The Lessening Society was founded by the Omega sometime after Vampires had been created, many eons ago. It was formed to be the Omega's army, his attempt to wipe out the Scribe Virgin's creations, the Vampires.
The Lessening Society is the main antagonist in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
Lessers are humans that have given up their soul to the Omega. In return they have their heart torn out and replaced with the Omega's black blood. Lessers are recuited most often because of voilent tendencies, as well as some physical ability in fighting. Many had committed violent crimes in their past, prior to joining the Society (murder, rape, domestic violence, aggressive drug running, etc.).
Lessers are undead, meaning they are not living in the natural biologic sense, but reanimated into life via artificial means - in this case, the Omega's god-like will. As such, they are impotent, and do not require sustenence of any kind, nor REM sleep. They only have to 'shut down' for a couple of hours everyday to fuction correctly. Because their blood has been replaced by the living essence of the Omega, Lessers bleed black, oily blood. Over time, Lessers also 'pale out', meaning their hair and skin pigment fades until the colour is leached from it - presumably because they do not receive the nutrients or oxygen that normal, human blood provides.
As a result of their transformation by the Omega, Lessers are effectively immortal, with just one physical weakness: steel puncturing the area where the heart once resided. In otherwords, they will only die if they are stabbed in the heart (or where their heart would be if it hadn't been torn out) with metal, at which point they spontaneously combust and are 'called home' to the Omega.
SIDE NOTE: The only other way to dispatch a Lesser is if the Dhestroyer (Butch O'Neal) uses his special paranormal ability to inhale their life essence (the black energy of the Omega that animates Lessers), taking it into his own lungs. This has the same effect as 'stealing the soul', causing Lesser bodies to be destroyed (without the essence to sustain them, they turn to ash). When the Dhestroyer uses his powers in this way, the Lesser's essence does not return to the Omega, but is held by Butch in his body until he can purge it later (with the help of Vishous' god-like power in his hand, which destroys the taint inside Butch). Killing a Lesser this way weakens the Omega overall.
A Forelesser is the title of the Lesser chosen by the Omega to lead the Lessening army. This individual is in charge of running the Society and making sure that there are constant new recuits, that the Lessers currently in the Society are working (running drugs to make them money, looking for Vampires, etc.) and not just terrorizing the city, that the Lessers are properly equiped to fight, that the Society is producing enough money to cover it's expenses, and that the Lessers remain under the radar of normal human society.
The Omega shares a bond with his Forelesser, both mental and sexual. The Omega typically meets with the Forelesser in Dhund, where the Omega resides, but occasionally the Omega comes to Earth, usually to indoctrinate new recruits.
The Forelesser has abilities that other Lessers do not. These include being able to totally paralyze other Lessers.
As lessers are chosen for their violent tendencies, second-in-command (or even lower) quite often murder the Forelesser to take over the position themselves. There has been a case of a Forelesser being brought back after being 'called home'.
The progession of Forelessers in the novels is as follows:
- Mr. ???
- Mr. X (Xavier)
- Mr. O (David)
- Mr. E
- Mr. O (David)
- Mr. ???
- Mr. D
- "the Little Shit"
- Mr. C
As the books progress, it slowly becomes apparent that each of the Forelessers have a quirk:
- Mr. X (Xavier) - drove a Hummer
- Mr. O (David) - dyed his hair brown and was obsessed with his ex-wife
- Lash - as the only half-Vampire of the bunch, was not impotent
- "the Little Shit" - was an abusive drug user
- Mr. D - wore a cowboy hat and Old Spice aftershave