"I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light."
- – Grey Council greeting
The Grey Council is the ruling body of the Minbari Federation.
The nine members of the council stand in circle, their backs to the darkness and their face to the light, so as to stand in "the Grey". Being minimalists, there is no furniture in the room and the members simply stand in the beams of light. An additional lit spot is positioned in the middle of the circle where guests stand while presenting to the group. A canopy of equipment exists above the heads of the legislators that controls the lighting and can project holographic imagery for the members to see. Very little else is known of Grey Council leaders, as the Minbari are extremely secretive of such things.
The Chosen One acts as president of the group, organizing the discussions by calling on the various members, accepting guests and presenters to the group, preparing an agenda for discussion, and being the one to call and end the gathering. The only known undisputed leader since Valen was Dukhat.
Each of the councillors are served by assistants that remain outside the Council Chamber, ready to fulfill the tasks asked of their masters.
Before the formation of the council, Castes would compete for dominance over one another by seeing which of their leaders were willing to sacrifice their lives to the Starfire Wheel. The Grey Council was founded in 1260 by Valen during the First Shadow War and was composed of nine members, each given the honorific title Satai. To strike a balance between the castes, Valen called forth three from the Warrior Caste, three from the Religious Caste and three from the Worker Caste. By tradition, the Grey Council lived apart from Minbari society, rarely leaving their customized Sharlin class warcruiser, the Valen'Tha.
Upsetting the BalanceEdit
In 2259, the Grey Council elected to oust Delenn from their number, partly because she had rejected the role of leader and partly because she had undergone a transformation against their warnings. Rather than replace her with a member of the Religious Caste, they chose to bring in Alyt Neroon of the Star Riders Clan and a member of the Warrior Caste, giving that Caste a majority in the Council and upsetting the balance it had provided.
Breaking the CouncilEdit
"If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead, if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen... then the Council should be broken, as was prophesied."
- – Delenn
Valen foretold that the Council would be broken during the Second Shadow War. That event occurred in 2260, after the War had begun in full. The Grey Council had repeatedly chosen not to intervene in any of the wars or conflicts that were threatening the galaxy during the previous two years. Delenn confronted the Council about their actions, accusing them of breaking their covenant with Valen. She seized the leadership staff and snapped it in two, declaring the Council disbanded. Five of the nine members, all of whom were religious and worker, chose to follow her and the Council was broken, as was prophesied.
In 2261, members of the Warrior Caste, eager for a power grab, started a civil war which claimed lives of their fellow Minbari. That slaughter led Delenn to offer Shakiri, leader of the rebelling warriors, the surrender of the religious at an ancient gathering facility in the city of Varenni on Minbar. The facility was home to the Starfire Wheel, a powerful device used by the ancients to help determine which caste was suitable to rule.
When Shakiri arrived, Delenn challenged him to adhere to the rule set down by the ancients, whom Shakiri, at least on the surface, showed admiration for. The rule was that the leader of each caste was to enter the circle, and the caste of the one who stayed within long enough to be consumed by the beam would be allowed to rule. In this way the leadership, who had been protected during the fighting, would also have to risk their lives for their cause. While Delenn stood undaunted in the face of certain death, Shakiri entered warily and only at the prompting of Neroon, showing more fear than he would have wished to let on.As the beam's intensity grew, Shakiri fled the wheel's fury, cowering in pain from the burns he had sustained. Delenn weakened but refused to leave, contrary to what she had said she would do when she arranged the events with Lennier and Neroon, who had been secretly working with her to end the war. Neroon entered the wheel to rescue Delenn from the beam's power. Neroon reveled in the wheel's fire, and declared his conversion to the religious caste. At that moment, he called on his fellow caste members to end the war, to listen to Delenn, and to heed her wisdom. Seconds later, Neroon was vaporized.
"Today we rebuild what’s broken. Today we restore the Grey Council. I summon The Nine as Valen called them together long ago. Dhaliri of the Religious Caste, Mazetch of the Warrior Caste, Bhurlee of the Religious Caste, Shakat, the Warrior Caste. In the past it has been our tradition to seek balance; we have called three from each caste; worker, warrior, religion. Now that changes. I call forth Durlan, Katz, Zakat, Nur, and Varenn, the Worker Caste. You have forgotten the worker caste, hadn’t you. When our two sides fight they are the ones caught in the middle, forgotten, until it is their time to serve, to build, to die. They build the Temples we pray in, the ships you fight in. They look to us to guide their hands. While prayers are fleeting and wars forgotten what is built endures. They do not wish to conquer or convert, only to build the future. And now they will have that chance. The Religious Caste and the Warrior Caste will advise and council, we will serve as is proper. Religion and war must act in service of the people, not the other way around. This place… this place is reserved in memory of Neroon until the day it is taken by The One who is to come. You are the heart, the hands, and the voice of our people. Judge wisely and well. "
- – Delenn
This is pertinent to the Grey Council as it leads to how the council was reorganized. Delenn reformed the council into one of five workers, two religious, and two warriors, so that the workers would, at last, have a stake in building Minbar's future.
Known Members of Original CouncilEdit
- Kodroni: of the Religious Caste.
- Coplann: of the Warrior Caste.
- Delenn: of the Religious Caste. (Only member to ever turn down the calling of Leadership.)
- Dukhat: of the Religious Caste. (Chosen One and Leader.)
- Jenimer: of the Religious Caste. (Chosen One and Leader; Appointed in January 2259.)
- Morann: of the Warrior Caste.
- Neroon: of the Warrior Caste. (Replaced Delenn, thus violating the balance between the castes.)
- Rathenn: of the Religious Caste.
Known Members of the Reformed CouncilEdit
- Durlan of the Worker Caste.
- Katz of the Worker Caste.
- Zakat of the Worker Caste.
- Nur of the Worker Caste.
- Varenn of the Worker Caste.
- Mazetch of the Warrior Caste.
- Shakat of the Warrior Caste.
- Dhaliri of the Religious Caste.
- Bhurlee of the Religious Caste.