woo who… I made it… with twenty minutes to spare… this is my contribution for oct 3rd’s Prompt… a story featuring Jodina… so who is Jodina?? Finder’s Keepers will eventually have two spin offs… one featuring Jodina and the other featuring Sam… both are badass females dealing with the supernatural community… Sam will deal mostly with Shifters, though her partner – Nick – is a vampire, and Jodina will deal with a lot a vampires… however, all three women – Sam, Jodina, and Marin – will have contact will all there is to find in the supernatural world… and now, here is my short story
“Let me out of this bloody hole, you rat bastards. I’ll burn this place to the ground. Now, open this door!” Jodina’s voice came out flat, barely bouncing off the dirt walls of her cell. If you could call a hole in the ground a cell. It was more like a mausoleum in the side of a hill, with metal bars blocking the only exit.
“This is not right. What if she is clean?” A young boy, of perhaps fifteen years, turned to the incompetent oaf by his side, and pleaded.
Jodina watched, as the lad hunched his shoulders, crossing his arms protectively around his chest. His words had pulled her gaze down to her filthy state of undress. “At least, supply me with some form of clothing. Or perhaps you enjoy watching women freeze to death.”
The oaf pushed the younger man out of his way, so that he could have a clear shot at her chest, his sword sharp as he thrust forward with experienced precision. A precision that would have impaled her heart. But Jodina moved with a quickness that saved her life, drawing a gasp of shock from both of her jailers.
With a cocky grin spreading across his face, the oaf replaced his weapon. “See, lad? She is as unclean as her fellow prisoners. Be glad that she is as weak as the woman she pretends to be.” Placing his thumbs in his belt and thrusting his amazing girth outward like a working girl showing off her assets, the oaf hissed, “Perhaps you can save the sun a little work. Your fire trick can keep you warm, and hopefully keep you safe.”
Jodina could feel her spine stiffening, but the oaf wasn’t making sense. She knew for a fact that she had her little pit all to herself and what did the sun or her fire have to do with keeping her safe.
Jodina wished that she could control her inner dragon and release some fire in the bastard’s direction. An empty dirt cell, a few scrapes of food once a day, and the occasional passing guard … that was it. “Don’t bother with lies, oaf. I’ve been in this hole for three nights. Alone.”
“Not for long. We have a large number of unclean little devils coming in, caught just this night. First, we will move the beast from the last batch, into your cell. But not to worry … Vampyrs are already dead. He will not be interested in your delicious goods,” his parting leer enough to send flames sparking to life from her fingertips, quickly dying in the cold earth around her feet.
It was just like humans to react like this. Start one little cabin fire and they run for the pitch forks, start forming mobs. After two hundred years of life, Jodina had fooled herself into believing that the sixteenth century would be more open to the supernatural. But the fear and hatred of the unknown was still as rampant as before, possibly worse. Apparently, the Americas believed in freedom from persecution, as long as your beliefs and abilities, your religion and mannerisms, coincided with their own.
Jodina did her best to ignore the sound of approaching riders, at least a dozen of them. The beat of the horses, as they carried their cargo, was accompanied by the sound of wagon wheels in desperate need of oil. Jodina knew that sound. It was the sound of her new roommate being transported to her side. This would have been the perfect time to rush the guards and escape, but Jodina could already feel the sting of a blow dart taking effect.
This wasn’t her first experience with the poison currently flooding her system. It was obvious that the blood thirsty hypocrites thought nothing of adopting the practices of supposed barbarians.
Jodina didn’t know about the tribes surrounding Roanoke, Va, but the last time she felt this particular poison, she was navigating her way through the Amazon rain forests, facing pissed off natives.
As the poison began to affect her ability to move, Jodina’s body fell backward, angling her peripheral vision so that she witnessed the large grain sack as it was tossed roughly into her bare accommodations. She could also see a man from one of the neighboring tribes, lowering a blowpipe to his side. Apparently, everyone knew how to sweat a frog for its poison these days.
A man with long black, tangled hair ripped his way out of the grain sack, and growled, “Argh … you will pay for this.”
As he whipped around to face their jailers, the man froze. Hands clenching at his sides, knees shaking slightly, the man stared directly at the blowpipe, then up into it’s wielder’s eyes. “You. The Weroance will punish you for this, Baldev.”
Jodina fought not to close her eyes and listened. She knew that a Weroance was a leader.
“There will be no one around to inform Powhatan. He may be the Weroance but he does not know all, and he never will. Especially after you and the rest of the unclean have been … cleansed. Enjoy your last few days, Ishan.” Baldev threw his head back, a bark of laughter shaking his shoulders before turning to the oaf with the leering countenance. “You may need the darts, if you wish to interrogate the prisoners,” he said, passing over his blowgun.
Jodina was attempting to pull herself into a sitting position, as a second dart impaled the skin near her upper arm. Head spinning, ears ringing, Jodina fell back and watched as the oaf doubled over in laughter, his girth jiggling with each movement. Darkness began closing in around Jodina’s vision. She enjoyed watching her cell-mate’s anger, as Ishan threw his body forward, slamming up against the bars repeatedly.
Ishan’s rage reverberated through her mind, with a sweet promise of death, as Jodina felt the extra dose of poison begin shutting down most of her body.
“Cowards!” Ishan accused.
It was nice to have another person enraged on her behalf. Jodina just hoped that she didn’t accidentally repay that kindness by setting the man on fire, as her body battled the side affects of the dart. But then her dragon half could be slightly bitchy when saving her life. Jodina fought unconsciousness for as long as possible but finally accepted that Ishan was on his own. Her inner demons were about to explode to life.
Jodina felt a soft caress along her sides. The barest touch over her hips, and an exhilarating warmth, as something was smoothed along the top of her thighs. Parting her eyelids, she found Ishan, his hands moving slowly back up the line of her body, to push the dirt riddled blond hair behind of her ears. Grabbing his strong calloused hands, Jodina croaked, “What are you doing?”
“What are you? You can not be a-”
Jodina would’ve been insulted, but after two hundred years this type of conversation was a part of her routine. Others in the Supe community could feel that she was different, abnormal. But that was usually the end of what they could feel. Ishan obviously felt something more. Still, it had been centuries since a supernatural of her kind had been seen. And even then, the Drekenix – half vampire/ half dragon hybreds – were rare.
Jodina looked into his eyes and confirmed his thoughts. “I am exactly what you think I am,” Jodina whispered, and pushed up from the floor.
Ishan sat back on his heels. The sight of his bare chest drew her attention to her new wardrobe. The shirt had definitely looked better on him, though she was thoroughly enjoying the warmth from his body heat, still caught in the material.
“The Drekenix are considered abominations. They were all killed on sight. The dragons have been killing their mixed offspring for millennia. You would need to be hundreds of thousands of years old, and that simply is not true. I may be young in the eyes of my fellow clan mates, but my vampire senses tell me that you are no more than a few hundred years old in age.”
Jodina met Ishan’s glare with one of her own. “It does not matter what you believe. We need to focus on escape, not genetics.” Jodina pushed herself up from the floor, attempting to shake off the lingering effects from her dragon side burning the poison from her veins. Glancing at Ishan, her brow bunched, Jodina inquired, “Why are you not incinerated?”
Being part vampire and part dragon, or Drekenix, Jodina had a tendency to pass out and start fires. Her dragon side overreacted when faced with danger. So the question was … why was Ishan not a pile of dust?
Cocking his head to the side, one eyebrow climbing up his forehead, Ishan said, “Your entire body rose into the air, engulfed in flame. When you settled to the ground, your feet braced apart, you simply stood there staring at me. After a few minutes of examination, you hissed. The fire disappeared as if it had never been, and you fell to the ground, unconscious.”
“Fine, but why take the chance with your life? Why get close enough to my flesh to wrap me in your shirt?” Jodina looked down at her borrowed clothing, for once in her life glad that she was only 5’2’’ in height. The man’s shirt fell more like a mini-dress but everything was covered. “Just because my inner dragon malfunctioned, you decided you were safe enough around me to touch my bare skin?”
“Perhaps I got lucky, or perhaps you inner dragon just likes me. Or maybe you find me attractive.” Ishan smiled, showing two deep dimples, and a mouth full of strong white teeth. His lips were positively lick-able. His mohawk was cropped close enough not to be disshevled, and a tangled black braid fell to his impressive thighs.
Jodina shook her head, turning her back on the temptation. “I am never in control when the dragon takes over, and I never remember her actions. I simply wake up to the slaughter and ash. We need to think of a way out of here before my dragon wakes up without the drugs in my system.”
Feeling the warmth of Ishan’s hand on her shoulder, Jodina slowly turned to meet his near black gaze, in his reddish bronzed skin. The smile on his face melted away, a tight grimace growing in its place. “There will be no escape. We will spend the next few weeks being drugged and tortured, and then we will be cleansed by fire in front of the entire town. I am sorry.”
Jodina shook off his hand, and stepped away from. “You may be ready to give up, but I am not. So keep thinking.”
“I hope you have a plan. Once we are moved to the holding cells near the torture racks, we will become weaker with each beating, until we are so weak that drugs are no longer necessary to subdue our anger. I was allowed to witness a few of the deaths before I was moved in here with you.”
Jodina fell face first, as she was tossed into their new cell. After days of torture, it was obvious that this colony was old hat at torturing and containing supernatural beings. For the first time in her long life, Jodina could feel the impotent rage of her inner dragon, as the drugs kept the beast too weak to fight back against their attackers.
“Sweet, merciful crap!” Jodina could barely hear her own voice. She could feel her vocal cords crying out in pain from the days of raging at her assailants. The pain she could handle, the forced submission not so much.
A low, base-worthy growl came from the corner of the roomy, twenty foot by twenty foot, rock inclosure. Jodina pushed her aching body onto all fours, her arms shaking from the strain, and readied herself to face yet another torture. Quartering the room, Jodina was shocked to see Ishan in a similar position. He was braced, slowly crawling, his limbs shaking, but his rage was wholly directed at her.
Jodina slowly backed away, her eyes focused on Ishan’s stalking approach. “Ishan … is there a problem?” Jodina really didn’t want to kill her only allie. If she even could with her dragon currently out of commission.
She could feel the blood oozing from a million cuts, her muscles begging to concede this fight and hope that Ishan decided to simply cuff her on the chin, so that she could pass out in peace.
Ishan continued his approach, backing Jodina into the wall. The jarring stop pulled her concentrated gaze over her shoulder, causing Ishan to release another of those bone chilling growls. The grating bass noise sent a chill down her spine. Jodina whipped her focus back to Ishan. His head lowered slightly, his eyes were unfocused.
Moving in close, Ishan began sniffing along Jodina’s neck. His breath heating her clammy skin with each huff. Ishan licked the area just above her collarbone, growling slightly before he purred, “The moon feels good.”
Jerking away from Ishan’s wayward tongue, Jodina hissed, “What the hell does that have to do with your current mood? Why are you cleaning my wounds?” Jodina was just guessing but she would guess feeding. She could feel the fresh line of blood running from a reopened wound.
And it wasn’t that Ishan was wrong about the moon. It always felt warmer than the sun, near the end of the month. But that was no excuse to start behaving like a cat in heat.
“The dragon moon,” Ishan grunted. He continued to push forward, nuzzling the side of her face, occasionally licking.
Jodina did her best to avoid the cat bath, which always seemed cuter in animals. Twisting violently, and raising her hand to keep that too friendly tongue at bay, Jodina found herself suddenly flipped onto her back. Ishan had dipped his head and pushed, knocking her body the rest of the way over. Throwing both hands up, she was able to stop his lowering head, as his lower body settled into the V provided by her legs.
Looking into Ishan’s unfocused gaze, Jodina spoke slowly, “Listen, I like you and all, but we are both to hurt for any form of extracurricular activities.” Jodina was as open to the occasional one night stand as the next supernatural girl. It was the one thing she had in common with the rest of the Supe community, and it had been a long time. But a clear headed partner was always best. That way they didn’t try to kill her in the morning for being what she was. A dragon hybrid. “Perhaps we should wait a few hours, let the weeping wounds heal.”
Ishan’s head cocked to the side, his brow bunched. Finally he growled, “Blood and sex are fun.”
And okay, that was just freaky.
“I hate to interrupt.” The jeering voice drew a full on roar form Ishan, his head whipping toward the direction of the cell door. Jodina felt her stomach tighten, as Baldev ran his eyes over their position, his hand moving lewdly over his groin. That was one man that she would rather roast than bed.
As Baldev’s tongue poked out and ran along his lower lip, Jodina had to force herself to swallow convulsively. She refused to throw up the bile climbing from her empty stomach in front of the bastard.
She wanted to scratch his eyes out as Baldev proclaimed, “As entertaining as watching you slip into moon madness would be, I have my orders. Before he left, Sir Grenville asked me to add a few of the other unclean to your happy accommodations. He thought that watching their torture- I mean, watching their cleansing – would help you to make the right decision. Grenville wants the identity of all other unclean abominations, no matter what.”
It wasn’t like Jodina had any information to give. The other Supes either avoided her or out right attacked her. Even if she did have information, she wasn’t about to tell anyone, and didn’t understand how adding the torture of some stranger would loosen her tongue.
As Baldev turned sideways, holding the bars of their prison wide, she understood. A group of children were forced roughly into the cell, the youngest one a mere babe held tightly in an older boys arms.
Slamming the cell door shut, Baldev stepped back, the stocks made for humiliation and punishment visible in the open field behind him. The sight of the blood covered neck and wrist restraints were too large for these smaller victims. Jodina could feel the terror coming from each child, and wondered what kind of device Baldev would use on the wee ones.
Jodina looked back at the children just as Ishan collapsed on top of her smaller frame, shoving the air from her lungs. Feeling the prick of one of those damn darts, Jodina moved her hands as quickly as possible along Ishan’s back, her body beginning to weaken. Finding the dart in Ishan’s side, Jodina took a firm grip and allowed her arms to collapse to her side.
Baldev’s voice echoed, as he instructed, “Take the trouble maker and the woman. Have yourselves some fun, so that the truth of their situation is abundantly clear.”
Ishan was pushed from the top of her nearly unconscious body. As the oaf with the alarmingly expanded girth lifted her slight frame into his arms, Jodina wondered if her inner dragon was the trouble maker. And if so, where in the hell was the unruly bitch now. Waking up in the stocks was going to seriously suck.
Jodina’s eyes snapped open, the pain around her neck, at the base of her skull, and especially under her chin, forcing a cry mixed with rage and agony from her lips. Her sleepy inner dragon started to stir to life, but not enough.
Jodina screamed her rage, “Argh!” She was staring directly at the young boy from earlier, the one she had seen carrying the infant. He was strapped face down on a rack, or what looked like a rack. The strain in his underdeveloped muscles showing that his current torture had lasted just as long as hers.
Baldev walked into view, his hands flowing over the young boy. Looking back at Jodina, he crowed, “Isn’t he just perfect for this lesson,” as he patted the boy’s naked back. Squatting down in front of Jodina, a frown on his face but his eyes bright, he crooned, “Now if you will just tell us what you know, Mauik here can go back to the cells while you take his place.”
“I know nothing of the other Supes.” Jodina couldn’t take her eyes off of Mauik’s shivering back. She saw the whip rush forward, just as the flesh on her own back screamed out in agony. But her focus was all for the boy being punished because of her lack of knowledge. “I swear! I know nothing!” Jodina shook her restraining bonds, attempting to force her wrists free, or wake up her dragon through pain.
The sound of the whips broke through her screams, causing Jodina to attempt to arch her body, as another welt formed on Mauik’s back.
Baldev chuckled, his head thrown back. “That is two lies. Shall you continue young Mauik’s torment?”
The blows continued to fall, no matter the answer. Jodina began making up information. Like their main home was in the Casscades, the ones able to fly could send curses from anywhere in the world, that she herself was one of the high elders of the dragon tribes- With each answer, Baldev would cock his head, squint his eyes, and scream out, “Lies!” The bastard.
Finally, the snow beneath her knees, beneath Mauik’s rack, began to melt into a blood soaked mud. Baldev called a halt to the lesson. As they were thrown back into their cell, Jodina cursed the drugs keeping her dragon side passive. Both sides of her nature cried out for Baldev’s death.
Weeks passed, each day a new lesson in torture. Each child face down on the rack – their arms and legs shackled, their bodies stretched taunt – while either she or Ishan were accused of lying. Today Ishan was locked in the stocks – his neck and wrists raw and bloody from the wood locking him in place – while little Virginia Dare hung from tiny infant wrists. The entire town had shown up for today’s lesson. Even Mr. Dare, the child’s father, though he was being restrained by the oaf and his cronies.
Baldev moved up to Virginia, his focus on her father, as he pronounced, “You will not save the child of your unfaithful wife. Not even her barbarian lover will be able to save her.” Caressing the child, he moved away as the whip fell. Even without a supposed lie to punish, the child was struck, her infant screams causing Jodina’s inner dragon to stir minutely. So close, but so diminished.
She didn’t know that much about the child, or her parents, but Virginia was too small for such treatment. How could the colonist do this? Virginia was the first child to be born to the Roanoke settlers, and this was her reward.
“Dammit. Come on Miss Fire-breather, take the reigns.” Jodina examined every inch of the door, as Mr. Dare broke free. He was nearly to his child when he was stopped by a sword thrown at his back.
Mauik latched onto Jodina’s wrist, tears mixing with blood and dirt. “We can give your dragon power. Just help her escape.”
“We can feel her, just out of sight.”
Jodina backed away from the bars, and the surrounding children. “I do not have control. I refuse to kill all of you for one babe. There has to be another way.”
Mauik’s little fists were perched on his slender hips, his face set in stone as he chided, “There is no other way. If you wait, we all die. The crowd wants Virginia’s death, and they will come back demanding more sport tomorrow. It is the way of humans. Besides, we believe that our combined gifts will help you to be present, as your dragon kills.”
“What do you mean, you believe?”
Shaking his head, Mauik moved in close and whispered, “It is better to die helping to destroy our enemies, than to die for their entertainment.”
“But-” Jodina’s words were cut off as his small hand landed on her chest, followed by other small hands placed on her tingling skin.
Jodina bit her lip, attempting to remain quiet, as power, hot as lava, was forced into the center of her body. She watched through blurry eyes as the children fell away from her burning skin, flames pulsated through the air. Without a second thought, Jodina moved for the blocked cell opening, grasped the bars and watched as the metal melted into a puddle at her feet.
Pushing her way outside, she ran for the crowd, raging in fury. “Argh!” Everything seemed to slow down, as Jodina was forced from the driver’s seat. She watched as fire consumed the crowd, and then her body was moving for the guards.
Flames shot from the tips of her fingers, melting the locking mechanisms to Ishan’s restraints. She watched him burst free and rush for Virginia.
Somehow, when Jodina wasn’t paying attention to her inner dragon’s rampage, she’d missed the death of every guard, leaving only Baldev alive.
Baldev threw some kind of flame from his hand. But her dragon merely absorbed the added heat, laughing hysterically. Jodina watched the fear grow in Baldev’s eyes as he started to back away. Before he could finish taking that first step, she saw her fist slam through his chest.
Her body growing weak, Jodina fell to her knees. Her world beginning to spin, she heard a warning call being sounded from the nearby Roanoke.
Looking at Ishan, little Virginia cradled in his arms, she listened to her dragon hiss, “Take the wee ones and run. I will finish this madness.”
Ishan moved forward, one hand outstretched, a mewling Virginia falling into a fitful sleep on his shoulder. “But-”
Jodina’s inner dragon cut him off. “If I sleep, this body will need to rest. We will slow you down, as the village mobs give chase. We need to finish this. We will save you all.”
Jodina watched as Ishan gave a decisive nod, and croaked, “I will see you again one day. You owe me some moon madness.”
As he moved further away, Jodina prepared to send the entire colony into the spirit worlds, never to plague the Supe community again. Afterwards, Ishan and the children would be safe, and she would once again be alone.
The last child to leave, whispered, “One day you will have love, a home, and family,” before running to catch up with the others. Jodina felt the child’s power and found herself smiling. For some reason her inner dragon looked forward to their unknown future.
Shaking the tension from her arms, Jodina prepared to allow her dragon to take the reins. Time for the colony of Roanoke to disappear.