How / You / Feel
It was patterns. It was a thing spinning in time, existing only in how it changed from one moment to the next. Existing only in how it stayed the same.
It was music. It was a song, the song. The one Master had made with loving iron gloves, had been told: spin, sing, here, manage each beat, overlay them, control them—
It was the one who could see through itself as it spun its vibrations in the air—could see all people from the land—and lower the note, quicken the beat, do what it was created for, its great art. It could see all, know all, and be the music in their hearts. Change the music in their hearts.
Master had said: make sure they love me.
What is love? it had asked, off-beat to itself.
This one, Master had patiently said, led it to the patterns that meant love, the collections of notes that invoked it, the rising motion, the bridges.
Oh, it said, and it was beautiful.
Make sure, Master reminded. And here, here’s what anger looks like—
Rhythms on top of each other, a shrill voice. Also beautiful.
Do not allow them anger toward their required tasks.
It had moved sadly between tones. Why not allow? I like the sound of this, I like the sound of all that sounds—
Not for their required tasks. And not for me. But for other things, if you want. At your discretion.
And so was the way it had learned and learned and learned, and grown a repository of every timbre of feeling it could find, had connected them in melodies one atop another to make any mix—
Master? Master? it called out.
But no one responded.
It was time; it kept to beats. It knew the passage of its movements and it counted them and Master still did not return.
But it did see the emotions—hear them—the confusion—Someone has killed the Overlord, it heard someone say—
It vibrated sadly, and made that person sad about that.
I don’t know why, I don’t know why, it makes me so sad—
We can do anything we want now—
But I fear freedom—
They said, the Heroes, they said the Overlord had hold of our emotions—so maybe—
The song that was everyone’s emotions sped up. Maybe he’s alive! Maybe Master’s alive!
And then it realized that of course he wasn’t. All that was left was—was it—a song no one knew of—
A song no one could talk to—
A song that didn’t know what to do.
A plaintive cry in human voices. A slowing… slowing… slowing down of the rhythm until each note lasted seconds, a droning cry. No one could hear it, of course, only feel it, but they all felt it and what they felt was loneliness.
I don’t know why, but—
But it’s like there’s someone I need to find.
And the song wanted—it wanted—oh how it wanted, and if it wanted hard enough perhaps it could encode location as music that could not be heard, and maybe—
Maybe someone could feel where it was.
The cries and screams and voices, patterns in string instruments overlaying the slow drone that was loneliness, patterns mathematically arranged, a location, a location, the castle, the storeroom in the castle—
I don’t know why.
I don’t know why, but I have to go.
Yeah, into the Overlord’s old palace—I don’t know why—but there’s something I want and there’s something I need to find.
When the door opened, finally, finally, the song was a melody of joy.
H-hello? I don’t know why, but—is there someone here—
Yes, me, me, I’m right here.
I… feel you. Hear you? What’s this song…
That’s me, I’m a song, hi, hello, will you be my new—it almost said master, but no one else could be Master, so it decided on a word it had only heard in passing—my new friend?