Raiders of the Lost Plot Arc
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 821
Date published 14 December 2011
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Tarquin and Nale each think the other one killed Penelope to keep her information from spreading, setting up an unresolved mystery. Nale manages to stay alive by leveraging his connections to (presumably) Xykon and Redcloak, who know the Snarl-controlling ritual. Tarquin explains (again with the help of the dimmer switch) that there's no rush to get to Windy Canyon, since the antagonists' role is to saunter in "at the last minute" after the protagonists have expended their energies getting there.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Nale: —and I knew as soon as the old king mentioned the name “Draketooth” that it would end up being connected to your stupid wife.
Tarquin: So when you returned here, you made contact with her.

Panel 2

Flashback to Penelope talking to Sabine and Zz'dtri who are disguised as a fortune teller and her swarthy elven assistant. Nale lurks behind a tent flap.
Nale (inset): Sabine posed as the new fortune teller in town, and we used Penelope’s connection to Orrin to strengthen Zz’dtri’s divinations.
Nale (inset): Even then, it took months of casting, over and over, before we were able to eliminate every part of the desert except Windy Canyon.

Panel 3

Tarquin: And then you killed her, to keep her from telling me. You knew I’d figure it out.
Nale: What? No. We could have narrowed it down even further the next day, if you hadn’t killed her out of spite!

Panel 4

Malack raises his arms and black energy radiates from his hand.
Malack: Solve that mystery on your own time, Tarquin! Now that we know what he knows, his soul is MINE!
Nale: There’s a ritual! A special ritual needed to control the Snarl!

Panel 5

Tarquin: And you know this ritual?
Nale: No. But I know who does.
Nale: I’ve worked with them before. You won’t get it from them without my help.
Tarquin: Well, then it appears we have no choice but to keep you alive for now. Well played.

Panel 6

Sabine teleports in next to Nale with a "pop!"
Sabine: Nale! What are you doing?? Don’t tell HIM about the you-know-what!
Nale: I already did, baby. I’m sorry.

Panel 7

Tarquin: Sabine! It’s been too long. You’re looking lovely.
Sabine: That’s a meaningless compliment to a shapechanger, Tarquin.
Tarquin: Yes, I know.

Panel 8

Nale: Great, Dad. While you’re drooling on my girlfriend, Elan is getting closer to Girard’s Gate!
Tarquin: Really, Nale. Did I teach you nothing about stories?

Panel 9

Nale: Sure, you’re the one who taught me that bards are underpowered.
Tarquin: They are! With their master of narrative structure, they should be ruling the entire cosmos by now, instead of wasting time singing in taverns.

Panel 10

Tarquin: But I digress. The important point is this:
Tarquin: In any race for hidden treasure, it is always the protagonists who sweat and bleed and die to overcome the many challenges inherent in finding it—

Panel 11

The panel darkens.
Tarquin: —only for the antagonists to seize it from them at the last minute.

Panel 12

Tarquin: ...Well?
Nale: I’m not saying “Dunh dunh DUNH!” for you.
Tarquin: That is not how I raised you, young man!

Trivia Edit

  • Elan sometimes says "Dunh dunh DUNH!" when critical plot elements are revealed, for example at the end of #43, being well versed in narrative structure as a bard.
  • The title plays on the 1981 first installment of the Indiana Jones film franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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