Written as an insight into one aspect of herg culture, this also starts and follows the story of Mr. Slade. This is the first revision and expansion. Not sure…I am pretty positive I there will be another expansion, particularly around the remembrance section.
A short time after the shooting…
Bone weary, sore, bleeding, Hesh squatted down onto the herg-sized chair in front of a battered, but organized workbench. A single light illuminating the center of the workbench. Tradition kept his people centered. Even far from his clan, Hesh honored clan traditions. With a grunt, Hesh pulled a lump of mashed metal from his body armor. Rotating the mashed lump under the light, Hesh found the best spot to make a hole. Reaching into the left drawer, leaving a bloody streak on the tabletop, Hesh pulled a small drill out.
Patch up later.
Holding the lump of metal on the table, whine of the drill filling the room, cutting a hole through the lump. Blood running down his arm, pooling under his elbow. Hesh returned the drill to the drawer. Picking up the lump of metal, Hesh held the lump to the light; watching light shine through the hole. Hesh set the lump down.
Centering his thoughts, Hesh exhaled slowly as the Lorekeeper taught him, letting the memories, the remembrances, flow like water. Reaching up, Hesh found the braid near his right ear and tusk. Unbraiding, Hesh removed each token woven into the braid. First, an ivory skull, details worn away from years of contact. Next, a strip of white cloth stained with blood. Then a replica of a rifle cartridge. Finally, a battered, scratched, unadorned gold ring. With each object, a memory-a passing, a victory, a lesson, and a loved one.
Exhaling slowly, Hesh picked up the lump of metal feeling the irregular shape, the highs and lows of the surface; honoring the memory, the experience. The lump of metal at the top of his braid, each braid, reinforcing the memory and the importance of the memory; stepping out of the armored Zephyr Falcon scanning the crowd for threats; the crowd thick and boisterous. Hesh had tried to get Mister Slade to use a side entrance; Slade’s reply always the same, “A key to power is to be seen in public.”
“Any problems Tic?” Mister Slade asked from inside the Falcon.
“None that I can see,” responded Hesh.
Hesh stepped aside to allow Mister Slade room to step out of the car. The crowd roared. Cameras and sensationalist pets maneuvered to get a photograph. The crowd leaned over the rails to get a glimpse and if possible to touch greatness. Hesh hated this part of any event, Mister Slade put his hand up on Hesh’s shoulder his, “Don’t worry old friend,” signal. At that moment, Hesh saw the gunman raise his gun and fire. Without thought, Hesh shoved Mister Slade back into the Falcon as he stepped into the line of fire. Hesh did not feel the impact of the gunman’s rounds as he shouldered his way into the vehicle as the driver accelerated off.
Tightening the braid, remembrance in place, Hesh inserted the ring continuing tradition.