“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Beholders are people granted with the ability to distinguish deviants from humans and see daemons even when they wish to hide themselves. Their supernatural sight is known as espial, sometimes poetically referred to by other names such as third eye and sixth sense. Other than this singular ability they are entirely normal humans who must use all their wits if they should wish to survive. Some Beholders hunt deviants and daemons while others seek to understand this hidden rung of the world and some wish to use the supernatural for their own benefit.
They are not infallible; a Beholder's opinions, biases and emotions may cloud their espial meaning they can see humans as deviants and vice versa as well as potentially clouding their sight making it useless. Additionally, there are ways for deviants to temporarily hide their nature from Beholders.
STRAND BY STRAND
A Web is a large group of Beholders who work together, many of these groups are governmental or religious in nature. Some smaller Beholder groups also exist known as Cobwebs. It is extremely hard to generalise these groups since many will not even all recognise each other or may not even know that the other Webs and Cobwebs exist. The motivations, end goals and methods vary a lot between each Web and Cobweb too. What is particularly important to note is Web and Cobweb are terms generally used by deviants to describe these groups rather than by Beholders themselves.
CAUGHT IN THE WEB
“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”
While there are too many Webs and Cobwebs to name them all, there are some of particular note.
In order to combat Germany’s Thule Society during the Second World War, the United Kingdom set up the Abnormal Intelligence Service, or AIS for short, as the thirteenth section of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Much like MI6 and MI5, AIS/MI13 continues to operate today.
The United States is protected from supernatural threats by the Bureau of Occult Research and Intelligence, or BORI for short. The BORI has left its mark on the country causing conspiracy theories of Area 51 and the mysterious men in black.
The Middle East has the Disciples of Alamut, the modern incarnation of the Order of Assassins from the Crusades. They have a long-lasting mutual hatred of the skinchanger Demimonde the Children of Absolution thanks to their usage of the Knights Templar during the Crusades. The Disciples of Alamut are not tied to one country and its many strands often travel from place to place, having no fixed location.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
The resources and tactics of Beholders can vary a lot as the kind of tools they can get a hold of will greatly vary and their attitudes towards deviants, daemons and society will shape the way they act.
The AIS is a highly secretive organisation preferring subtle tactics as opposed to direct altercation with deviants if it can be avoided.
The BORI is deeply rooted in the military though it does have covert and scientific divisions, its origins do affect its methods today.
The Disciples of Alamut are an interesting case. They are known for being assassins; in fact, the word assassin comes from their original Arabic name though even in their early days not all of its members were killers. They make use of lotus for ‘revelation’, aiding them in their hunt but hopelessly addicting them. While assassination does remain a part of their repertoire today, they are a lot more careful about how they deploy it, recent conflicts in the region being the cause for this discretion. Once power hungry and drug mad, many of its modern members though not all try to bring peace and freedom from humans, just as much as from deviants.