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TVC - Chapter 53 - The Council and the King

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Sweeney Todd

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Drawn to the sound of voices, Sweeney Todd and his companions headed in that direction

"Greetings gentlemen." He said as he rounded the corner and found Jason and Peter just as they parted ways with Karl and Lesa. Todd's eyes widened slightly as he looked at Peter

"Nice new armor, is it your handiwork Jason?"
 
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"Seeing as I got the last set torn to shreds fighting the Marshall," said Peter, "Jason has been kind enough to create me a new set. Its quite nice actually."

Peter nudged Jason, who simply scowled.
 
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'How unappreciative...' Jason thought bitterly as he summoned one of the servants, a young girl with copper hair and a gloomy expression masking a beautiful face of pale loveliness. She advanced calmly keeping her eyes to the ground and bowing turning her head away from Jason to reveal her scared neck, Jason's mind stretched into hers and he felt the fear in her the obedience and the pain in her heart. Jason felt for her and reached out to hold her hand, She quivered away from Jason for a small second then realizing her mistake placed her wrist in Jason's wrapped hands. A sad smile appeared on Jason as he moved his fingers to hold her hand, he kissed it gently and caught her gaze in his.

For a moment Mary was trapped in the vampires feral eyes, she was focused and for a moment couldn't look away. Fear bubbled inside her and then suddenly a wave of calm past the bestial furious yellow there was more a kindness that struggled to reach for her. She looked back to the ground quickly not wanting to incur an unseen wrath on her and maybe the other servants, It wasn't unheard of in the servant quarters.

Jason moved gently towards her pointing her towards him and looked into her eyes lovingly memories flickering through his vision as he slowly pulled her towards him stroking her hair back as he took in her quiet beauty as she looked at him a smile started appearing on the edge of her face as she moved with him. Power surged through him passion directed his movements to tickle her soft skin and lean him into kiss her. she struggled against it at first but then the boundaries between them parted and the passion filled them both.

Mary was in a daze of content joy, she forgot the world, the life she had lead and everything that haunted her about this place. She as caught in the vampires eyes in the moment and the kiss which lingered on her lips. Her movements became graceful all at once and suddenly she kissed the vampire back she felt the robes hold her closer as she did so and finally she opened her throat with her nail and placed his head their. The rush was like nothing she had ever felt before and she grasped him closer as he sucked her lifeblood from her tentatively. When the vampire pulled away she felt fresh satisfied she held her hand to his face and he grabbed and kissed it and bowed slightly to her before moving back towards the other vampire still looking into her as he did the smile never leaving her as she sighed.

"I am sorry for that, I was thirsty the ritual to create this was not a simple one. I wonder Mr Todd? Would you do I and peter the honor of testing it for us? I would hate for it to be ineffective in real combat and a marvelous swordsman such as yourself would be a worthy advocate for such a test" Jason said smoothly while wondering if they would question him about the girl.
 
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"I don't know if the Carsteins would be too happy if I destroy the décor of another one of their keeps," smiled the Blood Dragon, remembering his duel with Akarin in Nexeternus.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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"Mircea knows as well?" Lesa spoke, concern tinged in her voice. Karl had the diplomacy to know when to act and when not to act, but the Marshal was a much straighter arrow. There was a good chance that he might decide to take this information straight to the Count, who could decide now was an opportune time to try and take control again.

"Has the Marshal advised this to anyone else?" Lesa asked Luke with a pleasant smile, "myself and the Baron were just on our way to see exactly what is happening. I have no doubt that things are not as bad as has been reported, no doubt just a minor argument between two proud warriors."
 

Sweeney Todd

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Sweeney Todd chuckled at Peter's words

"Yes, that was quite the spat you had with that Carstein assassin." He said while smiling as though reminiscing of fond memories. It was then that Todd noticed Mrs. Lovette staring daggers at the servant girl offering of herself to them.

"OI!" He suddenly snapped, catching his right hand woman's attention and hopefully breaking up any impending catfight.

"Don't do that." He said sternly, before loudly clearing his throat and turning back to Peter and Jason.

"You flatter me, Herr Nightwere. You have piqued my curiosity, and so I'd be glad to take up the suggestion, if you are willing, Peter. Perhaps we should take it elsewhere, though? Preferably somewhere where we would cause less damage to the décor." Todd finished while smiling slightly. He was not lying when he said his curiosity had been piqued, though it had little to do with Jason himself. While Todd had nothing against Peter, he had often thought about what would happen in a duel against the other great warriors of the Council. Jason's handicraft presented a rare opportunity that he grasped with little hesitation
 

Get of W'soran

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Akarin sneered slightly as he heard Lesa sweet talking Luke, the Assassin had no idea why the new Regent respected the interfering Lahmian.

Soon the sound of clashing blades heralded their arrival at their destination.
Stopping at a large set of doors and turned around wearing a faint smirk.

"This is the location of the most respectful and incredibly civilised Blood Dragon Lords." he said sarcastically.

"Oh do be quiet Akarin." Karl said distractedly.

After a moment a voice chirped up from behind the group.

"Been watchin'em boss, those two are really going at it."

Silibar stepped around Luke to walk up to Akarin, wearing his usual annoying grin.
"You got the Lahmian to come and blast them to pieces? Might be abit of a risk, they're better with those blades than I would have been thinking."

I wish someone would kill those two brutes. Akarin thought to himself miserably.

"Another word and I'll kill you Silibar." Karl hissed coldly before turning to look at Lesa questioningly, he would let her take the first move.

Akarin sighed at Karl bending his pride to take leadership from Cromwells Widow.
Well so much for von Carstein pride, might as well let the Sisterhood take over.

Smothering a sigh Akarin clasped his hands behind his back and waited for the Baron's next command.
 

Trevy the Great

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It was the Duke who drew first blood.
A swift flick of the Dark Blade forced the smaller Blood Dragon to duck beneath its obsidian length to avoid it. He darted forward, weighing precisely the odds of his opponent swinging around in defense and delivering a brutal counter-attack. But Vekarin held, his arm outstretched and over the Duke's back, as if callously inviting his brother to strike. It was the blink of an eye, mere milliseconds, and the Duke knew that it was a mistake that Vekarin should not have made; perhaps a faint, a trick? But the Blood Dragon took his chance and his blade darted between the plates of Vekarin's cuirass, withdrawing with a trace of crimson blood on its fine edge. He stepped back with a lithe stride reminiscent of the silent paw of some enormous Cathayan cat, his blade rising with a speed that caused the air to hum as Vekarin's own swung down to meet it.
 

Gree

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‘’Lord Mircea has already received word of the fight from my brother. And before he left the two Blood Dragons appear quite heated. The Marshal cares little for their petty reasons for fighting, but he wishes to see the problem removed quickly. He’s already mobilizing various military forces and does not want the Blood Dragons to fall behind, as they form a vital part of the alliance’s military forces.’’ Luke replied to the Lahmian. The woman was enchanting, she really was. Mircea had speculated to him that it must be sorcery at some point.

Still, Luke didn’t trust her at all. He was canny enough for that.

‘’Although, if what me comrade here says is true-’’ he looked at Silbar, ‘’-Then it seems this is more than a minor dispute, although I hesitate to call myself an expert in Blood Dragon culture.’’
 

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The two swords hit with such a sound it was as if Drakenhof and been rent asunder. Being the first to draw blood had not spurred the Duke on the way it normally would, if anything it had worried him. So many years fighting had trained his body well to the ebb and flow and combat, and in that moment he had struck it had all been wrong. Vekarin should have already been stepping back, out of reach of a counter yet he hadn't. There was no doubt in the Duke's mind that Vekarin's skills were as deadly as they had always been, there could be no way he had made such an obvious mistake.

Something was very wrong.

The only explanation was the Vekarin was upto something, some kind of trickery. Whilst swordplay was part thought, trying to mislead your opponent, that was something the Duke expected, anticipated. No, this was something else but for the unlife of him the Duke didn't know what it was.

The two danced once more for minutes before again the Duke struck. Again it was nothing more than a slight cut, just enough to draw Vekarin's dark blood between his armoured plates. But again it should not have happened. The Duke felt himself getting angry, fustrated at trying to figure what his brother was doing.

"Are you taunting me?" he snarled, "showing me that you do not care for my blade? Why do you play these games?!"
 

Trevy the Great

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"You have no conception of how lost you are, brother." Vekarin mocked, his voice booming derisively as his blade flashed and deflected another blow of the Duke's blade, "You may wound me and shed my blood but none of your flailing attempts to strike me will result in capitulation. There is no way you can win, and the simple fact that you continue to try is a a sharp example of your callous overconfidence."
 
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"I'm glad you Accept Mr Todd" Jason said with a devious smile Quite sure that this would be most entertaining, His head half turned to the edge of the room and he scowled slightly as he spoke.
"So good to see you could make it, Richard"
He said presently as the shadows parted and the form of Rick appeared form the darkness bowing low as he did so.
"Master, It is so good to bask in your presence onc..."
"Enough with the flattery, is does nothing for me my Son. Do you think you could assemble the troops? A bit of entertainment is in short order. Assuming Your followers and the blades are prepared of course?"
Rick smiled somewhat falsely and moved to the doorway slightly.
"Hurry now, the time for battle is short at hand and time is all we have left..."
Jason said as Rick dissipated into the shadows once more. he grasped hold of the wooden case at his side and turned his attention towards Peter.
"So... will you accept my request then sir Peter?"

Vaskatchi looked on at the blood dragons, slightly lazily he appreciated the expert swordsman ship and the occasional banter but had grown tired of watching the two. He gazed over the chamber to spot Lesa Karl and the assassin Akarin talking and looking worryingly at the battle. How dull being undead could be sometimes... I wonder how delicious Miss Lesa would be to sample he thought wryly. She was more ancient as his master after all, but he felt the old girl knew far more about the extent of pleasure he had sampled...
 
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"Of course, when have I ever backed down from a fight," grinned the Blood Dragon, "And I know exactly where we can have this duel."

Peter led the Vampires along the dark hallways and through the dusty corridors. Eventually, they came to a grand hall, the walls lined with weapons.

"Centuries, Konrad von Carstein killed his brother in a duel in this hall," said Peter with a tone of grandeur in his voice, "Where better to have the duel than here."

With these words, he drew Soul Eater and adopted a fighting stance.

"When your ready, Lord Todd, we shall fight until first blood on the torso."
 

Sweeney Todd

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Geralt smirked to himself at the mention of Konrad. Those who didn't know Sweeney Todd and saw that wild hair and sullen countenance could easily mistake him for a bloodthirsty, mass-murdering madman in a similar vein to the infamous Blood Count. Fortunately, nobody noticed Geralt's expression, fixated by unfolding events they were.

Sweeney Todd chuckled in response to Peter's words

"Historic indeed." He said and quickly flicked out his pair of crimson razors. Todd bowed to Peter before smoothly stepping in. He turned into a half-pirouette a heartbeat before he would be within reach of Soul Eater and quickly probed Peter's guard. Before his momentum was completely spent Todd continued in his turn, entering a constant whirling motion with Todd rotating and striking before turning away again.

The technique was a close derivative of the sword dances commonly performed in Cathayan courts to entertain high officials. Yet for all the languid grace displayed, any experienced brawler or martial artist could see from the extravagant pirouettes that Todd was dancing, not fighting. But for now, neither could touch the other.
 
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Gets started to filter into the hall lead by Rick at a string of balconies set aside for the observers of these matches Some of the young bloods jeered at Todd's Strange swordsmanship. While grim faces elders looked on with keen eyes capturing the movements and the skilled of the swordsmen quietly as goblets of blood were handed around from servants.
Jason swept up behind the elder gentlemen his features betraying his wisdom and experience as he looked on his suit Todd's blades were legendary having spilled the blood of thousands over the centuries yet this was armor made by Jason Nightwere one if not the greatest alchemist of all time.
 

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"Over confidence? Your words make it clear it is you who is over confidence," the Duke returned, moving smoothly to one side to avoid what would have been a deadly thrust to his heart, "you are no more immortal than I, and whether it be in one blow, or by a thousand small strikes that you seem to enjoy allowing me, you can and will be destroyed."

With almost a sliding motion the Duke shifted his body weight, again moving inside Vekarin's guard. A twist of his heel and he expertly put the entire weight of his body and his armour into a shoulder push against Vekarin's chest. As Vekarin stumbled back his sword sliced through a nearby rope that was linked up to one of the tapestries.

Lesa knew the Baron was waiting for her to make a move, but for once she wasn't sure what to do. The two vampires in there were two of the most proud and stubborn of warriors and she doubted they would listen to her. True she could probably stop them with magic, but that would most likely irrevocably damage their relations with her and the Council. Suddenly she heard a massive crash and then the light that was filtering down from the hall where the two was fighting disappeared. Though she couldn't be sure from this distance it looked like a large cloth had fallen across the entrance. A feeling for foreboding flashed across her mind.

"We need to get in there. Now!

OOC: Please, no one see or interrupt the Duke and Vekarin.
 

Get of W'soran

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""We need to get in there. Now! The Lahmian shouted.

Akarin rolled his eyes
It's an -entrance- woman, you walk through it. he thought with annoyance before striding ahead, raising his right hand slightly.

Silibar stepped swiftly after his master as a dozen of Akarin's Assassin's appeared around him, stepping from their hiding places in the hall.
Akarin smirked, he had called the twelve most expierence men in his order to watch the hall, if he had to he'd throw them at the Blood Dragons to slow their blades.

Karl moved forward more slowly, tapping his cane against the floor as he followed Akarin.

The Vampires all stopped at the fallen tapestry, Akarin unwilling to proceed unless he had orders to engage.

"My Lord?" Akarin asked, the question not needing to be voiced.

"Don't be a fool." The Regent replied coldly "I won't have you risk so many of the blood."

Akarin turned away hiding his annoyed expression, they where his men.

I could always defy Karl, I don't have to answer to him. The Assassin considered before pushing the idea away, it would anger the Count if Akarin was forced to kill his son.

Karl glanced at Lesa and stepped closer to her.
"What do you suggest Mi'lady? Using force is clearly not an option." he whispered
 

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Vekarin twirled like a dancer, using hidden agility that belied his enormous bulk. After millennia of practicing so equipped, Vekarin was perfectly at home fighting encased in his suit of armor and was easily able to make up for any disadvantages that it conferred to him. Using his momentum he brought about an armored elbow that connected solidly with the overbalanced Duke's head. Recovering quickly, Vekarin brought his blade to bear, attacking with a flurry of blows focusing from powerful, wide strikes to a spider's web of lightning motions. The Duke had anticipated this eventuality, however, and had long since stepped back to parry Vekarin's imminent attack.
The two connected once again, their weapons flickering like the meager flames of candles in the torchlight that illuminated the room, flashing as they reflected the small fires. It seemed an eternity that their blades clashed, the two warriors stepping in and out of attacks, weaving their wicked dance across the stone floor like a loving couple even as the limbs above their feet sought to do each other abominable harm. Vekarin's steps grew wider and his attacks quicker, seeking to delve into the untapped depths beneath the Duke's dogged defenses and after a time he was successful.
A quick thrust of the Dark Blade was parried but a moment too late for the Duke. It did not strike flesh or even armor, for the Duke's own sword met it at the hilt. With a vicious twist of his sword, Vekarin spun his magical weapon towards him, trapping the Duke's beneath it. The two fighter's faces grew close, Vekarin's expression invisible behind the passive indomitablility of his mask but the Duke's twisted into a grimace of hatred, as if this proximity to his brother physically harmed him. They stood for a moment, their eyes shining with a disfavor the like of which was sung about in the ballads of evildoers, songs that inevitably ended with their character's righteous demise. Then, as if he could not bear to be close to his opponent for any longer, the Duke tore his sword from Vekarin's grip and struck quickly while his enemy was unprepared. The strike was knocked aside by the Dark Blade as Vekarin spun in retaliation, however, and Vekarin quickly stepped back.

The Duke felt gash open in his forehead as if a surgeon's scalpel had sliced him there, touching the wound gingerly. He felt the cold blood of his body oozing from the opening, and felt his strength sapped from him by the power of Vekarin's fell weapon. He looked up, the world slowing as he did so, to see his enemy, the one he used to call his brother standing quietly across the chamber from him, eyes burning with fell balefire.

Vekarin looked into the haggard face of his brother, ichor streaming from the gash in his head and over his fine features, and all emotion was smote from the massive warrior, drained away as if the plug of a bath had been pulled. He raised a hand, pointing a single finger, armored wickedly at the figure.

"I tire of this."

He said simply, callously, quietly, as if the fight had been a simple amusement to pass the time. He saw the muscles of the Duke's face work into a retort, a venom-filled revilement that filled the warrior's mind.

"We tire of this."


It was a cataclysmic boom, a sounds that split the room with its intensity. A lightning bolt of arcane brilliance arced from Vekarin's outstretched digit to impact the Duke with a mortal force, a single thread of frozen fire spanning the space between the dark figure resplendent in his cursed plate and the shining hero, his face stained with blood before spreading out, its spawn flickering out from the epicenter like writhing snakes, catching the walls about the Duke, setting tapestries and wall hangings aflame. The Duke's empty armor, its former inhabitant reduced to wafting ash, fell forward with a resolvent clash.
 
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Peter, stepped back, at first shocked by Todd's speed and grace. He soon found his footing however, blocking the Strigoi's razors with quick parries.

He ducked under an overhead strike, and brought his elbow into his opponent's chest. The blow would have winded any mortal creature, but of course the vampire had no air his his lungs. Todd staggered a step backwards, but was soon on the attack again.
 

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Sweeney Todd's lips twitched into what passed for a sheepish grin on his eternally dour mug. While the blow Peter dealt him did not do much more than sting his pride, it did remind him that Peter was not an opponent he could take lightly.

Backing off for a moment, Todd dropped into a crouch. His movements became slower and more sinuous. His head darted from side to side as if seeking a weakness, and his poised razors followed suit. He sidled up towards Peter in a manner that ate up the distance between them deceptively quickly, and struck. Like the movements of the viper that this form of martial arts drew inspiration from, his blades flicked forwards in lightning fast jabs. The flashiness displayed earlier evaporated almost instantly.

Moving in low, Todd found his way under Peter's guard. While one razor lashed out against Soul Drinker to keep it at bay, the other flew towards Peter's breastplate. Peter threw himself back at the last moment, but not in time to prevent Todd etching a deep groove in his new suit of armor. Instinctively, Peter raised a hand to probe the gap and found that his armor still held for now.
 
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Peter attacked again with renewed fury, his armour healing itself in an instant. He blocked Todd's blows, driving the Strigoi into a defence position. Faster and faster the Blood Dragon struck, each time his opponent parried with barely enough speed. Just as it looked like the Blood Knight would finish the duel, a door at the end of the corridor burst open. A stern female figure stood silhouetted against the dim candle light.

"Peter von Krahe, what the hell are you doing?" snapped Lucia.

Peter's concentration dropped for a nanosecond, but it was all Todd needed.
 

Sweeney Todd

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The slight distraction was all that Todd needed to quickly slip through Peter's grasp. He had not forgotten the purpose of this practice bout and began a rapid series of hard strikes against the entirety of Peter's upper body save his head.

Armor rang and razors chimed nonstop. Peter staggered backwards in the face of the relentless onslaught. He was about to regain his rhythm when Sweeney Todd spun and lashed out with his foot against the back of Peter's knee, forcing him to the ground. Peter's backhand swipe almost caught him but it was what he needed. Before Peter could retract his arm Todd caught it in a vice-like grip. With his other hand Todd stabbed a razor under Peter's trapped limb, angling it downwards. The armpit seam between the arm plating and the breastplate was invariably a weakness in any suit of plate mail, and silver razor bit into unliving flesh in the side of Peter's torso before slipping out slicked in blood.

A lance of cold, searing pain bit into Peter and he reeled. Todd caught him and quickly propped him upright into a standing position. Not releasing his grip, Todd began to mumble something under his breath. The corona of Dark Magic surrounded them both and quickly began to heal Peter's wounds. Once Todd was satisfied that Peter's injuries had been sufficiently recuperated, he stepped back and examined his own handiwork. Despite his efforts there were remarkably few breaches in Peter's armor, and whatever damage had been dealt was slowly but visibly repairing itself before Todd's very eyes.

Now that he could ignore a very incensed Lucia no longer, Todd averted his gaze towards her. Despite her glowering at the two of them with her hands on her hips he spoke to her politely and calmly.

"Greetings, Fraulein Lucia. Herr Nightwere had just made a nice new set of armor for Pete here and I was asked to help test it out. A very nice suit of armor it is indeed." He said, sneaking a quick glance sideways at Jason.
 

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The winds of magic buffeted Lesa before she could respond to Karl, heavily tinged with the taint of darkness, even moreso than their kind usually encountered.

Damming the consequences to hell Lesa ripped back the tapestry to find the massive form of Vekarin staring down at what looked to be a suit of armour. A moments closer inspected and she realised what the ash surrounding the armour was.

"What the hell have you done?" she hissed turning to Vekarin. She made no attempt to disguise her anger and the air grew oily and charged as arcane power was drawn instinctively, "you have killed the commander of our army, the leader of the Blood Dragons the eve before battle?! Over what? Some personal vendetta?"
 

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Vekarin turned slowly as Lesa entered the room, his eyes blazing with arcane energy.
"Your commander was weak and conflicted. Under rights of conquest I claim his forces as my own and will gladly obtain his status as well. Trust in me, Lesa, this occurrence has only strengthened the Council by culling its weakest members. I have separated the wheat from the chaff."

The echo of the event died away in the stone halls of the mighty fortress, its last reverberations slowly fading away into the darkened chambers. Behind it came the wafting scent of dark magics that filled the preternatural nostrils of all within.
Victarias' attention was brought immediately from her conversation and her head turned sharply as she sensed the phenomenon. Grimacing, she excused herself from Kraskor and, pulling her blade from its sheath, sprinted into Drakenhoff.
 

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"Rights of conquest?" Lesa snapped, "whilst his own forces may fall under that, the forces of the Council fall under my command, and it will be I who decides who is to lead it into battle." She paused as she reigned in her own anger, for the first time noticing the stink of magic around the Blood Dragon.

"What is happening to you?" she asked, "why I do detect the taint of powerful magic though you? Is that how you killed the Duke because if so I very much doubt the the Duke's Blood Dragons will honour your right of conquest."
 
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