• Solo • Communion

...and pants.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Kazmir Saelaris
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:01 pm
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Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:35 pm

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Saun 2 Early Morning
Ye Olde Inn
“...alone!”


Kazmir shot from his bed and into a roll. Before standing he already darted towards the window. Carefully he reached out, his little finger parting the curtains only enough to gander the silent road below Ye Olde Inne. He could not see them, and they not he. Turning abruptly he silently marched to the door and pressed his head to the thin wood. Murmurs. They were waiting. Had he been drugged? Where was this place? And why did they wait?

“Cas...” Glancing to the head board of the straw mattress bed, Kazmir's eyes shot open. They took her! Blackguard Tyrant abominations! He would make them pay! He would sever their throats and drink their silent screams like ambrosial wines! He would make them suffer! He would make it slow... He needed a weapon though, and the room was near barren save for the rough straw bed, a small storage chest and a three legged stool and a bucket. It would do. It would have to.

He could not let them know he had woken. Stealth would be his survival. Grabbing the stool by its leg, he tossed it upon the mattress before turning it unto its side. With great care he pressed it weight upon one of the legs, enough to bend it but not force its breaking. The leg became loose. Another moment an slowly the club was separated from the stool. Kamir's eyes shot to the door s his ears erupted. Movement!

Darting to the threshold he pressed his ear against the wood... A guard, no doubt, was whistling. 'Johnny's Big Wife'. Bawdy and humorous. The man, he assumed, on the other side of the door made slow steps. They were staggered, though not drastically. He was intoxicated, though not blind drunk. Surely they would not be foolish enough to over indulge when they were on guard. Unless they had the numbers to defend themselves. The confidence was misplaced. The Legion would come. They would be lead by a Raskithecal woman and she would be angry. She would slaughter the abductors to a man. They had taken what was hers.

Kazmir turned from the door as the guard passed by. His eye caught the bed roll and bags of travel supplies at the foot of the bed. They left his belongings! The fools! Creeping over Kazmir knelt and rummaged through his gear. He nearly laughed when he saw the knife. A small hunting blade, meant for skinning and little more. It would do. Taking the stool from the bed the warrior began the work of carefully prying nails from their sockets. One by one he laid them out. He needed a flat board...

For nearly a break he worked in silence, his eyes darting constantly to the door and window. He could not remember the skirmish. Had he been on patrol? Was he knocked unconscious? Taken prisoner? It must be so, as that was all that could explain his circumstance. What fools they were though! They were not military, they could not be. Leaving his belongings... they must be rebels... he was to be traded. A prisoners exchange. “Yes...” Kazmir muttered weakly. That was it. The Empire did not negotiate. And nor would Paladin give that option. Taking the slide away lid from his box of tinder, he drove a half dozen nails through the thin wood. A strand of rope later, and a crude spiked cestus was crafted. It would not last to many strong blows.

Pressing his ear to the door yet again Kazmir listened. The only sound was that of a heartbeat and his own ragged breath. One... He did not have time to kill. He would maim and run. Two. Keep his back to the wall lest he be surrounded. Get a horse. Watch for archers. “Three.”

Maddy yawned. She hated the late work. Or at least the late shifts on slow nights. The tavern was dead, her only customers the hand full of sleeping tenants and a trio of men playing a dreadfully quite game of cards. Sliding her hand through her straw blonde hair she groaned loudly at the ceiling.

“Bored?” one of the card players asked.

“Oh my yes.” the girl replied.

“You could join us. The stakes aren't high.”

Maddy shrugged. “I would, but we get scolded for gambling with the customers.”

“To bad. We could use a woman touch in this game.” the man gave Maddy a flirty wink before turning slightly in his seat.

Maddy blushed softly. Two could play this game. “Looks from here you prefer the mans touch.” she giggled from her post behind the bar. “Maybe I will. Boss isn't here so I can't get yelled at huh? 'side. Its these slow nights are so boring.”

“Careful girly,” one of the older card players said as he looked up from his hand, “Don't tempt the Fates.”

A woman. Two men. A guard that passed by. And, perhaps, a third or fourth card player. Five. Maybe six. Kazmir rounded to ten, at least. Ten men. It was a quiet night though, so said the camp girl... a whore? They did not expect retaliation. Fools. They were using this inn as a base of operation, perhaps, the center of their little resistance. It was never meant to be a jail. This stood in Kazmir's advantage. He doubted the area was fortified. Horses would be in the back paddock to the side or behind the building. Peering around the corner Kazmir sunk into a crouch on the steps. It was a wealthy establishment, one he did not recognize. Where was he?

Three men. All three combat able, though lacking weapons. And none in armor. The girl was at the bar, sipping idly at a stein. It made no sense. These jailers were unarmed. Why did they not carry weapons? Were they so confidant that none could escape? So sure of their own abili... “Mages.” Kazmir whispered. They were arcanists. One and all. Worshipers of Sinstra? It must be. Webspinners of that manipulative bitch. How dare she take one of Raskalarn's soldiers! There would be hell to pay when the Legion came for their Dacadrion. The girl looked and Kazmir whipped his curly head back behind the stairwell.

“Did you see that?”
Maddy asked.

“Huh.”

“Hey! Who's lurking there?”

Damnit!

Breath flooded the warlords lungs, torrential winds battering the warm wood beside him in every more viscous gales. It was now. Kazmir would die here today. But he would not be the only one. Stepping from hiding Kazmir faced his doom in the faces of the four mages.

Maddy watched as the floppy haired man darted from hiding, armed with makeshift weapons and sport a look of bewildered violence. She had seen it before. The eyes of a killer. The half hinged sanity bent on annihilation at all costs. But, in the twenty trials she had known this man, she had never thought to see such a monstrous expression on his face.

“He's armed!” on of the gamblers barked as the three men stood from their table. Each ready to charge and subdue the patron.

“Paladin?” Maddy squeaked from behind the bar.

~PALADIN!~

“Paladin... why do you have weapons.” The girl stood slowly, and carefully made her way around the bar.

“Stay back Maddy.”


“It's okay Shorn. He's one of our renters...” With the care of a fearful cat the girl approach slowly. “Paladin. What happened? Are you okay? Why are you armed?”

“I... where am....”

]“Your at Ye Olde Inne.” The girls pretty hazel eyes studied the confused man. “In Andaris.”

“Where is that?”

“Rynmere.”

The crud club fell to the floor with a small thud. Paladin had left the Legion. Slew his father. Met a god. And swore an oath. He fled. Came to Rynmere. Pala urged west, and the Norn echoed her demands. He had been here since early Ymiden. Living off of scraps and odd jobs, unable to leave and unwilling to stay. There was something he needed to do. Faith. Jamal. Pyrim. Rynmere was sick. The fog of war looming like a mist of swords over the heads of every man woman and child of this city of Fools. “Why am I here.”

Maddy stepped closer now her lily white hand reaching to the naked mans shoulder. “You rented a room over twenty trial ago. Don't you remember? What happened? Why are you so.... ”

“I...I had a nightmare.”


“Must of been some dream.” One of the gamblers said.

“Where is Cassiopeia?”

“Who?”

“My sword. Where is my sword.” Paladin walked past the girl, only narrowly avoiding her touch as he made his way towards the bar. “Let me see her!” The warrior looked over his shoulder as he watched the servant girl. Her name was Maddy. An Innocent. Friendly. A bit of a flirt. She liked to sing. On a slow nights she and Paladin would sing a duet. 'Lorien's Grave.' Sad. Lonely. She was better than he, but did not enjoy it as much. She was saving money for an education, hardly scraping by but happy none the less. A blissful Innocence.

“Where we left her... here.” Maddy slowly moved behind the counter again, wary of the brutal cestus bound to Paladins left hand. Taking a thick iron key from behind the counter, the girl quickly made her way towards a half hidden door. Disappearing for only a moment, she returned with the warriors most prized thing. She set the blade before him as she saw the tears slide down his clean shaven face.

Paladin payed no mind to the gambler that retrieved the discarded club, nor the other two that inched closer towards the bar, ready to defend themselves and the girl should the madman attack. Paladin did not though. Instead he set his hands upon Cassiopeia's hips and exhaled a deep sigh. Slowly he drew the sword a few inches from her scabbard. “By your side always. Forever. -Cassiopeia.” he read the engraved dedication as his rough fingers slide along the smooth depressions at the base of the blade.

“Who is she?”

“A dream.” Paladin turned away from his sword. He was cold.

“Your nightmare?”


“Yes. I need to...”


“Put some damned pants on!”
One the younger of the three gamblers gave a nervous chuckle as he pointed to the mans shame.

“Pants...”
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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
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Kazmir Saelaris
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Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:15 pm

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H
ow long had it been? Ten trill? Twenty bits? Fifty Breaks? One hundred arcs? Paladin lost count long ago. From deep within the cool straw mattress he watched the ceiling above, counting rings the rings on the sundered wooden ceiling above. It was a futile task, this he knew. But still he persisted. Ten, at least. Another fifteen more if that plank was this ones severed arm. Perhaps fifty? Maybe older still. In his mind he imagined the tree was old. Ancient. A lone oaken masterpiece perched upon the edge of some windy stone hill. When the breeze blew the tree would sing. His dry leaves would shimmer and shiver and chime under the cruel Saun twins. But he would sing none the less. Life was good. Simple. He would drink the wind and eat the earth below, and suck every bitter moment of his blissful existence while it still lasted.

He has not always been so alone. There was once a mighty forest here. But the people came. The evidence to their genocide could still be seen in the stump that littered the windy hill. Each a monolith to some ancient and forgotten forest god, each a memory of a life better left forgotten. They were so cruel those small folk. So callous in their disregard, so forgetful of their heavy foot falls. So much suffering at their hands. This old tree remembered. The old oak remembered much. He remembered before the humans. Before the mortals. Before the seeds of dead gods. He had seen it all. Seen the carnage inflicted upon his children and sisters. He had watched as the god kin waged wars. And then the mortals. And now? Now nothing has changed.

His roots were deep. The old oak knew. He could hear the whispers and the rumors, and watch the motions all acted against the backdrop of an eternally cyclical play. What had transpired would all come again. An ever perpetual madness dictated by selfish laws of beasts. This was the way of the small folk. Be they the children of gods, the grandchildren, or the mortals. How cruel they are...

How cruel she is.

She was part of this cycle, just as they all were. Netted by the barbed coils of a fate she did not choose. Paladin did not blame her. For he too was once this way. But still, her words echoed in his mind. She implied stupidity, cowardice, vanity... Revelation was bloody. And the revolution that Paladin had offered was bloodier still. For trials he had thought on her often. He had thought on her plight and her masters cruelty. He had watched them move, to and fro, seen the impossible dances that that bastard Jamal choreographed. She stepped in time as they all did. 'Yes master. No master. How can I please you master.' They bowed and kowtowed because to stand tall could be suicide.

“They deserve to die.”

The needed to die. If freedom was ever to be found they needed to risk their deaths to stand tall and present arms. They needed to deny, curse, and question. Just one question. “By what right...”

Mortal is a four letter word.

~She is right.~

Paladin turned lazily sat up and pushed his tired back against the headboard. “What?”

~She is right.~

Scoffing, his head shook slowly. “Hardly.”

~You are angry.~

“Of course. Is it not justified!”

Pala remained silent.

Paladin reached for the oil lamp and tinder box on the low dresser beside him. For a moment he fiddled with the spike box of fire makers, eventually sliding the lid away. “Well?” Lighting the lamp the warrior now saw the Norn sitting at the foot of the bed. They slept, their tiny heads tucked into fluffy white breasts.

~It is. But is it useful?~

“Of course! It is... It is the oil to my fires.”

~You have no love for what is right then?~

Paladin winced and faltered as he retrieved the tattered old journal and a stick of charcoal from the dresser. Pala wished to speak. To make herself known to he and to correct his way perhaps. For the swordsman it was times like these, shrouded by the lamp light of midnight burnt oils, in where Divine Revelation was found. Leaning backwards he flipped a few pages through his holy tome and pressed the char to the yellowed blank page. For a long moment he waited, his vision hidden behind half lidded eyes.

Did he? Did he have love of right? Care for higher morality? Caution for cruelty? Hate of the Tyrant? Paladin had lived a short life. A short and cruel life, burdened by an ease of existence of complacency. Did he still struggle? Still want for the Precepts and hunger for freedom and empathy of all mortal things? It was a hard thing. To know what is right. Each action betraying a small uncertainty in his own ideal. Each a small nightmare on the dream he wished to share. Perhaps the feather head was right after all. He was angry. And a coward. If conviction was true, would he not be prompted to action? Would he not, to avoid horrid hypocrisy, be forced to act upon the Truth he claimed? “I do.”

~You are afraid.~

“I am.”

~For?~

Pala knew. But she needed to hear the words. Her Son needed to hear them.

“My life. The lives of others. What we offer them...” Paladin paused as he licked his lips. By what right did he make such and offer? By what right could he claim to know what was best for them. It was demonstrable, was it not? The want of freedom in all men. The foulness of the Tyrant. One could see the blood on the walls if one would simply look, no? But how could he show them this? How could he bring about the destruction of all they held dear, and create a world of their own salvation. Did he have the right? If knowledge is meant to be shared freely, was he not obligated?

~You are merciful. Perhaps too much.~

"Maybe."

~You have watched now for enough time. You have seen them and their ways. Why do you hesitate?~

“I am stranger. I am without roots here. Why should they listen?”

~They already have. The doctor heard. As did the boy. And his father. The work has already begun.~

A chill shot through Paladin's spine. Had he so little control? A pawn to the Will of forces greater in their Power? Perhaps. But it was a willing pawnship. A true belief that he, through speaking only the truth, could bring true revolution to the peoples of this world. And of Andaris. A better way not predicated on the rape of the Will, but instead Reason and empathy. A blissfulness of existence. But the Immortals would not allow it. Nor would the Tyrants. There, comfortable in their thrones, would force confrontation. Those with power were loathe to give it up. Thus was Paladin's focus. Cut the head from the snake.

~You are wrong.~

Without the Knowledge as to why, the declaration of Immortal destruction was madness. Violence without Reason in the eyes of Fool and Innocent. But... to keep the secret of Pala was wise. How could the Knowledge be shared without her inclusion?

~Our philosophy should stand alone. Independent of my existence. If not, it is flawed.~

“Or mortals are unreasonable.”

~Perhaps...~

For a long moment Paladin stared down at his journal tapping the crumbling charcoal against the page. He had heard the rumors of revolution, heard the stories of gathering armies and mounting riders. Were they true? Was Rynmere to begin civil war? 'Revolution.' they called it. Paladin scoffed. Sure there was discontent among the people for those who sat on the throne, but it was not revolution. A coup. A changing of the guard. Replacing one Tyrant with another if only to supplicate the masses for another arc or two. It was a rich mans war. For 'Nobles' and the wealthy. They did not have reason to war, no true desire for liberation. Just power. “Thou shalt conquer...” Paladin's eyes fell to the thick holy book the monk had loaned. He had finished it thrice over.“So. What do you suggest.”

For a long moment Pala did not answer. She, as he, was imperfect. Bound by her own laws of reality she lacked the perspective of the mortal this she so loved. ~Use the discontentedness to our advantage.~

“What!” shooting into a slack jawed gaze, the mere suggestion was a thing he would have never considered. And for good reason. “That is... loathsome. Dishonesty bordering on Tyranny.”

~But it is not. If they truly hunger for a better way, they will listen. If they do not... then we move West.~

“But...”

~In this time as war brews, you shall act as we Will. Remember the Precepts. Save the Innocent. Spare the Fool...~

“And Slay the Tyrant.” Sitting back the warrior was uncomfortable with the thought of taking advantage of a civil war. It was dishonorable and dishonest. But if the people truly did wish a better life, as no doubt many would after they see the blood Tyranny spills, they would be seeking answers to questions they only half dreamed.

~Do you have love for the Tyrant?~

“No! How could you even ask that.”

~He still lives. You have studied his patterns. Plotted your revenge. And readied your blade. But you do not strike. Why?~

“I...”

~It is here you must start. She has brought you here. He our proof of dedication to our cause. Slay the Tyrant. Be not vengeance. What is to transpire is bigger than your ego. Be MY Justice.~

"I Will."
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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
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Kazmir Saelaris
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Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:14 pm

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C
omplacency was a blight upon the mortal soul. A disease of the mind, born from the womb of false ease and full bellies. Paladin wanted little in this world. And it was for those so humble in their desires, that complacency was the greatest threat. To always hunger was the only cure. To recognize ones Reason as it flowed and shifted, and then to affirm ones Will under such Reason. To be a glutton of truth in accord with ones Reason. This was the right path.

But even with recognition of his own drifting, it was difficult to change ones way. But complacency bred stagnancy, and stagnancy was death. To murder the Tyrant Jamal would be simple, if even dangerous. But Pala felt it was not enough. For ever one he might kill another dozen were ready to take his place. To reap the advantage of Power incongruent with proper Reason. How should he hold back the ocean?

~Power.~

'Power...' Fame. To be loved by the people as both guardian and father. To be representative of a Will greater than his own. To not be a messenger of a more moral god, but morality as god. To preach words of mercy, compassion, and empathy with every action and every deed. By showing through example a path brighter than the one they follow. Friends. Each, as Pala would have it, a pawn. It was such a Tyranny... or quite nearly. A fine line between what Paladin would Will and Reason. But was his Reason not pure? Did he not truly care?

Even though his words would never speak it, he wondered. The world he saw through his White Fire was different than the world of others. Brighter. The world he saw was a beautiful one, ripe with all the potential of an infant fresh from his mothers womb. It was every parents dream to seen their child come into their own greatness. And every parents fear to see...The shadows were longer in this world. Deeper. A polarization of extremes cast side by side, their element incompatible with the others survival. It was a dark world.

Perhaps it would be most merciful to kill the child now? To smother in its own blankets. What other choice was there? The people did not want their freedom. Did not strive for something greater than their daily lives. And the impossibility of his task... To change everything. They would recoil in fear, misunderstanding, and complacency. Paladin would be hung by the neck and sent to twitch a gallows jig before those he wished to save. And they would cheer. He could not save these people. And indeed such a cruel people, those who enable such a brutal Tyranny, did not deserve to be saved. They did not deserve the Lady of White Fire nor her peace. Nor her love. Nor her....

~Paladin.~

“I'm sorry.”

~All deserve my light.~

But their profanity never would. They held fast to gods that did not love them, too afraid of what might be should they damn their slavers. “Cowards.”

~It is this anger that will fail you. For why would one love a creature so twisted by his hate?~

“Because he is right...”


~Logic is not enough. One must employ all Reason to be of the same conclusion. Teach them. By my light you will shine. My light you will show them the way. Serve them as you serve us. Save the Innocent and Spare the Fool. Even if they do not deserve.~

She was right. Paladin was allowing himself to fester upon the shadows and neglecting the light, the only cure. By the Precepts he did not Will as he would Reason. A fool.

~Offer your shield. Offer your sword. Offer your flesh. And offer you heart. You are to be as I would be, a servant to all mortal men. This is what we have thus Reasoned.~

“It is.” Paladin paused as he closed his journal of holy writings, making note to alter the Precepts once more. “She said one cannot serve more than a single master.”

~She is wrong. This girl who has invaded your mind is naive. Weak. A slave to Tyrants. A Fool. Her vision has been narrowed.~

“I would help her see.”

~You obsess.~

“I do not!” Despite the force of his tone, he could not hide the uncertainty in his voice. “She is...”

~Undoing.~

“Proof! A... the proof of a world gone mad with apathy. If I could change her Reason... bring her into her own Will. The perfect Fool educated, I would know myself to be able to produce far greater in other men.”

~And if you cannot?~

The dreamer curled his lips, damning himself for so blindly walking into this trap. The feather head was a Fool, as she lacked Will. So the Norn had confirmed. But she despite her frailty was no Innocent. If she was not to see... “Then she is a Tyrant. And will die by my hands.” It was an admission which the Son of Pala was none comfortable with. To he, a Tyrant was simply one which was composed of only Power and Will. The girl had no Power and Will, and thus could not be Tyrant. But she, it seemed, had Reason. And thus could be Innocent but not Tyrant. Perhaps that is why his thoughts had been so often upon her. She was anomaly, but surely not abomination. Was there another? Innocent, Fool, and Tyrant... and then he himself, Paladin...

~No.~

“But...”

~There is only one. And you are he. My son. Together we are bound, your creation a act of my Will. You are to be MY Power upon this world. There is only one.~

“But... what if there could be others? Others who sit upon the fringes? Could they not be as we are?”

~I warn you again. Put this girl from your mind. You ignore the totality for a single instance. She is not like you. She is not Innocent. She is not Fool.~

Paladin stood from his bed. “She is not a Tyrant.” The architecture was wrong. This was the only other option. A Precept was missing, misunderstood, or not within Reason. The lens through which the man understood the world was flawed, cracked upon some unseen fissure which would surely lead to a great tectonic shifting should the mar not be mended. Perhaps still he was simply wrong? He saw much with that too brief meeting. But maybe not enough. There was a piece missing regardless. Either in the feather heads way or within the final third of the Precepts.

Either way Pala was right. Paladin could admit his folly. He ignored the greater totality to, in hopes, mend this crack upon his world. There was more to do than break the bonds of one Fool slave when there were thousands more who were Innocent. Feather head was but a symptom or a greater sickness. A cure to which the Precepts would be remedy, should Paladin be correct. Imperfect as they might be, they were far better still than anything that was offered.

So again... how would one free them?
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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
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Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:12 pm

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Peer Reviewed: Rewards!
Kazmir


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/ 5 (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Basic
Location: Ye Olde Inn
Ye Olde Inn: Locks up swords for the night
Maddy: Barmaid at Ye Olde Inn
Maddy: Kind and concerned
Detection: Listening for murmurs and whispers.
Stealth: Breaking wood quietly by bending it
Stealth: Doing things quietly takes time
Tactics: Survival involves knowing the odds
Tactics: Pants are not a necessity for survival, but help in the long run.
Kazmir: You are not a tree
Specialised
Stealth: Removing nails from wood carefully.
Pala: As old as trees and with deep roots
Pala: Thinks you are too merciful
Pala: Wants you to be her justice
Pala: Anger will be your failure
Faith: Innocent, Fool or Tyrant?

Loot:
NA
Fame:
NA (just a bit of a nightmare, tis fine)
Overview:

General comments. I personally found this thread fascinating. It was interesting to read and it was a very real insight into Kazmir and how he works. Your story is a part of an ongoing on, which I look forward to seeing unfold. Story ~ well done, you somehow managed to weave a whole lot of internal dialogue into a story - awesome job!
[ i] Structure[/i] - no worries, clear and easy to read
Please remember to mark this thread as "Reviewed" in the request for review thread.
Please record these in the "Skill Point Ledger" you have in your CS.
PM me if you've got any questions at all!
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"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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