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Dealer's Choice

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When Dureena walked in to the mess for the weekly poker game, the party was in full swing and everyone around the table was having a good time--everyone except Galen. He sat scowling at his cards, face like a thundercloud. For someone who was usually so inscrutable, he had a terrible poker face.

"Glaring at the cards won't make your hand any better, you know," she murmured to him, stealing a glance at the offending hand as she insinuated herself next to him at the crowded table. "Hey, Trace! Deal me in."

It was harder to play while trying to keep track of Galen's hand as well as her own, and harder still to slip him some useful cards without him noticing, but it was worth it to see him begin to relax and joke with the rest of the crew as his luck began to turn. A few rounds later, Dureena saw Gideon, seated on Galen's other side, casually pass his hand over the just-dealt cards in front of the mage. He caught her eye and winked, and she smiled.