A Cycle is a ritualistic period of intense chaos and unrest on a global scale, caused by the seven Avatars on behalf of the Creator. The Creator generally cares for the planet itself more than the people that reside on it, and only thinks of them as fuel for the next Cycle when the planet starts cracking at the seams. Because the planet itself was founded on the basis of Chaos, it requires the essence of Chaotic energy to hold itself together, and while its people aren't entirely peaceful anymore, they are peaceful enough that they always fail to meet the quota the planet requires, and aren't even aware that the Earth is alive in this sense at all. As such, the Creator and his minions invoke the Cycles to create widespread war and suffering among the people while the planet feeds off the chaos that ensues, repairing and sustaining itself in the process.
Even fewer people know about the Cycles than there exist people who are aware of the Gems of Chaos - and even the few people who have knowledge of the Cycles are either indifferent or helpless against them. While some have hindered them, nobody has ever completely prevented a Cycle from finishing its course, thanks in part to the tireless obsession all Avatars share with their goals and the sheer strength they wield. The best people can hope for is to fight and hide as best they can, and hope they live long enough that the Creator decides that continuing any longer will disallow them from rebuilding until the day another Cycle is due, at which time the Creator pushes them to retaliate and begins the Cycle anew.