Contains Spoilers! Breas battles a Bacchalshi demon. Breas (Dorian), Jason and Regan, apres saving the world. Deleted in the interest of getting the word count down, and because this didn’t advance the story much.
Spoilers, herein, you have been warned. The Music of Chaos
To Breas’s senses, chaotic power didn’t just leave a taint, it left a thick cloying stench. Its smell affected him the way the aroma of rotting death affected humans. It hung everywhere, making him think of an air freshener advertisement: “Gets out even the rank stench of chaos.”
As Jeanine Ward’s spell built in intensity, so did the reeking miasma of unsettling power. If not for the Jeanine Ward’s bloody spell, he could have easily extricated himself from his current predicament.
If not for her spell, the Baccalshi demon–probably an unforeseen outcome since Plane folding was beyond even a chaos-wielding human–wouldn’t have been trying so hard to gut him.
Even in his half-drugged state, a handful of vampires weren’t much sport for Breas. Surviving two thousand years, escaping flood, famine, and the occasional Van Helsing wanna-be, he could handle a few deranged vampires. His own kind. Hardly.
The Brethren frequently hired Baccalshi demons for security detail; they were used to guard valuable shipments to dangerous locations. When given a commission and a purpose, they could be manageable. But, this one, lacking a promised paycheck, and probably snatched without warning from some pleasant pursuit on his home Plane, was mighty pissed off.
Breas dodged the demon’s swishing foot-long claws, thought, Like Wolverine, and alternately cursed himself for picking up the damn comic book and cursed Regan for being Regan.
He had first encountered the angry demon upstairs, and then lured it back down the stairs and into the large living room, hoping the extra room would afford him a longer existence.
Nearly as quick as Regan, the demon used his claws effectively; Breas already wore the evidence of a second’s inattention on his face, a long slash down his left cheek and a split lip where the back of the demon’s claws had caught him.
Fortunately, the demon behaved predictably, its muscled arms tightening before a blow. So Breas dodged blows and waited, hoped for Jeanine’s spell to dissipate. Running his spell before that occurred would be more dangerous than the demon.
The smell of chaotic magic grew stronger, making Breas nearly ill and the demon extra cantankerous. Claws slicing wildly, it launched a berserker attack at the vampire. Reduced to dodging and parrying with Regan’s sword, at least he was too distracted to pay attention to the foul magic.
Tired of being chased around the room, Breas contemplated hurling the sword at the demon’s most vulnerable spot. Except he couldn’t remember where that was on a Baccalshi. Assuming an eye was as good a place as any, he jumped out of claw range and raised the weapon. The sword, apparently having better things to do than be impaled in a demon’s eye, disappeared.
Stunned, Breas didn’t move quite fast enough and a claw, blunt side fortunately, clipped his shoulder. Scrambling out of the way, he spared a worried glance upstairs. The primary source of chaotic energy was no longer emanating stinking rays power.
Breas put himself as far out of harm as possible. After a moment’s hesitation–air, time and space were still horribly unstable, glass sharp edges and folds everywhere–his hands moved, beginning the spell.
The demon closed in on him, just as the air shimmered and rippled like a lake’s surface. Raising its comic book-style claws, it slashed downward, the angle perfectly aligned with the vampire’s neck.
Too surprised by the outcome, the demon only grunted. Half of its arm was missing, seemingly cut off in mid-air. Breas’s hands moved, folding the air around the creature. The demon’s face transformed from rage to bored acceptance, probably realizing it was going home. The fold closed with a light pop and the demon was gone. Breas was already halfway up the rickety staircase.
Under the circumstances, it was a perfectly normal reaction.
Jason Lake awoke to the sight of a vampire, bloody-mouthed, leaning over an unconscious woman. So he raised his arm and set a yew-bolt hurtling with astonishing accuracy at the vampire in question.
The vampire lifted his eyes, which glittered like twin mirrors, and faced the missile unblinking. Just before reaching Dorian, the air shimmered and the bolt disappeared. Without so much as a hint of emotion, Dorian flicked his fingers and a fist of hard air punched Jason onto his back, where he remained, largely unhurt, for a couple minutes.
His own mouth thick with the metallic taste of blood–he must have bitten his tongue at some point (when?)–dull resignation temporarily took control of his body. Not only was the damn vampire a Wolfe, but also a tempus mage? He half expected to see the vampire’s face looming over him. On his wrist, the vampire detector hissed and spluttered as though it had been somehow damaged.
“Regan. Wake up,” Dorian said and after a second, Jason shoved his elbows into the grubby floor and pushed himself up. Dorian lifted one of Regan’s hands and turned the palm toward Jason. In the dim light Jason saw the dark stripes that crisscrossed her palms as well as the gash on Dorian’s lip. The vampire indicated the question with one raised eyebrow.
“Jeanine had constructed a soul cleaver. Regan must have touched it,” Jason said.
Dorian shook Regan’s shoulder. “Regan.”
“Ow-it-hurts-stop-it-stupid-vampire,” Regan whimpered.
“Your knife-sharp tongue is still intact,” Dorian said. “Hurts where, specifically?”
She didn’t respond and Dorian proceeded to investigate on his own, in the style of a field surgeon, and in an entirely too familiar manner.
“If,” Regan said, eyes still closed, “I tell you, ribs, will you stop . . . groping me?”
“No.” He grinned. “Which side?” When Regan didn’t answer, he checked on his own.
“What happened to you?” Jason asked, noting the slice on the vampire’s face.
“An unscheduled visit by a Baccalshi demon. This place is riddled with interPlanar instabilities. Apparently the demon was in the middle of his honeymoon or maybe about to be the hundred-millionth lucky shopper at Wal-Mart. Not happy.”
Jason’s gaze rose and scanned the room from top to bottom. The instabilities were beyond his sight, but the possibility seemed more than real. The vampire detector emitted a squelched off squeak and died.
Seeing the vampire was beginning to lift Regan into his arms, Jason said, “Put her down.”
“Down on this floor?” He smirked and stood up, lifting an unconscious Regan with ease.
“That white stuff, that’s pigeon shit.” Jason glanced at the carpet, realizing the white patterning was indeed bird excrement. Breas’s foot kicked with preternatural speed and something silvery sped across the poop-splattered floor to Jason.
A gun. “Your gun,” said Jason.
“No,” Breas said, “Icarus’s gun. He didn’t seem to need it anymore.” His cold eyes studied Jason’s face. “The instrument of Jeanine Ward’s bullet-riddled destruction. Judging from your expression, I’d wager you didn’t pull the trigger.” Jason stared at Regan and Breas said, “She hates guns. Probably saved your life, though.”
Jason scrubbed his hands though his hair, touching the spot where the gash had been. “Yeah,” he agreed.
“Regardless, it would be wise to play the hero. She wasn’t here. Know what I mean? Maybe, this’ll get you a promotion.”
Jason shook his head like a wet dog. The vampire’s words dripped with enchantment. A distant memory, something forgotten in a Holder class, skulked in the back of his head.
“I-I would never betray Regan. Never.” Jason stared at the woman in the vampire’s arms. “I won’t let the Holders have her,” he said. Not even now, knowing she was Dorian’s familiar or worse . . . “She needs to go to a hospital.”
“Actually,” Breas gestured with his chin toward the still unconscious Kyle, “your partner should pay a visit to a hospital.” He grinned, almost sheepishly. “He was coming around when I came in the room, but I dropped a sleep on him. Probably not a good idea with a concussion.”
Jason stared at Kyle’s prone form and felt an almost-twinge of guilt.
“Regan!” The voice, deep and male, turned Jason’s eyes to the doorway. Talis stood in the doorway, his large blue eyes bright with horror. “What happened–?”
“She’ll be all right,” the vampire said.
“Cookie dough,” murmured Regan.
“See? She’s fine,” Breas said to the kobold. “Do you have her car keys?”
Talis stuck his hands in both jacket pockets and paused, noticing Jason. “Uh, hello, Jason,” he said.
To confused to do anything else, Jason replied. “Talis.”
“I need you to drive her car home,” Dorian said to Talis. “I’ll take her home in my car.”
“You all know each other?” Jason asked, dreading the answer.
“Unfortunately, yes,” he said in a tone between acerbic and resigned.
“Regan. She’s your familiar, then?”
Dorian winced. “Give me some credit. I’d hope a familiar would include a hell of a lot less snark and a lot more,” his expression turned sly, “respect.” He shifted his hold on Regan and his gaze panned the room. “The sooner you get a Cleanup crew in here the better.” He took two quick steps toward the doorway and paused, as though sensing Jason’s alarm.
“Relax. I like the brat the way she is, with a heartbeat.” He winked and disappeared at vampire speed out the doorway.
“Relax. Right.” Legs still shaky, Jason moved over to Kyle lay unconscious on the floor. “Stupid vampire,” he said, parroting Regan.
Copyright Patricia Kirby 2011, all rights reserved