For those who haven't been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a wondrous sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Wien, Austria.
Aksinya makes a small enchantment to discover if Ernst is enchanted. He isn't, but the scent of Aksinya's sorcery pleases him. That Ernst remarks on it displeases Aksinya...
“I didn’t think so.” He took a deep breath, “The scent of your enchantment is very strong. You are absolutely magnificent.”
Aksinya scooted closer to the other corner of the landau.
“What is wrong, Countess? Are you angry because I said you were magnificent or because I praised your sorcery?”
Aksinya made a noncommittal sound.
“What can I do to gain your affection or at least your attention?”
“First, say nothing about sorcery. I do not wish to speak about it. Such things do not please me. If you cannot enjoy me without sorcery being a part of it, then you should return me to my house.”
Ernst bowed, “I shall say nothing else about it—unless you, dear lady bring up the subject.”
Aksinya felt her cheeks burning, “Very, well.”
“What is second?”
She looked back at the blank side and mumbled, “Second, you must accept me for who I am, and not for who you think I am.”
Ernst sat a little straighter, “I assure you, I am captivated by you and you alone. It is every bit of you and not a singular piece.”
Natalya spoke up, “How do you know so much about my mistress? How could you?”
Ernst’s smile came through his voice, “I discovered the Countess through her courtier, Herr Aznabaev, but I know Freiherr Bockmann very well. He is a great friend of my father’s. After Herr Aznabaev made me aware of the Countess, I approached Freiherr Bockmann and asked that he allow me to woo her.”
Aksinya turned toward him, “You didn’t?”
“I did. Didn’t you find it odd that no one invited you to dance at your uncle’s Advent party? Your uncle let the word get around that I had asked for an exclusive bid to woo. He and your aunt even kept the interested at bay so I could have the chance to speak to you alone.”
“You waited until the Lady Natalya…”
He laughed, “I did. Herr Aznabaev even advised me how to get by the Sister who watches over you.”
Aksinya mumbled, “Does he advise you about everything?”
The landau rolled to a slow stop.
Aksinya doesn't want Ernst to acknowledge her sorcery. To her, the sorcery is everything that is wrong with her. It represents her sin and her evil. She does not want Ernst to like or praise her for her it. Ernst is perceptive. He goes directly to the point of her request. He doesn't realize sorcery is Aksinya's problem. He likely believes she is just secretive about it. He only wants Aksinya's affection.
Aksinya is direct: say nothing about sorcery, and accept me as I am. Ernst is happy to accede to her demands. Ernst does like her for who she is.
Then Natalya asks the obvious question that we all wanted Ernst to answer. How does Ernst know so much about Aksinya. Ernst answers her. Asmodeus told Ernst how to approach Aksinya. He went through Freiherr Bockmann. Freiherr Bockmann gave Ernst exclusive permission to woo Aksinya. That is why Aksinya was not asked to dance at the Advent party. That is why Ernst had so many privileges to approach Aksinya. That is why Ernst pushed his way into Akinsya's house.
Aksinya asked then a quiet question that we are not certain Ernst heard: "Does Asmodeus advise you about everything." This is an important question. We know the answer--we think. Tomorrow, they have arrived at dinner.