DRAGON TATTOOS AND WHAT THEY MEAN
Today we're here to learn about the complex ranking system within the Tribe based in marks tattooed on a dragon's hide for various accomplishments and ranks. I say dragons because, while there are some splinter sects of Trader and Tribal people that tattoo their Whers
, in the Weyr, only the dragons are tattooed in meaningful ways.
Now, due to the sheer number of Mark possibilities, we'll be going over only a handful of the most prevalent - those that most often indicate a dragon's (or a rider's for that matter) rank. For our purposes, all the rest are assigned at the RPer's discretion.
Generally, these important markings are done in black unless it just doesn't show up on your dragon's hide, in which case they might be done in something that does show better. Or black. Because.
Sometimes dragons might not be majorly tattooed in an effort to camouflage them for extensive work in the North. Large markings are visible from a distance and can rouse suspicion, and even a quick and subtle dragon is difficult to hide. Still, most pairs feel the marks of their unity and success are important enough to bear anyway.++ Lineart drawn by Redwerecat, Colored by Rhush
Meet our model, (NPC) Brown Bessaitalith! For ease of explanation, let's just call this handsome fellow Bessy. Now, he has several marks, and as we'll see in the following descriptions, according to these many tattoos, Bessy's rider is a very accomplished fellow.
So, we'll start from the top and work our way down.1.
This Mark you find on nearly every Tribal dragon. Tattooed on once a dragon reaches full growth, it's an oval on the center of its forehead. This signifies that the dragon and its rider are members of the Tribe and thus under its protection. To be stripped of this Mark is not only extremely painful, but an act of banishment. To see a dragon with an oval scar on its forehead is to know its an outcast, usually for good reason. Some queens are Marked with the oval as a sign of solidarity with their Tribe, while others refuse in a show of superiority. Occasionally it may be foregone on a dragon that will be relied on extensively to work in the North, in an effort to help camouflage it.2.
A thin bar Mark between a dragon's nostrils, this is the first Mark they will receive. Due to their tattooed hide usually in varying steps of the healing process, Tribal dragons avoid between
like the plague, the cold emptiness of it a thing of their nightmares. Nevertheless, each dragon and rider must successfully go between
and return in order to get this Mark and thus graduate Weyrling training. Even on dragons meant to be sent north on stealth work, this mark is usually given because it is quite small and not obvious to notice.3.
Bessy here is quite the Brown, because those three marks along his neck signify Weyrleadership. Both past and present Weyrleaders bear these Marks as a token of their success.4.
Two black caps on a dragon's headknobs signifies that this dragon has completed Weyrling Training, having been Marked with them as part of their graduation. Occasionally it may be foregone on a dragon that will be relied on extensively to work in the North, in an effort to help camouflage it.
Now, onto his body.5.
These Marks on his forepaws mean that Bessy is either currently or previously a Weyrlingmaster. An important and exalted position within the Tribe, Weyrlingmasters of all ages are to be respected by everyone, even haughty queens.
Candidatemasters receive a similar marking, only on the hind feet instead of the forepaws.6.
This large streak across both of his arms and shoulders signify that Bessy is a wingrider, or was one at one point. Though there is no more Thread, they still drill and raid in groups called wings. Of all the marks that might be waived for stealth purposes, it's these highly visible wingrider stripes that are most likely to not be made in order to blend in at a distance with northern dragons.7.
Each circle signifies a promotion within his wing, from wingthird, to wingsecond, to wingleader.
THE LEGS AND TAIL
And at last, his feet and tail.8.
Stripes like this indicate the number of candidates Searched. Baby dragons are the lifeblood of the Weyr and they need candidates, so Searching is taken quite seriously, especially considering the risk taken while Searching in the North.For Dragons from the North:
If you're playing a character that defected after completing their training in the North, their dragon will probably not receive the first-betweening nose bar and the tattoos on the headknobs.
Some of them might take them anyway as a further show of good will and solidarity to the Tribe, though.