The owl greeted the visitors with a simple hoot. The guardian of the gate provided no other messages. He allowed them to pick the fruit of the eldest tree. He gave to them a warning before they passed beneath the lowest branch. None questioned his position. Few even regarded him as more than a repetitive sound in the otherwise still night.
The horses neighed prudence to their masters, but none heeded the creatures' calls. The owl had done his job, though. He never looked back. The travellers had ensured their own destinies before they ventured into the cold, lonely darkness.