Quartz sits, smoothing his beard, scowling at the rings on the fingers of the man sitting opposite him. Gryluxx isn’t that much taller than him in black velvet robes, plus he sports a scraggly beard he ought to be ashamed of, biting his lower lip, tongue touching his lip, beady eyes darting all over Quartz. Quartz keeps looking at those rings, silver on his left, gold on his right. Not all of them have stones, two have pearls, two have nothing, but the rubies, emeralds, and especially the opals are bothering him.
Gryluxx: I can see you’re admiring my rings. (He waves his fingers so the glitter from the stones will flash in Quartz’s eyes, making him blink.)
Quartz: (wincing and scowling some more) That’s not it. They’re what I’d expect but they bother me. They all bother me, especially the opals.
Gryluxx: Opals happen to be my favorite stones.
Quartz: Don’t even think it.
Gryluxx: I’ll think what I please, dwarf. Just what did you think you could stop me from thinking?
Quartz: Nothing. Doubt you’ve got the shame to stop thinking it.
Gryluxx: I have nothing to be ashamed of, dwarf, least of all my rings.
Quartz: Those rings bother me.
Gryluxx: And why would my rings bother you? Surely you’ve mined such rocks yourself or are you so poor a miner?
Quartz: You don’t mine pearls. You fish them out of the water.
Gryluxx: You dig them out of oysters. Pearls form due to an irritation in the shell. It’s why pearls are among my favorites. They’re beauties born of irritation.
Quartz: Right. As you say, not my element.
Gryluxx: Not your element? That’s not what I said, what are saying? Are you referring to water?
Quartz: Water is tricky. Not like earth or rock.
Gryluxx: Ah, yes. Water is the element of tears and emotions, making it all the more worth mastering.
Quartz: Trying to master tears and emotions, are you?
Gryluxx: Absolutely, along with the power they generate. Emotions are the perfume, the offering to the Shadow Forest which creates Doors. They’re the key to controlling others and uncovering the secrets they hide.
Quartz: Right. I can see that’s real interesting to you.
Gryluxx: And just what’s interesting to you? You said my rings bothered you.
Quartz: Stones have voices, pulses which you can listen to if you bother.
Gryluxx: Indeed. That’s why I’ve chosen the very best stones.
Quartz: Those aren’t the best. Too many humans, goblins, and dwarves place a high value on emeralds and rubies, turn into symbols of status, fighting over them and dying for them.
Gryluxx: Because they represent status. They represent my status.
Quartz: Yet the opal is your favorite stone.
Gryluxx: Some legends consider it unlucky. I prize them for the misery they cause.
Quartz: He doesn’t cause misery! (He stops himself, realizing he was shouting.) I mean, opals lack the strong innards I’ve felt in other stones but this doesn’t mean they’re bad. Yes, they can oblivous to certain things, but they’re not bad stones.
Gryluxx: Why, you personalize the opal to quite the extreme, my dear dwarf! Perhaps it’s because if personal associations you have with this particular stone? I get the impression an opal makes you think of someone very close to you.
Quartz: Get all the impressions you like. What worries me is what you’re planning to do with all these impressions. Or maybe you just like knowing things other poeple don’t.
Gryluxx: Clever dwarf! You’re called Quartz, aren’t you? That’s your namestone. So much variety and power is in the rock you can draw upon with such a name!
Gryluxx: I’m guessing your Opal has the qualities of his stone as well. Perhaps he’s grumpy or unlucky? Or perhaps he’s a tool. (He raises his hands.) Rather like my rings. That’s why they bother you.
Quartz: Those stones in your rings absorb things from metal and flesh. Maybe I just don’t like what I sense your rings are absorbing from you.
Gryluxx: And what would that be, dwarf?
Quartz: Something rank, predatory, yet petty. Something which is sucking out the stones light and song, forcing them to sing their wearer’s notes.
Gryluxx: These rings are my tools, my adornments, dwarf. What’s more, they are mine. I do with them as I please.
Quartz: And just what do you please? What do you want?
Gryluxx: I told you already, you little fool. Weren’t you listening? No, I don’t think I’ll tell you any more. I’m only telling you this much because you’re from another world. It’s unlikely yours and mine will ever meet.
Quartz: Shards, I hope not! I pity Christopher having to share a world with you. I doubt handling you is fun.
Gryluxx: Or maybe I’m the one handling him? (He leers a bit at his own comment.)
Quartz: Right. (He waves away the leer as if it were a bad smell.) Don’t underestimate him just because he’s small and skinny.
Gryluxx: My dear dwarf, I’m one of the few people who doesn’t underestimate Christopher. And this includes his beloved Damian, his false mama Gabrielle, his panting Peter, and those whimpering twins.
Gryluxx: I know what Christopher truly is. I don’t allow my wits to be befuddled with who he is. A state you’re entirely too prone to.
Quartz: You sure of that, huh?
Gryluxx: My dear dwarf, your sentimental associations with opals are only too telling.
Quartz: The way you talk about Christopher is telling, too. Just what are you planning to do with him?
Gryluxx: Oh, no. (He wags a finger, the index finger with a gold ring and some sort of flat talsiman upon it which makes Quartz shiver.) I’m not giving away that particular tidbit of information even if you’re from another world.
Quartz: Thought not. (grumbles under his breath looking worried)