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The Shadow of his Thoughts
by J. Michael Straczynski
page 7
"But those are the sorts of things that Shiri could not 
help but tell them, because they are true.  Sadly, I 
suppose, they are always true.  But truth has nothing 
to do with what people like you and I want from the 
world.  Position.  Influence.  Money.  As prophetess,
you can say what you want, couch your intentions any 
way you wish, without having to include any unfortunate 
or untimely truths." 
    "And when my prophecies fail to materialize?" 
    "Just be sufficiently artistic---that is to say, vague--
-in your prophecies so that they can be interpreted later 
in whatever fashion best serves you.  A prophetess 
once told me, 'You must save the eye that does not see.' " Londo shrugged.  "It's five years later, and I still don't 
know what she meant." 
    For the first time, Delasi relaxed.  Londo thought he
might actually see a smile forming but couldn't be sure. 
    "Tell me, Majesty, has a prophetess ever retired from 
Tuwain?" she asked. 
    "They have all been retired by death.  But to all things there must be a first time.  Why?" 
    "Well, after five or ten years of work in His Majesty's service, holding a position of such authority, I would think that  a title and land would be only proper compensation. 
To have the presence of a renowned prophetess placed 
in the royal court itself would be most . . . advantageous." 
    "It would indeed," Londo said, and this time there 
was no mistaking it. 
    She was definitely smiling now. 

Londo found the enshrinement at the river 
Tuwain to be a magnificent ceremony, rich in color and texture.  Delasi, he thought, was quite stunning in her 
gown of white and gold, as she looked across the open expanse of stone and water at him with eyes that 
glittered like small silver coins. 
    Which was most appropriate.  What was it the humans said about the eyes being the window of the soul . . . ? 
No matter, he decided. The understood one another. 
    The ride back to the capitol seemed shorter and less odious than the ride out, even with the presence of the Keeper intruding into his thoughts from time to time. 
    She is still a potential threat, the voice whispered
in his thoughts. 
     True, but she has been publicly discredited.  No one will listen to her now.  She is far from the palace, and 
will never be allowed closer, so your secret is safe. 
You should be reasonable.  Even you cannot eliminate 
all of the potential threats. 

    Not today, perhaps, the Drakh sent back, but there 
is still tomorrow. 
    Yes, Londo thought, there is always tomorrow. 

Upon arriving back at the royal palace, after his 
briefing from Minister Vole, Londo returned to his suite, where he found a letter waiting for him.  Though he had 
not seen her handwriting before, he knew even before opeining it that it came from Shiri. 
     Thank you, the note read.  There is no gift that I can give you that would be the equal of the one you have 
given me: my freedom, and the restoration of my father's House. So I give you the only thing I have to give, the 
last prophecy I intend to make. 
    One day, Emperor, you will be free of your burden.  One day you will save our people, and all the sacrifices you make will not have been in vain. 
    Londo set the note down again and looked out at his 
dear city, framed by scaffolding, climbing its way back 
from the horrors of war, and was surprised to find tears running down his face. 

The dream was the same.  It was always the same. 
    The chakat lay on the ground before him, its four legs 
bound by ropes, horns scratching the dry ground beneath 
its head.  The sun was hot overhead. 
    A voice, always the same voice, whispered from behind 
Londo.  You know what you have to do.  What you have 
always done.
    Londo stared at the creature, and its gaze met his own. The eyes that looked back at him were fierce, proud, unbowed. 
    And in the dream, the eyes that looked back at him 
were the eyes of Shiri, firghtened and alone . . . they 
were the eyes of his people as he passed them on the 
street . . . and then, at the last, he recognized them for 
what they were---his own eyes, looking up at him. 
    It is duty, a voice whispered. You cannot fight duty. 
    Londo looked down.  The sword was in his hand. 
    Yes, I can, he thought back, and brought down the 
sword, severing the ropes that bound the creature's feet. 
    It staggered upright and met his gaze one last time. 
Then, with a power and a freedom he had never 
experienced before, he watched it race away, disappearing into the distance, into the woods, into the future. 
    The dream never came to him again. 

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 Glass Tattoo