The Siege of Ga'Hoole

Chapter One: The Calm Before The Storm

On the edge of the sea, shrouded by mists, stood the great tree of Ga'Hoole, home of those great defenders of the peace, the Guardians. According to legend, the mists prevented all but the true of heart and strong of mind from finding the tree, providing the Guardians with the perfect headquarters, one that could never be located or attacked by their enemies, the Pure Ones.

Currently, most of the the tree's occupants were in the level of the tree designated for mealtimes. Digger the burrowing owl was enjoying a large meal of grubs, joined by his new girlfriend, Sylvana.

"Open wide, sweetie." Sylvana cooed, holding up a grub in her talon.

"Ahhh." Digger said opening his beak to take in the beak. Two bites and a swallow later, he smiled at Sylvana and said "Mmm, delicious. And the grub wasn't bad, either."

"Oh, stop!" Sylvana squeed, playfully nudging him. "Okay, my turn."

As Digger made to feed Sylvana a grub, his best friend, the great gray owl Twilight, grimaced a short distance away.

"And I thought Digger's former eating habits were stomach turning." He groaned.

"Be nice, Twilight." The elf owl Gylfie admonished him. "I think it's sweet."

"I still can't believe Digger actually got himself a girlfriend." The barn owl Soren mused. "I leave the tree for a few hours, and came back to this..."

"Come back to what?" Asked the spotted owl Otulissa as she wrapped her wings around Soren.

"Digger has a girlfriend now." Soren told her. "Sylvana, one of the new trainees."

"Good for him." Otulissa smiled, snuggling closer to Soren. "Now he knows how we feel."

"Oh, Glaux spare me..." Twilight moaned.

"Maybe you should get a girlfriend, Twilight." Gylfie teased.

"Oh, I don't think so." Twilight shook his head. "A true warrior has no time for romantic endeavours, even one as great and magnificent as I!"

"You left out 'modest'." Gylfie deadpanned.

Meanwhile, Soren and Otulissa walked over to Digger and Sylvana's table.

"Hello, Soren, Otulissa." Digger greeted them. "Sylvana, these are my friends, Soren and Otulissa."

"A pleasure to meet you." Sylvana smiled. "Digger's told me so much about you. About all his friends, in fact."

"All good, I trust?" Soren asked.

"Of course." Digger grinned, before pulling Soren to one side. "By the way, I've been meaning to ask: Where were you yesterday?"

"I was out flying." Soren told him. "And I ran into Kludd."

"Oh, I see." Digger grimaced. "Hope he wasn't too much trouble for you."

"I'd rather not talk about it, to be honest." Soren sighed. "It was a long, hard day."

"Say no more." Digger smiled. "Now, how about some lunch?"

"Yeah, why not?" Soren shrugged, joining the others at the table.

Selvana ingratiated herself well with the group, her honest, friendly demeanour proving quite likeable. Even Otulissa, who judged prospective new friends by high standards, was quickly won over.

As they were fnishing their food, the owls heard the distinctive sounds of the tree's large bell, which was ringing in response to the arrival of the Search-And-Rescue Chaw group. One of them was carrying an injured owl into the medical hollow for treatment. From what Soren could tell, the owl had a broken wing.

"Let's check this out." Soren suggested.

At the medical hollow, the patient was being attended to by an elf owl nurse named Holly. Soren and the others leaned against the edge of the hollow, listening in.

"That's a pretty nasty break." Holly noted. "How did you get it, mister..."

"Wortmore." The patient said. "I was ambushed by a dingo. Barely got away alive."

"You poor thing." Holly tutted, wrapping a leave and down-based bandage around a splint. "There. You should be up and flying again in a few days."

"Thank you so much." Wortmore smiled.

"Just doing my job." Holly smiled back.

Soren and his friends took this as a cue to enter, and greeted the patient.

"Hello." Soren waved as they entered. "We saw you coming in. Just thought we'd check and see how you made out."

"How thoughtful of you." Wortmore grinned. "I'm doing just fine, thanks to you Guardians."

"It's what we do." Gylfie shrugged.

"So I hear." Wortmore chuckled.

"Alright, that's enough." Holly moved forward. "Visiting hours are over. Go, go, go!"

In spite of her size, Holly could be an intimidating prescense when she wanted to be. She effectively shooed out the whole group.

"The nerve of that nurse." Twilight grumbled. "Thinking she can just throw us out like that."

"I didn't see you putting up much resistance." Gylfie smirked.

"Wortmore seems nice enough." Soren admitted. "Who knows? Maybe he'll decide to stay."

"We could always use more trainees." Otulissa nodded. "But I suppose we'll just have to wait and see..."

Meanwhile, back in the medical hollow, unseen by anyone, Wortmore's eyes glowed a burning red.

To Be Continued...

(Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and all associated characters are the property of Kathryn Lansky, Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures.)