|“The Significantly-More-Secret Origin of Tarquin and Nale”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||20 May 2010|
|View the comic|
Tarquin recounts his history raising Nale.
- Elan ◀ ▶
- Vaarsuvius ◀ ▶
- Nale ◀ ▶
- General Tarquin ◀ ▶
- Sabine ◀ ▶
- Thog ◀ ▶
- Malack ◀ ▶
- Empress of Blood (also thin, and on shield) ◀ ▶
- Yikyik ◀
- Soul Muncher ◀ ▶
- Elan's Mother ◀ ▶
- Tarquin's Conquered ◀
- Four of Tarquin's Soliders
- Three of Elan's Mother's Barmaids
- Panel 1
Tarquin: Now that the bounty hunters have left, I would like leave to show my son around.
Empress: Show him a round what?
Tarquin: Around the palace.
Empress: We have a round palace?
- Panel 2
Empress: OK, you can go. It's almost time for brunch anyway, and I'm hoping to gain enough weight to figure out arcane spells.
Tarquin (whispering): We once pointed out that more powerful dragons have grown larger, so she thinks growing larger will make her more powerful.
- Panel 3
Elan: That seems entirely reasonable. But what I really don't understand is how you came to be working for a red dragon in the first place.
Tarquin: Brilliant set-up for my inevitable backstory, my boy!
- Panel 4
Flash back of Tarquin decapitating some ruler with Soul-Muncher.
Tarquin (inset): After I left my first wife—your mother—I came here to the Western Continent, lured by tales of how easy it was to conquer a kingdom for your very own.
- Panel 5
Flash back of Tarquin running away, wounded, carrying baby Nale.
Tarquin (inset): The tales neglected to mention how easy it was to lose such a kingdom, however. I didn't last a year.
Tarquin (inset): Malack was an old adventuring pal of mine. He found me and offered me a job as Chief Warlord to his new master.
- Panel 6
Cut back to the Palace of Blood.
Elan: Ohhhhh. And that was the Empress of Blood?
Tarquin: Heck no. Some other guy. His kingdom didn't last too long, either, but Malack and I have been offering our services to various would-be kings and conquerors in the 15 or so years since.
Tarquin: Sort of a package deal: Buy one High Priest, get one General free.
Tarquin: When Nale was old enough, he started helping with the "family business".
- Panel 7
Flashback of Tarquin and Malack fighting the Linear Guild.
Tarquin (inset): Two years ago, we helped conquer a nation for the Empress of Blood—and Nale decided he should be crowned instead. We disagreed.
Tarquin (inset): Strenuously.
- Panel 8
Cut back to the present.
Tarquin: It's my fault, really. I raised him to be ruthless and efficient—or at least tried to. I shouldn't been so surprised when he turned on us.
- Panel 9
Vaarsuvius: Interesting. Then if Elan gets his outlook from his mother and his love of the dramatic from you—and Nale likely gets his outlook from you...
Vaarsuvius: I wonder what Nale inherited from his mother?
- Panel 10
Flashback of Elan's Mother laying out a needlessly complex serving plan for the inn. A seating chart with barmaid routes drawn out is on an easel and is titled, "Serving Plan (Thursday)"
Mother: —then Teri, you double back and refill the peanut bowls on all of the tables where the number of guests is a prime number.
Mother: Any questions? All the barmaids raise their hands.
- The title refers back to strip #50, "The Semi-Secret Origin of Elan & Nale".
- In panel 4, Tarquin is wearing the same armor and surcoat as he was wearing in #50.
- In panel 5, young Nale is already growing a goatee.
- This is the only the second appearance of both Elan's Mother and Soul-Muncher, Tarquin's intelligent axe, and their first since #50.
- This is the only other appearance of Tarquin's Conquered, the two decapitated rulers of the kingdom Tarquin conquers. They also appeared in #680, when they decapitated the previous rulers. (Who decapitated the previous ruler...)