|“||To live! To peer into tomorrow's tomorrow! That is my deepest desire! You, my friends have liberated me from the prison of endless tedium and no matter what may await me in the days and months ahead, I shall never regret it!||„|
|~ Keith Valentine: Shadow Hearts|
Keith Valentine is a hero is the videogame Shadow Hearts. He knows many dark rituals that allow him to call on the forces of the night and has enhanced strength and speed as a vampire. Keith makes up his mind to travel with Yuri and friends, slaying monsters and fighting evil to give himself something interesting to do rather than continuing to sleep his unlife away in Blue Castle.
Keith Valentine is a vampiric aristocrat of the small territory of Bistriz Transylvania in the Balkans. Keith's family ruled over the area in the sixteenth century as vampire lords and according to Keith and his brother Joachim were benevolent rulers. Keith was made the heir and caretaker of his family castle despite being the younger son. Eventually, with few duties that required his attention, Keith went to sleep in the family crypt and stayed that way for three hundred years.
In the year 1914 Keith was awakened from his sleep by a loud crash, Keith went to check what had happened and found something had crashed into the side of his highest tower. It appeared to be an insane young-man but when Keith got close the youth turned into a monster. Keith tried to control the creature but it was too strong and overpowered him, Keith just barely escaped and locked off the tower hoping the deranged supernatural squatter would just leave eventually. Shortly after sealing the tower Keith heard a scream from outside the walls, a local girl named Nina had come to see what had happened but was being attacked by wolves. Keith saved Nina and brought her back to Bistriz village. Nina came to revisit Keith a few times but soon was suspected of being a vampire or vampire thrall for her association with the old vampire haunt of Blue Castle and had to stop visiting. As heir Keith knew with the monster in his castle he could neither leave his castle nor return to sleep and once Nina stopped coming Keith became exceeding bored for several months.
Shadow HeartsSeveral months after Nina stopped visiting Keith found two new visitors to Blue Castle, a blonde young-woman and older Chinese man. The two visitors were traveling exorcists that had come to Bistriz to investigate strange occurrences. Superstition about the Blue Castle had lead to rumors the Lord of the Castle was responsible for monsters that had begun to plague the village and so the two had come to Blue Castle to see if they could find and neutralize the source of the monsters. Keith watched invisibly as the two handled the castle's rabid vampire bats and ghostly guards with ease and became intrigued seeing they were stronger than normal humans. The girl seemed to sense Keith's presence and tried to follow him. With the two picking up on him Keith soon decided to reveal himself. After introductions he found the young-woman was named Alice Elliot and the older Chinese sage was Zhuzhen Li.
Alice and Zhuzhen told Keith their story, explaining they were traveling in search of a friend but had been working as exorcists for hire applying their gifts to help people while picking up any rumors that might lead to their friend. Their travels had lead them to Prague where they encountered a man named Terry. Terry was fleeing from Bistriz village and tried to tell Alice and Zhuzhen he knew the source of some strange activity that was occurring there; before he could go into details though Terry was killed by a ghostly old woman who quickly vanished, with no other details to go on Alice and Zhuzhen had come to Bistriz to find out what was going on and deliver the bad news to Terry's family. They had encountered undead monsters roaming the village, fighting off any that got in their way. Alice and Zhuzhen eventually found Terry's wife Michelle and daughter Nina. Michelle told them rumor around town was the monsters were coming from the Blue Castle. After hearing the tale Keith assured Alice and Zhuzhen that though he and his family were vampires he was not the source of the monsters but once he heard of the plight in the village he offered his services to help drive them away.
Sure enough when they returned to Bistriz Keith found the village overrun with twisted undead creatures. They reported in to Michelle and Nina and Keith was looking forward to seeing Nina again but when they arrived they were met with bad news. Michelle had been kidnapped by the Mayor of the town, a man named Kevin. Kevin had heard that one of Terry's rich botanist friends from America had sent Nina a treasure that would make the family rich, Kevin said he would release Michelle if Nina brought him the treasure and if not he would feed her to the monsters. Alice, Zhuzhen and Keith rushed off to rescue Michelle when Nina told them what had happened. When they arrived at Kevin's house they found he was the source of the monsters. Kevin said he had been experimenting with dark rituals he had heard the vampire lords of Bistriz had once used and was trying to use them to get rich. But it was taking too long to perfect the rites and he even had to summon a ghost to silence Terry when he found out what was going on. Keith was furious that not only was Kevin endangering the subjects of his territory and killed his friend's father but he was using HIS family's rituals, or rather a bad knock-off of them, to do so. When Kevin realized he was talking to a vampire and the one who was technically true ruler of the province he used the rites he had learned to transform into a demon.Kevin was defeated and Michelle returned home to Nina but seeing the strength of Alice and Zhuzhen, Keith decided to ask for their help. Keith told Alice and Zhuzhen of his demonic intruder and asked for their help shooing the squatter out of Blue Castle. When Keith mentioned it was a young-man who could turn into a demon Alice and Zhuzhen became very excited. The friend they had been looking for, Yuri, had the power to turn into demons. Alice and Zhuzhen not only agreed to help but begged to be shown where there friend was. On their way to the top tower they explained Yuri had bitten off more than he could chew and fused with a powerful demon that was about to destroy China, though once merged with the beast it seemed subdued it still blew-up Shanghai and fled across Asia and into Europe. Alice said she could feel Yuri's soul fading and that it had been overwhelmed by the demon. Keith determined it had just been bad luck that Yuri had crashed into the side of his castle in his demonic form.
Once they gotten to the top tower Keith warned them to be careful and that the young-man was very dangerous then unlocked the door to the room he had contained him in. Sure enough Alice and Zhuzhen confirmed it was Yuri but he had been consumed by his inner demons and was almost completely possessed and did not recognize his friends. Yuri soon attacked them when they tried to talk to him. With the help of Zhuzhen and Alice Keith was able to defeat Yuri this time. While Zhuzhen broke down seeing his friend in such a state Alice used her powers to enter Yuri's heart and bring him back to his senses. After a tearful reunion with his friends Yuri apologized to Keith for wrecking his castle and thanked him for showing his for showing his friends where he was. Keith was glad to see the happy ending but insisted he be allowed to keep journeying with the band. Keith said that traveling with such interesting people would surely cure his boredom and give him a chance to see how the world had changed in three hundred years. The team would go on to have a great adventure and save the world from an evil warlock. Once their adventure came to an end though Keith returned to his castle to get some sleep.
Shadow Hearts: CovenantA year after going back to sleep Keith wakes up to track down his brother Joachim and sister Hildegarde. Joachim had accidentally broken the ancestral family sword that had been entrusted to Keith when he was playing with it without Keith's permission. Hilde had gone off to discipline Joachim. Joachim proved his strength to Hilda by defeating her in battle and she had reported back to Keith, Keith was however still very upset with his brother but went to touch base with him. Keith waited for Joachim in one of his frequent haunts in Le Harve, France. When Joachim was checking in from one of his adventures he found Keith waiting for him. It turned out Joachim was traveling with Yuri on his own adventures. Keith was more excited to see Yuri than his brother and began trading comments with Yuri about what an embarrassment his big brother was. Keith also announced he had been promoted within the lottery group he worked in from the previous game to the head of the organization. Yuri congratulated him and Keith gave Yuri a chance to play. If Yuri wins Keith's lottery he will receive Joachim's most powerful armor.
PersonalityKeith is soft-spoken and cool-headed, the only time in game he loses his temper is when Kevin reveals he was using Keith's family's rituals to hurt his subjects. Keith is easily the most stoic playable character in the game and while he isn't quite the cleverest playable character he certainly has the most guile. Keith considers himself a father to his people and is appalled by the notion that he would actually harm any of them. Keith says that even if he was callous enough to endanger his subjects his family would spring back to life and immediately drag him back to the grave kicking and screaming.
All characters can improve their weapon skills by getting acupuncture from Meiyuan the wanderer. While Meiyaun is skilled he is also a perverted homosexual that likes to fondle the men he has strapped down, this leads to the male character all viewing Meiyaun's services as a mixed blessing that they need reluctantly to put up with in order to improve their skills; Keith on the other-hand seems not to mind the perverted old acupuncturist's work, focusing instead on how his body feels unnaturally alive thanks to the needles. Keith's bishōnen appearance, extravagant mannerisms and ho-hum attitude to being touched seem to imply he is gay however Keith never actual shows any sexual interest in other men and actually makes a few flirtatious comments towards the party's sexy spy, Margarete Zelle. At the end Keith is also seen in the arms of three beautiful vampire woman. Actually as it turns out in later games Keith is the only one in his family that doesn't read gay magazines. Thus Keith is either just a very effeminate heterosexual or a very reserved bi-sexual.
Powers and AbilitiesKeith finds some of the notions about vampires to be ridiculous tales of fancy; However in truth he has many of the abilities accredited to his kind. His powers to gain nourishment from blood or summon bats are not vampiric abilities but rather the result of his family's specific blood rites. Keith's siblings Joachim and Hilde are also both vampires, however neither of them was groomed to become heir and so both are very lacking in their knowledge of the family rituals and can't do much other than a basic life drink ability that both pale in comparison to Keith's. Keith's highest stat in the game is his Vitality, which makes him highly resistant to physical attacks. Keith has very effective techniques called Rituals but less Mana Points than Alice and Zhuzhen so he can not use his special techniques as much. Keith's major strength is his weapon mastery. Keith uses a rapier to attack with and delivers his strikes with bullet-time speed. His weapons have the greatest critical hit area of any weapon, however their small area of success makes it difficult for the player to land blows. As Keith gets better weapons the critical area in his weapons grows and the hit area shrinks. By the end of the game Keith can easily be the auto-crit-hitter but only if the player has gotten good at the game's Judgement Ring style of attack. With his dark magics and extremely efficient style of attack Keith becomes a good balance of physical and magical attack.