Real Name: Pol Tiurno
Identity/Class: Human, Nemedian citizen (Hyborian Era)
Occupation: Advisor; Engineer
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Baron Gorbek
former Count Nerval
Enemies: Conan, Count Nerval
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Osprey
Base of Operations: (briefly) mobile throughout Corinthia
formerly Castle Nerval, Corinthia; Nemedia (birthplace)
First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan Magazine#108 (January, 1985) "Claws of the Osprey"
Powers/Abilities: Pol had no innate superhuman powers but was a brilliant engineer with a genius I.Q. While employed with Count Nerval he created a man powered winch attached to grappling hooks to pull down siege towers. He also created a design for a set of winged flying machines which could be operated by the user. He later created a pair of wings worn over his arms which allowed him to fly, and wore taloned gloves capable of inflicting vicious wounds (see comments).
History: (Savage Sword of Conan Magazine#108 (fb) - BTS) - Pol Tiurno was born in Nemedia, and grew up to be a brilliant innovator and engineer. He apparently sold his intellectual services to make a living (unconfirmed, see comments), and came into the employ of Count Nerval of Corinthia. At some point though, he secretly allied himself to Baron Gorbek, one of Nerval's enemies, and began covertly passing him information. One of Pol's previous inventions had been a man powered winch attached with grappling hooks which could be thrown onto siege towers and then pulled over onto their sides, likely killing scores of occupants within, thus preventing enemies from entering and decimating a castle's defenses. However during one attack on Castle Nerval, Pol's winch had been destroyed by a seemingly stray catapulted boulder.
(Savage Sword of Conan Magazine#108) - Count Nerval called a "Council of War" after a very vicious attack against his Kingdom. At the council Count Nerval demanded to know the absent Pol's location, as he was a key member of the council and a personal advisor. Pol arrived later at his leisure and informed Count Nerval he had been in his chambers thinking. Nerval had been impatiently waiting for Pol to give him information on a new weapon as the dawn of a second attack had appeared imminent. Pol Tiurno, his back turned to his employer, snootily told Count Nerval that he had been doing the very best he possibly could. Pol further stated "Works of Genius can't be produced on command, you know". Conan suggested that Pol might prefer a job standing sentry duty one night instead. Pol did not like the proposal and promised to continue his work even more assiduously than before.
Pol returned to his room cursing Conan and Count Nerval. He spoke out aloud half to himself and half to the birds occupying his chambers that the fools had not begun to suspect him of working hand in glove with Baron Gorbek. He then tied a note to a pigeon's leg and released it out a window. Conan, who had been in another room, spotted the bird and realized it was not the normal colored birds which roosted on the castle ledges. It did not take the barbarian long to kill the bird and discover the note which stated in no uncertain terms that Pol had been being pressed to create a new weapon and could not stall much longer.
Pol cursed as he witnessed Conan finding the note. In a frenzy he gathered some books and scrolls and bolted toward a castle top, knowing full well that Conan would be after him. Pol tricked two guards into believing that Conan was on a drunken rampage and needed to be stopped which bought him a couple of extra minutes. On the roof Pol removed the covers from a flying machine he had created; it had the look of a glider, but the ingenious capability to allow it to increase and decrease it's altitude and range. Pol mounted the machine and jumped from the roof, but Conan arrived in time to hurl himself through the air and catch Pol by the foot holding onto his shoe. (see comments)
Pol struggled to release himself from the barbarian's iron grip. He succeeded when his shoe slipped off, sending Conan falling into a river, but Conan also had a measure of success; while falling he threw his sword and broke a strut, critically damaged Pol's flying machine. This sent Pol careening into a pinnacle of rock the height of a skyscraper. Pol survived the crash and found himself on a ledge near the peak. His flying machine had been destroyed and he soon became aware of his unfortunate situation; he had known there was no way to climb down and realized he would likely die a long, painful death from starvation and exposure.
Pol fell asleep atop the pinnacle of rock. Soaked with rain and crazed with fear, he had a dream about himself transforming into a giant bird of prey and then capturing and killing Conan, who had been responsible for his predicament. As time passed with him trapped on the ledge, Pol continued to have these dreams and although their content varied they all ended with Pol as the giant deadly bird. His situation and the tormenting dreams eventually snapped his brilliant mind, but did not destroy his genius.
As Pol stood in the rain praying to the gods to transform him into a bird, an Osprey flew over Pol and was struck by him and killed, leaving the bird dead on Pol's ledge. Pol managed to use the dead bird to fashion parts of the animal into a bird suit. He also created a pair of gloves from the bird's intestines and affixed them with five razor sharp talons each. (see comments)
When Pol felt his bird suit was completed to the best of his ability, he took a leap of faith, literally. He jumped off the ledge that had been his home for an unknown amount of time and he found himself able to soar like a bird. As he flew he spawned a maddened laugh. After Pol had gotten better acquainted with his bird suit he began slaughtering livestock and people with his sharp talons. He arrived at Castle Gorbek where Gorbek and some advisors were discussing the discovery of a barbarian that had glimpsed Pol's latest invention, an army's supply of winged flying machines created from Pol's design. Pol called for an immediate attack on Castle Nerval.
Pol flew to Castle Nerval and quickly identified Conan's location on the castle walls. He hoisted Conan into the air and dropped him from a high altitude. He then swooped around and raked Conan with his claws while Conan clung to a roof top, causing him to plunge further. Conan landed on a bridge connecting two towers and grabbed a torch from one of the entryways. Pol had circled around yet again to further his attack on Conan, but missed his mark and Conan once again grabbed onto Pol's leg. Conan set fire to Pol's wings before Pol kicked Conan in the face causing him to fall again. Pol Tiurno swiftly became engulfed in flames and his death-shrieks were heard throughout the valley as he plunged to a fiery death.
Comments: Created by Michael Fleisher (story), Gary Kwapisz (pencils) and Ernie Chan (inking).
A lot of the information learned about Pol Tiurno is from Pol Tiurno himself, he loved talking to himself. He also loved talking about himself and how smart he was.
Pol Tiurno is known to be from Nemedia, because Conan refers to him as a Nemedian, but there is no evidence to suggest why he is living and working in Corinthia. Probably the economics of the Hyborian Era are very much like those of any other time and culture, you go where the jobs are.
In Savage Sword of Conan#108: The writers were very good to make Pol Tiurno appear as an intellectual that he was supposed to be. They were able to do this buy having him use unfamiliar words, but not lose the meaning to the laymen. The following is a favorite of mine directly from the word balloon on p16, pan4: "Just see to it, if you please, that I'm vouchsafed a modicum of peace and quiet." The meaning is quite clear although I had never heard of two of the words before in my life.
If you know the words great, if not and you're curious like I was, Merriam-Webster helped out.
Merriam-Webster defines vouchsafed as an inflected form of the transitive verb vouchsafe and means: 1. To grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner. 2. To grant as a privilege or special favor. In short "Grant". This fit perfectly with Pol Tiurno's snooty attitude.
Merriam Webster defines modicum as a noun which means: 1. a small portion, or a limited quantity.
When you take a close look at the stories while gathering information for these profiles you tend to see thing you had not noticed before. Mistakes by the big guys. Case in point: After Pol hurled himself from the roof with his flying contraption, Conan jumped and caught Pol's right ankle using his left arm. Conan had his sword in his right hand. In the next two frames he was hanging onto Pol's shoe on his left leg. His sword arm however was still his right side which shows he likely would not have been able to switch legs with a broad sword in his hand. To make matters worse in the following frame he is holding onto Pol's left shoe with his right arm and his left side has now become his sword bearing arm. In the final frame when he is falling you can clearly see the sword is thrown using his left arm. Confused.....well I wasn't until I started looking. This exciting action can be found on Pages 22 and 23 of Savage Sword of Conan#108. To explain the story fairly above I need to use the explanation that Conan caught Pol by his shoe despite the indifferences from frame to frame.
The Osprey that flew over Pol Tiurno had four talons on each leg, so it is
unknown how Pol ended up with five on each hand.
It likely had an additional talon further up its leg, the equivalent of a big toe. That's what they sharpen on roosters for cockfights, I believe, though I'm no ornithologist.
When Pol realized he was stuck on this huge pinnacle and feared a painful death from starvation and exposure I am surprised he didn't consider the alternative of a quick death by jumping. I mean he's supposed to be so smart.
There are many other numerous points that come into question such as the
enormity of Pol's weight loss from his crash on the ledge until his escape
from it, but I'll leave that and other suspicious points alone.
I'd imagine Pol had to tap into some sort of psychic or magical (or even mutant) ability to gain the power of flight, as he wouldn't have gotten it from strapping feathers to his arms...unless you are just going with total suspension of disbelief. Perhaps one of the Hyborian era gods granted him the power of flight.
An Osprey is a member of the hawk family. Info on Osprey's can be found at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/o/osprey/index.asp
Profile by Nemedian Chronicler
Pol Tiurno has no known connections to:
Baron Gorbek has no known connection to:
Count Nerval has no known connection to:
Leader and enemy of Count Nerval. Baron Gorbek would be kept updated on projects Pol Tiurno created. With this knowledge he could find defensive loopholes when attacking Castle Nerval.
- Savage Sword of Conan#108
Leader and enemy of Baron Gorbek. He hired Pol Tiurno to build secret weapons to defend his kingdom against attacks by Baron Gorbek's army. He initially was unaware that Pol Tiurno was a spy for Baron Gorbek.
- Savage Sword of Conan#108
All images from The Savage Sword of Conan#108 (page numbers are magazine
pages, not story pages).
p.37, panel 7 (Pol Tiurno as the Osprey)
p.15, panel 5 (Pol Tiurno)
p.37, panel 2 (Pol Tiurno, transformation to Osprey)
p.36, panel 2 (Baron Gorbek)
p.29, panel 3 (Count Nerval)
Last updated: 23/02/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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