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Bêlit

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Brundage belit

Bêlit by Margaret Brundage; detail from the cover of Weird Tales May 1934

Bêlit, self-styled Queen of the Black Coast, was a fearsome but beautiful pirate captain, and Conan's paramour in Robert E. Howard's novelette, "Queen of the Black Coast".

A number of pastiches and comics later elaborated on her adventures with Conan.

Biographical sketchEdit

Bêlit was a Shemite, who in Howard's story claimed that her fathers were kings of Asgalun (a seaport in Shem).

At some point, she became captain to a band of pirates from the Southern Isles on board the Tigress. The black corsairs considered her to be a goddess and followed her with unswerving loyalty.

It was then she met Conan, in the midst of a melée when the Tigress rammed Conan's ship, the Argus. Bêlit was immediately consumed with a passion that grew into devotion.

"Were I still in death and you fighting for life, I would come back from the abyss to aid you — aye, whether my spirit floated from the purple sails on the crystal sea of paradise, or writhed in the molten flames of Hell! I am yours, and all the gods and their eternities shall not sever us!" ["Queen of the Black Coast"]

She is regarded as Conan's first and greatest love. For a thousand days Bêlit and Conan plundered the Black Coast, until her untimely, tragic death. But she fulfilled her prophecy, when her ghost intervened to save Conan from the deadly attack of a winged one.

In her life, she worshipped the Shemitish deities Adonis, Ashtoreth, Derketo, and Ishtar, as well as Bel, god of thieves.

Conan the RebelEdit

In the Poul Anderson novel Conan the Rebel, Bêlit talks at length of her origin. Her Father, Hoiakim, was a Shemite from Dan-Marcah, and her mother, Shaaphi, traveled with him to a trading post near the Suba tribe on the Black Coast where he became a prosperous trader. The tribe began to refer to Hoiakim as Bangulu, the High One, and he was greatly respected by the tribe and chief. Their son, Jehenan was born, and two year later Bêlit. Both were raised as civilized Shemites but also as skilled naturists like the Suba. Eventually, Bêlit participated in an arranged marriage, but luckily she fell in love with the man, Aliel, and bore him a son, Kedron. The happy family returned to the Suba, but within months a band of slavers, sponsored by a Stygian named Ramwas, sailed into the harbor. Weakening the tribe with a cloud made of a smoky, powerful drug, the slavers attacked, killing Hoiakim and capturing Jehenan in the first minutes of battle. Shaaphi, Aliel, Bêlit and Kedron fled, but Shaaphi, knowing her age would only slow them down, pulled a dagger and killed herself. Aliel was downed by a metal slingshot, and Bêlit, refusing to let her son be taken into slavery, killed him with a spear. When the slavers caught her, she killed one, but was captured and given to Ramwas, who kept her and Jehenan for himself. Ramwas had a witch make Bêlit barren (he didn't want any complications), but she attacked him when he tried to take her, so he used another drug to paralyze her while he had his way with her. Eventually, she escaped at the seaport of Khemi, making her way back to the Suba, where she used whatever treasures were left behind to commission the Tigress and swear revenge.

Marvel ComicsEdit

Bêlit was the only daugther of Atrahasis, king of Asgulin, just as Bêlit's forebears were for generations. Bêlit's mother died during childbirth, leaving Atrahasis to raise her. Atrahasis loved Bêlit, he taught her how to sail and love the sea just as he does. She was taught by her educator and her father's eventual informal advisor N'Yaga who fled from the southern isles. One faithful night, Bêlit horrificly witnesses her father and his loyal retainers being ruthlessly slain by Stygian assassins, smuggled into the city by her treacherous uncle Nim-Karrak. N'yaga took Bêlit far away from the city as he knew that Nim-Karrak would have her killed.

Physical appearanceEdit

She was slender, yet formed like a goddess: at once lithe and voluptuous. Her only garment was a broad silken girdle. ... Her rich hair, black as a Stygian night, fell in rippling burnished clusters down her supple back. ["Queen of the Black Coast"]

Most pictures of Bêlit show her wearing much more.

Traits and skillsEdit

Bêlit was skilled with bow and arrow, dagger, and spear.

Stories featuring BêlitEdit

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