Prosatio Silban and the Perfect Ingredient

SOMETIMES, THE PERFECT INGREDIENT IS just beyond a cook’s grasp. And when that happens, said cook must either go without – or make good use of both resourcefulness and perseverance.

Prosatio Silban frowned at himself. He had been experimenting with a new recipe for fidget-hen confit, but it hadn’t been going well – and that was a disappointment, since he was developing the recipe for a new, moneyed, and potentially generous client. What it wants is a bright and briny note, he decided, and considered his jar of preserved lemons.

But where was it?

Prosatio Silban and the Saucemaker’s Tale

A JASMINE-SCENTED NIGHT BREEEZE carried the distant buzz of an enthusiastic if slightly off-key hurdy-gurdy through the open half-door of Prosatio Silban’s galleywagon, ending and re-beginning amid a cloud of applause and children’s laughter.

The small umber man – a saucemaker by trade who, like the rest of his curious people, bore no formal name within his community and only a vocational one among outsiders – put down his fork with a happy sigh. “Delicious as always, my friend, and many thanks. My people know how to cook, but only yours elevate food to the level of worship.”

Both laughed at the old joke, and Prosatio Silban pushed back his folding stool with a soft creak.

Small Packages (A Prosatio Silban Tale)

HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR a layman’s questioning, Prosatio Silban might never have learned of the Hidden God.

“What’s with all the filled fare?” he overheard someone say, on a day when the beefy cook was browsing cosmopolitan Soharis’ thronged street-food marketplace. The question was directed to the owner of a food stall whose offerings included dumplings, wraps, hand pies, and a dozen other examples of the stuffed-with-deliciousness kind.

Grammar (A Prosatio Silban Amuse-Bouche)

“WHO MAKES UP THE RULES for which goes with what?” asked m’Lady Phytan Gorrista’s eldest son. “Eating meat with a fork, soup with a large spoon, or drinking yava from a ceramic mug? What about combining oil of olives with garlic? Ham with eggs? Fidget-hen with pungentine?”

“One might as well ask why the sun doesn’t fall out of the sky,” replied Prosatio Silban, handing him a steaming bowl of fruited porridge. “The Flickering Gods, in Their wisdom, have decreed it from before creation – indeed, They built it into creation’s very fabric. Our happy task is to simply enjoy all of these things, in all of their combinations, rather than to break our heads and palates over how and why they came to be. It is one more example of life in this, the most interesting of all possible worlds.”

(If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

Prosatio Silban and the Shunned Fragment

THERE ARE SOME RECIPES A cook was not meant to know.

It had begun innocently enough, in epicurean Pormaris’ enormous Archive of Gastronomic Artifice. This beloved institution was holy to two of the six-hundred-thirteen Flickering Gods: Toth-Ar the Divine Scribe and Scofi, Patroness of Culinary Inspiration. Prosatio Silban made a point of perusing the Archive at least once a year to research new recipes or rediscover old ones. His latest visit had begun much like the others – a pleasant morning’s browse through stacks of scrolls and shelves of codices collected from the Three Cities and Thousand Villages of the Uulian Commonwell as well as the surrounding Exilic Lands.

My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.), ideas, occurrences, and images encountered in art and literature.
— H.P. Lovecraft, “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction”

Prosatio Silban and the Holy Terror

An homage to the Cook For Any Price’s D&D roots. Enjoy.

THE FIRST THING TO KNOW about getting along in basalt-wrought Zug Ululat is that you must never, under any circumstances, mention the howling.

Prosatio Silban knew this. And yet, even the loud singing around the roaring braziers in the cool spring evening could not dispel the chill in his soul.

The howling rolled down, faint but distinct, from somewhere near the far summits of the overhanging Blacktooth Mountains. Their jagged dark mass stretched north for many days’ zebra-ride like a frozen and unbroken wave, dividing the fog-shadowed Valley of Silence to the east from the reed-thick Emerald Incessance to the west.