Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Power of Will - Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines / 50 States of Pray

Over 30 gifted composers hailing from 16 countries collaborated on an inspirational album to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. All profits from the album, and companion e-book, will go to Gawad Kalinga (“give care”), supporting the efforts in distributing food and rebuilding the devastated lives and damaged cities across the Philippines. 

The following short story is part of a writing collaboration organized by Samantha Redstreake Geary (visit her site for details.) 28 writers from across the globe joined her in discovering the stories of triumph lurking in the notes of each track from the album Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines. The final tales will be compiled into a companion ebook anthology for the album, with all proceeds going to Gawad Kalinga.

My chosen track and the source of inspiration for my story is The Power of Will by Ivan Torrent. I suggest you listen to it while you read.

The Power of Will

 “Sterion!” A stranger woman’s voice drummed in my head. My ears still buzzed with the echo of the last energy blasts and subsequent shockwave that had knocked me out. Pain surged in my body and mind. Marble debris stung under my back but the severed bond between my brave family’s vital energy and mine tormented me the most.

They’re dead.

“Sterion, Grand General Adleon and the rest of the High Warriors are dead. You’re the last one!” A silhouette knelt beside me. Her words slurred in a voice too deep to be natural.

I wiped blood and sweat from my eyes. Her features cleared. Scars of fire and previous wounds concealed her age. A red cloak stained in blood and dust concealed her body. I glanced around. My fallen kin covered the Higher Temple terrace. The stench of charred meat choked me.

“The Minaret of Renewal!” I tried to sit but swayed.

She put her arm around my shoulders. “It’s safe.”  She pointed at the magnificent blue tower behind the courtyard wall.

The world had become a smudge of red and ochre as if the sky bled and burned along with the citadel. An ominous silence gripped my heart. “The enemy’s army?”

“Destroyed,” she scanned the surroundings, “but the Devourers of Souls entered the citadel.”

“What?” I looked at the top of the Minaret. “No light comes from the Beacon of Hope!”

 “That’s why the shadows entered. Get up! Your work is not over.” She tried to pull me up. I didn’t move.

We failed. The torment from my severed bond increased. “All High Warriors are gone and I am broken… in more ways than one.”

She straightened and scowled. “Victory is a matter of will and it starts with choice.” 

My grandfather’s last words to the High Warriors! I looked up. The power in her gaze equaled the Chosen One’s. Impossible!  “Who are you?”

“Ariana, but that doesn’t matter. The Beacon—”

Screams rose from the North, wild and shrill.  A dark shadow leapt the last steps onto the marble terrace.

My gun! I lost it!

Ariana took out an energy gun from under her cloak. She blasted the Devourer’s core. It cracked and unraveled in countless bluish wisps of trapped souls that darted to the sky. “They’ve reached the Lower Temple. Will you make Adleon’s death useless or will you make him proud?”

I struggled to my feet, ignoring my pain. It would torment me for a long time. “What do you know—”

Ariana pushed a sheathed sword against my chest plate, nearly sending me down again.

 “Hey, easy now!” My guts twisted when I grabbed the sword. The carvings were unmistakable. “This is the Grand General’s.”

 “Final victory depends on you lighting the Beacon of Hope to destroy the Devourers.”


Civilians fleeing from the shadows flooded the Higher Temple terrace.

She clasped my arm and yelled to the survivors. “Into the sacred courtyard!”

We ran in a tight group. I halted under the arcade. Arianna trotted back. A hundred people crossed the courtyard and crowded against the Minaret wall.

I leaned against a column. “Can’t light the Beacon on my own.”

“Get them to help you!” She pointed at the crowd.

 “It’s not that easy! The Grand General instilled his power into the High Warriors. We lit the Beacon together!” My grip on the sword tightened. “A sword doesn’t make me my grandfather. People need Adleon, the Chosen One!”

“No! People need to believe they are Adleon. Not every hero is chosen. Many volunteer to become one. You lost your family but they still need you to keep fighting. Adleon needs you to live by what he taught you. He believed in you!” She squeezed my hand. “And so do I.”

The passion in her eyes ignited renewed energy in my worn-out body.

“The Devourers!” People screamed at the shadows approaching the arcade, large and dark as their despair.

Ariana and I sprinted to the Minaret. Keeping her back against mine, Ariana gunned the Devourers within range. I faced the survivors.  “People of Theria! Adleon died to protect you by preserving the Minaret of Renewal—”

“The Chosen One is dead!” Some wailed, others shrank against the tower. The nefarious shadows closed in.

Grandfather, if your power resides in me help me to awaken it.

My voice rose over chaos. “We must complete Adleon’s mission! Lighting the Beacon of Hope will save us from our enemies!”

“Without the Chosen One? How?” Someone retorted among the crowd. The Devourers crossed the arcade. Ariana’s energy gun buzzed. Shadows cracked behind me.

“There might not be a Chosen One to make things right for you, but you can choose to be the One!” Conviction overcame my doubts as I spoke. “You don’t choose the obstacles in your life, but how you face them will always be your choice. Make the right one now! Adleon’s unique power came from the certainty that we are more than flesh and bone. There’s courage, determination, and love inside each of us. Allow yourselves to believe victory can be yours! Seize it!”

Electricity coiled up my spine, a sign of many newly awaken energies that met and joined mine. My pain from the severed bond diminished as another bond took place. The Devourers froze a couple yards away. “Today, you are High Warriors! Today, believe in yourselves and in others! Use the power of will and let our enemy feel it!”

“For Theria!” Ariana shouted, raising her fist up.

“For Theria!” Our war cry carried the force of enraged waves, crashing against Devourers front-line.

The synergy spread and expanded stronger than anything I’d seen before. The power Adleon possessed manifested itself in every gleaming eye. The tide of determination was nearly tangible. The Minaret’s top flashed. The Devourers wailed and cracked, unraveling under a silver blaze from above. The Beacon of Hope shone brighter than ever. I grinned. My grandfather was right.

Victory is a matter of will and it starts with choice.

After a lot of hesitation, I decided Mexico would join Mark Koopmans' prompt for a moment of reflection in his 50 States of Pray bloghop. He asked for a moment and about 100 words to share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope or even a regret about the past and/or wish for the future to come.

The following thought, as the previous story, I dedicate to all those who are going through difficult times and can hardly find a reason to celebrate. I dedicate it to those who need a hero in their lives, to those with fears, to those with aches and those in need of change. May you all be blessed.


  1. Thank you Al. Such a wise and beautiful post - which I have come to expect from you. Knowing that it doesn't come easily, and comes at a price. Thank you for who you are.

  2. I like the new version! Even sharper.
    Chose to be a better person.
    Hugs to you, Dragon!

  3. Beautiful Al, just beautiful!

    You've captured the theme of the music and the theme of the Season! Merry Christmas, dear sweet dragon, Merry Christmas!

  4. Wow, that just crackled with energy. Beautifully written piece for the project.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. It is a wondrous thing when we fully embrace the idea that we are in charge. We choose good and bad things. We learn from both choices.

    Merry Christmas Al!!!

  6. No time to read this right now, oh grandson mine, but I will come back and do so. Loved your message at the end.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and definitely healthy New Year. Big hugs.

  7. Lovely!

    Have a Merry Christmas :)

  8. An empowering piece - both the music and the writing. I'll check out it out, the story theme and music both are highly appealing. Excellent selections.

    Merry Christmas Sir :)


  9. I love the story. Everything eventually comes down to choice. We are the sum of our choices and our future selves will be the product of choices we've yet to make. Congrats on the eBook, my friend.

    Al, you're an artist in so many areas. You inspire. You encourage. And you evoke the best from those you meet. It has been a genuine pleasure getting to know you.

  10. Aloha Al,

    First and foremost, my sincere wishes for a blessed Christmas season for you and your family. I hope you also have a Happy New Year - and may all your Dragon-sized dreams come true :)

    Thanks so much for your support of so many worthy causes and being able to support 50 States Of Pray, too:)

    You are a scholar and a gentleman, sir and I tip my cap to you, my friend :)


  11. Christmas wasn't always a good season for me. I like the words of encouragement you've posted. Prayers and good thoughts are sent your way.

  12. Your post is lovely and I'm glad I spent the time on it today. Merry Christmas to you and yours along with my prayers.

  13. My dear friend,

    Superb and the power of will is about choices. Well stated and I was glad you were part of such a worthy cause.

    Your words are wise, Al. Carefully, thoughtfully chosen. I heartily concur with what you note. Immerse and embrace your thoughts of wisdom. Yes, we have choices.

    I hope you had a peaceful Christmas Day I spent the day alone and yet, I'm never really alone.

    Bless you, my friend.

    In peace, hope and goodwill,


  14. I love those inspirational words. They should definitely be in our thoughts as we head into 2014. :-)

  15. WOW., FD,,, your inspirational words just sent shivers throughout my body... They really hit home!

    Thank you,

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I know this year has had many lows for you, but I wish that the coming year the highs soar and the lows get buried deep within the earth only to sprout and create the strongest of trees to grace our lovely earth.

    Sending you lots of holiday hugs!

  16. Your powerful piece embodies a compelling message, Al. You've pulled an amazing story from Ivan's music--I love every word! Happy Holidays, my dragon friend:)

  17. Beautiful, Al. That is a glorious story, full of emotion and energy! I love your inspiring words in "Choose" as well. I need to keep re-reading them.

  18. Choose and will are powerful weapons. Moving story, Al. Keep that beacon of hope lit. :)

  19. I enjoyed the building action in both the song and the story. Mighty words and music.

    The Warrior Muse

  20. 'Choose to do the things that others won't, So you achieve the things that others can't'. That's an awesome quote - did you write it?
    Visiting from Mark's bloghop :)
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

  21. Hi Al - Thank you for enlightening me about the Composers for the Philippines - I'd seen the logo, but hadn't realised the connection .. I enjoyed your choice and then the story line ...

    Your prayer is so right .. we all have choices ... I hope everyone in the world will have peaceful and blessed existences ... Hilary

  22. Thanks for your comments! Sorry I cant reply one by one but I only have the iPad and little online access. My best to all.

  23. Wonderful post, Sir Dragon! So much awesomeness and charity, and seeing as I love composer work, I'll have to check out that album. Loved your fiction and your prayer is spot on! :)

  24. Great story, Al, so exciting - and for such a worthy cause. I'm wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014! :-)

  25. Your dedication and caring shine. Happy New Year to you and all those you care about.

  26. I loved it Dragon. Great story.

  27. Lovely translation of music...really enjoyed this!

  28. Wonderful story, beautiful prayer! Best of the holidays to you!

  29. it was amazing! so good so good!! I felt everything with such an impact and inspiration. be proud! dragon hugs!!!

  30. Thank you for the story, and the music was incredible.

    I hope 2014 is the Year of the Dragon for you!

  31. Lovely, but, of course, I expected no less. Here's to victory!

  32. What an amazing story, Al!
    A toast to the power of will, the gift of choice, and the accompanying victory!
    Happy New Year!

  33. A fine rewrite, Al, and this version has a lot more power and has touched many as evidenced by the comments it's garnered. I also appreciated the quotes that followed the story. Well done.

  34. "Victory is a matter of will and it starts with choice." Perfect quote. I love this spin down the hero's path, a reluctant hero, but a hero, nonetheless. A hero inspires the people and that's exactly what your protagonist did. Wonderful tale, beautiful imagery, and flawless match to the accompanying music. Thank you for a great read, Al, and have a blessed new year.

    M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

  35. Great blog, I have just bookmarked it
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  36. I am so jealous of your many amazing talents! Excellent story. LOVE the meme. You don't mind me stealing it, do you? I love it. I want it poster size!!

    Merry 2014 Father Dragon!!

  37. I'm popping in to wish you a happy, peaceful and productive 2014, Father Dragon.
    Writer In Transit