The black Jester is always drawn in lurid detail, and described with as more gore as possible. He is a thin and hunched caricature of a man, often with a demon’s tail poking from the rear of his jester’s outfit. He crawls about on all fours and flicks out his long and snakelike black tongue to taste the air like a serpent. For yonuger audiences the Jester is a boogeyman who lurks in dark hallways after night, and in places where children are forbidden to go. Older tellers speak of a darker beast, a thing of murder, rape, and cannibalism.
The Black Jester is believed to be nothing more than a children’s villain, much like the ubiquitous monster in the woods that eats bad children who disobey their parents. Since noble children seldom run off into the forest, or play too long with their friends away from watchful eyes, the boogeyman had to change to fit into their rarified world. Older children and teenagers hold the Black Jester in much the same light as the modern day tales of Bloody Mary appearing in the mirror, or perhaps like slasher villains like Jason and Freddy.
Except that the Black Jester was, and still is very real. Originally serving as a court jester for a king known for his cruelty, Verin Jialan was a faithful jester and told his jokes, tumbled, and took beatings as his position warranted. Unfortunately this wasnt enough, and the king took turns at emotionally and physically torturing his jester. Jialan considered leaving several times, but knew that if he did the King would have him hunted down and returned, not as a jester but as a prisoner. As long as he was a jester in the King’s service, his wife and children would be well taken care of by his pay and his pension if the king did happen to kill him. Every day, Jialan despaired as he left his meager chambers and family to attend his lord.
This endured for many years as Jialan’s eldest daughter grew into maturity. The son of the King took a fancy to the Jester’s daughter and took his percieved royal right and raped her. Such things were common in that time, but the Jialan had long thought his family safe from such demonstrations of noble power. When he did protest to the King, he was struck for his insolence, and for courting treason by speaking ill of the King’s son. Jialan was stunned, he had hoped to have gained some leverage with the King for his stoic endurance of his punishments. Instead the King summoned Jialan’s daughter and his own son. Before his eyes, the Prince defiled his daughter again in ways that he could not have conceived of himself. Then, for such impudence, the king had Jialan’s daughter executed in the throne room. Rather than break her neck with a merciful hanging, she was bound and lifted slowly a few inches above the ground and left to suffocate hanging from the noose.
Jialan’s soul died as he watched his daughter go from kicking and screaming, to pained tears, and then watched the life flicker from her beautiful blue eyes. Broken inside, Jialan barely performed his courtly duties after that and the King’s abuses became horrific, not out of vengeance, but because the Jester refused to respond in the proper manner. The king though that the jester needed to be snapped out of his petty commoner concerns and return his attention to his noble duties, because aside from the Prince incident, he was a very good jester. The King sent Jialan to his chambers for a week, most other men clamoured for time away from their duties. Jialan was left as a prisoner in his own rooms, only able to see where his daughter once slept, and his wife’s anguished face.
His wife would commit suicide during that week, opening the veins of her wrists into a tub. The King was a brutal and cruel man, and the only love left in their family was the love of their daughter. In killing her, the King had slain Jailan’s family. It was a dark time, and despair was cheap and easy to come by, but Jialan’s despair was in a class of it’s own. Unbidden shades of demons flickered around him, each hungry for even a sliver of the cold misery in his soul. To their blackened palettes, his pain was their delicacy, their quivering pleasure. Quite unexpectly, Jialan called to them, bid them enter his body and make it a vessel of vengeance, he had neither care for it’s fleshy embrace or this living world. Open a door and a demon will gladly enter, though the number that infested the Jester remains one of the great unknowns, except that the number was great.
The Jester returned to his work the next day with a beaming smile upon his face, and he screamed properly when the King poked him with a red hot poker, and told proper jokes and juggled and didn’t even flinch when he was told to mock prisoners on their way to the gallows. This lasted for a month, time enough for the King to think himself most clever. Then the Jester snapped, and the malice within him twisted his form into something less than human and galvanized his muscles into something stronger than man. The Court Vizier had his head wrenched from his torso and the Jester lapped up his blood, cracked open his skull, and ate his still warm brain. Laughing as the Prince tried to kill him with a sword, the Jester caught and disarmed the prince by capturing his blade within his own infernal body. Disarmed, the Prince suffered as he had made many suffer as the Jester violated him in the same fashion as he had violated Jialan’s daughter in the same room. The King fled screaming in terror, calling for the gaurds and the magi to kill the demon.
The King, unpersued, returned with a strong retinue to deal with the demon, including Exorcists, sorcerers, and demon hunters. He was ready to slaughter the wicked beast that had killed his pride and joy, his eldest son. When he returned, the palace was an abattoir. Most of the staff was dead and dismembered, and his wife, so quickly forgotten was left hanging from the tower, strangled with her own intestines. The King felt pains he never imagined as he found his children, four daughters and three bastard sons equally dead and viciously mutilated.
There the consensus story generally ends, and the various endings emerge. Most tales have the wicked King slain by the victorious Jester, and a new age of peace and light emerges as then the Jester is slain by the King’s host. Other tales have the King seeing the error of his ways and becoming a benevolent monarch worthy of the people. From there, the Jester goes on to become a parable to nobles about being a good leader, and a boogeyman to keep noble children from misbehaving. Except that isnt how it ended.
The Jester was simply gone, and the King was left a shattered man. Despite his claims of greatness and power, he had fled and left his family to die at the hands of a creature he had created. That was his revelation, that the Jester had become a demon because of the punishments the man had endured for no personal gain but for his family. The King would later cast himself from the tower his wife was left hanging from, ending his own life on the cold hard stones of the plaza.
A battered and filthy jesters suit, crusted with blood. On rare occasions the Jester appears with a flute made of bone, a mask made of a human skull, or the scepter of a royal magician which he uses as a club to crack skulls.
The Jester remains still, though he is more a shell filled with a great many demons of a small and petty nature. His battle in the castle greatly weakened the Black Jester and after the last were slain he retreated to rest and regain his power. For the time being, the Jester sleeps, waiting for the ambient level of pain and suffering in the world to increase to wake him from his slumber.