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Barb enters the Decenarian math at the Concent of Saunt Edhar during Apert and becomes Fraa Tavener. Due to his unique personality, most characters continue to call him Barb. Barb appears to have Asperger's Syndrome resulting in his inability to detect what other people are feeling through their facial expressions. For example, Erasmas notices that Barb doesn't follow the eyes of Cnous's statue to the triangle window. Barb can seem annoying to other characters, blurting out blunt facts without considering others' feelings. However Asperger's Syndrome gives Barb an advantage in his ability to focus and learn new mathematical concepts.
Barb is the son of the Extramuros artisan Quin, the fid of Fraa Erasmas and the servitor of Fraa Jad at the Plurality of Worlds Messal at the Convox. Erasmas and Jad appear to be among the very few who can deal effectively with the way Barb's mind works.