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The Shadow Stalker is a Heartless enemy which can be found exclusively as a boss in the in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. It also has a stronger form, the Dark Thorn, that is revealed when it is released from the walls that contain it.
Kingdom Hearts II
- Shadow Stalker
A Heartless that attacked Belle in Beast's Castle.
It jumped around on the floor, pillars, and chandelier of the ballroom, creating mayhem.
- Dark Thorn
A liberated version of Shadow Stalker that appeared in Beast's Castle.
It appeared and disappeared while running wild, creating a chaotic battle for Sora and his friends.
Kingdom Hearts II
The Shadow Stalker is a Pureblood Heartless summoned by Xaldin after his first attempt to turn Beast into a Heartless failed. While Sora, Donald and Goofy were speaking with Beast, the Shadow Stalker chased Belle down to the ballroom, where she called for Beast's help. Sora, Donald, Goofy and Beast arrived just in time to see Belle escape the Heartless out onto the balcony. The Shadow Stalker then turned from her to the party. Similar to the Possessor Heartless that resided below, the Shadow Stalker possessed the room itself, using the windows, pillars, chandelier and floor to attack Sora and Beast.
However, when it is driven from the walls, its chains are released and it transforms into the monstrous Dark Thorn. In this new, powerful bestial form, it attacks the party ferociously with furious attacks and its ability to become invisible. Sora, however, is able to use the very elements that the Heartless had recently possessed to beat it into submission. The Heartless fades back into darkness and Xaldin leaves the castle to reform his plan.
While the Beast and Belle reunite after the attack, Sora speaks briefly with the servants of the castle, then opens the gateway to the next world.
The Shadow Stalker's body is a black sphere with several twisted tentacles sprouting out of it. Two of these are large, each sporting two metal bands around them, while the rest are smaller and placed more haphazardly around the Heartless's body. The tips of all of these tentacles are orange. The Shadow Stalker's jagged maw is red on the inside, and its eyes are eerie, glowing, yellow circles with pitch-black rings around them. The most prominent feature of the Heartless are the two chains wrapped around its body, with each end of both chains attached to a conical weight. The Shadow Stalker is vaguely reminiscent of the Darkball Heartless.
The Dark Thorn is a massive creature with black skin. Its entire body is wrapped in teal thorns, possibly a reference to the Beast's rose, and both of its wrists and ankles still have manacles on them. The chains on its arms are broken, but the chain connecting its feet is not. Like many other Purebloods, the Dark Thorn has a heart-shaped hole in its chest. The Heartless has a large, red, toothy maw and beady, glowing yellow eyes.
While it is muscular and has large hands and feet, it also has rather thin limbs. Each of its limbs sports three digits with long, red claws. The Dark Thorn also has two enormous, orange horns and a massive, orange mane. According to Nomura, the Dark Thorn's design is based off of the Final Fantasy X version of Ifrit.
The Shadow Stalker's name refers to its status as a Heartless, a Heart corrupted by the Darkness. A "stalker" can be defined as someone who secretly follows another, often with ill intent. This may reference the fact that the Shadow Stalker was sent to torment the Beast, and also its style of fighting which involves constant hiding and surprise attacks. The Dark Thorn's name also references the Darkness, and "Thorn" harkens back to the thorns covering its body. Its Japanese name, "Black Thorn", holds a similar meaning, though "Black" could also be referring to its own dark coloration.