Aksinya is dying and Natalya helps her set up her sorcery. We have an idea what is being done, but we are not certain, yet. Natalya knows everything that Aksinya will do--she has obviously been watching her accomplish sorcery...
Aksinya grabbed for the bag of wax and couldn’t reach it. Natalya opened it and put the whole lump in Aksinya’s hands. Aksinya fumbled for the bag of herbs. Natalya opened that one for her too. Aksinya held the wax in one hand and the herbs in the other.
Aksinya motioned Natalya back with her chin. Natalya ran to the other side of the room. She wanted to watch. She could not take her eyes off Aksinya.
Aksinya’s lips moved slowly at first, but then faster. Her hands brought the wax and the dried leaves together. Aksinya didn’t look at her hands, but in them formed a small figure made of wax. Pieces of the herbs filled the lightly transparent material and stuck out in places. Aksinya’s voice almost increased to the level that Natalya could hear her, but it rose and fell in volume and the words were strange.
Finally, Aksinya grasped all around her. She nearly fell, but kept upright. Natalya didn’t know what to do. Aksinya’s hands moved slowly but frantically on the floor at every side. Natalya knew what Aksinya wanted, it was the dagger. She saw it just to her side.
Natalya called out, “There mistress. Your dagger is on your right.”
Aksinya mouthed, don’t speak.
Natalya fell silent, but without crossing the circle, she pointed at the dagger.
Aksinya reached out and took the knife by the blade. Natalya grasped, it bit into Aksinya’s fingers. Blood trickled from the fist that held the dagger. Aksinya dropped it and seized the wax doll. Blood covered it.
A low sound filled the room. The wax melted and was gone. The blood was suddenly gone. The tallow candles were out, and a bright flash filled the magic circle. For a moment, Natalya couldn’t see Aksinya. She was about to cry out, but she bit her lip. Natalya blinked her eyes, and Aksinya lay prostrate in the center of the magic circle. Natalya ran to the edge and hopped from foot to foot. She didn’t dare cross the circle. She didn’t dare speak. She didn’t dare do anything. Finally, she couldn’t wait any longer, “Countess.” She screamed, “Countess, are you all right?”
Aksinya raised her head and nodded, “Come, sweet Natalya. All is well. I just must sleep now.” Her head fell back to the floor, and she didn’t move.
Natalya ran across the circle to Aksinya’s side. She put her arms around her mistress and held her close. She listened covetously to her breathing and her heartbeat. She kissed her cheeks. Slowly, tenderly, she dragged Aksinya to the bed and lifted her onto it. They were almost the same weight, but Natalya was determined. Then she cleaned up the magic circle and put away all of Aksinya’s items. She laid back the rug. When everything was perfect, Natalya checked on Aksinya again. She kissed her forehead and went to get Sister Margarethe.
Aksinya is accomplishing a great enchantment. The circle was properly made and encompasses her. She takes wax--it is the item that will represent her physical body. She takes herbs. The body has form, the wax, and parts of the living earth, the herbs. Natalya gets out of the way, but she wants to watch everything. This is an amazing thing in the world--the work of a master sorceress.
The words are the Latin that Aksinya has memorized to make the enchantment occur. With the words and the item properly formed, the last ingredient is the sacrifice. Previously, Aksinya herself was the sacrifice--that was what injured her (along with the backlash from the power of God in the world). Natalya helps Aksinya find the dagger. Since Aksinya can barely manipulate the items, she just grasps the razor sharp dagger and allows it to slice her hand. With the addition of the blood sacrifice to the wax and herb figure, along with the Latin words, the enchantment is complete, and we see the result.
Natalya's greatest concern is for Aksinya. This is always true. The enchantment was a success and Aksinya needs to rest. Natalya takes care of everything--Aksinya knew she would. She gets Aksinya back into bed and everything is right again in their world, or is it? Aksinya is whole again, but much has happened. Sister Margarethe knows about the house, and the sister is inside Aksinya's house. The demon has been thwarted by Aksinya. He disappeared, but is he truly gone? The men from the tavern, are they dead or alive? What about Aksinya's book of sorcery? What about the gentleman who was outside the tavern? What will happen now? I told you this was a pivotal chapter. You can see how everything has been brought together to make these events happen at this point. The world has changed radically for Aksinya and Natalya--the world has changed for many of the participants in this novel. We shall see how it plays out.