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Thick cigar smoke circled the dwarf’s head before it wound its way up and joined the incense that permeated the temple. He stood just outside the central circle, low steps fanned out behind him. Four pillars stood tall on the far side of the circle. The outer two were palest marble, while the inner two were burnished steel that gleamed in the dim light from the smoking braziers. In the center of the circle stood a low table of the same white marble of the outer pillars. A young woman sat behind it on plush pillows, her eyes downcast as the squat man approached.
“You have something for me, Raina?” Marlowe asked in between tugs on his cigar.
The woman tucked her curly dark hair behind one ear as she laid a silk wrapped bundle on the table. Her fingers lifted one corner of the silk covering at a time, carefully laying open the fabric with precise, carefully measured movements. The last corner of cloth opened to reveal a thick deck of cards. Mystic symbols, some squat and blocky, others wispy like the smoke above the dwarf’s head adorned the back of each card. Raina reverently took the deck into her hands and began to shuffle.
“I think so, yes,” she answered the dwarf.