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#101 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:24 PM

I revised the map again.

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Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 12 January 2011 - 06:34 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#102 Taranaich

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 10:42 PM

Is that how you really view that sentence? So what are these multiple non-black countries? Let's speculate that Negari can be one setting aside problematic placement in Africa that Rippke states: "Negari is described as lying inland from the western Slave Coast of Africa; an area that was submerged beneath the sea during the Hyborian Age", and an incompatible time-line in Moon of Skulls that would not coincide with The Hyborean Age or anything in the Conan stories. What are the others? Let's say for argument's sake non-human servants of Bit-Yakin have their own country as well. It boggles me that you believe Conan is referring to gray hairy devils and an elusive brown skin race that he never mentions visiting countries or kingdoms of.


Why not? There are a lot of amazing things Conan has seen and incredible places he's been to that he never mentions in other stories. He never mentions talking with an alien being from the planet Yag, for instance: nor does he mention an island inhabited by a race of black-skinned monsters, or a kingdom ruled by a gigantic living iron statue. Kingdoms of gray hairy devils and elusive brown races wouldn't be that much more amazing.

I have made my arguments and it is obvious that I cannot change Deuce's or your mind. I must admit it is unlikely that you will change mine either, but I am not saying "NO WAY" to a possibility however remote and would love to hear your quote based arguments supporting placement and existence of kingdoms and countries now.


Sure thing: I had been happy to consider the "unknown countries south of the black kingdoms" sufficient, but I'm positive there's more to it than that.

I found Taranaich's map. It looks like there are several threads for me still to read on these boards.

It looks pretty cool. Although the black kingdoms of the Amazons, Kush, Atlaia, and Zimbabwei don't look very "vast" at all.


Heh, yeah, that's an ooooooold map, and I've long since abandoned any attempt to map out anything beyond what Howard described. It's based on Dale's map, and I definitely agree that they don't look particularly vast. I've reconsidered a lot of things since then.

LOVE the updated map, by the way. I still disagree in regards to the Black Kingdoms question, but aside from that, everything looks fantastic. Very appreciative you shifted Zamboula, too.

In addition to mapping out territories, it might be worth looking for hints about the geographical features, and possibly tying them into modern geography.

Blue Mountains = The Jan Mayen Microcontinent raised up, before being pushed back down in the Ice Age?
Crom's Mountain (possibly mythical) = The Shetland or Orkney Islands raised to mountain status? The Jotunheimen of southern Scandinavia?
Kothian Escarpment = Greece/Italy mountains, Mediterranean shelf
Zamorian Mountains = No parallel. Presumably these mountains were lost by the dawn of modern history...
Hyrkanian Mountains = Altai Mountains
Vilayet Mountains = Urals
Poitanian Mountains = Pyrenees
Western Cimmerian Mountains = England/Scotland/Ireland (possibly the Mountains of the Dead of Pictish mythology?)
Mountains of the Nestor Fragment = Zamorian Mountains?
Himelian Mountains = Himalayas
Ghulistan Mountains = Hindu Kush
Border Range (Aquilonia/Nemedia) = Alps
Flaming Mountains of Khrosha = "Flaming Mountains" seems to indicate volcanic activity. You placed it in eastern Koth, near the Carpathians: do they have a history of volcanic activity? If not, perhaps somewhere in the Italian/Greek areas with volcanos: the Phlegraean Fields and Vesuvius are on the border of Koth & Shem. Maybe relocate Khrosha to there?

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#103 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 11:50 PM

Is that how you really view that sentence? So what are these multiple non-black countries? Let's speculate that Negari can be one setting aside problematic placement in Africa that Rippke states: "Negari is described as lying inland from the western Slave Coast of Africa; an area that was submerged beneath the sea during the Hyborian Age", and an incompatible time-line in Moon of Skulls that would not coincide with The Hyborean Age or anything in the Conan stories. What are the others? Let's say for argument's sake non-human servants of Bit-Yakin have their own country as well. It boggles me that you believe Conan is referring to gray hairy devils and an elusive brown skin race that he never mentions visiting countries or kingdoms of.


Why not? There are a lot of amazing things Conan has seen and incredible places he's been to that he never mentions in other stories. He never mentions talking with an alien being from the planet Yag, for instance: nor does he mention an island inhabited by a race of black-skinned monsters, or a kingdom ruled by a gigantic living iron statue. Kingdoms of gray hairy devils and elusive brown races wouldn't be that much more amazing.

I have made my arguments and it is obvious that I cannot change Deuce's or your mind. I must admit it is unlikely that you will change mine either, but I am not saying "NO WAY" to a possibility however remote and would love to hear your quote based arguments supporting placement and existence of kingdoms and countries now.


Sure thing: I had been happy to consider the "unknown countries south of the black kingdoms" sufficient, but I'm positive there's more to it than that.

I found Taranaich's map. It looks like there are several threads for me still to read on these boards.

It looks pretty cool. Although the black kingdoms of the Amazons, Kush, Atlaia, and Zimbabwei don't look very "vast" at all.


Heh, yeah, that's an ooooooold map, and I've long since abandoned any attempt to map out anything beyond what Howard described. It's based on Dale's map, and I definitely agree that they don't look particularly vast. I've reconsidered a lot of things since then.

LOVE the updated map, by the way. I still disagree in regards to the Black Kingdoms question, but aside from that, everything looks fantastic. Very appreciative you shifted Zamboula, too.

In addition to mapping out territories, it might be worth looking for hints about the geographical features, and possibly tying them into modern geography.

Blue Mountains = The Jan Mayen Microcontinent raised up, before being pushed back down in the Ice Age?
Crom's Mountain (possibly mythical) = The Shetland or Orkney Islands raised to mountain status? The Jotunheimen of southern Scandinavia?
Kothian Escarpment = Greece/Italy mountains, Mediterranean shelf
Zamorian Mountains = No parallel. Presumably these mountains were lost by the dawn of modern history...
Hyrkanian Mountains = Altai Mountains
Vilayet Mountains = Urals
Poitanian Mountains = Pyrenees
Western Cimmerian Mountains = England/Scotland/Ireland (possibly the Mountains of the Dead of Pictish mythology?)
Mountains of the Nestor Fragment = Zamorian Mountains?
Himelian Mountains = Himalayas
Ghulistan Mountains = Hindu Kush
Border Range (Aquilonia/Nemedia) = Alps
Flaming Mountains of Khrosha = "Flaming Mountains" seems to indicate volcanic activity. You placed it in eastern Koth, near the Carpathians: do they have a history of volcanic activity? If not, perhaps somewhere in the Italian/Greek areas with volcanos: the Phlegraean Fields and Vesuvius are on the border of Koth & Shem. Maybe relocate Khrosha to there?


How would I incorporate your idea of tying in geographical features on the map? The Carpathians has volcanoes probably dormant currently but I like the idea of Vesuvius better, I'll need to change that.

Have you considered by my estimate Kush includes these black kingdoms (the majority being tribes each with their own king):

Shumballa - Mad degenerate King + sister Tanada may be the capital of all Kush but the Chagas can barely reign in the Gallahs
Keshia - irascible King
Tombalku - King Sakumbe, King Zehbeh
Bakalah - King Bajujh
Jihiji - rivals to Bakalah
Abombi - King Ajaga
Xuchotl - King Olmec
Xuthal - Probably a king if anyone is awake long enough to care
Gazal - Probably a king or the vampires are the rulers

Tribes we know of by name only but probably have kings, warchiefs, or other ruling heads even if they pay tribute to larger kingdoms:

Bamula
Bornu
Mandingo
Bagirmi
Dongola
Suba
Tibu
Ghanata
Wadai

Kordafan may be a kingdom itself or a city either way it is likely to have a king just as the port city of Abombi does.
Zabhela for the same reason being a port city likely has one as well.

At least 9 known or most probable kingdoms, with 9 likely tribal kings plus two others makes at least 20 probable kingdoms in Kush. Is it really so preposterous that the black kingdoms of Kush are just that the black kingdoms of Kush; and the unknown countries as Howard put it "countries Hyborians are ignorant of" include Atlaia, Zimbabwei, Amazons, and Punt?

What are your thoughts on my post about him saying Kush as a collective means the southern coasts?

Do you really discount all of the possibilities I have put forth as not possible? With the only possibility being a country of brown-skinned people or non-humanoid servants?

"I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet." - Beyond the Black River

*edit added Wadai and changed the count

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 30 September 2012 - 08:11 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#104 Taranaich

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 02:59 AM

How would I incorporate your idea of tying in geographical features on the map? The Carpathians has volcanoes probably dormant currently but I like the idea of Vesuvius better, I'll need to change that.


Hmm, good point: I was thinking just labels, but the map would get crowded pretty quickly.

Have you considered by my estimate Kush includes these black kingdoms (the majority being tribes each with their own king):

Shumballa - Mad degenerate King + sister Tanada may be the capital of all Kush but the Chagas can barely reign in the Gallahs
Keshia - irascible King
Tombalku - King Sakumbe, King Zehbeh
Bakalah - King Bajujh
Jihiji - rivals to Bakalah
Abombi - King Ajaga
Xuchotl - King Olmec
Xuthal - Probably a king if anyone is awake long enough to care
Gazal - Probably a king or the vampires are the rulers

Tribes we know of by name only but probably have kings, warchiefs, or other ruling heads even if they pay tribute to larger kingdoms:

Bamula
Bornu
Mandingo
Bagirmi
Dongola
Suba
Tibu
Ghanata

Kordafan may be a kingdom itself or a city either way it is likely to have a king just as the port city of Abombi does.
Zabhela for the same reason being a port city likely has one as well.

At least 9 known or most probable kingdoms, with 8 likely tribal kings plus two others makes at least 19 probable kingdoms in Kush.


It's an interesting setup, and could indeed be something along the lines of Asgard/Vanaheim/Cimmeria: however, it's that "capital of Kush" line that bothers me. If Kush is the capital, and the other tribes are little kingdoms, then wouldn't the ruler of Kush be an emperor? Plus Kush is more advanced, socially speaking, than the northern barbarians are: the Nordheimer live in tents, while Shumballa has palaces, gardens and a great square.

Aside from the capital aspect, I think it's fairly reasonable. In fact, I really like it, because I hadn't actually considered it before.

Is it really so preposterous that the black kingdoms of Kush are just that the black kingdoms of Kush; and the unknown countries as Howard put it "countries Hyborians are ignorant of" include Atlaia, Zimbabwei, Amazons, and Punt?


It isn't preposterous, no, I just don't happen to agree with it. You have your interpretation of what the sentences mean, I have mine. "Ignorant" doesn't necessarily mean "absolutely unaware of," it could easily mean they are just ill-informed. We know the Hyborians viewed Punt as "half-mythical," after all: Cimmeria was also considered half-mythical by the southern kingdoms. Yet Conan doesn't refer to his homeland as "the unknown lands of the north."

Do you really discount all of the possibilities I have put forth as not possible? With the only possibility being a country of brown-skinned people or non-humanoid servants?

"I?ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet." - Beyond the Black River


No, I don't discount the possibilities at all. If that were the case, I could just point to a quotation. The problem here is simply interpretation of the text, and we need to work out which is the more reasonable of the choices.

Ultimately, whether the "unknown countries" are the Negari, Servants or whatnot doesn't matter: I think the biggest sticking point is the emphasis on unknown, for me at least. As you say, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could easily just be a reference to Vendhya and Ghulistan - however, upon rereading I noticed an interesting correlation with a moment later in the story:

I've roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet.

"I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years," muttered Conan. "In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river.


Is it merely coincidence that Howard mentioned Conan traveling to the extreme east and south, and then calling upon experiences in those regions? If so, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could well mean "the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet" (presumably the mountains which rose up in the centre of Hyrkania, as mentioned in THA). The black witch-finder of Kush could be a fellow adventurer who ended up in that same unknown kingdom: Howard did mention it was a nameless river.

It doesn't shed that much light on the subject of the unknown countries, but I thought it worth pointing out.

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#105 grim cimmerian

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 04:06 AM

That's fine Taranaich. So how would you and Deuce map out the southern black kingdoms?

"I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet." - Beyond the Black River

I've roamed in the unknown (not known to anyone Hyborian or not, unmentioned, no stories) countries (plural as in more than one) of brown-skinned peoples that are south of the black kingdoms of Kush (Keshan, Darfar, Punt, Kush proper), and I roamed east of the Sea of Vilayet.

Is that how you really view that sentence? So what are these multiple non-black countries? Let's speculate that Negari can be one setting aside problematic placement in Africa that Rippke states: "Negari is described as lying inland from the western Slave Coast of Africa; an area that was submerged beneath the sea during the Hyborian Age", and an incompatible time-line in Moon of Skulls that would not coincide with The Hyborean Age or anything in the Conan stories. What are the others? Let's say for argument's sake non-human servants of Bit-Yakin have their own country as well. It boggles me that you believe Conan is referring to gray hairy devils and an elusive brown skin race that he never mentions visiting countries or kingdoms of.

"I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet." - Beyond the Black River

I view this sentence this way, with two geographic place names separated by a comma but sharing the action verb "roamed" and the descriptive adjective "unknown", with the conjunction "and" serving as a connector between the common clause "I've roamed in these countries:

I've roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush.(and) I've roamed in the unknown countries east of the Sea of Vilayet.

I have stated that I think it is a possibility that there are brown-skinned peoples south of Kush. There are several mentions of them with the current tribes mixing with them and still at least the women of The Vale of Lost Women that are not mixed.


I do not discount the possibility of a brown non ne groid race south of Kush, but do not think he is referring to them and there is no mention of his traveling to a country of them, not to say it couldn't have happened just that it is not chronicled. It would be cool indeed if it was as more Conan stories by Howard would be awesome regardless of locality.


But Deuce seems to think there is no possibility of conceding that even if they exist Conan is not referring to them.


Even though I have given several possibilities in the other thread: such as Howard referring to earlier published stories for the fans, Conan referring to places we know he has visited from prior stories, kingdoms of Kush being plural in this instance because it includes Keshia because it is claimed by Kush being a hinterland, Howards quote being in two parts one referencing Kush to the Black Coasts or coastal region the "whole southern coast" making it impossible to have unknown kingdoms south of the the whole southern coast, and the other part in reference to a hyborian's ignorant view of people from the black kingdoms, the fact that Conan is not a Hyborian and said quote wouldn't apply to him anyways as to how he would name nations or call the peoples (In every Conan tale he correctly names the black countries and black peoples and distinguishes them by name and features), the word countries meaning not necessarily ruled by a government but referring to an alternate definition that countries mean lands or countrysides, a breakdown of the sentence per English grammar including sentence parts, structure, and punctuation, the fact that the sentence indicates the "roamed in the unknown countries" clause is shared between the area south of the black kingdoms of Kush and additional unknown countries east of the sea of Vilayet based on sentence structure, The Hyborian Age mentions the Cimmerians, nordics and the Hyborian nations as descendants of the Atlanteans supported by Conan stories with wizards from Archeron saying they fought Conan's ancestors of old contradicting the Solomon Kane Atlanteans settling in Africa and being brown-skinned, etc.

But none of those in any way is a possibility for Deuce preferring over any of those more simple theories a speculative one that Conan is referring to unknown, unchronicled adventures in some non-black kingdom (which is a possibility, however remote). All because of my explanation of this quote:

"‘I’ve roamed far; farther than any other man of my race ever wandered. I’ve seen all the great cities of the Hyborians, the Shemites, the Stygians and the Hyrkanians. I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet. I’ve been a mercenary captain, a corsair, a kozak, a penniless vagabond, a general – hell, I’ve been everything except a king, and I may be that, before I die.’ The fancy pleased him, and he grinned hardly. Then he shrugged his shoulders and stretched his mighty figure on the rocks. ‘This is as good life as any. I don’t know how long I’ll stay on the frontier; a week, a month, a year. I have a roving foot. But it’s as well on the border as anywhere.’” – Beyond the Black River

With my explanation:

"Conan is stating that he has been in all the great cities of the Hyborians. It would be interesting to know what is considered a great city and if some Hyborian nations like The Border Kingdom have any. By this time in his life he has been to Hyperborea, Brythunia, Nemedia, Zamora, Corinthia, Ophir, Aquilonia, Zingara, Argos, Koth, Khoraja, and Khauran of the Hyborian kingdoms. He has been in the land of Shem, and also among the Stygians in the ancient realm of Stygia. By this statement it seems he has also been in Hyrkania possibly as a Kozak, but had definitely seen some of the Hyrkanian’s great cities in the empire of Turan in addition to those he might have seen east of the Sea of Vilayet. Conan states he has been in the unknown countries south of Kush, possibly meaning unknown to Hyborians, having traveled to Keshan and Punt. He has been in the Himelias and Vendhya."
- The Chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian

The funny thing is it has no bearing whatsoever on my chronology whether the statement is supportive of a visit to Keshia and Punt and Deuce agrees.

More cool stuff. While I might quibble about specific points, you're definitely doing some great work here, Amra.

BTW, I have no problem with your placement of "Servants" or with your theory about when Conan was in Keshan and Punt. However, I simply can't see how the passage in question backs up that particular bit of speculation.

IMO, it's possible that Conan went through Keshan and Punt at some point in his career, but there is NO WAY that the "unknown countries" refer to those kingdoms.



All placement of the kingdoms south of Howard's maps are purely speculative and conjectural in nature, being the case I am open to ideas of how they can be placed and will be interested to see Deuce and your theories supporting compelling reasons for a brown-skinned race south of Kush, and placements for any and all of the black kingdoms and non-black kingdoms on the Stygian continent.

There's no compelling reason to argue against a brown race surviving somewhere south of Xuchotl. "MoS" argues for it. Howard and HPL both believed there was such a race which predated the black peoples (and the KhoiSan) in southern Africa. They discussed it in their correspondence. It is generally believed now that blacks/Negroids didn't penetrate into the southern third of Africa until the Christian era. So, having a non-black population in that region during the Hyborian era violates neither REH's beliefs or current scientific knowledge.


Deuce is saying that south of the black kingdoms are other kingdoms not of black origin on the main continent. If you imagine the landmass as resembling Africa, Deuce is suggesting that the black kingdoms only extend to, purely as an example, the Tropic of Capricorn; south of the tropic are "countries south of the black kingdoms."


I have made my arguments and it is obvious that I cannot change Deuce's or your mind. I must admit it is unlikely that you will change mine either, but I am not saying "NO WAY" to a possibility however remote and would love to hear your quote based arguments supporting placement and existence of kingdoms and countries now.

Oh and I moved Zamboula up for you and it is still in line with the arrow on Howard's 1936 map.


I think Kush and the southern "countries" and "kingdoms" probably are no more than ephemeral tribal boundaries and probably shift considerably from time to time. Just look at Africa both historical and modern; it is nearly impossible to get an updated Africa map current and certainly not for much more than 10 years or so. Native American tribes are also often mapped out, but most tribal maps only have general regions occupied and don't include neutral zones between contested tribal boundaries that actually exist in reality. Every tribe has some chief or king to reckon with just look at all the trouble that has caused historically because their kingdom or country definition is different than Western culture. I think cities are much more important because they are permanent locations that can be conquered, occupied or abandoned. I don't believe there need to be more unknown countries to the south invented as I believe Conan was talking to listeners who he knew wouldn't have any idea what country names, tribes or locations he was talking about so he just said Kush (the one name they had a vague idea about location) and the stuff south of there. No need to go invent countries whole cloth beyond what Howard actually mentions just because of differing grammatical interpretations of one sentence. Less is more prudent especially when dealing with the sparsity of references we have available. remember Occam's razor the easiest or least complex solution that fits the available data is usually if not always the correct one. Where are the references to any race of non blacks to the south? Brown skinned races certainly could be a reference to "blacks" that is of African descent and most people can readily discern several shades of "black" people from very dark deep hued skin to much lighter brown even though all are labeled as "blacks" or negr-oids both geographically and genetically. (This statement is not meant to be racist in any way.) I don't recall reading anything about some southern non black (or brown which could be black according to modern usage)race in any Howard story.

Edited by grim cimmerian, 10 January 2011 - 04:16 AM.

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#106 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 04:28 AM

I've roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet.

"I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years," muttered Conan. "In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river.


Is it merely coincidence that Howard mentioned Conan traveling to the extreme east and south, and then calling upon experiences in those regions? If so, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could well mean "the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet" (presumably the mountains which rose up in the centre of Hyrkania, as mentioned in THA). The black witch-finder of Kush could be a fellow adventurer who ended up in that same unknown kingdom: Howard did mention it was a nameless river.

It doesn't shed that much light on the subject of the unknown countries, but I thought it worth pointing out.


That is interesting. I think that matches nicely with the South/East correlation I pointed out.

It's an interesting setup, and could indeed be something along the lines of Asgard/Vanaheim/Cimmeria: however, it's that "capital of Kush" line that bothers me. If Kush is the capital, and the other tribes are little kingdoms, then wouldn't the ruler of Kush be an emperor? Plus Kush is more advanced, socially speaking, than the northern barbarians are: the Nordheimer live in tents, while Shumballa has palaces, gardens and a great square.


Remember that Cimmeria has a King Cumal, Asgard has King Tyr, and Vanaheim has King Horsa but they are mostly nominal titles with each tribe maintaining independence (leading to blood wars and feuds) and declaring their own king or war chieftain by whoever can possess the title by might of arm and skill of blade longest. Look at Conan when he is war-chief of the Bamulas which he gained by being powerful and having military prestige. I think any of the tribes outside of Kush proper or maybe even outside Shumballa would say, "What king, we have chief so-and-so, or king tribesman is our king who is this fool from Shumballa that thinks he rules me?" Just because some fool in a palace or castle thinks he rules the people does he really? Are thatched huts really that different in barbarism than hide tents? An ivory stool was enough for a throne for King Bajujh in the bamboo huts village of Bakalah in Kush, just over the border from Kheshatta, Stygia.

"Looking over the parapet, he saw below him the silent streets of the inner city of Shumballa, the palaces and gardens, and the great square, into which at an instant's notice, a thousand black horsemen could ride, from the courts of adjoining barracks." - The Shumballa Draft

"Life flowed on its accustomed course in the filth-littered streets of Punt. Giant black men squatted in the doorways of their thatched huts, or lolled on the ground in their shade. Black women went up and down the streets, with water-gourds or baskets of food on thier heads. Children played or fought in the dust, laughing or squalling shrilly." - The Shumballa Draft

“Keshan was a barbaric kingdom lying in the eastern hinterlands of Kush” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"But by this time he was certain that they were not hidden in Keshia, the royal city, which was a swarm of thatched huts crowding about a mud wall that enclosed a palace of stone and mud and bamboo." -The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"She would not have been surprised to sight human habitations of another sort – the beehive-shaped huts of the black people, or the cliff-dwellings of the mysterious brown race which legends declared inhabited some country of this unexplored region. But it was a startling experience to come upon a walled city here so many long weeks’ march from the nearest outposts of any sort of civilization.” – Red Nails

William Wallace: "Never, in my whole life, have I ever sworn allegiance to him." Royal Magistrate: "It matters not. He is your King." -Braveheart (yes that is me appealing to your Scottish blood even if it is with a historically inaccurate but still cool movie).

"violence was the only thing respected by those ferocious races" - The Vale of Lost Women

“’What manner of men are these northern folk?’ Asked Prospero. ‘Tall and fair and blue-eyed, and of like blood and language, save that the Æsir have yellow hair and the Vanir, red hair. Their chief god is Ymir, the frost-giant, they own no over lord, but each tribe has its king." - The Phoenix on the Sword Draft

“’What manner of men are these northern folk?’ Asked Prospero. ‘Tall and fair and blue-eyed. Their god is Ymir, the frost-giant, and each tribe has its own king. They are wayward and fierce. They fight all day and drink ale and roar their wild songs all night.’
‘Then I think you are like them,’ laughed Prospero. ‘ You laugh greatly, drink deep and bellow good songs; though I never saw another Cimmerian who drank aught but water, or who ever laughed, or ever sang save to chant dismal dirges.’
‘Perhaps it’s the land they live in,’ answered the king. ‘A gloomier land never was – all of hills, darkly wooded, under skies nearly always gray, with winds moaning drearily down the valleys.’”
“The ways of the Æsir were more to my liking.”
–The Phoenix on the Sword

Even in civilized nations the rule of force still determines kingship, they have just bigger tribes that are better equipped is all.

“Their present king is the most renowned warrior among the western nations. He is an outlander, an adventurer who seized the crown by force during a time of civil strife, strangling King Namedides with his own hands, upon the very throne. His name is Conan, and no man can stand before him in battle.” – The Hour of the Dragon

"Barbarism is the natural state of mankind" - Beyond the Black River

"Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph." -Beyond the Black River

When you look at the rest of the context around the "capital of Kush" it seems more clear.

"The setting: The city of Shumballa, in the land of Kush, which lies south of Stygia, in the vast grass lands. It was the capital of Kush, the population of which was composed of black people brutal and warlike, known as Gallahs; they were ruled by a caste of dusky aristocrats, known as Chagas, who claimed descent from a band of Stygians who long ago wandered southward and set up a kingdom, of which Kush was the remnant. There were only a few hundred of these, but they maintained their position by intrigue and ferocity.

The People: The mad, degenerate king of Kush; his handsome, cruel, sensual sister, Tananda; Tuthmes, a rebellios nobleman of royal blood; Diana, a Nemedian captive, Agara, A fanatical Gallah witch-finder; Conan the Cimmerian"
- The Shumballa Synopsis

Obviously the entire population of the vast kingdoms of Kush is not composed of black people who are known as Gallahs, and every ruler over black peoples in Kush is not a descendant of the Stygian being Chagas. Think about it if you take Kush to mean several of the black kingdoms (including Keshan, Punt, Darfar, Atlaia, Amazons, and Zimbabwei) it would mean that all black men are Gallahs and all of those whith the dusky appearance were Chagas which just isn't so. It is also clear that if just Shumballa has a few hundred of the ruling class, there are probably thousands of Gallahs being ruled. But in all of the lands of Kush (kingdoms of Kush) when speaking of it as the entire southern coast there are probably hundreds of thousands of black peoples, and all of the black kingdoms maybe a million. When it is talking of the capital it is clear it only applies to this area or the Kush proper with it's main city of Shumballa divided into quarters El Shebbeh for the ruling class and Punt for the Gallahs.

“I feel indeed honored that you and Dr. Clark should be so interested in Conan as to work out an outline of his career and a map of his environs. Both are surprisingly accurate, considering the vagueness of the data you had to work with. I have the original map - that is the one I drew up when I first started writing about Conan-- around here somewhere and I'll see if I can't find it and let you have a look at it. It includes only the countries west of Vilayet and north of Kush. I've never attempted to map the southern and eastern kingdoms, though I have a fairly clear outline of their geography in my mind. However, in writing about them I feel a certain amount of license, since the inhabitants of the western Hyborian nations were about as ignorant concerning the peoples and countries of the south and east as the people of medieval Europe were ignorant of Africa and Asia. In writing about the western Hyborian nations I feel confined within the limits of known and inflexible boundaries and territories, but in fictionizing the rest of the world, I feel able to give my imagination freer play. That is, having adopted a certain conception of geography and ethnology, I feel compelled to abide by it, in the interests of consistency. My conception of the east and south is not so definite or so arbitrary.

Concerning Kush, however, it is one of the black kingdoms south of Stygia, the northern-most, in fact, and has given its name to the whole southern coast. Thus, when an Hyborian speaks of Kush, he is generally speaking of not the kingdom itself, one of many such kingdoms, but of the Black Coast in general. And he is likely to speak of any black man as a Kushite, whether he happens to be a Keshani, Darfari, Puntan, or Kushite proper. This is natural, since the Kushites were the first black men with whom the Hyborians came in contact - Barachan pirates trafficking with and raiding them.”
- Robert E. Howard Letter to P. Schuyler Miller

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 10 January 2011 - 10:14 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#107 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 07:09 AM

As you say, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could easily just be a reference to Vendhya and Ghulistan - however, upon rereading I noticed an interesting correlation with a moment later in the story:

I've roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet.

"I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years," muttered Conan. "In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river.


Is it merely coincidence that Howard mentioned Conan traveling to the extreme east and south, and then calling upon experiences in those regions? If so, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could well mean "the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet" (presumably the mountains which rose up in the centre of Hyrkania, as mentioned in THA). The black witch-finder of Kush could be a fellow adventurer who ended up in that same unknown kingdom: Howard did mention it was a nameless river.

It doesn't shed that much light on the subject of the unknown countries, but I thought it worth pointing out.


It certainly could mean an unknown country and the uninhabited mountains. Just because a person doesn't know the name of a river, doesn't mean it doesn't have one; the locals probably know the name and if it is in a land totally unexplored, new to man and has no name yet there certainly would not be a country of people there. If the mountains are uninhabited there probably aren't countries of people there known or unknown. I think he is referring to the mountain range on the eastern shore of the north part of Vilayet, where he says the gray apes come from in Iron Shadows in the Moon. He probably stopped there for fresh water during his time as a pirate on the Vilayet (if the Vilayet is salt water or brackish that is)(The Caspian Sea is salty but has some fresh water at the extreme north end where the Volga dumps into it).

Let's look at it this way it is sort of like our helmet discussion. Could it be something Howard didn't write about or mention? Yes. But we have stories that fit the scenario that he did write about so why not use them? For the time with the Nordheimrs after Venarium and before Zamora we have The Frost-Giant's Daughter. For the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush we have countries that are generally unknown (unvisited) by Hyborians even if they had heard of them and multiple kingdoms in Kush with separate kings. We even have a witch-finder in The Shumballa Typescripts mentioned. Did he meet two witch finders? Maybe, but wouldn't just the one be enough probability wise to say it was him that is mentioned in Beyond the Black River? For the unknown countries east of the Vilayet again we have multiple countries that are generally unknown (unvisited) by the Hyborians even though they may trade with them (through caravans) like Khitai, Kosala, Vendhya, Afghulistan, Hyrkania, etc. We have stories that fit the descriptions: The Shumballa Typescripts, The Servants of Bit-Yakin, Xuthal of the Dusk, Red Nails, and People of the Black Circle.

How could there be unknown kingdoms south of the black kingdoms of Kush (if used collectively) if collectively means the whole southern coast? Your unknown kingdoms would have to be under somehow the whole southern coast not meaning the south coast if it were a square or map being the bottom side but the southern coasts meaning versus the northern coasts of The Pictish Wilderness, Zingara, Argos, Shem, and Stygia (even though none are oriented on the north, the top side of the square or map would be above Nordheim in the arctic circle). The whole southern coast would be the left side of a square or map, or the west coast south of those above mentioned northern coasts (also west coasts). Southern coast would be Kush and whatever other kingdoms are on the west coast of the Stygian continent. Much like speaking of the entire west coast of the Americas north, central, and south America. The only way for the statement to make sense is to take it literally the unknown kingdoms south (below the northernmost) of the black kingdoms (multiple kingdoms in the northernmost of the first of the vast black kingdoms) of Kush and not as Kush meaning the whole southern coasts which is the only time the name Kush is used collectively according to Howard when talking about land. When talking about people it is different, Kushites to a Hyborian can mean any black person from anywhere even if their nation is not coastal.

I think the biggest sticking point is the emphasis on unknown, for me at least.


Unknown:

1. not known; not within the range of one's knowledge, experience, or understanding; strange; unfamiliar.
2. not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained: the unknown parts of Antarctica.
3. not widely known; not famous, obscure: an unknown writer.
4. a thing, influence, area, factor or person that is unknown: the many unknowns in modern medicine.
5. Math. a symbol representing an unknown quantity: in algebra, analysis, etc., frequently represented by a letter from the last part of the alphabet, as x, y, or z.

- Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

Bold is my emphasis. You could say that the black kingdoms are not within the range of an average Hyborian's knowledge, having never explored the region, being outside their experience; and to those Hyborians who do know of the region, it can still be unknown having strange customs they may not understand or be familiar with, it may not be widely known in general. Knowing of is not necessarily knowing.

Think about it this way: a woman that is unknown of man is a virgin not someone who doesn't know what a man is or has never heard of a man.

A Hyborian that is unknown of the black kingdoms is someone who has no direct experience with them not someone who doesn't know what they are or has never heard of them.

Know:

1. to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty: I know the situation fully.
2. to have established or fixed in the mind or memory: to know a poem by heart; Do you know the way to the park from here?
3. to be cognizant or aware of: I know it.
4. be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report: to know the mayor.
5. to understand from experience or attainment (usually fol. by how before an infinitive): to know how to make gingerbread.
6. to be able to distinguish, as one from another: to know right from wrong.
7. Archaic. to have sexual intercourse with.
8. to have knowledge or clear and certain perception, as of fact or truth.
9. to be cognizant or aware, as of some fact, circumstance, or occurrence; have information, as about something.
10. know the ropes, informal to understand or be familiar with the particulars of a subject or business: he knew the ropes better than anyone else in politics.
11. the fact or state of knowing; knowledge.
12. in the know, possessing inside, secret, or special information.

- Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

Bold is my emphasis.

Known:

1. past participle of know
2. a known quantity.

- Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

I know the mountains near my house like the back of my hand, because I roam them frequently. I am familiar with China, I know where it is, I can identify a person from there by sight (usually) or speech by hearing the language (even though I don't speak it), I can recognize its written language and point it out on a map, but it is unknown to me as I have no direct knowledge or experience having never been there or seen it other than on television.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 10 January 2011 - 05:31 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#108 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 07:20 AM

however, upon rereading I noticed an interesting correlation with a moment later in the story:

I've roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet.

"I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years," muttered Conan. "In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river.


Is it merely coincidence that Howard mentioned Conan traveling to the extreme east and south, and then calling upon experiences in those regions? If so, "east of the Sea of Vilayet" could well mean "the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet" (presumably the mountains which rose up in the centre of Hyrkania, as mentioned in THA). The black witch-finder of Kush could be a fellow adventurer who ended up in that same unknown kingdom: Howard did mention it was a nameless river.

It doesn't shed that much light on the subject of the unknown countries, but I thought it worth pointing out.


"The river was the Styx, the real border of Stygia. Khemi was Stygia's greatest port, and at that time her most important city. The king dwelt at more ancient Luxur, but in Khemi reigned the priest-craft; though men said the center of their dark religion lay far inland, in a mysterious, deserted city near the bank of the Styx.This river, springing from some nameless source far in the unknown lands south of Stygia, ran northward for a thousand miles before it turned and flowed westward for some hundreds of miles, to empty at last into the ocean." - The Hour of the Dragon

This quote is the reason I made the northern border of Stygia the same as the 1936 map cutting through the modern Mediterranean Sea instead of following directly the Styx as in most maps. By "real border" it implies that the actual border is further north but in effect the river itself acts as a better one.

Just one story left, and it's a doozy!


Just about ready!

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 12 January 2011 - 08:12 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#109 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:11 PM

The Hour of the Dragon part 1

The king has fallen! Aquilonia is in an uproar believing the king to be dead. A sinister and ancient sorcerous evil has been awakened, and foreigners have invaded. King Conan must escape the dungeon and trod the paths that led him to his kingship on a quest to regain the heart and restore his lost kingdom. Not only does his Kingdom hang in the balance but a doom that Fate has unleashed through unwitting pawns if the quest fails.

The Hour of the Dragon was first published in Weird Tales in December of 1935, and January, February, March, and April of 1936.

The Hour of the Dragon had not been fully published yet in original form at the time of Howard’s letter to miller written on March 10th, 1936 and may not have been included in the outline of Conan’s Career that P. Schuyler Miller and Dr. John D. Clark had sent him prior prompting his response.

Language:

Aquilonian, Nemedian, Zingaran, Kothic, Argossean, Kushite, Stygian

Aquilonian is assumed when the King speaks to his subjects.

Conan speaks Nemedian to King Tarascus.

"Conan hurled the bow at the king of Nemedia.’Curse my shaky hand! Come in and take me if you dare!'" – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks to Zenobia in Nemedian.

“You speak in the Nemedian tongue, and I have no friends in Nemedia.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks to Nemedian soldiers.

“He wears Nemedian mail but speaks with an Aquilonian accent.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks Zingaran to Valbroso.

"'Who are you, knave?' he demanded. 'A mercenary, riding for Argos,' answered Conan. 'What matter names?'" – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks Kothic to Zorathus.

“Into the bloodshot eyes came a gleam of recognition, and the froth-smeared lips parted. From them issued a racking whimper in the Kothic tongue. ‘Is this death then? Is the long agony ended? For this is King Conan who died at Valkia, and I am among the dead.’ ‘you’re not dead,’ said Conan.”- The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks Argossean as he searches for news of Beloso.

"From the men that worked the fields, from the garrulous old men in the inns where he slaked his thirst with great leathern jacks of foaming ale, from the sharp-eyed silk-clad merchants he met upon the road, Conan sought for news of Beloso." – The Hour of the Dragon

As the only white man left on aboard the Venturer Conan speaks Kushite to the freed slaves aboard from Argossean galley.

"'Weapons in plenty for you, for this ship carried blades and harness to the Shemites who dwell along the coast. There are enough of us to work ship, aye, and to fight! You rowed in chains for the Argossean dogs: will you row as free men for Amra?'" – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan speaks Stygian to the fisherman captive.

"'Stand on your legs, man, and quit trembling,' said the Cimmerian impatiently, who found it difficult to understand abject terror." – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan reads Stygian phonetic hieroglyphics then speaks them aloud.

"Archaic hieroglyphics were scrawled across the lacquered lid, and, seeking back into his mind for tag-ends of learning, picked up here and there as incidentals of an adventurous life, he spelled them out, and said aloud: 'Akivasha!'" – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan threatens Xaltotun on a scroll of parchment.

"To Xaltotun, grand fakir of Nemedia: Dog of Acheron, I am returning to my kingdom, and I mean to hang your hide on a bramble. CONAN"
"'A forgery!'exclaimed Amalric. Xaltotun shook his head. 'It is genuine. I have compared it with the signature on the royal documents on record in the libraries of the court. None could imitate that bold scrawl.'"
– The Hour of the Dragon

Profession:

King of Aquilonia

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 13 January 2011 - 11:50 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#110 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:16 PM

The Hour of the Dragon part 2

Conan described in the story:


"It floated hazily, then leaped into startling clarity; a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He was clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shone on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seemed more natural to him than the regal accouterments. His brow was low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smoldered as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face was that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments could not conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs." - The Hour of the Dragon

King Conan's Armor described:

"'The king is stricken by a strange malady,' said Pallantides briefly. 'A great honor is yours; you are to wear his armor and ride at the head of the host today. None must know that it is not the king who rides.'
'It is an honor for which a man might gladly give up his life,' stammered the captain, overcome by the suggestion. 'Mitra grant that I do not fail of this mighty trust!'
And while the fallen king stared with burning eyes that reflected bitter rage and humiliation that ate his heart, the squires stripped Valannus of mail shirt, burganet and leg-pieces, and clad him in Conan's armor of black plate-mail, with the vizored salade, and the dark plumes nodding over the wivern crest. Over all they put the silken surcoat with the royal lion worked in gold upon the breast, and they girt him with a broad gold-buckled belt which supported a jewel-hilted broadsword in a cloth-of-gold scabbard."
- The Hour of the Dragon

"So formidable was his appearance, naked but for short leather breeks and sleeveless shirt, open to reveal his great, hairy chest, with his huge limbs and his blue eyes blazing under his tangled black mane, that the squire shrank back, more afraid of his king than of the whole Nemedian host." - The Hour of the Dragon

"Then the blacks had lifted Conan, for so loaded with chains was he that he could not walk, and carried him from the chamber." - The Hour of the Dragon

"It was no slender stiletto, selected because of a jeweled hilt or gold guard, fitted only for dainty murder in milady's boudoir; it was a forthright poniard, a warrior's weapon, broad-bladed, fifteen inches in length, tapering to a diamond-sharp point." - The Hour of the Dragon

Conan appropriates armor from an Adventurer:

"A dully glinting, mail-clad figure moved out of the shadows into the starlight. This was no plumed and burnished palace guardsman. It was a tall man in morion and gray chain-mail, one of the Adventurers, a class of warriors peculiar to Nemedia; men who had not attained to the wealth and position of knighthood, or had fallen from that estate; hard-bitten fighters, dedicating their lives to war and adventure. They constituted a class of their own, sometimes commanding troops, but themselves accountable to no man but the king. Conan knew that he could have been discovered by no more dangerous a foeman." - The Hour of the Dragon

"A few minutes later the white horse was galloping westward along the white road, and the rider wore the gray mail of a Nemedian Adventurer" - The Hour of the Dragon

"This is all I want you to do: procure me a patch for my eye, a staff for my hand, and garments such as travelers wear." - The Hour of the Dragon

"The Nemedian soldiers who stood on guard were half drunk, and much too busy watching for handsome peasant girls and rich merchants who could be bullied to notice workmen or dusty travelers, even one tall wayfarer whose worn cloak could not conceal the hard line of his powerful frame.
This man carried himself with an erect, aggressive bearing that was too natural for him to realize it himself, much less dissemble it. A great patch covered one eye, and his leather coif, drawn low over his brows, shadowed his features. With a long thick staff in his muscular brown hand, he strode leisurely through the arch where the torches flared and guttered, and, ignored by the tipsy guardsmen, emerged upon the wide streets of Tarantia."
- The Hour of the Dragon

Conan appropriates a disguise of executioner from the headsman:

"The man who trudged down that grim corridor was in appearance in keeping with his surroundings. He was a tall, powerfully-built man, clad in close-fitting black silk. Over his head was drawn a black hood which fell about his shoulders, having two holes for his eyes. From his shoulders hung a loose black cloak, and over one shoulder he bore a heavy ax, the shape of which was that of neither tool nor weapon." - The Hour of the Dragon

"As if summoned by the word, the dungeon door opened silently, and a great figure stood framed in it, like a black shadow from the underworld.
Albiona voiced a low, involuntary cry at the sight of that grim shape, and the others stared silently for a moment, perhaps themselves daunted with superstitious awe at the silent, hooded figure. Through the coif the eyes blazed like coals of blue fire, and as these eyes rested on each man in turn, he felt a curious chill travel down his spine."
- The Hour of the Dragon

"The old watchman had a glimpse of him, but could only say that he was a giant, clad in the black garb of the executioner, whose naked body we found in an empty cell." - The Hour of the Dragon

"The man who propelled this particular boat was as huge and brown as the others, though closer scrutiny might have revealed the fact that the hue was the result of carefully applied pigments. He was clad in leather loin-clout and sandals, and he handled the long sweep and oars with unusual skill and power." - The Hour of the Dragon

"He drove inshore and bound the prow to an arching root in the low bank, and then, plunging into the water, washed the brown paint from his skin and emerged dripping, and in his natural color. From the cabin he brought forth a suit of Aquilonian ring-mail which Hadrathus had procured for him, and his sword. These he donned while Albiona put on garments suitable for mountain travel. And when Conan was fully armed, and turned to look toward the shore, he started and his hand went to his sword." - The Hour of the Dragon

"Conan swept off his helmet, and shaking back his black mane, stared full at the speaker." - The Hour of the Dragon

"They traveled in haste, speaking to no one, except for a whisper to the captain on duty at each pass; and Conan rode among them with his vizor lowered." - The Hour of the Dragon

"Conan rode a great black stallion, the gift of Trocero. He no longer wore the armor of Aquilonia. His harness proclaimed him a veteran of the Free Companies, who were of all races. His head-piece was a plain morion, dented and battered. The leather and mail-mesh of his hauberk were worn and shiny as if by many campaigns, and the scarlet cloak flowing carelessly from his mailed shoulders was tattered and stained. He looked the part of the hired fighting-man, who had known all vicissitudes of fortune, plunder and wealth one day, an empty purse and a close-drawn belt the next." - The Hour of the Dragon

"Conan drew off his gauntlets and slapped the dust of the road from cloak and mail." - The Hour of the Dragon

"I have seen you sitting on your throne in the great public hall of Tarantia, with your crown on your head and the scepter in your hand." - The Hour of the Dragon

"the silver scepter and the slender gold circlet which was the crown of Aquilonia, and the sight maddened him with desire." -The Phoenix on the Sword

"We found you lying on the sands. Somebody had rapped you on the pate and taken your clothes." - The Hour of the Dragon

"Conan ripped a heavy ax from the rail and wheeled cat-like to meet the rush of the sailors." - The Hour of the Dragon

Conan appropriates a disguise of a fisherman:

"Silencing the clamor of protests, he doffed his own garments and donned the prisoner's silk breeches and sandals, and the band from the man's hair, but scorned the short fisherman's knife. The common men of Stygia were not allowed to wear swords, and the mantle was not voluminous enough to hide the Cimmerian?s long blade, but Conan buckled to his hip a Ghanata knife, a weapon borne by the fierce desert men who dwelt to the south of the Stygians, a broad, heavy, slightly curved blade of fine steel, edged like a razor and long enough to dismember a man." - The Hour of the Dragon

"In build he was not unlike the warrior castes of the Stygians, who were a tall muscular race. Bronzed by the sun, he was nearly as dark as many of them. His black hair, square-cut and confined by a copper band, increased the resemblance. The characteristics which set him apart from them were the subtle difference in his walk and his alien features and blue eyes.
But the mantle was a good disguise, and he kept as much in the shadows as possible, turning away his head when a native passed him too closely."
- The Hour of the Dragon

Conan appropriates a disguise of a priest:

"From one of the black arches emerged a tall, powerful figure in sandals and silken loin-cloth, with a wide mantle trailing from his shoulders. But face and head were hidden by a monstrous mask, a half-bestial, half-human countenance, from the crest of which floated a mass of ostrich plumes." - The Hour of the Dragon

"He lifted off the grinning mask and drew it over his own head. The fisherman's mantle he flung over the body of the priest, which he concealed behind the hangings, and drew the priestly mantle about his own brawny shoulders. Fate had given him a disguise." - The Hour of the Dragon

"And at their head, the spies swore, rode a giant figure in black armor, with the royal lion of Aquilonia worked in gold upon the breast of his rick silken surcoat. Conan lived! The king lived! There was no doubt of it in men's minds now, whether friend or foe." - The Hour of the Dragon

"The two kings met man to man. Even as they rode at each other, the horse of Tarascus sobbed and sank under him. Conan leaped from his own steed and ran at him, as the king of Nemedia disengaged himself and rose. Steel flashed blindingly in the sun, clashed loudly, and blue sparks few; then a clang of armor as Tarascus measured his full length on the earth beneath a thunderous stroke of Conan's broadsword.
The Cimmerian placed a mail-shod foot on his enemy's breast, and lifted his sword. His helmet was gone; he shook back his black mane and his blue eyes blazed with their old fire."
- The Hour of the Dragon

"Conan wiped the sweat-smeared dust from his face with a blood-stained hand. He had fought all through the day, first on foot with the pikemen, then in the saddle, leading the charge. His surcoat was gone, his armor splashed with blood and battered with strokes of sword, mace and ax. He loomed gigantically against a background of blood and slaughter, like some grim pagan hero of mythology." - The Hour of the Dragon

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 01 September 2011 - 03:51 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#111 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:23 PM

The Hour of the Dragon part 3

Clues to Conan's past:

"Conan was about forty when he seized the crown of Aquilonia, and was about forty-four or forty-five at the time of 'The Hour of the Dragon." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Relating to the events following the civil war and Conan’s rise to kingship after Wolves Beyond the Border:

“Their present king is the most renowned warrior among the western nations. He is an outlander, an adventurer who seized the crown by force during a time of civil strife, strangling King Namedides with his own hands, upon the very throne. His name is Conan, and no man can stand before him in battle.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“He is a true son of that savage race, and has proved himself, thus far, unconquerable.” – The Hour of the Dragon

He had already survived an assassination attempt in The Phoenix on the Sword and a war with foreign armies in The Scarlet Citadel.

“’I have seen death strike a king in the midst of thousands,’ muttered Conan.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is talking about Sakumbe the former corsair turned king of Tombalku.

“Then Askia turned on Sakumbe and destroyed him by means of an awful magic. Conan, realizing that with Sakumbe slain, the blacks would rend him and his friends, shouted to Amalric, and cut a way through the bewildered warriors. As the companions strove to reach the outer walls, Zehbeh and his Aphaki attacked the city, and in a wild holocaust of blood and flame, Tombalku was almost destroyed, and Conan, Amalric and Lissa escaped.” – The Tombalku Synopsis

He was aware of the king of Nemedia, King Nimed, dying suddenly by black magic but did not witness it like he did Sakumbe.

"In one night the king died with his three sons, and the drums that thundered their dirge drowned the grim and ominous bells that rang form the carts that lumbered through the streets gathering up the rotting dead.” – The Hour of the Dragon

He was also aware of the King of Vendhya, Bhunda Chand, dying suddenly through sorcery; again he did not witness it.

“The king of Vendhya was dying.” – The People of the Black Circle

“No, it is not poison; it is sorcery – black, ghastly magic-“– The People of the Black Circle

“You have saved my life and at least partly avenged my brother.” – The people of the Black Circle

“A devilish strange dream it was too. I trod again all the long, weary roads I traveled on my way to the kingship.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Pallantides knew that Conan had walked many strange roads in his wild, eventful life, and had been many things before a twist of Fate set him on the throne of Aquilonia.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’I saw again the battlefield whereon I was born,’ said Conan, resting his chin moodily on a massive fist. ‘I saw myself in a pantherskin loin-clout, throwing my spear at the mountain beasts. I was a mercenary swordsman again, a hetman of the kozaki who dwell along the Zaporoska River, a corsair looting the coasts of Kush, a pirate of the Barachan Isles, a chief of the Himelian hillmen. All these things I’ve been, and of all these things I dreamed; all the shapes that have been I passed like an endless procession, and their feet beat out a dirge in the sounding dust.’” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan relating events of The Yaralet Fragment, Black Colossus, A Witch Shall be Born, Xuthal of the Dusk, The Devil in Iron, Queen of the Black Coast, the events prior to The Pool of the Black One, and a chief of the hillmen in People of the Black Circle.

“I am a barbarian and the son of a blacksmith.” – The Hour of the Dragon

One of the only two times Conan’s family is mentioned the other being his grandfather. Also a peek into Cimmerian culture revealing they worked metal.

“I will summon archers to shoot this barbarian, as we shoot lions.” – The Hour of the Dragon

When I read that Nemedians want to shoot this particularly dangerous foe, as they do lions; it conjures up in my mind Hercules being unable to slay a powerful Nemean Lion with arrows.

“an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion.” - Queen of the Black Coast

“Hercules' first task was to slay the Nemean Lion, the offspring of the monsters Typhon and Echidna. Twice as large as a normal lion, the animal had skin so tough that no weapons could penetrate it. After tracking the lion to its cave in the land of Nemea, Hercules tried to kill it with arrows given to him by the god Apollo. However, the arrows simply bounced off the lion. Hercules struggled with the beast using only his bare hands and strangled it to death. He then used the lion's own razor-sharp claws to remove its skin. Afterward, he wore the skin as a cloak to make him invulnerable.” - mythencyclopedia.com

“A glance back, before the heavy, gold bound teak door was closed, showed him Xaltotun leaning back in his throne-like chair, his arms folded, while a thin wisp of smoke curled up from the brazier. Conan’s scalp prickled. In Stygia, that ancient and evil kingdom that lay far to the south, he had seen such black dust before. It was the pollen of the black lotus, which creates death-like sleep and monstrous dreams; and he knew that only the grisly wizards of the Black Ring, which is the nadir of evil, voluntarily seek the scarlet nightmares of the black lotus, to revive their necromantic powers.
The Black Ring was a fable and a lie to most folk of the western world, but Conan knew of its ghastly reality, and its grim votaries who practice their abominable sorceries amid the black vaults of Stygia and the nighted domes of accursed Sabatea.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

It mentions that Conan had seen such black dust before but in the tales it is only mentioned that he saw the dust in Zamora in The Tower of the Elephant. He had seen its effects many times (and he knows that not only wizards seek its slumber but also the people of Xuthal in Xuthal of the Dusk). He even fell under its spell in the jungles near the Zarkheba River, but there is no mention of seeing it Stygia. Conan spent time in Stygia and may have seen the dust and learned about Stygia’s lore from Bêlit as a corsair raiding its coasts, or as a mercenary crossing it in Xuthal of the Dusk, The Tombalku Typescripts, and Red Nails. He also has knowledge of the grisly wizards of the Black Ring. The only one he has met thus far that we know is Thugra Khotan (Natohk) in Black Colossus though he met Thoth-Amon as a powerless slave stripped of his Serpent Ring of Set, later he sends Conan a demon to destroy him in The Phoenix on the Sword although he is not the intended target. He also may have traveled to Sabatea after destroying Thugra Khotan at Kuthchemes or after returning from the east after People of the Black Circle heading towards the coasts through Shem. If he followed the east-west caravan routes he likely would have ended in Zamboula and may have turned north to travel through the Shemitish Deserts and the lands of his friends the Zuagir. The Hour of the Dragon gives us Sabatea’s location:

“This desert was the mysterious expanse lying southeast of the lands of Shem. A few days’ ride on camel-back to the southwest, as Shevatas knew, would bring the travel within sight of the great river Styx at the point where it turn at right angles with its former course, and flowed westward to empty at last into the distant sea.” – Black Colossus

Taranaich has linked Sabatea to the Sabaean/Nabataean cultures and the Nabatean capital of Petra. I think that fits pretty well the description.

Hyborian age gazetteer Sabatea

“Conan knew it at last – understood the meaning of those crushed and broken bones in the dungeon, and recognized the haunter of the pits. It was a gray ape, one of the grisly man-eaters from the forests that wave on the mountainous eastern shores of the Sea of Vilayet. Half mythical and altogether horrible, these apes were the goblins of Hyborian legendry, and were in reality ogres of the natural world, cannibals and murderers of the nighted forests.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan had met a gray ape before in Iron Shadows in the Moon.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 17 January 2011 - 05:36 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#112 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:27 PM

The Hour of the Dragon part 4

Clues to Conan's past continued:

“And I have loved you, King Conan, ever since I saw you riding at the head of your knights along the streets of Belverus when you visited King Nimed, years ago.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“It was not strange that a passionate young beauty should be risking her life to aid him, such things had happened often enough in his life. Many women had looked on him with favor, in the days of his wanderings, and in the time of his kingship.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Who were these many women?

Paramours of Conan or women who desired him:


Nestor Synopsis girl: Zamorian?
Prostitute from The Maze: Corinthian?
Belit: Shemite
Yasmela: Khoraji
Olivia: Ophirean
Natala: Brythunian
Thalis: Stygian
Sancha: Zingaran
Livia: Ophirean
Octavia: Nemedian
Yateli: Dagonian
Yasmina: Vendhyan
Wazuli girl: Zhaibari
Muriela: Corinthian
Belesa: Zingaran
Valeria: Aquilonian
Zenobia: Nemedian?
Akivasha: Stygian
Concubines: Poitainians, Zamorians, Zingarans, Hyrkanians, and Brythunians

"Yet in his heart he did not fear; he had held too many women, civilized or barbaric, in his iron-thewed arms, not to recognize the light that burned in the eyes of this one." - Queen of the Black Coast

“a king on a golden throne with the lion banner flowing above, and throngs of gay-hued couriers and ladies on their knees.” – The Scarlet Citadel

“The people muttered at the sight of the royal beauties writhing in the brutal hands of the iron-clad retainers – dark-eyed damsels of Poitain, slim black-haired wenches from Zamora, Zingara and Hyrkania, Brythunian girls with tousled yellow heads, all weeping with fright and shame, unused to brutality.” – The Scarlet Citadel
“He had no male heir at that time, because he had never bothered to formally make some woman his queen, and the sons of concubines, of which he had a goodly number, were not recognized as heirs to the throne.”
- Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Zenobia has stood out from all the others, picked for her beauty to be in the Seraglio, knows weapons, horses, and men. Conan vows to make her queen one day.

“The girl knew weapons and horses, and , Conan reflected with some satisfaction, she knew men.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“But by Crom, I’ll come for you some day!” – The Hour of the Dragon

“A dully glinting, mail-clad figure moved out of the shadows into the starlight. This was no plumed and burnished palace guardsman. It was a tall man in morion and gray chain-mail – on of the Adventurers, a class of warriors peculiar to Nemedia; men who had not attained to the wealth and position of knighthood, or had fallen from that estate; hard-bitten fighters, dedicating their lives to war and adventure. They constituted a class of their own, sometimes commanding troops, but themselves accountable to no man but the king. Conan knew that he could have been discovered by no more dangerous a foeman.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is familiar with the Nemedian Adventurers possibly having met several as a mercenary or fighting against them in various wars.

“It followed a series of passes through the hills, and on either hand lay a wide expanse of wild, sparsely inhabited mountains. He maintained his due westerly direction, intending to cross the border deep in the wilds of the hills that lay to the south of the passes. It was a shorter route, more arduous, but safer for a hunted fugitive. One man on a horse could traverse country an army would find impassable.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is familiar with the land between Nemedia and Aquilonia. He has learned the lesson of avoiding capture on horseback when fleeing from soldiers through mountains in The People of the Black Circle.

“The stones he hurled with a curse went wide or fell harmless, though in his youth he had felled hawks on the wing.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Battles have been lost before, yet wars won. A kingdom is not lost by a single defeat.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Possibly a reference to his time as a mercenary; be it as a Corinthian mercenary fighting Koth or other nations, a mercenary fighting for a rebel prince against Koth, or as in A Witch Shall Be Born losing a battle (in the square) to an invading army (through subterfuge) then regaining the kingdom for Taramis during the siege of Khauran.

“What I saw in Tarantia I can understand. But what means this glimpse of Zamorian thieves sneaking through a subterranean temple of Set, in Stygia? And that cavern – I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it, in all my wanderings.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan recognizes the nationality and profession of the men he saw as Zamorian thieves as he was a thief among them in his youth. He also recognizes a subterranean temple of Set in Stygia giving us further insight as to the depth of his knowledge of Stygia.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 16 January 2011 - 10:35 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#113 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:30 PM

The Hour of the Dragon Part 5

Clues to Conan's past continued:

“This is all I want you to do: procure me a patch for my eye, a staff for my hand, and garments such as travelers wear.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“The Nemedian soldiers who stood on guard were half drunk, and much too busy watching for handsome peasant girls and rich merchants who could be bullied to notice workmen or dusty travelers, even one tall wayfarer whose worn cloak could not conceal the hard line of his powerful frame.
This man carried himself with an erect, aggressive bearing that was too natural for him to realize it himself, much less dissemble it. A great patch covered one eye, and his leather coif, drawn low over his brows, shadowed his features. With a long thick staff in his muscular brown hand, he strode leisurely through the arch where the torches flared and guttered, and, ignored by the tipsy guardsmen, emerged upon the wide streets of Tarantia.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

Conan’s choice of disguises is very reminiscent of the Æsir god Odin (the supreme god and creator in Norse mythology) when he chooses to disguise himself among the other gods or mortals: a patched eye, traveler’s cloak, and walking staff. Probably Conan knew of the Æsir legendry having travelled with them.

“The ways of the Æsir were more to my liking.” –The Phoenix on the Sword

Incidentally Æsir in Old Norse is the plural term for the chief gods of Norse mythology dwelling in Asgard.

Compare Howard's description of Conan with his description of Odin:

"...there came a tall man, wrapped in a cloak beneath which the thrall glimpsed a sheen of mail. The stranger wore a slouch hat pulled so low that from his shadowed features only one eye gleamed, cold and grim as the grey sea." - The Grey God Passes

"'It is Odin, god of the sea-people,' said Turlogh somberly." - The Grey God Passes

Posted Image

“In the poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Völva, the first and best known poem of the Poetic Edda) a völva (a shamanic seeress in Norse paganism) tells Odin of numerous events reaching far into the past and future, including his own doom. The Völva mentions Odin's involvement in the Æsir-Vanir War, the oedipism of Odin's eye at Mímir's Well.” – Wikipedia

Conan received a vision of past events as clues to his future from the witch Zelata in The Hour of the Dragon.

“’The old witch’s smoke showed the truth,’ muttered Conan, feeling a queer chill along his spine.” – The Hour of the Dragon

This is also reminiscent of the Witch of Endor that the Prophet Saul contacts to help determine his course for the battle with the Philistines by contacting the ghost of Samuel who is dead for advice as related in the Bible in 1 Samuel chapter 28 verses 3-25.

Verse 7:
“Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.” – King James Bible

“Further, in Ynglinga saga, Odin is described as venturing to Mímir's Well, near Jötunheimr, the land of the giants; not as Odin, but as Vegtam the Wanderer, clothed in a dark blue cloak and carrying a traveler's staff. To drink from the Well of Wisdom, Odin had to sacrifice his eye (which eye he sacrificed is unclear), symbolizing his willingness to gain the knowledge of the past, present and future. As he drank, he saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods. He also saw why the sorrow and troubles had to come to men.” -Wikipedia

“Mímir accepted Odin's eye and it sits today at the bottom of the Well of Wisdom as a sign that the father of the gods had paid the price for wisdom. “ – Wikipedia

Odin the wanderer is also the source for Gandalf the Wizard in The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.

“In a letter of 1946 J.R.R. Tolkien stated that he thought of Gandalf as an "Odinic wanderer." Other commentators have also compared Gandalf to Odin in his "Wanderer" guise – an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff.“- Wikipedia

“The name (Gandalf) is taken from the same source as all the other Dwarf names (save Balin) in The Hobbit: Dvergatal: the list of the Dvergar (Catalogue of Dwarves) in the Völuspá.” – Wikipedia

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 19 September 2011 - 03:51 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#114 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:34 PM

The Hour of the Dragon Part 6

Clues to Conan's past continued:

“He was cut off from the dungeon with the secret lock and the hidden door through which he had entered the Tower, and by which he had hoped to leave, but he knew this grim building well. Before he was king he had been imprisoned in it.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan could have been imprisoned there during his youth as a thief crossing over Aquilonia to return home to Cimmeria after his time in Zamora in The Tower of the Elephant and The Nestor Synopsis and his time as a thief in Corinthia in Rogues in the House prior to becoming a Corinthian Mercenary in The Yaralet Fragment.

"I am not sure that the adventure chronicled in 'Rogues in the House' occurred in Zamora...I am of the opinion that the city was one of the small city-states lying just west of Zamora, and into which Conan had wandered after leaving Zamora. Shortly after this he returned for a brief period to Cimmeria, and there were other returns to his native land from time to time." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Another reference to his time as a thief in his youth, and possibly from plundering as a mercenary:

“Conan had handled many coins in the years of his plundering, and had a good practical knowledge of them.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“He understood, now, the sense of familiarity that the sight of the bearded man had roused in him from the first. He had seen a coin like this once before, long ago in a far land.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Possibly in Kuthchemes, Sabatea, or the land of Stygia?

“With a shake of his shoulders he growled: ‘The likeness is only a coincidence – or if he’s shrewd enough to assume a forgotten wizard’s name, he’s shrewd enough to assume his likeness.’ But he spoke without conviction. The sight of that coin had shaken the foundations of his universe. He felt that reality and stability were crumbling into an abyss of illusion and sorcery. A wizard was understandable; but this was diabolism beyond sanity.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan had been faced with this possibility before in Black Colossus when Thugra-Khotan was resurrected and recognized by a Shemitish thief that Conan knew from of old who saw the wizard's likeness on a coin. At the time even though the thief was petrified of the ramifications Conan just grunted at the possibility. This time however he has seen firsthand and it has shaken him to the core.

“Let Bel wither my arm! I speak truth! By Derketo, Conan, I am prince of liars, but I do not lie to an old comrade. I swear by the days when we were thieves together in the land of Zamora, before you donned hauberk!
I saw Natohk; with the others I knelt before him when he made incantations to Set. But I did not thrust my nose in the sand as the rest did. I am of thief of Shumir, and my sight is keener than a weasel’s. I squinted up and saw his veil blowing in the wind. It blew aside, and I saw- I saw – Bel aid me, Conan, I say I saw! My blood froze in my veins and my hair stood up. What I had seen burned my soul like a red-hot iron. I could not rest until I had made sure.”
–Black Colossus

“’I will tell you, Conan, Natohk is – look, I will show you an image of what I saw that day by Shushan when the wind blew aside his veil!’
Yasmela saw the glint of gold in the Shemite’s hand, as the men bent closely over something. She heard Conan grunt; and suddenly blackness rolled over her. For the first time in her life, princess Yasmela had fainted.”
– Black Colossus

Another reference to his thieving days:

“’Well,’ Conan was recovering some of his resilient confidence, ‘there’s no assurance that the thief will throw it away. If I know thieves – and I should, for I was a thief in Zamora in my early youth – he won’t throw it away. He’ll sell it to some trader. By Crom!’” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan had been a fighting-man nearly his entire life before gaining his kingdom.

“This is a task for a fighting-man. I go alone.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Some references to his prowess with boats and sea craft learned as a corsair, pirate, and buccaneer.

"He was clad in leather loin-clout and sandals, and he handled the long sweep and oars with unusual skill and power.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Then she held the long sweep, cunningly bound in place by ropes to aid her, while Conan sna tched a few hours of sleep.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan again is familiar with the land possibly having traveled it many times returning home through Aquilonia to Cimmeria from from Zingara, and Argos and their port cities.

“’I have come to guide you through the mountains to the first Poitanaian stronghold.’
‘I don’t need a guide,’ answered Conan. ‘I know these hills well.’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 14 January 2011 - 07:16 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#115 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:38 PM

The Hour of the Dragon Part 7

Clues to Conan's past continued:

“Rulers are dreaming imperial dreams, and only in unity is there strength.” – The Hour of the Dragon

This echoes a sentiment he learned in his youth from Aquilonians.

“...but there’s strength in union – that’s what the Aquilonian renegades used to tell us Cimmerians when they came into the hills to raise an army to invade their own country. But we fight by clans and tribes.”–Red Nails

“Let others dream imperial dreams. I but wish to hold what is mine. I have no desire to rule an empire welded together by blood and fire. It’s one thing to seize a throne with the aid of its subjects and rule them with their consent. It’s another to subjugate a foreign realm and rule it by fear.” –The Hour of the Dragon

“’Life is dangerous,’ rumbled the king. ‘I won’t go as king of Aquilonia, or even as a knight of Poitain, but as a wandering mercenary, as I rode in Zingara in the old days. Oh, I have enemies enough south of the Alimane, in the lands and the waters of the south. Many who won’t know me as king of Aquilonia will remember me as Conan of the Barachan pirates, or Amra of the black corsairs. But I have friends, too, and men who’ll aid me for their own private reasons.’ A faintly reminiscent grin touched his lips.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan rode into Zingara as a wandering mercenary after the sale of the Star of Khorala looking for wars but not finding any before taking ship in Argos at the beginning of Queen of the Black Coast. The enemies he has south of the Alimane and in the waters of the south would be the Zingarans, Argosseans, Stygians, and Kushites that he raided during his time as a corsair and pirate.

"The Tigress ranged the sea, and the black villages shuddered. Tom-toms beat in the night, with a tale that she she-devil of the sea had found a mate, an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion. And the survivors of butchered Stygian ships named Bêlit with curse, and a white warrior with fierce blue eyes; so the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come."- Queen of the Black Coast

“Then, by Crom, fortune has at last thrown the dice for me! A horse, Trocero, and the harness of a Free Companion! Zorathus has a long start, but not too long for me to overtake him, if I follow him to the end of the world!” – The Hour of the Dragon

The reference to Free Companions does not have anything to do with The Free Companions that were completely routed in Iron Shadows in the Moon or Zarallo’s Free Companions in Red Nails and is apparently an appellation for any company of mercenaries not working for a kingdom and seeking employment.

“A single wandering mercenary required no passport nor safe-conduct, especially when his unadorned mail showed him to be in the service of no lord.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Conan rode a great black stallion, the gift of Trocero. He no longer wore the armor of Aquilonia. His harness proclaimed him a veteran of the Free Companies, who were of all races. His head-piece was a plain morion, dented and battered. The leather and mail-mesh of his hauberk were worn and shiny as if by many campaigns, and the scarlet cloak flowing carelessly from his mailed shoulders was tattered and stained. He looked the part of the hired fighting-man, who had known all vicissitudes of fortune, plunder and wealth one day, an empty purse and a close-drawn belt the next.
And more than looking the part, he felt the part; the awakening of old memories, the resurge of the wild, mad, glorious days of old before his feet were set on the imperial path when he was a wandering mercenary, roistering, brawling, guzzling, adventuring, with no thought for the morrow, and no desire save sparkling ale, red lips, and a keen sword to swing on all the battlefields of the world.
Unconsciously he reverted to the old ways; a new swagger became evident in his bearing, in the way he sat his horse; half-forgotten oaths rose naturally to his lips, and as he hummed old songs that he had roared in chorus with his reckless companions in many a tavern and on many a dusty road or bloody field.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is reverting to his old ways, and remembering life as a mercenary.

“The southern horizon was fringed with flame by night, and in the day straggling pillars of smoke drifted upward; in the cities and plains to the south men were dying, thrones were toppling and castles going up in flames. Conan felt the old tug of the professional fighting-man, to turn his horse and plunge into the fighting, and pillaging and the looting as in the days of old. Why should he toil to regain the rule of a people which had already forgotten him? – why case a will-o’-the-wisp, why pursue a crown that was lost for ever? Why should he not seek forgetfulness, lose himself in the red tides of war and rapine that had engulfed him so often before? Could he not, indeed, carve out another kingdom for himself? The world was entering an age of iron, an age of war and imperialistic ambition; some strong man might well rise above the ruins of nations as a supreme conqueror. Why should it not be himself? So his familiar devil whispered in his ear, and the phantoms of his lawless and bloody past crowded upon him. But he did not turn aside; he rode onward, following a quest that grew dimmer and dimmer as he advanced, until sometimes it seem that he pursued a dream that never was.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Before you are thinking Conan is a rapist, rapine means the violent seizure and carrying off of another’s property or plundering.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 14 January 2011 - 01:00 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#116 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:41 PM

The Hour of the Dragon Part 8

Clues to Conan's past continued:

More references to his time as a pirate and corsair and the experience he gained then:

“It was not only legitimate trade that flowed into Messantia; smugglers and buccaneers played their part. All this Conan knew well, for had he not, in the days of old when he was a Barachan pirate, sailed by night into the harbor of Messantia to discharge strange cargoes?” – The Hour of the Dragon

“But Conan had not limited his activities to those of the Barachans. He had also sailed with the Zingaran buccaneers, and even with those wild black corsairs that swept up from the far south to harry the northern coasts, and this put him beyond the pale of any law. If he were recognized in any of the ports of Argos it would cost him his head.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“At the ends of these streets he saw the wharves and the masts and sails of ships. He smelled salt water for the first time in years, heard the thrum of cordage and the creak of spars in the breeze that was kicking up whitecaps out beyond the headlands. Again the urge of far wandering tugged at his heart.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“The merchant Publio dwells here? …
I know the way well enough. Bide you here.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

“’Well,’ said Conan, ‘have you no word of greeting, Publio?’ Publio moistened his lips.
‘Conan!’ he whispered incredulously. ‘Mitra! Conan! Amra!’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

“you dwell in different quarters than of old. It takes an Argossean merchant to wring wealth out of a little waterfront shop that stank of rotten fish and cheap wine.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’We had too many dealings in the old days. Am I such a fool that I’m not aware that this fine mansion was built on my sweat and blood? How many cargoes from my galleys passed through your shop?’
‘All merchants of Messantia have dealt with the sea-rovers at one time or another,’ mumbled Publio nervously.
‘But not with the black corsairs,’ answered Conan grimly.’
For Mitra’s sake, be silent!’ ejaculated Publio, sweat starting out on his brow. His fingers jerked at the gilt worked edge of his robe.
‘Well, I only wished to recall it to your mind,’ answered Conan. ‘Don’t be so fearful. You took plenty of risks in the past, when you were struggling for life and wealth in that lousy little shop down by the wharves, and were hand-and-glove with every buccaneer and smuggler and pirate from here to the Barachan Isles. Prosperity must have softened you.’
‘I am respectable,’ began Publio.
‘Meaning you’re rich as hell,’ snorted Conan. ‘Why? Why did you grow wealthy so much quicker than your competitors? Was it because you did a big business in ivory and ostrich feathers, copper and skins and pearls and hammered gold ornaments, and other things from the coast of Kush? And where did you get them so cheaply, while other merchants were paying their weight in silver to the Stygians for them? I’ll tell you, in case you’ve forgotten: you bought them from me, at considerably less than their value, and I took them from the tribes of the Black Coast, and from the ships of the Stygians – I , and the black corsairs.’
‘In Mitra’s name, cease!’ begged Publio. ‘I have not forgotten. But what are you doing here? I am the only man in Argos who knew that the king of Aquilonia was once Conan the buccaneer, in the old days.’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

“He swept the ships in the harbor with an appreciative glance, then lifted his head and stared beyond the bay, far into the blue haze of the distance where sea met sky. And his memory sped beyond that horizon, to the golden seas of the south, under flaming suns, where laws were not and life ran hotly. Some vagrant scent of spice or palm woke clear-etched images of strange coasts where mangroves grew and drums thundered, of ships locked in battle and decks running blood, of smoke and flame and the crying of slaughter….“– The Hour of the Dragon

“’There’s a Stygian galley, if I’m not blind,’ he remarked, pointing to a long, low, slim black ship lying apart from the others, anchored off the low broad sandy beach that curved round to the distant headland.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’I’ve made them howl,’ Conan said carelessly, turning from the window. “In my galley manned by black corsairs I crept to the very bastions of the sea-washed castles of black-walled Khemi by night, and burned the galleons anchored there.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’He sleeps in the house of Servio.’ ‘I know that dive of old,’ grunted Conan.” – The Hour of the Dragon

A reference to his thievery during the period before and after The Tower of the Elephant in Zamora:

“His practiced fingers, skilled among the thieves of Zamora long ago, told him the lock had been forced, apparently by some terrific pressure from the outside that had twisted and bent the heavy iron bolts, tearing the very sockets loose from the jambs.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Conan’s first sensation of returning consciousness was that of motion; under him was no solidity, but a ceaseless heaving and plunging. Then he heard wind humming through cords and spars, and knew he was aboard a ship even before his blurred sight cleared.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 14 January 2011 - 01:00 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#117 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:45 PM

The Hour of the Dragon part 9

Clues to Conan's past continued:

More knowledge of the Stygians and their ways.; where he had seen the death-mark is a mystery:

“’Crom!’ he muttered. ‘The black hand of Set!’ He had seen the mark of old, the death-mark of the black priests of Set, the grim cult that ruled in dark Stygia.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is confronted directly with his past as a corsair and uses it to his advantage.

“Conan looked down into the open waist, whence wafted that sickening abominable odor. He knew it of old. It was the body-scent of the oarsmen, chained to their benches. They were all ne groes, forty men to e4ach side, each confined by a chain locked about his waist, with the other end welded to a heavy ring set deep in the solid runway beam that ran between the benches from stem to stern. The life of a slave aboard an Argossean galley was a hell unfathomable. Most of these were Kushites, but some thirty of the blacks who now rested on their idle oars and stared up at the stranger with dull curiosity were from the far southern isles, the homelands of the corsairs. Conan recognized them by their straighter features and hair, their rangier, cleaner-limbed build. And he saw among them men who had followed him of old.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’Who am I?’ he yelled. ‘Look, you dogs! Look, Ajonga, Yasunga, Laranga! Who am I?’ And from the waist rose a shout that swelled to a mighty roar: ‘Amra! If is Amra! The Lion has returned!’
The sailors who caught and understood the burden of that awesome shout paled and shrank back, staring in sudden fear at the wild figure on the bridge. Was this in truth that blood-thirsty ogre of the southern seas who had so mysteriously vanished years ago, but who still lived in gory legends? The blacks were frothing crazy now, shaking and tearing at their chains and shrieking the name of Amra like an invocation. Kushites who had never seen Conan before took up the yell. The slaves in the pen under the after-cabin began to batter at the walls shrieking like the damned.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

“Conan, his mighty chest heaving and glistening with sweat, the red ax gripped in his blood-smeared hand, glared about him as the first chief of men might have glared in some primordial dawn, and shook back his black mane. In that moment he was not king of Aquilonia; he was again lord of the black corsairs, who had hacked his way to lordship through flame and blood.
‘Amra! Amra!’ chanted the delirious blacks, those who were left to chant. ‘The Lion has returned! Now will the Stygians howl like dogs in the night, and the black dogs of Kush will howl! Now will villages burst in flames and ships founder! Aie, there will be wailing of women and the thunder of the spears!’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

These are references to his time with Bêlit in Queen of the Black Coast; she was the queen and made him her king.

“I am Bêlit, queen of the black coast. Oh, tiger of the north, you are cold as the snowy mountains which bred you. Take me and crush me with your fierce love! Go with me to the ends of the earth and the ends of the sea! I am a queen by fire and steel and slaughter – be thou my king!” – Queen of the Black Coast

“King of Aquilonia he might no longer be; king of the blue ocean he was still.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Far to the eastward, Conan knew, the meadowlands gave way to desert, where there were no cities and the nomadic tribes roamed unhindered.” – The Hour of the Dragon

To the east as Conan knows is the Shemitish Desert and the Eastern desert where dwell the Zaheemi and the Zuagir the latter of whom he was a chief in A Witch Shall Be Born.

Another reference to his corsair days:

“The Venturer, showing no lights, stole past the port in the night, and before dawn discovered her, anchored in a small bay a few miles south of the city. It was surrounded by marsh, a green tangle of mangroves, palms and lianas, swarming with crocodiles and serpents. Discover was extremely unlikely. Conan knew the place of old; he had hidden there before, in his corsair days.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan displays some more knowledge of Stygians and has a Ghanata knife. He was in the region of the Ghanata tribe in The Tombalku Typescripts.

“Silencing the clamor of protests, he doffed his own garments and donned the prisoner’s silk breeches and sandals, and the band from the man’s hair, but scorned the short fisherman’s knife. The common men of Stygia were not allowed to wear swords, and the mantle was not voluminous enough to hide the Cimmerian’s long blade, but Conan buckled to his hip a Ghanata knife, a weapon borne by the fierce desert men who dwelt to the south of the Stygians, a broad, heavy, slightly curved blade of fine steel, edged like a razor and long enough to dismember a man.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“If he were discovered his fate would be ghastly. They would slay him merely for being a stranger; if he were recognized as Amra, the corsair chief who had swept their coasts with steel and flame – an involuntary shudder twitched Conan’s broad shoulders." -The Hour of the Dragon

“Conan knew that most of the people lay on the flat roofs, among the palms of artificial gardens under the stars.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 14 January 2011 - 07:23 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#118 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:49 PM

The Hour of the Dragon Part 10

Clues to Conan's past continued:

More knowledge of the Wizards of the Black Ring:

“That the man he had seen there had been the priest he was certain. Only occultists high in the mazes of the hideous Black Ring possessed the power of the black hand that dealt death by its tough; and only such a man would dare defy Thoth-Amon, whom the western world knew only as a figure of terror and myth.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“The Cimmerian recoiled, remembering tales he had heard – serpents were sacred to Set, god of Stygia, who men said was himself a serpent. Monsters such as this were kept in the temples of Set, and when they hungered, were allowed to crawl forth into the streets to take what prey they wished.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Conan has faced multiple serpents in his career; the jade serpent in Zamora, in Stygia with the Corsairs, in Kush with the Corsairs, and in Xapur in The Devil in Iron, the ghost snake of the Pictish Wilderness in Beyond the Black River, and Satha the Old One who was the chiefest serpent encounter yet in The Scarlet Citadel.

Conan displays a knowledge not only of Stygians and their culture but is able to read their ancient hieroglyphics.

“He was staring at the mummy-case, on which the countenance of the occupant was carved in ivory with the startling vividness of a forgotten art. There was a disquieting familiarity about that carven mask, and with something of a shock he realized what it was; there was a startling resemblance between it and the face of the girl lolling on the ebon couch. She might have been the model from which it was carved, but he knew the portrait was at least centuries old. Archaic hieroglyphics were scrawled across the lacquered lid, and, seeking back into his mind for tag-ends of learning, picked up here and there as incidentals of an adventurous life, he spelled them out, and said aloud: ‘Akivasha!’” – The Hour of the Dragon

When seeing the robed Khitans Conan is bewildered by their appearance which must have differed drastically from the Khitans he had seen in the past to make him doubt their humanity.

“They were not Stygians, not like anything Conan had ever seen. He doubted if they were even human.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’Far have I followed you, oh king of Aquilonia,’ said the Khitan calmly.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“’I’ve looted enough from the Khitan caravans to know what I’m talking about,’ he asserted. ‘That’s jade!’” – Red Nails

“The wizard of Archeron went down as though struck by a thunderbolt, and before he touched the ground he was fearfully altered. Beside the altar-stone lay no fresh-slain corpse, but a shriveled mummy, a brown, dry, unrecognizable carcass sprawling among moldering swathings.
Somberly old Zelata looked down.
‘He was not a living man,’ she said. ‘The Heart lent him a false aspect of life, that deceived even himself. I never saw him as other than a mummy.’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

Ironically, or not, the Universal Studios film The Mummy staring Boris Karloff debuted on 22 December 1932 featuring a renegade priest Im-Ho-Tep mummified with his organs intact that is resurrected by the magic Scroll of Thoth and seeks to restore what was taken from him, in this case a woman whose soul he seeks to put in a modern woman. The Hour of the Dragon was published in 1935. Howard had a similar concept prior to that with Black Colossus that was written in October of 1932 and published in 1933. Interesting that Howard and John L. Balderston (who wrote the screenplay for the film) were inspired similarly by the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

“Thugra Khotan had swallowed a strange terrible poison, and his masked priests had locked him into the tomb he himself had prepared.” – Black Colossus

“’You are marked for mine, princess,’came the gloating whisper. ‘Before I wakened from the long sleep I had marked you, and yearned for you, but I was held fast by the ancient spell by which I escaped mine enemies.’” – Black Colossus

“The plot began with four men in a chamber of a Nemedian castle bringing back to life a Stygian mummy, thousands of years old.” – Hour of the Dragon Synopsis

“Then he had been mummified with curious art, without removing any of his vital parts, and the mummy had been placed in a hidden temple.” – Hour of the Dragon Synopsis

“And the priest who poisoned you mummified your body with their dark arts, keeping all your organs intact!” – The Hour of the Dragon

“In his own heart the wizard planned to restore the ancient kingdom of Archeron.” – Hour of the Dragon Synopsis

“’You have not yet named my ransom.’ Conan laughed and slapped his sword home in its scabbard. He flexed his mighty arms, and ran his blood-stained fingers through his thick black locks, as if feeling there his re-won crown.
‘There is a girl in your seraglio named Zenobia.’
‘Why, yes, so there is.’
‘Very well.’ The king smiled as at an exceedingly pleasant memory. ‘She shall be your ransom, and naught else. I will come to Belverus for her as I promised. She was a slave in Nemedia, but I will make her queen of Aquilonia!’”
– The Hour of the Dragon

Conan planned to make Zenobia his queen and I imagine that he did.

Aquilonia, Nemedia, Zingara, Argos, Stygia, Aquilonia

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 14 January 2011 - 01:01 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#119 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:52 PM

Conan’s future:

"He travelled widely, not only before his kingship, but after he was king. He travelled to Khitai and Hyrkania, and to the even less known regions north of the latter and south of the former. He even visited a nameless continent in the western hemisphere, and roamed among the islands adjacent to it." - Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

“I have marked you well, Conan of Cimmeria, and the stamp of mighty happenings and great deeds is upon you.”- The Phoenix on the Sword

“Your destiny is one with Aquilonia. Gigantic happenings are forming in the web and the womb of Fate, and a blood-mad sorcerer shall not stand in the path of imperial destiny.” - The Phoenix on the Sword

Epemitreus the Sage seems to think that Aquilonia is destined for imperial glory and that Conan’s fate is linked; even though Conan has no desire to be an emperor.

“Let others dream imperial dreams. I but wish to hold what is mine. I have no desire to rule an empire welded together by blood and fire. It’s one thing to seize a throne with the aid of its subjects and rule them with their consent. It’s another to subjugate a foreign realm and rule it by fear.” –The Hour of the Dragon

By the time of The Hour of the Dragon it was beginning anyway.

“His feet were set on the imperial path” – The Hour of the Dragon

“Rulers are dreaming imperial dreams, and only in unity is there strength.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“He was, I think, 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. Whether he succeeded in conquering a world-wide empire, or perished in the attempt, I do not know. “ - Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

“As for Conan's eventual fate - frankly I can't predict it.” - Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

"...that left a scar he bore to the day of his death." - The Scarlet Citadel

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 17 January 2011 - 05:46 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#120 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:53 PM

The Chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian

1. The Frost-Giant's Daughter
2. The God in the Bowl
3. The Tower of the Elephant
4. The Nestor Synopsis
5. Rogues in the House
6. The Yaralet Fragment
7. Black Colossus
8. A Witch Shall be Born
9. The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
10. Queen of the Black Coast
11. The Shumballa Typescripts
12. Xuthal of the Dusk
13. Iron Shadows in the Moon
14. The Devil in Iron
15. People of the Black Circle
16. The Tombalku Typescripts
17. The Vale of Lost Women
18. The Servants of Bit-Yakin
19. The Pool of the Black One
20. Red Nails
21. Beyond the Black River
22. The Black Stranger
23. Wolves Beyond the Border Typescripts
24. The Phoenix on the Sword
25. The Scarlet Citadel
26. The Hour of the Dragon

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales