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Tyrr—the wyvern.
Solvilde—the basilisk.
Hulda—the tatzelwurm.
Eostrig—the unicorn.
Freydon—the gryphon.
And Velos—the wolf.
The only god not yet captured was Wyrdith, the raptor. God of stories. God of lies. God of fortune and fate.
Serilda’s own patron deity.
“We have to find them first,” she murmured. “We may not know what he’s planning, but we do know it will be awful.”
“I don’t disagree,” said Gild, “but how do you intend to find a god?”
Serilda considered. How had the Erlking found most of the gods? Because she had told him precisely where to find them.
She thought back to the tale she had told of how the gods had created the veil, and where they had retired to once they were finished.354
Wyrdith to the basalt cliffs at the northernmost edges of Tulvask.
“The cliffs,” she said. “Wyrdith will be somewhere near the basalt cliffs to the north.”
Gild’s expression became troubled. “All right, the cliffs. We’ll go north, then.”
She met his gaze. Saw the torment behind his eyes.
“After we go to Adalheid,” she said. “After we free your sister.”
Gild opened his mouth, but hesitated. Then, a sorrowful smile flittered across his face. “Thank you.”
“It isn’t just about freeing her. Or you, for that matter. Wyrdith is only one god, but there are three others currently imprisoned in Adalheid. It certainly seems the Erlking will need all seven to do whatever it is he’s planning. We need to try to free them. Hulda, Tyrr, and Solvilde.”
“The chicken-snake,” Gild said with a shudder. “Maybe we can let Erlkönig keeponegod?”
Serilda rolled her eyes.
“And what if we succeed?” said Gild. “If we free these gods from right under the Erlking’s nose? The hunt will find them again, won’t they? I’m not usually the voice of reason, but they are immortal. The gods couldn’t even keep them locked away. They had to make the veil to contain them, and even that lets them out once a month. It all just feels … so futile.”
“Wait,” said Serilda, standing straighter. She held up a finger, her eyes widening. “You’re right!”
Gild scowled. “That we shouldn’t even bother?”
“Not that. The gods couldn’t contain the dark ones. They made the veil, but it has a weakness … the full moons. And what have the dark ones always wanted, more than anything?”
“To maim and torture innocent mortals until great epic poems are written about their wickedness and recited through the generations?”
“Well, yes,” admitted Serilda. “But more than that, they want freedom. From Verloren. From the veil.” She placed a hand to her throat, sure that she would feel a racing pulse there. But no … nothing fluttered beneath her355skin. “The Erlking told me once that he wants the whole world. That’s what he’s gathering the gods for. He wants to destroy the veil, but he will need all of them to undo the magic.”
“Gods alive,” muttered Gild. “You could be right.”
“With the veil destroyed, they would be masters over the mortal realm.” Serilda tried to picture it. Their cruelty. How they would enslave the mortals, just as they had enslaved the ghosts. She had to stop them. Not just for herself. Not just for her unborn child. But for every innocent human who had no idea of the horrible fate that awaited them should the dark ones succeed. “Gild … we’re the only ones who know about this. What if we’re the only ones who can stop it?”
Gild laughed dryly. “I guess we’d better walk faster, then.”