|Portrayed by: Ghassan Massoud|
|Position||Royal Grand Vizier of Solhara|
Jafar Amjad is the highest-ranking official of the government of Solhara, second only to the royal family itself. Jafar’s oversight extends from all palace affairs to the economic and legal workings of the city of Zabier. He has one daughter, Lady Scheherazade Amjad.
Jafar is a human sorcerer, the origin of his power unknown.
Formal Titles Edit
Jafar is formally styled, “His Highness Jafar Amjad, Royal Grand Vizier and Keeper of the Seal to the Sultan of Solhara; Lord High Chancellor, City Judge, Royal Inquisitor and Treasuremaster of Zabier; Lord Chamberlain and High Steward to the Royal House of Nejem.”
Early Life Edit
Jafar’s birth is shrouded in mystery, as even he does not know who his parents were. Taken in by a gypsy caravan in his extreme youth, his early life was characterized by a rich exposure to the oral histories and bardic inclinations of his foster community. He served as a young actor in a small troupe that traveled throughout Solhara to barter wares from Zabier with nomadic desert tribesmen. His favorite mummer’s farce in particular, a reenactment of a gypsy oral tradition known as “The Quest for the Djinn,” resonated with him and remained an influential factor in his later life.
He learned a great deal from his gypsy companions during this time, including disguise and concealment, minor “magic” tricks primarily involving sleight-of-hand, negotiation tactics, and the use of herbal remedies for a number of common afflictions. These skills would grow into fully-fledged academic studies in his later years. During this time, he was also exposed to a prophecy made by a gypsy soothsayer, who claimed that one day he would father a child who would free a city from a terrible tyrant.
Upon one visit to Zabier to restock their wares during his eleventh year, his acting troupe was invited to the palace to entertain the Sultan himself, whose fascination with theater and performance was widely-known. After a series of reenactments that lasted several nights, all beginning and ending in record-sized feasts, he piqued the Sultan’s interest by translating for a visiting chieftain, even taking the time to transcribe the Sultan’s response into the tribal shorthand for the benefit of the tribesman’s people. This came as a shock to all involved, particularly the gypsies, who were not aware of Jafar’s ability to write. The Sultan immediately offered the boy a position as a scribe in the palace, which Jafar quickly accepted.
Early Career & Palace Life Edit
Jafar’s ability to learn and adapt could not be matched by any peer during his time at the palace, and he quickly climbed through the ranks as he studied scroll after scroll voraciously. He apprenticed under the palace’s arithmeticians, judiciaries, and even a handful of artists, shuffling between masters as soon as he felt he could gain more knowledge elsewhere.
Though he did not readily make friends within the palace, he did endear himself to the young prince, several years his junior. Shaharyar Nejem proved to be a valuable asset in his ascension, vouching for Jafar’s talents at every step of the way. Upon his twentieth year Jafar was granted an assistant vizierhood, granting him minor noble status and inclusion in the ranks of Zabier’s most eminent scholars and philosophers. It is unknown whether this controversial decision was influenced by Prince Shaharyar.
Still not to be outdone, at the age of twenty-four Jafar was promoted to Treasuremaster, spending his days tending to the financial well-being of both Zabier and his gracious Sultan. In the meantime, he began experimenting with his own magical ability, which he hadn’t discovered until an instance of extreme rage during which he inadvertently turned a jealous colleague into a jackal pup.
Injury & Experimentation Edit
During his twenty-eighth year, Jafar embarked on an unprecedented expedition to the Forgotten Swamp. His goal was to further his private scientific studies and his career by gathering as many unusual specimens as he could find, documenting them and their effects, and presenting his findings to his fellow viziers. Timing his trip carefully so as to minimize the harmful effects of the swamp on his memory, he managed to gather enough samples to fill two horses’ worth of satchels, but during an inopportune venture deep within a cave he ran afoul of a venomous cobra. Jafar's leg was badly wounded and the venom began wracking his body with pain.
His last surviving bodyguard, at his behest, brought him out of the swamp and to the shores of Lake Lyndai, where he used his last remaining strength and a fair amount of beguilement to enter Allutheria and steal a branch long enough to use as a stunted walking stick. Upon returning to Ga’leah through the portal, he managed to deceive the guard into gifting him the stick and, by pairing the “piece of Allutheria” with his own magical ability, was able to isolate and stave off the poison in his veins.
Upon his return to Zabier, Jafar’s fascination with magic only grew. His interest in chemistry expanded into alchemy, his inclination toward disguise branched into illusion, and his natural charisma gave way to enchantment over the minds of others, in particular his superiors. He housed the magical branch keeping the venom at bay inside an ornate golden staff, wrought in the shape of the beast that had nearly killed him, using the staff as a focus for his private magical studies. A secret enclave he had discovered below the palace in his youth he converted into a private sanctum where he might carry out his experiments in secret, for fear he should be discovered and persecuted for his unusual hobby.
Eventually, while preoccupied with searching for a cure for his affliction, he succeeded in charming his way into the seat of City Judge. He grew paranoid, obsessive, and often violent during this time. It was during this period that he became engrossed with the possibility that the oral histories he had learned from the gypsies might hold some truth, and that there may be a wish-granting Djinn hidden somewhere within the palace. Using the clout his new position provided, he spent the next several years interrogating suspected enemies of the throne -- particularly the gypsy folk with which he once associated -- on the whereabouts of the key to the hidden vault where the Djinn might be hidden.
Gypsy Trouble Edit
In his thirty-second year, Jafar discovered a potential clue to his search during a particularly gruesome interrogation. As it turned out, the gypsies gathering in the Hyadies were amassing into an organized collective he had not previously known existed -- and, more importantly, their leader possessed what might be the key to finding the Djinn which could cure his affliction.
He encouraged his newly-minted constabulary -- composed mainly of ex-mercenaries -- to confiscate all gypsy valuables for the royal stock, as they did not pay taxes to the crown, and to drive the gypsies away from the trade routes and out of Solhara by force. The subsequent raids and fires were far worse than Jafar had anticipated, but during his examination of the spoils he discovered a piece that resonated with magic, though inert -- half of a golden scarab beetle, a remnant of an extinct empire and part of the key which would unlock the Vault of Wonders. He had discovered exactly the clue he needed to urge him onward.
A Lapse In Judgment Edit
Still reeling from his half-success, Jafar was embroiled in the political consequences of his raids, and he fell into a depression. Without the other half of the scarab key, or the location of the hidden vault, he had nothing to show for his efforts but a heap of burning flesh in the mountains. Word had traveled quickly that the vicious raids were on his order, and he suffered political and social instability as a result. He managed to hold his position as City Judge, but as of his thirty-eighth year he had succeeded in nothing but minimizing the subsequent damage to his career. Meanwhile, the constabulary which had carried out the raids -- known colloquially as the White Turbans -- were tasked to never leave the city again, and to never kill another unless under direct order of the Sultan himself. Failure meant death, both for the White Turbans and for their master, Jafar.
It was during this time that Jafar was approached by a young gypsy, Esmeralda Nudara, who convinced him to renounce the private vow of celibacy he took upon entering office. Her price: the golden scarab piece. Believing the piece to be well-hidden, and under considerable stress in need of relief, Jafar accepted her offer, but when he awoke the next morning, the gypsy had vanished with the relic and rekindled his fervent hatred toward her people.
Jafar’s efforts to rid the sultanate of gypsies were renewed, with a personal vendetta at their root. Over the course of nearly a year, the constabulary spent the majority of their effort tracking, imprisoning and interrogating more and more gypsies within the city walls as to the whereabouts of their compatriots who, based on Jafar’s intuition, were seeking refuge within Zabier itself. Jafar managed to track a group down personally during the wet season of his thirty-ninth year, a group he believed to be harboring the gypsy Esmeralda. In pursuit of one of their group, Jafar retrieved “stolen goods” he had suspected them of carrying -- incidentally, not his relic, but a female infant. Malformed though it was, Jafar was urged by the temple elder to spare it. The elder had witnessed the fate of the girl Jafar had pursued, who fell and suffered fatal head trauma while attempting to escape, and demanded that Jafar raise the child as his own as atonement for her death. Little did the elder know that the child truly was Jafar’s.
Jafar brought his infant daughter, who he named Scheherazade, to the palace, to raise in a more fitting environment than his youth had offered. He explained her presence to the new Sultan as an adoption meant to provide parental context, so that he might advise the ruler more adequately after the birth of his firstborn. As far as Shaharyar knew, the girl was rescued from a harem.
Shortly after his daughter’s induction into palace life, Jafar constructed a plot which would put him firmly back in Shaharyar’s good graces. In collusion with his assistant vizier, Iago, Jafar falsified a scenario in which he saved the Sultan’s life. Though the scenario did not play out as well as Jafar had hoped, Shaharyar was still grateful and Jafar’s service would be remembered once more.
By the time Prince Tahir Nejem was born, Shaharyar Nejem had promoted Jafar to Royal Grand Vizier, overseer of all the sultanate’s workings and public face of the Solharan government. Obsessed with control, Jafar physically trained and magically reinforced himself to rely on micronapping and minimal food intake to allow for more time to run the sultanate. He did so with absolute authority and little sympathy, keeping only the faith and respect of the Sultan, while the public openly despised him.
In the early weeks of her arrival at the palace, Jafar brought his daughter to his inner sanctum and operated on the child, whose severe spinal deformities would complicate his political career and her social life. During the surgery, he allowed her to touch his staff, hoping that the anesthetic effects the staff provided him would carry over to her. He did not consider at the time that this meant he had freely given her the staff, and thus allowed her access to its magical reservoir. The surgery was a success, by Ga’Lean standards. Scheherazade’s back would grow straight, but she would suffer from intense, chronic pain for the rest of her life.
Meanwhile, as his daughter grew, Jafar enrolled her immediately in his own brand of home-schooling, providing more rigorous studies than even the royal family could boast of -- including Shaharyar’s youngest child, the Princess Jasmine Nejem. Scheherazade Amjad’s intellect would grow to rival his own, though her defiant nature would not appear until later in their relationship.
During his daughter’s 14th year, Jafar finally discovered what he believed to be the hidden enclave that the gypsies called the Court of Miracles. However, he was too well-known to enter on his own, nor could he safely employ anyone with a task so great as reclaiming his lost scarab piece. He decided to utilize Scheherazade for the mission, under the pretext that they were going on an adventure together, giving her the first taste of life outside Zabier. Taking a land route northeast of the Hyadies and a sea route down Solhara’s eastern coast, they finally discovered a hidden grotto far to the southeast of Zabier. Jafar sent his daughter into the gypsy den, unsure that she would make it out alive, but her gypsy heritage proved itself a boon and she escaped with the scarab piece intact. Upon closer examination, however, he discovered the piece to be a fake. He did not question her on what transpired in the grotto, and rarely spoke to her at all on the voyage home, both out of obsession and frustration with the scarab mystery and out of shame for his duplicity.
Royal Turmoil Edit
Jafar’s relationship with the Sultana had never been particularly strong, and in his 57th year a misplaced comment from his assistant vizier, Iago, created a deep rift between them. The Sultana believed that Jafar might attempt to present his daughter to Tahir in marriage, effectively bringing his family from rags to royalty in a generation’s time. This did not sit well with the Sultana, who threatened to send the girl away to another kingdom, far away, to live the rest of her days on a pig farm.
In a rage, Jafar transformed Iago into a parrot and threatened never to restore the man until his debt was paid in full. Jafar then conspired with his new assistant vizier, a lowborn man named Rhadi, to murder the Sultana. On Jafar’s order, Rhadi slowly and secretly poisoned the Sultana over the course of several weeks. When she died, Jafar quickly procured for the Sultan a young minor royal from the northern kingdoms who would be of little consequence and who would not challenge him as the first Sultana had.
It was only a few years hence, however, that Rhadi and the new Sultana were discovered together in a compromising scenario. As the law dictated, Jafar authorized the young Sultana’s execution. Rhadi, however, Jafar transformed into a carpet, as punishment for his foolishness and so that he might not be executed for his treason. Rhadi’s new form was locked away in a sealed bamboo tube in the Sultan’s treasure room, to be restored at a later date of Jafar’s choosing. It would reveal itself in time that Jafar possessed neither the desire nor the magical skill to restore Rhadi to his human form.
The Lottery Edit
Having previously scoured the walls of the city and translated the ancient script written there, as per custom for each city judge, Jafar understood -- likely better than anyone living -- that it was imperative that the sultan choose a new bride, or be struck down by the gods. Being a gods-fearing man himself, after the haunting night he met his daughter, Jafar appealed to the grief-stricken Shaharyar to select a bride. When the Sultan refused to select one for himself -- particularly a foreigner, after the trouble brought on by his second wife -- Jafar enacted a lottery, in keeping with the ancient customs of Zabier.
He first requisitioned a large quantity of bone from the Land of the Black Sands, wherein the sultanate’s morticians and worshipers of the Soul Reaper lived. He put to work as many slaves and young men as he could gather to carve dominoes from said bone, each with a unique identifying number corresponding to a maiden of Solharan blood. As the sultanate’s resident tax collector, Jafar had access to incredibly detailed reports from each family that paid taxes to the crown, and he used these to find each maiden, high- or low-born, who might serve as the new sultana. To Jafar, this was both in keeping with the ancient traditions and a just compromise. He had little idea that it would become what it did.
At the dawn of the first day, Jafar called the girl who was meant to court Shaharyar and win his favor. The handmaidens of the palace took special care to adorn her lavishly and practice her graces, so that by the evening she could enchant her ruler. At the dawn of the second day, she was beheaded for failing to impress the depressed and detached Sultan, and another had to be called. For one thousand nights this pattern continued, with the only change to its cadence being the burning of the bodies, once the Blight was discovered in the northern kingdoms. Though the religious community cried out against him for it, he deemed the cremations necessary, should the disease somehow spread into Solhara.
While the Blight raged on in the north, the Lottery raged on in the south. Many tried to flee, and many of the richest succeeded. The daughters of Solhara perished, one thousand of them, until Jafar’s daughter Scheherazade volunteered herself in place of them.
The Storyteller Edit
Jafar was away on a brief mission to Dokrayth, which had been decimated by the Blight, when Iago traveled through the Shifting Silvers to warn him of a plot he had uncovered -- that Scheherazade had volunteered herself to the Sultan in lieu of the latest victim of the Lottery, and that she had no intention to marry him. Iago delivered into Jafar’s hands the alchemical reagent with which she had intended to poison Shaharyar. In a rage, Jafar took the Shifting Silvers back to Solhara where, to his horror, his daughter had actually charmed the Sultan with the tale of the Djinn, the same tale in which he performed the leading role when he traveled with the gypsy caravan in his youth. Much to his -- and, indeed, the kingdom’s -- surprise, Shaharyar spared Scheherazade, eager for the continuation of the story. This went on for many nights, always with Scheherazade sequestered from Jafar, while he worked toward a plan to free her from the Sultan’s grasp.
It was during this time that Jafar discovered a number of complicating factors, based on his translations of the most ancient texts he could find regarding the Vault of Wonders. First, only “royal blood” could open and enter the tomb. Second, he lacked the gypsies’ scarab piece and the other was the inheritance of the mythical King of Thieves.
The Plot Edit
Jafar’s goal, to free Scheherazade from either marriage or death by Shaharyar, required patience, resources and complete secrecy most of all. Despite the rift it caused between himself and his daughter, who began exhibiting signs of magical ability during this time, he would not tell even her of what was to come. Instead, he utilized his greatest remaining asset -- Iago. Through Iago, who remained hidden but spoke plainly, Jafar was able to contact the right channels and eventually set up a meeting with the legendary Forty Thieves, whose King he ascertained to be in possession of the other half of the scarab he had been searching for. During this time, Jafar spoke with the Sultan of the Nejem family’s greatest heirloom, the blue diamond ring. According to Jafar, Tahir would require the ring as a rite of passage, so that he might act as an adult and marry for the sake of the kingdom. In secret, however, Jafar used the ring in a ritual meant to show the one who could open the vault. To his surprise, it did not show anyone from the Nejem royal family, even the Sultan’s elder brother who had renounced his claim to the throne. Instead, it showed a young Zabieri urchin who Jafar had never seen before. This complicated things.
Once a wedding was finally announced between Scheherazade and Shaharyar, Jafar insisted on taking care of the details himself, stretching out the process just enough to provide the Thieves, the gypsies and the urchin boy with access to the palace. Jafar’s goal was anything but simple: Lure Esmeralda and the urchin boy to the wedding, steal the lost scarab pieces, wreak havoc, kidnap the princess as a contingency, use the scarab to unlock the Vault of Wonders, and convince the urchin to bring him the lamp in exchange for the rest of the vault’s treasure.
Abilities Exhibited to Date Edit
- Alchemy - Jafar has great skill with alchemical compounds, able to produce a number of solvents and solutions with varying properties. He passed this skill down to his daughter, Scheherazade, in combination with his skillful use of herbalism so that she might recreate the painkillers which he prepared for her in her youth. Jafar is able to identify aqua regia, the compound able to dissolve gold and produce chloroauric acid, at a glance and a sniff.
- Amathomancy - Though he holds little stock in divination and portents, Jafar has used a complicated mechanism within his inner sanctum involving a great spherical copper astrolabe and the Sultan’s blue diamond ring to ascertain the identity of one with the proper lineage to open the Vault of Wonders.
- Beguilement - Jafar has shown great skill in enchantment over the minds of others, and regularly utilizes this power to gain entry to otherwise restricted areas, to avoid detection or harm and, rarely, for his own personal amusement.
- Magic Dowsing - Jafar’s staff, the focus of his power, is able to detect other items with magical properties, even when they are dormant, though it cannot detect the nature of the magic upon an item.
- Minor Illusion - Combined with his theatrical training and natural guile, Jafar can adopt disguise quite easily. His favorite disguises include a haggard old beggar, a rotund, dark-skinned merchant and a Xehacoran missionary. Jafar has also used his illusion magic to conceal items he did not wish to be detected, though a clever enough thief might still be able to see through the glamour.
- Pain Suppression - Jafar can block out the pain brought on by his blood-borne poison, as well as the pains of old age, through a combination of meditation and magical sensory deprivation. However, this leaves him vulnerable, as time has since eroded his natural defense mechanisms and his body can still sustain injury.
- Self-Toxikinesis - Until Jafar discovers a way to safely neutralize the cobra venom in his blood, he must rely on magic to hold the poison at bay. This is mostly a reflexive type of magic, as it is part and parcel of the faerie wood which he keeps on his person at all times. Prolonged exposure to the toxin without the use of his staff could kill him in hours to days.
- Transmutation - Perhaps the most powerful of Jafar’s magical abilities is his ability to transform an object into another object. He has never successfully performed this ability on inanimate objects, but under extreme stress he has transformed a person into an animal or inanimate object on multiple occasions. The victims of this ability include the vizier Iago, the vizier Rhadi, and another vizier from his early political career. He has never successfully reversed this transformation in full, though he was able to partially reverse the transformation in Iago, who can now appear human during daylight hours. It is unknown if this ability extends to non-viziers.