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History

Origins

The Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at were created by the Elder Goddess Oshtur as a counterpoint to her brothers Set's and Chthon's beast races [3] spreading on Earth, and to protect mankind.[6] Oshtur wished to create a race noble as were vile Set's Serpent Men and Chthon's Wolfmen. [3]

Hyborian Age

After the Great Cataclysm, Agamotto, the son of Oshtur, grew tired and retreated. When finally returned, he spent more time with Oshtur's new "offspring", who lived in a floating city dedicated to Oshtur, in her guise as Ma'at, the Goddess of Truth:[8] the city of Akah Ma'at, hovering above Earth.

For uncounted eons the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at dwelt in their cloud-enshrouded city, their existence unsuspected by the wingless races of the planet below. The only threat to tranquil Akah Ma'at was the evil race of bat-winged conquerors from nearby Ur-Xanarrh some half-dozen leagues away. For centuries the Man-Bats endlessly sought to destroy the Bird-Men.[4] The Man-Bats of Ur-Xanarrh were themselves another one of the elder races created by Chthon.[2]

One of the sages devised the miraculous Cylinder of Power. This source of inexhaustible energy, in turn, fueled a cordon of 'power batons' encircling the city that unleashed death-dealing bolts upon any invaders. However, periodically the power batons and other weapons charged by the Cylinder needed recharging. For a millennium Akah Ma'at enjoyed peace thanks to the Cylinder and the floating batons.[4]

15,000 BC - 11,000 BC or 10,000 BC

In 15,000 BC,[7][8] Agamotto chose as the second Sorcerer Supreme[6] (or rather as the first, as the official title had not be used before) Shamhat Saraswati, a great priestess of Akah Ma'at, giving her the Book of the Vishanti, the Eyes of Agamotto, and the title of Sorcerer Supreme.[8]

Guided by Shamhat and her sponsors Oshtur and Agamotto, the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at soon evolved into powerful sorcerers and almost godlike beings, the Winged Lords, with Varuna becoming the most powerful among them.[6]

Civil War

Chthon's lies caused Varuna to become suspicious of the "lower races",[6] and some of Akah Ma'at eventually grew indifferent to the well-being of "lesser" beings.

The most evolved of the Bird Men split into two factions:[6]

  • Varuna gathered same-minded followers,[6] the "righteous avengers" of the Asura,[3] who felt superior and wished to force their will on others,[6] Varuna became Judge and Executioner, and allegedly used the stars to spy upon Man.[2]
  • Ashamed at their fellows, Saraswati and her followers,[6] the "peaceful guardians"[3] of the Seraphim, vowed to protect those the Asura would harm,[6] thus remaining true to their purpose of protecting mankind.[6]

The ideological dispute grew into a civil war, with the help of Chthon,[8] who took advantage of this schism, and turned the factions against one another.[3]

Ultimately, the Seraphim and Asura grew so destructive,[8] and the conflict caused massive earthly devastation, that Oshtur was forced to intervene.[6]

Banishment (11,000 BC or 10,000 BC)

Oshtur banished both the Asura and Seraphim,[6] and the whole city, into the Dark Dimension (The Splinter Realms, or the "Archipelago of Anguish and Redemption"),[3] to the extradimensional Planes of Sephiroth.[6] By 11,000 BC, the Bird Folk had "ascended".[7] One account mention the Winged Lords "prepared to journey [...] into the Higher Realms",[2] though the exact circumstances of the banishment are unknown.

A few inconsistencies exist between the accounts:

  • Some accounts place the banishment around 11,000 BC,[7] or around 10,000 BC.[8]
  • Given the Bird-Men and Akah Ma'at were witnessed during the Age of Conan (circa 10,000 BC), a few elements remain unclear:
    • Some accounts highlight the rapture of the warring factions,[2][6] while other mentions that the entire race was banished.[2] It is also hinted that the whole race was divided between the two factions (those who didn't followed Varuna being stated to rally behind Saraswati),[2] but it should also be noted that the Bird-Men encountered by Conan were not godlike entities but closer to simple winged humans.
    • Similarly, an account mentions the "whole city" being banished.[3]
  • Another interpretation considers that though the floating isle of seemed to be hovering over Cimmeria, it was actually in another dimension.[9]

It is consequently unclear whether the Bird-Men and the city witnessed during the Age of Conan are remnants on Earth of the banished race, or if they were witnessed before the banishement.

Aftermaths

On Earth

If the banishment occurred circa 11,000 BC, that departure left the mantle vacant for about a thousand year,[7] and Agamotto unsure of his ability to choose a successor.[8] Ayesha of Balobedu claimed it circa 10,000 BC.[7] (though Kulan Gath claimed the title around that time as well).[10]

On Sephiroth

Stranded in a hostile environment, the Seraphim and Asura secured an uneasy yet lasting peace. Together, they forged the Citadels of Sephiroth, who served as a line of defense against creature from the Dark Dimension that would invade the Lower Realms.[3]

In their banishment dwelling, the Seraphim and Asura continued to evolve,[6] and some were invoked on Earth:

  • The Seraphim became at some point (possibly before their banishment) mystic principalities, whose names were often invoked for spells such as the Shield, the Skill, the Speed, the Circle, and the Serum of the Seraphim. They became known across the dimensions for their spells of protection and defense.[11] They also became enemies of Shaeol, and would later be involved in the extradimensional War of the Seven Spheres, themselves opposing Shaeol.[12]
  • Varuna seemingly became a godly figure during the Hyborian Age, and his name was invoked, along other deities'.[13]

The S'raphh, a pure-hearted race that resided on Earth's Moon millennia ago, may have been descendants of the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at, perhaps remnants of the Seraphim faction who might have evaded the banishment of their people.[14]

Age of Conan (10,000 BC)

Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at

In Shadizar, Zamora, the Crow Cult (formerly the Night-Cult) presented themselves as the "Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at", "forced into hiding" and wishing to "reclaim the skies over Shadizar", with the help of Ma'kannta, God of the Talon, a god imprisoned into a demonic realm.[5] Their people formerly worshiped the Night-God since time untold, until he was killed by Conan.[15] It is unknown if that relation to the Akah Ma'at is literal.

The Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at freed Ma'kannta from his prison using a Night Shard (a piece of the Olympian goddess Nyx's soul), but they were seemingly all slain by Conan, while Ma'kannta was either returned to his imprisonment or killed by Nyx.[5]

Alhambra of Akah Ma'at

Given the banishment of the Bird-Men and of Akah Ma'at may have occurred circa 11,000 BC or 10,000 BC (then it would be likely after), it's unclear at what stage the events recounted below fit in the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at's chronology.
A fortnight before Conan was drawn into the struggle between the two floating cities, the traitorous elder Thaltar stole the Cylinder, intending to betray Akah Ma'at. Luckily, Thaltar did not succeed and was shot down by a warrior wielding one of their energy weapons before he could get away. However, both Thaltar's dead body and the Cylinder fell to Earth far below. Three of Akah Ma'at's most valiant warriors were dispatched to recover the Cylinder and never seen again. If the power batons were not recharged, the cordon would fail: after a millennium of peace, the unprepared Bird-Men would be attacked by Ur-Xanarrh.[4]

Hiding in a nearby cloud bank, the bird-warriors then caught Conan in a net and took him to Akah Ma'at, bringing him before Alhambra's father, the King of Akah Ma'at, as a captured spy. Telling the king he had pledged to help his people, the king, seeing nothing to lose, freed Conan and gave him a giant cloud-hawk to fly to Ur-Xanarrh to steal back the Cylinder of Power.

Conan returned in triumph, but the horde of bloodthirsty Ur-Xanarrah were on his heels with no time to recharge the power batons. Conan lead them into battle with steel. An aerial battle erupted; and, though outnumbered two to one, the Bird-Men led by the barbarian turned the tide.[16]

Modern Age

In modern days, the peace between the Asura and Seraphim remained.[3]

War of the Seven Spheres

Before the War of the Seven Spheres began, many of the Principalities and mystic entities usually invoked for power sought to recruit Doctor Strange to fight for them. Escaping them by using spells from other entities, Strange eventually ended up among the Seraphim after having used the Shield of the Seraphim to escape Cyttorak. They asked for Strange's help to march against their enemy, Shaeol. Soon, Cyttorak, Ikonn, the Vishanti (Agamotto, Oshtur, and Hoggoth), the Faltine, Raggadorr, Munipoor, Satannish, Valtorr, and Denak arrived to claim Strange for their side. To escape them all, Strange invoked the Law of Emancipation, relinquish the ability to call upon any of the powers and principalities.[12] The conflict would last five thousand years,though waged within months by human reckoning.[17]

Religion

The Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at worshiped Oshtur, in her guise of Ma'at, the Goddess of Truth. Their floating city was dedicated to Ma'at.[8]

The Night-Cult worshiped the Night-God, until he was killed by Conan. They then worshiped Ma'kannta, God of the Talon, as the Crow Cult or the "Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at".[5] They performed sacrifices for both deities.[15][5]

Powers and Abilities

Powers

The Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at possess wings that enable flight; they also possibly have enhanced strength and healing.[citation needed]

The Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at could emit a deafening shriek,[5] among other powers.

Abilities

The Bird-Men also had access to giant untamed cloud-hawks, one of which was provided as a mount to Conan. Not needing them due to their own ability to fly, one would guess the Bird-Men kept the cloud-hawks as curiosities, guard beasts, or perhaps beasts of burden.[citation needed]

Habitat

Habitat

During prehistoric times and the Hyborian Era, the floating cloud-city of Akah Ma'at high above the land of Cimmeria.

Miscellaneous

Level of Technology

Their level of technology was largely comparable to that of other Hyborian Era cultures, including conventional weaponry such as swords and spears. However, the Bird-Men possessed a vast energy source known as the Cylinder of Power, the deadly cordon of 'power batons' it fueled, and other weapons powered by the Cylinder such as a magic ring strong enough to blast through a solid rock wall, all being quite unconventional for the time period.[citation needed]

Representatives


Allegedly the Bastard Children of the Akah Ma'at; Possibly the S'raphh.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1; Null' entry
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Marvel Tarot #1; Wolf Book
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Mystic Dimensions - From the Journals of Ian McNee at the Appendix: The Splinter Realms (The Dark Dimension, the Archipelago of Anguish and Redemption), The Citadels of Sephiroth's entry
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Conan the Barbarian #153
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Avengers No Road Home #6
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities #1; Angels' profile Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "; Angels' profile" defined multiple times with different content
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Marvel Tarot #1; Timeline of the Sorcerer Supreme
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #7; Magic - History of the Sorcerer Supreme
  9. Conan Saga #77; A Chronology of Conan's Career as interpreted by Marvel Comics, by Roy Thomas: VIII. Women with and without Wings
  10. Savage Avengers #3
  11. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #7; Magic - Index: A: Commonly Invoked Mystic Principalities
  12. 12.0 12.1 Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #49
  13. King Conan #2
  14. Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1; Null's entry
  15. 15.0 15.1 Conan the Barbarian #6; Devil-Wings Over Shadizar
  16. Conan the Barbarian #154
  17. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #8; Octessence's profile
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