97 A Captain“s Discerning Eye*
The call came just as the sun had risen after three weeks at sea. Another crossing between Eldovia and the Kingdom of Illia on the Southern Continent had been completed. The Miranda cut through the waves towards the Bay of Lovolon with ease, her sails pulling tight with the wind off Whaler's Strait. Her Captain was a man of many such journeys, having spent his life aboard ships such as this one. Though no ship had ever held him as Captain more proudly than The Miranda.
Jeremiah Token looked out across the calm waves to the opening of the bay. The sun had not been kind on him in his old age, the wrinkles on his skin and the deep tan he'd grown used to were not the most flattering. He had been told many times in recent years that it was time for him to retire. To come to the Isle and pass on his teachings to the next generation. But the truth was that the old merchant and adventurer just loved his life on the sea too much to give it up.
"Sails to half canvas!" came the shout of his First Mate, Midas, in the background. His adopted son had taken on the role without much resistance. Any son of a Token, blood or not, was bound to be born to be on the water. The crew scattered up into the rigging, pulling in the sail to slow down the ship. The last thing they needed was to crash through the bay at a dangerous speed, they'd earned their coin for their own purposes, not to repair the damaged ships and goods of others.
"Captain?" asked Midas as he joined Jeremiah on the foredeck, "Orders?"
"Would have thought you knew how to pull her in by now, Midas," Jeremiah teased.
Midas smirked, "Just making sure you're not thinking of pulling her back out to sea again".
"Don't tempt me," Jeremiah warned, "The shorter time we spend at port the better".
Midas nodded, then jogged back down to order to crew in preparation for docking.
Eldovia was not a favourite among Jeremiah's many destinations. He much preferred the Southern continent, at least there they were not suspect to the whims of a tyrannical Emperor. The many Kingdoms that made up the southern continent, and there were many, were usually run by a council in tandem with a King. It was far less prone to corruption, though not completely free of it, and best of all, trade was often taxed at competition rates. It meant that Jeremiah only needed to find the cheapest port to dock out and he could get the greatest profit from the goods he sold. The differing landscapes of the Kingdoms kept it interesting. This latest trip he had been to Illia, one of the larger countries. They had just won a war against Sumak, a landlocked country, and had lowered their tax rates in order for trade to stimulate their suffering economy. It had worked brilliantly, unlike other countries who increased their taxes in order to earn back the money they'd inevitably lost as a result of war.
Eldovia was different, all her trade taxes were the same, and often over-priced. Despite the lack of Kildare presence in Port Lovolon, the city was still subject to the tax rates their Emperor set, and their Emperor was a Kildare. Jeremiah had no love for that greedy family, and luckily the Kildares weren't willing to risk their necks to challenge the presence of a family who could just move their assessts out of reach if they encountered trouble. And magnificient assessts they were. The Token Dock in Port Lovolon alone brought in roughly 18% of the city's income, the largest of all the docks except Jewel whose dealings in precious stones from the Western Continents far outweighed the price of anything else.
Token Dock was rather busy this morning. Two other ships awaited supplies in the bay, the smaller longboats ferrying cargo to them from the warehouses. Midas pulled the ship in as close to the dock as he dared and ordered the achor to be dropped and the longboats prepared for a trip to shore. Shore...Jeremiah hoped he could be in and out as fast as possible for this one.
Dock Master Hargreeve was waiting for him when the longboats made it to shore. With his notebook in hand, the incredibly orgnaised man scribbled down names as he walked with Jeremiah to the warehouses.
"And the goods you're bringing back, Captain?"
"Plenty of Wheat for the winter, and furs," Jeremiah replied, "Two sacks of Deer, 4 of sheep's wool and ten sacks of wolf fur".
"Wolf, sir?" asked Hargreeve.
"Quite the scavengers of battlefields apparently, plenty were killed off and they had an excess," Jeremiah replied, "Wouldn't be surprised if it becomes rare in the future though, they hunted that many of them that I have to question if there are many left".
Hargreeve nodded, "Very good, sir".
"What am I being loaded with then?" asked Jeremiah, his eyes scanning the dock workers and their cargo. Plenty of ores, a bit of salt. There was a lot to choose from. Ores he'd be sent to Uratha, Salt it was more likely to be Talnoth.
"Master Griffith has ordered you to return to the Isles, Captain," Hargreeve stated, pulling a sealed letter from his coat, "Apparently your presence is required at the Trade Festival on Rouke".
Jeremiah's eyes narrowed as he took the letter hesitantly, "Aren't there enough traders on Rouke?"
Hargreeve backed away with a smile, knowing the personality of the Captain before him, "Unfortunately sir, I'm just passing on orders".
Then Hargreeve turned and walked away before he Jeremiah could protest further.
Aaron, Jeremiah's cabinboy, arrived beside his Captain, "Anything the matter, sir?"
Jeremiah sighed, "Let's go and get a drink, Aaron. I've spent too long on duty to deal with this".
"Very good, Sir".
No protest at it being only nine in the morning. Aaron simply knew his Captain too well to argue.