Events turned on a dime once his decision was made. Most of that cascade was outside his purview, of course. He still had trouble recalling and believing how far his influence spread.
After all, he wasn’t born to his position. Nor had he earned it in any of the usual venues.
He earned it by saving the King.
Why had the King need of the help of a beggar?
Because— actually he didn’t have a good answer to that normally rhetorical question. All he could really speak to was the event itself. The King was alone, the would-be killer stepped out of a shadow. What would anyone do in that circumstance? Even if it was very strange that the King was in your alley after midnight?
We called it the birdcage. It wasn’t, really, of course. But that’s what it looked like, so it got the name.
It was a natural formation of tree branches partway up a trunk, with room inside for a prisoner. It was high enough up to make escape in one piece tricky. In any case, it gave us somewhere to park anyone that got in the way of a mission until they could be wrung dry.
It opened easily enough, if you had the talent of talking to the trees. A talent which had been lost for generations, so we were confident we had the only one who could do it. If you had the talent, and the trees liked you, naturally. Our enemies were no friends to the trees either.
This made the escape of our last prisoner interesting. Now we not only wanted to know what she knew, but we wanted to know how she had escaped.
It wasn’t going to be easy.
The tree was a little chagrined, and had clammed up.
The cage was simply empty, except for a note that said “gild it next time, and I might stay”.