Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and Black Phoenix Trading Post, in association with Conlan Press, are thrilled to present the first in a series of scents based on Peter S. Beagle’s classic fantasy novel, “The Last Unicorn.”
Peter S. Beagle is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. Beagle is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place and I See By My Outfit.
The Last Unicorn was published in 1968. It has sold more than five million copies worldwide since its original publication, and has been translated into at least twenty languages.
In 2005 Beagle published a coda to The Last Unicorn, a novelette entitled “Two Hearts,“ and began work on a full-novel sequel. In 2006, “Two Hearts” won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Novelette and in 2007 it won the Nebula Award in the same category. The story was also nominated as a short fiction finalist for the World Fantasy Award. In 2006, Beagle won the Inkpot Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Label art was created for us by Renae De Liz, the artist on IDW Publishing’s six-issue comic miniseries of The Last Unicorn. Renae worked on The Last Unicorn comic with her husband, colorist Ray Dillon.
PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$26.00 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary glass vial.
Because of the nature of this project, individual imps are not available for any Last Unicorn scents.
Rukh was standing before a cage that contained nothing but a small brown spider weaving a modest web across the bars. “Arachne of Lydia,” he told the crowd. “Guaranteed the greatest weaver in the world – her fate’s the proof of it. She had the bad luck to defeat the goddess Athena in a weaving contest. Athena was a sore loser, and Arachne is now a spider, creating only for Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, by special arrangement. Warp of snow and woof of flame, and never any two the same. Arachne.”
Strung on the loom of iron bars, the web was very simple and almost colorless, except for an occasional rainbow shiver when the spider scuttled out on it to put a thread right. But it drew the onlookers’ eyes – and the unicorn’s eyes as well – back and forth and steadily deeper, until they seemed to be looking down into great rifts in the world, black fissures that widened remorselessly and yet would not fall into pieces as long as Arachneâ€™s web held the world together. The unicorn shook herself free with a sigh, and saw the real web again. It was very simple, and almost colorless.
“It isn’t like the others,” she said. “No,” Schmendrick agreed grudgingly. “But there’s no credit due to Mommy Fortuna for that. You see, the spider believes. She sees those cat’s-cradles herself and thinks them her own work. Belief makes all the difference to magic like Mommy Fortuna’s. Why, if that troop of witlings withdrew their wonder, there’d be nothing left of all her witchery but the sound of a spider weeping. And no one would hear it.”
Soft brown and Tyrian purple: dusty clove and blackcurrant.Add to cart
“I’m merry twenty-four hours a day, Dick Fancy,” Cully said coldly. “That is a fact.”
A cocky light musk with leather, tonka, a dusting of dry woods, and a splash of porterAdd to cart
“Most shows,” said Rukh after a time, “would end here, for what could they possibly present after a genuine unicorn? But Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival holds one more mystery yet – a demon more destructive than the dragon, more monstrous than the manticore, more hideous than the harpy, and certainly more universal than the unicorn.” He waved his hand toward the last wagon and the black hangings began to wriggle open, though there was no one pulling them. “Behold her!” Rukh cried. “Behold the last, the Very End! Behold Elli!”
Inside the cage, it was darker than the evening, and cold stirred behind the bars like a live thing. Something moved in the cold, and the unicorn saw Elli – an old, bony, ragged woman who crouched in the cage rocking and warming herself before a fire that was not there. She looked so frail that the weight of the darkness should have crushed her, and so helpless and alone that the watchers should have rushed forward in pity to free her. Instead, they began to back silently away, for all the world as though Elli were stalking them. But she was not even looking at them. She sat in the dark and creaked a song to herself in a voice that sounded like a saw going through a tree, and like a tree getting ready to fall.
'What is plucked will grow again,
What is slain lives on,
What is stolen will remain –
What is gone is gone.'
“She doesn’t look like much, does she?” Rukh asked. “But no hero can stand before her, no god can wrestle her down, no magic can keep her out – or in, for she’s no prisoner of ours. Even while we exhibit her here, she is walking among you, touching and taking. For Elli is Old Age.”
The cold of the cage reached out to the unicorn, and wherever it touched her she grew lame and feeble. She felt herself withering, loosening, felt her beauty leaving her with her breath. Ugliness swung from her mane, dragged down her head, stripped her tail, gaunted her body, ate up her coat, and ravaged her mind with remembrance of what she had once been. Somewhere nearby, the harpy made her low, eager sound, but the unicorn would gladly have huddled in the shadow of her bronze wings to hide from this last demon. Elli’s song sawed away at her heart.
'What is sea-born dies on land,
Soft is trod upon.
What is given burns the hand –
What is gone is gone.'
The horrors of entropy, death, and decay: desiccated black mosses, vetiver, olibanum, patchouli, and ashes.Add to cart
“When those words were first spoken,” Drinn said, “Haggard had not been long in the country, and all of it was still soft and blooming – all but the town of Hagsgate. Hagsgate was then as this land has become: a scrabbly, bare place where men put great stones on the roofs of their huts to keep them from blowing away.” He grinned bitterly at the older men. “Crops to harvest, stock to tend! You grew cabbages and rutabagas and a few pale potatoes, and in all of Hagsgate there was but one weary cow. Strangers thought the town accursed, having offended some vindictive witch or other.”
Molly felt the unicorn go by in the street, then turn and come back, restless as the torches on the walls, that bowed and wriggled. She wanted to run out to her, but instead she asked quietly, “And afterward, when that had come true?”
Drinn answered, “From that moment, we have known nothing but bounty. Our grim earth has grown so kind that gardensand orchards spring up by themselves – we need neither to plant nor to tend them. Our flocks multiply; our craftsmen become more clever in their sleep; the air we breathe and the water we drink keep us from ever knowing illness. All sorrow parts to go around us – and this has come about while the rest of the realm, once so green, has shriveled to cinders under Haggard’s hand. For fifty years, none but he and we have prospered. It is as though all others had been cursed.”
An accursed bounty: rich black soil and hay, cucumber, tomato, red lettuce, summer squash, black eggplant, arugula, grape vine, artichoke, and a tangle of herbs marred by an undercurrent of vetiver, patchouli, and black moss.Add to cart
His eyes were the same color as the horns of the Red Bull. He was taller than Schmendrick, and though his face was bitterly lined there was nothing fond or foolish in it. It was a pike’s face: the jaws long and cold, the cheeks hard, the lean neck alive with power.
Dry cedar, bitter balsam, and ashes.Add to cart
Molly Grue had taken the white girl’s head onto her lap, and was whispering over and over, “What have you done?” The girl’s face, quiet in sleep and close to smiling, was the most beautiful that Schmendrick had ever seen. It hurt him and warmed him at the same time. Molly smoothed the strange hair, and Schmendrick noticed on the forehead, above and between the closed eyes, a small, raised mark, darker than the rest of the skin. It was neither a scar nor a bruise. It looked like a flower.
A luminous white winter musk with lilac, wisteria, white chocolate, white mint, and tuberoseAdd to cart
Cully smiled impatiently, and Jack Jingly dozed, but it startled the magician to see the disappointment in Molly Grue’s restless eyes. Sudden anger made him laugh. He dropped seven spinning balls that had been glowing brighter and brighter as he juggled them (on a good evening, he could make them catch fire), let go all his hated skills, and closed his eyes. ’Do as you will,’ he whispered to the magic. ’Do as you will.’
It sighed through him, beginning somewhere secret â€” in his shoulderblade, perhaps, or in the marrow of his shinbone. His heart filled and tautened like a sail, and something moved more surely in his body than he ever had. It spoke with his voice, commanding. Weak with power, he sank to his knees and waited to be Schmendrick again.
‘I wonder what I did. I did something.’
He opened his eyes. Most of the outlaws were chuckling and tapping their temples, glad of the chance to mock him. Captain Cully had risen, anxious to pronounce that part of the entertainment ended. Then Molly Grue cried out in a soft, shaking voice, and all turned to see what she saw.
The ecstasy of magic and the power of transformation: frankincense, guggul gum, onycha accord, styrax, and deep purple fruits.Add to cart
Molly said something strange then, for a woman who never slept a night through without waking many times to see if the unicorn was still there, and whose dreams were all of golden bridles and gentle young thieves. “It’s the princesses who have no time,” she said. “The sky spins and drags everything along with it, princesses and magicians and poor Cully and all, but you stand still. You never see anything just once. I wish you could be a princess for a little while, or a flower, or a duck. Something that can’t wait.”
She sang a verse of a doleful, limping song, halting after each line as she tried to recall the next.
'Who has choices need not choose.
We must, who have none.
We can love but what we lose –
What is gone is gone.'
Schmendrick peered over the unicorn’s back into Molly’s territory. “Where did you hear that song?” he demanded. It was the first he had spoken to her since the dawn when she joined the journey. Molly shook her head.
“I don’t remember. I’ve known it a long time.”
The land had grown leaner day by day as they traveled on, and the faces of the folk they met had grown bitter with the brown grass; but to the unicorn’s eyes Molly was becoming a softer country, full of pools and caves, where old flowers came burning out of the ground. Under the dirt and indifference, she appeared only thirty-seven or thirty-eight years old – no older than Schmendrick, surely, despite the magician’s birthdayless face. Her rough hair bloomed, her skin quickened, and her voice was nearly as gentle to all things as it was when she spoke to the unicorn. The eyes would never be joyous, any more than they could ever turn green or blue, but they too had wakened in the earth. She walked eagerly into King Haggard’s realm on bare, blistered feet, and she sang often.
An angry little beetle with her own kitchen beauty: fig, sesame, hazelnut, and cooking spices softened by rice flower.Add to cart
When the first wagon drew even with the place where the unicorn lay asleep, the old woman suddenly pulled her black horse to a stop. All the other wagons stopped too and waited silently as the old woman swung herself to the ground with an ugly grace. Gliding close to the unicorn, she peered down at her for a long time, and then said, “Well. Well, bless my old husk of a heart. And here I thought Iâ€™d seen the last of them.” Her voice left a flavor of honey and gunpowder on the air. “If he knew,” she said and she showed pebbly teeth as she smiled. “But I don’t think I’ll tell him.”
Honey, gunpowder, and pleonectic, twopenny magics.Add to cart
“Heroes,” Prince Lír replied sadly. “Heroes know about order, about happy endings – heroes know that some things are better than others. Carpenters know grains and shingles, and straight lines.” He put his hands out to the Lady Amalthea, and took one step toward her. She did not draw back from him, nor turn her face; indeed, she lifted her head higher, and it was the prince who looked away.
“You were the one who taught me,” he said. “I never looked at you without seeing the sweetness of the way the world goes together, or without sorrow for its spoiling. I became a hero to serve you, and all that is like you. Also to find some way of starting a conversation.”
Chivalry, love, and sacrifice. A noble cologne touched by a sweet sadness: vanilla fougere, bright citrus, juniper berry, ambergris accord, and basil.Add to cart
Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him, and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold: it spilled through his skin, sprang from his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold, too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, ‘I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full’.
Unexplored potential: sweet, raw tobacco leaves, chamomile, clary sage, Mysore sandalwood, sultana raisins, and caramel.Add to cart
“Gently, gently,’ he counseled himself. “No man with the power to summon Robin Hood – indeed, to create him – can be bound for long. A word, a wish, and this tree must be an acorn on a branch again, this rope be green in a marsh.’ But he knew before he called on it that whatever had visited him for a moment was gone again, leaving only an ache where it had been. He felt like an abandoned chrysalis.
“Do as you will,’ he said softly. Captain Cully roused at his voice, and sang the fourteenth stanza.
“There are fifty swords without the house, and fifty more within,
And I do fear me, captain, they are like to do us in.’
“Ha’ done, ha’ done,’ says Captain Cully, “and never fear again,
For they may be a hundred swords, but we are seven men.’
“I hope you get slaughtered,’ the magician told him, but Cully was asleep again. Schmendrick attempted a few simple spells for escaping, but he could not use his hands, and he had no more heart for tricks. What happened instead was that the tree fell in love with him and began to murmur fondly of the joy to be found in the eternal embrace of a red oak. “Always, always,’ it sighed, “faithfulness beyond any man’s deserving. I will keep the color of your eyes when no other in the world remembers your name. There is no immortality but a tree’s love.’
“I’m engaged,’ Schmendrick excused himself. “To a western larch. Since childhood. Marriage by contract, no choice in the matter. Hopeless. Our story is never to be.’
A gust of fury shook the oak, as though a storm were coming to it alone. “Galls and fireblight on her!’ it whispered savagely. “Damned softwood, cursed conifer, deceitful evergreen, she’ll never have you! We will perish together, and all trees shall treasure our tragedy!’
Along his length Schmendrick could feel the tree heaving like a heart, and he feared that it might actually split in two with rage. The ropes were growing steadily tighter around him, and the night was beginning to turn red and yellow. He tried to explain to the oak that love was generous precisely because it could never be immortal, and then he tried to yell for Captain Cully, but he could only make a small, creaking sound, like a tree. She means well, he thought, and gave himself up for loved.
A tree in love: misty, rose-flecked leaves, warm bark, and shuddering branches.Add to cart
Then one afternoon the butterfly wobbled out of a breeze and lit on the tip of her horn. He was velvet all over, dark and dusty, with golden spots on his wings, and he was as thin as a flower petal. Dancing along her horn, he saluted her with his curling feelers. “I am a roving gambler. How do you do?”
Fuzzy brown tonka bean, golden amber, bergamot, and petitgrain.Add to cart
The unicorn began to walk toward the harpy’s cage. Schmendrick the Magician, tiny and pale, kept opening and closing his mouth at her, and she knew what he was shrieking, though she could not hear him. “She will kill you, she will kill you! Run, you fool, while she’s still a prisoner! She will kill you if you set her free!” But the unicorn walked on, following the light of her horn, until she stood before Celaeno, the Dark One.
For an instant the icy wings hung silent in the air, like clouds, and the harpy’s old yellow eyes sank into the unicorn’s heart and drew her close. “I will kill you if you set me free,” the eyes said. “Set me free.”
The unicorn lowered her head until her horn touched the lock of the harpy’s cage. The door did not swing open, and the iron bars did not thaw into starlight. But the harpy lifted her wings, and the four sides of the cage fell slowly away and down, like the petals of some great flower waking at night. And out of the wreckage the harpy bloomed, terrible and free, screaming, her hair swinging like a sword. The moon withered and fled.
The unicorn heard herself cry out, not in terror but in wonder, “Oh, you are like me!” She reared joyously to meet the harpy’s stoop, and her horn leaped up into the wicked wind. The harpy struck once, missed, and swung away, her wings clanging and her breath warm and stinking. She burned overhead, and the unicorn saw herself reflected on the harpy’s bronze breast and felt the monster shining from her own body. So they circled one another like a double star, and under the shrunken sky there was nothing real but the two of them. The harpy laughed with delight, and her eyes turned the color of honey. The unicorn knew that she was going to strike again.
Clanging metal, smouldering hatred, and terror: vetiver, myrrh, patchouli, tolu balsam, black clove, bergamot, orange flower, and horseradish.Add to cart
There were a prince and a princess sitting by a stream in a wooded valley. Their seven servants had set up a scarlet canopy beneath a tree, and the royal young couple ate a box lunch to the accompaniment of lutes and theorbos. They hardly spoke a word to one another until they had finished the meal, and then the princess sighed and said, “Well, I suppose I’d best get the silly business over with.” The prince began to read a magazine.
“You might at least –” said the princess, but the prince kept on reading. The princess made a sign to two of the servants, who began to play an older music on their lutes. Then she took a few steps on the grass, held up a bridle bright as butter, and called, “Here, unicorn, here! Here, my pretty, here to me! Comecomecomecomecome!”
The prince snickered. “It’s not your chickens you’re calling, you know,” he remarked without looking up. “Why don’t you sing something, instead of clucking like that?”
“Well, I’m doing the best I can,” the princess cried. “I’ve never called one of these things before.” But after a little silence, she began to sing.
I am a king’s daughter,
And if I cared to care,
The moon that has no mistress
Would flutter in my hair.
No one dares to cherish
What I choose to crave.
Never have I hungered,
That I did not have.
I am a king’s daughter,
And I grow old within
The prison of my person,
The shackles of my skin.
And I would run away
And beg from door to door,
Just to see your shadow
Once, and never more.
So she sang, and sang again, and then she called, “Nice unicorn, pretty, pretty, pretty,” for a little longer, and then she said angrily, “Well, I’ve done as much as I’ll do. I’m going home.”
The prince yawned and folded his magazine. “You satisfied custom well enough,” he told her, “and no one expected more than that. It was just a formality. Now we can be married.”
“Yes,” the princess said, “now we can be married.” The servants began to pack everything away again, while the two with the lutes played joyous wedding music. The princess’s voice was a little sad and defiant as she said, “If there really were such things as unicorns, one would have come to me. I called as sweetly as anyone could, and I had the golden bridle. And of course I am pure and untouched.”
“For all of me, you are,” the prince answered indifferently. “As I say, you satisfy custom. You don’t satisfy my father, but then neither do I. That would take a unicorn.” He was tall, and his face was as soft and pleasant as a marshmallow.
When they and their retinue were gone, the unicorn came out of the wood, followed by Molly and the magician, and took up her journey again. A long time later, wandering in another country where there were no streams and nothing green, Molly asked her why she had not gone to the princess’s song. Schmendrick drew near to listen to the answer, though he stayed on his side of the unicorn. He never walked on Molly’s side.
The unicorn said, “That king’s daughter would never have run away to see my shadow. If I had shown myself, and she had known me, she would have been more frightened than if she had seen a dragon, for no one makes promises to a dragon. I remember that once it never mattered to me whether or not princesses meant what they sang. I went to them all and laid my head in their laps, and a few of them rode on my back, though most were afraid. But I have no time for them now, princesses or kitchenmaids. I have no time.”
A matter of formality: lilac musk, sandalwood, sweet pea, watermelon accord, pale woods, elemi, and oakmoss.Add to cart
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
Frosty lilac petals, iris pallida root, orris, violet leaf, white chocolate, coconut, wild lettuce, white sandalwood, and oakmoss.Add to cart
It was always spring in her forest, because she lived there, and she wandered all day among the great beech trees, keeping watch over the animals that lived in the ground and under bushes, in nests and caves, earths and treetops. Generation after generation, wolves and rabbits alike, they hunted and loved and had children and died, and as the unicorn did none of these things, she never grew tired of watching them.
Ageless trees, everblooming flowers, brilliant grass, and soft shadows.Add to cart
There were nine wagons, each draped in black, each drawn by a lean black horse, and each baring barred sides like teeth when the wind blew through the black hangings. The lead wagon was driven by a squat old woman, and it bore signs on its shrouded sides that said in big letters: MOMMY FORTUNA’S MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL. And below, in smaller print: Creatures of night, brought to light.
Cruelty and confinement, small magics and penny illusions: galbanum, teak, myrrh, narcissus, patchouli, cacao, labdanum, agarwood, lavender, neroli, and black moss.Add to cart
The unicorn hardly heard him. She turned and turned in her prison, her body shrinking from the touch of the iron bars all around her. No creature of man’s night loves cold iron, and while the unicorn could endure its presence, the murderous smell of it seemed to turn her bones to sand and her blood to rain. The bars of her cage must have had some sort of spell on them, for they never stopped whispering evilly to one another in clawed, pattering voices.
A claustrophobic blend of iron and oak.Add to cart
You whom Haggard holds in thrall,
Share his feast and share his fall.
You shall see your fortune flower
Till the torrent takes the tower.
Yet none but one of Hagsgate town
May bring the castle swirling down.
Beyond the town, darker than dark, King Haggard’s castle teetered like a lunatic on stilts, and beyond the castle the sea slid. Drinn stopped him as he raised his glass. “Not that toast, my friend. Will you drink to a woe fifty years old? It is that long since our sorrow fell, when King Haggard built his castle by the sea.”
“When the witch built it, I think.” Schmendrick wagged a finger at him. “Credit where it’s due, after all.”
“Ah, you know that story,” Drinn said. “Then you must also know that Haggard refused to pay the witch when her task was completed.”
The magician nodded. “Aye,” and she cursed him for his greed – cursed the castle, rather. “But what had that to do with Hagsgate? The town had done the witch no wrong.”
“No,” Drinn replied. “But neither had it done her any good. She could not unmake the castle – or would not, for she fancied herself an artistic sort and boasted that her work was years ahead of its time. Anyway, she came to the elders of Hagsgate and demanded that they force Haggard to pay what was due her. ‘Look at me and see yourselves,’ she rasped. ‘That’s the true test of a town, or of a king. A lord who cheats an ugly old witch will cheat his own folk by and by. Stop him while you can, before you grow used to him.’” Drinn sipped his wine and thoughtfully filled Schmendrick’s glass once more.
“Haggard paid her no money,” he went on, “and Hagsgate, alas, paid her no heed. She was treated politely and referred to the proper authorities, whereupon she flew into a fury and screamed that in our eagerness to make no enemies at all, we had now made two.” He paused, covering his eyes with lids so thin that Molly was sure he could see through them, like a bird. With his eyes closed, he said, “It was then that she cursed Haggard’s castle, and cursed our town as well. Thus his greed brought ruin upon us all.”
In the sighing silence, Molly Grue’s voice came down like a hammer on a horseshoe, as though she were again berating poor Captain Cully. “Haggard’s less at fault than you yourselves,” she mocked the folk of Hagsgate, “for he was only one thief, and you were many. You earned your trouble by your own avarice, not your king’s.”
Drinn opened his eyes and gave her an angry look. “We earned nothing,” he protested. “It was our parents and grandparents whom the witch asked for help, and I’ll grant you that they were as much to blame as Haggard, in their way. We would have handled the matter quite differently.” And every middle-aged face in the room scowled at every older face.
One of the old men spoke up in a voice that wheezed and miaowed. “You would have done just as we did. There were crops to harvest and stock to tend, as there still are. There was Haggard to live with, as there still is. We know very well how you would have behaved. You are our children.”
Weed-strewn oak, opoponax, wet stone, creaking redwood, and desolate olibanum.Add to cart
Imp’s ears are not sold individually for this series.
They must be purchased in a set.
This set contains 7 imps for $38.50US, and contains samples from each series.