- “The true people of Terra have been asleep for ages, waiting for their time to come. When the time is right, the light of this planet will change from blue to red, and Gaia will become Terra.”
Terra (テラ, Tera?) is Gaia's twin world in Final Fantasy IX. It exists on the inside of Gaia and thus has a blue hue to it, being affected by Gaia's crystal. Terra is a mysterious world that exists separate of Gaia and of which Gaians are unaware, as even though physical continuity between the two worlds exists, the way to open the portal between the worlds is known only by few.
Terran treasure chests have a different appearance to Gaian treasure chests. The placement of Terran treasure chests on Gaia indicates to the player locations that are connected to Terra.
Terra used to exist separate of Gaia and was a planet like any other in the cosmos. Terra was a world with a highly advanced magical civilization and at its peak had flourishing cities all over the planet. This continued until the "decay" began and vegetation and animal life died out. The Terrans, desperate to preserve their culture and technology, constructed Oeilvert as a record of their history. Ultimately, Terra's best minds gathered together to find a way to stop the decay.
According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, the Terran people made use of the magical art Fusion, to preternaturally attain eternal life. Fusion was used when Terra's crystal grew old and weak, so to survive, the Terrans would seek out young planets whose cores had not yet grown and assimilate it, circulating Terra's souls to the new crystal to finish the process.
At each planet's core resides a crystal that governs the cycle of souls. They send out souls to be born as living creatures, and when they die, the memories of the life lived are sent back to the crystal allowing the crystal to grow and become able to create ever more complex creatures. If the soul circulation were to stop, the accumulation of memory ends and the planet begins to decay until the crystal itself is returned to the cosmos along with the planet. The concept is similar to the Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII.
Gaia's crystal is blue, whereas Terra's crystal glows red.
5000 Years Ago - The Failed FusionEdit
Garland was created to look after Terrans' best interests and oversee the world's restoration as most of the people in Terra entered stasis waiting the time Terra would be reborn by assimilation of another planet. Garland himself appears to be some kind of android with an incredibly long lifespan.
The Terrans were unable to find an inexperienced planet to assimilate with, and due to Terra's crystal growing weaker by the day Garland made the risky decision and chose the young planet of Gaia for Terra to fuse with. The Fusion was a disastrous failure as Gaia's crystal rejected the process, ending up in the destruction of Gaia's entire civilization and leaving the planet's surface in ruin.
As a result of the failed Fusion many Terran structures ended up on Gaia, places such as Ipsen's Castle, Desert Palace and Oeilvert. Terra itself was warped to the inside of Gaia. Due to the incomplete Fusion Terra's moon remained, giving Gaia two moons; the blue moon of Gaia and the red moon of Terra. In the sea near Esto Gaza the Shimmering Island was born as a portal between the two worlds.
Garland transplanted Terra's magical tree Iifa to Gaia to oversee the world's recovery; its roots would spread across the planet under the surface, stabilizing it. It would take thousands of years for Gaia to recover from the failed Fusion, however, and for the civilization to flourish.
3000 Years Ago - Garland's Plan to Revive TerraEdit
According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania Garland began creating Genomes around 3000 years prior to the game's events so the people of Terra could one day be revived. The Genomes were created to one day carry the souls of Terra's people, but until the planets' Fusion was to carry out in full, the Genomes' lives remained incomplete. As Terra's crystal was diminishing, meaning it would be sent out to the cosmos and die unless saved, Garland devised a plan to control Gaia's soul cycle.
Garland's plan was to join the two cycles together - the Terran crystal's cycle, and the Gaian crystal's cycle. The initial plan was a failure as the flows of souls were mismatched: Gaia had a rapid healthy flow of souls, whereas Terra, being a dying world, had hardly a cycle at all, making it impossible for Terra's soul cycle to dominate Gaia's. By using the Iifa Tree Garland stopped the Gaian souls from returning to their crystal, his plan to create a world where only Terran souls could circulate. However, even with Gaia's cycle halted, Terra's circulation remained weak.
1000 Years Ago - The Terran Souls Begin Their RestorationEdit
1000 years prior to the game events Garland placed the Soul Divider at the Iifa Tree's base to discard the Gaian souls and replace them with Terran ones, thus slowly restoring Terra. Terran flora and fauna began reviving on the planet of Gaia, as Gaia was finally recovering from the destruction that happened in the wake of the failed Fusion. The discarded Gaian souls were sent off through the tree-roots to the continent where, by this time, a civilization had formed.
The souls manifested as Mist and the continent became known as the Mist Continent. Due to the advent of Mist the people migrated to higher ground above the Mist, but its presence still produced frequent conflicts culminating in many wars, which would further increase the flow of souls attempting to return to the crystal, all according to Garland's plans.
Due to the discovery of airships that could fly on Mist, the wars came to a stop, and the circulation of souls returned to normal.
Garland creates Kuja and Zidane to Speed Up Terra's RestorationEditFrustrated at the slow pace his plan was advancing, Garland had the idea to create a Genome he could send to Gaia to incite war to once again increase the rate of the soul cycle. He created Kuja, but Garland initially deemed him a failure, as Kuja's will was too strong and thus not easily harnessed for his ends. Garland thought he could get some use out of his creation anyway, and sent Kuja off to Gaia. After sending Kuja off Garland decided to create another Genome, different from Kuja from the outset. This Genome was Zidane.
According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, Zidane was different from Kuja since the beginning. He was to start his life as a child and would gain the ability to Trance. Starting his life as a child had a big impact as through growth and learning he would develop emotions providing him the ability to enter Trance and ultimately make him superior to Kuja, whom, unable to feel complex emotions, would never naturally attain Trance. Kuja was jealous of Garland's attention shifting to his new project and kidnapped Zidane, dropping him off in Gaia and abandoning him there. Garland, having found what Kuja had done, was furious and banished Kuja from traveling to and from Terra.
Zidane was found by Baku and raised by his Tantalus Theater Troupe and thus saved from a premature death. He often dreamed of his homeland, although all he could remember was a blue light. He had forgotten he was born on Terra, though he constantly searched for his birthplace and family.
Garland's Plans Begin to Go WrongEdit
After thousands of years Garland's plans were finally reaching fruition. The Gaian crystal had been deprived of souls for so long the weak Terran crystal would be able to fuse with it. This was also the time Garland succumbed to paranoia. Terra's crystal had been too weak to create eidolons, but Garland had seen one being summoned in Alexandria 500 years prior to the game's start, and he was horrified at its power. When the day of full Fusion was nearing Garland became wary that such power could come between him and his plans, now when he was so close to finally fulfilling his goal.
By searching for the location where Gaia's pulse met the planet's surface he found Madain Sari and the summoners' tribe. Fearful of their power, Garland ordered Kuja to destroy the village. Kuja became curious of these magical creatures his master so feared, and in time came to pursue them himself. Kuja's plans to acquire an eidolon strong enough to face Garland failed, but he discovers the power of Trance.
Zidane and his friends eventually learn about Terra and decide to journey there. They do so by piloting the Hilda Garde III to the Shimmering Island that had recently revealed itself as the portal between Gaia and Terra. Upon entering the portal the airship lands on Terra's crystalline landscape. After navigating through Terran wilderness, the party meets Mikoto, a mysterious girl who resembles Zidane.
Mikoto leads the party to Bran Bal, the city of Genomes. Mikoto tells Zidane much about herself, explaining that she was created with a will of her own, just like Zidane and Kuja, so she could replace them, if needed. Zidane is suspicious about Mikoto's explanations, so she directs him to Pandemonium to meet Garland. Garland bluntly tells Zidane of his true purpose as an Angel of Death. After Zidane's friends help him come to terms with his existence, they battle Garland and defeat him.
Their victory is short-lived as Kuja arrives at Pandemonium, kills Garland, and turns on the party. Driven to madness after having learned Garland had placed a limit on his lifespan, Kuja absorbs the souls residing within the Invincible, and, using the soul of Queen Brahne as a catalyst, reaches the state of Trance and destroys Terra with his newfound power. Zidane and his friends flee with the Genomes back to Gaia.
It is unknown what became of Terra's crystal after the planet's surface was destroyed. Garland tells the party at one point they can't stop the planets from merging because as long as the Iifa Tree exists it'll keep on halting Gaia's soul cycle. However, at the end of the game the Iifa Tree collapses, perhaps a sign of Terra's crystal finally having died out.
Terra's landscape consists of crystalline blue structures that bear little resemblance to the landscape of Gaia. Unlike in Gaia, where the earth is covered in soil with green vegetation in the form of grasslands and forests, Terra is pure rock. Due to Terra having hardly any sentient civilization to speak of the landscape is naturally formed and without many roads or buildings. Terra has large tree-like structures and remnants of lush foliage from before the planet's cataclysm, and the structures formed between them can be used to traverse the landscape like bridges.
This is where the player starts when they first enter Terra. On the first time here the camera pans down from above. An Old Man appears here and the player will have the opportunity to select their party after the conversation.
The screen is simply a path that continues up-screen to an exit on the right of the screen leading to the downhill path.
- Downhill Path
The downhill path is entered from the hilltop area from the bottom of the screen. On the first visit here a mysterious girl can be seen but she runs off to the north. An exit to the left leads to the stepping stones area. The exit to the north leads to the path by the pond.
- Stepping Stones
The stepping stones area is entered from the downhill path area from the bottom of the screen. The are is comprised of five "steps" which the player jumps through. The steps are in a path, however the second step from the bottom has a step on the right where a chest is found. This chest contains the Coronet. An exit on the north of the screen leads to a secluded area of the path by the pond.
- Path by the pond
The path by the pond is split into two areas. There is the main part on the path, and a secluded part which can be entered from an optional route. On the main path the area is originally entered from the downhill path area from the south of the screen. On the first visit the mysterious girl can be seen, and moving the character closer to her will cause to her run north. An Elixir is found on the left of the path. The exit at the top of the screen leads to a bridge.
The secluded part of the path by the pond is entered from the stepping stones. This area is a short path where a chest containing the Dragon Wrist can be found.
The bridge screen is a path. The east side of the screen leads to the path by the pond area. The right side of the screen leads to the Treetop. The first time the player is here the mysterious girl appears standing here. If the player approaches her she runs off the right side of the screen.
The treetop is entered from a bridge area from the top-right. The webs in this area serve the purpose of ladders. At the bottom of the top-most web is a fork where the player can go two ways. On the right is a web that leads down to a Remedy and the player must climb down them to traverse the area. On the left is a path that leads down to a web that leads to the Treebase area. At the top of this web is a small area where the player can find a chest holding the Mythril Racket.
The treebase is entered from the top of the screen through climbing down the web from the treetop. Just to the left of the web is a chest containing the Demon's Vest. On the player's first visit here a small scene will occur with Zidane and the they mysterious girl. The path on the left leads to a bridge.
The bridge is entered from the treebase area from the south. On the player's first visit the mysterious girl will be standing on the bridge and asks the player to move on. Moving off the screen to the north of the bridge leads to Bran Bal.
- Main article: Bran Bal
Bran Bal is a town in Terra and perhaps the only one on the planet, seeing as all the Genomes seem to live there. It is the birthplace of all Genomes and contains a number of houses, a laboratory and a pond in the middle of the village. One moogle is also known to live here.
- Main article: Pandemonium (Final Fantasy IX)
Pandemonium is Garland's floating castle and the place where he docks the Invincible and oversees the soulless Genomes. It is also the place where Terran souls are held in stasis. The Pandaemonium is a bizarre and eerie location that looks vastly different from the rest of Terra; whereas most of Terra is tranquil and blue in color, Pandaemonium is dark with red hues, and seems more "alive" than rest of Terra, with enormous eyeballs sticking out from certain structures that appear to follow visitors.
Terra features the largest proportion of demon enemies in Final Fantasy IX. The majority of the game's demon enemies are fought on Terra, in the locations that ended up on Gaia, or in Memoria.
The enemies fought on Terra often use status attacks, particularly Poison, Virus, and instant death. All of them also include the Vaccine item in their steals and drops. The majority of the attacks used by the enemies fought here are Magical attacks.
If the player has not already learned the Roulette and Magic Hammer Blue Magic skills for Quina, they can be learned by eating the Hecteyes and Ring Leader, respectively. The Tetra Master card Ifrit can also be dropped by the Ring Leader.
There are two themes of Terra; one is Final Fantasy IX's opening and title screen theme, "The Place I'll Return to Someday"; the second is another arrangement, simply titled "Terra", played while exploring the planet. During the three battles after Zidane learns of his purpose, the theme "You're Not Alone" plays.
- Main article: Terra#Etymology
- Terra appears during the EX Burst animation of Kuja's EX Burst in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. As Kuja builds up power an image of Terra slowly merges with an image of Gaia, Terra overtaking Gaia as a reflection of Kuja's allegiance. Additionally, his strongest weapon is called Terra's Legacy.