Synopsis for “The Dweller in the Pool!”
The giant monster Pthassiass wastes no time in attacking Conan and his companions, quickly gobling up the unfortunate serving girl Gwineer. Conan’s blows barely do any damage to the creature, but he notices that it seems to avoid the living, magical garden itself. Conan manages to lure it into the plants, and the tendrils and vines attack and flay Pthassiass as Conan and Stefanya retreat with the amulet. When the reunite with Lupalina, the wold-woman reveals that she does indeed know Stefanya, and reveals the girl’s history. She is the daughter of Thormond, the lord of Phalkar, whose demise was plotted by the wizards Thalkaldies and Elviriom. Lupalina, when she was called Samandra and was merely the lady-in-waiting to the Chrysala, Stefanya’s mother, helped the wizards, but had a change of heart and saved the baby instead of killing her as the wizards expected. Thormond was killed in a rockslide “accident” and the wizards’ puppet, Themas Herklar, was put on the throne. But Herklar seems to have had a change of heart, and it is to him that Conan is meant to deliver the amulet of protection, under the noses of the wizards. Lupalina uses her magic to spy on their enemy, expecting to see the wizards, but instead see a young man sitting on the throne, exuding evil, who can shoot beams of fire from his eyes. Lupalina realizes greater magics are at work and quickly breaks off the scrying. She reveals that the amulet can teleport Conan to the castle at Phalkar, and Conan goes in hopes of finding Themas Herklar. He finds him in the dungeon, a tortured, broken man, and discovers that the young man, Unos, was in fact a being of evil magic created by the wizards. Suddenly, the two are attacked by subhuman creatures who lurk in the dungeons, and Conan teleports back to his companions. They vow to bring the wizards down.