Prologue: The Imprisoned

"Give it up, Marid." Azazel spat contemptuously at his captive, kicking her roughly in the side with the tip of his steel-reinforced shoe.

"No one can help you now. You may as well join me."

The young djinn girl didn't make a sound, other than the soft clattering of the jade chains she had been shackled in as she moved her arms into a slightly more defensive position.

"What's wrong, Marid?" Azazel asked scornfully, kicking the girl again, this time on the side of her left arm. "Cat got your tongue?"

Bleakly, the girl shook her head, her long, dirty, dark hair forming a thick curtain that framed her pale face.

"Then speak." Azazel ordered, a little of the snobbery edging away from his tone, and slowly being replaced with impatience.

Defiantly, the girl shook her head, keeping up her stubborn silence. This time, Azazel lost his temper altogether, and with a great roar, he grabbed hold of her by the hair and pulled her painfully to her feet.

"Speak, damn you!" He shouted, his enraged voice echoing through the derelict dungeon, as he shook the prisoner by her hair, making tears form in her eyes and yet not a sound escaped her lips.

Azazel kept up his belligerent shouting, hair-pulling, and kicking until he finally gave up. "If you want to die down here, in the cold and damp, be my guest," he said finally, throwing his captive back onto the floor in disgust.

She lay there for a moment, shivering in the thin white gown that looked more grey rags than white gown, and made no attempt to hide the tears of pain that were leaving streaks on her grimy cheeks.

Azazel turned to go, reflecting on how weak, in some aspects, the idiot girl was, and yet how strong in others.

"They will find me." Azazel froze. The prisoner had just spoken, for the first time since that day, that seemed so long ago, that his father had presented her to him. As a trophy, of sorts.

"What did you say?" Azazel asked, hardly daring to believe that she really had spoken.

The girl had straightened up now, standing on extremely scabby bare feet and wobbling legs. "They will find me," she repeated, looking almost regal.

Azazel laughed cruelly. "Is that all? Well, now that you've informed me, I can tell you that there's as much chance of anyone finding you here as a snowball has in Hell. I ought to know- I've visited there."

"Then you don't know my family very well." said the prisoner, jutting her chin out insolently.

Azazel laughed again. "Oh, don't I? I knew who you were even before you did. I flatter myself to think that I know more about you and your so-called family than even they do."

The girl's hands had balled into fists, and she was straining against her bonds, looking almost as though she would quite like to strangle him.

"Ooh, hot headed, are we?" Azazel taunted the helpless girl.

"I'm a djinn, you backward blond blockhead!" she hissed angrily, sounding almost like a cat.

"Yes, yes you are. Attacking me with alliterations is something that I would have thought beneath you, Marid." Azazel sneered, making the girl's white face colour with rage.

"And I would have thought that using a demon to kidnap me was beneath you! I thought that you had some brilliant plan to kill all of us, but no, you just let others do your dirty work!"

Azazel's green eyes flashed with anger, and he advanced upon his prisoner slowly. "What did you say?" he asked dangerously. Not sensing the imminent peril she was in, the girl plowed right on.

"I said you let others do your dirty work, you filthy slime!" she shouted. Azazel stopped directly in front of her, paused for a full minute to let the tension build, and then, quicker than greased lightning, he slapped her across the face, leaving a bright red mark that soon turned into an aubergine bruise.

"Don't ever say that about me again, you stupid little shrew." Azazel warned her quietly. "Or I shall give you something much more painful than a strike and a bruise next time, I promise you that."

The girl didn't speak immediately, instead gently feeling the hand-shaped bruise on her face, and wincing mightily. Finally, just as Azazel was turning to leave, she spoke up again.

"You're wrong about my family." she said finally, raising her gaze to see Azazel's retreating back. "They will find me."

Azazel turned around and shook his head. "You can't rely on family, girl. Eventually they'll all abandon you, just as mine did. Just as my mother was abandoned by her family."

"If your family all abandoned you, that's your fault." the girl retorted frostily.

Again, Azazel turned, but this time he lunged at her rather than advancing slowly. A moment later, the girl was struggling for breath as Azazel held her against the wall by the neck with one hand, and held a black-bladed knife in the other. Slowly, he pushed her up the wall until her feet dangled uselessly in air, and all she had to hold on to was Azazel's hand.

"I would not say such things if I were you!" he roared. The girl attempted to fight for a second or two longer, but soon became too exhausted to fight any longer, and she involuntarily began to sob, silently begging for mercy.

Azazel released his grip on the girl's neck, allowing her to drop the few inches to the floor, and consequently collapsed on the grimy stone floor, gasping for breath and trying to hold back tears, but failing.

"Stand up!" he snarled at her, sheathing the black bladed knife. Rather than obeying, the captive girl curled into a ball, folding her knees up and pressing her face into them.

Once more, Azazel grabbed her by the hair, and once more he dragged her to her feet. "You will do what I tell you to, Marid." he thundered. "Or face consequences."

Numbly, she nodded, moving her head as much as Azazel's grip on her head would allow.

"Good." he said. "Though I still think that you deserve some punishment."

Azazel let go of her hair and took hold of the girl's chin instead, squeezing a little too tight, especially where her face was bruised. Her eyes grew wide with fear as Azazel leaned in very, very close. Far too close to be at all comfortable. "I tell you what I'm going to do, Marid. I won't hurt you unless you force me to, so I'd advise you to play nice from now on, or give up entirely. If you want to eat anything more than hard bread and dirty water, then you'll join me. I'll allow you to mull it over for awhile. But first..."

While Azazel had been speaking, the girl had recoiled at the scent of his sour breath, but after he trailed off, he did something completely unexpected, more than a little disgusting, and certainly to be viewed as a punishment by the young djinn girl.

He kissed her gently, as though he loved her very much, even though he quite hated her. As the girl struggled wildly to break the contact, the kiss hardened into something more forceful, and far more unpleasant. Once again, tears began to pour down Holly's face, dripping steadily onto the floor below.

Author's note: whaa? Weird start, yes? I think this one's going to be quite a bit darker than the first one and the (kinda anti-climactic) second one... enjoy!