Rappan Athuk

23 Firewane 947 (4)
Banth's Lair & the Wight Catacombs

Bravely heading into the dark room before them, the party proceeded and could see vaguely humanoid shapes milling around in the shadows of great pillars supporting the ceiling. Sending gargoyles forth, Neep learned these were zombies of some kind, cleverly outfitted with ancient rusting plate mail. Such defenses held up to the party’s assault, but they overwhelmed the undead.

The party also charmed a fiery creature that appeared as a column of flame. When Souka Yant overwhelmed its will, it did her bidding, though it could not communicate with her, only follow her instructions and gesture. Yet it proved helpful, able to burn many things to a crisp with very little effort.

Some creature that ultimately slammed a door on the combat and magicked it shut, turned two members of the party into white mice before it made itself scarce. Even after the party rested for many hours, Neep and Aminatu remained white mice with limited means of communication, though the party could see their former intelligences behind their eyes.

Their leader apparently gone, but the plated zombies dispatched, the party found they could not open the door through which the magic-user made their escape. The room they were in also contained a pit from which hot air emanated, reminding Athalis of the hot pools in the portcullis room down the ramp.

Since they didn’t feel like hauling rusted plate mail out of Rappan Athuk just yet, the party made for the frost-rimed double doors to the north. Their fiery companion made quick work of this door, and Souka Yant was very encouraging of it. However, the icy cold room beyond seemed vast and empty. The creature moved about the room, nothing happened, and no on dared venture in themselves, though there was a door far on the south side of the room.

So back to the portcullis room they went, and considered taking the stairs down. On second thought, they should rest before daring the greater depths of the dungeon. So they headed back to the room with the deep pit to set up camp. En route they were waylaid by a squad of undead whose attacks burned and permanently crippled or caused their minds to recoil in psychically damaging ways.

Finally though, the party sealed itself into the deep pit room and managed to rest for 16 hours or more, regaining their strength, but not their mousy companions.

Delve 16

23 Firewane 947 (3)
Banth's Lair & the Wight Catacombs

After burning their way into the hive of a swarm of giant bees the size of terriers, as expected the bees attacked the party. Many gargoyles were slain on the front line and Barak had a close call, but the party was victorious over two dozen bees. After slaying the lot, the honeycombs of golden honey and the hive itself were left alone. Behind the massive hive looked to be an exit passage, albeit a narrow one better suited to halflings than humans. Noted for future, the party instead continued up the ramp to the south, to follow the invisible wizard….

Delve 16

23 Firewane 947 (2)
Banth's Lair & the Wight Catacombs

A secret door that apparently pivoted around an axis was clearly indicated, but the gargoyles’ pressing on it would not make it shift. For now, the secret door would wait, as Badda had plans for the many sarcophagi she could see in the great room beyond. Neep helped by commanding his gargoyles to open the sarcophagus lids one by one, hoping to find some lost treasures hidden inside. Athalis went on room exploration detail, as this massive burial chamber must hide a secret or two.

Hank and Wesley helped keep watch as one lid after another crashed to the floor, and Badda would grunt noncommittally as he found another centuries-old body interred within that had no burial money! As he was on to his fifth sarcophagus, Souka Yant heard metal on stone grind behind her, making her start as she saw a massive humanoid shape lumber into the hallway only a few feet behind her! This stitched-together monstrosity raged as it saw her and rushed in pummeling her with its massive fists. She was dead in an instant, and Neep sent his gargoyles in for the kill while he tried to lay his mitts on Souka Yant’s spellbook. Barak moved in quickly though, and his laying on hands caused Souka’s crushed skull and chest to reform to near-original state, and she gasped a breath of air in the next moment.

The party took down the magical creature Badda called a “golem” through all means they had available, a spell of flames finally causing the creature to incinerate and fall. As the smoke cleared, Aminatu peered down the newfound hallway beyond the pivoting door, she saw a human female blink out of existence. The savvy party discerned this must be an invisibility spell, and they even thought they heard footsteps up the hallway, so they proceeded most cautiously. After moving some way up the gently sloping passage, Badda abruptly gave up, remembering there were tombs to loot.

So while she went back and Neep ordered his gargoyles to assist, they ransacked nearly 30 sarcophagi, none of which held a thing of value. Neep decided the skulls of the dead they found would make a worthy trophy, so he gathered up quite a few into a large sack for later.

Only two doors left the huge quiet internment chamber, one being double doors rimed with frost, the other more normal a simply iron-bound. The simpler door led to a series of rooms where the gargoyles led the way, one room after another opening the doors and being the first in to set of traps. All until after the party moved through yet another dusty room, for no clear reason, Badda decided to speed things up by taking over on point. As she brashly opened the door and walked into the next room, a massive colony of stank green slime dropped from the ceiling, covering Badda entirely. Her screams echoed down through the dusty rooms, and as she ran back to the party for help, they backed away from her, knowing that to touch her was to invite the slime to migrate to themselves. After a few seconds the screaming stopped, the party cringing in horror, at the same time warry of the noise alerting local denizens. A moment later there was nothing left of their former companion but her magical elven dagger.

This way led to nothing, so the party backtracked to the frost-ridden doors. Wafts of cold air came from under the doors, icy-cold handles appearing the means to open them. Barak tried twice to beg Yddgrrl to protect him from the cold, but the world tree’s aid did not come, so the party went back to the pivoting secret door they’d spiked open.

Proceeding cautiously up the sloping hallway, gargoyles leading the way, but now without Badda’s buoyant presence, Athalis’ sharp senses made the party pull up short. A faint buzzing and a draft only he could feel told him of a door on the western wall. A special brick nearby caused the door to recede into the wall, creating a stir of old stale air blowing up from a deep hole in the center of the room beyond. The buzzing clearly came from a collapsed corner of the room that led to a rough tunnel. Beyond was a papery semi-transparent wall covering the entire corridor. Summoning his flaming hands, Neep caused the papery wall to start burning and the buzzing grew a little louder still…

Delve 16

23 Firewane 947
Banth's Lair & the Wight Catacombs

Neep literally got carried away on the wings of his gargoyle pets, while Souka Yant watched in utter annoyance. The halfling would be useless, so she’d have to do everything herself again. Pulling up her britches, she lofted a door-opening spell she’d used before at the huge steel doors. Two full breaths of knocking and clicking ceased with a final thunk, and she declared the door open by her spell.

The party rushed through to get to the trapdoor before the floor started rising significantly. The last of them was descending the secret ladder before the floor had gone more than two feet. A month since they’d been here last, they were wary of new denizens, but none were to be found, save a pair of cave crawlers that nearly slew Souka Yant (if it hadn’t been for Kati) and claimed the life of Gosu the Well-Paid Ne’er-Gigolo Torchbearer.

Two hours of careful retracing of the upper levels and managing a great dirt slide put them outside the temple of Orcus they’d overturned. Barak had a mission to deposit a heavy leather-wrapped package into the lava. Distant thunder and an inexplicable darkening followed, which passed slowly.

Taking the only door out of the temple, they found stairs that wound down into the darkness. As they descended it got colder, enough that everyone could see their own breathing. Thankfully it was dry, but also there was a strange acrid and musty smell that reminded vaguely of the aromas coming from Ulman Dark’s abode. The room they found themselves in seemed to be large and full of stone coffins going on into the darkness.

Keeli aimed her evil detection spell in an arc around the room and spotted three evil sources. She alerted the party to them, and the whole lot jumped as coffin lids were thrown aside and wild howls echoed suddenly throughout the hall. Evil humanoid creatures that looked bereft of skin and having long black claws rushed toward them, seeking to scratch icy fingers across human flesh. When they succeeded the effect was awful. Boiling lesions appeared at wound sites. Worse, the creatures’ seeming conduit with realms of decay caused the affected to lose parts of themselves forever.

The undead did not die easily, and Souka Yant summoned her mightiest magic missile yet at great personal cost of the little life force she had. Four of them exploded in cold gibbets, mostly at range, though Aminatu got a face-full of undead. These horrific creatures seemed to keep no treasure, and finding no secret doors, in the room, the party egressed.

Keeli found it immediately apparent on the south wall outside the chamber of coffins, a steel door camouflaged to seem like the surrounding stone. It wasn’t trapped, so she wasn’t sure why her spell was informing her of the secret door’s presence. The spell gave no hint how the door opened, though…

Delve 16

19 Firewane to 23 Firewane 947

19 Firewane 77F, no wind, cloudy, drizzle
20 Firewane 78F, light wind, cloudy
21 Firewane 73F, moderate breeze, few clouds
22 Firewane 74F, clear, gentle breeze
23 Firewane 73F, clear, fresh gale (30mph)


A month passed since they last ventured away from town. Recovery of health and the need to cash in on their plundering of the Upper Temple took them away from returning to Rappan Athuk.

But of course, return they did when the time was right. The adventure started quietly, no wind at all and a light drizzle that didn’t let up for a day. The overland journey was quiet too until they reached the Sinnar Ocean. Not far from where they’d seen ocean-faring brigands in the past, they detected the presence of ne’er-do-wells by their cooking smells. Badda Gruk sneaked through the tall grass to get the drop on them, but they didn’t seem to have much worth taking, and they noticed her first.

The party decided to leave this lot alone after the neutral encounter, but the next dawn that group and a half dozen others tried to surround the party while they slept. Neep was on guard and sharp as could be when he saw grasses moving unnaturally in the predawn light. He tried casting a spell while Kati woke the party, but it failed to go off. However, the party’s preparedness and apparent ability to weave magic caused half the attackers to back away immediately. The rest fled after Kati clove two into four and the rest of the band started getting their gamefaces on.

The rest of the journey to Rappan Athuk’s mausoleum was uneventful. As they turned inland to make for the sunken graveyard, they reviewed their known options with their newfound allies Hank, Wesley, and Rupert. A massive statue of a dwarf stood in the center, a plaque at its feet. Several ratholes burrowed into the earth among hundreds of gravestones that hung together in clumps. The smaller east and west mausoleums were still open, having been broken into some months back. The main southern one though was back in its complete and pristine condition: 8 green gargoyles and massive steel double doors with an impossible-looking lock.

Neep demonstrated what he learned from watching Souka Yant and charmed nearly the lot of them. He ordered the seven he controlled to destroy the one remaining, and with hardly lifting a finger, the party regained control of the exterior of the mausoleum. Now if only they could bypass those huge steel doors…

Delve 16

19 Firemoot to 18 Firewane
Upper Temple of Orcus, Zelkor's Ferry, and Eastwych

The party wasted no time in gathering what they could from the chaotic enclave of clerics, hundreds of pounds of chain mail armor and a sackful of gold holy symbols and altar settings devoted to Orcus. Souca Yant sent her babies to collect the giant fire opal eyes, and after an hour of clawing and scrabbling, they were able to pull them free.

The day-long reset on the trap that guards the above-ground mausoleum had not completed, so the party holed up in a room near the ladder that would eventually clear to lead them out. During the wait, a clear gelatinous blob took Souca’s gargoyles by surprise, but the party overcame the common creature before it could do any serious harm. Finally, the hours passed, and they heard the trapfloor reset, and Souca felt well enough to move again.

As they finally escaped, the sun was only just up judging from the half-light in the sunken cemetery in which the great mausoleum lay. The rain that afternoon as they reached the ocean was the last bad weather they saw those four warm days of Firemoot.

Feeling somewhat recovered on the trek back to Zelkor’s Ferry, Souca had a nearly fatal experience as she cracked the Tome of Ineffable Foulness they had discovered, a leather-bound tome that forebode evil from the runes on its cover. Shocks of chaos energy coursed through her, knocking her hard to the ground. If not for her allies to recover her from the system shock, she’d have died. Later, they thought to try to sell it to Ulman Dark, the “necromancer” of Zelkor’s Ferry, and while they could see an inkling of interest, he declined to buy it. So they burned the thing in the fire at the inn.

They sold a half-ton of arms and armor and melted-down gold formerly purposed to the worship of Orcus. Big Morgan had been working with them a while now, and they worked out a good deal for the arms, and Kelgor didn’t see that the old use of metal had any bearing on its new use and happily melted the gold down. Couldn’t help with gems like those fire opals though, unless the party would take a fraction of their worth for one.

So they waited a tenday for all members to fully regain their health, and then the party undertook a fortnight’s journey to Eastwych to find a buyer for the pair of gems. In the big city, it was still hard to find a fair price, but in the end they were pleased at the trade.

In the meantime, a few partiers went out on the town and had a good old time! Souca stood up for herself in a barfight, which could have turned out much worse, and Aminatu threw a wad away on games of chance. Wesley got really drunk and proudly boasted how he’d slay every Orcus he found in Rappan Athuk. This boast was met with much good natured guffawing, but Wesley really means it.

Delve 15

19 Firemoot 945 (2)
Morning, underground, Upper Temple of Orcus

Grumbly the Dwarf had been working up a lather in his beard as he approached this area. No one knew for sure what it was about, but Dwerfater was channeling through him in some way, and as the party found the massive double doors that would lead to the Upper Temple of Orcus, he stated, “We are here.”

No one knew what that meant, that crazy dwarf always going on about something or other, so Souka Yant cast an opening spell to handle the door at a distance after Badda claimed a magical trap lay at the doors threshold. The vision in the room beyond caused all to forget Badda’s warning: nearly a score of chaos-priests seemed to be preparing for their arrival! Their leader called out and cast a spell on the front of the party, who immediately felt a bit out of sorts.

Many charged in, seeing spellcasters everywhere, fearing being demolished at range before getting a chance to respond. Souka’s gargoyles crushed several priests before being overtaken by a flying demon enveloped in a cloud of inky blackness. The cries from the demon-thing and the gargoyles was suddenly cut off for all standing in the hallway as another spell created an impenetrable zone of silence.

Athalis stepped to and cast a spell causing the leader and a few of his cronies to fall into a magical slumber from which they’d not awaken for nearly a week! The tide of battle seeming turned, the party surged in and began slaying chaos clerics of Orcus. Souka’s magic missiles struck down the demon-thing with the sphere of darkness, and Athalis let loose with another magical slumbering spell. The few still awake or alive, surrendered before they were swiftly murdered.

As the party moved to tie up the prisoners, Badda sprinted to where the leader lay asleep and slit his throat. She could see there was plate mail beneath his priestly vestments, more appealing even than the gold holy symbol around his neck. She started unfastening the mail as the party did the same to the lesser priests, scavenging every scrap they can.

As the party collected their seemingly-easily-won loot from this unholy temple, from the shadows came a scratchy whisper of a spell being cast by a form which turned out to be a black-mist-enshrouded female form clad in ghostly plate, who seemed to float silently an inch off the floor. The magic she threw caused half the party to hear clanging bells and alarms, sending some to wander off into the darkness and others to attack their allies!

After Wesley punched Souka Yant in the head, she cast a spell that duplicated her image. Now two Souka Yants winked at Gosu as he haplessly held the torches for everyone to see by. Squib was stabbed before anyone knew what was going on, and Grumbly was running for the door. The ghostly creature nearly slew Badda, sucking his life essence from him with only touch, leaving him permanently weakened.

Mortal weapons had no effect on this undead female warrior-mage that stood before them. Hank’s and Aminatu’s striking it was harmless as spearing smoke, yet her fierce retorts felt most solid. Kati felt her chill grasp through armor and flesh and bone, staggering her mortal being. Only magical weapons would make contact, Kati and Barak discovered, and in a daring finale Aminatu snatched up the unconscious Badda’s elven dagger, ram it home in the warrior-mage’s face.

Finally it seemed quiet. The 40’-foot tall statue of Orcus peered down at them through massive fire opal eyes. Badda peered back with his prybar in hand…

Delve 15

19 Firemoot 945
Morning, underground, Marthek's Place and deeper

The four new reluctant additions the party stood guard the whole night, since they couldn’t sleep anyway. Neep and Kit kept them company, chewing on iron rations through the night. The spellcasters grumpily demanded to be left to sleep in this dank place, but it was not to be. Somewhere in the wee hours the spiked-shut door’s handle rattled. The peasants immediately moved as far from the door as possible. The handle jostling got louder and eventually rose to a banging. Everyone hoped Souka Yant and Kati and the rest wouldn’t awaken at the noise, but they did, quite grumpily.

Another of those horrifying black skeletons was trying to claw its way in, and the party set up to take it out quickly. Souka Yant’s gargoyles caused the most damage, but Squib launched the felling blow with a dart to one of its glowing red eyes.

No one having a good night’s sleep, and no spellcasters recovering their energies, the party slogged out to the east, according to their recollection of Athalis’s directions. They found the steep dirt slide down and fashioned extra-long ropes to make the descent controlled, Neep and Kit leading the way. After nearly two hours of labor, the entire party arrived in a tight dirt tunnel 5 feet in diameter at most, which glowed a faint green at the far end.

Cautiously at first, they proceeded into a large cavernous chamber, in which grew a strange glowing green fungus. It did not seem to cause any harm, so Neep dragged Gosu around for light as he explored, leaving the rest of the party to watch as their light threw weird shadows behind stalagmites across 60 feet of dirt cave. Initial exploration complete, a “blurpy-sounding” tunnel was investigated. An oily-smelling room with iridescent liquid lay at the end of a three-foot wide tunnel and was quickly rejected as the way forward.

Neep suggested going “this-a-way” which turned out to be a route to a carved stone corridor. Brushing the dirt off themselves, a dozen surface-dwellers felt a wave of evil wash over them. It had been building – ever since they entered hundreds of feet above – but here there was a palpable malevolence that everyone felt down their backs.

Quietly as they could, the party explored a huge oddly-shaped room that had but one door at the far end. Nothing much turned up, they proceeded through the door and found a tunnel that led to a well-kept abode. Six beds, evenly spaced, a large chest at the foot of each, Badda leapt at the first one to see how it opened, as the party spread into the room. Flipping the latch caused a cloud of noxious green gas to blast out! Those who breathed it succumbed to the poison, but only Irwin was unable to be attended by a laying on of hands. Amazingly, nothing but robes, cloaks and kris knives lay within.

Throwing a look at Badda, Souka Yant determined none of it was magical, but “that’n over there”, pointing at one of the other chests, had something magic inside as well as something magical in the locking mechanism. Badda maneuvered the chest so he could hopefully pull open the lid from a distance, using a length of rope on a freed latch. Through an amazing feat of agility requiring perfect balance he led the rope across the room and pulled, releasing a detonation of cold!

Everything in the room was covered in an inch of frost, but all lives were safe within the entryway. Badda rushed in to see what Souka detected, and he triumphantly held up a dark-blue leather tome with evil-looking silver glyphs welded on the front. The helm of language comprehension yielded no meaning from them. Thassiodon packed the book away for safekeeping.

No one dared to try another chest, so they went to the only door in the east wall. Iron-bound and well-maintained, unlike most of the doors they’d seen above, Aminatu approached to listen. Cautious though she was, merely touching the door caused a magical concussion to slam through the air. Souka Yant could see it coming as a glowing wave with her magical detection spell, and as it washed over the party, several minds suddenly went dumb, turning witty companions into village idiots.

What lay beyond must be important indeed to have such barriers! Throwing open the doors, they found a short hallway that led to a monstrous pair of doors…

Delve 15

A Dangerous Spell!
Atropos Blade

Having learned the spell called Atropos Blade, a power given by The Three Fates to their servants in need of magical enchantment to make their swords quite formidable, Athalis has learned that calling on this ‘gift’ comes at great cost. Someone known to him will die, their life force pulled into the blade and expended as they cry out their last breath into his mind.

But who is taken when he uses this dread power? The elven wizard has a living past after all, for nobody’s life story is forged in the middle, with no beginning. And Athalis has a family that includes parents and siblings, aunts and cousins, even grandparents and great uncles that are long-lived like any elf. As well he has a work life that he left behind to become an adventurer. He began as an apprentice to a well-known artisan after finishing his basic schooling – just as many young elves do. After a time, he made his own business, having a strong fascination with ancient cultures and artwork, restoring artifacts to new condition while maintaining their historic integrity. He had a few regular clients that would bring him such trinkets either to sell or pay for his fine work in restoring the item for their own private collection.

It was one of these pieces in fact, brought to him by a smuggler he worked with many times, that led him to seek Rappan Athuk. For the ancient statue depicting three women that he was given to restore reached out to him with its magic, sending visions and promises of great power waiting to be found. Perhaps it was his elvish blood, sensitive to magic such as this, that allowed to him see such visions. Or perhaps it was merely a whim of The Three Fates. Regardless, Athalis set foot upon that path and now he holds the fate of his family, old friends and new acquaintances in his hand. And The Three Fates smile as the names are writ upon the material they weave like a list, each with a thread that can and will be cut every time Athalis asks them for the power of the Atropos Blade…

Roll a d70 when spell is successfully cast to determine the fate of a known acquaintance!!

1 – Father
2 – Mother
3 – Younger Sister
4 – Older Sister
5 – Brother-in-law
6 – Nephew
7 – Niece
8 – Cousin
9 – Younger Brother
10 – Sister-in-law
11 – Niece
12 – Grandfather (Maternal)
13 – Grandfather (Paternal)
14 – Grandmother (Paternal)
15 – Party Member
16 – Uncle (Paternal)
17 – AuntDEAD
18 – Cousin
19 – Cousin
20 – Uncle (Paternal)
21 – Aunt
22 – Cousin
23 – Uncle (Maternal)
24 – Great Aunt (Paternal)
25 – Great Uncle
26 – Great Aunt (Maternal)
27 – Childhood EnemyDEAD
28 – Childhood Friend
29 – Childhood Friend
30 – Childhood Best Friend
31 – Childhood Best Friend’s Mother
32 – Childhood Best Friend’s Father
33 – Childhood Best Friend’s Sister (had a crush on her…)
34 – Childhood Favorite Teacher
35 – Childhood Least Favorite Teacher
36 – Apprenticeship Master
37 – Apprenticeship Master’s Husband
38 – Apprenticeship Master’s Daughter
39 – Fellow Apprentice
40 – Fellow Apprentice’s Husband
41 – Fellow Apprentice’s Elder Son
42 – Fellow Apprentice’s Younger Son
43 – Ex-girlfriend (left on good terms)
44 – Ex-girlfriend (left on bad terms… see affair below…)
45 – Artisan Shop Landlord
46 – Residential Landlord
47 – Former Roommate
48 – Former Roommate (such an asshole…)
49 – Bartender
50 – Adult Friend
51 – Adult Friend
52 – Adult Friend’s Wife (had an affair with her…)
53 – Adult Friend’s Daughter (could be his own daughter?)
54 – Merchant smuggler dealing in ancient artifacts
55 – Regular Client
56 – Regular Client
57 – Regular Client
58 – Weapons Trainer
59 – Kalgor the Gemcutter
60 – Ulman Dark
61 – Rasmus Pye
62 – Meregen Pye
63 – Big Morgan
64 – Odo Bristleback
65 – Favorite Barmaid at Bristleback Inn
66 – Least Favorite Barmaid at Bristleback Inn
67-70 (or rolled a DEAD acquaintance again) – Very casual acquaintance at GM’s pleaseure (maybe someone he met by chance at some point in his past or during the adventure?)

Rolled 17 on 2/12: Aunt Fridi dies. Damn… I really liked the cookies she brought to us every Yuletide.

Rolled 27 on 4/29: Childhood Enemy dies. I always hated that no-good little punk that always pulled down my shorts during gym class…

11 Highsun 945

A week after returning to Zelkor’s Ferry, Grumbly heard the call from Dwerfater that he must come with his companions to a hidden dwarven sacred stone in the woods across the Canyon River. The journey was brief, Grumbly intuitively knowing the way to follow through the forest. Strange dwarven runes were carved into a great rock that jutted from the ground atop the hidden hill, and here Grumbly approached ahead of his companions, Keeli, the worshiper of Cthulhu staying farthest back.

The dwarf kneeled, head bowed, his gray beard sweeping the earth before him, and he communed with Dwerfater. His friends, watching the experience, saw a gray glow slowly emanating from Grumbly as his deity touched him from beyond this plane, and as they watched the glow increased. In a sudden bright gray flash that felt like getting hit by a sandstorm, bathing even Keeli, standing some 40 feet away from the jutting stone, the party sensed a great boon but also a deep compulsion.

The blessing of Dwefater was truly immense, but the accompanying geas was equally so. Within one year, all those present – Grumbly, Beilar Zhen, Sooka Yant, Athalis, Radek Angdur, Baba Zeez, Kit, Kati, Thasaidon, Neep Farrow, Badda Gruk, Keeli – must cleanse the unholy Upper Temple of Orcus in Rappan Athuk.

In exchange, everyone present received sudden deific knowledge of their calling, even Keeli of Cthulhu, Kati the Dervish, and those less even lawfully aligned. 50 XP!

Further, this knowledge included the forgotten or secret locations of powerful items that would be of great utility in this undertaking! Each seemed specifically attuned to the needs of the person, the Dwerfater apparently demonstrating a deep desire to see this mission to fruition.


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