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carved into the natural ice-blue crystalline outcroppings that so dominated the Minbari landscape, were still extant and being used. Great care had then been taken over the centuries to construct other buildings to resemble those sculpted out of the landscape to ensure that they would fit seamlessly into the natural aesthetic. The effect was dramatically beautiful, with towering crystal skyscrapers next to natural waterfalls, busy city streets surrounding tranquil if sparsely landscaped parks.

It was a busy center of commerce and everyday living. And yet at times it seemed to Sinclair that Yedor was pervaded by a tense stillness, like the halls of a long-forgotten museum where everything was carefully preserved in casings of ice-but for whose sake? Other times, when he was feeling less somber, it seemed like a city asleep, waiting to awaken with the dawn.

The residential quarters, where Sinclair resided, were mainly quaint Minbari-style equivalents of bungalows and resident apartments also set unobtrusively into the crystalline rock-faced terrain. From there to the vast government complex with its towering central palace was a short but pleasant walk through one of the more beautiful parks of flower beds and hedges, shrubs and small trees, a tapestry of many shades of blue, silver, and green. Every morning of the past fifteen Minbari days since Sinclair had finally been able to establish an office and try to start his work as ambassador, Rathenn had made that walk with him.

As congenial company as Rathenn was, Sinclair found this more than just a little disconcerting. Rathenn, after all, was Satai, a member of the powerful and (even to the Minbari) mysterious Grey Council, the nine-member group that ruled Minbar primarily from behind the scenes, spending most of
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