The Wild Coast

Walking through the woods
Shoulda taken the boat

The heroes entered Pelgaryn late after sunset. It was hive of scum and villany. They had to bribe their way past the guards. One inside they secured lodgings at the gibbeted goblin. Ander struck up a conversation with the innkeeper and learned some rumours of the surrounding area. In a nutshell – life was bad. The others kept a low profile. Valshea used dweomercraft to appear as a nondescript human woman. She would do that frequently from now on.

The next morning they headed south to the lighthouse. About 90 minutes south of town some random bandit called on them to lay down their weapons. Ander tried to cow the fool into surrendering but it was useless. Deadly battle was joined. Arrows came streaking down onto them from numerous bandits in the trees. Na’Pungu immediately challenged the leader to combat. Valshea and Ander joined in while their men at arms fought the other bandits. It was a bloody affair with all the men at arms falling to the bandits (they took a few with them).

Valshea grew tired of the combat and used her potent magic to put the bandit chief into a fey magic slumber. She charged the other bandits and did the same with them. One bandit stole a horse and escaped. The rest were now prisoners. Ander used his magics to save the lives of all the men except for Kane the Redeemed whose bleeding stopped all on it’s own. Great clotting factor! Then the interrogations started. The bandit chief was named Brek and had red hair. He spilled the beans that Gil in town had hired him (and given him dirty pictures) of Valshea and Gerbo. Silently Valshea cursed her useless disguise. Apparently the thugs had seen right through it! From now on – half orc barbarian disguise.

Ander seized control of weak Brek’s mind and planted a powerful compulsion for him to go back into town and contact Gil and bring him to this spot. Brek agreed. The trap was set.

While Brek voyaged, the others rested and sang songs. They switched clothing with the bandits and used the trussed up bandits as bait. Gil and his thugs approached (with Brek in the lead). Valshea really botched her attempt to hide and battle was joined. Na’Pungu came up behind them to cut off their escape. Gil wheeled his horse to escape while his thugs held the rear. Brek fled on horseback. The men at arms fired crossbow bolts into the thugs wounding one of them. Valshea spurred her horse after Gil. It looked as if the thugs would cut her off but she waved her hand in their direction and they toppled form their saddles. Another visit from the sandman! Bwa ha ha ha!

Then the chase was on. Valshea and Ander pursued the bastard, Gil. All were borderline incompetent riders and the chase was a merry one indeed. Gil’s horse, Goliath, proved surprisingly strong and enduring and soon he was pulling away from the elf and her half breed friend. But finally it came down to a test of riding skill. Gil and Valshea failed to negotiate a mildly challenging obstacle but Ander did so with aplomb, pulling him within range of Gil. Close enough to shout a command at him that Gil would obey while feeling horror. He slowed his horse and surrendered.

Now they had a large troupe of prisoners. Much tying and gagging ensued. They needed to move to the bandits lair for a place to sleep. Na’Pungu took the 4 bandits into the woods for questioning. Later, Valshea, Na’Pungu, and Ander took Gil, the two thugs and 3 surviving bandits to the bandit’s lair-shack. After a night of rest to regain their spell powers Valshea cast a sneaky elven mind control Charm on Gil’s mind. He became quite friendly and revealed that Telrath had ordered him to waylay and capture Valshea and her savage Gnome friend. Valshea shed a tear for her Gnome friend. I wonder where he is now, she thought. She also cursed her useless disguise again. Gil also revealed that the Slavers (or “Masters” as he called them) were strong in Eldredd with most slaves being bound for Highport.

Now much planning ensued. What to do next?

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Mine Assault

Ready’reat 11:

The adventurers assault the mine, routing the goblins and orcs living within and freeing the slaves. They also capture Balabar Estan, the leader of the bandits. Through a combination of magic and charm, Ander manages to get Balabar to reveal his plans, as well as the location where he was going to sell his slaves.

Unfortunately, he has also found a mysterious ruin, and has been sending slaves in to loot it. Many have not returned, and the heroic adventurers decide they must go down and rescue them.

They tie Balabar up, and send him back with Gerbo to face justice in Namburil, while the rest of them enter the ruin.

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Slavers at the Mine!

Ready’reat 1:

Valshea and Gerbo agree to help Algar find his missing caravan. They hire Belgrum and Barrus to assist. The group follows the trail of slavers, and with Gerbo’s uncanny tracking ability, they discover that the slavers are holed up at the Bluestar Mine. The adventures camp for the night, and slay some orcs that attack them as they rest.

Ready’reat 2:

The group locates the abandoned tower that the slavers are using to watch the road. They rest and watch the tower until morning.

Ready’reat 3:

At dawn, the party assaults the tower and easily subdues the bandits. The Bandits explain that they observe travellers on the road and use flags to inform their allies about easy targets. Valshea returns to report to Lomac, while Gerbo, Belgrum and Barrus return to Namburil with Algar to inform the townspeople about the mine.

When they reach Namburil, they find the town in an uproar. Ander and Na’Pungu have returned from Newtown with dire news – the town has been raided by slavers, and the entire population has been carried off. Many of the residents of Namburil have relatives in Newton, and they fear the worst.

The leaders of Namburil implore the adventurers to rescue the missing villagers. Once Valshea returns, a special ceremony is held at the temple, led by the priest, Dunstan. The whole village comes out in support, and the group receives a blessing from Trithereon to aid in the coming battle.

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Agent of the Slave Lords

Patchwall 28:

Valshea uses her familiar to spy on Telrath’s group throughout the night. In the early morning, the falcon spies them sneaking out of their window and away from the inn. The falcon follows them, as they flee down the east road, on foot. As dawn approaches, they find a hidden spot off the road to lay low until the next evening.

Still undetected, the falcon returns to the inn and Valshea. The adventurers ride out on the mercenaries’ fine horses and reach their hiding spot before noon. The lone guard is magically slumbered again, and the mercenaries are quickly subdued. Telrath admits to being an agent of “The Nine”, an organization of slave traders. The adventurers let him go free in exchange for information about the missing caravan and The Nine’s operations.

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A Mentor for Valshea, and mysterious disappearances

Patchwall 26:

Valshea and Gerbo do some shopping in town and then head into the forest to find the hermit, Lomac Nimbledigit. Lomac sends them to speak to a group of elven rangers about people going missing.

Ander speaks to the miners staying at the inn in Namburil about troubles at the mine to the west.

Na’Pungu makes some friends by helping the villagers out with their labors.

Patchwall 27:

In the morning, Ander and Na’Pungu head south to investigate Newtown, at Dunstan’s behest.

Valshea and Gerbo meet a farmer’s wagon in heading towards Namburil early in the morning. Algar, a caravan guard is travelling with the farmer, and tells of the ambush of his caravan on the road the night before. The adventurers travel back to Namburil with Algar and speak at an emergency meeting of the townspeople. The farmers are busy with harvest and getting ready for winter, and are somewhat unsympathetic. Algar promises a reward for anyone who will help with the rescue of his employers.

Valshea and Gerbo try to start a fight with Telrath, a suspicious mercenary, and his two flunkies. The flunkies are immediately subdued with magical sleep, but Telrath refuses to be baited by a berserk gnome. Carth, the innkeeper, and a couple of his workers break up the fight, and the two groups are locked in separate rooms in the inn for the evening.

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Dinner with Dunstan

Patchwall 25, (Godsday) continued

The group meets back at the Rusty Golem and discuss the events of the day. Valshea has a lead on a possible wizard mentor that she plans to follow up in the morning.

Ander entertains the gathered crowd, while Valshea, na’Pungu and Gerbo have dinner and many drinks with Brother Dunstan, who has no problem holding his alcohol.

Dunstan explains that one of the residents of Newtown, a few hours south of Namburil, usually comes to services every week, or every other week at the outside. He also brings goods to trade in town, but he hasn’t been seen in 3 weeks now, and Dunstan is starting to get concerned.

He mentions that if you’re down that way, he would appreciate you looking in on the man, who’s name is Leof.

After a late night of revelry, you head to bed.

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Valshea meets Old Creel

Patchwall 25, (Godsday) continued

Anders makes a courtly bow as he takes his leave. You can see the villagers turn to follow his progress as he makes his way back towards the inn. Some of them stop him to ask him questions, and though you know he is in a hurry, he is very polite, and takes time to speak to each one, learning all their names, and encouraging them to come see his next performance.

Na’Pungu finds a spot at the edge of the village green and watches. He watches the villagers, looking for any signs of tension. He knows that eventually the work will come to him. There is always someone with a problem that can’t be solved by tradtional means. Sometimes he just needs to be nearby when someone wants to talk. Na’Pungu is a very good listener.

Valshea wanders around a bit, talking about the weather with the villagers, who seem a bit uncomfortable having an Elf noble in her finery among them.

Valshea comes upon Carth talking shop with Tongan the blacksmith. Both men stop and greet her. Carth points her to the edge of the village green, where an old man sits with his back against a tree, with a mug of cider in his lap, people watching. “There is Old Creel, in his favorite spot. Go introduce yourself.”

Valshea walks up to Old Creel. She observes for a moment before she blunders in with an opening line. Her familiar, Seanait the Falcon, helps her examine the situation closely with her beady Falcon eye.

Creel is old. He has swollen joints that indicate arthritis. There’s a cane lying on the grass beside him. A middle age woman is hovering near, obviously his daughter. She is speaking to another villager, but she often looks his way, making sure he is all right.

He notices Valshea looking at him and squints back at her. “Ah the elven princess. Well, come on girl, I won’t bite. My name is Telemon Creel, but folks around here just call me Old Creel. Come have a seat and tell me about yourself.”

He pats the ground beside him in invitation. “I’ll even share some of this fresh pressed cider with you.”

Valshea sits down on the grass beside the old man, uncaring of her fine clothes and takes a sip of the cider. She introduces herself, tells him about her family so that he has a sense of where she sits in the world (context) and then explains that she is curious about the history of the region and the things Telemon himself might know about the history and environs of Namburil. Valshea tells him that she sees herself settling here for a good length of time.

Creel listens to the elf’s story attentively. “So, not quite a princess. Oh well”

After a few minutes, his daughter comes over. “Dad? Is everything okay?”

He looks up at her angrily. “I’m fine Lori, I’m fine. Why can’t you just leave me be? I swear I’m going to live longer than you if you keep worrying like this. I’m just making a new friend.” He pats Valshea on the knee and looks at her a little lecherously. “Now run along. I’m busy.”

Old Creel listens as Valshea wraps up her introduction, and then tells her about himself.

“As for me, my family has lived in the area for generations – I was born not far from here. As a youth, I wandered the surrounding woods and mountains, always curious what was behind the next tree, or over the next hill. There’s lots of neat old ruins and secret places around here if you know where to look. I was always too chicken to go inside them though. I guess maybe that’s why I’m still here. I’ve heard some stories about people getting more than they bargained for checking out old tombs and such.”

“Anyways, I went away for a few years, signed on as a merchant guard, but returned to raise a family. I always had a wanderlust though, and used to spend whatever time I could away from home, especially beyond the settled areas. I even made a few maps. Fortunately, the woods were relatively safe back then, thanks to your people.”

“I eventually married a local girl, Edyth was her name. She died a few years back. Now my daughter and son-in-law take care of the farm. They’re good people, but not very imaginative. Its nice to talk to young people who are a little more worldly.” He pats Valshea’s knee again in a friendly manner.

They talk for a while about landmarks and points of interest in the area. He is happy to give you directions to a number of ‘interesting places’, but he’s concerned that you don’t do anything foolish. “We’ve just met. I’ll be expecting you to come around and keep this old man company every once in a while.”

Valshea asks if he knows of any local wizards and Creel shakes his head. “I don’t know about any wizards round these parts. We get the odd one passing through, but people around here don’t really go in for that sort of stuff.”

He pauses, thinking back, “There was talk years ago that the hermit who lives out southwest of here was involved in witchcraft or bad magic or something, but I never believed it. I met him a couple times in my wanders, and he never seemed like anything special.”

Valshea and Creel talk for a while longer, before his daughter comes over again. He grumbles at her, but allows her to help him up. She curtsies to Valshea, as best she can, and thanks her for putting up with her father. Creel says his farewells and the two of them head off, presumably back to their farm.

Meanwhile, the village green is starting to clear as people head back to their homes. Brother Dunstan has brought some long staves out and is showing a few of the younger men basic attack and defense positions as if they were wielding spears.

Valshea approaches, and she can see that Dunstan is teaching very simple techniques to these farmers. They are still learning how to hold a spear properly, and how to ensure that their opponent doesn’t knock the tip away and then move inside their effective range. He is a patient teacher, but his students are not very attentive, especially once Valshea joins them.

Dunstan calls for them to stop and pay attention. He squares off against Valshea, and the two of them demonstrate basic attack and defense moves. As he feels out her skill level, he begins to speed up, using more complex combinations. Valshea is game, and soon the two padded staves are whirling as each opponent presses advantage or retreats as the tide of their mock battle shifts back and forth.

Dunstan calls out pointers to his students for the first few minutes, (“Watch our footwork! Don’t overextend yourself!”), but soon fending off Valshea requires all of his concentration. Eventually, Dunstan lands a lucky blow on Valshea’s shoulder, and he stops and apologizes to the elf maid.

Both of them are panting from the fierce competition and Dunstan takes a moment to recover his breath.

“Now, I want you to pair up and practice what you’ve just seen. Your life could depend on this one day.”

The farmers are much more focused now, and seem to be trying to impress both Dunstan and Valshea.

Valshea thanks Dunstan for the workout, and they arrange to meet for dinner at the Rusty Golem. She heads back to the inn, with na’Pungu in tow.

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Praise the Lord(s)

Patchwall 25, (Godsday) continued

You head out of the inn towards the temple. It seems as if Carth was right – the entire village seems to have come out and are chatting on the village green in front of the temple. A few of the young farmwives are rounding up the younger children and herding them towards the building next to the temple (the Town Hall). Most of the villagers nod or smile at you, especially those who have seen Ander perform at the inn.

Brother Dunstan opens the the double doors to the temple and begins greeting the townspeople as they file in. He greets you all warmly, happy to see you in better circumstances. You notice that Bevan, Lord Ostwill’s steward has come to the temple today, along with a couple of men that you recognize as his guards. They are dressed in plain clothes though, and carry no weapons. Brother Dunstan is polite to them, but they obviously have a strained relationship.

You can see that there is some unspoken seating arrangement as everyone finds their places on the long benches that take up most of the room. There are a few spots open near the back and you seat yourselves.

After everyone is settled, Brother Dunstan comes up to the podium and dives into a long winded sermon. He invokes Beory, Phyton and Velnius for the harvest just past, and the winter to come. He speaks of being a good neighbor, and tells a story about St Cuthbert. You can see that some of the people are getting bored, while some of the older people, especially the women are quite enthralled. At one point, you hear a very loud snore from an older man, followed by an exclamation of pain, and a shush from his wife as the man rubs his ribs where she elbowed him.

After the brief interruption, Brother Dunstan continues his sermon, speaking about Trithereon. “Trithereon teaches us that we all may choose our own path. No one owns you, you are independent and strong.” He looks over at Bevan. “Together we are as strong as we need to be. We won’t be slaves.”

He ends by telling you to go in peace and friendship, and reminding the villagers that he will be leading self-defense and spear formation practice this afternoon.

As the service ends and people start filing out of the temple, some remain behind to start moving the benches to the side of the room. Many of the villagers have brought food to share with the congregation.

Valshea watches the entire proceedings with interest. Brother Dunstan. Well, who would have thought it. Follower of Trithereon. Well, well, well.

She seeks him out respectfully after the service. She congratulates him on his cogent advice for all the townsfolk. She explains that it looks like the group is no longer in the employ of Lord Ostwill. She asks him if the group can be of any service to him or the townsfolk. Perhaps there are some rumours that need checking out? She would also be interested in talking about the history of Namburil with Brother Dunstan. She is genuinely concerned for the townsfolk’s wellbeing and interested in their governance structures. If she can be of any help in helping with militia training she is genuinely interested in helping. Maybe she can run an archery series? Train people in shortbows/longbows. She would be happy to volunteer the time. She is a very good shot…

Brother Dunstan is happy to hear that you’re no longer working for Lord Ostwill. He says that he would welcome your help with archery training, but tells you that trying to get the townsfolk interested is another matter. Apparently, hardly anyone shows up to his practice sessions. Most of the villagers (at least the men) know which end of the spear is which, and are taught how to use a bow for hunting, but they lead busy lives, and don’t want to spend their only free day practicing something they don’t believe they will need.

The priest tells you that the village has held archery competitions in the past, which gets the villagers to train for a little while, but it doesn’t endure.

The younger men and boys don’t find spears very interesting. Though Dunstan explains that they are very easy to learn, the youths see the mercenaries and guards that come through town with swords strapped to their hips, and want to emulate them. They playfight with sticks, but most of them can’t afford a sword, nor would they know how to use one properly.

Dunstan has been trying to get the Village Elders to reform the militia and require villagers to do weekly training, but so far his efforts have not met with success.

Brother Dunstan must see to his flock, so he doesn’t have much time to talk right now, but he tells you he will come to the inn tonight and speak more then.

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Conversation over Breakfast

Patchwall 25, (Godsday)

The adventurers get up in the morning, and dress in their finest clothes (which for some of them are the same ones they wore yesterday).

Over breakfast, Valshea explains the situation, as she sees it:

“On the East bank, Ostwill feels like he needs to protect the people. He has maybe liquidated his own assets to hire guards and the like but he is almost out of money. He is squeezing merchants because he is dry but the kicker is – he’s right. There is a menace! There ARE REALLY goblins and the like gathering. We fought them!”

“On the West bank, Dunstan and … we don’t know who… feel that Ostwill is kind of bad. We can’t really comment on this since we don’t know what ‘liberties’ his men are taking – squeezing some extra coppers out here or there? Or taking payment in sexual services? To be sure – I didn’t like the way we had to initially pay to cross the river but to be fair his overall tax load is light and he doesn’t charge locals to cross the bridge. The west bank is ostensibly in Celene and under Elvish protection. Perhaps that’s why they feel ‘safe’ and feel like taxes are a burden. I have noticed humans always think taxes are a burden. But they still want protection when the orc horde comes.”

“Politically, I feel it is wise to be attentive, respectful, and open until we understand what we have walked into. My medium term goal is to make money, but long term I need to find some bad people and make them pay. So it’s kind of about revenge. And protecting others from coming to harm.”

She turns to Ander. “You’ve been saying you don’t like lords of men and the like. I understand what you mean – lots of knights and lords are parasites who subjugate the weak in order to extort them. On the other hand, we live in a terrible world with real evil. There needs to be some governance and protection structure. How would you change things?”

Ander is distracted from the conversation by the pretty serving girl, Shae, who crooks a finger at him. He gets up from the table and heads over to her.

Na’Pungu chimes in, “Hmm, complicated. I don’t get the feeling that Lord Ostwill is bad, per se. I suspect more along the lines of self serving, with some motives unknown to us, but not bad. Until some concrete evidence presents itself, it’s all speculation. More importantly, we need to find work! We are starving adventurers… well, not so much anymore, after the recent haul, but anyway…”

He pauses. “I agree with your goals, we need money, then information and finally we need to kill some slavers.”

Meanwhile, Shae and Ander are involved in a quiet conversation. She is wearing a loose fitting, high necked dress which is much more modest than what she normally wears while serving at the inn, but she still manages to look stunning.

Ander seems pleased, (and a bit smug) as he returns to the table.

As the group is finishing breakfast, Carth the innkeeper comes over to their table.

“Are you heading to the temple this morning? Everyone in town will be there. I usually close the inn, but I can have Lewin (one of the stablehands) remain if you are staying here.”

Na’Pungu neatly folds his napkin beside his empty plate and responds, “Thank you for a fine breakfast. We certainly don’t want to impose. As it turns out, we too are going to leave for the temple now.”

As Carth gathers up Na’Pungu’s plate and heads towards the kitchen, Na’Pungu continues in a loud voice, “C’mon Ander, let’s go, you can chat up the girl later.”

Ander busies himself with the last few bites of his breakfast and avoids the piercing gaze of the innkeeper.

The group heads out of the inn towards the temple.

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Returning to Lord Ostwill
our heroes get paid for work well done

Patchwall 24, (Moonday) continued

Night has fallen and the road is deserted as the group makes its way back to the manor. The bridge is lit by torches, but the men guarding it remain inside their tower as they pass. The manor itself is well lit and its gates, surprisingly, stand open. The adventurers are obviously expected. The guards wave them in, and close the gates behind them.

Na’Pungu takes careful note of the number and movement patterns of the guards that patrol manor grounds.

He thanks the servants as they take the horses and lead them to the stable. The group approaches the house and are met by the Steward, Bevan, who escorts them once again to the Lord’s Study.

As she follows the Steward, Valshea notices how empty the manor seems. It is apparent that the lord lives alone, with few servants. The manor is well built, but there seems to be rather less furniture than you would expect. There are also lighter patches on the on the wall where artwork used to hang but is now missing. It seems likely that the steward acts as the lord’s doorman, butler and cook as well as commanding his small group of guards.

Lord Ostwill is pleased to see his new hirelings. “Done already? Good. Show me.”

Ander pours the goblin ears out on to the lord’s desk, as Valshea seems to be adjusting the front of her gown.

Ander smiles and speaks to the lord, “Lord Ostwill, we have cut down the goblin filth at great risk, entering their lair wherein we found not only a tribe of goblins but also a bugbear and several terrible wolves! This threat was much greater than we expected and it was only by the grace of the gods that we survived. The people will be safe now – from this threat at least. I suggest a head price of 15gp each for the bugbear and wolves – not only were they far greater threats than goblins, the wolves were trained! And with these foes gone, your trade routes will prosper better. Fair pay for deadly risks undertaken on your behalf, methinks.”

Lord Ostwill seems initially pleased as Ander tells him what has happened, at least until the arrogant bard presumes to suggest how much extra money they deserve! And then goes on to explain the benefit to his trade routes as if he were some imbecile.

He takes a moment to get hold of his temper, muttering something under his breath that sounds a bit like “effing mercenaries.” Then he looks back up at the adventurers.

“I am a man of my word, and I will honor the contract which you required of me. I will pay you 5 gold coins for each goblin killed.”

He pauses, evaluating the groups’ reactions. Na’Pungu is satisfied that the contract has been fulfilled as agreed, but is concerned by the Lord’s body language as he continues.

“I also appreciate your efficiency. I am not a wealthy man, but I am prepared to give you each a bonus of 10 gold for bringing this matter to a swift conclusion.”

He motions for his steward to take the ears away. The steward gathers the ears up in his handkerchief, making an uncomfortable face, and carries them away.

“Now, can I offer you a drink while my man gets your pay?”

Valshea, who seems to have finished adjusting her gown, turns her blue eyes on the Lord.

“Let me speak plainly, Lord Ostwill. We are happy that our business came to a satisfactory conclusion. We desire further work with you. Your alarm at the encroachment of humanoids is well founded. We have noticed it too. We would be happy to share a drink and perhaps we can speak of next steps.”

Lord Ostwill’s demeanor becomes even more severe and formal as Valshea speaks to him as if they were equals. She seems to finally realize her error and continues more respectfully:

“My Lord. We try your patience. I cannot imagine how hard it is to be in your position. Especially when you so keenly see the dangers and yet others are unwilling to give you the resources to deal with them. With your permission we will take our leave. We thank you for your patronage. We were proud to serve you, even briefly. We rest at the Inn. If you have further need of us ease don’t hesitate to contact us.”

Lord Ostwill has reverted to a very formal tone of speech, of superior to inferior, “We thank you again for your help. Our steward will show you out. You will be sent for if we have further use for you.”

The adventurers have been dismissed, rather coldly. It seems Lord Ostwill believes he is better than them.

Bevan escorts the group back outside and hands Valshea a purse containing the reward. He asks them to return his lord’s badges, which they do, before heading back to the inn for a well earned rest.

As they head back, Ander is obviously smarting from the encounter with Lord Ostwill, and he begins composing some disrespectful ditties to mock the Lord’s attitude.

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