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

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



   4 January 2261

   He is gone, Mayan, gone. And I am to blame. I should have told him. I should have told him everything. Everything I knew and everything I suspected, about his wife, about the Shadows. But I was afraid, Mayan. Afraid to test his love, afraid to trust his love. So I told myself I wasn't sure. I didn't have any proof. All I had were suspicions. It would be better to wait. And so I waited. I didn't say anything. And my fear proved true. His wife returned, a creature of the Shadows, and took him away to Z'ha'dum, where he fell. And where I will soon join him in death.

   In a few days, I will lead the White Star fleet in an assault on the Shadow homeworld. I shall not return. Another will have to be chosen. I told you I did not know if I were the right choice for Entil'Zha. Now I know I was not. I have failed, Mayan. The Rangers will pay dearly for my failure. I do not think very many of the fleet will survive the coming battle. We are too few. Too few because of my failure. I cannot hold the alliance together. Not without John.

   John. He loved me and now he is gone. When he parted from me, he was so angered, I thought he would strike me. All I could do was beg him to believe that I love him. He turned his back and walked away from me. I tried to talk to him before he left with her, but he would not see me or take my calls. I was desolate. Then, the night after he left, I received a delayed transmission. It was from John. He told me he knew it was a trap, but he had to go. He had to try to prevent further slaughter. And then he told me he wanted to be with me. He told me he loved me. His last words were "I love you, Delenn. Goodbye."

   Lennier found me the next morning, on the floor, curled around myself beneath the comm. I have been fasting since then. I no longer pray. I stopped praying when Susan, Lyta and I took a White Star to look for him. I could not feel him. He is dead.

   Since we cannot be joined in life, I will join him in death.

   Good night.

   

    ----------

   12 January 2261

   Mayan,

   I do not understand either, but it does not matter. He is alive. He is here. And he told me he would never leave me again. When I saw him standing there, above the throng in the Zocalo, I thought my need for him caused an hallucination. Until I realized others saw him too. Then I did not think. I ran to him. I had to touch him, hold on to him, reassure myself he is alive. He held me in his arms, pressed against him, in full view of everyone. I didn't care. I needed the feel of his body against me.

   I have yet to spend any time alone with him. I am not entirely sorry. I am afraid he will not forgive me. Not only for hiding the truth from him, but also for running out the way I did. He called out to me, but I could not stay. Despite what she had become, she was still his wife. He loved her very much. He still loves her, in the same way I still love Dukhat. I do not begrudge that love. It helped make him what he is. But I had just come from his bed. The scent of him was still on me. The signs of our lovemaking evident. I burned with shame and guilt. I had to get away. Perhaps, if I had stayed, helped him, supported him, he would not have gone off with her. I do not know. Will he find it in his heart to forgive? I do not know that either.

   All I know is that he is alive and he is here and I love him more than my life.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   We have started the joining, Mayan. John gave me a ring, according to the customs of his people, which signifies our intention to mate. He said it wasn't what he had in mind, the ring I mean, not the mating. He said he wanted to get me a better one. I don't know why. It's a very nice ring. A plain silver band with a round, polished and faceted, piece of clear, crystallized carbon. A diamond, I think it's called. He is going to give me another ring when we get married, which is also a custom of his people. He didn't explain if I'm supposed to wear both at the same time.

   I'm babbling. It's three am and I've just come from John's bed and I can't sleep. I am filled with joy and grief and hope and anguish....My dearest wish has come true. He loves me and wants to join our hearts and blood. He wants to spend the rest of our lives together. But his life was cut short on Z'ha'dum. He will live another twenty years at most. How can I bear that? I love him so much....

   I am sorry, Mayan. I will write another time, when I am calmer and clearer. I will tell you everything you want to know then. Be patient with me, my friend.

   

    ----------

   18 January 2261

   Dearest of friends,

   I have a few minutes free before I meet with the war council. Forgive my babbling of the other night. I was not even aware that I sent it to you. I will try to make amends now.

   So much has happened in such a short time. The most important you already know. John will die much sooner than anyone thought. When he told me, I was devastated. I couldn't breathe. I wanted to run, to hide, to deny what I had just heard. All I could do was stand there as John and the First One told me what happened. We were in John's quarters at the time. He said that he wanted to see me. I was so happy when I walked in.

   That morning I finally summoned all my courage to see him alone, the first time since his return. I went to his quarters. I blurted out an apology. I still couldn't face him. I told him I was sorry while my back was turned. He tried to tell me he knew I only did what I thought was right, but that only made it worse for me. Then he seemed angry with me. I could not bear it. Until I realized what he meant. He was angry that I would think he would not forgive me. I did not believe that at first. How could I? When I turned and saw the love in his eyes, all doubts vanished. We didn't say anything; he just held me in his arms. I was content to stay that way forever. My world was complete.

   So when I received his message to come to his quarters, I was prepared for everything except what he told me. Mayan, the worst was that he said he was okay with this and he expected me to be okay with this also. How could he say that? I will never be okay with this. Never.

   That was when he gave me the ring. I didn't know what it was when he put a velvet thing, flat on one side and domed on the other, into my hand. He was so flustered he did not notice my confusion at first. It was rather endearing. The brave warrior and leader of the Army of Light unable to declare his intentions directly. When I realized what he was saying, that he wanted to be my mate, I could not say anything. So I kissed him.

   Later, we talked. I tried to persuade him to tell me what happened on Z'ha'dum, how he felt about it, what he thought. He would not. I did not really think that he would. We have not known each other that long, but I have learned how he deals with what he finds disturbing. I only hope he will be able to talk to me eventually. When I became too insistent, he tried to distract me. No, not that way. This was after. He told me what happened during a series of time flashes he experienced while we were on a mission with Sinclair. John said that we had a son. I did not believe him at first. As I said, I thought he was simply trying to stop me from probing. But it was true. Oh, Mayan, I want that so much. To have a child, John's child. And John wants a child too. I never thought it would happen. Now I can hope. He said that he could tell I was a good mother. Now that I cannot believe. But I will try. Listen to me! I'm babbling again. This time about something that may never happen. Especially since we may very likely perish in this war. But, oh, if it should come true!

   I had my own time flash, where I saw myself in John's bedroom, smiling and satisfied after lovemaking. If I had known it was that night I saw, if I had realized, I would have tried to do something to prevent what happened. Perhaps I would have succeeded. I will never know.

   It does not matter now. All that matters is that we love each other. The future will take care of itself.

   I must go now. The next few days will determine that future. Pray for us.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   23 January 2261

   My lord, Valen,

   It is done. Together, with the other half of our souls, we have defeated the ancient enemy. Prophecy is fulfilled. But the cost is too high. Was it necessary to cut short his life? Could victory be achieved no other way? Would not my life have sufficed? I have spent that life following your teaching and preparing for this moment. I do not know why you would demand this of me too. Everything that came before was as nothing compared to what you ask now. I do not know if I can endure the thought of my life without him. I do not know if I will even be able to live without him. We are one soul in two bodies. Can either of us exist without the other?

   I can only trust that someday I will understand.

   In Your Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   25 January 2261

   Mayan,

   The Shadow war is ended, but the peace is not yet won. Not until the League of Non-Aligned Worlds becomes a true alliance based on mutual cooperation and defense. John and I have talked and planned to bring this about, but without a common enemy, I am afraid the League will shatter before anything can be done. But at least we have some time while everyone is celebrating our victory. I cannot celebrate and neither can John. We have been through too much. And there is still so much to do.

   I am a little sorry that victory demanded the Vorlons depart for the rim. Despite everything, I think I shall miss them. It was comforting to know they were out there, at least until the end. John said the galaxy seems smaller without them, as though the magic is gone. I disagreed at the time. Now I am not so sure. Still, it is pointless to regret their departure now.

   It has been a very strange year. I never envisioned myself as a warrior, yet I have spent much of my time lately in battle. And Mayan, what is even stranger is that I have become very proficient. When John and I are on the same White Star, I act as his weapons officer. Taking out a listening post or fortification or some such target has become routine for me. I have even come to take a certain satisfaction in a job well done. John takes my skills as a matter of course. I wonder sometimes if I were a warrior in another incarnation. Or perhaps, I have absorbed some of John's skills. Whether this is good or bad, I do not know. I do know it was necessary.

   I have learned, these last few years, there are many things that are necessary. Things I never dreamed of, let alone acted upon. The hardest, I think, was deliberately sending the crew of a White Star to die. When John proposed his plan, I was horrified. Yet, I knew it had to be done, Mayan. There was no other way to defeat the Shadows and the Vorlons. When the Ranger who captained the ship saluted me in the ancient manner, using the same words that were said to Valen, it was all I could do to retain control. The next twelve hours were interminable. Neither John nor myself could rest. We waited. There was nothing else to do. Nothing else we could do. John tried to hide his concern whenever I came to his office. He didn't say anything, but I knew this was very hard for him too. I don't think he has ever deliberately sent anyone under his command to certain death. I pray we never have to do anything like that again. Thank Valen, they did not die in vain. The Rangers will always honour their memory.

   I do not know what will happen now. The humans are still at war with each other. John will never allow the Earth president to prevail. Soon now, I think, this war will grow wider and deadlier. When that happens, I will be at John's side again. And again, I will have to be a warrior. I have no choice. He is my life.

   No, I do not feel like celebrating.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   7 February 2261

   Old friend,

   The official victory celebration was last night. John and I were there for a little while. Everyone was having such a good time, we were able to slip away unnoticed. We had our own celebration. It was the first chance we've had to spend more than a few minutes alone with each other.

   We have been very busy trying to help those who took refuge on the station during the war. There are so many. Most of them are homeless now, and stateless. While John is trying to arrange transportation, I have been trying to persuade the League worlds to accept the refugees. It is not easy. Everyone is afraid to allow those who are 'not like them' to settle on their worlds. Mayan, you were so helpful in aiding the Narn. I ask you now to help again. The refugees need funds to make their resettlement easier. I am sure your many admirers will be only too happy to contribute if you ask them.

   I have also been very busy with the Rangers and the fleet. Our losses were heavy. We am trying to persuade the League to continue contributing ships to us. I do not know how successful we will be. They are anxious to protect their own worlds. Now that the Shadows are gone, I am afraid raiders will multiply again. Why can't the League worlds understand that the only way to ensure their own peace is to ensure the peace of all? Sometimes I get so frustrated. Marcus likes to say 'you can get more with a two by four and a kind word than you can with a kind word alone.' After a particularly futile meeting recently, I told John I think we should try that solution. He agreed, but reminded me the station is short of two by fours as well. I suppose I will have to continue with only a kind word. At least John and I can be together, even if it is in a roomful of others.

   Mayan, I wish I had time to see you. I would like you to meet John. Do you think you could visit us if your schedule allows? I promise we will cancel all our appointments.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   15 March 2261

   Mayan,

   Of all commodities in short supply on the station, time is the shortest. I never seem to have enough time lately, not even to write to my oldest and dearest friend as often as I would wish. Coping with the aftermath of the war is proving as difficult as the battles. And now EarthGov is stepping up the intensity of its response to the various rebel forces. We on Babylon 5 are in the thick of it, as usual. John and I see each other daily, but we have no time to spend together. We consider ourselves fortunate if we can kiss goodnight at the end of a day filled with meetings and negotiations and such.

   We did manage to find some time alone together last week, on a White Star flight to Z'ha'dum of all places! John asked me to keep him company. We were there when the Shadow world exploded, leaving only small clumps of matter to wander aimlessly until pulled into the nearest star. I cannot say I am sorry. It seemed fitting, somehow, that the place that shortened my heart's life should have its own life cut short. I have not told John this. He does not want to talk at all about what happened there, or the implications for the future. Every time I try, he changes the subject or distracts me. I think this is his way of dealing with it, as he would say. As long as he is busy with one crisis after another, he can persuade himself that everything is as it was. But he knows, in some part of him, that everything has changed. I can see it in his eyes, especially when he thinks I am not watching.

   He seems driven, more so than usual. I have teased him that his head would implode if he were forced to just sit quietly and do nothing. We both laugh about it, but I am afraid for him. He has focused all his energies now on defeating Clark. In the process, he is also pushing everyone away from him, except me. He knows I will not let that happen so he doesn't try. Still, there is very little I can do to help him. All I can do, all he will accept, is a refuge, for a little while, in my arms. Perhaps, if we had more time together, more opportunity to relax with each other, especially in bed, I could draw him out, get him to talk. But, as I said, time is in short supply.

   I have neglected to thank you. Forgive me. With your help, we have resettled the worst off in new homes. Those who could do so on their own have already left the station. Those who still remain are being helped as we can. Most of them, fortunately, will eventually be able to manage on their own. Some have actually chosen to remain and help in the struggle against Clark.

   I have no more time to write, now. Susan has made a most interesting discovery. John is going to brief us on it shortly.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   28 March 2261

   Mayan,

   Not all the stories you have heard are entirely false. The artifact was a threat to the station and to this sector of space. Its destruction has become a focus of fanciful tales. My own personal favorite is the Brakiri story of the holy Sheridan wrestling with the demon inside the artifact. The truth is much more prosaic. While the fleet, under the command of Susan and myself, distracted the warships that issued through the portal - the artifact was some sort of gateway - John managed to slip inside it and plant a nuclear explosive. But the fanciful tales continue. John turns red with embarrassment and mumbles under his breath whenever he hears one of these stories. I tell him it's all his fault. If he hadn't allowed Susan to transport the artifact to the station because he was curious, he wouldn't have to put up with all the hero worship now. Which makes him grumble even more.

   He couldn't help it, though. Show him something new to explore and he's like a greedy child in a sweets shop. I teased him that he looked at it and said "mine, mine, mine." He denied it vehemently. But I will wager any amount that after I left his office, he said to himself that it really was his. You should have seen him when he boarded a White Star for the first time: the combination of lust and longing and anticipation on his face. I think I am jealous just remembering. He never looks at me like that. No, wait, I am wrong. He did look at me that way, the first time we made love.

   It was during the second night of Watching. We hadn't planned it. It just happened. John wasn't ready to sleep. He kept insisting that I should be wearing sleeping attire also. I didn't want to go back to my quarters so I put on an old robe of his, which was much too big, but all that was available. We were laughing and teasing each other one moment and the next we were in bed. John was dismayed when he discovered that I was a virgin. He didn't realize it was only in this body. I had to persuade him that he was not taking advantage of me. I finally had to show him I knew what I was doing. His eyes lit up. He held me at arms length and said that I was every man's dream - an experienced virgin! That's when he got that look on his face. We both laughed then and continued where we had left off.

   But I was talking about John's curiosity. He says he is an explorer at heart. But he has very little chance to follow his heart now. He must follow a well- worn path now, of more battles and more death and more sorrow. It is not easy for him, fighting against his own people. Our resources are scarce and our allies are few. I say "our" because his fight is mine also. We cannot achieve a true peace without Earth, and John cannot rest until his world is free.

   Still, we are together, which is all that matters at the moment.

   I must stop now. John has allowed an ISN news crew access to the station. He hopes that by cooperating, the resulting report will not be so damaging, and perhaps will let Earth viewers see a little of the truth for themselves. He has even persuaded me to take part in a joint interview with their reporter. John believes that if we are careful, ISN will not be able to distort what we say. I am not so sure. I remember the last time I submitted to questions from ISN. I don't think they have changed much.

   IVN,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 April 2261

   Mayan,

   You saw it. Minbari war syndrome indeed! I'd like to, well, you can guess what I'd like to do. They made him look a fool, Mayan, a weak credulous, fool. That is the worst of it. Worse even than the news about his family. He is upset his family's farm was destroyed, but John believes his parents are safe for the moment. He is more upset about the way I was portrayed. But at least I wasn't made to look foolish.

   We watched the program together in John's office, along with Susan. Afterward, John didn't say a word. He made it clear he wanted to be alone. He would not even let me stay. I came back later. He was still in the same position, just staring at emptiness, his eyes full of pain. He kept apologizing and saying how ashamed he was that he put me through that. When I tried to hold him, he asked me to leave. He keeps berating himself still. And ISN keeps showing that damned report.

   Still, John is trying to put it out of his mind and get on with running the station and organizing the loyal opposition, as he puts it. For the most part he is succeeding, except when he sees his former head of security. The day after the broadcast, Michael came to my office. He said he was sorry that I was hurt by ISN; he never wanted that. Then he left. I have not seen him since. He will not take my calls. I do not understand what happened.

   What turned him so against John? Against us? I know Michael was suspicious of Lorien and what he perceived as the First One's influence over John. After the final confrontation at Corianna, and the end of the war, when Lorien departed, I thought Michael would talk to us about what was bothering him. Instead, he drew further away. He trusts no one. At first, we thought perhaps the Shadows had implanted some sort of device that still controlled him, but Stephen found nothing. I cannot understand. It is as though all those qualities that make Michael Garibaldi such a good chief of security have been directed at destroying John.

   John, of course, keeps trying to talk to Michael, to make him understand. John doesn't see himself or want to be seen as some sort of savior. So far, Michael has walked away every time, and John hasn't forced a confrontation. But it is only a matter of time.

   Before I close, I would like to thank you for the warning. I had hoped it would not come to this. Perhaps it still may not. Yet, I have always known that joining my heart and blood to that of a human would cause dissension in our clan. I am afraid the ISN broadcast has only made things worse.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 May 2261

   Old friend,

   For some reason, it has been very quiet around here. John and I have been able to spend time together, just for ourselves. Not very often, but more than in the past few months. I have even been able to spend some time on myself. I have decided that I should have more human style clothing. John likes the dress I wore the first time we had dinner, but that is not the only reason. I am partly human now and it is time I learned more about my human side. Susan took me on a shopping expedition last week. We invited Lyta to join us, but she refused. Ever since we returned from the destruction of Z'ha'dum, Lyta has been different, somehow. I am becoming concerned about her.

   But I was telling you about my afternoon with Susan. Yes, I had a whole afternoon free. We must have visited every shop in the Zocolo, and half the ones down below, and we must have tried on everything in our sizes and sampled every type of scent and beauty aid. I was worried that the store keepers would become annoyed, but Susan said they expected their customers to "shop around," as she put it. I wanted to buy something suitable for dinner at Fresh Aire. Every time I thought I had found just the right dress, Susan disagreed. Finally, I told her to choose something for me, if she did not approve of my choices. So she did.

   It is black silk and long, but it conceals nothing. The back is slit to reveal my legs and the front is cut very low, revealing the tops of my breasts. It has no sleeves, only thin straps that leave my shoulders bare. It is unlike anything I have ever worn. I was shocked at first; I've always thought of myself as a proper Minbari female and this dress is most improper. But after a while, I found I actually liked the way I looked. Susan said John will have to fight off the males on the station if I go out with him in that dress. I know I should be horrified at that, but the idea pleases me. Not that I would want John to actually have to fight anyone, you understand. I think becoming partly human has made me a bit vain. I am looking forward to John's reaction when I wear it. I will have to find a special occasion.

   Lest you think I am spending all my time feeding my vanity, I will give you a progress report. Thanks to you and your generous admirers, we have been able to establish a temporary refuge on Epsilon 3 for those who have no where else to go. It is still very hard to persuade the League worlds to accept other races. Only the Drazi have offered one of their colonies. I suspect they want to use the refugees as cheap labor. We are cautioning those who agree to go, but many of them are desperate. They have no viable alternative. Perhaps we can prevent the worst abuse by letting the Drazi know that John and I will be watching closely. It is not the solution I would want, but it is better than nothing.

   Some of the displaced are trying to rebuild their lives here on the station, but jobs are scarce, as you can imagine. The best we can do at the moment is to assure that at least they won't go hungry. The more enterprising have rented space in the many markets in down below and we are helping with loans and such. They probably have the best chance. But it is the children that tear at my heart. I see them, with their too solemn eyes that warily watch, waiting for the next blow to fall, helpless to do anything but endure. They should be playing, carefree and happy, not trying to survive in a world they did not make. Sometimes, Mayan, I look around and everything seems hopeless; there is so much to do and so little time and resources to do it with. And then I remember how John came back to me, against all hope and all reason, and I remind myself that faith manages.

   Meanwhile, the work of the station goes on. We are becoming very creative in dealing with the effects of the Earth embargo. Everything is recycled and used over and over until there is nothing left. An air pump, with a little modification provides water and nutrients in hydroponics. A flexible cast from Medlab enables a piece of machinery to continue functioning until a proper replacement can be found. And so it goes. We cannot keep this up forever, of course. The only permanent solution is to defeat Clark.

   I have just been informed of the arrival of a courier. I am anxious to see him because if he was successful, I have a surprise for John. I instructed a Ranger to obtain a message from John's sister, if he could do so without endangering her or her family.

   Thank you again, Mayan, for all your help.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   25 May 2261

   My friend,

   So I still call you, until you tell me otherwise. Michael, you are the second human I have ever called friend. When I first came to Babylon 5, you were the one who taught me about humans and cheered me when I was lonely. We were always able to talk to each other, to help each other. I will accept, however regretfully, that our paths may now go in separate directions. Whatever your differences with John, you have no quarrel with me, unless I have offended you without knowing it. But I will not let you go without talking to you.

   You are troubled, I know, by what you think is happening. You do not see your way clearly anymore and you doubt the motives of others. I do not blame you. So much has happened in such a short time. So much has changed. And we have all changed, too. Including you, and including John. When John returned from...from that place, with his life shortened, he became driven to defeat the Shadows and to free his world. Now that the first has been accomplished, he has focused all his energies toward the second. That you do not approve of his methods is obvious from the ISN broadcast. Before, whenever you disagreed with him, you argued, you fought; you threatened to resign once, when you thought John was doing something illegal. But now, you refuse even to see him. Why?

   If you cannot bring yourself to talk to John, then talk to me, for the sake of our friendship. If you cannot do it for my sake, Michael, then do it for the sake of the one we both called friend.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   2 June 2261

   Mayan,

   I write this on the way to Minbar. What we feared has happened. Lennier, Valen protect him, insisted on accompanying me, though I tried to dissuade him. In truth, I did not try very hard. I need a friend with me now. You know very well why I cannot call on you. We are of the same clan, my friend. You cannot stand by my side and judge me at the same time. And you know they will expect you to take part in deciding my fate. They sent Calenn two days ago. I would feel easier if it were anyone else. He has never been a friend.

   I told John only that I had to leave, not why. If all goes well, there is no need to worry him. If not, he will know soon enough. Besides, I wanted to make what may be our last time together special. Since we still had one night of Watching to go, I asked him to allow it last night. He was very busy, but he agreed. He knows it is very important to me that we do things properly. Now, that the ritual is complete, at least they cannot deny the validity of our joining without a long, drawn out process.

   John and I had dinner first, in Fresh Aire, at my suggestion. I wore the new black dress. I did not envision such an occasion when I bought it, but John's reaction was all that I imagined. I finally understand what the humans mean when they say someone's jaw hit the floor. John took one look at me and forgot everything else. I don't think he could even remember his own name. I will admit I heightened the effect by striking a pose I saw in an advertisement on vid. At the restaurant, someone whistled, which I understand is a compliment. John glowered and told me I should not be allowed out in that dress for the safety of the male population. But I noticed a look of pride on his face at the number of admiring glances I received.

   Still, I do not think I fooled him. He senses I was not telling him everything, but he did not press me. He accepted that I did not want to talk about it. I love him all the more for that. After dinner, and after a stroll through the gardens, and after I changed into a traveling robe, we returned to his quarters. I started the Watching while I was still in bed with him. I could not bring myself to leave the shelter of his arms sooner than necessary. Finally, I had no choice. I left an hour before station dawn.

   Mayan, they are going to insist I abide by their judgement. What if they forbid our joining? How can I comply? He is my life.

   Valen help me,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 June 2261

   Dukhat,

   I know now what you tried to tell me, expending your last breath as you lay dying in my arms. Why did you not tell me sooner? If I had known, perhaps things would have been different; perhaps I could have found the strength to contain my grief and anger. Perhaps I would have acted differently. Perhaps I would have voted for peace. No, it is not fair to blame you for my own failings. You did as you thought best, as you always did, for my good and the good of our people. Your silence was necessary to fulfill the prophecies. As were my actions. I see that now. Once again, when I was in great need, you have helped me. I will always revere the memory of our time together.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 June 2261

   My lord,

   To know that your blood runs in my veins, however diminished and depleted by the generations that separate us, fills me with joy and trepidation. Joy, because of who you are and who you were, because a part of you still exists, and will always exist. Trepidation, because I do not know if I am worthy. Only you can make that judgement.

   I wish I had known, while you were still here, before my friend, Jeffrey, was lost to me forever. It would have made our parting easier, at least for me. Did you know, when you were here? Or were you as ignorant as I? It does not matter, I suppose. Neither of us would have been able to say anything.

   To be a child of Valen is beyond any honour I may ever receive.

   In Your Name.

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   9 June 2261

   Mayan,

   It is a good thing you were not there. You would only have been chastised for showing disrespect to a clan elder after you gave Calenn a well-deserved tongue lashing. He knew, Mayan, he knew. He knew I could justify my choice to the clan and he put me through this anyway. That contemptible coward, that conniving, condescending, caste and clan dishonouring bastard! Only this English word comes close to how I feel about him. And when I confronted him at the end, he begged me to let him make up a reason that would satisfy the clan without revealing his knowledge. Have they told you yet? I am to be a peace offering to the humans, in the manner of clans of old who gave a female in marriage to the losing side. I can hear John's comments, and yours. If Calenn is fortunate, John will never meet him. As it was, Lennier could barely contain himself from laying hands on that bastard. The only consolation is that Calenn knew it too.

   I am sorry, my friend. You must be wondering what I am talking about. I forgot you don't know yet. While I was in the Dreaming, I heard Dukhat's last words to me clearly for the first time. You were prescient when you used to tease me in school, calling me Valen's child whenever I became too wrapped up in my studies. It is true, though. I am a child of Valen, descended from him through my mother's line. Lennier found the old records in the secret Council archives. I am pleased and angry in turn, thinking about it. Angry because Calenn knew I was not ever fully Minbari, so it does not matter that my mate is not Minbari; and he still insisted on judging me. But I will not think of that now.

   I am very proud to be a child of Valen. When I told John last night, he was pleased too. He served with Sinclair on Mars, did you know? It is very disconcerting in a way. John saved his life once. If he had not, I would not be here now, or at least I would not be me. It makes my head hurt too. I find it easier to think of them, him, as my friend Jeffrey, whom I still miss, and Valen, who has guided us for a thousand years. I have always felt close to Valen, as you well know. I feel even closer now.

   It is still a secret, Mayan. Only you and John and Lennier know, outside the family members who have kept it a secret all these years. It is better to keep the secret still. There are probably others who feel as Calenn does about the human "taint" in our blood.

   I have not told John anything else. I told him only that the old business that took me to Minbar is settled. He suspects it had something to do with our mating, but he did not ask when he met me at the docking bay. And I gave him no opportunity to inquire later. We had only been separated little more than a week, but it seemed like forever. We could barely keep our hands off each other until we got to his quarters. Then, we did not have to.

   I will tell you another secret, my friend, one that I have not told anyone, not even Lennier. When I was asked if I would abide by the decision of the clan, I said yes. But, in my heart, I knew that if the judgement went against me, I would defy them. Rather than leave him, I would make myself outcast, cut off from caste and clan and temple. I was willing to give up everything I hold to, everything I am. I did not know this until I stood there, with all eyes on me, waiting for my answer.

   I am going to start the preparations for the Shan Fal immediately. Afterward, if we must delay the final joining ceremony, we can, at least, co habit openly. John is growing tired of me leaving in the middle of the night, and so am I. I want to wake up in his arms. Of course, I will then have to contend with his efforts to make breakfast, but I think I can deal with that. Since you cannot be here in time, I shall ask Lennier to be chief watcher. He is young, I know, but there is no one, except you, I would rather have.

   I only left John a few hours ago and I have a full slate of meetings later. If I do not take a nap, I will never make it through the day. And how would it look for the Minbari Ambassador to fall asleep at a meeting with our allies?

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   17 June 2261

   Mayan,

   Humans are so strange about sex. They talk about it all the time and make jokes. Yet, they become embarrassed at the thought that others know they are having sex. John is no different. He took one look at Lennier and the five other watchers and nearly bolted out the door. Even after I persuaded him to stay, I had to pull him into my bedchamber, where he almost started a fire stumbling into the candles. By the time he knocked over a small altar, trying to keep the t'zha' candle upright, we were both laughing helplessly. And then I had to explain that this was a solemn and reverent ceremony! At least at the beginning. Still, John was thoroughly relaxed by then. He even joked that two of the watchers must be Rebo and Zooty in disguise. I do not understand what he finds so humourous about them.

   Fortunately, the rest of the night went as anticipated. We have been lovers for half a year now, but we never had enough time to really explore each other and ourselves. John was surprised, I think, by some of what I showed him. He keeps forgetting that my inexperience is only in this body. I learned a few things too, I'm happy to say. Humans have more ways of achieving orgasms than we do. We laughed most of the time. I don't know what the watchers thought. They must have thought us completely disrespectful. I would ask Lennier, but I think that might embarrass him.

   I was right in choosing Lennier. He handled all the details, leaving me free to complete the preliminary rites. He was reluctant at first, protesting that he was too young and too unworthy of such an honour, which is nonsense. There is nothing of which he is not worthy. I would have been lost long ago without him. It is only fitting that I share my joy with him.

   We still do not know when we can hold the final ceremony. We are both so busy with our duties. We only found time for the Shan Fal because Susan helped. When I explained to her how important it was for us to have an afternoon and night free, she persuaded John to take the whole day off. I did not inquire too closely into her methods.

   Tomorrow will be a special day too. As soon as I return from a routine flight with the Rangers, John and I will finally be able to spend the night together, and even sleep, without interruption. I told him it was traditional for the female to prepare breakfast the next morning, so that will be all right.

   I will write more afterward.

   IVN,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   28 June 2261

   My heart,

   I am well. I am safe. I miss you. I love you.

   Your Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 July 2261

   Old friend,

   I am going to break the promise I made to you. I hoped this day would never come. I am sorry, Mayan. I want you to take a message to Neroon from me. It is important that we meet before it is too late to stop the madness that has overtaken our people. Together, Neroon and I, may bring an end to the killing and return the castes to the path of Valen. You know I would not ask this of you if there were any other way.

   Does it surprise you that I would turn to Neroon? You are no more surprised than I. Yet, I have no other choice. He commands the respect of his clan and caste. I suspect you are right about him after all. I think I may have judged him wrongly all these years. I will know if he agrees to see me.

   Thank you, my friend. I wish I did not have to involve you.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 July 2261

   Greetings Alyt,

   We have been at odds over the years, but I have come to see that whatever our differences, you always worked for the good of our people, as you saw it. I think now, we must put aside the quarrels of the past. The castes are killing each other, Neroon. For the first time in a thousand years, Minbari are killing Minbari. There will be no winners if this goes on, only more death and destruction until there is nothing left.

   I see a way to restore the harmony of the castes. But I cannot do it alone. I need your help. Will you trust me? Will you meet with me?

   I will guarantee you safe passage. If you agree, use the old Grey Council security channel. The password is "Mayan." I will send you the time and place.

   Together we can end this madness.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   8 July 2261

   Rathenn,

   Neroon has agreed. He left my ship last night to implement the first phase. Now we must do our part. I will be in the city in three days. Have the commanders meet me at the Temple as soon as I arrive. We must deploy our forces as if we really mean to do battle with the warrior caste. Under no circumstances are any Rangers, especially human ones, to take part. I cannot involve them in a civil war.

   We will have to fight, perhaps as long as a month. We cannot surrender too easily or Shakiri will suspect a ruse. I cannot bear the thought of those who will die in that time. Yet, I must. Once again, I must order the deaths of others and wait while they die.
But every time, it is harder and harder.

   Valen help me,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 August 2261

   Lennier,

   You have been the light before my steps. Without you, I would have stumbled and fallen long ago. You have been my friend and my support when I needed it most. Once again, I look to you. Do not despair. Do not retreat into the Temple. I do not ask you to put aside your grief for me. I ask only that you transform it to carry on in my place. Continue my work. Help Neroon restore our society. Work with Sheridan. Help him free his people and create the alliance of worlds that will shape the future.

   Do not be afraid to follow your own counsel. Trust your heart. I have been very selfish, keeping you by my side when you are more than ready for a position of power and authority. If I have been careless at times, seemingly taking your friendship and loyalty for granted, forgive me. I never did so in my heart.

   Good night, my friend. We will meet again in another life. Until then, speak well of me.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 August 2261

   Neroon,

   I know it was agreed that I would leave the starfire wheel after Shakiri, but I cannot. I must remain and be consumed. It is the only way to ensure peace. Our people must now look to you for guidance. I know you can do what is necessary. Use your power wisely. And when we are once again a united people, help Sheridan bring about the new alliance that is the best hope for the future. Forget your enmity toward Starkiller. Together, you can remake the universe.

   Take care of my Rangers. If my word will still hold weight, become their new leader. Marcus will help you, if you let him. You know his heart, and he knows yours.

   I regret now the many years we were enemies. I have missed the chance to find a good friend. I should have listened to Mayan. Take care of her, Neroon. Do not let her grieve for me too long. I wish you both joy.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 August 2261

   Dearest of friends,

   This is not the end. We have always been friends and we will always be friends. No matter what my future incarnations will be, I know that you and I will seek each other out. But do not think of me as gone now. I am still here with those I love.

   Think of me, Mayan, whenever you hear the temshee sing and remember all the good times. When we were girls together in school, knowing nothing and feeling everything, talking long into the night of life and love and wondering what the universe would show us. When we celebrated each other's triumphs and mourned our defeats, even when we were in different parts of the galaxy, even when we were estranged during the war.

   I regret that I cannot say good night in person. I do so want to see you again, to laugh with you, to blush when you tease me, to listen to your latest poem, to hear you say 'I told you so' because I was so wrong about Neroon.

   I have no words to tell you how much our friendship has meant to me all these years. That is your job, my friend. Turn your grief into a song to celebrate our time together and sing it for me. I will hear it.

   Good night, my friend. We will meet again.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 August 2261

   Mai'zech, Sacht'zech,

   Forgive me, beloved, for leaving you. It is not what I want. What I want is to be with you, to hold you, to love you. I want to stand at your side every day. I want to lay with you every night. I want to be your wife. I want. But I do what I must. You understand why I must.

   My heart, my soul, I love you. I have always loved you and I shall always love you.

   Do not throw your life away carelessly, recklessly, in despair and bitterness. Continue as you have begun. Free your people, unite the nations, shape the future. Twenty years is not a very long time. And when it is done, you will find me waiting for you in the place where no shadows fall. And we will never be parted again.

   Mai'zech, sacht'zech, I will love you forever.

   I loved you from the moment I first looked into your eyes and saw my own soul. I counted no day as happy if I could not see you. The first time you held me in your arms, I knew where I belonged. The first time you kissed me, I knew I could endure anything as long as we were together. The first time we made love, when I felt you inside me, I knew I was not complete without you. I found a haven in your trust, delight in your friendship, and joy unimagined in your arms.

   I love you, John. My last thought is of you. My last breath calls your name.

   Good night, beloved. You are my heart, you are my soul, you are my life.

   Valen watch over you,

   Forever your Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 August 2261

   My lord, Valen,

   I go soon into the fire that awaits me. I do so willingly, that our people may once again follow your path. I ask only one thing for myself. Watch over those I love, most especially Sheridan. Keep his heart from bitterness. Guide him along the path he has chosen. Help and protect him until we are united once more.

   I follow you now into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death.

   In Your Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   3 August 2261

   Mayan,

   I am so sorry. Had I known, I would never have involved him. I would have found another way. I would rather have given up my life than cause you this pain. I shall always grieve his passing. I regret deeply that I was slow in acknowledging his worth. I should have trusted your judgement, instead of letting my own arrogance blind me. We were becoming friends by the time he left my ship. He was glad of that because he knew it would please you.

   He spoke of you often, about how much you meant to him. He wanted to end the war to save our people, yes, but he also wanted to end it so you and he could be together. He told me he was thinking of asking you to teach him some of the ways of our caste, to bring you closer together. He even showed me a poem he was writing for you. It is only a fragment, he had not progressed beyond the first lines. I cannot judge its worth, but it is heartfelt. I am sorry, I do not remember it all, but it began "the warrior's heart finds surcease of care only in your love."

   He loved you very much, Mayan. I know that is not much comfort now. But in time, when your grief is less new and raw, the memory of his love will warm you. You will meet again and love again in another life. Of that I am sure.

   Know that all of Minbar grieves with you. Neroon was an honourable warrior with a noble soul. He thought first of our people, all our people. His memory will live on as long as there are Minbari to speak his name and tell of his deeds.

   I owe him a debt I can never repay. All I can do is try to make my life worthy of his sacrifice.

   No way can my words ease your heart or restore your loss, I know. All I can do is offer a hand to support you and a heart to catch your tears.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   7 August 2261

   Mayan,

   Are you sure? The doctors would not let me come to you for the three nights of vigil, but I have persuaded them to let me go now. You have only to ask and I shall be with you for as long as you need. Please let me help you, for my sake as well as yours.

   The new Grey Council has made its first official pronouncement. Neroon is to be mourned as a shai. It is only fitting. He was more worthy than the coward whom he served. His name will be inscribed alongside the great ones who have come before. The ceremony will occur at the end of the mourning.

   Please, Mayan, remember I am here when you need me. I have left orders that any message from you receive priority over anything else. There is nothing that is of more importance to me than your welfare now.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   8 August 2261

   Dukhat,

   The Council is restored, or rather I should say remade. It is no longer the one you knew, but I believe it will serve the needs of our people. The Worker caste dominate it now. They can do no worse than the other two. I refused, yet again, to become the head of the Council. They must be free to make their own choice. I will do what I can now and then return to Babylon 5. My place is there, at Sheridan's side.

   My heart cries out for the wounded cities, as well as all the needless dead. So many treasures are gone. The waterfall at the Temple is gone. So is Valen's Tower. Never again will I climb to the top to view the stars and wonder what the universe wants from me. So much beauty was destroyed. For once, I am glad you did not live to see it.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   9 August 2261

   My love,

   Do not worry so. I am not badly injured; only a little singed around the edges. We have both been hurt worse. The doctors say I will heal completely by the time I return to the station. You can see for yourself, John. I asked my physicians to send their records to Stephen. He will tell you there is nothing to worry about.

   I will be home as soon as I finish my work here, perhaps in as little as a month. I wish it were sooner. I wish I could be with you now. When I return, I plan to lock us in your quarters for at least a week, with a 'do not disturb under any circumstances' notice on the comm. Then, I am going to make love to you until your brains fall out. That is the right expression, is it not? And afterward, I shall start all over again. Until then, I must content myself with memories of laying in your arms, feeling your body join with mine, as our souls and hearts are joined.

   Keep safe, beloved.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 August 2261

   To: Commander Susan Ivanova
   From: Entil'zha Delenn

   Please inform Captain Sheridan that I am sending a cruiser and its battle group to join his fleet. I cannot tell him directly as a secure channel from Minbar cannot be assured at such a distance.

    * * * * * * * * * *

   Now that business is taken care of, I can talk to my friend, Susan. I am fine, really, well, almost fine. I am stiff and sore now where the burns are healing, which is at least better than being unable to bear the touch of my own clothing. But please do not tell John. I would have kept my injuries from him, if I could. I wish he had never seen the broadcast. I quite forgot the station monitors such things. I wish you had not seen it either. You are almost as bad as he is. You have enough to worry about. You do not have to worry about me.

   Now that John is with the fleet, I am sure you are pulling double shifts. Do not deny it. I know you by now. At least try to get some rest occasionally. And delegate some of your responsibility. You are as bad as John. Neither of you feel comfortable if you cannot keep an eye on what is going on in C & C. Let someone else assume your duties while you assume John's. You cannot do three jobs at once. And no one else can give the Voice of the Resistance reports as well as you can. The reports I receive about what is happening in the struggle against Clark are sketchy at best. I rely on the Voice of the Resistance to fill me in.

   Now that Proxima is besieged, do you think John's sister will be all right? I know he would not use his position to bring her to safety. But I can. Do you think I should send in Rangers to bring Elizabeth and her family to Babylon 5? It can be done safely.

   My work here is slow, but it progresses. Bureaucracies are the same all over. Only the details change. You would think that under the circumstances, the usual procedures would be streamlined, but they are clinging even more to the letter of each ritual before anything is accomplished. I can understand. So much has changed and so much has been destroyed, that the familiar is very comforting. But this delays my departure even more. I will return as soon as I can.

   Before I close, Susan, I would ask a favor of you. The shops on Minbar, those that are undamaged, are not equipped to handle the needs of the human female reproductive system. Could you purchase what is necessary, sufficient for two months, and ship it to me by the next flight? The clerk at the small drugstore in the Zocalo knows my preferences. Ask him to charge my account.

   Keep well, my friend.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 September 2261

   Old friend,

   We know each other too long and too well. I know why you do not want to see me. You are angry at me, angry for involving him and angry that he is dead and I am alive. And you are ashamed of that anger. And you think I will understand neither the anger nor the shame. And so you refuse to let me close to you.

   But I will not let you suffer this alone, Mayan. You will see me, whether you will or no. You can scream and hurl invective at me, and tell me how you wish it were the reverse, that he were alive and I were dead. I will not go away. I will put my arms around you and hold you as you finally give way to the tears that will wash away the anger and let you grieve. Then we will talk.

   Until then,

   Valen keep you,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   17 September 2261

   To: Commander Susan Ivanova,
   From: Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari Federation

   I regret that I must delay my return to Babylon 5 for a week or more. Please inform Captain Sheridan.

   *******************

   Susan, I hope you do not mind that I use diplomatic channels to talk to you. But I do not think even Clark would dare to interfere with a Minbari courier.

   My friend Mayan asked me to thank you for your condolences. She will thank you herself as soon as she is able. It is traditional that those in mourning stay secluded, seeing only family and clan members for the first part of the rites.

   I know only too well what she is feeling now. When John went away, I was wracked with grief and also anger. I was angry that he left to die without me. I was angry that I was still alive, and I felt guilty, as if I were betraying him by living. When the three of us went to look for John at Z'ha'dum, and I knew he was gone, I wanted to take a shuttle and crash it into the planet; to die and free my soul to be with his. If Lennier had not saved us all, I may very well have done just that. I realized later that my feelings were influenced and heightened by whatever device was used to try to lure us in, but, nevertheless, my longing to join him in death was very real.

   At least now Mayan accepts that Neroon is gone and she can still go on in this life. I was afraid she would try to end her own life, but that danger is past. It has been harder to persuade her that it is all right for her to want to blame me for his death, especially as it is the truth. I cannot begin to know the pain she feels, knowing that her lover gave his life so that her friend would live. She thinks she is betraying me if she wishes it were not so. And she feels she is betraying him if she condones his choice. She will reconcile his death and my life in time. I think I have even persuaded her that this is so. At least she is allowing me to perform the duties of a clan sister for her.

   Susan, I said that I know what she is going through. But I think it may be even worse for her. There is no reprieve from the judgement of the starfire wheel. She knows there is no First One to bring back her love. My heart aches for her.

   In Valen's name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   3 October 2261

   Beloved,

   By the time you receive this, I will be back on Babylon 5, and a few days later, I will be at your side, where I belong. We have been apart too long. I would rather be with you in the midst of battle than remain without you. And afterward, we will spend our days and nights rediscovering the delights of our love.

   I miss you so much, John, and not only in bed, although my body aches for the touch of yours. We have only spent a few nights together, yet when the nightmares come, and I waken with a start, in that moment of time when I am not asleep, but not fully awake yet, I reach over for the comfort and reassurance of your presence next to me. Until I remember that we are far apart. How I wish you were beside me, to chase away the dreams with your love, and afterward, to hold me in your arms, sated and secure.

   I keep thinking there must have been something else I could have done, another plan, something. Perhaps I should have confided in you, told you what was happening, asked for advice. I should have called upon your tactical expertise to see if perhaps there was a military solution that would have ended the war without the need to sacrifice so many, and especially Neroon. I cannot bear the pain in Mayan's eyes.

   John, I know you do not want to speak of such matters, but you are the only one who can truly understand. When I stepped into the starfire wheel, I was prepared to die. I expected to die. I felt the pain at first, but then, I seemed to step out of myself and watch, as though from a distance, my life burn away. Everything seemed to fade and I lost consciousness. I remember thinking, "I am dying now. I hope I begin a new life soon. I hope I can find John earlier this time." When I awoke, I did not understand at first that I was still alive, in this life. I thought I had been reborn. And, in a sense, I had been.

   How do I deal with this, John? How do I accept that someone gave his life for me. Lorien gave you a part of his life, but he still lives. Neroon gave me all of his life. Help me, my love. How do you cope with the thoughts that come in the middle of the night, the insidious voice that whispers "you should have died then"? Or do you wake with the same nightmares?

   I should not burden you with this now. You have enough worries.

   Valen keep you safe until you are in my arms again.

   In Valen's name,

   Your Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 October 2261

   My lord,

   I beg of you, do not let them take him from me. They will never break him, but they will surely kill him if no other aid comes. I have served you faithfully all my life. Do this for me now. Or, if not for me, for the man who once saved your life. Keep him alive so that his friends may rescue him. You are his only hope now.

   In Your name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   13 October 2261

   To: Commander Susan Ivanova, White Star Fleet
   From: Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

   I have taken the precaution of stationing a Minbari squadron in hyperspace near the jumpgate in the event that EarthForce attempts to take advantage of the capture of Captain Sheridan by attacking Babylon 5.

   Repairs are proceeding on the last of the White Stars in drydock. The readiness trials will be held here at the station, as a further precaution, and then I will send them to join your command.

   ******************

   Susan,

   Do not concern yourself with events on the station. Everything is well in hand. It is as though everyone here is trying their best to see there are no problems that would detract from the effort to free Earth, and John. It is really quite remarkable. Even Londo and G'Kar are working together. They persuaded the League to provide ships to guard Babylon 5 and to augment the liberation fleet. And to issue a statement to that effect. They kept it a secret from me, to preclude any accusations of influence on my part for personal reasons. When I found out the Minbari Ambassador was not invited to a meeting of the League worlds, I was furious. Then I almost cried. Londo made the most eloquent and moving speech I have ever heard from him, explaining that John's sacrifices on behalf of all should not go unnoticed and unrewarded. As Vir said, politics and morality together, on the same side. Absolutely astounding. I must remember to tell John when I see him.

   Susan, I am certain John will return to us alive and soon. I do not know if I can make you understand why. The closest I can come is to say that I don't believe that after all he sacrificed in the struggle against the Shadows, the Universe will let him die alone, shackled and brutalized, at the hands of his own people. I am as sure as I have ever been about anything in my life. I am afraid for him, of course. I lie awake trying not to imagine the horrors he is enduring, holding on to the fact that they want him broken, but alive. I know they can hurt him horribly, yet I know he will survive. I only hope his injuries will be transitory.

   If you don't believe me, think of what Zathrus said, on Babylon 4. John is the One Who Will Be, the beginning of the next great story. And we are still in the current story. The struggle against Clark is part of the Shadow war, which will not be over until the last remnants of their influence is eradicated.

   Take care Susan and come back safe.

   In Valen's name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   16 October 2261

   To: Ranger Captain Marcus Cole
   From: Entil'Zha Delenn

   You are to take command of the White Star fleet immediately, pending my arrival. Any instructions left by Captain Sheridan or Commander Ivanova are to be carried out as far as possible. Please inform Captain Machean and the other former EarthForce commanders that I intend to follow Captain Sheridan's plans until he returns and will welcome their aid in doing so.

   

    ----------

   17 October 2261

   Marcus,

   I speak to you now as your friend, Marcus, not as your superior. Finish the job she started. She is counting on you. And so is John. I have just received word that he is free and on his way to join the fleet. He will need you in the coming battles. You are the most experienced and the most talented pilot among the Rangers. And after Earth is liberated, there will still be much for you to do.

   Do not hold yourself responsible for what happened to Susan. There was nothing you could have done to prevent it. You did not fail again, and there is no need to try to follow her. That would only annoy her if she knew, and you know how she is when she's annoyed. Good. You smiled despite yourself. That is the best way for us all to remember her now, with love and laughter.

   Do not let the despair in your heart destroy you.

   In Valen's name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   18 October 2261

   My friend,

   I did not know whether I should write to you now, but I will take you at your word that you find it comforting to hear from me as usual. I hope so. I do not want to add to your pain, you know that. If you change your mind, please do not feel you have to answer me. You know you don't have to pretend with me, Mayan. I will not be hurt.

   ISN has not been trumpeting the news, so I assume you have not heard. John is free and on his way to join me and the fleet. I never doubted that John would escape. Never. The universe is not done with him yet. I just received word that Michael Garibaldi led the rescue. Yes, that surprises me too. I have not heard all the details yet, but Stephen says Psi Corps is to blame for Michael's betrayal of John.

   Yet, the news is not all good. Susan is dying. My physicians say she has a week at the most. She was mortally wounded while repelling a vastly superior EarthForce fleet. If not for her, most of our forces would have been trapped and destroyed. My mind knows this and accepts this, but my heart cries out that the price is, once again, too high to bear. Why Susan? Why? We became friends almost immediately. Sometimes, Susan would join Michael in trying to teach me about humans, but usually she and I just talked, about anything and everything. And later, after my transformation, it was Susan who helped me with all the little things I had to learn. She was always so patient with me, no matter what I asked, even when she was embarrassed, which happened quite often in the beginning. Later, we used to laugh about that. We laughed a lot together. Once, she told me about the time she and John slept in his office because EarthForce had locked them out of their quarters. We were laughing about John's snoring when he walked in. As she tried to keep a straight face, I asked John, in an outraged tone, how Susan knew that he snored! Poor John! The expression on his face! When we gave it away by laughing, John threatened to get even with Susan. Now, he'll never have the chance. I'm going to miss her terribly.

   We worked closely together after I became Entil'Zha, and especially after John left for Z'ha'dum. She was a good officer, one of the best I've ever known. But she was not happy, Mayan. I came upon her unawares once, in the gardens. She was watching a young couple, human, holding hands as they walked by. She looked so sad and wistful, my heart ached for her. I wanted to hold her and tell her it was going to be all right. I didn't, of course. She would have been angry. She hated for anyone to know she was anything but a tough, no nonsense, soldier. Marcus loves her. That bothered her, I know. Maybe, in time, she would have allowed him to get close to her, to let herself be loved. And if not Marcus, maybe someone else, in time. She had been badly hurt and only lately started to open up to those who care for her. John told me of a conversation he had with her before the final battle with the Shadows. He was so proud that she trusted him.

   John. Someone is going to have to tell him about Susan. I hope he learns before he gets here. I do not look forward to telling him. If only we could do something for her, anything. Marcus has not left her side. He doesn't want her to be alone, unable to understand the doctors in the few moments she is conscious. I feel so helpless.

   She has no family, no one at all. She told me once that EarthForce was her family, but that is no longer true. When this is all over, when Earth is freed, I want to perform the mourning rites for her in the manner of her people, if it is permitted. I shall ask her rabbi, I believe he is called, the one who came to the station after her father died. I do not think he will deny me this. He seemed fond of her, like a daughter. This is the only thing I can do for her now. And it will be as much for me as for her.

   Take care of yourself, Mayan. Do not fast overmuch. Listen to the temple healers in this. And write to me, as you can. We both have need of a friend's voice.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   31 October 2261

   Old friend,

   It is almost over, only a little while now. John is leading the final assault on Earth from his old ship, which is fitting and proper. Everyone is gone, even Lennier, who is with Marcus on a White Star. Susan is spending her last hours on Babylon 5 where they are making her as comfortable as possible. I am in command of the reserve fleet, mainly Minbari and League ships, which will "mop up," as John puts it, and support the main assault. Barring an unexpected calamity, his world will be free in the next few hours. And we will be free to go on with our lives. That is wishful thinking, I know. We will always have duties and responsibilities. But it would be nice to have some time just for ourselves, John and Delenn, without worrying about the rest of the universe.

   It is a strange thing, Mayan. When John was held captive on Mars, I could see him. It was not a dream or a vision or an hallucination. I could actually see him.. He was bruised and bloodied, shackled by bands of metal to a brutal chair. He seemed to smile at me for a moment. Another time, I saw him strapped to a gurney, being wheeled down a corridor. Even stranger, John told me he saw me standing there. It was the first thing he said when he came aboard my ship. We are not yet joined, but the bond between us is stronger than I thought possible.

   John has not spoken of his ordeal. He says he will, later, when he is ready. I have not pressed him.. His body tells the tale well enough. He was brutally beaten and worse. The cuts have closed and the burns are mostly healed now. Even the bruises are fading. Only the three cracked ribs are still a source of discomfort, but he can manage well enough, he says. The doctors agree with him, so I suppose he is correct. In any event, his body will recover completely. I have no concerns about that. But he has changed, even more than when he returned from Z'ha'dum.

   I watched him sleep for part of our first night together aboard my ship. It was not intentional. I am still not completely healed either. The worst of the burns, on my abdomen and chest, are still troublesome. Fortunately, John was too weary to notice. He barely had the strength to kiss me goodnight before he fell asleep in my arms. When I awoke a few hours later, rather than meditating or reading as usual, I watched John. The tension and worry in his face, so evident earlier, was gone, I was relieved to see. I expected he would have disturbing dreams or nightmares. At first, he seemed the same, a bit greyer, perhaps, and thinner, of course. But as I watched, I noticed something was different. He seemed closed in on himself. The openness, the eager delight to see what the universe offered next, was gone, replaced by a new wariness. The innocence that so enchanted me when we first met is lost.

   And his own people did it to him, Mayan. When he returned from Z'ha'dum, despite all he had gone through, he still retained that innocence. Oh, some of it was lost, to be sure, but enough was still there. The Shadows, with all their horrors, could not reach the core of his being. But his own people could and did. John is not naive, he knows that not all who worked for Clark did so out of fear. But he didn't anticipate how ordinary, how banal, his captors would be. How they truly had no feelings that what they were doing was evil. He has learned a hard lesson, at a great price.

   I must go to the command bridge soon. I have come full circle. Once again I command Minbari ships on the way to Earth. Only this time, I come to preserve, not destroy. To bring together the two halves of our souls - human and Minbari - to finally defeat the shadows of our former enmity.

   Keep well, Mayan. You are constantly in my thoughts.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   3 November 2261

   Susan,

   Accept the gift Marcus gave you out of love. Go on with your life. Be happy. It is what he wanted for you. Do not despair of your life. Do not let his death become meaningless. Please, Susan, let your friends help you.

   Valen guide you,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   3 November 2261

   My lord Valen,

   You were always a good friend to Susan and Marcus. Both need your help now. Guide him in his next incarnation so that he may finally find peace for his troubled soul. And Susan, help her accept that someone loved her enough to offer his life for hers. Until she does, she will never find her own way. Keep her safe until she lets her other friends help her. I cannot bear to lose both.

   Jeffrey, old friend, we have lost so many of those we hold dear to the years of war. Now that we may finally achieve a measure of peace, every loss is that much more painful to me. Marcus always seemed so full of life, so joyful, it was easy to overlook his deep unhappiness. It would ease my heart to know that Marcus found in death what he could not find in life. And in time, it will ease Susan's heart, too. Help them, and help me. In Your Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 November 2261

   My heart,

   I was relieved to see on ISN that you were not injured further. I trust the wound on your forehead will heal quickly. I know you had no choice but to try to ram; I would have done the same in your place. But I would prefer that in the future, you wait until I can be at your side before you risk all. Death does not frighten me. Living without you does. Never mind, my love. I know that both of us will do as we must, and the other will understand.

   The League has the proposal. If all goes well, I expect to join you in a week or so. Lennier and Vir, whose services Londo generously offered to me, are invaluable. They have many contacts among the ambassadorial staff, and know who will have the most influence on their superiors. Vir confided, in strict confidence, of course, that a few of the ambassadors routinely sign their names to proposals and opinions developed by their aides, and those aides will be in favour of the alliance. Unfortunately, the Drazi ambassador is not on their list.

   G'Kar and Londo have been very helpful. They are even working together to persuade the others to agree. It is an odd, yet pleasant, experience watching them in action. G'Kar talks about the duty to ensure that the future is secure, that it is the right thing to do for the betterment of everyone; while Londo, with a wink and a nod, reminds them that if they don't join, their neighbors will be in a more powerful position. I think these two are becoming friends, even if they do not know it yet.

   I have noticed a change in Londo these last months. He was the one who suggested that the League support you openly against Clark, and he seems to be more concerned lately with what is right, as well as what is political or expedient. I think he will make a good emperor now, better than if he had been chosen earlier.

   Have you spoken to Susan? She will not take my calls. I have sent her a message, but as yet she has not responded. Stephen says she will see no one and only allows him to examine her under threat of confinement to MedLab. She cannot bring herself to accept the gift of her life, that someone could love her that much. I do not think, had he lived, that Susan would ever come to love Marcus in the way he wanted. He was not right for her and, in her heart, she knows this, but she feels guilty that she did not treat him more lovingly. I think you are right: a deep space command will be the best thing for her now.

   It is a strange thing, John, but I do not grieve for Marcus as I did for Susan when she was dying. I miss him very much and deeply regret his death, yet, I think it may be for the best. His life before he came to the Rangers was not a happy one. He blamed himself for the death of his brother and so many others, even though the fault was not his. While he was a good Ranger and a good friend, I am not sure he really belonged with the Anla'Shok. He joined the Rangers out of guilt. Giving his life for Susan was his way of atoning. I hope his soul will be at peace in his next incarnation. I hope he finds what he could not in this life.

   I must go now. Lennier informs me that the Drazi ambassador now wishes me personally to explain some of the provisions of the proposal. I am in for a very tedious few hours.

   I miss you, beloved. I count the hours until I am in your arms again.

   In Valen's Name,

   Your Delenn

   

    ----------

   12 November 2261

   Mayan,

   If I am asked to explain "subsection 3, paragraph 5" one more time, I shall thrust the questioner out the nearest airlock!! Stop laughing! I know as well as you that I wouldn't do it, even if I could, but the thought helps me keep my temper. It is almost a reality, Mayan, the new Alliance for which we've worked so long. Even during the darkest days of the Shadow war, when we didn't know if we would survive to see the next day, John and I talked and hoped and planned. And now that we are so close, every delay chafes. But I must be patient; even the Drazi will come around in time, or so Lennier assures me.

   He has become very good at understanding and interpreting all kinds of diplomatic undercurrents. Sometimes I think I am being selfish, keeping him at my side. He is more than ready to take his place as an ambassador in his own right. But he is a dear friend as well as the best aide I could ever have. I have become dependent on him in so many ways. And he is a link to all things Minbari. I will try to make it up to him, though, by seeing he has a position worthy of his talents in the new Interstellar Alliance. He will like that, I think. And I can show him how highly I value him.

   Of course, that assumes there will be an Alliance, which also assumes that the Drazi ambassador will eventually understand subsection 3, paragraph 5, of the proposed constitution!

   I don't know what is the matter with me today. I feel unsettled. Perhaps it is natural, on the verge of such a monumental change. The Alliance will most likely vote for John as its first president, and since the Rangers will be the primary military force, I will also be very involved. I have even heard rumours of electing me vice president. I had hoped that John and I would have some time to ourselves, without responsibilities and duties, just for a little while. It is a dream, I know. But no matter what, we are going to complete the joining before we return to Babylon 5.

   Perhaps that is the problem. I have been thinking about the station and the changes the new Alliance will bring. For a start, John will no longer be in charge of the day to day operations. And so many of our friends will not be there. Londo will be the new emperor by then, and G'Kar most likely too will go home. Susan will be taking command of a new ship. I don't think she will make many visits, even if she can. I don't think Michael will want to work for whoever will be in charge. I'm not sure he will even want to return.

   I finally spoke to Michael yesterday. He avoided my calls and messages until then. He asked for my forgiveness. I tried to tell him there was nothing to forgive, that I do not hold him responsible. He is my friend still, as he has always been. Even during the worst time, I never doubted that he did not want to hurt me. I do not think that he entirely believed me. I'm not sure I believe it entirely either. It was not a very satisfactory conversation. I do not know if we will ever have our old, easy, friendship back again.

   I blame myself, Mayan. I knew something was very wrong, right after Michael was found. I tried to talk to him then, but he never let me. I let it go; I was too busy. Even after he resigned and openly turned against John, I did nothing. Oh, I sent Michael a message asking him to see me, to talk to me. And, again, when he didn't respond, I let it go. I told myself there would be time later, after Clark was defeated and Michael would see that he was wrong about John. Now, I think it may be too late. I should have done something. Perhaps, if I had tried to make John see that Michael was sincere, that he saw the change in John, but attributed it to evil, I don't know. I saw the change in John too, but I knew the reason, his knowledge that he only had a limited time and there was so much he wanted to accomplish. All Michael saw was a grab for power.

   I know Michael was under Bester's control, but that is not really an adequate explanation. Michael was programmed to a certain end, but the means were left up to him. I spoke to Lyta a while ago about her deep scan of him. I didn't doubt what Michael told us. I was concerned about any lasting damage. Lyta assures me there is none. She said that Bester just augmented certain tendencies and the influence is gone now. Perhaps it is as simple as Michael's innate distrust of authority, and John was the most prominent figure of authority in the vicinity. I do not know. I would feel better if I knew that was all.

   Oh, we will still be friends, we both still want that, I am sure. But this will always stand in the shadows, always just out of reach, always casting doubt. Perhaps, in time, we will be able to forget, or at least ignore, what happened. Perhaps, in time, the trust can be restored. I hope so. I hope Michael does too.

   I must stop now. Lennier informs me the League ambassadors wish to meet with me by comm from Babylon 5. They have decided.

   I will write more later.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   14 November 2261

   My love,

   Tomorrow night I will be sleeping with the newly elected president of the new Interstellar Alliance!

   It is done, John. The Alliance is a reality. They will talk about this day for a hundred years. Now, all we have to do is make it work so that it lasts at least that long. I have arranged to meet with President Luchenko in private tomorrow, after your public resignation and the other speeches. Londo and G'Kar, who with myself comprise the new Advisory Board, will also be there. I have a surprise planned for the gathering of generals and politicians from EarthDome. I will not spoil it for you, but I think you will like it.

   There is still much to do before we arrive, so I will stop now.

   I love you, Mr. President.

   IVN,

   Your Delenn

   

    ----------

   15 November 2261

   Mayan,

   John's father is here. I have anticipated and dreaded this day for so long. I kept thinking: What if he doesn't like me? What if he thinks John is making a mistake? What if he believes the lies about me? What if....I have tortured myself with thoughts like this for some time. John kept assuring me that his family will accept me, but I could not put aside my doubts. John is so close to his father. He would be terribly hurt if his father did not approve our joining; and that pain would cast a lifelong shadow over our happiness.

   He arrived while John was still in a meeting and I had to ask him to wait. I was terrified. I could barely greet him properly. I watched as John embraced his father. For a moment, just then, I could see again the joyful innocence in John's eyes. I was about to leave when Ambassador Sheridan turned to me.

   He welcomed me! Oh, Mayan, he welcomed me! He opened his arms wide and welcomed me to his family. All I could manage at first was 'thank you.' Then I told him how long it has been since I felt I belonged anywhere. We walked to our quarters, the three of us, with his arms around his son and his soon to be daughter. It was a moment of such perfect happiness.

   The three of us had dinner together. John's father and I shamelessly indulged in diplomatic gossip. We both know many of the same ambassadors and their staffs, and our opinions of them are surprisingly similar. We were laughing at a particularly amusing incident involving a Centauri, a Drazi, and a broken chair, when John's father suddenly turned to him and said "Delenn is very different from your other lady friends." My heart froze. Why would he say that. Was he sorry he welcomed me? I started to ask him if he minded that I was so different, when he winked at me and said "she's the only one who's ever laughed at my jokes!" John choked on his food, he was laughing so hard. Then he said "that's because she doesn't get them!" I glared at him and then we all laughed. Mayan, any doubts I still had, fled. I am really part of this family now. Oh, and John was wrong, I did get the jokes.

   After dinner, I excused myself on the grounds of important work to do. I wanted to give John and his father some time alone, which is why I'm writing to you now. And no, it isn't a lie. What can be more important than writing to my dearest friend?

   Mayan, you have been the one constant in my life ever since I can remember. I do not tell you often enough what that has meant to me, especially these last few years. I think I was so afraid of David Sheridan's reaction because I don't really know anymore where I do belong. I do not even know if I still belong to Minbar. It is not because of my transformation, although that is part of it. It started when I refused the leadership of the Grey Council. No one had ever done that before. It set me apart. And then the Council rejected me. I had my faith in the prophecies, but it was not always enough. Now, I am respected by most Minbari and revered by some, but the old, close connection is no longer there. Perhaps, it will return when the Alliance moves to its headquarters on Minbar.

   I have come full circle now. Once again, I have rejected the Council leadership, and again for the same reasons: my path does not lead there. I belong to the Rangers now, and to the Alliance, if I belong anywhere. Most of all, I belong to John and he belongs to me. Most of the time, it is enough.

   Tonight, it was more than enough. When I stood to go after dinner, John's father kissed me on the forehead, much as my own father used to do. I have a family again.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 December 2261

   Lennier,

   It is quite astounding. Not the old League at its worst, not even the Grey Council at its most fractious, can compare to the EarthGov Senate! Instead of weighing the benefits of joining the Alliance against the disadvantages, the senators are considering the effects of either choice on their political careers. No one is trying to reach a decision based on anything so sensible as what is best for Earth. I have been attending one, dull meeting after another, without any sign of progress. The time for kind words is over. I think I shall try a two by four. Perhaps a wing of White Stars, with open gun ports and all weapons charged, flying over EarthDome, will bring them to their senses. I am so sick of all this, I no longer care how they vote, as long as they vote.

   It is at times like this that I most miss Marcus and his inspired lunacy. He would always enliven a tedious task, and at the same time, he would complete it swiftly and very competently.

   This afternoon, our embassy is holding a celebration of a rather obscure worker caste festival, which has never been observed among the diplomatic corps in living memory. As the highest ranking Minbari on Earth, I am, of course, expected to attend. The ambassador hopes to ingratiate himself with the new Council, and with me, I suspect. I am tempted to tell him exactly what I think as punishment for making me endure his company.

   Take no notice of my words, my friend. I am feeling out of sorts today, as the humans say. I wish you could be here, but you are too valuable to me as my liaison to the Council. And someone has to carry on the work of the office of Ambassador to Babylon 5. You do your job too well to be replaced, I am afraid, and I am deprived of the pleasure of your company.

   I have to prepare for my visit to our embassy now. I will keep my temper by imagining all the painful and unpleasant things I would like to do the ambassador for putting me through this. I will be more cheerful in my next letter.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 December 2261

   Mayan,

   I do not remember that the stars of Earth were this beautiful or this myriad. Perhaps, it is the company. John has been teaching me about the stars, the various legends and fanciful names, as well as astronomy. The star lore of Earth is much richer than our own, which is not surprising, as the lone moon does not obscure the night sky. It was a little disconcerting at first, seeing only one moon; but, the beauty of the night sky takes my breath away. Every night, before we go to bed, John and I walk in the gardens of EarthDome to watch the stars. Then we leave the curtains open when we sleep. Of course, the morning sun wakes us, but we do not mind. John has a fondness for sunrises and I am learning to appreciate them also.

   The first morning we woke this way, the sun streamed in, turning everything to gold. When I turned to say something to John, I caught my breath. He was shining so, I had to touch him to make sure he was real and I was not dreaming. He seemed remote, like someone out of far away legends, and very alive and real at the same time. He laughed when I told him. Yet, I cannot get that image out of my mind. There was something prescient that spoke of a future vision. I find it disquieting and disturbing.

   Now that EarthGov has finally voted to join the Alliance, our days are much less hectic. We usually find time to spend on ourselves almost every day. John says we should make the most of it as this is the only honeymoon we are likely to have. Once he explained what 'a honeymoon' is, I agreed. Though I find the concept a little odd. Why do humans expect a newly mated couple to want to travel and run around? It is much more sensible for them to stay in their new home. Nevertheless, I am enjoying this honeymoon very much.

   We've been doing some shopping, mainly for items that are still in short supply on Babylon 5, despite the lifting of the embargo. I also helped John buy some new clothes. I don't know very much about human male clothing, but he insisted. It was rather fun. John tried on all manner of styles and colours. Most of them were ridiculous. I cannot believe that anyone, even a human, would wear such things voluntarily. Fortunately, John showed some sense and avoided the more bizarre items. He says he should at least look presidential. I think he looks very handsome. He is keeping the beard. That is another strange thing I have found out about humans. The hair in their beards is not necessarily the same colour as that on their heads, or anywhere else on their bodies. It tickles when he kisses me.

   I have had to buy some new clothing also. Since human politicians have a strange habit of conducting business at social gatherings, John and I have spent almost every evening at a reception or dinner or ball. I have been told it is not considered appropriate to wear the same dress to each, so I have purchased a number of human style gowns to wear. John says they are perfect, but I miss Susan's guidance in these matters. I also purchased a few Minbari dresses which seem suitable. I was surprised to find a Minbari tailor here, but I shouldn't have been. The embassy staff and the other Minbari on Earth are numerous enough to support one. I did not show all my purchases to John. He will see the ceremonial white underdress with the patterned gold overdress and the gold trimmed, hooded, white robe at our mating ceremony.

   Yes, we have decided. Sometime, before we return to the station, we will hold the mating na'fak'cha. It will be a private ceremony. We are both sick of all the attention. Once we return home, John and I will have to come to some agreement on our living arrangements. I've suggested we keep our separate quarters and alternate every night. John is dubious, but he's willing to try. Of course, I'll have to move some of my things, clothes and such, to his quarters and he will have to move his to mine. We have barely enough room now. Where will we put all these new clothes? John is right. Uniforms are much more convenient. Perhaps I should simply wear my Ranger robes at all times and let it go at that.

   But not here, on Earth. I was telling you about all the social gatherings John and I have to attend. There is one bonus. I am learning how to dance. I have even become proficient enough to dance, very briefly, mind you, with some of the politicians whose good will toward the Alliance we want to encourage. For some reason, they consider it an honour to be seen with me. I have to be careful not to show favoritism by dancing too long with anyone. John and I have worked out a signal; when he sees it, he interrupts, cuts in is the proper term, and I regretfully excuse myself. But, of course, I do not regret it at all.

   Human style dancing is very different from our own, but it is very enjoyable, especially with John. Sometimes, when we are in each other's arms, moving slowly to the beat of the music, the room seems to fade away and we are alone in the universe, just the two of us and the music and the stars. I could stay that way forever, but all too soon, we have to return to reality and duties and responsibilities.

   As I do now. Earth is now part of the Alliance, but the meetings still go on, only not as long, thank Valen.

   Keep well, Mayan. I will write again soon.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   14 December 2261

   Susan,

   You and I are both beginning new lives. Yours will be the harder one. You are going to explore the limits of the galaxy, and you are going to explore the limits of your own heart, a far more difficult task and a more arduous journey. Remember all the while, that your friends love you and hold you in their thoughts. I know something of what you are feeling, so I will not tell you that, in time, you will heal. The passage of time has nothing to do with it. You must chose life, even if that seems the bleakest course now. You must chose life or the sorrow and anger that are eating at your soul will consume you entirely.

   Please, Susan, be with John and me when the words that join us are spoken. There is no one he would rather have at his side during the mating ceremony. And I want you there, too. You have helped me so often when I didn't know what to make of my life. I have no way to repay you. All I can do is show you how much your friendship means to me by asking you to be with me on the happiest day of my life. Perhaps, it is selfish of me, of us, to expect you to share our joy, but that joy will be diminished by your absence.

   Please, Susan, come to our wedding.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   22 December 2261

   Mayan,

   The wedding, as John calls it, was held yesterday, aboard White Star 2. It was a far cry from the elaborate ceremonies we envisioned as girls in school. There were no lines of acolytes ringing triads festooned with flowers; no white-robed elders in solemn majesty; no banks of candles illuminating and transforming the temple. There wasn't even a proper temple, just a small meditation chamber. But, somehow, it was right for us.

   There were just the four of us, John and myself, and Lennier as celebrant and Susan as his assistant. John looked magnificent in his new clothes and white robes. With the hood up, concealing most of his face so that only his beard was visible, he looked like a true Minbari, and sounded like one too. He learned all the proper responses and prayers as a surprise for me. His accent was atrocious, of course, but I didn't mind. I was so pleased he would do this. It was enough that he consented to a Minbari ceremony. He only asked that we exchange rings as a part of the rite. It is a human custom he values highly. It was a simple matter to make the rings the gifts we exchanged. When John put mine on my finger, he recited a passage from one of the holy books of his people. "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." The love in his eyes, Mayan when he said those words, I will treasure the memory forever. We would still be there, gazing at each other, I think, if Lennier had not recalled us to complete the ceremony.

   This was the first time Lennier ever conducted a mating na'fak'cha. He did very well. He only hesitated once, during the invocation of Valen's blessing on the joining. I felt that we already had His blessings. Jeffrey was pleased that John and I had found each other. Susan was fine, also. We were afraid she would refuse to participate. She will never be as she once was, but I think she will find her own way. She is a captain, now, with a brand new ship and crew. John gave her the insignia and command bars he wore when he captained the Agamemnon. My gift to Lennier was my favorite meditation crystal, the one my father gave me when I became an acolyte. It was one of my most precious possessions, one of the few things I have to remember my father, but I thought it fitting to give it to Lennier. He is a part of my family, more than a brother.

   There was a feast afterward, on the mess deck. Rangers, both human and Minbari, and the crew of the White Star all took part. Londo and G'Kar were there too. Londo joked that he could not rest until he saw us safely mated. He made other jokes too, of a kind I am sure you can imagine. John and I entered the dining hall through an arch formed by crossed denn'bok, held by a double line of Rangers, grouped by height. This was Susan's idea. John was as surprised as I was. And just as delighted. He once told me of the old Earth military tradition of passing under the crossed swords of fellow officers after the wedding ceremony. We did not think this would be possible when we mated, especially after John resigned from EarthForce. The substitution of denn'bok for swords was inspired. I like this so much, I think I will institute something similar for Ranger promotions and such. I thanked Susan during the feast and she said it was all part of her duties as 'best man.' It is the custom among humans that the male is assisted in preparing for the mating by a close friend. There is a similar tradition for the female of a pair. Her close friend is called a 'maid of honor.' I do not think I will tell Lennier this. I do not think he would approve of the idea.

   Humans have some very strange customs, especially regarding mating. When the newly mated pair leave the feast, humans throw grains of an uncooked foodstuff at them. It is called 'rice' and is very like raw flarn before it is processed for cooking. No one would tell me the purpose of those little cloth packets tied with ribbons at every plate except ours. When we got up to leave, the human Rangers opened their packets and tossed handfuls of the rice at us. The Minbari were as puzzled as I was at first. Then, they joined in with enthusiasm! John says the custom originated as a fertility rite long ago. If there is a correlation between the effectiveness and the amount thrown, then we should have many children. We are still finding bits of rice in our clothing.

   We went to our quarters while the feast continued. We have been lovers for some time now. I did not think anything special would happen. At first, it didn't. We prepared for bed as usual, and started to make love, as usual, and it was wonderful, as usual. But then, when I felt John inside me, I sensed a closeness even more than before, a feeling that we truly had become one, and nothing could ever separate us. John did too, he told me afterward. I do not understand it and I don't think I want to. I just accept it, with joy.

   There was one other strange thing last night. I couldn't shake the feeling that we were being watched. John said it was nonsense, but I am not so sure. But whatever or who ever it was, it was benign, with no hostile thoughts. In fact, I sensed it was pleased. John must be right. It is all nonsense.

   We are going to stop at Proxima on the way home to the station, to see John's sister and her family. I do not know if we will get along, but if I can judge by the tone of the message she sent inviting me, I think it will be all right. John says it will be and he was right about his father, so I will trust him this time.

   Yesterday could only have been happier, Mayan, if you were there to share it with me. Of all those John and I hold dear, only you were absent. Nevertheless, you were in my thoughts throughout.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn, of the family of Sheridan

   

    ----------

   3 January 2262

   Old friend,

   It is good to be home again. Earth was very interesting and I enjoyed meeting John's family, but I am glad to be back on Babylon 5. Yes, yes, Mayan. I will tell you all about my meeting with Mrs. Sheridan and Elizabeth and her husband and children. First, though, I want to tell you about our homecoming.

   Michael Garibaldi, aided and abetted by Stephen and others, organized a huge party for us; just the sort of thing John dislikes. He smiled and gritted his teeth and enjoyed himself immensely, despite the fact that he kept muttering that I was right about going to Minbar first. It really was a very nice party, a combination victory and wedding celebration. There was plenty of food and drink of all kinds and dancing, also of all kinds. I enjoyed it too.

   About an hour into the festivities, Stephen came over to where I was standing. Did I mention it was one of those occasions where the food and such is laid out on long tables and everyone eats and drinks standing up? Only humans seem to think it is normal to juggle a plate of food and a glass of something to drink, while trying to engage in conversation. As I said, Stephen came over to me, to ask me to dance, I thought. As I turned to him, he threw his arms around me and kissed me very soundly. Before I could protest or say anything, he informed me that he was only following an old Earth custom, kissing the bride! I looked at John, who was laughing so hard, I thought he would hurt himself. Not that I cared at that point. Between gasps, John told me Stephen was right. It is an old, long established custom for the male guests at a wedding to take turns kissing the bride. What could I say? The line was already forming behind Stephen. I think every male there, human and otherwise, kissed me.

   Some, like Mr. Allen, the security chief, were shy and blushed as they did so. Most were not. Londo declared that this was one custom he heartily approved of and kissed me so long, I thought John was going to intervene. When it was Michael's turn, he hesitated until I nodded at him and smiled. Things are not yet right between us, but we are both determined to make it so.

   John continued to smile and laugh, until one of the command staff, a young, attractive female who obviously had been drinking something alcoholic, decided to start a new tradition. She kissed John very thoroughly and called for all the women to follow her example. I did not know John could turn that color. But he decided to grin and bear it, as he told me later. Although I do not think it was such an ordeal for him.

   After all the kisses, and all the speech making - everyone, it seems, wanted to offer us advice about married life - Brother Theo called for quiet and blessed our joining. We left soon after, but the party continued. I think it may still be going on.

   We spent our first night back home in John's quarters. Tonight, we sleep in mine. It will be a bit awkward at times; I am sure we will forget necessary items and have to go back and forth often, but I think we will manage until our new home on Minbar is ready. Neither of us cares so long as we end up each night in the same bed.

   We have not spent a night apart since I arrived on Earth two months ago. It will not last forever, of course, but meanwhile we are learning quite a bit about each other, and not only in bed. I have to adjust to John's habits and he has to adjust to mine. I suspect he considers mine just as peculiar. But at least I don't leave wet articles of clothing in the bathroom. Do you believe it? John washes his socks by hand every day. It is some sort of ritual, stemming from his earliest days in EarthForce. And humans think we are too bound by rites and ceremonies!

   Yes, all right. I will tell you what you want to know. We stopped at Proxima to visit Elizabeth and her family. John's parents were there, too. I was eager to see David again. No, Mayan, I am not being disrespectful. He asked me to call him by his first name. It is not uncommon among humans. They have no word for the parent of a mate, except a clumsy construction that has negative connotations. And besides, David said that since we are colleagues as well, it is only fitting. The more time I spend with him, the more I like him, and the more I am glad John takes after his father.

   You know I have been apprehensive about meeting John's sister. Elizabeth was Anna's friend even before Anna was John's wife. I was afraid Elizbeth would only tolerate me, at best. But, the moment I met her, my doubts vanished. Her welcome was genuine and her humour is infectious, which I discovered when her two young sons carried me off to see their toys. I was helpless to resist them, not that I wanted to.

   I have not had much to do with many male children, or children of any kind, for that matter, so I did not know what to expect. Of course, they did not know what to expect from their 'Aunt Delenn' either, so we started out on an equal footing. By the time Elizabeth came to rescue me, as she put it, my new nephews and I were reluctant to part. I made them honourary Rangers, and they promised to send Entil'Zha regular reports on their activities, as is only proper. I miss them already.

   I miss Elizabeth, too. Physically, she favours her mother, but the resemblence ends there. We are becoming friends. We are both glad of that, as are John and David.

   Elizabeth's husband, Dan, is a former starfury pilot. I really did not spend much time with him, but he seems an amiable man and a good father. His sons adore him, which carries great weight with me.

   Yes, Mayan, I know you noticed I have not said anything about John's mother yet. I will tell you about her now. She is about my size, but very formidable. All through dinner, I could feel her studying me. John noticed it too and was concerned, although his father tried to reassure him. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. While the others cleaned up and put the boys to bed, I asked Mrs. Sheridan if there was someplace we could talk privately. As soon as we entered the study, I asked her if something was wrong. She said "Yes, you are married to my son." Mayan, I just stood there. I did not know what to say. There was nothing I could say. I told her I was sorry she felt that way, but that was not going to change. I started to leave, when she said she did not know me, so how could she know if I were the right one for her son. She asked me, though it was more in the nature of a command, to sit down and tell her about myself, and why I married John. She said it was obvious we loved each other, but love is not always enough, especially when the differences are so great.

   I tried to do as she asked, but I didn't know what she wanted me to say. I had the strongest feeling of deja vu, as the humans say. I expected Calenn to step out from behind the bookcase at any minute. She made no comments except to tell me to go on whenever I paused. I told her as much as I could about growing up and working for our people. As I spoke, I realized again, just how different John and I were, how very different our backgrounds were. And how much we have done to bridge those differences. When I spoke about my transformation and how much John helped me when I most needed a friend, she looked thoughtful. I continued, but she no longer seemed to listen.

   Finally, she seemed to search my face for something; what, I do not know. Then, as if making up her mind, she looked directly into my eyes and asked me if it was true that John would die in 20 years. I told her, yes, it was true, but now it was only nineteen years, eleven months. She asked me how I could bear it, and then she began to cry. It was strange and terrible to see. She seemed so strong, so assured, so intimidating, even.

   I tried to comfort her as best I could. I promised her they would be good years, happy years. I would make sure of that. I was close to tears myself. She looked deep into my eyes, I was kneeling by her chair, and told me she believed I would. Then she said for John and me, love was enough. And I started to cry. And she comforted me.

   We finally dried our tears, both of us a little self-conscious. There was an awkward silence then, which we tried to end by making small talk. But that only made it worse. Neither of us knew quite what to say. I could see her withdrawing again, and I wondered if she regretted being so open with me. All I could think of was to ask her to tell me about John as a child. She told some wonderful stories, all about his curiosity and the trouble he got into as a result. We joined the others shortly thereafter. Neither of us realized how long we were in the study. John and David said they were about to send out a search party. They were both relieved that Nancy (that is her name) and I seemed to be getting along.

   Throughout our stay, whenever she caught my eye, she would smile at me, but there was sadness in her smile. My answering smile was the same. I think we both regret that we will never be close or even become friends. We are too unlike. Or perhaps, we are too much alike in some ways. The only thing we have in common is our love for John. But I honour and respect her. And I think she has come to respect me.

   There you have it, Mayan, the Sheridan clan, or at least a small portion of it. Yes, there really is such a clan. The part of Earth where John's family comes from has a clan structure very loosely similar to our own. Elizabeth showed me the Sheridan markings and gave me a book about their clan structure and history. I will read it when I have time and tell you more then. I must stop now and prepare for an Alliance meeting.

   Take care, Mayan, and write to me soon. We will be coming to Minbar to present John to our clan in a few weeks. Please, try to be there. I want my dearest friend to be with me for at least one of the mating rituals.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   15 January 2262

   Mayan,

   The man is impossible! Even after the events of last week, he will not accept a guard. Not even a ceremonial guard. There is nothing I can do to change his mind now; he is too stubborn. But when the Alliance moves to permanent quarters on Minbar, he will have no choice. He will have to accept the house guards, at the very least, or he will dishonour me. As the mate of one of the highest ranking Minbari, he will be expected to comport himself in accordance with my status. I can be stubborn, too. Usually, I don't bother about such things, you know that, Mayan. We have laughed often enough at some of the lengths to which our people go to make sure everyone knows their rank. But, in this case, I will gladly comply. John has too many enemies, as do I, to take such chances.

   It is time he realized that he is no longer a simple ship's captain, not that he ever was, or a station commander. He is the leader of a vast and powerful alliance of worlds, and he must act accordingly. Later, after the Alliance is firmly established, he can be more casual; but now, his informality is likely perceived as weakness, and will tempt those who wish to destroy what we are trying to build.

   John would be dead now, if that telepath had not warned us, at the cost of his own life. He was only a boy, barely into his teens. As he lay there, his blood and life seeping out of his body, I gave thanks to Valen that Alissa was safe on Minbar. She could so easily have been a rogue, hunted by Psi Corps, always on the run, no where safe. John has given orders that the telepaths be allowed to live on the station, for the time being, at least. He did it out of gratitude, but also because it is right. They have no where else.

   At least one good thing happened as a result of the assassination attempt. John and Michael have come to a reconciliation of sorts. Their friendship will never again be what it once was, but they both want to learn to be friends again. They came to this conclusion in a most bizarre fashion. They fought each other, bare handed, in John's quarters. I walked in during the fight. It was the most amazing sight I had seen in a long time. There they were, the President of the Interstellar Alliance and his new head of Covert Operations, rolling around on the floor, amidst broken glass and furniture, trying to beat each other senseless. I decided to let them do it and walked out without saying anything. I did not think they could really hurt each other very much.

   When I came back later, they had cleaned up their mess. They looked like two schoolboys caught at some mischief and hoping their punishment would not be too severe. But, strange as it was, it worked. Michael and John are more relaxed, more easy with each other now. They joke and tease again. I do not think I will ever understand human males.

   You know, Mayan, when I was standing at John's side, waiting for that Starfury's cannons to fire, I was not afraid. All I could think of was that now we would pass over the veil, hand in hand, and start another life together. And I would not have to face the long, lonely years alone until I could join my husband again. When I told John this, later that night, he said he didn't doubt I was right about meeting in another life, but he just didn't want to put it to the test so soon.

   Which, of course, brought up the matter of guards again, and we were right back where we started! Well, almost. Arguing with someone is much more difficult when you're sharing a bed, and he's stroking your crest and nibbling on your neck. We are going to have to figure out a way to disagree about business only during business hours, but, of course, neither of us is ever off duty. I can see marriage to John will entail some interesting problems.

   We leave for Minbar the day after tomorrow. I am most impatient to see you.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   27 January 2262

   Mayan,

   It was so good to see you again, even though we barely had time to do little more than smile at each other. I found it very comforting knowing that you were there, lending your support as I presented John to our clan, knowing at least one member approved of our mating.

   I don't know why I was so nervous. I have known the nine elders all my life. Most of them were friends of my father. I remember many times when I joined their talks, even while I was still young, and even when I wasn't invited. Valier, in particular, would listen gravely and respond as he would to an adult. I did not seriously think they would object. Even if they disapprove of me now, they would not insult the president of the Alliance by refusing to grant him the rights and privileges of the clan due John as my mate.

   Yet I was nervous as John and I walked down the narrow aisle in the midst of the assembly to the center of the temple where the elders gathered on the platform. I was terrified as I handed the scroll we signed at our joining to the chief of the elders. I held my breath as he perused it. What if there was a mistake, a technical error? They could use that as an excuse to delay or even deny John's acceptance. I was not much better when the scroll was approved. There was still the questioning by the elders, and then the vote by the whole clan. John was rather taken aback by my apprehension, and by the attitude of the elders.

   When we stopped at the main temple in the capital before coming to the clan gathering, that was the first time John saw me among our own people other than during battle. He saw how they regarded me, approaching with downcast eyes and bowing with reverence and even awe. Which is only to be expected as I am of the highest rank of the religious caste and they are mainly novices and acolytes. I think John expected the same from our clan. He did not realize I do not hold the same high rank there. He knows better, now.

   You heard most of the questions from the elders. They were almost all variations of how certain were we that it was truly our hearts that desired the joining and not the heat of our bodies. John was taken aback by this too. Why do humans so often think that religion and passion cannot coexist? It is a good thing he does not understand very much Adronato, or he would have been even more shocked! Mirrel was particularly interested in the differences between human and Minbari males, and which was better in bed. She uses her venerable age and position shamelessly. You remember what happened when Katrell's youngest daughter mated with that boy from the Star Riders? The poor girl blushed to the tips of her crest. I am not that innocent, but Mirrel's questions caused my cheeks to burn. I finally told her Minbari men were better for Minbari women and human males are more satisfying for human females. Before she could ask about the basis for my comparisons, the chief elder called a halt. I was so relieved, I didn't have the opportunity to worry about what he would say. Still, it was very heartening to hear him invoke the blessings of Valen upon John and myself and our joining, and to call for the vote of the clan.

   Standing in the candle ring, waiting silently beside John, as one by one, the head of each clan family stepped up to light a candle in welcome or to remove it in denial, was as bad as I feared. After the first few candles were lit, there were a slew of no votes. The ring began to look very bare. The Sha'lok'Na and the other elders had agreed, after all, and the clan vote usually followed their recommendation, but that was no comfort. John looked over at me and smiled to reassure me. I could not smile back. When the vote was finally over, and we were accepted, I nearly collapsed with relief. Perhaps, if the nays had not come so hard upon that of Calenn's, I would have felt better.

   Yes, I know Calenn's actions were a deliberate insult, but I was constrained by custom from responding at once. Now, that I have had time to think it over, I believe the best revenge I can take is to do nothing so that he, and everyone else, can see he means nothing to me and John. That should gall Calenn worse than anything, to be considered beneath contempt, of no account. And it has the added virtue of being true. Besides, I am too happy at the moment to care about Calenn's petty jealousies.

   There was so little time before we left, I didn't have a chance to tell you. John's standing in the clan has risen considerably, at least among the men. During the general congratulations after the vote, someone, Hansuval, I think, made the usual joke about getting me pregnant as soon as possible. To everyone's surprise, mine included, John responded in kind! In Adronato! There was a moment of stunned silence. I told them that John doesn't know much about Minbari ways, but he is learning the most important things first. Everyone laughed and slapped John on the back. You can imagine the comments that followed. Later, when I asked where he learned that kind of language, John told me he picked it up from some of the Rangers on the station. He did tell me that growing up as the son of a diplomat he learned to pick up some of the local idioms, no matter where he lived.

   We made one other stop before we returned home. I am sure you knew we would, Mayan. It was not required, but it was necessary. Even if I can count the number of times I have seen her on the fingers of one hand, yet she is still my mother and my heart pumps her blood. There is a part of me that longed for her blessing on our joining. It was not an easy visit.

   We arrived unannounced at the compound of the Sisters of Valeria. John said that it reminded him of cloistered religious houses on Earth. I wasn't sure if we would be received. I have not seen my mother since I emerged from the Chrysalis. We waited in the Great Hall as males are not allowed in the private quarters where I met with my mother previously. It seemed an eternity before a messenger came to escort me. I felt ill at ease there. It is one of the very few temples that does not have an altar to Valen. John was just as happy to wait, I think. I left him staring at the many carvings that adorn the walls.

   My mother looked as she has always looked. She is ageless. She did not seem surprised to see me, or show any surprise at my appearance. She gazed intently at me, as though she could see my soul. She left me standing like that for a few minutes, silent and apprehensive. Finally, she nodded and indicated I should sit opposite her. Before I could say anything, she said "I know why you are here. Tell me what manner of man he is." I swallowed; it was difficult to speak. I tried to tell her of John's kindness to me after my change and his work, first for the Army of Light and now for the Alliance. I spoke of his bravery and sacrifice. I told her he is a good man, with a good heart. She told me she already knew that because I had chosen him. She wanted to know if he had a human or a Minbari soul. I told her I did not know. All I knew was that he is the other half of my soul. Then she said she would have to see for herself. If she approved of his soul, we would have her blessings.

   I went ahead to prepare John. I didn't know what I feared: that John would do or say something that would offend her; or that she would offend him. I held my breath as she walked into the Great Hall. She stared at John for a long moment. Then she said just one word, in Standard, "Yes," and walked out. John and I left without saying a word until we got back to our flyer.

   I tried to explain to John, but I really don't fully understand myself. Did my mother give her blessings because John has a Minbari soul, or in spite of the fact that he does not? I will never know for sure.

   One thing more. Before my mother went to meet John, I asked her if she approved of me and what I had become. She said Valen's way was not her way, so she could not make a judgement. I bowed and turned to go and then she said that she was proud of me for having the strength to follow my own path even in the face of rejection and doubt. She also said that my features, while strange, were nonetheless pleasing.

   I must stop writing now. There is much to do. I have left matters with Lennier for too long. It is not fair to him, even though he handles all matters pertaining to Minbari concerns with great competence and efficiency. I have been thinking about this for some time now. I have many more duties and responsibilities now that I am Vice President of the Alliance as well as Entil'Zha of the Rangers. I have neglected my duties as Minbari Ambassador. At the next Grey Council session, I will ask that Lennier be appointed the new Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5. I think that would please him. It is only a small portion of what he deserves.

   Take care Mayan. I hope the next time we see each other we will have more time. Valen protect you.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

 

*****

 

 

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