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Mist
489px-Scan0003.jpg
Description
Species: Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis)
Gender: Female
Family
Father:
Brother:
Grandmother:
Unnamed
Unnamed
Unnamed
Book Appearances
Appears in: The Capture, The Siege, The Hatchling, The Outcast,Exile
Movie Appearances
Appears in: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Details
A Spotted Owl with wings deformed from exposure to flecks. Formerly known as Hortense, but after a shock to her gizzard discolored her feathers, she is now called Mist due to her appearance.

"For this was an owl who wanted only to do good, who clung to dreams of freedom while giving up her own and, from a stony perch in a lawless place, she did find a way to wage her own war."

- Soren, The Capture, page 129

Mist, once known as Hortense, is a female Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) originating from the Southern Kingdoms, more specifically the kingdom of Ambala.

She met Soren and Gylfie at St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. She later proves to be a useful ally for both the Band and the Guardians.

History

Before the Books

Hortense was born in Ambala near a stream full of small bits of an iron-like metal, called "flecks". These flecks had the ability to give owls special abilities or great disabilities, as in the case of her father, who could see through rock, her brother, who was blind, and her grandmother, who lost all her wits. In her case, she was small and impervious to being moon blinked.

Hortense grew feathers slowly, and she remained the size of an owlet even as she turned four years old because of flecks, while also remaining unable to fly, as her wings were crippled. This came to her advantage when she volunteered to go on an inside mission to St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls, who were snatching young owlets and eggs and moon blinking them to amass an army to control the owl world. Two Snowy Owls placed her close outside the entrance to the canyons, with the promise of bringing her home afterwards. And soon, she was found and brought in where she began her mission.

The Capture

Hortense pretended to be excited after receiving her number designation, 12-8, and appeared to all the other owls as "perfect" in her duties. She helped treat Soren when his wings got plucked and Aunt Finny, who fainted when Soren talked about the Legends of Ga'Hoole. In reality, however, she was recovering snatched eggs and giving them to a pair of eagles who return the unhatched chicks to Ambala. Gylfie, a young Elf Owl who had escaped moon blinking as well, saw her on one occasion and told her friend, Soren. They confronted Hortense, and she told them about her past.

The next time she delivered an egg, Soren and Gylfie both watched. Suddenly, a group of St. Aggie's owls caught Hortense and battled with the eagle who came to retrieve the egg, whose name was Zan. Zan's tongue was ripped out, making her mute, and Hortense was pushed off a cliff by Finny. All presumed her dead, but in fact she was rescued by Zan's mate, Streak. It was due to her heroism that nearly every chick in Ambala was named Hortense in her honor, even if they were male. However, the fall caused her feathers to turn grey and misty due to severe shock, making Hortense almost invisible. When Hortense returned to Ambala, she assumed the name Mist.

The Siege

Mist saw the Glauxian Brother, Simon, nursing Soren's evil brother, Kludd, back to health. Kludd then murdered him, failing to notice Mist watching from a nearby tree.

When news came from another owl named Hortense that Soren was injured after a mission to St. Aggie's, she went to the hollow where the Chaw of Chaws were staying. She was accompanied by Zan and Streak, as well as the flying snake, Slynella.

The Hatchling

Gwyndor visited her before attending Kludd's Final Ceremony. He described her as being an adult by this point.

The Outcast

Stingyll and Slynella takes Nyroc to Mist's nest. She asked his name and when Nyroc denied having one, she notes his resemblance to Soren, much to the young owl's surprise. As the flying snakes taught Nyroc the alphabet and to help him decide on his new name, Mist taught him the legends and the arts of the great tree. Nyroc shares information before he, now called Coryn, leaves.

The Golden Tree

Coryn had thought of going to Ambala to see her. She was described as "getting old" but still being around. However, she did not actually appear in person.

Exile

Mist plays a large role when she helps considerably with the effort to hide books from the Striga's Blue Brigade, as well as works with the Brad and the Band to defeat the Striga.   

The War of the Ember

Mist is mentioned by Soren while discussing her infiltration of St. Aggie's, and while discussing HALO.

Trivia

  • Hortense has become a common name in Ambala, even for males, in honor of her accomplishments at St. Aggie's.
    Movie mist.jpg
  • In her illustration from the back of The Siege, she appears to have two talons visible on her left foot, and three on her right. A possible explanation for this is that owls have the ability to rotate their outer toe into a zygodactyl position: two toes facing forward and two facing back. In the drawing, Mist may have one foot in the zygodactyl position, and one foot in the anisodactyl position: three toes facing forward and one back. This may also be a drawing error, or perhaps she lost the missing appendage in the battle with Finny.
  • Hortense doesn't appear in the movie. However, when Gylfie and Soren line up in the Glaucidium, there is a pale-colored Spotted Owl beside Gylfie, perhaps a nod to the book character.
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