Somewhat limited in one major sense, the Noses of Nyastich are a guild of perfumers extraordinaire, whose secrets go back thousands of years. They are limited in the present day, for such a guild as theirs, can only survive in areas of great wealth and sophisticated urban centers, dependant on the upper classes of any given region. Dependant on their monies and their follies.
Nowadays, the guildhalls of the Noses, can be found in only several northern cities, though their origins and roots are in the humid south. Marsuth, Lithzerone, Jantir, and even the Graffs, each supports a chapter of the Noses, as well as a few smaller, competing guilds.
I. Primer; Perfume, the making of
The Best perfumes begin as a formula of essential oils, extracted from natural sources. The blend of aromas is created by a perfumer called a ‘nose’ because of his or her exceptional sense of smell.
A perfume may use as many as three hundred essences, all painstakingly extracted from plants by various methods: steam distillation, extraction by volatile solvents, and enfleurage a froid. With this process, pungent blossoms are placed onto layers of fats for several days until the fats are saturated. The oils are then washed out with alcohol, and when this evaporates, it leaves the pure perfume essence behind.
II. Naga Dawn, Naga Rule
Long ago the Naga Came, and with them came their ophidian slaves. Upon Chariots of Silver and Palanquins of Gold, they came into the lush, fertile valleys of the Vinvirian Crescent. A hundred rabid slaves carried the Ganaspira itself. From a distance, the Naga Queen appeared as a monstrous, grotesque and bloated centipede, undulating along, upon the arms and backs of her tireless workers.
Thus began the Serpent’s Age, a seven-hundred year era, during which the southern races, and the sons of man, were ruled and dominated by the fecund and alien Naga. It was during this same time that the overlords, sorcerers, and priests of the serpentine conquerors, built great stone ziggurats and temples, those same edifices now overgrown and swallowed by the jungle, thousands of years later, which adventurers to this day seek and explore.
Many were the depraved and peculiar vices of the Naga and the Yuan-Ti. Failure to please The Sloth-Snake Ganaspira, with the created essence, often ended badly for the perfumer.
Nyastich was one such Nose, a ‘scent-maker’, one of the talented, who was spared both death, and worse, the Naga’s genetic experiments, and went on to work in fear for most of his life creating aromas to please the Ganaspira, avoiding the more debasing and horrid duties of those forced to watch over and eventually feed the Nagas egg broods.
Unfortunately no known records or eyewitness accounts exist of Nyastich, and even the perfumers of the guild often debate the semi-mythic man’s legacy. Some say his name was merely chosen at random, and upheld through the centuries due simply to tradition, while others claim that Nyastich was nearly a saint, a hero, who created such sublime and uncanny aromas that even the Ganaspira, Sloth-Snake of Iniquity was moved to offer the man his freedom, an unprecedented gesture in those times. No one knows the truth today, and no two Noses agree on the vague facts of the Master Perfumer’s life. All agree however, that Nyastich is the guild’s symbolic patron.
IV. Nasal Remnants, a new Guild is formed
From the ashes of the Serpent’s Age, emerged surviving humans, those who had served the Naga, and the Second Age of Man had once more arrived. Cities were rebuilt, snake-cults vanquished, and life began anew. Those ‘scent-makers’ who had survived, did not forsake their mastery of the olfactory arts, but merely waited, working as the first ‘Alchemists’, then slowly, and over many years, coming together to form guilds and brotherhoods, to mix and experiment with their pheromonal potions, musks, and body scents.
Today the perfumers serve as favored vendors of the upper classes, their indignant and fascinating past mostly forgotten.
V. The Ol’ Factory, Guild Headquarters
The Ol’ Factory, as it has been euphemistically dubbed by the populace over the years, was once called by a visiting dignitary, "The finest smelling edifice in all the known world!"
The Nose of Nyastich foremost and richest guildhall can be found in here in the capital city of Jantir, among the other prestigious guildhalls and shops of the
Sitting on several gated acres, furnished with wondrous and immaculately tended gardens and intricately marbled tiling, the Guilds headquarters and vat-filled laboratories and distilleries can be found inside this octagonal complex.
The Noses of Nyastich employ a peculiar caste of people in their operations, a labor force, comprised of destitutes, who willingly agree to undergo a procedure, the Noses call Eroih oea Nyastich ksojmra, literally translated, "the black breath of Nyastich." Upon the completion of the process, the volunteers are permanently stripped of their ability to detect any odor, losing their olfactory sense altogether.
These folk, the Unenviable, as the Noses who prize and revere all aromas, call these workers, do all of the work within the factory, from tending to cyclopean stone vats, to the handling of countless glass vials and chunks of tallow, and given the actual responsibility of mixing the secret ingredients and formulas in the strive to create the perfect scent. It may be interesting to note, that the Noses of Nyastich developed their caste system of workers, based in fact on the structured model slave-societies of the ancient Naga Empire.
The Unenviable create the perfumes based strictly on the provided ingredients, recipes and under the direction of the Noses, and are known for their attention to detail and steady hands. They cannot however smell their own creations (much less taste what they eat ever again), and that is when the bonafide Noses practice their craft, testing the formulas and aromas with their ancient, practiced talent.
The Ol’ Factory’s grounds are guarded around the clock , by a cadre of professionals, payed quite well by the Noses, and are of reliable loyalty and impeccable acumen and skill. Theft, but even worse, espionage, are the great banes of the perfume trade, as some beloved scents, even in small doses, are nearly priceless, able to fetch great sums of gold among the indulgent free markets of the nobles circuit and rival guilds as well as individual patrons, and less often, alchemists, thieves and assassins.
V. Nuts and Bolts and Plothooks (sorta)
One of he secret of the senior Noses is their highly developed Vomeronasal Organ, passed down from Naga, and their Yuan-Ti seneschals, when the Great Enslavers, experimented with the sons of man, and created macabre, ophidian hybrids, leaving a mark on future human generations for centuries to come. This mutation has earned the Noses of Nyastich their higher status among other perfume guilds. Even thieves and assassin guilds have respect for the masters of olfaction, stories circulating of certain Noses detecting even the faintest poisoned cup of wine, at feasts and celebrations. Others whisper that some of the Noses even possess bifurcated tongues, and often taste the evening air with these protrusions on their balconies, smelling the nightly moods of the capricious and sophisticated cities they call home. Some go so far as to say (several reputable sages included) that in the greatest of ironies, the senior members of the guild revere and worship ancient serpentine masters and sinister gods of somnolence, perdition and neglect, such as the Sloth-Snake Ganaspira, Younnossipsh the Nine Hooded, and Zodsoz the Untouched. These dread whispers are fortunately unconfirmed at this time.
The search for the Secret Scents, the hidden formulas of the original magical perfumes and potions of the Naga Empire, is another rather sinister pursuit of some guild members, though they keep this secretive, as they do all of their hidden goals and fancies. One such legendary formula is known by the Noses as the, Lavender-Screaming-Cherub-Bleeding-Mauve-Sunset concoction. The ingredients are largely unknown even to the sage perfumers, but they search the southern continents to this day and hire out explorers, to traverse the trackless jungles of overgrown Vinviria, to find clues, tablets, and inscriptions among the antiquated ruins of their erstwhile Naga and Yuan-Ti masters. Several ingredients are known however, such as freshly spilt blood of swine, poplar resin, horse-fat, harvested myrrh powder and the fermented glands of newborn crocodiles. Great arcane powers are attributed to this scent and other ancient essences and potions of the Serpentine Empire, though what these may be are known only to the senior-most Noses. And they are not talking.
It should be noted in closing, that the Noses of Nyastich do not in any way publicly present themselves as seekers of ancient reptilian mysteries, but as honorable, distinguished and sophisticated merchants of upper society. The bountiful coffers of the various perfume guilds can attest to this fact, as can their high regard among the other merchants, and all those who pay homage to the Arts of Olfaction.
The function of this organ is somewhat mysterious. The sensory neurons within the vomeronasal organ detect distinct scents containing chemical compounds, which are often, but not always, large non-volatile molecules. No further evidence of a functional use of the organ has been found to date.
Anatomical studies demonstrate that in humans the vomeronasal organ regresses during fetal development, as is the case with some other mammals, including apes, cetaceans, and some bats. There is no evidence of a neural connection between the organ and the brain in adult humans. Nevertheless, a small pit may be found in the nasal septum of some people, and some researchers have argued that this pit represents a functional vomeronasal organ. Thus, its possible presence in adult humans remains controversial-WIKIPEDIA