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.
Hawk leaned forward slowly, carefully, peering through the saw palmetto. The source of the purple light was a gas station on the other side of the bushes; an emblem on the overhang above the pumps and a sign on the far side by a dark road drowned out any light left from the sun. There was an RV parked at one of the pumps, but otherwise the place was car-free.
Between the RV and Hawk, at the curb, stood two women. One was taller, skinny, with dark skin and many tiny braids swept back from her face by a spotted kerchief; she was taking a drag on a cigarette, the smoke winding up into the evening. The other was paler, rounder, with a shock of short, thick hair. She stretched.
"Did they think we'd just lie down and take it forever?" she mused. The other woman turned very slightly, exhaling smoke. The light played over her very strangely--Hawk thought she had stripes, faintly imprinted on her arms.
"Humans used to tell stories 'bout hunting our asses," she said, almost shrugging. "No one wants those days to come back."
"My mom says it isn't fear, it's all these centuries we been living with humans," the second girl said dismissively. Hawk chose that moment to move forward, uncrouching some. "It's made us all too genteeEEEAAAHHH!"
She'd suddenly noticed Hawk, and shrieked in surprise--the other woman, too, wheeled around. They stared at Hawk, whose eyes and nose streamed a hazy blue noise that was now forming patterns around a now very quiet and still Teige; Hawk stared back, because the woman with the cigarette now had large, furry, diamond-shaped ears where her human ones had been, and the other woman had developed very black smudges below her eyes and dark markings on her cheeks that were not unlike whiskers.
Hawk hesitated, then hissed, "Y-you guys are monsters, right? Y'gotta help me."
He blinked and missed it--both women suddenly looked entirely human again, all though the shorter of the two had screwed up her face in disgust.
"Y'smell like low tide," she started to say. The other woman's eyes had fallen, suddenly huge, on Teige.