Lucilla (Dune)

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Dune character
First appearance Heretics of Dune (1984)
Last appearance Chapterhouse Dune (1985)
Created by Frank Herbert
Affiliation Bene Gesserit

Lucilla is a fictional character from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert.

Heretics of Dune[edit]

Introduced in Heretics of Dune (1984), Reverend Mother Lucilla is a young, attractive Bene Gesserit Imprinter sent by Mother Superior Taraza to Gammu, where the Bene Gesserit are bringing up a new Duncan Idaho ghola. Lucilla's task is to teach this ghola and bind his loyalty to the Sisterhood; this is made difficult by internal divisions within the Bene Gesserit. The Sisterhood is fiercely divided on the issue of the Duncan Idaho gholas: a strong minority faction believes that they are dangerous to the Bene Gesserit, and owing to the Byzantine nature of Sisterhood politics, they have placed one of the factional leaders, Reverend Mother Schwangyu, in charge of the ghola project. Lucilla has the additional agenda of repairing any damage created by Schwangyu, who has been subtly encouraging its failure, and even protecting Idaho from Schwangyu should it prove necessary.

Ghola-Idaho has already been tarnished by Schwangyu by the time Lucilla arrives on Gammu. He nurses hate for the Bene Gesserit, hoping only to escape their control of his life. He is extremely precocious and has already divined the fact that he is a ghola. Duncan soon blossoms under the training of Lucilla (and Bashar Miles Teg, brought out of retirement in part to protect the ghola). Schwangyu has used all her wiles to seduce Lucilla to her side but is coming to realize that she has much underestimated Lucilla.

An attempt is made on Duncan's life, and though Teg is able to defeat it, he realizes that he can no longer protect his charge at the Bene Gesserit keep, Teg flees with Duncan and Lucilla into the countryside. With secret knowledge from his aide-de-camp Patrin, who was born on Gammu, Teg locates a forgotten Harkonnen no-globe which Patrin found as a boy. In the no-globe, Teg proceeds to awaken Duncan's original memories. As Teg is facially the spitting image of Duke Leto Atreides I, the original Idaho's master, he uses this semblance (and a variety of relentless physical and mental attacks) to awaken Duncan to his pre-death memories. He does so before Lucilla can imprint Duncan and thus tie him to the Sisterhood. Lucilla is unhappy with this, and is unable to use her wiles to imprint Duncan afterward because the now-awoken Idaho is aware of her agenda. He even tells her that if she tries it, he will attempt to kill her.

In the meantime Taraza, via Teg's finest pupil Burzmali, has been searching for Teg and his party, having little success. Finally, in a flash of inspiration, Burzmali realizes where Teg must be, and establishes contact with him and arranges to bring his party to safety. During the extraction operation, however, Teg and his companions are ambushed. Teg sacrifices himself to capture while Lucilla and Duncan escape with Burzmali.

Duncan attempts to get off Gammu undetected in the guise of a Tleilaxu Master, but is ambushed and taken hostage. Lucilla and Burzmali arrive at a Bene Gesserit safe house, but discover that it has been taken over by the Honored Matres. Luckily, the young Honored Matre, Murbella, stationed at the safe house is fooled by Lucilla's stolen Honored Matres robe, and accepts her as an observer. Murbella proceeds to seduce the captured Duncan Idaho. However, as she starts the seduction procedure, hidden Tleilaxu conditioning kicks into action and Duncan responds with an equal technique, one that overwhelms Murbella in sexual pleasure, draining her energy. Overwhelmed with a desire to feel such euphoria again, Murbella finds herself unable to kill Duncan, though she recognizes the danger he poses to the Matres. Taking advantage of Murbella's post-coital exhaustion, Lucilla knocks her unconscious.

After escaping his Honored Matre captors, Teg finds a groups of ex-soldiers who have formed a resistance group to the Honored Matres. He brings them together and attacks a no-ship, and captures it. He locates Duncan and Lucilla, and they escape with the captured Honored Matre Murbella as their prisoner.[1]

Chapterhouse Dune[edit]

In Chapterhouse: Dune (1985), Lucilla manages to escape Lampadas, a center for Bene Gesserit education where she had served as vice chancellor, before it is completely destroyed by the Honored Matres. She carries the salvation of Lampadas: the shared-minds of its millions of murdered Reverend Mothers. Unfortunately, Lucilla's ship is damaged by a mine and she makes a forced landing on Gammu.

Lucilla seeks refuge with an underground group whom she knows will be sympathetic to the Bene Gesserit: Jews. Long ago, Jews went underground to escape the repeated pogroms against them. They continued to practice their religion in secret, under cover as "religious revivalists," to conceal their unbroken connection to ancient history. They were so successful that they have survived for 26,000 years while history believed them long since annihilated. The Bene Gesserit — with their memories of the past — were not deceived, and have developed a relationship with the Jews.

Their leader, trapped in the web of mutual obligation, gives Lucilla temporary sanctuary, but in order to save his organization he must deliver Lucilla to the Honored Matres. To Lucilla's shock he reveals Rebecca, a "wild" Reverend Mother who has gained her Other Memories without Bene Gesserit training. Lucilla shares minds with Rebecca, who promises to take the memories of Lampadas safely back to the Sisterhood. Lucilla is then "betrayed" to the Honored Matres.

Lucilla is taken before the Great Honored Matre Dama, and to her surprise she is not killed outright. A game of words begins, and the Matre tries to persuade her to join the Honored Matres, preserving her life in exchange for Bene Gesserit secrets. It becomes known that the Matres dearly want to learn to modify their biochemistry as the Bene Gesserit do. It is speculated that the Matres were driven from The Scattering by an enemy who used biological weapons. Lucilla's word battles continue for weeks. When she reveals to Dama that although the Bene Gesserit know how to manipulate and control the populace, they practice and believe in democracy, Dama's desire to destroy the sisterhood is redoubled; the Bene Gesserit teach dangerous knowledge and believe in ridiculous ideas like democracy! Dama kills Lucilla.

As deceased Taraza's replacement Odrade meets with Dama under the guise of negotiations, a newly awakened ghola of Miles Teg leads the Bene Gesserit forces in an attack on Gammu. In the midst of this battle, the Jews (including Rebecca with her precious memories) take refuge with the Bene Gesserit fleet. Rebecca is able to share these memories with the Bene Gesserit before Duncan, Teg and Sheeana flee Chapterhouse in a no-ship, with Rebecca and the Jews still aboard.[2]


  1. ^ Herbert, Frank (1984). Heretics of Dune.
  2. ^ Herbert, Frank (1985). Chapterhouse: Dune.