Caleb, Fjord, Yasha and Beau arrive home to see Essek standing outside the Xhorhaus. He takes note of the large tree growing out of the roof. Caleb says that they're making themselves at home, which Essek can see. Beau asks if Essek wants to stay for dinner, but he turns her down since he has research to do. Caleb asks what he's researching, but Essek just says that it's his specialities. Yasha ends up (awkwardly) asking where Den Thelyss lives, and Essek tells him that most of the den lives in the Lucid Bastion or the Conservatory. Caleb asks if those are the main avenues for learning Dunamancy, and Essek says that they are the only way. He asks why Caleb wants to know, and Caleb tells him that he is very interest in Dunamancy, wanting to learn. Essek tell him to show him something impressive, and he creates the giant cat paw, amusing Essek. He asks what Caleb wishes to do with the magic he learns, and Caleb says that he wasn't taught in the traditional sense, but is interested in the arcane of Xhorhas. Essek says that many people are interested in Xhorhasian magic. Caleb tells him that the Empire is messing with Dunamancy and he wants to understand so that he can help prevent that. Essek asks if he's busy now and Caleb shakes his head no. He asks if he can enter the house, to which Beau become offended since she asked twice and he said no. He says that he wasn't asking her and turns to Caleb who uses the cat paw to let them into the house.
In the study, they pull out their spell books as Essek offers to teach Caleb some spells. He asks what Caleb is interested in Dunamancy and asks what he's interested in. Caleb says that he is interested in fate and time. Essek teaches him the spells and is interested in what Caleb will do with them. Caleb says that he'll need time to perfect them, but thanks him for such a great gift. Essek tells him to remember it, since he may call in a favor for it, which Caleb agrees.
Caleb enters the Lucid Bastion and asks to speak to Essek. After awhile Essek joins him and asks what he requires. Caleb tells him that he'd just come from the prison that the scourger was held in, and asks if they're going to be executed. Essek confirms this, but they're going to interrogate them for a few more days first. Caleb requests that they stick to that timetable, and asks if Essek knows of his past. Essek says he might know a fraction, and Caleb tells him that he trained to be a scourger. He thought the other scourger was someone he knew and could possibly find a way to be useful, but he was wrong. He would like to speak on it further, but the Nein are going to leave for a bit and doesn't want to miss the opportunity to do so. Essek says that he'll see what he can do. Caleb appreciates his help, and thanks him. Essek has to get back to business, and they part ways.
In Love and War
- Caleb asks Essek how high up the darkness over Rosahnna goes, and is extremely fascinated.
- Caleb asks if being consecuted is a great honor, and Essek says that it is.
- Caleb appreciates Essek giving them direction.
- Caleb asks for the best way to contact Essek.
- Caleb tells Essek that the gift from his den is unexpected.
- Caleb tells Essek that the house next to them seems empty, and wonders if he might know who lives there.
- Caleb bows as he lets Essek inside.
- Essek watches over Caleb's shoulder as he writes the spells in his book.
- Caleb asks if Essek wants a closer look at the tree.
- Essek vouches for the Mighty Nein's abilities and his teaching to Caleb.
- Caleb goes off to find Essek.
- Essek noticed that Caleb had requested to speak to the Scourger.
Clay and Dust
- Caleb sees the transportation circle Essek is drawing.
- Caleb tells Essek that they'll be in touch, and reminds him to stall for time.
- Caleb has Jester call Essek for him.
A Tangled Web
- Caleb tells Jester to call ahead to Essek as an act of good faith.
- Jester assumes that Caleb knows where Essek lives.
- Essek reveals that he has pushed his influence to the limit in order to give Caleb a chance to speak to the Scourger.
- Nott and Jester push for the two to talk further, and Essek helps Caleb solve a magical conundrum
Behind the Scenes
- Audience Member – “I'm curious on how Caleb is feeling about Essek, and also if anyone else has a crush on him that'd be great to know too.”
- Liam – “I don't think Caleb fully understands why the attention is coming, he doesn't trust it entirely but he has some distant experience with working that angle so, he will work it as needed.”
- — Denver Pop Culture Con 2019
- Liam (as Caleb) – “So I am not sure that Essek trusts me in the first place and I don't really trust Essek either. I assume that he is working me for his own angle.”
- Laura (as Jester) – “I think Essek really likes you.”
- Liam (as Caleb) – “The sexual innuendo is baked into the answer, because I do think that Essek, maybe, likes the cut of my jib.”
- — Talks Machina A Tangled Web
This section is in need of major improvement. Please help improve this article by editing it.
Fans were quick to ship the two and it started to grow a steady following in the Critical Role fandom. Some found it reminiscent of Vax's relationship with Gilmore and fans have often joked that Liam can't resist flirting with Matt's hot wizard NPCs. Although fans do hope that the relationship won't end the same way, there's still some trepidation around the pairing.
Fan Artists and Writers will typically depict the two mostly bonding in study sessions. This fits in well with the canon moments between them, as most started to ship the two after their first Dunamancy lesson.
On AO3, Shadowgast is the most written ship for Essek and the fourth most written ship for Caleb. It is also the eleventh most written ship for the Mighty Nein and the fifteenth most written for the Critical Role tag overall.
- Essek states that time is one of his specialties. One of Caleb's goal' is to turn back time and save his parents.
- During the break for "A Tangled Web," after Essek killed someone that was threatening Caleb, Liam O'Brien (Caleb) tweeted out "What’s sexier than wizards NOTHING".
- He repeated the tweet for a video of Matt Mercer (Essek) explaining Dunamancy for DnD beyond, followed by a reply that said "(............nothing.....)".
- The other cast members who ship Shadowgast include, Sam, Marisha and Laura.
- By extension, the characters, Beau and Jester, ship it as well.
- Shadowidojest refers to the ship between Essek, Caleb and Jester Lavorre
- Shadowidowmauk refers to the ship between Essek, Caleb and Mollymauk Tealeaf
|SHIPS||het||Fjorester • Green Team • Nottleb • Widojest|
|slash||Fjorclay • Vaxmore • Shadowgast • Widofjord|
|femslash||Beaujester • Beauyasha • Fluffernutter • Kimallura • Vexahra • Yester|
|non-binary||Fjolly • Jesauk • Widomauk|
|poly||Bashter • Widofjordmauk|
|friendship||Beaumauk • Fjasha • Mollyash • Widonott|