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The Adventures of Springhill Jack

by Braison Cyrus 6 days ago in Fantasy
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Prologue

Springhill Jack Traveling (Midjourney)

When walking through the green land of Kilt, like the rest of the plane of Randós, it’s important to remember that every step is counted by someone. The men of the north in Terrador take the fewest steps, for every step is taken through knee deep snow. The elves of Lareth take the second fewest, for they live on a collection of small islands scattered through the Opal Ocean. The men and dwarves of Ekarus take many steps, for they hike over tall mountains to make war with one another. However, the men and women of Kilt take the most steps, for they are searching for adventure. They walk with their bare feet across the verdant green fields looking to write their own story and no one has taken more steps or written more tales than the old wizard Springhill Jack.

Springhill Jack has taken so many steps that most have lost count. His story is long and many know how it ends but very few know how it all began. He’s had many names across time and throughout Randós. The men of the north know him as a trickster. They call him Old Oakey, named after the wooden staff that he carries. He is remembered by them mainly for his betrayal (as they see it) of the ancient king of the north, King Holsgier, who Old Oakey locked away in a seaward cave for eternity. You see, Holsgier had a big mouth. He was a brute and a braggart which Springhill Jack didn’t care for. More so, Holsgier had a secret and that secret lay within his sword. This sword was dwarf-make in origin and thus came with a bargain, once the sword was drawn it must taste blood lest it kill Holsgier where he stood. After a night of drinking with Springhill Jack, the two got into an argument which led Holsgier to draw his sword and point it in Jack’s direction. Jack knew Holsgier was dangerous, as was his sword, so he decided to be rid of them both. To this day, Holsgier and his sword are locked within that very cave along the Biting Coast of northern Terrador.

The elves of Lareth have a more varied view of the old wizard, depending on who you ask. The common folk of Elsvid and Salini are fascinated by him and thoroughly entertained by his adventures across Randós. Even the most powerful elves in Lareth, including their kings and queens, welcome Jack anytime he decides to pay them a visit. However, the talented mages and wizards of Mercuria don't take kindly to a man who demonstrates more magical knowledge and prowess than the esteemed elven warlocks. None of these magic-wielding elves despise Jack more than the Echomancers, a secretive and secluded group of powerful wizards who use magic in mysterious and confounding ways, such as soothe-saying and time travel. Tales of their power have spread all over Randós, including reaching Jack's own ears. He went to pay them a visit, at their home on the Island of Vellros, to see if the tales he had heard of them were true. They were unwelcoming yet they still allowed him to observe them for a time. They shared and swapped wisdom about the magical arts but became annoyed when Jack seemed to be bored by their ramblings and convoluted rituals to accomplish what he considered to be simple magical feats. He was asked to leave and banned forever from Vellros for his disrespect. Before he left, he gave them a jar containing a single star inside it. How he obtained this is unknown.

Whether he's seen as a folkhero or a nuisance, there is no where he is more beloved than in his hometown of Springhill in central Kilt. He goes to the local pub and drinks rye whiskey with his best friend and fellow wizard, Blix Finnegan. They drink and they sing all the while no one remembers that Jack is the most powerful, and therefore the most dangerous wizard the world has ever known. The townsfolk gather 'round and wait for him to play his banjo while the children tug on his grey cloak and ask if they can play with his miniature pet dragon, Nallygaster. At his cottage, near the River of Har-peth’s Bend, he grows his own food. Sweet potatoes, to be exact, that taste like fermented honey and grow only in the shade of the Birling trees native to Kilt. His life is harmonious in Springhill but curious to most others outside of the small town. You see, Jack has always been there. No one seems to remember a time when Jack wasn't in Springhill. The people who live there today say that their Ma and Pa spoke of Jack's presence and so did their Ma and Pa and so did theirs. And yet, the people of Springhill don't seem to find it odd in the slightest. They just enjoy his company as much as he enjoys theirs, almost as much as he enjoys his rye whiskey and his own fine banjo playing.

However, there is sadness to the tale of Springhill Jack. He has an aura of loneliness that no one can seem to quite explain. He is so beloved and surrounded by friends but, often times, seems lost in his own thoughts, like all the world’s troubles sit beneath the pointed grey cap that he wears on his head. Like was said before, no one quite remembers when Jack was born or arrived in the town of Springhill, he has just always been there. Most folks don't know why that is and wouldn't believe it if they were told. Jack was not born in Springhill at all. No one quite knows where he is from. He was born in an age long ago forgotten. He took to the art of magic at a young age and quickly became the best at it and joined the most prestigious arcane university in all of Randós, the Mage's University of Myrmidon in Kilt. He went from student to professor rather quickly but became disillusioned with academic life. After leaving the college, he met a girl and settled down with her in her hometown of Springhill. They had children and built a small cottage to raise a family in. Jack would still tinker with magic, it was his passion afterall. He was so close to understanding the foundational essence of Randós itself. Jack was on the cutting edge of magical science but perhaps was dabbling in things that no mortal should.

Springhill Jack's Cottage (Midjourney)

Jack began to notice something strange; his wife and even his children were growing old, which, in itself is not strange. However, Jack himself had not aged a day. He was as young and fresh as the day he and his wife had met. One day, his wife passed and later so did his children and so did his grandchildren. Jack had done something awful and, to his knowledge, undoable. In his tinkering with advanced magics, he had accidentally granted himself eternal life. He was outliving everyone he had ever loved and cared for. Jack was miserable, all he had left was his rye whiskey and his small cottage as a reminder of the family that he once had. Wizards from all over Randós sought him out, eternal life was the end goal for all powerful wizards and witches afterall but Jack didn't know how he had done it and, even worse, didn't know how to reverse it. And thats when the steps of Jack's adventures across the world began. He wishes to return the gift that had taken everything from him, walking the world of Randós endlessly until he finds a way to either bring his family back or end the spell of loneliness he put on himself. This is the beginning of the adventures of Springhill Jack.

-In Loving Memory of Johnny Patrick Cockburn. Father, Grandfather and a deeply loved man...

Rest In Peace.... (Midjourney)

Fantasy

About the author

Braison Cyrus

Just a Nashville dad who loves to share stories. Follow the wizard known as Springhill Jack on a quest across the fantastical world of Randós in my series of short stories "The Adventures of Springhill Jack".

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (1)

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  • Carol Townend6 days ago

    That is a really interesting story. You could really play with that and add more chapters. Well done!

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