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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Trumps  
  Magical Tarot cards that permitted both communication and transportation.  

In the novel, a very special pack of playing cards is the vehicle by which members of a royal family communicate with each other, and sometimes travel to meet with each other, where ever they may be. In whatever shadow of reality.

The drawer contained a packet of playing cards.

And the packet bore a device which caused me to stiffen where I knelt, perspiration suddenly wetting my brow and my breath coming rapidly.

It bore a white unicorn on a green field, rampant, facing to the Dexter.

I opened the package and extracted the cards. They were on the order of trumps, with their wands, pentacles, cups, and swords, but the greater trumps were quite different.

They were almost life like in appearance, the greater trumps ready to step right out through those glistening surfaces. The cards seemed quite cold to my touch, and it gave me a distinct pleasure to handle them. I had once had a packet like this myself, I suddenly knew.

From Nine Princes in Amber, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Doubleday in 1970
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