She heard Varlum's reply, and instantly found herself in his arms, her head against his chest. She squeezed him with all her might, which really wasn't much, but it was everything she had to give. In a bare whisper against his skin, tears of her mixed, conflicting emotions streaming down her face and onto him, "I'm sorry."
There was so much guilt on her shoulders. She'd sacrificed their bond together, and would do so again for the same reasons. But still, she knew that her disappearance, her death, had hurt him. She knew the pain of seeing a loved one die. And she'd willingly inflicted on him.
Yet, she was here. Had her sacrifice been for naught? Was it futile? Not enough? She looked around, not seeing Vri, not seeing The One who judged her. Just the companions, the audience of her judgement. It was all so... strange. Why was she here?
She looked up at him, smiling through her tears, "I love you too."
At his joke, she laughed, wiping away her tears, "I'm never leaving you again."
She rested her head against his chest once more, enjoying his strength and warmth. Then, she remembered the others around them. She let him go, but stayed close.
She looked over at the first that spoke. Some man with a mask for a face. She had no idea who he was. But he seemed to know about her fiery powers. She reached out for her Corona ability, to jest back at him. Nothing happened. A confused look crossed her face. She held her hands up, trying to conjure a flame in her fingers, waving them all about. Nothing. Her hand went to the back of her neck. It felt... normal. Her mark to Faldrun was gone.
Her eyes grew wide at this.
She was free. Free from her mission given by the Lord of Sirothelle. Free from his grasp. What... what did that mean? What would she do now? Her surprised look softened to a smile, one painted on in the moment, for this masked man. "I seem to have lost my fire, no need to worry."
Her eyes cast toward Eliza and her smile grew more genuine. She stepped toward the woman, pulling her into a tight hug. There were no words there. Just gratitude and relief. Her companions had made it through, her sacrifice must have done something for them. They'd done it. They must have. And she couldn't have been more proud.
She let Eliza go, turning to yet another unfamiliar face. These must've been other people in the Waiting Place from the beginning. But where were all the others? And this long haired man knew her name. She smiled at him, "Thank you."
And then there was Hart.
The man who was supposedly responsible for everything that had happened. Who had caused this catastrophe on the world. Every bad thing that came from this was his fault, without a shadow of a doubt. She looked at him, her face impassive. He sounded so relieved. He was rambling. She stepped closer to him as he babbled like a fool. She looked him in the eyes, making sure that he had her full attention before she spoke.
"It's alright now. Everything is good again."
Then she broke into a grin and pulled him into a hug as well. She gave him an extra squeeze on the end of it, she knew he needed it. There was so much guilt on his shoulders as well. And she could feel... something from his heart. A pang there. That was strange. How could she feel that? How did she know that it was from his heart? She listened to it. She could hear its beating. And not just Hart's. She could hear every heart around her. And she knew whose was whose. Eliza's soft and caring, Varlum's powerful and loud, the Masked Man's whimsical and mysterious, the long haired man's calm and pensive. Every heart was heard by her. Not by her ears, but something deeper inside.
She looked at Varlum at Hart's question, "I think we'll return to Rharne. And you, all of you, are more than welcome to join us. I think we have... much to discuss."
Soon, Varlum's heartbeat was beginning to drown out the others, and she walked back over to him. She touched her long fingers to his chest, just over his heart. There was... something welling up within her own heart. It yearned for his. There was... something tangible there. A physical bond she could feel between their hearts. And she could feel that bond wishing to show itself to the world.
She looked up at Varlum, and spoke on the instinct of this power welling up within her, "Varlum Onarmus. Will you accept my heart?"
She didn't know why she had asked this, but she knew it felt right, felt true. And she needed him to consent. And if he did, the Trueheart mark would appear upon the skin of his chest, just over his heart, making him the first person to be marked by her.