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- "You're very kind to use our words. But you already know what it means to live...and to die. You're asking about our friends who have "died," not "stopped"."
- —To Vivi
Black Mage No. 288 (黒魔道士288号, Kuromadoushi 288-go) is a non-playable character from Final Fantasy IX. He is a particularly perceptive resident of the Black Mage Village, to whom the other Black Mages turn for guidance.
When the party first arrives at the village, Black Mage No. 288 can be found at the graveyard. At night, Vivi wanders out of the inn, meets him at the cemetary, and questions him about the Black Mages who have "stopped moving". No. 288 explains the actuality of "death" to Vivi, which leaves the younger Black Mage confused. When the party returns to the Village later on, Black Mage No. 288 is the only one that stayed behind in addition to the two Mages caring for the Chocobo egg. At first, he will not tell Vivi where the other mages have gone, but later reveals that they have joined Kuja at the Desert Palace. As Vivi rushed away to tell his friends, No. 288 wishes all Black Mages could be as strong as Vivi someday. Later in the game, when the Genomes take shelter in the Black Mage Village, No. 288 explains death to Mikoto and how he feels that a grave is not a pointless stone to mark a fallen life, but a symbol of the memories that friends give us.