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.
The radio sat on the porch where it'd sat forever, hissing away into the afternoon rain. It was not dead, merely vacant of any voices or music. Hawk couldn't quite separate the hiss of static from the rush of rain. It was noise, anyway.
He was standing barefoot, the crabgrass up past his bandaged ankles. The rain had soaked through the clumsy dressings he'd done his wounds up with, but it hadn't quite got the rusty stains out of the feathers where his burned arm had bled on his wing.
He stood quite still. Everything hissed around him. Something quietly tugged at his attention, and his stomach clenched.
No, no, no, he begged silently, turning his head a fragment to the left. Come on...please go away...
The rain was falling on the burnt and crumpled remains of his brother's truck.
Someone stood on the wet ashes.
The radio quite suddenly resolved itself into the forced cheerful voice of a morning DJ, waking Hawk from his sleep.
"--See what the weather has in store for this weekend!" the voice was saying. The hotel bed Hawk lay in was clammy and cold, and just now gilded with the wan light of dawn coming through the shuttered windows. "It's 75 out right now in Jatay, but by noon it'll be in the high eighties again--"
Hawk got up reluctantly. In the other hotel bed slept a dark and furry figure, curled almost entirely under the covers but for a pair of thick ram horns and a knotty mane of curly hair. Hawk smacked the nearest horn lightly, causing one of the creature's ears to flick up.
"--and this afternoon we're looking at scattered thunderstorms across the North Ellabell area."