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Yag-Kosha, the pacifist alien exile from the distant constellation of Yag.


Depiction from Savage Sword of Conan 24.

Biographical sketch[]

Long before the dawn of man, and before even the Thurian Age began on Earth, a conflict raged on the far-distant world of Yag. The noble and peaceful residents retreated into exile across the stars, coming at last onto Earth. Here, they hid in remote jungles, living simple lives, without interfering in the evolution and history of mankind. However, as time went on, more and more of their race died out, until only Yag-Kosha remained. Deep in the jungles of Khitai, he was adopted by a tribe of humans and taught them the ways of civilization, eventually being worshiped as a god.

Then, one day, Yag-Kosha met Yara. Yara was a student of lore and sorcery, who visited Yag-Kosha to learn from the wise and knowledgeable alien. Yag-Kosha made an effort in teaching Yara about humility and morality. Unfortunately, Yara was only interested in power. With tricks he discovered in Stygian tombs, Yara learned of his mentor's secrets and turned his power against him. He betrayed Yag-Kosha, confining him and torturing his mentor until he could draw more secrets of dark sorcery from the peaceful exile.

Back in the West, he abused Yag-Kosha and made him a magical slave, forcing him to construct the Elephant Tower in a single night, alongside other deeds. Three centuries passed and he withered from torture and confinement, and knew only suffering. By the time of the events of The Tower of the Elephant, the poor creature was blind and nearly helpless, with secrets wrested from him and forced to do evil deeds despite his will.

Conan came to steal the gem known as the Elephant's Heart with which Yara performed his magic. He convinced the Barbarian to slay him as part of a final spell, which granted him revenge over the evil Yara. In doing so, he was reincarnated as Yogah of Yag in the small universe inside the jewel and punished Yara. He also killed Yara's guards so that Conan escaped, and destroyed the Elephant Tower.

Physical appearance[]

Yag-Kosha is of the alien species known as Yag. He is vaguely humanoid in form, having topaz eyes, hands, legs, and a mouth not made for, but capable of human speech. His skin is leathery grey, like an elephant, and his head bears many features similar to elephants, such as tusks (tipped with golden balls), large ears, and a trunk. His appearance and personality are based on the Hindu god Ganesha.

Many of the Yag appear to have wings that allow interstellar flight, but in landing on Earth these wings were burned off in our thick atmosphere.

By the time of The Tower of the Elephant, his confinement has left him blind, withered and atrophied, with stick-thin limbs he cannot move. His body is marked with scars and burns from his many years of torture and torment.

Traits and skills[]

Yag-Kosha is a scholar, with knowledge of an unbelievable amount of lore. His sorcerous powers are incredible, being able to create the wondrous Elephant Tower in a single night. Though he is far too moral a being to use them himself, Yag-Kosha has acquired a number of dark secrets and spells in his life, which Yara forced him to divulge after betraying him.

Yag-Kosha was able to fly through space using his vast wings, but they were burned off in Earth's atmosphere.

When Conan met him, Yag-Kosha was able to ascertain the Cimmerian's origin and heritage as a descendant of the Atlanteans and his whereabouts that night before meeting him. Yag-Kosha possessed some extra-sensory perception as he knew what happened in other places of the Tower.

Stories featuring Yag-Kosha[]


  • Yag-Kosha has some traits in common with the Hindu deity Ghenesh/Ganesha, and perhaps the English circus performer Joseph "John" Merrick (1862-1890), who was known as "The Elephant Man".
  • He also resembles Chaugnar Faugn, a powerful alien entity that first appeared in the story The Horror from the Hills by Frank Belknap Long. The story was published in Weird Tales in 1931. Long, like Robert E. Howard, was part of H.P. Lovecraft's literary circle. Unlike Yag-Kosha, Chaugnar Faugn does have malevolent qualities.
  • The evil yothga plant said to be rooted in Hell that Conan confronts in "The Scarlet Citadel" stem from Yag, the home planet of Yag-kosha. The asphodel mentioned by the dark priest Rotath in the Kull story "The Curse of the Golden Skull" is in reality a flower that the Greeks dedicated to Persephone, queen of Hades, the realm of the dead. With time the fields of Hades were thought to be covered with asphodel.