Tarim the Living
Like Erlik, Tarim was a principal god of the Turanians and their ancestral people, the Hykanians, although less sinister a deity than Erlik. Tarim’s origins and nature are likewise obscure and half-forgotten. By most accounts, he was a deity to be sworn by and nothing more. Other tales say that Tarim was a man blessed by Erlik who was the first to bring the worship of Erlik the Shrouded to the Hyrkanians from the land of Pathenia. The Turanians believed that those tribes that heeded Tarim’s call to worship Erlik became mighty in battle and that it was this new faith that led these tribes to conquer the vast territory on the western shore of the Vilayet Sea that became the Empire of Turan. Once article of the faith of Erlik was that the Shrouded God often caused Tarim to be reincarnated to lead the faith and this individual was known as the Living Tarim.
Still, in one epic mythological cycle from Conan’s day known as “The War of the Tarim,” the god was a very real presence on Earth for at least a time. The tale relates how Tarim was thought to be a man, the reincarnation of a being who had founded the Hykanian race when they were still Lemurians in the days before the Cataclysm. Hyrkanians from the city-state of Makkalet on the eastern shore of the inland Vilayet Sea kidnapped this man-god from his temple in the lands of Turan, which prompted the heir to the Turanian throne, Prince Yezdigerd, to lead a seaborne assault on Makkalet, which destroyed that city and reclaimed the god. Conan, however, who had been a member of Turan’s army, had seen the truth: the “Living Tarim” was nothing more than a mentally defective man who was incinerated in a temple fire as the city fell to the Turanian forces. Yet even his corpse was treated as a holy relic by the Turanians. Such deceptions to increase the power of a religious cult’s hold over often illiterate and uneducated peoples was common during the Hyborian Age.