I got this idea from River of Wind, when Digger thinks that the dragon owls were hagsfiends that had followed Theo to Jouzhenkyn and were kept in the Dragon Court so they could be watched. Eventually the hagsfiends became so vain and pretty, surrounded by jewels, that they were no longer dangerous, and their feathers became blue and too long for them to fly with. But now some of the owls are having flashbacks of their past as hagsfiends... and they want their power back...
This will make a lot more sense if you've read River of Wind.
Jing Huo stared at her reflection in the emeralds strung on the wall. The cave was full of shining gems that glittered brightly, complementing all the blue feathers of the dragon owls that lived in the Dragon Court, but for some reason she hated it. The owl sighed. Is there anything to do here but float around in our qui and groom our wings? she wondered. Jing looked with disdain at her wings. The feathers were blue and extremely long, sweeping the floor, same as her tail feathers. It's not natural, she thought. Aren't birds meant to fly?
She thought of all the times she had watched the pikyus swoop through the air, practicing the zong qui. She longed to fly as fast as they did as they exhaled, screeching to speed up their flight. Jing lifted her wings as she had done many times before, flapping them. It was no use. The super-long feathers made it too hard for her to take off. The dragon owl let the bright blue wings droop at her side again. I'll never be able to fly, she thought angrily. But I don't want to be stuck here for my whole life, relying on qui to carry me around. She closed her eyes.
Yellow light flooded around her, spilling from her eyes. She spread her wings, black as night, and shrieked. The terrifying noise cut through the sky and rang off the glaciers. The owls flying ahead of her turned, saw her, and went yeep. As they fell, she plunged down to rake them with her talons victoriously.
Jing gasped, her eyes snapping open. She staggered back, panting. What in Glaux's name was that? She shuddered. For that heartbeat it had felt like she was truly flying. But how would she know what that felt like?
For a moment she felt power course through her body. Jing glanced at her wings, and suddenly instead of long and sweeping she imagined them long and ragged. The feathers should have been black, not blue.
"Why am I thinking this?" she whispered out loud. "What…?" She looked at her reflection in the jewels again. The dragon owl replaced her azure color with black, her bright eyes with yellow pools and anger, hate and sadness. A memory lifted to the front of her mind, and she struggled to remember. What was I?
The thought shattered and fell away. Jing spun around, imagining that her eyes were blazing yellow light as she glared into the shadows. "What?"
A blue owl floated into the cave, clutching her qui. "Jing?
"Oh, hello, mum." Jing walked over to where the owl landed, letting her anger fade away. But the notion of power still haunted her as she watched her mother open her wings.
"Stormy out there, isn't it? Lighting and thunder all around."
"Yes," agreed Jing, although she hadn't been outside that day. "How could an owl fly around in this weather?"
"Oh!" gasped the other dragon owl. "But – but – why would we need to fly?" She reached for her qui protectively.
"Shouldn't owls be flying? The pikyus do it."
"The pikyus… well, they are special you know… dealing with phonqua and all that stuff." Jing's mother ruffled her feathers uncomfortably.
"Yes… I suppose so." Jing nodded, but doubt was forming in her mind. Birds should be flying! This place is all a lie! she thought, wondering why she hadn't realized it before. Looking around at the gems with the others found so beautiful, she felt disgust rise up inside of her.
They think this is glaumora, but really it's hagsmire.
Suddenly Jing remembered the flash of power she had known as she had thought her wings were black. I want that. I want that back. I want to be whatever dragon owls were before we became… we became… this... Her eyes narrowed as she lifted her wings. She wanted that power.
And no matter what, she would get it back.