[quote name='Pictish Scout' post='75180' date='Oct 16 2007, 11:06 PM']Final Destruction, what final destruction?[/quote]
Erm, the "terrific convulsions" which warped the earth's geography from the Hyborian lines to modern ones.
Stygia pretty much remained intact as a nation until the end of the Hyborian Age, when it was destroyed along with the rest of the world. Though of course, remnants of Stygia's might would reappear in Egypt as you said.
[quote]About the "Crimson Fruits". I have to agree with your " more Bloody" interpretation. It seams very logic. But I don't know if those Stygian princes had the freedom to go to war on their own with state armies. I don't think Stygia was Feudal or had independent princes wasting state troops in some mad expedition in the north. Even Kutamun was a rebel prince.[/quote]
Well, whatever the setup of the government, Kutamun DID bring a substantial force to Shamla Pass:"His warriors covered the desert with their numbers, and he had five thousand Stygian troops in war chariots under the rebel prince Kutamun.""First was a long line of chariots, drawn by the great fierce horses of Stygia, with plumes on their heads - snorting and rearing as each naked driver leaned back, bracing his powerful legs, his dusky arms knotted with muscles. The fighting-men in the chariots were tall figures, their hawk-like faces set off by bronze helmets crested with a crescent supporting a golden ball. Heavy bows were in their hands. No common archers these, but nobles of the South, bred to war and the hunt, who were accustomed to bringing down lions with their arrows."
Pretty substantial troops there for a rebel army. Although I too doubt Stygia had a feudal government and had a more centralized military, the fact remains that somehow Kutamun had control of 5,000 formidable noble warriors, with horses, chariots and drivers (assuming the drivers were not counted among the warriors). Perhaps the Stygian government didn't have as much control over the outer reaches of Eastern Stygia, which would allow Kutamun to gather discontented or restless nobles for Natohk's war.
If the nobles with a grudge against Conan were capricious and powerful enough (considering they were connected to the navy and the powerful port of Khemi, they would seem so) then perhaps they could gather a force comparable to Kutamun's. They'd have to get through a few lands to do it (I don't think even 20,000 nobles would be enough to plow through Koth/Ophir/Shem), so perhaps they'd offer themselves up as mercenaries to any Hyborian realm attempting to invade Aquilonia, as Kutamun did for Natohk. If they really wanted to get Conan, then this would be a good way to go about it from a military perspective.
[quote]Maybe these Crimson Fruits are "shadow wars" or a "Cold War" between Aquilonian and Stygian clients with lots of assassinations and beasts from other gulfs crossing to this world. Unless Howard was planing to change the history of the Hyborian Age.[/quote]
I quite like that idea too. I don't think an Aquilonian/Stygian war would necessarily contradict the Hyborian Age essay considering it says nothing of the Argossean invasion of Stygia, or of course Acheron.
And let's not forget:"I think he was king of Aquilonia for many years, in a turbulent and unquiet reign, when the Hyborian civilization had reached its most magnificent high-tide, and every king had imperial ambitions. At first he fought on the defensive, but I am of the opinion that at last he was forced into wars of aggression as a matter of self-preservation."
Whilst this obviously means Conan would fight against surrounding Hyborian realms, Stygian meddling might spur Conan into taking action against them: probably unsuccessful given Stygia's track record, but perhaps the crimson fruits could have been Conan's bloody retribution against the princes' attempts to mess with him.
[quote]Taranaich, I applaud your alacrity. Less than than a week after I foretold unto Scott Oden that there would be a "Stygia" thread, behold! You have made it so.
Starting off with a bang, it would seem...[/quote]
Heh, is the subtitle good enough? I thought a serpent-related one would be a bit prosaic, and I always found "dark-bosomed" quite an evocative phrase, if a tad suggestive at first glance.
[quote]A couple of speculations... Perhaps the mage who discovered/tamed the Heart of Ahriman and led Stygia to imperial glory? Or perhaps the sorcerer who stopped the Hyborians at the Syx? Maybe the "Stygian Moses" who led the "Khemites" out of the wastes into the Promised Land?[/quote]
The way Thoth spoke about himself seemed to indicate he was feared as much as revered, so I'd suppose he'd be involved in some substantial military action like those mentioned.
[quote]A "shadow war" during Conan's kingship is possible. What about his sojourns with the Zuagirs and down in the Black Kingdoms?[/quote]
That's quite true, in my enthusiasm for a Stygian conflict I neglected his time as Black Kingdom chieftain. Maybe the princes discovered Amra became a war-chief of the Bamula (Vale of Lost Women) and petitioned with the King to do justice on the savage, taking a vast force south to destroy him. While they obviously didn't succeed, perhaps the Bamulas were wiped out or taken captive. The Darkstorm chronology just says he "realizes he doesn't care for the Bamulas", but I'd say having his tribe wiped out would be sufficient cause for him to flee west and join the Barachans. If they thought Conan was killed or at least lost in the treacherous Black Kingdoms, then that'd be reason for them to ignore his later appearance in Sukhmet (Red Nails).
Another possible indication that the crimson fruits were born after Conan's kingship: the Lion returned in The Hour of the Dragon
. The slaughter of many Acolytes of the Black Ring, not to mention the slaying of a sacred Son of Set, would have been scandalous in Stygia. If witnesses seeing a bronze, black-haired giant with blue eyes were linked to tales of Amra's resurgence in the west, concurrent
with King Conan missing in action, some Stygian might put two and two together and realise Conan = Amra. If the burning of Khemi wasn't enough to get Stygia's goat, then the slaying of an idol and a link to a Temple massacre (Conan only killed one Khitan, but how would the Stygians know that?) might well do, at least enough for the princes and the Black Ring to seek some form of revenge.
WAIT... Maybe the Princes were the commanders of the Stygian army that destroyed Almuric's army! That would certainly be considered crimson fruit, to utterly devastate the army Conan was a part of. Then again, how would the Stygians know Conan would be part of the army? And how would they know Conan was Amra?
[quote]Just throwing out ideas. It is possible that Howard sort of "forgot" about that line, but these are the kinds of problems we (don't) get paid to solve, right men?[/quote]
It would be a shame if Howard had plans for this storyline only to forget about it, though maybe he just wanted to tantalize folks like us decades later, like Tolkien's Tom Bombadil conundrum!