I refused The Sorrow's offers, thus had to try and kill it. All remaining (*) castoffs walked the lands of madness. [*I am not sure how many have permanently died earlier during the game but probably just the suicidal/martyr woman and may be The First?]
I saw this option as an "all or nothing" gamble and I initially felt like I lost (though not really). I took the risk because I didn't feel like succumbing to a "lesser evil" or "least bad" option (unless absolutely necessary) and I didn't trust in anything or anybody during the game, especially not the words of The Sorrow in this setting (I expected to be "cheated", that most or all other choices will have some unexpected ill side-effects or just outright lead to to a "critical failure" ending like a lost "psychic battle"). The Sorrow suddenly and drastically changed it's behavior (indicating it might felt threatened and tried to pull an "all or nothing gamble" on it's own), so I figured it's time to switch from defense to attack and have a slight chance walking away as Changing God II, so to speak (have everything he had and more) and then use the newfound powers/facilities (something like a more direct access to the Tides) to make things at least as good as The Sorrow's best offer or hopefully even better. And honestly, I also wanted a shot at living out a fantasy of ascending to virtual godhood (not just immortality but some kind and extent of omnipotence), the magnified version of Callistige's dream (but then try to be a true Gold+Blue deity).
Even though I technically double-crossed myself in the expectation of a trap, I think that's what helped me to find an answer to the "what does one life matter?" theme question. Aafter learning the function of the resonance chamber, my goal was to replace the Changing God and walk away immortal with all the other castoffs integrated and the Sorrow neutralized (though I obviously intended to keep this as a secret until the last moment). [Plan B was improvisation for simple survival on any terms, preferably still immortal.]
Now with spoiler-reading, I know that was factually possible. But I think I changed my mind in the last moment because my answer to the theme question was something like this:
"By default, one life is worth nothing, only my life matters everything. Yet my life is still worthless without the others." (read: the other castoffs, the little community, my family so to speak, my kind, my species, my tribe ... hard to find a nice word which fits the meaning of the real life equivalent of this ... which I wasn't even really an integral part of so far, but still... I didn't want to be alone forever, the only immortal on the world with no power to create another or even adapt itself to future other races with new bodies). I am not proud of myself for this (I consider it a weakness) but I admit it (at least in the context of the game
I think that's what really prompted me to refuse the options where "the others" don't walk away as their own persons and free of terror. My selfishness, the fear of being forever alone was the motivation which didn't allow me to kill or assimilate the castoffs. And I didn't want anybody (including myself) to be constantly threatened by The Sorrow. That's why I had to gamble. And honestly, with this view in mind, I won the bet (the castoffs were all granted a long life, even me, even if there was no mention of learning anything more about the Tides after getting rid of The Sorrow).
Rhin was the only thing really *tormenting* me during the game. I realized (and was constantly reminded by many people) that it was questionable to drag her through all kinds of possible dangers and horrors (I tried to avoid violence but not at all costs and didn't even think it's possible to finish the game non-violently [I didn't, I just read it in spoilers after finishing the story]) but I did it anyway. At first this choice was based on the hope (fueled by generic presumptions of games in general: "there is always a happy ending") of finding some relatives or at least figuring out her past (and decide about her future based on that info). Although I also realized she was technically a dead weight (especially in violent combat). Later on (probably while in Miel Avest) I started looking at her like an adopted daughter, so stopped caring if she slows me down or not (and cared even less what others had to say about her place in the party). Yet, when she found a way home, I obviously let her go. And it was nice to see her again at the end.
Callistege was the second most interesting but a very mixed person. I wasn't sure if I liked her but I wanted to put her out of the misery in one way or another (yeah, even if that's a "merciful death with honor" rather than becoming some crazy abomination). At some points I almost started to admire her (even up to the point of wishing for a possible "romance" or something) but she always managed to degrade herself in my eyes in unexpected ways. I was completely puzzled by that mental breakdown kind of "I shßt my panties from the sorrow, I hate you for dragging me into this, but I still adore you and want to hold your hand, please take me with you to the next chamber of horrors, so I can complain about your stupidity and ask for a hazard payment bonus before stabbing you in the back from pure love, or something something... evil?". With that, she managed to loose any admiration I had towards her. I decided to play along and keep up the "I love you too, you are my best friend you f'b|ch" game but only to try and manipulating her into helping me. And I considered my help with her ascension as an oversized payment check for her services (I was fine with it but wasn't truly happy for her, I knew she never really cared for me and now definitely won't start).
Tybir was a useful fool (at least useful early in the game) and I cared about all useful companions, so he lived and even found peace (I don't care if he deserved it but I considered he earned my help, so... that's all).
Matkina started out interesting but became progressively boring and even frustrating by the end. The more I learned about her past and motivations, I cared less to learn more. The more I tried to help with her mental issues, the more impossible it started to seem. (My only motivation to tirelessly try helping her was that I believe I am somewhat like her in my real life, even if that means I should knew she was helpless [or at least I will be unable to figure out the solution because then I wouldn't be "me" in my life...]). It almost felt offending to have the option of making her "the one" (I would rather watch the whole world burn to be honest).
Erritis died. I believed him to be way beyond help and useless, so he didn't happen to be with me in the right moment to get "fixed".
I helped Aligern find his family. I picked and kept Cal around, so I didn't knew him but he was lucky enough not having to be in the active party to advance his quest, so why not...? He thought Changing God owned him something and I guess I was the closest one to repay that debt. + He was funny during the first conversation ("That's exactly the kind of thing HE [CG] would say!"
Piquo -> Order of Truth
sticha -> yummy new home
forman -> suicide adjourned
lost father in the bloom -> escaped
Artaglio -> eaten (I am not proud of that but I considered that as the "lesser evil", since he looked suicidal anyway)
memorialists -> I missed the opportunity to visit the Gate (I was genuinely curious), I figured I shall return after Avest, but...
crazy incestuous space station people -> rescued
fighting robot in the Bloom -> challenged and killed for "sport"
Fifth Eye -> happy ending
Ooom -> ? I think he was OK (didn't get mad at me for being a bad student and presumably survived)