The Secrets of Kings: Episode 5

7:30 AM

Diggory: Castle Groundskeeper

October 6, 1384, 1:39 PM

Diggory looked down on his hands, which were currently caked in grime from his work as a groundskeeper. Knowing he would, at some point in the day, be coming into the castle to join his fellow Frowenians in a public display of mourning, he had been extra careful to limit the soiling of his clothes, but dirty hands are an unavoidable product of working with the soil. He curled his fingers into fists and attempted to hide them in his loose clothes. Both in front of him and behind were small circles of noblemen, and although their good upbringing kept them from verbally admonishing him because of his low status, the way they looked down their noses at him left little question as to how they really felt. Seeing his dirty, hard-working hands, he imagined, would further disrupt their sensibilities and he far preferred to mitigate attracting as much of their notice as possible. He preferred to be invisible.
The line was incredibly long when he first arrived and he had already been waiting for over two hours, but now he was finally making it into the throne room where the queen’s casket was being displayed. Only a few more feet and he would be able to grieve and go on with his day.
 Diggory was no fan of the royals and he loathed spending such a large portion of his day waiting to feign some sort of grief over the late queens corpse or witnessing the maudlin displays of some of the most self-righteous sycophants in the kingdom. However, he dared not attract any attention within the capital by distancing himself from the accepted customs of the loyalists. Ever since the great battle, and the King’s feud with his brother, those in the King’s inner circle suspected sabotage and treason were lurking just around every corner.
There were now only a handful of constituents remaining in front of Diggory, but the line suddenly stopped moving. All eyes drifted towards the king’s herald and all mouths refrained from speech, as he rose to address them. “The newborn heir to the throne, the royal prince Remedy, will make a short appearance, accompanied by his caretaker.” He announced.
The attention of the room continued to be diverted from the queen’s resting place as excited whispers filled the room.
“The Prince!” Diggory heard one of the noble women in front of him screech.
“Can you believe our fortunate timing?” One of her companions replied.
A veiled woman entered the throne room, causing a strange sense of nostalgia to sweep over Diggory. The Clarity Sect had many members scattered throughout the North, but their presence in the capital was practically non-existent. Diggory had been in the capital for nearly three years and he had not seen even one follower since he left his Northern home.He would hear the occasional story of a friend of a friend of a neighbor who had seen a sect member around the city or the surrounding hamlets, but such stories were incredibly rare. The existence and practices of the sect were not well understood among the people in the capital and much of what the people purported to know were largely sensationalized. Diggory had known many members of the Clarity Sect when he lived in the northernmost parts of Frowena and he could attest that much of the understanding of their members within the capital was outright incongruous to his own experiences of them.
He was extremely curious about her presence, however, because, as a result of the highly prevalent misunderstandings of the sect, her religious leanings were not particularly well accepted in this part of the kingdom. Diggory hoped that her presence might soften the perceptions that those in the capital held regarding the different people inhabiting the northernmost parts of the kingdom because many of the grievances that Diggory had with the royals, and the king in particular, were piqued by official actions that suggested a vast disregard for the value of Northern lives.

* * * *

After his appearance in the mourning processional, Diggory returned to the grounds. He imagined he had a few more hours to work before the receding sun would make any of his tasks nearly impossible to perform. This week, he had been asked to take on the additional task of digging the Queen a grave in the flower garden. The king wished for his queen to be near by and to forever be in a place that she loved. This entire request, however, seemed strange to Diggory, considering the usual practice in the Kingdom was to burn bodies in a ceremonial funeral pyre, but Corbin was the king, and his wishes would be honored regardless of how strange they may be.
Diggory took his spade in his hands and began to pierce the earth, pulling up grass and dirt alike. The mindless, repetitive motion was almost therapeutic in its own way, allowing Diggory to distract his busy mind from the less than pleasant circumstances that motivated his presence at the castle. Laying his own children, who he long suspected were dead, to rest in the ground or on a funeral pyre was a luxury that he was never afforded. It had been over three years since he had seen his sons and he was entirely determined to use his time in the capital to find out what happened to them after they were taken from their northern home and brought to the capital to receive a more formal education.

Soon after The Great Battle - and King Corbin’s fallout with his brother - Prince Fell escaped to the North, carrying little on his person but equipped with many interesting stories regarding King Corbin’s questionable war time tactics, many of which, the Prince reported, had been specifically leveled against the people of the North, causing them to unwittingly support a southern war that had little to do with them or their interests. Diggory’s family was hardly the only one whose sons became pawns in the Kings war machine, but he was determined to ensure that each of these northern families learned the fates of their loved ones and that those responsible were held accountable for their crimes.

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