Patch and Sal
The city spreads out before Sal in a buffet of color and sound. Sal can smell spices and street
food cooking as they pass vendors and merchants. Bright lengths of fabric flap in the
faint breeze, scarlet and yellow and blues so deep Sal imagines they are the sea given
form. Baskets of fruits and vegetables completely unknown to Sal sit in row after row,
so abundant they seem as though they can’t possibly all be real. There’s just so much of
it, and it’s everywhere.
Everywhere Sal turns there is something else new and dazzling.
Merchants shout to shoppers as they pass, speaking both Del and those who can flash
their skin in ways pulchra can understand as well, bright rippling flashes that advertise
Chittering creatures in forms Sal doesn’t recognize sit in cluttered wooden cages. Some
look like living tree bark with small beady eyes and long hooked claws. Others are
clearly birds of some sort, armed with teeth, massive sickle-shaped claws on their feet
and long tails, but plump and definitely for cooking. These bird-like creatures hiss and
chitter at Sal as she passes, pulling their lips back to expose rows of razor-teeth.
Gigantic leaves bend over the streets from large trees planted between the wooden
buildings, providing a canopy for the markets below, their fronds tied together to form
a peaked roof. The sun, paler and less red than Sal is used to, is pressing it’s way
through the leaves to cast dappled pools of light on the stone streets beneath. Pulchra and Del alike press in on every side, sprinkled here and there with a smattering of
traders and merchants by the looks of them. Sal isn’t sure she’s ever seen so many
people in one place.
The pulchra around flash to each other in their silent tongue, so
quickly and deftly Sal has a hard time following, but it’s near refreshing to use her
research somewhere beyond her little office. She can actually understand them, if they
flash and pulse slowly enough. Most seem to be simply chatting to each other, as
anyone would do in a market. It’s quite nice, actually, to see a language in it’s original