Spins of the Father
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 758
Date published 16 November 2010
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Tarquin reveals how the Vector Legion is controlling three empires and playing the other nations off each other in order to consolidate their hold on the Western Continent. At the same time, Roy makes a surprising discovery about one of his fellow prisoners.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Tarquin: Now, I think your surprise should be just about ready...
Elan: I'm sorry, Dad, but I don't think I can just let this drop. You said there were good reasons for what you did. If so, I kinda think I need to hear them.

Panel 2, Page 1

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: Heard you got a vist[sic] from our local tin-plated dictator.
Roy: Dictator? I thought he was a general.
Ian: That's what he wants you to believe. But a few of us know his secret.

Panel 3, Page 1

Cut back to the grandstand.
Tarquin: *sigh* Fine. I was going to save this for a more dramatic occasion, but if you really need me to spell it out for you, I can.
Elan: Dad, they asked you for help! And you totally screwed them!
Tarquin: Yes, they did ask for my help. They asked for help against myself.

Panel 4, Page 1

Elan: ...Huh?
Tarquin: Do you remember what I said about my attempt to rule a kingdom of my own?
Elan: Yeah, you said that you didn't last a year.
Tarquin: That's true, but it was most informative nonetheless.

Panel 5, Page 1

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: When he first appeared on the continent, he conquered eleven nations in eight months.
Geoff: It took a coalition of no less than twenty-six other countries to defeat him and drive him out.

Panel 6, Page 1

Cut back to the grandstand.
Tarquin: See, without truly understanding the politics of the Western Continent, I'd inadvertently made myself into a common enemy for all the normally fractious warlords to rally against.
Tarquin: It was a mistake I swore I would not repeat.

Panel 7, Page 1

Flashback to the Vector Legion, including Tarquin, Malack, Miron, Jacinda, Laurin and an unnamed male human warrior and a baby Nale
Tarquin (inset): As I may have mentioned, Malack and I were members of an adventuring party back in the day. I was the leader, in fact, as you are the leader of your little band. After my defeat, I gathered them together.
Tarquin: I have a plan. One that will get you what you want out of life without having to muck around in filthy dungeons until the day we die.

Panel 8, Page 1

Cut back to the grandstand in the present.
Tarquin: The crux of the plan was to avoid making myself a target as I worked to forge the greatest empire ever seen.
Tarquin: On a personal level, this meant ruling through others. Hence the ruse that I work for the Empress rather than the other way around.
Tarquin: Politically, it meant controlling more than one state at the same time.

Panel 9, Page 1

Cut to the Weeping King with Miron and the fighter.
Tarquin (inset): Two members of my team "advise" the Weeping King on his Throne of Regrets, manipulating him so that he lashes out at all of his neighbors.
Weeping King: Bwaaaaaaaa!
Miron: Do you know what would fill that empty hole in your heart?
Fighter: A new port city!

Panel 10, Page 1

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: When a nation or tribe or whatever manages to stand up to the Empire of Tears, they often ask for help from the next-most-powerful force around: say, the Empire of Blood.
Geoff: He plays both sides at the same time, and BAM! The Weepies have another conquest.
Ian: It's a classic two-man con.

Panel 1, Page 2

Elan: Dad, I don't think that's a good idea. I doubt Zora's city will accept either you OR the Weepies as their ruler now!
Elan: They'll just form a resistance group, and—
Tarquin: And that has already been anticipated.

Panel 2, Page 2

Cut to a steam bath in the Empire of Sweat. Laurin and Jacinda are 'advising' Queen Shvitzer
Tarquin (inset): Enter Queen Shvitzer and her handlers. After the so-called Free City of Doom has had a few months of brutality under the Empire of Tears, my final two associates in the Empire of Sweat will arrange for the "liberation" of the city.

Panel 3, Page 2

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: The Weepies fall back and retreat, driven away by the Sweaters...
Geoff: ...Who suggest that maybe the territory should be associated with their empire...
Ian: You know, for their own "protection."

Panel 4, Page 2

Cut to the grandstand.
Tarquin: No guerillas, no rebellion, no armed resistance by the populace.
Tarquin: Because no one realizes that they are still under the thumbs of the same six people.
Tarquin: Eventually, the whole desert will be ruled by one of our three empires.

Panel 5, Page 2

Elan: And then what? You'll join them into one big super-ultra-mega-empire?
Tarquin: No! Haven't you been listening? That'll just encourage the elves or someone to attack us.
Tarquin: No, we'll just quietly rule our kingdoms with an iron fist until we get old and/or die.

Panel 6, Page 2

Elan: Dad, that's—how can you trick all of those people? That's terrible!
Tarquin: It's for their own good. Tens of thousands of people die every year here from needless warfare.
Tarquin: By consolidating the human and lizardfolk lands into three states that have no incentive to fight one another, we'll eliminate these conflicts and the death they bring.

Panel 7, Page 2

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Roy: How come no one has noticed that they've been doing this?
Geoff: They find a patsy to "topple" one of their three kingdoms every few years.
Ian: Kings come and go around here, so it throws most people off the trail.

Panel 8, Page 2

Cut to the grandstand.
Tarquin: We've been through dozens of different names by now...
Tarquin: The Duchy of Terror, the Barren Baronies...

Panel 9, Page 2

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: The Quietus Federation...
Ian: The Unprincipled Principalities...

Panel 10, Page 2

Cut to the grandstand.
Tarquin: ...Tyrinaria...

Panel 11, Page 2

Cut to the gladiator pit.
Geoff: Speaking of names, we haven't properly introduced ourselves.
Geoff: I'm Geoff, and this is my brother-in-law, Ian.
Ian: They used to call me "Red," but three years of malnutrition will do a number on your hair color.

Trivia Edit

  • The title plays on the biblical concept of the "sins of the father"; that sins or iniquities pass from one generation to another, and spin, political propaganda achieved through a biased interpretation of events.
  • This is only time the entire Vector Legion is portrayed together at one time (in the main comic). It is also the first appearance of three of their members: Laurin Shattersmith, Jacinda, and the unnamed fighter. This is the only appearance of the unnamed Vector Legion member with a sword in the web comic, but he does make one additional appearance in Haleo & Julelan (in a panel that also has all other members of the Vector Legion).
  • In page 1, panel 9; the throne of the Weeping King—The Throne of Regrets—has what appear to be sad eyebrows sculpted into the top of it. They match the king’s eyebrows. Also his body guard to the left has a helm that’s eye hole is arched to make it appear more sad.
  • In page 2, panel 2; Queen Shvitzer is in a steam room because she rules the Empire of Sweat. "Shvitz is a Yiddish word meaning to sweat or to take a steam bath.
  • This is the only appearance of the Weeping King and Queen Shvitzer.
  • The three empires go by Blood, Sweat, and Tears, which is based around the popular phrase made famous in a 1940 speech by Winston Churchill, though earlier attestations of the phrase exist by others, notably Theodore Roosevelt and Lord Byron.

External Links Edit