Toll is two towns in one. Toll-by-day appears a bright, safe and prosperous town, where the streets are mysteriously clean each morning. If you have a 'good' name, showing that you were born at a time sacred to one of the 'better' Beloved, a little god considered lucky, honorable or otherwise upstanding, this is the only face of Toll you will ever see.
But what if you were born under one of those ominous Beloved, the gods that everybody worships warily, with half an eye on their purse? Then you are destined for Toll-by-night, and good luck to you. You will need it.
The Committee has the all-important task of deciding who has the right to live in Toll-by-day, and who must be sent to Toll-by-night. In their mighty books, all the Beloved are listed and divided intp 'daylight' and 'nightling' gods. Only a particularly disrespectful individual would consider the Chief Clerk to look a lot like a raspberry.
(Born under Goodman Merlinsoar, He Who Returns the Hawk to the Noble Glove)
Even on a good day, the mayor of Toll is grim-faced, abrupt and intimidating. The days that are to follow the arrival of one Mosca Mye and a certain Eponymous Clent will be very far from good…
(Born under Goodman Boniface, He Who Dries the Dew and Guides the Sun's Golden Chariot)
Not only is Beamabeth the mayor's daughter, but she possesses the second best name in town, and is consequently adored by everybody in Toll-by-day. She is generally regarded as a living angel, beautiful, innocent, and in all ways delightful. It seems, however, that her charmed existence is threatened by dark machinations of which she knows nothing. Curiously enough, the citizens of Toll-by-Day are a lot less eager to discuss the individual with the best name in Toll.
(Born under Goodlady Everose, She Who Keeps the Hills from Sliding off the Horizon)
The young governor of the rich city of Waymakem has been spending a lot of time in Toll-by-day of late. It is an open secret that he has been making sheep's eyes at the mayor's daughter and hopes to make her his wife. What is less well known is that he has other reasons of his own for visiting the town.
(Born under Goodlady Fairlie, She Who Purges the Skin of all Toad-Curses and Leaves it Bonny-White)
Who could possibly suspect that this friendly, motherly woman was anything other than a perfectly respectable widow? Well, for a start, anybody who knows under her gloves her hands bear T-shaped brands as punishment for thievery.
(Born under Goodman Phangavotte, He Who Silvers the Tongue of the Teller of Heroic Tales)
Eponymous Clent, talented poet, conman, charlatan, story-teller and spy, is very much in demand. Indeed, he is being demanded by countless magistrates, and an awful lot of people who would very much like their money back. Once inside Toll, however, he finds to his surprise that he has at least one thing of value – a daylight name.
(Born under Saint Leasey, He Who Lends his Cloak to the Sly-in-the-Night)
A narrow-faced blackguard with a thumb-cutting knife, a man who does not smile often because he cannot smile well. Rabilan Skellow will kill to protect his plans… and a certain black-eyed orphan knows far too much about them.
(Born under Goodlady Sparkentress, She Who Helps Burn the Stubble to Ready the Earth for New Growth)
Brand Appleton was once a happy citizen of Toll-by-day, and the favoured suitor of Beamabeth Marlebourne. Then the Committee of Hours 'reclassified' a number of day Beloved. Brand was suddenly exiled to the night, and told that as a child of Sparkentress he was bound to be dangerous, rash and full of wild, radical ideas. Since then, he seems to be doing his best to prove them right.
(Born under Goodlady Vell, She Who Eases the Passing of the Sleeper in the Snow)
There is no solid evidence that Aramai Goshawk, infamous Locksmith and phantom-like puppetmaster is anywhere near Toll. Then again, why would there be?
Leveretia Leap is a midwife, often called upon to try and make sure that children are born not only alive and well, but where possible at times sacred to 'day' Beloved. Sadly, even if you are banging pans with all your might to scare children into staying in the womb a little longer, sometimes they will just go ahead and be born anyway…
(Born under Goodman Palpitattle, He Who Keeps Flies out of Jams and Butterchurns)
The latest arrival in Toll is a black-eyed orphan with a sharp tongue, a love of words, a fierce temper and an even fiercer goose. In the opinion of the Committee of Hours, she is nothing but a fly-child, a stealer of scraps, a forger of lies, villainous, verminous and everywhere she is not wanted. Mosca's opinion of the Committee of Hours is… unprintable.