Caleb encourages Essek to take up an artistic hobby for himself that he doesn’t feel like he needs to be good at. He does a bit of basic drawing but it’s mostly just for field notes.
Caleb teaches him Programmed Illusion, but his visual imagination and memory are not very clear, especially compared to Caleb’s. It ends up feeling more like work and necessity than a fun release. He does do some interesting abstract and geometric work with it, and Caleb encourages him to explore that, but Essek just feels sort of weird about it. Some internalized part of him feels like it isn’t real art, even if he takes Caleb’s encouragement that it very much is.
While developing other magic, Essek and Caleb accidentally discover how to use Dunamancy to create a magical synthesizer. Rudimentary at first, but the sound captivates him, and it stretches his magic in a different way. Eventually they learn how to modulate it and even program it.
He plays a lot with loops and generative music especially. Slow repetitive sounds the way Caleb fidgets with his piece of amber while studying. Not really a melody trying to go anywhere but layers intertwining in different ways in every moment. A music that just is and isn’t trying to be anywhere specific next. That lacks ambition and a grand goal. Things he’s trying to let go of in his daily life. Music “as ignorable as it is interesting.”
Maybe he even finds a way to tap into the ebb and flow of magical frequencies around them, assign different tones, and just let them play. It feels really personal and spontaneous in a way he does feel like he has to leave behind or always share. He can if he wants, but he can also just idly fiddle not trying to get anywhere.
It’s a spell he can set up and let repeat while he does other things like studying and reading to it. Caleb absolutely loves it. Sometimes they just lie on the floor while Essek subtlety shifts the music around and Caleb creates visual illusions for them. It was one of the things only they really share. It feels freeing to create something new with no purpose when everything that went wrong in his life was through ambition and careful planning for himself and the world.
Hazel Copperpot continues to perfect recording technology and one day it’s clear enough to support Essek’s clear tones. Maybe some form of magical mass broadcast is also invented. Some day he starts to record some of them, attached to a stage name and not showing his face or voice. Perhaps as they age, Caleb convinces him to do the equivalent of a weekly radio show or livestream playing his music that’s broadcast around Rexxentrum and the Academy especially. If there’s visuals, Caleb does illusions for it. His projections are already widely known around the city for his work with highly political post-rock bands using a lot of field recordings and personal memories.
It is hard to keep doing it after Caleb dies. It feels incomplete without him, even when it’s for himself. But eventually he dusts off Programmed Illusion and has another go at it. The abstract geometric shapes feel like; they work better now. Caleb had often incorporated that style into his for the music. And so he does both and stats connected both to himself and the happy memories of that connection.
If you enjoy my work, consider supporting me through ko-fi, or my shop. I’m severely disabled and it all helps justify my time spent on this project. Learn more about how and why to support me.