Prologue Part 1: Matthias the Guardian Owl
It had been a good day today. The dawn was beautiful and invitingly warm and the morning breeze was refreshing. A lone owl had just came back from his morning exercise routine, already feeling pumped to take on another day. Landing on a branch, Matthias closed his eyes, reveling in the light breeze and the morning heat.
His mind went back to last night, back in the owl world, Twilight’s kids had finally gotten their titles as Guardians of the Tree. There was a small celebration (only him, the kids’ family and friends and their parents’ friends) and congratulations went all around. Bell, Soren’s daughter finally got some owl she loved and had already been sleeping with him in his hollow. Matthias smiled, yes today was a good day.
Suddenly, he heard a soft grumbling. Chuckling at the bossiness of his stomach, Matthias decided to comply, leaping off the branch and headed towards the forest. It took about a half-hour until he saw his breakfast. Homing in on the target, Matthias swooped down and caught the squirrel just when he was jumping from one branch to the other. It was a little small, but it would just have to do for now.
The squirrel struggled in his grasp, but as the owl looked down into his terrified eyes with kind and apologetic ones, he slowly ceased his struggling and resigned himself to his fate. Mumbling a word of thanks, the merciful predator gave one quick snap to the neck so that his prey would not have to suffer for long.
While the owl contented himself on the squirrel meal, the ends of his beak curved upwards into a smile as he reviewed what he had planned for today.
Coincidentally, today was his brother’s birthday and he and his brother’s family had already planned out everything. Another party, he mused, but he knew it would be another great party. The invitations were sent, the party planners were excited to get started and the items and equipments for the party were already at hand, promising an extremely wonderful and well thought-out party. All they need now was a distraction for the VIP and Matthias knew just what to do
Sure, taking an adult rabbit on his back for a flight around town would be tiring, but if it meant spending some quality time with his brother and best friend alone, it would all be worth it.
With that in mind, he gulped down the rest of the squirrel and sighed happily, patting his sated stomach. Wings raised, he was about to take flight when he heard rushed footsteps.
Looking around, he saw a couple of figures wearing robes some distance away looking at him, hoods covering their heads. Others might think this was a little weird, but his instincts was already telling him a different story.
Suddenly he sensed something wrong and quickly got into the air, just in time to see one of the robed figure thrusted a paw forward. His eyes widened to see the branch he was previously on snapped into two, broken by some force most definitely caused by the one with the paw.
Magic, he realized, narrowing his eyes at his newly-designated foes. These guys are dangerous! In his mind, Matthias cursed the fact that whatever magic words he had learned before wouldn’t be usable on Earth, but that didn’t mean he’s going to run away from it. Heck, he even knew how to sense magic. So instead he zoomed down at them, claws clenching in anticipation of blood and flesh.
The two figures crouched, ready to jump to avoid the incoming warrior. Eyes trained on them, the owl was ready to change direction the moment they did. His breathing steadied, letting his lungs be filled with air, and with it the surrounding energy. The Breath of Qui, the owls called. Through this he could detect the minute changes in the energy levels around him.
Never take on a Guardian, idiots, Matthias mused. Whether they jumped to avoid or stayed to fight didn’t matter, this would be over soon. The distance between them shortened quickly, each preparing for the other’s first move. Just when they were within Matthias’ attack range, Matthias quickly caught sight of them twitching, a sure sign that they were about to dodge him. A second later, they did.
The left one appeared to be moving a moment slower and Matthias immediately swerved in after him. Talons flashed in the sunlight as he spun around to slash across the enemy’s face. The enemy was bringing a paw forward, trying to protect himself, but Matthias knew it was too late for him. His claws were only inches away from him when he sensed a change in the energy field. His claw struck something in the air, screeching across something in the air. Something hard and invisible.
But how? It’s not... That was when he realized his fatal mistake. In his overconfidence he failed to see the other enemy already casting a shield spell over his friend. Still in the momentum, he glanced back to see him with a hand forward, a smirk barely seen in the shadows of the hood. Completing the spin, he then quickly pushed against the barrier with the other foot, trying to jump away and to gain height.
However, the first enemy had already thrusted his paw forward and he turned it around, pulling it back quickly. Immediately, Matthias felt a force slamming into him, crushing him between two solid barriers. "No!" He cried out, wings bracing against the barriers. He couldn’t believe he was outsmarted by them and now got himself trapped. At the back of his mind, he knew this was well thought-out and it was a plan to trap him. But for what?
Digging deep inside, he called out for a familiar rage. A rage that had helped him many times before.
A rage that had helped him save a lot of good folks and kill many bad ones.
A rage that was inflicted upon him when he was younger.
A rage that gave him the moniker ’Monster’.
A rage that many had either called a curse or a mental condition, save for those who knew its true beginning as well as his past.
And from that rage he drew upon great strength. His eyes became scarlet, the colour of blood, completely enveloping the whole eye until the pupils had disappeared in the sea of red. He gave out a bone-chilling battle cry and pushed. Inch by inch, the walls were pushed further and further away from each other.
The two enemies were stunned. They had heard that he was strong, even without magic, but this was just plain crazy. It was impossible, yet he managed to withstand the crushing force of the barriers made by two master magic wielders.
However, the trap was meant to contain the owl warrior, not to kill him, and they knew that if the barrier-clamp trap didn’t work, then they would just have to resort to plan B. With their unhindered paw/hand, they channelled their magic there and caused it to glow. A magic circle formed floating an inch away from each of their palms and they snapped their fingers. Instantly, the circles dispersed and magical chains suddenly shot forth from the ground, wrapping the owl and successfully restraining him. With wings bound to his body, Matthias could not prevent the two barriers surrounding him, enveloping him in another layer of restraints.
Matthias screeched in frustration and rage as he strained and struggled against his bonds, the Blood Wrath making it sound all the more monstrous. How was it possible that they were able to catch him so easily, Matthias didn’t care. He yelled and cursed at them, promising a swift and painful ending when he got free. He would have yelled a lot more if it weren’t for one of the mages casting a gagging spell on the captive, effectively silencing him. Still that wouldn’t stop him from mumbling unintelligible words.
The two robed figures heaved a sigh of relief, finally catching their target. It was no mean feat, seeing how he was able to fight back and put them on edge. Only the advantage of magic and the plan had saved them from being killed, in seconds or even in a couple of minutes if they were lucky.
Their minute of rest over, one of them forged ahead while the other brought along their unwilling captive, levitating him so that he would not have his hand be destroyed by the irate owl. When they reached a small clearing, the first mage brought his hands together, muttering words whose meaning was lost to Matthias. But then as soon as the mage finished chanting, he slammed both hands onto the ground. The ground trembled, birds and other animals screeching while they fled and the space before them seemed to thicken and crackled. Then the air in the space swirled and spread outward, lights shined forth from the hole it created.
Even though his mind was filled with blood-thirsty rage, its significance managed to register themselves through the filter of the Blood Wrath. No! the owl mentally screamed, his struggles became frantic and his rage gave way to fear. The red faded from his widened eyes when he saw the portal opening. No, please NO!!
Images of his family, his friends and most importantly, his brother flashed through his mind while the two kidnappers began to walk towards the portal. Please don’t take me away! I have to go back to them! He tried to scream the words through the gag, but the resulting muffles fell upon deaf ears. Froth started forming at the mouth and tears began flowing down his cheeks while his attempts became even more desperate.
′Dennis! Anybody, HELP!!′ They were his last thought before being pulled into the closing portal and disappeared. All that was left were the remnants of their short fight and a few brown feathers.