Korton on the River Kor, safe in darkness beneath the gaze of Køs, the star whose rays bring light and death in equal measure. It was not always so.

Once, the plains of Laïs were safe for all dreamers, and Korton was as their beacon, a shining city with a culture to rival any other. The Nameless Ones watched, as they watch everything, with their own inscrutable machinations.

The great Library of Korton has long since been closed and dispersed, its books traded away to sighted lands and replaced by those written in the pebblescript that all in Korton now use. But once, it had a million, ten times a million, books, and among them was a tome that the Nameless Ones did not desire mortals to look upon.

Some call it the Book of Angels or the Winged Tome. It is also often called The Wager, for it is believed to carry in its pages a copy of the compact that Light and Dark, Life and Death, signed to wager for the souls of the dreamlands.

The Nameless Ones knew immediately when it had been opened and read by a curious scribe.

Terrible Køs appeared in the sky the next morning, a day star visible both in light and in darkness from the length of Laïs. To bathe in any noonday light contaminated by Køs, whose name means simply Destruction in the old dreamtongue, was almost certainly to die.

No one knows how the Nameless Ones made their compact with Korton, trading life for light. It is said that the Dark itself appeared as an intermediary, visible over the distant hills, to negotiate in a voice that drove all who heard it to the brink of madness and bearing a visage to terrible to describe.

By the time Korton’s salvation had been secured, half of its people were dead or insane.

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