Talezhwar was thrown alone into the wilderness. Her tribe hated her, for who could love a witch? The signs had all been there: her black hair, her pale face, her long long fingers. And her curious bundle, why did she carry it around? It must be evil, a manifestation of her ugly magic. Shamani Ruvozhda could be the only knower-of-unknowable things in the tribe, there was no room for a woman.
In the cold wilderness Talezhwar curled up and froze, her frail health no match for the ice and wind. Her fingers became brittle as sticks and her nails cracked and shattered. But still she held on to her bundle.
Come spring she was found by Peczar hunters who dragged her body back to their leader. No matter how hard they tried they could not prise her fingers from the little bundle she clasped so tightly. They tired of this and went to roast the carcass of a beast they had slain, but the delicate smell of burning flesh reached Talezhwar’s sleeping nostrils and awoke in her such a ravenous desire for food that she rose up and cast off her icy facade.
When the Peczar saw that the girl was alive they whooped with horrible delight and began to dance. They grabbed her and tore off her clothes, violently beating her. Their leader stepped forth and dragged her into his tent where he proceeded to rape her.
The poor girl was utterly devastated. Afterwards she lay on the grass outside weeping and considering her suicide. But then a thought sprang into her mind and awoke a vicious glint in her heart.
The next day she was brought before the Peczar chief who demanded to know what she had in her bundle. She offered to show him and pulled out a set of strange, twisted needles and bizarrely coloured dyes. These, she explained, were used for tattooing designs onto the skin, amazing coloured patterns. Intrigued, the chief asked her to demonstrate and she bared her arm on which was the sign of a fearsome dragon.
Immediately the chief decided he must have such a tattoo, and demanded it be performed at once. With an unpleasant smile Talezhwar explained that the pain of the process would be too great and that the chief would not be able to withstand it. He guffawed! How could a young girl withstand such pain while a man like himself could not? She must tattoo him. She acquiesced and explained that he must at least be bound down so that his limbs did not flail in anguish. He agreed and was bound to a solid wooden board.
When they were left alone, Talezhwar set about the task.
The screams from the tent drew the hunters close. Talezhwar rushed out and told them it was natural that he should feel some pain, it was an unpleasant procedure. Troubled, they left her to finish her work. Long into the night she toiled with her needles, his screams unabating and terrible.
In the morning the screams ceased and the Peczar approached the tent. All was silent.
“Chief, will you show us your brilliantly coloured tattoo?” they called, with no answer.
“Chief, come out and let us see what intricate designs she has painted.” Silence.
“Chief, bare to us this glorious scar that we might marvel at its subtlety.” No reply.
In a chilling moment of realisation the hunters noticed the girl was gone.
This horrible artefact belonged to a peasant witch who was evilly treated and she used it to exact her hideous revenge.
The owner of this item will gradually be tempted to experiment with it, creating small attractive tattoos on themselves. Over a matter of months this degenerates into a crazed obsession and they eventually cover themselves from head to toe in artless colourful scars, bleeding to death unless they find medical care.
The first few small self-tattoos are so interesting and attractive that other people want ones for themselves.
If anyone ever asks the owner to give them a tattoo, the owner will oblige, but during the process become frenzied and try to maim or kill the victim.