|A common symbol associated with NEO; the inner circles represent the five continents and their peoples.|
The Neutralizers of Evil Organization, or NEO as they are better known, are a semi-secret organization founded in 3960 AFE, at the end of the Age of Conquest. It was founded by several influential demon slayers and more moderate rebels against the Druden Empire. The organization's primary goal is to root out evils in the world -- both demonic and man-made in nature. At the time of their founding, this focused primarily on demon slaying, but has now spread to clearing out corruption in governments and churches, organizing rebellions against repressive regimes, and combating the slave trade -- even in countries where it is still a legal practice.
Obviously opposed to any organization or minions of evil, NEO is nonetheless met with some distrust by many laypersons due to their secretive nature; very few NEO associates make their membership known publicly, and none outside of the organization knows the identity of its leaders, nor the locations of their various councils and local charters. Overall, however, they are popular with the commonfolk due to their focus on furthering the rights of the people. However, this same focus and their willingness to meddle in the affairs of politics if needed, governments tend to be extremely wary when they know they are dealing with the organization.
Many NEO members are retired or active adventurers and/or demon slayers, but they can come from all walks of life and cultures, especially as spies and other eyes of the organization. Membership is often offered to individuals NEO deems capable and trusthworthy, but it is very difficult for someone to actively try to join of their own accord and succeed -- they are usually only able to achieve acceptance into NEO training if they already carry a good moral reputation.
Its members identify each other through various means - code names/words, secret hand gestures and signals, and sometimes even through iconography often worn somewhere on the person hidden from obvious view -- such as embroidered on the inside of a jacket.
There is a somewhat loose hierarchy within NEO. Titles are based off of parts of the body and essentially represent the ranking's overall function in the organization. The overall ranking breaks down as thus, from high to low:
- Soul - Leader of a district/area; oversees the other NEOnates in their jurisdiction; also meets with other Souls at predetermined times and locals.
- Head - Commanders under Souls; plan/assign missions and send orders down the line; often strategists as well.
- Hands - "Soldiers" who often carry out more battle-heavy missions and in some cases, assassinations. May or may not actually belong to a military organization in their "normal" lives.
- Eyenar - Shorthand of "Eyes and Ears"; scouts and spies who gather and share important information with the rest of NEO. Though at the bottom of the ranking chain, Eyenars are highly valued due to the power owning knowledge can hold. Are often scout or scholar types.
Within the last two rankings, there are specialized positions, such as "scout", "assassin", "sage" and so forth. NEO members, when referred by standing in the Organization, are often referred to first by their rank and then by their position. For instance, an Eyenar acting as a scout would be an "Eyenar Scout."
Position in life outside of NEO is irrelevant within the organization - if you are a noble in outside society, but are a Hand in NEO, you will be seen and treated as a Hand by other NEOnates, not as a noble. Ranks in NEO are determined by talent and specialization, not outside social systems. "Promotions" and changes of position are possible, but must be proven through action and ability.
Though the Souls and Heads do hold commanding positions, the ranks in NEO are approached with a more cooperation view than a subservient view; while a Soul is in fact a leader and organizer of other NEOnates in their district and often viewed with great respect, they are expected to speak to and treat all of their "underlings" as equals, and to recognize the importance each position holds for NEO.
Souls are elected into their position every ten years by all members in their district; there are no term limits, but a Soul can be relieved from his/her position by other Souls if they prove to be unsatisfactory leaders. Common NEOnates can also call for Souls to step down if they are dissatisfied, but a majority must hold a negative opinion for a change of leadership to take place.
Heads are promoted and assigned by Souls. Sometimes they are nominated for the position by fellow members or take up the rank themselves in times of crisis/in smaller districts. There is no particular limit to the number of Heads a jurisdiction can have, but there tend to be about one Head per 5-15 Hands and/or Eyenars in each region; less populated areas will of course have fewer, while more populous regions will have more.
Hands are promoted and assigned by Heads, and can also be nominated by fellow members if they prove themselves to be capable in such a position. Sometimes, entering NEOnates are automatically assigned as Hands if they show a preference for more militant-ish roles and/or pursue a similar career in their other lives. It is common, but not always the case.
Eyenars are often entry-level NEOnates and those who excel best as scouts and spies. Though technically the lowest ranking, they actually operate and act more on level with the Hands rather than below. They are often appointed by Heads, but sometimes Souls. Hands cannot command or appoint them, though they can recommend individuals for an Eyenar position to their superiors. Not all Eyenars are greenhorn NEOnates -- many are veterans that simply prefer to act as... Well, the eyes and ears of NEO.
The exact population of its members is unknown, but estimates during the Age of Unification range between 15,000 and 50,000. NEO districts often reflect those of area's government at more local levels -- often about the same domain a baron or chief would oversee with the commonfolk.