Chapter 6 Happy Homecomming
The rest of their journey back to Quinetta wasn’t as hard on Ryanne as that first day had been. Shortly after waking that second day, they came upon one of the evacuated Asoonadye settlements. There Ryanne found a pair of shoes more conducive for walking. As the men and Ryanne traveled, they began to form a tight nit bond. Ryanne continued to believed that Tylander suffered from some mental health issues that caused him to believe she was his dead wife. Still, she found herself craving him. The physical need to be near him became more intense with each passing day. Every time she got a whiff of his scent, she felt safe and loved. Ryanne was quickly becoming addicted to that scent and the euphoric feeling that came with it..
Each night Tylander would hold Ryanne in his arms. He would whisper in her ear telling Ryanne stories. Some of these stories were about their life together while others were about his children. He did not make any sexual advances towards her, and aside from several steamy kisses, he was the perfect gentleman. It was becoming difficult for Ryanne to isolate herself emotionally from him. With each day she spent with Tylander, Ryanne was falling more deeply in love with him. She had to keep reminding herself that she wasn’t really his wife. If Ryanne were to go along with Tylander and pretend to be his wife, he would never love her for herself. He would still be in love with his dead wife. She would just be a surrogate. I can’t believe I’m jealous of a dead woman. Ryanne thought to herself as she lay in Tylander’s arms. It was the last night of their journey. She found herself wishing the night would never end and she could stay here with him forever.
* * *
The City of Quinetta was unlike anything Ryanne had ever seen before. Ryanne stood next to Endi atop a hill as they both looked down upon the city for the first time. Quinetta’s city walls were made of solid white marble with veins of gold and silver running through it. Quinetta was comprised of a mixture of man-made structures and tree like buildings. Trees that rivaled skyscrapers back on earth littered the city. They seemed quite the opposite of the man made marble spiral structures that seemed to reach for the sky. At the heart of the city stood what Ryanne could only assume was the palace. It was a mixture of both tree and Marble. It appeared as if the palace had once been made of solid white marble just like the city walls. Then the trees grew and wound around the the structure adding more rooms and towers to an already gigantic building. Ryanne was awed by Quinetta’s beauty, and she wasn’t alone. Endi stood speechless for several minutes as he took everything in.
“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eye’s, I would not have believed that surface dwellers were capable of crafting a city with such beauty.” Endi finally stated.
“So beautiful.” Ryanne agreed.
“I’m glad you like it.” Tylander wrapped his arms around Ryanne from behind. “You can see my home right over there.” Tylander pointed to one of the tree’s. His tree was not quite as large as the other’s. “It’s been in my family for five generations. I can’t wait to show it to you.” Tylander pressed a kiss to the top of Ryanne’s head.
“So are we just going to stare at it?” Junkar asked. “Cause I’m getting a little hungry and my wife is down there waiting for me. Can we get a move on?” The big indigo cat pushed past his companions towards the city. Tylander took Ryanne’s hand and followed Junkar towards Quinetta.
“Is it wise for me to approach your city unannounced?” Endi asks walking along side Tylander and Ryanne. “I have no desire to get killed before I have a chance to speak with your kings.”
“Yeah, you have a point.” Tylander replied. “Why don’t you hang out here until I can speak with King Locktos, Chenji and Thealos so they know what to expect. Then we’ll come back and escort you into the city.” As he spoke, Tylander looked around. “Over that way is the small creek my kids and I like to visit. It’s out of the way. No one should bother you there.” Tylander pointed to a grove of trees. Endi nodded his head before he changed his direction towards the creek. The rest of the group entered the city gates and made their way to the palace. Junkar and Othyos broke away from Tylander and Ryanne to find their kings.
Conscious of her attire (one of Tylander’s shirts as a dress), Ryanne was quite nervous as she was lead into the palace. Tylander had taken them into the palace via a small side door that opened into what looked like an office. Sitting at the only desk in the room was a very tall skinny man with very long white blond hair. “Hi Janos.” Tylander addressed the man.
“Hi Tylander welcome back.” Janos stated before looking up. When he did look up, Janos’ eyes grew wide like he’d seen a ghost. “Oh great Lunester, is that Ryanne?” The tall man asked Tylander. Janos stood up but he looked a little unsteady as he made his way over to Tylander’s wife. “Is it really you, Ryanne?”
“Yes it’s really her, Janos–Lunester gave her back to us.” Tylander smiled as he wraped an arm around Ryanne’s waist.
“Uh No, no I’m not.” Ryanne replied trying to move out of Tylander’s grasp, but she couldn’t budge. “Yes, my name is Ryanne, but I’m not the same Ryanne who was married to Tylander. We share a name. That’s it.” Ryanne stated vehemently. Janos smiled down at her.
“Yep, that’s her alright.” Janos laughed as he patted Tylander on the back before he giving Ryanne a gentle hug. “You have been very missed. Have you told King Locktos yet?” he asked Tylander.
“Not yet. I was hoping you could do me a small favor first.” Tylander motioned to Ryanne. “Could you go to my home and have Surietta pull out one of Ryanne’s old dresses? I don’t think it is appropriate for her to meet the king wearing only my shirt.”
“Certainly,” Janos replied. “I’ll run out right now. Why don’t you two get cleaned up and fed. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Janos took off quickly leaving Tylander and Ryanne in his office.
“Follow me,” Tylander said as he took Ryanne’s hand once again. Ryanne had gotten so used to Tylander taking her hand she didn’t even notice it anymore. He lead her through a bedroom to a rather large bathroom. There Tylander drew her a bath. Thank god indoor plumbing! Ryanne thinks to herself as she watched Tylander add some kind of bath salts to the claw foot bath tub. Once the tub was full, Tylander gave Ryanne a peck on the cheek. “Enjoy your bath. I’ll bring you some towels and your clothes when Janos returns.” Tylander left the bathroom, so Ryanne could bathe while he freshened up in another bathroom.
* * *
The dress that formerly belonged to Tylander’s dead wife, fit Ryanne like it was made for her. It was a dress that any Renaissance Fair wench would have loved to own. It was a deep shade of green with a laced up corset and incredibly delicate belled lace sleeves. It made Ryanne feel like a princess. Shortly after Ryanne finished dressing, Tylander arrived to escort her to the throne room.
Janos was standing just outside the throne room when they arrived. “Go ahead and announce me, Janos, but don’t mention Ryanne yet I’d like to surprise Locktos.” Tylander smiled at the tall skinny man. He smiled back and entered the throne room. When Janos returned he motioned them to enter.
The throne room was ginormous. They could fit my entire apartment in here several times over, Ryanne thought to herself as she looked around the room. On the far end of the room stood a throne or a raised platform. A blond man who was nearly as tall as Tylander and just as wide sat upon the throne. He had his head in his hands like he was trying to compose himself before he had to deal with Tylander.
“King Locktos.” Tylander spoke. The king looked up from his hands. His reaction was very similar to Janos’.
“Ryanne?” He asked standing and moving closer to her and Tylander. “It is you, isn’t it?” He exclaimed placing one hand on her cheek. “It’s been so long.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know you.” Ryanne said as she stepped back from the king and gave him a small curtsy. (She was meeting a king for the first time after all). King Locktos laughed at her gesture.
“Wow, that’s incredible. Did you see that Tylander?” King Locktos’ smile radiated through his whole face. He looked to Tylander briefly before turning back to Ryanne. “When we first met about ten years ago you did that same thing. You called it a curtsy.” The king laughed again. “What’s this about her not remembering me?” he asked.
“Don’t take it personally. She doesn’t remember me either.” Tylander responded. “I’m hoping Yelillya might be able to help her get her memory back. Spending eight years in the afterlife may have wiped out her memory.” Tylander shared.
“Hey guys, I’m standing right here. Can you not talk about me as if I’m not.” Ryanne said getting frustrated with the fact that no one believed her. “And, just for the record. I’m not Tylander’s wife. Yes I share a name with her, but that’s it.” Ryanne was past the point of caring about the fact that she was scolding a king. If someone didn’t start listening to her soon she would go crazy.
Her rant didn’t seem to faze Tylander or the king. They just smiled down at her and kept talking. “I had Janos send for Yelillya a while ago–she should be here shortly.” Tylander told his king.
Just then the door to the throne room opened and Janos announced the High Priestess Yelillya Whiteleaf. The most beautiful woman Ryanne had ever seen entered the room shortly after Janos left. She was very tall for an Arrainanite female nearly 5’9″ with long wavy lavender hair with deep lavender eyes to match. Her skin is as white as snow. She was an ethereal vision, which made Ryanne think of angels from heaven. As she moved across the room she made eye contact with Ryanne. Suddenly the angel that was Yelillya began to cry. “Ryanne,” as she ran toward Ryanne. She wrapped her arms around her long lost friend and began to sob in earnest. “You came back, I can’t believe it.” She sobbed into Ryanne’s neck. “I missed you so much. Thank you Lunester!” Yelillya cried.
It took Ryanne a few minutes before she was able to pry herself out of Yelillya’s arms. “Look, I’m sorry you miss your friend and all, but I’m not her.” Ryanne said gently as Yelillya turned to Tylander confused.
“Oh it’s her alright. She’s lost her memory somehow.” Tylander said to Yelillya. This statement seemed to clear thing up for the priestess. “I was hoping you could help her with her memory while I give my report to the king.”
“Of course, I’ll try,” Yelillya responded looking at King Locktos and giving him a respectful bow. “Come with me Ryanne,” she whispered. Then turning to the King and Tylander as she lead Ryanne away from the throne room, she announced, “We will be in the temple should you need us.”
“You know Yelillya I haven’t lost my memory. I can remember everything about my life before I got here. I’m really not who you all think I am.” Ryanne stated trying to get the priestess to listen to her. Yelillya just smiled and kept walking. She didn’t believe Ryanne either. Is this whole city suffering a shared delusion? Ryanne thought to herself as she followed the High Priestess out of the palace and into the night.