Wolves Beyond the Border
|"Wolves Beyond the Border"|
|Author||Robert E. Howard|
|Series||Conan the Barbarian|
|Published in||Conan the Usurper|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
"Wolves Beyond the Border" is one of the original stories by American writer Robert E. Howard featuring Conan the Cimmerian, a fragment begun in the 1930s but not finished or published in Howard's lifetime. It is a peripheral story in the canon in that while it takes place in Conan's "Hyborian Age" and during Conan's lifetime, Conan does not actually appear, but is merely mentioned. The story was completed by L. Sprague de Camp and in this form first published in the collection Conan the Usurper (1967). It has since been published in its original form in the collection The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003).
Set during the time of Conan's conquest of Aquilonia, the foreword and story refer to ongoing battles between the armies of Conan and King Numedides. The Picts see an opportunity, however. Narrated by the son of a border ranger named Gault Hagar, his father witnesses a secret Pictish ceremony conducted by Tenayoga, a Ligurean shaman, and Lord Valerian, an Aquilonian nobleman. Gault travels to Fort Kwanyara, near the village of Schondara, where he meets an old friend, exchanges news on Conan's forces, and discover Lord Valerian's treachery. Valerian avoids his imprisonment by fleeing into the Pictish Wilderness.
Gault escapes his encounter with a giant ape and follows Valerian to a nearby cabin, where he spies on Valerian's meeting with Tenayoga and his band of Gunderman guards. The leaders of four Pictish tribes plan on joining forces and consult a wizard in their swamp. Gault, Hakon, and their rangers attack the cabin, setting it alight. The two rangers track those who escaped the carnage into a swamp and are soon captured. The tribes agree on raiding Schondara first and quickly depart, leaving their captives bound to stakes. Gault escapes his bonds, slays the wizard, and the pair are just in time to sabotage the Pictish assault while being declared as heroes.
The atmosphere of the story is reminiscent of the American Frontier, and that the plot could have been easily transferred to that environment, with Aquilonian settlers as early Americans and Picts as Indians. Indeed, Howard did effect such a transformation with the preceding Conan story, "The Treasure of Tranicos", which is set in the same Pictish environment: failing to find a publisher, he did transfer the story to a historical American background.
- The Savage Sword of Conan #59 (in comicvine.com)
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Conan the Barbarian at AmratheLion.com
- Wolves Beyond the Border title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
"The Vale of Lost Women"
| Original Howard Canon
"The Hand of Nergal"
"Jewels of Gwahlur"
| Original Howard Canon
(Dale Rippke chronology)
"The Phoenix on the Sword"
"The Treasure of Tranicos"
| Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Conan the Liberator