For the rest of the year, Breely and Jarin saw each other. The men in the barracks knew all about it, but said nothing when Jarin stayed there with Breely. He was almost afraid of how much he was beginning to care for the older boy. He thought about him all the time.
Jarin had become used to Breely leaving to go on missions for the guard, even though it worried him every time. He would sometimes stay away for days at a time, which was not easy for Jarin to deal with.
One day, Breely seemed to be especially worried, so he and Jarin went on a walk. Partway up the road, Breely cut off into the woods, following a trail. They came to a lake, where they decided to rest. Breely sat down, pulling Jarin in close to him.
"The leaders think they may have located the spell books that were stolen from us this spring," he bit his lip, looking down at the grass. Finally, he looked up at Jarin with a worried expression. "I have never been this afraid of a mission. I tell them all the time that it won't do any good for us to go after these men. I mean, it's dark magic we're dealing with and nothing with magic ever ends well," he sighed. "I mean, am I just being cowardly by not wanting to go? I signed up for this."
Jarin smiled at him, trying not to show how worried he really was. "Look, everything should be okay. Here, take this," he removed the necklace Breely had given him months before and handed it to his lover.
Breely shook his head. "I can't take this. It's supposed to protect its possessor, and if they happen to attack here, you might be put in danger," he kissed Jarin on the forehead. "I couldn't bear it if something happened to you. I love you too much," he added the last part quietly, whole-heartedly.
Jarin smiled, with tears in his eyes. "No, I will be fine. Please, just take it with you, since you will be the one in danger." He pressed it firmly into Breely's palm. Closing his hand over it, Jarin kissed him on the lips. "You can give it to me when you get back."
"Okay, if you insist," Breely managed a weak smile.
"Thank you. I love you, and if something happens…" he swallowed the lump in his throat. "…it'll be beyond our control. Try not to worry about it so much," pulling him in for a long kiss, Jarin smiled softly. "I love you so much."
They lay there for a while, watching the stars as they began to appear. Finally, Jarin stood up, pulling Breely with him. "We had better get back."
They spent as much time together as they could, but a week later, Breely had to leave. The last night he was there, Breely took Jarin to the woods, where they camped out, making love in a tent and snuggling from the cold air.
The next morning, Jarin made sure Breely had the necklace, and kissed him goodbye in front of the other soldiers. When they rode away, Jarin felt an ache he had never felt before.
The entire day was like moving through a foggy haze, and Jarin could not concentrate on anything. He had a terrible feeling that things were not going to go well.
Breely studied the map of where they were supposed to find the spell books. It was heavily guarded, but he thought he may have a plan to get into the hold. Discussing his plan with the other soldiers, they agreed to it.
He would enter dressed as one of the guards at the gate, using a uniform he had found lying on the ground. It was a risky plan, but they had to get those spell books back, or Lord Nathaniel's wizard would not have the formula he needed for the spells he needed. Breely, along with the others doing the job did not understand exactly why they were supposed to be doing this. They were only following orders from Lord Nathaniel.
Breely and the other soldier waited until a second set of guards entered the gates, and slipped into their ranks fluidly. Once they were safely inside, they began searching the hold for the spell books.
Breely had always been good at picking locks, so it was not an issue getting into the wizard's study as soon as he had seen the man exit. They found one of the books, but it was not the most crucial one. It would take another tactic to get to the other book, since it was probably locked away somewhere.
The two of them left the room just in time to meet the wizard. He shot a bolt of lightning at Breely, who tossed the book to the other soldier with him. He yelled at the other man to run, kicking the wizard in the stomach. The wizard cursed, angry about being caught off guard. He turned to shoot a bolt at the other soldier, who had the book, and was rewarded with a punch to the mouth.
Breely saw as the other man kicked the window, screaming at Breely to follow him. Breely refused, and was hit with the full force of a lightning bolt. The last words he heard were "he's not the one." He saw Jarin's face flash in his mind, then everything went black.