Author's Note: I've headcanoned Kludd as trans for so long. Title is taken from Turn the Lights Off by Tally Hall. This fic was also inspired by A Story of Rage and Love by hortensetheowl on FF ( s/10542852/1/A-Story-of-Rage-and-Love). I highly recommend reading it, it's one of my fav GOG fics, and I used their Naming Ceremony speech here, so credit to them. Anyway, I always thought that Noctus and Marella were too hard on Kludd. They really did favor Soren, imo. They straight up said that there was 'no place in the world' for Kludd, in book 6. Regardless of what Kludd has done, how can a parent say that about their child? Not trying to excuse Kludd's actions, because he is horrible. But he's also one of my fav characters in GOG, and it makes sense to me that he would join whoever treated him well. Especially if he was trans and his parents weren't good about it. Also, I've always found it incredibly interesting that, even though they're the main villains of the series, Kludd and Nyra have a truly loving and healthy relationship with each other. I tried to convey that to an extent here. I hope y'all enjoy! WARNING: This fic contains transphobia, child neglect, referenced character death, referenced body horror, referenced gore, fantasy racism, dysphoria, and mentioned animal death.
Kludd disliked his brother from the moment he had hatched. Soren seemed to have everything over him. Not only was Soren Mum and Da's favorite, but he was hatched male.
Kludd, despite being a very obviously male owl, he had been assigned as a female owl at birth. Maybe that was why his parents favored his younger siblings (especially Soren) more. But that was just his luck. And so, he took his anger out on his younger brother.
One day, while his parents and Mrs. P were out visiting a family of Sooties that they were acquaintances with, something happened. Kludd was out branching (when he explicitly was not supposed to be), while Soren was playing with his owlipoppen and talking to the unhatched egg in the nest. He heard the faint sounds of a Tyto flying near the tree, and quickly looked up. He saw an enormous Barn Owl coming toward him, with a few other owls joining them. The group landed on the branches of the tree, around him.
Kludd wilfed. He had no idea who these owls were, but he saw what they were wearing. Battleclaws.
"Hello, young'un," said the enormous owl, who seemed to be the group's leader. The owlet stared at her, absolutely in awe. She was the largest Tyto he had ever seen, and by far the most beautiful. Her face was large, and shaped more like a moon than a heart.
Kludd swallowed nervously. "Hello," he nearly whispered.
"I am Nyra, Adjunct General of the Tytonic Union of Purity. We are out, trying to find owls who fit our criteria. You seem like you might be worthy."
"What's your criteria?"
The large female smiled. The owlet seemed to understand her words, and was interested. "We are a group of Tyto owls only. We believe that Tyto owls are the purest owls in the world. We want to spread purity throughout all the owl kingdoms. To join our ranks, one must be a brave Tyto, full of rage."
Kludd puffed up his feathers. "I'm brave. And I have more rage than I know what to do with."
Nyra's smile widened. "Tell me about yourself, owlet."
The reddish hatchling did as he was asked. Nyra was sympathetic to his plight. She knew he was a male. Unbeknownst to Kludd, Nyra was a terrific actress, and often lied to potential recruits. However, she genuinely felt for his difficulties with his gender. She wasn't sure what it was, but something about this young owl interested her, in a way she could not describe.
Soon after learning to fly, Kludd officially became a trainee Pure One. He was treated like any normal young male. He was ecstatic!
These owls were kind to him. They treated him well. These owls taught him so much.
He learned about rage, and bravery. He learned how to fight. Soon, he had reached the top ranks among Pure Ones in-training. He even excelled at his Tupsi, which many owls failed or performed poorly.
Following his Tupsi Ceremony, was his Naming Ceremony. All owls who had not been born into the Tytonic Union had to have their names changed. Despite his excitement over killing Soren, he couldn't help feeling dread at the prospect of his name. What if they gave him a female's name? What then?
He tried not to think of that. The High Tyto, and Nyra had both treated him exactly like the male owl that he was. There was no reason that should change now. Kludd got in line with the other owls who were being renamed, and waited. Nyra and the High Tyto were giving each of them their names, and somehow, each naming seemed special.
Soon, his turn came. Unlike the namings of the other young owls, both of the Pure One leaders stood in front of him, instead of just one of them. Nyra spoke up.
"From now on, you will be known only by your Tytonic Union name, and will forget any previous names you have ever had."
Kludd barely kept the smile off his beak. Forget previous names. Forget the name my parents gave me when I hatched.
"From now on, you will be known as Redback, for your red plumage, unusual for a Tyto, will be the first, but not last, unique thing that others will notice when they meet you."
As soon as Kludd had left the room, he flew out into the night, shreeing his new name with joy.
"Redback! I am Redback!"
Defeating the High Tyto was one of the most difficult things that Kludd had ever done. He was grateful for the old owl's impact in his life, but his time as leader was done. The red owl was just taking what he believed should be his; the position of leadership, and being able to officially be mated to Nyra.
Kludd couldn't be happier. The Pure Ones were faring well under his rule, and despite losing half his face, Nyra said that he was more handsome than ever.
Kludd still felt a thrill in his gizzard whenever he saw his mate. The beautiful moon-faced owl had been the first to know, to actually understand him. She cared for him, and loved him more than anyone in the world, and he felt the same for her.
Now that they were in power together, a new era was ready to dawn.