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 delivers Aksinya and Natalya to their door. Aksinya promised to speak to Ernst tomorrow...when she gets up late...with a headache...
Natalya shut the door.
The two maids came to them and immediately began to remove Aksinya’s clothing. Aksinya required the help of all three. They put her into a hot bath. Natalya stood half undressed in the center of the sitting room and directed them. The maids readied the nightclothes Natalya instructed them to get out of the small trunk they had brought on the coupe. The footmen had delivered it to the room earlier. While Aksinya bathed—with the door open, so Natalya could keep an eye on her, Natalya had the maids set out Aksinya’s and her clothing for the morrow. The maids pressed their gowns and hung them. By then, it was time to wrestle Aksinya out of the bath and put her nightgown on her. While Aksinya lay on her bed, the maids helped Natalya out of her clothing and into her nightgown. They had already warmed the beds and checked the coals again.
At the end, Natalya had them lay Aksinya under the covers, but they propped her up on the pillows so Natalya could brush her hair. Natalya finally closed the door on the two of them. Natalya took her brush and sat on the side of the bed. She began to brush Aksinya’s hair. Aksinya’s eyes were closed, but Natalya knew she wasn’t sleeping. Aksinya didn’t open her eyes, she stretched her hands out in front of her. Her voice was only slurred a little, but her accent wasn’t evident because she spoke Russian, “Nata, no man has ever told me that he loves me.”
Natalya gave a fierce tug on Aksinya’s hair.
“What was that for? Be more gentle, Nata.”
“You have a lot to learn mistress.”
“Aksinya. I am Aksinya.”
“Yes, Aksinya. You still have a lot to learn.”
“About men. The first thing they tell is that they love you before…before…”
Aksinya’s head lolled, “Before what?”
“Before they take you to bed—then all their love is forgotten.”
“How do you know?”
“The number of times…”
“Number of times. You haven’t?”
Natalya tugged a little harder against Aksinya’s hair.
“Nata, please be more gentle. I’m listening to you. You are only fifteen.”
If you remember, Natalya is in charge. Aksinya is drunk and slowly sucumbing to inebriation. The Graf has assigned two maids to Aksinya and Natalya. For the times that is very impressive. Aksinya needs the help of both maids and Natalya. I give you details of the preparations for bed and the next day. Natalya keeps the door to the bathroom open so she can ensure the drunk Aksinya will not drown in the tub. Remember, in this day and time, rooms were always cold in the winter. That's why the fires, the bed warming, the hot bath before bed.
Natalya had the maids sit Aksinya up in the bed so she can brush her hair and get her ready for bed. Natalya has been angry all night. She wants to speak to Aksinya. Aksinya wants to talk to Natalya. She begins: “Nata, no man has ever told me that he loves me.” Natalya's response is to be rough in brushing Aksinya's hair. We know this means she is angry and agitated. Perhaps we will find out why Natalya is angry.
Aksinya isn't very tactful either. She snips at Natalya. Natalya tells Aksinya that she has a lot to learn. The a lot to learn is about men. We knew that. Aksinya is clueless about men. We also knew there was something about Natalya's unusual maturity, knowledge, and comments. Natalya is going to take this opportunity to teach Aksinya...about men. We knew Natalya was abused, but this is new. You might have guessed. Her advice to Aksinya: “Before they take you to bed—then all their love is forgotten.” Natalya's response tells Aksinya and us that many men have told her they love her and have taken her to bed. Natalya is only fifteen. She was abused by many men. We find out why tomorrow.