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spreading across our world. They are the ones who will bring the fire. They are the ones who will bring the pain.

"I do not know who they are," she said, "I know only that they are. And that they are here." Londo said nothing, knowing with cold certainty how close her words were to the truth, that the Drakh had once served an advanced race known only as the Shadows, gone now, but who left behind their weapons and their servants and their allies.

Pieces of Shadows indeed. Slowly he realized that this was not just a hit-and-miss prophetess, guarding her words or disguising them in metaphor and imagery. She was, as the Humans said, the Real Deal. And she knew things that the Drakh would not want her or anyone else to know.

An instant later, from the Keeper on his shoulder came a whisper that slipped into the back of his thoughts, instructions relayed from the Drakh in the capital city who monitored the Keeper as it monitored Londo.

The girl must die, the Keeper whispered, and Londo's blood ran cold in his veins.

Do it yourself if you have to, the whisper continued, but it must be done before she can take up her position.

Before she can speak with authority, and betray our presence.

She must die.



* * *



The rest of the day's ride was conducted in an uneasy silence punctuated only by occasional polite comments. Where Shiri had been the one to avoid his gaze, now Londo did the same, knowing what he knew. His thoughts raced back and forth between two poles: If he had to do as the Drakh instructed, how could he ensure her death without compromising himself or revealing their intentions?

And, deeper in his thoughts, where he hoped the Drakh could not find it, how could he avoid having to kill her?

He was grateful for the interlude when they
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