The saga of Shade Silverwing begins with four bat-friends hanging out in the trees: Shade, Chinook, Todd and Breeze. Shade had chased a tiger moth through the trees but Chinook swooped in and grabbed it first. Shade is mocked frequently for being a fatherless Silverwing runt that has no chance of making the big migration, but tonight he has had enough. He stuns his friends when he announces his plan to watch the sun rise, which is a direct violation of an ancient law that forbids bats from flying in the daylight. Shade baits his rival, Chinook, into joining him, but Chinook quickly chickens out and leaves Shade alone in the tree tops. Shade waits too long, though, for no sooner does the sun appear but an owl chases him. Shade evades the owl's claws by flying around trees, through logs, and is even forced underwater for a moment, but he manages to get back to the Silverwings' summer roost, Tree Haven, in one piece. Todd is impressed that Shade actually did it and laughs at the thought of Chinook getting punished, too. Shade's mother, Ariel, and the other adult Silverwings are concerned, though, for they know that more trouble has yet to come. Ariel reassures Shade that his father was a brave, strong and sometimes foolish bat, but no matter what Chinook had said, his father was no coward. The two go to sleep, but are later aroused by Mercury, the messenger for the colony elders, and tells them to go before them. Ariel and Shade go up to see them, where Frieda asks Shade questions about his motivations for taking such a risk, while Bathsheba rants about handing him over to the owls immediately. Frieda decides it best to take Shade to the Echo Chamber, where the history of the colony can be heard. Shade learns of the great battle of the birds and the beasts, and how bats refused to take a side in the war. In the end, the bats were the real losers in the war as they were banished to the night forever by the owls. Shade states his opinion to Frieda about the law being unfair, but she can only warn him about managing his anger and not letting his emotions control him. The two are then summoned by Mercury to see General Brutus, Commander of the Owls, who swoops into the Silverwing roost and demands that Shade be handed over to pay for his crime. Frieda tries to compromise with Brutus, but he refuses to accept anything less than Shade. So Frieda refuses to comply with the owl's demands and calls his law "unjust." Outraged, Brutus commands his squadrons to firebomb Tree Haven. The bats try to save their home, but the flames spread too quickly. Ariel gets caught under a fallen limb, but is rescued by Shade and Chinook. The colony flees to the forest to watch as the raging fire destroys their nursing roost and Echo Chamber history. Filled with shame and despair, Shade has yet to realize that the real battle hasn't even begun.moreless
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