For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.
- Shakespeare, Richard II
*Cover art modified & used with permission of original image author, kitoky
An iron grip crushed Londo's windpipe, intent upon squeezing the life from his body. Mollari's hearts thumped harder, pushing with the strength of a body that wanted to live, even if the mind desired to let go. The Keeper burrowed in his shoulder screamed its outrage. He involuntarily gasped for air, his jaws moving back and forth wordlessly. Spasms wracked his body, and blackness rolled through his brain, blurring the image in front of him.
The demon on his shoulder would not give him peace, even now, at the end. It screamed wildly, tightening every sinew of his nerves. Shockwaves of pain reverberated through his brain. His nerves were on fire, but he could not scream. There was no air, no time. His knees began to give out. At last, thank the Great Maker, at last. As the Keeper's efforts increased, his own will hardened, steadfast, determined to bring this to a swift end.
A dark cloud began to descend over him, but his hands clamped onto something in front of him, and with a sickening realization, he knew it was Narn skin under his gloved fingers. His stomach wretched with convulsions as he felt his own grip growing stronger, strangling the figure in front of him: G’Kar. G’Kar the warrior, with whom he had clashed on the universe’s stage. G’Kar the philosopher, whose words he had come to admire. G’Kar, the friend who he had trusted with his life and who, at his bidding, had granted him this one final mercy.
He could feel G’Kar’s grip weakening as the dark cloud smothered his senses – his sight was vanishing, the sounds of the struggle were fading away, and his sense of touch was diminishing. His eyes burned as the numbness began to spread, starting at his extremities and working toward his hearts. But his pain ignited twin fears, stoking the realization that G’Kar might not successfully complete his task, and, equally nauseating, G’Kar himself would be sacrificed in vain. Great Maker, no! Panic and bile rose from the pit of his stomach. Mollari’s hopeless efforts to save Centauri Prime would be crushed by the Drakh and their servant buried in his shoulder – and G’Kar would pay a fatal price for his frantic request to save his Homeworld. But these flashes of thoughts did no good at all, for Londo had been relegated to the position of spectator in the grim and desperate struggle for his death.
In a final moment of clarity, he grasped that the Universe would grant him no quarter – he had desperately hoped to save the future of his beautiful Centauri Prime, but he would never know of the outcome of his efforts. The creeping darkness finally settled around his hearts, their twin efforts growing fainter and fainter until they no longer had strength to try. Mollari collapsed to the palace floor, his eyes unseeing, not even feeling the body tumble next to him. And so, knowing not of the fate of his Homeworld or his friend, he was cast into the void.