|This has nothing to do with anything, I just like it.|
For simplicity's sake let's use the word Ghost from here. They leave ghost traces, they're usually only experienced in a way you're barely sure you experienced at all. That's not always true. Sometimes whole places are ruined for centuries. They draw death. Or they draw dead. Or the not yet dead, the never-lived, or they draw out the spirits of the world and wood. They ruin hope and life in these places and make everything poorer.
We are not without our antibodies.
There is still blood in this world, unbroken from a fabled time of the True One World when all was as all else, not the invisible whorls and layers of being. Maybe they were dipped in magic from an age of still-mostly-fishes. Maybe the universe protects its own, although when has that been the case? Perhaps it is a single spell which persists across generations. A better word for that than spell might be will. I like to think that there's a sense, an insight, which all can attain which these people possess from birth. Wise in the cradle, eyes fully open, hands clenched, little knuckles white, not crying only resolved.
They come from the Smoldering Forest in the shadow of Ten Finger Mountains, and the ash and snow they pray in, naked, shows no footprint of the world above and beyond and below. Still these people from beyond the Plains of Torturous Beating walk freely in all worlds, plainly, with full knowledge of the horrors surrounding us all. They speak the tongue Gil-Foy-Ram, ancient and forbidden and aphrodisiac and demonic and powerless and Correct. They throw down their sabres in the haunted places. They are peace to the catacombs. Touchists, Visionaries, Mystics, Overkind, Beyonders, they are Too Many Named.
They are the Smoke Assassins and they can punch Ghosts.
Forgive me for the simplification. Smoke Assassins can touch what cannot be touched. They can smell the places where the outercreatures have made contact, tracking them like voles. They can see even those unaware, who cannot see us, the unseen intruders whose lives ruin mortal man only casually and collaterally.
They can punch Ghosts. They can hear the whispers of things without language beyond all ken. They watch the spirits of trees boil within their rocky and papery skins, licking out, hungry. They feel the laughter from the fire as it chortles down kindling, and shatter the smoke rising from it at their touch, sending black translucent splinters spearing into the ash.
Smoke Assassins do not magically have the ability to communicate with, or deal great damage to, or banish, or to keep separate the denizens and unseen layers of the global onion. But where others are oblivious or helpless against this Else they can perceive it, study it, interact with it, and, yes, with their bare hands, hurt it.
Their eyes are deep. Their skin is always hot. Their hair is always fine. Their children are always quiet and severe. Their old are prized beyond rubies for the many spirit worlds still for miles around them, as they were a moving storm pushing aside mosquitoes. They are taught from birth names for things we've never thought to intellectualize, and they consider the way of the waking world and the laws of man Options.
The Smoke Assassins always dine in hell, and may also elect to dine on hell. They are almost never the greatest warrior a man may meet, nor the wisest, nor the most traveled or beautiful or wealthy or talented. Their talents, their energies and interests, lie Away, and if they are nothing else then the most INTENSE person a man may meet might be a Smoke Assassin.