Context & Construct

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I visited with my sister this weekend and we spoke about my trilogy.  She has a masters degree in creative writing.  She has tried to read my trilogy but states all the other authors and editors do not write the way I write.  That you must hook people quickly into your story.  I understand completely her viewpoint, this is what the majority opinion is.  But I have to ask a simple question.  How creative is this? If we all march to beat of the same drums, aren’t we just robots catering to the machine?  Do you ever feel like you are reading the same story over and over again, with just a few new character names and locales?  Don’t you know what sex is by now?  How many ways can you spin eroticism and vampires?  I’m not knocking these authors or readers, but don’t you want a change of pace?

I am a CPA.  I am analytical, linear and logical.  I have done computer programming which must be controlled by logic with “”If this, then this, else this” type construct.  I literally despise stories without context and logical construction.  I have heard people say,

“I want a quick and fun read.  I do not wish to think.”

If this is true then my stories will not appeal to you.  If you like books like the The Shack or the Life of Pi, then you are seeking a book with a deeper meaning of life and spirituality.  Yes, it has to be entertaining, but don’t you want the ground work established first?  Here is how I constructed my trilogy based on my love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful and mesmerizing world of Arda and Middle Earth.

Book 1 – Rise of the Fallen, Chapters 1-9 are the history of the universe and Allivar.  Think of the Silmarillion in a compressed form.  A mythology must have an origin narrative. There must be a narrative on the source of evil and the history to create the myths of immortals and heroic mortals. These chapters establish the construction of all that follows and provides subtle clues to the surprising ending of the story.  If you rush through this, you will definitely miss the point of the story.  Sorry, I didn’t spend ten years just to have battle scenes, sex and a pointless battle over a throne.  My story is much deeper than this.

Chapters 10-16 begins the story of the hero in the dawning of the seventh age of Allivar.   Like the Fellowship of the Ring there is the bonding of characters of various races on a journey the Chosen One was selected for, which is to determine if mortals are worthy of life.  If you wish, just jump to Chapter 10 and begin there.  Then maybe one day you will want to go back and have context of the origin of my mythology.

Now this book cannot be more exciting than book two, nor can book two be more exciting than book three.  There must be a crescendo of action and emotions.

Book 2 Bound to Forbidden Lands ratchets the excitement after all the ground work was established in book one.  The Two Towers gave readers the thought that all would be lost, but that the faith in men would rise to counter the acts of evil.   We were left begging for the conclusion with the Return of the King.

Book two introduces romance and the continued rise of evil, an epic coliseum battle, fighting with dark demons and a journey through lands, guarded by dragons and watchers, the hero has been told to avoid.  But he has no other option.  The ending of the story must compel you to read the third story, so it has a cliff hanger unlike any you will ever read. He lives!

Book 3 – Last Stand of the Living is the culmination of the entire mythology with the greatest mythological battle ever to be written, where the fate of the universe will be decided, and where mortal and immortal alike come to battle. Here you will finally understand all that was written in the first nine chapters of book one.  I recall the Return of The King’s influence on the ratcheting of the battle scenes and emotions with the arrival of the Rohirrim and the eventual defeat of Sauron.  Readers who have taken the challenge to read my trilogy are utterly exhausted emotionally in this third story.  For the creator of the universe makes his stand with the seven mortal races.

I can guarantee you this much; you will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer.  You may even contemplate life as we know it, for it is allegorical to our times.

But I am not done with you yet.  Forthcoming are the Chronicles of Allivar, sixteen stories, equally as intriguing as the trilogy. It introduces a parallel journey of the Armies of Light and the heroes of the six ages.  Here the compressed history is expanded, laying a blueprint for the construct of an equally exciting series.

You see, I have constructed a mythology using a linear approach from origin to the end of time, with proper context so that you don’t end the series wondering what happened to certain characters who dropped out.

You have a choice. Follow the cookie-cutter formulaic stories and construct that the masters and literary gods tell us that must exist, or take a chance on something new, independent, original, and frankly – creative.

My final point is this.  Many people take life way too seriously.  They seek affirmation from others of their worthiness in this lifetime.  They wish to dominate life by determining who is allowed to participate in the private clubs of industry and intellectual institutions.  They control who will be successful and who will not, through regulation, etc.  The publishing industry loves to bully, yes I wrote bully, to tell you another person’s attempt at writing is garbage because they weren’t involved in the editing, distribution and profit-sharing aspects of your creativity.  They belittle every person or story that reaches success independently.  I do not like erotica, but I applaud E.L. James for dispensing, once and for all, that only the publishing Gods know what stories will interest you.

Self-publishing has provided an opportunity for those of us who love to tell stories, even with grammatical errors, to remain independent and reap the potential success of our own risk. This was once referred to as entrepreneurship, not vanity publishing.  Vanity should be described as the envy of others who have not found a way to piggy-back on your imagination.

In the end, it is you the reader who independently defines what stories are good or not.  I am going to keep writing because one day I can tell them to my grandchildren.  Like Tolkien, these are the stories I want to read, but are not being produced by the publishing Gods.  I hope one day you will find my stories appealing enough to tell to your children and others.

To my sister, I have to say this, do not waste another second of your life looking for the accolades and affirmation of others.  Their aim is profit-motivated and honestly, quite vain.  The only one responsible for your happiness is you.  Life is risk and by not taking any risk, for the fear of the opinion of others, including your own family, is not living.  Stephen King said it best in his story, The Shawshank Redemption:

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Hawaii Bound Via a 2007 GMC Yukon

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Today, I started a Facebook post to see if anyone truly reads my posts, including this one.  I’ve been writing humor posts for over two years now and I am beginning to think no one likes my sense of humor.  Well, that’s tough! Because I have to write, even if it kills me like eventually getting to Hawaii.  Let me set the stage.

I posted that after 30 years of saving for Hawaii my wife and I now have enough to afford the cardboard box we said we would live in if we could just get there.  One of my loyal reading friends chimed in immediately:

“Get a duplex cardboard box and I’ll move with you!”

Now cardboard walls are very thin, so I asked if she snored and could afford the $10 per month rent fee.

She said cardboard box rentals should be no more than $1 per month.  It’s all professional beach bums and bimbos could afford. (As an author you have to embellish the story). I stated there was a $9 carrying charge included in the rent.  This covers me carrying the duplex to the next location so we don’t get detected, evicted and deported back to Okalahomala.  She said she’d settle for $5.  I accepted, and told her I would have gone as low as $two-fiddy.  But, I am an accountant, bean counter, shell counter or whatever you wish to call me. Haggling Hamish is my middle name.

Now her mother chimed in and said if she could take her whole family she’d do it in a heartbeat.  I replied that I was moving to get away from family.  She thought that was horrible of me and said she had to be near her family.  So I researched the actual distance from Oklahoma City to Honolulu.  Turns out it is 3,742 miles.  For me, that’s close enough to maintain a healthy family relationship.

Then as I read on, the distance is 4,802 miles by car.  BY CAR?!  I KID YOU NOT.  Look here:

Distance to Hawaii (Internet Site)

What kind of car can make it to Hawaii from Oklahoma?  I have a 2007 GMC Yukon, which I am sure cannot withstand ten thousand foot deep water or millions of pounds of pressure per square inch.  And why 1,100 extra miles?  Is there a construction detour at the Marianna Trench?  But hey, “adventure” is my middle name (Carlos Danger was already taken), so if they have a map, I’m game.  And it only takes 15 days.

To fund my relocation efforts I need to crowd fund my trip.  So I got one friend to invest a dime, then later a quarter he found in the bottom of his kitty litter box (embellished for sensory stimulation).  Great!  Now all I need is just 10,000,000,000,000,000.50 more friends crowding me with a quarter.  You will help right?

Crossing the Pacific in my GMC Yukon brings up a thought for an excellent story, “Life of EW”

“I was stranded in the middle of the pacific on a floating GMC Yukon. In the backseat, I discovered a blood thirsty Golden Retriever and Tammy Francis the stowaway. We sacrificed Tammy to the Golden and gave thanks to Poseidon. After many days adrift, we landed on Maui with nothing more than a duplex cardboard box. Much to my surprise Andy Wilson was already there, half snockered from Mai Tai’s. As I pulled myself from the sands, Andy asked, ‘Where did you come from stranger?’ 

I looked at him incredulously.  “Okalahomala you fool! Can’t ye tell by me furrin accent?  Ye ain’t stoopid are ye?” Then the Golden, who never obeyed and never retrieved a single thing since we rescued her, walked away into the jungle . 

Excerpt from “Life of EW” You’d buy it, right? It’s engrossing and grossly grossing at the same time, overly ripe for a major motion picture by Ang Lee.

Well, that’s all the brilliant humor I can muster for this day, unless someone has the mileage to Mars via a 1942 Studebaker.  But being the brilliant enterprising fellow that I am; I am loading my duplex, my tartan, some fresh haggis and a hammock just in case.  Because my other middle name is “Famous Hamish” and being the hottie scottie of the Hawaiian highlands is my game.  Besides, I can’t wait to tell the stories of me holding my large Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. (It’s a fish folks – a fish!)

Now please reply, or click “like”, so that I know I am not alone on my journey to get to Hawaii and form a cardboard condominium complicated complex community.

Keep Laughing my friends!

Faith

Unseen

Since late 2011, I have been promoting my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar.  The story is a mythology which requires creation, life and end of times.  I’ve sold quite a few, but reviews and ratings have been very, very difficult to receive.  I’ve been told it is very good, but apparently posting a review is too difficult.  I have restrained myself from marketing it as a faith based story, because too many would never read it.  Chapter one in Rise of the Fallen starts out very similar to Genesis.  The tale of the fallen Charafuse (Angels) is very similar to that of the Satan story, and there are many inferences to stories in the Bible.  I did this for a marketing purpose, to bring familiarity to my story of the three Abrahamic religions of which there are more than a billion potential readers, nothing more.  What may appear as a religious story, is not. Here is a definition of religion:

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality.

Since we live in a period of history where mythologies, even with the slightest hint of a creator, is deemed religious by the secular society, I will then market the trilogy and the upcoming 16 chronicles stories as a series of stories of faith, hope and spirituality.  In the end, the story is about mankind’s ability to be proper stewards and provides thought on immortal life.  It revolves around free will, family, spouse, children, races, and even the animals.

In the year 1999, I was challenged by a friend to write a story centered around a creator as the source of good, rather than the benign references in many stories.  Stars Wars has the “Force”, Lord of the Rings had the power of the elves given to them by Eru (The One), and Narnia has Aslan the Lion who is a representation of Jesus.  Robert Jordan, the author of The Wheel of Time has a creation story very similar to Christianity. George RR Martin refers to the old and new gods.  Gods lay down laws and the expectations of their creations.

In the end, the story is one about faith in something greater than ourselves and how one man is chosen to deliver the enslaved and a message to all of the living. The words Chosen One, do not refer to Christ.  Christ was God incarnate.  My hero is a mere mortal, asked to rise to the greatest challenge of all – to unite the seven divided races and stand against evil, before there is nothing left but death, darkness and eternal silence.

You will notice many inferences to other mythologies such as King Arthur and that created by Tolkien.  You will see the influence of Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.  In its simplest of form it is derived from this popular quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It is spiritual, highly emotional and so very human of a story.  It is allegorical, it has meaning and a moral behind it.  Will we the living finally become the stewards we were meant to be?  This is the question and should challenge all those who have faith and hope that there is greatness in and after life.

So now I submit to all those who love stories of faith, whether it be Life of Pi, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wheel of Time, or another story I have not yet read – take a chance on a timeless story of good and evil and faith in things unseen. I am not asking you to convert to anything, follow me, or start a cult, but to enjoy a story – that’s all.  I promise you will be crying and cheering at the same time.

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A Review of Les Miserables

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I have seen two movie versions of Les Miserables.  One with Liam Neeson and the other with Hugh Jackman.  Both versions provide a moving story based on the book, which I have yet to read. The most recent one, a musical, I have to admit annoyed me at times with the constant singing instead of some normal dialogue.  However, what I enjoyed immensely about the musical, more than the movie, is the ending.

In this day and age people vilify anything associated with God and Faith.  I am a man of faith.  I am just not a man of religious institutions. My relationship with my maker is a direct and private one.  I want my daily walk and talk to be the testimony of my faith.  To do all that I can while living to help those around me and to reach for self perfection, of which, I’ll never obtain.  I recently watched and was equally moved with Life of Pi.  I hope more stories with spiritual themes are made.  These are the ones I enjoy immensely.

I took this snippet from Wikipedia, which explains Hugo’s structure of the story.

The book which the reader has before him at this moment is, from one end to the other, in its entirety and details … a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.

One of the most powerful statements in the lyrics to the songs was contained in the finale.

To love another person is to see the face of god.

I was deeply moved with the ending scene of Valjean passing on to be with the dead and just, and to stand united as one.  In the movie with Liam Neeson, Cosette merely fled to London, and Valjean walked away.  I assume because those involved with that version would rather leave out the reference to redemption and salvation.  Because of that exclusion, I prefer the musical version.  Anne Hathaway’s singing of I dreamed a dream as the character Fantine is obviously a tear-jerker. Hugh Jackman gave a much more emotional touch to Valjean’s character, than did Liam Neeson.  I was also touched by the character of  Éponine, excluded from the Neeson version. I will at some point in the very near future find time to read the book and catch all that Hugo embedded into the story.  I still struggle understanding Javert, but I prefer Geoffrey Rush’s acting over Russell Crowe’s.

In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, the story is primarily concerned with evil, redemption and resurrection. Although completely fictional, set in an epic high fantasy, the story confronts the basic themes of the human struggle. There is no reference to any organized religion or Jesus Christ.  In my story, Glyneth, the mother of Terrian and Telluria, had been a prostitute and was judged harshly by her son Terrian.  In the final battle, Glyneth stands with her son and daughter, knowing death is upon them all, she makes the following statement to him and he discovers his mother had not given his sister over to prostitution,

“I know you do not understand that. Sometimes mothers have to do the unspeakable for their children. I wish I had other choices. Please accept me now, for I offer my body a second time with the hope that through some wonder you both can live.”

She kissed her son and turned to the direction the enemy would appear. Deep inside Terrian finally understood the sacrifice of dignity his mother had made for him and his sister. He forgave her and begged the Lord to forgive her as well.

Here, a mother is willing to sacrifice not only once, but twice, for she so loved her children more than herself. Here, the meaning of loving another allows us to see the face of God rings powerful. There is also another section where a mother sacrifices in a different and even more heart-wrenching manner. How my story ends should be equally as touching for a  reader. Many of the classic stories in history have a basic theme of justice, sacrifice and redemption. We may not understand the ways of our maker, but we learn that it is only our maker who knows the soul and can grant redemption.

Les Miserables will forever be etched into my mind as one the greatest stories of history past, present and future.  If you enjoyed Les Miserables, give my trilogy a try and stay loyal to the very end.  Do not prejudge it, it may pleasantly surprise you.

Why You Should Read My Trilogy – Spoiler Alert

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I just finished watching the Life of Pi and was moved deeply by the story. I have the book on my Kindle, but can’t seem to find the time to sit and read as I fulfill my professional duties and the little time remaining to writing.  The story to me is an exploration in faith, not necessarily about religion.  One can have a belief in a creator and not have a religion.  In my trilogy, the Kassaran race, which I relate to those of Asian races, practice the Jita, a form of spiritual meditation.  All the races on Allivar believe in the one creator, The Unseen, but how they practice their faith differs.

Since its release in late 2011, my mythological trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, has slowly garnered reader attention.  Many books have a prologue meant to entice a reader at the very beginning.  I chose not to include this, but an author’s note instead.  By including a prologue, the secrets embedded in the story are given up.  For those readers who cannot wait for the conclusion, I give it you now:

“The Lord of All has heard your cries. He has brought all the powers of the heavens against his foes. Witness them now and rejoice. The Lord has come to stand for you and you shall doubt no more.”

This pronouncement is given by the hero Arimar who appears when hope is all but lost.  He arrives at a pivotal moment with the armies of the seven mortal races and the armies of the ethereal world – the Armies of Light.  They converge upon the forces of evil. Here, the creator, The Unseen, The Lord of Light and Life, also engages in the decisive battle against evil.  Let me detail the themes of this epic adventure story for you to decide if the $2.99 price per eBook is worth your time.

Faith and History

This is a story about faith in something greater than oneself.  If you have no interest in such stories, thanks for reading this far. The first nine chapters of book one are devoted to the establishment of a mythical universe and the fall of immortals on nine of the ten heavenly worlds created.  This also chronicles the rise of evil through a condensed history, so that the real story can then begin. I often refer to these chapters as my “Silmarillion”, or J.R.R. Tolkien’s origin story.  Where did everything come from? How did we get to this point in the hero’s journey?  Context to me is very important in any story I read.

These first few chapters involve the origin of moral behavior and the concept that even the creator had to determine if life itself was worthy.  Those who are of one of the three religions of Abraham will definitely see many similarities.  But it is not a story of Christianity, Judaism or Islam. If you believe a story involving faith cannot be exciting or deeply moving, like the Life of Pi, then I hope to prove you wrong. In the end, I place myself into the mind of the mythical creator which provides a viewpoint I have never read. Therefore the story is unique and original.  However, I am not pushing any religion with all their rules and institutions, just the concepts of morality, mortality and immortality.

Free Will

The story revolves around the theme of free will and the consequences of our actions. Therefore it is also a thinking readers story.  If you like stories that are entertaining and philosophical in nature, you may truly enjoy this journey.  I did not write the story to question anyone’s beliefs or values.

Action, Battles and War

As the Lord of the Rings became progressively more exciting, so does my trilogy. Book one has action, but is mostly character and plot development. Book two ratchets the action and introduces more characters. Book three involves the greatest battle scene you may ever read, with continuing twist and turns.  Readers who have dared to complete the trilogy stated they were exhausted emotionally, as was my intent. As the excerpt above states “you shall doubt no more.” It is also a story on the futility of war.

Death and Resurrection

Like the Game of Thrones, I spare no character.  The story is about life, death and what might be a purpose of an afterlife.  I will say no more on this, because the ending would truly be ruined.  As Gandalf is brought back to life by the Valar to finish his task, so are characters in my story.  Death and resurrection are key themes to an epic hero’s story that evoke our deepest emotions. So if you feel the word resurrection applies only to Christian stories, do not read the story.

Emotional Attachment

I purposely set out to make a reader cry numerous times.  I do this by creating an emotional attachment to one or more characters, no matter your age. There is one character who I put more effort in than any other, Bothar, a gentle giant who has child-like thinking and mannerisms, and knows nothing more than wanting to be good and help. He is the representation of the best ideals of mankind.  I freely admit to crying while watching the Life of Pi.  It is story that will stay with me forever.  It is my hope this one will also make that mark on the reader.

Humanity

This a story regarding life as we know it, complete with hatreds and prejudices. It is story of racial reconciliation and living together as one human family.  It is often said that we don’t know what we had until it is gone.  This applies not only to family, but the loss of paradise.  In places, the story line is brutally honest.  We cannot hide from the ugliness of life, all we can do is to stand against it and support one another.

Family

It is a story with a major theme of family, not just our immediate family members, but of the entire human family which we take for granted. Allivar means – “The One Family.”

Monsters and Demons

The book involves the interaction between the forces of good and evil.  Therefore, central to the heroic tale is the battle with seemingly superior forces of evil’s creation or as a result of punishment by the Unseen.  As with any mythology there must be a narrative on the origin of the demons and monsters.

Love and Romance

Love is depicted throughout this story.  The main romance between Arimar and Elissia is a unique one that I hope both men and women can appreciate, for it involves an altruistic love.  At the center of Arimar’s love is his faith which guides him to the completion of the task given to him by the creator.  He must sacrifice his love for Elissia until he has completed his task.  Elissia too has to sacrifice her love for Arimar.

Conflict

Whether it is the conflict between the creator and the immortals, or the conflict of love over duty, or the conflict over our relationships with one another, conflict is a major theme of the story.  How do the characters overcome their weaknesses and rise to heroic feats?

Sacrifice

All great heroes or heroines sacrifice their own needs for a greater good.  In the end, they are usually rewarded or they carry a great burden. What will Arimar’s fate be?

Justice, Forgiveness and Redemption

It is a story that ends with justice and forgiveness of many characters actions who hold on to the smallest of their faith.

Surprises

I love reading books where I can say, “Wow, I never saw that coming.”  I can promise you this much, you may spend a lifetime tracing the clues I embedded.  I spent 10 years in the writing of this story, all 273,000 words of it, attempting to provide meaning or purpose for almost every sentence.

A Unique and Conclusive Ending

I do not like stories that leave me hanging.  I wanted a conclusive ending with very little questions unanswered.  Because it is constructed as a mythology, it has the elements of mortal creation, history, and end of times. What sets my story apart is the message given by the creator to the world of the living.

There you have it.  A story constructed around the basic themes present in all great epic adventures.  If you are looking for something new, give my stories a try. If you have questions before or after the story, contact me.

The trilogy is constructed so that future stories are not necessary for their enjoyment. If you like them and want more, just know the Chronicles Series is what awaits you next.  Sixteen stories to chronicle the condensed history of the nine fallen worlds and six for the ages of Allivar.  The final book, The Age of Light, will chronicle the behind the scenes story of the gathering of the seven armies and the armies of light as they appear in the final battle.

So if you enjoy the world of Middle-earth, mythology, and an exploration of faith such as the Life of Pi, you should give my trilogy a try.

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The Meaning of Life

The Thinker

Often in my 53 years of life I have pondered the meaning of life.  I’ve researched the topic, read the bible and other non-canonical works, and I continue to research other points of view.  I will continue to read other works of faith and spirituality.  Today I saw the movie trailer for the Life of Pi and then researched about the story and the author Yann Martel. On Wikipedia I read this:

In a 2002 interview with PBS, Martel revealed his inspiration for his novel, “I was sort of looking for a story, not only with a small ‘s’ but sort of with a capital ‘S’ – something that would direct my life.” He spoke of being lonely and needing direction in his life. The novel became that direction and purpose for his life.

I will read this book and watch this movie, because this is what interests me at this stage of my life. I admit that I too look for direction and purpose in life.  I am a person of faith, but one that does not believe in everything a religious institution tells me to believe. My faith is my own, I will not will it upon others, although I love a lively debate. We each can interpret religious text to our own needs if we choose, which is my belief that such choice was the gift of free will by our creator.  We are given this freedom of choice, but we are not free of the consequences.  Many of our moral and ethical beliefs are derived from thousands of years of religious beliefs.  We have the ten commandments and the three major religions from the line of Abraham. Do not kill and treat others as you would have them treat you seems a simple instruction. Yet we have so much sorrow and despair over the argument of faith.  Is it due to an invisible interference that creates woe?  Is there a literal war taking place in the ethereal world?  Many believe so, some believe it is pure myth.  If such things do not exist and we are no more than an intelligent animal, why then do we not just simply take what we want without worry of our own death?

There is very little description of heaven.  Dante provided a startling description of hell, but what about heaven?  We look into the night skies and ponder the powerful forces that created it and that which holds it together, and we call them the heavens.  What is our purpose in death and in an afterlife?

If you enjoy this realm of thinking, then I believe my trilogy – The Chosen One of Allivar, and the upcoming chronicles will give you thought in the form of a fantasy adventure mythology.  Mythologies revolve around a very simple story line: Creation, life, and end of times. In this mythology, I created the very questions I have and then attempted to answer my own questions.  Life is a test and we cannot pass the test until we understand its meaning. Is mankind doomed to constant failures of this test and when, if ever, we will stand together as one to pass this test?

I look forward to a civil and robust discussion on the source of your beliefs.  We have much to learn from each other, if we respect each others beliefs. In my mythical creation, Allivar means “The One Family”, and I sincerely believe my creator desires us to act as one.  The hero, Arimar, is the chosen one, but why was he chosen and chosen for what?  Surely you must want to know.