I have finally got started on Branded In Ink the first book in the tattoo magician series, Born Of Ink! That means I have the first chapter here to show you. It’s completely unedited, first draft, so play nice and ignore the typos and bits 😛
The city heaved a great sigh as morning broke. Thick blue-grey clouds hung on the horizon threatening to engulf the city in a few more hours of darkness. The rough stone bit into my hands when I pushed off it preparing to face the day. A niggling need in the back of my mind was gnawing at me with increasing urgency, the desire to be somewhere and do something, but I had no idea what. I spat a few choice curses at the gods as I crossed the rooftop down to the stairs, the sky lit up with a flash of lightning quickly chased by a crack of thunder. They’d given their thoughts on my curses. I spat a few more before I slammed the door on the morning, if they wanted action they were going to have to give me something more than an irritating feeling in the back of my mind.
Keirn thrust a large mug of hot black coffee at me as I entered our small kitchen. “Cursing them won’t help you you know,” he said.
I shrugged and took a sip of the coffee, it burnt all the way down. “Who’s our first client?”
He curled his lip and looked up from his sketchbook, “Some prissy boy in an expensive suit.”
“I suppose that means he’s mine then. Any idea what his animal is?”
His mouth spread into an easy smile, his eyes shone with victory. I should have fought him over who had the displeasure of dealing with the prissy boy, but my night had been full of nightmares, I just wanted to get through the day.
“Drink your coffee, you look like hell.” Was all he gave me.
I took a long gulp and glared at him, he was holding out on me and that was rarely a good sign. His pale silver eyes held my gaze before he waved his hand at me and said, “Something big and impressive I think.”
I snorted. “I look forward to the day it’s a damn gerbil, something simple and amusing.”
That brought a grin to his face. “They’d be too ashamed, morons have no idea what it means to have anything at all.”
He descended into elvish cursing. I didn’t need to be fluent to know he’d slipped back into his world and the overly familiar territory of people’s connection to magic, honour, and respect. Or the lack thereof. I knocked back the last of my coffee and set about preparing for the day proper. Tattooing, is an art that requires artistic and magical skill. Those come from patience and focus, neither of which I had much of that day.
Keirn continued to mutter while he returned to his sketch, we had an hour before we opened up and I had to make the pretence of preparing for the day’s magic. The flat was dark, Keirn had good night-sight and saw no reason to hurt his eyes with more light than was strictly necessary. I ran my hand down the familiar smooth wall on my left before it stopped at the edge of the door. My preparation space. A sacred room that no one else dared enter. I flicked the light on and gently closed the door behind me as I breathed in the scent of basil and lavender. A glance at the small potted plants told me they were still healthy and well, a small comfort from the darkness of the night. The nightmares clawed at the back of my mind as I bent my knees and knelt on the mat in the middle of the sparse room.
Normal humans have to pay respect to the magic as a living entity before they slip into their role as a tattoo magician, they must don their spiritual armour in preparations for whatever magic they’ll be wrestling that day. I wasn’t normal. I hadn’t told anyone, not a soul, about what I was or what I could do. No one knew that performing ink magic was as easy as breathing, and it had to remain that way. Closing my eyes I slowed my breathing and allowed the memories of the nightmares to slowly form. The threat of fear pooled at the back of my neck, I brushed it aside, no harm could come from the memories.
An all engulfing darkness filled my mental landscape, it threatened to choke and devour me, yet nothing emerged from it. Taking another deep breath I pushed through the viscous black that filled every inch of the space around me, nothing appeared. Frustration grew after what felt like an eternity of pushing and fighting the memories. There was nothing but black. I sighed and relaxed my muscles trying to find my centre. The day was starting, there were more important things to focus on than useless dreams.