(The continuing randomness of Petal’s Book of Shadows – written in Pandaren, and definitely findeable in-game.)
The tattoos that the Illidari use to contain their abilities keep floating back to mind at the most inopportune times. There’s something about them that’s so refined and unexpected, especially given how rough and vicious… and singleminded.. their kind can be. I think it’s in the sheer elegance of the spellwork.
Knowing that Chi often takes on the perceptions of those doing the perceiving, describing how they appear may be an exercise in futility. That said, the idea that I see in their appearance keeps tugging at my mind. This concept, that words can be used to bind power, is an old one; how long have we bound spirits with calligraphy, or created seals with the proper word? But these .. are that idea taken to an extreme, words within words, entire stories written in magic itself, all to bind something that absolutely fights at the conceptual framework of being bound.
More benign energies, however, could also be bound in a similar fashion. Indelible writing could be used to create a permanent lattice into which effects could be channelled, using Chi, rather than the corruptive power of Fel, to the same effect. It could create localized imbalances, places where Chi could be convinced to pool, letting some simple abilities become rote – not even taxing the user beyond letting the marks themselves recharge naturally – and making some more complex abilities easier to fuel without resorting to tapping into energies outside of the self.
(a drawing follows here, of a swirling pattern against a quick anatomical sketch of.. well. a Pandaren hand and wrist – from multiple angles.)
It would have to be very precise. There’s some possibility that the marks themselves if made improperly, could be just as easily used to block the flow of Chi as it would be to pool the excess. Too perfect, though, and they could overflow, the arcane pressures that would build behind them becoming simply too much without regular conscious release. They need to be like a natural dam, working with the meridians within to guide, not block. To pool, not capture.
The inks used in the Illidari tattoos are wholly unsuitable – they’re too harsh, too infused with the idea of chains to allow any kind of true, natural flow. Ink of the Dreaming, though – with the right metals – would have an utterly different resonance. The words would have to be conceptualizations of the effect being captured, written without pretense. If words bring meaning, then – more than the design itself – the meaning would have to be perfect. And it would have to be etched not into the skin, but… into the meridians, and the spirit itself. Nothing about it could be surface, and always the intent would have to be present, or the Chi would turn on itself, become something perverse.
The Illidari, though, are proof it can be done – perhaps done in new ways.
The worst downside, though, would be that altering the markings – just like with the Illidari – would alter the magic. If you bind Chi to words, then the words change? Of course the effects would as well. Yes, this could make things ‘changeable’, with the right focus, but more worrying would be if they could be changed without consent, if the binding magic could be transformed by those on the outside into something else. Safeguards would have to be built into the process to make sure the marks themselves are protected. Hardened, as much as they can be.
I have a small store of truegold, and some, but not enough of the ink. There must be a way to find more – and to concieve of some kind of binding that would allow one to work the ink with magic, rather than brush and quill. It would probably be wise to run this by Hakkun, too, just to make sure I’m not missing anything. I just can’t get the idea out of my head.