posted Aug.20.17 at 03:00 pm

The floating lights did not quite illuminate the whole carving that Liya was looking at. She could see the curved tail with the fan of feathers at the end, the clawed foot sitting on top of it, the tips of the wings. The rest fell away into darkness above her.

"...What are you?" she murmured, mostly to herself.

"They are called reifa." Yoshi's voice at her shoulder made her jump. He gave her a rueful smile. "Ah, sorry."

"Are they Aetherian??" Liya wanted to know. "I see them everywhere."

"No, they are from a world lost in the war," Yoshi explained. "Many of them stayed in Aetheri after the war. They're all gone now, though." He rolled his eyes and added, "That was probably the last time Aetherians welcomed another species here."

He reached out, his fingers seeming to glow orange as though heated from within, and placed his hand on the carving. "But," he added, "you can see it better if you do this--"

The carving around his hand began to glow with a golden light that quickly spread outward, picking out the rest of the carving in shining lines. Smaller, bright veins filled in the carving between the deeper-cut lines, curling and spiraling as they filled each shape, until the whole thing glowed like a neon sign, seeming to almost hover in midair against the dark wall.

What they were left looking at was the familiar shape of a skull-faced, winged creature, drawn in bold, straight lines. This one sat on its own tail, its back kinked and its head raised. It clutched its chest with its clawed hands, and its thick jaws were wide open, a solid tear running from its seemingly empty eye socket. It seemed to howl with grief, bent double over itself.