Chapter no 19


His words, the depth of their awareness, the fact that he spoke as much to her as to those who secretly listened, forced her to reevaluate him.

He has stature , she thought. Where did he learn such inner balance?

“The law that demands our form of choosing a leader is a just law,” Stilgar said. “But it does not follow that justice is always the thing a people needs. What we truly need now is time to grow and prosper, to spread our force over more land.”

What is his ancestry? she wondered. Whence comes such breeding? She said: “Stilgar, I underestimated you.”

“Such was my suspicion,” he said.

“Each of us apparently underestimated the other,” she said.

“I should like an end to this,” he said. “I should like friendship with you . . . and trust. I should like that respect for each other which grows in the breast without demand for the huddlings of sex.”

“I understand,” she said.

“Do you trust me?”

“I hear your sincerity.”

“Among us,” he said, “the Sayyadina, when they are not the formal leaders, hold a special place of honor. They teach. They maintain the strength of God here.” He touched his breast.

Now I must probe this Reverend Mother mystery , she thought. And she said: “You spoke of your Reverend Mother . . . and I’ve heard words of legend and prophecy.”

“It is said that a Bene Gesserit and her offspring hold the key to our future,” he said.

“Do you believe I am that one.”

She watched his face, thinking; The young reed dies so easily. Beginnings are times of such great peril.

“We do not know,” he said.

She nodded, thinking: He’s an honorable man. He wants a sign from me, but he’ll not tip fate by telling me the sign .




Jessica turned her head, stared down into the basin at the golden shadows, the purple shadows, the vibrations of dust-mote air across the lip of their cave. Her mind was filled suddenly with feline prudence. She knew the cant of the Missionaria Protectiva, knew how to adapt the techniques of legend and fear and hope to her emergency needs, but she sensed wild changes here . . . as though someone had been in among these Fremen and capitalized on the Missionaria Protectiva’s imprint.

Stilgar cleared his throat.

She sensed his impatience, knew that the day moved ahead and men waited to seal off this opening. This was a time for boldness on her part, and she realized what she needed: some dar al-hikman, some school of translation that would give her . . .

“Adab,” she whispered.

Her mind felt as though it had rolled over within her. She recognized the sensation with a quickening of pulse. Nothing in all the Bene Gesserit training carried such a signal of recognition. It could be only the adab, the demanding memory that comes upon you of itself. She gave herself up to it, allowing the words to flow from her.

“Ibn qirtaiba,” she said, “as far as the spot where the dust ends.” She stretched out an arm from her robe, seeing Stilgar’s eyes go wide. She heard a rustling of many robes in the background. “I see a . . . Fremen with the book of examples,” she intoned. “He reads to al-Lat, the sun whom he defied and subjugated. He reads to the Sadus of the Trial and this is what he reads;

“Mine enemies are like green blades eaten down

That did stand in the path of the tempest.

Hast thou not seen what our Lord did?

He sent the pestilence among them

That did lay schemes against us.

They are like birds scattered by the huntsman.

Their schemes are like pellets of poison

That every mouth rejects.”

A trembling passed through her. She dropped her arm.

Back to her from the inner cave’s shadows came a whispered response of many voices: “Their works have been overturned.”

“The fire of God mount over thy heart,” she said. And she thought: Now, it goes in the proper channel.

“The fire of God set alight,” came the response.

She nodded. “Thine enemies shall fall,” she said.

“Bi-la kaifa,” they answered.

In the sudden hush, Stilgar bowed to her. “Sayyadina,” he said. “If the Shai-hulud grant, then you may yet pass within to become a Reverend Mother.”

Pass within , she thought. An odd way of putting it. But the rest of it fitted into the cant well enough . And she felt a cynical bitterness at what she had done. Our Missionaria Protectiva seldom fails. A place was prepared for us in this wilderness. The prayer of the salat has carved out our hiding place. Now . . . I must play the part of Auliya, the Friend of God . . . Sayyadina to rogue peoples who’ve been so heavily imprinted with our Bene Gesserit soothsay they even call their chief priestesses Reverend Mothers .

Paul stood beside Chani in the shadows of the inner cave. He could still taste the morsel she had fed him – bird flesh and grain bound with spice honey and encased in a leaf. In tasting it he had realized he never before had eaten such a concentration of spice essence and there had been a moment of fear. He knew what this essence could do to him – the spice change that pushed his mind into prescient awareness.

“Bi-la kaifa,” Chani whispered.

He looked at her, seeing the awe with which the Fremen appeared to accept his mother’s words. Only the man called Jamis seemed to stand aloof from the ceremony, holding himself apart with arms folded across his breast.

“Duy yakha hin mange,” Chani whispered. “Duy punra hin mange. I have two eyes. I have two feet.”

And she stared at Paul with a look of wonder.

Paul took a deep breath, trying to still the tempest within him. His mother’s words had locked onto the working of the spice essence, and he had felt her voice rise and fall within him like the shadows of an open fire. Through it all, he had sensed the edge of cynicism in her – he knew her so well! – but nothing could stop this thing that had begun with a morsel of food.

Terrible purpose!




He sensed it, the race consciousness that he could not escape. There was the sharpened clarity, the inflow of data, the cold precision of his awareness. He sank to the floor, sitting with his back against rock, giving himself up to it. Awareness flowed into that timeless stratum where he could view time, sensing the available paths, the winds of the future . . . the winds of the past: the one-eyed vision of the past, the one-eyed vision of the present and the one-eyed vision of the future – all combined in a trinocular vision that permitted him to see time-become-space.

There was danger, he felt, of overrunning himself, and he had to hold onto his awareness of the present, sensing the blurred deflection of experience, the flowing moment, the continual solidification of that-which-is into the perpetual-was.

In grasping the present, he felt for the first time the massive steadiness of time’s movement everywhere complicated by shifting currents, waves, surges, and countersurges, like surf against rocky cliffs. It gave him a new understanding of his prescience, and he saw the source of blind time, the source of error in it, with an immediate sensation of fear.

The prescience, he realized, was an illumination that incorporated the limits of what it revealed – at once a source of accuracy and meaningful error. A kind of Heisenberg indeterminacy intervened: the expenditure of energy that revealed what he saw, changed what he saw.

And what he saw was a time nexus within this cave, a boiling of possibilities focused here, wherein the most minute action – the wink of an eye, a careless word, a misplaced grain of sand – moved a gigantic lever across the known universe. He saw violence with the outcome subject to so many variables that his slightest movement created vast shiftings in the pattern.

The vision made him want to freeze into immobility, but this, too, was action with its consequences.

The countless consequences – lines fanned out from this cave, and along most of these consequence-lines he saw his own dead body with blood flowing from a gaping knife wound.

My father, the Padishah Emperor, was 72 yet looked no more than 35 the year he encompassed the death of Duke Leto and gave Arrakis back to the Harkonnens. He seldom appeared in public wearing other than a Sardaukar uniform and a Burseg’s black helmet with the imperial lion in gold upon its crest. The uniform was an open reminder of where his power lay. He was not always that blatant, though. When he wanted, he could radiate charm and sincerity, but I often wonder in these later days if anything about him was as it seemed. I think now he was a man fighting constantly to escape the bars of an invisible cage. You must remember that he was an emperor, father-head of a dynasty that reached back into the dimmest history. But we denied him a legal son. Was this not the most terrible defeat a ruler ever suffered? My mother obeyed her Sister Superiors where the Lady Jessica disobeyed. Which of them was the stronger? History already has answered.

– “In My Father’s House” by the Princess Irulan

Jessica awakened in cave darkness, sensing the stir of Fremen around her, smelling the acrid stillsuit odor. Her inner timesense told her it would soon be night outside, but the cave remained in blackness, shielded from the desert by the plastic hoods that trapped their body moisture within this space.

She realized that she had permitted herself the utterly relaxing sleep of great fatigue, and this suggested something of her own unconscious assessment on personal security within Stilgar’s troop. She turned in the hammock that had been fashioned of her robe, slipped her feet to the rock floor and into her desert boots.

I must remember to fasten the boots slip-fashion to help my stillsuit’s pumping action , she thought. There are so many things to remember .

She could still taste their morning meal – the morsel of bird flesh and grain bound within a leaf with spice honey – and it came to her that the use of time was turned around here: night was the day of activity and day was the time of rest.

Night conceals; night is safest .

She unhooked her robe from its hammock pegs in a rock alcove, fumbled with the fabric in the dark until she found the top, slipped into it.

How to get a message out to the Bene Gesserit? she wondered. They would have to be told of the two strays in Arrakeen sanctuary.

Glowglobes came alight farther into the cave. She saw people moving there, Paul among them already dressed and with his hood thrown back to reveal the aquiline Atreides profile.

He had acted so strangely before they retired, she thought. Withdrawn . He was like one come back from the dead, not yet fully aware of his return, his eyes half shut and glassy with the inward stare. It made her think of his warning about the spice-impregnated diet: addictive .

Are there side effects? she wondered. He said it had something to do with his prescient faculty, but he has been strangely silent about what he sees .

Stilgar came from shadows to her right, crossed to the group beneath the glowglobes. She marked how he fingered his beard and the watchful, cat-stalking look of him.




Abrupt fear shot through Jessica as her senses awakened to the tensions visible in the people gathered around Paul – the stiff movements, the ritual positions.

“They have my countenance!” Stilgar rumbled.

Jessica recognized the man Stilgar confronted – Jamis! She saw then the rage in Jamis – the tight set of his shoulders.

Jamis, the man Paul bested! she thought.

“You know the rule, Stilgar,” Jamis said.

“Who knows it better?” Stilgar asked, and she heard the tone of placation in his voice, the attempt to smooth something over.

“I choose the combat,” Jamis growled.

Jessica sped across the cave, grasped Stilgar’s arm. “What is this?” she asked.

“It is the amtal rule,” Stilgar said. “Jamis is demanding the right to test your part in the legend.”

“She must be championed,” Jamis said. “If her champion wins, that’s the truth in it. But it’s said . . .” He glanced across the press of people. “. . . that she’d need no champion from the Fremen – which can mean only that she brings her own champion.”

He’s talking of single combat with Paul! Jessica thought.

She released Stilgar’s arm, took a half-step forward. “I’m always my own champion,” she said. “The meaning’s simple enough for . . .”

“You’ll not tell us our ways!” Jamis snapped. “Not without more proof than I’ve seen. Stilgar could’ve told you what to say last morning. He could’ve filled your mind full of the coddle and you could’ve bird-talked it to us, hoping to make a false way among us.”

I can take him , Jessica thought, but that might conflict with the way they interpret the legend . And again she wondered at the way the Missionaria Protectiva’s work had been twisted on this planet.

Stilgar looked at Jessica, spoke in a low voice but one designed to carry to the crowd’s fringe. “Jamis is one to hold a grudge, Sayyadina. Your son bested him and – ”

“It was an accident!” Jamis roared. “There was witch-force at Tuono Basin and I’ll prove it now!”

“. . . and I’ve bested him myself,” Stilgar continued. “He seeks by this tahaddi challenge to get back at me as well. There’s too much of violence in Jamis for him ever to make a good leader – too much ghafla, the distraction. He gives his mouth to the rules and his heart to the sarfa, the turning away. No, he could never make a good leader. I’ve preserved him this long because he’s useful in a fight as such, but when he gets this carving anger on him he’s dangerous to his own society.”

“Stilgar-r-r-r!” Jamis rumbled.

And Jessica saw what Stilgar was doing, trying to enrage Jamis, to take the challenge away from Paul.

Stilgar faced Jamis, and again Jessica heard the soothing in the rumbling voice. “Jamis, he’s but a boy. He’s – ”

“You named him a man,” Jamis said. “His mother says he’s been through the gom jabbar. He’s full-fleshed and with a surfeit of water. The ones who carried their pack say there’s literjons of water in it. Literjons! And us sipping our catch-pockets the instant they show dewsparkle.”

Stilgar glanced at Jessica. “Is this true? Is there water in your pack?”


“Literjons of it?”

“Two literjons.”

“What was intended with this wealth?”

Wealth? she thought. She shook her head, feeling the coldness in his voice.

“Where I was born, water fell from the sky and ran over the land in wide rivers,” she said. “There were oceans of it so broad you could not see the other shore. I’ve not been trained to your water discipline. I never before had to think of it this way.”

A sighing gasp arose from the people around them: “Water fell from the sky . . . it ran over the land.”

“Did you know there’re those among us who’ve lost from their catch-pockets by accident and will be in sore trouble before we reach Tabr this night?”

“How could I know?” Jessica shook her head. “If they’re in need, give them water from our pack.”

“Is that what you intended with this wealth?”

“I intended it to save life,” she said.

“Then we accept your blessing, Sayyadina.”




“You’ll not buy us off with water,” Jamis growled. “Nor will you anger me against yourself, Stilgar. I see you trying to make me call you out before I’ve proved my words,”

Stilgar faced Jamis. “Are you determined to press this fight against a child, Jamis?” His voice was low, venomous.

“She must be championed.”

“Even though she has my countenance?”

“I invoke the amtal rule,” Jamis said. “It’s my right.”

Stilgar nodded. “Then, if the boy does not carve you down, you’ll answer to my knife afterward. And this time I’ll not hold back the blade as I’ve done before.”

“You cannot do this thing,” Jessica said. “Paul’s just – ”

“You must not interfere, Sayyadina,” Stilgar said. “Oh, I know you can take me and, therefore, can take anyone among us, but you cannot best us all united. This must be; it is the amtal rule.”

Jessica fell silent, staring at him in the green light of the glowglobes, seeing the demoniacal stiffness that had taken over his expression. She shifted her attention to Jamis, saw the brooding look to his brows and thought: I should’ve seen that before. He broods. He’s the silent kind, one who works himself up inside. I should’ve been prepared .

“If you harm my son,” she said, “You’ll have me to meet. I call you out now. I’ll carve you into a joint of – ”

“Mother.” Paul stepped forward, touched her sleeve. “Perhaps if I explain to Jamis how – ”

“Explain!” Jamis sneered.

Paul fell silent, staring at the man. He felt no fear of him. Jamis appeared clumsy in his movements and he had fallen so easily in their night encounter on the sand. But Paul still felt the nexus-boiling of this cave, still remembered the prescient visions of himself dead under a knife. There had been so few avenues of escape for him in that vision . . .

Stilgar said: “Sayyadina, you must step back now where – ”

“Stop calling her Sayyadina!” Jamis said. “That’s yet to be proved. So she knows the prayer! What’s that? Every child among us knows it.”

He has talked enough , Jessica thought. I’ve the key to him. I could immobilize him with a word . She hesitated. But I cannot stop them all .

“You will answer to me then,” Jessica said, and she pitched her voice in a twisting tone with a little whine in it and a catch at the end.

Jamis stared at her, fright visible on his face.

“I’ll teach you agony,” she said in the same tone. “Remember that as you fight. You’ll have agony such as will make the gom jabbar a happy memory by comparison. You will writhe with your entire – ”

“She tries a spell on me!” Jamis gasped. He put his clenched right fist beside his ear. “I invoke the silence on her!”

“So be it then,” Stilgar said. He cast a warning glance at Jessica. “If you speak again, Sayyadina, we’ll know it’s your witchcraft and you’ll be forfeit.” He nodded for her to step back.

Jessica felt hands pulling her, helping her back, and she sensed they were not unkindly. She saw Paul being separated from the throng, the elfin-faced Chani whispering in his ear as she nodded toward Jamis.

A ring formed within the troop. More glowglobes were brought and all of them tuned to the yellow band.

Jamis stepped into the ring, slipped out of his robe and tossed it to someone in the crowd. He stood there in a cloudy gray slickness of stillsuit that was patched and marked by tucks and gathers. For a moment, he bent with his mouth to his shoulder, drinking from a catchpocket tube. Presently he straightened, peeled off and detached the suit, handed it carefully into the crowd. He stood waiting, clad in loincloth and some tight fabric over his feet, a crysknife in his right hand.

Jessica saw the girl-child Chani helping Paul, saw her press a crysknife handle into his palm, saw him heft it, testing the weight and balance. And it came to Jessica that Paul had been trained in prana and bindu, the nerve and the fiber – that he had been taught fighting in a deadly school, his teachers men like Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck, men who were legends in their own lifetimes. The boy knew the devious ways of the Bene Gesserit and he looked supple and confident.

But he’s only fifteen , she thought. And he has no shield. I must stop this. Somehow, there must be a way to . . . She looked up, saw Stilgar watching her.

“You cannot stop it,” he said. “You must not speak.”

She put a hand over her mouth, thinking: I’ve planted fear in Jamis’ mind. It’ll slow him some . . . perhaps. If I could only pray – truly pray .

Paul stood alone now just into the ring, clad in the fighting trunks he’d worn under his stillsuit. He held a crysknife in his right hand; his feet were bare against the sand-gritted rock. Idaho had warned him time and again: “When in doubt of your surface, bare feet are best .” And there were Chani’s words of instruction still in the front of his consciousness: “Jamis turns to the right with his knife after a parry. It’s a habit in him we’ve all seen. And he’ll aim for the eyes to catch a blink in which to slash you. And he can fight either hand; look out for a knife shift .”




But strongest in Paul so that he felt it with his entire body was training and the instinctual reaction mechanism that had been hammered into him day after day, hour after hour on the practice floor.

Gurney Halleck’s words were there to remember: “The good knife fighter thinks on point and blade and shearing-guard simultaneously. The point can also cut; the blade can also stab; the shearing-guard can also trap your opponent’s blade .”

Paul glanced at the crysknife. There was no shearing-guard; only the slim round ring of the handle with its raised lips to protect the hand. And even so, he realized that he did not know the breaking tension of this blade, did not even know if it could be broken.

Jamis began sidling to the right along the edge of the ring opposite Paul.

Paul crouched, realizing then that he had no shield, but was trained to fighting with its subtle field around him, trained to react on defense with utmost speed while his attack would be timed to the controlled slowness necessary for penetrating the enemy’s shield. In spite of constant warning from his trainers not to depend on the shield’s mindless blunting of attack speed, he knew that shield-awareness was part of him.

Jamis called out in ritual challenge: “May thy knife chip and shatter!”

This knife will break then , Paul thought.

He cautioned himself that Jamis also was without shield, but the man wasn’t trained to its use, had no shield-fighter inhibitions.

Paul stared across the ring at Jamis. The man’s body looked like knotted whipcord on a dried skeleton. His crysknife shone milky yellow in the light of the glowglobes.

Fear coursed through Paul. He felt suddenly alone and naked standing in dull yellow light within this ring of people. Prescience had fed his knowledge with countless experiences, hinted at the strongest currents of the future and the strings of decision that guided them, but this was the real-now . This was death hanging on an infinite number of miniscule mischances.

Anything could tip the future here, he realized. Someone coughing in the troop of watchers, a distraction. A variation in a glowglobe’s brilliance, a deceptive shadow.

I’m afraid , Paul told himself.

And he circled warily opposite Jamis, repeating silently to himself the Bene Gesserit litany against fear. “Fear is the mind-killer . . .” It was a cool bath washing over him. He felt muscles untie themselves, become poised and ready.

“I’ll sheath my knife in your blood,” Jamis snarled. And in the middle of the last word he pounced.

Jessica saw the motion, stifled an outcry.

Where the man struck there was only empty air and Paul stood now behind Jamis with a clear shot at the exposed back.

Now, Paul! Now! Jessica screamed it in her mind.

Paul’s motion was slowly timed, beautifully fluid, but so slow it gave Jamis the margin to twist away, backing and turning to the right.

Paul withdrew, crouching low. “First, you must find my blood,” he said.

Jessica recognized the shield-fighter timing in her son, and it came over her what a two-edged thing that was. The boy’s reactions were those of youth and trained to a peak these people had never seen. But the attack was trained, too, and conditioned by the necessities of penetrating a shield barrier. A shield would repel too fast a blow, admit only the slowly deceptive counter. It needed control and trickery to get through a shield.

Does Paul see it? she asked herself. He must!

Again Jamis attacked, ink-dark eyes glaring, his body a yellow blur under the glowglobes.

And again Paul slipped away to return too slowly on the attack.

And again.

And again.

Each time, Paul’s counterblow came an instant late.

And Jessica saw a thing she hoped Jamis did not see. Paul’s defensive reactions were blindingly fast, but they moved each time at the precisely correct angle they would take if a shield were helping deflect part of Jamis’ blow.




“Is your son playing with that poor fool?” Stilgar asked. He waved her to silence before she could respond. “Sorry; you must remain silent.”

Now the two figures on the rock floor circled each other; Jamis with knife hand held far forward and tipped up slightly; Paul crouched with knife held low.

Again, Jamis pounced, and this time he twisted to the right where Paul had been dodging.

Instead of faking back and out, Paul met the man’s knife hand on the point of his own blade. Then the boy was gone, twisting away to the left and thankful for Chani’s warning.

Jamis backed into the center of the circle, rubbing his knife hand. Blood dripped from the injury for a moment, stopped. His eyes were wide and staring – two blue-black holes – studying Paul with a new wariness in the dull light of the glowglobes.

“Ah, that one hurt,” Stilgar murmured.

Paul crouched at the ready and, as he had been trained to do after first blood, called out: “Do you yield?”

“Hah!” Jamis cried.

An angry murmur arose from the troop.

“Hold!” Stilgar called out. “The lad doesn’t know our rule.” Then, to Paul: “There can be no yielding in the tahaddi-challenge. Death is the test of it.”

Jessica saw Paul swallow hard. And she thought: He’s never killed a man like this . . . in the hot blood of a knife fight. Can he do it?

Paul circled slowly right, forced by Jamis’ movement. The prescient knowledge of the time-boiling variables in this cave came back to plague him now. His new understanding told him there were too many swiftly compressed decisions in this fight for any clear channel ahead to show itself.

Variable piled on variable – that was why this cave lay as a blurred nexus in his path. It was like a gigantic rock in the flood, creating maelstroms in the current around it.

“Have an end to it, lad,” Stilgar muttered. “Don’t play with him.”

Paul crept farther into the ring, relying on his own edge in speed.

Jamis backed now that the realization swept over him – that this was no soft offworlder in the tahaddi ring, easy prey for a Fremen crysknife.

Jessica saw the shadow of desperation in the man’s face. Now is when he’s most dangerous , she thought. Now he’s desperate and can do anything. He sees that this is not like a child of his own people, but a fighting machine born and trained to it from infancy. Now the fear I planted in him has come to bloom .

And she found in herself a sense of pity for Jamis – an emotion tempered by awareness of the immediate peril to her son.

Jamis could do anything . . . any unpredictable thing , she told herself. She wondered then if Paul had glimpsed this future, if he were reliving this experience. But she saw the way her son moved, the beads of perspiration on his face and shoulders, the careful wariness visible in the flow of muscles. And for the first time she sensed, without understanding it, the uncertainty factor in Paul’s gift.

Paul pressed the fight now, circling but not attacking. He had seen the fear in his opponent. Memory of Duncan Idaho’s voice flowed through Paul’s awareness: “When your opponent fears you, then’s the moment when you give the fear its own rein, give it the time to work on him. Let it become terror. The terrified man fights himself. Eventually, he attacks in desperation. That is the most dangerous moment, but the terrified man can be trusted usually to make a fatal mistake. You are being trained here to detect these mistakes and use them .”

The crowd in the cavern began to mutter.

They think Paul’s toying with Jamis , Jessica thought. They think Paul’s being needlessly cruel .

But she sensed also the undercurrent of crowd excitement, their enjoyment of the spectacle. And she could see the pressure building up in Jamis. The moment when it became too much for him to contain was as apparent to her as it was to Jamis . . . or to Paul.

Jamis leaped high, feinting and striking down with his right hand, but the hand was empty. The crysknife had been shifted to his left hand.

Jessica gasped.

But Paul had been warned by Chani: “Jamis fights with either hand .” And the depth of his training had taken in that trick en passant . “Keep the mind on the knife and not on the hand that holds it ,” Gurney Halleck had told him time and again. “The knife is more dangerous than the hand and the knife can be in either hand .”

And Paul had seen Jamis’ mistake: bad footwork so that it took the man a heartbeat longer to recover from his leap, which had been intended to confuse Paul and hide the knife shift.




Except for the low yellow light of the glowglobes and the inky eyes of the staring troop, it was similar to a session on the practice floor. Shields didn’t count where the body’s own movement could be used against it. Paul shifted his own knife in a blurred motion, slipped sideways and thrust upward where Jamis’ chest was descending – then away to watch the man crumble.

Jamis fell like a limp rag, face down, gasped once and turned his face toward Paul, then lay still on the rock floor. His dead eyes stared out like beads of dark glass.

“Killing with the point lacks artistry ,” Idaho had once told Paul, “but don’t let that hold your hand when the opening presents itself .”

The troop rushed forward, filling the ring, pushing Paul aside. They hid Jamis in a frenzy of huddling activity. Presently a group of them hurried back into the depths of the cavern carrying a burden wrapped in a robe.

And there was no body on the rock floor.

Jessica pressed through toward her son. She felt that she swam in a sea of robed and stinking backs, a throng strangely silent.

Now is the terrible moment , she thought. He has killed a man in clear superiority of mind and muscle. He must not grow to enjoy such a victory .

She forced herself through the last of the troop and into a small open space where two bearded Fremen were helping Paul into his stillsuit.

Jessica stared at her son. Paul’s eyes were bright. He breathed heavily, permitting the ministrations to his body rather than helping them.

“Him against Jamis and not a mark on him,” one of the men muttered.

Chani stood at one side, her eyes focused on Paul. Jessica saw the girl’s excitement, the admiration in the elfin face.

It must be done now and swiftly , Jessica thought.

She compressed ultimate scorn into her voice and manner, said: “Well-l-l, now – how does it feel to be a killer?”

Paul stiffened as though he had been struck. He met his mother’s cold glare and his face darkened with a rush of blood. Involuntarily he glanced toward the place on the cavern floor where Jamis had lain.

Stilgar pressed through to Jessica’s side, returning from the cave depths where the body of Jamis had been taken. He spoke to Paul in a bitter, controlled tone: “When the time comes for you to call me out and try for my burda, do not think you will play with me the way you played with Jamis.”

Jessica sensed the way her own words and Stilgar’s sank into Paul, doing their harsh work on the boy. The mistake these people made – it served a purpose now. She searched the faces around them as Paul was doing, seeing what he saw. Admiration, yes, and fear . . . and in some – loathing. She looked at Stilgar, saw his fatalism, knew how the fight had seemed to him.

Paul looked at his mother. “You know what it was,” he said.

She heard the return to sanity, the remorse in his voice. Jessica swept her glance across the troop, said: “Paul has never before killed a man with a naked blade.”

Stilgar faced her, disbelief in his face.

“I wasn’t playing with him,” Paul said. He pressed in front of his mother, straightening his robe, glanced at the dark place of Jamis’ blood on the cavern floor. “I did not want to kill him.”

Jessica saw belief come slowly to Stilgar, saw the relief in him as he tugged at his beard with a deeply veined hand. She heard muttering awareness spread through the troop.

“That’s why y’ asked him to yield,” Stilgar said. “I see. Our ways are different, but you’ll see the sense in them. I thought we’d admitted a scorpion into our midst.” He hesitated, then: “And I shall not call you lad the more.”

A voice from the troop called out: “Needs a naming, Stil.”

Stilgar nodded, tugging at his beard. “I see strength in you . . . like the strength beneath a pillar.” Again he paused, then: “You shall be known among us as Usul, the base of the pillar. This is your secret name, your troop name. We of Sietch Tabr may use it, but none other may so presume . . . Usul.”

Murmuring went through the troop: “Good choice, that . . . strong . . . bring us luck.” And Jessica sensed the acceptance, knowing she was included in it with her champion. She was indeed Sayyadina.

“Now, what name of manhood do you choose for us to call you openly?” Stilgar asked.

Paul glanced at his mother, back to Stilgar. Bits and pieces of this moment registered on his prescient memory , but he felt the differences as though they were physical, a pressure forcing him through the narrow door of the present.

“How do you call among you the little mouse, the mouse that jumps?” Paul asked, remembering the pop-hop of motion at Tuono Basin . He illustrated with one hand.




A chuckle sounded through the troop.

“We call that one Muad’Dib,” Stilgar said.

Jessica gasped. It was the name Paul had told her, saying that the Fremen would accept them and call him thus. She felt a sudden fear of her son and for him.

Paul swallowed. He felt that he played a part already played over countless times in his mind . . . yet . . . there were differences. He could see himself perched on a dizzying summit, having experienced much and possessed of a profound store of knowledge, but all around him was abyss.

And again he remembered the vision of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad’Dib.

That must not happen , he told himself.

“Is that the name you wish, Muad’Dib?” Stilgar asked.

“I am an Atreides,” Paul whispered, and then louder: “It’s not right that I give up entirely the name my father gave me. Could I be known among you as Paul-Muad’Dib?”

“You are Paul-Muad’Dib,” Stilgar said.

And Paul thought: That was in no vision of mine. I did a different thing .

But he felt that the abyss remained all around him.

Again a murmuring response went through the troop as man turned to man: “Wisdom with strength . . . Couldn’t ask more . . . It’s the legend for sure . . . Lisan al-Gaib . . . Lisan al-Gaib . . . ”

“I will tell you a thing about your new name,” Stilgar said. “The choice pleases us. Muad’Dib is wise in the ways of the desert. Muad’Dib creates his own water. Muad’Dib hides from the sun and travels in the cool night. Muad’Dib is fruitful and multiplies over the land. Muad’Dib we call ‘instructor-of-boys.’ That is a powerful base on which to build your life, Paul-Muad’Dib, who is Usul among us. We welcome you.”

Stilgar touched Paul’s forehead with one palm, withdrew his hand, embraced Paul and murmured, “Usul.”

As Stilgar released him, another member of the troop embraced Paul, repeating his new troop name. And Paul was passed from embrace to embrace through the troop, hearing the voices, the shadings of tone; “Usul . . . Usul . . . Usul.” Already, he could place some of them by name. And there was Chani who pressed her cheek against his as she held him and said his name.

Presently Paul stood again before Stilgar, who said: “Now, you are of the Ichwan Bedwine, our brother.” His face hardened, and he spoke with command in his voice. “And now, Paul-Muad’Dib, tighten up that stillsuit.” He glanced at Chani. “Chani! Paul-Muad’Dib’s nose plugs are as poor a fit I’ve ever seen! I thought I ordered you to see after him! ”

“I hadn’t the makings, Stil,” she said. “There’s Jamis’ of course, but – ”

“Enough of that!”

“Then I’ll share one of mine,” she said. “I can make do with one until – ”

“You will not,” Stilgar said. “I know there are spares among us. Where are the spares? Are we a troop together or a band of savages?”

Hands reached out from the troop offering hard, fibrous objects. Stilgar selected four, handed them to Chani. “Fit these to Usul and the Sayyadina.”

A voice lifted from the back of the troop: “What of the water, Stil? What of the literjons in their pack?”

“I know your need, Farok,” Stilgar said. He glanced at Jessica. She nodded.

“Broach one for those that need it,” Stilgar said. “Watermaster . . . where is a watermaster? Ah, Shimoom, care for the measuring of what is needed. The necessity and no more. This water is the dower property of the Sayyadina and will be repaid in the sietch at field rates less pack fees.”

“What is the repayment at field rates?” Jessica asked.




“Ten for one,” Stilgar said.

“But – ”

“It’s a wise rule as you’ll come to see,” Stilgar said.

A rustling of robes marked movement at the back of the troop as men turned to get the water.

Stilgar held up a hand, and there was silence. “As to Jamis,” he said, “I order the full ceremony. Jamis was our companion and brother of the Ichwan Bedwine. There shall be no turning away without the respect due one who proved our fortune by his tahaddi-challenge. I invoke the rite . . . at sunset when the dark shall cover him.”

Paul, hearing these words, realized that he had plunged once more into the abyss . . . blind time. There was no past occupying the future in his mind . . . except . . . except . . . he could still sense the green and black Atreides banner waving . . . somewhere ahead . . . still see the jihad’s bloody swords and fanatic legions.

It will not be , he told himself. I cannot let it be .

God created Arrakis to train the faithful.

– from “The Wisdom of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

In the stillness of the cavern, Jessica heard the scrape of sand on rock as people moved, the distant bird calls that Stilgar had said were the signals of his watchmen.

The great plastic hood-seals had been removed from the cave’s opening. She could see the march of evening shadows across the lip of rock in front of her and the open basin beyond. She sensed the daylight leaving them, sensed it in the dry heat as well as the shadows. She knew her trained awareness soon would give her what these Fremen obviously had – the ability to sense even the slightest change in the air’s moisture.

How they had scurried to tighten their stillsuits when the cave was opened!

Deep within the cave, someone began chanting:

“Ima trava okolo!

I korenja okolo!”

Jessica translated silently: These are ashes! And these are roots! ”

The funeral ceremony for Jamis was beginning.

She looked out at the Arrakeen sunset, at the banked decks of color in the sky. Night was beginning to utter its shadows along the distant rocks and the dunes.

Yet the heat persisted.

Heat forced her thoughts onto water and the observed fact that this whole people could be trained to be thirsty only at given times.





She could remember moonlit waves on Caladan throwing white robes over rocks . . . and the wind heavy with dampness. Now the breeze that fingered her robes seared the patches of exposed skin at cheeks and forehead. The new nose plugs irritated her, and she found herself overly conscious of the tube that trailed down across her face into the suit, recovering her breath’s moisture.

The suit itself was a sweatbox.

“Your suit will be more comfortable when you’ve adjusted to a lower water content in your body , ” Stilgar had said.

She knew he was right, but the knowledge made this moment no more comfortable. The unconscious preoccupation with water here weighed on her mind. No , she corrected herself: it was preoccupation with moisture.

And that was a more subtle and profound matter.

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