Marks of Eden
Thicker Than Water
The act of marking someone with the blood from a fresh wound began as a means of bonding with squadmates on the battlefield. While their history is hilariously incomplete, the tradition goes back to the earliest myths they have on record. In these myths, the heroes featured would mark their entourage with their blood. It's so common in eden myth, it may as well be a part of their own hero's journey. Humans have a similar tradition, blood oaths and blood brothers. Each person makes a small cut, usually on a finger, hand or forearm. The two cuts are then joined together, symbolizing a bond. The idea is that each person's blood now flows in the other's veins Eden tradition takes the mark seriously. To be marked is to be bound to another in blood. Given how prominent it is in their culture, however, there are variations to these marks and their meaning. Let's start with military organization.
The Eden military is vast and it's not enough to be a simple soldier. Smaller divisions, a battalion or the crew of a famous ship for example, will often have their own cultures, and most importantly, their own marks. Military insignias are stained onto an Eden skin, like a tattoo. It binds them to their respective groups. They have Mark's for their company, which is slightly altered to fit their platoon, then their squad, and even to specific officers if the bond is strong enough. These insignias are not the only form of mark there are. The Eden do not discourage romantic relationships in their military. They believe that those who are bound in such a way fight harder to ensure they survive. They are encouraged to share their own marks, one's unique to their union as well as their ties to the military.
This tradition isn't just focused on marking others. You can tell how often an Eden has been wounded in battle by the marks on their skin. Each mark has a meaning, rooted in when, where, and how they were injured. This war paint is permanent, and it's up to eden who wears it to transform its meaning. These Mark's often begin as a reminder, a lesson learned and a mistake never to be repeated. It takes time to unravel the trauma and turn it into a mark of pride. Those with the most marks are usually only seen in two places, on the front lines or at the top of the chain of command. The first are those with a mind to waltz through hell, the latter are those who made it out.
In Fraeia's own words, "Those who bear the most marks are often the first into battle. They have the most to prove. They prove it not to their peers, but to themselves. If they can, you will see them rise through the ranks with alarming speed. Those at the top have the most respect because they are the ones who truly deserve it."
Types of Marks
Some marks have a reputation due to how frequent they appear. This reputation is never negative, in fact it's usually regarded as an endearing quality to other eden.
- Surgeon's mark: This is what I have now, though I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Eden medics are referred to as Denina Miah, Black Hands. They are always treated with respect and compassion. You never know if those they operated on survived, or how much they meant to the one who bears the mark. The more complete the change in color is, the more operations they've done. I have splotches and splatters, but most with the mark have lost the color of their skin entirely.
- Lover's mark: Any time you see a mark you can't quite place, it's likely a lover's mark, and you should stop trying to decipher it out of respect. A lover's mark is given to romantic partners, and always represents something of deep sentimental value to those who bear it. Given that polyamory is common among all ethnicities of the Lebha, all parties involved in the relationship will have the same mark.
- Widow's mark: Losing a loved one is hard and, much like a widow's mark, stays with you forever. A widow's mark is represented by teardrops near the eyes, along the cheek, or the hands of those who bear it. Every tear represents a loved one who dies, and the tears shed in mourning them.