[identity profile] jenavira.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] babylon5_love
Today I offer up a piece of fic that will, alas, probably never be as finished as I wanted it to be. Back in 2003 (according to the datestamp on this particular file) I started writing a series about the new class of Rangers, the one that would include all the Alliance races. This particular bit is from the point of view of Corus, a scion of a minor Centauri house who's decided that the opportunities back home aren't nearly as exciting as the ones opening up on Minbar. I hope you like it!

Corus knelt in meditation, hands folded, eyes closed, brand-new formal Ranger robes draped elegantly over his shoulders. He breathed slowly; in and out, in and out. He was sure he looked the perfect picture of Minbari calm. He was getting a crick in his back.

He opened one eye, peering around the room. It had been nearly half an hour since Sech Turval had sent the four new trainees off to meditate. For lack of anywhere else to go, they had returned, amid many angry, nervous, and resentful glances, to their communal quarters.

At least, initially they had. Corus' furtive perusal revealed that although G'Len was still seated to his right, Barach had disappeared, as had Hamilton. Leaving him alone with the Narn.

That shouldn't matter, he told himself firmly. They were both Anla'shok - well, Anla'dra, as Sech Turval had called them, Rangers in training - and as such were as one. Brothers. Corus could deal with that just fine. He simply wasn't sure it would matter to the Narn.

Trying to put it out of his mind, Corus closed his eyes again, working hard to concentrate on his meditation. He could still sense the Narn sitting next to him; he fancied he could feel the hate radiating in his direction. He tried to concentrate on turning inward, clearing his mind, as the Sech had described.

Images and phrases turned through his mind - Sech Turval introducing himself and offering a less-than-exemplary assessment of his new students; the sharp glares of Minbari Rangers; the scattered glimpses of the other new trainees that must be joining them - the Sech's words of that morning, it is not all of the truth.

Corus rolled this idea over and over in his mind, thinking about the rituals of Centauri protocol and what he knew of Minbari ritual. They weren't easy to reconcile - but then, the Centauri had never been nearly so concerned with Truth.

G'Len was still there.

This was getting him nowhere. Corus surged to his feet, grabbing his cloak as he headed out of the small, confining room in search of something a little more condusive to meditation. He wasn't entirely surprised to find it in the hallways themselves. He was unaccustomed to sitting for so long, and working out the cramps in his legs helped him think.

Besides, he was curious. The strict schedule and the implied orders to keep to themselves had meant that Corus had seen hardly anything of the city or even the Anla'shok buildings. He much preferred to know the layout of a place he was expected to live.

--What do you serve?--

The Minbari did ask the hard questions, didn't they? What was that supposed to mean, anyway? As a Centauri, he served his house and its interests, and secondarily the Centauri people... Somehow he didn't think that would be sufficient for the Minbari.

What did he serve? Well, by association with Centauri houses, he served honor, truth, justice...a veritable plethora of unapplicable, intangible ideas. Ridiculous.

What _did_ he serve?

The problem he hadn't anticipated with a change of scenery was the constant distraction. And, for that matter, the other Rangers. The ranks of fully-trained Anla'shok were still exclusively Minbari and Human, and in Tuzanor, they seemed almost entirely Minbari. Corus supposed that the Humans were probably out on the business of the new Alliance, as they were rather the heroes of the hour. But being around so many Minbari was discomforting, as much as he did not want it to be.

And in addition, they certainly did not seem very welcoming. Until the past few days, Corus' contact with Minbari had been limited to the few Rangers on Centauri Prime, the Minbari ambassador, and the casual contact he'd had with them in his time on Babylon 5. They had seemed to be polite enough, then. Here they frequently looked at him with derision, and Corus felt decidedly as if he were considered to be invading their territory. Which he was, he supposed. Not that that made it any easier to accept. To avoid crossing paths with a particularly cross-looking Warrior Caste, Corus ducked into one of the small gardens scattered throughout the temple complex.

It was very small, and very quiet, and very Minbari. Lush foliage alternated with raked sand paths dotted with stones. Dominating the far site was a statue of Valen, staring forward with his hands raised, palms up. Kneeling in front of the statue was a Human figure in Ranger robes. Hamilton? Yes, it did seem to be. Corus was still trying to decide what to do about this when the temple bells chimed, calling them back to the ritual.

**

The room was dark and cold, and much larger than it needed to be. It had obviously been built for a time when the Rangers had been a much larger order. Corus felt a stab of nostalgia for a time he'd never known, a history that he was finally about to become a part of.

All the same, he was not comfortable here. Oh, he was probably more comfortable than the Narn. The Centauri had rituals something like this. But here, the incense was all wrong - darker, and more somber - and the format of the ritual made no sense to him. It was almost counter-intuitive, the way they jumped from action to verse and back, and Corus was beginning to be frustrated by it all.

They had ended up scrunched together to an appalling degree, from a wide circle with arms' length between them all, and were now standing nearly shoulder to shoulder. Corus stood with Barach on his right and an unfamiliar human on his left.

Sech Turval had told them that the ritual - and especially the ritual verse they had been expected to contribute - would make sense as they went along. Corus found his opinions of that gentleman dropping sharply.

Jacob Hamilton stepped forward, head held high and pride in his eyes. Idealist, thought Corus. How very Human.

"We come to serve the Anla'shok, we come to serve the Universe." Hamilton's voice was a little shakier than his posture. "I am Jacob Hamilton of Strasbourg, Earth; I come to serve history."

"We come to draw a line against the darkness." G'Len was next; his voice was deep and rough and emotionless, everything Corus had come to expect from a Narn. "I am G'Len of Narn;" and there was pride there, certainly - "I come to serve my people." Corus supposed that there was nothing wrong with that in theory; after all, that was what they were all here for, weren't they? They had all come at the request of their governments. One simply didn't have to say it. It sounded so...self-involved.

"We offer up our lives, our minds, our souls in the service of the Light." Barach was completely unreadable, as Corus was beginning to understand was his usual position.. Corus didn't know much about the Drazi, but he was fairly sure that Barach was the exception rather than the rule. He just wasn't sure why. "I am Barach of Drazi; I come to serve."

Just that? And was that annoyance or approval in the Sech's eyes?

And then it was his turn, and he'd never been so nervous before about speaking so why was he now, and bloody _hell_ everyone was staring at him and by Zoog he hated this ritual. Ridiculous.

"We come to serve the Anla'shok; we come to serve the Universe. We come to draw a line against the Darkness." He could hear his voice grow stronger as he progressed through the ritual verse. "We offer up our lives, our minds, our souls in the service of the Light." It was a bunch of silly Minbari nonsense, of course, but it was _ritual_, even if he had only been familiar with it for less than an hour, and that helped. "We live for the One, we die for the One. I am Corus Virini, of Centauri Prime. I come to serve the future." And all that silly Minbari nonsense was clearly beginning to affect his mind. That was not at all what he had intended to say.

But that was what he had said, and the ritual was moving on as the next man began his verse. The insence was affecting him, certainly. Corus had expected that to be the end of it, but the Sech had begun speaking again, to the accompaniment of those little chimes. He tried to focus on what they were saying, but his expectation and his disappointment and the unfamiliarity of it all had set his mind reeling. Finally, although he had no idea how much time had actually passed, the ritual had ended, and they were filing out of the room. It was over - or rather, it had begun.

He was Anla'dra.

Date: 2017-02-14 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_sparkli_/

Ahh I really enjoyed this! I liked what we saw of your characters, and the training. Selfishly, I hope that you find the interest to carry on~

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