Monday, June 27, 2011

23. Ace Conan #1.7 "The City of Skulls" by L. Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter

Conan, back with the army, and is now marching in escort of King Yildiz's Daughter. Princess Zosara. They are taking her to wed her to the Khan of the Kuigar tribesmen in Eastern Hyrkania. He's not alone as he's got his good friend Juma of Kush to keep him company on the long walk. After many days of walking the group is attacked by a group of hillmen out of the Talakama Mountains.

All of the Turanians are killed except Juma, Zosara and Conan. Instead they are taken captive to the mysterious land of Meru, a lush valley surrounded by high mountains. They are taken to Shamballah the capital of Meru. The priests of Meru intend to sacrifice Zosara in an effort to bring back their god, Yama. Juma and Conan attempt to escape but fail. In response they are sentences to a life of slavery chained to an oar in a galley.

Both Conan and Juma have tasted the lash and the bitterness of slavery before, and they vow to escape and rescue Zosara. After some adventures shipboard they make good their design and set off into the city to find the girl. They cut a red swath through the preists and guards of the city and palace, eventually finding their way to the girl. They rescue her and make their way out of the city as fast as they can.

Nearly a month passes before they finally make their way into the Khan's camp and deliver the girl to her betrothed. Little is he aware though that his heir is already on its way courtesy of the Cimmerian. The two adventurers then turn their horses westward and set off back to Turan, loaded with gold and gifts.

Review ~ this is probably one of my preferred Lin Sprague DeCarter stories. I've always liked the character of Juma and was sorry that more wasn't done with him. It dosen't measure up to the fun of the previous, Lin Carter completed, REH story. And certainly dosen't measure up to Rogues in the House.. but it's a decent enough way to end the first volume of the Ace Series.

Up Next, Conan the Hero by Leonard Carpenter.

Friday, June 24, 2011

*Spoiler Warning* The Chronology of Conan the Barbarian.

This is based solely on evidence as presented in the novelization by Michael Stackpole. Spoilers will undoubtedly be included, you have been warned.

0y - Corin's village is raided by Vanir Raiders, his pregnant wife is killed protecting their unborn son, her last act is to name the newborn Conan. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 5y - Conan is jealous of the other village boys who have been given swords, and resents doing menial chores. His father gives him an old Aquilonian short sword. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 12y - Corin teaches his sown how to forge steel, and the two together make the boy's first sword. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 13y - Conan's village is attacked by an army of diverse nationalities lead by a man named Khalar Zhym. Conan is the only survivor. He goes to live with his grandfather Connaught in the hills. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 16y - Connaught and Conan are summoned by the Cimmerean elders to take part in the attack on an Aquilonian fortres, Venarium. The battle over, and after years of Connaughts stories, Conan heads south to discover what the world is like. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 17y - He goes to The City of Thieves and raids the fabled elephant tower, slaying its owner, Yara, in the process. He meets Artus for the first time. "The Tower of the Elephant"

"Rogues in the House" Is possibly placed here.

About 25y - Conan is on the run from the authorities in Argos, buys passage on a ship south. The ship is raided by the so called Queen of the Black Coast, Belit, and Conan becomes her lover. Belit and her crew venture up a river in search of treasure, but find only death. Conan burns the Tigress as Belit's pyre. and then wanders some time in the southern black kingdoms. "Queen of the Black Coast"

About 28y - Conan has found his way back to the Hyborean Kingdoms and has met up with Artus again. They are plying their trade as Pirates now, following the same rough path that the Tigress formerly did. He is approached by one of the men who had raided his village and retrieves information about Khalar Zyms whereabouts, He then heads south down the coast seeking the Shaipur Pass. Conan rescues a girl named Tamara, is informed it's his destiny to defeat Khalar Zym and save the world and to escort her to Hyrkania. The two go to Hyrkania, they take part in an epic battle and Khalar Zym is slain. Afterwords, Conan departs for other adventures. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 12 - 33

There are specific mentions to several things in the book. Conan's backstory is all made up of relatively known things. They don't add a lot too it, theres no wheel of pain or slavery. Conan is tough from the get go, he takes part in the sack of Venarium. He then leaves to adventure elsewhere. The story then jumps ahead a considerable amount of time. And it is made clear that in that time, The Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the black coast occurred. Later it is referenced that Conan has not been to either Vendhya or Khitai. So nothing rules out other of the early REH stories from taking place in that span either. But I'd say that at least three did occur, the third being Rogues in the House, though there is no internal evidence to support that idea except that the book seems to fit around the first three stories in the old "Probable outline of Conan's career" chronology from P. Shyuler Miller and John Clark.

If So, I wonder if that alludes to what we might see in the sequel? And it also speaks volumes that Micheal Stackpole ignores all other chronologies, and uses the only one which REH himself saw. It also makes me hope that these three stories are included in the forthcoming Del Rey volume "Conan the stories that inspired the movie"..

The only problem is, while Aqualionia, Zamora, Zingara, Shem, Kush, and others are mentioned, apparently none of the states of the Hybroean age are capable of standing against Khalar Zym's ragtag band of defeated soldiers. He's either exceptionally powerful, or the great powers lack any control over their borders. Its the same problem I felt that Thulsa Doom's forces had in the first Conan film. If it were just a few minions, I could buy them being able to furtively slip around border posts.. but not an entire army.

All in all though, this does a far better job of incorporating Robert E. Howard's Conan than either of the movies, or live action show did. Though he's not exactly REH's Conan.. he is still definitely Conan. It is a shame though that thanks to the construction of this, if we get any of Tower of the Elephant or Queen of the black coast on screen, it will likely be as a flashback, and not as a straight forward adaption. On the other hand, It's perfectly likely we can still get Black Colossus as a straight forward adaption.. which would be pretty darn cool.

*Spoiler Warning* Conan the Barbarian, By Michael Stackpole Part 5

*Spoiler Warning*

You have been warned

Chapters 24-33

Khaler lashes out at Marique, he blames her for their escape. She is weak he claims, far weaker than her mother. The two argue, and then marique turns on the surviving soldiers and levitates the mask from Khaler's hand to hover over the edge of the cliff. Instead of acting shocked or angry, he smiles and tells her how proud of her he is. Now becalmed, she gives the mask back to her father. But this family moment dosen't change that the quarry has escaped, and at this moment is sailing south down the black coast.

The plan is for Conan to head to Asgalun, and from there to Khor Khalba. Meanwhile Artus is to take Tamara to Vendhya and from there overland to Hyrkania. Conan sets off, but before long Tamara comes ashore as well. She wishes to give something to Conan. The two spend the night together, but the next day sorcery befalls them and Tamara is kidnapped. Conan sets off alone, he knows exactly who facilitated this, Marique. He also knows that the place he will find Tamara is also the place he will find Khalar Zym, Khor Kalba.

He first goes to Asgalun, he is searching for the thief Ela Shan. He finds him in a fetid watering hole in the back alleys of Asgalun. He tells the man he has come to collect the life debt he is owed. He needs to get into Khor Khalba, and there is no lock that Ela Shan cannot break. Reluctantly Ela agrees, and the two begin the trek to Khor Khalba. After picking their way through the hills the spires of Khor Khalba rear against the nights sky.

Slowly they worm their way into its deepest rooms. Dispatching any of Khaler's minions they come across, all except one supernatural horror they are incapable of defeating. The many tentacled water dwelling, Watcher (Seriously?, its called the watcher and it lives in water. Where have I read that before?) Ela shan manages to blind it with cobra venom encrusted knives, but it dosen't kill the beast. It begins to pull the fortress down in its fury, while the two men rush upstairs.

It may be too late, as Khalar has now put the girls blood on the mask, thus gaining all of its power. Conan rushes in just as Khalar puts the mask on. They hurl invective at one another, and then steel clashes with steel. The fight begins to turn against Conan, Khaler Zym's powers are far greater than he imagined. Stones pulled loose by the blinded watcher separate them, and just in time for Conan to save Tamara from the vindictive Marique.

With the daughter dead, only the father remains. But he is now filled with rage at the barbarian, and seems unstoppable. But suddenly reinforcements arrive. When Tamara failed to return to the ship, Artus and the rest of the pirates set off looking for her and Conan, after finding clues in Asgalun they set off to Khor Kalba, and just in the nick of time to save the day.

With Khalar Zym defeated, and the mask shattered, and buried under the ruined fortress, Conan parts ways with Tamara and sets off on what is sure to be further adventures.

The End.

*Spoiler Warning* Conan the Barbarian, By Michael Stackpole Part 4

*Spoiler Warning!*

You have been warned.

Chapters 19-23

Tamara is preparing to leave the monastery on her quest to find Conan. None too soon it seems as Fassir is brought word of an army approaching. He beseeches Tamara to go, and not to look back. Only finding Conan can she right the evils that are being committed. Only Conan can save the world. So reluctantly the girl departs on her long and lonely quest.

Some time later, the monasteries defenses having been breached, Khalar Zym approaches Fassir. They are acquaintances of old and have a past together. It seems in a former life, before finding religion, Fassir had slain dozens of men, women and children who were descendants of the Acheroneon kings of old. All but one. Tamara. And it is her that Khalar Zym needs to finally revive the mask. He needs but a drop of her blood to finish the task, and he aims to get it.

Conan has reached the Shaipur pass, he feels a strange lethargy come over him. Some sort of sorcerer's ward to keep him from entering the red wastes. It's not painful, so it just takes willpower to continue on. He has that in spades. But before he makes it too far into the desert a carriage comes hurtling past him. It's being pursued by a dozen or more men all bearing the sign of Acheron. Conan sets off in pursuit of them and after a running battle finally succeeds in dispatching the riders. He approaches the occupant of the carriage, a girl, who upon seeing him explains to him that it is now his destiny to escort her to Hyrkania.

Conan at scoffs at this. He explains he dosen't plan to run, but to stand and wait for Khaler to come for the girl. Then he aims to finish what he started years ago. He dosen't have to wait long before he and Tamara are beset by Zym's forces. Khaler's Daughter Marique summons a sand-lich to slay the barbarian. While Tamara engages the liches Conan dives straight at Khalar Zym. The two banter back and forth, and realization dawns on Khaler who this madman is. The same boy he let escape years ago. He calls up his archers, screaming at them to wound the girl and kill the Barbarian.

His foes however had enough time to lay a trap. They have laced the shaipur outpost with pots of oil, and left trails of the stuff spiderwebed out. Conan shouts to Tamara and they begin to run for the sheer cliff face over looking the sea. They light the oil and then as the fire is ripping through the outpost leap over the cliff into the sea. This was the plan all along, Conan had left Artus waiting on him, and the two swim to his ship the Hornet.

*Spoiler Warning* Conan the Barbarian, By Micheal Stackpole Part 3


You've been warned!

Chapters 12-19

We jump ahead many years after the sack of Venarium and journey many hundreds of leagues south to the coast of Zingara. A Coast which is fare more peaceful now that the Queen of the Black Coast, Belit as disappeared. Though her second in command Conan has now joined up with another ship, Captained by Artus. Today though, their quarry has decided to travel overland, so they will adapt to fight on land.

They fall on the caravan and swiftly win over the merchants guards. During their festivies Artus regales the crew of his first meeting with Conan. When the barbarian was nothing but a scrawny youth picking pockets in Zamora, though he was also the one who stole into the Elephant tower and slew the sorcerer Yara. During this tale telling, several men approach the pirates camp. They are Aquilonians, and their master is a man Conan has met before. A Man missing the nose that Conan took.

The men have come to hire Conan. They think he is a Vanir-man and will make an excellent addition to their master's forces. Conan knowing this to be a chance to find out more about the "Klarzin" who destroyed his village plays along. Allowing them to put him in chains as a "Show of good faith", He's put with a few other captives including one who claims to be a great thief. Ela Shaun. One who claims to have raided Yara's personal palace after the elephant tower fell. Conan dosen't think much of him.

some time later Conan is brought in front of Lucius, the man with no nose as he is torturing Ela shan. Conan attacks the nose-less man and frees the thief. He turns the tables on Lucias and extracts certain information about Klarzin, nay, Khalar Zym. He dwells in Khor Kalba, deep in the red wastes through the Shaipur pass. Conan plans to find him, and Ela Shan offers his help. Conan turns him down, however, the thief says if he changes his mind to seek him out in Asgalun.

Conan returns to the pirate band, he explains to Artus what he must do and why he must leave the group. Artus explains all he knows of Khalar Zym, and asks Conan what it is he is looking to accomplish. Revenge? To Crush the man? To Listen to the Lamentations of his Women? Conan says aye to both, but explains its not about revenge. Years ago he severed Khalar Zym's ear when he meant to cleave his skull, and he hates leaving a job unfinished.

Elsewhere, At a monastary. A girl named Tamara is in conversation with her master. He has seen a vision of a man, who undertakes the same journey that Tamara has trained for her whole life. He has seen the two quests become one, and wishes to prepare Tamara for the journey on which she will meet this man, this Barbarian, who the fate of the world rests on.

*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.

*Spoiler Warning* Conan the Barbarian, By Michael Stackpole Part 1

*Spoiler Warning*

If you don't want to know what happens read no further

*Spoiler Warning*

Last Chance, if you don't want spoilers turn back now.

Conan the Barbarian, by Micheal Stackpole.
Chapters 1-5

We find ourselves transported to the land of Cimemria, high in the hills, ground covered with hardpacked snow. The boys are practicing swordplay while Corin makes his young son Conan fetch wood. Anger at his father is fleeting though, as he knows the man's strength should be respected. Many also respected Corin's young son, though he be only a boy, for he was Born on the Battlefield. He also had lofty ideals to hold himself up too. His grandfather Connaught was a great warrior and had wandered far afield into the world and told of many exotic locales. Conan dreamed of one day seeing them, but for now he must check traps and fetch wood. Such was the lot of a boy, even one born in such special circumstance.

After finishing his chores and finding several rabbits in his traps he sets off back to the hut he shares with his father. He knows it must soon be time for supper as he can no longer hear the clanging of Corin's blacksmith hammer. As Conan spoons food into his mouth his father expounds on the lessons a boy need learn to become a man. That the sword is as like to slay its owner as its opponent. That learning just one weapon is a sure way to die. many other such platitudes roll from the mouth of Corin, and Conan absorbs them all.

Over the next weeks Corin regales Conan with tales of the boys mother. How she died fighting the Vanirman to protect her unborn child. How she chose to name the boy Conan, and how she expected great things from him. He also begins to teach Conan the ways of the blacksmith. How to smelt and temper iron, how to make steel, how to quench a blade to keep it from being too brittle. Soon Conan knows enough to make his own sword, forged with his own hands. No armed, Corin beings to teach his son how to use the sword.

Conan The Adventurer, Episode 6

From Hyborean Apocrypha

"A Friend in Need"

When we last visited our adventurers they had just decided to team up with the mighty warrior Baiyu. The group is walking along a forested path when they stop at a pile of skulls on the roadside. Baiyu, having been this way previously explains the it bears the sign of the red snake, a tribe which possibly harbours cannibalistic tendencies. They are just preparing to move on when a blond maned barbarian rides his horse out of the forest and engages Conan in a fight.

It turns out the man is an old acquaintance of Conans. He is on his way to wage war against the blue-stone cult, which requires him to also cross the territory of the redsnake. The bluestone attacked the village he was living in at the time, and he goes to revenge himself upon them. Conan and the others decide to go with him. They have several small adventures along the path and then stop at an inn. Before they leave the Inn, Zzeben eavesdrops on the blonde man as he bargains with Blue-stone men. Zzeben feels the man is planning to betray them, but he convinces them all its a mistake.

Eventually, after several more days journey, they make their way along the road to the land of the blue-stones. Before they get there however, it turns out that Zzebens suspicions were right as the man betrays them to Hissar Zhul's men. During the skirmish Conan is cutoff on the other side of a chasm from his companions and gets goes free while they become captives. Captives destined to be handed over to Hissar Zhul.

Eventually though Conan makes his way to the fortress they are being held at, and confronts his erstwhile friend. While thats going on the others make good their escape and defeat the sorceress (Played by Tangerine from the Garbage Pail Kids Movie) Hissar Zhul has left. Conan is forced to kill his friend, and then the group makes its way back to the main road. Onwards towards more adventures.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

22. Ace Conan #1.6 "The Hand of Nergal" by Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter

Conan has finally accepted the offers of the pestering recruiting sergeants and signed into the service of Turan. At the start of this story, we find that that may have been a small miscalculation on the barbarians part. He is currently camped along with the other forces of General Bakra of Akif. While setting up his bed roll in camp, he comes across a golden amulet of some sort and puts it in his pouch.

Tomorrow he will be fighting in a battle between the forces of King Yildiz and a rebel satrap, Munthassem Khan. The Battle is raging when a sudden darkness sweeps over the field. Conan looks up to see horrific bat like creatures descend upon the arrayed forces, they ignore the forces of Munthassem Khan destroying only the forces of General Bakra. As the Bats sweep down soldiers flee in every direction. Conan left alone swears and grits his teeth to steel himself against the darkness. One of the creatures sweeps down upon him, and just as the end is closing in he is overcome with the sudden urgency to bring out the amulet he found. Upon doing so the creature recoils and flees. Exhaustion overtakes him and Conan collapses.

The next day Conan awakes among the ruin of the battlefield, straggling through the bodies he comes across a girl named Hidilco, who has come looking for him. Her master, the Sorcerer Atalis has sent her, and bids Conan return with her. So the two journey to Yaralet. Upon arriving at Hidilco's master's house, he regales Conan of how Munthassem Khan found something from Stygia. The something was the hand of Nergal. With it he became a madman. Further, the key to defeating Munthassem and the Hand of Nergal is the amulet which Conan found. The heart of Tammuz.

Atalis, Hidilco and Conan set off to the Khan's palace. They make their way inside to the throne room and find the Khan. It's soon a battle of Magical talismans and brawn. Conan and the Heart of Tammuz against Munthassem Khan and the Hand of Nergal. The confrontation climaxes with the Heart overriding the hand and pure energy overwhelming flesh. After the flash, nothing remains of Munthassem Khan but ashes, and both the heart and hand have evaporated entirely.

Nothing is left for Conan but to return to the army.


Well this is another of the Posthumous collaborations, an exceptionally rare one in that it's the only completion which Lin Carter worked on exclusively. It's not a bad story, with fairly competent writing. It would of course have been far more interesting had Robert E. Howard have finished it himself.

Up next "The City of Skulls"

Monday, June 20, 2011

21. Tor Conan #3, Conan the unconquered by Robert Jordan, Part 4

The following day the Cimmerian heads inland to arrange the rescue of the kidnapped girl. He buys horses and equipment from some Hyrkanian nomads, and also takes some time to learn some skill with the bow. After spending some hours in the nomads camp he departs with the gear he needed and sets off to the fortress.

After waiting till dark Conan raids the keep, after scaling the walls he makes his way deep into the inner sanctum. Upon the way he dispatches many of the saffron robed cultists. Finally making it into the main sacrificial chamber he fights the cult leader one on one. The fight is a close one, but Conan triumphs and learns where to find the girl who he came to rescue.

Deeper into the keep he goes, into the chamber the girl was hidden in. Finding her unharmed Conan bundles her up and makes good their escape back to the ship and from there back to Agraphur.

Review ~

Yup, this is the first of the Tor's thats only gotten four entries. It barely needed four, and I probably should have just put up three. Perhaps even should have been titled Conan the Uninteresting. Absolutely nothing happened in this book of any serious consequence. Conan rescues a girl from kidnappers, she gets kidnapped again, Conan rescues her again, she gets kidnapped again, Conan rescues her again and defeats the Cultists who keep kidnapping her. It felt as if it would have been a good story for maybe 100 pages.. but when blown up to 280 it just was too drawn out.

Where as the last reminded me of the best aspects of his later Wheel of Time series, this volume reminded me of the worst aspects of it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the entire, and much derided Perrin/Faile segment from books 8-10 is just an exceptionally blown up version of this novel. I'd felt several times that Perrin Aybara had many similarities to Conan. For just one example. He is a broad shouldered, shaggy maned apprentice Blacksmith. He speaks frankly, dosen't open his mouth until he has thought things through. Shows both great melancholies and great mirth. This isn't to say he's an exact analog, but imagine if Conan had been a Hobbit.. and you pretty much can imagine Perrin.

This is the complete opposite end of the Robert Jordan spectrum from the previous book. It more or less was just a novel that positioned Conan so that he could "Learn the bow among the Hyrkanians" as he mentioned in Queen of the Black Coast.

Up Next: "The Hand of Nergal"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

21. Tor Conan #3, Conan the unconquered by Robert Jordan, Part 3

Conan returns to the tavern after his night of revelry at the palace, he goes to check on the rescued girl. She's been under guard since their return the previous day. Conan left her under the watch of several associates while he went to return the necklace. Upon speaking to her he finds that though the associates have kept her safe, they also fed her paranoia with to much talk about his activities. This makes the girl even more reticent to speak to him. He goes back to the common room after a disappointing argument with her.

He rebukes his compatriots for their flapping gums, and then orders food for himself and the girl. While he is eating he is approached by a man who threatens him, this nearly leads to an altercation. Until Conan realizes it was a distraction while others kidnapped the girl from the upstairs of the tavern. The race is on yet again to rescue this girl. Third times a charm. He really shouldn't have helped the first time. Conan interrogates the man who approached him to find out where they are going. One of the Cult of Doom's bases on the Hyrkanian shore of the vilayet.

Conan goes to the docks and hires a vessel to take him to the other shore. It's a fairly perilous journey because of pirates. This Conan already knew, and it dosen't seem to bother him. The mistress of the vessel at first roundly dismisses Conan, but then comes around to his charms. Eventually agreeing to help him find the kidnapped girl. So Conan and the Captain formulate a plan on how to get the girl back.

They arrive at the rocky cliffs that make up part of the Hyrkanian shoreline, weighing anchor at night. The twinkling lights of the Cult's base shining in the distance. They plan to move on the fortress the following day, but this night the mistress has other plans for the strapping Barbarian.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

21. Tor Conan #3, Conan the unconquered by Robert Jordan, Part 2

Conan is now looking for an old friend of his, who may have a line on some "Work". He scours all the low end dives in Agraphur. After 7 bars his purse is begging to feel the effects of this venture even if his head isn't. Detective work is expensive in a city as corrupt as Agraphur.

Eventually he finds his friend dead, and under an obligation to fulfill the mans duties Conan agrees to go and retrieve something from the Cult of Doom. A girl. It's almost as if some force is pulling him into their path.

The men go to the tower of doom. After scouting the area out they make plans to attack during the night. What ensues is a pitched battle between three warriors and a gaggle of yellow clad monks. It's over quickly and they retrieve what they came for. Two girls who had been kidnapped by the cult. They then head back to the city.

Conan has one other matter to attend to. Another unfinished job on behalf of his friend. The return of a ruby necklace to the residence of Mundhar Khan, satrap of Agraphur appointed by King Yildiz. Conan takes a necklace to the Satrap's palace to retrieve the reward for it's return. Upon arrival he finds the man out of residence, but his wife remains. She offers the barbarian a greater reward than mere gold. At first he refuses but later changes his mind. It's not often you get the chance to bed the headman's woman.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

21. Tor Conan #3, Conan the unconquered by Robert Jordan, Part 1

Conan has journeyed from Sultanapoor to Agraphur, The Smuggling business isn't what it used to be. He's got a purse full of gold, reward for help rendered to King Yildiz's Caravan. But he's tired of the overtures from Sgts. hoping to get him to hire on with the Turanian army, so he headed south. All roads lead to Agraphur, or so they say in Agraphur.

It dosen't take long before his Sgt. problem follows him. No more has he than asked the direction of a certain tavern than he is approached by yet another man attempting to sign him up for 'wealth, wenches and great adventure'. Conan chuckles, if the man only knew. He interrupts a kidnapping on his way to the bar, no way to make friends in this town of cut throats, but some one must stand up for fool girls. He aims to return the girl to her father, but she runs off back into the crowd before he can do so. Maybe some fool girls just aren't worth helping.

He finally makes it to his tavern, it's run by a man he knew in Shadizar some time back. It's in reality something of a Shadizar ex-pat bar. Conan reunites with a few old friends, or people who were more competition than friends back during his thieving days. He relates the story of the kidnapping, and is casually informed the men who were after the girl were Cultists of Doom. They have a strange temple some where on the banks of the Vilayet and a penchant for absconding with virgins. Everyone is pretty much in agreement that Conan would be best advised to stay away from them.

He Agrees, and goes about trying to start some sort of a life in Agraphur. Perhaps paying a visit to a fortune teller he was acquainted with in Shadizar might help to shed some light. So off he trots, to find the man who can tell him his future. A grim future it is too according to the man. The prophecies say that in order to go forward, he must go back, or he will never leave Agraphur alive. Apparently his action of saving the girl, is going to turn out to be way more trouble than it was worth.