Bene Tleilax, or the Tleilaxu as they are more commonly called, are a group of genetical altered humans who inhabit a world within the Dune universe.
The Tleilaxu are a secretive and isolationist culture that is dominated by a strict hierarchy and an overriding religious zeal. They have long focused their efforts on genetics, and the pursuit of spiritual elevation through physical refinement.
Originally trade also formed an important part of their culture. However, following revelations of their organ harvesting methods during the Butlerian Jihad they became collectively scorned and despised. This, coupled with active persecution against them, caused their trading connections to be dramatically reduced, and led to a significant change in their overall attitude to the wider universe.
The Tleilaxu are separated into several different classes, each one fulfilling important roles within their society. The main groups are:
- Tleilaxu Masters: Physically they appear as small humans, most often with small close-set eyes and a set of small pointed teeth.
- Face Dancers: The warrior and worker class, who are capable of adapting their physical appearance to a specific task at hand. Their doppelganger ability is also used to perform espionage against other groups.
- Axotyl Tanks: Little more that incubation vessels, this class breeds all Tleilaxu, as well as other beings (such as gholas). It is implied that these are what remains of the female gender of the Tleilaxu.
The Tleilaxu follow a strict and fervent spiritual ideology that derives itself from both the Zensunni and the Sufi theologies. As with most cultures within the Dune universe, their faith is monotheistic. While they do not place significant importance on the Giant Sandworm, they do credit great importance to Leto Atreides II, who they see as "God's Messenger".
Decline of Bene Tleilax
After the Honored Matres decimate Tleilaxa, the only known Tleilaxu survivor is Skytale. However, his posession of numerous individuals' genetic material (including that of many Tleilaxu) make it possible for him to recreate his culture. Additionally, the successful spread of the Tleilaxu that were sent out during The Scattering make it possible that others may exist in uncharted space.