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.
Mrs. Peck literally seemed to shine with warmth as she spoke. "Everyone there was so nice," she said. "They got James back into school that week. He's doing so much better now--he's a tough kid, you know."
Cynn Numair couldn't help but return some of her happiness, cracking a small smile himself. "I'm glad to hear that," he said diplomatically. "They always do--"
The breath hitched in his throat just then, and he broke off into a deep, rattling coughing fit. Bright red sparks exploded anxiously around Mrs. Peck's head, and she spared on of her four arms to pull a tissue from a dispenser clipped above the dashboard.
"Your Highness?" she asked, and passed the tissue back to him. He'd controlled the coughing somewhat, into a painful but quieter fit that had him bent double against the seat belt; he took the tissue and buried his face in it, coughing until the fit subsided.
"Are you all right?"
The Cynn sat back after a moment, breathless, and found he'd coughed a small amount of blood into the tissue.
"Yes," he answered, and swallowed. "I'm just a bit 'under the weather.'"
The red sparks snapped without any sound at all around Mrs. Peck; she didn't seem to notice that they were even there. "I'm sorry, Your Highness," she said, "but it seems like you're under the weather a lot."
The sign for Enodia's city center whipped past the outside of the car. "I suppose it must seem that way, yes," Cynn Numair murmured.
The windows in the Cynn's office were all shuttered, even though outside the sun was setting. A pale purple light filtered into the cold room; it was clean and orderly, but it looked un-lived-in, except for the hasty stack of papers on one side of the desk and the collection of old radios that filled one of the large bookcases.
Sraddi looked up from her perch beside the desk, and said in her hollow brass tube voice, < Meeting with Captain d'Ubis: finished? >