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 on trial in Wien, Austria. The presiding judge is questioning Aksinya. We are up to the question about her previous criminal record...
“Now, Princess, I must ask you, do you have any previous criminal record.”
Aksinya held her hands together, “Until the Cardinal had me tried on charges of sorcery, even though I was a very great sinner, I had never been accused of any wrong doing. I was found guilty of sorcery and notorious sinning by the ecclesiastical court. I don’t remember all the charges or the punishments…”
Father Dobrushin interrupted her, “I’m sorry, Your Honor, the witness caught me by surprise. The Princess Aksinya has no criminal record and has never been accused of a crime in any court of criminal or civil law.”
Aksinya glanced back at him, “Is this true?”
“The judge does not mean an ecclesiastical court. You have no criminal record no matter how notorious you believe your sins to be.” He turned to the judge, “Your Honor, please strike the Princess’ response to your question, under her criteria, Martin Luther, the Pope, and all the Saints in Christendom might be considered criminals.”
Laughter again was heard from the benches and the desk.
“I agree with your comment, counselor. Judges, strike the Princess’ statement from your notes and recollection. Princess, you have chosen rather than a trial by your peers to a trial by Schöffengericht. This does not mean you may not appeal your prosecution or that you may not ask later for a trial by your peers. The decisions of this trial will, however, be considered during any further judicial proceedings or appeal. Do you understand this?”
“Princess, you must answer aloud.”
“Yes, your honor. I understand.”
Judge Richter continued, “Now Bailiff, read the charges against the Princess.”
Once we finish with these questions, we may begin with the charges against Aksinya. I know you are waiting to hear them. The judge asks Aksinya if she has a criminal record. Listen to her response. You knew this is how she would answer. Aksinya believes, quite correctly, she is guilty of much evil, but evil doesn't exactly equal secular guilt. The ecclesiastical trial did not hinge on secular crimes, it was all about ecclesiastical crimes. Father Dobrushin immediately rectifies the situation. Aksinya can't believe it.
Father Dobrushin makes a joke that is very important in this case. He compares Aksinya to Saints, the Pope, and Luther. His point is that she is forgiven just as they are, and her ecclesiastical sins are not part of this secular trial. Already, Dobrushin is putting a turn on the court. He is in control here and will make certain Aksinya gets a just trial.
The presiding judge agrees, and then he gives us more information about the type of trial Aksinya has chosen. All this is true in Austrian Law, at the time. The next is the admonition that Aksinya must answer aloud. This will come into play as a continual small joke during the trial. Tomorrow, the charges against Aksinya.