The Village of Eternal Night
"Do you have to go help more people?"
|Age||16 years (205 chronologically)|
|Home||Castle Jhareg, Charwood, Vastrea|
|Mother||Jacintha Jhareg (deceased)|
|Father||Karlat Jhareg (deceased)|
|Siblings||Karlat Jhareg (father, older brother) (deceased)|
|Quint Jhareg (older brother)|
|Nari Jhareg (older sister)|
Jardak Jhareg is the youngest child of the Jhareg family, born only sixteen years before the endless night of Midwinter’s Eve. Severely disabled and unable to walk or speak due to both inborn conditions and fetal trauma, Jardak has nevertheless lived a happy life with the aid and friendship of his older brother Quint—especially after the magical talent he had inherited from his father manifested as a limited form of telepathy, allowing him to clearly understand and be understood by anyone he touched.
When Liara conducted her investigation into the slaughter of Charwood’s children, Jardak served as an invaluable witness due to the location of his bedroom: directly northeast of the library where the crime (and everything that led up to it) had taken place.
Like his siblings, Jardak has large, dark eyes and dark hair, with the latter regularly cut short by Quint to keep it neat and manageable. Jardak is much smaller than most human men his age, with atrophied leg muscles and short, stubby fingers. His eyes seem to fit oddly into his skull, set at different angles to each other, and his nose and mouth are similarly crooked. These deformities are largely caused by a very rare hereditary disorder, usually only seen in individuals conceived through incest—as Jardak was. His legs have deteriorated from a lifetime of disuse, as he lacks the motor coordination required to walk and experiences pain (sometimes quite severe) when moving.
Most of his wardrobe was selected by Karlat, who felt he deserved little more than jute-fiber rags, but when Quint would go to the Necerite temple in Aldemor, he often came back home with nicer clothes for his younger brother, bought with the money he could afford not to use on travel expenses. Jardak himself has said that he doesn’t really care what he wears, especially since dirtying the cheaper garments seems to be so much less of an issue.
(Image source: edit of a male gnome portrait from Neverwinter Nights.)
Jardak isn’t “always happy” by any means, but his positive view of the world means that he has an easy time finding things to smile about. He enjoys telepathically conversing with people when he has the energy to do so, and being read stories (especially mysteries) is his favorite social activity. Prior to Liara’s arrival in Charwood, however, the only person who would meaningfully interact with him was his brother Quint. Sometimes Jardak was perfectly happy to be left alone when his brother was busy, particularly on days when he was feeling socially exhausted, but his introversion did not give him an immunity to loneliness. Now that Liara is at the castle and his sister Nari knows how to communicate with him, he is excited by the potential to make new friends and spend more time with them.
Although it may seem that Jardak, with his cheerful disposition and friendly demeanor, has been left unharmed by Karlat’s cruelty, this is unfortunately not the case. Jardak often has trouble understanding things that are spoken aloud (rather than communicated telepathically), but he has some idea of what his eldest brother meant by calling him “a burden that should be dead,” and he has taken this and other similar sentiments to heart. Some of his desire to please people and be helpful does indeed come out of Jardak being a genuinely nice person, but this desire is also born of fear and shame, even though he doesn’t like to think about it. Jardak sometimes tries to avoid expressing his wants if he thinks they aren’t important, but the nature of his telepathic communication does make it more difficult to withhold information, particularly if he has strong feelings about something or is in some sort of distress.
Of the three youngest Jhareg siblings sired by Karlat, only Jardak inherited the ability to use arcane magic—a fact that no one knew at first, due to Karlat instantly dismissing his youngest son as “worthless” and “a waste.” Jardak was untrained and not nearly as powerful as Karlat had been at his age, but eventually he found a way to harness his power, and in a much less destructive fashion than his father had at first.
As long as Jardak physically touches another person—most often by holding hands with them—he can open and maintain a telepathic connection with them, allowing him to “push” thoughts from his mind to theirs. The person he is linked to can “push” their own thoughts across the connection as well, allowing for two-way psychic communication. Unlike the telepathy utilized by most trained mages, however, this only works as long as Jardak and his conversation partner are in physical contact—the moment they are no longer touching, the telepathic link breaks.
When Jacintha Jhareg learned that she was pregnant with her fourth child, she attempted to induce a miscarriage with a tincture of pennyroyal given to her by Charwood’s midwife. She did not succeed, and Jardak was born months later, sickly and deformed. Karlat immediately deemed his newborn son worthless, and demanded that Jacintha refrain from feeding the infant so that he could try to sire another child sooner.
Jacintha refused to comply, and six months after Jardak’s birth, she died in the middle of the night after swallowing an entire vial of pennyroyal oil—denying Karlat any more children from her womb. Karlat was furious not only because she had defied him, but also because she had left him with three children to raise on his own, all of whom were still very young. He focused on caring for his two eldest offspring, Quint and Nari, and left Jardak to die alone.
But Quint was desperate to save his younger brother, and although he was only six years old, he knew families in the village who might be able to help him care for an infant. With Quint’s nurturing and the aid of the villagers, Jardak lived and grew in spite of Karlat’s wishes. Most people—Quint included—assumed that because he never spoke, he had no ability to think beyond that of an animal, and believed that his mind would be like a child’s forever. They were wrong, but for years, Jardak had no way to tell anyone this.
His inherent arcane power lay dormant for most of his life, only showing itself when Jardak—frustrated by his lifelong inability to speak, angered by the constant assumptions made about him, and desperate to be understood—suddenly shouted in Quint’s mind, finally telling him how much it hurt when Quint would try to move his arms to “teach” him to eat on his own, that he felt sick and nauseated from what Quint hadn’t realized was too much food, and that he just wanted to be left alone so that he could sleep. Quint, shocked by both his brother’s sudden “speech” and the fact that his well-intentioned actions had caused such pain, immediately stopped what he was doing and began apologizing profusely. Jardak interrupted, telepathically begging Quint to stop apologizing, telling him that he couldn’t bear what sounded like a cacophony to his ears. His brother left him alone like he’d wanted, but he couldn’t sleep—he was worried that Quint was angry with him and would never come back.
|The Jhareg Family|
|Karlat Jhareg · Quint Jhareg · Nari Jhareg · Jardak Jhareg|