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Black and white clip art depiction of audio being turned into a transcript.

Black and white clip art depiction of audio being turned into a transcript. On the left, the sound is depicted by a pair of headphones with an audio wave going between the two ears pads. A simple black arrow goes from left to right. On the right, the transcript is represented by a stylized typed document.

 

In order to make these transcripts as accessible as possible, each one is produced in four formats: as an online post for access convenience, in a word document with a low vision friendly font (Veranda), in a pdf with a dyslexia friendly font (OpenDyslexic), and a low contrast blue on black pdf as an access option for people with migraines (Veranda).

 

Writing Alchemy Episode 39 – Janus’ First Tarot Reading

[Intro music that is an energetic, electronic song begins playing.]

TOBI: [voiceover] You are listening to Writing Alchemy, stories that step outside the oppressive grind of the everyday world with your host, writer and artist Fay Onyx.

[Music swells and then fades to a background volume.]

FAY: This is a special scripted crossover episode between Writing Alchemy and Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services where we return to Sylvan Community College as Kalilia gives Janus her first tarot reading, foreshadowing the events which will take place in the next Unfamiliar Heroes game.

[Music swells and then fades out.]

Hello and welcome to the 39th episode of Writing Alchemy. I am Fay Onyx and I am so excited to be doing this crossover with Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services. I’m just starting to come down with a cold, though, so hopefully my voice isn’t too rough during this introduction.

For those of you who don’t know, Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services is one of my all time favorite audio dramas. It is a rich and complex story with deep layers of meaning, featuring an inclusive cast of characters (and performers who play those characters).

Right now, they are doing a crowdfunding campaign on Seed and Spark to fund their third and final season. This campaign will wrap up on Valentines Day, which is February 14th, and I highly recommend checking it out. Links are in the show notes and I will be gushing a lot more about this at the end of the episode.

Just to get you oriented, in the timeline of Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services this episode takes place in the past, before the start of the series. Meanwhile, in the Writing Alchemy timeline this story takes place after the conclusion of the “Welcome to the First Responders Training Program” game. This episode foreshadows the events of the following game, which will be coming out on Writing Alchemy soon as the “Inside the First Responders Training Program” game. I am calling this special episode Unfamiliar Heroes episode twenty, even though it is scripted and not a game, because it takes place in the world of the games.

As a reminder, Janus Greer is a total slacker with a special talent for rapidly taking large quantities of food off of snack platters. In the events of the “Welcome to the First Responder’s Training Program” game, Janus learned that she has become a ghoul with a hunger for a rather petty form of vengeance against injustice. Janus now finds herself in a supernatural world filled with monsters and magic. It is dangerous, but also brings new opportunities for connection, community, and a direction in life that she hasn’t ever had before.

As we start, please imagine a crowded hallway at Sylvan Community College filled with booths and people chatting…

[The First Responders Training Program theme plays a light rock piece that starts with a guitar squeal and then transitions into a melody that is emotional with an undercurrent of hope.]

[As the music fades out, the murmur of people talking in an echoey space fades in as the scene starts.]

KALILA (voiced by Lisette Alvarez): Hi! I’m Kalila Stormfire, I’m representing the Grand Coven in Brushland. Are you looking for an internship, or training? We offer Dragon training, it’s basically creating and maintaining protective wards, as well as standard security protocols for covens or just community rituals. I’m not a Dragon personally, but I can get you in contact with the Lead Dragon in the Coven.

JANUS (voiced by Tobi Hill-Meyer): Oh? Um, no. Actually, I-I just saw there were things happening down here and you seemed not to be, you know, swamped like all the other booths.

KALILA: Oh. Yeah. I mean, people prefer to get training closer to home. I get it.

JANUS: No worries. I’m Janus. It says here you’re also offering tarot readings?

KALILA: Well, it’s mostly for uh…diagnostic purposes? Like to gauge where in the Coven you’d be most suited. If you’re not interested though, you don’t have to.

JANUS: Oh, I don’t think that’s for me. My friends do magic, but that stuff just goes over my head. But I haven’t had a tarot reading before. Could you do just a regular spread? I can pay you.

KALILA: It’s not…no, no. You don’t have to pay me. I’m not supposed to—

JANUS: Well, if you aren’t comfortable doing a tarot reading outside of what you’re here to do, it’s no problem. Honest.

KALILA: No! No, sorry, that’s not—sorry! I only mean I’ve never been. Well. Paid? To do tarot readings?

JANUS: What? Really?

KALILA: It’s a service. You know, a spiritual service.

JANUS: It’s still work, though.

KALILA: I guess you’re right.

JANUS: Well, I’d love to get a tarot reading from you. My, uh, friend Chaz found out that I’d never had a tarot reading before and he said that I just had to have one! I don’t see a lot of witches of color coming from out of town, and I don’t think I’ve seen one from the Grand Coven.

KALILA: Yeah… (laughs weakly) they’re working on that. Okay. Yeah, I can do a quick three card reading. Here, take a seat.

[There is the sound of a wooden chair being pulled out and then creaking as it is sat in.]

KALILA: Do you have a particular question you want answered?

JANUS: Yes. Well. It’s about a person in my life. Someone I’m, uh, kinda into?

[There is the sound of cards being shuffled.]

KALILA: Okay, so I’m going to do a current situation/obstacle/solution reading. Here is your first card, about the situation you are in.

[There is the sound of a card being flipped over.]

[As the reading progresses bright, mysterious, and suspenseful ambient electronic music fades in.]

KALILA: Ace of Cups. New beginnings, a desire for acceptance, and, um, romantic possibilities.

You’ve been…emotionally stuck for a while. But this is a chance for you to move, to change and adapt to a new flow in your life.

JANUS: Hm. That makes sense. Lots of stuff is new right now.

KALILA: Okay. This card is the Obstacle.

[There is the sound of a card being flipped over.]

KALILA: The Devil. Hm! This is a quintessential obstacle card. There are things happening here, on both sides, where there’s self-imposed blocks, a lack of honesty, or a perception that you aren’t physically capable to connect. I’m getting a sense that…wow! That there are a lot of secrets being held back.

JANUS: What kind of secrets? Is…does that mean Chaz…sorry. No-no, go ahead.

KALILA: Okay. This is the final card, which is advice for you going forward.

[There is the sound of a card being flipped over.]

KALILA: I pulled Temperance. Be open to the unexpected, be flexible, and-and go for it! It implies that things are going to turn out well. This is a strongly hopeful and optimistic card, but it is definitely about being adaptive. Things aren’t going to happen how you think, but by being flexible you are going to get so much more than what you hoped for.

JANUS: Yeah, I usually just let things happen. Going for it? Phew! Okay.

KALILA: I have a sense that whatever secrets are being held, the more you can trust things will be okay when those secrets comes to the light, the better.

[The ambient electronic music fades out.]

JANUS: I guess you’re right. Well, thanks so much. Here, I have a $20 on me…

[The sounds of a wallet being pulled out of a pocket, opened, and a bill pulled out.]

KALILA: O-oh! Let me put the cards away first—ah!

[There is the sound of cards spilling.]

KALILA: That’s. Oh.

JANUS: What’s the Tower mean?

[Suspenseful electronic music starts.]

KALILA: Um. I…okay. So since it just decided to jump out like that, I think this is supposed to be part of your reading.

So. The Tower. Uh…big change is coming. Like. BIG. Your world will be turned upside down. With the newfound joy and connection, there’s going to be some bittersweet and incomplete feelings associated with it.  But this doesn’t have to last forever. Your directionless-ness—it’s is over. See how the Tower is being cracked and is falling? That means that the old way of operating is about to be destroyed, a rotten core cleaned out. It is time to buckle down and work.

JANUS: Yeah, that just happened when I, um, sorta died. You mean something big like that is going to happen again? What am I supposed to do about that?

KALILA: This card is a call to action. It says that things will be hard, and that there will be changes you don’t like, but things aren’t hopeless. (sighs) I’m sorry, that’s as much as it is willing to give me right now. Tarot readings are about destiny, the things you decide. Your own choices, not a hard fate.

[The suspenseful electronic music fades out.]

JANUS: Well. Okay. Thanks for the heads up. Here. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

[There is a rustle and crinkle of paper as money is passed over.]

KALILA: Thank you for being my first ever paid tarot reading.

[There is a wooden chair creak, followed by the slide of the wooden chair being pushed in.]

JANUS: No problem. Well, I’ll catch you around. Thanks again, and good luck with the whole recruiting thing.

[The sound of the crowded hallway fades in.]

KALILA: (laughs dryly) I’ll probably be here bored for another few hours but it’s alright. Take care. You and Chaz.

JANUS: Thanks, Kalila.

[The sound of footsteps walking away.]

KALILA: Huh. Maybe I should do tarot readings more often.

[The crowd sounds fade out as the First Responders Training Program theme music briefly fades in and then fades back out.]

FAY: And that is the end of this episode. I’m really excited about the timing of this episode because it is such beautiful foreshadowing for the ‘Inside the First Responders Training Program” game, which will be coming out next, so stay tuned for that!

For this episode, the part of Janus was played by Tobi Hill-Meyer, and Kalila was played by Lisette Alvarez. I did the audio editing and sound design, and the script was written by Lisette Alvarez with collaboration and input from me and Tobi.

I want to say a big thank you to Lisette Alvarez for collaborating with me on this episode. I highly recommend that you check out all of Lisette’s work, especially Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services.

[The Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services intro music starts playing. It is a bouncy instrumental piece with prominent stings that conveys a feeling of energy, magic, and mystery.]

To quote their podcast description, ‘The story centers around Kalila Stormfire, a young woman and business owner working out of her basement studio apartment after a controversial fallout with her coven. While she attempts to get established as friendly neighborhood witch, she begins to hear rumors of someone dissuading clients from seeking her services.’

This story is set in a fantasy version of the modern world where the kind of magic associated with modern witchcraft practices, as well as many other spiritual traditions, has a concrete reality that makes it accepted by society as a whole.

[The Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services intro music comes to an end.]

It is difficult for me to put into words what it is that I love so much about Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services because there are so many layers to it. As a pagan I deeply resonate with the authentic depiction of a form of witchcraft that is aware of appropriation and colonialism and manages to navigates past that to respectful and inclusive interactions with multiple different spiritual practices and traditions. I love the depiction of an intersectional community centered on people of color, nonbinary and trans people, and disability. The struggles depicted are real and resonate with the struggles that are happening right now on both the personal and community level. Above all, this is a story of symbolic and emotional depth.

I will say that there is some heavy stuff in this story, especially internal conflict and self-criticism, and a lot of really relevant issues get touched on, so be prepared for some intensity in this beautiful, deep story.

You can find episodes and transcripts at Kalila Stormfire dot com, follow them on twitter at Kalila Stormfire, or you can find Kalilia Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services in your favorite podcast app.

I do want to note that all episodes have transcripts, but some of the older ones don’t currently have links to those transcripts in the show notes, so you may need to go to Kalila Stormfire dot com to get all of them.

You can find their campaign to fund their third and final season on Seed and Spark dot com. Their campaign wraps up on Valentines day, and I highly recommend checking it out. Links are in the show notes.

Okay, my voice is starting to fade, so let’s do this!

If you like what you hear want to hear more, be sure to follow Writing Alchemy on twitter at Writing underscore Alchemy, hashtag AlchemyCast, on facebook at facebook dot com slash Writing Alchemy, and in the discord and slack community groups, both of which have links to join in the show notes. You can subscribe to this podcast on Google Play, Stitcher, itunes, or by using its rss feed. If you want to help me keep this podcast going, pledge your support on patreon at patreon dot com slash writing alchemy, make a donation through Ko-fi, or buy Writing Alchemy merchandise at our TeePublic store.

[Outro, a calm electronic track, begins playing.]

You can find the show notes, complete with the transcript, collaborator links, and all of the music and sound effect credits, on Writing Alchemy dot net, where you can find all of the Writing Alchemy podcasts, articles, stories, and other content. There you can join the discussion and sign up for the mailing list to receive announcements about new podcasts and projects.

Thank you for listening and please stay tuned for the first game episode of ‘Inside the First Responders Training Program!

[Music continues for about half a minute, then stops.]

 

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