Lorien (Babylon 5)
||This television-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
|Babylon 5 character|
|First appearance||The Hour of the Wolf|
|Last appearance||Sleeping in Light|
|Portrayed by||Wayne Alexander|
|Species||The First One|
|Affiliated with||The First Ones|
The character Lorien is played by Wayne Alexander. Alexander was also seen in Babylon 5 as Mr. Sebastian from the second season episode Comes the Inquisitor and as Drakh from the fifth season episode The Fall of Centauri Prime. Lorien was the first of the First Ones, belonging to a nearly immortal race of great wisdom and power, and, according to himself, the first being to achieve sentience in the galaxy. It was his race that discovered and nurtured many of what the Humans and Minbari refer to as the First Ones, including the Vorlons and the Shadows.
In the millennia after most of the First Ones left the galaxy, Lorien came to reside on Z'ha'dum, and it is his continued presence there that draws the Shadows to return every time they are driven off. However, in late 2260, during the final Shadow War, Capt. John Sheridan of Babylon 5 comes to Z'ha'dum to parley with the Shadows. After this meeting ends poorly, with Sheridan exploding nuclear warheads within the Shadow capital city and leaping into a gorge, Sheridan ends up stuck between life and death in the depths of Z'ha'dum. During this dream state, Sheridan meets Lorien, and near the end of the ensuing discussion on life, death, and the universe, Lorien asks Sheridan a question:
|“||Do you have anything worth living for?||”|
As Lorien lulls him to embrace death, this is the question Sheridan answers. Freed from the fear of death, Sheridan lets go, and Lorien in turn imbues Sheridan with a part of his own life force, returning Sheridan to life. Together they depart Z'ha'dum for Babylon 5, where Sheridan, presumed dead, arrives in time to prevent a rebellion among the alliance races. During the remnant of the Shadow War, Lorien becomes Sheridan's constant companion, serving as counselor, teacher, and ally. It is partly with Lorien's assistance that Sheridan is able to defeat the Vorlon ambassador Ulkesh after the Vorlon involvement in the Shadow War begins. Most critical, however, is Lorien's role in bringing about the end of the Shadow War in 2261, by providing a stage for Sheridan and Delenn to speak to both the Shadows and the Vorlons, and showing the alliance races the truth behind the war. In the end, beseeched by the Vorlons and the Shadows as if by children to their father, Lorien agrees to leave the galaxy with them and the remaining First Ones, ushering in a new era in the galaxy.
However, Lorien reappears a last time, in 2281, when Sheridan returns to Coriana 6 during the last hours of his life, as he was enjoined by Kosh to do. When he returns, he initiates contact with Sheridan asking four key questions:
- Who are you? (The Vorlon Question)
- What do you want? (The Shadow Question)
- Why are you here? (Emperor Turhan's Question)
- Where are you going? (Techno Mage's Question)
Lorien's questions are the questions mankind and the younger races are to introduce to break the stalemate between the Vorlons and the Shadows. Though Lorien does not need these to be answered, he asks them nonetheless, likely as a welcome to Sheridan. As Lorien enters the ship, he explains to Sheridan that they had not forgotten him. Lorien remains with Sheridan as he dies, and it is believed that he took Sheridan back with him beyond the Rim, joining the many First Ones there, though whether Sheridan does so corporeally or as an energy being like Lorien is an open question.
Though Lorien's initial appearance seems to indicate that he has retained his corporeal form, resembling that of a humanoid, there are several instances in which we see that he has evolved into another state. It is thus assumed that Lorien's true form is that of a tentacled energy being, much like the true appearance of a Vorlon, though more evolved and larger in size. Whether Lorien's original form is a humanoid or a tentacled being is unknown. This energy form is seen on several occasions: first, during Sheridan's dream state on Z'ha'dum, then when Lorien departs the galaxy with the remaining First Ones at the end of the Shadow War, and finally, when he returns to Coriana 6 at the time of Sheridan's death.
|“||I waited a long time for someone to find me. Now, like the others, I find I hate to leave. But none of us can stay behind this time. That is why it was necessary to find all the remaining First Ones. This is yours now. And you have an obligation to do as we have done. To teach the races that will follow you, and when the time comes as ours has, to step aside and allow them to grow into their own destiny. If your races survive — if you do not kill yourselves, I look forward to the day when your people join us beyond the rim. We will wait for you.||”|
— Lorien's final words to Sheridan and Delenn at the conclusion of the Shadow War