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Chani bw

Lady Chani Atreides, born as Chani Kynes, was the Fremen daughter of Liet Kynes and mate of Paul Atreides. She died giving birth to Leto II and Ghanima.


Early life[]

Chani was born in 10177 in Sietch Tabr, the daughter of the secret leader of Liet Kynes and Faroula. Stilgar and his wife Misra stood as her godparents and performed the Water of Conception ritual for her.

Her father was mostly out, and sometimes had to steal some days from his work at the palmaries to visit her. Her father occasionally took her to the planting sites and tutored her about his work. He was very proud of her quick intellect. Liet however did not wish for Chani to inherit him as an Imperial servant and have a double life like him, and decided that she'd live entirely as a Fremen.

Chani was raised mostly by Faroula, with some assistance from Misra and the other woman. She was only 3 years old when Falra was killed in a rockslide and Chani was taken into Stilgar's household and soon became a part of the Naib's family. She attended the spirit-releasing ceremony without weeping.

By the age of 5 Chani was helping at the sietch gardens, captured sandtrout for the deathstill, or dispatched enemy wounded after battles. Later she learned to perform occupation she would be required to now as an adult, like weaving, to making coffee, making and mending stillsuit.

Chani was in a small group of girls in their puberty who retreated with Reverend Mother Ramallo. On their last day the group went on a hajra to one of the tribal holding basins. They seated around Ramallo, altered a small quantity of the Water of Life and bid each of them drink from it. Then, as the girls entered the drug-induced trance, Ramallo told them that the basin held the future life of their people, and each of them held a small portion of that in their bodies. The talk relaxed them, as their minds pondered the future of their tribe, and Ramallo (already in an advanced age and without an apprentice) probed for the one who would take her place, and it was Chani who demonstrated the most necessary traits: compassion, intelligence and courage, conscious of her own mortality while discounting it for their people. Chani was initiated in the following tribal assembly, and returned to Tabr three months before the war that erupted on Arrakis.

Meeting Paul[]

Stilgar had received an order from Liet-Kynes to take a band out into the desert with Chani along as part of the group in search of Paul Atreides and his mother, the BG Lady Jessica and messages sent back to the sietch by the Shadout Mapes had indicated that Jessica might be something more. Ramallo seconded that decision and wished to hear Chani's impressions of the encounter. Chani was filled with wonder by the murmurings that her son was the Lisan al Gaib, but she was more impressed by the out-freyn Sayyadina, who had bested Stilgar in single combat using the weirding way. The hot-tempered Jamis challenged Jessica's part in the legend and Paul killed him with a knife, without receiving a scratch, proving he is not a soft outworlder.

Ramallo did not survive long enough for Chani to succeed her and Jessica "passed within" to become a Reverend Mother and taking Ramallo's place and had converted the Water of Life for the tribe, distributing it among them to induce the spice orgy. Sensitive to the wishes of the others, who wished to enjoy their communion without the discordant note of Usul's alien mind, she drew Usul away. The two of them retreated to her private quarters, scarcely feeling the presence of the rest of the tribe. She reminded him that they both lost their fathers to the Harkonnens, and Paul shared his visions with her in the spice-trance. The two became inseparably joined.

In the following months Usul had to learn the Fremen ways and adapt. Chani was the Sayyadina of the Rite when Usul became a sandrider, and observed in fright the struggle between him and Stilgar. She rejoiced in the legend and power growing around him, exulting in his victories, while she herself killed any challengers she considered unworthy of facing him, adding to his status despite Jessica's misgivings concerning their "marriage of youth". She gave birth to Leto Atreides II the Elder, named in honor of the martyred Duke.

The most frightening moment was after Paul's three-week sleep in the Waters of Life. When Chani came to revive him she tested his reaction to the illuminating poison in its raw state (something that Jessica had not thought to try). In the final battle for Arrakis in 10193, the boy Leto was killed, something that broke her after withstanding so many deaths. Paul Atreides wrested control of the planet and forced the abdication of Shaddam IV, but Chani took no joy in the victory and could take comfort only from Paul's presence. He knew about his death already when Chani came to brought him the news.

Atreides Reign[]

Chani spent the following three years in negotiations preceding Paul's formal acceptance by the Landsraad and the Spacing Guild as an assistant to Lady Jessica in bargaining with the deposed emperor. As his Royal Concubine they had practiced contraception in the Fremen way during the years when his full attention was required for the negotiations. She must have won many of the concessions during endless round of talks, resulting to Jessica often saying, that she hoped never to have to negotiate any kind of terms against a Fremen since their ferocity in battle paled before their determination at a conference table.

During this period five attempts were made on her life. Once, the assassin managed to infiltrate her apartments but he did not succeed in his aim and Chani managed to dispatch him with her crysknife. She burst into the Council Chamber, her robe stained with her assailant's blood and her hand poised on the sheathed crysknife's handle. Jessica — as Chani had anticipated — focused her attention on Princess Irulan, soon to be Paul's Consort-in-name. She was genuinely stunned, and a brief expression of surprised delight escaped her (as she had been angered by her secondary place) before her Bene Gesserit training could conceal it, convincing Jessica of her innocence.

Paul's reign was officialized in 10196 and for the next twelve years Chani served him as wife, companion, and advisor. They tried for a royal heir, but as Irulan was administering her a potent contraceptive drug through her food, Chani could not conceive. Her continued childlessness caused her great pain. In spite of revulsion at the thought of Paul's making Irulan his wife-in-fact, Chani was so distressed by her inability to provide an heir for House Atreides that she at last suggested that he allow Irulan to have her chance as the only logical source for progeny. This suggestion made Paul at first angry and suspicious that Irulan might have used Chani to advance her schemes for power, and told her that Irulan was too dangerous and her position would be secured.


Chani was convinced that the Imperial physicians could be of no further help, and reverted to the Fremen traditions; after praying and consulting older women from among the tribes, she embarked on a special diet that was supposed to promote fertility. A trusted friend from Tabr brought to her the ingredients and Chani prepared her meals, not allowing anyone else to touch the food. Within weeks, Chani was pregnant, but during her first session with the doctors traces of the contraceptive were found in her system, now being cleared by the new regimen. Long-term ingestion of the contraceptive, interacting with the melange, had harmed Chani: from the moment the twin fetuses occupied her womb, her metabolism had sped up to a terrifying rate and had to eat 3-4 times her ordinary food along with increasingly larger doses of the spice. The interactions of the contraceptive and the increased intake of the melange accelerated the pregnancy; the children would be born in less than six months, assuming she would survive.

Usul asked her to spare the Princess, but nothing could calm Chani's hatred toward her. During the rest of her pregnancy a fog surrounded her, limiting her vision until she could see only as far ahead as the birth. In her preoccupation with it, Chani was affected (as from a distance) by external problems, like the plot against the emperor, Paul's blindness in the wake of the stonebumer attack. She could not be certain even of what she was feeling among her fast changing emotions, or why. She snapped at Paul for wearing a shabby old jacket, and having been told that "even an emperor has his favorite clothing" she found herself giving water to the dead. She once told Paul that her life would have to begin again from the day of labour, and his silence only added to her confusion.

As she was sure he would, Paul returned with her to Tabr for the children to be born. When she was conversing with the ghola of Duncan Idaho, on a spot she chose for a look out over the desert, the moment came, and with his guidance she made it back into the sietch. Her last thought, was that she was unsure if Usul knew she carried twins, and before she abandoned herself to the pains of labor. Less than an hour after the onset of contractions, calling for her Usul, Chani died giving birth to their son and daughter.


Scytale, the face dancer, prospected pf restoring her as a ghola and bargained with Alia Atreides then Paul who killed him. Bijaz made the same offer until Duncan Idaho slew him, putting his master out of temptation's reach, and her body was taken to the deathstill.

Even Irulan joined at the ceremony held that evening to release her spirit, astonishing the friends of Chani, triggering muttering and anger since it was believed that she would defile the ritual. When her turn came, she walked to the pile of Chani's belongings heaped on the cavern floor, picked up a small stone pendant and said that noble character and noble birth are different things. In Fremen language she concluded "Ish yara al-ahdab hadbat-u" (a hunchback does not see his own hunch). It was the first sign of Irulan's defection from the Bene Gesserit before becoming one of the adults responsible for raising Paul's and Chani's twins.