Terra vs Aqua BBS

The second stage of the Mark of Mastery, as shown in the opening of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.

"Today you will be examined for the Mark of Mastery. Not one but two of the Keyblade's chosen stand here as candidates... but this is neither a competition or a battle for supremacy—not a test of wills, but a test of heart. Both of you may prevail, or neither."
—Master Eraqus to Terra and Aqua

The Mark of Mastery exam (マスター承認試験 Masutā Shōnin Shiken?, lit. "Master Qualification Exam") is a test for those strong of heart that have been chosen by the Keyblade to become Keyblade Masters. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the exam is taken by Terra and Aqua while Ventus is not allowed to participate because their friend is too young. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora and Riku partake in the exam.


Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

MQ Exam Pt. I

The first stage of the Mark of Mastery exam begins.

After an intense evening of training, Terra and Aqua arrive before Master Eraqus, with their friend Ventus eagerly watching. Master Eraqus announces that his old colleague Master Xehanort has come to help judge their skills, then warns Terra and Aqua of the strong heart and will required to pass the test, and that their fate will be decided through the exam. As soon as his apprentices are ready, Master Eraqus proceeds to summon several Balls of Light for them to battle, but although Master Xehanort covertly infuses the orbs with darkness, forcing Ventus to help defeat them as well, Eraqus allows the test to proceed.

Once the orbs have been destroyed, the second stage of the Mark of Mastery exam begins. Terra and Aqua engage themselves in a fierce battle, and as Terra begins to lose the battle, his inner darkness begins to emerge, but he quickly dismisses it.

When the battle has ended, Master Eraqus acknowledges Terra's great strength, but chooses only Aqua to become a Keyblade Master due to Terra's reliance on his darkness. Master Eraqus states that he expects Terra to try harder the next time; he then tells Aqua he will later inform her of her new duties as a Keyblade Master, leaving behind a confused Terra, who soon leaves to get his head together.

Also, Mickey Mouse takes his own Mark of Mastery exam under his master Yen Sid by journeying through different worlds via his Star Shard and aiding Ventus and Aqua in their battles against Vanitas' Unversed. After somewhat foiling the plans of Xehanort, Mickey returns his Keyblade and Star Shard to Yen Sid, believing he has failed, but Yen Sid hands Mickey's Keyblade back to his protege to tell him that he has in fact passed and become a Keyblade Master.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

Main article: Signs of What's Next

Shortly after sending the letter to Sora, Yen Sid reveals to Mickey that the destruction of both Ansem and Xemnas has caused the reconstruction of Xehanort as well as the return of Master Xehanort so Yen Sid orders Mickey to bring Sora and Riku to him to undertake the Mark of Mastery exam.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam involves the two of them traveling to the "world submerged in sleep". This is where the worlds that are not immersed in light or darkness, those of which were not seen during the events of Kingdom Hearts, are found; like other destroyed worlds such as Beast's Castle, the Pride Lands and The Land of Dragons, they were restored following the sealing of Kingdom Hearts, but not completely, thus falling into sleep. The boys' goal is to follow the Dream Eaters in order to unlock the Keyhole of Sleep, restoring the worlds to their proper place.[1]

When first told of what they need to do, Sora is confident in his abilities and does not believe that he needs the Mark of Mastery to defeat Xehanort, but Riku doubts himself because of his previous fall to darkness, so the two of them go together. In the end however, Riku ends up passing the exam while Sora fails after being kidnapped by Master Xehanort and his forces, along with touching the darkness because of his recklessness and failure to protect his heart from the darkness within him. The results of this exam cause Sora to exile himself to Traverse Town to train himself to take the Exam again, where he is greeted by multiple Dream Eaters he had befriended on his journey while Riku stays behind with Yen Sid, bringing Kairi along with him because she is also capable of wielding a Keyblade.


Apprentices of Keyblade Masters that pass the test have two choices:

  • The Keyblade Master may take on their own apprentices, and reshape their world to one more of their liking as Master Eraqus did.
  • The Keyblade Master may go out on their own journey as Master Xehanort chose to do. Should one choose to embark on their own journey, many different paths open up to them.

Notes and references

Party Members
Terra - Ventus - Aqua - Lingering Will
Mickey Mouse - Zack - Experiment 626 - Prince Phillip - Hercules - Peter Pan
Terra - Ventus - Aqua - Vanitas - Maleficent - Cinderella - Snow White - Experiment 626 - Mickey Mouse - Donald Duck - Goofy - Zack - Peter Pan - Pete
Main Villains
Master Xehanort - Vanitas - Braig - Terra-Xehanort - Maleficent - Lady Tremaine - Anastasia - Drizella - Lucifer - The Queen - Magic Mirror - Gantu - Experiment 221 - Hades - Ice Colossus - Captain Hook - Captain Dark
Non-playable characters
Aeleus - Ansem the Wise - Aurora - Brooms - Captain Justice - Chip and Dale - Cinderella - Crocodile - Daisy Duck - Dilan - Donald Duck - Dr. Jumba - Even - Fairy Godmother - Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather - Grand Councilwoman - Grand Duke - Horace Horsecollar - Huey, Dewey, and Louie - Ienzo - Isa - Jaq - Kairi - Kairi's Grandma - Lea - Lost Boys - Maleficent's goons - Master Eraqus - Merlin - Minnie Mouse - Moogle - Philoctetes - Pluto - The Prince - Prince Charming - Rabbit - Riku - Scrooge McDuck - Seven Dwarfs - Smee - Snow White - Sora - Tigger - Tinker Bell - Unknown - Vanitas Remnant - Winnie the Pooh - Yen Sid
Land of Departure - Enchanted Dominion - Castle of Dreams - Dwarf Woodlands - Destiny Islands - Radiant Garden - Olympus Coliseum - Disney Town - Deep Space - Mirage Arena - Neverland - Mysterious Tower - Keyblade Graveyard - Castle Oblivion
Dive to the Heart - 100 Acre Wood - Kingdom Hearts - Chamber of Waking
Keyblade - Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony - Keyblade Armor - Keyblade Glider - Keyblade Master - Keyblade War - Mark of Mastery - Million Dreams Award - Princesses of Heart - Blank Points - Unversed
Gameplay Terms
Deck Command - D-Link - Command Style - Shotlock - Arena Mode - Command Board
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack - Simple and Clean
Artwork - Bosses - Enemies
Party Members
Sora | Riku
Young Xehanort | Master Xehanort | Xemnas | Ansem, Seeker of Darkness | Xigbar | Saïx
Maleficent | Pete | Ursula | Claude Frollo | CLU | Rinzler | Beagle Boys
Non-Playable Characters

Aeleus | Ansem the Wise | Anti Black Coat | Aqua | Axel | Black Guard | Blue Fairy | Braig | Chernabog | Daisukenojo Bito | Diablo | Dilan | Donald Duck | Esmeralda | Even | Geppetto | Goofy | Ienzo | Jiminy Cricket | Joshua | Julius | Kairi | Kevin Flynn | Lea | Magic Broom | Mickey Mouse | Minnie Mouse | Monstro | Moogle | Naminé | Neku Sakuraba | Phoebus | Pinocchio | Pluto | Quasimodo | Quorra | Rhyme | Roxas | Sam Flynn | Shiki | Terra | Terra-Xehanort | Vanitas | Ventus | Victor, Hugo, and Laverne | Xion | Yen Sid

Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | La Cité des Cloches | The Grid | Prankster's Paradise | Country of the Musketeers | Symphony of Sorcery | Radiant Garden | The World That Never Was | Realm of Darkness | Dive to the Heart | Disney Castle | Keyblade Graveyard | Mysterious Tower
Castle That Never Was | Sleeping Worlds
Ability Link | Another Guardian of Light | Dream Eater | Flowmotion | Forecast | Keyhole of Sleep | Keyblade War | Mark of Mastery | Reality Shift | True Organization XIII
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary
Dive Mode | Flick Rush | Light Cycle | Training Toys