Cherry musk, dried red fruits, geranium, red rose petals, red labdanum, and agarwood.
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A disconcerting scent, heavy and oppressive, through which no light, no matter, and no spirit can escape. Black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin.
It wasn’t a dark and stormy night.
It should have been, but that’s the weather for you. For every mad scientist who’s had a convienient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is finished and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who’ve sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor racks up the overtime.
But don’t let the fog (with rain later, temperatures dropping to around forty-five degrees) give anyone a false sense of security. Just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all the time. They’re everywhere.
They always are. That’s the whole point.
Two of them lurked in a ruined graveyard. Two shadowy figures, one hunched and squat, the other lean and menacing, both of them Olympic-grade lurkers. If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded “Born to Lurk,” these two would have been on the album cover. They had been lurking in the fog for over an hour now, but they had been pacing themselves and could lurk for the rest of the night if necessary, with still enough sullen menace left for a final burst of lurking around dawn.
Finally, after another twenty minutes, one of them said: “Bugger this for a lark. He should have been here hours ago.”
The speaker’s name was Hastur. He was a Duke of Hell.
Smoky-sour labdanum, black patchouli, wet tobacco, and brimstone.
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.
Pale bergamot, labdanum, white incense, vanilla-tinged musk, Burmese oudh and tea rose.