Have you ever done something as a reminder of a character? I know at times that borders a bit on the crazy or maybe just strange, or maybe it is a writer thing and some characters really get under our skin. But then maybe I am getting ahead of myself a little here.
If you remember from last week, I mentioned that I would be getting a new tattoo for my birthday. The thing of it is, this is a tat I have been mentally working out over quite a few years (I imagine close to 20). It has a bit of history for me.
Where it originated is within my role playing games. For a while I had a certain type of character that always had a certain set of tattoos. The one I recently had done was one of them. At some point I am probably going to get the second one. Just in that alone it is a character and a story thing.
But the thing of it is, there was a certain character that the idea of the marks had become part of his story line. I actually saw where they came from in his creation and life. Mind you what I have isn’t really that mark but a representation of the mark. This particular character came from my years playing the game Everquest. The character in question was a Dark Elf (Drow) Shadow Knight and he was a role playing character.
For those who might not understand why that matters, let me explain a little. There are two ways to play most role playing games. For some the idea of building powerful characters and taking down boss mobs is the main reason they play the games. For people like me, the the stories that come from the game are more important. With like minded people you can act out stories and such while playing the game. Much of that goes back into how many of us grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons and similar games.
So first I want to share the concept of what the eventual tattoo would be.
And then the finished tattoo.
In case you wonder what the meaning of the word is, it is a family name. As part of the storyline it would be seen as Qu’ellar Sezaru. This translates from the Drow language as house of Sezaru. The second tattoo is a very similar dagger but on that one is going to be the word “Honor” written in either Drow or possibly Klingon. Either one is an appropriate homage to the character that gave birth to the stories of the tattoos. He was a Shadow Knight in Everquest and his styling was based on the Klingon concept of honor which is also very similar to the Samurai and bushido code of honor.
And finally a brief story that shares the history.
The sharp orange glow of the embers in a sea of black metal was the only light in the room. His eyes had grown accustomed to the glow and lost their natural ability to see the heat that radiated from the objects around him. Nothing but the blackness and that orange fire that he had built not long ago.
He chose the warriors path. The one and only way out of this cell. The moment he lit the fire in the brazier his fate had been decided.
There could be no turning back from this point. He dropped a few more coals into the embers and stirred it all around. Within moments the glow of the consuming heat found the edges of the new coals and then the heat spread. The black metal that held the coals had begun to glow with the growing heat. A soft dusky orange at first but toward the center it took the deeper red of fire for its own.
His concern had been the edges of the metal, up at the rim of the brazier. This area, though it appeared cool, carried the heat just the same as the areas closer to the coals. The pain would still be intense, near unbearable. But this was the choice he had made.
The brazier sat in front of the doorway, the only way out of the cell. And there were no tools he could use to move it. Like others before him he had only one option, one tool that would be useful. And he wasn’t ready.
The question haunted him as he watched the growing fire. How does one prepare oneself for the most intense pain one might ever feel? How does one prepare oneself for a moment when you could perish through the pain and nature of the task? He had no answers. None other than what he could fathom on his own.
He steeled himself with a deep breath and stepped forward. The brazier’s heat washed over him as he reached toward it; his arms hovered just at the edges below the lip of the brazier. With one last deep breath he pressed his arms against the fiery metal and released the air in a scream as he lifted it from its base.
Moments felt like hours as he hefted it and turned away from the doorway. He couldn’t rush, couldn’t cast the thing aside, or he risked burning himself further or death in the fire that would consume the cell. He set it on its base to the side of the door and pulled his arms away.
The flesh had seared, brands to mark his forearms and forever remind him of the choice he had made. He would forever carry the reminders of his duty to his house and his bloodline.
He emerged from the cell, weak and in pain. The battle of will drained him of so much. The hall outside the door remained dark, like so much of the world he knew. Dark except for a soft red glow across from the doorway.
The sacrifice squirmed against its bonds as he readied the one spell he had been taught at the start of his training. Its use was the final test, his final moment to prove he would become a knight an enforcer of the Queen’s will. His hands began to glow deep crimson as he whispered the words.
At his touch the glow of the sacrifice dimmed and went black. Its life force fed and strengthened him and in that moment healed the burns he sustained from the brazier. But even then the brands would remain with him, a reminder of who and what he had become.
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