Imric Cort had trouble controlling his urge to shape-shift and lose himself in his magic, and Sarnya was assigned to magically "tether" herself to Imric, creating a deep connection between them that was meant to help control his impulses. She was ultimately killed when Imric lost control of his magic and she refused to break the tether, giving her own life to save his.
When Leofur Rai asked if Sarnya had loved Imric, he initially denied it, saying that she was an analytical and ambitious Druid who was mainly enamored by him in an academic sense. According to him, he was more of a project than a person to her. Later, however, Imric admitted to Leofur that they had wanted to be lovers, but he refused to let it happen in order to help keep Sarnya safe. Once Imric had become confident enough to ask Sarnya if she loved him, she insisted that she did not, and that it was only her interest in finding a solution to Imric's problem that intensified their relationship.
Despite her assurances, Imric knew that there was more to her feelings than that. However, he did not report his concerns to the Druids even though he was worried for Sarnya's safety because he was afraid that if he said anything they would stop her from working with him. As time passed, their relationship strengthened, but Sarnya never suggested that they be anything more than partners, so Imric assumed she had managed to back away from her earlier attachment.
However, one day out in the forests of the Upper Anar, the pair were tethered together as Imric practiced shape-shifting. Sarnya felt that it was safe for Imric to attempt to shape-shift multiple times in rapid succession, and although he had his misgivings, he trusted her judgment over his own and did as she suggested.
The results were disastrous. Imric's hold on his magic broke, and his shape-shifting accelerated to the point where he was unable to stop, and he shape-shifted into a monster and was unable to change back. Despite this, Sarnya refused to break the tether, trying to hold Imric fast and bring him back to himself.
In the end, Imric had to break the tether himself, and he fell unconscious after doing so. When he awoke, he found that he was back to his old self, and there was no sign of the monster he had become. He found Sarnya dead, eyes open and face contorted in horror, leading him to believe that she died with the image of the monster he had become in her mind. Imric would go on never knowing if it was the breaking of the tether that brought him back to his old self, or if it was Sarnya's refusal to let go.
Imric's intense guilt over Sarnya's death prevents him from admitting to and acting on his love for Leofur, at least initially, and he warns her of the dangers of tethering to him despite the fact that they need to do so in order to save Chrysallin Leah from Melis, the Murk Witch. However, they manage to tether successfully, and after saving Chrysallin and returning her to Paranor, they depart from the Druids' Keep to start a new life together.