I'll give you a little more today than usual, because I want you to connect an important part of the story and theme. I'm writing chapter 17 now. It is one of the pivotal scenes in the novel. You have only seen two of the pivotal scenes so far and there are seven. The first is the incantation--loosely chapter 1. The second it calling Natalya. We are building to the third. After the third pivotal point in the novel, it proceeds until the great confrontation (not what you might think) and the chapters flow from there with the resolution and final conclusion. Like a mentioned, I'm writing one of the next big surprises in the novel--a scene that everything has built to.
She pawed through the rest of the jewelry and took out a couple of more pieces. Each piece brought back some memory of her mother. She couldn’t stop her thoughts. Aksinya’s stomach ached the whole time, and the rosary burned against her skin, but she would endure it, she would. Sleep began to overtake her, and she eventually closed and locked the box. She wanted to go to sleep. When she tried to lift the jewelry box from her bed, she found it was much too heavy for her to lift. She couldn’t budge it. If she tried to push it off the bed, it might fall and break. The noise would surely wake Frau Drescher, whose own rooms were just below hers.
Since she couldn’t move the box, Aksinya finally curled up in the remaining space on the bed that was left to her—it wasn’t much. She was cramped. She couldn’t move. Her stomach ached. The crucifix burned her skin. She wasn’t certain she slept at all, but she did wake when Natalya shook her in the morning.
Natalya just stared at the jewelry box and at Aksinya.
Aksinya was drowsy. She sat up and stretched, “The de…, Asmodeus paid me a visit last night. He left the box. Would you like to see inside?”
Natalya was enthralled, “Is it something that has to do with you know what?”
Aksinya’s brain was still a little fuzzy with sleep, “You know what?”
“Yes, the things you can do…” Natalya whispered, “Sorcery.”
Aksinya lowered her eyes, “It has nothing to do with that.” She unlocked and opened the box.
Natalya gazed at the jewelry. She let her eyes move lovingly over every piece she could see. Aksinya picked them up and let Natalya see those things underneath. Aksinya tried to hand a couple of pieces to Natalya, but she wouldn’t touch them. After a while, Natalya sighed and stated, “Please mistress, we will be late.”
Aksinya put away the pieces, closed, and locked the box. At the same time, Natalya pulled the nightgown over Aksinya’s head. She stopped when she saw the crucifix.
Aksinya complained, “It’s only half off. Keep pulling.”
Natalya squeaked, “Around your neck…”
“Yes, it was my mother’s. Keep pulling.”
Natalya pulled the nightgown off the rest of the way, “You are burned, countess.”
“Yes, the crucifix did it. It is burning the impurity from my soul.”
“Doesn’t it hurt you, mistress?”
“It hurts like the dickens and my stomach aches, but I will endure this.”
Aksinya’s shoulders drooped, “I’ll tell you later. Yes, later. Please hurry, Nata. Otherwise we shall be late.”
Aksinya looked through the jewelry and reminisced about her mother. The entire time, the rosary burned her skin. She intends to fight against the demon--this is her first shot. The pain she faces is insignificant to her determination.
When she tried to go to sleep, she realized the demon's point. She can't move the box and she doesn't have enough room to stretch out. The demon knows how she would react to his warning. He didn't tell her to help her but to get her to make the demand. The end is that Aksinya's demands caused her problems.
Everything surprises Natalya. She represents all of us. All of us who would be equally surprised by the astounding events around a person like Aksinya. Aksinya shows Natalya, her friend, the contents of the box. Natalya's mind is focused on one thing--you should know that--sorcery. Natalya won't touch those things that belong to Aksinya--this is a proper reaction of a servant. She would touch the jewelry if asked to get them for Aksinya, but believes she has no right to touch them for herself.
Do you like the fun technique I use to draw Natalya's and your attention to the rosary--she pulled the nightgown over Aksinya's head but stopped when she sees the crucifix. Natalya immediately noted that the crucifix has burned Aksinya on the chest. Aksinya's answer was intentionally incomplete, but we have to wait until tomorrow to see Natalya's reaction.