Girl Genius
Girl Genius

The Shining Brotherhood was a secret society of English Sparks, headquartered in the Queen's Society undersea dome in Londinium. When first mentioned in the comic, this group is referred to as the Grey Hoods. This name was given to them by Trogulus (see below), inspired by the robes the members wear; he was not a member of the group and didn't know what they called themselves. While it isn't certain that this group no longer exists, most, if not all, of its members have been killed, their apparent leader, Quintillius Harmon (Lord Snackleford), has been exiled to another dimension and their headquarters has been destroyed, so it seems appropriate to refer to them in the past tense.

Their goal was to summon an extra-dimensional being and tap into its power, allowing them all to achieve second-stage Sparkhood, overthrow Queen Albia, and usher in a new global "Golden Age" with them as rulers. The dome was the perfect location for this purpose because it was built (deliberately) over the site of an ancient temple. It is also not known if this group had any connection to the plot led by one Pandorus Omnisiens 300 years ago to (again) overthrow the throne of England, which somehow resulted in the ongoing submergence of a good part of the British Isles.

Lord Snackleford was as noted a very high-ranking member of the group, if not its leader, and it seemed to include nearly everyone resident in the dome as a member. Emphasis on the "nearly"...

Trogulus vs. the Grey Hoods[]

Trogulus, an amphibious non-human foreign exchange student working as Professor Tobias Homlomium's lab assistant, is as noted the one who gives this group their informal name, and reveals their existence and goals to the visiting Agatha and company, describing them as "a secret society of wizards and madmen" who "hide their faces".

He states that the Grey Hoods hated and feared his boss "Tobber", because, being an expert on higher dimensions with a special interest in the intelligent beings that might inhabit them, the professor had discovered them and was planning to stop their activities, (a bit surprising, actually, given his well-known passion for monsters) so they killed him, stuffed his body into a grinder and stole his research to use in their scheme. He also reveals other information he had learned from Tobber, such as the fact that the Grey Hoods hold their meetings in the aforementioned temple.

Tobber hated staff meetings and had already been sending Trogulus (in a Tobber disguise) to attend them in his place, so Trogulus was already well equipped to take measures against the Grey Hoods, hatching a plot to make them think Tobber was still alive, which succeeded.

The Great Work[]

The first hint we have of this group's existence is a conversation between Ariadne Steelgarter and an eyeball; that is, only the eye of the person she is speaking to is visible through a small porthole. As of yet, in the comic, Mr. Eyeball's true identity has not been revealed conclusively. The connection between Mr. Eyeball (a fan-coined name for this character, along with "Eye Guy") and the Grey Hoods depends on whether or not the "great work" he mentions is the same as the "great work" (overthrow Albia, Golden Age, etc etc) spoken of reverently by a particularly fanatical Grey Hood . It is this last man who uses the name "The Shining Brotherhood".

The Summoning Ceremony[]

Despite Trogulus's interference, and the presence of Agatha and her retinue in the dome, (not to mention Royal agents Ardsley Wooster and Hadrian Rakethorn) the Hoods proceed with the summoning ceremony in the temple, using a cobbled together mass of equipment which includes a modified version of The Other's Summoning Engine, although it turns out that the Engine is not used to summon the target creature, but in the "tapping in" part of the process. This conglomeration would have failed to work as planned, except a Sparking-out Agatha is covertly present to effect some repairs and even throw the activation switch. An enormous Red entity is pulled into Europa's plane of existence, with a kidnapped Violetta offered up as a distracting sacrifice. The taps are installed, and Snackleford becomes the "first" to successfully draw power from the visitor and ascend to second-level Sparkhood. However, once he has done so, it very unsurprisingly turns out that he isn't interested in sharing, and wipes out the rest of the Hoods en masse. Snackleford is soon disposed of himself by Dimitri Vapnoople, leaving the conspiracy evidently extinct.

It isn't clear whether this was the true purpose of the Grey Hoods all along or whether Snackleford commandeered the organization and turned it to his own purposes. If Mr. Eyeball wasn't one of the people killed by Snackleford (or Snackleford himself), and wasn't killed when the dome was later destroyed by unrelated forces, perhaps we will learn more about the founding and true purpose of the group.

See Also[]

Kjarl Thotep, another personage, extradimensional, who assisted with the summoning and who may be the same as Mr. Eyeball.

Hippocrates Brunel may have some connection with the Brotherhood , although it's more likely that it's only in association with Ariadne Steelgarter.