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.
Ernst has invited Aksinya to go to dinner and the opera on Christmas Eve...
On Wednesday evening, Ernst’s landau drove up to Aksinya’s front door. Ernst brought another bouquet. It included a red rose in a nest of small blue flowers. Aksinya wore her mink cloak when she stepped out of her house, but Natalya hadn’t tied the collar very tightly so Aksinya’s brilliant red silk and pink lace gown showed at the opening. The dress fit her perfectly and showed off her status and limited figure to best effect.
As Aksinya stepped out of her house, Natalya touched her arm and pointed at the windows of Sacré Coeur that overlooked the street. The faces of their classmates were pressed against the tall windows. Aksinya raised her bouquet and waved. Fraulein Vogt and Fraulein Pfaff waved back. Fraulein Trauen stepped quickly away from the window and out of sight. A host of other younger girls waved back vigorously.
Ernst glanced up and laughed. He didn’t wave—he placed his finger at the side of his nose and winked at the girls. Ernst and his driver helped Aksinya and Natalya into the landau. The driver snuggly tied down the leather sides.
After the landau began to move, Ernst laughed again, “Your cheering gallery was out in force tonight. I didn’t notice them before.”
Aksinya kept her head forward, “They weren’t there before.”
Ernst stroked his chin, “Why not?”
“I told them the other time, but I don’t think they believed me. Plus, the fact I had a house was somewhat a secret at the time.”
“It isn’t a secret now?”
“It is still a secret, but such things are nearly impossible to keep quiet in a school for girls.”
He laughed again.
Aksinya frowned, “Where is my book?”
“It is safe. I promise you, Countess.”
“When will you return it to me?”
Ernst sat back and turned more toward her, “Perhaps, Countess when I have my way with you.”
Aksinya blushed but smiled behind her hand.
Natalya also colored, “I warn you Herr von Taaffe, my understanding of German is improving and your comment was most unbecoming.”
“I apologize to both of you. I did not intend my words to be taken as innuendo. I simply don’t want to give up my surety until I am certain I have achieved my goals.”
Natalya squinted through the darkness in the landau at Ernst, “I would like to know just what your intentions are toward my mistress.”
“Shouldn’t her uncle ask me that?”
“I protect her, so you must answer to me.”
“Very well. I am obviously wooing her with the intention of marriage.”
Natalya sat back, “I gathered as much, but I wanted to hear that from your lips.” Natalya had a very thoughtful look on her face, but it was mostly covered by the deep shadows in the landau.
I don't need to use many words to describe the scene. You already know Ernst's landau. You already know Aksinya's house and the street where the school and the house lie. Those parts that have changed are the most important. Those details are necessary.
Ernst brings a bouquet with a red rose and blue flowers. You already know about red roses and their meaning in Germanic cultures. Now, take a look at the way Natalya has dresses Aksinya. Aksinya has on her mink cloak (of course she does). Natalya has left Aksinya's cloak open slightly. That reveals Aksinya's dress and body. Natalya is obviously framing Aksinya for Ernst. She is like a red rose in a nest of a mink cloak. This is a parallelism using description. It is an advanced writing technique. I use it extensively throughout my writing. There are many examples, most are not as obvious as this one. Note, the dress shows off Aksinya and her status.
The attention and status of Aksinya at Sacré Coeur are revealed in the next paragraph. The girls are watching for Aksinya to go out on her date. Fraulein Vogt and Pfaff are excited for Aksinya. Fraulein Trauen not so much. Ernst gives a romantic response to the girls in the school. They admired him. Now, they love him too. Then Aksinya tells Ernst a little about the situation at the school and with the girls. This is intended as a bit of entertainment. Aksinya's response: secrets are hard to keep in a girl's school. Still, she isn't taken in by Ernst, her first question: "Where is my book?" This simple question gives Ernst an opportunity to make a statement of questionable pedigree. It is an completely inappropriate statement, but we aren't certain how innocent it is. Aksinya really is warming to Ernst. She isn't offended at all.
Natalya is offended for Aksinya. She calls Ernst on his statement. Ernst apologises and shows us that he isn't as intentionally inappropriate as his words might seem. Ernst has goals and Natalya wants to know what those goals are. Ernst's answer is straight forward. We could have guessed that this was Ernst's purpose. He is wooing Aksinya with the intention of marriage. Natalya's response seems ambivalent, but she did prepare Aksinya as a bouquet for Ernst. Tomorrow, dinner and the opera.