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. Frau Becker follows the inquisitor out of the room...
The Priest went to the door. Frau Becker pursued him through the opening. In the hall outside, she called to him, “Inquisitor Esposito.”
The priest turned, “Yes, Frau.”
“You know this girl is not fully sane. No one can really do sorcery. No one can do the things this child has been accused of.”
“She has confessed to them, and I don’t see much that I can defend.”
“Listen to me, Father. For the love of God, you must not allow them to harm her. Since she has been here, I have not seen anything in her but an honest and contrite woman. I hear the papers are following everything. I know there are reporters outside the gates every day. This trial will ruin her and many others. It will not help the Church. It will not lead to anything good.”
“The Pope himself sent us to seek out a resolution to this matter. It is not in our hands. It is in the hands of God. For better or worst, the result will be what it is. Additionally, Archinquisitor Gallo is a driven man. He will not let this go until it reaches the bitter end. The scourging and discipline of the Church and its members is a critical function that we provide.”
“But this will not scourge and discipline. It will lead to much harm.”
“So you say,” he frowned down on Frau Becker.
“Let me testify in her favor. I am a member of the Church and can speak to her sanity and her goodness.”
“That will not be allowed. You are not a witness to any of the charges to which she has been accused.”
The inquisitor turned on his heel and left Frau Becker standing with her mouth hanging open.
Frau Becker wishes to help Aksinya. She has been an angel for Aksinya in the house of the Cardinal. She speaks what any sane person should know: Aksinya can't be guilty because there is no such thing as a demon or sorcery. Listen to the inquisitor's response: “She has confessed to them, and I don’t see much that I can defend.” He will determine her guilt on her own confession. This is patently not allowed in the Church. Frau Becker understands this, so she begs for them to show mercy to Aksinya.
From Frau Becker, we also learn what the demon has done--the press is involved. Whatever comes out in the trial will come out in the papers. It will indeed ruin everyone involved. Do you remember how incendiary the events are around Aksinya. If you have forgotten, the climax of all the events came on the night Aksinya was to give her answer to Ernst's proposition of marriage. We discovered that Natalya, with the help of Asmodeus, and by Aksinya's own hand, had seduced Ernst. In today's world this would be nothing--in the world of Austria right after WWI, this is a feature story. The nobility has not been ended, yet. The people are looking for respite from the war and a scandal is the perfect thing to take their minds off their own suffering. A nobleman who stoops to take the lady-in-waiting of a countess to his bed is an affront to Austria and the nobility. There are two noble families involved in this mess. There is a Catholic school and a Catholic church.
Frau Becker is right: "This trial will ruin her and many others. It will not help the Church. It will not lead to anything good.”
The inquisitor states his position also--he is there to resolve the issue of Aksinya. There is a parallel here. We learn about the main inquisitor, Archinqusitor Gallo. The inquisitor threatens Frau Becker, but she will not back down. She volunteers to testify in Aksinya's favor. She is flatly refused. Aksinya is guilty, and she will stay guilty no matter anything on heaven or earth. Tomorrow, the trial begins.