Tuesday, March 15, 2011

18. Tor Conan #15. Conan the Warrior by leonard Carpenter, Part 1

Prologue and Chapters 1-4

In the prologue we are treated to a description of a sprawling expanse of the Varikiel marshes in northern Nemedia. Lar is a young farm boy who is playing where he ought not, sometimes the boogieman will come and get you. This is one of those occasions as poor Lar falls afoul of something which gives him a bite like acid.

While this is happening, Conan is participating in an escape from a Nemedian Prison. Things are going well at first, but the guards prove to be more powerful than the prisoners thought. Before long the escape attempt is quelled and Conan is brought before a mysterious man in a black cape, who orders him remanded to baronial custody. He's shunted off to solitary to await transportation, all the while wondering what new trouble is in store.

Soon however he is wheeling his way with the man in the black cape towards a luxurious mansion. He is instructed to sit by by a man named Durwald. Eventually he comes to find out he's there to be offered a job. Apparently the man has seen something he likes in the youthful barbarian. An uncanny resemblance to some one of great import is hinted at, but Durwald makes no effort to explain yet.

Eventually the other shoe drops and Conan is made aware of his presence. He is to pretend to be Durwald's son, Favian. A body double, in case anything should befall him. The two youths immediately get off on the wrong foot when Favian throws a technically poor punch at the Cimmerian who tosses him with little effort. Certainly an interesting job.

Conan spends the next few days growing accustomed to his new station, learning the ways of the nobility of Nemedia and even being taught a rough version of their formal fencing techniques. It's less than practical though, and their swords are less than worthless. Conan would prefer a good broadsword any day. He also learns that his new boss had married a Cimmerian bride, and that is why Favian bears such a striking similarity. The plot thickens.

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