Beyond Dominia: The Role Playing Mill: Reunions

By Thrakkiss on Monday, October 16, 2000 - 02:56 am:



January 796 TR (Talismanian Reckoning)

Even among the ranks of the Chaos Demons, SLAYER is regarded as a being of very limited patience. He once destroyed an entire Capital city in a fit of anger that stemmed from being forced to wait upon the nation's ruler for weeks at a time. Nitsud Nibrud, SLAYER's mechanically inclined ally, had now kept him bottled up in what was for all intents and purposes a large building for over six months.

It was bad enough at first that Nitsud's pandimensional teleportation device landed their party far from its intended destination. Shortly thereafter, Nitsud determined that several years have passed between the time they left Phyrexia on a mission to save the world. The apocalyptic event SLAYER intended to stop occurred over three years ago, and its end result was much different from what the self-styled God of Chaos expected. All of Phaema braced for the coming of Gowtara, the destroyer; what it got was a visit from a benevolent creator-goddess who instantly restored the world to its pristine state and altered its collective memory to one of a long and tranquil existence. The sheer sense of i[order] offended SLAYER on a fundamental level, as his nature was to spread chaos throughout the multiverse.

Now he was forced to live inside the titanic war machine Nibrud insisted on referring to as the "Eradicator," along with that rotund, snobbish mechanic and their companion Tal'n.
Tal'n was still a mystery. One of the entity Yawgmoth's agents, he was part man, part machine, and part snake. Truly an imposing creature, Tal'n stretched to almost 20 feet long or tall when he wanted to. Metallic armor plates were grafted all over his body, and his armored tail was completely mechanized. Each of his forearms bore a pair of two-foot long steel blades. Worse, the amalgam-monster had an obnoxious habit of slithering through the thickest shadows he could without a sound, and leaping out at his companions in a mock-sneak attack. The creature was a true predator and resented confinement as much as SLAYER.

What news the trio gleaned from the outside world came through a quartet of small flying probes that Nitsud designed as roving eyes for the Eradicator. The mechanical behemoth wedged itself into a canyon and simply shut down on their first day back, and Nitsud Nibrud immediately reprogrammed the eyes to gather information about the world. He strictly forbade any of the group leaving the Eradicator until he discerned the outside world to be "free of contamination," an idea which struck SLAYER as odd in the extreme. Still he kowtowed to the mechanic's acute paranoia, on the promise that the eradicator would be mobile with a few months' worth of repairs, and the three would decide what to do then. SLAYER had some particular ideas in his head involving trucking the massive machine up to the doors of the nearest kingdom and issuing a few ultimatums.

Nitsud's original target date for completion was four months ago.

"What do you mean, 'it hasn't been invented yet?'" SLAYER's voice boomed with eerie power in the engineering section of the Eradicator. The pudgy Nitsud Nibrud was facing an open control panel opposite SLAYER, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

"I told you already," he replied impatiently. "This machine is a very delicate piece of work. There were parts damaged in transit, I knew that much, but at first…at first I thought it would be something a lot less serious than this."

He stood up. "The fact of the matter is, I simply can't get the Eradicator moving again without a fresh supply of deuterium and a very precise electromagnetic field generator - which won't be invented for another few centuries, the way this pissant planet's going."

SLAYER just growled under his breath. His face knotted into a grotesque image of anger, cast in the uniform red light of Engineering. Nitsud glared back at him for a moment, then turned around and resumed his work.

"All this…this keeping us cooped up inside your stupid toy…this endless wait…the constant excuses…and all this time there's been no way you could even fix this f***ing thing?" SLAYER's right arm was enveloped in a harsh red glow of its own.

Nitsud continued working.

"You said you were worried about contamination. Then you wanted to make sure we hadn't been 'phase shifted' by the transport. I've had it with your bulls*** excuses…do you HEAR me?!" SLAYER barked.

Nitsud did not respond. At length, he turned towards SLAYER again. "Look, it's not my fault, if you hadn't gotten the urge to play hero to the Land that Time Forgot, we'd be--"

The Eradicator's mechanic was cut short by a searing blast that leaped through the air and exploded on the panel in front of him. SLAYER's form crackled with visible energy, rage given substance, the source of the Chaos Demons' power. His angry snarl took on an other-worldly tone as the singed Nitsud Nibrud watched, cowering, from the floor. "It's n-not my fault," he asserted weakly.

SLAYER stood still for a few seconds, letting his gaze eat through Nitsud, then turned and stormed out of the room violently. He slammed the door and a few random tools and parts clanged to floor in his wake. Nitsud Nibrud found himself unable to move until he was certain that the enraged Chaos Demon was nowhere near. He gathered up his toolkit, closed the damaged control panel, and sequestered himself in the small quarters he maintained at the rear of the engineering room.

* * *

Tal'n heard SLAYER's quickened footsteps halfway across the Eradicator. He had remained motionless for over a half-hour, ear pressed against a length of pipe, listening through the faintest of vibrations to the previous confrontation with frightening clarity. To his super-sensitive hearing, the sound of a bulky Chaos Demon walking across grated metal gangways was a cacophony befitting their species' mindset and demeanor.

As he had done countless times before, the Machine-snake-man wound his powerful tail into the mess of conduits and wires that lined the ceiling, and pulling his torso up into darkness. He concentrated for a moment and his body took on a color and texture identical to that of his surroundings.

The corridor he hovered above lay directly between the engineering complex and SLAYER's quarters. Tal'n judged from the Chaos Demon's voice and outburst that he had finally had enough. Up until now he and Tal'n were as uncomfortable guests in a foreign palace, but SLAYER's temper was simply to thin to last. Tal'n's mission remained; he was to monitor the activities of the Chaos Demon at all times, and if that meant leaving this monstrous haven, he would have to do so. Within a minute the footsteps found their way to the end of the hallway, and SLAYER rounded the corner.

Tal'n remained motionless as SLAYER entered his quarters. It only took a few minutes; Chaos Demons were not known for their material compulsions. SLAYER emerged with only a small satchel over his shoulder and stormed off towards the nearest exit hatch. Silently, Invisibly, Tal'n followed him.

Soon SLAYER found himself wandering towards nearby Deep Shadow forest, with an unseen companion following close behind.

* * *

Kay-ti slipped out of bed and greeted the sunbeam that shone through the front window with a smile. She didn't bother to throw on any clothes, since in her entire memory she had never done so. Her son Acytuib was already outside swinging among the treetops and gathering fruit from the small planters they maintained higher up in the canopy. Kay-ti stepped out on the porch high above the forest floor. The sky had only a few random clouds, and the sun was bright and felt good on her slowly tanning skin.

A tiny hummingbird pecked her on her enlongated ear. Kay-ti was an elf, and her ears were very sensitive. She jumped back in surprise at first, then relaxed and held up her arm until the bird alighted gently on her hand. Kay-ti smiled and giggled a little. She was amazed at how easily and fully she and Acytuib fit into the environment around their treetop home, which immediately struck her as an odd thought. Why should it be any different? Suddenly her mind flashed
(The knife dropped from Elrohir's fingers as he collapsed to the ground)
and her body shuddered
(Don't scream don't scream don't scream).
The hummingbird flew away in a panic and Kay-ti let out an involuntary scream
(Nothing left nothing worth living for why did it have to be this way).
She stumbled backwards on the porch and nearly slipped over the rail, but forced herself down at the last moment and ended sitting on the floor. Quickly as they came, the images flew from her mind, leaving only the stinging memory of pain in her legs and back.

Seconds later Acytuib bounded down to the porch from above. He was bulkier than she remembered him, for some reason, and he moved faster. His features were not completely elven, his skin dark grey with odd mottles, and with two small horns above his eyes. But he bore a concerned look and moved quickly towards his fallen mother to help her up. Kay-ti braced herself against the porch rail and stood on her own, and she hugged Acytuib with a pat on the back. She couldn't remember him ever speaking, but his expression communicated everything for him.

I'm sorry.

She wanted to say it was alright, that there was nothing he could've done. But she just kept holding her son tight, as though he would disappear if she let go. Why? What was coming over her? For her entire life
(For a couple years)
she had lived peacefully in the forest, and Acytuib had always been there
(How is it that your son appears as old as you?)
to help her gather tree fruit and rainwater and hunt small game animals on the forest floor and they had never been threatened or harmed or
(You've never even seen a living thing besides Acytuib and the forest animals)

Inside the elf girl Kay-ti's mind, something very fragile suddenly snapped.

* * *

The edge of Deep Shadow Forest was visible from atop the Eradicator's canyon. SLAYER did not recognize the terrain yet and simply walked towards the forest for shelter. Tal'n slinked through the tall-grain grass behind him and considered himself fortunate; Chaos Demons were known flyers. He presumed that SLAYER was either too tired to fly or had so acclimated himself to the Eradicator's innards that he had forgotten to lift off the ground. Better not to be concerned with the reason, he decided, and focused on remaining concealed.

An hour into the forest, SLAYER encountered a pair of frolicking faeries at a small pond. He drew on the mana of the forest and fried them both with a bored gesture. He grabbed one of the crisped faeries and chewed it like beef jerky as he continued his trek. Tal'n was amused.

* * *

Kay-ti awoke much later in the day. The first thing she saw was Acytuib's simple, downturned face hovering just above her own. She took a moment to collect her senses and registered that she was lying down in bed, under her sewn-leaf blanket, and there was a scent of medicinal incense in the air. It was growing darker out, the afternoon sky was visibly overcast through the open end of the treetop hut. She felt a soreness in her buttocks and the side of her head, and recalled the flashes and dizziness she felt that morning.

There was an image stuck in her mind, an odd tableau. She saw herself standing above two men; they were both human, and looked near identical. One was smiling broadly, the other's was an equal contortion of anger and surprise. Kay-ti was dressed in heavy ceremonial garb, holding an elaborate dagger. In the distance some sort of large battle was taking place. The battle was visible beyond a rock outcropping. She realized the sky was intensely dark and blood-red. The image froze itself and burned its way into her memory. Something deep inside told her it was real, not just real but real in the sense that it was the only real thing bouncing around between her ears.

Kay-ti leaped up with a start, surprising Acytuib. The sad oafish creature that held a despairing vigil over her moments before disappeared and her loving
(he tried to kill me)
son was back. Acytuib was incapable of speech, as far as she knew.

But then, he also had no idea how to prepare medicinal herbs or light incense, as far as she knew.

A wave of panic swept through Kay-ti's mind. She leapt out of bed and searched the room quickly, then ran to the porch and looked all around the forest canopy. She saw nothing out of the ordinary, sensed no foreign presence. The sky was indeed darker, although the sun's rays still poked through in spots. The animals of the forest made their usual sounds in the distance, birds flew from nest to ground and back, squirrels branch-hopped from one tree to another. Kay-ti exhaled deeply and felt safe once more.

Then an odd thought occurred to her. I'm not wearing any clothes!

She covered herself with an embarrassed shriek and pointed for Acytuib to go outside. He sluggishly responded, a guilty look again crossing his face. He reached up with one hand to cover his eyes and lumbered to the porch with all the grace of a blind ape. Kay-ti wrapped the sewn-leaf blanket about her body hastily and tied it with several lengths of basket-weaving strap to secure her newfound garment. She felt a flush in her cheeks, and had the strange feeling that she had been submerged in a body of water for an extended period of time and was only now breathing air again.

She called for Acytuib to come back into the hut and realized he was also in need of clothing. Kay-ti grabbed some tools and motioned for Acytuib to follow her outdoors. She spent the rest of the afternoon in the forest as normal, gathering berries and furba leaves (which made an excellent broth when boiled for just a few minutes). She had Acytuib hunt down a small beaver, which she skinned and prepared for dinner.

After the two ate she cleaned the beaver's skin and used a small stone knife to fashion it into a loincloth for her son. Acytuib looked confused at first, but she got him to wear it after a while. As the day wore on she became particularly aware of how unintelligent Acytuib seemed. She had another of the now-persistent nagging sensations that said he should by no means be a mute simpleton who wandered around the forest gathering fruit and hunting small animals.

As she saw Acytuib tried on his new clothing awkwardly, another tableau snuck into Kay-ti's mind. She saw her son, slightly thinner, floating high in the air above the sea, at the coast of some landmass. His face was different; it communicated a malevolent and wicked intelligence. He was surrounded by a green halo. Then, in the image, Acytuib lifted his arms and energy lanced out from his body to the ground below.

She saw Acytuib destroy an entire continent with scarcely a change in his expression.

* * *

By the end of the day, SLAYER had killed 16 faeries, 3 deer, 1 overly-curious elf, and at least a dozen squirrels, according to Tal'n's last count. Even this servant of the Lord of the Wastes was shocked by the Chaos Demon's abject cruelty and spite. He considered the rampage and figured the long months of confinement impressed upon SLAYER the need to "make up for lost time," as he heard Nitsud say once. This sort of unnecessary killing was repulsive to Tal'n. While he had killed literally thousands of beings in the past, he was a very patient creature by nature and never took his wrath out on innocent animals as SLAYER did.

The Chaos Demon prepared a camp for the evening. He swept a small circle in which to build a fire, then dragged a sizable rock next to the circle to create a chair. He ignited a fire at the center of the clearing with his eyes. Next he snapped off a decent-sized tree branch and impaled a nearby racoon, and began to roast it over the fire. Tal'n stealthily crawled up a nearby tree and became one with the bark so as not to confuse the wildlife or alert SLAYER to his presence. After tearing apart the racoon and devouring its charred innards in a rush, SLAYER extinguished the fire and lay down on the ground to sleep.

Tal'n relaxed his position in the tree a little, and prepared to hold watch over the Chaos Demon all night long.

* * *

Kay-ti awoke from troubled dreams with a start and realized the world had changed.

Not changed in that instant, at least. Nor anytime recently.

But she could not deny the feeling that the world had changed. More than the day before, she had the distinct impression that she had just taken her first breath of real air in a long time, or that a door long locked and sealed had been opened somewhere in the back of her mind that led to someplace completely different.

It was still dark outside. From the sound of his snores, Kay-ti could tell Acytuib slept at the foot of her bed. She wondered idly why she let him sleep on the floor and had not gotten her son a bed of his own. Groggily she got out of bed, and began to eat an early-morning breakfast of nuts and berries. Acytuib continued to snore while Kay-ti looked out into the dark forest and conversed with herself in her mind.

She saw the haunting tableaus that came to her like old memories the previous day. It was as though Kay-ti opened a corridor in her memory that had been sealed off without her knowledge for a long time. New images, new only in the regard that she was not aware of them just yesterday, lurked at every turn as she struggled to coax more images from her beleaguered mind. Kay-ti tried in vain to reconstruct the events of her life, with all but the first few memories hazy and just beyond her mind's reach.

Kay-ti was also beginning to feel a strong wanderlust by the time she finished her makeshift breakfast. Unable to decide if it was the simple fact that she knew nothing of what lay more than a mile away from home, or if it was because she was certain travel would shake lose the cobwebs in her head, Kay-ti just knew she wanted to leave. She stole a quick glance at her son, still sleeping peacefully, and formulated a plan to hike a few miles out and back by noontime. She mixed some potent blaisenberries into a bowl with some of Acytuib's favorite fruits, knowing that he would sleep for a few hours after eating the mildly intoxicating mixture. A few minutes later Kay-ti had all the tools she needed for the day gathered in a small satchel and started climbing down to the forest floor, to explore the world around her for the first time she could ever recall.

* * *

Tal'n remained motionless the entire night. Once, a bat alighted briefly on his head, but then quickly flew away as though it sensed its mistake. The machine-snake-man was patient indeed, and when SLAYER awoke suddenly the next morning, he was happy to be on the move again.

SLAYER was a creature of magic and, as such, had little need for sleep, sustenance, or any of the morning ablative rituals common to lesser lifeforms Tal'n had witnessed. The Chaos Demon returned immediately to his path from the evening before through the forest.

SLAYER walked, killed some more small animals to appease his frustration, and ultimately came to a stop at a small stream running through the wood. Tal'n watched from the trees as he knelt down to the water and sampled a little bit of it, the Chaos Demon seemingly reveling in his surroundings. He looked up from the brook and laughed quietly, eyeing the birds in the sky with a curious manner. Slowly he stood and raised his arms as if presenting to the trees themselves, and laughed much louder. A bellowing roar emerged from SLAYER that made Tal'n twitch and caused several more birds to fly from their nests in the trees.

The Chaos Demon turned slowly through 360 degrees, with what passed for a grin on his face. Tal'n heard him utter the words:

"I'm home."

* * *

Everything mundane suddenly became new and exciting. Kay-ti never felt such wonderment; she mused whether she would feel it again. Each bend in the old river was a new gateway of exploration, each marked path an unfamiliar road to adventure. The young elf girl wandered around the forest with a blissful smile of anticipation.

The clothing of bound leaves felt ever more natural as she made her way through the sylvan expanse. Kay-ti saw momentary glimpses of herself in the forgotten past, dressed in all sorts of extravagant clothes, and felt as though she was connecting with herself. The feeling was one to be savored, although she could not complete the tableau of images in her mind.

Kay-ti lost herself in a world of new sounds and emotions. The sound of crisp leaves and twigs crackling under her feet seemed louder and clearer than in the past. Songbirds cried out to their mates with a wonderful new song. The wind that whistled through the taller trees of the forests held Kay-ti rapt with its own odd melodies, and the trickle of water from the nearby brook filled her ears with its relaxing sound.

A young deer bounded through a patch of shrubs not far away and gave Kay-ti a surprise. The buck paused briefly when it heard her, looked back, then turned in a new direction and leaped away. A warm smile crept across Kay-ti's face as she reveled in the creature's beauty and elegance. A pair of birds chattered back and forth in the trees high above and she could swear she understood their song as she would a spoken sentence. The young elf-girl felt very much attuned to her surroundings at that point and the sensation overcame her.

So it was that Kay-ti never heard the light footfalls of her stalker following through the brush.

The interloper followed Kay-ti from her treehouse and remained quiet and still through their entire walk in the forest. Sensing that they were a sufficient distance from any help, he grabbed the sword at his side in anticipation. Small flecks of caked mud fell from his body, along with the twigs and leaves with which he constructed a natural camouflage. The sword seemed to let out a dull moan as he pulled it free from the sheath. The interloper's sensitive ears picked up the sound and he froze, watching his quarry for a sign of recognition. Instead she continued wandering aimlessly in the underbrush, stooping to examine some ferns and listening only to the sounds of wildlife around them. Satisfied, the stalker drew his sword the rest of the way, and readied his legs to leap.

Suddenly, Kay-ti stood up and her stalker quickly ducked behind the tree. He took a cautious glance and saw that she had merely picked up a small squirrel or chipmunk and was petting it lovingly. He cursed his anxiety as a few leaves and acorns fell from the tree above. Kay-ti noticed the activity and turned an inquisitive ear in his direction.

"Hello?" she called, plaintively. "Is anyone there?"

The stalker remained motionless on the far side of the tree. One each of his legs and arms were wrapped around the trunk, but camouflaged as they were, appeared to simply be knots in the bark.

Kay-ti took a step forward and looked around the side of the trunk. "Hello?" she beckoned once more. The forest was silent.

Several agonizing seconds later, Kay-ti turned from the tree and began walking down the faint path. The capable ears of her stalker detected a nervousness in the sound of her walk. He cursed to himself once more for giving away his presence so early. Now the quarry was aware of the hunt; now she would be more difficult to reach. He waited until her steps had fallen into an all-out run before dashing from behind the tree to pursue.

* * *

Tal'n cocked his ears to the side at the first sound of crashing branches in the distance. Below him, SLAYER wandered around poking through brushes and under rocks, muttering indecipherably all the while. The serpentine automaton thought little of the branch-noises at first, but quickly detected their path and became worried. His sensitive audio equipment determined that the sound was created by two bipedal creatures moving at high speed through the underbrush, one closing on the other. If whatever made the noise continued its path, it would reach SLAYER's grove very shortly. Looking down to ensure that his demonic companion had not yet been alerted to the commotion, Tal'n searched the trees around him and began slithering through the interconnected branches in the direction of the sound.

Ahead he saw the rustle in the trees that indicated pursuit and adjusted his treetop path accordingly. The boughs beneath his heavy mechanical form sagged and some snapped completely, but the sound was now covered by the pursuit below.

Kay-ti burst through the trees first and immediately drew Tal'n's gaze. He analyzed her form and detected no weaponry or other means of defense. She was clothed in the simplest construct of woven leaves and her posture and haste indicated she was seized with panic. Her ears and body structure marked her clearly as an elf, though Tal'n could not not determine her sub-species. Moments later her stalker followed; Tal'n determined that he too was an elf, covered partially by dried mud, twigs, and leaves. His posture suggested that of a natural predator more than a civilized creature. In his hand he wielded a crude short sword, which he used to hack through vegetation in the mad chase. The hunter appeared very ragged, his ears drooped and his hair matted down with grease. The ease with which he navigated the forest indicated to Tal'n that he had been living in the wilderness for some time.

Not far away, SLAYER was made aware of the chase by Kay-ti's first, piercing shriek. The Chaos Demon scanned the trees around and saw the waifish elf girl running frantically towards the stream. One glimpse of her face brought recognition to him in a flash, and SLAYER was on his feet and running before he even thought of it.

The stalker burst through a final wall of shrubbery and took a moment to get his bearings. Kay-ti was only scarcely ahead of him, running towards a small brook that cut through this portion of the woods. He had scouted the entire area thoroughly over the past weeks and knew that they were near the edge of the forest; he had to stop her now or lose all advantage in the pursuit. His feet planted on the ground and the muscles of his legs tensed for a powerful leap. He collided with Kay-ti from behind and they both sprawled face-first into the stream.

The elf girl was running as fast as she could, when all of a sudden she felt something at her back and went tumbling into the water. She thrashed and screamed, but the fall completely disoriented her. Kay-ti felt her pursuer grasping her tightly about the waist; on instinct she kicked backwards as hard as she could and rolled away when the grip loosened.

Kay-ti flipped frantically in the stream, trying to get to her feet. Adrenaline pumped through her veins and her legs powered her to the opposite banking. She half-turned to her assailant, thought better of it, and began to climb the banking. Suddenly the pursuer was at her back again, and shouted in an eerily familiar voice.


Kay-ti froze at his touch and turned to face the stalker. The water washed away much of his camouflage, but his features remained muddy and indistinct. She noticed his ears and slender build, recognizing that he was elven, much like herself. He saw her confusion and wiped his face quickly. "It's me, Kay-ti! I've found you!"

She was shivering uncontrollably. Kay-ti wracked her brain but couldn't recognize the elf. The relief she felt was tempered by the strange feeling that she should know her pursuer. "Who…who are you?" she stammered.

"Y…you don't recognize me?" he said, struggling for breath. "I'm your brother…Cre-chi!"


Yes, you did have a...

Kay-ti looked him in the eyes in utter confustion. "What?"

"I said I'm…" Cre-chi started to say. A shadow from above crossed his face and he looked straight up in terror. Kay-ti wondered what the elf saw that rooted him to the spot, and turned slowly to look behind her.

"Well," SLAYER said, standing confidently on the bank above the pair. "Looks like this is a good old fashioned reunion. Glad I could crash it!"

A bolt of burning red lightning lept from SLAYER's hand and struck Cre-chi in between his eyes. He backflipped into the brook and quivered uncontrollably while Kay-ti watched, horrified. Then there was another flash of light, and her world went black.

OOC Notes: /i{Yeah, I know I said I'd have chapter two up back in sue me. My life's gone significantly downhill and I haven't had much time to work on the project. Email me if ya want a full story on it. Plus, my roomates 'accidentally' deleted the version I had there, so I had to finish up this hackjob of a chapter without the proper planning. *sigh* Anyway, enjoy. Go read 'The End is the Beginning' for part I, and I recommend boning up on War Mill history. Thanks for reading.}


By Elrohir (Elrohir) on Monday, October 16, 2000 - 03:37 am:

Gut, I can continue my own stories a bit more... One question though: January 796? I'm not gonna have my characters waste a year of time catching up...If it were January 795, that would make much more sense...

Looks like we're in a battle now, to see who is the better writer at BD. :) When it comes down to it, you're more creative, since you can draw amazingly well, in addition to write exceptionally.

By Thrakkiss on Monday, October 16, 2000 - 03:54 am:

Elro: I set the 796 date for one reason or another when I started writin' part 2, back at the beginning of September. :) I think I just wanted to provide plenty of leeway for stuff to happen in the mill, don't worry about it. As far as writing goes, you easily beat me out. However creative I may be, my grammar sucks so bad it hurts to read my own stuff when I'm done. :)

By Shadow (Shadow) on Monday, October 16, 2000 - 08:30 am:

Good grammar does not make good writing. Besides, me have better grammar than Elro...but somehow I have a feeling this is one can of worms I don't want to open.

btw, I'll bet Nitsud would love to rummage through the closets at Kaat'n. ;)

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