1) Jace was a teenager when he fought Alhammaret. He is mid-20's when he first shows up on Lorwyn (where that card came from). There were years between those two points.
Also, it looks like he is standing on rocky terrain, so maybe it's moss?
2) Palin was tortured, I think that probably has more to do with his state in that series. They broke his hands and left him useless unless he uses magic, which he can't get without breaking irreplaceable artifacts.
The love and life thing is what I was talking about. They have devoted their whole life to magic, so when it disappears it pretty much takes their their perception of who they are with it. Some of them got on fine without it, some of them looked for new magics, some of them went a little nuts, some did a combination of those last two.
First off, the card I was basing Jace's character off is "Jace Beleren." Since that card didn't have a specific time period attached to it (other than after Alhammaret), I decided to make it right... more