The demon, Asmodeus and the young woman, now, Countess Aksinya. They are contracted to one another. In the last installment, we saw more bounds set on the demon. Primarily, we saw the requirements of the contract and additionally the price that must be paid by Aksinya. She was injured because she chose one and not the other. She chose to touch the demon, therefore at injury to her body rather than to allow the demon to touch her at injury to her soul.
Then we also saw the excruciating tragedy of the entire novel--Aksinya called forth a demon to protect her family, but her family was murdered by the Bolsheviks. She traded her soul for dust.
The final action in the second scene, Aksinya sent the demon to enact her revenge against those who murdered her family. She stayed in her bed. I am not certain if I will include this next scene in the novel. I want to, but it is a little risque. The point of the scene is to detail the injury to Aksinya and allow the demon to tempt her to heal herself. His plan is to embarrass her and to get her to eventually resort to sorcery for healing. So the next scene--beginning of the second chapter:
The Lady, now Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna hobbled toward the outhouse just behind the family quarters. She originally pulled out the chamber pot under her bed, but she realized there was no one to empty it anymore. Disposing of human bodies seemed fitting for the demon—disposing of her own waste was unimaginable to her. Her legs were improving, but they were still bruised. She used her staff. It was a long knurled piece of yew. Unusual because yew usually grew straight. She prepared it herself for the work she found in her books. It was a sufficient tool for that work and for this. She still wore her nightgown. It was frilly and cotton, but not too thin. It was insufficient for the cold house and completely inappropriate for a trek to the outhouse. Cloaks stayed on the wall just outside the door into the enclosed walkway that led to the outhouse, but she didn’t have the energy or the time to don one. She was in such a hurry, she hadn’t put on her shoes and the floor was freezing.
Aksinya was shivering, and she almost reached the outhouse when she heard the door open and shut behind her. Aksinya whirled around and lost her balance. Just before she fell, a black shadow rushed from the door to her. At the last moment, she recognized Asmodeus as he caught her. But it was too late. She couldn’t hold it any more. She sat in his hot, black arms in a now sodden nightgown. She tired to stand and couldn’t. She tried to push him away but couldn’t. Finally, in frustration, she cried, “Let go of me. Look what you made me do.”
“I have done your bidding, mistress. What you do you wish now?”
“I wanted to use the outhouse, but now there is no need.”
“Humanity is disgusting. Well there is nothing else to do.”
He picked her up in spite of her protests and carried her back to her room. When he arrived he asked, “Do you wish me to help you with your clothing?”
“Prepare me a bath.”
“You are freezing.”
“Prepare me a bath.”
“You are an idiot.” The demon yanked the wet nightgown over her head and wrapped a blanket around her.
Aksinya blushed, “Don’t ever do that again.”
“I don’t intend to, but I can’t allow harm come to you. You are making things extremely difficult for me.”
“And you for me.”
“Wait here, and I will prepare your bath. I never expected to become a domestic servant.”
“You wouldn’t if you had come sooner.”
“If you had called me sooner, Countess, for that is what you are. All this misery is your doing and not mine.”
The demon entered the bath and Aksinya glared at him the entire time. After a while, he came back out and stepped to her side. Aksinya moved away from him, “Don’t touch me. Get my staff.”
Asmodeus returned with it. Aksinya still glared at him, “Can you heal my injuries? The ones you caused?”
“I can’t heal. Only that guy can do that.”
“Sorcery can heal.”
Asmodeus smiled, “Perhaps you should try that then.”
Aksinya levered herself up and headed for the bath. Before she took a few steps, she had lost the blanket. She ignored that and continued into the bath. Inside, she closed and locked the door. She just ignored the door on the other side. She didn’t have the strength to hobble over to it and lock it.
So, you see Aksinya's embarrassment and her desire to be uninjured again. The demon just planted in her mind the idea that she should use sorcery to heal herself. This will become the motive for every incident the remainder of the novel. The demon's desire is for Aksinya to sin. Aksinya's desire is to not continue to sin. He uses her weaknesses against her to convince her to act as he desires. Perhaps I gave too much information at the beginning. I need to work on this scene a little more. I'll give you the rest of it next time.