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As By Reflection

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Luteia: gasoline and Irish ivy
The stench of gasoline hit the back of my throat so hard I almost immediately began to cough. This was gasoline with a cruel, pungent, primal twist; a deep thing that the mortal liquid could never have managed. This was unrefined gasoline, a type not used in over forty years due to safety regulations and the dawning awareness of the eventual heat death of mortal civilization. This was gasoline that still remembered what it was to be part of the earth, before it was soaked up in pipelines and boiled into something new. This was a graveyard twisted and warped and heated, still scorched from the sorrow of death.
And under that gasoline, under the death-stench of it, was a thin latticework of Irish ivy, a strain of it not found in the modern world. A strain from the highlands of Ireland before the gasoline of its eventual graveyard had ever been discovered and refined. It lacked the power of heather, violet, lavender and roses combined in a true mooring, but it was the ivy that held strong against what suffocated it. It wasn't the roses that had grown at the start of the world, but it was the ivy that remembered them, the ivy that would welcome them again when the gasoline finished burning and the roses bloomed.
Gasoline and Irish ivy. That was what I had to go on.

greywardenblue: hot chocolate and new books
Let's start with the hot chocolate. That's a thing of heat and love, turning something horrific (chocolate is gr8 but its history not so much) into something gentle and sweet, tempering the past with a gentle present and future. That's a warm kindness made of steel, the kind that says "I will take this blade used to kill and I will cut homemade bread with it to break bread with those I once considered enemies and have learned to forgive". If it's got milk in that, then it's also got a theme of harvest and caring for those underneath you and working together to make things right.
And new books means history, brought together into the future. The smell of something old and yet new, of stories written down on a medium recently discovered and recently made accessible, of bringing knowledge down from where it was once nobility and now into where all can read and love it. Also the fact that the best book smell is from pulp fiction novels, made with the woodiest and least-bleached paper which is also terrible quality, meaning that this is a love that is now accessible to all, where it once never was. Of open arms and peace hard fought for, finally open to the world
Add them together and you get a nice sweet scent of "i will be kind, because the past was not, and all may come to sit down at the table and read, and share in what we have learned and read, and know that none need be thirsty here".

neubauje: wilted dandelion and underripe banana peel

Well, let's start with the dandelion. This is past the bloom, not quite to the seed where everything is white, and over, and ready to begin anew. This is an ending, not of death but right before a transition, before one lets go and flies away, transforming into something new. They say there are two ways to die. To stay as you are forever, and to change. This is the moment of that choice, before the consequences are lain down. This is the moment when one still holds on to what they are, even if it's over, even if the only thing that can be done is move forward, transform, die in the only way to keep living.
This is a bare moment of mourning, of acceptance, of forgiving. This is the dandelion who has faced the anger despite being so talented, so useful, ready to help and heal and sustain. This is the moment where it's time to realize that it's all right to let go, but before that happens, thanks must be given to what got you here. Only with that thanks, that gratitude given to the efforts at long last that was for so long denied, can that transformation, death, and rebirth happen.
But underripe banana peel, that is what stands out immediately after. This is the moment when the transition has forced one to settle into their skin, the jump already taken and the ground within sight. This is not the time for thanks, because there's nothing yet to be thankful for, the benefits not yet reaped from the ground below. This is the moment right before the fruiting, before the harvest, when the fruits of the journey can be enjoyed. This is a story whose moral is still unknown, because it hasn't stopped yet. It speaks not just of an undertaking, but of a mystery, an immaturity that comes from not yet knowing. This is a story on the third of five chapters, still learning, where not everything yet has fallen into place.
Together, they speak of a complexity, green and golden and growing. This is a scent that has had to rebuild itself, whose arcs fall together in a disarray of time. There isn't a clear end-to-beginning, what begins again happens in the middle of the story. Thank what got you here as you discover what is yet to come. We're always changing. Always dying, always growing. Time isn't linear here, experiences still blooming. This isn't an ending. Only one more step, one more paragraph on a journey that will see itself through.

TamLin: black lavender tea, unknown secondary
Well, I note that this is a black tea, not a herbal tea, and that gives me a taste of not being what it's meant to. Most lavender teas are herbal, but this isn't. This isn't a tea meant for healing. This is sharper, more bitter on the tongue, but it's still lavender. Lavender for peace, lavender for falling asleep, lavender for calming down at the sun dropping in the sky in preparation for sleep. But while a herbal tea might say "come, sleep the night away, all is safe", this is the tea that would say "come, sleep the night away, but at a price - this will be blackened and bitter on the tongue, this is a peace you will have paid for. This is what you wanted, and you will get it, but it doesn't come free."
A conditional kindness. Always intended to be kind, but choosy about it, only to those who can stand the starkness of the flavour. Hot and warm but not always gentle, but those that can withstand it are rewarded with the sweetness of lavender and a peaceful night of rest.
That adds spices to sweeten the sharpness, rose water for the beginning and the end and how everything, everything will turn out the way it needs to. Hints of cardamom and rose to remind you that this is a tea tempered from its nature. It chooses who it loves, who it graces with peace. But it has taken a step back, it has been re-prepared, and it chooses to be kinder than it wishes to be. It chooses to give mercy to those who don't deserve it, not as a failing on the part of those it blesses, but as its own mercy and goodness. A flavour that chooses to love when there's no good reason to - to be gentle against its every instinct, because that is what the world needs from it.

Andoskia: wet cat fur and mango
This is wet cat fur, to start, this is something doing what isn't natural to it, and doing it well. This isn't a drowning, this is having the tools equipped for something else and using them for this. Why? A million reasons. Maybe for the enjoyment of what so few do, maybe because there is no option. But it's working. The wrong tools for the wrong job, and it's working. It's doing what needs to be done. This is a bravery rarely seen and never expected, and it does not expect congratulations. We do what needs doing, what begs doing, what we do because we can and we will. There's something fascinating, about being atypical. Of being extraordinary.
It's mellowed out by mango, fresh and ripe and not even claws could cut it more than an inch. This is a cat travelling south, travelling for warmer weather, over sea and not by land. There is a reason for this. Possibly several. The sweetness of the mango is a reward it can't taste, and it seeks it anyway, bound to it like a lover's call. This is something wet and sweet and defying what it should be, its core rock-solid and its flesh gentle to the touch. A little too sweet, one might say. Too sweet and too forgiving of unkind tides. But that is the price to stand out. That is the price of having tools that don't match what needs doing, and using them anyway. Because what else is there to do? Give up? Nay. It weathers the unkind tides with a smile and a sweetness it might not always recognize. And it will do what needs doing, what begs doing, what it wants to do, and it cares not if you recognize the reason. It will do as it will, and the world will reorder itself so it too, can forgive this.