“Swordless in Stygia”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan has survived his fight with the hawk rider. Now he goes to Harakht to rescue Belit. He finds a hawk rider helmet and puts it on as a disguise. This gets him access into the city. Meanwhile Belit and Neftha are presented to the warrior king Hor-Neb. Then this brother who is the high priest and co-king comes and demands his share of the loot from the merchant. He also wants Belit but Hor-Neb refuses so he must take Neftha. Back at his temple, Mer-Ath the priest king tells the story of Harakht. That they found three giant hawk eggs and a meteor. They brought all these back and started raising giant hawks.
Conan has been found out and has to battle the hordes of Stygians that are after him. He climbs up a wall and pushes the statue of their hawk god onto them. Conan then has to surrender when Belit’s life is threatened. The warrior king throws Conan into the dungeon and will use him to get Belit to agree to use her Black Corsairs in helping him gain full independence from Stygia. In the dungeon Conan comes on the meteor and a giant that guards it.
So far I am really loving this story. A city with two kings who are brothers. One is very ambitious and could be a threat to King Ctesphon which threatens the city of Harakht. Conan once again gets an opportunity to show off how much a badass he is. He manages to boldly bluff his way into the city. Then easily evades the entire guard and topples a stone statue. Only the threat to Belit results in his capture. Ends with him fighting the giant over the meteor. The next issue was the first I ever read of the color Conan and it was many years later that I finally got the story of how Conan came to be there.