As the plot thickens, so then does the backstory to Jenario Onyx. I was quite surprised to include segments within chapters that gave a hint of what Jenario had to do as an alchemist working under the ever-watchful eye of the Council. Not only did he have to concoct new medicines, but spices for council’s cooks and perfumes for their ladies.

One particular scene in the swamp brings back a culinary experience that nearly makes him gag. The swamp scene is full of decaying plants and possible corpses under the water. The smell is atrocious, which brings back a memory of slicing into fish guts to extract its oil glands.pestal

The last whiff of memory comes after Jenario discovers some skunk cabbage, known for its obvious stink if its leaves are broken. He recalls a memory of how he hated when a council leader passed by and he’d cut his own fingers out of a pure nervous twitch. Imagine that happening and having to start all over because whatever you’re making is now ruined! This leads into the reason why the council had all Jenario’s herbs cut and prepared before he ever receives them – yet in the beginning we’re lead to believe he doesn’t know how. He simply forgot due to incompetence.

I think this goes to show that Jenario knows more than he’s letting on. His confidence seems to spur more often for those who believe in his abilities. Otherwise, he seems to shrink into self-doubt. This, of course, is beginning to change. Now, with his first favor from the unicorn, he’s starting to see magic as thin ribbons of light.


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