Recap: Start of Darkness

Note: As a recap page, all spoilers are unmarked. You have been warned

This 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...


  • The Bad Guy Wins / Foregone Conclusion
  • Breaking Speech: Xykon gives a truly nasty one to Redcloak, as listed here.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover shows Xykon as a lich killing a paladin before his first encounter with Redcloak — while in the story proper, he wasn't yet undead when this happened. This is lampshaded on the last page of the book:
    MitD: Wait — the scene on the cover didn't happen that way.
    Demon-roach: Welcome to show business, kid.
  • Deal with the Devil: Redcloak, at the end, describes his alliance with Xykon as such.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Xykon provides the page quote.
  • Doomed Hometown: Redcloak's village is wiped out by overeager Paladins from the Sapphire Guard at the very beginning.
  • Once More with Clarity: In the webcomic proper, we only get a single panel of Xykon killing Eugene Greenhilt's mentor, which looks like he's using a spell to do the job. In this book, we see what really happened; Xykon had already killed Fyron through blunt force trauma by that point, and was turning his corpse into a zombie.
  • Start of Darkness: For Redcloak, anyway. Xykon, as we see, was pretty horrible from early childhood.