The Land of Departure is a world in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix. It is the original "hub" world of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, similar to Traverse Town in Kingdom Hearts, Twilight Town in Kingdom Hearts II, The World That Never Was in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, and Disney Castle in Kingdom Hearts coded.
The Land of Departure is one of few special worlds in the Kingdom Hearts universe that is located between the Realm of Light and the Realm of Darkness. The Land of Departure has physical qualities of several major worlds from the Kingdom Hearts series.
The Land of Departure is shown in artwork to be set high in grassy mountains, surrounded by flowing water. The building itself decreases in width as it reaches the ground, tall spires protruding from the roof. Two lengths of golden chain connect the castle to twin peaks. Similarly to Twilight Town, there is one major building in this world's render; the main building also bears a resemblance to Twilight Town's clock tower. Like Radiant Garden, this world also has a circular area in the middle of it, with a large building overhead.
The Land of Departure is also one of a select few worlds in the series that features areas that eventually cannot be accessed during later portions of the game. After Master Eraqus is killed and Master Xehanort plunges the world into darkness, the world cannot be fully revisited. Because of this, the four treasure chests needed to complete the journal must be obtained before this chapter in the story, or else they will be left unopened when that part of the world becomes unreachable. This was later changed in the North American version; the Mountain Path, which contains most of the chests in the world, was made available.
Not only is the Land of Departure the place where Keyblade apprentices take their Master Qualification Exam to qualify for their Mark of Mastery, but it is also where friends Terra, Ventus, and Aqua first make note of the Paopu Fruit's legacy. Knowing they would be split up during a great adventure, Aqua distributes tokens to her fellow Keyblade apprentices, stating that through them they will always be together. However, only Aqua and Terra take their exam here, as Ventus will not be ready.
During Terra's scenario, he defeats Master Eraqus for trying to kill Ventus. While Eraqus is speaking with Terra, he is slain by Master Xehanort. Xehanort then blasts an orb of darkness into the sky, similar to the one that destroyed the Destiny Islands in Kingdom Hearts, causing the Land of Departure to become shrouded in darkness and because of this, most of the castle is destroyed.
After Ventus loses his heart and falls into a comatose state, Aqua returns to the destroyed castle with Ventus, carrying him on her back. She places Ventus in the middle throne and, using Eraqus's Keyblade, activates the device which transforms the Land of Departure into Castle Oblivion. She then leaves Ventus in a chamber, known now as the Chamber of Waking, which strongly mirrors a chamber in Hollow Bastion, the Chamber of Repose.
Kingdom Hearts III
After saving Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, she along with Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel back to Castle Oblivion. Aqua uses her Keyblade on the castle and transforms it back into the Land of Departure, before Xehanort destroyed it in Birth by Sleep. The four enter the castle and encounter Ventus, still sleeping due to his heart still residing within Sora. Vanitas shows up, mocking Aqua about her reunion, and the two fight. Vanitas tries to get to Ventus by breaking a barrier Aqua put up around the two of them before the fight, but Aqua shields his attack and falls. Meanwhile, Sora uses the power of waking to release Ventus's heart, which allows him to wake up and save Aqua from Vanitas.
During the ending scene, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua are seen outside the castle beside Master Eraqus's Keyblade, the Master Keeper, remembering him. As they get up to leave, a Chirithy exchanges looks with Ventus, and goes to him as he opens his arms. This implies that this is his Chirithy from Kingdom Hearts Union χ. The four then go to another area of the world.
Notes and References
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania "[Land of Departure] It is a special place between the realms of darkness and light, and has been protected for generations so that it is not used for evil. A device was set in place just in case of such an event, and after Master Eraqus was killed and Aqua closed the Keyhole of the world, it put this device in action. It turned it into a castle which would draw anyone who goes there into oblivion."