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...
The Lay Judge began to read from a list. It started with “Is the Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov also known as Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna, present?”
Aksinya raised her hand and answered, “I am.”
Lay Judge Amsel read from his list of witnesses. It was very long. The Lay Judge asked if the witness was present and when they gave their answer, he continued to the next name. The names were merchants at first, but soon arrived at Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.
Aksinya turned to try to catch a glimpse of Natalya, but she couldn’t see her over the crowd.
The next name was Herr Ernst Franz von Taaffe. He, like Natalya answered present, but Aksinya couldn’t see him. Then the Lay Judge called for the Novice Sister Margarethe Traugott and the names of the two novice sisters who had been at Aksinya’s house. They all answered affirmative.
After the Lay Judge Amsel called all the names of the witnesses and everyone answered they were present, the Lay Judge announced, “Except for the Princess Aksinya, Ladies and Gentlemen who were just called as witnesses, please follow the instructions of the officers of the court and move to the witness’s lounge until you are required to testify.”
The men and women whose names had been called vacated the benches in the courtroom. The guards opened the large doors at the back, and some waiting spectators entered the courtroom to take the newly vacated places.
Judge Richter waited until the doors were shut again then he addressed the prosecutor and Father Dobrushin, “Gentlemen, will you produce your credentials.” The prosecutor and priest brought papers out of their briefcases and approached the bench. They handed them to Judge Richter, the presiding judge. The judge glanced over the documents. He wrote a couple of notes and handed the documents to the other judges, “Prosecutor Trauen, you are familiar to me. Herr Father Lopuhin, I know of you by reputation. You have worked as an attorney for the Russian refugees in Wien. I am pleased to have you in my courtroom.”
“Thank you, Your Honor. You may address me simply as Herr Lopuhin.”
Judge Richter nodded to the two men.
Now the trial really begins. In this type of trial, first the witnesses are determined and then moved out of the courtroom. Note, that we have all of the important witnesses to the case. We have not heard the charges yet from the court, but we know generally what they are from the previous scene (in the Rathaus cell).
Now, here is a detail that I made up--the presentation of the lawyer's credentials to the judge. This happened in some nation's courtrooms during this time. I could not determine if the judges in Austria did this in camera (in their offices, like they do today) or in the courtroom. If I find out differently, I still won't change this scene. The reason is that these kinds of things (credentials) in the old world were handled at the discretion of the presiding judge and could likely happen exactly as I describe it. The reason this is so important is first, to show Father Dobrushin's credentials, and second, Father Dobrushin's state. Third, I wanted to introduce the prosecutor to you. Do you recognize the name? His daughter was a student with Aksinya.
Father Dobrushin tells the Presiding Judge to address him as Herr Lopuhin and not Father Dobrushin. This is very important--if you don't get what has happened, I'm not going to tell you right now. Tomorrow, questioning Aksinya.