londo_mollari: (Londo)
Letter, written and destroyed in the first year of the reign of Mollari II



My dear Vir,

this is another letter that shall never reach you. I will make sure of this, and that is why I will be able to write it, and finish it.

I do not regret sending you away; it is not safe for you to be on Centauri Prime, not for a very long time, Vir. But it has occured to me that even when we do meet again, I will not be able to talk to you as we used to. Given that we spent the better part of five years in each other's company, you would think that all subjects that could possibly be raised were quite exhausted, yes? But this is not true, and it is not the music of Risepo, a most recent discovery of mine, that I do regret being unable to discuss with you. (I should send you some crystal recordings, though; I think they will let me do that.)

No, the subject I wish to speak about now, and which has remained silent between us ever since the event itself, is quite a different one. There are a great many things I regret, Vir, decision which I wish I had not made, and yet most of these, even now, seem to me to have been necessary ones. There are also things I wish had not happened to you, and yet I cannot wish them undone because they were needed for the good of the Republic. The death of Cartagia is such a thing. However... there is one deed of mine which I do wish undone, no matter the consequences. I should not have involved you in the removal of Refa, not in the way I did, and not in any other way. This has nothing to do with my later discovery that Refa did not, in fact, cause the death of Adira. Even if Mr. Morden had not deceived me into believing this, I would have had to deal with Refa at some point; our alliance had become rivalry many a month before Adira died. No, it is not Refa's death I regret, but those hours you spent believing you had to betray G'Kar or allow your family to suffer, and the hours afterwards when Refa's telepath interrogated you.

We made our peace afterwards, and never spoke of it again. Perhaps because too many other things happened in too short a time. But now I have more than enough time at my hand, and I ask myself: why did I never tell you that my revenge on Refa simply was not worth those hours of your pain? I should have done so. I told you a great many other things, after all, and some of these you never wished to hear. It seems to me that you might have wished to hear this.

Well, there it is, Vir. It is the mistake I should never have made. As you have taken it into your head to feel responsible for the entire galaxy, you would undoubtedly say that other decisions of mine had far graver consequences, and that is true, but I maintain this one was entirely personal, and most importantly, it was a breach of faith. In all other instances before and after, we kept faith with each other, did we not? We did not betray each other's trust. Save here. And for that, I am more sorry than I can ever tell you.

I think I shall send that recording to you, yes. Perhaps not just the recording; the performers would benefit from a tour to Babylon 5, and of course those barbarians who think Reebo and Zooty are entertainment would infinitely benefit from a presentation of the beauty that is Centauri music. I shall not mind if they stay on the station, Vir. For all its metallic dullness it is an... agreeable place, is it not?

I am getting old, Vir, so forgive me for an old man's foolishness. We Centauri believe that music speaks to the hearts in many tongues, and thus I shall imagine that you will listen to their performance of Risepo's last symphony, and will hear what I have never told you, and now never will.

Londo
londo_mollari: (Playful by camelwithbrush)
I think I shall finally give in to Vir's enthusiam and visit Minbar. He seems to believe it would have an immediate beneficient effect on me, as a cup of hot jaala does on a morning where the tribute the gods demand for an evening with brivari consists of a particularly nasty hangover. Just why he sees the Minbari and Minbar as the equivalent, however, is beyond me.

"Vir," I told him recently, "if the Minbari were so incredibly soothing, they would hardly have established an Empire, yes? One does not do this through peaceful persuasion. Even at the days of our utmost power, we took care never to anger the Minbari. This should tell you something."

"But Londo," he protested, "it is just the Warrior Caste who..."

Clearly, he has been exposed to far too much propaganda while on that planet. "And just who was fighting the Warrior Caste during their recent civil war, eh?" I demanded. "Who usually tells them to go to war if they are not busy rebelling, hm? Great Maker, Vir, consider only the Minbari we know. I would rather have Neroon as my enemy than Delenn and Lennier at her side. My chances of survival would be infinitely better with that pike-swinging dolt, yes? No, Vir, the Minbari are no more walking around glowing with soul-cleansing serenity than we do. Which is most fortunate, for I have decided to visit after all, and I would not do so if I were afraid I would be forced to meditate and change my life as soon as my feet touch Minbar's soil."

"Londo," he sighed, "you are driving me insane."

"This should bring you into harmony with the rest of the universe," I replied, and set upon making travelling plans. Not immediate ones, no. But Delenn mentioned the other day that she and Sheridan are planning to live on Minbar once his first year in office is over. Clearly, they will need some distraction after being married solely to each other for an entire year, and a visit on my part would be beneficent for all parties concerned. One does one's best to demonstrate helpfulness within the new alliance, yes?

So I shall visit Minbar in the year to come.
londo_mollari: (Default)
Talk about a time you realized that someone close to you wasn't the person you thought you knew.

That, my friends, is a harder question than is apparent at first glance. I certainly misjudged a number of people - Mr. Morden, for example, when I mistook him for a relatively harmless entrepeneur, though that particular illusion did not last beyond our third encounter - but then Mr. Morden was never what you could term "close", yes? Vir, on the other hand, most certainly is, but while he surprised me repeatedly, it never was in this particular fashion. Let me put it like this: when we first met, I was suffering from the aftermath of a tribute to the gods in our usual Centauri fashion and was not very pleasant - I believe our encounter included me shouting "will you stop apologizing, you dimunitive irritant of doom?" or something like that - but I also thought "Great Maker, they sent me an innocent, good hearted child!" Now over the years I saw Vir grew up. I also saw him display amounts of courage and loyalty I had, during those early days, not realized he possessed. But I never had reason to reverse my initial impression of "innocent and good-hearted", and thus I cannot say he was not "the person I thought I knew".

Perhaps the answer lies elsewhere. When Trakis, that foul excrement of dirt, tried to force Adira to betray me and deliver my purple files into his hands, he also tried to turn me against her after she had hid herself instead of handing over the files. He told me: "She was just using you, just as she has used every man in her life." Coming from a slave owner, this was hypocrisy worthy of the Royal Court itself.

I will not deny I was hurt when discovering Adira had stolen the files. Maybe there were moments when I doubted her. But once Trakis started to speak, he unwittingly made something very important clear to me. For aside from that heavy-handed insult quoted above, he told me she was a slave, which I had not known before, doubtlessly expecting me to assume this to besmirch her further in my eyes. Indeed I concluded that Adira was not who I had first thought her to be. I had believed her to be a free dancer, a beautiful and passionate woman who could have chosen any of her admirers but for some reason picked a tired old Republican dreaming of better days. But now, I knew she must have gone through hell, for a slave's lot is not an easy one in the best of circumstances, and if Trakis was her owner, then her circumstances were rather the worst. For Adira to have gone through this and still be able to feel joy in life, to make her own choices, as she clearly had done when turning against her owner, to risk her life making those choice... it meant she possessed amounts of courage and strength I had previously not seen. Indeed she was not the woman I thought I knew; she was far more. And once I realized this, I also understood any anger I had about her actions was gone.

(Any anger towards Adira, that is; naturally, I found it very satisfying to deliver that punch to Trakis. Not the most civilized form of sparring, to be sure, but then Trakis is not a civilized man, yes?)

I had loved the woman I believed Adira to be, enough not to care whether people thought I was making a fool out of myself, but then, most of them thought I was a fool anyway. The woman I learned she was, I loved enough to let go, for to insist on her staying on the station would have meant to be just another owner, not the man she gave her affection to. And thus, she was able to gave me a last present, one only the woman she really was could have made; she returned out of her own free will. Even from beyond the grave, she came back to me, for one precious night.

Sometimes, discovering who people really are can be a blessing.

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londo_mollari

July 2010

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