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.
Natalya returned at the beginning of the school day. Aksinya won't speak. She won't respond. We have no idea what her thoughts are. Aksinya's despondency continues past dinner...
They walked across the street to Aksinya’s house. Natalya unlocked the door. The novices came when they heard the door open. Aksinya didn’t wait for them to take her cloak. Sister Margarethe entered directly behind them from the street. She was out of breath. She started to say something and follow Aksinya, but Natalya put up her hand and waved her back. Natalya handed her cloak to the first novice. She took a deep breath of the collar first. Then she followed Aksinya up the stairs.
Natalya closed and locked the door to Aksinya’s rooms. The mink cloak lay in the sitting room floor. Natalya picked it up and smelled it. She took a deep breath of the lining and smiled. She placed the cloak reluctantly down over one of the chairs and went into Aksinya’s bedroom. Aksinya fought with the buttons on her blouse. Her uniform short coat lay on the floor.
Natalya came over and pulled Aksinya’s hands away from the front of her blouse. She pushed them to Aksinya’s side and began to unbutton the blouse. She pulled it off Aksinya and lifted the camisole over her head. She unbuttoned Aksinya’s skirt and untied her slip. She took everything to the gross schrank and hung them inside. She pulled out a silk nightgown and returned. Aksinya already sat on the edge of the bed. Natalya pulled the gown over Aksinya’s head and plucked her hands through the sleeves. She pulled the bottom of the gown over Aksinya’s thighs.
Aksinya lay back on the bed and her head touched something hard. She frowned and reached up behind her head. She felt a book. No, two large books.
Aksinya sat up suddenly. She half turned and mumbled, “My books.” She glanced at Natalya, “Why are my books here?” Without waiting for an answer, Aksinya pulled the books over to her. One had a brown cover, she opened the book and her mouth formed an “O,” “This is the book Ernst took.”
Aksinya’s hands trembled. She pushed the book aside and took up the other. She caressed it with an overly light touch as though she really didn’t want to handle it. She opened it and whispered, “This is not my book. It is a Greek Book of Heka.” She stared at Natalya, “This is Ernst’s book.” She dropped it back on the bed, “How did these books come to be here?”
“What did you do, Nata?”
Natalya pulled the covers down on the bed. She carefully didn’t touch either book, “Now that man has no power over you. You have no reason to see him anymore. You have your book again, and you have his book.”
Aksinya picked up The Book of Heka and held it against her breast, “I do have his book.”
Natalya smiled, “Get in bed, mistress. I know that you wish to read tonight. I will leave the gas lamp lit over your bed.” She bent forward and helped Aksinya crawl under the covers. Aksinya would not let go of the new book.
Aksinya has no hope. This might not be so obvious as a statement. Asmodeus took the most important person to Aksinya from her without any fight. Aksinya had no say--she had no power to prevent Natalya from leaving her. She had no power over the demon, his actions, his desires (if he has any). Aksinya could not prevent her best and only friend from coming somehow under the power of the demon and leaving her. Aksinya knows Asmodeus was behind everything, and she isn't as interested in what Natalya was doing as her own failure to prevent it. Aksinya should have been concerned about Natalya's actions. Aksinya is and has always been focused on herself and not on others. Her concern isn't as much for Natalya or what Natalya was doing as her own lack of power or control.
When they return to Aksinya's house, Natalya is in complete control. She orders Sister Margarethe. She orders the novices. Look at her actions with her cloak and then Aksinya's mink. It is obvious who Natalya loves. Natalya is entirely and completely dedicated to Aksinya. She literally worships the ground Aksinya walks on. This is what I am showing you through Natalya's actions.
Inside Aksinya's rooms, Natalya is still completely in control. She locks the door. She savors the scent of Aksinya. That makes Natalya smile. Aksinya is despondent and completely beaten down. She can't undo the buttons on her blouse. Natalya has always unbuttoned them for her. Watch Natalya's actions. She demands her place. She takes over the work she knows to do. She undresses Aksinya and puts away her clothes. There are no words and no need for words. Natalya gets Aksinya's nightgown. Like one would dress a child, Natalya dresses Aksinya in it. The words I use show you exactly this: Natalya pulled the gown over Aksinya’s head and plucked her hands through the sleeves. She pulled the bottom of the gown over Aksinya’s thighs. Note, Aksinya sits on the side of the bed--an obedient child waiting to be dressed. I also give you some historical details in the way clothing was put on and taken off at the time (slips were tied, ladies).
Aksinya lays back on the bed. She still doesn't say anything. Her head touches something. There are two large books on the bed. Aksinya's first words in a long while are "My books." Why indeed are these books of sorcery here? The first book is the one that Ernst took from the street. This was the book that Aksinya strove to get back for so long. Natalya chuckles.
Watch closely what motivates Aksinya. The first book is Aksinya's book that Ernst took. The second book is the book that Ernst promised Aksinya. Aksinya asks where the books came from--Natalya just smiles. Aksinya asks what Natalya did to get the books. Natalya doesn't answer her question instead this is her response: “Now that man has no power over you. You have no reason to see him anymore. You have your book again, and you have his book.”
Aksinya's response shows that she is not interested in Ernst. She is not interested in how Natalya got the books. She is interested in only one thing that is the sorcery in the books. This is what motivates Aksinya. This is what has always motivated Aksinya in this novel. She desires luxuria. She desires sorcery. These are her temptations. Anything else to her is rubbish.
Natalya's statement at the end of this scene: “Get in bed, mistress. I know that you wish to read tonight. I will leave the gas lamp lit over your bed.” She bent forward and helped Aksinya crawl under the covers. Aksinya would not let go of the new book. How well Natalya understands her mistress. How perfectly Natalya predicted Aksinya's response. Still, we know there are problems. Where was Natalya? What did Natalya do? I have given you enough hints that perhaps you know exactly what Natalya did. If you do, then you know Aksinya can't fathom or even imagine it.
Aksinya will climb out of her despondency. She will perhaps find her way back from the brink of her silence and pain. When she takes back control, what will be the result? When she is finally satiated with sorcery, what will Aksinya do? All will eventually be made clear. Tomorrow, the aftermath of learning new sorcery.