|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||23 July 2010|
|View the comic|
Durkon has tea with Malack.
- Durkon Thundershield ◀ ▶
- Mr. Scruffy ◀ ▶
- Xykon ◀ ▶
- Malack ◀ ▶
- Thor ◀ ▶
- Hel ▶
- Ereshkigal (as idol) ◀
- Nergal (as idol) ◀
- A Dwarf's Soul
- Panel 1
Durkon: —an' then tha orcs started worshippin' tha NEW puppet!
Malack: Heh heh heh. Amusing. I must say, it has been some time since I have entertained a fellow cleric of equal standing.
- Panel 2
Malack: Priests of the Western Gods are much like their flock: always feuding over one thing or another.
Malack and Durkon drink, "sip!"
Durkon: Really? Tha Northern Gods be pretty much all one big family.
Malack: Yes, the Western Gods, too, but that didn't stop the high priestess of Ishtar from peeing on my altar the last time she visited.
Malack: I had to bleach the whole thing. Twice.
- Panel 3
Durkon: Ugh! Och, great drunken gods above! Wha in Thor's unsanitary ear canal is in this—
- Panel 4
Durkon: Uh, I mean, tell me, which gods be thar upon yer altar?
Durkon: Over thar?
Durkon: Behind ye?
- Panel 5
Malack: My master is Nergal, lion-headed god of Death and Destruction. His fiery rage brings the end of all things.
Malack: His wife, Ereshkagal[sic], goddess of the Underworld, stands by his side.
- Panel 6
Malack: You know, neither gods of Death nor their clerics are necessarily Evil. That's a common misconception.
Durkon: Uh huh
Malack: If anything, Neutrality suits them better.
Durkon pours something from a hip flask in his cup.
- Panel 7
Malack: If the power of Death were truly Evil, it would take only the pure and heroic wouldn't it?
Durkon: Aye, well, after awhile, it starts ta seem like tha's exactly tha case.
Durkon: Only tha Good die fer good, they say.
- Panel 8
Durkon: Anyhoo, I woulda thought ye'd worship Tiamat, on account o' bein' a lizard.
Malack: No, Tiamat is a fine diety, but she prefers the kobolds to us lizardfolk. Plus she has little interest in building a strong central government, like we're doing here in the Empire.
- Panel 9
Cut to Xykon standing on the doorstep of the Oracle in the Sunken Valley.
Malack (inset): Her followers prefer to hang around in dark caves or hidden valleys, rather than get too involved with world politics.
The sign on the door reads, "The Oracle is OUT"
- Panel 10
Malack: Does not your own pantheon have a goddes[sic] of Death? Hel, I think?
Durkon: Well, sorta, but nobody worships 'er, much less serves as 'er priest!
Durkon: She's keeper o' tha dishonored dwarven dead-those tha dinnae fall in battle, 'specially those dyin' o' sickness.
- Panel 11
Malack: Wait. Do not dwarven souls rest on the Outer Plane that matches their alignment, as it is with my people, or the humans?
Durkon: Only those tha die wit honor. Tha rest be lumped tagether an' sent ta Hel. Tha's OK, tho, since most sick dwarves'll just pick a fight wit a conifer an' die in battle.
Durkon: Also, thar be some grey areas.
- Panel 12
Cut to Thor and Hel in Niflheim.
Hel: He died of disease, that means he's mine!
Thor: But the disease was mummy rot, and he contracted it defending an orphange!
- Panel 13
Durkon: Also anyone dyin' o' alcohol-related illnesses be exempt.
Durkon: Na so much fer tha dwarf's sake as ta honor tha brave livers tha fought so long against tha inevitable.
D&D Context Edit
- In panel 7, Durkon turns the common proverb "only the good die young" into something appropriate to a setting where resurrection is possible, even common, since only a 5th level spell, Raise Dead, is needed.
- Mummies in D&D have a powerful special attack called mummy rot which quickly kills those who contract it from the mummy's touch.
- The title, "Comparative Mythology", is a real-world academic field of study.
- In the first panel Durkon is referring to the orcs of Orc Island, who first worshiped Banjo the Clown as a god when Elan first arrived, and later switched to worshiping Giggles in #561.
- Durkon has taken care of Mr. Scruffy since he was left behind by Belkar after being taken by the guard. Durkon found Mr. Scruffy in #732.
- It is unclear if panel 9 is a flashback or is in the current time, but it is likely that it is current, as Xykon currently has need of the Oracle to determine the location of his phylactery (or possibly to find his keys, he tends to go to great lengths to locate them).
- Durkon's grandfather died of dual liver failure two years prior (in-story time) to this strip, as was revealed in the high priest's letter in #375, Undeliverable. Thus according to what Durkon says in the last panel of this strip, his grandfather is exempt from being sent to Hel.
- This is the first appearance of Hel, the Northern god of the dead.
- This is the final appearance of Nergal, the Western god of the dead, and his wife, Ereshkigal, goddess of the underworld. Ereshkigal's name is mispelled as "Ereshkagal" in this strip, which is unfortunately the only time it is used in the comic thus far, making it impossible to know if the mispelling was intentional.