AFTERLINGS

Classification: Human/bat hybrid, Hyborian Era

Location/Base of Operations: Flaming Mountains of Khrosha;
formerly the Tower of Blood, within a hidden valley in Zamora

Known Members: Ozamatli

Affiliations: Morophla, Uathacht (creators/masters), Varnae (master)

Enemies: Amalric of Nemedia, Red Sonja, Conan, Zula (under control of Varnae)

First Appearance: presumably "The Tower of Blood" (date unknown);
Conan the Barbarian I#43 (October, 1974)
 

Powers/Abilities: The Afterlings can fly, but otherwise do not seem particularly strong. It takes several Afterlings to hold the weight of another man aloft. They possess sentience and can speak. They have sharp teeth and claws.
They may have a sonar sense the way normal bats do, but this remains unconfirmed.

Traits: The Afterlings possess wings, hands, and prehensile toes. As combinations of humans and bats, they have various traits of the two species.

History:
(Conan the Barbarian I#43 (fb) - BTS) - The Afterlings are the creations of the Stygian sorcerer Morophla--an early experiment in cross-breeding which didn't quite pan out. Morophla kept them within his Tower of Blood, primarily because he enjoyed watching them cringe as he approached.

(Conan the Barbarian I#43) - As Conan and Red Sonja sought to take refuge from a group of bounty hunters, they took entered the valley around the Tower of Blood. As they approached, through the mists, they felt things swooping down around them, and Conan even felt something brush his face. As he heard it approach again, Conan struck out with his sword and skewered and slew one of the Afterlings.
Later, within the Tower, Morophla revealed that he had created the Afterlings.

(Conan the Barbarian I#44) - As Conan and Sonja were attempting to escape the Tower, they again encountered the Afterlings. However, as they had no love for Morophla, they allowed the two barbarians to pass unmolested. Later still, after they had slain Morophla, Conan and Sonja were attempting to climb down from the Tower and fell towards certain death. Grateful for the death of Morophla, a few of the Afterlings flew out caught them, allowing them to descend to Earth at a decidedly non-lethal speed.

(Conan the Barbarian I#245 (fb, bts)- After Conan and Red Sonja freed the Afterlings, they fled to the Flaming Mountains of Krosha to seek peace.

However, the newly awoken first vampire Varnae used his mental powers to implant thoughts in the minds of the Afterlings. He had them free him from his sarcophagus underneath the mountains, and then used his powers to bind them to his will.

Using his powers, Varnae received a vision of a group of mercenaries traveling upon a road. One of these mercenaries discovered an indestructible parchment of the Darkhold. Varnae, aware that the Darkhold possessed spells to destroy vampires with, grew concerned.

Again using his ability to implant thoughts in the minds of others, Varnae generated images of a woman guarding treasure to lure the leader of the mercenaries, Amalric of Nemedia, to Varnae’s base in the Flaming Mountains of Khrosha.

(Conan the Barbarian I#244)- Conan, Red Sonja, and Zula, having escaped imprisonment, ventured into the Khrosha caves. The Afterlings abducted them, and brought them to Varnae.

(Conan the Barbarian I#245)- Varnae told Conan and his compatriots of who he was, delighted to discover that Chthon had no worshippers in the Hyborian era when they did not recognize his name. Only deities worshipped when Varnae had been a man, such as Chthon and Valka, could affect him or be invoked against him.

Varnae also showed them a captured scout of the mercenary army he had guided towards himself, whom Varnae ate. Enraged, Conan and his allies attacked the Afterlings, to no effect. Then, one of the Afterlings, Ozamatli, explained what had happened since their last encounter. The Afterlings deposited the trio in a deep pit, and then flew away.

Conan, Sonja, and Zula managed to escape, with Sonja managing to kill an Afterling along the way. However, the Afterlings then attacked Amalric and his men, intent on getting the Chthonic scrolls back. Sonja, Conan, and Zula entered the battle, but one of the Afterlings managed to acquire the scrolls from Amalric's saddle-bags. Sonja stabbed that Afterling, but it still kept flying, carrying the sword impaled in its body. The Afterling made it to Varnae, who battered Sonja. Conan followed Sonja and snatched her from Varnae's clutches, with Zula furtively snatching the Chthonic scrolls. Zula began reciting a spell from the parchments, so Varnae directed Afterlings to attack him. Sonja retrieved her sword from the slain Afterling's corpse, and swatted away at the Afterlings attacking Zula. Zula managed to recite a spell invoking Chthon and Valka, which mystically harmed Varnae. Fleeing, Varnae tossed Conan aside, but Ozamatli gave its life to break his fall.

The other Afterlings arrived, noting that the spell that had harmed Varnae also broke his control over them. Asking Conan's permission to take Ozamatli's corpse with them as they retreated into new and deeper caves, the Afterlings departed.

Comments: Created by David A. English, adapted by Roy Thomas and John Buscema

The original Afterling story arc adapted the short story "Tower of Blood" by David A. English, published in a magazine called Witchcraft and Sorcery. This was not a Conan story.

In Doctor Strange III#11/2, Jean-Marc Lofficier referred to Morophla and his sister as vampires....yet in Conan the Barbarian I#244, Roy Thomas insisted that they were not bona fide vampires. In any event, bona fide vampires of the Hyborian Era besides Varnae appeared in Savage Sword of Conan#155 and #224.
    Yeah, I'm not sure what to do about this one....Conan#43 and 44 (and other accounts) describe Morophla and Uathacht as Stygian sorcerers who were cursed by Thoth-Amon into their existence. At the same time, they described themselves as millennia old. Stygia was one of the oldest nations in the Hyborian era, dating back to nearly 15000 BC, or 5000 years before the time of Conan. Given the fact that Roy Thomas was involved with all of the stories discussed above, you'd have to ask him. Since he did describe them as vampires at one point, and then not as vampires at another, my explanation would be this:

Profile by Per Degaton and Snood.

Clarifications:
The Afterlings have no KNOWN connections to:


Morophla and Uathacht

Master of Mages, Sorcerer of the Inner Circle

(Conan the Barbarian I#43, 44 (fb) - BTS) -
Morophla and his sister Uathacht claim to be "so old that the stars have nigh forgot our birth." Decades before encountering Conan they wandered into the land called Stygian. Morophla (and possibly Uathacht) may have become a member of the sect of Sorcerers known as the Black Ring (or the Serpent Ring).

At some point, Thoth-Amon, lord of the Black Ring, saw them as threats and drove them from Stygia. He placed a curse on them that would have turned them to bones and dust long since, but as a cruel jest, he altered them, changed them so that they could sustain their lives with the blood of others.

Morophla and Uathacht made a new home for themselves in the Tower of Blood, which they built within a valley of mists in a desert in Zamora. They amused themselves with the creations of various forms of life (such as the Afterlings), and even the cultivation of a human population, whom they kept as a food supply, although they did tend to use up their supply relatively frequently. They used magic to "create" more food sources, but these beings tended to degenerate rapidly into subhuman dregs, that required the mixture of real humans into their genetic mixture to retain any useful quality.

 

 

(Conan the Barbarian I#43) - Conan and Red Sonja wandered into their valley, where Morophla incapacitated them and brought them into the Tower. After introducing themselves to the two barbarians, Morophla was forced to use his mind-control powers to keep Conan from attacking them, on several occasions. Uathacht had certain plans to use Conan as a temporary...diversion, and even the jaded Morophla felt certain stirrings and thought of uses for Sonja. However, Morophla had the will to hold back their desires until their more long term needs could be met.

Uathacht, feeling a touch of cattiness to Sonja, pushed her into the pen of one of their carnivorous slaves, Dromek, but Conan managed to slay the beast.

 

(Conan the Barbarian I#44) - Morophla separated Conan and Sonja, and sent Conan to refertilize the female population of his subhuman dregs. The experience was a bizarre magical procedure, and Conan found that he much preferred the traditional manner, which real women. After recovering, Conan sought to ply Uathacht, offering to become her lover in full measure if she would free them. She went along initially, but decided she neither liked nor trusted Red Sonja, and attempted to kill her with a knife. Despite Uathacht's superhuman strength, Sonja managed to turn Uathacht's wrist back on her, and skewered her instead.

Conan and Sonja then attempted to flee the Tower, but were discovered by Morophla, who began to conjure monstrous fiends from their memories to battle them. As Conan struggled against the creations, Sonja set the room on fire, and soon Morophla was consumed by the flames. Conan and Sonja escaped, with the aid of the Afterlings.

Morophla and Uathacht's true nature is unclear (see comments). Nonetheless, they were millennia old, and could maintain their lives indefinitely by consuming human blood. They possessed enhanced human strength, and certain magical abilities as well, such as illusion casting, thought projection, etc. Morophla was the more powerful of the two, and could conjure solid illusions that could slay foes, and he could mesmerize and control others by eye contact alone.


Dromek

He was bred by Morophla to mate with the few remaining females of their human heard, but, alas, he developed certain eating habits which made him a less than desirable companion. They kept him around for his great strength, which could perform certain physical feats more efficiently than magic could.

Uathacht pushed Sonja into his pen, and she was knocked out from the fall. Conan jumped to the rescue, but found the beast's strength greater than his own. After trying and failing with a few human bones as clubs, Conan jammed a bone through the creature's soft palate, into its brain, killing it.

Dromek had enhanced human to Class 10 strength, and was highly durable. He wasn't too bright, but he knew what he liked: human flesh.

 

--Conan the Barbarian I#43

 

 

 

 


Dregs

 

They were what was left of the human "cattle" of Morophla and Uathacht after centuries of life and blood-draining, as well as in-breeding. The genetic stock could be revitalized through the periodic admixture of a few strong humans.

 

Conan's genetic stock was added to the dregs by Morophla.

 

--Conan the Barbarian I#44

 

 

 

 


Appearances:
Conan the Barbarian I#43-44 (October-November, 1974) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (#43) & Crusty Bunkers (#44) (inks)
Conan the Barbarian I#244-245 (May-June, 1991) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gary Hartle (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

Last updated:12/08/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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