“Zilchus damn their oily hides!” Cariel Mansharn shouted. Standing up from his desk, he threw his chair across the room, where it hit the wall with a resounding crash.
“What be your problem, then?” Stimtrin Cannasay asked as he walked into the room. He was utterly calm and did not react in the least to the seething anger in Cariel’s eyes.
“What do you think, you fool?” Cariel asked. “It’s the same thing it always is!”
“And what’s that?” Stimtrin asked, his expression thoughtful and inquisitive.
“Another gods-damned bubble is about to burst,” Cariel said, pointing to the ledger on his desk. “Just like they always do. Why don’t these speculators ever learn?”
Cariel’s anger turned to dread as he realized the mistake he’d just made.
“I canna say,” Stimtrin said, his brow furrowing as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps ‘tis the result of speculators thinkin’ that certain prices last indefinitely, or the feelin’ that the speculator is shielded from risk, mayhaps even the ‘greater fool’ theory where assets be continually sold for ‘igher than their value ‘til …”
“Or maybe it’s because so many speculators are glorified paper-pushers who don’t actually create anything of value,” Cariel said, interrupting Stimtrin before the dwarf’s ramblings pushed him past the breaking point. “They just strip the value out of things actual merchants create!”
“Have ye ever supposed it might be yer words be reason are why ye’r none closer to becomin’ Master o’ the Guild?” Stimtrin asked.
Cariel wanted to reply with an angry shout, but the dwarf’s calm and respectful expression showed he meant no insult. Grudgingly—very grudgingly—he nodded. “Perhaps they are the reason,” Cariel said as he retrieved his chair and sat down again. “But that doesn’t make them any less right.”