A New Novel, Part 198 What about the Lady Natalya?
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 a conversation with Aksinya about her penance and about the demon Asmodeus. There is as much that is not said in this conversation as there is not said. I have not let everything out of the bag so you can enjoy the rest of the novel. About the demon, Aksinya is speaking…
“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…”
“No, he detests the church and crosses. He has not tormented me here. I’m not sure he can.”
“Good. Then you should stay here for the time being. You are safe here, and here you should remain.”
Aksinya lowered her head, “Have you heard anything about the Lady Natalya.”
Father Dobrushin shook his head, “We have heard nothing, but I will know more tonight.”
When Aksinya raised her head, tears streaked her face, “What else should I do while I am under your care?”
“You must help Ekaterina in the rectory and in the Ecclesia.”
The sides of Aksinya’s lips raised, “I have been doing that.”
“You should spend time in prayer and study every day. I suggest you pray three times a day. You may join us in the daily prayers, if you wish.”
Aksinya clasped her hands together, “I would gladly do that. I did not think I was allowed. Thank you.” Aksinya hid her face at the side and stood abruptly, “I must help the Matushka with supper, now.” She preceded Father Dobrushin out of the room.
The demon still plagues Aksinya. Father Dobrushin is concerned that the demon might be coming to the Ecclesia. That is, if he really believes in a demon. This is an undercurrent in their entire conversation. Aksinya’s answer is straightforward and exact. Listen carefully to Father Dobrushin’s words: “You are safe here, and here you should remain.” This is good advice and we know it. This is also a foreshadowing, but there is a lot of foreshadowing in this very simple conversation, I just purposely haven’t pointed it all out.
Then to a subject that is very important to Aksinya: “Have you heard anything about the Lady Natalya.” They are asking, but they don’t know anything. Aksinya has given her trust entirely to the priests and Ekaterina. If you wondered at the import of her conversation with Ekaterina before—this is it. You can also see how Aksinya has changed. The most important thing to her is her friend, Natalya. This is why she cries. Notice, I don’t draw your attention to this directly. I show you her tear streaked face. That is enough to tell you how important the subject is to Aksinya.
Aksinya asks what else she should do, and Father Dobrushin gives her a direct answer that would make Ekaterina proud. He gives her specific work to do in taking care of the Ecclesia while under the oversight of Ekaterina. This pleases Aksinya. These simple orders give Aksinya great joy. She can be useful in something. Note, that Aksinya ends the audience—she is still Aksinya, after all. Tomorrow, dinner at the Ecclesia.