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 a captive in the residence of the Cardinal of Wien awaiting an ecclesiastical trial for sorcery. The Inquisitor Esposito came to speak to her about her defense...
The inquisitor chuckled at the last. Then his face turned serious again, “There is much to recommend these charges.”
“There are witnesses?”
“Yes, there are, but I am not privy to the case against you. I act as the advocatus reorum in your trial. I am to represent you and defend you from the charges of the inquisition. Both the promotor fiscalis and the judge is the Archinquisitor Gallo. He does not have to share this information with me, only the charges.”
Aksinya shrugged, “That doesn’t seem to make it a very fair trail.”
“Perhaps it is not.”
Frau Becker sneered, “It is not at all fair. What might be the punishment for such charges?”
“Excommunication and death could be the punishment, but death cannot be levied by an ecclesiastical court—it can only be recommended to a secular trial.”
Frau Becker wrung her hands, “You would kill her for this?”
“If she is guilty.”
Aksinya cocked her head, “You have not touched the most egregious sin I committed through sorcery.”
Inquisitor Esposito sat back, “And what would that be.”
“I called a demon from the depths of hell to be my servant.”
Frau Becker involuntarily scooted her chair back a little. Frau Mauer brought her hands up to her face.
The Inquisitor wrote on his pad, “Who was this demon?”
“It is the demon Asmodeus.”
“You have seen him?”
“He was the one who took my clothing from me in the cell. He was the reason I had to mark my clothing and the blankets with the crosses. He still torments me.”
“But he is your servant?”
“No one can control a demon. I brought him out of hell to protect my family. He ensured that they all died. He tempted me to take the Lady Natalya and to seduce Herr von Taaffe.”
“You called this demon into the house of the Cardinal?”
“I did not call him here. I can’t be rid of him. He comes and goes as he wills, but I am guilty for bringing him back to the world where he can tempt and harm others.”
The Inquisitor Esposito tells Aksinya there are witnesses to her crimes. Through this, I get to explain something about an ecclesiastical trial to you. The Inquisitor Esposito is the advocatus reorum, basically the defense attorney. The prosecuting attorney is the promotor fiscalis. The Archinquisitor Gallo is acting as both the judge and the prosecutor. The rules of an ecclesiastical trial are exactly as I have laid them out to you. As Aksinya notes: “That doesn’t seem to make it a very fair trail.” Frau Becker agrees with her.
Frau Becker wants to know the punishment that Aksinya might face. Excommunication and death we are told, but an ecclesiastical trial may not levy death. This is great for Aksinya except, after this trial, she will be arrested by the Austrian policemen for a secular trial.
Then the honest Aksinya (she has become disconcertingly honest--did you notice?) confesses to her greatest crime--she contracted a demon. Listen to Aksinya's new found wisdom: “No one can control a demon. I brought him out of hell to protect my family. He ensured that they all died. He tempted me to take the Lady Natalya and to seduce Herr von Taaffe.” Aksinya confesses to all the charges--do you note. To the inquisitor, this is unimportant, because the trial is indeed rigged against her.
So, Aksinya is in a pickle. She confessed to the charges. Things don't look bright for her. Tomorrow, more charges.