Christopher faces a thick-set man dressed in long black robes, almost like a monk’s, hood fallen back to reveal a narrow beard face sporting a hooked nose with flaring nostrils and sharp raven-like eyes that dart around the setting with acquisitive greed. He scowls to see nothing but mist around his chair and the boy opposite, lower lip jutting out from his neat little beard. Each of his dusty fingers sports a ring, silver on the left, golden on the ring. The two on his thumbs are plain bands while pearls adorn his thumbs. An ornate spider web emeshes an onyx on his middle fingers, a serpent clenches an emerald in its jaws on the ring fingers while the index are the only which don’t match. A demon’s silver maw opens to reveal a ruby on the left, while the same demon in gold swallows a curious flat coin with a rune on the right. This demon’s face is reproduced in a larger form in the medallion hanging from a silver chain hanging around his neck, a bestial expression of lust and mockery upon its fanged countenance.
Christopher: You are Gryluxx, aren’t you? You live In Omphalos. I’ve seen you in the Navel a few times.
Gryluxx: You know perfectly well whom I am, you impudent child. You’ve served me in the Navel enough times to remember me.
Christopher: I don’t think I have. You’ve entered the Navel, stared at me, spoken to Gabrielle, Damian, and Peter. Never me. You’ve browsed through the shelves, constantly watching me. You’ve whispered to Juno and Hebe when they’ve been present, never taking your eyes off me. You’ve never spoken to me directly.
Gryluxx: And you think I’m about to tell you why, here and now, when we’re alone in this desolate realm of yours?
Christopher: It’s not actually my realm. It’s our scribbler’s blog.
Gryluxx: Say what you will. I’ll tell you nothing, little shadow. If you desire information, you must meet my price.
Christopher: You know what I am.
Gryluxx: I can smell your power. It has a unique bouquet of darkness speckled with the sharpness of Damian Ashelocke’s light. Just how is Damian doing with that light of his, hmm? I understand his aunt doesn’t approve of it at all.
Christopher: You know Damian’s aunt?
Gryluxx: Quite the dreadful spider lady is Duessa Ashelocke, yet ravens have a taste for spiders from time to time. Did you know our scribbler once called me Raven before she decided to rename me Gryluxx? I’m the one character she’s never been able to like. (He rubs his hands together, not bothering to hide his glee.)
Christopher: This doesn’t appear to make you unhappy.
Gryluxx: I do enjoy making people squirm. I’m pleased to add our creatrix to our victims. Gives me such a wicked little tingle of power, oh, yes.
Christopher: And this is what you truly want. Power.
Gryluxx: Why do you think I covet information, hoard it, collecting secrets? Knowledge is power, little shadow. Nothing delights me more than knowing what others are hidding, what they cannot accept. Unless it’s the struggle upon my victims’s faces as they try to decide how much they want my information. Or the moment when I finally make them crawl to get it.
Christopher: You speak of your victims. Who are they?
Gryluxx: Don’t give me that look of distaste, little shadow. We all have our victims, even you. Damian was yours. Peter was, too.
Christopher: (He takes a deep breath, tries to stop his fingers from shaking, for the sight pleases Gryluxx entirely too much.) How so?
Gryluxx: Very good, little shadow. You didn’t give too much away. I’ll tell you, since you already know the answer to that. Or perhaps you don’t care to be reminded of that answer? You fed off Damian’s light and life to become solid in the world you found a place in. You fed off Peter’s adoration and attention to try to validate your pathetic existence at the Navel. You feed off Gabrielle’s vanity and loneliness to satisy your own.
Christopher: I’m not sure if that’s true. If it is, perhaps all people feed off each other, feed off their loneliness in exchange for company or something else.
Gryluxx: Exactly. You grasp my point, little shadow.
Christopher: I wonder if another great joy of yours isn’t reminding people of this and making them squirm.
Gryluxx: Perhaps. I wonder what I remind Danyel and Tayel of when I make them squirm, hmm? You and Leiwell have been sad protectors to those vulnerable little creatures.
Gryluxx: Oh, no. (He wags a finger, the index finger with the golden ring sporting the talisman.) I’m not giving you any information about the twins free. Or anything else for that matter.
Christopher: Just what are you offering? You gloat over making the twins squirm, but it could be over something petty and small. Something Danyel and Tayel may not even have noticed.
For a moment Gryluxx’s smirk falters. He glowers at Christopher, dropping his hands, clenching the arms of his seat.
Christopher: Why the air of secrecy? Perhaps the true secret is there’s not much to hide.
Gryluxx: Isn’t there? (Gryluxx’s smirk returns.) I wonder. I’ll let you wonder, too.
The two of them glower at each other.