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Aztrias Petanius was the nephew of the governor of the Nemedian city of Numalia. He was described as a foppish young nobleman, slender and richly dressed, though Conan referred to him as a scented dog.[1]

Being wealthy and influential, perhaps more than anything else outside of the Outer Black itself, has the capacity to corrupt. Aztrias Petanius was the spineless, deceitful proof of this. The nephew of a Nemedian governor, Petanius was educated, refined, and civilized. He was also corrupt, greedy, and incapable of countenancing any course of action not of immediate benefit to him and him alone.

Petanius may not have always have been this way, but he assumed the role of licentious fool fairly early in his life and nothing was able to dissuade him from the path. His uncle, a man of fairly abstemious habits, never took much interest in the debauches which his nephew engaged upon. When usurers began to visit his residence, however, asking for him to make good on his nephew’s extensive debts, Aztrias Petanius suddenly found his uncle somewhat less disinterested.

Dragged unceremoniously to his uncle’s residence and treated with something less than the deference he usually demanded, Petanius was quickly obliged to beg his uncle’s forgiveness. Then for his money.

Given Petanius’ taste for wine, women, and gambling, along with his penchant for losing money on all three pastimes, it soon became necessary to find a new source of income. He soon hit upon a scheme he thought foolproof. He would persuade a local thief to procure some expensive item from a nearby temple, mansion, or museum. Petanius would pay a small fee for the service and then sell the stolen item on for vastly more money to any wealthy, unscrupulous client he could find. It was the perfect scheme for, if caught, Petanius would simply invoke his uncle’s name and watch as the man-at-arms or the captain of the watch ran away.

It seemed, to Petanius that his fortune would soon be made, after all, what could go wrong?

Foppish and effete, with a fashionable lisp which many try to imitate, Aztrias Petanius seemed the typical aristocrat. However, in reality he was quite poor, desperate, and only too open to betraying those whose services he retained.

Aztrias hired Conan to break into the museum known as Kallian Publico's Temple and steal for him a Zamorian diamond goblet, but Conan was caught in the museum by the police, along with the body of the murdered owner Kallian Publico.[1]

Conan had not slain Kallian, though he was the main suspect in the investigation. Chief Inquisitor Demetrio assured Aztrias that the attempted theft could be hushed up in deference to his status as an aristocrat, and Conan's escape could be arranged if he wished. Aztrias instead betrayed Conan by denying any knowledge of him, and encouraged Demetrio to send him to work in the mines as punishment. Conan then killed Aztrias for his treachery, separating his head from his shoulders with his sword, before unleashing his fury on the police.[1]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Robert E. Howard, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian ("The God in the Bowl"), Del Rey (2003).
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