"She guarded the silence...and silence was kept."—The narrator, in Silent Woods
Shriek is an owl and the principal antagonist in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. She was born in the Silent Woods during the events of the Decay, which changed her appearance. Upon birth, her parents are found deceased and as such, she attempts to try to gain warmth but is left in darkness after being rejected by the Owls of Niwen. She grew up shunning the light and warmth, leading to her trying to kill Ori and Ku, as well as trying to stop Ori from restoring Niwen back to its former glory.
Shriek is an owl, similar to Kuro, but with almost no skin (and slowly decaying). She also has glowing, white eyes and is notably large.
Shriek walks on the near-featherless bones of her impressively-sized wings, leaving her talons free to operate as makeshift arms. Her blue-feathered head is covered by a horned skull, an accessory which fractures late in the story. Her appearance and unique mode of walking originated at birth. As a fledgling, her alarming appearance alienates her from other owls. As a result of her different appearance, the Owls of Niwen saw her as an outcast, forbidding her to call Niwen her home. They had left her to decay and rage in the dark shadows of her decaying birth-land, inciting her rage and turning her to embrace the darkness around her.
Shriek is introduced as a destructive force of nature in the game, taking up the role as enforcer of the Silent Woods and ensuring anyone who disturbs the "silence" is met with swift ends. Anything or anyone that reminds her of her past is mercilessly attacked. Shrouded by her past, she rejects any form of warmth such as Ori's attempt to befriend her, having grown bitter and alone with no concept of love. Multiple times we see Shriek feasting on dead animals in a vulture-like fashion. Shriek hates not just the light, but any living disturber of her decaying kingdom.
Where Kuro's antagonism in Ori and the Blind Forest could represent friction between night and the warmth of the day, Shriek's malice in Will of the Wisps parallels Ori's conflict with the very powers of death and decay themselves. Shriek's twisted, bare and bone-like appearance personifies the state of death and decay in Niwen.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Shriek is first heard near the beginning of the game, when Ori lands in Inkwater Marsh. Her cry scares away some curious Moki. Later, she is seen flying over the Marsh, and Opher points her out to Ori.
Shortly after Ori reunites with Ku in the Silent Woods, they come under threat of Shriek, who stalks around for them. Before Ori and Ku could retrieve Kuro's Feather to fly home, Shriek discovers them and immediately attacks Ori, throwing them into a pit. Ku attempts to defend Ori but is knocked back by Shriek, who then corners the young owlet and fatally crushes her.
Shriek would later antagonize Ori during their journey in restoring Niwen, attacking them atop Baur's Reach and during their trek towards Windswept Wastes. When Ori and Seir were on their way to Willow's End, Shriek once again appeared to attack them, preparing to stomp Ori when a fully restored Seri struck her back with its power, knocking Shriek off her feet and damaging her skull helmet. Ori stops Seir from attacking Shriek further and attempts to befriend her. However blinded by her past, Shriek rejects Ori's show of warmth and flies away towards Willow's End.
Shriek would later attack Ori and Seir once again at the Willow Tree, damaging Seir before engaging Ori in a battle to the bitter end. After a lengthy struggle between her powers and Ori's that torn apart the Spirit Willow, Shriek was defeated, crashlanding down in the decay forest surrounding Willow's End. Wounded, she returns to the resting site of her only family, putting herself under the wings of her long-deceased parents to rest with comfort and warmth, for the first time in her life. What happens to Shriek afterwards is currently unknown.
Shriek is large and very strong. Despite her wings being partial decayed, she can still fly and uses this to her advantage while pursuing prey. Much like Kuro, Shriek can strike quickly while in the air. With her talons, she can attack Ori if they go under her with her two smaller claws, stomping them with her bone spear limbs. Shriek has the ability to fire lasers, control wisps of darkness.
- Decayed Owls