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.
Her shadow danced over Hawk's still form as Liya ran towards him. He lay sprawled in the thick grass, wings crooked out like odd fans, tail feathers all crumpled to one side. As she got closer she could see charred marks on his jeans where something hot and probably metal had seared through to skin; a burn yawned in his side, and blood was spreading quietly underneath one arm, seeping into his feathers.
She dropped to her knees and was horrified to see his eyes partly open, the firelight dull on them.
"No, no, no," she whispered, and very gently turned his head up towards her--his neck seemed unharmed, his skull very heavy in her hands. The empty eyes stared right through her. "You're alive, you have to be."
She cupped his face in her hands, used a thumb to pull up one eyelid, looking for some sign of life--a twitch, a contracted pupil, anything--but when she felt wetness on her palm she lifted it to find it covered in barely-warm blood. His hair was sticky with it.
Stunned, she sank back a little, staring at the blood on her hand. Not Hawk. Not him too. She could not--
It felt as though something was crushing her from the inside now, pulling her ribs together so tight against a scream that was threatening to escape.
Somewhere nearby gunfire bit and snarled; Liya reacted without thinking, ducking to cover her head with her hands.