Only one temple remained. The elemental anchors they had worked so hard to protect or restore had been shattered in each of the previous three temples. Now, just like the first time, only the underwater Temple of Dusea was still tethering Serinor to its location in the universe. The trick, of course, was to find the place.
“That fairy magic lets us breathe water, right?” Butch asked.
“Only around the temple.”
“So how do we know if we’re in the right place or not?”
“We can breathe the water around the temple.”
“What happens if you’re wrong about where we be?”
Aerin shrugged. “I’d imagine we’d choke and drown.”
Butch nodded and looked at Fuerte. “Your dog likes to swim, right?”
Fuerte scowled at Butch and hugged his dog. “You’re not using Chance to see if we’ll drown.”
“Since we left Dravia," Fuerte said. “I tried to count how many times he played it, but I ran out of numbers. It’s really kind of catchy.”
“I remember…” Oren said suddenly, his fingers still playing the Lament of Serinor. His voice seemed more resonant than usual. It was deeper, as if something larger than the tiny fairy were speaking. “I was there when the gods, the true gods, took our creations as their own. I remember fighting them.” His gaze was distant as his eyes narrowed. “I remember losing. They cast us into the deepest abyss of the primordial chaos and locked us there for eternity. To protect their precious dominions from us, that we would not consume them in our endless hunger for raw materials to create.” He turned to the others, who were all staring at him — Aerin with fascination, Butch with trepidation, and Fuerte with confusion. “And now we go to help the chained ones shatter their prison walls and defy the will of the gods.” He shook his head and stopped playing. The song echoed in the air. “I don’t know that I like this idea,” he said in his own voice.
“Rrr…” Butch growled. “A little late to be having second thoughts. Be you hearing the Eldritch One? We already unpinned Serinor. The world be coming undone if we don’t finish now."
“It might still come undone,” Aerin pointed out. “Eldritch has made quite clear that Pious is central to his plans, and we don’t know where Syn is holding him. Besides which, the weakening nature of the abyssal prison is allowing the gods to intervene directly, and who knows how many legions of angels are going to try and stop us?"
“You always be keeping things in perspective for me,” Butch said. Then he dived overboard. He wiped the water from his eyes when he came back to the surface. “Come on in,” he called up. “The water be great.”
“Can you breathe it?” Fuerte asked.
“You didn’t try, did you?” Oren asked as Aerin jumped over the side.
“No,” the kobold admitted.
“What?” Aerin yelped before she splashed down. She came back up with water draining from her nose and jaws. “I’d forgotten how unique an experience breathing water is.”