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 has faced the Ecclesiastical trial. She and many of her friends were found guilty. The last we heard, we realized she was going to a secular trail...
Aksinya woke in the dreary cell they had assigned her under the Rathaus at Wien. She was alone. Frau Becker had allowed her to take the blankets marked with the bloody crosses at each corner. She still wore the dress Ekaterina had given her. Sloppy crosses in her blood still marked it also. Aksinya felt somewhat safe. She recited her rosary. That was her true comfort.
She heard steps outside her cell and rose from her knees to sit on the hard cot she had here. There was a knock on the door to warn her and the guard called out, “Fraulein, prepare yourself and stand away from the door.”
Aksinya knew the drill by now, “I’m ready.”
The small hatch at eye level in the door opened. The matron glanced inside. Aksinya showed her hands, and a heavy key clanked in the lock. The door opened. The matron nodded to her. A male guard stood behind her. The matron motioned, “Your priest and a Frau are here to visit you. I will remain with you, if you wish.”
Aksinya shook her head.
Father Dobrushin and Mataruska Ekaterina entered the cell.
Aksinya smiled then that turned down a little, “Where is Father Makar?”
Ekaterina and Father Dobrushin glanced at one another. Ekaterina shifted her mouth, “He would not come.”
Aksinya glanced down. When she looked up again, the cell door was shut and the two stood alone with her. Aksinya tried to smile again. She opened her hands, “It isn’t much more than I had at the Ecclesia…”
Ekaterina sat beside Aksinya and put her arms around her.
Aksinya sniffled, “Aren’t you afraid you will be tainted by me. Everyone else who has befriended me has been ruined.”
Ekaterina held her closer and clucked, “Don’t be foolish. We know all about you. We won’t abandon you.”
Father Dobrushin stuck his hands behind his back, “We will not.” He waited a moment then asked, “Why did you leave the Ecclesia? I told you not to go.”
“I had to find Natalya. I had to know if she was alive. I love her. I didn’t realize…”
“You didn’t realize…”
“All of that was the demon’s doing. He visited me while I was in the Cardinal’s house. He told me he had planned everything.” Tears choked Aksinya’s words, “He told me he allowed my family to be killed.”Ekaterina pulled Aksinya’s head against her and stroked her hair.
Here is the author's free transition. We ended the last chapter with the judgement of the ecclesiastical trial. The assumption is that Aksinya will face a secular trial. The details of the time spent between the ecclesiastical trial and the secular trial are important, but there is no reason to move at a slow pace through them. Within a novel, the author can more time at a pace reasonable to the action. The action will be slow. The point is to only write exciting and important scenes (they all should be both important and exciting). So, instead of showing all the dreary details most of which you can guess, we move directly to the next important scene.
We start with scene setting. The who, when, where, what, etc. Immediately you can guess it is the morning, Aksinya wakes. She is in a cell under the Rathaus. She is alone. She has her blankets and the single dress she has been wearing, unwashed, for days and perhaps weeks. She recites the rosary. There isn't much more I need to tell the reader. You can build the scene from the information provided. Whatever your idea of a dreary cell is sufficient and all that the writer should inject. If the cell is different in any way, for example, a flower sat in a bucket in the corner. That is a reason to describe more for you. If there are cracks in the cell, then I don't need to tell you that unless the cracks have a metaphorical meaning or the cracks will come into play later in the work. Remember, nothing extraneous should be included in the writing. Everything must have a purpose.
The action begins with Aksinya, but moves very quickly to the special action. The guards come to the door, and you get more details of the process of security before allowing visitors. I also give you the impression of time and repetition by calling attention to the "drill."
We see the first visit by Father Dobrushin and Mataruska Ekaterina to Aksinya. You know why this is important and this visit allows me to tell you much about Aksinya's confinement and the secular trial that is about to occur.
The theme for this scene and section is the destruction of Aksinya's friends. The kickoff for this theme is Father Makar. Perhaps he was not really Aksinya's friend, but because he fears for his place in the community and the Orthodox Church, he will not visit her. You know he was trying to protect and yet keep everyone away from Aksinya. Aksinya makes the correct observation: "Everyone else who has befriended me has been ruined.” Father Dobrushin reassures Aksinya that they won't abandon her. The words of Father Dobrushin are very important.
Aksinya makes another observation that is important: “All of that was the demon’s doing." From the moment Aksinya called the demon, everything that has happened has been the results of the demon's actions. We will discover much more about the results of the demon's actions and the ecclesiastical trial tomorrow.