Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

= = = = = =

There is no guilt or innocence in you. All of that is past. Guilt belabors the dead and I am not the Iron Hammer. You multitude of the dead are merely people who have done certain things, and the memory of those things illuminates my path. -Leto II to His Memory-Lives, After Harq al-Ada

“It moves of itself!” Farad’n said, and his voice was barely a whisper. He stood above the Lady Jessica’s bed, a brace of guards close behind him. The Lady Jessica had propped herself up in the bed. She was clad in a parasilk gown of shimmering white with a matching band around her copper hair. Farad’n had come bursting in upon her moments before. He wore the grey leotard and his face was sweaty with excitement and the exertions of his dash through the palace corridors. “What time is it?” Jessica asked. “Time?” Farad’n appeared puzzled. One of the guards spoke up: “It is the third hour past midnight, My Lady.” The guard glanced fearfully at Farad’n. The young prince had come dashing through the night-lighted corridors, picking up startled guards in his wake. “But it moves,” Farad’n said. He held out his left hand, then his right. “I saw my own hands shrink into chubby fists, and I remembered! They were my hands when I was an infant. I remembered being an infant, but it was . . . a clearer memory. I was reorganizing my old memories!” “Very good,” Jessica said. His excitement was infectious. “And what happened when your hands became old?” “My . . . mind was . . . sluggish,” he said. “I felt an ache in my back. Right here.” He touched a place over his left kidney. “You’ve learned a most important lesson,” Jessica said. “Do you know what that lesson is?” He dropped his hands to his sides, stared at her. Then: “My mind controls my reality.” His eyes glittered, and he repeated it, louder this time: “My mind controls my reality!” “That is the beginning of prana-bindu balance,” Jessica said. “It is only the beginning, though.” “What do I do next?” he asked. “My Lady,” the guard who had answered her question ventured now to interrupt. “The hour,” he said. Aren’t their spy posts manned at this hour? Jessica wondered. She said: “Begone. We have work to do.” “But My Lady,” the guard said, and he looked fearfully from Farad’n to Jessica and back. “You think I’m going to seduce him?” Jessica asked. The man stiffened. Farad’n laughed, a joyous outburst. He waved a hand in dismissal. “You heard her. Begone.” The guards looked at each other, but they obeyed. Farad’n sat on the edge of her bed. “What next?” He shook his head. “I wanted to believe you, yet I did not believe. Then . . . it was as though my mind melted. I was tired. My mind gave up its fighting against you. It happened. Just like that!” He snapped his fingers. “It was not me that your mind fought against,” Jessica said. “Of course not,” he admitted. “I was fighting against myself, all the nonsense I’ve learned. What next now?” Jessica smiled. “I confess I didn’t expect you to succeed this rapidly. It’s been only eight days and . . .” “I was patient,” he said, grinning. “And you’ve begun to learn patience, too,” she said. “Begun?” “You’ve just crept over the lip of this learning,” she said. “Now you’re truly an infant. Before . . . you were only a potential, not even born.” The corners of his mouth drew down. “Don’t be so gloomy,” she said. “You’ve done it. That’s important. How many can say they were born anew?” “What comes next?” he insisted. “You will practice this thing you’ve learned,” she said. “I want you able to do this at will, easily. Later you’ll fill a new place in your awareness which this has opened. It will be filled by the ability to test any reality against your own demands.” “Is that all I do now . . . practice the –” “No. Now you can begin the muscle training. Tell me, can you move the little toe on your left foot without moving any other muscle of your body?” “My . . .” She saw a distant expression come over his face as he tried to move the toe. He looked down at his foot presently, staring at it. Sweat broke out on his forehead. A deep breath escaped him. “I can’t do it.” “Yes you can,” she said. “You will learn to do it. You will learn every muscle in your body. You will know these muscles the way you know your hands.” He swallowed hard at the magnitude of this prospect. Then: “What are you doing to me? What is your plan for me?” “I intend to turn you loose upon the universe,” she said. “You will become whatever it is you most deeply desire.” He mulled this for a moment. “Whatever I desire?” “Yes.” “That’s impossible!” “Unless you learn to control your desires the way you control your reality,” she said. And she thought: There! Let his analysis examine that. They’ll advise cautious approval, but Farad’n will move a step closer to realization of what I’m really doing. He proved his surmise by saying: “It’s one thing to tell a person he’ll realize his heart’s desire. It’s another thing to actually deliver that realization.” “You’ve come farther than I thought,” Jessica said. “Very good. I promise you: if you complete this program of learning, you’ll be your own man. Whatever you do, it’ll be because that’s what you want to do.” And let a Truthsayer try to pry that apart, she thought. He stood up, but the expression he bent upon her was warm, a sense of camaraderie in it. “You know, I believe you. Damned if I know why, but I do. And I won’t say a word about the other things I’m thinking.” Jessica watched his retreating back as he let himself out of her bedchamber. She turned off the glowglobes, lay back. This Farad’n was a deep one. He’d as much as told her that he was beginning to see her design, but he was joining her conspiracy of his own volition. Wait until he begins to learn his own emotions, she thought. With that, she composed herself for the return to sleep. The morrow, she knew, would be plagued by casual encounters with palace personnel asking seemingly innocuous questions.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66

Categories: Herbert, Frank