Language of the Giant Owl

What I heard was a sound, unlike anything I had heard before. A long low moaning sound punctuated by a screech. The language of the Giant Owls is one of the most complex and yet subtle languages in all of the known world
— from "Field Notes: Boreal Regions of Chiber" by Raja Daltray
  The Chiber Giant Owl, known as Nawal Bekanu Mekape in the Orsholon Dialect of Urnati is a an extremely rare bird found in the forested regions of Chiber. There are only one of the species at any given time, making research of the language very difficult.   The language is a complex series of hoots and screeches, based more on phrases than words. Due to the complexity of the sounds and the differences in physiology, humans have a very difficult time accurately reproducing the sounds necessary for communication in this language. Some scholars have spent years "learning" the language, but it is unknown how well they can "speak" it, as finding the one existing Giant Owl is problematic.   There are few confirmed phrases. The most common is "Can you understand me?" The phrase is pronounced "huu-ee'-huhu", as close as can be approximated in common tongues. Other common phrases that have been translated:  
  • This is something I do not understand
  • Blink once for yes and twice for no
  • What brings you to this place?
  • Who are you?
  • Do you believe that your presence here was pre-divined by the elder ones, or perhaps do you relish in the thought that our meeting was merely chance?
  • Perchance, would you know the individual that allowed the canines to escape?

  • The sounds that make up the phrases are believed to be derived from common barn owls. It is unknown how the original translations were deciphered, but it is believed that there was some assistance of the magical variety.  

    Language in Lore

      While the facts appear to be lost to time, stories have often been told of the first Chibers to encounter the Giant Owl. After The 30-Year Winter, Chibers were able to leave their shelter and begin rebuilding their culture. They searched the forests of the region for possible locations to begin their reconstruction. During the 30 years, the forests had grown thick and abundant. As the Chibers began to venture further into the woods, they began hearing the sounds of what they originally thought was a simple owl overhead. The thick overgrowth of the tree canopy did not allow them to see the Giant Owl above them.   During one expedition to search for resources, a member of the expedition party excused themselves from the group to relieve themselves behind a tree. Suddenly, the sound of air being beaten by giant wings broke the quiet. The errant party member dropped to the ground, unable to run due to their pants dropping around their ankles. A giant owl swooped down, just missing the frightened Chiber, and lighted in a tree nearby, screeching and howling. It glared intently at the entire party, especially the individual on the ground, now wet from falling into his own puddle.   Variations of the story include the owl trying to eat the individual, as well as the owl simply trying to scare the party off, although a plausible case has been made that the owl was angry at the individual for defiling his forest.   A later expedition to find this owl went missing for weeks. Upon return, some of the party claimed they had found the owl and had learned to communicate with it in a rudimentary fashion. Rumors abound that magic was involved, but none of the party were known mages, and no one who has since observed the owl has reported any magic use. Nonetheless, these later expeditions were able to use the basic translations to communicate with the owl, and have built a small dictionary for translation.
    All Images created BY Kahuna the Elder, with source materials from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Artbreeder and public domain sources.

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    Author's Notes

    Created 2/25/2022 during an On The Fly Challenge


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