The Aerbs Mountains are a geographical formation in Final Fantasy IX. Located on the planet of Gaia, the mountains are a long chain of branching peaks on the Mist Continent. Their altitude effectively separates the continent into three distinct areas of flatland, each ruled by a different kingdom: Alexandria in the northeast, Burmecia in the northwest, and Lindblum in the south.
In order to make trade convenient between the three countries, several methods of transportation have been erected along the mountains. There are various foot gates on either side of the peaks, allowing people to reach the system of cable cars created to surmount the soaring mountains. In addition, two airship gates serve as a checkpoint to inspect airships traversing the three countries.
In the third disc of the game, the player is able to revisit these areas. The cable cars, however, no longer work due to the absence of Mist, thanks to the defeat of the SoulCage at the Iifa Tree. On Disc 4, all areas of the Aerbs Mountains are blocked by Iifa roots, rendering them inaccessible. Part-time Worker Mary, who retreats to Dali after Aerbs Mountains become inaccessible, says that the whole South Gate was destroyed when the Iifa roots broke through the ground to release Mist.
North Gate is the the airship gate that regulates trade between Alexandria and Burmecia. It has two lower gates on either side, the Melda Arch that lies on the Alexandrian side, and the Burmecian Arch on the opposite side. Both of these gates are blocked to the player since no storyline events occur at North Gate, as peaceful relations between the two countries were nonexistent by the time the player party comes across them. Though the player never visits North Gate, it has a similar design to South Gate, minus the Berkmea Cable Cars that operate at South Gate.
The players can enter the Melda Arch once Zidane, Vivi, Steiner, and Garnet escape from Evil Forest. Steiner comments that the Alexandrian war flag is flying from the gate, and Zidane notes the fresh footprints outside the gate as well as the rising smoke and the sound of voices and metal work from the other side.
The party is unable to investigate further due to the presence of Garnet; however, Zidane is able to buy Potions from a woman behind the gate. Later in the game, it becomes clear that they had encountered the Alexandrian Army on its way to Burmecia before the imminent attack and invasion.
Zidane, Vivi, Freya, and optionally Quina, arrive at the Burmecian Arch once they reach the other side of the mountains on their way to Burmecia. Freya notes the smoke rising from there as well and the smell of blood, most likely the result of the conflict between the Alexandrian force, including their black mages, and the defending Burmecians.
South Gate allows travel, both via airship and on foot, between the territories of Alexandria and Lindblum.
The South Gate appears in an FMV where Zidane, Garnet, Vivi, and Steiner are piloting the cargo ship in an attempt to reach Lindblum. Black Waltz 3 attacks from Zorn and Thorn's small airship, and Zidane leaves Garnet to decide whether to fly through the Gate to Lindblum or turn back to Alexandria.
Garnet decides to go through the gate, which begins to close on them and the Black Waltz. As the two airships fly through the interior of the gate, the Black Waltz sets his own airship on fire with an erratic Thunder spell, causing it to explode and damage the South Gate. The cargo ship makes it through, carrying its passengers to Castle Lindblum.
Bohden Gate is Lindblum's foot passageway to the Aerbs Mountains and is situated near South Gate. It is here that Garnet and Steiner flee to after making their escape from Lindblum. Steiner is forced to hide Garnet in a burlap sack full of Gysahl Pickles to avoid recognition by the Lindblum guards flanking the entrance to the gate, aided by the repulsive odor of the pickles. Once past the guards, Garnet is able to come out of hiding, and the pair board the cable car to the mountain crest.
This area can be revisited in Disc 3, and the player can open a treasure chest containing an Elixir card at the top of the ladder that Steiner was unable to open due to the heavy load he was carrying.
Summit Station, also known as Aerbs Peak Station, fittingly lies at the apex of the Aerbs Mountains. This is the midpoint between the Bohden Gate in Lindblum and the Dali and Treno Gates in Alexandria, where the two cable cars take turns docking. The rest area here holds several shops and a save moogle, and the local cafe is famous for its bundt cake.
Steiner and Garnet get off the Lindblum cable car and meet Marcus, who plans to go on to Alexandria, and Cinna, who plans to head back to Lindblum. Steiner makes a fuss and tries to prevent Garnet from talking with the Tantalus Theater Troupe members, but she merely scolds him. Marcus accompanies Steiner and Garnet to Alexandria in order to collect the Supersoft from Treno. Along the way, the cable car stops in order to avoid a collision with a battered Black Waltz 3 who, despite being heavily damaged, tries one more attempt at kidnapping Garnet, but is easily defeated again by the party. The cable car resumes its journey.
Because Summit Station is only accessible by cable car in either direction and has no airship or chocobo access, it is an unrevisitable location by Disc 3 when the Mist has gone.
Dali and Treno GatesEdit
- "DO NOT VANDALIZE THE FARM!"
- —Dali signpost
The Alexandrian station contains a small item shop and paths to the two locations under the control of Alexandria--the city of Treno and the previously visited hamlet Dali. Here, several markers and statues are erected in honor of Regent Cid VIII, the former leader of Lindblum who designed the cable car system in order to foster a friendship with Alexandria. Steiner, Garnet, and Marcus must head to Treno in order to continue the storyline.
|"At the South Gate Border"|
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- The sign for Lindblum at Summit Station is misspelled as "Lindbulm."
- Although the cable car system is supposed to work on pulleys, with one car being at the top of the mountain while the other is at the bottom, both cars can be found at the bottom of their respective stations when the Mist clears in Disc 3.
- During the first interlude in South Gate, the shop near the cable car is named Altair, which shares its name with the town the Wild Rose Rebellion fled to at the start of Final Fantasy II. The name "Altair" was implemented to juxtapose the item shop in the northern station of South Gate named "Vega", which is a reference to the Tanabata legend in Chinese originated Japanese folklore. The stars Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair) are lovers separated by a river of stars (Milky Way). They are forced to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. In Final Fantasy IX, the Aerbs Mountains seem to obstruct them and their lovesick owners. This relationship is the subject of the Mognet letter Grimo asks to deliver to Nanza.