Thursday, December 30, 2010

15. Ace Conan #1.3 , "The Halls of the Dead"

From Hyborean Apocrypha


This is the third short story presented in the old Ace Conan books, its the first of the "DeCamp Completions" and in my opinion is one of the better ones. It would originally have been the very first appearance of Shadizar, but in this it will be closer to the 4th or so... But still has little happening in the city.. Conan has gotten tired of not doing much and has decided to head slightly south west of the city to where a ruin of a city exists, Larsha. And having made a nuisance of himself to the nobles of Zamora over the last several months he's also being pursued by an old acquaintance, the Gunderman guardsmen Captain who we last saw many moons ago in Arenjun.

Conan is far more canny than the captain knows, and his men walk rather blindly into a tripwire deadfall the Barbarian has set for them. The captain, named Nestor, and Conan engage in a duel but things go poorly for the Gunderman when the Cimmerian strikes him and knocks him out. Conan then goes about his way finding a way into the city. Conan runs afoul of a very large and very angry acid spitting slug which gives him some chase until he manages to scale a wall and drop something very heavy on it. Coming down to make sure it is dead he turns to find Nestor again, this time not so intent on murder as coming to a mutual understanding to search the city for its treasure and split the take.

The Two men then begin to make their way deeper into the city, after making their way into the vaults they find the treasure, they load up their satchels but fall afoul a necromantic boobietrap. Triggering several mummies to attack them, these are nearly impervious to blows so the two adventurers decide that discretion is the better part of valour and lead the mummies for a chase through the city. Upon exiting the cities walls the curse is broken and the mummies crumble to dust. But it also causes an earthquake which finishes off the ruins of the city. Worse still Conan's partner is no where to be seen, assuming Nestor has been killed Conan returns to Shadizar.

That night in the tavern which Conan has chosen for his reveries the City guard bursts in intent on his arrest. The Magistrate leading them explains they had captured Nestor but he escaped and the jewels which he had had turned to dust. They confiscate Conan's treasure which was a jade statue of a serpent. When the magistrate reaches into the sack he finds its no longer just a statue and quickly dies from envenomation.. Conan uses this opportunity to escape and hits the road heading westward towards Corinthia.

Review - This is one of the better Posthumous collaborations, and one of the less irksome. I really dunno what else to say about it as I've read it several times and consider it a good enough tale. It's interesting as it's one of the 3 possible stories featuring the Gunderman Nestor. The others being Tower of the Elephant and Hand of Nergal.

1 comment:

stag said...

dammit, that was the copy I loaned to "that girl" who of course promptly lost it! Broke the set!