Sister Quintinius Violet Chenoeh (13670-13728) was a Bene Gesserit Sister who became the focal point of one of the most persistent religious cults of post-Imperium history. Though she died during her attempt to become a Reverend Mother, her name lived on as a particularly favored handmaiden of the God-Emperor.
Although born in the school hospital, Quintinius Violet Chenoeh was not considered a Bene Gesserit until she officially entered her training in the Sisterhood at five. The young Sister, in addition to the usual course given to Bene Gesserit acolytes, was assigned special tutoring in the areas of mnemonics, history, and psychology. The earliest reports on file from her teachers indicate that she fulfilled and exceeded their expectations in every area. Her removal from the school dormitories to private service with Reverend Mother Tertius Marie Hargus in her tenth year is a good indicator of her progress; such an assignment was most often made three to five years later in a student's career.
In 13686, Sister Chenoeh was taken on her first off-world journey, a trip to a Bene Gesserit conclave on Grumman. She served as personal aide to Reverend Mother Hargus, but her true function was that of apprentice recorder. (Another, more experienced sister was also part of the delegation and submitted her own report of events.) Her report, reviewed by a committee of proctors on the Wallach IX delegation's return, was considered satisfactory: while the sixteen-year-old had allowed an unfortunate amount of excitement to color her evaluations, her reportage of facts was nearly flawless. In those sections of the report in which R.M. Hargus had demanded she record speeches or papers verbatim, no error could be found. Only emotional reactions stood between the young sister and the level of expertise to which she might aspire. The Sisterhood was confident of their ability to remove those barriers, or force the girl over them. They had the knowledge of centuries of such manipulation, both in their files and in the memories of their Reverend Mothers.
The young mnemonist was frequently sent off-world after her initial assignment. By 13696, a decade after her first trip to Grumman, she was serving as senior recorder on some of the Sisterhood's most sensitive missions, including a "diplomatic" visit to Giedi Prime to revive another Cult of Alia. (The Cult would come to Leto II's attention in 13718 as the B.G.'s latest attempt to locate spice hoards. For over twenty years, however, the Sisterhood's hand in the revival would remain unknown).
Sister Chenoeh's services to the Bene Gesserit did not stop at those of recorder. In 13694 and again in 13710, she bore daughters as part of their breeding program. The elder girl, Clarisse, proved far less talented than her mother and was eventually married to a minor official in the God Emperor's court. The second daughter — unnamed — - was taken from her mother and killed by a delegation from the Fish Speakers garrison on Wallach IX only moments after her birth. Since the Sisterhood could not be certain of the reasons for Leto II's objection to the second birth, it was decided not to risk needlessly so valuable a member of the community. Sister Chenoeh had no more children.
Assignment to Lord Leto's Court
In 13722, she was sent as one of a pair of recorders to observe the God Emperor and his court on Arrakis in preparation for the Bene Gesserit's decennial report. (This report served in part to brief those who would form the Bene Gesserit Embassy to Leto II.) Along with her co-worker, Sister Tawsuoko, Sister Chenoeh confirmed the execution of the nine "false historians" the God Emperor had ordered in 12335; much of their case rested on a handwritten account of the incident penned by Ikonicre, the Lord Leto's majordomo in that year. Sister Tawsuoko, according to their report, was responsible for the document's discovery.
A chance for even more important discoveries was given Sister Chenoeh, however, when the God Emperor invited her on one of his infrequent peregrinations. At one point in their ramble along the Royal Road, the sister was invited to trot alongside the Royal Cart and converse personally with the God Emperor, an honor she immediately accepted. It was during this brief walk that Sister Chenoeh was given the information which appears in the Welbeck Abridgment as well as that which was found among her papers after her death and assembled as the Chenoeh Report. The first, intended for immediate relay to her superiors, was a declaration of the God Emperor's knowledge and purposes: he used Sister Chenoeh to inform her Chapterhouse that he was aware of their attempts to suborn his Fish Speakers, that it was his intention to restore the "outward view" that humanity had lost, and that a parallel could be drawn between the Sisterhood's failed attempt to produce their Kwisatz Haderach and his own "achievement" of Siona. The second, secret message was far murkier and more troubling to the Sister. The Lord Leto described briefly the sensation of having been pre-born, and the way in which he and his sister had learned to assert command over their "internal multitudes." He made one of the earliest known references to his secret journals, explaining their function as a record for his posterity, millennia later. He also predicted — accurately — both his own evolution from living god to dead tyrant to living myth, and Sister Chenoeh's death prior to her reaching Reverend Mother status.
In a final bit of irony, the God Emperor suggested to Sister Chenoeh that her failure to become a Reverend Mother should not trouble her, because her status as an "integral part" of his myth would be far greater. Despite the bitter message contained in those words, the Sister felt a peculiar sense of friendship between herself and the Lord Leto and was not frightened by the prophecy. Nor, in obedience to his command, did she inform the Sisterhood of all that had passed between them. She carefully transcribed their dialogue and mixed the record of it in among her personal papers before returning to the Wallach IX school for debriefing, providing her superiors with only the "public" information. Her report was very well received.
The Failed Reverend Mother
Six years later she was recommended for initiation as a Reverend Mother. Even this news, which she could interpret only as a death sentence, could not provoke Sister Chenoeh to disobey. Following a day of meditation, and in the presence of all the Reverend Mothers of her Chapterhouse, Sister Chenoeh was given a drink containing a massive dose of melange. The initiation went poorly from the beginning: instead of achieving the sense of heightened awareness of self that the spice dose was intended to produce, Sister Chenoeh lost consciousness and slipped almost immediately into a deep coma. All efforts by her companions to revive her were useless. Her death, six hours after her ingestion of the drug, was attributed to "melange incompatibility," a reaction with which the Bene Gesserit were all too familiar.
Her private report was found when a group of her Sisters cleared her belongings from her quarters. Its contents were made known at once to the Bene Gesserit hierarchy. Sister Chenoeh was forgotten, save by the Sisterhood, for almost ninehundred years. In 14715, however, with the establishment of the Church of the Divided God, the Lord Leto's prediction of her place in his myth was proven true. Holy Sister Quintinius Violet Chenoeh, as she was now known, was seen as an enlightened visionary, a confidante of God. Shrines and churches were erected in her honor. Prayers to the Blessed Sister were popular among the devout.
Creation of the Myth
Among those familiar with antique religions, Sister Chenoeh was given another title. She was Auliya, God's handmaiden in the Zensunni Wanderers' liturgy. It was widely believed that she had special influence over the Divided God and could intercede with him on behalf of her petitioners. Not even The Scattering, sweeping as it was, could entirely dissolve the Cult of Sister Chenoeh. Let the Church authorities lecture as they would concerning the Sister's mortal status; the faithful would listen, nod where necessary, and return to their devotions as if nothing had been said. Her churches were torn down or rededicated. The Bene Gesserit permitted Church elders access to their records to provide confirmation that this "Holy" member of their Order had worked no wonders, performed no miracles. (By this time, the Sisterhood was as worried by the attention their charismatic member had drawn to herself, and them, as was the Church.) Still the Cult persisted.
It could be argued that the discovery of the God Emperor's Journals gave a measure of justification for this tenacity. While Sister Chenoeh saw herself as no more than a simple oral recorder, however talented, and a loyal Bene Gesserit above all, mentions of her in the Journals indicate that the Lord Leto saw her as something more. A few lines from one of the last entries, believed to have been made only days before the God Emperor's death, conveyed that vision: "This silence from the Bene Gesserit puzzles me. They must certainly have found Sister Chenoeh's records by this time, and yet they say nothing, ask nothing, demand nothing. I remember how quickly Luyseyal and Anteac came before me to claim their reward after informing my Fish Speakers of the Tleilaxu plot and marvel at the Sisterhood's present shyness. For that one Sister, I would be willing to confer greater treasures on them than they dare to dream. She has begun the work my journals will finish."
Fifteen hundred years after her death during the spice agony, Chenoeh's bust adorned the halls of the main building at Chapterhouse.
Behind the Scenes
The vast majority of this text was taken from The Dune Encyclopedia, with some minor embellishments.