Yara dreams at open eyes YARA

Real Name: Yara

Identity/Class: Human, Magic User (Hyborian Era)

Occupation: Sorcerer, Priest

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Yag-Kosha, some guards, a giant spider., some guardian lions

Enemies: Conan the Barbarian, Yag-Kosha

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Arenjun, Zamora, Hyborian era.

First Appearance: �The Tower of the Elephant�. Originally published: Weird Tales, March 1933; (adapted by Marvel) Conan the Barbarian I#4 (April, 1971) {Edizione Italiana: Albi dei Super-Eroi #17 Editoriale Corno}


High sorcery and necromancy. Yara knew Black Magic from the barbaric times plus other spells (non-Earth magic) learned from Yag-Kosha. Some applications of his powers were: levitation, controlling animals like lions and giant spiders, and transforming human beings into spiders (little and/or giant) and using them like guardians. He also was able to live more than 300 years thanks to the Heart of the Elephant, a powerful, magical, artifact.

Yara shouts against Yag-KoskaHistory: (Conan the Barbarian I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Yara learnt the Black Magic used in the ancient barbaric times and became a powerful sorcerer.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4 (fb)) - Yara arrived in Khitai where he met Yag-Kosha, an alien from another world who was worshipped as a god. Yara understood that Yag-Kosha could teach him many things so feigned friendship with him and Yag-Kosha taught Yara his wisdom. But Yara, ambitious and thirsty of power, wanted more. Yag-Kosha refused to talk him about the black magic he had learned over the eons so Yag-Kosha used his sorcerous powers, ambushing and capturing Yag-Kosha and forcing him to reveal his secrets.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Yara brought Yag-Kosha to Arenjun and forced Yag-Kosha to create a tower for him in a single night. Yag-Kosha raised the Tower of the Elephant and used it as his home. 300 years passed while Yara learned everything from Yag-Kosha by torturing him with fire and the wheel of torture. He chained Yag-Kosha in the Tower, blinding him and breaking his arms and legs.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4 (fb) - BTS) - In the court of Zamora, Yara had a squabble with a hostile prince. Using a shining gem, he transformed the prince into a little black spider and mashed him with his foot.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4) - During a night, years later, Yara was going back to the tower. He was spied by Conan the Cimmerian. Yara approached the Tower garden's gate but the guard didn't recognized him. He threatened the guard and entered, leaving a fearful sensation in Conan.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4 - BTS) - Yara partook of some yellow lotus and rested in a sleep with open eyes in his Ebony room.

(Conan the Barbarian I#4) - Conan and Taurus climbed the Tower. Taurus was killed by a giant guardian spider and Conan met Yag-Kosha. While Yara was still "sleeping", Conan the Cimmerian entered in his room and called him, rousing him. Yara threatened the Barbarian but Conan put down the Heart of the Elephant on a small table and pronounced the words that Yag-Kosha told him shortly before, the "Spell of the Blood and the Gem". Yara understood that his prisoner was fleeing in some way and angrily grabbed the purple-red gem. Unable to take his eyes off the gem, Yara 's body started to shrink in size. The sorcerer tried to run away from the Heart but an invisible magnetic force held him close. Yara turned back and climbed on the top of the Heart and tried to invoke his gods with his barely voice. Soon he started to sink into the Heart. In that wide purple sea, Yara saw Yag-Kosha, no longer a cripple, no longer blind, flying above him. The evil sorcerer tried to run away from the winged avenger, then the Heart of the Elephant exploded in thousands of shimmering lights. Conan ran away from the Tower just in time to save himself from the Tower crumbling in the purple sunrise, shimmering in pieces as the Heart did before.

Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard. Adapted by Roy Thomans, Barry Smith and Sal Buscema. Re-told by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala.

The story was re-told years later in Savage Sword of Conan#24. Roy Thomas decided so because this was his favorite Conan's story and because SSoC#24 had more pages and it could better describe the original Howard's novel. Some particulars were different but the history basically remains the same of CB#4. Although I love B.W.Smith's art, and CB#4 was colored, I still prefer the SSoC#24 B/W version by Buscema/Alcala: a masterpiece!

I don't know what were the barbaric times which magic Yara's understood. Probably was the early days after the Great Cataclysm, during them, many people regress' ad the barbarian stage of life, so the knowledge of magic at that time could only be the rest of the pre-cataclysm sorcery.

Profile by Spidermay

Clarifications: Edit

Yara has no known connections to •Yaralet, Town of the Hyborian era, @ Savage Sword of Conan#220 •or to anyone else with a similar name.

The Tower of the Elephant has no known connections to •any other Tower of the Hyborian Era or other Eras.

Yara goes back to the Tower of the ElephantThe Tower of the Elephant

The Tower of the Elephant was built in one night by Yag-Kosha using magic. The Tower was surrounded by a garden and a wall. The Tower's walls were apparently smooth, but they also were spangled of gems and precious stones that had the Tower shining also in the night.

The walls had one only entrance, kept by a guard, and other guards were in the Tower's basement were the only entrance to the upper floors was, but no guards stayed in the garden. The guards were normal humans, equipped with a complete armor, a shield and a sword.

Within the tower there was a Treasure Room, guarded by a giant spider.

--Conan the Barbarian I#4

Tower's garden

The lions of the garden

The garden was green, luxuriant, with a fountain, but it was protected by other "guardians". Yara kept there some lions. They were mute, probably by means of magic, but could be killed as any normal lion. At least 5 lions were in the garden.

--Conan the Barbarian I#4

Treasure Room

The room of the treasure

Another guardian was in the upper room of the Tower: the Room of Treasure. There Yara put a giant black spider. The room was accessible from the staird from below and had an exit on the balcony that surrounded the Tower and was under the upper dome. The room contained boxes full of jewels, gems, stones, gold and rubies, sapphires, emeralds scattered on the floor.

--Conan the Barbarian I#4


The spider-guardian

The guardian of the Treasure was as big as a man. It used his venomous bite to kill Taurus, scratched Conan with his liquid-fire touch and tried to entangle Conan with his web. Conan had a strong suspect that also this spider once was a man transformed by Yara's sorcery.

The Tower's indoor was richly furnished. drapes, marbles, silver and incense. It is unknown if they were real things or the product of Yag-Kosha's or Yara's magic. However, after Yag-Kosha's "death" the Tower "died" after him.

Years later, when Conan went back in Arenjun, the debris of the tower were still there.

--Conan the Barbarian I#4 (Conan the Barbarian I#4, Savage Sword of Conan#24, Conan the Barbarian I#241


Conan the Barbarian I#4, p17, pan6
Conan the Barbarian I#4, p18, pan2
Conan the Barbarian I#4, p4, pan4
Conan the Barbarian I#4, p8, pan1
Conan the Barbarian I#4, p11, pan2
Conan the Barbarian I#4, p11, pan6

Other appearances: Savage Sword of Conan #24 (1977) {Edizione Italiana: Conan La Spada Selvaggia#13 Comic Art (novembre 1987)}


Last updated: 10/27/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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Write the second section of your page here. conan Template:Stub/Lore Yara was the dark wizard of The Tower of the Elephant in the city of Arenjun in Zamora. He had enslaved an alien being called Yag-Kosha of the planet Yog, and commanded him to build the Tower in which he was inprisoned. Yara had blinded and maimed Yag-Kosha to help keep him subserviant, and regulalry tortured the alien-god in order to derive his own dark powers.

Conan the Cimmerian, who was at the time a young theif in Zamora, released Yag-Kosha from Yara's thrall by killing the alien-god, thereby releassing his divine spirit from the prison of mortal flesh in which he was bound. Yara the wizard then met his own demise due to the jewel known as the Heart of the Elephant.


Conan’s Wizards: Yara

Oct 18

trange Dooms’

The Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard

© 2016 James LaFond

Previously entitled ‘Take Your Sword Oh Man’ and ‘Morning Crowned and Shining,’ reviewed as both text and audio book and revised with Danica Lorincz.

First published in Weird Tales in March 1933, pages 61-81 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, Del Rey, 2003, illustrated by Mark Shultz.

The criminally inept Conan movies have given a nod to this story, and then walked away from it. A good movie could have been made by simply combining Rogues in the House with the Tower of the Elephant, both located in the same decadent Zamora, City of Thieves—Howard’s ensorcelled version of Manhattan. For some reason John Milus and his successors thought they could tell a better story than Howard.

The Tower of the Elephant is absolutely the best Conan story.Edit

It is the best Sword and Sorcery story ever written.F

The Tower of the Elephant is by far the best novelette I have read.

Artists that illustrate Conan all seem to be most inspired when doing this story. Mark Shultz’ illustration of Conan and Yag-kosha is gut-wrenchingly faithful to the melancholy story of supernatural justice. Jason Lenox did a very soulful Conan illustration, stressing the atmosphere of the story, with atmosphere being Howard's boldest stroke of the keys.

Howard gives the most sympathetic and introspective treatment of Conan the character in this story, through which he wanders as the least of four major characters, all fleshed out and given vibrant life in a mere short paragraph. Conan is cast as ‘the hand of fate’. There is no woman to distract and occupy Conan, who, as a country bumpkin, comes to the big city to ply the thieves’ trade, and falls in with Taurus, "the prince of all thieves."

The story has plenty of dialogue interspersed with action. The visual imagery is rich and murky, developing an otherworldly feel quickly as the quest is engaged. Conan goes from the slums of the Thieves’ Maul to the base of the fabled Tower of Yara the Magician in less than a page. Taurus is a well-sketched rogue. Yara is the standard tall vulture-like sorcerer who comes to life so easily for Howard, being a symbol of the manipulative puppet masters who thrive in the folds of the cozy curtains that cloak civilization, and reach out from the shadows to sow misery and reap ruin. The story though, is not about any of these three miserable human adventurers.

Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, once mentioned that Howard’s Conan stories served as a secondary inspiration along with the works of Fritz Leiber, to the majority influence of Tolkien. If you are a fantasy reader who also plays a role playing game, I highly suggest taking a look at The Tower of the Elephant. The adventure elements in this piece bring Gygax to mind as much as Howard. It is amazing to me that Howard’s best literary effort is also one that obviously inspired some gaming adaptations—perhaps, though, that is the point, that the story was so good that one of the original gaming geeks wanted to be able to recreate it as an exercise in interactive story telling.

Yag-kosha was an exiled alien being once worshipped by kindly "yellow-skin men" in the far off jungles of Khitai. His self-descriptive fall from god to pitiful tortured prisoner, forced to "blacken his soul with cosmic sins," is essentially the story of the shamanic soul being chained at the heart of a religion and serving the dark purpose of the enslavement of the collective mind. This, when the brutish but honorable Conan meets the fallen god in his chamber of torment, is perhaps Howard’s best scene. The fact that Howard’s violently superstitious, racist, hyper-barbarian is moved to pity a monster and set aside his greed to do what is right, just because it is right, has impact potential that Howard does not fumble, but handles deftly. The meeting of Yag-kosha makes for the perfect place in the Conan series for Howard to cash in on his protagonist’s stark brutality, and use him as a gray backdrop on which to sketch the darker evil of the world with words.

The Tower of the Elephant works on every level. I have read it seven times and will read it again, gods of Yag willing.

D.L.’s Note: What sets Conan apart from all the others in this tale are his sincerity, instinct, inner strength, and honor. He is unlike Yara, who has built a life for himself based on smoke and mirrors, both seen and unseen. Yara uses these to manipulate those around him so that they continue to bestow power which leads him to feel immortal among mortals; and so he arrives at a certain evil complacency bred by a false sense of omnipotence.

And unlike Yag-kosha, who allowed himself to be deceived by Yara, Conan trusted his instincts regarding those around him (surging from his extremely sensitive lizard brain) and acted upon them unquestioningly, which continually honed them.

He maintained an elemental relationship to his values, from which issues his unwavering ethical sense, superior to anything civilized. The integrity that others lack proves his barbarian (outsider) identity, keeps him from being drawn into ordinary social dissimulation and remain true to himself. His high level of self-awareness is not analytical but simply recognizes what he needs to live with himself.

By the end of the story, and this is always the case, Conan is richer by another adventure, never by riches, and that’s really what Conan is all about.

James’ Note: if you cannot get a hold of the original in a collection, try Dark Horse Books Conan #3: The Tower of the Elephant and other stories, a superb graphic novel that leaves nothing out of this gloomy fatalistic story that somehow retains a note of beauty.

Below find two audiobook versions of Robert E. Howard's tale of the captive human soul—the story of us all, buried at the base of the literary tradition that has been hijacked by souls as sin-stained as Yara.

The first link is a dramatized version.

The second reading is by TheLeninistPlays Games, who has been posting numerous Robert E. Howard readings on YouTube.

The dramatized reading reminds me of old time radio shows I used to listen to with my father. I think I prefer the straight reading, but then again, you don’t get the creepy creak of a door in a straight reading. I really like the voice of the actor reading Conan’s part. I had feared that the voice of Conan would by loud or gruff. The easy—even faint voice—is consistent with a wilderness-raised person, who would be conditioned to a habit of silence and low conversational tones.

Posted by sftheory1 .

“The Tower of the Elephant” is one of my favorite Conan yarns. In the past few days, I have found many more favorites, but “The Tower of the Elephant” is still my favorite. For those who do not know, a young Conan is in Shadizar, Zamora just starting out as a thief. He is in a tavern when he hears of the Tower of the Elephant and the priest/ wizard Yara. Conan decides to steal the Heart of the Elephant and does not exactly accomplish his task.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Yara is: What exactly is he the priest of? Is he the high priest of an elephant cult (which would make some sense) or is he a priest of some other faith? I do not know and it is never stated exactly what he is the priest of. I’m thinking that Howard chose a “priest” as Yara’s profession because of the knowledge required (or believed to be required) to be a priest. A priest, like a vizier, is a wonderful position from which to be a sorcerer.

Besides the uncertainty of what exactly Yara is the priest of, there is quite a bit known about his background. All of this information is provided by Yag and I have no reason to doubt the veracity of his statements.

Yag first encountered a younger Yara a few centuries before the action of “The Tower of the Elephant” begins. Yara is a young sorcerer looking for a teacher, and he approaches Yag to teach him the elder being’s knowledge and wisdom. Now, Yag is a benevolent alien (although placed in the position of a spirit), and he refuses to teach Yara his darker knowledge. This darker knowledge is what Yara wants. So, he finds a way to bind Yag and enslave him. Yara then horrifically tortures Yag for centuries to gain his knowledge. This, of course, forces Yag to reveal his knowledge.

Yara’s powers derive from his possession of the Heart of the Elephant and his enslavement of Yag. Indeed, the Tower of the Elephant was built by Yag under Yara’s direction. And it is the usage of the Heart that fuels much of Yara’s sorceries. To be frank, Yara does not actually perform any act of sorcery in the narrative. It is told that he turned a prince into a spider and stepped on him. But this could have been at any time in the last several centuries. And to be honest, I’m thinking that Yara may very well be far past his prime.

Why do I think that Yara is past his prime? Because he is a Hyborian Age drug addict. When he is encountered at the end of the story, he is in a drug induced sleep. Now, he seems to be fully alert when Conan commands him to wake, but that could be Yag’s magic working through the Cimmerian. And then Yara is quite soundly dispatched by being drawn into the Heart.

Am I disappointed that Yara does not have much more of a role? No, because the real emotional impact of the narrative is Yag’s narrative of exile, enslavement, and eventual freedom. It is Yag’s revenge drama, not Conan’s. Conan only acts as the instrument of Yag’s revenge.

So to conclude: If you are a sorcerer and looking for a good cover- become a priest of some religion or other. And. . . Don’t do drugs

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