The Question Game Again

In which Haft plays a game with Megren and Sir Tyren

Inner Wall Walk

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You stand on Anvard’s Inner Wall Walk. From here you have a view of both the Inner and Outer Wards. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle. In the Inner Ward you see nobles and staff, mingling happily or going about their own business. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Toward the Trapdoor Opening , Southern Watchtower

Megren comes walking out of the Southern Watchtower.

Haft leans with his arms folded on the wall, looking out over the Outer Ward and the sky beyond.

Megren crosses the walk from the direction of the southern tower. She is still looking a bit sweaty from her time in the practice room. Seeing Haft standing along her path she veers from the center of the walk hard to the right, dragging her fingers along the stone and bumping her shoulder up against him when she reaches him, as if he hadn’t seen him there.

Haft turns in surprise, taking in her condition.  “You shouldn’t practice so long.  You’re weaving into people in your exhaustion.”

Megren grins. “How else will I get attention?”

Haft asks, “Oh is that what you’re going for?  The red hair is insufficient for your purposes?”

Megren fluffs her damp locks prissily. “Lady Avery says its ‘enviable’.”

Haft considers.  “I can honestly state that there is many a Red Fox in Narnia who would agree.”

Megren searches the sky for an explanation of this. “I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult.”

Haft says, “I’d say it’s a compliment to you…not sure about the Foxes.”

Megren looks skeptical. “Hmm.”

Haft changes the subject, as if afraid he’s about to dig himself into trouble.  “How was practice?”

Megren says, “Same as ever. Perth’s too good for me.”

Haft says, “Well, experience.  Nothing for it but more practice.”

Megren says, “Having half the muscles Perth has wouldn’t hurt.”

Haft says, “Hmm, that’s harder.  You can train up your strength, but you’ll never beat Perth with pure force.  You’ll have to be faster or cleverer with your strikes.”

Megren leans her shoulder against the wall. “Yeah.”

Haft shrugs.  “Sorry.  My advice isn’t extraordinarily insightful today.”

Megren asks, “Something on your mind?”

Haft sighs.  “Yes, but not something I can talk about.  It’s…been a difficult week.”

Megren pushes her mouth off to one side then nudges him with her hip and pushes off the wall. “Come on.”

Haft straightens away from the wall.  “Where?”

Megren says, “Somewhere less liable to encourage brooding and with some chance of cheering up, if I have any luck.”

Haft says, “Well, I’ll place myself in your capable hands then.”

Megren traipses ahead of him along the wall and down to the mess.

Off-duty Mess

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This is the place where off duty soldiers and sailors can relax and eat. There is a small cookfire and hearth and a few tables set up nearby. On one wall is a dart board, and on a small table in the corner there is a chess set. Someone has left a pile of parchment with sketches of his fellow knights on another table. This is a comfortable, casual room. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell

Contents: Hearth .

Megren comes walking into the Off-duty Mess.

Megren arrives, following Haft.

Haft stops Megren from walking with him.

Haft follows after.  “So, what did you have in mind?”

Megren spreads her hands. “The choice is yours. There’s chess, darts, or one of Sir Darrin’s cubes games for a start.”

Haft glances to one of the tables.  “Looks like the cubes set is taken.  Chess then?  Or were you hoping to wring confessions out of me with a darts game?”

Megren says, “Well, I’m always hoping to wring confessions from you, but it seems to work best when you aren’t looking for it, so chess is as good as any.”

Haft says, “Chess it is then.”  He walks over to the chess board, seats himself, and begins arranging his pieces.

Megren sits across from him and sets up her own pieces.

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren makes a few bold moves with her queen which seem to her advantage until she gets a little overconfident and loses it.

Haft winces sympathetically.

Haft uses his own queen and a rook to negotiate her king into checkmate after several more moves.

Megren, easily distracted by some of the joking going on at a nearby table, doesn’t play nearly as well as usually, losing rather quickly.

Haft glances at the table.  “You can join them if you like.”

Megren tilts her head. “Hm? Oh, no. Sorry, didn’t mean to be distracted.”

Haft says, “It’s all right.  I know I’m not the best company tonight.”

Tyren walks into the mess, plunking himself into the nearest unoccupied chair to catch his breath (on account of the knight looking a tad winded).

Megren grins at him. “So you suppose that some nights you are, then?” Her eyes catch the knight entering the hall and follow him with vague interest.

Haft scowls.  “I’m not sure that question is likely to make a man feel better, but yes, I’d hope there’s some reason you keep company with me beyond pity, though I’ve yet to figure out what it is.”

Tyren’s mouth tugs slightly, perhaps in a vague smirk, though whether this is the direct result of a potentially overheard remark or simply just an amusing thought coincidentally had at the exact same moment, who can say.

Megren says, “Well, I don’t see anyone else lining up to trounce me at chess every night, for one.”

Haft says, “Well, we’ve all gotta learn humility somewhere.”

Megren pats his arm. “I’m sure you will sometime.”

Haft winces comically.

Tyren shifts in his chair, sitting a little straighter now that he’s given himself a chance to recover a bit. “Are we arranging humility lessons? I’d be willing to offer my services as a pride-wounder should one be needed.”

Haft turns to the lord, rising and bowing before retaking his seat.  “In the context of chess, Sir, or did you have a different tactic in mind?”

Megren looks up to the knight again with another grin, half-rising to give him a stunted bow. She lets him answer Haft’s question.

Tyren says, “Oh, I’ve been known to take a few jabs at pride in a variety of manners. I have long said it befits a knight to be versatile, after all, and I strive to lead by example.”

Haft’s lips twitch.  “Does it now?”

Megren squints one eye, glancing at the ceiling as she tries to figure out if this is a real answer to Haft’s question. “So… darts, then?”

Tyren laughs outright at this. “I must confess that’s one thing a bit outside my personal expertise.”

Haft says, “Well I’d say there’s no time to learn like the present, but what Megren calls darts is rather vicious.”

Megren grins toothily.

Tyren’s brow inches upward just a degree. “Is it now.”

Megren says, “I’d most like to see Sir Tyren at one of our games of cubes, though, if I’m honest.”

Haft narrows his eyes.  “I’m not sure those aren’t worse.”

Tyren says, “Lord Tyre might be able to give you an idea of how that’s liable to pan out.”

Megren cups her chin in her hand. “And what might he tell us?”

Tyren says, “That when I find myself having a lucky day, it can be rather a force to be reckoned with. Although, to be fair, they don’t come particularly often.”

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Haft shakes his head ruefully.  “Her version of cubes ain’t the same either.”

Tyren merely lifts his brow higher, shifting his glance between Haft and Megren in silent question.

Megren says, “Everyone wins when Sir Darrin or I play.”

“That,” Haft says flatly, “is patently untrue.”

Megren lifts a shoulder. “We could play and let Sir Tyren decide for himself.”

Tyren says, “I find myself curious as to exactly what, exactly, the definition of the term in question is now.”

Haft frowns.  “I’m fairly certain I’d decided I was never going to play this again, but if you must know, it’s an overly complicated thing where a roll of a certain color means you answer a question, another color means you ask one, another means you take a drink, and another means you have to make a dare…or perform a dare…that’s five…I’ve missed something.  All I can tell you is it’s liable to make a man either overly drunk or downright uncomfortable in his own skin.

Megren waves a hand dismissively, explaining, “You change it to the players. It can be whatever you want. Traditionally it does involve drinking and storytelling, though.”

Tyren ahs. “Well, if that’s the case, I’m afraid I must say I make a rather pointed effort to avoid at least the former of those two possibilities, Haft.”

Haft inclines his head toward the knight.  “You got some rules that would suit this crowd Megren?”

Megren wrinkles her nose at the other guard. “Would you like one of the sides to call for brooding?”

Haft scowls.

Megren elbows him. “I’m only joking. What rules would you make, then?”

Haft says, “All right, let’s see…red: ask a question, green: answer a question, blue: give a dare, white: take a dare…and purple and yellow are the roller’s choice of the four.  With the condition that a question can be converted to a dare if the person doesn’t want to answer.”

Tyren considers this for a moment. “Well. I’m not exactly much for coming up with dares, really, but I suppose I could get behind that for a bit.”

Megren says, “Can I modify it? How about red is a question to me, purple to Sir Tyren, green to you. Yellow, the roller answers something from the others, and blue and white are same.”

Tyren grins a bit. “Now that, I like the sound of.”

Haft nods.  “That’s fine.”  He rises and goes over to pluck the bag of cubes from the other table which has now been vacated.

Haft shoves the cubes over to Megren.

Megren picks one out with the precision of a connoisseur. She shakes it inside her fist and rolls it, rolling a purple. She pushes her mouth to one side thoughtfully. “Hmm… tell us about your favorite part of Chesterton Manor?”

Tyren answers without missing a beat. “There’s a stairwell up from the main study that leads to a stretch up top on the manor, just off the master solar. It’s been referred to as the Lord’s Walk for… oh, I don’t know how long, really. There’s a small reflecting pool out there, and it’s open so you can see the stars on a clear night. Father and I spent a good many nights out there.” His expression turns a bit wistful for just a moment, before he says, “Unequivocally my favorite spot.”

Haft nods and reaches for the cube, rolling a white.  “Well then.”

Megren lifts her brows. “Oh, Sir, do you want to do it, or shall I?”

Tyren says, “I’ll leave it to you, I think.”

Haft says, “Not very merciful of you, Sir.”

Tyren says, “Then I shall have nobody to blame but myself should I find the tables turned.”

Megren grins delightedly. “Let’s see. Oh. I dare you to try a cartwheel right in the middle of the mess.”

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Haft’s jaw drops a little.  “I haven’t done a cartwheel since I was…I don’t think I’d remember how,” he says honestly.

Megren lifts her hands. “Not my problem.” But this is immediately followed by a moment of grace: “Want me to show you?”

Tyren smirks a bit. “And there’s your loophole. She did say ‘try,’ after all. Not necessarily ‘succeed.'”

Haft mutters, “Yeah, but if I’m honest, I’d prefer to try somewhere where there weren’t stone floors and a dozen tables.”  He purses his lips.  “I might pull off a handstand against the wall.  Would that suit?”

Megren rolls her eyes. “See,” she says confidentially to Sir Tyren, “This is why he doesn’t have any fun.” She returns her voice to a normal register to say, “Fine, fine.”

Tyren merely replies to Megren, “You should have seen me before I met my wife.”

Megren shakes her head regretfully. “If you listen to the right gossips, I am his wife, and yet, no such success.”

Haft rises.  “A dislocated shoulder isn’t any fun either.”  He proceeds to a spot by the wall, free of chairs or tables, and manages to awkwardly pull himself into a handstand, to the confusion and, then, amusement and howls of the rest of the room.  Righting himself, he returns to the table.

Haft snorts, catching the last of Meg’s comment.  “As I recall, you didn’t want the honor.”

Megren claps along with some of the other guards. “Sorry, grandpa.”

Tyren grins as he takes the die. “If it’s any consolation, at least such an action’s liable to do something about this supposed stodgy reputation I hear vague allusions to.” He rolls the die, which lands with its purple side up. “Well, halfway there. I was so hoping to have a chance to follow that remark up with a question.”

Haft stares.  “‘Stodgy’?  That’s the latest?”

Megren giggles.

Tyren lifts a brow. “Is that the question I’m supposed to answer?” He smirks faintly as he says, “Truth be told, that’s a rather tame term when it comes to this lot.”

Haft says, “Tell someone who doesn’t know it, Sir.”

Megren asks, “Haft, you want the question on this one, then?”

Haft cants his head to one side.  “Most foolish thing you attempted as a boy.”

Tyren considers this for a moment. “Hm. I’ve half a mind to say ‘hitting a guardsman with a snowball,’ but I wasn’t exactly attempting to do that…”

Haft smirks.

Megren rests her cheek in her hand with interest.

Tyren says, “As far as things I was attempting to do – show the swans who was boss once I had my first practice sword. Suffice it to say the only thing I succeeded in was getting very, very wet. Much to Mother’s displeasure once I came squelching back into the manor.”

Haft asks, “You attempted to take on some innocent birds with your first practice sword?”

Megren covers her mouth.

Tyren says, “They were hardly innocent, although I did learn that it perhaps wasn’t wisest to play judge, jury and executioner without a proper trial.”

Haft laughs.

Tyren says, “Er, ‘executioner’ being used rather loosely, that is. It was more a means of making them think twice. Which… failed miserably.”

Megren giggles. “Good question and good answer, to both of you.” She takes up the die. “My turn?”

Haft nods.

Tyren says, “I believe so, yes.”

Megren rolls a red. She looks up at them. “Who wants to go?”

Tyren glances to Haft. “I’ll admit I’m curious in regard to something, but I wouldn’t deny you a fair shot at retaliation, either.”

Haft leans back, waiting.

Tyren asks, “That answers that, then. What was it that drew you to the Guard in the first place, Megren?”

Megren nods, dropping her hand from her chin. “I grew up with just my da, so I guess you could say it wasn’t very traditional. The usual women’s trades never interested me much: sewing and laundry and all that. But he’s a hunter, and while I loved hunting with him, it was too much of a solitary life for me. Guarding meant a stable job I could use to provide for him as he got older, and people to be around. I guess I’d rather something a little more one-on-one… not that I mind crowds, but I’m so used to knowing someone well that the idea of people thinking they ought to have secrets from you is still strange to me. But when you guard you get to take care of people, so it’s almost like being close to them even if you don’t know them at all.”

Tyren smiles faintly, simply nodding once and letting that serve as his response.

Haft listens to the answer placidly, then reaches for the cube.  He rolls a green and makes a noise of disappointment.

Megren says, “You ask, Sir, since I gave the dare.”

Tyren is quiet for a moment or two, before he settles on, “What’s your best memory of the Guard, would you say?”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Haft looks pleasantly surprised by the question.  “Serving with my father,” he answers.  “We were both in the guard together for a few years.  It was hard in one way, because I always knew any little thing I did wrong was bound to get back to him, but in another way it was wonderful.  It’s all I’d wanted to be and all he’d wanted for me, and spending time together in the Practice Room, or the occasional shared shift–that was a treat.”

Megren says, “Good question, Sir.”

Tyren grins a bit. “Lord Dar has taught me a thing or two about the sorts of questions to ask to get to know a man.” He scoops up the die and sends it skittering across the table where it lands on its yellow side. “…I’m beginning to sense a pattern.”

Haft says, “Your turn Megren.”

Megren giggles. “Hmm. What was it that first drew you to Lady Astera?”

Haft cuts his eyes to Megren.

Tyren hehs. “I’m not sure I can pinpoint it to one thing in particular, honestly. Not to mention it was… quite I while before I realized that that was what it /was/, either. But I’d say it was her spirit. Tenacious, but gentle.”

Megren asks, “What do you mean, before you realized that was what it was?”

Haft rests his chin on his hand.

Tyren smirks faintly. “Now that’s a second question, isn’t it?”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him.

Megren takes up the dice anyway and also rolls a yellow. She gives Haft a look. “I swear to you, Sir Darrin has done some trick to these.”

Tyren says, “I wouldn’t put it past my cousin. But as I’ve had my question already, I believe it’s your turn, Haft.”

Haft strokes his beard.  “Hmm, what mysterious things do I not know about you…favorite song.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him. “Favorite song? Um… There’s that one about the goat and the hen that get up to mischief.”

Tyren chuckles. “Why does that not surprise me?”

“I can’t imagine,” Haft says dryly, reaching for the cube.  He rolls blue.

Haft considers for a moment.  “My dare.” Ho looks Megren up and down.  “Me being a merciful sort, I’ll give you a choice.  You can stand on a table and sing the song about the goat and the hen, or you can act out a bit of it for us.”

Megren opens her mouth in mock surprise that he would choose her. “Oh, very well.” She pulls herself up onto the table and sings admirably, adding in gestures as appropriate. She carries the tune surprisingly well, in an unassuming mezzo-soprano.

Tyren applauds along with a couple others present, leaning over to Haft and saying, “Are you surprised she opted for ‘both?'”

Haft chuckles, clapping.  “Not especially.  Didn’t know her voice was so good though.”

Megren hops down. “Lord Dar and Sir Darrin will be angry with you for that. They wanted to be the first to hear it and I said no.”

Tyren rolls the die again as he says, “Now you know who to ask for entertainment on those exceptionally boring watches.” The die lands on white, and Tyren’s brow lifts faintly. “Well, that was bound to happen sooner or later.”

Haft says, “Oh sure, now you tell me I’m likely to annoy the Steward.  Mighta mentioned that before.”

Megren asks, “Haft?”

Haft raises his hands.  “Oh no.  I’m already in trouble with Lord Dar. You can get in trouble with Sir Tyren.”

Tyren glances to Haft, the corner of his mouth twitching faintly – perhaps in amusement? Too vague to tell. “And thus, my lack of mercy brings about like, I suppose.”

Haft smiles.  “Something like that, Sir.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren giggles. “Fair enough.” She narrows her eyes at him thoughtfully, and then says, “Turn your shirt inside out and backward and wear it that way for the rest of the night.”

Tyren blinks. “I… don’t truly know what I was expecting, I suppose, but… that was not it.”

Megren grins cheekily.

Haft sits backs to see what the knight will do.

Tyren shrugs a shoulder. “Well, there’s worse questions I’ve had to answer when I made my way home at the end of the day.” With that, he removes his shirt, makes a show of turning it inside out and the wrong way round, and having demonstrated it now abides by the terms, tugs it back on.

Megren covers her mouth to (poorly) hide her amusement.

Haft asks, “Very fashionable, Sir.  Do you suppose it will catch on?”

Tyren says, “Possible. Chesterton has been known to set fashion trends, after all. Though to hear Mother tell it, I am likely the last one of the family to do so.”

Megren takes up her die and rolls another red. She makes a face at the die and flicks it dismissively.

Haft says, “Your turn to ask, Sir.”

Tyren says, “Variation on one you asked me earlier. What is your favorite spot in the castle – or the surrounding area, I suppose.”

Megren exclaims, “Oh! Well. Hmmm.” She pauses, then confides, “Sometimes I like to go to the southern parapet if I want to be alone. Don’t give it away, though. I’ve only ever seen Sir Darrin and Cantil up there. I’m sure most people have one. I don’t know if it’s my /favorite/ place exactly, but it kind of feels like my place some how.”

Tyren says, “Can relate to that one. Used to spend a decent amount of time up there myself, though I’ve… found other spots in more recent days. Secret’s safe with me.”

Haft reaches for the die, rolling purple.  “All right,” he says, “I asked you about the worst thing you ever tried.  Tell us one of the best…something you did as a lad, mind.”

Megren nods in approval of this question.

It’s several moments before Tyren speaks, in which he shifts in his chair a couple times. “Well, I recall bumping into a boy about my own age, once… rather literally, wasn’t exactly watching where I was going. He was… pretty shabby looking, really. Thin. Ragged. He just… darted back off after he muttered an apology. Struck me that he was barefoot, for some reason. And, well, I had an extra pair of boots to spare, so the next day I got those and a couple rolls from the kitchen and went looking for him. Took a while, but I did eventually. Told him he hadn’t needed to apologize, and he looked like he could use a few things, and… well, he didn’t say much, but I still haven’t forgotten that look on his face. No idea what happened to him afterward either, I don’t recall seeing him again, but… well, there you are.”

Haft nods.  “It was well done.”  He passes the die to Tyren.

Megren also nods, growing a little quieter than is her wont.

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Tyren hehs as he takes the die. “It seemed the thing to do, at least.” The die falls on its green side. “Well, I asked him the last question…

Haft looks to Megren.

Megren chews her thumbnail. “Tell us the best thing you’ve ever seen while guarding.”

Haft frowns in thought.  “I’m not sure…seeing Cor–Prince Cor” he corrects himself quickly, “–returned is a glorious thing, and I think so every time I see him.  But…I remember standing guard outside the nursery and watching the queen’s joy at her children.  That was a precious thing.”

Megren nods, not looking surprised.

Tyren says, “Both very fine things indeed,” as he passes the die to Megren.

Megren rolls another yellow as she says, “Last round?”

Haft says, “Very well.”

Tyren simply inclines his head, then glances Haft’s direction and gestures.

Haft asks, “Hmm.  If you could have any sort of pet, expensive or fantastic or otherwise, what would it be?”

Megren says without hesitation. “Dragon.”

Tyren says, “I can only imagine the sort of shelter you’d have to make for it. Not only would it have to be fireproof, it’d have to be fairly impregnable due to all the knights intent on coming to slay it, once they got wind of it.”

Megren shakes her head. “I’d teach it to roast boars and toast cheese and help the knights with swift travel.”

Haft says, “Unless she were looking to marry well, in which case tempting a knight to rescue her might have its advantages…but I can’t quite see Megren as the damsel in distress.”

Tyren says, “Nor I. Although it would be an effective way of weeding through suitors.”

Haft chuckles.

Megren throws her head back and laughs. “I could set the dragon to picking off all the ones who tried to kill it and the ones who were clever enough to play nice would get a chance.”

Haft takes up the die, rolling yellow.

Tyren asks, “I suppose that’s my turn ask, then… let’s see. Suppose it’s a slight variant on something we’ve discussed before, but I’ll ask it anyway. Which of the Talking Beasts you met do you feel you got on best with?”

Megren looks at Haft, pressing her lips against her knuckles attentively.

Haft scratches the back of his neck.  “Huh.  I really…didn’t spend much time with other Creatures in Narnia.  Stayed mostly to myself.  In a general way I could tell you a few I didn’t care for much.  As for agreeable ones…” he seems to be wracking his brain, “I suppose I never met a disagreeable Hedgehog.”

Tyren tilts his head a degree. “Huh. Never got the opportunity to meet one myself, but I shall have to bear that in mind should I get the chance.” He rolls the die as he speaks, which shows purple.

Haft says, “Not that I had any friends among them, and some are easily distracted.  But they’re easygoing and not quick to take offense, even when offense is given.  Maybe they don’t mind prickles so much since they’ve got a few of their own.”

Megren says, “Sounds like my kind of person.” She watches the die roll. “Hmmm. About time for my follow-up on that first question, I think. What did you mean by “knew that’s what it was?”

Tyren smirks faintly. “Had a feeling that’s what it was going to be. Well, you asked me what it was that first drew me to Astera – took me a while to figure out that I /was/ being drawn to her. Longer to put a name to the feeling proper. Worked out in the end, though.”

Megren motions with her hand for him to elaborate.

Haft listens.

Tyren lifts a shoulder in a half-shrug. “Not sure what more there is to say, really. She spent some time in Narnia, and as it’s said, absence made the heart fonder. It was upon her return that I realized what it was, and… well. I think it’s fairly public knowledge what that ended up leading to.” He grins. “Not the easiest path – far from it – but well worth every bump and rough patch.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren’s brows peak. She seems to draw some kind of private thoughts from this, and then she quickly smiles, nodding her satisfaction.

Haft rises.  “A good story, Sir.  For myself, I must be off.  I have duty in an hour and an errand before.”

Tyren nods, and stands himself. “As I should likely be retiring myself. Not in the least because I expect it will take some time to explain why I’m currently wearing my shirt the wrong way round.”

Megren looks up. “Oh, have a good shift, Haft.” She stands up when Sir Tyren rises, bowing to him. She grins when he makes comment on his attire. “Hope that goes well for you, Sir.”

Tyren says, “We shall find out, won’t we? A good eve to you both.”

Haft bows.  “We look forward to hearing the account.”  He turns and heads from the room.

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