|“||The Tetra trust wanted to create beings capable of resisting extreme working conditions in extra-terrestrial mines. The Azkeels are the result of their failed experiments. They managed to escape before Tetra could destroy them. They took refuge in the catacombs.||”|
– Goddess-Queen Soyinka explains the origin of the Azkeels.
Within the depths of the catacombs live the Azkeel people. No one else knows about them because they never come to the surface. It is difficult to say how many of them there are - perhaps 10 or 20 thousand. They live in small groups of around thirty individuals. They can move around quickly and discreetly, even in total darkness. They know every corner of the catacombs perfectly. They go from place to place, surviving cold and humidity, eating small animals and insects and drinking from the underground lakes. Agile and energetic, they attack any being that enters their realm - even the demons, whom they particularly despise.
Their language is composed of unintelligible gurgling, though it seems their dialect allows them to communicate with each other.
To understand their presence in the catacombs means going back to 1813. At that time the Trusts were beginning to closely study the possibility of opening mines on an extra-terrestrial colony in order to furnish Phaenon's raw material needs. But those planets which offered the best potential also had the worst climatic conditions, practically unbearable for humans.
While Tetra Inc. gave up the idea, Khonsu Ltd. decided to develop individuals capable of surviving in the cold, the dark and in weightless conditions, in isolation. They also needed men without family ties, ready to lose their lives in a distant galaxy.
To this end the Khonsu engineers carried out a series of studies on manipulations of the human genetic structure to bend it to hostile environments. Their guinea pigs for these studies were condemned prisoners upon whom they began testing.
After five years of lab testing, the Trusts had to admit the failure of their experiments and gave up the project. Although it is true that the particular qualities sought from the experiments were achieved, these were also accompanied with severe mental deficiency, predisposition to aggression and, most of all, monstrous physical mutations. Modifying any particular gene would seriously alter the rest of the genetic structure in the individual and create an upheaval in metabolism.
In five years more than 2000 deformed and extremely dangerous mutants were created for these experiments. The decision to destroy them came too late. The security system's electricity broke down and they were able to escape. They easily overthrew their guards and found refuge in the catacombs, through the access point in the 66th basement of Khonsu Ltd. The catacombs are the place that most closely resemble the world they were designed to live in.
The Trust obviously tried to get them back, but the few patrols sent in to find them were never seen again. As soon as it became clear that the Azkeels wanted to stay in the catacombs, and weren't bothering anyone, Khonsu gave up chasing them and acted as if nothing had happened.
The Azkeels soon began to reproduce and to multiply their aberrant genetic code. Perfectly suited to life in the catacombs, they lived for a long time like wild animals with primitive rules of society. That is, until they met Soyinka. She appeared to them as a goddess and quickly became their queen. Any of the Azkeels would die for Soyinka. They protect her from the demons, and she commands and educates them. She truly became affectionate for these strange beings. Although savage, they were effective allies she could trust. For Soyinka it also meant a way to live in Hamestaga'n, the city of the wizards, the city of her father.