Jack has a hundred names. Plenty of vampires know him as Ruddy Jack, Gian’ Rosso, Jean Rouge, Rot-Johann, Ivan Krasny, Sean Flann and so forth. Sometimes he’s Bloody Jack, or Smoky Jack or Jack Scarlet… when he isn’t Queen Mary or Bloody Mary
: Mirror Entity (Possibly a Spirit, possibly a Reflection, possibly a rather peculiar Strix)
: Greater Jaggling (Rank 4)
Mirrors, Blood, Faustian Pacts
: Cruel & Arrogant (Red Jack’s the sort of fellow who’d pull the wings off flies – which wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t consider everyone else flies).
: The way the Kindred hear it is like this. If you need something from a mirror, you have to ask Red Jack. Whatever it is, Red Jack can hook you up. He knows the True Ways of Seeing, the Secret Door to Your Enemy and all sorts of useful tricks like that. All you have to do is smear a little of your blood on the mirror and say Veni Ioanne Rube
, “Come Red Jack” in Latin, five times. He’s a natty looking fellow in a frock coat, top hat and a cravat, with a big Snidely Whiplash mustache and a waxed goatee. He’s always smiling, always in a good mood. That’s not the problem. If he appears wearing smoked glasses, he will grant your request. If he appears without them, and you see his eyes, well — the stories kind of trail off there.
Other Kindred hear it a little differently. To start with, he’s not always Red Jack. Plenty of vampires know him as Ruddy Jack, Gian’ Rosso, Jean Rouge, Rot-Johann, Ivan Krasny, Sean Flann and so forth. Sometimes he’s Bloody Jack, or Smoky Jack or Jack Scarlet. But the descriptions tally pretty closely across the board — and almost every vampire who knows the story knows about the smoked glasses. (They don’t call them sunglasses, or even dark glasses as often as they might, either.) The clothes, the mustache, the top hat: Red Jack is an apparition of habit.
Except when she
is; about a quarter of the stories about mirror spirits are about Queen Mary instead of Red Jack. On average, according to those Kindred in the Ordo Dracul and elsewhere who make it their business to keep track of new rituals (Frances Black among them), there are more stories about female vampires successfully summoning Red Jack than there are about male vampires seeing Queen Mary. No one's entirely certain what the actual rates of success for rituals are (Kindred summoning potentially-dangerous and definitely powerful mirror spirits do not usually respond to mailed-in surveys).
You don’t summon Queen Mary with Veni Ioanne Rube
, of course; she comes to Maria Regina Invito
, “I invite Queen Mary.” Other than that, it’s the same thing, a smear of blood on the mirror and a chant five times in the dark, except that with the Queen, you see her eyes, but you don’t see her teeth. She smiles a lot in a satisfied, secretive, occasionally inviting way, but she keeps her lips closed. When she talks, she’s too wellbred to open wide, murmuring in ladylike (but crystal clear) fashion. But if she should grin at you, it’s not a happy smile but a skull-faced rictus.
From word-of-mouth speculation, cryptic hints in moldering tomes and high-powered divination, the Ordo Dracul loremasters have assembled the following list of possibilities about Red Jack’s identity and origin:
- Red Jack is the Devil, Satan. Why exactly Satan would bother appearing in vampires’ bathroom mirrors remains unclear, especially if the Kindred are already Damned.
- Red Jack is Jack the Ripper, who was a powerful ceremonial magician, or a liver-eating Jigarkhwar from India or something puissant enough to make himself immortal and hide out in the mirror world.
- Red Jack is the mirror reflection of the First Vampire. Be he Akhenaten, Longinus or an Etruscan shaman, the first man to look into the mirror after turning saw Red Jack looking back. When Red Jack walked away, he took all Hollows’ reflections with him.
- Red Jack is the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca, known as the Smoking Mirror, who dined on burning human hearts and blood for centuries before the conquistadors toppled him from power in Mexico. Admittedly, Red Jack doesn’t look particularly Aztec now, but if Quetzalcoatl could be a white god, perhaps so could he. And, of course, as master of the mirror image, Red Jack could make himself look Aztec, or Spanish or anything.
- Or Haitian. Alternatively, Red Jack is Maître- Carrefour, the voudun lord of the crossroads. A crossroad is a mirror image, after all, and voudun bokors use mirrors in shrines to Maître-Carrefour and his mirror image Papa Legba, who is invoked with the phrase “O fathom the mirror, O Legba.”
- Queen Mary is the reflection of the Gorgon Medusa, caught in Perseus’ shield in the age of heroes. She has flitted from mirror to mirror since then, changing her appearance bit by bit over the centuries. Only her teeth retain the power of the Gorgons, and when she has bathed them in enough vampire blood, they, too, will be normal. Red Jack is a cockatrice, and her consort.
- Red Jack is a demon summoned into a magic mirror by Vergil Magus, or Agrippa, or John Dee or Merlin, or some other human mage who bit off more than he could chew. Rather than try to banish the fiend, the cowardly sorcerer merely hid the mirror somewhere and moved on. Ever since, Red Jack has bounced from mirror to mirror looking for a way out. If that “mirror zero” could be uncovered, the finder would have something Red Jack wants — a way out.
Abonde knows, or thinks she knows. Frances has some educated guesses, but then, she would. The Scathain are Red Jack’s particular… students? Acolytes? Fellow-travelers? He appears before them more commonly, and he treats them with a little more dignity than he does most vampires. Not that this is saying much, necessarily, but it’s a little safer.
Red Jack dresses in the height of century- old fashion, in bottle-green satin frock coat and matching top hat, starched collar, mauve ascot, kid gloves and a narcissus blossom in his buttonhole. He pomades his hair, waxes his mustachios and favors silver-framed, smoked eyeglasses. He usually looks like a middle-aged man of indeterminate Mediterranean ancestry, although in some lights he seems more like a gaunt Anglo-Saxon type. His teeth are very strong and fine looking.
When he appears as the Queen (if they are, in fact the same entity), she is the epitome of romantic goth, all black lace and pale lipstick and heaving bosom straight from Edgar Allan Poe’s wettest dreams. The only incongruous notes in her pallid lustmord chic are the occasional bloodstained tear tracks running down her cheeks.
Red Jack is a dashing figure. He is all smiles and good humor, with a hint of menace that seems almost camp to thoroughly modern vampires. His 19th-century circumlocutions are quaint, and the quirk in his lip shows that he knows it. He resembles nothing so much as that century’s folk characterization of the Devil, all suave menace and glib repartee, and one could be forgiven for assuming that he is a ham actor playing that part deliberately.