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Brule the Spear Slayer is a Pictish warrior and a close friend, advisor, and comrade-in-arms to King Kull of Valusia.[1]

Description[]

Brule is described as a strongly built man of medium height with a massive chest, lean hips, brown or bronzed skin, and dark hair and eyes. He had strong features that displayed fearlessness and determination.[1]

He is also described as "built with the savage economy of a panther".[2]

Brule had a set of scars on his chest in the form of three horizontal lines. This was a tribal ornament, a traditional sign of manhood and the mark of a warrior.[3]

Although most Kull stories state that Brule's eyes are dark (when they are mentioned at all), the one notable exception is the "Wizard and Warrior" fragment that gives him blue eyes instead.[3]

Background[]

Like other Picts, Brule came from the Pictish Isles west of Atlantis and the Thurian Continent.[1] He was a member of the Borni tribe.[3] His years spent in Valusia as a diplomatic representative from the Pictish embassy gave Brule a thin veneer of culture, education, and reserve, but did nothing to tame his barbarian spirit.[3] He regarded the non-barbarian people of Valusia as being weak, degenerate, and unfit to rule themselves.[4]

In his youth before he met Kull, Brule fought a Pictish wizard. Few details of this battle are known, but it took place during Brule's first raid before he received his warrior scars.[3]

Abilities[]

Brule is an expert swordsman and also skilled in the use of the spear and dagger. He fights equally well on foot and on horseback. As a result of his wilderness upbringing, Brule is an excellent climber and could move with complete stealth.[1]

Brule is a chieftain who leads a personal retinue of a hundred mounted warriors of his own tribe. These warriors "sat their horses like centaurs and fought like demons".[5]

Brule and his retinue are skilled at mounted archery.[4] In hand to hand combat, he usually wields a Pictish sword with a short curved blade,[1] or a long straight-bladed Valusian sword.[4]

Family[]

Regarding his ancestry, "Brule could trace his ancestors vaguely for a few hundred years, and he named among them skinclad chiefs, painted and feathered warriors, shamans with bison skull masks and fingerbone necklaces, one or two island kings who held court in mud huts, and a legendary hero or two, semi-deified for feats of personal strength or wholesale murder".[3]

The Pictish king Bran Mak Morn is a direct descendant of Brule. Brule was the first of Bran Mak Morn's line.[6]

Possessions[]

Brule owns a red gemstone given to him by Kull as a gift, and worn by Brule in a ring on his finger. Kull had obtained it "after a strange battle in a dim land" before giving it to his friend. The gemstone was handed down through Brule's descendants as an heirloom, until it was inherited by Bran Mak Morn. It was worn by Bran in his iron crown and became known as the Morni Jewel.[6]

Reputation[]

Brule has a reputation for always speaking the truth. Kull knows that most Picts of his day shared the same virtue, but when they met for the first time on less than friendly terms, he questioned Brule's honesty in a deliberate attempt to anger him.[1]

Against the Serpent Men[]

When the Pictish ambassador Ka-nu discovered, through his network of spies, the existence of a conspiracy orchestrated by the Serpent Men to murder Kull, he arranged to have Brule help Kull put a stop to it. Due to the long history of conflict between the Atlanteans and the Picts, the first meeting between Kull and Brule was verbally antagonistic. However, after the two men became allies in their fight against the Serpent-Men, they developed a mutual admiration and respect that quickly became a close, inseparable friendship.[1]

Brule was instrumental in helping Kull to unmask and shatter the conspiracy. Unlike Kull, he was familiar with the secret passageways used by the Serpent Men to move undetected throughout the Tower of Splendor, the royal palace in the Valusian capital city. He gained this knowledge by studying a map of the hidden corridors provided by Ka-nu.[1]

He was also well versed in the ancient legends of the Elder World before the rise of the Thurians, including a great deal of lore pertaining to the Serpent Men. He knew that they used sorcery to disguise their serpentine appearance and take on the outward semblance of human beings, which enabled them to secretly murder Valusian kings and rule in their place. Brule also knew that the occult phrase "Ka nama kaa lajerama" was a potent weapon that, when spoken, could reveal the true identity of a disguised Serpent Man.[1]

Kull and Brule eventually killed the Serpent Men who had disguised themselves as Kull's royal councilors and as the king himself. This effectively broke the conspiracy, but the threat of the Serpent Men remained, and Kull vowed to destroy them once and for all.[1]

The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune[]

When the evil wizard Tuzun Thune ensnared Kull's mind and persuaded him to gaze into his magical mirrors, Brule was able to save Kull at the last minute by slaying the wizard with his sword, thus preventing the king's soul from being imprisoned within the mirrors.[7]

Riders Beyond the Sunrise[]

When Kull set out in pursuit of the Farsunian adventurer Felgar, Brule and his mounted warriors joined the king in the chase, along with Kelkor and his Red Slayers. The pursuit took them across the entire breadth of the continent, all the way to World's End.[5]

The Cat and the Skull[]

When the undead wizard Thulsa Doom made himself known for the first time, Brule ran him through with his sword before discovering that he could not be harmed by ordinary mortal weapons.[8]

The Skull of Silence[]

Brule also joined Kull on his quest to find the ancient black stone castle known as the Skull of Silence in the Zalgara Mountains.[9]

The Striking of the Gong[]

In this story, Brule killed a spy who tried to assassinate Kull. The identity of the spy was never revealed.[10]

The Black City[]

When Grogar, a warrior in Brule's retinue, mysteriously disappeared in the Valusian city of Kamula, foul play was suspected. Brule was so outraged by this , he threatened to tear the city apart stone by stone, set fire to the ruins, and quench the flames with the blood of its people. Kull and Brule were about to investigate, but the story chronicling these events was left unfinished by the author Robert E. Howard.[2] Eventually, this story was completed by Lin Carter for an issue of Fantastic.

By This Axe I Rule![]

In one of the rare instances where Brule was unable to help defend Kull, the Valusian outlaw Ascalante led a conspiracy in a failed attempt to overthrow the king. Count Volmana, one of the conspirators, had at least one relative on the royal council of Grondar, and was able to indirectly persuade the Grondarian king to request the presence of Brule and Ka-nu at his court. Their temporary absence made it easier for the conspirators to carry out their plans.[11]

Swords of the Purple Kingdom[]

When another conspiracy was directed against Kull, this time by the Verulians, Brule and his warriors fought against them alongside Kull and Dalgar, the Farsunian adventurer, until the conspirators and their gang of soldiers were defeated. The Valusian traitor Dondal, who helped lead the conspiracy and wore a hood to conceal his identity, was slain by Brule after a fierce exchange of swordplay. Brule was surprised to discover that his masked opponent was Dondal, since the two men were former drinking companions.[4]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Shadow Kingdom"), Del Rey (2006).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Black City", unfinished fragment), Del Rey (2006).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Untitled Fragment", previously published as "Wizard and Warrior"), Del Rey (2006).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Swords of the Purple Kingdom"), Del Rey (2006).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Untitled Draft", previously published as "Riders Beyond the Sunrise"), Del Rey (2006).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Kings of the Night"), Del Rey (2006).
  7. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune"), Del Rey (2006).
  8. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Cat and the Skull", previously published as "Delcardes' Cat"), Del Rey (2006).
  9. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Screaming Skull of Silence"), Del Rey (2006).
  10. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Striking of the Gong"), Del Rey (2006).
  11. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("By This Axe I Rule!"), Del Rey (2006).
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