(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized champion.)
Dammit, Rich, stop confirming wild forum theories, you just encourage more and wilder theories.
As with “the white-haired guy in prison is really Ian“, I’d dismissed the theories proposing that the “champion” Roy had to face in the arena was actually Thog – half the time I had thought they were actually joking. But actually going this route raises some interesting questions.
Don’t get me wrong, I had every expectation the Linear Guild would show up in this arc at some point – I just wasn’t sure how. The only way I could think of seemed too contrived, as though they’d arrive like a deus ex machina out of nowhere at a random point. Now, however, they’re present in the minds of the OOTS before they’re present physically. Simply put, this was not supposed to happen.
Although the Guild escaped in the middle of the Battle of Azure City, no one except themselves (and their secret allies) knew of it. Elan even told the Empress of Blood’s court that Nale was dead. Now, if Thog is not only alive, but just a few feet in front of them, it stands to reason that Nale and Sabine survived the destruction of Azure City’s castle as well, and that should get the minds of the Order members spinning.
One of the first things they’ll do is ask a lot of questions of Tarquin. Thog was already part of the Guild when Nale fought his father, and if any OOTS member got a good enough look at the Wanted poster that got them in this mess, they’d know that. That means Tarquin has had a known associate of Nale’s in his possession for, by the forumites’ calculations, 9 months. How aware was he of that? Is there a particular reason Tarquin has kept him alive so long? Does he know whether Nale or Sabine are around as well? Did Elan convince him that Nale wasn’t with Thog anymore, or did his claim that Nale was dead only make Tarquin more suspicious?
In any event, once it turns out that Nale is, in fact, alive, something tells me the OOTS will have some hell to pay…