"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

Species: Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis)
Gender: Female
Book Appearances
Appears in: The Capture, The Siege, The Outcast, Exile
Movie Appearances
Appears in: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
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.

Mist, once known as Hortense is a female spotted owl, or Strix occidentalis originating from the Southern Kingdoms, more specifically the kingdom of Ambala.

She met Soren and Gylfie when they were just owlets at St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. She later proved to be a useful ally to the band and the Guardians.


Before the Books

Hortense was born in Ambala near a stream full of small bits of an ironlike 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, which is caused by an owl sleeping at night under the full moon instead of during daylight. Moon blinking leads to a loss of individuality and can make an owl a mindless and perfectly obedient slave.

Hortense grew feathers slowly, and remains the size of an owlet even as she turned four years old because of flecks, as well as 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 soon. And soon, she was found and brought in where she began her mission.

The Capture

Hortense pretended to be excited to receive her number designation, 12-8, and appeared to all the other owls to be "perfect" in her duties, but she was, in reality, taking snatched eggs and giving them to eagles for them to bring 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 her, and she told them of her past.

The next time she delivered an egg, Soren and Gylfie watched. However, some St. Aggie's owls caught her 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 caught by Zan's mate, Streak. In fact, every other chick in Ambala was named Hortense after her in her honor, even if it was male. However, after that her feathers turned grey and misty due to natural old age, making her almost invisible, and when she returned to Ambala, she assumed the name Mist.

The Siege

Mist saw the Glauxian Brother, Simon, who nursed Soren's evil brother Kludd to health. Kludd then mudered him shortly. He didn't notice Mist, who was 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, along with her eagles, Zan and Streak, and the flying snake, Slynella, went to the hollow where the chaw of chaws were staying.

The Outcast

Stingyll and Slynella takes Nyroc to Mist's nest and teaches Nyroc the alphabet and helps him change his name and share info before Nyroc, now called Coryn, leaves.

Movie mist


  • Hortense has become a common name in Ambala, even for males, so as to honor her past deeds at St. Aegolius.
  • In her illustration from the back of The Siege, she appears to have two talons on her left foot, and three on her right. This may be a drawing error, or she lost the missing appendage in the battle where she "died".
  • Hortense doesn't appear in the movie. However, when Gylfie and Soren line up in the Glaucidium, there is a pale-coloured Spotted Owl beside Gylfie, perhaps a nod to the book character.