Guardians of GaHoole #3: The Rescue
Dawn was breaking. They had been flying over Silverveil for
what seemed like hours, scouring the landscape below for any
sign of smoke. It was the smoke that had led them to the cave
of the dying Barred Owl so many months before.
"Do you think we'll ever find him?" Soren called
across from his starboard position.
"Her," Gylfie said. "It's a her."
"Oh, sorry, I just cant used to a female as a blacksmith."
"Well, get used to it," Gylfie said somewhat testily.
"Rotate positions," Soren called out. "Let's
look for a rest spot. Crows will be up soon. We don't want any
mobbing." Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger had been
mobbed once before on their way to the Great GaHoole Tree.
It was not an experience they wished to repeat. Digger had been
seriously injured. Owls flying in the daytime are not safe,
except perhaps over water. Crows have a system for alerting
other crows to the owl's presence and can come upon them in
a swarm, often pecking out their eyes, stabbing them from beneath,
and making their wings collapse. In the night, it is quite the
reverse. Then it is the owls who can mob the crows. Just as
Soren was about to take over the point position, Twilight spotted
big fir tree below, perfect for fetching a day's sleep.
"Fir tree below!"
Soren's gizzard gave a small twitch. It was a fir tree just
like the one in which he and Eglantine had been hatched and
had spent a brief childhood with their parents. There were countless
little ceremonies, rites of passage, that marked the development
of a young owl. And because of his snatching and whatever it
was that had happened to Eglantine when she had fallen from
the nest of perhaps been pushed by Kludd, the two young owls
had missed many of these. Whenever Soren mentioned this in front
of the others, they all seemed quite sympathetic, except for
Twilight. Twilight had been orphaned at such a young age that
he had no nest memories and prided himself on having actually
skipped such folderol ceremonies, as he referred to them. Not
the most modest of owls, he bragged about having learned it
all on his own in what he called the Orphan School of Touch
Learning, which, frankly became quite a bore to the others.
The fragrance of the fir needles filled Soren with a great
sense of longing. He yearned for his parents, not the scrooms,
but his real live parents.
Soren could not let himself give in to these feelings. "Before
we take a snooze, we have to plan." Action, Soren always
felt, was the best remedy for sad feelings. "I've been
thinking that when we met the Barred Owl, he was not just on
a border, he was really on a point where the corners of the
four borders touched, those of Kuneer, Ambala, The Beaks, and
"A convergence point," Gylfie offered.
"Yes, I think we should look for such a point of convergence.
Gylfie, you're the navigator. You've studied the map. Which
way should we head?"
"Well, for a convergence we need to head toward the point
where Silverveil, the Shadow Forest, and The Barrens meet,"
Gylfie said. "Tonight, when the constellation of the Great
Glaux rises, we have to fly two degrees off its westerly wing,
just between that and the claw of the Little Raccoon."
"All right, everyone get a good rest. We'll leave at First
Black," Soren said.
Three hours after First Black they had still seen nothing.
They had been in the region of the convergence for two hours.
Soren told himself he could not get discouraged. He was the
leader of this band. If the owls sensed he was discouraged,
then their spirits, too, would begin to fall. They could not
fail. Too much was at stake.