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.
Dobrushin and Aksinya married. They came to the room Dobrushin took in the hotel near the center of Wien. The demon, Asmodeus, has appeared...
The demon took a sniff. He glanced around, “Your surety.” He stared at the heart-shaped necklace in the incense and his eye twitched. Already the flames licked around it. Already it blackened and glowed. Aksinya could detect a smell unlike the frankincense. It was a smell like fresh caviar, but sweeter. It was the sweetest scent Aksinya had ever known.
Asmodeus cried out, “I haven’t much time.” He snarled again and took a step toward Dobrushin, “You, man, shall die.” He raised his arm and rushed at Dobrushin. Dobrushin stuck out his arms to protect himself.
At the last moment, Aksinya grabbed for the demon. She jumped forward and interposed her body between the demon and the man. Asmodeus claws bit deeply into her. They cut across her thin body and through her dress, through her skin, through her bones.
A veil of blood rose in the air between the demon and the girl. Aksinya gave a single gurgling scream and collapsed to the floor. The demon cringed back. He leapt again to the side of the fireplace.
Dobrushin cried out. He knelt beside Aksinya and lifted her head and shoulders in his arms.
Her lips trembled. Her face contorted in pain, “There, demon, you are in default. You cannot harm me, yet you have murdered me.”
Asmodeus brought his hands to his face. His features displayed an appearance that had never been there before. He glanced all around.
Aksinya’s breath came in whispers, “You must return my surety. You must release me. I am truly God’s now and not yours.”
The demon shrieked and was suddenly gone. The incense sputtered then flared up. The charm within it fell to ashes. Aksinya’s hair suddenly became a single long braid down her back.
Dobrushin clasped her in his arms.
Aksinya weakly lifted her hand to the side of his face, “You need not shed tears for me, my beloved, because you released me from the demon.”
Dobrushin held her more tightly, “I can’t let you go so easily.”
“Don’t let go of me, just hold me until I breathe my last. I’m cold already.”
Dobrushin put his face next to hers and sobbed into her hair, “Please God, don’t take this wonderful woman from me yet. She is the only one of her kind on your earth. She was innocent and betrayed by a creature of darkness.”
“Not innocent,” Aksinya coughed, “Only forgiven.” Blood trickled from her lips down the side of her face.
“Please, dear God, she was forgiven. She is your child.”
Many pieces in the novel suddenly come together in this part of this scene. The surety is about to be devoured by the incense. This is the means to force the demon away Dobrushin determined from his understanding of Aksinya's situation and the Book of Tobit. The demon does seem to be affected by the destruction of the surety. He sees it is burning and states: “I haven’t much time.” Then he attacks Dobrushin. The point is that Dobrushin was right, the destruction of the surety could force the demon away. The problem is that the surety has not been consumed entirely yet.
The demon attacks Dobrushin, but Aksinya gets in the way. In this moment, we see the resolution of one of the subthemes in the novel. Do you remember that Aksinya was unwilling to give her life for her family. She couldn't give her life for her friends. The demon taunted her with this more than once and more than once, Aksinya acknowledged that she couldn't give her life for her friends or family. In this moment, Aksinya offered her life for Dobrushin's. She did gain the courage to put her own life on the line for another. It is significant that he is her husband in name, but not in reality. They are but friends and she offers herself for him.
There is much more to this event. The demon harmed Aksinya. We saw before that he could torment her, but he could not let her come to harm--that was in the contract. That was why he was so careful before. He could not let her die or kill her. He was very careful each time. This time, the demon launched a killing blow against Dobrushin and hit Aksinya. He has murdered her. This was a direct breach of the contract--thus his reaction.
Aksinya realizes this herself and responds: “There, demon, you are in default. You cannot harm me, yet you have murdered me.” Again, the demon reacts. He realizes he has made a great mistake. The moment Aksinya makes her claims, her surety falls to dust and the demon is gone.
Her hair returns to her head. This is the main evidence of the contract being broken that could be given. I don't need to tell you what happened--I showed you what happened. The contract is obviously at this point void and everything is back to the way it was at the beginning of the book--wait, nothing is the way it was. The demon carved a great path through the lives of many many people. He did it because Aksinya called him and because she was tempted. She lies dying even now. She will shortly breath her last. This is the just punishment for her actions.
Note, I show you that Dobrushin is crying, but I don't tell you he is crying (advanced writing technique). Dobrushin's response is a poignant prayer. Can't you imagine the power of his prayer. He now knows the truth that Aksinya gifted him. He has seen a demon, therefore there must be a God. Also, Aksinya's acknowledgement: “You need not shed tears for me, my beloved, because you released me from the demon.”
Them I give you the reconciliation of another subtheme in the novel. Dobrushin cries: "She was innocent and betrayed by a creature of darkness.” Aksinya's response: “Not innocent,” Aksinya coughed, “Only forgiven.” That is an ultimate point. No one is innocent or perfect--they can only be forgiven. Thus with the threat of Aksinya's death, we have to wait until tomorrow to see what happens to her.