SPOILER WARNING and some thoughts this morning, but…
As vague as Final Fantasy XV’s lore is, according to the Wiki page the FF series has, Ifrit betrayed the kingdom of Solheim, causing it to fall after cursing people with a parasitic virus called the Starscourge. In order to combat this, the Astral Bahamut selected the first Oracle from the Fleuret family to help combat and heal the Starscourge before it brought upon eternal night and daemons. Also, as they mentioned that the one of the first king of Lucis when the nation was formed was chosen to fight alongside the Astrals with the help of the Oracle to combat the darkness. But the conflict caused so much destruction that it basically was viewed as a holy reckoning by those who didn’t understand the power these Astrals had unleashed.
But according to the Wikipedia page, the Trials of the Six is noted only two thousand years ago, meaning that there’s a really good chance that nobody has ever made a pact with the Astrals like that until that time.
And guess who was king of Lucis about two thousand years ago? Or, at least, going to be?
Ardyn. He was chosen by the Astrals to help them find a way to end the daemons and ease the Starscourge that Ifrit had let out. But perhaps in the wake of destruction they left, Ardyn took the brunt of it all. The Astrals are still beings that seem rather surreal, so you can’t necessarily blame a god for wrecking things.
But you can blame a man for helping them destroy the nation. So as Ardyn was doing his task to heal the Starscourge, he ended up taking the demons inside of him harboring them until somehow, they can be cleansed and Ardyn can fulfill his duty to the Astrals and return to his kingdom once again.
However, things didn’t go the way they planned. Ardyn did everything right in the scenario, but perhaps when he returned back to Lucis, the king he put in charge (Izunia, I believe?) called him to become a demon, a monster, a destroyer of their home in the wake of the Starscourge’s devastation. And perhaps it was then that Ardyn’s corrupted and daemonic nature began to show, the effects of the Starscourge that he harbored in his way to remedy the daemons. And when Ardyn left, hoping to die in sorrow and grief, the Astrals claimed he was ‘too corrupt’ to enter into the afterlife. A man such as Ardyn could not be allowed to pass in such a state, and so, they too betrayed him.
Perhaps thinking back on it though, Ardyn could have avoided this fate. The daemons are infecting people that turned into these monstrous creatures of darkness because light was unable to reach them. But think about it: when Noctis and the others in the party kill a daemon, they merely vanish into a violet haze. All daemons disappear like this, even Ravus when he was transformed. They merely go back up to the darkness that the Oracle usually keeps at bay, and it’s hoped that it stays there. And yet, Ardyn became a host to daemons. Why?
Because, what if, Ardyn thought these people would be saved? He kept the daemons within himself, their souls and spirits, twisted by the darkness, because – at the expense of his own life – he thought the Astrals could save them? He fought so hard to contain the daemons so that they too may find peace in the Astral realm, or whatever their equivalency to paradise is. But his thoughts were too generous, and he ultimately found out that the Astrals would never help those afflicted with the Starscourge, only condemn them for turning in the first place.
Even Ardyn quotes it in a vague sense. ‘His body would come to host a myriad of daemons, that countless lives be spared.’ Ardyn was sparing daemons, saving those that were alive, and yet it still wasn’t enough. His kindness and his compassion for others became his downfall.