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Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Novel, Part 259 Princess, May We Be Seated?

20 June 2011, A New Novel, Part 259 Princess, May We Be Seated?

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 and Father Dobrushin are in the courtroom in the Rathaus in Wien.  They are discussing more than the case.  Father Dobrushin's preparation is at an end; the judges enter the courtroom...

At that moment, two judges came through the door at the right and two judges through the door at the left behind the large desk.  The bailiff of the court struck his staff against the floor, “Hear ye, hear ye, this Schöffengericht is convened in the name of Emperor Charles the first of Austria and the Republic of German Austria.  I present The Honorable Gustav Richter, The Honorable Artur Kuester, Lay Judge Albert Vogler, and Lay Judge Oscar Amsel.  May the justice of the Lord God Almighty reign in all the affairs of men.” 
The judges were all stern looking men.  They wore heavy powdered wigs.  The two professional judges were dressed in red judicial robes with white stoles and split cravats, while the robes of the two lay judges were black.  Everyone in the courtroom stood except Aksinya.
The presiding judge, The Honorable Gustav Richter sat at the center of the large desk.  He stared down his nose at Aksinya, “Girl why don’t you stand to honor the court?”
Aksinya slowly came to her feet, “I apologize, Your Honor.  I will stand to honor the court.  I did not before because of my rank.”
“Your rank?”  He glanced down at the papers in front of him, “Ah, your Rank.”  He immediately stood back up, “You are that one.  I’d forgotten, please accept my apologies Princess Aksinya.”
Aksinya continued to stand, “You need not address me as Princess.  That was the ruling of the ecclesiastical court.”
Father Dobrushin gently tugged Aksinya back into her seat, “The defense acknowledges the rank of the Princess Aksinya and reminds this Schöffengericht that ecclesiastical courts have no force of law in modern Austria.”
Judge Richter smiled, “That is so counselor.”  He glanced at Aksinya, “Princess, may we be seated?”
She nodded.
Judge Richter smiled again and motioned for the court to sit.  He smiled down at Aksinya, “Princess, I do ask your permission to sit higher than you as that is good order for a court in this case.”
Aksinya smiled again, “I do give you my permission, You Honor.”
“I’d rather not have to grant you my seat in any case.”  He grinned.  A titter traveled through the courtroom.  Judge Richter continued, “Lay Judge Amsel, will you please continue with the proceedings.”

Based on the period and the Austrian legal system, I present you as accurately as possible this type of Austrian secular trial.  The courtroom is exactly an Austrian courtroom and the proceedings are what went on in a Schöffengericht trial.  The details, down to the language and the bailiff are correct as I translated them from German.

First, we get the introduction of the judges and the official opening of the court.  Second, I set the scene by describing the judges and their clothing to you.  Third, we see the beginnings of the judgement.  Aksinya from the beginning causes a problem--she should have discussed this with her lawyer (Father Dobrushin).

Aksinya has changed--the moment she is asked to stand to honor the court, she does even though she did not have to.  A princess does not have to honor an secular court.  She would only be required to honor a court of her peers.  She stands anyway.  The Judge has made a mistake and quickly stands to rectify it.

Aksinya acknowledges to the court that her rank was taken.  Then we get what was happening.  Watch Father Dobrushin--he pulls Aksinya back into her seat.  We realize that he let this all play out like this.  We know the demon brought Aksinya to this point.  Asmodeus prevailed in the ecclesiastical trial.  In this trial, Father Dobrushin fired the opening salvo.  He didn't tell Aksinya how to act and she acted just as we might predict.  She acted just as Father Dobrushin might have guessed.  The result was the presiding judge apologized to Aksinya and acknowledged her rank.  Father Dobrushin reminded them of this also.

Was this Father Dobrushin's plan all along?  It certainly seems to have been.  Watch the presiding judge--he asks Aksinya if the court may be seated.  Already, this trial is starting on an entirely different foot than the last.  Plus, the presiding judge is smiling at her.  Then he makes a joke--he asks permission to sit higher than she for the good order of the court.

The new Aksinya is happy to accommodate this request.  She would likely have accommodated the Archinquisitor--if he had asked her nicely.  The new Aksinya shows perfect decorum, but she is willing to bend.  Tomorrow, the proceedings continue.

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