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A New Mother


Kaitaine

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INVITATION TO ARRAKEEN

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Reverned Mother Hannah McKey. The Reverned Mother is the head of the Bene Gesserit faith, the person responsible for guiding our Sisterhood, its followers and mankind towards the goal of preparing for the next great cataclysm to face humanity. Additionally the Reverned Mother is the Head of State of the Theocracy of Kaitaine and thus holds responsibility for our nations path in the world. Over the next four days our membership will undertake ancient rituals to determine the new Reverned Mother who shall inherit the responsibility of continuing Reverned Mother McKey's good work.

Never in the history of our faith and nation have foreign dignatries been invited to witness the ceremony annointing the next Reverned Mother, but as our scholars known as the Missionara Protectiva have ruled it is now important that our faith, our nation and our minds explore the wider world. While this is a sad day it is also a day for celebration, a new Reverned Mother presents new oppurtunities, new guidance and it is hoped on this occassion new friends. We therefore hope that you will accept our inviation to attend this ceremony and begin a friendship with the new Reverned Mother.

May you Travel with Shai Halud.

Chief Scholar Abigail Hallam


Arrakeen, Day of the Ceremony

 

The city of Arrakeen clung to the coast of Kiatiane like a limpet perched between the light blue ocean and the mountains beyond, the city was blessed with a natural river delta, one of the few in Kaitaine that brought a greenery found in few places throughout the arid nation. It was a strange twist of faith that almost 1600 years ago had brought the Bene Gesserit faithful to this barren land lead by their own Reverned Mother who believed the desert had called to her. Since then they had carved out a history for themselves here, built civilisations and seen them flourish under the Four Holy Families guidance. The faith may not have spread in the way those original Celtic refugees had hoped but its roots here were unshakable and deep. The nation had spent the last four days in mourning, both men and women coming from afar to the school that marked the centre of the faith, the legendary Chapterhouse. There at the gate sat a giant stone arch made in the symbol of the Bene Gesserit faiths emblemn, each of the pilgrims placed a single flower at the foot, these being cleared daily by the Sisterhoods military guard known as the Truthsayers, four of the women wearing their black dress uniform stood rigidly on guard next to the statue. It was easy enough to spot the women who had through their life attended the school, some had arrived dressed in their old uniform, some now rather ill fitting 3o years after the Sister had graduated. Each of them waited patiently in line, some talking with former classmates before they reached the arch, there they reached to their belt and removed a smooth white knife, the Crystknife, a symbol of the Sisterhoods membership. Legend had it that it was what contained the spirit of a Bene Gesserit Sister, the holder making it out of a single piece of bone during her final year at the school. Each woman knicked their thumb or finger and touched it to the arch, giving their own blessing to the outgoing Reverned Mother.

 

Within the walls of the school building the large hall was filling up with those members of the Sisterhood who had been invited, 1000 or so women from the past, present and future of the faith, 250 from each of the four branches, the Mother's their long black flowing robes and smooth shaved heads, the Missionara Protectiva in their blue tunics  gold buttons glinting as brightly as the heads of the Mothers, next in line where the Truthsayers, their black jackets and ceremonial rifles making them stand out as the faiths paramilitary, the final group where the red uniformed Honored Matres, those given the role of concubines to the Bene Gesserit nobility and the care of those attending the school. They sat in blocks of their group cross legged on the floor, each muttering prayers over and over. Outside there was a giant green lawn, a large number of chairs had been placed at, sitting there would be a nightmare when the sun reached its epoch but that was not where the dignitaries were sat, the wall of the school, designed to mimic an old castle battlement, had seen seating erected with canopies to shield them from the intense sun that was sure to come. The centre of the lawn so a platform surrounded by rope on three sides, four chairs sat there, one higher and more elaborate than the rest.

 

One of the biggest issues was who to send to the airport, with the nation being governed on a day to day basis by a council of four nobles drawn from what the Sisterhood called the Four Holy Houses competition to meet and greet the foreign guests was fierce. Eventually a compromise had been reached, Niklaus Corrino, the Duke of Seitch had been selected, he was considered by the Bene Gesserit the most Holy of the Four Houses and the Corrino's had long tried to maintain a neutrality between the others. He was joined however by Krystina Garner, the daughter-in-law of Duke Richard Harkonnen, while connected to the 2nd Most Holy House she was also a Major in the Truthsayers and so stood in the capacity of being the faiths representative at the airport. A phalanx of 100 Truthsayers stood either side of a black carpent edged in gold that marked where they hoped the aircraft would arrive. Beyond them was a pipe band made up of men and women from the Regular Armies units their bagpipes occasionally screeching as they kept their bags ever ready to greet a new arrival with some fitting music.

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Queen Julia was nervous, this was her first real overseas visit as a Head of State and she was unsure what was going to happen. She remembered speaking with her mother when she was younger about some of her visits and they had always been rather simple affairs, fly into somewhere, pose for photos, shake some hands, then do your best to be nice to your hosts in the hopes that it'd give you and the people of Morheim a new opportunity or something. This was however different by the end of today she would be witnessing the birth of a new Head of State as well as a Head of a religion. Julia had tried her best to find out about the faith when she first had the invitation and had made a visit to her old tutor at Royal Thale University, he'd been an expert in religious history and if anyone could give her some insight into this foreign faith it would be him, but even he was struggling to give her any concrete answers, what he did do though was introduce her to a student called Jessica Meakin, a 21 year old Undergraduate who just so happened to be a member of the Bene Gesserit's Missionara Protectiva. Julia had invited the Kaitainite to the Palace and enjoyed hearing about this faith, it seemed strange that such a structured religion could have developed while having no real orthodoxy in its teachings. Julia had tried to make the most of every insight she'd been given and had even considered inviting Jessica along as some kind of cultural adviser but then considered it may be bad form taking one of their own people along as her staff. Instead she had selected to bring along one of her old school friends, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Ruddesheim, Charlotte Brandel. The pair had been classmates all the way through grammar school and Charlotte had then gone off to join the Air Force as a fighter pilot, or that had been the aim until she'd been diagnosed as having low blood pressure and as such found herself now flying helicopters, Julia still saw Charlotte as a kind of sounding board for things and so had relished the chance to have the Pilot Officer with her. 

As their aircraft touched down Julia checked her appearance in one of the state rooms onboard, she selected a black tie with thin yellow diagonal stripes and checked the note and length ensuring it touched the top of her belt buckle perfectly. She slipped the black suit jacket on and returned to the cabin just in time to see the aircraft's door open. Charlotte stood aside holding Julia's briefcase, for the purpose of appearences Charlotte would be filling in as the Queen's aide for this visit and so followed her monarch down the short flight of four steps and onto the tarmac of Kaitaine. Julia heard the Morheim national anthem begin and stopped still placing her hand on her heart with her thumb tucked in, a sign of her Elementium faith, beside her Charlotte held a salute, no doubt the press would be somewhere taking their photo and Julia new back home the importance of patriotism. The music faded and she strode forward with her "aide" beside her, the large military turn out looked impressive and Julia extended a hand towards Duke Niklaus as she approached, she had learned the faces of the Holy Houses and smiled saying, "Duke Niklaus, thank you for such a warm welcome" 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Niklaus assessed the two groups of representatives before him, Ambassadrice Marginet and Minister Delasse were addressed first. "Welcome to Kaitaine" the Duke nodded as he shook hands with each of them. It was, however, Krystina, dressed in her Truthsayer uniform who then took over.

"May I explain something important" the officer began, "The days for sorrow have passed now, Mother McKey is at peace and we no longer mourn, we celebrate instead her life and give thanks for the knowledge she'll pass on. I do however thank you for your sentiment" she firmly gripped the two's hands as she spoke and accepted the Château Pétrus. Kaitaine was not a nation that drank much wine but she had no doubt this would make some appearance at a function in the future of the new Reverend Mother.

Next, they turned their attention to Queen Julia, Lidia Ericcson had reported back from the cultural talks in Morheim and had kind words about this young monarch, she seemed to value knowledge and the pursuit of it, therefore she was someone the Missionara of the Sisterhood would respect. "Your Majesty" Niklaus bowed before shaking the Pilot Officer aides hand. The two military officers exchanged salutes instead of handshakes and then the Duke motioned for the six of them to walk towards waiting cars. They moved down the row of Truthsayers each unmoving despite the day's heat. Krystina gave nods of approval to the two officers stood at the end of the ranks for a job well done and then waited for everyone to board the large limousine style car that was waiting. She watched as a Truthsayer security vehicle pulled away ensuring the route ahead would be clear, satisfied everything was in order she herself clambered inside. "If I may give you an outline of the event" Niklaus poured each person a glass of water, taking a cloth and wiping the jugs spout clear of drops between each pouring. "We will watch a parade formed of the four branches of the Sisterhood, this will see the current membership represented, however, some invited alumni will also be spectating much like yourselves." He took a sip of the cool water his mouth going dry from nerves as he'd never had to speak in front of a crowd before. "Next the Heads of the Orders will announce the successor and McKey's body will be disposed of." Niklaus used the word matter of factly.

"I should explain" Krystina interrupted, "To us the Reverend Mother's soul, if you'd call it that, has already left her body, we are simply today disposing of it. We will in effect free the water in her body and return it to the desert." She guessed that wouldn't make sense and so began explaining again, "We view water as vital, we are after all originally a desert people, not a drop is wasted and our teachings say that if we supply the desert with the water of life it will one day flourish. We view the water of life as being the liquid contained within every human body, today we have techniques making that easier."

"Of course" Niklaus blushed, he probably should have handled that better, "Once her water has been freed, the new Reverend Mother will perform a Spice Ceremony and omens will be taken. After that, we celebrate" Niklaus figured he could handle that part. "I know many of our ways will be foreign to you, but I suppose that is why we wanted the world to come here today, I suspect Your Majesty it builds nicely into your recent Treaty" Niklaus flashed the young Queen a smile just as the car swung up the schools drive, still groups were walking down the path to the schools mock castle gate, some people sat on blankets clearly awaiting word that the new Mother was here.

Once inside the school the visiting guests where taken first to the Great Hall, "Here are the 1,000 chosen for the ceremony" Krystina whispered, on the bare wood of the Hall's floor women sat in neat rows were mumbling in unison, some visibly rocking backwards and forwards caught up in the religious fervor of the moment. "They are cleansing their minds ready for receiving the instructions of the new Reverend Mother." She then pointed to a raised platform surrounded by a red curtain, "Behind that the head of the Mothers, the Missionara, the Honored Matres and Truthsayers will be making the decision about who is to be the next leader... I suspect its a done deal" she shrugged before leading them outside to their grandstand seats, a large canopy sliding up above their seats to shield them from the Sun."

"Ah, Corrino I see your taking care of our guests" a voice called from behind them, a man of similar age to Niklaus, but with a sharper more fitted suit approached, "Bryce Harkonnen, son of Duke Richard Harkon..." his voice trailed off, "Oh please forgive me, I hadn't realised I was addressing royalty" He bowed spitting on the floor as he did so towards Queen Julia, almost instantly he could see surprise of people's faces and suddenly seemed awkward.

"Please Your Majesty don't take offence" Niklaus saved his noble fellow, "As I explained, water is important to us, therefore when meeting someone very important it is customary to spit at their feet, a sign that they are so important you will waste water for them." Bryce seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Either way accept my apology" Bryce bowed once more, this time without the spit, "Please come take a seat it's rather warm to be standing about" he pulled a chair out for Julia before extending a hand to the Minister and Ambassador from Fleur de Lys. "Don't worry I'll not spit this time" he winked at them, "When in a group we reserve that for the highest ranking, and today sadly I think a beautiful young Queen outranks most of us" he playfully slapped Ambassadrice Marginet on the shoulder before offering him a seat. "Hopefully we'll all get to become good friends before the day is out."

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  • 2 weeks later...

For much of her political life, Lorraine Duval had fallen aside in her brother's shadow. While he had gone on to become President in the June elections of 2017, Lorraine was left to be elected as MP of a small constituency in Maplebank - one that, all things considered, was irrelevant to the running of the country. While the politicians of larger constituencies in Courtmarsh and Ostport carried a lot of influence in parliament, Lorraine often found herself on the back benches, her ideas and thoughts discarded to those considered more important. And so, when inducted as President, George Duval gave his little sister her time to shine, and handed her a mighty position in his cabinet.

The Foreign Minister hadn't attended any significant external meetings as yet; there had been minor discussions in @Iverica to renegotiate deals for manufacturing plants that were considered important to the economy, but so far, Lorraine had found herself underwhelmed. However, when news spread that Kaitaine's Reverend Mother, a holy and influential religious leader, had sadly passed, she wasted no time in organising a flight and clearing her calendar to attend the funeral. Being able to commiserate the loss of such a powerful, wonderful lady at the heart of a feminist country was one of the highlights of Lorraine's career yet.

A small private jet wouldn't be able to make the flight in time and the Presidential plane was reserved only for her brother, so Duval was left to book a business class flight on a Montair route to Kaitaine. When the rest of the passengers had disembarked, the plane pulled up to the terminal at which several key figures were keenly awaiting her arrival. Dressed simply in a black dress with a blazer, she handed over a bouquet of freshly cut flowers to give her condolences to the grieving. It then came as a pleasant surprise that, while the Kaitaine people had grieved, they were now celebrating the life that the Mother had led, and were enjoying the legacy that she'd left behind.

The trip in the limousine was enlightening, to say the least. Naturally, Duval had done her research before setting off to a country that held vastly different cultural beliefs than Prymont, but it was still a great lesson to learn from those living such a life. While water was considered at times to be a pain in the arse in Prymont, with flooding a regular occurrence in winters due to excess frozen water having nowhere to go upon thawing, it was a refreshing contrast to hear how these people held the necessity in high regard. 

Once inside the school's Great Hall, Lorraine took a moment to hold her breath and marvel at the ancient architecture. It was inspiring to say the least, that thousands of young girls would be educated in such a historic building, learning intricacies of their past and forging the foundations of a feminist tomorrow. She took the time to appreciate giant paintings of female leaders of yesteryear, telling a rich story of past Reverend Mothers and enhancing the experience. While most of the world held male-dominated societies, Kaitaine was quite the opposite, and as a woman it was only something to applaud. Lorraine had initially been sad at the loss of such a lady, but was now thankful for the work she'd done and the ideals she'd left behind. Prymont would certainly have to interact more with this wonderful nation in the future.

Unfortunately, her feeling of wonder quickly crumbled when Duke Niklaus spat at the feet of @Morheim's monarch. It was replaced with one of repulsion and disgust, and the cultural explanation and apology didn't remedy that. Despite the country being so obsessed with water, spitting to show respect seemed a little excessive. Nevertheless, this was not a time to be disrespectful and comment on how back home, the Duke would be ridiculed and considered childish; she was here to honour the life of a religious leader, and hid her emotions behind a warm, welcoming facade. 

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