Making My Marque
I'm twenty years old, and I can pinpoint the exact moment five years ago that I decided I absolutely must have the tattoo I've finally gotten. I was sitting on a plane, half scared out of my wits (I'm emetophobic and the thought of other people getting airsick was too much to bear), with my headphones jammed into my ears and cranked so loud that my head was exploding while on the way to Florida from Michigan.
And I was reading.
Prior to getting on the plane, my mother and my sister decided we should make a final pit-stop at Meijer to get a couple more means of entertainment for the flight. For my younger sister, this meant a new CD. For me, it meant a book. I love to read and write (and do both at the speed of light), and fantasy and horror are my number one picks. With the lack of decently written horror novels in the grocery store selection, I set out to pick the fattest, most boring-looking fantasy novel on the rack. I had no idea at the time it would both become my favorite series and change my skin for the rest of my life.
The longest book I could find clocked in at about 700 pages. I flipped through it, noticed some long names and some period court drama, and decided on it. It was the first in Kushiel's Legacy, a set of two (so far) trilogies set in an alternate history of Europe. The title of the first novel is Kushiel's Dart. It had an awesome tribal design embossed in red on the cover which I thought looked pretty neat as well as a pretty girl sitting on a wall. That was all fine and dandy. So we bought our new neat things and headed to the airport.
Now, I'm a pretty fast reader and after I had gotten over the initial thrill (and terrifying possibility of barf) of being on an airplane for the first time, I set my teeth into that book and started chewing through the pages. I wasn't overly thrilled with the first fifty or so, because while excellently written, it was a little long-winded for fast reading and I had to jump back and forth to remember what the terminology that was being used meant and to keep the names of the deities and houses straight. Then it started to get under my skin. I loved it, and it took the next hundred pages for the realization to dawn on me that I had picked up THE best historical-fantasy-bondage-erotica-love-war-story novel existing today.
The s/M angle sold me. I've had an obsessive sexual interest in all things BDSM since I hit that magic age of hormonal turmoil, and even a bit before. I have a theory that any kid who tries more than twice to escape handcuffs or begs to be tied to a chair to try to get out is either going to be a very famous magician or one kinky adult. While most early puberty self-discovery is squeezing legs together and fumbling around below the belt in the pursuit of happiness, mine was tying my ankles together and squirming around happily without understanding exactly why it pleased me of why I couldn't bring myself to stop doing it.
The main character, Phedre no Delunay is a young girl who was sold to the Night Court (a collection of high-class courtesan's Houses, each named after different flowers and each catering to different sexual tastes ) by her mother so that her mother could have the money to start a new life and then disappear from the pages of the book. She was accepted as flawed goods due to a scarlet mote in her eye, making her unfit for any House canon.
Bear with me, I promise this is relevant to the tattoo.
Phedre spends her youth in Cereus House, the first of the Night Court. She learns about the theology of her country (Terre D'Ange is equivalent to the France of olden times), and this is where it gets sticky. Summing it up briefly: Elua is the main god/angel, who taught the precept "Love as Thou Wilt". He had followers that were not-quite-fallen angels. Namaah (the courtesans are referred to as Namaah's Servants), Kushiel (the punisher of God, who alone understood that the act of punishment was an act of love), Anael (taught the care of the land and his scions smell like apples), Azza (pride), Camael (war), Eisheth (healer and caregiver), and Shemhazai, who taught knowledge.
The ones who concern us are Namaah and Kushiel. But now you know, so go buy the book.
Phedre is unfit to serve, but after seeing her reaction to pain from a pin they call a nobleman named Anafiel Delunay, who recognizes her as god-marked by Kushiel to receive pain as pleasure, or an anguissette.
Now we have the pain/pleasure angle, so how is the tattoo relevant?
Any courtesan dedicated to Namaah must make a marque from patron-gifts symbolizing her freedom from her house, meaning she or he is no longer a bond-slave. The reason the symbol is a tattoo trailing their spine is due to the legend that Namaah marked the backs of patrons she loved with her nails. And that nifty briar rose tribal design I was talking about earlier? The marque of an anguissette.
So now that the book report is over, I've wanted this tattoo for ages. I finally got a new job that puts excess money in my pocket instead of just barely paying bills. So I grabbed my book, grabbed the designs I had drawn up, and headed out to Suicide Kings to see if we could hammer out the details.
I got there with my fiance and it was a bit busy so we hung around, looked at the portfolios and looked at some flash. I had seen most of the work that was in the portfolios from their myspace but there were a few new ones that really impressed me. I also wasn't expecting to start it that day, so I hadn't eaten very much. Shame on me.
Chris looked at the design that I had, and we agreed it needed to be more elongated and elegant rather than thick and knotted like it was. He worked his magic, blew it up a great deal, and bam! There was the tattoo I've always wanted. So he quoted me a very fair price (it was actually less than I was expecting, I had always assumed for something this big it had to be at least five to eight hundred) and surprised me saying we could start now. Hell yeah!
I forgot how much it hurt. Well, stung. I'm probably not the easiest person to tattoo because my skin gets extremely twitchy, and it's not voluntary in the least and frankly annoying as hell. I get twitchy and I grit my teeth and even though the memory of the pain feels great it's that slowly-increasing-nagging-annoying kind while it's happening that makes me want to climb the walls. The filling feels amazing, like rubbing minty lotion on a bad burn or the way your skin stings after a very good spanking. The lining hurts like hell. And there was a hell of a lot of lining to do. I almost fainted with my pawprints on my hips because I hadn't eaten that day. I did fully faint about an hour into the lining of my marque, which covers a good deal of the middle of my back, lower neck to butt. It was kind of funny even though I felt very girly and silly afterward. He gave me an orange pop-ice (yum) and a sucker, we took a break, I apologized, he laughed, and all was right with the wo
rld. But on the bright side, I didn't get lightheaded a single time after that. I think my brain just got sick of the endorphins and called it quits, because I had the distinct comfortable thought "Wow, I really CAN fall asleep!" right before I heard Chris say in the back of my mind, "She's going out."
About two and a half hours, some German soccer, a lot of swearing when the gun was on my spine, one orange popsicle, and a bottle of water later, I had my marque lined and about 1/3 filled.
One more session! It's healing beautifully, I work at Lover's Lane so I have an awesome discount on lube, and the System JO brand silicone lubricant is amazing for keeping it moisturized and gorgeous. I'm lucky to have had very little peeling or scabbing, although I did have to soak my shirt off my back when I woke up the day after I got it.
Woo-hoo! Oh, and go read that book. =)
submitted by: angeldustrialanguissette
on: 30 June 2008