Guardians of Ga’hoole #13: The River of Wind
Otulissa inhaled sharply, and reread the sentence. But such is not the case. These star maps were not created by the Others, but by owls. There is in fact a sixth kingdom of owls. It is called the Middle Kingdom, and I believe it is within wingreach. The parchment trembled as Otulissa read. She could not keep her talons still. "This is absolutely incredible," she whispered to herself. "Another kingdom of owls—but where? How?" For centuries—millennia—it was though there were only five owl kingdoms. Six! Since when? Why had no one heard of it before now? And it was within wingreach! One could fly there!
How could that be? The Elsewhere was across the vastest of oceans. She read on: About a year ago, I discovered a deep recess in the library here that I had not even known existed. It had been concealed purposely behind a false wall, it turned out, constructed with some sort of clay and wattle at the back of an almost empty section of the library. The wall looked more like an ill-made bird’s nest, a seagull-type of construction, or perhaps even a pack rat’s cache. It wasn’t.
Do you remember the slight earthquake we had many moon cycles ago? Well, apparently it loosened the wattle and stones. For it was after the quake that I discovered the recess and in it what appeared to be fragments of parchment and scraped skins—perhaps mole or even lemming, the kind of coverings that the ancient owls often used to protect writings. They were not books such as the Others had left here in this library. These were fragments of writings, badly damaged and barely decipherable, but nonetheless, I could tell immediately that they were not the writings of the Others. It was not handwriting, but bore the distinct marks of a talon, perhaps more than one talon. I cannot even begin to describe to you the tumult in my gizzard. I suspect you might be feeling something of this now as you read this letter . . .
"To put it mildly," Otulissa muttered to herself.
I am not sure how these fragments got here. From studying the talon writing, I sense there was more than one writer, but not many. Perhaps there were traveling scholars in those days who flew here from this distant kingdom to exchange information—but with whom? I know you must wonder why I have waited so long to write you about this discovery. First, I was not exactly sure what I had discovered. I kept hoping that I might find more. I found very little. And then, quite honestly, I was not sure what the existence of another kingdom, the sixth kingdom, would mean for our world. We have, after all, just come through a bad time—the Guardians in particular—with that dark period of the Golden Tree, the terrible arrests, and then the Battle in the Beyond the Nyra. We all hope she is gone, but do we know with any real certainty? What would she make of the news of yet another kingdom? I felt that it was best to wait. But I have waited long enough.