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The Blood-Stained God

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"The Blood-Stained God" is a Conan novelette by L. Sprague de Camp based on an unpublished Kirby O'Donnell story, "The Curse of the Crimson God," by Robert E. Howard and first published in the collection Tales of Conan in 1955.

Plot SummaryEdit

Conan searches for a hidden temple in the Kezankian Mountains and the fabled golden statue that lies within.

Detailed SynopsisEdit

Conan skulks through the alleyways of Arenjun and stumbles upon a small group of men torturing a Kezankian prisoner. In need of a Kezankian scout, Conan intervenes, rescuing the man, but just as they escape Conan takes a blow to the head and collapses.

Conan awakens in the company of Sassan, an Iranistani, who is on the trail of the same treasure that Conan seeks. Conan had recently come into possession of a map that leads to an ancient temple in the Kezankian Mounatins, but it was stolen from him. He had tracked the thieves to that alley, and Sassan reveals that the men he fought were, in fact, the men who were looking for - the disinherited Turanian prince Arshak and his companion Zyras! After a thrown stool knocked Conan unconscious, the thieves chased the Kezankian, Rustum, off and Conan was found by Sassan. The two men decide to work together and set off into the mountains, wary of Keraspa, the Kezankian chief, for whom Rustum spies for.

Conan tracks the trail through the mountains, but they are halted by a Kezankian ambush. They frantically race forward past the trap, surmising that Rustum returned to his chief with news that their temple was soon to be raided. A mile of thunderous charging later, Sassan's horse is brought down by arrows from ahead - Arshak, Zyras, and their band of men have set up down the road, and now Sassan and Conan are trapped. However, when Zyras realizes a horde of angry Kezankians are coming up the pass, he allows the two men to dive into their cover to face the tribesmen together. The Kezankians swarm over the rocks and the bloody battle claims the lives of all save for Conan, Sassan, and Zyras, although Kerspa had fled during the battle back to his tribe to gather more men. The three men decide to split the treasure three ways and quickly head off.

Eventually they come to a small valley and they face a temple carved out of the stone itself. Sassan greedily races for the entrance, but the heavy bronze door is trapped and it falls, crushing him. Zyras and Conan enter the temple and soon find the treasure - a gem-encrusted golden statue that stands before a deep chasm. As Conan is distracted by the statue, Zyras attempts to slay him, but Conan prevails and Zyras dies instead. Conan contemplates how to remove the statue when Kerspa calls from the entrance - he hadn't returned to his people; he had followed the three others with the only other survivor of the battle - Rustum. When Rustum recognizes Conan as the one who rescued him in Arenjun, he tries to stop his chief from killing the barbarian. Kerspa kills Rustum instead, but before he can turn his bow back to Conan, the statue comes to life and graps the Kezankian. It lumbers to the chasm and tosses him in, and Conan, realizing that he is next, rips a throne from the ground and slams it into the statue, which loses its balance and tumbles into the endless pit itself. Conan gathers what he can and leaves.

CharactersEdit

  • Conan
  • Rustum, Kezankian spy
  • Arshak, disinherited Turanian prince
  • Zyras, a Corinthian
  • Sassan, an Iranistani
  • Kerspa, Kezankian chief

LocationsEdit

  • Arenjun
  • The Kezankian Mountains between Koth and Zamora

Continuity NotesEdit

Miller/Clark/deCamp Chronology
Previous Story:
Conan and the Spider God
"The Blood-Stained God" Next Story:
"The Frost Giant's Daughter"
Robert Jordan Chronology
Previous Story:
Conan the Valiant
"The Blood-Stained God" Next Story:
"The Frost Giant's Daughter"
William Galen Gray Chronology
Previous Story:
Conan the Valiant
"The Blood-Stained God" Next Story:
Conan the Valorous

AdaptationsEdit

Publication historyEdit

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