Jarin led his friends to the thieves' camp, asking if he could speak with Devin. He was told to wait until the older man returned, so he wandered around. Finding Fletcher and Emery, he introduced them to Adriel and Rodney. They talked until they saw four horses approaching. Devin was in the lead, with Kain and two others following closely behind. As soon as they had put their horses up, Jarin caught Devin's attention. He looked genuinely surprised to see the younger man, but smiled at him.
"Hi, Jarin. I didn't expect to see you back so soon," Devin motioned toward his friends. "And who might these fine young men be?"
Jarin smiled. "Devin, these are two of my closest friends, Adriel and Rodney."
Adriel grinned at Devin, shaking his hand firmly. "It's very nice to meet you. I heard of how you took care of Jarin. Thank you, sir."
Devin smiled. "It's a pleasure to meet you, and it is my duty as a human being to help those in need."
Rodney nodded to him shyly. He had never been good at meeting people. "Hi," he said, somewhat awkwardly.
Devin nodded back at him. 'Hi, it's nice meeting you," he turned to Jarin. "I was told you wanted to speak with me?"
Jarin glanced at his friends. "Yes, sir. We all would, actually."
"Okay, why don't we step into my tent? There is plenty of privacy there."
Jarin nodded. "Thank you, Devin," he said following him.
Once they were in to privacy of the tent, Jarin began. "It turns out you were correct about my father. He is definitely meddling in dark magic, but I do not have the faintest idea why. I was wondering if you could help me with that."
Devin sighed, nodding thoughtfully. "Years ago, I sent some of my men to your father's manor to retrieve an object that had been taken from me. He was posing as a noble, and the meeting went just fine. When your father saw the man's son, however, he saw something in him that would be useful to him. He arrested the man, accusing him of stealing from him. While the father was in prison, your father took the young son to his study," he paused, looking at the young noble. "Do you want me to continue?"
Jarin shook his head. "Yes, I want to know. I need to."
Devin studied him. "Alright. Anyway, in his study, your father gave the young boy some candy that made him fall asleep. Your father then placed a magical orb that was filled with an essence that was powerful enough to unleash the demons inside a vial your father had hidden away. He had been planning to use the boy to control and unleash the demons wherever he wanted them. This way, he would have control over who lived or died, and he would be more powerful than anyone in Alertesia."
Jarin gasped. "How do you know all of this?"
Devin smiled at him sadly. "I had a contact inside your father's manor, but he was killed in a battle."
Jarin nodded. "I see. How did they escape?"
"The father was released by my contact, and he and the boy escaped," Devin took a deep breath. "They came back here, and we took him to a trusted physician. He tried to remove the stone, but was unable to. The damage was irreversible."
Adriel was listening intently. "So, what happened to the demon vial?"
"Lord Nathaniel handed it off to a wizard he trusted, and I am fairly certain it was passed on to a sorcerer," Devin ran his hand through his hair. "That is what one of my contacts told me. The only way to stop this is to make sure your father does not ever see...Kain...again, and find the person who has the vial. Once we find it, we can have it dispelled. Finding it has been my primary goal," he paused. "I hope I didn't overload you."
Jarin shook his head. 'You didn't. I would like to help you, in any way possible."
Devin nodded. "Would you like to join us, or is that asking too much?"
Jarin glanced at his friends. "I will have to think about that, but I do not think I trust my father now. We had best be getting back, since my father should be back anytime now."
Devin smiled at him. "Alright. Be careful, though."
"Thanks. You, also," Jarin stood up, shaking Devin's hand. "I will probably see you in a few days."
When they returned to the manor, his father was already home. He did not speak to them, at first, but later called Jarin to his study. The young man was nervous around him now, but went, anyway.
"You called for me," Jarin smiled at his father.
His father glanced at him. "Please, have a seat. I have something to discuss with you."
Jarin sat down, nervously. "What did you need?"
His father was quiet for a moment, then smiled at him. "Jarin, you are at the right age to marry, now. I have already arranged for you to meet her and you will be married by the end of the month."
Jarin's mouth fell open and he stared at his father. "How could you do something like this? I can understand that she's nice, but..."He felt like he was about to faint. Shaking his head, he looked back up at his father.
His father was watching him. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't give her to you? She is very beautiful."
Jarin was finding it difficult to breathe now. Shaking his head, he smiled at his father. "I...I could never give you an heir, because...I would never touch her. It does not matter how beautiful she is," he inhaled a shaky breath. "I am just...not attracted to women." He felt tears stinging the back of his eyes, but refused to let them fall. He stared down at the desk, shocked.
His father nodded slowly, then grabbed his chin and jerked his head up. The sudden movement made Jarin want to throw up, but he remained calm. "So, I was correct about your affair with that young soldier a few years ago. Well, it's about time you got over that, and picked up responsibility. You could learn to like her."
Jarin felt his humiliation turn to rage, and he raised his cold stare to his father. "You can do whatever you want, but you will not get away with killing Breely." He got up on shaky legs and left, despite his father's protests. He was ready to go pack.