|DAW 1976, Art: Michael Whelan|
Moorcock's return to Elric in 1972's Elric of Melniboné continued to elevate the Doomed Albino's profile across the world. In America, Marvel Comics decided to have Elric meet his ur-opposite in the heroic fantasy genre, none other than Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian. In the 60s and 70s, combining characters from different franchises had proven to be successful (King Kong vs. Godzilla, Zatoishi and the One-Armed Swordsman, etc.), and this pairing between the brawny barbarian and the bone-white sorcerer also turned out quite well. Moorcock spoke of this unusual meeting in a 2008 Tripwire interview:
When Roy (Thomas, Conan comic scripter) got in touch with me to draft an Elric/Conan story for the Conan series, I thought it was a great idea but didn’t have a lot of time so, as has often been usual in our working partnership, I asked Jim (Cawthorn) if he wanted to work on the Elric/Conan story with me. He agreed and wound up doing the lion’s share of the work. The idea we sent Roy was more elaborate. Unfortunately, the only reference to Elric that Barry (Smith, comic artist) had was Jack Gaughan’s cover for The Stealer of Souls, with the strange pointy hat. So Barry drew a pointy hat…He apologized later and said he’d like a chance to redraw Elric but so far we’ve both been too busy at different times to do anything.
Taking place before "The Dreaming City", the exiled Emperor Elric is at this point in his story in search of a way to awaken Cymoril from Yyrkoon's sleep spell, whereas Conan is just starting his career as a young soldier of fortune. A synopsis follows:
Art: Barry Smith
In search of a way to awaken Cymoril from Yyrkoon’s spell of sleep, Elric quests for the tomb of Terhali (an ancient sorceress of Melniboné). In order to reach it, he invokes a spell to take him to the world of Hyboria, where Terhali’s palace has been exiled to. There, he encounters Conan the Cimmerian barbarian and a woman named Zephra, who is the daughter of a Law wizard named Zukala. Conan seeks to stop the wizard Kulan-Gath from resurrecting Terhali and using her power to cause havoc in Hyboria. Xiombarg, Queen of the Chaos Swords (last seen in The Queen of the Swords), sends Prince Gaynor the Damned and his Chaos Pack to counter Conan and Elric’s efforts. The pair are almost overwhelmed, but Zephra conjures up a sorcerous rain, which dissolves most of the "impure" Chaos Pack. However, Gaynor himself escapes with the remains of his army. Conan and Elric then band together to go in search of Terhali’s tomb.
|Art: Barry Smith|
"The Green Empress of Melniboné" (Conan the Barbarian #15, May 1972)
Elric: The Return to Melniboné (1973)
After fighting through a forest of hostile creatures, Elric, Conan and Zephra reach Yagala, Terhali’s displaced kingdom, now sunken below water. They take a ship made of bones to Terhali’s castle where they find Kulan-Gath in the middle of a magical ritual. Gaynor and his Chaos Pack reappear to distract the heroes, allowing Kulan Gath time to successfully resurrect Terhali, the Green Empress of Melniboné (as well as her city Zagala). As Gaynor and his pack are banished by Arioch’s intervention, Terhali destroys her benefactor Kulan-Gath for his impudence. Elric and Conan’s blades have no effect on Terhali, but Arkyn, a Lord of Law empowers Zephra with eldritch power. Zephra destroys Terhali, but is herself burnt out by the burden of Arkyn's power and perishes. Elric returns to his own world empty-handed, as Conan carries Zephra’s body back to her father.
Although perhaps not as well-known these days as in the 70s, I really enjoyed this story, despite Barry Smith's inaccurate visual portrayal of Elric's headgear. The appearance of Gaynor and Xiombarg is a treat for Corum fans, and many years later Elric would encounter Gaynor and Terhali again (although King Conan has yet to appear on the Moonbeam Roads).
Elric: The Return to Melniboné (1973)
|1972 Elric Portfolio by Philippe Druillet|
Moving from America to France, Elric's popularity in Europe was helped by French translations adorned with the bio-mechanical baroque stylings of Philippe Druillet. In 1969, Elric's first two novels, The Stealer of Souls and Stormbringer appeared together in an Elric compendium (Elric le necromancien), which included new Druillet spot illustrations as well as black and white samples from Druillet's 1966 adaptation of "The Dreaming City" ("La Cité Qui Rêve").
Over the years, since Jim Cawthorn’s first (and still in many ways the finest) portraits of Elric, there have been a number of interpretations of the albino. The first strip version to be published was actually in French, by Philippe Druillet, in an obscure magazine called Moi Aussi in the mid-’60s (reprinted as a portfolio, 1972; in English, 1973) which was given an altogether idiosyncratic cast, since Druillet spoke no English and the stories were told to him by a friend, whereupon he drew his interpretation!
- Moorcock, "Elric: Intro To The Graphic Adaptation" (1986)
In 1973, most of Druillet's illustrations from the 1972 portfolio Moorcock mentions above ("La Saga D'Elric Le Necromancien") were eventually collected into an English adaptation published by Unicorn Books titled Elric: The Return to Melniboné, with Moorcock providing new text narration. Apparently, since the plot of Druillet's adaptation of "The Dreaming City" diverted so dramatically from the original story, Moorcock ended up overlaying an entirely new narrative on top of Druillet's artwork and renamed the story "Elric: The Return to Melniboné".
In this new sequence, Elric returns to Melniboné after his sojourn amongst the people of the Young Kingdoms. He finds that the influence of Chaos has grown in the Bright Empire. He arrives at the palace to see a scene of gross debauchery, hosted by his cousin Yyrkoon. Cymoril finally appears and after briefly visiting the Phoorn (dragon) Flamefang they retreat to a bridal room – a room originally intended to have been shared by Yyrkoon and Cymoril that very night. Elric and Cymoril make love as Arioch looks on from the shadows. At the same time Yyrkoon begins searching for a way to recover Mournblade (which he had lost at the end of Elric of Melniboné).
This fascinating depiction of Elric's discovery of Yyrkoon's plotting leading up to "The Dreaming City" has never seen print in novel form, making it something of an apocryphal episode. However, in the 2005 Audiorealms audio book of The Sailor On the Seas of Fate, Moorcock reads a new Prelude which summarizes the events of The Return to Melniboné as a dream Elric has while still wandering amongst the humans of the Young Kingdoms.
More details about this publication's history can be found here.
More Druillet illustrations from this project can be seen here.
The Jade Man’s Eyes (1973)
|Unicorn 1973, Art: James Cawthorn|
Meanwhile back in the U.K., Moorcock submitted an Elric short story (possibly written in the late 1960s for Science Fantasy/SF Impulse) titled "The Jade Man's Eyes" to Bill Butler for inclusion in Butler's Unicorn Books imprint in Brighton (which also initially printed the English version of Elric: The Return to Melniboné). Ultimately this was a relatively low-profile affair seeing limited distribution, so the story was later rewritten to fit into the 1976 Elric novel, The Sailor On the Seas of Fate (see below).
In this adventure, Elric and Moonglum join the Vilmirian fortune-hunter Duke Avan on a quest for the legendary Jade Man's Eyes, located somewhere in the lost ancestral home of the Melnibonéans, R’Lin K’ren A’a. This adventure introduces the "Creature Doomed To Live", an ancient Melnibonéan ancestor named J’osui C’reln Reyr (an anagram of Jerry Cornelius). After another series of bloody events, Elric and Moonglum escape the lost city of R’Lin K’ren A’a, and following a message from Arioch head towards Pan Tang to seek out its Theocrat, Jagreen Lern (who features prominently in Stormbringer). This essentially situates "The Jade Man's Eyes" sometime in between The Singing Citadel and The Stealer of Souls (during Elric's hunt for Theleb K’aarna). Interestingly, it is also mentioned in this story that part of the original inhabitants of R’Lin K’ren A’a emigrated to Pan Tang, while the rest settled on Imrryr. This would make the Melnibonéans and the Pan Tang-ians much closer blood relations than previously thought.
A full synopsis can be found at the bottom of this page.
|DAW 1976-77, Art: Michael Whelan|
|DAW 1970s Frontispiece, James Cawthorn|
In 1976, Moorcock published a new Elric novel, The Sailor On The Seas of Fate. This new installment first appeared in America as part of DAW Books' popular 1976-77 Elric collection in 6 volumes, each adorned with new Michael Whelan covers and with newly-approved text by Moorcock himself. For many American readers like myself, this is the edition which stands out most in our teenage years.
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate follows on from the end of Elric of Melniboné, as Elric spends time "incognito" getting to know more about the people of the Young Kingdoms on a kind of international fact-finding mission. In this book Moorcock continues to use the same techniques he so successfully employed in writing all of his previous fantasy novels, and divides the book into three distinct "Books" (acts). In contrast to the stories taking place after "The Dreaming City", at this point Elric is not yet known as the infamous kin-slayer who destroyed his lover and his people. Thus, as in the preceding novel, Elric is here less of a depressed sociopath, and a bit more child-like in his openness to these unknown lands (at least in the first two acts).
Berkley 1983, Art: Robert Gould
|Elric confronts the strange creatures inside the fleshy structure. |
(DAW 1976, Art: Michael Whelan)
In this episode, Elric does not recognize Corum here because he has not yet experienced the adventure Corum has experienced in his own past (described in "The Vanishing Tower"). This manages to create an interesting paradox in that Elric's first encounter with Corum is not the same episode as Corum's first encounter with Elric... In any case, the plot is relatively straightforward: the combined might of the Four Eternal Champions is required to defeat a completely alien entity from beyond all realities. In "The Vanishing Tower", Elric, Corum and Erekosë had used a "linked arms" formation to defeat Voilodion Gagnasdiak's creatures. Here, their union as a quartet (with Hawkmoon as a fourth member) is a somewhat more intimate affair, as their bodies literally fuse together into an 8-armed being and they proceed to "possess" one of the monolithic aliens. The climax involves the virtual destruction of the multiverse, followed by its restoration upon the alien invaders' defeat. Although all four of the Eternal Champions are somewhat traumatized by the bizarre experience, Elric continues on to his next adventure, while Hawkmoon and Erekosë's story continues on as described in the previous year's The Quest For Tanelorn.
|Flashing Swords! #4, 1977, Art: Don Maitz|
This second "book" in The Sailor On The Seas of Fate also appeared the following year as a novelette titled "The Lands Beyond the World" in Lin Carter's 1977 sword and sorcery anthology Flashing Swords! #4.
|Flashing Swords #4, Art: Rick Bryant|
Book Three: Sailing to the Past: This episode is a rewritten version of "The Jade Man's Eyes", the 1973 novella published by Unicorn Books in 1973 described above. Like "Sailing To the Present", this story also appeared in one of Lin Carter's Flashing Swords! anthologies (#2). In both Carter's 1973 anthology and in The Sailor On The Seas of Fate, Moonglum's role in the Unicorn version is replaced by Count Smiorgan Baldhead. Fortunately, "The Jade Man's Eyes" fits into this new chronological placement without too much trouble. However, there are a few bits of dialogue where Elric sounds a bit more cynical than he does in other sections of the book.
“Yet few of the dangers I have faced have helped me forget,” Elric pointed out. “Rather they have strengthened the reminder of what I am—of the dilemma I face. My own instincts war against the traditions of my race.” Elric drew a deep, melancholy breath. “I go where danger is because I think that an answer might lie there—some reason for all this tragedy and paradox. Yet I know I shall never find it.”
The reason for this more fateful tone is of course because "The Jade Man's Eyes" was originally written to take place shortly before "The Stealer of Souls". However, it may be worth wondering if this seeming incongruity might be explained by a more subtle development...
One of the most puzzling twists in Elric's saga occurs when, at the end of Elric of Melniboné, Elric places his nemesis Yyrkoon as Regent ruler of Melniboné, while Elric travels abroad alone and incognito. This seems to be an incredibly naive act of trust, verging on lunacy, but it may be that this move was more calculated than it first appears. The Elric which Smiorgan meets in "Sailing to the Past" is much more resigned to fate than in the previous acts, and his spoken belief in a brighter future for his people seems to be a bit forced. Within this new ret-conned continuity, one could theorize that after the acquisition of Stormbringer in the Pulsing Cavern and his return home to Imrryr, Elric had already decided that Melniboné was destined to fall. Also, although Elric seemed to have mastered Stormbringer in the Pulsing Cave, it's entirely possible that the rune blade had then proceeded to influence Elric in more subtle ways (note that in this episode Stormbringer apparently speaks for the first time...). In any case, if we suppose that on some level Elric had already known that Melniboné would burn in the near future, then his odd decision to make Yyrkoon regent ruler would make perfect sense as an excuse to later attack his own home (even if as an unconscious decision). This unspoken ulterior narrative would also explain some of Elric's more somber statements in Sailor:
Had his ancestors felt this agony of knowledge, this impotence in the face of the understanding that existence had no point, no purpose, no hope?
|Quartet 1976 - UK HC, Art: Patrick Woodroffe|
Nonetheless, despite having just made a psychologically-driven case for the journey to R'Lin K'ren A'a to take place before the burning of Imrryr, I still think I prefer "The Jade Man's Eyes" as taking place where it was originally intended to take place (preceding Stormbringer), mostly because Smiorgan's dialogue seems better suited to its original speaker (Moonglum), and because of passages like this one below:
Arioch replied, “When the Jade Man ceases to guard the place where the High Ones meet, then the great struggle of the Upper Worlds begins on this plane...The curse is lifted from R'lin K'ren A'a and from J'osui C'reln Reyr—but a greater curse now lies upon your whole plane.””
All of Moorcock's works are intended to have an allegorical subtext, although in the The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate this element seems a bit more elusive. In the first episode where Elric physically bonds with his other Eternal Champion incarnations, the horror and revulsion they express at the prospect of such an intimate bonding may suggest a fear of getting to know oneself too well (for fear of discovering some uncomfortable truths). The tragic love story of the Melnibonéan Earl Saxif D'Aan in Book Two may be warning that blithely surrendering to one's passions may lead to obsession and insanity. The story taking place in R'Lin K'Ren A'a doesn't immediately inspire any allegorical insights for me, but the below passage below (spoken early in the act by Smiorgan aboard Duke Avan's ship) seems to have some kind of moral import:
“Humanity!” grunted Count Smiorgan Baldhead. “That is what your race has lost, Prince Elric. I say nothing of you—but look at Earl Saxif D'Aan. How can one so wise be such a simpleton? He lost everything—pride, love, power—because he had no humanity. And what humanity he had—why, it destroyed him.”"
"“Some say it will destroy me,” said Elric...
This passage probably resonates most with readers who have already read "The Dreaming City", since by that time Elric has given up on trying to revitalize "humanity" in the Melnibonéans, and has begun his plans to "put his own people out of its collective misery". However, in The Sailor On The Seas of Fate the hand of destiny generally seems to be a bit lighter than it was (or will be) in that important story.
|Quartet, Orbit, 1976|
Finally, if one were forced to put all of these stories in narrative order (regardless of "canonicity"), it might go something like this:
- Elric of Melniboné
- The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
- "The Return to Melniboné"
- "A Sword Called Stormbringer/The Green Empress of Melniboné"
- "The Dreaming City" (The Stealer of Souls)
Next Chapter: Breakfast in the Ruins
Previous Chapter: Elric of Melniboné
The Sailor On The Seas of Fate (1976)
On the Dark Ship, Against the Creatures of Gagak
Art: James Cawthorn, for 1979 German edition
- After escaping from a Ryfel prison (jailed as a Melnibonéan “spy”), Elric reaches a beach, hoping to evade his pursuers. He eventually encounters a strangely-designed, mist-encircled ship and offers his services. The man at the railing (Brut of Lashmar) tells him that they have been waiting for him.
- On board, Elric meets Erekosë and the mysterious blind Captain of the ship, who hints at a mission on behalf of humanity.
- Elric is introduced to Hawkmoon and Corum. Corum remembers Elric from their adventure described in “The Vanishing Tower”, but since Elric has not yet experienced that episode at this time in his history he does not recognize Corum. The blind captain tells the Four that they are to fight against Agak and Gagak, two sorcerers from another, alien dimension. They prepare for battle.
- They disembark on a strange island under a red sun, populated with sourceless shadows. Soon they come across ruins, with one pair of connected buildings looking strangely mechanical, or like some kind of musical instrument. Inside the fleshy interior of one of the paired structures, they are attacked by foul-smelling rodents, giant apes, parasitic worm-snakes and swarms of flying insects. As they struggle up the interior of the structure they hear an outraged voice coming from all around them.
- Reaching the an octagonal chamber at the top of the structure, they hear the voice of Gagak coming from a central pool of viscous liquid. The Four avatars of the Eternal Champion reluctantly merge into a single multi-limbed being bearing one great sword, and plunge the sword into the pool, killing Gagak (who was in fact, embodied by the building itself). The Four then descend into the pool to impersonate Gagak herself. Agak (the connected building) wakes and the Four transform Gagak’s body into a giant version of its multi-limbed form. As the Four engage Agak in a great battle, Agak takes energy from the surrounding planes of the multiverse (causing destruction on an untold number of worlds in the process) in order to defend himself. Overpowered, the Four are forced to also use their great sword to suck energy from the surrounding planes. Agak tries to reform himself into another multi-limbed Four, but is too late. After striking Agak’s eye-pool (and killing the multiverse), the great sword flings the energy back, bringing the multiverse back to life. Gagak returns to her original shape and the Four separate in the eye-pool room. Returning to their landing site on the shore, Elric and Corum return to the ship, while Erekosë and Hawkmoon elect to search for Tanelorn on their own in this strange land.
Discovery of Vassliss on Smiorgan's Ship, Smiorgan Attacked by Saxif D'Aan's Demon
Art: James Cawthorn, for 1979 German edition
- After Corum has departed, the Dark Ship passes through a disturbing region tenuously intersecting with Elric’s world in the future (likely during Jagreen Lern’s Chaos War in Stormbringer). Probably unwilling to drop off Elric in the wrong time period, the Dark Ship's Captain eventually drops his albino passenger off in an alternate plane where Elric must find a Crimson Gate in order to get back to his proper plane and time period.
- After waking up from a nap, the previous events of the first act begin to fade from memory. Moving inland on a strange beach, Elric engages greedy pirates, but is aided by Count Smiorgan Baldhead of the Isle of the Purple Towns. Smiorgan possesses a rare Melnibonéan coin which he explains came to him from a mysterious woman who had booked passage on his ship, but then disappeared when the pirates attacked.
- Travelling toward the coast, the pair frequently spy a ghostly horse. Reaching Smiorgan’s abandoned ship, they find the mysterious woman, Vassliss, who claims that she escaped from the legendary Melnibonéan Earl Saxif D’Aan. She had fled to Elric’s plane through the Crimson Gate, but Saxif D’Aan had managed to draw Smiorgan’s ship back to this plane. Elric explains the legend of Saxif D’Aan to Smiorgan: The ancient Earl had once fallen in love with and then captured a woman engaged to another. D’Aan had then banished the other lover. However, after thinking that the girl had betrayed him, he killed the girl as well. However, on her dying breath the girl managed to profess her love to him. Racked with guilt, the Earl soon went into self-exile and then disappeared from history. Now, D’Aan has decided to pursue Vassliss, believing her to be his lost lover reincarnated. Elric asks Vassliss to help them sail back through the Crimson Gate.
- With greater difficulty than usual, Elric calls on wind elementals to help propel Smiorgan's ship into the open sea. As they approach the Crimson Gate, the white horse appears on the ship, and Saxif D’Aan’s golden battle barge approaches in the distance.
- Saxif D’Aan’s battle barge catches Smiorgan’s vessel and D’Aan confronts Elric. D’Aan requires the girl to come willingly but she refuses. The white horse appears on Elric’s ship, and D’Aan has everyone retreat to his battle barge, after which he sinks Smiorgan’s ship, hoping to kill the ghostly horse.
- Saxif D’Aan tries to intimidate Elric into freely giving up the girl, but Elric surprises him with a blow to the head. Before D’Aan can recover his senses, Elric manages to use sorcery to summon Prince Carolak, the legendary rider of the horse, and the banished lover of the woman D’Aan had once killed. In a duel, Carolak scores a fatal blow to Saxif D’Aan, and departs with Vassliss. Glad of finally achieving a form of peace, Saxif D’Aan gives Elric a red gem will help him safely pass through the Crimson Gate.
- Once through the Crimson Gate, D’Aan’s battle barge begins to disintegrate, as its magic will not work on Elric’s plane. Elric and Smiorgan are eventually rescued by a Vilmirian ship captained by Duke Avan Astran of Old Hrolmar.
The Dark Ship Navigates through Chaos, Elric Summonses Arioch to Enter the Jade Man
Art: James Cawthorn, for 1979 German edition
- The renowned explorer Duke Avan Astran of Hrolmar (Vilmar) proposes a journey to the fabled ancestral home of the Melnibonéans, R’Lin K’ren A’a. In this legendary city is also supposedly the Creature Doomed to Live, a man who had spied on the Higher Lords in the ancient past. Avan however, desires the gigantic eyes of the “Jade Man”, two valuable gems embedded in the head of a giant statue of Arioch. Avan shows Elric an ancient Melnibonéan map-scroll (sealed by a strange ruby jewel), obtained from traders in Imrryr. Elric agrees to accompany him on the quest, despite Count Smiorgan’s misgivings. Departing from Lormyr, they take a Vilmirian schooner through the Boiling Sea. They eventually reach the mouth of a river leading into the dark jungle continent of the West. Elric wonders about the genesis of his Melnibonéan race. Penetrating deeper into the jungle, they are eventually attacked by reptile-men who somewhat remind Elric of his own race (to his disgust). Elric calls upon an insect elemental (King Nnuuurrrr'c'c of the Insects) and the reptile-men are repulsed by swarms of carnivorous dragonflies. Elric, Avan and a small group arduously hack their way through the jungle, which is strangely silent and devoid of animal life. A figure is glimpsed but quickly disappears.
- The group arrives at the long lost city of R’Lin K’Ren A’a (now in ruins). In the distance, they see a giant statue of a naked youth, but with missing eyes. The reptile-men renew their attack and Elric calls on Arioch for aid. Arioch however advises Elric to abandon his friends and escape by himself. Hiding in the ruins, they find a cryptic message and a destroyed library. Reaching the site of the Jade Man statue, they find glass orb-like structures at its feet and enter one of them. Elric soon finds himself alone in the maze.
- Elric is visited by a sad phantom of Erekosë, followed by a parade of Eternal Champion incarnations. Elric exits the domed structure to find himself in a ghostly representation of the city during its zenith when it was populated by peaceful ancestors of the later cruel Melnibonéans, before the knowledge of the Higher Ones corrupted them. Returning to one of the domes, Elric again emerges in the present to meet the Creature Doomed To Live, a thin Melnibonéan-like figure named J’osui C’reln Reyr. Reyr takes the group to an underground room safe from the reptilian Olab. He tells Elric that the domed structures are the Jade Man’s eyes.
- Elric learns that in ages past, a giant jade manifestation of Arioch had once walked into the city of R’Lin K’Ren A’a and told the citizens that they had to abandon the city so that the Higher Lords could use it as a meeting place to discuss the rules of Law and Chaos. In return, Arioch would became the Melnibonéans' patron god and lead them towards a great future (Elric surmises that this bargain is what had originally “corrupted” these simple people and then set them on a path towards Melnibonéan cruelty). When J’osiah had emerged from hiding after the meeting of the Higher Lords, Arioch then cursed him, let drop his faceted eyes, and then departed the statue. J’osiah tells Elric that the gem on the seal of Avan’s scroll-map gives the owner the power to command the Jade Man. Elric agrees to summon Arioch, but Stormbringer reaches out and kills Avan in order to provide a sacrifice for the summoning. Arioch comes, and is reluctantly commanded to again reanimate the giant jade statue. He warns Elric that this forced action has initiated the great struggle of the Higher Worlds on this plane. After the gigantic Arioch has walked off (scaring off the Olab and lifting the Doomed Man’s curse). Stormbringer puts J’osiah out of his misery. Elric and Smiorgan decide to depart in J’osiah’s secret launch, being the only survivors of the expedition. Elric then agrees to stay with Smiorgan in the Purple Towns for a while.
|Sailing Towards the Ancient Lost City of R'Lin K'Ren A'a|
Art: James Cawthorn, for 1979 German edition
"The Jade Man's Eyes (1973) Synopsis
- In the beautiful city of Chalal in Pikarayd, Elric and Moonglum are hosted by the renowned traveler Duke Avan Astran of Hrolmar in Vilmar. He proposes a journey to the fabled ancestral home of the Melnibonéans, R’Lin K’ren A’a, and the fabled home to the Creature Doomed to Live, a man who had spied on the Higher Lords in the ancient past. Avan desires the eyes of the Jade Man, a giant statue of Arioch there. Avan shows Elric an ancient map and a strange jewel that he’d salvaged from the ruins of ruined Imrryr, and Elric agrees to accompany him on the quest.
- Departing from Lormyr, they take a Vilmirian schooner through the Boiling Sea. They eventually reach the mouth of a river leading into the dark jungle continent of the West. Elric wonders about the genesis of his Melnibonéan race.
- Penetrating deeper into the jungle, they are eventually attacked my reptile-men who somewhat remind Elric of his own race, to his disgust. Elric calls upon an insect elemental and the reptile-men are repulsed by swarms of dragonflies.
- Elric, Avan and a small group arduously hack their way through the jungle, which is strangely silent and devoid of animal life. A figure is glimpsed but disappears.
- The group arrives at the long lost city of R’Lin K’ren A’a (now in ruins). In the distance, they see a giant statue of a naked youth, but with missing eyes. The reptile-men renew their attack and Elric calls on Arioch for aid. Arioch however advises Elric to abandon his friends and escape by himself. Hiding in the ruins, they find a cryptic message and a destroyed library. Reaching the site of the Jade Man statue, they find orb-like structures at its feet and enter them. Elric soon finds himself alone in the maze.
- Elric is visited by a sad phantom of Erekosë, followed by a parade of Eternal Champion incarnations. Elric exits the domed structure to find himself in a ghostly representation of the city when it was populated by peaceful ancestors of the cruel Melnibonéans, before the knowledge of the High Ones corrupted them. Returning to a dome, Elric again emerges in the present to meet the Creature Doomed To Live, a thin Melnibonéan-like figure named J’osui C’reln Reyr. Reyr takes the group to an underground room safe from the reptilian Olab. He tells Elric that the domed structures are the Jade Man’s eyes.
Elric learns that in ages past, the giant Arioch had walked into the city
of R’Lin K’ren A’a and told the citizens that they had to abandon the city
so that the Higher Lords could use it as a meeting place. In return,
Arioch became their patron god and led them towards a great future. When
J’osiah had emerged from hiding, Arioch cursed him, let drop his eyes, and
then departed the statue. J’osiah tells Elric the strange gem that was
with Avan’s map gives the owner power to command the Jade Man. Elric
agrees to summon Arioch, but Stormbringer reaches out and kills Avan in
order to provide a sacrifice. Arioch comes, and is reluctantly commanded
to reanimate the giant jade statue. Arioch warns Elric that this forced
action will start the great struggle of the Higher Worlds. He then
announces that he must now go to Pan Tang in answer to the Theocrat’s
summons. Stormbringer then puts J’osiah out of his misery. Elric and
Moonglum depart in J’osiah’s secret launch, being the only survivors of