(Hey, this is Topaz! This fic literally came from nowhere. I was eating soup yesterday, and poof, this story randomly pops into my head. This is the first multi-chapter fic I've ever written, and I don't really know where I want it to go, so forgive me if don't update it for a bit. -Topaz Fox)

(Disclaimer: Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles does not belong to me. I have nothing to do with it, its characters, or anything else.)

We Yukes are funny creatures. We are separate from the other tribes, I believe even more so than the Selkies. We are respected for our intelligence, to be sure, but what is that in a world run by appearances? Yukes are the inhuman ones, the unattractive ones. Others see us as beasts with tongues of men, because of our fur and strange features. We even have to hide our faces with helmets and masks. We are the unlovables, the untouchables.

As for me, I am the untouchable of untouchables.

I am called Ralthia, the Tulip Yuke. In my family of studious alchemists, I am the useless one: the watcher of sunsets, the dreamer, the lover of love stories. I suppose some would call me lazy. I don't think of myself that way, however…I think of myself as thoughtful. I must say, I exasperate my entire family. "Ralthia, you have a fine mind," my mother always says, "but you do nothing with it." This is far from true. I simply choose to turn my thoughts into emotions, instead of calculations on a scroll. I think it's better that way. The only one who agrees with me is my younger brother, Caliphen the Long Beak.

Caliphen is the middle child of three: I am the oldest, then him, then my sister Fyrella, a Tulip just like me. As I sit here in my room this morning, Caliphen is preparing for his seventh year away from home in search of myrrh. It vexes me sometimes that he would be picked over me. I suppose he was selected because he can cast spells, while I can do nothing in battle.

For some reason, there is a knife beside me, sitting teasingly on my bedside table. I pick it up and wonder where it could have come from. Perhaps last night's dinner? I admire the way the light plays off its curved blade, turning the delicate silver metal a cherished white. It brings to mind a poem written by a Clavat called Gurdy: Our lives are but a shaving/Cut by fate's metallic blade/And in these circumstances/Are our destinies cliched? I laugh inwardly at my fondness for the poem; I don't know what the words actually mean, but I like the way they sound.

The door creaks open, and I see Fyrella staring at me. She takes one glance at the knife in my hand and squeals, "Mother! Ralthia is playing with sharp things again!" I tense, ready to spring upon my disgusting little sibling, when I hear Caliphen's voice. "Now, now, Fyrella. Leave your sister alone. She's a big girl, and she knows not to hurt herself." Fyrella hesitates. "B-but…last time she…" Caliphen hushes her and pushes her aside, and I amrelieved to see myyounger brother walk into my room.

He sits on my bed and looks over at me. "What is it this time?" he asks, his voice smooth and concerned. I feel myself relax. Caliphen is probably my best friend in the entire village. I can easily tell him everything on my mind, and he just gives advice with a sort of reverence that is often given to older siblings. He never judges me, and knows the depth of every secret I've ever held.

"What is it?" Caliphen repeats. I put down the knife. "It's…Ter Van," I admit in a hushed voice. Caliphen sighs. "I should have known. You still can't stop thinking about him?" I shake my head asthe Wolfie boy's lithe image dances its way across my mind's eye. Caliphen crosses his arms over his chest. There is a slightly stressful silence, the kind that could easily break under pressure.

I rise to my feet and stride uncomfortably to my bookshelf. I take my prized bottle of pearl dust and rub some of it into my soft, rose-colored wings. My wings are the only things of beauty on my entire body, and I have become atouch obsessed with their well being. Caliphen knows this.

"I don't know why you worry so, Ralthia. Tell him how you feel. The caravan departs tomorrow; you won't have another chance to speak with him for a whole year." He shrugs. "The worst he can say is he doesn't love you." I put too much pressure on my left wing and end up pinching it. "Think about what you just said," I snap. "Don't the words 'I don't love you' give you any fear? Any pain? And I cannot simply tell him anything. It's not that way with Selkies. They express their feelings through actions. Yukes are the opposite. Besides, I have nowhere near enough self-esteem to deal with that sort of thing. You know how the other races are. They just can't picture a Yuke falling in love with anyone except…another Yuke." "Maybe it is better that way," my brother whispers. I stiffen, then sink to the floor. All I can offer him is a sad gaze. "I don't know anymore, Caliphen."

There is another silence. At long last, Caliphen stands. "Come to the farewell festival tonight. Perhaps…perhaps courage will find its way to your heart." He smiles. "I wish you the best of luck, my sister." With that, he walks out and closes the door noiselessly behind him.