|“Shoot the Messenger”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||11 February 2009|
|View the comic|
Qarr and Vaarsuvius discuss options to intercept the dragon.
- Panel 1
Vaarsuvius: No. NO! I cannot allow my power to fail me again. If arcane magic cannot solve a problem such as this, then I should never have left my family in order to seek it out... and this would never have happened.
Vaarsuvius: There must be a solution, I simply need to concentrate to find it.
- Panel 2
Qarr returns, looking healed.
Qarr: Wow, that come out of the blue, huh?
Qarr: "What a tweest!"
Vaarsuvius: SILENCE! I am attempting to focus my thoughts you worthless cretin!
Vaarsuvius: It is like thinking through quicksand...
- Panel 3
Qarr: Hey, hey, calm down. Listen, for what it's worth, I'm on your side here. Let me help. Free of charge.
Vaarsuvius: Why? What are your motives for doing so?
Qarr: If I told you my motives and they were not to your liking, would you have the luxury of rejecting any help that I could then offer?
Vaarsuvius: ...No, I suppose I would not.
- Panel 4
Vaarsuvius: Very well, then teleport me to the Elven Homelands, to the tower of Master Aarindarius, the elf who taught me magic.
Vaarsuvius: Dispel Magic.
Qarr: Now hold on, I can only—
Vaarsuvius: I have freed you from my abjuration, now teleport me to my master's tower NOW!
- Panel 5
Qarr: HEY! Listen to me! I can't DO that! I'm only capable of teleporting myself and 50 pounds of unliving material!
Vaarsuvius: Then you shall relay a message instead, since I did not prepare Sending this morning.
- Panel 6
Flash forward to a hypothetical future where Qarr delivers V's message to his former master in the Elven Lands. Qarr teleports in with a "POP!"
Vaarsuvius (inset): No, wait, Aarindarius would never believe a fiend, even if you could penetrate the tower's defenses...
Qarr: Hello? I have a message here for—AAAAH!!!
Aarindarius offhandedly kills Qarr with a single spell.
Qarr (inset): What about your pals on the boat?
- Panel 7
Flash foward to another hypothetical future where Qarr delivers his message to Lien. Qarr teleports in with a "POP!"
Qarr: Hello? I have a message here for—AAAAH!!
Lien: SMITE EVIL!
Lien: Ha! Lord Hinjo, I found the imp!
Vaarsuvius (inset): Even less likely, given that they have legitimate grievances against you, specifically.
- Panel 8
Cut back to Tiny Island.
Vaarsuvius: At any rate, they do not possess the ability to intercept the dragon.
Qarr: Really? It said it was worried about attacking the fleet...
Vaarsuvius: Yes, and the fleet remains hundreds of miles away from my home village! They have no means of arriving in time.
- Panel 9
Qarr: How long do you think your mate could hold off an ancient black dragon? If I managed to beat her there and raise the alarm?
Vaarsuvius: My mate? My MATE?!?
Vaarsuvius: My mate is an apprentice baker, you moron!!
- Panel 10
Flash forward to an hypothetical future where Qarr delivers his message to Inkyrius. Qarr teleports in with a "POP!"'
Qarr: Hello? I have a message here for—
Vaarsuvius (inset): What possible preparations could a pastry chef make to increase their chances of fighting a dragon?!?
- Panel 11
Cut back to Tiny Island.
Vaarsuvius: I know, you could relay knowledge of the secret gap in the dragon's underbelly scales that is the exact size and shape of a banana nut muffin!
- Panel 12
Qarr: Yeah, OK, good, and then your mate could throw the—
Vaarsuvius: THERE IS NO SUCH GAP!
Qarr: Well, excuse me, I didn't get as close a look as you did. Yeesh.
D&D Context Edit
- Dispel Magic, a 3rd level spell, cancels ongoing magical effects.
- Qarr is not a wizard; his teleport ability, which is more limited than the spell, is one of his (non-canonical) spell-like abilities as an Imp.
- Sending is a 5th level spell that allows short verbal communication with a known subject across arbitrary distances (even between planes of existance).
- Lien uses her Smite Evil paladin class feature to do extra damage to Qarr in panel 7.
- The title inverts the ancient proverb "Don't shoot the messenger", due to Qarr's (and most devils') status as persona non grata among most inhabitants of the world.
- In panel 2, Qarr line, "What a tweest!" references an episode of the Adult Swim cartoon show Robot Chicken, “S&M Present”, in a segment titled “The Twist” aired on April 17th, 2005. In the episode, a clay-animated character parodying M. Night Shyamalan says the line after a twist ending is revealed.
- Vaarsuvius' sarcastic suggestion about a gap in the dragon's scales is a reference to the weakness of Smaug, the great dragon and primary antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel, The Hobbit. He is ultimately killed by a arrow which pierces his belly where a single scale had gone missing in his armored hide.
- This is the first appearance of Aarindarius, Vaarsuvius' teacher.