Note: As a recap page, all spoilers are unmarked. You have been warnedThis is for The Order of the Stick prequel volume. Go here for the trope.
A young boy named Xykon finds the death of his dog triggering sorcerous powers and a natural affinity for necromancy. Maliciously gleeful at his zombified dog's taste for brains, he sets off to find more birds to kill and feed to it. At puberty, a crippled wizard finds the budding necromancer and condescendingly offers him a place on a team of sorcerers he is training. Offended, Xykon kills and reanimates the old man and then sets him and his first human zombie — that of his grandmother — on his parents. With their murder, he sets off to become a villain for the sheer hell of it.
A quiet goblin village celebrates the ascension of a new youth as an apprentice cleric, the festivities being disrupted when a group of Paladins from Azure City arrive and start massacring the village. His teacher struck down, the apprentice cleric takes his magical red cloak, receiving a communication from his deity about the reasons for goblins suffering in this world.
When these two forces cross, a pact that will shake the world is born...