Phineas Park was an Asian-American second generation immigrant, an associate lawyer of Manson, Pataki & Sanchez, and a witch.
He did not always think of himself as such in that particular order or that combination of facts.
Still, they were pertinent details about himself which remained in his mind for the duration of the court case.
Law in the magical society was nowhere near so meticulous or empty as law in the non-magical society. No firm government and no strict regulations meant that magicians could do as they pleased until another magician found their actions reprehensible.
And even then, most cases were relegated to the local authority–witch coven, vampire clan, werewolf pack, et cetera–unless a truly heinous crime had been committed or no single local authority could make a fair and unbiased judgement.
In such circumstances, the case would be brought before the Premier Witch Council.
If he were to be frank, Phineas would have preferred a different case for his first lead–magical or not.
He was excited about finally being lead, that was not in question, but to be the defendant for that particular witch for that particular crime was not one that he would have jumped given the choice.
Well, any case before the Premier Witch Council was one to be seized with both hands, immediately, regardless of the moral ambiguity contained within.
But he was pretty sure he set himself up to lose.
Witch lawyers weren’t terribly rare–words and willpower bringing about concrete change–though there was not yet an entirely witch law firm.
Still, there was a reasonable sized pool of witch lawyers that the Premier Witch Council could summon as needed.
They were needed.
“I bring before the esteemed luminaries of the Premier Witch Council the case of the Red River Coven versus Helen Monroe.”
Phineas risked a glance at his client and regretted it immediately. Monroe did not look at all troubled at being sued by her former coven in front of the Premier Witch Council. Normally, he’d appreciate such confidence and borrow some secondhand himself, but Monroe was so beyond confident it was falling into bored, dismissive, and just plain rude.
This was not the contrite, humbled client he was hoping for.
Another glance to his other side–where the head of the Red River Coven and her lawyer sat–made it even worse.
Still, so long as he stuck to the plan, he and Monroe had a chance.
“My fellow luminaries,” the Premier Taurus Witch said from her seat, centermost and highest as befitting her seniority, “if there is any one among us who cannot pass judgement fairly and without bias on this day, let them speak.”
There was barely a pause. That statement generally was a matter of formality–there had only been four cases in the history of the Premier Witch Council that a luminary opted to defer their judgement.
“Then let us–”
“My apologies, fellow luminaries,” interrupted the Premier Gemini Witch. She sat at the very end as youngest and newest luminary, but her placement was not a reflection of a lack of influence or power.
“I am… emotionally compromised for this case,” the Premier Gemini Witch continued, unheeding of the surprised looks it garnered her, “I will forgo my judgement.”
The Premier Gemini Witch was known to be liberal in terms of subspecies interaction and innovative takes on magic.
It was a stretch to consider his client’s actions as such, but that had been the basis of Phineas’ argument.
Even Monroe was beginning to look worried.
They were fucked.
The case of the Red River Coven v Helen Monroe was not important as a legal precedent.
Monroe had come across a lone werewolf who had attacked and harmed–under the frenzy of a full moon and without the stabilizing presence of a pack–a group of non-magical people in the territory of the Red River Coven.
Regardless of her intent or thought process, Monroe proceeded to hide said werewolf from her coven, and experiment in spells that she referred to as “calming.”
The head of the Red River Coven described them as “controlling.”
If that had been all, that case would not have been brought before the Premier Witch Council, and Phineas would not have been involved leading to his first time as lead being besmirched.
That was not all.
The Delano Pack was one of the oldest, strongest, and most prestigious in the nation. In its prime, it was said to have an influence on par with the Premier Witch Council, and helped lead the magical society forward to the current age of cooperation and progress. The Delano Pack was, without question, the greatest werewolf pack in the nation’s history and had once had a strong bid for international history as well.
Was. Had. All past tense.
Nearly a decade ago, the Delano Pack suffered a great loss and was a shell of its former self, holding onto its territory more out of respect from its neighbors than any real ability to enforce it.
Not a bad place for a witch and her guinea wolf to flee.
The Delano Pack declined to send a representative, but its members had sent witness statements.
They did not help Phineas whatsoever.
Monroe, with werewolf thrall in tow, had stumbled onto some of the newer members of the Delano Pack. In her surprise, the control spell she had on her lone werewolf broke, causing him to attack what he saw as the immediate threats.
The members of the Delano Pack defended themselves and, arguably, so did Monroe.
Monroe, as seen with her werewolf thrall, specialized in mind magics.
For three months–rather than explain the situation and request clemency from the Delano Pack, or even admit her crimes and return to face justice with her original coven–Monroe maintained an amnesia spell on the pack, centered around one member in particular: the Delano Pack’s only witch.
“I thought he was a regular human,” Monroe explained, as if her methodology were the problem, “Obviously, if I had known he was a witch, too, I wouldn’t have done it.”
“It still took him a while to break it, though,” Monroe continued, to which Phineas began gesturing for her to stop, sharp pulls of his hand across his throat.
She wasn’t looking. The prosecutor could not have looked more pleased.
“Clearly not very well trained. Though given the closest thing to a witch in that territory is Kaiza, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”
Some of the luminaries reacted to the name: a roll of the eyes from those who saw Kaiza as only playing at magic, a deep furrowing of her brows from the Premier Taurus Witch.
But the Premier Gemini Witch’s expression had flattened even before Kaiza had been mentioned.
When they were younger, their relatives thought that Phineas and his sister Phryne would be gemini witches. Or, rather, dragon-phoenix twins.
While they hadn’t been actual fraternal twins, they had been born in the same lunar year, and for the longest time had resonating magic.
Then it turned out that Phineas was a libra witch and Phryne a scorpio witch, and the matter had been dropped.
Siblings often had resonating magic, learning the same spells and living in the same house, the same blood coursing through their veins.
But gemini witches were something beyond just resonance, a magic that was both shared and compounded between two people that, yes, were more often than not siblings.
But not always.
The prosecutor, who was a wily piece of shit, decided to hammer the final nail in Phineas’ coffin by asking one final question.
“If I may address the esteemed luminaries directly,” she asked, and with a impatient wave from the Premier Taurus Witch continued, “For what reason did the Premier Gemini Witch forgo her judgement?”
A blatant grab for extra testimony which would never be allowed in a nonmagical court… mostly because in nonmagical courts, the jury was not also the judge and the systems were entirely different.
The Premier Gemini Witch paused, recognizing the obvious manipulation, but capitulated when no further word from the Premier Taurus Witch was said. She steeled her jaw and responded simply, “A gemini witch’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness.”
For a moment, the court was silent. Uncomprehending. That was a basic fact about gemini witches which didn’t answer the question at all.
Until, after another moment, it clicked in Phineas’ mind. He turned to his client: Monroe, finally, belatedly, began to look horrified at what she had done.
The case of the Red River Coven v Helen Monroe was not important as a legal precedent.
The case of the Red River Coven v Helen Monroe was not important because of the parties involved.
The case of the Red River Coven v Helen Monroe was only important in that it was the first and only case in which a luminary’s reason for deferring their judgement was because the defendant had committed a greater crime than even they knew.
A/N: Getting this out of my head so I can focus on Externality, but I hope y’all enjoy anyway!