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 thirty

Terse stood on the outside of the protective barriers surrounding the Mounds. The trees whispered the whereabouts of the enemy to her, so she wrapped herself in an invisibility shield and waited. Closing her eyes, she folded her legs and sat with her hands resting on her knees, fingers pointing up. Her strength lay within the Feminine, although Kiri had been teaching her to tap into both power sources at the same time. He would be missed, once the general public discovered it. Sorrow filled her before she pushed it aside.

Taking a deep breath, she visualized silver air flowing through her nose, down into her body and then breathing out gold. It was a technique she had been taught as a child. It was a way of becoming one with her surroundings. With each inhale, she felt the world breathe in with her. As she exhaled, the world sighed, and small gusts of wind danced around her still body. Now she was set.

A sound of displaced air disrupted her, and she was up standing before the next blink, ready to take on the intruder. The invisibility shield disappeared, and Illiana raised her hands in a peaceful gesture, startled at the sudden appearance. She lowered her hands cautiously, taking note of the deadly gleam in Terse's eyes.

"What are you doing here?" Terse growled.

"I've come to help," Illiana replied.

Terse did a quick survey of Illiana's armour, and knew Kiri's workmanship. Gloves with sharp metal claws were on each of Illiana's hands. They gleamed dark green in the setting sunlight. Using her inner eye, Terse saw the spells and designs engraved into every aspect of the metal. What gave her pause was realizing the claws were made from the old skins of the Metali Grandmother, the first metal serpent. She had been brought to the caves of the Metali, and knew them intimately. Terse had only been introduced to the Grandmother on one occasion, but she would never forget the design of that ancient being, or the size of her.

The green metal skin did not end with the gloves. It was woven into every part of her full-plated armour. The armour was flexible enough to allow movement, but strong enough to defend against any attacks. The Spellman-ship glowed in Terse's inner eye. Kiri obviously wanted to protect Illiana at all costs, but also knew the Predator would not sit idly for very long, while those around her were fighting. It was not in her nature and, even though Terse didn't know this young woman that well, she knew Illiana was a woman of action.

"Do not get yourself killed," Terse growled, "I do not want Sonny's wrath falling upon my head."

Illiana straightened her shoulders, and glared at Terse. "I can take care of myself. If you're worried that I won't be able to keep up, I have a way around that too."

"I am fully aware of the spells and skills embedded into every aspect of your armour," Terse said succinctly. "What worries me is, when Sonny finds out where you are, he will not be pleased, and since he is now the new source of Masculine..."

Terse's head jerked to the side, as the trees warned her of the presence of the Malasii. "We have company."

Illiana nodded her head, using her Predator senses to hone in on the enemy. "Just remember, this conversation isn't over. I want to know what Sonny's being the new Source of Masculine will mean."

Terse again wrapped an invisibility shield around her and went skulking toward the Malasii. Illiana concentrated for a second and, moments later, she too was invisible. The Predator ran lightly over the ground, using her night vision to see the energy signatures of the forest around her. A group of twenty Malasii were heading directly toward the mounds. Crouching down, she felt her beast rising from within her. With an almighty leap, she jumped over the heads of the lead Malasii and ended up in the midst of them.

There was a little bit of confusion, which turned to desperate attempts at protection, as Illiana slashed and kicked into them. With one touch from her lethal claws and armour, they turned to dust. There were fourteen left before they scattered, ensuring they made it harder for her to damage so many. She smiled and began her hunt.

Terse, in the meantime, watched as Illiana took care of this group of Malasii. She had to admire the tenacity and skill of the Predator, but there were still nine hundred Malasii left to deal with. As a child with the Avatar gene that was her job. As long as Illiana was able to knock off a few at a time, Terse thought the Predator would have a better chance of surviving if she took care of the majority.

She raced toward the pockets of Malasii scattered around the forest. Calling to the earth, she commanded the ground to trap the Malasii feet deep into its soil. There were droning sounds as the Malasii felt their feet sink deep into the earth. Turning into their liquid form, they flowed across the land. The ground could not grip something that was not solid and Terse cursed herself for alerting the enemy that something was out there. That was amateurish, and she realised that her emotions were still in turmoil over recent events. She needed a clear head, and that meant she had to push all emotions to the side.

Terse went after a group of Malasii that had reshaped into their humanoid form. They were a hundred strong. She gave a silent snarl as she drew upon the element of wind and wrapped them inside a bubble of air. They tried turning into liquid in an attempt to escape, but Terse was prepared. She had turned the ground solid so that nothing could soak into it. They had too much viscosity to become as soluble as water, and Terse was grateful. It meant they swarmed over the ground, but could not get any further. With one quick twist of her hand, the bubble of air slid under the liquid Malasii and sealed them completely inside.

Sharp, sword-like arms came out of the liquid mass in an attempt to pierce the bubble. Terse could feel the pressure building behind her eyes as she held against the onslaught. With a loud growl that reverberated through the woods, she pushed her hand against the outside of the air bubble, and shoved more power into maintaining it's defensive capabilities. With her other hand, she called upon the element of lightning and felt it coalesce on her palm. A metal cylinder rose from the ground in the centre of the bubble. The Malasii swarmed around it trying to break it.

Terse inhaled and blew against the bubble. Her breath came out chilly, and steamed in the warm air before passing into the bubble. Snow and arctic winds billowed against the Malasii, slowing their movements. She took in another deep breath and blew harder. The temperature dropped further, hardening the Malasii's skin, until they stood frozen in place. The Metallic rod shimmered against the white snow, untouched by the blizzard swirling around the frozen Malasii.

From the outside of the bubble, another metallic tube connected to the one in the centre of the Malasii, rose up waist high beside Terse. Slapping the hand that held the lightning charge against it, the cylinder in the midst of the Frozen Malasii flared a brilliant bright blue. Sparks zigzagged through the enemy, smashing up against the bubble, and splashing colour across its surface. With each jolt of current through the enemy, the Malasii dissipated. With one more jolt of power, Terse moved away from her creation, watching the lightning display, before she disappeared after more prey.

Illiana crouched down, slightly winded, as the last of her enemies turned to ash and scattered on the wind. She could not see any signs of Malasii near the mounds so her search took her further away. Thoughts of Sonny kept flashing through her mind. Watching the despondency in her Prince's, he was unofficially King now. Had she done the right thing by leaving him to wallow in his misery?

Before coming out here to help Terse, she had gone to visit his mother. The Queen Dowager had neither spoken nor acknowledged Illiana's presence. She had sat in her chair, looking out towards the large acres of crops. She held a handkerchief that had the King's insignia stitched in one corner. Every so often, the Queen Dowager would lift the handkerchief towards her nose and inhale.

Illiana tried to mention Sonny's name and was shocked when the Dowager Queen snarled before turning her face away. Her hands shook ever so slightly, and she pushed the handkerchief closer to her face, avoiding Illiana's gaze. His mother went on to explain that her son was dead. A son would not kill his father, nor would a son have goaded a father into a challenge. In her eyes, the man prancing around with her son's face was an impostor.

Illiana felt her heart sink. The Dowager Queen was in serious denial, and Illiana didn't have the time to address her issues. The queen was not going to be of any help. She wondered how Sonny would cope if he found out his mother held him responsible for the soon-to-be execution of his father. Her heart sank further thinking that, when Sonny needed his mother most, she had turned her back on him. Straightening her shoulders, she stared down at the Dowager Queen. She vowed to herself that she would act for the sake of her unborn child. This Royal family needed someone to be strong for them, and she was going to be that person.

Now, walking stealthily through the forest, Illiana saw some tracks that didn't belong to any animal she knew, and smiled with relish. These Malasii would be easy prey indeed. With eyes firmly planted on the ground, she failed to miss the flicker of a shadow. It wasn't until something thick and heavy fell on her that she realised her error. The Malasii she had been tracking had gotten clever, and were using the treetops to avoid detection. They had left a trail leading toward the river and then backtracked, while three of them continued creating the tracks they had made. Illiana realised all this in an instant.

The Malasii that fell onto her turned to instant ash as they hit her armour. Rolling on her back, she peered up at what seemed like eighty of them, shaped like overly large silver spiders. They crawled up and down the bark, and Illiana had to suppress a shudder. She hated spiders; it was a dark fear that very few knew.

One of them opened its mouth and long, serrated fangs grew. It leapt and fell towards her. With a little squeal, Illiana rolled quickly. She forgot that her armour would protect her; she forgot that she had weapons at her disposal. It was fear without reason, and she was rapidly losing hers. Crawling on hands and knees, she heard the Malasii land atop her. Like the previous Malasii it turned to dust. She got up on her feet and crashed through the forest.

The Malasii, understanding that the creature hunting them was now afraid, went after in hot pursuit. They knew her suit was a danger to them but, if they could coax her into getting out of it, they would have her. And, if that failed, they could always lead her into hurting herself somehow.

Fear lived inside Illiana. It crawled up her throat as wrenching sounds of terror. She was running on instinct and the need to escape. From behind her she could see silver spiders leaping from tree to tree. They didn't get close to her, but they kept her at a gallop while they followed. Never far enough back for her comfort, but far enough to prevent her from turning to attack, she continued to flee while trying to keep her terror in control.

The Malasii became excited as they linked with some of their brothers in Team Phaedra who were in a section ahead of the fleeing Predator. They relayed that their present form of the eight-legged creature held some kind of power over their prey.

There was a fast flowing river that dropped down a three hundred foot incline. And Team Phaedra began giving directions to herd Illiana towards the high drop. The Malasii in hot pursuit began co-ordinating their attacks to ensure that their Predator went in the desired direction.

Branches whipped across Illiana's helmeted face. Her breath was laboured as she pushed her body onwards. Her mind kept throwing images of the fanged spiders breathing down her neck. Her head whipped backwards as she saw one of the Malasii leap and just miss her body by inches. It hissed at her as it landed on its feet. She screamed, and ran in the opposite direction.

She didn't see the tree root, in her haste to escape, and went sprawling on the ground. Illiana felt a sharp pain course through her belly and curled over in shock. She had been sprinting on adrenalin for over two hours, and her body was dripping with sweat. But, it was the convulsions that allowed her phobia to loosen its hold on her. Wrapping her hand around the still pulsing pain in her belly, she snarled viciously at the stalking Malasii.

Her concern made her stronger. Standing back up on shaky legs, another rumble rippled from her throat. She felt her incisors elongate as the beast's rage filled her. The pulsing pain in her belly fuelled the anger of the beast. She was also angry at herself for allowing her own fears to put her unborn child at risk.

She dashed toward the prowling spider Malasii. This time she was in the right frame of mind, and started using the power of the armour. She went in and out of witch time, slowing time down and looking like a blur to her enemies. They didn't know what hit them as she appeared and disappeared before they could form an attack plan.

Dust cascaded where Malasii once stood while Illiana made short work of them. Team Phaedra was on an intercept trail, and came crashing through the woods. They saw the destruction of their fellow fighters as dust particles fluttering to the ground. Illiana snarled and turned on them. A Malasii held a long metallic tube pointed at Illiana. It was one of the containment units that had trapped the Abyss dogs, and they were preparing to use it on her. Six Malasii had turned to dust before the containment unit had Illiana in its sights. She gave a feline snarl and disappeared, only to reappear behind the Malasii holding the weapon. She slashed her magically enhanced claws across her enemy, turning it into dust. Grabbing the containment unit, she sliced her claws through it with one hand before dropping it to the ground. It sparked and smouldered before melting into a puddle of liquid silver.

Something hit her from behind and she went flying through the air. Thinking only of protection, without fear counteracting her commands, she felt her armour react to her need to protect the baby. It halted her projection through the air and she hovered six feet off the ground. Her armour briefly smouldered and steamed before returning to its normal green sheen. Her stomach jerked, but she smothered her sound of pain.

Turning around, she peered down at one of the Malasii who had the point of another containment unit pointed at her. It shot out an electrically charged bolt that crashed against her armour. She looked back calmly, as her armour absorbed the attack, and began draining the weapon of energy. The rage of the beast gave her clarity. Everything was in sharp focus.

With a thought, she went zooming back into the remaining Malasii. The fight only lasted seconds as she used witch time to eliminate the enemy. It was the sharp tug within her womb that had her stumbling to a halt. She gave a yelp of pain before she killed the remaining Malasii. She dropped to the ground as she felt a wetness seep between her legs. She felt the rage of the beast recede. Trying to clear her mind of pain, she focused on using the healing properties of the armour. Another convulsion made her curl in on herself. She felt her armour's senses skim over her body, trying to find the damage. The spells were not quipped to deal with premature birth, and could not help her. Another pulse of pain made her cry out. She dared not take off her armour. There could be more Malasii coming, and it would leave her vulnerable. Yet, she needed to assess what was happening below the waist.

It was as she was contemplating removing the lower part of the armour, that another section of Malasii came across her. She stared up at them, half out of breath from the sharp pains. She gave a snarl, but knew it was for show only. She fumbled around for the emblem that everyone was supposed to carry to help them teleport back to base. It was with a sinking heart that she realized it must have come off when she was hit in the back.

She closed her eyes and then opened them, using her Predator vision to search the forest floor for her emblem. She knew the Malasii would not be able to touch it. The emblem had a self-destruct mechanism and it was programmed for her only. However, her child was her first priority now. Her inner voice kept cursing her for putting her child in jeopardy by coming out here. But she knew she had to try something, instead of just sitting back while her people fought. She just hadn't realised how much of a price she would have to pay.

A large piercing noise made her turn her head. Her face turned from surprise to hopelessness when she realised one of the Malasii had found her emblem and had been destroyed by its trap spell. She was now stuck here until either Terse came back, or someone from the mounds found her on one of the screens that monitored the forest. She curled around her belly, scared and afraid her unborn daughter was going to pay for her folly. The only hope that held her together was the promise Kiri had spoken about; that her child would be born healthy, and she would grow up.

"Papa, please where are you?"

Sonny wallowed in a place of no noise and no pain. It was peaceful, and he didn't want to leave.

He felt a tug where his hollow heart lay. A small light blinked into existence in the distance. It grew closer, calling out for its papa. Sonny snarled and tried to push the light away. It refused to leave him in his darkness. Instead it walked closer, still calling for its papa. The light stilled and, curious, he wondered who it could be; Sonny hesitantly got up and followed.

The light grew brighter until he was forced to close his eyes. When he opened them, he was in a wood-panelled room. A small girl, in a long white dress, sat on a chair with her back to him. The room looked familiar but he didn't have time to observe as he concentrated on the child. She seemed deep in concentration and Sonny moved closer to inspect what she was doing.

Blood trailed down her hands, and she was watching intently as the blood trickled faster than normal from her wrists. She looked up and Sonny was startled to see his golden eyes staring back at him. Her long black hair was perfectly straight, but the blood pouring from her eyes and ears, and dripping onto her pure white dress, disturbed Sonny deeply. He backed away from her.

She hopped off her chair and stared at him imploringly. "Papa, help me."

Sonny moved back further and felt himself hit the edge of a wooden desk. Turning around, he looked down to see his father staring at him from behind the desk. This was a childhood memory of watching his Royal parent working on negotiations. Both his eyes were gone. "We all need your help son."

Sonny jumped away from both of them, landing on his backside and crab crawling away from them. "Leave me be!" he shouted.

The little girl stopped and tried hiding her hands behind her skirt. She peered down at Sonny through her black bangs; a gesture that Kiri had often used when he was nervous or scared. Sonny jolted as the child's lower lip wobbled. Tears filled her golden eyes, and a single tear trickled down her cheek, diluting the blood that left track marks across her pale face. "I'm scared, Papa. If you don't help me, I will not be born."

Sonny kept shaking his head. "No, you're not real; you're just in my head."

She tried to stifle the sobs, but she could not control her tears. Raising one hand, she pointed to her right. Sonny pulled his sight away from the macabre sight of blood trickling off her arm like a train of living cloth. Light coalesced into a scene of Illiana. She was in green armour, curled over on her side. Around her was a horde of Malasii. Sonny watched as she screamed, clutching her stomach. The angle changed and he was looking at her face-on. A trail of blood trickled from the grooves of her armour, between her legs, and onto the grass beneath her.

Another scene appeared next to the one of Illiana. It showed Falcon dropping to the sand, and flames dancing around his prone body. Malasii seemed to slide through the flames heading towards him. Another scene opened up showing Sonny's mother slumped over the table, looking even more old and frail. The last scene showed Malasii near the mounds, destroying three Oak Heartwood trees that kept anchor for the doors to the mounds. Sonny watched as their majestic trunks were hacked into and he shook his head at the neglect and danger of those under his protection. He had to do something. It was an intrinsic part of him and, regardless of how much pain he was in, he wasn't going to be a quitter.

Staring intently at the scenes before him, he quickly assessed who needed his attention the most. It was a toss up between Illiana, the Mounds, and Falcon. That was, until Sonny saw the Malasii transform within the image of Falcon. A white haze flowed over everything within the scene. Sonny shook as he felt the power of Architect reach out to him. It's power wrapped around him, a tingling sensation shivering over his body. He arched his back as the Architect encompassed him and pushed him out of his self-imposed darkness. It wasn't gentle either.

The Architect told him who he needed to save first. It wasn't with actual words that the Architect communicated with Sonny. It was more like an urge, or an idea springing into his mind and guiding him. It had a bite to it, as it reminded Sonny of his commitments and duties. There was no time to be wallowing, and the Architect was not amused by his juvenile attitude. For all the resentment Sonny felt, he couldn't help but think he was a child being scolded by an adult. A conscious part of his mind started registering that Kiri was adept at doing this to him, and something lurched inside at the reminder. There was one last message the Architect imparted to Sonny. He was the Power Source for the Masculine, while Falcon would play his opposite.

He felt his body being pulled through a teleportation shift, and he appeared standing over the hunched form of Illiana. She opened her eyes and stared up at him in pain.

"Our b-b-baby." She said.

Sonny wrapped a protective bubble around her before issuing a warning snarl to the surrounding Malasii. He sent an urgent summons to the hospital within the mounds and teleported her to a team who were in preparation even before he ended the call. With a quick sweep of his hand, the Malasii were hit by a backlash of power that had them all instantly turning to dust. He then teleported to the perimeter around the Mounds. There was a grim twist to his lips at the thought of the damage to the Mounds' anchors. In his vision, three trees had been destroyed. There were five anchors all together and, if all five were gone, then the Mounds could be lost forever.

Terse had already beaten him there. The Malasii were dust and Terse was panting hard. Sonny frowned as he saw that the defensive shields were still up. He floated off the ground and inspected the shield. He flew eighty-five feet high, as it covered the Heartwood Trees that were strategically placed at the four compass points with the fifth placed in the centre. There was no breach in it, and Sonny frowned.

It was Terse who showed him how they got in. She gave him a grimace of apology when he saw it. The Malasii had dug their way beneath the shield. Terse had forgotten to place a ground shield to prevent such a strategy. He watched as she stormed to one of the damaged Heartwood trees and placed her hands upon it. The tree shivered before its bark healed over and the tree became whole again. Terse swayed a little before she ran to the next damaged tree. Sonny frowned as he examined her energy levels. She was close to passing out, and it was only her determination to finish that was keeping her standing. Sonny knew this was something she needed to do, but he made sure he kept track of her condition by notifying those left in charge of surveillance to keep an eye on her while he went to seek out Falcon.

He ended up looking over the desert at night. The setting sun glinted off slabs of fire toughened glass. It gave the desert a strange beauty as flashes of red and orange shimmered like a speckled egg. Falcon was crouched on the ground with what appeared to be sand Malasii around him. Sonny was ready to annihilate them when Falcon stood up and shouted for him to stop.

"Look with your inner eye, and not your prejudice," Falcon said succinctly.

Sonny paused as he looked at the way these strange `Malasii' hid behind Falcon, cowering away from his rage that bubbled beneath the surface. "If it weren't for these creatures and their master, Kiri would still be with us," he said hollowly.

Falcon's eye twitched with a nervous tic. He turned towards the Kirin and dismissed them. They sank into the sand, before he turned back to Sonny and replied. "I know that. However, our Kiri..." he paused for several moments before continuing. "He is still with us, in a way."

Sonny laughed, but it was a harsh sound. "Don't give me that bullshit about Kiri `watching' over us. His physical body is dead. I saw it, and you saw it."

"Open your eyes, Sonny. Kiri has become part of the Architect. Anything is possible. Remember the last thing he said to us."

Sonny interrupted him by saying, "I'm not interested in what he said last. I want him here, NOW." He felt shaky, and his heart was starting to hurt once more. He cursed the Architect for dragging him out of his darkness. It was as if icy shards were puncturing his heart every time he took a breath.

Falcon grabbed hold of Sonny firmly. "That's enough. We all need you to keep it together, Sonny. We can't afford to fall apart right now."

"You didn't love Kiri the way I did," Sonny said. "I can't dismiss him so easily, the way you can."

Falcon had had enough. "Don't you dare try to tell me my feelings aren't as strong as yours. You don't fucking know what it was like between us. But I will tell you this. Kiri has left a guiding light inside both of us. That pain you're feeling? That is his way of telling you that you're still living and, in a way, Kiri is too."

"Is this some quasi shit that being the Feminine has instilled in you?"

Falcon gave him a small smile. "Kiri is now a part of the Architect, you idiot. That means anything is possible." Sonny was afraid to hope. It was a lifeline that he would cling to, only if he could be absolutely certain Kiri would be back. Falcon nodded. "Remember, the last thing Kiri said to us was, `Remember the Circle of Life.' So what is he trying to tell us?"

Sonny gripped Falcon's forearms in the Predator fashion. It was a desperate hope that shone through the new Predator King's eyes. "He could be back?" he said with quiet longing.

Falcon nodded, "He could come back."

Sonny turned away from Falcon, trying to hide the tears that were welling behind his eyes. He still felt a little shaky, but he was trying. Surreptitiously wiping his eyes, he turned back to Falcon. "It was the Architect that altered those Malasii wasn't it?" It was spoken as a statement, not a question. Falcon nodded in agreement. Sonny turned away before speaking. "There's something I would like you to do." Falcon waited for him to finish. "If there is anything you can do, that is in your power to protect my newborn child, I would be in your debt."

"Why?" Falcon asked, "Is there something wrong with Illiana?"

"We have many of the Fey healers attending to her right now, I didn't want to waste too many resources, especially yours, on helping her."

Falcon walked up to Sonny and turned him around. "I should have been the first person you came to for help. We're leaving."

"What about these Sand Malasii of yours?"

"They are called Kirin, and they will await my orders until I return. Your newborn child is of more importance right now."

"She is already being taken care of, Falcon. Conserve your strength. We are needed to help support the betterment of our people, and not our own personal agenda, I shouldn't have asked."

"Don't give me that bull, Sonny, your child is the next generation and an important aspect, too. No more arguments." Gripping onto Sonny firmly, Falcon teleported them to the Mounds.

The Architect watched the life-forms on Earth prepare for the invasion. The Avatar had certainly surprised him with that last alteration in his summoning spell, incorporating his emotional energy so that it helped meld the two of them together. But, perhaps, with these emotions there was a new perspective of looking at the creations he had designed. And, with that thought, perhaps a way to destroy the World Eater with the least amount of destruction to its shrinking universe. There was a small amount of amusement, as sensations and emotions that had never troubled him before centred in the middle of his being. Anger, pain, hate, happiness, joy, and even love were experiences that he had never had to deal with. They had been side factors that were necessary, enabling his life-form designs to function and respond to environmental stimuli around them. Emotions came from the stuff of chaos. All Galaxies had a touch of chaos in them, or the unknown. It was this small seed of chaos that helped balance the structured designs that the Architect and his brethren created. Everything needed balance, and the Architect was no exception.

However, the threat was coming close. And now the Architect could put meaning to the sensations coursing through him. He wanted vengeance. The World Eater had eaten many galaxies. It had destroyed many of his brethren. And now the enemy was at his door.

The Architect had planned for this eventuality. He had heard the screams and warnings from those that had been destroyed before him. He had garnered their knowledge before the planets that held their life source were eaten. They had passed on their designs to him. Looking back at Earth, the planet that held most of his true essence, he briefly felt the emotion of fear, and then stared back at the oncoming danger. Out of the thousands of galaxies, and the many brethren destroyed, some older, some younger, it was now his turn to try and pit his power against a being that had not yet been defeated.

But, with the melding of the Avatar's consciousness with his own, he thought he had a chance. After all, the biggest barrier that his brethren had had to face, while confronting the World Eater, was realising that it had once been one of them. The World Eater was able to tap into the destiny pattern of each Galaxy and use it to manipulate events to suit its purpose. This was something that even no other Galaxy being had been able to do. The destiny pattern for a Galaxy was set at the beginning of its creation and, therefore, was the base of its foundation. The destiny pattern was the lifeline of a Galaxy. It told the story of the Galaxies creation and also its death. These were never supposed to change. Those were the rules.

However, with the destiny pattern in place, many of the defeated galaxies had passively watched their destruction, and those that had realised that the destiny tapestry had been altered were unable to change the course that was set. It was from these brethren that the Architect had been able to garner vital information. So he had created the Fey, to become the base for his attack plan.

The Ciaran intervention two centuries ago, which seemed like an eye blink to the Architect, had been the first inkling that an outside threat was coming. He had summoned a vessel to investigate the anomaly of this alien species entering his territory. That vessel had been Killara, the first Avatar. In her brief time she had been able to provide the Architect with enough information to prepare his second vessel, Kiri. With the integration of the Ciaran design into the destiny pattern, the Architect had finally had his plans set into place. He had been able to do something that none of his brethren, except the World Eater, had been able to do. He altered his destiny pattern. Over the centuries, more Galaxies had fallen prey to the World Eater, and the song, that had been a constant part of the background noise of the stars, was fading.

Each blast from the massive particle-beam cannons took an immense amount of energy; energy that took considerable amounts of its time and effort to generate. There were six, shiny, black cannon muzzles that were targeted toward the Earth. It took the generators seven hours to regenerate another beam as strong as the previous one. The World Eater sent down a command to fire off another blast. It had only used three of the cannons so far. This time it was going to use its entire arsenal.

Its minions rushed to do its bidding. The World Eater felt the power building, and watched with avid interest as the blast from the particle-beam cannons shot off towards the planet that had proved not only elusive to its physical attacks, but also to destiny manipulation. Electrical pulses charged through its body as it considered the kind of feast this planet would offer. The World Eater had only been mildly surprised when it entered the Architect Galaxy to find that its destiny pattern was elusive. Normally, all it needed to do was slip out of its metal body, and it could sense where the destiny pattern was placed. The World Eater saw the destiny tapestry as a musical piece of art. Once it knew the location, it was able to use its own unique song to distort the chords of each unique destiny pattern, until the song began to play its tune.

When the World Eater knew its own Galaxy was on the brink of dying, like those before it, it had informed its minions to build this body. They had placed the essence of the planet that held its life into the core of this metallic world. Through it, the World Eater had cheated the death of its destiny pattern. But, ever since then, a craving filled it that could only be fulfilled by absorbing the essences of its brethren. So, he travelled across the span of the known universe in search of the one place that could stop this constant hunger.

Watching, as another shield flowered before its particle beam even hit the surface of this almost insignificant planet, the World Eater pondered if this was the place that could help ease its craving permanently? If it couldn't, that was okay too. After all, none of its brethren had been able to stop it. This Planet, and its Galaxy Guardian, shouldn't be any different.

The World Eater ordered its minions to maintain the power of the beam for as long as possible. Using its long-range sensors, it watched as the shield protecting against its weapon turned red when the pressure and strength of the beam clashed against it. Alarms flashed, and the World Eater snarled, realising that reactor maintenance systems were slowly overloading. They had not been designed, or constructed, to operate at this power level for extended periods of time. One of its minions was asking permission to shut them down. The World Eater refused, and watched as the shield around Earth flickered, but still held. More alarms began echoing as some of its minions were destroyed by the over-heating reactors. The World Eater quickly shut down those sections, seeking to contain the already considerable damage.

The World Eater shut down the particle-beam power reactors with a roar of rage and disappointment. Had it continued for any longer, the overloaded reactors would have destroyed its own shell from the inside out. It stared at the shield that still glowed a dark red around the earth. Before its eyes, it watched as what seemed like fire consumed the shield, eroding it until the Earth's shield gave one last futile spark of life before dying. With suppressed excitement it sent out a scan of energy fluctuations that would indicate the presence of the shield. A status report came through that had the World Eater roaring with glee. The shield was no more. The invasion was on, and once the particle-beam was back online, those bugs were going to understand that their minute resistance would cost them dearly.

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!