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TM prompts 251 & 252

251 What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done while sober?

Embarrassing?

That assumes I fall prey to that trait. The collective Other Memory of my ancestors has been a useful tool in avoiding the kind of gaffes that normal children and--the word is "teen-agers" in the vernacular that seems to be most current, yes--would make. I have been far more likely to cause embarrassment to my grandmother and Stilgar over the years than I have brought it on myself. Hm. I suppose we could count the months that I spent unable to control my body as an infant... that was somewhat mortifying.

The only times I would relax far enough to possibly embarrass myself would be with my brother--and I don't think I know how to be embarrassed in front of Leto. He has known me every second of all of our lives... except the time that we let me believe that he was dead. We changed, then... but we have learned each other again.

252 Innuendo.

That seems to be all that I see in the court, in all of the politics that encircle me every day. Words slipped underneath of words, games of double-speak and political maneuvering for advantage or another's dis-advantage... No, I am quite sick of innuendo, much as I excel at it, and I am not going to speak any more about it.

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tm prompt 249: politics

Politics.

You must be joking.

Politics are what I deal with in almost every waking hour of every day, why in Shaitan's name would I discuss them in my leisure time?

Oh, you think I jest.

My brother, my husband rules as Emperor of all mankind, and I am his chosen Empress for that no other house could be allowed that much sway within our rule. I have come to love Farad'n, but our children will be Leto's heirs, and not his. House Corrino dies with him, and I can not find it in me to regret it.

Around us, the politics of empire swirl like the dangerous Caladan tides I have only seen through my grandmother's memories, like the sandstorms that beat against the pulse-shields even now. The Bene Gesserit (still angry and bitter over that Leto and I exist at all, let alone that we rule) do not cease to angle for whatever control they can wrest. The Navigators of the Guild so soon forget that they helped kill my mother, and my father, and continually ask for more spice, more fuel for their ability to move through space and time. And the Lansraad angles, always, for the control that they have forever lost.

We will not give it to them.

Poltics and religion ride in the same cart throughout the human sphere, now. And where we ride, the whirlwind follows.

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TM prompt 248: Would you make a good spy?

A good spy?

Me?

It is possible that I could, if I needed to. I have Fedaykin stealth, learned from Father and Mother's memories and from Stilgar. I am as fast with a crysknife as my aunt ever was, and have the prana-bindu training of body and mind to as much extent. I have the Voice, as well, if it were truly necessary for me to pass without being known.

But I can think of little reason for me to do so, and less chance that Leto or Farad'n would be at all pleased with the attempt. We have spies within the household, of course. From CHOAM and the Landsraad, once or twice, from the Guild, attempting to find ways to negotiate their way back into favor with my brother.

It will not happen. And none of their scheming with prevent or even abate the Golden Path, no matter how they connive among themselves. So why should I bother with such a tactic. It would profit me very little.

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TM prompt 246: Negotiation

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.
The first thing I remember?

Everything.

I remember Miriam singing in triumph on the bank of the reed sea, and I remember the news that Earth was gone in nuclear fire, homeland lost forever. I remember eighteen-hour days in near-dark textile mills and the screaming of artillery shells as they raced overhead. I remember countless triumphs, and tragedies to outnumber them by far. Exodus after exodus, flight after flight from persecution after persecution, safety found only to have it lost again...

Languages dead for millennia echo in my ears within the halls of my Other Memory, and books that fell to dust before man first took stumbling steps into space whisper as their pages turn.

Moments of passion between even my most distant ancestresses and the men they chose or had chosen for them, moments of wracking grief and bitter rage over wars and pains gone away so many centuries ago fill my memories.

As they have since the moment my twin and I became self-aware within our mother's womb.

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Happy endings?

What are those?

...Do you think I jest?

Our mother died birthing my twin and I, and we awoke to consciousness before even that moment, knowing the memories of all our ancestors back beyond recorded time.

Our father, God and Emperor, walked into the desert a simple blind Fremen, only to return to us and die by treachery before I could even see him for myself, though Leto held him as he died.

Our Aunt, our Regent, dear Alia... They call her St. Alia-of-the-Knife, now, for her final burst of sanity... but where is the happiness in knowing she was herself at her death, when I would rather have had her be herself in life?

And my twin... my Leto... I will die in my appointed span of years, and he refuses to allow me to send cells to the Tleilaxu so that I could return to him as ghola. He will be alone, for so many thousand years, live all those long centuries in service to the cause of freeing humanity from the curse of prescience--and they will all hate and fear him for what they cannot understand.

Happy endings. Child's fables.

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TM Prompt 241: Sacrosanct?

What principles are sacrosanct in your opinion?

Hm. An interesting question. Sacrosant, meaning "most sacred", or inviolable... There is little in the universe that Leto has not changed, and sacredness has little meaning to someone that is considered a bare step from Abomination. So, there are very few things I would consider sacrosanct, but I will set the semantics of the question aside to answer about what principles I hold, 'sacred' or not. Also, there is the minor matter that I am considered the daughter of a god, Muad-Dib, the Fremen messiah. When every word one speaks, if in less than complete privacy, is studied for theology... one gains a certain disdain for religion. Even--or perhaps especially--considering how useful as my ancestresses long found the manipulation of it to be.

One, of course, is the primary tenet of the O.C. Bible, "thou shalt make no machine in the likeness of the human mind." This one is a matter of practicality as well as principle, as thinking machines proved too dangerous to allow them to be re-created.

I suppose that another principle is the short form of the Litany, "I shall not fear. Fear is the mind-killer, the little death". The Bene Gesserit are correct, after all, that in that the ability to master fear is the ability to master self. I am not always certain that they are also correct that it is the only way to measure if someone is truly human or not, but the strength the Litany gives is undeniable.

Speaking of strength, another principle I know my brother holds tightly and that I hold as well comes from our ancient writings, "The basic rule is this: Never support weakness; always support strength." The one-time Emperor was weak, and so my father wrested his throne from him, for a weak leader must not remain. My aunt fell to weakness, but redeemed herself in strength in the end. Leto is the stronger of the two of us, but I am his support, always. We must support strength, each of us, for it is the only way that humanity will survive the storm that my brother will bring to it.

There is one last principle I hold, possibly the one that binds our entire universe together much as it tears it apart. "Thou shalt not disfigure the soul." First and greatest of all the religious truths kept through all these millennia.

Ah, my Aunt, how I wish... But in the end, even my aunt whose soul was rent by becoming Abomination remembered she too was Atreides and strong. Though her soul had suffered much in life, I will not believe she is damned for it in her death. St. Alia-of-the-Knife, they call her now, for the waking of her strength.

463 words

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240: fear

Discuss an individual who has scared you

Fear?

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

These are the words I live by, when it comes to that emotion. Fear is the hind-brain instinct that makes us less than fully human, if we allow it to. Fear is nothing the Atreides Lioness can allow herself, under any circumstance.

Yet, if I could allow myself that base instinct... the only person who could frighten me is my twin, my love, my Leto.

I am still unused to the separation between us. We were always of one mind, one heart, one knowing, and now... we have spent time apart, and my twin, my love, my other half has changed himself so drastically. I know that it was necessary, that we had no choice if we were to save humanity from the trap of prescience; but Leto is so different, now. We are not the same as we were, and it does... unsettle me somewhat.

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Prompt 236: Respect

Ghani walked into her brother's chambers in the palace easily, looking to see where he'd settled for the moment this time--since he was, actually, in the palace for once. She found him sprawled across the bed, sandtrout-encased hand and arm dangling carelessly off the edge of it. //Leto...// She went around to settle on his other side and settle in against him, her head finding the curve of his shoulder instinctively as she settled her hand against the skin of his chest. "Mm..."

Leto looked down at her and smiled softly. "My sister," he rumbled, the traces of Shai-halud absent from his voice for now.

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235: Show us where you live

"Show me Arrakis?" Farad'n asked her, late one evening as the last of the ruddy light slipped away outside the thick panes of glass. Before she could reply, he shook his head, lips tightening just slightly, "No... that's not what I meant. Show me Dune, Ghani?"

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