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.
“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.
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.