Ravensha was recognized by Sky-Lord Sharn as his progeny, something which threw the aeries into confusion as it has been centuries since a Sky-Lord acknowledged a female child. A stranger has come into the aeries and spun tales to ensnare the mind of the Sky-Lord. Ravensha has been chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Here she has just discovered her fate.
“Ersa, there is an aerie that has long been abandoned on the far eastern edge of our territory,” Sharn said, turning to his mate. “You will have no trouble finding it. It is marked by boundary stones of red and white. Take Ravensha there and leave her. Choose from among those women you trust and send them to tend to her. They are to make certain she has no visitors, that she attends to her studies, and above all that she does not escape.”
“I don't understand this, Sky-Lord,” Ersa said. “I also don't like it. We have never trusted any of the humans before this. Why should we trust the Beast Lords now?”
“Do not question my will if you wish to continue your favored position, Ersa,” Sharn said.
“I will do as you say, Sky-Lord,” Ersa said. “Though I do not agree.”
“Agree or not, that is your decision,” Sharn said. “So long as you obey your orders, I do not care if you agree.” He spread his wings and left the aerie.
“Mama, the red eyes,” Ravensha said, staring up at her mother.
“What?” Ersa asked sharply.
“The man, the one the Sky-Lord called Maegren,” Ravensha said. “He had the red eyes like I saw in my dream.”
“You said the red eyes meant trouble for us,” Ersa said. Ravensha nodded. “Well, there is nothing we can do about it now. Come here, little one. I'll take you to your new aerie.”
“Yes, mama,” Ravensha said. “Will Usha and Fylan be coming to see me?”
Ersa picked her up and cast the featherweight spell again. “No. The Beast Lord says you're to be kept isolated. The Sky-Lord must be obeyed, no matter how I personally feel on the matter. I'll have Balna and a few of the others come stay with you.”
Balna was the older female who sometimes took care of Ravensha and Usha in Ersa's aerie, instead of leaving them in the rookery. Ravensha knew her well. She had some difficulty flying because she'd lost an eye fighting with the Lowlanders a few years earlier, but her mind was as sharp as ever. “Why can't Usha come too? She's not a male.”
“Usha needs to stay with the other fledglings in the rookery,” Ersa said. “She must learn how to survive, as you have. I know you try to protect her, but that will have to stop.” She carried Ravensha along, catching the wind in only the way a skilled Aeryon could. “Now be silent. I have to find these markers the Sky-Lord set up.”
They flew along the face of the Windsheer Cliffs for nearly half an hour before coming to the white rock the Sky-Lord had spoken of. The red stone was also visible, and Ersa angled herself towards the ledge between them. “Here?” Ravensha asked after her mother had landed.
“This will be your aerie now,” Ersa confirmed. She looked around. “At least he had the sense to furnish it well. You will be very comfortable here, I think.” She set Ravensha down. “I see he has included several books and scrolls. I'll instruct Balna to make sure you can read all of them. It will give you something to do. Perhaps I'll see if we can teach you to weave or sew or something useful. You'll have a lot of time on your hands so we'd best find something to keep you busy.” Ersa ruffled her daughter's hair before diving off the ledge. Ravensha ran to the edge and watched as her mother winged away.
Ravensha turned and faced her new home. She explored the side chambers, finding the privy, the bathing area, and a dark room where a sleeping pad had been placed. Ravensha came back out into the main room. She dropped down onto a pile of cushions and wrapped her wings around her. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she thought of her brother and sister. This place, this cold and empty place, was not a safe aerie. It wasn't a place of warmth and comfort, as aeries were supposed to be. It was a lonely prison, one that deprived Ravensha of all that she loved. She cried herself into a kind of stupor, and waited for those who were supposed to attend to her to arrive.