Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

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We can still remember the golden days before Heisenberg, who showed humans the walls enclosing our predestined arguments. The lives within me find this amusing. Knowledge, you see, has no uses without purpose, but purpose is what builds enclosing walls. -Leto Atreides II, His Voice

Alia found herself speaking harshly to the guards she confronted in the Temple foyer. There were nine of them in the dusty green uniforms of the suburban patrol, and they were still panting and sweating with their exertions. The light of late afternoon came in the door behind them. The area had been cleared of pilgrims. “So my orders mean nothing to you?” she demanded. And she wondered at her own anger, not trying to contain it but letting it run. Her body trembled with unleashed tensions. Idaho gone . . . the Lady Jessica . . . no reports . . . only rumors that they were on Salusa. Why hadn’t Idaho sent a message? What had he done? Had he learned finally about Javid? Alia wore the yellow of Arrakeen mourning, the color of the burning sun from Fremen history. In a few minutes she would be leading the second and final funeral procession to Old Gap, there to complete the stone marker for her lost nephew. The work would be completed in the night, fitting homage to one who’d been destined to lead Fremen. The priestly guards appeared defiant in the face of her anger, not shamed at all. They stood in front of her, outlined by the waning light. The odor of their perspiration was easily detected through the light and inefficient stillsuits of city dwellers. Their leader, a tall blond Kaza with the bourka symbols of the Cadelam family, flung his stillsuit mask aside to speak more clearly. His voice was full of the prideful intonations to be expected from a scion of the family which once had ruled at Sietch Abbir. “Certainly we tried to capture him!” The man was obviously outraged at her attack. “He speaks blasphemy! We know your orders, but we heard him with our own ears!” “And you failed to catch him,” Alia said, her voice low and accusing. One of the other guards, a short young woman, tried to defend them. “The crowds were thick there! I swear people interfered with us!” “We’ll keep after him,” the Cadelam said. “We’ll not always fail.” Alia scowled. “Why won’t you understand and obey me?” “My Lady, we –” “What will you do, scion of the Cade Lamb, if you capture him and find him to be, in truth, my brother?” He obviously did not hear her special emphasis on his name, although he could not be a priestly guard without some education and the wit to go with it. Did he want to sacrifice himself? The guardsman swallowed, then: “We must kill him ourselves, for he breeds disorder.” The others stood aghast at this, but still defiant. They knew what they had heard. “He calls upon the tribes to band against you,” the Cadelam said. Alia knew how to handle him now. She spoke in a quiet, matter-of-fact tone: “I see. Then if you must sacrifice yourself this way, taking him openly for all to see who you are and what you do, then I guess you must.” “Sacrifice my . . .” He broke off, glanced at his companions. As Kaza of this group, their appointed leader, he had the right to speak for them, but he showed signs that he wished he’d remained silent. The other guards stirred uncomfortably. In the heat of the chase they’d defied Alia. One could only reflect now upon such defiance of the “Womb of Heaven.” With obvious discomfort the guards opened a small space between themselves and their Kaza. “For the good of the Church, our official reaction would have to be severe,” Alia said. “You understand that, don’t you?” “But he –” “I’ve heard him myself,” she said. “But this is a special case.” “He cannot be Muad’Dib, My Lady!” How little you know! she thought. She said: “We cannot risk taking him in the open, harming him where others could see it. If another opportunity presents itself, of course.” “He’s always surrounded by crowds these days!” “Then I fear you must be patient. Of course, if you insist on defying me . . .” She left the consequences hanging in the air, unspoken, but well understood. The Cadelam was ambitious, a shining career before him. “We didn’t mean defiance, My Lady.” The man had himself under control now. “We acted hastily; I can see that. Forgive us, but he –” “Nothing has happened; nothing to forgive,” she said, using the common Fremen formula. It was one of the many ways a tribe kept peace in its ranks, and this Cadelam was still Old Fremen enough to remember that. His family carried a long tradition of leadership. Guilt was the Naib’s whip, to be used sparingly. Fremen served best when free of guilt or resentment. He showed his realization of her judgment by bowing his head, saying: “For the good of the tribe; I understand.” “Go refresh yourselves,” she said. “The procession begins in a few minutes.” “Yes, My Lady.” They bustled away, every movement revealing their relief at this escape. Within Alia’s head a bass rumbled: “Ahhhhh, you handled that most adroitly. One or two of them still believe you desire The Preacher dead. They’ll find a way.” “Shut up!” she hissed. “Shut up! I should never have listened to you! Look what you’ve done . . .” “Set you on the road to immortality,” the bass voice said. She felt it echoing in her skull like a distant ache, thought: Where can I hide? There’s no place to go! “Ghanima’s knife is sharp,” the Baron said. “Remember that.” Alia blinked. Yes, that was something to remember. Ghanima’s knife was sharp. That knife might yet cut them out of their present predicament.

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