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  #286  
Old 12-10-2018, 02:51 PM
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Lothar Hillperson
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"Well, it is settled then," Lothar said to Tallis. "We will meet your trainees in the morning. For now, it seems that we have more important business. "

Lothar cared very little about what the others were doing with the kobold. They gathered some information, sure. But to the man, if it lived, then it died. As far as he knew, they were up against a living, breathing dragon which Lothar intended to put to death one way or another. At the mention of an ogre, he also dismissed this as being trivial. If they could kill a dragon, then they definitely could kill an ogre or two.

As the others started to finish their interrogation of Grax, the ranger came up again. "Well, we were told to meet him in the tavern, yes? I don't mind waiting there at all. It has food and drink. Why run all over the place chasing something when you know it will be coming to you...eventually? You lot need to learn patience."
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  #287  
Old 12-10-2018, 05:23 PM
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Lelianora Nethiren
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"A human lecturing an elf on patience," Nora sniffs at Lothar's suggestion. "Will wonders never cease? We were told, Lothar, that the ranger should have returned to the tavern now, but has not. Knowing the dangers that lurk in this forest... that thing that took a chunk out of you, not least among them... we can hardly take the ranger's safety for granted. I am content to wait for a bit before we go looking for the ranger, if you insist... I wouldn't mind the chance to commune with the Green Magic and replenish my connection to it. But how long do we wait for him to return, before seeking him out? How long will be too long? Will you wait patiently while he perishes in the forest - and his knowledge of Summer Shield with him?"

"And as for you," she huffs, rounding on Spike, "Why must we slaughter the kobolds at all? Because they have fangs and scales? Then we had better start with Naskan. Because they are short and dim-witted? Then we'd better start with you."

"But with any luck," she adds, brightening, "I believe we may not have to kill the kobolds... not if Naskan has anything to say about it." She'd meant to raise the possibility later, after they'd had a chance to search for the ranger... but better to suggest it now, before her companions' unseemly bloodlust made any such solution impossible. Ash had done enough to jeopardize it already.

"The kobolds follow this 'Hurek...' a dragonborn like Naskan, from the sound of things. Grak’s never even seen the dragon Cathrax itself. It's Hurek who orders the kobolds about, Hurek who threatens them. Grak and..." she glares at Ash, "the other... feared Hurek's retribution if they aided us. They feared that he would throw them to the 'crockos' for being taken captive. Does that sound like the sort of master that they'd be serving loyally, or enthusiastically?"

She presses on, turning her imploring eyes to Naskan, as she can sense her other companions' skepticism. "They are lesser dragonkind, are they not? They know their betters. So, if they submitted to the first mighty dragonborn to declare himself their leader... might they not do the same for a mightier dragonborn who defeated him? If you challenge and defeat Hurek, then perhaps we need not fight the kobolds at all. Perhaps we can free them instead. What do you say, paladin?"


 
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:19 PM
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Ash didn't react to Nora's glares as he listened to her plan. He did; however, respond once she was finished.

The whelp spoke of Cathrax as a god. I fear it would be difficult to persuade a group of creatures to offend their purported divine master - exponentially so if the creatures are daft enough to have believed such in the first place.

He shrugged.

Hurek must be defeated regardless - lest he join the battle against Cathrax when the time comes to our disadvantage. If any of his lackeys are left alive after that initial sortie and choose to burn incense for Naskan instead of themselves in my flames then so be it. Grak has proven that they wouldn't know the way to Cathrax to betray us even if they wanted to, so the threat to our mission seems minimal. I can't speak to - nor am I concerned about - what sort of danger this sleepy little town might face should an entire society of hungry kobolds suddenly lose the person whom was keeping them fed, though.

He glanced back at Grak.

That rat barely made a dent, but I'm sure a human child would satiate him. Come to think of it... wasn't that what Cathrax was demanding as tithe?

Half a smirk cracked the corner of Ash's mouth as he turned away from the group. Speaking again without turning back around - clearly eager to be on his way and onto the task at hand.

One thing I am in agreement with, though, is not tarrying. We have a deadline of a fortnite, after all - and our list of tasks continues to grow. Waiting until tomorrow to find the ranger - whether alive or as a corpse - will delay our exploration of the elven ruins, assault on Summer Shield, tracking down of Cathrax's lair and eventual assault on it as well.
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  #289  
Old 12-12-2018, 11:53 AM
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Spike Scoria
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"Who are you callin' short, pixie?" Spike growled at Nora. If you counted his opulent And why wouldn't you! It's probably called something other than a mohawk in D&D adventure land, but there it is.mohawk, he was nearly as tall as the waifish elfmaid. "And dim-witted? Why, you know I can see as well as you can in the dark!" That was what dim-witted meant, wasn't it? It wasn't really a very good criticism, if you thought about it. But Spike didn't think about it at all.

"And we might have to kill some," he continued, unabated, "because they are working for the dragon. You know, the ENEMY!"

He was beginning to get angry again. "Naskan, are you going to go along with Nora's scheme? It seems compelcated to me. We should just slaughter them all 'til we get to the boss!" Spike liked slaughtering things. Slaughtering things made him happy. In another life, he might be a butcher. Butchering things was good too. But slaughtering was better, mostly because it was one of the few big words he knew the meaning of.

Not slaughtering things made him angry.

Spike was on a roll now. His friends should, by now, recognize the warning signs that he was about to lose control. One of them might think to intervene before he exploded into a raging ball of fury. "And don't trust this one! he may act dumb, but kobolds are sly folk. Don't let his grovelling fool you."

The dwarf turned to Grak, with blood in his eyes. "Ain't that right, you little puke!" he screamed at the poor pathetic creature. Spike began to froth at the mouth. A spray of spittle burst forth as he roared at the kobold. It wasn't pretty.

OOCSpike intimidates Grak for no real reason, other than to get the kobold to crap himself.
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  #290  
Old 12-13-2018, 09:49 AM
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Naskan Kreccac
They were gaining great insights about this fortress from the captured kobold...if they could trust a word of it, when the issue of the creature's future rose to the forefront of the conversation. Before Naskan knew what was going on, it seemed the whole group was up in arms. Nora was angered at Ash, Spike was angry at Nora, Nora was offended by Lothar, and Nora even had the audacity to compare a dragonborn to a kobold simply because they had scales!

With a loud bellow, Naskan attempted to take hold of the situation. "ENOUGH!" Despite his normally stoic demeanor, the edges of his lips were curled up in a silent snarl before falling back down to cover his teeth as he spoke.

He glared at the kobold with hatred and vitriol as he thought out his words before speaking. "We've little time to waste throwing mocking words at each other. At the present, locating the ranger is our priority as he holds the keys to not only knowledge of Summer Shield but also the remaining ruins scattered about the forest. The urgency of our quest dictates we wait for him no longer but search him out at his home."

The dragonborn hefted his maul upon his shoulder and turned to leave the jailhouse before giving Nora a glare. "You dishonor me to presume I would ever lower myself to lord over such wretched creatures as kobolds. You mistakenly pity their weakness. Know that they choose to follow those who permit them to commit atrocities as it pleases them. They are not fit for service among civilized peoples. If this one were to be dead when we returned, I would not mourn its passing."

With his piece spoken, Naskan departed the jailhouse for the western gate and the ranger's house.





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Old 12-13-2018, 10:05 AM
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Lothar just sat back and witnessed the commotion that occurred in the small jail. It seemed others had very strong opinions about their captive kobold, but Lothar could really care less. In fact, he sided with Spike's assertion of charging into the lions den and destroying all those that supported the dragon, wife or not. If they were a threat, his great axe would meet it with no mercy.

After the admonishment by Naskan, Lothar straightened up and addressed his friend before he left. "Again, Naskan, you speak true. Let us be done with this...thing. The ranger holds information we need, so if you want to go find him, then let us leave."

He looked around at the others and stopped his fierce gaze on Nora. "Your mouth will get you in trouble. Tread carefully, lady." Then, he left into the night air to join his traveling companion.

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Old 12-13-2018, 02:39 PM
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Lelianora Nethiren
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Nora gaped, thunderstruck, at Naskan's harsh rebuke, her almond eyes wide with shock and tearing up at the corners. She'd expected scorn from the rest of them, perhaps - but not from the paladin. Even he, sworn to justice and mercy, seemed intent on prosecuting their task in the bloodiest way possible. She could only watch as the dragonborn stormed out, unable even to stammer out a reply.

For a wild moment, her mind raced over the possibility of simply freeing Grak, letting him run back to the other kobolds with a warning. Perhaps... perhaps they would take it to heart, realize their peril and flee? But no, that was madness - even if Nora's most optimistic assumptions about the kobolds were true, they'd be no more likely to flee with Grak's warning than they were now. And after everything Grak had heard and seen... and the way her companions had behaved towards him... he'd most likely just go back and warn his companions and their masters, the better to fight Nora and her companions. Who were, Nora forced herself to recall, still the heroes in all this - the dragon needed to be stopped, and the town needed to be saved, and nothing could be allowed to jeopardize that... not even the lives of the kobolds. But did that mean she had to step back and let them be slaughtered needlessly... or aid in their slaughter herself?

It was Lothar's growled warning that finally snapped Nora out of her shock. Oh, her mouth would get her in trouble, would it? Her eyes flashed, and her hands screwed up into fists. Then perhaps it's trouble worth getting into.

She raced out of the guardhouse after Naskan and the others, planting herself in front of the much, much larger dragonborn. "Hold, you scaly oaf!" she demanded. The dragonborn could swat the slender elf aside with the most casual of motions, but at the moment, Nora was too incensed to be afraid. "You mistake me, Naskan, if you think my motive in this is some soft-hearted pity for the kobolds. I pity no creature that murders and oppresses the innocent... but who is that, in all of this, so far?"

She stepped closer, shouting in his face, even though she had to stand on her tiptoes and still look up a good ways in order to do it. "Who have the kobolds killed, thus far? Who have they harmed? They didn't attack the village - the dragon did. They didn't even choose to come here - Hurek ordered it of them. So far, the only blood that's been shed is that of the kobold that Ash struck down outside the west gate - which was bound and subdued at the time, and had never raised a claw in its own defense!"

Nora's face was flushed, and she quivered with rage, but she took a deep breath, stepping back and lowering her voice, though she still speaks through clenched teeth. "But set all that aside. My... suggestion... has nothing to do with pity, or with justice - only sound judgment and tactics." She motions to Lothar and Spike. "These two may simply glory in battle and want to bloody their blades as much as they possibly can, but you know that we are here, first and foremost, to end that dragon and protect this town. We've a dragon to slay... and this Hurek, and an ogre, and probably some 'crockos,' whatever those are. These are perilous battles, and our victory is by no means assured. Will we not have a better chance at victory if we can fight those battles without an entire tribe of kobolds to wade through? If there is a way to get those kobolds out of the battle without having to wade through them all, would we not be fools to ignore it?"

She raised her hands placatingly. "I didn't mean to compare you to them, and I know you've better things to do than lord over a tribe of kobolds. But you wouldn't have to. Defeat Hurek, claim dominance over the tribe, and then order them all far away from these lands, never to return. If we can succeed in cowing them enough, by slaying Hurek, the ogre... and yes, perhaps some of them, if they insist on fighting... then they'll obey your command. And if they don't... if they insist on giving us battle and threatening this town, even when we've given them every chance..." She squared her shoulders, meeting his gaze firmly. "Then I'll put an arrow through the skull of the first one to try."

She sighed, stepping back from Naskan. "Look... you're the only one who can do this, dragonborn. And if you decide not to... then I'll help you slaughter the kobolds. It will be the only choice left to me, if the town is to be saved." She looked him in the eye, trying to keep a quiver out of her voice. "Please don't make me choose that."


 
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  #293  
Old 12-13-2018, 03:57 PM
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The outbursts of emotion from Naskan and Nora made the warlock feel a certain level of discomfort. Having little capacity for emotion himself, it was always unsettling to see it burst forth from others. Whether out of jealousy for their ability to do so or discontent with the idea of it, he, himself, couldn't quite tell, though. As Nora recounted Ash's actions outside the gate, the warlock didn't flinch. He had no regrets. When she had completed her plea of the dragonborn; however, he did feel a strange pang in his gut - one he wasn't accustomed to. soft-hearted pity, the elf's words rang in his ears. Is that what this feels like?

Up until the dispute between he and the druid over the fate of the kobolds - and the methods by which they could be coerced into talking - the warlock had begun to think highly of Nora. She had seemed quick witted in the forest and her methodologies often seemed to mimic his own - largely based in logic and with strong supporting rationales. Her argument here reminded him of that. And even beyond his sociopathy, the warlock could sense that standing idly by while the group splintered over something so... illogical... would not serve the greater purpose of their task at hand. And so, Ash gently cleared his throat.

There is a certain amount of logic in her proposal.

He stared blankly ahead as he spoke - not meeting either of the pair's gaze.

And pride can lead to folly as sure as pity.

His eyes slowly lifted until they were fixed on Naskan.

What would it hurt to try? After Hurek is put down. If the imbeciles do not acquiesce, then we can put them down all the same.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:34 PM
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When Nora stormed up behind the dragonborn to assert herself before him, Naskan was completely taken aback by the passion...and sense the woman made. He began to feel a pang of guilt about how he had spoken to her and about how he had perceived her words. Of course she wasn't advocating kobolds were to be treated as refugees in some war but should be used a tool to achieve victory, no different than the elven weapons they sought in the ruins.

As she finished, Naskan sighed and his features softened. "Lelianora," The group seldom used the druid's full name and Naskan hoped its usage would convey his sincerity. "I spoke rashly and with much venom that I should never had directed at you. I cherish your contributions to our party, both martial and strategic. Your plan has merit."

And then it was coming. It was as if he couldn't help himself when it came to the kobolds. They were an insult to his existence, a plague upon the world. They could not be excused the misdeeds of those they served.

"But I cannot help feel dissatisfied by the conclusion of the plan that sees the kobolds still permitted to roam the lands and seek out a new lord who would use their servitude to carry out their own misdeeds. Those found to be in service of a dark warlord are put to the stake the same as their leader. A scout in an army may never strike a killing blow but the information they gather could mean the deaths of hundreds in battle. Is not that person just as guilty of the atrocity? Do not think I dismiss your point of view out of disrespect or contempt. I cannot justify letting these creatures live to torment others no more than we could let the ogre live on. Such is the nature of both to persevere in evil. I see this as no different than the farmer putting down the wolf who hunts his cattle or the fox who stalks his chicken coops. It shall be as it must be. These creatures are beyond redemption. I beg of you not to think less of me for speaking this truth."






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  #295  
Old 12-13-2018, 09:23 PM
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Nora blinked in surprise as Ash, of all people, spoke up in agreement. He was the last one she'd have expected to take her side in this - although perhaps he shouldn't have been. He might be the last in the party to see right, but he was always the first to see reason.

Naskan, though... Nora's heart sank anew at his words. She was silent for a moment, staring at the ground. When she looked up again, her face was a mask of cold fury.

"You sound just like the elders back home," she hissed. "The ones who forbade me to leave the clan's woods. Who called me a fool for my juvenile fascination with the 'lesser races.' They thought that our long lives and fair faces and... and pointed ears made us somehow fit to judge the rest of you, simply for not being us. They would have named you a freak, and Kaspar an abomination, and Lothar and Ash little better than half-witted apes, and Spike a... well, a dwarf. They would have been so certain that, because you were not born of elvenkind, you are brutes... savages... beyond redemption."

She crosses her arms, glaring up at him defiantly. "I left home because I was sure they were wrong. Because I believe that there is good to be found in every race, and that any living thing should be judged by what it does, not what it is. I shall judge the kobolds accordingly. And the dragon. And you."

Her resolve cracks a bit. "Please, Naskan. At least give this a try. If it doesn't work... if Hurek refuses your challenge, or if the kobolds force us to slay them... then so be it. But give them the chance." She shakes her head. "Because I really don't want to have to go back to my elders and admit that I was wrong."


 
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:06 PM
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Ash scratched his head as Nora referred to him as an ape. The subtle irony of the monkey-like reaction lost on him.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:35 AM
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Kaspar Thorngage Having remained quiet far too long as the day's events continued to plague him, Kaspar finally spoke up from the back of the group.

"'Beyond redemption' Naskan?" He said, quietly, but firmly and clearly enough for the rest to hear. "Who are you to judge who is worthy of redemption? Because you harbor some prejudice over shared ancestry and deem them less-then? Pish on your principles. If you feel fit to judge creatures who, when left to their devices wish only to mine gems, then pass judgement on me. Look at me. If you feel fit to pass judgement on them, then surely you feel fit to pass judgement on a descendent of hell spawn. Who are you? Do you know, beyond doubt, that your blood traces to so-called noble dragons? There's no Red or Black in your bloodline? No. You can't say that beyond doubt, can you?"

Kapsar paused. Though his voice remained level, likely to keep passion and fury out of it, his normally lavender skin took on a deep purple hue.

Looking each of his companions steadily in the eye in turn, he continued. "I may be new to adventuring and to trekking through the ass-end of nowhere, but your experience is not all that holds sway here. Those kobolds you wish to slay out of pride and prejudice and some sense that they're intrinsically evil? They're the creatures...the people...that allow most large cities to run. Keeping to themselves and toiling in darkness at the jobs none of our races would stoop to do."

He looked at Nora apologetically, sorry he'd not backed her sooner, before turning again to Naskan. "You may wear the armor of a knight, but if you refuse to see past your own prejudice, refuse to allow for the possibility of redemption, then you're not fit to utter the words of your oath. Nora's plan is sound. But more than that, it's right. We came here to save a town. Nora's plan gives us the chance to save more than just one people, but two. If you can't see that, you're as bad as the dragon we're here to slay."


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Old 12-14-2018, 11:25 AM
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ENOUGH! Naskan's shout brought Spike out of his enraged madness. "Huh?" he uttered, while he blinked and looked about trying to regain his bearings. His fellows were bickering, taking their argument out of the barracks and into the streets. Spike followed them stupidly, having lost the gist of the controversy.

Then, he began laughing. He was chuckling to himself at first but it became a loud and hearty guffaw. There was a reason for his mirth. All his companions were acting like him!

"That's right, me friends, work up yer rage," he said between chuckles, "then grab it, and hold it in, and remember it, and keep it until you need to use it against yer foes." The dwarf was recounting the lessons he had learned long ago, the tenants of the battlerager. "You'll all be frothing at the mouth and swinging yer axes with fury in no time!" He nearly doubled over at the thought of that.

He wiped the tears of amusement from his eyes. "Come on, let's put this argument to the side for now. We'll worry about who's to live or die when the time comes. Let's find this ranger feller, for now."

Spike began walking toward the west gate. His serious demeanor returned as he came near to Ash. He grabbed the mage by the arm, his grip like steel. The dwarf pulled him down so his face came to his level. "And we won't be killing none in cold blood! You hear!" Spike growled and glared at Ash, letting him know he meant business. Killing was one thing, murder was another.

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Old 12-14-2018, 01:04 PM
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Ash sighed and stared blankly at the dwarf as he tried to intimidate him after hearing the druid's half-story.

I would explain the rationale, but fear the words would be wasted.

Casually removing his arm from the dwarf's grip, the warlock stood up straight.

Just as the words of your idle threat are. If you would seek to make the threat less ephemeral, then we could see if your blood is as warm as your temper.

For a moment, as Spike gazed into the warlock's hollow eyes, he could almost swear that he saw the outline of a flickering black flame. Ash's expression; however, remained constant - dispassionate - as he spoke. He then turned to the rest of the group.

Or... we could be off to our task. To inquire of the temperature of the ranger's blood.
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Old 12-17-2018, 07:32 AM
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Outside the West GateThe disagreement that starts inside the guard house spills out into the streets. Lothar and Spike more or less commit to train the few youngsters the guard captain has drummed up, starting next morning. For now, they leave without settling on anything more than that. There isn't time for goodbyes, as the the impassioned discussion between Nora, Naskan, Kaspar and Ash, touching upon the very core of what it means to be good or evil, takes up all of their attention. There aren't any souls out on the streets to witness the rift between their heroes, though. It is now late in the night and most of the village is fast asleep. The grunts that lingered in the training grounds have left.

After a while, Spike is the one who decides to move things along, as he trundles off towards the West Gate. The rest of the adventurers follow, some of their disagreements unresolved, for now. At the gate, they find two rather scrawny men on duty. One is a human, while the other looks like an elf. Wordlessly, they open the gate just enough for the party to pass through. It would seem the party has earned full freedom of movement.

The forest starts almost immediately beyond the gate. There are two large torches burning atop the wall either side of the gate that throws flickering yellow light onto tall, bony trees and not much further beyond. Those with the ability to see in the dark can barely make out the outline of what looks like a watchtower about thirty paces to the south west. Underneath it is some kind of a cottage.

As the adventurers approach the hut, they hear no sound, other than the constant, harsh chirping of crickets. A path leads towards the house, circles it, then disappears into the foliage. The house has no lights on. It appears to have been placed on stilts. It is small, more a shack than a home. A wooden ramp leads up to a door that is slightly ajar. The humans and the dragonborn see absolutely nothing. Nora and Kaspar notice a stained patch in the dirt in front of the house. While it appears grey to both of them, Nora recognizes the smell. Sharp, metallic. Blood. Once she knew what it was, the druid looked closer. There are some sort of trail leading both into the Shack and away, towards the watchtower.
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Lorela | Jatayu | Bryllyn | Quest | Kavakan
DM for To Slay a Dragon
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