Chapter 3

35 1 0







melange (me'-lange also ma,lanj) n-s, origin uncertain (thought to derive from ancient Terran Franzh): a. mixture of spices; b. spice of Arrakis (Dune) with geriatric properties first noted by Yanshuph Ashkoko, royal chemist in reign of Shakkad the Wise; Arrakeen melange, found only in deepest desert sands of Arrakis, linked to prophetic visions of Paul Muad'Dib (Atreides), first Fremen Mahdi; also employed by Spacing Guild Navigators and the Bene Gesserit.

-Dictionary Royal fifth edition

    Waff sat at an ample, ebony desk with his head lowered. He rubbed his temples trying to soothe his pounding head ache. Ofni. What a fool. Waff closed his eyes, remembering the days he spent in conquest. The memories came flooding back with almost perfect sensory detail.

    "Please! Please! Spare my children!", Waff could hear a women cry. Waff felt the blade's hilt tight against his palm. He whistled, signaling his face dancer troupe to eliminate the family kneeling before them in the spartan room. He watched his face dancers tear the mother's baby from her breast, throwing it against the nearest support pillar. There was a brief cacophony of anguish before a solemn silence fell over the room. Only the Tleilaxu remained alive. Waff felt no remorse. They had said there never existed a better covert, military tactician.

    Waff opened his eyes, returning him to his somber office. A face dancer entered saying, "Marwolaeth has arrived, Lord". Waff nodded, gesturing to send the visitor in. Marwoleath entered cautiously, sitting in the chair across from Waff.

    "We've a missing Ghola, Marwolaeth"

    "Lord, there are countless Gholas in gestation. What is one Ghola to..."

    Waff interrupted, " It was ghola SIFASA 177135"

    Marwolaeth realized the dire situation, "Ofni..."

    "Ah so you see our predicament"

    "Lord, I knew nothing of this"

    "I know, Mawolaeth. Never before have Tleilaxu gone against Tleilaxu"

    "This is...distressing, Lord. I've always known Ofni to be weaker than most but to defy God!"

    "God hasn't turned away from the Tleilaxu yet, Marwolaeth. Do you remember the Gansireed operation? It was our first joint mission. Remember how nervous you were?"

    "Yes, lord"

    "Did you have to kill any children?"

    "....yes, lord"

    "It is never easy. We do God's work, Marwolaeth."

    "What does this have to do with Ofni, Lord?"

    "The Tleilaxu take difficult actions, actions most would consider abominable. Ofni was there with us. He managed the thirgoya reserves"

    Marwolaeth laughed, " The reserves, lord?! Isn't that a job for the docile and meek?"

    "Indeed. But, Ofni saved my life on that day. He is resourceful. He isn't as weak as we assume"

    "You defend the traitor, Lord?"

    "Perhaps...perhaps God guides us in strange ways. This Siona Duncan... Ofni made this one possible"

    "Ofni often spoke of infinity, Lord". Marwolaeth remembered a private discussion between him and Ofni. Ofni's worried features betrayed his gentle nature as Marwolaeth adamantly defended the Tleilaxu invasion.

    "How can God command us to murder children?!", Ofni had said.

    "How can we define God's will? One life is as good as another in the eyes of God, Ofni.", Marwolaeth had responded.

    "But we snuff out their potential! God is infinity! God is the innumerable and we instigate Tleilaxu will, not God's"

    "Tleilaxu will is God's will". Ofni was visibly distressed, his eyebrows upturned in doubt.

    "I'm not so sure anymore". Marwoleath snapped back into the present, Waff's grimace darkly accentuated.

    "What do you propose, Lord?", Marwolaeth questioned.

    "Ofni is no dolt. He will threaten this Ghola's revelation if we hunt him. We cannot let the Bene Gesserit discover a Siona Duncan. He is on his way to Arrakis. We cannot let him board a no-ship"

    "What can I do about this, Lord?"

    "Withhold Spice allotment to the Rakian priesthood and guild chapter. They do not know the Tleilaxu are divided. When they become our enemies, they become Ofni's enemies".

    "Won't this invite wrath towards the Bene Tleilaxu?"

    "It will unless we can supply unlimited spice"

    "My Lord! Our spice vats are nowhere near operational!"

    "You must make them operational. We have no other options, Marwolaeth"

    "I...I don't know how such a thing is possible, Lord"

    "You are Tleilaxu, Marwolaeth. I have faith you can decipher God's message"

    "I can try, Lord. I...I don't think it's possible but I can try"

    "That's all I ask. Send a distrans to Crompton. Scytale must head to Arrakis after his mission is complete".

    "You send Scytale after Ofni?! My lord is cruel..."

    "These are cruel times, Marwolaeth".

Master of MastersRead this story for FREE!