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According to some historical accounts such as those recorded in the Shah-Nama, the Zensunni ancestors of the Fremen arrived on Arrakis from many different planets. The Wandering Zensunni, also known as the Zensunni Wanderers, traveled from one world to another in search of freedom from persecution and enslavement by the Imperial raiders.
Beginning of the MigrationEdit
House Maros paid the Guildsmen for a planetary find. Under the Right of Domain rulings in the Great Convention they gained dominion over Poritrin. However it was one of the cases where the House could not populate the planet, so Maros decided to relinquish all claim and offer it, as an Imperial Colony to net them a handsome finder's fee.
Having accepted Poritrin from Maros, Emperor Elrood V wanted to populate it, and turned a covetous eye on the population of Terra; he demanded a levy of two million people from Siridar Baron Charles Mikarrol. The Baron was thrown into a quandary because Terrans, so accustomed to their exemption from Imperial draft, were certain to rebel at the news.
One of his advisers (perhaps Ari Manoud, his right-hand man and an outspoken Maometh Saari) — reminded him of the existence of the Zensunni nomads. The troops begun a planet-wide search and seizure and had uncovered more than 2.5 million Zensunni, herded aboard Imperial transports over their most outraged protests, and whisked off to Poritrin.
Migration of the Wandering ZensunniEdit
Though much of the history of the Wandering Zensunni was lost to the Fremen, some information was kept alive through oral tradition. However, even prior to the emergence of the prescient Paul Atreides, many non-Fremen expressed doubts over the validity of the stories, thanks to linguistic and mythological traditions.
On their arrival they acted not like terrified exiles, but like a people accustomed to challenges. Tribes, each obedient to the commands of its naib worked in concert to divide the machinery and other resources the transport ships had left, decide on the areas to be settled and disperse.
A song fragment thought to be from this period say:
- "...and though our enemies scatter us far, even throughout the Universe, they shall never destroy us. For we are Misr, the People, and to us have been revealed the Fiqh and Ilm [the half-legendary sources of the Zensunni faith] which none other have seen. This remains. We remain."
- ―Daiwid Kuuan[src]
Poritrin had a plentiful supply of water, a long growing season, and a gentle climate combined to make the work of settling the planet unusually light, leisure time was frequently spent in reshaping and adapting the mystic doctrines and superstitions of the sect, and much of the reshaping concerned itself with the Zensunni's lost point of origin.
By 3500 AG, many of the Ulema and Sayyadina preached that the Zensunni had fled Nilotic al-Ourouba ("The Place of Truth and Mystery") to escape persecution and death. Nilotic al-Ourouba was believed to be the place in which the ten thousand sunnah would be answered, but this would not take place until the Zensunni's time on Poritrin was completed. Then, they would make a great hajra to Nilotic al-Ourouba to seek those answers.
By the end of 4000 AG most Zensunni were taught and believed that Poritrin was their original homeworld. Only a small, select number of the Sayyadina passed on the truth concerning the migration from one generation to the next.
The easy living affected their societal makeup drastically. A large number of people could be comfortably fed and housed on a relatively small land area and had a stable population in permanent settlements, some of them comparable in size to small cities of the Imperium reaching a population of 10 million. The nomadic lifestyle, the fierce insistence on independence—were abandoned.
They had simply accepted the arrival of the force as a fulfilling of the prophecies concerning the hajra until a handful of the craftiest Sayyadina managed to learn the actual destinations of the heighliners. When they were found, was torture and death at the hands of their captors. The Zensunni on both ships were wailing: "They denied us the Hajra!"
Half (5 million), the relatively pampered, were sent to Salusa Secundus, third planet of Gamma Waiping with an ecological system so harsh that 6/13 died before the age of eleven. The death rate was higher to non natives and the Zensunni stuck to their sense of loyalty and community.
There, the troops and Sardaukar tried to break their spirit, used them as slaves and had them perform the most difficult and dangerous tasks. As they resisted, they were subjected to more rigorous oppression each generation.
During the first generation, thousands and hundreds of thousands died within the first few years, but most of them reverted to the difficult way of living in the Sahara.
Eventually at the end of this generation, the off-planet Zensunni were exhibiting a survival rate which compared very favorably to that of those born on Salusa Secundus.
The third generation was subjected to ever more rigorous oppression, and proved more resilient than the second.
The fifth generation was commanded to give up the faith or die; all known Sayyadina, and over half the population were butchered but the doctrines continued to be passed on in the slaves' disguised work chants. New Sayyadina were initiated as quickly as the old could be spied out.
In the seventh and eighth generations the Sardaukar tried to convert them to their mystic disciplines. Each time, the Zensunni either completely ignored the attempt, or feigned going along with the conversion until the weapons training. At that point, the "convert" killed as many of his fellow students and instructors as possible before killing himself.
In the ninth generation, in 5295 AG, Ezhar VII reviewed the records of his ancestors' failures with the Zensunni and announced that it was not his policy "to punish people whose only crime lay in having had criminal forebears", and arranged for them to be transferred to Ishia.
The other half of the Poritrin Zensunni were sent to relative security on Bela Tegeuse, fifth planet of Kuentsing. Those were well treated and fared as well as before. Upon landing, they were given what stock and machinery they would need and left alone with no sign of the raiders' return for years.
On Poritrin, they had scattered their settlements all over the planet, and left them open to visitors. Here, the settlements were larger, closer together, and more often in contact; they were also heavily walled, with sentries all day and night.
They passed their lives studying, harvesting, raising and grazing and wondered about and prayed for the half of the misr never expected to be seen again. However it is mentioned that the Zensunni met slaves from Gamma Vertis VII and participated in a resistance, led by 'l-Akiim.
800 years passed when the Sardaukar descended again in 6049 AG. The Zensunni fought in a brief battle but lost; they were divided again and sent to Harmonthep and Rossak, two young colonies in need of extra people.
The Zensunni, being mere serfs, wound up on the losing ends of both rationales.
All inhabited Ishia within fifty generations of their arrival at Arrakis.
The fewer Zensunni who were transported there, barely survived the first winter which left many of them with fatal attacks of pneumonia and other diseases not recognizable to them. They were also faced with near-starvation and a wide variety of poisonings since most of the native plants were poisonous.
A Sayyadina, desperate with hunger, ate a portion of a native plant she had discovered and whose safety was questionable. She suddenly found herself "within the minds of all the Sayyadina who had come before her." This first Reverend Mother died because of ingesting too large a portion of the poison. However the observations given to one of her fellows before she fell too deeply into delirium, served as the basis for developing the Reverend Mother rite.
Reverend mothers became acquainted with the poison drug that let their direct chain of "ancestral" memory supplement the Wanderers' oral legends. From now on, rather than merely attempting to follow the ways of their ancestors, it was now possible for the tribes to know what those ways were by listening to a Reverend Mother's observations of the past
On Rossak the Zensunni decided to move themselves. At first they approached their neighbors by working on their farms or used their medical skills, gathering the passage money until their descendants would need to escape. In 7193 AG the naibs decided where those who were leaving would go, but for only some of their population, as it had been only possible to accumulate enough to buy passage for the young.
A Guildsman provided them with their choice of destination. A representative revealed the "Lost Ones" (those who went to Salusa Secundus) location. A Sayyadina among their number was admitted to the Reverend Mother rite and entrusted with a supply of the plants which produced the necessary poison. Their memories thus passed safely on. The refugees from Rossak were given by the Guild a comprehensive explanation about their Lost Ones who had been out of reach for so long. The Guildsmen spoke as little as possible of Salusa Secundus.
The elderly who left behind knew that their odds of surviving another winter on Rossak without the young were negligible.
The majority of those taken from Bela Tegeuse in 6049 AG dwelt for a time on Harmonthep, before ending up on Arrakis. Of this stay nothing is known other than the world had a random magnetic field, and so they invented the paracompass.
Ishia was the opposite of Rossak: hot, arid, oppressing to its life forms with heat as Rossak did with cold. Crops which survived did so only because of tremendous amounts of time and energy spent in careful irrigation. The system had to be constantly watched, as a single day's deprivation could kill a field.
The Zensunni had come from a tougher environment but adapting was difficult. Not accustomed to the workings of a desert ecology. Eventually they had done well by reverting to many of the ways of their ancestors from the time of the nomadic tribes, by living with the desert instead of struggling against it. There, they invented the first stilltent.
In reality, Ishia was chosen by the Guild as the training ground for Arrakis, where all the Zensunni finally went.
In 7193 AG, all known Zensunni in the Imperium were transported to Arrakis. This last relocation of the hajra, organized in deep secret by the Spacing Guild, served the purposes of both sides involved since it gave them a home on a world where they would be too difficult to dig out. They also gave the Guild a permanent entree to Arrakis and its spice.
The ensured that the Zensunni were established deep enough inside the desert far from those settlers already on Arrakis (concentrated chiefly in Arrakeen, the seat of government), then withdrew.
From that point on, the Zensunni recognized themselves not as a religion but as a people, and they called themselves "Fremen".
- ↑ FREMEN ATTITUDES TOWARD LANGUAGE