“To save another soul is to save your own. To save only yourself is to save no one.” - Joan, Heavenly Saint of the Spire
“Hmm… where did she run off to?”
Ryk paced the main street to look for his lord, who he had lost sight of as the crowd went back about their daily business. Or perhaps she had gotten lost as she was prone to. Regardless, he had an idea of where she was headed. She was probably on her way to to her favorite local tavern.
He looked for the side street that would lead to the tavern, but as it’s been a while since he himself had visited, he was having trouble finding it. The hustle and bustle of the main street didn’t help either.
“Excuse me, sir, would you know where I can find The Joyous Lion?” Ryk asked a merchant selling odd colored apples. The man was gruff, and didn’t look all too friendly. But regardless, he huffed and pointed towards a nearby side street.
“Many thanks, my friend,” replied Ryk with a smile, before tossing the merchant a silver alm, the coin of the Kingdom of Nyla, for the man’s troubles. The merchant picked up two apples and lobbed them at Ryk, who caught them with ease.
As Ryk took a closer look at the apples. It was strange. The apples had a soft gradient of a light red to an aqua blue, complimented with a soft purple in between. He glanced back at the merchant, searching for any clue if it was safe to eat. The merchant didn’t respond with words, only nodding his head in affirmation.
Well, can’t be all that bad. Right? Ryk took a bite out of one apple, and quickly his mouth was filled with the soft flesh of the fruit. The taste was sweet and succulent, like one had mixed a blueberry and an apple together. To Ryk’s palette, it was simply extraordinary.
I’m sure Lady Lucile would like to try these, he thought.
He fished out a ten more silver alms out of his pouch and handed them to the merchant. The merchant caught the coin and examined it closely before stowing away. He produced a parchment bag from beneath his stall and quickly wrote some words on the outside. He then began to fill it with the strange yet delicious fruit until it was just half full, around 20 apples, before handing it over to Ryk. Upon closer inspection of the merchant’s hasty writing, the name of the fruit became clear, Sussesblau Apples.
Strange name, he’d never heard of such a fruit before. Was it foreign? Khordunic, perhaps? he thought. Regardless, he had a bag half full of the fruit now. He thanked the merchant, before heading off in the direction he was directed towards, all whilst munching on one of these Sussesblaus.
However, as he kept walking, a soft voice called to him. He swung his head around, looking for the source of the voice. But he found none.
“…here…” a gentle voice spoke. It was a voice that for as long as he could remember, would call out to him when something troublesome was happening nearby..
“…here…” it repeated. Ryk never knew when the voice would call to him, but when it did, he knew that he ought to heed its words. Was it his subconscious telling him of imminent danger? He knew not what it was, but knew that it was always right.
Ryk turned into an alley that the voice directed him into. It was one of the many side alleys of the city, though this was in more disrepair than normal. The air was musky and the ground was littered with small pieces of trash. It was quiet, save for the occasional cat or dog. The light did not reach the ground, as the buildings around were too tall and prevented the natural light from reaching the road.
He drew his sword, walking slowly through the alley, prepared for any danger. Though Saint-Lusan was a fairly safe city, every city had their seedy parts. He constantly glanced in all directions, staying observant in case of any danger.
“*sob*” A quiet voice was sobbing in the alley, calling out for a mother and father. Ryk sprinted over to the cries.
Was there someone in danger? Someone hurt?
No. Instead, he found someone. A child, who looked no more than ten years of age, with long black hair that touched the ground on which the child sat.
“Are you alright? I’m a knight in service to Lady Lucile of House Allard.” He pointed to the crest on his person as he knelt down. He fished out one of the apples he had just bought and offered it to the child.
The child looked up at Ryk, tears streaming down their face, with a perplexed expression.
“I can help you-” he began to continue, but stopped as the child stood up, and spread out dazzlingly beautiful white feathered wings from their back.
The child was a Qualim, and they were far from home.