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Kosh recognized those flashes. He had detected one before, at the fabulists' assemblage. One of the fabulists wielded great power, and it was for him that the ship had searched. He had been a prisoner of the Shadows, and now he was freed.

As the fabulist ship rose over the city of pestilence, buildings fell to rubble, structures collapsed, vanished. There seemed no discrimination in the choice of targets. In its wake the ship left chaos.

The fabulist was destroying a stronghold of the maelstrom. And yet he was a creation of the maelstrom.

The fabulists had imposed a Code upon themselves, their attempt to fight the influence of chaos. If this fabulist truly did destroy without discrimination, then he had succumbed to the dream of the maelstrom. As it had gone with one, so it might go with others. This, at least, would be the Vorlons' argument. And again they would turn their minds to attack.

The fabulists on Babylon 5 were vulnerable. Kosh could not let the Vorlons take action against them based on fear. He must know the truth.

Kosh would place himself in the ship's path. If the fabulist did not attack, that would be evidence sufficient to placate the others. But if the fabulist had fallen to chaos, then he would attempt to destroy Kosh. And Kosh would attempt to destroy him.

Who would triumph in such a contest, Kosh did not know.

They would say he had forgotten his place. They would say beings touched by Shadows deserved no second chance. They would say he took a foolish risk.

But it was his to take.



Chapter 16



Elric stood in the customs area, his body stiff, muscles clenched. Within his skull, the cavity of darkness pushed outward, exerting an incredible pressure against the backs of his eyes, his forehead. He told himself he need
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