Faces of Belen'a Tradition / Ritual in The Kaleidoscope System | World Anvil

Faces of Belen'a

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The former symbol of the Blades of Darkness which is now a highly popular tattoo among members of the Nèmto Tribe.


Mark of the Blades

Originally, the Faces of Belen'a were limited to the Blades of Darkness, who used them to show their allegiance to the guild and the Moon Goddess herself. The tattoo's meaning was common knowledge within the Nèmto Tribe, since the Blades only targeted outsiders and were held in high regard among the common folk.  

Solidarity and Misdirection

Things changed drastically once the invaders from the Nimýric Empire caught on to the symbol's meaning. Recognizing the Blades of Darkness as the powerful threat they were, they began to systematically search every settlement for people with this tattoo and to execute them for all to see.   However, not long after the first raids, regular people began getting the same tattoo in order to confuse the enemies. Many brave innocents gave their own life to make the search difficult, buy the true Blades precious time and allow them to neutralize the enemy soldiers. Eventually, the invaders realized that they were being tricked and gave up on finding the assassins.  


Following their near-extinction, the Blades of Darkness became more covert and slowly faded into history. The tattoo had lost its original function now that large portions of the general population carried the same mark. It is unclear whether the guild still exists today or merely hides all traces of its presence.   Nevertheless, the Faces of Belen'a gained a new meaning in memory of the hunt. Nowadays they signify bravery, loyalty and the will to make great sacrifices for the community. As such the tattoo is widely popular both within the Nèmto tribe and to some degree even outside it.


Basic Appearance

The symbol consists of three phases of Qentora's moon Belen'a. From left to right it shows a waning, full and waxing moon. These shapes are outlined with thick bands of ink.  


The tattoo is traditionally placed over the bicep of the dominant arm. Since the symbol is no longer used to identify the Blades of Darkness, other placements can also be seen. For example, some people prefer to have it across the shoulders or below a clavicle, while others have it on their wrist or ankle. Because individual expression is a core value in the Pereqaian Alliance, such deviations are quite welcome.  

Bravery, Sacrifice and Loyalty

True to it being a symbol of bravery, this tattoo is done without any anesthetics. Depending on the body part that the customer chose, the pain can vary greatly, allowing them to make an additional statement about themselves.   The aspects of sacrifice and loyalty are reflected in the price paid for the procedure, which is far more expensive than for other tattoos of that complexity. However, the added income rarely stays with the tattoo artist. Most of the time, the major part or all of the profit from this particular tattoo is donated towards the war efforts of the Pereqaian Alliance.  

Tattoo Styles

Many tattoo artists offer different levels of complexity to make the Faces of Belen'a affordable for a wide range of the population.   Plain and monochrome lines are relatively cheap, starting at only twice the price of regular tattoos in that style. Multicolored variants can get much more expensive, costing about three to five times the base price for the simple one.   The most prestigious versions include writing along the bands, usually a pledge of loyalty towards a particular family or organization. Those start at around seven times the base price, given that the text needs to be legible and so they tend to be larger in general.


Many people choose to get the Faces of Belen'a at a particual turning point in their life, for example when they join the military or get married. Depending on a person's financial situation, they might also decide to get multiple tattoos to reflect changes in life. For example, a parent might get one for every clutch or individual child, or an adolescent might get a plain version first and go for a more complex version once they have grown up and established a reliable source of income.

Alternative Name(s)
Fhêude a Belen'a

Related Ethnicities

Cover image: by Kathrin Janowski


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