Jack and the Impenetrable Armour

An Unofficial Samurai Jack Story

                            • Reading time:  15 minutes

The knight’s four mechanical arms gripped two double-bladed glaives.  His artificial wrists spun, making the weapons whirl around his body like helicopter blades.  Dust whipped up around the weapons and filled the arena with a low hum. 

The arena was circular and no more than 15 meters wide.  The floor was comprised of black gravel and the walls were made from upright logs that stood at 6 meters high.  It was almost evening, though the low sun was blocked by the logs.  Their long shadows fell over the gloomy arena and interlaced like thick prison bars. 

The four-armed knight was surrounded by ten soldiers.  They were all massive men with limbs made of bulging muscle.  Some sported mechanical arms and legs, their machine parts were covered in thick steel plates that ran slick with black oil.  They were all clad in undecorated red plate armour and Great Helm style helmets.  They brandished a range of exotic weapons; swords wrapped in white fire, hammers that crackled with blue lightning, axes with spinning chainsaw teeth, and other implements. 

The red soldiers stared down the knight, their expressions hidden behind their helmets.  The soldiers charged, attacking two at a time. 

Their blows were easily parried or deflected, whilst the knight countered with blindingly fast strikes.  His glaives flew through the air so quickly that their heads became translucent, until they crashed against the bodies of the soldiers. 

Some were thrown across the arena, both their armour and the limbs beneath crushed.  Others were simply cut into pieces as the glaive heads sliced cleanly through the thinnest parts of their armour.  After a few seconds the knight stood alone in the centre of the arena, with his opponents lying in pieces at his feet.  Their severed limbs sparked and spat vicious blue fluid.

Jack was sat with his brow furrowed and hands clasped over his mouth.  He tilted is head to look at the man next to him.  He was an older man wearing a faded crimson tabard.  He had a bald head, pale skin, sagging cheeks and dark stubble.

“Felix,” Jack started, “I wish not to undermine your customs and traditions, though I must make you aware that I disagree with this plan.” 

Felix narrowed his eyes.

“It is as I feared.  That warrior’s armour has been blessed with Aku’s dark magic.  That knight will destroy anyone who faces him.”  Jack hesitated.  “Only I will be able to defeat this warrior, your son need not place himself in danger.  I humbly recommend that Sven withdraws from the duel, and I face that warrior alone.”

Felix scowled at Jack.  “Withdraw?  Never!”  He became animated, hopping from one leg to the other as his face flushed red.  “He cannot withdraw; the honour of the 105th Footman Unit will be tarnished forever!” 

“Sir, I can see no honour in needlessly risking his life.”

The man trembled with fury.  After a moment he stopped abruptly and became relaxed, his voice tranquil and decisive. 

“If you want you’re precious artefact.  You will do as I request Samurai.  This is non-negotiable.”

“And this artefact, will it truly grant me the power of time travel?”

Felix reached into his collar and produced a thick iron necklace.  The pendant was a small black box; it was no bigger than Jack’s thumb and was made of Black Onyx.  “Yes, the power is all in here.”        

Jack regarded the man for a long moment.  “Then I will have to agree to your terms.”

The man grinned, displaying a set of bright yellow teeth.  He stretched out his hand for Jack to shake. 

“You are to enter the arena as my son’s second, the pair of you will duel that knight and his chosen second; if you keep my son alive then you’ll have yourself passage back to your own time.”

Jack glanced back towards the arena below. 

The knight was still stood in the middle of the arena, ignoring the cheering of the crowd.   He stood at 13 feet tall and was clad in thick power armour.  The armour was a glossy charcoal black.  It appeared to be without blemish, featuring no dents or even scratches on its surface.  The engine within its breastplate made the metal rumble, and it threw bright green light through the overlapping plates.  The helmet was fashioned into a snarling dragon, with torrents of fire leaping from its eyebrows. 

The knight was standing stock still, his twin glaives held as rest.  He turned his head to survey the stands, but stopped as his visor locked with Jack’s eyes, the knight’s gaze didn’t move. 

Jack shook Felix’s hand, “Deal.” 

Jack was sat in the corner of Felix’s tent.  He was cross-legged on top of his sleeping bag.  His sword, sandals and straw hat were placed at the foot of his sleeping bag, on top of his perfectly folded Kimono.  Jack sat with his eyes closed.  He focussed on the sound of the heavy rain falling upon the canvas tent, the squelching of boots outside, the abrasive laughter of a group of men, the shrill shrieks of women, the thudding of iron and the dull clamour of the military camp.  

The tent’s curtain was pulled open, letting in a gust of cold wind and water.  

Jack opened an eye.  The man standing in the doorway was tall and youthful.  His features drew close similarities to Felix’s, though this man was clean shaven and had short blonde hair that was cut low at the sides of his head.  He wore a clean crimson tabard over brown fatigues.  The boy frowned at Jack whilst adjusting his tabard with bandaged and blistered hands. 

“You’re in my father’s tent.  .  .  Samurai.”  His voice was surprisingly high pitch and squeaky, though his tone was devoid of warmth.  He looked down his nose at Jack, inspecting him.  That last word, ‘samurai’, the word squeezed through his teeth and spat from his lips like bile. 

Jack glanced up at him.  “It seems that I am.”  He said flatly.

The young man flexed his jaw.  “So I assume that you’re my second then?

“It seems that way.”

He crossed his arms over his chest “What’s your name?”

“Jack.  And yours?”

“Father didn’t tell you?”

“He did not.”

“Sven Aurelius.”

Jack didn’t respond.

“So how did father convince you?”

“I was promised-“

“A mercenary!”  

Jack grimaced.

“Only a dishonourable dog fights for coin!”

“I am fighting by your side in order to destroy this spawn of Aku, and more importantly, to save your life.”

Sven laughed, it was hysterical and squeaky.  “Rubbish!  How much coin did he offer you?”

“No coin.”

Sven crossed his arms again, and glared at Jack.

“He offered his amulet.”

“His amulet?”  The son frowned and stood still for a moment.  “His magic amulet?”

Jack nodded slowly.

Sven grinned, snorted at Jack, and then walked across the tent.  He began rummaging through Felix’s belongings.  Eventually he produced the amulet and thrust it into Jack’s face.

“Look here Samurai.”  He pulled open the black box.  There was nothing inside.

The duel had been scheduled for the morning.  It had continued to rain heavily throughout the night, though by now it had receded into a light shower.  Jack and Sven were stood on one side of the arena, their feet sinking into the soft mud.  Felix was sat behind them in the stand’s front row.  To their left, a large box had been built into the top of the arena’s wall.  It was occupied by a noble in expensive robes and an announcer in bright uniform.

The black armoured knight stood opposite Jack, quad arms by his sides, and visor still trained on the samurai.  The announcer began.

“Today in the arena, we witness the famed Anton Wight of the Black legion, also known as, the ‘Butcher of Seramaras, ‘ ‘The Black Knight,‘ and, ‘The Four-Armed Reaper” 

Wight didn’t react.

“Despite participating in a paired duel, he was opted to fight without a second.  Opposing him is Sven of the 105th Footman Unit, and his second, Samurai Jack of.  .  .  somewhere.” 

Jack glanced at Sven.  The boy was dressed in unpainted plate armour, though the pieces were too big for him.  He was gripping his sword with a trembling hand, and had his shield held tight to his chest.

“Stay behind me.”  Jack whispered. 

Sven grunted, and then rammed his helmet over his head.

Jack sighed, then drew his sword. 

The light rain had pockmarked the soil with small dents that made the ground appear to be covered with dirty bubbles. 

“Begin!”

Wight exploded into motion.  His body became a blur as he lunged towards Jack.  He crossed the arena in a moment, kicking up chunks of earth each time he pushed off the ground.  He thrust with his twin glaives, overlapping them in an X pattern. 

Jack’s sword was already up, their blades locked as Jack wedged his sword between Wight’s glaives. 

Wight pressed forward, pushing Jack backwards as their locked blades trembled inches from Jack’s face.  As they neared the arena’s walls Wight suddenly disengaged.  He pulled his glaives away from Jack, and leapt away. 

Sven hadn’t reacted to the skirmish yet, and was still stood where he had begun, his sword hand trembling. . .  And Wight was headed straight towards him. 

Jack sprinted after the knight.

Sven snapped out of his stupor and charged at Wight, roaring as he ran.  Wight abruptly stopped and allowed Sven to strike him.  The boy aimed his thrust at Wight’s gorget, hoping to break through the thin armour and into his neck. 

Sven’s sword bounced from the metal, it wobbled and clanged sharply.  Sven froze, his momentum halted. 

Wight regarded him in silence for a moment, and then kicked Sven square in the face.  His helmet received a deep, foot shaped dent, while his body was sent spinning through the air before landing face down in the mud.

Jack threw his sword; it cut through the air and hit Wight in the waist.  The magical metal cut cleanly through Wight’s impenetrable armour, and buried itself up to the hilt.  The black knight bucked, and fell onto one knee.  His body trembled, though he made no sound.  Jack rushed up to him.  As he approached, Anton swung his glaives behind himself.  Jack slid on his knees under Wight’s guard, watching as the glaive heads flew past, inches above his nose.  Jack grabbed his sword and pulled it from Anton’s body.  The blade was coated in blue oil and the mechanical parts within the wound sparked furiously.

Wight stumbled forwards and half-turned towards Jack.  Jack swung his sword up, catching Wight in the chin.  His head snapped back, and the ornate helmet tumbled through the air, Anton fell onto his back, his heavy body kicking up a torrent wet earth as he crashed onto the ground.

Jack lowered his sword, but kept his sight focussed on Wight.  The knight slowly drew himself up from the ground.  His glossy armour was now coated in layers of thick mud.  A head was not present on top of the knight’s shoulders.  Despite this, he spoke in a deep and raspy voice.

“You are the samurai my lord and master Aku warned me off.  Only that sword could penetrate my armour!”

“How do you still live without your head?”

Wight’s breastplate hissed as seals were released, hydraulics moaned and the armour’s entire torso section opened up like a flower.  A man in a black body-glove was sitting in the armour’s torso.  He clutched two joysticks and was surrounded by an innumerable number of monitors, levers, and multi-coloured buttons.  His face and neck were strong and grizzled, with a square jaw and old scars riddled across his face.  Despite this his legs appeared crippled; they were extremely thin and twisted.

“I don’t normally show people this side of me, but you deserve the honour of seeing your opponent’s face Samurai.  I am Anton Wight.”  He thumped an armour plate.  “This is a gift from Aku.  He has given me new legs and unbelievable power.”

“Why use that power to slay your countrymen in pointless duels?”

“Aku has honoured me, so I shall honour Aku by duelling in his name!” 

“You have taken advantage of the honour of these people, and lead many to be murdered.  This ends today!  Remove yourself from that vehicle, or I shall cut you from it.”

Wight laughed.  “Even with that sword of yours, I am a knight of the Black Legion!  You stand no chance against me.”  Hydraulics hissed and popped before the armour closed up again.

The rain subsided and a break in the clouds opened up over the arena; it cut through the gloom and covered the two combatants in light. 

Wight roared, and launched himself towards Jack, his twin glaives spinning around his body.  Jack and Wight were a blur of steel and sparks, metal barked loudly each time their blades met, filling the arena with an orchestra of colliding steel.  One of Wight’s right arms flew from the swirling melee, cleanly cut just below the shoulder.  The fight continued without a drop in pace.  Then another arm flew from the swirl of steel, this time one of his left arms.  Their weapons clashed and locked together.  Wight’s mechanical waist spun and shot out its foot, catching Jack in the chest and kicking him across the arena. 

Jack’s vision became a spiralling haze as he bounced across the mud.  By the time he had finished rolling and drew himself up his kimono had been torn to shreds and a bright red outline of Anton’s foot had been imprinted onto his chest.  A throbbing ache arced around Jack’s body, and his limbs felt numb and fatigued.  He wiped mud from his brow and wheezed air into his winded lungs.  Wight was slowly marching towards him.  The knight had abandoned one of his glaives for lack of sufficient limbs. 

Wight stopped just a few feet away.

“Last chance,” Jack said.

Wight brought his glaive up into a high guard.

Jack reversed his own stance, preparing to swing his sword low.  Jack’s feet edged towards Wight, his legs braced.  Wight’s engine roared, and pumped smoke from vents on his back. 

The pair moved into striking distance, then lunged.  They passed each other, and the sound of tearing metal reverberated around the arena. 

Jack looked back.  Anton Wight’s mechanical suit sparked and trembled, a great gash had been cut through its side.  Smoke and sparks flew from its vents while it’s limbs spasmed.  Its back-plate opened up like a flower and Anton used his arms to crawl from the armour.  As he hit the floor the armour exploded, knocking Jack and Anton down in a flash of green light and black smoke.

The announcer began his mantra again.

“Hail to the victor!  Glory to the vanquished. . .” 

Jack drew himself up and watched as field doctors and Felix rushed into the arena.  Wight’s armour was nothing more than a black scorch on the arena’s floor.  Wight himself was sat in the mud sobbing into his hands. 

Jack sheathed his sword and began walking towards the arena’s exit.  He passed Felix and Sven on the way out. 

Sven was now sat upright, he was mumbling incoherently and the right side of his face had turned black and puffy.  Felix narrowed his eyes as Jack passed.

“You already know, don’t you?”

“That you have nothing to offer me?  Yes, I do.”

“Why did you help us?”

“I seek to destroy Aku’s corrupt influence wherever I find it.  You’re belief in the need to deceive me was disappointing, but ultimately understandable.  I won’t allow my pride to interfere with my duty.”  Jack gestured towards the sobbing Anton Wight.  “Aku’s armour needed to be destroyed, I could destroy it, and so I did.  It was worth risking my life to save Sven’s.”

Felix was silent and just stared at Jack blankly.

Jack sighed, and walked from the arena, alone.    

Thank you for reading “Jack, and the Impenetrable Armour.”

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