You were a young, handsome, adventurous character, but one very, very foolish.
Once you had ventured into the wilderness, abandoning the wearisome, and unassuming life as a peasant among common, mortal men. You renounced all ties to that pitiable and worthless village, and sought better things. Armed with a dagger—generously crafted and bestowed to you by the late blacksmith of that nameless place of former residence—the clothes on your back, and a rucksack filled with minimal provisions, you trudged through dense foliage, treacherous gorges, and plains so vast, they seemed endless.
On your journey you sustained numerous injuries, which you mended quite crudely, as you had only rudimentary wisdom in medicine. Yet you learned, in the coming trials, to scavenge, and ration your supply, optimally. Soon, you were gaining a bit of bulk and experience—becoming hardier, stronger, and more disciplined in your travels. You tested yourself on game, and predators higher up on the food-chain, when you could. You mastered your dagger strategically, becoming nimble and cunning. Yes, time only served to better you, and it was just about when you were beginning to figure that leaving the village was indeed the best decision you had ever made in your life, that you came across uncharted, forbidden land... .
The atmosphere became dense and heady, the sunlight faded into obscurity, as clouds of a massive, ominous description rolled in and further blackened the sky. The time could have easily been mistaken for night, but it had only been noon a moment ago. You hugged yourself for warmth as a chill ran through you, and you opted to make a fire. Once you had gathered a good portion of wood to burn, you spruced up a flattering spot on a hill to settle yourself, and fashioned a rather pleasing campsite with some stones. The only other thing you could think of to compliment the calming flames was a pheasant to roast. You would have gotten one too, but you had since tired yourself in gathering decent firewood, and there was not a creature to be seen within the immediate area. But why was that?
Unfortunately, the reason became clear all too soon, when a blood-curdling screech thundered from up above. You gazed up in alarm and froze as not one, but two colossal demons soared and dominated the dismal skies. They would have cast their foreboding, and surely immense, shadows onto the ground, had the sun been able to show through what could only have been smog from how difficult it was getting to breathe. The wind picked up, and the gusts became brutal and hard to bear as the winged beasts began their descent. They inadvertently caused the flames to sputter and die out. While releasing a series of guttural yips, they swooped down upon you. They tussled with each other for a spell in mid-hover, with the one of heftier size and virility winning out, and scooping you up in its dexterous talons.
Yes, you had attempted to run, but lost that battle on account of petrification.
As you gazed down at the shrinking landscape below you, gaining in velocity in accordance to the demon's hurried and determined nature, your hope had all but dwindled at ever making it out of this alive.
And yet, all of this occurred only about a year or so ago.
Those demons had been His Dark Majesty's faithful pets, and were now of little consequence to you. What concerned you was the goal of your new master—what was now your goal, and lot in life. Your meaning for existence, entirely, was to fulfill his wishes, and you took this matter all too seriously. Enough that your comrades, and commanding officers teased, if not berated you for doing so. The Horned King was an admirable, fearful creature of otherworldly, supernatural description, yes, and the crass, swearing, and lecherous warriors and their wenches would be fools to dare trifle with him. To be in his good graces was something you would have to work tirelessly for, and earn, and none of these men were willing to put more effort than the bare minimum to keep themselves fed and satisfied. Yet, to see you getting more favor than you deserve—you, by their standards, a still-green runt from straight out of the woodwork, what only got lucky—from their mighty King was sometimes more than these roughnecks could bare to witness. Really, though, they were just given more incentive to put more elbow grease into their work, because they saw the luxuries it would give them through your own accomplishments. You were allowed to feel pride for this much, you figured, but the plain truth was that you just weren't well liked at all. At times, the only ones you could confide in were those fearsome Gwythaints that brought you here—the likes of which became as tame as two overgrown pups when lavished by you.
But, on very rare occasion, you were able to acquire a private audience with the inhuman monarch that gave your life new meaning. This creature was a gruesome and terrible tyrant, who reigned with an iron and bloody fist; whose gait was wide, confident, and one of prominent step; whose voice commanded the damned denizens of Hell from a throne comprised of brimstone and putrid muck; and whose visage could chill the bones of even the most disagreeable, battle-hardened warmonger.
When you had first laid eyes upon this devil, your constitution shattered and you became lame and stupid—reverting back to a pitiable infant from fear, and lacking all senses. But in time, you regained yourself, and built yourself stronger than ever before, becoming a worthy vassal of this blighted zombie. Although, perhaps, you hadn't gained all sense, for you had found yourself becoming smitten with this ghastly, walking corpse.
Draped in maroon, and sporting gnarled flesh, and the predominant, titular horns what got him his name, he was surprisingly a man of eloquence and terrible cunning. When he spoke, it, too, was deliberated. His tone was steady, assured, and his voice was rumbling, gravelly and deep. It shook you at your core, and you were permitted—no, it was your very duty—to listen.
“...(First Name),” he began while tapping his long, bony fingers together in subconscious, idle animation.
“Y, yes, my Lord?” You faltered, still finding some difficulty in conversing with your superior.
“You are aware... I presume... Of the object which I desire most?”
“Yes, sire,” you respond after a quick, calming breath.
“Good,” His Majesty approaches you, languidly. “Following my acquisition of your loyalty, I have considered how best to make use of you... Know that I have observed your endeavors long ago—before you had trespassed onto my territory. Instead of slaughtering you for your transgression—remember, ignorance is a poor man's excuse for his offense, and that offense shall not otherwise be tolerated by me—I had decided by virtue to take you under my wing.”
“I have done well in your eyes, have I not, sire?” You timidly inquired of him.
He reached out to touch your face, softly. You felt the prick of his claw, and saw by close proximity, the grisly state of his own. What little flesh remained hung loose and decayed on the skeletal structure, and was a sickly, blemished green. Your breath hitched as he caressed your supple skin with feather-light pressure, and something akin to fondness.
“You have done very well, for yourself... and for me, dear (First Name),” he praises you, but then grips your chin in a vice to angle and get you to look directly into his soul-piercing eyes. “However... This task will prove your true worth, undoubtedly. What I crave is the Black Cauldron, to amass an army of warriors unhindered by death's icy grip... an army unparalleled in strength and endurance... to lay claim to all the world has to offer. Yes, (First Name) I thirst greedily for power beyond the mortal realm...”
You gasp as you witness the madness unfurl in his decaying features. You swoon, and your heart's rate becomes all the more accelerated. This is what you had been seeking from the very beginning: To reach the highest tier on a plane above this lowly realm—to be great, and of true worth. You realize that to attain this much, you would utterly surrender to the brilliance that was this power-hungry tyrant. You would become his blade, and his gateway, by any means. To prove to a god-in-the-making—no, a god by right—that you were staunch, unyielding, and of true merit was practically the ultimate reward.
“You will aid in my conquest, young one.” This was by no means a question, or petty request.
“Yes, sire. I will. I will make certain that the Cauldron is yours.”