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Mark of Darkness



By the next morning Vance had already adjusted to the shorter days on Minbar. A hundred different exercises on a hundred different planets with EarthForce made it easy for him to acclimatise. Most of the other human recruits weren't finding it quite as easy. A Minbari day lasted only twenty hours and forty-seven minutes, which meant on average the Minbari needed only five hours of sleep to perform for the rest of the day. Most of the humans appeared to enjoy around eight hours on average - many of them exhibiting the profound desire to indulge in much more. Over the next few days, Vance predicted, five hours would be a luxury.

As the day before, morning found the robed figure slowly proceeding through their dorm, ringing his bell. Vance's night on the forty-five-degree bed proved slightly more peaceful. He rose and, with his fellow trainees, gave praise to Valen in the usual way. This time, though, they did not proceed straight to breakfast. Instead, Turval waited for them in the hall of meditation.

Instinctively the Minbari recruits took positions in front of the senior Ranger, with the human recruits following suit. When all was silent, Turval gave a fatherly smile, surveying the initiates before him. 'You have now experienced a small taste of the rigors and breadth of Anla'shok training. The Anla'shok Na deems this knowledge very im portant. You need to know what will be required of you in the coming weeks.'

Vance found the title "Anla'shok Na" strange when used to describe a man like Sinclair. Meeting the man had opened his eyes to how down-to-earth he was. Such an alien and reverential title didn't seem to fit.

'Now your training will truly begin,' continued Turval. 'You will be required to reflect, for a time, on the life you leave
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