ROTATH

Real Name: Rotath

Identity/Class: Human magic-user; Pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian eras;
    Lemurian

Occupation: Sorcerer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Anaxor, Ape Lords (Xeethra), nameless gods;
    formerly the Hillmen of northern Turan, Thasaidon

Enemies: Asfodel IV, Conan, Gonar, Juma, Kull, Red Sonja, Thasaidon, Valusians, Yolinda

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Great Golden Worm, Rotath of Lemuria, Rotath the All-Conquering;
    the slug was also known as the Devil of the Pits

Base of Operations: A towered city within the Valley of the Sun in the northern wastes of Turan, Hyborian era;
    Lemuria, pre-Cataclysmic era

First Appearance: (Historical): The Curse of the Golden Skull: The Howard Collector (Spring 1967);
    (Marvel): Conan the Barbarian I#37 (April, 1974)

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Rotath was a sorcerer, able to mesmerize others, transfer his spirit into the body of another, retain his spirit beyond the point of his own physical death, and a number of other feats. He designed a city atop a giant tower, to which the only access was a clear globe which rode atop a giant waterspout (possibly mechanical rather than magical). Many of his more significant accomplishments drew on the power of his nameless god.

    The slug itself was monstrous in size, perhaps thirty feet tall. Its gelatinous body was resistant to puncture and impacts, and it could flow over and consume other beings. Its slime was a lethal poison, and it had a powerful hunger for all things golden.

    Controlling the slug's form, Rotath spoke telepathically, causing great pain in the minds of those to whom he spoke. He had telekinetic powers as well, enabling him to dash a person back and forth against walls, etc. By speaking the name of its otherwise nameless god, Rotath unleashed a powerful wave of temporal energy able to transport himself and others back through time.

    He was served by an army of Ape Lords, who had slightly superhuman strength and fought with conventional weapons, such as swords and field weapons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History:

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC) - Rotath, summoned by Agamotto, attended the Assemblage of Avatars in Atlantis around 19,000 BC to find a solution for the current conflicts between the Elder Gods. Only little was accomplished during the meeting and Agamotto became frustated with humanity's limitations.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS) <18, 500 BC> - Rotath was a sorcerer of some repute and a priest of nameless gods.

(Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time (fb) - BTS) - Rotath instructed his servants, the Ape-Lords, to forge weapons to oppose their enemies in the kingdom of Valusia. The Ape-Lords enslaved humans and forced them to help build the weapons.

(Savage Sword of Conan#231/3 (fb)) - Rotath sought to impress the Lemurian King Asfodel IV to become his court magician, even conjuring up abominations from their long-forgotten Hells. Rather than respect Rotath, Asfodel feared him.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS / Savage Sword of Conan#231/3 (fb) - BTS) - When Rotath traveled to an isle of the western Lemuria to study arcane mysteries, Asfodel feared that Rotath would return one day to overthrow him. Asfodel sent a message to "Lemuria of the West," ordering an expedition be sent to slay him far from his temple (where his powers were greatest). As the ship sailed to the pirate haven to give the orders, one of the men jumped ship to bring the news to Rotath.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS / Savage Sword of Conan#231/3 (fb) - BTS) - A Lemurian pirate ship sailed towards Rotath's isle; among its enslaved oarsmen was Kull,  an exiled Atlantean savage.

(Savage Sword of Conan#231/3) - Rotath's Ape-Lords captured and brought before him the man who had jumped ship. After sharing the information, the man asked for a reward, and Rotath granted him the greatest reward: to serve Rotath for the rest of his days, as one of his Ape-Lords.
    Rotath the summoned the Moonstone, a sacred ancient icon brought from his Lemurian temple, with which he viewed the Lemurian pirate galley approach. Drawing on the Moonstone's power, he sent a legion of winged demons possessing an icy-cold aura around them. The demons flew to the ship turning all they touched into ice, and only two aboard escaped this fate: Kull and a Wolf-Man imprisoned on the ship.

(Savage Sword of Conan#232/3) - Rotath's Moonstone glowed, signaling the presence of intruders on his isle, and he dispatched his Ape-Lords to slay them. One of the Ape-Lords attempted to spear Kull from behind, but missed and was slain by Kull. Kull then encountered Tokor, captain of the pirate ship, who had treated him fairly. Mortally wounded by Rotath's ice-demons, Tokor told Kull how his family would be sold into slavery if he failed to slay Rotath. Kull vowed to slay Rotath and return word of his death to Lemuria, though it meant he would have to return to slavery. Kull granted Tokor a more swift death.

(Savage Sword of Conan#233/3 / Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS) - Rotath chastised his Ape-Lords for failing to slay the intruders, and Kull -- listening in from above -- slipped from his perch and fell amongst them. Though holding his own initially, Kull was overwhelmed by superior numbers until the Wolf-Man arrived to help him. The Wolf-Man fought the Ape-Lords and Kull targeted Rotath, who summoned more ice-demons from his Moonstone to oppose him. Kull, however, tackled Rotath and shattered the Moonstone, and with its destruction the ice-demons faded from existence. Rotath then began to turn Kull into one of the Ape-Lords, but Kull refused to succumb and rushed Rotath, running him through with his sword.
    Kull left Rotath, thinking him already dead.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb)) - As blood ceased to flow from the dying Rotath's wounds, Rotath cursed Asfodel, Kull, and his own weakness. Fearing death, Rotath's blasphemies rose louder, and he placed an unspeakable curse on his own bones. With his last gasp he cried out the name that even he never dated utter before, and he died smiling.

 

 

 

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS) <18, 000 BC> - The shrine survived the sinking and rebirth of continents during the Great Cataclysm.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37) <10, 000 BC> - The first man in 8000 years happened across the shrine and found a skeleton of pure gold laying on its steps. Seeking to sell the gold for weapons, the Turanian Hillman touched the golden skull...and then screamed, as flesh flowed from one set of bones to another, and new life was traded for old.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS) - Rotath arrived among the Hillmen of Turania, civilized them, and led them to a towered city within the Valley of the Sun.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37 (fb) - BTS) - Rotath had enslaved men mine the gold-rich caverns of the Valley. At some point he discovered the Devil of the Pits, an immense gold-eating slug that dwelled in the depths of the caverns. To keep the beast at bay, Rotath had half of the gold they mined sent down the tracks into the depths, and he forbade any from exploring the deeper tunnels. The remainder of the gold was paid to the Hyrkanians for armor and weapons, and the Hillmen grew into a stronger fighting force.

(Conan the Barbarian I#37) <Months later> - A tribe of Turanian Hillman captured Conan and Juma, sole survivors of a forty-strong group of warriors serving King Yildiz in Aghrapur, as well as princess Yolinda whom they had been guarding. The Hillman brought them to the Valley of the Sun, where they were transported through the air via a gleaming sphere within a waterspout to the towered city. Upon arrival, Anaxor (presumably a descendent of the Ape Lords) grabbed Yolinda and rushed to lay her at Rotath's feet. Conan rushed to save her, and his countenance reminded Rotath of Kull. Enraged by the memory, Rotath swore that none of the arrivals would leave the tower again: Yolinda was to serve as the chain that bound Rotath to the throne of Turan, while Anaxor would slay Conan. However, Conan instead slew Anaxor and then attacked Rotath's guards. Rotath mesmerized Conan into thinking he was holding Yolinda at knifepoint; but Rotath had underestimated Juma, and had not bothered to mesmerize him, and Juma revealed the illusion. As the two powerful warriors rushed him, Rotath cast herb-dipped darts into the air, and the two men fell to the ground unconscious.
    Conan and Juma were sent to work in the mines in the Valley, digging gold. After days of labor, Conan observed that half of the mined gold was sent down the tracks into the forbidden depths. Conan and Juma rushed into the forbidden depths and were chased by a dragon, which then fell prey to the Devil of the Pits, an immense gold-eating slug. The slug pursued Conan and Juma as they fled up the tunnel and even out into the Valley. Rotath grabbed Yolinda and began riding the bubble up the waterspout towards the city. As the slug turned its head from Conan and looked up at Rotath, Conan realized two things: (1) The slug was pursuing them because of the gold he and Juma had been attempting to steal, (2) The slug wanted Rotath more than anything else. Conan then shrewdly hurled his and Juma's bags of gold into the base of the waterspout, and the slug leapt after the bags, plugging the waterspout with its massive body. With the spout blocked, the sphere fell down atop the slug. Rotath and Yolinda both rushed towards safety, but the slug pulled Rotath into its body, feeding on the gold which lay within him.
    Sated, the slug shambled off, and Conan and Juma brought Yolinda back to Aghrapur.

(Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time (fb) - BTS) - Rotath's spirit took over the form of the giant slug.

(Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time (fb) - BTS) - Rotath's city and tower fell into ruin.

(Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time) - Several years later, Conan served with the Free Companions, some of the Hillmen who opposed King Yildiz. After being joined by Red Sonja and Gonar (his Hyborian incarnation, taken from a recently defeated group of Turanians) headed North to try to conquer the Turanians' gold mines and ended up back in the Valley of the Sun. When some new recruits (Turanians who had sworn loyalty to the Free Companions in exchange for their lives) showed their true colors and sought the gold for themselves, Conan freely allowed them to head down into the deeper tunnels, and they were slain by the giant slug. Rotath then sensed the intruders and emerged from the tunnels in pursuit of them while its telepathic shrieks caused them mental agony. Rotath hungrily pursued Sonja until she surrendered the gold she had tried to steal.
    Rotath then told them that it also needed a human body for his mind to thrive in, and it wished the body of Kull, whom it saw as the greatest warrior of all time. After recounting its history, Rotath spoke again the name of its nameless god, transporting itself, Conan, and Red Sonja 8000 years into the past; the Free Companions were torn asunder by the unleashed energy, while Gonar remained unharmed and untransported. They reappeared years after Rotath's first death in the still lush Valley of the Sun, with the towered city still intact. His mind strengthened by his return to his native time, Rotath summoned his servants, the Ape Lords, who captured and imprisoned Conan & Sonja. Learning that Kull had become king of Valusia, Rotath plotted to wipe out two enemies in one assault. As Rotath's forces marched towards Valusia, their approach was detected by Brule and the Red Slayers, who informed Kull, who led his Black Legions, Red Slayers, Pictish allies, and some mercenaries to meet them in battle. By threatening to harm Sonja (via his telepathic & kinetic powers, and/or allowing his Ape Lords to have their way with her), Rotath coerced Conan to sneak into the Valusian camp and abduct Kull. Ambushing Kull outside his tent with a club, Conan indeed captured Kull and donned his robe and crown to fool the guards as he left the camp. Conan returned with Kull, and Sonja showed him that they were his old allies from a previous time-traveling adventure.
    Wishing the most powerful form for himself, Rotath (via holding Sonja hostage) forced Conan to battle Kull, who fought back to save his own life. After a lengthy battle, both men were bloodied and weary with no end in sight. Finally Conan hurled his axe at Rotath, barely harming him, and he and Kull prepared to face Rotath together; meanwhile, the Valusian army began to approach. As the Ape Lords rushed to meet the Valusian hordes, Sonja fought to break the chains that bound her, and Gonar (his pre-Cataclysmic incarnation, an advisor to Kull) drew a symbol in the dust and began chanting to gods for power (Vramma, Kamma, Jaggta-Noga, Kulthas, the Shadows of the Elder World, Helgor, Honen, the Scorpion God, Ka, Ra, the Soul-Hawk that soars, Raama, and ultimately Valka). One of the Ape Lords, Thasaidon, who realized that Rotath was just using them, helped free Sonja, only to be consumed by Rotath seconds later. As Gonar continued his spell, Rotath's mind began to fragment more as it had been in the Hyborian era, and it vacillated between seeking to claim the forms of Conan and Kull. Gonar completed his spell, adding in the temporal energy held by the time-traveling Sonja & Conan, and offering the souls of all those slain in the field of battle (especially the Ape Lords) up to Valka, and the giant slug exploded, leaving behind only Rotath's inert golden skeleton.
    Conan and Sonja returned to the Hyborian era and were rejoined by the Hyborian Gonar.

Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard, finished by L. Sprague de Camp;
    adapted by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams.

    Ravagers Out of Time is a Marvel Graphic Novel.

    Conan the Barbarian I#37 stated that Kull slew Rotath far from his temple, in an unidentified shrine. In Ravagers Out of Time, Rotath stated that Kull had slain him in his own temple. The fix would be that the shrine in which Kull slew him was a satellite temple, and that he drew greater power from a different temple, which served as his home base.

    I don't recall the deal with Gonar...that's a profile for another day (year).

    Also, the Ape Lords would seem to be likely spawn of some ancient ape god...like Gullah or Hanuman or Babi or...who else?
    Anubis also had a baboon aspect...

    Thank to Per Degaton for reminding me of the Savage Sword of Conan#231-233 arc.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No KNOWN connections to:


images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian I#37 (April, 1974), p1, panel 1 (original form)
Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time, p20, panel 1 (golden slug)


Appearances:
Conan the Barbarian I#37 (April, 1974) - by Roy Thomas (writer, editor) and Neal Adams (artist)
Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time (1992) - by Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Alfredo Alcala (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#231/3 - 233/3 (March-May, 1995) - by Roy Thomas (writer), E.R. Cruz (artist), Mike Lackey (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC (2009) - David Sexton (writer), Jeff Younquist & Jennifer Gruenwald (editors)


Last updated: 08/14/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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