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Bellonda & Murbella

Murbella (upper right) being advised by Bellonda, with Gorus bowing, while meeting with the Guild

Murbella was a promising young Honored Matre who was captured by the Bene Gesserit and trained in the ways of the Sisterhood. She later became both the Mother Superior and the Great Honored Matre, uniting the bitter enemies.

Early life[]

Murbella was raised as an Honored Matre from an early age. She was deemed to be a trainee of particular promise when it was revealed that she possessed physical and mental abilities far above average. Among these abilities were almost unimaginable reflexes, which ran independently of her central nervous system. As was common of females of Honoured Matre heritage, she also possessed the ability to amplify sexual ecstasy to near unimaginable levels.


During a stay in the city of Ysai, Murbella captured a Duncan Idaho ghola and attempted to imprint the Bene Gesserit loyalist. However, thanks to powerful abilities the Tleilaxu have secretly built into him, he was able to partially resist her, and instead imprint himself onto her psyche. Thus the pair became sexually addicted to one another.

When the pair later fell under the custody of the Bene Gesserit, the Sisterhood made good use of Idaho's new-found abilities (and addiction to Murbella) to extract some information from the vulnerable young Honored Matre, and later start her training as one of their own.



Murbella, from the Russian cover of Chapterhouse: Dune

Later, as the Honored Matre attacks intensified, Duncan Idaho and Murbella were living together in continued confinement on Chapterhouse. The intense sexual bond created by their mutual imprinting in has made them somewhat reluctant lovers.

Darwi Odrade, the new Leader of the Sisterhood, had decided to accelerate Murbella's training as a Bene Gesserit, despite some's belief in the organization that she intended to steal their secrets and escape back to the Honored Matres, who are now based near Junction and have just completely conquered Gammu.

Murbella's training with the Bene Gesserit was protracted and often confrontational. However, their shrewd methods such as "word weapons" to undermine her earlier Matre identity, and use of her bond with Idaho enabled them to slowly turn her to their collective will. During this entire period, Murbella provided the Sisterhood with four daughters, Janess Idaho, Rinya Idaho, Gianne Idaho, and Tanisia Idaho; uniting the genetics of Idaho and the Honored Matres into a powerful combination. As time went by, Murbella understood fully that she was an admirer of and wanted to be Bene Gesserit, and began to see her former Matres as ignorant. The words of her initiation are repeated with an emphasis on Bene Gesserit.

Finally, it was decided that Murbella was ready to become a Reverend Mother. Odrade relaxed the strictures, and for the first time ever, a man — Duncan — is allowed to watch a spice ceremony. Duncan was filled with trepidation, first, because he feared Murbella would not survive the ritual, and second because he wondered whether she would still love him after going through such a life-changing experience. Odrade watched with equal trepidation because Murbella was vital to her plan to deal with the Honored Matres and to reform the Sisterhood. Odrade believed that the Bene Gesserit made a mistake in fearing emotion and that in order to evolve, the Bene Gesserit must learn to accept emotions. Murbella, Odrade is pleased to find, took and survived the hard path to becoming a Reverend Mother.

Murbella went through a manic phase after becoming a Reverend Mother, and her feelings for Duncan were not the same — a fact that worries Odrade as much as Duncan. Whether it is a temporary effect of the experience or a permanent one was unknown.

Union of the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres[]

Odrade called a Convocation (a meeting of all the Bene Gesserit) and announced her plan to attack the Honored Matres on Junction. She told them that this attack would be led by Supreme Bashar Miles Teg. She also announced candidates to succeed her as Mother Superior; those being Sheeana Brugh and Murbella and shared with them before she left.

The attack seems headed for failure, and Murbella saved as much of the Bene Gesserit force as she can and they began to withdraw. The potential failure of the Bene Gesserit attack was planned for by Odrade, who left Murbella instructions for a last desperate gamble if a last stand situation should come. Murbella piloted a small craft down to the surface, announcing herself as an Honored Matre who has managed to escape the Bene Gesserit in the confusion of war. She claimed that she wants to share all of the Gesserit secrets that she has learned. When she arrived on the planet, she immediately announced her intentions by killing an overeager Honored Matre with a blinding speed enhanced by Bene Gesserit training. This makes her faster than any Honored Matre before her, as she has successfully fused the best abilities of both organizations.

Murbella was taken to the newest Great Honored Matre, Logno, and immediately declared herself hostile. Logno could not help herself and attacked her. Murbella killed her, and many of her allies. Odrade was killed in the melee. Before Odrade died, Murbella shared with Odrade and took charge of the Honored Matres, who were awed by her physical prowess, and her ability to see into Other Memory.

Murbella's ascension to the leadership of the Honored Matres and, by necessity, the Bene Gesserit as well, was not accepted as a victory by all of the Sisterhood. Some feel that she will suborn the spirit of the Bene Gesserit and many worried that her plan of merging the two orders into a New Sisterhood is doomed to failure. Some then decided to escape, notably Sheeana, who has a vision of her own. They asked Duncan and Teg whether they wish to join them, and they flee Chapterhouse in the giant no-ship, with the Tleilexu Scytale and the Jews from Gammu still aboard.

Murbella recognized their plan at the last minute, but was powerless to stop them, and realized at the same time that Duncan's departure solved many problems for her new role as leader.

The Leader of the New Sisterhood[]

After she united the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres, Murbella took it upon herself to unite humanity for the upcoming war with the ominous Enemy that the Honored Matres returned from the Scattering, were fleeing from. She took it almost completely upon herself to fulfil Leto II's earlier admonition to the Sisterhood to be the leaders of mankind in this time of great crisis.

Murbella's first plans were to eliminate the Matres who not join the Bene Gesserit. She started with Annine, one of the Honored Matres who joined Murbella on Chapterhouse, but even after all the time together would not submit to her vision of unity. Annine had even gathered a group of rebels Matres and started a separate group on the other side of Chapterhouse. In front of the entire audience hall, just below her throne, Murbella thrust a dagger deep into Annine's throat.

Meeting with the Guild[]

Later, Murbella set up a meeting with the Guild, who came with Administrator Rental Gorus and Navigator Edrik. With her counsel aides, Doria and Bellonda; she told the leader of the Guild Navigators to do their respective parts in the upcoming war which was coming. In return, she promised to dole out to them rations of the Sisterhood's great stockpile of melange. To further the war effort, she met with technicians on Richese and Ix and demanded that they increase production of starships.

Osafa Chram[]

It was not without danger that Murbella led the group. A direct assassination attempt occurred when Murbella called for a planet-wide meeting in the Chapterhouse Keep. A Bene Gesserit sister, Osafa Chram, tried to kill Murbella in hand to hand combat, but Murbella dispatched her easily. Murbella could not even locate the focal point of all of the hatred towards her, as Chram had taken a massive quantity of shere, to prevent any sister trying to share with her as she died.

Janess and the Valkyries[]

Despite these attempts, Murbella administered the union of the Sisterhood with deft and care. Doria, an assistant from the Honored Matres, she paired with Bellonda and had them oversee the burgeoning production of spice from the sandworms on the soon to be unified Chapterhouse. She carefully reckoned that all spice would be needed as payment to the ship producers of Richese and Ix. She also recognized the talents of her daughter, Janess Idaho, and made her and her chief aide, Kiria, leader of the Valkyries troops. Finally, she had the talented long-time abilities of Supreme Bashar Wikki Aztin to lean on for military guidance.

Eliminating the Rebels[]

On Chapterhouse[]

Lastly, during the advent of the war with the Enemy, Murbella decided to destroy all rebel Honored Matres who would not join the Sisterhood. Murbella's first attack was on the rebel stronghold on Chapterhouse itself, and its' leader, Caree Debrak, who had long ago partnered with Annine before she was killed. As Debrak pointed her fazee rifle at the ornithopters led by Idaho and Aztin, Murbella ordered them slaughtered, to the last woman.

On Buzzell and Gammu[]

Next, Murbella had the soostone-rich ocean world of Buzzell re-captured and had the Matres leader Skira replaced with Corysta. The completely successful re-taking of Gammu was next and established Murbella's superiority over the non-conforming rebels.

On Tleilax[]

Murbella and the Sisterhood's last attack was on the Tleilexu homeworld of Bandalong, eliminating the Matre threat forever. Murbella killed the last Matre rebel leader Hellica, but the Great Honored Matre changed back into her true form of an Enhanced Face Dancer, and Murbella realized that any human leader could be one of the mimics.

Realization of the Enemy[]

When Murbella arrived back at Chapterhouse, she went deep into a "Spice Trance" to search out the ancestry of the Honored Matres and their knowledge of the Outside Enemy. While in the deep desert of the New Sisterhood's homeworld she searched Other Memory and found out about her ancestor Lenise, and Lenise's bounding into the reborn Thinking Machine Empire.

At a great convocation of Sisterhood leaders later that month, the old Archives Mother Accadia told all gathered at the Chapterhouse Keep of the knowledge she had gathered from interviewing former Honored Matres, and information gathered from Murbella, and the Valkyries. Accadia stunned the crowd gathered, as she showed the leadership gathered all of the planets destroyed by the Matres. One leader present Reverend Mother Laera commented that the "whores" could not have possibly done all that damage. To which Accadia knew, and Murbella confirmed, the damage had been done by the ancient, but refined plague, the Omnius Scourge; and that the Old Empire was next in the path of doom.

Kralizec and the Thinking Machines[]

Murbella realized that the Outside Enemy was none other than the resurrected Thinking Machine Empire led by Omnius. She also recognized the talents of her daughter, Janess Idaho, and eventually, she made her Supreme Bashar of all forces. She quickly turned attention into uniting human-kind against their upcoming star system by star system invasion. As the Thinking Machines unleashed a new variant of the Omnius Scourge, Murbella rallied humanity against the infectious disease. She dispatched Sheeana to look alike to planets who were in the path of the oncoming robotic invaders, knowing that Sheeana Cult to stabilize and rally planetary inhabitants.

As the final battle of the Day of Kralizec approached, Murbella took delivery of the Obliterator weapons that had been delivered by the Ixian shipyards, leading humanity to a last stand over Chapterhouse. As Murbella and her daughter, Janess Idaho, led the forces of humanity, Murbella soon realized that the starships sent by the Ixians had been sabotaged by Face Dancers. Murbella, ever the leader, commanded the fleet to begin to prepare to ram the Machine ships head on.

Unbeknownst to her, on the Machine capital of Synchrony, the patron saint of the Guild, the Oracle of Time, instantly banished Omnius from the universe, causing the Machine ships to come to a dead stop. Ships led by the Oracle's Guild Navigators appeared over Chapterhouse and requested she follows them to Synchrony. When she arrived, Murbella found that her lover, Duncan Idaho, had been revealed as the Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach, and that man and machine would unite under his leadership, instead of being at war.

Development of Murbella[]

Although Murbella is not the central character in Heretics of Dune, she is instrumental in plot and character development.

In Chapterhouse: Dune, Murbella goes from novice inductee to leader of the combined Sisterhood. Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson decided in Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune that not only would Murbella be the leader of the Sisterhood, but would be the leader of humanity.

The character of Murbella is one of the few in the Duniverse that is shown from teenage year development to leader of the remnant of humanity. Murbella is a combination of all good aspects of a leader, and she is a devoted mother as well.