By Leonard Carpenter
Whilst Queen Rufia entreats the Cinnerian to avoid wasting her urban from the undead with Zeriti's spell, the strong warrior needs to attempt to beat his dread of the supernatural. For to undo the hex he needs to trip during the nightmare global of the useless. There lies the Silver Lotus, the single antidote tothe nefarious incantation. yet thee additionally dwells the witch's bloodthirsty lover, who Conan needs to defeat may still he desire to go back to the area of the dwelling.
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Then, in a storm-lit tableau of dream-vision, the scene grew painfully certain. the lady, pushed up opposed to a wide stone altar, became at bay to stand her darkish pursuer. the item she clung to used to be a child—a lady, useless or subconscious, bundled opposed to her as limply as a rag doll. ahead of the woman’s wide-eyed gaze, the stalker emerged from the shadows, poised and able to spring. Flinging apart her whip, the feral determine raised the metal dagger. In one other lightning-flash, lurid and red-lit as hell’s furnaces, her identification was once published: Zeriti, the ill-lamed Stygian witch-queen of Asgalun, Shem—in Conan’s precise reminiscence, Rufia’s real-life nemesis and tormentress. Zeriti! The leering complain who must have died—had her infernal sorcery now not been more suitable than the metal of the mercenary blade that ran her via. the girl Rufia, stuck off stability within the agonized slowness of dream, recoiled on the undead imaginative and prescient. Her motions carried her up opposed to the altar, onto the oily-looking stone and again throughout it, along with her girl-child nonetheless hoarded up in her hands. Zeriti loped eagerly ahead, her sparkling dagger arching excessive for the sacrifice. in the meantime, above the 3 adult females within the black gulf past the altar, whatever immeasurably better and darker loomed... and laughed. Its mammoth, murky eyes glared down... Smothered in a heap of suffering our bodies, Conan writhed and lashed out. His blows have been hampered via linens; now he felt a small yet made up our minds fist smiting him sharply and again and again at the aspect of the face. “Quiet, you excellent thrashing brute! no matter what night-fiend you have been combating opposed to, it fled away with the shadows once we struck a gentle! Now, cease it! you nearly throttled terrible Lilit! ” “Girls... Thelia, confound you, i'm sorry! Lilit, are you okay? ” Unwinding his arm from the blankets, Conan reached out and gingerly plucked the woman’s hand other than her throat, yet observed no bruise there. “I didn't imagine to hurt you,” he apologized. “You are too immense and brutish on your personal good,” Lilit complained, her voice little laid low with the choking. She pouted at him in mock resentment; yet her nightdress used to be pulled askew, and Conan observed that she didn't difficulty to hide herself. Conan grew to become to Thelia, who pouted within sight. “Sorry. occasionally a warrior is laid low with ghosts—” Thelia interrupted with an admonishing glance. “I damage my knuckles pounding your not easy cranium! ” “Here, permit me kiss them,” Conan stated, however the lass drew coyly away. “You are a fierce fighter indeed,” Lilit saw petulantly, whereas belatedly straightening her nightgown. “Are you definite you won't be staying on here—as the hot Baron’s guardian-in-chief, possibly? ” “No, the farmers may want to be rid of me once attainable. those peaceful rural varieties distrust fighting-men—when we aren’t wanted for the heavy paintings, that's. ” Conan eased himself again opposed to the silken bolsters. “Tethrun employed me to run his uprising, now not his govt. ” “You suppose undesirable, just like the of us,” Lilit sighed. “There can be little peace for us right here, i'm afraid.