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 a captive in the residence of the Cardinal of Wien awaiting an ecclesiastical trial for sorcery. The Inquisitor Esposito came to speak to her about her defense...
“You called this demon into the house of the Cardinal?”
“I did not call him here. I can’t be rid of him. He comes and goes as he wills, but I am guilty for bringing him back to the world where he can tempt and harm others.”
“You also tried to kill yourself. That is a very grievous crime as well.”
“I did not try to kill myself.” Aksinya’s voice was low, “I tried to protect myself from the demon.”
“Yes. This will be very difficult to defend Fraulein.” The Inquisitor placed his papers and pen back into his briefcase.
“I have no intention of defending myself at the trial.”
“Yes. I see. I am still called to defend you.”
“I will not hold it against you because you will fail. I am guilty.”
“I see.” The inquisitor stood. He started for the door. He stopped and called over his shoulder, “We expect the trial to begin tomorrow. Do you have anyone who might speak in your favor?”
“My priest, Father Dobrushin, Father Makar, the Matushka Ekaterina. They might speak in my favor.”
“They are Orthodox. They will not be allowed to testify.”
“Then there is no one who will speak for me. But it doesn’t matter because I am guilty.”The Priest went to the door. Frau Becker pursued him through the opening.
Inquisitor Esposito is not a very excitable man. He isn't really interested in defending Aksinya. He seems more interested in declaring her guilt.
The demon, Asmodeus, is a side story in the mind of the inquisitor. We might also ask if he really believes Aksinya at all. He has never seen a sorceress before. The inquisitor shows more excitement at the idea that Aksinya attempted suicide. He doesn't even work with her on a defense, but that is good, Aksinya doesn't intend to defend herself. The inquisitor simply states the charges, then puts away his notes and leaves. He acts as though Aksinya were not able to be defended or that she is not worth defending.
Listen to how Aksinya lets this terrible priest out of his guilt. She tells him that she will not hold it against him when he fails. She is too kind, but she also thinks she is guilty.
When the inquisitor asks if anyone will speak in Aksinya's favor, we see a glimmer of hope, but the inquisitor shoots that down: “They are Orthodox. They will not be allowed to testify.” Of course they will not be allowed to testify. No one will be allowed to testify who might aid in Aksinya's defense.
Aksinya is not to be defended. She is not to be found not guilty. This is the work of the demon--Aksinya is to be found guilty and also... I will not say. We will have to see. Tomorrow, Frau Becker speaks to the inquisitor.