It’s burning now, all of it. It’s interesting, isn’t it - if you have a sense of humour perverse enough - that it should end in fire. It began in fire, you know. The Xon burned these plains for miles to drive us out. When we routed them, we built beside the river here in defiance. Our great capital. That building is two thousand years old. Two thousand years, and now it is falling apart, before my very eyes. It strikes me as most inappropriate. I used that word a lot, I recall. Inappropriate. As in, oh, yes, this apparent madness from the Centaurum, calling for border expansions that will likely have us at war with the Drazi by tomorrow is inappropriate
. A lifetime in the Royal court and that’s all that’s left: ideas of propriety, and the hollow of its absence. Yet I would have signed the decree anyway when it came through me. What is there underneath, when you finally see that the propriety hasn’t atrophied, it was never there to begin with. Two thousand years, and it is coming down before my eyes. Was it worth it? This is not worthy of an emperor. It is not worthy of a Centauri
. I need to find her, you understand? I have to find my world again, and I have to make it right, if that is still possible. But I am tired. Tired of pushing forward only to find myself already there, waiting. Accusing myself. I am not sure I can do this, or that I am even trying.
There is only one last thing you have to do, Mollari and that is one thing we all have to do - we have to let go. Passing through that door, it requires sacrifice. It requires letting go. Virini understood. He accepted it. Why can’t you?
I can’t. You do not understand. My duty -
A hollow word.
- my duty,
and my obligation. I am emperor, and if that ever meant anything, and ever can mean anything, it means I must remain to see this through, fires or no. I cannot just...just...get up and leave!
Didn’t you do just that?
Now what are you talking about?
You just admitted it. You need to find your world again - because you lost it. But what you don’t realize, Mollari, is that I think you
have found it. So trying to go back for it now would be...unwise. That which has finally been made whole does not need fixing further. I am here, Mollari, and it is time to accept that you have what you need and what you yearn for. You’re armed this time, Mollari, you’ve
earned it. Turn your back, and walk away. Your choice. Do it.
We’re not in my throne room, are we?