Sebastipole holding his sthenicon.
Type Biologue
Creator Viscautorists
User Leers
Appearances Series

A sthenicon (pronounced "s-then-i-kon") is a type of biologue that is used by leers and lurksmen either to see things which are far off or hidden, or to pick out obscure or tiny smells. It is a boxlike device which the user wears on their face. Despite the advantage that a sthenicon conveys, the user must be careful not to wear it for too long or face adverse effects.


The sthenicon is a wooden boxlike device which has a hollow back that fits against the user's face. Its interior consists of a compactly folded biological membrane which effectively enhances smells at a much greater magnitude than can be detected by normal humans. This membrane would be about 120 square feet long if stretched out. A doeskin-like material seals the back of the sthenicon. On the sides are stubby brass horns through which air passes through.

Vision is provided through a lens at the top of the sthenicon. At the same height as the lens are three slots which the user can push in and out to adjust their vision. They can communicate via a small hole in the lower front corner while another slot in the bottom allows liquids, such as thin stews, soups, or special drafts that aid in using the sthenicon to be drank, if inconveniently. Buckles and leather straps secure the sthenicon to the user's face.


Before a sthenicon is applied the user may drink an alembant.[1] Despite the advantages that they gain, the user must be careful not to keep a sthenicon on for too long. Its organs will have start to grown into their nose after a week's worth of use and removal is possible, but painful. After a month, the organs will grow into the face, making removal even by surgery practically impossible without the user losing their face.

Licurius had left his sthenicon on for too long, thus it had become exetious and impossible to remove. Although he gained enhances senses of smell and sight, he could not sleep normally[2] and his personality was warped over time, becoming more sinister and cruel.


  1. Lamplighter, Chapter 6
  2. Factotum, Chapter 2