Guardians of GaHoole #4: The Siege
The Northern Kingdoms! The mere mention of them by the disgusting
Brown Fish Owl had set Kludd’s mind ablaze. He had to plan carefully
now. The capture of the old Whiskered Screech Ezylryb had failed
miserably. Of course, one could have called it a great scheme.
No, the great scheme had been to build a force large enough
to lay siege to St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls, better
known as St. Aggie’s. The academy had been snatching owlets
for years and training them to mine flecks, among other things.
With flecks, one could create weapons of unbelievable power.
Not simply weapons that killed, but weapons that could warp
the minds of owls. St. Aggie’s had the largest known supply
of flecks. But the owls of St. Aggie’s didn’t know what to do
with them. Still, ignorant as they were, they had found the
stronghold of the Pure Ones in the castle ruins and tried to
make off with the owlets that Kludd and scores of Tytos had
captured. The Pure Ones, of course, fought back to recover what
was, in their minds, rightfully theirs. This resulted in the
Great Downing. Scores of baby owls dropped while the two powerful
and lawless forces battled it out. And it was the Great Downing
that had alerted the owl world –in particular, those noble owls,
known as the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, who rose in the darkness
of the night from the Great Ga’Hoole Tree—that there was something
our there more fearful than St. Auggie’s.
Before the Great Downing, the organization of the Pure Ones
had been secret, and this state afforded them valuable time
and opportunity to build their forces and develop their strategies.
The Great Downing had brought the Ga’Hoolian owls out in force.
And, most significantly, it had brought out the legendary warrior
from the Northern Kingdoms, known there as Lyze of Kiel and
now in the Southern Kingdoms as Ezylryb. But it was not Lyze
of Kiel the warrior who had interested Kludd. It was Ezylryb
the scholar. It was said that the owl had deepest knowledge
of everything –from weather, to fire, to the very elements of
life and the earth. And this owl best understood the lurking
powers of the flecks.
So when the Pure Ones had lost the owlets, their source for
new owl power, Kludd had abruptly decided to change tactics.
The capture of one owl like Ezylryb would be worth more than
one hundred baby owls. The only way he could think of capturing
the old one was through the Devil’s Triangle. By placing three
bags of flecks in the three different trees to form a triangle,
Kludd had lain a trap that had ensnared the old Whiskered Screech
by causing massive disruptions to his powers of navigation.
The flecks set up a magnetic field. That this field had been
broken was not only unexpected, but disastrous. And it had been
broken. Other owls had come to Ezylryb’s rescue. They had snapped
the power of this field as if it had been no more than a brittle
twig. Higher magnetics! Ezylryb knew these dark sciences. And
that was why Kludd had wanted him.