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The Infinite Cycle was a cycle of rebirth enacted by the xel'naga.
The xel'naga arose within the Void. While incredibly long lived by even protoss standards, the xel'naga were not immortal. Eventually, their species would come to an end. In the interest of survival they planned to create new xel'naga by uplifting two species. A pair of qualities was required and these were defined by the xel'naga as purity of essence and purity of form, and each uplifted species would be targeted for one of them. Over an extraordinarily long period of time, the two species would naturally come together and merge, forming the next generation of xel'naga and beginning the cycle anew. Part of the process involves xel'naga elders giving their essence to the chosen races, and they would ascend as the new xel'naga.
The cycle was repeated in numerous universes; at the start of a universe's creation, the xel'naga would take on physical form and enter the universe, seeding it with life. The cycle repeated so many times that time itself was affected by it. Each time, the xel'naga observed and identified the potential of their offspring, but never interfered directly.
In what would be the last universe to bear witness to the cycle, the xel'naga seeded the universe with life through Ulnar. They entered slumber, waiting for the two destined races to find and assemble the Keystone, which would lead them to Ulnar, beginning the cycle anew. Unfortunately, one of their brethren, Amon, sought to break the cycle as he saw it as corrupt and remake the universe in his image. Gathering like-minded followers, he departed into the universe and, breaking his kind's laws, directly interfered with two races, the protoss and zerg, and instilled into them purity of essence and purity of form while also planning to eradicate them both and create the hybrid from their essence. His brethren eventually discovered his plans and waged war against him. In the ensuing War Among the Gods, many xel'naga were killed, but Amon was banished back into the Void. The survivors returned to Ulnar to slumber. However, a survivor of Amon's forces, Samir Duran, would continue his master's work in secret.
The Last Turning of the CycleEdit
- Ouros's last words(src)
Duran ensured the zerg and protoss would come into conflict, allowing him to start creation of a false xel'naga army for his master known as the hybrid. Duran also implanted himself in the Moebius Foundation, manipulating events so he could use the xel'naga Keystone to absorb enough energy from the Queen of Blades to pull Amon from the Void. Duran's plan was successful, and Amon returned. He moved on Ulnar and slew the slumbering xel'naga within. However, Dark Prelate Zeratul was forewarned by the Ouros, a surviving xel'naga trapped in the Void, and ensured Kerrigan survived and was cleansed of the corruption Amon imparted in the Zerg Swarm early in their uplifting. Kerrigan banished Duran back into the Void and disrupted his hybrid birthing operation, but Amon rose again and inhabited the protoss Khala.
Using his hybrid, terrans of Moebius Corps subjugated to be his thralls, feral zerg of the Amon Brood brought under his control, the Tal'darim, and the corrupted Khalai protoss, Amon waged war on the galaxy, with the intent of exterminating the xel'naga's creation. In doing so, the xel'naga could not inhabit a new form, and the cycle would be broken. However, Amon's rage was great, and he did not just want the creations of the broken cycle to be destroyed, but to suffer. Hierarch Artanis of the Daelaam attempted to reawaken the xel'naga in Ulnar to stop Amon, but found them slain, and Amon taunted him that he was constructing a hybrid host body on Aiur. Artanis united the Nerazim, Purifiers, and Tal'darim, and moved on Aiur, destroying Amon's host body and using the Keystone to pull him from the Khala, banishing the fallen xel'naga back into the Void.
Amon's conquest to destroy the cycle had been halted, but not forever, as he still existed within the Void, and he immediately began plotting to return to the material universe. Sarah Kerrigan united the Terran Dominion forces under Jim Raynor and the Daelaam under Hierarch Artanis, and sent a force into the Void to face him. There, they fought Duran, who was keeping Ouros imprisoned. Alexei Stukov slew Duran for the final time, freeing the xel'naga. Ouros insisted that Kerrigan had to ascend to a xel'naga, and he would impart his essence to her. Kerrigan agreed, and in spite of Amon's attempted intervention the cycle turned over one last time, and Kerrigan became a xel'naga. Kerrigan and her allies personally fought Amon, and disarmed the shield surrounding him. Amon insisted she was the creation of a flawed cycle, but Kerrigan insisted that she didn't care for the Infinite Cycle or the plans of the xel'naga, and that all she cared about was freedom for all. With one final blast, Kerrigan slew Amon, ending Amon's plans to exterminate all products of the cycle.