You can feel your power festering within you. It’s different for every child of Khyber. One feels a chill no warmth can push away, while another complains of fire burning beneath his skin. An heir with the power of confusion feels the force of madness in his mind, trying to claw its way out and feast on the thoughts of others. Your mark may bring you pain. It may whisper to you as you try to sleep. But it is a part of you.
On the surface of things, aberrant dragonmarks were similar to their true counterparts. An aberrant mark allowed its bearer to make use of one spell-like magical ability per day. It appeared as a mark somewhere on the skin that grew warm when its ability was used. An aberrant mark that was damaged or removed eventually returned. The design of the mark is a sinuous pattern of lines, often with a vaguely draconic shape. That is where the similarities between an aberrant and true mark end.
The true dragonmarks have a standard form. Two individuals with the lesser Mark of Passage have exactly the same design on their skin and each mark is drawn in lines of vivid blue and green. A child of two dragonmarked heirs has a good chance of manifesting a mark and all dragonmarks of a particular type bestow the same range of powers on those who bear them. None of these things hold true for aberrant dragonmarks. No two aberrant marks are identical. Certain standard patterns provide hints as to the powers they grant, but two aberrant marks that grant the same power can be wildly divergent in appearance. Aberrant dragonmarks come in a wide range of colors, including oily black, blood red and vivid green. The flesh around an aberrant dragonmark is often covered with welts and boils and marks related to fire sometimes leave scars or burns on the skin. This has contributed to the dark reputation of aberrant dragonmarks, with observers often mistaking such disfigurements for a symptom of a disease. However, this scarring is usually confined to the mark and has no adverse effect on the bearer. The child of aberrant parents might develop an aberrant dragonmark, but if so, it could bestow any of the aberrant powers. There is no Mark of Fire or Mark of Fear and this lack of a clear lineage is one of the defining elements of the aberrant marks.
While the true dragonmarks are bound to specific bloodlines, aberrant dragonmarks can appear on
any member of any race without warning. However, there is one well-known source of aberrant dragonmarks: the mingling of the bloodlines that carry true dragonmarks. When the marked heirs of two different dragonmarked houses produce children, those children are much less likely to inherit the dragonmark of one parent than to manifest an aberrant dragonmark. For this reason, most of the dragonmarked houses forbid their heirs from pursuing romantic entanglements with the marked heirs of the other houses.