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“Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,” the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. “Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.”
Balthus is a man living in a frontier fort while the Picts are restless. He is captured in the forest and intended for sacrifice while Conan rescues him. They return with the news, and Conan giving Balthus many long lectures on things.
- Alone in a Crowd: Balthus feels alone in Conan's presence.
- Author Avatar: Balthus, according to Howard himself.
- Bring News Back: What Conan and Balthus try
- Deus Exit Machina: Conan and Balthus separate.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Conan vows it
- Distressed Dude: Balthus
- Friend or Foe: Conan deludes a Pict
- Half-Human Hybrid: Zothar Sag is half swamp demon
- Heroic Sacrifice: Balthus and the dog.
- Human Sacrifice: Part of the Ritual Magic
- Jungle Drums: The Picts use them.
- Libation for the Dead: Conan at the end
- The Lost Woods: The setting
- The Natives Are Restless: Picts
- Panthera Awesome: A saber-toothed tiger
- Power Glows: The fire demon
- Ritual Magic: The Picts practice it
- Scarily Competent Tracker: The Picts
- To Absent Friends: The dead are discussed at the end.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Dead civilians enrage Balthus