Friday, June 24, 2011

*Spoiler Warning* Conan the Barbarian, By Micheal Stackpole Part 2

Chapters 6-11

*Spoiler Warning*

The hardscrabble yet peaceful ideal of the Cimmerian village is doomed to be shattered. Today the World ends. While at first Corin thinks its just a raid by picts, which the Cimmerians repulse, it soon comes to be seen that this is a massacre. Ranked battalions of soldiers from all over the world are soon seen marching towards the Cimmerian village. Phalanxes from Aquilonia, Archers from Hyrkania, howling mad Picts, skin clad Kushites bearing wooden clubs. All bearing a badge sporting a tentacled face.

Corin sends Conan to fetch something from his shop, and the boy runs through the woods as fast as he can. He is found and knocked down by a Kushite, but he slices the mans belly and gets back up and is off running again. He gets back in time to watch his father confront the leader of the invaders. The man claims to have invaded their land, because they possess a piece of the mask that is also his armies symbol. Either hand it over and join his forces, or die. Corin chooses death, and with that Khalers men drag him to the forge.

Conan leaps from the room he was in, slicing off one of Khaler's men's noses and Khaler's ear. But shear weight of men force him down to the ground. He gets to be an audience as they torture his father. Corin says nothing, though they drip molten iron onto his flesh. Eventually Khaler's sorcerer finds the object they seek, hidden in Corin's shop. Now comes the pain. Instead of simply dispatching the Cimmerians, Khaler plans to take Conan with him, as it will cause Corin the most pain. And Khaler likes to cause pain to those who attempt to thwart him. But Corin with his last act makes it possible for Conan to escape. The boy kills another of Khalers men on his way out of the village, and then begins the journey to find his Grandfather.

Several weeks pass, Conan is now living with Connaught. Being told more about the outside world, about how some people are always nosing about where they have no business. He also tells the boy what he knows of Acheron. A place so evil, if you swing a cat your liable to hit a necromancer or three. The story goes that Acheron's rise was checked only by men from the north. Who began to fight back against the evil. Eventually more lands joined them in their fight and Acheron was broken. The mask of Acheron, was broken into pieces and given to the leaders of every contingent. That was the object that Khaler Zym was after.

More time passes, and under the watch of Connaught Conan become a mighty warrior, He also becomes a Man. Three years pass, the name of Klarzim (?) is nearly forgotten. But one day a messenger comes to their hut. It seems the Aqulonians have fortified their trading post of Venarium, turning it into a redoubt. An insult that cannot be tolerated, and the Cimmerians, all of them are to go and attack it. That night Venarium died screaming under the light of the moon.

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