Real Name: Laynnen

Identity/Class: Elderspawn magic-user;
    Hyborian era;
    Cimmerian citizen

Occupation: Presumably a farmer and/or hunter-gatherer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Conan, Elder Gods (see comments)

EnemiesPau-Styss and his hawk-men, 

Known Relatives: Elder Gods (see comments; creators)
    Noyo (wife), Dreeme (son)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    last seen leaving the castle of Pau-Styss (possibly in Khitai);
    at least formerly a cabin in the sparsely inhabited high hills of Cimmeria;
    formerly Conan's village in Cimmeria

First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#128 (November, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: A gentle, peaceful man, Laynnen was highly skilled in writing songs, often telling of past experiences, etc., as well as in singing his songs, and in playing they lyre.

    A child of the Elder Gods, he likely had some magical properties, but he did not demonstrate any such abilities in his limited appearances.

    When transformed into bird form by Pau-Styss, he could fly and sing like a bird.

    When transformed into a bird statue, he was mute, immobile, and presumably had the properties of whatever rock or material from which he was formed.

Hair: Brownlaynnen-elder_gods-created.jpg


(Conan the Barbarian#130 (fb)) - Laynnen was birthed by the "creation-lords" (used interchangeably for the Elder Gods) who was to play a pivotal role in their design. Laynnen's knowledge of his true nature was submerged.

laynnen-elder_gods-youth(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb)) - A seemingly sickly child, Laynnen wandered into a Cimmerian village from the forests. While the other children hated, beat, and taunted Laynnen for being different, Conan protected and befriended Laynnen, who entertained him with "dream-songs of magical kingdoms yet to be."

    Laynnen also taught Conan that to be a gentle spirit did not make one less of a man.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb)) - After Conan's departure from Cimmeria, the other Cimmerians drove Laynnen off with rocks, and he wandered to the sparsely inhabited mountains and forests.

(Conan the Barbarian#130 (fb) - BTS) - Having been transformed into a mystic wind by her Elder God masters to escape the wizard Pau-Styss (who sought the Elder Gods' Cornerstones of Creationnearly 500 years earlier, the priestess Noyo felt compelled to join together with Laynnen (Noyo apparently had known Laynnen's true nature on some level, but her memories were somehow suppressed).

noyo-hyborian-elder_gods-whirlwind.jpg(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb)) - Laynnen observed as Noyo emerged from within a powerful gale. Laynnen and Noyo fell in love, and Noyo soon after bore him a son, Dreeme; they remained strongly in love.

    Noyo tutored Laynnen in speaking Khitain.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo's return to human form allowed Pau-Styss to again detect her.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo told Laynnen that she spurned a wizard, and that he had cursed her to wander the world in the form of a living wind.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 - BTS) - An exhausted Conan happened upon Laynnen and Noyo's cabin and kicked in the door before collapsing in front of Noyo.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Laynnen recognized Conan as his old friend.

(Conan the Barbarian#128) - Upon reviving and finding his sword missing, Conan accused Noyo as a witch, but Laynnen mockingly asked him if that was any way to greet an old friend's woman and then teased that Conan had never known how to treat the fairer sex. Recognizing Laynnen, Conan rushed forward and grabbed him in a bear hug; Laynnen managed to knock Conan to his back, but when Conan rolled and kicked him away, Laynnen acknowledged that he could never beat Conan in a fair contest. As both men laughed, Conan noted that Laynnen never had to.

    Their laughter and stories continued for hours, during which Noyo served dinner, and the two men reminisced over how they had met.

    Sensing Conan's questions on how he came to his current existence, Laynnen answered him in a song that related his departure from Cimmeria and his meeting with Noyo.

    When Conan sensed an approaching threat, Laynnen followed him outside of the cabin where they encountered a number of sword-wielding hawk-men. Terrified and wordless, Laynnen stepped back, but as Conan prepared for battle, the hawk-men swooped down and carried off Laynnen.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 - BTS) - Rushing outside with Dreeme, Noyo recognized the hand of Pau-Styss in this, and she told Dreeme his father had been swept into the lair of a black-hearted beast. Soon after Pau-Styss projected his image before them, holding Laynnen's unconscious form and telling Noyo she knew what he wanted and that if she ever wished to see her husband again, she would get it for him.

(Conan the Barbarian#128) - Imprisoned in a cage within the castle of Pau-Styss (which floated over the Eiglopohian mountains that separated Cimmeria from Vanaheim and Aesgaard), Laynnen understood Styss' Khitain speech but warned him that Noyo would never be his. Styss explained to Laynnen that he had no interest in Noyo's love and that she had drawn the magical wind spell on herself; he further told Laynnen of the Cornerstones of Creation, the locations of which only Noyo knew, as she was the priestess of the Elder Gods and part of the Cult of Creation. With the power of the Cornerstones of Creation, Styss planned to overthrow the gods.

(Conan the Barbarian#130 (fb) - BTS) - Upon hearing Noyo's true nature, Laynnen appreciated his own true nature as a child of the Elder Gods. However, he also realized that they would not triumph over evil by dissuading but by encouraging Styss to use the Cornerstones.
    Laynnen also appreciated that only the chosen one, the one pure in heart, could tap into the Cornerstones without harm; this chosen one would one day use that power to redeem the dark and violent world.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo told Conan her true history.

(Conan the Barbarian#128 - BTS) - Though Noyo initially considered that retrieving the Cornerstones of Creation for Pau-Styss might put all of existence at risk, with some gentle guidance from Conan, she realized that a universe without her beloved Laynnen would not be a universe worth living in. laynnen-elder_gods-bird-cage

(Conan the Barbarian#129) - As Pau-Styss cursed Noyo as a witch for magically throwing darkness across his sphere of sight, preventing him from observing her efforts, Laynnen told him he was a fool or a madman, or perhaps both. Laynnen continued, asking if Pau-Styss had pondered the dangers, not just to world but to his own immortal soul, if Noyo managed to secure the Cornerstones of Creation for him. When Laynnen urged Pau-Styss to give up this insanity "before you bi--"; but Pau-Styss silenced Laynnen before he could finish, noting Laynnen to be a balladeer, not a philosopher, as he transformed Laynnen into a bird (with Laynnen's head). Pau-Styss then taunted Laynnen, telling him, "So sing, sweet bird -- raise your voice in golden song." Laynnen indeed began a mournful song that echoed over the land, a song of loss and pain and of dreams gone astray.laynnen-elder_gods-birdflight.jpg

(Conan the Barbarian#130) - Pau-Styss informed Laynnen that despite Noyo's shielding her whereabouts from his all-seeing crystal, he sensed that her quest drew nearer to fruition. Pau-Styss advised that this was good news for both of them, but as the Laynnen bird continued to flap about, Pau-Styss wondered if he disliked his new form or just needed to stretch his wings. To facilitate the latter possibility, Pau-Styss magically opened the door to Laynnen's cage. Laynnen immediately took off with a loud "wheet," but screeched in frustration upon finding the windows to Styss' castle covered in metal bars with openings too small for the man-bird to escape. Styss mocked Laynnen's frustration, and when the man-bird dove towards Styss, apparently seeking to claw out the demon-sorcerer's eyes with his talons, Styss transformed Laynnen into an unliving stone statue, which Styss considered that he would remain until Styss became lord of creation.

(Conan the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - After retrieving the last of the Cornerstones of Creation with Conan and Dreeme's aid, Noyo transported herself and her allies to Pau-Styss' castle.

(Conan the Barbarian#130) - When Conan demanded to know where Laynnen was, Pau-Styss hurled the small man-bird statue into the air, where it transformed back into Laynnen's normal form before crashing back to the ground.

    When Noyo rushed toward her husband, Pau-Styss blasted her back, noting he did not see the Cornerstones of Creation; Noyo assured Styss that the Cornerstones were hidden but would be his once Laynnen was free. As the weakened Laynnen noted Pau-Styss' black heart and the Cornerstone's power, Noyo appreciated that their love had no use if Pau-Styss controlled creation. Laynnen weakly tried to explain that she had misunderstood him, but Noyo paid him no heed and told Conan that her sorcerous energies were at their end, but that he could use the Sword of Strength to slay Pau-Styss.laynnen-elder_gods-birdstatue.jpg

    Conan outfought Pau-Styss with the Sword, but Styss turned into mist and then reformed behind Conan and struck him down with an energy blast. After Styss struck back Dreeme, Laynnen comforted his son while Styss forced Noyo to bring forth the Cornerstones, which Styss transformed into their sidereal states and spoke the chants to claim their power. Ultimately, however, the power consumed him, leaving him a skeleton before that crumbled to dust. laynnen-elder_gods-dreem.jpg

    After Laynnen noted how it would end up this way, Noyo revealed that she had recalled/appreciated Laynnen's true nature as the child of the Elder Gods, and Laynnen revealed how, upon learning Noyo's nature, he had understood that only the "chosen one" could tap into the Cornerstone's power without harm. When Laynnen indicated that Dreeme could be that chosen one, Dreeme indicated his own violent thoughts during the quest for the Cornerstones. Laynnen acknowledged this stain on Dreeme's soul, and he, Dreeme, and Noyo would have to work on drawing this stain out so that it might be washed away. Laynnen assured Dreeme they could had would do this.

    Conan departed, voicing his
disgust in what he perceived as nonsense. When Laynnen tried to stop him, Conan noted that Laynnen was not what he thought, and he regretted having unleashed yet another god upon a world that had seen too many gods already. Conan bade Laynnen farewell, noting that he would long remember what he was and that he would try to forget what he had become.

    Acknowledging that they may have outgrown each other, Laynnen tearfully assured Conan that this did not mean he could not still love his old friend or recall their times together and smile. Conan continued his departure silently, although he may have also shed one small tear as he did.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil Kane.

   When we first posted the Cornerstones of Creation profile 2/19/2002, we made this comment: "The Elder Gods of the Hyborian Age (never specifically named and sometimes referred to as the Primal Gods and the Creation-Lords, but possibly the four Elder Gods mentioned elsewhere in the Conan series: Crom, Mitra, Asura, and Set..." although only three gods are depicted in a flashback; but there could have easily been one or more off panel).
    I had always considered the Elder Gods of the Hyborian era to be distinct from the true Elder Gods (Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur, and
Set; with others having long since perished).
    However, the Mystic Arcana series included the Cornerstones of Creation and revealed them to be associated with the true Elder Gods; further, the
Crown of Wisdom was shown to a form of the Serpent Crown (associated with Set); the Mirror of Beauty was shown to be a form of the Darkhold (associated with Chthon); the Rose of Peace was shown to be the Ebon Rose (associated with Gaea); and the Sword of Strength was shown to be a form of the Sword of Bone (associated with Oshtur), used by Cadaver.
    Interestingly, the one image in Conan the Barbarian I#130 that shows the Elder Gods (as they are apparently creating Laynnen) looks to at least three completely human-looking males. Is this just an image from Noyo's understanding of her masters? Did she lack understanding of their true forms/natures and just assume them to be human males who mystically combined their energies to generate a living being? Were these beings actually avatars of the Elder Gods, rather than the Elder Gods themselves? Or are there two different sets of Cornerstones of Creation? I know the author of Mystic Arcana, David Sexton, intended the Cornerstones in his stories to be the same ones from the Conan stories.
    Questions that will likely remain unrevealed...and perhaps moot, depending on how the new Conan series fits in. From the introductory information, it is supposed to be remaining true to the older stories/continuity from the 1970s-1990s, but ultimately that remains to be seen.

    If Laynnen is indeed a creation of Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur, and Set, his Known Relatives section is in need of massive expansion, making him the brother (sort of...maybe a half/quarter-sibling) of Agamotto, Demogorge, the N'Garai, Omm, the Serpent Men, most of the skyfathers/mothers of Earth's godly pantheons, and MANY, MANY others . For now, you can check out the known relatives section of those profiles.

    Khitai is the Hyborian equivalent of China; Kush is the equivalent of a large portion of Africa; you can probably figure out Iranistan. Read the Blockbusters handbook's entry on the Great Cataclysm for more information on the fates of Hyborian and pre-Cataclysmic nations.

Profile by Snood.

should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian I#128, pg. 6, panel 5 (Conan defending Laynnen from bullies);
          panel 6 (regaling Conan with songs/lyres);
       pg. 7, panel 1 (planting or picking flowers);
          panel 3 (face);
       pg. 8, panel 4 (watching Noyo arriving in a whirlwind);
    #129, pg. 12, panel 2 (bird-form in a cage);
    #130, pg. 5, panel 2 (flying in bird-form);
          panel 6 (bird statue form);
       pg. 20, panel 1 (created by Elder Gods);
          panel 5 (speaking to Dreeme)

Conan the Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#130 (January, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)

First posted: 02/08/2019
Last updated: 02/08/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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