That night, Jarin couldn't sleep. He had been sad for several hours, for a reason he could not name. He should have been happy, since Breely was coming back the next day, but he was not. Finally, he forced himself to go to sleep.
The next morning, he woke up early, since they would be back by now. He was nervous, waiting to see them. He went down to meet them with Adriel, and his friend seemed nervous, also.
They saw the soldiers ride up on their horses, and Jarin's heart felt like it was being squeezed out of his chest. Two of the soldiers were leading horses, and two more were carrying what looked to be a body. Glancing at Adriel, he ran over to them, and dropped to the ground, unable to breathe. Breely was not with them, and his horse was being led. The ground began spinning, and Jarin felt like he would faint.
He had known something had not been right the night before, though he had not been ready for this. He had a thought that he might have been wrong about his lover being dead, until he saw one of the soldiers talking to Adriel, who sank to his knees, sobbing. The world went black, as he passed out, welcoming the darkness.
Jarin woke up a few hours later in his bed. He wondered what he was doing there, at first, then remembered: Breely's death. He lay there for a moment longer, feeling sick to his stomach. Finally, he uncovered his head slowly. He needed to talk to the soldiers and find out what had happened. He did not understand why Breely had been harmed, when he should have been protected by the necklace.
He opened his eyes to see Adriel sitting in a chair, staring at something in his hands. Realizing it was the necklace, Jarin studied it more closely.
It certainly did not look like it had been through a battle. Frowning, he looked up at his friend's face. What he saw was pain and disbelief. His head going dizzy again, he sat up, knowing he needed to comfort Adriel. Breely had been one of his closest friends.
Forgetting about the necklace and answers, Jarin spoke softly. "Come here."
Adriel lifted his head slowly. He smiled at Jarin, his face clouded in pain. As he moved to sit down, Jarin moved the blankets over. Covering both of them up, Jarin looked at Adriel. Knowing his friend was in as much shock as he himself was, he remained silent. They stayed like this for a while, drawing comfort from each other.
Adriel was the first to recover from the silence. Looking up at Jarin, he handing the necklace to him. "The necklace would have worked, but he stuck it in the spell book before he tossed it to Rodney," Adriel closed his eyes, a single tear running down his face. "He wanted it to get back to you. I guess he felt that was more important than staying alive," Adriel added with a touch of bitterness in his voice.
Jarin hugged his friend, choking back a sob. He could imagine the rest of the story. Breely had probably seen the opportunity for either he or Rodney to get out, and had given that chance to the other man. Though pained at the thought, Jarin could see his lover's logic in the action, and he was a hero for it. He was still wondering why it had been so important to retrieve the spell books that they had cost Breely his life. It didn't make sense to him.
Kissing the necklace, Jarin held it held it close to his heart, rocking softly. Even though he was trying to stay strong, once a tear fell from his eye, he could do nothing to stop them. Shaking with silent sobs, he slipped the necklace on, vowing to never take it off again.
Two days later Breely was buried. Jarin felt like he was walking through a fog during the entire service. None of it felt real to him.
When it came time to lay his lover in the ground, Jarin stared into his face. He looked peaceful, like he was sleeping, and would wake up at any time. Jarin found it strange that he did not feel any emotions, looking at him, as if he couldn't feel at all.
At the end of the service, Jarin found Rodney. The young soldier looked like he was going to be sick, standing silently by the others. When he saw Jarin, he turned his gaze away. Jarin touched his shoulder gently, lifting his head.
"Thank you for taking care of Breely. I know you tried to talk him into leaving with you," Jarin felt tears stinging the back of his eyes, but blinked them back. "I don't blame you at all. You did all you could, and got the spell book out."
Rodney shook his head, swallowing hard. "I should have talked Bree into getting out and abandoning the mission. We could have come back for that. Breely didn't have to..." his voice gave out, as he gasped back a sob. "I'm so sorry, Jarin."
Jarin closed his eyes, tears spilling from his eyes. "No. If Breely was given a task, he would see it done, no matter the cost. Besides that, he probably knew that both of you couldn't get out. He made a split second decision, and we should honor that. There's nothing to blame yourself for," he turned to the soldier standing next to Rodney. "What all happened there?"
The older soldier offered him a weak smile and told him the entire story. After Rodney had jumped out with the book, they had prepared to go back in for Breely, when they had seen a bright flash of power from the window. In the second that they were blinded, Breely's body had been tossed out. He had grabbed the young soldier's body, and they had fought off the soldiers in the way and fled. Once they had gone far enough away, he had lay Breely down. He had checked for any signs of life, trying unsuccessfully to revived him. After that, they had hurried to get back to the castle.
Jarin thanked the soldiers for their efforts, then left. His mind was filled with pain and anger for what that wizard had done.