A blog within a blog. That is the question I know you are asking yourself. Ah, this blog is special. This blog has the ability to change lives.
I had the privilege to be invited to write a piece for a wonderful charity to help the Philippines. All proceeds go to Gawad Kalinga to support the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Here is my piece. Inspired by Requiem for a Queen - M² feat. Dina Fanai [M² consists of Michael A. Levine & Man Parrish] Please go to the sidebar in the link above and listen to the gorgeous music as you read.
Check out the album Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines on both itunes and amazon.
The queen was dead, and the kingdom sorrowed. The cortege carried her supine body through the city. The opulent litter bore a circular crest on the heavy red and white silk. Filaments of gold thread flickered through the Renata with each unified step of her bearers.
Mourners lined the streets to witness the queen’s final journey. They held out their hands and released the peace lilies to the wind as she passed. The flowers fell like the tears flowing from their cheeks. The sign of respect embodied a silent prayer. It held their hope.
The procession grew as the citizens followed the bearers through the city gates toward their final destination. The ceremonial robes, alternating in red and white, swished a path through the pine needles strewing the forest trail. Their cowls hung low over their faces to hide their identities. They were but servants now, their profession or station in life did not matter as they as they bore their queen. This was their last service to honor the fallen monarch.
Gold and copper clouds streaked the grey-blue sky as they exited the forest. The first stars twinkled as the sun vanished at the horizon’s edge. Night would soon be upon them. They did not worry. A beacon in the distance guided the way.
It dominated the area with its ancient majesty even in the deepening dark. Two massive stone pillars bore the weight of a colossal oval stone half-buried in a thick layer of soil and grass. The megalith jutted like a blade from the solid ground, clean from erosion. Atop it, four women waited beside an unlit pyre.
The citizens halted, spreading out in a half circle. Their hearts pounded. They remained motionless to watch, to wait, to hope. Expectant silence filled the air.
The cortege continued toward the megalith, breaking away from those who would bear witness until they reached the torches that lit the intricate path. They followed the labyrinthine track as ceremony dictated. It ended at the incline’s onset. There they halted.
A fifth woman materialized from the shadows underneath the stone’s overhang. She bore marks of a long life upon her face and body, but her powerful presence flooded the area. Long orange-red feathers flowed out like a cascading waterfall from the back of her headdress. They glistened in the torchlight. She passed the litter and motioned them to follow.
The full moon cut the eastern horizon. Its light poured over the land, painting it pale white-blue. Shadows retreated and deepened as it rose higher in the sky.
The bearers placed the litter upon the waist high pyre, took a step back, and genuflected before retreating down the path to join the others watching in the distance.
The woman took her place at the queen’s head, facing the rising moon. Utter silence pervaded. The world stilled as if it knew what was to come. Soon it would begin.
Her eyes closed and she took a breath, raising her hands to hover over the queen. The other women followed suit.
Then the chant began. First, her voice alone echoed over the hushed world. The other four joined the woman and their words rang out in melodious cadence. Their voices rose as they swayed to the rhythm.
The woman broke off from the chant to plead for their prayers to be heard.
As if in answer, a slight creak sounded before a flame flicker licked the wood. A spark flew into the sky followed by a second and then a third. Before long, a plethora shot forth like an arrow shaft, stretching far above the land.
The moon rose to its zenith above the women. Their arms flew high.
White-gold fire erupted in reaction. Translucent flames encompassed the litter. The fiery sphere raged as the chanting continued and the old woman’s pleas turned rapturous.
The fire exploded out in an orbicular wave, backlashing into an incandescent pillar. It blazed forth in a swirling mass toward the moon.
A hollow avian screech echoed over the land.
The amassed gasped and stared in awe as a blood red bird shadow spread like smoke across the face of the moon; the Renata spread its wings wide as its head reared in triumph.
The woman gazed down at the untouched litter. The body of the queen was no more.
Movement. A whimper muffled by heavy cloth. A frustrated whine followed.
Tears of gratitude and thanks glistened in her eyes as she moved the cloth aside. Wrapping the precious bundle into the cloth, she raised it to the fading shadow upon the moon.
The baby’s cries resonated over the land.
The new queen had arisen from the ashes of the old. Renata blessed them once more.