It has been described as "a desolate wasteland of vaporous bog," though its plains had been depicted as home to several city-states.
The region has attracted rebel nobles fleeing the authorities of the southern kingdoms, and traders wishing to avoid the toll taxes of the Nemedian highways. Along these more-or-less civilized people reside the so-called "beast-men". They are primitive hunter-gatherers who wield clubs, and dress in loin-cloths. They may be native in the area and simply failed to adapt to the times. Rumors of the Hyborian world suggest that they descent from fugitive criminals and runaway slaves. Others consider them degenerated humans or results of extensive inbreeding.
During a stormy night, Conan took refuge in the manor of Count Tarcas Melphorr, despite being warned to leave by his wife Melanie. Later that night, the Cimmerian's booby-trapped bed sent him in the catacomb where Rastor, the monstrous cannibal brother of Count Tarcas, was dwelling, feeding upon weary travelers like Conan. The barbarian then killed the cursed abomination and his maddened brother, leaving behind his wife to mourn and bury them.
Some time later, Conan and Fafnir save a young girl named Krylxxa from being burned at the stake by the townsfolk, who were accusing her of murder and witchcraft. After being brought back to her home, Krylxxa turned out to be a member of the Phytons, and had taken human form by draining the life from an innocent woman. Nonetheless, Krylxxa still loved Fafnir, and she pleaded with the leader of her people, Vyllm Pt'aar, to spare her two new allies. However, Vyllm eventually decided that he could not risk allowing the two to live, and possibly tell others of their existence. Krylxxa warned Fafnir and Conan, and fled the caverns with them, knowing she could not survive in the outside world without draining the life from others, but preferring death to living apart from Fafnir. After three days, Krylxxa's life energy was spent, and though Fafnir offered to give up his own life force for her, she chose not to ever take another life. Though Krylxxa then died, Fafnir took some comfort in seeing her in any of the wildflowers and meadows they passed.
After he and Fafnir looted the Temple of the Dragon, Conan gave to Nadine a beautiful mirror as a present. After the girl gazed into her new mirror while brushing her hair, Nadine was possessed by the spirit of Thazarra, who went immediately in search of a thief to help her obtain the jewel and her everlasting freedom from the mirror. She then returned with Fafnir to the Temple of the Dragon, while Conan and Marta's thieves gang set off to the temple, too, to steal the jewel of Thazarra. Conan, Fafnir and Nadine eventually managed to escape the temple, wandering off to the sounds of the thieves being slaughtered above.
Points of Interest
Klauz was the guildmaster of the local thieves' guild, who fenced all the loot taken by Conan and Fafnir from the Temple of the Dragon. When he went to show Conan the guest room, Klauz discovered that his daughter Nadine was gone, and the Cimmerian set out in search of the missing girl.
Melanie was the wife of Count Tarcas Melphorr. When he began luring weary travelers to satiate his brother's gory lust for human flesh, many times she entertained the thought of reporting Tarcas to local guards, but she was fearful that if she did it, he might kill her too. She nevertheless attempted to warn in vain Conan to leave the manor. When the Cimmerian slayed both Tarcas and his brother, she decided to stay there to mourn and bury them.
Nadine was the daughter of Klauz, guildmaster of the local thieves' guild. After Conan and Fafnir looted the Temple of the Dragon, the Cimmerian gave her a beautiful mirror. Gazing into her new mirror while brushing her hair, Nadine was possessed by the spirit of Thazarra, who used the girl to reach the Temple of the Dragon and have the magical jewel placed in the pommel of the girl’s mirror, thus liberating the evil witch. Nadine eventually managed to escape with Conan and Fafnir.
Marta was a tough looking woman who was heading a rival thieves' gang. Believing Conan and Fafnir had stolen the jewel of Thazarra, Marta ordered her men to assault the Cimmerian, but, after she learned that the gem had not yet been stolen, she and her gang set out to get it for themselves. In the Temple of the Dragon, their gang crossed swords with the two barbarians and Marta was eventually possessed by the spirit of Thazarra. Running to escape from the chamber, she darted through a doorway and triggered a bladed trap, which fell from the archway and beheaded her.
Rastor was the brother of Count Tarcas Melphorr. Some years before Conan entered the count's manor, Rastor and Tarcas set out on one of their annual journeys of adventure and exploration, deep in the heart of a savage jungle, where they inadvertently uncovered a site that was still untouched and began to mine it for gems. After Rastor got sick of a deadly fever, the village shaman tried to help him, even leaving his own daughter to care for him. When, in his delirium, Rastor attacked and killed the girl, the shaman cursed him to be utterly dependent upon human flesh, slowly transforming into a subhuman monster, who dwelled in the catacomb underneath the house and fed upon unsuspecting travelers provided by Tarcas, until he was eventually killed by Conan.
Tarcas Melphorr (Earth-616)
Before Conan entered his manor, Count Tarcas Melphorr and his brother set out on one of their annual journeys of adventure and exploration, deep in the heart of a savage jungle, where they inadvertently uncovered a site that was still untouched and began to mine it for gems. After Rastor was cursed by the shaman to be utterly dependent upon human flesh, slowly transforming into a subhuman monster, Tarcas let him dwell in the catacomb underneath his house, constantly providing fresh meat, first by slaying his own servants, then by preying on ragged beggars and unwary passersby in the alleyways of the nearby towns, and eventually by luring weary travelers to pass the night in, using a boody-trapped bed. When he found his brother killed by Conan, Tarcas attacked the Cimmerian, but he was easily defeated and killed.
Thazarra was an evil witch whose spirit was imprisoned within a mirror who was looted Conan and Fafnir in the Temple of the Dragon, and then given to a girl named Nadine. After she gazed into her new mirror while brushing her hair, the spirit of Thazarra was free to possess Nadine, and used the girl to reach the Temple of the Dragon and have the magical jewel placed in the pommel of the girl’s mirror, in order to be released forever. After Conan did it, Thazarra, laughing exultantly, emerged from the mirror as an evil green mist with a witch-like face. She once more possessed Nadine, but Conan threatened to slit her throat and the wild look in his eye convinced Thazarra to abandon her current body. Free to escape and possess any woman she liked, Thazarra returned to the mirror just before Marta and her thieves arrived. Conan then tossed the mirror to Marta just as the priests of the Dragon God come swarming up the stairs, so Thazarra emerged to possess Marta. Running to escape from the chamber, Thazarra darted through a doorway and triggered a bladed trap, which fell from the archway and beheads her. The mirror smashed when it fell to the floor, so the threat of Thazarra was seemingly ended.
- 18 Appearances of Border Kingdom
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