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Lord Fluglaz, was a cousin of The Grand Duke Davlos. And apowerful leader in his own right. He controlled a smaller dominion on the edge of that of Davlos. Davlos empire engulfed Lord Fluglaz and his domain but did not hold it subservient. Lord Fluglaz was a loyal companion of the Grand Duke, one more than ready to ride to war with him.

Fluglaz was always loyal and obedient to the Grand Duke but would often encourage him to move out of his chosen domain and spread his power across all of purgatory. This was, of course, beyond impossible because purgatory stretched out to infinity, something neither Davlos nor Fluglaz understood. Conquering its vast reaches was impossible, overwhelming a large number of domains was not.

Davlos, for his part, was satisfied with his dominion and riding at the head of his armies to quell those few small-scale rebellions that might upset his reign. The idea of any extensive journey of conquest with its forced marches and loss of life was beyond his interest.

When Fluglaz brought up the topic, which he frequently did, Davlos would rise from his elaborate throne-like chair, striding with obvious purpose around the room, a relaxed smile on his soft gray lips revealing the tips of his carefully filed fangs. He stepped up to each of his concubines and courtiers alike, fondling their faces, squeezing their shoulders, then would turn to Fluglaz and ask, “Why would I waste my time on the battlefield subjecting staunch and loyal warriors and their brave steeds to injury and death, when I have everything I could ever want already?”

Lord Fluglaz did not understand Davlos’ simple satisfaction, although to be honest, it was far from simple. Davlos ruled over a dominion containing many domains. Unlike Davlos, Fluglaz took little satisfaction in the plenty he already had. He was more interested in growing his power. It was an insatiable hunger for power, leaving little thought for the lives of his warriors and their steeds.

While Grand Duke Davlos lived, he held Lord Fluglaz in check. Once Astrada’s blade had stopped Davlos beating heart, it gave Fluglaz an unofficial license to pursue his quest for greater power. His first act was to seek out any who might prevent him from assuming the title of Grand Duke. There was quite a bloodbath at the palace. Lord Fluglaz had the support of many of Davlos’ warriors as he and his cohort had often joined with Davlos and his forces to put down uprisings that from time to time arose in the more distant regions of the dominion.

Davlos’ dominion was a large one incorporating the domains of many worlds. Beyond the borders of the Grand Duchy, there were several smaller states which Davlos let keep their independence. Except for the domain of Fluglaz, an associated nation, they had little to do with the Grand Duchy. While grateful for the military support Davlos could provide if they needed it, they were more grateful Davlos otherwise left them alone.

Fluglaz, having claimed the title of Grand Duke, could now pursue his dream of conquest and the boundless power that would accompany it. The grateful tributes from the smaller states thanking the Grand Duke for his support and his leaving them their independence was not enough for Fluglaz. After consolidating his power within the boundaries of the Grand Duchy, he set out to expand the dominion. His first successful conquest came at the expense of the smaller surrounding states.

These states, so protective of the independence they had gathered around themselves like a warm and protective blanket during Davlos’ reign, could not present a united front in time to stand up to the greed of Fluglaz and the strength of his forces. Fluglaz’s forces easily overran each, one after another. Their tiny forces no match for the massive military might he could call upon.

Before long, Fluglaz dominion covered those realms of similar sentient species from the same universe. While now controlling a dominion beyond human concept, it was not enough. His desire for absolute power drove him to cross the swampy boundaries into the far-reaching domains of different universes, their countless worlds and their many sentient species.

To one side of Fluglaz’s domain were several near empty domains belonging to abandoned worlds and dimensions where the civilizations and sentient life forms had long since ceased to exist. The few who remained lingered in purgatory to complete their atonement. With little effort, any one of Fluglaz’s growing number of legions could claim and hold several of these.

To the other side of his dominion were domains of younger worlds. Among these were several domains Fluglaz was able to overpower and win through bribery and control of the local guardians. Those that resisted fell to force of arms. While still many domains away, Fluglaz was making his way toward the domain of earth and its associated worlds.

Thanks to the flexibility of time in purgatory, Tauren and Astrada could seek out and train a champion and prepare skilled warriors in time to defend the domain from a conquering army. Besides the many among the living who had or would make their way there through one or another of the passageways who would be prepared to serve, there were centuries worth of warriors, soldiers, and the battle hardened ready to stand in defense of their domain while they awaited the finish of their time of atonement. Many of those who answered Tauren’s call did so in the hope that standing in defense of their domain along with the guardian and the champion, whoever he might be, would improve their chances for the light.

As yet, there was no champion around whom to rally, although some impressed by the warrior skills of Astrada felt she might be the one. While she looked like the humans of earth, she was not. The champion had to be human, and they had yet to be find him or her. This was the task assigned Astrada and required of Tauren.

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