Tattoos: part 2

Body markings mainly serve an out-of-universe purpose of helping the audience to more easily tell non-human characters apart, but also have justified reasons in the world. Tattoos are extremely common for Arkan characters and are basically coat of arms for the family. The color, position, and design of the tattoos vary widely between cultures and even families, but similar styles obviously exist within close areas. The designs are designed primarily with the men in mind, as they are the ones whom the family line is passed down. Women generally receive father marks, which is about half of their family’s mark – they will later receive the other half of the mark of their husband to symbolize a unity of the two families. It is seen in poor taste for the father mark to be unnecessarily large compared to the husband’s or not leaving enough space for the wife’s other half, though this tends to happens more often than it would seem. Some families, especially wealthy ones, tend to make it almost a competition who can have the largest markings. For the reader this may not be shown in full as it will distract from body language.

Some powerful women that are unmarried may have the entire father mark. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to remove tattoos. They tend to be in areas easily viewable with clothing such as the face, arms and tail (though again for reader clarity this may not be accurately represented). Non-permanent body paint is also used in some circles, often for war or events.

The high Renes view the practice as barbaric. Note that they also treat their ridges in ways that the Arkans think of likewise. Other Arkans also may not tattoo as heavily, like the Otigos. 

Designs can change somewhat over generations, and some add in major family events on the tapestry for instance (e.g. grampa killed a bear so we’ll show him killing a bear in the design from now on). They also change if they find their design is at odds with the popular trends, and can also ‘suddenly’ change to just coincidentally mirror those in power or royalty. Royalty and nobles hate this and will charge commoners if they find their mark to be infringed and the line is often extremely blurred.

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