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The Service's Singer

Abdul Bin Alim (He/Him)

The Songs of Wartime

"And to end today's ceremony of remembrance, I would like to leave a few words for our old friend, a true ally for Citizen, Soldier, Sailor, Aviator and Marine alike. I am, of course, referring to the great Abdul Bin Alim, who, in the midst of our darkest hours, kept the spirits of all of us high and bright, with his words and songs, and his acts of kindness and generosity."
— Field Marshal Franz K. Lange.
    Abdul Bin Alim was a famous Battezian Singer and Songwriter whose musical and performing career kicked off during the 3rd Great War. He gained the unofficial title of "The Service's Singer", both for the music he produced, a great deal of which was aimed at service members and others during wartime, and for his previous career in the United Commonwealth Army, as a soldier in the 3rd Kalasil Grenadiers.   He became well known for his mass concerts and performances to thousands of service members of the United Commonwealth Armed Forces, including visiting them in active combat theaters, as well engaging with individual troops themselves, such as with his many visits to Military Hospitals.      

Personal History


In his younger years, Abdul, despite his future musical talent, was not known to have shown a great deal of interest in the musical arts. He was said to be a studious individual to the various adults in his life, generally fulfilling all the academic expectations placed on him by parents and teachers alike.   Still, there lay something rather different beneath that prim and proper surface. Known only to his friends, he had a personal appreciation for a special kind of joke, which would be expressed in such incidences as "The Principal's gonna need one serious car-wash", and "The Chemistry Lab's on Fire!"   These episodes were largely rare, though, and Abdul would still manage to keep himself in check for the most part. At the age of 19, he found himself a chance to enrol into the prestigious University of Umaz, where he hoped to study Chemistry, a subject he enjoyed despite his little accident in school.   However, his plans for a calmer, quieter young adulthood were put in danger by the outbreak of the 1st Great War, in the year 162. All of a sudden, the decades of peace that the 12 Worlds had experienced was brought to a screeching halt, and in the Battezian Empire, as well as the rest of the United Commonwealth, there came a great on rush of Idealism and a willingness to defeat the Ocrisian Empire and its allies who now faced the United Commonwealth, in the name of freedom and liberty.   Abdul, like millions of young people his age or older, was caught in that fervour, and the sight of his friends charging towards recruitment offices, and a desire to show his Father he had what it took to be an adult, he signed on as well, though with a slight discomfort in his gut.   In what felt like no time at all to the future singer, Abdul was enlisted, completed his basic training, and was quickly assigned to the 3rd Kalasil Grenadiers, the same unit his own father had fought in decades before. Now, he would have a few days of leave, before he would be shipped off to the front line. He would spend these days bidding his last farewells to his parents, visiting his old teachers, and attempting to, in his future words, "drink in every bit of my young life, to ensure that whatever happened out there, I would not forget it all."      

A War Story


Abdul's first foray into the fire of war would be in the rubble and ruin of the city of Xinjing, the capital of the Empire of Ning, a close ally of the Ocrisian Empire. He was sent into that once great metropolis alongside tens of thousands of others on the 9th of June, 163, as part of Operation Long Star, and the next 6 months of his life would be spent in that human hell. Years later, he would recall that "The first day I was deployed in that ruined city, I nearly had my head blown off by a sharpshooter. And that was the best day of the whole damned War!"   This deadly hellscape, which was said to have a daily United Commonwealth casualty rate in the thousands, would also be the place where the young and shell shocked Abdul would be introduced to the musical arts. In those days, the Army had not payed as much attention to that particular facet of morale, but upon hearing of the appalling conditions and general sense of despair and hopelessness among its troops, they decided to take the then unprecedented step to allow musicians from the various ceremonial Corp Bands and private performers to be sent to visit troops on the frontlines. This decision would lead to one glorious night, which would forever change Abdul's life.      

The Night Of Music

On that night, A Company, the 3rd Kalasil, was sent further into the outskirts of the main city to lick its wounds from the last week of bloodletting. Abdul said he felt "broken on the inside" by that point, "and if I could go to sleep, and never wake up again, I would have." However, he would not get to lay down quite yet, as he and his comrades were subsequently ordered to gather themselves in an abandoned field before dinner. There, they saw a makeshift stage had been set up, and a rows of chairs had been arrayed in front of it. The soldiers all sat down, and on stage appeared 5 young people, dressed in some strange mash up of civilian clothing and military utilities. The group introduced themselves as the music group "Long Lost Paradise", hailing from the Battezid Empire, and a small roar of appreciation rose from the gathered soldiers at the mention of their homeland they longed to see again, a roar which grew as some soldiers recognised the band from their "civvie" days back home.   The band smiled and waved at their audience, most about as young as they were. The leader of the band, Ms. Leyla Aydin, walked to the front of the stage, and said:
Well, it's my absolute honour to be in front of all of you here today. All of you have sacrificed so much more than we could know over these past few months, and me and my friends here just want to let all you know that we, and the folks back home, appreciate all your work!   We know that you've lost so, so much these past months, and have gone though more suffering than anyone ever should. So, today, me and my crew wanna try our best to show our appreciation, and maybe ease that burden you're all carrying.   With that said, I hope you enjoy what we have in store for you all!
  According to Abdul,
"The next hour and a half was a blissful haze of song and laughter. Eventually, I recalled listening to the bands early hits before the war, and they certainly didn't get worse! Those old tunes had me singing like a little bird, and bit by bit I could feel weeks and months of stress built up just...evaporate off my back. For the first time in 3 and a half months, from the day I stepped foot in that ruined hellscape to that cloud covered yet starry night, I smiled... I smiled!
That single performance, for all its suddenness and lack of dressing up, would leave a deep impact on Abdul. After that hour and a half, he would realise the power of music, something he'd only shown mild interest in before. He saw, and heard, the effect that performance had on him and his fellow soldiers, how it lifted the weight off their shoulders and granted them a peace from the storm that they sorely needed. And in that realisation, he knew one thing:   He was going to heal other people, like he'd been healed himself. And he was going to do it through song and music.    

Best Foot in the Door


After the war, Abdul, alongside many others, was demobilised and allowed to return to civilian life. He ended up with the usual veteran's benefits, and a spot on the reserve list, but otherwise his formal and official time in the Military was over.   However, he still intended on keeping that promise of his. Abdul decided that the best way to get himself a crash course into the musical arts was by tracking down and looking into that same brand that changed his life: Long Lost Paradise. Fortunately, he was able to ask his old commander to help him track them down via official Army paperwork, and after a few weeks, he found himself standing outside a slightly run down warehouse off a winding side road in the city of Ghazicesme, the capital of the Battezid Empire.   That warehouse was the new home of L.L.P. Times had apparently been tough for the band after the War, and they'd been forced to settle for less glamorous work just to stay afloat. Still, they greeted Abdul warmly, after getting over their surprise at seeing him again. Leyla asked Abdul why he decided to "pay a bunch of starving artists a visit", and was stunned when he responded that he wanted to join their ill fated group.   Abdul had to put in a fair bit of effort to make the band come around to his admittance to the group, especially with Mr. Alfonso Candreva, Leyla's co-leader. However, on the basis that he would only be tutored in music making, and not actually allowed to make anything, he would have to help the Band with their more chore-like work, and that he would not actually be paid much for anything he did anyways, he was let onto the team.      

The Start of a Career


Abdul's first few weeks on the job, despite his low station, were actually rather enjoyable. He'd managed to take the load off the rest of the team, and was actually helpful in using his old Army connections to score the Band a few larger shows. In return, he was eventually given the chance to participate in the actual creative process of Long Lost Paradise.   It turned out that the same mind that had been so creative at coming up with practical jokes on adults in his youth was similarly skilled at the fine art of songwriting. At first limited to merely helping out a little bit with already written songs, he would be encouraged by the rest of the band to start helping out with the writing behind the scenes, where he would be working with all 5 of them to create what would become some of the best hits the Band had ever made.   He also apparently was a good singer. Despite one or two embarrassing incidences in his youth making him heavily doubt his talent in that, the Band assured him that his voice was actually above average, and with some training, they'd want him on stage as soon as they could manage. And they would be right, as shown when he first worked up the confidence necessary to go up in front of an audience for the first time, in the first particularly big event Long Lost Paradise had gotten in a while.   At that concert, in front of over 300 people, Abdul would make his debut into the world of Singing and performing. He wowed the crowd, singing out the same words he had written with the help of the very same people who now stood behind him and blasted their music before an adoring audience. He loved every second he spent on that stage, and when the show was over he repeatedly thanked the audience as they were leaving, as well as his fellow band members, and his own Parents, who had finally decided to see him and his new job.      

The Worlds Set Ablaze Again

However, just as the Band was setting itself on the path to success, and Abdul was embracing his newfound life, the peace was shattered mere years from the end of the last Great War, by the outbreak of the 2nd, a conflict that would become every bit as horrifying, murderous, and destructive as the 1st. This War would be against the People's Republic of Griffmark, a nation born out of a military coup that plunged it into autocracy and the oppressive rule of a new unelected government, and the allies that sought to back this pariah state up.   This time, Abdul was absolutely resolved to try and heal and ease the pain and trauma that he knew that the new force of Servicemembers would feel as they embarked on this fresh War. Hence, while calling back the memories of what occurred that faithful day outside that ruined city, he was able to unanimously convince his new found family to go once again to the Military and offer their services.   This time, the Armed Forces would be far better prepared to meet the need for relief and entertainment of those in Service. The Directorate General of Defence, in charge of all military matters in the United Commonwealth, created the brand new Association of Military Performers, in order to collectively administrate and control the large number of official performing artists it knew it would have to in time of crisis.   It was to this new organisation that Long Lost Paradise petitioned to join, and after finding out that they had existing experience in working with the Armed Forces, and that one of their number was a Veteran, the Director of the Association, Brigadier General Kanya Ubon, was more than happy to sign them on.   And with that, Abdul would get his chance, to bravely reach out to those under great stress and hardship, and do his best to lighten that load. And, he would have new friends to help him on that grand quest.      

Songs, And Their Reception


The songs created by Mr Abdul, during his time working for the Association of Military Performers during the 2nd and 3rd Great Wars were famed for their inspiring and uplifing nature. Tunes like "Generation Sunrise", and "A Cool Night In Agia" would become near instant classics, bolstered by the fact that even with a few odd references to specific places, these songs had a feeling of "commonality", which allowed people haling from every corner of the United Commonwealth to appreciate their sentiments.   The first public performance of his career with A.M.P. took place outside the Army base of Fort Kottai, Republic of Aumha, on the 3rd of March 169 A.S. There, a crowd of some 250 people had gathered, the weary veterans of the past months of fighting on the Alphanian continent. Many of these soldiers had suffered unimaginable hardship during those months, but in future statements many claimed that they felt more calm and serenity in that short concert than they had felt from much else since they had last plunged into battle.   This concert would mark the beginning of a lauded and successful career stretching over the next 12 years, the vast majority of it spent working under the A.M.P. His songs, of course, would also be broadcast on the civilian and commercial networks, where they would gain an even greater following among a populace tired and weary from the years of war, and in need of some form of emotional relief.   Eventually, he would produce, or help to produce, over a dozen tunes over the course of his career with the Armed Forces and the A.M.P., most of which would become near instant classics, still loved many years after the Wars themselves would end. These songs, and the official physical copies of them, are some of the most sought after pieces of art in the United Commonwealth, and are symbols of the sheer cultural and personal impact they had on millions of people across the U.C., helping and healing them, in their darkest hours.
Current Status
In retirement, and mostly focused on philantrophic pursuits
Children
Presented Sex
Male

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Comments

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E. Christopher Clark
1 Feb, 2022 01:46

I know you said on Discord that it's incomplete, but it's definitely headed in the right direction. Lots of great details in here, and I love the idea of a military veteran becoming a performer and doing all he can to heal the hearts and minds of those who fight for their country.

Check out my pledge for Summer Camp 2022
2 Feb, 2022 04:48

Looking good so far Arch! I like the introduction of him progressing to school and deciding a job to then ending up in the army.

2 Feb, 2022 13:12

Nice read! You have a pretty neat concept with singing for the morale of the troops and who would know it better than someone who participated himself.

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
16 Feb, 2022 22:25

I am here for a revisit of your article now as requested :) I can't remember what had been changed in comparison to the previous time I saw it but I must say you have a very nice writing style! I also get a good sense of your character and what drives him to do what he does. Well done!

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
2 Feb, 2022 16:07

I love where you're at with this so far! There's a great start that introduces us to Abdul and what he's like currently (with a great quote!), and I love the details going through his life as well. I'm interested to see where it goes once he ships off to war, after having an early life of academia and some pranks, haha. I'm assuming that at some point during the war is when he first starts making music?   He's a very likeable character, and I love songs for morale and inspiration :)


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
~
Come explore my competition entry, River Artazia
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
7 Feb, 2022 21:25

Oh I like that he's from the military and mainly performing for them! Remind me of WWI stuff. What's missing now is how he started practising music and writing song while in the army, and what brought him to do that first concert :p I'm also curious about the style of music he uses and the topic of his songs. Did he ever regretted enlisted? Grew disillusioned with the war and his country? Or on the contrary did he kept persuaded that it was a noble cause? And does he have any plans for after the war?

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
10 Feb, 2022 17:13

A lovely start to it, I look forward to seeing how it grows. One of the things I am really enjoying from reading other people's works is when there is humour in them, and your 'Personal History' section made me laugh. It's probably not pertinent to the bard competition, but I'd love to know if there were any consequences from these 'jokes'?


I've written my first challenge entry => #BardChallenge <=, any feedback welcome :)
11 Feb, 2022 03:16

Interesting character. I definitely want to see how he went from being a soldier to a performer, especially since he wasn't one before.

Hello!
11 Feb, 2022 13:18

'The day I nearly got killed was the best day' eeeeesh. Sounds like a fun war (not), glad he managed to mentally survive and even help others do the same in the second war.

11 Feb, 2022 13:46

I'd be interested to hear how Abdul views the wars now that he's lived through two of them! He seems quiet and not really political, but I do wonder if he's grown cynical about the situation.

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
12 Feb, 2022 13:54

I only can say what my fellow Anvilities are saying. I like Abdul to the point he reminds me of several people in my own stories (not as a singer in the military though) and I have to say, his way from the (probably decorated?) soldier into this fine small ensemble to the war singer is par excellence.   You might want to do a spellcheck, but this is critique on a whole other level. Well done, Arch, well done. :)

You want to hear the voice of fire? I got you covered with my actual entry to the bard challenge: Amara Silverharp.
13 Feb, 2022 20:43

You have written beautifully about a compelling character here. As a veteran the fact that he wanted to help others who had shared his experience is something that resonated with me.   The Great Wars you mention some somewhat akin to WWI&II which makes me think your timeline maybe could use some tinkering, and possibly that your main world date could use some updating as in the side bar Abdul is listed as both retired and 37. That and not knowing the scale of said wars made the timeline of having 3 of them in essentially 20 years or less seem a bit quick. Perhaps the wars could be (or are) expanded upon in another article?

A new Challenge! Every Bard needs a tavern, and while Lone Gull may not be the resident entertainment, he did train the bard of Hell's Half-Acre.
20 Feb, 2022 23:12

Thank you! Hearing that you, as a Veteran, thought my portrayal of one was not absolutely terrible means a lot to me, and of course I appreciate all the rest of what you've said.   About the retired part, it's both somewhat inaccurate I admit, and also has to do with me kinda setting the World Date a litte wrongly. And for the matter of the Wars, yes I do fully intend on writing a pretty large amount of stuff about them in great detail, but with regards to the time, yes it's 3 in roughly 20 years. The part about them being "Great Wars" has to do mostly with the United Commonwealth having to fight all 3 of them simultaneously, across multiple Worlds, against multiple fairly powerful nations. The reasoning for why there were so many, so quickly, is a fairly complicated one, but I hope I'll be able to do it all justice.   Once again, thank you for your comment! I hope you enjoy any other stuff I make as much as this.

13 Feb, 2022 20:52

Hm. Honestly, I like the story. That someone who just wanted to live a normal life is forced into war to live up to expectations and almost breaks from it before being healed by music. And then does everything he can to give that back, to help others, eventually does.   And you think you can't have emotion, but this is exactly what emotion is. And it's strong. As I said, I enjoyed reading it. Of course I would have liked to know more about the character, to have had more accompanying information, of course it could have been described more vividly to make it even easier to empathise, but the most important thing an article about a bard can have was there: emotion. So: Don't always be so self-critical, you can do that too. And you are and remain inspiring, even if you don't like to hear it ;).

14 Feb, 2022 18:04

By the goddesses! This was a very well-written and interesting article! I loved how many details you managed to put into this article, and you really made him feel alive. I agree fully to what other people here are commenting! And I loved his development you hear about in this article!! I know your inspiration were Vera Lynn and a few other performers during wartimes, but I did not feel like Abdul was a copy of any of these performers. You made him unique and interesting, and you should really be proud of this article! There's a few typos in the article, and that's the only thing I feel like I can point out to make your article better :D

Check out my river challenge entry: The Flooded Scars
15 Feb, 2022 22:48

What an interesting character. I love that he was shaped by the horrors of war and found a new life through music, and is using that to help others going through the same.