Abandoned near a dumpster as a baby, Jake got tossed around from foster home to foster home. He always felt out of place with people paid to look after him and ran away constantly, even though he was barely four. Finally was taken in by an old lady who was considered his last chance before ending up in juvenile hall. She scared him. Her home was filled with bits of wire, balls of string, and piles of newspaper... a real dump. She wasn't much better off than the house. Her hair looked like a fright wig, her teeth were huge and scary, and sometimes, when he looked at her just right, he nose looked skeletal and her skin grey and even more wrinkled than usual. She wasn't all supersweet to him like the other foster parents had tried to be either. She told him to shut up and straighten up or she'd eat him. Somehow he got the sense she meant it.
One thing that got him in trouble with other foster homes was jumping on the bed. Fosters went crazy when he did that. She didn't look pleased when she caught him doing it either, but then she looked real closely at him and started laughing. Jake wasn't sure what she thought so funny, but at least she wasn't hitting him or yelling so he bounced higher and higher. She there something at him... a painted ball, and he caught it. Suddenly he was bouncing so high he thought he'd jump right through the ceiling. He looked down to see what had happened to the mattress to make it so springy and almost choked when he saw that he now had furry legs and that his knees were on backwards.
He Chrysalised. He also got a first really good look at his redcap mentor, Granny Olympia. She explained the facts of life to him: how the evil Seelie had tossed him out because he was a commoner, how they had sent him all sorts of terrible places so she couldn't find and help him, and how the should be stopped from treating other changelings that way. Jake was so angry he wanted to run out right away and kill the Seelie for being so evil. But Granny Olympia told him he'd have to train first or he'd just be captured and tortured by the enemy. From the wise perspective of five years old, he concurred.
Granny told him to pick a name and he chose Jasper. Then she began his training and he was a fast learner. He trained every day, not just in weapons, but in spying tricks and how to act innocent and helpless to fool the Seelie. A year later, he was ready. Granny told him he was going to a place to meet some very important people. They would ask him to swear an oath and he would agree. One he swore, they would provide him with weapons, money, and even toys, and he would get to kill some of the bad Seelie fae. He worried all day that they wouldn't think he was good enough and he practiced and practiced what he had been taught.
When they arrived at an old warehouse, it was dark and spooky. The doors were locked and Jasper had to break in so he and Granny could get inside. When the lights came on to reveal the most beautiful people he had ever seen, Jasper knew he had passed the test. Very carefully, one of the sidhe sliced his finger and took some blood. Jasper swore an oath to kill the wicked Seelie whenever assigned to do so, to obey the Shadow Court in all things, and to never reveal that he knew anything about the Shadow Court or its members. He made the oath and became part of the Children's Crusade.
They gave him some tattered clothes and sent him to beg for food from a particularly evil Seelie woman. Instead of killing her right away, he was supposed to listen and watch and report back to the Shadow Court everything he learned at court. When the time was right, he would be told to kill her.
A very nervous Jasper rapped on Duchess Elena's freehold door and asked for some scraps. Elena answered the door herself and her heart went out to the poor little waif in her doorstep. She took him in and asked his name. Seeing he was in a very grand place and afraid she would kick him out of he seemed too unimportant (she was evil, after all), Jasper said he was known as King Jasper. Lest she think he was one of the good guys and torture him, he then added "the wicked." Thus King Jasper the Wicked became Elena's ward.
He has lived with Elena ever since and reported what he has learned the Shadow Court. They always reward him with a special toy (which he hides) or some candy, which makes him very happy. He isn't happy about other things. For one, Elena doesn't seem evil at all and she doesn't treat him like she would throw him in the trash. She's kind to him. She gives him nice clothes and plenty to eat and toys, and she's training him in faerie arts. For another, the Shadow Court has decided that he should kill Elena and has given him a cold iron dagger to use. It makes him feel all shivery and he really doesn't want to use it on Elena. He's not sure what to do or who to turn to.
Jasper is small, chubby, and rosy-cheeked (a far cry from the thin body and wan face he had when he first arrived at the freehold). His mop of brown curls matches the color of his leg pelt. His eyes are large, guileless, and dark brown. People get lost in the depths of innocence in Jasper's dark eyes.
Jake is the mighty assassin King Jasper the Wicked, here to kill the evil duchess and free his fellow commoners from the oppressive yoke of Seelie rulership (whatever the means). He's having real trouble, though. The duchess has been very good to him and he just can't picture her as an evil monster like the rest of the Seelie. The Shadow Court must be wrong about her. But that doesn't matter, does it? An oath is an oath, at least that's what the duchess says. Does that mean that he should kill her because he swore an oath or not kill her because she's the one teaching him about honor? He's so confuse. Sometimes its really hard being six.