The epic tale of Final Fantasy IX takes place in the world of Gaia. Gaia is home to four great kingdoms: Lindblum, Alexandria, Burmecia and Cleyra. These kingdoms have, up until this point, always been at peace. Strange things are happening in Alexandria Castle however...there is talk of a strange man wandering the corridors, and the Queen herself seems to be uneasy. War is brewing.
The beautiful Princess of Alexandria, Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, suspects evil intentions of this new person wandering the castle. With Royal Pendant in hand, she devises a plan to escape the castle by hitching a ride on the theater ship that will perform on her birthday.
Princess Garnet is not alone in her assumptions, however. Regent Cid of Lindblum also suspects foul deeds within the Alexandrian Castle walls, and sends a group of theater performers / thieves, called Tantalus, to pick up the Princess. Our hero, Zidane, is among this troup and takes the initiative upon himself to make sure the Princess makes it back to Lindblum alive.
As our story begins, the Prima Vista Theater Ship docks at the Alexandrian port, just outside of Alexandria Castle. After a brief meeting about the plot to "abduct" the princess, the performers gather and begin their play: Lord Avon's "I want to Be Your Canary."
Everything seems to be going as planned. Zidane and Blank enter Alexandria castle after a flashy sword-show, intent on putting sleeping-weed into the Princess's teacup. There's one hitch though: the Princess is escaping! Zidane and Blank chase after her, only to find that she was fully intent on escaping on the theater ship. With Princess in hand, Tantalus prepares to leave Alexandria.
Things don't quite go as planned though. After a disastrous mishap with one Adelbert Steiner, Captain of the Knights of Pluto, things get rather out of hand. A young Black Mage, Vivi Ornitier, suddenly arrives on stage after an accident of his own and inadvertently reveals the disguised Princess.
Queen Brahne, furious at the acts unfolding in front of her, sends her entire army after the Prima Vista, eventually causing it to crash land in the Evil Forest. After a long and arduous journey through the desolate wasteland, Zidane and his new friends make it out and head for Lindblum, where Regent Cid is waiting...