Blood And Iron

Unchecked Aggression ...
Week Two - Gobbers, Boggers and Battle

Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu), Mark R (Cedric Dickory), Dan (Jace Korsus) and Jordy (Alexey Garilov)

It had been a little over ten days since Cedric had set off from Llael, leaving the rest of the Broken Thorn Mercenary Company the the hands of Arnoi, a young Steelhead captain. two days ago he’s met up with the rest of the advance party at their current home, Olegs Trading Post. And now he was currently standing outside of a huge tree in the middle of the Greenbelt, whilst his illustrious companions cleared out what they had discovered to be a gobber lair. The whole incident started innocently enough – They found a crack in the enormous redwoods base and inside discovered some chambers dug out from the earth. One of the little blighters had popped out from behind what could only be described as a dung heap, and the foreign fellow, the one called Popon, took it upon himself to attack the gobber and remove him from the mortal coil. Once that course of action had been taken, the rest of the primitive tribe had took up arms against them and the rest was history. He had protested the whole incident as a cultural misunderstanding – It was obvious that Popon had no idea that gobbers were treated with a mediocre of respect in the civilized world, and was probably acting on instinct. Still, Cedric saw no reason he should get involved in the senseless violence; he was a junior member of the Golden Crucible, not some brutish thug for hire.

He turned the page of his journal as Jace Korvus made his way out of the hollow, brushing himself down.

“Before you ask Ced, no they’re not done. They’re going to double back down the left hand passage and make sure none of them are hiding there.”

“And you’re not with them because…?”

“Because there’s no money in it. It’s obviously just a primitive tribe, if they have more than a hundred crowns of gear between them I’ll be shocked. No, definitely no reason to be underground senselessly killing the locals if there’s not a profit to be made.”

Cedric nodded. He wasn’t at all surprising to find Jace out here. He’d known him for over a year now, and he wasn’t as heartless as he made out. He was however exactly as profit-driven as he made out.

“Surely this is miles away from where you wanted to be anyway Ced. You’re one for the lay-lines and all that mystical mumbo right?”

“Less mystical and more science Jace. We proved Cyriss existed long ago, but only now can we even begin to figure out the impact her celestial machinations have on our world.”

“I’d be careful who you hear saying that fella” Jace nodded with a smile. He was of course referring to the incident that resulted in Cedrics expulsion from the Fraternal Order of Wizardry a few years ago, when he vehemently argued the point that the Cyrissians temple was not “just a building” but a specifically chosen location that would allow complex patterns in the world to be exploited. He had no solid evidence of this except for his own divination’s and half-drawn theories, and so had been kicked out of the organisation. The only good thing about the whole affair was that the secrecy that surrounds the Brotherhood meant the Crucible had no idea of his former membership or his removal. Since then, he’d been careful to keep more of himself to himself around his peers.

The sound of battle rose up from the hole in the tree, and Jace gripped his blade.

“Something big is down there, you can see by the way the earth shakes on the edges of the roots there.”

“Go, they might need you. I’ll be right here.” smiled Cedric. Jace nodded, and rushed back into the hollow. It was a few small moments after he’d gone that Cedric caught sight of similar movements on the hillock ahead of him. Something big according to Jace.

“Hold on chap, you never know what the future holds. I mean, not always.”


“In the name of the Creator I declare you abomination!”

The Paladins voice rang out over the battle that had erupted once the party had finally left the tree. A giant centipede, the biggest Cedric had ever seen, lay dead and they assumed that was the end of that. They were wrong, of course.

“Didn’t see this one coming, eh Cedric?” shouted Rufio over the din of the fight. In truth, Cedric didn’t want to correct his ally – He had very much seen the possible outcome of their excursion, although not to this extent. He suspected the hands of fate moved him outside in order to conserve his energy for the battle rather then expend it killing the weak inside the tree. Here, he could do the most good. Holding his hand before him and attuning himself into the force that binds all life, he carefully manipulated the minds of a couple of gobbers rushing towards him, short but sharp blades in their hands. Immediately their eyes glazed over and the dropped to the ground, asleep. It wasn’t much, but at least they’d survive this day. There were only a dozen or so, and their chief, riding on the back of a great spider-like creature, was currently engaged in combat with Popon and their newest ally, a Paladin of the Order of the Wall, named Alexey. He’d been the spiritual leader of the refugees that had made their way to the Greenbelt from the Llaelese-Khadorian border, although Alexey was certainly more Khadorian than Llaelese. He was however and exceptional leader of men, and guided the battle with expert precision.

“Face me abomination and know your doom! The spawn of the Devourer will not triumph this day, for the Creator guides my hand!”

His blade crashed against the chitin hide of the creature, which squealed in pain and turned quickly to face him. The chief barely held on, but managed to jab his own sharp spear towards Popon, who was being slowed by a couple of gobbers striking at him relentlessly. The huge bugs mandibles snapped forward, the venom dripping from its mouth, but Alexey deftly turned the attack away and crashed headlong into the beast, shunting it backwards. It looked briefly startled, if a bug could look startled, Cedric found himself thinking. It was only for a moment however, before Popon took the opportunity to strike true, his own polearm impaling the creature in the side. It screamed in pain briefly before Alexey separated its head from its body. The cheif lasted scant few seconds more without his mount, and quickly died under the attack of both Menites. Popon had been delighted by the arrival of the Paladin as apparently his people had some idea of the Old Faith, although Cedric assumed it to be a largely bastardized version of it seeing as Popon was raised by an abhuman race known as the Efaarit. Still, they worked well in tandem and the Paladin insisted he would accompany the company on its mission in order to protect the faithful. Cedric looked down at the sleeping gobbers, and quickly decided that their deaths weren’t needed this day. He beckoned to Rufio.

“Rufio old bean, help me move these fellows into the tree. Don;t ask why, but I believe this to help us in the future.”

Rufio, who had also absconded from most the violence, agreed and came to give him a hand. No point in telling him that he’d seen no such thing, thought Cedric. If it saved a couple of lives, the lie was worth it. And who knows, he could even be right.


A Days Outing ...
Week Two - Exploration in the Greenbelt Begins

Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu) and Dan (Jace Korsus)

With practiced movements, Jace moved through the undergrowth. It had been only a few days since dispatching the bandits and the Broken Thorn had decided to begin investigating the Greenbelt proper. Whilst most of the party wanted to start small, exploring the more open fields and plains, he had slunk off alone to begin scouting the edges of the wilderness. He always felt more at ease alone anyway, as to avoid the looks others gave him when they thought he wasn’t looking. They didn’t understand his attitude to life, or if they did they certainly didn’t want to confront him on it. Some time ago another hunter had decided to get in Jaces face over his very tharamite attitudes to the world. It didn’t end well for the loud mouth, and since then he had been given an even wider bearth. Many of them were probably very relieved when he left the Hunting Lodge and joined the Broken Thorns. More assumptions of course, that he’d left to avoid the fallout from that encounter, or that he had commited some crime they didn’t yet know and fled the country. It was nothing so sinister; the Broken Thorn simply paid him more.

“Ere grodz, dere’s sum massiv’ wuns ova dis way!”

Jace stopped moving, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He dropped even lower to the ground, and crept further forward to look into the clearing. There were only four of them. Boggers … No, Gobbers. They were bloated from eating their way through the Moon Radishes that filled the glade. Jace had encountered a smaller patch about a hundred yards back and suspected there may be more, but this was immense. Easily enough to live off if someone had the mind to. Or sell, of course. Jace readied a bolt in his crossbow, and took aim.

“I carn Nugz, I carn move. Lets just rest ’ere before we goz home. Da cheef will wanna know where we binz.”

Jace stopped. A chief indicated at least twenty or so gobbers, maybe more. Certainly wild gobbers weren’t renowned for their mathematical skills. The last thing the expedition needed was an army of angry gobbers assaulting them now. He briefly considered tracking them back to their home, but immediately the concept of being caught crossed his mind. No, it would be best to let them go and alert the rest of the party of the find.

They weren’t paying him to die, after all.


Jace was in no mood to join the usual evening festivities that night. The rest of them had arrived back, with their “guide” Popon carrying the head of a gigantic trapdoor spider with him. Apparently, he’d just stepped on the damn things home and it had attacked him, fatally wounding his horse but receiving a vicious slash through the legs for its trouble. When it retreated to its home, that idiot threw fire in the hole to smoke it out, then impalled its face on his polearm. Who knows how much damage he could of caused with that? The eyes and venom glands of the creature were worth a small fortune, but Popon wanted to keep its head as a souvenir. He was just like the fools back at the lodge, obsessed with their trophies and the “memories of the battle”. Scars were memory enough for him. Instinctively his hand reached over to the long scar that ran the length of his right arm. That tatzylwurm had nearly killed him, and its what made him want to hunt in the first place. He didn’t do it for the honour of the hunt, or the thrill of the chase. He did it to prove nothing out was going to kill him. He was the most dangerous thing in the wilderness, not nature. Evolution, pure and simple.

“Hey Jace, you not going to join us? I promise there’s no gobbers here to be worried about!”

Rufio strode over laughing at his own comment, and Jace forced a smile. He’d told them about the glade, and of course their first comment was not congratulations at his discovery, but scorn for not slaying the gobbers and securing the glade in the first place. They were all too quick to act, and it was going to get them all killed he was sure of it. But not him. The Broken Thorn was currently in a state of absent leadership, with Rufio, himself and Cedric currently forming a council of sorts that made decisions. It pained him working with them at times, but if he was to be honest he didn’t dislike any of them. They just didn’t understand the way the world worked the way he did. But then what did he expect from them. Rufio, for all his background and previous life was a devout Morrowan, and he was fairly sure Cedrics faith was in Cyriss as much as it was for anyone. They didn’t understand that true growth and potential came from developing oneself at all cost. They were fine people, but sometimes it was obvious how different they were.

“Not tonight Rufio, I’m going to finish this and then hit the hay. Another long day tomorrow.”

“Sure is. We’ll come with you next time, make sure you’re safe” Rufio chuckled as he left.

Jace nodded and drank deep of his ale, his head filled with thoughts of his future and how he would make it happen.

The Hunt Begins ...
Week Two - Bandits, Brewing & More

Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu) and Dan (Jace Korsus)

The sun began to crest the hills of the Greenbelt, bringing with it a mediocre light that bathed the lands before it. Popon enjoyed watching the sunrise in these lands; certainly more than he did back in Llael. He’d only been there a few weeks after journeying there on his fathers wishes, but already this new way of thinking grated on him. The whole concept of selling yourself to the highest bidder was not in itself unusual to him; he was bought a slave after all. It was more that your loyalty once bought was only as good as the coin. Already the others in his “mercenary group” had spent far too long deciding who they should be supporting in the first place, when the choice was obvious to see. And still, he mused, they picked poorly. Alaina had good intentions, but this land was not hers to have these intentions with. He sighed loudly.

“Something you want to add to this discussion Popon? You’ll be helping to defend this place too I assume?”

Manon’s sharp words snapped Popon out from his short contemplation. She was staring at him, not quite angrily but certainly annoyed. She reminded Popon of the warrior women back home, strong, brave and determined to prove their worth. He looked her up and down; she really was quite beautiful, and-

“Hey, eyes up here. Within the hour, we’re about to be attacked by any number of bandits, and if Jace is right, we could expect Tharn involvement too. You know the area and the type of people around here, what can we expect?”

“Actually, I know more about the desert north of here, my tribe only been in the area once, and even then it about one hundred miles from here.”

“What? Then why are you even .. Oh I don’t even care, you’re still a part of this charter, so what do you think? Rufio’s plan of ambushing them from above the gate, or Jaces plan of surround and conquer?”

“I don’t understand either,” Popon exclaimed, with obvious confusion, “We should stand in the gate and await bandits. Then we beat bandits and they know our names, and never come back.”

Jace almost spat out his drink at this, which in itself bothered Popon; once should never waste good drink after all, “How can that be your plan? We stand there and get run over by who knows how many bandits? What if they have guns? Or bows? Or any kind of ranged offense?”

“Then we stand like warrior and beat them. Is easy.”

The rest of the party stared incredulously as they realised just how serious Popon was.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She had caught sight of the new arrivals earlier that day. Keeping low to the ground, she stalked up to the fort, and effortlessly glided up and over the wall. Landing without a sound, she peered down upon this ‘change of circumstance’. They looked well armed, although unfocused. They argued with the old man, so were either not expected, or not prepared. She considered killing them here, but reconsidered. There was too many, and her sister wasn’t here to help. Better to watch them, see how they change the game. Silently, she moved back over the wall and through the grass.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Popon stood in the stables next to Jace Korvus. Popon looked him down, and realised his disassociation with the party was most prominent with him. He was the very definition of a mercenary, only concerned with money and glory. His loyalty was purely based on the size of his paycheck. Popon shook his head as he thought about how entitled he must be, to put his monetary gain over the worth of other peoples lives, and for a long moment considered his father had made a mistake sending him to join with these people. Or maybe it was his mistake when he chose these mercenaries to join. He had spoke with Rufio, the hero of the people he had heard about, and thought that they would be the most noble warriors he could find. Now, he wondered how wrong he had been.

His breath caught in his throat as he spotted the enemy. Half a dozen bandits had entered the camp, laughing and making crude remarks about their host Svetlana. His hands gripped tight around his weapon as he fought the urge to rush forward and attack, but as instructed he waited for the signal. Manon would shoot the leader of these bandits, and then in the confusion they would rush out and attack. It was a plan that was-


The crack of the musket rang out, and Popon looked in dismay as he realised Manon had missed. Any element of surprised had been lost, and they would quickly need to re-establish some kind of momentum. Roaring the warcry of his people, he rushed out and attacked the nearest bandit. Too slow the bandit realised Popon was upon him, and with a quick flourish he had cut the man from guts to chest, with the quick flick of his polearm taking him to the ground. Even as he went down, Popon spotted the second being attacked by Jace. His great-sword, a huge and heavy weapon in every regards, seemed lighter and swifter than Popon believed possible, as Jace destroyed the bandit with a single sweep of its glittering steel. His body literally tumbled in half to the floor, and Popon was taken aback by the savagery Jace fought with. It reminded him of the stories his father would tell him of the Skorne, and Popon reconsidered his earlier thought. Any man who could fight with such power was perhaps worthy of some measure of respect.

On the right hand flank, Manon and Rufio engaged their quarry at range, in a hail of crossbow bolts and a stead crack of bullets. Rufio had peppered his target, first taking his knee bot before a lethal shot to the throat, whilst Manons second shot proved letheally accurate compared to the first, with a considerable hole forming in the chest of another bandit. Before anyone could react, Jace had slaughtered a second bandit, and only one remained. Even as he turned to run, another bolt from Rufio and a quick sharp blow from Popon took the man down. He was badly injured, but alive … For now. Popon drew his Scimitar to deliver justice to the enemy.

“Wait Popon. He may have important information.”

“Why do we care Manon? He bandit, charter we have says kill bandit. So we kill bandit” Popon stated bluntly as he raised the blade to strike the bandit down.

“This land we soon be a vassal of Llael, and in Llael the man has a right to a trial. If he co-operates then we can-”

“Kill him and claim the 20 crowns we’re owed right? That’s what you’re going to say next right?” stated Jace. Popon might not like the reasoning, but agreed with the sentiment. “He’s a criminal, and a dead man. Unless you plan on paying for his release, which would be stupid as I’d just hunt him down again. The man attacked us, the man dies.”

“Agreed,” spoke Rufio, “I’m all for the rights of man, but it’s not like he turned on his would-be allies or anything. The man tried to kill us as much as we tried to kill him. He lost. WHo knows how many others lost to him before we won?”

The argument was not one that would end quickly, but before the night was done, the bandits head was in a bag to be delivered to Ternon Crag.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

They had killed the bandits with lethal efficeny, as she suspected they would. Una signaled to her sister. Usa nodded back. These new players certainly changed the game, and their father would want to know. The bandits themselves were irrelevant, and more could always be found. Their deaths meant nothing, but the fact someone was standing up to them now meant everything. Whether something had to be done or not was not their decision. Quickly, they both left the area, and the party to their own devices.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A Difficult Decision
Week One - The Party Chooses A Sponsor

Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu) and Dan (Jace Korsus)

“I don’t even know why this is a conversation we’re having. Llael needs our support, and we’re going to give it to them.”

The Broken Thorns, one of the many mercenary companies Llael currently employed, rarely agreed on things quickly but this conversation had been raging on for the entire afternoon. Nerves were frayed and tempers flared between the two opposing arguments. Lady Sèverin, noblewoman of Llael and member of the Amethyst Rose, was taking the lead on one side, and Rufio Bateu, Ordic “hero” was leading the other.

“Look Sèverin, I know your loyalty to the crown is all-important to you, but just because you were assigned to us, doesn’t put you in charge! The fact is the Rhullic folks have a better claim to the land then Llael does, and are willing to pay just as much.” argued Rufio bluntly.

“I don’t care about the money, it’s about securing a future for my people. If Alain Di Malayse believes Llael is in danger from Khador then I believe her, and this could be a way to save my people, you have to understand that!”

“I understood everything until you said you don’t care about the money” mumbled Jace.

Manon Sèverin shot him a look, but as he was arguing her point she left it at that. The noblewoman was at her wits end arguing the point with Rufio – She knew full well that his disapproval of would be tyrants and disposers was fueling his argument – The fact that the land to be explored had been dubbed by many the ‘Stolen Land’ didn’t help her cause. She put her head in her hands and sighed.

“Rufio, I get where you’re coming from, I do, but these are my people we’re talking about here. I can’t just turn my back on them because the Dwarves showed you some paperwork about owning the land once.”

“It was theirs Lady Sèverin. It was their land, and now Llael and the rest of the Iron Kingdoms are looking to tear it apart and divide it among themselves like they have that right. Even Popon agrees with me, and he barely speaks our language.”

Popon, an Idrian raised from a young age among the Efaarit, looked up from the bowl of stew he was eating, and wiped his mouth on his sleeve quickly.

“He speaks truth. Dwarves own land, land is dwarves. We give land back to dwarves. Simple.”

Manon screamed through gritted teeth, losing her fair composer for a second before recovering. “I’m sorry, I am but the Dwarves gave up their claim to the land long ago when they abandoned it. We’ve been playing go between the different sponsors now for three weeks – Some of them have already hired other bands and gone on their way. If we don’t make the choice now, we won’t even be an option. We go with Llael.”

“Where is Cedric? Should he not be here for this?” questioned Jace. He was an usually quiet man, but this suited the company well, and his skill with a blade was undeniable. “He is our esteemed academic after all.”

“He’s busy elsewhere,” snapped Rufio “apparently he doesn’t have the time for this. And anyway, he told us to sort it out between ourselves.”

“Only because he knows we’ll make the right decision!” argued Manon, “He’s from Llael too for crying out loud, do you really think he’s going to go against his country and king because some dwarf showed us some old paperwork?”

Rufio stood up and crossed his arms, and Manon Sèverin sighed again. It was going to be a long night.


The journey to the ‘Stolen Lands’ was a quiet one, partly as Sèverin was entirely correct in her assessment that most of the other companies had already left, and partly because the first two weeks involved travelling through the Bloodstone Marches, a desolate desert as soon as you passed the town of Ternon Crag. Still, at least they were in good shape and had finally made the right choice Sèverin thought to herself. And the benefits had already started to pay off – Instead of having to make camp for a few months, or construct a makeshift place to stay, Alain Di Malayse had put her considerable purse-strings to work in acquiring them sole rights to accommodation at Olegs Trading Post. From what the letters said, it was an old fort that had been re-purposed some time ago, and was the last frontier of the Bloodstone Marches. It didn’t get much trade, but apparently it was more to do with the seclusion, and giving brave adventurers from Ternon Crag somewhere to stay before venturing into the wilderness. In any case, beds and clean water easily outweighed any agreement they could of made with the dwarves as far as Sèverin was concerned.

Cresting the hill, they finally saw Olegs in the distance. The families that accompanied the Mercenaries cheered, and Sèverin was glad that they were relieved. They had spent the last couple of days bemoaning the heat, accustomed as they were to the Umbrian winters. Woodsmen and their children, the two families had agreed to make up the Vanguard and help provide what help they could to exploring the lands. Once they were set up, the rest of the village would follow. It made sense to Sèverin, but she could see Popon was struggling with the concept.

“They are all family, they all should come. I don’t understand how you are all so easy to leave each other.” he questioned.

“It’s not a case of leaving, it’s a case of looking ahead Popon. Surely you get that, you’re here and not with your tribe after all.”

“My case is special. I am not Efaarit, I merely serve where my tribe wishes. I am here and they are there. I find it hard without them. To choose to be away, it makes no sense to me” Popon sighed.

Inwardly, a part of Sèverin agreed. She already missed Llael, and although the Llaelese-Umbrians were technically of her homeland, they reminded her little of the life and loves she knew. She took a deep breath and smiled at the man.

“Maybe together they can make a better world and future for their family. Maybe we all can.”

Popon mused on this for a while, but seemed to cheer up a the the idea. By the time they reaches Olegs, he seemed much more understanding of it all.


“So you don’t even know about the bandits? Bloody typical!” yelled Oleg as he stormed off. His wife Svetlana tried to diffuse the situation.

“Oleg, I’m sure even if they don’t know, they can help us, right? We can’t go on losing all our wares and supplies to these thugs, or we’ll end up destitute. If you help, you and your company can stay here as long as you like, free of charge! I’ll throw in two meals a day as well!”

Oleg looked at his wife incredulously, and seemed as though he was going to retort until her sharp gaze gave him cause to reconsider.

“Aye, what she says. Help us and we’ll do what we can fer you and yer crew.”

“What kind of numbers are we looking at? And when?” inquired Jace, his hunters mind already planning as he scanned the fort and its defenses.

“The last time there was 6 of them, and one of the women. They usually arrive the beginning of the month”

“Beginning of the .. That’s tomorrow for Morrows sake!” said Rufio exasperatedly, but Jace was already moving on. “Women? What women?”

“The hunter women. The bandits had tried it on before, but we’d put paid to them. About three months ago though, two women dressed in furs and wooden masks came with them, and told us that ‘The Stag Lord’ ruled these lands now, and we better pay up. Oleg tried to argue, but by the Creator they were fast. No sooner had he reached for his blade than one of them had but a spear through his shoulder. He hasn’t been right since, bless him. We’ve paid them ever since.” cried Svetlana, her voice turning to a whisper.

“Right, we need to figure out who or wha-”

“It’s Tharn.” stated Jace. The others looked at him for an explanation.

“I’ve encountered them before, although not these particular ones. They’re Tharn hunters. Call them Bloodtrackers. If they’re here, then there’s a War-chief here. Probably this Stag Lord. Chances are he’s just cowed the other bandits in the area under him.”

“Is this a problem?” asked Rufio, “as I don’t fancy being eaten anytime soon.”

“Depends. If the Bloodtrackers come tomorrow and we kill them, we’ve attacked him. He’ll retaliate. The bandits though aren’t Tharn. Killing them just proves they’re weak, and we probably won’t get much hassle for our troubles.” spoke Jace.

“So,” spoke Sèverin “whats the plan?”

An Idea Forms ...
... Waiting to be burnt.

Began creation of the Campaign. Players involved are James Taylor playing Manon Sèverin, a Llaelese noblewoman trained as a member of the Amethyst Rose, Mark Robert playing Content Not Found: bear-bearington, a Laelese spellcaster and member of the Golden Crucible, Andy Summerhill playing Popon, an Idrian born fighter raised by the Efaarit and stepped in the sand-peoples culture and history, Mark Delaney playing Rufio Bateu, an Ordic robin hood-esque thief and hero of the common people, and Dan Bowerbank playing Jace Korsus, an Ordic fighter and would-be monster hunter and trapper. Campaign latter added Jordy, playing Alexey Garilov, Khadorian Paladin of the Order of the Wall, follower of the Old Faith.

Campaign will be run using D&D 5th Rules, involving heavy conversion of 3.5 Iron Kingdoms material in order to provide the world for the players to use. Campaign goal is for the material to allow other campaigns to be run in Immoren using the rule-sets works on here.


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