Crystal stood in a village square. As her back-length blond hair blew behind her, she gazed upon the building in the dead center of the village. The dome shaped structure stood imposingly, even if it was only a single story tall. She felt a lump in her throat, but that was not allowed. There could be no signs of fear, no signs of trepidation. Today was too important.
She took one step forward, and as she did, a tall tan woman followed in stride. Her hair was a deep black, deeper than the night. Her auburn eyes sparkled with excitement, but there was something else there. Is she nervous too? Crystal thought. But why?
The woman turned to Crystal suddenly. “Today’s the day, huh? Are you ready?”
Crystal took a deep breath. “Yes.”
While the village was quiet, Crystal knew it could be much louder. She had seen the square filled with children, vendors, and shouting partiers many times. The square had been so full that you could not even see the mosaic on the ground. Today was different. The mosaic tiles were clear and proud. The design on them, a depiction of a man holding a shining light above his head, seemed to call to her. I’ll make you proud, Avan.
The two women approached a large set of wooden double doors, seated above just a few stone steps. The tall woman moved to the center of the doors, grabbed the large handles, and pushed them open. She moved to the right and stood at attention. With her sparkling white armor and her sword at her side, she looked like a true and proper knight. If only she would actually wear a helmet, Crystal couldn’t help but chide, if only internally.
Crystal took a step into the room. She held her head high, her back straight, and her eyes forward. She had practiced this posture for years. There could be no hitch in her step. Each movement was fluid, calm, and restrained, yet she also moved with an air of power, of poise. Yes, this was her birthright.
As Crystal walked through the doors, she noticed that the marble floors were spotless. The columns on each side of her had been scrubbed clean as well. There were no signs of dust or dirt anywhere. The effort struck her as intimidating. This is all for me. This is all for today. I cannot mess this up.
Crystal walked between the columns through the small antechamber. Another set of doors awaited, and the tall woman stepped up once again. She placed her hands on the dark wood door but hesitated. “Crys, I…” The woman trailed off.
Crystal placed a hand on the woman’s armor-clad shoulder. “It is okay, Violet. I am ready.”
Violet stared at Crystal for a long moment before letting out a deep sigh. “You’re too stubborn, you know that?”
With a smile, Crystal nodded. Violet put her gauntleted hands on the door once again and pushed. Even with Violet’s considerable strength, the doors resisted for a moment. But with a slight grunt of effort, Violet forced the doors open. She stood in the center of the doorway as light flooded in around her. Austere windows framed the large spherical room just past her. In raised seats sat thirteen hoary men and women. They all gazed upon Violet with serious expressions.
Violet stared at each and every member of the council before her, matching eyes with every elder. Then, in a booming voice, she declared, “Announcing the fourth chief of Velestot, Crystal Levin Whit.”