Swamped Chapter 18 Page 7

You decide to get rid of one of your aces. It’s not worth wasting a high card, and Rivers may be trying to help Starling out anyhow.

Stones is a better play, since your key card is Leaves; any extra Leaves in your hand are possibilities the others can’t rule out. You opt for that, and watch as Starling puts down her card.

The cards are turned up, revealing your Ace of Stones and Starling’s Four of Wings.

“So… Corvus wins, right?” Starling asks. “Aces are high, isn’t that it?”

“Not in the swamp,” you say. “Aces are always low here. It’s your win. So you get to keep two of the cards – your key card, the face-down one, doesn’t count as part of your hand.”

Starling nods, and discards her own Four of Wings. Rivers discards an Ace of Blades for losing the challenge, leaving you to think about what you should toss.

While you’re reflecting on that, Starling speaks up.

“Why are aces low?”

“Dunno,” you shrug. “I just know that’s how it is.”

It strikes you that Mantis probably knows the reason. He was always keenly interested in the history of cards, though his opponents (yourself included) generally didn’t care for his explanations. Not that you’ve talked to him much since he joined the council. He stopped playing then, too, as far as you know.

Regardless, you’ve got to drop an extra card now. Which one will it be?

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