A shade-skink is what is known as an ambient pet. It lives under your skin as a mark, not unlike a tattoo.
Unlike a tattoo, however, the shade-skink requires care when worn. Periodically, the wearer must CLENCH the mark. This feeds the creature blood, taking as much as five health points from them wearer. If this action isn't performed in a timely manner then it is highly likely that it will get angry and blow off a limb.
The shade-skink comes in several forms, including the following:
When healthy and happy, the creature looks like a mark on the wearer's flesh. However, when not cared for as needed by CLENCHing, it will become a mark framed by a bubble of darkly swollen flesh. If this happens a second time, it will become a mark framed by a bubble of blood-blackened flesh. When CLENCHed, it returns to its normal state.
When worn, the shade-skink mark can be changed by using the PINCH verb. It will become one of the following:
|vague lizard-shaped mark||The sprawled silhouette of a shade-gecko or some other small saurian stretches across the skin, splayed as if caught in mid-struggle. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to reveal puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|triplet moon-shaped mark||The trio of moons--sized, colored, and shaded to represent Liabo, Lornon, and Tilaok--peek out from behind a bank of roiling clouds that appear to billow independent of the skin beneath. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|spider-shaped mark||Set against a shifting web composed of chaotic strands, the tattoo showcases the silhouette of a fat-bodied indigo spider with limbs outstretched. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|seven-tined crown-shaped mark||Spiral tines blossom from the face of the crown, which would be little more than a tinted silhouette were it not for the metallic sheen that lends its surfaces a faint gleam. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|a winged lark-shaped mark||Blossoms of bright rosy hue illuminate the tips of the bird's spread wings, leaving the bulk of its inky body in unmitigated shadow. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|a thorny vine-shaped mark||Crimson-edged barbs mar the coiling surface of the tattooed vine. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|clenched fist-shaped mark||Spikes explode from the knuckles of the clenched stygian fist, their wicked points highlighted by an aurora of shadowy hues. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|veined leaf-shaped mark||Crimson veins pulse over the surface of the lightless black mark, their hue like red jewels against the empty blackness beneath. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to show puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|gnarled talon-shaped mark||Each of the three knotted digits comprising the talon culminates in a cracked nail lit from within by flickering opalescent radiance. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to reveal puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
|jagged bolt-shaped mark||Indigo and crimson shades delineate the edges of the jagged lightning bolt, the heart of which rivals the darkness of a moonless night. The tattoo's edges blur in and out of existence, receding occasionally to reveal puffy, irritated flesh underneath.|
The shade-gecko Person is holding closes its cerulean eyes. Its head and tail retract into its core. Seconds later, they swell out of the dark bulk of its body, one in place of the other.
First person: With sudden fury, your mark breaks away from its current resting place and hurtles towards your right leg. Your pulse hastens. Lightheadedness threatens to consume your consciousness as blood races away from your other extremeties and pools around the ophidian mark. Third person: Person talon-shaped mark breaks away from its current resting place and hurtles towards her right leg, leaving a trail of bloodless flesh in its wake. The skin around the mark darkens and rises. First person: A hot, heady dizziness sways the area around you as blood rushes away from your head and towards your right leg. Sweat drips from your brow, the cadence of the falling droplets almost painfully loud to your heightened senses. Third person: Person sways dizzily, her face blanching. The skin around his bolt-shaped mark bubbles from within, rising into more blood-black, upraised flesh. First person: A sick, wet pop heralds the abrupt explosion of your right leg! Fiery daggers of pain bite into your nerves, dredging a hoarse scream from the depths of your throat. As the shrieking agony recedes, you regain a dreamy awareness that your ophidian mark is sliding into place about your wrist. You fall screaming to the ground grasping your mangled right leg! Third person: Heralded by a succession of wet, bubbling sounds, Persons's right leg explodes with a foul pop! She announces her agony with an earsplitting scream. The bolt-shaped mark slithers over the ruined flesh of Person's right leg and slides to a new home, coiling into place about her neck.
|Lick (shade-skink)||Abruptly, you decide to lick your shade-gecko. A taste of rot and charred oil washes across your tongue.||raises her shade-gecko to her lips and licks it! She appears queasy.|
|Pet/Touch (shade-skink)||You gently probe the body of the indigo shade-gecko. As your fingers press against its oily-slick skin, tiny aurorae ripple outward from the point of contact. They limn the nearby flesh in mother-of-pearl hues that are slow to fade.||Person probes the body of her indigo shade-gecko with one finger, causing the flesh near the point of contact to fluoresce with a fragile rainbow of mother-of-pearl hues.|
|Pull (shade-skink)||As you pull on the indigo shade-gecko's tail, it loses substance! Your fingers slip into the shadows that compose the creature, chilling the offending digits to the bone.||Person yanks on the tail of her indigo shade-gecko, but the creature loses substance and escapes her grip with ease.|
|Tap (shade-skink)||You tap your indigo shade-gecko on its tiny shoulder, soliciting a wave of pastel hues that echoes along the length of its body before fading into shadow. The creature's cerulean eyes narrow in what appears to be irritation||Person taps her indigo shade-gecko on its shoulder. A wave of hues--pale scarlet, viridian, turquoise, cream, and gold--ripples across the creature's dark body, and its cerulean eyes narrow in clear irritation.|
|Turn (shade-skink)||You flip the indigo shade-gecko over on your palm. The little shadow creature struggles for a few moments like an overturned bug before its elongated limbs retract into its body and sprout anew from its underside. Rotating freely on the shade-gecko's torso, its head and tail simply flip themselves over so the little beast is standing once again. It winks a cerulean eye at you.||Person overturns her shade-skin on her palm. The creature's legs kick at the air for mere seconds before retracting into its body and sprouting from its underside. The head and tail follow suit, rotating freely so that the tiny shadow is again standing right-side-up.|
|Hug (shade-skink)||Displaying far more impulse than sense, you raise your indigo shade-gecko to your lips and plant a kiss on its tiny head. Carmine light blossoms in the core of the shade-gecko as it keens its resistance.||The indigo shade-gecko in Person's hand flashes a livid shade of scarlet as she plants a kiss on its head. The creature voices its discontent a high-pitched keening sound.|
|Poke (shade-skink)||The shade-gecko digs its tiny talons into the skin of your finger as you attempt to prod it in the belly.||Person pokes her indigo shade-gecko. The creature claws futilely at her fingers in an evident effort to keep her from prodding it in the belly.|
|Remove||Your bolt-shaped mark takes on the form of a shade-gecko as it oozes into your free hand.||Person's bolt-shaped mark oozes into her free hand, taking on the form of a shade-gecko.|
|Wear||You grip your indigo shade-gecko carefully about its neck and hold the creature over your other arm. The shade-gecko seems to sense what is about to happen, and it begins to twitch and quiver with terror. Its keening cries bite at your mind like daggers as you lower it into your skin. Instead of contacting your flesh like a solid being ought to, the shade-gecko sublimates into a slick, chill mist that bites into your waiting flesh. You feel something shift beneath your skin and rub at it, swiftly warming the area. As you withdraw your hand, you note with satisfaction that the lizard has metamorphosed into a vague talon-shaped mark on your arm.||Person pinches his fingers around his shade-gecko's neck and holds it over his other arm. The indigo shade-gecko's claws score the air as its tiny form twitches and keens in frantic protest. Heedless, Person lowers the creature onto his skin. The tail, claws, body, and head of the shadowy lizard sublimate into greasy black mist as they pass through the flesh until the entire creature is submerged. Person rubs the resulting vague talon-shaped mark tattooed onto his arm.|
|Pinch||You pinch your talon-shaped mark, but its substance wells up around your fingers. Instead of moving in unison with the solid flesh beneath, the outline of the tattoo shatters, sprouting inky tendrils of shadowstuff that twitch like spiders' legs before reforming into a jagged bolt-shaped mark.||Person pinches her ophidian mark, but her fingers pass right through its wavering form! The mark's lines shatter into inky tendrils and reform into a different shape.|
|Clench (mark)||Closing your eyes and concentrating, you flex your arm, forcing blood into the area immediately surrounding your bolt-shaped mark. A sudden light-headedness skews your thoughts and bearings as the mark draws blood from your body.||Person flexes her arm, her eyes narrowing. The bolt-shaped mark on her arm darkens abruptly, its change in hue emphasized by the sudden pallor of the surrounding skin.|
|Rub (mark)||You stroke your bolt-shaped mark. It vibrates with a high-pitched keening sound, causing goosebumps to rise out of the surrounding skin.||Person lovingly strokes her bolt-shaped mark. The mark's blurry form shudders as it emits a high-pitched whine.|
|Tap (mark)||You drum your fingers on your bolt-shaped mark, soliciting a wave of darkly rainbowed colors from its surface.||Person drums her fingers on her bolt-shaped mark. Its dark surface roils with a succession of shadow-rainbows.|
|Pull (mark)||Tug on it all you like, but it's not going anywhere.||None.|
|Poke (mark)||Clenching your jaw, you raise two fingers overhead and jab them into the flesh sporting your leaf-shaped mark. Something wet and vile squirms beneath your skin, sending tendrils of cold ricocheting through the surrounding nerves. Your leaf-shaped mark gradually makes its way to your wrist, explosions of glacial pain heralding its movements.
Note: This action moves the mark to a new location
|Person raises two fingers overhead. She jabs the digits into her leaf-shaped mark and exhales sharply. The mark detaches itself from its current resting place on Person's arm and begins an agonizing migration through her skin. Once settled in its new home on Person's wrist, the mark shudders to a halt.|
Idle scripts (passive) that I know of when holding it: Your shade-skink curls up in your palm. The lizard keens a faint song to itself while examining one razor-sharp claw with squinted pale eyes. Once it has finished the inspection, it regains its feet.
Your shade-skink closes its pale eyes. Its head and tail retract into its body and, seconds later, they swell out of the dark bulk of its body, one in place of the other.
A series of tendrils bursts from the back of your umbral shade-skink before arcing back into its shadowed form.