Christopher, a slender youth with short, coppery-golden hair curling around the neck of his dark turtleneck sits facing Quartz, a robust dwarf with a green waistcoat over a brown tunic and trousers, sporting sturdy scuffed boots and a thick, luxuriant black beard shot with silver.
Christopher: How is Camp NaNoWriMo going? How is your story?
Quartz: Quite well, considering our scribbler isn’t officially participating, but aye, she’s writing. (He crosses his hands in front of his waistcoat) Not as much as she could, but my story is going, yes, it is. (He hums a little under his breath.)
Christopher: You seem happy.
Quartz: Aye, well, it’s awkward, what our scribbler has written. It’ll require polishing, like many a gem to give it a unique shine.
Christopher: Unique shine? Sounds like you’re pleased with your story, if you’re comparing it to a gem.
Quartz: Like I said, it needs polishing. That ruddy cuckoo clock, that crystal coffin, not sure if they’re prominent enough, even in a symbolic fashion to justify being part of the title.
Christopher: You’ve never liked the clock and you’re uneasy about the coffin. I didn’t think you’d want them to be prominent.
Quartz: They’re part of my story. You may not like losing Damian, but that’s part of your story.
Christopher: (a tiny wrinkle puckers his forehead) Just as losing your Fairest is part of yours.
Quartz: No need to get snippy, lad, and no need to ruin my moment.
Christopher: Why shouldn’t I? You get snippy with me when I’m getting all the attention.
Quartz: Oh ho, so you’re admiting you were getting all the attention! Finally some honesty!
Christopher: Fine, go ahead and be honest. What’s so wonderful about this moment of yours?
Quartz: Why our scribbler is writing the part of our story where our Fairest comes in our lives. She’s been writing about her, how my brothers and I get to know her? Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Especially when I know in this eerie Cauldron-space it won’t last.
Christopher: (the wrinkle in his brow vanishes) You’re right. (His voice softens.) It’s coming soon, isn’t it? The end of your time together.
Quartz: Like I said, no need to ruin the moment.
Christopher: It’s curious how much you bonded with this human girl.
Quartz: Right. She fell in love with someone who all wrong for her, whom no one understood her feelings for. (His nose turned red) Like I’ve never gotten a taste of that.
Christopher: You have?
Quartz: Don’t start.
Christopher: All right, it’s not like I don’t know who you’re talking about. He doesn’t approve of this bond you have with your Fairest, you know.
Quartz: He doesn’t know her.
Christopher: Do you?
Quartz: Anout as well as she knows me and my brothers. We all have secrets.
Christopher: That doesn’t worry you?
Quartz: It’s not like I want to share everything about me. Kind of unfair to expect others to do so, don’t you think?
Christopher: Secrets can be dangerous, especially in places like the Shadow Forest and the Forest of Tears. They manifest as monsters, stalking you, luring you into the darkness where you cannot escape them.
Quartz: Aye, I’ll not deny that. Which is why we’re avoiding those dark places, my brothers, our Fairest, and myself. We’re trying to create a new life, all of us. Every time I walk into our clean cottage, smell what’s cooking in the cauldron, and see our Fairest smiling a little more, I believe it can happen. The darkness backs off.
Christopher: She gives you hope.
Quartz: Aye, like nothing and no one I’ve met.
Christopher: Not even Nimmie Not?
Quartz: How to say it? Fairest is like a breeze coming from the future, a future that’s looking brighter and brighter. Nimmie Not, I’m not sure what kind of future I have with him. I’m not sure what he wants from me or if I can trust him. I’m not sure if I should look to him for any kind of reassurance. It may be pebble-brained to try.
Christopher: He’d be hurt to hear you say this.
Quartz: Aye. (slumps in his chair, his good cheer gone)
Christopher: He’s already jealous of the bond you have with Princess Blanche. He’ll see her as more of a threat if he thinks she makes you happy in a way he can’t.
Quartz: (pressing his lips together) Guess I’ll have to let him know he makes me happy in a way she can’t.
Christopher: How are you going to do that?
Quartz: Not sure. (His nose turns redder.)
Christopher: (sees Quartz may have an idea but he’s not sharing and decides not to push it) Good luck. Both with Nimmie Not and the rest of your story.
Quartz: Thank’ee. (a wistful smile tugs at his lips beneath his whiskers) No doubt I’ll need it.