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 von Taaffe has come to Aksinya's house to hear her answer to his proposal of marriage. The demon, Asmodeus, follows Ernst into the parlor. Ernst's first action is to passionately kiss Aksinya, then he claims to know her answer already and he is here to take her home...
Aksinya stepped back and almost tripped over her chair, “I don’t have any idea what you are talking about, Ernst von Taaffe.”
Ernst continued to stare possessively at Aksinya. His eyes swept up and down her body in a very intimate glance.
Aksinya was suddenly filled with desire. She immediately pushed any such thoughts out of her mind. She glanced at the demon, then back at Ernst. Only she seemed to realize Asmodeus was in the room with them at all. Aksinya’s voice turned suddenly hard, “Sister Margarethe, leave us. Take the novices with you. I need to speak to Ernst privately.”
Natalya began to rise.
Aksinya didn’t turn, “Lady Natalya, you may remain. I am in great need of a chaperone.”
Ernst laughed, “In need of a chaperone? I think not, but dear lady, I will accede to your will.”
Sister Margarethe and the novice nuns reluctantly departed the room. Sister Margarethe halted a moment beside the door.
Aksinya raised her head, “Please close the door to the parlor, Sister Margarethe.”
Sister Margarethe nodded and slowly pulled it shut.
Aksinya stepped over to the door and made certain it was fully closed then she turned back toward Ernst, “What do you mean, sir by your statements? I did not send you a letter, and I did not attend you the other night.”
Ernst’s face fell for a moment, but he reached into his coat and pulled out a letter. He shook it open and handed it to Aksinya, “You sent this to me.”
Aksinya reached out and carefully took the letter without touching Ernst’s fingers. She scanned the letter. Then read it again, carefully.
Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna
Sacré Coeur Straße
8 January 1919
My Dearest Ernst
I hope I proved my love to you Wednesday night. I couldn’t imagine a more suitable man to take into my arms and reveal my every desire and delight. My answer to you on Monday is yes and yes and yes. I am already yours. You have my heart and soul and body. Please don’t be late because my love for you only exceeds my desire.
I love you with my body and soul,
Aksinya was suddenly breathing hard, “I did not write this letter. After the opera, I did not spend Wednesday night with you.”
Asmodeus laughter filled the parlor.
I already revealed to you that this is the climax of the novel. The buildup or rising action all led to this single time and place. Ernst made a claim on Aksinya's heart, mind, and body. He implied that she spent Wednesday night with him. Suddenly, we realize, Ernst believes that Aksinya spent the night with him, and Aksinya has no idea what he is talking about.
Ernst glanced over Aksinya with desire. It is a temptation Aksinya also felt. She looks at the demon because this temptation obviously comes directly from him. He is trying to influence Aksinya and Ernst. Ernst doesn't have a clue. Aksinya realizes what is going on and immediately clears her mind of these thoughts. She sends the sisters out of the room. Watch Natalya. She wants to leave too. Aksinya calls on Natalya to act as her chaperone.
Aksinya knows she needs a chaperone. A woman who is married and with her husband or already known to cavort with men doesn't require a chaperone. Thus Ernst's response. He acts as though he is giving her a favor. The sisters don't want to leave either. They know something is very much amiss. Sister Margarethe wants to protect Aksinya.
Aksinya shuts them all off and with that any chance of their help. She doesn't realize that she is closing the trap around her.
When the sisters are out of earshot and the door is closed, Aksinya calmly confronts Ernst. In response, Ernst produces a letter. Do you remember the comments last week about Asmodeus intercepting the post. It seems he was doing more than intercepting the post.
Aksinya takes the letter without touching Ernst. I love letters because they tell you so much about the world around your characters. They are perfect scene setters--even when you don't need it. I tell you the approximate address of Aksinya's house, the date, the place (that is Wien, but you knew that). You can tell everything from the address and the signature--you don't need the contents, but here you see that Aksinya (or someone) wrote to Ernst a very intimate and familiar letter. What else could Ernst think?
Aksinya disclaims everything. The demon laughs. Tomorrow, Aksinya's handmaiden.