Anirul Corrino was the first wife of the 81st Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, known primarily as the mother of the Imperial Crown Princess Irulan Corrino III (Saint Irulan the Virgin, The Virgin Irulan, Irulan Atreides), Wensicia Corrino II, Chalice Corrino I, Josifa Corrino I and Rugi Corrino I, and inedentified as the grandmother of Harq al-Ada (Prince Farad'n Corrino). New material found at Dar-es-Balat, a collection of Anirul's songs, poems, and journals in the library of Harq alAda, and information released by the Bene Gesserit Archives give the substance to this shadowy historical figure.
Like so many Bene Gesserit women who were being destined to be the breeders, Anirul was never allowed any knowledge of her real parents' identity (the Sisterhood often inbred closely among family lines and feared adverse reaction because of the incest taboos). Now, after thousands of years, the Sisterhood feels secure enough to release the information. Anirul was the daughter of a liaison between the Count Mauris Paluna, the distaff cousin of the Imperial House Corrino, and Zhaivee Elstun, the illegitimate sister of the Count Gwilam Alman. At the time of her birth, Anirul was placed in the Bene Gesserit Kinder House attached to the Chapter House on the planet Chusuk. The Kinder Houses provided the best care for the infant Bene Gesserit girls who began the formal training within the first few months of their lives.
Anirul started keeping the journals when she was about five years old, and even these early entries show how she was feeling unhappy living in a dormitory with the five other girls, being only supervised by an everchanging staff of the Sisters. Her entries indicate a growing inability to make close personal attachments to others. Instead she seems to have built a fantasy life about the forests which surrounded her school. Only when she writes of the forest and its animals do we hear a laughing, carefree child:
"I work so hard at my prana and bindu exercises, and I'm getting better, but now I just use it to play hide and seek with the armeks in the woods. And today I sat so still and cold that a flinsh thought I was a bush and tried to build her nest on my shoulder."
As Anirul grew older, she became interested in the music which surrounded her on Chusuk, and after working with several of the great lusichord masters, she became a skillful player. Unfortunately for her, the Sisters did not consider such a skill useful or appropriate:
"The lovely melodies that sing from my strings are all that keep me from dying in this rigid, sterile place of women and rules. All the Sisters tell me how ugly I look when I play my darling Binnbec [apparently the name of her' lusichord] and that I will end up a wandering minstrel instead of a proper lord's lady. Well I don't want to be a lord's anything! I want to be a musician all my life."
Such a career would be forbidden, of course, for a Bene Gesserit breeder, and at the age of fourteen, Anirul was being transferred to the Bene Gesserit Chapter House training school on Gamont for a specialized training. Her journals for that period record a short and unhappy residence there:
"Thank the Great Mother! The Sisters are transferring me to Kaitain next month. Molly says she's never heard of a novice being sent to three different schools and she minks I'm either a special student or a dumb one. I think the "dumb" label is the right one. I simply can't stand the lessons we're having now. The man I had today was pitiful — and Mother Jachaal had given me all those idiotic postures to assume — and that silly costume with glitter for my nipples and that stone in my navel. I told her that these sessions would work better if I could take Binnbec with me to play, bat she just snorted through her nose and said something about "music therapy," whatever that means.
I don't [sic] know, journal, what Kaitain is like, but it can't be any worse than this. I just wish I din't [sic] get so sick when we travel. Sister Maura says that I'll just have to study regular academics there — plus deportment, etiquette, and the regular B.G. training routines, and that there are lay students in the school, too, from the Noble Houses. I've never lived with regular people, just with Sisters and Mothers. I think I'm going to have to invoke the calmness regimen every other minute!"
From 10,152 A.G. through 10,153 A.G., Anirul assisted the Mother Chamberlain for the Kaitain Chapter House, but in 10,154 A.G., she was sent to House Corrino as a concubine for the young Crown Prince Shaddam. The journal entries for this period show an interesting, pleasant, but purely platonic relationship growing between the two young people. Shaddam was interested in both her music and poetry, and Anirul was intrigued by his gem collection and his knowledge of both the historical architecture and the costuming. The Padishah Emperor Elrood Corrino IX, however, was intrigued by Anirul's Gamont background and apparently insisted on tests and refresher lessons for himself. The journals show that as her friendship with the son grew, so did her hatred for the father. In 10,155 A.G., Shaddam took Anirul as his wife, primarily to protect her from his father's growing obsession, it seems, but in 10,156 A.G. when Shaddam assumed the throne at his father's death, no official recognition was given to Anirul. Only after the birth of their first child, Irulan, in 10,162 A.G., was she given an official status.
Children were the source of a long and eventually fatal conflict between Anirul and the Sisterhood. Although there is no official information available about her actual rank (listed as the Hidden Noble Rank in all the available Bene Gesserit records), it must have been at least the Acrior from the types of communications noted in her journals after 10,160 A.G. When she was sent to Shaddam, her original orders were to produce a minimum of four daughters for the Sisterhood. But during the early years of her stay Shaddam limited himself solely to social intercourse although his father demanded a more intimate relationship, forcing Anirul to practice a strict birth control. To further the complicate matters, when Anirul finally overcame Shaddam's inertia, she found him sterile, forcing her to surreptitiously feed him with the fertility drugs. For the next nine years, Anirul lived in peace with her music and her poetry, answering the increasingly urgent demands of the Sisterhood with the periodic sperm count reports.
By 10,163 A.G., however, Anirul's life was troubled by the stringent orders, delivered through Shaddam's second Imperial Court Truthsayer, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, that she can conceive. The Sisterhood had received the reports that the casual relationships had produced the two illegitimate sons by Shaddam outside the royal residence.
"I simply must do something. Gaius Helen was here again all morning, lecturing me at first and then actually threatening me. I HATE that self-righteous bitch. And she says that Shaddam is wasting his seed on nobodies while I squander all my time and attention on Binnbec. That woman has neither humor nor soul. She sits each evening during the music and flyting, glaring at me from under her black hood.
I never did agree with the Sisterhood's directive and she knows it. She told me today that she's already made it impossible for me to delay any longer, but she wouldn't say any more. When she left I did two careful psychokinesthetic probes looking for poison, but there was nothing unusual except a dim aura mingling with my cells. Whatever that is, it seems to enhance rather than harm my chemistry. Maybe that's why my complexion has cleared."
But then, two months later, Anirul discovered the truth of the threats and the "aura."
"Mohiam was here again this afternoon. I must seduce poor Shaddam alter all. It will be difficult after all these years of trust and friendship. She hates him, though, as much as she hates me — him for his "inattention to the Empire" and roe for my lack of daughters. That aura that lives in me is a little gift from the Sisterhood, a residual poison that only kills upon withdrawal. We were told of such a thing on Gamont, and now ! know why that was the one poison they didn't allow us to neutralize — they use it on us! I knew there was a good reason to hate Mohiam, but how I hate my own order."
Obviously this Bene Gesserit stratagem was effective, for the couple produced five daughters: Irulan III, born in 10,162 A.G.; Chalice I, born in 10, 164 A.G.; Wensicia II, born in 10,167 A.G.; Josifa I, born in 10,170 A.G.; Rugi I, born in 10,172 A.G.
Anirul's relationship with her daughters was never very close. She began Irulan's Bene Gesserit training almost from birth, as she was instructed to do by the Sisterhood, but the two showed little affection for each other. Irulan adored her father, was jealous of any time her mother spent with him, and so spent most of her time trying to turn Shaddam against his wife. While she was merely cool and proudly happy toward Irulan, she was actually repelled by Wensicia. The Empress's journals show that she despaired of the child's aggressive, hostile, and even malicious behavior. When Anirul found the four-year-old Wensicia using a prism to burn holes in the fur of the family lap-cat, Anuril renounced her completely. Apparently the only daughter Anuril loved was Chalice, a sweet child with a voice as golden as her hair.