The Mark of Prophecy

Entry 35

Excerpts from the Memoirs of Balothron Shieldbrow, Dragonslayer…

(detailing the events of 14-16 Dravgo 999 YK)

Betrayal! The dragon who remained on the island, supposedly to keep an eye on us, had finally allowed Bree to ride it, but, as it flew, we realized that it would not return. We simply could not allow that to happen – we could not trust it to defend her. For all we knew, it was in league with the Rakshasa itself.

We dashed after it on our griffins’ backs, with me leading the group. In the final stretch, I pushed my griffin to the brink of its strength, charging with the combined might of my griffin’s wings and my own arms. After my comrades arrived, I realized what must be done. I jumped upon the dragon’s back and stabbed into its shoulder. My comrades, however, lacked the courage to join me.

Realizing this, I made a tactical withdrawal, jumping from its back and onto my griffin below. Oddly, many of my comrades jumped from their griffins as well, away from the dragon. Dolph, Adric, and Bree were all saved by the griffins, while Tethys fell into Mel’s arms – much to his delight, he told me later. I charged our foe once again, helping my friends find the courage to do the tactically sound thing and take the fight to the dragon. Tethys and Adric got on its back and hacked away at it, and eventually its back was slick and cold with its blood.

Something strange then happened – as I was maneuvering for a better position, I blacked out. I must have turned too hard and been flung from my griffin because, when I awoke, I found myself grasped in its claws. The others were struggling to get back on their griffins as well, and Bree was baiting the dragon back to the island and its trees (good tactics on her part, I might add).

When I had almost caught up with the dragon, a tree branch struck me from nowhere – some gnomes must have been in league with the dragon and set up a trap. I caught the branch and watched as all seemed to fail. I watched as the dragon swallowed Bree whole and delivered a terrible beating to Tethys and Adric. When my griffin returned, I pushed it as hard as I could towards the dragon, but I was quite far.

Then, screaming out of the woods on the back of a griffin, came Bael, a legendary dragonslayer. He jumped, grabbing the dragon’s foot and forcing the blade of his axe into its leg. This dragon, however, proved to be a greater foe than even he was accustomed to, striking him harder than he could shake off and leaving him drenched in his own blood. Even worse, he slashed with his claws at Tethys and Adric, sending them both falling unconscious to the ground below.

When I came close, though, I saw an opening. I leapt from my griffin and, with a thunderous roar, plunged my glaive deep into the dragon’s skull, slaying the beast. The sheer ferocity of my roar jolted my friends back to consciousness and granted Bree the resolve to force open the dragon’s jaws and escape.

When we had all escaped from the plummeting hulk on our griffins, we went down to its corpse. I slowly strode towards it, sliced into its chest, and pulled out its still-cold heart. That first bite of the raw heart of the greatest foe I had yet slain tasted like victory incarnate – cold, bloody, tough, and just a little bit sweet. Even Bael himself complimented me on my accomplishment.

After I skinned the dragon, we convened to decide what to do about the Rakshasa. I suggested that Bree, along with those of us who lacked dragonmarks, ride in the direction the dragon had started off in, thus duping the Rakshasa into believing that Bree was riding alone, presumably towards him, with the intent of turning back the moment any one of his potential hiding spots was seen. Though Tethys and Bree did not like this plan at first, Mel seemed to see its merit and proposed a few patently ridiculous plans, illustrating its strengths. He then raised the dragon, letting Bree ride its skinned corpse as its master and fulfill her dream.

Flanked by Darin and Bael and with me acting as her vanguard, Bree rode off into the evening. My plan worked – the Rakshasa fell for the ruse, and by the time he realized his error, it was too late to catch us. As the moon set, I heard its voice yelling my name in fury. We had saved Bree.

After butchering, cooking, and preserving the dragon’s meat, we waited for Arjhan. A scant two days later, we received a sending from him, asking where we were on the island. A short time after, we saw a ship on the horizon. When it arrived, a well armed and armored half-elf and some sort of aide came ashore. After being evasive about where Arjhan was, she said we were under arrest. Believing that my long-past crimes against House Tharashk may have been forgotten, I asked for a warrant so I could go free and help my comrades from the outside. When her aide presented a warrant detailing my past crimes, however, I decided that I should probably pay for my long-past desertion. I may have done the right thing that day, but I still betrayed my friend and captain.

I submitted to her authority and gave up my glaive – something that does not happen often (the only time was when I gave it to Adric for a ruse back in Dreadhold). Dolph took the opposite approach, throwing a knife at the woman, but to little effect, as is to be expected. In response, she called to her ship, causing archers to swarm the deck. Tethys then decided to surrender if she were allowed to see that Arjhan was with them. When I realized that Bree had not made the same condition, I looked and saw that she must have slipped away, unseen.

Upon seeing Arjhan – a bit battered, but alive – everyone but Mel decided to surrender. Mel decided to be foolish instead. Brave, but foolish. After he was caught and beaten to within an inch of his life, we were taken to the prison ship.

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Entry 34

From the Account of Dolph ir’Aeolus…

7 Dravgo 999 YK

Arjhan contacted us today asking for “pickup,” presumably because the airship has now reached Khorvaire. Our response was simply limited to “stolen,” due to his message length. Fortunately, his next Sending had more words, so we could explain more clearly. He claims to be coming to pick us up.

The full moon soon approaches, and with it, the rakshasa’s attempt on Bree. I do hope she survives. While she can be a complete bitch, she has proven useful in battle before, and we’ll need all the help we can get.

My thoughts turn to Tethys, as well. After Bree, her turn is next, and then mine. While I fear what repercussions it will have in the meantime, I plan to talk with her about our status soon; I would much rather confess my love for her before her death than after.

(HOOT)

Amfemys agrees.

3 Dravgo 999 YK

So, late last night, Minstrelthebard walked out of the water. He claimed to have dived off the top deck of the ship in an effort to join Meriele on the skiff, and missed. Upon hitting water, he decided to walk back to us. Apart from the ear-rending “songs,” it’s good to have him back. In the meantime, we have begun construction on a boat

2 Dravgo 999 YK

When we attempted to return to the Vengeance last night, the airship was merely a distant speck. Not too long afterward, the skiff landed, with Meriele, Jonah, King Kaius, and our young page. Jonah claimed that the ship was under attack and that the four of them were the only ones who had managed to excape.

After some deliberation, we concluded that the two best options were to send animal messengers to Paldrith, asking him to turn around, and to use Melchizedek’s magic chest to send a shadow serpent to the ship to investigate.

When the shadow serpent arrived, he found a great deal of blood shed, most of it apparently caused by the two gargoyles that Tethys invited aboard. The two gnomes were tied up in the brig, and Paldrith was in bed with his mistress, who we now conclude is a succubus.

1 Dravgo 999 YK

Balothron met with The Chamber in private. What he said inside, I will likely never know. The same is likely true of Darin. Taun, on the other hand, we know a bit more about, in that Xanthis came outside to check his story. Fortunately, he was good at portraying what he had told The Chamber to Tethys and I, and we were able to confirm his claims to have grown up in Regalport with Tethys, and met me while I was at university.

The Chamber then abandoned us to leave the island by our own devices. However, a single silver dragon remained, claiming to believe that unlike the rest of The Chamber, it was best not to leave us to our own devices while they deliberated.

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Entry 33

From the Journal of Adrik Sornath Mroranon…

1 Dravgo 999 YK

We’ve had our meeting with The Chamber. The most eventful part of the trip so far hasn’t been meeting the dragons, but the fight when we landed the griffons and were trying to sneak around. Medusas suck. Each of us was petrified at least once, and while most of us recovered pretty quickly, Dolph’s was a bit more permanent.

Mel knew what the fix was, though, and we decided to prank Dolph. Mel thought it would be hilarious to have Tahn pretend to be Old Melchizedek, wake Dolph up, and convince him that he’d been stone for decades. We couldn’t see it, but Dolph clearly bought it, and Taun was having a lot of fun trolling him.

Eventually, we all came clean, and rested up just in time for a dragon to show up. We tried to switch Taun into a member of the Chamber to get us the passphrase we needed, but it didn’t quite work; luckily (?), someone whom Dolph and Darin recognized as Xanthis was willing to say we were the ones they were looking for. (That’s reassuring.)

Xanthis and the Chamber believe that of the group the Prophecy says will destroy the world and the group that’ll save it, we’re probably in the second one. They did say there could be some overlap. We told them what we knew about the rakshasa, and they said that when it was appropriate, they would tell us what we need to know. (So much help.)

25 Eyre 999 YK

Thorn, Kinharathad, and Gavin Sol/the guy who took us to Lost are all the same person. He (I think? Who knows?) is a changeling avenger of the Traveler, working for the Cabinet of Faces. There’s a trigger phrase that wipes his personality and allows us to give him a new one which he will absolutely believe is his real one, and we (mostly Dolph and Mel) spent some time figuring out the limits on it. (Jonah was not pleased with this, saying things like “his psyche’s obviously broken, and he needs help to break free of his delusions.” I get why he thinks that, but I don’t see the use in trying to fix him.)

He doesn’t remember who he was before he was Chosen (his word, not ours). When we asked him to be “a changeling avenger of the Traveler,” the name he chose was Taun.

We go to meet with the Chamber in a few days. Depending on how much Certain People talk, this could go very, very poorly.

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Entry 32

From the Account of Dolph ir’Aeolus…

19 Eyre 999 YK

Dear Journal:

Well, after some extensive deliberations, the group has concluded that we never actually met Zam, and that he was in fact the rakshasa. Given the lack of information to be had in Xendrik, and how Zam died, it would completely make sense that the rakshasa sent us there.

Additionally, Darin was able to provide us with further information about the goings-on in Khorvaire. The news from Breland is quite disturbing, to say the least. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the nearby groups have moved on us now, when the cause for democracy had reached its breaking point. I fear that a divided Breland will very simply cease to exist, given that the military has been somewhat ineffective due to the civil war. I also fear that my family is lost.

But there are other things afoot. While I do support the cause for a free and democratic Breland, there are other things that are more important right now. Like saving the world.

Ever since that day in the elemental chamber, I’ve been pondering how far I would be willing to go to save the world. Xanthis’s parting thought was an interesting one…and I’m finding more and more that the lengths to which I would go to save the world are much further than I ever thought. I don’t know how ready I’d be to put them into practice…theoretical concepts are fine until examined in the lab…but I find myself seriously considering actions that I once would never have conceived.

(Hoooooooooot…)

Amfemys requests that I note her fairly strong displeasure with these thoughts. It has thus been noted.

18 Eyre 999 YK

Dear Journal:

Apparently I asked Tethys out last night? That’s…well, been a long time coming, I suppose…thanks to the alcohol for making me willing enough to do it, I suppose.

Looking back on what we learned last night from Mel and Balathron: the dragon bones we brought with us were very well made forgeries, not actual dragon bones. That’s even more peculiar than we thought.

Also, we managed to come across Matias, Tethys’s brother. The one thought dead in the Fortress of Fading Dreams. She managed to hit him and damage his nose before running away in tears. I managed to catch up to her (to my surprise, honestly), and was able to hug her until she calmed down enough to go see him again. The rest of the group managed to corral him, and they managed to at least discuss their issues. Having a good relationship between them is probably years away, but at the very least she knows that he’s still alive.

Also, the remodeled ship looks amazing. Volog did some fantastic work. Our new war room looks excellent, especially the Khorvaire table at the center.

17 Eyre 999 YK

Dear Journal:

I’m pretty drunk rite now. After not findin anything in the castl and the realization that the rakshsa kiled Lady irylis, most ofus wanted to get drunl and drown our sorows.

Thornn left the group from the tavern, but wouldnt say why, said hed be bac later…I tried to folow him. It’d be nice havin one of his skils wit us, but I dont trust him completely. But while I could keep trac of him, I couldn’ keep myself hidden enough for him to not notice me. Adrik sent me back to the tavern. When I asked him later, he said he lost him.

Also, I got drunk enough that I asked Tethys out. Her response was that we shoud go home, since I’m drunk. Still not a no!

(HOOT)

Amfemys isn’t happy that I’m drunk. Oh well. Here goes.

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Entry 31

From the Account of Dolph ir’Aeolus…

10 Eyre 999 YK

Dear Journal:

We were (as was somewhat expected) attacked in the night. We managed to dispatch these drow fairly efficiently, despite the lack of Thorn for the fight. He had apparently snuck away to engage in his own, preferred, method of dispatching drow (i.e., mutilation and torture) without interference with us.

In the morning, we fought another room of drow, and retrieved some things from them. Using Amfemys to scout again, we discovered three half-drow/half-scorpion monsters coming toward us, and also the path to what was likely the throne room of the castle, guarded by two statues (which we later learned were, in fact, gargoyles) and two drow. We ambushed the three drow-pions fairly effectively, and then brought the fight to the drow and gargoyles without stopping to rest after Bree decided to charge in without taking a break. Fortunately, Tethys was able to successfully distract the gargoyles from completely wrecking us while we fought the drow.

After a brief rest, we then entered the throne room, and encountered what appeared to be a dracolich. While it wasn’t easy, we did manage to dispatch it relatively quickly, and then found a room of records and such behind the throne room of the castle. Torra found them fascinating, and while I was not quite as interested as her, the idea of studying the economics of giant civilization was a bit astounding.

As we were preparing to leave (as a scout trip by Amfemys showed that the drow had set up camp on the other side of the castle from where we began), Mel and I noticed that the dracolich had some unusual qualities. With some further study and some excellent stalling by Melchizedek (yelling in draconic), we managed to discern that (among other things, this dracolich had been created after the dragon originally died, something Mel was quick to point out is not supposed to work. We chose to take some of the bones with us for further inspection.

With additional work by Balathron and Thorn, we managed to move the throne off of the secret passage it blocked, and were lucky enough that it let us out of the castle on the side we came in on, thus allowing us to avoid detection by the newly arrived drow.

(hoot hoot hoot)

Amfemys notes that I should mention that the air around the castle was amazingly dense and humid. When we returned to Adrik, we learned from him that the water was acidic, and thus non-potable. This reminded Mel and Tethys of something they had heard of before called “environmental diffusion.” After some further research and study, they learned that it occurs in rare cases when an ancient dragon is killed, leading to the very rapid decay of the skeleton and destruction of the surrounding area. Based on how long it took us to get down-river before the acidity dissipated, and the nature of the environmental effects, we surmise that it was an incredibly powerful ancient black dragon, though how and when it died remains unknown.

(Hoot hoot)

Amfemys is heading out to do her fly-about of the ship. I should probably tuck in as well.

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Entry 30

From the Account of Dolph ir’Aeolus…

(The following represents a portion of an overheard conversation between Aeolus and his owl familiar, Amfemys.)

So, this is the boat we came up the river on. This was where I found you.

(Hoot)

I know it’s not much, but it did exactly what it was supposed to do for us.

(Hoot hoot)

Could you calm down for a little bit, please? I need to write this thing.

(HOOT)

Fine, be that way.

9 Eyre 999 YK

Dear Journal,

So, we made it up-river, as I previously recounted. We left Adrik with the boat, so that we’d hopefully still have one when we got back, then proceeded inland with our prisoner.

Our prisoner very much did not want to be where we were going. He described it as a “place of death,” and ran far away as fast as possible when we released him.

We then entered the castle from a hole in one of the side walls, so as to avoid potential traps on the front door. We left Balathron on the guard watch outside, so we didn’t have to worry as much about people following us in. In retropsect, that was a bit unwise, as while my healing infusions are effective, his own inspirational leadership has oftentimes been all that has kept us on our feet in the past.

Exploring some empty rooms, we went down into a dungeon, where we encountered some undead. One of Thorn’s powers came quite in handy for this, and we dispatched them relatively easily.

Moving back upstairs, we went up to the second floor of the castle, which is now effectively the top floor. I took this opportunity to let Amfemys go flying, and looked through her eyes for the first time.

(Hoot.)

Amfemys says hi, Journal. Also, she apparently quite likes flying, unsurprisingly. I can’t disagree with her…seeing through her eyes was one of the more awesome things ever. I haven’t enjoyed airship travel that much, but solo flight was rather spectacular.

Anyway, we moved back downstairs, did some more exploring…fought more drow.

(HOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!)

Amfemys apparently rather dislikes drow, Journal. I’m inclined to agree with her, though neither of us comes close to Thorn on that front.

(Hoo-hoot…)

Amfemys has asked me to note that she’s fairly terrified of Thorn. I am too. I don’t expect him to be around much longer after we return to Stormreach. Traveling with a fervent worshiper of the Dark Six, The Fury in particular, is troubling, to say the least

I should also note that Melchizedek had one of his finest moments on in the second room of drow we encountered. He paid for it dearly…he was hurt pretty badly by the end, but he did a fair amount of damage to the drow. Some of these drow we managed to keep prisoner, but later released, rather than leave them at Thorn’s “mercy.” Good thinking by Tethys to do that.

(Hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot…)

Amfemys continues to insist that Tethys and I should mate. Which had crossed my mind before but…the thought’s mildly terrifying, to be quite honest. I say something wrong, and next thing I know there’s a rapier going through my chest…

At the same time, though, it isn’t as if I have multiple lives to take advantage of. Perhaps I’ll ask her out sometime soon.

(HOOT)

Amfemys insists on it being immediate. Maybe we can find some nice, relatively secluded part of Stormreach to go visit. Not the best date ever…but it’d be better than trying to go on one aboard ship.

(hoot hoot)

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Entry 29

As recorded by Bree…

7 Eyre 999 YK

So We went up the River with Him and got ataked by Drow Which are Blak Eviler Elves and like Dark and only speek Giant and are Reely Dumb. So wen We took One as a Prizuner He wuz Use Less.

5 Eyre 999 YK

We went back to the Bar and got a Boat Driver to take Us throo the Jungel but then wen We went to meet Him He got stabed in the Back by a Shifter named Thawrn or Thorn and He hates Elves too and will not sell Us for our Bownty and He is allmost the Best Ever.

4 Eyre 999 YK

Becuz We are Wunted, We cood not go strate to Storm Reech and We had to use the Skiff to get In. Kin left Heer becuz He thot He cood not be foloed eezily. We went to look for How Zam got the Infermashun. Tethyses Groop herd at a Bar that Zam wuz a Good Advencherer but that His Groop allmost died on This One. Later I folowed a Bar Tender and herd Wer Zam had gon.

17 Therendor 999 YK

Volog and Karmuk got Us Stuff to smugl so that We cood make the Ship Better wen We get to Storm Reech. Tethys Reely likes the Sheep.

16 Therendor 999 YK

I tolded Dolph and Adrik Wut hapend to Daruush and how Mel skrued Us over. I cot Most of the Griffons so We can make Money off of Them becuz We are Por. Down Under the Dek Mel had cot Two of the Dwarvs that ataked Us and wus axing them Kweschuns but He is Reely Bad at Interigating. They wur luking for that King Gie that Mel likes so much. But They did not noe about Ret and sed that They wood send Lots More Peepul after Us so It is Good that We are goeing to Xendrik. Mel and Tethys wer Too Nice and let Them go in a Forest and did not kill Them. Arjhan also left becuz He wunted to warn Lady Ir’Ryliss becuz She is Next to Die frum the Rakshasa and also We will noe Wut hapens while We are Gon.

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Entry 28

As Recorded by Bree…

14 Therendor 999 YK

Mel thot the rakshasa cud only look like big peepul, so he wanted to put me and Torah and Rogan on a skiff with Daruush on the day of the attack. but evrywun els wanted Rogan to make poshuns and Torah is yoosless in a fite so it was just me and it is not a big skiff. Muriel was teeching me how to fly the skiff which is fun but hard and she is reely girly and she made me girly too so that part was not good but the flying was fun.

Mel wanted Daruush to use a poshun to make him look like Mel and Mel wud take a poshun to look like Daruush and then the rakshasa wud attack Mel and he wud jump out of the airship and use fetherfall and not die some how. But Daruush was not good at being Mel and so we went flying and I am not a good flyer but it was okay until the grifins showed up.

The rakshasa was one of the grifin guys and he burned the other one and then he attacked us and he is very strong and I am not a good fighter on a small skiff and I almost got us back to the airship but then I got back and then he killed Daruush and I hate him.

There were more grifins on the ship but they were not as strong as the rakshasa and Mel had a stupid plan and I am going to hurt him lots for making Daruush die.

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Entry 27

From the Journal of Adrik Sornath Mroranon…

6 Therendor 999 YK

So Daruush doesn’t like us as a group. Apparently he hasn’t been able to get any adventuring jobs since returning from the expedition – the Aurem’s blacklisted all of us that went to Frostfell. Well, as long aswe can keep him alive through the 14th, we can keep the rakshasa’s plan from working out as well as it’d like. I’m okay with that; hopefully we don’t let him onto the airship between now and then. (Hell, hopefully we haven’t already.) Not only did we pick up Daruush, we killed a few slavers that thought we’d make good captives, and any day we clean up the scum of the earth is a good day in my book.

5 Therendor 999 YK

Kennrun fell to the Lord of Blades, seemingly recently (it was still smoldering when we got there). We flew over it on our way to Darguun, noticed an unfamiliar flag, and decided we should investigate. All the Brelish soldiers were dead, and warforged were on sentry duty. Not many, though, which is even more troubling – either the Lord of Blades didn’t bring very many soldiers (which I doubt), or the vast majority of his invasion force is on its way further into Breland.

Also, it’d be great if we had some way of teaching Arjhan the real Sending ritual. I’m impressed that he was able to make anything work, but with House Sivis, you know exactly how many words you have. Trying to message Daruush didn’t work too well.

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Entry 26

As recorded by Bree…

1 Therendor 999 YK

Kin wuz not Happy that Tethys wanted to go to the Fortres of Fayding Dreems but Who cares. Meriele put us a Long Way from the Fortres so we cud go in at the Mornin. We walkded up to the Fortres and fownd some Peepul and Mel almost fuuled them to think that we were Fae sum how becuz they are Reelly Stoopid but then we had to fight them anyway. They are all Crazy too. None of Them had heard of Tethyses Bruther but They sed They killed all Hoomans.

We went to the Fortres and tryed the Pass Word but it wuz Rong so we went to the Dunjons to look for Rekords of Tethyses Bruther but then Things got Reelly Weerd. we found a Burning Bilding with the Flying Noll who tryed to kill Tethyses Other Bruther in Regalport and we fawt It but It hurt and Mel told Us that It wuz not Reel but I reelly wunted to kill That Guy becuz Wings are Cheeting. Then the Bilding wuz Gone and We were in a Forest and Varis wuz There and then He chokeded Me and That wuz Weerd becuz he wuz almost Okay for an Elf and I wuz Afraed he wud be Bad in the End then We were Back in the Very Begining but then the Ice opened and it wuz a Dragon only with Three Heds and he wuz Reelly Reelly Strong and then Tethys went off the Ledge but she wuz Okay and then Adrik went over the Edj but he’s Hevy and Short and dus not Teleprot so he wuz Not Okay and also He kept loosing his Ax. Tethyses Family came Back and grabbed Us but Mel kind of tuk care of Them and then the Dragon had 4 Heds but We still beet It.

Then We woke Up and We were with the Dragon but He only had One Hed and He had been in the Fortres for a Long Time. We Both wanted to talk to the King so He flue Up to distract the Peepul in the Castel becuz They kept talking in Our Heds and We went Up and found Him. I think It wud be Reelly Kool if We cud all fly around on Dragons.

King Tear Leean Doresh wuz Reelly Krazy. He wunted to put Us back in Bad Dreems becuz He duz not like Peepul who are Not Crazy but also He has been puting Kaos in the World from the Fortres so We tryed to tell Him that we have been puting Kaos in the World without even trying too and He liked That but wunted Us to sine on with Him but We are not That Stoopid and He also had not heard of Tethyes Bruther but He is probably still Ded. But then They were trying to Brake In and so We got Meriele to pick Us up but acshually We were Gone for Three Days so That wuz Reelly Krazy.

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