The Winds of Dune

PART I

10, 207 AG

After the overthrow of Shaddam IV, the reign of Paul-Muad’Dib lasted fourteen years. He established his new capital in Arrakeen on the sacred desert planet, Dune. Though Muad’Dib’s Jihad is over at long last, conflicts continue to flare up.

Paul’s mother, the Lady Jessica, has withdrawn from the constant battles and political schemes and returned to the Atreides ancestral home of Caladan to serve there as Duchess.

In my private life on Caladan, I receive few reports of my son’s Jihad, not because I choose to be ignorant, but because the news is rarely anything I wish to hear.

—LADY JESSICA, Duchess of Caladan

The unscheduled ship loomed in orbit over Caladan, a former Guild Heighliner pressed into service as a Jihad transport.

A young boy from the fishing village, apprenticed to the Castle as a page, rushed into the garden courtyard. Looking awkward in his formal clothing, he blurted, “It’s a military-equipped vessel, my Lady. Fully armed!”

Kneeling beside a rosemary bush, Jessica snipped off fragrant twigs for the kitchens. Here in her private garden, she maintained flowers, herbs, and shrubs in a perfect combination of order and chaos, useful flora and pretty pleasantries. In the peace and stillness just after dawn, Jessica liked to work and meditate here, nourishing her plants and uprooting the persistent weeds that tried to ruin the careful balance.

Unruffled by the boy’s panic, she inhaled deeply of the aromatic evergreen oils released by her touch. Jessica rose to her feet and brushed dirt off her knees. “Have they sent any messages?”

“Only that they are dispatching a group of Qizarate emissaries, my Lady. They demand to speak with you on an urgent matter.”

“They demand?”

The young man quailed at her expression. “I’m sure they meant it as a request, my Lady. After all, would they dare to make demands of the Duchess of Caladan—and the mother of Muad’Dib? Still, it must be important news indeed, to warrant a vessel like that!” The young man fidgeted like an eel washed up on shore.

She straightened her garment. “Well, I’m sure the emissary considers it important. Probably just another request for me to increase the limits on the number of pilgrims allowed to come here.”

Caladan, the seat of House Atreides for more than twenty generations, had escaped the ravages of the Jihad, primarily because of Jessica’s refusal to let too many outsiders swarm in. Caladan’s self-sufficient people preferred to be left alone. They would gladly have accepted their Duke Leto back, but he had been murdered through treachery at high levels; now the people had his son Paul-Muad’Dib instead, the Emperor of the Known Universe.

Despite Jessica’s best efforts, Caladan could never be completely isolated from the outside storms in the galaxy. Though Paul paid little attention to his home planet anymore, he had been christened and raised here; the people could never escape the shadow cast by her son.

After all the years of Paul’s Jihad, a weary and wounded peace had settled over the Imperium like a cold winter fog. Looking at the young messenger now, she realized that he had been born after Paul became Emperor. The boy had never known anything but the looming Jihad and the harsher side of her son’s nature. . . .

She left the courtyard gardens, shouting to the boy. “Summon Gurney Halleck. He and I will meet the delegation in the main hall of Castle Caladan.”

Jessica changed out of her gardening clothes into a sea-green gown of state. She lifted her ash-bronze hair and draped a pendant bearing a golden Atreides hawk crest around her neck. She refused to hurry. The more she thought about it,