Disclaimer: This is a story of pure fiction. If you are not allowed to read this in whatever part of the world you are living, then try not to get caught, and legally you shouldn't be reading this. If you are not 18 or older then again, do not read. Lastly, this will contain gay sex between consenting people and if this offends you then click back and ask why you're on here in the first place. This story is property of myself, the author, and may not be copied or used on other sites without my express permission. All characters are fictional.

All comments to ME, greatly appreciated

Chapter Twenty Three

The Predator Queen was sitting in her garden, weeding, when Kiri found her. She seemed calm amongst her plants and herbs. She was a striking woman, with the yellow eyes of her clan. Kiri sat down beside her, content to let her plant in silence.

He finally broke the silence and said, "Hello, aunt Mariana." She continued her weeding, but nodded her head in acknowledgement. Kiri opened his inner eye and watched as her soothing energy poured into the soil. He smiled as things began to click into place. "I know about your lineage," he added.

She paused in her gardening before continuing more briskly. "I would expect no less from the Avatar," she conceded. She turned her head and looked at Kiri. "Each generation, for over twenty generations of my family, has explained the lineage of our Avatar ancestry. Sonny was the first male born to a long line of female descendants. I knew my son was going to change the world." Kiri placed his hands into the soil beside her. He began to hum a quiet tune and watched as the soil soaked up his power, promising rich, fertile life. He heard her huff and looked up, surprised. She said, "If you enrich the soil too much, you'll have the weeds growing back faster than they do already. With a small amount of energy, I can insure that my plants have the right balance of nutrients, but also prevent the weeds from overrunning the garden."

Kiri bowed his head in acknowledgement. "Forgive me, aunt."

She looked at him with a wry look in her eyes, before turning back to tend her garden. "If this conversation is about Sonny, I'm afraid you're too late. He was here earlier, and he already knows about his ancestry."

"It's not about him, aunt," Kiri said. "I came to you for guidance."

She stopped her weeding to concentrate on his face. "Of what possible use could I be to you?"

"Everyone knows the King loves you deeply. It is also known that you are his voice of reason."

Mariana raised her hand to stop Kiri in his tracks. "Talk plainly, nephew of mine, what is it that you want?"

Kiri stared at her before replying. "The Prey King and his emissaries will be arriving later tonight, and I don't want any kind of sabotage occurring. In fact, I was hoping our King could welcome them when they arrive."

The Queen looked at Kiri shrewdly. "I want something in return."

Kiri narrowed his eyes, tapping his hand on the soil beside him. "I would hear your proposition first, before I agree to it."

She nodded her head before continuing. "If you can guarantee that the mounds will belong solely to the Panther clan once the war has ended, the King will welcome the Prey with open arms."

Kiri folded his arms over his chest and frowned. "I can't give you that guarantee; the dimensional doors are held open by Falcon and Sonny's power. The two Princes are the keys. If one of them were to stay away permanently, slowly but surely the doors would inevitably close. The mounds are a shared domain between the two races. It is a creed the Architect would have preferred."

The queen looked coolly at her nephew. "I suggest you find a way of ensuring that the Predators gain ownership or there will be no deal."

Kiri's eyes darkened with annoyance. He leaned forward and a sardonic smile spread across his face. "Should I tell you how I mutilated my own father because he saw me as a vessel for his anger and hatred, or how he attempted to rape me for the power I possess?" His face turned stony. "Or would you prefer I showed you instead?" The Queen stilled under that threat, before moving very carefully. Her hands shook ever so slightly, but she continued planting. The Prey King had sent out men in search of his brother when two weeks had passed, and there was no sign of him. When they discovered his remains, the queen was told, many of the warriors had had nightmares days after. To discover that Kiri had done this to his own father made the queen suddenly very scared to be near him. "Now," Kiri hissed, "you can ask for something reasonable and within my power, or I can turn you into a mindless puppet doing my bidding. Your choice."

Mariana stopped weeding, threw her tools into the dirt, and glared at Kiri. Her heart beat an unsteady staccato as she gathered her courage in her hands. "You've stolen my son away from me," she said in a heated rush. "He walked away from me" She placed her hand on her heart, her agitation strong and clear. "So, you can turn me into a puppet, because there is nothing more you can do to hurt me." With that, she picked up her trowel and continued digging in the soil with a little more gusto.

Kiri sat quietly, trying to still the anger and pragmatic side of the masculine from overtaking his better judgement. He shook his head. "I'm not good at being diplomatic," he said grudgingly. "I've noticed I have a tendency to lead with my emotions, and sometimes that can get me into trouble. But there is one indisputable fact that we both can't escape. Sonny will do as he pleases. If you think for one second that I have the ability to control your son, then you're not as perceptive of him as you think you are." Kiri stood up and looked at the lowered head of the queen. "There is a new world coming. You can accept the changes, or be left behind, because your son will lead the Predators into a future of his choosing, and that will include the Prey, regardless of what you want."

Sonny was training predators from all the clans, when Kiri walked up to them. The Avatar watched as Sonny went through the motions slowly, before drilling the trainees over and over. Sonny sensed him and turned to look. Because of their busy schedules, and Kiri's reluctance to socialise, many of the Predators had not met the Avatar. He gave a quirk of his lips before he beckoned Kiri forward. "Warriors, I want you to meet the new Avatar, and my Royal cousin, Prince Kiri." The Avatar nodded at the gathered men and women. There were curious looks as each warrior craned his or her neck to see. Kiri kept a straight face as he watched those from the Panther clan ogle him in amazement. He certainly had changed from the time he left this forest all those many months ago. It seemed like a different lifetime and he was a different person. His eyes sparkled as he stared back, unabashed. He scanned down the rows, taking note of new faces from the other clans. "Since Kiri is our Avat ar," Sonny said, "who would like to see if they can test their strength against him?" Kiri maintained his stare at the Panthers. They squirmed, sensing Kiri's gaze, but they kept their eyes firmly on the ground. "No takers?" Falcon asked. "Very well. I guess I'll take the brunt of his attack." He heard guffaws and looks of disbelief. Falcon smiled broadly. "I'm serious. Kiri makes me look like an amateur next to him."

Kiri had had enough boasting and rolled his eyes. "More fighting and less talking." From the periphery of his vision, Kiri saw Predators looking at each other doubtfully. He gave them a small smile before he focused his attention on Sonny. He couldn't blame them for their doubt. They had never seen Kiri in action, and the Predator Prince was well known for his prowess in fighting. The Panther clan had heard about Sonny's exploits beneath Trobal forest; it was a subject his father had reiterated at every mealtime.

Kiri blocked any distractions around him until Sonny was the only one in his vision. The Predator Prince was relaxed and casual, yet Kiri knew better. The attack came without any indication from his body, eyes, or mind. It was an instinctual and flawless approach. Kiri moved with the Prince, blocking his attack effortlessly. It seemed more like a choreographed dance, than a fight. Sonny lunged forward. Power shimmered through his hands as he made a chopping motion. Kiri swayed and dodged, keeping his feet firm and steady, never moving from the spot, but swaying away from Sonny's attacks.

The Predators watched in awe as the two battled. The pair moved faster and faster until they were blurs. Yet, the attacks were deadly silent except for the sound of flesh on flesh. Sonny decided to bring in magic, and he drew upon Killara's power. Shadowy hands shot out of the ground, trying to grasp Kiri. One managed to latch onto his foot before he twisted and shot power down into it. Kiri smiled as it shrivelled, and he shot up into the sky. Dark clouds trailed in his wake and he disappeared into the cover. Thunder grumbled and strobes of lightning shot down. It peppered the shadowy hands, turning them into black mist. With small gusts of wind, Kiri pushed the mist towards Sonny before he landed back on the ground.

The Prey Prince inhaled and the mist flew into his mouth. Black, swirling patterns appeared upon his arms, and he gave Kiri a challenging smile. The Avatar arched his eyebrow before returning the smirk. Kiri dashed towards Sonny and jabbed with his hands pointed at Sonny's chest. His hand shot through Sonny's chest, and the Prince disappeared in a puff of black mist. Kiri burst into flame, dissipating the mist, and watched as it retreated. But Kiri wasn't done yet. He summoned wind and became the focal point for a tornado. The black mist was pulled into the swirling winds. Sonny manifested into a solid body, and pulled on gravity to drop to the ground. He dug his hand into the earth and became as unyielding as bedrock. The winds lashed his face and hair, but he remained locked in place.

The tornado began to hum an odd tune that made the ground strum in response. Rocks rose from the ground and attempted to surround Sonny in a stony prison. The Predator Prince snarled, and the rocks shattered into minute particles of dust. He ran counter clockwise to the direction of the winds, and used gravitational fields to push against Kiri, who was the centrifugal force of the tornado.

Kiri walked out of the tornado and intercepted Sonny. The winds resumed their speeds, pulling at Sonny. Kiri remained untouched. They fought, but Kiri was faster. The Predator Prince growled a challenge and fought valiantly, but it was a losing cause, and even the watching predators could see that. Kiri began to calm the tornado and brought the fight to a halt by locking Sonny's arms to his sides with invisible shackles.

Sonny was panting and puffing, and closed his eyes before breaking the wind chains that held him. He gave Kiri a rueful smile and came over to rub his cousin on the head. "The wind shackles are getting old, but you certainly have grown."

Kiri grinned up at his cousin and lover. Speaking mind to mind he asked; "After that speech about me kicking your ass, you're surprised that I actually did?" Sonny continued walking in silence. Kiri gave a peal of laughter, before he turned and looked at the expressions on the faces of the observing recruits. He folded his arms and surveyed them. The Masculine began assessing each conscript critically, noting his stance, body posture, and alertness. Kiri nodded once more before strolling up and down the sections. The Predators unconsciously stood straighter. The Masculine approved, but Kiri was giggling internally. Shaking off the laughter, he took a deep breath before speaking. "I know many of you have never met me I'm sure you have heard, however that I am not known among the clans as one of warrior status." He paused to assess how they were taking it before continuing. "I don't expect you to follow me into battle. But I do expect you to fight for your people."

He walked toward Sonny then turned around to stare at the fighting men and women. "In six hours I will be greeting the Prey that are coming here to train just as you are. As you all know, their talents lie in magical prowess. Prince Falcon and sometimes myself will teach them, when I have the time. In saying that, they are our allies in the upcoming war, so, if you have any disputes you come to me first. I understand that tempers can run rampant and that, in the heat of anger, you might lash out. But, if it results in death, I will personally mete out your punishment. Save your killing edge for the new enemy. Now, back to more interesting topics. I have picked twenty of you who will get special training from me. It will be intense, and your training ground will be in a place where time is irrelevant. When I call out your name, make the decision on whether you want to train, or not. If you do decide not to take training from me, understand it will be your loss. Should you decide to accept, I will not be an easy taskmaster, but I will ensure that you are honed to the best of my, and your abilities."

Sonny folded his arms and watched. It was wonderful to see his cousin so assertive and comfortable within his own skin. He observed how the predators were absorbing everything the Avatar was saying, even the Panther clan, and he noted how some of them puffed their chests out in hope that Kiri would pick one of them. Sonny knew of nineteen talented predators that could do with Kiri's training, but twenty? He searched through the members and couldn't find the elusive twentieth member. He would just have to see how this panned out. It was heartening to see Kiri take such an active interest. Sonny knew his own schedule was too busy for intense one-on-one training regimes, and silently thanked Kiri.

The Predator Prince rubbed his chin as he watched his cousin. He knew eight out of the twenty were from the panther clan, and idly wondered if Kiri would be able to train those who had been tormentors in his past. It would be interesting to see if old issues resurfaced. Kiri started off with the Panther clan first, asking the eight talents Sonny had seen earlier. Kiri went through clan by clan. Sonny was unsurprised to discover none had turned down the offer of further training. The Predators were a warrior people. They thrived on battle and, if they could learn new skills to best opponents, they were fools if they refused. So far, Kiri had named the nineteen people that had been on Sonny's list of greatest talent. Kiri was on the last clan which was Sonny's mother's people, the Cheetah's. There had been only one strong talent in that clan, Sonny figured, but if Kiri saw one more, than Sonny wanted to know who it was.

Kiri asked for his last trainee. Surprise rippled through the people as a small-boned woman walked forward. She was considered the weakest of the warriors within her clan. She was as astounded as the rest of those watching. Kiri nodded to her and watched as she moved alongside those who had been called to the front.

Sonny raised his eyebrow. He was certain he was missing something. But he had watched her earlier and, not only was her stance wrong; she lacked confidence in her attacks. There was no real energy when she battled, and she lacked the fluidity of the nineteen talents that had been chosen previously.

Kiri looked at the doubt upon his cousin's face. His expression said that Sonny just needed to trust his judgement, and he nodded his head, before turning back to the rest of the predators. "We will start on the tiger slash stance," Sonny said. "Into formation."

In mind speech, Kiri said, "I need to talk to you before the Prey arrive." Sonny continued his drills, but nodded his head in acknowledgement. Kiri looked at the twenty he was training, and a wicked smile spread across his face. "Let us hope that all of you come out of this training alive." With those words, he morphed into the Masculine with his snake hair hissing a welcome. Out of all the predators, it was the small boned woman from the cheetah clan who seemed almost drawn to the Masculine.

Sonny turned around as he felt Kiri turn into the Source of Masculine, and made note of the eager look upon Keira, the female cheetah's face. He gave Kiri a sharp look of recognition. The Avatar only smiled, and teleported his trainees into the abyss.

Falcon opened his eyes and breathed deeply of Kiri's scent. It permeated his sheets and his pillow. His body responded to that scent, and he looked around, searching his room for the Avatar. His small smile turned into a frown as he realised that no Kiri was present. Placing his hand flat on the sheets, he closed his eyes. Impressions came to him through the material. The sheets whispered to him as to how many hours ago the Avatar had departed. He was surprised to discover that Kiri had left a message behind for him. In fact, the scent of Kiri was ingrained into the sheets to awaken him at a certain time. Falcon gave a little chuckle as the sheets relayed Kiri's message. "Get your ass out of bed to meet your father. He arrives at the setting of the sun." Scratching his stomach, he reluctantly moved out of bed and towards his in-ground bath. Putting his finger into the water, he began heating it with circular motions, until it was steaming. With a satisfied sigh, he lowered himself and felt the water soothing his body.

He was idly thinking about Kiri, and the things he wanted to do with the Avatar, when that sense of foreboding hit his chest once more. Annoyed that his reverie of future sexual exploits was being interrupted, he sighed and tried to visualise Kiri naked with his legs wrapped around his waist. Again, that sense of great danger came searing into his day-dream, and Falcon splashed water in annoyance. Deep inside, he felt his Phoenix respond to his annoyance. He knew that something was going to happen to the Avatar, but his sense of foreboding would not elaborate, and that annoyed him mightily. Getting out of the water, he created a waterspout that drew the water out of his bath and through his window. Once outside, the water evaporated, rising up into the sky to turn into clouds and come down later as gentle rain.

It was while he was dressing that inspiration came to him. He had just over four hours before his father was to arrive and, therefore, enough time to start his initial search. He was going to discover if the legend about Kiri's mother was true. If she truly had become a spirit that protected the east coast villages, then there was a chance that some part of her essence was alive. And what better way to prove his love to Kiri than by doing this? With heart pumping, he understood that his admission of love might change him. He felt great terror and exhilaration at the same time. Emboldened with his admission, he finished dressing and teleported to the sea villages along the Prey shore. The Phoenix inside Falcon rumbled its agreement. It apparently believed there was something the mother could tell them about Kiri, and relayed that feeling onto Falcon.

It was the sound of a seagull that drew his attention when he appeared upon a sandy beach. Wavelets raced up the shore as Falcon looked upon the vast sea in front of him. Behind him stood a quiet village, with the old sandstone houses that had been part of the Prey citadel until Falcon's great grandfather had them all demolished because he considered them an eyesore.

The bird cried once more, and Falcon followed it as it veered away from the village. It headed around an outcropping of rocks that were accessible only during low tide. Sea gulls were considered the messengers of the `guardian lady,' so it was a starting point. Falcon closed his eyes and felt his wings emerge from his back. They flapped and he could feel the updraft of wind as he was lifted into the sky.

He gave an extra burst of speed, using a form of anti-gravitational magic to propel him forward. As if the bird could sense Falcon in hot pursuit, it dove into the trees just around the next rocky outcrop. Falcon followed. He was greeted by a deserted stretch of beach with straggles of bush trailing down the cliff face behind. Falcon was almost certain no bird was this devious. Even the Prey animal totems, the representatives of each Prey clan, were not this wily.

Falcon stopped in his tracks. The bird obviously wanted him to follow, but Falcon didn't like being lead on a wild goose chase, and this is what it felt like. He believed in synchronistic patterns. The Power of Feminine was based on an intuitive, holistic approach. But this was suspicious in many ways. He was of two minds. One side told him to follow his heart and see where the bird led. After all, he could defend himself against anything. The other side screamed that, tactically speaking, he didn't know the surrounding terrain adequately enough to follow blindly where this strange bird was leading. There was more to this bird than met the eye, and it was foolish to rush in headfirst. Shaking his head, he made a decision. If this was something dangerous, Kiri would need to know. Basing his decision upon this fact, Falcon wrapped a shield around himself and chased after the elusive seagull.

General Ursh paced back and forth in front of his men. The Ciaran was silently fuming. He wasn't used to being told what to do, and it irked his pride to realise that. He heard the screams from the two Ciaran the Avatar had returned, Kengar and Kilar, and continued walking back and forth. "I don't know how that child could harness so much power." Pointing in the direction of the screaming Ciarans, he continued, "How was he able to manipulate our two emissaries? I've also been led to believe that it was his interference that led to our comrade's downfall and the installation of this new Elder Rain." He stopped pacing and gave a thoughtful look. His men watched him warily. "I think I might have a way of turning the tables on this little upstart of an Avatar. Prepare yourself men. We leave by midnight." They bowed their heads before rushing off to do as they were told.

Kiri sat cradled in Sonny's lap. They had been talking about their royal ancestry, and how all three of them, Kiri, Sonny, and Falcon, were related. Kiri had returned from training his predators deep within the abyss, and all of his trainees had changed. They looked stronger and fitter than ever. The most obviously changed was Keira, from the cheetah clan. She exuded lethal grace. Kiri had explained that time was different within the abyss, making one hour in real time last for two months in the abyss, or however Kiri chose to dictate the passage of time.

"Keira has the avatar gene too, doesn't she?" Sonny asked.

Kiri agreed. "She is your cousin; her mother carries the avatar gene just like she does. In all honesty, I'm very surprised that the avatar gene managed to survive through all the generations."

"I'm still unsure how we gained the avatar gene. You said it flows only through the female line. How is it that Falcon and I are able to tap into it?"

"It is active to a certain degree within the females, but within the males it lies dormant. In saying that, any female children you sire will have the avatar gene now that yours is active. It generally passes only through females. My mother used an old dance that activated the gene within me. In your case, when you became my anchor, your dormant gene was also activated. Falcon was in a similar situation. His mother connected with the anchor point of the masculine power, the ancient Oak Heartwood tree in the Prey Citadel."

"So why wasn't one of my cousins chosen to become the Avatar? Why you?"

Kiri sighed, and leaned deeper into Sonny's embrace. "It is the will of the Architect. This time round, a male was needed."

Sonny echoed him with a gusty sigh. "I'm not convinced about our ancestry, though, especially the fact that I'm distantly descended from a fey." Sonny paused before speaking. "When I spoke to Killara, her anchor was a Ciaran man. I got the impression that he had powers just like Falcon and me. After all, you are merely speculating that Falcon and I are related to Elder Wind. I think that, in your case, you may be right after all. You are the Avatar, and Falcon's mother was a Fey, but me having fey blood seems highly unlikely."

Kiri sensed the denial and reluctance within Sonny, but he persisted. "Killara herself chose you to receive her powers. Even as my anchor, that shouldn't have been possible. The logical conclusion can only be that you had Elder Wind's bloodline flowing through you too." Kiri shook his head. "Every single day, I deposit some power into both of you to help me control the massive amounts I hold. However, over the past week, I have been steadily pushing more and more power into you, without either of you realising it. I have read through every manuscript, and even Killara's smoky quartz, and none have ever mentioned that the anchors could hold power in large quantities for so long. In fact, Killara goes on to state that if she pushed a steady flow of power into her Ciaran anchor, the way I do with the both of you, he would have exploded within an hour. I have been channelling power into you and Falcon for an entire week. Face facts beloved. You have fey blood just like me." To ease Sonny's mind, he added. "But only distantly, beloved. You're only distantly related to a Fey."

Sonny snuggled his face into the side of Kiri's neck, as the Avatar sat comfortably between his legs. He inhaled deeply and felt content when Kiri's scent surrounded him. He could never get enough of it. A thought came to him, and he stilled. Raising his face, he asked in a quiet voice. "Why have you been pushing more power into us?"

"I am trying to build your reserves for the battles to come."

Sonny rubbed up and down Kiri's arm. "Is that the only reason?"

"I'm not sure yet," Kiri finally said, "but something inside me tells me to do this as quickly as possible." Sonny felt his body shift into battle mode once more. Kiri felt Sonny tense beneath him, and leaned more heavily into his warm body. "Whatever happens, I'm sure we'll face it together, beloved."

High above, one by one, stars began winking out as the World Eater came closer to its destination. Small silver projectiles shot toward the planet as an advance guard. Arrow shaped, they sped through space; heralds for the upcoming death of a world. Inside each projectile there were eighty Malasii. With over forty thousand projectiles heading towards the Avatar's world, they seemed to be overwhelming odds against the residents. But Kiri wasn't going to let the World Eater get anywhere near this planet if he could help it.

He and Sonny watched with a little trepidation as the stars were dwarfed by the coming of the World Eater. Both of them knew that time was of the essence. But making sure their alliance held, before the enemies arrived, was a full time job. Soon Kiri would have to greet the Prey King. Closing his eyes, he pulled on the spiritual connection he had with Falcon, and saw him rushing headlong through some shrubbery on a mad errand. What was the Prey Prince up to now?

By the way guys, I have a yahoo group where you can see all my writings. I'm a new author and haven't sent all my stories on there yet, and I also have another talented author Lincard sharing his stories too. I will be sending my chapters there first. So become a Member and enjoy. Otherwise feel free to Contact me.

Thanks as always goes to Richard for his fine work in editing!