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"You must remember that I have at my internal demand every expertise known to our history. This is the fund of energy I draw upon when I address the mentality of war. If you have not heard the moaning cries of the wounded and the dying, you do not know about war. I have heard those cries in such numbers that they haunt me. I have cried out myself in the aftermath of battle. I have suffered wounds in every epoch - wounds from fist and club and rock, from shell-studded limb and bronze sword, from the mace and the cannon, from arrows and lasguns and the silent smothering of atomic dust, from biological invasions which blacken the tongue and drown the lungs, from the swift gush of flame and the silent working of slow poisons... and more I will not recount! I have seen and felt them all. To those who dare ask why I behave as I do, I say: with my memories, I can do nothing else. I am not a coward and once I was human."
―Leto II, The Stolen Journals[src]

Leto Atreides II was the third and last ruler of the Atreides Empire as its first and only God Emperor from 10219 AG until his assassination in 13728 AG, causing his multigalactic regime to dissolve into a tenuous confederation of rival factions.

Leto and his twin sister, Ghanima, were born on Arrakis to Emperor Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides and his royal Fremen concubine, Chani Kynes, daughter of renowned planetologist Liet-Kynes. Due to their mother's fatal melange addiction to overcome her infertility, both twins were preborn - being imbued with centuries of ancestral knowledge in the womb - on top of inheriting their father's oracular powers. Leto II was named after his paternal grandfather, Duke Leto Atreides, as well as his older brother, Leto II the Elder - both murdered on Arrakis by Harkonnen and Sardaukar forces over a decade prior.

Realizing that their preborn aunt, Alia Atreides - now ruling the Imperium as Regent - had been driven mad by the ego-memory of her late Harkonnen grandfather, Leto and his sister conspired against her murderous regime and its threat to the Golden Path of humanity's survival. However, they were soon separated after surviving an unconventional assassination attempt by House Corrino, resulting in Leto's exile into the deep desert in search of answers to his enigmatic visions.

Following his life-extending bond with a colony of sandtrout and the violent deaths of his father and aunt, Leto II ascended the Golden Lion Throne as God Emperor of the Known Universe and ruled mankind with an iron fist for 35 centuries, guiding it from certain extinction at the cost of his own humanity and happiness.

Biography[]

Upbringing (10210-10219)[]

Leto and Ghanima were born in the Fremen stronghold of Sietch Tabr on the final day of their blinded father's rule. Their mother died shortly afterward, succumbing to the dangerous amounts of spice needed to counteract the contraceptives put in her food by Paul's legal wife, Princess Irulan Corrino. Paul's prescience had anticipated the birth of his daughter, but Leto's subsequent arrival was unexpected. Their spice saturation not only caused a rapid gestation but full preborn awareness like their aunt before them.

Following their mother's death and the apparent demise of their father after his exile into the deep desert, Leto and his sister became the legal responsibility of Paul's Regent sibling, Saint Alia of the Knife. Though they were granted a fine upbringing - mostly by their great-uncle Stilgar at Sietch Tabr - little attention was bestowed upon them by their preborn aunt, who was possessed by Abomination and enthralled by her own power and the fervent mysticism around her family name.

Childhood & exile[]

At nine years old, Paul's twins gained the attention of their paternal grandmother, Reverend Mother Jessica, who returned from Caladan to interview them as part of her reconciled obligations to the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, who were concerned about potential Abomination but eager for an opportunity to salvage their Kwisatz Haderach. Realizing that their considerable latent power could be a threat to her psychologically unstable daughter, Jessica pressed her Fremen allies to protect them.

At this time, Leto's prescient powers began to emerge. Guided by visions involving the long-lost sietch of Jacurutu and a mysterious "skin that was not his own," he discovered the Golden Path previously attempted by his father - who was rumored to have returned from the deep desert as a decrepit preacher giving heretical sermons to the people of Arrakeen. Unlike Paul, his son developed a greater understanding of its implications, revealing not only its dangers but the painful necessities to prevent mankind's peril at the hands of stagnation and violent machines.

After Leto and Ghanima fought off an attack by trained Laza tigers deployed by the vengeful Wenscia Corrino, the twins separated, with Ghanima conditioning herself to believe her brother was dead so that no Truthsayer would learn of his whereabouts in the deep desert. There were suspicions about his survival, however, and Jessica knew of his obsession with Jacurutu. Leto slipped into total anonymity, using this time and seclusion to build a foundation of power and knowledge through which the full impact of the Golden Path could be realized. To enact such steps required a monstrous grip on both power and longevity to outlast the shortsightedness and impatience of Man, and Jacurutu was somehow a key figure.

Imprisonment & transformation[]

Analog-Sep-1963-Cover-for-Frank-Herberts-Dune-World-By-John-Schoenherr-1

Shuloch

Finally witnessing the lost and isolated sietch in person - long condemned and allegedly destroyed for harboring Fremen water thieves - Leto was captured by Iduali Naib Namri and Atreides Warmaster Gurney Halleck under (what were thought to be) Lady Jessica's orders to subject the preborn child to an overdosed spice trance and test his ability to resist ancestral possession. Despite his drugged state, he managed to hypnotize his guardian and escape into a nearby sandstorm before mounting a worm in his blind travels. In need of shelter after realizing his stillsuit pumps were cut, he came across a distant butte of rock in the distance - Jacurutu's cliff-enclosed prison colony of Shuloch - where he allowed himself to be apprehended by the Iduali smuggler Muriz.

During the night, Leto left his designated hut and came upon the labor camp's sandtrout farm. Utilizing his spice-saturated blood, ancestral experience and prana-bindu biochemistry to trick the leathery flatworms into thinking he was a nutritious pocket of water, they physically bonded to his flesh and began his conversion into a hybrid organism - his foreseen "skin that was not his own." Now covering everything except his face like a patchwork suit, their symbiotic membrane and piercing cilia not only made him invisible to the prison's outer perimeter of captive sandworms, but drastically augmented the boy's strength, speed, reflexes, durability and water conservation, enabling him to escape Shuloch's rock walls and storm across vast stretches of desert on foot.

Reunion with Paul Atreides[]

Once his assimilation had progressed to near-invulnerable levels - at the cost of his underlying skin, scalp and genitalia - Leto waited beyond the broken Shield Wall as the Preacher left his latest Arrakeen sermon on wormback. Revealing himself as Leto's father, Paul both admired and lamented his son's commitment to the Golden Path after his own failure to give up his humanity.

After reuniting with Gurney Halleck and Stilgar, father and son travelled throughout Arrakis, breaching the qanat of every sietch and village to destabilize the planet's ecological transformation and Alia's seat of power.

Ascendancy to the Golden Lion Throne[]

Following months of planetary sabotage - earning him the moniker of Desert Demon - Leto and his father returned to the capital city of Arrakeen to confront his possessed aunt and claim his right to the Imperial throne.

With Paul's mother there to witness a final sermon against his own theocracy, the Preacher was brutally slain after inciting his sister's priests against him - murdering their own godhead in the public's eyes. This preceded a dramatic struggle between the disgraced Regent and her superhuman nephew.

After Alia managed to overcome her maternal grandfather's influence and end her own life to protect her family and subjects, Leto II claimed the title of God Emperor and promptly married his sister to consolidate his hegemony. This union was purely legal and necessary for the Emperor's inability to father his own heirs. As such, Ghanima accepted Royal Scribe Farad'n Corrino as her life partner after he agreed to relinquish his family's Sardaukar forces to the Crown, but their descendants would forever be known as Atreides.

That same year, the new Emperor began writing his diaries, which would come to be known as the Stolen Journals.

Early reign (10219-12335)[]

Immediately following his ascendancy, God Emperor Leto II took over the Bene Gesserit breeding program - as part of his Golden Path's need for a human dynasty invisible to prescience - and ordered a new ghola of Ginaz Swordmaster Duncan Idaho from the Bene Tleilax to serve him as Commander of the Royal Guard, replacing his genetic predecessor after his sacrifice to force Stilgar's hand against Alia's tyranny.

In the following years of his reign, Lord Leto's iron rule was enforced by the combined might of his Fremen warriors and their former Sardaukar adversaries. Commanded by Duncan Idaho, his unique expertise was continually resurrected by replacement gholas once their lives ended at the hands of time, duty or Leto himself in response to their violent uprisings against his perceived betrayal of Atreides values.

Under Leto's guidance, the Atreides Empire gradually expanded into new star systems and even other galaxies. This massive growth in his influence also involved confiscating every Great House and House Minor of its atomics and spice reserves, along with the violent suppression of anyone he couldn't control, such as the ancient Order of Mentats. Under the pretense of their unstable reactions to lasgun fire, he also banned the use of personal shields to hide his acute sandworm sensitivity to Holtzman fields. Travel was similarly restricted - from interstellar spacefolders to local groundcars - thereby isolating his subjects to their native cities and villages where they could be easily controlled and supervised.

As the God Emperor's body matured and changed over the centuries, so did his terraformed planet. As his maternal grandfather had dreamed, Arrakis was transformed into a green and temperate paradise. New forests and rivers came into existence; offworld animals were imported. However, this pleasant ecology and its high moisture were deadly to the venerated sandworms, which nearly became extinct under Lord Leto's rule, and the Fremen themselves became similarly soft and decadent. Only the Emperor's northern Sareer - domain of his eventual Citadel - remained as evidence of the planet's desert origins.

Losing Ghanima[]

While Lord Leto's unique biochemistry slowed his aging and extended his life for many centuries, his mortal human sister lived no longer than the three-century maximum of melange users - refusing the prolonged youth of the Great Temptation.

Upon being informed of her death, Lady Ghanima's heartbroken brother wrote this in his journals:

"The sand beach as gray as a dead cheek, a green tideflow reflects cloud ripples; I stand on the dark wet edge. Cold foam cleanses my toes. I smell driftwood smoke."

Along with a starflower blossom she once brought to him, Leto marked this entry with a strand of Ghanima's hair.

The Fish Speakers[]

While the God Emperor's feared legions of Fremen and Sardaukar served him faithfully for centuries, he ultimately desired a more suitable replacement. Lord Leto grew deeply concerned with the fact that male-dominated armies were rampant with sexual violence and the pathological need to attack their civilian population in the absence of external enemies. But he correctly surmised that a female military force would focus their excess energy into more productive and consensual avenues while still keeping their subjects in line. Coupled with the necessity of a reliable religious organization to enforce what would come to be known as Leto's Peace, the Emperor established a new royal army of women under the continuing command of his Idaho series.

The Lord Leto christened this army as "Fish Speakers" after their first priestesses spoke to fish in their dreams. While the soldiers themselves were all female, males were still employed as house guards, and there was of course their ghola commander. Despite the fact that exclusively female armies were a minute rarity throughout the known history of the universe, the God Emperor's Fish Speakers - in terms of interstellar territory and historical longevity - earned their reputation as the most effective military force ever conceived.

The Nine Historians[]

In his 2,116th year as God Emperor - no longer visibly humanoid at this point - the famed Nine Historians came under his wrath for refusing to rectify their academic falsehoods and dramatic embellishments. Wishing to make an example of such folly, they were executed by rendering them unconscious atop burning pyres of their own published works. Their death was painless and peaceful. When petitioned by their concerned colleagues, the Lord Leto responded thus:

"They were destroyed because they lied pretentiously. Have no fear that my wrath will fall upon you because of your innocent mistakes. I am not overly fond of creating martyrs. Martyrs tend to set dramatic events adrift in human affairs. Drama is one of the targets of my predation. Tremble only if you build false accounts and stand pridefully upon them. Go now and do not speak of this."

Rumors of this incident spread across his Empire over the following centuries, from accounts later judged by the Bene Gesserit to have originated with Lord Leto himself through his majordomo, Ikonicre.[1]

GodEmperorofDune-LetoWorm

The Worm

Later reign (13650-13728)[]

Suppression of Wallach IX[]

In the 3,431st year of his stewardship, the ancient Atreides monarch - now inhabiting a seven-meter body weighing five tons - learned through his clairvoyant powers of an illegal Mentat training facility hidden on the Bene Gesserit stronghold, Wallach IX. After sending Duncan Idaho to extinguish the compound and enforce his ban on the Order, some of their Mentat-initiates escaped and continued to serve the Sisterhood under a false identity.

Arrival of Chenoeh & Tawsuoko[]

Bene Gesserit Sisters Chenoeh and Tawsuoko visited Arrakis in the 3,507th year of Lord Leto's reign to confirm his long-suspected execution of the Nine Historians. Chenoeh was invited to accompany the guarded entourage attending his infrequent peregrination on the Royal Road - even permitted to trot beside his Royal Cart and converse with the God Emperor himself.

After gently admonishing her attempts to suborn his Fish Speakers, he instructed her to inform the Sisterhood that he would "restore the outward view" and that the Bene Gesserit of all people should know the dangers of breeding for a defined genetic goal. The Lord Leto also shared more personal matters omitted from Chenoeh's report: thoughts on how he would be remembered, and stating that he would never see her again because her Spice Agony would be lethal to her.

His predictions came true, with her death ascribed to a melange allergy. Despite failing to achieve the status of Reverend Mother, Sister Quintinius Violet Chenoeh would go on to become an iconic figure in the Sisterhood's history.

Final months[]

Assassination attempt by Duncan Idaho[]

The year after Chenoeh's death, an attempt on Lord Leto's life came from a Duncan after nearly six decades of service. Fearing that he would soon be replaced, he fired on his Emperor with a contraband lasgun - despite most of his body being immune to intense heat. The Worm responded by flinging himself off his Royal Cart and fatally crushing the ghola with his massive weight, losing only the the tip of his atrophied leg in the process. After tracing the lasgun back to Ixian Ambassador Iyo Kobat, Lord Leto promptly exiled him from Arrakis, deeming him too trivial to execute while using him as a courier to inform Ix that their tech arrangements with the Spacing Guild were known to him, and that the God Emperor wished to order a new cart extension along with a large supply of ridulian crystal paper.

Knowing that the Ixians were close to developing machines capable of replacing Guild Navigators and therefore the need for spice, Lord Leto realized the next stage of his Golden Path and concluded that his reign must finally end. Thus the Emperor made plans involving a rebellious descendant of his twin sister - Siona Atreides, daughter of his majordomo, Moneo - and ordered the Bene Tleilax to send him a new Duncan Idaho. With this pairing, he sowed the seeds of his family's future and his own destruction.

Assassination attempt by the Bene Tleilax[]

Despite their nation's willingness to manufacture his gholas, Tleilaxu agents attempted to ambush the God Emperor during a carted peregrination across the Idaho River with his trusted majordomo, newest Duncan commander, members of his royal court and an entourage of Fish Speakers. A squad of Face Dancers approached the group disguised as Museum Fremen petitioners before shedding their cloaks to reveal black Atreides uniforms while reshaping their flesh in Duncan's image. They intended to confuse the Fish Speakers and leave their Emperor vulnerable, but the real Duncan stripped naked so he could command his subordinates without issue.

With his attackers slain - some of which by his speeding cart - Lord Leto and his surviving entourage arrived in the Festival City of Onn, where he punished the Bene Tleilax by denying their spice allotment for this decade and having Ambassador Duro Nunepi publicly stripped, flogged and exiled under the false pretense of Tleilaxu gossip about the God Emperor's "disgusting sexual habits."

Assassination attempt by the Bene Gesserit[]

Also attending the Festival City were two Reverend Mothers - Tertius Eileen Anteac (a Mentat trained on Wallach IX) and Marcus Claire Luyseyal. Warned about the Tleilaxu's treachery by an assistant to former Ixian Ambassador Kobat, their message failed to reach Lord Leto in time thanks to the delay of an incredulous guard captain. In gratitude, Anteac and Luyseyal were granted an audience and their Sisterhood rewarded with continued spice allotment despite their own assassination plan with a useless vial of poison, which the Emperor found too amusing to punish.

Exposed weakness[]

During his time in the desert Sareer with Siona Atreides for her test of survival and to partake of his essence and witness the Golden Path like her father before her, an unexpected rainstorm drenched the God Emperor and left him writhing in agony as the dormant sandtrout comprising his smoldering bulk reacted energetically to the presence of external moisture. Despite this brief period of torment, he remained intact and recovered quickly, but Siona was now privy to the lever of her hated Emperor's downfall. However, this didn't stop him from promoting her to the ranks of his Fish Speakers.

Hwi Noree & Malky[]

Lord Leto fell in love with the new Ixian Ambassador, Hwi Noree, who turned out to be a direct female clone of his former friend and sardonic advisor, Malky. Conceived using Tleilaxu biotech within the confines of an Ixian no-chamber where she was raised beyond his prescient foresight, the Emperor was unaware of her existence until her arrival on Arrakis. Instantly smitten with Noree's beauty, humor and kindness, which reignited Leto's humanity as part of an Ixian ploy to derail his commitment to the Golden Path, it took him only months to offer his hand in marriage. After their wedding announcement, Hwi's "Uncle" Malky was recalled to Arrakis by the engaged monarch. Aware of his old friend's knowledge about and danger to the Path, they held one last cordial discussion before Malky's execution by Moneo's hand.

Hwi Noree's presence in Lord Leto's life also had the consequence of driving a permanent wedge between him and his latest Duncan Idaho, who grew just as madly in love with her and resented his eunuch Emperor for keeping them apart. Duncan's prior discovery of his predecessor's wife and child only deepened this resentment, along with his master's refusal to explain how this predecessor died.

Last assassination attempt[]

Weeks later, as the Lord Leto and his entourage traveled by Royal Road to his wedding destination and began their crossing of a high ferry bridge over the Idaho River gorge, Siona and Duncan ordered their Fish Speaker subordinate, Nayla, to sever its support structure with her lasgun before taking out the suspensor bulbs on her master's Royal Cart. Expecting a divine miracle as the bridge collapsed into its deep chasm, Nayla was horrified to see her God Emperor and his entire entourage meet their end in rushing waters - including Hwi Noree and Siona's father.

Stripped of his restless outer flesh by the corrosive currents, Leto's searing agony did not end there as he beached himself on dry land. After thrashing his melted, bleeding and smoldering biomass into a nearby cave, he was soon intercepted by his assassins for one last conversation on what their future would bring.

Feeling his life run short and satisfied with their performance in his grand design, he directed Siona and Duncan to the hidden location of his legendary spice hoard - Sietch Tabr, his long-deserted place of birth - with his final gift to them being the stewardship of his Empire and the knowledge that their descendants would be invisible to prescient oracles like himself and beyond the control of any one ruler.

"Do not fear the Ixians. They can make the machines, but they no longer can make arafel. I know. I was there."
―Leto's last words, on the Ixian threat becoming an asset in his visions[src]


With his dying breath, what remained of his ravaged body ruptured into numerous sandtrout as they departed downriver to begin their process of encapsulating the planet's water - eventually trapping it below new deserts and ending the ancient Fremen dream of lush paradise.

Legacy[]

"I will die four deaths - the death of the flesh, the death of the soul, the death of the myth and the death of reason. And all of these deaths contain the seeds of resurrection."
―Leto explains his demise & legacy to Hwi Noree[src]


In both life and death, Leto II was viewed as an extremely controversial figure. Following his dissolution and the newfound freedom of his subjects, a chain of dramatic events transpired over the next 1,500 years. These included the Famine Times, the Scattering, and the reborn sandworms begotten from his own flesh. Many established power brokers who predated his Empire were either destroyed or significantly weakened by his draconian tactics and monopoly on the spice melange. To his admirers, Leto was known as the God Emperor, but to his enemies - particularly the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood - he was Tyrant of the Known Universe. Despite their previous crimes against him, his memory was later revered by the Bene Tleilax as their Prophet of God.

The God Emperor's state religion continued on Dune, which became known as Rakis. The new Church of the Divided God, which became the dominant government of his home planet, venerated him as their church's namesake and the third member of the Holy Triumvirate of Heaven - the other two being his father and paternal grandmother, Muad'Dib and Lady Jessica. It was also believed by the Rakian Priesthood that he was reborn from the spirit of his deceased brother, Leto II the Elder. This worship continued until their planet was attacked and sterilized by the Honored Matres during a protracted conflict with their Bene Gesserit rivals.

Among those returning to the Old Empire from the Scattering - including the Honored Matres - Leto II was predominantly known as Great Dur or Guldur.

Living on in his sandworms[]

It was said that within each sandworm that grew on Arrakis after the God Emperor's division, a pearl of his consciousness remained in perpetual dreamstate. This theory was supported when a desert villager named Sheeana Brugh - direct descendant of Siona Atreides and Duncan Idaho who later became the youngest Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit - displayed a unique ability to influence and pacify the worms, thereby branding her a holy figure amongst the local priesthood.

Besides their noted increase in intelligence, Leto's progeny were even adaptable enough to survive on other worlds after first breaking them down into their sandtrout building blocks so they could multiply and desertify the ecosystem before coalescing into new worms - a process applied to the Chapterhouse headquarters of the Bene Gesserit after Rakis' obliteration.

Name[]

Etymology[]

Leto Atreides II was named after his paternal grandfather and deceased brother, Duke Leto and Leto II the Elder. Despite being consistent with royal protocol - considering his infant brother never survived long enough to rule or father another Leto - Stiros of the Rakian Priesthood called him Leto III to further distinguish them, but High Priest Hedley Tuek argued that the younger brother was a divine reincarnation of the older.

Monikers[]

In the captive days leading up to young Leto's metamorphosis, Cast Out smuggler Muriz chided the young Atreides heir with a playful yet morbid nickname: Batigh, meaning melon - clearly underestimating the boy by assuming his body would end up being drained like a melon.

Prior to confronting his aunt, his anonymous rampage and destruction of multiple desert villages earned him the name Desert Demon.

Ari, Lion of the Atreides was his personal title and trigger phrase to restore his sister's memory after her self-hypnosis to believe he was dead.

His title of God Emperor was a direct combination of his father's Imperial authority and his own self-styled status as God of the Fremen religion - and eventually his Fish Speakers - Shai-Hulud personified. His sister also referred to him as the Golden Ruler after his devout commitment to humanity's Golden Path.

His long life and little need for sleep left him plenty of time to write various pseudonymous histories - some of which under the pen name Noah Arkwright, who may have been based on a real ancestor considering Leto also wrote a "secondhand" biography on the author's life.

Those who worshipped him on Gammu called him the Great Dur or Great Darkness, and Guldur which signifies black magic.

Physical Attributes[]

Just months after his assimilation, the child-emperor had already cowed the Fremen tribes into viewing him as a deity of terrifying power after his public feats of superhuman ability:

"The Judges had seen him walk through a pit of fire, emerging unscathed to demonstrate that his skin bore no marks by asking them to study him closely. He’d ordered them to strike him with knives, and the impenetrable skin had sealed his face while they struck at him to no avail. Acids ran off him with only the lightest mist of smoke. He’d eaten their poisons and laughed at them. At the end he’d summoned a worm and stood facing them at its mouth. He’d moved from that to the landing field at Arrakeen, where he’d brazenly toppled a Guild frigate by lifting one of its landing fins."

By the age of 35 centuries, Leto II had grown to an immense size bearing only vestigial remnants of humanity, as detailed in his journals:

"My body is about seven meters long and somewhat more than two meters in diameter, ribbed for most of its length, with my Atreides face positioned man-height at one end, the arms and hands (still quite recognizable as human) just below. My legs and feet? Well, they are mostly atrophied. Just flippers, really, and they have wandered back along my body. The whole of me weighs approximately five old tons."

Only his lean, pink and unwrinkled face remained uncovered by the scaled membrane of his silvery-gray sandtrout hide, set deep within a cowl-like cavity that could seal itself like oversized eyelids. The lower rim of his front ring segment could also retract and house either his arms or a grown woman in fetal pose, as Leto did for Siona so she could rest during her test of survival in the deep desert.

Comprised of mostly sandworm flesh, Leto's body was saturated with spice essence and could only ingest dry substances such as spice wafers. He also devoured sand during his desert excursions - although this was implied to involve a separate orifice from his human mouth - thereby fueling the internal chemical factory that vented breathable oxygen through his tail and allowed his worm-body to safely absorb even the intense heat of lasguns.

Few human organs remained within him: besides a normal set of lungs, Leto had multiple hearts, a fragmented skull and his former brain had grown into thick webs of ganglia throughout his extensive length. One of his few points of pride was his "well-defined" hands ending in long digits, which he kept well-limbered with Bene Gesserit exercises. Although later described as "tiny," they were likely just dwarfed by his five-ton body. Despite displaying full range of arm motion and the ability to reach his own mouth during the Great Sharing of Siaynoq, he also mentioned at one point his inability to shrug - apparently lacking the necessary back muscles.

After millennia of prana-bindu experience, not only did his mastery of the Voice know no equal, Leto was also capable of perfect vocal mimicry - typically when channeling ancestors such as his parents and paternal grandparents - much to the discomfort of everyone around him.

Thanks to his grossly expanded nervous system - which required only a few hours of sleep per month - Leto's senses were just as extraordinary as his appearance and longevity, as covered in his journals:

"I am the most ardent people-watcher who ever lived. I watch them inside me and outside. Past and present can mingle with odd impositions in me. And as the metamorphosis continues in my flesh wonderful things happen to my senses. It's as though I sensed everything in close-up. I have extremely acute hearing and vision, plus a sense of smell extraordinarily discriminating. I can detect and identify pheromones at three parts per million. I know. I have tested it. You cannot hide very much from my senses. I think it would horrify you what I can detect by smell alone. Your pheromones tell me what you are doing or are prepared to do."

These powers of perception allowed him to sniff out Reverend Mother Luyseyal's vial of would-be poison from a rather impressive distance, and could tell by her perfume that she wished to mask any incriminating pheromones. Contrariwise, physical sensations were largely numb through his leathery hide, as he admitted to Siona:

"My sight and hearing have become extremely acute, but not my sense of touch. Except for my face, I don't feel things the way I could once. I miss that."

Another complication of his distorted anatomy was phantom sensation in body parts he no longer possessed, as revealed to his ghola:

"I feel the vanished parts of myself. I can feel my legs, quite unremarkable and so real to my senses. I can feel the pumping of my human glands, some of which no longer exist. I can even feel genitalia which I know, intellectually, vanished centuries ago."

Quotes[]

Duncan: "Your strange words..."
Leto II: "Are but words. I spoke them. They are gone. No one heard them, therefore they no longer exist. If they no longer exist, perhaps they can be made to exist again and then perhaps someone will hear them."
Duncan: "Why do you poke fun at me, m'Lord?"
Leto II: "I poke nothing at you except words. I do it without fear of offending because I have learned that you have no ears."
Duncan: "I don’t understand you, m’Lord."
Leto II: "That is the beginning of knowledge—the discovery of something we do not understand."
— The God Emperor & his ghola[src]

Trivia[]

  • Leto II directly inspired the God-Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40,000. Both characters share similar titles, powerful psychic abilities, near-immortality, serve as the central godhead of a vast imperial cult, rule with an iron fist over a galactic Imperium, and their driving motive is to ensure humanity's survival. Indeed, much of 40k's lore is strongly influenced by Dune.
  • In Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides foresaw the birth of his daughter but not his son. This was reversed in the 2003 miniseries where he saw visions of a teenaged Leto but not Ghanima.
  • Leto's childhood nickname Batigh is an anglicized variant of the Arabic word for watermelon: بطيخ.
  • Considering how spice essence is lethally toxic to most humans, Leto's dissolution into the blue poison may have very well caused the deaths of numerous villagers downriver.

Image Gallery[]

Appearances[]

References and notes[]


Preceded by
Alia Atreides (regent)
Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe
10219 AG - 13728 AG
Succeeded by
None


Preceded by
None
God-Emperor of the Atreides Empire
10219 AG - 13728 AG
Succeeded by
None


v  d  e
House Atreides
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