- 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.
A Minbari Not Born of Minbari
"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 and Ulkesh. 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. 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.
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 trace his lineage back in any Minbari line and did not 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.
Shamed by Valen's decisive actions, the Minbari elders allow him to re-organise them. 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.
Driving Out The Darkness
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.
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.
After the war, Valen recognizes a danger in allowing the Anla'shok to remain as such an effective fighting force without an enemy to fight, where the wrong person as their leader could turn a restless and dissatisfied group into an army for conquest and power. Rather than disband the Rangers, as he believed that without the unifying symbol of the Anla'shok, the Minbari military might once again become a collection of warring clan factions and because he knew the Shadows would return again some day, 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.
Valen eventually finds Catherine Sakai, his marriage to her causing a scandal as she was an alien so they and their children leave Minbar to escape persecution. 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 with orders that they be locked away in the Council's archives until a specific date, over nine hundred years 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.
Babylon 4 was later taken, in secret, to a place of rest where it became 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".
After living well over a hundred years, Valen's death would remain shrouded in mystery, his body never found and the Minbari always speak of him having "travelled beyond" rather than dying, with some believing that he will return to them someday. Members of the Third Fane of Chudomo begin a tradition of setting aside one piece of flarn (a recipe Valen himself is credited with creating) before their meals, in the memory of Valen, in the place that is set aside for his return.
His descendants would later returned to Minbar in secret (with help from some of the Grey Council) and introduced human DNA into the Minbari gene pool. 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 But, after a thousand years and many generations, they eventually lost track of these hybrids and now the number of Valen's descendants can not be counted. Delenn of Mir would one day be among them.
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.
Over the following 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. His prophecies and letters 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. He is therefore also credited for being one of the founders of the Interstellar Alliance.
- 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.
"It was a typo; that name shouldn't have been in the message, it slipped past."
- – JMS post on CIS, 4/14/1998
- In Valen's Name
- And the Sky Full of Stars
- JMS post on CIS - 5/22/1996 7:21:00 PM
- JMS post on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated - 6/7/1994
- To Dream in the City of Sorrows
- The Gathering-Kosh identifies the fake Sinclair as Entil'zha Valen, belying knowledge he met Sinclair before his transformation
- 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'
- War Without End, Part I
- War Without End, Part II
- JMS post on AOL - 5/29/1996 9:07:00 PM
- JMS post on CIS - 9/2/1996 12:51:00 PM
- To Dream in the City of Sorrows
- Ceremonies of Light and Dark - Lennier recited Valen's prophecy RE: reuniting with the other half of their soul
- In the Beginning - Dukhat and Lennon described Valen's prophecy RE: the return of the Shadows and the Rangers
- To Dream in the City of Sorrows- Sinclair/Valen's letter is a note of thanks to Marcus from him and Catherine
- In the Beginning
- Babylon Squared
- Dining on Babylon 5
- Confessions and Lamentations
- JMS post on CIS - 4/14/1998 4:27:00 AM
- The Official Babylon 5 Magazine - Vol 2, Issue #2 (August 1998) - Page 12