Shizukera stares at the skull in her hand, hesitant. She doesn’t know what to think or how to feel, so she lets her thoughts swirl about chaotically in her mind. It’s an oddly poetic balance: as chaotic and overcrowded as her mind is, her soul is the opposite, full of nothing but emptiness and a deafening silence.
You shouldn’t have let him go back alone.
She closes her eyes, or would if she still had them; the fel-green glow of her empty sockets fades, and she stares into the darkness. It haunts her – the shudder, the flash of light, the moment when the ship, and with it her love, vanished from existence. She knew immediately, although she did not allow herself to think it until Sraath was dead and everyone was back to safety: Taldarion is dead, and I am still here.
My love is dead.
The emptiness in her soul snaps, giving way to a burst of hard, sharp, white-hot grief. She held back during the escape from the ship and the confrontation with Sraath, but not anymore. Hot, fel-tinged tears slide down her cheeks, and she lets them. It’s brief but cathartic; after a while, she takes a deep breath, tightens her grip on the skull, and goes to Taldarion’s vault. She places the skull carefully on a pedestal that seems made for that purpose; then, after a moment’s thought, she takes her blindfold and lays it next to the skull.
“We did it,” she says. “Sraath is dead. Everyone is safe (except for you, my love). We did it.”
She takes a deep breath, staring at the skull. It stares back, cold and lifeless on the pedestal. It almost seems to be mocking her, and why shouldn’t it? She should have stopped him. Or gone with him. She should have done something.
She turns away, grief and guilt giving way to emptiness once again.
“Now what the fel do I do?”