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 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.


A Minbari Not Born of Minbari

Jeffrey Sinclair arrived with Babylon 4 from the time rift, emerges from his chrysalis as a half-Minbari. It is worth noting that Jeffery Sinclair's transformation seems to have been the opposite of Delenn's. More specifically, he resembles a Minbari cosmetically but he may still have a human biological makeup. This is further supported when Delenn states that Valen's children had to flee from persecution. Upon completing the transformation, he sends out a signal. The Vorlons arrive first, followed shortly by a Minbari refugee fleet. The fleet had been on the run ever since the death of their leaders and the destruction of their greatest starbase; the center for their war efforts.[6] Their ships damaged, scattered and cut off, unable to find a safe port as all other races had been turned against them and unwilling to return to Minbar for fear of leading the Shadows back to their homeworld. They had almost given up hope when, with a blinding flash, an answer to their prayers arrived. A boarding party is sent and they are met by Zathras who takes them to Sinclair. Flanked by two Vorlons, he introduces himself as Valen and says they have much work ahead of them.[7][8][9][1]

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 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. [10]

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.[1][10]

Driving Out The Darkness

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 a pair of Vorlons, 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.[11][12]

Among those to witness the event fist 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.[10]

Valen's Legacy

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.[10]

Valen eventually finds Catherine Sakai, leading to a great scandal. After Valen's death, his children were forced to flee Minbar from those that would persecute them.[1][13] Before going to the sea and leaving Minbar for the last time, Valen left behind a series of sealed boxes containing letters addressed to himself and Delenn 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 he had received from Epsilon III, which are kept as the Minbari's most holy relics.[6][14][15] 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]

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.[3] 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.[16][17]

Back on Minbar, Tuzanor, where Valen had made his home continues to spoken of as Valen's favorite place on all of Minbar and support for the Anla'shok among the people of Tuzanor was stronger than anywhere else on the planet.[10] His descendants eventually return to Minbar and have families of their own, carrying with them the human DNA of Valen and passing it on to the Minbari genome. After a thousand years and many generations, the number of Valen's descendants could not be counted. Delenn of Mir would one day be among them.[13]

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.[10]


  • 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.[18][19]

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

JMS post on CIS, 4/14/1998


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