Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

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There was a man so wise, He jumped into A sandy place And burnt out both his eyes! And when he knew his eyes were gone, He offered no complaint. He summoned up a vision And made himself a saint. -Children’s Verse from History of Muad’dib

Paul stood in darkness outside the sietch. Oracular vision told him it was night, that moonlight silhouetted the shrine atop Chin Rock high on his left. This was a memory-saturated place, his first sietch, where he and Chani . . . I must not think of Chani, he told himself. The thinning cup of his vision told him of changes all around — a cluster of palms far down to the right, the black-silver line of a qanat carrying water through the dunes piled up by that morning’s storm. Water flowing in the desert! He recalled another kind of water flowing in a river of his birthworld, Caladan. He hadn’t realized then the treasure of such a flow, even the murky slithering in a qanat across a desert basin. Treasure. With a delicate cough, an aide came up from behind. Paul held out his hands for a magnabord with a single sheet of metallic paper on it. He moved as sluggishly as the qanat’s water. The vision flowed, but he found himself increasingly reluctant to move with it. “Pardon, Sire,” the aide said. “The Semboule Treaty — your signature?” “I can read it!” Paul snapped. He scrawled “Atreides Imper.” in the proper place, returned the board, thrusting it directly into the aide’s outstretched hand, aware of the fear this inspired. The man fled. Paul turned away. Ugly, barren land! He imagined it sun-soaked and monstrous with heat, a place of sandslides and the drowned darkness of dust pools, blowdevils unreeling tiny dunes across the rocks, their narrow bellies full of ochre crystals. But it was a rich land, too: big, exploding out of narrow places with vistas of storm-trodden emptiness, rampart cliffs and tumbledown ridges. All it required was water . . . and love. Life changed those irascible wastes into shapes of grace and movement, he thought. That was the message of the desert. Contrast stunned him with realization. He wanted to turn to the aides massed in the sietch entrance, shout at them: If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We’re all in this beauty together! They wouldn’t understand. In the desert, they were endlessly desert. Growing things performed no green ballet for them. He clenched his fists at his sides, trying to halt the vision. He wanted to flee from his own mind. It was a beast come to devour him! Awareness lay in him, sodden, heavy with all the living it had sponged up, saturated with too many experiences. Desperately, Paul squeezed his thoughts outward. Stars! Awareness turned over at the thought of all those stars above him — an infinite volume. A man must be half mad to imagine he could rule even a teardrop of that volume. He couldn’t begin to imagine the number of subjects his Imperium claimed. Subjects? Worshippers and enemies, more likely. Did any among them see beyond rigid beliefs? Where was one man who’d escaped the narrow destiny of his prejudices? Not even an Emperor escaped. He’d lived a ‘take everything’ life, tried to create a universe in his own image. But the exultant universe was breaking across him at last with its silent waves. I spit on Dune! he thought. I give it my moisture! This myth he’d made out of intricate movements and imagination, out of moonlight and love, out of prayers older than Adam, and gray cliffs and crimson shadows, laments and rivers of martyrs — what had it come to at last? When the waves receded, the shores of Time would spread out there clean, empty, shining with infinite grains of memory and little else. Was this the golden genesis of man? Sand scuffed against rocks told him that the ghola had joined him. “You’ve been avoiding me today, Duncan,” Paul said. “It’s dangerous for you to call me that,” the ghola said. “I know.” “I . . . came to warn you, m’Lord.” “I know.” The story of the compulsion Bijaz had put on him poured from the ghola then. “Do you know the nature of the compulsion?” Paul asked. “Violence.” Paul felt himself arriving at a place which had claimed him from the beginning. He stood suspended. The Jihad had seized him, fixed him onto a glidepath from which the terrible gravity of the Future would never release him. “There’ll be no violence from Duncan,” Paul whispered. “But, Sire . . . ” “Tell me what you see around us,” Paul said. “M’Lord?” “The desert — how is it tonight?” “Don’t you see it?” “I have no eyes, Duncan.” “But . . . ” “I’ve only my vision,” Paul said, “and wish I didn’t have it. I’m dying of prescience, did you know that, Duncan?” “Perhaps . . . what you fear won’t happen,” the ghola said. “What? Deny my own oracle? How can I when I’ve seen it fulfilled thousands of time? People call it a power, a gift. It’s an affliction! It won’t let me leave my life where I found it!” “M’Lord,” the ghola muttered, “I . . . it isn’t . . . young master, you don’t . . . I . . . ” He fell silent. Paul sensed the ghola’s confusion, said: “What’d you call me, Duncan?” “What? What I . . . for a moment . . .” “You called me ‘young master.’ ” “I did, yes.” “That’s what Duncan always called me.” Paul reached out, touched the ghola’s face. “Was that part of your Tleilaxu training?” “No.” Paul lowered his hand. “What, then?” “It came from . . . me.” “Do you serve two masters?” “Perhaps.” “Free yourself from the ghola, Duncan.” “How?” “You’re human. Do a human thing.” “I’m a ghola!” “But your flesh is human. Duncan’s in there.” “Something’s in there.” “I care not how you do it,” Paul said, “but you’ll do it.” “You’ve foreknowledge?” “Foreknowledge be damned!” Paul turned away. His vision hurtled forward now, gaps in it, but it wasn’t a thing to be stopped. “M’Lord, if you’ve –” “Quiet!” Paul held up a hand. “Did you hear that?” “Hear what, m’Lord?” Paul shook his head. Duncan hadn’t heard it. Had he only imagined the sound? It’d been his tribal name called from the desert — far away and low: “Usul . . . Uuuussssuuuullll . . . ” “What is it, m’Lord?” Paul shook his head. He felt watched. Something out there in the night shadows knew he was here. Something? No — someone. “It was mostly sweet,” he whispered, “and you were the sweetest of all.” “What’d you say, m’Lord?” “It’s the future,” Paul said. That amorphous human universe out there had undergone a spurt of motion, dancing to the tune of his vision. It had struck a powerful note then. The ghost-echoes might endure. “I don’t understand, m’Lord,” the ghola said. “A Fremen dies when he’s too long from the desert,” Paul said. “They call it the ‘water sickness.’ Isn’t that odd?” “That’s very odd.” Paul strained at memories, tried to recall the sound of Chani breathing beside him in the night. Where is there comfort? he wondered. All he could remember was Chani at breakfast the day they’d left for the desert. She’d been restless, irritable. “Why do you wear that old jacket?” she’d demanded, eyeing the black uniform coat with its red hawk crest beneath his Fremen robes. “You’re an Emperor!” “Even an Emperor has his favorite clothing,” he’d said. For no reason he could explain, this had brought real tears to Chani’s eyes — the second time in her life when Fremen inhibitions had been shattered. Now, in the darkness, Paul rubbed his own cheeks, felt moisture there. Who gives moisture to the dead? he wondered. It was his own face, yet not his. The wind chilled the wet skin. A frail dream formed, broke. What was this swelling in his breast? Was it something he’d eaten? How bitter and plaintive was this other self, giving moisture to the dead. The wind bristled with sand. The skin, dry now, was his own. But whose was the quivering which remained? They heard the wailing then, far away in the sietch depths. It grew louder . . . louder . . . The ghola whirled at a sudden glare of light, someone flinging wide the entrance seals. In the light, he saw a man with a raffish grin — no! Not a grin, but a grimace of grief! It was a Fedaykin lieutenant named Tandis. Behind him came a press of many people, all fallen silent now that they saw Muad’dib. “Chani . . .” Tandis said. “Is dead,” Paul whispered. “I heard her call.” He turned toward the sietch. He knew this place. It was a place where he could not hide. His onrushing vision illuminated the entire Fremen mob. He saw Tandis, felt the Fedaykin’s grief, the fear and anger. “She is gone,” Paul said. The ghola heard the words out of a blazing corona. They burned his chest, his backbone, the sockets of his metal eyes. He felt his right hand move toward the knife at his belt. His own thinking became strange, disjointed. He was a puppet held fast by strings reaching down from that awful corona. He moved to another’s commands, to another’s desires. The strings jerked his arms, his legs, his jaw. Sounds came squeezing out of his mouth, a terrifying repetitive noise — “Hrrak! Hraak! Hraak!” The knife came up to strike. In that instant, he grabbed his own voice, shaped rasping words: “Run! Young master, run!” “We will not run,” Paul said. “We’ll move with dignity. We’ll do what must be done.” The ghola’s muscles locked. He shuddered, swayed. ” . . . what must be done!” The words rolled in his mind like a great fish surfacing. ” . . . what must be done!” Ahhh, that had sounded like the old Duke, Paul’s grandfather. The young master had some of the old man in him. ” . . . what must be done!” The words began to unfold in the ghola’s consciousness. A sensation of living two lives simultaneously spread out through his awareness: Hayt/Idaho/Hayt/Idaho . . . He became a motionless chain of relative existence, singular, alone. Old memories flooded his mind. He marked them, adjusted them to new understandings, made a beginning at the integration of a new awareness. A new persona achieved a temporary form of internal tyranny. The masculating synthesis remained charged with potential disorder, but events pressed him to the temporary adjustment. The young master needed him. It was done then. He knew himself as Duncan Idaho, remembering everything of Hayt as though it had been stored secretly in him and ignited by a flaming catalyst. The corona dissolved. He shed the Tleilaxu compulsions. “Stay close to me, Duncan,” Paul said. “I’ll need to depend on you for many things.” And, as Idaho continued to stand entranced: “Duncan!” “Yes, I am Duncan.” “Of course you are! This was the moment when you came back. We’ll go inside now.” Idaho fell into step beside Paul. It was like the old times, yet not like them. Now that he stood free of the Tleilaxu, he could appreciate what they had given him. Zensunni training permitted him to overcome the shock of events. The mentat accomplishment formed a counterbalance. He put off all fear, standing above the source. His entire consciousness looked outward from a position of infinite wonder: he had, been dead; he was alive. “Sire,” the Fedaykin Tandis said as they approached him, “the woman, Lichna, says she must see you. I told her to wait.” “Thank you,” Paul said. “The birth . . . ” “I spoke to the medics,” Tandis said, falling into step. “They said you have two children, both of them alive and sound.” “Two?” Paul stumbled, caught himself on Idaho’s arm. “A boy and a girl,” Tandis said. “I saw them. They’re good Fremen babies.” “How . . . how did she die?” Paul whispered. “M’Lord?” Tandis bent close. “Chani?” Paul said. “It was the birth, m’Lord,” Tandis husked. “They said her body was drained by the speed of it. I don’t understand, but that is what they said.” “Take me to her,” Paul whispered. “M’Lord?” “Take me to her!” “That’s where we’re going, m’Lord.” Again, Tandis bent close to Paul. “Why does your ghola carry a bared knife?” “Duncan, put away your knife,” Paul said. “The time for violence is past.” As he spoke, Paul felt closer to the sound of his voice than to the mechanism which had created the sound. Two babies! The vision had contained but one. Yet, these moments went as the vision went. There was a person here who felt grief and anger. Someone. His own awareness lay in the grip of an awful treadmill, replaying his life from memory. Two babies? Again he stumbled. Chani, Chani, he thought. There was no other way. Chani, beloved, believe me that this death was quicker for you . . . and kinder. They’d have held our children hostage, displayed you in a cage and slave pits, reviled you with the blame for my death. This way . . . this way we destroy them and save our children. Children? Once more, he stumbled. I permitted this, he thought. I should feel guilty. The sound of noisy confusion filled the cavern ahead of them. It grew louder precisely as he remembered it growing louder. Yes, this was the pattern, the inexorable pattern, even with two children. Chani is dead, he told himself. At some faraway instant in a past which he had shared with others, this future had reached down to him. It had chivvied him and herded him into a chasm whose walls grew narrower and narrower. He could feel them closing in on him. This was the way the vision went. Chani is dead. I should abandon myself to grief. But that was not the way the vision went. “Has Alia been summoned?” he asked. “She is with Chani’s friends,” Tandis said. Paul sensed the mob pressing back to give him passage. Their silence moved ahead of him like a wave. The noisy confusion began dying down. A sense of congested emotion filled the sietch. He wanted to remove the people from his vision, found it impossible. Every face turning to follow him carried its special imprint. They were pitiless with curiosity, those faces. They felt grief, yes, but he understood the cruelty which drenched them. They were watching the articulate become dumb, the wise become a fool. Didn’t the clown always appeal to cruelty? This was more than a deathwatch, less than a wake. Paul felt his soul begging for respite, but still the vision moved him. Just a little farther now, he told himself. Black, visionless dark awaited him just ahead. There lay the place ripped out of the vision by grief and guilt, the place where the moon fell. He stumbled into it, would’ve fallen had Idaho not taken his arm in a fierce grip, a solid presence knowing how to share his grief in silence. “Here is the place,” Tandis said. “Watch your step, Sire,” Idaho said, helping him over an entrance lip. Hangings brushed Paul’s face. Idaho pulled him to a halt. Paul felt the room then, a reflection against his cheeks and ears. It was a rock-walled space with the rock hidden behind tapestries. “Where is Chani?” Paul whispered. Harah’s voice answered him: “She is right here, Usul.” Paul heaved a trembling sigh. He had feared her body already had been removed to the stills where Fremen reclaimed the water of the tribe. Was that the way the vision went? He felt abandoned in his blindness. “The children?” Paul asked. “They are here, too, m’Lord,” Idaho said. “You have beautiful twins, Usul,” Harah said, “a boy and a girl. See? We have them here in a creche.” Two children, Paul thought wonderingly. The vision had contained only a daughter. He cast himself adrift from Idaho’s arm, moved toward the place where Harah had spoken, stumbled into a hard surface. His hands explored it: the metaglass outlines of a creche. Someone took his left arm. “Usul?” It was Harah. She guided his hand into the creche. He felt soft-soft flesh. It was so warm! He felt ribs, breathing. “That is your son,” Harah whispered. She moved his hand. “And this is your daughter.” Her hand tightened on his. “Usul, are you truly blind now?” He knew what she was thinking. The blind must be abandoned in the desert. Fremen tribes carried no dead weight. “Take me to Chani,” Paul said, ignoring her question. Harah turned him, guided him to the left. Paul felt himself accepting now the fact that Chani was dead. He had taken his place in a universe he did not want, wearing flesh that did not fit. Every breath he drew bruised his emotions. Two children! He wondered if he had committed himself to a passage where his vision would never return. It seemed unimportant. “Where is my brother?” It was Alia’s voice behind him. He heard the rush of her, the overwhelming presence as she took his arm from Harah. “I must speak to you!” Alia hissed. “In a moment,” Paul said. “Now! It’s about Lichna.” “I know,” Paul said. “In a moment.” “You don’t have a moment!” “I have many moments.” “But Chani doesn’t!” “Be still!” he ordered. “Chani is dead.” He put a hand across her mouth as she started to protest. “I order you to be still!” He felt her subside and removed his hand. “Describe what you see,” he said. “Paul!” Frustration and tears battled in her voice. “Never mind,” he said. And he forced himself to inner stillness, opened the eyes of his vision to this moment. Yes — it was still here. Chani’s body lay on a pallet within a ring of light. Someone had straightened her white robe, smoothed it trying to hide the blood from the birth. No matter; he could not turn his awareness from the vision of her face: such a mirror of eternity in the still features! He turned away, but the vision moved with him. She was gone . . . never to return. The air, the universe, all vacant — everywhere vacant. Was this the essence of his penance? he wondered. He wanted tears, but they would not come. Had he lived too long a Fremen? This death demanded its moisture! Nearby, a baby cried and was hushed. The sound pulled a curtain on his vision. Paul welcomed the darkness. This is another world, he thought. Two children. The thought came out of some lost oracular trance. He tried to recapture the timeless mind-dilation of the melange, but awareness fell short. No burst of the future came into this new consciousness. He felt himself rejecting the future — any future. “Goodbye, my Sihaya,” he whispered. Alia’s voice, harsh and demanding, came from somewhere behind him. “I’ve brought Lichna!” Paul turned. “That’s not Lichna,” he said. “That’s a Face Dancer. Lichna’s dead.” “But hear what she says,” Alia said. Slowly, Paul moved toward his sister’s voice. “I’m not surprised to find you alive, Atreides.” The voice was like Lichna’s, but with subtle differences, as though the speaker used Lichna’s vocal cords, but no longer bothered to control them sufficiently. Paul found himself struck by an odd note of honesty in the voice. “Not surprised?” Paul asked. “I am Scytale, a Tleilaxu of the Face Dancers, and I would know a thing before we bargain. Is that a ghola I see behind you, or Duncan Idaho?” “It’s Duncan Idaho,” Paul said. “And I will not bargain with you.” “I think you’ll bargain,” Scytale said. “Duncan,” Paul said, speaking over his shoulder, “will you kill this Tleilaxu if I ask it?” “Yes, m’Lord.” There was the suppressed rage of a berserker in Idaho’s voice. “Wait!” Alia said. “You don’t know what you’re rejecting.” “But I do know,” Paul said. “So it’s truly Duncan Idaho of the Atreides,” Scytale said. “We found the lever! A ghola can regain his past.” Paul heard footsteps. Someone brushed past him on the left. Scytale’s voice came from behind him now. “What do you remember of your past, Duncan?” “Everything. From my childhood on. I even remember you at the tank when they removed me from it,” Idaho said. “Wonderful,” Scytale breathed. “Wonderful.” Paul heard the voice moving. I need a vision, he thought. Darkness frustrated him. Bene Gesserit training warned him of terrifying menace in Scytale, yet the creature remained a voice, a shadow of movement — entirely beyond him. “Are these the Atreides babies?” Scytale asked. “Harah!” Paul cried. “Get her away from there!” “Stay where you are!” Scytale shouted. “All of you! I warn you, a Face Dancer can move faster than you suspect. My knife can have both these lives before you touch me.” Paul felt someone touch his right arm, then move off to the right. “That’s far enough, Alia,” Scytale said. “Alia,” Paul said. “Don’t.” “It’s my fault,” Alia groaned. “My fault!” “Atreides,” Scytale said, “shall we bargain now?” Behind him, Paul heard a single hoarse curse. His throat constricted at the suppressed violence in Idaho’s voice. Idaho must not break! Scytale would kill the babies! “To strike a bargain, one requires a thing to sell,” Scytale said. “Not so, Atreides? Will you have your Chani back? We can restore her to you. A ghola, Atreides. A ghola with full memory! But we must hurry. Call your friends to bring a cryologic tank to preserve the flesh.” To hear Chani’s voice once more, Paul thought. To feel her presence beside me. Ahhh, that’s why they gave me Idaho as a ghola, to let me discover how much the re-creation is like the original. But now — full restoration . . . at their price. I’d be a Tleilaxu tool forevermore. And Chani . . . chained to the same fate by a threat to our children, exposed once more to the Qizarate’s plotting . . . “What pressures would you use to restore Chani’s memory to her?” Paul asked, fighting to keep his voice calm. “Would you condition her to . . . to kill one of her own children?” “We use whatever pressures we need,” Scytale said. “What say you, Atreides?” “Alia,” Paul said, “bargain with this thing. I cannot bargain with what I cannot see.” “A wise choice,” Scytale gloated. “Well, Alia, what do you offer me as your brother’s agent?” Paul lowered his head, bringing himself to stillness within stillness. He’d glimpsed something just then — like a vision, but not a vision. It had been a knife close to him. There! “Give me a moment to think,” Alia said. “My knife is patient,” Scytale said, “but Chani’s flesh is not. Take a reasonable amount of time.” Paul felt himself blinking. It could not be . . . but it was! He felt eyes! Their vantage point was odd and they moved in an erratic way. There! The knife swam into his view. With a breath-stilling shock, Paul recognized the viewpoint. It was that of one of his children! He was seeing Scytale’s knife hand from within the creche! It glittered only inches from him. Yes — and he could see himself across the room, as well — head down, standing quietly, a figure of no menace, ignored by the others in this room. “To begin, you might assign us all your CHOAM holdings,” Scytale suggested. “All of them?” Alia protested. “All.” Watching himself through the eyes in the creche, Paul slipped his crysknife from its belt sheath. The movement produced a strange sensation of duality. He measured the distance, the angle. There’d be no second chance. He prepared his body then in the Bene Gesserit way, armed himself like a cocked spring for a single concentrated movement, a prajna thing requiring all his muscles balanced in one exquisite unity. The crysknife leaped from his hand. The milky blur of it flashed into Scytale’s right eye, jerked the Face Dancer’s head back. Scytale threw both hands up and staggered backward against the wall. His knife clattered off the ceiling, to hit the floor. Scytale rebounded from the wall; he fell face forward, dead before he touched the floor. Still through the eyes in the creche, Paul watched the faces in the room turn toward his eyeless figure, read the combined shock. Then Alia rushed to the creche, bent over it and hid the view from him. “Oh, they’re safe,” Alia said. “They’re safe.” “M’Lord,” Idaho whispered, “was that part of your vision?” “No.” He waved a hand in Idaho’s direction. “Let it be.” “Forgive me, Paul,” Alia said. “But when that creature said they could . . . revive . . . ” “There are some prices an Atreides cannot pay,” Paul said. “You know that.” “I know,” she sighed. “But I was tempted . . . ” “Who was not tempted?” Paul asked. He turned away from them, groped his way to a wall, leaned against it and tried to understand what he had done. How? How? The eyes in the creche! He felt poised on the brink of terrifying revelation. “My eyes, father.” The word-shapings shimmered before his sightless vision. “My son!” Paul whispered, too low for any to hear. “You’re . . . aware.” “Yes, father. Look!” Paul sagged against the wall in a spasm of dizziness. He felt that he’d been upended and drained. His own life whipped past him. He saw his father. He was his father. And the grandfather, and the grandfathers before that. His awareness tumbled through a mind-shattering corridor of his whole male line. “How?” he asked silently. Faint word-shapings appeared, faded and were gone, as though the strain was too great. Paul wiped saliva from the corner of his mouth. He remembered the awakening of Alia in the Lady Jessica’s womb. But there had been no Water of Life, no overdose of melange this time . . . or had there? Had Chani’s hunger been for that? Or was this somehow the genetic product of his line, foreseen by the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam? Paul felt himself in the creche then, with Alia cooing over him. Her hands soothed him. Her face loomed, a giant thing directly over him. She turned him then and he saw his creche companion — a girl with that bony-ribbed look of strength which came from a desert heritage. She had a full head of tawny red hair. As he stared, she opened her eyes. Those eyes! Chani peered out of her eyes . . . and the Lady Jessica. A multitude peered out of those eyes. “Look at that,” Alia said. “They’re staring at each other.” “Babies can’t focus at this age,” Harah said. “I could,” Alia said. Slowly, Paul felt himself being disengaged from that endless awareness. He was back at his own wailing wall then, leaning against it. Idaho shook his shoulder gently. “M’Lord?” “Let my son be called Leto for my father,” Paul said, straightening. “At the time of naming,” Harah said, “I will stand beside you as a friend of the mother and give that name.” “And my daughter,” Paul said. “Let her be called Ghanima.” “Usul!” Harah objected. “Ghanima’s an ill-omened name.” “It saved your life,” Paul said. “What matter that Alia made fun of you with that name? My daughter is Ghanima, a spoil of war.” Paul heard wheels squeak behind him then — the pallet with Chani’s body being moved. The chant of the Water Rite began. “Hal yawm!” Harah said. “I must leave now if I am to be the observer of the holy truth and stand beside my friend for the last time. Her water belongs to the tribe.” “Her water belongs to the tribe,” Paul murmured. He heard Harah leave. He groped outward and found Idaho’s sleeve. “Take me to my quarters, Duncan.” Inside his quarters, he shook himself free gently. It was a time to be alone. But before Idaho could leave there was a disturbance at the door. “Master!” It was Bijaz calling from the doorway. “Duncan,” Paul said, “let him come two paces forward. Kill him if he comes farther.” “Ayyah,” Idaho said. “Duncan is it?” Bijaz asked. “Is it truly Duncan Idaho?” “It is,” Idaho said. “I remember.” “Then Scytale’s plan succeeded!” “Scytale is dead,” Paul said. “But I am not and the plan is not,” Bijaz said. “By the tank in which I grew! It can be done! I shall have my pasts — all of them. It needs only the right trigger.” “Trigger?” Paul asked. “The compulsion to kill you,” Idaho said, rage thick in his voice. “Mentat computation: They found that I thought of you as the son I never had. Rather than slay you, the true Duncan Idaho would take over the ghola body. But . . . it might have failed. Tell me, dwarf, if your plan had failed, if I’d killed him, what then?” “Oh . . . then we’d have bargained with the sister to save her brother. But this way the bargaining is better.” Paul took a shuddering breath. He could hear the mourners moving down the last passage now toward the deep rooms and the water stills. “It’s not too late, m’Lord,” Bijaz said. “Will you have your love back? We can restore her to you. A ghola, yes. But now — we hold out the full restoration. Shall we summon servants with a cryological tank, preserve the flesh of your beloved . . . ” It was harder now, Paul found. He had exhausted his powers in the first Tleilaxu temptation. And now all that was for nothing! To feel Chani’s presence once more . . . “Silence him,” Paul told Idaho, speaking in Atreides battle tongue. He heard Idaho move toward the door. “Master!” Bijaz squeaked. “As you love me,” Paul said, still in battle tongue, “do me this favor: Kill him before I succumb!” “Noooooo . . . ” Bijaz screamed. The sound stopped abruptly with a frightened grunt. “I did him the kindness,” Idaho said. Paul bent his head, listening. He no longer could hear the mourners. He thought of the ancient Fremen rite being performed now deep in the sietch, far down in the room of the death-still where the tribe recovered its water. “There was no choice,” Paul said. “You understand that, Duncan?” “I understand.” “There are some things no one can bear. I meddled in all the possible futures I could create until, finally, they created me.” “M’Lord, you shouldn’t . . .” “There are problems in this universe for which there are no answers,” Paul said. “Nothing. Nothing can be done.” As he spoke, Paul felt his link with the vision shatter. His mind cowered, overwhelmed by infinite possibilities. His lost vision became like the wind, blowing where it willed.

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Categories: Herbert, Frank