The formation of the coterie is initiated by Skillmaster Galen at the request of King Shrewd, ostensibly to assist Verity in Skill-repelling raiders' ships. All potential candidates are gathered, including Fitz, whose illegitimate heritage would normally make him ineligible. Galen trains the coterie by a combination of isolation and punishment, creating an insular group by force rather than by choice. It is for this reason that the coterie bears his name, rather than the name of its leader.
Galen eventually forces Fitz's exit from the group, resulting in a six-member coterie composed of August, Serene, Will, Justin, Burl, and Carrod. August becomes the de facto leader of this group, likely due to his considerable Farseer heritage and Galen's favoritism. However, he is a leader in name only, as Galen maintains control of the coterie at all times.
.August accompanies Prince Regal to the Mountain Kingdom so that Verity can witness his wedding to Kettricken. Fitz learns from Regal that Galen plans to kill Verity; he narrowly succeeds in warning Verity in time. Verity kills Galen and uses the absorbed power to communicate with Kettricken, with August acting as a conduit. August's Skill ability is blasted out of him by Verity's actions.
After Galen's death and the loss of August's abilities, Serene takes over as the leader of the coterie. As the Red-Ship War continues the Coterie is spread out among the coastal towers and warships, but is never effective at helping turn the tide because they are delaying messages. Members of the Coterie, particularly Serene and Justin, are responsible for King Shrewd's deteriorating condition as the war progresses as they are using the Skill to drain away his strength. After Verity leaves on his mission to find the Elderlings, the Coterie is responsible for Skill Confusing his men after they are ambushed. Serene and Justin kill Shrewd within moments of Fitz assisting him in making contact with Verity, and Fitz uses Shrewd's knife to kill both of them in revenge.
With Serene's death, Will takes over command of the diminished Coterie. He is tasked by Regal to force Fitz to confess to being Witted and having killed the King, but is unable to do so before Fitz's apparent death. After Fitz is resurrected Will is the first of his enemies to learn of his survival through the Skill. Will along with Burl and Carrod attempt to capture Fitz in Tradeford, only to be stopped by a Skill Blast from Verity. Burl temporarily captures Fitz in Moonseye but he later escapes. Regal uses Will's powers to cause Burl immense pain for his failure.
The three remaining Coterie members are sent through the mountains to find the Skill Road. They succeed in learning the workings of the Skill Pillars and use them to travel significantly faster. Burl attempts to create a physical link with Fitz so the Coterie can kill him though the skill but accidentally finds the Fool instead, before they can act on this connection a massive skill blast renders them temporarily unable to. This blast occurs when Carrod is killed by Verity. Carrod had been sent alone in an attempt to get Verity to burn out his own skill powers. Will and Burl later arrive at the quarry with some of the Coteries that Will trained to serve Regal. Burl dies and is absorbed by Girl-On-Dragon, awakening her.
Will loses his leg and is mortally wounded after Fitz awakens the remaining stone dragons. Fitz finds him and keeps him alive long enough to use him as a conduit to connect to Regal. Using this connection Fitz skill commands Regal to be completely loyal to Kettricken and her unborn son. Fitz stays with Will until he dies from his wounds, leaving no more active members of the coterie.