Sword of Dawnbreaker - Chapter 163
Chapter 163: Additional Population and Heidi’s Worries
Probably because they hadn’t expected the so-called punishment to actually be so mild, the hunter siblings didn’t react for a long time after hearing Gawain.
Only after Gawain repeated his question did Red-Nose Tom nod dazedly.
“Yes… My sister and I can find the other settlements.
” The homeless refugees would wander everywhere between the territories.
Typically, their routes had no order to speak of.
They trudged in the places that nobody knew of and would also die in places that nobody knew of.
However, on the whole, the areas they settled down in had fixed boundaries.
These boundaries were usually the remote wilderness in between the various aristocratic territories.
And the north of the White River, east of Tanzan Mine, and south of Kant territory was such an area.
There were large numbers of refugees from the Bald Eagle territory, Carol territory, and many other scattered villages and towns from the northwest, and they had wandered along the river to arrive at this district.
They could have migrated to the central region that was slightly more fertile.
However, the poor harvests of the central and southern regions of the kingdom in recent years had caused a deficiency in stored rations everywhere.
Although many areas had recovered this year, aristocrats of the various territories were still strictly guarding against foreign refugees.
The aristocrats of the central region even regarded those hungry people from the ‘poor south’ as thieves and bandits.
As such, to these homeless people, all roads leading to the central region had been blocked off; they could only wander to this forest in the south.
According to a rough grasp of the information available, there were currently as many as thousands of hungry homeless scattered and dwelling in this mountainous forest and wilderness.
And as the majority of the refugees had once migrated along the same route (or even came from the same place), the settlements formed by these homeless people maintained a connection to an extent.
——Though this connection was extremely loose; it was like a net; so long as one of the points was held in hand, the entire net could be taken in if one followed the threads.
A good half a month had passed since Sir Byron released the news in the south through his underground channels.
Some news that the Cecil territory was taking in refugees would definitely have entered the ears of these homeless, but these pitiful people had lost their trust in aristocrats.
——Before Frost Month arrived, almost every few days, there would be mercenary teams sent by aristocrats coming to capture them.
Hence, to have people easily believe that there was still an aristocratic clan in the world willing to amicably take in and protect them was something almost impossible.
However, if there could be a group of refugees — a group of refugees who had escaped together with them and also lived in the wild for months, or even years — running about the various settlements and spreading the message, it would be much easier to recruit the homeless.
Gawain Cecil prepared to select a group of smarter, bolder people whose words were more credible from these dozens of refugees to serve as guides and messengers for him.
He would depend on their persuasion to attract more homeless people to settle down in the Cecil territory.
Frost Month was ending; with the start of Fog Month, it would officially be winter.
He had to rush to complete as many arrangements as possible before even more people froze or starved to death.
This red-nosed youth (perhaps he was already of age? But he was really too thin and small) before him, though he was a little impetuous, he wasn’t timid, and his gaze wasn’t completely numb like the majority of the poor, so he could take the role of such a messenger.
“The Cecil Clan is changing the order of this land.
Before the Cold Month this year arrives, all homeless people wandering in this mountainous forest and the nearby wilderness may report to the Cecil Clan and become permanent, legal residents of this land.
” Gawain looked at the youth in front of him, but at the same time, his words were also meant for every person near them.
He intentionally emphasized that all these were only effective before Cold Month arrived, yet he didn’t intend to truly impose this restriction; it was just to make the entire matter more believable as well as encourage pressure and feelings of urgency in these people.
“In order to let all who need help receive the news in time, I want you — and also others who are able — to search for those refugees in hiding.
I will dispatch soldiers as escorts, to ensure that you all can complete this task.
” Tom listened to all these with wide eyes, while Gawain turned to these southern-border refugees with haggard appearances and only dullness other than nervousness in their expressions.
“I know all of you were originally honest and dutiful people, people who abided by the laws and worked hard.
But your feudal lord abandoned you.
All the aristocrats in the southern borders abandoned you.
Not a single clan or territory allowed you to get a foothold and survive.
All of you could only wander in the wilderness, relying on grass roots, tree barks, and even lichen and rats to fill your bellies.
Despite so, the claws of those aristocrats were still seizing and harming you, and they even hunted you people all the way here! However, from today onward, you are standing on the land of the Cecil Clan.
From today onward, I am your feudal lord! All of you can freely and safely live on the Cecil Clan’s land, and I want you to tell those people you know, who were suffering with you in the wild, let them know that there is a place where they can settle down here!” Some slight radiance finally emerged in their dull and numb eyes.
They were still humans after all; they still had hearts.
Gawain did not expect these worn-down starving people to be able to respond to him with cheers.
He took half a step back after finishing what he had to say.
Seeing that Wright had released the Holy Light and treated all the wounded, he turned towards Sir Philip.
“Bring out the extra food, and distribute some to these people.
——Otherwise, given their conditions, it would probably be very difficult for them to walk all the way to the camp.
Aside from that, send a soldier on a fast horse back.
Relay the news to Heidi and have her make preparations.
” Continue reading on MYB0XN0 V EL.
COM Distributing food after an encouraging speech, this would always be the most effective method, especially in this era.
When the ‘feudal lord’ ordered for food to be brought out, these people would then truly feel that they were back in ‘human society’ and be convinced that their new ‘feudal lord’ would really fill their bellies; they would obey orders and maintain the most basic loyalty for this.
The thinking of the populace of this era was this simple and direct.
It could be said that this was one of the few gestures of goodwill that Gawain had seen in this world filled with evil intentions.
At this point, the black-haired girl who’d just received Wright’s treatment suddenly walked over.
She uneasily and nervously gripped her clothes, seeming like she had something to say.
Seeing this, Gawain spoke up.
“You have something for me?” “Ye—Yes, feud—feudal lord.
” The black-haired girl seemed to stumble a little when she said the words ‘feudal lord’, but still managed to voice it smoothly.
“Is everything that you said earlier true?” “Of course it is.
” Gawain smiled.
“Do I need to lie to you all?” But the words said by aristocratic lords would never be true.
Joan only dared to think this comment in her mind, but what she said was, “May I join my brother to look for the other settlements? His leg is troublesome.
He needs someone to care for him.
” “I will arrange a horse or a carriage for him if there’s a need.
” Gawain had already noticed the problem with the youth’s leg earlier but still nodded.
“Of course, you can still move about with him.
” The young lady bowed her head deeply.
“Thank you very much for your benevolence.
” A day later, Gawain and Amber led half of the soldiers and escorted the two mercenaries captured alive to first return back to the territory.
Meanwhile, Sir Philip was with the remaining half of the soldiers, escorting the dozens of ‘newly added population’ behind them.
As the refugees were frail, with a considerable number of them having chronic diseases, Wright also stayed behind to attend to them.
That Holy Light Cleric could also carry the combat ability of a mad warrior while he was at it… Gawain was in a very good mood.
Although he had only brought back several dozens of additional population after all the hassle this trip, which wasn’t even as many people as a slave-transporting ship from Tanzan Town carried, he had successfully built a connection with the refugees in the wilderness north of the White River.
The initial trust was about to be developed on the foundation of these several dozens of people.
Thinking of how much of the labor force that the territory urgently needed was gathered in this vast barren land, he was extremely delighted.
Not to mention that the majority of these refugees possessed some craftsmanship or were freemen with at least some knowledge.
Their fundamental quality was higher than that of the slaves who were bought.
This would reduce a lot of costs in the subsequent education.
It was almost impossible for serfs to become refugees.
This was because they were bound to the territory.
When a famine came, the local aristocrats would gather their serfs and keep them alive at the lowest cost until the famine ended so as to reinstate production.
Whereas, serfs who attempted to escape would be captured back and put to death.
On the contrary, it was the freemen, whose statuses were slightly higher, who would lose all support in such situations, with no choice but to flee their hometown after a calamity.
Hence, there would occasionally be jokes that —— on some aristocratic lands, the price of freedom was instead costlier than becoming a serf.
But Heidi who managed the territory’s internal affairs was rather weighed down with worry.
She approached Gawain.
“Ancestor, are you really planning to take in all the homeless people in the wilderness north of the White River before the Cold Month?” Gawain had long expected Heidi to come to him.
He showed a smile.
“Is there pressure on the ratios?” “Indeed.
—— If the hearsay is true, that there are refugees everywhere in the wilderness, we would be providing for about four thousand people through this winter.
Through this period of population expansion, there are, now, still only two thousand people in the territory.
This would be equivalent to providing for a number of refugees more than twice our current population.
And this is only a secondary problem.
After all, rations can be bought using money.
Tanzan Town is fertile and is also willing to sell us provisions at low prices, so this would be easy to resolve.
The real problem is how to maintain order after taking in so many additional people.
We barely managed to digest and absorb those purchased serfs and slave laborers, making them residents who understand rules and abide by the laws.
If another four thousand people were to be recklessly brought in, I really worry that the gains from our earlier effort would be lost ——even if those refugees do not mean to intentionally do so.
” “We increased from eight hundred people to two thousand.
The population more than doubled, but order did not collapse.
” Gawain looked towards Heidi with a smile.
“So what’s there to be worried about?” “That was because the previously added population had arrived before Frost Month —— the weather was warm, and there were ample jobs for those people.
They could join the residents to cultivate lands, do logging, and construct houses.
According to you, labor brings transformation.
Ample jobs would be the best way to digest and absorb the newly added population.
But it’s already late Frost Month now.
It will soon be the snowing Fog Month, then Cold Month when dripping water freezes into icicles.
We will no longer have enough jobs at that time…” “Who said we don’t?” Gawain’s smile became even wider.
“Why does winter mean no work and staying at home, consuming rations? In fact, it’s quite the contrary… I’ve got heaps of projects here waiting for manpower to complete them.