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.
Dobrushin and Aksinya married--this is part of the plan Dobrushin believes will rid Aksinya of the demon. For better or worse, they are bound together in this. We are not sure of the outcome. The beginning of every scene and chapter is first scene and chapter setting...
Aksinya and Dobrushin rode in the carriage to a hotel near the center of Wien. It was almost midnight, and she couldn’t read the name. Aksinya trembled with chill and anticipation. Within the carriage, she sat close to Dobrushin. The warmth of his body came to her through her new coat and her woolen dress. They didn’t speak the entire time. When they arrived, Dobrushin let her down from the carriage and gave her his arm. He didn’t have to, Aksinya took it automatically. She held him tightly as if she never wanted to let him go.
They entered the hotel, and he spoke to her, “Princess, I have arranged a room here.”
The lobby was dark with only a single gas lamp over the reception desk. From what Aksinya could see, the hotel was a fine but not luxurious place. Is smelled a little of age and was a bit stuffy, but that description could fit most buildings in Wien. The sleepy desk clerk sat up straighter. Dobrushin came to the desk and asked for his key. He introduced Aksinya, “This is my wife.”
Aksinya gave a broad smile. The word, wife, from Dobrushin’s lips were very pleasant to her. She held his arm more tightly.
Dobrushin led her to the left and up the stairs. Half the gas lamps had been extinguished and the rest were turned low. In spite of that, the hall seemed bright since the light wooden walls reflected the lamps’ gentle glow. Dobrushin stopped before an inner door and unlocked it. The gas lamp directly inside the door had been lit, but it was adjusted to its lowest setting. They entered the room, and Dobrushin turned it up bright. He closed the door behind them. He gently disengaged Aksinya’s arm from his and removed her coat. He hung it on the hook by the door. Then he removed his overcoat and hung it beside hers. With the taper left in the gas lamp fixture for that purpose, he crossed the room and lit the other two gas lamps. Aksinya stood before the door unsure what to do. She glanced around the room. It wasn’t large. It had a coal fireplace at one side that was lit with a meager fire. Extra coal sat in a scuttle at the left side. The ash pot and implements were on the other side of the opening. Before the fireplace were two chairs and a low tea table. Beyond them, a wide window sat in the far wall. Below the window was a wooden table and four chairs. At the left was a bed and a desk. The other two gas lamps were on that wall. Fine oriental rugs covered the area of the fireplace, the table, and beside the bed and the desk.
I very quickly paint the scene for you with the carriage ride. It is late and dark and I use an advanced technique by letting you know that she can't read the name. That means the sign isn't lighted, that it is dark, and indicates it's likely a quiet and congenial hotel. Aksinya trembles--she's cold and she is anticipating--what else could this girl anticipate on her honeymoon. We know Aksinya and her desires well. I build this tension with the description in the carriage. We note that Dobrushin is a little tense--they don't speak.
When they arrive, Dobrushin is a gentleman and Aksinya is still clingy. She desires him--she is finally free to have someone. Dobrushin's words are almost unnecessary, but he speaks them. I give you a description through Aksinya's eyes. The clerk likely doesn't care if Dobrushin is bringing in his wife or a prostitute, but Dobrushin is nervous and inexperienced enough to say it. That is a pleasure to Aksinya.
I show you some history with the details on the lamps. This is the way it was done at the time. The chambermaid for the room would light the door lamp and leave a taper. I show you the process of lighting the lamps and this gives me the opportunity to have Aksinya look at the room. The details of the room are important. We shall see more tomorrow.