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 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 Austria.
Aksinya came home drunk last night. She revealed her soul (or a small part of it) to Natalya. Natalya promised to never deny or betray Aksinya. The next morning, Aksinya has to pay the price for her luxuria...
Aksinya was impossible the next morning. Natalya had to shake her for ten minutes to wake her. She had Sister Margarethe bring coffee instead of tea and made Aksinya drink a whole cup while she bathed and dressed her.
Aksinya protested the entire time. Natalya had to request help from Sister Margarethe. Together, they finally dressed, bathed, and fed Aksinya. Then they walked across the street to Sacré Coeur. Chapel was a chore. Aksinya fell ill from the very beginning and had to leave before the blessing of the elements. She was sick, but afterwards, Natalya found her a cup of tea. Sister Margarethe joined them until it was time for class.
When they entered the classroom together with Sister Margarethe, Aksinya stepped directly to her seat by the window and fell into it. She lay her head down on her arms and closed her eyes. The rest of her classes didn’t go much better for Aksinya. She was behind in everything and didn’t seem to care. Natalya kept better than an average pace.
At dinner, Aksinya was listless and ate little.
Anna Pfaff started the conversation at their table, “So, Countess, did Ernst von Taaffe escort you to the ballet?” She would not look Aksinya in the eyes. They darted all around the table.
Natalya sat a little straighter, “Yes, he did escort her. He was a very pleasant gentleman.”
Frieda Trauen glanced over her glass, “I understand our sweet countess was a little under the weather today.”
Aksinya didn’t move much, “I had too much to drink, but the evening and the gentleman were pleasant.”
Fraulein Trauen smirked, “I hope for your sake, he wasn’t too familiar during your drunken state.”
Natalya glared at her, “My mistress was in no way imprudent during the evening.”
“She was drunk.”
Aksinya snarled, “I just drank a little too much. By the way, Herr von Taaffe did not ogle the ballerinas.”
Fraulein Trauen cocked her head, “Oh really, then were did he keep his eyes?”
Aksinya stared at her, “He kept them on me the entire evening. I’m not certain he looked at anyone on the stage. He took me to the Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz for dinner in the red room and to the ballet. We had caviar and Champagne at intermission.”
Dieter Vogt sucked in her breath, “The red room—ooh.”
Fraulein Pfaff shook her head, “You have totally ensorcelled Herr von Taaffe.” She bent her neck toward Aksinya and blinked her eyes, “You should strike while the iron is hot.”
Fraulein Trauen was shocked, “Whatever do you mean? She should strike while the iron is hot?”
Fraulein Pfaff scowled, “You can’t be so naïve, Fraulein Trauen. The Countess should use her every womanly wile to entice Herr von Taaffe.”
Fraulein Trauen rose in her seat a little, “What do you mean Fraulein Pfaff? Are you suggesting the Countess act in some imprudent way?”
Aksinya’s laugh startled them all. She didn’t sit up, “It is only the first evening, but Herr Taaffe pleases me very much. I shall see what will come of it. Perhaps he will ask me out again.”
Natalya touched her lips with her napkin, “He will certainly ask you out again.”
Aksinya laughed again, “Do you really think so, Lady Natalya?”
Natalya smiled. Her brow rose, “It is certain.”
Aksinya smiled, “Then, Lady Natalya, you must ensure I don’t drink so much I miss Herr Taaffe’s untoward advances. I would surely not wish to miss something like that.” She glared at Fraulein Trauen who didn’t dare squeak out a reply.
Aksinya's slow descent into decadence is showing effects. Already, her teachers don't expect much from her. She is enjoying her luxuria and sorcery. She is being tempted by Ernst. She is like a slow motion train wreck, and Asmodeus is in control of it all. Natalya is there to pick up the pieces. She truly loves Aksinya and enjoys taking care of her. Natalya couldn't do it by herself--she had to get Sister Margarethe. The spiritual results of Aksinya's binge is evident when she goes to chapel. The result of her neglect for her schoolwork is evident in the classroom. Natalya is progressing--we know much of that is due to Aksinya.
Dinner wasn't much better for Aksinya. Fraulein Pfaff wants to know how the evening went. She won't look Aksinya in the eyes because of how Aksinya appears--she looks dangerous. Still Anna wants to know. But look at this, Natalya answers for Aksinya. She understands German well enough now to converse. Fraulein Trauen just makes fun of Aksinya, but that's Frieda.
Aksinya responds this time. She doesn't move much because she is still feeling the effects of her drinking. She admits she drank too much--she isn't ashamed of it at all. Did you note that? Fraulein Trauen won't let it go. She can't let go of the sexual innuendo about Aksinya and Ernst. Natalya defends Aksinya, but Fraulein Trauen just states her insinuation again as if drunkenness itself would results in the loss of a woman's virtue.
Aksinya turns everything around with her pithy statement about the object of Ernst's attention during the ballet. This statement by Aksinya is powerful on many levels. If you remember, not long ago, Fraulein Trauen attacked Ernst's integrity with the comment that he would give inordinate attention to the ballerinas. Instead, Ernst gave inordinate attention to Aksinya. This is a direct slam-dunk against every arguement Fraulein Trauen made about Aksinya's virtue, appearance, and nobility. Aksinya goes further to tell them where Ernst took her and about the expensive snack during intermission. The romantic Fraulein Pfaff advises Aksinya to go for Ernst. Ernst is such a good catch, any girl would want him for her husband. Note, that Anna tempts Aksinya to act to seduce Ernst. Fraulein Trauen realizes this and that she has lost this exchange. That is why Aksinya laughs. Aksinya is as good as the demon at influencing others. Aksinya gives the coupe de grace--she will entertain Ernst next time too. Aksinya finalizes it with a barb against Fraulein Trauen. Tomorrow, another invitation and an intrusion.