Title: Gods of Us
Audience: New adult (18+)
Length: Currently 27k and going
Sorry if some things are unclear, there is only so much I can put in 500 words.
Twin brother and sister Zren-a-kali and Aya-haji live miserably in the empire of Eiythi. Zren being a soldier in Eiythi’s royal army where he is belittled because he openly doesn’t want to be a soldier and he hides the fact that he paints and wants to become a professional artist despite the emasculating shame of it. Aya being a concubine slave to the Emperor of Eiythi himself where she is continuously raped and beaten, and objectified because of her unusual non-Eiythian appearance, including her freakishly long golden hair. They both continue to do these things because it is the only way to support each other and their father.
Zren soon meets the sly Empress Nefrti (yes named after Egyptian queen Nefertiti) and she offers a way for him to help Aya not have to always ‘work’ for the Emperor. He accepts. All the while, Nefrti offered him that to involve him in her plan to have her husband killed along with Aya. A few nights later at an event in the palace, Aya kills the Emperor for attempting to rape her again. Her and Zren manage to escape the palace after the emperor is discovered but when they get home and tell their father, he sends them into an underground tunnel that will lead them out of Eiythi. He is killed by the guards looking for them.
Devastated and lost, they end up stranded in the deep jungle. After days of trying to survive, they find a small village filled with people that dress and speak very differently from normal Eiythian culture. A tribe called the Zakumijia, exiled from the Empire long ago. They take them in, Aya and Zren growing a grandparents/grandchildren relationship with the Chieftain and Chieftess and learning their ways of life, including their practices of magick. A year later, the Chieftess says that they are the children of her daughter who was the fallen queen of the Eiythi and reveals that the stories of the family being the mounters of the grand mythical creatures, Griffons, is true. Meanwhile, Nefrti discovers something strong and valuable is under the small land of where the Zaku live.
Aya and Zren later enter the hidden Griffon kingdom that was hidden away when the conquest of Eithyi happened. Meeting two witty Griffons who grant them permission to mount them. They also find the power source of the magick the Zaku possess, an ankh with the energy stored inside it, they take it with them. After that, Nefrti comes to collect what she discovered but then finds the ankh, when the Chieftain protects it she burns down the village, resulting in most of their deaths.
They return from being away and declare war with the help of the other two nations under Eiythi’s rule along with other hidden tribes. In the final battle, Aya and Zren win take the throne, and Nefrti is killed.
Epilogue starts years later and ends with Aya and Zren being attacked resulting in Zren’s disappearance and the possibility of introducing dragons.
Plot arc: There are a lot of internal conflicts that go on between Aya, Zren, and Nefrti so the external one may feel small but here is it: Aya and Zren clash with Nefrti first in the beginning when Aya feels betrayed when she finds out that Nefrti knew about what the Emperor does to the slave girls when she thought she was oblivious to it and when Nefrti reveals she really thinks they are all beneath her. When they flee and are accepted by the tribe and find out they have the blood of royalty and a tie to a race of mythical creatures, this confuses them and when they try to run from it, they are sucked into discovering it for themselves.
Nefrti’s main goal with them was to get them out of the way after the murder. After that she doesn’t care about catching them when they escape as long as they never come back and she can rule Eiythi. They don’t become a problem to her again until they declare they want Eiythi back after she burns down the Zaku village killing the Chieftain and Chieftess and nearly killing their love interests. She fights until the end, having proven to herself she is worthy after using the ankh.
They go to battle with her and win but Aya is knocked off her Griffon after he’s injured and ends up losing the usage of both her legs. Figuratively shattering her hope for freedom, and Zren blames himself for giving into the idea of war and causing it. They still reluctantly take up the crown, feeling like they can’t leave Eiythi with no ruler, so they exercise their right to the throne by conquest.
Aya is restless. When she lived in Eiythi wanted to move around and have more outside of her life, despite declaring she has a duty to support her family. But it’s understandable considering what she had to do to support her family. Even when she gets settled with the tribe and she has it all, a family, peace, and freedom for her and brother, she still becomes bored with what she has and wonders what’s beyond. At one point she even goes back to Eiythi to at first find some closure but then let’s her curiosity get the better of her and she provokes Nefrti with a bounty on her head. When she meets her love interest, Mican, and eventually learns about the culture of his land, she’s ready to get up and go leave everything to see it all with him. In the end, she not only loses her legs and her ability to travel the way she wants, but she also loses him too when he sails back to his land to be with his family, her being stuck in the same place she started. She gripped onto the possibility of them being royalty because it proved to her that they really were meant for something more. That’s why it was her idea to conquer Eiythi back in vengeance for their late parents.
Zren is the opposite. He was always happy being settled, even if it was a life he hated. He doesn’t like to pick up and move, he likes routine with no change. So when they find the tribe he wants nothing more than to marry his love interest, Naala, and stay with Zaku and pursue his dream as a painter. Before Nefrti burned down the village, he didn’t want anything to do with Eiythi again and he didn’t care about what happened to their parents because he considered the man who raised them to be their only parent. This is where they clash amongst themselves. In the end, he gives in after the deaths of the Zaku but he mostly just wanted to kill Nefrti, not take over Eiythi because he knew they couldn’t rule it alone. But Aya ends up taking the lead. Putting him back into the same position too.
Nefrti’s internal conflict comes from her wanting to prove herself. She gets caught up in trying to prove she is worthy to sit on the throne. Her sisters fill her head with the fact the people don’t respect nor fear her, they would only do so if they see her as a god through magick. Her father trained her to be a warrior princess but then turned around and married her off to the new king of the conquered land. Ever since then she tries to live up to what her father didn’t want, her as a powerful queen, and someone worthy even though she wasn’t born as his son.
Notes: Again, certain things may feel rushed or unclear because a lot more goes on that what I can explain in so many words, like the magic system and politics of Eiythi.