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 Nine

Kiri could no longer hold back the pull of time within the Abyss. It was consuming power that he needed. As his control loosened, he could feel the Abyss taking on the characteristics of its motherland, Earth. He had felt Falcon's great need to draw upon his power and, without thinking of the consequences, had opened himself. He felt the world above freeze as Falcon drew upon the energy to stop the enemy in its tracks.

His heart had nearly stopped twice after Falcon stopped drawing from him. Kiri wanted to cry from the pain, but there was not enough moisture in his body to produce tears. The Sacred Shapes pulsed and hummed beneath his emaciated body.

He lay slumped over the triangle. Light trickled out from the skin, as the spell drew upon his life. His hair spread around him, the only flash of colour in a face that was almost void of life. With one last trickle of power, the spell was complete. Kiri's breath stopped, and his eyes shuttered closed. The Abyss looked on as his body morphed from a living vessel to an empty shell.

Beneath him, the spell hummed and rippled across his body. It was the only sound in a place that was now eerily quiet. For a minute, the Abyss remained still. Even the lightning payed homage to the Avatar before it resumed and crashed down on the spot where Kiri's body lay.

The Prey Prince swam through a soothing liquid. He tried to reach the surface, but he didn't know up from down. A strong hand came toward him, and he grasped it like a lifeline. He opened his eyes to see Sonny's golden eyes staring down at him. Beside him stood Terse, her body tensed for battle. Falcon glared at her and snarled as he got out of bed.

"I'm glad you're up, sleeping beauty," Sonny said. There were dark circles under his eyes, and Falcon stopped his usual irreverent retort.

Falcon stared into those golden eyes and saw that the Predator Prince was bordering on going into a feral rage or he was suffering traumatic pain. Either way, Falcon's body prepared itself, responding to the strong emotions he could sense. He stared at Sonny, remembering his own strange dream.

"If it involves Kiri, I'm way ahead of you," Falcon responded. He turned and glared at Terse. "If I hadn't been magically induced, I would have been able to come to you earlier to give my own warning."

Sonny's eyes looked bleak, as he turned away from Falcon's probing stare. "I won't ask you to come along, but I need you to help me open the Abyss."

"I'll help too," Terse said.

Falcon turned towards her, eyes blazing. "We don't need your kind of help."

Sonny placed a hand on Falcon's shoulder. "I will accept all help offered. At this moment, I would swallow my pride, if it means we can reach Kiri in time..."

Terse gave Sonny a searching look. Falcon's face had turned pale as his memory of his dream, was recalled. The small web catcher that Toby had held in his hands came into sharp, clear, focus. Falcon still glared at Terse, but reluctantly understood the need to include her.

A bell echoed over the city. All three looked to where the sound was coming from. The boys turned to look at Terse. She had been put in charge of home base.

"We have the enemy close to our home base?" Sonny asked quietly.

Terse sighed before indicating that the boys should follow her. She took them to the control room and showed them the hordes of Malasii being chased by the Abyss hounds. The defensive shields had been activated all around the clearing where the mounds were situated, and the sentinels were still striking any ships that got within close proximity.

"Everything is taken care of," Terse said. She wasn't going to push the offer of help again. "Just concentrate on getting to the Avatar. Although I haven't gotten to know him as well as I could, he has been trying to teach me about myself and our heritage." She lowered her head. "I do not wish to see him die." Raising her head, she said fiercely, "not until I find out everything he knows about my parents."

Falcon looked at this young woman. Kiri had told him and Sonny how Terse had wanted to control the mounds. Now she had her wish. It was just not in the way she had expected. Kiri certainly had a charismatic way of swaying people. And under that tough exterior of hers, Terse, seemed to care.

Thinking back on all the changes everyone had gone through; guilt flavoured Falcon's images of Kiri. How he spoke, laughed, and the way he taught people. The Avatar's steady influence had been subtle, and he had always been present when somebody needed him. Now, it might be his turn to be helped, but where had Falcon been?

The Prey Prince turned to go, and looked at Sonny's quietly strained expression. He felt Sonny's mind brush up against his own. "We have been fools," Sonny said on a tight mental link to Falcon. Falcon could only agree. For the first time, both shared an epiphany and, if they delved deeper, a moment of understanding. Sonny was about to talk out loud, when Falcon shook his head. He tilted his head in the direction of Terse. Sonny nodded at Falcon, not sure why the Prey was leery but, if Falcon had his reasons, he would trust his judgement.

If things weren't so serious, Sonny would have laughed at how things had panned out between him and Falcon. Kiri had always wanted the two of them to work together and, in hindsight, the Avatar had been working them towards that goal. They had been training, dealing, and seeing each other, on a daily basis. Through it, Sonny had gotten to know Falcon better and vice versa. Kiri had once joked that Sonny would one day consider Falcon a loyal friend. Sonny had laughed at the preposterous idea but it seemed Kiri might have been right again.

Sonny linked with Falcon and went on to explain the image that Kiri had tried to erase from his mind. Falcon's face drained of blood as he explained his own dream and the symbolism behind it. Bit by bit, the two Princes put all the pieces together and saw a grim outcome for the Avatar. "We have to stop him." Sonny finally said.

Falcon nodded agreement. "Let's see if we're in time." He heard Sonny snarl, and could only agree with the sentiment. He closed his eyes, pulling on the Feminine power. It flowed through his body like thick syrup. Opening his eyes, he felt his body brimming with power. Sonny stared back at him, his own skin shinning with his power.

They pushed Masculine and Feminine into each other, drawing upon the spiritual energy they generated from the clashing of two opposing forces. It shivered through Falcon's mind and body like the onrush of tiny insects. He gritted his teeth as he felt the vibration rattle them. Since the Abyss was the domain of the Masculine, Sonny took over the reigns of control. They linked hands with each other and Sonny visualised opening a portal into the Abyss.

They appeared outside large, marble, double doors. The two Princes were dwarfed by their size. Their hands pushed against the cold surfaces, futilely trying to open them. Sonny called on the Masculine, ordering the doors to open.

An illusory image of Kiri appeared beside the two. His head was bowed. "I knew you would eventually try and find me. Stay away." Sonny gave a feral smile. Falcon gave his own version of a determined grin, as the two Princes turned back to the doors and pushed. Kiri's image flickered as the Princes drew deeper on their own reserves. Their powers kept pushing and pulling against each other, acting as a battery generator. They both put their shoulders against the door, grunting as they heaved against the thick stone. "Boys, stop!"

The Princes doubled their efforts. "If you open this door, you will disrupt the spell," Kiri pleaded.

Both boys refused to listen. Sonny turned to look at the illusory spell. He had to admire Kiri's subtlety. The Avatar always had trouble in creating illusory spells. This was an impressive feat. "Nice try," Sonny said, "but I saw the web tapestry, and I know you tried to erase it from my mind. I'm not going to fall for any more of your tricks. Together we can find another alternative for generating power for your spell. Falcon and I can help you."

"Oh boys," Kiri said resignedly. "You're far too late."

A growl rippled out of Sonny's mouth as adrenalin surged through him. "No, you can't do this, Kiri!" He slammed into the marble doors once more, pounding harder with each successive hit.

Falcon had stopped. He walked hesitantly towards the illusory image of Kiri. His heart felt heavy in his chest, and it seemed harder to breathe. "This is not a spell is it?" Kiri didn't answer, but raised his face. Falcon took a step back, denial loud in his throat. "On the Architects design, what you have done???"

"I did the necessary," Kiri said. Gone were his lightning sparked eyes, replaced by empty sockets. In the right eye socket, there was a white mist that churned like clouds. In the left socket, was darkness that seemed to breathe and pulse, using the socket as a cave, and watching for the unwary. "In order for me to destroy the World Eater, I had to call upon the Architect itself. My body could not hold onto the physical shell. I'm sorry."

"NO!" Sonny shouted. He stormed towards Kiri and felt his hands go through Kiri's spirit. "This is not my Kiri. He promised me we would see everything through to the end. He told me he would always be beside me. You are NOT my Kiri!" Realising he couldn't even touch Kiri, Sonny saw red. He turned towards the marble doors and began punching them with enough force that they began to tremble from the impact.

"Sonny, stop, please!" Kiri said.

Sonny was beyond listening. His attacks grew faster and more ferocious. Kiri dropped to the ground. He put his hand out imploringly to Falcon for help. Each punch on the doors had Kiri grimacing in pain. Falcon stood there feeling his heart shred under that stare. He couldn't allow Sonny to do this.

Falcon caught Sonny's wrist, gripping tightly. The Predator Prince snarled and turned his pain and fury on Falcon. The two Princes started a deadly dance. Sonny drew deeper on his rage to fuel his attacks. It made him dangerous, but Falcon had been trained in defensive manoeuvres and was able to counteract the lethal blows that Sonny was raining down on him. Nevertheless, the Prey Prince knew that, if Sonny managed to get past his defence, he would be in grave trouble.

Jagged sheets of static electricity arced off the two combatants like sparks. With each head-on clash, the Masculine and Feminine splashed over the two. The doors rattled as the energy levels started rising with each attack and parry. It was a fight that had both opponents struggling to gain the upper hand. Sonny had more strength and power behind his attacks, while Falcon had speed and agility.

Sonny was in emotional pain and didn't care who he hurt. His own guilt was chewing at him, pushing the splinters of pain even further into his heart. He had been ignoring Kiri for the last couple of weeks, feeling he was justified in his anger. He had made the decision to put his father down, before he hurt someone in his rabid state. It had cost him something, and he wanted to blame somebody. Kiri had been the scape-goat. Deep in the vortex of madness, he had listened to his father's warnings. He had pushed aside his feelings for Kiri and paid more attention to Illiana in hope that his father's spirit could see he was trying. Now it seemed juvenile, and a lie to himself and what he shared with Kiri. Despair began to temper his rage, and his attacks became half-hearted attempts.

Still, even half-hearted, Sonny was a lethal weapon, and Falcon was not stupid. He maintained a defensive position, always on alert mode. He saw that Sonny was slowing down, and if he had chosen to, he could have taken Sonny out. But Falcon understood the pain the Predator Prince was experiencing. So he continued defending, in the hope that Sonny would soon stop.

Kiri couldn't allow this to progress any further; he checked on the spell, and it finally settled into place. A lone bell tolling had both Princes staring around them apprehensively. They looked at the Avatar, and the fight died right there. Kiri's image flickered in and out. A single tear fell as he stared at his two anchors. "The spell is complete. Go back; I don't want you to see me..."

Sonny and Falcon shouldered the two doors open in their haste. They ended up in the long hallway of the Palace, and they rushed out the front doors. Even from a distance, they could see concentrated streaks of lightning flashing against the sacred symbols. The two Princes blurred and were beside the perimeter almost instantaneously.

Sonny saw what remained of Kiri, and tried to walk towards him. A wall sparked around the circumference, preventing the Predator Prince from moving any further. Sonny could hear howls reverberating in the open space, and only realised it was coming from his own throat when his voice became raspy. Falcon attempted to hold Sonny as Kiri's body was absorbed into the spell. He gritted his teeth, feeling the loss burn his eyes. He didn't know how to cry. It was an action he had vowed never to experience. After he was told his mother was dead, all those years ago, he had not cried since. Yet tears choked the back of his throat.

Kiri appeared beside the distraught Princes; there was great strain on his face as he tried touching them. "Forgive me, my Princes." He turned and walked towards the centre of the Triangle.

Sonny tried shrugging Falcon off, but the Prey Prince held on grimly. Tears fell down Falcon's face without him realising, and deep sobs racked his chest. Sonny shouted incoherently, forgetting his training under the grief that was threatening to swallow him whole. Falcon locked his hands around Sonny's chest and the two Princes held onto each other in shared pain.

Kiri stared at two of the most important men who had shared his life, and his heart bled. They looked like forlorn children, and his soul cried out for them. He turned away and, with each step he took towards the centre of the triangle, he could feel the Architect blend with his essence. With each step he took, everything that made him an individual was drowned under the all-seeing, all-knowing essence of the Architect. A small part of the old Kiri screamed at the unfairness, but soon it was drowned beneath the cold and practical clarity of Architect. Kiri turned and looked at his anchors. Thinking quickly, as the design of Architect started altering him, he shoved all his love and memories into a ball. He incorporated them into the light that was building from the sacred shapes. That ball of emotional energy splashed and was quickly absorbed into the spell.

The two boys watched helplessly as the spirit of Kiri placed himself in the centre of the Triangle. Raising his hands to the sky, the Sacred Symbols pulsed, and Kiri was engulfed in light. The ground shook as the beam of light grew. For the first time since its creation, Light filled every part of the Abyss. Sonny and Falcon were forced to shield their eyes.

The light covered them as if it had substance. In that light, Falcon could hear Kiri singing, and feel his caress upon his skin. Sonny could smell Kiri's unique scent, and hear his laughter. The light disappeared, and the two Princes opened their eyes, blinking away the haze spots. The darkness folded back upon itself, replacing the space the light had filled. In that emptiness, the two Princes heard Kiri whispering to them. "Live for each day...Remember, the circle of life, and that we will see each other again."

It was two hollow men that returned from the Abyss. It had been only a few hours, but it felt like a life time. Terse and Illiana were waiting for them and their hearts lurched at the sight. News had already spread that something was wrong with the Avatar, so the two women had joined forces in ensuring that fear wouldn't turn nasty in the streets. So far, they had been able to keep things under wraps but, judging by the expressions on the two Princes' faces, the worst had come.

Terse felt an odd tug in her heart. She stood taller, and looked grim, sweating under the new sensation of loss. Kiri had been teaching her the value of family. He had stressed how much Sonny's and Kale's belief in him had taught him to be a stronger person. He had said that Falcon taught him to take things less seriously and enjoy life. Terse had never had anyone encourage her; she didn't have that understanding of people, the way Kiri seemed to. All she had was the Elfin Fey that had raised her from infancy. They were the outcasts from the four Fey nations that her grandfather had gathered, to help teach and train her. None of the women, in charge of her care, had been even remotely friendly, and Terse followed suit. In fact, the women had been more careful about teaching her to swallow any impulsive feelings of care than the men. But Kiri had shown her what it could have been like, growing up in a happier environment. He had admitted that his childhood had not been eas y, but believed that he could make a home now for those he loved. He had said he understood what it was like to feel like an outsider; he grew up as one. And that was why he felt he could make a home. He had included her in his growing family and insisted she, too, knew how to make a home for those she could love. Something had hurt, in a good way, when he said that. Now he wasn't going to be here to show her how to help this new family that Kiri had built around them. In many ways, Kiri had been what kept everyone from falling apart. Now there was an emptiness that could not be filled.

Bells began blaring, and interrupted Terse's further musings. She turned towards her console and honed in on the area that had triggered the alarm. Sonny stared at the floor, uncaring, and it was Falcon who walked up beside her to take a look. One of the crystal panels showed a host of Malasii using some kind of device that was teleporting the Abyss dogs into a containment box of some kind. They were nearing the Mounds.

Terse's lips thinned as she thought through her options. If the enemy were finding ways to adjust to the energy used, then it was possible they could find a way around the barriers. There was only one thing left to do. It was a decision based on how Kiri had taught her about protecting those in a family. "I am going outside," she said. "This is our last refuge; I can't afford to let those `creatures' get near our home."

Falcon stared at her, momentarily surprised at her passionate outbreak, before he nodded his head. "How many of them are there?"

Terse smiled wryly. "Around a thousand."

Falcon shook his head, "The poor wee Malasii are going to get a beating." It took Terse a little while to realise he was trying to ease her nervousness. She gave him a small smile before she turned away.

Falcon thought about his men still flying out there, and knew where he needed to be. Inside him, he felt Kiri's light burning steadily, supporting him, even as he felt the grief wanting to tear at him. Turning to look at Sonny, he knew he had to break through the Predator Prince's melancholy. He could almost feel Kiri's light being pushed out of Sonny's heart as the Prince wallowed in misery. "Get off your ass and move!" Falcon shouted. "If you think that I'm going to allow you to sit there and mope, while Kiri sacrificed himself, you have another think coming!"

The old Sonny peered up at Falcon, before it died, and he slumped forward, staring at the floor. Falcon gritted his teeth. This dejected person was not Sonny. "Fuck you, Sonny! Kiri loved you with all his heart. He sacrificed," Falcon choked back his own pain, before swallowing it to continue. "He sacrificed himself for us. And you," he spat, "would waste that precious gift, moping." Finding his equilibrium and clenching his fists to stop the shaking, Falcon stood up. He glared down at Sonny, rage swirling through him. "You didn't deserve Kiri's love." When Sonny slunk deeper into his chair, ignoring Falcon, he stormed towards the door. "Fuck you, Sonny, fuck you!"

Illiana, who had been sitting beside the Predator Prince, quietly turned to look at him. Covering his hands with her own, she squeezed gently, before placing his hands on her belly. "If you refuse to help then, in an hour's time, I will be out on the field fighting next to my own kin." She stood up, hoping to get a reaction out of him. When he continued staring at the floor, she walked towards the door.

"So be it," Illiana said. "So be it." This was not the time to be understanding. The warrior within screamed for her to take action if Sonny wasn't about to.

Falcon stood on the battle field. Everywhere he looked men were being teleported off the ground when their injuries became severe. The enemy were still 10 to 1 stronger than they. Morale was dropping and Falcon had to do something quick. Drawing deep on his power, he dashed into the fray. Over a thousand Malasii turned to ice with Falcon's passing. He clapped his hands and the Malasii shattered into tiny shards. With one more twist of his hands, the shards started melting, fizzing, and evaporating into vapour.

He distantly heard cheering as he went deeper into Malasii territory. The enemy tried to surround him, melding with each other and becoming a thick mercury ocean. As one, they piled on top of him. Falcon snapped a bubble of air around him, turning it solid. The Malasii droned and pushed against the bubble futilely. Falcon sat down and dug deep. He clapped his hands and it reverberated around him like a shock wave. The Malasii fell off his protective bubble like rain drops. He felt his firebird surge to the fore, and Falcon hissed as he felt his bird rising. From one moment to the next, an enormous phoenix stood within the air bubble. Falcon sat between its feet. Fire erupted within the Malasii midst as the phoenix roared. The enemy squealed as Falcon, and his phoenix, broke the air bubble, and swarmed through the Malasii. He flew high into the sky, his Phoenix an impressive shadow above him, before diving for the rear of the army.

With a quick, sharp command, he ordered all of his men still fighting to teleport as quickly as possible. The desert was going to burn and the Malasii would endure his wrath. As far as Falcon was concerned, these minion maggots had played a part in Kiri's unnecessary death. The phoenix agreed. It added its own rage to his. From close to the earth's core, Falcon drew upon the heat of lava. From the sun, he drew upon its rays.

Liquid heat filled his veins. And the phoenix's wrath wanted to consume the enemy in its glorious flames. The Malasii had never understood fear. But Falcon smothered his enemies, using the power of Feminine and its emotional control as a weapon. Fear, pain, anger, and madness were experiences beyond their comprehension. Their cohesive mental bond broke under the stress, and they scattered from the induced fear. The sand smouldered and turned to glass in certain areas, as Falcon glided past. Behind him, his Phoenix snapped at the enemy. Malasii squealed as the heat the Phoenix and Falcon were generating made their bodies smoulder. Their passing made them turn to vapour. They scattered trying to run toward the edge of the desert. Heat bounced off the sand and back at the fleeing enemy. Burn marks sizzled on their feet. But the Phoenix chased them down, roaring its triumph to the skies. Falcon, in concert with his beast, roared his own challenge.

Falcon pushed his power further into the sand, and it burst into flame. This had once been the home of the Masculine, and it responded to Falcon's presence. He coaxed it further, and watched, as the flames became an inferno. Spreading his power further, Falcon wanted to prevent the enemy from fleeing to safer ground. They could run to the edge of the desert, but that was as far as they could go. That thick wall of flame surrounded the entire perimeter of the desert.

From a distance, the supply train and many of the leaders watched in awe and fear. The desert looked like how the old stories had described the Abyss, before Kiri showed them otherwise. In the old stories, the Abyss was described as a fiery world of pain. Watching Falcon take his pain out on the scattered enemy, many of the men shuddered. He was fearsome to behold, and they saw him bask in the destruction. The heat billowed his hair around him, yet he remained untouched.

Falcon laughed maniacally and, even as far away as the army headquarters, all heard that insane laughter. Many began praying to the Architect, in the hopes they never heard such a sound again. The Prey Prince wallowed in killing. He felt as if no amount of destruction could ease the spot that only Kiri could calm. It burned with hate and revenge now. He didn't care if he drained himself to the dying point, attempting this feat. Kiri had given his all. If Kiri could, so would he. He was hitting hard and fast now, because he could feel the strain of channelling so much power. He knew it had been foolish to use so much energy just coming out of the hospital. But he was here to prove a point to all those men who had lost faith. And deep inside he realised he needed to prove a point to himself as well.

Wherever Kiri was now, he wanted the Avatar to know that he would gladly sacrifice everything, just to have him alive. His body began to shake with fatigue, but still he continued. It was a compulsion within him. Two thirds of the enemy had been destroyed and still Falcon shoved raw power into the inferno that was now the desert. All life died under Falcon's uncaring rage; the cactus, plants, insects, and the animals that were a vast part of the desert. In his minds eye, it was like watching the stars die in the night sky. The Feminine responded to the snuffing out of part of an eco-system that had endured before Falcon interfered. The power to nurture and protect flooded through him, helping to tame the rage of his beast. But it also had the effect of cutting him from the power of the flames. Without his beast's rage to feed him, exhaustion had him seeing the world down a long tunnel.

He could feel his feet sliding from beneath him. He landed on the sand, with flames caressing him, almost as if Kiri's hands were trailing along his body, coaxing him to sleep, and rest. He refused to give in to those gentle hands. He needed to prove that he had done everything in his power. He also knew that his rage was killing the earth beneath his feet. The desert toads were very nearly gone, as well as all the rodents and mammals that burrowed beneath the sand. He had snuffed out their lives, and he needed to rectify it.

With one last plunge into his power reserves, he sent out healing energy. All those tiny sparks of life that had gone out from his rage, were now blooming in his minds eye. He could feel his power reserves dwindling, and knew with sudden clarity that he wouldn't have enough to complete the healing needed. It was almost with relief that he used his own life essence to feed the necessary energy for the healing spell. Perhaps this was how Kiri felt. If so, at least he could be closer to his loved one. How ironic that ending his life would give him the understanding about the most important lesson Kiri taught him...That he had loved, and in return been loved.

The Malasii in the meantime, were trapped in a recurring loop of fear and madness. The heat had done its work on the living remainder. Many were disintegrating even as Falcon collapsed. He had ensured that the fire fed off his enemy's flesh, and they were dropping where they stood, consumed by the steadily burning flames. The fiery wall had disappeared from around the desert. Out of three hundred thousand, only a few thousand dying Malasii were left to tell the tale.

Falcon could feel his grip on his body slipping. It was like his spirit was slowly being cut away, bit by bit. He opened his eyes, and looked down to feel himself floating above his body, which was barely breathing. He could see a link from his body to his healing spell flowing into the sand beneath. It was drawing more out of his body, and his spirit would soon be free to return to the Earth's core. If this meant he would be closer to Kiri, he would embrace this new adventure.

A feeling that someone was watching made him look around. He gasped, and quailed in the presence of the Great Creator, The Architect. It was a being that was eternally cloaked. The desire to fall to his knees and grovel was so strong that his whole spirit shook with the urge. It was an instinctual reaction and something that Falcon could not have stopped even if he had wanted to. Yet, a small part of him instinctively knew that an aspect of Kiri was within the Creator. That belief grew stronger inside him, especially as he felt the Feminine resonate within. Falcon heard the Architect sigh in exasperation, another reminder of Kiri.

A delicate hand rose from the cloak and pointed at Falcon. His healing spell was pulled out of him and Falcon turned around to see what was happening. The Flames in the sands were gone. A light drizzle created a coat of fog as it muffled the flames. With the rain came new life. Cacti and native desert plants sprung up. The insects and animals began to chorus as life was restored.

But the Architect restored more than just the life of the desert. Falcon watched as the Malasii were showered with the Architect's blessings. And they too were changing; instead of silver, they were now the same golden hues as the sand. Falcon watched as the texture of their skin became as grainy as the land they seemed to be mimicking. He altered his vision to see their designs, and shook his head, amazed all over again. However, he had mixed emotions about allowing them to live. He thought they were vile creatures, to be destroyed. Yet,, the Architect had a reason to keep them around. Falcon felt approval flowing from the Architect, before it disappeared. An image of him leading the Malasii filled his head, and the Prey Prince grimaced. Amusement shimmered in the area where the Architect had been before the sensation disappeared.

He felt himself being shoved back into his body. Sitting up, and feeling heavy and very human, he looked around to see the Malasii standing or crouching expectantly. The presence of the Architect was still strong in his mind, and he needed to show this introduced species their new home. The Malasii created a mind link with him and, with a melodious tone, explained that their new names would be the Kirin. They were also willing to prove their worth by explaining the machinations of the World Eater and its designs, including the various weapons, how to operate and recreate them, and also their structural weaknesses. Falcon nodded his head. These new allies were going to be what gave his men the power to stand up for themselves. His lips curled as he thought of the Ciaran creaming their pants from the knowledge the `Kirin' held.

Falcon asked what the Kirin wanted in return. They shifted slightly away from Falcon and looked at each other, humming in that melodious tone. A heated, but brief discussion ensued. One stepped forward, apparently the delegated leader, and spoke in the old tongue. "We wish to have a home and be free." The hair on Falcon's neck rose. Listening to someone, who had once been his enemy, speaking a tongue that would burn most of his people from the inside out, would take some getting used to.

Perhaps with the new name, the ex-Malasii were asking to be given a chance here. If so, then calling themselves the Kirin would be a new start. And Falcon had the power to make their new home here even more pleasant or not; it was his decision. He stood up and looked at the flourishing life in the desert, an eco-system that most would not see at first glance. He glanced in the direction where the army was posted, and was surprised to note that none had yet come to scout out the situation.

He needed to make a decision, quickly. Sighing, and thinking about Kiri, he made his choice, but he needed to know something before he agreed to the deal. "If your old master was so powerful, why have you decided to turn against him now?"

The leader of the Kirin spoke, "Your Creator gave us a choice. Our old Master gave us orders. We want to learn to be real people. You can teach us how."

Falcon understood what was not being said. He gave them a smile of acknowledgement. As Falcon saw it, they were jumping ship because they felt his side had a chance at winning. And they had had enough of being the World Eater's lackeys. I'm doing this for you, Kiri, Falcon thought, as he agreed on behalf of the Clan Nations.

Why couldn't everybody allow him to be human for once? Sonny asked himself. He had always been the strong one, the responsible one. He wanted the world to go away. Didn't they know that his world had come crashing down on him? There was nothing to live for.

"Oh beloved, has your life devolved to wallowing in the past?" Kiri's voice whispered to him. Sonny didn't have a come back for that. "Will you allow your sorrow to drown you, while those who love you are suffering?"

Sonny snarled, and raked his hands through his hair. "You are dead!" he shouted into the air. "Let me be. Just let me be." He sank to the ground, covering his ears, as tears fell.

"Oh, my poor Sonny..." With that, Kiri's presence disappeared and Sonny felt himself slide into the darkness he craved. Burying his emotions, in a place no one would be able to touch them, his heart became as dead as Kiri's body. It was calm in this place of dark quiet.

By the way guys, I have a yahoo group where you can see all my writings. I also have another talented and amazing 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!