Friday, December 27, 2013

Composers for Relief: Spes et Libertas

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday week. I took a bit of a hiatus to enjoy family time and get some work done.

As I slip back into things, I wanted to share my entry for Composers for Relief, put together by Samantha Restreake Geary, Peter Ebbinghouse, and others. Composers for Relief is a collaborative effort, first by composers from multiple countries, and then by writers, asked to write pieces full of hope inspired by the gorgeous musical pieces put together by the composers. All proceeds from sales of the album, Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines, and of the upcoming e-book anthology featuring the written pieces (due out in January 2014), will go to Gawad Kalinga (Give Care), a charity supporting the people of the Philippines with food, assistance in rebuilding, and much more.

The piece of music I was moved to write to was Spes et Libertas (Hope and Freedom), composed by Iliya Zaki. You can go to Samantha's blog and look in the right sidebar to listen to the music as you read.

Spes et Libertas


Bezumond struggled against the ropes that bound him, skin tearing as the fibers dug in, tightened. The whip fell upon his back again.


His flesh ruptured, blood flowing down his back in a torrent, but still the whip was brought down upon him, feeding the fight that grew within him.


His people stirred, moved by the stoicism with which he withstood the enemy's torments. They turned against their captors, fought for their lives.


This would be the last time the lash would touch his back, for if his people could rise against this invasion, so too could Bezumond. As the braided leather arced through the air toward the torn flesh of his shoulders, he ripped his hands free of their bonds and grabbed the whip before it could strike him again. He heard the call of his people, scattered voices at first, but they rose even as the fighting continued, swelling together into a roar, a wave of sound that signaled to their enemies that there was no beating down the people of this kingdom.

No, there was no winning against men with souls of flame. No fierce storm, no crashing wave, no possible weapon could equal the power Bezumond's people bore within them.

He joined his men in this fight for their salvation. He met fist with fist, blow with blow, bodies clashing around him.

The man he fought drew a sword. Bezumond was unarmed, but he carried the only weapon he would ever need. Within him was the drive to save his people, the determination to see them through this. He could no more let them down than he could take his own life or the life of his dearest love, she who bore his unborn child within her, waiting on the other side of the gate to be saved. 

He unleashed the power that hungered within him, power that had been subdued by suffering as hope was stripped from him and from his people. The man fell before him, his brethren soon to follow, no match for Bezumond and his men. Where once his men had given up, resolved to die and have done with it, they now held the vision of freedom, and that hope burgeoned within them as they fought back.

The tide had turned.

No more were they overpowered, subjugated. No more were they held beneath the filthy boots of their invaders. A fierce glow overtook the battlefield as the sparks within each of them lit, flared up into the gallant flames they had once been. Their remaining enemies saw this, and fear filled them, took over their beings, for they held no flames within them. They were weak, cowardly, mere shades. Looking back, Bezumond couldn't understand how these gutless marauders had taken control, twisted his people's lives into the hell they'd been living. Not living, no, suffering, tolerating, barely surviving.

No more.

Solomon, his general, came up beside him, an axe at his side, stolen from one of the horde. Out of his chest grew a bright white light, flickering from him, seeming to surround him, to fill him even as it was created inside him. Bezumond knew the same was happening to him, to all of his men. His people, noble and righteous, would once more know peace and contentment, but this time they would be wise, as well.

Even as he thought forward to what they must do, their enemies fell at their feet, dying one by one, slayed by the brave men who stood beside Bezumond, prepared to take back everything that rightfully belonged to them. Theirs was a desire for life that could not be quelled. No one could destroy them now.

Inspired by their victory, but not sated, he and his men marched forward to reclaim what had been stolen. For theirs was a kingdom that would thrive forever, an empire of the soul.

May you find your Muse, as I did above. My thanks to Sam for presenting this opportunity to us.


Rachel said...

All I can really say is wow. Just... wow.

John Wiswell said...

Samantha gathers very talented people! Nice work, Shannon.

Unknown said...

A powerful, driven tale honoring the music & its message--you've captured the intensity perfectly!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Rachel, thank you!

John, thank you. Sam rocks!

Sam, thank you, it was such a great piece of music.

Lisa Shambrook said...

Beautifully powerful and works so well with the striking music!

Yolanda Renée said...

I can only echo the other great words said here! You did a beautiful job - the music and your words - WORK!

Congratulations, great collaboration!

klahanie said...

Hi Shannon,

The ambience captured profoundly. Hope and Freedom, indeed. The tide did turn. And the empire of the soul, like waves of hope, of freedom.

Superb articulation, dear Shannon.

Wishing you a most hopeful, free 2014.


Nick said...

A really intense piece that perfectly captures the spirit of the music. Well done!

Elise Fallson said...

This was so powerful. I felt every smack and cheered internally when Bezumond turned the tide. Great entry, Shannon!

Unknown said...

What a brilliant piece, Shannon! The cadence at the beginning, excellent. Driven and intense, as in the music. A wonderful match. And the writing was excellent. Flowed smoothly with no trips of the tongue, which can be difficult with unusual names. Thank you!

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

Unknown said...

This piece fits perfectly with the music and it's beautifully written. I enjoyed it.

Michelle Wallace said...

Really, really beautiful!
The soul-stirring music and your excellent prose were totally in sync, perfectly paced from beginning to end!
Writer In Transit

Unknown said...

Very powerful and striking. Nicely done.