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It was tragedy, pure and simple, and it struck hard. 

Kiko Inosi had been a precious darling of a young girl, a joy to her family, her neighbors, and her classmates. A young teenage freshman many were already predicting would be a heart breaker when she grew older, but for the time being was a fresh breath of youthful springtime who brought a smile to all she encountered in her part of the city. 

Nobody saw her taken, or by who. It was a school teacher who first noted her absence, a washerwoman who found her family...or what remained of them. 

Young Inosi had been subjected to over eighteen hours of brutal torture at the hands of her captors before being dumped in the street like garbage, next to the dismembered bodies of her younger and older siblings. Of their parents, there was no sign, and the worst was feared. The sudden tragedy was the talk of the city; the constabulary were baffled, demons were involved, the Black Market was responsible, d-bees had done the horrid deeds, Coalition or Federation of Magic terrorists were behind the crime.

And now the locals were treated to another unexpected sight; soon after dawn of the second day following the gruesome discoveries, a party of a dozen tall armored warrior women atop fearsome beasts had arrived in town. The heavily armored, hard-eyed, alien women had simply pushed through the city gates and down the streets. They had gone straight to the hospital the young girl had been taken to and had practically encamped on its front grounds. They didn’t acknowledge the efforts of hospital security to remove them, and they showed no signs of leaving. Few townsfolk doubted their presence was a coincidence. 

Word was circulating; young Inosi, or one of her family, had been Marked after somehow crossing paths with the Shemarrians and catching their interest. Now something bad had happened to one the Shemarrians had declared worthy of their attention and they were here to investigate.

There was already betting on the street how much of the city would still be standing when the Shemarrians finished their ‘investigation’. 

Blood Marks[]

Blood Marks are Tribal markings given to those non-Shemarrians who are of great interest to, or who have brought themselves to the positive attention of, the Tribes. Such distinction may be earned by doing a favor to a Shemarrian, being of benefit to a Tribe (or THE Tribes), or showing great courage (such as fighting a common enemy like the Splugorth) alongside Shemarrians. Upon such individuals, the Shemarrians may bestow a Blood Mark.

Description[]

A Tribe’s Blood Mark resembles its Tribal crest or icon. Blood Marks vary in size and complexity from small darkish birthmark-like patches of color with only a vague resemblance to a Tribal insignia (vaguely hawk-shaped, crescent moon-shaped, or skull-shaped) to larger and more vivid tattoo-like works of art. The Blood Mark may be placed prominently on a body part, like the back of the hand or a cheek, or on someplace less visible (especially to the recipient) like the back of the neck, armpit, scapula, sole of the foot, or inside/back of the thigh. This may depend on whether the Blood Mark was given with consent of the recipient or put on them without their knowledge, and the purpose behind it. More prominent Blood Marks serve to declare that the person is an affiliate or under the protection of a Shemarrian Tribe, or simply an identifying tag designating the person of interest to the Tribes.

Blood Marks are more than just tattoos, however; they are created by nanite injection into the recipient. The nanites select a patch of muscle and skin, and ‘grow’ a nanocircuit array into the flesh. This nanocircuitry acts as a passive transponder and locator beacon to active Shemarrian ‘pinging’ signals, the response bounce from the transponder array identifying the Marked person. The array signal response also presumably carries a data file indicating the reason why the Blood Mark was given, and whether it serves a positive or negative purpose, determining the response of the Shemarrians who encounter the recipient. The array may also dump biometrics information on the Marked person’s physical state of well-being that can be read by any attentive Shemarrians in range of the transponder bounce. 

Nothing short of surgical excision and muscle and skin graft can remove a Blood Mark. 

Blood Marks are a typical mark of a Bondsman forsworn to one of the Tribes. They are also marked on slaves of the Tribes. They may also be markers of a negative sort; the Mark may convey to other Tribesmen that the wearer of the Mark is not to be trusted or accorded any respects or protections afforded others of the Shemarrians’ acquaintance. 

Blood Marks are typically applied by a Psi-Shamaness or Shemarrian Mystic. Lower castes may occasionally burn or cut identifying marks on others, that may serve the same purpose as Blood Marks, but with far less finesse, but these are not considered to be true Blood Marks.

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