Licurius wearing his sthenicon.
Alternate names Cognister
Type Various
Employed by Various
Special equipment Sthenicon
Notable examples Licurius
Laudibus Pile
Atticus Wells
Appearances Series

A leer, also known as a perspicrith ("sense-holder"), vatiseer, or cognister, is a person who has had their eyes altered via special concoctions called washes to give them a variety of enhanced ocular abilities. A leer is not the same as a lurksman, an individual trained in the use of a sthenicon who is not a leer.

Depending on what type of leer they are, they can see what normal humans cannot, even with the aid of optical instruments, and can even tell if a person is being truthful or not. Leers and their abilities are highly sought after by teratologists, militaries, private individuals, and those engaged in illegal activities. A tool of their trade is the sthenicon, which augments their senses of sight and smell. Leers also ingest special drafts to enhance their capabilities on a daily basis, but what these are was not specified.

Notable leers include Licurius, Laudibus Pile, Sebastipole, and Atticus Wells, who appears in the side story The Corsers' Hinge.


Two types of leer exist:

  • Falsemen: Also called liedermen, these leers are less common and can tell a person's true emotional state and determine whether or not they are being truthful. Swill of Cognit is used in their making. The whites of their eyes are bloody red, while the irises are a bright pale blue. An additional role that may be filled by a falseman is as a telltale, informing his master of the veracity of others' statements and whether or not they may be hedging the truth. Telltales can only be effectively countered by another telltale or if one hires a palliatrix or professional liar. Sebastipole and Laudibus Pile are both telltales while Atticus Wells was a falseman.
  • Laggard: Their name derived from "lag", meaning to scour or scrub at something, these leers specialize in seeing things from far off, into dark and hidden places, and through things. Bile of Vatës is used in their making. The whites of their eyes are an olive-brown, while the irises are a deep yellow. Threedice is a laggard as was Licurius.