(And a little Insight)

In our last entry, we talked a bit about where all those hairy beasties were coming from, how Laurence thought feeding people mystery blood was a good idea and how his academic peers did not agree. Foremost of these peers was his old partner and friend, Master Willem of Byrgenworth college. He was the one who first said "Fear the Old Blood," making it essentially a motto to live by, and decried the Healing Church as a danger to all mankind.

So he was definitely fairly sane, right? Like the one voice of logic and reason in this whole screwed up circus? Sure, yeah, in his opinion, totally! Willem was in fact so rational and not crazy, he alone realized that instead of jacking yourself up on werewolf juice, everybody actually needs to focus on being able to see more things. That's everybody's biggest problem, see, that they just aren't seeing enough stuff, see? There's all kinds of things we don't see, see, a whole greater reality beyond our puny human comprehension, see, and we should all want to be able to see all that cool stuff! But how do we do that?! We would have to see LOTS better than we already do! How do you see better?! Well, obviously you just need a whole lot more eyes, see! More eyes, more seeing! A-DUHH!!!

This is the principle of "insight" in the world of Bloodborne, not just an abstract concept, but a tangible force that you can gather, stockpile, and even use as currency. As you gain more insight from various things, you do indeed begin to perceive more than the reality you once knew. It would therefore seem that Willem actually was, in fact, on to something or other, and his teachings have had just as much of an effect on the local culture as those of the Healing Church.

An early example of this are the mysterious women known as eye collectors, which you'll initially only encounter if you get caught by an enemy that throws you in an underground prison. This prison is actually where you'll have to fight Darkbeast Paarl to escape, but along the way, you'll also run into the maneater boars, gun-toting townspeople, and these hunch-backed old women who will literally attempt to steal your eyeballs from their sockets. No specific lore is offered, but we can deduce the existence of various cult movements surrounding the acquisition of more insight, especially by the existence of an upgraded eye collector referred to as a witch.

The Witches of Hemwick are encountered first as a boss battle, where you'll face two of them in succession or even both at once, if you give the second on a chance to revive her fallen comrade. Their tattered robes are absolutely covered in eyeballs that appear sewn together, and they logically shouldn't be staying so fresh that way, but they do, and wouldn't you know it, having access to so many more eyeballs actually gives these old ladies supernatural powers. They can cast spells and turn invisible and everything.

Worse, the witches can conjure beings referred to only as "mad ones;" emaciated, ghoulish humanoids whose features are obscured by their long, wild black hair, all except for the intense white glow of their eye sockets. Who or what are these beings? We never do find out, but you can only perceive them if you have any insight yourself.

The witches will typically be your introduction to this concept of eyeballs as a conduit of the supernatural, and the theme only escalates from there. If you're reading these as more or less your first dive into Bloodborne lore, did you know it had this whole other thing going on parallel to the werewolf blood stuff? There's a deep connection between the two, of course, and to other forces at work in the setting, but this is what I mean about how interesting it must be to go in truly spoiler-free. Once minute you're bashing spooky dogs and they're going kind of off the rails, then these crazy grandmas try to take your eyes and that's not even the half of it. You could say the lore of this game can really "blindside" you! Ha ha!

The question is, just why are these broads stitching so many perfectly good peepers to their clothes, anyway? Did they attend NONE of Willem's lectures?! THAT'S not where the eyes go! Where they actually go is much more clever than that, and it will make a lot of sense, trust me. More about that later, but rest assured, where they go is most importantly very sane.