In many ways, Moneo would prove himself the ablest administrator of all who had filled that position in the thirty-five centuries of Leto's reign, as well as one of the longest-tenured. (He served the God Emperor for eighty-nine years, the last seventy in the capacity of majordomo.) Prior to his entry into Royal Service Moneo had used his formidable talents for organization and planning in quite a different cause: for many years he ran a highly efficient group of rebels dedicated to removing the God Emperor from his throne.
Early Years of Rebellion[edit | edit source]
Born in the year 13606 A.G. to Lichna Ibn Fuad al-Kala Atreides and her partner Jesen Carrand, Moneo had been trained in logic and pragmatism by the finest scholars and experts. As an Atreides, heir in name if not in flesh to Leto II himself, he had suffered no scrimping in his education — and had selected his position regarding the God Emperor with great care. Leto, he reasoned, was a monstrosity; one look at the gross pre-worm body proved that. Humankind, whatever its faults, deserved better than the tyrannic rule of a monster. Leto, then, had to be eliminated. But Moneo was no usurper. The genius of his scheme was that he never once suggested that he or any other mortal could take up the Imperial Godhead. Instead, he explained to all who would listen that ridding humanity of its despotic ruler would plunge it into anarchy and chaos. From that maelstrom, he insisted, would emerge a new race once again in control of its own destiny.
Leto was ever mindful of the lesson taught the Bene Gesserit by his father - that it was entirely possible for the breeding program's end result to materialize unexpectedly early. Leto therefore thought it best not to chance Moneo's being outside the scope of prescience. He was to be tested, to be sensitized to the God Emperor's Golden Path, or be left to die if found wanting. And the test would be one exquisitely tailored to the individual. No amount of preparation could help him escape judgment.
The Test[edit | edit source]
Leto slid from the Royal Cart and herded him down into a cavern maze concealed beneath the Citadel and abandoned him in its center with a bag of food and a vial of spice-essence. For more than a day, Moneo wandered through the twisting maze, eating sparingly from his meager store and becoming more thoroughly lost with each passing hour. The multiple ironies surrounding the spice-essence vial tormented him, monopolizing his otherwise unengaged thoughts. It was the only liquid provided him, and he would surely be driven to consume it unless he could quickly find a way out of the maze. That prospect, carrying as it did the certainty of exposure to the "internal multitude" the Atreides were said always to harbor, frightened him far more than the idea that he might die of thirst. And yet, among that terrifying throng, was it not likely that there existed a previous servant of the Lord Leto whose memories included the directions for escaping the maze? After another twelve hours had passed, leaving him even deeper in confusion, Moneo realized that he had no choice. He drank the contents of the vial, then sat down, his back in a corner, to await its effects. They were not long in coming.
The melange opened Moneo's awareness, not only to his ancestral voices, but to the prescient scenes of death and destruction that Leto — and his father — had witnessed so long ago. They showed him the end of humanity as well as the means by which that end could be averted: the Golden Path that the God Emperor had chosen. They showed him the reason for the monstrosity he had fought more clearly than he might have wished to be shown. A timeless period later, when the effects of the spice wore off, Moneo was left with two certainties. The first was the escape route he must follow back up to the Lord Leto's chamber, where he would be expected. The second was that he would obey the God Emperor faithfully for the rest of his life, if only out of gratitude that Leto, and not he, had been forced to make the choice he had seen.
Loyalty to the God-Emperor[edit | edit source]
Over the next nineteen years, Moneo was groomed to take over his mother's administrative post. He was given increasingly more responsible assignments to carry out for Leto: maintaining an overall record of the farflung Fish Speaker garrisons, for example, and acting as Leto's intermediary with the Tleilaxu.
Moneo kept the Court running flawlessly. No detail was too petty to attend to, no arrangement too minor to oversee, if it involved the interest of the Lord Leto. Moneo desired only three things in return for his labors: to enjoy the confidence of his ruler, to be allowed to abstain from any further experience with melange, and to preserve a quiet domestic life. Leto permitted these things, but commanded him to marry Seyefa, a Fish Speaker many years his junior.
Siona Atreides[edit | edit source]
Siona Ibn Fuad al-Seyefa Atreides was Moneo's only child. She lived with her parents in quarters near Leto's Citadel until the age of ten, when she was sent to the Fish Speakers school in Onn. Shortly after this separation, Seyefa died the following year.
If he had been a dutiful servant before, Moneo was now fanatic in his devotion to Leto. Leto was often amused by the anger and solicitude Moneo lavished on his daughter. The former rebel appeared to be unable to see his own youth in hers; he viewed her rebellion not as a temporary and necessary phase but as a permanent and dangerous change. While the God Emperor also valued Siona (although, for quite different reasons from those Moneo held) he recognized the uselessness of attempting to steer her every move. Moneo sometimes did not, and needed reminding.
Death[edit | edit source]
In 13724, Moneo clashed with his daughter, for the last time. While journeying to Tuono Village for the Lord Leto's wedding to Hwi Noree, Moneo was trapped in the ambush staged by Siona, Nayla, and Duncan Idaho. Early in the attack, Moneo lost his footing on the collapsing Royal Road bridge and plunged into the Idaho River, to his death. Hanging onto a bridge cable, he witnessed the death of Hwi Noree but fell prior to the Lord Leto. In the space of a few minutes, life for the entire Imperium had been irreversibly altered.
Leto had once observed that once Moneo was enlightned by the Golden Path, he became terrified of the idea of a world without the God Emperor — that he would rather die than face such an existence. Of all the choices made for him during his life, the timing of the majordomo's death may have been one of the kindest. His final words were "Siaynoq! I believe!" just seconds before his death.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- "Moneo" is Latin for "I advise", quite befitting Leto II's chief aide
- The Character Noree Moneo in the Dune 2000 derives his name from Moneo Atreides and Hwi Noree.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- God Emperor of Dune (First appearance)