(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized family affair.)
When I predicted that Nale and Tarquin might make up and form one side in the battle for the Gates, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Although Tarquin seems willing to accept his son’s direction, as at least one person on the forum points out, he’s also equally willing to let someone else hold the official position of leader of the Empire of Blood, so he could be just as willing to try to manipulate Nale similarly. But that might actually turn out to be a far more interesting outcome than if he just let Nale run the show, and not necessarily because Tarquin would be entirely successful.
Tarquin knows a lot, but he’s not omniscient, and so far as we know, Sabine is the only person in that room who knows what the real power behind the Linear Guild is. The IFCC might be willing to put up with Tarquin joining the group and even calling the shots so long as it results in more conflict for Girard’s Gate, but it’s very easy to see a scenario where Tarquin takes the Linear Guild in a direction they don’t want it to go, or raises them beyond the level of “incompetent buffoons”. That could result in much of the comic’s conflict occuring within the Linear Guild, especially between Sabine and Tarquin with Nale caught in the middle. It’s been speculated that Nale might find out about and rebel against the IFCC at some point; we may be seeing the groundwork being laid for that.
At any rate, after spending so long inside the Empire of Blood, the comic is moving everything straight towards what’s shaping up to be an epic, multi-way conflagration at Girard’s Gate, one that’ll make the Linear Guild encounter we just had look like child’s play.