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  #241  
Old 03-11-2018, 01:58 PM
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The Beast’s response about his ‘family’ is disappointing, but hardly surprising. There is a glimmer of a lead however: a wealthy, learned man, with a wife and child lost to plague. Mara is surprised by her ability to note such a relatively clinical observation in the midst of her empathy for Sulliviani. Is this how Pike’s mind works?

Her skill at critical analysis is fleeting, however, for the story of the Nightgleams absorbs her fully. Only when the chairs arrive does she peel her attention away from the prisoner; she affords a silent nod and an appreciative glance at Lydia, takes a moment to slide gently into the proffered chair, then quickly returns her rapt gaze to the storyteller. The tales are surprisingly well told, and the time passes in a blink of an eye.

“Well,” the soprano smiles at the Crooked Kin, “it seems as if you have found your next star performer.” Turning to Sulliviani, she raises her delicate hands and gently claps them together three times, mimicking the polite applause that is the highest honor offered by Ustalavic royalty. “You have a wonderful gift for words. If the dwarf woman taught you to sing half as well as the old man taught you language, why, I should be out of a job.” The songstress does not hide how impressed she is by the Beast; it is also quite clear that she has no fears whatsoever of becoming unemployed. A dwarf, teaching people to sing. Really?

“Unfortunately,” she effects a dramatic sigh, “the hour is growing late, so we cannot linger too much longer.” With these last words she glances at Carlo—perhaps she had noticed his misstep earlier but simply didn’t say anything? “However, it would be most ungenerous of us to not offer a tale in return, especially considering the delightful bounty with which you have showered us.” The singer allows an expectant pause to build as she takes a long, thoughtful sip from her canteen, then waits further, centering herself, and all attention upon herself, before continuing.

“I have but a small tale to tell, of … of a girl I once met in Caliphas. It cannot hope to match the breadth and scope of your stories, but perhaps it will not be out of place in tone.” There is another pause, as if Mara is still deciding if this is truly the tale she wants to tell. She gazes at the horrible, misunderstood monster before her; with a sympathetic and resolute look she begins.

“She was a stranger to Caliphas. An exile, disowned by her father and mother; an outcast, rejected by those she loved. For she … she was scarred, by a terrible curse. They called her monster, traitor, anathema. And so she found herself on the shores of Lake Encarthan, alone and unwanted. It would have been better if she were dead. And so … so she went out into the lake, in a boat. The skies raged that night, with thunder and lightning from Gozreh himself. All you could see was the darkest blackness—and then suddenly the world was white: the waves whipped into a frenzy of white foam by the howling winds. And the rain—so thick and fast and glorious, like the sky had turned to water, with the continuous roar of a waterfall. The thunder felt solid, and the lightning was so close you could taste it. For a moment you could smell the ocean burning.”

“And yet, in the middle of the lake, in the midst of a storm to end all storms, this girl was not alone. There was an elderly man in a rowboat, laden with all manner of unrecognizable equipment and arcane instruments. He was struggling hopelessly with the oars, when a great wave engulfed him—and in the next moment, the boat was no more. The girl forgot herself and swam to his rescue, fighting against wind and wave, breathing her own life into his as she dragged him to shore. Somehow they made it. For it was Fate: fate that they met, and fate that they should survive. The PharasmaGray Lady was watching that night, of that I now have no doubt. For it turned out that it was the old man who saved the girl. He ignored her scar, and showed her a kindness and understanding that she never would have thought humanly possible. He became her father; she, a cherished daughter. The old man had coaxed her back to life.”

 
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  #242  
Old 03-12-2018, 06:02 AM
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Pike nods at the input offered by both warriors, definitively not one to argue with someone who knows more about these things than him "As you say Runa, take the lead." he motions towards the large house at the center, his keen eyes ever so watchful of their surroundings.

"Huh, "Desna forgive us", hey? Now that is a different tune. Someone belief they called this tragedy upon the town?" he takes a quick glance about the exterior of the house as the warrior prepare to enter, something about the building and the note stirs his curiosity "Fido, let's accompany them inside, shall we?" he takes up position behind the two armed women, giving them space enough to maneuver without getting in their way while quietly trying to look for anything out of the ordinary once they enter.

 
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:02 AM
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Runahildr Valkadottir

Runa followed Signy inside, head moving from side to side in search of the wraithspawn. There was no need to speak - Signy had already said what needed to be said. They could only hope that the spectre wasn't clever enough to stall for time until the sun was finally gone and they would be able to move freely outside.

As she moved, Runa occasionally lifted a booted foot to push aside furniture and make more room for the two of them to move around if and when they would have to fight. Swinging a glaive when a table was in the way was not optimal.




 
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  #244  
Old 03-22-2018, 07:28 PM
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CarloCarlo sat forward in his chair with rapt attention as the Beast began his first tale. But it wasn’t long before the novelty wore off, and he found himself stifling a yawn that earned him a sharp elbow to the side from someone.

As the Beast concludes his tales and Mara congratulates the Crooked Kin on their new star performer, Carlo beams proudly as if he were the cause of the good will. He says nothing in return however, and manages to at least appear interested throughout Mara’s tale.

Turning to leave with Mara and Hrani, Carlo is met with a stern gaze from Lydia. It is the look of someone wanting assurances about a promise given.

“Well, I don’t see that anything we’ve done here needs to necessarily involve any of our other companions, be they of the Crooked Kin or of the Lorimor heirs. I’m sure Sully is all that I’ve promised and more. If we happen across anyone who disagrees with that assessment of your future performing partner, I’m sure both Hrani and Mara would attest to this being the right course of action. And so it looks like we’ve got as many of our side buying into the agreement as you have of your side. Should work out, eh?”

He avoids the name of his kinsman as if somehow the rest of them didn’t know what he was trying not to talk about.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:37 PM
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The Game AfootFido scoffs at the suggestion, rolling his eyes. "Ah, yes, what's the worst that could happen? Sending the brains behind the brawn. It's not as if the thing will try to sneak up on us." Looking at the sign as they go in, however, he sighs. "The minds of the religious are not to be trifled with. Especially if they have no power. That's when they think they have the most. As for our friends, well.... there's a difference between thinking you have power and knowing it."

There is no protests or disagreement from the house, or its inhabitant.

The interior is largely abandoned, save for a single chair in the center of the room. The level of dust here is higher than elsewhere, and the mold too; proximity to the marsh seems to be having a harder way with the house than elsewhere. It gives reason to be concerned about the content of the house, but as they are not home owners, at least of this home or in this community, there is little to be frightened of.

Except the chair, of course.

Sitting in it, Signy spies the girl, almost a woman but not quite, sitting, her head turned away. She is the oldest of the children thus far, almost a teen, and her dress is fine, though rotted at the edges. Turning, her eyes white like Ellsa's and Allen's own, she looks directly at them; her teeth are rotten as she smiles, still humming. But unlike the others, she does not run at them, she does not attack.

Instead, Rachel floats through the side of the chair and heads up the stairs, almost supernaturally fast.

"Play with me."
About a GirlA tale told well: that's what matters.

Sully holds his head down, clearly embarrassed at the compliment from Mara, his smile sheepish at best; his teeth behind those uneven lips are jagged, like rough cliffs. At the mention of the hour being late, the Crooked Kin look out the window, realizing that the light therein wanes considerably. Indeed, it is soon to be sunset. But Mara has another tale: the Beast brightens at this, and sits forward again, head in hands. And he listens, intently, sad in the right places, terrified in the storm, glad when the girl finds a true father.

"What became of her? The girl?"

Literacy does not mean one understands context clues, of course, and while the Crooked Kin might suspect a tale such as that, they do not speak it; only Lidia looks canny enough to have caught anything, from Mara's perspective. The Beast waits on an answer there.

And soon, it is time to leave. The Kin are uncertain as to what they are supposed to do now, beyond interview him and get more tales; are they allowed to stay, though? Veronique makes no motion towards them, nor do the other guards. Indeed, they can stay, and so they shall. The Human Catepillar, Prince Zar, nods agreeably at Carlo. "You do a noble thing here, Carlo: know that. We will do our best, and if it means splitting the Kin, well... the right thing is the right thing. The sisters we can convince, and perhaps Trollblood. But we shall see." Lidia smiles. "You can trust us to do our part."

And that is that.

Led upstairs, they exit the stairs at the second floor and find Gundagrin waiting for them outside of the defense's room. "I decided to come wait up here. My deliveries are still warm; are we ready?" He leads them downstairs, to his cart, drawn by two donkeys, which takes them onward, into the eastern part of town. The sun is almost beyond the horizon, the sky turning purple and yellow at its edges. Soon, their companions in Morast will have trouble if they don't hurry. And they will too, if they don't speed up their investigation.

Soon they find themselves in a street labeled "ANATOMIST ALLEY" by the iron street sign, cobbled yet dusty, with signs that show signs of taxidermy, morticians, embalmers, all manner of thing. Not a minute heading south, they find themselves at a building wherein a sign hands overhead: "Zbraslov Hora and Sons, est. 4679 AR" with a sickle and hammer beneath it, made of iron and sharp from the woman that holds them, pale and emotionless. A woman is exiting the building, elderly with long gray hair, streaks of black running throughout. Her nose is hooked and she has a severe look about her, but brightens when she sees Gundagrin. "Well well, I thought I'd have seen you earlier. We're having quite a fete at home, and you'll be needed. Can I convince you to give me a ride?" Gundagrin grins. "I can, but I think I'm here for more than just business; you had questions for Hora?"

Zbraslov Hora looks between Mara, Hrani, and Carlo, and her look hardens. "Better be quick."

Gundagrin's look says the same.
 
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  #246  
Old 03-26-2018, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beast
"What became of her? The girl?"
Mara looks up, a sad smile haunting her face, then shifts her gaze away from the Beast, to some unspecified point in the distance. “She grew up.” There is a small, noncommittal shrug before the singer adds, in an almost reluctant tone, “She made Caliphas her home away from home; to this day, she tries to make the old man proud.”

En route to Anatomist Alley, the soprano is mostly quiet, though she does lean close to Carlo with some whispered advice. “When attempting to recruit a new performer, it is generally considered polite to listen to him perform ... and to feign interest even if you are bored.” After a pause, she relents in a warmer tone. “Still ... well done, I suppose. Hopefully the Crooked Kin can sway some of the crowd with Sulliviani's tales.”

In front of Hora's shop and Hora herself, Mara exchanges a glance with Klovar before quickly nodding and addressing the shopkeeper.

“Our most Take 10 on Diplomacy for 22sincere apologies for bothering you at this late hour, but we are in great need of your expertise. We found some ... tools,” she I'm assuming Hrani would carry the silver surgery tools?gives Hrani a nod, “and Mister Gundagrin here assured us that only you could craft such a fine set. Could you tell us who bought these tools, and for what purpose? Not to be overly dramatic, but it concerns a matter of life and death.”
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  #247  
Old 03-26-2018, 07:19 PM
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CarloThe parting of ways was somewhat bittersweet for Carlo. The connection over the Harrow had been very special, and there was a certain acceptance he’d felt among the Crooked Kin that he hadn’t felt with the other heirs of Lorimor. Mara’s preaching was just another reminder of that, especially compared to the affirmation he’d received from Prince Zar. Yet he knew it was important to go along with Mara and Hrani, if for no other reason than what might happen when they crossed paths with Andrzej. It was, in fact, a sort of promise to the Crooked Kin that he would do what he could to make sure there were no more tensions between the two groups. Perhaps once they were done with this business things would be different. It was hard to know. Sometimes the Harrow tore things open with no promises to put them right again.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:08 PM
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Once it became clear that this ghost would not make things quite as easy as the others, Signy didn’t hesitate. If the wraithspawn got away they’d probably have a hard time to find it again. The paladin quickly hastened past the abandoned chair, taking care to leave some room for Runa as well. Once the distance had been closed her hammer easily found its target, even though it was unlikely that a lot of damage was done to the incorporeal being. "If you wanna play, why not stick around? Surely you’re too old to play hide and seek."


 
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:26 AM
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Runahildr Valkadottir

Signy led the way, and Runa followed, small sparks of lightning playing over the surface of the glaive. Skidding to a halt to avoid slamming into the dwarf, the paladin pulled back her weapon and thrust it forward,
Dice Attack vs Child-ghost (BaB 5, Str 4. MW 1, Lastwall Defender 1, Charge 2, Furious Power Attack 0):
1d20+13 (7)+13 Total = 20
Dice Dice Damage (+1, Lastwall Defender 1, Str 6, Power Attack) + 1d6 Electrical:
1d10+14 (4)+14 Total = 18
1d6 3
aiming for the see-through torso of the apparition.

Each second played into the hands of their foes, who would no doubt gather as soon as the sun set to take her and her allies on in force. They needed to finish this quickly.




 
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  #250  
Old 04-06-2018, 11:51 AM
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The Game BeginsThe game is afoot.

Heading up the stairs, Signy and Runa are hot on Rachel's tail, her ephemeral form dancing in the pursuit. And on the stairs, on which is a landing between floors, they catch her and corner her, jabbing their weapons into the ephemera and causing her to shiver and shake and screech, enough to make Pike and Fido flinch. But she does not dissipate: indeed, she turns to Signy and Runa, the wielders of warhammer and glaive inside of her, and she instead of fleeing, moves forward, flickering still.

"You're right. Let's play a different game."

She reaches her hand into Signy's shoulder, above her heart, and there is a burning sensation, as if ice is growing inside of her. It hurts to move, either shoulder, and it leaves her wanting to flee. She feels all of her skin start to become icy, as if freezing, but Runa sees something different. The feeling may be icy, but the dead skin, the black ichor that spreads through veins and arteries at the top of her exposed skin at her neck and arms, shows it to be a different kind of attack. Touch Attack vs. Signy: 23
Damage: 2 damage plus 2 Constitution drain
She seems more ill, suddenly.

Fido, beside Pike, almost steps forward when he sees this. "An ugly sight. Hopefully the rest aren't as bad."

She doesn't move, but Rachel looks as if she enjoyed that very much. And there is more where that came from.

Outside, Pike and Fido hear laughing from the last two houses, and howling laughter from the hills.
The Emerald SwanHrani lets Mara take the lead on chastising Carlo, who seems to take it in stride all things considered. Sully behind them, they have the investigation as night threatens to fall before them.

When they find Hora, unamused as she is, Mara lays it on thick, and instantly the older woman begins to loosen up. When requested, the Elf produces the silver tools, showing them to her, and taking one of the larger scalpels, she begins to look it over with the expertise of a craftsman, putting her finger on the curves of the ornate decorations below. "Definitely one of ours." She looks on the very bottom, and sighs. Reaching into her petticoat, she takes out a set of spectacles, moon-shaped, and places them on her ridged nose, looking at something intently. "That Kostel woman." She takes off the spectacles and hands the tool back to Hrani, who puts it up. "On occasion we are commissioned to make pieces for auction houses. I forget which one she works for, but Vladka Kostel was the one I sold this to. She works for one of the auction houses, but I don't know which one." She looks to Gundagrin to see if she knows, but he shakes his head.

"She was a Varisian woman. Had a silk green scarf.... what was on it. A swan? Yes, a swan." That's all she seems to know. "Hopefully something to go off of." And so it is. Gundagrin then nods to Hora, who looks at them. "It might be best to ask around, see if you can find her. As for me, I've got a dinner date to get to; now about that ride...." The Dwarf looks behind him to the others, nodding. "Make room for Zbra, hm? Or you can get off here. I can't promise I'm going where you will, since you don't know where, but I do know I can take you as far as her family's home. Back towards the University."

The offer stands, but what to do?
 
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:00 AM
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“Thank you,” Mara nods and smiles at Hora, “you have been most helpful. We shan't keep you any longer.” The singer pauses, exchanging a glance with the elf and a longer look with the Varisian, as if wondering whether Vladka Kostel might be already known to Carlo. For whatever reason it seems that Varisians either attract or repel each other. Where is Andrzej anyway?

“If you don't mind, however,” her attention returns to the dwarf, “perhaps we could ride with you to a tavern closest to your path? Or perhaps to one of the auction houses, if any remain open at this hour? That might be a reasonable location to begin our inquiries if the profession is closely knit.”

 
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:56 PM
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CarloCarlo swallows silently to himself as Hora describes the green-scarfed woman. Yes, Carlo remembers someone who fit that description. Quite well actually. She’d invited him to an event this very night. Well, more it was that she had invited Andrzej and he was there so it was implied that it was OK if he showed up to. Or so he thought anyways. It would be awkward, whether Andrzej was in attendance or not. The fact that he was thinking about these things was progress. But by the time he’d gotten through it, they were all seated in the carriage and Mara was looking at him as if she knew he knew where to go.

“Take us to Anatomists Alley. There is an auction occurring tonight at Ledov’s Chirurgery Merchants. She will be there,” he looks briefly towards Mara, as if reassuring her, then looks away before continuing to talk, presumably still to Mara. “She invited Andrzej to attend. He seemed quite interested. I was present when this occurred. Lydia wants all the Crooked Kin together. Some of the Crooked Kin aren’t keen on Andrzej. Andrzej isn’t keen on some of the Crooked Kin. I am keen on the Crooked Kin. He knows it. Could be awkward.”

He seems to shrug his shoulders at this last bit, as if blood oaths meant nothing to him anymore. He doesn’t look to either Hrani or Mara throughout this speech, but it is the closest he has come to expressing any sort of true feelings around them. The carriage clanked just as awkwardly towards their destination.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:37 PM
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It takes Hrani a long time to wake from his reverie as they leave the beast's presence...if it can really be considered a reverie when the time is spent in deep mental conversation between two people. Or more precisely, one person and a sword. Unlike Carlo, Hrani had found what Sullivani said highly interesting, though he was also examining all stories from the perspective of trying to get a feel for the sentient construct's abilities, both physical strength and mental capacities. Orenmir and the elf had had much to discuss on the matter, so Hrani follows the others without paying much attention. He rides along with the others without paying much attention. He listens to Mara lecture Carlo without paying much attention. His mind is elsewhere.

When asked, the magus produces the silver tools he has been carrying. Still he is only passively participating in everything going on around him. At least his mind has moved past the sentient construct and on to Mara's story. If there had been any doubt in Hrani's mind as to who it is about, it vanishes when she explains how the girl grew up. It is the sort of sad answer one can only give where one is personally concerned.

Finally, his mind racing at breakneck pace to get there, the elf returns actively to the present, just in time to hear Carlo explain that yes, he knows the woman they are looking for. Varisian woman. Auction house. Tools ordered there. His mind begins to wrap around the current situation. How unfortunate. It would have been so much easier if Hora had known who purchased them. Instead, they will be hoping the auction house keeps good records...or that someone has a very good memory.

"Well, sounds like we are going to an auction." Hrani agrees. He listens to the Varisian explain how things with Andrzej could become awkward. It is confirmation of what could previously only be speculated upon seing Carlo with the Crooked Kin. Even he can see how this situation could become weird, and that is saying something. "If you want peace with Andrzej, only you can achieve it. And only if he is willing to seek peace as well. But if he is not, and he tries to cause trouble...you can count me on your side, and I would guess Mara as well."

Hrani is ready to go, and he means what he says about being on Carlo's side if he wants to make peace and his counterpart does not. Still, he isn't sure how all of this has come about. The two Varisians had seemed inseparable. What had happened to drive a deep rift between them? What had make Carlo choose the Crooked Kin over his companion? The elf is almost tempted to believe it cannot be true. That Carlo and Andrzej have to be running some sort of scheme together, setting some kind of trap, with the only question being whether Mara is in on things, or being lured into the trap as well. That almost seems like the most likely explanation. Except that they are speaking about Carlo, and from what Hrani has both heard from others and seen for himself, creating rifts between himself and others close to him does seem to be a specialty of his...
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:03 AM
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Pike hisses through clenched teeth as the apparition reaches her hand into Runa's chest, his crossbow in hand he takes aim but decides against it. The way the fight is set up there's too much chance of hitting either of his companions in the back. Instead he waits, his nerves taut and his crossbow resting in a firing position against his shoulder, they need to hurry but he won't for the life of him dare interrupt the fight.


 
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:10 AM
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Though she had half-thought that Carlo might know Vladka, just on the basis of shared ethnicity, Mara is pleasantly surprised when he reveals that he knows just where their next lead is. Surprised, and puzzled. She quirks at eyebrow at the arcanist, who looks away while elaborating.

“Yes,” the singer nods at Gundagrin, confirming the Varisian's command, “please drive as Carlo directs.” Her eyebrow lowers to its natural position, but a hint of puzzlement remains. The friction between Carlo and Andrzej is clear, and eminently reasonable—after all, the songstress well knows that the most vicious social feuds in Caliphas result from friction between different cliques—but the sudden severity of this rift still astounds her. Yes, Andrzej had disowned Carlo before, but there was good reason, given the latter's alliance with Olga and attack on Samovar. Did Carlo also cast a blinding rainbow at his countryman?

“Hmm ... yes, I suppose it would be problematic if Andrzej ... caused problems. But I do not see why that would be the case.” Mara is noticeably noncommittal given the elf's open declaration for Carlo's side. Though she has grown closer to Carlo since Harrowstone, and drifted farther from Andrzej's drunken mood, they are still roughly equal in her estimation; after all, Carlo had a lot of ground to cover since the burning of the Outward Inn, and Andrzej had just recently offered a heartfelt apology for his behavior—and even played nice with the paladin. “Awkward is one matter. But do you really think he would cause trouble?” Though it is the elf who suggests such a thing, Mara looks intently at Carlo, as if suspecting there is more to the divide between the two Varisians—possibly much more.
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Distorted Keep | Carrion Crown | Legacy of Fire | The Lost Coast
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