Speculation in Greyhawk City

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Jared Milne

“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.”

Blessica of Urnst

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On Those Who Covet Power

Jared Milne

Belissica looked up from the letter she was writing to gaze thoughtfully into the mirror standing on the side table. The exhausted look on the face in the mirror signaled, as her personal cleric Jhennifer insisted, it was time for her to stop for the night. Belissica remembered the argument with Jhennifer on the subject. She was, after all, the Countess of Urnst! But Jhennifer pointed out that she only harmed the County if she did not look after her own health.

And it had been a long, tiring day: reading reports from her spies in the Bandit Kingdoms, writing instructions to the delegation she was sending to the Gamboge Forest, mediating between military leaders who argued for more defense spending and exchequers who insisted that the treasury could not sustain such expenditures over the long term…

The countess conjured invisible servants to take her completed paperwork downstairs where it would collected by her officials tomorrow morning. Belissica rubbed her eyes and muttered to herself. She occasionally wished she had more time to pursue the magical research she so enjoyed, but her conscience would never have allowed the self-indulgence. Her responsibilities weighed too heavily on her.

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