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Science Fiction Drama Dune: The Between Years

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by darthbernael , Sep 29, 2021.

  1. BobaMatt

    BobaMatt TFN EU Staff star 7 VIP

    Aug 19, 2002
    Thufir Hawat
    Baronial Residence, Carthag

    Hawat's can impacting the floor rang out loudly in the hallways. He moved as swift as he could towards the distant din. He didn't like speaking to Rabban - something about the man unsettled him, perhaps a savagery behind his eyes, some pacing caged carnivore in the man's spirit. The distant voices were louder now, and he heard a toast of celebration. Turning the corner he stopped dead.

    His face was all composure, but deep inside him a voice roared. His spies had not properly prepared him. He hated that.

    Beneath the looming paintings of the central Harkonnen, were a group engaged in a jovial conversation. Hawat recognized some of them immediately: the weasel Count Fenring and his witch wife, and a beautiful young woman - Hair red like Jessica's, he thought - who had the bearing of a witch and the crest of House Ezharian about her. A young man was also there, of noble carriage but unclear affiliation. Any conversation with the Fenrings implied the Emperor's hand - this was not some fickle dalliance, but rather this young man must be well placed, whoever he was, and useful, and the witches no doubt sought to ply him with their delights.

    Hawat inclined his head in all the bow he could muster with his old knee and back, cleared his throat, and approached, hoping to move past him. His position as mentat of the House caused all sorts of procedural headaches - he was a servant of the House, but this was the House's residence, not theirs; and besides, Houses Fenring and Ezhrani were Houses Minor while Harkonnen was a House Major; and yet still, Hawat was not a noble, and... he knew all the intricacies of address, but trusted no one else here did.

    He smiled curtly.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth, @darthbernael

  2. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    “The test of a man isn’t what you think he’ll do. It’s what he actually does.”
    Frank Herbert - Dune​


    The late afternoon sun streamed in through tall windows. The light of it crept across the floor as the planet rotated, casting shadows where shelves or seats blocked its rays.

    “Tell me, Mohiam, do things proceed apace?” The voice that spoke, from the depths of an overstuffed chair, was filled with command, even in the form of an enquiry.

    The Emperor’s Truthsayer nodded, a wry smile on her face. “You are weaving a tangled web, Shaddam. The Houses Major are at each other’s throats and the Houses Minor are climbing all over each other to race for the brass ring.”

    She sat at a nod from the man, from the Emperor, “Hundro has made those waters even more muddied, at the subtle direction you gave him. So many houses are finding retainers or even heirs missing or dead. He, his assassins are wizards but I am glad that so many of the bloodlines had already been cultivated before you set him loose.”

    The snifter clutched in the Emperor’s hand rocked, the amber liquid within swirling and climbing the sides of the glass. “He is a scalpel and a blunt weapon at the same time. But this phase of the plan is drawing near its end. He will rein in his activities.” A check of the chrono, “Within the day I would say.”

    He sat forward, the glass lifting, the liquid pouring into his mouth, “I knew the price when you and the Sisterhood backed me, those precious bloodlines of yours will continue.”

    TAG: No One


    The deep desert, northwest of Arrakeen

    The supervisor nodded, turning and setting the crew to work. The transports, carryalls, and thopters shifted positions in a massive ballet. It took several long minutes before all the craft settled back onto the outcropping. Skeleton crews remained on the craft, on the bridges or behind the controls of them, should they need to make an immediate dustoff. The crews were set on a rotation of four hours each, just long enough for the replacements to rest for a time before they needed to take their places.

    Several teams spread out, checking the various crevices and cracks in the surrounding rocks. They reported back that there were several entrances to the outcropping but that the dust patterns suggested that the Fremen had not used the plateau in months.

    The crew, in the cavern, began to rest and prepare for the next stage of their journey. Randolpho headed to join them, the supervisor keeping him updated as they walked. A dozen paces from the entrance what had appeared to be a rock stood up slowly. All across the basin nineteen other rocks did the same, cries echoing as the patrols realized that they had been observed from the moment they had landed.

    The one closest to Randolpho walked closer, the dull gray finish of what the man was wearing, the mask, the hood, the filters, all screaming that it was one of the Fremen. The blue within blue eyes were firm and fixed on Randolpho. “If your activity has brought the pigs down on us, your water will join theirs.” he said calmly.

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto (Combo with GM)


    Ginaz Residence

    The Security Manager nodded in respect to Shamir. “You’re hired. And you have your first task. Escort Dyana to meet the newcomers.”

    He turned to Dyana, “Let the House representatives settle in. There is one other, though, who came with, she can act as our go between until the reps are prepared.”

    The girl nodded, smiling up at Shamir, the concern was still on her face, from having watched the duel between him and the Manager. She turned and began to hurry out of the room, making Shamir hurry to keep up.

    Once the door shut behind them she hissed, “He’s sent us to say hello to a witch…” Her attitude toward the Bene Gesserit was apparent in the words. “Don’t know much about her, only that she was sent from Kaitain.”

    She led him through the labyrinth of back corridors of the Residence until they neared the quarters of the nobles. Once they exited the back corridors the main one was a wide, tall, polished hallway. “Look sharp, they expect that we look our best but, in public, appear almost invisible.”

    She straightened, moving somewhat furtively but quietly. A dozen paces down the corridor she came to a room, other housekeepers bringing the last of the bags of the occupant to the room. She rapped on the open door with the backs of her knuckles, “Housekeeping and security, come to welcome you and the House representatives to the Residence.”

    TAGS: @Shadowsun, @TheAdmiral (COmbo, including the GM)


    Baronial Residence, Carthag

    Trinnian looked up as the old man appeared at the end of the Great Hall. As he drew closer her eyes widened, realizing who it was approaching. Behind her, she heard a light chuckle as Hasimir saw who was approaching. When Hawat bowed his head, Margot smiled serenely, “Old Mentat, welcome back to Arrakis. This is, or could be, an unexpected but pleasant surprise.”

    Hasimir snorted, “Margot, he’s busy, can you not see? Besides, no matter our status, he reports to the Baron, and technically we’re from a House Minor.”

    Turning to Ike, “But…the newest Legate of House Moritani perhaps could talk to him about the current situation.”

    Trinnian knew of the Mentat’s from her training, knew that anything told to them, anything they learned added to the calculations the human computer would use to decide a course of action. So she remained silent, albeit close to Ike, arm linked with his, which was enough information already for Thufir to begin to make his own calculations.

    “The na-Baron has some business to attend to, from what I understand, something about rebel Fremen. But I’m sure we can entertain you until such time that he is free.” Hasimir said, in a lilting voice as his eyes roved over Thufir, wondering how long the man had. He didn’t know the hook that the Baron had used but it seemed chemical in nature, and knowing Vladimir, exceedingly potent when released.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @BobaMatt (Combo, to include the GM)


    Middle of nowhere, heading somewhere

    The early hours of the night passed without further incident. The two of them, neither really sleeping, rested until they knew they needed to move while the cool air of the night allowed them to move with more ease. As they rose, Naveed held onto Taina, supporting her. In the mostly quiet air of the night the sounds of small creatures moving around could be heard. Crossing the small outcropping of rock several of the small kangaroo mice bounced away from the two of them, little “pip pips’ of sound as they squeaked.

    The moons overheard provided enough light to make their progress easier. They both stumbled on occasion, exhaustion still filled them. Naveed needed to get Taina to the sietch before they could both rest. Slowly, they made their way down from the outcrop.

    Before them stretched out the open desert. Moonlight shone down on the sands, shadows curving across the sands where the crests of dunes stood higher. Instructing Taina quietly on how she should move, Naveed began to lead her across the sands.

    Their progress was slow, between exhaustion and the deep sand, they had to struggle with each step. A pair of hours passed as they walked, winds beginning to pick up in the early morning air, obscuring their tracks behind them. The wind blew eddies of sand up, dust devils blowing around them, making travel even more difficult.

    Which was what made them both miss when the valley between two dunes gave way to drum sand. A hollow booming sound filled the air, the ground vibrating for a moment, as Naveed took the first step onto it before freezing, knowing what was soon to come…

    TAGS: @Adalia-Durron, @greyjedi125 (Combo, to include the GM)


    Imperial Testing Station

    The crew behind Mudze were on edge. One faced backward, hand on the shoulder of his partner, to be sure to keep up or stop as needed, just in case the children were wrong and something, someone, came for them from behind, where they had already cleared. The others covered every doorway, scanning each room, as they passed, ensuring they were cleared.

    The teen Fremen, a handlight in one hand, led them toward the central offices. He was cautious, both with what may lay ahead as well as still not fully trusting the people he was leading. At least his siblings were secure, having locked the room behind them after he’d led the others past the room.

    Mudze comm chimed, the first time an update from the pilots, that they had the hangar doors mostly cleared and were just making sure the gearing and chains were lubricated before they attempted the first test to open the door full. A few moments later his comm chimed again, an update from the other clearing team, that they were over halfway complete with securing the other half of the complex, having found some supplies that would help them but no other living beings.

    The closest of the crew tapped Mudze’s shoulder, pointing at what appeared to be hallway markings for the facility. The stripes corresponded to how close one was to certain areas and, at the junction they’d just reached, each strip had the name of where it was headed above it. The thicker stripe that the man was pointing at, was that of the central office of the testing station, “Almost there, Mudze.”

    TAG: BobaMatt (Combo with GM)


    Spaceport, Grumand

    The Moritani household was not one that was quickly or simply moved from one place to another. Hundro had sent out messages that he was prepared to travel, that the household would be in movement, even as the House assassins set to the work that had been demanded of them. By the time that they had reached the spaceport, and the House frigate there, he’d received reports back of dozens of successful missions. Which was why he was not surprised when, as they reached the private bay the frigate was ensconced in, a messenger approached.

    He took the message, breaking open the cylinder, to read it. With a nod, he countersigned the message, handing it to the messenger. “Ensure all are recalled, mission complete.” The messenger nodded and disappeared again. Taking Sokanon’s arm, the hangar door opened, revealing the lump of frigate that stood there. “It’s time, time to begin the grand tour, enlisting the offbalance Houses, whether they believe we’re the reason or not.”

    TAG: @pashatemur (Combo with GM)


    TAG: @Jabba-wocky (Single, third notice, the Guild agent’s transport would be first off, at Carthag)

    TAG: @Corellian_Outrider (Single, second notice, Garsiv and Lucina can settle in at the Residence)
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  3. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Randolpho Espanza & DarthBernael Combo!
    The deep desert, northwest of Arrakeen

    Everything had been going smoothly, until the rocks decided to start talking with them. Quickly recovering from his shock and releasing his sudden hold on his sword Randolpho nodded at the Fremen before him. "As is the right of the desert law." he replied with a small bow of acknowledgement. "We wish not to draw them here and hope we have lost them before coming, and winds be with us we shall soon leave to what shall be our new base where none have claim when word comes."

    Reaching up, the Fremen released the clasp on the facemask, revealing a small smile. “Desert law indeed.” A whistle sounded from the top of the rocks. He looked up momentarily, “No patrols in sight, currently. You have avoided those foes I believe currently seek both our body’s waters.”

    He gestured at the cavern, “Your men are well under cover, but they are too loud. There are worse things out here than the pigs.”

    Returning the grin as he felt the tingling in his fingertips of narrowly avoiding action, and his adrenaline suddenly having nowhere to go. With a sigh and a nod, "If you want to teach us to be better guests I have no objection. Although you would have my condolences if you choose to be our teachers." Randolpho added with a rueful grin. "Sadly I know I am better at the border of rock and waters edge than the sands and rock."

    The Fremen nodded, a two toned whistle coming from his lips. The Fremen across the basin moved, two joining the first the remainder spreading out, forming a perimeter before vanishing from sight once more. They were obviously there but even the best eyes wouldn’t find them.

    The leader held out one gloved hand, “I am Coss. We were waiting for another but found you first.” he said.

    “We can take your registration numbers and ship codes. I doubt you’d want an accident of an attack, something tells me that you could be worthwhile allies.”

    "Sounds like a good plan." Randolpho replied with a wave and nod to the men with him. "Imagine the reverse is pointless. Thank you Coss. I am Randolpho Espanza. If there is anything we can do in good turn, just let us know." he offered freely with a further nod.

    “Well met Randolpho Espanza. I will pass your message along to the council of sietch leaders.” Coss said softly. He glanced into the cavern, eyes roving over the men there. “The first thing that we could aid you with, at least this night, is teaching your men how to properly wear stillsuits, something that you will all need should you base your operations out here in the desert.”

    Giving a small hand to chest bow Randolpho gave a nod, "Thank you. It is much appreciated." Honestly he had no idea how he was wearing the thing wrong. Everything was tucked in and synched to be rather chaffing for max absorption. How else would you wear the things to maximize water retention?

    Coss nodded respectfully to Randolpho. The corner of his lips turned up, “You haven’t worn these almost since birth, there’s always a bit better of a way to wear them.” He whistled again and three shadows stood, moving into the cavern. They began to circulate among the men, making adjustments here or there, to make the fit the best as possible. “Lift your arms into a T shape and I’ll check yours. “ he told Randolpho.

    Giving a shrug he held out his arms, displaying out he had set the suit upon himself like a second skin that was tight and uncomfortable. He could only hope that whatever adjustments were made that the suit would fit better. After all, right now if he had to fight for his life he would hardly trust himself with his sword with this much restriction.

    Coss moved around Randolpho, tightening some straps and buckles, loosening others. He squatted, starting at the ankles and working his way up. It took about ten minutes to work his way around and up to the hood of the stillsuit. When he finished he stepped back, then reached and fixed one more strap. “Try moving now. It should feel like moving in your own skin, slick and fluid, without any chafing or pain.” Reaching into a pocket he took out two nose filters, rolling them in his fingers. When they were approximately correct he held them out, “And these should keep your nose from drying out or losing moisture through it.”

    Experimentally he bobbed up and down. Spread his legs into an en guard stance, and made a few practice lunges and swings with empty hands as if they held a weapon. The difference was truly fantastical! "This is amazing. I could actually fight now if needed." he stated with no little wonder in his voice. Coss of course took that moment to offer him nose filters.

    Clearing his throat he nodded at the torture implement. "Of course." reaching out he took them and set to clipping and working them into place. Reflexively twitching his nose every few seconds he nodded to Coss. "Finally dressed right?" he asked hopefully. Whether hopeful he was or hopeful he was doing something wrong with the nose piece were likely in equal measure.

    Nodding approvingly, Coss observed as Randolpho moved. The man knew what he was doing in a fight, That was apparent. He nodded again, the adjustments had been just what the man needed. At the question he let a wry smile cross his face, “Yes, although if the nose filters are uncomfortable you may need to adjust them a little to fit better but otherwise you should be in good shape now.”

    Glancing into the cavern he noticed that his men were halfway done with the crews. “I think all of you will be doing better and feeling better once my men are done. Your stillsuit is what keeps you alive out here. That and what I can tell are your battle skills. The pigs aren’t going to ignore your efforts for long.”

    Grunting at the notion Randolpho began a long task of fiddling with his nose filters. "Just need them to not notice long enough we can get settled and start in earnest." Radolpho stated with a sigh as he tried the filters again.

    Coss nodded. As his men finished they drifted out of the cavern. Disappearing back into the dark, he glanced at Randolpho once more. "One more note, the filters that each of you have received have the 'scent' of our sietch so should you come upon Fremen and need assistance they will be able to bring you there."

    "We are honored. Thank you." As if he had any clue what any of those words means when strung together like that. Still it was some way that other Fremen could tell they were friends through this group of men. Hopefully he would never have to use it, as his luck it would not go well. Honestly at this point he didn't even want to think about it too much. Instead focusing on memorizing how his suit was fitted and adjusted to work on him for whenever he needed to change out of it and back into it again later.

    His men all having disappeared back into the night, Coss nodded, "You're welcome." he said with a nod, then vanished into the night himself.

    Nodding Randolpho turned to the others in his group that were now left alone. "So. Time to go make sure everyone wears these right." he said with a near clap, barely stopping himself and making his hands whiff instead. "Hopefully we hear about that new base soon, pass the word to keep it down. Especially those closest to the edges." he added with a pointed emphasis before reaching up to shake his fingers through his longish hair.

    TAG: @darthbernael
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  4. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Ike - a combo with BobaMatt and the GM!
    Baronial Residence, Carthag

    Trinnian had looked up, and Hasimir had chuckled, even as Margot spoke up.

    “Old Mentat, welcome back to Arrakis. This is, or could be, an unexpected but pleasant surprise.”

    “Margot, he’s busy, can you not see? Besides, no matter our status, he reports to the Baron, and technically we’re from a House Minor.” Hasimir being fairly rude, and then. “But…the newest Legate of House Moritani perhaps could talk to him about the current situation.”

    He felt Trinnian hook her arm in his, frowned as he studied the newcomer. He'd not often met or interacted with such a soul...

    “The na-Baron has some business to attend to, from what I understand, something about rebel Fremen. But I’m sure we can entertain you until such time that he is free.”

    Hasimir's eyes roved, and Ike pursed his lips, waiting for the Mentat to speak up first, his chin slightly tilted upward arrogantly, eyes narrowed.

    Hawat halted his progress to look over his shoulder. His eyes met Fenrings. He cleared his throat. "Count Fenring, a generous offer. I know how much your time and attention are worth." He inclined his head at one of the witches. "Lady Fenring." He smiled at her, even as he scanned the group, trying to glean the importance of this younger man. "I'm afraid I'm not acquainted with your friends."

    Ike pursed his lips. He was expecting an introduction, not to introduce himself, but perhaps he would have to.

    "I am the aforementioned new Legate of House Moritani," Ike said, smoothly, the half-Fremen speaking slowly for the older man. "You can call me Ike."

    A sly smile crossed Hasimir's face. Leaning closely to Margot, "This one will go far, if he can survive the intensity of Thufir's attention." he murmured.

    Trinnian barely caught the edge of his words, her eyes narrowing slightly. She shifted closer to Ike, almost possessively. "House Ezharian stands with House Moritani." she said softly, fully aware that the Mentat would be able to read even more into her words and body language.

    Ike reached for her hand and squeezed it, if only to emphasize the point.

    Hawat decided he'd need more data. An alliance between the Moritani and Ezharian had interesting implications for the balance of power on Arrakis, but then again these two were young and this could be fleeting. That said, the girl was a witch, and if she had this young man in her grips...

    "Well, my Lady, your family does choose friends well." He inclined his head in a boy. "Ezharian stands with Moritani and Moritani stands, of course, with Harkonnen." He turned to the legate. "I have only just recently sat with your kinsman on Kaitan. A charming man," he darted a glance at the women, "with a new friend of his own, it would seem."

    What was the Sisterhood up to, here?

    Trinnian returned the squeeze of Ike's hand, a small smile on her face. Her head cocked to the side at the mention of the Moritani kinsman that the Mentat had spoken to. She assumed that it was the House leader but she didn't want to assume. It took very much effort for her to not whip her head over to look at Margot at the final comment that was made though.

    Margot however lifted a hand to her lips as she laughed lightly. Her eyes were bright as she recovered, "Oh Thufir, that look. You'd think the Bene Gesserit tell each other all our secrets. As I'm sure there are so many different types or disciplines of Mentat so are there with the Sisterhood. If one is there the Mother Superior must have had her reasons."

    The Mother Superior? Mentat?

    Ike stiffened anew. "I am of course at the disposal of the Sisterhood and Mentat as need be, where the Emperor's will is spoken." He managed to keep his tone neutral. Sometimes he wondered...


    He did not dare wonder in-front of these two.

    Thufir nodded. "Of course. Aren't we all?" He scanned the group. This young one was still figuring out his role. He continued: "And no doubt Count Fenring has come to speak the Emperor's will." He did his best to retain a jocular tone. "Anything he would wish to share?"

    Hasimir's eyes glittered as a crooked smile crossed his face. Rubbing his hands together, "Why, Thufir, your calculations are as direct as ever."

    His eyes drifted over to Ike and Trinnian, "Let us just say that our young friend here has come into his, hmmm, inheritance at an opportune time." An oily chuckle escaped his lips, "I have already given the na-Baron Shaddam's commands, perhaps why he is so desperate for your counsel."

    Margot smiled sweetly, "Don't keep him in suspense, dear..."

    Hasimir nodded, "Of course, my dear." His eyes met Thufir's, now almost piercing in intensity. "The Padishah Emperor has informed the Governor of Arakkis that there will be no more aid from the Sardaukar, that the quota has been doubled, and that the Guild has reduced transport rates for every House of the Imperium, save the Harkonnen."

    He smiled again, cruelty in the expression, "I suspect there will be a rush on spice, very soon."

    Trinnian listened as the Count spoke, his tone making her shiver. She'd already cast her House's lot in with the Moritani and it seemed she'd made the correct decision. What was left unsaid, however, added to the shivers and made her press more closely to Ike. "The Harkonnen are in trouble, Ike. Maybe we should discuss a little separation from them..." she whispered to him.

    Ike looked at her, blankly for the moment, grappling with the enormity of the moment. "Wait, we need to see what Thufir will do, first, my darling." He whispered back, but his eyes roved to Margot, wondering as to what was being done. Cutting down another House, politically, economically, rather than literally, yes, it kept everyone divided, but the Emperor must realise that it was a breeding ground for discontent.

    Absently Ike licked his lips.

    For rebellion.

    Thufir watched as the young whelps whispered and gossiped. The confidence of youth. Fenring was sewing discord, but the youth were too inexperienced to see that; they trust flattery, hearing what they want to believe and so trusting the source. Not even the Viscount was taken in by the Emperor, moving more subtly. There was the matter of the Harkonnen's already unmatched wealth to deal with, but also the fact that the Baron and his heir could drag the Corrino down with them kicking and screaming with three words: The Sardaukar helped.

    "Ah, yes," Thufir smiled. "But when isn't there a rush on spice? It will only be more direct now. The Viscount and I have discussed terms and agreements - he will no doubt fill you in soon, Legate, on what we decided, and perhaps whatever else it is he has in store. The Moritani have served the Harkonnen well, and greatly deserve their new status for crushing the Ginaz. Perhaps a new alliance as equals will preserve the holdings the families have maintained for generations, as well as opening up new opportunities."

    Hasimir's smile was oily at Thufir's response. The old Mentat had read the meaning behind what he'd said, all he'd not said. He glanced at the young couple, the smile only twitching a little. "Well, Legate, it seems your status has become even more important, in the days to come."

    Margot softly slid from under Hasimir's arm, stepping closer to the two of them. She leaned close to Trinnian, "Keep him close, I will discover the reasoning behind the Viscount's new friend. All protocols are released." she told the girl quietly.

    Trinnian's eyes lit up for a moment, a small smile crossing her face. "Understood." she whispered back to the older woman before Margot returned to Hasimir's side. He chuckled slightly, "You see, Thufir, all is in order here. The Legate will receive the support he needs, not that I suspect Hundro hasn't prepared the way already." he finished, eyes flicking to the rafters of the Great Hall for a moment.

    All protocols are released?

    Ike looked even more surprised, especially with how... intimately familiar Margot was with Trinnian. Who manipulated who, today and now? Brow beetled, he regarded them each.

    Was he merely the new frontman for their endeavours?

    A patsy.


    He knew how to run a crew. He knew how to double down hard. To cut at discord.

    He was not just Legate.

    Ike was one of the most ruthless people in this galaxy.

    "Perhaps Thufir and I could have a private aside, so I might set him straight?"

    He actually grinned at the latter word.

    Let them think he was... ingratiating himself with the man, for now.

    Hawat did his best to suppress his own bristling at the phrase. All data was useful, after all. "Please," he smiled, chuckling. "Set me straight."

    TAG: @darthbernael, @BobaMatt
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  5. pashatemur

    pashatemur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2004
    OCC: This combo is in collaboration with the GM, darthbernael. Thank you, darthbernael.
    IC: Sister Na'die, Kanti-Sokanon and Viscount Hundro Moritani
    Location: Grumman, landing field

    Casting all in emerald, her green veil billowed before her view and stuck to the emollient applied to her lips. In the shadow of the gleaming frigate, the House staff and attending support were filing around Hundro and the several individuals to whom Hundro spoke. They and the guards surrounding them stood in this stream of Moritani travelers like a rock. The Viscount’s party compelled a wide berth from the boarding party as they entered the ship in preparation for the eminent voyage. Even the Viscountess and Moritani’s son, along with the Lady’s companion, passed with some discrete greeting but continued on without interrupting Hundro. Sokanon bowed modestly in acknowledgement. Others, too, subtly noted the Viscount, but observing the hangar through the pulled thread lace of her veil, the Bene Gesserit noted the order and quiet with which this mass of beings was moving with ease.

    The translucent silk of her weighted veil and sari was soft, yet very strong. Still, as it fluttered and slapped around her lithe form, it felt brittle. Grumman’s salted air made the dry planet even drier. Kanti-Sakonan was grateful for the veil. It hid her distress at the wasteland over-mining had made of the once beautiful world that was home to House Moritani. The paintings in the rambling Moritani palazzo revealed the “lost garden” of the once teaming planet.

    The hours had scattered in a parching wind like the one that blew dust and dried leaves across the tarmac, the desiccated leaves blown from some giardino or golden-hill vineyard surrounding the capital city of Ritka. Even as depleted as Grumman was, nature was coaxed and nurtured to “flower” in the shaded valleys, or at the edge of sources. Hundro had shown her round the small village that supported the grand Moritani estate perched on one of those hills earlier, encircled with old surface-to-air emplacements. She looked off toward the distant horizon to see the oranging dusk touch the now silhouetted hills whence they’d only arrived. She returned her attention to Hundro. The Viscount kept the Sister close as he instructed several of his agents and lieutenants, the last of them now receiving his mandate just now.

    Taking receipt, the man saluted and bowed. Sokanon observed, though she didn't quite understand what the coded order meant. However, she did not hide her curiosity, and Hundro would expect her comment and observations later. The “capo,” to his credit, though distracted by her presence, confined his gaze to his liege, while the Viscount spoke.

    The Viscount cut an austere, but elegant, figure. He stood tall, though many of the House Moritani did as well. He trained no less than those at his command. Sokanon had watched as he stood in line with a class of his own agents and watched as he moved like a stallion, leapt with great strength, agility, and speed. Though tall, he was not necessarily large framed, but he had the build and fluidity of an acrobat and dancer and the feline stealth and quiet of a panther. Formally attired in black, the Viscount’s breeches hugged his finely turned legs snuggly, a trend set long ago in Earth’s history when horse culture characterized the might of the ancient House of Moritani. A ceremonial dagger was sheathed at his coat’s wide belt, though another, she knew, was hidden in the spine of his boot. The wind grew chilled and stronger, sweeping across the tarmac and ruffling his dark hair and his high collared lapels as he continued in quiet conversation. She allowed herself a small smile. The House was all business, yet something as important as presentation, though quiet, stark, and serviceable, was acquitted everywhere with nuance and elegance. Even the buttons on Hundro’s coat, polished gold and embossed with an older styling of the Moritani emblem, held a more potent “closure” than to seal the coat against the chill of this dusk. This moment struck her as definitive. Something had changed.

    When he’d concluded his business, Hundro took her hand in his large but articulate one, his long fingers twining with hers. His touch impressed her, which, from one so powerful and commanding, could be so dexterous and gentle. She looked up to meet his piercing grey gaze.

    His eyes met hers, the corner of his lip turning up in a fractional smile. Her hand felt warm, soft, and supple, but with its own hard lines that spoke of her years of training. “Business, something of it always appears. Some delayable… some, not.”

    With a slight gesture of his free hand, they headed toward the frigate; the guards keeping a bubble of space around the two of them. His free hand slid down, feeling the muscles of her back as they walked. He enjoyed the way they shifted under his palm, the small smile remaining on his face.

    She smiled quickly and almost laughed as she felt his hand on the small of her back. He shifted her hand to his other so he could give her a possessive and possibly prideful touch, however brief. It might have been a liberty taken, but she felt a freeness and in that touch. For someone who bore burdened secrets and, as she now came to know, a sense of his part in a rapidly deepening and dangerous intrigue, this was unusual freedom and while it made her happy, it also gave rise to concern. They both must remain focused.

    “Perhaps, later, you will enlighten me as to the ‘business’," she whispered, as gravity drew them closer to one another and they passed into the belly of the frigate. His hand on her back grew warmer. She knew he would not answer as they traversed the common areas of the ship, that was certain. Still, she glanced up sideways to see he gave her a mischievous, if fleeting, glance of his own.

    He nodded at the comment. “Of course. It is pertinent to what we are doing.” The guards had spread out more inside the frigate, as the potential danger was lessened in a ship that had a hand-picked crew for both their absolute loyalty and their discretion. As they passed different areas, he told her what each was before explaining that most of those functions were also available in the suite that was set aside for them.

    When they reached the suite, the guards took up station on either side of the doorway. He shut the door behind them, pulling her closely. “The ‘boss’, and no, not the Baron, though he was the one to request the operations our men were on, sent a message to inform me that their operations had achieved the needed goal. And that what we are about to embark on is the next stage of the plan.”

    He knew she’d understand who he meant. His hand on her lower back grasped her more firmly, “It is now our job to convince these Houses, grieving though they may be, that it was the Baron specifically that was to blame for their current misfortune. Him and the now passed Duke Atreides, depending on which will be of more use.”

    Sokanon leaned her head on Hundro's chest. He no doubt felt her slight flinch, and she remained quiet, mind to heart, and wrapped her arms about his waist and considered how far she could bend to compromise. It was possible to lose oneself in this labyrinth, believing one had to play this game when truly, it was necessary to keep one's bearings and remaining whole to keep that understanding always before one, like a shield. The "Boss," a crushing burden, was lost long ago, and he conducted his proprietary game unrelentingly. Though, in his defense, his will was not wholly native. It had been shaped by the geography of social terrain and the vastness of space. -That was the last of those thoughts for the next while. Hundro's administration required her full attention.

    Several hours later, Hundro leaned back against the headboard of the bed in the suite, Sokanon curled against his side. The sound of the frigate’s engines was causing a vibration in the craft. As it did, the intercom by the bed chimed before the sound of the Captain’s voice came through. “Lord, we are lifting. We should reach the Heighliner in no more than an hour.”

    “Thank you Captain, Ipyr and House Thorvald await.” Hundro replied before he cut the circuit. His arm tightened around Sokanon, “You may know this House from the fact the Earl’s sister was the Emperor’s wife. The Earl recently lost his youngest son and we are visiting to offer our condolences and the Emperor’s pledge that the House will be supported in their time of trouble.”

    "I am sorry for their loss." She said thoughtfully. "How did he die?" she quietly asked, betraying none of her concern.

    Hundro answered simply, "He passed away suddenly during an outing.”

    She swallowed. Showing her face to him was unavoidable. He had to know he had her honesty. Tilting her head up to look at him, her hazel eyes pooling.

    He met her gaze steadily. "It is unfortunate for them." he said calmly.

    Another sister of the order might dissipate such grief or simply squelch any sense of loss by considering the goals of the Bene Gesserit. She stifled a cry and pressed her face to his flesh.

    He held her closely, her tears wetting his chest. His hand stroked her hair, softly. "We will let them see the concern and our acknowledgement of their loss when we arrive. It is only right.”

    She nodded tightly. "I... " she stopped to clear her throat. "It all seems to make sense in theory; a ‘war of assassins’ should minimize collateral damage, save lives in the end, and maintain economy and infrastructure...” she murmured, snatching a corner of the bedclothes to wipe his chest and her face.

    He stroked her hair once again. "Yes, that is true. And it is better that such a war is contracted by those who can efficiently pursue it with only the necessary losses occurring. What I, we, do is not pretty or considered proper in most of society, yet every rank turns to us when the need is present. Such irony!”

    "I shouldn't have spoken. You know all this and I... I came to you with my eyes open. It doesn't make it easier," she said quietly, "... and being clever and crafty about it only turns my stomach.”

    He sighed, "I am used to having to dissemble to everyone, Sokanon. It is nothing against you. Distancing one's self from the darkness of our deeds is a form of protection, it may be said.”

    Sokanon shook her head and hugged him more tightly.

    He held her closely. Turning his head slightly, he kissed the top of hers.

    TAG: @darthbernael, @BobaMatt
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2022
  6. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 6

    Apr 29, 2002
    A wonderfully adventurous combo with @Adalia-Durron and our esteemed GM, @darthbernael . :)

    IC: Naveed & Taina
    Middle of Nowhere, Arrakis Desert


    Taina did not know a being could be this tired, never had she felt such exhaustion. It washed from the roots of her hair, down to the nails on her toes, every muscle screaming in protest as she forced one foot in front of the other, blindly. She knew that if she failed to keep up, if she gave into the utter exhaustion, she’d be lost forever. Her body would expire, her bones eventually turn to dust and become one with the sand. She could only focus on his directions and his back, how to walk, and where to walk.

    And so, the two resumed the arduous journey back to the seitch. The trek had become so daunting, it was best not to think on is present magnitude. In his mind, Naveed realized that this journey had become a test of their will and commitment, not only his, but Taina as well.

    As they left the outcropping, a familiar squeaking sound caught his attention.

    “Look, muad’dib…” Naveed found himself saying to Taina, a weak smile coming to his aching face. “If they can survive the desert, so can we…”

    Naveed felt an inner wave of warmth and familiarity at the sight, one from which he drew a modicum of strength. He longed for home and the promise of comfort found in familiar faces. He needed to try and pass on this treasure to Taina as best he could. Hope was a powerful motivator in dire times, especially when one knew it was attainable. Within himself, he knew that Taina was too exhausted to respond, that her focus was solely on staying alive one step at a time, but she could at least hear him.

    Before them, an immeasurable stretch of desert yawned wide across the horizon as the moon shone down on them, the only witness to their passage.

    “You know, I was once young….” Naveed began with a chuckle. “ I remember running around playing happily with other children, blissfully enjoying the world I lived in…”

    The story was sure to be a long and boring tale to someone unfamiliar with the Fremen way of life, but the point was to distract them from their internal battle against tiredness, to keep them awake and their bodies plodding along in near autonomous fashion.

    They had to keep going, for movement was life.

    Naveed let his mouth talk about anything and everything, to the point he had not realized the moment they set upon drum sand until the first booming sound filled the air.

    Naveed stopped moving, frozen in his tracks. He dared not take another step. In that moment, his exhaustion seemed to double, triple, quadruple. How had he he missed the signs?

    “Shai-Hulud.” He intoned reverently through dry lips.

    A sandworm was coming.

    She listened. He's been rambling and most of what he'd said had not sunk in, but it didn't matter, Taina knew what he was doing and so long as his voice was before her, she knew she could keep following. Her lips stung with the splits in them and her eyes were slits caked with her own tears and sand combined and her head throbbed painfully but she kept moving. One foot in front of the other, one at a time, her focus on the voice, the feet in front of her and making sure, one foot in front of the other.

    Then it stopped, he stopped.

    Instinct was suddenly awoken as he was silent now and that told her something was very wrong. Then he muttered something, something she understood and her heart began to pound loudly. Could it hear that? What could they do? Lifting her head to look at him, her blue eyes silently begged him to guide her, to show her, to help her escape as this was an enemy she'd never learned to dispatch.

    Naveed felt no fear in that moment.

    The young fremen closed his eyes, took a centering breath, then from his lips proceeded all that he could offer.

    A prayer:

    'O Shai-Hulud
    Bless the Maker and his water
    Bless the coming and the going of him
    May his passage cleanse the world
    May he save the world for his people'

    The desert was Arrakis and all things belonged to the desert. All life, all death, all creation.

    Taina blinked a few times, clearing her eyes slightly, did he just say a prayer? That gave her a mild surprise when in reality her station should have prepared her for such a thing. His words were soft, and she caught most of them and it made her feel she had something to add. She had no fear, it was in her training not to do so. Closing her own eyes she began to recite in a very soft tone.

    "I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

    t began with the sound of the drum sand's reverberations slowly fading. As the sound faded another began to become audible. It was the merest whisper first, an almost hissing sound, like that of sand grains tumbling down a dune. Which, in a way, it was, the artificial dune being created by the passage of a worm, the sandworm whose territory they were currently crossing. It was gliding just under the sand as it approached, to see what had caused the disturbance. Ever so slowly the sound built, allowing Naveed to be able to recognise that it was still several kilometers off.

    And then another sound, similar but shorter in duration, came from the far side of the drum sand. When it ceased an almost animalistic bark of a chuckle drifted in the air, "Naveed...I do believe the last time I saw you caught by drum sand was when you were a child. You now have a choice, join me and make Shai-Hulud arrive sooner or disappear into the sands. But be swift, your life and the woman's are at stake."

    It could have been his extreme exhaustion, the consciousness-defying tiredness, or a combination of more things than he cared to count, but for a moment, he had been convinced that Shai-Hulud was about to show its majestic presence, but he had miscalculated. Still, 'several kilometers off' was not a great distance relatively speaking, but it could still afford them an opportunity.

    However, even before he could formulate his next thought, a voice drifted in the air, capturing the young Fremen's attention as he heard his own name spoken aloud.


    Instinctively he had turned towards the voice before he even realized he'd made the motion, his eyes fluttering open as he did so. Who was this speaker who knew of his child hood?

    Indeed, Naveed's eyes widened and focused. He had to make a split moment decision before their lives were forfeit- but he also needed to know the identity of whomever was lending them succor.

    A voice. Who spoke? Taina was too tired to give that problem too much, her gaze up to her companion. He'd turned, was attempting to focus on the voice but she was too exhausted to care, choosing to stand still and focus on staying upright.

    The voice took on a humored tone, "Forgotten already, Naveed? Who else but he who taught you the ways of the desert would be out here right now?" A touch of concern entered the voice, "Or is it that the two of you are beyond exhaustion?" The sound of sand slithering occurred closer to both Naveed and Taina, two forms rising from concealment. "Time is running out, ask and aid will be given, Shai Hulud approaches at a rapid pace."


    Naveed's voice croaked out, his vision still fuzzy from exhaustion, not fully seeing the man, only as a shape, as well as the others that seemingly appeared around them. Images of home flooded his mind as well as feelings of relief, not to mention feelings of safety which now thrummed through his being. Naveed made a motion, as if reaching out, a sound akin to speech was leaving his lips, even as he began to fall face forward.

    The young Fremen's biology had shut-down, given out on the spot, his tenuous hold on consciousness finally breaking, so exhausted was he. Naveed may have imagined that he'd turned to address his mentor, to ask for his assistance while leveling a witty remark about his 'timing', but no such thing occurred. He would fall to unconsciousness as he turned, even before he took a real step in his direction, as he fell face first. But upon his countenance, there would be a small smile of one who was satisfied.

    In a manner of speaking, he had reached home, accomplished his mission. He could rest. His water was back where it belonged.

    At least, that's what his mind told him as he was thrust into dreamless sleep.

    Taina was in a haze so when she saw her travelling companion fall, she was unsure as to what to do. She did not know those with them, and was even unsure as to their intentions at this point. Stumbling forward she fell to her knees beside him, "wake up." Her voice sounded foreign, gravelly and pained, "I can't do this alone, I need you." It was a rasped whisper now as she lay her head down onto his back and closed her eyes, allowing the darkness to take her.

    Tag: @darthbernael, @Adalia-Durron
  7. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    “You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove the threat to his kind.”
    Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam - Dune

    Kaitain, Imperial Residence

    The corridor of the palace was dimly lit, it being late evening. The robed figure made her way along the corridor, her senses aware of movements around her in the rooms she passed. It took much to call her from the side of he who she served but when the note had handed her it had intrigued her sufficiently to cause her to excuse herself.

    She moved around a bend in the corridor and found herself face to face with an armored form. He’d been standing so still that even her senses hadn’t noticed that he was there, which was a feat in and upon itself. Coming to a halt she snorted, “I am not the youngest, you know. Were you trying to give an old woman a heart attack?” her tone imperious.

    The armored man moved now, more into the light. If it had been twenty years prior she would have sworn that it was Shaddam himself that stood before her. Which meant, she glanced at the shoulder flashes for confirmation before nodding slightly, it was one of the Corrino cousins and a higher ranking one.

    “A heart attack, I have it on authority that Sisters live forever outside of violent deaths.” the baritone voice of the man said. “Has he decided? Has he given the order to send the Sardaukar to infiltrate that barren waste?”

    His piercing eyes met her own and she shivered involuntarily, death reigned in that gaze. Steeling herself, “He has, no more than a brigade though and not at once.”

    Not many people can truly be said to have a predatory gaze but the smile that crossed his face, even fleetingly, certainly gave the man one. “Excellent. It begins…” without another word he turned, heading down the corridor.

    The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam watched him leave before turning to return to the Emperor. Few people, fewer men, could bring out emotion in her but that man was one of those few men and not the worst, thankfully.


    Baronial Residence, Carthag

    Margot Fenring detached from her husband’s side, moving over to Trinnian. She took the younger woman’s arm, glancing at the Mentat with an almost cold glance before bestowing a small smile on Ike. “We will wait for the Legate just outside the Great Hall, at the far end. Is that secure enough for you, old assassin?” she asked Thufir.

    Without waiting for a reply, sure that he would have one that would have been calculated to grate against her nerves, she walked back to Hasimir, walking with him and the young woman, toward the end of the hall. Just before they passed through the doors, she turned back, “Do make sure he is in one piece when you are done, there is much to discuss and drinks to be had. Oh…” she smiled darkly, “And don’t kill his shadows, I’m sure Hundro would be displeased if you kill those watching over his young Legate.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @BobaMatt (combo, can include me if you wish, says if a Moritani Assassin gets too close)


    Frigate, Iypr

    The following morning, after the Heighliner trip to Iypr, the Moritani frigate was waiting in the queue to depart. Hundro and Sokanon were standing by a viewport waiting for it to clear. “The Earl…Memnon is already a somewhat bitter man because of what occurred to his daughter. He does not hate Shaddam but we must remain aware that he has his own agenda, even now.” Light began to grow as they reached the end of the queue and then it came into view, “Iypr.” he said with a gesture.


    There was no sense of motion as they approached the planet. Clouds swirled around them as they descended to the capital landing field. Hundro felt Sokanon’s warmth as she pressed against him, the silk garment she wore shimmering here and there as they passed lights in the main corridor.

    There was a small thump as the landing legs touched down on the tarmac, at almost the same moment as the pair reached the hatch that would lead down the ramp and to the ground below. In that instant four of his troops, wiry in ways that warriors often were not, formed up around them, two before and two behind them. She knew they were not troops in the sense the Sardaukar were but were truly assassins dressed up as such.

    The hatch opened and they descended, Hundro maintaining a stately pace. When they reached the tarmac there was, as had been seen once the hatch opened, a detachment of Throvald troops, a Captain, by his rank badge, of the Guard at their head. Their banner swayed in the slight breeze that drifted across the field.


    The Captain saluted Hundro, “Viscount, the Earl awaits you and your companion.”

    He turned and led them to a groundcar. Sitting in the front with the driver, the car with the Moritani guards holding onto loops by each door, drove the short drive to the Earl’s residence. The Captain led them through the entrance, ignoring the Majordomo and leading them up a broad stair, to an office.

    He shut the door behind them, leaving them in a brightly lit room, a tall, pale man sitting at the desk by the window. “Ahhh, the vulture…sorry, the esteemed Viscount, has arrived.” he said in a voice devoid of emotion.

    TAG: @pashatemur (combo with GM)


    Middle of Nowhere, Arrakis Desert

    Neither Taina nor Naveed noticed as the two Fremen that had arisen near them were joined by several others. Stilgar had brought a small troop with him, to track down his old student. Three each took their unconscious forms carefully, as Stilgar whistled. In the distance, at an angle from the way toward the sietch, a thumper began to sound. The soft sound of the sandworm’s passage shifted away from the main body of the troop with the thumper’s noise.

    The troop, carrying Naveed and Taina, skirted the drum sand before joining the sietch leader. In only a few minutes, the sands were quiet once more, devoid of both Fremen and sandworm.

    Inside the sietch several hours later…

    When Naveed and Taina awoke the subtle glow of glowglobes lit the room they had been laid in. Each was in their own bed while several Fremen attendants were present. Their wounds had been tended and the slight chill to the air told that they were deeper underground.

    When Naveed’s eyes opened, one of the Fremen present slipped through the hanging curtain at the door. By the time they were both awake, the curtain had twitched again, admitting Stilgar. He nodded and held up a hand to make sure they didn’t attempt to rise. “Rest, both of you.”

    Turning to a long table by the door, he poured himself a mug of coffee from the coffee service there. Turning back to them, he leaned against the table. “When I sent you out on your mission, Naveed, I never expected to find you, on the verge of collapse, in the midst of the great desert.”

    He glanced at Taina, “Tell me, is this witch truly worth the effort that you put forth.” And, to her directly, “Excuse me, the Sister. I am Stilgar, leader of Sietch Tabr, and the one who trained Naveed. What do you believe you bring to us that would keep us from claiming your water?”

    TAGS: @Adalia-Durron, @greyjedi125 (Combo with GM)


    The deep desert, northwest of Arrakeen

    The men double checked the transports to be sure none were too close to the edges before all but the roving patrols retreated to the cavern. Most of them began to examine their stillsuits so as to understand what the Fremen had taught them. Others made sure that the troop was fed and prepared for the night while others still remained on alert, several at the troop’s comm station.

    The night passed quietly, patrols coming in while others woke and went out on patrol. A couple hours before dawn the comms crackled. The one on the set slipped the headphones on and began scribbling on a pad as he listened. “Confirmed.” he replied before he took the headphones off and headed for Randolpho.

    Waking the man, he handed Randolpho the information he’d taken down. “Sir, we received word from the exploration team. The testing station has been explored and appears to be, except for a small group of Fremen youths, abandoned. Mudze is still exploring but we can move to the location. The coordinates have been supplied.”

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto (A single works if you want to move the entire group, otherwise a combo with the GM)


    TAG: @BobaMatt, Clarence Mudze, (Combo continues)

    TAGS: @Shadowsun, @TheAdmiral, Shamir and Aya-Carolina (Combo continues)
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
  8. BobaMatt

    BobaMatt TFN EU Staff star 7 VIP

    Aug 19, 2002
    IC: Mudze (combo with @darthbernael)

    "Almost there, Mudze."

    Mudze could feel his pulse quickening with anticipation as they followed the stripes. These stations had likely seen a thousand tussles in their deep, ancient time. But he couldn't help wondering if this was the one he was looking for...

    The teen led them along a hallway as the stripe that led to the offices widened slightly. The stripe itself finally terminated at a door. The teen pushed against it, a small screech coming from the door as he did, sand having jammed it slightly. "In here, there were many bloodstains in these offices." Mudze inhaled sharply, and steeled himself for what lay beyond.

    The teen took a flare from his belt, awkwardly popping the cap on it and setting it alight. He tossed it into the room beyond, so the men could see. In the bright red light the bloodstains that were splashed across the space appeared black. The room was in disarray, papers and furniture strewn everywhere. At the far side of the room a cabinet was pulled away from the wall and the edge of a corridor beyond it was evident.

    Mudze felt himself shudder inside. He signalled for his men to raise the torches on the ends of their weapons to peer into the darkness. He squinted, too, before signaling his men to clear the room, which they set about, sweeping under tables and behind furniture.

    It took a half hour of diligent work for the the men to sort out the room. By the time they had finished the other searcher crew had finished checking the remainder of the complex. Half of those had returned to help the pilots while the remainder had pulled back to the hangar and sent their notes about everything they had found.

    The men of Mudze's crew set up several small float globes they had in their equipment and when they were done, the room was fully lit, allowing Mudze to examine the space.

    It was the entryway on the opposite end of the room that drew Mudze's full attention, a gaping black maw like the even horizon of a collapsed star drawing him inexorably in. He took a deep breath, and signaled for his men to explore the hidden hallway behind the shelving, to see what may be hiding beyond.

    Of course, the man called Mudze was fairly certain he knew from the sardaukar reports he'd read what lay down that passageway: a hangar, now empty, that once housed an ancient ornithopter used to escape. He extinguished the small hope in his chest. And yet he could feel God swelling in his heart.

    He muttered to the Fremen boys. "Please. Show me what's there." His trembling finger indicated the darkened passageway, pockmarked at its opening with the scars of wayward blade impacts and the melt and char of lasgun blasts. A small glowglobe, tethered to Mudze's belt, led the way like a torch. He imagined himself like some prehistoric explorer, or some ancient prophet.

    The men of Mudze's team nodded. "With the station fully explored we can have the pilots send a message to Randolpho and the others. This seems a good base for us." The leader of the three said before they headed back toward the hangar. The teen watched the men leave before turning to Mudze, "There are several passages here but only one leads anywhere." he said as he guided Mudze inside. There were a few glow marks on the wall, "I put these here, when we explored."

    At first, it was all darkness and the faint glow from the walls outlining the contours of the corridor. In the distance, light leak from what may have been a busted door. And that's when he saw them at the edge of his globe's glow. A hand, at first. Then bodies. At a glance, well over a dozen. Fifteen, maybe. Twenty. Mudze was used to a smell of decay, but this was different - the intensity of the heat and lack of moisture due to age and broken seals meant the bodies had desiccated, mummified. Mudze fell to his knees and touched the hard leathered skin. He ran his fingers through the sandy hair, felt it bite his hand - shigawire. He turned the head, felt the dried sinews protest - something cracked and crumbled to dest inside the armor. Behind the ear, a tattoo - Sardaukar.

    Mudze felt his pulse quicken, and he stepped over more bodies, stumbling, hearing the hard skin crack and shear under boots, before finally seeing him, a man unlike the other men - even mummified, the man was handsome. Skin dark, hair curly. Head split by a sword. Delicately, he lifted the body - so light, deprived of moisture - and examined it cursorily. There would be a more intensive examination later, and anyway this wasn't his specialty, but... There is enough, he thought. There is enough here.

    He looked up to see the teen, confused and horrified. Mudze adopted an apologetic tone. "This man," he tapped the dead one's chest, "He is a great warrior. He served the Atreides, but he was brought up among my masters, the Ginaz. His name was Duncan Idaho. These other fallen men are nothing but pigs, but this man - look how many he slew! He deserves a warriors burial amongst his kin. Can we not afford him that? Will you help me move his body?"

    Tag: @darthbernael
  9. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    Imperial Testing Station

    The teen nodded. His eyes went distant in thought for a moment before he nodded again. “Yes…the Funerary Plain.” He saw that Mudze didn’t know what that was. “It is where the honored dead are interred, at least that’s what my father said.” He was shaken by seeing the dead that were there but slowly rallying.

    He moved to assist Mudze and, between them, they were able to move the body back to the hangar area. When they arrived the remainder of the team was present. The senior of the group approached, “Do you need help, sir? We contacted the others and they should be on their way soon.”

    The teen looked at the man, then at Mudze, “If my siblings will be allowed to stay here I will assist your leader to bury this honored warrior.”

    The man nodded, glancing at the others, “I’m a decent pilot and we could use one more to assist.” One of the others stood and moved over. “I’ve always wanted to see whether the Fremen do bury the dead or eat them, at least that’s what the rumors say.” he said hurriedly at the look of horror on the teen’s face.

    The boy swallowed then looked at Mudze, “Whenever you’re ready, Sir.”

    TAG: @BobaMatt (combo with the GM)
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  10. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Randolpho Espanza
    The deep desert, northwest of Arrakeen

    Ever sense their lesson and time with the Fremen Randolpho had spent time with others of his men going over how to wear the suits properly. Some might of thought he wanted to make sure they all conserved water better, but honestly it was more so he would remember how to do this properly for himself later! It was complicated and honestly worrying about water was a strange thing to him still. Such was a mercenary life though, adapt to the current need and push through to the payday at the end that might give way to a new job where you start all over again.

    Maybe next time he would be hired to teach someone the sword. Those had to be easy jobs, right?

    Still, the day waxed on and soon night and sleep overtook him as the days efforts caught up with him. It wasn't until he was awoken that he had stiff moments of awkwardness as he realized he was still dressed to better conserve water. If for nothing else besides that and showers he was never going to be enamored by this desert planet.

    Listening to the message as he took the nose bit out and rubbed his eyes he nodded back in response. "Good. Good! Rouse and recall. Let's move on before we wear out our welcome with our new allies." He groaned at that thought. He was not a quiet man at first waking and they had already been chided by their unknown hosts for being loud. "Let Mudze know we are coming if we can securely without jeopardizing our positions." with that he waved the man away as he stood stretching. Yeah, it was time to go. See if they could at least set up a proper bed or something so they all could get a proper days rest before they went back to work.

    TAG: @darthbernael
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  11. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Ike - an artful combo with Thufir, Margot, Trinnian and...

    “Do make sure he is in one piece when you are done, there is much to discuss and drinks to be had. Oh…”
    she smiled darkly, “And don’t kill his shadows, I’m sure Hundro would be displeased if you kill those watching over his young Legate.”

    And off Margot went.

    His shadows

    Ike nearly forgot to place a kiss on Trinnian's cheek, such was his concern.

    That assassin, no doubt.

    He doubted Thufir would try anything, but Ike didn't like the feeling that he was in someone's web.

    So, he waited until he was sure they were out of earshot, and looked back to Thufir, dropping his smile, but waiting for his, well, his better to speak first.

    Thufir didn't take his eyes off of the departing crew until they turned a corner. His eyes twinkled, then, in Ike's direction. He could see the young man calculating. "I think," Thufir said, "you're worried about the wrong people."

    "Of course I am, sir," Ike spoke, drily. "The entire Court is a den of counts and lords happy to betray the other... and that is precisely what our beloved Emperor wants, no?" His blue eyes took a piercing aspect. "Surely it serves all power brokers if the nobility is poised to tear itself down, rather than the empire itself?"

    Shrewd. Not a dullard like so many nobles. Suspicion serve the powerful well. Could it be said that power was in safer hands with the suspicious? "One wonders if his Imperial Majesty has recently thought the same." Thufir winced as a pang squeezed some organ of his deep within. "Perhaps we can make our way together to the na-Baron?"

    "The Imperial Majesty is beyond the scrutiny of the bit-players," Ike said, almost grandly. "He does as he divines..." His voice trailed off, "but yes, I would be honored to accompany you." He indicated for Thufir to precede him, politely ignoring the wince, which he noticed, but Ike wasn't going to bring attention to any infirmity in the man.

    Trinnian's head ducked into the Great Hall when she heard footstep. She saw that Ike and Thufir were headed towards them. When the two men left the Great Hall there was a page also waiting. The young man's eyes widened when he saw that Thufir was not alone. "Mentat Hawat, I was sent to escort you but...I must report that you have a companion." He gestured down the corridor they now occupied, "The Governor's office is..." Margot waved the young man along, "We will bring them, never fear. Now go report that Thufir will not be alone, although only Ike, of the rest of us, will join his meeting with the na-Baron." The young man took off like a startled rabbit at her response.

    Ike hesitated at the others, and looked to Trinnian. He wanted her to come, but Margot had already spoken to the Page. The Mentat and him -

    "My Lord?" He said, perplexed slightly.

    Thufir screwed up his mouth in an expression he hoped was read as amusement. "Save that for your kin, Moritani, I'm just a lowly servant. Though I am one with the advantage of age!" He turned to the young Bene Gesserit woman, at this point less interested in masking his feelings than with getting out of the open, with so many eyes, all together. "Thank you, m'lady."

    Margot smiled sweetly at Thufir, a sketched curtsy her reply to him. Trinnian glanced back and forth as the Fenrings took the lead, guiding them to the Governor's office. She shook her head, "The Ezharian are aligned with the Moritani, as the senior Ezharian I should be present in that case." Her tone started off firm, sure in what she was saying, but began to trail off by the end.

    Hasimir brought a hand to his face, hiding the smile that formed at Trinnian's outburst. Margot nodded, then her eyes met Thufir's, "I suppose that we should allow the Mentat to decide that, dear."

    Ike did wonder if Trinnian had overreached then. He winced, but he truly doubted Thufir would be sharp with the young woman.


    Hoped, would be the better word.

    Would his assassin friend intervene if so?

    This was all to secure the resources to pursue the Spice, after all...

    Thufir grinned, affecting embarrassment. "M'lady, I have family matters to discuss with the na-Baron - boring, workaday missives from his good uncle pertaining to whalefur, marriage, upcoming holiday plans. If it's all the same, for the sake of the na-Baron's ego and good humor, perhaps it would be better for me to speak to him alone before bringing the two of you in together? It will save him the displeasure of being seen as anything less than the authority, and will likely make him more amenable to seeing you."

    Ike hesitated. He didn't want to be cut out now. "Trinnian," he said smoothly. "Please, wait. I would love to attend the na-Baron with Lord Thufir, but he is right, that we would crowd him. A simple introduction, and then you can join us later?" He reached for her hand and kissed the back of it.

    "Would that be an acceptable compromise, my Lord, and my... enthusiasm simply explained away should the na-Baron ask?" He flicked his eyelashes, almost sultry. "I have no doubt that you command a great deal of respect and love from the na-Baron."

    Ike did really want to be inside the room where it all happens... Trinnian could catch up.

    Margot's eyes gleamed as Thufir gave his response. It was much as she'd thought it would be. Hasimir nodded, reaching out to Trinnian, "We shall wait here, all three of us." His head tilted to the side, his eyes gleaming, expression almost hawkish as he turned his attention back to Thufir and Ike. "Besides, I believe the meeting will be even more crowded than either of you believe." A small cough, "Well, than the young noble believes perhaps; you Thufir I expect know already."

    Ike arched an eyebrow, but didn't see the need to comment. He was junior here. What scraps he would pick up, they would propel him.

    Yesterday a frontline pirate... today nobility... tomorrow?

    TAG: @BobaMatt, @darthbernael
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  12. BobaMatt

    BobaMatt TFN EU Staff star 7 VIP

    Aug 19, 2002
    Imperial Testing Station (Combo with @darthbernael )

    Mudze took a steadying breath. This was getting out of hand. More men involved? His mind tried to reach into the possibilities. He cleared his throat and interjected. "Your siblings stay here and help the rest of my men get situated - you're all welcome with us. Any enemy of the Harkonnen, and all that. You - what's your name, son? - you're with me and this man in the 'thopter. We return to the city, though - Idaho was a Ginaz man and deserves to be sent off by his friends and family. Do you think you'd like to be an ambassador, boy?"

    The teen's eyes went wide, "Me...! An ambassador?!? Don't you need, wouldn't you want a Naib of a sietch or someone like that?" He took a deep breath, "Oh, wait, you asked my name, I am Chok." He glanced at the others of the crew, trying to think. Turning back to Mudze, "You have not betrayed us, yet, so I will accept leaving my siblings here. And come with you, beyond that, we will have to see."

    Before Mudze could respond, his radio crackled: his men reported that Randolpho was on his way. He set his jaw. This would take longer than he hoped. He had to be very careful. And Randolpho would want to see the body and see it off. He smiled. "Is this not your home? Then, is this not your sietch? Who better to be an ambassador? How would you like to meet your first noble?"

    Chok thought for a few moments, head turning and glancing down the passageways. "I...I do suppose that this is now my sietch." He mused quietly. He glanced at the men Mudze brought, thinking again. "If you can guarantee that my siblings will be safe and cared for while I am away with you then yes, yes I will go with you as ambassador."

    "Sounds good, Sir Chok. Sounds good." Mudze nodded. He turned to his man. "We head to the hangar and we meet the boss when he arrives. We figure the rest out then."

    TAG: @darthbernael
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  13. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 6

    Apr 29, 2002
    A combo with the awesome @Adalia-Durron and our Masterful GM, @darthbernael

    Naveed, Taina & Stilgar
    Inside the Sietch

    Taina had propped herself up on her elbows, her body still complaining with every movement, she was not going to be told. She went to speak, but her voice was croaky so she cleared her throat a little, it felt dry and pained. "Do I not get time to find my voice before such decisions are made?"

    In the distance , he could see it coming. A sand storm. Thankfully, his patrol had ended and so had hers. He saw her, passing through the rocky outcropping, so he followed, driven by an impulse to speak the words he’d been meaning to speak for some time.

    The wind began to pick up, so he hurried. He looked again, but she seemed to be moving farther away.

    “Chani!!” he called out, but she did not seem to hear him. Perhaps it was because of the wind.

    “Chani, wait...!”

    How was she moving away so quickly. It was crucial that the he share what was on his mind, before the deed itself became impossible.

    Naveed cupped his hands around his mouth to boost the sound of his voice.


    The storm was nearly upon them. He had to seek shelter. He blinked suddenly, then she was gone.


    Naveed opened his eyes and slowly came to realize where he was.

    Back at the Sietch.

    A sigh of relief escaped him. He was not dead. Just having a bad dream. Hopefully he hadn’t said anything incriminating while he slept.

    He was on a bed. Looking down, he saw that he had been tended with bandages, he then turned his head just in time to see Stilgarenter the chamber. Before he could even attempt to get up, Stilgar had prevented him with a simple gesture. Naveed smiled weakly and lay his head back down on the pillow as memories of what had transpired only a few hours prior came flooding back into his mind.

    The aroma of freshly poured coffee enticed his senses, bringing his awareness into greater focus and in so doing, Stilgar’s words.

    Indeed, the trek across the desert had been far more harrowing than he'd anticipated, far more than the mission itself. A serious question was posed about Taina, one he did not hesitate to answer.

    “She helped put down a Harkonnen pig and his patrol” Naveed reported with confidence. “He would have certainly killed at least one of us, were it not for her intervention.”

    The insinuation was in plain view. Taina had helped save a Fremen’s life. At least that was worth her keeping her water, if nothing else.

    Stilgar snorted at Taina’s words but kept silent as he saw Naveed shifting and waking. Before he replied to either of them he gestured to one of the nurses, to bring both the patients a mug of coffee. The nurse nodded, “Yes, Naib.”

    He waited, sipping his own, as the coffee was poured, a bowl of sugar and a small carafe of milk placed on a tray with the two mugs before being placed on the table between the two beds. When that had been done he looked back and forth between them, eyes appraising.

    Turning first to Taina, “The desert waits for no one and is unforgiving, it has taught us well.”

    Turning back to Naveed, “We know the value of the weirding way. Do you believe she is a more than proficient practitioner of that way then?”

    He sighed, “Take your time replying, both of you. I need all the information that I can get from you both before I make my decision. After all I do not only have the safety of our sietch to consider but that of all our people.” As he waited for their responses his eyes scrutinized them both, the witch would need to be tested if she was proficient, but not by Usul or his mother.

    Watching silently Taina was taking in as much as her exhausted mind would allow, each movement, each word, their surroundings and the reactions of both men in the room. Naveed's words served encourage her as she felt she may have earned his respect on some level and that was important. The coffee was put beside her and she wondered not for the first time why a hot drink in the desert, the smell was enticing but she found the taste bitter and unsavory. Easing herself down she wondered if refusing it would be a seen as an insult, or maybe she'd not be offered water of any kind again. It was hot now, so awaiting it to cool wasn't beyond reason. 'Take your time replying' Stilgar had said, and that is what she planned. Laying back down facing Naveed she watched silently.

    Naveed did exactly as his Naib suggested. He gratefully accepted the offered coffee mug and sipped, his mood lightening almost immediately. His lips didn’t seem to register the heat of the drink. He’d pause, thinking on how best to formulate a response, but he was no politician. He spoke honestly from the heart. It was the only way he knew how to be.

    “She is proficient.” Naveed stated, his gaze never leaving Stilgar.

    “That Harko-pig had a Lasgun trained on us and was just about to fire. If it weren’t for Taina….”

    Naveed sighed, blew gently into his coffee mug, then took big gulp.

    “Ahhh…..that hit the spot.” he said with satisfaction, his eyes were closed for a moment, savoring the flavorful delight, before he opened them again.

    “Yeah, definitely proficient.” He asserted. Only then did he side-glance at Taina, offering a respectful nod in gratitude. They had survived their ordeal together. There was much to be thankful for, but more importantly, Naveed now vouched for her; a bond had been formed.

    With no change to her calm expression, Taina found the word a little disconcerting. 'Proficient' - what exactly did Stilgar mean by that? Was she potentially no more than a 'tool' to him? She watched silently as Naveed sipped his coffee, still wondering why a hot beverage would be required in the dessert, she'd have been content with the water from the cup, no more. Turning to look at Stilgar she slowly drew a breath to speak. "The dessert is a harsh teacher, of the kind I am unfamiliar with. Rest assured though, she has taught me well on this journey and much I have learned from her and..." She turned to Naveed, "my companion. His teachings were....less violent, but certainly of great value." Her gaze returned to Stilgar.

    Stilgar nodded, sipping his coffee. He held little trust in the witches but he'd sent Naveed to find her and see if she could be trusted to bring back to the sietch. From the report Naveed had given he could read the nuance under it. One eyebrow twitched at the report, a small smile touching his face before he sipped his coffee again. He glanced at Taina, noticing that she'd not taken her coffee yet.

    "The desert is a harsh mistress indeed. Shai Hulud teaches us the way of the sands and how to live in balance with nature."

    He thought for a moment as he sipped his coffee one more, "With Naveed's report, I will admit you to Tabr, provisionally."

    Snorting, "Do not think the provisional status is only because you are a Sister, anyone who enters receives the same. Outsiders are...not exactly welcome among the Fremen. Expect people to not be entirely friendly, at least until you have integrated with the sietch."

    Turning back to Naveed, his blue within blue eyes glinted in a smile, "I place her in your continuing charge. You know where she is allowed to enter and where she is not, for now."

    Taina gave a slow respectful nod. "I thank you and humbly accept your offer." Turning to Naveed, "I will endeavor to be little or no trouble to you." She then looked the hot beverage, "I would ask if I may, have water instead?"

    Naveed listened and contemplated as Stilgar spoke, as he continued to take sips from his mug. Indeed, the desert was a harsh mistress, but she was also fair. Living in balance was key to survival and the Harkonnen pigs were disrupting that balance with their obscene mining and shameless profiteering. They were a sickness that needed to be expunged from their planet.

    Naveed also found himself feeling relieved when Stilgar finally admitted Taina into the seitch, even if it was provisional. But why did he keep calling her 'sister' if she was no relation at all? He'd have to ask her more about her affiliations in private. Secrets were a dangerous thing. Openness and honesty were the best way to be.

    Still, the young fremen was glad, not only that they had survived their ordeal and long journey, but that Stilgar had decided Taina should keep her water and remain among them. Though he would have accepted any judgement from Stilgar, it would have been a pity if his mission ended in failure after all the work that had gone into it. Besides, Taina was possessed of a strong character, which was...well, it was good and Fremen-like.

    And so, Naveed gave a respectful nod when placed in 'charge' go Taina. It made sense, so he technically had spent the most time with her. His usually stoic features softened just a pit, when she had spoken directly to him, stating how she would endeavor to be 'no trouble', then his compose nearly faltered at her following request.

    She was rejecting the coffee and asking for water instead.

    Naveed almost choked on the coffee he'd been drinking. Clearly, Taina had much to learn.

    "Do you even know what you're asking?" Naveed found himself blurting out before he realized it.

    "Water is the single most precious substance to us Fremen."

    His eyes roved to the coffee mug she was holding then back to her.

    "A man's flesh is his own, but the water belongs to the tribe. You aren't Fremen yet."

    He grew momentarily silent, to allow thats small fact to sink in. Besides, did she not realize how her coffee was made?

    There was also the matter of her still-suit. Perhaps she had forgotten that she could draw a drink from it a it not only protected her, but collected her water as well. Naveed held Taina's gaze, hoping that it would prompted her thinking, and that her thinking would start becoming more like that of the Fremen.

    Taina instinctively cringed, clearly she'd crossed a line, said something wrong. "I am sorry if I have offended, although I do not know what I have done. I understand the water and its level of importance, but is it not in the beverage here?" She asked clearly confused.

    There was a tug at the corner of his lips, as in, a small smile of ironic amusement. He could well understand her position, had their roles been reversed. Actually, she was fairing much better than he would have. He wasn't very skilled at navigating diplomatic situations did did not involve the use of his weapon. Naveed found her ability to manage her position admirable.

    "I am not an emissary or an envoy, but even I know to accept what is offered by a host and not reject it in favor for something familiar. It is a symbol of trust. I have not died from drinking the coffee and neither has Stilgar- and I assure you - neither will you. But the momentary 'discomfort' is...what's the phrase....a 'worthwhile investment' towards your future here."

    Naveed's own amused grew slightly, as he was surprised at his own words, more so since this wisdom had been shared by his own mother.

    "Besides, as long as you keep your still-suit in good condition, you can always obtain a sip of your own water."

    He gave her a strong nod then, taking back his own mug and sipping from it as his eyes remained on her. he felt Stilgar may have something to add to their must recent addition and that would serve Taina well. Best to become acclimated as soon as possible, before interacting with the general population.

    That was sure to be an adventure of its own.

    Stilgar sipped from his coffee again as the two of them talked. It was as much to hide the small smile that crossed his face as it was to actually drink. Naveed came from, knew to the depths of his bones, the Fremen, having been born one, Taina came from another culture, what his people called waterfat. But she did have some knowledge and respect for water.

    He nodded at Naveed’s explanation. “Every gram of water is hoarded among our people. We have a…dream…a goal that requires millions of decilitres of water.” he told her softly. “Coffee is one of the few luxuries we afford ourselves and, even then, it’s thick, using as little water as possible.”

    His eyes met Taina’s, the corner of his lips twitching, “As you have no quarters and, as well to ensure you are recognized in the best way possible,” his gaze turned toward Naveed, “she will, in public be known as your waterwife. It can hide the truth of what she is as long as possible and raise both your statuses.” He turned back to Taina, “That, of course, does not mean that you will be required to fulfill the duties of a wife, simply that it’s a good cover.”

    He mused for a moment, “One of the first things Naveed will have to do is show you the proper way to wear a stillsuit, you do so mostly well but some adjustment will make the garment like a second skin. And save every drop of your body’s water, save what may be lost on the part of your face exposed to the desert.”

    Pacing slightly as he thought, drinking more of his coffee, “Naveed, I would also ask that you take her to the Fedaykin training salle and see how much of her training is similar to what Usul and his mother have introduced. I will be following your progress.”

    Taina listened, she understood, water was more precious than she'd known but she understood, then she heard the words, 'waterwife'. The two words meant entirely different things, but together she began to form an image knowing 100% she was wrong. Looking to the Naveed and gave him a sage nod, an indication of understanding that she'd do what was necessary to fit in, that was her goal, her mission. She then wondered what Fadaykin training salle was, it was obviously being compared to her own skills, she'd have to gain her strength back to use her skills. Looking back the now cooled coffee, she sighed deeply and picked it up, taking a sip. Bitter, bitter and distasteful, but if this was the only water she was going get outside of her body, she needed to learn to drink it.

    Naveed had been listening and slowly nodding at Stilgar's words, all while taking sips of his coffee- that is, until the term 'water wife' was spoken.

    Something must had happen as Naveed began to cough unexpectedly. To his credit, he quickly placed a fist over his lips and suppressed his reaction. That specific bit of information he was not expecting, so the news had caught him by surprise. Though inherently he understood the need for the 'cover', that all but sealed his chances of courting anyone to be his 'actual' wife. Just as well. He was prepared to make any sacrifice for the cause, even one that could very well mean the end of his bloodline - as long as his deeds served to needs of the Fremen.

    Now composed, Naveed nodded respectfully to Stilgar and the honor he was receiving, though he did turn a bit red.

    'Not required to fulfill the duties or a wife...or a husband' He mused in resignation.

    A small sigh escaped him then.

    At the mention of the 'training salle', Naveed felt all too glad to shift his train of thought to something more...constructive.

    "It will be so, Naib."

    Naveed's blu-in-blue gaze shifted to Taina, before returning her nod. It was good to see her finally taking up the coffee mug and drinking from it. That was a step in the right direction. In time, Taina would learn that a Fremen's life was not one of luxury and pleasures, but one dictated by necessity and circumstance. A strong mental attitude was needed to live as a Fremen, where discipline and respect thrived, where every moment was precious and life was a gift.

    In truth, the two of them still needed some time to recover from their ordeal before visiting the 'training salle', but in the meantime, there was still much they could learn from each other, should they care to trade stories - even on an 'academic' level.

    Tag: @darthbernael, @Adalia-Durron
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  14. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 26, 2017
    OOC: Combo with Admiral and Bernael

    IC: Shamir &

    Shamir as stubborn as he ever did not view the witches of Bene Gesserit. And so would share the sentiments Dyana and her disdain that carried in her voice. He understood his assignment to escort the Fremen simply enough, in fact he was grateful that he would be with one of his fellows. Every second he spent amongst the world of the pigs the more he was disgusted.

    He stood silently as Dyana knocked on the witch's door, his brooding, sharp features, and cold harsh eyes would wait for her to answer.

    The sparring session proved to be interesting enough, gave Aya a lot of information to keep in mind in regards to her companions. She even managed to break a sweat and had to remember not to underestimate swordmasters.

    At least the journey was not that long, the Bene Gesserit did not like the jumps, but they were necessary as to avoid having to travel centuries between worlds.

    The shower was refreshing enough and she had to keep in mind that it could be the last one that she was going to have for a while. Arrakis did not allow for such luxuries. After all it was a planet that considered crying the greatest honor and spitting a sign of respect.

    Aya was intrigued by this new mission, it would be interesting to work with the infamous fremen. She wondered about them, given the animosity towards the Harkonnen. Aya would have to be very careful.

    The air was still hot, despite the coolness of the residence. How anyone could live here was a mystery to her. One that she was interested in discovering.

    There was a rap on the door. "Come in." she said with her soft and melodic voice.

    Dyana frowned at the voice behind the door. From the sound of it the woman it belonged to was probably taller, a classic beauty, as opposed to her own dusky skin and blue within blue eyes. Not to mention she was one of the witches. She glanced over at Shamir, sighing. But there was nothing she could do at the moment, she'd said she would bring him here.

    She reached out, opening the door, her eyes narrowing slightly as her fears were comfirmed when the woman came into view. Sketching a curtsey, "Lady, may I present Shamir. He is to be guard for you and the House representatives."

    Aya eyed the newcomers. She did not need a guard, especially one that she did not know. Usually they were spies sent to follow and report on every step of the person they were protecting. There was also the possibility that the guard could stuck a knife in her back.

    Although there is also the possibility that she could use the man to her advantage. She gave a carefully measured smile. "Subakh ul kuhar" Aya decided to use the traditional Fremen greeting which translated as Are you well?

    Shamir's cold blue on blue eyes watched the witch carefully. He took a quiet step inward, surprised slightly by the Fremen greeting as he spoke the response.

    "Subakh un nar?" I am well, and you? Though Shamir had no real interest in how this witch was. His tone was polite if a bit stiff... he was wondering how far this would all lead.

    Dyana tried to keep a grin off her face at the stiff formality of Shamir's tone. It warmed her that he was as uneasy as she with the witch. She remained silent, however, as this was a moment for Shamir, a possible chance to test the witch and see if it was worth the effort to 'tempt' her with the possibility of learning more of the Fremen. Even so, it made her itch that the witch seemed to be trying to give herself a chance to convince Shamir, which would mean that she'd be spending more time with Shamir.

    Aya did not need to be Bene Gesserit that the man was hostile towards her. That was interesting. It went beyond the general distrust and hostility towards the sisterhood. She would have to investigate a bit. Hopefully he could be a way for her to carry out her second mission.

    "I am, thank you." she managed a small smile. The woman with him too showed signs of displeasure at dealing with her. "If I may be so bold as to ask, from which sietch are you hailing?"

    Shamir was silent for a moment. "I hail from Saajid, forgive me the city is something I am unaccustomed to," he spoke as he tried to relax.

    Aya nodded, Shamir was a man of a few words it seems. That was going to make her job interesting and a bit frustrating. The whole thing was going to distract her from the main task, but there could be a way to combine both objectives "I can understand that." she gave a sympathetic smile "I hail from Arrakis as well." she decided to use that bit of information "It is interesting for me to get reacquainted with my homeworld."

    "You are from Arrakis?" he spoke with genuine surprise, peering with true curiosity now as he relaxed slightly. Wheather it was from her sympathetic smile, the news that she was from Arrakis or him simply acclimating to the environment of the room even he was not certain. He needed to not act so stiff, drawing unwanted attention to himself was not in his interest.

    Dyana frowned, that Shamir reacted so to the witch felt wrong to her but he was, only, male after all. She glanced at Aya-Carolina, "Do you have anywhere to be, Lady, or shall we enter and not be standing in the middle of the hall?"

    "Oh, please do." she gestured for them to enter. That was an embarrassing moment. "And yes, my mother was a local girl, who fell for an Imperial official." the truth was far less rosy, but they did not need to know that. "But I was raised on Wallach and now I am hoping to rediscover my roots."

    Dyana could sense a half truth in what the witch said but entered the room. She'd never seen how a witch lived and this seemed very, too, comfortable. The corner of her lip twitched in an almost sneer before she turned back to Shamir and Aya-Carolina. "You're in the right place to do so, if the Fremen will accept you into the sietches."

    Shamir noticeably twitched at the suggestion, running it over in his mind like that of an echo.

    "It is a possibility," he murmured his trained eye darting from that to Dyana to the witch. The sneering nature of Dyana radiated ever so clearly, which he could understand, hmm...

    Aya's face remained impassive, but noticed Shamir's reaction. It was clear that the suggestion has not been discussed among the two of them. Nor she had expected it to be. After all, not many people knew she was half-Fremen.

    "Oh, I don't want to impose." she feigned humility, it would not be a good idea to force such a visit as that would make her mission more difficult. It was better for Shamir or the others to believe it was their idea after all.

    "Either way, that is a topic best discussed another time." she sighed.

    "Yes, all in due time..." spoke Shamir as diplomatically as he could. He needed to get a better sense of how to proceed before moving forward with anything drastic. Gather intel, and see if he could locate a certain House in question...

    His head tilted to Dyana, his stern placid face twitched for a moment as he looked back to the witch.

    Dyana smiled shyly as Shamir glanced at her. "We are here to assist the...lady. And, if that means that she needs to learn more of our people," her eyes narrowed, "her new guard," she gestured at Shamir, "is perfect." she almost growled.

    Aya pretended not to notice the unspoken exchange between the two. She maintained her serene expression and just looked between them. That was interesting, she wondered how could she exploit it. "I am sure that there will be a perfect opportunity." she sighed "Best not to rush things." she smiled "I hope I am not taking too much of your time."

    "Not at all," spoke the stern man, his body tensed as his eyes drifted across the room. The awkward silence only becoming more so as he knew not what to say.

    Dyana's eyes gleamed, Shamir and the Sister were both dancing to a tune that seemed discordant. She turned her attention to the witch first, "You cannot take time that has been gifted. The Residence Manager has asked that we assist you while you are here. Shamir here," she gestured to him, "is to be your guard and I to be your aide/maid in the noble sense." She knew this was a delicate edge as the politics of the Houses meant that the desire of the witch might come to fruition even sooner than that woman thought, that Shamir would have to remove her from the city and out into their desert.

    "Excellent." Aya managed to fake a warm smile. Oh, she was aware of how people viewed the Bene Gesserit and friendly was not how most would describe them, but she wanted to keep them off balance. Seeing her in an uncharacteristic light will surely put them on edge, but they will focus mostly on that fact and not her other maneuvers and observations.

    Shamir gave a half nod as Dyana spoke of the circumstances. This he had understood prior, but he still felt no less unsettled. He felt like a fish out of water, espionage, at least this kind, was out of his depth. Far sooner would he wish for the knife and the hunt of the pigs then such a covert operation. But he did what he needed to do, what he had to do not what he wanted.

    One day.

    Arrakis would be free.

    This he knew.

    TAG: @TheAdmiral @darthbernael
  15. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    ‘One must always keep the tools of statecraft sharp and ready. Power and fear - sharp and ready.’
    Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Dune

    Imperial Testing Station

    A response was received from Mudze; Randolpho notified that the testing station that had been found would be good for their purposes. The men, now rested, were swift in their work as they prepared the vehicles and carryalls for travel. Soon he was notified that all was ready to move out. The signal given, the carryalls took to the air, the transports making their way back down to the sands below.

    The carryalls stuck low to the ground for a couple reasons as the trek across the sands was made. The first was so that if the transports ran into any trouble from locals or from the sandworms the carryalls would be able to assist. The other was that there were chances that the Harkonnen or the Moritani or any of the other Houses or smugglers might notice them and either attack or pursue to find out where they were headed.

    With occasional scares from the sandworms and patrols, necessitating deviations and travel in the wrong direction, the convoy took almost the entire day to make the journey to the testing station. When they arrived, the transports had to be driven into underground garages, the team brushing the sands as car back from the station as possible, to hide their tracks.

    Finally, the carryalls landed, the underground hangar almost filled to capacity with all the craft. The senior of those that had gone with Mudze directed the crews, his team showing the crews where the kitchens were, the dining hall, the bathrooms, and the quarters. They warned the crews that there was a family of Fremen that lived here, only children, but that Mudze had declared this their sietch so they were to be listened to and taken care of.

    Mudze and the teen had gotten the body he’d found onto one of the ‘thopters before the convoy had arrived so, for now, answering any questions about it could be forestalled, if his team kept their mouths shut. When everything was getting settled, the two men retired to one of the offices, thankfully one that was cleaned out and were able to discuss their following steps.

    TAGS: @Mitth_Fisto, @BobaMatt (combo, can include GM if Mudze would like Chok be present)


    Baronial Residence, Carthag

    Soon Margot and Hasimir had led Thufir, who she was sure had this entire residence still memorized even if the Atreides had refused to use it, as well as Ike and Trinnian to the na-Baron’s office. When they arrived her husband was, less than discreetly, studying the ceiling beams of the corridor, ignoring the guards that stood outside the office. Her lips twitched for a moment with a small smile, the helmets they wore supposedly worked to protect them from Bene Gesserit influence but she was sure there was always a way around that.


    Hasimir’s eyes narrowed as he changed his focus, now looking at the guards. Where her gaze at them caused them to shift for a moment his glare truly seemed to unnerve them. They shifted even more as he stepped forward, “The Mentat of the Baron and the Moritani Legate to see the na-Baron.”

    The fact that Count Fenring was introducing the two seemed to cause them to fluster their usual cruel sneer of response to any that would interrupt Rabban. “The…the Mentat is expected, the Legate is not.”

    Hasimir let out a lilting laugh, “You are an unconvincing liar. The page, I know, already rushed up here to inform you so you could inform the na-Baron that the Legate would also be joining them.”

    Shaking his head, “Brave liars. But,” he held up a hand, “the Mentat wishes to discuss things with the na-Baron alone first and then the Legate and his fiance,” a predatory smile crossed his face at that mention, “will join them, at Thufir’s request.”

    He turned back as though to say something to Margot and then, without seeming to have moved, the junior of the guards was slumping to the ground after his back impacted the wall beside the door, a dagger blade no one had seen, save Hasimir, lodged in his windpipe as he gasped out his last. “Now…introduce the Mentat.” he said coldly.

    The senior guard, his sword slightly out of its sheath, thrust it back into the sheath and opened the door. Leading Thufir inside, he introduced the Mentat then returned to his post.

    Inside, the na-Baron ignored Thufir for several minutes. Finally, setting aside a document, he looked up, “Have you come to tell me my Uncle is here?” He asked, a cold, distasteful tone to his voice.


    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @BobaMatt (combo, begins with a short conversation between Thufir and Rabban, Ike and the others can have a secondary conversation outside, before Ike and Trinnian enter the office)


    Sietch Tabr

    Stilgar spoke more with the two of them for a short time before he took his leave. He left the coffee service, reminding the orderlies to ensure it stayed fresh while the two of them healed and recovered. He nodded to Naveed, the corner of his lip turned up as he gave a shorter nod to Taina before he pushed through the beaded curtain that separated their recovery chamber from the next room.


    A nurse entered, the mask of her stillsuit hanging down on the left side of her chest. She nodded as she saw her charges were both awake and aware. “I hope that Stilgar did not overdo his discussion or he and I will have words.” She had the sound of a matron who was perfectly willing to challenge the chief of the sietch where the safety of her charges was threatened.

    “Now, you both appear to have recovered enough to be sitting up so I will do another quick examination.” She smiled slightly as she glanced at Taina, “You, dear, need more spice in your diet, not having our eyes is…odd.”

    Moving to the side of Naveed’s bed, between the two beds, she pulled down the sheet, completely ignoring the fact that he was out of his stillsuit and it revealed the whipcord lean muscle of his torso, the skin tight against muscle and bone with the slight desiccation to it. “Do not squirm, boy. Hold still or this will take longer.” she commanded as she carefully checked him over.

    When she was done she nodded, writing a few notes in his file. She turned to Taina, being more discreet with the outsider woman. Her inspection took slightly longer due to that but she finished soon. “You’ve got the waterfat of an outsider but a few weeks here will take care of that.” she said in as firm a tone as before.

    “You both are recovered enough that, by this evening, you can be released.” Her final statement hung in the air before the bead curtain parted again and she was gone, the orderlies checking the coffee service before departing as well, leaving the two of them alone.

    TAGS: @Adalia-Durron, @greyjedi125 (Combo)


    Ginaz Residence

    Dyana had taken the lay of the land, seeing the kitchen of the suite. As befitting her role as Aya-Carolina’s maid, she headed into the small space set aside for that. Fussing around the space she pulled out various foodstuffs and soon the scent of the spice and other aromas filled the air. As she cooked it gave time for Shamir to explore the main room, studying its layout.

    By the time he’d made a first circuit of the room and returned to the Bene Gesserit, Dyana had set the table, including shields for the wooden surface that would keep the pots of food from scorching it. She was whistling a soft tune in the kitchen, stirring the food. Until the sound cut off suddenly and, as suddenly, one of the chef knives went flashing by both Shamir and Aya-Carolina’s heads.

    As the Sister turned in shock to face the young Fremen woman Shamir turned toward where the knife had flown. Standing there holding the blade of the knife between the fingers of one gloved hand was a black and red clothed figure. The wall hanging behind him was still swaying slightly from where he’d appeared. “Excellent reflexes but a tad slow, young one.” the man stated in a toneless voice.


    The door to Aya-Carolina’s bedroom opened and a second appeared, behind the Sister. A section of the ceiling suddenly opened and a third dropped to the floor in the wall by where the kitchen was, placing Shamir and Aya-Carolina in the middle of a triangle of assassins.

    “Small fry but even this will sew chaos.” the first stated then nodded slightly, his hood swaying. With that, all three stalked forward, the knife dropped to the floor by the wall hanging.

    TAGS: @Shadowsun, @TheAdmiral (Combo, including the GM)


    TAG: @pashatemur (Sokanon combo with GM to continue)

    TAG: @Corellian_Outrider (Single, third notice, Garsiv and Lucina can settle in at the Residence)
  16. pashatemur

    pashatemur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2004
    Thank you to the GM, darthbernael for another instructive and enjoyable write!

    IC: Sister Na’die, Kanti-Sokanon and Viscount Hundro Moritani
    Location: Iypr, Earl’s Residence

    “Memnon, Earl Thorvald,” Sokanon had repeated the name several times before asking Hundro if his wife was yet living and the name of the Earl’s deceased son, as well as the child’s age. She had taken a single white Lilly from a floral arrangement in the stateroom before leaving the frigate and carried it in her arm like a child. Stepping out of the ship, she found the air was damp, the vegetation dense and mysterious. A limp breeze wafted the fetid, sweet perfume of many flowers and the decaying insects fermenting in their cupped petals. Brightly colored birds beat the leaves of the tall forest surrounding the landing field as they lifted into the sweltering air, stirred by the ceremonial march of heavy boots.

    Thorvald was clearly not to be outdone, and all who entered his sphere were to be reminded how they paled in the Earl’s estimation, compared to himself. This was a very large estate, though it seemed so heavily fortified as to be properly termed a fortress. She saw it on the side of a massive mountain, almost growing out of it and as they entered to solemn parade at the manse, the windows were veiled, and all were silent and passed in the corridor hugging the shadows and those shadows deepened the farther down the corridor they traveled. Indeed, the structure was embedded well within the crenellations of the mountain.

    It may have been Hundro and his “color guards” tall and sinew’d, faces swathed in black headdress, silent and moving as one, she could sense them, like coiled serpents ready to strike that required such a show of the Thorvald’s extraordinarily tall, muscled, and grim-faced warriors that lined either side of their path which lead directly to the Earl.

    Now they stood before an older man who paid them scarcely a regard as he sat at his desk writing, and instead of a cursory and pat salutation, offered in greeting, a theatrically acerbic insult. The Viscount of House Moritani had been delivered to his mark and now the play begins and the Earl of Iypr showed he was not the least intimidated by the Moritani.

    Hundro smiled a thin-lipped smile. He nodded. “Thank you for allowing us into your home, Earl Thorvald, Memnon.” They had not yet been invited to sit, so he remained standing. “The Padishah Emperor has tasked me to travel the Imperium and visit those who have recently suffered tragedy among the Houses. He especially wished to have his and our condolences for your loss given to you, brother of his late wife.”

    Sokanon held a single white lily, cradled gently in her hands, as the two men ‘greeted’ each other. Rising as she offered the flower, she lifted her gaze to meet the elder man. Even if he had tossed his offhanded ugliness as if flicking an insect from his sleeve, he had lost his child, and it is hard for a parent to survive their progeny.

    Her eyes glittered in the light from the window.

    Hundro’s expression was neutral as Sokanon leaned forward, holding out the lily, not giving Memnon any more ammunition for his vitriol, even though he understood the movement was as much for his benefit as for the Earl’s.

    The Earl’s expression softened slightly as he accepted the lily from Sokanon. His eyes drifted over her, noting her dress before one eyebrow arched, seeing the crest of Moritani tattooed on her belly. His gaze turned to Hundro. “I never expected the Moritani to accept a Bene Gesserit into your House. I had always assumed that your business was counter to their beliefs.” He sneered slightly, “Now why would the throne send you when even my own counselors believe it was one of your shadows that killed my son?”

    Hundro gestured for Sokanon to take her place by his side. “You know the Sublime Emperor, he sends the ‘servant’ best suited to the task. Do you believe he would be so crass as to believe he would send me if my people were responsible?”

    Sokanon observed carefully, though her body and face rested still.

    The Earl snorted, “Of course he would, Viscount. He’d do so to see if the outcome meant that the strongest survived.” He said derisively. “But this is the time of mourning and I must accept you as the representative of the Landsraad that the Emperor has dispatched.” He gestured at a seat, “And I must not be so crude, you may join me to sit.”

    The corner of Hundro’s lip twitched. “Thank you.” he said as he sat. Glancing up at Sokanon, his eyes sparkled, waiting to see if she would allow the Earl to see how close she and he had become.

    “You are correct, we are here to join you in the mourning, and then discuss what the Emperor desires.”

    But Sokanon remained still, neither moving forward nor back. This was a very delicate moment. Her quietness should allow the two to carry on their dance, without the least interruption, and the comment regarding her affiliations was important and telling, so she remained as if to become as conspicuous and usual as a dust mote.

    The Earl let a small smile touch his lips. He’d seen the look that Hundro had given her and how she had not moved. His eyes glittered and his eyes raked her form once again, taking in its beauty. If she wasn’t as fully in the Moritani camp as she seemed, he believed he could change her allegiance.

    Hundro’s eyes narrowed slightly as he saw Memnon’s look. He lifted one hand, resting it on Sokanon’s forearm, “What aid do you need for the funeral ceremony?”

    Memnon leered slightly at Sokanon before replying, “None is needed. The ceremony is set for the morning. You will be welcome as the honored guests, to sit in my box with me. That will also allow the people to see that the Bene Gesserit have sent someone to observe, which will increase my prestige.”

    Sokanon yet remained still. If she was meant to feel his eyes on her, she gave no indication that it made her skin crawl. As for Hundro, she could only hope that later, she could reason to him her inaction and nonresponse to his touch, though she did not retract from his hand on her arm, but kept her posture relaxed.

    Hundro’s tone was sharper. “Your offer is appreciated.” His hand squeezed Sokanon’s arm lightly. “You are correct that the Landsraad representatives should sit with you, show solidarity in this hour. not think it changes my or my consort’s positions.”

    Memnon’s smile became toothy, “Perish the thought.” He murmured. “Until then, the guest suite is at your disposal. I will have the majordomo notify you when it is time for the morning meal.” He waved a hand dismissively.

    Hundro stood, hand sliding down to take Sokanon’s. With another small squeeze, “Until then, Earl.” He replied, readying himself to depart the office.

    Sokanon bowed deeply, offering a blessing in her ancient language, the words, softly, pillowed clouds punctuated with nimble plosives, and then she took Hundro’s lead, her hand in his.

    Hundro led her from the room where the majordomo waited. The man guided them through the residence to a set of double doors. After ushering them in, he bowed, “I shall return in the morning, Lord, lady.” And then shut the doors again as he backed out of the room.

    “Hundro? The Earl is not particularly intimidated by either you or the Emperor. I am not so familiar with his origins or the state of the Thorvald clan. What is his position with Shaddam, the Baron Harkonnen, and with the Landsraad?”

    “He is the brother of Shaddam’s now deceased wife. So he has that ‘intimate’ bond with Shaddam, if anyone can be said to have that with our Emperor. He is an outlier supporter of the Harkonnen, assisting with the minimal effort needed to show that he is involved. In the Landsraad, it can be said he acts the same way, doing the minimal work necessary, feeling he has that bond with Shaddam to protect him. Which he’s recently realized isn’t the case.” He replied, pulling her close against him.

    “Then he believes this immunity is automatic and lasting?!” she said incredulously. “No!” Her disbelief was evident in a soft laugh. “If the Earl is close to the Emperor in any measure, he must know the history of those at the Padishah Emperor’s arm who long have “retired,” never to be seen again!"

    Hundro let a thin-lipped smile cross his face. “He presumes too much of his own value. Something that, it seems, losing his youngest has not shown that he understands the lesson.”

    She clasped her arms and looked away. “I am trying to understand the long view. I truly am Hundro. When I am deemed ‘inconvenient’, shall I be ‘retired’ as well?” This question not only pertained to Hundro and the Emperor, but to the order. She heard her father’s voice in her mind, “Daughter, a wild creature or even a community of creatures, when it is perceived that they are trapped, will chew off the paw by which they are ensnared. That is called ‘practical’ and ‘expedient.’ Yet, it is not always the wrong choice. Perhaps it is not a good day to test the battle.”

    His eyes narrowed slightly, “Do you believe I deem you a convenience?” Sakonan bowed her head. He raised a hand, fingers stroking his chin as he thought for a moment, “The Padishah Emperor has his plots and whims but he knows that, with anything I hold close, I’d rather cut off my arm than allow harm to come to them.” His hand shifted, taking her chin and turning her head back toward his.

    She lifted her eyes to meet his and smiled a little. “Memnon nonetheless believes himself invulnerable. He has resources and if the weapons, warriors, and wealth on display speak true, he can make war or trouble and thus far, he has not been displaced from his position...”

    The expression that crossed his face was almost predatory. “What other message do you think our being here sends to Memnon?” His expression softened slightly, “Yes, we are here on behalf of Shaddam to offer condolences but why do you think Shaddam would have the obvious ‘culprit’ of any assassination be the one to do so?”

    “To own the play? And thus, Thorvald?”

    “In part. The rest is that we are both the bait in the trap and the forces waiting to spring the trap. Those targeted have shown one thing in common, that the possibility to side against Shaddam exists. If they recognise the trap and understand how they must correctly respond, then we do not act. Otherwise…”

    “He expected violence...”

    Hundro nodded, “He did. However, unless his Mentat is very capable, he does not know the extent to which this will end poorly for him if he chooses to spring the trap…”

    TAG: @darthbernael and @BobaMatt
    darthbernael likes this.
  17. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    Iypr, Earl’s Residence

    The morning came and with it came preparing for the memorial and burial service for the Earl’s youngest son. Both Hundro and Sokanon had risen early, him bathing as her maids prepared her, helping her to bathe before clothing her in the garments she knew Hundro preferred. After a light breakfast in their suite a knock at the door notified them of the presence of the majordomo.

    Hundro had dressed in a formal uniform, before breakfast and when the knock came, he stood, holding out his arm to Sokanon. “Shall we, dear?” he asked. When she had taken her place by his side, the light shining through her garments, her arm in his, Hundro opened the door, “Good morning.” he told the man standing outside.

    The majordomo nodded, “Good morning Viscount, Sister. If you will please follow me.”

    With a nod from Hundro, their arms linked, the two of them followed the man down the corridor, out of the residence, across a wide back garden, and into a large auxiliary building on the estate’s grounds. Inside, he led them through a pair of double doors before mounting a stair beside the central aisle. The space was set up like a religious center or theatre, with a balcony of seats as well as the seats on the floor of the space.

    The stair they led them up took them to the balcony, where he led them to a reserved area. The Earl was already there, looking down at the ‘stage’, where the coffin held the place of prominence. When he saw them approach he stood, frowning as he greeted Hundro before turning to Sokanon, his eyes raking up and down her form again as he greeted her warmly.

    Taking her arm, almost pulling her away from Hundro, he led her to the seats. He gestured to the one in the middle, “Sit here, dear Sister, I will sit on your left. We can discuss things during the ceremony. I’d much rather do so with you than with the Viscount, anyway.” He said with a smile that didn’t touch his eyes.

    TAG: @pashatemur (Combo with GM)
    pashatemur likes this.
  18. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU/Costume/Props/EUC Mod. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Naveed and Taina - this is always such fun with @greyjedi125 and @darthbernael
    Inside the Sietch

    Taina frowned, had her eyes changed colour, she'd always had the vivid blue one blue eyes and was now confused. The woman began to examine her counterpart and she couldn't help herself and watched, a wry smile on her lips. When she turned to Taina, she was prepared to be exposed, but to her relief was not but tried very hard to not take offence to the 'waterfat' comment knowing it was just a matter of time before she'd be boney and hard like the rest of those who lived here. Watching silently as the woman took care of her duties and then left. Turning she chose to look him in they eye, ignoring what she'd observed. "Tonight, is there anything I should know, so as not to humiliate or embarrass you?"

    Naveed offered a respectful salute to Stilgar before their leader exited the recovery chamber through the beaded curtains. Stilgar had shared a good deal of information regarding Taina’s integration into Fremen society, which also included getting an accurate measure of her martial training and what powers of ‘arcana’ she’d received from her sisterhood.

    There was much to ponder and consider there, but before any of that could happen, a nurse came in to see them both.

    Naveed had smiled at the nurse’s bedside manner, as it reminded him of his own head-strong mother- down to the sudden and unexpected ‘inspection’.

    Naveed’s eyes had gone wide in surprise, but he quickly recovered, knowing resistance would be futile. He’d turned beet red, but not because of the nurse. If Taina hadn’t been present, he would have been completely unbothered, but that was not the case.

    To him, the exposure seemed to last an eternity, but suddenly it was over and he was able to turn away now that Taina was the focus. Taina had no need to worry if she was concerned that Naveed would suddenly turn around or catch a glimpse over his shoulder. No, he wouldn’t do such a dishonorable thing. His mother had raised him right, plus- he would never emulate those Harkonnen pigs who cared nothing for others.

    He did chuckle audibly however, when the nurse had used the term ‘waterfat’. He’d almost give anything to see Taina’s reaction.

    In short order, the nurse would declare them recovered enough to be released by evening, which suited Naveed just as well. Sitting around inactive was not something he did well or cared much for. It was not the Fremen way. The nurse departed once she had completed her examination and given her report. The orderlies followed not long after.

    Only silence remained to keep them company.

    Taina was the first to speak.

    Her question was an interesting one, which could be said to focus on their ‘public appearance.

    Naveed had no experience being a husband or pretending to be one, but he did know of a couple he could take his cues from; that being his own parents. Despite they being no longer alive, they had left him with strong impressions of their union.

    “Well….” he began, his eyes looking up to the ceiling in recollection while he absently stroked his chin.

    “If we are to appear happily wedded, then we should treat each other politely in public spaces, smile often and not argue among ourselves. Our differences are to be resolved in the privacy of our home, once we are assigned one, of course.”

    Naveed’s gaze returned to appraise Taina as he continued to speak.

    “It is said that a public disagreement between a couple is a sure marker for the decline and eventual end of that relationship.”

    Naveed gave a shrug. “Not my words.”

    “…and just so you know, we need not hold hands or do any such thing. Public displays of affection can be viewed as vulgar, so best to avoid them altogether. We'll have no issues there, I think. However, if there is no child born after a year or two, it is assumed that there may be problems in the marriage, or that the wife might be barren. I will admit, that being barren is never said of the husband, even if that was the case.” Naveed observed thoughtfully.

    “Luckily, having a concubine can easily dispel scrutiny, for the most part and save the whole situation, yes?”

    Naveed gave another innocent shrug.

    “I don’t make the rules.” He said in his own defense. Not that he was being accused of anything.

    Listening carefully, Taina was taking mental notes and decided this was going to be a little easier than expected. Then he broached a subject that she'd not expected, as she had not believed her time here would be that long. A child within 1-2 years? And women were always to blame? That seemed to her a little on the archaic side of things and she was about to say so when he added another pearl.

    A concubine?!

    Would such a relationship be flaunted under the poor wife's nose? Was she to endure this 'humiliations' as any other would? She coughed in her throat lightly, before clearing it and asking the obvious question. "Do you already have such a ..........woman?"

    Naveed tried not to chuckle, but failed as he laughed into his fist. "No, Taina. I do not." He confessed, his face conveying a mix of amusement and something else.

    "I don't believe we'll have such traditional complications, since our situation is not a traditional one." He reasoned.

    "Besides, I am a Fedaykin after all."

    Clearly, that alone would explain it all.

    She felt her cheeks flush at the laughter then his dismissal of her as a 'situation', then she frowned, "Fedaykin?" She asked curiously.

    "Oh......right." Naveed exclaimed. Taina couldn't know the deeper meanings, as she had not been yet inducted into Fremen Culture. Thankfully, that would change soon enough.

    "I'm a Fremen Warrior, one committed to fight in our frontlines against any and all of our enemies at any given time. My life has been pledged to this cause above all others- even unto death."

    Naveed did not seem sad at all by this, but rather, seemed to exhibit a measure of pride instead.

    "Your 'husband' is a future hero. I'll make sure you get some good spoils." He joked.

    After a moment of silence, he would calmly add:

    "So, Taina. Why are you really here?"

    When he'd described himself as a warrior, she'd given a knowing nod, she could see that clearly, the title of future hero brought a soft smile to her lips as his pride was abundantly clear. As for 'good spoils', Taina asked for needed for little, 'spoils' were not on that list but she'd explain that at a later date. Then he asked her a blunt question, and her knowledge told her to be honest, as he would know if she were to lie. "To learn more about your people, to understand you and learn your ways."

    Naveed heard her speak and he watched her, his gaze intense - almost as if he could see through her. After she had spoken, he remained still, meditating on her words, feeling them, on how they were spoken, searching the meaning in the weave of them.

    “To understand the Fremen is to become a Fremen. That is the only way to know why we fight, why we survive, what we believe.”

    Naveed’s answer was also honest.

    “We are not field mice in a lab to be studied, with behaviors that need to be catalogued, or habits to be analyzed.”

    There was something in how he said these words, an underlying distaste.

    “An outsider has to remain outside if he is to observe and report. The experiment fails otherwise.”

    A small wistful smile crossed his face then, as a distant memory danced behind his eyes. For a moment, he seemed to want to speak of it, but changed his mind in the same breath.

    “There are no outsiders here.” he concluded simply.


    "I do...........I do not wish to observe." She paused, the respect for these peoples had been growing. The journey across the dessert had shown her so much more than she'd been prepared for, the dangers faced and how utterly calmly he'd face them. It was a skill, no, a lifestyle, an inner strength that deserved deep respect and admiration. The passion in his words, the utter commitment was similar to what she'd faced in her journey to becoming a 'Sister'.

    It was time for a new journey.

    "If I am to understand the Freman, I must be one, then that is what I will become." Conviction in her tone and dedication in her heart as there was no better way to know a people, to know him, and to her inner surprise the latter seemed to be important.

    Naveed got up from where he was and slowly walked over, chuckling at the aches he felt. It was good to be alive. He'd smiled at Taina as he approached.

    "While we were crossing the desert...." he began to say, his mind reviewing their journey. " You showed me something, what the desert revealed in you....."

    He got close now, in her personal space, his eyes gazing into hers.

    "I thought to myself, she is strong. She has what it takes to be a Fremen. But I wasn't sure that you would want to."

    He paused, allowing himself to blush a little.

    "Now I think, you also have the makings of a strong wife."

    He came no closer. He just offered a gentle trusting smile and a slow nod, before taking a step back and returning to his place.

    "We'll 'pretend' for as long as it's necessary, at least it's a start." He confessed, acceptance evident in his tone.

    TAG Anyone and everyone.
  19. Mira Grau

    Mira Grau Force Ghost star 4

    May 11, 2016
    Name: Sister Cassandra
    Character Type: Bene Gesserit, Concubine to House Ordos
    Gender: Female
    Age: 27
    Physical description (picture if applicable): [​IMG]
    5,6 Tall, short black hair, brown eyes, fair skin, often wears expensive revealing clothing as part of her role as concubine, otherwise simple, functional dark clothes, Bene Gesserit clothes only when she has to.
    Personality: Cassandra rarely shows her true feelings and in general tries to lighten the mood by cracking jokes or making snarky comments. She only holds her mouth when with superiors (and even then she somethimes can`t stop herself). Doesn`t have too high of an opinion of the Bene Gesserit Order but usually keeps that to herself.
    Quirks: Playfully flirts with every pretty woman around her, also spends a lot of time training melee combat with the houses soldiers.
    Likes/dislikes: Cassandra likes getting her hands dirty, fighting and celebrating as well as being able to be herself. She also admires great fighters such as Ducan Idaho and Gurney Halleck (though she hides these idols from her current employers). She hates having to act as a lady and even worse to share a bed with men.
    Strengths/weaknesses: Has gained a considerable training in melee combat on top of the already formidable Bene Gesserit training, she is also able to fool people into underestimating her politically by acting like an irresponsible fool. That said her knowledge and mental skills are not always on the same level as the usual sisters of her order.
    Weapons (if applicable): Two Combat Knives (usually hidden in her high leather boots)
    Bio: Not knowing her parents Cassandra was always an odd child amongst the Bene Gesserit. Being a tomboy she often rebelled against some of the orders teachings, but always tended to top her class when it came to combat training to the point some of her sisters called her "a Sardaukar who got send to the sisterhood due to a buerocratic error" and similar. In her teen years her complete preference for other women manifested and she had several brief relationships with some of her sisters that saw her reprimanded more than once. Eventually she was send to serve with House Ordos were she became a Concubine to Lady Galina, whose lesbianism was a secret known to the sisterhood. That said the Bene Gesserit also expect Cassandra to "collect the genetic matrial" of Lord Kimon, a prospect Cassandra is less than thrilled about.
  20. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019

    “Teaching is one thing. The basic ingredient is another.”
    Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam - Dune​

    Ishkal, House Ordos Palace

    Outside the Ordos ancient, sprawl of a palace the winds were rising. At these latitudes, as even falls, the clouds begin to pile up against the distant mountains before they crest the peaks and thunder across the plains, pregnant with rain that begins to pour. The deserts farther south would only receive a smattering of rain this evening while the palace would be lashed with rain, wind, and the crash of thunder.

    Inside, cylindrical, almost sinuous glowglobes hung at regular intervals along the corridor through which two people walked. One was the older majordomo of the Palace. He had served the Ordos for two full generations now, the blue within blue of his eyes telling of the use of spice to prolong his life and usefulness to the House. The other was a medium height woman, carrying herself well, with the sense of the mystique upon her, giving truth to the rumor that Bene Gesserit were witches. At least that was what the old man thought, but he had grown well accustomed to hiding his feelings from any other person in the building.

    As they passed in and out of the light of the glowglobes her dress was revealed, just within the bounds of propriety for the House and one that would have most of her Sisters in shock if they were not acting as Imprinters. Her aura had no effect on the old man, he’d seen such come and go over the decades. Finally coming to a stop before a pair of double doors, approximately halfway down the corridor, he nodded to the woman, before his gloved hands opened both doors, just enough to allow her to enter.

    “You are expected, Sister.” is all he said as he closed the doors behind her, once she had entered the room. With the doors shut, it cut off the light from the corridor, leaving her seemingly alone in the large space. The light from the fireplace barely illuminated the pair of lounges and low table near it that held a pair of wine goblets and a decanter of the deep red liquid. Beyond there were hints of a desk and shelves along the wall opposite the fireplace. Further into the room was only lit when a bolt of lightning speared the ground in the distance, its light shining in the tall windows that took up much of the outer wall. The light silhouetted a figure close to her height as well as a large bed, finely made, with tall posts at each corner.

    A musical tenor of a voice spoke, “It took Maiten long enough to bring you here, Cassandra. He knows better than to make me wait.” As the figure spoke it walked forward, slowly emerging into the light. The emerald green, double split, plunging dress highlighted the same blue within blue that the majordomo had as eyes, once again showing that the woman used the spice as a geriatric drug, even in her early middle age.

    She swayed as she walked to the table by the fireplace, gracefully sitting on one of the lounges, before she picked up one of the glasses of wine. In the firelight the hints of what was once called asian features could be seen, the slight epicanthic folding of the eyes being one, as she sat. One long fingered hand gestured, giving Cassandra permission to sit on the opposite lounge.

    Smiling softly, “It seems you have a message from the Mother House.” A slight shake of her head, “No I did not break the code, although I believe I could have, but first sit, and talk. And then we will get to business.”

    TAG: @Anedon (Combo with GM)


    Sietch Tabr

    One of the nurses eventually returned, seeing that the two were still in a conversation. She’d smiled softly, the older, blind, head nurse had known exactly what she was doing after she’d heard what Stilgar had suggested. She checked what notes had been left before turning to Naveed and Taina. In a crisp, professional tone, “You are both still healing and both need some rest, but you are cleared to return to Naveed’s…..” a small smile crossed her face, “I mean your quarters. I will have Aratt attend you both so you have a friendly face and a guide, even in his youth.”

    She swept back out through the beaded curtains, her footsteps disappearing down the cavern’s corridor. When they returned, there was a lighter set with hers, but the sound of the footfalls was that of a youth attempting to act older than their years. The curtain opened and the nurse entered, followed by a young Fremen, only just a teen. He appeared to be trying to appear older and more needed but when he saw Naveed he smiled, “Thanks be to Shai-Hulud. I was afraid I had lost my instructor and friend.” he said as he crossed to the Fedaykin.

    Stopping just by the bed his head turned, seeing Taina. His eyes went wide, then ducked as though he expected a cuff to his head by Naveed for having ignored her at first. “Apologies. Nurse Hiffi here told me you are a Bene Gesserit and are named Taina.” He stepped closer, bowing slightly to her, “I am Aratt, just of an age to begin training in the battle arts. Nay…” his hand flared as his head spun back toward Naveed with an almost fearful expression, almost having said his instructor’s secret name. “Uhhh, Naveed is my instructor and I am honored to guide you both back to what I have been told are now your joint quarters.”

    Turning back to Naveed, “Speaking of, congratulations Sir. I have heard the rumors of what those that were with our Naib said you both endured and, if that is true then you have brought worthy water to the tribe.” The nurse, not Naveed, was the one to actually cuff him in the head, before she handed him what Taina and Naveed didn’t have on their persons. “Boy, once Naveed is healed, I’m sure to see you on one of these beds, after a training session, or I’ll make sure it happens myself.”

    She assisted both Naveed and Taina out of bed, ensuring they were dressed, before she pushed Aratt on the back, “Now scoot, ‘guide’ them home.”

    Aratt led them along open walkways, chattering and pointing out various caverns, explaining to Taina that one was the cafeteria for the single warriors, another was the school for the younger kids, the next was the school for older kids, then the factory that produced water catchers, another that produced stillsuit, and so forth. As they walked, Taina would note the way personal space was seen among the Fremen. Among peers or those not close a distance was maintained, usually an arm’s length but between couples personal space was almost nonexistent.

    Naveed, as a ‘Lieutenant’ in the Fedaykin, had rated his own quarters even before the ‘marriage’ but now that they were a couple, at least in the eyes of the sietch, they had also acquired a coffee service. And as Taina found out, a sort of ‘butler’ too, in Aratt. He proudly proclaimed that the small chamber on the opposite side of the small set of caverns that made up their quarters was his bedroom, which would allow him to clean and maintain the space when he wasn’t training.

    That announcement given he did his best to look serious, “Hiffi said I should give you space but make sure you rest a little more, before either of you try anything strenuous. So…I’ll be in my room.” The last was said, almost hurriedly, before he disappeared into the room, leaving them alone.

    TAGS: @Adalia-Durron, @greyjedi125 (Combo with GM)


    All other combos continue
  21. Mira Grau

    Mira Grau Force Ghost star 4

    May 11, 2016
    IC: Cassandra & Galina combo with @darthbernael
    Ishkal, House Ordos Palace

    Cassandra took a step closer, reminding herself not to take the bait and give away any real emotions about the news, instead she allowed herself a weak smile. "I am amazed you had the self control not to look then." She gave Galina, her Lady an apprechiative glance. She leaned back in the armchair, streching out her long smooth legs and allowing her employer a full view on her body in the revealing silken dress.

    Sipping again from her wine, Galina let her gaze travel from the floor to meet Cassandra's eyes, pausing at all the right spots. Her smile widened slightly as she did so. When her appraisal was done, she took another sip, "Trust, my concubine, I trust you not to reveal to the Sisterhood or the Imperium much of what you see or experience here and you trust that I do not interfere in internal messages from your Sisters or Mother." Her smile sharpened slightly, "After all, either of us could easily ruin the other if such got out."

    "And that would ruin all the fun we have in bed..." Cassandra gave Galina a flirtatious smile. The sisterhood had never needed to train her much in the arts of seduction, she had learned them herself, and honed them on her fellow sisters. "Alas politics are always the bane of joy..." she chuckled.

    "True..." Cass purred playfully as she took a slow sip from the glass. "If we can cover each others... dare I say, 'lovley round posteriors' we may make it through these trying times without too many bruises, that is only those we give each other..." Her smile grew into a playfull grin as she alluded to their times in bed sometimes getting a bit 'rougher'. Yet at the same time, as much as she presented the horny lover to Galina, internally she was calm and focused. This was buisness, another part of the great game. The endless game mankind was playing since its inception.

    Watching her concubine, Galina was, as always, assessing her. Much as the Harkonnen did, the Odros used up those that belonged to them and then found others. Mentats were the easiest and Bene Gesserit were much harder to do so with, the difference in training between the two explained that. Cassandra was enthusiastic but Galina knew that if it was needed the Sister would not hesitate to cut her loose, as she would do as well. She swirled the wine in her glass, glancing back up at the woman across from her.

    "I do not know what the Sisterhood may have told you in previous missives but the great game has moved into another level. The Harkonen have fallen behind on their spice quotas and the Emperor has, basically, declared Arrakis open season for any House that can afford to send spice miners." She glanced toward the window for a moment, "We have our own sources and streams of spice that mean that we are comfortable but the Ginaz and the Moritani have spearheaded the rush for spice."

    "And the latter..." she shuddered, "I would imagine that you have heard of deaths of many young nobles across the Imperium. There is no proof, but our agents, those that still live on those worlds, are sure it was the House of Assassins that was responsible, by the Jade Throne's command. Now too, the Viscount is on a trip across the Imperium, to offer Shaddam's condolences to the affected Houses."

    "So a lot more boys entering the sandbox to play with their little toy harvesters," Cassandra chuckled again. She knew most of this already, of course, but she decided not to give Galina any clues on wether she had or not. If she acted fully unaware it would diminish her standing, but if she admitted to have known it made her look disloyal to her employer.

    The Spice Trade had certainly become heated again since the whole affair with the Atredies on the world. What had happened was a shame, Cass had always looked up to some of the reknowned servants of the formerly Caladan based noble house... but that was the great game, and its deadly consequnces.

    "Which means we will host his highnessness as well in our little coner of the universe?" She asked instead.

    "We were insulated from the deaths, none of the extended family were affected, nor the immediate. So there is a possibility that the Viscount, as well as the Sister that he apparently took into his House, may visit." Galina thought about the reasoning why such a visit would be possible. "Most likely to enquire after the rates for our battalions, either to support their efforts or to bolster the Harkonnen."

    Her eyes were suddenly cold as she smiled, "We have shown ourselves as allies to the Baron on Geidi Prime but he has painted himself and his people with a target even the most inept will eventually not miss shooting."

    Raising herself from the lounge, she maneuvered around the table, her hip pressing against Cassandra's as she sat again, legs crossed at the knee, the inner arch of her foot rubbing her concubine's calf. "They will not be, and are not the only one's seeking our services. If we play our cards right, the House can come out of this even more wealthy, and perhaps one of the few to survive."

    "The ideal situation," Cass said as she laid an arm around Galinas shoulders and leaned a bit in on her. "For a woman like you... well women like us its the perfect opportunity.." She bit her lip. "Which means we have to present ourselves from our best sides." The smile returned while she internally curse the prospect. A meeting with high nobility, wearing Bene Gesserit robes while acting all nice and behaved. Why did it have to be?

    Galina leaned closer, not needing any special Bene Gesserit powers to sense how her concubine felt about the need for formality in such a meeting. A piece of information that she suddenly realized Cassandra didn't know came to mind, a report from an agent of theirs on Iypr. She chuckled lightly, "It's not often I truly get to surprised you, dear. But formality with this Viscount and his Sister is not what you think. Reports have that she wears an almost sheer outfit, with only strategically placed items to cover her dignity so..." Turning her head, she rubbed the tip of her nose across that of Cassandra's.

    Cassandra had to use most of her self control to stay calm and relaxed as the conclusion of it reached her brain. "Sexy... can‘t wait to see her in it..." she purred. It wasn‘t bad, it was worse. If the Viscounts companion looked like that... what would they await her to wear? Cass was no stranger to somewhat revealing clothing and had learned to ignore the stares long ago... but this? At an official meeting where she would be nothing but a piece of meat?

    Galina's smile widened as she felt the relaxed posture of her concubine. Cassandra had been with her long enough that the Lady was able to read her non reactions as much as her actual reactions. Her blue eyes met Cassandra's brown ones, "Surprise me then, dear." she whispered. "You and I both know that no matter what you wear, I value your mind as much as I value what you bring to bed." She leaned back against the backrest, her side pressed closely to Cassandra's, "Of course, distracting the Viscount during that may be just as valuable, in such a garment, as your reading him and his intentions."

    "Ah sweetie, you know you can always admit to me when you want to save some cash on my outfits," Cass giggled, as she continued to mask her worries. Reading the Viceroy and his intentions... that could get risky, especially if he started demanding things of her.

    Galina's laugh almost matched Cassandra's, "Word from our agents is that you'd have to try very hard to get that attention anyway, the Sister with him seems to have him wrapped tighter around her little finger than you have me." she teased. "But, I also know you wouldn't be as much interested in his attentions anyway."

    "No..." Cass said playfully and a bit relieved. Then she rose, her arm still around Galina's shoulder as she sat down on the Ladies lap, directly eyeing her employer a moment, then she leaned forward and gave Galina a mischievous kiss on the nose. "Yes, the two of us know the secret, who needs a man when she can have a woman instead?"

    Galina's arms went around Cassandra, snugging her closely to her. She giggled at the kiss, eyes meeting Cass's again. "That is so true, dear." Pulling Cass tighter, she kissed her deeply before she leaned her head back slightly, "Hmmmm, seriously debating whether we should deal with the business before the pleasure or not, with you sitting here."

    "Why choose?" Cass grinned as she wiggled her hips playfully. People tended to be more honest when put between the thighs of a woman, and Galina was certainly no exception.

    Galina smirked slightly, fingers trailing down Cass's arm before 'drawing' circles on her concubine's thigh. "Well, then we should probably get the missive from the Motherhouse out of the way." She reached into her cleavage and pulled out the rolled up flimsy.

    When it opened it read:

    Sister Cassandra,

    Having received your latest report concerning House Ordos the pertinent details have been filed. The Mother Superior is most concerned, however, by your continued lack of movement in your duties as an Imprinter. Lord Kimon's genetic material is of high importance to the continued plans for the improvement of the human race. It is imperative that you report success in having him impregnate you before you return to the Motherhouse to carry the child to term and secure those genetics, before your next assignment.

    Signed for and in the presence of Reverend Mother Superior Harishka,

    Reverend Mother Indus Jane Chele, Secretary to the Reverend Mother Superior

    Galina had handed the flimsy to Cass and tried not to read it over her lover's shoulder.

    Cassandra‘s face was filled with disgust as she read the letter the same crap as usual. She tightened her fist around it, then she threw it into the fireplace were it evaporated in seconds. So they did it again, the sisterhood who so often already had claimed how much Cass owed them, the sisterhood that wanted to turn her into nothing more than a womb to birth some kind of savior. „Nice storage idea...“ she instead purred as she forced the smile back on her face. „Maybe I should look if there is more hidden there...“ she leaned forward and began playfully nuzzling Galina without moving from where she was.

    Sighing at her lover's anger, the sighs turned to airy moans as she felt Cassandra move and her warm breath on the upper curve of her chest. "They must have angered you so to need this so much, right now." she murmured as her fingers wound through Cass's hair, pulling her head tighter against her chest.

    „Not so much your magnificent bust can‘t heal my hurt soul,“ Cass muttered, in between trying to distract Galina from the discussion further.

    Galina glanced down, a false pout on her face, before she used her hands to lift Cass's head until their eyes met. "And who said your body or mine was the only reason I took you as my concubine? We both know Kimon didn't marry me out of love, but to secure an alliance with my House."

    „As I said, duty is the death of pleasure,“ Cass grinned, but then her face became serious. „Then why do you keep him around still, given you are the brain of the family?“

    Galina sighed, leaning her forehead against Cass's. "Because, dear, as with any noble marriage there is a prenuptual agreement. Without an heir, if he disappears, then his cousin becomes the head of the family and I am left with nothing, even my House would shun me. And you know he hasn't visited to even give the appearance of interest in having an heir with me. The same applies should I divorce him, sadly."

    Cass raised her head, worried about the implication. „You need a heir then...“ she muttered.

    Galina met Cass's eyes, "Are you saying what I think you're saying? Denying the Sisterhood and carrying an heir to keep me safe?" she whispered in a fierce tone.

    Cass froze, "so... you know..." she muttered quietly.

    Galina sighed, "I had a feeling that's what the message was about, with how you reacted. I do know about Imprinters, women do talk to each other, dear, even among the nobles. This isn't the first House that has had a Sister come, to do that." She reached up, cupping Cass's cheek. "And I do know how hard that role is for you, even putting aside what we share."

    "It is..." Cass said quietly, allowing herself this rare moment of vulnrabilty with a woman who might understand her. "I... I doubt I could do it." How cowardly, in truth she knew she probably even could. But she didn`t want to, would resist it to no end.

    Smiling softly, "I would never ask you to do so, love. That would be selfish of me. And," She leaned her forehead against Cass's again, "I don't want to share you with anyone anyway." she whispered the last.

    Cass grin returned, "and neither would I... so I guess we have to tolerated that old man to run the family buisness on the surface."

    Smiling again, Galina embraced Cass tightly, pulling her closer. "Yes, let him have his fantasies of controlling things. And we can truly run it, under the table as it were."

    "Just as we always did," Cass smiled as she returned the embraced, then she leaned forth and gave Galina a kiss on the lips.

    Tag: @pashatemur
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
    pashatemur and darthbernael like this.
  22. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Quick mid update for Anedon so that Cassandra's arc can catch up with all other events.

    Ishkal, House Ordos Palace

    The morning dawned, finding Cassandra in the large bed of the chamber she and Galina had finished the night in. She found herself alone in the bed, after she and Galina had fallen asleep in a tangle of limbs. The light was steaming in through the window, bathing the bed in its radiance. The storm of the night before had passed and the air was fresh and crisp.

    A soft cough came from the seating area, drawing her attention. “Were you going to sleep all morning, Cass?” Galina asked, as she sipped from a mug of spice coffee.

    She rose, slowly, one hand resting on the back of her chair. “There is a busy day ahead, Kamon is already attempting to negotiate with a pair of Houses Minor to secure the services of battalions.”

    Picking up her coffee, she stepped closer, the dress she wore today no more revealing than the day before. Her eyes hardened slightly, “So, out of bed, my concubine or I shall drag you from it and have you at my side as dressed as you are now, regardless of how many see.” she said in a low tone.
    “We must assist ‘dear’ Kamon, before he sells the troops at too discounted a rate. If he does, then there will be repercussions which could shake the House.”

    TAG: @Anedon (Combo with GM)
    pashatemur, greyjedi125 and Anedon like this.
  23. pashatemur

    pashatemur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2004
    Combo with GM to whom I offer thanks for catching me up.

    IC: Sister Na'die, Kanti-Sokanon, Viscount Hundro Moritani, and Memnon, Earl of Thorvald
    Location: Grumman House Thorvald, private suite

    On the stage, the funeral began, solemn music playing, courtesy of a small orchestra. As the officiant spoke about the life of the young child who had died, Memnon smiled, a cruel and desirous expression, at Sokanon. He leaned closer, whispering, “So… tell me, dear, what brought you into the Viscount’s orbit?”

    "The Mother Superior sent me to advise the Viscount," said Sokanon matter-of-factly.

    He leered, looking her up and down, “There must have been something important in his genes if they sent an Imprinter to join him.” Leaning even closer, ignoring as the officiant spoke floridly of how the child learned his early lessons under Memnon’s care, “And how deep under your control is he?” He whispered, his breath in her ear.

    Sokanon drew back but discreetly away from Memnon’s upbraiding whiskers. "I advise the Viscount," she asserted. Telling the elder man he had no business asking would only increase Memnon's determination to chase it out of her, to goad her.

    A lecherous smile crossed his face, licking his lips at her response. Below in the front row, consoled by their nannies, were two other of his children who cried at their younger sibling’s death, the Earl of Thorvald’s eyes gleamed. “Advise in every way, I’m sure. So what advice would you give him if I suggested to the Sisterhood that you be transferred here?”

    Sokanon answered without the drip of sarcasm, but to mirror his sense of himself. "You must wield great influence to make ‘suggestions’ to the Order. What advice could one give against such power?"

    “If you have trouble with a conundrum as simple as that, then how can you advise him when it comes to things like,” his smile grew more cruel, his large hand gripping her thigh, “war?”

    Sokanon regarded the Earl appraisingly. "You have ready answers for your studied questions. A mover and a shaker you are, who has prepared his assault. My thigh seems somehow to figure in your answers most prominently. I' by your...focus," she said, ignoring his baiting her as he plied her thigh. He seemed to know no bounds and was undeterred by the solemnities in progress, though they were for his own child, who now lay in state before allies and family. It seemed also to amuse him that the Viscount Moritani must endure Thorvald's pawing his Benefit Gesserit "meat."

    Thorvald's tongue snaked out, ignoring as the music in the reverberant space swelled behind the words spoken by the officiant, a section from the OC Bible, he was sure. Glancing down, at his hand and her thigh, which hadn’t moved, “You aren’t moving to your… I’d say I’m well within my rights.” he murmured. “Besides, Shaddam will ignore almost anything I do.”

    "And... why is that, Your ...uh...Grace?" She stiffened.

    Memnon grinned deeply, “Because he still owes me for the death of my sister, his wife.” Licking his lips he squeezed her thigh, ignoring the look Hundro gave, knowing the Viscount was ready to stab his hand and not caring. Down below, the ceremony was drawing to the point that the onlookers could say their goodbyes to the deceased youth.

    Sokanon listed suddenly toward Hundro as the Earl lost all sense of propriety, her muscles contracting such as to elicit a muffled cry of pain from the miscreant!

    So he consorted at the very least, or even as an active agent. The Earl had participated in his sister's death! She was a Bene Gesserit. It cannot have gone easily. This man had no allegiance he would not betray! And the Padishah Emperor, Memnon believed, was in his debt. Not likely. For it seemed to her, Shaddam would, after all this time, publicly attribute his wife's death to the Earl if need be.

    Thorvald's intention was to humiliate and intimidate her, he seemed titillated by any little power he believed he could exert that none held any respect in his eyes. After all, he was complicit in the murder of his own and believed his fairy wishes would be granted. "Remove your fingers from me, Your Grace," she whispered sweetly, in his ear, "or I will snap them off!"

    Hundro had moved little during this entire encounter. Sokanon would handle the Earl with ease. He remained a firm presence beside her when she leaned closely. He heard the threat she whispered to Memnon, causing the corner of his lips to twitch in a smile.

    Memnon's eyes narrowed. "Little witch, watch your tone. You may have Hundro's favor, but that is nothing." He responded hoarsely, squeezing her thigh once more before moving his hand. His hips shifted, moving himself closer to her, "I will get my pound of flesh from you or carve it from your beau's body." He whispered to her.

    She muttered a dull cry, jolting as he grabbed her hard, holding her in a ‌strong grip. The music again swelled, but her cry drew attention.

    He smiled a cruel smile as his fingers moved. Below, his older children looked up, saw their father and the woman, sitting beside the man who looked as though he was ready to slaughter every member of the family. The latter expression made Memnon's eldest son blanch, but he could not stop his father any more than he could stop the sun.

    Hundro's hand touched Sokanon's arm, as his other lifted, fingers beginning to tap out a staccato rhythm on the railing before him. The tapping made no real noise, but the movement of his fingers drew the attention of those other than the guests of the funeral.

    Memnon smiled again, "Look at your beau, he's pathetic, will not even defend you. Only taps away like a madman, on the railing." He whispered in a mocking tone.

    Feeling a burning sensation with Thorvald's grip, Sokanon pressed to Hundro. She kept her voice even and quiet. "Having me means so much to you? You knew nothing of me yesterday! Or is it simply that I am associated with the Viscount Moritani?"

    Memnon’s smile never wavered as his fingers continued to move. “He is the appropriate suspect in the destruction of my property. So I will take whatever I desire from him.” he murmured.

    Hundro’s fingers had ceased their movement, his head tracking toward Memnon, only a coldly calculated malice in his eyes. They seemed almost the same as the deep sea predator the moment its jaws closed around prey. He uttered one word, “Check.”

    As the word came from his lips, soft shots sounded around the hall. Nothing seemed amiss at first but then murmurs rose as various people, all belonging to cadet branches of House Thorvald, began to slump in their seats or collapse where they stood. Hundro’s ‘dead’ eyes crinkled as his mouth smiled, teeth bared. “Please, Earl, continue the path you are on.” his voice came out in a flat monotone.

    Sokanon looked between the two, horrified.

    Memnon's eyes narrowed and his fingers dug into Sokanon tighter. "Even you wouldn't dare, Viscount." He hissed out.

    Hundro remained silent, the soft sounds continuing, his dead eyes almost seeming to say 'try me…'

    "Stop this!" Hissed Sokanon, her hand suddenly poised in a graceful open attitude millimeters from Memnon's neck. "Your Grace, I believe you are familiar," she continued in a whispered warning and referring to the lethal-tipped end of her nimble finger which pointed at his throat. "Let us be calm and consider the options," she cooed softly. Isn't this better?" She continued softly, removing Thorvald's hand to his lap. "It has been a trying several days and a sad ceremony. Let us retire to consider our actions! There now! You are tired and understandably overwrought! No need for a high-handed enemy today... after all, your people are only lapsed in slumber,” she said, patting Memnon's hand, then capping the long thin needle before lowering her hand.

    Hundro smiled coldly as Memnon rose to his feet, Memnon's hand going to his neck. "You are a bastard, Viscount. How long will my family sleep?" he demanded.

    Holding up a hand, the soft sounds ceasing, Hundro rose as well, pulling Sokanon up with him. His raised hand turned as his eyes glanced at his chrono, "Four hours." He replied in the same flat tone. "Once again, condolences for your loss. We will take our leave."

    Stepping to the side, he left room so that Sokanon could exit as they made their way from the box, leaving the impotently furious Earl behind.

    Sokanon leaned back against the door immediately after it was shut, hands flat

    against the wood. She closed her eyes for a moment and then laughed and shot to Hundro, "The poor dear Earl Thorvald! He was so broken up about the loss of his little son, he could not contain his ...feeling!"

    Hundro chuckled darkly. "I must commend his tailor. The stitching they used was sturdy. It was quite evident as the ceremony proceeded, and you came close to climbing into my lap with his...affections."

    "That was the best and highest 'upshot' of that ceremony," she returned with equal wit, "any more of his daring and I'd have climbed over your shoulders!"

    He grinned, "I was close to pulling you onto my lap. But," his hands cupped her, clenching slightly, "If I had, we would have been stuck there for some time, and you having to bite your lips."

    "Hundro, he is so sure of his place. The loss of his child is nothing to that...! He will get himself another and by the Emperor's shorts he intends to get it by me!"

    His eyes hooded as they narrowed, "He will lose his manhood before it ever touches your skin and he will lose that battle, every time he brings that battle to my door."

    "I ...what more do we need here! I'm sure it is not the Earl's "family crest" that the "silent hand" requires!"

    Hundro's smile was tight lipped. "We have received what help demands are as his desires for his loss. That, and his actions, will be discussed with the Emperor. I have a feeling the next time we visit here the dirty old man will either be gone or much changed in his ways."

    Her shoulders relented and she sighed before snaking her arms around the Viscount's waist and breathing a sigh of relief onto one sculpted knoll of his chest "It can't be a moment too soon!"

    Leaning his head down, gently kissing the top of her head, “I know. You didn’t deserve what he did to you at the funeral.” His arms tightened around her slightly, “But he did expose some of what his demands are and those can be used to manipulate him without causing you the same discomfort.”

    The Bene Gesserit leaned her head back to regard the Viscount Moritani questioningly. "Hundro, I am concerned. Who is playing whom? The sands are shifting, it seems, under everyone's feet. As you pointed out, we are talking about grave distances. Yet, it is more than that. It's control over who travels and where, who is enriched or isolated...whose progeny may live and what they may become, what they may know...whether they may work to live or live to work, only to inherit the wind?"

    She shook her head and walked away. "I understand how all of this works. Clever, but this is ..." she spoke under her breath, "You know I was taken against my will, against my father's will, too old really and too aware! I know that my actions must be counted on. He fought and lost. Once he was out of the picture, I was alone. No one stands against the will of those with the power to make such determinations...and certainly not the pawns."

    Hundro smiled softly as he listened to Sokanon. In a quiet movement, he was suddenly pressed against her again. His arms slid around her, “Your own Sisters would flog you alive if they knew how deeply you feel about this.” He said softly. “They would, perhaps, also flagellate you for your shying away from the Earl rather than satisfying what he wanted.”

    His smile turned cold, “But that is what your Sisterhood would want. You, I do believe, have seen that what I see for the future of the Imperium is different from what currently exists and that I would never allow another to touch you in any way that is mine.” He sighed, “But you are correct in some ways, the system is broken but it takes strength to finish breaking it so that it can be rebuilt, strength many do not possess lest they be seen as the villain of the piece.”

    She threw a long glance at him, over her shoulder. "I am not a thing and certainly not your thing or the Bene Gesserit's, nor Thorvald's or Shaddam's! Just as you are not mine, nor the Baron's, your wife's, or anyone's! You belong to you! And I, a wild thing, I belong to me!" She said, calmly, but a fierce fire in her eyes, turning and facing him squarely.

    His eyes met hers, his as full of fire as hers. “Interesting.” his voice seemingly at odds with his eyes, calm, measured. Reaching down, his fingers traced over the tattoo on her abdomen. “Everyone belongs to others, at some time or place. Always. No one is ever truly free but we can choose who we belong to or what cause we belong to. And I’d thought you had.” His fingers dropped and he stepped away, stopping at the sideboard, pouring himself a drink as he faced away, “Was I mistaken?

    "That is exactly what I'm talking about, whom do you belong?" Sokanon's voice seemed to be three, then four, then more coming from all directions at once, sweet but direct and unrelenting.

    A snort and then a chuckle came from him as he lifted his glass, still turned toward the sideboard. Slowly his head turned, eyes flaring. “That…does…not…work…on…every…human,…Sister.” His tone was husky, amusement and anger fighting for dominance as he spoke. A shake of his head as he cleared his mind, “What you ask depended on how you answered my question. I serve at the convenience of the Emperor but even he knows I and my people can destroy all he has built or intends to build so do I truly belong to him?”

    He slowly lifted the glass to his lips, the amber liquid pouring down his throat. “If you had answered my question and in one way I would have given you a definitive answer to your question. But, I too do not prefer to be seen as a trapped animal, I have my own weapons, Sister.” The hand moved, setting the glass on the sideboard, “Have we reached the point where your Mother Superior wished you to reach, to exert the influence the Sisterhood desired, then?” He asked in a calm voice, belying the tension that seemed to be in his form, ready to move in an instant.

    "I gave you the answer many times over," said Sokanon, simply.

    “You have told me an answer to the question many times, Sister. But, as you just said, you are a wild animal, beholden to no one.” He smiled almost wryly, “Yes I embellish but that is what you said, which is at odds with what you have said previously.” He lifted a hand, “Nevermind, the answer is perhaps unimportant now.”

    He turned back to the sideboard, lifting the glass again, “What is it you propose for what you do next? I have my mission but do our needs, or goals still coincide?”

    "I am ...saddened and appalled. I'm so naive in what I say? Today, I have seen where compromise after compromise leads-the funeral, the boy, he was not even a commodity. He was a piece of meat!" She said vehemently. "His father cared not a wit for him. The Earl could think only of his bodily desire while his child lay dead before him, Hundro!"

    She stepped to the window where rain streaked windblown across the large panes. "When do we acknowledge one another? When will that time come when we have achieved perfection? I will tell you. It will never come, not while we say, it is acceptable to create a life and then throw it away for the sake of that delusion. We will never achieve it! Is our child so expendable? If the Emperor commands you, if you are incensed so, will you throw us away, Hundro? Is that belonging working for you? Am I in the way of this future?"

    Hundro sighed, “Why is it so hard to know that sometimes someone does desire to hear the words, Sokanon?” He looked over at her, almost swaying by the window, “I would not throw away our child, or you.” Downing the drink, he took a deep breath, ‘But, after you promised never to use the Voice on me, to have you do so…” His head shook, “disturbing.”

    Walking slowly over toward her, “How I feel has not, will not change, but that worried me, your actions contrary to how you have been before.” Reaching her, his hand caressed her belly, the growing life within it too, “I am not the Earl, yes I desire you but all we share is what matters. Including our child. I will allow no one to take that from us.”

    Sokanon hung her head to lean her forehead against the window. "Poor boy.” She said, her hand covering Hundro's.

    One of his eyebrows arched, “Our child will know security and peace. If I must drown the nobility in blood to do so, he will have it." He stated fiercely but softly, his mouth by her ear.

    Sokanon sighed.

    "It was hardly a touch, Hundro, the voice. You had the boy ...put down...what happens when you are ordered to silence me?" She said tearfully, looking up at him.

    "Will you bear up under all that weight? The Guild, the order, Shaddam and his bulkified Landsraad cronies?"

    His eyes met hers again, a soft smile, "Do you think I haven't planned for such a contingency?" His voice was calm but he knew she could tell he truly had.

    "Tell me right now then, what happens when I am summoned? Tell me, if you are given the order?"

    "If you are summoned," he sighed, "you will be seen to enter a frigate to carry you back. One that does not reach its destination. However..." He smiled, this time in a smile similar to that of a predator, "while they will find your genetic tissue, it will not be you who dies there. As it would be if I am given the order. Proof will also be given in the second case, but proof I have had forged. You and our child will disappear from any but my sight or presence, alive but dead to the Bene Gesserit or Imperium."

    "And what will I be then?"

    "I would suppose a sister sent to me, one I know I had not met before while at Court, would have a great many skills, concealment being one. Do you think I would keep you locked away back home? Or do you think I would know you would have the skills to always be able to accompany me without the Sisterhood knowing you lived?"

    "I am shaken and trapped. I was on a path and now everything has shifted, farther from that path...."

    He sighed, kissing the exposed skin of her neck, "Is your new path truly that terrifying? Is being mine truly that scary?" He said softly.

    " people...there are fewer of us ...the old wisdom..."

    "It remains in you and it will in our child, I know you will teach them so. So never fear it will die out." He gently caressed her with the arm she wasn't resting her head upon as he spoke.

    "How are you so tender who put out the light of that child, Hundro and yet, I love you..."

    "I am who I am, love, angel and demon in one flesh." He said softly, kissing the arch of her neck once more, his hand drifting lower as it glided over the gauzy fabric of her clothes, against her skin.

    She could choose not to be seduced. It wasn't a secret of Bene Gesserit training. But she did not want to, not because he was so skilled, but because she could not imagine being without him.

    It wasn't chaos per se, but nature abhors the vacuumed that science makes. The permutations were infinitely complex, as tossing a pebble into a vast system of waterways whose shores were as yet hidden and which would only amplify the subtle waves and their echoes crisscrossing the infinite scape. Neither nature nor human is made by one unhindered set of waves.

    He sighed into the kisses as he felt her melt against him slightly. His hand drifted even further down as he felt her move, could almost feel her thinking, weighing, deciding. Lifting his mouth by her ear, "Enough thought for tonight, let your mind be free and enjoy." He whispered as his hand found what it was seeking.

    Across the fetid garden and beyond the high wall that barely kept the surrounding jungle at bay, the winged chatter rose. The humans' shadowy forms pressed to the glass. The woman's cry sent a dark winged multitude skyward, their wild-winged reflection in the window, eclipsed that of the two lovers.

    TAG: @darthbernael @Anedon
    greyjedi125 likes this.
  24. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU/Costume/Props/EUC Mod. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Taina and Naveed. - a combo with @greyjedi125 and our GM @darthbernael - Much love to both you guys! Such fun!

    Remaining silent, Taina had done little more than observe, after all it was a skill of hers. She noted the almost excited nature of the lad who’d been assigned to Naveed and herself, he was proud of his ‘teacher’ and himself, he’d started to say another name, but had stopped. That was interesting, but when the words ‘worth water to the tribe’, she’d glanced away ever so briefly as that piece of information was stored for later questioning. Amused at the Nurse’s reaction to his words, she suppressed a smile.

    Soon she was being aided behind a curtain back into her form fitting suit, she’d grown comfortable out of it and now she knew it was essential to survival so stretched a little to accommodate her body within.

    Looking to Naveed she whispered, “is there a custom of distance I must observe?” Taina was unsure if she should keep her distance or link arms, and it was not a mistake she wanted to make.

    Naveed couldn’t help but be amused by Aratt’s interaction with nurse Hiffi and Taina. It was all he could do not to focus on the fact that Stilgar had already assigned a room for him to share with the Bene Dessert sister. Things were moving much faster than he’d anticipated, which gave him little to no time to make internal and emotional adjustments for his new arrangements and role.

    He tried not to blush at the thought of acting as a husband should, because it all felt surreal.

    Thankfully, Aratt was a familiar face, which helped him feel more at ease. Hopefully that would translate to Taina as well, though she was a literal ‘a stranger in a strange land’.

    Naveed’s eyes had gone wide at Aratt’s near misstep, but thankfully the young warrior was able to catch himself.

    “Enthusiastic as ever…” Naveed breathed out, smiling , though lightly shaking his head at the boy’s abundant enthusiasm. Energy was always good, but self-control was even better. He was still young, with a great deal of potential.

    Nurse Hiffi’s admonishment to Aratt was ever so perfectly timed, which caused Naveed to chuckle aloud.

    “How can anyone live up to such expectations…?” Naveed said in half-jest as he turned to Taina, shrugging, his expression feining amused innocence. Taina on the other hand, seemed more interested on getting a head start in ‘customs and propriety’, which was something Naveed could completely understand, if their roles were reversed.

    “Just stay close to me and relax, we needn’t be ultra-orthodox or anything.” He advised in an easy going tone, which was in contrast to his usual stoicism.

    Apparently, the whole scene did help to lift his spirits and he certainly hoped the same was true for his ‘wife’.

    Soon, the trio took to the walkways; Aratt went before them, while Naveed remained close to Taina as he listened to Aratt’s enthusiastic delivery, even as the young warrior-turned guide pointed out various places of interest to Taina.

    “He’s like the little brother I never had, you know.” Naveed managed to whisper to Taina in a brief moment while Aratt was not looking. He certainly sounded happy and his smile was genuine.

    Naveed waved in return to a few passerby who recognized him, but were unfamiliar with the woman at his side. That was a temporary condition, as word would certainly get around. But he would not let himself focus on that, at least not yet.

    Their pleasant stroll seemed to come at an end sooner than he’d anticipated, especially with Aratt taking his leave promptly after reaching their habitation.

    “Before we do anything ‘strenuous’? What do you mean….?”

    But Aratt was gone and out of earshot.

    “Training, I’m sure he meant training.” Naveed said to reassure mostly himself.

    “I’m going to need some coffee…” He said as he slowly opened the door to their place.

    The conversation and walk had been enlightening as Taina to a few things. Naveed was well respected, liked even. The colony was well established and cared for. Aratt has nearly revealed something, what she wasn't sure, but there was a secret. Finally, Naveed was nervous, not hugely but she noted it and in her mind it was understandable. The deep end was obviously a new place for him but not for her. Her youth on the streets had been full of 'deep end' moments. It randomly occurred to her he may not even understand the reference as it was often used referring to water, not a common thing here.

    Naveed did grace his now wife with a sympathetic smile as he opened the door to their shared abode. Inwardly, he felt certain that given time, Taina would come to understand the importance of coffee in Fremen society. An amusing thought did cross his mind then. The comment was akin that of an outsider who arrived on Arrakis, then after much travel found themselves wondering, ‘more sand?”

    The passing thought did cause the Fremen warrior to lightly chuckle, even as the spartan interior came into view. The couple's accommodations were austere, their furnishings comprised of only that which was necessary and not much else; to Naveed, this was more than enough.

    “Welcome home.” He teased good naturally, suddenly seeming too relax within the confines of their home. “Please, make yourself comfortable.” He said, gesturing with a hand to a nearby chair.

    “I’m going to make us both some coffee, yes?”

    His voice trailed as he went to move behind a nearby counter. The sound of his Crysknife being placed upon its surface resounded off the walls. Naveed then silently began the brewing process with practiced motions, a faint smile on his face as he looked up several times to regard his new ‘wife’, while contemplating that journey ahead. Of all the possible twists and turns he had foreseen as a Fedaykin, this had not been one of them.

    Truth be told, he was still processing the ramifications of this ongoing mission.

    She smiled quietly as he muttered about training to himself, but she was sure that was not the young man's inference. He'd stated he needed coffee, "more?" She asked, that was a custom she was confused about. "Already?" Taina asked as she followed him.

    She still did not understand why people who lived in such heat would prefer heated drinks, there had to be a reason, but time was required. Taina glanced around as she entered, the chair looked sturdy and solid, yet somehow unwelcoming to her, regardless she understood that these people, this race had little need for luxury out here.

    Carefully she sat down and turning to him as he headed to what was obviously a kitchen or sorts, she allowed a soft smile. It was uncommon for others to wait on her, and she appreciated it. Her curiosity was peeked and there were so many questions she wanted to ask, but her training told her to remain silent and continue observing.

    "Can I assist you? Is there something I can help with?" She asked honestly wishing she could help.

    Naveed watched her take a seat and smiled softly as she did so, and absently wondered if there would ever come a time when they could ever stop ‘pretending’. He found he had no real answer for that at the moment. Such could only be found in their ‘future, if such a thing was to be.

    Let out a breath, he leaned on the counter as he listened to her speak, all the while minding the brewing coffee. Naveed scratched the side of his temple and wondered to himself, considering Taina’s question. Could she and her sisters not simply command the 'War' to the be over, given their strange powers? Unlikely, for he supposed that would have been the case were it possible.

    “I am curious….” He found himself saying, suddenly.

    “Could a male learn this power of yours, this ‘Voice’?”

    Naveed had heard certain rumors, which had peaked his curiosity for some time now.

    Clearly he'd either ignored her question or chose to do so as he'd glossed over it. His question to her was not one she'd not heard before, many believed it was an ability that could be taught in a heartbeat.

    It could not.

    "I believe it has been done, yes, but it not an easy lesson to be learned, nor taught. It takes years, I can't say how many, but it is not an easy thing and it not a simple thing." She explained, "and certainly not one I have ever taught." She hoped it answered his question as she watched and waited for a reaction.

    Naveed seemed pensive for a long moment, almost as if considering several things at once. According to rumor, this was true in one specific case, but such things needed to be revealed in due course.

    "Do you know, you make this one expression of apprehension every time coffee is mentioned?" He said now with an amused chuckle, clearly changing the topic again. Next to him, the brew was almost done, and he inhaled the aroma in pleasurable expectation.

    She looked down for a moment, her hands clasped in her lap, she was more than aware of her expression. It was one of confusion more than anything, "honestly, it has never been my favorite drink, I find it bitter." She looked back, "but I do see the importance of it in your society, so I will do my best to learn to appreciate it more. I apologize if my curiosity offends."

    "Three things....." Naveed intoned, a soft smile of understanding on his face as he now prepared two mugs of coffee for them both.

    "Your willingness and commitment are clear, but be patient. Understanding and assimilation takes time...and work. Your heart is in the right place. Be here, in the moment. The future will take care of itself."

    Smoothly, the young warrior poured the dark substance into two waiting mugs, then rounded the counter. It only took a few steps to reach Taina, yet he moved without hurry. He nodded at her, once he reached her, then offered one of the mugs he'd poured.

    "Your curiosity does not offend, it is healthy and encouraged. How else are you to learn, hmm?" This he said as gently as possible before raising his own mug to his lips and taking a satisfying drink. His eyes never left her countenance as he spoke.

    "I'd ask you to stop apologizing. There is no need for it, not when there's no transgression to speak of."

    He looked on her, watching her in her current relationship with 'coffee', even while wondering if it would evolve at any point.

    "Your eyes are like mine, but I'm surprised you haven't tasted it. In the coffee I mean. You would have mentioned it if you had."

    Naveed paused and silently took another long sip, waiting to see if Taina would work out the small riddle, but then, he decided to give the answer. There would be more riddles to come, more complex ones. Riddles of the Desert. Riddles of Life....


    A knowing smile came over his face as he answered, before taking yet another long sip.

    Taina stopped the movement of her hands bringing the hot liquid to her lips, her eyes glancing down and back to him in a split second, understanding ringing in her mind. Forming her words carefully, she explained. "Spice infiltrates so much of society, and I was born with my eyes like this. I grew up on the streets, and often I found food in the area's behind rather expensive restaurants, I expect the colour continued through that time." She paused and regarded the liquid in her mug. "When I joined the 'Sisters', it was assumed I knew much of Spice due to my eye colour." Letting out a soft sigh Taina went on, "the assumptions were wrong but as it was part of the standard diet there, the need to question, well, it seemed to fade over time. So in short, as it has in one way or another always been in my diet, I did not recognise it, I ....." She stopped, he'd asked her to not apologise for no real transgressions, "ask for understanding in this."

    Looking back to the liquid she knew it was essential for her to continue to drink it, so despite the bitter taste reluctantly sipped.

    The hanging beads that covered the entryway to Aratt's room shivered. The young Fremen glanced out, took in the tableau of Naveed and Taina, the sharing of coffee. He smiled before tiptoeing across the floor as silently as he could. He grimaced as the cabinet that held the coffee cups groaned lightly when he opened and shut it but tried to stay silent still as he reached over, pouring himself a mug. He knew he hadn't fully gone unnoticed but he didn't want to get in the way if his mentor and Taina were bonding. As silently as he'd entered, he headed back towards his room, hoping he got away before either said anything.

    No sound nor movement was missed by Taina and this was no exception. Glancing over at the young man she allowed a small smile. "He's eager to impress you." She commented quietly.

    Naveed found himself suddenly coughing, so he beat his chest with a right fist, until he got his fit under control.

    "....good thing we were only talking......" He murmured unintelligibly under his breath.

    "Uhm...yeah, that's what I'm afraid of." He half-joked as he looked over his shoulder, a wry smile coming over his features, before he returned his attention back to Taina.

    "I had worthy figures and mentors to emulate, to aspire to as I grew up. I still have them in fact."

    Naveed paused in thought as an image of Stilgar filled his mind momentarily.

    "I can only hope to be just as worthy an influence for him. Aratt deserves it. Such things are critical in our culture, that's why...." Naveed trailed-off for a moment, his gaze falling to the side, before returning. "...That's why, our mission, it would be 'ideal' if it succeeds." He said carefully.

    The fedaykin paused for another moment, reflecting on what Taina had said about her upbringing, on how she was raised on the streets. A hard life, undoubtedly.

    "I believe it can." He asserted, a half-smile now blossoming on his face.

    "But first we both need to fully heal, then I must test you. But, allow me to apologize in advance." That last part he said with a hint of amusement. The chuckle that followed would confirm it.

    Taina lowered her mug and turning her head slightly she regarded his amusement with a raised eyebrow. He wished to test her and she'd expected that, but the apology in advance amused her somewhat although she did not let on. Time would tell.

    TAG: @darthbernael
  25. Mira Grau

    Mira Grau Force Ghost star 4

    May 11, 2016
    IC: Cassandra, Galina, Kimon, Lord Ezharian (combo with @darthbernael )

    Cass allowed herself a smile as she turned around to Galina, "awww even your threats sounds sexy, keep it on." She sat up, revealing the incredibly skimpy thong and bra that barely covered anything as she streched herself a bit. "But alas can`t have all the guys getting what is reserved to you alone." She gave her lover a twinkle, before standing up. "Need to get showered, would you be so kind as to pick an outfit for me for today?"

    Galina's eyes sparkled when Cass asked. Watching her concubine heading toward the bathroom, "You will not need those," she waved at the underwear, "with the dress I have in mind." She watched Cass head into the bedroom before pulling out the dress she intended, basically a four inch wide strip of fabric that had one shoulder strap, wrapped over the chest then around the body covering front and back of the intimate areas of the body before it draped to the floor. Sipping her coffee in one hand she took the dress, on it's hangar, to a stand. Draping the dress on the stand, inside out, she pulled out a cream, applying it to every inner surface of the dress, a sly smile on her face as it dried, even though the effects would still work on Cassandra. When she was finished and it was dry, she flipped the dress back so Cass could wear it before placing it back on the hangar and the cream back in it's cabinet. The shower was finishing when she sat back down, ankles crossed, and she drank more of her coffee as she waited.

    Cassandra returned to the room completly naked, as she knew this usually had its effect on Galina, "Hey hun..." she purred at her before her eyes turned to the dress. "You truly want me to make an impression today, don`t you?" She picked up the cloth and began slipping into it.

    Galina's eyes slitted as she watched Cass walk back in. Her lips quirked up in a smile, knowing Cassandra knew how to get and keep her attention. "Always, dear. But this time we want to stun the men." She sipped her coffee as Cass slipped into the dress, knowing that as soon as her body heat warmed the cream its effects would begin to be felt by her concubine.

    „Ugh… men,“ Cass muttered. Not that she actually hated them or anything, quite the opposite, they liked women and so did she, yet… teasing them was fun, but sometimes made her feel quite mean. „Shouldn‘t be too hard in this thing.“ She wiggled her butt a bit,

    Galina finished her spice coffee, a small smile as she watched Cass wiggle. Glancing for a moment at the chrono, she then looked back at her concubine. "If you are ready then we should head to meet the men." Her glance had told her that the cream's effects should begin to kick in as they walked down the corridors, if they left their room now.

    The dress was heating up it felt like was almost burning her skin as she walked through the corridor. Cassandra moved in it uncomfortably. What was going on here? She looked up at Galina, "what the...?" She felt pain, and.... pleasure.

    Galina was walking serenely beside her concubine as they headed to the meeting. She could hear Cass shifting, hear the shortness of breath that was beginning, making her lips twitch in a fractional smile. "I did say that we would distract the men so that I can more easily cause this agreement to happen as it should. You just happen to be the distraction. There is a cream lining every millimeter of the dress, activated by your body heat. It will, does seem to be already doing so, feelings of pain and pleasure to fill you, more and more the longer it is worn."

    Cassandra froze, even with the heat rising inside of her body she felt cold. She played you, like a little girl. During her Bene Gesserit training she had sometimes snuck itching powder into the robes of some of the most stuck up fellow trainees... But this was way worse. She raised her arms and tried to tear the gown of her, she couldn`t wear this the entire eve.

    Galina turned, her eyes suddenly hard, "You will wear that and continue to wear it until I take it off of you." she said flatly, as she grabbed Cass's arms. Even with her smaller stature it had to be unusual to the Sister that Galina was able to hold her arms and keep her from ripping the dress off. The older woman hadn't demonstrated her own strength against her, physically at least, before so it was a shock. Galina's eyes met hers, "You are mine and you will wear this." she said, slowly moving Cass even closer to their destination as she spoke.

    Cass shivered but the shivering soon broke under the relentless heat that keep her body in pain and pleasure. She couldn`t help but wiggle, struggle, try what she could to at least lessen the pain somewhat.

    Seeing her concubine relent in her struggles against the dress, Galina let go of Cass's arms. As she turned back forward she could see the effect it was already having, "Perfect, even as we arrive, the men's eyes will all be on you." She said in a light and slightly seductive tone. She'd chosen this route to the meeting so the cream's effect would be almost at full force by the time they arrived, even as she saw their destination's doorway appear at the far end of the corridor they had just turned down.

    Cass realized were Galina was going with this, "want me to give those pervs a lapdance?" She shoot at Galina, her anger fueld by the heat in her body. With every step towards their destination she began to struggle harder and her face turned redder, knowing how she would look to these men.

    Galina snorted, "Only if it is necessary." she replied calmly. She slowed her walk down the last corridor, just to cause the discomfort coupled with pleasure to increase in her concubine so Cass would only have the energy to focus on that by the time they arrived.

    "You can`t do this to me..." Cass pressed through her teeth as they stood outside of the door to the meeting room.

    Galina simply smiled "I can and have, my concubine." With that she opened the door, waiting for Cassandra to enter first. Beyond was a drawing room, large comfortable chairs in a circle with shelves lining the walls. A draped window was along the outer wall and a fireplace provided light and warmth.

    Two men sat in chairs facing each other, drinks in their hands as they laughed at something one of them had said. The one facing the door looked up, a stiff smile now upon his face, "Thank you for joining us, dear Lady wife. And I see you brought us entertainment as we conclude this negotiation."

    Cass bit her lip as to not humiliate herself more by throwing a tantrum. Instead she walked into the room, slowly and carefully, trying her best to neither struggle nor wiggle her body for the two men. "A pleasure," she said, pressing the words over her lips.

    Kimon's eyes lit up as Cassandra swayed into the room. The other man turned in his seat, watching her move as Galina maneuvered around the room, taking one of the free seats, sitting demurely, her ankles crossed. A tiny smile adorned her face as she saw her plan already beginning to bear fruit. Turning her head, "Join us, Sister." she all but purred before she turned back to the men.

    "So, where have you reached in the negotiations?"

    Kimon frowned at his wife's words, "I..." emphasizing that it was he that was negotiating, "was just discussing with Lord Ezharian about the possibility of hiring two battalions of our troops to assist his daughter and her new fiancee on Arrakis."

    Cassandra sat down, almost instantly beginning to rub hersels against the back of her seat to relieve the pain at least a little bit. She felt terrible, utterly humiliated and exposed in front of these two older men. To at least distract herself a little she asked, "what does he need that many forces for? I thought the Atreides are defeated?"

    Kimon turned an appraising eye on the Sister, "You have not heard? The Emperor has declared Arrakis open for any House to operate and mine for the spice. Therefore, every House that can is seeking to undermine the Harkonnen and steal the quota from them." He gestured with his glass at the other man, whose eyes were studying both women intently. "The Ezharian have a representative there, his daughter. As he has told me, she has negotiated an alliance with the Moritani. The troops will bolster their ability to mine, to stay out of Harkonnen view, and protect her and her fiancee."

    Lord Ezharian snorted, "She may have taken a step further than I would have but the die is cast and now I have come to ensure they have that support."

    "I see," Cassie pressed through her teeth as the pain became stronger and stronger. But in some ways the pleasure was worse as it made her legs twitch and gave her an almost sensual apperance.

    Kimon's smile broadened as he saw Cassandra shift in her seat. He knew nothing of what his wife had done to her concubine so, to him, Cassandra was just doing as he'd thought, entertaining them. What he was about to say in response to Lord Ezharian died on his lips as he focused on the Sister.

    Galina's sculpted eyebrows arched at the response to her question, ignoring Cassandra shifting, it had been her plan and she didn't need to look to know it was working, even if she wanted to. Her own gaze turned on that of Lord Ezharian, "So, what has my husband stated as the cost for our troops, as well as how many have you requested?"

    Lord Ezharian dragged his own gaze away from Cassandra, still slightly distracted by what he'd seen, "A full battalion, Lady, and the price he quoted was 5 kilograms per month."

    "Before agreeing to such a contract..." Cassandra pressed through her teeth, trying her utmost to at least get something, anything, else into her mind to distract herself from the humiliation situation she was in. "I would be intrested in how much Spice you see to harvest there each month..." She gave a fake smile. "I am sure that would allow all of us to put the investment into perspective."

    Galina chuckled, knowing Cassandra had had to force out what she'd just said, with how the cream was working. However, she nodded, agreeing, as she looked at the Ezharian.

    He'd glanced at Cassandra as well, seeing her as slightly more than just the writhing entertainment, in that moment. "While what Lord Kamon quoted as a cost is quite a high one, the desert planet has proved fruitful, even if only one in two crews manages to return with the spice. Fruitful enough that the cost would be easily coverable."

    "Still trying to avoid us are you?" Cassandra purred through her teeth, seeing how the noble was wiggling in his words gave her a small comfort. "I asked for a number. We are all grown ups here after all." She gave him a polite smile before being forced into yet another struggle as the pain continued to increase.

    The Ezharian lord smiled tightly at the writhing woman. "I would no lesser give out the exact figures that my House is pulling out of Arrakis than the Harkonnen would release the true figures of their harvest, or any of the other Houses."

    He glanced at Kamon, "Although, I believe your House is not involved in the spice rush."

    Galina snorted, "Of course not, it is much more fruitful for the rest of the Houses to be paying us from their reserves for our troops than to pay our own funds to fight against all others for the spice."

    "I say we decline," Cassandra said, fighting to get every word out. "If our partners are unwilling to play with an open hand than we can`t trust them. Do we really want to play a game were we don`t know the cards? I say we get in offers from the other houses to see if we find someone there who takes us seriously and doesn`t just feed us scraps..."

    Galina let one manicured eyebrow rise at Cassandra's response but turned her serene expression to face the Ezharian lord "Well...?" she let the word be drawn out.

    He chuckled, "Does the entertainment understand the cost you are asking? Just over four months of hire of your troops and you could buy yourself a new world. A year's contract and you could own several systems. And..." he laughed and reached over, stroking Cassandra's leg, "no other House will reveal the depths of their assets either...Sister"

    The pain became more and more, but in a way being stroked with their 'guest' was even worse. And even more insulting was to be refered to as nothing but entertainment. Grinding her teeth Cassandra muttered, "screw yourself." While giving a look of pure hatred to him. She didn`t care about keeping an apperance any more, she just wanted to get out of his degrading situation.

    Tag: @pashatemur
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