ched the eastern horizon. The tents of his troop were small false dunes around him in the gloom. He saw movement off to the left--the guard, and knew they had seen him.
They knew the peril he faced this day. Each Fremen had faced it. They gave him this last few moments of isolation now that he might prepare himself.
It must be done today, he told himself.
He thought of the power he wielded in the face of the pogrom--the old men who sent their sons to him to be trained in the weirding way of battle, the old men who listened to him now in council and followed his plans, the men who returned to pay him that highest Fremen compliment : "Your plan worked, Muad'Dib."
Yet the meanest and smallest of the Fremen warriors could do a thing that he had never done. And Paul knew his leadership suffered from the omnipresent knowledge of this difference between them.
He had not ridden the maker.
Oh, he'd gone up with the others for training trips and raids, but he had not made his own voyage. Until he did, his world was bounded by the abilities of others. No true Fremen could permit this. Until he did this thing himself, even the great southlands--the area some twenty thumpers beyond the erg--were denied him unless he ordered a palanquin and rode like a Reverend Mother or one of the sick and wounded.
Memory returned to him of his wrestling with his inner awareness during the night. He saw a strange parallel here--if he mastered the maker, his rule was strengthened; if he mastered the inward eye, this carried its own measure of command. But beyond them both lay the clouded area, the Great Unrest where all the universe seemed embroiled.
The differences in the ways he comprehended the universe haunted him--accuracy matched with inaccuracy. He saw it in situ. Yet, when it was born, when it came into the pressures of reality, the now had its own life and grew with its own subtle differences. Terrible purpose remained. Race consciousness remained. And over all loomed the jihad, bloody and wild.
Chani joined him outside the tent, hugging her elbows, looking up at him from the corners of her eyes the way she did when she studied his mood.
"Tell me again about the waters of thy birthworld, Usul," she said.
He saw that she was trying to distract him, ease his mind of tensions before the deadly test. It was growing lighter, and he noted that some of his Fedaykin were already striking their tents.
"I'd rather you told me about the sietch and about our son," he said. "Does our Leto yet hold my mother in his palm?"
"It's Alia he holds as well," she said. "And he grows rapidly. He'll be a big man."
"What's it like in the south?" he asked.
"When you ride the maker you'll see for yourself," she said.
"But I wish to see it first through your eyes."
"It's powerfully lonely," she said.
He touched the nezhoni scarf at her forehead where it protruded from her stillsuit cap. "Why will you not talk about the sietch?"
"I have talked about it. The sietch is a lonely place without our men. It's a place of work. We labor in the factories and the potting rooms. There are weapons to be made, poles to plant that we may forecast the weather, spice to collect for the bribes. There are dunes to be planted to make them grow and to anchor them. There are fabrics and rugs to make, fuel cells to charge. There are children to train that the tribe's strength may never be lost."
"Is nothing then pleasant in the sietch?" he asked.
"The children are pleasant. We observe the rites. We have sufficient food. Sometimes one of us may come north to be with her man. Life must go on."
"My sister, Alia--is she accepted yet by the people?"
Chani turned toward him in the growing dawnlight. Her eyes bored into him. "It's a thing to be discussed another time, beloved."
"Let us discuss it now."
"You should conserve your energies for the test," she said.
He saw that he had touched something sensitive, hearing the withdrawal in her voice. "The unknown brings its own worries," he said.
Presently she nodded, said, "There is yet... misunderstanding because of Alia's strangeness. The women are fearful because a child little more than an infant talks... of things that only an adult should know. They do not understand the... change in the womb that made Alia... different."
"There is trouble?" he asked. And he thought: I've seen visions of trouble over Alia.
Chani looked toward the growing line of the sunrise. "Some of the women banded to appeal to the Reverend Mother. They demanded she exorcise the demon in her daughter. They quoted the scripture: 'Suffer not a witch to live among us.' "
"And what did my mother say to them?"
"She recited the law and sent the women away abashed. She said: 'If Alia incites trouble, it is the fault of authority for not forseeing and preventing the trouble.' And she tried to explain how the change had worked on Alia in the womb. But the women were angry because they had been embarrassed. They went away muttering."
There will be trouble because of Alia, he thought.
A crystal blowing of sand touched the exposed portions of his face, bringing the scent of the pre-spice mass. "Ei Sayal, the rain of sand that brings the morning," he said.
He looked out across the gray light of the desert landscape, the landscape beyond pity, the sand that was form absorbed in itself. Dry lightning streaked a dark corner to the south--sign that a storm had built up its static charge there. The roll of thunder boomed long after.
"The voice that beautifies the land," Chani said.
More of his men were stirring out of their tents. Guards were coming in from the rims. Everything around him moved smoothly in the ancient routine that required no orders.
"Give as few orders as possible," his father had told him ... once ... long ago. "Once you've given orders on a subject, you must always give orders on that subject."
The Fremen knew this rule instinctively.
The troop's watermaster began the morning chanty, adding to it now the call for the rite to initiate a sandrider.
"The world is a carcass," the man chanted, his voice wailing across the dunes. "Who can turn away the Angel of Death? What Shai-hulud has decreed must be."
Paul listened, recognizing that these were the words that also began the death chant of his Fedaykin, the words the death commandos recited as they hurled themselves into battle.
Will there be a rock shrine here this day to mark the passing of another soul? Paul asked himself. Will Fremen stop here in the future, each to add another stone and think on Muad'Dib who died in this place?
He knew this was among the alternatives today, a fact along lines of the future radiating from this position in time-space. The imperfect vision plagued him. The more he resisted his terrible purpose and fought against the coming of the jihad, the greater the turmoil that wove through his prescience. His entire future was becoming like a river hurtling toward a chasm--the violent nexus beyond which all was fog and clouds.
"Stilgar approaches," Chani said. "I must stand apart now, beloved. Now, I must be Sayyadina and observe the rite that it may be reported truly in the Chronicles." She looked up at him and, for a moment, her reserve slipped, then she had herself under control. "When this is past, I shall prepare thy breakfast with my own hands," she said. She turned away.
Stilgar moved toward him across the flour sand, stirring up little dust puddles. The dark niches of his eyes remained steady on Paul with their untamed stare. The glimpse of black beard above the stillsuit mask, the lines of craggy cheeks, could have been wind-etched from the native rock for all their movement.
The man carried Paul's banner on its staff--the green and black banner with a water tube in the staff--that already was a legend in the land. Half pridefully, Paul thought: I cannot do the simplest thing without its becoming a legend. They will mark how I parted from Chani, how I greet Stilgar--every move I make this day. Live or die, it is a legend. I must not die. Then it will be only legend and nothing to stop the jihad.
Stilgar planted the staff in the sand beside Paul, dropped his hands to his sides. The blue-within-blue eyes remained level and intent. And Paul thought how his own eyes already were assuming this mask of color from the spice.
"They denied us the Hajj," Stilgar said with ritual solemnity.
As Chani had taught him, Paul responded: "Who can deny a Fremen the right to walk or ride where he wills?"
"I am a Naib," Stilgar said, "never to be taken alive. I am a leg of the death tripod that will destroy our foes."
Silence settled over them.
Paul glanced at the other Fremen scattered over the sand beyond Stilgar, the way they stood without moving for this moment of personal prayer. And he thought of how the Fremen were a people whose living consisted of killing, an entire people who had lived with rage and grief all of their days, never once considering what might take the place of either--except for a dream with which Liet-Kynes had infused them before his death.
"Where is the Lord who led us through the land of desert and of pits?" Stilgar asked.
"He is ever with us," the Fremen chanted.
Stilgar squared his shoulders, stepped closer to Paul and lowered his voice. "Now, remember what I told you. Do it simply and directly --nothing fancy. Among our people, we ride the maker at the age of twelve. You are more than six years beyond that age and not born to this life. You don't have to impress anyone with your courage. We know you are brave. All you must do is call the maker and ride him."
"I will remember," Paul said.
"See that you do. I'll not have you shame my teaching."
Stilgar pulled a plastic rod about a meter long from beneath his robe. The thing was pointed at one end, had a spring-wound clapper at the other end. "I prepared this thumper myself. It's a good one. Take it."
Paul felt the warm smoothness of the plastic as he accepted the thumper.
"Shishakli has your hooks," Stilgar said. "He'll hand them to you as you step out onto that dune over there." He pointed to his right. "Call a big maker, Usul. Show us the way."
Paul marked the tone of Stilgar's voice--half ritual and half that of a worried friend.
In that instant, the sun seemed to bound above the horizon. The sky took on the silvered gray-blue that warned this would be a day of extreme heat and dryness even for Arrakis.
"It is the time of the scalding day," Stilgar said, and now his voice was entirely ritual. "Go, Usul, and ride the maker, travel the sand as a leader of men."
Paul saluted his banner, noting how the green and black flag hung limply now that the dawn wind had died. He turned toward the dune Stilgar had indicated--a dirty tan slope with an S -track crest. Already, most of the troop was moving out in the opposite direction, climbing the other dune that had sheltered their camp.
One robed figure remained in Paul's path: Shishakli, a squad leader of the Fedaykin, only his slope-lidded eyes visible between stillsuit cap and mask.
Shishakli presented two thin, whiplike shafts as Paul approached. The shafts were about a meter and a half long with glistening plasteel hoods at one end, roughened at the other end for a firm grip.
Paul accepted them both in his left hand as required by the ritual.
"They are my own hooks," Shishakli said in a husky voice. "They never have failed."
Paul nodded, maintaining the necessary silence, moved past the man and up the dune slope. At the crest, he glanced back, saw the troop scattering like a flight of insects, their robes fluttering. He stood alone now on the sandy ridge with only the horizon in front of him, the flat and unmoving horizon. This was a good dune Stilgar had chosen, higher than its companions for the viewpoint vantage.
Stooping, Paul planted the thumper deep into the windward face where the sand was compacted and would give maximum transmission to the drumming. Then he hesitated, reviewing the lessons, reviewing the life-and-death necessities that faced him.
When he threw the latch, the thumper would begin its summons. Across the sand, a giant worm--a maker--would hear and come to the drumming. With the whiplike hook-staffs, Paul knew, he could mount the maker's high curving back. For as long as a forward edge of a worm's ring segment was held open by a hook, open to admit abrasive sand into the more sensitive interior, the creature would not retreat beneath the desert. It would, in fact, roll its gigantic body to bring the opened segment as far away from the desert surface as possible.
I am a sandrider, Paul told himself.
He glanced down at the hooks in his left hand, thinking that he had only to shift those hooks down the curve of a maker's immense side to make the creature roll and turn, guiding it where he willed. He had seen it done. He had been helped up the side of a worm for a short ride in training. The captive worm could be ridden until it lay exhausted and quiescent upon the desert surface and a new maker must be summoned.
Once he was past this test, Paul knew, he was qualified to make the twenty-thumper journey into the southland--to rest and restore himself--into the south where the women and the families had been hidden from the pogrom among the new palmaries and sietch warrens.
He lifted his head and looked to the south, reminding himself that the maker summoned wild from the erg was an unknown quantity, and the one who summoned it was equally unknown to this test.
"You must gauge the approaching maker carefully," Stilgar had explained. "You must stand close enough that you can mount it as it passes, yet not so close that it engulfs you."
With abrupt decision, Paul released the thumper's latch. The clapper began revolving and the summons drummed through the sand, a measured "lump... lump... lump ...."
He straightened, scanning the horizon, remembering Stilgar's words: "Judge the line of approach carefully. Remember, a worm seldom makes an unseen approach to a thumper. Listen all the same. You may often hear it before you see it."
And Chani's words of caution, whispered at night when her fear for him overcame her, filled his mind: "When you take your stand along the maker's path, you must remain utterly still. You must think like a patch of sand. Hide beneath your cloak and become a little dune in your very essence."
Slowly, he scanned the horizon, listening, watching for the signs he had been taught.
It came from the southeast, a distant hissing, a sand-whisper. Presently he saw the faraway outline of the creature's track against the dawnlight and realized he had never before seen a maker this large, never heard of one this size. It appeared to be more than half a league long, and the rise of the sandwave at its cresting head was like the approach of a mountain.
This is nothing I have seen by vision or in life, Paul cautioned himself. He hurried across the path of the thing to take his stand, caught up entirely by the rushing needs of this moment.
"Control the coinage and the courts --letthe rabble have the rest." Thus the Padishah Emperor advised you. And he tells you: "If you want profits, you must rule." There is truth in these words, but I ask myself: "Who are the rabble and who are the ruled?"
--Muad'Dib's Secret Message to the Landsraad from "Arrakis Awakening" by the Princess Irulan
A THOUGHT came unbidden to Jessica's mind: Paul will be undergoing his sandrider test at any moment now. They try to conceal this fact from me, but it's obvious.
And Chani has gone on some mysterious errand.
Jessica sat in her resting chamber, catching a moment of quiet between the night's classes. It was a pleasant chamber, but not as large as the one she had enjoyed in Sietch Tabr before their flight from the pogrom. Still, this place had thick rugs on the floor, soft cushions, a low coffee table near at hand, multicolored hangings on the walls, and soft yellow glowglobes overhead. The room was permeated with the distinctive acrid furry odor of a Fremen sietch that she had come to associate with a sense of security.
Yet she knew she would never overcome a feeling of being in an alien place. It was the harshness that the rugs and hangings attempted to conceal.
A faint tinkling-drumming-slapping penetrated to the resting chamber. Jessica knew it for a birth celebration, probably Subiay's. Her time was near. And Jessica knew she'd see the baby soon enough--a blue-eyed cherub brought to the Reverend Mother for blessing. She knew also that her daughter, Alia, would be at the celebration and would report on it.
It was not yet time for the nightly prayer of parting. They wouldn't have started a birth celebration near the time of ceremony that mourned the slave raids of Poritrin, Bela Tegeuse, Rossak, and Harmonthep.
Jessica sighed. She knew she was trying to keep her thoughts off her son and the dangers he faced--the pit traps with their poisoned barbs, the Harkonnen raids (although these were growing fewer as the Fremen took their toll of aircraft and raiders with the new weapons Paul had given them), and the natural dangers of the desert--makers and thirst and dust chasms.
She thought of calling for coffee and with the thought came that ever-present awareness of paradox in the Fremen way of life: how well they lived in these sietch caverns compared to the graben pyons; yet, how much more they endured in the open hajr of the desert than anything the Harkonnen bondsmen endured.
A dark hand inserted itself through the hangings beside her, deposited a cup upon the table and withdrew. From the cup arose the aroma of spiced coffee.
An offering from the birth celebration, Jessica thought.
She took the coffee and sipped it, smiling at herself. In what other society of our universe, she asked herself, could a person of my station accept an anonymous drink and quaff that drink without fear? I could alter any poison now before it did me harm, of course, but the donor doesn't realize this.
She drained the cup, feeling the energy and lift of its contents--hot and delicious.
And she wondered what other society would have such a natural regard for her privacy and comfort that the giver would intrude only enough to deposit the gift and not inflict her with the donor? Respect and love had sent the gift--with only a slight tinge of fear.
Another element of the incident forced itself into her awareness: she had thought of coffee and it had appeared. There was nothing of telepathy here, she knew. It was the tau, the oneness of the sietch community, a compensation from the subtle poison of the spice diet they shared. The great mass of the people could never hope to attain the enlightenment the sp