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  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  9 hours ago

    The IC posts over the Crater Lake events for Nature Night are finally finished!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  10 hours ago

    !lol

    It really was something..a bit like a can..that the Sandworms went into !

    Magic and Gnomish Technology to the rescue!

  • Vaedryan
    Vaedryan  11 hours ago

    *chuckles* Love the name of the most recent NN, Scratch!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  17 hours ago

    Nature Night will start in about 2 hours!

    Please join us in the Wild Grove in Grauer Suden.

    I will be IG as Dauken. Feel free to shoot me a tell with any questions. smile

  • AmberOfDzu
    AmberOfDzu  1 day ago

    Hi Scratch!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  2 days ago

    Amber!

  • AmberOfDzu
    AmberOfDzu  2 days ago

    *wave* @Vaerdryan grin

  • Vaedryan
    Vaedryan  3 days ago

    Omg! I spy an Avarith!!! grin

  • Jandari
    Jandari  3 days ago

    DORF night has kicked off with epic bouts of arm wrestling!

  • archgrendel
    archgrendel  3 days ago

    Payne is just jealous wink


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The Island of Thain :: Forums :: In Character Discussion
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Hiding in Plain Sight

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Felix Headwinkle
8:12:41 am GMT 08/24/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
The Kidnapped Woman

The half-orc stood in the dank woods of Poisonwood. He squinted through the green mist, axe in hand, ears perked up for any sound. All was quiet for a time until he heard some twigs snapping and branches being brushed aside. He tightened his grip on his axe and glared at the oncoming sound. Three orcs heavily armored stood before him, they snarled and readjusted their grips on their axes and swords. An uncomfortable pause settled over the three orcs as they stared down the single half-orc. Finally, the half-orc put his axe aside, reached in his pocket and produced a small bag of gold; he tossed it at the feet of the three orcs. The biggest one of the group bent down to pick it up; he weighed it for a moment.

“Dis way,” said the big orc as he gestured for the half-orc to follow. The four made their way to a small orc camp. Despite the confused and angry stares of the meandering orc crowd, the half-orc was safe in the escort of the armored three. Soon they reached a large tent; the biggest escort pulled the entry flap aside gesturing for the half-orc to enter. It was extremely smoky inside, through the haze of grey the half-orc could make out what seemed to be an orcish shaman and another orc with a crossbow watching over slender female’s body as she lay tied and blindfolded on the dirt floor. The half-orc was pushed aside as the three that escorted him entered the tent and pulled the flap shut.


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“Yues,” grunted the big orc that had escorted him. “Like say, she still live. Still goods for many t’ings,” he nudged the half-orc and chuckled.

“Why yous brings outsider here,” demanded the shaman. “We saves her for chief!”

“Da chief ain’t here,” barked the big orc. “Dis MY tent now.” The two orcs glared at each other but the shaman ended up diverting his eyes in submission. The big orc turned his attention to the half-orc outsider, “You bring rest gold?”

“Brings what me promised,” grunted the half-orc. He loosened the pouch of gold from his belt and handed it over. The big orc snatched the pouch and quickly looked inside, satisfied he tossed it to another orc.

“Dat not ‘nough no more. Dat only half what female worth,” the big orc grinned a gnarled toothed grin.

“Dat what we agree, dat what I bring,” snarled the half-orc.

The big orc laughed loudly in the half-orc’s face, “Deal change! Yous come back when yous have more gold.” The orc continued its spit-throwing laughter in the half-orc’s face. In an instant the large armored orc’s laughter turned into a gargled gasp. The other orcs looked on with surprise as their leader shuddered briefly and fell to the floor; the half-orc now standing before them with a blooded axe. They all yelled their war-cries and charged at the half-orc outsider. The half-orc, instead of attacking them, instead swung his axe at one of the torches knocking it at the group. They all staggered in surprise as the flaming embers battered them in their faces, far to distracted to keep track of the half-orc’s axe as it swung into the head of the crossbow wielding orc.

The other two orc escorts didn’t last long against the furious blows of the half-orc’s axe. The shaman grabbed the half-orc from behind working his staff under the half-orc’s neck trying to choke the half-orc.

“Yous dies now! Chief will eats on yous bones,” growled the shaman pulling tighter on the half-orc’s neck. The half-orc gasped and struggled in vain against the shaman’s tight grip.

“Yeah...” grunted the half-orc, “eat…this,” suddenly the half-orc’s body seemed to shudder and blur; the shock of the sudden shaking caused the shaman to lose his grip on his staff. The half-orc gave a mighty push back separating the shaman from his staff and causing the shaman to fall backwards. The orc shaman briefly felt his vision blur from the sudden impact of the dirt floor on his backside. He jumped back to his feet but was shocked again to see that the half-orc had disappeared; a human male now stood in his place. The orc shaman tried to conjure up a spell but the human was already charging him. The shaman’s concentration broke as he realized the human’s scimitar was only inches away from the shaman’s stomach.

“Who…ares…yous,” muttered the orc shaman as a small trail of blood dribbled from the corner of his mouth. His question went unanswered as the human withdrew his scimitar from the orc’s torso; he let the orc’s body fall to the floor limp and lifeless. The human briefly surveyed the carnage before hurrying over to the bound and blindfolded woman’s side.


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“Hey,” said the human male as he pulled off the woman’s blindfold. Her eyes were still shut; the shaman may have been keeping her asleep. He gently rapped her on the side of the face, “Hey, hey. You gotta wake up now. Come on.” The woman’s eyes slowly blinked open, she looked around groggy.

“Wh…ere…am…I,” she groaned weakly pulling on her restrains.

“You were captured by orcs, your friend sent me here to save you,” explained the man as cut off the ropes holding her. “Come on, we have to move now. Can you walk?”

“She sent you? Who…who are you,” asked the woman still trying to make sense of the situation.

“My name is Benny Hammels and we have to get out of here now,” Benny offered his hand to help the woman to her feet. She looked at him doubtfully for a moment before accepting his hand. “Okay, we’re going to have to get out of here fast. Stay close to me.” The woman nodded in compliance. Benny inched over to the tent’s cloth wall and made a small slit in it. He peeked around outside for moment, the orcs were still meandering around the camp. Benny pulled the remaining tent torch from its holder and carefully pushed it through the tent slit. Angling it just right, he managed to toss it at another nearby orc tent. The flames caught fast sending the rest of the camp into a frenzy to try and put the fire out; in their stupidity causing it to spread to some of the other tents. “Now,” ordered Benny as he cut another slit on the opposite side of their tent for them to sneak out while the rest of the camp continued their futile efforts to stop the spreading blaze.

…………………..

“You found her,” cried Linayah hugging her friend tightly. “Everyone said it would be impossible to get her out of there alive. How can I ever thank you?”

“It was the least I could do,” replied Benny with a small smile.


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Benny nodded and left the two friends to their peace.

I guess that went well enough…something to improve on next time…
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Felix Headwinkle
6:02:17 am GMT 08/25/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
Family Tree

“Benny,” shouted Benny’s father calling out to the surrounding tree line. “Benny!”

“I’m coming,” shouted back a young Benny around the age of 15 as he ran through the thick brush of forest. “I’m coming! I’m coming!” He panted and stumbled trying to keep his balance while tripping over unseen logs and catching his feet on dead branches.

“Hurry up son, you’re gonna be late,” lectured the young boys father as he stumbled into the clearing bordering his people’s village. The two hurried to join the crowd slowly making their way into a large wooden stadium. A little ways in the parents and older siblings stopped to give brief advice and hugs to the other 15 year olds that continued into the center of the stadium. “Alright son, now listen closely to what the sage says. Don’t be nervous. Just do your best-“

“Father, I’ll be fine. I promise,” reassured Benny with a boyish smile. His father ruffled his hair and patted him on the shoulder before following the other parents up into the stadium setting. Benny’s smile faded as he continued on with the other worried teenagers finding their setting in the stadium’s center; all gathering around a circular stand made from the stump of a very old and very large tree. The whole stadium was a buzz with the murmurings of the crowd. Suddenly, silence. Benny looked around tensely at what caused the hush in the crowd. He caught sight of someone approaching the stand in the center, an elderly man adored with furs using a wooden staff to steady him. Some of the children bowed their heads as he passed them; others just stared in wide-eyed shock.

Benny didn’t know too much about the village sage but the rumors surrounding him were numerous, though he never believed the majority there were always a few that were frightening if they were true. The sage carefully side-step up the steps carved into the stump stand and stood in the center of the wooden circle. Everyone, Benny included, leaned forward in their seats in anticipation. The sage simply stood leaning on his staff sweeping his eyes over the crowd.

“I see…great potential here today,” croaked the sage, his voice was dry and gravely but seemed to fill the entire stadium. “So many…bright young faces. You all know why you are here today. You are all of age…to begin your own journeys…and to use the gifts…given to our people.” The sage slowly turned getting a good look at all the youngsters surrounding him in their seats. For a moment, Benny had the oddest sense that the sage’s gaze rested on him longer then the others. He could almost see a faint smile through the sage’s bushy beard. “The gifts I speak of…are our ability to become…whatever we wish…like this!” Suddenly tossed his staff aside and crouched down. The old man’s body seemed to blur and shake, in an instant the image of the old sage was replaced with a roaring bear.

The crowd of teenagers collectively gasped and recoiled away from the thrashing beast. Then the bear too shook and blurred as it turned into a giant catlike creature. Again and again the creature on the stand would change into something else before finally becoming the sage again. He groaned as he strolled over to his staff and picked it up again. “The shapeless…is our way. To be everything…and anything, is our way. You all here,” he swept his staff over the crowd of teenagers before pounding his staff on wooden stand, “will learn our way. Your teachings begin, now.”

………………..

“Benny,” shouted Benny’s father calling out to the surrounding tree line. “Benny!” A hawk screeched as it soared out of the forest dashing around Benny’s father before rising up briefly and blurring and growing before taking on the form of much older Benny in midair. Benny gracefully planted his feet on the ground and crouched slightly to absorb the sudden impact. “Hurry up son, you’re gonna be late,” lectured Benny’s father, “honestly some things never change.” It had been years since that first day the village sage began his teachings to Benny and his peers.

“Today…will be the last day I will speak with most of you,” announced the sage once Benny and his classmates were again in their seats of learning, “…you all are now ready…to undertake our people’s…most sacred task. You will all venture out…into the world…and find new forms…new experiences…which you will return with…to share with us all. I am very proud…of you all. As proud…as I have been…of all those…who have come before you…and as you leave us today…and begin your pilgrimage…know that you carry your clan’s pride…with you.” The sage bowed his head in respect. The stadium filled with the excited murmurings of the Benny and his peers as they ushered back out of the stadium.

“Son,” said Benny’s father resting his hand on Benny’s shoulder, guiding him out of the flowing crowd. “Hold here a moment. The sage would like to speak to you.”

Benny’s eyes went wide, “What’s wrong? Was it something I did?”

“Be patient son, you’ll understand,” reassured Benny’s farther as Benny’s peers continued to exit the stadium. As the crowd thinned, Benny noticed a few other students waiting to the side with their parents; those Benny’s age seemed equally confused but the parents stayed by them in silence. Finally, Benny’s farther directed him back to the sage still standing on the tree stump. The remaining student slowly walked back to stand before the sage, all keeping their eyes averted. It was painfully silent for Benny as he waited for whatever would come next.

“Raise your eyes…young ones…do not look with shame but pride,” commanded the sage. “Your generation…will carry on…our sacred traditions…but you few…have been chosen…to uphold our most selfless practice. All of you…will carry on…a task…that your fathers and mothers…have they, themselves…upheld.” Benny briefly glanced back at his father who stood in still in the back of the stadium like the other parents. “In a time ago…farther then most remember…our island was not at peace. There was much war…and death…it was a time of imbalance. Our people were safe…hidden here…but around us…many suffered. A few of our people…dared to venture into these places…to stem the bloodshed…but none would listen. It was then…that it was decided…if we could not bring peace as we were…we would bring peace as what we could become. Your ancestors…were the first to volunteer…to live the lives of the outsiders…to learn their ways…to walk with them…in hopes of swaying them…from the circle of violence…that had become their natural state.”

“In time…the wars stopped…bonds were formed…our island was finally at peace. Our people have been given…the gift…to live as another lives. You all…must use this gift…to keep the outside world in balance…as we have here. It will not be an easy task. You will have only your wisdom to guide you…your heart to give you strength…your gift to protect you…”

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Felix Headwinkle
7:36:41 am GMT 08/25/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
Learning Curve: Part 1

It had been a month since the ship that agreed to bare Benny passage dropped him off on the island of Thain; it was indeed ripe with conflict just as the old sage had predicted.

Only my wisdom, heart and my gift to help me…well...now what do I do?

It did not take him long to get adjusted to the island. One place in particular would be the most useful, a human city called Steinkreis. It held many things Benny had never seen before but his greatest find was the city’s massive library.

Live as another lives, I guess I’d better learn how others live.


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The hours of research, though quite boring, did manage to give Benny more insight into a multitude of other cultures. Of course books could only tell a person so much. Benny knew to truly understand a people, you have to study their mannerisms.

Their habits have to be my habits.


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Their speech has to be my speech.


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Their feelings have to be my feelings.


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Something else Benny came to realize was that, along with the each culture’s traditions, they also favored particular methods of combat.


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How am I ever going to learn how to use all these weapons?

While weapons training was still a mystery for him, one thing he was certain of was that he would need to understand the nature of deceit if he was to pass himself off as someone different on a daily bases. Once again, Steinkreis provided the answer.


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Felix Headwinkle
11:04:33 am GMT 08/26/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
The Ranger and the Fire Giant

Benny was enjoying the quietness of his forest surroundings when he heard someone running nearby; the footsteps were followed by two bigger, heavier stomping sounds. He quickly unsheathed his scimitar and bolted towards the sound of the chase.

“Smash you dead to me,” shouted a deep growling voice. Benny could also hear the panicked sounds of a woman. Benny forced his legs to move as quickly as possible leaping over some bushes just in time for his small shield to take the brunt of an ogre’s club as the ogre swung downward. It seemed all parties were surprised by Benny’s sudden appearance between the two ogres and the wounded woman crawling on the ground. Benny managed to run the closest ogre through before his buddy had time to jump into the fray.


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When the second ogre finally cried out in anguish and fell to the ground dead, Benny turned his attention to the woman they had been chasing; she stood on shaky feet, a large gash visible on her thigh.

“Who are you,” she asked as Benny tried to help her stand.

“My name’s Benny, are you going to be alright?”

“Yes,” she said as he helped her find a safe spot off the road, “it’s nothing serious. I’ve had worse.” She lightly thumped her head on the rock behind her, “Stupid. I can’t believe I let them…”

“Hey, it’s okay,” said Benny trying to reassure her.

“No it’s not!” She looked to Benny with fierce eyes mixed with guilt, “I let them…get killed…I let them all die.”

“Who,” asked Benny crouching by her side, “Who died?”

“Some merchants from Steinkreis, they needed an escort to the Sandburrow,” she pulled a rag from her pack and wrapped it tightly around her thigh. “I offered to take them. A little ways down the road we were ambushed by ogres. Gods, they slaughtered everyone. I just barely got away.”

“Are you sure there was none left alive? Maybe if I hurried-“ She quickly grabbed Benny’s forearm.

“Trust me, no one was alive when I left…if I could I’d go back and kill everyone one of those bastards.” She tried to pull herself up but her leg was still giving her trouble.


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“You’re sure,” asked Benny. The female ranger nodded and rested her back on the rock. Benny thought for a moment. “Let me look into this.”

“Are you sure? They wiped out everyone,” she pleaded with him.

“Don’t worry about me. Do you think you’ll be able to get back to Steinkreis?”

“No, but I should be safe here. I can set up camp here. If you’re not back by next nightfall, I’ll head back.” Benny left her with a few supplies before heading down the trail and out of the forest line.

Okay…I guess this is the best time as ever…

Finding a quiet spot, Benny’s body blurred and shook, suddenly a long bearded ogre stood in his place. It took little time to find the bloody carnage Triah, the name the female ranger had given him before he departed, had described to him. A large group of ogres were heading his direction.

“We find woman, crush her up then bring back to boss,” explained the lead ogre while his cronies nodded in agreement trying to keep up with his stride. Benny, in old ogre form, tightened his grip on his wooden staff and continued marching towards the oncoming ogre horde. “Out of the way oldie,” demanded the leader of the horde.

“You’d best show manners,” advised the old ogre planting his staff in the ground. “I spent the last of my patience on a human woman earlier.”

“Human woman,” asked the leader stepping forward. “White haired human woman?”

“Yes, she attacked me on the road earlier, frantic about something,” explained the old ogre. All the ogres murmured to one another.

“Where is she! Where did she go,” demanded the head ogre. The old ogre simply watched the group for a moment.

“She was in my way. She’s not in my way any longer,” explained the old ogre with a slight smirk.

“You killed her,” shouted one of the ogre’s in the back.

“What do we tell boss now,” asked another. The leader snarled and glared at his bickering lackeys.

“She was ours, you owe us a body,” growled the leader.

“I will not deviate from my path,” said the old ogre causally.

“Then you dies,” shouted the lead ogre. He roared with his double axe raised in the air; he charged the old ogre. The old ogre simply raised his staff into the air. The clouds grey dark grey. Suddenly, there was a crack of thunder, but instead of lightening a pillar of flame funneled down to the ground landing right in front of the ogre leader.


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The ogre stumbled backwards in shock as the flames continued to funnel down until they finally stopped leaving a black circle on the ground.

The old ogre stepped through the black circle to stand before the downed ogre, “I would like to speak to your…boss.”

……………..…..

Seems every ogre in the Forgotten Halls were eager to see this strange elderly ogre being escorted through their hallways. Benny’s mind stayed fresh inside the old ogre’s body, he made sure to pick up on anything that might be useful for when he finally confronts this mysterious boss figure.


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...alright, lets see if we can work with that…

The old ogre was led deeper and deeper into the dilapidated halls until finally coming to a massive opened chamber. The ogre’s all seemed to grow nervous as they approached a bright light source at the end of the chamber, before them stood a massive red giant holding a fiery sword.
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Felix Headwinkle
11:09:08 am GMT 08/26/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
“Who is this,” said the giant in a booming voice. “Who have you brought before me? Where is the ranger you were sent to retrieve?”

“This…elder here…he…he said he killed her,” stammered one of the ogres that escorted him in.

“He has powers,” chimed in another ogre. “Just like the mages.” The blue skinned ogres sporting small horns on their heads, all straightened up more to take note of the newly arrived elder ogre. The fire giant watched the elder ogre for a moment.

“Step forth,” demanded the giant. The old ogre did so, stepping closer to the glowing ring of light that surrounded the giant. “Who are you, ogre, who can convince Gipherus' men to disobey him?”


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“Roth,” said the old ogre, “shaman and last of my clan.”

“Shaman,” Gipherus narrowed his gaze, “I’ve not heard of an ogre shaman before.”

“I was a great fighter before,” explained Roth, “and leader of my clan. We were the scourge of the hills above the Hammersong mountains. But we were attacked by another ogre clan, weaker…but greater in number. When both clans were destroyed, I was the last to remain.”

“So, you think you can find a place in my ranks,” asked the fire giant. He laughed deeply, the walls lightly shook with his echoing. While the giant was distracted, Roth’s eyes darted all over the chamber. There were piles of books scattered about, most in poor condition as if they had been there for ages. Suddenly he caught sight of a large red book with a well taken cared for cover resting in the wall just behind the giant. “What would I want with such a pathetic excuse for an ogre?” Roth’s attention quickly returned to the giant.

“You misunderstand. I do not want a place amongst your ranks,” Roth turned to face the crowd of ogres that were nervously watching the conversation. “I have come for them.” Murmurs filled the chamber as each ogre whispered to another.

“Silence,” ordered Gipherus. “What do you mean you’ve come for them?”

“I have come to remind my people who we are,” explained Roth with a low voice, an almost angry voice. He turned back to the crowd of ogres, “You’ve all forgotten what it means to be a real ogre! You follow this giant but what has it gotten you?”

“How dare you-“ Gipherus tightened his grip on his sword but suddenly from the crowd came a shout of agreement from one of the ogre mages. The one shout became several scattered hollers.

“Where are the spoils of your conquests,” shouted Roth trying to excite the crowd more. “Why do you need him! He would have you be his minions, his lackeys. But I say…we are ogres!” The cheers of grew more and more until at least half of the crowd was speaking in Roth’s favor. Gipherus looked taken back as his once loyal subjects argued amongst each other. The fire giant growled and starred daggers at the definite elderly ogre standing before him.

“You will DIE FOR THAT,” roared Gipherus as he raised his sword. The elderly ogre moved with an unanticipated speed and dodged the fire giant’s flaming sword as it sunk into the ground. Gipherus’ fury exploded as he yanked up his sword and continued slashing wildly. Roth kept backing up to the crowd, barely deflecting the giant’s sword with his staff. Gipherus sloppily slashed downward, Roth managed to turn just enough to let the flaming sword sweep past him and cleave one of the ogre mages that was standing at the front of the crowd.

This seemed to be the tipping point for the group, the all broke out into a brawl; some fighting other ogres, some attempting to take on Gipherus themselves. Old ogre decided to make use of the disastrous situation and sprinted to the book Gipherus was keeping safe. Once he had the book in hand he hurried to the ledge of the chamber ledge. The bottom below was nothing but pitch-black darkness. The elderly ogre leapt over the edge plunging into the darkness below. For any ogre paying attention it would’ve seemed like Roth simply disappeared into the depths below, lucky for Benny, he had learned to transform under duress.

While falling, the old ogre blurred and shook suddenly becoming a gargoyle in mid-air; the book firmly held to his chest. Benny used his new powerful wings to pull up quickly, narrowly missing impact with the chamber’s lower floor.

I hope this book is useful.


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………………………..

“It seems the ogres were being directed by a very powerful fire giant named Gipherus. I managed to get a hold of his journal. Some of it makes references to something he calls “the dark essence,” it has something to do with a curse he’s afflicted with. I did manage to divide the ogres. I’m not sure if Gipherus will be able to organize them all again but for now, there should be enough in house fighting to keep the ogres distracted for quite a while.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Triah looked at Benny in astonishment. “I don’t know how I can ever thank you.”

“Just make sure the right people get this,” replied Benny as he handed Triah the journal. With that, Benny nodded goodbye to her and continued back into the forests.

…the dark essence…maybe some of the mages in Steinkreis would know about it…
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Felix Headwinkle
4:15:55 am GMT 08/30/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
Keeping Things in Check

“Nothing today Bence, thanks,” said Benny turning to leave. Bence nodded to him and took out a rag to wipe down his counter.

“Did I tell ya I had heard more complaints about those damned Kobolds down south,” said Bence to the Brotherhood Guard. “I tell you I’ve had enough of it. How much would it take you boys to get rid of that problem once and for all?” Benny stopped to check his pack, keeping his head tilted towards Bence.


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“We are not exterminators,” explained the Brotherhood Guard.

“Oh come on now,” said Bence, “I know Callan keeps you boys on a tight leash but something has to be done about those gods’forsaken lizards.”

“I suppose I could convince a few of the men to…consider the manner,” the Brotherhood Guard gave Bence a small smirk. Benny finished fiddling with his pack and left. He stayed close to the Trade for the next couple days to keep his eyes on the guard Bence had spoken too. The guard did manage to recruit at least three more members fully intent on killing every last kobold nested in the southern tunnels.

Damn, this won’t be easy but I can’t just let the Brotherhood commit genocide, even if it is the kobolds. With the lizards gone, the entire ecosystem of those mines would shift…


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…and the travelers on the south road would become the new food source.

Benny had only days to acquire supplies and make a plan of attack that would both stop the Brotherhood guards and the kobolds without costing any lives.


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Finally the time had come for him to make his move. Benny snuck into the kobold territory right into their chieftain’s hut.


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The kobolds in the room all circled the new kobold that appeared from seemingly nowhere. The chieftain hissed and ran up to the intruder stopping to point his mace at the kobold shaped Benny’s chest.

“Whoz arez youz and whyz zhould Iz believez you,” demanded the chieftain.

“Adyen Raven,” explained the intruding kobold, “Iz very goodz at zneakingz, Iz hearz t’ingz from humanz that wearz green. D’ey’z planz on comingz soonz.”

“Den we killz themz and eatz themz,” shouted the kobold chieftain looking to the other kobolds in his hut. The kobolds all cheered at the idea.

“Youz can triez but d’ey’z humanz very toughz, too toughz for youz alonez,” explained Adyen.

The chieftain snarled and snapped in Adyen’s face, “Youz wantz to challenge my’z authority’z!”

“No’z, no’z, I wantz help youz authority’z,” said Adyen bowing respectfully. “Iz goodz at fightingz humanz. Iz goodz with trapz. With my’z helpz, we’z can killz all humanz easy likez…ifz Iz can stayz in tribe.” The chieftain narrowed his eyes on Adyen for a moment; the chieftain’s tongue flicked from his mouth briefly to wipe his eyes.

“Youz zetz trapz, we killz and eatz humanz den…maybe youz ztay in tribe,” decreed the chieftain. He returned to his wooden chair, slouching into his seat. “Whenz do d’ey’z humanz attack?”

………………………….

A few days later, when the four Brotherhood Guards started their trek through the southern territory they were surprised to find very few kobolds and the few they did find immediately fled on sight. Eventually the guards were led to the abandoned mine tunnels that the kobolds used for their nests.

“Careful men,” ordered the Brotherhood Guard leading the pack.

“Carful for what,” joked one of the other guards, “they’re just kobolds.” Meanwhile just around a long bend in the tunnel, countless kobolds were in wait; they quietly hissed to one another tightening their grips on their clubs and slings.

“Wez waitz until Adyen setz off trapz, den wez eatz,” whispered the Chieftain to his eager troops. The Brotherhood Guards continued through the cavernous tunnels following the rail tracks, completely unaware of the kobold that was gently hugging the rock wall. Once the men moved far enough away, Adyen quietly pushed himself away from the wall and gripped a rope; he yanked it hard, five bags on strings all swung into the Brotherhood Guards. The gooey contents of bags splattered over all them causing them to thrash about. Every move they made caused the goo to wrap them up tighter and tighter until they were all stuck together. The men all groaned and struggled but the goo had hardened into vine like restraints. Adyen whistled loudly, the sound echoed down the tunnel walls.

Once the sound ended, another sound replaced it, a thundering clatter of feet and weapons. The Brotherhood Guards watched terrified as an army of kobolds with teeth bared charged at them. Adyen pulled another string; a sack safely secured in the tunnel’s wall began to smoke.


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The kobolds were only a few yards away from the guards when the first bag exploded.


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As the second explosion took, the tunnel shook violently casing the rocky ceiling to crumble and collapse. Rocks piled up in the middle of the tunnel, the guards could still hear the kobolds viciously tearing at the boulders in their path. Adyen strolled up to the lead guard with his blade in hand. The little kobold pressed the tip of his blade against guard’s cheek.

“Wez keepz youz alivez zo youz can tellz all youz friendz,” Adyen glared into the guard’s eyes with his piercing snakelike gaze, “Koboldz noz be mezzed withz.” Adyen let the sharp metal tip rest on the guard’s cheek for a moment before quickly turning the blade and slashing downward slicing a piece from the vine like restraints. Adyen disappeared from the guard’s sight just as the vines fell to the ground leaving the four men free. They briefly looked to each other before looking back at the pile of boulders still blocking the tunnel. The Brotherhood Guard could still hear the kobolds viciously trying to clear the rubble; they turned tail and fled quickly.

It should take the kobolds days to clear the tunnels again and Brotherhood guard won’t underestimate the kobolds anytime soon, all in all, pretty good days work.
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Felix Headwinkle
9:50:43 pm GMT 08/31/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
A Miner Problem

Benny briefly looked around the Grey Mine lodge for a moment before entering, At least this should be an easy one.

He walked up to a busy man sitting behind a task flipping through some papers, Benny could only assume it was the Tunnel Master.


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“Well,” said the Tunnel Master standing, “you can inform Morren that I sent out his delivery already and if it hasn’t gotten there yet, then it’s not my problem.” With that the Tunnel Master sat back down and again devoted his attention to his papers.

Benny watched the Tunnel Master for a moment, “Morren still needs his shipment of iron. If seems that if paid you for a service, it’s your duty to see that duty is cared-“

“IF it’s such a problem,” snapped the Tunnel Master still not looking up from his papers, “then you can mine the extra iron yourself.” The Tunnel Master moved some paper aside and started scribbling on a fresh sheet, “Your business is done here.” Benny tightened his fists but did his best to keep his cool in the face of such blatant rudeness. Deciding it was best not to make a scene with such a stubborn man, Benny turned to leave. Just as he placed his hand on the door to leave the lodging, someone tapped him on the shoulder.

“Did Morren send you,” asked the miner in a hushed voice, “are you from Steinkreis?” Benny raised a brow and nodded to jittery miner. The miner gestured for Benny to follow him to a darken corner of the lodge to sit.


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“I’m sorry, this has become such a disaster but I didn’t know what to do…I mean I don’t know who to trust…I just thought,” the miner was babbling so much Benny was having trouble keeping up.

“Listen, I’m here to help. Just tell me what’s happening,” reassured Benny. “Start with your name.”

The miner took a deep breath, “Right, my name’s Jordan and I’m the reason Morren’s shipment was lost. I needed to find a way to bring someone from Steinkreis here to investigate the what’s going on here.” Jordan leaned in closer, “I think the Tunnel Master’s killing off miners and writing it off as mining accidents.”

Benny stayed calm and spoke quietly matching Jordan’s tone, “What makes you think he’s killing people? Maybe they really are accidents.”

“Because, I work with these men,” explained Jordan. “Some of us have been working these mines for years; no way they die the way they did.” Jordan shook his head, “Samuel was a very good friend of mine and damn good at what he did. A month ago, we hear a collapse in the tunnels…come to find Samuel underneath the rubble. It looked like one of the support beams snapped. I tell you, Samuel would’ve never started on that stretch of tunnel without checking the supports, never. So I looked closer at the beams, they weren’t rotted at all…I think they were cut. That’s when I realized that some of those ‘accidents’ weren’t random at all, they were being planned.”

Benny leaned back for a moment to think, “Why would someone deliberately kill miners?”

“For gold, damn it, for plain old greed. When the Steinkreis Mining Company hires someone on, they’re under contract. After about three years, they’re eligible for bonuses, their way of keeping veteran miners in their employment. But I caught a look at the Tunnel Master’s books. See he ain’t marking some of the miners as dead until after they get their bonus pay. Then he quickly hires on younger, cheaper miners to replace them. Good men, friends of mine, are being led to the slaughter by the Tunnel Master just so he can pocket the extra gold for himself.”

“Why haven’t you gone to the authorities with this,” asked Benny.

“Who would believe me? Who could I trust? I’ve started to suspect one of the Kreis Knights around here is being paid by the Tunnel Master to make sure the Steinkreis officials don’t hear about the goings on. Any miner gets to noisy or starts throwing a fit about not being paid on time, the captain of the guards always steps in on the Tunnel Master’s behalf; seen him rough up a few miners here and there to keep the rest of the shift in line.” Jordan held his forehead in his hand, “I tell ya, I don’t know what I’m gonna do, my bonus is coming up soon but I can’t just leave, I’ve a family to feed. Works hard to find as is; if I break my contract no one will hire me again.”

Benny watched Jordan for a moment, his fists balled-up in anger but his voice stayed calm, “Jordan, I’m going to stop this, you have my word. I’ve a friend who can help. Tell the Tunnel Master you know a dwarf who is looking for a mining job and is willing to work without a contract. He can expect the dwarf by tomorrow.”

“Thank you, sir, thank you,” said Jordan, his eyes were redden and watery.

……………………………..

Just as Benny had promised, the next day a dwarf barged into the Tunnel Master’s office.


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The Tunnel Master looked the dwarf over for a minute, “I understand you have not gone through the proper channels for gainful employment.”

“Ney, I hate all that contract business, too much like mak’in a deal with a devil. ‘sides, I know you humans like hir’in your own. Guess you think a dwarf would make you all look bad,” the dwarf looked smugly at the Tunnel Master.

The Tunnel Master tapped his chin, “Well…I suppose I could find a position for you, of course seeing as I can’t pay you through legal channels, your salary would be…45% under minimum pay.”

“Auyk! I’ve never worked for so little,” barked the dwarf.

The Tunnel Master waved his hand dismissively, “Take it or leave it, it’s my last offer.”

The dwarf growled, “Fine! When do I start?”

“Start in the east tunnel, you can expect payment at the end of the month,” ordered the Tunnel Master sticking his nose back in his record book. In the tunnels, it didn’t take the dwarf long to find Jordan hammering away at some boulders. The dwarf walked up near Jordan and started hammering on the rock wall on the other side.


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Jordan briefly stopped his hammering and glanced back. The dwarf kept up his hammering prompting Jordan to continue his work. For days, the dwarf hammered his way through his work and celebrated with the miners in off hours.


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He always kept Jordan in his sights. When in the mines, he stayed ever vigilant while Jordan was around; then one day the Tunnel Master approached Jordan in the tunnels.

“Jordan! You’re not working east tunnel today,” explained the Tunnel Master. “I need you to work the wench in the section.” Jordan looked worriedly at the dwarf who was already strolling up to the Tunnel Master.

“Oi! Ye sure that twig armed fella can handle the wench on his own? I could give ‘em a hand,” said the dwarf wiping the sweat from his brow.

“No,” snapped the Tunnel Master, “you stay here. Jordan can handle the wench by himself.” The Tunnel Master turned his attention back to the miner, “Well? Get going!” Jordan watched the Tunnel Master a moment but followed orders. The dwarf gave Jordan a reassuring nod as he passed before getting back to the hammering. Once the Tunnel Master was out of sight, the dwarf quickly turned around and sprinted through the tunnels. Eventually he found Jordan again, struggling to pull up a large bucket at the end of a rope. It looked like the pulley system had snagged; Jordan continued pull up the rope.
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Felix Headwinkle
9:56:14 pm GMT 08/31/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
The dwarf just barely noticed the twinge in the well’s supports; a small puff of sawdust as the wooden beams shifted. The dwarf ran as fast as his little legs would carry him.


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The entire structure collapsed into the dark whole but Jordan and the dwarf were safely a few feet away. The rest of the miners all hurried over to help them up. Through the crowd of concerned miners, the dwarf did manage to catch a glimpse of the Kries Knight captain of the guards leaving through one of the tunnels; a none to happy look on his face.

…………..

“Another drink for the hero,” cheered one of the miners, the other’s all joined in with the celebrating.

“How ‘bout a few cheers for the fella that didn’t die,” laughed the dwarf as he slapped Jordan on the back. The men all joined in with the laughs. The dwarf stayed smiling for a moment before leaning in closer to Jordan and whispering, “I don’t think they’re finished yet. Stay close in case they try again.” The dwarf watched the Tunnel Master and the Kreis Knight muttering to each other; the Tunnel Master trying very hard to keep to his temper from showing. Jordan was given the next day off by the Tunnel Master, mainly because of the threat that the other miners would case a scene if the Tunnel Master didn’t show some support for a miner that had nearly been killed. The dwarf on the other hand, was not so fortunate. The Tunnel Master ordered him into his office.

“I thought I told you to stay in the east tunnel,” shouted the Tunnel Master as he slammed the office door shut. “What were you doing in the main section!”

“Jordan forgot someth’in, I were just return’in it to him,” explained the dwarf calmly. “Lucky I got to ‘em before that accident though, weren’t it.”

“Lucky,” shouted the Tunnel Master slamming his hands on the table, his face was red and shaking. But slowly he got a hold of himself again. “Yes, it was very lucky you were there.” The Tunnel Master’s voice was a shaky calmness. “But you still disobeyed a direct order. Don’t forget, you don’t officially work for these mines. I can terminate your employment anytime I want.” The Tunnel Master smirked and waited for the dwarf’s reaction.

The dwarf, unexpectedly, stayed very calm, “I don’t think you’ll be terminat’in me anytime soon. I know tha boys would be so disappointed ta see me go. But I must admit, I do like work’in here; might even visit the Steinkreis Min’in Company and consider taking on one of those contracts myself. Can tell ‘em I’ve experience with the company already, what with you paying me off the books and all.” The Tunnel Master’s smirk fell away, his face paled slightly. Slowly he began to realize the predicament he’d placed himself in.

“…get back to work,” growled the Tunnel Master as he pointed at his office door. The dwarf was more the obliged to leave. “Get Captain Reynolds in here,” shouted the Tunnel Master at a passing miner.

Good, at least they’ll be more focused on me then Jordan now.

…………………………..

The next few days had become very tense whenever the dwarf was around, apparently the Kreis Knight, Captain Reynolds, had been ordered to keep a close eye on the dwarf. The dwarf knew the captain was the one he saw in the mines but he seemed to be the only one working with the Tunnel Master as the other Kreis Knights were usually being ordered around or dismissed by the captain. It seemed like the Reynolds was the only one that had private conversations with the Tunnel Master. Then one day, when it was the dwarf’s shift, he noticed Captain Reynolds was eerily absent.

What is he up to this time?

The dwarf’s question was abruptly answered when he existed the lodging. An ogre and hobgoblin grabbed hold of the dwarf and tossed him into the dirt. The dwarf barely had time to block the ogre’s club with his mining hammer. He then rolled out of the way of the hobgoblin’s spear; the dwarf managed to swing his hammer around and cap the ogre in the knee cap. The ogre crumbled on top of the hobgoblin crying in pain. While the two were piled up, the dwarf had more then enough time to get to his feet. By this time Kreis Knights all stormed onto the situation, pointing their crossbows at the two creatures still entangled with one another on the ground.


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“What’s going on here,” ordered Captain Reynolds. He pushed through the other guards and raised his crossbow.

The hobgoblin’s eyes opened wide, “But you said-“ A bolt launched from the captain’s crossbow striking the goblin’s chest; he shot another bolt at the ogre in the nearly the same spot.

“Remove these disgusting creatures from my sight,” ordered Captain Reynolds. He turned to glare at the dwarf briefly before turning his attention to one of the knights. “Why weren’t you at your post, Davis?!”

“Sir, you relieved me, you said Jamenison would take my position-“ Davis was abruptly interrupted.

“I relieved you for a 30 minute break, not so you could take a vacation! You were supposed to be at your post 10 minutes ago!” Captain Reynolds gripped Davis just at the neck of the young knight’s armor and pulled him close. “If you can’t follow simple orders I will not hesitate to send you right back to the academy!” He pushed the knight away and stormed inside the lodge. Davis was shaking with anger but calmly returned to his post, standing guard between the mines and the road. The dwarf rubbed his beard for a moment and followed.

“I don’t believe y’er captain were giv’in you tha right orders lad,” said the dwarf standing next to Davis.

“I can’t talk sir, I’m on duty,” replied Davis in a monotone voice.

“Aye, but I can talk, you just have ta listen,” reassured the dwarf. “I think your captain’s not carry’in out his duties to the fullest extent anymore. And I bet you know it.” Davis only stood silently watching the road. “I know you’re a good solider, Davis, I can see it in ya. But you know what Captain Reynolds’ doing’s not right and it won’t end ‘til somebody ends it.” The dwarf stared up at the young knight who stood silent still. “Keep it in mind, lad,” said the dwarf as he turned to leave. Davis stayed scanning the road and standing straight but, for a brief moment, his gaze did drop briefly.

………………..

“Jordan! Azaim! Get in here,” ordered the Tunnel Master. “You two are going to be continuing the north tunnel and I don’t want to hear any whining from either of ya!”


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The north tunnel was one of the more unstable of the areas. The two knew that this would be the Tunnel Master and Captain Reynolds’ next move.

“I don’t know, maybe we should quit now, it’s not worth losing our lives over,” whimpered Jordan as they proceeded down the dimly lit tunnels.

“Us quit’in wouldn’t change anything. Other miners would be die’in in our place,” said the dwarf leading the march. “We just need to hold out a little longer. The captain and the Tunnel Master won’t be able to keep this up for long; they’ll mess up soon enough.” Suddenly, the dwarf held up his hand for Jordan to stop; the dwarf could make out what sounded like a whistle blowing. “Ye hear that? We should head back.” They turned to head back but a loud rumbling sound filled the rocky corridors. The two sprint back around the corner but the collapse blocked their path.


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“Still think it’s worth it,” asked Jordan struggling to against the rubble. They continued to try and sort out the rocks when they heard a loud noise behind them. Two large bird-like creatures stood before them twitching their numerous claws. “What the hell are those things!”
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Felix Headwinkle
10:00:08 pm GMT 08/31/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
“Stand back,” order the dwarf taking up his axe, “Hook Horrors, don’t move! They attack movement.” The dwarf glared at the two bird-like creatures as they screeched and lowered themselves for a charge. That’s when the dwarf saw it, a collar around each hook horror’s neck with a little loop suitable to attaching a leash too.

Great, Captain Reynolds’ pets, I guess we really did work their last nerve.

“Well come on then ya ugly buzzards,” shouted the dwarf. “Let’s get this over with!”


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……………………….

“I regret to inform you,” announced the Tunnel Master to all the miners crowded around the mouth to the mines, “there has been a catastrophic cave in. I’m afraid a few miners…did not make it out. Jordan and Azaim.” The Tunnel Master lowered his head. “They were great miners and I am sure, they will all be missed.”

“Ya got that right,” shouted a voice from within the mouth of the mine. The Tunnel Master’s eye twitched as he turned to see a bloody and beaten up the dwarf and Jordan marching out into the sunlight; they were both pulling something with them. The crowd all muttered amongst themselves in shock as the two pulled a dead hook horror out of the cave with them. “Ya right bloody bastard! Your pets didn’t finish the job, did they!”

The Tunnel Master paled a little, shrinking on the spot but Captain Reynolds stepped in front of him.

“What are you accusing the Tunnel Master of,” barked the captain. “Those beast freely roam the lower tunnels, everyone knows that. Those rocks must’ve fallen on your heads.”

“How many roam around freely wearing collars,” said Jordan as he kicked the dead body, the metal ring in the collar jingled a little.

“Aye, and we heard ya call’in these buzzards with that little whistle ‘round your neck,” said the dwarf pointing at the whistle still hanging out of Reynolds’ armor. Reynolds quickly stuffed the whistle back under his chainmail.

“It…must be some goblin trick, they attack our settlement all the ti-“ Captain Reynolds was cut off by Davis’ hand on his shoulder.

“Enough captain, no more lies,” said Davis. He pushed past the captain to stand in the middle of the crowd. “Captain Reynolds has been paid off by the Tunnel Master for years to let him run this place anyway he wanted.” Davis turned to face Reynolds, “Sorry captain, but it has to stop. Captain Reynolds, you are under arrest for bribery and attempted murder.”

“You don’t have the authority,” snarled Captain Reynolds but two other knights were already stuffing the captain’s wrists in shackles.

“You too Tunnel Master,” ordered Davis grabbing hold of the Tunnel Master’s shoulder as he attempted to disappear into the crowd.

“It wasn’t my idea! Honest! Reynolds thought up the whole thing,” shouted the Tunnel Master as the knights carried him away. The miners all began cheering and patting Davis on the back.

“Ya did good lad,” said the dwarf saluting Davis. The young knight offered triumphant smile back at the dwarf.

………………………….

“I…I don’t know how I could possibly thank you,” said Jordan shaking the dwarf’s hand. “Benny’s lucky to have friends like you.”

“Aye! And I don’na ever plan on lett’in him forget it,” grinned the dwarf. "Whoever the Mining Company gives the new Tunnel Master position to should at least be a step up. I'm sure Davis can keep this place runn'in clean again."

“Oh! I almost forgot,” said Jordan as he presented the dwarf with a crate, “this is Morren’s iron order. It’s a little late but…hopefully Morren won’t be too hard on Benny.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it, Benny’s a good lad, he can take care of himself,” reassured the dwarf as he hefted up the crate.

Well…so much for it being easy…better late then never I guess.

((This story has been endorsed by DMs Payne and Edrick.))
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Felix Headwinkle
8:46:12 am GMT 09/08/10
Felix Headwinkle Registered Member #960 Joined: 2:07:50 am GMT 01/22/07
Posts: 644
Learning Curve: Part 2


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Hey, some things are just universal
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