The beginning of a chapter requires the setting of the scene for the entire chapter. This is indeed an important chapter and a critical scene. Everything so far has led up to this, and out of this scene shall come the defining points for the rest of the novel. Nothing is extraineous. Nothing is added or wasted. Each piece of the puzzel fits into the story, plot, and theme to make the whole.
On Wednesday evening, Aksinya and Natalya made their way out of the alleyway behind the dormitory and began to creep across the street. The spell Aksinya made was always intentionally short lived. She usually felt it disappear after they crossed the street and entered the house. This evening, it failed before they crossed the road, and Aksinya didn’t take the time to speak the Latin words again. They crouched in the shadows at the edge of the alley and street.
The noise of the rowdies in the tavern down the way was very loud that evening. Aksinya took hold of Natalya’s hand and pulled her away from the gas lamp near them. She marked the pools of darkness they could slip to from one side of the street to the other.
Aksinya held her new brown book in one hand. It was very helpful. She had almost completely memorized it. The spells were indelibly cast in her mind. They were very different from the ones she was used to. They dwelt with water, illusions, and the minds and thoughts of people. She wondered many times why the demon had given her just that book. She should be finished with it tonight and finally able to leave it in her library in the cellar. She wanted to try a couple of spells tonight also.
Aksinya took a quick breath. The street was filled with the scent of coal smoke and horse manure. She could smell the tavern in the air with its coal fire, fermentation, and hops not a half a block away to the left. That, with the noise of its drunken patrons told her exactly where it was. Without another thought, Aksinya took a step into the street. There hadn’t been any fresh snowfall for a while, but the temperature hadn’t been cold enough to melt it all. Piles of icy frozen gray slush filled the nooks and corners everywhere outside.
The where and the when: they are sneaking out of the dormitory on Wednesday night just as they have for the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Aksinya's spell unaccountably fails. This means they will be visible when they cross the road.
I show you it is dark without telling you. Plus, you can hear the noises in the street--the tavern out of sight to the left. The smells of the place. I tell you that Aksinya has her book, and that she plans to do more sorcery tonight. She wonders about the book and why the demon gave it to her--especially that one particular book. I let you know that it is cold and the street is dirty.
Especially note the drunken sounds from the tavern. With this setting, we can now let our characters out on the stage to act within the scene.