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Valen has other uses. Please see Valen (disambiguation) for other meanings.


"Will you follow me into fire? Into storm? Into darkness? Into death?"

Valen to the Nine


Valen, a Minbari not born of Minbari, was the most significant figure in Minbari history. Appearing mysteriously in the midst of the First Shadow War, aboard a powerful new battle station, he is credited with uniting the fractured Minbari Castes and leading them to victory against the Shadows.

He is also known as the founder and first leader of both the Grey Council and the Anla'Shok. Moreover, Valen's actions laid the groundwork for the founding of the Interstellar Alliance a millennium later.

HistoryEdit

A Minbari Not Born of MinbariEdit

"Lennier told you that a thousand years ago, Human and Minbari souls began to merge. Minbari souls were being born in Human bodies. Something happened that opened that door between us. My change was in part to even the scales and restore balance between our races using the device my people discovered a thousand years ago. You see, if my people had found Babylon 4 with a Human aboard, they would never have accepted it."

"Dear God. A Minbari not born of Minbari.
"

Delenn and Marcus Cole


When Babylon 4 arrived in 1260, Jeffrey Sinclair destroyed the letter he wrote to himself in 1360 to prevent the slim possibility of future information falling into the hands of the Shadows or their allies. He sent a message to the Vorlon Empire, to the two Vorlons he knew well enough in the future, Kosh[6] and Ulkesh[7]. They alone came to the station first. Proving who he was and when he was from without giving too much of the future away, he enlists their help. Using the Triluminary and the Chrysalis Device, he then transforms himself into Valen, taking on the appearance of a Minbari.

After his transformation, Valen contacts the Minbari. Ever since the death of their leaders and the destruction of their greatest starbase, the Minbari fleet had been on the run.[8] Their ships were damaged, scattered, and cut off; they were unable to find a safe port as all other races had been turned against them, and they could not return to Minbar for fear of leading the Shadows back to their homeworld.

Receiving a signal they follow it back to its source, Babylon 4. A boarding party is sent and they are met by Zathras who takes them to Sinclair. Flanked by the two Vorlons, he introduces himself as Valen and says they have much work ahead of them.[9][10][11][1]

Valen & Vorlons

Valen, accompanied by two Vorlons, offers the Minbari a new hope.

Seeing Valen and his station as an answer to their prayers, the Minbari quickly rally around him and adopt the station as their new base. The Minbari were curious where Valen had come from, but were unable to find any record of him anywhere. He himself offered no answers when asked directly and most did not dare press the issue with him, hence he would often be said to be "A Minbari not born of Minbari."

Valen first attempts to unite the Minbari Castes, but they begin to quarrel amongst themselves again, refusing to bend. Valen turns his back on them and creates the Anla'Shok: a new army that recognises no caste lines and operates outside of the uncooperative castes and they in turn call him "Entil'Zha."

Valen constructs their base and training compound in the foothills of the northern mountain range on a wide plateau that overlooked the city of Tuzanor. It was said, that Valen wanted the Rangers to train for battle, where they would also be able to see the sacred city, over the objections of some elements in the warrior caste, who protested that good soldiers couldn't be created in a place of peace.[12]

Driving Out The DarknessEdit

Barrken

Ramde Zarwin teaches Valen in the use of a Barrken

Seeking allies, Valen called many races to his cause, gathering them on Minbar where, just outside of the city of Tuzanor, at the peak of Mount H'Leya and accompanied by Kosh and Ulkesh, he gave what would become known as his holy "Times to come" speech. He prophesies the defeat of the Shadows and that they will return in a thousand years; That the Anla'Shok will arise and be instrumental in that coming war against their ancient enemy, in which the Minbari would unite with the other half of their soul.[13][14]

Among those to witness the event first hand was the Tak'cha Ramde Zarwin who became one of Valen's very first non-Minbari followers. The Yolu decline to join Valen's cause, choosing to remain neutral. The Tak'cha take it upon themselves to punish them and launch a punitive assault on Pa'ri. When word reaches Valen of this atrocity he furiously expels the Tak'cha from the alliance. At some point, all Minbari records of their existence - save for those aboard the station - are expunged.[1]

Slowly the tide of battle turned in their favour and they eventually drive the Shadows out of all of their places and into hiding beneath Z'ha'dum where they enter into a form of hibernation.[12]

Later LifeEdit

Following the end of the Shadow War, and now revered as a prophet, Valen tried once again to re-organise the Minbari civilisation. Shamed by Valen's decisive actions during the war, and aware of how popular he was with the populous, the Minbari elders now allow him to have his way. He calls forth the nine, the first Grey Council consisting of three from each caste; worker, warrior and religious. Remaining outside the castes, he becomes the first Chosen One and leader of the council.[1][12]

And after Valen marriage to Catherine Sakai he and his children were forced to leave Minbar, for an unspecified period of time, to escape the subsequent persecution for marrying an alien.[1][15] While its unclear were he went, the scandal eventually blew over somehow, and he would eventually return; bringing his family with him in secret.[16]

After living well over a hundred years, Valen's death would remain shrouded in mystery. His body was never found and Minbari legend always speak of him having "travelled beyond" rather than dying.[3]

Valen's LegacyEdit

Over the centuries, many records from Valen's time are lost and not even an image of the great leader survives. As a result all depictions of him are given deliberately ambiguous features.[12] Back on Minbar, Tuzanor, where Valen had made his home continues to spoken of as Valen's favourite place on all of Minbar and support for the Anla'shok among the people of Tuzanor was stronger than anywhere else on the planet.[12] Valen is so revered in some parts of Minbari society that many Minbari believe him to be divine, and that he will return to them someday.[3]

Sometimes this is idolatry is harmless enough; members of the Third Fane of Chudomo begin a tradition of setting aside one piece of flarn (a recipe Valen himself is credited with) before their meals, in the memory of Valen, in the place that is set aside for his return.[17][18] But many of his other followers would later use his teachings, either through deliberate abuse or misunderstanding, to justify all manner of atrocities; caring more about idolising the messenger than learning his message.

The worst offenders being the Tak'cha; a primitive and savage species that Valen tried to civilise. While they took Valen's teachings to heart, they would later become fanatics, launching violent attacks against anyone who would not join them in Valen's deification. While Valen tried to put a stop to this, banished them from his presence; he had unwittingly unleashed a menace that would continue to terrorise the galaxy for centuries to come.[1]

However, not all Minbari view Valen in such a flattering light as some question or reject his teachings. Many racial supremacist, in all three Minbari casts, view his re-structuring of Minbari civilisation as depriving them of their rightful power and influence over their society.

Valen also failed in his efforts to prevent the Earth-Minbari War, due to the intervention of the Vorlon's. As a result his warnings were never delivered and history played out as it did before. Later in life he would become embittered over this; viewing himself as merely a prisoner of an endless cycle.[1]

And Valen marriage to Catherine Sakai caused a major scandal, as she was an alien so they and their children leave Minbar to escape persecution.[1][15] His children later returned to Minbar in secret after his death (with help from some of the Grey Council) and introduced human DNA into the Minbari gene pool; Delenn of Mir would one day be counted among them.[15] A chronicle of their bloodline and progeny was kept by those members of the Grey Council over the centuries in a sealed record to maintain the myth of their racial purity[19]

And after the war, Valen knew the Anla'shok could not remain a fighting force without an enemy to fight, since the wrong person as their leader could easily turn the restless and dissatisfied group into an army for conquest and power; just like the Tak'cha. Determined not to repeat his mistakes, rather than disband the Rangers - as he knew the Shadows would return again some day and, without the unifying symbol of the Anla'shok, the Minbari might once again become a collection of warring clan factions - he re-tasked the Anla'shok with a new mission.

They were to be a fighting force no more. Instead they were to become sentries and watchers, collecting information quietly on Minbar from returning travellers and friendly sources on other worlds. Keeping alive the traditions of the Anla'shok while they kept watch for any sign that the Shadows had returned. In his absence their leader would be known by one of the same titles Valen himself carried -Anla'shok Na, or "Ranger One"- but would not be Entil'Zha.[12]

Regardless of the true circumstances surrounding his death; before going to the sea and leaving Minbar for the last time, Valen left behind a series of sealed boxes containing, among other things, letters addressed to himself, Delenn and Marcus Cole[20] with orders that they be locked away in the Council's archives until a specific date, over nine hundred year hence.

He also entrusted the council with the three Triluminaries and the Chrysalis device he had received from Epsilon III, which are kept as the Minbari's most holy relics.[8][21][22] Babylon 4 is taken in secret to a place of rest to become a monument. Its crew never returned and its fate would remain a mystery for over nine hundred years. Before it leaves though, Valen leaves a final message in the hopes that one day Ivanova, Garibaldi or Delenn might find it and know, that he had finally found "her".[1]

Valen's greatest monument would be his creation of the [[Grey Council]], finally uniting the various Minbari clans and nations under one centralised government; with equal representation for the [[Warrior Caste]], [[Religious Caste]] and the [[Worker Caste]].<ref name=mot>[[Moments of Transition]]</ref> By tradition, the Grey Council even live upon a customised [[Sharlin class warcruiser]] named after him, the [[Valen'Tha]].<ref>[[The Official Guide to Babylon 5 (CD ROM)]]</ref> His prophecies and letters would later guided Delenn and indirectly helped Sheridan during the Second Shadow War. His actions provided the foundation for winning the war, and later for building the Interstellar Alliance.

NotesEdit

  • Valen's "final message" found by Delenn on the final page of 'In Valen's Name' contains a small yet very significant error. Catherine was not supposed to be mentioned as possible recipient, as the message refers to Valen finding her in the past.[23][24]

"It was a typo; that name shouldn't have been in the message, it slipped past."

JMS post on CIS, 4/14/1998


ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 In Valen's Name
  2. And the Sky Full of Stars
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 JMS post on CIS - 5/22/1996 7:21:00 PM
  4. JMS post on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated - 6/7/1994
  5. 5.0 5.1 To Dream in the City of Sorrows
  6. The Gathering- Kosh identifies the fake Sinclair as Entil'zha Valen, belying knowledge he met Sinclair before his transformation
  7. War Without End, Part I- Ulkesh was also aware of Sinclair's destiny with the statement 'He is the closed circle, he is returning to the beginning'
  8. 8.0 8.1 War Without End, Part I
  9. War Without End, Part II
  10. JMS post on AOL - 5/29/1996 9:07:00 PM
  11. JMS post on CIS - 9/2/1996 12:51:00 PM
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 To Dream in the City of Sorrows
  13. Ceremonies of Light and Dark - Lennier recited Valen's prophecy RE: reuniting with the other half of their soul
  14. In the Beginning - Dukhat and Lennon decribe Valen's prephecy RE: the return of the Shadows and the Rangers
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Atonement
  16. Atonement
  17. Dining on Babylon 5
  18. Confessions and Lamentations
  19. Atonement
  20. To Dream in the City of Sorrows- Sinclair/Valen's letter is a note of thanks to Marcus from him and Catherine
  21. In the Beginning
  22. Babylon Squared
  23. JMS post on CIS - 4/14/1998 4:27:00 AM
  24. The Official Babylon 5 Magazine - Vol 2, Issue #2 (August 1998) - Page 12
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