As the story develops, Andac and his friend Valerian see that Natalia's existence has become a life of desperation. For some unknown reason, she has convinced herself that she is worthless and one of the damned. She becomes more and more a fanatic as the years pass, struggling to follow the example of some of the extremists in Africa.
At a later time, having moved to the Holy Land, Natalia becomes involved in the power struggle between the great patriarchs of the Eastern church. She has been in contact with Augustine of Hippo, Pelagius, Rufinus of Aquileia, Paulinus of Nola, Jerome, and the Patriarch of Alexandria.
Andac survives both Natalia and Valerian. It is he who ultimately finds the cause of Natalia's desperation, and he does his best to tell her story in a way that will engender sympathy, while still preserving what he feels is her deserved reputation as a saint.