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King Herstad, also known as The Harvest King, was the father of Diligence, and one of the eight kings of The Wheel. His employees were known as the Harvesters. They were responsible for the harvesting of crops in the kingdom, and every few months, they'd move to a part of the kingdom where the crops were ready for their scythes.

Herstad had a child with Amonwelle, the Protector of the North, and they made a pact that said that the girl would remain with her father until her twenty-first birthday, when she would travel to her mother's side. Amonwelle named the girl Madawyn, but Herstad called her Diligence.

A few months before Diligence's seventeenth birthday, the kings of The Wheel decided to send a message to Amonwelle, hoping to ask the Dreamwright why there were so many natural disasters at the time. She gave them a long list of demands, including having her daughter travel to the Unseen Wall. Herstad didn't want to let Diligence go, but allowed it for the good of his kingdom.

Herstad was a large man, with wheat-blond curls and a fair complexion. His study was decorated with wicker chairs hanging suspended from the ceiling, and a mossy carpet. Though he was normally a patient man, he could be dangerous when angered. When Neek said that obeying Amonwelle's demands seemed like frailness, he rose to his feet and told him to "have a care, you gray little man" in a low, dangerous voice. When Neek ignored this, he slammed his knotted fist into the desktop and screamed at him to get out.