Once upon a time, there was a lonely boy.
He was the son of a nobleman. The scion of a wealthy and powerful family. His hair was bright as the rays of the sun and his eyes as green as the fields of the land his family managed. He was the pride of his father. The icon of the kingdom to which he belonged. Beloved and adored by the people who knew of him. He was the very symbol of life and all the joys it had to offer.
And yet he was not happy.
His name was Adrien, though it felt more like a weight than a name to him. Throughout the years, since his very birth he remained trapped and constrained under his father’s hand. Ever under watch and never truly with company. Made to smile and perform like a pet rather than a person. There were brief moments of respite among friendlier faces, but they were few and far between—taken away so quickly that it made his heart ache all the more for the loss of them.
It was only in the dead of night when the household was completely silent that he would look out the window to the world outside and admit these feelings he tried to ignore.
He hated it.
He hated them.
He hated his life.
He hated it all.
Many nights passed as this, lonely and embittered. But his days remained the same as he continued to smile and act to the whims of those around him. Days passed. Weeks passed. And the longer things continued, the more he feared he may go mad.
Until finally, one night on a new moon, a god appeared before him. One as ancient as the old world and longer lived than the stars.
“I’ve been around long before you were born.” The being told him. “Before your species were even a thought in Creation’s mind. And I will continue to be long after you and your world are little more than dust.”
The boy was confused and only slightly wary As he perhaps should be.
“Why come to me then? If I am but a mere moment in your eternity?” He asked.
It stared at him, eyes gleaming more brightly than any flame.
“All beings need time to rest. From humans to animals to plants to the Earth itself. Even ones as old as I.” Its tail twitched restlessly and its claws bit into the wood of the floor. “But my duty is never-ending and my burden is great. For as long as it exists, I must ensure it is fulfilled.”
Even gods longed for freedom, it seemed. The boy felt sympathy for this being.
“I come to you with an offer.” It told him, presenting him with a Ring. “This Ring bears my sigil. If you accept my deal, I will take you from this place. For as long as you wear it, you will have my power and my kingdom at your command. I only ask that you maintain the balance in my stead until I return.”
“I will be free?” The boy asked, hopefully.
“Only insomuch as any person can be. For even a king is bound by duty and rules for the betterment of his people.”
“But if it will let me make decisions for myself and allow me to escape this place, it is more than I now have.” The boy decided. “What must I do?”
“Take my Ring.” It commanded. “Bear my role. And in exchange, my power and title are yours to do with as you will for as long as the agreement lasts.”
The boy hesitated. If he agreed, he would leave his home. His life. Everything he had known. This may be freedom from his current life, but it carried a burden all its own. Could he accept that?
He took the Ring, and in an instant, its power filled him and changed his very form.
His robes were replaced with armor as black as night. His hair became as gold. His eyes as glittering emeralds. And his face remained hidden behind a mask of obsidian.
He became the new Lord of Destruction and Death.
The next morning, the boy’s room was opened by his servants to wake him, only to discover he was not there. The room and grounds were searched, but there was no sign of him. The door had been locked. The windows barred. And no sign of outside entry.
The only indicator of his fate was the scratches and ash on the floor, as well as the smell of sulfur.