Genre Love Stories: Nale and Sabine

Today, we’re going to talk about a type of love story you don’t see very often: one between evil characters. Specifically, the characters of Sabine the succubus and Nale the evil twin from Rich Burlew’s webcomic Order of the Stick. OOTS has a fair number of romances going on in it, including Elan and Haley (the silly bard and his morally ambiguous girlfriend), Roy and Celia (the heroic leader and his polyanna long-distance relationship), and Daigo and Kazumi (who are actually a close second on my list), but of them all, I find the villainous love story to be the best, and the most unique as well.

Occasionally, you do see villains who love each other in fiction, but most of the time, it’s shown that said love is self-destructive or abusive because evil people can’t really love, or only one of the partners is evil, and their love is where they show their redeeming character traits. For these two, however, their love is (apparently) genuine, and their combined villainy is part of what they share together. Mild spoilers for the later strips ahead.

Nale is the evil twin of the child-like bard Elan. While the good twin is happy-go-lucky and lives in the moment, Nale plots his every action down to the last, overly-complicated detail. He’s petty and vengeful, seeking to destroy and bring suffering to everyone who has ever wronged him, no matter how slightly. Sabine is a demon, sent up from the Infernal realms because her demonic masters believed Nale had the potential to become a great force of evil in the world. It’s clear her masters have some ulterior motives for her as well, but somewhere along the way, Sabine became devoted to her charge.

In a dark, twisted way, Sabine and Nale are cute together. Sure, their idea of fun is using human sacrifice to give themselves months of happiness, but they’re honest and affectionate with one another, when their love is in danger, they fight for it, and Sabine has even shown herself willing to side with Nale over her demonic masters. It’s true that their story has yet to come to a full conclusion, and as they are villains, it’s quite likely that they won’t end happily ever after, but at least it seems very unlikely that in the end, their love will be what dooms them. Also, it’s a small thing, but I like the fact that they’re an interracial couple.

In any case, even though their morals may be somewhere between askew and non-existent, and their relationship standards aren’t conventional (Sabine, being a demon of illicit sex, is certainly not monogamous, and doesn’t expect Nale to be. She only gets jealous when he’s plotting to kill people she wants to murder herself), they are devoted to one another and treat each other with real affection. I think if I were a supervillain, my evil wife and I would have them over for evil Parcheesi and wine-tasting.