The Hour of the Dragon is a novel by Robert E. Howard first published in Weird Tales 26 6 & 25 1-4 (December 1935 & January, February, March, April 1936), also published as Conan the Conqueror.
The plot is a loose melange of previous Conan short stories, most notably "The Scarlet Citadel" with which it shares an almost identical storyline. Taking place during Conan's reign as King of Aquilonia, it follows Conan's deposing by court plotters, and eventual attempt to retake his throne through all the lands of Hyboria. An ancient resurrected wizard, Xaltotun, serves as the main enemy to Conan, and much of the book revolves around Conan's quest to retrieve the Heart of Ahriman in order to defeat the wizard.
Chapter 1. O Sleeper, Awake!
In Belverus, capital of Nemedia, four men, Orastes, Tarascus, Valerius, and Amalric, use a gem called the Heart of Ahriman to bring a long-dead sorcerer named Xaltotun back to life to aid them in taking the thrones of Nemedia and Aquilonia.
Chapter 22. The Road to Acheron
The armies of Conan and Almaric form battle lines. Xaltotun watches the battle from a hill called the King’s Altar. As the fight continues, the Nemedians have a hard time against the Aquilonian lines. Xaltotun is about to employ his magic to win the battle by sacrificing a girl when Hadrathus and Zelata appear with the Heart of Ahriman. Xaltotun shrivels to a dry, unrecognizable carcass, going down the long road to Archeron, which is beyond the ken of men. Almaric is killed by Pallantides and the Aquilonians sweep the field. Conan defeats and captures Tarascus, who surrenders all his Aquilonian holdings. Pallantides, Trocero, Prospero, Servius Galannus, and the rest of the army hail Conan. Conan vows to make Zenobia his queen.
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