Closing Arguments
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 282
Date published 15 February 2006
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Celia and Mr. Jones present somewhat verbose closing arguments.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Celia: One last question. If you knew then what you know now—about the gates and what they do—would you prevent Elan from touching that magic rune?
Roy: Well... no.

Panel 2

Roy: Even though I scolded him for it at the time, I now fully believe that Xykon's minions were capable of carrying out his plans for the gate.
Roy: As alien as it sounds to my ears, Elan did the right thing, in my opinion.

Panel 3

Celia: Thank you, Mr. Greenhilt.
Celia: The defense rest, Your Honor.

Panel 4

Elan: Yay! You did really well, Roy!
Roy: I'm sure I would have done even better if SOMEBODY hadn't been whispering, "Testify, testify, testify, testify on your own behalf," the whole time.

Panel 5

Celia: Shhhh! Both of you! Jones is starting his closing argument.
Roy: No singing.

Panel 6

Mr. Jones: There is only one fact that needs to be considered in this trial: Did the human known as Elan destroy Dorukan's Gate and did his allies aid him—intentionally or not—in doing so? The answer is simple. Yes, he did and yes, they did.
Mr. Jones: The defense will attempt to obfuscate the simplicity of this answer with a lot of talk about heroism and such, but this is a court of law, not a bardic poem. Whether or not it was ultimately beneficial, the law is clear: weakening the fabric of the universe by destroying one of the gates is a crime in the eyes of the gods who give the Sapphire Guard their holy power.
Mr. Jones: It is not the place for a mortal to supercede divine law and take matters into their own hands. The gods have wisdom and understanding beyond what you or I can possibly grasp, and if they didn't want the Sapphire Guard to bring these perpetrators to justice, wouldn't they have revoked the divine powers granted to the arresting officer?
Mr. Jones: We can easily interpret their will by observing that they have not yet seen fit to do so. For that matter, if Dorukan's Gate needed to be destroyed, as the defense will no doubt claim, could not the gods have done so themselves?
Mr. Jones: The gods have spoken through their silence: the Sapphire Guard is in the right, and the Order of the Stick is not. The gods you serve are Lawful and Good, by their very definition; their will can never be anything BUT Lawful and Good. Follow their guidance, then, and convict the defendants.
Mr. Jones: All we ask is that the laws that exist be enforced. They did the crime, let them do the time. Thank you.

Panel 7

Celia: Did my client activate the Self-Destruct Rune on Dorukan's Gate? Yes. We have never disputed this fact, despite what the prosecution would have you believe. But would there BE a Self-Destruct Rune on the gate in the first place if there weren't circumstances that warranted its use? When Elan destroyed the gate, he was doing the right thing—whether or not he knew it at the time—to keep it from being further exploited by Xykon's goblin henchmen.
Celia: We live in a world of black and white morality; this is something we all know. But I ask you, who ever said that black is always wrong and white is always right? Our alignments are not rigid and unyielding codes of conduct—no, not even a Lawful alignment. They are goals for ourselves. Standards we hope in our hearts that we can achieve. Failing them does not invalidate the choice we made to attempt to live within the bounds of that aligment; it just means we need to try that much harder next time.
Celia: This court clearly operates under the Lawful Good point-of-view, but that does not mean that it is required to blindly label my client's Chaotic act as a crime. You have an opportunity, right here and now, to correct the mistake that was made in charging my clients.
Celia: Lawful Good does not mean a strict adherence to meaningless laws, even at the expense of safety. It acknowledges the possibility of bad laws. A Lawful Good authority such as this court needs to constantly evaluate whether or not a law supports the greater good. If it does not, then it should be stricken from the record or revised.
Celia: I therefore propose that any prohibition against destroying the gate is subservient to the greater good of the safety and wellbeing of the inhabitants of the universe. It's not going to make you any less Lawful Good to admit that the law—however well-intended—did not take all of the possibilities into account when it was handed down. Your alignment does not make you immune to mistakes, and making mistakes will not cause you to change alignments.
Celia: The distinction between intent and action is the foundation of the law. The criteria for punishment is not what you were thinking, but what actions you took. And Elan took a heroic and desperately needed action when he destroyed the gate, despite having absolutely no capacity to understand that fact. Yes, he weakened the fabric of the universe. And if he hadn't, we might all be speaking Goblin now. Or worse, the universe may have come to an end altogether.
Celia: There are people who claim that alignments are archaic and limiting; that they restrict possible personalities and lead to inherently unsolvable conflicts. Please, prove them wrong. Prove that even in a system of objective Good and Evil, there is still room for nuance and exception. Prove that Lawful can sometimes be wrong for all the right reasons, and Chaotic can sometimes be right for all the wrong reasons. Prove that the alignment system works, and find my clients not guilty.
Celia: Thank you.

Panel 8

Elan: Amazing! Don't you think Celia did a good job?
Vaarsuvius: Meh. I found her argument far too brief for my taste.

D&D Context Edit

  • Alignment is one of the most controversial aspects of character creation. Celia's arguments double as an argument to not take a character's alignment as a straight jacket to their allowed actions.
  • In the fourth panel Roy references the typical format of Elan's attempts at the Inspire Competence function of Bardic Music.

Trivia Edit

  • A brief is a written legal document providing an argument to a court as to why a party should prevail.

External Links Edit