Flavia Fosforus felt a bit lonely. It was an odd sensation for her. Sure, she had always been rather an outsider during her early childhood on one of the outer planets of those orbiting the star Algol in the constellation Perseus. But she had not really even noticed, always busying herself with her passion for knowledge -- knowledge of the history, traditions, and lore of that mighty and incredibly advanced race of which she was a member: the mysterious and enigmatic Watchers of the Daemon-Star.
It was not until becoming a student at Daemonia Academy, there on the glorious central planet of Algolite Civilisation, that young Flavia had begun to feel the pangs of loneliness. It was a curious sensation indeed. Flavia, who in addition to her considerable intelligence was exceedingly beautiful -- already tall for her age and very slender, blonde with sapphire eyes and a wonderful smile -- had to admit, if only to herself, that she did not really understand it.
Surely, she thought, there was much here in the capital city of the planet Daemonia to occupy her time between classes. The fantastic locations, relics, and monuments of uncountable myriads of accomplishments and records of the unspeakable aeons and aeons of Time and vast reaches of Space of which her people were the supreme and most highly-evolved masters. Things that up until now she, with her “provincial” upbringing, had, for the most part, been only able to read about.
You see, despite their immense power and godlike abilities, the Watchers of Algol are extreme isolationists, never becoming involved in the concerns of the many other species of the universe. It is just something that they would consider improper. Moreover, the great philosophers of Daemonia reasoned, why would one care to be involved with others in the cosmos? It was certainly enough -- more than enough, more than anyone else could ever hope to achieve -- to be an Algolite. Indeed, the other species of the many galaxies of Space and ages of Time should just be thankful that the Watchers actually care so little that they even exist. Otherwise, well, they could be so easily conquered if the Algolites were so inclined.
However, Flavia had, in her reading, occasionally encountered rumours -- only rumours, if indeed tantalising ones -- that there were some Algolites, indeed a very few, who had transgressed the traditions of their people and had sought to become rulers of other planets. To counter these, there were said to be secret organisations deep within Daemonian society itself which did more than watch. These organisations were said to help and assist the “lesser” species of the universe -- to aid them in the fight against those others -- rebel Algolites or not -- that would attempt to conquer or suppress those civilisations and even individuals weaker than themselves.
Why, Flavia had even read, in some obscure but nevertheless quite scholarly volumes, that there were certain Watchers who lived on other planets, officially outside of Algolite society, and from there worked to use their astonishingly potent powers and abilities to help the downtrodden.
Sadly, young Flavia Fosforus had to admit she found this all rather difficult to believe as she stood on the causeway high above the Academy in the very centre of the capital city of Daemonia. There, under the seemingly-eternal blue light of Algol and its two companion stars -- a sublime, blessed light that is the origin of the “Holy Trinity“ beliefs found in so many cultures, everything just seemed forever and unchangeable. Certainly, she thought, it was all only myth and legend. The glorious Watchers of Algol had always been as they were and would be forevermore, outside of the concerns of any others among the uncountable, teeming life of the unnameable reaches of the cosmos.
And, for some reason she did not yet fully comprehend, this now made Flavia feel very lonely.
A group of other students had just passed her, on the way to some lecture or other. She particularly noticed one of them -- a boy perhaps a couple of years older than Flavia. He was very tall and regal-looking even for an Algolite, she thought. There was indeed something rather different about him. Flavia blushed slightly as he turned and glanced at her as the group passed by. Another new sensation for her!
Then, after the group of other students had moved along, Flavia realised she was alone on the causeway. She still had a while to wait before her next class, but was not worried. After all, this was Daemonia, a place of complete safety even for a lone young girl.
One can only begin to imagine the shock that Flavia received when she was then suddenly surrounded by three mysterious figures in black robes, their heads and faces hideously covered with hoods, who seized her and activated a molecular transport device, immediately taking her away from the safety of the Academy to an undisclosed secret location!!
Flavia and her three abductors materialised in the shimmer of the molecular transport device in what was evidently a large, remote desert wilderness. The soil was orange in colour and in the distance could be seen the beginning of a forest of tall devol trees with their silver bark and golden leaves. From her geography studies, Flavia was able to recognise this area as part of the outer wastelands of Daemonia, far from the capital city.
But for what purpose had she been brought here, and by whom? Abduction, like most crimes, was unheard of in the society of the Watchers. Young Flavia looked up at her towering, black-clad captors. Before she could speak to them, she heard the click of a communications mechanism from underneath the shelter of their hoods.
“The subject has been obtained,” said the figure in black. “We await your conveyance ship, O King Urygos.”
“King Urygos“? thought Flavia, Who could that be? There had not been a crowned king in Algolite civilisation for countless ages, since the Republic had been formed, governed by the Absolute Convention and the duly-elected Universal Overseer.
Suddenly, the three mysterious, darkly-robed abductors were hit by a blast of orange and black energy, an energy definitely Algolite, yet subtly different from the powers which Flavia had seen exhibited by others of the Watchers. It had a somewhat more flame-like substance to it, and was tinged with highlights of a wonderful vermillion and violet colour.
Indeed, Flavia immediately recognised the wielder of this power, who then alighted before her, as if guarding her from any further touch of her hideous would-be captors. It was the tall, regal-looking boy whom she had briefly seen among the group of students back at the now-distant Academy.
The three bizarre abductors regrouped and they, along with the stalwart young man who now so bravely faced them, levitated upwards into the air over that wild wasteland of the planet Daemonia.
A battle both astounding and horrifying then erupted over the head of young Flavia Fosforus. The three in black robes were certainly Algolites as well, she could see, and brandished their own bursts of energy back at the boy. The combatants whirled around in seemingly endless circles of amazing conflict as Flavia looked on in astonishment. Her own Algolitish abilities had not yet appeared -- not an uncommon thing among Watchers who had not yet reached adulthood.
Despite being outnumbered, it soon became obvious that the boy from the Academy was more powerful by far than his three opponents. He darted back and forth with such incredible speed that he occasionally seemed to disappear from one location and appear in another. The ability to psychically transport from one location to another was one used by some adult Algolites, but Flavia had never seen it before, or even heard of it being evident in one so young as her defender.
Then, as if they just could no longer endure the continued assaults of the young man’s awesomely marvellous abilities, the three black-robed kidnappers suddenly turned and flew off towards the far horizon. They soon disappeared from view.
The boy then descended to the ground and stood before Flavia. He was so very tall, and the black and orange uniform of Daemonia Academy could not hide his lean muscle-tone. His hair was shiny black, and his skin as snowy-white as anything Flavia had ever seen. His eyes were the colour of azure-blue, and seemed to flash wondrously as he looked at the girl.
“Are you all right?” said the boy, his voice firm and reassuring, his accent not quite like any other heard in the planet Daemonia. “I had sensed some psychic disturbance right after I passed you on the causeway, and so I followed the energy trace of their transport device.”
“Yes,” answered Flavia, “I am fine -- now! Thank you so much for saving me. My name is Flavia. You are a student at the Academy, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am,” he replied. “My name is Rumanos. Ehrich Rumanos.”
“Rumanos?” stammered Flavia in amazement. “Are you related to the Rumanos I have read so much about? The one who lives on the planet called Earth?”
“Yes,” answered Ehrich with obvious pride, “Dr. Daniel Rumanos is my father.”
“Oh, my!” said the girl. “There are so many stories about him! About how he left Algolite society so very long ago because he wanted to help people of other species when they were threatened or oppressed. There are even rumours of how the Absolute Convention has sometimes secretly employed him as an agent when Daemonia itself was threatened. Some even say that he has actually saved the Universe itself several times over!
“Oh, and his wife,” Flavia continued. “She who is called Heaven’s Hell and who was created by a strange scientist from some genetic material that gave her the incredible ability to create and control a certain flame that…”
Flavia’s voice trailed off, as she remembered the unusually beautiful vermillion and violet fire which highlighted the boy’s otherwise obviously Algolitish powers.
“You are indeed correct,” spoke Ehrich with a smile. “My mother is Mrs. Katrina Rumanos, also known as the Wonderful Heaven’s Hell.”
“But tell me, do you know if it is also true that there are also evil Algolites? Some that would criminally use the powers of our people to rule over other worlds, or to perform hideous experiments upon innocent creatures?”
“Yes, Flavia. Unfortunately, there have been known to be such renegades.”
“And what about that other legend,” she went on. “The one about the Watchers fighting a tremendous battle at the end of Time itself against some horridly powerful enemy -- and of how their Algolitish spirits -- psychologically scarred by the war -- are then sent back through the ages to become the various ‘demons’ and ‘devils’ found in the mythologies of so many planets?”
“Oy, if you ever meet my father,” said Ehrich Rumanos, “you may not want to bring that particular legendry up right away. It annoys him a bit.”
Flavia laughed. It was difficult for her to picture the celebrated hero known as Daniel Rumanos being bothered by anything!
By now, Ehrich was looking at the sky. “We need to get back to the city,” he said suddenly. “I feel we are being…”
Just then, as from out of nowhere, came a large, circular airship that flew into a hovering position above Flavia and Ehrich. Before they could react, they found themselves caught in a transit ray from the vessel, and being pulled upwards towards it!
Ehrich Rumanos and Flavia Fosforus soon re-materialised upon the deck of the ship. Before them, guarded by the three erstwhile kidnappers, was a man sitting upon what resembled a royal throne. He was arrayed in aristocratic blue and black robes and had narrow, wickedly black eyes, a cruel, determined mouth, and a full, iron-grey beard.
“I am His Majesty King Urygos,” the man stated arrogantly, “the soon-to-be supreme ruler of the Watchers of the Daemon-Star. I am the last of the line of one of the three ancient royal families of our civilisation. You, Flavia, are of the descendants of another of the three. I have accordingly brought you here, and you will now become my bride, that I may thereby strengthen my claim when I shall overthrow the authority of the Absolute Convention, and become the one absolute sovereign monarch of Daemonia and of all the vast systems of Algol -- and then, of all the Universe!!”
Elsewhere, through the swirling mists of that preternatural vortex known as the Time and Space Current, a strange travel vehicle was hurtling at a literally otherworldly speed. It appeared to be an ancient stone column of the style known upon the planet Earth as Greco-Roman, but that was only a disguise in which the vehicle had at one time become caught. Because this was not a thing manufactured by the people of the planet Earth. No, this was a DiTraS -- pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere -- an incredibly, extraordinarily-advanced means of conveyance available only to the Watchers of the Daemon-Star Algol. Indeed, this is an astounding and amazing vehicle by which the members of that mysterious, godlike species can facilitate the ability to travel through the unutterably-vast reaches of infinity itself.
The interior of the vehicle existed in another dimension entirely, and its size and shape had no relation to the outer form of the DiTraS. Incongruously, the interior resembled what human beings would recognise as a café or coffee-shop. At the apparent counter of the coffee bar stood a man -- a tall, powerfully built man wearing an elegant (if rather quaint) suit of clothes over which was a black leathern trench-coat. He wore a large, wide-brimmed hat of the “Outback” style pulled forward to shade his face as an aid to concentration. His piercing eyes stared with intense deliberation at the glowing controls of the Time and Space ship; controls that appeared as a glowing collection of constantly-moving images upon the counter before him. He was checking the readings on the psyche-genetic trace that his ship was following -- a faint, barely-perceptible vestige upon which the man was placing his hopes, his expectations, and all the appeals of the desperate cosmic quest with which he was occupied. …
Back in the wastelands of the planet Daemonia, upon the transport vessel of the self-proclaimed “King” Urygos, young Flavia Fosforus and Ehrich Rumanos stood as prisoners. The mad Urygos had only just finished elucidating to them his absolutely insane and unscrupulous scheme -- his scheme to force the innocent Flavia to marry him, so that his declaration would be strengthened to reclaim the birthright of the ancient dynasties and to become supreme ruler of all the Algolite star systems; and then to use the power therein gained to conquer all of creation!
“Remove this boy from my sight,” said the false King. “His presence is in no way required or wanted.”
The three guards moved with deep trepidation towards Ehrich. They had previously tasted the punishing effects of the powers he wielded, and did not wish to do so again.
Ehrich Rumanos stood tall, and faced his three opponents fearlessly. He lifted his hands and let them begin to glow with the inner energies that he commanded -- the orange and black Algolitish force highlighted with vermillion and violet flame.
The three hooded guards backed away quickly, not wanting to again experience the powers of young Ehrich Rumanos. Like bullies the Universe over, they were, when unflinchingly confronted, proven to be abject cowards at heart.
Still unafraid, Ehrich strode forward several steps and stood close before the madman who sat upon the grotesque throne.
“One who has named himself King of Daemonia,” said the young man in awesomely regal anger, “I am Ehrich Rumanos. As Fosforus and Urygos are the second and third royal dynasties of ancient Algol, so is Rumanos the first. I do thereby challenge you, by my very own right of nobility, to combat. You shall not violate the chastity of this innocent young girl. You shall not become ruler of our glorious worlds. I do declare the summons to battle -- a contest which will only end with one of our spirits being torn from its body -- and scattered in uncountable shreds to the very farthest reaches of the cosmos!”
Urygos stood up and chuckled with a tone of absolute, unmitigated evil. “So be it, young scion of the Dynasty Rumanos,” he spat. “So be it.”
And then, the astonishing, mind-boggling powers of both combatants leapt forth as they met in hideously dangerous battle -- a horrible confrontation that could only end in one of them receiving a terrifying fate which is quite literally far worse than death!!
The “soul” or spiritual essence of a Watcher of the Daemon-Star Algol is indeed truly immortal, and their bodies are nearly so. It is only some particularly powerful Algolites -- such as those of the ancient royal lineages -- that are able to effectively remove the spirit from the body of another Algolite and, in so doing, to dissolve the body. The now-homeless soul can then be psychically scattered across the cosmos (while still, hideous to relate, retaining its consciousness) or can be imprisoned inside certain types of rock or in other material.
It is of great consequence to note that both Ehrich Rumanos and “King” Urygos were gifted with this profoundly potent ability -- thereby making their combat truly more deeply terrible in its projected outcome than any mere “fight to the death” could ever be!
The remarkably-beautiful Algolite girl Flavia Fosforus looked on in horror as the two mighty combatants were locked together in what would be truly the final melee for one of them. She found herself overcome with a complete and overwhelming sadness at the heart-rending thought of the possibility of losing Ehrich. Indeed, in the very short time they had known each other, a certain wondrous psychic bonding had occurred, and it was clear to Flavia that the young nobleman Ehrich Rumanos was to be -- if he survived! -- an immeasurably important part of her life forevermore.
The cacophonous sparking sound of the staggering, extraordinary, and incredibly tremendous blasts of horrifying Algolitish energy that Ehrich and Urygos were throwing at each other was truly deafening. The searing flashes of horrendous, phantasmal light darted and rebounded hazardously around the chamber on board that strange airship.
“You will suffer, you young fool!” shouted the insane King Urygos at Ehrich. “I shall scattered your soul, your consciousness, your very being, to the furthermost reaches of the cosmos! You shall shortly feel pain beyond anything that you can even begin to imagine! You shall indeed greatly rue the day that you challenged my rule -- my most mighty and eternal reign over all of the Watchers of Algol the Daemon-Star!!”
“Your presumption shall soon bring your end, false and bloody king!” countered Ehrich Rumanos. “I will not allow you to bring unholy tyranny over the exalted civilisation of the Watchers! The Absolute Convention has now stood over our people in peace for so many countless millennia, and though I claim no perfection for even them, they shall not be overthrown for or by you, most foul pretender to the glories of majesty! By the mighty name RUMANOS, which is feared and hated by villains, megalomaniacs, and satanic criminals throughout Space and Time, I do now declare the imminence of your destruction!”
“You are wrong, youthfully-irrational Ehrich of the blood Rumanos! Most fully and terribly wrong!! I am the great and powerful King Urygos, and I have rightfully made the declaration of my majestic rule over our people and indeed over the entire Universe itself! It is you who shall be remembered in the annals of Daemonia as a renegade, a rebel, a revolutionary -- indeed, just like your damnably accursed father!!”
The insult of Ehrich’s father served to make Ehrich even angrier. Indeed, to speak such of the family of another Algolite is considered one of the lowest, most despicable and outrageous affronts in Daemonian society. Therefore, with this, the battle greatly intensified, as Ehrich and Urygos continued to send awesomely, frightfully puissant, and quite unmentionably ghastly blasts of Algolitish magical energy at each other!
Nevertheless, there was even more peril for the heroic, courageous, and valiant young Watcher known as Ehrich Rumanos. For by this time the three hooded minions had secretly crept around behind him, their sagging bravery now fortified by the fact of his being much too occupied with his fight against their master Urygos to take notice of their presence. They all three raised their iniquitous hands in preparation to sending out blasts of their own energies -- in order to aid the would-be king in his plan to bring about Ehrich’s defeat and destruction!!!
As the three black-robed, hooded myrmidons of the false “King” Urygos prepared to blast Ehrich Rumanos with their combined forces -- an assault which would doubtlessly result in his being disabled long enough for the execrable Urygos to deliver a final assault that could bring about the result of removing Ehrich’s spirit and dissolving his body -- Flavia looked on in what can only be described as psychic anguish. She knew now that she loved the courageous, handsome young Algolite Ehrich Rumanos, and that she must not -- just absolutely must not -- lose him.
Without even consciously considering the import of her actions, Flavia Fosforus raised her youthful hands and, with all the fervent passion of her emotions behind it, sent forth a fantastic stream of orange and black Algolitish mystical power directly at the three cowardly attackers!
The three fell heavily to the floor, temporarily stunned by the young woman’s first ever successful use of her latent powers as a member of that mysterious, enigmatic, and incredibly-advanced race known as the Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL!!
The villainous Urygos had observed this out of the corner of his eye as his duel with Ehrich continued. The shock of it stopped him for only an infinitesimal amount of time; indeed far, far less than a second according to human temporal reckoning; but it was long enough. Long enough indeed for Ehrich Rumanos, noble scion of the oldest Royal Dynasty of Daemonia and proud son of the most famous hero in all of Time and Space, to use his own considerable power to reach into the very centre of Urygos’s being, and to remove the full psychical essence -- the eternal soul -- from the mad pretender’s body.
The physical form of “King” Urygos trembled hideously and then simply dissolved away into total and complete nothingness. As for the soul, Ehrich did not let go of it immediately, but held it before him. Ehrich let loose the fury of his outrage of this horrid, unhallowed creature known as Urygos; this criminal miscreant who would have not only made himself tyrant over the people of Algol and perhaps of all the Universe, but would have ravished the pure virginity of an innocent girl to further his immoral scheme -- and indeed, no ordinary girl, but Flavia, lovely flower of the noble family Fosforus. The girl whom Ehrich Rumanos now truly loved.
The time was brief yet poignant that young Ehrich Rumanos spent torturing the spirit of Urygos. The mad tyrant’s spirit felt an unspeakable agony as a certain vermillion and violet flame enhanced the boy’s Algolitish energies in ways unknown even to others among the Watchers of Algol.
Then, Ehrich banished the soul of the tyrant Urygos, would-be King of the Cosmos, rending it into innumerable shreds and scattering it to countless locations throughout the unspeakably vast continuum of Space and Time. Indeed, a mere side-effect of Ehrich’s burst of power sent also the spirits of the three servants into infinite exile, their bodies dissolving like that of their insane master.
“Ehrich!” said Flavia in relief as they then embraced for the first time. Their affection for each other required no other words.
But then, Flavia and Ehrich almost lost their footing upon the deck of that strange “airship” as it suddenly lurched into motion. They turned to look at the view screen. The ship had moved into Space above the orbit of Daemonia, and was quickly hurtling directly towards the star Algol itself!
“I… I just realised what type of ship this is!” exclaimed Ehrich. “It is a STraDi, a…”
“Yes,” said Flavia, “I have read about them. A STraDi is an earlier, less-advanced form of DiTraS, in use now only by a few ultra-traditionalist Algolites. It only has rather limited abilities in Time and Space travel.”
“Right,” continued Ehrich. “The ship is controlled by a psychic link to its owner -- in this case, the now departed Urygos! They are pre-programmed to self-destruct in such a situation, in order to halt the possibility of Algolite technology falling under control of lesser species!”
“So we are falling!” cried the girl. “Falling directly into the very heart of the star!!”
Flavia held tightly onto Ehrich as the antiquated STraDi hurtled towards its hideous doom. It is an unanswered question what exactly would happen to an Algolite who so plunged into the heart of a star. Most likely, it would cause them to boomerang uncontrollably through Space and Time to an unknown location which could be anywhere in the immeasurably vast reaches of eternity.
Ehrich’s powers of teleportation were still somewhat limited. He had not yet practiced and developed them enough to cover long distances, and it is also doubtful if he could use them to breach the hull of the ship, which was built to be impenetrable while in motion.
However, just as both Ehrich Rumanos and Flavia Fosforus had decided that, whatever their fate might be, the most important thing was that they would be facing it together, they heard a sound that filled them with hope. It was a strange hissing, moaning noise -- the sound of a DiTraS materialising!!
The shape as of a tall stone column appeared before the two young Algolites. A round portal opened in it and a man quickly emerged. He looked very much like an older version of Ehrich, but his features were sharper, his eyes dark and piercing, and his clothing was certainly not the standard wear of Daemonia.
“Oy vey, I had some trouble finding you, didn’t I? The Academy contacted me forthwith concerning your disappearance, but psyche-genetic emanations are difficult to trace through the Current. Especially when they are inside another ship,” said the man with his strong and mellifluous voice. “Well, come along, then.”
The man was, of course, me: Dr. Daniel Rumanos. My son and his pretty friend entered the DiTraS and we managed to dematerialise just seconds before the ship of the evil Urygos, deplorable pretender to the Throne of Daemonia, was destroyed in the immense blue fires of the star Algol.
Safe in the control room, Ehrich and Flavia filled me in on all that had occurred. I knew I would have to make a complete report of all this to the Absolute Convention of the Watchers, who would then get to work in covering up any evidence that it had ever even happened. Such is the way of well-nigh omnipotent sorts.
The affection and attachment that the girl and my son felt for each other was more than obvious. I had a definite feeling that there would be a wedding to attend on Daemonia shortly after their graduation.
“So, I will have to get you two young people back to the Academy soon,” I stated. “But first, son, you need to visit someone else, you know.”
“Mother!” said Ehrich. “Oh, she must be so worried!”
“Oh, indeed. Indeed.” I replied. “She wanted to accompany me in the DiTraS to search for you, but I feared that her anxieties would burn out the circuitry! She only stayed when I absolutely promised on the honour of the Daemon-Star to bring you home first thing.”
We materialised and exited the DiTraS. Flavia was amazed to discover that we were now in a large, high-ceiled chamber of a style she had only read about in chronicles of alien cultures. The walls were lined with books and artefacts collected from innumerable adventures of the past -- and the future. It was indeed the room known as the study of the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, our headquarters in the Roland Park neighbourhood to the north of the city called Baltimore on the planet known as Earth.
Across the room, Flavia then saw the most breathtakingly-beautiful woman she had ever encountered -- tall, slender, eternally-youthful, with gorgeous red hair and flashing, azure-coloured eyes, her complexion the fairest shade of white. The woman jumped up from the chair in which she had been huddled, and literally flew across the room, propelled by the wonderful lambent glow of a vermillion and violet flame that briefly surrounded her perfect form like an halo.
The woman hugged Ehrich lovingly. “Ehrie!” she said with tears of joy running down her lovely face. “Oh Ehrie, my little boy!!”
“Our son has come home to visit us, Katrina,” I said to my wife. “He has become a man, and it appears he has also found a Princess.”
Flavia, she who is indeed an hereditary Princess of the Noble House of Fosforus, smiled delightfully at this profoundly touching scene. She knew then in her heart as an absolute certainty that she would never, ever feel lonely again.