Legacy of Zanzer Tem

Notes from Lorea's Journal: In which we meet a Dragon

Note to self: Do not taunt the dragon.

Second note to self: When the halfling starts taunting the dragon, do not join her. Instead, pick her up and carry her away.

Third note to self: Carrying around this many diamonds is a bad idea.

Jarvis's Revelations

I came here looking for answers, but it seems people took notice of me asking questions. More will come. Didn’t find any anyway.

This place is dead, died along time ago, before the Battle of Wizardspire, and I don’t much feel like talking about it.

Kavor was a friend. I got in trouble a long time ago, didn’t know how to get out. Kavor was supposed to be my enemy, but he wasn’t. Made me realize that, and once I did, he helped me get out. Sad to hear of his passing.

Ilyana claims to be the Heir of Halvor. Might be true. Let’s not get into the specifics of that right now. She is totally insane. Working with a dark priest. Plans to conquer the whole rift. Don’t think she could succeed, but it’s hard to say. She was trying to make her case to the Black Knight. I think Old Argyle, however much he wants a proper queen, and would love to put her on the throne himself, has to realize she is too unstable for the job. Might try to prop her up and puppet her I guess, but that really isn’t his style.

She carries a sword, The Sword of Queen Elendorath. Never heard of this Elendorath personally. She is quite persuasive though, at least to the local goblins. A number of chiefs, reluctant as they were going in, came out of meetings with her swearing their loyalty. They aren’t the most organized bunch, and they still seem to fight among themselves, but if their professed loyalty is real, she could prove quite a threat, especially if she keeps meeting with more chieftains. Could be looking at the next great goblin war. The most powerful chieftains luckily have not agreed to meet with her.

Her base of operations is an old keep, Haradraith by name, between the Aven river and the Grakken Wood. She has been leery of attracting the attention of the Lords of the Pit. But it gives her good access the hobgoblins of the Bone Hills, and the human mercenaries she attracts, though I don’t know how she manages to pay.

Elward - Wizard notes
Volodar's letter

It was time to leave Valdemar Lightoak, I can’t put into words how thankful I am. My time in the Order of the Rose taught me many things, I can say I have achieved balanced between my wizardry studies and my devotion to the Cult of Ixion.
My grampa sent me a letter, I was expecting my family was trying to summon me back. However, Volodar surprised me telling one of the dangerous artifact crafted a long time ago by the Hutaaka, that was being kept safe by the dwarves, was stolen recently.
Grampa told me how to track down the artifact, but in order to do that I need one of the magical Hutaaka tapestries.
I thought this would drive me away from my quest to find the source of darkness that would emerge in the Rift, but then Ixion provided me insight to a near bloodshed. I had visions of tons of people dying. The farmsteads where filled with despair, and the sight of my figure seemed to be a relief to a human called Stephan.
Stephan was grouped with survivors and told me he would hire me to help save his brother, he showed me respect and his eyes showed me desperation, I accepted the offer but I know deep in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to charge them for money, so much had happened to them at this point and doing that would be against my principles.
When we reached his brother’s facilities, a group of heroes were the reason of why they were still alive, and joining our forces together we were able to defeat the King which were holding them under a siege.
Sorrow filled the room when I was introduced to Freya, Clair, and Peter and figured they had just lost one of their members. I thought about asking Ixion to bring him back to life, but too much time had passed and it was beyond my powers to do it. I’m pretty sure our fate is not coincidence, if wasn’t by them the King would probably be in possession of the tapestry I was looking for.
We finally got rest, and the sun shall clear our way tomorrow…

Notes from Lorea's Journal: In which we meet Zanzer Tem

After rescuing my cousin, Sir Tristram, and one of the missing families from the cellars below the manor house (and killing a zombie beholder on the way out), we rested for a few days in town. On the urging of Sir Danika, Knight of Torlynn, we went northeast to check out the area of the purple lights that occurred during the eclipse.
We reached a giant cliff, and along the trail to the top, we came across a large encampment, and a sorcerer named Zanzer Tem. There in the cliff was a tomb of a great magician. Zanzer Tem is seeking a great artifact in the tomb that will drain the magic from this place. She believes that if that artifact is not found this night, the world will end.
Naturally, we entered the tomb, with Zanzer Tem, but not with any of her army. (I am not really certain why they are here, but if the world ends, it will not really matter, I guess.)
Inside the tomb was a statue of the sorcerer, in a octagonal room, with 8 passages off of it (7 in addition to the secret door we entered from). When we first attempted to go down a passage, the statue turned and shot magic missiles at us. But then we noticed that the two wands the statue was holding could be removed and that there were circular holes in the floor at the base of the statue. We were able to lock it in place facing the door we had entered by and safely go down the tunnels.
The first tunnel we entered led to a frozen tableau of a great fight (that included a magic axe being wielded by one of the greatest Dwarven heroes) seemingly frozen in time.
There are only three other passages that seem noteworthy. One of them had a coffin making workshop, the room for the coffin maker, and at the end, a room for examining the dead. It also held some of the dead who rose up and attacked us – twice. Based on notes found in the coffin makers room, we knew to look in another door after the room with the zombies (and to secure the door open before doing so).
Another passage included graves of more undead who rose up to fight us (and nearly killed us). After getting past them, we found a dining room with table and 10 chairs. 8 of the chairs had symbols carved in the backs. 6 of those symbols matched rune necklaces we had taken off the last zombies we had fought. We ran back to the two in the room for examining the dead, and found the other two.
Sadly, they did nothing.
Somewhere in here, Zanzer Tem seemed to believe that we had found a workshop for creating a lich, but that the great sorcerer for whom the tomb was built was not a lich. We found his wife’s burial chamber, as well, but she did not seem to be a lich.
We believe we need one more rune necklace, perhaps from the sorcerer himself. By this time, there was only one passage we had not fully explored. It had two gargoyles about half way down and a message written overhead about entering certain death. Naturally the Halfling and I went through there. That caused the gargoyles to secrete some sort of acid which destroyed the boots of my armor, and the dagger with which I scraped it off.
We have determined that elemental forces are needed to get rid of the acid, and our mage is currently busy freezing it bit by bit. Once he is done we will proceed further down the corridor – hopefully finding the artifact Zanzer Tem needs in order to prevent the end of the world.

Fighting note: I seem to have fully adjusted to my change in stance and grip, and, while nearly dying, have done better at inflicting damage against the undead we have been facing.

A mistaken quest

While floating down the river, my friends note smoke coming from a little ahead. Being the heroes that they are, they decide to go check it out. As I approache I notice a homestead burning. Such was the distraction that a whole lot of goblins managed to ambush us. We are severely outnumbered and they all seem uncharacteristically determined to exterminate us.

As we slay most of these puny monsters, people from the burning homestead warn us from impending danger. A whole army approaches through the forest! I ask the spirit of my ring to aid us and my request is granted. While the army is slowed down we flee into the homestead where we defeat the current invaders.

I am most worried about this turn of events. Locked up in a building, with the enemies swarming around us I feel antsy. I stand on the roof for relief, and immediately arrows fly past my face. Larry and I quickly take care of the archers, but it does not improve my mood.

There seem to be different factions of monsters, but only the Monolith knows what is actually going on. I feel like if I could talk to the leaders we might escape unharmed, but these negative nancies who live here claim I would not make it.

My strategy proposal has been slammed down by an old hag who can cast some magic. Apparently “forest fires” are a thing. Well, if it kills the entire evil army, who cares!?

While I am writing this I try not to think of the most recent battle. I almost died and I do not think Orah will ever be the same. Do I truely want to risk my life for these strangers? What good am I to the world dead? I wish I had paid more attention to strategy and sieges when Accolon spoke of these things.

I contemplate fleeing, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. One thing is for sure, I’m going to put myself first and stay alive.

From Lorea's Journal: On the Continuing Search for my Cousin, Sir Tristram

In returning to the town of Torlynn, we found the one negative side ending this magical winter. The warming weather was slowly melting the ice on the river. The ferry could not yet cross the river, but it was uncertain if the ice would hold the rest of us crossing. Thanks to the use of a floating disc and a miniaturize spell, both courtesy of the Wizard, the entire party, including our injured elven companions, was able to make it safely across the river and into town.
Having spent only enough time in Torlynn previously to discover that my cousin Sir Tristram was not there, I had not realized that in addition to being stuck in a magical winter, the town had been beset by a bunch of brigands, called Red Brands. A group of these men met us at the tavern and tried to insist that our hard won treasures belonged to them. They acted tough, but apparently are not used to having dealings with those who are capable of standing up to them, and it took only a few words for them to back down.
Torlynn also seems to be in the middle of a political crisis with two men claiming, or perhaps just vying for, the position of Mayor. My companions appear to prefer the challenger, and wish to show their support to this person, though without coming right out and making a political endorsement.
Oddly enough, the entrenched Mayor is my cousin’s Uncle, though no relation to me. He, nor anyone else we spoke to, seemed to have a good idea where Sir Tristram had gotten off to. Best guesses involved the Red Brands and a local family who disappeared the night before my cousin did.
As so often happens, if one is willing to listen to them, our best lead came from children. A Halfling boy had reported to his friends that he had seen Red Brands disappearing in a cave just outside of town. We were able to visit the family and get more details from the lad. We followed his direction and found the cave, which happened to be a secret passage into the cellars of a local manor house.
We have yet to see any Red Brands in here, but we have fought gnolls, and taken a goblin prisoner. The fight was difficult and many of us went down, myself included. Luckily, there are enough potions and skilled healers among my new companions that none of us were lost, and in the end, we prevailed.
Following the directions of the goblin, we found what appeared to be a wizard’s laboratory. This is not the local, recently deceased wizard, but apparently one that is alive and causing trouble. Our own wizard seemed to believe that we had missed catching him in his laboratory by just moments and was eager to follow quickly behind – though not so quickly that he did not search the laboratory and office for magical items first.
We did follow the path our wizard believed the other wizard took, and made it to a room with yet more undead. I am beginning to wonder if this wizard we are following is perhaps a necromancer, or if there is something about this region that just makes raising the undead seem practical, as we seem to fight the fiends more regularly than anything else.
So far, we have not caught up to this evil wizard. The goblin was not happy about following us into his rooms, and has also warned us of some monster in the ravine that separates the cave from the cellars. For now, we are holed up resting in a room before we set back out on the path of this wizard.

Fighting Note: It seemed at first that I might have correct my power problem in using the glaive, but I apparently did so at the expense of accuracy. I performed poorly enough in the fight against the gnolls that the Halfling made comments about needing to train me. (I deserved them.)
I think the issue may be that I have spent so much time fighting on my own or in formation with similarly trained knights, that I am feeling out of my element in fighting with a group of more loosely disciplined companions. I must remember my training, and to use all of my abilities, and find my stance among this group.

From Lorea's Journal: On Finding New Companions

Having taken the Aven River north to Melinir, I decided to make my way to the town of Torlynn, in order to make the acquaintance of my cousin Tristram, a knight of Torlynn. While asking about the best road to travel between the two, I learned that a magical winter had taken over Torlynn and the lands surrounding it, and that a group of the Elven Guard from Melinir had gone missing in the area.
When I reached the blizzard encased town of Torlynn, I learned that my cousin was also missing. He disappeared around the same time as the Elven Guard. Knowing what I do about him, it made sense to me that he might have gone to assist the Elven Guard in their quest to end the magical winter, and so I headed out to the area where they were last seen.
While pondering the best entrance to the Wizard’s Hunting Lodge, I came across a small group of adventurers. They had come outside to rest in relative safety (if in the cold) before going back into the lodge. They also appeared to be searching for the cause of this winter. It seemed they could use help from one such as I, and it was certainly the smarter decision on my part to explore these caverns in company.
We went inside and almost instantly ran into the undead. I was able to send some of them away, so that they could not all stack up on us at once. The Halfling of the group is a bit of a loose cannon, but she knows how to fight.
The Wizard seems addicted to finding magic items (at any cost), and the Rogue willing to take the chances needed to aid said Wizard. (The Halfling smartly stands some ways away from those two when they are searching.) There were more undead. And there were magic items, including a shield of Halav, which I suspect may be THE shield of Halav.
While searching a destroyed ballroom for yet another magic item, the Wizard “discovered” a gelatinous cube. In fighting it, the Druid (who, along with the Cleric, was mostly a quiet companion) turned into a bear. And the Wizard, in his craziness, decided to make the bear even larger. For the record, gelatinous cubes are incapable of fear, and therefore, an extra-large bear does not scare them. But, it was still defeated, and the Wizard found the scroll he was looking for.
As we fought out way through the lodge (after making numerous detours for even more magic items the Wizard sensed), we eventually came to the room from which the cold seemed to be emanating. The floor was covered in ice, making movement difficult. Inside were some Rat-Weres, including one who very much seemed a leader. He made a standard evil despot speech about a magic sword (encased in a throne of ice) coming into his keeping, so that he could make this area of the world more habitable for his people.
While I respect conquest, it was easy to tell from the demeanor of the few other of his people in the room that this man was not a leader, but a tyrant. In addition, I must always stand on the side of the humans against the creatures who would yoke them. I entered the room, heading straight for this “leader”.
My first hit against him did nearly nothing, and I realized that I needed the help of Vanya. I took the risk of standing vulnerable in front of him while I prayed for her blessing on my weapon. With her blessing, it took only a few hits to take the creature down. And once he was down, the other Rat-Weres quickly surrendered.
The sword remained frozen in the thrown of ice, but it’s hilt was sticking out. After making sure my new companions were far enough away to not be hit by exploding bits of ice, I grabbed the hilt with the intent of pulling the sword free.
Unfortunately, this was not actually a throne of ice, but an ice golem, which became quite agitated by my attempt. I had been more damaged in our previous fights than I cared to admit, and fell unconscious shortly after.
I awoke to the Rogue reviving me, for which I was thankful. I took a moment to assess the situation and ask the Goddess to restore me enough to return to battle. Simply being near the golem was painful, but it was necessary. The Druid (still in bear form) had entered the room, preventing the golem from leaving. But the Halfling, brave, if reckless, thing that she is, had also gone down. I knew that I needed to reach her and move her away from the golem.
Because of my focus on the Halfling, I missed what actually brought down the golem. It could have been the Rogue. It could have been the Wizard. It could have been the Cleric. It was likely the Druid/Bear (now back at regular bear size). But I do not remember for certain. (Which is a failing on my part. I should be more aware of the battlefield at all times.)
I was able to bring the Halfling back to consciousness.
The ice golem was down, but the sword was now even less accessible than it had been before. It was encased in ice, frozen to the floor. We could not recover it.
While we were all in very rough shape, there was one more door off the frozen room, and no sense of danger. We opened the door and found the Melinir Elven Guard, frozen in solid blocks of ice. My cousin was not among them. We thought them dead, but could not leave them like this. Between the Wizard and Cleric (and maybe some actual fire), we were able to thaw them.
It turned out they were not actually dead, and unfreezing them brought them back to consciousness. Their leader asked if we had seen his sword, and described the one frozen to the ground in the other room. It turns out the sword is the artifact of winter, and his ancestral weapon. He was able to reclaim it.

As I write this, we are once again outside. It would appear the winter may be ending. It is not suddenly summer, but the blizzard seems to have died down, and the temperature is rising.
The Druid is leaving the group, now that natural balance will be restored, and they are busy negotiating for his share of the items that have been found.
I know that I should be involved in this negotiation, too. But none of the magic items that we found on this day speak to me. Even if I could (or would want) to use the Shield of Halav, I do not fight with a shield. However, I did notice that they are carting around a full set of plate. Maybe I will negotiate for that.
But, truly, the thing I will ask for is their help in finding my cousin. Having spent these many months traveling alone, fighting with companions again made me realize how much I miss it. They are not organized troops by any means, nor would I expect to turn them into such, but having companions is good for one’s soul. Having no one but oneself to care about is the surest path to tyranny.

Fighting note: I recently made a slight change to my fighting stance for better stability. This change has apparently made it so that I put more power into the back swing of my glaive than the primary swing. I must make a change to my grip in order to put the momentum back in the primary swing where it will be most effective.

Orah's Journal
Session 12-15
  • Fought skeleton horses.
  • Made quick work of them. They were no match for my ax
  • We found a room. This room had two black pearls, some things in a chest, and a human named Tory.
  • The monk man and I took the pearls
  • The Magic lady and this Tory seem to be friends
  • There was talk about a resurrection of a dead goblin, and a mention of Zgakx, father of the dark fur.
  • Ktub Braingouger is connected to these black pearls.
  • We continue on, the small girl keeping the lookout on the backend
  • We stabilize a woman on our way through. I don’t want her with us, but the group decided to take her
  • We ran into some goblins. I lost it again, a bit better at controlling my rage.
  • We ran into skeleton men. I used my glaive and javelins. Maybe the ax isn’t the right weapon for me after all. I wonder what my father would think.
  • Wow. There is a huge pit of people.
  • Giant ogres. They stole a page from my book with reckless attacks.
  • We defeat them, our party weary, but there is one more bad man in the pit. I make a running leap and plunge my ax into him, knocking him over.
  • I chop his head clean off, but these worms seem to be the real foe. We make quick work of these worms and free these prisoners from the pit.
  • Very close to passing out, I finally get some health. My companions have fought well, although some were knocked unconscious during the fight. I feel needed with these adventurers. They need a dwarf for the nitty gritty battles.
  • Overall I think I will keep fighting with an ax, but always keep my glaive close. It was a very useful weapon and did a lot of damage when an ax wouldn’t reach. I am a small legged dwarf after all
Edward's Story

Edward fidget’s abit as he starts his tale. “We heard some rumors about strange happenings, and thinking I was younger than I am apparently decided to come investigate. The rumors were the types of things that scare farmers, but really not that bad for an experienced adventurer. At least that’s what we thought.”

He relaxes as he gets going in the story. “We actually didn’t find much of consequence to be honest. There is the dead hill, and a few skeletons could be found roaming it now and again. But the activity site was supposed to be the old castle ruins. And frankly there wasn’t much sign of anything happening there in a long time. The most intersting thing was that the floor of what remains of the great hall, a pile of rocks dirt and grasses, was pretty shallow, and underneath was a what seemed to be a large solid piece of marble, inscribed with runes of binding.” He is quite animated as he talks about the marble stone.

Edward takes a long pause and signs, before he continues. “Then we were jumped in our sleep by a shifty little Hin named Otis, leading some goblins, and next thing we know we are part of the crew of slaves digging these tunnels.” You recognize the term Edward uses to refer to his own people.

“From what Tory says we are somewhere in the hill under the castle. Apparently this Kor Bloodaxe character was trying to dig up whatever was bound under that castle.”

“Zgakx,” Tory interjects.

By now Edward has his his full stride in lecturer mode, he doesn’t seem displeased in the least by the lead in to the next part of his tale. “Ah yes, Zgakx, Father of the Dark Fur, Maneater, Lord of the Infernal Moon, yeah we heard that more than once down there.”

“It is said, by goblin seers, that there will be born 11 great champions from each of 11 lineages, who will rise to lead the goblinoid people to greatness. And that when the 11th champion of the 11th lineage rises, it will be the full avatar of He Who Always Rises, and humankind will be swept away in the tide of goblins that will cover the world.”

“Zgakx is generally considered to be one of the champions, though not all seers agree on the exact ordering or naming of each champion. My understanding is that he was lord of the Bharghests devoted to the Goblin God Wogar. Based on where we were he was presumably slain, or perhaps merely trapped, in the final days of the ”/wikis/human-and-general-history" class=“wiki-page-link”> Third Rift War." Edward comes to a very natural conclusion, and you can tell from his body language that he considers the story told.

“Kor said he slew Halvor at the foot of Strywolp Hill, and that he would have siezed the royal jewels if it weren’t for Halvor’s Squire.” Tory cuts in.

“Killing Halvor the Second is to Goblins, what being descended from Halvor the first it to humans. Every crackpot claims it. Did he happen to say where Strywolp Hill is?” Edward’s disdain for the claim drips from each word.

“No.” Tory shrugs.

Session 3 - More Fighting and a Formal Dinner

“Hey, before we go down these stairs, I’m just going to take this stuff I picked up and throw it on the pile back by the door.”

Thanks Wizard-guy. Maybe next time just carry your crap with you.

But that’s not what we did. So wizard-guy goes to toss some crap on the pile of crap and it turns out the pile of crap is gone. We all come running to see who stole our stolen stuff and looking around it looks like the automated critters of the place just came through and put everything back, except, oddly, the tapestry, which while still crap, was pretty much the only interesting crap.

So now we have to re-check the rooms, re-steal everything, and re-poke everything with a stick, you know, just to spring any traps we missed the first time. So we got the robot dog and the giant thing of soup, wasps that fly through walls, and we added to that an attacking gong and death rug. After a few hours we finally circle back to where we started, we’ve re-stolen books and shelf nick-nacks, and here we are, where we’d decided we were too tired to go on last time, and we’re about the same level of tired, but at this point we have to go on or admit how dumb going back was.

Downstairs is only the coal room.. Which makes me wonder how the hell they get coal up in the main house if the coal room is down here past the pit trap and the zombies and the angry bowl of soup, but I guess that’s wizards for you. Or maybe just that’s how they do it in the south, I don’t know. Fortunately it all came together when we found the coal was possessed by evil ghosts, because why wouldn’t it be. Me and the raven god had about enough of this crap and I was able to use his power to drive most of the nonsense off. The rest, of course, stayed to smack me in the face, but that seemed to make sense in some way.

Having conquered the coal room I needed some time to heal, but we found a hidden passageway behind a rock or something so everyone pressed on. Still injured, I decided to hold the back of the line and we moved through the dark tunnels. Honestly, I couldn’t see much, the tunnels were narrow and dark, the people with the lights were quite a ways up, but somewhere up there some fighting started.

When I got to where I could see something, there was a split in the tunnel and in both directions I could see the back of someone in our party fighting some other person or creature. At one point the guy on the left said something about going to help somewhere and I was like, “No way man, you stay there and hold that hallway.” In the other direction I placed some protection on the Wizard and we held the whatever they were at bay until the fighters could finish with the other room and work their way back. I remember hearing once about gnomes that specialized in tunnel combat, with custom weapons and styles for the narrow corridors, I thought we needed one of those. Although I guess we got through it fine so it doesn’t matter that much. Maybe over specialization isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

No loot in the hallway, or the zombie room. That’s all it was, a room of zombies. And another hidden door. Dude did not want his stuff found. Still not sure how he got in and out, but he definitely didn’t want company. Which made the sound of voices up ahead all the more unusual.

Past some more hidden doors, we open one door on to another group of.. Adventurers. That’s the name for heavily armed thieves right? We’re adventurers? Whatever, it was another us, but this us was here at the end, in the nice room, presumably where the nicer stuff is. Cheaters. I was going to ask if Sarrah and I could join them as they seemed way better at this stuff than the guys we hooked up with, when they attacked.

It was a close fight. I didn’t see much of it, mostly heard it, and most of that was our guys complaining about how they were dying. They were alive enough to complain, which seemed rude as I could see Sarrah lying where she fell, probably actually dying, and not complaining, or moving, at all. Shutting out their yammering, I brought the Wizard back so he could attack while I pushed forward to Sarrah (I’m assuming it was a close fight, in less than a second or two everyone I could see was on the ground and bleeding, and then it went dark). As I got to Sarrah the other warrior took up a stance over her body and I was pretty much out of tricks I could think of that might move him when suddenly he surrendered.

Not too dead to argue terms, there was some debate from the other room over what he got to keep and take with him after surrendering, I ignored it while tending to Sarrah’s wounds.

Finally entering the room where the rest of the fighting took place, I could see the warrior gathering up his companions, they looked bad but I don’t think any of them died. They had a priest with them dressed all black so I looked him over to see whose god he followed. I didn’t see anything like a prayer book or spell book but he did carry a well crafted mace. Dwarven, someone said. It didn’t shoot lightening bolts or anything as near as I could tell, but it was better than what I had, so I took it and traded him back my mace made of reforged farm tools.

At this point pretty much everyone is wrecked, I nudge Sarrah and suggest she check the rest of these other adventurers for anything valuable and then I flop down on a nearby bed. Because that’s where we are, a big bedroom at the end of the hidden hallway and the hidden zombie room, because where else would you sleep. I’m curious about if there’s anything valuable or useful lying around, but not enough to get up.

It seems the other party had taken a shortcut through the roof and now everyone else wanted to head out that way as well. I’d have been fine just staying here but apparently there was some sort of deadline on returning a decorative sword and hat or something. So that’s what we did, we went up and met with the owner of the house. It looked like someone had robbed the house but no one seemed to want to talk about it so we ignored it. We gave him his fancy sword, which was handy as he was wearing a matching fancy suit. There was to be some sort of fancy dinner that night which we were invited to, but I’m pretty sure I slept through it.


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