The Heavenly City
She smiled and breathed in the cool sunrise mist as the sun's hands attempted to reach over the horizon. The dawn was rising on her last morning as The Protector and the beginning of a new era. Allyn's thousand-year reign had finally come to an end.
She gathered her white gown in her boney hands and ascended the stone steps toward the edge of the cliff. As she walked, she could feel the muscles and bones in her bare feet ache as the jagged stone dug into them. As she reached the edge of the cliff, she tilted her head toward the
City and took in the view. Allyn's days of battle, walking, and living were finally over.
She stared out at the City for just a little while longer. She was miles away, but she could almost smell the sweetness of the baker's bread and the embers of the smith's fire. She would never see her City, her home, ever again, and she wanted to savor every moment of it.
The smile drained from her face as she heard the cries of the distant phoenix. Their song reminded her that she had a decision to make, and she was running out of time. Allyn needed to choose her successor. Behind her stood 12 young women in a single straight line, waiting for her selection. in truth, Allyn made her decision years ago.
Without taking her eyes off of the City, she spoke a single name.
She could hear the gleeful whispers behind her, and she smiled once again. She finally turned to face her proteges. She glanced upon each one. Looking them in the eye. Saying her silent goodbye. Allyn turned her attention toward Elise. Still standing near the edge of the cliff, she recited the five ancient Promises. Her voice booming clearly, even against the mighty wind.
"Elise. It will be your job to protect The Heavenly City from the demons below the clouds. You will serve for a thousand years. You will take no husband, sire no children, and remain faithful to the City and all its people. Do you accept?"
Elise applied her training and kept her face emotionless. She took a powerful step forward, isolating herself from the group, and establishing herself as their new leader. She looked Allyn in the eye and gave her response.
"It would be my honor."
The young women broke rank and huddled around their new Protector with smiles on their faces. Even Elise could not hide her own excitement.
The celebration only lasted a few moments before the women glanced back at Allyn. She was facing the City once again with her ceremonial gown billowing in the morning wind. They knew what would happen next, and tears of sadness formed in their eyes.
The dawn finally broke through the clouds and shined upon the 13 women. With tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, Allyn took one last deep breath before she vanished into the mist.