Rivek thought Sorian must never use his study for studying. Bookcases hammered from iron bars spanned the enclosure, but every volume lay under a seal of dust. The air smelled like glue and adhered just as tightly to his pores.
He pulled at the rope around his wrists. Highly fibrous and relatively thin, but not cleverly knotted. He had escaped similar before, but it guaranteed a decent burn. However, he was more concerned with the man seated in front of him.
The Historian wasn’t a very big man, but the way he hunched over and made clicking sounds with his teeth reminded Rivek of a plague rat. He wore a thick cloak that obscured everything except his hands, which were covered in white sores as big as his knuckles. Rivek couldn’t see his eyes, but the uncovered part of his face revealed a similar affliction.
He twirled a pen between his fingers. “It is a shame that we meet again under these circumstances. From what I’ve heard, you are not a fan of small spaces.”
“Then let’s make an effort to keep our conversation efficient: Is the Tyrisi queen supplementing her army with Alisian troops?” He cringed in disgust, revealing his pointed teeth.
“I don’t know,” Rivek shrugged, nodding towards his left arm. The six-spoked wheel tattooed onto his shoulder spoke to his own Alisian heritage. “You figure it out.”
“Perhaps, I will.” The Historian stood. “I should hope that the ruler of a respectable country would not align herself with a gang of homeless animals that crawl from city to city, making livelihoods off the sins of upstanding citizens.”
He moved closer to Rivek, still twirling the pen in his hands. “You see, around here, they like to work as mercenaries. And honest soldiers like myself, we don’t like mercenaries.”
“A long time ago, I led a much simpler life. I lived in a town a few hours north of here, and my father kept us fed by trading furs.” He placed the nib against the tattoo and began to trace its outline. Wherever the pen traveled, Rivek’s skin split, and black blood trickled down his arm.
“I had a little sister, and she was a very smart girl. However, she was also very pretty - blue eyes and yellow hair. She received a letter to study at a university in the capital. Thinking it was a simple job, my father hired one of you folk to take my sister to the school.” He jabbed the pen into Rivek’s skin, causing every letter of the design to ooze.
“And I never saw her again.” He finished the tattoo. Rivek’s entire arm looked as if it had been covered in red and black ink. The wound reeked of iron. The cuts continued to widen as the acid burned through his flesh. He bit the inside of his cheek, waiting for the throbbing to stop. Every heartbeat caused another flow of blood down his arm.
“People like you, with lives like yours, are the reason I don’t read from paper, anymore.” The Historian grinned and wiped the pen on his ragged garment, smearing more dirt over its silver tip. He laughed like a squealing rat. “Your skin read likes a good book. Everything I need to know is written in your scar tissue.”
“Now tell me, again, are the Tyrisi supplementing their army with Alisians?” He took the nib to the cross-shaped scar on Rivek’s face.
---View on Tumblr
“Stailum ei Qarta
.” Pen and Paper
- 081/100 Themes.
Tattooing is basically cutting the skin to put ink inside, so that later it heals over with a permanent image.More Art/Writing Featuring These Characters:
Rivek Ailinar, Tjan the Historian, and Sorian Aljannsen belong to Grace Fong,