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Chapter 177 : A Breath of Freedom
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The past year has been very different for them, with strange new people coming in and making strange new rules. They are no longer allowed to fly directly to the children’s hands when called and the children are no longer allowed to come to them. Instead, a gruff and grim old man comes to them with the letters and packages for them to deliver, and even those are smaller in number. The owls take what they can get, however, and they have greeted this moment of silence and happiness with ease.
Though the owls may find themselves at peace, the world below them is not. A battle is raging--a fierce and ferocious battle. Lives are being extinguished by the moment and terror is lurking behind every corridor.
All of a sudden, a sharp rumble pierces the earth and air surrounding the Owlery. Giants crash by, fighting with one another, a part of the human’s battle. Feeling the disturbance, the owls wake from their short slumber and crowd near the few windows, hoping to get a glance of what is going on. Hoots sound from many of them as they watch the battle between the giants intently, for they have not seen anything like it on the Hogwarts grounds before.
Soon enough the giants pass and everything is as it was minutes ago, save for the tufts of hay that have fallen from the rafters and the rudely awakened and insulted owls. Some flutter back to their previous perches, some stay near the windows hoping for more excitement of the like, and still some others fly around aimlessly, burning off nervous energy. More minutes pass like this with little interruption on the owls’ part, though some go from flying to resting and resting to flying. More hoots sound as the owls communicate soft thoughts of contentedness and curiousness to one other.
Not everything lasts forever, though, as the humans downstairs know far too well now. The owls hear sharp murmurs, nervous murmurs, from people coming up the stairs. Although they cannot understand their words, the owls sense the urgency in their piercing tones.
The doors to the Owlery swing open and a man and a woman enter, their entire beings giving off an air as if they are frazzled and worried. “Once the Death Eaters make it up here, they won’t stand a chance,” the woman mutters softly to her counterpart.
“They’ll set them afire, or worse, just to spite us all, they will,” the man replies.
“Is it safe to let them free?” she asks.
“They know how to survive in the wild, it’s what they’re trained to do. They’ll see worse if they’re here tonight, that’s for sure.”
The two look at each other and nod simultaneously. Rushing over to the windows on both sides of the room, they both fling them open, one by one. While they do this, they scream, “Go!” “Get out!” “What are you waiting for? We’re setting you free!” to the owls.
Though the owls still cannot understand their words, the tone is recognized as the same as what they heard before the people with the kind demeanour entered the room. The owls are being told to leave, and to leave quickly, they do know that much.
The owls all fly out of the room in the dozens. Hordes of them clog up the areas around each window as they take their bids to freedom. Within sixty seconds the room is completely void of owls and the man and woman look at each other once again, though this time it is with a manner of finality. Their task is finished and they leave the Owlery, shutting the doors and windows behind them.
Tasting the fresh air for the first time in over a year, the owls swoop and soar, dive and drop throughout the evening sky. They watch the battle beneath them as they leave Hogwarts behind and though they don’t know exactly know what to make of it, they know that it is a sight and occurrence to both be in awe of and to fear with every bit of the energy they possess. They all fly off into the sunset, leaving the worries of the human world behind them.
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