Synopsis for “The Last Ballad of Laza-Lanti”
Conan, relaxing in a tavern in shadizar, listens to a haunting song from the minstrel Laza-Lanti. A brawl inevitably breaks out, landing Conan and Laza-Lanti in jail. The minstrel sings a tale of the Dark Valley, where he was born, and how he fled the valley when he was a child, on the run from a monster which was stalking him. Laza-Lanti has vowed to return to the place of his birth to free it from the monster’s power, and after the two escape using the minstrel’s hidden dagger, Conan decides to accompany him. They make their way to the Dark Valley, where they find a few men leaving behind cattle as a sacrifice. Soon, they see a beautiful woman arrive to take the cattle into a cave beneath some cliffside ruins. The woman offers the cattle to a slimy, tentacled monster. Laza-Lanti impulsively attacks the creature, and Conan assists, and they manage to kill the demon. When the minstrel expects gratitude from the woman, Timara, she explains that she served the demon willingly, for it kept her young, and she had bore it two two sos. One son was given to druids to raise; the other is Laza-Lanti himself. The spells keeping her young gone, she swiftly ages and falls on her own dagger. Conan leaves the devastated men, who commits suicide while Conan ponders what happened to the other son.