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. Aksinya and Dobrushin are in Boston, and Aksinya has come to an Orthodox girl's school looking for a job. The headmistress recognises Aksinya and embraces her...
The woman before her gave a cry, “Princess Aksinya.” She rushed around the desk and embraced her.
Aksinya couldn’t get her breath she couldn’t speak. Finally, she threw her arms around the headmistress and exclaimed, “Lady Natalya.”
Natalya buried her face in Aksinya’s thick braided hair and blubbered. They stood together for a long time without saying anything. Finally, Natalya spoke, “I thought I would never see you again, Princess.”
Aksinya kissed her cheeks, “Dear Lady Natalya, I would never have guessed I would find you here. Is Herr von Taaffe with you?”
Natalya gave a laugh, “I am Mrs. Natalya Alexandrovna von Taaffe, though not called a Lady anymore. And you?”
“Father Dobrushin married me although he is not a priest anymore, and I am no longer a Princess.”
Natalya’s moist eyes held Aksinya’s, “You will always be a Princess. My lady’s maid told me you were looking for a job.”
“Please, Lady Natalya, I’m certain you would not wish to have me around you all the time. I know I will bring back terrible memories to you.”
“You don’t understand at all Princess. You are the reason I am here today. Wait with me for a while. Let me hear all that has happened to you since we parted, then we will have luncheon with Sister Margarethe, and we will discuss your teaching work in my school.”
“Sister Margarethe is also here?”
“Herr von Taaffe retained her as our housekeeper. She converted to Russian Orthodox and entered an order in the
. Our school is loosely affiliated with United States .” Natalya held Aksinya at arms length and looked her over, “Dear friend, we have so much to talk about and so much to share. I do love you, Princess. I want you to remain with us forever.” Saint John’s
“In spite of everything that happened?”
“Because of everything that happened before. That time marked the end of a horrible and wonderful period, yet redemption came to you, to me.” She held Aksinya close, “I could not bear to lose you again, Aksinya. You redeemed me, the first of many. You shall redeem many more. God exceeded our expectations in spite of what we had done.”
- The End -This novel was all about loss and what people are willing to give up for their own desires. Aksinya did indeed lose her old life. She lost her position, her money, her goods, her family, her friends, her sorcery. She lost literally everything. She gained salvation, and lost the demon. We recognise the things she gained and the life she gained in spite of the losses. I wanted to convey this in this scene. I gave Aksinya back her two closest friends because I wanted to remind you that this novel was also about salvation. Aksinya found salvation in spite of the demon and in spite of who she was and what she had done. She paid a high price for the salvation, but in retrospect it was a lot less than her savior. I mean that about both her saviors. Dobrushin became her savior from a physical standpoint. He saved her from all the harm she had brought upon herself. Her other savior was Christ. Even though everything seemed to be contrived against Aksinya, ultimately, Christ provided spiritual salvation and eventually freedom from her demon.
Do you remember that I told you this novel was about the demons we all carry. Aksinya's demon was just more real than most of ours. This novel was a novel about redemption on many levels. The redeemed was the one who seemed the least likely to have any hope, yet she, Aksinya was redeemed--and along the way, she did redeem others. This is the point I wanted to make in this final chapter. It does no good if your efforts only benefit yourself--even salvation. In this way, salvation is both individual and communal. The salvation of the individual leads to the salvation of the many.
In this piece, we see Natalya. She is unbroken, but she carries the scars of Aksinya's beating. Aksinya carries scars as well. Natalya embraces Aksinya. They are both overcome by the meeting. Natalya buries her face in Aksinya's "thick braided hair." Do you ever think I could let you forget the hair. This is the symbol for Aksinya's contract with the demon. Natalya gets to see a whole Aksinya for the first time. Aksinya's first thought is for her friend: "Is Herr von Taaffe here." Natalya is not a kept woman, she is a wife with rights. I let you know that she and Ernst had to give up something--she is not called a Lady anymore.
Then I remind you of a little that Aksinya and Dobrushin have lost. That's when I get to deliver the clincher. Aksinya states: "I’m certain you would not wish to have me around you all the time. I know I will bring back terrible memories to you.” Natalya's response: “You don’t understand at all Princess. You are the reason I am here today." We discover that Sister Margarethe is also a teacher at the school--do you remember Stacy's tormentor.
Already Aksinya has a job. Now we find that some of the damage that was done to Natalya, Ernst, and Sister Margarethe has been blunted. Nothing can ever return to the way it was, but it can be better. Not everything is resolved. Not everything is made right, but in spite of the pain and suffering, as Natalya says: “Because of everything that happened before. That time marked the end of a horrible and wonderful period, yet redemption came to you, to me.” She held Aksinya close, “I could not bear to lose you again, Aksinya. You redeemed me, the first of many. You shall redeem many more. God exceeded our expectations in spite of what we had done.”
This is the message that I wanted to leave you with. No telling allowed, but if you didn't get it in the rest of the novel, I wanted to make certain you didn't miss it here. This is the kicker at the end--it should conclude and leave the reader with the theme: "You shall redeem many more. God exceeded our expectations in spite of what we had done.” It is faith based, but hey--how can a novel so deeply involved with the spiritual not be faith based. I hope you have enjoyed it. I'll get into the next step details tomorrow.