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  1. #1
    Member

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739
    AP
    23
    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone

    Bleeding Steel

    (my dawg nev gets this one)

    “You did say you wanted to know more about where you came from, right?” Jamie said easily, scratching the itchy spot on John’s back. He closed his eyes and shrugged back into her fingernails as the relief hit.

    “Ah, better. I suppose I want to know what I didn’t learn from the family histories. People say the Cromwell line has giant blood and whatnot, but nobody ever knew for sure. You think he can tell me for sure?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t know, but he seems to know what he’s talking about, at least that’s what I’ve heard. I’ll see you later, yeah?”

    John looked up, surprised to see a dark wood rose embossed on a sign hanging just a bit into the road. Jamie was sweet on him, but far from dependent. He bent down to brush a kiss across her cheek. He smiled.

    “Absolutely.”

    He watched her sway into the brothel. Well, I hate to see her go, but…

    He let the thought trail off, returning his thoughts to a smaller sign a hundred paces down the road from the market street. He resumed his walk, at a faster pace now. With his height he sometimes had to slow his gait for the benefit of shorter folk. It was strange, but he wondered just how this ‘blood alchemist’ performed his magic. Would it be a cut on the hand? Would Nevin even need his blood at all? Not that he didn’t mind spilling his blood of course, but someone doing something with it made him the tiniest bit anxious.

    Quickly he found himself in front of the door to the blood mage’s shop and opened the door, ducking his head to fit through the doorway. His eyes adjusted from the fading light of evening to an even more slightly lit interior, with space enough for shelves and a couple smaller cabinets mounted on the walls. The glass-topped counters held potions of many sizes, colors, and shapes in small felt indents. Small vials held clear and red liquids, and a couple behind the shopkeep glowed faintly with what John assumed was magical energy. A small alchemical workbench sat behind the keeper, who John recognized as his eyes adjusted.

    “Nevin?” he asked incredulously, his eyebrows rising.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    EXP: 61,139, Level: 10
    Level completed: 65%, EXP required for next Level: 3,861
    Level completed: 65%,
    EXP required for next Level: 3,861


    Nevin's Avatar

    GP
    3,657
    AP
    0
    Name
    Nevin Aimaparapoiitis
    Age
    22 / 37
    Race
    Human (Godling)
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    Nevin blinked and looked up towards the entrance to his store. It had been quiet - the opening hour or two always were surprisingly enough. So he had been caught a bit off guard when the door opened, but having people come in to browse had happened before. It was only when his name was spoken that his attention was actually brought to bear on the individual who was -

    Singlehandedly filling a significant portion of his store. The man didn't have to bend over, but it was a close thing. His head was just barely not touching the roof of the shop - and even so, he was still large enough to take up a significant portion of room on his own. The man knew Nevin's name, and looked familiar, so the alchemist started spinning his pen trying to think of where he recognized the massive individual from. His dark eyes lit up.

    “Ah! You're Cromwell, right? Fenn’s friend that I met at the Tankard.” The one who had been surreptitiously feeding the dire wolf under the table while they ate. Nevin stood up from his stool behind the counter and stepped around it, approaching the giant of a man. “John Cromwell, right? Sorry, that evening is a bit of a blur.” He smiled pleasantly. He blinked and looked up, and up. And up. The alchemist was used to being taller than most people around him, so having to look up over a foot to meet someone’s eyes was - different.

    “Yes. Yes, and you were feeding Daugi, right?” He frowned and rubbed his chin. “Yes. And the one that Jacques said couldn't join the competition. So - I doubt you're here just to have me try to remember my rather drunk night.” He abruptly clapped his hands and took a step back.

    “Well - I don't have any other customers at the moment, so you'll get full service. What might you be here for? Not me, since you were surprised to see me. Alchemical need then?” That was probably exactly the case - why else would someone come to an alchemist’s store? “Are you needing a poison? An antidote? Something treated, perhaps?” The red-haired man had moved back over to the counter as he spoke, and picked up a pen and notepad, turned around and leaning back against the counter, taking care not to jostle any of the displays lining its surface.

    “I have a fair amount of a general selection already made up, but if you're needing something more specialized don't hesitate to ask. I won't deny a fair amount of skill with the alchemical arts.” Nevin grinned. Hopefully whatever had brought John here wasn't something too time-crucial. He did wonder why John had been surprised to see him here though - he couldn't remember whether or not he had mentioned to the other man that he was an Alchemist. Apparently not.

    Or - and this was rather lower percentage as the possible reason John was here - had he come looking for the blood magic? There'd been a few since his rather gory display to silence the people who claimed he was making it up for attention, but so far none that he actually knew before it. Still word was getting around, so it was a possibility.
    - "We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood; Fear the old blood."

    Nevin: Formal, thoughtful, nurturing, bearer of tropey tentacles.

    "More threads! More! Threads for the Crimson Thread King!"
    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.
    Ronnel: Not even approved yet.

  3. #3
    Member

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739
    AP
    23
    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    The half-giant paused. “Fenn’s friend” was not the name he usually went by. It was odd, that the little, cold creature would know this man when he himself did not. But still, here the potion master was, referring to him by association. John tried to look relaxed.

    This was all supposed to be secret right? At least the blood magic stuff. He looked this way and that, trying to be inconspicuous by keeping his eyes on the potions. Perhaps it was just him, but the air around him felt a little tense, as it there would be some great catastrophe. Or better, that he’d just been caught with his hand around a pilfered honeycake.

    “Ah,” he began, furrowing his brow and cracking the knuckles on his left hand, a nervous habit that Jamie always disapproved of. At least she didn’t disapprove of his smoking habit. He’d hate to have to quit just for her, especially when it helped with his restless mind so much. Well, Jamie also helped with his restless mind, but not in the same way.

    He absently ended the train of thought with a snap of his fingers, which caused a large cigar to pop into existence between the fingers his thumb and forefinger. The end glowed already, and John took a slow draw, pulling the aromatic smoke into his mouth. He pushed it out, inhaling the tiniest bit of the smoke into his nose. He looked back towards Nevin.

    “I hear you have some, uh, special brews,” He continued. “I’m looking for something a little harder to get, if you know what I mean.” He stepped closer to the man, leaning down a little. He continued in a whisper, which for him was like there was a swarm of agitated honeybees in the shop. He looked around the obviously empty shop as he rumbled.

    “You do magic, do you not, Nevin?”

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    EXP: 61,139, Level: 10
    Level completed: 65%, EXP required for next Level: 3,861
    Level completed: 65%,
    EXP required for next Level: 3,861


    Nevin's Avatar

    GP
    3,657
    AP
    0
    Name
    Nevin Aimaparapoiitis
    Age
    22 / 37
    Race
    Human (Godling)
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The redhead alchemist blinked several times as he processed things. First, the man had seemed a bit thrown, but Nevin could not tell why. Then he'd been a bit sketchy, looking about the empty shop as of to see if they were truly alone - which they were, John was the first person Nevin had seen today. The larger man was clearly nervous, agitated about something, and acting rather furtive, as if he was here on some kind of secret business.

    Nevin was not, in the least, expecting the sudden cigar that appeared. Or the fact that it appeared already lit. Nevin's first thought was that John was apparently a rather accomplished mage to be able to summon something with such ease - and the second was that it did confirm that the taller man was indeed nervous about something, as this was clearly a calming habit. The alchemist had no idea what it was that his acquaintance was concerned about - people came to alchemists all the time, it was not as if he was a back alley necromancer or something like that.


    That is, until he leaned in and attempted to whisper. Nevin blinked, and tilted his head to the side as he stared at the larger man. This, this mountain of a man, was having - ah, no wonder he was being so secretive, this must be rather embarrassing indeed. He reached up and clasped the larger man in the shoulder, squeezing it to comfort him. “Not to worry at all, Cromwell. I do indeed possess many potions that are somewhat harder to come by in the Guild stores, the sanctimonious louts would never consider carrying such things.” Nevin headed over to the door and flicked a sign into the window, spinning around to declare that he was ‘In Consultation’. Deft fingers locked the door and he turned around, clapping his hands together sharply.

    “No need to be shy now. So tell me - is it an issue with the initiation ? Or is it more of an issue with longevity? Ending too soon, perhaps?” As he spoke he had moved back to his counter, and had pushed aside some of the display vials to turn a large ledger around. He turned to look over his shoulder at John, raising an eyebrow.

    “I can work ‘magic’ but I need to know what the presumed problem is that we are trying to address here today. Don't worry, I won't speak a word of it to others.” Having issues with intimate moments was always a problem for people - men, more than women, the Alchemist had noticed. So very few of them could actually articulate what their problems were, likely a result of an ingrained need to appear more macho than others. Still, Nevin couldn't treat the problem, if he didn't know what it was. It did explain John’s hesitancy here though, but Nevin gave him credit for at least getting this far in trying to deal with it. An idea came to him.

    “Ah - or is this perhaps, a ‘honey-do’ run? I do have some potions that can ensure safety even after the fact, if you are not wanting children yet.” That was also a possibility - perhaps he'd gotten a bit too active, and the couple was now trying to make sure they didn't have a child they weren't ready for.
    - "We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood; Fear the old blood."

    Nevin: Formal, thoughtful, nurturing, bearer of tropey tentacles.

    "More threads! More! Threads for the Crimson Thread King!"
    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.
    Ronnel: Not even approved yet.

  5. #5
    Member

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739
    AP
    23
    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    John felt grateful that Nevin caught his meaning. Subterfuge was not his strongest suit, one among many of his not-strong suits, he thought. Nevin began to talk about carrying what the other guild merchants did not, and John puffed on his cigar, a little proud that despite his apparently ‘brutish’ nature, (Jamie had referred to him that way repeatedly, though always with that playful smirk on her face) that he had been subtle and tactful in getting the blood mage to engage his craft. His brain caught the tail end of what Nevin said as he turned from the door where he had flipped a sign.

    “-ending too soon perhaps?”

    John arched one eyebrow high as the alchemist passed him, returning to his counter. He stifled the unintentional motion as he sat behind it though. Nevin continued, talking of things that would have lit a younger John Cromwell’s cheeks like two glowing coals. As it stood, it flushed him a little anyways. He continued talking, and John would have laughed outright if it wasn’t so embarrassing. Nevin thought that he was having issues...there? Ridiculous! Unthinkable!

    ...it was, wasn’t it?

    He put it out of his head that nothing significant had gone on between himself and Jamie since he met her, at least nothing significant in the way that Nevin meant. Not that that was a bad thing, you see. And besides, they really hadn’t known each other that long anyways. Confident again, John drew from the cigar again, trying to avoid embarrassing both of them more than they would be in a moment. Time for some of that brutishness I suppose. He spoke, turning a scarred forearm up and clenching his fist. The harder, desensitized flesh snaked up his forearm in tendrils, like fire had run in his veins once.

    “I need magic, Nevin. Real blood magic. Cromwell has lived for generations, each one forgetting more than the last. I hear you can shed light on my bloodline. People say Cromwell has the blood of giants, some legends say the first Cromwell was Thaynespawn. All I know is that I want to know what I am.”

    He didn’t really mean to go into so much detail, didn’t mean to go into any detail at all, but the issue had gnawed at his mind so much that it came out all in a bit of a rush. He bit down on his cigar, feeling the leaf crumple between his teeth. His ancestors probably never had to explain that they weren’t here to buy a potion for the bedroom.

    “Coin is no problem for me, Nevin.”

    It was true. Business was good recently, what with a section of the business district lying in ruins, what hadn’t been rebuilt already. Truth be told a blacksmith could make a fortune if he could turn a bar of metal into nails fast enough in Radasanth lately. All of this left extra coin in his pocket and trunk, a pouch of which he brought to the alchemist’s shop. He snatched the pouch and held it in his other hand, the fist still outstretched.

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    EXP: 61,139, Level: 10
    Level completed: 65%, EXP required for next Level: 3,861
    Level completed: 65%,
    EXP required for next Level: 3,861


    Nevin's Avatar

    GP
    3,657
    AP
    0
    Name
    Nevin Aimaparapoiitis
    Age
    22 / 37
    Race
    Human (Godling)
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The alchemist’s eyebrows rose as John explained the actual reason why he had come in. There had been a few moments of hesitation before the larger man spoke, but whatever had been running through Cromwell’s mind remained a mystery to the redhead. Instead, Nevin was focused on John’s request, a request for - blood magic.
    But not simple blood Alchemy, which is what most people who came here asking for his blood magic were really interested in. No, John was asking Nevin to actually work with his own blood, to delve into it and unearth the secrets buried within. The alchemist slowly closed his request book, and closer his eyes, taking in a deep breath, and letting it out slowly.

    This was new, and different. Almost everything he did was focused on advancing his Alchemy, or exploring his own nature. Very little was actually done to explore what he could do with his actual blood magic. But - this, this would give him a unique chance to push his boundaries. He rolled his shoulders as he considered it.
    John was clearly not strictly human - normal human men and women did not grow beyond seven feet, and this man had easily topped that heigh. And his body was not contorted, not the distended, stick thin thing it would be if his height was built upon a mutation in his genetic code. No, it was solidly built, thick and muscled, properly proportioned. So, his belief that somewhere in his family line was something that was non-human, was distinctly possible.

    Nevin opened his dark eyes and focused on John, speaking for the first time in over a minute. “I can help, yes. To begin - wait. Cromwell.” His eyes widened, then narrowed. That name. Why did he know that name? His fingers drummed upon the counter top. “The same Cromwell line from Salvar?” He watched carefully to see what reaction from the other man before pressing on. It seemed connections to his homeland were more frequent than the alchemist had realized. Or, people fleeing from that accursed country were, that is.

    “Very well. In order to even get started on what you're asking, you do realize that I will have to work magic upon your blood, directly? Do you have some prepared, or do we need to draw it now? And - are you comfortable with the possible threats a blood mage might do, with his hands upon your vital essence?” His dark gaze was focused on John. Magic not under the control of the church was furiously despised within Salvar. But - John was not IN Salvar, and had actually come searching for it. Just in case the giant of a man became agitated and lashed out, Nevin carefully rested his palm on the counter, preparing to transmute the wooden surface into a shield to block a sudden attack.

    But he hoped it wouldn't come to that. John had come asking for help. Unless this was some elaborate scheme to draw out a blood mage and confirm before attacking, this was an honest request for help. And while Nevin was going to be cautious, he did desire to help.
    - "We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood; Fear the old blood."

    Nevin: Formal, thoughtful, nurturing, bearer of tropey tentacles.

    "More threads! More! Threads for the Crimson Thread King!"
    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.
    Ronnel: Not even approved yet.

  7. #7
    Member

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739
    AP
    23
    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    John breathed a sigh, glad for the understanding between himself and the seated blood mage. He took the short step forward to drop the coin pouch on the countertop. He planted his hands on the wood and glared at Nevin. He didn’t think that the alchemist would betray him, he’d just come in and offered the man enough money to buy half his selection outright, but anyone thinking John Cromwell was easy meat would find themselves very, very surprised.

    “I see you’ve heard. The short of it is yes, I am of that line,” He rumbled. Within his shirt, the liquid metal that he’d learned to live with for the last two decades flowed, dense as any good steel and twice as strong, like quicksilver. It poked thin tendrils past his sleeves and neckline which grew to cover his arms to mid-bicep and just above his collar.

    “You should know, friend, anyone wanting to do evil things with my blood will meet resistance,”

    The armor kept the sheen of polished silver, and shifted with his motion like a second skin. Even the tendrils, which halted their advance at his elbow, moved easily as he clenched a fist, displaying a forearm to Nevin. He continued.

    “You will need to take the blood, I did not prepare any.” The alchemist had waved off the promise of retribution, his eyes fastened onto the metal and the forearm. With one hand, he pulled out a thin, sharp scalpel, and started spinning it around his fingers as he stared at the smith’s arm.

    “I asked due to coming from that snow-blasted country myself is all. No what’s more interesting is this.” He tapped the scalpel against the metal. “But we can get to that in a moment. For now - I won’t need much of your blood to work with. Would you care to make a small incision, or do you trust me to do it?” He spun the scalpel around in his hand and let it rest on his palm, the handle pointed towards John.

    The half-giant pointed at a spot just about halfway between wrist and elbow, palm up.

    “There,” he said quickly, “I work with my hands.”
    Last edited by redford; 01-30-2018 at 04:01 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member

    EXP: 61,139, Level: 10
    Level completed: 65%, EXP required for next Level: 3,861
    Level completed: 65%,
    EXP required for next Level: 3,861


    Nevin's Avatar

    GP
    3,657
    AP
    0
    Name
    Nevin Aimaparapoiitis
    Age
    22 / 37
    Race
    Human (Godling)
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The alchemist nodded - that made sense. It also showed that John didn't particularly care to make the cut himself, which Nevin couldn't exactly blame him for. Most people had mental blocks, even subconscious ones, about doing injury to themselves. It was after all, pretty counterintuitive to the normal desire to keep oneself healthy. The smith didn't even seem to have considered making the incision himself from what Nevin saw there. No matter, really, the Alchemist didn't mind doing the bloody work himself.

    So he nodded again, and pressed the tip of the scalpel against the spot that John had indicated. “So, how did you meet Fenn?” He smiled up at the larger man, trying to distract him as he waited a few heartbeats. It wouldn't do for the outcast nobleman to tense up when he tried to make the cut, so talking about their mutual acquaintance was a way of taking the smith’s mind off of the blade against his skin. The blood mage waited until John was opening his mouth to reply - and then made a small, quick incision, slicing through the first few layers of flesh.

    Blood quickly welled up around the blade of the scalpel, and Nevin quickly moved it out of the way. The scalpel fell onto the somewhat cluttered counter, forgotten by the blood mage as he was already working his magic. The blood from the wound wasn't leaking onto John’s arm like it normally would have - it was being pulled up, and away, swirling into the air as a portion was tugged from the smith’s body. Nevin’s left hand was hovering near the spiraling ball of blood, as his right went for one of the empty bowls under his counter. The bowl was set on the table, and the blood was directed into it.

    Once the crimson life fluid was in the bowl, Nevin grabbed up a small cloth and pressed it to the wound he had made, stemming the flow of blood. He did this absently, automatically and clearly without paying attention to it - no, the blood mage’s attention was firmly locked on the bowl. His skin was dancing, shivering to a tune only he could hear. John’s blood sang of power and potential, of strength and vigor. And - there was a darker taint to it, a foul, harsh note that spoke of something else. Rarely did Nevin need to study blood, his usual method was simply to use the life force in the blood to enhance one of its qualities. But that wasn't what the fallen noble needed, wanted. He wanted to know what the blood container.

    So Nevin let go of the rag he was using to stem the cut, and placed both hands on the counter by the bowl. The blood within the wooden container began to churn, spinning and swirling faster as the blood mage focused upon it. Nevin’s senses fell away, the sounds of the city disappearing, the feel of the wooden counter beneath his palms leaving him, the smells of sweat, iron, and plants that filled the shop fading. Even sight left, his world narrowing down to the bowl, and the blood.

    A litany of man, generations of humans in cold reinforcing the power steeped in the blood, filled Nevin’s mind. But Nevin could feel, that these men were different, that something more was further back. So he dove further, his dark eyes closing as he let his magic flow through the blood. There was a strain, a note of something else that echoed on and on through the bloodline -

    “You, sir, had a VERY adventurous ancestor.” Nevin had found the source of the odd echo - a new line introduced into the blood, thick at first but fading over time, only to surge forth once more over and over through the generations. Definitely non-human, and not divine. Nevin wrenched his focus out of the deep secrets of the blood line, the world around him coming back into focus as he blinked and looked up to John. “Many, many generations ago, a male ancestor of yours apparently managed to entice a giantess into your his bed, and his life. You are part of an upsurge of that heritage - it seems, feels, that every so often the giant blood rebounds, and those born under its influence are… Larger.” He frowned and looked down at the bowl.

    “But there's something else. Something in your blood that isn't in others. A.. Foul thing. You're lucky you have the giant blood thicker in your veins - it is helping you against this taint. But not sure what it is.” The alchemist’s frown deepened as he stared at the bowl, trying to figure out what the foulness in John’s blood was.
    - "We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood; Fear the old blood."

    Nevin: Formal, thoughtful, nurturing, bearer of tropey tentacles.

    "More threads! More! Threads for the Crimson Thread King!"
    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.
    Ronnel: Not even approved yet.

  9. #9
    Member

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739
    AP
    23
    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    John held the rag to his forearm as Nevin concentrated on his blood. He hoped the man knew what he was doing. When Nevin left go of his wrist, John tied the cloth loosely over the cut with the aid of his teeth. Even if his plain shirt was soot-stained, it was expected of smiths, and bloodstains indicated a lack of proficiency, at least if an observant eye was looking.

    “Well, I met fenn in an…” John trailed off, looking at the spectacle of blood. If he’d been unaccustomed to the sight, it would have unnerved him. As it stood, it was a little strange to see it swirl and contort under the ministrations of the blood mage. He continued. “...In an unusual way. He snuck into my house. He still comes by sometimes with that ridiculous dog of his.”

    As Nevin began speaking, John concentrated on committing what Nevin was saying to memory. This was the history of his people. Someone should remember, even if the records were lost to time. Giants, eh? That was definitely something interesting. That certainly made sense. According to legend, giants had inhabited the valleys where the Cromwell held authority before his bloodline had settled there. It also explained his prodigious size, as well as the size of notable members of the line Cromwell. Samuel, whose armor John had worn in battle, had held his own single-handedly against two dozen trained soldiers, so it was said. Although, the further back the legends went, the more extravagant they seemed. Bartholomew, oldest of the notable Cromwells, had reportedly won a battle against Hromagh’s champion, securing peace for his kin and anyone in their towns for generations. He smiled a little, sadly. His name would surely be in the histories, but in infamy rather than reverence.

    Well, it was something to be lived with, he supposed.

    “A foul thing... “

    What could be in his blood but…

    John turned, dragging a hand down the side of his face and sighing heavily. The armor had always been there with him, and he’d learned to live with them and use the mystical stuff to help him. Through all that, he would still want it off, though not that he could anyways. Well, the time of being content with the benefits of his armor was long passed now. He would need to find out what the armor was doing to him. Best to check anyways, though. He spoke slowly, turning back around to face Nevin.

    “Is it metal?”

    He knew the answer already.

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