The party discusses whether or not to destroy Girard's Gate, while Vaarsuvius finds them from the tunnels underneath. Unable to reach them, Vaarsuvius uses a Bugsby's Hand spell to knock on the wall to alert them of their presence. Unfortunately, the IFCC decides this is a good time to call in part of V's contract.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Vaarsuvius and Blackwing walk down the tunnels under Girard's pyramid.
Vaarsuvius: These blasted tunnels! I cannot make sense of them.
Blackwing: I think they're, like, service tunnels. Lets the defenders spy on intruders and tailor their illusions to what they see.

Panel 2, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: Hmmm. That would explain the periodic pinholes in the structure.

Panel 3, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: But I cannot fathom why they would not see fit to place a portal at some point.
Blackwing: I bet they just used D-Door or something when they needed to get in here. Why build a door someone could find?
Vaarsuvius: I suppose.

Panel 4, Page 1

Vaarsuvius: Is the imp still following us?
Blackwing: Beats me. He went invisible a while ago.
Vaarsuvius: At least we have the benefit of a brief respite from his endless—

Panel 5, Page 1

Cut to the rest of the party at Girard's Gate.
Elan: Roy, you can't blow up the Gate! That's like something *I* would do!
Haley: You did do it, honey.
Elan: That makes it even more likely!!
Roy: Elan, this is different.

Panel 6, Page 1

Cut back to Vaarsuvius in the tunnels.
Vaarsuvius: Wait.
Vaarsuvius: Did you hear that?

Panel 1, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Roy: That was just pure stupidity. No offense.
Elan: None taken.
Roy: I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. I'll be deliberately destroying the Gate in order to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Panel 2, Page 2

Cut back to Vaarsuvius. They have reached a dead end with a vaulted roof.
Vaarsuvius: That is Sir Greenhilt's voice. I can hear him clearly.
Blackwing: Me too! And it sounds like he's found the Gate.
Vaarsuvius: The acoustics of this dead end must be designed for eavesdropping on the chamber above it.

Panel 3, Page 2

Cut back to the party
Belkar: Hold on a second. I thought these stupid Gates are holding up the universe's pants or something.
Roy: They are, but they can also be used to control the Snarl somehow.
Belkar: And the Snarl is…?

Panel 4, Page 2

Roy: The ultra-powerful god-spawned abomination that lives inside the rifts! Come on, Belkar!
Belkar: So sue me for being in the middle of a chase scene when all the background exposition was delivered!

Panel 5, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: No, that may not be accurate!!
Blackwing: About the chase scene? Oh, no, you mean 'cause of the planet I saw in the Azure City rift?

Panel 6, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: Precisely. That revelation has substantially altered our understanding of the situation.
Vaarsuvius: Whether or not the Snarl is within that rift—or indeed, ever actually existed—there may well be a population upon that lone orb.

Panel 7, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Elan: But Roy, Shojo said that if all the Gates go ka-blooey, the whole world will start crumbling!
Haley: This isn't the last Gate, though. Roy and I found a magic monitoring device in the Draketooth's chamber this morning.
Roy: Unless someone broke Kraagor's Gate since breakfast, we'll still have one holding everything together afterwards.

Panel 8, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: Blackwing, we cannot allow Sir Greenhilt to destroy the Gate. There are too many variables of which he knows not.
Blackwing: Like whether or not anything we've been told is even remotely accurate?
Vaarsuvius: Yes, exactly!

Panel 9, Page 2

Cut back to the party.
Elan: Nale got fooled by Girard's trick, though. Doesn't that give us time to figure something else out??
Roy: Fooled for now. But at some point, he and Malack are going to report back to Tarquin—and your dad is at least as good a huckster as Haley.
Roy: If she figured out the bluff, so can he.

Panel 10, Page 2

Roy: Look, we had a period of time where we could've wrapped this up with only the Linear Guild as our opponent. And we blew it.
Roy: The Sending from Hinjo's cleric said that Xykon is on the move. He might even be here already.
Roy: Time's up. The Gate needs to go.

Panel 11, Page 2

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: I cannot risk the lives of the people who may be living on that world through inaction.
Vaarsuvius: Sir Greenhilt's logic is sound based on what he knows, but he does not know all—and that, too, is my fault.
Vaarsuvius: But I cannot allow the possibility of another genocide. We must intercede.

Panel 1, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: I wasn't wrong when I said we had no chance to defend the Gate—but Elan, you were right too.
Elan: I was?
Roy: You said we'd figure out a way to win anyway. This is that way. We don't need to defeat them right now, we just need to keep them from reaching their objective.

Panel 2, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing: Do you have a second Passwall?
Vaarsuvius: No. It was frankly ludicrous that I bothered to prepare one.
Blackwing: How about Sending?
Vaarsuvius: If I did, I would have cast it as soon as I started looking for them.
Blackwing: In that case, may I suggest we try the warning method favored by my people?

Panel 3, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: But I want to make sure you're all on board for this.
Roy: I don't…really know what's going to happen We can't really know all of the possible consequences.

Panel 4, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing: ROY!! DON'T DO IT!!!

Panel 5, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Haley: You know me. This is when to fold 'em. And when to run.
Elan: I guess it is more dramatically appropriate for the final showdown to be at the last Gate anyway.
Roy: Belkar?
Belkar: What, I get a vote?
Roy: You were right about Durkon. I was wrong.

Panel 6, Page 3

Belkar: Yeah, but this main plot stuff is your department.
Roy: Belkar.
Belkar: OK. OK…I say, screw it. When in doubt, set it on fire, right?

Panel 7, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Vaarsuvius: This is not working.
Vaarsuvius: But I have an idea.

Panel 8, Page 3

Cut back to the party.
Roy: OK, then, if we're all on board with—
A "KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!" sound is faintly audible in the room.
Haley: Did you hear that?

Panel 9, Page 3

Cut back to V. He or she has cast one of the various "Bugsby's Hand" spells with which to knock on the ceiling of the chamber.
The giant pink hand knocks on the ceiling. "KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!"

Panel 10, Page 3

Haley: It's like a pounding or something.
The sound continues, faintly. "KNOCK! KNOCK!"
Roy: Nale? Tarquin? Xykon?
Haley: I can't tell. Should I check it out?

Panel 11, Page 3

Cut back to V.
Blackwing & Vaarsuvius: DO NOT DESTROY THE GATE!
Blackwing & Vaarsuvius: DO NOT DESTROY THE—

Panel 12, Page 3

Cut to the IFCC in the Abyss.
Cedrik: Now.

D&D Context Edit

  • The hand spell that V is using is apparently the 8th level Clenched Fist spell, though perhaps the same effect could be achieved with a lower level spell. V does not invoke one of the Bigby names in this strip.

Trivia Edit

  • Belkar was being chased by Miko starting in Dueling Egos #270, which is why he missed the exposition surrounding the snarl in #273-277, The Crayons of Time. On the other hand, he does say "this Snarl thing" on page 2, panel 4 of #881, so he at least heard other Order of the Stick members mention it before, though only now decided to ask what's that about.
  • The first two letters of each of the Directors of the IFCC corresponds to their alignment.

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