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"show me your world"

Farad'n asked me this, once, months ago. "Show me Dune," he said, believing, it seemed, that by knowing Arrakis he could know me.

I suppose he was not wrong. I have never been the Imperial Lady Ghanima, not deep in me – it is an identity that sits only heavily.

I am Ghani, Fremen woman, twin of Leto, and the sands and sietches of Dune are where I took him. Once he was ready, taught to use a stillsuit and the rhythmless walk, we went far into the desert by 'thopter... and then my Corrino prince rode Shaitan with me.
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256 -- What do you hope for?


I don't, as a general rule. At least, for certain meanings of the word that I have heard most often. For the older meanings, the ones that imply the total belief that what you hope for will come true, I suppose I do have hope.

However, the way that I have heard 'hope' most commonly used implies something almost the opposite.

In the common parlance, it seems to me that hope requires a degree of uncertainty, rather like faith. And faith is something that, useful as it is for the manipulation of the masses, I have not much use for myself. Uncertainty is not something that regularly visits my life -- I know, much as my twin knows, that what must happen will happen. What need do I have of hope for it, when I have knowledge?

I do not wish for the Golden Path's success, I know that it will succeed. Leto will break the trap of prescience... but by that point I will be long dead. I'm sorry, Leto! Within the span of my life, his prescience is as absolute as gravity or the addictiveness of melange. So what need have I of wishing?
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This prompt seems very strange to me.

I can, in Other Memory, find what the concept is behind it... Earth was such a strange place.

Was there not enough going on in the lives of those early humans that they thought that they needed to play jokes of scaring each other? That seems bizarre to me. I do not understand the mindset that would enjoy deliberately making another person less than human by making them fear, certainly not for fun. Yes, there are times that fear must be instilled in the masses to push them along the ways that must be, but it is not done for amusement.

My brother and I have been known to terrify. We have made people fear since we could first speak, and proved that we were aware of all the millennia of human life -- we did not do it for the fun of it. We did it because being thought of as foolish infants was not something we would stand. Perhaps it was badly done of us, at some points, but necessity is not kind.

Or I could mention the moment when we appeared in the Throne Room on what would have been my wedding day, Leto taking us in with that rush of his speed to prove that our Father's vision would still be realized. Of course no-one had expected his ressurection -- not even me. We had worked the illusion in my mind too strongly for anything to have broken my belief that he was dead until he spoke to me again. Once I had recovered my composure, we went. We had little time to lose, after all.

Even our grandmother was frighened, then. Let alone our poor, lost aunt -- her fear made her stupid, almost more a feral animal in her attacks than a Fremen woman before she remembered herself.

No. I would not frighten someone for the amusement of it.
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Ghanima ran the fingertip of her right index finger up the long, raked scar that twined around her left forearm as she looked over at Farad'n. "The longest day of my life? Surely you know what a strange question that is to me..."

"I know. But I'm curious... and still trying to learn you, since we seem to have far to go on preparing me to see Dune." She could see the tightness of his lips that said he was far from pleased at that, but he had made such progress. The water-fat that had once been all through his body was toning down into much more pleasing lines of sinewed muscle, though his skin would likely never loose the too-soft feeling of having been raised on a water-rich world. Not without circumstances that were unlikely to occur, at least.

She studied his face, seeing the real desire to know, the honesty he had not learned to mask deeply enough to hide from her or her twin, and smiled a little as she moved to press the robe away from the skin of her left calf, revealing the other scars. Long and thin, stretched with the growth of her skin much like the one that reached up her arm. "Probably the day I received these. At least... I cannot easily think of a longer day in my own life."

"I never have understood why you have scars, given prana-bind--"

She laughed, cutting him off with the dark edges of it. "Fremen women are more beautiful when scarred, for one thing, Farad'n. And for another, they were excellent reminders that I would kill you. And see my dear aunt dead as well."

"You are so casual about it." It bothered him, how easily the young girl she had been (she had never been young) had planned his death. Foolish of him.

She dipped her shoulder a little, untroubled by his unease. "Of course. I am Fremen, and all evidence showed that you had murdered my brother. Why would I not intend your death?"

Then she smiled at him, soft and loving as she had become towards him since those first days. "I am glad that I was wrong, Farad'n," she told him as she wrapped her hands around his, holding on gently. "You do suit me well. Shall I tell you of that day, then? Or is the knowledge of it enough?"

"I think I would be content to merely know it, as I am still shamed by the plots carried out in my former name."

She filed that away into her memory, making herself a note that the story might itself be a useful weapon on some later day, and dipped in to kiss him lightly.
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The word seems to be in such casual use, here-and-now. Slang for so many other words, used not of things that strike fear and awe into a person, but merely things that impress or amuse... Of course, with so many languages, so many changes, it surprises me not at all.

But for me, awesome, in its true meaning--

--was that moment with our stepmother when my brother held our 'thopter in the mouth of Shai-Hulud.

There are other things that also apply. The 'sietch above the ground' that Father built, the great Shield Wall, the twisting of space a Navigator creates... all awesome, all sights to strike awe and even fear...

But nothing will ever be so awesome as that moment when three of the great Old Men of the Desert rose to the surface, and one held us in its jaws.

The burning cinnamon reek of melange so strong from its throat that we could hardly breathe the air, so hot from the worm's furnace insides that heat-distortion shimmered out the windows, the teeth even longer than the longest crysknife...

Bless the Maker, bless his coming and his going.
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5 steps to a successful negotiation?

I... am slightly unsure, at least from my own life. I have but rarely had to make any effort at negotiation for myself. I suppose that I could count the incident with my Aunt wishing me to marry Farad'n... but on that, I was willing to be overruled.

Now, however, is rather a different story. I am Empress, my twin is Emperor and God, and we do not negotiate. Oh, yes, the Spacing Guild attempts it, much as they attempted to force my father to terms; and occasionally the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit forgets that she is in no position to attempt to negotiate anything from us, but it is not difficult for Leto (or I, if they come to me instead, thinking me more likely to assist them) to remind them that the Golden Path is set, and Leto and I will do as we must to see it to its end.

Absolute prescience traps absolutely, and mankind must not be trapped, so the Golden Path must be walked to its end.

I only regret that I will not be there to see it--though my brother says I should not.


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November 2009

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