Chapter Twenty-One

Remembrance: written by Kora Knight & Raven Foxx 

"Get off your asses and find my angel!"

SETH
Walking into Jazz’s bedroom, Seth expects to find the angel laying on the bed waiting for him. He frowns, finding the place empty. He looks around irritably. There’s no sign of any presence whatsoever. No cat, no angel, no nothing.

Turning, he stalks back out and dissolves into the shadows, reappearing seconds later in his own bedroom. Empty again! He begins to growl, transporting his seething form back to the torture chamber where he and Anton had watched Zayta have her fun.

Entering, he finds Anton kneeling on the floor beside Zayta’s limp figure chained to the ground. Realization hits him. The cat was gone, the angel nowhere in sight, and Zayta lying on the floor. A roar tears from his throat, sending creatures scurrying to his aide. But the moment they enter the room, they erupt into flames, exploding into dust clouds of ash.

Seth can feel his eyes changing, burning bright in their true demonic nature. The darkness rising inside him erupts, black veins lancing across his flesh. In the recesses of his awareness, he sees Anton flinching to cover Zayta, shielding her with his body as angry flames rush over them. The blaze teats through the room and out into the corridor, catching all on fire that were foolish enough to still be close by.

Panting, he glares down at his son, fangs in full view and dripping with poison deadly to even his children.

 

ANTON
Anton stills over Zayta’s body, unsure if his father is done blowing his gasket. He’d felt the fire scorch the clothes off his back and singe his very skin. Zayta whimpers, parts of her body that he hadn’t been able to protect turning an angry, blistering red.

A small sneer wrenches past his lips as he looks at his father. “Your play toy has escaped.” He motions to Zayta. “He hurt her to do so.”

His father’s eyes flash furiously, his fangs still fully bared. Anton scowls, his pop’s fury goes way beyond the damn angel bolting without his permission. This has to do with daddy-o having feelings for the male. The male that had managed to escape.

Anton curses, his jaw ticking. He knew it, he knew his father was getting soft for something—or rather, someone—he shouldn't be getting soft for. Anton seethes. He is Seth’s son, for fuck’s sake. Does the man show him any kind of affection? No. Instead he captures a fucking angel and gives the feather head more attention than Anton has ever gotten in his whole life.

The bastard.

 

SETH
Reeling, Seth aches to deliver a swift kick into Anton's ribs. “I want to know how this happened,” he growls, “and I want to know now.” He narrows his eyes when Anton merely glares back at him. “Get off your lazy ass and go find him!” he bellows. “See if he's still anywhere to be found. Because if he’s not,” he snarls, “then someone has helped him and opened a portal.” He glowers down at the two of them as Anton moves to help Zayta up. “I want to know who it was…  and I want to know what happened with him and her.”

He’s so angry he can’t even say her name. Breathing deeply, he drags a hand through his hair. “I want whoever is responsible to pay in a way that has them begging for death.” He turns to stalk out, but stops to pivot back around. “And she is to be tortured,” he hisses, pointing an accusing finger at Zayta. “She is to pay, too, Anton. Do you understand me? I know you will do this for me, boy. I know you will make those deserving pay. Do not disappointment me,” he growls low. “Have it done.”

He levels his pitch-black eyes on Zayta next. “Get off your ass, girl,” he snarls, “and help Anton find my angle!”

Pain lances deep inside his chest. He turns away, not risking them seeing the anguish in his eyes. “He's going to pay for betraying me, too,” he mutters, stalking out of the room. Down the corridor, he roars anew. “Move, you worthless scum! Find the angel! All of you!”

Cowering creatures screech and bray in blatant terror, bolting out of the shadows in a panicked race to scour the realm for their masters' pet. They won’t rest until they have him, hoping the Master will give them plentiful rewards for his return. If only they knew what Seth truly would do to get Jazz back in his grasp again.

Growling low, he turns and heads back to his chambers where he can deal with these overwhelming feelings in private that are suffocating him.

                                                                                               

* * *

 

JARED
Jared paces back and forth, an irritated expression on his face. He stops to face Janel. “How long has it been? Do you think we should just keep waiting like this? I mean, Zayta is a demon, after all. I know she wasn't lying about helping out, but what if she changed her mind? Or if she ran into trouble? Should we just go in?”

Janel frowns and eyes the coordinate Zayta gave them, clearly not knowing the answer.

Jared sighs and looks at the arch, the place they were supposed to at wait for Jazz. Zayta warned them that if they tried to enter prematurely they would put Jazz in danger. Jared glowers. He isn't even sure where they were. All he knows is that he and Janel flew for at least forty-five minutes, and most of the time along the side of a mountain.

 

JANEL
Stepping into Jared's path, Janel wraps her arms around him to stop his pacing. Truth be told, she needs some comfort herself. She’s feeling guilty that it had taken them so long to find where Jazz is being kept, and it has taking all her courage to not let dread rule her actions. “Be calm, brother. Center yourself. Or we will be of no use to Jazz. If there was ever a time that he’s needed us, I'm sure it’s now.”

Jared wraps his arms around her and buries his face in her hair. “You’re right, Sister. But every nerve in my body is jumping. If we’re so close to him, why can't we feel him?”

Janel looks at the portal. “I believe that's how the evil mojo works.” An idea comes to her. She takes Jared's face in her hands, making him look at her. “Jared. Close your eyes. Block out everything but the sound of my voice.” She waits until she can tell he’s calm and centered. “Now, reach out with your mind. I know you can do it. Seek him out. Find him, brother. The bond you two share is strong.”

 

JARED
Jared closes his eyes and blocks out everything around him, then lets himself go as if he’s floating in the air. He can hear himself talking inside his head, but it sounds like its someone else.

 

~Jazz.... Brother…~

 

JAZZ
Jazz walks in feigned casualness through the corridors when demons are present, and sprints through the empty ones when they’re not. Keeping his eyes down, he avoids as much interaction as possible that could potentially slow him down. He has to concentrate on getting through the labyrinth of passageways, to making it to the portal at the southeast end of Seth's huge compound.

Rex wiggles, tucked in the nook of his elbow as Jazz carries his precious cargo like a running back with his football. As he makes his way past two gangly looking creatures that smell like rotten eggs, he grimaces, coughs, then spots his next turn up ahead. Rounding the bend, he stumbles as an unexpected voice suddenly enters his head. Eyes snapping wide, his heart skips a beat. He sucks in a breath.

~Jared? Brother? Is that you?~

 

JARED
Jared hears Jazz's reply and his adrenaline spikes, the shot nearly knocking him out of his trance-like state.

 

~Brother! We are waiting for you!  Janel and I! At the entrance of the portal. Can you feel us? Zayta told us not to go in, that we'll only alert the Master. Was she lying? Should we come in? Or continue to wait?~

 

JAZZ
Jazz travels like a silent wraith, moving ever closer to his destination. Absently he nods as he replies to Jared's question.

~Yeah, she's probably right. Stay put for now. I think I'm almost there. If I need you I'll—~

His train of thought is cut off as two huge, hairy demon guards come tearing around the corner in front of him. Locking their sights on him, they let out guttural snarls and pick up their pace, charging toward him like a crash of rhino. Behind them, arriving on scene from a second corridor further down, three more guards come barreling in.

 Jazz curses, his body tensing as he readies for their imminent attack, then sends out a quick reply to both his siblings.

~I take that back! Get your asses in here! I shouldn’t be far from you. Follow my vibe. I should be flaring on your grid like a freakin beacon and— Oh shit!~

He cuts off contact to give his full attention to his aggressors. Facing off with the first two beasties, he feels his skin start to tingle. He was so close to the portal that his angelic powers are trying to come back online. With a small smirk, he shifts and plows his shoulder like a linebacker into the first demon's chest. His added strength has the male tumbling backward. Jazz stiff arms the second—who's nearly on top of him—and leaps over the first who’s now down on his ass.

Beating feet, he races down the corridor to engage the next three storming his way. Throwing out his hand, he sends a ball of blinding light from his palm. The first male hisses, holding his arm in front of his eyes. But the other two learn fast, and avert their gazes as they continue to charge. Jazz tries to plow through the first, but after his beating, he's still not a hundred percent. He’s tackled to the ground instead with a grunt.

 

~Jared! Brother! I need you now!~

 

JARED
Already through the portal, Jared’s skin starts to tingle, his and Janel’s wings unfurling as they rocket down the dark realm’s bleak corridor. Simultaneously, their torsos erupt with golden-plated armor. Jared notices their attire’s transformation to battle mode didn’t arm them with weapons, but the armor in their lower arms include full-coverage gauntlets, extending to cover their knuckles.  

Jared looks at Janel and slams his golden fist into his palm. “Let’s go get our brother back.” He turns his gaze forward again and grins. “This might even be fun.” His mood is suddenly much lighter, knowing his brother is alive—for the time being, at least. They need to hurry.

 

JANEL
Janel smiles at Jared's comment, but it quickly fades when she hears Jazz cry out in pain in her head.

“Oh, shit.”

Jumping into the air, wings snapping wide, she darts over Jared's head as they tear down the tunnel.

“You engage them from below and I'll come in from above.”

Fearing for their brother, she turns on her supernatural speed, but can tell it isn't as fast as it should be. She frowns at Jared.

“We'd better work quick, brother. No telling how long we’ll retain our powers.”

Turning the corner, they pull up short when demons emerge from the darkness like the vile disgusting roaches they are. Jared calls forth his glory, a brilliance shooting out of him like an exploding warhead, incinerating to ash all the miscreants in its path. But more keep coming.

Hovering in midair, Janel pulls the bow from her back. Knocking her arrow, she draws back and shoots, her aim true and deadly. Swiftly, she puts dozens of demons flat on their backs.

But she can feel her power starting to wane. Landing on her feet, she pulls a chain off her belt and swings like a lasso over her head. She thrusts it forward, sending the weighted end sailing. It snaps tightly around the biggest goon. With a mighty jerk, she yanks the male onto his face, taking three more demons with him as he goes down.

Jared is there in a heartbeat, spearing them into oblivion with his flaming sword. He grabs her arms and swings her around, her legs taking out the rest of the demons nearby.  “Damn, this feels good,” she laughs, panting. “Now, come on. Our brother is close. I can feel him.”

 

JARED

Vision linked now with his twin, Jared scans the dungeons. Like a bad reception, he catches a glimpse through Jazz’s eyes. Instantly, he picks up his pace, darting as fast as his body will carry him toward his sibling. There! Up ahead! He can see him! Can see Jazz! But the relief of finding his is short lived. Jazz is engaged in battle with a number of dark creatures. What’s worse, he’s completely unarmed and… fighting one-handed?

Jared's eyes lock on Jazz’s left arm, finding the reason he's put himself in such a disadvantage.

Is that a kitten he’s holding?

The distraction costs Jared a blow to the side of his head. He stumbles and falls, seeing stars, but shakes it off. Kicking both legs up and out, he launches back up into a standing position, joining his siblings as they punch, kick, elbow and stab demon after demon.

 

JAZZ
Jazz exhales in relief, even as he continues to fight for his life. Man, do Jared and Janel have amazing timing.

Spinning around, he slams his fist into another fucker's face. The familiar sound of his siblings fighting beside him is like a balm to his beat-up soul. God, he didn’t realize how much he's missed them.

As he pivots to side-kick another thug in the gut, his eyes linger just long enough to take in his family. He smiles slightly, even as his body roars in pain from his recent lashing.

Jared barrels through the fray of downed and staggering demons, shouting that he’s clearing a window for Jazz and Janel. Their swift feet move like lightening. Five seconds later and they’re breaching that glorious portal. Never breaking their sprint, all three leap into the air, their wings snapping wide with righteous cracks! Higher and higher they rise as earth-bound demons pour out of the gate, braying and snarling after their swiftly departing forms.

Freedom.

He can hardly believe it.

But as he puts more distance between him and the place he’d called home for the past few months, he winces. He was leaving part of himself behind and he knows it. Hell, he can feel it. Seth's blood shrieks in his veins, revolting, protesting the space he’s creating between him and the underlord. The very male he'd lived with for so long now. He swears he can hear Seth roaring inside his mind…

 

JANEL
As they fly, Janel can’t help noticing that Jazz is lagging behind. She and Jared slow in response. With their sibling link still open, she can tell Jazz is pulling away. Mentally putting space between him and them. Looking over shoulder, she studies him with concern.

Eventually, they end up back at their apartment building’s rooftop. As they land, Jazz collapses in a heap.

Janel is at his side in an instant, gasping in shock when she sees the condition of his back up close. “Oh, dear God.” Gently, she rolls him over and places his head in her lap. Brushing the hair out of his eyes, she winces, then looks up at Jared. “He’s hurt, Jared. Badly. Were we too late?” She looks back down at Jazz, guilt and remorse overwhelming her. “What did they do to you, brother?” she whispers.

He moans but doesn’t reply.

Janel shoots Jared a stern look. “Quick. Bring him inside. We've got to heal him.”

Carefully, Jared picks him up, clearly trying to avoid any open wounds, and carries him down the stairwell to their apartment. Laying him on the living room couch, he stays by his side as Janel rushes to go get soap, water, and towels.  

 

JAZZ
Jazz groans as the adrenaline in his system wears off, pain erupting back in full force through his body. The intensity along his back is insane, but the pain in his chest is bordering unbearable. He tries to sit up, but ultimately, Jared has to help him. Before Jazz knows what he’s doing, he snaps his arms around his brother. Holding him as tight as his exhausted body can, he burrows his face into his sibling’s shoulder. Jared wraps his arms carefully around him, too, relief tangible in the male’s soft sigh.

A fresh shudder tears through Jazz’s body. He groans again in agony. And then Janel is there, holding him, too. His siblings’ mental healing is all he wants. All he needs.

“Thank you,” he whispers, “for going there to save me. But please… don’t ask what happened to me… I don’t… I can’t...” He shakes his head on a moan, not wanting to think about Seth ever again.

Thankfully, Jared and Jane honor his wishes and say no more, just quietly go about tending to his wounds. When they finish, Jazz retreats to his room, to his bed. He’s exhausted in a way he’s never ever been before. He plans to hole up hard for a very long time.

*Guest writer for Anton: Alicia Dawn

*Guest writer for Janel: Jaden Brielle

*Guest writer for Jared: Olga G.

 

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