Raquella Berto-Anirul was the first Reverend Mother, and the founder of the Bene Gesserit order. Raquella was the daughter of Helmina Berto-Anirul, illegitimate daughter of Vorian Atreides and Karida Julan. In her youth, Raquella had a blond complexion, with blue eyes, and an upright nose.
History[edit | edit source]
In her late teens, Raquella married a jihadi soldier who died in the war soon after. Raquella became a doctor and dedicated herself to helping the war-injured and those suffering from the deadly diseases that still afflicted humanity. She was living on Parmentier with Dr. Mohandas Suk.
During the Omnius Scourge she worked in the Hospital for Incurable Diseases with Suk. It was then when Vorian Atreides visited the planet and met with her. It was Raquella that, while thinking about recently deceased Dr. Hundri Arbar, noticed the effects of spice on the disease and after a brief investigation she realized that spice benefited or even immunized the patients. She notified Vorian about it, who brought the news to the League Parliament.
After the Martyrists assaulted the machinery of the Hospital, rendering it useless, Raquella and Mohandas retreated to a remote Jewish village, helping them through the Scourge; until another paranoid mob burned the town, blaming the Jews (as well as the thinking machines) for the epidemic. Accompanied by some of the Jewish villagers who hid their identities, Mohandas and Raquella moved on to their work.
She was working under primitive conditions when Vorian rediscovered her location and generously sent her whatever aid or equipment she needed, including guards to keep them safe. He recruited the couple to help form the Humanities Medical Commission that replaced the old Jihad Medical Commission. He also purchased LS Recovery, a hospital spaceship for them to perform their medical work more efficiently.
Life on Rossak[edit | edit source]
Her life was transformed when she traveled to Rossak to assist the Sorceresses in combating the Rossak Epidemic, a new strain of the Scourge. She descended the planet along with Nortie Vandego while Suk remained in orbit around the planet, studying samples. Initially her efforts were unsuccessful, partly due to the nature of the virus and partly because of the strong opposition she encountered from the Sorceresses, mainly Ticia Cenva, who was very skeptical about her. There, she befriended Jimmak Tero, Cenva's Misborn son.
After becoming infected with the Scourge herself, Raquella was treated by members of the Misborn with water conditioned by native Rossak flora. She fully recovered, but additionally had dormant genetic abilities unleashed; her body had been altered in the crucible of the virus, after assimilating the incomprehensible mixture of environmental chemicals.
Raquella had unexpected skills and new resources now, deep within her very cells, which she later used to neutralize a poison, the Rossak drug given to her by a sickly Ticia Cenva. With her new powers, she was able to synthesize an antidote, using her own internal chemistry. She administered that antidote, and the Rossak Epidemic was destroyed.
Reverend Mother Superior[edit | edit source]
After Ticia Cenva's death, Raquella took control of the Sorceresses and began reforming them and their breeding program into what would become the Bene Gesserit order.
Raquella intended to be succeeded as Reverend Mother Superior by both her granddaughter Dorotea, and her right-hand Reverend Mother Valya Harkonnen. Upon Raquella's peaceful death however, Valya used Voice to kill Dorotea, ensuring that the Sisterhood leadership passed on to her alone.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Raquella was remembered and revered long thereafter. Indeed, 10 millennia later, Raquella's distant descendant, the Kwisatz Mother Anirul Sadow Tonkin, was named after her.