Quartz finds himself confronted by a younger dwarf glowering at him underneath bright red whiskers, way too red. The dwarf fusses with those whiskers and his waistcoat in between glowers.
Quartz: What’s with that ridiculous dye?
Agate: (scowling all the more) It’s not dye. (He smoothes this beard.) This is Dragon Agate of the Grotto.
Quartz: What in all the shards of sorry stones is that supposed to be?
Agate: A special substance ground into a powder with…other things. I get it from the mages we trade with in the human villages. It seemed perfect. It includes my namestone after all.
Quartz: Right. That’s supposed to my your namestone. Or a nod to your namestone. And the ridiculous lets out a loud fart.
Agate: You’re a fine one to talk, the way you’re lying there in that crystal coffin, snoring.
Quartz: I don’t snore.
Agate: All the while somehow here you are, lording it over secondary characters once a month in this frog-
Agate: Right. You say you’re encouraging secondary characters to speak out, especially against the aggravations of major characters. Well this secondary character has things to say to you, Quartz. To you and about you.
Quartz: Right. Say away. It’s not like I could ever stop you from talking once you opened your mouth.
Agate: Listen to you grumble! You make such a fuss about how wronged secondary characters are, particulary you, when you’re the only one of us seven dwarves getting his own story.
Quartz: Well, err, there is that. (He looks a bit uncomfortable.) I doubt Garnet wants his own story. I know Opal doesn’t.
Agate: That doesn’t mean we all don’t! You act like you’re so tortured by the scribbler, never getting enough attention from her, because of the drama of her other characters-
Quartz: I didn’t say it that way! Well, not quite that way-
Agate: -when your own drama stole the time and happiness of other secondary characters, your own brothers!
Quartz: Just how have I stolen your happiness? Haven’t I always looked out for your sorry arse?
Agate: Aye, you have! By taking us away from all dwarven civilization-
Quartz: Those civilizations were hardly civilized, the way they warred on each other when they weren’t fighting off goblins. Mother wanted us to live free and safe from all that. So did I.
Agate: -when you’re finally fortunate enough to catch the eye of someone far more cultivated than yourself-
Quartz: I hope you’re not talking about Nimmie Not.
Nimmie Not: (not visible, but Quartz can hear his voice directly in his ear) Jealous, darling? Nice that some of your family appreciates me.
Quartz: Gah! (recoiling from the voice) Don’t do that!
Agate: (pointedly not looking at his brother)-who continues to stick around, no matter how grumpy you get-
Quartz: I’m not that grumpy. Usually. (considers) Sometimes.
Nimmie Not: (still invisible, still whispering) You are challenging. Always. It’s what makes you fun.
Agate: (not seeming to notice this conversation)-something you could have cultivated to improve our lot. Instead you abandon us at a cottage in the Forest of Tears-
Quartz: I did not abandon you. I got cursed. Sort of.
Agate: -take in a human girl who brings her own curses down upon our heads-
Quartz: She’s not responsible for what happened. To me. Well, not entirely.
Agate: -and now my brothers and I are all alone in the cottage, going through the motions of trudging up the mountain to work in the mine, our only joy the times when we go to village faires to trade with human mages-
Quartz: Judging from your beard, you’ve gotten too much joy out of that.
Agate: -Opal trying to carry on as if he’s you, but he’s not you. We need you, Quartz. How could you leave us.
Quartz: I haven’t left you, Agate. I’m right there with you in the Forest of Tears.
Agate: You might as well be dead, the way you lie there in that coffin.
Quartz: I’m not dead. I just absorbed the backlash of our Fairest’s curse from that ruddy crystal coffin I put together. Or that put itself together once I gathered the pieces. Which may have been what Prunella and Nimmie Not planned.
Agate: The dragon as well? Why would they do that to you?
Quartz: I’m not sure if they were doing it to me so much as they were using me to get to those human witch princesses. I was just a tool to bring back the Queens of Dawn and Twilight.
Agate: Do you really think that’s all you are?
Nimmie Not: (speaking in a reproachful voice in Quartz’s ear) Darling, how can you think so little of me? Didn’t I say from the beginning you were a Person of Great Importance? That your name was in my book?
Quartz: Right. I’m not sure if Persons of Great Importance aren’t just tools of fate. Or the playthings of someone who thinks they’re as great as fate.
Quartz: Never you mind. It’s not important, not really. I never meant to abandon you, little brother. I’ll find a way to return to you, to all of you.
Agate: Right. There you go again. Making big promises you can’t keep. Like “I’ll find a way to keep us out of the goblin wars.”
Quartz: I did, didn’t I?
Agate: Or “I’ll find us a new home.”
Quartz: Did that too.
Nimmie Not: (now loud enough to heard if he still can’t be seen) With help!
Quartz: (flinching and flushing) Right, with help. Point being my promises may be big, but I’ve kept them. I’ll get out of that coffin.
Quartz: (turning his glower on me on the other side of the screen) Aye, scribbler, when?
Me: (sweating) I’m working on it. Right now I’m expanding on Rose learning how to handle her royal court, meeting Marian and Lord Gerard in Fairest.
Quartz: Right. You’ve always got an excuse, scribbler.
Agate: (sniffing, chimes in) Always.
Me: Right. I’m getting there…