In the prologue we were introduced to the Zombie Girl Tuanne, Neg's Handiwork of course. In the first part of chapter five we are again faced with her. She is journeying along the mountain pass high in the Kezankian mountains heading for a village where some supernatural force is telling her the "Source of light is also heading ". Skeer the footpad is heading towards this same village, pity for him that the living dead are waiting.
Conan and Elashi make it to the village a little while later, we are given a humorous bit where the Innkeeper tries to extort a bribe from the surly barbarian.. gets only a hand on a sword hilt for his efforts. He took the hint and gave Conan the information he wants, That Skeer had followed a woman down the hall to here room some time ago. He was subdued, and Tuanne had nearly completed her mission when Conan and Elashi burst into the room. Conan breifly distracted by the zombie girl and then attacked by a confused Elashi allows both skeer and tuanne to escape.. Tuanne with the "Source of light" and Skeer without a stitch of clothing.
Skeer, running from the village rightly deduces that Neg's name is the Malific.. not the Merciful.. so he had best re-steal the "Source of light" or his own fate will be less than pleasent. But he dosen't know which of his persuers has it.. the Zombie or the Barbarian.. this of course complecates matters for poor Skeer. He decides that if he could be fooled by the undead girl then the Barbarian would be as well. Catching her later that day after having ridden his mount to exhaustion in order to get in front of her, Incapacitating her with sorcery, reclaiming the talisman for himself and his master. The next morning tuanne is found by Conan and Elashi. After some very bad dialogue we learn Tuanne needs the talisman in order to help her die, Conan utters that Neg needs killing, and the three join forces to continue looking for Skeer.
Our heroic trio head towards the four mountains which make up " The Death mask ", and which hide the unseen mystery city of Opkothard. The zombie girl judged it the most likely direction to go, though she doubts Skeer will diverge in order to tour the city. They come upon Skeer's dead horse beside the road, having ridden it hard and suffering a broken leg, he killed it and kept moving on foot.
After communication with Skeer, Neg is furious to find his pet Tuanne escaped and working against him. He vents his frustrations on some of the other less attractive zombies and then dispatches a gaggle of them to hunt down Tuanne for her traitorous ways. Skeer has reached the city of Okothard, only to find the way shut. He hails a city gaurd and requests entrance, noticing some etched spider symbols and deduces the Cities population worships the same spidergod as the denzians of the Zamoran city of Yezud.
The trio enter the city with less questioning, Conan sets a boy to look out for Skeer and then conducts some shrewd business in the local merchants quarter, gaining the unwanted attention of some riffraff. In order to impress upon them he's not an easy target, He re-aranges a local blacksmiths anvil with little difficulty and turns down a job offer shortly after.
Back at the monestary, there was apparently a bit of a misunderstanding, Conan has been blamed for the deaths of the preists and the Swordmaster's student, Malo, has journeyed to find him and bring him to justice. He reaches the city around the same time as Neg's zombie minions. And the practitioners of the spider religion predict a conflagration based on their oracular activities.. one can only assume with a Swordsmaster, a Barbarian, a Footpad and a horde of zombies.. that it will be worth the price of admission at the least.