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Dune 01 Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune 01 Dune by Frank Herbert

Author:Frank Herbert [Herbert, Frank]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction
ISBN: 9780575081505
Published: 1965-08-17T08:00:00+00:00


3

Thus spoke St. Alia-of-the-Knife: “The Reverend Mother must combine the seductive wiles of a courtesan with the untouchable majesty of a virgin goddess, holding these attributes in tension so long as the powers of her youth endure. For when youth and beauty have gone, she will find that the place-between, once occupied by tension, has become a wellspring of cunning and resourcefulness.”

—from “Muad’Dib, Family Commentaries” by the Princess Irulan

“Well, Jessica, what have you to say for yourself?” asked the Reverend Mother.

It was near sunset at Castle Caladan on the day of Paul’s ordeal. The two women were alone in Jessica’s morning room while Paul waited in the adjoining soundproofed Meditation Chamber.

Jessica stood facing the south windows. She saw and yet did not see the evening’s banked colors across meadow and river. She heard and yet did not hear the Reverend Mother’s question.

There had been another ordeal once — so many years ago. A skinny girl with hair the color of bronze, her body tortured by the winds of puberty, had entered the study of the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, Proctor Superior of the Bene Gesserit school on Wallach IX. Jessica looked down at her right hand, flexed the fingers, remembering the pain, the terror, the anger.

“Poor Paul,” she whispered.

“I asked you a question, Jessica!” The old woman’s voice was snappish, demanding.

“What? Oh … ” Jessica tore her attention away from the past, faced the Reverend Mother, who sat with back to the stone wall between the two west windows. “What do you want me to say?”

“What do I want you to say? What do I want you to say?” The old voice carried a tone of cruel mimicry.

“So I had a son!” Jessica flared. And she knew she was being goaded into this anger deliberately.

“You were told to bear only daughters to the Atreides.”

“It meant so much to him,” Jessica pleaded.

“And you in your pride thought you could produce the Kwisatz Haderach!”

Jessica lifted her chin. “I sensed the possibility.”

“You thought only of your Duke’s desire for a son,” the old woman snapped. “And his desires don’t figure in this. An Atreides daughter could’ve been wed to a Harkonnen heir and sealed the breach. You’ve hopelessly complicated matters. We may lose both bloodlines now.”

“You’re not infallible,” Jessica said. She braved the steady stare from the old eyes.

Presently, the old woman muttered: “What’s done is done.”

“I vowed never to regret my decision,” Jessica said.

“How noble,” the Reverend Mother sneered. “No regrets. We shall see when you’re a fugitive with a price on your head and every man’s hand turned against you to seek your life and the life of your son.”

Jessica paled. “Is there no alternative?”

“Alternative? A Bene Gesserit should ask that?”

“I ask only what you see in the future with your superior abilities.”

“I see in the future what I’ve seen in the past. You well know the pattern of our affairs, Jessica. The race knows its own mortality and fears stagnation of its heredity. It’s in the bloodstream — the urge to mingle genetic strains without plan.



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