Hapless Jack Character in Valayo | World Anvil

Hapless Jack

Torren Jakken

You must plan and prepare, study and train. Take your future seriously. You don't want to be the next Hapless Jack.
— Professor in Salaris
  The story of Hapless Jack is believed to be based on a young, self-proclaimed explorer who disappeared in the 800s DE, Torren Jakken. Jakken is not credited with any major discoveries and never wrote any travel guides, nor created any maps. There are no surviving belongings of his, no books written about him, nor any statues made. Little more than a few pages of history can be found on him.   Nevertheless, the name Hapless Jack is well known throughout Imbria.  

Identifying Hapless Jack

Hapless Jack's identity as Torren Jakken was determined based on the timing of his disappearance and a journal entry found in the delapidated home of Nalissa Jakken following her death.  
I begged him to stay, but my son has left me all alone, searching for silly treasures. The cold seeps through these walls and wracks my bones until it's too difficult to even get out of bed. I await his return but know in my soul I will not see him again until we've both crossed into the land of the ancestors.

A Disputed Discovery

In the late 800s, a research expedition stumbled upon remains thought to belong to the missing Torren Jakken based on the decomposition and apparent age of the corpse. These remains were found in what would eventually be named the Frost Glen Ruins.   Torren was never credited with the discovery of the ruins, though some believe he should have been given at least some credit.  
"This poor chap seems to have discovered the ruins before us." The explorer stood far from the fly-swarmed body.   "No. Look at this blood trail and those claw marks. Something dragged him here." The doctor moved away from the corpse, following the trail for several paces, while the third of their party seached the trees for whatever left its meal behind.
Frost Glen Ruins

Physical Appearance

Few reliable descriptions of Torren Jakken exist. Nalissa Jakken lived far from other people, and the two seldom interracted with their neighbors. During investigations following his disappearance, one description, believed to be of Torren, was given by a frequent patron of the Wild Bison, a famous tavern in northern Salaris: "...a scrawny teenager, too scared to be in the Bison, let alone the wilds."
Date of Birth
Late 800s DE
Northern Salaris
Listen to your elders or you'll end up just like Hapless Jack.
— Common saying in Imbria

Related Reading

For more of Torren Jakken's story, see:  
Na'arin's Grimoire
Myth | Dec 6, 2020

A legendary spellbook of the necromancer god Na'arin rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Northern Mountains

Character Portrait image: Torren Jakken by hcraven using Hero Forge


Author's Notes

Thank you for reading! For more of my WorldEmber 2020 articles, click here.   More of Torren Jakken's story can be read at Na'arin's Grimoire.

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6 Dec, 2020 22:31

I love your take on this prompt. I definitely wouldn't want to end up like Hapless Jack.   Torren's story seems rather sad.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
7 Dec, 2020 02:29

It is super sad. Thank you for your comment

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Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
10 Dec, 2020 07:18

What a great take on this prompt! I like how you tied it into the culture with the saying. It's a sad story indeed.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
11 Dec, 2020 05:13

Thank you :)

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14 Dec, 2020 03:03

Amazing! An explorer known for discovering nothing. I'm going to check out the grimoire now.

Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.
15 Dec, 2020 05:48

Thank you :)

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