He was on the way to Babylon 5, heading towards his mission to stop Delenn's inauguration as Entil'Zha. It had been a direct order from his Caste leader and since he had lost much of his influence and also some of his supporters after Delenn had broken the Grey Council, he was in no position to decline even such a mission.
There was still much animosity and discontent among the Warrior Caste concerning the Religious Caste, and it had been there since the war against the Humans had started. It had even existed before the war, but that had been just the usual squabbles compared to the anger that now existed. At first, his Caste had been angry because the War against Earth had been declared, and yet the Religious Caste had refused to cede the leadership of their people to the Warrior Caste, as had been their law since time immemorial. The Religious Caste led during times of peace, but the Warrior Caste led during times of war, and Delenn, the Satai that should have never been, had broken that covenant by taking up her late mentor's Staff instead of passing it to a Warrior Caste Satai.
Then the war had started in earnest and they had faced the most losses from all the Castes, with each new ground assault on Earth's colonies bringing greater and greater losses, and with them came greater and greater rage against the Humans because of those losses. If that had not been enough, Sheridan Star Killer had come onto the scene and the Drala'Fi had died, and the best and brightest of their Caste had died with her. Their future had died with her. And at the threshold of their greatest victory of the War and the final vengeance for their collective dead, they were ordered to surrender without explanation. They had been ordered to leave their dead unavenged and forced to disavow their own code of honour by leaving holy vows unfulfilled.
And the hate almost instantly transferred from the Humans to the Religious Caste in general and Delenn in particular. Then came the horror of the announcement of "Id'Minbari" to the Caste's leadership! After all the slaughter, after all the horror, after all the dead on both sides of that most lamented war, the Religious Caste fools had laid *THAT* unforgivable sin upon their souls! Why had they not spoken up before? Why had they not told them of the Vorlons' admonishments? Why had they cast the entire Caste into such an eternal perdition? And how could they ever think that the Caste could accept such a thing - that they had murdered their own wholesale - and simply shrug it off?
After that, the only thing that had been keeping Delenn alive had been Valen's Ban, especially after she defied the Council that final time and turned herself into a hybrid monstrosity. But now, the Council was gone, and Valen's Laws with it. The ancient laws were now in place and Delenn just might be forced to reap the whorl wind of her own actions, especially if Shakiri had his way.
The war had been begun by a lowly acolyte who had been prematurely elevated to Satai and had had the deciding voice on the council! Then she had done everything possible to humiliate his Caste. No wonder the Warrior Caste as a whole - and Shakiri in particular - thought it enough. There was just too much damage that Delenn had been responsible for concerning their whole people. Her decisions hardly proved reasonable most of the time. Her becoming Entil'Zha just placed power in the wrong hands again, Military power at that. This was a direct threat to the entire balance invoked by Valen in and off itself, never mind the fact that Delenn was breaking their ancient laws of governance during times of war yet again.
Therefore, he wasn't entirely against this mission but he had strong suspicions that Shakiri's "stop her by any means necessary" meant something different in Shakiri's book than in his own. Minbari didn't kill Minbari and he would make sure that he found another way. He had strong doubts about Shakiri's plans whatever they were. He had the impression that Shakiri wanted the position of Entil'Zha for himself and Neroon considered this just as wrong as Delenn attaining the position.
There should be a meeting of all the Clans to discuss the leadership of the Anla'shok. Even if Valen himself had nominated Delenn, Neroon still wasn't sure if that was really a reasonable decision. It didn't really matter that his friend Rathenn, and fellow Satai, had been the one to actually suggest Delenn as new leader of the Anla'shok, he still had his qualms about this particular decision. Since Delenn had broken the Grey Council, which had been installed by Valen himself, then why should they accept someone such as that regaining any measure of power? He also knew that he had to be careful around Shakiri, this man was a power-hungry parvenu.
Once he reached the Epsilon Eridani System, he found Shakiri's contact was already waiting for him. Neroon docked his shuttle in the hangar of the of the ship and so travelled unrecognized with the merchant ship. He was able to enter Babylon 5 equally unnoticed. It was sheer coincidence that he encountered Delenn as he passed by on his way to his hiding spot.
Like every time he met her in person before, he recognized her on a subconscious, ancient level. Even if he didn't really see eye to eye with her and almost never was of the same opinion he still respected her, because in her heart Delenn was also a fighter, maybe not a warrior, but just a fierce! And because he respected her, he showed himself to her and gave her fair warning. He was almost glad when Lennier suddenly appeared and he was forced to vanish. He didn't know what else he might have said to Delenn.
Quickly, Neroon rushed to his hiding spot. It was the plan that he interrupt the ceremony and invoke the rights to be heard as a Clan leader. If this did not help… He was sure that Shakiri had meant for Neroon to kill Delenn if necessary. If this was so, then should Shakiri ever find out about him warning Delenn he would be dead, maybe not physically, but certainly politically and personally. He would be forced into exile.
Then why had he just given Delenn a chance to prepare protection for herself? With this warning, he almost made sure that his mission would fail. Did he really intend for his mission to fail? He considered it wrong that Delenn should lead the Rangers. And yet, Rathenn's decisions had always been sound. Neroon could always understand Rathenn's reasoning even if they had different interests at heart, and Rathenn had never, ever done something just for personal gain. He always had the greater picture in mind. Maybe Rathenn saw something he didn't? If so, then what was it?
For as long as he waited for the ceremony to start he couldn't find a solution to the Delenn issue. Therefore, when he left his hiding spot, he was still deeply in thought and was stopped in his tracks by a Human suddenly appearing. It was a Human Ranger who obviously was sent to stop him, and `by any means necessary' as well. Oh, but what a sneaky solution! Neroon had to compliment whoever planned this. Whoever lost in this encounter, Neroon didn't suppose it would be himself, would not fall under Valen's laws, there would be no retribution to be feared on Minbar.
Then the Human had the impudence to invoke the ancient combat ritual of Den'shah. Did the Human even know what that entailed? Did he know that it was also a ritual and didn't actually have to mean physical death? That he himself had once invoked Den'shah to get divorced?
Neroon certainly knew that a mere Human wouldn't stop him; he knew their weaknesses too well. He gave the Human a way out but obviously he would not be deterred. So, in the end he acknowledged the Den'shah and they fought. He had to admit that the Human was better than he had expected, although he should have known what level of skill he would face when he learned that Durhan had taught this Anla'shok as well.
Then he fought in earnest and used all his strength and skill to end the encounter and still get to the place of the ceremony in time. Of course, he succeeded, although not as easily as he had wanted. And when he was about to execute the last symbolic blow because Marcus had stated that he was prepared to die for Delenn, he had looked deeply into the other man's eyes. He realized two things at that moment. First, he realized that this Ranger and probably others would die for Delenn but not for him, and certainly never for Shakiri. Then, and most shockingly of all, he realized that he recognized the other man's soul.
* * *
Neroon had literally fled the place of the Den'shah and had run to the place of the ceremony, even though he knew that it was too late now, that he couldn't and wouldn't stop Delenn from becoming Entzil'Zha. None of the Warrior Caste had the personal connection with the Rangers that Delenn had. She was already their leader. Grudgingly he acknowledged her position, but not without letting her know that it was at the cost of blood. He knew it was vindictive of him. He knew that Delenn never dealt well with sacrifices of others. Unfortunately for her, she would have to get used to it if she wanted to lead a military force. Then he had simply left.
Now he had time to think again. He had recognized a Minbari soul in a Human. And he knew this soul. Intimately. They had spent several lifetimes together.
Even if one was reborn again, one never repeated the same "life" twice, and yet the same souls always were drawn together again. But only within a cycle of life, they never recognized each other when they were in the place between lives. It was in this way that had he recognized the other warrior for what he was to him.
But he had seen no recognition from the other. The other was now Human in body and Neroon didn't really understand why. Although he was Satai and knew the secret about Valen and the Id'minbari, he couldn’t grasp what the meaning was of this soul being a Human without any knowledge of who he was before. How could they be led together but only one of them realizing the truth? And why did this have to happen now? Didn't he already have enough problems on his hand?
He knew that this situation would only get more complicated because it was clear to him that he couldn't stay away from this Human carrying the soul of his forever beloved. Even now, when all was at such loose ends, he couldn't stay away. He was on his way to Babylon 5's medlab. He had to see and talk to this man again, maybe for the last time. They both were warriors and warriors' lives tended to be short in times of crises.
After he got past Delenn he entered the room and saw for the first time what he had inflicted on the other man, on Marcus. He held himself rigidly under control, his hands tightly clasped behind his back because he wanted to shake some sense into the Ranger. He wanted him to open his eyes and *see*. But outwardly he was calm as he spoke of the other things he had been made aware of during their fight, of his own symbolic death during their Den'shah. He wasn't sure if the Human was even conscious enough to hear him and when there was no reaction, he turned to leave.
Then the Human started to talk, barely audible, but what he said! There definitely was a Minbari kind of humour in this man! And then Neroon laughed in relief and thought that maybe not all hope was lost. Maybe on some level there was a connection between them and he would take what he could. New and exciting possibilities were being offered and maybe that was the reason behind all this past heartache. Maybe that was the greater plan of the universe. Still laughing in joy from the depth of his heart, from his deepest soul, Neroon still held himself tightly in check because now he would have liked to embrace the man before him and never let go. There was hope in more ways than one now. Somehow Marcus had opened his eyes for new possibilities.