The world was a place of chaos, formless mists controlled by the many whimsical minds of the Fae, and ruled over by the Faery King and Queen. (This world still exists in part as the 'Tween, commonly called Undershadow.) Along with the 'Tween, there was the mortal world, a small island of stability within the chaos of the 'Tween. Here dwelt man, a strange, changeless creature whose life expired within the span of a few short faery years. While the Fae did not understand man and pitied his limited form, they tolerated man's presence, occasionally playing pranks on him for sport, or stealing a child away to strengthen their own bloodlines. For while man was a mortal creature, he had many offspring, something which the faeries envied greatly as their children were always few.
Into this world came two unknown creatures which the Fae Named the Serpent and the Unicorn. The Fae did not know from whence they came, but the new arrivals began to change the world, and this change started as soon as their feet touched the mists of the 'Tween. Faery was rent violently asunder into two equal parts. It now had a dark side, (the UnSeelie Court), and a light, (the Seelie Court). The UnSeelie Court was bathed in eternal night, lit only by the moon and millions of stars and its inhabitants were changed. They became dark of hair and of heart and wild of form. The Seelie Court became the Undying Land, where the sun never set, and its members blamed the change in their brethren on the Serpent, and it was the source of great bitterness, for the Faery King lost his beloved sister to the darkness. For years great battles were waged between the two Courts as each tried to establish dominance over the other, and this change was reflected in the mortal world as well, as it was shattered into many pieces, and its inhabitants cast into new forms.
The Unicorn wept and lent her aide where she could, but the Serpent laughed and spent his time and energy elsewhere...
The Serpent made the Logrus, and part of the UnSeelie Court dropped away into the Great Abyss (Annwn) where the Dark Ones, the Demons, dwelt. When the Unicorn tried to stop the Serpent, she was bound and locked away high in a Keep. The Serpent took an UnSeelie bride in celebration of his defeat of the Unicorn and the creation of the Logrus, and from that union, and many more on the Serpent's part, sprang a new race, the Chaosians. Only the children of Chaos could understand the ever-changing whorls of the Logrus and use its power, and Faery shrank.
For many years the Serpent reigned supreme in the Courts of Chaos and fought against the Faery King and his people. The Serpent's children thrived and multiplied and divided the Courts into great ruling houses. They used the Logrus to shape the world to their liking. They learned to bind the Dark Ones to their will and toyed with mortal and faery alike, and the Faery King knew that Faery was dying...
The Faery King cast about him for aid, and from the very substance of the land of the Fae he drew forth and Named Jack o'the Willows, Faery's champion, to do battle with the Serpent. Like the willow, Jack would bend against the ravages of war and time, but never break. Jack looked about him and was displeased with what he saw. The Serpent was bold and offered no people respect, save his children. The Serpent and his children raped the land and its peoples and the world wept. Jack was unamused. Jack cast about the world for a suitable ally, and found the forgotten Unicorn in her Keep, and Jack smiled for here was the Serpent's sister and she could provide the strength Faery lacked and desperately needed. He freed her, Naming another Unicorn so that the Serpent would not discover the true Unicorn's absence. Then he stole the Unicorn away to Faery to make her strong and tell her of all her brother's crimes, feeding her hate of him for his betrayals and misdeeds.
While the Unicorn recovered her strength, Jack cast about the world for another helper, and he found a smallish man in a smallish house of Chaos, overlooked and neglected by his peers. Jack began whispering to this man, of the way the world was and was supposed to be. Great power could be had, were the little man to prove brave of heart. The little man was named Dworkin, and he agreed to help for the sake of his own gain.
Once the Unicorn was strong again, Jack drew the power of Faery into him and created a Spell, which he housed in Dworkin so the Serpent would not see it. Jack also cloaked the Unicorn in a glamour to hide her form from the Serpent. Then the three allies awaited the Serpent's Great Feast, in which all the decadent splendor of Chaos and its creation was celebrated. When the Serpent was drunk with wine and sleepy from a heavy meal, Jack o'the Willows and his allies struck. Jack cast the hidden spell through Dworkin so that the Serpent would fall into a deep sleep. The Unicorn and Dworkin stole the sleeping Serpent away while Jack stole the Serpent's form, so his children would not realize their father's absence from the banquet hall. Once the Serpent was safely away, the Unicorn used her great strength to hold her brother down. She did not have the heart to kill her own flesh and blood, and prevented Dworkin from doing so. Instead, the little man took his jeweled dagger and pried out one of the Serpent's eyes as a punishment for his arrogance. The Serpent cried out in pain, and Jack, thinking his enemy slain, fled the banquet hall. The Serpent lashed out, striking Dworkin and maiming him, but Dworkin held fast to the Serpent's ruby eye. The Unicorn took Dworkin up and escaped with him, taking him far, far away from the Courts of Chaos. The crippled Serpent drew his family about him and fortified the Courts of Chaos against further invasion and attack.
Jack was well vexed when he found that the Serpent lived and tracked the Unicorn down to her hiding place where he scolded her strongly. She pled her case, and so great was her beauty, and so strong her distress, that Jack felt his heart soften. He forgave the Unicorn. After all, the Serpent was badly hurt and greatly decreased in his power, so Jack's plan had not been a failure. Dworkin, however, was greatly enraged for he felt himself used. Where was the power that Jack had promised him? And Jack could see the guilt in the Unicorn's eyes for their betrayal of the little man. Jack smiled at Dworkin. You wish your power? he asked of Dworkin. You have no farther to look than your grandsire's eye. And with that answer, he took them both up and placed them in a quiet spot of Faery, and protected them from the Serpent's wrath.
Once Dworkin was settled in Faery, with the Unicorn as his nurse, he looked to Jack's advice and looked to his grandsire's eye. And Dworkin was well surprised for Jack had not lied to him. Within the Eye lay the key to a great puzzle, one that would give Dworkin all the power he sought, and more. And so Dworkin became obsessed with the Eye, so that he studied it night and day and thought and spoke of nothing else. Jack visited Dworkin and the Unicorn often, and saw that the Unicorn's guilt was turning slowly to love, for Dworkin. And Jack was surprised at the pain this caused him, and he became jealous of the little man. Since the Serpent was lashing out at Faery and punishing it for his maiming, Jack began to think of an appropriate distraction for the Serpent and his armies. He saw the distraction in Dworkin and the Unicorn and the power of the Eye, and though he loved the Unicorn, she obviously thought of him no more, which made Jack's decision easier. He visited Dworkin and gave to the little man a suggestion: Why not reflect the Eye's inner power in an external way?...
And after a few more days had passed, with the Eye in his left hand and a dagger in his right, Dworkin drew the great Pattern in his own blood, which is a replica of the puzzle held within the Eye. And the world was changed again; there was suddenly order within the chaos, and the mortal world grew and strengthened in its many facets, and Faery shrunk yet again. And the Serpent thought no more of Faery, but only of destroying Dworkin's creation and of retrieving his Eye. In the confusion that was born of this, Faery slipped quietly into the mists, grateful for the reprieve and the chance to rest.
Dworkin was well pleased with his creation, and celebrated by taking the Unicorn to wife. She shortly bore him twins, Oberon and Ona, named after the Faery King and his sister. This pleased Jack, and in his delight with the children he forgave the Unicorn and Dworkin their union. But Jack and the Unicorn saw what Dworkin could not; Ona took entirely after her sweet mother, but Oberon was very like the Serpent in every way, and this troubled both he and the Unicorn greatly.
Now that Dworkin was drawing all of the attention of the Serpent, he needed to gather about him defenses. Dworkin looked to Jack and the Faery King for aid, and was rewarded for his theft; Faery surrounded the Pattern and shrouded it in many lands, and indeed, made it possible that the Pattern be made into four reflections. The true Pattern they hid away into the mists of the 'Tween, the first reflection was hid away in the Faery Lands, the second reflection was hid away in the deep waters, and the last reflection placed deep within a mountain and unhidden, so that it would draw the Serpent's attention away from its brethren. Around this mountain Pattern Dworkin and his children built a great castle, and mortals were drawn to it and made a city at the mountain's foot, which they Named Amber. Dworkin made a great army from them and their children to defend his creation.
As Dworkin's children grew, their differences became more and more apparent. Oberon was a driven man, ruthless in achieving his goals. Dworkin saw no reason to discourage this, and in fact, encouraged his son with wicked games, while mostly ignoring his daughter, Ona. And as Dworkin's interest in power and conquest grew and grew, the Unicorn's interest in him faded. She turned to her friend of old, and Jack was more than willing to comfort her, and did, until the day that Dworkin discovered them. In a blind rage at having been betrayed by the pair yet again, he threw the Unicorn out of Amber and broke all ties with Faery. Unwilling to be parted from her mother, Ona left Amber as well. Jack took the both of them to the true Pattern and helped them make a city for themselves around it, which they named Avalon, and Avalon and its denizens remained in close contact with Faery.
A few millennia after the creation of the Pattern, and after the Patternfall War and the mending of the Chasm, and the uniting of the two realms under one Emperor, Jack stirred again, for within those millennia the opportunity to set things right had been created. Jack had lost his love, the Unicorn, but in her sacrificial death she had given him a wonderful gift, a chance to put the world back to nearly what it was before the arrival of the Serpent and the Unicorn. And when Jack realized the gift his love had given him, he wept, and moved swiftly, picking up a discarded son of Oberon that Faery had nurtured for centuries, and like Dworkin before him, gave this son the power to change the world...
With the destruction of the Orb the balance of power was restored to the world. Jack's work was done. The task for which he was named completed, Jack o'the Willows is now free to roam the world as a normal Faery.