After Fitz returns to Buckkeep Castle and begins instructing Dutiful in the Skill, the idea of a full coterie to serve the prince is suggested. However, a lack of known Skill-users prevents one from forming. The only candidates for membership are Fitz, who does not consider himself an able Skillmaster; Chade, whose Skill ability was never nurtured and may therefore be extinct or too weak to use; Thick, whose Skill is very strong but whose disabilities make him less than ideal as a student; and Nettle, who is not even aware of her talent and whose inclusion is strongly opposed by Fitz.
The coterie is unexpectedly formed after Fitz is severely wounded during the course of rescuing Civil Bresinga from Laudwine. With the Fool assisting via his unique Skill-connection to Fitz, the group performs a Skill healing which restores Fitz to health, albeit at the cost of much of his body's strength. Thereafter Fitz instructs Dutiful, Thick, and Chade together as a coterie, though the group's abilities are far from ideal and they often struggle to work together. Additionally, Fitz acknowledges that it is highly unusual that the prince is a member of his own coterie. As the Fool has no intrinsic talent in the Skill, he is not included in the lessons; the single time he tries to participate, he and Fitz experience an unexpected and bewildering intertwining of essences, which precludes any further attempts at fully joining the coterie.
The rest of the coterie accompanies Dutiful to the Out Islands and to Aslevjal. During the course of the voyage, Nettle is summoned to Buckkeep Castle to begin formal training in the Skill. After this, the coterie is essentially disbanded, eventually being replaced by Nettle's coterie.