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.
Fathter Dobrushin’s conversation about Aksinya’s problems turns to the demon…
“We will help you.” He paused a long moment, “I did want to ask you about the demon.”
“That was the name.”
“That was the name.”
“He is tall—over six or seven feet high. He is wholly black and made like a man but only muscle and bone. He was fangs and horns.”
Father Dobrushin swallowed, “And you see him often?”
“Doesn’t his appearance shock others?”
“He does not show himself to others in his actual form. Only I see him like that. To others he conceals his true form and his true words.”
Aksinya’s face fell, “I’m not certain you believe me.”
“Countess,” Father Dobrushin faltered, “This is all very difficult to believe.”
“Yes, I understand. It never was important to me before that anyone believe me.” She thought for a moment, “You believe in God, do you not?”
“Then why do you find it so hard to believe in a demon?”
“Do you believe in God, Countess?”
“I don’t believe in God.” She raised her face, “I have seen demons—I know there is a God.”
Father Dobrushin wrung his hands, “This demon, Asmodeus, are you certain he hasn’t given up on you?”
“He is waiting, still waiting. He seeks to do evil through me. I promise I will fight him with the last of my strength.”
He sighed, “I will research this demon, Asmodeus, and see what we can do against him.”
“That is very kind of you, but I think there is nothing you can do. I have sought for months to be rid of him. He still plagues me…”
The initial conversation was a build up to this very question: “I did want to ask you about the demon.” Aksinya names him and gives a physical description. Her description is just like we might expect from folklore. Father Dobrushin’s question is something we learned the hard way with Aksinya. She was shocked that the demon concealed his appearance and his words from others. Aksinya has an epiphany, no one would believe her—only she can see the demon as he looks. She feels that the priest doesn’t believe her either. It wasn’t important before that anyone believe her. Unlike some of my other novels, I don’t let you imagine that Aksinya herself might not be fully sane. The assumption of this novel is in the sanity of the main character. This is intentional so you will see her in a positive way.
In fact, Aksinya brings to the forefront a major idea in this book: if you believe in demons, how can you not believe in God? The colliery is equally true: if you believe in God, how difficult is it then to believe in a demon? Father Dobrushin has his own question to ask: “Do you believe in God, Countess?” This allows me to place in the mouth of Aksinya one of the main themes of the novel. Aksinya doesn’t need to believe in God, she knows there is God. She just can’t trust in Him.
From Father Dobrushin’s response, you know there is much more that is bothering him. He can hear the trust in Aksinya’s words. He knows that she speaks the absolute truth. He turns the conversation from the subject back to that of the demon—this is intentional on his part. He obviously doesn’t wish to touch this subject. The priest already promised to research the demon Asmodeus. You might guess that he already has begun—you actually know he has begun. He said so the night before—Aksinya didn’t know this. Aksinya’s words and thoughts are very transparent here. She has mostly spoken her thoughts, but here they are especially clear. Father Dobrushin, not so much. Tomorrow, Aksinya’s penance.