Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

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A sophisticated human can become primitive. What this really means is that the human’s way of life changes. Old values change, become linked to the landscape with its plants and animals. This new existence requires a working knowledge of those multiplex and cross-linked events usually referred to as nature. It requires a measure of respect for the inertial power within such natural systems. When a human gains this working knowledge and respect, that is called “being primitive.” The converse, of course, is equally true: the primitive can become sophisticated, but not without accepting dreadful psychological damage. -The Leto Commentary, After Harq al-Ada

“How can we be sure?” Ghanima asked. “This is very dangerous.” “We’ve tested it before,” Leto argued. “It may not be the same this time. What if –” “It’s the only way open to us,” Leto said. “You agree we can’t go the way of the spice.” Ghanima sighed. She did not like this thrust and parry of words, but knew the necessity which pressed her brother. She also knew the fearful source of her own reluctance. They had but to look at Alia and know the perils of that inner world. “Well?” Leto asked. Again she sighed. They sat cross-legged in one of their private places, a narrow opening from the cave to the cliff where often their mother and father had watched the sun set over the bled. It was two hours past the evening meal, a time when the twins were expected to exercise their bodies and their minds. They had chosen to flex their minds. “I will try it alone if you refuse to help,” Leto said. Ghanima looked away from him toward the black hangings of the moisture seals which guarded this opening in the rock. Leto continued to stare out over the desert. They had been speaking for some time in a language so ancient that even its name remained unknown in these times. The language gave their thoughts a privacy which no other human could penetrate. Even Alia, who avoided the intricacies of her inner world, lacked the mental linkages which would allow her to grasp any more than an occasional word. Leto inhaled deeply, taking in the distinctive furry odor of a Fremen cavern-sietch which persisted in this windless alcove. The murmurous hubbub of the sietch and its damp heat were absent here, and both felt this as a relief. “I agree we need guidance,” Ghanima said. “But if we –” “Ghani! We need more than guidance. We need protection.” “Perhaps there is no protection.” She looked directly at her brother, met that gaze in his eyes like the waiting watchfulness of a predator. His eyes belied the placidity of his features. “We must escape possession,” Leto said. He used the special infinitive of the ancient language, a form strictly neutral in voice and tense but profoundly active in its implications. Ghanima correctly interpreted his argument. “Mohw’pwium d’mi hish pash moh’m ka,” she intoned. The capture of my soul is the capture of a thousand souls. “Much more than that,” he countered. “Knowing the dangers, you persist.” She made it a statement, not a question. “Wabun ‘k wabunat!” he said. Rising, thou risest! He felt his choice as an obvious necessity. Doing this thing, it were best done actively. They must wind the past into the present and allow it to unreel into their future. “Muriyat,” she conceded, her voice low. It must be done lovingly. “Of course.” He waved a hand to encompass total acceptance. “Then we will consult as our parents did.” Ghanima remained silent, tried to swallow past a lump in her throat. Instinctively she glanced south toward the great open erg which was showing a dim grey pattern of dunes in the last of the day’s light. In that direction her father had gone on his last walk into the desert. Leto stared downward over the cliff edge at the green of the sietch oasis. All was dusk down there, but he knew its shapes and colors: blossoms of copper, gold, red, yellow, rust, and russet spread right out to the rock markers which outlined the extent of the qanat-watered plantings. Beyond the rock markers stretched a stinking band of dead Arrakeen life, killed by foreign plants and too much water, now forming a barrier against the desert. Presently Ghanima said: “I am ready. Let us begin.” “Yes, damn all!” He reached out, touched her arm to soften the exclamation, said, “Please, Ghani . . . Sing that song. It makes this easier for me.” Ghanima hitched herself closer to him, circled his waist with her left arm. She drew in two deep breaths, cleared her throat, and began singing in a clear piping voice the words her mother had so often sung for their father:

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Categories: Herbert, Frank