Classification: Magic item
Creator: Unrevealed; presumably worshippers of Set (human(s), Deviant(s), Serpent Men, other) or perhaps even Set himself.
User/Possessors: Behket, Neftha, Thoth-Amon
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#74 (May, 1977)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Serpent-Amulet, when a certain spell was performed, could transform two people briefly into snakes. The snakes apparently followed the subconscious desire of the one performing the ritual, after which the snakes would revert back into their original forms. This ritual apparently could only be performed once per user (or perhaps only once ever). The amulet apparently drew power from Set.
History: The origins of the Serpent-Amulet are unrevealed, though one might presume it was created by worshippers of Set (human(s), Deviant(s), Serpent Men, other) or perhaps even Set himself.
(Conan the Barbarian I#89 (fb) - BTS) - The powerful Stygian wizard gave the Serpent-Amulet to the Stygian noble Bekhet, intending that it would one day pass to his slave, Neftha, who was secretly the sister of Ctesphon II, the ruler of Stygia. Thoth-Amon made certain that Neftha heard as he explained the incantation that would allow its holder to turn into a snake, so that she might use it gain entrance to the royal palace to help her one day claim the throne of Stygia.
(Conan the Barbarian I#74) - After the Stygian noble Bekhet
threw himself on Conan's sword to avoid being tortured for information on Luxor
(Stygia's capital), his slave Neftha rushed forward and removed the
Serpent-Amulet from his person. She told Conan that she was the child of Zingaran slaves
and that while she always loathed the Stygians' snake-worship, she had always
fancied this particular Set-charm. She convinced Conan that there was so much
treasure aboard Bekhet's ship that she could afford to let her keep this one
little item. BÍlit did not trust Neftha, but decided to let her guide them
through the royal palace, of which she had learned from when Bekhet had stayed
(Conan the Barbarian I#89 (fb) - BTS) - Thoth-Amon sensed as Neftha claimed the Serpent-Amulet from Bekhet's dead body, and he knew she would go on to claim the throne of Stygia, so he began his journey to Luxor.
(Conan the Barbarian I#75-83) - Neftha accompanied Conan, BÍlit, and her Black Corsairs on their mission, eventually splitting off with BÍlit and reaching the outskirts of Luxor.
(Conan the Barbarian I#84) - Neftha gave BÍlit half of the Serpent-Charm and instructed her to do as she did. The two women kneeled before a Set idol and spoke the words,
"O great Set, protector of all Stygia -- you who once wrapped 'round the world, to keep your people safe from all evil...and worse, all weakness -- hear my plea! You who have spilled your holy venom on all enemies and smothered them in your vast coils -- hear us! Let us, your worshippers -- aye, your sisters -- become as one with you, o great serpent who are also the River Styx! In the name of the sacred charm, I ask you--!"
And both women collapsed for a time, and then two small pythons slithered across the cold stone floor, one following the other, then traveled through a grillwork too small for any human to pass. BÍlit watched this from above in a sort of out of body experience, wondering if this was a dream and if she would ever awaken.
(Conan the Barbarian I#85) - BÍlit and Neftha awakened far beneath the palace of King Ctesphon II, and Neftha revealed that this had been no dream, but that she was happy the spell of Set had ended. Neftha explained that her necklace talisman had been a "gift" from a mighty sorcerer, long ago, but that she could use it thusly only once.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Ernie Chan.
Neftha eventually claimed the Stygian throne and was renamed King Ctesphon III (to fulfill the tradition of Stygia always being ruled by a king), after which she turned against Conan & BÍlit, ordering their deaths.
Profile by Snood.
The Serpent-Amulet should be distinguished from:
Located in a temple of Set a short distance outside Luxor, it was near a tunnel that led to the a chamber deep below the royal palace. It is unclear whether this immense idol was critical for the Serpent-Amulet to perform its magic.
--Conan the Barbarian I#84
images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian I#74, p10, panel 7 (Serpent-Amulet)
#84, p10, panel 5 (Set idol)
p11, panel 5 (Neftha & BÍlit as pythons)
Conan the Barbarian I#74 (May, 1977) - by Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (penciler), Ernie Chan (inker).
Conan the Barbarian I#84-85 (March-April, 1977) - by Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (penciler), Ernie Chan (inker).
Conan the Barbarian I#89 (August, 1978) - by Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (penciler), Ernie Chan (inker).
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 11/11/11
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