Tuesday, March 29, 2011

18. Tor Conan #15, Conan the Warlord by Leonard Carpenter, part 3

Chapters 8-11

Conan is once again learning the role of his job, today is chariot practice while en-route to Castle Edram. Things are going decently until his charioteer is struck by an arrow during an ambush. His chariot pitches wildly about as Conan knows nothing of "Horsefollowing". Luckilly for him, the true prince is with the troupe disguised as an ordinary retainer and he manages to get the chariot under control. He and Conan then route the ambushers, one of which proves to have been a woman, and continue on to Edram hoping to learn more about their attackers.

They learn of a rebellion, one that must be put down, rumours of a cult of Set abound as well. The next day two files of horsemen set out to quash the rebellious populi, and are soon engaged in a horrid slaughter. Conan is no butcher of innocents however and after preventing the rape of a village woman, quickly finds the true reason for the raid. A wooden boat. Which is 'competing' with the King's toll bridge. He voices his displeasure at having been made party to this, but the King's steward remains emotionless to his entreaties.

Following their "Victory" the hosts of Einharson enjoy themselves in a lavish party thrown at the Castle. There has been a wedding this day also, and the Prince is allowed the 'right' of First Night. Again this brings the bile up into the back of Conan's throat, another disgusting practice of 'civilization'. The girl however, is a sham. She is using the princes 'right' to get close enough to him to kill him, and kill him she does. She makes her escape but is seen by Conan, he realizes she is none other than one of the ambushers from earlier, and also the woman in the village.

Conan is soon blamed for the murder of Favian, and later for the murder of the Baron himself. He needs to make his way out of the castle and quickly. But upon reaching a balcony from which he can escape a strange sight catches his eye. A new supernatural threat has emerged, as ghostly riders wearing decrepit armour have begun assaulting the manse. What form of deviltry this is, Conan knows not, only that they are a threat to him. They are soon driven off by the timely intervention of a rebel army lead by the barons cousin.

Having been accused of murder, Conan sees little choice but to side with the rebels. The two factions come upon mutual terms, Conan will remain in his position and continue to impersonate the late prince Favian, become the new Baron and be a puppet ruler answering to a new council. This sits not well at all with the Barbarian, but for the moment its better than being hung as a murderer.

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