Synopsis for “The Mirrors of Kharam Akkad”
The high priest Kharam-Akkad is upset because his magical mirror is causing him to be distracted from Conan’s escapades. He summons Chumballa Bey, who has a score to settle with the barbarian, to bring Conan to him. As the priest tries to relax, he is approached by the Tarim Incarnate, the embodiment of the Hyrkanian diety, who apparantly is not just a statue. Akkad tells Tarim about the Mirrors of Tuzun Thune. The tale revolves around ancient Valusia and its king, Kull. Kull had encountered a wizard named Tuzun Thule whose mirrors predicted the future. Kull sat entranced by the visions enfolding in the mirrors until he was rescued by his friend Brule. The mirrors passed through the ages into Akkad’s hand, and when he looks upon them, he sees Conan standing over his dead body, with the images of a lion, eagle and serpent hovering above. He believes that the animals signify a statue in Makkalet of a winged serpent fighting a griffin, but the image of his corpse is driving the priest mad. He returns Tarim to his room. Meanwhile, Conan returns from his adventure with Red Sonja and is confronted by soldiers. He fights and tries to escape, but is severely weakened and collapses in front of the queen. The king orders Conan imprisoned. Back in the Turanian camps, Yezdigerd consults with his adviser Sulimar as they prepare for the final push into the town. They, too, have received augurs about a griffin and a serpent, which they interpret as being Turan and Makkalet, but also of a horse and walking swords, which they don’t understand. The armies prepare for battle. Back inside the castle, Akkad questions Conan on the meaning of the mirror’s image, but Conan has no idea what he’s talking about. Akkad forces Conan to look into a mirror, and he sees a skeletal version of himself, just before the mirror becomes a portal to another dimension, and a tentacled monster reaches out. Conan fights it off, then confronts the priest as the battle outside the walls begins. In horror, Akkad realizes that Conan’s sword has an eagle on the hilt, and his shield is held with snake-skin straps. He wonders what the lion means as he is killed by Conan, and Conan sees the same vision of Akkad’s death that the priest saw. He, also, is ignorant of the animal symbolism, not knowing that he is one day destined to be called Amra, the lion.