In my book, the characters are all dragons. The antagonist knows of a prophecy that anyone bearing the Kenshi symbol will kill him. Fortunately, he is the only Kenshi alive, so nobody can kill him, because he made a life crystal that keeps him young and immortal-- though not immune to pain or injury. Anyway, the antagonist meets the protagonist. As the antagonist is incognito, the protagonist doesn't recognize him (not that he had seen him before) but the antagonist learns through their conversation that the protagonist is the son of someone he killed. The protagonist knows nothing of this, but he notices the symbol on the back of the antagonist's hand. Later that night, the protagonist has trouble sleeping, and he wakes up from a dream in which he saw himself copy the symbol on his right hand by tracing his claw on the back of his hand. He copies the symbol, but with a quill instead of his claw. Later, when the antagonist is scrying for the crystal he lost (which the protagonist found) he discovers it is with the protagonist, and he is pleased until he sees the symbol on his hand and thinks the protagonist knows he killed his father and is attempting to kill him in revenge by taking the crystal far away and destroying it. The symbol, being only ordinary ink applied to the surface of the skin, as opposed to a tattoo magically branded on him, smudges and fades away in a matter of hours or days-- depending on what the answer to this thread's question is. (I'm guessing hours.) When the antagonist meets the protagonist in person and notices the symbol is gone, learning it was just something the protagonist drew on himself, the antagonist realizes anyone can fulfill the prophecy just by drawing the symbol on their hand, not permanently marking their right hand with it. When this occurs to the mentor protagonists, they draw it on the protagonists' hands before confronting the antagonist, but he has put a spell on the gate so the marks wipe off when they walk in, which they don't notice until they actually try to threaten him. So-- would this work if my characters hands had scales instead of skin? I would imagine the scales would be smaller, less thick around the hands as opposed to the chest, back or belly, so relatively speaking my character's hands would be rather smooth. But I realize absorbance is key as well-- so would this work for my plot? And if not, how can I rework it? It's very important.