Synopsis for “Lair of the Beast-Men!”
While traveling through Aesgaard, Conan comes upon the dead remains of a giant Beast-Man. He then spies a young woman shivering in the snow. He chases after her hoping to ask her some questions, but she runs away. The woman, Moira, baits Conan into a trap and he is ambushed by two brutish ape men. The beasts lay him low with a blow across the back of the head and drag him down into their underground kingdom of Brutheim. They place him inside of a dungeon filled with “manlings”. These men have been raised in slavery and have never once traveled to the surface world. The leader of the slaves is the Chief Thrall, Kiord. Kiord befriends Conan, but tells him that dreams of escaping confinement are futile. Later, Conan is marched out into the middle of a battle arena and presented to the Beast-Men’s king, Gha-Kree. He is stripped of his war helm and Conan fights back, but he is quickly overwhelmed. Gha-Kree is impressed with the Cimmerian’s temerity and decides that he will be of great sport in the arena games. Conan is taken back to his cell. Kiord offers Conan a sharpened stone should he wish to take his own life. Conan scoffs at the notion, indicating that he still intends to fight back. He is brought back out into the arena and forced to fight against a savage snow-lion. Conan kills the lion with Kiord’s rock knife and the sight of victory inspires Kiord to revolt. He breaks free of his cage and his followers run out into the arena. The Beast-Men are shocked but such never before seen courage and are unsure how to react. Many run in fear. Conan and Kiord press against one of the Beast-Men’s wheeled battering rams and push it towards the king’s throne. The battering ram smashes through the pillars of the arena causing one side of the structure to collapse. During the frenzy, King Zha-Gorr comes up behind Kiord and strikes him dead. Conan leaps in anger and slashes the king across the back of his neck with his sword. The other Beast-Men are either buried beneath the rubble or have fled the arena. Conan takes Zha-Gorr’s crown and places it on Kiord’s lifeless head, proclaiming him “First among men”.