THE DEVOURER OF SOULS

Real Name: Wrarrl, or Wraal

Identity/Class: Extradimensional demonic entity and magic-user, Pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian Eras

Occupation: Eater of souls, practitioner of the Black Arts, would-be destroyer of Conan and world conqueror.

Group Membership: Leader of a race of demonic brethren

Affiliations: The Dark Horse (steed), Meldark, king Granak of Corinthia, Cult of Wrarrl, the Council of Seven (in their debt for resurrecting him), Bakht the Dark Apostle (henchman), Xuthl the Demon Lord (sometime ally and enemy), the Shedu (demonic minions loaned to him by Xuthl), Prince Irham (common enemy of Conan), Felix (mage who summoned Xuthl), Sedrick the Cat of the Elder Gods (dupe returned to human form in exchange for power), Maxmelle the Footslave of the Elder Gods, Sephra (seduced by Acheron), Ispirana the Sword-stealer (lover/mother) That last one is pretty Freudian, eh?

Enemies: Conan the Barbarian (enemy), Lia,
Moira and Melicynth (Conan's shield maidens),
Thulsa Doom (former associate and enemy), king Granak (victim), The Shatterer of Worlds (killed him), Jahib-Re (enemy), Kaleb the Destroyer (enemy and priest of Namut), Solaise the Child of the Elder Gods (hunted by the Devourer), Kobe (emissary of Emperor Strabonus of Koth), the Elder Gods of the Hyborian Era (enemies), Kulan Gath (threatened Ispirana), Ormuz (fire demon, enemy), the Seven Apostles (victims), Dimitri (peasant of Bhoraji, victim/host);

Known Relatives: Demonic brethren native to his home dimension;
child fathered upon Ispirana by his Acheron incarnation
(which turned out to be him reborn so I guess Wrarrl is his own father)

Aliases: Wraal; Acheron (human guise); the Devourer, the Manslayer, Death (as the Devourer often referred to himself), the Dark Reaver (as the Elder Gods refer to him), He of the Dragon Helmet, Wraal of the Demon Helmet

Base of Operations: Mobile, formerly his homeworld, later the castle of King Granak in Corinthia, later the Castle of the Council of Seven near the borders of Koth and Shem, temporarily the Forest of Eternal Verities, temporarily a villa in Aquilonia, later one of the Pearl Islands, current whereabouts unknown. Pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian Eras

First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan#90 (July, 1983)

Powers: The Devourer of Souls was a massive demon that towered over even Conan at about 9-10' tall. It possessed enhanced strength in proportion to its size the full degree of which was not known, but can be estimated to be in the range of enhanced human to super human. The Devourer demonstrated a variety of sorcerous abilities throughout its career, but seemed to prefer using its superior height, strength and really frickin’ big sword to just overpower most opponents. In addition, the sword was powered by "an infernal, otherworldly force like no power you have ever known--that serves to ravage and benumb the body e'en as it paralyzes the very soul!"

The Devourer could transform and remake humans that had ingested souls into his own image so that they partook of his ability to gain strength by consuming souls (see Bakht the Dark Apostle). His severed arm floated in the air, choking the life out of an enemy, even after the warrior had hacked it off. This ability was later attributed in a letter column to the Devourer’s mastery of the Black Arts. The Devourer survived fatal wounds and seeming death on numerous occasions. There was some sort of enchantment or possible curse upon the Devourer’s blade which transformed whoever touched it after his death so that he was resurrected. He mentally summoned the cat Sedrick more than once. And to judge by his conversation with Thulsa Doom, who he used to scheme with during the Pre-Cataclysmic Era, the Devourer is nigh immortal.

 

 

 

But by far the single power the Devourer was most known for was his ability to not just consume souls, but the manner in which he did it. Seemingly at will the Devourer could turn an individual, living or dead, or even an entire group of people in his presence, into the slug-like worms that represented their souls. In order to bolster his strength he usually gorged on a few right there and then, like a good boy, put the rest in his hip pouch for later. It is uncertain whether the Devourer could do this to anyone whenever he wished or if there were certain conditions that had to be met. He easily transformed an "innocent child" like Solaise into a soul-worm and overall the Devourer took souls with relative impunity, yet it seemed either the more evil or the more cowardly you were the easier it was for the Devourer to take your soul. The more heroic a figure the harder it was to steal their soul, hence the Devourer’s trouble with Conan and other heroes like Jahib-Re who "have the spirit of a hawk - - fierce and unyielding. Such a soul is difficult to kill."

 

History: Wrarrl is a member of an extra-dimensional race of demonic creatures who exist by feeding on the souls of humans.

(Savage Sword of Conan#96 (fb) ) - Wrarrl and his brethren were well fed from the continuous and plentiful supply of human souls, which they obtained via unknown means.

(BTS) - In the time before the Great Cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis, the Devourer of Souls and perhaps other members of his race conspired unknown deviltry with the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom.

(Savage Sword of Conan#96 (fb) ) - The supply of humans began to rapidly dwindle, such that Wrarrl's race teetered precariously on the very brink of extinction.

(Savage Sword of Conan#90 (fb) ) - In the Hyborian Era on Earth, the sorcerer Meldark used the Jewel of Bhanjapur to open a portal to Wrarrl's world. The portal was open only momentarily and closed immediately after Wrarrl passed through. Wrarrl and Meldark began to make plans for the next time time the portal could be opened--in one decade. At this time, the Great Migration would occur, as legions of Wrarrl's brethren would cross over into Earth, where they would feast on mankind.

(Savage Sword of Conan#90) - Ten years later, Wrarrl assisted the forces of King Granak in holding of the assault of King Savarro's soldiers and mercenaries, which included the barbarian Conan. Wrarrl's only reason for doing so was to give Meldark time to complete the preparations for the Great Migration. Wrarrl nearly killed Savarro himself, but he was saved by Conan.
Granak was kept at an arm's length, unaware of what Meldark was doing, which eventually angered him sufficiently so that he ordered the deaths of Meldark and Wrarrl. The Devourer slew the soldiers sent after them, and then found and slew Granak himself. Meanwhile, Conan had discovered and stolen the Jewel of Bhanjapur, thinking it merely an object of financial value. The Jewel was taken by Savarro's soldiers, but Meldark discovered this and sent Wrarrl to recover the Jewel, which he did, slaying Savarro in the process.
Eventually, as the time of the Great Migration approached, Wrarrl and Meldark were forced to lead an assault against the remaining forces of Savarro's troops, to prevent them from storming the castle and interfering with their plans. In the course of the battle, Meldark was wounded and hurled into the midst of the battlefield. He pleaded to Wrarrl for assistance, who merely took the Jewel for himself and left Meldark to die, figuring he could open the portal to his world by himself. Conan confronted Wrarrl, but found himself overpowered by the giant's strength and the energies of his sword. Conan's shield-maidens attempted to give him respite, but quickly fell before the Devourer's blade. Wrarrl raised his sword to decapitate Conan, but Meldark used his dying energies to avenge himself for Wrarrl's betrayal. Meldark caused the souls stored in Wrarrl's belt-sack to grow to immense size and feed on him, just like he had previously fed on him. Wrarrl apparently perished in a burst of light...or so it would seem.
Conan shattered the Jewel to prevent Wrarrl's brethren from ever coming to Earth.

(Savage Sword of Conan#96 (fb) ) - Wrarrl did not perish, but instead willed himself to another dimension, where he remained until the threat had passed.

(Savage Sword of Conan#96) - A few days later, Wrarrl returned to the now empty battlefield at Quarha'at Lok, where he replenished his diminished energies by feeding on the soul of a scavenger who entered the field, and then a band of thieves he encountered, and then the owner of a small boat (Hey, he was hungry!). Wrarrl then followed a parchment he had obtained from Meldark, which led him to the Jewel of Ganjammide, the twin to the Jewel of Bhanjapur. Using the Jewel and the necessary spells, Wrarrl opened a portal to his realm, which he was able to maintain long enough to allow a small band of Devourers to come to Earth. Wrarrl told them that they would conquer the world, but first he must have his vengeance on Conan. He led them to a tavern where they gorged themselves on the souls of those present.
Wrarrl and his brethran track Conan down, just a short time after his victory over the Ape-Bat, which was haunting the castle where he is staying with Lia, a recently widowed woman. Conan challenges Wrarrl to personal combat, but first has Lia work a few spells over him to prepare him for the battle. The Devourer and Conan engage in personal combat which begins to go badly for Conan until the demon attempts to take his soul only to discover Conan has no soul! This is due to Lia using a spell found in a powerful sorcerous tome used by her husband’s murderer. Caught off guard by this the Devourer is unprepared when Conan suddenly renews the attack. Conan surprises the Devourer, impaling him on his sword. Wrarrl crumples to the floor and dies.
Wrarrl's brethren prepare to avenge them, but Lia uses the same book of spells to summon an army of undead sailors, slain during a shipwreck years ago. They obviously have no souls for the Devourers to consume, and they are able to overpower and destroy the Devourers. Lia completes her previous spell, returning Conan's soul to him, but then is forced to join the sailors at the bottom of the ocean. It is lonely on the sea floor. Only if she willingly went with them would the sea-zombies help Conan.

(Savage Sword of Conan#108-109) - A cult of beings appearing to be Earth-born brethren of Wrarrl's people use the Jewel of Ganjammide and the blood of a harlot to resurrect Wrarrl. Becoming over-anxious, the cultists spill the blood and are forced to obtain the blood of a bride who passed her entire wedding night without being touched by her groom. They find such a woman (spending her wedding night with Conan instead) and successfully resurrect Wrarrl.
However, they are unaware of the consequences of the exact spell they utilize, and they unwittingly summon the Shatterer of Worlds to Earth in the process. Wrarrl recognizes that the presence of the Shatterer would destroy not only Earth, but his own Netherworld, existing in a realm parallel to Earth. Wrarrl punishes the Cult for their ignorance by consuming their souls in order to grant him the power for his next task. Using the energies of the Jewel to approach the Shatterer, the Devourer sacrifices his life in the process of destroying it.

(Conan the Barbarian#187) - The sorcerous Council of the Seven use their arcane power to resurrect the Devourer from death after his battle with the Ravager of Worlds. Bound only by his obscure sense of honor rather than any sorcerous compulsion the Devourer agrees to serve them until he has repaid his debt for their returning him to life.

(Conan the Barbarian#189) - On the orders of the Council of the Seven, the Devourer travels about El Shah Maddoc slaying the six known members of the Seven Apostles and searching for the unnamed seventh Apostle. Originally a core group of the Council’s evil sect sent to infiltrate the political structure of El Shah Maddoc, the Seven Apostles were in league with a band of assassins to kill Jahli, a twelve year old boy and illegitimate heir to the throne under Conan’s protection. Enraged by Jahli’s death, Conan and his allies set out to discover which of the six was responsible for the murder, but in each instance the Devourer gets there first. Alcazar is hung outside a widow by the Devourer. Belzandra’s soul is devoured after she passes out from drinking. Akbar and Oleq likely share the same fate after they elude Kaleb the Destroyer only to be betrayed to the Devourer by their molested students. Crispus is drowned in a horse’s water trough. Ahmal Numax manages to buy his life from Conan by telling him it was the seventh apostle, the unnamed priest of Namut, who killed Jahli. This is a lie. Ahmal Numax was responsible and he gloats over Conan’s stupidity until the Devourer appears and transforms him into a worm suitable for eating.

(Conan the Barbarian#190) - The Devourer, after deciding his period of service to the Council of Seven has come to an end, intercepts an armored messenger from the Emperor of Koth on his way to the city-state of El Shah Maddoc. The messenger, unfazed by the Devourer’s winged steed and demonic appearance, attempts to fight his way through only to be beaten into submission. The Devourer reads the contents of the message and states it is his wish the emissary (who is later known as Conan’s ally Kobe) continue on his mission and deliver his message to Conan. The Devourer appears at the castle of the Council and advises them to use their sorcerous power to move the castle and avoid the coming confrontation with Conan who seeks revenge for Jahli’s death. Considering them fools, smug in the security of their own power, the Devourer leaves them to their fate and proceeds with his own plans.

(Conan the Barbarian#191 - BTS) - While Conan and his allies conduct their assault on the Council of Seven’s fortress Prince Irham of Syreb invades the neighboring and leaderless city of El Shah Maddoc, putting an end to the rioting and looting following King Maddoc II’s death at the hands of Conan and the assassination of Maddoc’s heir by the Seven Apostles. In addition Prince Irham has his warlord Jahib-Re dispatch men to kidnap Kaleb the Destroyer’s daughter Solaise from their camp in order to ensure Conan and his allies do not attempt to overthrow his control of the city. The party that was bringing Solaise back to El Shah Maddoc is mysteriously massacred, their bodies found burnt alive.

(Conan the Barbarian#191) - Operating through his human pawn Prince Irham of Syreb, and Irham through Jahib-Re, a search is instituted for Solaise on the Devourer’s orders. She is found by Jahib-Re who brings her to the castle. He reports to Prince Irham who orders the child be slain. In order for his plot to keep Conan in Koth (and lead him to his eventual destruction) to succeed the Devourer decrees Solaise must die. He corners Solaise in one of the castle’s inner chambers. There he transforms her into one of his worms and devours her. "A child’s soul is so pure ...so untinged with the complexities of sin. The taste is bland." Apparently so bland it makes his head explode. The Devourer’s helmet reforms almost immediately and discharges his intended meal whereupon Solaise inexplicably reverts back from soul-worm to human form and escapes. The Devourer arises not yet dead.

Jahib-Re, attempting to redeem himself, dons his armor (and his honor) once more and battles his way from the throne room to the chamber where Solaise is being kept only to find her gone and the Devourer in her place. Jahib-Re attacks the demon and, perhaps due to his recent resurrection and regeneration of his head the Devourer is momentarily weakened, staggered by the human’s blows. Something in Jahib-Re’s eyes reminds him of Conan and this angers the Devourer who swats the mortal away and then slams him into a wall. Unable to take the human warrior’s soul the Devourer crushes Jahib-Re’s windpipe (even after the warrior hacks off the arm doing it) so that he will no longer annoy him in the world of the living. The Devourer learns Conan has entered into the service of his lackey Prince Irham and is pleased his plan to crush Conan and conquer the Hyborian world is proceeding apace. Reattaching his arm he sets off.

(Conan the Barbarian#193) - In his quest to destroy Conan, crush his spirit, and consume the barbarian’s soul, the Devourer has his lackey Prince Irham command his wizard to summon the demon lord Xuthl (something the Devourer cannot do himself apparently). Upon his arrival Xuthl sucked the squealing sorcerer that summoned him into his flaming embrace, and then playfully spat out his burnt bones. The Devourer, unimpressed by Xuthl’s antics, requested a host of Xuthl’s Shedu in return for a favor to be repaid later. After the Devourer concealed the glowing orb containing the Shedu in his cloak he then departed on his mission to destroy Conan.

(BTS?) - The Devourer brings Sedrick the Cat to Bhoraji as part of an experiment to see what he can learn of the nature of Solaise’s power when she and the cat are brought together.

(Conan the Barbarian#193) - Arriving at Bhoraji, and just prior to attacking Kaleb the Destroyer in an attempt to seize the vast eldritch power of his daughter Solaise, the Devourer loosed the Shedu from their containment in the orb. The creatures streaked off into the sky to locate their quarry, Conan. The Shedu kill at least one helpless possessed villager, several of Conan’s men, toy with the barbarian by making Anneka threaten to slit her wrists, and then assume the form of a herd of wild boar and later animating an entire hillock with their essence to battle Conan.

Meanwhile, the Devourer tracks Kaleb and his mysterious daughter to the temple of Mitra they are hiding in and likely does nasty things to the Mitraic priest he finds fleeing Kaleb via a secret passageway. Leaving his daughter in the basement to check on things upstairs Kaleb discovers the Devourer in the temple and a pitched battle begins. The Devourer taunts Kaleb with his knowledge of the "force within her (Solaise) not unlike that once wielded by the Elder Gods themselves" and Kaleb’s "unholy charade" which has fooled even Conan. "It is flawless in its iniquitous autism." Kaleb snaps, tearing away his robes as a priest of Namut, and reveals the garb of Kaleb the Destroyer beneath.

(Conan the Barbarian#194) - After a fierce battle, Kaleb the Destroyer becomes the only "mortal" to defeat the Devourer in physical combat. Impaling him on the outstretched arm of an idol of Mitra, Kaleb leaves the Devourer for dead. Meanwhile Conan finally defeats the Shedu with the help of the Footslave of the Elder Gods, using the Footslave’s totem. Solaise acquires her pet cat Sedrick whom she constantly talks to and who helps her access her dread powers.

(Conan the Barbarian#195) - The Devourer’s corpse hangs from the arm of the holy statue (perhaps why he does not recover on his own) while the townspeople of Bhoraji loot the wrecked temple. A man named Dimitri sees the Devourer’s sword and against his friend’s warnings seizes it, thinking only that such an ornate, well crafted weapon (gold hilt worked in a serpent entwined skulls pattern) will bring a good price. Lightning suddenly crashes down from the heavens and the villages flee as a terrible transformation begins. Dimitri was struck dead instantly, but in his place the Devourer lives again.

Conan battles Bahkt, an old ally turned enemy deranged by indulging in the drug-like and potentially deadly Black Lotus, in an attempt to save his friend Kobe’s life. Emperor Strabonus of Koth hires Red Sonja to kill Conan for defying royal decree by supporting Prince Irham instead of killing him and taking the throne of El Shah Maddoc. Meanwhile Solaise experiments with her strange and potentially devastating powers, causing a freak sunburst in the middle of the night, allowing Bahkt to escape and Conan’s second in command Shapur to rescue Kobe.

(Conan the Barbarian#196) - While Conan deals with bureaucratic difficulties such as getting General Freja to submit to his authority under Prince Irham, Bahkt rages in his treehouse headquarters and plots revenge. Responding to some unknown cue that things are amiss outside (my guess would be the gut-wrenching shrieks of his pals dying) Bahkt races outside knife in hand to find himself face to face with the devourer. He’s come to make Bahkt an offer he shall not refuse. Bahkt harbors a deep hatred and loathing of Conan in his soul and the Devourer wishes to use this. The Devourer shows the "souls" of Bahkt’s men to the disbelieving mercenary. The Devourer performs a little demonstration. Bahkt’s men lie dead about the Devourer’s winged steed. They thought to capture the wondrous animal and make their fortunes and instead found death. The Devourer transforms one of the recently slain into his soul-worm state and bids Bahkt to eat it and "receive the power!" Once Bahkt ingests his former comrade’s soul he belongs to the Devourer. The Devourer lays his hands upon Bahkt and begins to transform him, multiplying his strength tenfold, and warping his visage which at this phase of things looks all crusty and decomposed and skull-like.

Conan meanwhile runs into Red Sonja who has no intention of killing Conan, simply wanting him to fight her in order to win back the Staff of the Elder Gods she had her men steal from his tent. Conan is about to ride off, telling her he cares not if she keeps the thing. Red Sonja has her men return the totem to Conan’s tent while she tries to entice him to leave behind Prince Irham and all this city-conquering madness. Conan is just about to abandon his post with Prince Irham when he and Sonja run into Kiev fleeing the destruction caused by a dying dinosaur the idiotic General Freja has angered against Conan’s orders.

(Conan the Barbarian#197) - As the dinosaur rages, the newly remade Bahkt the Dark Apostle makes his debut by killing most all of the men in Conan’s camp as well as Red Sonja’s mercenaries who were there returning the Staff of the Elder Gods. Kaleb, Anneka, and Kobe happen upon the scene of the slaughter. Looking for Conan in his tent Anneka is taken unawares by Bahkt who tries to garotte her. Anneka gets her hand under the cord just in time and skillfully flips Bahkt over her shoulder. Bahkt promises her that her death will now be very painful until given pause by the unexpected appearance of the giant Kaleb. Bahkt sends Kaleb flying with one blow and turns once more to Anneka then finds himself attacked AGAIN! This time by Kobe who dishes out some Kung-fu-ey whoop ass on Bahkt. Kobe is getting back at Bahkt for kidnaping him pretty well for a panel or two until the Dark Apostle tosses some soul-worms in his face. Then Bahkt gets the upper hand and thrashes him until Anneka, plucky as ever, grabs up the Staff and smacks Bahkt upside the head with it. Bahkt goes to grab it from her and the Staff burns his hands. Fleeing the regrouped heroes he warns them to tell their master to "beware the Dark Apostle."

In Syreb, Prince Irham chafes under the devourer’s control and generally just bitches about his problems. He’s been pressured into rebelling against Emperor Strabonus, made to play various useless games and spend money in wasted areas, suffer the indignity of having "that barbarous northerner" command his armed forces, and now Hyrkanians hired by Strabonus are overrunning his ancestral homelands. The devourer basically tells him to be patient. All is going as planned. He won’t do anything unless the Devourer instructs him otherwise.

Later, as Anneka, Kobe, and Kaleb with his daughter Solaise and her cat Sedrick go to rendezvous with Conan, they encounter a fleeing Kiev who informs them of the dinosaur’s rampage. Sedrick begins hissing and leaps from Solaise’s lap, running off. Solaise jumps down from her father’s horse and follows. This leads straight to the Devourer holding Sedrick in his arms. Kaleb finds his daughter and brings her back to the others, apologizing that they have no time to look for her cat.

Bahkt kidnaps Red Sonja amidst the confusion of the fearful and angry peasants heading to the cave where the dinosaur has gone to die without either Shapur or Mad Simeon noticing. When told she will help he destroy Conan she says what she’ll do is help Bahkt to his grave. Bahkt promptly smacks her around and reiterates yet again his goal of breaking Conan’s will crushing his spirit, and stealing his soul.

Solaise waits hidden in a tree where her father left her to be safe while he and the others went to stand with Conan against General Freja. Suddenly Sedrick pops out of the woods and springs into her arms. A familiar shadow falls across Solaise. The Devourer presents himself to Solaise as her humble servant and worshiper. Meanwhile Bahkt rides off with the unconscious Red Sonja slung over his saddle horn, cackling like all good villains do.

(Conan the Barbarian#198) - Conan finds Red Sonja unconscious, badly beaten, and sexually assaulted in the Kothian wilderness southwest of Syreb. Barely alive, Anneka tells Conan his demands for answers must wait and that Sonja needs to be gotten back to camp. Conan tells the others to do just that. He will meet them there.

Bahkt, his addictive personality having moved from Black Lotus to even more powerful stuff (I bet he started out just smoking weed!) demands more souls from his new master. Wrarrl tells him to guard his temper when he deigns to address the Devourer of Souls. The Devourer is pleased with Bahkt’s work. The abused and violated Red Sonja, whom Conan is very close to, has been left where Conan’s agents will find her. Now a great rage burns in Conan’s breast. "His heart hardens. His compassion wanes. His nobility cracks and splinters as rotted timber" Soon he will come after Bahkt, just as planned, and then they will lead him to the river and set about the business of stealing Conan’s soul.

(Conan the Barbarian#198 - BTS) - Back at camp Sonja tells Anneka it was Bahkt who violated and nearly killed her before falling into a deep slumber.

(Conan the Barbarian#198) - Despite warnings from Anneka, Kobe, and Kaleb that Bahkt now has demonic power and the strength of ten men Conan tells his comrades he goes out alone. "I’m going to gut that pig." Conan follows Bahkt’s trail for hours. The trail was easy to follow. (Yup! You guessed it!) TOO EASY! Bahkt leaps down from the trees at Conan and the battle begins. Conan hacks off Bahkt’s hand, but (in what is becoming a trademark move for Bahkt) is blinded for a moment by flung soul-worms. Conan pursues Bahkt who leaps away Hulk-style. Conan’s primitive sense alert him to something strange near the water ahead and he finds himself confronted by both ghostly images of he and Sonja from days ago, plotting to leave Koth, and a disembodied voice that confronts Conan with some unpleasant truths. It accuses Conan of caring not about avenging the attack upon Sonja but about vengeance for Bahkt destroying the easy way out from Koth and his current predicaments she represented. Conan says those are lies and demands to see the face of his accuser. He is told "you are within the spell of the Forest of the Eternal Verities! Within this forest you will find only truth. And at the river you will find the ultimate truth..."

Conan makes his way to the river and finds that it is red with blood. Rising from the crimson depths of the river’s waters is a ghostly image of the Devourer. Conan had believed the fiend dead, but realizes that if he has been resurrected that would explain much of the strange goings on over the past few months. And in the demon’s arms is Solaise with her cat. As Conan ponders what it is the river is trying to tell him Bahkt attacks once more, and Conan puts an end to it.

Just before Conan returns to camp Solaise once more unleashes her deadly powers, slaying the men who have taken her father, her cat, and Conan’s friends as hostages (they really shouldn’t have tried to kill her cat!). Conan sees the living fire rising into the air. When he arrives at camp Freja and all his men are dead. Conan goes into Sonja’s tent, and asks Anneka to leave so he may speak with her alone. Conan admits his shame, and the unpleasant truths he has learned, but he also tells Red Sonja he has learned the true value of their alliance. He cares for Sonja very much and is pleased to have slain the man who has so violated her. He then presents her with Bahkt’s decapitated head (in what is just about the most romantic scene I have ever seen in a Conan mag *sniff!*)

Leaving the tent Conan finds his comrades wondering over the "white death" that killed Freja and his men. Conan tells them it is not so unexplainable as they think and grabs Solaise, asking her what she knows of the Devourer of Souls. Right about then is when Kaleb decks him.

(Conan the Barbarian#199) - Somewhere in space yet another world is destroyed by a strange phenomenon that has devastated numberless worlds, even entire universes! A power beyond imagining is ripping the universe asunder, and so great is its force that it awakens the Elder Gods! The Elder Gods realize a great mischance has occurred. Somehow the essence of all they are, the Child of the Elder Gods contained in Solaise, has been united with the power they had stored in the cat Sedrick, and now all creation trembles. If she is not stopped it will mean the end of all there is! But too long in their death-sleep the elder Gods are unable to intervene and require a champion.

The Devourer of Souls watches with amusement from the edge of the woods as Conan and his one time ally Kaleb the Destroyer wage a pitched battle. He determines it would be to his advantage to bring them to the river. Thus the devourer summons the feline and Solaise runs after her pet. Conan sees Solaise escaping into a portal in the air and breaks free from Kaleb, plunging into the portal after her. Kaleb shortly follows. Conan recognizes the Forest of Eternal Verities which they have landed in. "A devil’s place. Only truth lives here..." And sure enough, before you can say "Wrarrl" they are plagued with visions, first of the boy Sedrick facing justice at the hands of Brule the Spear Slayer only to be spared by King Kull, and later the truth about Kaleb and Solaise and the Child of the Elder Gods.

(Conan the Barbarian#199 (fb) ) - Over a century ago, driven out by his priestly brotherhood for siring the girl-child Solaise, Kaleb hungered for revenge. He stole the mystic artifact his priesthood was sworn to protect, the Eye of Namut. His treachery having erased any trace of the altruism he once espoused Kaleb became one with the Council of Seven and received their mark, becoming one of the Seven Apostles. Using the power of the Eye of Namut, the Council pierced the mystic veil and capture the Child of the Elder Gods. The power of the sleeping child fueled the Council’s conquests. They rewarded Kaleb with an ever full sack of gold. Kaleb became the richest man in the world. He and Solaise lived in splendor, but Kaleb could not live with the guilt of what he had done. Storming his masters’ lair Kaleb smashed the Eye of Namut and awakened the Child of the Elder Gods. The Elder Gods personally intervened and imprisoned their child within the mortal frame of Kaleb’s own child. Solaise would not age and would contain the tiniest fraction of the power that was her birthright. In repentance for his sins the Elder Gods charged Kaleb as the sacred guardian of the child, to walk the earth untouched by old age and destroy all those who would seek to harm the child, as Kaleb the Destroyer.

(Conan the Barbarian#199) - After the terrible truth is revealed the Devourer appears to them with Solaise and Sedrick the Cat in his arms. This time it is no vision. The Devourer reveals something of his plans and how he concealed his presence from Conan for so long in order to piece together the truth about the sacred child. He has somehow seduced Solaise into helping him and soon the power of the Elder Gods will be his. When Conan moves in to fight the Devourer for Solaise Kaleb strikes him down with a blow from behind. Kaleb apologizes as he beats Conan down. He says he will face the Devourer. He killed the demon once and can do it again because it is his lot in life to protect and hide the child, to destroy her enemies. In this mission he has no room for friends. When Kaleb goes to deliver the killing blow he suddenly finds the Elder Gods’ enchantment gone and himself transformed into an old man.

The Devourer proffers a knife for Kaleb to finish off Conan. The Devourer tells Kaleb they are in the Forest of Eternal Verities, and only truth can exist here. If he is to fulfill his destiny and protect the child, saving it from the fate the Devourer has in store, he must regain his youth and power. Therefor he must kill Conan as a man and not the being empowered by the Elder Gods that he has become. Without his strength Kaleb has no hope of defeating the Devourer, and only Kaleb can destroy him as they learned in Bhoraji. Kaleb stands indecisive.

The Elder Gods figure they better do something to stop the Devourer, but since they are incapable of directly intervening they must empower their champion. They fashion for him a means to withstand the enemy’s onslaught by reshaping the Staff of the Elder Gods into a totem he can comprehend. Thus a purple lightning bolt promptly blasts Mad Simeon and the staff he was carrying off of his horse. The Staff has become the Sword of the Elder Gods. Shapur, Simeon, Anneka and the gang happen upon the aged Kaleb who tells them he has grievously failed them all and that he thinks they are all about to die. The forest erupts in flames and rising from the conflagration is the embodiment of all evil. Wrarrl, mounted on his winged steed, Solaise and Sedrick in the crook of his arm, flies off into the night sky, flaming sword held aloft. "The Devourer has the child. Now, he has the truth. Soon, he shall have the power!"

(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12) - Riding upon his flying steed the Devourer carries Solaise and Sedrick the Cat into Arallu, Land of the Evil Dead, for the purpose of consulting with someone imprisoned there. It takes little time for the Devourer to find who he is searching for, Thulsa Doom. The Devourer knows the cat is well over ten thousand years old and doesn’t believe such an animal could have existed in Doom’s age without him being aware of it. Thulsa Doom chuckles and relates to him the origins of the cat.

(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12 (fb) ) - After inadvertently saving the life of Maxmelle, a knight of Valusia, the boy Sedrick is taken to the City of Wonders as his new squire. Sedrick settled into his new life, but was a lonely outcast amongst the other squires and thus easy prey for Thulsa Doom. Drawn into the evil mage’s schemes, and plotting with him for months, Sedrick is given the command to begin their plan. Drawing off the guards with a lie Sedrick presents himself to King Kull. Using his shepherd’s staff, enchanted by Doom, to summon beast men into the throneroom Sedrick betrays Valusia and Maxmelle who had trusted him. Attempting to escape Sedrick runs into Maxmelle and sobs out the whole story. Maxmelle rushes off to defend his king and dies in the battle. Brule goes to kill Sedrick for his treachery and Kull stays the Pict’s hand, knowing Thulsa Doom’s punishment for failure will be worse. Doom appears and transforms the boy that betrayed him as well as Kull into an orange cat. Immortal, it will live until the end of the world.

( (fb) - BTS) - The Elder Gods, originally intending to make Kull the vessel of their power, realize he is mortal and therefor not only fallible, but doomed to one day die. They decide the immortal cat Sedrick has become is a much safer vessel in which to store their eldritch might.

(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12) - Thulsa Doom explains to the Devourer that the cat contains the power but lacks the will to use it. Solaise has the will, but only a fraction of the power. When the two are placed together... the end of all creation! In gratitude for his help the Devourer shatters Doom’s chains, granting him the freedom to wander Arallu at will. He then turns his steed and sets out once more to complete his plans which include the total devastation of this worldly plane (I assume he means the Hyborian earth and not Arallu) The Devourer finds the Footslave of the Elder Gods wandering an ancient cavern deep beneath the earth under an inland sea. Wrarrl lures the Footslave to him by calling out his human name, Maxmelle, which no one has used in ten thousand years.

(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12) - Conan, while searching for the Footslave of the Elder Gods, braves a portal to the underworld of Arallu, Land of the Evil Dead. Instead of finding the Footslave, who has already been collected by the Devourer, Conan stumbles across Thulsa Doom. Just as Conan discovers Doom, elsewhere on another plane of existence, an unholy ritual involving Solaise, her cat Sedrick, and the Footslave, is about to begin under the Devourer’s direction. A wave of the "white death" sweeps across the area on earth where Conan’s comrades await his return. This coincides with Sedrick being returned to human form. The Devourer says Sedrick can remain human on one condition. He must give the Devourer his power. Convincing Conan he can help in place of the Footslave, the barbarian fights a horde of skeletal warriors to free Thulsa Doom from Arallu. Conan’s allies discover the cave containing the portal to Arallu and rush forward to help him destroy the undead which have followed Conan and Doom back into the world of the living. Wrarrl completes his ritual and absorbs the power of the Elder Gods into his frame. He releases a huge fireball, propelling it through the dimensional barriers towards his intended victims a world away. Thulsa Doom’s magic protects Conan and his allies from a death dealing fireball, unleashed upon them by the Devourer after he attained the power of the Elder Gods.

Red Sonja, having recovered her power, competence, and self-confidence, after slaying the bandits who killed Mad Simeon, arrives with the Sword of the Elder Gods. Conan is happy to see her back to her old self, but the joy is short lived. Exiting the cavern they discover a giant sized Devourer, thousands of feet tall, looming over them. He has the power to destroy all creation. He is going to use it.

(Conan the Barbarian#200) - Conan and his companions stand in the face of impending Armageddon at the hands on the Devourer. Wrarrl, finally giving in to his hatred of Conan and his fury, unleashes a blast of eldritch energy so powerful it creates a mushroom cloud. The Devourer sulks over his hollow victory, dealing death from afar when what he wanted was to steal Conan’s soul. The looking closer he sees Conan and his allies are not dead, but instead protected by some sort of mystic shield! He realizes Conan’s sword glows with eldritch power like that of the Elder Gods and realizes that even dead they conspire against him. In a fit of rage the Devourer childishly flings a portion of his destructive power southward. The fireball lands on a hillside near a hundred leagues away, not far from El Shah Maddoc. The resultant shockwave erupts into a surging mass of rock and soil which rushes towards the city and smashes it. No trace of the city remains. Neighboring Syreb is engulfed in a city-wide inferno and to the north another small kingdom is destroyed beneath the massive tidal waves tossed up by a usually quiet sea. Wrarrl is furious. He has the power to destroy kingdoms in the blink of an eye, but Conan still lives. Conan calls Wrarrl a coward and demands he stand and fight, but the Devourer teleports away. He will fight Conan in his own time and on his own terms.

(Conan the Barbarian#200) - Summoned by the undead sorcerer Thulsa Doom, Xuthl appears once more upon earth. After exchanging pleasantries Thulsa Doom tells Xuthl of his plan to destroy the Devourer of Souls. Xuthl agrees because it amuses him to do so. High atop the Kenzankian Mountains the Devourer bellows his pain. He is being driven insane by the agony of the power of the Elder Gods inside him. For once, the Devourer has grossly miscalculated. Solaise felt no pain because she was an innocent child, her virtue intact. The Devourer has no such purity and therefor is in mind-numbing agony. Xuthl soon appears to the now god-like Devourer and demands repayment of the debt owed him for the loan of his Shedu. The Devourer asks the demon lord what if he refused and slew him only to have Xuthl reply with amusement that the Devourer’s own obstinate sense of honor won’t let him do so. The Devourer curses Xuthl for annoying him with such trivialities when he is so close to triumph.

In order to repay his debt to Xuthl the Devourer is commanded to find the most beautiful and unspoilt maiden in the western kingdoms and sacrifice her unto Xuthl. The catch is first the Devourer must win the girl to himself by love. The Devourer reaches out with his newfound cosmic senses and finds the most perfect and unblemished maiden in the land and teleports to Aquilonia to begin his seduction of her. The Devourer creates a mortal vessel for himself called Acheron and form the outside viewpoint realizes how truly horrible looking and foul smelling he is to human senses. Acheron hides the Devourer’s body in a sepulcher beneath the manor he has taken possession of. Meeting Count Trocero, Baron of the province of Pointain, Acheron is presented to Trocero’s daughter Sephra. Over the next few weeks Acheron begins his seduction of Sephra as Conan and his comrades, informed as to his location by Xuthl, ride hard to catch him in Aquilonia. This seduction proceeds apace with the girl falling in love with the Devourer’s human guise. However, the Devourer soon discovers himself falling in love with the girl as well. Sephra’s father refuses to allow her to see Acheron any longer. Sephra thinks Acheron is wonderful, but to Count Trocero the minor nobleman is "too wonderful" and doesn’t trust him. Serphra sneaks out of her father’s castle and meets with Acheron, who was just debating abandoning his life as the Devourer altogether. Just as they reveal their feelings to one another Xuthl blasts the girl into a blackened skeleton and charred meat, driving the Devourer insane.

Acheron takes an axe from the wall and proceeds down into the crypt, fully intending to slay his demonic half and sever his ties with his dark past forever. Conan and his allies have arrived at the manner outside and battle their way through an army of skeletal warriors. They make their way to the catacombs beneath the manor and Conan leaves his companions to hold off the skeletons as he invades the inner chamber and there discovers wilde-eyed Acheron standing over the Devourer’s body with an axe, mistaken him for one last grim defender of the Devourer. Acheron realizes that this is all part of some plan to destroy him and that Xuthl tricked him. "Here’s another trick for you, dog!" Conan smashes the haft of Acheron’s axe with the Sword of the Edler Gods. Snatching up Acheron, Conan forces him to look at the Devourer, wanting him "to know the evil you serve!" Just as Conan is about to deliver the deathblow a monstrous hand seizes Conan’s sword arm and flings him to the ground.

The chink in his armor thus created by his tasting of love and "the sweet nectar of human virtue" which they have all taken away from him, the mentally unbalanced Devourer and Conan square off in a titanic battle that carries them across worlds. The Devourer wielding his blade and the power of the Elder Gods and Conan using the Sword of the Elder Gods. Each time the swords cross there is an explosion of the "white death" and both Conan and the Devourer are carried to another world to continue their battle. The final crossing of the swords carries the two back into the collapsing crypt beneath Acheron’s manor. Both of the combatants are buried beneath the tumbling stones and soil. Conan’s comrades mourn, believing nothing could survive such destruction. They see movement in the rubble and at first believe Conan has survived only to be confronted by the hideous visage of the unmasked Devourer. Just as he prepares to slay the gathered heroes, the rubble stirs again and Conan arises to do battle once more! In a berserker rage Conan leaps forward. The Devourer is aghast at the iron will of Conan, who will just not die. Wrarrl hesitates for a moment and that is all the time Conan needs. At last, Conan finally slays the dread demon with the magical sword in a thunderous explosion of power. The Sword of the elder Gods’ task complete crumbles into the dust from which all things began.

 

Sometime later, The Devourer’s human incarnation, Acheron, awakens on a beach on one of the Islands of Pearl. Much to his surprise, he is both alive and human. Xuthl appears to Acheron and explains that what destroyed the Devourer also saved him. The humanity the Devourer learned in his walk amongst the mortals was his crippling flaw in the battle with Conan. Using that flaw to destroy him was Xuthl’s plan all along. The Devourer’s demonic shell was destroyed by the magic blade in Conan’s hands thus the only part of the Devourer left for Xuthl to save was his human side! He took the liberty of restoring Acheron to his original form as a matter of professional courtesy. Acheron says he should hate Xuthl for killing Sephra. Xuthl responds that the Devourer killed her when he made his bargain. Xuthl flows into a nearby bottle half buried in the sand and which Acheron promptly corks. Acheron wanders away, bottle in hand, telling the demon lord he intends to find a warm place in the sun.

(Conan the Barbarian#270) - Conan and his crew briefly dock at this island, where they encounter Acheron (Conan does not recognize him). Acheron is instantly enchanted with Conan's ally Isparana, and the feeling is quite mutual.
Later that night, some of Conan's crew figure that Acheron's bottle contains something of value, and so they ambush him and take it. One of the men believes it to hold a type of wine, and so he drinks it down. The man bursts into flames, at which point Conan arrives and tries to put him out of his misery. As Conan skewers the man with his sword, Xuthl is released once more. The demon proceeds to incinerate several of the crewmen, but Acheron raises the bottle into the air, and Xuthl is pulled back into it for some reason. The bottle is corked anew, and under Conan's instruction, it is put in a sack, weighed down with rocks, and dropped into the ocean after they have set sail again. Acheron joined Conan and his crew, although the spirit of the Devourer rumbled just beneath his conscious mind.
(Conan the Barbarian#271) - Back on land in Koth, Conan and crew wandered to Dagoth Hill, in the Dark Valley. Acheron and Isparana continued to grow closer, and one night they consumated their love. However, that same night, Acheron was awakened from his sleep and drawn into the catacombs, where he finds the empty armor of the Devourer. Isparana awakened and followed Acheron, while Conan heard their voices and investigated. Conan threatened Acheron to keep away from the armor, which caused Isparana to draw her sword to defend him. As Conan and Isparana struggled, Acheron fell the rest of the way under the sway of the call of the Devourer, and he donned the helmet. After putting on the entire suit of armor, Acheron was transformed both physically and mentally back into the Devourer. The Devourer burst forth from the catacombs, slaughtering any of Conan's crew he encounters. He callously swats Isparana aside and proclaims himself the new lord of Dark Valley.
(Conan the Barbarian#272) - The Devourer entrapped Isparana and the rest of Conan's crew in the Valley, so that he could feast on their souls whenever he felt a little pang of hunger. Isparana desperately attacked the Devourer, accusing him of killing her lover, but the Devourer explained the truth to her. Conan, meanwhile had been trapped in the collapsing catacombs when the Devourer broke free, and had been stuck battling some tentacled demon-thingees. Eventually he, too, escaped and confronted the Devourer. Isparana joined Conan, but their swords were no match for the Devourer. However, as Conan struggled vainly in hand-to-hand combat with the giant Devourer, smoke began to billow forth from the Devourer as it was consumed from within. The face of Acheron appeared once again within the helmet of the Devourer, and he told Isparana that his love for her kept his human aspect alive, and that he had managed to destroy the Devourer. The effort cost him, however, as his human body crumbled to dust, and the armor collapsed to the ground--empty.
Conan planned to bury each piece of the armor in a different location to prevent its revival, but he also had heard her call Acheron her lover, and he knew that "Gods...do not make love in vain. When they love a mortal woman, there are always...offspring." Conan wondered if the same held true of demons.

(Conan the Barbarian275, Savage Sword of Conan#218 (and a few others) - BTS) - Isparana is confirmed to be pregnant, eventually parting ways with Conan.

(BTS) - Isparana, after only a few months, gives birth to her baby in secret. She hires the woman Moriah to watch over her child as she returns to her career. While Isparana is away, the baby rapidly ages to adulthood, becoming the reincarnation of Wrarrl himself. Wrarrl slays Moriah and takes her form, using her flesh to complete himself.

(Conan: The Flame and the Fiend#1-3) - Isparana is reunited with Conan and crew and claims to have miscarried the baby.
The first chance she gets, she returns to check on her child in secret, but "Moriah" reveals herself to be the Devourer, and she flees from him. Wrarrl runs after her, crying for his mother, but Isparana comes across her ally, Fafnir Hellhand, who uses the power of his demonhand to cause a rockslide that briefly traps Wrarrl in a cave as they escape.
Isparana joins Fafnir and Zula, and the Kozaki host in breaking into the city Akif and freeing Conan, who had been captured by agents of Kulan Gath. Ispirana seeks to slay Gath to stop the fire demon and Armati tells her she'd need to go through her to get to Kulan Gath; Ispirana does. Enraged, Gath winds vines around Ispirana, preparing to strangle the life out of her.
Just then Wrarrl, having managed to track his "mother", bursts through the walls of the city. The Devourer, feeling loyalty towards Isparana, fights to save her, and to kill Gath. Ormuz (a fire demon summoned by Gath) engages the Devourer, saving Gath from having his soul devoured. Instead, Conan manages to skewer Gath, and then behead him in an effort to prevent further resurrections. Meanwhile, Wrarrl tackles Ormuz into the city's dam, causing it to collapse and flood Akif. When the torrent of water dies down, there is sign of neither Ormuz or Wrarrl.

Comments: Created by Michael Fleishner and John Buscema.

The Devourer of Souls is possibly one of the coolest recurring villains to ever come out of the Conan comics. While not adapted from any actual Howard creation I think Conan’s creator would have approved of the hulking horror. I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t show up in the modern era of Marvel. He fits the classification of a Type III demon, looks cool, and has a host of various powers, including whipping up powerful henchmen at the gulp of a worm. If he isn’t ready made to torment various super beings and make them confront the ugly truths about themselves I don’t know who is. Certainly the sorcerously motivated heroes like Dr. Strange at least!
And no frickin' way Wrarrl was wiped out by a wave of water--Snood.

The Child of the Elder Gods story arc written by James Owsley (an alias for Christopher Priest according to snood) was one of the best, most involved plotlines in the later issues of Conan. All the while the Devourer is behind the scenes manipulating events in order to destroy Conan. The two don’t even face off until issue#199 and it is STILL a gripping story. Hell, even the follow up story with the Devourer’s flying steed running amok was pretty cool.

The inclusion of Sedrick the Cat, whether deliberately so or not, is a very Howard-esque type element in the Child of the Elder Gods storyline. While not a dyed in the wool aurilophobe Robert E. Howard (unlike his contemporary HP Lovecraft) didn’t have any great fondness for cats. In fact Howard wrote an entire essay called "The Beast of the Abyss" which centered on the mostly negative aspects of felines. Thulsa Doom’s curse upon the treacherous and inconstant Sedrick to "walk the earth as a lowly, slithering feline" reads practically like something Howard himself would have written.

There is a prominent artistic error in Conan the Barbarian Annual#12. Throughout the annual Kaleb the Destroyer is depicted in his brawny warrior form when in Conan the Barbarian#199 and#200 (the two issues between which Conan the Barbarian Annual#12 occurs) he is reduced by the Forest of Eternal Verities to the diseased old man he would be closer in age to without the Elder God’s enchantments. My solution is that upon leaving the enchanted forest Kaleb returned to his warrior form because the enchantment around him had not yet been broken. However when the Devourer absorbed the power of the Elder Gods from both Solaise and Sedrick he revoked the enchantment which kept Kaleb young and powerful.

Best Devourer of Souls dialogue EVER: "Spare your pleas to that accursed divinity, Bahkt. I find them nauseating. Aye, rather to revel in the maddening howls of the damned and drink in the fear of the superstitious chattel that abound upon this plane. My sustenance is made of the loathing, trembling, weak-willed men of this world. My throne lies above the sky, within the inky blackness between the stars. The myriad kingdoms of this world are my footstools. For I am... the Devourer of Souls!"

It really pisses me off that either the colorist or the printer did a shitastic job on Conan the Barbarian#200. The copy that I own has blotchy coloring whcih obscures the otherwise beautiful art.
I don't know what you're talking about. Mine's fine--Snood.

The Devourer's name was spelled Wrarrl for his early Savage Sword of Conan appearances, but I guess it got bastardized into Wraal in the pages of Conan the Barbarian, and it goes back and forth from there, so who knows?--Snood.

In regards to the Devourer's steed, the Dark Horse:
Other carniverous horses (off the top of my head, and with help from Greg O, Will U, and the Squid) include:

Also, I think a lot of horses may actually be demons. In vet school, I got kicked in the face by one. Fractured maxilla and comminuted (multiple piece), open fracture of my zygoma (cheekbone). They plated the fractures and it turned out ok, but the only problem I have is every time I use the microwave, I piss my pants and forget who I am for about a half an hour--Snood.

Profile by: Greg O’Driscoll and Snood.

Clarifications:
Wrarrl the Devourer of Souls should not be confused with...

Sedrick the Valusian squire turned immortal cat should not be confused with...
Cedric the Entertainer, a popular black comedian of the 20th century.

Sephra, the young girl the Devourer falls in love with as Acheron and whom Xuthl kills, should not be confused with...
Zephra, the daughter of Zukala and love interest of Conan, @ Conan the Barbarian I#5, and dies, @ Conan the Barbarian#15

The Elder Gods of the Child of the Elder Gods story arc refer to the Elder Gods of the Hyborian Era, to clarify:


Wrarrl's brethren

 

 

 

They are similarly powered (to a lesser degree) demonic beings from an extradimensional netherworld parallel to Earth. Like Wrarrl they are dependent on consumption of human souls to survive
--Savage Sword of Conan#96

 

 

 

 

 


The Cult of Wrarrl

They have a somewhat similar appearance to Wrarrl's brethren, although they are not shown to be able to consume souls. They are native to Earth and are apparently human. Exactly how and when they became affiliated with Wrarrl is unknown, but it could have occurred during the ten years Wrarrl spent on Earth during the Hyborian Era, or perhaps even earlier.
They have some knowledge of magic, which may be the source of their inhuman appearance. They showe no other superhumna powers and do not possess any particularly combat skills. They're much better at grabbing a woman from behind and slitting her throat.
--Savage Sword of Conan#108 (109

 

 


Acheron

 

The Devourer's human incarnation (named after an ancient pre-Stygian empire of Set-worshippers), used his wealth, sophistication, and charm to woo Sephra, the fairest most unblemished maiden in all the Western kingdoms.

Later Acheron fathered himself upon Ispirana.
--Conan the Barbarian I#200 (270-272

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Dark Horse

(Conan the Barbarian#189) Keiv, a sly con man and former moss covered giant that runs with Conan, sees the shadow of the Devourer upon his mounted steed silhouetted against the moon.
(Conan the Barbarian#190) The Devourer, mounted upon his winged steed, intercepts Kobe, a Khitain bonded as both servant and messenger to the Emperor Strabonnus of Koth, on the outskirts of the city-state El Shah Maddoc.
(Conan the Barbarian#193) The Devourer arrives upon his demon steed in the Kothian town of Bhoraji at the head of a violent storm in order to release the Shedu upon Conan and to confront Kaleb the Destroyer.
(Conan the Barbarian#195) While the Devourer makes common cause with Bahkt, the human mercenary's men attempt to capture the demon horse, dreaming of wealth and fame with such a wonder at their disposal. The Devourer and Bahkt find at least six, possibly more, of the men laid about the horse either dead or paralyzed with fear.

(Conan the Barbarian#199) After tormenting Conan and Kaleb in the Forest of Eternal Verities, manipulating them into fighting over Kaleb's daughter, Solaise, the Devourer causes the forest to burst into flame as he soars into the sky upon his black steed, sword aloft, Solaise in his arms.
(Conan Annual#12) The Devourer rides his winged nightmare towards the caves of the Footslave of the Elder Gods as dawn breaks over southwest Koth. Soaring into a cave which ends in a portal to Arallau, the demon steed carries the Devourer to his consultation with the undead Thulsa Doom.
(Conan the Barbarian#209) It survived him after the battle wandering and slaying as it pleased. It rounded up a group of horses that had escaped Irham's kingdom. In Syreb, a city-state of Koth, several bounty hunters unsuccessfully tried to catch or kill it, and instead wound up as its meal. Irham sent Conan to obtain a horse, knowing he would have to get past "the Dark Horse" first. The demon horse waited in ambush as Conan sneaked into the horse herd and attacked him, but Conan managed to pull himself onto its back. The steed took to the air while Conan assaulted it with his dagger. The Dark Horse flew under an arch, making sure to smash Conan into it in the process--it succeeded in divesting him of his knife, but the Cimmerian retained consciousness. Left with only his own arms as weapons, Conan locked them around the demon horses neck and choked it down. The beast fell to the ground, taking Conan with it, and knocking them both out. The steed recovered first, but Conan, as the first mortal to challenge it and live, had earned its respect. Until its true master returned, Conan would be master enough. Conan returned to Irham's castle with the steed, but Irham's men ambushed it, slaying it in a hail of arrows. Conan thought to avenge the horse by slaying Irham, but decided that the magical beast had no place in the natural world anyway (the legions of archers standing by Irham's side may have also influenced his decision).
A fierce, but also noble beast with a taste for human flesh, the Dark Horse possesses super-equine strength and durability, and can fly at unknown speeds.
It is possibly of the same breed as Imhotep the Ravager's winged steed, which was red instead of black.
Hell, the horse could practically have a profile of its own!


Prince Irham

 

 

He was arguably the Devourer's chief pawn in the Hyborian kingdoms aside from Bahkt the Dark Apostle. Sniveling, weak willed, petty, cruel, treacherous, and pleasure loving. It's a wonder the Devourer didn't have his soul for a light snack. Instead he just obliterated his entire city state with a giant fireball.
Irham's horsestock were freed by the fireball, and they ended up in a herd led by the Devourer's steed. When Conan came to Irham in search of a new horse, Irham sent him to that herd. Conan struggled with the Dark Horse and earned its respect, but when he brought back to Irham's castle, Irham's archers slew the beast.
--Conan the Barbarian I#191 (193, 195-197, 209

 

 

 

 

 


Sephra

 

The Devourer's human incarnation (named after an ancient pre-Stygian empire of Set-worshippers), used his wealth, sophistication, and charm to woo Sephra, the fairest most unblemished maiden in all the Western kingdoms. He did this as part of a repayment of a debt to Xuthl. Sephra was the daughter of Count Trocero, a baron of Poitain, a province of Aquilonia.
Acheron actually did fall in love with Sephra, and he was furious when Xuthl completed the bargain by incinerating her after she pronounced her love to Acheron.
--Conan the Barbarian#200

 

 

 

 

 


The Devourer's sword.

 

 

Cool as hell, ain't it? Just remember, kids! Don't touch! Remember what happened to poor Dimitiri.

 

 

 

 

 


The Elder Gods of the Hyborian Era

 

 

See clarifications. Likely Crom, Mitra, and Asura. Possibly the same deities known as the Primal Gods and the creators of the Cornerstones of Creation.

 

 

 

 

 


images:
Savage Sword of Conan#96, Cover (Devourer of Souls fights Conan)


Appearances:
Savage Sword of Conan#90 (July, 1983) - Michael Fleisher (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Nestor Redondo (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#96 (January, 1984) - Michael Fleisher (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Rudy Nebres (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#108-109 (January-February, 1985) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Gary Kwapisz (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#187 (October, 1986) - Jim Owsley (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#189-190 (December, 1986 - January, 1986) - Jim Owsley (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#191 (February, 1986) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#193-199 (April-October, 1986) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#200 (November, 1986) - Jim Owsley & Mark D. Bright (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#209 (August, 1988) - Jim Owsley (writer), Val Semeiks (writer/pencils), Alfredo Alcala (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Conan the Barbarian Annual#12 (1987) - Jim Owsley & Val Semeiks (writers), Vince Giarrano (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#270-272 (July-September, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villagran (inks), Richard Ashford (editor)
Conan: The Flame and the Fiend#1-3 (September-November, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Geof Isherwood (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)


Last updated: 6/10/02

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