From Marshal To Guardian, Part One: The Crossing

Thoughts of the Unknown

The Library, Great Ga'Hoole Tree, Southern-Kingdoms

Close to 12:00 p.m.

Christopher Barnes Markson, ex-TSA

As the almost porous and physically unstable cover was lifted off the - approximately - hundred pages that were in a similar shape and quality as this aged book's larger section that gave home to all the information that was inscribed into it by some long dead author, the smell of dry and dead wood, accompanied by the scent of apples (maybe some type of fragrance: possibly an attempt to keep this ancient tome's odor in a not-so-repellent form), hit Markson's nostrils (that were, biologically, not separate from his beak, passing a strange feeling through him again); to this, he had reacted to with the movement of turning his head entirely to the right, rapidly blinking a few times, then quietly and discreetly coughing for a few seconds. After he was finished with this short procedure, Chris cleared his throat, and turned back to the relatively largely-sized volume.

It was quite a struggle for Barnes and Lyran to land those three books on the ground in a safe and sophisticated manner, as the ex-marshal was not this familiar with his new physiology, and was unable to even float in mid-air (in fact, the only thing he was comfortable with was talking; even walking was still rather weird for him to do), and Lyran was, by Markson's experience, not the first choice of anyone who would have wished to accomplish anything in an "on-the-field" style of doing things; nevertheless, the Barn owl gave his best towards this small task, and managed to - carefully, and, surprisingly, rather precisely - lower the massive book to a level where Chris was able to grasp into its spine with his talons.

If anyone had watched, it was their business; at this point, the ex-marshal did not give that much of a concern towards no other than Lyran, who - if judged from his behaviour around Barnes - would have been able to crush himself to death if he had came to the point contact with the walls of the hollow, and if the book he was carrying would have had the right amount of momentum. Regardless to all of the above though, all three volumes were placed down on the floor of the library by the two owls (one real and one being a newcomer), following the same procedure each time that was mentioned beforehand; these "landings" occurred without any accidents, the two completing this quite challenging undertaking in a a total and awkward timing of seven minutes.

When finished, Markson gave his verbal form of appreciation (or, simply, said "thanks") to Lyran, who just simply replied (his facial expression also being rather suggestive towards this) that "It was his pleasure to assist"; Chris, hoping that he will not tip the imaginary scale of the conversation in neither ways, nor positive or negative, shortly replied with the round number of ten words, collected and organised into a senseful sentence.

- Now, you can return to your assignment as a "warden" - said Barnes, and watched as Lyran, although definitely disappointed that he was still to be sent away from the ex-marshal's vicinity, walked away in a fairly contented, fulfilled, and satisfied fashion, taking every single of his steps in a proud and upright position; indeed, this kid was rather useful when it came to situations as the previous one. Markson was glad that, if only for now, at least he had an owl who did not looked at him and thought him to be a potential killer and enemy; and, although the ex-marshal has considered his other thought carefully, he arrived to the conclusion at the end of his "cerebral-road" that, no: Valery still took him as a suspect, however, not as a murderer, which was on the bright side of everything.

At this point of time and place, everything was ready, and Chris was, after this relatively long time and waiting, and significantly extended lines of consecutive events and unfortunate happenings, irrevocably beyond any single shadow of a doubt, prepared and determined; if he was to find answers, he was to find the now, and, unless forced to, would not leave this very hollow until he found these explanations, be they the type that were supposed to be known, or the type which one would wish to have never heard of.

Be this as it may, Markson did not care about the aftermath of the outcome: he had a long life left to live, and now... now, he was reduced to a minor and insignificant entity, only functioning to eat, drink, and to sleep; he considered this a meaningless and pointless reason to live for, in fact, a colourless and purportless form of life. For now, he considered his only task to understand the - possibly - inexplicable process of how he was physically - and not mentally - transformed into an owl. When he would finally reach the ending stages of this pursuit for the truth, he would see no other point in his existance anymore. After all, he was just a simple bird now; what else did life have in reserve for him that would have counted as "relevant"? "Nothing", thought Chris as a bitter opinion, "I am not from here; what place would I even fill here? Nothing", he repeated his previous word that was only audible in his head.

Oh; how much of a naive idiot he was for even daring to think about these things! He considered himself to fully comprehend the status of his current situation, and yet, he knew a considerably minimal and useless amount of facts; none's existence is meaningless. However, it is only time that is able to give to signal to one: the signal that marks where one's real significance begins.

Snapping out from the previously interpretable style of thinking, Barnes closed the cover of this ancient tome again, just to check the title for another time; The Others and Their Assumed History Before Our Time, inscribed on this large collection of pages by someone - who has apparently died by now - called "Strix Otulissa". Not surprisingly at all, but this name revealed nothing towards Chris, who only gave the front of the book another look of hope, and, consequently, turned the leather cover of the volume over, then lifted an empty page that followed; when these were turned over, the first words - which were, of course, still not the actual content - of this tome became visually acquirable.

Dedicated to those who enjoy the study of the fields of science that are, by our still limited knowledge of specific, undiscovered topics, not yet fully mapped out and discovered, from a ryb who has experienced the far so many aspects of life, and yet, still finds the art of knowledge the most powerful, incredible, and inexplicable among all the others and the rest. From Strix Otulissa, the scholar amongst warriors.

Barnes considered this to be the author's note, but, in reality, this was only the personally written "welcome message" (if the two would not nearly have been one and the same) of this so-called scholar, who - if Markson has judged from a logical perspective - was, presumably, an owl herself.

By derogation from our main subject, if we look at the gender here, Chris clearly had a harder guess in front of him; following an assumed path of deduction, he believed this name to be an extended and modified form of the regular "human" name "Lisa". By now, the ex-marshal noticed that these owls had a clearly different variety of names, ranging from some that were recognisable towards ones that could easily have fitted into a novel of the fantasy-genre. He was either correct, or he was incorrect: it did not necessarily change anything that was still ahead of him.

Changing back to our original course now, however; Markson's precedently emerged "author's note-foreword" issue was answered quickly, as the next page contained the so-far coveted, real and genuine author's note, giving the ex-marshal an imaginary slap that signaled how the turn of events came to be of his expectancy.

The consequent passage was read as it follows:

War speeds up everything; not just the events and moments, not mentioning the months and years, but the essence of live for such souls that are deeply similar to me, those, who find the deep- and uttermost joy in knowledge and in its finding itself. Then again, finding knowledge is one thing.

Creating it… that is an entirely different subject.

The previous years have brought our scientific and technological knowledge further and further, stretching out optimistically as we kept grasping the notion of the unknown. Some of these discoveries could not have been made without the War against the Pure Ones though, some of our inventions definitely taking place on the helpful and positive side, but yet, still, the most of these creations were the tools of war, made to be used in battles; essentially, the instruments of death.

It came to me as a pleasant surprise that the thirst for knowledge did not faltered as the years of peace came; even then, many with the levels of high potential pursued this style of life: to study, and to give the world something new with the power of enlightenment.

Then again, knowledge, at the very exact point of time, can be our savior, and it can be our doom.

Of what my research in this volume is about… I am not entirely sure which category it fits in; what I do know, however, is that this specific topic is within the realm of something that occured way before out time came to be.

And it has the potential to ascend into something - something beyond our current imagination.

At the bottom of the above read author's note, there was some type of insignia, or picture: it had the shape of an owl - and it was rather non-specific, really; as if the „artist" had intended to keep the species of the little „logo" that way - with its wings covering its whole of the body, and only leaving the head in a visible range.

Albeit Barnes had almost missed it, there was a highly indistinguishable writing, exactly at the bottom of the page, not appearing as it would have been meant for the public, naked eye; for a guess, Markson would have took that the tool this was written down with was definitely graphite, however, believing that these owls might not have been at that point of chemistry yet, he settled with the presumption that this also could have been coal, given that would have fit the profile a bit more clearly - coal was easy to access, even for these owls.

Nevertheless, it is the word itself that matters, not the material (at least, Chris conjectured that it was a word; the inscription itself was rather difficult to take out, let alone to read); needing to squint to be able to understand the small lettering, the ex-marshal bent closer, so that his stakes of identifying the - assumed - word were in a higher possibility.

Attempting with all of his visual sense and power, Markson settled that the writing said Illic; now, of what this meant or was, the ex-marshal was entirely unsure, not even being in his „guessing-mood" at the given moment for this type of „riddle-like" things. If this would have been an investigation (Barnes had the luck, and has been a part in such events and „detective-duties" beforehand; preceding his position at the TSA, and being even earlier than his… specialist jobs), Markson would have gave the preliminary report that the word itself was, prima facie, not in English; and, since he was not a linguistic-expert, his line of work would have ended here.

And, for now, it will be temporarily put on a hold for an uncertain length of time, as the ex-marshal has already lifted the current page, the one he was studying so deeply (or, at least, its bottom right corner) a few moments ago, already settled upon the decision that, instead of figuring out what the word Illic wished to tell him (or to anyone else to whom this little inscription might have, for now, laid undiscovered), he was going to turn to the next page, currently not taking on the potential challenge that the unknown lettering was holding.

If he has time, he might come back to it; only if he had time.

On the following page, the listing of all chapters could be spotted, which Markson has now automatically skipped; not seeing a point in knowing of what was coming, he sighed, as the chances were that he probably could not have made sense of anything yet, especially if they were like regular chapters' names: appearing more artistic than informative to the reader, who, in this case, was neither a scholar, nor an artist, thus, he would have been unable to fully appreciate any of the above mentioned two things.

The next page was, finally, the part that Chris was searching for in the past minutes, which, although might have felt like a way more extended section of time, in reality, only a bare amount of four minutes have passed. Sometimes painful to hear, but, inevitably, time is relative.

Nevertheless, as he gently placed the freshly flipped page on the previously already read foreword, author's note, and the front cover's inside, the first chapter unfolded in front of Barnes' eyes, bearing a not-so-intriguing title, more specifically stating, The Others; thinking back for a few seconds, Markson recalled that these „Others", whoever they are, were also the prime subject the volume's main banner at its front, indicating, that, although they were yet unknown to Chris, they must have been the dominant subject of this book.

As from the name, the ex-marshal was, once again, unsure on what to think or to presume; as already stated above, the name Others was quite unspecific, not really giving or taking away a clue from the solution, which was, of course, none other than the detailed description of what an Other was.

Then again: only if Barnes would have known... his thoughts and emotions at this very moment would have been extremely different from his current ones, which were, in effect, almost incommensurably opposing from one another; once again, the lack of essential insight was restricting Markson, and it took away the non-existent option of taking a shortcut in the process of gathering information that, if, afterwards, assembled in a way that was following logic, would assumably reveal the desired „truth" that Chris was currently searching for.

However, Barnes, who has not diverted to such a line of thoughts, has already began to read the first chapter, which he had deeply hoped to be the starting point of what he just required to be embarked on a journey that would, if one would think optimistically, lead to a few answers that, at the end of the day, were not a waste of time to acquire.

The previously mentioned chapter in question was read - exactly identical with Markson's interpretation:

Before the War of the Ember, what is more, even before the time of our first rightful ruler, King Hoole, questions about a once - presumably - prospering species - only known to us as the Others - began to arise. Usually, the topics mainly consisted of the following: who were they, and what were they doing in this world? How come that we can still gaze upon and hold their buildings in high regard, even though they have been gone for approximately more thousand years? What was it that caused their extinction, marking the beginning of a new era?

And, finally, the least frequently asked question - however, I still personally believe that this is the most interesting of all: what if they are not extinct, dead, or gone, but are just purely... not here, within the border of our kingdoms or the land that is currently known to us, anymore?

To gain answers that - hopefully - will be sufficient enough for us to be satisfied with them, I hold myself to the idea of thorough research, study, and investigation, which three, by my own standards, are the mandatory constructional elements of an excellent conclusion and result.

Taking that I have already done this myself, my Dear Reader, there is no further effort required here, just the reading, and, if the situation cries out for it, an ordinary skill for notetaking.

First of all, I would analyse, in an additionally deeper style, one of the most usually asked question in this topic, this being the following.

After this point, the written text was a tiny bit larger than the previously read, leading Markson to believe that he have reached a sub-title, which signaled - as the author herself had mentioned in her words that were inscribed onto these papers long ago - the beginning of the first specific topic.

Chris sighed out loud, although this was not audible enough to be overly noticeable to anyone else who was currently dwelling in the library. If this carried on like this, Barnes was never going to find anything in this tightly limited time that was given to him by Valery; withal, what if she was already on her way to collect him? Not that he was not finished with his self-created duty in this grand-sized hollow, he, technically, had not even properly began yet! Additionally, thinking further ahead, where was he going to be placed then? Back in his „holding-cell" that was a small-sized hollow? This was all the freedom that he could manage to grab for himself?

Too many possible problems and conflicts arose in Markson's head, but the less progress he made with his attempt of finding answers; as his sub-conscious has sent him this cautionary message, essentially saying that he was wasting time, Barnes discontinued this type of thinking, and started to carry on with the ancient tome's reading.

Who where the Others, and what were they doing in this world? Many are most interested by this single question from all the rest, which are - doubtlessly - still as important, yet, irrevocably, this was the uttermost commonest inquiry made towards this subject by the statistics and numbers.

On the topic, I speculated that, in their own time and age, the Others were not that different from us; if we think about this previous sentence for a moment, I do not intend to make any suggestions towards their physical appearance: from artist-made sources (who, I suspect, also belonged to this now, presumably extinct species), we have solid evidence of what the Others were like in real life.

Summed up, they were feather- and furless creatures who walked on two legs that were, stated primitively, were like sticks, and usually had a rather massive amount of fabrics on their bodies, supplemented with different garments that we would only use as special ceremonial costumes, such as robes, headwear, and, occasionally and rarely, weapons as well. Their... physiology was rather unusual, but I believe that they might have said the same about us if, of course, they would have lived long enough to come into contact with us.

Back on our original track, however, I have mentioned that I live in the belief that the Others were - in their essence of life - not that heavily different from us; now, under this, of course, I mean that there are certain basic aspects that can be found in all advanced species of our current world: such things as community, compassion, specialisation, conflicts and war, the urge to survive by advancement. All are, in a way or another, are present in all owls, most birds, and a few other species (mainly dire wolves, and other, miscellaneous classes of animals).

From what pictures and references I have successfully acquired from a few different sources, I theorised that the Others were, in this perspective, the exact same as we were and are: their records mention scientific discoveries, wars that once occured on these lands, great and feared rulers that were in the highest positions that are imaginable (a few even comparing themselves to gods), and even maps of regions that, if gazed upon with our eyes, reveal nothing similar or familiar to our current world (I will divert to this at a later point).

Summing up the main question, the Others were just another species for another time, just as we are up to this very day; I believe that many have came before us, and the Others, and even more will come after we are gone. One day, our significance must end as well, just as the Others' did when their time came (or, by an alternative nature of thinking, when their time was up).

Who knows, maybe this whole world - maybe even Glaux herself - is waiting for a species that will be able to stand the tests of time forever, rising up as a champion of survival; maybe this is just an endless cycle where everyone, on one day, loses, and perishes.

These are our questions to ask, but we are definitely not enough to answer them.

Already, at the paragraph that described the physical appearance of these so-called Others, Markson had began to suspect a few things: now, the „fur- and featherless" section partially gave away the whole of the answer towards Chris, who, using his common sense and logic, could only think of one species that fit this description, and walked on two legs (the ex-marshal had actually laughed in his head when he read the words „sticks"; indeed, the expression on a biological field like this - such as the sentence that is now being referred to - was extremely ridiculous).

Albeit his suspicions on the credible and probable answer, Barnes could feel that he was diverting away from his self-stated objective once again; as an active response to this, he snapped out of his thoughts again, began to stare on the tome again, and continued on with his reading, which already reached up to the „second question" that was among the large-scale discussion.

Next in the order comes our second question that is the most desired-to-be-found out, along with all the others: how come that we can still gaze upon and hold their (the Others') buildings in high regard, even though they have been gone for approximately more thousand years?

This one is tricky, as I do not categorise this myself as something important; yes, their constructed structures and buildings are still standing tall as landmarks in the different kingdoms of the South; yes, they are a quite a sight for our eyes to be feasted on, and bear remarkable motives on their out- and inside both, showing us an insight into the culture of a long-gone species.

Do not misunderstand me though, Dear Reader, as I am not implying that I do not agree with the magnificence and grandiosity of these architectures; I was just, purely, unable to find their significance, or to connect them to anything in this current research I was conducting (which came to be this book, at one point).

I apologise to the admirers of this specific topic, but I am forced to grant a short answer to the question here: their structures were built strong and steady, as they have obviously managed to stand the tests of time; here, I could also bring up the topic that, if we think back to our Ga'Hoology lessons, we might recall that this Great Tree has also stood for more than a thousand years.

Still, I was confronted by many of my students who have protested against my opinion on this topic, and, I must admit, they, among the rare few who were capable, managed to convince me to change my answer.

However, this did not altered my opinion on the significance of the Others' buildings in this research, thus, I must settle with my earlier response to the stated question: there is not enough connection to be made, forcing me to mark this question as out-of-category, rendering it trivial.

Again, Chris made time for a small contemplation that he was going to participate in with only one attendant, who was, unsurprisingly, himself: no specific description was given at the latest topic about the style of architecture these Others have had, and yet, if there would have been a drawing of a gothic church as an illustration in the book, the ex-marshal would not have honestly been surprised. By now, his suspicions grew more stronger, but - as the author has also mentioned in all of the above read - this matter, the one about the buildings and their durability, was not well-researched or critical enough to the whole of this „project" (Barnes found it more fitting to refer to this tome as this).

Instinctively by this point, Markson had put his thoughts aside, and placed his view back on the old volume again (although this was not mentioned up to this point, but, when diving into his own mind and thoughts, the ex-marshal concentrated his gaze on a distinctive point of the library, which was one of the empty-looking „private-perches").

We have came to our third point in this research, namely, the third question we I am going to analyse, in detail, inside and out: what was it that caused their (the Others') extinction, marking the beginning of a new era that we exist in today?

Another common topic to be „dissected", if we play around with the words; many are settled with the theory that they just simply went extinct. Of course, if those so-called „many" would be my students, I would immediately ask them to forget this kind of simplistic ignorance: nothing, and I repeat clearly, nothing, goes „just" extinct! There was always a reason, and there will always be a reason.

From the research I have conducted, I have come to the conclusion that it could not possibly have been the wilderness, weather, or, simply, the „World" that wiped the Others off from the face of this earth; their knowledge of sciences and technology was sufficient enough for survival, thus, we can strike this off from our imaginary list of causes.

Even though I have checked through many possibilities, I feel partially ashamed, and partially intrigued that I can admit that I do not have a clear answer or theory. Some might ask, „why intrigued?" To this, I would simply reply, that I am not easily halted by something, especially not when it comes to research; to find a topic that manages to confuse and disorient me... that is just, simply, extraordinary!

But that is enough from myself; it is my list of theories that is important here and now.

Not so long ago, we have began to use a system that calculates and organizes our days, months, and years; this is, of course, the Glauxian Calendar I am talking about, starting at the end of King Soren's - my old and dear friend's - ruling days; now, I came up with the theory that, according to speculation and to the belief in the system of pure coincidence, it is entirely possible that the Others have also had a similar system to organise their days, months, and years.

I stand next to this theory very tightly, as I have also claimed that I have something that might as well count as a potential evidence.

Back in the days of conflict and war, I have been asked a favor from another old friend of mine, Madame Plonk - the now, sadly, deceased singer of the Great Tree, may Glaux rest her soul - to hide an item that was highly precious and important to her; this item was something we call a „coronation cup", used as a decorative element on specific events of festivities and celebration; and yet, this one was special, for one small, albeit gigantic reason.

It had an inscription on its outer body, saying „Queen E. - 1953."; as probably expected by you now, Dear Reader, none of us have even suspected what this has meant back then, but, glancing back at this now, I am confident that we have our first clue on the matter of the Others' extinction.

I would theorise that this number is, in fact, an actual date from the time of the Others; I hope I am not alone with this, and many understand how astonishing this discovery is!

Proceeding further once again; let us just take a look at these numbers that are mentioned above! One-nine-five-three; ask me, and I would state that this appears to be, by all means, a rather massive digit and value.

Taking that our recorded history began more than a thousand years ago, we could drift along with the idea that this was a quite latter stage during the existance of the Others; however, the word „Queen" is still a great question to me. Is it possible that us and this long-extinct species have not just shared the same basic ideologies, but have also used a similar „language"? Did they have the knowledge of what the Hoolian or Krakish sounded like?

After all, it is evident that they have used the same words as us, as countless of their works and writings remained intact during the passing ages, and, so far, their language appears to be almost precisely like ours.

Does this means something? Is it just a pure coincidence? I am required to repeat myself, but these are only our questions; answers have to be given by someone else, either in the near or the far future.

Returning to my original line of thought, I wish to show up a few more bits of both confirmed and potential clues.

The entire story of the Band and the Chaw of Chaws was inscribed onto paper, thus, referring to their stories and experiences should not be new to anyone.

During the aftermath of King Coryn's official first arrival to the Tree, the then already conspicuous Ember of Hoole gained a largely increased attention from a few, even those who were members of our Parliament back then (I do not wish and will not mention any names; such occurrences are enough for one time, it is good if they could be forgotten).

Nevertheless, this conflict died away in a relatively short timespan (then again, it always seems longer if you are living it); consequently, the discovery of the Sixth Kingdom came, and this, although at that point this was just simply unbeknownst to us, but this finding has also brought along the madness that we either knew as Orlando, or, more infamously, The Striga.

During the time he was poisoning our dear Coryn's mind, rules and regulations were applied; such that should never see the light of the sun, or the shine of the stars, ever again.

Well, I reckon that some things have to be forgotten, no matter what; but then again, would not that betray us ourselves? We are not just here to live and to change history, we are also here to record it. Nothing is ever forgotten; especially not acts of murder.

The murder of knowledge.

Not seen by us for quite a while, but The Striga somehow managed to gain control over King Coryn, who, afterwards, temporarily became a „puppet" for the blue owl; his decisions where The Striga's decisions, in fact, that bird was the only one who was allowed to see him!

It was then that the burning of the books has began; all types, regardless of their value, age, or origin, all were doomed to be reduced the ash, by The Striga's style of thinking.

This concluded in the establishment of the Place of Living Books; owls who have dedicated their time to this duty have memorised books of by heart, to be prepared for the possibility of all written copies of knowledge being destroyed.

I know, I know; I have got off the main topic of this research again. In my defense, I wish to add that this prelude, in this case, was required, as not many know the more... „secret" adventures the Band or the Chaw of Chaws have had.

Anyhow, to hurry towards my point, I will say names - two, to be pedantically exact: playwright Shakes, and author Ray Brad, considered by evidence to be Others.

Their works have also had a long number - possibly a date - on them, leading me to believe that we could, roughly, close in on the date of when this species has disappeared from these lands.

Shakes' works are dotted around the number 1599., but one of his surviving creations - only known by the name „Macbeth" - has the description of 1604., 5th of September, a very specific and promising „date", albeit I - and others as well - have no clear idea on what „September" might be; if it is a season, that is another similarity between us and them. However, if not, then we stand with another small, yet potentially meaningful unsolved mystery.

The other one, Ray Brad, has written a number of different books that we have recovered and stored, although some of them have faded away and seem to be damaged in more than one way; due to this, his works are normally not touched, and instead, they are kept separately, hidden away at the Great Tree, so only those with proper authorisation will be able to find them.

I must say... I have read one or two of his books, and, I must admit: they were not written for us. The events and occurrences that came to pass in those stories (at least, I do well hope that they were just stories) were...

They were not simply frightening; they were depicting futures that, if they had came to pass... it would be almost unbelievable. Those who wish to go through shock I experienced while reading these can request access to them from the book matron in the Great Library.

Still, I must repeat: these were not written for us. It was for another species, for another time; honestly? I personally believe that these should have stayed hidden and lost at they place they have came from. Such dark ideas... Glaux; I do hope that these were only ideas, and that I was not reading some... twisted form of a history book.

Yet, it is not my feelings about these writings that are important here; the date between the pages though - that does: 1953., way after the creation of playwright Shakes.

Hereby, I will look at this number as the very final known point in the Others' history; not only because it is the largest digit I was able to uncover during my research, but also due to the fact that it clearly matches up with the coronation date of our assumed Queen E.

To answer the main question of this single topic, I was only able to construct a short and shamefully simplistic response and explanation; to all these questions and clues, to all these enigmas I am attempting to crack! Essentially, to the whole, massive mystery of who the Others are, and how, when, and why they have went extinct, or disappeared, I could only comment with the following words.

I have not a clue.

Of course, the most basic and accepted theories would be extinction due to a war or conflict with a heavy or extreme outcome, or destruction by knowledge and technology (with this, I am referring to the Ember itself; let us just think about, how long would our species be in peace if it was around and publicly known? I consider that artifact to be in the possession of powers beyond our wildest imaginations, able to destroy a whole existent world if some mad-minded owl - or any other advanced animal - would come to such an ill mindfit that would result in such an event).

Now I am stating another question; what if the Others destroyed themselves, but not by the outcomes and the effects of war? What if their reliance on their knowledge was so great and overexaggerated that - slowly, yet inevitably - they have failed on a level?

Then again, this poses even more questions that could be asked: how far are we allowed to venture before we reach a certain point in advancement that can be dangerous? How do we know where to pull the imaginary line of caution?

Honestly, I would conclude with the theory that the Others were exceptionally advanced on their own fields of science and technology; we should not be even near to that level, thus, we can calm ourselves down and think without fear that, for now and for at least a hundred years, we are safe.

Dear Reader, from all the above, please collect and assemble what is useful to you - personally - as an answer; these were my thoughts on a topic that even the most brightest of our time can hardly grasp; it is painful for me to admit, but even I have difficulties in even mentally comprehending all these that I have researched.

This was as if like I was looking for the meaning of our existence - „philosophy", the Others titled this style of thinking, if I recall correctly; a topic that is out of the reach of the normal owl-mind.

Even now, Dear Reader, we still have a last and final question to analyse ourselves through; namely, this would be, and I quite my own self from a few pages earlier, „What if they (the Others) are not extinct, dead, or gone, but are just purely... not here, within the border of our kingdoms or the land that is currently known to us, anymore?

The most interesting topic, I dare add, purely for the reason that this question in itself is a theory, showing us an alternative that, if we think openly, would reveal itself to be not a pointless and meaningless topic to discuss, but a whole new research that we could venture towards.

I have consulted many of those who have travelled outside our currently ruled and overwatched borders, and, despite my natural aging (that, I have to admit, is rather slow, now that I bring it up), even I have took a light little flight trip to some of our outer-regions.

On my journeys, I have discovered that...

For the past five seconds, something abrupt and loud was disrupting Markson, although he took a heavy hold of concentration on himself, so he was still able to understand the words, despite the fact that his attention was attempting to divert to some other point of interest.

Soon, he had to realise that what he carried on with was not working, thus, he glanced up from the ancient tome, and snapped his head around in a roughly seventy-to-eighty degrees angle.

Although it took him a negligible amount of time, but Chris - promptly - had to realise that someone was calling out his name; the strangest thing was, that this whoever was shouting his actual name, and not that „Silverbeak" title that an unknown owl has placed on him.

- Markson! - a distinctively female voice yelled into the so-far undisturbed and tranquil silence of the library, attracting a lot more other looks, if Barnes is excluded himself from the total amount of owls who have currently dwelled in this hollow - Markson! - the shout could be heard again, but, on this occasion, the ex-marshal had already began to track down the origin-point of the sound.

In two seconds flat, he has successfully acquired Valery with his eyes, who was, by this current moment, being approached by Lyran, the latter visually appearing to have shrunken in size; Markson could only conclude that, for some yet unknown reason, his „temporal warden" was either afraid of the female owl, or this was only an elementary sign and routine of respect.

Although the two were presently standing on the other end of the library, Chris was still - partially - able to perceive a few words, and, from those, he had constructed entire sentences, using a bit of common sense here and there.

- Lyran, I have clearly said thirty minutes; not forty, not fifty. Thirty - she told the Barn owl, who was still in his panicked posture; even from this distance, Barnes was able to tell that he was aiming to avoid eye contact.

- He was doing his... his research, I did not wanted to snap him out of it...! - Lyran was hopelessly trying to come up with half-correct reasons to explain the situation; not surprisingly at all, he was failing this little task, which the ex-marshal could, without any strenuous effort, tell from Valery's facial expression.

- Next time, you will snap him out of it, alright? - she stated her rhetorical question, to which the answer was clearly „yes" from the Barn owl's side, although that response stayed unpronounced.

Seeing this as the potential and perfect moment for him to reappear, Markson left the volume on its own, and casually began to walk towards the female owl...

Or, at least, he would have, but Valery seemed to have had a swifter reaction than him, as she was already on her way, talking while walking towards the ex-marshal, Lyran closely following in her wake.

- I just want to be sure; is it „Markson"? - this hit Chris a bit unexpectedly, even though this was the third time that he has heard his name, only today, in the relatively compressed amount of four minutes. Seeing that she was just confusing Barnes, the owl attempted to reassure him, so she asked her question again - Is that your so secret name? „Markson"? - it took him a second, but the ex-marshal successfully replied.

- How did you...? - well, not exactly replied; the now minorly disoriented Barnes became even surprised and (positively) shocked at the female owl's next sentence.

- ...Know? - Valery quickly finished of Markson's half-complete verbalised thought, then proceeded with her own - Matthias told me; he still remembered, even after you... subdued him. I believe that your name has been burned into his brain for a lifetime after the scene that you have pulled off in the infirmary! - she laughed, however, the ex-marshal did not joined her in this social interaction.

„Felias, you lying bastard!", he thought as a massive burden has just fallen off from his heart (all metaphorically, of course); so this meant that he did not took an innocent life, and was not a murderer. So far, everything seemed decent.

- Well, I hope you have had fun reading... - began Valery, peeking over Chris, taking a glance at the still open tome that now just simply sat on its holder, waiting for the ex-marshal to return to it.

But this was not how the events were bound to carry on; destiny had something else for Markson, something a lot more complicated than reading.

- This might sound a bit unusual now, but... - started the female owl, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Barnes - I will need you to come with me to Ambala - she somehow sighed these words out, probably even herself not entirely sure of what she wanted to accomplish with this.

- Okay - answered Markson willingly; he was granted partial freedom, and was willing to co-operate now, as long as no aggression was involved; what an irony was that he did not knew of what he had just replied „okay" to! - Where is this „Ambala", higher up in the tree? - he asked, hoping that he sounded smart enough; once again, the irony.

As a simplistic response, Valery just shook her head with a smiling expression.

- Lower? - tried again Chris, but the same reaction was received by him for once again; if none of the two options were correct, he truly had no idea of what the female owl was talking about.

- Not at this Tree; over the ocean, a little flight towards the South-East. Where we need to go is at the outskirts, so it will not take as long to get there - these words had panicked Barnes; as soon as he has heard the word flight, he had automatically decided on a decline.

However, he needed to realise that he was not going to be off-the-hook this easily.

- You have considered that I cannot fly, correct? How am I even supposed to get there this way? - Markson was sure that this would instantly get him out from this trouble that he had not wished for; once again, his assumption was incorrect.

- I have an idea... - she said knowingly, appearing to be half in thought, half in reality - Just follow me to the take-off branches! - and, with this, she walked off, albeit this time Barnes knew that he was required to go with her.

As if he had wished for outside help, Chris turned his head and glanced over at Lyran, who just shrugged, and nodded towards the still open volume:

- I should pack up - he said in a neutral style, although Markson has found it rather miserable; leaving all the work to him again... this was just so damn impolite - Good luck out there! - this was his farewell as he turned and began to walk towards the ancient tome.

- Thanks - replied Barnes in a low volume, almost as if he was talking to himself, and started to walk after Valery, following her to the above mentioned location.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.