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 World of Illidia - IC

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeWed 06 Mar 2013, 12:57 pm

Varn could not help but be slightly amused by the creature's incessant, mad laughter. He let the mako revel in its insanity for the time being. He hadn't a clue of mako customs, but he did intend on embarrassing it; or if he be so lucky, he could torture it by exposing it to some sort of societal or communal rejection. He waited for the laughter to die down.

"Wonderful," he chimed, "and you get to escort me there, yes? Introduce me to thy people?"

Varn's grip on the mako tightened.

"While my knife is pressed against thy throat?" Varn snarled, his threat slithering from between his venomous lips as they pursed back and stretched from either side of his face, provoking low laughter. "Imagine that: you walking back to your people, meeting with the other shamans... walking with your head held low in shame as they acknowledge that you have been defeated by a lowly human warrior!"

*

Vokky refused the starved wolf, eying the meat on it cautiously, as if the meat on it was riddled with maggots and the blood curdled like old milk. He watched the troll thoughtlessly raised the carcass to his face as his massive jaws ruthlessly crushed the bones within the body and ripped it apart in twain. The old goblin did his best to ignore the bloody mess and continue on with his lecture on the manner of, well, manners.

"Manners." Vokky stated. "You see, it be like... well, how you would talk to the war chief. Politeness. Respecting each person."

The more Vokky thought about it, the more he realized how hard this was going to be. Explaining simple manners such as respect was one thing, imagine how much of a chore teaching table manners would be like! It was likely Merkil would have to sleep near the stables and hopefully not eat any of the... what did the humans call them, the large four legged things that they ride with leather seats? Whores? The orcoids didn't have whores in their part of the region.

"On that topic, do not grab people, do not eat people, do not poke them, or even so much as touch them. Humans are small and fragile, and have bad tempers. Be nice to them. Do not talk too much. They are also sensitive and take many things the wrong way. For example, they seem to be offended when you offer to bed their daughters. I do not know why that is."

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeSat 09 Mar 2013, 6:24 pm

Dusi thought long and hard. It was true; he’d just risked life and limb over a man he didn’t really know too much about. Trying his best to ignore that he’d apparently just violently dismembered Thembul’s ex-wife, he dropped his rusted sickle on the ground next to him.

“Thank you sir, really, but I really don’t need anything from you. Anyone could have done what I did, after all.” Began Dusi, unfortunately trying to remain humble in the face of getting slightly less impoverished in the future, “I really couldn’t… but… well, I guess… I am recently in need of a new sword, if that’s not too much trouble, sir.”
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeTue 12 Mar 2013, 11:35 am

AHLAT and DUSI

"One new sword made to order," Thembul acknowledges, clapping his hands together. "Edge sharpened to cut through steel, blade polished to be a mirror, hilt adorned with moonstone. Balanced perfectly for you."

Clearly eager to get back to work, the dwarf marches off towards his forge, muttering under his breath as he considers the task ahead of him. A minute later, he walks back into the devastated chamber and picks up the severed head and the body of the banshee, slinging it over his shoulder easily.

"Promised to throw you to the flames, didn't I, my malevolent little whore?" he mentions to the corpse as he walks out again. "Help yourselves to anything you like from the pantry, boys: Ahlat, you know where it is! You'll also want to get yourselves washed and cleaned up, I warrant."

An understatement if there ever was one.

**********

KATYUSHA

"I beg your pardon but we were having a private discussion!" one of the talmay exclaims, clearly offended by you intruding into the conversation.

His companions wince and move aside to create some space between them, one of them admonishing the other as they do so. "For the love of Dahnde'ym, have at least some tact! My sincere apologies, friend i'karen, politeness is not one of my companion's strongest points. Apologise, Abbelam."

"I protest most strongly to this!" the talmay, Abbelam, continues to bluster. "Timalth, you simply cannot countenance this interloper!"

Timalth shakes her head, a mesmerizing sight as the huge feathered crest on its top rises and falls several times in quick succession. "No, Abbelam, I welcome this 'interloper', seeing as how she was both respectful and serendipitous. Now apologise."

Abbelam glowers at his companions, who match his expression perfectly, then mutters something inaudible that could be anything from an insult to an apology.

"I suppose that's the best we'll get out of you," the third of the talmay says in resignation. "Now, so that we may do this properly...may I introduce Timalth Greenhearts, the esteemed professor Marricoth Abbelam and my own humble self, Burgasti Vaildon. May we have the pleasure of your acquaintance?"

Abbelam starts to mutter something again and is promptly kicked by Timalth, who clearly has little patience for the man, 'esteemed professor' or not.

**********

SYRRYNON

Prostrator S'rylvis nods, recognising the start of negotiations: "Simply put, Leeshka is digging in the wrong place for me. I need him to unearth the chambers where the hatchlings and the eggs were stored. From there, I can commit my own resources to retrieving the necessary relics and suchlike."

Her tongue flicks out momentarily, twitching in a pattern you don't recognise - it seems similar to archaic genuflections (and the customary signs of deference among the slave races), but in the absence of any superior is merely bizarre here.

"Your reward will be the actual remains of the captive-bred dragons. I am sure you will be able to find more than a few eager customers for such curiosities, even if we were both to discount their value for the mages and the priests."

As true as that may be, there is one thing which she has yet to mention: the risks. And from long experience, you realise that the Prostrator's lack of even tangential reference to them does not bode particularly well.

**********

VARN

The mako stops cackling long enough to see that you are absolutely serious, then resumes its insane giggling even whilst it acknowledges your command. Carefully, it rises to its feet, throat never leaving the edge of your blade.

"We head this way first," it says whenever it has enough breath to do so. "Then we go up that hill..."

You are soon tired of the directions being constantly spouted by this abhorrent creature, but as you travel and the land becomes distinctly less pleasant - stunted shrubs, warty trees, numerous animals with unsightly mutations, darkened water - you are able to take solace in the fact that you are clearly approaching the epicentre of a region in which dark sorceries are practiced.

Within a couple of hours, you can even hear the telltale sounds of a village up ahead. Soon enough, the smell reaches you, then brief glimpses of crude huts and fences. Finally, you emerge from the trees into the most vile place you have ever been, many times worse even than the half-prison, half-slum Gorbles district of Gunthartaz.

Most of the population is either naked or covered in primitive furs and leathers. A nearby totem pole is wrapped tightly in chains, holding onto several squealing creatures that may have been descended from human stock, but have not enough wits in their eyes and far too many breasts to be called that any more.

All the largest mako you see are strutting about self-importantly and are uniformly draped in bones strung together with tendons, some still dripping blood. So much for your hope that even the mako are not so barbaric as to adhere to such devilish customs.

"Welcome to my humble abode!" the mako laughs, then more loudly: "Your great shaman Musbosch has returned a prisoner to a human, everybody!"

Heads everywhere turn. Most bear unreadable expressions, your experience with such arrangements (and numbers) of eyes, noses and mouths utterly insufficient for this task. A few seem contemptuous. A couple appear bored. It does not take long for this abominable cesspit to return to its activities.

At last, your prisoner stops laughing and now sounds subdued: "You may live through this if you are lucky. I don't think I will."

**********

VOKKY

Below you, Merkil shudders violently, nearly throwing you: "Ugh, why Vokky want to bed humans? Humans not have big muscles, big ears! No wart or wrinkle anywhere! Make me siiihwuugh-"

A brown and red plume sprouts from Merkil's mouth at the thought, splattering the area ahead with bits of unchewed wolf and troll bile. You notice several smaller shrubs covered by this literally wither away. Your own stomach turns as, without so much as clearing his throat or wiping his lips, Merkil goes back to eating the wolf.

"Wish we had some guursh," Merkil says in a worryingly contemplative tone. "Some guursh make this very good meal."

Instinctively you swallow hard as the troll mentions guursh, a particularly potent orc brew that has to be stored in stone or metal to keep from rotting through the more traditional wooden casks. Struggling to turn your thoughts away from the revolting stuff, you only half-notice it when the pair of you crest a hill and get a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

"Hey Vokky! Look! Firesmoke! Something has camp ahead - we go see? It be very fun!"
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeTue 12 Mar 2013, 10:33 pm

Katyusha was careful to address the group of talmay as a whole, for fear of expressing to Abbelam through her eyes her fear and hatred of his revulsion to her presence. She hoped that she had managed to retain her composure in the brief, terrifying moments between hearing the professor's objection and being reassured by his companions that her conversation was not an intrusive, vile thing.

"I apologize," she began carefully, unconscious of a subtle, nervous smile flitting across her cheeks, "if I have intruded. You may have my eager acquaintance, but the pleasure is mine."

Punctuating this last sentence with another slight bow of the head, Katyusha hoped that she was not laying it all on too thickly.

"We do not get many visitors here in Dall, and with even greater infrequency do they hail from the southern jungles, as I assume have you three. My name is Katyusha. I am honored to make the acquaintance of Abbelam, Greenhearts, and Vaildon." Forearms lightly crossed in front of her, Katyusha greeted each talmay with an individual bow as she said their names. It was a consolation to hope that the trio would be newcomers to i'karen culture, and might therefore excuse the formalities that Katyusha now took to the greatest extreme she knew of.

Before any of the talmay could respond, Katyusha adopted her previous, upright posture, but keeping her forearms overlapping in front of her. Once she had been greeted by name, then she must cross her forearms behind her back instead, signifying that the trust between the two parties would then flow without hindrance; it was one of the old customs, and scarcely practiced any more in Dall, but Katyusha believed that it could save her from blame should Abbelam take any more offense.

"I am upon the verge of leaving the city, myself, but I am willing and happy to offer you any assistance that I may." Katyusha was tempted to ask the talmay what the purpose of their visit was, but decided against it. She did not want to be intrusive if the reason was a personal one.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeFri 15 Mar 2013, 10:07 pm

Ahlat nodded and quickly turned towards the door. "First door on your left," he said hurriedly, referring to the pantry, before taking the fast walk in the direction of the nearest water source.

Some minutes later, he re-entered the house, putting his tunic back on over his damp fur. A definite aroma of wet animal followed him, but that couldn't well be helped without a fire. Coincidentally, that was precisely where he was headed, right after a stop at the pantry. He grabbed a small round loaf and wandered back over by the forge to finish drying off. True, there was a hearth elsewhere, but it held little connection for him. The hearth had heat, but so did the forge, and more of it; what had the hearth ever made for him?

But just before he entered the room, he thought better of it and turned around, heading for the hearth. He didn't know if Thrembul was done in there, and it was best not to disturb him.

~~~~~~

Syrrynon paused for a moment, confused by the bizarre tongue-motions. Something wasn't right; S'rylvis could be inappropriately direct much of the time, but this was hardly a usual quirk, it seemed. On the one hand, this could be a setup, and some outside force could be at play. On the other hand, maybe it wasn't, and S'rylvis was just getting excited. A few disparate facts with disturbing implications were starting to fit together in the back of Syrrynon's mind, but for the moment, they were too implausible to consider.

"Very well. I will, of course, need to know everything you can give me as to his current operation. It doesn't have to be right here right now; sending a messenger with a written report will do, but I would like something as soon as possible."

As he awaited her response, he surreptitiously glanced about the room, checking the crowd for anyone suspicious, most importantly a kassistra. His theory may have been implausible, but it wasn't entirely impossible.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeTue 19 Mar 2013, 12:15 pm

AHLAT

You spend a few minutes drying off by the hearthfire, at one point stepping smartly out of the way as Thembul bursts into the room - heralding his approach with the snorting laughter that always follows one of his Bad Ideas (last time it was adding salamander blood to the forging process; sure, it technically worked but nearly blew the entire place to pieces) - the severed head of his banshee ex-wife in one hand.

"Now if this one works out as I hope we'll both be set for life!" he announces delightedly to you, grabbing several tools and pots of alchemic ingredients. "Come, Ahlat, as soon as you can - we'll test it on your friend's new sword! Besides, the time has come for the apprentice to learn the great secrets of the master!"

He pauses halfway out of the room and looks back at you knowingly: "Unless you want to carry on pretending you lack the skill I can see in even your crudest work!"

**********

IDARSH

"Idarsh has kept us warm and alive so far, you ingrates! She knows what she is doing, which more than can be said for the Speaker - former Speaker, I should say!"

You awaken to the familiar sound of Makkawi defending your decision to keep working hard at fulfilling your duties. The cult has been in dire straights for over a month now, ever since the Speaker experienced 'a surge of illumination' (almost everyone else calls it 'going mad') and set herself ablaze. But you are so close, so very close to reaching the next stage of enlightenment that you can almost taste it.

On second thoughts that was probably just a bit of bile left over from your last purging. THAT was something nobody ever told you about this sort of this cult: all it takes is one lunatic to master their craft in bizarre circumstances and suddenly everyone thinks that is the only reliable way to do the same. In your case, this is supposed to involve combining a whole lot of emetics with a whole lot of starvation. On a glacier. In midwinter.

Bad luck that after a few weeks of that your head is actually cleared of distractions...

Still, small wonder most of the other acolytes are rebellious. Mikkawi is one of the few who ever shared your opinion that the actual rites were ridiculous masks for the true methods of gaining power, deferring both to your greater natural talent and your seniority. This is partly because, as someone who liked to bend the rules, he actually saw the Speaker rehearsing a day's lessons from a series of engraved tablets the night before.

Obviously, the proof that everything you needed to know was written down and did not need to gained through painful and sometimes humiliating practices was...less than conducive to you continuing them. Amazing what can be done to a Speaker by a couple of acolytes with a solid grasp of pyromagic theory and a stash of homebrew alcohol. Probably the reason why Mikkawi is so eager to stay in your good graces, really.

**********

KATYUSHA

Timalth laughs lightly, small splashes of colour spreading across her skin: "Please, please, just call me Timalth! It's embarrassing enough that I was named for my body without everyone always reminding me! You should know better, Burgasti!"

The unrepentant talmay merely smiles at his companion. "And I have the misfortune of being the nephew of Oblaye-" All three instantly and contemptuously spit at that name, Abbelam's only just missing you. "-so I don't think you've got much to complain about. Now then, as most of this seems to be going over our host's head...

So, Kaityushe - beg pardon, Kat-yus-sha, Katyusha, that's better - as you are both a native of this fine city and a friend of Arnorath, Father of Frosts, perhaps you could resolve a little question for us."

Abbelam snorts, his own interests in the subject matter clearly overriding his dislike of you. "You are insulting the profession by continuing to refer to him by that title, novice. A 'little' question is crosstheological relationships, or advanced mathematics, or conjectural debate on a dead language. Our question, Katyusha, is this:

Why was a blizzard, bearing the same magical energies as known i'karen ice-sorcery, reported in caarth-controlled territory in the Desert of Bones, barely two months after your 'friend' Arnorath was spotted in the company of a caarth witch?"

**********

SYRRYNON

You don't see anyone obviously out-of-place, but S'rylvis doesn't give you much time to mull over the possibilities. In fact, she gives you no time at all, sliding an elf-leather scroll over to you and rising to her feet in the same movement.

"All the most salient points are contained therein," she says, confidence dripping from her voice. "Save for one that could save your life: Leeshka offers up ignorant prayers to Our Serpentine Lady, but his soul belongs to Her nemesis Ishtra. As long as Leeshka is unaware of this rivalry, we can manipulate him as we wish. You may find a prepared flight plan invaluable, though for both our sakes I hope otherwise."

With that pronouncement, the Prostrator offers up a gesture of good fortune to you and begins to depart, pausing in her exit only to exchange minor pleasantries with others she has presumable professional connections to. Meanwhile, the binding on the scroll she left you suddenly snaps, giving you a brief - and no doubt entirely intended - glimpse into its contents.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeWed 20 Mar 2013, 1:11 am

Dusi was not currently in the mood to eat, he just felt dirty after that fight, and his bones still felt cold and sore. No, he followed Ahlat down to the nearest water source, and took his own sweet time getting clean. Far longer than Ahlat, though Dusi had gotten less dirty than his friend here. Dusi was just returning when he heard Thembul begin to speak to his apprentice on the matter of Dusi’s sword. Seeing it better to not but in, he simply waited outside the room the forgemaster had burst into. He would tend to his hunger later, he wanted to hear this without interfering.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeThu 21 Mar 2013, 12:56 am

Uh oh. Maybe this was a bad idea.

Katyusha made little attempt to hide the surprise and confusion that stained her face. She crossed her hands behind her back.

"Friend Arnorath's habits are as... ambiguous to our kind as they seem to be to yours, friend Abbelam." Katyusha tentatively sat down on a nearby stool. "I must confess that I have heard nothing of this event, as I have heard nothing of friend Arnorath's activities outside the city. I am honest with you, you see."

Katyusha paused and bit her lip. "I may, however, be able to shed some light on the affair, if you would provide me with details, and the matter is - in any case - of great interest to me!" She felt obligated to defend Arnorath's honor, but would not both for her fear of offending the talmay and for her vague hope that the two events were merely coincidental. A blizzard, and a caarth witch... Surely it could not be true?

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeThu 21 Mar 2013, 10:16 am

This wasn't the sort of welcoming party he had expected. He had expected this Mako - apparently dubbed Musbosch - to lead him towards a cave with fewer shamans, interrogating his prisoner before out casting him or killing him. He did not expect to be lead straight into the village, he did not expect his prisoner to be ignored by most of populace, and he did not expect his presence to be relatively overlooked by these abominable creatures. Varn look down at the mako, suspicious, as if he was led into a trap. "What do you mean? Explain yourself."

*

"Me?" Vokky spat, almost appalled. "With a human? Hardly! Why I wouldn't even... oh my... are you feeling okay M--"

The goblin's previous sense of concern was quickly replaced by horror and disgust as bile was thrown up from the troll's gullet in chunks, splattering on the ground with chewed up pieces of wolf, while other pieces seemed to be whole body parts. The hot, rancid fumes raised into the air and penetrated his nostrils, causing Vokky nose to flare up and his throat clench in nauseating dismay. Ugh! The stench, the taste! HORRIBLE! Added upon was the mention of guursh - guursh! Hate guursh! Whatever the orcs and trolls had thought of the guursh, Vokky knew not, and he didn't even want to think of it. Vokky preferred the savory fumes of smoked boar and broiled python; true delicacies intended for the more exquisite tastes of the mighty orcoids. And poached rats.... poached rats! The meat practically fell of the bone.

He thought of these foods to get his mind off rancid bile and guursh, he hardly noticed the smoke over the hill up and beyond.

"Maybe - firesmoke may show camps, but humans usually do not live in camps...." Vokky had half a mind to go ahead and say that maybe they should avoid the area, but curiosity got the better of him. "Maybe we should. Let's see what firesmoke is about."

The troll was good and simple company, but what drove Vokky crazy was the fact that he had to dumb down his language for him.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeFri 22 Mar 2013, 5:52 pm

Idarsh was different since she killed the Speaker. They'd done it with such selfish motives, only desiring to release the shackles of tradition to allow them full unfettered access to the power they so desperately sought. She had merely been an imitator of the flame back then, foolishly seeking to spread herself and reach out her own power, and the results forced her to wonder. What if it was all true? Perhaps it was divine retribution that her attempt to gain the power she desired took from her all that tethered her to the world, her dear sister-wife who was meant to bask with her in the flames eternal light. She can still see the flames lash out as the Speaker began to burn, the wretched hand form from betrayal's blue flame and crush all she'd loved into cinders.

No matter how hard she tried, she could not picture her love, not even in her earliest or most private memories, but as she was in that moment of fire. It engulfed her completely, but for that moment, the second she was burning alive before she crumbled to dust, Idarsh had not seen a face of terror or pain, but that terrible grin that she could not wipe from her memory. The moment violated her whole self, bringing itself into all her memories, all her thoughts, until she could find solace only in the "vain" rituals that had caused the transgression. That incredible peace as the thoughts stop and she could be one with the fire, to control it and feel it in her being was wonderful. Before, she had simply endured the pain and torment with force of will, but now she found it one of her few joys. The spark of ambition in her eyes was changing into a raging inferno that she hoped would consume her and then the whole world if it could only bring back what it had taken.

Still, she could separate herself from the fire within, to live like a empty husk without the burning, to continue the basics of every day living as a follower of the One God. During these times she was like before, she would attempt to dismiss her religious zealotry as the overwhelming power of the magic she had wielded, but still her memory would torment her, attempt to drive her back. Her cold rationalism would battle her fiery passion, but she needed both to survive and to advance in her magic art. She could feel the cold rise from her bones as she brought back her wits, dismissing the others so she could speak with Mikkawi more privately.

"Time hasn't improved their spirits, Mikkawi. Without some bond, loyalty, zealotry, love, or anything which will make them desire to follow and move forward, we may see these embers die out and us with them. It is almost time for one to travel to Dall and seek children fit to join our ranks, but we cannot attempt to indoctrinate new followers when we are already falling apart. We need something to inspire them and draw their focus away from the Speaker's death to the bigger picture."
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC - Page 4 I_icon_minitimeSat 23 Mar 2013, 3:53 pm

Ahlat knew that chuckle, and it did not bode well. As the new saying Ahlat had recently coined (but wisely not told anyone) knowledge was knowing salamanders blood was magical; wisdom was knowing to put it in a forge that clearly wasn't built for it. He'd heard of processes that could possibly withstand that amount of heat, but those were a closely-guarded secret in other lands (though the resulting fantastic-quality steel could be traded from them at extreme price; smiths everywhere else in the world would kill to know how it was done). The fact that he was carrying the head of his wife, and of something that had tried to drain the place of magic, was a particularly bad sign.

On the bright side, "secrets of the master" was always a good sign, so maybe this wouldn't go horribly.

Ahlat smiled nervously and followed Thrembul to the forge, rather looking forward to making an actual sword; the technical projects were his favorites, since those were what he was best at (though he did a fine inlay, he thought, considering that one wouldn't expect a minotaur with massive hands to be able to pull that off).

~~~~

Syrrynon made the appropriate farewell gestures, then looked down at the scroll. The binding had come loose, seemingly reading his mind. He paused for a moment, lifting the near edge and reading a sentence or two before closing it and heading home with it.

Kelithin, his fathers' most trusted justrali, greeted him at the front door. Despite his general distaste of slave races, Syrrynon kept Kelithin in his elevated position out of respect for his father. In fact, he maintained most of his relations with his slaves from his father and was thus paradoxically good. Kelithin was still the closest thing Syrrynon kept to a single personal aide, his bookkeepers and regional advisors included.

"How may this unworthy one serve you?" Kelithin asked as he bowed and opened the door.

"No visitors, and a glass of wine, Kelithin. I have planning to do."


He went straightaway into his study and locked the door behind him, sitting down with the scroll and examining it further.

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