londo_mollari: (LondoTimov)
Great Maker. "Significant other"? What an odd human phrase! Especially if it is meant to refer to marriages and love affairs. I dare say one's husbands and wives are often significant to anyone but one's wives and husbands, yes? And as for love, if it is love, one hardly sees the object of one's devotion as "other", especially when in the first throws of adoration; suns, moons, stars and other brightly shining centers of gravity are the usual comparisons as far as I recall.

In any case, the question assumes that we show the same qualities in each of our relationships. This, my friends, is nonsense of the kind not seen since the Vorlon ambassador and his endlessly annoying exercises in cryptic utterings were heard on this station. I am a married man - and in fact a divorced man as well - , and I was happy enough to be graced by the affection of a beautiful lady in the autumm of my life. Now, I dare say that to each of my wives, my worst quality was something different. All of my marriages were arrangements between houses, as is the custom on Centauri Prime, and yet I believe only Daggair felt she had still married beneath herself, or rather, that she was led to believe the future head of House Mollari would be a more adroit and ambitious courtier. I pause to contemplate the irony, given my current position. But what she undoubtedly sees as my worst quality was the decision to divorce her just when fate finally brought me into a position she always wanted to share.

Mariel, on the other hand, while also ambitious, would choose another trait of mine to single out. While the divorce made her furious as well, she is young, beautiful and easily in a position to try other possibilities. No, what my dear lady Death begrudges most is, if I have to speculate, my refusal to make her a widow instead of a divorcee by not dying as the result of her charming gift. She would have looked most becoming in a widow's white and blue silk, and besides, none of us bear failure well, eh?

Now my remaining wife, the Lady Timov, is quite able to tell you herself what my worst qualities are, amply and at length. The words "fool" and "drunkard" will undoubtedly be mentioned somewhere. But I shall be frank and admit that I know quite well where the real injury lies. For Timov did not wish to become my wife any more than I, at that time, wished to become her husband. We were both still very young then, and nursing our grievances for the ways that had led us to obeying our fathers. We started with an argument in our wedding night, and I do not believe we have finished it yet. Perhaps we never will. And yet I cannot pretend that she wanted me to be more ambitious, more powerful, or even dead, for Timov wanted none of those things, and still does not. Soon after we were married, perhaps during that first argument, perhaps later, she told me that she had heard of what my family tried so hard to surpress: of my love for a dancer, which led to a sudden marriage and then a divorce as my family's fury descended on me in the form of an ultimatum. "You did not have the courage to stand by what you felt," Timov said. "I cannot think of something that disgusts me more."

And there we have it, or at least a part of it. I was young then, at least; when I met my darling Adira, I was a washed-up old man dreaming of better days, and it still is a miracle to me that she chose to love me. If she had not died, she would be at my side now; I wanted to ask her to marry me when she returned to the station, and to hell with the gossip on Centauri Prime this would have caused. But Adira deserved to be loved first and foremost, more than anything else in the life of the man she honoured with her affection, and this I could not have done. If I was capable of such a thing, I would have left the station a long time ago, following her, leaving my office to Vir or whomever else the Royal Court would have appointed. Sometimes, I dream of doing this even now, though she is gone; but this would be the worst kind of desertion. My world might be more powerful now than it was for a long, long time, but the path to this power was bloody, and I know on whose hands this blood is; I know it better than anyone. I know the many enemies we have, and how easy it would be to create even more. The path through peace is harder than the one to war ever was, and it if there are not many people left to captain the beautiful and fragil vessel that is Centauri Prime, whose fault is that? To leave, to run away from prophecies and nightmares in order to seek personal happiness - that is the one betrayal I swear I shall never commit.

This, then, is it: my worst quality as a lover.


londo_mollari: (Default)

July 2010

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