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A naive Black Jeweled witch has destroyed the Territory Court. From its ashes a new court is being constructed, one run by a manipulative killer. As the blood runs in the streets of Goth from open gang warfare, the Steward of Little Terreille begins a gambit to rebuild the Territory from the ground up and challenge the Star of Kaeleer.
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Author Topic: Whims of the muse  (Read 507 times)

Description: Tag: Casper

Offline Willoughby Graham

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Whims of the muse
« on: Dec 13, 18, 11:13:01 AM »
Despite how much more convenient it would've been for the sake of practice, and how easily her family could afford it, there was no piano in the Graham house. Willa had been devastated at first when her mother had staunchly denied her request to procure one. She'd been sure her mother was just setting her up to fail, as how could she practice as often as she'd need to if she didn't have a piano at home?

Now, though, Willa was glad for it. Not having a piano at home had become a reliable and easy excuse to get out of the house almost whenever she liked. A more cunning creature might've used that excuse to go and do whatever she liked, running the streets without chaperone to get up to whatever a newly-unleashed young woman would get up to. It wasn't as though her parents were aficionados when it came to music, after all. Though they attended the required recitals (her mother did, at least), it seemed unlikely to Willa that it'd be noticed if she'd been practicing a little less than she let them believe.

But Willa wasn't that kind of cunning. Rather, she saw no reason to try to be. Over the last year, the school had become her second home, a kind of haven wherein she could forget the annoyances and doubts that plagued her in her family's house. She liked practicing, most days. She enjoyed that engagement she felt with the music when she played, and she enjoyed being able to feel and hear her own progress over the months. Casper Banks was... a character, to be sure. But he also happened to be an effective teacher, regardless of whatever else he might be. She was grateful enough to him for his instruction, for his shepherding of her into this new passion of hers, that he was one of the few people who could interrupt her practice time without summoning even a trace of annoyance. So while the runner he sent initially caused the melody she played to suddenly stop on a flat note rife with irritation, the revelation that the other student had been sent by Casper stopped her from commenting aloud on the interruption. Part of Willa wanted to start the song over, to finish it properly as though it'd erase the mistake from the cosmic books, but even she knew that was silly. Instead, she got up from the bench and tried to put the matter out of her mind while she went searching for the source of that summons.

Offline Casper Banks

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #1 on: Dec 19, 18, 09:22:21 AM »
"Get me Willa."
"Sir, but I was--
"Shhhhhh go get her."
"But--"

Casper let out a rough, gusty sigh and ran his fingers through his hair as he glared up at the ceiling then down at the stupid little twit that clearly did not understand the common tongue. "Goooooo geeeeet Wiiiilllllaaaa," he said again, drawing out each word and increasing the diction so that each consonant was a sharp rap at the student's ears. "She's in the music room, it's just down the hall. Certainly you aren't vague enough that you can't figure out the room with all the pretty sounds, yeah?"

He really wasn't normally this sharp, even with the dull ones, but he was getting bored with the runaround and wasn't the benefit of being a teacher that he could order students around? Besides, he needed Willa here now. For someone with minimal experience when she'd come to him, over the past year the witch had proven to be a dedicated student. Not everything came flawlessly to her - but talent could only get you so far anyway. She was dedicated, she spent hours getting to know the music and letting it get to know her rather than trying to force it into a box or a pattern to master it like some of the other fools he'd attempted to teach.

The student had apparently realized that stammering excuses weren't going to get them anywhere, and had scampered off. Hopefully, he wouldn't have to wait long for Willa to show up - but until she did he would return to where he'd been sitting at his own private piano - situated near the window of his office. The place was a medley of carefully constructed chaos - a mess she would be quite familiar with, as this wouldn't have been the first time he'd unceremoniously summoned her for one reason or another. Sometimes he preferred to hold lessons in his office as opposed to the music room as well, depending on the student and the piece and the lesson at hand.

He was at the piano when she arrived, one hand scribbling a few notes as the other waved for her to pick her way across the cluttered mess of the room toward him.

"There you are. I need you to play this. Now."

Offline Willoughby Graham

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 19, 10:20:02 AM »
Being summoned by Casper was always sort of bittersweet. Whether she'd ever admit it aloud or not, Willa loved being singled out for being special, even if it was only because Casper was sometimes just weird and very particular. She didn't have a ton of self-confidence, so when he did it in front of others it still embarrassed her and made her fidget and blush, but she wouldn't trade it away even if she could. She'd heard him perform and had faith in his talent. That he saw something in her was an unending source of affirmation for her.

And yet often when she was thusly summoned, it meant going to Casper's room. As brilliant as the man might've been as an artist, as a living creature he was mind-numbingly untidy. Willa did the best she could to ignore it and focus on whatever he'd summoned her for, but every time it grew a little more difficult. She didn't consider herself a neat freak, really, but there was something about trying to create in a space that was so cluttered and unorganized that offended her.

Luckily, she wasn't usually creating when she was called here, per se. She was usually just playing something he'd written, which was a little easier than if he'd asked her to sit down and write something there in the midst of that mess.

"Casper?" she greeted him, after a soft knock on the doorframe. "You wanted to--" Before she got any further, he'd called her to join him at the piano, and demanded she play for him. There was only the slightest hesitation - the natural surprise that came from being interrupted - but then she moved towards him as directed. She couldn't help but let her eyes pass over the disorder around her as she walked, though for the moment she refrained from commenting on it aloud. It never did any good, and he seemed to already be in one of his more impatient moods.

She sat down at the piano and looked for the music he was assigning her. Assuming it was present and legible, she'd do her best to sightread while she began to pick out the called-for notes.

Offline Casper Banks

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #3 on: Jan 10, 19, 11:16:57 AM »
Casper didn’t notice her disdain at the environment of his office. Sometimes he would, and then dismiss it just as easily as if he hadn’t seen at all, but right now when his head was filled with music all he knew was that she was finally here and needed to start playing right now thankyouverymuch.

Thankfully, she didn’t dawdle too much once she arrived and picked her way through the not-quite-trashfire that was his living/working space to place herself at the piano. Her fingers touched the keys and he watched her almost patiently for her to orient herself with the pages laid out before her. Casper’s notewriting was far more legible than the sloppy scrawl of anything he actually pieced together with words. Some had even called it beautiful - though Casper would snort in response to any such commentary on the written picture of his music. The staves and notes and articulations were merely a map, a blueprint for something much more magnanimous than something you looked at. Music was to be heard, it was to be felt, and anyone who stopped just at the directions without seeing them through to the true art was incredibly misguided. They were also really fucking stupid.

But Willa wasn’t stupid, thank Night.

Casper didn’t watch her as she played. His eyes were closed, listening, though he remained seated beside her. Occasionally he would open his eyes and reach up, adding a note or an articulation, adjusting the voice leading or expanding by a third when something didn’t sound just right. The tone of this piece was gentler, sweeter in its determination and when he’d been playing it himself it just hadn’t been… right. He needed to listen and pick out why - and he had also needed hands that would play it… right. Once he heard what right was he could add in those articulations to reflect it in the instructions.

The end - or at least the end of what was before her - wasn’t quite… complete and Casper sat in silence for a moment before he looked over at her, curiously.

“It’s not done, is it? How would you finish it?” He surprised himself with this question, but he didn’t withdraw it. Sometimes during their lessons he would ask her similar questions about whatever he was having her work on, to make her think about the music and the method, the why and the how behind the feeling that made music what it was. But this was the first time he’d asked her something about one of his own in-progress compositions.

Offline Willoughby Graham

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #4 on: Jan 18, 19, 10:40:07 AM »
It was always a little daunting, to perform in front of Casper when he was in one of his more impatient moods. Especially when it was new material, something she had to piece together for the first time as she played. This was not only new to her, but his creation, something in which he was clearly vested. All told, it had the young Healer a bit nervous, and that hesitance crept into the first couple of bars she played. Past that, though, the melody started making sense to her and it was easier to tune out Casper's presence and his expectations altogether. She found her path, her body gently leaning in and then straightening again with the time, and for a moment it felt like the music was pulling her forward, assembling itself together via her mind and hands. The notes all made sense, and flowed from one to the next with a sort of poetry that defied words. Willa enjoyed it, and hardly noticed when Casper reached in front of her to make adjustments on the fly.

Too soon, she came to the end of the piece, and quietly folded her hands in her lap while the last notes resounded and then faded from the room. Casper was quiet, but Willa didn't mind at first. She was still thinking about the music, and how much she'd liked that particular song.

"It's lovely," she told him, turning her head to glance at him while saying it. Casper didn't scare her, per se, but he was a very intense presence, and there was part of her that still shied away from having his undivided focus at such a close range. Luckily, Casper rarely seemed to remove his attention from himself and his own musings to focus entirely upon someone else. Just now, though, when he looked over at her with that curious sort of study on his face, she dropped her eyes back to the keyboard without thinking about it.

How would she finish it? Her expression did nothing to hide the surprise and mild panic that initially assaulted her, but it also showed how she made the effort to push past that and consider his question. There was that lingering... something where the song was concerned, she thought. Some unanswered yearning that could be teased into a more satisfying coda. The song itself was sweet and delicate, and she wondered what he'd been thinking of when composing it. But then, perhaps that was the key to deducing the proper ending, she thought.

"Where did it come from?" she asked, glancing at him again, invested enough in the conversation now to weather his scrutiny. "I mean, it's lovely as it is, but... there are lots of ways to change the ending that might..." she was using too many words, and she was going to lose his patience, his fleeting attention. She searched for something more succinct. "What are you trying to say?" she blurted, though quietly.

Offline Casper Banks

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #5 on: Jan 20, 19, 05:10:56 PM »
Casper raised a brow at her, leaning against the piano. “If this piece was about what I wanted to say, I certainly would have already said it.” The tone was a distracted sort of reprimand, because obviously she should have known that. “I’m not always the one with the message,” he said with a sigh, “I’m just the vessel. Music is much more grand than that. Much more grand than me. Or you. Or anyone.” He shrugged, pushing away to pace a few steps and easily avoiding piles of this and that - though he did pause to bend down and snatch up a flask he spotted peaking out from within a small mound of chaos. He opened it, sniffed, then shrugged and downed the remainder of the contents.

“It sounds more like you. That’s why I wanted you to play it. Play it again.” He made a shooing motion with his hands. “Figure out what it could mean for you. That’ll tell you what to say next.” Not everyone was good at communicating, or rather - not everyone was good at understanding the way other people communicated best. It was a major flaw in the human condition, if anyone bothered to ask Cas (which no one did but he’d tell you all about it anyway). Music, though. Music could be understood no matter who you were. Written well, it could convey just about anything, universally, in a multitude of ways! It was.. primordial.

His thoughts drifted off to Sri and a smile tugged at his lips.

Willa was a talented student and he wanted to see if she could do the same thing he could. If she could put those messages together. It didn’t have to be something she wanted to say, but it tended to be easier to start from within yourself - or at least that was what he always found. This one, though, when this piece tugged and pulled and nattered at him, instead of trying to bully it into the right form or best-guessing his way through, trial and error until it clicked, he had decided to pass it off to his student.

So this was part less, part test, part him feeding his curiosity.

Offline Willoughby Graham

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #6 on: Feb 25, 19, 11:25:48 AM »
Willa's eyes lowered to the keys again, though the reprimand didn't bother her nearly as much as such responses had when she'd first arrived. She was learning to not take them personally, as Casper was just incredibly blunt about such things and one's skin did eventually start to thicken. Her first lessons had left her in private tears more than once when disappointed comments from the male had chewed away at her confidence like a starving dog on a bone. Gradually, however, he'd taught her that if she search for the seed of instruction behind the comment, there was often something valuable to learn from it.

This time, however, Willa couldn't quite understand what he meant about not being the one with the message. It was his song; if he was't communicating something with it then who on earth could be? Sure, she thought, an artist could interpret a piece one finished and perhaps open a different vein than the one from which the writer had bled, but this was different. This piece was like a sentence missing a word, and no one but Casper knew what word he'd omitted. That one little crop of letters could make the sentence mean a hundred different things, depending.

It sounds more like you, he told her, which brought her gaze back to him with a plain note of surprise sprinkled across her expressive features. He shooed at her and demanded she play it again, and Willa looked back to the music with new eyes. Her heart swelled a little at what a compliment the idea felt like; she truly did like the piece, and if he thought it was reminiscent of her in any way, well... that felt like perhaps the most beautiful compliment anyone had ever paid her. She had no doubt that he hadn't meant to do so; he wasn't thinking about her but about his music, and how she might be the best translator for it at the moment. Still, it brought a warm little smile to her lips, and that moment felt golden and sweet while she arranged her fingers and found her breath and prepared to play it again.

It meant something different, this time, when she began to coax those notes from the pale keys beneath her fingertips. For one, she'd read it once this time and wasn't completely unfamiliar. For another, she was invested in a way she only thought she'd been the first time. This rendition was less careful, less the exploratory translation that stepped forward on fawn legs and more the graceful stride it'd been intended to be. A rare stroke of quiet pride threaded itself through the cadence of her fingers, and Willa allowed herself to fall in love with the rises and falls that she'd genuinely liked on the first pass, but now saw as belonging to her, somehow. It was as though he'd painted a portrait of her and gifted it to her; even if she felt it idealized and not terribly representative of her flaws, it was still a sweet and flattering thing to experience.

It would've been easy to let her insecurities throw her off at the end. Just one little divot in the path would've been enough to send her tumbling end over end into self-doubt and a creative dead end. The idea that he saw something of this music in her, however, had her gliding a few inches above that tricky path, and she sailed almost effortlessly past the last few bars he'd penned, into and ending of her own. A short reprise first, of some of his earlier bars, and then a delicate climb that dissolved in the lighter notes. The finish she played reminded her of dandelion seeds being carried away from the stem in spring, floaty and gauzy...

And then it was done. Silence spilled into the room in the wake of the last notes fading away, and Willa looked over, too interested in Casper's opinion to remember to fear it, just yet.

Offline Casper Banks

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Re: Whims of the muse
« Reply #7 on: Mar 16, 19, 05:16:22 PM »
Really, Willa should be proud of him. He didn't even tap his foot as he waited for her to wrap her mind around what he was telling her and just get to it already. He was honestly being incredibly patient (for him). He didn't say anything, didn't prod, didn't sigh, didn't pace or hum or do anything. He just.. waited. And then, then then then finally - the girl began to play.

Casper leaned against the wall near the window and closed his eyes. He didn't notate, he didn't finger along, he just listened. He could write it down later - and he would, after he told her to do the same thing - but for right now he needed to listen. Not just to the notes and the rhythms but to the little influxes of feeling and purpose that were distinctly the machinations of the composer and the artist before the keys. Which, in this case - at least for the last bit - was the same person.

The song came to an end and he nodded in approval. Very good for a first draft, very good indeed. In fact, he thought he might actually be feeling rather proud of his student.

Opening his eyes, Cas looked up but remained where he was leaning against the wall. "There you do, that's more like it." He considered her, then sighed. "You know, you really do need to stop being so timid. Your personality is absolutely wasted when you are. You're the kind of person that gets shoved into a box if they're not careful, you know." He paused, looking out the window - and for a moment - just a moment there was a real, down-to-earth vulnerability there that even he forgot was an option for him. "Can't please everyone, Wills. Let someone put you in a box and all you've got is misery and a box."

He shook his head, like shaking away some memory or thought of a different time and then quickly pushed away from the wall and headed back to the piano to sit beside her. "Write it down, much as you can remember, I'll fill in the rest and we'll take it from there."

 

 

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