15). The Harvester of Kor
Kor, magnificent Kor, vast and ancient Kor, capital of old Hyperborea. Ruined Kor, infested with semi-intelligent man-apes of Hyperborea like worms in a carcase festering in the sun. Kor of towers that scrape the clouds, of magic that lifted men to the sky and touched the moon, Kor of dark-despair and haunted madness. Kor that was, whose foundations are of emerald that cannot be cut or shaped by any means that man can bring to bear. Kor with doorways that cannot be opened, wickedly curved and shaped, squat and peaked for the entrance of beings that were never human.
A monster came to Kor that could not be named. It ate the souls of men, and their hearts, licked clean their bones, and left a bloody pile of empty skin behind. The armsmen of Kor, with their armor of diamond that could not be pierced, their golden bracers that gave them the strength of ten, their curved blades of blended steel that would cleave shields in a single stroke, these heroic men fell one by one to the nameless beast that stalked by day and at night breathed out its fetid nightmares through the streets of the ancient city.
And Kor died, its people fled, its king's flesh hung from the gates of his palace like a flag, an empty sack that screamed from a hollow mouth. The high-priest of Kor whose Gods are forgotten burnt himself alive on a pyre of sacred tomes and cried aloud for vengeance even as the fire ate his flesh and burned his name from the knowledge of men.
When his ashes were long cold and scattered by the winds which played joyfully among the empty streets of Kor the Harvester came down from the dark between the stars. In the shape of a man he met the nameless beast and chased it deep beneath the dungeons of the city. Tied to this earth for an aeon which to him is the single beat of his heart, he walks the streets of Kor. It is he who opens forbidden doors, he who takes his tithe of blood from among the beast-men, he who they fear beyond their own Xathoqqua, and he who awaits to find again the hidden nameless thing and fulfill his oath so one day he can again return to his cold and distant home in the darkness of the sky.