A New Novel, Part 196 Luxuria is Your Problem
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.
Father Dobrushin is having the promised conversation with Aksinya. He entered the room Ekaterina gave Aksinya to use…
Father Dobrushin made a noncommittal sound. Aksinya slowly sat on the edge of the cot.
Father Dobrushin moved consciously to the far side of the room. He turned away from her, “I need to talk to you about your penance.”
“Yes,” Aksinya stared straight at him.
“Dear Countess, luxuria is your problem, therefore you must do everything in your power to fight its grip.”
Aksinya stuttered, “I understand this. That is part of my problem, but what do you suggest?”
“I only have this one dress. Ekaterina loaned it to me. My other one was ruined. I am also eating due to your benevolence. I drank too much before, but I have no money and you have not provided any alcohol to me. As to my body, my desire is no less, but I have less energy now and less temptation.”
Father Dobrushin wasn’t certain what to say. He swallowed, “About the sorcery…”
Aksinya lowered her head, “I do not intend to ever do sorcery again.”
“That is good. But to give up luxuria and sorcery all at once might be difficult.”
“I have no money and no implements to accomplish the sorcery. It is difficult for me to give up, but I am determined.”
“We will help you.” He paused a long moment, “I did want to ask you about the demon.”
Watch carefully Father Dobrushin’s actions. He moves to the far side of the room and turns away from Aksinya. He is uncomfortable being alone with a woman and with this woman. His first question is to the point and specific—her penance. He knows what her problem is because she already confessed it. This should feel and sound slightly contrived on the part of the priest. He is repeating unnecessarily. We can see in this that he is inexperienced. Ekaterina’s approach was much more powerful and helpful. He gives Aksinya platitudes, but they are somewhat necessary platitudes. They fit Aksinya’s need to be very direct.
Doesn’t the priest’s approach seem unnecessary? He tries to help her the best he can, but most of his help is already being done by the very wise Ekaterina. Aksinya longs for beautiful clothing and things. Ekaterina loaned her a plain coarse dress. The food Aksinya has shared with them was almost survival rations. It is nothing like the meals she is used to. Aksinya can’t drink alcohol. She is less tempted sexually. Plus, Aksinya has determined to not attempt sorcery again. All these things she unintentionally preempts Father Dobrushin in explaining.
His observation is correct—these might be difficult for Aksinya to give up all at once. You might wonder why he would give her a way out instead of being more forceful with her. I’m pointing out these things so you might catch them all before everything becomes obvious. This is why Father Dobrushin is himself uncomfortable with his own questioning. Aksinya, as always is very practical. She isn’t completely truthful. We know she can accomplish minor sorcery without implements, but we understand her point—she is determined.
Then, the priest gets to his main point. The first part was exactly what was expected of him, but remember, he was working on Aksinya’s real problem—that of the demon. So he introduces the subject that is very important to him: “I did want to ask you about the demon.” Tomorrow, about the demon.