SODATHA

Real Name: Unknown, possibly none

Identity/Class: Likely a class II demon or some type of gigantic, mindless monster worshipped as a god by certain Zamorans

Occupation: Lurker in the dark, terror in the night, devourer of men, wrecker of economies

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Spawn of Sodatha, the Cult of Sodatha (sect of human worshippers), Khosa and sacrifices, and an unknown Elder Race that once placated it with sacrifices

Enemies: Conan, Trollo

Known Relatives: Sodatha spawn (offspring), possibly the Old Ones, especially Yog, Sothoth

Aliases: the Slithering God, the Hidden One, the Elder God (see comments)

Base of Operations: Caverns beneath the city of Hanghara, Southern Zamora

First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan#164 (September, 1989)

Powers: As it is likely Sodatha was in fact some sort of gigantic monster rather than an actual god, it has displayed no true supernatural or occult abilities. However, due to its great size, and radially tentacled construction, Sodatha possessed strength in excess of the usual 100 ton limit, as well as exceptional burrowing and tunneling abilities. Sodatha had strength sufficient to level a city when properly enraged.

Weaknesses: Sodatha proved vulnerable to burning oil, which while it did not destroy the beast did send it into a blind rage leading to the destruction of Hanghara.

History: When the earth was young, and the oceans still boiled, an unknown elder race performed elaborate rites designed to placate with living sacrifices the hunger of the monster that would come to be known as Sodatha.

(Savage Sword of Conan#164)- Night began to fall on the fortress city of Hanghara, accompanied by the sound of tolling bells which summoned the vile cult of Sodatha to worship. Khosa, one of the inhabitants of Hanghara who disbelieved the tales of a monster that slew men in the night, left his friend's house in a display of drunken bravado to make the short walk to his home. Khosa didn't get far before he heard a stirring in the dirt beneath his feet. Suddenly, tentacles sprung forth to clutch Khosa in their grip, and dragged him screaming beneath the earth.

Nearby, Archoric, the Turanian mastermind of a group of thieves Conan had fallen in with, ordered Bhok to shut the window-- the screams had made him lose count again. Bhok spoke of the tales of the curse Hanghara existed under, and Archoric told him to shut up about his old wives' tales so he could keep count of his coins.

Conan threateningly remarked that every time Archoric lost count, he found himself poorer. An argument began to mount that soon threatened to erupt into violence. A knock on the door interrupted. Archoric believed it must be Trollo, returned with their meal, but when the door was Trollo was followed by a company of the town guard! Soon, most of the thieves were dead, including Archoric and Bhok. Conan escaped by leaping out a window, only to find himself surrounded by archers a few moments later. Conan surrendered, a slim chance being better than no chance at all.

Instead of being rewarded for his treachery, Trollo found himself on trial and later consigned to the gibbets alongside Conan. Hanging above the town square in two cages, Conan and Trollo would likely starve to death inside of weeks. Children happily threw offal at Trollo and tormented him with long sticks, but left Conan alone, afraid of him even in his cage.

Night fell, and while Trollo slept, Conan spied a tentacle sprouting from the earth to snatch up a rat. The next day, Trollo promised one of the youths tormenting him one of his gold teeth if the boy would help release him. That night, Conan caught rain in his hands to keep from dying of dehydration. Under cover of the storm, the boy returned with a knife and mallet. Climbing up the frame of the gibbet, the boy cut the rope holding the cage, dropping Trollo to the ground, where he used the mallet to smash the iron lock. Of course, Trollo didn't keep his word and shoved the boy down in the mud. Conan said that if the boy would free him, he would pay him a mouthful of gold teeth-- Trollo's, that is. Conan and the lad tracked Trollo to an inn where he was stuffing his weasely face. Conan helped Trollo pay his debt by punching the gold teeth right out of his mouth. He gave the five gold teeth to the boy, who remarked that it was a pleasure to deal with an honest man. Conan went to make his escape, and dragged Trollo with him so the treacherous little rat couldn't call the guards on him. The guards found them anyway, but Conan took a sword off one of them, and made short work of their pursuers. Conan spied the full form of Sodatha (or one of the larger spawn) and instead of fleeing it as Trollo would like, he followed it, hoping to find some means to escape beneath the city.

Waiting a moment for it to get a little further ahead, Conan and Trollo followed the beast down its bolthole. Once beneath the city, the pair found a series of tunnels. Conan discovered emeralds in the trail of slime left behind by Sodatha. Trollo rejoiced, only to discover Conan racing off, and leapt to follow the Cimmerian. Conan ran headlong into one of the spawn of Sodatha, but made short work of it with his sword.

Elsewhere, the Priests of Sodatha prepared that night's ritual sacrifice. They began a sonorous chant, a rhythmic noise that was never meant to be voiced by human tongues...a sound alien to the speech of man. The cultists led both jewel-adorned woman and bleating goats down halls which, unlike the tunnels of Sodatha, were made of cut and dressed stone covered in pictograms. Conan heard the chant, and snuck further down the tunnel, finding himself overlooking a vast chamber containing a pit surrounded by blazing braziers wherein Sodatha slumbered. Trollo asked what Sodatha was, and Conan replied it was a name he had heard before, and no good accompanies the chanting of that cursed word. It was the name of something better not named, better not imagined. Conan also remarked that the struggling goats were more aware of their impending doom than the submissive female sacrifice. The girl was led out onto the gangplank above the pit, tentacles reaching up for her. Conan ordered Trollo to tip of the braziers, while he went to save both gems and girl. Swinging on a conveniently placed rope, Conan sliced off one of Sodatha's tentacles, and happily remarked to the cultists that their god bled like a stuck pig. Trollo, of course, went to make his escape, but found his way blocked by spawn of Sodatha (who perhaps sensed their parent's distress). Having no choice, Trollo ran to tip the braziers. Meanwhile, Conan killed one of the priests and sent another flying into the pit. Trollo knocked the braziers into the pit, and Sodatha howled in pain. Two more priests were nabbed by tentacles in the chaos. Conan made his escape with the girl, while Trollo doggedly followed. When the sacrificial victim, still under the influence of some sort of hypnotic potion, asserted she could not leave as she was the Betrothed of Sodatha, Conan took her out with a quick punch and tossed her over his shoulder.

For the first time in its existence, the beast worshipped as Sodatha knew pain. Pulling itself from its burrow it rocked the city of Hanghara to its very foundations. Reaching the surface, Conan and Trollo fled for their lives with the girl as Sodatha erupted from beneath the city in a wave of cataclysmic destruction. Seizing up a rock, Conan tossed it into a mounted guardsman, braining him. Thus equipped with a horse, Conan proceeded to get the hell out of Hanghara. Again, Trollo doggedly followed.

From atop a distant rock outcropping, Conan watched the city and beast burn as one, while his new nubile friend came out of her trance. Conan enticed the maiden to see the fleshpots of the south with him, living in luxury for months on the gold they cheated the monster of. Trollo ran up and reminded Conan that he would be dead without his help. Conan agreed, (apparently forgiving him his earlier treachery) and tossed him a golden bracelet encrusted with jewels. Trollo leapt to catch it, and went over the side of the cliff. When asked if Trollo was dead, Conan replied that it would take more than a fall to kill that little maggot.

Conan and his female companion proceeded to ride for friendly climates. The population of Hanghara, including the enterprising young lad that rescued Conan and Trollo from the gibbet, followed suit in a mass exodus away from the cursed (and now destroyed) city.

Comments: Created by Chuck Dixon and Ernie Chan.

In all likelihood, there is a real Sodatha somewhere who may or may not be displeased with the death of the beast bearing his name. The monstrous Sodatha bears a passing similarity to the ever burrowing holes of various HP Lovecraft stories.

Again, yet ANOTHER giant, inhuman, tentacled monster living beneath Zamora. This ties back into my theory that Zamora, and particularly the Zamoran Wastes, like many places in the Hyborian Era, only more so, were a hotbed of monstrous, or possibly even Old One activity. See the comments in my Sutro profile as to why there always has and always will be a Master Mage of the Zamoran Wastes.

Sodatha has some sort of unexplained connection to emeralds. Emeralds, in addition to human sacrifice, appear to be part of appeasing Sodatha. That, or the emeralds are offered to Sodatha by route and the mountain fortress of Hanghara was simply built up from a mining town established to tap into a rich vein of emeralds beneath, hence why so many stayed even after Sodatha (who also used the miners tunnels) made the nights into a living terror.

The Chant of Sodatha goes like this: Sodatha botha n'gatha! N'gatha botha! Sodatha botha ken n'gatha! Sodatha allum khuma! Botha ken n'gatha! Sodatha botha ken n'gatha! Might want to remember it, kids, especially if you're ever in the Middle East or Central Asia (likely locations of modern day Zamora).

Conan mentioned his having heard the above chant (or at least the name of Sodatha) before, but I can't ever recall him battling the cult of Sodatha beyond this one instance. Sounds like an untold Conan tale to me...

Sodatha's comely sacrificial victim, like so many of the wenches in various Conan adventures, is never seen again, but this girl does many of the rest one better in never even being named!

The Priests of Sodatha referred to the beast as the Elder God, however the beast was only mistaken for and worshipped as Sodatha, and was not a god in fact. The true Sodatha (which I can't imagine being much more pleasant or even humanoid than the creature bearing his name) might, in fact, be an Elder God of the Hyborian Era, but is most likely, in fact, a Class II or Class III demon.

by Greg O'Driscoll

Clarifications: Sodatha should not be confused with:

Trollo should not be confused with:

SODATHA BOTHA GATHA N'GATHA BOTHA!


Trollo was a mangy thief, employed by Archoric, who turned on his comrades, handing them over to the local guards, only to be imprisoned himself, alongside Conan. He escaped his cage, with Conan in hot pursuit, and found himself forced to accompany Conan for protection. Although not particularly heroic, he had a strong sense of self-preservation, and proved not entirely useless against Sodatha's forces. In a display of gratitude, Conan threw his reward off a cliff. -Savage Sword of Conan#164

The Spawn of Sodatha were Sodatha's apparent offspring, and were miniature versions of himself who guarded the tunnels of his sacrificial altar. -Savage Sword of Conan#164

Trollo and the Spawn of Sodatha, you decide which is more slimy and spineless.

Archoric was the one-eyed Turanian leader of a band of thieves Conan fell in with, which included Trollo. He was not a particularly honest man, and made poor decisions, as Trollo proved to be a traitor who brought the local guards down upon the band of thieves. Archoric was slain along with the rest of his men. -Savage Sword of Conan#164

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Last updated: 08/01/02

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