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.
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 independent of her central nervous system. As was common of females of Honoured Matre heritage, she also possessed the ability to amplify sexual ecstacy 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.
Later, as the Honored Matre attacks intensified, Duncan Idaho and Murbella are 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, has decided to accelerate Murbella's training as a Bene Gesserit, despite some's belief in the organization that she intends 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, uniting the genetics of Idaho and the Honored Matres into a powerful combination. As time went by, Murbella understands fully that she is an admirer of and wants to be Bene Gesserit, and begins to see her former Matres as ignorant. The words of her initiation are repeated with an emphasis on Bene Gesserit.
Finally it is decided that Murbella is ready to become a Reverend Mother. Odrade relaxes the strictures, and for the first time ever, a man — Duncan — is allowed to watch a spice ceremony. Duncan is filled with trepidation, first because he fears Murbella will not survive the ritual, and second because he wonders whether she will still love him after going through such a life changing experience. Odrade watches with equal trepidation because Murbella is vital to her plan to deal with the Honored Matres, and to reform the Sisterhood. Odrade believes 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, takes and survives the hard path to becoming a Reverend Mother.
Murbella goes through a manic phase after becoming a Reverend Mother, and her feelings for Duncan are 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 is unknown.
Union of the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres
Odrade called a Convocation (a meeting of all the Bene Gesserit), announcing her plan to attack the Honored Matres on Junction. She told them that this attack will be led by Bashir Miles Teg. She also announced candidates to succeed her as Mother Superior; those being Sheeana 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 begin 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 pilots 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 claims that she wants to share all of the Gesserit secrets that she has learned. When she arrives on the planet, she immediately announces 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 is taken to the newest Great Honored Matre, Logno, and immediately declares herself hostile. Logno cannot help herself and attacks, Murbella kills her, and many of her allies. Odrade is killed in the melee. Before Odrade dies, Murbella shares with Odrade and takes charge of the Honored Matres, who are 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, is not accepted as victory by all of the Sisterhood. Some feel that she will suborn the spirit of the Bene Gesserit and many worry that her plan of merging the two orders into a New Sisterhood is doomed to failure. Some then decide to escape, notably Sheeana, who has a vision of her own. They ask 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 recognizes their plan at the last minute, but is powerless to stop them, realizing at the same time that Duncan's departure solves many problems for her new role as leader.
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, fleeing from. She takes it almost completely upon herself to fulfill Leto II's earlier admonition to the Sisterhood to be leaders of mankind in this time of great crisis.
Murbella set up a meeting with Edrik, leader of the Guild Navigators, demanding that they do their respective part in the upcoming war which is coming. In return, she promises 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.
During this entire time, 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 dunified Chapterhouse. She carefully reckoned that all spice would be needed as payment to the ship producers of Richese and Ix.
Lastly, during the advent up the war with the Enemy, Murbella decided to destroy all rebel Honored Matres who would not join the Sisterhood. This led her to form the Valkyries, and elite fighting force of Sisters, who uniquely combine the best of Gesserit and Matre abilities, to devastate rebel star systems. Their last attack was on the Tleilexu homeworld of Bandalong, eliminating the Matre threat forever. Murbella was concerned as the last Matre rebel leader, changed back into her true form of an Enhanced Face Dancer, as she relized that any human leader could be one of the mimics.
Kralizec and the Thinking Machines
Murbella came to realize that the Outside Enemy was none other than the resurrected Thinking Machine Empire led by Omnius. 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 look a likes 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 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.
Unbeknowst 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 come to a dead stop. Ships led by the Oracle's Guild Navigators appeared over Chapterhouse, and requested she follow them to Synchrony. When she arrived, Murbella found that her one time 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 (novel) and Sandworms of Dune (novel) 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.