“Now, we don’t want to bring any names into this. We don’t want to prejudice the jury, heavens no, nor wind up in court ourselves. So we will refer to Mr. X, Mrs. Y, and the like.”

“Why?” Weatherall cried.

“Exactly,” Judge M’Tusk replied. “Prosecutor Ojrah?”

“Gentlebeings of the jury, Judge M’Tusk, welcome,” Ojrah said, standing and putting its thumbs in its suspenders. It also appeared to conjure suspenders for the sole reason of inserting its thumbs. “Our case is quite simple. By writing books and stories featuring fictional versions of we, the fey, the author Jon Koenning Weatherall is trading in defamatory stereotypes. There’s your libel. Furthermore, the author Jon Koenning Weatherall is giving the appearance that we, the fey, endorse his viewpoints. That’s your slander.”

“What?” said Weatherall. “Now look, I went to law school for a while, and slander does not-”

M’Tusk snapped his fingers. “There will be polite silence in the court until the statement is finished,” he said, in Weatherall’s own voice. Snapping again, he added in his own gnomish voice: “One more outburst and I’m keeping it.”

“Thank you, Judge M’Tusk. Now, I will present evidence that proves this. What say you to that, Muhrot?”

The goblin briefly rose. “I will attempt to cast doubt on it through a combination of cherry-picked facts, doubts that play on the prejudices of the jury, and technicalities.”

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