cityPTAHUACAN

Official Name: Ptahuacan

Continent: Ptahuacan was one of the seven Antillian islands located halfway between the Hyborian continent and the far-western continent Mayapan

Population: Unrevealed;
    perhaps in the thousands on the entire island, but the population was also significantly depleted by sacrifices to Xotli

Capital City: Ptahuacan was presumably the capital of the Antillians islands

Prominent Locations: Anteroom of the Gods (the gray citadel), Great Pyramid/Zikkurat, caverns of the dragons, caverns of the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan

Government: Unrevealed;
    Metemphoc looked to be preparing to take a position of power and was the leader of the 
Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan;
    formerly ruled by the tyrannical theocracy of the priests of Xotli, under the leadership of the Hierarch

Major Languages: Unrevealed;
    sounded somewhat like a primitive Mayan or Aztec (or Meso-American) dialect

Monetary Unit: Unrevealed; silver coins from other lands were readily accepted

Major Resources: They reportedly had a wealth of gold, although that is unconfirmed

National Defense: Unrevealed;
    the priests of Xotli had an army of soldiers wielding armor, and wielding swords made of a virtually unbreakable transparent, glass-like material; they also had chains and manacles made of similar materials;
    they also had oxygen helmets they could use to protect themselves from gas attacks (including those they used against victims);
    they utilized dragon-like ships and more conventional galleys, including a "The Winged Dragon," taken by Conan and the Red Lion's former crew to depart Ptahuacan;
    though they apparently no longer had access to the legendary Vril, which enabled flight, they did maintain the magical silver metal known as Orichalcum
    the Hierarch and some of the priests had magical abilities, such as summoning the Red Shadows and/or possiby directing the black krakens

International Relations: The Priests of Xotli directed the capture and slaughter of those from nearby isles from the Mayapan, and they used the Red Shadows to abduct and sacrifice people from Aquilonia (including Trocero) and Argos, at least;
    they also attacked those approaching on ships, such as the crew of the Red Lion (including Conan, Milo, Sigurd, Goram Singh, Yakov, Yasunga)

Extraterrestrial Relations: Xotli was worshipped by the priests and soldiers of Xotli until its apparent destruction by Mitra

Places of Interest: See prominent locations

Domestic Super Humans: Hierarch, green-feathered cloak-wearing priest

Non-Human Population: "Dragons"; idol of the Priest-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan; rats; black krakens dwelled some distance off the coast

Prominent Citizens: Catlaxoc, Chitzlan, Hierarch, Itzra, Metemphoc, Priest-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan, priests of Xotli (most notably the green-feathered cloak-wearing priest), soldiers of Xotli

Superhuman Residents: See Domestic Super Humans

Domestic Crime: The Priests of Xotli directed the capture and sacrifice of many residents of Ptahuacan

International Crime: The Priests of Xotli directed the capture and sacrifice of those from nearby isles from the Mayapan, and they used the Red Shadows to abduct and sacrifice people from Aquilonia and Argos, at least

Time Period: Pre-Cataclysmic & Hyborian eras

First Appearance: Conan of the Isles (1968);
    Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (1988)

History:
city - citadel (Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - Xotli was worshipped by certain people in Atlantis before the Great Cataclysm.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) <18, 000 BC> - When Atlantis sank during the Great Cataclysm, thousands of Atlanteans fled to the mainland, Thuria, but the Priests of the demon god Xotli and their slaves fled to Ptahuacan -- halfway between the Hyborian continent and the far-western continent Mayapan -- in a mighty fleet of flying ships powered by the mysterious force called Vril; and the Atlanteans subdued the land's brown-skinned natives.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - The priests of Xotli ruled Ptahuacan by telling the people that their land was the only land above water.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - Naked human sacrifices were served to Xotli by the thousands. Xotli typically only consumed the victims' hearts while the rest of the bodies were dropped within the Zikkurat to be consumed by giant-lizard "dragon" creatures.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - Eventually the population of the seven Antillian islands began to become depleted by the constant sacrifices, and some of the survivors -- fearing becoming sacrifices -- fled into the hills or adjoining isles. 

    The priests started raiding the shores of the western continent, which they called Mayapan. When Mayapan's people fled inland, the priests turned eastward. The Hierarch, chief priest of Xotli, sent his "Red Shadows" spirit servants to the eastern continent, magically claiming more victims as sacrifices for Xotli.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb)- BTS) - In Argos, the Red Shadows struck, transporting many citizens to Ptahuacan.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles - BTS) - In Tarantia, the capital of the kingdom of Aquilonia, the Red Shadows began to appear, claiming many victims, such as Count Trocero, before vanishing.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - In the next "halfmonth," the Red Shadows struck again and again, claiming commoners and the wealthy alike, eventually claiming 700 Aquilonian citizens.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles - BTS) - Advised in a dream by Epimetrius the Sage, a long-dead priest of Mitra who gave him a phoenix talisman -- to use when and as his heart instructed him to do so -- and warned him to watch for the black kraken (which was still an Atlantean symbol), King Conan (now in his late-60's) left Aquilonia to his son, Conn, and traveled to Argos. Reunited with his old friend Sigurd in Argos' capital, Messantia, Conan spoke of the Red Shadows and then earned the secret financial support of Argos' king, Ariostro, to purchase a vessel, the Red Lion, to stop the Red Shadows. After recruiting a crew, Conan led them westward beyond the known world. 

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - The Priests of Xotli sent a black kraken against them and it slew a couple crewmen, but Conan blinded it, enabling the rest to escape.

    A Priest of Xotli guided one of their dragon ships to magically assaulted Conan's ship, but Conan and his crew slew the priest and his mystic doppelgangers, and then Conan located a map that led them towards the seven isles of Antillia. city collapsing

    As they approached, however, a pair of Ptahuacan dragon-ships set their ship on fire and used gas bombs to knock out much of the crew. Conan alone escaped capture, using one of the Ptahuacan's helmets to breathe underwater and walk his way to Ptahuacan, while the rest of the crew members were captured and imprisoned to become sacrifices to Xotli. The crew were bound in virtually unbreakable chains that looked like glass and kept in line by guards wielding weapons of the same composition.walled_city_aflame

    From a woman named Catlaxoc, whom he romanced, and from Ptahuacan's king of thieves, Metemphoc, Conan learned of Ptahuacan and Xotli, and of his crew's fate as the sacrifices began; Sigurd, the rest of the crew, and a large number of Antillians were lined up by the Zikkurat, and one-by-one (starting with the Antillians), they were placed on the altar, where their hearts would be cut out and placed in a sacrificial fire while their bodies were dropped down to the dragon creatures. 

    Fighting his way past a pack of giant rats, Conan ran into the "dragons," but escaped them and then forced open the doors containing the lizards, allowing them to rush out of the Zikkurat and slaughter anyone they could reach. Seizing the distraction, Conan's crew attacked the guards, while Conan emerged from the top of the Zikkurat and pushed the Hierarch down to a waiting dragon.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - Using a former guard's sword, Conan began to free his men, but then Xotli appeared, summoned by the gory ritual. Xotli began to overcome Conan and the others, but Conan regained his wits long enough to shatter the phoenix talisman Epimetrius had given him. 

    As Conan regained consciousness, the god Mitra appeared as a sphere of light and assaulted Xotli. As the two fought, the earth below began to quake, causing collapses and cave-ins, and Conan led his crew to flee the city. Ultimately Mitra destroyed and/or consumed Xotli before vanishing in a thunderclap.

    In the ensuing chaos, Metemphoc sent his legions of thieves through the city to slay any Xotli-priest or soldier they encountered. Recognizing that he, as a former king, might present a threat to Methemhoc (as would his allies), Conan led his crew aboard one of the Ptahuacans' dragon-ships.

Comments: Created by L. Sprague DeCamp & Lin Carter;
    adapted by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Danny Bulandi, Ricardo Villamonte & Armando Gil.

    I put my comments under the sub-profile for which they were most relevent.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ptahuacan has no known connections to:


antilles-mapAntillian islands

 
    A series of seven large islands, west of the Hyborian lands. 

    The capital of Antillia was Ptahuacan (I think...).

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) <18, 000 BC> - When Atlantis sank during the Great Cataclysm, thousands of Atlanteans fled to the mainland, Thuria, but the Priests of the demon god Xotli and their slaves fled to Ptahuacan -- halfway between the Hyborian continent and the far-western continent Mayapan -- in a mighty fleet of flying ships powered by the mysterious force called Vril; and the Atlanteans subdued the land's brown-skinned natives.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - Naked human sacrifices were served to Xotli by the thousands. Xotli typically only consumed the victims' hearts while the rest of the bodies were dropped within the Zikkurat to be consumed by giant-lizard "dragon" creatures.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - Eventually the population of the seven Antillian islands began to become depleted by the constant sacrifices, and some of the survivors -- fearing becoming sacrifices -- fled into the hills or adjoining isles. 

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


black_kraken - faceblack_kraken-tentaclesblack kraken

     The black kraken dwelled on the ocean floor (presumably a shallow region), from which it could extend tentacles to the surface. It had at least five massive tentacles, at least 1-2 feet in diameter even at their distal extent, and with three rows of suction cups. It had two large eyes and an immense mouth with sharp teeth and numerous villous projections from atop its head.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles - BTS) - Following the deaths of several of Aquilonia's citizens at the hands of the mysterious Red Shadows, Epimetrius the Sage -- a long-dead priest of Mitra -- appeared to King Conan (now in his late-60's) in a dream. Epimetrius advised Conan to sail west to seek out the source, but to watch for the black kraken (which was still an Atlantean symbol).

    As Conan led the Red Lion ship west into uncharted waters to investigate the Red Shadows, three days out from the Barachan Isles, they approached a region where a black kraken rested on the ocean floor (presumably a shallow region). 

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - The black kraken (perhaps under influence from the Ptahuacan priests), extended its tentacles up to the surface, reaching aboard the Red Lion, ensnaring two of its crewmen, and pulling them under. Conan lost his sword when the kraken grabbed him next, but he received an axe upon demand from his old ally Sigurd. 

    When the kraken pulled Conan to within reach of its maw, however, Conan slashed one of its eyes with his axe. The agonized kraken released its grip on Conan, who -- instead of fleeing to the surface -- swam down again and blinded its other eye with his axe, before swimming back up.  

    The two Argossean sailors first grabbed by the kraken perished before Conan could defeat the creature.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: While the kraken was likely crippled by pain and shock after being violently blinded, long enough for the Red Lion to escape, it was obviously able to grab victims from ships without being able to see them before. It could presumably sense ships or other prey by feel, and it could certainly grab people from atop ships by feel, so it likely could have continued to survive.

catlaxoc - mostly full - profilecatlaxoc-faceCatlaxoc

     As a bone-wearing late-60's Conan wandered the streets of Ptahuacan at night, a group of women hissed and gestured to get his attention; he could understand their intentions if not their words. He headed toward the nearest open door, and to Catlaxoc. She put out her hand, and he gave her a silver coin a figured to be worth several days board.

    After his gestures evinced his hunger, she prepared a meal, serving it an hour later. As he asked what the food items were, they gradually learned each other's languages; and by meal's end, they could exchange a few simple sentences.

    She then approached Conan and made clear her interest in him; noting he was not as young as he once was, and that he was a little weary from a day of battling men, phantoms, and dragonships, Conan nontheless picked her up in his arms and headed for the bedroom, advising, "but we shall see...!"

    Conan stayed with Catlaxoc for seven days before feeling strong enough to head out in search of his crewmen; during that time, Conan learned more from Catlaxoc, including that they were in Ptahuacan, last surviving city of the Atlanteans.

(Conan the Savage#10 (fb) - BTS) - "A woman Conan stayed with in Antillia" told him a legend of something called "The River of the Night," a terrible ocean stream that surged forever toward the place of the sun's setting (the West).

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: It can be assumed Catlaxoc made her living as a lady of the evening, although maybe she just boarded people, and only certain people, like Conan, got the bonus plan.

    Maybe, her union with Conan bore fruit? Who knows?

    Of course, that point is moot, as Marvel no longer has the rights to publish Conan material, and if they regained it, I would think they would likely reboot and start completely anew...but one never knows, does one?

    Conan's comment about being old and tired reminds me of the song by Toby Keith "As Good as I Once Was," which came out in 2005

    Catlax is a name for a brand of hairball remedy medication/laxative for cats.


dragonsdragon_facedragons

     These large (perhaps 10' tall at the shoulder and 25' long), carnivorous reptiles dwelled within the caverns beneath the Zikkurat. They had numerous sharp teeth and claws, as well as thick hide. There were approximately 40 of these creatures.

    They were accustomed to feeding upon the victims sacrificed to Xotli. As Xotli only fed on the victims' hearts, the dead bodies were dumped from atop the Zikkurat through a trap door into the caverns.

    Narrowly evading the creatures after happening into their caverns, Conan scaled a ladder to get out of the cavern, killing a guard in the process, and then used the wheel control, which had not been used in "an age," to open the great bronze doors leading out of the cavern. 

    Rushing up the now open ramp, the reptiles crashed through the painted plaster on the outside of the Zikkurat and rushed into the city, stampeding and/or devouring anyone in their path and causing mass chaos. The distraction allowed the captured pirates to fight back against their captors, and Conan knocked the Hierarch into the mouth of a waiting lizard, which swiftly chomped down on and slew him.

     The dragons presumably headed out of the city and into the surrounding wilderness, as they were not seen after Xotli's destruction.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


dragon_ship - initial appearancesdragon_ship-cleardragon ship

    The ships had their bow built up to resemble a dragon's head, including expelling smoke and flames through its "nostrils," with sails stiffened to look like wings. A pair of claw/hand-like grappling booms could be used to grab the side of a nearby ship. 

    The crew stayed hidden within the ship's lower level, emerging when reading from the doors within the red circle at its front at water level.

     As the Red Lion ship approached land (Ptahuacan), the Ptahuacans took a pair of their dragon ships to confront them. The first ship tricked the Red Lion's crew into believing it an actual dragon, and they fired arrows at it, to no avail. 

    Conan soon realized it was actually just a ship, and when the dragon ship's crew opened their doors to try to board the Red Lion, Conan had them pelted with fiery pitch (or something) via catapult. Fire spread rapidly across the dragon ship, with its crew either dying from that or leaping into the water. 

    The second ship then appeared from the other side of the Red Lion, and before the Red Lion's crew could redirect their catapult, the dragon ship projected fire onto the Red Lion's deck and sails. The dragon ship's claw grappling booms then launched onto the Red Lion, pulling the ships together, after which the dragon ship's crew boarded the Red Lion. 

    As the dragon ship's crew (who wore oxygen helmets) used gas weapons to incapacitate much of the Red Lion's crew, Conan fled in hopes of later rescuing his crew, who were swiftly defeated and captured. The dragon ship's crew then put out the fires, and the dragon ship towed the Red Lion to Ptahuacan.

    Having stolen one of the oxygen helmets, Conan walked on the ocean floor, following the ships back to Ptahuacan.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


escape-ship'The Winged Dragon

 

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - Following the destruction of Xotli and the fall of his worshippers, Metemphoc returned and ordered the slaughter of any remaining priests and soldiers of Xotli.

    Figuring Metemphoc would not want as a friend anyone who was himself a king, Conan ordered his former crewmen from the Red Lion aboard a golden Ptahuacan ship, which Conan then directed west.

    Conan hoped to visit the new land, Mayapan, where allegedly existed barbarian states founded by renegades from Atlantis and Antillia.

Conan the Savage#10 (fb) - BTS) - After many days of sailing farther west, many of the crew despaired.

(Conan the Savage#10) - Sigurd noted that the crew was growing surly, fearing they might sail off the world's rump-end. When Conan noted his trusting crewmen, but Sigurd pointed out that the head archer, Yakov, and Milo the Messantian were feeding the fears and discontents of "the scurvier crewmen." Sigurd further asked if he should hang those men from the mast, Conan declined, but admitted they had no map and the men may be right to question his captaincy. Soon enough, Yakov and Milo led some crewmen as they argued for turning around and heading back to Argos. When Conan reminded them the ship could not travel that far, nor did they had food or water, Milo suggested they could stop at Antillia for supplies; but Conan argued the rebels might imprison them as threats to their new rules. Insisting they would keep East, Conan instructed everyone to get back to work, but he then narrowly dodged an arrow shot at his head by Yakov. Conan swiftly subdued Yakov and, as Milo drew his sword, Yasunga jabbed Milo in the neck with his spear, forcing him to stand down. Sigurd then ordered an end to this "one-buttocked" mutiny, reminding everyone they would have died in Antillia if not for Conan. Some men asked if Conan was going to make Yakov and Milo walk the plank, but, appreciating they were already short-handed, gave them a second chance if they swore renewed loyalty, which they did.

    Almost immediately thereafter, they were struck by a powerful storm, during which Yasunga was thrown overboard while saving a young seaman from that same fate. When Conan started to tie a rope about his waist to try to rescue Yasunga and allow the others to pull them back, Sigurd considered Yasunga already gone and argued that the rest of the crew needed him alive. Acknowledging this, Conan rallied his crew.

(Conan the Savage#10 (fb) - BTS) - For two more days, the Winged Dragon was buffeted by the mad tempest.

(Conan the Savage#10) - When the storm ceased, there was no wind whatsoever to fill the sails, nor was there any land visible. As they floated dead in the water, the men despaired anew until Conan noted that they were moving despite their sails hanging limply. Sigurd acknowledged this, after which Conan observed how they were apparently being pulled along by a stream of dark waters, which reminded him of the "River of the Night," of which he had heard in Antillia. After Conan noted the River to always surging westward, Sigurd silenced crewmen fearing it would take them over the world's end, reminding them they were still alive, and noting that this stream might take them right to Mayapan, if it existed. Conan further reminded them they would arrive at their destination more swiftly if they rowed (which would also take their minds off their fears), which they did. As the dark waters widened and it became harder to mark their progress, Sigurd wondered what they would do, and Conan slapped him on the back, telling him they would wait to see if they struck landfall, fell off the world's edge, or if they all died before they did either.

(Conan the Savage#10 (fb) - BTS) - For two more days, the Winged Dragon was pulled by the River of the Night.

(Conan the Savage#10) - One of the crewmen announced his spotting of a ship, a strange vessel with sails of funereal purple that crossed their paths on a North-South course, ignoring the mighty current holding the Winged Dragon in thrall. Sigurd considered that only sorcerery would allow the ship to cross thusly, and Conan noted that he thought he had seen something like human heads bobbing behind the galley, but told Sigurd to say nothing to the others. 

    Hours later, the mists parted to reveal a mountainous island, and despite the men working the oars as Conan ordered, they could not stop the ship from crashing against the reefs. 

(Conan the Savage#10 - BTS) - Conan and the rest of the crew were pulled under by powerful currents. Conan was pulled to the surface by Dalili and brought to the shore of the Isle of Na'at, but most others drowned.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (Conan the Savage#10 (identified)


galley ship - frontgalley ship-sidegalley ship

 

     After Conan drove off the black kraken, they continued heading west until they encountered and pursued a galley ship.

    Conan noted that though the oars were in motion, no one was visible on deck or aloft. 

    Conan also recognized the symbol of the black kraken on their ship as the emblem of the old witch kings of Atlantis. 

    The Ptahuacan ship fled from the Red Lion, which followed closely, futilely launching a volley of arrows, and then flaming arrows, which the priest of Xotli magically extinguished. 

    Ultimately Conan slew the priest and then led a crew aboard the galley; as Conan investigated the priest-sorcerer-captain's quarter's and drank some wine he found there for courage, he observed the spirit of the slain priest attempting to make up with a silver casket. 

    After Conan drove the ghost-priest overboard, his crewman guided him to flee the sinking ship and return to the Red Lion.

    The galley sank soon after.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


galley priest - upper bodygalley priest - armoredgalley-armor-manygalley-priest - fullgreen-feathered priest of Xotli

     After Conan had slain the black kraken that plagued the crew of his Red Lion ship, they sighted, pursued, and caught up the green, black kraken-labeled galley ship of the priest-wizard. He was the sole inhabitant of this ship.

    When regular arrows proved futile, Conan ordered flaming arrows to be launched, but the priest appeared in his cloak of gorgeous green feathers and extinguished the arrows' flames with a single mystic gesture.

    As Conan ordered more arrows be launched, the priest cast a vial into the water that seemed to produce a seething fire between the two ships, but Conan shrewdly ordered the Red Lion head straight into the fire, proving it to be merely illusion, after which it vanished.

    Voicing the spell, "Hai, Xotli! Cahuatepak Ya-Xingoth!", the priest unleashed the Red Shadows; after one of the Red Lion's crew perished under the shadows, Conan ordered his archers to skewer the "devil in feathers." 

    The priest gestured with the flat of his hands, turning away several arrows, but one got past his magic and skewered him through the left hand. His swarthy features turning pale, the priest staggered back, nursing his injured hand to his bony chest, and then abruptly vanished.

    Conan's crew boarded the galley, at which point the priest reappeared, cloaked in armor and holding a shield and curved sword. After he spoke, "Hai Xolti (sic)! Shabbahoth Yahua-Tlt!" at least eight duplicates of him appeared. 

    Conan and his men charged forward, and the priests duplicates fell before them; finally, Conan attacked the original priest, shredding his sword before fatally stabbing him through the neck. As the priest fell, his duplicates vanished as well.

    As Conan explored the galley and the priest's chambers, he observed the priest's apparent ghost pulling aside curtains to pick up the silver casket hiding behind them. 

    As the priest opened a window to escape, Conan rushed forward and claimed the casket; though Conan's hands passed through the ghastly figure, the priest fell out the window into the water, glaring with maniacal rage.

    Within the casket, Conan found a scroll that had a map to the islands from which the priest had come.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: Conan speculated that the reason this priest was as far East as they had encountered by him was to loose the Red Shadows upon the Eastern continent. That would mean this priest controlled the Red Shadows and worked under the order of the Hierarch.


guardsguards-fullguards/soldiers

 

     Some of the guards were aboard the second dragon ship, wearing the oxygen helmets as they subdued and captured the crew.

    After the Red Lion's crew was defeated, they were bound in unbreakable glass-like chains and imprisoned below the deck.

    After the ship arrived at Ptahuacan, they brought their captives through the city, and through the bronze gates of the grey citadel adjoining the square of the Zikkurat, and into a tremendous chamber cut from the solid stone. 

    However, despite Sigurd's urging, the prisoners found the "glass" chains to be unbreakable. They waited days, growing matted with filth, and two men died from festering wounds, their bodies being taken by Antillian guards for disposal.

    Eventually the loud, metallic clash of spears on shields roused the prisoners from uneasy slumbers, and the guards herded the prisoners out of the grey citadel and up the steps of the Zikkurat. The former prisoners watched as those before them were placed upon the stone altar and their hearts cut out and placed amidst sacrificial fire, while their dead bodies were dropped down a pit into the cavern beneath the Zikkurat, where they were consumed by the dragon-like reptiles that dwelled there. 

    When Conan released the dragon-creatures, the prisoners took advantage of the shocked guards, knocking them off the steps to face the dragons on the streets. 

    Wielding one of the glass-like swords, Conan drove back several guards and then cut the chains holding his former crewmen. 

    As the priests and guards regrouped, Xotli took form, and Conan barely managed to use Epimetrius' amulet to summon Mitra to destroy and/or consume Xotli.

    Upon the battle's conclusion, the master thief Metemphoc ordered the returning people to search the houses and slay any Xotli-priest or soldier they found, and the people happily agreed.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


hierophant - cloakedhierophant-faceHierarch

     The chief priest of Xotli

    The Hierarch supervised the sacrifice of Xotli's victims, including cutting out their hearts and placing them in sacrificial flames, after which they dumped the bodies down a chamber into the cavern in which the dragon-like lizards fed on them.

    The Hierarch commanded the Red Shadows as his spirit-servants to transport victims from distant lands for sacrificed to Xotli (see note). 

    As the Hierarch prepared to slay Sigurd, Conan released the "dragons" from within the Zikkurat, causing mass chaos and distracting the guards and priests.

    As the Hierarch screamed unheeded commands to those around him, Conan emerged through a small door to the exterior of the Zikkurat and kicked the Hierarch off.

    The Hierarch fell into the mouth of a waiting "dragon," which swiftly chomped down and slew him.

 

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: The history of the Priests of Xotli is detailed in the main history, and a pair of priests are seen beside the Hierarch in the above image on the left.

    Although Metemphoc referred to the Red Shadows as the "spirit servants of the Hierarch," Conan speculated that the reason the green-feather cloaked priest aboard the green galley was as far East as they had encountered by him was to loose the Red Shadows upon the Eastern continent. That would mean this priest controlled the Red Shadows and worked under the order of the Hierarch.


idol of the thievesidol of the thieves

    The idol was a mechanical contrivance, operated via controls from a distance by one the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan, such as Itzra, and used to test others who sought information and/or membership

     After Conan forced the thief Itzra to take him to the king of thieves, Metemphoc, Conan related his recent history to Metemphoc and the thieves.

    Though Metemphoc found Conan's tale too fantastic to be made up, he nonetheless insisted Conan prove himself by walking across a stone bridge above a river of lava and stealing the gem embedded in the idol's brow. 

    Conan did so, but as soon as he removed the gem, the idol's mechanical arms activated, grabbing him in a powerful grip and then rotating to hold him above the lava.

    Reasoning the idol's arms were designed to release him into the lava if he pulled too hard against them, Conan was ready to swing his legs around the idol's stony middle, enabling the momentum to carry him back within grasping distance of the jutting rough edge of the bridge, just barely.

     Congratulating Conan on surviving the threat, Metemphoc ordered Itzra to stop operating the idol, but warned the returning Conan they might have to toss him into the flames for failing to retrieve the gem, but Conan spit out the gem he had held in his mouth.

    Metemphoc therefore welcomed Conan to the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


itzra-upper_bodyitzra-full-controlsItzra

     Itzra was a member of the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan, and he sometimes operated the idol.

     Seeking to learn the location and/or fate of his captured crewmen, Conan waited to see a thief in action and then grabbed Itzra and ordered him to take him to the King of Thieves or he would break Itzra's arm.

    Itzra brought Conan to Metemphoc but rapidly announced that Conan had forced him to do so. 

    With the thieves' numbers, Chitzlan announced that they would find out what his captor wanted, but Metemphoc interrupted, correcting that he would take care of that.

    Itzra subsequently operated the idol during Metemphoc's test of Conan, and he presumably participated in the parties that followed, and perhaps the slaughter of the priests and soldiers of Xotli following the destruction of Xotli and the downfall of his followers.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


metemphocmetemphoc-faceMetemphoc

     King of Thieves

     Metemphoc ruled the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan

    Seeking to learn the location and/or fate of his captured crewmen, Conan grabbed the thief Itzra and ordered him to take him to the King of Thieves.

    After Itzra brought Conan to Metemphoc, Chitzlan announced that they would find out what his captor wanted, but Metemphoc interrupted, correcting that he would take care of that.

    Though Metemphoc found Conan's tale too fantastic to be made up, he nonetheless insisted Conan prove himself by walking across a stone bridge above a river of lava and stealing the gem embedded in the idol's brow. Conan complied.

     Congratulating Conan on surviving the threat, Metemphoc ordered Itzra to stop operating the idol, but warned the returning Conan they might have to toss him into the flames for failing to retrieve the gem, but Conan spit out the gem he had held in his mouth.

    Metemphoc welcomed Conan to the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan, and hoped that they may each prove worthy of each other.

    For days Conan enjoyed Metemphoc's hospitality, but grew impatient waiting to learn about his missing men. Telling Conan he had just learned the previous night that his men were still living, Metemphoc disclosed their location, but discouraged Conan from rushing off to rescue them but rather to enjoy some grapes brought by his female servants. 

    Frustrated, Conan demanded to know what would be his crew's fate, and  Metemphoc detailed their planned sacrificed to Xotli, assuring Conan he answered his question because it pleased him.

    When Conan warned that after the priests had depleted the Eastern nations, they would seek out thieves such as him, Metemphoc acknowledged that this was why he had decided to help Conan combat them.

    Metemphoc then showed Conan a map that would guide him through the subterranean caverns to the forgotten tunnels beneath the capital of Antillia, tunnels of which only the thieves knew.

    Later, after Xotli's destruction and his followers downfall, Metemphoc ordered the returning people to search the houses and slay any Xotli-priest or soldier they found, and the people happily agreed.

    Figuring Metemphoc would not want as a friend anyone who was himself a king, Conan ordered his former crewmen from the Red Lion aboard a golden Ptahuacan ship, which Conan then directed west.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: As Conan and his crew departed aboard the Ptahuacan ship, Conan noted that Metemphoc had called him "Kukulcan," wondering if that was a title of some sort or perhaps a corruption of Conan of Cimmeria.
    I couldn't find the spot in the story where that Metemphoc said that, so it may have been behind the scenes, or I just missed it.
    Nonetheless, that may mean that Metemphoc worshipped or was otherwise aware of the Maya god Kukulcan, or a Hyborian equivalent...


oxygen helmetsoxygen helmets

    These helmets could provide oxygen for the wearer, as well as protecting them from harmful gases or from complete underwater immersion. They required no specific tank or oxygen reservoir, and could form an airtight simply by placing it over one's head. They could function for at least a few hours.

     The soldiers aboard the second dragon ship wore these helmets as they boarded the Red Lion.

    They then shattered glass globes containing gas that swiftly rendered those who breathed it unconscious.

    Realizing the futility of resisting by himself, Conan chose discretion as the better part of valor and fled in hopes of rescuing his crewmen at a later time. 

    As he departed, he slew one of the soldiers and took his helmet. 

    Placing the helmet over his head, Conan dove into the waters and swam to the bottom, and the helmet allowed him to continue breathing otherwise normally. He could also see well, although beyond a few yards, the water clouded his gaze. 

    As he followed the dragon ship to shore, Conan felt strangely light even in the awkward gear.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


phoenix_amuletphoenix amulet

 

    Appearing to Conan in a dream and advising him against a threat to the rest of the world, Epimetrius the Sage gifted Conan with the a phoenix amulet apparently congealed from the surrounding mists.

    Epimetrius advised Conan that he should bear it through every trial, for in your hour of need, it will be your salvation. "Nay, I can tell you naught more...but in your time of peril, your heart will instruct you how to use this talisman."

    As Conan succumbed to the power of Xotli, he recalled Epimetrius' words, and he used the hilt of his sword to shatter the phoenix amulet into powder.

    From the shattered amulet was released was released a shimmering ball of light, which warned Conan's crewmen to get away fast.

    Ultimately, the light, which proved to be a manifestation of Mitra, destroyed and/or consumed Xotli.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


ratsrats

 

     The size of small dogs, gaunt, half-starved, and with white chisel teeth, these rats dwelled within the catacombs beneath Ptahuacan, specifically within the tunnels between the base of the Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan and the tunnels holding the dragon-like lizards below the Zikkurat.

    As Conan headed through the tunnels toward the Zikkurat with the goal of rescuing his captive crewmen, the rats beset him. Conan felt that someone had been watching his stealthy approach and loosed this slithering horde upon him.

    Aware that his sword would avail him little, Conan fled as he never had before, for hours it seemed, until he came to an underground stream, in which he knew he would sink from the weight of his mail-shirt.

    He therefore turned and faced the rats, slicing several with his sword before they swarmed over him. 

    Spying a natural bridge, Conan rushed to and over it, and, due to its narrow width, which would limit the number of rats that could come at him at a time, he made his stand at its center, but as the rats swarmed onto the rocky bridge, the bridge collapsed under the weight and Conan's struggles. 

    The water separated Conan from the rats, and he narrowly survived the waters to continue his journey to rescue his men.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles


Red ShadowsRed Shadows

     The Red Shadows were a spell invoking the power of Xotli to transport a victim across intercontinental distance to Ptahuacan to be sacrificed to Xotli. 

    They were referred to as the shadow servants of the Hierarch, but at least one of the other priests of Xotli could also generate the Red Shadows (see note).

    It is not clear whether the victims were directly sacrificed via the spell, being consumed by the red energy, which was transmitted directly to Xotli; or whether the victims were physically transported to Ptahuacan, where the Heirarch and his priests cut out their hearts atop the Zikkurat, fed the hearts to Xotli, and dumped their bodies into the caverns below the Zikkurat for the dragons to devour.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - When the Hierarch and his priests began to deplete the local sources and distant sources fled inland, the Hierarch sent his Red Shadows to the eastern continent, magically claiming more victims for sacrifice to Xotli.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (fb) - BTS) - In Argos, the Red Shadows struck, transporting many citizens to become sacrifices to Xotli.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - In Tarantia, the capital of the kingdom of Aquilonia, the Red Shadows began to appear, claiming many victims, such as Count Trocero, before vanishing.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - In the next "halfmonth," the Red Shadows struck again and again, claiming commoners and the wealthy alike, eventually claiming 700 Aquilonian citizens.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles - BTS) - The long-dead Mitraic priest Epimetrius the Sage guided Conan to recruit a crew, and Argossean king Ariostro supplied funds to help him purchase the Red Lion ship to head west to confront the Atlantean descendents who had attacked them.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles) - From aboard a Ptahuacan galley ship discovered, pursued, and confronted by the Red Lion, the green-feathered cloak-wearing priest of Xotli voiced the spell, "Hai, Xotli! Cahuatepak Ya-Xingoth!", unleashing the Red Shadows; after one of the Red Lion's crew perished under the shadows, Conan ordered his archers to skewer the "devil in feathers." 

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: Although Metemphoc referred to the Red Shadows as the "spirit servants of the Hierarch," Conan speculated that the reason the green-feather cloaked priest aboard the green galley was as far East as they had encountered by him was to loose the Red Shadows upon the Eastern continent. That would mean this priest controlled the Red Shadows and worked under the order of the Hierarch.

    The Red Shadows reminded me vaguely of red blood cells, which are actually bi-concave discs.


Thief-Brotherhood-1Thief-Brotherhood-2Thief-Brotherhood of Ptahuacan

    Known members included Chitzlan (only upper body in shadows from behind, as pictured in the image to the left), Itzra, and the king of thieves, Metemphoc.
    Metemphoc welcomed Conan to the Thief-Brotherhood, but presumably just as an ally, as he didn't really serve as one of their number.

    They operated a mechanical idol to test others

    Dwelling in caverns beneath the city, they were a united group under the rule of Metemphoc.

    Seeking to learn the location and/or fate of his captured crewmen, Conan grabbed the thief Itzra and ordered him to take him to the King of Thieves.

    After Itzra brought Conan to Metemphoc, Chitzlan announced that they would find out what his captor wanted, but Metemphoc interrupted, correcting that he would take care of that.

    Metemphoc had Conan tested via their idol; after Conan passed the test, Metemphoc supplied Conan with information -- which his people learned a few days after Conan's arrival -- that led Conan to rescue his crew.

    After Conan had facilitated the destruction of Xotli, Metemphoc led his people (and apparently the citizens returning to the city after the destruction) to search the houses and slay any Xotli-priest or soldier they found, and the people happily agreed.

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles

Note: In the image on the left, Conan is in the purple-ish cloak, and in the image on right, he is on the far right.


ziggurat

zigguratZikkurat

     The top of this large, centrally-based pyramid was the altar on which the Hierarch sacrificed victims to Xotli.

    The altar also had a hole through which the victims' bodies were dropped after their hearts were cut out for Xotli. 

    Bodies dropped through the hole fell into the caverns below, where the immense dragon-like lizards devoured them.

    Conan helped the dragons break out of the side of the Zikkurat, and rush out into the city, causing a distraction that helped Conan and his allies turn the tides on the Hierarch and his men.

    After Xotli's arrival, Conan used Epimetrius' phoenix amulet to summon Mitra, and the Zikkurat was largely destroyed by the energies released in the subsequent struggle between Xotli and Mitra.

 

-- Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles




Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles, story pg. 4, panel 6 (Red Shadows surround Trocero);
        pg. 11, panel 3 (phoenix amulet);
        pg. 29, panel 2 & 4 (black kraken tentacles and face);
        pg. 36, panel 3 & 5 (galley ship, front & side);
        pg. 38, panel 4 (green-feathered-cloak-wearing priest, full and upper body);
        pg. 41, panel 3 & 5 (priest and armor, with duplicates);
        pg. 47, panel 1 (map of the Antillian isles);
        pg. 49, panel 3 (dragon ship from a distance);
        pg. 50, panel 3 (dragon ship up close);
        pg. 52, panel 5 (soldiers in oxygen helmets);
        pg. 57, panel 4 & 5 (Catlaxoc upper body & face);
        pg. 59, panel 2 (Iztra upper body);
        pg. 60, panel 4 (Metemphoc full, seated);
        pg. 61, panel 2 (idol);
        pg. 64, panel 2 (Metemphoc face);
        pg. 68, panel 5 (rats);
        pg. 71, panel 6 (guards/soldiers faces);
        pg. 72, panel 5 (city);
        pg. 73, panel 1 (guards/soldiers, full);
        pg. 74, panel 3 (grey citadel next to zikkurat);
        pg. 75, panel 1 (Hierarch sacrificing female victim)
        pg. 79, panel 5 (dragons, full);
        pg. 80, panel 3 (dragon, face);
        pg. 85, panel 3 (Hierarch, uncloaked);
        pg. 92, panel 1 (city collapsing);
        pg. 93, panel 1 (escape ship, front; with Ptahuacan in flames);
            panel 4 (escape ship, side)


Appearances:
Marvel Graphic Novel: Conan of the Isles (1988) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Danny Bulanadi, Ricardo Villamonte & Armando Gil (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)


Last updated: 09/11/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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