Mark of the Snake Document in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

Mark of the Snake

A warning for the naive, a punishment for the guilty.

You there! Yes you, with the nose! You look like someone who could benefit greatly from my patented product, the Cure-all Concoction! It'll get rid of your boils, your bruises, bumps, baldness, bad-breath -- he-hey! Unhand me! He'an help me, I'm a legitimate salesman, you can't arrest me!
— Public apprehension of a Snake
  Cathedris is experiencing a technological boom like it has never seen before -- new discoveries and inventions are made on a weekly basis, and humans across the world struggle to keep up. A certain breed of criminal known as Snakes has, in modern times, taken advantage of this situation. These business folk, sly talkers, and charismatic fiends prey on the ignorance and naivete of common Cathedrans, selling them all sorts of fake or even dangerous products under false pretenses.   The country of Artazia, long known for its strict rules of governance and its authoritarian ways, has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards Snakes as of late. Should the countries law-keepers catch a Snake in the act, the Snake is immediately taken into custody, and soon branded across the backs of both hands with the Mark of the Snake. The mark is a simple, plainly drawn snake hung by its own tail, symbolizing the consequences that the offending party has brought upon themselves via their actions.  

A sharing of Methods

When used as a brand, seared into the offending party's skin, the Mark is simplified. Most of the detail is reduced, and there is no extra information added. The Mark of the Snake is not always used in this format however -- occasionally a Snake is granted a one-time warning, instead of being branded. Their shop, products, and advertisements will all be painted over with the Mark, informing all who sees it that the product in question is obviously fake.  
Countries other than Artazia have taken note of the Mark, and begun implementing it in similar ways. Most countries forgo the branding, believing it to be cruel and unusual punishment, even for criminals profiting off of innocent people's ignorance. However, the country of Hansun employ the most similar methods to Artazia -- instead of branding, they tattoo the mark onto the offending party. The Hansun legal system believes it affords them far more control over the information shown via the mark -- and consider it much less barbaric.
Aw come on man, I'm trying to run a legitimate business here! These are high quality goods, it's not my fault if people are allergic to them. Those breakouts of rashes are probably unrelated anyways!
— Speedsalve Saleswoman

Inner Meaning

Additional information is generally included with the Mark of the Snake -- when it's painted on signs, pasted on products, or tattooed on offenders. This extra information comes as a symbol or icon placed in the direct center of the Mark, and it is used to denote what the offending party was attempting to peddle. Occasionally an overzealous magistrate might decree that a Snake shall have a symbol branded along with the Mark, but this is generally not done as the brand generally scars into an unsightly, unrecognizable blob.



  These symbols are for Snakes who attempt to peddle any sort of healing medicine, substance, salve, balm, or pill. They're often times considered the worst offenders, as the lies they sell are usually dangerous, and generally result in injury, or death, for the fooled victim.



  When the Mark of the Snake is encircling a simple dagger, it means the offender was caught attempting to sell faulty, underdeveloped weaponry, that would more than likely injure the wielder before it ever injured its target.



  The least serious of the main three symbols found in the Mark is the hammer -- indicating that a Snake was trying to pass garbage or ineffective technology off as useful household tools, swindling people out of their hard earned money but generally not costing them their lives.

Example Products to Avoid

"Are you tired o' bein tired? Sick of feelin like crap? Well hold onto your Rendlings, cause I've got just the thing for you!"
Full-Body-Cleansinator Salesman

Product was discovered to be nothing more than dishsoap in a ceramic jar.
Funguicidal Cream
"We all have to deal with them -- warts. Tis a fact of life. But what if we didn't? What if a cream existed that'd erase those warts from existence?"
Funguicidal Cream Creator

Cream was tested, and found to be 1 part common mud, and 1 part corrosive liquid.
DiamondGlass Rapier
"This here Rapier? Why, it's made of DiamondGlass! The single strongest material humanity has ever discovered."
Shady weapons merchant

Rapier was collected and examined to be a long shard of broken glass taped to a short wooden rod.
"Look at me, look at how short I am! You probably think I can't reach the highest shelves -- well, you're wrong! With the Extendo-grabbo, I can reach anything!"
Marketer for the Extendo-Grabbo

Extendo-Grabbos were, in fact, poorly constructed single shot harpoon guns.


Author's Notes

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Jul 11, 2020 14:02 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I loved the examples of the products. I'm not sure which one was my favourite, but it might be the extendo-grabbo.   Really great article full of humour. It made me laugh. :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 11, 2020 20:13 by Stormbril

Thank you Emy! :D The example products were by far my favourite part of this to write hehe. It's between the Extend-Grabbo, or the DiamondGlass Rapier for favourites to me!

Jul 15, 2020 16:45 by Dani

Thanks to all those Snakes, I have a closet full of DiamondGlass Pens. While their pitch was intriguing, "These pens are sharper than any sword!", the literal accuracy proved to be problematic. Writer Beware!

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
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Jul 16, 2020 04:20 by Stormbril

Blasted Snakes, they can be so convincing! It's so hard to shop for new products these days, trying not to be swindled!

Jun 9, 2021 00:49

Amazing. I loooove the drawing of the snake hanging itself! And the example products section is delightful.

Jun 9, 2021 17:54 by Stormbril

Thanks Nae! I'm really really happy with how that mark turned out, and want to try sneaking it into more images in other articles

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