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whisper. "They knew this would happen. They knew it."

In the customs area, Londo's mouth hung open in horror. He too had known what was going to happen, yet he had refused to fully believe it. He would not accept who he was, and what he was, though the answer was right before him.

Vir turned to him. "Londo, what happened?" He shook Londo's arm. "What happened!"

Londo could not look away from the monitor. He seemed stunned.

"Londo, answer me!"

Londo at last looked at Vir, and Elric saw his mental defenses begin to return, protections against discovery both by others and by himself. His voice was weak, at first, but quickly gained certainty. "I don't know. A malfunction of some kind, perhaps. I was told the ship was in perfect running order."

Londo was not ready for the truth-not today, perhaps not ever. At the least, many more would have to die before he would face it.

Around Elric, several of the mages had fallen to their knees. Other passengers crowded around the window to see the remnants of the explosion.

Of the Ondavi, only twisted, charred fragments survived, floating silently out into blackness.

He had sent twenty-five mages to their deaths. He had planned to go with them. Yet now it was left to him to bear the burden of those deaths, and to honor those who had died for their order. One by one he thought of them, who they had been, what good they had done, what had been lost in their passing.

Elric hoped their great sacrifice had accomplished its purpose, that the Shadows had been deceived, that they would believe the mages destroyed and would pursue them no more.

The Crystal Cabin moved around the wreckage, and Babylon 5 came into view. When he had arrived at the station, he had been a man without dreams. John had given him one, and
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