- “You have to be strong. Strength of heart will carry you through the hardest of trials.”
- ―Terra to Cinderella in their first meeting
Terra is one of the protagonists of the Kingdom Hearts series who made his debut in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Terra is a driven young man who, along with his best friends Ventus and Aqua, was a Keyblade apprentice studying to become a Keyblade master. However, he becomes a victim to the manipulations of Xehanort that causes his heart and body to be lost to the madman, leaving only his mind to inhabit the remnants of his armor. Before his desolate state, Terra creates a connection with Riku as his successor, allowing Riku to wield the Keyblade in the future.
Terra was a Keyblade apprentice training under Eraqus at the Land of Departure, along with his friend, Aqua. One day during training, Master Xehanort visited the Land of Departure, bringing with him a near-catatonic Ventus, asking Eraqus to take care of the boy and train him as a Keyblade wielder. Terra greeted Ventus, and he and Aqua introduced themselves, but when Terra started asking him questions about himself, Ventus collapsed, as Eraqus explained to Terra that Ventus had no memories.
Ventus later began training with Terra and Aqua, becoming fast friends with them, and Terra often sparred with Ventus. After a long day of training, Terra told Ven and Aqua about his dream of becoming a Keyblade Master and gave Ven his wooden Keyblade to use instead of Ven's wooden Sword, saying that he, Ven, and Aqua, all carry the same dream.
Terra's calm and cool exterior hides a heart that would fight for his friends, yet he is constantly tempted by the darkness, similar to Riku. Oblivious to the fact that Master Xehanort is attempting to seduce him into darkness, he is forced to doubt those most special to him, and only realizes his wrong-doings after they occur. While not exactly gullible, Terra can be overly trusting, which most villains use to their advantage, leading to his misadventures. His experiences with darkness bring a negative vibe to him, but Terra holds his bond with Ventus and Aqua in high esteem, willing to fight for them despite his ties to the darkness, wishing to help them long after his possession. This is seen with the new Xehanort, Xemnas, and the Lingering Will, each of which demonstrating instances of Terra's faded consciousness acting on Ventus' and Aqua's behalf. He also holds Master Eraqus in high regard, viewing him as a surrogate father, which he proclaims to Xehanort; for example, he cries at Eraqus' apparent demise and is visibly happy when he reveals that Eraqus has "set foot into" his heart.
Terra is a tall young man with dark brown hair that reaches to the base of his neck in the back and is styled into rather messy, vertical spikes and bangs that frame his face. He has blue eyes and tanned skin. His appearance is carried on to Terra-Xehanort, as he is effectively Terra's body under Master Xehanort's influence. Following his possession by Master Xehanort, his hair turns silvery-white, his eyes turn yellow, and his ears become pointy. Later on, his eyes turn brown.
Like his friends, Terra wears two intersecting straps over his chest, though his red ones are rather different, dropping much lower down and almost resembling crisscrossed suspenders. Also unlike Aqua and Ventus, Terra does not wear his badge (which is gold as opposed to the others' silver) on these straps. Instead, he wears it on his belt. He wears a skintight, grey and black, high-collared shirt, showing that he is rather muscular. Terra's pants bear a distinct feudal Japanese style; his belt is tied like an obi-sash and he wears hakama (traditional samurai pants distinguished by the large pleats). His hakama are dark grey near the top, with several loops for his belt and two buttons, both of which are undone. The rest of the pants are tan with a small, lighter stripe of tan on the bottom hem. Terra wears a plain black wristband on his right arm, while his left arm is significantly more armored.
Like Aqua and Ven, Terra wears armor on one arm, with his bearing similarities to both of his companions. Terra's armor shares the large, ornate crest (colored gold) with Ven and the long, segmented section (each segment alternating between dark grey and dark red) with Aqua, though Terra's is much longer, reaching all the way to the bottom of his hand. He also wears a black, fingerless glove on his hand and what appears to be a black gauntlet on his forearm, over the segmented armor, which also has small pieces of dark red armor on it. Finally, his armored boots are dark brown and gold.armor. When in his suit in "Birth by sleep", Terra is clad from head to toe in armor, mostly in shades of dark brown, gold, and red. Dull orange lines decorate the armor as well. Notable additions to his armor include upturned, sharp red hooks on the backs of his boots, a navy blue cape, and a dark-visored helmet. His helmet sports two tall, red prongs on either side. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, his armor is now slimmer, the colors on the armor are much brighter, and the cape is omitted. The dark brown is now shown to be black, as is the visor of his helmet.
Powers and abilities
Terra is the most powerful of the trio in terms of damage. In Keyblade combat, he uses slow, but very heavy and hard-hitting attacks to decimate his enemies. He has an elemental affinity for earth and darkness. Terra has a large assortment of Attack Commands, consisting of heavy attacks and earth-based attacks, like Geo Impact and Meteor Crash, as well as dark based attacks, like Dark Haze and Chaos Blade. Terra's Keyblades are primarily based on the earth element, with his additional Keyblades based on the darkness element.
Like his classmates, Terra has access to a variety of magic spells, although he is not as skilled in magic as Aqua nor as fast as Ventus. Terra's affinity for earth lets him use the powerful Quake and Meteor spells. In addition, the power of darkness allows him to use the Dark Firaga spell. He can also use Warp, which allows him to potentially wipe an enemy from existence. Terra's mastery of raw power is comparable to Goofy and Master Xehanort in the Kingdom Hearts series.
When Data-Naminé gives Data-Sora the extra memories that were implanted in Jiminy's Journal, an image of Terra appears, along with images of Aqua and Ventus. She tells him that Terra is among those that Sora must save from their hurt.
Later, King Mickey and Yen Sid speak about their search for Terra, Aqua, and Ven, and how only Terra's location remains unknown.
Four years after Ven's arrival, Terra and Aqua undergo the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become Keyblade Masters. Though their first trial takes an unexpected turn when the orbs of light Master Eraqus conjures suddenly go berserk (thanks to Master Xehanort infusing them with darkness), Terra and Aqua quickly dispatch the orbs with Ventus' help. The second phase of the test was having them face off against each other; true natures are revealed when equal powers clash. During the fight, Terra grows annoyed by Aqua getting the better of him, causing darkness to emanate from his hand. Noticing, Terra quickly banishes it and resumes his test.
Once Masters Eraqus and Xehanort have finished with discussing the results of the exam, it is explained that though both Terra and Aqua are deserving of the title of Keyblade Master, only Aqua has succeeded in earning the title; Terra failed due to not being able to keep the darkness within himself in check. Unbeknownst to them, Master Xehanort is responsible for Terra's darkness flaring up during the exam.
Surprised and depressed to learn that he holds darkness in his heart, Terra steps outside, where he approached by Master Xehanort. Terra asks what he failed to learn, but Master Xehanort explains that he hasn't failed to learn anything. Terra is comforted by the Master's words of advice; darkness cannot be destroyed, only channeled. Terra thanks Master Xehanort as a tolling bell catches his attention, making him run back inside the castle.
Eraqus explains he received a warning from the sorcerer Yen Sid that monsters called the Unversed pose a threat to the Princesses of Heart. Terra and Aqua are to go on a quest to destroy the monsters and anyone else who would upset the balancing of light and darkness. Also, Master Xehanort has vanished and may be in danger as he can't be contacted. Eraqus tells Terra he has a second chance to prove himself worthy of being named a Master, willing to do so at a moments notice, but cannot as Terra is so obsessed with power out of the fear of losing that it puts him in danger of succumbing to darkness. In the meantime, Eraqus has Aqua follow Terra, to bring him back if he is tempted by darkness. Ventus attempts to talk to Terra as he leaves, but Terra ignores him.
Throughout his journey, Terra encounters many villains in the worlds he visits. Maleficent takes a particular interest in him, having been alerted of his arrival in the Enchanted Dominion by Xehanort. She uses the darkness in his heart to put him into a trance, to make him steal the heart of the sleeping Aurora. Since this method is than capturing the princesses of heart, Maleficent offers Terra the chance to rule the worlds with her if he gathers the other six hearts of pure light; however, he flatly refuses, proclaiming himself a peacekeeper. A giant Unversed attack allows Maleficent to flee before Terra could attempt taking back the heart. This encounter would haunt Terra for the rest of his journey.
The Evil Queen of Dwarf Woodlands offers Terra the use of the Magic Mirror to find Master Xehanort but in exchange for bringing her Snow White's heart. Refusing, Terra is forced to battle the mirror; his victory resulting in the mirror's rhyming riddle "beyond both light and dark, he dwells; where war was raged upon the fells." In the Castle of Dreams, Terra learned from Cinderella and Fairy Godmother how important it is to believe in one's dreams. The Grand Duke of this world also revealed a clue about the Unversed; a boy in a mask was commanding them. He reunites with Aqua prior to leaving that world, learning that Ventus ran away to find him; Terra realizes he should have listened to Ventus before leaving home.
Left with conflicting thoughts, Terra believed he should seek the guidance of one older than himself, master Yen Sid. The wise wizard said finding Master Xehanort was the top priority, making finding the boy controlling the Unversed second, and finding Ventus third. Searching for Master Xehanort, Terra is summoned to the Keyblade Graveyard by him, where he learns about Vanitas (the manifestation of Ven's darkness) and the threat he poses, particularly the Unversed born of this abomination's darkness. He asks Terra to take care of Vanitas and sends him to the "city of light" - Radiant Garden.
After arriving in Radiant Garden, Terra sees Master Xehanort heading toward the Castle Town and follows him. Terra stops to return a book to Merlin, learning it was not his; it had appeared on its own. The book also unlocked Terra's hidden potential. Leaving Merlin, Terra saw a giant Unversed and ran after it, reuniting with Ven and Aqua, who had been chasing Unversed of their own. The three Unversed combined into one known as the Trinity Armor. With their teamwork, the three defeat it. Terra received a lifetime pass to Disney Town from Ven, along with Aqua. Terra learned Ven had encountered Vanitas, telling him to return home because of the danger posed by his and Aqua's mission. However, after learning Aqua has been keeping an eye on him on Master Eraqus' orders, Terra separates from them.
Leaving his friends, Terra encounters Braig, who claims to be holding Master Xehanort hostage in the Purification Facility under the Outer Gardens and demands Terra meet him there. Terra arrives to see Master Xehanort chained to a column, and Braig challenges Terra to a fight, saying he wants a Keyblade for himself. With the threat of Xehanort's demise, if he fought back, Terra could do nothing but block Braig's attacks. However, when Master Xehanort points out it will shame Eraqus if Braig defeats him, Terra fights back. Filled with rage, Terra channels his darkness, scarring Braig's face, and driving him off. A second blast frees Xehanort, but Terra feels ashamed of using darkness. Master Xehanort reassures him, saying Eraqus fears darkness out of fear, and that light and dark must be balanced. Terra is surprised to hear that Master Xehanort believes he has shown the Mark of Mastery by being able to channel his darkness instead of succumbing to it.
Xehanort continues, saying since Ventus and Aqua's lights shine brightly, it's only natural that shadows are cast on Terra's heart. Xehanort asks Terra to join him as his pupil so they may bring balance between light and darkness, and he tells him to see more worlds to find and end Vanitas. With his thoughts toward using darkness changed, Terra prepares to leave Radiant Garden. Ven catches up with him, asking to come along. Terra turns him down, but (after having trouble finding the right words) he tells him that he knows Ventus will be there for him when he needs him.
Terra continues his search for Vanitas, though still adjusting to Master Xehanort's beliefs. Trying to take care of the Unversed plaguing the racetrack in Disney Town, Terra is asked by Queen Minnie, and Chip and Dale to join the race to eliminate them. Succeeding in driving off the Unversed and teaching Captain Dark (Pete) a lesson, Terra realizes he doesn't need to bend the rules in order to win, meaning that using darkness isn't always the correct solution.
Terra arrives in Olympus Coliseum, where he encounters Hades, who is looking for a powerful warrior he can manipulate and set against Zeus. He convinces Terra to enter the Games in order to learn how to conquer his darkness, claiming that "if you play nice with it, darkness will be your best friend." When Terra clears the first rounds without trouble or using his darkness, Hades uses darkness to take control of Zack, who faces Terra in the next match. Seeing that he's been had, Terra defeats Zack, releasing him from Hades' control. In gratitude, Zack calls Terra a hero.
After falling into Galactic Federation custody in Deep Space, Terra escapes with Dr. Jumba, who claims to have created a creature that can dispatch the Unversed with ease. Helping free Experiment 626, Terra realizes he's been tricked when 626 steals his Wayfinder. Asking for it back, Terra realizes how much his bond with Aqua and Ventus means to him. When 626 gives it back, Terra wonders if Dr. Jumba was right in thinking his experiments can't feel emotions. Seeing 626 curious about friendship, Terra encourages 626 to learn for himself what friendship is as it's difficult to explain with words.
Searching for Vanitas brought Terra to Neverland, where Captain Hook was in need of protecting his chest full of "light" from the Unversed. Hearing that a boy, but not Vanitas, was after it, Terra offered his help in guarding the "light". When Hook left to investigate a shooting star, Terra clashed with Peter Pan, who was after the chest; however, once the treasure inside it was spilled Terra ceased fighting. Leaving, Terra was forced back to defend the Lost Boys from a swarm of Unversed. Though the Lost Boys were saddened by the loss of Hook's treasure, Terra suggested to them that they should put what they truly care about in the chest, making it a real treasure.
Sometime later, Terra is continuing his search for Vanitas when a warm light draws his attention; he follows it to the Destiny Islands. He finds a Paopu Fruit, which reminds him of the legend Aqua told him about the Wayfinders. This makes Terra think about his friendship with Aqua and Ventus, as he goes to see the tree the fruit grows on. He sees two young boys, Sora and Riku, and he senses light within Riku; Terra guesses the warm light that drew him to this world came from Riku. The boy correctly guesses Terra comes from the outside world because he hasn't seen him on any of the islands before, amazing with such perception at a young age. Riku tells him he wants to become strong in order to protect his friends, and Terra decides to perform a Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony with Riku, allowing him to wield the Keyblade in the future. However, in order to maintain order, Terra lies to the little boy, saying that the magic of the ceremony will wear off if he tells anyone about what happened.Terra sees a light flying ahead of him in the Lanes Between and assumes it's Ven. However, before he can follow, Terra is called back to the Keyblade Graveyard by Master Xehanort. Upon arrival, Terra is shocked to hear from Master Xehanort that Ventus intends to confront Master Eraqus about his past and that he is in danger. Determined to protect his friend, Terra returns to the Land of Departure in time to defend Ventus from Eraqus' attack. As Terra won't listen, Eraqus is forced to choose to eliminate him along with Ventus. Seeing that he's no match for Eraqus on his own, Terra accepts and channels his inner darkness. He throws Ven into a portal to the Destiny Islands and defeats Eraqus in battle. Although they both regret their actions, Eraqus is suddenly destroyed by Xehanort, who encourages Terra to give himself over to darkness. He tells Terra to come to the Keyblade Graveyard to witness the ends of Ventus and Aqua, then unleashes a flood of darkness which ravages the world. Terra promises upon his Wayfinder that he won't let a madman like Xehanort hurt his friends.
After arriving at the Keyblade Graveyard, Terra reunites with Aqua and Ventus. Terra explains what happened to their master and admits that he did have to be watched, vowing never to go astray again. However, Aqua warns him that darkness is based on hatred and rage and that if Terra had come for revenge, then Xehanort has already won. Xehanort arrives with Vanitas, and he declares his intention to create the χ-blade. In the ensuing fight with Master Xehanort and Vanitas, Terra succumbs to his darkness once more and battles the elderly master. Although he prevails, the χ-blade is forged, and Master Xehanort uses his Keyblade to extract his own heart and implant it in Terra's body, possessing it. However, Terra's Lingering Will inhabits his discarded Keyblade Armor, challenges Terra-Xehanort, and defeats him. Terra-Xehanort disappears in the light emanating from the χ-blade as it is destroyed by Aqua, while the Lingering Will remains, declaring Terra's promise to Ventus and Aqua to set things right.
Terra telepathically calls to Aqua after she places Ven in Castle Oblivion to sleep safely, asking her to bring an end to him/Xehanort. After Aqua defeats Terra-Xehanort in Radiant Garden, Terra's heart resists against Xehanort, forcing Xehanort to lock his heart to get rid of what remains of him. However, it only gives Xehanort amnesia instead of the desired result, and almost sends them into the Realm of Darkness; however, Aqua takes their place to send them back.
Even after this, Terra and Master Xehanort's hearts continue their conflict inside Xehanort's body, disputing over who will control it. Terra declares to Xehanort that he no longer fears the darkness and vows to continue resisting Xehanort, who realizes Eraqus' presence in Terra's heart. However, Master Xehanort tells Terra that he has many plans in place, even if their conflict continues for a very long time.
- “The main reason I kept dreaming about seeing the outside world... was 'cause of him.”
- ―Riku remembers Terra.
When Sora arrives at The World That Never Was, he is caught by the Organization and placed within a nightmare in which he chases after memories of Riku and Kairi. When he catches up to them at the Contorted City, the phantoms suddenly take the form of Terra and Aqua, while Sora himself takes on Ventus' appearance. Sora is confused, but the phantoms grasp his hand before turning back into Riku and Kairi and walking off again. As Riku attempts to wake Sora on his own side of the dream, Sora recalls when Aqua came to Destiny Islands and nearly wakes up.
However, Ansem appears within Sora's dream at the last second and thrusts him back into the nightmare. Xigbar and Xemnas reappear within the nightmare to taunt him and lead him into despair by explaining the inevitability of their plan and playing on his insecurities, but a defiant Sora proclaims that while he may not have been chosen by the Keyblade, he will always be proud to be there for his friends, including Terra and all the others.
Shortly after, Ansem attacks Riku in an attempt to take over Riku's body again. Before they fight, Riku reveals to Ansem that he reminds him of Terra and thus resolves to make Ansem a part of his light. Later, as Master Xehanort explains his plans to Mickey in Where Nothing Gathers, he reveals Terra's previous fate as his vessel.
A vision of Terra appears to Aqua after she defeats the Demon Tower in the remains of the Castle of Dreams. She questions if he, too, has been trapped in the Realm of Darkness, but he simply fades away, causing her to wonder if she has been going insane.
Later, in the remains of Enchanted Dominion, Aqua encounters phantoms of Terra and Ven, pursuing them through the Forest of Thorns. Eventually, after defeating hordes of Darksides, she catches up with them. Terra speaks to her, explaining to her that his heart is tied to the darkness and that he, too, is corrupted. He warns her that Xehanort is looking for Ven, but as she explains that she has hidden Ven somewhere where no one will find him, Terra transforms into Terra-Xehanort. Terra-Xehanort wonders if Ven is in the Chamber of Waking and, when questioned by Aqua, begins to reveal his identity. However, Terra overpowers Xehanort's will, informing her of Xehanort's ruse. Surprised, Xehanort summons a Darkside to drag Aqua and Ven into darkness, but an enraged Terra summons chains of light to fend off Xehanort.
Terra appears in this video game along with Aqua and Ventus. His body still remains possessed by Master Xehanort as Terra-Xehanort, but his spirit returns as the Lingering Will.
When Sora and the others arrive at the Keyblade Graveyard for their final confrontation with Master Xehanort and his True Organization XIII, Terra-Xehanort attempts to wipe them out before they even reach Master Xehanort by striking down Ventus and Lea before being repelled by Donald with a powerful spell that leaves Donald severely weakened, leaving Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Aqua, Ventus, Lea, Kairi, and later Riku, unable to fight off a powerful Demon Tide Heartless tornado that is able to sweep them all up, leaving Sora at its mercy as it goes for the kill. However, using his power of waking while in the Final World, Sora is able to save his friends and reverse time to moments before the encounter with Terra-Xehanort, but when they find themselves in the same spot again, before history can repeat itself and Terra-Xehanort can strike down Ventus as his first victim again, the Lingering Will appears to protect Ventus and Aqua, forcing Terra-Xehanort into retreat, while the Demon Tide tornado is defeated and dispersed by Sora and the Keyblades of fallen Keyblade Warriors coming to aid him in his hour of need.
When Sora, Aqua, and Ventus later fight Terra-Xehanort again, he is able to ensnare them in chains and prepares to kill Aqua and Ventus. Before he can, his Heartless Guardian suddenly appears and saves them, breaking the chains as well, before subduing Terra-Xehanort and tearing the straps over its mouth off, allowing it to speak and reveal itself to be Terra's Heartless, who finally decides to take his body back from Xehanort. With Sora's help in paralyzing his possessed body, Terra releases his heart from the Guardian, causing it to disappear, and takes his body back from Xehanort, expelling him from it for good. With his heart and body one again, Terra rushes to check on Ventus and Aqua to make sure they are alright, and the three friends are finally reunited. Sora instructs Terra to watch over them until they recover, then meet up with him later.
When they rejoin Sora, joined by Lea, Xion, and Roxas, they find they are too late to stop Master Xehanort, as he struck down Kairi in cold blood, allowing the X-blade to be reformed. However, though they believe they've failed to stop him, Sora refuses to give up and prepares to confront Master Xehanort once and for all. Terra lends his support alongside Ventus, Aqua, Lea, Xion, Roxas, Riku, and King Mickey to allow Sora, Donald, and Goofy to send Master Xehanort into the world within Kingdom Hearts to deal with him once and for all.
- “I am who I am...because of them.”
- ―Sora to Kairi about Terra, Aqua, and Ventus.
Terra is seen at the Land of Departure with a sleeping Ventus, waking his friend up before they both say Sora's name with a sense of renewed hope. This indicates that, despite the destruction of Ansem and Xemnas, Terra is still alive in some shape or form. Sora himself decides to undertake a new quest to find Terra, Aqua, and Ventus and rescue them.
- His name means "Earth" in Latin, similar to Riku's name in Japanese meaning "Land".
- In the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Terra is voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu. Tetsuya Nomura has stated in an interview that he cast Okiayu because his voice bore similar elements to both Chikao Otsuka, the voice actor for Master Xehanort, and Akio Otsuka, the voice actor for Xehanort. In the English version, he is voiced by Jason Dohring, who is notable for being the last cast member revealed for the game, although his performance was widely criticized.
- When first revealed in promotional gameplay videos while still unnamed, Terra's physical appearance led several commentators to believe that he was actually Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII.
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