Favored Ones

Characters: The Tlhapi


It began in darkness, as it always did. Lives wheeling through cycles framed by the world that was both cradle and cage. The glittering spray of satellites and stars that defined their heavens remained distant in the night, wavering points that speared the watery vaults.

Always they reached for those bright gems that teased them, important with promises built on their own desires. Up into the warm currents, to grow free of the crushing depths. Finally up from the sea itself, but only for the night and its stars — when the world was not a place of withering white fire. Limbs labored in new ways. Minds woke with the first sparks of understanding.

And then They appeared, the very stars alive and come down from the sky, bright and cold. They spoke and taught them to speak in turn. They named what was, and promised them a place in it. They gave them the name Tlhapi and taught them how to serve.

With all that was gained, it did not matter that the first name the Tlhapi learned for Them was “Master”.

Change came quickly. The Masters strengthened them, and taught them new ways to live and think. The Tlhapi walked the stars with the Masters and learned new names for all the other races. They saw how none were lifted up as they were. The Tlhapi learned Pride on their own.

The centuries passed and the young ones grew to leave behind the cradle as the Tlhapi did. The Masters showed themselves to the others, and gave them their true names, and the Tlhapi worried. They reminded themselves that others were not as blessed. The young ones weren’t the favored, as the Tlhapi were. They would always have a place with the Vorlons.

And then the war came with the ancient enemy, as it always did. It was the way of things, and would be for all time. But something was wrong this time. The young ones would not serve as the Tlhapi did, and their words banished all the Ancients beyond the Rim. There was the darkness again, abandoned in the night.

It shouldn’t have happened. It would not happen.

There were ways, as their Masters taught them. It didn’t matter that they crossed the barriers they were ordered never to pass, built what they were forbidden to, or that they killed the younger ones in their work. It would all be set right in time. None of what they did will have ever happened… for the Vorlons would be back where they belonged.

Copyright (C) 1998 Alida Saxon. All rights reserved.

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