Puck of the Caribbean

Chapter One: Assignment

Most pirates would consider the appearance of a blue-skinned, white-haired elf the better part of seven feet tall on their ship a rather startling thing. Many might even call it foreboding, if they managed to keep themselves from accidentally leaping overboard in panic.

For Captain Jack Sparrow... this was actually within the realm of normal.

The dusky-skinned pirate looked up at his visitor, apparently completely fogged with rum. "Well then!" he cried, staggering to his feet. "Look who we have here, all spiffied up. Going to some great fancy shindig, my Lord?"

To his credit, the fae did not seem too taken aback by Jack's familiar address. He only scowled. "Enough of your games, Puck," he said. "I will speak with you, now."

This made Jack pause a moment. Oberon must be truly annoyed about something if he was acting so. Usually his servant's little games amused him, but not today. Deciding it was best not to push his luck with his overlord, Jack quickly performed the little mental trick that unlocked his own fae powers. Green light flickered around his frame, and in an instant the scruffy pirate was replaced by a small, slight fae, dressed like a medieval jester, her white hair tumbling around pointed ears as she swept a deep bow.

"My Lord," she said, still nearly doubled-over. "I am, as always, at your service."

She felt the weight of her King's regard as an almost physical thing, like a heavy wool blanket that had been dropped over her. Normally that 'blanket' was warm and comforting. Today, however, it held an edge of a chill.

Not a good sign.

"I would expect that someone in my service would be somewhat tidier with her games, Puck," Oberon said coldly. "Your little stunt with the treasure of Isla de Muerta is having repercussions."

Isla de Muerta... Oh yes, that business with the Aztec Gold. It had been a while since she'd thought of that, mostly because whenever she was Jack and thought about it, he got very riled up about the fact that Barbossa had lead a mutiny against him, dumped him on a desert island, and sailed off in his ship.

For some reason, that tended to annoy Jack. The only good thing about the entire affair was the story he'd been able to concoct about escaping the island on the backs of a couple of sea turtles.

She smiled charmingly up at her master. "My Lord, I'm hardly to fault if a few mortals fail to heed the warnings of legends and curses," she began.

"You are if it was you who led them to the treasure in the first place!" Oberon's disapproval lashed out at her, driving the Puck to one knee. She gritted her teeth and bore the pressure, though her playful mask did not slip one iota.

"My Lord,the mortals are forgetting magic," she said hastily. "The old ways are being forgotten- I only wished to grant them a reminder that the world is bigger than they think it is in their arrogance."

Eyes the color of a perfectly clear summer sky narrowed as they surveyed the smaller fae. "And you chose to do so by letting them come under a curse that turns them into undead abominations, Puck," Oberon said. "The spirits of Death feel the unbalance, my servant. Anubis demands that I see the curse is removed and the treasure destroyed."

Puck felt a slight stirring of annoyance. If Anubis was so adamant that the Pearl's crew be freed of their curse, why didn't he do something about it? He was the master of Death after all, surely he could-

"Your mess, Puck," Oberon said sternly. "Your actions must be the ones to resolve this situation."

She swallowed her annoyance and bowed her head. "Yes, my Lord," she replied, shifting her tone to that of the gracious servitor with all the ease of the practiced courtier she was. "It shall be as you command."

Oberon studied her for a moment longer, then nodded, laying a hand fondly on her head. "Good," he said. She smiled a little, nuzzling at his hand with a soft purr. Just as his disapproval had weighed on his changeling, so his approval felt like a warm hug. "Make the amends swiftly, my Puck," he told her. "I wish to have you at my side this Samhein."

"Yes, my Lord," she said.

It was only then that Oberon really seemed to take notice of their surroundings. He looked around at the expanse of ocean they drifted in, then took a more pointed look at the tiny boat Jack had been sailing in. "Puck... what are you doing here?"

She grinned broadly and straightened. "Why, tricking, my Lord," she replied. Green eyes the shade of

deep forest at high noon danced with wicked delight."

"And just who are you tricking?"

That prompted a laugh from her. "Your son and I have a little wager going to pass the time, if you recall, my Lord." She gestured broadly at the sea around them. "I plan on winning in high style, of course."

"Of course you do." The faerie lord shook his head, smiling slightly. "Very well, my Puck. I shall leave you to your mischief for now." His expression grew a little more stern. "Make your amends. I shall see you at year's turning."

Puck bowed deeply again, and Oberon vanished, leaving his servant standing alone in the tiny dinghy.

"Well then," she said. She tapped her chin, eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "It seems it's time for round two with Captain Hector Barbossa and his little crew of cursed miscreants." She grinned. "This should be fun."