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The Black Anvil Hymn [ Hub ]

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Today was the day, the day he was finally going to regain his mobility and his freedom. Godric had been waiting for this day for a while now, and was ecstatic to know that it had finally come. Soon he could throw away these crutches and walk about town like a strutting stallion once again.

It was slow progress to the Black Anvil, but nothing could put down his spirits on this day. Everything was going to be better after this, he just knew it. Once the operation was done he could finally go back to being a full man again, not just some cripple trying to get by in life. Ioreth was going to flip when she saw his new leg, hell he may even do a flip just to impress her. Godric was practically on cloud nine by the time he entered into the humble shop.

"I'm here, I'm ready to be cut open." He said with a hearty laugh. "Where do we begin in all of this?"

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Lexicus looked over the forge a few more times over, taking in his mind what he would need for a cast. Though his attention was drawn away from it when Stello began talking about his origin. It was a very very long story that he'd share over the course of many drinks, but not for the smith, no no, for him to share. With a very slight bit of magic he was allowed to keep, Lexicus willed one of his playing cards into being. There was a smile creeping along his face.

"I could weave you a tale about me being a renegade nobleman from somewhere out west out in Genesaris, Terranus, or even Orisia or Alterion for that matter, I could spin tales, weave lies, con my way into making a story that would leave you in shambles..but, I like you. You don't push things, you don't question everything. I bring up chatter about working with lycans and demons and even that tiger that left just moments ago, and you don't seem to really question it." The smith walked his way over to the counter and slid the card face down across the table towards the shop owner. "When you really want to know, that card will lead you were you want to go. Trust me, it's a long topic of discussion with so many odd and ends with twists and turns that it would take me forever to explain it all. Where I can be..unrestricted..would make that little conversation much easier to handle." 

Once finished talking, Lexicus brushed off his shirt, stood up straight took in a deep breath. "Now, if you would be so kind, do we happen to have ring molds or do you cut the rings from sheets?" His method of building ring mail was a strange, involving fusing the rings together with a method of transmutation and will the rings together by sheer magic alone. With the scroll Ishanis gave him, he was on his way to doing that but it required a few more scrolls for the body to learn the skills of the mind. For the time being he would simply make the rings then fuse them later once he had the ability.

The elf and the smith looked at one another taking a moment to think.

"Landshark............................Ahh yeah Bulette, that's what tried to eat Valitini before. Little bastard damn near gutted that thing from head to toe."

             "Do you mean Bulettes?"

There was a moment they both laughed about the trip they had many years ago through the desert where their goblin 'knight' was nearly eaten by a land shark, only to make a quick and brutal escape only moments later. 

"I believe we might be able to work the carapace into something of protection." The old world smith commented on it, thinking of what it would take to work the metallic shell.

"Maybe some concoction to soften the carapace so it can be shaped, but doing something like a weapon would be a bit harder, don'tcha think?" The elf was toying absent minded with the scalpels in his fingers. He'd had to wipe them clean of his greyish blood. 

"I believe it is a very real possibility to craft weaponry from it. If the beginning civilizations could create weapons from flint and volcanic rock, why could we not craft it from natural defensive evolution?" Lexicus had already started down the idea, he'd be hooked on it at this point until he crafted something other then a club from it.

"Yeah well, if you need chemical reagents for it, I'm always a flick of the wrist away." His fingers were spinning the carbon fiber metal knife between his finger. "Which reminds me, I need to follow up on.."

There was the sound they were all waiting on. The surgery could now start. Aldorto stopped spinning the scalpels by catching the handle and slipping the body of the scalpel into his palm. 

Lexicus smiled, "Well, good, the last piece of the operation is finally here. Very good, we have had our preparation completed for quite a while now." There was a slight curtsy to the new comer they would be watching get sliced open soon enough.

"Yup, even got pain killers and sedative agents so you won't feel a thing unless you want to." The elf smiled, eager to get to work on this. He'd never really made cuts that weren't for lethal purposes before. So cutting someone open for the sake of giving them a new limb was something else. With the medical supplies made up for sedatives, pain relief, casting for closing wounds, and for muscle relaxing/never paralysis drugs Aldorto felt like he had everything taken into account. The neuro-toxin was a bit much but if there was any spasms or panic, Aldorto could remedy it fast. "Right, I'm ready, I dunno bout anyone else but I wanna play doctor for a good hour or more. All things go according to plan we should have ya set up with your new leg in about half an hour after you get on the table. Everything else comes down ta how well your body takes to the prosthetic."

"Exactly," The smith cut in before the silver haired elf could continue, "though the prosthetic is undoubtedly able to fuse with you, there is the matter of getting used to it. There will be some time involved in the recovery and for you natural balance to take effect and the limb feels as though it is a natural part of your body." The smith had started on chewing on some of the jerky that was presented to him. "Mmm..this banter can wait once you have become united with the new appendage. Once you are ready to begin then I believe we are all ready to see what we can do."

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For Lexicus 

Those playing cards again. Stello had seen Lexicus conjure one when the Ardesians visited but he hadn't paid it too much mind. Now one was being presented to him. His eyes followed down and took in the image after Lexicus removed his hand from it. What might it be? The King? Queen? An Ace? Whichever it was, his hand passed over it smoothly, lifting it off the counter and holding it closer. Questions bloomed in his mind, forming from his habitual thirst for clarity. If it was to lead him to where he would find the answers, by what means would it do so? 

His first and loudest instinct of all was to awaken his greater senses and peer into the card with eyes that discerned the way magic twisted the threads of reality. Nevertheless, he refrained. In response, he held the card up just above his head in acknowledgment. There was no real rush to learn Lexicus' entire history in great detail. When the time came to venture into the direction put forth by the card, it might only be for the purpose of getting better acquainted with a friend. 

As Lexicus asked about how rings for chain mail were made at the Black Anvil, Stello slid the playing card into his wallet and motioned him over with his freer hand, leading him to one of the bulky machines taking up space in the shop. At first glance, this may have been one of the more discomforting devices in his shop, considering it used a holo-array as an input interface. A bright blue holographic display unfolded in front of Stello when he reached it, displaying several options. Lifting a hand, he chose the Design option, which brought up several pieces that had already been programmed into the machine and were always ready for use. One of them was his chosen ring design and its corresponding rivet. 

"I tend to go with a titanium alloy for chainmail. Grade five. Just the right mix between hard and flexible, which makes it good at resisting breakage. If you have your own design in mind I can help you upload it to the machine for future access until you learn to do it yourself." 

The machine before them was actually composed of three sections. The first was the compression zone, which would press powdered metals together with enough force to fuse them into a predetermined shape and size, in this case an individual ring used for chain mail. Then came the heating section, which doubled as a sintering furnace and a vacuum arc furnace that was used to fuse the powdered metal piece together through heat and finally the cooling section, which was built to maintain room temperature or whatever was optimal for the material in use. 

So as to give Lexicus a show, Stello initiated the creation of one hundred rings and slid one hand into his pocket. The machine lit up and metallic dust particles began to flow through tubes into a sequestered holographic zone, where clouds of them were compressed by mechanical forces invisible to the naked eye. The process formed a legion of one hundred brilliant rings with flattened ends and tiny holes in them as if made by a drift tool, where a rivet would be hammered in. 

Next they were distributed into the heating section, where several metal plates had slid into place to cut it off from exposure to the open air. Next, the air trapped was jettisoned from its confines with a loud hiss before finally, a spell component not so unfamiliar to them activated. An electric eel scale, like the one used to power Godric's leg, flared to life and fired arcing bolts of electricity throughout the entire compartment, heating the rings and fusing them together at the molecular level. 

Moments after the light show, these pieces rolled out from inside it on a conveyor belt, left to cool in room temperature inside a transparent compartment where their splendor could be taken in. 

"Riveted mail is more work usually but I like the performance it gives. When the rivet gets hammered in, it pushes small sections of the ring outward to fit inside but doesn't eliminate that excess material entirely, leaving more of it to hold the rivet securely in place. Imagine pushing a cork into an aperture the same size. It'll just slide in, maybe offer a little resistance but with enough pressure, it'll slide out other side. Now imagine the aperture being about a fourth smaller than the cork. It squeeeeezes in with force. Stays in place better, right? Same concept here. Don't know how they do things where you come from but I thought I'd explain just in case it's different." 

The machine roared to life again, this time beginning the forging process for one hundred little rivets of the same exact materials and Stello turned a glance to Lexicus. 

"This is what a scientific approach to magic looks like. Not everything around here is so cutting edge though. That belt sander over there is just that, a sandpaper strip on a revolving path. You inch the work piece closer and closer, sand away what you don't want and move along. You'll get used to it." 

Stello moved past, patting Lexicus on the shoulder to reassure him before leading him along to introduce him to the remainder of the machines that would undoubtedly require guidance for the old world smith to begin using. 

The night culminated with a hot shower, a dinner that wouldn't land so heavily in his stomach and a cup of relaxing tea. Ambience music could be heard rolling from his room in subtle rumbling waves. As he lay in bed, upper body elevated by a bundle of pillows and blankets, he procured the playing card and began to examine it thoroughly, looking for the path Lexicus told him it would reveal. 


The discussion that began between Al and Lexicus was a delight to listen to. As Stello ate his breakfast, savoring every bite and chewing slowly enough to let the flavor fully sink into his palate, he glanced to one and the other listening to their words. It turned out like unintentional entertainment, watching a talk show revolving around a matter of deep interest to him while he enjoyed a well prepared meal. It served to fan the flames burning underneath his interest to study more materials, specifically some of those belonging to animals with magical mutations. 

By the time the door opened and Godric stepped through, Stello was finished eating and was waiting around by working on a new piece of equipment, something more brutish and crude than most of the designs he had inside the shop. The benefit was that it was a simple implement without welded or fastened parts of any kind, comprised by one whole piece shaped to be what it was. 


Stello was trying it on his right hand. Most people had a tendency of wearing them over the metacarpals, which was incorrect. Letting them slide further down, they settled just beneath the second set of knuckles, where the support would lead directly into the rest of the arm and provide the sort of stability that threatened to crack a human's skull without endangering the user's hand. 

Godric's introduction caused Stello to raise his brows, lips gradually curling into an eager smirk. That sort of enthusiasm was the kind he resonated with most naturally. In an instant, he put the knuckle dusters down and headed off in the direction of the warehouse, where he had stored the finished prosthetic. He returned with a long crate, which he set down on the counter and opened. Inside was the prosthetic, separated into the three layers it was comprised of, one of them resembling a skeletal metallic replica of Godric's lower leg. 

"This here's the piece we'll be installing today," Stello began, motioning over the skeletal piece. "You wont be able to move it until we install the second layer, which is the servo layer. What provides motion. Then will come the third layer, the shell, which keeps the prosthetic free of airborne debris." 

That said, he reached for the skeletal layer, retrieving it from the crate with a clean lint free fabric. 

"I'll be honest with you. Lots of things I didn't think through, Al," he angled a thumb in the direction of the Ardesian, "and Lexicus," then he angled it at the other, "they covered. Al's good with chemicals so shit, you'll have better anesthesia than a piece of rope to bite down on. Hope you fasted like I told you to. Otherwise, it could interfere with what Al puts you down with. We'll have some grub ( lol? ) ready for you once you go into recovery. This is going to go down in a room upstairs. Lexicus and Al got it all sterilized and ready for the procedure." 

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Could this really be happening? Was he truly so close to having his leg back to him? For a moment Godric almost thought he was dreaming, but even dreams couldn't be as incredible as this. "Oh man that is a beauty."

"Good thing I didn't get drunk beforehand in preparation." He chuckled, still awestruck at the sight of his new leg. Had he been forced to suffer through the pain of it all, he probably wouldn't be appreciating it as much now. "Don't worry, I am very much hungry right now. I always follow my instructions, good sir." There was no way he was going to risk waking up in the middle of the procedure while they were butchering his leg, not in a million years.

Hobbling over to the stairs, Godric was reintroduced to his greatest enemy since being crippled by that beast. "I don't suppose anyone would be willing to uh...give me a bit of a lift so it doesn't take me all day getting up there?" He hated being a bother, but with his mobile freedom within arm's reach he didn't feel he could afford to be too polite about these sorts of things. "Swear on Gaia herself I'll give a nice tip to whoever volunteers."

In all honesty he hated feeling so useless. This was no condition for a proper adventurer to be in. How could he traverse dangerous dungeons or forgotten ruins if he couldn't even get up some stairs? For now he would push that thought away, secure in the knowledge he would no longer have to worry about that anymore. So long as the surgery went well, he would endure any kind of torment beforehand.

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[Several Months Later, written via journal and splattered with ink from a hasty hand.]




The shit has struck the ox.

The shit has collided with the train.

The shit has collectively organized and demanded higher

I give up. Could you please enlighten me as to what that saying is? You know of it, yes?

Yet, as much as I would welcome a conversation about common Terric expressions---my favorite is “Gaia’s tits!”---, there are more pressing things to share.

Ashville is gone.

Done. Eiseive. Wiped off the map.

I left Blairville because of the Mist from the Spires, and now I have lost Ashville because of Fog and the Maw.

Gaia’s tits, this is a pile of shit.

Now I have to ask you for a favor before I try to drown this mana sickness---Transporting our more valuable merchandise to a safe house put a something or other on me. A letter. No, a number. Right?


What was I writing?

A favor. Yes. Oh kay. It is about Stephen.

I rescued Stephen and he is now living in a stock pot. If I could take him with me, I would, but the Road is not a place for a sensitive creature like Stephen. He likes you. Draug said so, and Draug is quite sensible about such things. Do you have a place for him? He is only the size of a cat, if you overlook the tentacles, and he has a sweet temperament. Stephen, that is. Draug is a little larger than a cat, but he would not turn down a free spot to sleep.

Even a spare bathtub would be more suitable than a stock pot.



P.S. I think I joined a cult and they built me a tower. It also seems that a barbarian wishes to have my hand in marriage. The story is long. I can tell it to you at a later time. 

P.P.S. No need to bother with unlocking the door to let me in, I figured out your system when I first visited.

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Taking into account the size of the pile of shit we're talking, I'm very relieved to see that you're in fairly good spirits, or even alive for that matter. Things in Terrenus are looking bad. A small town called Tormo was wiped out recently. Last Chance was hit. Ashville, like you say, is literally gone. Millions of people dead in a day.  I think something's happening in Casper as well. I've seen snippets on the holo. Makes a guy really wonder about the future.

I tell myself that if anything happens in Hell's Gate, I'm grabbing some equipment and stepping outside. But really? I don't know if I have it in me to kill someone. Maybe if they push me. Fights to the death are ugly though. There's no dignity in them. The only relevant factors are each individual's raw potential for killing and how much further one will go over the other to stay alive, and they'll go far. I'm not eager to discover myself in that environment. Necromantic outbreaks are another story altogether. 

Listen to me bitch and moan like I'm the one who just had his home wrecked. Bring them both over. Tell Draug you can all stay as long as you need. If any trouble lands, Lexicus and I will deal with it. I'll teach you how to properly vulgarize startling instances over a nice meal from the Garden of Eaten. I'll start building a pond for Stephen and a few humane traps around the shop for cunning intruders with a penchant for making sport of my security. The tub would have worked but I'd feel dirty being naked in front of him when I shower. 

I'll hear more about your cult and barbarian situation when you come by. Just don't end up on a sacrificial altar. 

Don't know if you've been able to contact Hanya so I'll let her know I heard from you. Speak of the devil, a prowler just rode in. And now she's screaming my name. I'll fill her in if she doesn't already know and then get things ready. 


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As for the card the smith handed over, it depicted a joker, not a twin headed one, but a J O K E R in the upper right hand portion of either side of the card going vertically with each letter. The picture on the card face was a scene that looked as though it was a mural. The picture was of a dock with a few small rowing boats settled by it as well as a few buildings of wood sitting along the docks. It was a depiction of an old town Vitori frequented. 

As for the direction Lexicus mentioned, the card was laced with magic. A few of them actually, laced together in a way that made it extremely difficult to dispel it. The first was a ward to protect the enchantments on the card, the second layer a ward to protect the integrity of the card as well as to mend it in the case of it being torn or tattered, the third was divination magics in the form of a message that depicted a specific location where the card could activate (in this case, it would draw the possessor towards the outskirts of hell's gate), the fourth layer was another divination magic, a relay system for sending and receiving magical signals (for when the possessor arrived at their destination), the final enchantment was astral, using the location of the card as a gateway to portal from once the command word was spoken, allowing the possessor to activate the inlaid power to enter the portal to the area designated by the card.

When Lexicus followed Stello over to the machine, there was a sort of aw and discomfort to this creation. Though there was not a lot he could do about it now that it was in place and he had no other option honestly. His eyes scanned over the machine taking in what he could. After seeing the design was the ring and rivet style there was a lot more comfort in this machine. Though once he was able to perform the magic he'd hoped for, there would be no need for riveting. "I see..and you said 'Ti-ta-ni-um' alloy? Grade five? Sorry that is a bit above my head currently. Why ti-ta-ni-um if you don't mind me asking? I am fairly new to this metal." Most of the shirts Lexicus was used to making was of steel, bronze or zinc, so having this new type of metal only furthered his curiosity. 

When the machine roared to life and Lexicus watched it do it's work, his mind could only shape this machine over and over again. Though it cut time down significantly, it made him wonder the validity of the work. However this was all sated once Lexicus realized it was simply the rings and rivets being produced. The smith stood there, mouth slightly ajar, amazed at what took him several hours to an entire day to hammer out, merely minutes to do. "That..I...it..it saves nearly a day in production maybe more..I could produce a shirt a day at that rate once my rhythm is set I could produce a shirt and possibly a good portion of chain pants with the way that machine works. That..is..something.." Once Lexicus saw how it worked, it didn't take long before he was already set on heating the metal rings and rivets to start making the foundations of a chain jacket, something more for design then actual use. Once his mind was set to it, Lexicus would be working on the piece for most of the remaining day, only stopping at a good time which was when he had the entire back half finished. 

The blonde smith would stop the machine, set everything off and kill the flames, setting the half jacket over the anvil for a reminder to get back to work on it in the morrow. For now, Lexicus climbed back up the stairs, found his bed and laid down for the night. He would rest up thinking about the dimensions more for that chain jacket. Normally Lex would do the work by commission but if it was a decorative piece, he would make it a more common size, using his own measurements as a model to go by.

Aldorto chuckled, reveling in his own handiwork, "Hahaha, I'll have you so numb before we start that you could watch if you wanted to, the body couldn't send anything up even if you tried my man. There's three blends I had to dilute and make sure not to make lethal by their standards. The first one is the numbing agent, which is going in by injection to the blood stream, luckily I have my own applicator for that, the second one is to slow down your response time, almost like to opposite of adrenaline, but this is to allow your body to be in a rest like state, this one is administered orally, the last one is a tranquilizer style agent which will put you in a deep sleep unless you fight it, if you fight it then you'll hallucinate, so you can either go to sleep or be high as a kite and watch me work." 

"As for the room, it is a mess on the further side, I had quite a time moving all of the things over to the side..going to have a harder time washing the blood out of the wood and the sheets." Lexicus had a bit of a sour look on his face thinking about the work to get his room clean. 

"No you won't, already thought about that, got a cleaning agent for that as well as a few sterilization agents in case things get too messy with the knives." Aldorto chimed in. "Luckily these two put a lot of time and thought into your prosthetic so the work itself will be straight forwards on my end. The only hard part is getting the second and third parts on before you wake...which is why the doses I'm giving you are on the lower end of the borderline of lethal. In short they are going to be in you for a good long while so they have well over two hours to get to work after I make my cuts and incisions. Your lucky to have a good crew on this Godric." It was a sort of pat on his own back but the truth was, the stuff Aldorto was using was a tweak of some of the things he used as interrogation and torture mixtures. The stuff was on the high end of poisons, costly but he refused to use anything else. 

Once they began making their way up the stairs, it took both the smith and the ardesian a moment to realize Godric might have a hard time up the stairs. Lexicus was first to lend a hand, moving to take Godric over the shoulder. A few stairs up however, Aldorto had let his fur out and the werewolf side of him show in all of it's silver furred glory. "Honestly, we can just put him on my back, might be easier going up since I'm stronger." There was a time and place for things, and right now, being Aldorto was going to be cutting into this man in a few moments, it felt only right to not care if he saw the wolf that was going to be doing the cutting. "Take him back down and I'll sit so you all can help him up on my back." 

Being that the ardesian was centuries old, it occurred to him that it may come as a shock but his lack of caring was far greater. As things stood, Aldorto was looking for retirement from the assassination game and this was a good start to that. Once Lexicus back down the stairs and gave way, Aldorto moved to sit on his hind legs before laying down on all fours making it easier for the man to climb aboard if he so chose. 

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Casper? What occurs there? Faerin is in Casper, employed by the Floracle at my behest. A flower shop should have been safer than back alley brawling in Hell's Gate as Boom Boom Rhavoni. Hanya still considers it to be a marvel that he retains both of his ears. Beans is with me. (The imp, he is reliable but he nips.) I shall have to send a letter and order one of these holos. The reception must be clearer than a scrying glass, correct? 

Elder Duende believe that cities are destined to fall, and those that are wise must avoid planting deep roots. It is an uncomfortable existence (I am too fond of indoor plumbing to continue that life), that of being on the open road, and you are often faced with conflicts that are a matter of life versus death. There is, I think, a dignity in survival. You were found worthy of living another day. Brutality is never beautiful, but life is. Should you ever be forced into that situation, my advice is this: respect your adversary, honor your self, and aim your tibia kicks well.

Tell Hanya that I said hello and that I still have her ratchet. I banged a man on the head with it for getting too handsy with Stephen's stockpot. I wiped it off well enough. Draug appreciates your offer, but he is heading to Blairville. His old shop is where I sent most of the books, though there had to be some sacrifice. He seems to still be in mourning over the loss of Gnomish Knitting and You! vol 16. As for myself, I am in good spirits because I am about to drink some good spirits at a rundown tavern in a village called Mutton. I have not seen any sheep. 

Try to keep those traps simple, I'm tired.


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For Lexicus ( @Fennis Ursai

Just like that, Stello knew where to go. The sudden presence of foreign knowledge sprouting so readily was unsettling at first. Perhaps it was because the mind naturally stumbled over a new understanding that there had been no clear path to obtaining. Unlike all other things he knew, there were no memories in place to properly adapt this complex morsel of information his brain was now chewing on. The experience was disorienting enough that he passed his fingers along his forehead, smoothing the sensation away until he reconciled being abruptly educated by associating the knowledge with the card. 

"Shit," he whispered, shaking his head and placing the card on his night stand, staring at it for a few moments before he sunk down and folded his arms behind his head. Once the entirety of his weight rested on the bed without any effort on his part, relaxation washed over him. The music he listened to was quiet even though it was clearly audible. The lyrics therein were sparse and they themselves were applied in such a way that they served as a background to the sound that accompanied them in the track rather than rise to the foreground. Before long, his head drifted to the side and his breaths became rhythmic the way they do when one has fallen asleep. 

The next morning he awoke with a clear image of the day's itinerary in mind. First he'd exercise, then he'd shower, get dressed for an excursion to the outskirts of Hell's Gate and then check in with Lexicus to make sure he was acclimated. Then he'd depart, visit a local shop for koicha and mame daifuku to get energized and finally make his way to the location of interest. 

He wore a pristine white shirt with a glorious black anvil surrounded with lazurite crystals emblazoned across the front and the logo for his shop floating modestly near the lower corner. As per usual, his hair was hidden under a pinstriped ball cap and a pair of black jeans were held in place by a belt fastened with a large silver buckle in the shape of two crossed swords. 

The outskirts of the city were different from where his shop resided. Buildings weren't always meticulously maintained nor were the streets. Vehicles traveling by usually made more noise. A turn of the wheel might sound like a grind while the suspension squeaked with every little bump. Many people called this place home, however and at least one of which Stello had become familiar with in recent times. 

Of all the areas Stello strolled through on his way there, where the card led was arguably the one with the worst vibes. He was led down an alleyway where the walls were saturated with graffiti. Several of the labels there were crossed out and replaced with others. Others had been crossed off in exchange for a vulgar insult. As he walked past a dumpster, the smell of a dead animal reached his nose and a part of him questioned if whether that wasn't what he thought. He had never smelled a dead body so the uncertainty was palpable. 

As he rounded the corner into the next alleyway, a streaming sense of familiarity flooded him. The walls to either side were something he'd seen before. The puddled floor underneath with the potholes was like family to him but what shone most brilliantly was a door. That one felt so familiar it resembled something closer than family; it resembled himself. 

Somehow, he knew that was where he needed to go. Approaching it, he held his hand out and twisted the knob, then wandered on in into darkness. 

Aldorto, Lexicus, and @Grubbistch

Aldorto was like a crank toy. When he was wound, he went off on a march. Perhaps the same could be said of the three of them, actually. In the end, Stello was more than happy to be silent as he explained the levels of anesthesia to Godric. Most of the time it was educational for him as well. 
After Godric made his way for the stairs and the others followed him, Stello picked up the skeletal layer of the prosthetic with the greatest care, nodding as he followed the ardesian's words. 

"Usually we'd have to wait a few months for your bone to heal and reform itself around the implant. If not, it'd hurt like passing a kidney stone shaped like a morning star if you tried to walk on it but Al's got that side of things taken care of, which means the servo layer and shell layer will go on today. You should be practicing jumping jacks by mid afternoon." 

For a moment, he paused and contemplated the depths of that. 

"Isn't that something? Never in my life did I ever think I'd be taking part in giving a guy back a missing leg. All in a day's work . . . " 

Once he turned and made way for the stairs, it was just in time to see Al shifting into his werewolf form. The way hair sprouted from his skin and his mouth extended into a morbid snout with intimidating predatory teeth made his skin crawl. Out of nowhere he was looking at an imposing werewolf that, even with Al's courteous disposition, looked absolutely menacing. A quick upwards shift was seen in Stello's shoulders when he laid eyes on him. 

"Mother fuck . . . " his eyes narrowed before he began walking again, carrying the prosthetic in both arms. "I'll never get used to that shit." 

Squeezing past the others, he made his way up the stairs, certain that Al and Lexicus would be able to get Godric up there as he carried the prosthetic. By the time they got up there, Stello was already in Lexicus' room. The furniture had been pushed aside to the edges, which created a clearing in the center of the room, where an operating table awaited. Three carts lingered near with surgical implements locked in an opaque sterile case. It was common courtesy not to greet a patient with the tools that were going to be used to cut them open. After placing the prosthetic on top of one of the carts, Stello faced the others, folding his arms over his chest. 

"Hey Godric, how'd you lose your leg in the first place if you don't mind my asking?”



I'm sorry to be giving you more bad news. I understand that a necromantic plague was unleashed on the city. All communications with Casper were lost about three hours ago. The reporters are saying that the break in communications was in part with a military operation undertaken to control the outbreak, however. Until recently, lots of people were saying that it had likely become about containing and purging the infestation by whatever means necessary. That was until reports of what they're now calling divine showers though. 

They're saying that divine rain is falling on the city right now and it's helping fight the plague. They're also saying that the rain is the reason why communications are down. It's causing a lot of interference. It's not over but if divine rain doesn't sound like hope that Faerin's alright, I don't know what does. 

Duende have interesting perspectives. Maybe if you avoid planting deep roots in places, you become predisposed to planting them in people instead. In communities. They become your home. I can't imagine everyone's wired like that though, like you and I. I'm attached to my home but as this conversation gets me thinking about it, I might be able to find peace with leaving it if I did all I could to keep it. Falls in with that line about honoring myself as one of the things I should do if I'm ever in a life or death scenario. I have a good idea about how I'd go on about that. 

I hope that asshole is walking around with brain damage now. I'll let her know that you used her ratchet well. She just brought in my newly repainted prowler. It is a thing of beauty. You know what else has been engaging? The book on Elendaron weaponry, especially the demon section. Most of the time I've come across weapon analogues across cultures it's about physical design. Whether they're curved or straight, top heavy or bottom heavy, one handed or two handed, stiff or flexible. This is the first time I come across a type of weaponry where the physical characteristics don't matter and what gives it its identity are its metaphysical properties. 

Demonic weapons tend to have presences in them which aren't always the equivalent of a demonic soul. Sometimes it's just a drive. Like the drive to live. Sounds simple but when that drive is amplified, it can warp one's idea of what living amounts to. Then things get out of hand. But if that power can be harnessed. 

Just kidding about harnessing it. No way I'm making a demonic item or anything with the capacity to become one. I wish there were more cultures that placed their own standard of metaphysical stamp on objects though. Funny thing is that I've been thinking about doing something very similar. Having my own metaphysical stamp on everything I sell. Still haven't got everything figured out though. Looks like I rambled on for a while there didn't I? 

Tell Stephen I'll start him off with grapes but then he's getting a varied diet. Maybe not one with a lot of protein though unless he really needs it to survive because then he'll get really big and I don't know how long it'll be before the city comes by and tells me I can't have a kraken in my shop. 


Edited by LastLight

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"Oh you know...a dog ate it." Godric said, a little stunned at the true form of his soon to be surgeon. "Not uh...not one of you of course, this was a shadow dog, very angry, very against other people's legs. Took him down though, which I think is what makes me the winner in that situation." He chuckled, trying his best to beat down his nervousness with humor. It was his only means of staying in control of the situation, since what little control he did have was about to be stripped away on the operating table.

"Hallucinations you say? Well I suppose there could be worse ways to pass the time during surgery. Just as long as I don't get all dependent on it or anything." That was the last thing he needed, being a drugged out degenerate with a robotic leg. How was he supposed to impress Ioreth in that condition?

After a rather cozy trip upstairs, Godric was lowered onto the table, where he was allowed to strip so he could wear a clean linen gown. It certainly wasn't the most...flattering of attire he had the privilege of wearing, but it was nice to know his clothes weren't going to be soiled when he was put under the knife. "Okay then, uh, I guess I'm ready for this. Do your worst, doctor, uh...I don't mean do your worst as in skill wise I meant more of uh...please just knock me out already."

Gaia's sweet ass was that really what his legacy was going to be if he died here on this table? Telling terrible jokes and being an above average book retriever? If there was any justice in the world, he would be allowed to live through this, not just so he could continue living, but at the very least, he could learn some better jokes.

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The door, hell the building in question was all something that'd been a figment of imagination, not even belonging in the area to begin with. An illusion with physical form, something the mind conjured up to make the transition of teleportation easier to handle. As for what lie on the other side of the door, an abyss. A bleak white drop of nothing but a small object far off in the distance. Far enough that it seemed a speck amidst the nothingness of the white void. There was no overwhelming feeling of power or the divine, in fact the aura it gave off was..nothingness. Devoid of all feeling, no joy, no sorrow, no anger, just existence. 

However, it was all a front, something to scare those not hardy enough to brace and pass through the other side. Knowledge, like most things, came with a price, the price most people pay was stepping away from their area of comfort, their lively-hood, what made them feel safe. It was a nod to this ideal. 

Astral magics, astral planes, all tricky to understand but simple enough to handle once one could understand the intricacies that took place within them. Something the man behind the smith could simply will into being with his grasp. Doing so well enough that this 'void' this domain was his to control with little effort. Able to swap it's design, it's being, however he saw fit for the moment. 

On the inside of this entrance to the void, it would transition to it's actual contents. The 'object' far into the distance was no more then 200 yards away. The 'object' was a building, a home and establishment all in one, in the center of this void. It stood an astonishing 300 ft high and was about 600 ft long roughly. The 'pub' was built out of lavished white wood with gold lines near the middle and top of the pub, the architecture seemed based off a far away since it was built in the style of the Celtic long-halls, who would not approve of his flashy material. The double doors leading to the entrance were ajar, as if expecting the man to come today. The design was a nice carved mural of a demon depict on one side with a heavenly light shining towards the other door.

Beyond the double doors was the 'hub' area. The 'hub' was the first room of the building, which contained a podium. On top of the podium rested a log book. The floor was made from redwood with a mat near the entrance of the 'hub' made from ox hide. On the far side of the room sat two large mahogany doors with iron handles which were currently locked until the spirit at the podium would jot down the name of the guest, to which the doors would allow them, and them alone, to pass into the pub.

On the right wall, there were paintings of luxurious places in many lands. Some of the paintings showed snow covered lands, some were of deserts, some depicted castles and palaces. There totaled 40 pictures down the right side of the room.

The left side of the room had many quotes from famous people of various places and inspiring quotes and speeches from strong men. 
One such quote was highlighted, it read "Let us not allow the boundaries of your past disrupt you from what your future may bring, let us all admire his example and break down the bonds of what make us seem as evil vermin to the eyes of the masses." -Ala'sak "Freedom" a few words from the speech of Rakiesh Na'zulur. The room itself looked about 30ft long and about 20 ft wide. The room was lit with magical orbs stuck behind glass fixtures in the ceiling. From beyond the doors there was a soft noise of music and a smell of freshly brewed ale. 

Once the weight was set on his back, Aldorto had an easy time carrying the soon to be 'play thing' up the stairs. The joking aside, Aldorto only chuckled, "Trust me, my kin don't take legs, we take lives. If it was one of mine you would not be here to tell the tale. Besides, no harm no foul, it's hard to deny sloppy work from a beast as well as hard to not kid around about being a beast. You learn to live with it, ya move on, control the impulse, and live a very extended life with the blessing of not having to worry much about poison or disease. Takes some time getting used to, after a few hundred years you either get the swing or give in." It was spoken so casually, like a certainty of life, coming from his rougher voice. 

"Besides, you put your faith in a werewolf surgeon, not much going back now, if you run, which ya can't there hobble legs, I'd chase you down, administer a numbing agent and carry you back here to take the leg off." Aldorto chuckled some, half in jest, half in the fact he saw that playing out, a man with one good leg trying to run from a werewolf, it was good dark humor. 

Upon the top of the stairs, Aldorto let Godric down by the table set up for him so he could use his strength to sit or stand along the table. He saw Stello nearby which he simply flashes a toothy smile to and sank in his fur once Godric was off his back. "It feels weirder then it looks man. Took me over a century and a half to get over the feeling without feeling sick in the stomach." 

Lexicus was the last up the stairs, bringing with him the few supplies that were down at the bottom, including a few scalpels and the other medical supplies that were left down the stairs such as the injector. The blonde haired smith set down the supplies on a small table which would be used as a makeshift surgeon table for all three of them. "Alright, we just need to give the man some privacy so he can change."

"Already on that." There was a heavy pull of the light around the room. The concentration of the shadows manifested into a wall where no light could pass between the two smiths and the surgeon and Godric. Aldorto's palm contained a swirling pool of wispy shadows that was the source of this wall. "Alright Godric, we can't see you over there so you're free to get dressed." 

Lexicus stood by waiting for Godric to give the word things were ready. In the meantime he had a bit of banter. "On our discussion before hand, yes. I believe I might look you up for the chemical components to work on chitin for means of an aggressive approach to working the material, say into a blade."

"A blade? Really, why of all things a blade?" The silver haired elf was still maintaining concentration on the shadow wall while speaking, his back towards the man on the other side.

"I wish to see if it is possible to shape it and if it is possible, I want to know how, as to open a pathway to discovering the method of how to shape other hardened substances into weaponry as well." Lexicus held a bit of 'air' to his words, feeling a strong urge to see this through.

"You're obsessed with natural elements, you know that right?"

"What is to happen once the metals run dry?"

"They won't, besides what the hell do you care? You of all people have a damn good supply of it."

"It is a hypothetical scenario. I wish to see what is available and how well it would function. Given a bullette can move the earth with it's carapace then I'd wager the material is well conditioned to having a strong opposing force."

"Yes, but wouldn't it be better as a shield or a mace, or armor even, why a weapon designed for 'cutting' and not 'breaking'?"

"The mind does not rest without me answering these questions Ardesian, enlighten me if you would be so kind."

"Fine, I'll spend some time and devote some research into coming up with a solution that's able to soften up the material temporarily so it can be cut and shaped before it hardens up. There's no damn guarantees of how well it will work since I'm certain no one has done what you are thinking of doing."

"That's what makes it wonderful."

"You sound like a madman, but you won't find anyone who can do it as precise and as fast as I can, which means you'll pester me till my ears turn blue, fall off, and get put back on again. Fine, I'll read into it, get you something viable, and stay with you on it till it's done, sound good?" There was a sigh after the elf spoke and even a shake of his head. It was passion for the craft. Something he understood well enough to know it wouldn't be dropped easily.

"Wonderful! I shall repay you in kind. How about.."

"Anything less then the drinks and I'll leave you in a comatose, dress you up in femininely garb, and toss you to the red light. We both know I will and I can."

"Right..booze..of course...how did I know you were asking for a high price."

"Time is value, something like this, passion, is only able to be repaid by passion, so yes, the drinks will compensate."

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@Fennis Ursai

Perhaps unexpectedly, this wasn't Stello's first run in with doors that led to strange far away places. The only difference from back then and this time was that now, he had been led here by a trusted acquaintance. Nevertheless, the pang of familiarity that the situation evoked was enough to bring bad memories flooding back. Suffice to say, his first experience had been deeply unpleasant. Yet, it was nothing to hold him back. 

Upon stepping through and taking in the sight of the structure before him, both of his hands slid into his pockets and all sense of uneasiness evaporated. The pace that carried him through the open entrance was energetic and nonchalant as ever but once inside, the quiescence that gripped this place became quite loud. There was nobody there. A podium stood sentry above all. 

"Hello? Anybody there?" he asked, moving further in until the sound of a log book being flipped open startled him. Both legs bent at the knees and each hand escaped the confines of his pockets swiftly, body now facing in the direction of the noise. What he now saw was a pen taken hold of by an invisible presence, which then used it to scribble a name across one of the pages of the log book. Until now, he hadn't felt the need to evoke the diospheric eye, which granted him the ability to see beyond the corporeal among other things. When he did, he saw the structure of the spirit in all its splendor, whether male, female or other, then turned his head as the door opened. 

Before exiting the hub to enter the long hall, he turned his attention back to the spirit and made clear eye contact. As the moment persisted, it appeared more and more like it was a threat on Stello's part, a way of telling it not to overstep its boundaries because its machinations would not go unnoticed. That was until Stello dipped his head . . . as per the rules of common courtesy, which he took rather seriously. 

The oak doors parted to reveal a long hall lined with scenic paintings and quotes. The quotes were what ultimately created a sense of kinship within him. He read the first one in its entirety, recognizing it as a call for the absence of regrets. A good quote, though he wondered who He was. 

His pace along the hall was leisurely, mostly as a means of studying several of the quotes along the way. The next area he entered surrounded him with music and a scent that he wasn't accustomed to. Just as he came near, he lifted a hand and knocked against the wall to announce his presence, "Knock knock . . . I was told this was a place of learning." 

@Grubbistch@Fennis Ursai

A dog? Stello figured it must have been a not so normal dog. Before he could inquire further, Godric's casual explanation of the matter brought a grin to his lips. Although Godric wanted deeply to have a funny bone surgically implanted in his body aside from the Model 0, Stello found it to be quite enough to push some measure of respect in his direction. Wasn't easy to lose a limb, he was certain. Yet here he was, making light of it. 

"It does, it does," Stello responded. "Killing it means it never had the chance to . . . you know . . . process your leg. So it never ended up in a pile of shit somewhere." 

After Godric declared being ready, Stello glanced in Lexicus' and Al's direction, eyes shifting from tall monstrous beast to human being as their conversation ensued. Any other time, Stello would have called out to them firmly to snap them out of their little reverie but he found himself quite enthralled in the subject matter. Before long, Godric was caught in the very center of a hurricane of off topic discussion and then when it all came to an abrupt end, all three parties ( Lexicus, Al and Stello ) all turned their attention to him squarely. 

The three of them were gripped with silence, requiring a few moments to realign their focus with the surgery. 

"So then," Stello spoke, breaking the ice. "Where are you going to inject him? I was expecting it to have to be in the spine. When ladies give birth, that's usually the spot, isn't it? Sounds like it'd stop him from feeling anything in the lower extremities." 

Admittedly, he was excited to see how the prosthetic performed once it was installed, although that sentiment was entirely obscured by his razor sharp focus on the matter at hand. For the prosthetic to go into place, the surgery would first have to be successful. He hadn't said this to anyone, although he hoped that it went without saying but . . . Godric couldn't die here. Not only would the poor guy be dead but who knows what the law would do to him and his shop for allowing the practice of unlicensed medical treatment in his establishment. 

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Once on the inside of the establishment, the spirit in charge of the podium had already jotted down Stello's name and from where he came from. Stello was expected here, though not for a few more days. The doors leading to the pub opened up to the humble smith. 

Inside the main area of the pub itself, there were two rows of blue flame balls contained in the glass fixtures above the bar. The flames in the fixtures lit brightly and more intensely inside the fixtures. The room of the pub was 100ft long by 75ft wide. The walls were made of a darkened wood frame with lighter wood in between the frames. There were raw treated lumber columns that sat along the room to support the ceiling better. 

In the middle of the room there was a barman's office, so it was called, it was 25ft long and 25ft wide, centered in the room, inside this fixture there was a mass of bottles, glasses, flasks, beakers, small kegs, barrels, and urns of liquids and solvents. The walls themselves were adorned with many decorations.
The eastern wall (left from the door) had a curious glass fixture filled with water and somewhere close to 30 fish of various species living in harmony.
The western wall (right from the door) held a curious glass encased habitat containing two snakes, three lizards, and a blue dragon wyrmling with a feeder of meat and rats.
The south wall (far end) had a number of miscellaneous items attached to rings, rungs, and frames.
The northern wall (the entrance) held a stuffed owlbear and a gargoyle.

The room was filled with tables and chairs in a circle dispersed around the bar. There was a strong smell of alcohol and the sound of music, it sounded like a lute and a man singing. The source of the music was a man sitting beside the counter. His skin was a shade of dull blue and he spotted two horns, one on each side of his head and a long tail. His feet were propped up on a bar stool while he played. The local bard, 'Momentum', hired on by the gambler to entertain guests.

Momentum was the only one present once Stello arrived. He took a moment from his song to stop singing but he still played the tune. "Place of learning? Damn did you come to the wrong place. What's yer name?" It was a bit unusual to get guests when the pub was closed, even more unusual for them to not be female. This guy didn't stumble in here on purpose, best guess was he was an honored guest. Momentum shoved a chair loose from the table with his tail offering the man a place to sit.

"Well don't be shy, we got drinks on tap, music, decent lighting. Sit for a spell, tell me your story kid." The demonic looking musician looked over the man curiously while lightly strumming out a tune.

Once there was a clear understanding that Godric was ready on the other side Aldorto released the wall of shadows. After it had disapated, the silver haired elf had begun to ready his mind for the task at hand. His feet carried him around the room as though he was swaying about. Everything carefully thought out, each step, each turn, the swiftness at which he would nab his tools, all done in such a swift, graceful fashion. Aldorto nabbed the injector, a thin metallic object with a mosquito like bill at the tip and a tube within which liquids could be pour down to inject within the body. From his inner vest pouch he nabbed both the sedative he would use for Godric, as well as a poison he used quite often to slow down nerve response so his targets could feel pain very slowly and would make the target less likely to respond to his assault. Though this dose was a bit higher then what he would normally apply.

"To answer your question," He started, turning over to Stello for a brief moment while he was handing the small vial of poison to Godric, "the poison agent is taken via mouth, while the sedative will be administered in the vein by the lower spine, just above the hip. This way I know it will go through his entire body a bit faster. As for the anesthetics, that one is taken nasally, in the form of a vapor. Luckily I happen to have the tools required to apply it as well, though, like I said before, if he fights it, it will not go very well." Once Aldorto had given the little speech and gave Godric the vial of his poison he took a step back. 

"As I said, that 'is' poison, but it's not lethal. It slows down the brain's response time so everything appears much slower. Combined with the sedative you won't feel a thing other then knowing I'm touching places and slicing things but you won't feel the nerves' response of pain. I'm highly hesitant on giving you the anesthetics simply because I don't know if you'll fight the damn thing or not." With arms crossed, Aldorto waited for Godric to drink and the poison to take effect. "So...just gotta wait for you to drink and that little jewel to take effect. I can't do anything until then without causing shock and pain."

Lexicus had stood back, at the ready in-case he was called upon. His mind trying to think of what the agents Aldorto was using, though it was hard to guess seeing as he had no idea what he used to dilute or simply what he used to mix it all up. None of the ingredients were old, everything, to his knowledge, was all new and native to Valucre. If this worked, however, it would be something to remember to add on to the wolf's resume. With a brief glance over to Stello and back, Lexicus was simply watching, taking in details of exactly what was going on.

Edited by Fennis Ursai

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@Fennis Ursai

Pretty soon, Stello had more than just music to rely on for direction. The singing stopped, allowing the voice to be used to address him instead. Upon laying eyes on Momentum, he was hit by a wave of uncertainty. Blue skin, horns and even tails were common enough in Terrenus that they shouldn't have drawn much consideration out of him but his instincts, for various reasons, had been evoked. They told him that not all was at it seemed, that this place was everything but familiar. 

Naturally, the life energies he possessed blossomed. Although it empowered the whole physical threshold of his body it did something especially peculiar with his vision. The essence that covered his eyes with a fog served as contrast for other energies he surveyed. Because of this ability, the relationship between a living organism and its life essences had been an innate understanding for him his whole life. Life essences were sustained by the presence of a living organic mechanism, in other words a body. Plants and animals possessed them as well. 

In the not so distant past, he had unexpectedly borne witness to the nature of the undead. They were the reverse. He found that corpses that continued to roam the land of the living relied on persistent bodies of necromantic energies to sustain themselves, not the other way around. Considering his understanding of life had been so consistent for so long, it had been the equivalent of encountering water that was dry to the touch. Something entirely wrong. Or perhaps not wrong, per se, but certainly . . . unnatural . . . but even that was a difficult term. It required rumination of its own. 

All said and done, he found himself eager to glimpse more different lifeforms than he ever had before. The hope was to understand and so he leveraged the sight on Momentum, looking to peer into the relationship of his body with his soul, aura or whatever it was demons possessed. What would he see? He didn't hide the momentary perusal. He didn't feel any reason to and once it was done, he smirked, continuing onward while responding. 

"Wrong place if I'm here for academic learning, maybe. I'm just here to understand a buddy of mine a little more. He thought coming here would be easier than explaining things. Already I gather a little something." 

Dragging a chair away from one of the tables he spun it before him, sitting down on it and folding his arms over the top side of the backrest. He looked entirely at peace and eager to engage the demonic bard in some back and forth banter. 

"One day I was hanging around my shop minding my own business and a guy shows up on an ox driven cart. He started talking to me about how he heard good word and was interested in working with me. Turns out he crafts some sturdy stuff, so I welcomed him aboard. He was real secretive about his origins though. We've gotten to know each other a little better since and we got to talking again. This time, when mention of where he comes from came up, he gave me this card." 

Reaching into his butt pocket to retrieve his wallet, he procured the playing card with a flashy flourish and held it in a way that Momentum could see it clearly. 

"He said if I followed it, I'd become better acquainted, so here I am." 

@Grubbistch and Lexicus 

Despite Al's size, Stello was surprised to find that his steps were quiet and light, probably attributed to his expertise as an assassin. This was something he realized while watching him pace around the room, shrouding the room in shadow. While wondering why such a thing was necessary, he came to the conclusion that perhaps it isolated the patient from the rest of the environment. It left nothing remaining that might distract the eyes. 

With every piece of added information, Stello's expression changed. First his eyebrows raised, then his lips pressed together, then those very same lips tilted on a soft axis. 

"Damn, triple threat . . . Mouth, nose and tail bone." 

Drugs that slowed down the perception of time sounded intimidating, at least if used for evil. If taken during moments of ecstasy, however, maybe it could be good recreation. The idea was struck down almost instantly, however. He was a firm believer that euphoria lay in sobriety. 

"If he wasn't going to fight the anaesthetics before, now he sure as hell will. You've put the idea in his mind. It's up to him though, I guess. I can whip up something to restrain him with just in case he hallucinates and we all assume the forms of menacing snarling werewolves with teeth so sharp that meat just falls off the bone of its own volition rather than being torn off." 


"Oh wait." 

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