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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Chapter 1: High Tide


Raven's Rock: Docks District


-4th day of Toil, Year 1383, midday-

The smell of salty sea air filled the docks as workers, merchants, and travelers alike hurried about tending to their business. Carpenters work their trade, repairing worn ships and building new ones, warehouse workers haul cargo from the two dozen or so ships on the piers as the wharfmasters coordinate, and street merchants hock their merchandise to travelers disembarking from their ships. The edge of the piers was lined with warehouses and workshops, all at least slightly shoddy looking. In fact, most of the buildings in this area are easily a century old. Taking in the surroundings, only the most naive wouldn't be able to tell that this is no place for the fastidious or the easily offended.

Two ships are docked at the end of one of the many piers. A rather mangy looking gnoll hops onto the dock from the smaller of the two ships, a small cat wrapped around the back of his neck as it yawns. The gnoll looks down the length of the pier with determination in his eyes. At first, all he sees is a few thugs hanging out near the other ship nearby. Quickly his attention his drawn to a small kobold standing next to the ramp proudly, with a smile on his face. "odd" he thought. Looking up to the ship a blue skinned woman was leaning on the railing of the side of the ship. She was gazing across the docks, her thoughts seemingly elsewhere.

Within a moment Garr saw a group of men walking down the pier towards the other ship. It only took a moment for him to recognize that one of them was the prisoner he was looking for. The captain of the other ship was walking beside him with a trio of thugs following. The two were talking and laughing boisterously, as if they were old friends. It seemed that hired goons were everywhere, Garr knew that trying to apprehend him right this moment would not be a good idea. As they approached the ramp to the ship, Fang saw them approaching and quickly stiffened his posture and saluted the captain "Sir!"

"Where did you get this little thing Jon?" the gnoll's target asked the captain.

Jon-Drew responded, "I have no idea. One of my contacts in the city did the hiring." He almost sounded annoyed by the little kobold's presence as they walked past him and up the ramp.

Mai saw the captain returning to the ship and her heart sank a bit, "So much for business going sour." The captain and his guest approached her on the deck and she bowed her head slightly. "Master."

"My my" Jon-Drew's guest proclaimed as his eyes moved across the genasi's body. "Is this one of the ones you were telling me about?"

"No" The captain answered, "I plan on keeping this one for quite some time." He paused, letting a smile escape his lips as he thought back on the events from earlier this morning. "The two I was telling you about are below deck. Come, I'll introduce you." Jon-Drew gave the genasi a suggestive look and then walked his guest below deck.

----------||----------

"Tiamat! Curse that five headed beast!" Philbin shouted as he lost yet another gambit to the half-elf across from him.

Rashele couldn't help but gloat at the strength of her hand. "It seems your luck is turning south, maybe you should quit while your ahead?" The bard was enjoying herself thoroughly. This was the first tavern she'd been at in the city where she hadn't been harassed, hit on, or become a target for pickpocketing since she arrived in "The Rock," as the locals are fond of calling it.

"I think not." The halfling was quite confident in his abilities. "You wont be able to keep your streak going for long."

The half-elf looked Philbin in the eye, looking for some kind of tell to determine his true confidence. Outside the window, she noticed a fairly large group of people that seemed to be congregating outside. The crowd started out quiet, but quickly the roar of voices grew so that all within the Eel noticed. One voice could be made out above the rest, and he seemed to be rallying the rest of them "We've had enough!" he shouted, "We want these so called 'merchants' gone from these walls!" The crowd roared with support after each phrase was spoken.

The commotion was enough that Maivern took notice as well as he sat at the bar. "What in the blazes is going on out there?" he thought as he lifted his head from the mead in front of him.

The mob leader continued, "One of these 'merchants' is at the docks as we speak, profiting off of the suffering of others! Will we let him continue?" The crowd roared with a unanimous no. " Then we must take measures to make sure he never comes back to our home! Who is with me?" The crowd roared once again, raising their fists in the air, some clenching smithing hammers, wood hatchets, or torches. It seemed things were about to get ugly for someone.
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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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This is more like it. Fang bristled with pride, knowing that all along the docks, people could see his shield, his emblem, his vigilance. This was his big break; a real guard job, right out in the open.

He had spent most of the morning staring at some whorls in the wood of the dock; there was one that looked like one of his clutchmates, although the warped nature of the whorl improved his looks considerably. Waiting for anything at all to happen was starting to get an his nerves when, finally, the weird blue... human? do they come in blue? showed up on deck. He couldn't talk to her (clearly not a thing for a good, vigilant guard to do), but at least the scenery was a bit different.

Finally, what could only be the Captain began striding up the docks. He was majestic - tall, with the bearing of a true leader. Fang could tell, this was a man to work for. Look, he was surrounded by all these people, and commanded their attention! Yes, he had found his in.

He snapped to attention as he approached, making sure everything was straight and neat. As he drew close, Fang could tell that this was the kind of person that liked - nay, demanded - proper pomp. He stiffly saluted, barking out a raspy, high-pitched "Sir!"

The brief exchange between them that followed soured his mood. His opinion of the bastard did an immediate one eighty. That was no way to lead! Even as a hireling, Fang deserved a slightly higher level of respect than that. He slouched a bit, relaxing as Jon-Pew went below-decks. All of his interest in remaining vigilant was rapidly draining away. He looked around, snapping his jaws in frustration. Now he needed something to do. This had turned from a solid job to treat with full respect to something he was doing just for the money.

Glancing about, he settled on the blue lady. Some kind of maid, or something, by the discussion between the two men. Although, their speech had that weird tone humans get when they want to make an egg. Perhaps they were arranging a Nesting. She might make for some conversation however, so Fang turned to face the boat.

"Hey, you! Blue person! What's your name?"
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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Mai-lana stood on the deck of the ship, having found a spot safely out of the way of the comings and goings of the crew. Most people likely thought of a port town for its salty air, the sounds of the surf, and the majesty of the ocean. For the Genasi, it was the exact opposite. She had not seen people (other than the crew) or experienced the sights, smells, and sounds of the city is what captivated her attention. Not all the city had to offer was pleasant... but at least it was something new. She even thought she saw somebody in the crowd that wasn't your typical man - not Human, Dwarf, or Halfling - but she couldn't be completely sure.

When the squeaky voice called out to the 'blue person' she knew it was meant for her. Even though she thought of herself as silvery with a blue tint, most people seemed to interrept it as blue with a silver tint. No matter... Her gaze fell to where the small creature clad in serious armor stood. Now there was a sight she had never seen before! He was tiny but wiry with the look of a reptile, rat, and vicious hound all in one. And it was hard to miss his emblazoned shield and the weapons he carried.

Mai glanced over her shoulder at the retreating back-side of her master and nodded to herself that her presence was not required elsewhere. The captain insisted that she be classy and cordial to his guests and civil to everyone else - as a reflection on him. So, she turned back to the small creature and smiled warmly. "You may call me Mai-lana," she said in a dove-like voice that sounded more like a whisper drifting on the wind than a woman speaking. "And what is your name, Kobold person?"
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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 11:21 PM
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Though the allure of more gambling was strong—you could never be a true sailor without developing a special flick of your wrist and sly poker face—the hubbub developing just outside the tavern was enough to cause Rashele to drop her guard for a moment, a look of concern flashing across her features. It sounded like a mob riot was developing just outside the tavern, and that was not something she wanted to be involved in; she had little interest in getting tangled up on the wrong side of the law on her first day in the Rock.

The half-elf pushed the deck of cards towards the halfling with an apologetic smile. "I think we might have to put our game on hold for now, mate," she says, jabbing her thumb over her shoulder at the window. "Looks like it's getting ugly outside." Rashele stands up from the table, shouldering her weathered sack of belongings as she hooked her foot around the chair and dragged it back under the table. "Ah, but Avandra's smiling on me today," she notes with bemusement, giving Philbin a teasing wink. "Maybe I'll chance it and check out what these jokers out there are up to."

Rashele's tone implies an invitation for the halfling, but she's not the type to wait, instead striding through the bar with a purposeful gait. She flicks the barkeep a couple of silver pieces, both landing on the counter beside Maivern. "Thanks for putting up with the noise," she adds with a grin, before heading for the door.

Outside, the half-elf grabs the closest member of the crowd without a weapon by the arm. "Ho there! What's all this about, then? What's going on?"
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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 11:32 PM
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"Fools...", Maivern whispered to himself at the growing rumblings and roars of the crowd outside. Of course they were fools - to disturb a dwarf mid-drink is generally foolish. Though this particular mead wasn't spiced quite the same as the dwarf preferred - it tasted different and didn't remind him any bit whatsoever of his family recipe. But that was a good thing.

Well... I suppose there could be opportunities amid the distraction of the crowd... At that, the dwarf looked towards the ceiling, and boldly attempted to finish off his drink in one pull. He was a bit too ambitious, and at least three coppers worth was soaked up in his beard and on the wooden bar. "Damn..." Even more disappointing, the motion of that last drink rattled his hammers, causing a bit of a clomping noise - much like a shoed mule on hard soil. "Vogirk!" a dwarven curse, this time outloud. I need to refix my pack... again.

The bar-tender interrupted Maivern's apparrent monologue - "Will that be all, Seven?". Maivern motioned that it would - as he rightened himself to leave the bar, leaving behind due payment. He thought it best to be just "Seven" until he developed a suitable reputation in town. As the bar door creaked open, the presence of the sea salt in the air quickly reminded that one was indeed in a port town. Maivern searched for a good vantage point to view the rumblings of the crowd, seeing as others had already attempted to intervene.
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Old Dec 13th, 2011, 02:38 AM
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Merchants scurrying to and fro, sailors loading, rolling barrels, hoisting sails, the ever-present sound of seagulls. A small crowd starting to gather by one of the nearby taverns. The hustle and bustle of a busy port town seemed to mask his presence well. Either that or gnolls aren't such an oddity here after all.. Good sign. Garr smiled and pulled his ragged hood tighter up over his head to cloak his face in shadow under the bright sun, doing his best to hide any distinguishable features, and disregarding the fact that he's got a kitten hanging onto his neck..

Casually walking along the dock in the direction of the ship his target resides in, Garr's hunched over figure, despite being quite lean for a gnoll, still stood out in the crowd of scrawny humans. Lacking footware meant his steps made barely a sound, but perhaps it mattered not. The miniature guard appeared preoccupied with the damsel up above, turning his back on the gnoll. Garr stopped within earshot of the conversation and moved his head up just enough for his good eye to catch the sun and stare up at the feminine pale figure leaning over the railing of the ship. Hiding in plain sight so to speak, a figure on the docks standing quite still, with just his mangy tail wagging ever so slowly from under the sun-dried leather.

Scarr, on the other hand, kept his eyes on Fang. Fang's tail, more precisely. Pressing his feline body down against the gnoll's shoulder to keep a low profile as his own cat tail flails about uneasy.

"Shhh... He is not who we want... We must be patient.."

Garr's eye darted down to the ship. The guard. Good, still talking to her. Back to the ship. Perhaps he could spot a point of entry... Something inconspicuous.. It would make sense to wait for the cover of night to sneak aboard, but it's never too early to plan ahead.. There was no guarantee his prey would even make a second trip off deck.

Not wanting to seem overly suspicious standing in one place staring at the ship for too long, Garr scratches his snout with his index finger and continues to walk, passing just a few yards behind Fang. The black cat momentarily arching his back and hissing.
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Old Dec 13th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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It had been a week since he first landed in Raven's Rock, coming to a crashing thud on the hard wooden boards that made up the bulk of the docks. Since then he had spent almost every woken hour within the mead scented walls of the port city taverns, rebuilding his petty finances. He had come to know the regular faces and was fast coming to like his current opponent: a savvy young half-elf woman of the sea, a pirate by all accounts. But that wasn't going to stop the halfling from draining her coffers to fill his own, all in good spirit of course for no love ought be lost over the roll of a die or the fall of the cards. On this particular day however bad luck had cursed Philbin in entirety and the halfling would be lucky to just get above even before the day was out and he found himself in a particularly foul mood. He had lost hand after hand to his sea faring pal.

A commotion had brewed outside but Philbin had hardly noticed, too wrapped up in the game at hand. Finally he had drawn a hand to rival many. Two dragons, a wyrmling, a dust wraith and a two headed drake. He was one scaled creature shy of a sure fire win, barring a deity card.

The angry mob outside finally bought a halt to the game with Rashele leaving the table to see what all the fuss was about and bade Philbin to join her. He scooped up his remaining few talons and crawled up onto the table, crossing it in a direct route rather than walking about. On his way past where Rashele had been sitting he flipped over her cards.

The cards in his hand crippled under his tightened grip and he tossed the worthless folds of paper to the floor. "Tiamat! Again?! Curse you Avandra!" it was a hollow threat but it put the halfling in a seriously foul mood. How could his favoured god of luck be so against him? He bounced from the table and stormed from the tavern.

"What in all the realms is going on out here then hey?!" he scowled at the back of the mob, his squeaking more than likely being drowned out by the crowd's uproar.

Last edited by BZmek; Dec 13th, 2011 at 08:30 AM.
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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"Well, Mai-Iana, hows goes ship life for you? I've always wondered what the... oh, um, hello?" Fang whirled about as the sound of an alley cat caught his attention. The wharfs were lousy with them, seeing as the rat population had recently taken a turn for the ridiculous. The skittering rodents were bad enough, but these cats had taken over entire alleys with a flurry of claw, fur, and just horrendous mating calls. He had considered approaching the wharf manager for the district to offer his skills in getting rid of the cats, but when he tried to bring it up, the lazy bastard had just told him to go get him a sandwich. He might have been dreaming or something, but it was still a weird exchange.

His personal crusade against the feline usurpers rousing its head, Fang stared about, looking for the source of that arrogant mewling. He spotted a twitching tail. Not a cat tail, but a gnoll tail. Oh, wait, there was a gnoll taking a look at the ship. Huh.

His browridge dropped into a scowl of suspicion.
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Rashele and Philbin walk out onto the packed sand streets outside the Golden Eel, standing behind a mob of at least two dozen people. The half-elf grabs ahold of one of the members and asks, "Ho there! What's all this about, then? What's going on?"

The middle aged commoner turns, and by the look in his eyes it appears he thought the bard was an inquisitor who had come to disperse the crowd. Quickly realizing that wasn't the case his shoulders loosened and the fear in his eyes subsided. "There's a slave trader at the pier, he's not welcome here and we're going to make sure he knows it."

"A slave trader?" The halfling chimed in.

"Not just any slave trader, there's evidence suggesting he's behind an entire ring of slavers. Maybe even the largest slave trade operation in the region." A fire burned in the man's eyes as he spoke. "We're going to make sure he never sets foot in this city again."

Seven Toes walked over to a street merchant who was selling "authentic" elven vases. Feigning interest in the scruffy merchant's wares, the dwarf could get a nice view of what was going on. It seemed that the crowd was getting ready to mobilize, and their attention seemed focused on the pier just down the road, where two ships were docked. With all the shouting it was hard to make out exactly what they were talking about, but whatever it was, they were serious.

----------||----------

Garr took note of any entry point to the vessel as he passed. One of the ropes tying the ship to the docks near the aft of the vessel might allow him to slip onto the ship unnoticed come nightfall, it was out of line of sight from the warehouses and should be fairly easy to accomplish given the gnoll's acrobatic abilities. Fang turned his attention to the passing gnoll, as did the genasi. It was an unusual sight to see such a creature inside the city limits, although not completely unheard of. Scarr froze as Fang turned and looked in his direction, his claws dug into the leather on his companion's shoulder slightly as if he was about to pounce on the little lizard.

The hired thug standing guard next to Fang, a large brawny man with a tattoo of a dragon's maw on his bald head, took note of the mangy creature as well. "Well whuddwe have here?" He folded his arms as he let loose a smug smirk. "I knew I smelled wet dog."
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:33 PM
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His scaled browridge dipping further, Fang flicked his tongue out to taste the smell. "It smells more of wet gnoll, I think. Dog's more tangy."

 
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 09:06 PM
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"... and these here came all the way from Brackwall Ridge, you know the one - Ol' Trevor Verily... famous blacksmith? That's right same town..." said the street merchant, hardly pausing to fill his lungs. Perhaps Seven Toes' curiousity got the best of him - surely, couldn't he have feigned interest in /any/ other merchant? "But that's another story, back to business! His apprentice personally delivered these fine vases from a real... ahem... elvish community that lives over the ridge. Imbued with druidic powers, every one of them..."

Amidst the ramblings of the merchant, Seven was able to clearly see gestures pointing to the ships in dock - though the barking of the merchant was too raucous to make out the words of the mob. If action was about to happen at the docks, Maivern had to move and fast. Whenever there are brawls, scuffles, or all out skirmishes, there is plenty of opportunity for a well placed rogue to acquire some wealth. Perhaps in a pocket, perhaps off a body... perhaps even more. Seven had even learned that feigning an assist can earn some valuable reputation. But for now, Seven needed an escape plan from this merchant - he didn't want his barking and screaming to follow him all the way to the docks.

"Nice wares - but excuse me - it looks like my elven friend had just docked ship" Maivern bluffed in the best business voice he could muster. "Surely she will be able to assist me in selecting an appropriate vase." The prodding chatter of the merchant quickly vanished to a murmur, as he motioned the dwarf away to get his friend. He hoped to make a run for it after the dwarf left - to avoid having his goods exposed as fakes.

Free at last, Seven Toes made his way down a back alley, circumventing the mob as he hussled to get to the ships. Ho! Time to get down to real business...
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Old Dec 14th, 2011, 10:57 PM
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Garr stopped in his steps upon hearing the kobold and the thug's comments, letting out a disappointed sigh and giving Scarr a glare of disapproval from the corner of his eye for blowing their cover and forcing this conversation.

"Wet.. No.. I assure you we are quite careful.. at least in that regard." Garr turns to face the two of them and pulls his hood back, revealing his mangled ear and black eyepatch. He's been told humans associate eye contact with honesty... but he didn't know what to make of the kobold. It seems Scarr's had more experience with them than he has. None the less he hated speaking in this fake manner. It went against his gnoll nature not to be direct.

"We were just admiring the fine craftsmanship of your vessel... We assume you'll be leaving port soon."

Scratching the pommel end of the dagger slowly with the claw of his index finger, seeing that he is, in fact, outnumbered.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 12:56 AM
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Mai had shrugged in answer to the Kobold's question but she was not sure that he had seen it, once the Kobold and other guardsman began verbal sparring with the Gnoll. This was clearly a strange city. Most people would have put a sword to such a creature by now, from what she had heard. The girl sighed and gazed off into the distance... where it seemed like there were more people gathered than she had seen a few moments before. What is the attraction, she wondered, and sighed again. The chances of her finding out were small. She was stuck on the ship... perhaps for a long while to come, according to Master Jon-Drew. For now, at least she could find some entertainment in the interraction between the guards and the Gnoll.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 01:25 AM
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"A slave trader, huh?" Rashele mumbles, her expression darkening. She'd seen some of their ilk on her many sea voyages, and even once or twice run into captains looking for more hands on deck in a port. More often than not, the ships were in horrible condition while the captains were decked out in finery to make a prince swoon, and the morally depraved seamen who would agree to such a job were promised a wage far above what the going average was. One could only imagine the state of the slaves on board, and what cruelties they were faced with. Absolutely disgusting.

"I don't suppose you'd be looking for another hand on deck—or two?" She glances sideways at Philbin with a smirk dancing at the corner of her flushed lips. "I might be new to the city, but I'm all for ridding the place of scum like that." Her hand vaguely but pointedly brushed over the hilt of her sheathed cutlass strapped to her belt, and she grinned. "Never one to run from a brawl, either. What do you say?" The half-elf extends her hand to the middle-aged man. "Name's Rashele, by the by."
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 03:41 AM
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"A Slave Trader..." The halfling had never had any personal experiences with slave traders or known anyone directly that had. But he had heard the stories. Heard of the traders that preyed on the innocent halflings, taking them to act as either unseen servants (for their short stature allowed them to stay fairly inconspicuous to the eyes of their masters guests) or as simple play things and performing toys for the bigger ones' entertainment. Philbin knew from his years in various taverns of the world that many biggie's found power and confidence in their towering height over him and his short kin.

Rashele was being vague with her suggestive words to the middle-aged man but it didn't take a seasoned diplomat to grasp the forceful measures of dealing with the slave traders that she was alluding to, let alone someone with an acute deciphering eye such as Philbin. He smiled back at the half-elf. He knew he was going to like this one as she seemed to thus far share two of his interests: gambling and brawling. Now if she took to the drink as fondly as Philbin then they could just well be the kind of friends that lasted the span of a lifetime, or longer. The halfling, shook his head to clear his mind of his appreciation of his new found friend. "Now is not the time."

With a heavily packed crowd of biggies, there was no way Philbin was ever going to be able to see what was transpiring out the front from his low eye level. He glanced about and saw his vantage point. With a short run he was at the base of a solid round bollard with a few heavy ropes already slung about its girth. Without even attempting to climb (for when was that a good idea?) Philbin eyed his perch and with a dull whooshing sound he vanished into thin air, leaving behind a dark foggy residue that seemed to briefly hover before withering away into nothingness. Within but a moment the same dark cloud appeared at the top of the bollard and out materialised the pint sized battler, posed with a firm footing.

From his new vantage point he could see much more of the transpiring events than he could at his 'below waist height' predicament of before. "Bearded deep gnomes. Hey Rashele!" he called. "You won't believe this. There's a gnoll with a cat yakking with a kobold!" Philbin broke out into laughter, never had he seen such a sight.
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