We decided to return to the roof early today. There seems to be no reason to rush our exploration of the city, even though we share the strange impulse that we must do so. That feeling is losing ground to our exhaustion. Instead we have spent the afternoon sleeping and cooking Mortuga meat.
The last neighborhood we explored seemed cleaner, better-maintained than the rest we have explored. It’s as though it was only recently abandoned.
We found a spice shop there that had a variety of spices still sealed in glass containers. We’ve been experimenting with different combinations to make the Mortuga taste a little less acrid. It certainly isn’t the finest meat we’ve ever had.
Being in this city is a surreal experience. It feels whole, yet hollow. Somewhere within it lies the secret to its people. Where they are and what happened to remove them.
While we remain silent in the streets. On the roof Balthandar has spent much of his time telling me about the various cooking traditions of the Summer Isles. It’s fascinating the differences between our cultures, both subtle and overt. They don’t use straight salt to flavor their food, for example, but only mix it into robust recipes of spices.
He said that salt on its own was for peasants. I suppose if I grew up in the shadow of the Spice Barons I would feel the same.
If we make it out of the Nanten alive, I have promised to go with him and visit his home. I have never wanted to go to the Summer Isles, but tonight as I watch the sun set over the golden waves of Senida, I have the feeling that not doing so has only robbed me of experiences I would otherwise cherish.