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The Talamasca Caste is a fictional secret society described in the works of Anne Rice.
The Talamasca Caste (or Order of the Talamasca or simply Talamasca) is described as a secret society set up to watch over and keep track of the paranormal, in particular, witches, spirits, werewolves and vampires. Rice describes them as "psychic detectives".
In the novel Prince Lestat it is revealed to the vampire Pandora and Arjun that the founder of the Talamasca is the spirit Pandora had encountered upon the death of Cassiodorus. The spirit is named Gremt Stryker Knollys and was touched by what Pandora had said to him upon their first meeting. This touched him to create the Talamasca in the year 748 along with the Vampire who created Marius and another ghost who was the spirit of a just killed Vampire named Hesketh.
Some information of the origins of the Talamasca is mentioned by David Talbot in the book Merrick, where it is written: "A humming sound distracted me somewhat, because I was afraid that it came from bees. I have a very great fear of bees, and like many members of the Talamasca, I fear some secret regarding bees which has to do with our origins, but there is not room enough to explain here."
This can earlier be connected to the being that Pandora meets in the book Pandora, where in the ending Pandora meets a being described to have come to exist in the following way: "Thus force rose out of the very bees themselves, out of their intricate knowledge and their countless sublime patterns, as though they had somehow accidentally evolved it, or empowered it with consciousness through the means of their endless creativity, meticoulousness and endurance."
This force is then transferred to a scarecrow. Pandora speaks some about the century that this happened as follows: "Once in the sixth Century - that is, five hundred years after the birth of Christ and three hundred years since I had left Marius"
Through this we can make out that this being came to life 500 years after Christ's birth; thereby, the Talamascan was created sometime after this.
The Talamasca's motto is: "We watch. And we are always there." (Queen of the Damned, Witching Hour, and The Vampire Companion)
The Talamasca itself was described in Rice's novels as having "motherhouses" or bases in London, Amsterdam, Rome and other various parts of the world. The organization is said to have existed since the 1st Century (Rice states in 'The Witching Hour' that it was formally formed in the 11th Century, but existed before that).
The organization itself was described as having many influences in the suppression of paranormal information, namely the existence of vampires as is the case with Lestat, hoarding most of his diaries and other expository items that may have revealed the existence and nature of vampires in its vaults below the main motherhouse in London, England. Beneath the building are a number of museums in which the Talamasca house a substantial collection of artifacts, all connected with the supernatural in some way. Vaults accessible only by the eldest members of the order house paraphernalia connected with vampires. The Talamasca also housed several paintings of Marius's "The Temptation of Amadeo", and other artifacts from vampires such as Pandora, Armand, Louis, Lestat de Lioncourt, and Claudia.
The organization is also responsible for the suppression and cover-up regarding the Mayfair family's fiasco concerning the Taltos birth anomaly. It may also have been responsible for covering the burning of the Théâtre des Vampires.
Many vampiric characters from Rice's novels once belonged to the Talamasca before accepting the "dark gift". Jesse Reeves, David and Merrick Mayfair, are the most popular of Rice's ex-Talamasca characters. The Talamasca Order also appear in Anne Rice's The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, the Mayfair Witches trilogy.
A similar secret society appears in the Highlander: The Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the Watchers' Council or Watchers - an ancient organization based in Great Britain and with much the same principles: to track and observe immortals.