Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Hearing [18 Nivvem 4385]

Sekhidi: “This is not an unusual situation. The fact that you are foreign and Zi Ri has nothing to do with the fundamental issue of violating the laws concerning the proper treatment of tofyofs.”

Sekhidi is a stern Orren man, crouched on a judicial sphere. (Which is a big wooden ball, about three feet in diameter, very highly polished and slippery, upon which judges sit at formal hearings and trials. I think it’s either flat on the bottom, or anchored to the floor somehow. It doesn’t roll when he moves.)

Arfaen: “I’m not zir tofyof! Zie’s not mistreating me!”

Sekhidi: “Do you deny that you were zir consort? That you are zir employee and subordinate? That zie is not paying the required escrow salary?”

Arfaen: “Those have nothing to do with it! Zie’s paying me plenty and then some to be in the crew, and doing big enchantments and curse-breakings for free too! “

Sehkidi: “That has everything to do with it. It is a textbook example of an illegal implied tofitude. You should be getting the required protections and benefits. You are not, yet zie is enjoying the benefits of your copulations.”

Arfaen: “And I’m not sleeping with zir because of the pay — but because it suits my mood!”

Sekhidi: “Oh, dear. Do you have a barrister?”

Me: “We have a solicitor.”

Sekhidi: “That won’t do. You need someone who can advise and represent you in hearings, Miss Arfaen. Everything you have said so far is harming your case. You too, Miss Sythyry. We certainly don’t want any legal mistakes, and we are not trying to deny you any sort of justice while in the process of making sure that justice is done.”

So we tried to hire a barrister, which is just like a lawyer, except that a barrister doesn’t do things that a solicitor does. (I think that, in Hanija, solicitors work with people who have not been charged with crimes, to try to keep them from committing crimes. Barristers are for people who have been charged. Hanija is idiosyncratic.)

We were not allowed to hire a barrister. Instead, we were required to hire two barristers: a maternal Cani woman named Khohu for Azliet, and a sharply-dressed and astringent Rassimel named Shirahung for me. This took most of the afternoon to arrange.

In private with Shirahung, in a small but very comfortable closet in the Palace of Justice:

Me: “So, you’re here to have me proclaimed innocent, are you not?”

Shirahung: “Well — are you innocent?”

Me: “Technically no. But Arfaen was willing — actually she asked me.”

Shirahung: “Well, you’re innocent of rape, that way. Which would be quite fortunate if you were, in fact, accused of rape. Did you fornicate with Miss Arfaen without benefit of marriage or tofitude?”

Me: “Yes.”

Shirahung: “And you are her employer?”

Me: “Yes”

Shirahung: “Then you are guilty. This seems clear enough.”

Me: “And this from my barrister, supposedly devoted to my cause?”


Shirahung: “My job is only to prove you innocent if you are, in fact, innocent. Most of the time — and yes, most of the time, for few innocent people are brought to court — my job is to reduce your sentence as much as possible.”

Me: “I suppose that will have to do.”

Shirahung: “So, let us discuss extenuating circumstances. Were you drunk — and, best if Miss Arfaen had actively taken a strong part in intoxicating you? She is your chef, after all.”

Me: “I’m afraid not.”

Shirahung: “Hm. Were you in some other way particularly vulnerable to her advances?”

Me: “I was unusually sad; I missed my spouse, who has been dead for some time now.”

Shirahung: “Excellent! And was Miss Arfaen exploiting this fact to take advantage of you in a moment of weakness?”

Me: “Wait — are you trying to blame Arfaen for the incident?”

Shirahung: “The more punishment that falls on her, the less will fall on you.”

Me: “Unacceptable! She may not be my tofyof, but she is my client, and I will protect her!”

Shirahung: “Client? This is interesting and perhaps helpful. Tell me more about this foreign custom. Perhaps I can argue that it counts as an approximation of tofitude.”

Me: explain, explain.

Shirahung: “Wait, she had other lovers? And you did not punish her for it? That makes that argument all but useless.”

Me: grumble, grumble

Shirahung: “Still, her sluttiness makes our job easier. She can get quite a large measure of blame that way.”

Me: “No. Try to reduce out combined punishment. I won’t be dumping guilt on her as a way to get it off me.”

Shirahung: “Don’t tell me how to do my job, foreigner!”

Me: “If you are working for me, you will do what I need done, or you will do nothing whatever!”

So we hissed and growled at each other for a while, and he agreed that he would work on the approach of saying that Arfaen was some sort of hideously inappropriate foreign variant of a tofyof to me already, and perhaps the judge would reduce the sentence based on that, but he certainly didn’t expect that line of reasoning would do much good, and if he were hiring a highly-skilled professional he would certainly not get in his way.

(Which is why this matter really stung. I have been taking quite good care of Arfaen by any reasonable standards. The fact that I haven’t followed the forms that Hanija requires is true and undisputable — but I have done quite properly and even generously by her by the forms of Vheshrame, or by the rest of the world. I have committed the crime, to be sure; I have broken the letter of the law; I have kept the spirit quite well. In my opinion of what the spirit ought to be.)

Shirahung: “Of course, Miss Arfaen’s barrister will not be doing that. She will be trying to make you out as the one most deserving of punishment.”

Me: “Fair enough. I’m richer than Arfaen, and tougher than her, if it comes to corporal punishments.”

After this discussion, we tried to return to the judge. We waited for nearly two hours, while he judged two other cases. And then it was fairly late, so the judge went home, promising to see us first or second tomorrow morning.

So they tossed us into prison for the night.

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