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datatime: 2022-12-03 07:35:22 Author:mshtrFET

Far off to starboard a pod of murmons swam like furred logs, large but harmless creatures that drifted with ocean currents, singing to themselves with low, hooting sounds.

Unsettled, Leto crept away, his question forgotten, without waiting to see how soon they extinguished the lights.

Rhombur wandered the deck and tried to help, doing whatever Leto told him to do. He'd never been on an open boat before. The engines carried them away from the cliffs, beyond the shielded harbor, and out into open water. Sunlight glittered like sparkflies on the rippled surface of the sea.

"Oh, calm down and go to sleep, Helena."

She lashed out at him with such vehemence that Leto took a silent step backward in surprise out in the shadowy hall. "You're the one who has made a choice here, Paulus. And you've made the wrong one. That choice will cost you and our House dearly."

"Oh, calm down and go to sleep, Helena."

The Prince of Ix stood at the bow while Leto worked the controls. Rhombur soaked up the experience of water and wind and sun, smiling. He took a deep breath. "I feel so alone and so free out here."

The two of them descended the narrow cliffside path and staircase, holding on to rails and vaulting weathered steps, avoiding the slippery moss and the white encrustations of salty spray.

Unswayed, she said, "In their pride, the people of Ix have broken the Law, and they have paid for it. Should I feel sorry for them? I think not."

"Oh, calm down and go to sleep, Helena."

Unswayed, she said, "In their pride, the people of Ix have broken the Law, and they have paid for it. Should I feel sorry for them? I think not."

After all preparations were completed, he and Rhombur boarded the wickerwood coracle. An Atreides burgee flew from the stern, snapping in the breeze. As the mariner assistants cast off the lines, one asked, "You can handle this yourself, m'Lord?"

Rhombur wandered the deck and tried to help, doing whatever Leto told him to do. He'd never been on an open boat before. The engines carried them away from the cliffs, beyond the shielded harbor, and out into open water. Sunlight glittered like sparkflies on the rippled surface of the sea.

The two of them descended the narrow cliffside path and staircase, holding on to rails and vaulting weathered steps, avoiding the slippery moss and the white encrustations of salty spray.

He made a rude noise. "There was no choice, Helena. On my honor and my word -- there was no choice."

"Just keeping you out of trouble is, uh, effort enough," Rhombur countered.

Rhombur wandered the deck and tried to help, doing whatever Leto told him to do. He'd never been on an open boat before. The engines carried them away from the cliffs, beyond the shielded harbor, and out into open water. Sunlight glittered like sparkflies on the rippled surface of the sea.

Finally, as Rhombur looked on with curiosity and trepidation, Leto clapped him on the shoulder. "Remember your rock collection? You and I are going to dive for coral gems."

"Then what --"

Leto laughed and waved the man away. "Jerrik, you know I've been handling these boats for years now. The seas are calm, and we have a shore-com aboard. But thank you for your concern. Don't worry, we won't go far, just to the reefs."

THE NEXT DAY, a calm and sunny morning, Leto stood next to Rhombur at an open window, admiring the quays at the base of the promontory. The ocean spread out like a blue-green prairie, curving off to the distant horizon. "A perfect day," Leto said, realizing that his friend was homesick for the lost underground city of Vernii, probably tired of too much weather. "Now it's my turn to show you around Caladan."

After all preparations were completed, he and Rhombur boarded the wickerwood coracle. An Atreides burgee flew from the stern, snapping in the breeze. As the mariner assistants cast off the lines, one asked, "You can handle this yourself, m'Lord?"

"Still it was your own decision, despite my warnings and despite my advice. Your decision alone, Paulus Atreides." Her voice was frighteningly cold. "You must live with the consequences, and be damned by them."

Far off to starboard a pod of murmons swam like furred logs, large but harmless creatures that drifted with ocean currents, singing to themselves with low, hooting sounds.

She lashed out at him with such vehemence that Leto took a silent step backward in surprise out in the shadowy hall. "You're the one who has made a choice here, Paulus. And you've made the wrong one. That choice will cost you and our House dearly."

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