Guardians of Ga'Hoole #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.