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.
"Hannu, Yoshi!" Helly said cheerily, or at least that's what Liya thought they said. "Yd het daam e vhyna!"
"Ah, hannu, Helly," he said. His voice was even, and quiet. Helly picked their way around the deer thing--a laar, Liya remembered it being called--and folded their strange legs down to kneel in the clean straw. They waved in Liya's direction.
"Ah, yes," they said, returning to a language Liya understood, "I'd like you to meet Liya. She's new to Aetheri, you see."
The boy glanced up; he had honestly seemed to have not noticed her in his peripheral vision.
"Liya, this is Yoshi," Helly added. "He's one of the stablehands here."
She was startled; she'd only seen one dark eye--his right eye--at first, but now he'd turned his face fully towards her and she could see that his left eye was a livid gold. On top of that, he had a magnificent purple bruise forming up around it, swelling it partway shut. He had a dark, pensive sort of face, and surveyed her emptily, his mouth put to one side. Then he glanced back down.
"Hello," he said, dispassionately. Liya sidled into the stall towards Helly, rubbing one arm nervously.
"Uh...hi," she answered, puzzled. Helly was busy inspecting the laar's left rear leg, which did seem to be at a strange angle. They waved something resembling a hand towards Liya absently.
"Please sit, my dear."
Liya hesitated, then moved to the wall beside Yoshi cautiously. He ignored her as she eased herself down on her scarred knees to sit in the straw.
((Happy one-year anniversary to White Noise! Thank you all so much for reading. :D I'm glad we've got this far!))