There were exceptional men Conan had known .. they did nothing to intimidate. Just stand there, doing nothing .. that was enough. Offering no threat. But they’d have people pissing in their pants. It was the muscularity, that was part of it. It was physique, height, build .. sure. But it was also something else .. raw hostility.
The change had happened in the blink of an eye. Positions had been reversed. It had been Conan drawn by those smells. It had been Conan creeping up on some dumb stranger alone on the beach .. roasting a kid. Lurking up on the stupid sucker unseen .. planning on robbing him of that roasting goat. By brute force if it came down to that.
Now he was the one being stalked. By a predator that looked one of a kind. Massive. A hulk of solid over-blown muscle-brawn. By the look of him this stalker was not one anyone in their right mind was going to make the mistake of underestimating. And Conan didn’t.
Few in life had intimidated Conan. But he was no fool. This attack-ready male giant .. had surprised him .. moved into ambush-mode behind .. this monstrous brute was not something to dismiss lightly. Stood there .. hostility expelled with every breath .. well above Conan’s own considerable height. Out-doing him in build .. by a long way. Blocking off any escape. Conan sensed a brutish power in that massive bulk. Half-undressed, in ill-fitting garments … Conan saw only raw brutal strength .. an overpowering sense of impregnability. Conan could slam a dozen beefy fists in his gut .. and this brute would just stare back .. before squeezing his head off. He stood, gigantic, weapon raised .. hand extended in a mock-invitation to join in the feast.
Conan’s experienced eye did not miss the muscularity on him. By nature he sized up an opponent. No impression of an overweight ponderous monster, this brute. Not some slow-moving dimwit who was all bulk. Raw fighting strength was what he saw. And lethal, silent .. the way he’d moved up on him. A predator, a panther. Eerie. Pitiless mean-minded force behind every deadly muscle. A bulging upper arm, taut shoulder muscles .. the chest that just went on-and-on. A deadly hunter .. noiselessly stalked him .. hunted him down .. uncannily got the jump on him .. caught him unawares. A lethal slayer that had no plan on letting his prey make a run for it.
Even a blind man had to be aware of this considerable might. Savage ruthlessness. A feral presence. An intangible threat. But perceptible. A force that swamped a lesser man. It drained him of confidence .. faced by this daunting might. Crushed by a primeval force.
Conan knew .. some felt that too about him . .. this sense of raw hostility. Naked aggression that would jump first and ask questions later. A presence projecting the naked raw powers a body looking like his gave out. Duck or lose your head. A lethal will that would smash through any opposition. A walking-talking threat.
And such a one was this giant, Conan felt it. He had it by the ton. Dominating the jungle scenery behind .. dominating Conan. By height, by bulk .. by presence. And he just stood there looking .. appraising .. wondering if Conan was going to be a prick. If Conan was dumb enough to turn down the invitation to dine. Make something of this hostile encounter. And then this monstrous ogre would relish changing Conan’s mind.
Conan hadn’t moved. Feet pinned to the earth by this wash of reactions. His instincts subconsciously considering his options. Taking this brute full-on .. one-on-one .. NO, he wasn’t mad. Conan did not shirk a fight .. but he knew when he didn’t stand a chance. Even fighting dirty .. he’d come off worse .. absolutely no doubt. Slugging it out with this one .. that didn’t feature.
And .. those smells from the roasting goat .. he still hadn’t taken the tempting invitation to join in the feast at the campfire off the list either. What had he got to lose? He had no choice, anyway. He glanced back at the gigantic ogre. Stood still, statuesque, the giant hand extended. Passively threatening. Actively menacing. Inviting .. dictating .. the sheer muscular bulk of the ambush behind was not in any mood to be denied.
Conan had been invited to join them for food. And his gut said this was an invitation that he would could not be allowed to refuse. The giant’s raised arm revealed a thick-muscled upper strength .. the size of many men’s thigh. The sinews in the forearm gripping the aimed spear were knotted, taut. Conan did not bear a single doubt. This brute knew how to throw. And it would take but the flicker of an eye to release that spear.
And still .. he was intrigued .. how-the-hell did they know his name?
“It would be an error to cross Kobo ….”
Still the man hadn’t turned around. .. talking out the back of this head. Uncanny. The confident voice poking at the embers of the fire continued.
“ .. with that spear .. he IS deadly …..”
Conan had come to the same conclusion. There was something eerie about the tall brute .. almost ghostly. Unreal, unnatural .. supernatural .. How he’d silently stalked him. . spectre-like. Moving all that bulk .. yet given not the first sign. Conan could not disguise that he felt on edge from the way those feral eyes fixed him .. as if rooting him to the spot. Conan feared little .. but he knew when to respect a deadly foe.
“Why don’t you join us?”
With that giant brute behind him … Conan knew .. he wasn’t being offered a choice.