Beginnings, Chapter 3 by Salim Farhat

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SUMMARY: I've rewritten it and I honestly believe that it's much, much better than my previous attempt. Enjoy.

Located well aft of the ship, the first-class smoking room on board was designed to be a men's club away from shore. The walls were surfaced with mahogany, its dark color relieved by gilded scones, mother of pearl inlay work and chandeliers. It would seem old-fashioned until one would see that, instead of a traditional skylight overhead, there were naturally illuminated stained glass windows to cover a central ventilating trunk. The windows located outboard were screened by leaded and stained glass panels, depicting countryside scenes and, for the ship's sake, nautical scenes as well. Most catching to the eye was a panel that showed a large whale swimming underneath a ship it was both well drawn, and seemed to make the passengers actually wonder just what would happen if such a thing were to occur.

The men there would engage in intimate conversation, of course more often than not in the alcoves and not in the open. Others would come and have a more general conversation while playing games of cards, and as one might expect, drink and smoke while conducting their activities. On one table, standing several meters away from the fireplace was Ivan, Linor, and another individual who had joined them not too far back. He was a rather unique individual, obviously not human, but not a Kahrie either. He was far more wolf-like, a race known as the Finagi. Though his race was normally a head taller than most humans, he was actually a head shorter than most humans. Like most Kahrie, he wore lighter than usual clothes, since his natural fur coat would make any heavier clothes uncomfortable to wear. He sat at the table, holding his cards and drinking a cocktail, while swishing his tail slowly, signaling a peculiar sort of contentment.

Ivan was in a rather jovial mood that afternoon; he reclined in his seat, his left arm spread over the chair and holding the cards with his left. He had a smug smile on his face, the kind that some winners had to annoy their defeated opponents. "So," he mused, pursing his lips slightly and raising one eyebrow. "What's your next card?" It was an unnecessary question, since neither of his opponents had anything to counter his moves with. The game was pretty much settled in his favor.

Linor sighed and simply placed what cards he had on the table. "I'm out," he said dryly, taking a small drink from his liquor glass and then sitting easy as he watched his companion's next move with studious eyes. There was a thirty Siglos pot to be won on that game, or more accurately, not to be won for him. Ivan seemed rather bored and uninterested when they mentioned playing a game of Trinbish, but the instantly they spoke of betting, he jumped at it as if it was a once in a lifetime offer. He entertained a thought that, perhaps he was so proficient at playing the game that he had lost interest in it and only played because he knew he could easily win.

Some time passed as the Ivan and Linor looked at the young Finagi. Ivan's smugness only grew with every minute, being apparent as he nearly revealed what cards he had.

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