Every Tattoo Tells a Story Poke. Poke. Poke. A rainy afternoon, a few pulls of rum, and coins in the pocket are not a good combination for a sailor with nowhere to go. So it happened Archie Fine found himself hunched over a chair, staring at the floor. Even after proper numbing from his flask, the methodical pokes of the tattoo needles from Beth Daggerskull was wearing on him. "How does - one end - up here?" Archie asked between jabs. Here was the Secret Trading Outpost, not much more than a musty cellar beneath a shop on Tortuga. Despite it's clandestine location, the few merchants had a regular flow. But, it was still cramped and windowless. "How do you mean, sailor?" she jabbed, followed by a needle jab. "I seen your work. You could have a fine proper shop," said Archie. Poke. Poke. Poke. Beth gritted her teeth, hearing THAT question again. She leaned forward and held out her palm. Archie's eyes beheld a dark blotch in the center of her hand. "The black spot..." He shifted in his seat, but Beth planted a hand on his shoulder. Poke. Poke. Poke. "How... how did ye get that?" he stammered. Beth sighed. "Why do you think I'm here? Where Davy Jones' can not reach. Happened long ago, when I was still a small lass. Fleeing to the New World wasn't easy for a young orphan girl, so I took the guise of a boy aboard a whaler." Poke. Poke. Poke. "I sharpened harpoons, scrambled up rigging and swabbed decks. Then, came the day when our look-out called down. We watched as a dark form crested the black water. The men cheered. Surely, it was a large finback whale or a maybe a humpback. Surely, it were big enough to earn our fortunes." Archie was silent. "As ship's boy, I had to remain aboard. So I climbed all the way up to the nest to watch the hunt. But, it was there I saw something that stopped my heart. Weren't a whale at all. Something even larger, it's shadow shape massing beneath our boats. I yelled til my lungs burned but the boats were too far. And the harpoons found their mark." Poke. Poke. Poke. Beth paused to dip her needle. "There came an unearthly groan and the beastie's massive tentacles exploded out of the water and smashed our longboats to splinters and tossed grown men about like dolls. Before the captain could come about, the monster began to drag our ship under. The hull crushed in it's grip. As we were being pulled down, I leaped into the depths." Archie gasped, then turned back. "So, how did ye escape a hellish beast like the Kraken?" Poke. Poke. Poke "I paddled the icy water to our last long boat and crawled inside. Behind me, the ghostly Flying Dutchman rose from the waves. Quite the frightful sight it was. You could hear Jones bellowing about punishing any who hurt his beloved pet. I lay in the boat, crying and clutching a harpoon some poor soul left behind. Soon they were gone. All hands lost, save me. Davy's black spot burned into my palm, cursed as the rest of my crew." Beth pointed to a curious crystal bottle. "That harpoon I held was covered in black ink from that beast along it's blade. Black as pitch.I saved it and kept it. Many of my best art drawn from that ink." Poke. Poke. "Finished," she said. Archie paid and admired her handiwork in a mirror. Tentacles emerging from a skull. Satisfied, the half-drunk sailor left. Beth sipped a drink then poured a bit on the black smudge on her palm. And it washed away with the grog. "The black spot?" Smugglin' Sam asked with a chuckle. Hands freshly cleaned of Davy's "blot", Beth grinned. "If it makes them sit still and shut up long enough, I'd tell'em I was the Queen of Sheba," she said with a laugh. "And he'll have a fine tale to tell when some sot asks where he got his art."