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 inadvertently 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!

BioQuest: Dance & Diversion

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Elizabeth rested her hand on Jack’s shoulder, but all she could think of was getting him home. “You’re right, Jack. No one can own you, and we’ll keep it that way.”

Booker stepped up to join them. “Well, that’s the point, Elizabeth,” he teased.

“So you’ll do anything to make it work? Oh, that’s perfect!” Taking her hand off Jack’s shoulder, Elizabeth turned to smirk at Booker. She hadn’t even explained her plan and he already had a grimace creeping onto his face. “You know Cohen will fixate on us if we dance to the music.”

“Dammit, Elizabeth,” Booker groaned.

Jack chuckled, hiding the lower half of his face behind his hand and his eyes lit up behind the bunny mask.

“Well, it will work,” she answered, smiling and moving towards the storage room door leading back to the main area of Cohen’s apartment. Grumbling, Booker followed her out.

Jack waited to give them the head start, and Cohen greeted them with a broad, sweeping wave and bow when they returned. “Sweet Songbird, you return! Have you changed your mind from the guitar?”

“Oh yes, it’s all this glorious music!” She exclaimed, taking Booker’s hand and leading him past the piano deeper into the apartment… Leading Cohen and Fitzpatrick to turn away from the exit. “You’ve inspired my muse to dance, we simply must! You do understand, don’t you?”

He erupted into cascading laughter, tapping Fitzpatrick on the shoulder. His words washed over her as they danced, Booker almost relaxing as he guided her through the steps.

In the front of the apartment, she saw Jack’s white ears vanish into the hallway as the door whispered shut behind him.

• • • • •

POV switch

• • • • •

Tenenbaum struggled to buy clothes for Jack out in Rapture, since she could not take him along. This button down shirt, those slacks, a sweater, something to sleep in, so many aspects to consider… He would grow like a weed anyway.

But imagine her surprise when she got back to the Sanctuary, and the little ones reported that Jack had gone after the grumpy man and pretty lady.

They went off to play and Tenenbaum settled into a chair where she could see Jack the moment he returned. A bottle of Red Ribbon brandy kept her company in her watch.

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A little one let him in. Her footsteps echoed and his arrival was barely audible in her reminders to hurry. Jack was at the top of the stairs, fingers deftly undoing his vest buttons when he finally saw her there and froze.

“Oh, uh. Tenenbaum, I…” He bit his lip for only a moment before he gathered himself to stand firmly before her. “I’m sorry.”


What do you want to do, Tenenbaum?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Choices

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Silence filled the room, sitting between the three of them as real as any of the instruments in Cohen’s storage room.

“Booker,” Elizabeth began, putting her hand on his arm. “Go easy on him.”

“You can’t be serious,” he snapped, stepping back from her and pointing to Jack. “Elizabeth, he–”

“He’s been trapped all his life, told where to live and what to do.” Lowering his arm, Booker turned around and scoffed. She put her hand on his back, turning to face Jack again. “Jack deserves a chance to explain himself.”

He held the bunny mask in his hands, running his fingers over the curves. As she approached, he glanced up to her with a flicker of a smile. “Well, Jack? What are you doing here?”

Still toying with the mask, he continued, his voice and eyes distant. “…I wanted to help. You rescued me before you even really knew me, and…” He exhaled, putting the mask down and sitting on a box with a handprint on the side.

“And?”

“I couldn’t help before the programming was fixed. But I can now.” He finally looked at her, sparing a quick look for Booker. He must’ve had his back turned still because Jack locked his eyes hers and continued. “Let me help.”

“You wanted to help,” Booker growled, striding up silently beside her. “You should’ve stayed with the girls.”

“Booker!”

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Undaunted, he moved to stand in front of Jack and gave him no choice to meet his gaze. “They’re alone right now. You know they can open that door, and they’re not free from whatever those lab coats did. If they wanted to go looking for angels, they can.”

Not many stood up to Booker’s ‘investigative method’, but Elizabeth watched as Jack calmly processed the speech. Where his face had once seemed faraway, he now seemed as alert as a student during a pre-exam lecture. “They needed you, Jack. And you left.”

Huffing, Elizabeth forced her way between them and pushed Booker back. “Don’t take your issues out on him!”

“I’m not–”

“He’s right.” He got off the box, picking up the mask.

“Jack,” Elizabeth sighed.

“No. He’s right, I left when they needed me. We can’t change that.” Jack put the mask on, adjusting it on his face until it was straight and he was comfortable.

“But we can work together now so I can get back to them quickly. Keep Cohen busy and I’ll slip out.” He smiled, looking from her to Booker. In the mask, he looked kind of adorable…

Clearing his throat, Booker went over to Jack again and clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Listen, Jack, I…” Booker put his hands in his pockets, rolling his shoulders. “Just be careful.”

“Thank you, Mr. DeWitt.” He nodded, giving Booker a soft hug. Elizabeth held back a laugh as the few seconds passed with Booker looking helplessly at her.

Her grin turned to a smile as Jack faced her. “Elizabeth? I just want to say…” He looked down, his gaze pausing briefly just past her shoulder, before smiling at her.

“Don’t go easy on me. I’ve only been alive for two years, but I’m not a kid. I can think like Tenenbaum and fight like Booker. What I’m missing is experience.”

He shrugged, tugging at the bottom of his vest to straighten it. “For the first time, all my choices are mine. Good and bad.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Take the Mask Off

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“Elizabeth,” he beckoned, annoyance drawing out her name when he spoke. “Your muse is calling.” Cohen stared down the hall, eyes wide with wonder, and Fitzpatrick stifled a laugh.

“You gonna go, or…?” Fitzpatrick asked, addressing Elizabeth directly for the first time. As his sentence trailed, his eyes drifted to Cohen posturing beside him at the piano.

“Oh, you must go, little Songbird! Fly, fly away,” he cooed, waving her along.

“You are too kind,” Elizabeth replied, rising yet again… She wouldn’t have guessed that Booker would seek help so quickly. Giving a quick smile to the two men, she started off down the hall. “I’ll only be a moment.”

Turning into the doorway, Elizabeth found Booker hissing threats, probably, at the attendant slouching before him. She sighed, smoothing her skirt and stepping into the storage room packed with instruments and equipment.

She folded her arms and addressed the back of his head. “Booker, I…”

He muttered one last advisement to the man with him before he stepped aside, leveling a deadpan gaze at Elizabeth. And she could finally see the attendant wasn’t wearing his mask any longer.

“J… Jack?” He shrugged, scratching absently at his arm.

“Uhh. Hello.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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