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Saturday, October 23, 2010

A New Novel, Part 20 The Bookstand

In the previous scene, the demon forced Aksinya to the act of calling the girl they had observed.  Now, Aksinya begins the sorcery that will call the girl to her.  It is an act that the demon claims will show the power of Aksinya and convince the girl to follow her.

Aksinya lowered her head, “I will take it on myself. I will do as you ask.”

The petticoats and dress appeared on her body. Her shoes and stockings were suddenly on her feet and legs. Asmodeus himself laid the thick warm mink coat over her shoulders again, “Call the girl. Call her, and you may dine and sleep and experience your erotic fantasies.”

“Zatknis'! Get me my things.” She stomped to the center of the pavement.

The demon lifted his hands and opened the chest. From inside came Aksinya’s staff and her dagger. Her chalk and her candles settled at her feet. A bundle of fresh herbs and a brazier of incense followed them. One of Aksinya’s heavy books sailed through the air toward her. She caught it midair. Aksinya pulled her coat more closely around her shoulders. She glanced from the side of her eyes at the demon, “I want my bookstand.”

“Which one?”

“The one that I used when I called you.”

“I didn’t bring it.”

Aksinya whirled toward him, “Why didn’t you?”

“I didn’t.”

“What else didn’t you bring from my house?”

Asmodeus didn’t speak.

“I order you to tell me what you didn’t bring from my house.”

“Your request is neither evil nor within my desires.”

“I want a bookstand. Steal one for me.”

“Very well. I am pleased to steal for you and add this sin to your account.”

In an instant, the demon was gone. Aksinya knelt on the freezing pavement and drew a circle and a pentagram. She put up a tallow candle and lit her brazier and incense. She cut the herbs with her dagger and prepared to make a calling for the girl. For this simple spell she wouldn’t need a possession from the girl, she had seen her already. She wouldn’t even need her name. The face was clearly set in Aksinya’s mind.

After half an hour, Asmodeus returned with a fine mahogany bookstand. He laid it before Aksinya outside the circle and pentagram. She watched him carefully. She reached out and picked it up and placed it in front of her. She put her book on it and opened to the right page.

“I know what you are thinking, countess.”

“Perhaps you do and perhaps you do not. You are practiced at lying, demon. I didn’t trust you before, and I trust you even less now. Don’t bother me while I am at this work. Tell me the girl’s name.”

“You don’t need her name to do this.”

Aksinya barked, “But I want to know it, and I want to call her by name. That is a surety in this business.”

“Very well. Her name is the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”

Aksinya turned a little toward the demon, “Is she the illegitimate daughter of Prince Aleksander Simonovich Andronikov?”

“Yes, very perceptive of you. How did you know?”

“Her patronymic and her family name. There was a rumor in the court about a Lady Obolenska. Does Lady Natalya know?”

“She is pleasantly unaware but suspicious. She only knows her mother abandoned her, and that she is a servant in the house of Prince Aleksander Simonovich Andronikov. She is a brilliant girl whose intellect is well above those she waits on. She doesn’t yet realize she hates them for this reason.”

“Do you know I am beginning to despise you, demon.”

“Only beginning. I though your hatred would be well grounded by now. Wrath is one of the seven deadly you know.”

Aksinya clenched her fists, “Yes, I know.” She pulled herself up to her full height, “You brought me out here to this place. Light my tallow candle. I can’t light it in this wind.”

“I cannot light anything within the magic circle, and I can’t continue to keep it lit when it is inside.”

Aksinya hid her smile from him, “Then find me something to block the wind.”

Asmodeus opened his chest and pulled out a heavy candle lantern. Aksinya recognized it from the cellar of her house. He placed the lantern outside the circle, and Aksinya retrieved it. She put her candle inside and lit it. When each thing was in its place she began to speak the Latin words.

As I mentioned and as a contributor suggested, objects in the text tie the scenes and tie the ultimate secrets Aksinya discovers about the demon.  The question I want my readers to ask themselves at this point is the same one Aksinya is asking herself--why didn't/couldn't the demon bring her bookstand?

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