Domine Dirige Nos

The Murder of Ælfgar

The last conversation that Ælfræd Ælfgarson would ever have with his father Ælfgar was a request by the older man to leave the house for the night so that he and Ælfræd’s mother could celebrate their anniversary. To encourage his son to leave the house Ælfgar gave his son 3 Florins.

Ælfræd joined many of Ongus’ residents in the town square watching a Chaubrettain circus, the Circus Magnifique, which stunned those watching with a display of aerial acrobatics and the appearance of an aurora. After the circus the majority of the friends retired to the Swan Inn to enjoy the rest of the evening while discussing how the flying man flew. Sadly sometime in the night Ælfgar was murdered.

Early the following morning Ælfræd is arrested for the murder of his father, Ælfgar was beheaded, an action that Ælfræd was clearly incapable of. This interruption to breakfast is most unwelcome. Even has Brother Godric takes up Ælfræd’s case a lawyer, Master Stanslaw, his retained to defend Ælfræd (by Wolfrick Boniface, Eadweard’s father) for the princely sum of 120 Florins . However also by this time the chief investigator has already concluded that was most unlikely that Ælfræd had murdered his father. Most worryingly Ælfræd’s mother is missing… During Brother Godric’s investigation of the crime scene he found a silver coin, not one he was familiar with.

Before Ælfræd could be brought to trial, Brother Godric is called to investigate the grisly murder of Ælfræd’s mother, who’s body was found brutally slashed in graveyard of the St Bartimans (on Close Candle Close) at about 3am. Godric went immediately to the Swan where Ælfræd has spent the night with Jayden and Keiran, who vouch for Ælfræd being in the Swan all night.

Jayden and 3 others vouch for Ælfræd’s innocence at the trial the following day and Ælfræd is found not guilty.
By the time Ælfræd arrives at his home he finds goods missing. He tracked them down and also finds that his father had been indebted to the guild however he is able to recover 75 Florins. The building however has been ceased by the guild.

By the following morning there had been another murder and Brother Godric was called again. The man (although that was difficult to discern) was dumped in St Handel’s churchyard. Alhin, a doctor, was already on the scene and examining the body. The man murdered was a chestnut seller who plied his trade in Great Oak and was last scene about 11pm the night before.

Keiran, who was first commissioned to distribute pamphlets advertising the circus and then collect them because the church objected to them, was employed to post bills advising of a reward for information leading to the murderer or the murderer him/herself.

About midnight a 4th body is discovered in the ruins of an ancient Selentine temple, spreadeagled and with the chest cracked open. Ayden and Eadweard were first on the scene and were led to the body by a boy (Besel) who worked nearby at the cheesemonger. The body was identified as belonging to a monk. Again Brother Godric was summoned to the site…

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Jayden’s Diary - Entry 2

(Haligdae X Halig-Monath CMXCII AS)

Look, I have tried very hard to drink this away, just ask Ælfræd. However it seems I have completely failed, not at the drinking, the Lord knows I am good at that, but drowning my increasing curiosity in the murders occurring in Ongus.

I will admit a 100 Florin reward might have had some influence on my peaked interest but it is not that alone. People I knew have been violently murdered and my friend is now homeless and parentless. But there is something more than just compassion at work here, I am intrigued. Who would do this and why? The “clues” found, excluding the coin, are just too obvious. The feathers found under two of the bodies point to the circus and specifically the flying man. As I said too obvious. Of more interest is the placement of the bodies in holy sites.

Summary of the murders to date:

Date Person Clues Body Found Ref
Wotansdae,
VI Halig-Monath
CMXCII AS
Ælfræd Ælfgarson
(furrier)
Decapitated, signs that he had dressed rapidly, a square coin found found in his shop C36
Torsdae,
VII Halig-Monath
CMXCII AS
Bryony, Ælfræd’s mother (herbalist) Ripped open and mutilated Saint Bartaman’s Church D18
Freyasdae,
VIII Halig-Monath
CMXCII AS
Chestnut seller A number of internal organs have been removed. Feather found under the body. Saint Handel’s Church F1
Boldursdae,
IX Halig-Monath
CMXCII AS
Teacher Terribly mutilated. It is clutching a large feather in one hand Selentine Temple C22
Syfsdae
XI Halig-Monath
CMXCII AS
Mutilated and thrown from the top of the stump, missing its heart. The body was dragged up the side of the stump and dropped as we past. Next to the Great Stump (which also operates as a temple to the ancient gods – the old faith). H1

The arrival of a strange ship in the harbour provided a welcome distraction. Turns out it was a capsized barge and Gregor righted it without much effort. After a bit of an investigation it seems that at some time the “boat” had been tied down and weighted and held underwater. The “boat” was discovered to be Mungoden and the coin was identified to be Mungoden also.

After midday the majority of my friends and I reported for duty and were put under command of Ayden (oh for the love of all things holy). Anyway, I guess it could worse. Our job was to walk the streets, not something that was completely unfamiliar to many of us. We were ordered to patrol Long Market, Byway and Great Oak.

The Earl Mancaster sent us to the Swan to speak with the Mungoden barman. He explained that it was likely Mungodan Priests, probably the “Volucreth”. The barman told us that were every they were hiding they would want to be warm.

As we returned to Old Fort we passed through the district Castra along Ducks Road, we noticed a building producing a lot of smoke. Keiran was sent to the Earl and returned with a small army. A nasty battle ensured and the two Volucreth priests were killed.

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Disappearing children
6/1/2015

(From the pen of brother Godric, Wotan’s Day, (Wednesday), Halig Monath.

So far, certain dark issues have surfaced in Ongus. The party has had to work out what these are and what places we need to visit.

At the moment the issues are:

1. Rumour of plague in the city.
2. Children disappearing, (note Keiran Bode was an apparent target).
3. The individual that asked for a package to be delivered and was violent when it wasn’t.
4. Is Mistress Marta up to something that concerns us.

Places to visit:

1. The pet shop.
2. The dockside.
3. The ship Sweet Azalea.
4. The orphanage.
5. The carnival, (at the moment, not considered highly relevant).
6. Any location relevant to Mistress Marta (maybe).

Deciding to look into the issue of disappearing children, the party made a visit to the pet shop that evening. Entering the darkened shop, Gregor crept upstairs to find the (not) friendly individual concerned about a package, and promptly hit him over the head. He was astonished to find a woman hiding under the bed. Not only was she Chaubretten, but it became clear that Gregor’s blow wasn’t necessary as she had killed the man. She said that she was an operative looking into the issue of disappearing children, which wasn’t occurring in Ongus alone. Several papers and a book (all written in Mercanian) were taken away.

At the cathedral, Godric secured the assistance of a lay brother, Nigor, who could read Mercanian. The most important information was a list of four ships, each with a number, (Blood Helm 4, Savage Maiden 5, Death from Underneath 11 and Sweet Azalea 17).

Agreeing that the Sweet Azalea should be looked at next, Brother Godric convinced his employer, Father Henwick, to write out an ecclesiastical writ to inquire into immoral practices, (prostitution outside licenced premises). This secured entry onto the ship, with the officers ashore. No children were found, although there were animal cages in the hold. When the officers returned, things got ugly. Brother Godric and Gregor were locked in the hold, but the hatch was opened after Godric threatened to set fire to the tar below, (trusting in a higher authority for the welfare of Gregor and himself), and the officers were swayed by the presence of a church writ. One said that when the captain returned they would be leaving. There was also talk of the crew losing a ‘good profit’. Sure enough, when the captain was on board, the ship set sail, after a crew member was put off, (possibly the one that allowed the party aboard).

Inquiries were made at the dock. The dockmaster confirmed that all four ships had visited Ongus. Curiously, Death from Underneath was a war galley. It was speculated that this could be owned by an important person, so that the issue of disappearing children might involve someone high up in one of the royal courts. There was also some talk at the dock about ‘children who could work magic’. Godric, Gregor and AElfraed stayed at the dock to make sure that the ship departed without picking up a cargo at the last minute, while the others headed to the orphanage. Godric and Gregor ran there after the ship left. The Sweet Azalea appeared near the orphanage and a crossbow bolt hit Gregor, (fortunately without much damage), further indication of displeasure aboard that the party had prevented the crew from making their ‘good profit’. After a girl came out to fill some buckets with water, Jayden decided to help her and the party went in after them. They were then confronted by the headmistress. It appeared that the ophanage was not involved with the matter of disappearing children, although the headmistress knew about it. She scorned the talk of children performing magic.

At some stage Mistress Marta got to hear about this talk of magic-using children. She also dismissed it. By now the night had passed and the daylight of Torsdae was beginning to appear.

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Dangerous Children
13/1/2015

(From the pen of brother Godric, Baldur’s Day , (Saturday), Halig Monath.

Two days passed. After the morning’s work on Baldur’s Day, the party arrived at the Swan to find it shut as it was flooded. As it was pouring with rain this was not surprising. A friar sermonizing the crowd at the corner said that he had been robbed by ‘sorcerous litle imps’ in a park. Edward figured that this involved the use of Transfix, a moderately powerful sorcery spell. The friar was accosted by a younger child who demanded his money, wherupon everything went black. When the friar came to his money was gone.

The party visited the park and spoke to some children playing there. One remembered seeing a child of teen years with red hair in Falcony Road, heading towards dockside. He had a large knife as well as ‘a funny look on his face’ (as if he was drunk). The party also went to the Faithful Hound Inn near the park. There a barbarian (of short stature but with a very large sword), said he has spoken to a child of this description. He thought the child had a Cornumbrian accent. Apparently there had been robberies involving children in Argen Hill and Bridgewater.

On Halig Day (Sunday) Godric took a walk through the area, coming from the nearest city gate. The rest of the party was watching. Godric had made himself appear as a merchant newly arrived in the city, carrying a bag of gold, (although it was only filled with rocks). After reaching Dockside he headed back to the park.Upon entering an alleyway he was accosted by a child. The whole party except Jayden was afflicted by a Transfix spell, but because the knight was still mobile the children ran. Jayden managed to seize one, who claimed nothing could be done to him as he was only six and thus too young according to both secular and ecclesiastical law to commit a crime. When the party recovered it was decided to take the child to Mistress Marta. The Mistress said she would get answers from the child by that evening.

In the evening the party returned to Mistress Marta’s. The boy had been persuaded to talk by being given sanctuary there. Considering what had happened to him before coming to the city it was no surprise that Mistress Marta’s course of action had been effective. The boy had been kidnapped in Cornumbria and sold to slavers. Several children, including the boy, had been sold to a mysterious figure who always appeared to them wearing a devil’s mask. He was the one that cast the magic while the children looked for potential targets and took the wealth.

Syfsdae (Monday) dawned and the party found that the Swan was open. While there they received royal commands from a messenger to attend the palace. Upon arriving, they were taken to the Star Chamber, the highest court in the kingdom, where they met Mistress Marta. She was required to stay at the palace as the king ‘needed her’, but the party was charged with finding this sorceror. The mistress was prepared to give aid, including her most powerful item, a Stasis spell stored upon a magical Rune. Strict instuctions were given about getting the Rune, which is on a piece of folded cloth and stored in a locked chest. On no account must the Rune be looked at. For this purpose the one getting the Rune (Keiran) will be blindfolded. This exercise is yet to take place.

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Mistress Marta's Magic Cats, and a visit to a private club goes wrong

Well, this is Kieran Bode aka Dodger letting you coves know about what happened over the last two days.

After we left Mistress Marta and Earl Mancaster at the Palace, the gang headed back to the city. As we passed the gallows, it was noticed that two bodies had disappeared from. Some cove had nicked them. Knowing better than to get involved in that sort of thing, I ignored the questioning that Eardward asked the guards about the comings and goings through the closed gate; especially about any wagons that had come through.

We headed straight for Mistress Marta’s school on the southern side of the city. It became pretty obvious to both me and Eardward that we’d picked up a shadow; some young girl that was following us, from between the City Gate and Old Fort. Some of the others in the gang cottoned a bit later on. She was good, but not good enough. She did notice me slip into a dark alleyway though, so I pretended I had to use the jakes and emerged about a minute or two later.

Once we got to the School, we confronted her. She said she was called Kes, and wanted to know why we were breaking into the school. Eardward quickly informed her that we weren’t technically breaking in, as we had been sent there to collect some gear for the Mistress. Gregor attempted to pick the lock with the new tools supplied to us by Earl Mancaster. He failed, so Kes stepped in and opened it easily. Only myself, Eardward and Kes entered the building.

Whilst Eardward started to have a talk with Kes (who is only about 14) I headed up to the Mistress’s room. I was greeted with the most shockingly, surprising room I had ever seen. There was lace and doily’s everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE! Then I noticed hanging up some men’s clothes, next to women’s clothes. I never knew MIstress Marta liked wearing men’s clothing. For disguise? (Eardward, after looking around the room pointed out that some of the clothing actually belonged to Mancaster; it had his arms visible. The Mistress and the Earl? I guess everyone needs to have someone.)

On her bed was the biggest, and fattest cat I had ever seen. I had seen a similar cat here only a few months ago when still a student here; the cat was nowhere near the size it was now! Worried about what might happen with a cat in the room when I was blindfolded and the chest had been opened, I picked up the cat and took it down to the kitchen and gave it some fish to eat. Returning to the room (and once more familiarising myself with the layout), I knelt down beside the bed and looked under the bed. There, looking at me with an intelligent gaze, was the cat I had remembered from my days at the school. Identical to the fat one, but normal size for a cat. Collecting this one, I returned to the kitchen and fed BOTH cats.

No more cats. I returned once again to the room. Eardward and Kes are still happily chatting away. Closing the door, I kneel down again only to find a kitten. Where are all these cats coming from? I picked up the little bundle of fur, open the door, and handed it to Kes. Finally returning to the bed, I removed the loose floor boards as instructed, and there was the chest. I took the key from where I had hidden it on my person, and put the key in the lock. Then, after tying the kerchief (supplied by Eardward) around my head as a blindfold, I reached in and turned the key until it clicked in the lock. Opening it, I started to feel around inside it.

I could feel coins, gems, rings, (lovely specie), before feeling first one and then two scrolls. Removing them, I closed the lid, backed out and made my way to the door. Opening the door I step through, closing it behind me. Removing the blindfold, I handed the scrolls to Eardward. First part of the job done.

I replaced the blindfold and returned to the chest. Opening the chest, I start looking for the runed cloth that I was instructed to retrieve. First thing I find is something furry … a rat? No, the feet are wrong. The playful nature and the purring confirmed my suspicions … another kitten. How on Legend did the kitten get into the closed chest? Removing the kitten, and placing it on my back, I start feeling around for the cloth, again encountering lots of luverly (sic) specie in the form of gems, rings, coins and such like. Once I found the cloth, I made sure it was folded over and …. I l know what you’re thinking … Dodger couldn’t miss such an opportunity. However, this was Mistress Marta. She would most likely turn me into a toad. And, I suddenly realised, she had actually trusted me, Keiran. No one had ever trusted me like that before. It was weird. So, against all my instincts, I closed and locked the case (still blindfolded mind you). I was putting the floorboards back when I felt a thump on my chest. Now I had 2 kittens on my back. I grabbed the kittens, put them on the bed and headed out of the room. I gave Eardward the cloth, which he folded up in another kerchief and tucked it away. I removed my blindfold to see Kes holding 4 kittens.

We left the school and all headed home for some much needed rest.

The next day we all met as usual after word at the Swan. Kes had told us (on the previous night) that an unusual man had been seen entering a brothel in the Plaza Ward. This was the man we were seeking with regard to the “magic kids” we had encountered earlier. Now that we had time to think about it, we had no idea where this brothel actually was. I know Plaza Ward pretty well (as a messenger I know where most buildings are) and could not recall any brothel in the ward. More information was needed. Eardward then informed us that he knew how to contact Kes to find out more about this brothel.

Upon returning from his meeting with Kes, we discovered that it was a large building next to a place with naughty pictures in Diamond Street. That was, in fact, an artist who specialised in “tasteful” nude paintings of ladies. Between it and a locksmith is a fairly non-descript 3 storey building. Eardward’s bodyguard Helga then informs us that the place is a “private gentlemens er, club” called “The House of Infinite Dreams” where gentlemen could meet and discuss private business, and enjoy “other” activities. She herself had worked as a bouncer (and had provided some other occasional services which she declined to elaborate on, except to say that some people liked to have someone walk on them).

Eardward was immediately recognised by the bouncers as a Boniface, and wanted to know if this was to be covered by him, or to go on his fathers account. We thought it should go on Mancasters account (after all, it was a legitimate expense) but he decided to pay himself. Then we found out the entrance fee; 1 Gold Crown per person. I think I saw Helga slip a small pouch into Eardwards hand; otherwise where else did he find 7 Crowns?

It was a very posh place. We were given a “private meeting room” on the second floor. Eardward asked for the man we were “supposedly” meeting (the wizard) to meet us here. The only description was that he was “unusual”. She seemed to know just who he was referring to.

Gregor hid under the bed, leaving me, Eardward and Helga in the room. The others all went down to the bar where they could watch the door. They could only see the upper half of the door; nevertheless they were totally surprised when they saw the door open and close by itself.

The door was opened by a small man no more than 3 and a half feet tall. He questioned us about what we wanted with him, and seemed very suspicious of us, finally demanding to know just who we were working for. Spinning a bit of a story, I said we were working for a Chaubrettan who had been chasing slavers, and that we were hunting for a missing girl, whom we wanted to return to the people who were supposed to be looking after her. (Darla, the young girl we had met previously, has turned out to be the Chaubretten Princess, held as “hostage” by the crown to ensure peace. She had run away again and was now running with the gang of kids working for the evil wizard.)

Suddenly the place is stormed by Palace Guards, and the short cove orders our arrest! He was none other than the Kings Hand (which I thought unusual, cos he looked like a cove to me, not a hand) . Establishing that we were really working for Mancaster, he quickly devised a cover for the storming of the place by the guards. We were instructed to keep working for the Earl to recover Darla and stop the Wizard.

Whilst Gregor and I slipped away to join the others at the bar, and then depart the building, Eardward was dragged out screaming “No you can’t take me back to Montombre. Father will kill me” pretending to be the son of the Earl of Montombre. Well, he’s pretended to be Gregor before.

So that’s it. No extra specie for Dodger, though I did get a new heavy leather jacket.

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Woodcut posters and thieves falling out
27/1/2015

(From the pen of Brother Godric, Wotansdae, (Wednesday), Halig Monath)

My apologies for not being up to speed with events last time. Must be what I drink at the Swan. Anyway this entry starts on the evening of Wotansdae at the Swan. Word came to us that posters were being put up all over the city (and then almost immediately pulled down). Kieran managed to get one, which showed a very good likeness of Darla, except hair color was different. The poster referred to the missing daughter of WylSmyth, a master engraver. We paid a visit to his house and Gregor decided to make a nocturnal entry. At least that was the intention, (considering how many 20s on a d20 were rolled IN A ROW). This resulted in such amusing antics as Gregor literally falling into the bed occupied by the engraver and his wife and then running into a cupboard while trying a hasty exit, (in pitch blackness). A crossbow bolt fortunately missed the hapless burglar wannabe. (Pity we missed the antics). Yours truly entered and managed to calm things down with the engraver. With his skills he was able to create a very good likness of Gregor on a woodcutting there and then. Master WylSmyth said his daughter Margory had been missing for four days. I said the church would look into it. Also the man in the woodcutting was known to me and was most likely a common burglar, with nothing to do with his daughter.

(After all this, Gregor decided to shave his beard, hide his distinctive cap and lie low for a few days. I don’t blame him).

On Torsdae (Thursday) we again met at the Swan. Keiran revealed he has a portrait of Darla painted by an artist who lived next to a brothel called The House of a Thousand Dreams. He also said that he had on good authority that Darla was currently with the children working for the sorceror. Meanwhile Edward went to see Mistress Marta about the boy rescued from the sorceror. Because the boy had been exposed to demonology he had to be cleansed, involving a swearing in ceremony in which Edward assisted. Before leaving, he was told by Kes, the girl that works there, that she was sure she had seen a girl just like Darla, (or Marjory), at the bishop’s house. Edward revealed this to us.

On Freyasdae (Friday) I visited the bishop’s house. His Grace showed me the girl staying there, and it became immediately apparent that it was Marjory. Upon confronting the woman that attended her, she would only say that she and the two other women that tended the girl were with the Secret Service. The bishop immediately said he would handle the matter, but gave me permission to visit the engraver and tell him and his wife their daughter was safe and should be back with them shortly. I was also told to visit the summoner to get an ecclesiatical court prepared ‘in case it was necessary’. Both were done.

That night we were visited by an 8 year old girl who, after demanding food, (and getting potatoes), said that Darla would be returned if we ‘backed’ off. After a descussion we agreed. (This indicted to me a falling out among the thieves or at least the sorceror was getting cold feet, especially if he had found out that both the bishop and Mistress Marta were interested in him). A short time later the child said Darla was in the latrines, where we found her hogtied and gagged. Julianne told the child that if she came to the Swan at the same time each week she would get more food. The child was very enthusiastic about this. (A possible method set up by Julianne to get information from the child about the sorceror at a later date). The child did reveal that Darla had referred to the sorceror as ‘Master Bator’.

Dumping Darla into a sack she was carried off to the bishop’s house, (attracting quite a crowd of interested onlookers who were amused at her protests, as well as two men at arms that acted as an escort). After returning Darla, Marjory was taken back to her parents and a report was sent to Mistress Marta.

At present we are still tasked with finding the sorceror, (the name ‘Bator’ and the child may help). The ecclesiastical court may still be needed. No inquiry regarding the House of the Thousand Dreams has been made.

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Immoral Practices???
3/2/2015

(From the pen of Brother Godric, Boldersdae (Saturday), Halig Monath).

I wonder when the Summoner will give me a real case, i.e. something to do with the Church. Instead, there are these ad hoc secular activities that seem to arrive at the Swan every time we do. In fact, talking of the Swan, our host is bethrothed. In his culture, the woman chooses the partner, and in Tokli’s case, he had to defeat her in a (wrestling, boxing, no holds barred pankration??? whatever) contest. He won, (after ten tries), but he did get his bride.

During a visit of several of the city’s churches, I was told by Father Jerome of Our Lady of Grace that the nearby bathhouse was being used for ‘immoral purposes’. However, his only real indication was that when he asked to see the place, the manageress seemed to be ‘almost too eager’ to comply. I said I would take a look.

I told the band at the Swan (still don’t what to call it, but Motley Crew is definitely out). A few decided to enter the place. Edward discovered through his ungodlike powers that the hot and cold pools definitely exhibited magical auras. This suggested some possible deception, (pay to use the cold pool, then pay extra because you’re desperate to use the hot pool to recover from frostbite). Heat for the hypocaust apparently came from a boiler situated in the next building, the Guildhall of Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Glassblowers. (Does this mean they worship retorts and glass mozaics? Sounds pagan to me).

An entrance to the Guildhall was made in the evening of Haligdae (Sunday) by our usual method; we broke in. Down in the cellar was the boiler, clearly unused. In a nearby tunnel a small child came trundling up to us quite calmly, said w’d be in a lot of trouble for being down here and then casually mentioned the name of Bator, at which point he was put into a sack and taken to Mistress Marta.

I have some coal dust to clean off.

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War of the Writing Implements
24/2/2015

(From the pen of Brother Godric, Tyrsdae (Tuesday), Halig Monath)

Pity. No entry for when the sorceror, in fact a dark elementalist) was finally taken down. So I’ll have to skip to a new entry, when on Tyrsdae, Kieran received a summons to the Merchants Guild. We all turn up, where we are asked to sold of the murder of a scribe, Callery Frikard, the town of Borton about ten miles away. We agreed and set off, to find the town was most disagreeable in terms of smell.

It became apparent that there were two rival factions in the town. Frikard had created a new writing nib, which allowed faster writing without as much skill as with a quill. Those who supported the traditional way of writing the (traditionalists) opposed those who wanted the quill made readily available, (the modernists).

The town council is made up of members representing each of the guilds and a town representative.

Places of possible interest:
Guild of Scribes.
The Inkmakers’ Union.
The Borton Goose Breeders Association.
The town paper manufacturers.
The Monastery of Blackwood.

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