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-Lilium-

Things we give up. [artifact]

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Sounds of blood bursting from punctured and shredded flesh are squelched by throes of death. That animalistic screeching bellows off the cavernous tunnel, tossing echoes into the mouths of others. Fragile membranes may fall victim and rupture under the pressure of such sounds, but Capria's do not. Her composure does not wane, being no guilt resides. Unbeknownst to its slayer, another has awakened. Larger, faster, stronger than the one she murdered and many times more than the smaller born from its eggs. Those that Eshara attempts to desecrate. What brings it forth are the agonizing screams of its mate as it dies. 

While the final murmurs of its life fade to silence Capria recalls the distant roar she heard. Knowing somewhere in the darkness a heavy outpour of water can mean a potential exit to yet another hidden place. This is the chosen direction. Following it until another burrow hole presents itself and leads her deeper into the maze they'd fallen into. Seconds tick to the dank, dark, and vibrating steps taken. The closer she gets to the roar, the more the ground underfoot trembles. 

Still wary of dangers that may lurk in this tunnel system she keeps a short expansion of her shadowy net. However, this does little to prevent the crackle of lightning that fills the tunnel. Sparks ignite when streams of electricity plummet against the wet stony surfaces encircling her. Whatever struck the cords of battle does so from an area outside of her shadow, leaving no warning outside of the blinding light now plaguing her eyes. 

Thump, thump, thump, thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. As it draws nearer her she can feel its charge bouncing her from the heels of her boots. Its movements originally hindered by the waterfall she’d been heading for. Continuous flows of energy static the air, filling the tunnel to a suffocating level. Even her hair begins to prickle up, higher and higher, with each lightning strike. You do realize you’re standing in water...and that it is conductive...don't you? Capria had drifted into a short state of surprise and curiosity suddenly cut off by that pressing thought. Unfortunately, the only way to evade such an onslaught is to run and pray simultaneously. And there is only one direction to go...the way she was already walking...but more quickly now.

Capria is energized and motivated by the electrical shocks to move fast, but hesitant on the unknown that rests before her. This causes her to give a brief over-the-shoulder glance to gauge the distance between them since she has not been using her utmost speed. It's a mistake for sure, a flash of blue exposes the giant square face of her stalker as well as the next round of lightning exploding all around it.

To say Capria doesn’t feel would be an utter lie. Every cell in her body is stunned by the wave of electricity coursing through it. Glittery copper squeezes from her tear ducts, ears, and nose...splatters via coughs from her mouth. The acidity of it burning her oral mucosa. I’d say you're still a little on the rare side, but that may just be me. She can feel it all, worsening with the burst of speed she lends to forward propelled movement, enduring and ignoring it as best she can. Death is but a doorway… Light. Dim and blurred in soft yellow hues lies before them. She’d managed to make it.

In an unplanned frenzy Capria comes jettisoning out of the tunnel in a singed, smoking fit of rage into the air several stories above a sewage pond. Spinning freely in the open space whilst grabbing the brick at her hip and swinging it through the air as it is rendered into a sword, but somehow managing to overestimate the creatures speed even though it had been just at her heels. Or maybe it slowed in speed too late at the end of the tunnel opening in its overzealousness to catch her. Either way, what is cut cut off, is merely the tip of its nostrils and lower jaw as it scrambles madly and ineffectively to keep from falling. Terror stricken at what lies below that she does not yet understand, but yields to gravity in the same manner as the giant eel does. Both of them, eel tail end over head and Capria feet first, plummet toward the waters unnaturally still surface.


@Fierach

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Eshara was beginning to drown at this point. He could only fight so much against nature, and powers beyond that of mortal man, being blessed only with a sturdy constitution and its healthy upkeep. They had to fight for every drop of his lifeblood though, the water tainted a deep crimson with the vitae of human and water beast both. Bite wounds on his flesh bled freely while the shredded carcasses of carnivorous eels added to the cloudly mess in the water. His pistol was long discarded, its empty chambers swapped for a combat knife. His legs beat against the water to try and rise to the surface for air, and his heart thudded, straining against his impending doom when all of a sudden, he felt himself break the surface of the water.

Life.

Life was the breath he took. 

It was the promise that he could still earn his survival. 

It was what he held onto as he felt himself falling again, down and down until a splash saw him sunken in a new watery pit. Attempting to get his new bearings, the first thing the water-logged lion saw was another eel monster, this one far larger then any of the others. Instinctively he lashed out at it, sinking his sword, and then knife in deeply.

... but it didn't move. His confused expression spat out a glob of water as he noticed movement on the far side, another body breaking the water's surface. 

"Capria?!"

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In quick fashion with little time to assess the next situation, Capria pencils her frame. Arms cross over a chest filled abundantly with inhaled air, the legs extended. What little splash comes from her landing is drowned out by that of the giant eels. A once still surface now angrily ripples its displeasure. Jaggedly framed edges being smacked by an onslaught of bubbled waves. 

Exhalation is performed on reemergence. Keeping her abdomen tight and duck-pedaling her legs just so helps to keep her from bobbing too frantically. Allowing her to more diligently wipe water from her eyes and face.

"Capria?!"

I’ll be damned...he’s still ali-- Icy fingers tightly wound around her ankle enact a state of alarm. "Get out of the water!!!” A frantic scream. Familiarity and relaxation die with another inhalation. Already distressed blonde hair once again dips below the waters quickly stilling surface. 

You can’t catch a break, can you? It's not enough that she had no choice but to fall into it, now she’s completely surrounded by it. The one thing she’s most least fond of. Irrational as it may seem, the overwhelming weight and pressure of it causes frantic movement. Movement is slowed by an unnatural chill and the abysmal vacuum below. You need to-- I KNOW! Balancing fear that overrides her logic is not easily done, and the voice within does nothing to brighten this downside. 

Capria lashes out in an uncoordinated manner, first using her slowly moving hands to pry at the black fingers that seem to rapidly multiply no matter the number she loosens. When that doesn’t work she begins to panic. Freeing bubbles of air from her lungs in absorpetent amounts of frustration. Eventually more bubbles follow, quickly drifting upward. Reminding her that there is more to be breathed above.

What little energy isn’t extracted by baseless fear drives her to live. Two sources of liberation nearly forgotten, are utilized as one. Capria already let things get out of hand. Her orderly nature torn asunder too easily by a useless weakness. Having faced many situations she’d been taught and learned to overcome those adversities. Now she has to face off against a faded memory of herself. 

All the while shadows maze through the water more rapidly than her arms and legs can, spiking into those black grappling appendages. They embed themselves, lying in camouflage and wait until her mind is free from self-defiance. Small in size are the last bubbles of air squeezed from her lungs.

It is here, trapped between planes, that she prays. Gaia as a mother to ebb the darkness with her light, to her children The Weaver of order and The Wyrm of entropy. One to act against the physical plane another to provide the chaos necessary for life. Whether enigmatic interference or will of soul, she may never know even though freed from herself. But it is with defiance that the nature of her chosen path ignites the shadows, burning away the darkness and allowing her to float back up to the pond's surface. 
 

Edited by -Lilium-

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It was the inquisitor! She was alive. A brief thought of relief passed Eshara, and was immediately crossed with a bit of irritation. Not that he really wanted her dead of course, but it would be always be nice to have some company on the path to hell, even if that company wasn't whom you expected.

A moment later, she proved why that irritation was warranted. "Get out of the water!" she said.

Really? As if there was any other place to go in this damnable pit.

When she disappeared once again, he looked down, confused. Did she know how to swim? Concern and irritation warred within him once again, the former winning out another second later. Perhaps there were more of those damnable eel things underwater. He should try to do something about that, if Capria died then he'd have to fend against them alone. It was not an experience he truly wanted to repeat.

Taking a deep breath, he sheathed his short sword and dived under the water, following the bubbles coming from the stricken woman. Quickly he saw that the danger was of a more supernatural source. He would have no real way to fight them, but he was already committed. Diving down determinedly, letting the unnatural pull speed him along, he reached Capria and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, a moment before kicking down to try and haul her back up to the surface. He could feel the tendrils grasp at him as well, and he just kicked all the harder. The only advantage Eshara ever had was his raw determination, kicking down at the darkness as if his sheer desire could make it so and knock it away from them.

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Darkness greets her. The few punch outs that allow light to sparkle in are at great distances and more acquiescent to pin pricks than rays.

Befitting for such a demise, at least it's what she deserves. Or so she believes. There can't be any rainbows or happy faces awaiting her in death. Then again, had she actually died… Reminiscence is key in this lost moment of ponderance.

Why are you here?

Surprise forces an adjustment in her gaze. A few blinks ensue. Foliage surrounds her. Whatever abyss she'd fallen into had abandoned her.

Capria, why are you here?

Again the question is asked and she attempts to focus, finding the speaker an intriguing little thing. Small but grand in color, the childlike creature radiates earthly tones. A singular white and gold flower in a sea of green. It rests languidly atop a branch with shoulder nestled against the tree's trunk. Legs swinging gently back and forth as if caught in a breeze that doesn't appear to exist. At least not one that Capria can feel.

I died… Spoken more in the frame of confused questioning.

You know you could have asked for help. They're here for you, she's here for you. You took too long.

Despite her small stature the words breaking between them are wizened with age. A mother scolding an insolent child. Reminding them of the rules placed on them they chose not to follow.

I...I know.

Do you, do you really? Your family is going to be worried.

They aren't my family…

Oh, but they are. Just like them you were chosen. Although your path is defined by individual choice you were brought together by a force out of anyone's control.

You speak of destiny? Capria begins to scoff and is abruptly cut off and corrected for doing so.

No. I speak of life. The one gifted you in your wretched birth, that was saved and given the opportunity to make the choices you have. The one that gave you your family. Had only you asked, they would have aided you. It's voice is cool, akin to breaking through summer like an alpine stream.

Gaia granted you life and blessed you with inheritance, and you chose to abandon it, -her-. Gave up and ran away. Petulant and ungrateful child. With even the nerve to still wield that powerful light.

She can't respond. Though the lump cannot be felt, it blocks her airway leaving speech locked away for the moment. Yet the battering continues.

Your sisters and brothers have been waiting for you. Calling out to you and you've ignored them.

All I hear is silence! Broken and trembling with regretful rage they tumble out. Echoes consumed by the forest.

One above all others, ordered it. She saw your turmoil and silenced them in the hopes you'd regain your strength and eventually rejoin them. Yet here you are, asking the Mother for help and receiving it, only to abruptly fall into despair. Allowing yourself a death that hasn't yet been granted.

Why did you grant her this power?

She inherited it and I was subsumed into it. To watch over and guide you when lost. And her as well. You are never alone, none of you are or ever shall be. Even in her own turmoil, subscribed to the hate and agonies of the world, she has been watching over and helping to protect you. As the eldest should. All you've to do is reach out and take her hand.

Or...finally let what little grasp remains...slip away…

Fading quickly, she watches the apparition disperse into the darkness only to be met with citrine halos not too unlike her own. Set into the features of a gaze twisted by concern.

Capria…?

I'm sorry!

She'd taken hold of that hand and pulled it close. Yanking against the ethereal body to which it belonged, pulling it into a hug. Then, they were all gone again. Dispersing voices being all that remains.

Suddenly she can feel warmth, it's tugging motion on her shivering frame allowing the dream to escape her.

You need to wake up now….someone is waiting for you.

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They broke the water surface. Eshara coughing as he did so. It may have been his wounds, or it may have been whatever unnaturalness that was dragging them down, but damn the inquisitor was heavy.

"Not today woman. This wretched place must still suffer us both" he growled, spitting out water in between almost every word. Carrying Capria under one arm now, wrapping it around her upper chest under both arms, Eshara made his way the still-floating corpse of the giant eel. Pulling out his short sword again, he jammed it into the creature with all of the strength he had left to create a handhold and just clung on, before turning his attention to the woman. He began to shake her with an urgency, to see if that might jolt her back to consciousness. "Wake up! Wake up now! Capria!" If he could give her CPR, he would, but there was no place to do so. He felt his grasp on the handle of his sword slip, and almost went under for a moment. His fault for trying to rely on a flotation device that could spin in the water. Crawling back above the surface, he heaved Capria over the body of the eel. It was all he could do to keep the inquisitor's head above water while he still treaded in it.

Edited by Fierach

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"Wake up! Wake up now! Capria!"

It’s coming and there’s no stopping it. Pressure and pain, acidic bile burn. It’s forced from her lungs and stomach leaving her gasping for air. Trying to take hold of her throat is not done easily, the surface she palms, slickened by thick slime. She’d reawoken to a messy world, all over again. Churning water and splashing are the only sounds her ears recognize. Memories flooding back in. Despite the constant urge to purge more water she’s rolling and grappling with the oversized eels body. Pruney cold fingers snatching at the back of Eshara’s gear. Yanking both clothing and hair to help him atop their unusual floating vessel. 

Urgency lends to strength to see the good deed done. Helping him use both her frame as well as the eel’s to climb aboard. This leads to worse things in the end. Sometimes it just cannot be helped. Once he is safely straddling the body in the same manner as herself, her forehead collides with his chest, water consuming the confines of her mouth as it again erupts from her lips. Fear had withered away to be replaced by weariness. "I'm sorry...." Soft weak words from a cold being.

Where had she gone? It feels so far away from her mind right now. In order to find better balance and fight the trembling wracks of nausea she stays there. Forgetting this man is a stranger she knows nothing about. It takes a few moments to regain propriety and establish a sense of control. Eventually her head lifts, leaving the cold damp of Eshara’s chest to review their situation. Laughable is what it is. Two drenched cats riding on a slimy fishy-smelling log in a pond at the bottom of a giant pit.

Without so much as a warning fingers grasp his shoulders and she uses him as support to stand. “Hold my legs against your torso and chest so I can balance. I know what I need to do.” Irrational trepidation and fear burning even further away. Carefully, she peels her coat off, unbuttoning the white shirt and dropping them both just behind her feet. A sickly plop ensues when they land, sticking to the carcass. Next she undoes her belt, unzipping the slacks, and then places her hands on either of his shoulders. “Pull them down for me.” 

If she’s uncomfortable, she doesn’t place the emotion on exhibit after he assists. One hand on one shoulder, and a shoe gone, then repeated for the other. Down to undergarments, things more easily maneuvered in when underwater. “Please hold onto these.”  Indicating the belongings removed from her frame. “I’ll be...right back to get you.” Before he can argue, before he can stop her, before he can respond any further… She’s gone. Dropping back into the dark pool he’d pulled her from. 

 


@Fierach
 

Edited by -Lilium-

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He grimaced as she pulled back at him in her nauseous manner, and bore it pretty well when she choked up the muck in her lungs. That he could tolerate. He was a soldier. He's seen horrific things, gut wrenching things, things that there weren't even words for in any language, let alone human ones. What really turned his stomach what she did next though.

"You're not serious" he muttered incredulously as she stripped. 

"Gods damnit, she is serious"

He helped her. What else could he do then? Say no? He wasn't stupid, he immediately got her meaning that she was going to dive back down into the water. Any idea of intimacy was, quite far out of the picture in the present circumstances. And then before he knew it, she was gone, diving back into the water, following a path that nearly got her killed just a few minutes prior.

"Gods damnit" he sighed resignedly, and started stripping himself, unlatching what parts of his armor remained. Might as well dive back down there with her, see if she needed any help. And if he should meet his end... well... a death was a death either way.

Edited by Fierach

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Yes, he had saved her body. But her soul...that is something only another has the power to do. Thankfully, both remain intact for now. Again those dark shadowy hands, the farther she sinks in the still waters, begin to grab at her legs. This time she does not waiver, or allow fear to sink into her bones. Fighting them only makes it harder to escape them. So she allows them to pull on her frame, waiting for the appropriate moment in which to strike. To set things right.

Capria can feel the disturbance above her, and despite her want of him to remain on their makeshift carcass-raft he made his own choice. She cannot fault the strange man, his need to be a warrior, a savior of the lost and damned. That is what his group is about. The destruction of evil, helping the weak. 

And yes, she had been weak for a short time, but now….she has let it go. Those things we give up as we move through turbulence and mayhem. Humanity for darkness as equal to that which we fight. Thoughts are all they are.

Ambered out eyes close, covered by lashes bearing tiny little bubbles. Pockets of air that like herself, refuse to break under the waters’ surface. Again she calls for light, the life of the Mother. The Holy teachings burned into her heart and mind from years of training and schooling. Not just by word, but by the very emotion evoked by the soul itself. By the trailing roots of the tree and its branches along her right forearm, the mark gifted her as an inquisitor. Inky fingers begin to bubble and boil wherever they make contact with her skin, the radiance of holy light growing from within throughout her frame.

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It begins with light, making the next step as dark as the waters churing about the two living beings in it. Tendrils whip out from her body in snaking lines, stretching and stretching. If only to reach the waters around Eshara to take hold of the hands once again attempting to pull him down. 

Although she knows he is there with her, Capria remains focused, channeling every ounce of thought into prayer and allowing her shadows to leech outward as extensions of her will. The first chakral gates open. Allowing light to penetrate her innate shadows. Lightning strikes in the form of pale illumination, sears through the unholy hands, arms, and bodies of the unforgiving souls of the damned. Those tortured and trapped souls only wanting to cling to Capria and Eshara for their liveliness. 

This Capria knows, the intent isn’t truly evil, just lost and confounded by that which lives and is trespassing through their confinement. Although this works it is still not enough, so Capria digs deeper. Pulling at the strands of the second gate. It is more than the need to stop them from touching, more than the need to destroy them… It is forgiveness and freedom she seeks for these bound souls.

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It takes a few moments longer, then even more. By now Eshara is free of his shadows and able to maneuver more easily only within the waters that Capria’s shadow tendrils reach. The second chakral gate begins to open, lengthening their reach and allowing what of Gaia’s grace she can call upon to channel through them. This well of energy slowly trickles out in order to keep from depleting the woman too quickly, leaving only the bail out reserve in its wake. 

It would take everything, and she will give everything to set them all free. Not leaving one to rot a second longer than necessary to free them. Capria knows her duties, her promises, the abilities and authorities of justice and judgement having been bestowed upon her. But it will always be more than that. Her beliefs are her guideposts, her morals her compass. 

Capria pushes the limits, further and further. The harder she pushes the strong the feeling of light calling out to her is from the bottom of the pitted pond. It’s down there, she knows this now for sure. Like Eshara, it would have to wait until this task, this new mission is complete. She will free them and allow them to return to the embrace of Gaia as the light commands it.

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There is nothing more she can do but wait until the very last drop of energy she has contained there, empties from the second well. Minutes tick by. And all the while those tendrils erupting from her own shadows snake through the water, keeping the cursed souls at bay. Praying every second of it while maintaining steadfast focus. Through the growing pain in her chest, the burning sensation was as great as the pressure of the water pressing down against it. Every so often she emits bubbles, decompressing her lungs here and there. Still drifting...downward, closer to the bottom of the seemingly endless pit of darkness. 

A place of utter sadness and dismal natures. The thickest ink of it all. Wobbling her still floating frame all the while it is sinking. Trying to brand her with its raw and vengeful emotions. Forced to want she and Eshara to sink into it to become one of them. 
Capria ignores as much of it as she can, but even tears hidden in the depths of water slowly seep from her eyes. Bitterness, loneliness, sorrow. The creep along her skin in thick waves, but cannot seem to find a true hold on her as of yet. Their fingers sizzling and popping off every time they do. Yet they are as relentless as she, just in greater numbers. 

It comes to pass, the second well dries up. That snailing trickles ending. And again she tugs and tears at the third wall. Ripping away the inner locks and chains forcing it too to open. Again, the shadows expelled from her extend, not quite hitting the mark as she had hoped. Having torn the flood gate open in order to produce more forceful effects on her surroundings. 
 

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Holy light dancing along innate shadows. Not unlike the way their friend, the giant electric eel from earlier, presented its powers to her. It had driven this idea into her, taught her how to use and mirror an effect of nature. 

Although her reach does not encompass the entirety of the pool, at this depth of darkness and emotion so close to the bottom she can feel the unholy spell. The chains which wrap around these poor defiled souls.  And so she Begins to attack them. Purifying the water while around her while using those holy illuminate shadow appendages to take hold of the spell chains. Breaking them, one at a time. Forcing the unholy work into one bound in Gaia’s holy light. The tendrils wildly snatching at souls as they attempt to escape. Keeping them pinned in until every portion of the seal locking them to this pool in this state is destroyed. 

More bubbles escape from her. But the water in front of suddenly opened and empowered lavender eyes begins to clear. Found you. Found you. Found you. Words spoken on the inside with more than one voice ringing clearly through her mind.

The last seal...the chain is severed. And the watery world they all currently reside in explodes. An upwards waterfall, flying past Capria's grounded frame. Eshara's held tightly down by those shadow hands of hers tasked with protecting him. Despite the turn from calm to chaos, one cannot help but exude a sigh of weary annoyance. We'll have to search for our clothes after this mess is over.
 

Edited by -Lilium-

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It’s not as destructive as it seems, in reality it is a form of expulsionary cleansing. For the water, for the souls recently trapped and released from, and for Capria as well. Three wells of energy with Gaia’s Holy hand guiding the light to their freedom. 

The darkness has dissipated, and the water that went up eventually begins to come down. In a misting fog. Leaving Eshara and Capria to stand in the muddy leftovers of what was once a pond. None too surprising is the amount of skeletons littering the bottom. Forcing them to watch their steps. However, the more intriguing part is the giant eel. No longer a carcass, yet also a pearly white skeleton. Remnants of the blast...or a previously deceased member of the same clutch of eggs? The clothing hanging off the frail ribs tells her it’s the one she brought down into the water with her. Slowly, begrudgingly she makes her way towards it.

Their clothing and belongings litter the area around it, making it difficult to piece things back together as easily as they were removed beforehand. However, it gives her time to breathe. Catching it once more and slowly releasing it to ease the pain battered into them by being under the water for so long. 
 

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Once they’ve gathered their clothes, shoes, and weapons...and her soaked tin of hand rolled cigarettes. The one she very gingerly opens and allows water to drain out of. The expression on her face was none too pleased by any of it. 

Having spent a great deal of time struggling with pulling wet muddy clothes back onto a soaked body. Once she accounts for everything she had when she arrived she leans back against the eel skull and looks at Eshara. Her eyes clearly marked by the weight of effort she put into releasing the souls as well as doing her best to keep them both alive. 

Another deep breath and her gaze drifts away from him, towards the very center of the pit bottom. “You wanna help me do some digging?” She can feel it, knows it's there….locked away and hidden. Whoever placed it so deeply embedded in unholy darkness was incredibly intelligent. Hiding it in plain sight, a place no one might think to look. SOmewhere it wouldn’t allow such darkness to reign. How had they done it, she wonders… How long had it been hiding here… So many questions and no one around to ask… Well, anyone who might actually be able to answer them. 

Again, her eyes fall on Eshara, free of any grievance. Knowing he full well has every right to run screaming from her if he so chooses. Or better yet, flip her the bird, toss on a pair of shades, and strut out feeling like a winner. Per her usual, she doesn’t really wait and begins to walk to the spot she feels it’s hidden. Kneeling as best she can in clothing that clings very tightly and painfully to her form. Water weathered fingers pulling at vegetation, muck, and bones as she works to uncover that which lies beneath. Capria isn't finished here yet.
 

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