Thanatos is the personification of Death itself, and has walked the Earth longer than almost any other immortal on the planet. He has met many gods, and become familiar with a number of them, including the war god Ares and the love goddess Aphrodite. They've been willing to bring him into their relationship in the past, but Thanatos is unsure of how far that favor extends. He is their friend, and occasional lover, but could they really care for someone with his reputation?
Still, Thanatos has a job to do, and he knows the weight of his duty. Though he believes himself to be quite familiar with mortals, there are still some parts of them he doesn't understand. He does know one thing for certain -- no mortal wants to die. And some are willing to do nearly anything to avoid it.
When he is sent to apprehend King Sisyphus by Zeus, the mortal seems quite agreeable. At first. But now Thanatos has been captured, no one is dying, and some are claiming the world is better for it. Thanatos knows he can't allow this to continue, but he can't get free on his own. Will anyone be willing to rescue Death, the one thing they all fear?
Zeus was sitting high on his podium, lazily resting his chin on his hand. Thanatos knelt before him, silently awaiting instruction.
"I have a task for you, Death."
Thanatos let out a slow breath, and raised his head. "Yes, my Lord?"
Zeus was a severe man, not known for kindness. And, certainly, there was no kindness in his eyes right now -- they burned, golden, with the power of divinity. Thanatos kept his gaze steady. He had nothing to fear from Zeus, and they both knew it. Death would come for all. Even gods.
But for now, Thanatos was content in keeping quiet, and allowing things to go along their course. Which, of course, was why he never enjoyed when Zeus had a task for him.
"There is a mortal, a king," Zeus said, lip curling with disgust. "He believes himself to be above his station. I suspect he may even consider himself to be on the level of a god."
Thanatos tilted his head, humming thoughtfully. Mortals did fall prey to such things, sometimes -- but never the ones who, in his estimation, could actually measure up to gods. Men who had been given authority through a trick of birth always felt like they were entitled to more, while the talented struggled, poor and unfulfilled.
Thanatos tried not to become involved with the trappings of the mortal world -- it did him no good, when he was the representation of the very thing they feared the most. But it was inevitable, with his work, that he would become accustomed to the way of humanity over time.
"Do you wish for me to arbitrate his punishment, my Lord?" Thanatos inquired. It would be unusual, certainly, for Death Himself to lay down judgment, but Zeus had the authority to make such a demand.
"More than that, Thanatos," Zeus said, leaning forward to rest his chin on his steepled hands. "I want you to make an example of this mortal."
Thanatos barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes. That's what Zeus said about every mortal who caught his ire -- one would think that at this point, enough examples had been made.
"How so, my Lord?"
Zeus grinned at the question, and summoned a thick set of chains from thin air, an item that Thanatos had not seen for quite some time. Not since the Titan Wars, he'd wager, and Thanatos blinked, surprised, at their sudden reappearance.
"I found these recently, and I knew it would be perfect for this," Zeus said triumphantly, which translated into I wanted an excuse to use it.
Thanatos breathed in through his nose, making sure that he didn't say anything untoward, and accepted the chains with a quiet grunt. They were heavy -- heavier than he remembered, really. But they would do the trick. No one could escape these binds; if not even Kronos had been able to do it, one mortal man certainly wouldn't be able to object.
But was this really worth such an extreme reaction?
"And what is the crime, so I will know best how to deal with this man?" Thanatos said, because despite what some lofty Olympians might have you believe, arrogance was not actually a crime. If it was, there would hardly be any gods left.
"He has violated the rules of hospitality. He has cheated, lied, killed," Zeus spat, looking truly enraged by such a thing, which Thanatos thought was a little rich coming from him, but he kept such thoughts to himself. "A king he may be, but he is no more above the gods than any other mortal. He thinks he's clever, with all his little schemes? Fine! Let him then face the consequences!"
Thanatos rose from his kneeling position, bowing his head. "It will be done, Lord Zeus."
Zeus nodded regally, and dismissed Thanatos with a sharp gesture.
Thanatos sighed, but left without any further complaint. Even if this was another case of Zeus exaggerating his claims in order to get petty revenge on a competitor or rival, it was unlikely to be entirely false. It wasn't technically within Thanatos' duties to, ah, hasten a mortal's end, but it wasn't like anyone could stop him, either. It was a delicate balance that Thanatos had to walk, and situations like this did not make it any easier.
At the very least, this would be a quick job.