A Murder of Crows

Here's Karl!!


‘Wait, how did we get here again?’

It has been more than a year since it all began, right here in this village with the death of Ian Firebrand and accusations of your involvement.

You find yourself back in that same village now. All of the madness that lead to this moment has been clarified to one simple truth – you MUST stop Karl!!!

He stands on a plateau. How did he get here? Is his arrival the boon that the three Fates promised? It doesn’t matter. He is talking with Lizbeth, someone you only know through rumor and myth – daughter of Chance, Raven Queen, Host of Crows. They are arguing.

L: What have you done? You killed Oakley? Why? How?

K: His sacrifice will be rewarded by his god, I am sure – should she live that long. I have been inexplicably waylaid here, but no matter. His blood has restarted the Engine and I can continue to SanSigal. I have what I sought, I can open the door!

L: You’re a madman!

K: Madmen don’t have supreme gods on their side. No, I think I am a harbinger. You know what really lies behind the door at SanSigal. You and I may be the only two who do.

L: It is a pact between my creator and yours.

K: Yes, an agreement. A peace treaty, if you will, between the cosmic brothers Fate and Chance. As long as the door remains closed, this land will be steeped in the taint of Chance’s influence. But, should one day the doors of SanSigal open, all will be set right to the destiny laid out by Fate. The future of Man will reclaim Ruinn and rewrite it in the languages of Order and Science. Mankind will take its command of this land and reign in supremacy over all things. The unnatural and the impossible will simply disappear from existence. So elegant a resolve. So divine a final solution.

L: My father would never allow that to happen.

K: Chance has already allowed it. I have seen the future. Fate has shown me. Our children eons from now call this land Australia. It is a beautiful vision of a new world. I will be its torchbearer

L: The light isn’t a torch – It is a funeral pyre you ARROGANT DICK!

Their fight was short. She was a Demi Goddess of the Prime of Chaos, and yet she fell quickly to Karl. His patron Fate has invested much in this scheme. He will not be stopped. He CANNOT be stopped. He will open the door to SanSigal and the new age will rewrite all that is left.

That is when you arrive.

The battle of Godin’s Plateau may be a minor epic in the rhymes of our time, but on that day the very foundation of the universe stopped to watch.

The heroes were quick to action, attacking the necromancer with missle and mace, warhammer and lightning. Some damage was done, but tough is the defenses of Fate’s avatar. Luck was not on their side as Boonler found little comfort beneath a crumbled statue and Flere snapped his bowstring. The Necromancer did his damage with bolts of dark energy.

Then, a turn of luck came. Desia went full Angry Smurf and pushed her foe near to the edge while Boonler revived the Raven queen enough to aid in the fight. Dorra drew from the Deck of Many Things by magehand, and used the Rogue card to dominate the Scion of Fate, convincing him to remove his armor. Slyph saw the effect the Chaotic energy of the card had on the Avatar of Order, and jumped to the Chaos Engine. But the battle to that point was owned by Hetinith as he found form to his art, driving Karl up to and over the edge of the ravine.

None think this is the end of the war, but it is a good end to the first stanza of an epic poem.

Shit's gone Craaaaazy
You aint in Kansas, Dorthy


It all seemed so simple. You had the crystal that Valthun loaned you. You knew the ritual. You had been to the Shadowfel before. ‘What went wrong?’ you asked yourself while looking out the Inn door on the madness floating before you.

The party had expected to land in the shadowfel. All plans of Mice and Men often go astray, they say. Instead of the gloom of Shadowfel, the group found themselves in the floating world of the Plane of Chaos.

No matter, as it seemed you had landed in the right place. Somewhere nearby you heard the calls of the captured souls of the Godviewan townsfolk. Off the party lept onto the nearest floating disk of energy, axe and bow in hand – you are adventurers after all!

Desia took out the nearby Slaads and Bullywicks with the help of Dorra. Slyph found a moving target as she flung the fogman off the roof and into space. Meanwhile Flere fel a nearby Mephit. ‘Aww I wanted to ride it’ Boonler lamented. No time to dwell, up again, onto the rooftop, energy disk, flying through the air with jumps and flips. More Mephits, more Slaad, more Bullywigs found the wrath of Firebrand was sharp. Desia enveloped the group in a fog while boonler blasted a Slaad into the void.

Most had been cleared, Slyph took the agile lead of leaping up onto the Inn roof in pursuit of a rope swing across the chasm. It was an easy jump, she had done so much further so many more time. And yet, perhaps fate played its hand, for the young halfling missed the mark and plummeted into the space below. A valiant attempt to save her by Dorra and her Jump power was so close to success. Fingertips away but still out of reach. Slyph disappeared into the dark

Rebounding on their mission, the group rounded on a large Sladd-Bullywick guarding the lever. ‘Hey, Karl sent us to relieve you’ Boonler remarked to the huge frog, twirrling a gold coin between his knuckles. Good help is hard to find, and the Guard swallowed the offered bribe before leaving. Piles of gold and equipment lay stashed in chests mere feet away, untouched, just going to show that some guards have convoluted ideas of morality.

With a shove, the lever moved at its base, releasing the souls below. Off the group bounded across more rooftops and some livestock to a portal in floating grass. They were back from their strange adventure and the villagers were awaking. Now to prepare for war.

CSI Godsview

Within Ian’s dwarven home, amongst the bodies of his friends, surrounded by the freaks he fiercely hates, the last thing Phil the Strongarm needed was a 4 foot tall, 19 year old badass giving him a verbal beat-down. He promised not to tell the army about them. He promised to be quite. He promised anything she asked of him. In his cowardly heart he realized he had no choice, that he never really did.

The party berated and released the prisoner early in the session. Now was the time to act on their plans. The group traveled down the the Craftworks to talk with Ian and try to help him revive the villager. Unfortunately, short of staging some rather humorous attempts, none were able to awake the sleeping villager.

Plan B, the main group took at cart to the Welcoming Wench, having seen the militia move off as the Strongarm had suggested they would. Slyph, meanwhile, raided the temple for holy items.

The main group were greeted at the Tavern entrance with a grizzly scene. Bodies hung by their hands from the rafters, sleeping. These bastards had strung them up! You made quick work of lowering them to the floor and Boonler acted on an idea. Calling on Moradin, he blessed one of the victim’s bodies. They remained frustratingly unresponsive. With a leap of logical deduction, Dorra suggested that maybe they were poisoned here in the tavern, and suggested finding the source – something sweet by the smell of their breath.

It was a party, you recall, for GregMead’s Birthday. And what party doesn’t have cake, or at least medieval equivalent of honeyed pastries? A platter near the bar was stacked high with bite sized treats in the shape of pink, 5 petaled flowers. The Fabled Flower! Putting her science cap on, Dorra delicately extracted the core of one of the pastries to find a pellet of ingredients. Team Dorra and Boonler used their knowledge of Nature, Healing, Arcana, Religion, Insight and Perception to learn the following:

  • Nature – There are 5 elements within the pellet. One is kingsfoil, an herb that causes unconsciousness
  • Arcana – There are 5 elements within the pellet. One is emberite, a rare mineral used by mages as a catalyst to greatly amplify mystical effects. Godsview is one of the few places where emberite can be mined close to the surface.
  • Perception – There are 5 elements within the pellet. One is bonemeal from a skeleton. You have seen bonemeal used in necromancy before to allow a necromancer to find something within the Shadowfel.
  • Insight – There are 5 elements within the pellet. You make a leap of intuition, based on the goal of controlling these people and what you know of Fabled Flower and Kalaras and intuit a connection between the souls of these poor people and the Shadowfel.
  • Heal – There are 5 elements within the pellet. One is ground sky crystal. There are shamen who believe sky crystals can help guide a soul into the afterlife, preventing ghosts from haunting the living.
  • Religion – There are 5 elements within the pellet. One is a seed used by the Fabled Flower. Religious texts talk about the seeds ability to send a person waking consciousness into the Shadowfel.

Meanwhile, Slyph found a cabinet of artifacts valuable to the temple. Amongst them were:

  • (4) Healing Potions (+1d8)
  • (1) Speed Potion
  • (1) Invisibility Potion
    As well as mention in a catalog book of the following missing items from the cabinet
  • (1) Scroll of Levitation
  • (1) Scroll of Polymorph (tree form)
  • (1) Scroll Web
    They were checked out by a Brother Maynard, possibly he is at the Tavern?

Back at the Tavern, Desia grew bored of the sciency stuff and only half paid attention. But she did hear them talk about Shadowfel, and that sparked a memory of an adventure to Evard’s house and his crystal. Valthun had it last you knew and you just so happened to have a way to contact him – thru his ‘Purple Pages of Merchants’

The book came alive at the touch of his name, sketching a line drawing of the old wizard on the blank page opposite. You described what you needed and he said he did have the crystal, brought to him by wholey different adventures (as this is an alternate universe where you never left Godsview) and that he would happily lend it to you for a fee. Thrilling negotiations later, 500 gold and a holy symbol of light were agreed as a marker for use of the crystal for one week. Return the crystal and you get back the symbol and 480 gold or keep the crystal and forefit the pawn.

A giant magical hand made the exchange and you are now prepared to enter the shadowfel.

The Undead Army is coming


It started with a simple conversation at a tavern with a old, dead friend

Ian Firebrand, dead and murdered mentor for the gang from Godsview, was grumpy but alive at the Welcome Wench Tavern in this alternate reality.

The party got some key information from Firebrand the living, mostly about the nature of the amulet that he created for Kalaras and why it was made. Conversation with Ian Firebrand

Most sat around listening, drinking and talking – but not all. Thieves will be thieves as slyph snuck out the back to follow strange patrons of the inn. Good thing too because she spotted an ambush early – it was an invading army, or at least the prelude to one. Fabled Flower Cult

Meanwhile, the tavern-goers who had arrived to celebrate Gregmead’s birthday were collapsing unconscious. Gregmead himself was a challenge, but the party was able to at least send him running. Just in time to avoid the army and escape through the tunnel under the tavern with some sleeping villagers.

Suspecting a sweep of the town by the army, the band set up a defense in Ian’s home and took out the patrolling cultists. All were slain except one, help alive for questioning. He proved to be well informed. He told you that Karl wants to take over Godsview to control the mine for its weapon manufacturing ability and that he needed the townsfolk as a front. FF was sent in to subdue the residents by some means and leave before the the undead arrived. You note that they chose the week of the Canin Festival when most merchants and guards would be out of town.

He indicates his band will be leaving within the hour, and that Karl’s army will arrive 24 hours later.

Now the party must decide how to defend their home from an undead army lead by their arch enemy Home Defense

Racism in Ruinn

Godsview is unique in the southlands. Non-humans living openly with humans. Mining towns usually care more about the strength of your back than the color of your skin, scales, feathers, fur, etc.

One of the Campaign’s themes is Racism. While there are rumors that the northern non-human races are now having their own children, most intelligent creatures on Ruinn are born to a human mother and father. While most children are still human, every year a few are born different. Just imagine if your son or daughter were born with fur, or scales, or wings. This may have been Chance’s contribution to the destiny of humanity that got him locked up.

When a child is born in the southland, where the humans live, and they are something other than human they are cast out of society. Elves are not native to Ruinn, they are usually transplants from the realm of the Feywild, through one path or another. Desia and Slyph, however, your parents were most likely human. Most non-humans head north. In the south, even in places like Godsview, racism is a strong part of society.

Conversation with Ian Firebrand

Fellowship ring
That be Valthrun’s fellowship rings ya wearing? Hmm In days well behind me, for a time, I too wore that same ring in service of my company. Those rings will serve your friends and you well.

Tis a tragedy what I hear tell of winterhaven. That old purple fool did have a soft heart for those crazy enough to live in the northlands.

I was born in the hills of the town of Alisandar, named for Alisandra the Beautiful, the first dwarf and our Dwarf Mother. Children born dwarves of that town are said to have a special connection with SanSigal and the Trio. How that necromancer Kalaras knew my birth home I shall never know, I had left when I was very young. He commissioned me to create that which us Hill Dwarfs hold most secret. To my eternal shame, I accepted.

He commissioned alisandra’s amulet of warding, a powerful symbol of our love for our dwarf mother and her love for her daughter. If I be dead by that man’s cold hand, it be for what I discovered about its true purpose.


Firebrand pauses to decide something. Resolute, he continues

Bah, I’ve held my tongue fer too long.

The amulet’s design is an old secret of the Hill dwarfs. Alisandra herself made one as a gift to her daughter. It is said to be a ward against the vision of the divine, those gods named within the closed eye. By my blood I knew it was a trap. Kalaras must have been told by someone of the amulet’s existence. He commissioned me to build its twin and, to my eternal shame, I agreed. When it was finished I could feel its connection to the original. He must be using his amulet to track the daughter of Alisandra. I’ve known this for months but never confronted that man. In truth, I was too afraid.

Daughter of Alisandra
Allisandra the beautiful was no only the first of the dwarves, we Hill Dwarves believe she was the consort of Chance, prime of chaos and brother to Fate. There are stories that the two had a daughter of black hair. Most dwarves today call her the Raven Queen but in the old tongue of Alisandra she was known as the Host of Crows.

Scene from the Past

Oakley: Hail!

The player characters turn. Directly to the south, Oakley in his Knight of Bahamut platemail sits on a stone. Behind him stands the large wooden door of SanSigal. A Dwarven priestess approaches the knight from north side of the room. Her path takes her directly up to and then through the player characters without a moments pause.

Lizbeth: Lower your bellow good knight, the Hommlet Watch patrols this road. Ten days ride from Hammerfast has earned me a soft bed in a warm inn – get us arrested and I will invent a curse so vile they will name it after you.

Oakley: Be calm woman, I still have more whits than grey hairs, if only just. The Watch guards the local tavern tonight, drinking their fill on the purse of an anonymous and generous benefactor.

Oakley bows

Lizbeth giggles

Oakley: Now, where is the Bone-Snatcher?

Lizbeth: Kalaras was a league behind when last I looked. He prefers the traveling company of the dead over the living.

Oakley: Bah, I have seen over 200 winters, more than the gods spare most men, yet that boy’s soulless stare chills my bones. What do you know of him, who are his people?

Lizbeth: Vistani – Gypsys and Circus folk. Caravans wandering the mists. He never speaks of his family nor his heritage but his ‘obsessions’ surely took root in that stony soil.

Karl approaches from the west under the cover of a dark, enveloping haze

Karl: Ah my friends, I hope I have not kept you overlong.

Oakley: Long enough to make an entrance, necromancer. The Door is still shut and my arse hurts from sitting on this rock watching it not open. Why have you summoned us here?

Karl: Oh but we have so much to celebrate. The door simply awaits the proper motivation, which I have finally discovered. Given the alternative I am preparing for it, I am confident the Door will forsake its charge and part willingly to let us in.

Lizbeth: Its ‘charge’ was given to it by your creator, human. Do not think yourself so clever as to out-whit a god.

Oakley: Ha! I have known and loved a god, priestess, and she was as bitter, as imperfect, as petty and as fallible as any mortal.

Oakley turns to Karl

Oakley: What preparations do you require of us.

Karl: Oh, just a few knickknacks and trinkets that you two are perfectly suited to acquire. Baubles really.

Oakley grows impatient

Oakley: What needs collecting, Dead-Lover?

Karl: An old relic and a deck of cards.

Oakley and Lizbeth share a look of horror, the color drained from their faces as the scene fades away.

Traven Barnstormer Tells ALL

[A large wild looking man in a thick, overlarge cloak and hood beckons your attention. It is damp in the tavern, and there is a chill which may explain the heavy layers under which this man hides. He is alone at a table, joined only by an double-high flagon of ale and a bowl of salted nuts. His thick beard, visible under the cowl, is slightly moist with ale. You guess he has been here some time judging by the mound of shells beside the bowl. You see he has passed the time sketching a small vignette in charcoal onto the tabletop. The vignette is of a well rendered crown, orb and quill.]

I have been asked by the Candlekeep Elders to lend wise console. Not sure why they sent me then, but the trip is well funded Per Deim tapping his cloak side purse so, here I am.

Traven Barnstormer – Ah, I am merely the understudy to the Head of the department studying underdeveloped lesser worlds, sub section history, mythos and theology. Ruinn’s Saga of the Trio is something of a hobby of mine. You might say I am the preeminant scholar on the subject in all of Fearun, mores the pity for my career.

Trio – Three mortals selected by three scheming gods in an attempt to open the great wooden door at SanSiga, created by the Prime brother Fate at times invention. The cycle of selection and eventual destruction of the trio has been ongoing since SanSigal was created. Every few hundred years the pantheon select three doomed souls to represent them in an attempt against the SanSigal’s Edict. Oakley, Lizbeth and Kalaras are only the latest supplicants.

Opening the Door – The Edict on the door says ‘Three of different paths to turn the latch in one direction, abandoning all, with willing sacrifice and penitence.’ It is believed by the gods to refer to the Trio, each of a different faith, abandoning all they believe and ultimately their lives in unity toward opening the door. Damn clever if you ask me.

Kalaras – Bastard son of a Visanti fortune teller. Grew up in a traveling circus. We know his skills with awakening the dead showed early. His undead animal shows were a big draw for the circus. So too early on did his hatred for all things not human. A draft of his early manuscripts were in the library of Cainin before the fire, though copies may exist in private collections of promenant wizards on Ruinn. Intertwined between discussions on the nature of the two Prime Creators, Fate and Chance, and the link betwixt them and SanSigal are venomous words and murderous concepts on the subject of cleansing Ruinn of its ‘impurities’. In his 20s, Kalaras left or was asked to leave his home with the circus. We don’t know much after that until 5 years ago on his selection by Orcus as his representative on the Trio

Sir Oakley Everbright – Born over 200 years ago of noble birth, well educated for the burdens of ruling his people. However, Oakley never found comfort in the seats of his family’s court. What time he did spend at the right hand of his father was clouded in romantic dreams of alternate lives as an adventurer. His heart eventually overruled his head and Lord Oakley became Brother Oakley, monk to Pelor. Unaccustomed to monastic life, and truly blown by the winds of spontaneous indecision, Oakley floated around amongst the Divinity as Cleric then Paladin fluttering from one god to the next. His raw skills alone, and his clear neutrality to the deeds of man, eventually landed him with Bahamut, whom he found peace with. His skill carried him all the way to Primark of the Knights of Bahamut in the holy abby of Gardmore. There is rumor that his relationship with the Goddess was more than traditional. Again, this was all 200 years ago. His part in the fall of Gardmore to the Orcs is not clear, nor is the cause his apparent agelessness, at least not to agents of the Gods. Surely the Gods themselves know, but are not sharing. He drew our startled attention when he was quietly nominated for the Trio by Bahamut. It was well known that Oakley and his Knights had been disavowed by Bhahmut publicly due to the fall of Gardmore. She was refusing to answer any prayer from the band. That he was now representing Bahamut was a shocking turn.

Cainin – A city in the southern lands on the western coast.

Lizbeth Durren – Common born Dwarf of simple miners in Hammerfast. Devote cleric of Pelor, rank of the Blue Orb – a relatively low level for one selected for such an important task. Her experiences within the mines of city have impassioned her defense of the poor and unwanted, especially the ‘reimagined’. Little is known of the priestess save that her mind is fierce and her tough is sharp for those she feels are taking down to her, either physically or intellectually. Of the three, it is her that we are most intrigued by.

Chaos Engine – ‘Imagine this nut is your world.’ He takes the peanut out of the bowl, shows it around and places it on the table. ‘Now imagine this is the universe.’ He pours the contents of the bowl onto the tabletop, burying your world-peanut. That is the Chaos Engine. Oakley stated the Engine but we believe he was just a puppet in its creation. likely duped into the action through a lie about reconnecting him to his Goddess. Kalaras surely had a hand in its design, but even his brilliance has limits – he must have had help from someone or something. As to its use, we believe Kalaras is using this device to find a way around the rules of the door at SanSigal. The engine has the ability to create pocket realities molded around the needs and desires of the controller. The Necromancer may have let loose this Engine to find realities where the other two would see things his way, join him, and open the door together. Clever idea, if it wasn’t likely to unmake the universe in the process. Mass murders aren’t forward thinkers sometimes.’ A warning. The madness of the engine’s controller will surely slip into these realities as he searches for a corruptible Oakley and Lizbeth

Goals – ‘The Divine are not limitless – The havoc wrecked by this mere box with cards on top appears proof of that. They need you to slow the engine down, catch up to it, and kill its inventor before he can undo something that was never ever meant to be undone.’ The cards are the key. You already have two off the game board. We believe you need three more in order to even attempt to catch the engine. Any card beyond that improves your chances and takes power away from the Necromancer in the wagon seat. The trick is taking cards off the table takes time, maybe enough for him to find the realities he is looking for and open SanSigal. You need to decide when to attack. All the gods can do it watch and bet on the results.

SanSigal – As mortals understand it, SanSigal is a lock. Now If you were a Prime Creator and you had to lock away something so important or so dangerous that even lesser gods were blocked entrance, how would you do it? You would use the one true constant in the universe as your key – divine discord. Craft a lock that can only be opened when the three chosen of three warring gods lay down their hatreds and unite towards the common goal. Hasn’t happened since creation on any world I’ve visited, absolutely foolproof. Not that our better’s haven’t tried, clearly. Over the centuries countless trios have been called by the gods above to open SanSigal. Oakley of Bahamut, Lizbeth of Pelor and Kalaras of Orcus are only the latest. No less likely to succeed than the others, as one is on the quest to spite his god, the other is unquestioningly devoted and the last wants to use this as a way to enact total xenocide. Them working together toward a truly common goal was doomed from the start.

Fate and Chance – It is sung the song of the brothers. Before there were gods on Ruinn there were the Primes. Brothers Fate and Chance, who found the world of Ruinn empty and cultivated it to be a garden for them to play in. Chance, as the force of chaos in this universe, invented animals, plants, and the wilds of Ruinn. Fate, as the force of order in this universe, created mankind as his contribution. As the older brother, Fate decreed that Chance be free to all of his creations but must not tamper with the destiny he had written for his subjects. Chance, unable to resist, played with mankind, creating all of the other races from their children. For his transgression, it is sung, Fate locked up is brother. He later left the land of Ruinn in shame of his own actions, opening up Ruinn to the portfolios of outside deities.

Hetinith Cometh


Hetinith cometh. On a whim the gang thought ‘I wonder where Hetinith is right now’ and pop – he appeared

And just in time too, for the group did battle with the floating giant head of Acererak, or ‘Ass-Crack’ as he is now nicknamed. Though, as the group found, not a normal battle. This fight was fought in the mind, represented by a white open space with no up, no down, and no horizon. It was gravity free combat and the heroes were a-flying.

The Coup De Grau was handed to this new guy, John, who capped the big bad with a critical hit that knocked the floating skull’s jaw off. With that, the spell was broken and the team found themselves lying at the bottom of a shallow pit, ringed in stone and filled with sand. A search of the rough burial mound revealed some random adventurer’s gear and treasure

[340 gp]: 231 gp, 85 sp, 50 cp + 1 jade (100 gp)
Once magical Weapons & Armor, now drained (150gp)
Stormbitter Warhammer
Cloak of Resistance +2

But more interesting were these two items, near the center

1) A child’s skull, engraved with the following poem:

Once there were brothers who played in the sand
Mace was the head and Mack was the hand
Close as two brothers can be
Different as land from the soulless sea

Mace couldn’t steal money with his hand
So he took Mack’s to draw up a plan
Mack couldn’t see into his own head
So he took Mace’s to study instead

Close as two brothers can see
If only they weren’t
So many hurt
But brothers will brothers be

2) A childs skeletal wrist and hand attached to a birch rod. Along the base of the rod are five dials that control the positions of the fingers. There are also two buttons, one with a sun and the other with a moon. Lastly there is a window of glass under which is a blank piece of parchment along the rod.

Story So Far

I think our last session highlighted an area for improvement in our game. I’ve actually been working hard to construct a tight, engaging story. It was a little disappointing to realize that not only was the story getting forgotten week to week, but even main plot hooks like the Big Bad’s name was completely forgotten by everyone.

Im going to own most of the blame here, the story just wasn’t made front and center. Since half of the group are new to RPGs, I’ve focused this last 6 months on getting the group to enjoy the game mechanics and make sure everyone is having fun each week. I think we are there now and I think we are ready for a little more story to come back into the game.

After the next mini boss fight, I have a series of events planned to reconnect the story for both the players and the characters. In order to do this, I am asking each of you to help me here by answering the next three questions about your character with as little or as much as you want.

Past: What happened in the past to cause your character to leave where they were and come to Codsview where you met the other players? (Background – Godsview was the town in the southern part of Ruinn where you started, this was where the smith Ian Firebrand, your mutual friend, was killed and you all were blamed as suspects in the murder)

Present: What is your character driven to accomplish or what motivates them?

Future: How is your character hoping this will all end for them?

Please post these responses here on FB so that we can all read them. Thanks.


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