Conversations with Christopher: Garnet

Christopher sits facing a younger dwarf than Quartz with dissheveled ginger whiskers.

Christopher: You still have most of your beard. Unlike what it was like in Fairest.

Garnet: The me you face is the one our scribbler left at her stopping point in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins. (He smooths his whiskers self-consciously.) I haven’t started my serious beard-pulling yet. Quartz always caught me before I could go too far. (He looks down.) I didn’t have him to do that for me in Fairest, even though Opal tried. Opal just wasn’t fast enough to catch me.

Christopher: (gazes at his own fingers) You must miss your brother a lot.

Garnet: Aye. Sometimes it seems everything bad happened was we moved into the cottage in the Forest of Tears. Quartz. Oriana. Those creatures lurking in the trees and grass.

Christopher: By creatures do you mean the garden gnomes?

Garnet: They’re only one type of creature in the trees, even if they are unsettling. The Forest of Tears has a way of bringing our tears and our fears to life. Ours and who knows how many others’.

Christopher: The Forest of Tears sounds a lot like the Shadow Forest.

Garnet: Same scribbler, right?

Christopher: I can’t help wonder if your Forest has other things in common with our Forest. Like being able to bring your hopes to life as well as your fears.

Garnet: Huh. I hadn’t thought of that. (He perks up a bit.)

Christopher: Maybe you’ll think of that in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins?

Garnet: Maybe. Right now I’m too rattled by the move. This is the second time we’re picked up and left a place, my brothers and I. Not that the mine was a home and we’re going back there to work. Still moving into the cottage in the Forest of Tears was a big change. Quartz doesn’t usually do change.

Christopher: What does Quartz usually do?

Garnet: What feels right and comfortable. Which wasn’t our original home or the mine shaft.

Christopher: Where did you live before the mine?

Garnet: A great mountain hall. We shared it, my brothers and I, with lots of other dwarves. There was constant infighting over what we dug up, plus we were on a constant look-out for goblins. Quartz led us out of there to our current work place, the mine where we’re at the beginning in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins. None of us had any idea it was Prunella’s lair. (He shudders.)

Christopher: Prunella being the dragon you and your brothers met.

Garnet: No, Quartz met them. The rest of us just fell on our faces and trembled.

Christopher: I’m surprised you didn’t notice Prunella was in that mountain before you started mining.

Garnet: You’re surprised? How could we have missed a dragon? Why didn’t Prunella chase us out when we arrived?

Christopher: Good questions.

Garnet: Unless…

Christopher: Unless?

Garnet: Unless Prunella wants us there. Unless they wanted us there before Nimmie Not introduced Prunella to Quartz, or himself for that matter.

Christopher: Why?

Garnet: I’m not sure. Maybe Prunella always wanted someone to gather those stones they told Quartz to collect. Or maybe they needed Quartz in particular to do it.

Christopher: So you’re thinking this dragon wants you to mine their mountain for treasure?

Garnet: Which is downright odd. Most dragons don’t want you going anywhere with their treasure. At least all the legends say they don’t.

Christopher: Curious.

Garnet: Aye, it is, isn’t it?

(To be continued)

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