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The Phoenix on the Sword

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"The Phoenix on the Sword" is a novelette by Robert E. Howard first published in Weird Tales 20 6 (December 1932).

This is the very first Conan story, a reworking of Howard's own Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule!", which had been rejected for publication.


Conan battles a group of treasonous nobles who seek to overthrow him and install one of their own upon the throne of Aquilonia.

Conan, now king of Aquilonia, is struggling with a series of political problems related to his violent takeover of the kingdom. Some of his subjects resent his rule; these treasonous nobles wish to gain power for themselves by dethroning the tyrant. The people even make a statue of the old king in the temple of Mitra. Four nobles get together and hire an assassin.This assassin has an unusual slave is Thoth-Amon, the legendary Sorceror of the Black Ring. Having lost his Black Ring of Set, he has no sorcerous powers. During the story, he regains it by a strange coincidence, and sets a terrible beast on the man who owned him. At the same time, Conan is visited by the spirit of Epimetrius the Sage, who claims to offer him a weapon to defend himself from the minions of Set. His mind foggy from slumber, Conan is still pondering this vision when he is attacked. Traitorous assassins charge into his bedchamber, thinking to kill him while he is unprepared. He is able to slay many before a huge and terrible nightmare beast attacks, killing the remaining assassins and setting on Conan. The story ends with Conan slaying the monster, and being comforted by loyal subjects. One of them comments that there is the mark of a Phoenix on the sword he used to slay the monster, a sure sign of the blessing of Epimetrius.


  • Thoth-amon: Ascalante's slave, once a powerful sorcerer, had the Serpent Ring of Set
  • Volmana: dwarfish count of Karaban
  • Set: Stygian serpent god



Publication historyEdit

Believed complete --Ant 17:56, 17 June 2006 (UTC)


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