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Red Nails by Robert E. Howard

Red Nails (1936) by Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) – One of the strangest stories ever written—the tale of Conan- a barbarian adventurer, a woman pirate, and a weird roofed city inhabited by the most peculiar race of men ever spawned. Red Nails was serialized in Weird Tales in the July, August-September, and October 1936 issues.

Chapter 1 – The Skull on the Crag
Chapter 2 – By the Blaze of the Fire Jewels

Part 2 – The Story Thus Far
Chapter 2 cont.
Chapter 3 – The People of the Feud
Chapter 4 – Scent of Black Lotus

Part 3 – The Story Thus Far
Chapter 5 – Twenty Red Nails
Chapter 6 – The Eyes of Tascela
Chapter 7 – He Comes from the Dark


Chapter 1

The Skull on the Crag

THE woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. It stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tassled, red-leather bridle too heavy. The woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the gilt-worked saddle. She made the reins fast to the fork of a sapling, and turned about, hands on her hips, to survey her surroundings.

They were not inviting. Giant trees hemmed in the small pool where her horse had just drunk. Clumps of undergrowth limited the vision that quested under the somber twilight of the lofty archs formed by intertwining branches. The woman shivered with a twitch of her magnificent shoulders, and then cursed.

She was tall, full-bosomed, and large-limbed, with compact shoulders. Her whole figure reflected an unusual strength, without detracting from the femininity of her appearance. She was all woman, in spite of her bearing and her garments. The latter were incongruous, in view of her present environs. Instead of a skirt she wore short, wide-legged silk breeches, which ceased a hand’s breadth short of her knees, and were upheld by a wide silken sash worn as a girdle. Flaring-topped boots of soft leather came almost to her knees, and a low-necked, wide-collared, wide-sleeved silk shirt completed her costume. On one shapely hip she wore a straight double-edged sword, and on the other a long dirk. Her unruly golden hair, cut square at her shoulders, was confined by a band of crimson satin.

Against the background of somber, primitive forest she posed with an unconscious picturesqueness, bizarre and out of place. She should have been posed against a background of sea clouds, painted masts, and wheeling gulls. There was the color of the sea in her wide eyes. And that was as it should have been, because this was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather.”

Excerpt From: Robert E. Howard. “Red Nails.”

Available for epub and mobi

  1. RedNails.epub

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