Feed Drop! Listen to Starfall, a fantasy story about a theater troupe, a traumatized girl, and friendship. Also later, crabs.
Transcript is below the cut!
Transcript adapted by Ria Couoh.
Hi everyone! Hannah here, bringing you…another show!
While we’re on hiatus, between bonus episodes, we’ll be showcasing some of our favorite fellow audio dramas.
This week I’m excited to bring you Starfall, a story about a theater troupe in a fantasy world, and their newest recruit who is totally normal and not a wildly powerful warrior at all! You’ll hear some familiar voices, and you’ll definitely have a good time. They’re coming up on their one-year anniversary, and they’ll be dropping their Q&A episodes this month too, so now is the perfect time to get started.
So, let’s get started! Enjoy!
ACT 1 SCENE I…
Welcome to tonight’s production. Content warnings can be found beneath the list of cast and crew in our notes. As always – stay safe, and enjoy the show.
The Curtain Rises by Trace Callahan plays.
Starfall. Act one, scene one.
We begin on a moment of quiet – the full-bodied quiet of a waiting audience. Then – a gently humming magical light activates with an earthy click and a stage curtain is pulled open. Footsteps can be heard crossing the stage, then coming to stop in the center. The Narrator, standing there, begins to speak in a tempered, even tone.
Audience, I bid you welcome to our humble tale. As you’ll find, there is not much to it as of yet. It is only you and I alone in the darkness, the stillness, and the silence of our personal theater.
But if you’ll allow yourself to be guided by my words, then I may be able to lead you somewhere a bit more engaging for the mind’s eye.
Subtle soundscaping creeps in as the first setting fades in. It comes in piece by piece as the Narrator speaks, bringing in birdsong, wind in the grass and trees, distant baa-ing of sheep, creating a pastoral scene in the early morning.
Imagine now, the first wispy lights of morning spilling over the horizon, illuminating a green countryside.
To one end of this scene, you can see outlying farms, their fields dotted with sheep, white fleece standing out against the pastures.
To another end, there stands the dark outline of a forest – its shadows foreboding and unbroken by the early light.
Between those distant points rises a single lonely hill, upon which rises a single lonely tree, under which rests… a single, lonely figure. The figure is that of a young woman, asleep among the roots. She is dirty and travel-worn, much like the blue cloak she wears that is one of the only features to distinguish her from her earthy surroundings.
As the sunrise touches the hill, she wakes from where she is curled, and raises her head to greet the day.
(small groan of awakening)
Leona slowly rises to her feet in a wooded area.
This figure waits only long enough for the sun to finish lighting a path down the hill. Then, she follows it away, carrying on with her travels with nothing but the cloak on her back.
Pastoral scene fades out, and we fade back in on a packed city market, midday.
Follow me now to the markets of Holhen, a city of moderate size in the southern reaches of the state of Eriss. The good citizens fly the colors of the empire here instead of the old banners of their kingdom.
The young woman we met on the hill has found her way to this place, not as a destination, but as another point of many along a much longer journey.
She is more dirty and travel-worn here in the eyes of the good citizens of Holhen.
She is more alone here than ever.
The sounds of the market come into sharper focus as the narrator pauses. Leona walks along through this scene and footsteps hurry to catch up with her, the jangling of keys and weapons attached to this person’s belt evident.
Hey. Hey, you!
The Constable grabs Leona’s arm and both their footsteps stop.
Hey. I was talking to you.
Why were you doing that?
Why? Because I’m with the law around here, and you just stole from that fruit seller.
But I… didn’t.
I saw you eyeing her cart for ages, and after I looked away, you were gone. You must have taken something. Hand it over and come with me.
(more insistently, but apologetic for the misunderstanding)
I didn’t take anything. I’m sorry I looked for so long. I was just hungry.
So you already ate what you stole? We don’t appreciate strangers stealing from us around here. I’m going to put you where you can’t take anything else. C’mere.
For a moment, the scene slows down to bullet time, with items playing out singularly as they’re described by the Narrator.
As she is about to be accosted, imagine the young woman begins to act in her own defense – but not in a way you might expect.
Instead of raising a hand to shield herself or swiping away the constable’s hand, she angles her arm behind her, palm flat and open, as if preparing to grab something. A look of concentration flashes on her face, and if you look closely, you might be able to see a faint outline of something beginning to appear in her hand.
That is, until the constable, who can only see the motion, and not its full potential, strikes her to the ground.
Bullet time stops as the constable strikes Leona across the face and she hits the ground.
(grunts in pain)
Was that some magic you were trying to pull there? Got some hidden script on you? I’d bet you don’t have a license for that either. Yeah, you’re going away for a looooong –
Oh, leave the girl alone!
Footsteps rush over as a Vendor comes to Leona’s defense. Over the course of the conversation, Leona begins to sneak away, increasing distance between them.
What’d she ever do to you, huh?
She stole from the market and tried to do magic!
Pssh! You’re just trying to stir up trouble and up your arrests. Here girl, don’t let them bother you any – Where’d she go?
(breathes heavily as she rushes off)
Thunder rumbles in the distance as Leona flees.
The market scene is washed away by a sudden torrent of rain and thunder in a forest at night as a thunderstorm rages around Leona.
Follow me now, into the deep, dark woods – the territory of the Fae.
It is a land such as many of you have never and will never experience, but must have imagined every time you looked beyond the boundaries of your own back window. It is a place where the shadows are deeper than the natural dark, the plant life is more alive, and from every single angle, you can feel eyes upon you.
It is late at night in the Faewoods, and a storm rages overhead. Thunder breaks above the canopy of the trees, and rainwater pours down to the forest below.
The young woman sits there at the base of a gnarled, ancient tree, curled up as small as she can make herself. The only shelter she finds is in her rain-soaked cloak.
But the Faewoods are no place for a human.
Still, she does not belong there.
Still, she is alone.
(speaking to herself quietly, sounding upset)
I didn’t steal from them…I didn’t take anything…I’m not bad…am I?
The slow, thundering footsteps of an exceptionally large beast approaching.
Or, at least, she thinks she is alone. But there are always someone or something’s eyes on you in the Faewoods. And if you aren’t careful, you may find something or someone’s fangs in you all too quickly.
Thunder claps a final time before the scene fades out of the forest, now to a gentle patter of rain and a gentle murmur of village life. Leona’s footsteps still carry on, but more subduedly than before.
Allow me now to lead you away from that dreary wood and back to the comfort of the humble, Erissian burg of Gazbit. It is now not but a few days ago, when that drizzle chased the tail of the storm, and a stranger walked the streets, weary from her travels, wary of its citizens, and, as always, alone.
Her journey had not yet led her to her destination, for she was seeking not a place, but a purpose. She sought something to give her meaning and guidance, and she walked on a path that so happened to take her through this particular village on that particular day.
NARRATOR & DALYN
For heroes are not meant to be forged through destiny.
Rain peters out and Leona’s footsteps come to a stop.
(attention caught by the voice)
NARRATOR & DALYN
(the Narrator’s voice fades out over the speech)
Destiny is a precious idea for folk who have the luxury of waiting, and can trust that a shield and spear will be thrust out to guard them.
(speaking alone now, giving a valiant speech to the open air)
But we are not such people. We take up shields and spears with our own hands, and we choose to take action. We are a people united by a cause and a duty to no one greater than ourselves.
And that is why, though our shields may be shattered and our spears may be broken, though we may not be long for the halls of our fathers, the victory tomorrow will be won, and it will be ours – for each life given will be one of ours to give!
It will be a dawn dripping red with the free blood of Eriss!
A smattering of applause is drawn out from the crowd around him.
(speaking to herself, awed by this speech)
This is it. This is the purpose you meant for me to find, isn’t it…Sage?
(from a distance, enthusiastically advertising to the crowd)
And that was none other than the one and only Dalyn Archivayik, former performer from no less than the Empire Theater in Falsten with a stirring monologue from Mariette the Fourth.
If you enjoyed that, come out tomorrow to see the continentally renowned Carouvel Traveling Acting Troupe! We’ll be performing the whole play out at Sansen Farms on the edge of town! Come see our troupe tomorrow!
Leona begins to walk forward as the focus pans over Fel & Dalyn.
That’s right, come see the Carouvel Traveling Acting Troupe, performing in Gazbit for two nights only! It’ll be a fantastic show, full of wonder and magic from the best actors in the empire, performing one of the greatest works ever produced in the great state of Eriss! You won’t want to miss it!
(boredly, the facade of his character already fallen away)
I don’t see why you’re even bothering, Fel. The people around here wouldn’t know culture if it walked up to them and slapped their cow in the face.
C’mon, Dalyn, you’re not helping!
Carouvel Troupe! Come see the Carouvel Troupe perform Mariette the Fourth tomorrow!
Yes, because I don’t know why Raybar has us bothering to perform in this two-bit town when we could use the time to book more shows in Dowden.
Because it’s not about bothering, it’s about putting on a good show, regardless of where we are, or who’s watching.
Let’s just pray to our lucky stars that anyone here actually wants to watch.
We wouldn’t have to pray if you’d help here too! Come see the troupe! Tomorrow and the day after! Come at sundown for the show of a lifetime! It’ll change your life, I know it changed mine! Come see the Carouvel Traveling…
Footsteps approach, and Leona stops in front of them. The two parties regard each other in silence for a moment.
Uh, hi there.
(in a friendly tone)
I… don’t think I saw you in the crowd earlier. Did you see our show?
Maybe we should move on, Fel. I don’t like how they’re looking at us. Or how they smell.
Don’t be rude, Dalyn!
I’m sorry about him, honestly, we’re much nicer than that.
Oh! Right! I’m Fel Porter, and this is my friend, Dalyn. We’re from the troupe visiting this town. What’s your name?
‘For heroes are not meant to be forged through destiny,’ fate is something one stumbles into, and the future is spelled out more clearly in the eyes of a stranger than it is in the stars above.
So, won’t you follow me into this humble tale now, in which but a few words can change the course of an empire?
My name is Leona – and I’d like to join your troop.
The Curtain Falls by Trace Callahan plays.
Thank you, dear audience, for joining us in – Starfall, a fantasy audio drama.
Starfall is written and produced by Claudia Elvidge. This episode featured the voice talents of:
Ishani Kanetkar as Leona
Sam B. Nguyen as Fel
Cold Burkhardt as Dalyn
Max Newland as Constable
Bernie Breeze as Vendor
And myself, Margaret Ashley, as the Narrator.
Our theme music is composed by Trace Callahan.
For more information, visit starfallpodcast.com or follow us on Twitter @starfallpod.
Tonight’s Falsten Fact is on the subject of – Gazbit. Gazbit is a small village in the state of Eriss. Very little of note has ever happened here. Once, the Emperor’s cousin passed through the village on their way to Capribourg. Thirty years later, people are still talking about it.
FEATURED TRAILER: “WIZARD SEEKING WIZARD”
Trailer for “Wizard Seeking Wizard” begins. Upbeat background music plays.
Alright, Cupid are we recording?
Good! Hail listener, it is I, Chemistro the Match Mage, coming to you from the depths of the crystal sphere where I have been imprisoned. The eons are long here and to stay sane I have put out the call to wizards across the multiverse. Wizards that want to meet other wizards!
Rising synth sparkle.
I seek, first and foremost, someone who might challenge me in organization.
I would just love to sit down and talk about dark magic over a cup of coffee, or a cup of evil! Which is a beverage I invented, mostly out of coffee
Yes, I did a long stint in the sultan’s dungeons for orchestrating a plot against his life. But that is my wont, as a vizier
You see I think the, the teeth, are sort of, the the window to the soul!
Descending synth sparkle.
Wizard Seeking Wizard is a dating podcast for wizards by wizards, featuring personal ads sent in by the magical community, where YOU get to vote on which wizards date each other. Follow us on twitter at wiz 4 wiz or find us wherever you pluck your podcasts from the ether.
Background music fades away.
I think that went well. What do you think, Cupid?