This is the collected stories about Long Jack
the Stories of Long JackEdit
Jack and the Spoiled PrinceEdit
There be once was a time, when steam and magic moved the world. There in a land at the greatest of empires, lived a prince such handsome and fine as any man could be. He had also been born under a lucky stay, so they knew that he would be someone truly in days to come. And royal as he was, what else then to love him and give him what he want. But this made him spoiled rotten by all. Be it the people, King or Queen. Whatever he had ever asked for, had been his without a fuss.
But as he grow there was one thing he wanted more for each and every day that came and went. A bride, a princes, a woman by his lonely side he wanted more than all. Of course this will be done, decreed both the family, people and they whose work it is to decree such a thing. And so girls came from every land, be they rich or poor they formed a line, with dreams and hopes to catch the pouting prince glimmering eyes. The prince was not pleased at all, each and every girl he met was unfit to him he thought. His standards to high one might say, but with anger rising he sent them away, one by one until there left was none.
Angry and sad he was, thinking he forever alone, until one day he heard a most strange of songs. Asking his servants of who had this celestial voice that echoed through the rooftops of his city. “Well that be ‘Long Jack’, they answered, the greatest of thieves no equal alike. She makes her marry way around town, taking whatever she wants, she sings with glee of herself and her deeds”. “What do I hear, the prince said aghast, a woman who think herself more important than me. Her I shall have, my bride she will be. Do fetch me this ‘Jack’ for her hand I will have in a wedding so grand”. But sad be the servants as they could not comply. Explaining for the dear prince that no one could catch this most elusive of thieves.
Furious of this, the word of no. Something that he had never truly known. Storming out in the dusk glowing sun, shouting her name, ordering her to come. A laughing was the answer he got, a giggle that sounded like the evening bells. But no Jack did show, making the pale prince take the deep color of plum.
In the middle of night, when all was asleep, except for the guards, mice and wandering thieves. The prince was asleep, in chambers so great no equal found, covers of satin and silk from countries about. When dreams woven the thickest and sleep was at its best, rudely awoken he was by some pest. But surprised he be, it was not just some rat, but the biggest of all, the fair maiden Long Jack. “Oh madam of burglary, you anger me so. What is this late appearance when I summoned you quite some time ago?” The lady so fair, but her face with golden mask was covered. She gave him a shrug and answered so brazen “I go whenever I please, no one a hold on me ever will have”.
Standing in gown so sparkling and rich, the prince walking up to the lady of thieves. Down on one knee, with ring in his hand he told her the words, marry me you will. Once more again, she was laughing out loud, “Oh dear prince I will not, you’ll never me spouse”. Once more a no, of this was unheard. Crazy perplexed, struck down to the earth. “But you’ll be queen with me and power at hand. People to rule and all you wish to have!” “A thieve for a queen, now that is a riot and a laugh. And why should I want this crown when the world is already mine for the taking?”
The prince heard her words but could not take them to hart. After all it would have meant he was denied his wishes still, and that could not be. So he challenged her to a duel of his choice. And if she lost she was to be his bride. But then “what” answered Jack, “do you put at stake, be it that I win this little game?” “As my crown you don't want, nor my power or gold, I cannot name what to give, truth be told. But should it so be, I lose this challenge you can name your reward and I promise it’s yours”. To this Jack agreed, happier than ever. This worried the prince but the challenge was set.
And so, at the break of dawn, the town was bustling with life as a hive. For all had heard that the game was to be, between their beloved sovereign and the most famous of thieves. They had gathered at the center of town as it there would commence, the air was electric, full of suspense.
For under the town, for miles on end. A most mystic and amazing of construction was made. A maze that was before their city was built, said to contain magic treasure and gold, many down there had done venture, though no one had returned. This was their field for the challenge to come. First down to the heart of the maze, bringing out the treasure of tale.
The prince standing ready, with gear at his hand. Ready for any danger be found at the unexplored dangerous land. But no sight of Jack, not even her laughter and song in the summer wind. “Where are you, oh most elusive lady of shadows? Our bout soon begins, have you fled already this soon?” The prince shouted in a most mocking of tone. From nowhere and everywhere, her voice did echo. “I give you head start my dear. I will catch you before dark”. This angered the prince, all over again, this arrogance no equal but for him. Taking the lead, he entered the depth, with torch raised high, above his crowned head.
He had never been here, but nor had this Jack. The entrance sealed many years ago. But unlike the rouge so famous and brave. The prince so clever had a map most ancient as guide. A most sinister chuckle he gave, that she think to found him before the end of the night. But this was not easy at all as he thought, the road most dangerous, with traps and falls. Steaming pipes and tinkering gear, the inside of a clock piece came to mind. And so did the monsters that was heard, growling so foul from tunnels quite deep.
And so he went on, for how long he could not know. No longer seeing the light from above. This deadly labyrinth was taking its toil. And not before long, sitting down he was needing, resting his bones. Laying there in the flickering light, soon he could hear slowly approaching, quiet steps to the ground. Then out from the darkness, quite scaring him so. It was Jack, on an evening stroll. “How did you find me?” he said very loud. She answered him not, but a smile and a nod. “You’re not further then this? Now that is quite sad. And here I thought giving you a head start would perhaps be bad. But if resting so soon, then perhaps so shall I, my eyes somewhat tired, walking around without much light”.
And without much further ado. She lay down, and let in the embrace of dreamers king, old John. The Prince still puzzled over what came to be, his most cleaver a plan, now turning to dust thought he. But naughty a mind, seldom short of ideas. Seeing her bag, sure of her sleep, with long fingers he ransacked the pack. Inside he found some assorted gods, coins and glittering stones. But at the bottom there was a most astounding book. Her journal it was, a dairy of sorts with tales of her life's details. Now this could be used to figure out, what he could do to bring her down. Quite proud of himself he think of the words, only way to catch a thief is another thief.
And so he sat, by his flickering lamplight. Reading about a life, perhaps not so bright. Of a childhood most cruel, full of mistreat and much abuse. Born as a street rat without nothing of worth to the family name. She had to steal to just to get by, her past quite dim and her future not much more brighter. It moved something inside our sinister prince. But just as it came, he waived it away. A sting of guilt that soon was gone. For then he fund the questions answer, how she found her way in this gloomy darkness. As a child she found the hidden way, into this enormous metallic maze, and had explored it to some great extent. This news made the prince quite so bitter.
Afraid she wake and find it gone, he returned the book to where it belong. He had not much time for sleep, he carried his bags and went ahead, hoping to make away in the dead of the night. It was not much further in, a first of tests was laying still. The map had shown three such trails was guarding the final goal. If he passed this trail this win was assured, for she would never pass this challenge alone. And so he arrived to a door quite great, decorated with candles bigger than his whole length. But as he approach, it glide open slowly. Inside was a hall so big that it made his castle look small. There stood the statue of a dragon, shining brightly of copper gears, at the center of it all.
But as the prince did try to pass it, a clawed hand came down his path. From the statue now alive a clanking voice did echo. “To pass me by, you need tenth armies or simpler yet, the answer to my riddle. But without either, not only the path forward is blocked but so is the way behind, unless you leave at once”. The Prince who refused to be moved around stood fast and strong, but it was more than courage and steel that held him there in place, as riddles was his forte, a scholar’s man from royal birth he was. “Then dear prince what is that to some a tool, too few a curse. Without a bliss, for all to have. Can grow like greens without water, can fill you whole but not sustain you. It has no weight but can crush a man. Can be worth a lot, at same time not.”
The prince was stunned and lost for words, this riddle was beyond his scope of learning. Thinking of all the master poets and wise old men, none of his former tutors had ever given him such a hard to solve himself. How could this be, had they been too lenient, did he not learn enough? With regret his thoughts did fill. Welling in like a wave, washing away his grand resolve. But deep in thoughts of self-regret, he found his muse, inspiration jet. The answer came to him and all was good, shouting towards the metallic statue: "My answer is knowledge!"
Its response was that to move away, to show the door that forward led. Filled with joy and glee the prince moved on. With pride in stride he marched on, further in and darker still the rustic ember maze. Filed with pride to have bested this test, though he still remembered what he had learned from this as well. But tired now, his energy running out. Much more quickly than before, he also had to fight of a roaming beast with clanking metal teeth when he tired as he was a wrong turn made. Deciding he had big enough lead he sat down with great relief and soon fell asleep as well. But soon did he awake with haste, as boots approaching soon was heard again. Jack appeared with small surprise. "Oh my, not much further you have come?"
The prince now was grim and mad. How had she made this quick a voyage, and the challenge of the mighty beast? Besting him apparently with such an ease. When she once again went to sleep in nice, he took her journal, quiet as a mouse. With rising anger he read of travels, harsh of nature, into this great construction. But then he saw that she not only had met this great a beast but had become its pupil. Such a cheat he thought, not playing fair at all. But as he read he also saw the hardship of her master, compared to him it was the worst. It just went on until he felt he could not take it anymore. Returning the script, he took his things and marched onwards. Knowing he had to fight on to win this bout.
It was with tired steps he found his way, to the second chamber big and great. Made of colored shards of glass, tinkling and clinking with sounds of bells. Inside he found a misty lake of unknown depth, with surface shining and mirrors glaze. Around he looked for the way outside, nothing in sight neither forward, left nor right but so was true behind. The door was gone, now locked inside.
This was the worst, what was he to do. There was the lake, so dark and deep. Through its mouth there might be a way. With a deep breath, a hesitant step or two, he took the plunge and tried to swim down through.
But it was cold, so very cold. Almost freezing his marrow and bone. He gave up his attempt and jumped out, fast. Afraid that he would never last. What was this horror, he did wonder. His teacher had said that he was both enduring, strong and bold. Had he really been so fooled, so pampered that his demise would now face him in this horrid dungeon? As his spirit sank in great despair. Something awoke, a roaring beast of wild resolve. That was what he lacked, discipline not over others but for himself. With a majestic splash he entered again, this time he swam, deeper than ever before. And when he though that this would never work, he saw ahead the light of an exit glow.
Now tired, soaked and freezing to boot. He wanted nothing better to do, then find shelter for his body raged and sore. Once more he sat down, now so tired he fell asleep as soon his head had found a place to rest. His dreams where odd, not fine and light as every other time before. Now filled with darkness, soot and angry sounds. This went on for quite a while, until it woke him in the dead of night. Beside him lay the fair miss Jack. Sleeping with a smile so big. How had she mastered this second trail with such an ease, she looked so fine as ever before. His hand dug out the book again, skimming through her days of past. Of how she had swam this lake a hundred times, the horror for a child so young. A freezing terror that made her strong beyond her years.
It was resolve, was that she unlike him did not lack. He know now that he could never have won, she had him as soon they had this thing begun. Now what to do, he did not want to lose. His racing mind came to a halt. A scoundrel move he had to use. From his pack he draw a metal noose. A chain of brass and steel with which he tied her down, filled with shame as much he should be, of he run into the dark. Raged and tired, frozen and hungry he wandered, stumbled into the now spiraling depths.
He had to jump and dodge the dangerous traps. Sneak and fight the dangerous beasts. Now more tired and beat than ever before, fighting on with powers never felt before. No more he said, at the end of his rope, only want was for this nightmare to end. That is when he found the room, the last of three a chamber grate. Moving, boiling like a living thing, steam and oil filling the air. A heat so grate, gears all over working round and round until glowing red. Into this pulsing living thing he enters with a wary hart.
Now he was here to face this final task, his mind was numb and feat was heavy. Inside there was a flaming furnace bright and warm, upon it sat a smiling Djinn. "Oh brave little prince I welcome thee, far you have come to reach little me." Moving aside it showed something there, on a bed of fire rested a shining orb. Of this he had heard the tales, a magic orb so small and grate. It had the most amazing gift, wielded by the former king who formed and shaped this land. With grate desire he reached for it, but retreated quickly as his hand felt the fire's burning heat. The Djinn did laugh so very loud "Oh naive little prince you’re doing it wrong, without charity you cannot reach through the fire for very long."
What a fool was he, he now could see. Why had he who had it all never felt to give back to them who loved him so? Now he paid the price, without this orb he never will have the strength to escape this dungeon deep. Deep in despair, feelings so dark, there is where he found his resolve. He knew what to do and what he did need. Reaching out for this glistering gem. If he made this trial through, putting his people at first was what he would do.
The fire was warm, but not more than the air. The flames liking his arm without making harm. As if knowing his will and new found virtue it harmed him no more, letting him reach to its core. With gemstone in hand he was standing strong, his spirit rising he turned to leave the room.
After him he heard the creature shout. "Oh dear little prince do so give my regards to my friend who now have come back, I take it you know this jolly a thief of name Long Jack." At these words our prince did realize what he had done, poor Jack chained up in a dark and lonely place. With new found force he hurried on running with hastened steps. With sweat on brow and raged breath he found her resting place, but what was not there in chains so tight, the thief was gone nowhere to be seen.
Instead he found her journal left, open where he latest read. Continuing on her trails she ended up in the final room. There she had also met the same Djinn, whose challenge she had faced with bravado and strength in resolve. But the fire had left her completely alone, for a thief had no wish for such powerful magic, the binding and rules that came with it was nothing for them. No she wanted this treasure not for herself but for the king up above. Who wanted a gem for the crown of his son? Before she had returned she left a replacement glass pearl. With tear filled eyes and laughing out loud, the prince had realized that he had already lost. Long before he had ever been born, he was bested by the greatest thieve Long Jack.
Later he emerged from the ground up above, whit his crown and its magic for help it had been quite the easy task. The people was horrid of the state of his self. But he waived them away, saying all was fine. Now he had found a better side of himself, happy with the sheep price of some cuts and bruises. But more important than that was the vision he found. Of creating a life of which he could be proud.
And true to his word that he was. The things he had learned underground formed his new life. As a seeker of knowledge he created schools and invested in science and such. And no one in the kingdom had a thirst for it equal to their much beloved of prince. He lesson in discipline changed him quite a lot. No longer did he let others do all the work for him, his pampered life was over, instead he pampered his people to any extent that he could. And so, true to the last of his lessons, he used the power of which he had, to serve the people to the limit of his power and beyond.
Jack he sadly never saw of again, never to claim her reward she had won. But instead she had given him a last of his lessons.
"As friktion polish the gem, hard work and triles shapes man."
Jack and the GiantEdit
Jack is tasked with chasing away a giant that lives in the area, saying it harasses them at night and eat their cattle.
Jack talkes with the giant and he say that he refuse to move as he lived there first, Jack makes a bett with the giant that if she can beat him in three chalenges, he will have to obay her two favours, and if she losses, he will get to eat hear.
At first, it is a chalenge of streangt, to which the troll thows a stone block high in the air, and to which Jack instead throw her stone towards the sun that blinds the giant so he does not see when it lands, beleving it never did he is impressed with her strenght.
Next chalenge is one of spead, where they are to run a race around the mounin, And as the giant dashes of, jack hides and lay to rest on the other side of the tree, when the giant is back she only awnsers: "Took you long enough, I even had time to sleep a bit."
The third chalenge would be one of a eating contest, but as the giant stuff his belly, Jack pack most of the food in her magic bag of holding.
The giant admit defeat, afraid she will otherwhise have him killed anyhow, and when Jack ask him to leave, but return when she calls for him, he is more then a bit baffeled.
Not long after the giant leaves, a band of robbers in the area belive they now dear to rob the town, when the enourmous beast is no longer there, and as they attach the villge, when the villige ask for her help she says she does not wish to fight them, and should have thought of it before they sent the giant away.As they plead again she say she can bring the giant back and when they agree, he she calls him and he chase the bandintsaway.When the villige is glad they are saved, they wish to remove the giant again, but when jack reminds them of that bandits could always come back, they villigers said they gladly pay the giant both cattle and housing as long as he protected them. At this the giant agreed and all their past disputes where burried. The town gave jack her reward and the giant asked of what her second favour was, but she only said: "No mather how strong, fast or clever I am, I rather keep a favour to a most handy a giant, who is better a friend to be had."
"Treat your neighbours with respect."
Jack and the WarlockEdit
There ones was a village that people called Cloe, run by farmers and people who formed the earth with their plough. Thees people where kind and happy as few, working their feailds and even some ale on the grain that they grew. But amongst all of the people who lived there was one quite sad, a govenors son yes, it was a young little lad.
Not that he know it, as he had all and nothing to want, not that it made him less modest, never his riches he flaunt. But something felt wrong and gnawed at him so, made him wish for help, and soon he heard an awnser saying hello.
It was Long jack the gratest master of thief, she had heard his wispers in the wind filed with the fealings of grief. "What troubles you boy" she asked him quite plain, "of that I do not know as whenever I wake, I feal that my memory had somehow been drain.
" ... "
Jack and the Masterfull TheifEdit
"Lies are chains that binds both body and soul."
Jack and the PupetearEdit
(The pupetear is in love with death, but as death has no eyes for anyone but jack, he makes a trap for which there is no escape, and have her compleat three impossible tasks. But this she did, with favours of old, one from a prince long gone, another from a giant that awaits and the last from a fellow theif with a sole so pure. The pupetear have to give up, and as such jack is forever free from him and his bonds.)
"Plan ahead, dark times always comes."
Jack and the UrchinEdit
"A frog in the well will never know the sea"