his "recent" discovery that he's a replica, he would never willingly set out to make someone believe he was the real Riku, even if it made Riku's life a living hell. It would take a lot of convincing from someone else with a plan in mind for him to go along with that, because it's exactly the opposite of what Rep wants to achieve: an identity separate from Riku.

    Still, Rep's a hypocrite when it comes to lying, making his trust hard to gain and easy to lose. Since he believes everyone else is willing to lie to him in order to get what they want, he considers it okay to do the same. If he ever found out that someone lied to him, especially if that person were claiming to be his friend, it would take nothing short of a minor miracle to repair the damage. Sora got off easy because Rep found out that the memories he thought indicted Sora as a bad person weren't real, and Sora trusted Rep with protecting Naminé while Sora fought Marluxia. It would take far more than that to re-befriend him after an incident involving lies and deceit. On that note, he doesn't hate Axel or believe Axel was trying to mislead him. His feelings on Naminé are a bit more complicated because she did mess with his memories, but he blames the Organization for forcing her to do it. More than anything he's a little hurt that she gutchecked his heart, but lays the blame on himself for making her get to that point where she had to do it. Ironically, when Rep's at his lowest - angry at his situation, frustrated with himself, etc. - is when he's the most truthful. Being able to lie to someone with a straight face makes him feel in control of the situation, so the reverse is also true; it's harder for him to lie if he's not in control. He does *try* to bluff his way out of bad situations, but it's less convincing if he doesn't feel like he has the upper hand. That scared-little-boy quaver gets in his voice, and that's when you can tell he really isn't all that old, mentally. That's how he'll be coming into Ariel, unsure of what he's supposed to do with himself and having resigned himself to death once already.

    Just as Rep is easy to manipulate, he has no qualms manipulating others, lying straight to their face, belittling them to anyone, and in general just not being considerate of others' feelings. Rep *can* feel things, yet he's felt so much pain already that any subconscious guilt from being cruel has been all but stamped out at this point in time. Rep's not amoral, he's immoral, which also means that could change.

    Lastly, he's not stupid or socially regressed; he's just never had any positive, healthy relationships before. He's *aware* of a lot of healthy friendships thanks to his supplanted memories, but since they aren't first-hand he doesn't trust them or want to accept them as part of himself. It should be noted that Rep's false memories are sort of a hybrid: combat and a few ancillary memories come from when Vexen duplicated Riku's, but the rest of his false memories come from what Sora remembers of Riku via the card that the Organization crafted. So for example, Rep would have a fuzzy memory of Riku meeting Terra on Destiny Islands, but nothing of what they talked about, because Sora never heard it. However, Rep can remember anything that Riku told Sora directly, such as their parting words at the end of KH1.

□ Age: Physically, about 15. Real age, approximately 3 days. Since he remembers a good chunk of Riku's early life, he still operates on 15 years of maturity. Which is to say it can fluctuate between those extremes, but he's definitely capable of sustaining his own needs on a daily basis

□ Gender: Cis Male

□ Appearance: Rep looks identical to how Riku was when he arrived in Castle Oblivion at 15 years old. He is tall for a young boy (about 4'10") but also not a beanpole; the outfit he is iconically seen wearing is fairly skintight. He has silver-grey hair that lays almost completely flat against his head and teal eyes. He has pale complexion despite living his whole life between a port and an island. Even if Riku had any scars or other physical damage, Rep wouldn't have them; as it is, all of the damage Rep took was magical in nature and his worst scars are mental ones, so his body probably looks *too* pristine for a boy famous for regular training and combat skill. His skin will be new and smooth, not roughed up on the palms or callused on the feet from wielding wooden swords in mock combat with Sora for years.

□ Abilities/Powers:
    Even though Rep will have scant few of these powers when he gets into Ariel - some are just tactical, some are static due to being a Replica - I feel obligated to list everything I would for an app where he'd keep his powers. So I apologize for the length.

    I'd like to stress that *none* of these Abilities are surefire, always-work deals. Some of them are more powerful, but they can *always* be parried, dodged, repelled, etc. This is not only how it works in the game that this character is pulled from, where higher card values beat lower card values but 0's break anything, it's also my personal play style. I love me some fight scenes, but it's no fun to knock an opponent out in one hit. Okay *sometimes* that's fun if there's a clear power difference and it's explicitly for comedic effect - including my character being on the receiving end of it! However, in most serious combat scenes, I like a clear back-and-forth struggle. I enjoy trying to outwit the other player in creative attack prose, but only if the player is as experienced with combat scenes as I am and we've not agreed to a clear-cut winner at the start. I'm also perfectly happy to discuss with another player some options for beating Rep that their character may think of, but the player may not realize. This again goes back to Rep - he is *not* the best out there by a long shot, he's 3rd tier at *best*, but he will struggle and struggle and only run as a last recourse. All that being said, below is Rep's complete arsenal of abilities!

- Static Replica Traits and Utilitarian Abilities

    -- Bombardment: The counterpart to >> Breach, this is less an Ability of Rep's and more a consequence of his fighting style. He hits hard and fast, trying to exploit openings where he can find them - or make them - but as a result, he also leaves himself open more often as well. Someone else can knock him off balance, or break his attack pace, or block his attacks, or parry them, etc. In doing so, he is momentarily forced backwards and unable to re-use the same ability he was preparing for a short period of time; the more powerful the ability, the longer the timespan.

    -- Mental Frailty: Rep is particularly vulnerable to mental/psionic attacks, as his mind never had the chance to scab over after being broken open so many times.

    -- Reflex Idiosyncrasy: As Rep's body is a manifested duplication of Riku's, he does not have the firsthand memory-to-muscle reflexes that Riku has managed to hone in combat over the years. Basically he's good, but he's not that good, and his body's not natural to boot. This trait could present as a misjudged reaction time, an overestimation of his own strength/speed, or just a weird muscle reaction at an inappropriate moment.

    -- Memory Dissonance: Any attempts to alter Rep's memory, or look into them, etc., will result in a bit of frustration on the part of the other person. Rep's memories are almost entirely comprised of those which  originated from someone else: Riku for most anything combat-oriented, Sora for anything resembling a childhood, and the rare memory from Zexion relating to how to use his powers. The amount of memories unique to Rep are minute in comparison, and even then a chunk of them are buried even deeper away from when he was memory-wiped. Think of it like a big spaghettified mess.

    -- True Form: There's a lot of theory floating around about what a replica's original "vessel" form is, but that's not the focus of this ability - the point is I don't think his true form is a giant robot like Xion, and it's definitely not Riku's face. Vexen made both of his vessels before going to Castle Oblivion, and it wasn't until his arrival that he thought to use Riku's form for his second vessel. All I'm getting at is that when it comes to an ability of another character to see beyond illusions or shades or concealment devices of any kind, they shouldn't see Riku. Depending on the character and situation, they may simply see a dark shadowy outline, or maybe his Riku-visage, but hazy like steam all around him.

> Basic Maneuvers
In general, Rep uses his Soul Eater keyblade the same way that Riku does - like a falchion, rapier, or saber. He does have strength to back it up, but he relies on speed, skirmishing, and blitz tactics to really be effective. All of these maneuvers are simple enough (or essential enough) to be performed outside of Dark Mode, meaning they can be used any time, anywhere, and repeatedly, but they're also low-powered enough - that they could be easily blocked, parried, interrupted, or countered. This grouping is also the 'abilities' Rep is most capable of adapting using a regular weapon or his fist instead of his key blade, and thus most likely to be used in Ariel until he gets his keyblade back.

    >> Summon Keyblade: Like all wielders, Rep can summon and dismiss his keyblade ("Soul Eater") at will. His keyblade is a fake though, meaning it does not gain the extraordinary powers of the Keyblade to open locks, or doors, or hearts, etc. His is purely a weapon. At least, it will be when he can do this again.

    >> Flourish: He spins his keyblade in front of him (or above him) in a butterfly motion, tracing an infinity symbol, then Corridor-dashes to the other side of the opponent before returning to prep stance.

    >> Breach: This defensive maneuver is my version of the in-game Card Break and it could manifest as a parry, a block, dodging the attack completely, or counter-attacking with a (more powerful) prepared Sleight. If this maneuver works, it forces the opponent to stumble backwards. This not only forces a 'breach' in their defenses for Rep to exploit, but in addition the opponent can't immediately re-use whatever technique they were trying to use for some small period of time; the more powerful the ability, the longer the timepsan. (Likewise this sort of effect can be forced upon Rep, especially if he times the Breach incorrectly, as detailed in the Utilitarian Abilities section under Bombardment.) Rep can use this 6 times per combat as a response to a Physical Attack, and 6 times per combat as a response to a Magical Attack, but that requires drawing on Zexion's power.

    >> Focus: A preparatory maneuver for when he's sizing up an opponent, guarding and simply looking for an opening to use a Sleight.

    >> Strike Rush: A quick strike forward, followed by a rushing slash that forces the opponent backwards.

    >> Three Pronged Impact: He jumps a few feet toward his opponent, and where his sword lands three short energy waves shoot out. One goes straight forward and the other two go out at a 22°-ish degree angle from the impact point.

+ Physical Attack Sleights
These are essentially finishing moves, where Rep sets up an attack sequence by combining the maneuvers mentioned above in various ways. After a successful trifecta of maneuvers that are not blocked or parried, the fourth and finishing blow in the sequence is one of these below. He must set up a new sequence again for each Sleight, so these will never come back to back in combat. While Rep will not be able to access them until he has his Keyblade, they are his easiest finishing moves to perform.

    ++ Dark Aura (regular version): After starting off with one >> Focus, Rep must follow it up with two >> Strike Rush. This Sleight starts off with Rep glowing as he raises his sword, and hovers just a few inches above the ground. He then does four rushing sword hits, Corridor-dashing between them to set up the next slash and make the Sleight harder to interrupt. A final attack comes at the end, when Rep Corridor-steps to directly above his opponent's head and brings his Soul Eater down upon them. Even if they dodge that direct hit, from the point his weapon impacts the ground, a shock wave and accompanying five bubbles of dark energy surround the immediate combat zone in a pincer shape.

    ++ Helm Split (regular version): The start of this sequence is one >> Flourish, followed by two >> Three Pronged Impact to trigger his most powerful Attack Sleight. This Sleight is perhaps his most athletic and devastating. He jumps into the air and dives sword-first at his opponent, landing on his feet, but then springing backwards (he always jumps feet-over-head). Where the sword impacts, a column of dark energy rises up, plus a small shock-wave zone. He then jumps at his opponent again to perform the same sequence, for a grand total of three jumping attacks. After the third attack, it's not just one shockwave that emerges, but five column-plus-shockwave combinations that pursue the opponent if they try to run.

* Basic Magic
    Rep has no healing/restorative magic in the typical sense, though he does have one Ability courtesy of Zexion that can restore his health, and he could learn Cure as per the _Basic Toolkit_ described below. Any abilities marked by [brackets] require using source energy, memories, and styles of combat that Rep inherited from Zexion. The reason this is an important distinction is described in the Absorption power, but mostly it's because Rep does not currently have the capacity to wield most of those abilities. He could draw them out with practice or in the heat of a moment, but I included them because that's not a stretch for him to accomplish, having completely drained Zexion of his powers to the point of eliminating him. The only Zexion powers Rep has currently used are the first two: [Slashing Rush] and [Three Pronged Assault], which rely almost entirely on Rep's form and style, but are amplified with some of Zexion's energies.

    ** Basic Magical Toolkit: I'm not expecting Rep to have immediately gained any of the standard Kingdom Hearts spells that would have come naturally to Zexion (Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Cure) since he clearly favored Magnet/Gravity spells. However, I'm just leaving these here as a note that, with practice and probably some instruction, Rep too could utilize those 4 'basic toolkit' spells.

    ** Dark Fira: After successfully using >> Focus three times to dodge/avoid attacks and find an opening, he can unleash this sleight. A small fireball (the size of an adult arm in diameter, perhaps) crackling with darkness seeks out his opponent, but not for terribly long before disappearing.

    [Slashing Rush]: In this version of >> Strike Rush, he hurls his keyblade forward a fair distance at his enemy, stunning them, and then utilizes some of Zexion's power to swiftly pull the keyblade back to him. The secondary attack is then a dash forward as well as the forced-push slash.

    [Three Pronged Assault]: Amplifying >> Three Pronged Impact with some of Zexion's power, the energy waves go farther and roughly 10-12 feet in the air. This makes the attack much more difficult to dodge and more powerful, but also requires standing in place longer.

    [Magnet Snatch]: This is Zexion's personal modification of the Magnet spell, and the basis for the Sleights that Rep inherited from him. As it's only a basic maneuver, the way I'm translating it from the CoM Card system is a bit of energy drain. Barely even noticeable as a loss in the grand scheme of expended energy in a single combat, that's the false sense of security this maneuver relies on to get started.

    [Dark Firaga]: After successfully using >> Focus twice as with the set-up for ** Dark Fira, his third attack must then be one of Zexion's [Magnet Snatch] maneuvers. The fireball produced is the size of a person and much harder to avoid, plus it seeks out his opponent for a longer span of time. Rep doesn't have to stick in one spot to direct it, but he does have to avoid his own gigantic fireball.

    [Dummy Stun]: As an immediate reaction, Rep can distract his opponent with exactly one illusion of himself, to make the opponent think it's him. In their confusion, they take a bit of damage and are temporarily stunned. Mostly this is a means of creating an opening, or dodging one big attack, but he can't use it often: once every minute or two, which is a long time during combat.

    ** Dark Revenge: Rep's Soul Eater takes on the appearance of whatever his opponent's standard weapon is, or goes bare-fisted if they don't use a weapon / cast magic principally. Using only a little bit of the energy he tapped from his opponent, he uses their own 'weapon' against them. He uses one illusionary version of himself to perform this maneuver, and the illusion fades afterwards. He follows up this strike from an illusion with a slam attack of his own, begun by Corridor-dashing above his opponent.

    [Meteor Mirage]: This is Zexion's Limit Break as seen in Days, and with a similar ability in KHII: Final Mix. As a Limit Break, Final Fantasy style, it's not even accessible unless Rep's nearly at the end of his stamina (roughly 25% or below). Rep will need both hands free to do this, so the Soul Eater vanishes temporarily. He rises into the air a few feet, both hands skyward with elbows in; he cannot move while conducting this Limit Break, though he can "pause" and move before resuming it. Dark indigo balls of Magnet energy bombard the immediate combat zone. The first wave is about twelve of them, and they're fairly small with no additional effect besides the impact. They come down randomly, with no control on his part. Before starting the second wave, he must concentrate harder, i.e. not take damage for the duration. During the second wave, he throws his limbs back behind him as he hovers in the air. This time the energy orbs are much larger and have a burst radius accompanying them on impact, but only eight appear in total.

    [Dark Aura // magic version]: After starting off with one >> Focus, Rep must follow it up with two [Slashing Rush] maneuvers, making the physical attack more powerful by amplifying it with magic. The Sleight starts off the same - with Rep glowing as he raises his sword, and hovers just a few inches above the ground. He then does six rushing sword hits, Corridor-dashing between them to set up the next slash and make the Sleight harder to interrupt. A final attack comes at the end, when Rep Corridor-steps to directly above his opponent's head and brings his Soul Eater down upon them. Even if they dodge that direct hit, from the point his weapon impacts the ground, a shock wave and accompanying seven bubbles of dark energy surround the immediate combat zone in a pincer shape.

    [Helm Split // magic version]: The start of this sequence is one >> Flourish, followed by two [Three Pronged Assault maneuvers) to trigger his most powerful Magic Sleight from canon, since it's augmenting a physical attack with magic. Like the normal Sleight, it is even more athletic and devastating than his other magical attacks. He jumps into the air and dives sword-first at his opponent, landing on his feet, but then springing backwards (he always jumps feet-over-head). Where the sword impacts, a column of dark energy rises up, plus a small shock-wave zone. He then jumps at his opponent again to perform the same sequence, for a grand total of three jumping attacks. After the third attack, it's not just one shockwave that emerges, but seven column-plus-shockwave combinations that pursue the opponent if they try to run.

    [Cyclone Snatch]: This Sleight requires Rep to get three [Magnet Snatch] maneuvers off in a row. After doing so, Rep can create an energy vortex at a point dubbed 'center' of the immediate combat zone. The vortex is comprised of Magnet/Gravity energy as well as Darkness, and it tries to drag the opponent towards it. Rep stands just outside of the zone. A cylinder of the energy rises from the center of the vortex, and if the opponent gets too close, then it's a stronger version of the [Magnet Snatch]. This version literally makes someone unable to use a certain attack, and can be discussed with the player at the time of use. It could be as simple as being unable to slash their sword in a vertical line upwards, but that still lets them slash side-to-side and in a vertical line downwards, for example. What they choose is important, as it determines the effects of the [Dark Punisher] and [Catastrophe] Sleights.

    [Dark Punisher]: This Sleight requires that Rep have at least three stolen attacks from his opponent, whether he used three [Magnet Snatch] maneuvers in a row, or just finished another of Zexion's Sleights and has some left over. The energy/attacks must be of low-grade or magical in nature to trigger this Sleight. This is the only Sleight he can use back-to-back with another, and he does need both hands free. Rep cloaks himself in glowing red-and-black energy, then grabs his opponent from behind in a bear hug, lifting them up if he can. This drains his opponent's health, and replenishes him the same amount.

    [Catastrophe]: This Sleight requires that Rep have at least three stolen attacks from his opponent, whether he used three [Magnet Snatch] maneuvers in a row, or just finished another of Zexion's Sleights and has some left over. The energy/attacks must be high-grade and physical in nature to trigger this Sleight. At the start of this Sleight, one illusionary version of Rep appears for each stolen energy/attack supply he currently has on tap. He must use three ** Dark Revenge maneuvers to trigger the end result of this Sleight. Each of his remaining illusions (that he isn't holding in reserve) fires an energy beam into a sphere at the 'center' of the combat zone. While Rep stands off to the side, his illusionary selves rotate counter-clockwise around the sphere as they hover just  a few inches off the ground, making it especially difficult to dodge this Sleight. After two full rotations, the immediate area will burst in energy, making it impossible to dodge (but possible to block/shield against).

    [Illusion Mastery]: As Rep practices with Zexion's powers, he'll gain access to the more powerful ones in time. If he gets to the point where he could be considered a 'master' at those powers, he could use illusions in the same way as Zexion did -- in a completely non-combative sense, taking on the visage and voice of someone else.

/ Darkness Powers
I think I can safely say that all of the powers in this section warrant a Permissions Post, and will never be used on a fellow player without plotting it out first. If a player wants to deny permission, we can just assume it's the game's mechanics at work, despite how much it may frustrate Rep.

    // Dark Mode (Combat Form): The Dark Mode form is best remembered as the hula skirt outfit: Rep is a capable fighter on his own, and can summon his Soul Eater blade in order to use only his Basic Maneuvers or Darkness Powers (like the // Scent Detection & // Dark Corridors). However, upon entering Dark Mode, he gets a bit stronger, a lot faster, and unlocks use of his Sleights. Unlike Riku, Rep shows absolutely no effort getting into his Dark Mode and does not get broken out of it simply by taking enough damage. It's his call only, showing just how much closer to the Darkness Rep is compared to Riku. (Except that Riku ends up being more powerful anyway, being able to wield both Light & Dark, etc etc…)

    // Scent Detection: Riku does manifest this ability (at close range) in being able to smell darkness on himself and others. Though Riku obtains this power after Rep's been created, it's directly tied to utilizing darkness. On the other hand, Zexion has an acute control of this ability, which Rep does utilize after he absorbs Zexion, so that's three different reason Rep should possess this ability: Riku as his base form, Darkness powers in general, and absorbing Zexion. Mostly this means that Rep can gauge how powerful an opponent is in vague terms (less so than himself, about equal to, or more powerful than) even at longer ranges, and the levels of light & dark in their heart (tipping to one side of the scale or neutral-ish) at closer range, like within 5 or 6 feet. He can't name someone based on their scent, but he can match one scent he found previously to the one in front of him, for example, or to one from memory. This also means that other people with aura-sensing capabilities can find him if he doesn't actively try to conceal his darkness (which won't be often).

    // Dark Corridors: It's like teleportation, stepping into the dark realm and emerging in the real world again somewhere else. I don't expect him to be Corridor-jumping out beyond the edges of the game, but around town would be nice. Mostly he uses this during combat as explained above.

    // Absorption: Literally what he did to Zexion - stealing away all of someone's powers, killing/eliminating them in the process. For now I'm going with the idea that Zexion's memories didn't come along for the ride, as both other times we see this happen in canon there's a clear internal struggle they each face (Terra and Xehanort, then Riku and Ansem: Seeker of Darkness) with some manifestation of the second entity. Rep doesn't appear to have undergone that struggle. I'm thinking that it has something to do with Zexion lacking a heart (being a Nobody) and thus no internal struggle with a second heart, plus no memories from the second entity either when the two merge. I theorize that in doing this to Zexion, Rep could wind up like Riku did when Ansem: SoD joined with him; use someone else's power enough and you might look like them for awhile, until special circumstances return you to your normal form - very special circumstances, of the heroic and pure-hearted variety that don't come naturally to Rep. Mostly I just think this would be pretty cruel to do to someone like him. By the point I pulled him from, he's realized that doing this doesn't actually fulfill him in any meaningful way, so he's not about to try this again on a lark. That being said, this should be one of the last Abilities he regains if ever.

□ Personal Items: Just a star-keychain that Rep associates with Naminé.

□ First Person Sample:
[With an exasperated sigh, Rep bites the bullet and blinks on his audio channel. He's held everything in as long as he can and now, with clenched teeth and a dry, tired tone he lashes out, but it's not a quick snap. No, his old venom is gone. This is the long keen of someone already mortally wounded who's had salt poured in the wound day in and day out. He's too sore to yell but the pain is too deep to keep quiet any longer, and no way is he about to stare in a mirror for anyone else's benefit of knowing who they're talking to on video. A low voice vainly trying to be chastising will be more than enough.]

I've been listening to all of you go on and on about this and that for days now without stopping. Makes me sick, all the things you worry about.

[He grimaces, holding his hands to his temples and glad no one else can see that. Some of the people here were so chipper they might try to make him feel better, but no one had that kind of power. Sora had tried and if he couldn't... well then there was just no hope. He didn't want to feel better, he just didn't want to feel at all. These people kept up some kind of mundane lifestyle that he wasn't a part of, that was nothing like living in Castle Oblivion, and yet every day it felt like a carrot being dangled in front of him - always just out of his reach. Some weren't happy, and he begrudged them their petty squabbles when they had hearts real enough to *be* hurt, but the rest... They were more than happy enough were for him to take notice too.]

This thing in my head - why can't I just turn everything off? There's no point in making me listen to all of you. It's bad enough I'm here at all. [His voice gets quieter.] I just want it to stop... All of it.

□ Third Person Sample:

He opened his eyes and looked around. That simple act puzzled him. 'This place-' He tilted his head back, bangs still clinging to his forehead from his battle to the death with Riku. 'It's not Castle Oblivion.'

Sitting with his back to a wall and knees bent up close to his chest, the boy known as Riku's replica held up one hand. He had been knocked clean out, that he knew, but out of his combat form and his weapon nowhere to be seen? 'I disappeared ... didn't I? So this must be-' He lolled his head to one side and then the other. 'That place the real thing meant.' A frustrated expression crossed his face. 'You just *had* to be right, didn't you? I couldn't just stop *being*-' He touched his face, pushing his bangs away. 'Living on as a fake.'

As he let his hand fall back down near his hip, he felt it impact something on the ground. The boy knew that shape immediately - some kind of star charm. He closed his eyes and gripped it tight. "You won't get a 'thanks' out of me for this." Despite his protests, he couldn't just leave it behind, though. Instead, he tucked the object into the back of his belt - the same place he always kept Naminé's charm, or what he'd been made to believe was her charm.

For a few minutes, he just sat there: one arm draped over a bent knee, the other flat on the ground but canted to a bend as well, and his right arm relaxed at his side. He wasn't interested in exploring the place, didn't have anyone he missed or longed to see where he'd come from, and had no intense desires for food or drink. Not a half hour ago, the way he felt, he'd given his all in an effort to destroy Riku - the boy whose likeness he shared to a T. When Riku tried to be kind to his replica in their final moments together... it only served to make the replica even more bitter. He didn't want pity or sympathy from the likes of *him*. Spent physically and emotionally, it was hard enough work just to think. In an hour, he wouldn't remember the shapes etched into the street, or the signs on the buildings nearby, and he certainly didn't remember the faces of anyone who passed by. Two or three tried to offer to help, but their first question was always for his name, and he replied exactly the same way to each of them before walking away.

"I don't have one to give."

A few hours in Ariel was enough to reassure Rep of one critical thing - Riku was not there. As he took a shower, that thought washed over and soothed him. Whatever had happened to him to bring him to Ariel, this was one small victory. It actually brought a smile to his face; he was excited.

A small gasp escaped through his clenched teeth then as he felt a muscle spasm near his waist. At least, that's what he thought it was - until he reached down instinctively and cupped himself. 'Why...' But it didn't hurt; it felt good.

Tentatively, he palmed over his own hardening dick in quiet fascination, realizing how good it felt. He touched here and there, tip and balls, teasing himself as he rested his forehead against the cool shower wall. 'I- I feel...'

Stroking once with a tighter grip now had him gasping again, so he kept that up. He was rough with himself in his curiosity, thrilled by the pleasure he'd just discovered and no lingering memories that surfaced with it. As suddenly as the discovery came, so did Rep. He shouted in response to the spike, and moaned at the loss.

Catching his breath he whispered, "I feel alive."