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Old September 20 2012, 12:52 AM   #1
Deranged Nasat
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Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

Yes, not a Star Trek piece, but a short story based in my favourite TV series, Babylon Five. I actually wrote this two years ago, as part of a multi-piece, multi-author project that never got off the ground. I think now's a good ti9me to share it.

If you don't know your B5, I'm afraid it will very difficult to understand what's going on. For those who do, this is a Londo Mollari piece, set on a very important day in our favourite Centauri's life...

...............


Forgive and Forget

The palace was not what it used to be. Too much shadow, too much dust. Too much substance to the air, the very atmosphere of the place, as though it were thick and heavy. Belthus Gerani would not stand for it. For generations, his family had been established in the court, and never before had it been reduced to – to this. He would not, of course, presume to critique the current establishment openly, such was not his place, and yet his disapproval was strong. Standing in the Hall of Reflection, he examined the statuette perched proudly on the wooden pedestal, a representation of Malthinial, God of Self-Knowledge. A fine work of the Durani artisans, dating back to the Greater Manifest Era: a most appropriate decoration for this hall. Reflecting on past glories was all the Centauri had left. Of all the pantheon, Malthinial was perhaps the most difficult to define, the deity most effectively eluding quick evaluation. A god that did not demand, but truly required respect, and yet so often neglected. It was...humbling...to consider him. Gently, Gerani ran his brush over the stonework, chasing out the dust.

His musings were interrupted by the bell. A summons; His Majesty was calling again. Gerani put down his brush and made for the throne room. Promptness was not merely a virtue, after all, but a requirement. Yet, Gerani found more and more frequently of late that it was a requirement he could do without. It was not permitted for something as unseemly as overt emotion to cross his features while answering a summons; still, as he moved to perform his duty, he experienced an almost visceral - and borderline treasonous, to his chagrin (though that was another emotion he wouldn’t actually show) - response. It may not have been represented in the modern Centaurum, but House Gerani was long established, and with seniority came the privilege of judgement. To deny the impulse would be to forget his place just as surely as if he were to ignore the royal summons; indeed it would be offensive to his own House. And he was nothing if not sensitive to their needs. To that end, Gerani permitted himself to register a momentary unsavoury feeling in reaction to the Emperor. It was almost...disgust.

His Majesty had been drinking, of course. He sat, slumped, on his throne, the magnificence of his royal garments offset by his aged figure. Here he looked nothing like the proud leader whose face graced the coinage, nor the haughty Lord whose portrait hung in House Gerani’s central hall - though not in a position of favour, it had to be noted. Instead, he was almost disappointing. In one gloved hand he held, not a glass, but a bottle. The glass was there, Gerani saw, perched delicately atop a nearby table. It had simply been placed aside, forgotten in favour of imbibing directly from the source. Of late, it had become well known that His Majesty had a habit; an unusually excessive fondness for his liquor. The drinking wasn’t in itself a concern; sobriety was a vice, after all, but there were limits, and His Majesty had long since crossed the line of the acceptable. Whispers and mutterings found their way around, particularly in these troubled times. Perhaps the Emperor wished to reinvigorate a stagnant economy with Brevari and spirits; or perhaps he simply hadn’t the potency to do anything else.

As Gerani entered the throne room, His Majesty acknowledged him with an almost paradoxically dismissive wave. His Majesty moved to speak, but fell into a fit of brittle coughing, which took several long seconds to subside. Gerani, of course, waited silently. Still not deigning to look directly at him, His Majesty waved a commanding hand.

“Another bottle.”

Of course.

“I shall need several more bottles, and of higher content, too”

The distaste had returned, and this time Gerani could not swear with complete certainty his face didn’t display a hint of sneer. He bowed, before preparing to leave the throne room - and its sweet smell of brevari - for the storerooms.

“I am getting too old for this. One more shot”.

Gerani froze. He had considered himself dismissed, but His Majesty appeared ready to issue further instructions. He waited, a perfect picture of equilibrium and calm, though he hoped to project just the smallest hint of impatience into his bearing. He would of course never dare to presume he had the right to berate the Emperor, and yet, family seniority still counted for something. It had to. Such was the Centauri way, even now. So he waited, slightly shy of pointedly.

“This is my last chance” the Emperor muttered.

Silence.

“I wonder, what more I must do? Will this be enough, at last?”

More silence.

To his sudden horror, Gerani realized His Majesty wanted a response. The sheer perversity of the concept was enough to destabilize Gerani’s perfectly balanced world and for several seconds he believed he was flustered. Pivoting round, he kept the mask impassive as he searched his mind for - of all things - an answer.

The Emperor is engaging me in conversation.

“Your pardon, Majesty, I know not of what we are speaking”.

Perplexingly - or perhaps not so given his currently inebriated state - His Majesty suddenly seemed to notice Gerani as though he hadn’t before. His brow furrowed, and he snapped out a rebuke:

“And I suppose you just intend to stand there, all day, or perhaps until the sun itself falls from the sky and the gods walk upon the soils, yes?” He threw his hands up in an exaggerated, and not entirely convincing, display of outrage. Still, the sharp and bitter edge was quite evident in his voice.

“No, Majesty”.

His Majesty sneered, almost half-heartedly, his blotched face a portrait of mild disgust. Quite where that disgust was directed, Gerani couldn’t be sure, nor – of course - was it any of his business. He did, however, know for certain it couldn’t well be his behaviour provoking it. His Majesty waved his hand again as though dismissing him, but too indifferent to truly give another order. He seemed to arrive at a decision, and repeated the gesture. He waved Gerani off, directing him from the room like an Earther shooing a stray duck from the rubbish bags.

Trimly, face impassive, Gerani bowed formally before leaving the throne room. Truly, we are in decline if this is the face of Imperial Glory. The thought left him with an almost genuine sadness.

....................................
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We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:53 AM   #2
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

..............................

I have had rather an excessive amount to drink. This is acceptable, as it helps bring my life into a pleasing lack of focus. I can now sit and wallow in my misgivings and my misdeeds, and there are more than enough of those. I believe I shall either drown in them, or drown myself in this fine brevari. That too would be acceptable. It is fitting, is it not, that I should do so? There was something very important I had to do, but I believe I have forgotten it. Do you see this? This is the clasp of the Emperor himself. I am wearing it, as is my burden. The seal of the vast Centauri Republic. And I, I am its Emperor. This is a post I would gladly relinquish, should I find a man foolish enough to take it from me. It both requires me to be aware of every insignificant action, transaction, accident and conversation occurring anywhere in the republic, and also to stay out of the way so as not to interfere with those same actions and activities. The Centaurum has recently moved to discuss the motion on whether to replace me with a bronze statue. It will likely be significantly more effective.

You’re Golian, I believe? Ah, yes, such a civilized people. I take it you have harnessed electricity by now, yes? I recall once seeing two of your females at a dancing club on Lumat. Fine specimens of Golian intellect. As I watched, they reached under the table to refill their drinking cones, rather than moving round 90 degrees and reaching the tap that way. Ah, well, higher brain functions aren’t for everyone, I suppose. The universe wouldn’t be half as joyously irrational if all species were made equal. You know, you really do strike me as familiar, and there are not a great many Golians in my past, you understand? I believe I know you from somewhere. I wish it were a pleasant memory - perhaps a good feast or a dance, yes? - but I believe I know my past too well to expect that.

Now what? What? Yes, yes, I will be there shortly. If G’Kar is unable to contain his excitement at my absence I recommend he seek counselling. Certainly there’s no need to throw his not-inconsiderable reserves of spittle around every time I succeed him through the door. Go, I will be there soon. It seems another crisis is upon us. Do you know what my father said at times like this? No, neither do I, he had usually had too much to drink by that point and his words slurred. Still, I imagine it would certainly be worth hearing, no? Good day, I have time and dignity to waste. For the glory of the Republic, you know. Meetings and paperwork and rubber stamps that will make the name of the Centauri shine bright once again, a gialm’s roar in the galactic jungle. Why, when our fleets took Beta 12, they blotted out the suns! Now my pen blots out G’Kar’s signature. If this were --

--Where’s the Golian?

Golian, Mollari?

I was talking to a Golian.

There are no Golians here. I think I’d know, wouldn’t you? Are you feeling quite yourself, Mollari?

I ...was sure. We were on Babylon Five. He was in the Zocalo, as am I. Yet I suddenly thought I was back on Prime, in the throne room...

We are in your throne room. Are you quite sure you’re alright, Mollari?

It was nothing, then; I don’t recall anything. No. That is not true. Golians. I had a shipment of fine Braskan silks brought in from Golia, though I never liked them. Slow-witted fools, all of them. But, one must keep up appearances, no? We cannot allow a small, almost insignificant fact like the economic collapse of the entire Republic interfere with our spending. We buy silks from Golia as we have always brought silks from Golia, far, far more than we actually need or could ever want. Did I tell you about my shipment?

Several times, Mollari. In excessive detail.

Yes, well, if I don’t tell Lord Kyshan at least thrice he’ll forget to update the records. Man has a brain like a sieve. There was something else.

There always is.

You would be advised to mind your place. This is my throne room, or so you tell me.

I’m concerned.

I keep trying to remember what I was doing before, before you arrived. It was quite, quite important, and I no longer know what it was. *sigh* Well, you are here now. What was it you wanted?

I want nothing. You are the one who is wanting, Mollari.

Ah. It’s going to be one of those conversations, is it?

..........................................
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; September 20 2012 at 01:50 AM.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:53 AM   #3
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

..................................

Tell me about the Dancers. You spoke of them before.

I don’t remember.

You don’t want to remember.

Dancers. I never called them that. Narla called them that.

They were in the candle flames, splashed up in light and shadow against the wall, flickering. They moved softly, and they moved silently, but they always moved, particularly when you weren’t looking. They were...restless.

They were always moving. They couldn’t stop. They could not stop. Foolish - childish games.

What happened if they stopped?

They passed on. Outwards, to the next arch. They did not want that. It was a duty, you see. From as long as I can remember, we knew duty came first. What was inside the flame was the power to hold up the wick, keep the candle standing. Decay was pressing in and they had to hold it there. Stop it from melting the candle, hold back the... keep the wax....it was childish nonsense. Without the dancing the candle collapsed, you see?

I see.

And they would keep on dancing...

Forever?

No, because the candles went out.

But of course.

But they would still be there, even if they weren’t dancing.

But how would you know? If they were Dancers and they could only be seen when they moved - how would you know?

We knew. Oh, yes, we knew. They were invisible, and it was dark and silent and often the halls were empty to us, but they were there. Oh, yes. They moved out to the next arch, but they were still there. They were searching for something - for a way to rekindle the flame. To keep the candle erect even when they stopped, keep it stable and tall. Because if they could do that, and if they could get the flame going again -

They could come back.

Yes.

But if the flame was truly gone - and there was no means of rekindling it, then the Dancers couldn’t come back. What then?

I don’t know.

.................................................. ................
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; September 20 2012 at 02:02 AM.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:54 AM   #4
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

............................

Go away.

I can’t do that, Mollari

I have nothing to say to you.

Yet you have something more important to spend this time on?

I am the emperor! There is always something more important! There was something just now. I must....no, no matter. The retainers will deal with it at some point. It most likely wasn’t worth doing anyway.

...I’m not coughing.

No. Should you be?

Dancers. I had not thought of that in years. Great Maker, it was childish! I lost the time - I couldn’t afford to keep it. More important things to do...

Aren’t there always?

I remember now. They were searching, searching for the means to keep the candle alight forever, but they couldn’t find it. They couldn’t find it and they....

They?

It was nothing.

And when they did stop? When they did stop searching? The candles went out, I recall.

When they stopped searching, they stopped dancing and they had to move on to the next arch. That was the rule.

A “rule”, Mollari?

A rule. One that couldn’t be broken.

The best kind.

Dancers. Foolish.

............................................
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; September 20 2012 at 01:07 AM.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:54 AM   #5
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

........................................

Well, we move on. We move on. We find there are more important things to do, ever escalating duties. It’s common to all species, of course. Our lives become more rigid, more defined, less flexible. That’s the balance to our coming out of the shelter, the price we pay for the freedom. Except you never left the shelter, did you? Do you remember someone once told you that? You never left it, but you grew rigid and inflexible anyway. Old before your time. It doesn’t have to be that way, Mollari. Now is the time to change it. Take off the shoes. Take them off and dance!

I can’t.

You speak as though you don’t have a choice.

I don’t.

Not true. Ah, you still don’t see it! Mollari, you have always had the capacity - and the power - to choose. Never has it been lost to you.

Ah, then you have been living on Narn for the last sixteen years, in a cave no doubt. Tell me, was it nice there?

Do you know of Yalnarrs?

I did receive an education, yes, as incredible as that may seem. But go on. Don’t let my impatience or distaste impede your efforts to drown me in your voice.

Thank you. Yalnarrs. They’re mythological figures of fear and suspicion, from the early legends. Deceitful, impudent creatures; like Drazi without the charm. The etymology is particular interesting, if you’re versed in Old Haalatae. The word is from the same root as the contemporary “Yarlneran”, which brings us to modern Yane’en, “choice”. The yalnarrs, you see, are essentially, in metaphorical terms, our choices.

Yes, very good. Now, would you be as kind as to -

I’m not finished. The Yalnarrs are our choices, the living consequences. Whenever there are two doors, or more, to choose from, those we don’t choose to step through become Yalnarrs, and they linger. One by one, they come back when you’re vulnerable - when the illusions are stripped away - and they attack. They hound us. Associate with the yalnarr and you court your past selves, all dead and vengeful, is that not how the saying goes? In the old stories, that is how great men fall. They were besieged by these selves, these choices, these demons, until they could stand it no longer and they turned away from themselves in shame - and from Centauri Prime itself.

Centauri Prime.

Indeed.

She has become a burden.

But an acceptable burden?

That is one thing I never understood from those stories, even then. How could you turn from it? To turn one’s back on Centauri Prime - it is unthinkable. I do not understand it, and yet I wonder if I did not do the same.

Choices. And pain. You see, every possible choice, every choice we have, is a door. The yalnarr emerges as we shut those doors, Mollari, yet there are paths left over, paths still open to us even then. Some lead us into the light. We can choose, Mollari, we can choose. But when we are hiding in the darkness, the yalnarrs haunt us, reminding us of ourselves, and we forget that there are paths out of the darkness. That there are roads still to take as well as roads we failed to take.

Yalnarrs. Quaint myth, but surprisingly insightful. Quite what it says about the Centauri people...well, that’s a mystery escaping us all, I suppose.

...I have Yalnarrs.

Why indeed you do, Mollari. Indeed you do.

Yal’Narrs perhaps, yes?

Most quaint.

.................................................. .....
__________________
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; September 20 2012 at 01:08 AM.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:55 AM   #6
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

...........................................

In all the galaxy, Mollari, I sometimes wonder if there is any race that has managed to overcome its fear. Fear of themselves, mostly, though they project it to others. I too am fearful, more than I ever would have believed before I learnt to recognise it. That surprises you, I see. You do not know everything of me, Mollari.

I know nothing of you, starting with who you are. Why are you here?

I have always been here.

I do not think I know you, and yet I cannot bring myself to actually have you removed. You know what this means? I believe it means I truly no longer care for anything.

No, Mollari. You care. But you do not, I fear, grasp the fact that this doesn’t bind you to your candle. Mollari, the world we see around us is only a shade of what we can be! You are searching, trying to find a way to keep the flame bright, and keep that candle strong and tall, but you are only fooling yourself. And once we know that, once we have the courage to admit it and confront ourselves unflinchingly, we can let go. We can forgive. And in forgiving we too can be forgiven. We are as Ijic in the coop, Mollari. If each of us tries to escape on his own terms, none will. Only if we all push together will we find a way out.

My aunt once told me a story with Ijics.

Once?

Many times. Many, many times, a long time ago. Before the years began growing too long, and too empty. Back when we were a proud people. The stars were young too, then. Now they are old and tired.

The details interest me.

But of course. The universe has to have its stories, yes? We can never have too many stories from Londo Mollari! Yet perhaps I have cause to continue telling them. Perhaps they can do some good - I might do some good for a change.

How morose.

I do not know why I am telling you this, but I am going to try. I will explain the story. It concerns a girl, a young maiden, of fair looks and pleasing manner but of low birth. Her family were poor, and lived in a minor agricultural district outside of Twindle Lesser. You have heard of Twindle? Ill-bred upstarts, yet they manage to redefine class and taste too often for their rightful status. I am certain the city is under productive moons. Three former emperors actually hail from just outside its borders, believe it or not, though none of those in recent centuries. In fact, I am told that during the first Weskeliam campaign, Lord Dourarn -

The story, Mollari

Yes, yes, I’m getting to it. These things take time, you know? You cannot simply build a palace on unconsecrated ground, you must prepare it. This maiden, a fine and fair young woman, was not of such stock as produced those three emperors, ill-suited for their eventual station as they were. No, her family were of no House, and raised fowl for sale to local pride-guilds. In particular, the young woman contributed to the family income through her flock of ijic, which she kept in a coop outside the postroom. As is common to the lower classes, though, her mind, while sophisticated, was open and uncultivated. She was vulnerable to the follies of superstition, disregarding the household gods in favour of magery. This was long before the first technomages, you understand. There were no established orders, and those mages that there were were elemental. Now, according to the tale, as my aunt would tell it, one of the local mages was in fact genuine, and amused by the foolery of her fellows. The deep appreciation the girl showed for the art, however, earned this lady’s approval, and following an accident whereby she misplaced her Youn - I do not know why she had a Youn, but that is how the story goes - she approached the young woman and asked for a temporary replacement. They became acquaintances thereafter, and once the girl discovered her magery, she begged for a blessing upon her ijics. The woman agreed, but of course needed something in return. Her first husband had been killed in the Hesh Drazi campaigns, and she asked that the lamp in the postroom, kept lit 23 hours a day, 8 days a week, be extinguished on Veneration Hour, to honour him. The agreement was made, bound in High Magery. The ijic would prosper - so long as the girl kept the terms of their agreement, and put out the lamp for Veneration Hour. For several years, she did so.

But then...

The young woman became besotted with a guardsman. He was a most inappropriate match, his family below even their own, and her father rightly forbade her from pursuing him. However, this did not deter the couple. Eventually, the girl heard from a friend that the young man was leaving. Fearing an elopement unless his influence was removed from the girl, her father had pleaded the guildsmaster to have the guardsman reassigned elsewhere, in exchange for services the father had rendered the guildhouse last winter. The young woman in question heard from a friend that her beloved was leaving town, never to return. Of course, she fled after him in order to confess her undying love, and receive one final kiss. In her haste to do so, she did not extinguish the lamp. The covenant was broken. When she got back, she found the house ablaze. In her absence, you see, the lamp had somehow overturned itself, catching the drapes and setting the room alight. And all the ijic -

- the ijic were dead.

.....

....

No, I’m alright. Thank you. The girl, though she had received her last kiss, had lost everything.

A predictable tale.

Not quite. There is a twist. After this unfortunate incident, the family lost money, and were forced to sell their land to rivals. Her parents left for Mosado Vent, but she remained behind, unwelcome in their new and sparser dwelling. For she had lost them their livelihood and their home. Dutifully, in penance and in contrast to her earlier behaviour, the girl accepted this and stoically began amending her character. She became the finest young woman on Centauri Prime, in all but birth. She lived her life in service to the Republic, without complaint and always ready to work hard, uphold the ceremonies and maintain the supremacy of the gods. She never regained her family’s favour, nor what little money she had once had. But she lived, and finally she died, Centauri. The companion sex indeed make fine friends, the gods indeed finer still, but it is on the Republic we must place our true commitment. “An empty heart, an empty coop and a tall crest is better than first two full and hair down”.

Your aunt’s words.

Yes, perhaps. Who knows anymore?

It is a good story. And yet I think it does not strike you quite as it once did? Or perhaps you never truly believed it, and only now are seeing that is so?

It is no less hollow than the empty coop. It is a story.

If the story misled you, can you forgive it?

You have said nothing of meaning all night.

All is forgiven, Mollari, when we finally see it. All is forgiven, but only if we look it full in the face, unflinching. Your stories have misled you. They have never truly spoken to you. Or perhaps they have, but the masks you wear have allowed you to ignore them. You cannot forget because you cannot acknowledge, and you cannot acknowledge because you want to forget. Put the mask down. You might find you can still be forgiven.

Yes, well, you’ll forgive me if experience has conspired to leave me cynical on that count.

All is forgiven. But first we must be willing to face ourselves. And you would be - were it not for me. What holds you back is my legacy. We all have a choice, and we all have a responsibility. My choice was to mislead you, chase you away from yourself before it was nearly too late. For that, Mollari, you have my sincerest and deepest apologies.

.................................
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; September 20 2012 at 02:27 AM.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:55 AM   #7
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

.................................................. .........

Brevari? Or have you had enough?

I believe I have had enough, yes.

...Give me your bottle. Thank you. A fine vintage; tart.

It was in autumn I think. It gets very unpleasant there in autumn. Though the way my life has been, who’d really notice? They all start blurring together after a while. One season’s as unpleasant as another. Yes, well, it was autumn, and we were in Martenlen Vel. House Durani estates. Business, politics. Society. Dancers, all of us. Weaving in and out of the fray, afraid to linger too long in one spot lest we bring ruin upon ourselves, upon our families. Stop moving, let slip and the whole web could become unstrung. That is something we knew, instinctively, as if by Vision. I remember, looking down at the buttons on my waistcoat, and visualizing the stitching threads as the people I would meet. If I looked long enough, I thought I could just begin to see how it worked, where they met up, how the web functioned. Then, it would be gone again. I mentioned this once, in company. This same Durani visit. It was after High Lunch, and I was among the adults as they gathered in the Centre Crest, as was customary in Martenlen after meals. Huge room, biggest I had ever seen. I was likely far too excited. The conversation among the elders turned to politics; the court had been following the Selinial affair quite closely, you understand. It was just after the weapons shipments were lost at Harrash, and the Narn insurgents were believed to be acquiring the stolen firearms through House Selinial operatives based at our embassy on Brakir. The room was too big. The talk of weapons I believe frightened me. It is difficult to tell now. So long ago, and even then I controlled it so tightly, I can’t truly remember if I really felt it. Yet evidently my control was not tight enough.

Or too tight, and something had to give?

Perhaps. Someone gave a cryptic remark about the connections between Lord Selinial and another house, and before I knew what I was doing, I had blurted out something about buttons. I still remember my father’s face. It slipped, briefly. He may have winced, but his control was tight too. I looked around, and I saw, on the other adults' faces, smirks. I was ashamed, so ashamed. They ignored me after that, but they were still smirking. We left the house. Weather was still terrible, windy. We walked in silence to the House Transport. I wanted to tell him I was sorry, that I had not been thinking and wished his affection, but that is not the Centauri way. I must have shown something amiss on my face, though, because he looked at me, and I have never forgotten this, he told me: “Do not fear them, son. They will soon be gone, and everything they stand for with them”. You can imagine my shock. For a Centauri to say such a thing - any Centauri, yet alone my father...I do not know if I ever understood why he said that. I looked for him not long ago, and he was gone. He’s gone and I don’t remember where and why. An entire republic under my crest, and the one piece that means anything has disappeared, gone. Yes, the universe likes playing these little games with me. One would think I kicked it someplace unpleasant in my youth.

You have lost much, because you never truly grasped it. And that is because, once again, you do not know yourself. You cannot know where to look, so you cannot find. You cannot find, so you cannot acknowledge. You cannot acknowledge, so you cannot forgive. And you cannot forgive, so you cannot forget, and let go.

Bah, you speak in puzzles. You are singularly obsessed with your own voice, you realize this, yes? You remind me of someone else with too much to say. He was highly irritating too. Go away.

Consider the Respik Lizard. If you handle it, it will bite and sting. Left alone, it will ignore you and present no harm. Upon disturbing one in the grass, would one poke his hand in its nest or would one find his way back to the path, accepting that he should be far from the nest? Let it go. First look for it. Find it. Acknowledge it. Forgive it, if you can. And then...leave it.

Look, I am tired of your infuriating riddles. It is late and I have had quite a bit to drink. If you have something worth saying to me, say it.

There are those unfortunate souls who are bitten by Respik, you know?, and who come to like the experience. The venom’s effect becomes pleasant to them, even addictive. So they actually seek the Respik out, enticing it to bite. They know it is harmful, know the terrible burden they are inflicting on themselves, yet there they sit, hand in the Respik nest, attempting to acquire more of it. Why? Because they are slaves to the impulse now. They no longer see themselves, and no longer acknowledge what they know, what they feel. They have forgotten they have a choice. And because in the end, they think they deserve it.

Perhaps they do.

Perhaps. But they must still forgive. You will not, Mollari. You are not far now from that forgiveness, but you can’t make the jump and I know why. You haven’t yet fully acknowledged yourself. You’re still hiding, still twisting your self-image, still reflecting a mask rather than truly searching. And it is because you are ashamed. Thanks to me, Mollari, and I ask you, that one question that is so hard for us but which we must submit to: do you forgive me?

I don’t even know who you are. Nor do I know who I am.

But do you forgive me?

.....I don’t like this vintage. This brevari. It’s not right.

*sigh*. Then we shall move onto something you find more palatable. As usual.

Thank you.

................................................
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Old September 20 2012, 12:55 AM   #8
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

..............................

I do not know what I am doing anymore. I look out my window and I see ruins. Ruined buildings, ruined pavements, a ruined people. Ruined souls.

And yet observe the city, Mollari. Look at it still. In all the galaxy, is there any world more beautiful than Centauri Prime?

I have not yet found it.

It makes one wonder how it could have ended up in such distress, doesn’t it?

I think you will find the name “Mollari” written large somewhere in that particular volume. In letters of bright, garish tones. Likely red.

The Earthers have been a poor influence on you. Or a good one.

The Earthers. I don’t think they have Emperors there anymore. They did once. A promising people back then, though they’re somewhat lacking now. Degenerate, perhaps? It would explain the hair. They had kings, too. And queens, sometimes. There is a feminine for emperor, did you know? Bah, their females are butch enough anyway. Would it kill them to shave their scalps from time to time?

You’re digressing again

I am, as you so elegantly put it, digressing again.

Is there a world, I wonder, where the emperor doesn’t sit at his window and watch, like a ghost removed from the body, a world where he is actually among his people. Touching, gracing, knowing them?

That may be the case somewhere.

Like on Golia?

You said there wasn’t a Golian.

No, Mollari. There are indeed no Golians. No Golians here at all. But would you know if it were different there? Were you ever on Golia?

I was never on Golia.

Neither was I, Mollari. Neither was I.

I don’t think I was ever truly anywhere.

...............................................
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Old September 20 2012, 12:56 AM   #9
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

.............................

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?

No.

.........................................
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Old September 20 2012, 12:57 AM   #10
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

............................................

I...I was waiting for my shipment, which I told you all about...

Yes, you did.

I’m sorry. I...am sorry. For most of it, I think.

We’re all sorry, Mollari. But once we are sorry, truly sorry, then we must forgive. Because if we don’t, we have only more burdens. It is a weight none of us should bear.

You bear it.

That is my task, and my reward. To bring into the light that which is in shadow, only to consign it to shadow again. My own shadow. In here. But not in there, Mollari, not in there. Not in you. I will bring you back into your light, only to keep your darkness as my own, and you will be free. One painful step into the light, and then you can pass through that door. Your home is waiting.

What do I do?

You let the crest down. You take the mask off.

He was here. They were here. G’Kar, Delenn, Vir I think. But I do not remember...

Does it matter?

It cannot be forgotten. No. No, more than that, I do not wish it to be forgotten.

Then we have made progress. But now you refuse to forget, it is time to forgive.

Adira. She was here, was she not? No....no, that was before. This is tradition’s fault, you realize. I started to keep my memory in the pages of the Ceremonies, in the records of rituals and court activities and meetings. Yes, I started down that path a long time ago, and I have taken the wrong one. The wrong path. How can you remember when you don’t even want to see the inside of your own head anymore? There’s nothing there, just shadows. Shadows in the court. There were always shadows in the court, long before I knew of them.

The yalnarrs, Mollari, the yalnarrs are always haunting us. Don’t let them frighten you with their illusions. There is still a door open, another path still open to you. Accept it, and come through.

No, no I remember the cities. Cities, on fire! I heard him - I heard him come to....Vir! Vir, what have you done now, hmmm?

Let it go.

It is not my choice. The Keeper...

The Keeper is dead, Mollari

No.

Yes. Dead.

That can’t be.

Can’t? You don’t want it to be.

I cannot believe that.

You don’t want it to be!

Nonsense! You’re speaking nonsense!

No, Mollari. You don’t want it dead because then you have to accept that YOU have the choice, that you make the decisions that truly matter, and you always did. A lifetime of responsibility, you call it. But did you ever truly embrace the responsibility that really matters? Or did you just throw it all off with everything else that mattered? You were tired of the masks, and so tired of wearing them. But underneath, it was empty. But it shouldn’t have been, because you had responsibilities and you ignored them. No responsibility that you would acknowledge, even as everything you did was justified by it. And at hearts, you know that to be true. Am I right?

I...I don’t know. Yes. Yes, you are right.

I remember your Dancers. The flames? You see, I have been paying attention. You’re still looking for a way to keep that candle burning, but it’s futile. It goes out. Its time to let go, Mollari. At the very least you’ve earned it. Or quite possibly deserved it; who can say? Yes, you’ve reaped your final reward well, and it’s time to accept it. How long can we stay here? How long can you remain in darkness? You are forearmed, Mollari. This is your final choice. You’re not wanted anymore - or perhaps you’re being brought home at last? It’s not my decision, it’s for YOU to decide. Are you ready? Will you step out of the shadow, put out the flickering candle flame and spin out into that next arch? The arch out beyond, where the Dancers go? The door’s open, the arch beckons beyond. It is the rule, Mollari. And it cannot be broken.

You’ve seen her, haven’t you? You know where she is...

She was here, Mollari. Not for long....

Yes, yes, I...I remember. I...Adira...

I helped her on her path. As I help you. But that journey is passed now.

She’s safe?

No-one is ever safe, Mollari. We are all, however, in the end, forgiven. Because we must ourselves forgive. Because if we don’t, if we don’t surrender the illusion that keeps us trapped and alone in the dark, we can never take responsibility, and we become like your aunt’s ijics; casualties of broken vows dismissed in favour of picking up new masks. Hollow. Hollow forever. How to forgive your victims when you will not even grant yourself that privilege? Letting go is not forgetting, Mollari.

I want to see her.

And you will see her soon, Mollari. You will see her soon. But first you must let this world go. You’ve done penance enough for this lifetime.

....

....

I loved Centauri Prime.

Yes.

So much of it....is gone now.

Yes.

....

I...forgive that.

Then you are a wise man.

No. Never that. Never that. I think, however.... I am ready.

Yes, I am ready.

And I am proud.

I will be forgiven?

In the end, Mollari, we are all forgiven.

(Incoherent)

I’m sorry?

....

...and will he forgive me?

Yes. Yes, Mollari. Yes he will.

Finish
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Old September 24 2012, 03:22 PM   #11
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

No comments, then?
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Old September 24 2012, 03:35 PM   #12
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

Its the same with the story that Gul Re’jal and myself worked on I'm afraid to say.

It is brilliant and you capture Londo very well in your writing, but then you know that I like it.

(For those that are reading and want to know who was that fool who stopped this august project from happening in the first place...

It was I, Thor Damar, master of procrastination and...

say maybe I should get started on my part of the story again once I've finished the work I'm doing with GR and of course there is the little matter of

What was I talking about again? Ah, yes getting nibbled to death by Cats!)
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Old November 29 2012, 07:01 AM   #13
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Re: Babylon Five Fic - "Forgive and Forget"

I finally did my homework and could read this story.

I have to say that I heard Londo's parts on Londo's voice. You caught his manner of speaking really well, yes?

I have a few theories on who he is speaking with... I had a few ideas when reading and felt they were proven wrong as the reading progressed
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