Meet the Empress.
- Haley Starshine ◀ ▶
- Elan ◀ ▶
- Vaarsuvius ◀ ▶
- Malack ◀ ▶
- Gannji ◀ ▶
- Enor ◀ ▶
- Empress of Blood ▶
- Captain of Empress of Blood ▶
- Four Empire of Blood Guards
- Three Cows
- Panel 1
Elan: So, if you're not Death, are you, like, the high priest for the Imperial Blood Chick?
Malack: You know well what my duties are, Nale. I am both high priest and personal spiritual advisor to the empress.
Elan: Uh huh, and how long have you been working for her?
- Panel 2
Haley: Elan, you're his captive, not his biographer!
Elan: Now, now, Haley, introducing new characters is everyone's responsibility.
- Panel 3
Elan: Besides, if he doesn't tell us this stuff now, he'll just spew it out later in the middle of an action scene.
Elan: Like when we try our daring escape. We are trying a daring escape, right?
- Panel 4
Haley: Not until after we meet the Empress. Our best defense right now is the fact that we actually AREN'T the ones she's looking for.
Haley: If she has a high-level cleric on the payroll, she probably has, I don't know, Blood Wizards or something, too. Enough magic to figure out Elan's not Nale.
- Panel 5
Captain: Minister, my apologies, but the Empress is dining. She left orders not to be disturbed.
Malack: I bear news of some import, Captain. Stand aside.
Captain: ...Yes, Minister.
- Panel 6
Malack: Imperial Majesty, I come with news of a traitor to the empire that has been apprehended at last.
- Panel 7
The Empress is an enormously fat red dragon feasting on a live cow.
- Panel 8
Malack: A prisoner, Madame Empress. These fine bounty hunters have caught the human criminal Nale.
Haley: THAT'S the Empress of Blood??
Elan: Are you sure it's not the Empress of Blood Pudding?
- Panel 9
Empress: I don't understand.
Malack: He fought for us during your Glorious Ascendance two years ago, but then turned and tried to seize your crown for himself.
Malack: I just need you to authorize receipt and payment for these three prisoners.
Gannji: And, uh, you have cow on your face.
- Panel 10
Haley: You know, I'm thinking maybe the Empress there is just a figurehead.
Elan: With boats that big, their navy must be unstoppable!
- Panel 11
Haley: No, not a literal—I mean I think that this Malack guy is the real power behind the throne.
Elan: I think the real power behind the throne is something more like reinforced concrete pylons. Or maybe adamantine cross braces.
Vaarsuvius: I weep bitter tears for that seat, which dies a little each day so that other chairs may live.
D&D Context Edit
- In D&D, adamantine is a ultra hard metal, which adds to the quality of weapons and armors made with it. Historically, the term adamant, adamantite, etc. typically referred to diamond, as the word shares the same greek root (adamastos) as diamond, and diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance. However, the term, particularly in ancient sources, sometimes also refers to metal items, though there is no real-world metal by that name.
- In panel 3, Elan says that if Malack "doesn't tell us this [background] stuff now, he'll just spew it out later in the middle of an action scene." Malack does just this while having his duel with Durkon in #874.
- This is the first appearance of the Empress of Blood, as well the Captain of her guard.