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Monday, November 1, 2010

A New Novel, Part 29 Russian Travel

Here is the traveling section from Minsk to Hungary.  The demon wants to get them to Wien.  The reasons will become very clear in the future.  The purpose is a simple excuse.  Aksinya has little choice in the matter.  It is early, but I will tell you a little about names.  You might guess that Asmodeus is a very important name--just google it and you will see how important in terms of demons.  I'll tell you more in the future, but there is a lot of information readily available about him as a demon in tradition, literature, and history.

The name Aksinya is very important to the story.  It is a name that is archaic and replaced in modern usage with Ksenya or Ksinya.  The name means foreign or stranger (a form or Xenia), but has come to be interpreted hospitable or accepting of foreign things.  I chose the name for many reasons.  Primarily, it is archaic.  Aksinya is a truly odd and archaic character.  She is a woman who does not cry.  She is not emotionless, but emotions don't touch her--yet, she is driven by emotion.  She is a stranger to every one and further foreign because she has separated herself from humanity.  There is more, much much more, I will tell you in the future, but for now, this is enough.  It is enough to know that the choice of the name of the main character isn't one of just choosing from a list, but rather matching the name to the person in the theme.

They all three entered the train Asmodeus indicated. They sat near the rear in the least populated and least popular section. Aksinya gave into temptation, said some words, and saw the demon as he displayed himself. He was a man as ancient and careworn as they. Aksinya smiled to see him. She kept up her act and told her phantom rosary. Her prayers obviously disturbed the demon and that pleased her immensely.

Eventually, after a typically long Russian delay, the train started with a bump and began to slowly accelerate down the tracks. Aksinya and Natalya spoke together quietly. When Aksinya felt a twinge of desire, she prayed. She dared not think too much about the demon or how she might thwart him. Still, she could not help but think. Asmodeus sat alert across from them.

In the morning, Natalya found breakfast for Aksinya and herself. They ate dark bread and sausage and drank lukewarm tea. Asmodeus did not eat, but he must have given the impression of eating because Natalya didn’t remark about it. At noon, they ate nothing. Supper added cheese to the sausage. No one on the train bothered them. No one spoke to them. Certainly, they didn’t interact with anyone except when they needed to. Aksinya wanted to speak to Natalya about many things, but the demon kept his watch on her, on them.

Finally, bored, Aksinya addressed Asmodeus, “Creature, get us books. The ones from my room.”


“This trip is nothing but tedium. I want to read. We have nothing else to do.”

Asmodeus raised his brow, “I will get your books, but not too many.”

A little later, a stack of ten books lay on the bench and Aksinya and Natalya could read. Their travel went much more quickly after that.

Still, the days and nights of travel engulfed them. The ladies slept in the night, read during the day, and ate when food became available. They spent some time in light conversation, but all of that was whispered.

After five days, Asmodeus, gained their attention, “Countess, Lady Natalya, we are about to cross the boarder into Hungary. We will have to change trains there. The city is Zάhony on the border of Russia and Hungary. There, you may return to your usual attire and forms. We will spend the night in the city on the Hungarian side and continue on to Wien the next day.”

Aksinya curled her lip, “We both stink. I hope you have some plan to get us to a place where we can bathe and rest.”

Asmodeus shrugged, “I care little for your comfort or your needs.”

“Our comfort and our needs make this trip necessary.”

“I will find a suitable place. You will be required to make the change.”

“I will do my part. It is time for us to return to our proper positions in life.”

“I will remind you, a great war has just come to an end. The aristocracy of the Austria-Hungarian Empire are held in much greater respect than the aristocracy in Russia.”

“They will not attack us in the streets, I hope.”

“They will not attack you in the streets, but Russia was one of the enemies of this empire. You should use caution when you speak.”

“We should not speak Russian, you mean.” Aksinya turned toward Natalya, “Lady Natalya, can you speak German or French?”

Natalya stammered, “I speak French.”

Asmodeus laughed, “She should not speak her French. A Russian accent might end her life.”

Aksinya scowled, “Why are you being so helpful, demon?”

“I will soon require your cooperation again to aid in your temptation. I don’t wish any entanglements with the authorities at this time.” The demon sniffed.

Aksinya’s lip lifted, “Your concern is delightful to hear. Do you know just how much I hate you?”

The demon smiled, “I have a general idea. It is nothing compared to the hate you will feel in the future.”

Natalya likewise means birthday and specifically Christ's birthday as in Noel.  It is the name of a saint.  Where Aksinya is a stranger, Natalya is as close as a birthday.  She is a sweet and beautiful person who seeks to please.  Bear in mind, I don't intend the writing to be allegorical, but I want the meanings of things and persons to be true to their importance in the story.  Now, it is up to you to imagine how a Natalya could be of importance to an Aksinya--or how she will be an impediment.

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