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sequencing of the ghola's education became a shambles even before they escaped
from the Gammu Keep. He leaped ahead of his teachers to grasp things that were
only implied and he did this at an alarmingly accelerated rate. Who knows what
he has become by now?"
Historians exercise great power and some of them know it. They recreate the
past, changing it to fit their own interpretations. Thus, they change the
future as well.
-Leto II, His Voice, from Dar-es-Balat
Duncan followed his guide through the dawn light at a punishing clip. The man
might look old but he was as springy as a gazelle and seemed incapable of
tiring.
Only a few minutes ago they had put aside their night goggles. Duncan was glad
to be rid of them. Everything outside the reach of the glasses had been black
in the dim starlight filtering through heavy branches. There had been no world
ahead of him beyond the range of the glasses. The view at both sides jerked and
flowed -- now a clump of yellow bushes, now two silver-bark trees, now a stone
wall with a plasteel gate cut into it and guarded by the flickering blue of a
burn-shield, then an arched bridge of native rock, all green and black
underfoot. After that, an arched entry of polished white stone. The structures
all appeared very old and expensive, maintained by costly handwork.
Duncan had no idea where he was. None of this terrain recalled his memories of
the long-lost Giedi Prime days.
Dawn revealed that they were following a tree-shielded animal track up a
hillside. The climb became steep. Occasional glimpses through trees on their
left revealed a valley. A hanging mist stood guard over the sky, hiding the
distances, enclosing them as they climbed. Their world became progressively a
smaller place as it lost its connection with a larger universe.
At one brief pause, not for rest but for listening to the forest around them,
Duncan studied his mist-capped surroundings. He felt dislodged, removed from a
universe that possessed sky and the open features that linked it to other
planets.
His disguise was simple: Tleilaxu cold-weather garments and cheek pads to make
his face appear rounder. His curly black hair had been straightened by some
chemical applied with heat. The hair was then bleached to a sandy blond and
hidden under a dark watchcap. All of his genital hair had been shaved away. He
hardly recognized himself in the mirror they held up for him.
A dirty Tleilaxu!
The artisan who created this transformation was an old woman with glittering
gray-green eyes. "You are now a Tleilaxu Master," she said. "Your name is
Wose. A guide will take you to the next place. You will treat him like a Face
Dancer if you meet strangers. Otherwise, do as he commands."
They led him out of the cave complex along a twisting passage, its walls and
ceiling thick with the musky green algae. In starlighted darkness, they thrust
him from the passage into a chilly night and the hands of an unseen man -- a
bulky figure in padded clothing.
A voice behind Duncan whispered: "Here he is, Ambitorm. Get him through."
The guide spoke in an accent of gutturals: "Follow me." He clipped a lead cord
to Duncan's belt, adjusted the night goggles and turned away. Duncan felt the
cord tug once and they were off.
Duncan recognized the use of the cord. It was not something to keep him close
behind. He could see this Ambitorm clearly enough with the night goggles. No,
the cord was to spill him quickly if they met danger. No need for a command.
For a long time during the night they crisscrossed small ice-lined watercourses
on a flatland. The light of Gammu's early moons penetrated the covering growth
only occasionally. They emerged finally onto a low hill with a view of bushy
wasteland all silvery with snow cover in the moonlight. Down into this they
went. The bushes, about twice the height of the guide, arched over muddy animal
passages little larger than the tunnels where they had begun this journey. It
was warmer here, the warmth of a compost heap. Almost no light penetrated to a
ground spongy with rotted vegetation. Duncan inhaled the fungal odors of
decomposing plant life. The night goggles showed him a seemingly endless
repetition of thick growth on both sides. The cord linking him to Ambitorm was
a tenuous grip on an alien world.
Ambitorm discouraged conversation. He said "Yes," when Duncan asked
confirmation of the man's name, then: "Don't talk."
The whole night was a disquieting traverse for Duncan. He did not like being
thrown back into his own thoughts. Giedi Prime memories persisted. This place
was like nothing he remembered from his pre-ghola youth. He wondered how
Ambitorm had learned the way through here and how he remembered it. One animal
tunnel appeared much like another.
In the steady, jogging pace there was time for Duncan's thoughts to roam.
Must I permit the Sisterhood to use me? What do I owe them?
And he thought of Teg, that last gallant stand to permit two of them to escape.
I did the same for Paul and Jessica.
It was a bond with Teg and it touched Duncan with grief. Teg was loyal to the
Sisterhood. Did he buy my loyalty with that last brave act?
Damn the Atreides!
The night's exertions increased Duncan's familiarity with his new flesh. How
young this body was! A small lurch of recollection and he could see that last
pre-ghola memory; he could feel the Sardaukar blade strike his head -- a
blinding explosion of pain and light. Knowledge of his certain death and then . [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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