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What a Bard; And his sidekick, Deaf Kid.
Topic Started: Sep 15 2017, 10:43 PM (92 Views)
Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Maverick Nightingale sat, chin in hand at yet another tavern. Yet another sourly un-talented youth belting the most popular road song at the top of his lungs. Maverick heard the fifth measure lift was off key and the refrain was NOT lining up with the poor minstrel's furious strumming.

Damis tapped Maverick on the shoulder and made a set of bored hand gestures. Maverick rolled his eyes. He would have said something like, "well it isn't like you can hear how bad it is," but, well, Maverick had no tongue.

Worst day of his life. And though he was usually one for a good story, it was kind of hard to tell when one couldn't speak. And he hated that story anyway.

Damis made the same series of gestures. He was a snarky kid. He was in good shape, a farmer's boy from birth, stocky, but five feet tall if he was lucky. He was twelve, with dark curly hair flouncing unevenly almost to his shoulders and brown eyes. And he was also deaf as a stump.

Figured.

Maverick waved him off and finished his ale. Maverick was not stocky, nor was he a farmer's child, In fact, he wasn't even particularly athletic. He had the hands of a musician, refined and dexterous. He had elegant hands and middling elegant features. When he sang, he could get women to swoon - some men too, actually, not that he was picky. And that wasn't it -he was a bard. A true bard, a bard that could cast magic with the very wound of his voice. He could entrance a room, make people happy or sad, he could animate suits of armor to dance, he did that once, true story.

But he couldn't sing anymore. Because he had no tongue. And now he was stuck listening to amateurs play in crappy roadside taverns with a deaf kid.

But... he could still play. Maverick waited for the set to end, despite Damis gesticulations. And he raised a hand in the air. Then after he'd received the innkeepers attention, He lifted his other hand; clasping the case for his Bell Harp.

The Innkeeper shrugged and gestured at the stage. Maverick got up and tossed some shaggy brown hair out of his eyes. They were hazel - proudly more green in the sunlight, thank you.

Damis rolled his eyes and picked at the now cold scraps of mutton on his plate.

Maverick ascended the platform and took a stool, resting the bell harp on a knee. He tuned it gently, and started to play. And the music came out as he intended. He strummed and plucked with relish, he cast his eyes about the room and saw it working. In his minds eye he could feel the magic stirring. He felt it under his skin like a sleepy limb. The magic started moving about like wisps of invisible smoke. The song was longing, adventure, it was the length of endless road...

Something smacked him in the back of the head and he tripped over a chord.

The patrons blinked and returned to their games and drinks.

Damis scowled over Maverick's shoulder and pointed at the bell harp. Then the kid gestured at the patrons and then motioned to MAverick's throat and made a gag face.

Maverick sighed. Fine. Normal music. He could play normal music.

And he did. And he contented himself with knowing he played better than the last performer.

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Elena
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Gabriela was a fair maid, all things considered. She had straight blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and clear fair skin that showed no sign of work or age. Everyone had to agree that she was beautiful- but she was also particularly queer. She had a face like a faerie according to the women in town, and suspicious eyes that looked through a man into his very soul. Sometimes she spoke to herself in unsettlingly low tones, and occasionally her mind seemed to travel somewhere very far away. Queer was the only word for it.

And it was an excellent quality for a tavern wench. She attracted all sorts to the bar- adventurers and merchants and farmers alike. While the people in town tended to avoid her, those who had never met her before found her quite bewitching. It was enough for the owner of the inn to keep her employed no matter how many glasses she broke in her strange dazes.

Gabby had a habit of butting into people's conversations with enthusiastic interest when it came to their stories and adventures. Songs and tales were her bread and butter, and whenever she saw a new and interesting person, she would forget her current task and wander over to investigate. She was perfectly pleased with the minstrel's bellowed bawdy songs.

She thought she knew what it was supposed to sound like, and that was enough for her. At least, it had been until the strange new man started to play. She was serving trenchers of mutton and potatoes to a table of local soldiers when he started.

The melody made her fingers itch- or maybe her fingers just itched?

"Can we get two ales?" One of the soldiers asked- but Gabby's brows were drawn curiously close and she was staring at a spot on the table between them. She looked like she was listening for something very quiet. "Gabby?"

"Oh, aye sir. Two ales." She smiled brightly, as though the strangeness had never occurred, and wandered away from the table. The itch was gone, and she rubbed her hands together before plucking up two glass tankards and filling them up with foamy brown. She returned them to the soldiers with a smile and a curtsey, and turned to wipe down a newly empty table. Under her breath she hummed along with the tune the bard had chosen to play.

She didn't know it, but the melody sounded so right she couldn't imagine it going any other way.
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Oru
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Maverick continued to play two more songs of good quality and then wrapped up, waving his thanks to the now distracted audience. When he returned to the table, he found his tankard was empty, and Damis had eaten all the food. The kid was dozing, head resting on one outstretched arm on the table top.

Maverick rolled his eyes and nudged him. Out cold with ruddy cheeks.

Cheeky monkey drank his ale. Maverick sighed. He raised his hand for the barmaid Opened his mouth to say something about how lovely she was, or how she moved with the fluid (if distracted) grace of a dancer. But. Well. Tongue.

Instead he waved until someone saw him and he pointed yearningly at his tankard, eyebrows coming together in faux pathetic pleading.

Take pity on a voiceless bard. I would compliment you to get my ale, but that insipid moron took my tongue and I can't seem to stop lamenting that fact.
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A barmaid on the floor met Maverick's eyes, smiled, and waved her acknowledgement. She would be with him shortly, as soon as she finished chatting with her table of soldiers for a tip. Gabby turned from behind the bar and set a tankard down with a loud thunk near the sleeping boy's head.

Then she ducked her face closed to the bar, bit her lip excitedly and stared at Maverick with wide eyes. That was a man with stories. She could just tell. "Hi." She greeted simply, and then tilted her head as though realizing something.

Right, he hadn't sang anything. And he hadn't said anything all night. He'd either taken a vow of silence or there was something wrong with him. She didn't change her expectant expression, though. "I liked your playing." She rested her elbows on the bar, and her cheeks between both of her hands.

She still seemed to be expecting him to say something, though she knew he could not. "I wish you'd finished the first one, though. Was it about travelling? Somewhere quite far, I think." She tilted her head curiously in her hands.
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Maverick jumped a the loud thump of the tankard, but Demis was completely still. He smiled over at the blonde, and returned her expectant expression with one of his own. He lifted his eyebrows and waggled his fingers at the woman, hoping she understood that he had. No Tongue. He wasn't about to open his mouth and flash the gross work inside though, that was just vulgar.

When she complimented his playing, he bowed his head and put a hand over his heart in modesty. He put his hands together with gracious humility and smiled. Although, when she mentioned the first one - and about the... well, implied magics of it, he raised an eyebrow.

He looked from left to right and nodded slowly. How did she know? He'd had a particular place in mind with that one, very far away indeed. He remembered using that to get bigger tips, as if the patrons could live vicariously through him. But they never reallt saw things when he played music. well unless that was the distinct intention.

Magic was weird.

Maverick patted his bell Harp, half smiled and then pointed at the wench. Then he gestured at the instrument with an inquisitive eyebrow.

I would be happy to play for you anytime. I could, now that my deaf little friend won't duff me on the back of the head. ... He seemed to say.
Edited by Oru, Sep 16 2017, 08:53 AM.
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Elena
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Gabriela leaned a little bit closer to him as he signaled to her with his hands, raising an eyebrow and seeming to listen very hard- as though she could somehow hear a voice speaking to her instead of some mute bard.

Then she smiled. "Oh would you?" She pulled her face away from her hands to clap them together quietly. "That would be so lovely."

"Gabriela Smith! Quit yer slackin!" The owner had poked his head out from the kitchen to scold his easily distracted barmaid and she turned scarlet. She pushed herself off of the bar in a rush and nodded.

"Yes, Hank! Sorry!" She called over her shoulder, but her eyes found Maverick's again. In a conspiratorial whisper, she continued, "Maybe later? You can come over." She grinned.

Gabby lived with her father, the local blacksmith. Her mother had died giving birth to her, and her poor father had no idea what to do with her. He mostly left her to her own devices; which only added to her strangeness.
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Maverick gave her his best winning smile and nodded in agreement.

It was when she walked away that he realized she seemed to understand exactly what he meant with his asinine hand gestured. He watched her walk off with a sort of clueless bewilderment.

So... I wave my hands around and the blonde knows what I'm saying. But when I wave at the deaf kid, he looks at me like I'm insane. How does this make sense.

Demis must have woken up because he let out a wicked belch and jerked up in his seat from a nasty dream. He had bleary brown eyes and he looked at Maverick. Maverick rolled his eyes and then fished his room key out of the pocket of his jacket. he slid it across the table to Demis who snapped it up with a scowl, then staggered off to get some real sleep.

Maverick stayed up to enjoy his ale and listen to those other poor sod 'bards' play.
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Elena
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It was a good night for the inn. There were quite a few strangers in town- most likely passing through towards the upcoming festival in the city. Gabby managed to collect a hefty amount in tips- though not as much as some of the other girls. Even the worst bards were able to leave with heavier pockets than they entered with, and there was quite a competition for the stage among them.

As the patrons began to trickle upstairs to their beds and the girls set to closing the common room up for the night, the inn settled into a gentle almost-silence. The bards did not play for free, so as soon as the listeners stopped listening, they stopped playing. The only sounds were murmured conversations and the swish-swish of a broom on the wooden floor.

Finally, Gabriela was able to wipe her hands on her apron and hang it up on a peg behind the bar. She turned expectantly to where Maverick sat, hands on her hips. "You ready?" She asked, expression as odd as ever. She was wearing a blue dress, pulled up at the hem so as to not drag on the floor, and brown boots and a matching corset. She hoped he hadn't forgotten his offer to play for her.
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Maverick, though used to a more luxurious Inn experience, did enjoy the aftermath of a busy night out. He liked the hum of dimming conversation and crackling fireplace. he leaned back in his chair, with his feet up on another one across from him like a foot stool. His ale was empty and long since removed from the table and replaced with a cup of water.

The Bell Harp sat in Demis' old chair and every once and a while he would shut his eyes and recite the words to his favorite songs in his head.

When The woman came back, he was ready for her, and had a piece of parchment out and charcoal, and on the paper was "Maverick Nightingale."

He presented the paper to her, put a hand on his chest and then stood. Maverick bowed with a gracious nod - of course he had remembered - And then gestured at the wench. He could assume her name was Gabriela Smith - from what the Innkeeper had shouted earlier - but assumptions were generally viewed as rude.
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Gabriela accepted the parchment with a far-away smile. She held it up before her, gave it a cursory glance, and ran her fingers across the page as though she could gather more knowledge from touching it than she could by reading it. Still, she apparently read it as she said, "Well it's very nice to meet you, Mister Nightengale."

She gave him a brief curtsy before handing the parchment back to him in case he wanted to write anything else on it. "You can call me Gabby. Now come on." She caught the hand he'd reached out to gesture towards her and tugged him gently towards the door of the inn. Her grip was loose enough that he could pull away if he wanted, but she would head home with or without him.

She walked with a slight bounce in her step, even after a very long day's work. The street lamps were already burning low, but as they turned a corner the light of a forge glowed ominously in the night. Gabby smiled at the sight of it- but she seemed to smile at everything.

A large, bald man, was hammering away at what appeared to be a horseshoe. It was cooler at night, and easier to work the forge without sweating one's self to death. At least, that was what he told anyone who asked him about his late-night noise making.

"Hello Papa!" Gabby greeted, releasing Maverick's hand if she was still holding it to jog up to her busy father and peck him on the cheek. He appeared annoyed at the gesture, but only grunted in response. "Okay we're going inside now. Don't stay out too late!"

At the word we the man did look up. "What?" He snapped. Then his eyes landed on Maverick. "Girl, you can't just bring strange men home with you."

"Why ever not, Papa?" She asked, eyes blinking curiously. The man groaned and rolled his eyes. He clearly had very little patience for his daughter.

"Just- ugh. Go inside."

Gabby smiled and glanced back at Maverick, gesturing him into the little house with a wave of her hand. There were two rooms- one a common area with a narrow bunk for her to sleep in, and the other a private bedroom for her father. The place was empty of knick-knacks, with bare walls and only one thin blanket on the bed. A table with two chairs was shoved up against the wall, and Gabby took a seat immediately.

"So, what is your favorite tune to play?" She asked, clasping her hands in her lap eagerly. Then she appeared to remember something and sat up straight. "Oh! Do you like tea? I should make tea." That was the polite thing to do, right?
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Maverick watched Gabby 'read' his note, and felt himself smiling. He thought she was a little crazy. BUT she was also adorable and he didn't mind how eccentric she was behaving. He accepted the parchment back and slipped it into his pocket.

Maverick gave Gabby's hand a return squeeze as he got his feet under him and followed her out of the Inn.

This very much reminds me of that time is Sero wth that redhead. I could speak then of course, and I came up with some truly genius compliments. Can't for the life of me remember any of them now, but they were truly delightful. I bet she's inherited her family's house and lives along; she's a little odd so no one bothers her.

And then the smith came up and, well, that's where Gabby went. Maverick blinked at the man and started to gesture, slipping free of her hand to do so. He opened his mouth, then shut it again. He pulled the paper out of his pocket and put it down for the smith on the nearest surface that wouldn't catch fire. He gestured at the paper hen himself, then bowed before dashing in after Gabby.

Her father is the blacksmith. Great. I'm a dead man. One hit with his big fist and I'll be a corpse.

He sighed, pulling his bell harp case to the front and patting it. When Gabby offered tea, he smiled graciously and nodded. He glanced quietly around (honestly what kind of noise was he going to make?) and he took a seat. With a few well practiced maneuvers, he had the Bell Harp out and on his lap.

When Gabby was facing him again, he stroked his chin in thought and then put a hand over his heart with a wistful smile. He wanted to imply he liked passionate song filled with wistfulness and emotion.

He strummed a few strings and started a chord or two. Then Maverick lifted an eyebrow with some genuine cuirious inquiry in his eyes.

I wonder... Can she feel the magic in the song? Would she if I played?
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The blacksmith only regarded Maverick with a scowl. He didn't even bother to look at the parchment. He didn't like people who couldn't speak for themselves- they all smelled like cowards to him. And he ought to have expected a better explanation for a strange man coming home with his daughter.

But his daughter was odd- touched, some would say. He could no more control her than he could control the wind. This wasn't her first time bringing strangers home, and so far nothing untoward had happened. Once, a man had tried something, and Gabby had nearly burned the whole shack down to run him out. He supposed at least she could take care of herself. He carried on with his work.

Gabriela pushed herself back out of her chair and set to making the tea. The kettle was small, and the cups were all mismatched, but the tea was good. "I collect the herbs myself," she told him proudly. "I'm not sure what they are, but they taste nice."

The implication was that she had discovered them through trial and error- which could have resulted in some horrific brews- and even some that were poisonous. But they did taste nice, and they smelled nice, too. She set a cup down before the bard, poured tea into it until it was dangerously close to overflowing, and then poured a similar cup for herself. She settled back into her chair and leaned across the table towards him expectantly.

"Romantic songs, huh?" She asked, tilting her head and propping her elbows up on the table. "I don't wanna hear that. Play me something about adventure." She waved a hand as though to dismiss the idea of a passionate song from his head. She'd heard her fair share of ballads. They were usually not very genuine, and remarkably crass.

She wanted to see that place her mind had gone to back at the inn. All it was now was shadows.
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NO romance, huh? Adventure, then? Well, let me see if I can strum up a more complete encore, My lady. He spoke in his head as if the words were coming out of his mouth, and sent her a playful scowl that turned quickly into a gracious nod.

Maverick tuned his strings. He tilted his head to hear the resonance of each string and made tiny, insignificant adjustments until he was satisfied. He played a quick chord, shook out his free hand and then looked at Gabby. He winked with purpose. And then he dove into song.

This particular epic was about a wayfaring man who was trying to find his way home after a shipwreck. He was in strange, unwelcoming lands, but he was not one to stand by in a fight where evil was clearly being done. No, this man had a high moral center and a great club of driftwood to do his bidding. It was a song with several long verses when sung, but a good bard would only pick the appropriate ones based on the audience, of course.

Maverick chose one verse, the tale of the Wayfarer and the carnival, where he liberated poor souls who were being misused by an evil performer and his develish troop. The verse ended with the Wayfarer taking on a new companion - an 'angel' with one white wing and a beautiful face.

That was his favorite verse. The tempo was up and bouncing, and this was also a good song to open up a dance with. It wasn't too fast, but it certainly got feet tapping ad heads bobbing when it was played correctly.

And if there was one thins Maverick did well it was play.

It would be better if I could sing. But this will have to do.

And as the notes poured fromhis furious fingertips, the magic in the ir warped and wefted in the breeze around him and his audience like playful wisps of fog. Go on, go adventure it whispered to passing ears. There is so much out there to see and do!
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Gabby did not bob her head or stand to dance. In fact, she sat perfectly still, hands spread flat on the table between them. She stared intently at the way his fingers moved across the harp, and her mouth slowly spread into a wide smile.

Yes, that was a good song. She liked the way it sounded. Something about a pirate, and a festival near the sea. She could not tell any more than that from the melody alone, though. Her eyebrows drew together and she tilted her head a little to the side as she considered it. When he finished, she was no longer smiling. In fact, she looked remarkably sad.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know the words." She folded her hands together on the table and sighed. "It was beautiful, though. You must have been playing a long time." She smiled again, so abruptly that it was like she'd never been sad at all.

"Are you and your boy on your way to the festival? It starts in a few days. I've always wanted to go." She'd never had the coin for it, though. Her father was certainly not going to pay for her to go wandering into the city by herself. She got into enough trouble in their small town all on her own.
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When Maverick finished the song, he opened his eyes to smile at her, and found instead, the sweetest, saddest face he'd ever seen. And the first thing he thought was that he was distinctly losing his touch.

And then it was back, that charming smile and pixie-face glee. She apologized for not knowing the words and he tilted his head forward to dismiss the apology, using one hand to still the resonating strings of his instrument.

Maverick's expression shifted to blatant confusion when she mentioned 'his boy'. Demis? HIS boy? Oh, no no. I don't think it's possible for me to produce something that... solid. He shook his head at her, waving his hand to negate the statement. He opened his mouth to explain, and instead fumbled at the bag at his hip and pulled out his small notepad and charcoal.

Thank God for Literacy. He scribbled something and passed it to Gabby.

The boy is Demis. He's my assistant. We aren't related. But I was thinking of playing at the Festival. I love Festivals. Where is it? He grinned slyly at Gabby and spread his hands helplessly. He gestured around, pointed at himself, and then shook his head.

Certainly not from around here.
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Gabriela watched him gesticulate with obvious interest, nodding as though she understood but not responding until he finally gave her the note. She ran her hand across it and stared at the words on the page for a brief moment.

"Demis?" She asked, checking to see if she'd gotten the pronunciation right. "If you protect him, he's your boy." She smiled back up at Maverick as though this were the most obvious sentiment in the world. Though, she wasn't sure if Demis or Maverick did more of the protecting. Perhaps she was being ageist?

"The festival is going to be in Fairglass. It's the regional Midsummer celebration." She was still running her fingers absently across the parchment, thinking that it felt very interesting. She sighed wistfully. "You really should go. It's a week-long event. People from all over gather there. Papa used to go to sell his wares but he never took me."

She placed the parchment carefully on the table between them and leaned over it to speak animatedly about the festival. "There are men with legs taller than buildings, and so many different kinds of foods that you could never hope to try them all. Men and monsters fight each other for gold and honor. There are women who could melt your heart with their voices." Her eyes were very far away, and there was something strange in her words that wrapped them both up in a vision of a festival so much bigger than any festival really was.

"There are people who can do magic," she said with a whisper. The whisper was tinged with power, and Gabby seemed even more strange than usual.
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Maverick Nightingale nodded when Gabby pronounced Demis' name. He glanced between her hands drifting over the parchment and her face.

But then something happened. The warp and weft of the world seemed to bend for a moment as she leaned in to describe the festival. A week long affair, men with legs taller than buildings, colorful banners, women with siren's voices singing alluring songs to the crowd. He could see it, vividly in his mind's eye.

Maverick blinked. He was leaning forward too, trying to drink it all in, and when Gabby whispered about magic, he blinked. And then he blinked again. And then his mouth started to flap as if he was talking but damnit he wasn't talking, because damnit he had no tongue.

Maverick bounced his head off of his arms as they were sprawled on the table before him. When he looked back up, he was smiling with an odd, jubilant mix of happiness, sadness, and excitement. He waved at her, pointing at her throat and then gesticulating as if he was singing.

People do magic! YOU do magic! You just did magic! You took me somewhere, with your words, my GODS you weren't even singing! This... This is amazing! I wish I could just TELL you!

Maverick put his hands on his head, and then gesticulated again, from himself to his bell harp, and then to her again, and then he gestured out the door.

You should come with me! Us! Come with us!
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Gabriela's eyes widened at Maverick's response. He was so animated that she thought he might hurt himself- or at least spill the tea everywhere. She slid her arms across the table to steady his cup as he bounced his head off of his arms, and then leaned back in her chair.

He was pointing at her, and at his harp, and waving about ridiculously. The parchment crinkled under her hands and her face turned scarlet. Through a tight smile, she said, "I'm sorry, I don't play the harp."

It was the first time she'd seemed not to understand him, but it was also the first time she'd seemed upset by whatever he was saying. She continued to worry at the crumpled parchment, staring down at her hands.

"I couldn't go, anyway," she said thoughtfully. "Papa would never allow it." She was still red-cheeked.
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Maverick slowed down, and his smile slowly faded. He looked out towards the door, and started to worry at his top lip. He thought as quickly as he could - what did she say, her father brought his goods to town?

He snatched the paper off of the table and turned it over to scratch on the other side. Maverick's handwriting was excited and messier. He passed the note back to her and looked up at her face, with a plea in his eyes.

I can't sing anymore - but you can. You can sing with me! We can play together! Gods its been so long since I've heard a proper tune!

The note, however, said, "Maybe we can convince your father to take us along? I would be happy to pay for his company - I don't have much, but imagine! Playing together! Wouldn't that be fine?"

Maverick slid the note to Gabby and tried to plan, to think - Demis won't be any trouble. He's never any trouble. He's deaf as a stump. I can play for my ride there, pay with some of the emergency silver if I have to - and then once we're at the festival, we can play some Real music! I can teach her some songs on the road, some of the greats!
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