...IN VALEN'S NAME DELENN (III)

By Frieda W. Landau

 

 

 



...In Valen's Name, Delenn
Extracts from the Correspondence of Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari
During her Time on Babylon 5



   10 January 2260

   Entil'Zha,

   The White Star's performance exceeded our expectations. Or perhaps it was her captain. Sheridan was able to destroy a Shadow vessel of greater size and power without damage to our ship. We were aided by the enemy's doubt as to our identity; nevertheless Sheridan proved the superiority of the White Star to anything in its size and class. I will send a full report on the operation of all systems and weapons by the usual courier.

   Meanwhile, I have given the order to start production of the fleet. The ship builders say that even working day and night, it will take about a year before the first wave is operational. That is a long time to keep such an undertaking secret. I think we can conceal the number of ships by dispersing them as soon as each is built. I still have enough influence to blunt any immediate attempts by the warrior caste to take control of the ships during construction. Gorenn, who is still on the Council, and Rathenn will also aid us.

   We can begin training the pilots immediately. Once they have completed the simulator course, we can rotate them on the White Star. Ranger Cole would be a good choice for training officer when the pilots are ready for actual flights. He is familiar with the operating systems and has combat experience.

   When we returned from Zagros 7, Captain Sheridan established what he calls a war council to exchange information and plan strategy for the coming struggle.

   For the first time, I have some hope that we can defeat the enemy in direct battle.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 January 2260

   Mayan,

   Lennier was released today from Medlab. There is no permanent harm. Dr. Franklin says he should be completely recovered in a week or so, provided he takes it easy and rests frequently. I promised the doctor I would see that Lennier complied with these instructions.

   I prepared dinner for Lennier tonight. He was so embarrassed. He kept protesting that I shouldn't be doing that; it was not seemly that I should wait on him, and so on. I finally told him that I was adding my orders to the doctor's. And since he was supposed to rest, he might as well do so with good humour and enjoy being pampered, especially as I was determined to pamper him. He still seemed embarrassed, but while I was serving his dinner, I caught him grinning when he thought I couldn't see him.

   He has come a long way from the shy acolyte who came to serve me two years ago. He can handle a disgruntled diplomat and a ship's sensor array with equal ease and skill. I can leave him in charge with full confidence. Sometimes, I think he can do my work better than I can.

   He acted without hesitation to save Londo, of all people. Lennier was only there to welcome me back from a pointless diplomatic visit that could have been handled at less than an ambassadorial level. Mayan, I don't know what I would have done if anything happened to Lennier. He has become a vital part of my life. Without his support and steadfast belief in me, I would have faltered many times. He is my friend and my aide and my brother.

   The bomber was caught. He is human, of course. They are the only ones who commit such senseless acts. He did not even have the bad excuse of doing it for a cause. I found out afterward that John risked his own life to distract the bomber while security located the last of the bombs. I understand why John felt it necessary to do so, but I wish he wouldn't take such chances.

   I am going to check on Lennier before I go to bed. I will probably embarrass him all over again.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   28 February 2260

   Jeffrey, old friend,

   I do not understand your people at all! One would think that once the president has been exposed as a murderer, he would be removed from office and brought to trial. Yet, judging from all the news reports and from what John has told me, Clark is more secure than ever now. If a Minbari leader had acted this way, he would have resigned and offered himself for punishment as soon as he came to his senses.

   There is a lot I still do not understand about humans. They say one thing and do another. The constitution of your Earth Alliance says that freedom of speech is a fundamental right, though I do not fully understand what you mean by that. No one is free to harm another by words. Minbari understand the power of words to wound and destroy. We are taught from birth to guard our words. And yet, those humans who exercise their right of free speech are accused of sedition by their government. John has told me of the harassment and arrests by Nightwatch.

   Minbari are taught understanding is not required, only obedience. Your people pride themselves on knowing the reasons. Yet they do not question as long as their lives are not affected. They evidently do not believe in doing the right thing for the right reasons.

   I am trying to understand what humans believe. Ever since you demonstrated so effectively the wide variety of religious beliefs among your people, I have tried to learn as much as I can about those beliefs. I do not have much time for this, but I try to read what and when I can.

   A group of religious caste from Earth have taken up residence on the station. Their leader, Brother Theo, tells me their purpose is to discover what other worlds believe. One of the order asked Lennier and me to explain Minbari beliefs. Lennier is better at this sort of thing than I am, but I am not sure Brother Edward understood. Humans do not view the universe in the same way. Still, the monks are true seekers and I honour them.

   Were you not raised with the same beliefs as Brother Theo's order? I remember you telling me about the religious order that educated you. Perhaps that is why I feel you understand Minbari ways better than most of your people. You were schooled in much the same manner as I was.

   There is one point I do not quite understand. Brother Theo's monks believe that their deity is supreme and all others are false. And all those who do not believe as they do are damned. They also believe that those who are genuinely ignorant of this deity can still obtain salvation eventually. Yet, just by informing them of what the monks consider the true way, aren't they condemning them? Perhaps the next time we meet, we will have time to discuss this.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   30 March 2260

   Entil'Zha,

   Although the Shadow ship on Ganymede was destroyed and the immediate danger is over, the implications are very disturbing. It is obvious now that our enemy has allies in your government. There is the danger that Shadow technology will become available to EarthGov. I have increased Ranger patrols in the vicinity of EarthForce installations and asked our agents on Earth to pay special attention to any hints, no matter how nebulous, of new weapons and ship designs. This may not be as difficult as we think. Reports indicate the Shadows are increasing their activities and becoming less secret.

   There is a further problem we now have to consider. EarthGov is using the destruction caused by the Shadow ship as an excuse to further tighten its hold. It is inevitable, in my opinion, that this policy will cause problems on Babylon 5. Sheridan will never allow Clark's government to interfere with the rights and freedoms of the station. And Clark cannot allow the station to defy him. I fear we will see civil war among the humans. The station cannot long withstand a full scale attack .

   I am returning to Minbar to attempt to assemble a force to aid Sheridan. The religious caste has a number of warships, as you know, but we will need more. We will also need seasoned officers. I doubt anyone of the warrior caste will volunteer to save Starkiller. I believe Rangers can help, but they should be Minbari as even some religious caste do not take kindly to working directly with humans. Whatever we can do must be done quickly or it may be too late. I have left instructions with Lennier to support Sheridan in whatever actions he feels are necessary to defend the station. Perhaps the knowledge that the Minbari government is concerned will delay Clark.

   I have received very disturbing news. My government has refused to consider taking a more active role against the Shadows. I cannot believe that they would so disregard prophecy at the very moment of fulfillment. I have to see for myself if the report is true.

   I will try to meet with you, if possible. There is much more we should discuss.

   I hope it does not come to actual battle between my people and yours, old friend. There has been enough of that in the past. I wish we had more time to talk as we used to. Everything now is business.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   5 April 2260

   Rathenn,

   Notify the captains to rendezvous at the coordinates the courier of this message will give you. Do not use the normal channels. I do not want any chance of discovery. We leave for Babylon 5 as soon as possible. The Rangers have intercepted communications between EarthForce vessels and the President's office that indicate an attack on the station is imminent. I cannot stand by idly. The time has come to openly support our allies.

   I have requested an appointment with the Council. Perhaps the reports are untrue. I hope so. I would like to think the satai will honor their vows to Valen and to our people. Nevertheless, I will do what I must.

   I will join you as soon as I can. Take care, my friend. Not all our enemies are shadows.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   11 April 2260

   Dukhat,

   As I write these words, a Minbari fleet is speeding to the rescue of a human captain. I am sure you are amused. You always did enjoy the ironies of the Universe.

   I had to break the Council. There was no other choice. I could not allow them to stand by, forsaking their vows to Valen and to you. It tore my heart. I remember how proud you were of me when I was accepted. And how happy I was. We had so many plans, so many dreams. All shattered in a moment. Like the staff of authority you wielded for so many years.

   Prophecy said the Council would be broken. I should be proud to be an instrument of prophecy. But all I can feel is a profound sorrow. My old life is truly ended now. And the future is uncertain, if I even have a future. All I see is darkness and fire ahead.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 April 2260

   Mayan,

   John told me it was "the single finest moment" of his life when he saw my face on the comm. Then he kissed my hand. And then Ivanova interrupted. Now you know what happened. All right. I know that is not what you wanted me to tell you. I don't know what I feel now. My whole life has changed, even more than when I emerged from the Chrysalis. Only my body changed then. Now, I feel my very soul changing. When I broke the Council, everything changed.

   You told me Neroon admired my courage and audacity in spite of himself. I was not brave, I was angry. But do not tell him that. I could not stand by and allow the Captain and his staff to be captured or killed. You realize I have not been able to tell you everything, but you know enough to understand the importance of Babylon 5.

   And yet, deep in my heart, Mayan, I also know I did it to save the man I love more than my life. As we sped through hyperspace at maximum speed - which seemed as slow as a square-wheeled cart pulled by a three-legged gok - I was afraid for him. I was sure we would be too late, that we would arrive to find him a prisoner at best. Every time I closed my eyes, I would see him covered in blood, broken and dying. It was the longest three days of my life. When we were close enough to monitor their communications, when I could hear for myself that he was still alive and still fighting, it was as though I was holding my breath for all that time and could now let it out. I was weak with relief. Fortunately, by the time I told the EarthForce commander to be somewhere else, I was fully recovered and in my best satai mode, as Sinclair used to call it. I even managed to inject a note of regret that they wouldn't stay and fight. I found out afterward that my fears were not groundless. Had we arrived even an hour later, the station would have been lost.

   John met me when I disembarked. He had a wound on his forehead and looked like he hadn't slept in days. I wanted to run to him, throw my arms around him, and never let go. I couldn't, of course. We were not alone, for one thing. When he kissed my hand, I didn't care that there were others around, but before I could do or say anything, we were interrupted. It is just as well, I suppose. I would only have done something extremely foolish. Still....

   A little later, we accepted the cheers of the crowds in the Zocalo. We stood side by side, our arms around each other, and I thought, together we can do anything, endure anything, until we triumph. Together, we are invincible.

   Babylon 5 is now my home. There is no other place left to me. Whatever future I have is here, with the other half of my soul, with John Sheridan.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   5 May 2260

   Mayan,

   He loves me. He told me so, although the circumstances were not what I imagined. But then I never imagined I would conduct a nafak'cha while lying in Medlab, recovering from a knife wound in my back. It was not serious; Doctor Franklin has already discharged me. I will be stiff and sore for a few weeks, but that is all.

   Perhaps I had better start at the beginning, as I can hear you demanding. I was kidnapped, taken hostage, by a small, desperate band of fugitive humans, supporters of Clark who had eluded station security. They wounded the cruiser captain who was with me, and killed his aide. John rescued us, of course. I never doubted he would. When it was almost over, all the terrorists captured or killed, the most vicious of them threw a knife at John. I screamed a warning and ran toward him. The knife hit me instead. Believe me, that was not what I intended. I found out later that John caught him and beat him severely.

   As I said, the wound was deep, but not serious. It bled profusely and some muscles were torn, but that is all. Lennier and John took turns sitting by my bedside and pacing outside until Doctor Franklin ordered them both out of Medlab for being a nuisance. I was unconscious or asleep most of the time. I did wake briefly, once, to feel someone gently stroking my hair. It was John. I don't think I was dreaming.

   I was going to conduct a nafak'cha to help John and the others come to terms with all that happened the last six months. I thought they might want to complete it, and I was right. That is how I came to conduct part of the ceremony in a Medlab critical care unit. And that is when John let me know his feelings for me.

   He did not say the words aloud, but his meaning was as clear as if he had shouted.

   When he told me he could no longer imagine his world without me, and he was glad of that, I wanted to sing out my joy to the Universe. Because of the ceremony, and because of my physical state, all I could do was squeeze his hand as he held mine. It was enough. We understood each other.

   I have started the three nights of watching. John does not know yet. The first night occurred almost by accident. We were aboard the White Star, on our way to destroy a Shadow threat, and there was a high probability that we would encounter EarthForce ships along the way. I was resting in the crew quarters when John finally came to get some sleep. He was exhausted with worry. He knew he might have to fire on his own people and that tore at him.

   John was having trouble relaxing. He joked about being afraid to fall asleep on a Minbari bed because he would fall off. He spoke a bit about his life before he became a warrior and about his father whom he loves very much. John revealed more of himself to me than he ever had. His vulnerability pierced my heart. When he told me he missed the sound of rain, I knew how I could help. He finally fell asleep holding on to my hand so I could catch him if he should fall.

   Mayan, when that coward, that shaya'va'dum, threw the knife, I reacted without conscious thought. It was more an act of self-defense than anything else. If John were killed, my soul would die with him. He is as much a part of me as my blood and my heart.

   I must rest now. I still tire easily. And Lennier will soon be here to see that I am following doctor's orders. I will write more next time.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   7 July 2260

   Mayan,

   I do not understand humans at all! Especially human males! We have declared out feelings for each other. Yet he has not even attempted to kiss me! I do not know what to do. Susan says that sometimes human males are afraid to make the first move because they are unsure of the female's desires and feelings. I did not ask her about John, you understand. I just asked her to tell me a little about human mating customs in general because the data bases are very contradictory. Susan says that sometimes humans will be much more hesitant with those they truly love, while casual relationships are often consummated quickly. I do not understand this at all.

   Not that it matters at this point. John and I have no time to spend with each other anyway. We are both too busy with political matters, especially those that pertain to the independence of Babylon 5. I have been helping him establish new bureaucracies to replace the old EarthGov ones. It is deadly dull, as you can imagine, but at least we do spend some time with each other. And we always try to spend a few minutes just talking about anything except business. These few minutes have become very precious to me. Sometimes, I think this is the only time he can truly relax.

   We finally had some free time a few days ago. John invited me to dinner in his quarters. It was a real date, as the humans call it. He made flarn, of all things. You can imagine how it tasted, but it was very sweet of him to try. We were both relaxed and very aware of each other. I was feeling pleased I wore those new undergarments I bought in the shop Susan told me about. I was even beginning to allow myself to wonder how I could persuade him to let me prepare breakfast. I don't think I was misinterpreting the signals I was getting from John. He wanted me to stay as much as I wanted to. We had, after, all started the rituals, even if only for one night. Then John got word of an attack in the ambassadorial sector, two levels below his quarters. That was the end of our date.

   John received a knife wound in the arm from a Narn who was trying to kill Vir's bride. I will tell you about that another time. The wound was not serious, fortunately. The next morning, I went to his quarters to see how he was. He apologized for ending our dinner so abruptly. I told him it didn't matter, but if he continued to jump into knife fights, there would be no more dinners. It was useless, of course. He cannot help but become involved when others are in danger. I love him for it, but I also fear for him.

   I helped him button his tunic as it was obviously painful for him to do so. All of a sudden, we were feeling the same things as last night. I couldn't catch my breath. He caught my hand and held it to his heart. We both knew what would happen, if we allowed it. And we both intended to allow it to happen. We were so close, I could feel his breath on my mouth. We could hear each other's heart beat.

   We were about to kiss, when Ivanova interrupted on the comm. I wanted to strangle Susan. Next time, I will make sure that all communications devices are disabled.

   It was very awkward for a few moments between us. We were both very uncomfortable:

   John, I think, because he thought I was embarrassed at being discovered in his quarters in such an intimate position; and I because I was suddenly beset by doubts as to what he really wanted and expected. Then John had to leave.

   There will be a next time, I know. And eventually, we will have the time to learn about each other, to make love as I long to do. But next time, I will not wait for him. I will make the first move.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 July 2260

   Hello, old friend,

   Sheridan and I have been very busy trying to fashion the framework for a treaty to provide support and protection to Babylon 5 from the League worlds. Still, that is no excuse for not writing in such a long while. The main problem is to prevent races that are hostile to each other from using the station to further their battles. A strict rota should solve that problem if we can get all the states to agree. Which is another problem altogether. Even if John agreed, Minbari cruisers cannot protect a human station indefinitely. The propaganda value to EarthGov would be too great. And I cannot keep the cruisers here that long anyway. Then there is also the matter of persuading the League to forgo the trade with Earth. But all this is not your worry.

   Jeffrey, when I see my cruisers protecting the station, I cannot help but be reminded of the last time Minbari warships opposed human forces. You have forgiven me for what was done to you by my people, on my orders for the most part. I do not know if I could have been so generous if our situations were reversed. If only I could forgive myself as easily. I am still capable of the same rage. I do not know if I can control that rage in a similar circumstance. You saw what happened with the soul hunter two years ago.

   I do not know why I am burdening you with this now. Perhaps it is because I see war and destruction all around me. We will soon be engulfed. If we survive the upcoming battles with the Shadows, which is very far from certain, there will still remain the struggle with EarthGov. Babylon 5 is my home now. I cannot stand idly by while Sheridan fights to protect the station. And yet, I know if I take a more active role, I will only provide Clark the opportunity to claim that it is all an alien plot. There is no easy way out.

   I will stop now before I depress both of us any further. Although I have not said so lately, I value your friendship and support.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   15 July 2260

   Jeffrey,

   I have forgiven the human who killed Dukhat. I know that would have pleased him. I did not think I could ever do it. I never wanted to. When Marcus told me who was waiting in Medlab, and what he wanted me to do, my heart froze. He didn't know what he was asking of me. All I could see was Dukhat lying in a pool of blood in my arms. How could they expect me to forgive? Finally, I agreed to at least see this human for myself.

   I looked at him for what seemed a long time before I went in. I did not see the monster I still expected to see, despite all I have learned and endured since the war. I saw a man in great pain from an old wound. He had come to Babylon 5 for healing, and I was the only one who could help him, if I had the courage to do so. McIntyre was as much a casualty of war as Dukhat.

   I went to him and wordlessly took the sword he offered. As I did so, I felt a sense of peace and calm descend on him, and on me. I realized that the act was as healing to me as it was to him. This was truly the end of the war.

   McIntyre is fully recovered now. He is on his way to aid the Narn resistance. I have sent a small escort of Rangers to protect him until he reaches his destination. He will also pass along any information that comes his way to the Rangers. He will make a valuable ally.

   Jeffrey, I do not know if I could have found the strength to approach McIntyre without the example of your forgiveness of me.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 August 2260

   Dukhat,

   Kosh is gone. I cannot believe it. Despite what happened last year, despite the torture of the inquisitor, I have been close to him, as close as one can be to a Vorlon, from the first time I saw him in your sanctuary. I have come to depend on his advice, however cryptic it was at times.

   It was Kosh who prompted me to choose Sinclair at the Battle of the Line and so discover his Minbari soul. Kosh supported me throughout the years afterward. He was the one I turned to before I entered the Chrysalis. And now he is gone. He was our most valuable ally among the Vorlons. Without him, our cause is diminished. We are all diminished.

   And I feel a further loss. Kosh was the only one who knew you as I did. Through him, I could still feel close to you. Now, it is as if I have lost you again. My old life is truly gone now.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 September 2260

   Entil'Zha,

   The test was successful, as the accompanying report details. Sheridan is recruiting as many telepaths as he can. He prefers to use non-human telepaths as he feels that there is too much danger of psi corps spies slipping through. He will only use those humans who we positively know to be rogues. Centauri telepaths are also suspect, which leaves Minbari and a few other races.

   I request that all Rangers with telepathic abilities be immediately assigned to me on Babylon 5. I doubt there will be any human ones, as rogues are not likely to join such a disciplined force. I would prefer that the telepaths assigned to the new fleet be Rangers also, as far as possible. And I would like to familiarize them with the White Stars now.

   I have only one nagging doubt. Lyta stopped the shadow ship long enough for Sheridan to destroy it. She is rated a P-5, which would indicate that average telepaths are adequate. Yet, I wonder about Lyta. I do not believe she returned from the Vorlon homeworld unscathed; or should I say "unchanged?" She may very well have enhanced abilities now. I would like to see more than one telepath assigned to each ship, if possible. Just as a precaution, you understand?

   I have met the new Vorlon ambassador. I do not see how we can keep up the pretense that there was no change. Jeffrey, this one is not at all like Kosh. The new one is colder, somehow, more distant, more contemptuous of the younger races. Perhaps it is only I who sense this. Perhaps because I was as close to Kosh as any Vorlon allowed, I am letting my own feelings affect my judgement. I miss Kosh. I miss the knowledge of his support for our plans. I miss the security of knowing he is there when I need advice or encouragement, even if he did not always respond as I wish. We did not always agree, yet I knew he was always concerned about us.

   I do not sense this from the new ambassador. I fear the Vorlons will no longer aid us.

   Take care, old friend. The Universe is changing.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   31 October 2260

   Mayan,

   The situation is absurd. I love him; he loves me. And what have we done about it? Nothing! We never have the time. Either he is too busy or I am too busy or we are both too busy. On the very few occasions when we both had a free evening, or at least part of an evening free, one of us was called away on an emergency. Which turned out not to be such an emergency after all and could easily have been dealt with by someone else. But by then it was too late. I am beginning to feel like I have stumbled into one of those comedies by Trehlenn where everyone rushes around and nothing ever happens. Only the traditional masked narrator is missing.

   Today is a human holiday. I am told it is customary for the young on this day to wander from home to home, extorting sweets and credits and such from their elders. The children wear masks and odd garments in the belief that this will conceal their identities as they prey upon the adults. I do not think I will every understand humans. I have, however, obtained a quantity of chocolates in the event I encounter any of these strange children. I do no want to seem to insult their customs.

   John is busy tonight. I have some free time. In other words, the situation is normal. Mr. Garibaldi is hosting a poker game in honor of the holiday. I have not played in a long while. I will enjoy beating him. But not nearly as much as I would enjoy spending some time alone with John.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   11 November 2260

   Goodnight, old friend,

   By the time Zathras gives you this letter, we will be separated by a thousand years.

   You have a long and difficult journey ahead of you. Yet, the fact that you are reading this letter proves you succeeded. Only now do I begin to understand what that must have cost you. I have spent my life guided by your teachings, to become the instrument of your prophecies. It has been a hard road, but as nothing compared to yours.

   I have changed my body as have you, but I am still the same Delenn, with the same heart and mind and soul. I am still part of my people, albeit some do not think so. I have the comfort of my own language, my own customs, my own friends, as I have always had. But you, dear friend, have given up everything: your body, your language, your friends. Only your noble and generous soul is unchanged and will remain so. You must become Minbari in substance as well as form. And you endure all this for the sake of a people not your own. To unite and make flourish a people who will take your own to the brink of extinction.

   It was hard, very hard, to sacrifice the Narn to the greater good. And even harder to tell G'Kar what we had done. If he had killed me then, in a rage, I would have called it just. I still cannot fully accept the necessity of that sacrifice in my heart. It troubles my dreams at times.

   And you, my teacher and my guide, must now carefully fashion, step by step, the society that will gather at the Battle of the Line, prepared to annihilate your other self. How you must be tempted to alter events, just a little bit, to prevent the future slaughter. Yet you know you dare not, or all will be lost in the end. I cannot begin to imagine the torment this must cause you. To sacrifice so many lives, so many souls, no matter what the cause, must profoundly affect every aspect of your being. And yet you saved my world from destruction and taught us all how to live with honor and dignity.

   I hope the stories that have come down through the years are true. That you will love and be loved. The worker caste believe that you had ten children. At least that seems to indicate you finally adjusted to a Minbari bed. You are smiling as you read this. I wish you many opportunities to smile and to laugh. Most of all, I wish you joy and a contented heart.

   I have learned so much from you, both from the teacher of my youth and the friend I found these last three years. I am grateful and proud for that friendship. And also very profoundly humbled. Knowing who you are does not diminish my love for and belief in my lord Valen. Knowing how you became what you are fills me with awe.

   In Your Name, Delenn

   

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   20 November 2260

   Mayan, old friend,

   I will tell you what I told Rathenn: I am the logical choice to head the Rangers. Only time will tell if I am the right choice. I wanted you with me. You have always been by my side for all the important ceremonies of my life. But I understand you could not cancel your performance on behalf of Narn relief. I should have chosen a different date. Yet, perhaps it is fortunate, after all. I promised you that I would never ask you to choose sides. Had you been here, I do not think I could have kept that promise.

   Neroon vowed to stop the ceremony by any means necessary. I think he meant to kill me. I will never know for certain. Marcus tried to stop him and almost died for his efforts. He actually challenged Neroon to the den'sha. Marcus knew he was not as experienced or as skilled with a den'bok, yet he fought for my sake. I do not know why Neroon spared his life. He said it was because Marcus was willing to die for me. He visited Marcus in Medlab, but I do not know what happened. Marcus will only say that they parted amicably. Could I be wrong about Neroon? Have I misjudged his motives all along? I do not understand.

   The Rangers take an oath to live for the One and to die for the One. And now I am that One they swear to serve with their lives. Lennier says I have not accepted that. He is right. It troubles my heart that others would consider my life of more value than theirs.

   I know it is the way of warriors, to pledge their honor and their lives in service to their leader. And I know I will have to give the orders that will send my Rangers into danger. I have already done so, and some have already died. I do not want to think they are dying for my sake. But, they are.

   Mayan, you have always understood this. You grew up with and have lived most of your life among warriors. I am sorry now I never listened when you tried to tell me about this. If it is not too late, I will listen now.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

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   8 December 2260

   Mayan,

   It is still not easy, but at least I now understand a little better. The Rangers do not die for me, for Delenn, but rather for the ideals of which I am the living symbol. I can accept that more easily than the thought that my life is of more value than theirs. You are right. I should talk to John about this, and I will, I promise, if we ever have the time. He spends most of his time in the war room now. I hardly ever see him. And I am also very busy with my Ranger duties. Being Entil'Zha is not all glory. There is a surprising amount of paperwork involved. There is much I still have to learn about leading the Rangers.

   A group of religious caste from Earth came to see John yesterday. We both obtain intelligence wherever we can, you understand. I took the opportunity to persuade John to have dinner with them. He did not want to take the time, but I told him my honour was involved. That was not entirely true, but it worked. We both enjoyed the time away from duty. He even walked me home afterward, which he hasn't done in a while. John said that dinner reminded him of the ones at his father's various posts, where business and good conversation mixed easily. It must have been interesting growing up like that. He rarely speaks of his family. But I don't speak much of mine either. I still find it difficult to talk about my father. John understands, I think. The one time I told him a little, about how my father used to carry me to temple until I was too big, John didn't say anything. He just put his arm around me and drew me close.

   I was telling you about the visitors. Today, one of them conducted a religious ceremony. There was a lot of shouting and exclamations of amen from the participants and the Reverend Dexter. There was also music, but it was not solemn and somber. Everyone swayed to the music and clapped their hands and joined in the singing. The enthusiasm was very infectious. It was so different from our ceremonies. Lennier was quite bewildered. Still, he joined in the spirit of the occasion.

   I made John take the afternoon off before the ceremony. I wouldn't let him talk about anything having to do with the war or running the station or politics of any sort. John said it made him feel like he was married again, being bullied into stopping work for a while. We talked about music and books and strange places we have seen. And part of the time we just sat quietly, holding hands in the garden, on the bench where we first talked about the universe. We had a picnic dinner and then went to the chapel.

   It was quite remarkable. We had two days in a row in which we were able to spend some time together, just the two of us. I cannot remember the last time that happened. It will not last, of course. But, for now, I am content.

   IVN, Delenn

   

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   12 December 2260

   Mayan,

   Humans kiss very much like we do, except they use their tongues more. At least one human male does. Really Mayan, there is no need to roll your eyes and say "it's about time" in that tone of voice. I told you I would not let another opportunity go to waste. And now, I suppose you want me to tell you all about it. Very well, since you insist. And since I am bursting to tell someone.

   We were on the bridge of the White Star, of all places. The first wave of the new fleet is ready. I had kept the construction a secret from John, in case anything went wrong, and this was the first he knew of it. He was speechless. So I did the only thing that seemed appropriate. I pulled his head down to mine and put my arms around his neck and kissed him!

   It felt wonderful. Even better than I imagined. His mouth was warm and sweet. He held me close against him. He thrust his tongue into my mouth, intertwining it with mine. I could feel him in every part of me. We seemed to melt into each other. I lost all sense of time and place. There were only the two of us in the universe. I do not know how long we kissed like that. I could have continued forever.

   We finally stopped, both of us breathless and flushed. I turned in his arms to face the viewscreen. John held me close as we watched the fleet pass in review. Neither of us could speak, or wanted to. We stayed like that until we returned to the station. As soon as we disembarked, John pulled me into an alcove in customs and kissed me soundly. It was just as good as the first one.

   We walked toward the war room, stopping at every secluded corner to kiss. When we reached the gardens, I laughed and suggested we would be more comfortable in my quarters. Only for a little while, I told him. While he explained to me what humans meant by making out. John was incredulous for a moment. Then he laughed too. We ran, hand in hand, the rest of the way.

   A most remarkable half hour followed. As soon as we arrived, I turned off the comm and locked the door. I turned to John. Suddenly, we were both shy. John laughed nervously and said he felt like a tongue-tied adolescent. Then it was all right again. He held out his arms and we started kissing. Our hands roamed all over each other. I was on fire every where he touched me. We remained fully clothed for the most part. John loosened my robes and slipped his hand in. Mayan, Minbari have been overlooking a center of pleasure. As he kissed me, he cupped my right breast and rubbed his thumb over the nipple. I jumped and nearly fell off his lap. We were on the settee by now. John was concerned that he had offended me or done something wrong. When I could catch my breath, I told him I didn't know that could feel so good. He grinned and pulled me back against him. We continued like that for a while longer. I was about to suggest we move to the bedroom when John pulled away.

   He stood up, mumbling something about leaving before things got out of hand and I did something I might regret later. Then he kissed me quickly and left. By the time my breathing and heartbeat returned to normal, I realized what he was trying to say. I think he was afraid that I would be tempted to do something that was against my traditions and beliefs. He really should learn more about Minbari culture. We had started the rituals. There is no prohibition on lovemaking. Next time, I will make that very clear to him. Yet, it was very endearing that he should be so concerned for my feelings. I do not think it was easy for him to leave. For his sake, I hope he reached his quarters unnoticed. When he left me, it was quite obvious from his appearance what we had been doing.

   I do love him so, Mayan.

   IVN, Delenn

   

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   18 December 2260

   Mayan,

   As I write this, I am waiting in John quarters. He will be here soon for the second night of watching. I finally told him about the ritual.

   John is in Medlab at the moment, visiting the wounded and checking the status of supplies. We defeated a Shadow fleet, or at least caused it to retreat, a few days ago, but the cost was high. And this is only the beginning. I am afraid every victory will be as costly. All I see ahead is darkness and destruction and death.

   And yet, Mayan, I do not remember a time when I have been happier. Oh, it is not only John, although he is the major reason. After my transformation and after our own people cast me out, I despaired for a while, as you well know. But with the help of others, I found a new home and a new life. I do not know how I would have managed without the new friends I found here. Except for Lennier, Susan has become my closest friend. She is the next best to having you here with me. When I was convalescing from that knife wound, Susan often came to keep me company. We talked for hours about everything, and everybody. She worries about John almost as much as I do. I think John has taken the place of her brother in her life. Whenever she feels he is working too hard, she asks me to do something to distract him, as she terms it. She says he's more likely to take bullying from me than from anyone else. I'm not sure what she means. How can concern for his well being be called bullying? I will have to ask her sometime, when we have some time.

   She is as busy as I am. The only time we see each other lately is when I have to coordinate Ranger activities with her. As the station executive officer, Susan is the one responsible for finding billets for my Rangers. And with John spending so much time on the war, the daily running of the station has largely fallen to her. I recently 'turned the table' on her, as the humans say. I asked Marcus to see she took some time off. She finds him amusing and pleasant company, but that is all, I think. That is unfortunate, as Marcus is in love with her. I have told him to tell her so, but he says he is willing to wait for her to realize it on her own. I do not understand, but it is his choice.

   Marcus and Lennier have become friends. I am glad of that. Even if it nearly cost Marcus his life. He has been helping Lennier to learn all the operating systems on a White Star. My aide can now pilot one as well as any Ranger. I am not sure that is such a good thing. Lennier is not a warrior and I do not want him to become one. But that is not for me to choose. I hope, when the war is over, Lennier will still choose to follow my path and Dukhat's.

   When the war is over and if we are all still alive. No. I will not despair. I am too happy. John will be here soon. You should have seen his face, Mayan, when I told him we would spend the night together after the battle! And how disappointed he looked when I told him I would watch him sleep. He wanted to know what happens if the female approves. I did not tell him. I will do so sometime tonight. I do not think we will get much sleep after that. At least I hope not. In the morning, I will tell him of the joining rituals. If he is agreeable, we will begin as soon as possible. I think he will want a formal joining. But it makes no difference to me. My heart has already joined with his. His soul and mine are one and the same. Nothing can ever change that.

   I have just received a message from John. He is on his way. I will stop writing now. I intend to make tonight one we will never forget.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

 

*****

 

 

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