The Horned King is the main villain from the first Kingdom Hearts Unlimited installment in the series. He never appeared in the original series, but now appears in the role of the false Ansem, the first of the Seekers of Darkness to challenge Sora/Mickey on his quest to save the worlds from the forces of darkness.
The Horned King was originally Marwoleath Enohart, a great warlord from Prydain who, through a long-term gambit he set back in the Lands of Legend, reincarnated himself in modern day as the major domo to the now disappeared Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. But his lust to regain his power, coupled with the manipulations of the demon king Chernabog, led him and his half-faerie partner, Zurg, into undertaking a ceremony which stripped them of their hearts and transformed them into hideous monsters. Because Marwoleath gave up his heart on his own free will, he retained his memories in his new existence, and evolved into a new being, a lich king named the Horned King. With his new form, the Horned King, under the instructions of Lord Chernabog, attacked the Realm of Light, intending to have his minions, the undead hordes of the Cauldron-Born, consume the hearts of every world and lead him to Kingdom Hearts.
The man who would become the Horned King was born as Marwoleath Enohart, the son of a minor lord of Annuvin during the age of the Silver Millennium in the Lands of Legend. Marwoleath had an unhappy childhood, being mistreated by his arrogant father Lord Havard for not being the perfect son in his deranged eyes, and his mother Lady Noswaith being powerless to stop the abuse. The lad would grow up to resent his father deeply, desiring to one day be strong enough to slay the old fool and rule the kingdom himself. But alas, he would never have the chance to do so as Havard would die years later from poison slipped into his drink by a spy in the service of his father's rival, Lord Arawn.
On the one hand, Marwoleath was happy to see his father perish from his own lack of foresight, but on the other, he was deeply disappointed he didn't have the opportunity himself, a regret he would shoulder for the rest of his many lifetimes. Thus, Marwoleath was crowned the new lord of Annuvin's capitol, and he quickly set out to establish his own dominion throughout the land, starting with the siege set upon Arawn's citadel to ensure he would have no rivals, something of which his mother Noswaith found herself fearing greatly out of a reprisal of Havard's own behavior exhibited through his son's actions. However, the army Marwoleath had raised to attack Arawn's citadel proved no match against its magical defenses, raised by Arawn's mistress, the sorceress Achren, the result of which led the warlord of the Enohart line severely weakened and near death. Angered by his lack of knowledge to prepare himself against this crushing defeat and his possible demise, Marwoleath barely was able to escape for some distance before he passed out deep within the Marshes of Morva, where he was saved by the mysterious Witches of Morva.
The three ancient hags nursed the lord back to health, and, out of some foresight of the future to come, decided to help Marwoleath with his mission by entrusting upon him a crucible of molten iron, forged by the gods themselves to magically contain those for which no ordinary prison could hold them, which included naturally the utterly evil lord Arawn himself. Marwoleath knew that if he used this weapon, he would become the new king of Annuvin and rule over all of Prydain, but as long as Arawn still lived, he could never be able to achieve his goal. Instead, the warlord concocted a new plan, one of which involved disguising himself with a skeletal mask, an old dusty brown robe, and a pair of deer antlers attached to a headdress, and making his way back to Annuvin, by way of an undead horse conjured up by the witches, to present himself before Arawn and Achren as but a humble warrior wishing to serve this mighty lord as a new huntsman. Arawn was cautious towards this "stranger", but acquiesced to Marwoleath's request upon a demonstration of his power and made him his Sith Apprentice, as you see, Arawn was one of the 13 Sith Knights of the Dark Order in service to the Dark Lord Chernabog.
For some years afterward, Marwoleath served Arawn faithfully as his war leader, enacting raids upon the nearby vassal kingdoms with the aid of the Cauldron-Born, undead skeleton warriors risen from the grave thanks to the cauldron he had presented to his lord during his job audition as but a possible tool to help with his great mission. On one of his raids, Marwoleath was tasked with raiding his old home and slaying the old queen Noswaith who defied him, something which Marwoleath was secretly shocked by, but nonetheless forced himself to carry out for fear of exposing himself too early. Reluctantly Marwoleath killed his mother with a sword to her heart as his ancestral castle burned to the ground, but some part of him deep within his blackening heart felt good about it as he felt that keeping her alive was a sign of love, and love was regarded as a weakness within the ranks of the 13th Order. But much to his surprise afterward, he found himself harboring an attraction to Achren, though he wouldn't fully admit it in private, believing that once he took over Annuvin, he would reduce Achren's rank further to slave just to humiliate her pride.
The Keyblade Wars
This cycle of servitude and deep-seated jealousy would continue for some time until Arawn would make the mistake of launching a full-scale assault upon the High Council's citadel in Daybreak Town without Achren's magic protecting him, believing that he had grown far more powerful beyond that of the other Seekers and that he alone would be the one to launch the final conflict of the Keyblade Wars raging at the time and rule the ruined ashes afterwards instead of Chernabog as he had pledged long ago alongside the other Seekers during their knighting. During the attack, Arawn's other leading generals, Basilisco the Defiler and Solomon Grundy, fell before the might of the Keyblade Order's Foreteller Elite due to poor tactical decisions on their part, and the only other witch under his employ, Strega Mammona, abandoned the conflict to save her own hide, leaving the weakening lich all by himself by the time King Gwydion and the two Keyblade knights Revan and Bastila Shan confronted him in the climactic moments. The three used the mighty keyblade Drynwyn to cut off the death-lord's power, then allowed for Marwoleath to enact his long-term plan by ambushing Arawn and throwing him alive into the cauldron's maw, turning it into the Bloody Orb Talisman due to Arawn's utterly evil nature as he was trapped within its depths, never to return.
Marwoleath thus spirited away into the night with the Black Cauldron in tow, taking the surviving Cauldron-Born with him to return to Annuvin and crown himself at long last the Death-Lord of the kingdom. But before he could celebrate his newfound success, he was confronted in the throne room by the other 12 Seekers and a very irate Achren, who were not at all pleased that this interloper within their army had overthrown one of their strongest members and was now expecting to name himself one of their own, especially since Achren herself wanted the throne for herself long before Marwoleath had ever gotten the notion of desiring that power before. Before a bloody struggle could commence, a shadowy aspect of Chernabog himself materialized in the throne room and called for the petty squabble to cease, stating that he was quite impressed with Marwoleath's cunning and under-handed nature, and thus he wished to bring him into his fold as a replacement to Arawn within the Seekers' ranks. The others loudly argued against the idea, but a mere look from the Lord of Bald Mountain was all it took to keep them quiet. So, Marwoleath, in order to become a Seeker, underwent a ceremony which stripped him of his very heart and soul, transferring both into a phylactery, replacing his lost pieces with a darkened shard of Chernabog's essence, and changing him into an undead lich based on the disguise he had donned for many years under Arawn's service. Thus it came to pass that Marwoleath was no more...only the Horned King remained, and he was more than graciously happy to help show his new master the way to Kingdom Hearts and eventually rule the cosmos in everlasting darkness as a god among mortal men.
The lich quickly proved to be one of the more deadlier and destructive members of the Sith Orders, using his newfound undead, sorcerous abilities, enhanced further by his personal Soul Eater polearm weapon, to cut down massive swathes of enemy armies with a few simple twirls and conquer more kingdoms in a single week than Arawn ever could in a month. It seemed as though no one could take down the Seekers of Darkness and halt the coming of the Lands of Legend's sundering, that is, until the undead king made the mistake of proclaiming that he could take down the faerie warrior Melena AppleThorn all by himself. Now Melena was, by this point, increasing in strength herself due to secretly training in darker magical arts than was allowed by Oberon. Before Marwoleath became a lich, the faerie could have easily one-shot erased him with a simple spell, but his transformation had increased his power level to equal standing with Melena, which, upon observation of his activities from her scrying bowl, gave her pause and led her to researching the eldritch tomes just to stand more of a chance against him.
So, by means of communication portals, the two sorcerers agreed to meet at the edge of the Moors to serve as their battleground and settle their conflict once and for all without either the Jedi-Keyblade Order or the Seeker-Sith Cult knowing. All the while, Chernabog, atop his throne on Bald Mountain, watched this turn of events between the two magi-knights...and laughed uproariously, with the knowledge that even if either of them would fall in the conflict, the other would just as well fall into his hands as his disciple in time. When the time came for the Horned King and Melena to battle, their resulting clash proved devastating, yet equally matched, with neither warrior being able to secure the advantage over the other due to their immortality and knowledge of all forms of sorcery. That is, until the Horned King noticed Achren hiding in the forest, having followed after her so-called lord with the intent of slaying the victor of the conflict to become the new Seeker herself. Unfortunately, that overconfidence on her part gave HK a wonderfully awful idea.
Calling upon the darkest of magics, the Horned King fired a searing dark burst at Achren, burning her alive and ripping her soul out of her body with a telekinetic pull. The lich then proceeded to mutate Achren's soul with a Chaos fragment he had in his possession for just such an occasion, turning her into a smoke-like Guardian entity named Metalia, who was doomed for all time to serve her king and unable to rebel against him. This also meant that now Marwoleath now had a trump card to use in readily blocking any frontal attack Melena tried to dish out against him so long as he called out "Come Guardian!". Now the faerie warrior was really in a pickle, and close to humbled by the match nearing its conclusion, but, she reasoned, if that lich could fight dirty...then so could she, She pretended to give up the battle in reverence for how the Horned King had bested her in every way possible and that he was her superior sempai, just to stroke his ego and let his guard down by calling off Metalia from his being. But the moment he did with the intent to stab her with an iron-coated Soul Eater blade to the heart, Melena chose that moment to quickly change herself into a fiery dragon and torch the lich with flames that drained him of most of his powers, save for his connection to Metalia-Achren. The Horned King thus realized that he had lost the battle and was forced to retreat back to Castle Annuvin to lick his wounds and hopefully find some way to recover that which he had lost with the help of his Black Cauldron.
But alas, when he returned, he found that the Witches of Morva had stolen the cauldron back from him while he was out, leaving behind a note that explained that they took it because it was theirs to begin with and the old lich had broken his promise to return it to them after some time since he had not done so, so it would remain with them forever and there in Morva it would stay, no more deals to get it back. This caused the Horned King to snap. With his primary weapon and means of making more undead warriors for the Dark Order out of his reach, he was very much at the mercy of incurring Chernabog's wrath, something which Metalia took pleasure in mocking the king for as he ranted and raved in horror. But truth be told, Marwoleath found himself let off much easier than he had realized when he was forced to meet with the Dark Lord, as Chernabog was more than elated that Melena had won the conflict since that meant that she was prime material to manipulate into becoming a servant of the darkness like the other Seekers. Besides, the Keyblade Order was in no way going to get rid of the weakened Horned King any time soon since, thanks to the efforts of the traitorous Prime Master Solego, they were more focused on their civil warring matters than in fighting the true conflict and protecting the worlds, and thus were all too easy to eliminate at this point. Now was the time to attack, and Marwoleath was now assigned a special mission thanks to his loss of power: attacking the capital of the Lunarian-Atlantean Empire and the private retreat of the Gods of the High Council - the Moon Palace...
Birth of A New Era
Between BoANE and The Journey
The Chain of Memories
A Year of Misery
An Empire of Dreams
The Fantasmic Dreamtime
Return of the Keyblade
The Horned King is in great contrast with his fellow Seekers of Darkness. While he exhibits the same outwardly arrogant and narcissistic qualities, desiring to become "a god among mortal men", he is cold and very composed, showing no outward anger until his plan fails at which point he lunges at Taran, believing it to be his doing (on Creeper's suggestion). He is quite mysterious, and it is implied that not even his minions appear to know what he is, and is one of the less active villains, his only motion (that is not carried out by his lackeys) is his role in the birth of the Cauldron-Born. Also, he has no reservations about his intentions, as he is very open on his dream of becoming "a god among mortal men" and then wiping out all living things with an undead army. He is notable for seldom exhibiting a sense of humor or giving evil laughs. On the one occasion he demonstrates a sense of humor, it is notably snide and sarcastic. Also, he is driven by personal desire, unlike a lot of other villains who are instead driven by revenge.
He is, thus far, one of only three Darkhearts with human-level intelligence, the others being The Rat and Scar. His knowledge of the worlds and hearts shows that Marwoleath's keen intellect has survived the transition into a Darkheart. However, the few shreds of humanity which remained in the former chancellor have been obliterated. The Horned King is cold, calculating, and utterly ruthless. He treats people and their hearts as either tools to be manipulated and disposed of, or as cattle for his ravenous Cauldron-Born legions. He reveres power and knowledge above all things, and he despises ignorance.
The only times when the Horned King's voice rises above a cold, monotonous drone is when he is berating Mickey for his foolishness, or when he is reveling in his latest triumph. However, the Horned King's scientific genius is blinded by obsession with the darkness. His arrogance ultimately leads to his destruction when the door to Kingdom Hearts is opened, and his greatest thesis is, in the end, proved wrong.
The Horned King is a skeletal creature with green, rotting flesh and two gnarled horns from which he earns his name. It is debatable whether the Horned King was undead or living; since Creeper served him wine at some point, it can be assumed he possesses a digestive tract, implying he is a living being or at least that he is still able to enjoy food and drink. It is possible that in his quest for power he tried several dark magical approaches, which left his physical appearance deteriorating.
Before possessing Oswald, the Horned King was little more than a wandering heart and could only appear as a figure in a brown hooded robe. This robe has two dark brown straps crossing over his shoulders and chest with five metal studs lining either strap, as well as the two gnarled horns bursting from the hood of the robe. Due to his lack of a body, he appears much shorter and crippled in this form and wears the robe's hood up to hide his lack of a face.
His eyes are a blazing yellow-gold with red pupils, and his hair having fallen off except for a few withered clumps of unnatural silver hair scattered atop his scalp.
He wears silver-white gloves on his hands, each with a grey band on the wrist, while the rest of the glove, which has three black buttons lining one side, bells outwards. There is a black pauldron on both of his shoulders, each attached to his coat by two straps. He also wears black pants and black, silver-lined, knee-high boots identical to the ones worn by Dominion XIII members. On the Lich's chest is the Darkheart emblem, but it seems that it is not part of him, as when the Horned King merges with Chernabog, he loses both of his jackets and his gloves, and the emblem transfers to the God of Chaos. He also grows to a tremendous size and his eyes become completely red-orange in this form.
The Horned King's red-silver coat is red on the inside and lined with gold, and also has a large black section that covers the lower half and shoulders of the coat. Upon closer inspection, this black section seems to be attached by several small pins or buttons around the hip and neck sections of the coat, as well as by a belt that wraps around the Lich's back and attaches to the rim of the coat. This coat is high-collared and completely unzipped, showing the second, shorter jacket the Lich wears underneath. The Horned King's second jacket is black and high-collared much like the outer coat. It is mostly unbuttoned and exposes the Horned King's rotting chest before being closed up by three buttons and two belts near the Lich's waist, only to flare outward again, leaving three buttons undone.
Wrapped around the Horned King's entire ensemble is a black fur cloak, pinned to his coat with a curved, notched bone pin.
It is also possible that in his obsession with godhood, the king has used his magical abilities to stave off death but is unable to keep his body from deteriorating as he is a skeletal creature with rotting flesh. Nevertheless, the decomposition seems only external as he is physically strong, fast and agile and able to project his voice.
As a Darkheart-Lich Hybrid, the Horned King has control over dark energy, which he can use to attack others, steal hearts, and create Black Corridors. He can also possess other beings, and has command over the Guardian.
The Horned King usually wields a dual-bladed Soul Eater for combat purposes. Sometimes, when he is weakened from wounds inflicted on him by the Keyblades, the Horned King can summon Creeper to his side and transform him into the powerful Guardian Entity to protect him while he heals. Even when deprived of his weapons, the Horned King can simply use dark magic to protect him.
Boss Themes: Forze del Male (First and Third Battles), The Deep End (2nd Battle), Destati (Final Battle for The Journey), The 13th Struggle (1st Battle for Reversed Awakenings), Revenge of Chaos (Final Battle for R.A.), Another Side: Another Story (Final Battle for A Year of Misery), L'Eminenza Oscura (Battle for The Fantasmic Dreamtime)