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Dante

The God Emperor's Dune

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Duke Makarios listened to his mentat, named Hexli, as he provided him with the latest intelligence reports.

"I suspect that several of the Landsraad houses are conspiring against the God Emperor" said the aged mentat. "But there's no solid proof of any of that."

Makarios had no love for the God Emperor, but he didn't think any rebellion against Leto II would be feasonable. He wouldn't be willing to share power with any allies anyway.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the Bene Gesserit were involved too" the duke said. It wasn't much of a secret that the BG weren't fond of the God Emperor. Hexli nodded in agreement.

"Neither would I, but there's to little information we have about the Bene Gesserit to determin if they are preparing to move against him. Nodoby has ever infiltrated the sisterhood and we have only superficial intelligence."

Makarios smelt there was a large plot brewing, but at this point there was nothing he could do but watch.

"For the moment, we will continue to serve the God Emperor as loyally as always" he said it with a tad of irony in his voice. "Later on we will decide if we should reconsider our position."

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"Mentat, prepare a message to the Bene Gesserit."

"Of course sir, what content do you wish?"

"Tell them... we wish to submit a squad of Sardaukar LIght Infantrymen to their breeding programs. I'm sure once they have served the Bene Gesserit as studs for a while they could fill a spot in their military. It might gain us some leverage with the Sisterhood."

"Yes sir, but why would you choose such an... unusual means?"

"They realize the benefits of small gifts such as these. They will... appreciate it I'm sure."

To Lord Burebista of House Sarmizegetusa, on Apulum

[hide]Greetings lord, your response is welcome once again. Take note, that the Ixians have taken offense at your response. We would recommend dealings with them.[/hide]

To Earl Rhombur Vernius of Ix

[hide]Greetings Earl, I hope you ae well. I would like to propose an alliance between our two factions. You realize the volatile nature of our Empire at this time, and allies are necessary, if we are to endure. Ponder your situation, and ponder the benefits of my soldiers and the benefits Salus Secondus has to offer[/hide]

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"M'lord, the Sardukar wish some type of alliance with us." Rhombur gazed up from his chair.

"Any word from the Sarmizegetusa yet?" The Mentat frowned at the Earl noticing how easily distracted he was.

"None yet M'lord, but please, stay on task." Rhombur gazed up showing heavily sleep deprived eyes.

"Yes, the Sardukar." His voice was only a slight trickle in the room.

"Yes send them a alliance sheet or some type of form or something Mentat..." Looking up at his Earl the Mentat felt a deep saddness for his leader, he was getting old and tired.

Message To Sardukar:

[hide]We accept your alliance. But under the conditions that our production facilities will remain under our full control without any of your goods unless we find tangable need to produce weapons for you.[/hide]

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Culratha looked at the blossoming forests of Salusa Secondus, planted only a decade before. He contempated both the forests and the Ixian's response to his communiqa, and his own.

To Earl Rhombur Vernius of Ix

[hide]No demands will be made upon your production facilities, save for increased no-chamber production. We wish to preserve as much of the Imperium as possible for our future.[/hide]

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To the Bene Gesserit,

[hide] I wish that your Mother Superior visit me in person on Arrakis soon.[/hide]

To Arch-Duke Dharius Ghobey,

[hide] Come visit me on Arrakis. Bring no guards or defenses. Bring nothing nor nobody but yourself. We must have a conversation pertaining to your...proposal.[/hide]

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The economic advisor moved swiftly down the long, narrow passageway. Light finally became visable as the tunnel opened up into the factory. Walking over to the balcony he saw Rhombur standing a few feet below him. Without speaking the Advisor glanced down at the endless factory below. There were endless amounts of land vechicles with weaponary on them..Upon further examination he noticed that the tanks had the Vernius crest on them!

"M'lord!" The Advisor said gasping awstruck by the weapons mass below.

"What did you expect, the Imperium needs ruling now." Rhombur slowly turned up and gazed at the advisor. It was obvious, Earl Rhombur was dieing.

"M'lord, there is no need for drastic matters...I mean war with the Emperor!" A slight smile came across the old Earls lips.

"I don't plan war with the Atreides line, I plan to bring back the uncontested Vernius control of all production in the Imperium." The advisor couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"M'lord! We are the greatest production leaders in the universe! We control the hieghliner production for God sake!" This didn't seem to effect Rhombur very much.

"For god sake sir, we don't even have a standing militia!" There was a second of silence as Rhombur began walking down the passageway with the advisor trailing behind. After much walking they rose in a elevator, higher, higher until the door opened to a small, circular room. There was a oval shaped opening which Rhombur exited to. It led to a small balcony where cheers were apparent. Following his Earl out the advisor went pale as below him he saw millions dressed in the IXian military uniform. Rhombur grinned and walked towards the podium..

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The Arch-Duke grins at the Bene Gesserit gift.

Lillian... he thinks, What an interesting name. It sounds Old Earth.

"I see," he says, his mind churning with descision, "Then I have a job for you...Lillian. A way to prove your loyalty."

"Yes, my liege?"

"J'invy, clear the chamber, I don't want this overheard."

"Yes, sire," says J'invy, giving the Arch-Duke an odd look. He's never been one for concubines...Perhaps the pleasures of a Bene Gesserit-trained are too much to ignore, though.

Once the chamber was cleared, and the Arch-Duke, J'invy, and the mysterious Lillian were all that remained, Darius continued, "I understand you Bene Gesserit are trained in ways to recognize all parts of a man, or woman's body language. Too...judge that person's loyalty by thier...actions."

"Yes...My lord," Lillian raises an eyebrow in curiosity.

"You will...Watch, the people of my palace. You will find those of a covert nature which..." the Arch-Duke turns his eyes toward J'invy, "others have been unable to find."

"I see. You wish me to be your...Housecat," one corner of the girls face lifts into a grin. "And when I find your...Mice, what would you have me do?"

"Simply refer the names to my person, and we will exterminate them," the Arch-Duke's grin takes on a darker, mischevious form, and he says, "Unless you would like to keep them...For a toy."

A few days later, the Arch-Duke sits in quiet counsel with his mentat.

"J'invy, I notice that fact we have had no word from Ix."

"Indeed, my liege. It is as if they have forgotten our presence."

"Perhaps it is becoming high time to remind them."

"Perhaps, sire. You are still...Rivals."

The Arch-Duke nods and rises form the table just as a messenger comes through the entranceway door.

"Mi'Lord, the Sarmizegetusa envoy has arrived, they wish to see our stock."

"Usher the economics advisor on in, Mikkal," says the Arch-Duke, "I will show him the plants."

"...You see, sir, our plants produce only the highest grade weaponry and training programs," says Arch-Duke Darius, walking with the advisor through the weapon factories. "As we have for a thousand years."

"Yes...I see that your weaponry is easily on par with the Sardaukar."

"Ahh...So you've already negotiated with the Sardaukar, then?"

"Yes, sire."

The Arch-Duke grins at a private joke, and says, "Have you reached any type of agreement?"

Not wishing to reveal anything private to the probing Arch-Duke, the advisor replies, "Nothing set it stone, sire."

Remembering the report about a certain five tons of green marble, the Arch-Duke replies, "That's not what I heard."

The duo reach a bend in the railing, and the Arch-Duke stops to look down onto the factory floor. Following the Arch-Duke's gaze, House Sarmizegetusa's economic advisor sees an incredible-looking young woman in a red dress speaking to a worker. The Arch-Duke mutters, "She never stops, that little lady," and snickers softly.

"Sire?" asks the advisor.

"Nothing," Darius nudges the economics advisor conspiritarily and says, "Let me tell you something about the Sardaukar."

"Sire?" repeats the advisor, with a different emphasis.

"House Ghobey has, as I've told you before, supplied every ruling power in this Empire for a thousand years," the Arch-Duke pauses for emphasis, "Including the Corrinos, and thier 'invincible' Sardaukar armies."

The economic advisor maintains silence.

"When Muad'Dib defeated the Corrino armies on Arrakis, House Ghobey went where the profit was. We began selling our arms and weaponry to the Emperor Paul Atreides. You hear a lot about the wonderous battles of the Jihad on a thousand worlds; the fanatic fighting of the Fremen, the mass conversions... But you never hear of the weapon designers and suppliers."

"House Ghobey."

The Arch-Duke nods and says, "House Ghobey," the Arch-Duke looks away and says, "Advisor, tell me, are you trained in the ways of a mentat?"

"A few of the ways, yes."

"Yes. Then tell me, mentat, what do your computations tell you with the given facts? Fact: If the Sardaukar have any weaponry, it is most likely that used during the conquest of Arrakis. Fact: Any other weaponry is likely to be cheap reproductions therof. Fact: In the recent two hundred years there has been a plethora of new technology dealing with weapons and weapon-handling," the Arch-Duke's grin disappears, and his voice becomes as rigid as the steel beams holding the platform up, "Prime Computation: The weaponry of House Ghobey, being current in production and technological recency, is most likely superior to its older counterparts. Those counterparts offered by the Sardaukar."

The advisor glances at the ground and says, "Arch-Duke, I have been given authority to purchase no more and no less than one hundred weapon units."

"One hundred, eh? Then take them as a gift," the Arch-Duke's smile returns, innocent and friendly, "and compare those hundred with the arms you have recieved from the Sardaukar."

The advisor bows, "Sire."

A few days later, Arch-Duke Darius leaves Tiera Tertiary on a Guild Heighliner for Arrakis, home of the Shai Hulud. Home of the spice melange. Home of the Pahdishah Emperor of the Known Universe, Leto Atreides.

A few hours later, an aide enter's the Emperor's chambers and announces, "Arch-Duke Darius Ghobey, Siridar-Governer of Tiera Tertiary and primary patriarch of House Ghobey."

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The advisors sat grimmly waiting for their Earl to enter the room. There were murmurs echoing throughout the room about the Earl's recent moves. There was a faint sound of footsteps then the toward opened revealing the Earl looking even grimmer then the previous day. The group got up and bowed before seating themselves once more, the Earl took the head seat of the table.

There was a brief amount of silence until the economics advisor adbruptly cleared his throat and turned to face the Earl down the table.

"M'lord, I would like to address the matter of your err...Recent actions." The Earls eyebrow cocked slightly at this but he gestured for the man to continue.

"You see M'lord, we are already are being irritated by House Ghobey, they're just a little to cocky on their production capibilites and wish to test us. Regardless, the concuel has agreed that a military campaign from the shadows of a production House would be a little, err, extreme?" There were several nods and slights hints of agreement before the Earl spoke.

"Perhaps you do not notice the fact that we are on the verge of being outproduced? Not by one single House, but by many. We are the number one production state with machinery uncontested, but this rule has made every other House with the slightest production facilities jealous and wage a economic and production war with us." The Earl stopped in the middle of his defense letting the words sink in before he dropped the bomb.

"That is why, I am increasing taxes for every citizen of IX, and as of now and until I say otherwise all production facilities except the ones made for the Guild and Emperors benefit are hearby redirected to military purposes. We are starting a full scale production line for military needs." There were many shocks throughout the room as the Earl quickly got up and departed the room leaving the advisors with a sense of choas.

Message To Houses Of The Imperium:

[hide]We hereby cancel all production needs for the Imperium that are not for the Guild and Emperors purpose. This shall last until adressed otherwise.[/hide]

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Culratha stood in the long testing range, watching his soldiers test the new weapons designed by his technicians. Excellent weapons. Standard lazguns with widened, enhanced barrels, allowing the weapon to fire cones of energy with the same amount of energy it had once taken to fire a small, thin blast. These weapons would do nicely, and he was sure the Lord Burebista of House Sarmizegetusa would agree.

To Earl Rhombur Vernius of Ix

[hide]We have noticed your activities. You have not protected your secrets as once you did. Your productions interest us. We will assist however you require.[/hide]

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Taraza sat carefully, re-reading the message. She put it down carefully. "It is not wise to disobey the Emperor..." She murmured, and went off to give orders to pack for Arrakis, and make other preperations.

Message to Ix;

[hide] URGENT. We urgently request that any mechanical survailence equipemt available be delivered to the Bene Gesserit Embassy on Arrakis immediately. It must be tiny, undetactable, and completely mechanical. If you have such tools, good; we will pay very well for you to make an exception to your economic boycott. If not, destroy this message. Do not reply, the presence of the 'bugs' will tell us whether you agree or not.

Bene Gesserit. [/hide]

"Hmmm... Sardaukar training plays a larger part in their skill than breeding does..." The Mentat trailed off. She examined the closest soldier. "However, this is a gsture not only of faith, confidence, security, but also of goodwill. We shall find uses for them."

Arch-Duke Darius found eight slips of paper in various parts of his residence over the next few days. In total they gave the names of twelve imperial spies, four embezzlers, and two Tleilaxu face-dancers. Plus a request that the face-dancers be sent to the Bene Gesserit for 'research.' They also detailed the names of lazy workers, tax avoiders, and once an incident when one of the cooks had sneezed onto the dishes and not told anyone. Each of them was signed, L.

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"The Bene Gerriserit ask for trade, they promise us great profit father." Leto looked up at his father, even he knew the old Earl had little time left and he longed for his father though he knew there was nothing left he could do.

"Son, the production must continue for military production soley, few exceptions will be made." His lips fluctuated slightly merely talking.

"Father, this should BE one of those exceptions! Imagine the profit and this would help us bond more with the.."

"Witches?" His father interupted immeditaly with a sour taste in his mouth. Leto just looked up sadly at his father, he was no longer the man Leto respected.

"Son, go do something, leave me alone, I need to think." Leto paused for a second getting one last glance at his father before departing the Great Halls. Walking down the passageways Leto was greeted by the stalking Mentat. Turning to him the Mentat noticed Letos obvious anger.

"There are old, aboned factories with active machinery in sector AJ345B right Mentat?" The advisor thought a second and nodded.

"I want you to take a team of five hundred workers and get those factories up to operational by tommarow morning, and in two days I want the Witches orders set through, hurry now and tend to the task at hand, Mentat!"

Bowing immediatly the Mentat quickly departed to attend to his tasks.

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(OOC - Sorry, but I think we need a new Emperor. The current one isn't here nearly enough.)

Message to Mother Superior, Bene Gesserit, Wallach IX

[hide]We you have received our soldiers. They will serve you well. Although, it should be noted that while Sardaukar training is the prime factor in our soldier's training, they are from superior stock.

I hope our new found frienship will benefit the both of us, and hopefully the Empire in the times to come.[/hide]

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(OOC - Sorry, but I think we need a new Emperor. The current one isn't here nearly enough.)

(OOC: I concur.)

Darius examined the last note, the one concerning the cook and grinned. She is certainly...thorough.

Still grinning, the Arch-Duke contacted his mentat, "J'invy, I want you to track down each person on this list and interrogate them, with the exception of the two Face Dancers. Have them board a Guild transport for BG space, allow Lillian to assist you." The Arch-Duke paused, then said, "Contact me upon completion, I will be on Arrakis."

Meanwhile, J'invy consults his latest Intellegence report from Ix. After a few hours of sapho-aided computation, he comes to a conclusion concerning the young Ixian hier.

"My lord Arch-Duke, I have a plan concerning the Ixian na-Earl." he begins in a coded distrans message to the Arch-Duke on Arrakis...

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Lord Burebista reached Saulsa Secundus. His old frigate separated itself from the Guild Highliner and entered the atmosphere. He was heading for the Space Port when he received a bunch of messages.

House Ghobey makes House Sarmizegetusa choose between them and the Sardaukar, Ix ceases any exports.

The Lord stands up and goes to the transmittions room.

- Soldier, I'd like to put me on with the Prime Minister through a private Comm-Link.

- Right away sir!

The Prime Minister's figure appeared on the screen:

- Yes sir.

- We have received 100 weapons as a gift form House Ghobey, right?

- Right Sir!

- I want those weapons to be used by the family members, so they would see we treasure the gift. Await my return before you will make any more requests.

- Yes sir.

- I do not want to make any enemies... though this is politics I want to remain neutral. Do you read?

- ... yes sir... I'll do my best.

- And for the things we imported from Ix, contact the CHOAM and se if they've got anything in stock. If they have what we need, buy all you have money for. I don't want to lack spare parts, or anything we need for our developements.

- Yes sir. Sir? May I ask you something?

- Yes, of course...

- When will you be getting married?

The Lord was shocked!

- What, now? Are you mad? I don't have enough time to rule the House and you ask me of marriage? Do you think I'll have time for a family now? I'm only 20! I have enough time... First let me raise the House to a decent level so no one would help us for free - I don't like pity - but for now I'll accept that. I want to be the one that makes gifts.

- ... yes sir ...

- Over and out!

The Lord had to rush for his seat to get ready for the landing.

"I hope I didn't make the Sardaukar Leader wait... too much."

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(OOC-not 100% on how we'll have our meeting, so I'll stall)

From within the operations centre of the Sardaukar Keep, Culratha observed the descent of hs recently arrived guests, onto a private docking pad. The transmissions coming from it were detected, but politely lft unread.

"Mentat, perpare the 3rd section of the north wing to receive guests. Prepare food, native food from our guest's planet if possible, and send a platoon of men out to meet him."

"Yes sir."

Culratha turned from his mentat back to the control panel. He was looking forward to meeting the young lord.

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This was the first time that Burebista left his homeworld. Now, somewhat under stress by his imense responsability he did'nt have enough time and spirit to enjoy his first off-world experience.

The frigate landed.

The pod door opened.

Suddenly Burebista was under the Saulsan sun. There he stood in his kaki uniform, with tall boots. He took a few deep breaths and then walked to the men waiting for him at a few meters away. The rest of the delegation followed.

- Lord Burebista?

- Yes, this is me. ARe you Culratha, the Sardaukar leader?

- No, sir, I willlead you to him.

- I'm ready, let's go. The Lord smiled and signaled his men to follow.

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(occ: to all you who want me out forget it. im back and ill be posting once or twice a day thank you very much! i was moving to a new house on another continent for the sake of the maker!)

Leto II looked down at the newly arrived Duke Ghobey.

"My dear Duke, long have your factories supplied weapons to all that have need of them and can afford them. I ask of you a single favor iof you will allow it. I have begun to make plans for a, how shall I put it, armed heighliner. I would ask your opinion of this. And I also ask if you know of any houses they may help in the construction of these warships. I ask this only because I fear that the Imperium is cracking at its seams. The Guild, short of their ever present monopoly on travel, has no teeth save my Fish Speaker armies, which I have yet to unleash.

I seek allies, unswerving allies. And since you were kind enough to open negotiations first I will hear any and all that you propose fdor us to do to form a profitable partnership.

What do you say?"

To House Vernius,

[hide] I realise that we have had our differences in the past but my grandfather was a staunch supporter of your former Earl. I have a plan that may change the balance of power in the Imperium and I offer to include you in it if you would like. All that you need do is to come to Arrakis for an audience. No troops or guards are allowed. I will not have you killed and I swear this upon my word as an Atreides. Think this over my dear Earl. This may give you a chance to strike back against all who would have destryoed your house so many generations ago.

Emperor Leto II of Arrakis[/hide]

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Within the Sardaukar Council Chambers Culratha and the young lord met. Here deals would be hammered out. Deals of an alliance, of militaries and popular interests. The two would benefit vastly from the alliance. Now, for the first time in near a century, a Sardaukar Embassy would reside on a foriegn world.

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Inside of Leto II's hidden spice stockpiles atomics were set down and set to be activated by remote. Leto II wasnt taking any chances. If the Great Houses revolted against him he would destroy the spice and stop all commerce.

To the Sardaukar,

[hide] I understand that your organization is one of honor and integrity. I ask that your leader come to Arrakis. They must not bring anyone besides themselves. Once here we will discuss making a deal that should benefit both myself and the former Imperial Sardaukar. I await your reply posthaste.

Leto II [/hide]

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To Emperor of Arrakis:

[hide]We will meet with you. 10 elite guards will escort me to your palace, but I will enter alone should you wish it. We will requirer certain assurances as to your good will before our arrival. And let it be known, that we are the Imperial Sardaukar still.[/hide]

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The Bene Gesserit Mother Superior arrived with full regalia on Arrakis. She made her presence known, and then departed for her embassy, awaiting the Emperor's summons.

Message to the Emperor;

[hide] We have been approached in secret by House Makarios regarding an alliance against yourself. We also have evidence that the Ixian rular may not be all he seems, whereas his son is turning good business profits. Awaiting your command... [/hide]

Message to Ix;

[hide] Our reward for your admirable service is twofold. Firstly, you will be given copies of anything and everything we record in the palace. Secondly, the Emperor has promised us spice, lots of spice. As much as we had before he took the throne. We shall award you a regular percentage. We hope this is adequate. [/hide]

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"Damn weather.." Lightning bolts flickered in the distance illuminating the the Earl's personal bed chambers. Despite the supreme Ixian weather control they had yet to design a substitute for the plants need for water so the rain persisted.

Walking over to his long, golden bed the leader sat down and put his face in his hands messaging his temple, the recent politics of leading the House had become overwhelming and the Earl sensed his untimely decease ever approaching. Suddenly there was a slight creek as the main entrance to his chambers opened slightly.

"Hello? Who goes there?" There was a deafening silence as the door stood slightly ajar.

"Who goes there? I am Earl of House Vernius and I demand an answer!" His voice echoed throughout the deserted room with no response. Grumbling under his breath the Earl walked over and shut the large doors with a large THUD. The lightning flickered once more as he began pacing towards his bed when a rustle behind him caught the Earl off guard.

Quickly spinning around he saw a small, hooded figure with a stature the Earl knew from somewhere.

"What are you doing? Who are you?" There was little response but a slow grin became apparent through the hood.

"Dear Earl, you have left me no choice, House Vernius must continue with sane leadership, good bye." And with that a projectile weapon was revealed from the belt of figure, twenty shots rang out and the Earl of House Vernius slowly hit the ground, dead.

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"Record this video message to all Houses of the Imperium." The mentat nodded and began the recording process. Leto now unknown Earl of House Vernius sat behind a fine oak desk staring emtionless into the device.

"Hello civilians and leaders of the Imperium,

In case you are not aware of who I am I am Earl Leto of House Vernius. Last night my fathers body was found in his personal chambers lifeless with twenty projectile shots rippled into the torso and cranium. We must not mourn for my father would not have accepted that, we must use this time to correct our past mistakes and plan for the future. Regardless of my age I know how to fix the errors of our past and as such I am now re-instituting all Ixian products into the Imperium for sale. Also, I plan to make these already superior products even better to help serve the Imperiums needs.

So in these times of tradegy we must look towards of future and prepare. This is Earl Leto of House Vernius saying good night."

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(OOC-this is Inoculator9 saying, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!)

To Earl Let Vernius of Ix

[hide] Greetings and congratulations on your recent appointment to the Earldom of Ix. Do not fain ignorance as to his death, we know of it's cause. We do not, however, care. As long as our recent treaties remain in effect we have no quarral with you[/hide]

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To the Sardaukar,

[hide] Agreed. You shall not enter my throne room with any guards or weaponry. And it is agreed that you shall always be the Imperial Sardaukar. The matter we shall speak is the creation of the House Sardaukar.

Leto II

[/hide]

To the Bene Gesserit,

[hide]House Makarios? Hmmm...fine. I ask that you find a solution to this and inform me of it once you have done so. I await your reply.

Leto II

[/hide]

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