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Monday, October 5th: The captain had no trouble raising men for the expedition.
The captain had no trouble raising men for the expedition. The truth was, picking between them was the issue. The city was no place anyone wanted to be right now. There were those who would eagerly sign up merely to gain passage out. Captain Wallace knew that his ships charter was one of the few allowed to leave the city. Most ships were docked, their cargos seized and their crews and captains alike forced to remain in port. Wallace suspected that as soon as they cleared the city, made it past the patrols and into the free territories, at least half of his men would jump ship. They would try their luck at the next port, hoping to have better luck once they were out of the regent’s direct control.
‘And if not to be better able to make their way out of the kingdom. He couldn’t blame them. The regent was growing more paranoid each day, his attempt to maintain control causing him to tighten down so tightly on the capitol city that normal trade, normal daily life was becoming impossible to maintain.
Outside the capitol there was room to breathe, or at least so people still said. Details were hazy. Knowing they could be permanently detained, farmers no longer delivered food to market but stopped outside the gates and waited for the merchants to be lead out to them. Casual conversation was kept to a minimum.
The regent liked that foreign agents could be prevented from entering the city, the farmers were pleased that they weren’t being detained and the people were fed. The merchants were less pleased as they were gathered up and led outside the city gates like prisoners and then brought back in the same fashion when their business was done.
Captain Wallace shook his thoughts away and turned back to the hopeful lot in front of him. Few of them looked as though they had any experiences on sailing ships of any kind. Many of them looked half starved. All of them looked desperate.
‘I should just plan to restock my crew in Hestan,’ he thought looking them over.
It was hard to ignore the desperate looks. There were more of them than he anticipated. He tried to estimate how many experienced sailors he would need to get from the capitol to Hestan. It was calm water, the sea open and relatively free of peril. If he managed a few competent souls he could make it to the next port and hope to find Hestan a better market for sailors. He turned to his first mate and saw the look of hopelessness reflected in his eyes.
He nodded, and the current men before him were walked away. His first mate, Gregson leaned in once they were out of ear shot.
“The regent tightened restrictions last night,’ he whispered. “There are those who will need to get away.”
He placed a notice on the table and Wallace picked it up. He didn’t exactly frown, these days frowning at such notices could be considered tantamount to treason. Instead, he felt all his face muscles lock into place with the effort of refraining from frowning. It was a skill he perfected in the past few months. The notice explained why so many were willing to sign up for his expedition. The regent reinstituted conscription.