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Two Paths
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0896
Comic no. 896
Date published 28 June 2013
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"Plain Sight" "Headed Downtown"
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The party discusses whether or not to destroy Girard's Gate, while Vaarsuvius finds them from the tunnels underneath. Unable to reach them, Vaarsuvius uses a Bugsby's Hand spell to knock on the wall to alert them of their presence. Unfortunately, the IFCC decides this is a good time to call in part of V's contract.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Vaarsuvius and Blackwing walk down the tunnels under Girard's pyramid.
Vaarsuvius: These blasted tunnels! I cannot make sense of them.
Blackwing: I think they're, like, service tunnels. Lets the defenders spy on intruders and tailor their illusions to what they see.

Panel 2, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: Hmmm. That would explain the periodic pinholes in the structure.

Panel 3, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: But I cannot fathom why they would not see fit to place a portal at some point.
Blackwing: I bet they just used D-Door or something when they needed to get in here. Why build a door someone could find?
Vaarsuvius: I suppose.

Panel 4, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: Is the imp still following us?
Blackwing: Beats me. He went invisible a while ago. At least we have the benefit of a brief respite from his endless—

Panel 5, Page 1

Cut to the rest of the party at Girard's Gate.
Elan: Roy, you can't blow up the Gate! That's like something *I* would do!
Haley: You did do it, honey.
Elan: That makes it even more likely!!
Roy: Elan, this is different.

Panel 6, Page 1

Cut back to Vaarsuvius in the tunnels.
Vaarsuvius: Wait.
Vaarsuvius: Did you hear that?

Panel 1, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Roy: That was just pure stupidity. No offense.
Elan: None taken.
Roy: I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. I'll be deliberately destroying the Gate in order to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Panel 2, Page 2

Cut back to Vaarsuvius. They have reached a dead end with a vaulted roof.
Vaarsuvius: That is Sir Greenhilt's voice. I can hear him clearly.
Blackwing: Me too! And it sounds like he's found the Gate.
Vaarsuvius: The acoustics of this dead end must be designed for eavesdropping on the chamber above it.

Panel 3, Page 2

Cut back to the party
Belkar: Hold on a second. I thought these stupid Gates are holding up the universe's pants or something.
Roy: They are, but they can also be used to control the Snarl somehow.
Belkar: And the Snarl is…?

Panel 4, Page 2

Roy: The ultra-powerful god-spawned abomination that lives inside the rifts! Come on, Belkar!
Belkar: So sue me for being in the middle of a chase scene when all the background exposition was delivered!

Panel 5, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: No, that may not be accurate!!
Blackwing: About the chase scene? Oh, no, you mean 'cause of the planet I saw in the Azure City rift?

Panel 6, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: Precisely. That revelation has substantially altered our understanding of the situation.
Vaarsuvius: Whether or not the Snarl is within that rift—or indeed, ever actually existed—there may well be a population upon that lone orb.

Panel 7, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Elan: But Roy, Shojo said that if all the Gates go ka-blooey, the whole world will start crumbling!
Haley: This isn't the last Gate, though. Roy and I found a magic monitoring device in the Draketooth's chamber this morning.
Roy: Unless someone broke Kraagor's Gate since breakfast, we'll still have one holding everything together afterwards.

Panel 8, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: Blackwing, we cannot allow Sir Greenhilt to destroy the Gate. There are too many variables of which he knows not.
Blackwing: Like whether or not anything we've been told is even remotely accurate?
Vaarsuvius: Yes, exactly!

Panel 9, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Elan: Nale got fooled by Girard's trick, though. Doesn't that give us time to figure something else out??
Roy: Fooled for now. But at some point, he and Malack are going to report back to Tarquin—and your dad is at least as good a huckster as Haley.
Roy: If she figured out the bluff, so can he.

Panel 10, Page 2

Roy: Look, we had a period of time where we could've wrapped this up with only the Linear Guild as our opponent. And we blew it.
Roy: The Sending from Hinjo's cleric said that Xykon is on the move. He might even be here already.
Roy: Time's up. The Gate needs to go.

Panel 11, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: I cannot risk the lives of the people who may be living on that world through inaction.
Vaarsuvius: Sir Greenhilt's logic is sound based on what he knows, but he does not know all—and that, too, is my fault.
Vaarsuvius: But I cannot allow the possibility of another genocide. We must intercede.

Panel 1, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: I wasn't wrong when I said we had no chance to defend the Gate—but Elan, you were right too.
Elan: I was?
Roy: You said we'd figure out a way to win anyway. This is that way. We don't need to defeat them right now, we just need to keep them from reaching their objective.

Panel 2, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing: Do you have a second Passwall?
Vaarsuvius: No. It was frankly ludicrous that I bothered to prepare one.
Blackwing: How about Sending?
Vaarsuvius: If I did, I would have cast it as soon as I started looking for them.
Blackwing: In that case, may I suggest we try the warning method favored by my people?

Panel 3, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: But I want to make sure you're all on board for this.
Roy: I don't…really know what's going to happen We can't really know all of the possible consequences.

Panel 4, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing: ROY!! DON'T DO IT!!!
Vaarsuvius: DO NOT DESTROY THE GATE AT THIS JUNCTURE!!

Panel 5, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Haley: You know me. This is when to fold 'em. And when to run.
Elan: I guess it is more dramatically appropriate for the final showdown to be at the last Gate anyway.
Roy: Belkar?
Belkar: What, I get a vote?
Roy: You were right about Durkon. I was wrong.

Panel 6, Page 3

Belkar: Yeah, but this main plot stuff is your department.
Roy: Belkar.
Belkar: OK. OK…I say, screw it. When in doubt, set it on fire, right?

Panel 7, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing: DON'T BLOW UP THE GATE!
Vaarsuvius: This is not working.
Vaarsuvius: But I have an idea.

Panel 8, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: OK, then, if we're all on board with—
A "KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!" sound is faintly audible in the room.
Haley: Did you hear that?

Panel 9, Page 3

Cut back to V. He or she has cast one of the various "Bugsby's Hand" spells with which to knock on the ceiling of the chamber.
Blackwing: YES! YES, YOU HEARD THAT!
The giant pink hand knocks on the ceiling. "KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!"

Panel 10, Page 3

Haley: It's like a pounding or something.
The sound continues, faintly. "KNOCK! KNOCK!"
Roy: Nale? Tarquin? Xykon?
Haley: I can't tell. Should I check it out?

Panel 11, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing & Vaarsuvius: DO NOT DESTROY THE GATE!
Blackwing & Vaarsuvius: DO NOT DESTROY THE—

Panel 12, Page 3

Cut to the IFCC in the Abyss.
Cedrik: Now.

D&D Context Edit

  • The hand spell that V is using is apparently the 8th level Clenched Fist spell, though perhaps the same effect could be achieved with a lower level spell. V does not invoke one of the Bigby names in this strip.

Trivia Edit

  • Belkar was being chased by Miko starting in Dueling Egos#270, which is why he missed the exposition surrounding the snarl in #273-277, The Crayons of Time.
  • The first two letters of each of the Directors of the IFCC corresponds to their alignment.

External Links Edit

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