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 decided to try Aksinya's fraud case first. He has called for the first witness....
Herr Tauber was an elderly and balding man. He wore a tight black suit with a split white cravat. He was thin and nervous. He sat tall with his buttocks perched primly at the front of the witness chair.
Judge Richter began, “Herr Tauber, please state your full name and the reason you are a witness before the court.”
“I am Franz Heinrik Tauber. My house was contracted in a loan in the name of the Countess Golitsyna. The loan was never paid and it defaulted.”
“Was any earnest paid as surety on the house?”
“Yes, it was paid in Russian roubles which I quickly cashed because of the troubles in
“Have you ever met the defendant who is seated in this courtroom?”
“Who is the defendant?”
Judge Richter pointed at Aksinya, “The defendant is that young woman seated there.”
“That young woman? I expected a Russian Princess or at least a Countess. That’s what the newspapers have portrayed. She looks like a drudge. Is this a trick?”
Judge Richter frowned, “This is no trick Herr Tauber. The woman seated there is the Princess Aksinya.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I meant no offense.”
Aksinya’s eyes burned, “No offense taken.”
Judge Richter hurried on, “So you never actually met the Countess or Princess before.”
“Never. This is the first time I’ve ever seen her.”
“Then who negotiated the house and the loan?”
“A man who portrayed himself as her representative and courtier.”
“What was his name?”
“He called himself Anatov Aznabaev.”
Judge Richter pulled out a paper and scrutinized it, “The signature is in Russian and does indeed look like it reads Anatov Aznabaev.”
Herr Tauber added, “All the loan documents were signed by Anatov Aznabaev in the name of the Countess Golitsyna.”
“You met this man and saw him sign the documents?”
“He was a pleasant person. He brought wine and food fit for a noble court with him. I had no idea he planned to cheat me.”In a scene such as this, the important step is to set the scene as it changes. A key witness is an important addition to a scene. You don't have to give such a character a complete description, but you should give him some defining description. Here, I give you a physical description sufficient for this type of character. From the way he sits and answers the judge, you can also tell a lot about his personality.
Herr Tauber is succinct and to the point. We find a lot of information about the actions of Asmodeus from Herr Tauber's witness. The key idea from this scene is the identification of the defendant (Aksinya). Herr Tauber has never seen Aksinya, and he thinks she is a drudge. Herr Tauber thinks Aksinya's appearance is a trick because she looks like a cleaning woman. Remember, she is wearing a soiled dress and has not washed in weeks.
Although Aksinya states that she was not offended by Herr Tauber's remarks--you can see she is. The most important point is that Herr Tauber has never seen Aksinya. The judge is trying to get to the bottom of Aksinya's case. He finds the first witness has never seen Aksinya before and then, he goes on to determine that at least the house was bought by Asmodeus in the name of Aksinya. Under Austrian law, this does not mean that Aksinya is not guilty, but it can mean that she might not be responsible. This judge seems to be willing to go the extra mile to determine the full evidence before he rules on the case.