Intro Text

"Camilla: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask."
- Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Diary of an Apprentice Scent Hunter, Day 1

As I writer I have always had my own take on the infamous piece advice given to many aspiring writers - “write what you know.” Personally, I believe in knowing what I write instead. I may not know what it’s like to be an ancient Throrian Scientist, but I can sure find out.

This is why, as part of my work on the sequel to Digging in the Stars, I have decided to come back to Thror and become an Apprentice Scent-Maker in one of the most legendary scent laboratories in the Known Galaxies. I’m studying hard, hoping to make it all the way to Journeyman level. Unfortunately, I have yet to make it past the first chamber, where I am kept busy washing and polishing scent vials. I haven’t seen so much as a sliver of tree bark. Not worthy yet. This may not sound like the most exciting job in the universe, but it has its benefits.


The vials are magnificent, each more precious and elegant than the one before. Like Throrian scents, vials have their own meanings and symbolism and pairing a newly brewed scent with the right vial is a large part of the Scientist’s skill. Each vial is unique. The key moment  of the ceremony of ushering a young Throrian into adulthood (at the tender age of seventy-five) is the unveiling of his or her own signature essence, as unique as a fingerprint. The scent is presented in a custom-designed vial carved of rock crystal or semi-precious stone, cast in shimmering metal, or whittled out of polished sea-wood taken deep from the watery mantle of Thror’s frozen core. This scent will define the young Throrian for the rest of his or her life, announcing their presence, serving as an introduction and mixing with scents of conversation, command, entreaty, celebration or love.



These are some of the vials whose company I have been enjoying, all glowing from inside and shimmering with brilliant colors. I can’t wait until the day I’m deemed ready to know their meanings and feel the fragrances locked in their hearts. I hope my mentor will be that charming young scientist with the fuzzy rose-colored head tentacles and the timid smile. Everyone calls him Rosebud.