Quartz stretches, shakes out his beard, stomps his boots, seeing the mist disappear beneath them as it clears around him.
Quartz: That right, I’m back! Took the scribbler long enough to bring me back. Not that the shadows, nor the Conversations with Christopher can keep this dwarf down!
Jupitre: How nice for you. I wish I was back. I’d darken the sky and illuminate it with brilliance. I’d shower my might down on my worshippers, sporting with the more attractive ones. All I was once is gone. Gone!
Quartz turns, seeing he’s in some sort of forest clearing. The complains come from an old man sitting on a stump. He has stooped shoulders, resting his chin on a hoary hand as he scowls. A scraggly grey beard hangs in limp hanks from his chin. The rest of his face is lined with misery.
Quartz: Right. Secondary Characters Speak Out is back, too. You must be my guest. Go on.
Jupitre: Right? There is no right! Not for me! I’ve lost my thunder, my majesty, my godhood! Just look at me now. Talking to a snarky little dwarf I would have once hit with a lightning bolt for sport. Talking about secondary characters as if I was such a trival thing! Don’t you realize who I am? I am Jupitre! I ruled the heavens, making all the puny forms of earth beneath me tremble with fear and awe!
Quartz: Right. You’re not going to awe anyone. Not with that beard.
Jupitre: And now those puny forms dare to criticize my beard!
Quartz: Expect more. Criticism, that is. You should take better care of your whiskers.
Jupitre: Take better care of my whiskers? I’ll have you know when I ruled the heavens, I had scores of beautiful boys comb, brush, and oil my whiskers! (He leers in nostalgia.) Not to mention other parts of me.
Quartz: Uh huh. (utterly unimpressed) And what happened to them, eh? Those boys.
Jupitre: (slumping back into a morose slouch) They left me. All my servants. All my worshippers. They stopped believing in me. Me!
Quartz: Sounds like you lost your worshippers because they stopped believing in you and maybe your godlike whatever as well?
Jupitre: Why do you think we gods made such a severe example of those who didn’t worship us, didn’t sacrifice to us? Without sacrifices, prayers, offerings, the devotion of our followers, we starve! We shrink and diminish into this!
Quartz: So this is what’s left of you without them. Your followers.
Jupitre: (tearing at his beard) How can I live like this?!
Quartz: Well for starters, don’t go worrying your beard! (waving his hands) Having scraggly whiskers solves nothing. Something my own family fails to figure out.
Jupitre: And now this impudent dwarf dares to call me scraggly!
Quartz: You bet the shards I dare. What kind of deity goes ripping off his whiskers? You’re not a fool kid like my little brother. You’re a god, right? Show some pride!
Jupitre: Just what do I have left to be proud of? Without my power, I’m nothing but a weak old man!
Quartz: Right. No wonder you lost your worshippers with that attitude.
Jupitre: I’m kept home by my wife, kept in a weakened state while she parades pretty visitors before me to mock me!
Quartz: Met Christopher, have you?
Jupitre: (showing interest in something other than himself for a moment) Is Christopher the slender youth, pretty as a girl with the multicolored eyes?
Quartz: Uh huh, that’s him.
Jupitre: (the moment has passed) He looked upon this aging wreck of my former self with no awe.
Quartz: Can’t imagine why not.
Jupitre: And now you mock me again! I’m reduced to being a secondary character by a rude little dwarf in a blog written by a half wit with pretensions of being an author!
Me: (looking up with annoyance) Hey!
Jupitre: Once great artists and poets depicted me, worshipped me. Now I’m just a secondary character in some miserable scribbler’s blog!
Me: (grumbling) At least you’re getting an appearance. Which is more than you can expect of many people’s blogs.
Quartz: Scribbler, this is what comes of encouraging secondary characters to speak out. Some of them never shut up.
Me: You’re the one encouraging secondary characters to speak out.
Jupitre: (drawing himself up) How dare you treat me like a nuisance, both of you! (turns on Quartz) How dare you accuse a god of whining?
Quartz: Like I said, when that god won’t shut up. If you’re all that, why don’t you do something about it?
Jupitre: I told you, dwarf. I’m no longer any of that. This is all that I am now. All that’s left of me.
Quartz: Right. Again, why don’t you do something about it?
Quartz: Do something, anything. Change. Or try to change. You don’t like what you’ve become? Do something about it.
Looking aggravated, Quartz stomps away, muttering something about gods being worse than witches or kobolds.
Jupitre sits alone, the mists rising around him, his morose face turning pensive.
Jupitre: Change. Yes. If I opened a Door to the Shadow Forest, change would be inevitable. Change would be far better than remaining as I am.
The mists almost hiss in sinister encouragement as they envelop him.