Okay, the 8th battalion isn’t an individual character, but throughout Through Shade and Shadow, it acts as one. It isn’t clear from the start if it is merely a name latched onto by disjointed groups that makes it seem like a huge, nationwide organization, or if all of those groups are actually one.
The 8th Battalion is born in the idea of idealized militia rising up to defend what they think is right, their way of life. When Shades are discovered to be real, the 8th Battalion paints them into their canvas of people who are responsible for their pain, alongside people of color, people of other faiths, etc.
There is a certain religiosity involved here. The 8th Battalion hangs their hatred and bigotry on a tree of religion and sets the whole thing on fire.This, of course, buys them support from certain types of people across the country. When their first acts of violence aren’t widely condemned, and in some cases, actively cheered on, they take this as approval for their agenda and their attacks escalate to include murder and bombings.
But, it should be noted that not everyone involved in the 8th Battalion are religious zealots. There is a shadowy leadership behind the whole thing that has only interest in one thing, and they will use this group to gain it.