I'm attempting to write a story about Pocket in his older years. it'll be slow going, but stay with me- mostly it's going to be an exercise not so much in telling a story, but seeing how I feel about what kind of world I'm making for him. As always, I welcome (hell, beg for) feedback, but understand I'm showing a very rough draft/outline. It will continue tomorrow.
Loopleaf looked up and his face took a quizzical turn. The young Faerie before him gazed down at the old Mariner. "Well, 'ello, Prince." He said quietly to the youth, his voice falling flat in the morning fog. The Prince of the Fae kingdom of Pathia, Pocket Prospero Charming; Son of King Fernelius Charming, Son of Eldo Charming- who was the original 'Prince Charming' of so many Human legends- looked down at Loopleaf standing in his skiff. "Hello, ferryfaerie." He said with a weak smile. Loopleaf held back a sigh and shook his head, taking a long sip of his coffee, looking out at the bay. He knew the boy meant no harm, but Loopleaf had heard 'Ferryfaerie' on the lips of Humans only with a mocking tone. Amongst the Fae, he was simply 'THE Boatman', Chief of Pathia's Mariners, responsible for escorting Fae and Human alike to and from the Enchanted Isle of Pathia, which could only be accessed by those with the knack for finding it. No craft could enter the harbor, or approach the island at all, unless it was piloted by Loopleaf or any one in the long line of Pathia's proud Mariners.
A silence followed, and finally Loopleaf looked up to the Prince, who seemed confused. "Pocket," he said mildly, "Mariner will do, or why not just call me by name, hm? We've known each other long enough.", which was true. Many years ago, Loopleaf had guided the young prince to the Human port of Wellestead, and there, both had been involved in a minor political affair of the Humans', which was precipitated in part by Pocket's rebellious uncle Thistle. After that trip, Pocket spent much of his youth at the docks, before being confined to the Palace (as Loopleaf had heard it) due to an unfortunate sickness. There had been a few instances when the Royal family had enlisted Loopleaf for duties or holidays off the island, and while the boy seemed healthy enough, it was not for Loopleaf to question the private life of royals.
"Sorry. Loopleaf. How are you today?" The boy asked quietly. Loopleaf smiled. "Quite well, thank you. Now. What can I do for you, my prince?" He asked, bowing slightly. Prince Pocket did not answer immediately, but took a deep breath, held it a moment, and let it out explosively, saying: "Loopleaf, I need you to take me away from the island. I need you to take me West." Loopleaf furrowed his brow in thought. He arched his back and beat his wings slowly, giving them the first exercise of the morning. West of Pathia was nothing but open water; to the south and east was the continent of Ada, to the North, the Human's island kingdom of Wessult. Aside from the geographic mystery of the prince's request, Loopleaf was certain Pocket had sidestepped his father the king in coming to the docks that morning. The Mariner took another reflective draw from his mug as he considered what to do next. The Prince stared down with a blank expression. Loopleaf cleared his throat. "Now, prince, why is it, exactly, you'll be needin' to go West? I've been to and from this island a thousand thousand times, and I am not certain what you'd be seeking. There's, simply put, nothing there." The prince stared off into the waters of the bay, for a moment, then, seeming to find resolution, hopped down into Loopleaf's skiff. "Loopleaf. You need to take me West. I can order you!" Pocket said, attempting, but failing, to sound imperious. Loopleaf was certain the prince held no real power in this. The Mariner was fairly sure, in fact, that to comply with the prince's wish would put him in grave danger of punishment from The King. As Loopleaf was about to explain to the boy that he would not be taking him off the island, Pocket placed his hand on the Mariner's shoulder. "Loopleaf. You have to. I had a dream. Please." The prince's tone was startling, and it brought to mind rumors Loopleaf had heard regarding the reasons Pocket never left the palace: that he was dim, insane, or depressed; all of which were unheard of among The Fae; ailments for Dwarves and Men. Pocket's eyes were pleading, and they bored into Loopleaf with great intensity. The old Mariner sighed, and nodded.