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Children of Dune
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Children of Dune
Frank Herbert
Copyright 1976
Muad'Dib's teachings have become the playground of
scholastics, of the superstitious and the corrupt. He
taught a balanced way of life, a philosophy with which
a human can meet problems arising from an ever-
changing universe. He said humankind is still evolving,
in a process which will never end. He said this evolution
moves on changing principles which are known only to
eternity. How can corrupted reasoning play with such
an essence?
-Words of the Mentat Duncan Idaho
A spot of light appeared on the deep red rug which
covered the raw rock of the cave floor. The light glowed
without apparent source, having its existence only on the
red fabric surface woven of spice fiber. A questing circle
about two centimeters in diameter, it moved erratically --
now elongated, now an oval. Encountering the deep green
side of a bed, it leaped upward, folded itself across the
bed's surface.
Beneath the green covering lay a child with rusty hair,
face still round with baby fat, a generous mouth -- a figure
lacking the lean sparseness of Fremen tradition, but not as
water-fat as an off-worlder. As the light passed across
closed eyelids, the small figure stirred. The light winked
out.
Now there was only the sound of even breathing and,
faint behind it, a reassuring drip-drip-drip of water
collecting in a catch basin from the windstill far above the
cave.
Again the light appeared in the chamber -- slightly
larger, a few lumens brighter. This time there was a
suggestion of source and movement to it: a hooded figure
filled the arched doorway at the chamber's edge and the
light originated there. Once more the light flowed around
the chamber, testing, questing. There was a sense of
menace in it, a restless dissatisfaction. It avoided the
sleeping child, paused on the gridded air inlet at an upper
corner, probed a bulge in the green and gold wall hangings
which softened the enclosing rock.
Presently the light winked out. The hooded figure
moved with a betraying swish of fabric, took up a station
at one side of the arched doorway. Anyone aware of the
routine here in Sietch Tabr would have suspected at once
that this must be Stilgar, Naib of the Sietch, guardian of
the orphaned twins who would one day take up the mantle
of their father, Paul Muad'Dib. Stilgar often made night
inspections of the twins' quarters, always going first to the
chamber where Ghanima slept and ending here in the
adjoining room, where he could reassure himself that Leto
was not threatened.
I'm an old fool, Stilgar thought.
He fingered the cold surface of the light projector before
restoring it to the loop in his belt sash. The projector
irritated him even while he depended upon it. The thing
was a subtle instrument of the Imperium, a device to
detect the presence of large living bodies. It had shown
only the sleeping children in the royal bedchambers.
Stilgar knew his thoughts and emotions were like the
light. He could not still a restless inner projection. Some
greater power controlled that movement. It projected him
into this moment where he sensed the accumulated peril.
Here lay the magnet for dreams of grandeur throughout
the known universe. Here lay temporal riches, secular
authority and that most powerful of all mystic talismans:
the divine authenticity of Muad'Dib's religious bequest. In
these twins -- Leto and his sister Ghanima -- an awesome
power focused. While they lived, Muad'Dib, though dead,
lived in them.
These were not merely nine-year-old children; they
were a natural force, objects of veneration and fear. They
were the children of Paul Atreides, who had become
Muad'Dib, the Mahdi of all the Fremen. Muad'Dib had
ignited an explosion of humanity; Fremen had spread from
this planet in a jihad, carrying their fervor across the
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