3 May 2011, A New Novel, Part 211 She Must Face Punishment
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.
The priests and Ekaterina are discussing Aksinya and Natalya in the kitchen of the rectory. They have no idea that Aksinya is listening in the darkness by the door…
Ekaterina’s voice was soft, “Hush Makaruska, have you thought, that perhaps we are the only ones who might care for her. She is not like most people. She is a little strange, but she has no place else to go and no one else to turn to.”
“I don’t like having her here. I have a bad feeling about everything connected to her. Her preoccupation with the idea of a demon or with sorcery is just laughable. I think she should be under lock and key in an insane asylum, but Father Dobrushin won’t let me report her.”
Ekaterina’s voice was hard, “I would stop you too.”
“She claimed to kill her lady-in-waiting. Doesn’t that mean something to you? What if she tries to kill someone else?”
“We have yet to determine if what she said was true. We can’t find any evidence that the Lady Natalya was hurt much less killed.”
“If what the Countess said is true, she is a murderer. If what she said is not true, she is insane, but you two still want to keep her in an Ecclesia. If she really is a sorceress and called a demon, she is the most dangerous person to have within these walls.”
Ekaterina’s voice rose, “But she confessed. She has been a great help to me.”
“She confessed to murder. She may be forgiven by God, but she has yet to face the true punishment for her crimes.”
Father Dobrushin opened his hands, “Everything you say Makar is true. I just know there is more to her and this whole thing than we know. She is forgiven, but we will not allow her to escape the just punishment for her crimes. Even she should understand this.”
“She doesn’t know this Dobrushin—she is insane.”
“I hear you, brother. Let’s sleep on it. She hasn’t caused us harm. We can keep her here a little longer. Check with the police again tomorrow.”
Father Makar mumbled.
“I, for one, need to get to bed.”
Ekaterina was dismayed, “What about me. You had me send my helper away, and now I have the entire kitchen to clean. Father Makar and Father Dobrushin stood. Both their voices came at almost the same time, “I’ll help.”
Aksinya crept down the short corridor to her room. She didn’t relight the taper. She didn’t read her book. She lay on her cot under the woolen blanket and thought about everything she heard. Finally, she made up her mind and fell into a fitful sleep.
Now it comes. I give you the last paragraph from yesterday. Aksinya has no one else to turn to. We will shortly find out...well, we shall find out.
Then Father Makar begins his argument. He speaks his mind because he doesn't know Aksinya is listening. He thinks she is insane--indeed, in the minds of any reasonable person, Aksinya is insane. Father Dobrushin doesn't have any power in the Ecclesia, but Father Makar is compassionate--he has not turned Aksinya in to the authorities because Dobrushin has asked him not to. Ekaterina has her say as well.
Father Makar continues his argument. Aksinya claimed to have murdered--what if she tries to kill again? His argument is well made: if what Aksinya said was true, she is a murderer; if what she said was not true, she is insane. If Aksinya is really a sorceress and called a demon, she is very dangerous. Ekaterina's response is weak--we can hear how weak (I don't need to elaborate). Then, the clincher from Father Makar--Aksinya may be forgiven by God, but she still has to face the punishment for her crimes. This is absolute truth. Forgiveness doesn't equal pardon--each person must face the judicial punishment for their actions. Father Dobrushin agrees--this is truth.
Father Makar then makes his ultimate point--Aksinya is insane, she can't know that she must also face punishment. Do you see the other side of this? If Aksinya is sane, she would seek the just punishment for her sin. This is Socrates' answer too. A man who is sane and realizes his transgression of the law, will seek the just punishment for breaking the law. This was how Socrates justified dying himself.
Father Dobrushin suggests they take their time and wait and see what happens. Remember also, he told Aksinya to stay in the Ecclesia to protect her. Then I give you a little levity. Ekaterina sent away her helper and the kitchen still needs to be cleaned.
The end is a kicker. Aksinya heard everything. She thinks about what was said. You can guess her thoughts. She can prove her sanity by seeking just punishment. She is a danger to the Ecclesia. She doesn't wish to be a burden. She is not wanted and even Father Dobrushin agreed with Father Makar. What other decision could she make? This is the end of chapter 16. Tomorrow, scene and chapter setting for chapter 17.