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For the Nemedian watchman, see Arus (The God in the Bowl).

Arus was a priest of Mitra from Nemedia.

A natural-born reformer, he took the foolhardy and inexplicable decision to enter Pictish Wilderness alone and unarmed, and introduce the savage Picts to civilization and the gentle worship of his god. Unknowingly, he triggered a series of events that brought the fall of the Hyborian Age.

Once he explained his purpose to chief Gorm, he was accepted in his tribe. He was extremely lucky that Gorm was a Pict of higher intelligence, with the instinct of conquest. Arus attempted to persuade him, and the Picts, to forgive their enemies; in his speeches he showed the benefits of civilization, appealing also to their sense of material wealth, pointing out the splendor and power of the Hyborian kingdoms as a manifestation of the worship of Mitra (which Gorm passed over). Arus instilled to Gorm the desire to see the civilized cities with their marble walls, jeweled towers, the fertile plains and horsemen in glittering armor.

The Picts listened to him, although they were unresponsive and reluctant to abandon savagery for hoesty drudgery, being interested more in hist descriptions of material splendor and battle triumphs, and passed over the ideals of his religion or the providence of Mitra that granted them. As long as they didn't split his skull open, and the savages listened to his instructions with interest, Arus hoped he was gaining converts. He established some reforms, taught them how to mine, smelter and work iron for agricultural tools, and established contact between the Picts and the civilization. At Gorm's request, he led him and a band of warriors over the Bossonian Marches.

But his theology and teaching failed to touch the heathen soul. Gorm used this knowledge and craft to forge weapons and mail and conquered all tribes and waged war against the Hyborian world. Arus realized his mistake too late. He made a last effort to undo his work, when he was brained by a drunken Pict. Gorm buried him under a stone cairn and put the skull of his slayer on its top.[1]