- "Some people would like to take gold with 'em when they go. Me, I'll take Moranth munitions over gold any day. After all, you don't know what you're going to meet on the other side, right? So, it's always better holding onto the option of blowing things up."
- ―Hedge, the eternal sapper
Hedge was a sapper and a Bridgeburner. He and Fiddler were notorious for their expertise with Moranth munitions, although Whiskeyjack thought they made terrible soldiers as they had forgotten any of the discipline instilled in basic training. The pair often collaborated on schemes that were less than aboveboard.
He was described as having a weathered face the same colour as his scorched leather cap which he used to cover his overbig ears and the wisps of hair on his nearly bald pate. He was also knobby-kneed and bow-legged.
Hedge had a reputation for adopting strays and other 'needy creatures' and he could get quite stubborn about that tendency.
Fiddler and Hedge were "as close as brothers. When together, they [were] mayhem. A conjoined mindset more dangerous than amusing most of the time. As legendary as the Bridgeburners themselves."
Detoran appeared to have a crush on Hedge. It was not clear how willing a participant Hedge was in their relationship, as she was known to grab him by the throat and shake him until he ceased struggling. This did not stop the sapper from returning to her arms night after night. By his own self-admission, he was "hopeless with women", and had joined the army to meet them before discovering that women soldiers were "a lot more scary than normal women".
In Gardens of the Moon
Hedge was a sapper in the 9th Squad of the Bridgeburners. He was one of the lucky few survivors of the collapse of the sapper tunnels at the Siege of Pale. About a week later, he and his squad mates were assigned a covert mission to Darujhistan. Having been dropped on the northern shore of Lake Azur by Black Moranth Quorl, Fiddler and Hedge took delivery of a consignment of Moranth munitions, delivered by Green Moranth, making them 'two happy sappers' according to Kalam.
Before crossing the Lake via fishing boat also supplied by the Moranth, Whiskeyjack told them that he had changed the official plan as that would get them all killed. He divided the squad into two teams, one to be led by Kalam, the other one by the Sergeant himself. Hedge would be in Whiskeyjack's team. Kalam told Whiskeyjack that he was concerned for Fiddler, Hedge and Trotts, who had all shifted a lot of earth in the tunnels at Pale. Trotts was trying to get the boat into the water and getting no help from the others. Seeing this, Whiskeyjack told him to sit in the boat and ordered the others to push it into the water. He also said that it was the kind of thing he would expect from Fiddler and Hedge.
Less than an hour after their midnight landing in Darujhistan, Hedge and Fiddler somehow acquired a waggon full of cobbles enabling them and the rest of the squad to pose as road maintenance workers and mine the intersections of the city's streets with munitions. At the proper time the munitions could be fired to bring down buildings and block intersections and sow chaos and confusion amongst the city's defenders.
During Lady Simtal's Gedderone Fête he posed as a hired guard along with the other Bridgeburners. The party was attacked by the Jaghut Tyrant Raest possessing the body of the mage Mammot. When Quick Ben's magic failed to eliminate the Tyrant, Hedge fired a munition from his arbalest, gravely wounding the creature. He and Fiddler then raced away to set off their charges, but were stopped in their tracks by the appearance of the demon Lord of Galayn. The delay saved the city as it gave time for Kalam to stop the plan that would have unknowingly touched off the city's enormous gas reserves.
In Memories of Ice
After Dujek Onearm's army went renegade, the decimated Bridgeburners were reorganised and Hedge was moved to Antsy's 7th Squad. Dujek allied the Malazans with their old enemies, Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake, against the Pannion Domin. Cadre mage Spindle led Hedge, Blend, Detoran, Picker, and Trotts into Brood's command tent to steal Fiddler and Hedge's old card table. Rigged to win card games using the Deck of Dragons, it had been lost as a spoil of war when the Bridgeburner camp in Mott Wood was overrun. Spindle and the squad soon put the table back into action to swindle their fellow soldiers. But the presence of a new and heretofore unknown Master of the Deck card caused the plan to backfire, lightening their own purses.
The Bridgeburners were sent by Quorl to the Barghast Range to secure an alliance with Humbrall Taur and the White Face Barghast. Hedge was part of a detachment led by Antsy that was to meet and escort Quick Ben to the Barghast camp. While the bored soldiers waited, Hedge ridiculed Detoran who responded by beating him senseless.
The Bridgeburners and the Barghast were the first of the allied forces to make contact with the enemy at the Siege of Capustan. Using munitions, Hedge and the Bridgeburners punched their way through 200 Betaklites and over a thousand Tenescowri at Capustan's North Gate.
After the siege was lifted, the Bridgeburners traveled secretly to Coral to reconnoiter the next battlefield. By this time, Detoran and Hedge had patched up their differences. During the Siege of Coral, Hedge and the other Bridgeburners were inserted into the city by quorl under the cover of darkness. Their mission was to attack the keep of the Pannion Seer while Dujek led the rest of the army into the city itself. Hedge and Spindle rigged one of the keep's towers with munitions to blow open an entrance for the Bridgeburner attack.
Amidst the rubble of the breach, they were attacked by one of the Seer's undead K'Chain Che'Malle K'ell Hunters. The charging reptile was on Hedge in a moment, so he threw a Cusser straight down, killing both of them instantly and saving his comrades. Like the other Bridgeburners who perished, his body was placed in a sarcophagus within the throne room of Moon's Spawn after the battle by Anomander Rake. The failing Skykeep was then sent out over the Rust Ocean where it was presumed to have crashed into the sea. Quick Ben promised to tell Fiddler how Hedge died the next time he saw him.
In House of Chains
The ghosts of the Bridgeburners returned to Raraku on the eve of the confrontation between Adjunct Tavore Paran and Sha'ik Reborn. In the battle, Hedge saved Fiddler's life during an ambush by Corabb and his desert warriors. The sapper knocked his friend to the ground and lay on top of him just as a massive munitions detonation went off killing Lieutenant Ranal. Afterwards, Hedge departed with a laugh saying Fiddler would see him and all the other Bridgeburners again soon.
In The Bonehunters
As Fiddler lay bleeding out in the tunnels deep below Y'Ghatan he experienced a Carelbarra-induced vision of Hedge. Hedge admonished his old friend to get up and not die or else Hood would find him and he would never see the Bridgeburners again. He said, "you got to take us with you, right to the end" and "you better get going, you're running out of time." Hedge would not elaborate.
Soon after, Ganoes Paran, now Master of the Deck, travelled to the newly reborn Raraku Sea. On its shores he performed a ritual to summon all of the dead Bridgeburners by name. Among the ranks, Hedge bragged this was not the first time this group of dead Bridgeburners had walked among the living, noting that they had twisted the hair of Korbolo Dom and his Dogslayers at the Battle of Raraku. He also informed Paran that Fiddler had joined the Malaz 14th Army where, thanks to Hedge, he was still all right. Shank spoke directly to Paran, asking their former captain what he required. Paran requested that they help him find the Deragoth to destroy Dejim Nebrahl.
Paran contracted Karpolan Demesand and the Trygalle Trade Guild to accompany himself, Hedge, and the Jaghut Ganath across the Bridge of Death to the Nascent. Hedge was pleased to discover that while near the Guild carriage, his body was no longer insubstantial. At the start of the journey, Hedge pulled Paran to the side. He told Paran he remembered his soul lingering in darkness after dying at Coral before eventually finding himself among the other dead soldiers. He probed Paran for the possibility that the Master of the Deck might create an Unaligned Soldier card as a reward for the dead army's aid. Paran said he would think on it.
In the Nascent, Paran tasked Hedge with destroying the statues of the Deragoth. Hedge used munitions to free the monstrous Hounds as Karpolan Demesand readied an escape through the Warrens. Paran had hoped to bring Hedge with them, but the Deragoth were too quick to attack. So the sapper remained behind to explore the flooded realm as the Guild carriage departed.
In Reaper's Gale
Hedge's ghost followed a trail of footprints through the sands of Hood's Realm that eventually brought him to Emroth, one of the Crippled God's Unbound. Unable to kill the ethereal spirit, the annoyed T'lan Imass tried to send him away, but Hedge continued to walk with her, attempting to draw her out in conversation. The sapper admitted he had never found love in his mortal life, even with Detoran. In death, they had met to work out their relationship with Hedge realising the inarticulate woman had only been able to show her love by beating him senseless. Unable to turn to dust in this realm, Emroth was forced to keep Hedge's company as they passed into the ice of Omtose Phellack. Within the frozen landscape they discovered the Throne of Ice where sat a mummified figure surrounded by the gathered corpses of Jaghut dead. Emroth told Hedge the mummy's spirit had fled its body and the Throne was dying as there was nothing left to rule.
Reaching the edge of the Refugium, a realm where mortal Imass existed beyond the reach of the Ritual of Tellann, Hedge pondered the possibility that she had come to claim them as allies for the Crippled God. But ultimately he realised she had come for the Refugium's gate to Starvald Demelain, where anything was possible including the destruction of the Warrens. Hedge destroyed Emroth with a cusser in a massive explosion. Where her severed leg crossed the boundary of the Imass realm, it became flesh and blood again.
Within the Refugium, Hedge was reunited with Quick Ben, who was travelling with Trull Sengar and Onrack T'emlava. Although in the outside world Hedge retained the shape of his body only through the strength of his will, in the Refugium he became flesh and blood once more. He happily still possessed an unlimited supply of munitions, but worried if he remained too long he would grow too used to the guise of mortality.
Hedge joined Quick Ben and the others in their aim of protecting the Refugium from those coming to claim the Finnest of Scabandari Bloodeye. Their joyful reunion soon devolved to the normal irritated squabbling they shared in life. He and the High Mage argued over whether they were being manipulated by the gods--Hedge by Hood and Quick Ben by Shadowthrone and Cotillion. In one such argument, Quick Ben punched Hedge in the nose, drawing blood and horrifying the sapper that he was fully mortal.
Menandore was not pleased by the "pathetic mortals" Shadowthrone sent to help protect her realm, so she joined her sisters, Sukul Ankhadu and Sheltatha Lore, in an effort to kill them. As the three Soletaken Eleint descended on Hedge and Quick Ben, the High Mage knocked them from the sky with his magic. Sheltatha used the chaotic moment to turn on Menandore, killing her, but not before being gravely wounded herself. As Sukul fled, Hedge launched a cusser into Sheltatha's opened belly sending chunks of dragon flesh everywhere. One chunk struck the sapper squarely between the eyes and knocked him out cold.
Meanwhile, Trull and Onrack faced Silchas Ruin, who overcame them to take possession of the Finnest. The Tiste Andii planted the seed to create a new Azath House to imprison Scabandari's soul. The Azath anchored the Refugium in reality, permanently resurrecting Hedge and sealing the Refugium's twelve gates within itself. Quick Ben wondered if this had been Shadowthrone's plan all along as putting the gates under the House's control meant giving Shadowthrone and Cotillion full access to them.
With matters settled, Hedge and Quick Ben passed through one of the gates with Trull and Seren Pedac to return to Letheras. They arrived in the city amidst the Bonehunters invasion and left the couple at Seren's home before seeking out Fiddler. The two found Fiddler and his squad atop a building overlooking the Eternal Domicile as Silchas Ruin dived upon them in his Soletaken form. Hedge launched a cusser and the High Mage his magic to drive the dragon away before joining their friend.
- "[Fiddler] turned and stared at Hedge.
Who, grinning, stared back.
'No ghost. Aye, Fid, I'm back.'
Fiddler scowled, then shook his head. 'Hood help us all.'"
- ―Hedge and Fiddler, reunited
As Fiddler's squad assaulted the palace, Trull left Seren to seek out his brother, Rhulad, finding him dead in the palace's arena. While mourning his brother, he was killed from behind by Sirryn Kanar. When Quick Ben and Hedge found him moments later, both were stricken with grief. Hedge demanded Quick Ben send Kanar "some place with...with eternal torment." After agonising over the decision, Quick Ben complied and Kanar disappeared screaming into a dark blur. The Errant, tipper of balances and maker of widows, watched from nearby.
In Dust of Dreams
Hedge rejoined the Malazan Army, but his relationship with Fiddler was awkward. As the Bonehunter army marched east, Hedge took in a company of Letherii recruits and christened them Bridgeburners. He also commissioned a Letherii alchemist, Bavedict, to create new munitions to replace the quickly dwindling Moranth munition supply of the army. Bavedict's secret concoctions (referred to as "kittens" to keep the hoard for his Bridgeburners) were markedly different from Moranth munitions in their functions, but no less deadly. During the battle with the Nah'ruk, Hedge's Bridgeburners reduced an entire phalanx of the enemy to a paste using a salvo of acid grenados.
In The Crippled God
Before the final battle to defend the Crippled God's body, Hedge disobeyed orders and led his Bridgeburners with all their supplies to join with Fiddler's company, where the two resolved their differences. Hedge's munitions and Bridgeburners proved as deadly as ever and were instrumental in winning the battle. He survived the battle and elected to stay behind rather than leave with the Guardians of the Gate, so that he could keep Fiddler company.
Hedge and Fiddler were the first members of the Malazan army entrusted with Moranth munitions after the Empire had negotiated a treaty of alliance with the Moranth. Outside Malyntaeas a week before the Mott Campaign, Whiskeyjack had given them a crate of unidentified grenados and nastier to stuff to experiment with. The pair were ordered to conduct their tests more than half a league from their fellow soldiers and not to get themselves killed in the process. During the course of their experiments, they invented many of the common names by which the various types of munitions were still known and devised ways for them to be put into use by Malazan soldiers. Specialised crossbows for launching munitions and maniacal variations like the The Drum came later. Their inventiveness and expertise made them legends among the army's sappers.
- Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont had originally named Hedge 'Prairie Dog', but Erikson changed the name as it was causing problems with publishers who thought the name "too North American." He said that Hedge moved well beyond the original derivation of hedge-hog.
- Some non-English versions of the Malazan books correctly translate Hedge's name using the hedgehog derivation (see the German use of "Igel"). Other languages translate the word to something closer to hedgerow (see the Dutch use of "Haag", the Polish use of "Płot", or the Spanish translation, "Seto").
- Trull Sengar: "Have I offended you, [Hedge]—"
- Quick Ben: "Ignore Hedge, at least when he's talking. Trust me, it was the only way the rest of us in the squad stayed sane. Ignore him… until he reaches into that damned sack of his."
- Trull Sengar: "And then?"
- Quick Ben: "Then run like Hood himself was on your heels."
- ―Quick Ben and Trull Sengar[src]
Notes and references
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, US HC p.302
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.99
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.121
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.80
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 12, US HC p.308
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.120
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.155
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.98
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.406
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.905
- House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.252
- Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xii
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.129
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.258,264-266
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.362
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.258-260
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US MMPB p.615
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.459
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23, US HC p.468
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.82
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.139-143
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.379-380
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.560-566
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.905
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.877-878
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.883/886-887
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.1081
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.982/985-986
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.806
- House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.839-841
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.356-357
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.396-397
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.436-437
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.438-441
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.460-473
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 12, US HC p.307-310
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.375-378
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.503-508
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.511
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.555-556
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.376
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.596/598
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.716
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.596
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21, US HC p.656-658
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.726-727
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.719-720
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.725-729
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.737-738/741-742
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.738
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.780
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.809-810
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.814-819
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.493-494
- Ask Steven Erikson Your Crippled God Questions! - See Steven Erikson's answer to question 50
- Not A TSACast: Fireside Conversations with Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont Ep#4 podcast - See 27:00
|Officers||Ganoes Paran • Ash|
|7th Squad||Antsy • Blend • Detoran • Picker • Spindle|
|9th Squad||Whiskeyjack • Fiddler • Hedge • Kalam • Mallet • Quick Ben • Sorry • Trotts|
|Others||Mulch (11th squad) • Bucklund (12th squad) • Aimless • Bluepearl • Cage • Corinn • Dasalle • Liss • Monkrat • Runter • Shank • Toes • Tormin • Story|