In the Hopewastes

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Peter Levy
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In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:28 pm

**Through the seething mass of newly arrived, frightened, besieged and at arms with each other, the shadow of a lone figure calmly strolled. The figure, dragons swirling about his robes, slowly made his way through the Wastes from the West, and eventually reached the Bastion. He flickered, and faded.**

--------

'I am trusting the four of you to restore order.'

**The words of the Lord of the Hopewastes resounding in their ears, three cloaked figures headed out into the dark.**

--------

**The beastkin had traveled many long weeks, through more hells than he would care to imagine. In his mind, there was only one destination, and he WOULD reach it. In a sheltered corner, he found it. The altar.

**Barely three lines into his prayer, he felt a presence. In a flash, his soul was torn from him. A white face faded into the air.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:33 pm

**The wastes are wash with the souls of the departed, vying for space, for privacy, for sustenance. Small groups begin to form, to protect themselves, and each other from not only the threat of the dark spirits of the Wastes, but from those groups which wished to take from the others. Of these various groups, a gang calling themselves the Hadji emerge as one of the most resourceful, numerous and powerful. They are led by a man with scars on his lips, a conjurer of flames, and a natural leader.**


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**Two men sit about a hole in the earth. They look to each other, confused by this phenomenon. The first man, twisting the chain of a medallion of blue crystal, knelt down to get a closer look at this peculiar puddle of void, and leapt back, as an arm, pale and ethereal burst through the hole.

The second man began to chant under his breath, and a black haze began to seep from the gemstone around his neck. The ethereal being that emerged from the void stood before them, its arms outstretched as though to prove its peaceful intent and spoke simply,

''My friends, I need your gift. Work your words to my story. One night is not enough for all these trapped souls.''

**The three figures huddled as the void closed, and began their plot.**


---------


**Just outside the Bastion, a shape appeared on a rock, a shape not seen for some years. But a second after its appearance, it faded. A few feet further out, two more of these symbols flitted along a wall. All around the area, people would catch a glimpse of these events, barely registering in their minds (there are after all much more dangerous things in the Hopewastes than a sword and a rose, crossed)**
Last edited by Peter Levy on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:22 pm

**The gang had gathered in large numbers. Something was approaching their turf.**

''We are the Hadji. None shall pass!''

**A great, long claw tore fragile souls in half, burning with the power of many realms. The Hadji stood fast. Their leader stood at the front, weighing in with all his might, but he was beaten down. The gang retreated, and the beast fed on the broken souls of the fallen.**


--------------


**The disquiet throughout the wastes has elevated to, in places, outright war. Something had to be done.

**A great steel box was created, its walls stretching up beyond sight and sealed with flame. One by one, troublemakers find they meet one of two fates: their soul is destroyed, or they are dragged inside this new creation. Nobody has seen the inside and spoken of it. Some order is restored to the crowds; still panicked, still confused, still vulnerable, still ruled by fear.**


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**Voices have often been heard among the fallen of Velmaneth, decrying the Heroes for their actions, for dooming their world. They are well met. Who brought the glooms? The Heroes. Who arbitrarily chose a tiny few for survival? The Heroes. What makes the Heroes special?

**Minds meet. Fear and confusion is turned to anger. A new movement is developing, its leaders sent to the Wastes by the Heroes. Their mark: a five-pointed star. These people left no stench of essence; of betrayal. They are pure of heart, and theirs is the only way to find redemption.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:22 pm

**In a secluded corner of the Hopewastes, a low-pitched rumble begins to grow in volume. The air thickens, forming a swirling, dark mist. There is a sense of a large amount of power flowing into the area, as though appearing out of nowhere. An ear-shattering sound tears through the Wastes, as though a mountain had split in half. The rumbling ceases, and in the silence, the mists dissipate, and a large stone tower comes into view.**


------------


**Word begins to spread among those who know people who know some people, that a man called Tom has found a secure house, outside of the Bastion, where the desires of any spirit can be sated. People who've visited speak of Tom's house with a sort of smug satisfaction. Those who haven't been could easily be tempted. Even the dead have needs...**


------------


**Not far beyond the limits of the Bastion, in one of the darkest recesses, three figures huddled. The first, hooded figure placed an etched brass bowl on the ground.**

''My friends, I give you this vessel. It carries with it the eyes of the Old Messengers. I have aligned its will to mine.''


**The second figure, twiddling his necklace chain, observed the bowl and smiled.**

''If that be the case, then we shall share our gift with this artefact.''

**A blue haze begins to envelope the smiling man, and swirls into the bowl. All around the Wastes, a sense of impending doom begins to rise in people's hearts.**

''If it be the will of any man, let him write his story. From this act of inscription shall come an awakening vision.''


**The third figure steps up, a black haze engulfing him, and flowing into the bowl.**

''Put fire to your word, for this gift is worth a thousand''


**The blue and black haze fades, but the feeling that something terrible is coming grows. The three men wander, one in one direction, the others another.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:52 pm

**The spirit of one of those taken by Glooms at Nandine stops in his tracks, not allowing his foot to fall. He drops to his hands and knees, to get a closer look. What is this... thing? The sound of a hundred voices chanting grows nearer.**

What are you, flower?
asks the spirit
Why are you here?

**The spirit immediately has to flee. This new cult are dangerous, unpredictable. For now, he would find safety. He would wonder about the secrets of this strange new plant; its black stem, its white buds. Surely not...**


---------------


**Low, rumbling chants had been heard about the Wastes. The sense of impending doom has been building for around a week, and crescendos to a moment of stillness. For just a second, it feels like everything is going to be just fine...**

**Far, but not too far from the Bastion, the ground begins to heat up. The rock glows a dull orange; the very air itself is set ablaze. Dark flames hover in the air. Slow, knowing, evil smiles stretch across dozens of faces around this new fire.**

You have all done well. Let us continue His work.


---------------


**Amid all the dark omens, the confusing signs, the secret meetings, the overcrowding, the fear, the violence, a silver lining appears to show. Many have begun to notice a new, and welcome fact:

There are barely any undead spirits anymore.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:58 pm

**A small group huddles in a corner, exchanging stories of the lives they had once enjoyed; their trades, their families, their worlds, and how they had been lost. **

**Half an hour later, an elf came to where they had camped. He saw only blood, chaos and death.**


----------


**Two figures, in green robes, patched with fur, stand facing each other. They give each other a nod, and swirling blue and black mists engulf them. The entire Hopewastes quake with a dark, foreboding power. As the mists dissipate, the men are gone.*


---------



**In one of the quieter corners of the Wastes, near the misty stone tower, one of the Hadji is drilling into the rock. There is power to sustain their tribe bound to the earth, and he will find it. The auger unexpectedly jams; something peculiar, something dense its in the way.**

**A great claw bursts from the earth, and swipes at the lone man's arm, tearing through his flesh, his soul, his memory, his entire being. A great, shimmering beast rises from beneath. Another creature to assault the Hadji.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:44 pm

**A sinister, lecherous smile crept across his toothless mouth as he gazed down at the girl. She was cold, scared, defeated. He pushed one brass button aside, a pink anchor imprinting on his finger. He pushed a second, and third, a fourth, and shrugged his doublet from his back. A single tear rolled down her cheek. Not again, please, not again.**

I don't think you should be here.
**The voice came from the doorway. The man spun around, seeing the proprietor standing there. The girl slumped into her matress, and gently sobbed.**

I think you should mind your words. If you knew who you were talking to...
I know precisely who you are. You, and your brothers.**Interrupted the man in the doorway, taking a step into the dark, musty room.**
Now, I'm not proposing to do anything with this information, but you should leave.

**Grudgingly the man dressed himself. The two men glared at each other.**

You would dare challenge us, Tom? Hmmm... OK. For now, I shall go. But, we are watching you.

**He stormed out. A white face appeared for a brief second over the girl, and vanished. Tom looked down at her.**

Clean yourself up and get dressed.


---------------


Who will challenge me?

**The Serkanian strode toward the nearest man, fixing him with an intense look. The target, confused, and unaware did not respond.**

You will.

**In a single sweep of his sword, the Serkanian tore his opponent in half. He bowed, and marched on.**

**A great burst of air magic swept through the area beside this combat. Emanating from a large, wolf-like creature, who stood by the entrance to the Morgue.**

**At the other entrance, a wood elf hunted. A light elf vanished from view. A daemonic claw spread pestilence. And a man, in shining chainmail stood over the entrance, mace in hand.**

I can fight them.
**declared Simon**


---------------


**A purplish-grey figure appears in the West. He walks steadily Eastward, heading for the Bastion. With each step, the dragons swirling about his robes seem embodied in the figure. His face flashes between man and dragon, as waves of silvery energy pull at the fabric of the world around him. As he reaches the outside of the Bastion, he pauses, and fades to nothing.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:05 pm

**Malko smiled to himself. He's definitely making a good decision. He would give anything for his son to be free. Anything. Even his immortal soul. This is the right thing to do. He was old. It was nearly his time. The Glooms took his son too soon. He could have achieved anything; been anything. Now here was his chance.**

I choose my boy. Set him free, and I will pledge myself, to remain bound to the Hopewastes; Forever. Please, help my son to leave this place.

**A gleeful grin was scarcely contained on the other figure's face. His dark, shimmery eyelids narrowed over his eyes.**

The pact is made.

**The two men shook hands. Not far away, a young man -barely 19- found himself beginning to fade. His spirit drifted from the Hopewastes, and he pictured his home.**


-------------


They think that they have the answer to the End. They are wrong: there is no answer. Now, we will show the His power. TO WAR!!!

**The booming cry came, and a sense of impending victory swept through the crowd. Weapons held aloft, buoyed by their recent victories, they screamed their warcries at the top of their lungs. Velnashar's dominance would be stamped upon the realm he created. They don't care about purity of heart; there is only one rule: Destruction.**


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**A small green gem dropped from above, and landed by the feet of an elf. She picked it up, sensing a large amount of water magic within it, which was fading. She thought this very curious, but placed the stone in her pocket and, looking about her for witnesses, wandered off to find shelter.**

**An old man sat by a new visitor: a tiny crystal. It reached out to him with dark energy, but its grip was weak. He thought this very curious, but left it well alone.**

**Across the Wastes, people found small focuses of elemental power. Their powers were intense, but rapidly faded. Very quickly it became apparent that there was an element missing. Light had shadow, air had earth...**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:47 pm

**Setting his smith's hammer down, the man examines his creation. It may be just one of many, but just as much love is put into the thousandth as the first; it is a labour of love. Waves of lightning course through the still-hot metal, and 'life' is breathed into the armour. The crafter turns to his master...**

Good. One More. Then another.

**His master departs, and the man returns to his work.**


-------------------


**A lone figure sits in the shadows, rocking slightly back and forth. Rubbing his hands, in some sort of panic, the man mumbles to himself quietly**

...why so long...should have found it...Father...betray you, they betrayed you...gifts...these people should not be here...

**He looks up suddenly, thinking he sees something in the corner of his eye. He slowly rises and, brushing his cloak aside a little, clasps his swords. Turning around a bit, he draws his blade, watching in the shadows for whatever was stalking him.**

Show yourself!

**He hears a breath behind him, and swings to strike whoever is there. No-one is there. Just a white mask, and a rusty sword. The rusty sword tears upwards through the man, and he falls to the floor. The face sinks into the wall behind it, and a cold whisper says:**

A warning. Brother of mine.


----------------------


In the name of the Lord of Destruction, we send you forth. You, my creations, my metallic minions, will find the agents, the bards, and annihilate them.

**A line of suits of armour, glimmering steel constructs stand to attention, and turn to their left. A small portal opens before them, and through it they march.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:02 pm

**A disapproving smirk stretching over his fangs as he eyed up this thin man in a black coat, he considered the proposal. Nobody had quite heard the words they exchanged, but slowly, the disapproval turned to acceptance; acceptance to something bordering on pleased. A quick handshake, and they parted.**

**Playing with the buttons on his cuff, the thin man smiles to himself: this is step one. And it could not have gone better. His sparkling eyes focus on the distance, and he fades away to nothing**


----------


**Panicked, rushed, fearful, a man tears apart his room. Where did he leave it? Where has it gone? No time. he has to get out. One of the guards on the door pokes his head around**

Mr S?! All ok?

**There is no reply. He storms from his study, through the main saloon, and leaves. As he pushes past the guard, he barks a simple order:**

When Trot or the others return, tell them I am DEAD.
And the girls?
Tell them I'm sorry.

**He sets off away from Tom's House and disappears into the crowds.**

Tom?


----------


**The battle for power within the Wastes has begun. Kan Slaar sits back and lets it unfold. He has made his plans, and now it is all down to these... fanatics, to keep each other occupied. Hoards of men, elves and daemons began their assault upon their rival hoards of men, elves and daemons. Flames repelled by small pentagrams, the fight fell into brutal combat. Neither side gaining much advantage.**

**Leading from the front, the leader of the Cult of Velnashar, rips through the Pure Heart army. Leading from the back, the leader of the Order of the Pure Heart drains the power of the armies of Velnashar. Their war of attrition drags on.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:37 pm

**In the west, a huge, purpley-grey dragon appears. It unfurls its wings, and takes to the dark skies. The dragon swoops in towards the Bastion, clenching its taloned fists, and buries itself into the ground.**

**A spirit wanders curiously towards where the dragon impacted. He notices an object. Checking that the coast is clear, he crouches, placing this small token into his pocket.**

The Vampire may have use for you...
**he thought to himself, as he rushed away from the scene**


-----------


**The population of the Wastes is dwindling. So many souls had been sent here, and now so many have been sent deeper. The Pure Heart, the Cult of Velnashar, or death: these are the most common options. Sure, the larger gangs, the Hadji, Trot's gang, the desert tribes, and one or two others have survived the war so far, but many are facing the choice: join or die.**

**In the midst of all the chaos and the destruction, the leader of the Cult of Velnashar meets secretly with a man claiming to be leader of the Pure Heart. Believing this to be a sign of the Pure Heart's submission, their defeat, he smiles to himself. He would relish that sweet moment when they declare Velnashar victorious, and lay down their arms. That beautiful moment when peace will be offered, and he will turn them down.**

**The head of the Order leaves the meeting with a sense of optimism. He'd done a damned good job.**

**The head of the Cult leaves the meeting with a new sense of purpose. He'd had a damned good idea.**


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**The Hadji shield wall was holding. They had started out as twenty strong, but they stood firm even at half their number. The Beast had no option but retreat. This creature that had harried and killed and tormented the Hadji, the elder of the twins, was slowly being defeated. The beast was backed up to a stone wall, which it all but destroyed in a single sweep of its mighty claw. In the flurry of blows, it forced through this rubble and brought to its knees.**

**But it was not enough. The Auger, who had vowed to vanquish these creatures; these creatures he believed he had created, led the final charge. He struck a single blow with his spear, dripping with a tarry substance, and the beast grew slow. The Hadji backed off.**

**There then came a terrible, piercing screech, as though all the world's fingernails were scratching all the world's chalkboards. Suddenly, the Auger realised what was coming; where they were. Behind the Beast was an open grave. From within the grave, a dark weapon rose: like four hooked swords bound together, blood dripping, never drying upon it. In a single stroke, the Beast was destroyed. As the dark arm that struck the blow retreats into the darkness of its grave, a wave of power surged past the Hadji.**

**At the Hadji camp, there were screams. Eventually the screams stopped. When the Auger's hunting party returned, they found they were the only ones left. The second twin had visited, but its tracks, like the wounds on the fallen, were much deeper.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:08 pm

**Some way South of the Bastion of Hope, two souls appear. Both dressed in green and fur, one wearing a blue talisman, the other a black talisman, both bearing great scars -as though they had been cut in two and stitched back together.**

Well, that was unexpected.
Shut up. Your expectations are not important. Where is it?
What are you asking me for? I know as much as you do!
You gave it to that man from the Pure Heart. We might as well not have bothered.
I'm sure it's fine. He will have it, and he will find us.
He will find us, that is certain. Perhaps we should get on with the rites?

**They wander away, discussing something or other, one bouncing with excitement, the other clearly fed up.**


------------


**The general sounded the charge. All who could get away, ran. Those who could not, fell into the Deep. Assaulted on two flanks, the Fort of Varya is torn apart. Two forces: the Cult of Velnashar, and the Order of the Pure Heart. They both continued their assault.**

**Those who fled came to the Bastion, Hoping that they may shelter. Inside this, the shadow of the city of Varya, they made their stand against these two armies.**

**They could not hold them.**

**The General, a man who had once been seen as the champion of the Cult, was now champion of the Order. As the order for the souls of the Bastion to retreat to the inner defences, this General cast out a wave of energy, and all around were cut off from the jewel. No screams could be heard as the armies fell upon them.**

**As the General left, his forces grew impatient: their truce would not hold.**

**For those who had survived this invasion, who were now sheltered in what is left of this once-unassailable fortress, only the sounds of the in-fighting outside offered any glimmer of hope. The souls of the Bastion had very little Hope left. All they can do is wait.**


--------------


**In the North, a circle is open. Blood had dripped into it. Several pulses of light magic had burst through it. Its creator was missing. And now, creatures begin to materialise inside it. Large, wolf-like creatures; their jaws mutated, twisted, dripping steaming black ichor; their claws gnarled, broken and bleeding. One by one they stand, their matted fur saturated with dark blood. They stand, as their master returns. He looks at his summonations, and smiles.**

You'll do. Although, I was hoping for more.
**He gestures to one of the creatures**
You. You will go to Velmaneth. Find the source of that magic, and destroy it.
**The man dusts off his black coat, and spins about on the spot. Something is behind him.**

Oh. That was quick. Have you come to a decision on my proposal? And thank you for your help earlier, very unsporting of you. I like it.

**He waves off the remaining creatures, who crawl away into the shadows. He ambles off, talking to his new visitor, and laughs loudly at the mention of 'sacrifice'. He smiles a smug smile, and the two figures continue their discussion. They shake hands, and the visitor vanishes.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:43 pm

**Two men approach a new-found friend. Their friend was clutching something familiar. The three of them smile: it had worked.**

I knew it would be fine. I knew it. I told you.

**The friend loses his smile. He sees a familiar white mask behind them. Dropping the glass jar he held, he reaches for his sword. Four arms grab him, and hold him back. Something is blocking his power. The two men fall to the floor.**

**In the chaos of the fire that follows, the restrained man escapes. Shards of glass -and something metallic- are his only footprint. Three figures stand beside these flames, as a white face and a rusty cutlass hover beside them. One crouches, then they part.**


-----------------


**Inside the great steel cube, the prisoners were too numerous to count; their crimes too numerous to mention. There was no room for these souls in this place.**

Go in. Clean it up. Return to me.

**The order was given, and a column of metal statues processed toward the prison. Its door opened, and slammed shut behind them. After a brutally brief couple of minutes, the door once more allowed the metal creations through; blood dripping from their blades, their gauntlets. Their master smiled a toothless smile.**


------------------


**A single note: a single, extended, rasping, dry cello note reverberates through the Hopewastes. Gradually, other instruments join its call: bagpipes set their drone, brassy pipes add their accent, a guitar picks out minor scales. The land of the dead is filled with these sounds, as though a grim orchestra were tuning. Their sound builds to a near deafening cacophany, then fades back down, the lone cello scratching its pain into the Wastes.**

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:06 pm

**After what feels like an eternity, the siege of the Bastion of Hope comes to an end. The once united forces of Velnashar's cult and the Order of the Pure Heart have split. Three factions: those loyal to their cult, those loyal to their order, and those whose allegiances still lie with both. Three factions, their objective forgotten, turn their attention to each other. The forces are scattered, and the Bastion is all but abandoned by them.**

**Some souls tentatively emerge from the innermost defenses, and find the ruins of the ghost of the city of Varya deserted, crippled and aflame.**


--------------


**A hooded figure has been speaking with Kan Slaar for some time. The vampire storms out of their discussion. The hooded figure calls out after him**

Remember your place in His world! You are not His master!

**The hooded figure stands for a moment, before dashing into the shadows.**


--------------


I am old, my time was coming. But he, he is just a boy still. He should not have been sent here... I agree to your terms. I pledge my soul to be bound in this place. Take my son out of this place.
The pact is made.

**Five miles from this conversation, a young man is surrounded. A group of creatures, wreathed in flame slowly close in around him. He stands his ground, as his father would have. He forgets fear. As the first ball of fire is about to strike him, he vanishes.**


The pact is made.

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Re: In the Hopewastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:33 pm

**A figure stands by a small pile of ash. Not much time has passed since he last stood here; since they betrayed him. They should not be blamed, they were entitled to their revenge: it was their decision to make. He bows his head, and speaks softly**

My friends, I am sorry for what I brought upon you. Our work is complete. The stage is set, now the word must go out: people can leave, be restored, go home. She has already risen, returned to the lands of our ancestors. I remain unconvinced by your taste in music. Farewell, my friends.

**The figure strides out to spread the news**


------------------


**While the Pure Heart, and the Cult of Velnashar, and their united faction concerned themselves with their own fight, people began to notice the return of the spirits that had once dominated this place: the undead are returning.**


-----------------


**Three men stand before Kan Slaar. He is examining a small silver goblet.**

And you are certain that's what this is?

**The men nod, smugly**

Any soul?

**They nod again**

Well, what a happy coincidence that it came to me... But what to do with it? Divine artefacts are hard to destroy... It does look rather similar to the other cup, the one borne of Gaflin... I think I have an idea. In plain sight, why not... Gaflin and the Cup of Freedom... One of you had better prepare the small chamber, and maybe barricade the tunnel?

**The three men turn to leave**

Oh, and if you see Carnage, tell him his services are probably not required.


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