After much persuasion, I managed to get an interview with Basalt, the dwarf friend of Carthinal.
Me: Good morning, Basalt. Thank you for giving me your time.
Basalt: Hmm! I'm very busy. I hope you don't intend to be too long.
Me. No, this shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Just trying to find a bit about you.
Basalt: Well, what do you want to know?
Me: You've lived in Grosmer for a long time, but you weren't born here, were you?
Basalt: No, I was born in the Dwarven homeland of Graal. It's at the southern end of the Western Mountains, you know. As far away from those flighty elves as we can get.
Me: But one of your friends is an elf, and another a half elf. Surely you can't think all of them are flighty.
Basalt: Did I say I thought of them all as flighty? Of course not. Asphodel and Carthinal are just normal folks. So is Yssa. But they will give their children such unpronounceable names.
Me, smiling: So you are not against all elves, then?
Basalt: It's not me you should be worrying about, but the other dwarves who still think like that. I'm willing to accept that elves, like dwarves and people, have all kinds of folk.
Me: Tell me about your early life,
Basalt: I was my parents' second child. My brother, Schist, is much older than I am. My parents, Granite and Emerald, had given up hope of another child, then I came along. I guess they spoiled me because of it.
Me: How did Schist react to your birth.
Basalt: He was very good to me. He played with me, looked after me when my parents were down the mine and we got on very well.
Me: Why did you leave Graal then?
Basalt: Everything was fine until my parents were killed in a mine collapse. Then Schist took over the running of the mine. (It belonged to my parents, see). We were supposed to be joint owners, but then she came along.
Basalt: Opal. She set her sights at him when she realised he would be part owner of the mine and rich. They got married, and gradually she poisoned him against me. They gave me all the worst and most dangerous jobs.
Me: But if Schist was so fond of you, how could she manage to turn him.
Basalt: Well, when our parents died, I was still only a little whippersnapper. I'd only just started my apprenticeship. Opal argued that as I was not a qualified miner, and had not worked to build up the mine as had Schist, then it was unfair that I should have equal shares with him. Somehow she managed to convince him. I think she hoped that by giving me dangerous jobs she hoped I'd be killed. So I left.
Me: And made your way to Grosmer where, I believe, you learned the trade of metalworking.
Basalt nodded: And I've never regretted it. I love working with metal--making beautiful things as well as useful ones. I also taught myself to carve wood, I make toys for my friends' children, and I made an amulet for each member of The Wolf Pack, indicating their character as well as showing they are members.
Me: Well, I'll let you get back to your work. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Basalt: Well, I'll be off. Work to finish. Goodbye.