Stories From A Cyber-Stroud: Tradition *new*

Tradition first. Hesh sat down bone weary, tired to the core at a battered worktable. Tradition kept his people centered. Even far from his clan, Hesh honored clan traditions. Hesh pulled a lump of mashed metal out of his body armor and placed it on the table. Reaching into the left drawer, left a bloody streak left on the tabletop. Patch up later. Tradition first.

Hesh pulled a small drill out of the drawer. The drill whirled up to speed, quickly creating a small hole through the center of the metal lump. He put the drill back in the drawer, noticing blood running down his arm, pooling on his body armor. Hesh picked up the chunk of metal, holding it up to the light, the light shone through the hole. Hesh set the lump down.

Tradition first. Centering his thoughts, Hesh slowly exhaled as the Lorekeeper of his clan had taught him and let the memories, the remembrances, flow like water. Reaching up, Hesh found the braid near his right ear and tusk. As he unbraided, Hesh removed token woven into the braid. First, he set an ivory skull the detail worn away from years of contact, next a strip of white cloth stained with blood, then a replica of a rifle cartridge. Finally, placing a battered, scratched, unadorned gold ring between the cartridge and the chunk of metal.

Hesh slowly exhaled again. He picked up the lump of metal feeling the irregular shape, the highs and lows of the surface. As he braided the lump into the top of his braid, the night’s memory took shape; Hesh stepped out of the armored Zephyr Falcon scanning the crowd for threats. The crowd was thick and boisterous. Hesh tried to get Mister Slade to use a side entrance, Slade’s reply was always the same, “A key to power is to be seen in public.”

“Any problems Tic?” Mister Slade asked.

“None that I can see,” responded Hesh.

Hesh stepped aside, allowing Mister Slade to step out of the car. The crowd saw Mister Slade, roaring with approval. 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, “Don’t worry old friend.” At that moment, Hesh saw the gunman raise his gun and fire. Without thought, Hesh shoved Mister Slade back into the Falcon stepping 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.

Hesh tightened the braid; the lump of metal was in place. With a second tug he tightened the braid and reached for the gold ring. Tradition first.