In the empire of Aramtesh, there is power in scent. Seventeen-year-old Rakel has a talent for fragrances, but her scentlore skills aren't good enough to save her dying father. She travels from her desert village to the city in a desperate gamble to raise funds, but instead finds herself indentured to the head priestess at the temple. Not long after, the temple's precious scented flowers are set ablaze, and the imperial prince is found poisoned.
Rakel and the prince's bodyguard, Ash, realize they are the prime suspects, and the unlikely pair go on the run, racing across the empire to save themselves, the prince, and the empire itself.