Prologue: The Captain

You know of me, I'm sure. But you'll indulge me, anyway. It would be quite poor form otherwise - and we can't have that, now can we?

But I digress. I wish to talk of myself here. Oh, come come - I know you've heard of me. The tales do propagate so well. I was he - the creature diabolic, manipulative, viperous. He of the hook and the impeccable manners. I know you remember.

It's better than being unnamed, certainly, though the envy fair Wendy gave me of her Peter Pan was a very easy emotion to play. He was the center of that dreamscape world, the spirit about which everything turned. And I? I was there merely as his foil - the force of shadowed evil to balance his sun-bright boyhood. The frustration with which she imbued her vile captain wasn't all that difficult to work with either, I assure you. Of the two of us, I was the one who must ignore all the glorious vibrancy which surrounded us, the pulsing thrust of such rich magic. I was the one who must lust for the kill with the single-mindedness of a banker clerk out for his paycheck.

Such is the lot of the villain.

And of course, I was quite obviously and repeatedly surrounded by imbeciles. Such is also the lot of the villain in a hero's tale - scintillating conversation is not a boon granted lightly. The underlings of the villain shall be incompetent oafs. Thus it is spoken; thus shall it be.

At least it's frightfully easy to dispose of such creatures without incurring the wrath of anyone of importance. I admit it was something of a panacea to the state of grievous agitation I so often found myself in. And let's not forget the comic relief value.

Not that I'm chagrined in the slightest. Of course not. Never.

But it was the villain's role I was cast in, and whatever else it might be, it is a name: Villain. Better always to be named, to be gathered and given purpose, whatever it might be. Better to have no hand than no form at all. Better a loathsome caricature with a purpose than shapeless and without will, drifting, sucking at the dregs of weak human fancy and half-hearted belief. Always better. Always.

Besides, even in my villain persona, I was allowed to reveal a glimmer of something not quite so base and repugnant. Refined sensibilities garner a certain amount of respect, and loneliness is a sure inducer of sympathy. Sympathy for a villain? Yes, perhaps I was given some complexity after all. Not enough, of course - but a fragment of humanity all my own.

How generous of dear Wendy. So very generous.

It was still not enough to prevent the easy endings, of course. But I did try, as much as I was allowed. You must credit me with that much.

Though to be truthful, this is only the easy ending of one tale. I have been banished from the imposing form of Hook, but it remains that Wendy's longing for something darker in her fantasy world has not been quenched. Parts of her call out to me, giving me some limited form still. Her will is strong, her imagination an untamed thing.

I am not, as yet, named. But she is reaching an age where the dread pirate captain is not the darkness she seeks. Far too simple, that one-dimensional villain. Her desires, unconscious or otherwise, will take other forms.

Even in this tale, you might recall that I was quite a dashing fiend. Entrancing, even, with those piercing forget-me-not blue eyes. She has such an eye for details, dear Wendy does.

There are dreams to be woven, stories to ripen in the sleeping mind that sees so very much and wants what it knows it shouldn't.

All I need do is wait.

And that, my dears, I am very, very good at.