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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Subject:Ten Questions, Part I
Time:10:32 pm.
Mood: thoughtful.
(In response to this meme and for mini_wrimo:)

In the year 2261, after the close of the Shadow War, Vir responds to the queries of an unknown correspondent.

1. What is your full name?

My full title is: Vir Cotto, Attaché to Ambassador and Prime Minister Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic. But you can call me Vir. Most people do, and I don’t mind.

7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.

I’m a very ordinary Centauri – not special or attractive at all. As Humans mark time, I am a little less than thirty. I had a surgery when I was very young, so I walk funny and do have scars on one leg. I’m also near-sighted, asthmatic, and clumsy. I’m not tall, and until recently, I was heavy. Londo called me his “moonfaced assassin of joy” once early in our time together (he was – er – personally occupied at the time and not in the mood for interruptions) because my face was very round. And it still is – sort of. My hair and eyes are brown, and I wear my hair in the traditional noble way, though I try not to spend too much time on it. (There is an Earth animal – a bird of some kind – that I’ve overheard some Humans compare to our hair, but I’ve forgotten the name of it. It begins with a “P,” I think.) My clothes are well made and also traditional (Londo insists upon that) – waistcoat, blouse, trousers, great coat – but I don’t pick especially striking colors or jewelry because I don’t like to stand out.

88. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?

I’m in the middle, I suppose. I’m not like my friend, Lennier, who spends many hours alone in quiet contemplation. Lennier is a good man – dedicated to his faith (later, I should tell you what he did for the Markab on Babylon 5), committed to Delenn – it is an honor to know him – but I do have to be very careful when I am around him. We Centauri define personal space very differently, you see – it’s normal for us to touch each other – to kiss and hug as friends – to express our feelings in a physical way. And, well – back when we were first getting to know each other, I’m afraid I accidentally embarrassed Lennier a few times by getting too close for his comfort. Once, after Mr. Garibaldi let us both ride his motorcycle, I – made a mistake in my excitement and threw my arms around Lennier. He was mortified, and I was terribly sorry about the whole thing for weeks. I couldn’t even talk to him without blushing.

But I’m not like Londo, either. I believe the Earther word for Londo is “raconteur.” What I mean is, Londo can walk into a room of almost complete strangers and keep them entertained for hours, especially when he’s in his cups. And what’s more, he likes to do that. He never gets tired at a party. I’ve seen him stay up drinking and laughing with people in the casino until Babylon 5 Standard morning – when he doesn’t pass out beforehand, at least.

When I arrived on Babylon 5 years ago, the first thing Londo asked me to do was prepare his ja’ala - which I’ve since discovered is actually a pretty effective hangover cure.

It may be difficult for you believe this – and I understand why, I do – but Londo’s capacity for friendship – his capacity for love – is boundless. And when he chooses not to act upon his natural impulses for reasons of ambition, patriotism, or anything else, he is miserable. The past few years, Londo has, through his own choices, locked himself out of the company of most other people. There are very few who trust Londo now – and very few Londo trusts in return. And as a consequence, I have been forced to watch as my friend dies a little bit more with every passing day.

It’s not natural for Londo to be alone. He needs companionship almost like we all need air. Isolation is a torment – one he has brought upon himself, yes, but a torment just the same.

I’m not like Londo. I’ve had to learn how to be happy alone. But that’s not my first choice – solitude, I mean. Which is something I never even knew about myself until I was sent to Babylon 5 – until Londo called me his friend and told me he had confidence in me. Londo showed me what I was missing.

(x-posted on the mun's journal)
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Subject:licenseartistic: October 2007 Prompt
Time:11:31 pm.
Title: Masquerade
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Word Count: 1,394
Rating: General Audience
Spoilers: Sic Transit Vir, third season, though the events in the story actually take place sometime before Ceremonies of Light and Dark.

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt: Costume

MasqueradeCollapse )
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Subject:licenseartistic: July 2006 Prompt
Time:1:40 am.
Mood: naughty.
Title: One
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Warnings: Tentacle sex – and as close to a PWP as I’m probably ever going to get.
Pairing: Vir/f
Word Count: 1, 082
Rating: Adult. Did I mention the tentacle engaged in sexual activities?
Spoilers: None. Pre-Series. Can be considered a continuation of my previous bit of Vir porn, While Bathing. Is also an expansion of an idea broached in a previous role play. If Vir’s sexual awakening is something you’d prefer not to explore, I suggest turning back now. ;)

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt: First

OneCollapse )
Comments: Read 9 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Subject:licenseartistic: June 2006 Prompt
Time:11:59 am.
Mood: distressed.
Title: No Failure
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Word Count: 551
Rating: General Audience
Spoilers: Set during A Day in the Strife, third season.

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt:

"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
~Samuel Beckett

“You are troubled. And you have been drinking.”

Vir sighed and ran his fingers over a large, blue-green leaf. Delenn had steered him into the gardens after he, too preoccupied to pay attention to where he was going, had crashed into her in the corridor. “A little,” he admitted, slurring his words slightly. “Just two.” He looked up, squinting his eyes in thought and rocking just a little. “Or maybe it was three.”

“Because of Londo?”

Vir shot Delenn a look of surprise. Then he pressed his hands against the bench and leaned forward, stilling his fidgets. “I didn’t think… but I-I guess he would ask you.” Then, after a pause: “I’m always being sent away. Ever since… well, ever since I can remember. The only reason I’m here at all is because no one else wanted me.” He met Delenn’s gaze once again. “I-I had twelve different positions before I came to Babylon 5.” The words made his chest ache, deep down. “Did you know that?”

“I did not. But I do not see why that should be important now, Vir,” Delenn replied, and Vir swallowed hard over the lump in his throat. “You have taken what others on your world might see as your failures and have always tried to shape them into something better. And you will take your new assignment and do it again. You understand hope and renewal – even if you don’t realize it. That is something to be praised.”

“But what about Londo?”

“You believe Londo is your failure?”

Vir looked away. “I… don’t know.” Yes.

“Londo has made his choices.” Delenn’s voice was firm. “He is responsible for his own actions. Perhaps it is time you learn to accept that. To do otherwise is to be unfair to you both.”

For a long moment, Vir said nothing as he turned things over in his mind. “I just wish I could’ve done more.”

“Because you have mistaken the movements of empires as the crux of the war. But it is in the heart – not in the vastness of space – that the most important battles are fought, Vir. And you have won some of those battles already.” Delenn waited until Vir lifted his eyes before she continued: “Londo is not sending you away because you have failed. He is sending you away because you have succeeded – because you have loved him - have shown him light - and he has found that he cannot help but love you in return. Where Londo is now, that love is too much for him to bear. But it is still a victory that cannot be erased. It still matters, no matter what Londo’s future may hold.”

Vir struggled to breathe. “I’m afraid for him,” he murmured. “And… I-I’m afraid that I won’t be good enough.”

“You are not alone, Vir. Lennier and I will help you if you wish it. You need only ask.”

Vir rubbed at his eyes and smiled sadly. “Thank you, Delenn. Thank you both.” He felt drained. “I-I’ll try to meet Lennier tomorrow… if that’s convenient, of course. Right now, though… I-I think I need to sleep on things.”

“Of course,” Delenn replied with a dip of her head. “I will not keep you any longer.” And she was gone, leaving Vir alone with his own thoughts.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

Time:10:17 am.
Mood: contemplative.
This oracle is right.Collapse )
Comments: Read 63 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Subject:T_M Challenge: Shame
Time:11:49 am.
Mood: ashamed.
Talk about something you did that made you feel ashamed of yourself afterwards.

Historian’s Note: This is an excerpt from Emperor Cotto’s personal chronicles, written in 2279.

Lady Mariel, wife of Prime Minister Durla and the former wife of Emperor Londo Mollari, was interred at Apia. And I killed her just as surely as if I had plunged a dagger into her hearts with my own hand. I have many more regrets, but this is my greatest shame.

Almost twenty years ago, I nearly left Londo for good. He had used me, you see, to get to Lord Refa and, he believed at the time, to avenge the death of his love. He used my loyalty, to my family and to him, to lead Refa astray, and for a time, I didn’t think I would ever recover from the knowledge that our friendship had not, in the end, made me indispensable. But I did recover, and, eventually, I forgave.

What does this have to do with Mariel? Well, while I did forgive Londo and, perhaps, had begun to understand why he did what he did, that one, blinding moment of total clarity didn’t truly come until Kane showed me that my trust in Mariel and her affections had been misplaced. Because before then, I had never been hurt in so personal and intimate a way. When you make love, you reveal so much more of yourself than you do even in the closest friendships. It leaves you open, a little dizzy, and very vulnerable. Mariel saw me at my weakest and most exposed, and she laughed. Discovering this, I finally knew what it was like to feel that burning sense that the universe itself had a personal vendetta against me. Cut off both from home and from my peers on Babylon 5, I had been so alone, and Mariel had been a light of hope. To see that light snuffed out before my eyes was, as the Humans say, the last straw. Tired of being hurt, I hardened my heart.

Fourteen words. Strange, that an emotion as complex as love can be enkindled by a spell so simple.

If I was to save my people, I needed a connection to Minister Durla- a spy in the royal palace itself. I had learned that Lady Mariel was Durla’s weakness- and so I asked a wizard to make her my instrument. When she was returned to me, I knew at once that I had made a mistake. But the fourteen words could not be called back. Words never can.

I didn’t simply use her. I imprisoned her. I robbed her of her free will and left her vulnerable to Durla’s insecurity and rage. Nothing she had ever done had made her deserving of such a punishment. Nothing I have ever done- or will do- can erase that mark on my soul. I betrayed my own belief in freedom, and no amount of justification can ever undo that sin.

As it turns out, Londo and I are not that different.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, October 7th, 2005

Subject:Star Stuff: Specters (originally locked, now open to all)
Time:10:49 pm.
Mood: drained.
Continued from here.

Other players are now welcome. The danger has passed. For now.



Briefly, Vir closes his weary eyes. The last day and night have passed in a drug-induced blur periodically interrupted by bouts of violent sickness and painful muscle spasms which have only begun to subside in the last hour. Senna now sleeps beside him, her face finally relaxed, her lips slightly parted. Vir caresses her cheek gently as Risak continues his lecture.

"I do not wish to say I told you so, your Majesty, but... actually, no, that is precisely what I wish." Risak kneels beside the bed. "By all the gods, you could've been killed- and for what? What are you trying to prove?"

"I'm not trying to prove anything," Vir replies, his voice weakened by pure exhaustion. "I'm trying... to confront a ghost."
Comments: Read 109 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Subject:Star Stuff Prompt: An Unexpected Lesson
Time:8:05 pm.
Mood: embarrassed.
Author’s Note: This scene takes place in 2258 between “Born to the Purple” and “Parliament of Dreams.”

Vices

The dim light of the club was hardly fit for a myopic young Centauri, so Vir heard the ambassador bellow his name before he saw him- and he stumbled several times over people and chair legs as he crossed the room, paperwork in hand, toward Londo’s table.

“Ah, if it isn’t my killer of merriment,” Londo said as Vir, apologizing profusely, mopped a spilled drink off a young lady’s blue dress. “And you have brought work, I see?”

“Just a few things. I-I-I was starting the preparations for the negotiations over the trade routes in Quadrant 16, and I just had a few- oh!” Vir cut himself off with a squeak as Londo firmly plopped him into a nearby chair. “Or, you know, I-I could sit and watch the show.”

“Vir,” Londo began in a stern baritone. “You have lived on Babylon 5 for quite some time now, yes?” Vir nodded, suddenly apprehensive. “But it occurs to me that, in all this time, I have not properly introduced you. So- sit. I will buy you a drink- and perhaps,” Londo added with a wave of his hand and a flash of his feral teeth, “see to some other services- and you will come to know Babylon 5 as I know it. Yes?”

“Oh, but I-I don’t drink, Ambassador.”

More than that, there was a scent hanging in the air that was activating his asthma. But Londo paid Vir’s protestations no heed, and soon Vir found himself shyly resisting the lips and wandering hands of a slender alien woman, his blush deepening to the approximate color of a linfra berry.

From that point forward, Vir never brought work to the Dark Star.

Comment at b5_star_stuff.

Subject:Another quiz from Roger
Time:12:03 am.
Mood: chipper.
The Earth animal I'm most like:Collapse )

People do say that about me.
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Subject:T_M Challenge: "I thought I knew you."
Time:1:08 pm.
Mood: angry.
Talk about a time you realized that someone close to you was not the person you thought you knew.

Pawn

Vir hadn’t betrayed Londo, even though a large part of him had screamed that he should if only to escape the emotional exhaustion. He hadn’t betrayed him, and for his trouble, an assault was his reward, fast and careless fingers tearing through the layers of his mind to find the secret beneath. Then, for hours afterwards, he sat under armed guard, shivering and alone, his nose running- sometimes with flecks of crimson. For hours, he sat, needing the toilet, wanting a bath, and, most of all, wanting sleep.

Sleep had come later thanks to Londo and two pills- twenty standard hours of sweaty, restless, nightmare-ridden sleep. Only when he had awoken and the drug induced fog had cleared from his mind did it register that Londo had had the pills in his quarters already. He had known before Vir had told him.

When the pieces of the plan were finally laid out before Vir, it took awhile before confusion gave way to anger- and it took longer still before Londo noticed.

And when he did, he didn’t understand.

Londo knew Vir. He had predicted- correctly- that Vir wouldn’t betray his family- wouldn’t betray him- unless he were forced to do so- and he exploited that knowledge. Vir had given Londo his loyalty, and Londo had used it as a game piece.

Clearing his kitchen, Vir came across a bottle of brivari- 2213, a good vintage. And, with one glance at his open luggage, he decided to get drunk.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Subject:Oh, I have some of his vids!
Time:6:25 pm.
Mood: awake.
Jimmy Stewart
You scored 7% Tough, 0% Roguish, 76% Friendly, and 19% Charming!
You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.





My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:


free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 3% on Tough

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Roguish

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Friendly

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 18% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating


And I suppose this oracle isn't wrong. Except... nutty?

[OOC: Hah! I knew Vir would get this answer even before I took the test. *g*]
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, August 7th, 2005

Subject:Greatest Strength
Time:10:53 am.
Mood: nervous.
What is your greatest strength?

Author's Note: This vignette- an old snippet from my Notebook of Fic-Like Stuff- takes place in late 2257, after Vir learns of his assignment to Babylon 5.

Departures

The Centauri sun hung low on the horizon, coloring the thinly spun web of clouds that stretched across the sky a brilliant shade of pink. An evening breeze whistled through the trees, cooling Vir Cotto’s face with a gentle caress. He closed his eyes, breathing in the smell of mud and linfra and river reeds, knowing that it was probably that smell he would miss the most.

"I'm not sure I want to leave," he said softly.

Ugo, the gardener, paused in his shoveling and replied with typical simplicity: "Then don't."

Vir flashed the old man a startled look. "I-I-I don't mean..." he stammered. "I mean, I suppose I've always wanted to see what's out there." His gesture took in the darkening sky. "You know... to find out more about the Humans and the Minbari and everyone else. But I never really thought about how it would feel to leave home. And maybe... maybe I didn't quite imagine that this is how I would get the chance." Vir stared at the flower resting in his open palm, running one finger over the silky petals and watching them change color at his touch. "They don't want me," he said, and he finally permitted himself to feel the sadness behind those words.

Ugo put down his shovel, his expression taking on a serious cast. "Vir," he began, and Vir was surprised once again. In all the years that Vir had known him, Ugo had addressed him as "young mister Cotto." Not once- until now- had he ever broken that convention. "You are a good boy. You mean well. But if you want to be a good man, you must be willing to fight on your own behalf.

"Some men are deserving of your respect and obedience, Vir. And some," and here Ugo cast a disapproving look at the estate, "are not. The challenge is in learning to tell the difference.

Vir didn't know quite what to say to that. He didn't know why Ugo was saying this to him in the first place. Ugo, however, seemed untroubled that Vir did not reply. Plunking his shovel into the dirt, he mused, "I suppose that will have to stand as my final piece of advice to you, young Mr. Cotto. Make of it what you will."

"Final? But we'll see each other again. I can-"

Ugo held up his gnarled hand and Vir fell silent. "I am old and I am tired. And when I look into the mirror these recent mornings, I see the old man of my dream reflected back. I strongly suspect that my death is not far off." Vir broke eye contact, and off of that reaction, Ugo continued: "It's not a tragedy, Vir. I have lived a long and full life- thanks in part to your company."

Blinking back sudden tears, Vir stood and launched himself at Ugo, trapping him in a tight hug. The force and weight behind it was so great, in fact, that Vir nearly sent both of them into a nearby stream. "I'll miss you," he whispered fiercly, trying not to cry.

Ugo stumbled as he sought to restore his center of gravity, then awkwardly returned the embrace. When he finally pulled away, he smiled fondly at Vir. "You are still the same boy who drove me mad saving the lives of all our garden pests." Ugo rested a hand on Vir's chest. "Despite what your uncle might say, this is your greatest strength. Don't ever let anyone or anything change that part of you."

His lower lip quivering a little, Vir hugged Ugo again, tighter than before.

It was indeed the last time they ever spoke.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Subject:My Favorite Time of Day
Time:4:46 pm.
Mood: contemplative.
What is your favorite time of day? Why?

This is somewhat difficult to decide. I’m really not sure I have just one answer.

On the one hand, there is something to be said for the evening, when all our daily obligations have been settled. In the evening, I sometimes accompany Londo to the Humans' cocktail hour. I don’t usually drink, but the conversation is good- and watching Londo smile and laugh is even better. He’s always much happier when he has the chance to entertain a crowd.

In the evening, cocktail hour or not, Londo and I almost always share supper together. Most of the time, I prepare it myself, which I find a pleasant, distracting challenge. Then, depending on who might be visiting the station on a particular night, we may take in a show, which usually leads to a discussion, which usually leads to Londo teasing me, which I don’t mind at all. In fact, I miss all of that when he’s away.

In the evening, I always bathe. Londo’s hand is in this too. He was the one who negotiated with the other diplomatic delegations to buy their unused water rations. He’s also given me oils and soaps and other things as gifts. For my first few years on the station, I lived without a bath, and I survived, certainly. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t fully enjoy the opportunity now. Back home, of course, I could stay in the bath for far longer, replenishing when the water grew cold. Still, even here, I stay until my fingers wrinkle and the bubbles disappear. I like closing my eyes and just breathing in the scent of the soap and the oil and the steam, letting all my muscles loosen after a long day.

In the evening, after washing, I wiggle into my nightclothes and curl up under my sheets, which is always a wonderful sensation when I’m tired. Sometimes, for a little while, I lie awake reading, though if I do go to bed with a book, I almost always fall asleep mid-sentence, the book still on my chest.

At least, that’s how my evenings go on normal, relatively quiet days. On normal days, perhaps I do like the evenings the most.

Lately, though, I’m afraid normal days have become not quite so normal. Lately, I’ve started to appreciate the morning.

I usually rise between 05:00 and 06:00 Standard, which is a little earlier than needed most days, but gives me time for a sort of personal ritual that I’ve made a daily habit since the war. Every morning, after I’ve dressed for the day, I go for a walk. I visit the gardens and sit for a time, listening to the cycling of the hydroponics systems, the whir of the passing central transport tube- all the sounds of the station waking up. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I see a crop of flowers bloom, or smell a newly ripe crop of fruit. Maybe it seems strange to some of you, but all of this helps to remind me that we are still here- that life goes on and that a lot of it is amazing and good.

Then, after the gardens, I go to the Sanctuary alone to look for our star. Looking for home reminds me why I’m here and who I serve. But seeing our star as one among many also reminds me that we are not alone in the universe. That all of us came from the stars. That there are mysteries and dangers out there that are better faced when we have allies. That we rise and fall together and that together, we are strong.

Finally, from an observation port, I watch the sunrise on Epsilon 3. Sunrise in space is starker, but still beautiful in its way. It still helps me to remember that every day begins in hope and promise. And when things are especially bad, that hope can make a lot of difference. When things are difficult, morning means new beginnings, new chances, new opportunities to make things right.

When there is trouble, I think I like mornings the most.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Subject:Cranberries?
Time:10:36 pm.
Mood: confused.
Roger finds the strangest oraclesCollapse )

Pajamas can be nice, depending. But a whole day devoted to them? Maybe this oracle is very fond of sleeping. I mean, it appears to enjoy weekends too.

I can't really object to the dancers- but I would never pretend at godhood. Great Maker.
Comments: Read 49 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

Subject:I'm posting this question from Roger because there seems to be a rule.
Time:12:48 am.
Mood: tentative.
If you woke up and I was in bed with you, what would be your first thought?
Post your reply, then post this in your LJ and find out what my answer would
be.
Comments: Read 122 orAdd Your Own.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2005

Subject:Cookie-Baking Soccer Centauri (locked to rogersmith_bigo)
Time:10:36 pm.
Mood: chipper.
Chocolate chip cookies- that seems like a good place to start. The recipe is simple, and the result is something many Humans enjoy. At least, that's been Vir's experience.

The ingredients arranged, Vir waits for Roger to arrive.
Comments: Read 165 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Subject:From Roger:
Time:11:21 pm.
Mood: contemplative.
Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me. It can only be one word.

No more.

Then copy & paste this in your journal so that I may leave a word about you.
Comments: Read 26 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:TM Catch-Up: Loneliness
Time:12:04 am.
Mood: hopeful.
When in your life did you feel the most alone?

Historian’s Note: The following is an entry found in The Chronicles of Vir Cotto. Commentary regarding other accounts of the events mentioned by Cotto I below- including the equally personal account written by Mollari II- can be found in Appendix A.

“Tell me again how you saved the world.”

Many times in the past several years, Luc Deradi, former ward of House Mollari and now a ward of my own house, has demanded the story of the Legions of Fire from me- and I have told him, to the best of my ability, all that I believe a boy of his age should know. As you might expect, as time has gone by and Luc has gotten older, his questions have changed- and along with them, the story itself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been truly aware of how close to manhood Luc is now until he asked me tonight: “Were you ever lonely?”

“Yes,” I finally said quietly after a long moment of thought. Then I sighed. “I will tell you the truth, Luc- I never wanted to be a hero. And if the Great Maker spares you from that sort of destiny, no one will be happier than me. In my life, I’ve been lonely many times- but I was never lonelier than I was in those years before the defeat of the Drakh.”

Sitting here now, I still remember an empty corridor in the dungeons of the palace.

I did not yet know what exactly Londo had sacrificed for all of us. I didn’t know the true shape of things. All I really had to go on were the whispers of wizards who warned that an evil was taking root in the Centauri Republic and that the man I counted as my dearest friend was at the center of it all somehow. They told me to go to Londo, arming me only with alcohol and a mysterious name- and I went because I believed then that I had very little left to lose.

Londo imprisoned me for one night. I was unconscious for all but the final few hours, but those few hours were enough to make an impression. “Maybe you remember, or maybe you were too young,” I told Luc, “but a short time after my coronation, I arranged for our dungeons to be cleaned and cleared of vermin and for the manacles to be removed. I wrote the order for humanitarian reasons for the most part, but… but I have to admit, my memory of the smell did put the issue into sharper focus.”

“And your time in that cell… that was when you felt the loneliest?” Luc asked, patiently steering his rambling emperor back on track.

“I was confused. I was scared. But I didn’t feel truly lonely until Londo came to release me and told me to keep my distance. I don’t think he ever truly believed that I would honor that request, but… but he still wanted to protect me. He told me to return to Babylon 5 and keep my head out of the line of fire. I told him I couldn’t do that. And then… and then Londo left me alone.”

And, my head still aching from the force of Londo’s blow the night before, I stepped into the corridor more terrified of my future- more uncertain that I would ever know Londo as a friend again- than I had ever been before.

“I felt lonely during my youth,” I said. “I often felt lonely during the worst days of the Great War. I felt lonely days before, when I learned that…” In my hesitation, I felt a familiar ache in the center of my chest. “When I learned that the woman I believed to be my beloved had been betraying me all along. Loneliness had never been a stranger to me, but… but my loneliness had never been more complete than it was in that empty hall, Luc, as I walked out to meet the strange and twisted destiny that awaited me. Because this time, I feared Londo, my best friend, couldn’t come with me. Because I feared we would not be able to face this great evil together, as we had faced evil before. Because I feared Londo would truly become my enemy at last.”

“But you were wrong,” Luc pointed out, and I smiled sadly.

“You’re right. And that’s the hope in this story. That was the hope in Londo Mollari. And even with everything he did… we should never forget that there was that fragile hope in the end.”

Londo was, in some ways, a lot stronger than many gave him credit for.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Subject:TM Catch-Up: Heart's Desire/Trading Lives
Time:11:26 pm.
Note: The point of view I’ve chosen to take for this ficlet is somewhat… different. You’ll see what I mean. ;)

Additionally, this ficlet stands as a joint answer to the following two questions:

If you could trade lives with one person for a day, who would it be, and what would you do?

and


Think about something you once wanted so badly but never acquired. Write about how you think your life would’ve been different if you had received what your heart desired.

Transference

I am an anthropologist- an historian. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the Narn followers of the prophet G’Kar. I have spent the better part of the past ten years studying the Narn and Centauri both. They are tied together, these civilizations. I discovered very early on that one could not study one without being led to the other. The existing records on the personal life of the Centauri emperor who reigned immediately before the Restoration even point to a possible sexual relationship with the Narn’s greatest prophet- but I learned quickly never to mention such possibilities aloud in the field.

You have asked me, Nathan, to describe my most moving experience in the past decade. I will tell you of a Centauri girl I met very early in my career- a member of a sect which reveres Cotto I, the first emperor of the Restoration, as a god of love.

One night, as I sat gazing at the stars on the banks of the Edro River, I asked the young Liliana, who had always been patient with my naiveté and endless questions, to explain to me why the Centauri had two deities in their pantheon who represented the concept of love. Liliana smiled, leaned back amidst the river reeds, and said:

“There is a legend among our people that may help you to understand.”

As Liliana’s people tell it, two thousand years ago, when the god Vir Cotto lived in flesh and blood, he discovered that Emperor Mollari, his mentor and the calling of his heart, had been possessed by a demon. On the night of his discovery, as he wept for the soul of his greatest friend, he was visited by the goddess Alur.

Cotto, who was uncertain in his belief- and even more uncertain that he was deserving- sank to the floor in confusion and awe. And Alur told him that the gods had seen his suffering and had grieved for it- but had also rejoiced, for it was clear that Cotto was profoundly brave and profoundly kind.

On that night, the goddess Alur offered Cotto his heart’s desire. “Whatever you ask, we shall grant, for we have seen the true nature of your soul and know that it is good.”

Cotto wiped his eyes, bowed his head, and said: “There is only one thing I truly desire. I wish to swallow my friend’s demon into myself and leave him to his freedom.”

“What you ask,” Alur replied, “is an honorable sacrifice, but it is one we cannot give for more than the time between sunrises. His future and yours have been written in the stars and cannot be altered. But if this is truly your desire, go to your friend after the morning meal and grant him his freedom for the one day we can provide.”

The following morning, Cotto came to the palace and asked for an audience with the emperor. Seized with terror of the demon’s retribution, Mollari refused Cotto entry that morning and the following four mornings thereafter. But Cotto did not relent, and in time, the strength of his devotion was rewarded.

When he entered the throne room on the sixth morning, Cotto looked upon his friend and almost cried in despair for his new knowledge. But holding firmly to his purpose, he approached Mollari until he could touch the brocade of his ceremonial white.

“Your burdens are grave,” Cotto said, “and I cannot carry them for you. But I can grant you a reprieve for a time, however brief. Use it, my dear friend.”

Cotto touched his forehead to Mollari’s, and in a flash of brilliant light, he felt himself change. He felt the ache of his friend’s joints and the heaviness of his chest. He felt the cruel presence of the demon. And at once, he felt pain, for the imprisoned Mollari had escaped and the demon was wroth. Mollari stared at him in horror through Cotto’s own eyes and begged him to reconsider.

“The gods will carry me as I have pledged to carry you for the remainder of my days,” Cotto gasped. “Go now and be free.”

“And until the next sunrise,” Liliana finished that night among the reeds, “Cotto bore his friend’s burden through a transference of souls- and the gods themselves guarded the lives of both, holding the demon at bay.” Then she sat up and looked me in the eye. “There are many different kinds of love, Dr. Wallace. One day, I should also tell you the story of the eye of Li.”

I had many questions then. I wondered, for instance, why, if this legend carried with it the hint of truth, Mollari did not take such an opportunity to strike at the Drakh and end the terrible Dark Age. But something in Liliana’s eyes stilled my tongue.

As scholars, Nathan, we have a duty to the truth of things. But we must never forget the power of legends to inspire. Two years later, I learned that Liliana had died in a shuttle accident- that she had offered her seat in a lifepod to someone else.
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Monday, May 9th, 2005

Subject:This personality oracle isn't very polite.
Time:9:23 pm.
Mood: calm.
But no, no, it didn't make me cry.Collapse )
Comments: Read 11 orAdd Your Own.

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