The ride on the hippocampi proved smoother than Kianika anticipated. The water felt no heavier than air to her skin, and even though she had breathed all her life, the lack of movement in her chest felt normal. They traveled for some distance at a gallop, and it seemed like all the other aquatic life parted way for their procession. After a while, they started to trot, and Kianika could see a looming structure near.

As they got closer, she saw a beautiful display, more vibrant than any garden celebrated in Matoria. The sides of the gothic structure were of coral, the flying buttresses allowed a playground for tropical fish to dart around, and the entire thing shared the same glow as the woman of the waves. The organisms seemed to come in every color: pink, green, orange, blue and the texture gave the palace a unique feel. It would have appeared dull had not the corral been so lively. Two Tritons stood on either side of the door as guards. They eyed Kianika, hovering for a long while on her legs, her own eyes hung on the apex of their chests and tails.

“Fear not Kianika,” the woman chimed in her mind as they dismounted. Kianika waited for her to continue, to explain why she need not fear but no other words followed. As soon as they were in the front door, the woman led her to a room to the side, one with two other women waiting. These women seemed less comfortable in the water than the woman of the waves, but they shared a strong family resemblance. In fact, the only difference was the coloring of hair, one silver and purple and the other a mahogany at the roots that faded into emerald near the tips.

The door shut after Kianika entered the room, and the interior water started to drain. Immediately the woman with purple and silver hair flew up into the open space, turning into wisps of light gray smoke. The woman of the waves made her way over to what appeared to be an ornate bathtub, the size of a small swimming pool, and the third woman seemed to be growing roots into the floor. Leaves covered her upper body, but her lower body looked as solid as a trunk. The water left the room entirely, and Kianika took the first real breath she had since stepping off submergence bluff.

“Welcome,” said the woman of the waves, perched above a wave so she could look down at Kianika, “My name is Procella, and these are my sisters Terra and Anima. This,” Procella opened up her arms, “is my home.”

Introductions finished, Anima busied herself with soaring back and forth in the air as if a restless captive, but Terra looked long at Kianika before speaking. “I am Terra, the eldest sister and we are the Queens of the Elementals, the daughters of Gia. Tasked as the vessels of power for the four foundational elements of this world.” Kianika nodded, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. “We brought you here because our sister, Ustrina is held captive within this ocean.”

“But if you control the ocean,” asked Kianika, “can not you get her back yourselves?” The three queens shook their heads and sighed.

“No, our adversary chose his location wisely. Though all four of us can survive in the other elements, we are much weaker than when we are in our domain. Thus Anima and I are little use to Procella down here.”

“But Procella could take her horses, and those guards, and get your sister back.”

“I think it is important that you understand the entire story of our advisory, this isn’t the first time we have been in battle with him. He holds a power against Procella we never anticipated. You may be the only person to return fire to your land. Thus attend to our tale.”

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