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If the deformed and sick pups that they have abandoned survive, they can come back to the clan and become a gnaw wolf.
Obeas are only barren or sterile female wolves that can't have pups, and is assumed that they didn't develop maternal instincts. Shibaan and Lael have been described as having dull, lightless eyes, although Airmead, being a Obea, is never said to have that look. That is most likely because she never took any malcadhs to tummfraws.
In the packs, Obeas don't have a rank. They are however looked down upon and gossiped and also feared by pregnant she-wolves and nursing mothers who believe that they can look into their womb and curse a pup. The fathers generally seem to see through the Obeas.
There seems to be only one Obea in each clan.
Before the BooksObeas are an important part of the wolves' laws, as they perform the task of taking and abandoning malcadh pups. However, they aren't mentioned or referenced in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole book The Outcast. Hamish explains that when he was born to is mother, and upon seeing his crooked leg, took him in her mouth and took him to the highest ridge and abandoned him. Morag, a silver she-wolf, went by-lang on her third litter of pups. Despite her tricks, such as urinating only in ice-free parts of the river, Shibaan is able to track her down. She takes the silver pup, who has a splayed paw, to an icy river bank. However, the pup is rescued by a grieving she-bear and named Faolan.
Later, Shibaan is seen taking a pup with a half hind paw to its tummfraw. Aftershocks from a previous earthquake kill her, and she imagines herself running to rescue the pup and giving it milk.
The MacHeath Obea was Airmead.
At the Carreg Gaer of the MacHeath clan, Airmead, along with many of the other of the pack wolves, appears watching how Edme talks to Dunbar about ripping out her eye. When she says "I was born a poor malcadh, was I not?", she turns to the MacHeath Obea, which no one seems to notice. Soon Airmead comes up to Dunbar and Edme, but Dunbar snarls and pushes her to the ground. Edme then says "No need to abuse the Obea" then headbutts Dunbar, saying,"Who was it who tore out my eye? You, Dunbar?"
Later in the chapter "The Obea Speaks", Airmead finds Edme and tells her to follow her, so they can dig a snow pit. She tells Edme about what happens to wolves who try to leave for the MacNamara clan, how Dunbar MacHeath killed her mother and her own plans to leave for the clan east of the HacHeaths.
In the chapter "Escape of the She-Wolves", Katria, a she-wolf from the Carreg Gaer of the MacHeath clan, is leaving for the MacNamaras. She finds Airmead, who says she knew about her leaving. When Katria asks how, Airmead said she was watching her, and that she herself was leaving for the Namaras. She says she was afraid to go by herself and tells Katria to cover her tracks, as she has done.