Nodding and sniffling, Tina silently listened and agreed with a sad smile. "Yes, I understand." She didn't, but at least she felt a little closer. As the pain and mourning passed slowly into acceptance, perhaps she'd be able to look back on it at some point and realise that she was very lucky to have a father willing to lay down his life for the good of his daughter, or else she would be passing through the portal after him today. "Thank you Faith. I'd say you don't understand how much this means to me, but I think with all your divine alliance, I think you really do in some way." Setting her jaw in Faith's eyes and drawing herself up, a genuine smile flashed over her face and stayed this time. "No more burying my head in the sand." Not that there'd actually be any opportunity for it.
"Uhm... yes. Please." Startled but not shaken, she agreed almost immediately. "I think I've got some tools out back that we can use, if you'll give me a moment. I... think I might need to prepare myself as well. When he didn't come home, I knew that he was dead, but they never found a body, even when all of the others were cleared away following the attacks. I'd assumed the worst, that he'd been... I don't even know." The shadow beasts that'd assaulted the islands had been greatly exaggerated to many, some simply to make their survival a tale of ages, while others genuinely seemed to believe that the creatures were twenty feet tall, for whatever reason they wished. She'd feared that they'd eaten her father, or at the very least, torn his body into nothing but bones and shreds, until it became lost in the other debris. "I'll be back shortly, promise!" Lost in thought, she broke the embrace and rushed out of the door,
leaving it hanging open.
"Right," Aeron said after a few moments of awkward silence in Tina's passing. "I, err. There's nothing left for me to say, really. Except thank you, Faith. Thank you for everything you've done, and for what I hope you'll continue to do. Heh. Good luck. Perhaps when we see each-other next, not too soon I hope, I'll be able to find a better way of thanking you fully." Famula's grip on his shoulder remained steady, but that wasn't her focus. The other hand now held her lantern, which was slowly growing brighter and brighter, creating a thick pool of light that slowly seemed to fill the entire house like a fire. It was enough to leave spots in Faith's eyes even after it'd slowly lowered back down to a dull glow, but when it did, Aeron was gone.
"You've proven, once again, that you take your work seriously." The Immortal's tone was as professional as ever, but there was a definite hint of satisfaction settled underneath it, like fresh water under a layer of ice. "Perhaps more seriously than some others to note. One could even go so far as to make a bold claim, that you raise the bar for your fellows, although I would not know who would make such a claim." In her own way, it was a very sincere congratulations. "Accordingly, when I offer you a deepening of our bond, which I already know you will accept, I presume that you will know its proper uses, and its purpose, just as you use the powers I have provided." Letting go of her lantern for a moment, letting it hang in the air suspended by invisible hands, she reached out and lightly brushed Faith's mark with three fingers, sending a sharp tingle through its latticework. The tingling spread up the length of her entire arm and along parts of her chest and back, as the mark itself slowly branched out, claiming more of her body as it did with her soul. Just as it finished, Famula pulled back once more, and that familiar light begun to grow again, this time giving Faith a little more time to shield her eyes in anticipation. "I suspect it will not be long before we meet again. Do not keep me waiting, Faith."
When Tina returned, the Immortal she had never noticed was gone. A few breaks later, digging out on the beach a short walk from Tina's house, they found Aeron's body and together they made a simple coffin for him from the leftover planks originally set out to repair a wagon, and dug his grave there in the sand, with a proper headstone, in a proper burial. His sword, stained copiously with unknown black ooze that could not be truly identified nor wiped away from the blade, was found not far away. Its hilt still bore an old insignia of the Eternal Empire, marked in silver over its steel. When they found it, Tina had something surprising to say, though. "Out of all the things that I still have of his to keep as memorials," she said as she held the sword, "I don't want the one thing he died with." Sliding it into its sheath, she added, "I don't want it to be buried either. He wouldn't want that. Faith... I think you should take this." In this, Tina's stubborn streak shone through; she wouldn't take anything but a 'yes' for an answer, and when pushed, she grinned cheekily and showed off what she had to replace it. Hidden away in her bedroom, next to her bed at all times, a very heavy-looking oak quarterstaff tipped in dull wooden spikes on both ends sat. "I learned it myself, and I hate to brag, but I can hold my own and then some. I'll be fine without it."
"And by the way, erm. I know I've already said it before and all, but... thank you. For everything." When Faith eventually left, Tina's smile went with her.