Ronald woke as he had done for years, before the roosters, walked the short distance to the basin and washed the sleep from his eyes with the cold water there. Fully awake, he shrugged his hunched frame into the long robes of his station, made his way through the dark, back to the bed to kiss his still sleeping wife goodbye before quietly exiting through the front door.
The cobblestone streets were dark, the torches lining the roads burned low or not at all providing more shadow than light, but it was a short walk to the gardens, and one that he did not need light to make. The path was burned into his mind so that his navigation did not require conscious thought, and his feet did not fail him. Just minutes after leaving home, the service entrance of the castle gardens came into view.