Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz, Christopher (and Nimmie Nott)

Quartz sits with his beard groomed over his waistcoat, facing Christopher who’s in the guest chair. 

Neither of them get a chance to speak before a small, spindly man dressed in bright colors appears in a cloud of yellow smoke between them.

Quartz: Gah! (waving the smoke away) Nimmie Nott! Don’t do that!

Nimmie Nott: (striking a pose) Why not? (He leaps into Quartz’s lap.) You’re not the only one gathering dust, delectable dwarf, oh no, you’re not!

Quartz is too busy coughing, eyes watering to answer. 

Christopher: (also waving the dust away and wincing) Apparently not. How long have you been in storage, Nimmie Nott?

Nimmie Nott leaps off Quartz’s lap to stand between the two seats, a small cloud of yellow dust rising when his pointed slippers hit the ground. 

Nimmie Nott: Too long, too long. I was ready to dissolve into motes of memory, returning to the stuff of dreams when I heard you plotting to go on a date with my dwarf.

Quartz: I am not yours!

Christopher: This wasn’t a date. 

Nimmie Not: No, you mean to scheme together to win our scribbler’s attention, oh yes, how cunning, how cruel. How would you like it, little shadow, if I secretly met with Damian, hmm?

Quartz: (his brows coming together in a scowl) Are you, now? Secretly meeting with Damian?

Nimmie Nott: Oh ho, oh my, are you jealous? (His stamping becomes a jig.)

Christopher: Do you know where Damian is?

Nimmie Nott: Got your attention, didn’t I? Probably got the scribbler’s too, oh, yes. 

Quartz: Aye, much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure you did. Damian is a favorite of hers. 

Christopher: Is that what we should do to get her attention? Talk about Damian? That’s not a problem for me. 

Nimmie Nott: Oh ho, I’m sure it’s not! That’s the spirit, little shadow! Take your obsession and distract our scribbler with it. Remind her of her own obsessions with yours. 

Quartz: Harrumph. Damian Ashelocke is no obsession of mine. More of a distraction from me and mine. 

Nimmie Nott: So glad to hear it, yes, I am! (dances near Quartz and tickles his beard) No, you’ve got better things to obsess about, don’t you, my dear Quartz?

Quartz: Gah! (shrinks back, nose turning red) Stop that!

Nimmie Nott: I certainly shouldn’t, no indeed! Not if you wish to keep our flighty scribbler’s attention, my dear, oh yes!

Christopher: (cocking his head and considering) He’s got a point. 

Quartz: What? You think he should keep tickling me? 

Quartz makes a grab for Nimmie Nott’s hands. The kobold playfully dodges them, darting back and forth while Quartz continue to grab at him. 

Christopher: I think he’s got a point about keeping the scribbler’s attention. About constantly reminding me we’re there even while she’s working on At Her Service.

Nimmie Nott: Now you’re getting the idea, grab and catch it while you can! (He seizes Quartz’s hands, pulling him out of his chair and begins to dance with him.)

Quartz: Gah! Stop right there! (He pulls himself free of his partner and stands before Christopher, flustered and flushed.) You do not want to distract the scribbler. If you do, you might slow her down even more. 

Christopher: We won’t be distracting her. Just constantly reminding her that we’re there. 

Nimmie Nott: Just as I’m reminding you that I’m here, my dear Quartz! (He takes Quartz’s hands, drops them, and starts to dance in a circle around the dwarf.)

Quartz: How are we going to do that? (He tries to follow the kobold’s movements, looking dazed.) We’re nothing like Cinders. 

Nimmie Nott: Nothing like her? Is that so? Are you sure about that? Sure you have nothing in common with the little cinders girl and her obsession with Lady Ariella’s feet, oh no?

Quartz: (turning redder than ever) I am not obsessed with your feet!

Christopher: No, but we’re all obsessive. We have that in common with our scribbler.

Quartz: Right. Wouldn’t call myself obsessive. I get fixated, yes, on a particular rock, a particular project, a particular…something. It’s not obsession. No matter what Opal might say, I don’t moon over these the way you do Damian. (pointed look at Christopher) Or grab and paw at them the way you do me. (glowers at Nimmie Nott)

Nimmie Nott: (stops to cross his arms and scowl, mimicking Quartz perfectly) “Right.” You never moom over the stones you collect. Or a certain human princess you think you can save from herself. 

Quartz: (splutters in outrage) That’s different!

Christopher: Is it? I wonder if you don’t feel about your Fairest the way I do about my Danyel and Tayel. 

Quartz: (turning his scowl on Christopher) First off I wouldn’t go letting Leiwell hear you call his precious little brothers “yours”. Not the way you look at them. 

Christopher: (now starting to look angry) And just how do I look at them?

Quartz: As if they were something good to eat. That’s more like Oriana with my Fairest than me. 

Christopher: I am nothing like Oriana! (He looks flustered, not quite sure of his own words.)

Nimmie Nott: Ah, you poor repressed creatures, not allowing yourself to feel. You’ll never get the scribbler’s attention like that. Or perhaps you will, perhaps you will. Go ahead and deny your obsessions. You might stir up her sadistic side and get her attention. 

Quartz: (swallows) I’m not sure any of us wants that! Perhaps you’ve got a point, though, about getting her attention, reminding her we’re there while she writes At Her Service. It’s worth trying, although I still worry about slowing her down. 

Nimmie Nott: There, was that so hard, my unmovable lump of stubbornness? (He leans foward to plant a kiss upon Quartz’s nose.)

Quartz: Gah! (The nose in question turns even redder.) Stop that!

Nimmie Not: Only if you want me to, only if you want me to. (He winks at Quartz.)

Quartz turns even redder and doesn’t answer. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read various samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?multi_permalinks=5460685780668106

For my own, here’s a little more from the version of At Her Service I’m expanding. This is a little longer than six sentences for the sake of coherency, forgive me…

“Ariella is right,” the Lady Ariella said. Yes, we had the same name once upon a time. “How can you say this is not her home? Her father lives here. She grew up here.”

“Why are you defending her, Ariella?” The lady of the chateaux paused, sounding hurt, even betrayed. “The only reason she grew up here, the only reason her father lives here is because he inherited it from his father and his father before him, going back all the way to the scoundrel whom stole it from the first Ariella, our ancestor.”

Paula’s Prompts: Wednesday Words

On December 16, 2020, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a upset stomach, unfinished chores, sunlight through the clouds.

This poem was the result…

Too much time in front of the TV

Lost in stories not my own

I indulged in way too much pizza

Upset my stomach, left the chores unfinished

Why do I make the same mistake again and again? 

Gloomy, I sink into recriminating thoughts

When the sun comes through the clouds

Just a furtive ray of light

Making everything a little warmer

Making me a little sleepy

It’s not time to sleep yet

It’s so tempting to drift off in that light

So different than the darkness

Concealing a thousand unseen shapes

Stirring fear, provoking imagination

Rousing me to capture it in words

Sunlight can be so relaxing, so soothing

Lulling me into a sluggish state

It’s so nice to be a slug

Moving slowly at my own pace

Until my stomach gurgles in discontent

When will I learn to stop feeding it American-style pizza?

Laundry is piling up, needs to be be done

Still it’s tempting to give into the soothing light

Just to relax, just for a moment. 

Paula’s Prompts: Wednesday Words

On December 9, 2020, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving an old woman muttering to herself, a recently released prisoner, and a cinnamon roll.

This poem was the result…

The old woman mutters to herself

Not realizing she’s aged, caught up in her own thoughts

She has to keep an eye on the recently released prisoner

Just how many times has he been caged for biting his sister?

As always he’s the picture of pink-nosed innocence

Whiskers upturned, licking his gray and white fur

Admirers coo over him, unable to believe he’s guilty of his crimes

One even offers him a cinnamon roll

Knowing he shouldn’t have one, unable to resist his big green eyes

His sister sulks and watches from a corner

Shunning everyone’s good will, not getting any herself

Disgusted how everyone is fooled by her brother’s act

Even though she was watching, waiting outside his cage during his imprisonment

Watching him with a forlorn expression as he languished there

Such a strange, toothy sensation love can be

Even when those in its grip like each other less. 

Conversations with Christopher: Quartz

Christopher sits in his chair, a thin layer of dust clinging to his trousers, turtleneck, and coppery-golden hair. Across from him sits Quartz, sneezing from all the dust in his beard.

Quartz: Kerchow! (gets out a handkerchief and blows his nose) Right. I know the scribbler was letting me gather dust, but you’ve got this weekly conversation going. What’s with the metaphor becoming literal?

Christopher: (shaking the dust out of his hair) Sorry. In spite of the blogs, I feel like I’ve been gathering dust. I’ve been drifting closer to the Shadow Forest so yes, metaphor became literal as you see. 

Quartz: (primping his beard, smoothing it) Careful where you go slinging those metaphors, lad. A dwarf’s beard is his pride and joy. 

Christopher: Again, sorry. 

Quartz: Aye, well, it’s not like I don’t understand the frustration. The scribbler is still focused upon At Her Service. 

Christopher: Along with transcribing the contents of the notebooks which have piled up so thick she’s running out of space. I believe you have something related to Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins coming up in the one she’s typing up now. 

Quartz: Aye, but she’s likely to forget it as soon as she types it, putting it aside for whatever is next in the notebook. Didn’t you have a little something she wrote recently?

Christopher: That was Duessa, not me. The tragic doomed passion she had for her husband, Stefan, and how it’s linked to the blossoming of the Gardens of Arachne. Our scribbler was going to insert it into Web of Inspiration, but she’s only written fragments of the fifth book of Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest. Actually she never completed a draft of My Tool, My Treasure which comes before it. Or finished polishing up Stealing Myself From Shadows, The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, and A Godling for Your Thoughts?

Quartz: Aye, Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins lies gathering dust as well, waiting to be revised. 

Christopher: She’s planning to polish up Fairest after she finished At Her Service. Release them on their own. 

Quartz: Hmph, if you ask me, she’s terrified of self-publishing along with many other things. One of those is re-entering the world after hiding in lockdown during the epidemic. All that scared and scarred her plently. 

Christopher: You may be right, although she is trying to save up for Vellum. 

Quartz: Right. Of course I’m right. 

Christopher: I’m not sure how to help her with her fears other than to have her face them. Or channel that fear into story.

Quartz: We’ve just got to keep pounding on her imagination until she tells our stories. Remember she wants to tell our stories and none of us are getting any younger, including her. 

Christopher: Or we could tempt her imagination into thinking and dreaming about us. 

Quartz: Eh? What are *you* thinking?

Christopher: I’m not sure yet, but our scribbler is drawn to certain plot devices, certain situations in story. 

Quartz: Aye, that she is, but it’s when she’s really getting into character motivation and conflict that her stories flow.

Christopher: We need to think about this. 

Quartz: Aye, we do. Meet me back in a week and we’ll discuss our thoughts.

Christopher: It’s a date. I mean, a plan.

Nimmie Not: (his disembodied voice coming from the mist) It had better not be a date, oh no, it had better not be!  You’d be wise to keep your misty digits off my dwarf, little shadow, yes, you would!

Christopher: (looking around) It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Nimmie Not. I’d almost missed him. 

Quartz: (nose turning red) Aye, well, so did I. A lot. 

Nimmie Not: (voice coming closer) What was that, my dear Quartz? Were you expressing a longing for my presence? A secret yearning in your stodgy facade?

Quartz: (ducking his head) Shut up. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating write and post six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For mine, Cinders will continue where she left off in the expanded version of At Her Service I’m working on. This is a little longer than six sentences, forgive me…

I’ll never forget the angry snarl of hatred which distorted her face. What I’d seen chilling within her eyes and pinched lips had finally been set free.

I whimpered at the sight of that twisted, quivering mouth, ready to cover my head with my hands.

“Mother, stop.” I heard Ariella’s husky voice raised with a firm authority I’d never heard in it before. I opened my eyes to glimpse her ankles, peeking out from under the hem of a dark blue skirt. They were pale, bony, but there was a strength to them, planted in the ground, drawing energy from the earth, which traveled up her legs to her torso, heart, and head. The shape of the bone protruding from her ankles reminded me of a rock jutting out from the coastline, standing in proud defiance of the coming waves. 

I wanted to grab her ankles, kiss her feet, to give her whatever I could to help her withstand against her mother’s rage or anything else that might crash against her. 

Paula’s Prompts: Wednesday Words

On December 2, 2020, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a snowstorm, a squirrel, and a gift.

This poem was the result…

A squirrel scampers down from the tree

Scattering a small pile of leaves waiting below

The closest thing we have to a snowstorm

The falling leaves, piling up, accompanied by the harsh crash of pine cones

All come tumbling down from above

So dangerous to unprotected heads and backs

The pine tree menaces while offering shade and shelter

It’s attracted so many squirrels like this one

She leaves a small gift on the porch, a gnawed-up pine cone

For the tree overhead is her restaurant

A very generous restaurant with few predators to interrupt her meals

She lets out a raspy cry over her gift

Cinnamon is not amused by her antics

She sees the tiny furry intruder

Rude enough to stay on the other side of the glass

Beyond jaws and claws that might menace her prey

Cinnamon hisses a warning, attracting Sage

She’s not hissing at him, that’s unusual

He creeps down to see what’s happening

The cats growl like two kettles bowling over

Lack of amusement is shared and catching

The squirrel chitters in their direction, not caring

After all she’s safe beyond a wall of glass.

Conversations with Christopher: Claude

Christopher sits facing a lady in a dark blue gown which matches their midnight hair swept up, half falling over a shoulder. The dress has a bosom which flares out, exposing a deceptive bit of flesh which isn’t actually a breast, tapers in at the waist, pooling at the wearer’s feet. For this lady isn’t actually a woman, yet they exude an androgynous elegance which draws upon a certain proud feminine mystique from the way the lady tilts their head, drawing attention to a high cheekbone and a lustrous dark eye, drawing it away with a movement of a slender hand. 

Christopher: Claude? (He blinks for a moment.) You look so different with this change of attire. 

Claude: And yet you recognized me, sir. My compliments. 

Christopher: You look as if you’re dressed for a ball.

Claude: Another astute observation, sir. This may not be my usual choice of garments, but it makes for a welcome change. Especially upon a special occassion.

Christopher: Such as a ball. I’m guessing this is the ball Cinders is attending and the Lady Ariella will not speak about. 

Claude: Indeed. Not that I’m at liberty to discuss what I’m doing at the ball either, sir. I’ll simply say I’m there to make a few dreams come true. 

Christopher: This seems to be a popular activity at this ball. Just whose dreams are you realizing?

Claude: I’m not at liberty to discuss that either, sir. I’ll simply admit to being motivated by divided loyalties in my activities. 

Christopher: How so?

Claude: My parents would have forced me to choose to marry a count or a countess, to live as their wife or husband, playing the part of a woman or a man. The elder Lady Ariella accepted me as myself, offering me sanctuary from my family. I swore undying loyalty and servitude to her, certain that loyalty would never waver. 

Christopher: Only it has, hasn’t it?

Claude: I am equally loyal to the young Lady Ariella, my mistress’s daughter. As excellent a queen and a wife as she would make, I am unconvinced that the life her mother has picked out for her will bring her happiness. 

Christopher: This is a change of heart since we last spoke. 

Claude: I’ve been watching the younger Lady Ariella for most of my life, sir. I’ve also observed the elder Lady Ariella. The latter saved her family chateaux from ruin when she married its former master, but I’m not sure if this deed gave her any joy. The way she treated the cinders girl, the master’s daughter was unfair. She shouldn’t have taken her lack of happiness out on the girl, even if that girl was once a lady living in an estate not rightfully hers. My late lady’s anger and ambitions were excessive, making her less than she could have been. 

Christopher: You’re actually speaking out against your late mistress. I am surprised.

Claude: I am ashamed to speak ill of my late mistress, sir, deeply ashamed, but I’m also deeply troubled by how much frustration achieving her goals brought her. She wished for her daughter to marry the prince, whom is a man of particular charms. Those charms do not appeal to her daughter at all. I’d hoped they might grow upon her once she got to know him, but I’m no longer sure.

Christopher: And now?

Claude: This ball is a chance to see what the prince is truly made of. To see what my Lady Ariella and even the cinder girl are made of when put to the test.

Christopher: Meaning? 

Claude: Oh, I shan’t say, sir. I wouldn’t wish to spoil anything. 

Christopher: You’re a tease, you know that, Claude?

Claude: (bowing their head) Thank you, sir. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For my own, I’ll continue with the expanded version I’m working for At Her Service…

“Isn’t it my father’s estate?” Frightened as I was, I hadn’t learned yet not to contradict the lady of the chateaux. “Aren’t you only here because my father married you?”

She hit me, a sharp, glancing blow which might have been no more than a slap to a sturdier woman. It knocked me off my feet, left my cowering at hers. 

“How dare you?”

Paula’s Prompts: Wednesday Words

On November 25, 2020, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a holiday alone, curtains, and a stuffed toy. This poem was the result…

Pull back the curtains

Behind the performance the adults put on

It’s a holiday yet they’re not there

Minds off in places you don’t understand or can’t follow

They make you feel so alone but you refuse to feel alone

No matter how much they won’t look at each other

They’d rather stuff their mouths with candied fruit than speak

You cling to your stuffed animal

She knows secrets the adults will never figure out

She whispers to you in the language of toys

Which only children can hear

Her stories help you sit up straight

Her whisper returns to you your smile

Smiles look so painful on adults’s faces

An upside down frown which hides the tears

You’re supposed to be happy over the holidays

The adults have lost so much

The ghosts of their losses float in the air

Echoing with weak voices of forgotten joy

Try to smile for their sakes

Remember your stuffed animal’s whispered secret

On day their sorrows will be ghosts too

And joy will find you all again.