|“Where Do You See Yourself in Five Million Years?”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||22 February 2009|
|View the comic|
The three fiends offer a Soul Splice to Vaarsuvius.
- Vaarsuvius ◀ ▶
- The IFCC
- Ganonron ▶
- Jephton the Unholy ▶
- Haerta Bloodsoak ▶
- Panel 1, Page 1
Vaarsuvius: You have the means and the willingness to give me what I need to save my children?
Lee: "Give"? No. Do we look like socialists?
Cedrik: We offer a trade of one good for one service.
Nero: Obviously, you have the good. Or the neutral, as the case may be.
- Panel 2, Page 1
The fiends surround Vaarsuvius
Cedrik: Each of us has the power, as duly appointed representatives of our respective planar dominions, to initiate a procedure known as a Soul Splice.
Nero: Don't bother looking it up, it's a special once-a-century deal.
Lee: It allows us to graft one of the souls that have been damned to our Lower Plane directly to the soul of a living mortal—
Lee: —allowing that mortal to access all of the arcane powers that the damned soul held when alive.
- Panel 3, Page 1
Cedrik: As a special limited-time offer, we propose for all three of us to splice your soul at the same time.
Nero: Binding the three most powerful evil mages whose soul we command to your own.
Lee: Their epic spells should complement your own spellcasting deficits most superbly.
- Panel 4, Page 1
Three damned souls appear.
Cedrik: Ganonron, Terror of a Thousand Planes! A conjurer who teleported vast armies to conquer world after world.
Nero: Haera Bloodsoak, Destroyer of Hope! A necromancer who casually ended lives with but a thought!
Lee: Jephton the Unholy, Spawn of Hatred! A sorcerer-archmage, master of arcane flexibility!
Jephton: I don't need to prepare spell slots!
- Panel 5, Page 1
Nero: The amount of raw energy from your four combined souls would dwarf that wielded by any mortal arcane spellcaster who has ever lived.
Lee: Because never before have all three races of fiend cooperated in order to bring this about.
Cedrik: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... and the lifetime in question is that of the entire multiverse.
Vaarsuvius: I have a few inquiries.
- Panel 6, Page 1
Nero: As is only natural.
Vaarsuvius: How long does this "splice" last?
Lee: For as long as you can hold on to it.
Lee: The greater your willpower, the longer the ride.
Cedrik: A few minutes, a few hours... maybe even a few days? I'm sure someone of your unimpeachable mental fortitude could make it last for weeks if need be.
- Panel 7, Page 1
Vaarsuvius: And my soul will remain in complete control of this gestalt entity for the entire duration?
Nero (off-panel): Oh, definitely.
Cedrik (off-panel): You would be the final word on what got done, how, and when.
Lee (off-panel): Complete control of the other three.
- Panel 8, Page 1
Vaarsuvius: And for this, you would have eternal dominion over my immortal soul once I died?
Nero: What? No! No, no, no!
Lee: How would that be fair?
Cedrik: No, all we ask for is an even trade.
- Panel 9, Page 1
Nero: Each one of us will get your soul for the same amount of time that you are under the effects of their Soul Splice.
Lee: So, maintain all three splices for an hour, your soul spends one hour with me, then one hour each with my two associates.
Cedrik: Exact order of custody to be determined at a later point.
- Panel 1, Page 2
Vaarsuvius: Then if the deal is fair—a fact of which I remain skeptical—then why would you agree to this? What possible benefit would you derive from helping me?
Nero: In this case, helping is its own reward.
Cedrik: You're our proof-of-concept.
Lee: Can archfiends from three different fiendish races work together?
- Panel 2, Page 2
Nero: Your actual situation is more or less irrelevant to us. We were just waiting for the next request to come down the line.
Lee: As we said to the imp, we're still a pretty new organization. Almost experimental, you might say.
Cedrik: If we succeed in this fairly textbook temptation by offering services greater than any one of us could provide by themselves, then we can request greater funding and support from the higher-ups.
Cedrik: Or lower-downs, in this case.
- Panel 3, Page 2
The panel turns dark and the fiends are wreathed in flames.
Nero: And, when the devils, daemons, and demons unite under our commission's logo someday, we will storm the gates of the Upper Planes and lay waste to all that is pure and holy.
Lee: The cries of the slaughter will echo across the firmament, briefly, before they are silenced by the claws of our bretheren!
Cedrik: The blood of angels will flow like rivers, and we will gather around great dispensers of it to discuss the previous evening's televised entertainment!
- Panel 4, Page 2
Nero: But, y'know, that's more of a long-term goal.
Lee: One action item at a time.
Cedrik: Don't put the hellcart before the demon-horse, my dad always says!
D&D Context Edit
- "Soul Splice" is not a canonical D&D power for fiends or otherwise. As Nero notes in panel 2, page 1, "Don't bother looking it up."
- Haerta Bloodsoak's name is misspelled as "Haera" in this comic.
- Cedrik in panel 3, page 2, is suggesting that the blood of angels will create a Watter cooler effect.
- "Long term goals", "Action items" and "putting the cart before the horse" are intended as clichés of office culture. The title is likewise a play on a common question asked in corporate job interviews.
- This is the first appearance of the three evil mages whose souls are offered to splice with V: Ganonron, Haerta Bloodsoak, and Jephton the Unholy.