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Sunday, October 24, 2010

A New Novel, Part 21 the Lady Natalya

Aksinya was coerced by the demon to use sorcery to call the girl they observed that evening.  Now Aksinya begins the ceremony, and we learn a little more about the limitations of the demon.

When Aksinya first began this business of sorcery, she had to be so careful, and it took her hours to set up everything for a simple enchantment. Now she knew her business so well, she knew the exact and precise steps to properly make everything happen. From years of practice came such simplicity. At the peak of the ceremony, Aksinya cut a sprig of the herb and whispered the girl’s name into it, “Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.” It was so much simpler with the whole name. Aksinya placed the bit of herb in her brazier. It flared up and the incense caught it. She heard the name quietly repeated as she censed the five corners of the pentagram. A puff of incense went out calling the girl to come. It called her to come here to Aksinya. With a glassy-eyed smile, Aksinya continued to cense the points of the pentagram. Thought she knew one time was enough, she sent out call after call. When the incense was nearly all gone, she put down the brazier and prepared the second part of her work.

Asmodeus glanced at her, “What are you doing now, countess?”

“You wished a show for her. I will make her a display of power.”

“I asked you what you are doing.”

“Read it from my thoughts, demon.”

Asmodeus stood in silence.

“Yes, it is no secret now, is it? Neither your body nor your mind can cross this magic circle. What other things are impossible for you, demon. I didn’t expect a confession from you, but there is much more you haven’t told me.”

“You can’t remain within that circle forever.”

“No, I cannot, but it is enough to know, isn’t it?”

A noise startled Aksinya. She ducked.

Asmodeus laughed, “What do you fear, countess? You have encountered demons.” Then he raised his head and spoke excitedly, “She comes.”

Aksinya stood straight. She was too embarrassed to speak.

A shadow flitted between the tombstones. It moved closer and closer. It was the girl, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska. She was dressed in the clothing she had worn earlier. She had a light cloak over it. She moved warily and cognizantly. She made her way to the edge of the pavement and stared in amazement at Aksinya. She studied the magic circle and the pentagram. She gazed at everything on the pavement, but she didn’t step onto the flat stones. Finally, she swallowed, “Did you call me?”

Aksinya smiled a wide smile, “I called you, Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I watched you tonight.”

“What do you wish of me?”

“I think you should run. I think you should go quickly away from here.”

Asmodeus stepped from the shadows. He waved his hand, “You will not go, Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska. If you try to move, you will find you cannot.”

The girl stuck her chin forward, “I don’t wish to leave. I want to know why she called me.”

Aksinya scowled at her, “Why don’t you run? Don’t you see the demon before you?”

Asmodeus grinned, “You are an idiot. She sees me as I wish her to see me.”

Aksinya spoke her Latin words and saw a handsome courtier.

Asmodeus addressed Natalya, “Lady Natalya, let me introduce the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna. She is the one who called you, and she is a most wonderful and powerful sorceress in this world. She can teach you to be just the same as she. She called you here because she needs a lady-in-waiting and an apprentice. Would you care to join yourself to her? Would you like to become her lady and her apprentice?”

As if Natalya was waiting all her life to hear those specific words, she fell to her knees and cried out. The tears were obvious in her voice, “Dear lady, I would do anything to become your lady-in-waiting and your apprentice. If you would only take me away from this place. Please take me away from here and never bring me back.”

Aksinya frowned, “I don’t want you for my lady-in-waiting or my apprentice.”

It worked.  Aksinya's call worked.  All of her spells work.  I think this is remarkable in a storyline.  In most stories about magic or sorcery that I'm familiar with, the magic is tentative and the magicians incompetent.  You have a few works where the magic is real and actually does what it is supposed to.  You will find that Aksinya is very competent at sorcery.  How else could she call a demon.  This is more important an idea than you might think.  If she wasn't competent, you might imagine that she accidentally called the demon.  The point is that she is competent, and she competently called the demon.  Therefore, she is appropriately guilty for her actions.  If it was an accident, you might forgive her--you cannot.   She also competently called the Lady Natalya.  The point here is that Aksinya then tried to thwart the demon's plans.  You will find that she will be unable to thwart him right now, but she is trying.  I thought it was a fun twist that the Lady Natalya wanted Aksinya to take her away.  We will discover very soon why.

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