Eiko, You are a treasure born to a dying village. We are dying, and there is little we can do for you. We shall return to the stars with one wish in mind. If legends are not born of eidolons, and eidolons but born out of legends, let us leave this place with one wish: If we can give birth to a legend, it shall create an eidolon that is friend and protector of humans.Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari
Eidolons (/eɪˈðoʊ lən/ or /eɪˈdoʊ lən/) are the summoned monsters in Final Fantasy IX whom the members of the summoner tribe of Madain Sari can call forth. Princess Garnet and Eiko Carol can summon eidolons, though Queen Brahne and Kuja also attain the power through artificial methods. According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, eidolons are born from Gaia's crystal, converted from the accumulation of memories within, to serve as powerful guardians for the crystal.
There are at least fourteen eidolons. Alexander cannot be controlled by the player, and is summoned during a cutscene, and Titan is not summoned directly, but appears as part of one of Fenrir's attacks. In addition, the optional superboss Ozma may be an ancient eidolon that has lost its form, as it is found in an "eidolon cave". Of the remaining twelve, eight can be summoned by Dagger and the other four by Eiko. The eidolons are summoned to battle via the Summon command in exchange for MP.
Eidolons are powerful creatures born of the planet's crystal to be its protectors. The flow of souls in Final Fantasy IX is similar to the concept of lifestream in Final Fantasy VII, and when the souls of the deceased return to the Crystal in the planet's core, they bring with them the memories and experiences of the life that was lived allowing the Crystal to grow and the planet will develop.
The secret inscriptions on the Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari imply that eidolons are born out of the legends and mythologies numerous peoples have told since the beginning of time. The conjoined memories of said legends enter the Crystal as part of the peoples' heritage, and manifest into magical creatures, whom the Crystal creates as its protectors. As shown on the Eidolon Wall, an eidolon's appearance depends on the time period it appears in: the legends on the eidolon Shiva tell of it as a tiny pixie, whereas the Shiva Garnet can summon is a grown woman. Ozma, meanwhile, is found in an "eidolon cave", manifesting only as a swirling ball of pure energy when freed, but whether Ozma was ever an eidolon is unknown as Mene describes its presence as something "not of this world". After the summoners realize the eidolons' true nature as manifestations of legends, the final summoners wish for an eidolon to manifest to protect the last of their kin.
Eidolons that summoners fail to harness are locked away in eidolon caves, as seen in the case of Leviathan.
Eidolon and its summoner
Eiko explains the summoner can communicate with his or her eidolon through the summoner's horn when she breaks the spell that protects the Iifa Tree from intruders. Dagger can't hear anything, despite Eiko claiming she can hear the eidolon asking her to hurry it up. It might mean that Dagger, having lost her summoner's horn, cannot communicate with eidolons the way Eiko can.
It is also possible the summoner tribe isn't the only people who can call forth eidolons. Though little is known of the mole people who used to inhabit Mount Gulug, the circumstances around their sealed village, and their disappearance, as well as their village remains containing an extraction circle, point toward the Mole People having been able to summon eidolons. This is backed by a an excerpt found on the Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari.
This information is yet to be confirmed, but there was an eyewitness account of a previously-undiscovered eidolon. It was witnessed in Esto Gaza. If there is an eidolon that can exist outside of our legends, our theory would no longer hold true. But maybe there are other tribes that have legends of their own.Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari
By the time the party visits it Mount Gulug has been sealed off, but Kuja wanted to break the seal as he is looking for an eidolon greater than Alexander. He has already exhausted Mist and Outer Continents, and sets his eyes on Mount Gulug. Inside they find the remains of the Mole People's civilization and an extraction circle used to extract eidolons from a summoner. It is possible the Mole People faced the same fate as the summoner tribe in Madain Sari: destroyed by Garland in fears of the eidolons' power meddling with his plans.
The eidolon extraction is a process in which the eidolons are forcefully extracted from a subject into gemstones. Even a person who wasn't originally a summoner can summon the extracted eidolons by the use of the gem. Zorn and Thorn attempt the extracting ceremony twice: first from Dagger, so that Queen Brahne can make use of her daughter's eidolons to take over the nations of Cleyra and Lindblum, and later they attempt to steal Eiko's eidolons for Kuja.
Dagger is captured and imprisoned by Zorn and Thorn when she returns to Alexandria to reason with her mother about her recent attack on Burmecia. After Dagger loses her eidolons she must reclaim them to use them in battle. The first eidolon she acquires is usually Ramuh, whom she encounters at Pinnacle Rocks.
Later, Kuja intends to extract Eiko's eidolons at Mount Gulug, despite Eiko being considered too young to survive the extraction process, as Kuja says he needs an eidolon more powerful than Alexander. They fail to extract Eiko's eidolons, and Zorn and Thorn state the ceremony can only work when the subject is sixteen years or older without the summoner dying. The extraction is halted by Mog who attacks the twins going into a Trance, and tells Eiko to summon Terra Homing. Mog is the eidolon Madeen who became Mog to protect Eiko.
Alexander is the most powerful eidolon and guards Alexandria. Five hundred years ago its crystal was divided in four fragments to ensure it would never be summoned again, due to being deemed too dangerous. One fragment was given to each of the kingdoms on Mist Continent, and the summoner tribe kept the last piece as they moved away to Madain Sari.
Queen Brahne hunts for the crystal fragments and the pieces come together atop Alexandria Castle during the time Kuja attacks the city with Bahamut. Eiko and Dagger join their powers and summon Alexander, which destroys Bahamut, but is in turn destroyed by Garland's airship, the Invincible.
The superboss Ozma is found within an "eidolon cave", and thus it can be speculated that Ozma, much like Leviathan, was an eidolon whose power the summoners couldn't harness, and it was locked away. Ozma is never specifically referred to as an eidolon, and it can't be summoned.
The first time a summon is called in battle the full animation plays. Afterward, there is a 33% or 10% chance to get the full animation again based on the following:
- If MP < (Summon MP Cost * 2), the chance of full animation is:
- Rnd MOD 256 >= 170, use full animation
- Otherwise, the chance of full animation is:
- Rnd MOD 256 >= 230, use full animation
If the support ability Boost is equipped there is a 100% chance of getting the full animation. MP in these calculations refers to the MP before the cost is subtracted. The value used for Summon MP Cost is unaffected by Half MP.
The attacks and spell power for Dagger's summons are straight-forward: they are based on item stock and length of animation, the short version being weaker than the full length animation (FLA). When Dagger summons an eidolon during her Trance there is a random chance the summon will reappear during the battle for zero MP cost, but the animation will always be the short version, and item stock "bonuses" will be disregarded. The summon will reappear in intervals to repeatedly damage the enemy until a new eidolon is summoned or until Dagger exits Trance. If Dagger dies or is ejected from battle (like with the attack Snort), the attack will stop as well.
The formula used to determine the amount of damage an eidolon does during its full animation is as follows:
If the eidolon is summoned and does its half animation, the formula changes to as follows:
At the start of the game, the MP cost for summons is multiplied by 4. For example, Shiva will cost 96 MP instead of the later 24. This applies for all her eidolons, even the ones Dagger does not initially have available (Ramuh, Leviathan, Ark). The player can grind to reach enough MP to summon her eidolons, the last opportunity to do so being Gargan Roo.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 36+# of Opals in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 34
- Spell power (FLA) equals 42+# of Topaz in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 37
Ramuh is learned from a Peridot. His attack, Judgement Bolt, deals lightning-elemental damage to opponents. He originally costs 88 MP to summon, but later costs 22 MP. This can only be seen via a cheating device before Dagger loses her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 32+# of Peridot in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 31
Atomos is learned from an Amethyst. Its attack, G-Force 199, damages an enemy equal to a certain percentage of their Max HP (capped at 9,999). It originally costs 128 MP to summon, but after being re-acquired from equipping an Amethyst costs 32 MP.
Atomos will not work on bosses.
- Full animation:
- Damage = [((30 + Amethyst) * Target Max HP) / 100]
- Half animation:
- Damage = [[(((30 + Amethyst) * Target Max HP) / 100] * 2) / 3]
Odin can be learned from a Dark Matter. His attack, Zantetsuken, deals Instant Death that either kills an enemy or misses. If Dagger equips the Odin's Sword ability, Odin will deal non-elemental damage to all surviving enemies as well. When randomly summoned in Trance, he does non-elemental damage, whether or not Odin's Sword is equipped. It originally costs 112 MP to summon, but later costs 28 MP. If the support ability Odin's Sword is equipped, Odin will now do non-elemental damage if he fails to kill. Zantetsuken's success rate increases the more Ore the party has in the inventory, but this decreases the damage done by Gungnir if the instant kill fails.
Leviathan can be learned from an Aquamarine for 40 AP. Its attack, Tsunami, deals water-elemental damage to opponents. It originally costs 168 MP to summon, but after being learned from an Aquamarine, costs 42 MP. This can only be seen by adding all summons to Dagger via a cheating device before she loses her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 59+# of Aquamarine in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 63
- Spell power (FLA) equals 88+# of Garnet in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 77
Ark can be learned from a Pumice. Its attack, Eternal Darkness, deals shadow-elemental damage to opponents. It originally costs 320 MP to summon, but later costs 80 MP. This can only be seen via a cheating device before Dagger loses her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 106+# of Lapis Lazuli in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 87
Eiko's summons, while fewer in number than Dagger's, are a little more complex, as their attacks/effects change according to variables, such as the equipped Add-on.
Fenrir can be learned from a Sapphire. Its attack is add-on dependent. Its base attack is Terrestrial Rage and does earth-elemental damage by summoning Titan. If Eiko equips the Maiden Prayer, Fenrir attacks with Millennial Decay, dealing wind-elemental damage. It costs 30 MP to summon.
- Spell power for Terrestrial Rage equals 42+# of Sapphires in stock
- Spell power for Millennial Decay equals 44+# of Sapphires in stock
Phoenix is learned from a Phoenix Pinion for 40 AP. Its attack, Rebirth Flame, is animation length and chance dependent, and deals light to moderate Fire damage to enemies while reviving KO'd allies. If the entire party is KO'd, there's a slight chance of auto-summoning that revives the party, but does no damage to enemies. Phoenix costs 32 MP to summon, apart from when it is automatically summoned to prevent Game Over, when it costs no MP. Phoenix revives the party with double the HP if the Concentrate ability is equipped.
Phoenix revives KO'd party members and restores their HP equal to:
- [((Target Spr + 30) * Target Max HP) / 100]
- HP restored is doubled if Concentrate is equipped.
If Eiko is in the party there is a chance Phoenix will automatically revive the party if they are all KO'd. The chance of this happening is equal to:
- [(# of Phoenix Pinions / 256) * 100]
Phoenix's Spell Power is 40.
Carbuncle can be learned from a Ruby for 35 AP. Its attack depends on Eiko's add-on and animation length. It casts helpful status effects on the party. The difference between short animation and full length animation is that the latter casts Protect in addition to the normal status effect. It costs 24 MP to summon.
- Normal summon "attack" is called Ruby Light and casts Reflect on the party.
- If Eiko equips a Diamond, the "attack" is called Diamond Light and casts Vanish on the party.
- If Eiko equips an Emerald, the "attack" is called Emerald Light and casts Haste on the party.
- If Eiko equips a Moonstone, the "attack" is called Pearl Light and casts Shell on the party.
Madeen is learned from the Ribbon. A Ribbon is obtained as part of the story, and additional others are available through the Treno Auction House and from Stiltzkin. Madeen's attack, Terra Homing, does holy-elemental damage to all enemies. It costs 54 MP to summon.
- Spell power equals 71 + Eiko's level
Alexander from Final Fantasy IX appears in the arcade version of Dissidia. Its appearance mimics the scene where it is summoned in Final Fantasy IX, complete with the glowing moon, which was the twin moons overlapping one another for Final Fantasy IX.
The eidolons Alexander and Ark from Final Fantasy IX appear as summons.
Some of the eidolons appear.
- Ability Cards
- Legend Cards
Some of the eidolons from Final Fantasy IX appear.
Some eidolons appear in Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
The eidolons appear on cards with their artworks. Their elements correspond with those from the original game. Odin and Carbuncle are non-elemental in the game but Lightning and Earth-elemental in the trading card game.
Leviathan, Odin, Fenrir, Carbuncle, and Ark appear on Triple Triad cards in the version available via Final Fantasy Portal App.
Behind the scenes
Leviathan is mentioned in an old memo written by Hironobu Sakaguchi for the development of Final Fantasy IX. Upon their first meeting, Princess Garnet would have rushed past Zidane and "a thief" (Marcus in the final game), and while the thief would have focused on Garnet's chest being slightly revealed in her formal dress, Zidane would take notice of the pendant she was wearing: "No, no, she was wearing the pendant of the summons permitted by only royalty. Deep blue stone... 'The Legend of Leviathan', was it Princess Garnet?" This could refer to Garnet's royal pendant being the summoning jewel for Leviathan in the early story drafts. In the final game, Garnet is unaware the pendant is a fragment of Alexander's summoning jewel, although wearing the pendant is still a sign of royalty.
Etymology and symbolism
Eidolon means "unsubstantial image", "reflection", or "phantom" in Greek. It can also mean "idol" and is the source of the Latin word "Idolum".
The word "idol" being related to "eidolon" may have relevance in Final Fantasy IX, as eidolons are summoned by the summoners of Madain Sari. Mada'in Saleh is an ancient city located in the north of Saudi Arabia said to have been cursed and destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake as a punishment by Allah for the Thamudis' idol worship.
Their association with jewels as accessories used to summon them into battle is likely a reference to how a planet's Crystal is within the core of the planet, and the gemstones created from the earth are likely the residual manifestations of the Crystal's memories and powers in turn. Many of the eidolons featured in Final Fantasy IX have some basis to this phenomena:
- Opals are associated with Shiva. Though they come in different colors, their consistent variety are usually that of white or blue. Shimmering with iridescent colors, the gemstone represents Shiva and her diamond dusts, as crystallized ice is known to produce rainbows and prismatic effects not unlike her representative jewel.
- Topazes are associated with Ifrit. Topaz's name originates from Sanskrit, meaning "fiery". It is found in vivid colors of orange, ochre, and yellow.
- Peridots are associated with Ramuh. They are commonly light green and are the only known gemstones found from intact meteorites.
- Amethysts are associated with Atomos. It is a gemstone known for supposed protection from hangovers and drunkenness, and Atomos's element is gravity. It has an appetite unable to be satiated, and amethysts are considered associated with focus and concentration.
- Aquamarines are associated with Leviathan. Leviathan is an ocean deity, and aquamarines, as their name implies, are associated with the ocean and water in general due to their blue-green color.
- Sapphires are associated with Fenrir. The deep blue of the sapphire may allude to that of the world in its physical entirety, Fenrir being associated with the cataclysm of the earth and the skies within the original mythologies of Ragnarok, and as an eidolon who has command over the skies and earth.
- Rubies are associated with Carbuncle. While the mythical beast is renowned for its red jewel, biblical interpretation and discourse from which its name originates finds it to describe many sparkling gems beyond red gemstones and rubies, including diamonds and emeralds.
- Garnets are associated with Bahamut. Garnets are the color of blood, and Bahamut is the most powerful eidolon extracted from Princess Garnet.
- Pumice is associated with Ark. Though pumice is not a jewel, and Ark's respective stone is the Levistone in original source material, being associated with this form of rock is appropriate for an eidolon of darkness and mass destruction. Pumice is created when magma is immediately thrown above surface and is forced to rapidly cool down.
- Although not given a name in canon or any material otherwise, Alexander's gemstone may be Alexandrite. Alexandrites are relatively new gemstones that have color changing properties, and gain their namesake from being found in honor to royalty, being that of Tsar Alexander the II.
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania p.042
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania p. 040
- Final Fantasy IX, Eidolon Wall: The Legend of Eidolons: We discovered eidolons by researching legends documented from around the world. The Thunder God, Ramuh is one of those legends. Some theorize that the eidolons were created from the legends, and not the other way around.
- Final Fantasy IX, Eidolon Wall: The First Eidolon Discovered, Shiva. Shiva took the form of a young girl when she was first discovered. She now appears as a grown woman. Eidolons adapt their forms to the time and culture in which they appear. Shiva illustrates this theory. In certain areas, Shiva is depicted as a snow fairy. This cannot be verified, since the only written document that remains is in the summoner village. People associate Shiva with the snow fairy. Why she changes forms remains a mystery.
- Final Fantasy IX, Eidolon Wall: We shall return to the stars with one wish in mind. If legends are not born of eidolons, and eidolons but born out of legends, let us leave this place with one wish: If we can give birth to a legend, it shall create an eidolon that is friend and protector of humans.
- Rebirth Flame (n.d.) . Final Fantasy IX – Battle Mechanics Guide. GameFAQs. Archived from the original on 26 June, 2021.
- Sakaguchi posts old Final Fantasy IX developer memos (Accessed: March 17, 2020) at Destructoid