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 is locked in a cold dark cell under the residence of the Cardinal of Wien. Her jailer is an old woman...
Aksinya took a breath, “I am very cold. Could you get me a blanket?”
The woman ignored her request.
“Why am I here?”
A cackle with the undertone of a tremble came from the woman, “You know why you are here. You are a sorceress.”
“Are you afraid of me?”
“I shall not remain here during the night, that’s certain. During the day, there are many just outside these corridors who will come to my aid. At night, the guards are men and the corridor is locked. They molest you at their own risk.”
“You are young though ugly. The darkness brings out the beauty of any woman—so I’ve been told.”
Aksinya backed to the bench and pulled her feet up under her dress. She hugged her arms around her knees and began to recite the rosary.
The woman’s voice was filled with humor, “The rosary. That’s fine to pray, but it won’t do you any good. From what I hear, the Pope’s sent his inquisitors. They’ll expose all your guilt and then some.Aksinya kept praying.
The old woman guarding Aksinya is particularly obnoxious. I wrote her that way on purpose. She represents the entire attitude of the Cardinal. By the way, we won't see the Cardinal again. He doesn't wish to dirty his hands with Aksinya. He makes her a problem for others--just as he sent for the inquisitors.
The woman is cruel. Aksinya asks why she is in a cell. She knows why, but conversation, when you are cold, hungry and have nothing else to do is better than nothing.
The old woman states the fact that Aksinya is a sorceress as though it is an absolute truth. We know the accusation is true, but there is not even the sense of fairness here. Aksinya is amused though she is anything but comfortable. Through the rest of the conversation, we see that the old woman (and the rest) believe Aksinya is a sorceress. The old woman warns Aksinya about the men. Her response is particularly threatening and cruel: “You are young though ugly. The darkness brings out the beauty of any woman—so I’ve been told.”
This is enough for Aksinya--she tries to keep warm and begins to recite her rosary. The old woman's response tells us more about what we already know: the Pope’s sent his inquisitors. They’ll expose all your guilt and then some. The point is the "then some." We know what that means. We know what an eccesiastical court in a charged atmosphere can lead to. Tomorrow, the night begins.