The Thirteen Seekers of Darkness (13人の闇の探求者 Jūsannin no Yami no Tankyūsha?), also known as the Real Organization XIII (真のXIII機関 Shin no Jūsan Kikan?), is a group consisting of thirteen different vessels of Master Xehanort that debuts in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Unlike the original Organization, this new Organization is comprised of other beings apart from Nobodies, including Heartless and Somebodies.
The main goal of the group is to clash against the Seven Guardians of Light at the Keyblade Graveyard in order to forge the χ-blade, a weapon that would allow its user to open Kingdom Hearts. They serve as the main antagonists of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III.
A new Organization under Master Xehanort's direct command. It comprises the thirteen pure darknesses he needs to reenact the Keyblade War.
Many members are recognizable from the old Organization. Despite regaining their humanity after their defeat, they chose to becomes Nobodies again. They now scour the worlds for candidates to complete their numbers.
The actual purpose of the original Organization XIII was to host a fragment of Xehanort's heart in each member, turning them into his vessels, therefore replicating the thirteen pieces of darkness that emerged from the shattered χ-blade. However, expecting Xemnas's gathering of members to fail, Master Xehanort managed to gather twelves vessels that contained his heart thanks to Young Xehanort and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, though he failed to make Sora the last one, and fled with an incomplete Organization to put his plan in practice.
Yen Sid has already told Mickey about this in Signs of What's Next, when he said that one Keyblade Master alone will not be enough to face what is "not a single Xehanort".
Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, under the orders of Master Xehanort, traveled back in time to visit Young Xehanort who was still living on the Destiny Islands, and gave him "instructions" about the great projects he had in store. Thanks to Ansem's power of time travel, Young Xehanort traveled through different future periods to his own, and made contact with worthy vessels necessary to reform the real Organization XIII and serve as the dark pieces needed to reforge the χ-blade.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Not being able to carry his own physical body through the ages, Young Xehanort had to use blank Replicas designed by Even to recruit his Seekers of Darkness. Arriving at the time of his future self's first attempt to provoke the Second Keyblade War, Young Xehanort recruited Vanitas, whose heart of pure darkness was deemed "incomplete" without Ventus's heart of pure light. Meanwhile, in Radiant Garden, Master Xehanort met Braig, a guard of Ansem the Wise, who unbeknownst to Xehanort, was in actuality Luxu, one of the Master of Masters's apprentices. Xehanort struck a deal with Braig; in exchange for helping him, he would be bequeathed his Keyblade, The Gazing Eye.
Together, they mounted a plot to make Terra succumb to darkness, which caused Braig to lose his right eye. Despite this, Braig still agreed to help Xehanort in return for his Keyblade, and in the process was given a fragment of Xehanort's heart, which would carry over to Xigbar, his Nobody.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
After Master Xehanort possessed Terra and became Terra-Xehanort, he would begin to develop amnesia after being defeated by the Lingering Will. After locking Terra's heart inside his Guardian during his clash with Aqua in Radiant Garden, Terra-Xehanort plunged into the Realm of Darkness, only to be saved by Aqua, who sacrificed herself in order to save Terra. While she succeed in saving Terra, Xehanort still remained in control of his body, although his amnesia caused him to forget everything, save for the name "Xehanort" when Ansem the Wise discovered him.
It was here that Ansem decided to recruit Xehanort as his apprentice, alongside Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus and Ienzo. But very quickly, Xehanort soon betrayed Ansem, even stealing his research and identity, and banishing him to the Realm of Darkness. With Ansem gone, Xehanort continued further with his experiments on the hearts, bringing him and his other colleagues, including Lea and Isa, to divide into Heartless and Nobodies. During the process, Xehanort split into Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, his Heartless who would go back in time to grant Young Xehanort the power to time travel, and Xemnas, his Nobody who remained in the present to form the first Organization XIII.
When Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, caused Riku to succumb to darkness to take possession of his body and recover all of his former powers, Young Xehanort arrived to recruit him.
At some point, Young Xehanort recruited Xion to replace Vexen, although the time when she was recruited is unknown: she could very well have been recruited just before developing her own personality in contact with Roxas and Axel, or after having absorbed almost all the memories of Sora present in Roxas and her final brainwashing by Xemnas and Saïx.
After Vexen, Axel, Larxene and Marluxia used Naminé's memory manipulation powers to make Riku Replica believe he was the real Riku during the time Ansem, Seeker of Darkness had taken possession of his body, Young Xehanort recruited him as Dark Riku to replace Demyx.
Between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II
Some time before Xemnas gets eliminated by Sora and Riku, Young Xehanort arrived to recruit him, collecting his heart unknown to most and bringing it to the future.
With Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness having been eliminated, Master Xehanort and Terra were both restored in their original forms. Unfortunately however, Terra's heart failed to return to his body, as it was captured within Xehanort's Guardian. Young Xehanort then brought Terra-Xehanort's heart from some point the past, where he placed it in Terra's body, allowing him to join the ranks of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness.
Young Xehanort later arrived at Ansem the Wise's laboratory in Radiant Garden, where Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, Ienzo, Isa, and Lea were restored but still unconscious. Braig, the first of them to regain consciousness, was then informed of Xehanort's plans to reform Organization XIII, and he agreed to reinstate it alongside Isa. In the end, Braig and Isa returned themselves to their Nobodies forms as Xigbar and Saïx.
Shortly after they were recompleted, Lauriam, Elrena and the original selves of Luxord and Demyx were invited to become Nobodies again to join the Seekers of Darkness, which even Lauriam and Elrena accepted, despite their internal rebellion as Marluxia and Larxene.
During Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam in the Sleeping Worlds, where the laws of time travel were more "flexible" than in the Realm of Light, Young Xehanort, with the aid of Xemnas, Ansem, Xigbar, Vanitas, and even Dark Riku, intervened to lure Sora to The World That Never Was and to make him their thirteenth vessel of pure darkness. When Young Xehanort, with Xemnas and Xigbar, managed to knock Sora into his trap, the three of them took him to Where Nothing Gathers in the former Organization's fortress, and summoned Ansem, Saïx, Vanitas, Larxene, Luxord, Marluxia, Demyx and Terra- Xehanort, to welcome to recompletion of Master Xehanort.
As Master Xehanort prepared to make Sora his final vessel, however, Riku, joined by King Mickey, tries to stop him, but are stopped by the Young Xehanort, followed by Xemnas and Ansem. Lea arrived and successfully retrieved Sora's sleeping body, but was promptly countered by Saïx, much to Lea's shock. It wasn't until Donald and Goofy finally intervened that the twelve Seekers of Darkness ran out of time and had to return to their original timelines. However, Master Xehanort assured Mickey and the other Guardians that both the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness and the Seven Guardians of Light will meet at "fated place", the Keyblade Graveyard.
Despite being recompleted, Even approached Saïx to reprise his Nobody status as Vexen again and join the Seekers of Darkness. At first, he wanted to continue his Replica Program, and create Replicas real enough to exist as full-fledged beings, unlike previous models that were just as "fragile" as Nobodies.
Thanks to Vexen's research, Xehanort obtained vessels that were strong enough to accommodate the hearts of Young Xehanort, Ansem, Xemnas, Vanitas, and even Dark Riku and Xion. With the integration of Dark Riku and Xion, Demyx and Vexen were "benched" as reserves members, allowing them to discretely sabotage Xehanort's plans, such as freeing Ansem the Wise and offering a Replica for the heart of Roxas. Despite the loss of his reserve members, Xehanort still had access to the Replica Xehanorts, which were replicas that had remnants of the chosen members of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness.
Once both the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness and the Seven Guardians of Light had assembled their ranks, the two would eventually confront each other in the Keyblade Graveyard, where Master Xehanort creates the Skein of Severance to serve as the battlegrounds of the Second Keyblade War. One by one, the members of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness would fall, with each of their battles, regardless of victory or defeat, creating a key that served as a physical representation of a dark piece of the shattered χ-blade. Once all thirteen keys were created, in addition to the brief demise of the Seven Guardians of Light prior to the conflict, Master Xehanort was able to complete the χ-blade, and soon used it to open Kingdom Hearts.
However, thanks to some quick thinking, the Guardians devised a plan to trap Xehanort in time, resulting in his "containment" in Scala ad Caelum. Sora, Donald and Goofy chase after him, but they are soon confronted by the Replica Xehanorts in town. After defeating them, Xehanort reveals himself and briefly explains the town's purpose before absorbing the fallen Replicas to create a new Keyblade Armor, and soon battles the trio throughout the town. However, Armored Xehanort is defeated, resulting in the destruction of his armor. Despite this, Xehanort retreats to the roof of the cathedral at the top of the town, and the trio chase after him. When they arrive, Xehanort summons the χ-blade and fights the heroes one last time, but despite summoning and using the power of Kingdom Hearts, Xehanort is ultimately defeated once and for all. When the other Guardians arrive, the heart of Master Eraqus emerges from Terra and convinces Xehanort to surrender the χ-blade to Sora. As Xehanort begins to die from his wounds, he is caught by Eraqus, and together the two ascend to Kingdom Hearts in the afterlife. Once Sora used the χ-blade to close Kingdom Hearts, the threat of Xehanort was finally over.
- Master Xehanort - Original incarnation of Xehanort, and the leader of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness. A Keyblade Master who masterminded all the chaos and destruction that has besieged the Realm of Light thus far, he seeks to forge the χ-blade and use the power of Kingdom Hearts to fulfill his master plan.
- Attribute: Darkness
- Weapon: Keyblade (The Gazing Eye)
- Ansem, Seeker of Darkness - Master Xehanort's Heartless through Terra-Xehanort. His missions were to both enable Xehanort's younger self to travel through time and oversee Maleficent gather the seven Princesses of Heart. Though he possessed Riku to regain physical form to go after Kingdom Hearts, Sora put an end to his plans. His darkness lingered within Riku until the boy put an end to him. However, Young Xehanort was able to bring his heart from the past to the future, and used a Replica body to allow him to remain.
- Xemnas - Master Xehanort's Nobody through Terra-Xehanort. He founded the original Organization XIII, however Sora and Riku, as well as an internal strife, quickly reduced their numbers. Sora and Riku destroyed him, causing him to fade away into nothingness. However, Young Xehanort was able to bring his heart from the past to the future, and used a Replica body to allow him to remain.
- Xigbar - Nobody of Braig, a mercenary hired by Master Xehanort to help speed Terra's descent into darkness. Xigbar was the second member of the original Organization XIII, however Sora put an end to him. Despite this, Braig reverted back into his Nobody self shortly after his recompletion. He reveals that he joined Xehanort so he could claim the power of the Keyblade as his own, although it is revealed later that he had another reason.
- Vanitas - The embodiment of Ventus's darkness within his heart that was extracted by Master Xehanort. During Master Xehanort's original attempt to forge the χ-blade, Vanitas clashed against Ventus, and the result of their unison would forge an artificial χ-blade. However, due to multiple factors, the attempt failed and Vanitas was destroyed, leaving his heart to be fractured and lost. However, it was recovered by Young Xehanort, who used a Replica body for him to remain until he was able to reconstruct his heart by using the facility found in Monstropolis.
- Terra-Xehanort - The result of Master Xehanort possessing Terra in order to acquire a new younger body. After he developed amnesia, he became an apprentice to Ansem the Wise simply under the name Xehanort, although he later betrays his master with the help of the other apprentices, and soon divides himself into his Heartless and Nobody counterparts. After the destruction of Ansem and Xemnas, both Master Xehanort and Terra were restored to their original forms, although Terra's heart failed to return to his body since it was captured inside Xehanort's Guardian. Master Xehanort then had his younger self recover Terra-Xehanort's heart from the past, and placed it within Terra's dormant body in the present so he could become a member of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness.
- Saïx - Nobody of Isa, and the seventh member of the old Organization XIII. His reasoning for becoming a member of both Organization XIIIs was because he believed he could use his affiliations with Xehanort to find "Subject X", his friend from when him and Axel were human, although he soon became consumed by jealousy when Axel made new friends and seemingly abandoned him. However, he began to have a change of heart, and secretly assisted Vexen in his plans for atonement.
- Luxord - Tenth member of the old Organization and the Nobody of an unknown individual. His reasoning for joining the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness are currently unknown, although it was hinted that he was reinstated because of an "ancient Keyblade legacy" that slumbers within him.
- Marluxia - Nobody of Lauriam and eleventh member of the old Organization who tried to take over it. His reasoning for joining the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness are currently unknown, although it was hinted that he was reinstated because of an "ancient Keyblade legacy" that slumbers within him.
- Larxene - Nobody of Elrena and twelfth member of the old Organization who tried to take it over alongside Marluxia. Her reasoning for joining the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness was to follow Marluxia and due to her possessing an "ancient Keyblade legacy", even though she didn't enjoy being a vessel for Master Xehanort's heart.
- Dark Riku - The time-displaced heart of the Riku Replica when he was brainwashed in Castle Oblivion, now in a new Replica body and given a fragment of Xehanort's heart.
- Attribute: Darkness
- Weapon: Sword (Replica Soul Eater)
- Young Xehanort - Younger self of Master Xehanort, who was given the power to travel through time by Ansem as an insurance plan in case he and Xemnas failed on their own. It is due to him that the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness were able to assemble. In order to remain in the present and help fulfill his future self's goal, his heart resides within a Replica body.
- Attributes: Darkness and Time
- Weapons: Unnamed Keyblade and unnamed Etheareal Blades
- Xion - A Replica that was presented as the unofficial fourteenth member of the original Organization XIII, who was designed to act as a failsafe should Sora and/or Roxas prove to be no use to their goals. Before her destruction, Young Xehanort acquires her heart from the past and places it in a new Replica body in the present in order to fill out the last remaining spot of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness's lineup.
- Demyx - Ninth member of the old Organization and the Nobody of an unknown individual. He was originally a full member of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness before he was pushed to being a reserve once Vexen was able to perfect the Replica Program; his spot instead was taken by Dark Riku. His reasoning for joining the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness was because he was "sweet-talked" into joining, although he also possesses an "ancient Keyblade legacy" that slumbers within him.
- Vexen - Fourth member of the old Organization. He was requested to join the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness by Saïx in order to complete his work on the Replica Program, which would result in the creation of nigh-perfect Replicas that could become full-flegded humans. However, his real motives of joining was to use his work on the Replica Program to atone for the misdeeds in the past, and to supplement his Replicas to those who truly deserve them. Secretly, Saïx was also assisting Vexen in this ploy as well.
- Attribute: Ice
- Weapon: Shield (Frozen Pride)
- Replica Xehanorts - A dozen Replicas created from the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness, except Master Xehanort.
- Attribute: Variable
- Weapon: Variable
By the end of Kingdom Hearts III, the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness were defunct, with some eliminated, some returning to their own time and some being re-completed into their original selves. While the player can choose some of the orders in which to fight the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness, the canonical order is as followed:
- Vexen - Betrayed the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness by rescuing Ansem the Wise from their clutches in Twilight Town, and later reforms back into Even.
- Demyx - Betrayed the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness by delivering a blank Replica to Ienzo in the Radiant Garden to allow the resurrection of Roxas.
- Dark Riku - Dark Riku was defeated by Sora, Riku and Riku Replica, the final blow being carried by Riku Replica. It was discovered that Dark Riku was not the real Riku from the time when Ansem had taken possession of his body, but the Riku Replica from the time Naminé had reconstituted his memory so that he thinks he is the real Riku. With that, the heart of Dark Riku returned to its rightful place in the timeline, and his body went on to serve as a vessel for the heart of Naminé. He was the first chosen member to be defeated.
- Xigbar - Xigbar was defeated by Sora and Riku. It was later discovered that he merely simulated his elimination, technically making him one of the only survivors among the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness, with Xion and Terra, to be able to recover the Gazing Eye, as well as the Black Box, and fulfill his role as Luxu. He was the second chosen member to be defeated.
- Luxord - Luxord was eliminated by Sora. Before disappearing, he rewards Sora a "wild card", which he claims could "turn the tables" in the future. He was the third chosen member to be defeated.
- Larxene - Larxene was eliminated by Sora and Mickey. She admitted that she had joined both Organizations in order to follow Marluxia, regardless of the two Organizations' goals. It is not yet known whether she was re-completed to become Elrena again. She was the fourth chosen member to be defeated.
- Marluxia - Marluxia was eliminated by Sora and Mickey. Before disappearing, he thanks Sora for returning the memories of his old life. It is not yet known whether he was recompleted to become Lauriam again. He was the fifth chosen member to be defeated.
- Vanitas - Vanitas was defeated by Sora, Ventus and Aqua. Vanitas declares himself satisfied with the role he had played as a shadow cast by the light of his "brothers". With that, Vanitas faded away into darkness with a satisfied grin. He was the sixth chosen member to be defeated.
- Terra-Xehanort - Terra-Xehanort was temporarily neutralized by Sora, Ventus and Aqua, then completely defeated by Sora and the Guardian, who turned out to be Terra's Heartless. With that, the heart of Terra-Xehanort was returned to its original time, and Terra's heart reclaimed his body to become an additional Guardian of Light, technically making him one of the only survivors among the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness, with Xion. He was the seventh chosen member to be defeated.
- Xion - As she was about to "finish" Lea on Xemnas' orders, Roxas temporarily takes possession of Sora's body to prevent her, and, by uttering her forgotten name, causes her heart to emerge from Sora's and enter her new Replica body. Xion becomes an additional Guardian of Light, technically making her one of the only survivors among the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness, with Terra, while the heart of her past self that had inhabited the Replica body returned to the past. Because she fought against the Seven Guardians of Light, and her brief clash against Sora counted as a dark piece of the χ-blade, she was technically the eighth chosen member to be defeated.
- Saïx - Saïx was eliminated by Sora, Roxas and Xion. He admitted the reasons for his actions: he wanted first to find the girl called "Subject X" who served as guinea pig for the Ansem the Wise and Xehanort's experiments, but had finally succumbed to jealousy when Axel had become attached to Roxas and Xion. He was finally reconstituted to become Isa again. He was the ninth chosen member to be defeated.
- Ansem, Seeker of Darkness - Ansem was defeated by Sora, Riku and Mickey. He recognizes Riku's true strength over the power of darkness and as a Keyblade Master before his Replica body fades away and his heart returns to its proper place in time. He was the tenth chosen member to be defeated.
- Xemnas - Xemnas was defeated by Sora, Riku, and Mickey. Regaining his emotions, he reflects on the painful loneliness of the loss of his comrades, but ended up recognizing, thanks to Sora, that pain serves to remind humans that they are living. Saying that it must take incredible strength to harbor such emotions, Xemnas's Replica body fades away as his heart returns to its proper place in time. He was the eleventh chosen member to be defeated.
- Young Xehanort - Young Xehanort was defeated by Sora, Riku and Mickey. Merely laughing after his defeat, Young Xehanort tells Sora that there was a high price to pay for misusing the power of waking, saying that while he will go back to his time to live out his life, Sora's journey has reached its end. While taunting Sora one last time, he is cut off as his Replica body fades away and his heart returns to its proper place in time. He was the twelfth chosen member to be defeated.
- Replica Xehanort - Absorbed by Master Xehanort after their defeat against Sora, Donald and Goofy at Scala ad Caelum in order to create a new Keyblade Armor for the elderly Keyblade Master.
- Master Xehanort - Master Xehanort was defeated by Sora, Donald and Goofy. Xehanort explains that his motives for everything was to reset the world with the light of Kingdom Hearts, as the darkness within the hearts of the weak polluted the world, devouring what was left of the light. He also reveals that while he himself used darkness, he was only using it to fulfill his goals, and that the world needs someone to lead and dictate their destinies. Nevertheless, the old Keyblade Master finally accepts his defeat thanks to Master Eraqus, whose heart emerges as a spirit from Terra's heart. Xehanort then hands over the χ-blade to Sora and finally joins Kingdom Hearts alongside Eraqus in the afterlife. He was the thirteenth and final chosen member to be defeated.
- Seven of the Seekers of Darkness came from the past as hearts. (Xemnas, Ansem, Dark Riku, Vanitas, Terra-Xehanort, Young Xehanort and Xion) The rest already existed in the present.
- Terra-Xehanort is the only one to not use a replica body, having instead used Terra's.
- Xion has her replica taken by her present day heart; the past version of her heart was ejected from the replica and returned to the past.
- As revealed in the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania, the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness were original meant to have ranks like Organization XIII, but was changed in order to help avoid confusion with characters that had previous ranks in the original Organization.
- Members that were known to have ranks prior to this change were:
- I. Master Xehanort
- II. Ansem
- III. Xemnas
- IV. Xigbar
- VII. Saïx
- XII. Young Xehanort
- XIII. Xion (originally Sora)
- Members that were known to have ranks prior to this change were: