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PostPosted: January 30th, 2016, 5:04 pm 
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Duke

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Location: Stirling, Scotland
Year 471 of the Emperor, Phoenix 00|07, sixth year

"And so the caravans sent south should be processed as one and then separated as and when they reach the crossroads," Lord Cunnigham argued.

"That is lunacy!" Lord Murrison objected. "The division after leaving the walls will only lead to further complications following the expansion of Tremaine! I beg of you Viceroy, further expansion of Tremaine is inevitable given the growth in Southern Perth. To approve this adjustment would be counter intuitive. It will only be a matter of years before we have to reverse such a clause in future."

"Regardless of assumed future growth," Lord Cunningham continued. "This process favors lots of parties here and now. It is more reliable and far more suited to the current climate." Helori, who had been sitting quietly throughout the argument, finally raised his hand.

"It is clear both arguments hold their own merits." He began, "As this is the first this issue has been raised to myself, regardless however many times it has been raised to my predecessors, I shall evaluate it independently. Is this agreeable to you both?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. Lord Murrison nodded stiffly, however Lord Cunningham raised an eyebrow in return.

"Might I remind the young Viceroy," he said the words with bitterness in his voice, "that it was the marriage to my brother's daughter which cemented his place in court here?"

"How dare you!" Lord Murrison called. "My lord, he is clearly using your relationship with his extended family to..."

"Enough," Helori called, waving a hand. His eyes were fixed on Lord Cunnigham's. "I am convinced. The current method for processing imports and exports to Northern and Southern Perth shall be standardized as per Lord Cunningham's suggestion." Geoffrey Carnoustie, who stood beside Helori, nodded slightly at the decision. Bolstered by his allies' approval, Helori raised a hand to Lord Murrison's objection and indicated to Lord Cunningham instead. "See to it the recommended changes are set forth." Lord Cunningham nodded, then stood and left the chambers. "I call this meeting adjourned." Helori called. The other nobles slowly rose, bowed, and left the room in an orderly fashion, leaving only Helori and Geoffrey in the room. Geoffrey who had been standing the entire time, took a seat by the young Viceroy's side.

"You did well. Do not let bullies like Murrison treat you with contempt." He cautioned. You allies are clear. Lord Cunningham has the people's best interest at heart."

"Indeed," Helori nodded. Only a few months ago, lord Cunningham had called for a raise in taxes so as to finance the new development of the lower city. Helori was still skeptical with the introduction of Dwarven building methods, especially without a dwarf present to offer support in such attempts. Despite his reservations, the many lords felt it was within their stone mason's abilities to build such a structure beneath Tremaine; a street connecting the lower city with the agricultural district, with a theatre and a number of stalls and shops for local businesses. Helori had long since decided, given the limited contact with his father for such matters, to accept the recommendations from his advisers. Since this recommendation had been passed, work had begun on the lower city side, so far without any struggles, but the workers had only just finished in clearing the dirt and soil from the hillside. Helori rose and stepped toward the map of Carrickshire on the wall behind his seat. he studied it for a moment.

"I think I want to visit this...Sigh glen?" The young man asked. Geoffrey sucked in a breath through his clenched teeth.

"That settlement is comprised of snow elves, my lord," Geoffrey explained. "Very dangerous."

"Lady Samaia doesn't seem that bad?" Helori argued. Geoffrey shook his head.

"Lady Samaia has spent many years with humans. We have civilized her. Besides, when was the last time you met the Duchess?" Helori shook his head.

"I have never..."

"Exactly. take it from me...elves are best left to their own devices." Helori took a deep breath and released it slowly. He was desparate to find a reason to leave Tremaine, even for a few days.

"What about the lands to the south?" He asked. "Mt Foliantos, and the fort beyond that. Surely they are safe from bureaucrats for me to visit." Geoffrey screwed his face and his mouth turned to one side of his face as if he were contemplating eating a particularly sour lemon.

"Mt Foliantos has never been all that...secure.." he trailed off. "The region is...not Perthian...not properly, at any rate. They believe their old governor, a man named Lenier, is their God. There is shrine to him and a complex religious structure...it's best not to visit such a place." For the first time since Geoffrey had joined Helori as his adviser in Tremaine, Helori felt he was being told the truth.

"And the forts to the south?" He asked.

"Southern Carrickshire is the site of the battle that claimed the life of Duke Ferris," Geoffreey explained. "You would not want to fall victim to the whims of the Endermen. They are a rotten, vile group of beings who ought to be slaughtered on sight!"

"I thought my uncle slew the remaining Endermen in the south..." Said Helori, a hint of confusion in his voice.

"No...he led the charge against Sommerville, but the enderman threat has not dimished. Ask General Montgomery, he will tell you of the struggles faced beyond the walls of the city..." Geoffrey fell silent for a moment as the young viceroy absorbed his words. "Trust me, the best place for you is within these walls, where we can protect you." He clasped a hand on Helori's shoulder and, after a moment, Helori nodded. "There's a good lad. You head off to the castle. I've a few documents to catch up on." Helori nodded again, then stood and walked from the room. As he left, Geoffrey's face turned sour and he stomped from that room, out through the door to the next, where he found Lord Cunningham with a pile of letters.

"I hope you realize how difficult it is to intercept every letter from the boy's father?" He asked, holding up a stack of letters.

"I imagine it'd be about as easy as keeping the boy in place?" Geoffrey sighed, taking the stack and flipping through them. "Ah, a letter from his mother..." He casually held the envelope against a candle until the parchment lit in flame, then dropped it against the cold, cobblestone floor. "And here, a letter from his father," He opened the envelope and read.

"Dear Helori,

Your mother and I are worried. I am sorry to speak so bluntly but your silence is deafening. Since your uncles death there has been no word. I had hope Master Carnoustie...oh, do you hear that, he calls me master...arrival would have helped you but I have heard nothing from you since. I receive daily reports from him stating you are well but I cannot rest until I read it in your own hand..." Geoffrey paused for a moment. "If I do not receive a reply soon I shall be forced to visit myself..." Geoffrey looked up from the letter, then back again. "This was sent a week ago...this is among the latest to arrive, yes?"

"I am sure of it,"

"Good...have a guard sent to meet Lord Murtagh as he approaches,"

"But...Lord Carnoustie, should he discover us..."

"He will not," Geoffrey silenced him quickly. "I promise you he shall not. The guard sent to meet him will inevitably run into trouble on the road, such a dangerous journey it is from Glas Claddach to Tremaine...someone really ought to make the road safer." Lord Cunningham nodded knowingly.

"I quite agree."

***

Helori stood before the mannequin in the throne room, dressed in iron armour, a scarred hole puncture in the breast plate. Beside it, on the wall hung a blade, a pickaxe, and a sign which read 'Tribute to Ferris of House Felandrison, first of his name, Duke of Carrickshire.' He placed a hand on the cold metal, his finger tracing the hole which had cost his uncle his life. Since Uncle Gildos had also left it was just Helori. He was thankful to Master Geoffrey for helping him and sticking by his side, yet he wished for his own kin once aqgain. His only blood relative left in Tremaine was his cousin Morganna, and she was too young yet to speak, let alone offer him support. He stepped away from the armour and toward the window, taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. No word from his father, or mother. He was growing worried about them, and Glas Claddach, though Geoffrey assured him they were in no danger. He looked out the window at the gathering darkness, the turbulent waters of Loche Aberdeene far below, their dark depths hiding all manner of secrets. As he watched the water's edge, a figure caught his attention. He frowned, trying to discern the dark silhouette standing on a rock just offshore. The figure turned and he gasped. Cold, purple eyes glared up at him as the Enderman stared into his soul. Even at this distance there was no denying that sickly sensation, the cold chill which settled upon him, turning his limbs to lead.

Image

"Ferris..." the voice trickled through him like an icicle, slowly clawing through him as he stared at the figure.

"Ferris..." The voice came again, nauseating as it clung to his skull, scrabbling within him and erasing everything he ever was until only a fragment of himself remained. The voice intensified as his vision blurred, only the glaring purple eyes of the End were visible.

"Ferris. Ferris! Ferris!"

"Helori!" Geoffrey's voice thundered through him and he started, turned to see the older man marching toward him. "Are you alright? You look like you've seen a ghost!" Helori nodded, then turned back to the window. The water crashed again upon bare rock. He turned back to Geoffrey.

"Just tired, that's all." He said quickly. Geoffrey nodded, still frowning as he glanced at Ferris' armour.

"He was a good man, I have little doubt you will make us just as proud." He said in a fatherly tone. Helori nodded jerkily, not really listening as he drew away toward the door to the hall.

"Well, I'm going to retire. Good night."

"Farewell."

_________________
Ainmire Sera-Blodh of House Flenadrison, second of his name, King in the South, Ruler of Carrickshire, and slayer of false Kings.
"The Crippled King"
"Flanders"


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PostPosted: January 30th, 2016, 7:11 pm 
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King

Joined: May 30th, 2015, 10:17 am
Posts: 3792
Location: Stirling - Scotland
This writing is really well done. Please continue this saga.

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Talja-Sameria Tourmaline II - Tip of the Spear
Queen of Dawnstar, Deputy Minister for Hermertian Culture.
Adjudicator for Valyrian Affairs, Forums Administrator

Gold Roads. Fractal Mining. Lore Compliance Ducks.


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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2016, 8:18 pm 
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Duke

Joined: May 30th, 2015, 5:52 pm
Posts: 522
Location: Stirling, Scotland
Year 472 of the Emperor, Phoenix 00|08, first year

The dark caverns of the mines beneath Tremaine were filled with ringing of iron on stone. The mines here had been started by Felandris himself; a shaft in the agricultural district led to the cavern deep beneath the city. It was a vast expanse supported by stone pillars lined with torches, great pools of magma bubbling between the vast trunks of grey stone. Helori stepped between these pillars, squinting in the near darkness as the chief surveyor, Seann Mason, led him through the mines in an inspection tour.

"As you can see our progress has not slowed since this mine was first built," he explained, indicating the notches in each stone pillar indicating the date they were carved from the living rock. "As Tremaine has grown, so has the workforce down here. This mine is where we get the vast majority of our exportable granite, diorite and andesite."

"What kind of management protocols do we have down here?" Helori asked.

"The mine is divided into three sections," Seann explained. "Each section is owned by a different noble in Tremaine and mines in each of the three directions, north, west and south."

"Why not east?" Helori asked.

"East lies the Felandrison Cairn," Seann explained. "If we started digging too far east we could destabilize the rock and create a cave in."

"Is that not a worry in other areas?" Helori asked.

"It is always a concern, our miners have learned how to map the geology of the rock and use this to safely excavate dangerous areas. However, we do not have the skills to mine beneath the Cairn. It would take nothing less than Dwarven hands to safely excavate that space." He explained. "This quadrant belongs to House Murrison, and all the workers here and employed by that house."

"Why do we separate the mine between three houses?"

"Economics. By dividing the mine between three families it encourages competition in the market and prevents monopolizing stone exports from Tremaine.

Although exports go through the families, the mines themselves are managed by myself and my team of stone masons to ensure the workers are safe and no one cuts corners for profit. If you look over here you can see the work that goes into securing an individual pillar..." Seann's words trailed off as Helori's head swam with the fumes of the mine. His eyes wandered across the stone floor, past the vast bubbling pools of magma where the darkness filled the space between the pillars. The shadows shifted and a figure appeared between the stone curtains.

"Ferris..." The voice paralyzed him, shooting through him with a chill that shook him to his very core. The figure turned and purple eyes stared back at him, filled with malice and a hatred of life.

"Ferris..."

"Helori," The boy jumped, turning to see Seann looking at him worriedly. "Viceroy, you were not responding...are you alright?"

"I'm fine," he nodded, coughing slightly. "Just the dust..." he glanced back to where the enderman had stood, but the darkness was complete once again. He followed Seann between the pillars. As they walked the dust continued to clog the air, his vision darkening. Heat swirled around him, suffusing the air and suffocating him in a blanket of warmth and sweat. He felt the ground sway beneath him and great clouds of magma rose above him. He falling through darkness and heat, two purple eyes glaring at him, glaring with all the contempt of a God overlooking an ant. Pain shot through his head as he hit the ground.

***

Three horses trotted over the make-shift cobblestone bridge over the permanently frozen river soon the road between Carrickshire and the Ilminite coast.

Murtagh sat proudly on the front horse, his grey hair hanging low over his shoulders and his old coat hanging over his shoulders like rags on a skeleton.

His skin was drawn and patched with liver spots. At the ripe old age of fifty six, Murtagh was the eldest of his siblings, and the last of the brothers left in Perth. Their sister, Ula, of course lived in Dunn, but their advanced age meant it was difficult for them to keep in touch nowadays. It was only through letters that they were allowed to speak with each other now.

The old man's worry over his eldest son, Helori, in Tremaine had driven him into action. Against the wishes of his wife, Murtagh had grasped his rapier one last time and ridden the long road to Carrickshire. Now, as they left the ice expanses of Northern Perth, they were met on the road by four men, also riding horses, but dressed for war. They paused some distance away as Murtagh bowed to them respectfully.

"Friends, we bear no quarrels," he promised, his face cracking in a smile as his skin sagged.

"Murtagh Felandrison?" The leader called. "I am Captain Campbell, I was sent by Geoffrey Carnoustie to see you safely to Tremaine." He explained. Murtagh frowned, his hand casually moving to the hilt of his rapier.

"Carnoustie didn't mention any escort?" he inquired.

"The road is dangerous these days, only last week we had reports of a farm leveled by creepers along this very road. The Laird only means for your protection."

"Indeed," Murtagh nodded, his hand still on the rapier at his waist. "Very well, lead on Captain, we shall follow."

"Do you not wish to wait until dawn?" The Captain asked, indicating the rising moon.

"We slept last night," he explained. "We can go on another day." The Captain nodded, then signaled to his other soldiers, two of which took up position behind Murtagh and his guards while the captaina dn one other solider marched ahead. They followed them into the ancient oak forest at the foot of the Aberdeene mountains and were almost clear when Murtagh noticed the Captain's hand move carefully to his blade. The other soldier shifted in his saddle and there was movement behind him. Murtagh's eyes flashed as the broadsword swung toward him. Swift as an arrow, Murtagh drew the rapier and caught the blow to his neck, deflecting it with some difficulty, his old bones creaking with the strain of combat. With his right hand, he blocked another blow from the second soldier while his left took the reigns and pulled the horse off the road.

"Come!" He called, but as he looked back he saw one of the guards fall beneath a soldier's blade, while the other tackled the fourth soldier off his horse and into the dirt. He hesitated, watching the brawling pair as the captain and the other soldiers prepared to follow him. Torn between the need to help his guardsman, and to reach Tremaine to save his son, Murtagh held his ground for a moment longer than he would have when he were younger. Then the decision was ripped from him as darkness fell upon the brawling men in the dirt. Two purple eyes glared at them as the tall figure appeared in the blink of an eye an icy chill ran through him as two more endermen appeared behind the captain and his guard. The old man's horse bucked and Murtagh gripped the reigns

tightly, his face contorting as he turned the horse and dug in his heels. Behind him he heard the cries of the men on the ground and then surprise from the other two men.

He raced through the trees, ducking beneath a branch before a twig from another tree scratched his face. He winced but continued to spur his horse on, hooves pounding the dirt as he glanced back to see the captain's pale face only feet behind him. He turned forward and drove the horse up the steep slope and out of the trees They reached the peak of the hill and turned to see the captain's horse scrambling after them, the ominous figures mere feet behind them. A dark arm reached for the horse's leg and the steed gave a cry of pain and fear, the hooves digging into the ground. The horse began to fall backward as the captain pulled his legs up and made to leap from the horse's back. As he jumped, the air between them shimmered and a black figure materialized between them, it's back to Murtagh. The captain gave a strangled yelp and Murtagh turned the steed, charging on over the grassy fields. The path was lost now, but he knew he was riding south. He had to get to safety before...

The horse dug in it's hooves as it tried to stop, the tall figure appearing before them like a terrible specter. Murtagh gave a yell, brandishing his

rapier as the horse rose on it's hind legs, kicking at the enderman. Unbalanced, Murtagh felt his grip on the reigns slip and he fell backward, rolling over the horse's rump and landing heavily on the ground. There was a panicked whinny and as he sat up, the horse was gone. He panted heavily, sword still in hand, as he looked around at the empty landscape. The sound of his breathing was loud in his ears as the silence pressed against him, suffocating him, the darkness around him gathering like a cloud of misery and pain. He felt a cool chill run through him and a presence behind him. Stiffening, he slowly turned on the spot.

The tall, thin, dark figure stood inches from him, the slender limbs hanging like willow branches from the hollow trunk of darkness. Two purple eyes stared at him, devoid of humanity or pity, filled only with a truly terrible lust for wrath and pain.

Murtagh closed his eyes.

***

Helori woke with a start, sitting upright only to have a hand on his shoulder push him down again.

"It's alright, it's alright," Geoffrey was saying soothingly. "You're okay."

"The endermen..." he breathed, panic in his voice as he blinked several times.

"There are no endermen here," Geoffrey shook his head, smiling. "Not to worry. You're safe in the castle." Helori leaned back, swallowing hard as sweat beaded over his face and neck. "You had us scared for a moment there," Geoffrey smiled again. "Fainting like that. The Stone Mason thinks it was the heat that made you pass out. The mines can be overwhealming the first time you visit them."

"What? Yes, yes, the heat..." he nodded distractedly. Geoffrey eaned back in his seat, frowning at the boy.

"You'll be pleased to hear your father is on his way," Helori's eyes snapped to him.

"What? he's coming here?"

"Yes, he wanted to check up on you. I've had my best guards sent to escort him in case of any trouble on the road." He smiled then. "Nothing to worry about. You just rest and he should be here in the next few days." Helori nodded jerkily as the door opened a crack. The nobleman, Laird Cunningham, poked his head in.

"Excuse me, Laird Carnoustie, might I have a word?" Geoffrey patted the boy's hand once again ebfore standing and leaving the room. Outside Cunningham was sweating profusely.

"The soldiers you sent to meet Murtagh, they've not reported in." He explaiend quickly.

"What are you talking about?" Geoffrey asked, pulling him away from the door.

"They were supposed to sent a crow with news as soon as they had ki..."

"Shh!" Geoffrey clasped a hand over his mouth. "Not so loud!" Cunningham nodded and he removed his hand.

"They've sent no word." He whispered. Geoffrey frowned, puzzled.

"Keep an eye on the road. If Murtagh appears I want you to do whatever it takes to stop him reaching Tremaine. If he reaches the city gates we're done for." Laird Cunningham nodded and hurried away. Within the room, Helori stood by the window, watching the moon arch across the sky. He squinted at the rocks before the mountain and fear gripped him again.

Two endermen stood, both staring at him with there malicious gaze that gripped him so powerfully.

"Ferris..." The whisper clawed through his soul, but the name was not alone.

"Murtagh..."

_________________
Ainmire Sera-Blodh of House Flenadrison, second of his name, King in the South, Ruler of Carrickshire, and slayer of false Kings.
"The Crippled King"
"Flanders"


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2016, 11:44 pm 
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Duke

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Location: Stirling, Scotland
Year 480 of the Emperor, Phoenix 00|09, third year

Helori woke with a start. He could still feel the purple dots burning into his eyes as the Endermen haunted his dreams, always the same names passing through his head, some names he did not recognize yet he felt the weight of their importance. He sat up in his cot and looked across the tent at the leather armour resting on a stand. In a sheath by it's side was his iron sword, and with a quiver his bow. He had been practicing with both for the past year, ever since Eberhardt had announced Perth would be fighting in this battle, the war against the End.

Geoffrey had trained him as best he could, but Helori was no natural with a sword, nor the bow. It was tough training and it had drawn him away from his wife and children. He had been acting viceroy of Carrickshire for nine years now, and in that time he had gained two beautiful sons, Arlen and Ronan, but the endermen had continued to haunt his every moment. His mother had succumbed to sickness four years previously and since his younger brother Korneli had taken control of Glas Claddach and married Sterenn Carnoustie, as Geoffrey's suggestion. Aside from the wedding, Geoffrey remained in Tremaine where Helori could rely on him. Indeed, Geoffrey's training had been harsh and unforgiving, but Helori was grateful for it.

He rolled from the cot and lifted the water skin to his lips. Even in the night, the heat of this desert was stifling. He lowered the water skin and his eyes again returned to the leather armour. Despite being only a Viceroy, he was the highest ranking official from Perth to come to the battle. King Eberhardt had been delayed and would not be expected in time for the assault. The camp that had assembled was vast, and provisions were quickly running low; the soldiers could not wait for reinforcements and tomorrow the attack would begin on the End.

He had only heard tales of that land, the place the Endermen call home. It had been through cunning of the Empire's brightest minds that this portal had been located, deep beneath the waves. Every night since his arrival, it was as if the monsters of the land knew war was coming as they gathered at the fringes of the camp, glaring longingly at the high wooden palisade. He shuddered as he remembered his last shift on the wall. Three Endermen had stared at him the entire night from across the dunes, names he had heard spoken around the campfires of lost souls running through his mind in a shrieking tone.

He looked up as Duchess Samirah walked past the tent. The recent successor to Duchess Samaia, she was youthful and full of spirit, her drive pushed the war effort significantly. Beside her walked Captain Sorik who had traveled from Wysteria. He was a well built man with heavy eyebrows that met in a near constant frown. Samirah glanced in the tent at him and called.

"Time to rally yourselves, we'll be breaking camp in an hour!" Helori took a deep breath as he stood, walking toward the leather armour. He stared at the white stained helmet, perfectly made and unused, about to be tested in battle. He lifted the helm and carefully placed it on his head before turning to the mirror which lay on his desk and inspecting his face. His cheeks were hollow and his eyes sunken, with dark circles hanging from them. There was a madness about him that the helmet only accentuated. He lowered the mirror and looked beyond the tent to the palisade. Atop the wood, in the light of the rising sun, stood an enderman, purple eyes staring at him not with malice, but conviction. As he stared at it, a single word passed through his mind, a word that sealed his fate eternally.

"Helori."

***

Report from Captain Kelly of the Perthian National Guarda to King Eberhardt.

Perthian forces participated in the battle of the End, forming the Ninth regiment of the Imperial Forces. Led by Viceroy Helori, they followed the Eighth Regiment through the End portal. Upon entering the end we suffered significant casualties due to damage of the connecting bridge sustained by an aerial attack from the enemy dragon. Many of our forces managed to cross the remains of the bridge along with forces from the seventh, eighth, and tenth regiments, however before the remaining forces could cross, the bridge was destroyed by a second attack by the dragon. In this attack, Perthian forces were halved in number, including the loss of Viceroy Helori.

Our remaining forces continued to engage Enderman forces and supported the second regiment. Following injury of Duchess Samirah, Dawnstar forces were cut off from the main body. At my orders, the Ninth Regiment engaged Endermen forces to liberate Dawnstar Regiment. Following extraction of wounded from battlefield, Baron von Roglar of Valtoros, being the highest ranking Valyrian still on the battle field, assumed command of all three regiments, Valtoros, Perth and Dawnstar. The newly formed Valyrian Regiment proceeded to bolster allied forces and thus defeat the enderdragon.

Following victory, remaining wounded were escorted back to base camp. Later that day, a division of Perthian soldiers assisted in recovering fallen comrades. Among these was found the hew breastplate and helm of Viceroy Helori, which were returned to the Base camp awaiting further instruction.

Remaining Perth forces are currently at base camp awaiting further orders. Plans are being set in motion to return to Perth at the end of this moon.

Captain Seann Kelly, Perthian National Guarda.

_________________
Ainmire Sera-Blodh of House Flenadrison, second of his name, King in the South, Ruler of Carrickshire, and slayer of false Kings.
"The Crippled King"
"Flanders"


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