Real Name: Laynnen
Identity/Class: Elderspawn magic-user;
Occupation: Presumably a farmer and/or hunter-gatherer
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Conan, Elder Gods (see comments)
Enemies: Pau-Styss and his hawk-men,
Known Relatives: Elder Gods (see comments; creators)
Noyo (wife), Dreeme (son)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Laynnen recognized Conan as his old friend.
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
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.
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.
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
the Barbarian#128 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo told Conan her true history.
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.
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.
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.
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'
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
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
sorcerous energies were at their end, but that he could use the Sword
of Strength to slay Pau-Styss.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Laynnen 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
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil
Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise
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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