The aftermaths of this pivotal scene in the novel are still coming. The issue of Sister Margarethe is a critical point that must be addressed by Aksinya. Do you see that she must resolve this point? The Reverend Mother has given Aksinya into the oversight of the Sister. If Aksinya can't come to some resolution, she only can envision a horrible end to the situation.
Sister Margarethe’s voice finally returned. It was breathless, “Who told you that?” She reached forward to grasp Aksinya’s hand. Aksinya spoke a couple of words in Latin. There was a flash in the room, and Sister Margarethe sat back in her chair, “I don’t know what you did, but it doesn’t make me love you any less.”
Aksinya raised her chin, “I took away your desire and forced you to tell me the truth.”
“Love isn’t all desire. My love for you has little to do with physical attraction and nothing to do with a sexual urge.”
Aksinya’s look said she didn’t believe a word.
Sister Margarethe glanced at her feet, “Countess, I’ve spent twenty years of my life consecrated as a bride of Christ. I feel no desire for Him. I simply love Him.”
“What about your feelings for me?”
“I think you mistake my actions and my desires. I do love you.” Sister Margarethe turned her face, “And I do admit, I love you in a way I haven’t loved anyone else…”
“There, you said it.”
“I do love you, Countess, but twenty years of loving God has shown me I can love without desire.”
Aksinya’s look was surprised, “You can love without desire, without lust?”
“Yes, without lust. I don’t desire you sexually, countess. I want to be for you in the same way you are for your servant, the Lady Natalya.”
“I don’t trust you.”
Sister Margarethe sighed, “I understand.”
“There is much more here that you don’t understand.”
“Then tell me. I will be your confessor.”
“I’m afraid I am not ready to be confessed yet…”
“I know you are involved in great sin.”
“You have no idea how great.”
“I saw what you did in the street…”
“Then you know?”
“I do not know. I have no idea what you did, but it is obvious to me, that you bled your heart and your soul to save me and the Lady Natalya. When we brought you here, you were dying. The doctor who examined you was astounded. The way we described your injuries, he was certain you would be already dead when he arrived. Instead, you were and are the picture of health.” She stared at Aksinya, “How do you explain this, Countess?”
Sister Margarethe is shocked by Aksinya's accusation. She can only respond with a question. This is the sister's greatest secret. She tries to cut off the situation by making the biggest mistake those who love with a one sided love can make--she tried to touch Aksinya. Aksinya's response is a small enchantment. Remember "big" enchantments change the world. "Small" ones affect the appearance or the symbols in the world.
Sister Margarethe's reaction is peculiar: “I don’t know what you did, but it doesn’t make me love you any less.” If you were looking for a confession, there it was. The why is answered by Aksinya in her next statement: “I took away your desire and forced you to tell me the truth.” The truth is that Sister Margarethe does love Aksinya. The question is in what way does she love... The Sister must tell the truth. Whether she wishes to or not, she must. By the way, this is obviously what she desires to do. She wants to tell Aksinya the truth. Aksinya's reaction is odd--she made an enchantment to know the truth. She, of anyone, should realize that the sister must tell the truth. This truth is so important, I will repeat it for you: “Love isn’t all desire. My love for you has little to do with physical attraction and nothing to do with a sexual urge.” The Sister's reasoning is enlightening too. She compares her love of Aksinya with her love of Christ. This is a hidden comparison, but it is obvious in the text. The Sister does love Aksinya in a way that is unusual or that is different than the way she loves others, but Sister Margarethe's love is a love without lust. Then the dangerous statement from the Sister--she wants to be as Natalya is. That can't stand. Aksinya will not let that be, plus we know that the Sister has a power she looks to (God), Natalya's power is Aksinya.
There is a lot of danger here--there is danger that will not go unpunished and for Aksinya revelations that are necessary. The conversation turns in an instant to the power that Natalya does look to. This power is Aksinya's. This is the part that the Sister doesn't understand, but she will accept because she loves Aksinya. Watch carefully her response and remember, the Sister loves Aksinya and wants to be like Natalya.
Within the conversation, the question of confession comes up. The Sister wants a confession because she wants to understand. Aksinya is truly not ready for a confession. Sister Margarethe knows Aksinya is involved in great evil, she just doesn't know what it is, and she doesn't want it to be wrong. Aksinya was wrong, the Sister has fallen under Aksinya's temptation. The sister has become part of Aksinya's sin. Aksinya has seduced the Sister with her sorcery. She has accomplished the desires of Asmodeus. The Sister realizes something is up, but she doesn't want to really know it herself. Tomorrow: “How do you explain this, Countess?”