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Blue Brigade
Exile blue brigade.png
Description
Organization type: cult
Doctrine: Purging the world of vanity
Sub-groups: Blue Feather Club
Headquarters: The Great Ga'Hoole Tree
Personnel
Founder: The Striga
Leaders: The Striga (deceased)


The Blue Brigade was a cult created by the Striga with the intent of eliminating all vanities from the world. The group would go on raids across the Southern Kingdoms, breaking into hollows and forcefully taking any items they deem unnecessary such as art, jewelry, toys, and most important of all, books. Books created with the intent of learning were permitted, but any fictional piece of literature, poetry, joke book, or book of legends was to be taken. All these items are then burned.

The owls of the Blue Brigade are notable for their fanatic devotion to their mission, and were even known to burn owls as well as books.

History

Exile

The Striga has manipulated Coryn into send out the Band under the pretense of a weather experiment. Their first hint of the Blue Brigade is the smell of burning paper on the border of Silverveil and Shadow Forest. Meanwhile, at the Great Tree, a visit from Trader Mags gives Otulissa and Fritha more information about the Blue Brigade: the Striga has been in the Southern Kingdoms longer than he's been at the Great Tree, groups of owls have been seen gathered around small fires, all owls who've joined receive a blue feather which they display in their plumage, and among the things they've burned are paper and shiny things. The librarian, Winifred, also chimes in that several books are now missing from the library.

One night, as the Striga leaves on one of his "contemplative journeys", he's followed by Doc Finebeak to the Barrens. He observes the Blue Brigade harassing the Burrowing Owl family who Coryn helped, particularly Kalo, who refuses to give up her book. Having built a pyre, they rip the book away from Kalo, burning it and any other "vanities". She demands to know who's responsible. The Striga declares that this is done by order of King Coryn as he bathes in the light of the flames.

Meanwhile, the Band heads for Ambala to talk to Mist. She, the eagles, and the flying snakes, fill them in on the activity they've seen: raiding, burning, stealing books from the Tree's library, all in the name of Coryn. Unbeknownst to them, Tarn, the Burrowing Owl who was Nyra's captain, is spying on them. While he hates wearing a blue feather, he must look out for his self-interests. He later reports to the Striga that the Band were consorting with a scroom. Upon hearing this news, the Striga plans to sneak his Blue Brigade into the Great Tree on Punkie Night under the cover of masks. As the Band leaves Ambala, they discover a notice that declares them guilty of hagscraft and defectors to the Northern Kingdoms. Twilight, however, is too shocked by another discovery: the charred skeleton of an owl lashed to a burnt stake.

Word quickly spreads to the Guardians that the Striga and his Blue Brigade are waiting until Balefire Night to begin what they call the Great Scouring. Back in the Barrens, the Burrowing Owl family has been marked with a singed blue feather. To protect her family, Kalo has already left. Cory decides to go see Coryn to get some answers, only to pass multiple smoldering pyres. He goes yeep thinking they're burning the Band, but is saved by Gwyndor, who tells him that they steal his coals to make their fires, and they're only burning effigies of the Band. The Blue Brigade, as well as several other owls, throw assorted articles onto the pyre. Field Marshal Cram lights it, and the Blue Brigade owls dance, chant, and cheer.

Cory is refused by the guards, all Blue Brigade members, to see the king. Although he talks his way in, the Striga quickly has him thrown out. Later, having finally regained his senses, Coryn reads the flames in his grate, while a Short-eared Owl "keeps him company". Coryn soon leaves, declaring that he's off to the Spirit Woods to talk to scrooms. The guard reports this to the Striga, who decides to use this as an opportunity to take over the Great Tree, knowing that there are now enough of his Blue Brigade in the tree to take it by force.

In the Shadow Forest, a Great Gray and a Great Horned are looking for Kalo to take her back to the tree for the Scouring. Coryn, Kalo, and the Rabbit manage to kill them, but at the cost of the Rabbit's life.

The Blue Brigade captured Bubbles, but not Trader Mags. While Field Marshal Cram questions if the Striga is worried about those loyal to the Band, the latter declares that he has given the owls a simpler way, particularly the children. During the March of the Toys, several Blue Brigade members pry vanities from the children, and then sing praise to the Striga, while he whispers to Cram that Bell is now his.

As Elvan buys them time, Quentin sneaks the Guardians their ice weapons. Soon, the Strix Struma Strikers, led by Otulissa and Pelli, charge forward, taking off Cram's wing. The Blue Brigade rush to fetch battle claws and fire branches. The Great Hollow is breached, and everything is chaos. Bell grabs an ice splinter and attacks a Barred Owl threatening Pelli, but is taken hostage by the Striga. He orders everyone to drop their weapons, but is sent flying by Tengshu using the Breath of Qui, and Bell is rescued. The Striga makes his escape with a few followers, but the rest were dead.

Notable Members

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