Disclaimer: Dune books and related characters were created by Frank Herbert

Marriage Blessings

By Eugena

Rated: T

During Dune Messiah, Paul gives Duncan his blessing to marry Alia.

Dune is a place of changing. This planet has changed my entire family and me. It has taken my father and my first child. It has changed my mother, my sister, and me. What would my father say of what I am about to do? Am I not the Kwizach Haderach? Do I not know? Today, I want to be a man, not a god, for it is a man's decision I must make now. This should be my father's doing, but I must now stand in his place.

The ghola enters. His metallic eyes begin his query as a mentat. The Teilaxu have many troubles up their sleeve for us. I see those Teilaxu eyes – eyes I will refuse to have. They remind me this Duncan is a weapon. This Duncan would still die for me. He would destroy himself before becoming the weapon of my destruction.

He will walk beside the one who chooses the Golden Path. His original self fought beside me, but I can never choose the Golden Path. I will not become the Tyrant.

I leave my sister to become the Tyrant. For an Atreides must walk the path. I am the Fremen's Messiah, but I leave a woman-within-a-child to take up the worst yoke of all. I am a coward. I know she will fall without me, but Duncan will walk beside the one who chooses the path.

My father would reprimand me, even at my age. My mother is still a Benne Gesserit, and in my visions, I see that she will orchestrate the change in the Atreides to walk the path.

My sister is a goddess. She has the strength to finish this. She sacrificed for me. Mother took the Water of Life to secure my place in the Fremen myth. Alia within became the Womb of Heaven and suffers her pre-birth for my sake. I seep for her. I see her end, and I was not there to stop it. Am I not her brother first and god-emperor second? Dune will take Alia, and Dune will take me. I weep, and betray my thoughts to the ghola.

"Why do you weep, my lord?" he asks.

"I see the future," I answer.

"You should not always choose the future, my lord," he advises. "The future you see does not have to be the future than comes to pass."

"To know the future is to be tapped by it," I tell him.

I allow my mind to take me back to my boyhood days when my father taught me many lessons.

I could hear his advice even then, just as Duncan repeated it aloud:

"Knowing there's a trap is the first step in evading it."

This is the first step along the way of the Golden Path.

"How did you know I was thinking that, ghola? Do you read minds?" I ask.

"No, lord," he says quickly. "It is something your sister taught me. Something she says she has learned from your father."

"Does it bother you, Duncan? Her Other Memories?"

"No, lord. You have explained it to me before. She has much to suffer with."

I nod, knowing of a good way to lead this: "You also experience memories that are not quite your own."

"True, my lord, we are very similar to that degree. Duncan's memories are strange to me. I wonder if this is how your sister feels."

I see the muscles in his lips involuntarily curl upward at this. His gaze becomes distant, and I know he is thinking of her. How does she feel about him? That is the question his movements ask.

"You are a good balance for her. She believes in mysticism and prophecy, and you believe in logic and statistics."

"I am no compliment to her."

"You are. You are the one I have been waiting for," I tell him.

"She is an Atreides."

"So am I. You were my closest friend. What man would not want his best friend to become his brother-in-law?

"Are you asking me to marry her?"

"I am saying you have my blessing to do so. My father is not here to give it, so I give it in his place. Alia needs someone to comfort her. She is special to me, and I know she has felt alienated and alone."

"I will always look after her, sire, even if she will not have me."

"I know Alia's mind, just as she knows mine. She will have you, be patient. We owe you our lives; the Atreides remember their blood-debt.

"Alia owes me nothing."

"You saved her life – and my mother's life and mine – when she was still in my mother's womb."

Duncan pushed Paul onward towards the 'thopter. Jessica turned and looked upon him for one last time. As he looked into her eyes, he saw Alia looking back at him. Alia gave water to the dead.

Jessica's face returned her gaze stern. She was thankful that he saved the only person left in her life that mattered – Paul – the last part left of her Duke. She thought she would lose her baby soon, but Paul would be easier to keep.

The first Duncan died for the Atreides, and for a woman he loved. He would be willing to do the same.

"I know your love for my mother," I tell him. "The Lady Jessica can live within Alia just as much as any other ancestor. I want to know that when you look at her, will you see her as her or as her mother?"

"The first Duncan loved Jessica, and so do I. But I only love her as a servant would. Her daughter, your sister, is first in my heart. I will live for her."

I smile. I knew that is what he would say. I made him confront his feelings. He no longer thinks as a strict machine; as the Teilaxu programmed him, but now his love for my sister has awakened his human hear. My father would approve. I imagine his face lit with a proud smile. I have asked the man most loyal to the Atreides to join the Atreides at last.