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.
For New Years 1919, Aksinya, Natalya, Freiherr, and Freifrau Bockmann have been invited by Ernst and his father to visit Ernst Father's estate in the mountains of Austria...
Aksinya was not enraptured with the idea of visiting Ernst’s family or his father’s estate. Still Ernst was pleasant. She certainly didn’t want her aunt and uncle gumming up all her time with the young man. She wondered mostly why he would invite her and her aunt and uncle to this affair tonight.
When their coupe arrived at front of the house, Ernst ran out and stopped at the carriage door before the vehicle came to a complete stop. He was dressed formally in dark tails, but didn’t have on his top hat. He yanked open the door before the doorman or the driver could. Aunt Brunhilda grasped Aksinya’s arm and pulled her up. She whispered with a smile, “Greet him first. He’s looking for you.”
Aksinya came to the door, and Ernst put out his hand. Aksinya allowed him to help her from the coupe. She was dressed in a light blue gown that had silver highlights sewn into the fabric. The gown flowed gently over her body. The top was high with a straight collar that accentuated her very thin body and small bosom. Her hat was a small square of blue lace with a very light veil that only reached as long as her bangs. Like always, Natalya had chosen the clothing for her. Aksinya had not closed her long mink cloak and that framed her body and the dress. Ernst stared at her for a moment then he put his lips close to her gloved hand and bowed deeply over it. His warm breath swirled with small clouds in the cold air, “Countess Golitsyna, welcome to Steinholtz.” He raised his head and gazed in her eyes with such a strange and fervent expression, she blushed.
The doorman and driver helped the Freiherr and Freifrau from the coupe and then Natalya. Finally, without moving his eyes from Aksinya, Ernst turned partially toward the Freiherr and Freifrau, “Good evening Freiherr and Freifrau Bockmann.” After a moment, Ernst managed to drag his eyes from Aksinya and to the Freiherr. He gave a slight bow to the nobleman, and then took Freifrau Bockmann’s hand and bowed over it.
Okay, I don't usually let you have a look into the minds of my characters. I let you see a little into Aksinya's thoughts. I chose to use this technique because I didn't think it would fit well in a conversation, and I wanted you to note her mind as they arrive. It was enough to show you she is interested superficially in Ernst, but not in his family, estate, or the party. Although very wise about many things, Aksinya is clueless about some things in life.
When they arrived, Ernst ran out without his hat. No one is caught outside without a hat in this culture. To do is is the epitome of a faux pas. Ernst rushes out to greet Aksinya. He is like a little kid. He gets to the carriage before it can stop moving and yanks open the door. You would think Aksinya would get it, but she doesn't. Her aunt does understand and pushes her out first.
Aksinya is dressed like a princess--a Russian princess; her mink cloak frames her body. If you didn't get it already, this makes Ernst's poor heart do flip-flops. He thinks she dressed for him--that's why I point out that Natalya picked out her clothing, like always. Aksinya is ambivalent to Ernst; he is deeply in love with her. All he can do is stare. His look makes her blush. We also get the name of the estate, Steinholtz--roughly, in German, "stonehold."
Ernst can't take his eyes off Aksinya. By the way, men did not kiss women's hands in Germanic cultures. To touch your lips to a woman's hand would be considered very intimate and improper. A man, most properly, would bow over the hand. In Latin cultures, I understand a man might kiss a woman's hand, but he would not kiss a Germanic woman's hand twice. In some Germanic countries, such an action could be prosecuted criminally as "touching." I do let the moment get a little intimate: Ernst brings his lips close and his warm breath makes fog in the air. This way I show you how cold the day is and how impassioned Ernst is.
Ernst manages to greet the Freiherr and Freifrau. Tomorrow, we meet Ernst's father.