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 'bus' pulled into a huge, round plaza at the foot of the bridge, edged by buildings that blazed warm light from a million windows. At the very center of the plaza, a massive statue stood; even the tallest buildings came barely to its knees. It seemed to emit its own glow, a cold white light very different from the yellow pinpricks that bobbed around it.
Liya craned her neck to look at it as she got off the bus. "Whoa. It's a lot taller up close. Who is that?"
Yoshi very gently pulled her out of the way of the other passengers trying to get off the bus behind her. "That's the Cynn Escala," he said, not seeming nearly as enthralled by the sight as Liya. "He was the first ruler after the great war."
Cynn Escala was expressionless; his chin was lifted, and his one eye gazed out towards the Palace. The other eye was an empty socket. A cloak covered his shoulders, carved as if the wind was lifting it, and he wore his long hair wrapped with a cap at the end. In one hand he gripped the shaft of a long-handled spiked hammer.
"All four of the founders have statues that tall," Yoshi remarked. His words caused Liya to drop her eyes, and she suddenly realized where they were.
A fountain surrounded the feet of the great statue, and surrounding that was a market bustling with crowds that seemed even thicker and busier and more varied than any that ever filled the front hall at the Palace--a lot of the people crowding about Liya looked human, and she couldn't be sure which ones were and which ones were spirit or some other creature. She glanced around, sidling up against Yoshi, who seemed not bothered by the movement.