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Vance did not follow. He wouldn't have known what to say even if he had.

* * *

Their three days of recuperation ended with a late-night gathering on the landing pad. The floodlights were switched off, and the light from Tuzanor's spires cast an ethereal glow across the platform. The recruits lined up in three short ranks. One by one they stepped forward and faced the Anla'shok Na. To their credit, every one of them recited the Creed of the Anla'shok word for word. Vance felt no sting of nerves, no butterflies of apprehension. He felt only a sense of belonging. The words of the oath rolled off his tongue as though he had always known them, even if he didn't yet understand their full meaning.

The last of them finally recited the Creed and walked back into line. Sinclair regarded each one in turn as he had done before the Mark of Fire, only this time he did not show concern or fear. His face was flushed with pride and, for the first time since Vance had first met him, Sinclair looked hopeful.

'You are now acolytes of the Anla'shok, ready to be inducted into its mysteries. Much hard work lies ahead, but I am sure you can handle what is to come. You have proven you can get this far. Now you must prove that you are worthy to stand between the shadow and the light. Good luck to you all.'

As Sinclair left the landing pad, Vance looked across the row to either side. Flashes of pride appeared on some human faces, grim determination on others. Most of the Minbari wore contemplative expressions, as though drinking in the feeling so that they might reflect on it later. For himself, Vance hoped he would soon learn what was really being asked of him.

* * *

The next few weeks taught him more than his previous years of EarthForce training. Vance may not have improved
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