(This is an excerpt from Chapter 9, "The Meaning of Family", from my book that concerns the character "Meri" - Kurietta's younger sister.)
When Meri was younger, she seemed carefree and was quite a flirt and a tease--but underneath that mask, she was shy and uncertain, and she envied her older sister's stronger will and bolder personality. While Kurietta was decisive and determined, Meri had difficulty in making up her mind and she would often end up missing out. Meri kicked herself for a long time over not going with her sister when she left with Grimm Tooth and Mist Runner when they were on their wandering. During the daytime, she seemed restless and bored with things, though at night she would fantasize about the adventures Kurietta was having...and hoping that she was okay. As the time Kurietta was gone lengthened into several turns of the seasons, her family began to worry if they would ever see her again. They had all but given up hope of seeing Kurietta when she returned to the village with Grimm Tooth and Mist Runner. They had not been back long before the storms hit. Then one night a huge flash flood hit and wiped out most of the village, sweeping many away to their deaths in the dark, raging, cold waters (they didn't know at the time that an ice dam in a receding glacier had broken, suddenly releasing a huge lake of ice cold water). Grimm Tooth, Mist Runner and Kurietta helped many people get to higher ground, including Meri and her parents. Meri watched in horror from her vantage point as a submerged chunk of ice struck both Grimm and Kurietta just as he was about to grab her hand after she lost her footing in the current. They searched for days afterwards, finding a few survivors in trees, and the bodies of many who didn't survive. But despite all of their efforts, no sign was ever found of Kurietta. When one evening they heard in the distance the sound of two voices howling mournfully all night, Meri and her parents and their friends all knew there would be no hope of finding Kurietta alive. When Grimm Tooth and Mist Runner came back alone and empty handed with the look of much sorrow in their eyes, the survivors held a memorial service for all those who had perished in "The Night of Tears", which included Kurietta. Meri was never quite the same after that--she became depressed, and over time, grew more despondent. Meri's friends tried to get her interested in several eligible males, and for a time she did try to make things work, but she ended up going from one failed relationship to another. Eventually she became so depressed that she contemplated--and then carried out--the unthinkable. The poison wasn't the quickest and it certainly wasn't the least painful, but the result was predictably and inevitably lethal. Her parents were heartbroken when they found her--they had lost the only two kits they ever had. Elmric and Elretta spent their remaining life wondering why they had to lose that which is the most precious to any parents--their children.
There is a happy ending to Meri's story, actually...but you will have to read the book to find out! ;)