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 is recovering from her evening with Ernst. She had a hangover, and Natalya assured her that Ernst would ask her to dinner again...
Indeed, a letter came to Aksinya’s house the next day.
Ernst Franz von Taaffe
19 December 1918
Dearest Lady Golitsyna
Thank you for attending the ballet and dinner with me last evening. Your presence was dazzling. You lit up my evening the same way the Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz lights up the night sky. You made me so happy, dear Countess, I would like to see you again this weekend, and I wish to invite you next week to dinner and the grand Christmas performance of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. We shall work out the details when I see you at Grossbock on Saturday. Until then,
Ernst Franz von Taaffe, heir to Graf von Taaffe”
On Friday evening, Aunt Brunhilda greeted Aksinya and Natalya when they arrived at Grossbock. She curtsied and took Aksinya’s hands. Her first breathless words were, “Dear Countess, Ernst von Taaffe has asked to dine with us on Saturday night…”
Aksinya frowned, just a little, “Did you accept?”
Aunt Brunhilda stared as though Aksinya had lost her mind, “Of course we accepted.” She smiled and shook Aksinya’s hands, “He is the perfect match for you.”
Aksinya rolled her eyes, “I’m cold. Could we retire to the family parlor?”
“Even better, we can have aperitifs in my sitting room until dinner.”
Throughout dinner and Saturday, Aunt Brunhilda wouldn’t stop talking about Herr von Taaffe. Aksinya wondered if she would be able to put up with her Aunt for the rest of the weekend. Ominously, Asmodeus did not make an appearance Friday evening. Aksinya had not seen him for a long time. She had not attempted to contact him, and she had not called him. She had a very bad feeling about his lack of appearance and speculated that the demon was either preparing something very unpleasant for her or that she was accomplishing everything he desired her to do. The later worried her the most.
Ernst is a gentleman although a gentleman who could use a little more polish. He sends a note to Aksinya the next day. The letter is a little overwrought and a little romantic, but that's Ernst. It is obvious he invited himself to Grossbock for the weekend. If you remember that Ernst and the Freiherr have an arrangement about Aksinya, then you know Ernst won't be turned away. The Freiherr and Freifrau are very must in favor of Ernst and his suit. All this is confirmed to us when Aunt Brunhilda greets Aksinya and Natalya. Aksinya does everything she can to deflect it, but the Freifrau won't let thoughts about Ernst go.
The real issue troubling Aksinya is while she is embroiled in this wonderful little love affair, Asmodeus is nowhere to be found. She hasn't tried to call the demon for obvious reasons. Aksinya knows things are not right, but she doesn't want them to stop. She loves everything that is going on. She is warming to Ernst and falling into the temptation before her. Aksinya knows what is going on, but she won't admit it to herself. She is willing to let everything play out in spite of the possible tragic ending, because she can't imagine any tragedy. Not at this point. Tomorrow, Herr von Taaffe.