The Siege of Ga'Hoole

Chapter Five: No Good Deed...

Gylfie was a small owl, but her spirit was colossal. She faced off against her Pure One foes with gusto. Like Digger, she used her comparatively small size to her advantage, bobbing and weaving around her enemies' attacks, and inflicting damage on their more vulnerable areas. The weakened and distracted Pure Ones were then taken down by Gylfie's larger, more powerful comrades.

After another Pure One went down, Gylfie heard a familiar voice.

"Bravo, miss Gylfie!"

It was Ivar, perched atop a branch.

"Ivar?" Gylfie asked as she landed. "What in Glaux's name are you doing out here? You should be down below with the other trainees!"

"Pardon my directness, but I won't become a Guardian by cowering in a hollow." Ivar retorted. "I must prove myself in battle."

"But you're not trained for this!" Gylfie protested. "Not yet!"

"From what I've heard, neither were you, when you and your friends went to help the Guardians at St. Aegolious's." Ivar pointed out smugly.

"That was different!" Gylfie protested.

"How so?" Ivar asked.

"Well, you see... That's not the point!" Gylfie said hotly. "As a full-fledged Guardian, I am ordering you to return to the shelter!"

Ivar was spared the effort of replying by the arrival of another Pure One.

"Hello again, Gylfie." The owl hissed.

"How do you know my name?" Gylfie asked, confused.

"Oh, I'm hurt." The owl made a mock pose of angst. "And I thought we were friends!"

The Pure One's voice sounded oddly familiar...

"Who are you?" Gylfie asked.

The Pure One removed his helmet, revealing the face of Wortmore underneath.

"You..." Gylfie whispered.

"Long time, no see." Wortmore smirked.

"So, that's how the Pure Ones found us." Gylfie realised. "You led them to us!"

"Now, now, I can't take all the credit." Wortmore grinned. "If it weren't for you Guardians and your ridiculous notions of compassion, your sanctimonious little 'search and rescue' chaw, I never would found this place."

"It was a set-up?" Gylfie asked. "All of it?"

"Of course." Wortmore suddenly grimaced. "The worst part was having to spend all that time amongst lesser owls. Especially you. Speaking to a filthy, tiny wretch like you in such a friendly manner made me want to cut off my tongue."

"How dare you, sir!" Ivar roared. "Regardless of her species, she is still a lady, and deserves to be treated with the proper respect!"

"Don't make me laugh, you little fool." Wortmore sneered.

"I shall do more that!" Ivar suddenly leapt up at Wortmore, clawing and pecking at the Pure One.

"Ivar, no!" Gylfie yelled.

Wortmore clenched his talon around Ivar's body, and threw him hard at the tree. As Ivar's body fell onto a lower branch, a sickening snap was heard.

"AARGH!" Ivar cried out in agony.

"One down, one to go." Wortmore said breezily, before turning to Gylfie. "Your turn."

Enraged by Ivar's injury, Gylfie suddenly charged forward, ramming her helmeted head into Wortmore's stomach. As he doubled over in pain, Gylfie leapt onto his back, digging her battle talons into his flesh.

"Rargh!" Wortmore growled.

Wortmore reached over with his wings, but was unable to touch the elf owl.

"I'm a 'tiny wretch', remember?" Gylfie taunted him. "You can't reach me."

To emphasise her point, Gylfie pecked at the gap between Wortmore's head and back.

Roaring with pain, Wortmore took off, hoping to dislodge his passenger in the air. This was exactly what Gylfie had been waiting for. Pushing her talons in deeper, she twisted to the left, forcing Wortmore to fly that way. For a few haphazard moments, the Pure One and his passenger swerved and spun through the air, until Wortmore was forced down onto a particulary tough branch. His landing was punctuated with an all-too-familar snap.

"Rargh!" Wortmore screamed.

"Oh, dear." Gylfie mocked him. "Your wing's broken again. You really should be more careful."

"Kill you..." Wortmore spat, reaching up with his good wing.

"Not today." Gylfie declared.

As Wortmore tried fruitlessly to get at Gylfie, she manipulated him around the branch. In an instant, Wortmore lost his footing, and Gylfie leapt off him. The Pure One fell screaming to the ground.

Gylfie looked upon the broken body of her foe. She had never taken the life of another owl before, and she wasn't sure that she liked the feeling. Putting her dismay aside for the moment, she went to check on Ivar.

"Are you alright?" She asked as she helped him up.

"Aside from the wing, I believe so." Ivar groaned.

"Ivar, why did you do that?" Gylfie asked. "You could have been killed!"

"I was defending your honor." Ivar stated. "Though I admit, I overcompensated a tad... But where I come from, no-one thinks much of we elf owls, and I'm sorry to say, it left me with a deep need to prove myself."

"You didn't have to." Gylfie told him.

"Perhaps." Ivar nodded. "But as far as I'm concerned, there's no folly in defending the honor of a beautiful lady."

"Beautiful?" Gylfie smiled. "Me?"

"Yes, you are." Ivar admitted. "I... find you quite attractive, miss Gylfie. In truth, that was the real reason I came out here: To gain your approval. I hope this does not seem too foolish to you."

"Tell you what, I think I'll wait to see if we get out of this alive before I tell you." Gylfie smiled teasingly. "That okay with you?"

"Indeed it is." Ivar smiled back. "I look forward to your answer."

"Good." Gylfie nodded. "Now, let's get you to Holly."

The two elf owls quickly made their way into the tree's hollows, their little altercation having had an interesting effect on them.

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.)