In the early 1900s, the nation of Aetheri came out of its long interdimensional isolation and revealed to the humans of the Symphony Archipelago that they were not alone in the multiverse. Things swiftly got ugly after that.
In the early 1990s, Aetheri's leadership changed, and in the Archipelago, a tiny broken family of half-siblings banded together in the face of the bile and hate that was boiling up between the humans and the non-humans.
In the early 2000s, that family was split apart. Hawk Press and his sister Liya Kiski both begin a long and exhaustive journey towards understanding the difference between friend and enemy--and between the family you're given, and the family you make.
People were scattering now, bolting across the empty street and down the sidewalk, away from the demon now curling itself around the lamp post where the auburn-haired man had been. Its head was antlered and weasel-like, with white discs for eyes and saws for teeth; its forepaws were oddly humanlike, its body that of a bull. It puffed green fire, not making any moves to chase any of the people scattering around it.
The air split with gunfire, then, just once--the demon's head snapped up, its eyes leaving trails of light.
Hawk slumped against the wall behind him, wings half unfurled, one hand feeling at the side of his head with alarm. The second cop had crumpled to the ground before him, and lay quietly.
The shot had nicked his ear, nothing more. Hawk looked at the spots of blood on his fingers and sagged against the wall, resting his head back and sighing.
"...Christ," he muttered, breathlessly, "is...is that all? Least all my brains are still in my h--"
He stopped, suddenly catching sight of the demon across the street, which now stood at attention with its eerie eyes fixed on him and its tufted tail flicking back and forth. For a moment Hawk said nothing--then without a word he snatched up his bag and left the alleyway, breaking into a quick jog that took him up the sidewalk, away from the demon. He didn't dare look back.