Arachne of Lydia Perfume Oil
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 Arachne’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.