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.
"I'm used to explorin'," Liya continued. "I'll be fine."
Yoshi said nothing, but then apparently noticed the reproachful look Helly was giving him.
"Ved?!" he said, sounding offended. Helly purse their lips, lifting a spare root for the bird thing on their shoulder to peck at.
"Y dhymc tha quonl reinni uuta e lryaml ryfhd muuv, Yoshi," they said, quietly and pointedly. Yoshi sighed, and Liya couldn't tell if it was resentment or guilt on his face.
"Wait," he said finally, just as she was turning to leave the stall, "I will go with you."
She turned towards him as he, very carefully, eased the laar's head down onto the straw and got to his feet. He was only a head taller than her, and he spoke with a very strange accent--it was different than Helly's, maybe heavier, as though he didn't practice as often.
Her face flushed angrily. "You don't have ta," she started. He was reaching into the pocket of his uniform.
"It would be a pleasure," he said dispassionately. "Just let me register my construct with Helly's."
He produced from his uniform another bird-moth creature like the one on Helly's shoulder; this one was much smaller and rounder, however, and perched proudly on Yoshi's palm. It looked to Liya as though as it was made of glazed ceramics, painted bright yellow with brown spots on its tail and a pink one on its chest.
She forgot her irritation almost immediately, and watched over Yoshi's shoulder as he held the construct out towards Helly. Helly's construct was now perched on their arm as well.
"Construct?" Liya asked. "They're phones, right? Are they alive?"
The creatures both opened their mouths and light flashed quickly between them, accompanied by two soft chirping sounds; and then it was over, and they'd both gone quiet again.
"Not at all!" Helly answered, and let their construct back up onto their shoulder. Yoshi mirrored them. "That's illegal. Dhemc iu, Yoshi," they added cheerfully, and Yoshi merely grunted in response. "You two have fun now."