Synopsis for “Beware the Hyrkanians Bearing Gifts…!”
Conan rides hard into Aghrapur, driving his horse to death, in order to bring a message to King Yildiz. He collapses at the king’s feet, and, impressed with his sense of duty, decides to make Conan part of his personal guard. Conan awakens in luxury in the palace, and takes the time to reunite with Amytis, woman of Turanian commander Narim-Bey. Others in the palace make fun of Conan’s barbarism, and, after he sets them straight, spends weeks learning training in horsemanship and with bows, spears, and axes. Meanwhile, the King’s son Yezdigerd, currently ravaging the east, has sent a huge, headless stone statue to his father as tribute from one of the cities he has razed. Yildiz is appreciative of the gift, though Conan is suspicious of how the supposedly sacred statue was conveniently found. One night, Conan is almost discovered in Amytis’s chambers while Narim-Bey is away, and Conan begins to worry about Bey discovering their affair. Soon, a priest arrives carrying the head of the statue, to Yildiz’s delight. That delight soon turns to horror as the statue comes alive and begins to slaughter everyone within sight. Conan notices that the priest seems to be controlling the now-active stone golem and, just before it crushes the king, Conan kills the priest with a well-thrown axe. The king, shaken, realizes that he has been set up by his son, and Nerim-Bey (possibly acting upon his suspicions) takes the opportunity of the king’s newfound decision to become a recluse in his castle to send Conan on a mission to the north.