A New Novel, Part 188 What Shall We Do with Her?
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.
Aksinya confessed and told the priests and Matushka of the Ecclesia exactly who she was. This is a problem for them and for her...
Ekaterina returned to the rectory kitchen.
Father Dobrushin glanced up. He asked in Russian, “Is she all right?”
“Obviously in pain and sleeping fitfully, but I don’t think she will awake for a while.”
Father Maker pulled his fingers through his hair, “Dear God what are we going to do about her?”
Father Dobrushin’s face fell into an appearance of serious introspection, “What do you mean Makar?”
“What I mean is that we have an insane girl in there,” he pointed toward the bare bedroom where they placed Aksinya. “She confessed to murder. She is a Russian Countess. Someone will soon come looking for her…”
Ekaterina sat at the table, “What would you have us do, Makaruska? Turn her in to the authorities? Throw her out on the streets?”
“I…I don’t know. What she confessed…can we even believe it—sorcery?”
Ekaterina put her hand on Makar’s, “The crucifix around her neck burned her chest and her clothing. From the looks of the scars, it had been burning her for a long time. It was hot enough to catch her clothing on fire. Whatever caused that was a true miracle.”
“Plus, her hands and arms are scarred everywhere,” Father Dobrushin added
Father Makar pursed his lips, “What does that have to do with anything?”
“When I was in the seminary, my mentor, Father Alexis, introduced me to the church texts that describe sorcery. One of the key identifying features in those who are sorcerers is scars on their hands and many times on other parts of their bodies.”
Father Makar shook his head, “Why is that?”
“Sorcery requires blood for sacrifice. They use knives during the rites to cut their hands or arms.”
“What about the other parts of the body?”
“According to the texts, failed spells result in wounds. Sorcerers can be known by these marks.”
Father Makar sighed, “You know I’ve worked a long time with the insane. Those who cut themselves display similar marks.”
“Sorcerer’s scars are always fully healed.”
“And why is that?”
“The result of successful sorcery is the healing of the wounds.”
“I’m not sure I believe any of this…”
Ekaterina frowned at her husband, “Not even the crucifix?”
Father Makar mumbled, “We still have to decide what to do with her.”
Okay, I love these kinds of scenes. The main character is carefully out of the way, so now we have the opportunity to show exactly what others might think of her. The priests and the Matushka sit around their kitchen table and reflect on Aksinya.
Father Dobrushin is concerned about Aksinya. The Matushka, Ekaterina likewise. Father Makar is concerned with what they should do with Aksinya. The archpriest has a problem on his hands. He doesn't believe in her sorcery. He thinks she is insane. He imagines quite rightly that an insane countess in the Russian community could be a very bad problem for him. Additionally, Aksinya claimed to murder. Someone will come looking...
Ekaterina grounds him with her words. What would you have us do, and that brings up Father Makar's great fear--sorcery. Ekaterina points out the indisputable--the crucifix was burning Aksinya and her clothing. Still Father Makar doesn't want to believe it. Father Dobrushin adds to their knowledge. Aksinya's hands and arms are scarred everywhere. Now, I give you some esoteric information about sorcerers. You knew this already from Aksinya's lips, but the proof is doubled by coming from Father Dobrushin. Father Alexis is a reference to the future patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church. He is a character in one of my other novels, so it was fun to introduce him here as the mentor to Father Dobrushin.
Father Makar gives his own impression of Aksinya's cutting. She is showing the typical behavior of the insane. Father Dobrushin points out the fact that sorcerer scars are always fully healed. Still Makar doesn't believe any of it. Not even when Ekaterina points out the burning crucifix again. He goes back to his singular point: “We still have to decide what to do with her.” Tomorrow, More about what to do about Aksinya.