Many years ago…

His blood soaked the soles of her feet as she stepped through the leaking carnage.

Gold. So much of it, like spilled fragments of the sun. It dripped from Nieba's ceremonial dagger, a thing of twisted silver and pearly gleams. It fled from Evîn's body as he lay there on the stone platform, his chest no longer moving.

Nieba watched him in a daze. Her eyes were misty, the hotness of tears prickling at them, urging her to let them move forward.

Behind her, a voice spoke up. It was dark and velvet, wrapping his words in something that was meant to be comforting.

She didn't think she could ever be comforted again.

''Do not weep for the fallen, Nieba,'' Ixtilaf said slowly, softly, soothingly.

But how could she not, when she was the one who blew the breath of life into the lungs of a newborn babe? How could she not, when she was the one who held the hand of the child who had died too soon, guiding them into Irkalla and to Caidil?

Life and death. Death and life. Always one. Always coexisting in her chest. Chambers echoing each other.

And she had brought death to the one she loved.

Nieba swallowed, her grip on the dagger tightening. At her feet, Evîn's blood continued to spill.

''He wanted to live,'' she said softly. Something about her voice was fragile, a feather falling down from the heavens, a piece of thread unravelling until it snapped.

''He didn't want this. He...''

Ixtilaf stopped her before she could continue. His hand was firm on her shoulder, and when he stepped in beside her, Nieba saw the shadows curling around his arms, wisps of reverse-starlight braiding through the air like wind.

''He will be remembered, and his sacrifice won't be in vain. Caidil saw it himself. We needed this to strengthen ourselves, and to strengthen the earth and those humans. They can't do it alone, and we can't do it all.''

Nieba looked at him, that unwavering face encircled by his shadows. Ixtilaf had warned them all as they sat atop their palace and watched how humanity barely knew how to conduct themselves on the earth they were given. He had told them that they needed something to be guided by, a helping hand that turned forceful when they strayed too far. And over the years, they had felt their own power flicker in their chests like a dying light. Throughout it all, Evîn had remained hopeful. He had remained positive, and he had never stopped walking through the gates and past the slumbering stone giants.

They just need love, he had told her one day. They had sat side-by-side along one of the stone walls, a waterfall sprinkling down below their feet, looking like a rainfall of crushed diamonds. Nieba hadn't stopped watching him in the soft hue of sunrise, painting his entire face in gold.

So much gold...

Nieba was growing sick of gold.

''I hope it will be worth it,'' she whispered, casting one last look at Evîn's body (dead, dead, dead), before walking away.

His last words still echoed in her mind, a distant sound that scratched at the walls of her body.

My beloved is gold….

and those who are gold will avenge me….

Below them, Evîn's blood spilled into the earth, and all around Illéa, the cries of children of gold could be heard throughout the gods' palace.

The Anunnaki were born. And with it, Caidil's prophecy came to be.

Hello and welcome to my SYOC! In this story, the gods are alive and Illéa is not like in the books. To strengthen their power and magic, and to lighten their workload and manage humanity, the gods have created the Anunnaki through the blood of one of their own. This god, Evîn, was created through an unwilling sacrifice, and ever since, the Anunnaki have roamed Illéa.

These are mortals with powers and 'gods blood'. For years, they have used their powers in their world, sometimes even called on by the gods for specific favours or tasks. But lately, magic in Illéa has been faltering. Constructions created by it are showing cracks and chasms, and the gods and Anunnaki feel their powers weakening again. Just like before Evîn's death. Another sacrifice is needed again, and the gods are desperate for it.

That is what the Selection is for! The Anunnaki of their choosing don't know the true reason behind the Selection. Instead, they are told the gods are looking to initiate a new god. All other information can be found on the website, with an explanation of how Illéa looks right now, some general information on the Anunnaki and how they look, the gods, and the form! Please visit it here: www. veinsofichor . weebly. com (remove the spaces). Pinterest can also be found on my profile.

Thank you for reading, please let me know through PM or Discord if you have any questions, and I'm looking forward to submissions!

- Sara