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Recap / The Order of the Stick: Don't Split the Party

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Following the battle for Azure City, the Order find themselves separated; Roy's dead, and his body is with Haley and Belkar in Azure city, while Elan, Durkon and Vaarsuvius are all at sea with the Azurite Refugees. As each of them try to cope, Vaarsuvius ends up in serious trouble, and is forced to make a decision that will change everything...


Tropes

  • Adult Fear: Vaarsuvius is horrified when the ancient Black Dragon has made the decision to kill their children. And when the dragon teleports away to their location, they freak out.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While it's nothing new to the comic, Haley goes a step further and steals the diamond she's holding on the cast page.
    Haley: Huh, what do you know, it worked.
    Elan: You sure it didn't need to stay there?
    Haley: Nah, that cast page is painfully outdated anyway. We all look deformed, or something.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember that young dragon Vaarsuvius destroyed? So does his mother...
  • Crazy-Prepared: Not only does the Oracle have a cleric scheduled to revive him after death, but he's also cunning enough to have some vengeance prepared as well.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Xykon hands Vaarsuvius his ass in a magic fight.
  • Darkest Hour: The Order hits it by comic 599. Roy is still dead and his body is now in the possession of Hieronymus Grubwiggler, Haley is trapped in Greysky City and being hunted down by those she had grown up with, Belkar is sick from activating his Greater Mark of Justice and Vaarsuvius has abandoned Elan and Durkon, who are the only two members of the Order who have remained active and united.
  • Deal with the Devil: Vaarsuvius ends up making one to gain ultimate power to save their family from the mother dragon. However, the Fiends offering the deal point out alternatives, and state that if they make the deal it will be to avoid admitting they needed help.
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  • Dramatic Irony: Haley says the fact that tropical birds somehow found her group — and were subsequently eaten — isn't notable, as random encounters happen all the time. What the audience knows is that the birds were sent by V with a message for Haley.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: An insert in the collected edition details all the scars that O-Chul gained as a prisoner of Team Evil, there are many.
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: Elan has one, but he doesn't really need it. Hinjo angrily takes it off him soon after we see them.
  • Foreshadowing: In the print version, Elan and Lien encounter a large... thing in the water (which quickly takes off), setting up the appearance of the ancient Black Dragon.
  • Helpful Hallucination: Belkar has one about Lord Shojo, which may or may not be his ghost or a manifestation of the Mark of Justice. In the hallucination, Belkar learns he has to fake character development to get ahead in life.
  • Irony:
    • Last time, the Oracle's memory charm nearly screwed the Order over when it made them forget the realization that Xykon was actually attacking Azure City, with only a stroke of luck that they remained in the city just before the attack. This time, the charm saved Belkar just as Haley was kicking him out of the Order for killing the Oracle, although it did have the side effect of them not knowing his Mark of Justice had gone off.
    • Leo, Nero, and Cedrik give Vaarsuvius the Soul Splice power as part of a Batman Gambit to get Xykon out of stationary and start the hunt for the remaining gates, but the only reason he remained in Azure City was because Redcloak was using torturing O-Chul for information he didn't have as a pretense to set up a hobgoblin society in the city.
  • Judgement of the Dead: Roy goes through this. The Deva responsible for judging him takes the opportunity to call him out on many of his more questionable actions, but he ultimately passes into Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
  • La Résistance: Haley forms one while in Azure City. There are also two other groups, but they don't want to cooperate.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Well, maybe not everything, but The Reveal that Blackwing saw a planet inside the Rift where the Snarl should be has certainly opened a whole new can of speculation...
  • Time Skip: One happens while Roy is in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, about a few months long. And he doesn't even realize it until his Grandfather Horace tells him. He does not take the revelation well.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Despite Vaarsuvius having the power of three (later two) of the most powerful dark wizards in the Lower Yard, they didn't work for the power, whereas Xykon gained all his strength with his own hands. Xykon even lampshades as such with his "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Unwanted False Faith: Durkon is not happy in the least that the orcs take to worshiping Elan's puppets, Banjo and Giggles.
    Durkon: "But..but thar no real gods! Thar puppets! Cannae ya see tha thar just puppets?!?"
    Elan: "The only way to settle this dispute between two gods is with a pie-eating contest!!"
    Orcs: "Hooray!"
    Durkon: "PUPPETS CANNAE EVEN EAT PIE!!!"
  • Visual Pun:
    • One of the hobgoblins shows up with a lampshade that Redcloak tells him to hang just anywhere.
    • In the bonus strips with Lien and Elan's underwater adventure, one fish has a sword for a nose and there is a shark with a hammer grafted to its head. So they're a literal swordfish and hammerhead shark. There's also a jellyfish, represented by a jar of strawberry jelly with tentacles on its underside.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Deva Roy meets in the Upper Realm questions Roy on some of his less moral life decisions, such as letting Elan be taken by bandits that one time, and letting Belkar on his team. For the former, Roy admits it was a heinous move on his part, but points out that he did wake up and helped out. As for Belkar, Roy feels that a Boxed Crook is more reliable than trusting in a Cardboard Prison, which the Deva puts down as trying to reform an evildoer.
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