Episode 10: Grael of the Echowood

Episode 10: Grael of the Echowood Tales of the Echowood

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of death and grief including a car crash, loss of a parent, character betrayal, existential dread, and implied alcoholismAs the fire dies in the Inn of the Archway, Grael tells one last tale – a story with the fate of worlds in the balance.Starring Sam Taylor as Grael and Tal Minear as The Traveler, with additional voices by Brad Colbroock, Giovanni Hanson, Ali Hylton, Lindsay Zana, Michael Bonner, Karen Spotts Bonner, Newt Schottelkotte, Ezra J. Wayne, Jesse Steele, David Ault, Stephen Indrisano, Neal Covert, Virginia Spotts, Evan Tess Murray, A.R. Olivieri, and Sawyer Greene. Original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Trevor Van Winkle and made possible by our supporters on Kickstarter, Patreon.com/homesteadcorner, and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner. Executive produced by Axel Allcock.For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit homesteadonthecorner.com/tote010 "Dark Emptiness" elements created by jalastram (https://freesound.org/people/jalastram/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)"Medieval City" element created by OGsoundFX (https://freesound.org/people/OGsoundFX/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)"Wind in basement" element created by jrosin (https://freesound.org/people/jrosin/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)"Breaking Ice" element created by dheming (https://freesound.org/people/dheming/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)"Prayers in church" element created by klankbeeld (https://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)"Key chimes" element created by dheming (https://freesound.org/people/dheming/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/tales-of-the-echowood. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of death and grief including a car crash, loss of a parent, character betrayal, existential dread, and implied alcoholism

As the fire dies in the Inn of the Archway, Grael tells one last tale – a story with the fate of worlds in the balance.

Starring Sam Taylor as Grael and Tal Minear as The Traveler, with additional voices by Brad Colbroock, Giovanni Hanson, Ali Hylton, Lindsay Zana, Michael Bonner, Karen Spotts Bonner, Newt Schottelkotte, Ezra J. Wayne, Jesse Steele, David Ault, Stephen Indrisano, Neal Covert, Virginia Spotts, Evan Tess Murray, A.R. Olivieri, and Sawyer Greene. Original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Trevor Van Winkle and made possible by our supporters on Kickstarter, Patreon.com/homesteadcorner, and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner. Executive produced by Axel Allcock.

For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit homesteadonthecorner.com/tote010 

“Dark Emptiness” elements created by jalastram (https://freesound.org/people/jalastram/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Medieval City” element created by OGsoundFX (https://freesound.org/people/OGsoundFX/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Wind in basement” element created by jrosin (https://freesound.org/people/jrosin/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Breaking Ice” element created by dheming (https://freesound.org/people/dheming/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Prayers in church” element created by klankbeeld (https://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Key chimes” element created by dheming (https://freesound.org/people/dheming/), Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of death and grief including a car crash, loss of a parent, character betrayal, existential dread, and implied alcoholism.

[Inside the Inn of the Archway at night – wind, owls, crackling fire]

Narrator

Before we get started, this episode contains discussions of death and grief including a car crash, loss of a parent, character betrayal, existential dread, and implied alcoholism. Content warnings and a full transcript are available in the show notes.

[The front door creaks open, then closes]

[Footsteps over stone]

[Movement from the other room]

[Door squeaks open]

[Grael’s wings flutter]

Grael

Oh! Welcome, Traveler! Sorry, I didn’t hear you come in… Tend to get a bit lost in my own thoughts back there. Come! Sit and have a drink with me, it’s been–

Traveler A

Where am I?

Grael

Why, the Inn of the Archway, of course! Didn’t you read the sign?

Traveler A

No, I mean – how did I get here? I was… I wasn’t in a forest, I was… somewhere else.

[Grael flies closer]

Grael

You came through the archway, remember? From another world?

Traveler A

From another – what are you talking about? Who are you? What have you done to me?

Grael

Me? Why, I haven’t done anything besides offering you a drink? Come now, it’ll calm your nerves –

[Grael opens a bottle of wine]

Traveler A

Whoa, whoa, stay away from me!

[Running footsteps]

Grael

Wait, wait!

[Door opens]

[Receding footsteps over leaves]

Grael

Well… That didn’t work.

[Music – Montage]

[Rain falling outside the inn]

[Door opens, footsteps]

Grael (from next room, muffled)

Ah, welcome Traveler! Sorry about the rain, but it just couldn’t be –

[Door squeaks open as Grael enters the room]

[Traveler B Screams at the sight of him]

[Receding footsteps]

Grael

No wait, don’t go out there, you’ll catch your death out there in this stor–

[Door closes]

[Rain ends]

[Door opens]

Grael

Hail, Traveler from afar! Welcome to the Echo–

[Footsteps approach, sound of a struggle]

Traveler C

What manner of devil art thou? Answer, or I’ll wring thy neck until I know.

Grael

Terribly sorry… Wrong choice.

[Flash of magic]

[Door shatters as Traveler C is flung through it]

Grael

Okay… Bad luck. Maybe next time.

[Grael’s wings flutter]

[Sounds of a hatchet, saw, and hammer]

[Grael hangs a new door on its hinges]

[The door opens]

Grael

Oh – sorry, I didn’t see you there, Traveler! What can I do for you?

[Door opens]

Grael

Oh hello there, Traveler! Welcome to the Echowood.

[Door opens]

Grael

Good evening, Traveler! Hope you didn’t find the road too trying?

[Door opens]

Traveler D

Um… Hello? Who’s there?

[Door opens]

Traveler E

What are you!? What the hell are you!?

[Door opens]

Traveler F

What is this place?

Grael

This is my inn… My home. And I hope yours too, before long.

Traveler G

What do you mean, I can’t go back?

Grael

Did I say couldn’t? I mean… I hope you won’t go, but…

Traveler H

You’re telling me this is another world? Another universe?

Grael

That doesn’t frighten you?

Traveler I

Of course it does… Why the hell did you bring me here?

Grael

Well that’s the thing you see… This world is starting to die, and I need someone to–

Traveler J

Bullshit.

Grael

Excuse me?

Traveler J

You expect me to believe that?

Grael

But it’s true!

Traveler K

Not buyin’ it, mate. Sorry.

Grael

But you saw the gateway! The forest! You know it’s real!

Traveler L

Pretty sure this is just a bad trip, bro. Gonna wake up any second now.

Traveler M

Sorry, but I can’t accept any of this is real.

Traveler N

Are you serious? Stay in faerie-land and help you save it? Just what kind of fool do you think I am?

Grael

I don’t think you’re a fool, but I do need your help. Someone’s help, at least.

Traveler O

What do you mean, “someone’s?”

Grael

Do you have any idea how many of you I’ve had this exact conversation with? How many “Travelers” I’ve called through my door?

Traveler P

I… I don’t understand.

Grael

Of course you don’t. You can’t. You have no idea what it’s like to live forever – to see each face blur into the next and the next and the next before they’re all just one long line of useless people. You are nothing.

Traveler Q

Well this “Nothing’s” about to put you through that wall.

[Footsteps approach Grael]

Grael

Stop.

[Flash of magic, ringing energy]

Grael

I have seen people like you live and die and live again. I have seen your face in a hundred different times and places. I will see you again. I will speak these words again. And we’ll do it over… and over… And over again. So fare thee well, Traveler – and know that I will never stop.

[Flash of magic]

[Door shatters as Traveler Q is flung through it]

[Silence]

[Grael sighs, exhausted]

[Wings flutter, Grael settles into his chair]

[Silence]

The Traveler (distant, echoing)

Grael? Grael?

[Faint movement as Grael looks up]

[The sounds of the inn vanish, replaced by the woods near the Archway]

[Grael sighs]

Grael

No more secrets. No more games. That time is past. Come with me, Traveler, and I will tell you everything.

[Grael’s wings flutter as he flies back towards the inn]

[Footsteps as The Traveler follows him]

[Main theme]

Narrator

Homestead on the Corner presents: Tales of the Echowood

[Main theme ends]

[Fire still crackles in the hearth of the Inn]

[The door creaks open, and Grael and The Traveler enter]

Grael

Home sweet home.

[Grael’s wings flutter as he crosses to the bar]

[Bottles clinking]

Grael

You want a drink? It’s the last of the fairhaven… last there’ll ever be, likely as not.

[Grael uncorks a wine bottle]

[The Traveler takes a step towards him]

The Traveler

Grael…

Grael

No? Well I certainly do. I think I’ve earned it, after today.

[Grael starts to pour himself a glass]

The Traveler

Grael, please… You said you’d tell me what’s going on.

Grael

And?

The Traveler

And you haven’t said a word since we left the arch. 

Grael

Neither did you, for near on three months.

The Traveler

That wasn’t my fault.

[Grael’s wings flutter as he moves towards them]

Grael

No? Tell me: when did Maeven restore your voice? Tonight? After we went stargazing? Or did you always have it, and were just lying the entire time?

The Traveler

That’s not fair–

Grael

Isn’t it?

The Traveler

No, it isn’t. You lied to me from the start. And Maeven made me promise not to tell you.

[Grael scoffs loudly, then picks up his wine]

[He downs the glass in one long go, then coughs]

Grael

I told you already, Traveler… I didn’t lie to you. All of the stories I told you were true.

[The Traveler takes a concerned step forward]

The Traveler

Are you sure you should be drinking right now?

Grael

Now, later, earlier… What does it matter? My world is ending, and you seem to have made up your mind to let it. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow… Tomorrow, everything dies.

[Silence]

[Grael sighs]

Grael

No… You’re probably right. Now isn’t the time for drinking.

[Clinking as Grael replaces the bottle]

[Grael’s wings flutter as he moves to a chair, sitting down]

Grael

You want answers? Then ask. I’ve nothing to hide anymore… You and the witch have seen to that.

[Hesitating slightly, The Traveler crosses and sits next to him]

The Traveler

Was what Silvia told me true? Did you… make the Echowood?

Grael

I, and a child from your world named Rowan Baumann, who I once called “Little-Ash.” We made it together. A long time ago.

[Silence]

[The Traveler moves in their seat]

The Traveler

Tell me the story.

Grael

I thought you were done with me and my tales?

The Traveler

Just… One more. For old times’ sake.

[Grael chuckles]

Grael

“Old time’s sake.” Fine. One more tale. One more story.

[Grael breathes in, then sighs]

[Music]

Grael

This story begins in the world you knew – beyond the borders of the Echowood, in a little house on the edge of an ancient broadleaf forest. It was a tiny thing: a ramshackle construction of old timbers and red paint peeling and cracked from the years of damp and cold and rot. The shingles on the roof were patched and worn, with wide swaths covered by nothing more than wood and plastic to keep out the rain… But it was a home. For a child and her mother and her father, it was more than a house… it was a place to grow old, a place to grow up. A place to grow into.

But life is not a story… Not the stories we tell ourselves about the future, nor the stories others wish upon us, nor the stories that try to keep us safe from the dark and driving cold. And one late and rainy morning as winter turned to spring… the father was taken from the child. There was no reason for it – no warning, no portents, no way it could have been avoided. A drain had clogged with old leaves and overflowed, turning a dip in the road to a wide, flat puddle he couldn’t see as he drove home from a late shift at the cannery. The tree his car struck was less than a mile from the old red house on the edge of the woods, and the mother heard the collision from her bedroom… But it was too late to do anything. His spirit had fled beyond the veil of all worlds, where even I cannot see nor reach.

[Sounds of rain in a small house]

It was a long time before the mother was able to tell her child the truth – the whole truth. Her father was gone, and he wasn’t coming back. Perhaps she could have found a better way to say it, had she not been drinking at the time. Perhaps she could have softened the blow. But Rowan was barely ten years old when that hammer came out of the blue and destroyed the safe and happy world she’d always known. And so she did what she always did, when her heart felt sick and lonely… She fled to the empty woods behind her house.

[Music]

Those woods were her sanctuary – her temple of solitude and bastion of solace. She knew every tree by name, every rock and stream and little meadow. She knew the birds and the small creatures that scurried and flapped between the moss-hung branches, told stories about who they were and what they’d seen beneath the darkened boughs of her forest. And she knew in her heart of hearts that there was something more to those woods than simple beauty. There was a thinness there… A feeling that something beyond her world was pressing through, and with the right push that curtain could be torn asunder.

Perhaps it was just her own love of faerie stories, of myths and legends that made her think so. Perhaps it was a vivid imagination, fed on stories of other worlds, and a love for the sciences that spoke of hidden dimensions and realities beyond what the human eye can see. Perhaps it was both. Perhaps it was neither. But when I found her alone and crying in the woods and took pity on her… I could feel the boundary between worlds closer than I’d ever felt it before. Something had worn it thin in that place… And there was something on the other side.

As for my life before that day – truth be told, I can’t remember much of it. The songs and legends woven into the Echowood at the moment of its creation call me an old god, and the form I took when first I walked this world was that of a winged sprite… But I can’t remember who or what I was before I met Rowan – before she and I wrote my life into the echoes and sent it out into the world. I remember loss, though – a kindred feeling to the grief in Rowan’s soul, rending my heart as I fled to the woods. But much like you… When I passed for the first time into the Echowood, those memories fled me, leaving only dim reflections and darkened visions of dead worlds and painful goodbyes. I don’t know if I was the cause or the victim of the misfortune I fled – and I suppose I never can. Whoever I was that day… I chose to forget, and start anew.

[Sounds of a quiet forest]

Of course, that didn’t happen right away. The Echowood did not spring into being the moment Rowan and I met. She was grieving, and though her heart delighted to meet what she thought of as a real faerie after so long dreaming of them… that heart was still fractured with newfound hurt. I did my best to comfort her – joked and jested and reassured her that in all the wide universes I’d seen, nothing is ever truly lost. It simply passes from one form into another: from life to death to memory to story to song, no one has ever truly vanished from the worlds… not entirely.

I think that gave her some comfort, half-true though it might be. She returned to her mother and that little red house in the green clearing, and I remained in the woods beyond – waiting.

[Music]

She returned often that year, and I soon became her favorite playmate. We would race through the trees together, wielding branches as wands and swords and great sorcerer’s staffs to fight off the dark things that ventured into the world of our imagination… cruel emperors from beyond the wood, giant spiders unleashed by human hubris, ancient dragons waylaying the slopes of our mountain village. But Rowan’s mind was different than mine, and while I fashioned stories of the ancient conflicts between light and dark, she always twisted them into new, strange shapes: the emperor, cruel though he was, was also a figure of pity – isolated and haunted by his own power and the lives he had taken. The spiders were not evil beings, but simply living creatures allowed to grow beyond their place by a misbalance of nature. And the dragons we tried to slay… They were ancient, wise beings of elemental power – creatures who upheld the world and had to be protected.

As she imagined and added and refined my notions of our imagined world, I did my best to make them real. I cast illusions and images into the darkened trees that delighted and terrified her, and I came to live for the feeling of seeing true magic work its way across her face. She believed the world we made was real – believed it with a conviction I’d never seen before. And so I worked harder and harder at my illusions, making them more solid, more real, more clever than anything I’d ever made before. Each time I did, her belief in this world grew stronger, and I redoubled my efforts, trying to keep her from seeing the seams in my work – the little imperfections that marred and marked my creations. Soon, it came to the point that only I could see those flaws – and then one day, I didn’t.

[Sounds of the forest at sunset]

As Rowan wove the tale of wandering witches I’d begun into a story of love and rivalry that pulled at my heart… I looked up and saw the images of Maeven and Anthea I’d created. I don’t know if it was something about the light that day that shifted my perceptions, or the beauty of the story Rowan told, or something else entirely. Whatever it was, when I looked up across that clearing and saw the images of the two witches, I didn’t see an illusion of my own making anymore.

[Music]

And as my belief in this world matched Rowan’s for the first time, I felt the veil between worlds tear loose… And the Echowood was born.

You know most of that story already – the songs we sung, unsure of their meaning; the breaking of the world, as the history we’d invented came real all in a moment; and the creation of the fog-bog, saving our world from destruction… For now. The space between Rowan’s world and the one beyond it tore open, and in the gap between universes all our stories and characters and dreams of magic came true: the underworld far below, the starry night with its shining denizens far above… and the Echowood between, vast and shifting like the ocean’s tide. I don’t know if it was my own power alone that lashed out and created this place, or simply the faith of Rowan matching mine in a place where the worlds were thin. I’ve begun to wonder in these late years if there was something different about Rowan… Some hidden magic in her soul that set this world in motion when she met me. I suppose I’ll never know – but it does make me wonder.

No matter the reason, the Echowood was born, and we joined it as king and queen of the Castle Caraway. At first, we were unsure what to make of our creation – though we’d imagined this world in vivid detail, I don’t think either of us ever expected to see it in the flesh. We tried to rule justly and fairly – or at least, Rowan did. I did my best, but it was hard not to see the suffering souls in my court as characters I’d imagined, people I’d made up and whose existence would not be possible without me. And whoever I’d been before, I think his anger followed me into the sprite that I became, for my wrath was terrible and deadly when it was awakened. I tried to hide it from Rowan – but she always saw more than I gave her credit for. And as the years passed and she grew up and grew wiser, I think she sensed the growing darkness in my soul… my obsession with control, with preserving the Echowood just as we had made it… Including those who lived beneath the trees. I grew cruel and cold in my obsession, and when Rowan told me she was leaving – it was the last straw. I sundered her soul to make of her a child – one who would never age, never grow up, never know the hardships of life in the “real world” the true Rowan wished to return to… The lie I chased, given life.

[The sounds of the inn return]

There is a poem, writ long ago in your world by a poet touched by the green in much the same way Rowan was. “Come away, o human child! To the waters and the wild, with a faery, hand in hand, for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

When I sang those words to Rowan on that lonely, mournful evening so long ago, I thought they spoke only of the world she knew. I believed that here, in the world we made, she could live forever beyond the reach of grief… the reach of death. But I was wrong. We built this world from our own memories, from our own cracked and wearied souls… And death takes all worlds, in the end. It can be delayed, ignored, plastered over and laughed at… But everything that has a beginning has an end. And I’ve found mine here.

[Silence]

[The Traveler makes several false starts]

The Traveler

So you brought me here to… What, try and stop the world from dying?

[Grael scoffs]

Grael

If there was a way to stop it, I missed it half a lifetime ago. No. You’re not here to save the Echowood. I might have told myself that at first, but… That time is past. The rot has gone too deep, the foundations too worn down. Maeven was right – this world has to die.

The Traveler

Then what am I here for?

Grael

You’re here because I was lost in grief and could not see the truth. You’re here because I was a fool who thought he knew what was best for his friend, and tried to force it upon them. You’re here because after 300 years, I couldn’t stop myself trying to find another, even when I knew it was hopeless.

The Traveler

Another what?

Grael

Another… Rowan. Another human to take away into the waters and the wild. Someone who could imagine a new Echowood alongside me, and remake it before the old one has breathed its last. For centuries, I’ve pulled strangers through that doorway, drawn them out of the last moments of their lives, from places they would not be missed. But I’ve found no one who chose to stay at my side. A few came close, but… None have come so far as you.

The Traveler

What do you mean… The last moments of their lives?

[Grael sits forward, looking more closely at them]

Grael

How much have you remembered? About your life before the Echowood?

The Traveler

Not much… I’ve had a few dreams, but – they’re all just… images. Feelings. I can’t make sense of them.

Grael

And what do you see?

[The Traveler takes a deep breath, remembering]

[Low, echoing drone rises]

[Whistling wind, a creaking door, and a rhythmic noise]

The Traveler

A tunnel. Some… underground place. It was dark, I couldn’t see much, but… I felt like I wasn’t alone. And then there was a sound… And pain… And then – nothing.

[Thunder crashes, then fades]

Grael

Nothing?

The Traveler

I guess that’s when I woke up in the woods.

Grael

And can you remember anything else? Who you were, where you came from – your name?

The Traveler

No. I think it started with an H, but… That’s all I can remember. Do you know what it was?

Grael

Me? No, I – I don’t know any more than you do. The archway chooses who it calls – I just told it where to look.

The Traveler

And you told it to look for people who were about to die.

Grael

Yes.

[Long silence]

[The Traveler sighs]

The Traveler

All those people you brought here before me… What happened to them?

[Grael takes a deep breath]

Grael

Some remained in the Echowood, though they have not returned to the inn. Others tried to attack me, and I… I defended myself.

The Traveler

You killed them?

Grael

A few. Yes.

The Traveler

And the rest?

Grael

The rest I sent back through the archway, into the worlds they came from.

The Traveler

You sent them home?

Grael

I sent them to their deaths… Back to the moments they came from.

[Silence]

The Traveler

Oh.

[Silence]

The Traveler

That doesn’t leave me with a lot of good options, does it?

Grael

No. It doesn’t. As far as I can see, it leaves you with only two.

The Traveler

And those are?

[Grael laughs ruefully]

Grael

Well, I suppose this started with an offer, didn’t it? An offer to tell and teach you all you needed to know, until your voice returned. Why shouldn’t it end with one?

[Grael sits forward]

Here is your choice, such as it is: I can send you back to your world through the archway – not to the moment I took you from, but to another time, another place. You can start fresh, and perhaps your memories of who you were will return in time. You can live the rest of your life in whatever way you choose: a dull, plain life, lost in the fading of another world. I cannot say it’s the path I would choose – but it is open to you.

[Music]

Alternatively… You can remain here. Continue to learn the history and nature of the Echowood, hear new tales and see new sights as winter turns at last to spring. And when summer comes and all life rises to meet it – you and I will sing a new song of creation. The old shall pass away, and the new Echowood shall rise in its place: a world reborn from its own ashes. Those within will perish, but their souls will endure, echoing on into the new world we create in story and memory and life renewed. And you will stand by my side, ruling over what we made forevermore. Apotheosis, at the cost of the world that is. That is what I can offer – nothing more, and nothing less.

[Grael picks up his glass, extending it to The Traveler]

Grael

What say you?

[Silence]

[The Traveler pushes back their chair and begins to pace]

Grael

You don’t need to answer right away, there’s plenty of time left to–

The Traveler

Shut up, Grael.

[The Traveler continues pacing, then stops]

[The Traveler sighs]

The Traveler

Just tell me one thing.

Grael

Anything at all. I’ve never lied to you, and I don’t intend to now.

The Traveler

Did the other Travelers all lose their voices too? Did the arch… really do that to me?

[Long silence]

Grael

No. It didn’t.

The Traveler

Then I don’t think I can stay. If you want me to help you make a new world… If that’s even possible… How do I know you won’t just ignore my voice when the time comes? I don’t think you really want someone to add new ideas – you just want someone to go along with yours.

Grael

You’re right. Of course you are. I was too close – I couldn’t see it.

[Grael rises from his chair, wings fluttering]

Very well… Let’s go back to the archway. I doubt you have anything to pack, and I can send you through tonight if–

The Traveler

No Grael, I… I don’t want to go back either.

Grael

You… What do you mean?

The Traveler

I mean… I want to stay here. In the Echowood. Just – not here.

[Grael’s wings flutter]

Grael

Traveler, I’ve told you time and again that this world is no place for the faint of heart–

The Traveler

Did you happen to notice how I just saved you from Maeven?

Grael

That’s… That’s not the same, she–

[The Traveler steps forward]

The Traveler

She had every intent to kill you for the sake of “all life,” and I stopped her. With a broken sword.

[The Traveler sits down across from him]

Grael – You taught me so much about this place… how to survive, how to find my way – how it works. Please, just… Trust me to use it. Let me go.

[Long silence]

Grael

Go.

The Traveler

Go?

Grael

You’re stronger than you look, dear heart… And made of sterner stuff than I ever gave you credit for. You’ll do just fine out there. Where will you go?

The Traveler

Market town’s just a few miles down the road, right? That’s probably where Silvia ended up.

Grael

Hitching your wagon to a bard, are you? That’s not the path I would’ve expected.

The Traveler

That’s… kind of the point, isn’t it?

[Grael chuckles]

Grael

Yes… I suppose it is. Well. I suppose there’s no point in putting it off any longer, is there?

The Traveler

No, I… I guess there isn’t.

[Grael sits forward]

Grael

Fare thee well, Traveler.

The Traveler

Yeah… Goodbye, Grael.

[The Traveler stands and rushes to the door]

[Door opens]

[The Traveler pauses, looking back]

The Traveler

I hope to see you again. Someday.

[Door swings shut behind them]

[Music]

[Grael sighs, then rises, wings fluttering]

[Flying around the room, he blows out candles, closes shudders, cleans up empty bottles, and straightens chairs]

[Moving to the fireplace, he pushes the grate aside, knocking it down to ashes]

[Picking up a metal bucket, he pours water over the fire – extinguishing the flames]

[Crossing the room in darkness, he puts on a coat and grabs a ring of keys off the wall]

[Opening the door, he leaves the inn for the cold night outside]

[A heavy click as he locks the door behind him]

[He flies a few feet, then lands, walking away from the inn]

[He stops, then looks back]

Grael

Goodnight… Echowood.

[Silence – wind and creaking branches]

[Footsteps]

[A rising, shimmering sound appears suddenly, and Grael stops]

Grael

Is that… It can’t be…

[Pulsing rises, then something falls through the trees nearby]

[Silence]

[Footsteps approach, along with a shimmering noise]

Grael

Sirius?

Sirius

I told you I’d find my way back.

[Music]

Grael

How? How can you be here? I thought–

Sirius

Is that any way to greet an old friend?

Grael

I thought I’d never see you again.

Sirius

Good to know the stars can still surprise you, even after all this time. Is that your home?

Grael

It – It was… Is, I guess, but it’s – it’s complicated.

Sirius

Aren’t you going to invite me in?

Grael

It’s… It’s a little dark in there.

[Sirius chuckles]

Sirius

Not so dark yet.

[The shimmering sound increases as Sirius steps up beside Grael, taking his hand]

[The two walk back towards the inn hand in hand – Sirius walking, Grael flying]

[Grael unlocks the door and opens it, and the two step inside]

[The door swings shut behind them]

[Silence]

[End Credits]

Narrator

Tales of the Echowood. Episode Ten: Grael of the Echowood. Starring Sam Taylor as Grael, Tal Minear as the Traveler, and Trevor Van Winkle as Sirius, with additional voices by Brad Colbroock, Giovanni Hanson, Ali Hylton, Lindsay Zana, Michael Bonner, Karen Spotts Bonner, Newt Schottelkotte, Ezra J. Wayne, Jesse Steele, David Ault, Stephen Indrisano, Neal Covert, Virginia Spotts, Evan Tess Murray, A.R. Olivieri, and Sawyer Greene. This series also featured the voices of Alejandra Cejudo as Maeven and Leslie Redman as Silvia Linwood and Rowan Baumann. Original music for this series was composed and orchestrated by Jesse Haugen, with vocals from Pearl Botts and Camrie Lucey, Bruce Babad on flute, Hector Gonzalez and Philip Glenn on Violin, Si Tran on Viola, Alex Thompson and Larry Briner on Cello, Kevin Brown on Percussion, and recording engineered by Orlando Torres. Written and produced by Trevor Van Winkle, with special musical direction by Virginia Spotts. Our executive producer was Axel Allcock. This serie s was made possible by our supporters on Kickstarter and Patreon.com/homesteadcorner: Tal Minear, FireflyArc, Badlands Cola, Liam Boehning, Andrew Pratt, Zee, Annabel Traversy, Ella Watts, Michael Buswell, Accursed, Shay Lynn, Kalinda, Krista A., Kori Powers, Kip Henderson, Marissa S, Lucy Mason, Chickadee, Logan M Porter, Sara, Steve Taylor, Sarah McLaurin, Jesse Casanova, Fennec Foxfire, Anthony S., Christine Johanns, Cynthia Ulrey, griffsketch, Rhel ná DecVandé, Marktoria Valentine, Sean Saunders, Kayla Martin-Gant, Tobi Mills, Peter S., Mitch Gerads, Evieebun125, soap, Jessica Van Winkle, Mike Van Winkle, Shirley Casperson, Dora Culton, Olivia Siegel, Virginia Spotts, g, Aries Jimenez, Bridget Guziewicz, Cat Thompson, Victoria Ann Farber, Stacey Powells, Charles Taylor, Hyde, Georga VanWinkle, Samantha, Neal Covert, and Emro. To learn more about the series and listen to our other podcasts, visit Homesteadonthecorner.com. If you’ve enjoyed the series, feel free to connect with us on Twitter and Instagram @echowoodpod, and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or the podcatcher of your choice. I’m Trevor Van Winkle, this is Homestead on the Corner, and you’ve been listening to: Tales of the Echowood.

[Main theme]


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