Dip. Scratch. Draw. Repeat. He was nothing if not methodical. A celestial map tattooed upon two favoured concubines was The Emperor's wish.
Tsi, whose hair smelt of the tundra, whose eyes shone the fierce blue of winter skies, was The North.
Shun, whose lips tasted of oceans, whose generous curves were adorned with nothing but pearls, was The South.
His days were filled with soft flesh, deep moans and the metallic scent of drizzling blood. Sweat played upon his temples and the needle slipped between trembling fingers. He breathed deeply. And longed for night, where his dreams were his own.
Author bio: Ted Underwood is a teacher, poet and occasional (bad) actor. He lives in the shadow of the beautiful Malvern Hills with his wonderful, and much appreciated, family.
Tattooist is part of 101 Fiction issue 22.