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A sticky finale.
The rich and still solvent stayed behind shutters, while mobs of unemployed people banged on their doors, asking for their jobs back, or for mere food, which had always been plentiful before.
The Council itself was bankrupt! Not enough businesses were paying taxes, and not enough citizens were earning money or earning enough to make any headway in paying the interest on council borrowing. Businesses and individuals found ways of avoiding paying taxes, while others had suffered in the fierce competition and gone bankrupt themselves, unable to pay their taxes, and throwing themselves on the Council's mercy. There was not much mercy to be had; their coffers were dry!
The merchant bankers of Avarica had been gripped by the fever for higher income, more wealth. For some years they invested eagerly in every project they could persuade themselves might be profitable. Instead of being content with lending their own money they had desperately borrowed all the money they could, to invest more in more businesses.
Latterly the confidence of the city merchants had diminished in sudden panics, as people realised many of the ambitious projects were unlikely to turn a profit, or that they might not be able to afford to pay the interest on their borrowings. The values of both businesses and houses had become highly priced in the booming city, but both were very overvalued. A fall was bound to come, but the greedy citizens of Avarica little expected how severe that fall would be. As the values of businesses collapsed so did confidence in investments. The panic to sell while values had not yet dropped far intensified, compounding the severity of the fall.
The rich of the city struggled to make the payments on their property purchases. Having overextended themselves in investments or property many of them lost rights to their precious properties. Avaricious lenders, keen to amass money so they could pay off their own debts demanded repossession so they could find other ways of keeping the money flowing in. Citizens, in droves, found themselves kicked out and onto the streets. Landlords offered extortionate rents instead, all trying to grab as much money off each other as possible, not caring much about what effect their greedy demands might have on the citizens around them. As Business Houses closed their doors citizens lost their jobs. Unable to pay their rents many of them found themselves out on the streets. In desperation many citizens rounded up what possessions they could and packed them on carts, leaving the city and throwing themselves on the mercy of relatives in other towns and cities, or kinder people in other parts of Shalirion.
The High Council of the land of Shalirion and the Empress herself had asked for the expertise of the citizens of other cities and regions to come to Avarica, to advise the City Council upon how to restore economic and social order to the city. Concerned and important people came from all over the Kingdom to study the disaster which had befallen, and to work out how to put it right. It was clear that no mere sorcery was going to be able to solve the disaster that had befallen here.
Nowhere else in the Empire had economics spun quite so out of control. There were many who suspected dark wizards to be at the heart of the disastrous malaise, but the advisors and representatives who now entered the city knew well that the malaise had been caused by the greed and human folly of many of the leading and upright citizens of the city. Chanceleord and his fellow councillors from Cromilil and other cities had plenty of ideas from the rules of their own cities to prevent such an economic debacle from happening.
Chanceleord spoke before the councillors of Avarica, a reduced number, as some had fled the failing city,