(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized fatal family tree.)
The chickens, they are coming home to roost.
Much to my chagrin, Rich has once again confirmed a wild forum theory, though this one at least seemed vaguely plausible at the time. Because as it turns out, V’s pride and shortsightedness has completely screwed over the Order of the Stick, or at least the world. (For the record, it’s doubtful that the IFCC planned on this in any way.) Funnily enough, in my last OOTS post I scratched my head at V’s willingness to allow Belkar to use Yukyuk for his own purposes; perhaps this is the universe’s way of reminding her where that path leads.
If the primary theme of this book has been “family”, a secondary one might be “secrets”, namely those of Haley and her father (the latter of which I’ll talk about if and when he turns up again). Up to this point, V was probably willing to try to forget about that whole episode, and had no reason to divulge anything about it to anyone. Now, does he decide to fess up to her culpability in this matter? Doing so could sow distrust, but not doing so will cause this to haunt her for the entire battle, maybe the entire rest of the comic.
This also keeps us from meeting any former Scribblers “in the flesh” at this gate, and thus from getting any further insight into that group’s breakup, and it suggests that the reason Rich seemed to float the possibility of Girard still being alive, as unlikely as it would ordinarily seem, was to make the point hit that much harder here, the guilt weigh that much more heavily on V’s shoulders. (On the plus side, at least the illusion the Order triggered a while back turned out not to lead to any confrontation with anybody!)
Ultimately, the end result of this is to clear the battlefield, wiping out the forces that were already set up to guard the Gate, as well as most of the magical defenses surrounding it. The Gate is more vulnerable than it was ever intended to be, its only defense now consisting of the Order of the Stick themselves. The stage has been set for the showdown for the Gate, and I fully expect the first shots to be fired imminently.