The Secrets of Kings: Season 2, Episode 1

7:30 AM

Season 2: Episode 1

Diggory: Castle Groundskeeper

July 7, 1390, 11:27 PM

Diggory took in the night air with a deep breath as he stealthily maneuvered through the mostly empty streets and alleyways of the city which existed just on the outskirts of the expansive castle grounds. He grimaced as he began to sense more moisture in the air. He was certain the rain would swiftly arrive there to wash the earth. His plants would be grateful after the assault of the day’s scorching heat, but his precious cargo could quickly become a victim of the moisture.
He reached into his pouch and wrapped his fingers around the smooth paper he had earlier collected from the King’s chamber. It had become something of an impulsive tick at this point. Every few moments his fingers craved a meeting with the missive, just to ensure that it was still there and to act as a reminder to himself that his patience may have finally born him more than literal fruit.
He could hear drunken voices closeby so he quickly diverted from his current route, expertly making his way to the edge of the city, almost as though he had known the place forever. He counted his blessings, however, he knew he was taking a risk being out. After the princess “going missing” the city had become suddenly tense. One could feel it bleeding through every conversation, interaction, and movement. However, he grew anxious of waiting to seek out his contact to reveal his newly acquired information. He was fairly certain that the knights deployed to search for the princess would have made their way well out of the city limits by this hour, so he took a chance in honoring his anxious impulses.
The moon’s light was largely dispersed as a result of the rainclouds overhead, but his eyes had adjusted enough to the diminished light that he could still make out his destination in the distance. He shuffled as quickly as he could at the side of the well traveled dirt path that led to the large cottage just to the east of the city. He attempted to keep himself as close to the tall and unruly grass as possible. He did not anticipate any encounters on his way, particularly this late at night, but he was uninterested in finding himself face to face with anyone that would be daring enough to find themselves on the outskirts of the city at this hour. It was unlikely he would be met by anyone other than someone up to no good or one of the King’s men, who would be particularly interested in the bit of information that resided on his person.
As he approached the house, he could hear muffled voices from within. He decided better of knocking. He was unsure whether it would be wise to do so. Instead, he put his ear to the door in the hope that he might make out a bit of the conversation.
Duke Cross’s bellow intermixed with a softer voice. It crossed Diggory’s mind that it might be that of a young boy. Cross’s voice began to rise.
“Why didn’t you come sooner?” Cross admonished his visitor.
The boy’s reply was too muffled to make out, but after a few choice words, he could hear footsteps quickly approaching the door. Diggory jumped behind a large bush just a short distance from the door. It offered cover but was spotted enough that he could make out the scene in front of him. As the door opened, the fire from inside the house offered just enough illumination that Diggory could see Cross practically shove a large boy out of his home. Diggory was fairly certain he recognized the boy from the castle.
“Get out of here, boy. Don’t think of telling anyone you have been here.” Cross spit these words at the boy as though he were a predator, ready to take action against a natural foe.
“Yessir!” The boy yelled back at him as he struggled to run back toward the city.
Cross unceremoniously slammed his door shut. Diggory continued to wait behind the bush for a bit. Cross was a large, intimidating man and not the kind Diggory had any wish to upset. Before long, Diggory elevated his confidences and knocked on the door. Within moments it whipped open violently.
“” Cross expressed unenthusiastically. “Have you any idea the hour?”
“I...I apologize sir. Unfortunately the matter is rather urgent.”
“This isn’t more about the princess is it? I already have sources…”
“It is but it is fairly specific. I have a letter from Ponce to the King that has information regarding the matter.”
“A letter you say?”
“Yes. I finally gained access to the King’s chambers this afternoon and I hid while Ponce dropped off this message.” He explained as he reached down into his pouch for the last time, drawing out the prized possession it contained. He held out the paper for the Duke to retrieve, but he only regarded it suspiciously.
“Really? And how pray tell did you get access to the King’s chambers?”
“I was helping out old man Glenn.”
The doubt in Cross’s eyes burnt down into Diggory but he finally snatched the paper from Diggory’s hands and almost as though something otherworldly could feel the impact of their exchange, with a thunderous start, the rain let loose upon the Kingdom.
“Take a seat.” Cross instructed.
Diggory wished to oblige but had never been invited to sit on the few other occasions when he had found himself inside of Cross’s home. He walked first to the closest armchair sitting in front of the large fire, looking to Cross for approval. Cross did not seem to object as Diggory began to dip down, so he imagined he must have chosen the correct spot. Cross was quick to join him in a matching chair across from the other.
Diggory watched as his conspirator slowly opened the now slightly battered paper. Diggory imagined Cross must have read the note about twenty times for how long he sat there staring at it.
Cross finally broke the silence. “Have you read this entire thing, Diggory?”
“I glanced at it earlier, yes.” He admitted. “That is how I knew it might be valuable.” He explained.
“Valuable indeed.” He stated before providing an exaggerated reading. “It has finally happened, Your Majesty. I am afraid the Princess may finally know everything we have been hiding for the past five years. I am taking her to the N.H. as we have previously discussed in the instance that such ill circumstances may befall us. If we are blessed enough to make the journey, we shall wait there until we receive further advice.
Diggory sat quietly as Cross stared at him.
“Well, well.” Cross stated after a long while. “I think you may have finally proven useful.”
“Very good.” Diggory replied.
“Any ideas what this secret might be, Diggory? Or perhaps what N.H. stands for?”
“I’m not sure, Sir. But I will see what I can find out.”
Cross offered a slight nod. “I suppose you should be going, Diggory.”
“Of course.” Diggory responded.
He had hoped the Duke might have it in his heart to allow Diggory to wait out the storm, which had continued to bear down upon the land. However, Diggory was well aware that Cross was not particularly well known for his warmth, and settled on feeling grateful that the evidence he had collected towards their cause made it to Cross unscathed and that it seemed to be useful.

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