Black Colossus

"Black Colossus"
Black Colossus WT.jpg
Cover of Weird Tales, July 1933.
Art by Margaret Brundage
AuthorRobert E. Howard
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesConan the Cimmerian
Genre(s)Fantasy
Published inWeird Tales
Publication typePulp magazine
PublisherRural Publishing Corporation
Publication dateJuly 1933
Preceded by"The Tower of the Elephant"
Followed by"The Slithering Shadow"

"Black Colossus" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, June 1933.[1] Howard earned $130 for the sale of this story.[2]

It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan leading the demoralized army of Khoraja against an evil sorcerer named Natohk, "the Veiled One."

This story formed part of the basis for the later Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon.

Plot overview

An ancient wizard named Thugra Khotan is awoken from his 3,000 year slumber by Shevatas, a Zamoran thief (he doesn't survive the experience). Soon, Thugra remembers his dream of world domination. He assumes the alias of Natohk (The "Veiled One"), assembles an army of desert nomads, and begins his strategy on conquering the Hyborian nations. However, the tiny kingdom of Khoraja - with a mixed Hyborian\Shemite population, culture, and religion - stands in his way. Khoraja is presently ruled by the beautiful Yasmela, sister to the king, who is now a prisoner in neighboring Ophir. In fear of Natohk's potential invasion, Yasmela seeks advice from the long-forgotten god of her ancestors, Mitra. Eventually, Yasmela is told to travel into the streets and offer her kingdom's defenses to the first man she meets.

Fortunately, the first man she encounters is Conan the Cimmerian. Conan already has a position in Yasmela's army. Now, he's given full command over Khoraja's royal military, much to the confusion of his more cultured comrades. Soon, Conan demonstrates his knowledge in military tactics by defeating an entire caravan of bandits. However, Conan's efforts are ridiculed by the arrogant officers below him who fall victim to Natohk's magic. Meanwhile, Natohk has made it clear conquering the world isn't the only goal on his agenda: He also desires Queen Yasmela for himself.

The story climaxes with an epic battle. Conan defeats Natohk's army and the wizard devises a final attempt in capturing Yasmela. Conan goes after Nathok and confronts him near the ruins of a Stygian temple.

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