Once upon a time, the young wizard Ladrozz was invited to court, so that he might serve his king. Devoutly loyal, even as an apprentice, he arrived at the palace bursting with pride. Though few considered him of much importance there, he never failed to fulfill his duties. There were times, however, when he questioned his place in the king’s house, even wondering if he might be of more use elsewhere.
But then tragedy fell, like a snapping wolf, upon the kingdom. The royal princess was beset by some demon of the lower depths. Damned and possessed, she was proclaimed lost by the other wizards of the court. They could do nothing. It was Ladrozz alone who devised a solution. His arcane battle with the demon was long and hard, but in the end he triumphed — and paid a most terrible cost. When the demon was banished, he took the greater part of Ladrozz with him. The young wizard was left stunted and doll-like, crippled and misshapen.
The king, so grateful to have his only daughter returned to him, made Ladrozz his chief arcanist, always by his side to offer council. The princess married the prince of a neighbouring kingdom soon after, and left to live with her new husband.
Over the subsequent years, Ladrozz had plenty of time to think about what he had done, and what it had cost him. He had time to reconsider. He had paid a price so dear, he thought, and what had he gained by it? The princess returned every summer to visit her father, and every year she grew more beautiful in the eyes of Ladrozz. Perched upon the arm of her prince, she lived a world away from the price he had paid, and continued to pay every day, for her happiness — and the happiness of her husband. She should have been his! It was his sacrifice that saved her, it was he who fought the demon. Why was she given to this stranger instead, like some prize unearned?
And so the spite and jealousy grew inside of him. It grew until it bloomed into the urge of treason, and he turned against his king. He was wrong to do so, of course, for he was not the only wizard at court, and not even the greatest. He was found out, and banished to a prison made of darkness, where he dwells to this day, plotting and scheming his release. He comes like a spectre out of the shadows and the night, still haunting the world long after the world he knew has died.