Back in Zadash — the first time around — the Mighty Nein watched Jester stress about how long her mother’s package was taking to reach her. Jester had started off so confident her mother would send her lots of money immediately, and the Mighty Nein could only watch on with growing concern. Would she be disappointed? Would she be hurt? Did this happen often?
Caleb/Liam in particular had voiced concerns surrounding Jester’s home life, worried by the few stories he had heard about her being locked and hidden away from the world all her life. And when they finally reached the Lavish Chateau and met Marion Lavorre in person, he was immensely relieved to see just how loved Jester was.
But if Jester was so well loved all her childhood, why did she sometimes seem so sad and lonely?
Just because Jester is well loved doesn’t mean her childhood was easy. Jester grew up isolated, without any peers, hidden away from the world with only her mother, Bluud, and the other employees of the Chateau for company. (A curiously similar upbringing to Caduceus, although the results are incredibly different, in part due to Caduceus having many siblings.)
There is no doubt that Marion loves her little Sapphire more than anything in the world. But their circumstances limited what she could do for Jester. Marion’s work made it dangerous for Jester’s existence to be widely known, so Jester had to be hidden. Add to that Marion’s agoraphobia and we have Marion showing her love by keeping Jester always close, always safe. That is, until she could no longer protect her and had to send her off into the world.
Growing up in that environment, it’s only natural for Jester’s understanding of love to be “love = being present”, the complete antithesis to Caduceus saying that, “absence isn’t the opposite of love”.
And it’s no wonder that Jester having been thrust out into the world on her own feels very insecure about the love she receives. She believes that distance weakens love. Like a bucket with a hole punched in it, if you don’t keep filling the bucket it will eventually empty. As a result, Jester works so hard to stay present in the lives of the people she loves. She sends messages to so many of the people they’ve met, from little Kiri to The Inevitable End. She refuses to let anyone forget her.
Marion certainly did the best she could, and continues loving Jester more than life itself. But there’s also no doubt that Jester’s upbringing has been the root cause of a lot of the pain she’s experienced: waiting for her mother’s package, being left behind in the battle with the blue dragon, and finding out that the Traveler cannot be with her always.
See also, Admiring Jester’s Power Misses the Point