Fundamentally, the Veil is exactly what its namesake would indicate: it obscures the perceptions of mortal Man. For as long as Man has walked the Earth, he has dreamt countless dreams, each and every single one of them being made manifest through his sheer belief. In the early days, the demons, monsters, gods, and glories of Man's dreams walked the Earth and interacted with the delicate species that had created them from nothing. It was a wild chaotic time, and soon Man subconsciously decided that he was safer if he didn't believe in all of his dreams. However, the collective belief of an entire species is a hard thing to deny. Man could not un-make what he had dreamt into the world, but he could tell himself that they were just stories, fantasy, merely dreams. And so the Veil was wrought.
Though common nomenclature depicts individuals as being on "beyond the Veil," the Veil is, in fact, not a boundary or border as many mistakenly think of it. It is merely that which keeps the vast majority of humanity from being aware of the monsters and glories it has dreamt up over the millennium. People are either Veiled or UnVeiled, as is the correct terminology. Beings born of magic and dreams: aspects, gods, monsters, demons, glories, fae, and the like are considered to be "beyond the Veil" as the Veil has no hold or power to keep them from seeing all of humanity.
These creatures, beings, worlds, and societies that are kept beyond the Veil, out of sight of most of humanity, have continued to exist despite the vast majority of humanity believing them to be "fictitious." It is remarkable that they continue to exist, despite that humanity continues to proclaim them to be unreal. Some philosophers take this as an indication that humanity still fervently believes in the supernatural and all of the old stories, but cannot admit this to themselves for fear of what it would mean.
The Veiled, who account for well over 95% of the human population, live out their lives safe and confident that there are no such things as demons, monsters, faeries, changelings, ghosts, or any of that other superstitious nonsense that is the stuff of fairy tales and bedtime stories. Frequently their belief is so powerful that not only does the Veil keep humanity from seeing those beyond, but it keeps said creatures from even being able to interact with the Veiled. Not every Veiled individual has such steadfast belief, and so on rare occasion the "world beyond the Veil" can make itself known though usually in only very slight way. Such events, referred to as Piercings, are usually quite startling and can in some instances result in an individual being UnVeiled. This is frequently a traumatic process and many humans go insane rather than accept what they now see.
Recent studies have show that there has been an increasing awareness of Piercings in recent years. Where as once the Veiled community would quickly dismiss or ration away a Piercing, now such events are recorded and broadcast. What once might have been a tabloid headline is now subject of a major television program. One must stop to wonder if humanity is starting to believe again, or if the Veil is becoming thinner...
If the normal hustle and bustle of normal everyday life strikes one as a strange and complicated dance of personal politics, business backstabbing, and quiet vendettas then one would die of the complexity of the social structure operating beyond the Veil.
In my years open to the wonders and horrors of the dreamscape world, I have personally witnessed literally dozens of completely dichotomous cultures meshing together like all too many ill-fitting gears in a badly designed clock. Some of the beings here are almost human enough to understand, like the Fae. They have their rules, and their way of doing things, and you can rely on that. There are other beings that their sheer nature makes them unreliable and impossible to predict. Others still do not like to talk with outsiders, let alone mere mortal men.
However, as far as I've been able to discern there seems to be a general pecking order among the beings humanity has banished into fairy tales. At the very top of the social ladder is the Council of Nine.
The nine Powers that Be comprise this mysterious council that I have as to yet been able to observe. But from what I have been able to pry from the tight lips of the denizens of this place is primarily that the Powers that Be are the utmost powerful beings on the planet, and they govern the whole of creation. When I first came to see beyond the Veil back in '62, I would have scoffed at this, claiming that surely God governed creation, not some committee. However, in my years here, I have seen many things, demons, angels, and mythological gods included, but I have seen no more evidence of God than I had before being UnVeiled. It would seem the great Creator, if he does exist, requires faith of us all.
Regardless of whom the Council answers to, if anyone, they number nine, and the names of the beings on the council are ominous indeed: Suffering, Bliss, Order, Chaos, Energy, Matter, Life, Death, and Void. If their names are to be believed, these nine beings encompass the most fundamental forces of existence. It is no small wonder they are feared.
Below the Council are what the locals call Aspects. Many creatures here speak in riddles and in hyperbole, but they seem convinced that these creatures, who command the same respect as nobility, are embodiments of fundamental aspects of reality. Making them something like miniature Powers.
Next come Myths: all of the great creatures and beings of story, the ones with names. Names apparently are exceedingly important to many of the locals and the circles in which they travel. The ancient gods of myth, beings like the Kraken, the Minotaur, Tommy Rawhead, and countless others all dwell beyond the Veil. Some of them are surprisingly different than I would have imagined; many are frighteningly similar.
At the very bottom of the mass of creatures that inhabit the unseen world are the poor souls who have found themselves UnVeiled; mortal men and women who have through purpose or chance found their eyes un-obscured so that they might see the dreams and nightmares they have wrought. Some of us get by well enough. Others have acquired some measure of power and magic. Far too many do not survive.
A great many newcomers to this side of the Veil ask me why I don't carry a gun. They look at me and the sword on my hip and they think me delightfully quaint. I can't really say I blame them, but after so many years, the scoffing does become tiresome.
In truth, when I first came to see this side of the world, swords were something only the cavalry carried. A man wore a gun on his hip if he was going to go about armed. Swords were horribly outdated as far as weapons went. Guns were just all around better at getting the job done. Easier to use, more effective, and you didn't have to get too terribly close to the other guy. But I quickly learned that on this side of the Veil, guns are more of a liability than they are an effective way to protect oneself.
Mankind has spent centuries dreaming up all manner of nasty and horrible thing to come out of the darkness and eviscerate you as soon as look at you. Many of these horrible things are quite human, or at least human enough. It's a dark and terrible world, the world of man's dreams. It is not unexpected that mortals fear for their very existence far more than they would in the waking world, and quite understandable that they would care to arm themselves against such evident mortal danger. What many don't realize is that humans terrify many of the creatures this side of the Veil.
Man is inventive, clever, and capable well beyond the means of so many of the denizens of his dreams. These myths are quite set in their ways, knowing the world to be one thing and knowing their role in it all, whereas a human is capable of changing the rules and the roles. He does so through his mind, his will, and his technology. A gun is not a part of a man, it is a thing, a tool, a device, but it is not a part of what makes him himself. Many denizens see a gun as a cheating in a way I can hardly describe. A sword is little more than an artificial claw. Magic, while mind-bendingly unreal, is a natural talent. But a gun is an efficient device of death and violence, and anyone who picks one up can use it. This seems to many what the blackest of magic must seem like to the Veiled.
A gun may be far more efficient and effective than a sword, but carrying one can and will inevitably bring you far more trouble. Some creatures here are so incensed by the unfairness of man's technological weaponry that they will preemptively attack. Sometimes it is genuinely safer to not carry a piece. A silver edged sword will down a werewolf as instantly as a silver bullet. However that pack of werewolves in the bar behind you would snap your neck and disembowel you instantly if they sniff silver and cordite on you where they might have just kept their distance if it was just a dagger on your hip.
Furthermore, any fool can shoot a gun. Maybe not well, but it's easy to destroy something with a gun. Point and click. A sword takes more effort, more skill, more finesse. That can gain an odd kind of respect from many on this side of the Veil. That same pack of werewolves could respect a man who felled one of them by the blade. They'd rip out your throat just as fast as if you had used a gun, but they'd respect you.
Respect goes a long way on this side of the Veil. That's what I tell people when they ask me why I don't carry a gun: Respect.