Insertion

return to Port Pearl

Returning to Port Pearl, the party reconciles everything with Penelope’s noble friend ( they got paid, and told him of what was going on in Dodaring)

Xou Sheg, spots them and informs them of what he discovered in the swamp. That a camp of lumberjacks are missing , and screams were heard from by those in a camp nearby. Some lumberjacks went to investigate, but they too are missing now.
Feeling that they might go investigate this also ( to help out the noble ) they get ready to depart in the morning, when they first get word from the noble about some emergency.
They visit the noble and are told what happened with the sailors from the ship. They are told that the ships captain purchased some low grade alcohol in Dodaring and sold it to the dwarfs as ‘ gotts trinken’. The noble says the dwarfs blame him for the bad drink, and his reputation is on the line (not to mention the party’s also).. and justice should be done, so the party ( after securing a note from another ‘friend’ of Penelope, go to arrest the ship captain on the docks before he can set sail.

After a brief fight the crew is ‘dispatched’ and the captain (along with the first mate who tried to set the ship on fire), are tied up by the party and brought to the courts. The party members ( along with the noble, rep’s from the dwarfs, a few crew members, and some dock workers who saw the events) will all be interviewed by the court.
The trial won’t start for at least a week until all evidence is brought in. Since statements have been given to the court by the party members, many of them will be release from having to appear at the trial, but at least one will have to appear in the trail (being call by the prosecution as as a witness).

  1. (side note: many players have expressed interest in investigating other events that have been occurring in this adventure. Jay’s swashbuckler, Jason’s cleric, Jamie’s rouge and Eric’s bard will be heading to the University at West Fork, while Neil’s paladin stays behind ( being the symbol of justice in the party, he’ll take part in the trial)
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return to Dodareing

Before the party sets sail back to the ‘known land’ they learn of some disturbing developments. A few Dodaring engineers and surveyors plotted out of the Equine land for what seemed to be about the size of a large fort. The party fears that Dodaring might send militant might into the land. Knowing that the Equines would not like this, they fear it would start war between the two.
Coming back to the ‘known lands’ there is a small detour, as the captain enters the port of the capitol city Dodaring. He, his first mate and two of the crew quickly get off board, and the swashbuckler and Bard trail his suspicious activities. Later they discover that the two crew were sent to gather ‘entertainment’ for the crew, while the first mate makes a bee-line to the military engineers headquarters.(but don’t gain information as to what was discussed there). The captain heads for a merchant house, and while they don’t gain information about it, the heavy suspicion it that the captain is working out a deal to get some cargo to bring back to Port Pearl (knowing that an empty ship is losing money for the captain)

  • * stuff not mentioned in game: the party may see some cargo loaded into the ship, later that day or the next day.

Meanwhile the party finds that the ship will be docked for two days (mostly as the captain says: in observance of prince Bernard’s birthday, since there will be party’s galore in town, this is a great way to improve the moral in his crew.
Not wanting to stay in the cramped quarters of the ship, the party finds a nice comfortable inn to stay the next two nights in. While there Devlin is ‘accosted’ by two tailors who measure him up for a fancy outfit he’s to wear. Later the party finds out he is the escort of some mysterious ‘Lady Rosewhite’ ,who is known to be a big time socialite, to the big royal celebration at Dodaring castle. On the way there in the carriage Devlin notices lady Rosewhite similarities to a ‘Cook’ named Alyshia they met at the Bank. He decides to play along hopping to see “what she’s up to”. The paladin, bard, and cleric all manages to find invites through ‘friends of theirs’ that are not interested in going to the party because of philosophical differences.
At the birthday party the players find out several different things.
About the family
The older brother has two girls ( Dawn and Eve). Dawn is 16 and ‘likes a boy’ who can best be describe as a ‘golden boy’ to the Dodaring family, and is the picture of elegance and grace. Eve is about 13 and is very much a tom boy that would rather swing a sword then swing dance. Jay tries to make friends with eve, but she becomes too brat-like when he won’t show her his nice sword.
· The younger brother has one son, Bernard. He just turned 8, and is very smart for his age in matters of military and commerce. While some things he does say seem to coached (as if what his father would say) there are certainly points the young man brings up that are certainly his own opinion.
· The bard and Paladin find a room of portraits of the royal families in the past. They notice a striking similarity of Dawn and her grandmother. (Who is said to have died in a storm at sea, and whose lost left the grandfather to grieve so much it caused his early death.) While this picture must have been painted shortly before her death, the players think that there is a baby bump on the queen mother, but no records of a third child are known.
· They party wonders if this baby bump could be an heir to the throne. Possibly finding some Dodaring legal person at the party, they find that because there is two brothers, the next heir could be quite a complex mater, and the only way a third child could gain the throne is if the king fathers will was declare nul-in-void, and two brothers were also somehow not eligible to become king.
Dodaring Saber rattling (what Devlin is calling it).
· The party does know about Dodaring military build-up and that it seems to be best described as a slow burning pot, ready to boil .
· At the party, they hear nothing about any Dodaring military work against the Equines (in fact non of the folks at the party claim to have heard of the Equines).
· They also learn that there are engineers and advisers out in some of the uncontrolled lands looking for more property.
· Advisers have been sent to Unnine, to assess its strength. Generals at the party are calling Unnine a ‘soft target’ if the conflicts in port pearl escalate. With disorder, they feel the country would be better served by someone/something that can restore order.

Other tid-bits
· A ship of gold bars destined for Herounus (capitol of Firstland) was sunk and plundered in the harbor of Port Pearl. Many believe this was the work of the craftsmen in an attempt to gain wealth in the conflict.
The party notes that they still haven’t been paid, plus they feel they should inform folks in Port Pearl about Dodaring intention (both vs the Equines and Unnine)

  1. Side note, jay was wondering how old he is, and how long this has been going on (character time )… by my calculation, it’s been approx 15 weeks since the incident at ‘the Bank’ that brought the main group together.
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Equine Land.. ho !

The swashbuckler, Thelia, Pillnar, Penelope, and bard’ arrive in the Equine land. They debarked the ship and got pushed around by a large Equine warrior. But soon met up with a young Equine whom they named ‘Junior’. And learn from him a few of the Equine ways

After off-loading supplies, the ship heads out.. it will return in 2 weeks. The herd is heading out for what ‘junior’ calls ‘Earth Berries’. After a brief talk, the party thinks this is the same drink that Jamie noble friend called ‘gotts trinken’. The party travels along with the herd, and is told not to interfere.
The first place they travel to is a tall grassy region. The herd pulls grass and starts weaving the leaves into baskets to hold the berries. The party notices a small powdery substance on the grass (growing like a mold like). They think this may be a kind of yeast for the brew. Devlin makes notes and collects samples of the grass’s and the yeast. The herd moves on to a grove of trees where these ‘earth berries’ grow (so named because the Equines take them and bury them in the earth). Again samples are taken and notes are … um noted. Next up is a short travel to where junior calls the ‘soft ground’ (very much like a peat moss).
On the way there, the herd is ambushed by a pride of “Cats”, that manage to kill a horse, and ‘foal-nap’ one of the warriors daughters. When the party ask ‘junior’ if they’re going after the girl, he says no (life for them means it’s too risky to send in warriors that might get killed or injured for one colt). So the party heads out to rescue the daughter. They defeat the guards, and do rescue her. Elders from the council get together about this matter. If word passed to other herds that a human cared about a member of their heard, it may bring disrespect to them. In order to “save face” the herd will see if one human can pass “Ordeal” (a trial by which Equines become full members of the herd). That evening the warrior father of the foal-napped girl selects the bard to “Ordeal” since he hears a tale of battle (and some Equine words dropped in).

  1. notes left out of game, but junior may have told the party: Ordeals are chosen by a full member who sees them as fit to join the herd. Each Ordeal consists of three parts, which are unknown to the Ordeal and different from each Warrior that gives it. Besides fasting, and silence (something the Equines believe brings a more spiritual connection.. along with a symbolic willingness to sacrifice for the herd):

the Bards first Ordeal is one of spiritual solitude and willingness to return to the herd. He is left alone in a grove of trees.. and the heard moves out w/out him. he manages to find the human boot tracks of the other party members, and is able to follow these back to the herd.

the Second ordeal is to stand up for himself and willingness to participate in herd culture. Upon coming back to the new herd location, he is met, and engaged in one of the Equines “taunting contest”. He gets his Ordeal master to swing first after a vicious insult, but is unable to land any good punches (even tho later may find that the warrior viewed his attacks as being ‘scrappy’ enough)

  1. note left out of game : the party may find from junior that is was probably good he didn’t win the fight portion.. as the warrior would have had to defend his position in the herd if he (the warrior) had lost to a human who has called him a cart-puller. There may still have been some other warriors whom challenged him anyway because of this.

the third trial is a simple archery shooting at 3 targets. He seals the deal by hitting a bulls-eye on the farthest target. He tries to hand back the bow (which was ‘juniors’ to start with), but is told by the master to keep it. Later that night he is brought forth to the whole herd as a member of the herd who has passed Ordeal (to the approval of some, dislike of other… but all accept him, and will treat him as herd).

The party also witnesses the herd make the ‘Earth Berry’ brew (and takes detailed notes, including a very rhythmical chant/song they sing while cooking it : the Bard tries to learn it, Devlin tries to copy the words phonetically.) And then the Equines pour the mix into wood canteen type jars, then bury the ‘logs’ in the peat-moss bog. Doing a bit of math on figures they see, the party realizes that the equines will be far unable to come up with expectations from Penelope’s noble friend. The party does secure a 5 year contract with the Equines, but volume will not be enough.
Having secured the contract, collected items they think can be used to make their own (or sell the technology for) making the brew, plus making new friends in a new land.. the party decides to head back to the landing dock (they do expect a ship to come and pick them up).

While leaving (as a good-bye gift perhaps), the young kid-napped foal chases after the group and hands Devlin a strange bow made of some kind of bone. Thank you’s are exchanged, and she runs back to the herd.

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tough times in port pearl

Getting closer to Port Pearl the party finds that some merchants either aren’t sending out supplies from Port Pearl or some “bandits” have raided some of the wagons coming out of the city. Supplies are ok going into the city tho. In Port Pearl they discover the reason merchant/traders are not sending things out is now a small amount of fear of being raided ( not a lot at this time, more or less the seeds are being sown, or this is a prelude to a bigger confrontation between the craftsmen and merchant/traders.) Another warehouse was ransacked ; a ship in the dock was looted; a well to do traders daughter was kidnapped ; and yes bandits have struck some merchants. Since the city has a population of 50-55 k, it’s not much more crime then whats already going on.. but folks are beginning to take notice, and a keen eye can spot that some folks are starting to side with either the craftsman or merchant/traders. City/Government leaders would like to have negotiations going, but no one from the craftsman side is stepping forward.
Penelope talks to one of her noble ‘friends.’ He’s quite upset about relations between craftsmen and traders .. since it’s cutting into his pocketbook also. He’s worried about some lumber coming in from a lumber camp ( reports from the men there are saying strange sounds are being heard ). even tho 4 loads of lumber was to come in .. only 2 load where reported to arrive ( one load broke done, the forth was still waiting to become full at the camp). Being puzzled at this the party took no action since the noble wasn’t clear as to what needed to be done.

Also the noble is working on a ‘special deal’. It seams the Dwarfs have found a special type of drink they are calling gotts trinken, are going crazy for the stuff, and are willing to pay well for. ( altho drinkable to humans, humans find the liquor not that great tasting ). The noble has a deal with the dwarfs for 200 barrels of the stuff.
The party struck up a deal with the noble to broker a deal with a species called the Equines, who are the makers of such a drink. The deal the party got is 8000 gold, plus 2% ( of profits ) per year for the next 5 year ( if the party can acquire a 5 year contract with the Equines ). While the party feels this is a very small amount, the noble assures them this as fair as he can go with out hurting his own profits.

Things the party finds out about the Equines.
No one seems to know much about them, as they are a new race that the humans have run into.
They are ½ horse, ½ human ( like centaur )
They have not gotten along with ANY of the diplomats sent before. ( granted only about ½ dozen meetings tho.
They live in herds and roam.
They are excellent archery marksmen, a bit militant, and not to fond of the elves either.
They have treated humans rude, brash, unsophisticated ( at least according to the diplomats view). They sent a smaller member of their herd to be a negotiator/interpreter ( the diplomats referred to this equine as the ‘runt of the liter’/ and were quite offended that they were not aloud to talk with the herd leader )
They do not wear much for cloths, mostly vest type even among the female ( the diplomats thought this might even be a sign of rank in the particular herd).
There is a small place with a dock and one house that a human lives in in the Equine land, this is were the party will be going.
The party sets sail for the Equines land, believing this may be somehow relater to the phrase “Course the tail of hoof and hand” found in the Wondered prize poem.

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extra info

things out side of game

Left behind at west fork university, Pillnar picks up all the documents about the research done and heads back to Port Pearl.
Eric’s Bard, who works at the University, travels with him.
Pillnar & Eric arrive at Port Pearl about the same time as those that fought off Pirtanthir

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task complete

Having decided to stay a few more days in West Fork to gather supplies and such, the party (Devlin,Thelia,Vlad & Penelope ) took in the championship gladiatorial match that Saturday. ( in which they mostly lost money gambling on the wrong person , as Gorian won the title ). At the arena they meet Earl , who would join them.

Penelope had done some more ‘research’ at the university on noble families. Also managed to get a copy of a map for the location they where going to, where they believed the tome may be. They asked again about gaining entrance to the locked door deep in the archives, but were denied going there.
After gathering supplies, and an uneventful trip to the ‘tome’ region..

Just outside of a small village they notice things have begun to fall into disrepair and neglect. Townsfolk are malnourished and dehydrated but are to apathetic to care about themselves. They spot a man fitting the description of one of the missing ‘blue’ guys and talk to him. After a brief talk they believe the tome ( and possibly the apprentice Pirtanthir are around.
Vlad does some tracking and they follow a path to a cave with a large podium ( also 4 dead bodies along a wall ). The party takes up positions and wait for the gathering they believe to be coming. Several local townsfolk enter ( all looking like ‘walking zombies’ along with two men in rather worn ‘blue garb’ that stand near the podium. Just after that a secret door behind the podium open and “Pirtanthir” steps out and start to ‘preach’ from a large book. The party attacks and “Pirtanthir” ( via help from DM ) barely manages to escape.. one of the ‘blue garbed’ folks is killed and the other is captured. The party retrieves the large tome and burns it. Removing it’s cover to be sent back to Port Pearl as proof. They also decide to take back the ‘blue garbed’ guy.

Earl mentions on the way back to Port pearl that there was a great fire in one of the leading merchants warehouse.

On the way back to Port Pearl, the blue guy talks about his experience. While understanding about the need to destroy the tome, he is a bit disappointed that it could not be studied ( the nature of those from ‘blue’ wanting to find answers and searching unknown riddles),he sees some benefit in the ‘teachings’ of “Pirtanthir”
the giving of life : sacrifice : changing of forms from one to another : life of one thing may mean death in another. etc
It all seams rather fascinating to him and something he may want to explore more.

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University

At the University at West Fork several events happen.
When they realize that it will take many days for students and professors to do research on Amantha and the strange substance….

Gertzie visits the large dwarven community. But not much happens with that. (Gertzie is left there and joins the group at a letter time )

Devlin inquires about fighting in the arena. He gets involves with a conspiracy to alter odds on a championship match next week. He is paid to win, while a local town favorite named Gorian is going to ‘take a dive’. Devlin puts on a fabulous show, when the villain Zorkora burst in at the end of the match and ‘disrespects’ Gorian.

Thelia, Pillnar, and Penelope go to the University. Students find some information about Amantha.
1)he died over 20 years ago
2)Was a student of the U years ago but was kicked out for ‘unbecoming behavior’
3)Tried to be a leader in the wizards consul but due to his ‘necromantic’ teachings never became one.
4)His apprentice Pirtanthir is the one that discovered his dead body.. perhaps took his “belongings” but he has never been seen since.
5)locals took his body and buried him in a steal casket and sealed it.
A professor of science took interest in investigating and running test on the substance.. but this would take several days ( if not weeks ).

Penelope decided to wonder the halls looking for random stuff/ or information on noble families. A student recommended a book he had recently read about the history of the Dodaring family (rulers of the country of Dodaring ).
From reading the book, She learns about an ancient curse/prophecy placed on the family by a wizard named Erron Path
Erron Path was a powerful wizard who died over 1000 years ago. << key note for a later event.
Dodarings have always hated magic use and wizards (Kristoph may provide proof by stating that it is known that Dodaring will hire hunters to find wizards)
She ( and Devlin )ask the librarian of that building for more information about Erron Path, and are lead into the basement of the OLD ARCHIVES. Strangely the last person to have signed into going down there used the name Erron Path, only 6 years ago ( cue eery mystery music).
They find old scrolls of Erron Path and the details of the curse/prophecy. Which in general states ( IE DM didn’t have much time to work on this )
##(see prophecy of Erron Path

Also in the ‘archives’ they see an old door with old locks .. even thou the librarian has keys for it, the door is too old/rusted to open, plus the librarian insist on integrity of the archival building, so they’re not aloud to damage the door to get in. It is at this time Jamie rogue notices a piece off scrap paper that looks too new to be in this area, and they discover the Wondered prize poem.
Devlin believes this might be a link to how to get magic back in the world.

Back in the Science lab ..
4-5 days are spent doing lab work. Two students that came into contact with the bottles gray fluid started to act strange. The players find that the red stuff inside not only reacts to living stuff, but also grows and seems to draw life force from living beings into it. Fearing how bad this could become, they destroy the stuff. Well documented research information that has gone on will be copied and sent to Port Pearl stating that this is the essence of Amentha and was destroyed. Altho the professor is quite saddened that more research could not be done.

  1. # # # #
    the DM aloud characters to have some insight on the poem they found
    Penelope ( Ears see what blinds the eyes ) believe it is words of caution to listen to the poem carefully and not necessarily read it.
    Pillnar ( Untrue folks ) through his religion knowledge knows that ‘true aligned’ folks are referred to those that are fated to have something happen.
    Devlin ( few have seen a man twice grown ) from his experience in gladiator fights , he has heard about ‘giant men’ the Dwarf’s claim they battle in the mountains.
    Gertzie ( his dusty second rose ) she remembered that there where two roses above Amentha’s fireplace mantle. But no dust was on or around it. She also found it funny that since Amentha is a necromancer, if the essence would have brought him back to life,, he would have ‘Rose’ a second time, and the essence is now a pile of dust.
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Amantha's Residence

The party travels to the town near Amantha‘s residence and talk to the locals. Not learning much, but do find out how to get to his place.
At Amantha’s they search the ground and find a small graveyard with one plot looking like it was dug resent (probably one to two weeks old) marked with a small cross and a wreath of flowers hanging on it. Along with a more noticeable larger stone grave marker that seems to be many years old, with carving that is too worn to read. Also they see several footprints of different shod and barefoot humanoid feet.
They searched the house and found that it was the basement that was the true living residence, vary ornately decorated, except for many place that seem to be destroyed by people that have smashed anything of value. The party does discover a large fireplace with many ornate figures carved into it. Notably two roses that are discovered to hide a “key/hook” that opens a secret passage hidden in the fireplace that leads back to a lab/workroom. Inside the lab they find ( among other things ) a large bottle of some strange substance with what looks like greyish opaque liquid with a reddish “embryo” floating in the middle. They believe this may be the essence but don’t what to destroy it now because it may not be the essence, plus they want to make sure proof will get back to the “blue guys”.
Searching the grounds outside the residence, Pillnar detects faint evil from under the large gravestone. They dig up that sight and uncover a steal Casket with a large A on it, that has been welded closed, after much effort to unseal it ( and an encounter with the local ‘zombie kids’) they find what they believe must be the remains of Amantha. They remove a pendent from his neck (a large black stone with a with star-shaped gem in the center ). since the pendent did not detect evil, they plan on using this as prof it was Amantha. ( later they will find that Amantha was known to have a pendant just like this ). The party dose’s the corps with holy water, and reburies it.
Believing they need more information about Amantha. The group heads to the University at West Fork.

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More Crime
More Crime

Thus brings us to a bright and sunny Sunday morning in the not so quiet city of Port Pearl where the group learns early in the day about a merchant group that was accosted early that day just a mile or two outside of town, and guards are looking for a man going by the name of the “black cloak rebel”.
Devlin is once again arrested in connection to this because he is identified as looking similar to the leader of the “bandit group” and had id’d himself the night before in the arena.
The rest of party travels out to the “scene of the crime” and gathers evidence. They also find several clues from talking to locals in town.. Notably some witness’s who saw a cart pull up behind the inn the group was staying at, and linking it to a “stone worker”. Also the strange art symbol was seen on a “painters” shop masked in the shape of brushes.
After informing the authorities about what they had found, and putting up bail for Devlin and Vlad ,and keeping out of trouble for the next week, the trial for several craftsmen linked to this “black cloak rebel” group was held. ( although the players have forgotten how many people they saw at the “hidden meeting” should lead them to wonder where the others are). Plus many of the symbols around town that were seen before, are no longer noticeable.
The evidence the players bring to the trail is very helpful to the authorities. BUT! Because they knowingly withheld crucial evidence to another crime the county was working on ( noticeably the steeling of gold bars from the countries mint – had the party followed up on this earlier when they arrived, the rebellion would have taken a much different turn). The country would hold one person responsible for this while the others were pardoned. If that person would do a task for the country then they also would also be pardoned ( from crimes linked to this incident up to this point, but not after, because of how involved they seem to have been before, the country still has some suspicion that they ‘may be part’ if they continue to be linked to future events associated with this black cloak rebel group. Vlad quickly signed the agreement making him responsible.
Two days later he is approached by two “followers of mystery and knowledge” dressed in blue, and told that they have heard about a Cult of Amantha from two of their ‘brothern’ in a northern region.
This is what these folks know about Amantha .

  • he was a great wizard until he died about 20 years ago
  • he keep his experiment work is a ledger or ‘Tome’
  • he had claimed to be able to store a life essence and bring it back.
  • His former residence/lab wasn’t to far away.
    They are told/asked to find and destroy Amantha’s essence so he may not be brought back to life( even if the tome is destroyed ) and to destroy the tome so that no one will ever be able to do these acts in the future.
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Black Cloak Rebel

In Port Pearl they discover that the wood crafters shop exterior has this strange symbol hidden in the architecture of the window (latter they find that same architect mark on several other buildings). While at first the wood carver is friendly, he became agitated when the party brought up working for the merchants.
The wood crafter latter that day has Devlin arrested for stealing the box, but nothing came from that.
The party hears that the dwarf’s have recently came into a lot money, but with only a few questions asked at the dwarf consulate, no relevant information was found from them.
The party sent a messenger back to the Bank with word that they believe these artist with the strange marks are behind the arson and murder.(they expect word back in about 1 week).
The party broke into the wood crafters place and found a note telling about “a secret meeting” that night, along with several newly minted coin.(as gold is a soft metal, it tends to scratch rather fast once put into circulation. These had no scratches)
They stealth-fully check out the meeting that night and see many figures dressed in “black cloaks” talk about the success of the event at ‘the Bank’ and await for many other great events to come.. plus mock the merchants. But the party refrains from taking action at this point. The men at the meeting give out their name as the Black Cloak Rebellion,
While I (the DM) forget how, the wood carver was arrested on Friday. Devlin ( who had been looking for work ) is given a task to be the executioner in the arena Saturday evening.
(DM slip – judgment and sentence of this type of crime would never have been so fast in the country of Unnine )
When it comes to the execution, the gladiator is told the ‘victim’ is the wood crafter. Devlin dressed in a dark black cloak and goes by the name “the Black Cloak Rebel’. He is accosted by four brutes, but does away with them and enters back into the arena where Vlad has be trying to slay the bad wood carver but is unable to ( much to the hatred of the crowd for having him interrupt the show). Devlin comes back in style, and executes the wood carver, tries to heal him by breathing a “??” into his mouth but it’s unsuccessful. This is very great showmanship to the crowd as they’ve never seen this finishing move that later became known as “the Kiss of Death”.

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