Appearing in "The Horn of Azoth"Edit
Synopsis for "The Horn of Azoth"Edit
While pit-fighting in Shadizar, Conan discovers his friend, Gambinus, is to be put to death on orders of Judge Luda. Conan gets his revenge that night, slaying the judge in his bedchambers. Unfortunately, he brags about it to the wrong wench that evening, and after she entices him into her room, she summons the guards. He fights well, but is ultimately brought down, as a woman watches the scene through a magical well. The woman, claiming to be Conan's wife, visits the Cimmerian the next day in the dungeon and offers his freedom in exchange for completing a task for her. Conan agrees, and she dissolves the chains with acids. Conan, after first dealing with the jailer, rides with the woman, Natari, and her eunuch servant, Strabo, east along the Road of Kings to a temple on a lake. Natari reveals she seeks a treasure inside and asks Conan to retrieve it. He swims underneath and inside the temple, climbs into the sewers, and, after dispatching monstrous leeches manages to steal the treasure - the boxed Eye of Ibis. He is spied on the way out by the temple's wizard and his son, and is forced to slay the wizard. The temple's guards, led by Shumballa, give chase, but it is the wizard's son, Rammon, who finds Conan first. The boy attempts to push a boulder onto the party as Natari and Conan argue about how to split the Eye of Ibis. Conan, respecting the boy's vengeful spirit, easily defeats him, but sends Rammon away telling him to come back when he's grown. The barbarian returns to his companions only to overhear Natari conversing with her sorcerer father, and he orders his daughter to kill Conan. Conan decides to let this play a little longer, and the group rides to the Kezankian Forest, where the true treasure lies, only to be gained with the help of the Eye. They make their way to a dome in the middle of the forest, the Crypt of Shadows, and the Eye acts as a key to open the mouth of a great statue, revealing the golden Horn of Azoth. Conan decides the gems stuck to the dome's ceiling is treasure enough for him, but is surprised by a rock to the back of the head from Strabo. He awakens to find a shadowy form floating toward him. In a panic, Conan climbs the walls and plunges out a hole only to find he is being chased by Rammon again.Conan smacks him around a bit and leaves the boy hanging from a tree by his knapsack and goes of fto deal with those who betrayed him. He finds them by a small stream and kills Strabo. Before he can deal with Natari, though, an arm reaches from the water and pulls the girl in - it is the magic of her sorcerer father, Karanthes. Conan leaps in as well, but is yanked from the water by Shambulla and her warriors, who prepare to kill him. They are stopped, surprisingly, by Rammon, who explains all. The box the Eye was sealed in contains a pattern of stars, which match the stars above. The time is right to wake Azoth, a god of pain and hate, and the only way to do so is with the indestructible horn Shumballa's people are pledged to protect. Now, because of Conan, chaos will reign and only Conan can help make things right. Later, the followers of Azoth prepare to sacrifice Natari, as her evil father had always planned, in order to waken the giant skeletal god embedded into the mountainside next to Shadizar. The town panics as an eclipse begins and Conan, Rammon, and Shumballa race up the mountain, through traps and illusions, to the top of the temple and the ceremony. They are too late -- the horn is reattached to the winged monstrosity, and Azoth lives again! He promptly begins to slaughter his own priests, including Karanthes. Shumballa also falls as Conan desperately tries to save Natari. Finally, Conan leaps on the back of the crazed beast and manages to break off the magic horn. Azoth crumples into the dust and bones and the eclipse passes with the world still in one place. Rammon makes his peace with Conan, and the barbarian returns to the pits in Shadizar, ultimately deciding the City of the Wicked is not for him, and takes his leave.
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