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In this issue:

"Moat of Blood" by Michael Fleisher, John Buscema, Ernie Chan, Tom Palmer and Bob McLeod

"Andrax the Last" by Gil Kane and Rick Parker

~"Introducing Chane of the Yellow Hair"~

a Red Sonja pin-up by Tony DeZuniga

a frontispiece pin-up by Alex Toth

Summary of "Moat of Blood"

Conan`s band of Zaugirs lay ambush to a caravan train carrying royal tribute to Sultan Onan Bahk Galeen. The royal guard are slaughtered in the fight, all but one survivor who claims he wishes to join Conan`s mob of desert brigands - the Cimmerian is suspicious, but reluctantly agrees...

In the lavish bedchamber of Onan Bahk Galeen, Sultan of Bahreen Bel Akif, the obese ruler scoffs fruit as he watches a young girl struggle vainly to entertain him - he has ordered her to strip seductively...Irate and bored, the Sultan activates a trapdoor and the girl plunges through into the palace moat below...

In the moat is a colony of plants, with carnivorous, strangling tendrils. the girl is quickly siezed and dragged under the water, to drown...

Vah Rashid, councilor and court wizard, enters the Sultan`s chamber to inform him of the robbery of the tribute caravan. But one of the guardsmen is now within the Zaugir band...

And that man, is now encouraging the Zaugirs to take a raid on a desert strongroom loaded with treasure - Conan angrily rejects the idea, warning such a raid would be foolhardy and dangerous.

Conan watches from a hilltop as the Zaugirs charge on horseback toward the `unguarded desert strongroom`. Two heavilly armed battalions of guardsman suddenly sweep out in ambush to attack the Zaugir`s exposed flanks in a trap, the slaughter commences and the trapped men suffer heavy casualties. Conan sees Garn, a young lad and favourite of the Cimmerian, cut down. In anger, Conan charges on horseback into the action. He manages to hack down a few royal guardsmen , but a well aimed rock crashes against Conan`s head, and he slumps into unconsciousness...

He awakens to find himself tied to a stake, along with five other surviving Zaugirs,each tied to a stake - the guardsmen are preparing spear practice...

Each rider passes,hurling a spear into a prisoner, until Conan is next, the guardsmen who led the Zaugirs into the trap decides he`ll be the one to spear Conan...

As he begins his charge, the Cimmerian wrenches his stake out of the sand, using it to batter the oncoming horse! Conan wriggles free, jumps onto the now riderless horse and gallops away into the baking desert. The guardsmen make no attempt to stop him, knowing that without water he is a doomed man...

Sure enough, within an hour Conan`s steed has expired with thirst and he trudges across the sand wastes. Conan spots a tiny waterhole, and collapses next to it for a few mouthfuls. Passing bedouin tribesmen attack the `trespasser`, but are no match for Conan, who kills all three. Exhausted, he passes out at the watering hole...

Back at the palace, the Sultan`s tailor has fashioned Onan Bahk a gown sewn with metal plates - a devious ploy, as the royal tribute is equal to the Sultan`s already vast weight in gold. To keep his secret safe, the Sultan has the tailor thrown into the moat to be killed by the carnivorous plants there...

Conan wakes in a bedouin tent where he is fed. The tribesmen there know of Conan and the Zaugirs. He is introduced to Esmalia and her father - his daughter was the girl killed in the moat by the Sultan the previous day. They tell Conan of the tyrant`s guardsmen taking their gold and their women for the Sultan`s vile amusement. They wish Conan to lead the tribesmen in an uprising against Onan Bahk Galeen, but Conan wants his own revenge against the Sultan after the slaughter of his Zaugirs.

So, Esmalia plays drunk in a local tavern, the royal guardsmen there decide she would be a good to `quench the sultan`s lust` and take her into the palace...

Once inside the Sultan`s bedchamber, Esmalia drops the ruse, whips out a dagger and kills her guard then charges at Onan Bahk, swearing vengeance for her dead sister!

But the Sultan picks up a sword, and the girl, returns to her main task and rushes out into the hall. The councilor, Rashid is unfortunate to be passing - and recieves a fatal stab to the heart - Esmalia continues to the closed portcullis...

When the gate opens and the drawbridge lowers, Conan and the tribesmen, waiting outside, rush the bridge. But inside, guardsmen have overpowered the girl and drop the drawbridge as the attackers are crossing...

Conan and many of the beduoin plunge into the moat, where the killer plant waits! Conan manages to cut away the tendrils that wrap themselves at him, and using a rope and grappling hook, he scales the palace wall. Hacking down the guards, he releases the drawbridge again, and the remaining beduoin rush inside.

Conan has found the dungeons and here, a captive Esmalia is being readied for torture by none other, then the guardsman who tricked the Zaugirs into an ambush. The Cimmerian disarms him and throws him into a fire-pit...

Conan and Esmalia head for the Sultan`s bedchamber, but the tyrant slips out a secret doorway into the courtyard were battle rages.

Onan Bahk Galeen jumps on a horse-drawn chariot and races for the gates. But his momentum and extra weight takes a wheel of the chariot over the edge of the drawbridge - he plunges into the moat, and the voracious plant drags him to the depths, dead...

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