During the bad times, General Kane bought out all the boats except the Mayor's private boat. We were left a lot of money in compensation as long as we agreed to do a few other things, like show a new production at the theatre, one about Runefaust's victory over Guardiana, but it still crippled trade. They made us ostracise Guardiana even though they were one of the few nations we didn't need boats to trade with. We all believed what Kane was saying about Guardiana being troublemakers who hired unruly mercenaries to sabotage Runefaust's attempts to unite the continent. We were naive like that in those days.
Runefaust took over the circus as well, which wasn't so bad for a while until we realised what they'd done. The puppets they brought in looked as though they were really alive and they could do all sorts of magical things, such as breathe out a stream of ice like a blue dragon. The clowns were terrifying, with faces so weird they didn't look human and acrobatic skills that we didn't think were possible. It was all so much grander and more spectacular than the tired old jugglers and tightrope walkers and fire-eaters we used to have. The tourists from Alterone came to see the show and we were doing alright for a while. Even the theatre was making quite a lot of money - it was always the same show but it was well performed.
Then there was the time that the Mayor's grandson disappeared. We all knew the circus had got him - he was an inquisitive child, always sneaking into the very places he was forbidden to go near, especially the exciting places that the priest said had an evil aura. Yes, we all knew the circus was bad news but we didn't want to say anything and risk the wrath of Runefaust. They were fair, just rulers as long as you didn't cross them. It turned out the Mayor didn't agree, though, not when his grandson was in danger, so he hired those shady mercenaries from Guardiana in exchange for the last boat in Rindo even though General Kane had specifically warned him that it was the thing he was least allowed to do, and even though everyone knows mercenaries are bad luck around boats.
Anyway, the Shining Force - that's what we have to call them now - got the boy back in one piece and took off with the boat. Except that it burned down in the harbour. We thought the people from Runefaust had packed up in the night and left with the circus in tow but it turned out one of them was hiding fire magic in the boat or something. It's true, the Shining Force really are bad luck around boats; we follow their adventures everywhere, now, so we can put on new plays, and they're always leaving wrecked boats behind them, no matter how much they save the rest of the world.
I guess you can't always do everything right.