Saturday, August 2, 2014

After the Rain ep12 : Houses of the Blooded


After the Rain

Episode Twelve
Part II of II
"The Storm"

Houses of the Blooded

Jaric grabs the earliest census he can find and runs for the door. He makes his way down the corridors to find the branch earlier where he separated from the others.

Elsewhere, Seran steals Pyotr's sword from the wall and leaps out of the window.  She lands safely on the road and calls out to him that she is leaving.  She looks back and tells him if he changes his mind, he knows where to find her.  Seran runs down the road for the port.

Galeo doesn't want people dying on her, so she returns to the Prison with the Bloodsword to be left with Szaz with the expectation that it shall be returned.  Galeo calms Szaz down regarding her panic on Nia having been a Tulpa, reminding her a Tulpa needs to be created from someone alive.  However, Szaz raises the question of how long the "creator" must have been spying through her.  How much of their plan has been compromised?

And as Szaz goes through the facts of the situation, Seran appears as she runs down the road.    Szaz admits she is wondering if the investment is worth it.  Galeo admits she is uncertain who has Nia, and that they best come up with a list of possible names and shorten it.  Jaric, if he has any sense, must stay where he is at.  The winds howl stronger, strong enough to make the carriage shake.

Nia is looking through the Earl's things for something to be useful.  She starts looking the orkish looking items.  Haroun gathers food and other supplies for the journey home.  She also notices the spyglass with a Spider emblem on it.  She uses it and glances at Haroun and Bowen to see if it reveals anything but thankfully nothing has changed.  Haroun grabs a handful of items.  Nia opts to do the same, especially the wicked looking dagger.  They opt to take the Earl's Caravan as well.

"Not good.Winds."  Bowen does not like the growing Storm either.  Nia decides the moment has come to ask Bowen if his Devotions are what allowed them to breach the Mistweir.  "Did a Suaven allow them to breach the wall?"  But Bowen confirms that the Suaven have been silent.  He stresses that Talia has been silent. Nia however feels given everyone will be concerned of the winds, their journey should be unimpeded.  The Caravan starts bringing them to their Residences.

Jaric does not recall the intersection he finds.  A sign points to a Shrine.  "Not there," he tells himself and takes the other route.  He chances upon a guard cleaning his fingernails with a knife and so he creeps up on him and knocks him out with a book. The guard slumps against the wall, then falls to the floor with a tremendously loud clang.  Another guard in the distance hears the commotion and comes to investigate.  Jaric hurries down the corridor and sees a T-junction.  One end shows a blue moonlight glow and the other shows darkness.  He runs towards the moonlight.

Seran stops to talk to some people panicking along the road.  She asks for directions to Waterdeep and is told she would have to cross the bridge to get there.  Most of the people seem curious if the winds are something the Senators are showing them as most believe the Senate control the weather.  The Ven stare at the sky, confused at how much the clouds are moving.  Seran sees the dangerously swaying bridge and takes the risk to cross it, against the cautions of the Ven managing it.

The carriage continues down the road.  Szaz questions Galeo of who Nia have been associating with and Galeo shares how she noticed her interacting with the Earl.  "Nia did sit with them.  The Tulpa are a sorcerous thing, it seems only apt the Serpents would have a hand in it."  Szaz stares at the sky and wonders if it is... her.  They arrive at the house where Pyotr and Seran should be.  They knock and find Pyotr dressed in travelers gear with straps and ropes.  He seems unsurprised that Galeo is free too.  He tells them Seran has chosen to make her way to her port.  Galeo hurries back to the carriage to tell Szaz where to go.  She suggests to Szaz to let Pyotr have a ride with them.  She explains wordlessly that he is going to look for her in the port.  Szaz worried he will realize everyone is free.  Galeo rebuts that he already does.  Szaz reminds Galeo that Pyotr might use this as an opportunity to hurt her back.  Galeo welcomes him onboard.  They direct the carriage to head for the Port.

Nia and Haroun and Bowen arrive at the Residence and load Ato to the Caravan.  Haroun calls her attention to the sky.  There is a place where the clouds no longer block the view.  Ato babbles about "Her coming.." about visiting "Waking dreams" and the like.  There is a gap in the clouds in the sky.  The circle... has it been broken?  Nia opts to head to the Prison to reunite with "Brother Snake."  Haroun starts to realize something.  The Mistweir is not gone.  Rather, there is a spot where the clouds are gathering.  A spot where the Storm is pushing in.

Jaric runs into the moonlight, and instead finds it is a courtyard.  The walls are still around him.  There is a horse.  A statue of a horse.  As the leaves whip against him, blinding him, he senses a red-haired woman nearby.  I am coming you know.   I am getting very close.  It has taken me years to get to this point.  Jaric clears his eyes and true enough he is alone.  He recalls the stories of how the statue has some kind of switch.  He pulls. Stone grinds and a passageway is revealed.  He almost loses his balance, but he imagines Kyocera catching him.  Reminding him to stay focused.  It isn't Kyocera. It is Gaius Mwrr.  But then, he's gone.  Pitch black darkness.  Jaric searches for a torch.  A red-haired woman motions where to find it.

"You shouldn't be here," he hisses at her.

She replies he is correct.  She should be trapped.  Imprisoned.  But she mutters that it was worth making sure they were all erased from- Jaric misses a step, he falls and nearly hits his head against a flower box.  There are brambles and thorns that catch against his skin.  The place suddenly illuminates, braziers ignited by his Blood.  Jaric holds out the book and sees the two offering dishes.  He places the census upon it.  And he places the amulet around his neck on the other.

Seran crosses the bridge and that moment, she hears it snap!  Others fall to their death.  She arrives at the Port and sees the rough waters smashing ships to each other. She glances around and sees no sign of her Vassals.  Nor her Glider.  She hurries down the side to the Guildhouse and asks any of those there where her Vassals are.  She finds the Maid there with the others from the Guildhouse.  "Look out, Mistress!"  The sign of the Anvil snaps from its chains, and crashes where she was earlier standing.   She walks in, closes the door, bars it behind her, and asks about her Glider.  The Maid shows it is safely inside.  They brought it in because it started to lift on its own due to the winds.  Another terrible sound as a ship smashes against the Port.

No one anticipated weather like this.

Seran opts to hide out the Storm with the Vassals.  The Maid looks at her worriedly, asking if this is anything like what happened in the Airship.  "Are we safe?"  Seran glances at the Guildhouse and its foundations and she realizes this building will NOT survive the Storm.    Given the Guildhouse has a lot of tools, Seran starts commandeering the Veth on how to reinforce the structure.  As Seran checks the lower areas to see if there is a basement or any other place to hide in, she notices the foundations themselves will not hold.  Seran glances out the window and realizes the wind is not coming from a constant direction.  Another louder crash.  Seran sees a nearby building beginning to collapse.  The Maid trembles in fear.  Seran tells them to focus on the reinforcements.

The Duke is worried.  The howling is much more worse than before.  Szaz is preoccupied, brooding over something.   Galeo realizes if the Storm gets worse, this would be the best time to leave.   Given the chaos it will cause, it would be the best time to disappear.  Galeo is now weighing in her head, if needed, how to ditch the two.   She remembers the Bloodsword and keeps it within reach.  She asks the Duke if this weather is typical for this time of the year.  He admits this never happens.

A slam.  The carriage is spinning.  When it comes to a halt, the three quickly try to recover.  Pyotr shoves the door open to get out.  Szaz hits her face against the wall.  Another carriage had been buffeted by the winds and smashed into theirs.  The Veth on the ground is in agonizing pain; he had been crushed by the horses when the two struck each other.  Galeo surveys the location and realizes they are too far from her Residence.  They are somewhat closer to the Port, though.  Galeo admits to Pyotr that he has not experienced this Storm but she has experienced a Storm before.  She suggests they find shelter.  Pyotr cradles the Veth close, whispers something, then snaps his neck.  Pyotr stands and looks at the vicinity and sees the many damaged structures around them.

The two head down the carriage, and Galeo suggests they tie each other together.  An anchor to each other.  Ptoyr doesn't agree, believing it would be too dangerous to risk both getting dragged away.  Galeo looks back and realizes Szaz is still in the carriage.  She calls out to her but her voice fails to reach her with all the howling winds.  Galeo  heads back, reaches for Szaz in the carriage and tries to convince her to get out.  She is in utter fear, mumbling about the winds being something.. worse.  Something far worse.  "They were right!  They told us not to attempt to breach it.  Now we have shown it the way back!"  Galeo asks who she means by they but she only screams back that it means everyone.  Galeo tries to convince Szaz to get out of the carriage even as Szaz mumbles more about things.  Before she could do more, Pyotr wraps his arm around her waist and pulls her out of the carriage.  He carries her the rest of the way and tells her she knows Seran will be wondering where she is.

Nia and the others arrive at the Prison.  While their original intent was to get the others, Nia confesses it may be better to hide in the Prison with Jaric instead.  The gather the food and bring them into the Prison.  The three hurry down the courtyard to the Prison. The Vashna struggle as the powerful winds whip them around, ballooning their black robes.  They easily get into the Prison and soon find themselves struggling to move through the howling corridors, that are now filled with deafening roars as the winds are channeled through them.

Haroun leads the way, admitting he has always had a penchant for sensing the change in altitude.

At the Port, Galeo and Pyotr see the massive waves begin smashing against the structures.  The Guildhouse is the only structure still fully standing.  "Duke Pyotr, Seran is there."   She hears him weakly ask, "But.. where do we go?"  Galeo reminds Pyotr that Seran is one of the most intrepid Ven of her time. How she was literally born in the Wilderness.   She reminds him that if there is any Ven to who can survive the Storm, it would be a Falcon. She reminds them the Falcons can tame the Storm again.  He does wonder, however, if the legends are true, then the Falcons supposedly had tamed it the last time.

Seran has gotten people to start nailing stuff down, create a wall-like bunker at the center of the Guildhouse.  She has run chains around as well to better reinforce the walls.  Many of the vassals have gathered inside, hoping to reinforce what they can under Seran's guidance.  She grabs another length of chain, ties it around her waist, and makes her way to the others.  When Seran asks what they are doing here, Galeo admits they are searching for her.  Seran invites them inside to take shelter into the reinforcements she set up.  Pyotr remains standing outside, overwhelmed at the devastation.  Galeo finds shelter inside.

Realizing he remained outside, Seran heads back out to go to him.  Pyotr is overwhelmed by the growing storm.  He stresses how much fear is building inside as he remembers how the entire City collapsed from the Storm in the past.  Pyotr is not willing to hide out the storm.  Seran tells him she's not exactly hiding from it, she is protecting others with her.  Pyotr asks Seran to promise to find whoever caused this Storm to happen.  A promise to make that person pay.

He heads off to check on other nearby buildings to see if there are other survivors.  Seran feels the urge to go after him, but feels she has to be responsible for those who are already under her Shadow.  She heads back and finds Galeo looking around for her vassals.  Seran continues to reinforce the structure from within,worrying how long they will survive if the structure finally collapses.  The Glider itself lifts from the ground, the strong winds calling it to fulfill its nature.  Galeo begins to feel her dress catch the wind and she starts ripping the cloth.  The Bloodsword, that moment, begins to speak in her mind.


Another thunderous impact.  The winds are getting much stronger.  Seran gathers everyoneto stay inside, to hunker down, and lock themselves in.

Jaric stares at the book and the amulet now on the offering dishes.  Suddenly a stomp.  He turns and realizes one of the legs of the statue had struck the ground.  Suddenly he is no longer alone.  There are hundreds of figures standing around him, of varying ages, genders... and Houses.   They are not ghosts.  Spectres.

"I am Jaric Thayl of the Elk.  Who am I addressing?"

The statue stomps a second time.  The Spectres speak in unison:

We Desire Rest. Set Us Free.

The amulet begins to bubble.  The metal begins to melt.  Jaric asks the Spectres if it is his place to do this.  The book's pages begin to flutter.  Jaric asks if they are the missing generation.

A ship smashes through the upper part of the Guildhouse.  The reinforcements hold.  Galeo grasps the Bloodsword and asks why this is happening!  The Sword's monotonous voice responds:

All.  Will.  Fall.  Like.  Me.

A hand suddenly grabs Seran.  She turns and sees it is her Maid.   She is terrified and is in utter tears.  She does not want to die.  She begs Seran to transform her into one of the Ven since "the Ven can only die from Murder."  But Seran admits she does not know the Ritual.  Seran ties the Maid to her using a piece of rope.  The other vassals stare in fear.

Galeo asks if there is a Bear among them.  A Circle of Manna Renay would prove to be very useful this moment.   The irony does not strike her. Galeo mumbles about books and about the Storm supposedly having a new name.  Seran yells at Galeo to stop talking about books right now, and reminds everyone to keep their head down.  Galeo asks if the Falcons can talk to the Storm and Seran admits not all can.  Galeo decides to take matters into her own hands.

Calling out to the Storm, Galeo offers to give it a better name than that which she gave it.  The sword in Galeo's hands begins to laugh in her mind.  Seran asks what Galeo is doing.  Galeo admits she cannot stand by and let more deaths happen.  Another crash outside.  Screams.  Then the surge of water.  The screams are silenced.

Back in the Prison, Nia and the others see the stairwell.  Looking back, they see the Ork talker pointing down towards a different corridor.  Haroun motions this direction is where they should go but Bowen points towards the blue light in the distance.   Nia tells Haroun Bowen can speak to the Suaven.  The Duke does not delay and the three run for the blue light.

Galeo offers a name to the Storm if it stops in exchange.  The Bloodsword suddenly mutters:


Galeo throws an offer to the Storm again.  The Bloodsword again begs:


Then suddenly utter silence.  No winds.  No rain.  No screams.
Galeo and Seran stare at what looks like a red-haired woman inside their structure.

At the archway, Nia and the others see the courtyard.  Haroun mutters recognizing this somehow.  Inside the Shrine, Jaric sees the gathered Spectres. He identifies them as the Mistweir and asks how he can release them all.  Each time they speak, however, Terror is unleashed upon the listener. A barrage of images as the Senate Building begins to fall.  Of the red-haired woman.  Of a younger Earl.. a young ven who was not yet Earl then, calling upon the others to gather. They all reach out, hands locking in place.  As a Circle forms, the figure gets the hand holding hers and pulls it to hold the other, the Ritual is cast and an explosion erupts like a concussive force that erupts outwards. The force devastates the city but forced the Storm away.  All of them, joined hands, a glowing red circle around the city.

And then, an airship, crashing through the storm...

Breaking the line...

Jaric tries to call to the Spectres, but they are all turning away from him and focusing on someone else in the room.  The horde of Spectres approaches them.  Nia feels Haroun shove him backwards and tells her, "I will handle this."  He cuts his palm and offers it outwards to the Spectres.  One moves close and begins lapping at the blood.  Haroun calls for Jaric cowering at the wall, and asks the Spectres, "I am looking for a friend. Her name is Seran."

In response, they project an image of Seran.  They see her and Galeo and the vassals in the Guildhouse.  They see the red-haired woman.  Haroun asks who the woman is, and her response tests the sanity of the listener.  Each time the Spectres reply, a surge of Terror strikes them all.

"Well well, I see someone has an offer for me," the red-haired woman asks.  Galeo asks if she's the Storm.  She claims she would answer but the terms have to be set first.  Galeo asks the Bloodsword to give her its name.  The Bloodsword does not answer her inquiry.  It only tells her not to deal with the red-haired woman.  The red-haired woman tells them she is waiting.     Galeo explains there is an offer but not the one she was making earlier.  The red-haired woman accuses Galeo of false pretenses but Galeo insists it is merely her being stuck between two other parties.  The red-haired woman just asks if the offer is retracted or not.  The Storm rages and the ceiling rips away.  Galeo draws the Bloodsword.  The red-haired woman stares at Galeo, amused.    Galeo slashes at the red-haired woman's face.

Nia, Jaric and the others feel the Terror pass.  The Spectres scream one name: Lillandra.  Haroun has heard of the demon, a seductress who stalks the Ven.  Demons however only appear when they are summoned.  Jaric thinks however from what he read she was a bit more free.  Nia and Haroun are bothered at the thought that the demon had been free all this time.  Jaric adds that it had been trying to get into the city all that time as well, but the barrier kept it at bay.

"We brought that barrier down," Jaric shakes his head.  The group can still see the scene unfolding in the crumbling Guildhouse.

The winds are howling.  The foundations are creaking.  A realization hits Seran: if the structure goes, she can still survive by flying away on the Glider.  But that would mean leaving everyone else behind.  But if she wants to save Galeo, she is too far away right now.

"What would it take to make you stop for a year?" Seran calls out even as Galeo completes the strike.  Part of the face drops to the ground.  Galeo raises the blade to slash a second time.

The group asks the Spectres if freeing them will help stop the Storm or the Demon.  The Spectres answer, and the groups struggle once more against the Terror.

Our Names.  Utter our Names.  Let us Free.

Haroun takes charge, telling Nia and Jaric to leave the chamber.  Haroun then begins asking each Spectre one by one for their name, and then utters it to free them.  Nia calls out to Haroun, and shoves the unconscious Ato into his direction.  "Don't die.  If you need Ven blood, use him."

Galeo's second strike swings to decapitate the demon.  The head rolls on the ground and stops at Seran's feet.  Seran realizes it is Pyotr.   Galeo gasps, "I was tricked."   "Of course you were," the Demon hisses, "One does not live FREE for centuries without knowing how to better deal with the likes of you."

"One year," Seran calls out again, "What do you want for one year?"  The Demon questions Seran if she is like Galeo, an Oathbreaker, but Seran insists she is not one.  Seran even offers for the Demon to silence her for a year.  "Well, you seem to be a powerful one.  I doubt I can pay anything of that amount."  Galeo whispers to the Bloodsword to tell her how to defeat the Demon.  The Bloodsword admits it had failed when it tried before.

Galeo tries calling out to higher powers.  She calls out to Talia and asks for her help to defeat the Demon.  Talia whispers back that she is no Wolf.  She is no Falcon.  She is the Sacred Harlot.  And if Galeo is to be the Sacred Harlot, she should choose to serve only one.    The rest she should leave behind.  Talia believes she should sacrifice the rest to choose the one she loves.

"You wish to save a City?  Then give me a City," the Demon smiles.  "I am willing to take installments."

"How about this," Galeo calls out, "That body is clearly not mortal."

"This?  But this is not really here," she grins.  "Now this," the whole structure shakes as the winds howl, "Now that is me."

Seran walks up to Galeo and slips the Arrowhead of Avendi into her hand and mutters to the Demon, "What do you mean by installments?  Installments of this city?"

The Demon turns away from the two Ven.  Her ears have heard the sweet calls of another offer.  She turns to the Maid and smiles, "You have a deal for me?"   The Maid whispers she does not want to die.  "That would be simple," the Demon tells her, "Just choose one who will."  The Maid looks at the other Vassals in the room, then at Seran.  She pleads, "We don't know them.."   But Seran shakes her head, "This still is not right."

Back at the Prison, Nia, Jaric and Bowen can hear the Spectres giving Haroun the names as he utters them one by one.  Nia considers the number of the people whose names need to be uttered.  "We will be here for a few weeks.  And only food for a week."

Bowen however motions at the direction they came from.  They look up to see three Dire Wolves moving towards them, accompanied by an Ork.  The female Ork holds up a banner that shows the symbol of the House Fenris.  "She has come because the City shakes again.  They have been waiting."

"This is your story again, Jaric," Nia realizes, "Ask them about the Spectres.  The Spirits."

"They stayed behind!"  Jaric realizes.  The Orks were waiting to do the duty again.    Nia however insists they cannot leave without Haroun.  Jaric feels torn as this is precisely the parts of the story he so sought to learn.  The Ork Woman tells them that they will emerge in another place of the Horse.    Nia rushes down to the temple to get Haroun.  The Dire Wolves stare at Bowen, finding him slightly odd.

A shriek.  Galeo and Seran turn to see one of Galeo's Maids drop to the ground dead.  Seran demands to know what happened but then realizes her Maid is gone.  "I sent her home," the Demon smiles.  "It's that simple."  Galeo snarls that she is no Oathbreaker as there was no oath made.  She offers the Demon "solidity."  She fishes for the Demon's interest in the body, with the plan to try and set terms if she is.  The Demon rolls her eyes. "There is always someone else tomorrow who will. Does anyone else want a deal?"  Galeo turns to the vassals and warns them not to.  Seran is prepared to stab any of them who might even try to make a deal.

"I think I offer you something unique," Galeo tells the Demon, "You see, if you were to think of things on my terms you would have a Mother's Love."  The Demon smiles, "Let's make it more interesting:  Your husband. I'll take him."

"I don't own him," Galeo counters, "I can only offer what I have."

"Oh but you do," the Demon explains, "You do because he is not here to say no."

Galeo tries to twist things around, stating how the Demon is inexperienced in how the rules of such dealings are done.  The Demon laughs her off and even asks Seran if Galeo is really trying to tell a Demon how to be a Demon.  "No, I am telling you how a Mother is a Mother," Galeo explains.

"I am done with her," the Demon turns to the others, "Motherhood is over-rated.  Not when one can live forever."

"What if it... it is on a daily basis?"

The Demon turns back to face Seran, explaining that sounds like installment.  Seran offers the Demon her body.. one day to possess her for one day of quiet.  The Demon admits it is an interesting bargain.  "You realize that is practically forever."  Seran admits she is merely buying the others time.  The Demon smiles. She likes the idea.  But then, she hears another offer.  A more juicy wager from someone else.  "A safe trip."

"What?" Seran gasps.

And suddenly, in an eye blink, they are all home.

The Maid is in tears.  She admits that she told the Master Lukas of what had happened, of the state of danger Seran was in, and of the red-haired woman.  Seran demands to know where Lukas is.  But there's no sign of him.  "Call her back!" Seran yells at everyone, but no one knows how to call the Demon back.  The Demon heard his offer, and accepted it.  They were all brought home... in exchange for him.


Nia tells Haroun to continue at the other Shrine.  To leave with her.  But Haroun wordlessly explains that he has to continue this.  He has to end this.  Bowen asks the female Ork to leave a Dire Wolf for Haroun.  The rest of them are carried by Wolves as they are carried away through the secret passageways and are stolen away into tunnels that lead away from the City, away from the Senate, and outside the Mistweir.

Jaric recalls the portrait which Nia had seen... the portrait representing the fall of the Senate.  They realize they stand on the very same spot as towers, buildings, and structures fall.  The waters rise. The winds tear things apart.

Around them, through other tunnels, the Orks emerge bringing more survivors.  Ruk, Veth, Ven... all overwhelmed and terrified.  All fearful and lost.

"Hello, new Ork ven," Jaric grins.   Nia inwardly admits she felt the urge to say the same thing.


Seran continues to yell.  She cries out for the Demon to take her instead of her husband. Galeo tries to calm Seran down.  Tries to convince the Demon to come back.  But nothing.  The Demon never responds.

The Demon relishes every second of her agony.


Davfanna Aldrena.
The Hub of the World.
The Shining Star.

Falls for a second time.

The waters rise.  The buildings fall.
The tallest spires fall.  It takes over thirty seconds before they hit the water.
And soon there is nothing but waves.


The Storm is free.
Galeo hears from Talia at last once again.  But she seems terrified to know that the Storm is free and knows where she is.  She falls silent again.  But Galeo can sense her fear.


Haroun is among the survivors.  He tells them the Spectres are finally free.  But Nia wonders what that means for them.  More survivors emerge.  And they realize they are now stuck in the orklands.  Jaric addresses the gathered and tells them they are now in the Wilderness.  He reminds them that they all do not have land, and that they all owe their lives to the Orks.  He welcomes them to Shanri.

"I guess it is there turn to be judged as Ven," Haroun smiles.

"They can fight it out against the Merchant Houses," Nia grins.

Haroun asks for one Season to build one Airship.  They realize that's how few of them survivors remain.


Galeo realizes she is seeing Seran at her most vulnerable.  She screams and begs and demands but nothing comes.  Nothing answers.  But beside Galeo, the woman with red-hair stands and only she can see her.  "Sad isn't it?  She could have offered all that earlier.  But now it is too late."  The Demon looks around and smiles, "So this is where you all moved... how interesting.  I have to thank you because I was already growing bored.  It is nice to see there is a new... opportunity for fun."

"PLEASE!  BRING HIM BACK!" Seran screams.

"But you know, that's not what True Pain is.  You know what True Pain is?" the Demon leans closer to Galeo and whispers, "He is still alive.  But she will never know.  You do.  But the moment anyone else knows other than you, he will die."

The Demon leaves.

In Galeo's mind she thinks the Demon made a mistake.  She thanked her, which means, she owes her.  She takes the Bloodsword and tells it they will start planning.  "The Artist who Creates against the Bitch who Destroys.  It will be my Greatest Work yet."  The Bloodsword whispers back in response:

I Will Serve You.  But Only If You Choose To Serve Me As Well.

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