Children of Gotham

The Last Druid (Webisode)

Black Forest, Germany
September 1938

Oberst Reinhardt stared skyward at the sea of green leaves above him. He sniffed derisively and signaled to his men that their rest was over and it was time to keep moving. The Major under his command quickly gathered the men to their feet and ordered their renewed march. Reinhardt took his place among the middle of the platoon of Nazi soldiers.

Now that they were moving again he kept his eyes forward, locked on their objective and desperately attempting to suppress his disgust at the dirt that marred his mirror shined boots or the sounds of chirping and scurrying all around him. He would follow his Fuehrer’s orders and stay in this uncivilized wilderness until they completed their objective. Oh, but how he missed the splendor of Berlin. For more than a week now they’d trudged through this godforsaken forest looking for their target. The small villages along the forest edge had proven insufficient to ease his anxiety. Even the more modern town of Freiburg had offered little in the way of modern luxury, offering only a communal radio at the local tavern to listen to the Fuehrer’s latest address.

It was thus, he was lost in his own train of thought, when one of the men screamed out in surprise. Reinhardt barely got a glance of the grey-clad soldier as the man was dragged bodily by his ankles, squeezing off a round from his 98Kurz as he vanished into the underbrush. Despite the near panic on their faces, the soldiers acted with resounding discipline, surrounding himself and the Major to protect their commanders.

A vaguely lupine form burst from the undergrowth, took down a full grown man, and dragged him screaming into the trees before any of the soldiers could react. Several of the men managed to get shots off at the creature, but not before it was long gone into the trees. There was a bloodcurdling scream followed by a wet, crunching sound and then the forest fell eerily silent. The men turned this way and that, trying with all their might to maintain discipline and predict the next angle of attack. But the creature was just too fast and knew the terrain too well. Another silver blur, another scream of terror and anguish, and the creature was gone with it’s prey. This time even the Major drew his Mauser and fired two shots into the brush.

“Cease Fire.” Reinhardt ordered in a clear, tort voice. His men responded immediately and looked to him for their next order. He nodded to three men among the group. Following their predefined orders, in unison, the three men tossed away their rifles and retrieved a short, hosed nozzle that hung from large, steel canisters on their backs. Each one took up the weapons, released a 20 foot gout of flame into the air to test the flamethrowers, and moved into position to set the underbrush aflame. Instead of immediately setting the forest ablaze, they awaited further orders.

“This is quite enough, ya?” Reinhardt asked the emptiness of the forest as he stepped forward, “Cease your attack immediately, or I will order mien men to burn your precious forest to ash! You have to the count of five to surrender to me.”

The men twitched nervously as they glanced around the forest, rifles raised and at the ready.

“Five… Four… Three…” Reinhardt counted loudly. There was a loud, earth shaking rumble as a five-hundred pound black bear burst from the underbrush at a full on run. Reinhardt held up a hand to stay his men as the beast came to a skidding halt, hauled itself up to it’s full seven foot height and let out a roar that shook the very ground not more than three feet from Reinhardt’s face. Reinhardt cleared his throat and smiled nonchalantly.

“Quite the entrance, Freund. But as you may have guessed, I know who and what you are. You may drop the act so that we might converse as civilized men.”

The bear hesitated, looking at the men carrying the flamethrowers and back at Reinhardt. The bear let out a defeated huff and took a couple of steps away, dropping to sit on it’s haunches in the dirt. A shimmer raced across it’s form as it’s coarse, black hair began to vanish, giving way to ruddy, tanned skin. It’s muzzle shrank into it’s face, becoming a human nose and mouth, it’s brown, sorrowful eyes giving way to emerald orbs consumed by anger.

The man sitting in the bear’s place was young, no older than his mid-twenties. His skin was tanned and ruddy from years beneath the sun. His hair was a shock of bright orange on top and shaved from the temples down. He wore not a single stitch of clothing, but his body was covered in intricate tattoos of Celtic knot work, natural scenes, and stylized animals.

“What the bloody hell do ye bastards want?” His accent was thick and unmistakably Irish. Reinhardt was a bit surprised. Of all the stories he’d heard he’d never expected the man to be anything but German.

“Greeting Herr Druid. It is an honor to make your acquaintance.” Reinhardt removed his hat and gave the Druid the slightest of nods of respect. “I’ve heard many stories form Mien Oma about your kind. That the forest, especially the Black Forest, was home to many Druid once upon a time…”

“Cut the gob shite! Get on with it. What ye want with me and me forest?” The Druid stood and stretched, smiling mischievously as the soldiers averted their eyes from his nudity. “Aye. Impressed by what ye see lads?! Or are ye put to shame?”

“Enough.” Reinhardt barked, “We’ve come because the Fuehrer has demand of your particular talents.”

“Ye Fuehrer can suck me nards! I got no love for yer kind…” With an exasperated sigh Reinhardt gave a quick gesture and one of the Flamethrower wielding soldiers let loose a blast of flame directly into the forest.

STOP!!!” Cried the Druid. “Ye know who claims this forest as ’is domain on Earth?! Do ye really want a war with the Erlking?” Reinhardt barked an order and the flames stopped. The Druid closed his eyes and the forest responded immediately. The earth shifted and moved, burying half burning foliage and retreating when the flames had been snuffed. Before their eyes the burned leaves fell away and bright, fresh green ones took their place. Within the span of a few heartbeats the forest had been saved and restored as if the fire had never happened. Reinhardt smiled knowingly as a sheen of sweat broke out over the Druids naked form and his breathing increased.

“Difficult for you, isn’t it? Over even such a small area to commit such repairs. Your liege must have great respect for you, the protector of his wood, the last protector if memory serves.” Reinhardt approached the Druid, coming almost face to face with the taller man. “Tell me, what would happen to you if this forest were carpet bombed? Hmm? What would your Patron do to you? I hear the Erlking is not the forgiving type.”

“I can’t help ye, even if I wanted to. If I leave the forest unprotected, the Erlking would be… offended.” The Druid shot back spitefully.

“Hmm. But, what if leaving the forest were the only way to protect it?” Reinhardt asked, “You see, if you don’t leave this forest with me by sunrise three days from now, the Luftwaffe have orders to proceed with the bombing. Ground troops will follow and they will salt the earth beneath our feet. No forest will ever stand here again. But you can stop that. You can do your duty and protect the forest by coming with me and doing what you are told. You have my word as an officer, no harm will come to this forest while you are in the employ of the Fuehrer.”

“And your word? How do I know it’s worth a shite in hell?” The Druid demanded.

“You don’t.” Reinhardt spat back, “But what choice do you have? Hmm? Stay here and we’ll burn the forest down. Even if you manage to get away, as you said, your Patron would be offended. Do you want to be on the Erlking’s bad side?”

The Druid’s shoulders slumped despite the furious look on his face. Reinhardt had done his homework and had planned out well how to exploit his only real weakness. He could not let the forest be destroyed, even if it weren’t for the Erlking, he could never forgive himself if anything happened to it.

“What would ye have me do?” The Druid asked, his voice dripping with contempt.

Reinhardt smiled.

“We’re going on a trip, to America. New York city in fact.” He enjoyed the further look of disgust on the Druid’s face. “You can become a bird yes? What about a pigeon?”

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Black Venom Casefile -- Official Review (Part 2)

In Gotham
Jason kreed contacts Magan Kotame and offers him a job helping out the group in Fenton. Magan takes the job and procceeds to prepare for the trip by procuring ten doses of Heroin.

Outside of Magan's apartment he is met by a car service that has been hired to take him on the ten hour drive from Gotham to Fenton.

Magan and his driver arrive in Fenton just a few hours after the party. They arrive at the Motel once the action has quieted down and there are only a pair of deputies sitting in their car watching the Motel.

Magan uses his small, compact mirror and his sight to see what happened. He watches the events of the fight with the bikers and the spiders. Thanks to his sight he also see through Ezekiel Frost's glamour. While watching the fight Magan notices an etherical eyeball floating in the window of one of the rooms watching the fight take place.

Magan instructs his driver to pull around behind the diner across the street from the Motel and encourages the driver to have a smoke break. While the driver is stretching his legs and not paying attention Magan focuses on one of the sideview mirrors and appears in the bathroom of the motel room where he saw the ethereal eye. Magan inspects the room and find it hasn't been used. Using his sight again he sees the remnants of the ethereal eye ball spell and remnants of silky webbing that held the spell in place. With nothing else to learn within the room Magan dishevels himself and stumbles out of the room and meanders down to the vending machine in front of the office.

One of the deputies steps out of his car and calls Magan over to speak to him. Magan tells the deputies that he's been here the whole time, asleep in his room and asks if he can get a ride to the local diner to get some food. The deputy, furious with his partner who was tasked with clearing the motel, tells him to get out of the car so he can drop Magan off.

At the diner Magan arrives in time to catch the rest of the party. Magan and Clay have a short introduction before the entire party, sans Miss O'Farrel and her bodyguard, head to the Sheriff's department.

Arriving at the Sheriff's department Rufus delivers his starbucks cup-o-spiders to the Sheriff, who quickly passes it off to an underling, before leading everyone into a conference room to provide further information.

Clay and Magan decide the best course of action is to speak with the accused, Arthur Jensen. Jonus decides to join them. On their way to the holding cells Clay excuses himself to use the washroom while Magan and Jonus continue on to the holding area.

Clay takes this opportunity to make contact with the Hunter's Network in Gotham. He gives them an update on the details of the case so far. He is advised that the creature in question sounds like it is of Fey origin nd that iron in general, but Cold Iron especially, is the best way to deal with Fey.

In the Holding Cells
As Magan and Jonus enter the holding area they find Arthur Jensen kneeling in one corner of the cell, his hands folded in quiet prayer. Jensen continues to pray as Jonus attempts to politely get his attention.

Once finished, Jensen struggles to his feet and introduces himself to the pair. At Jonus' prompting Jensen recounts his story. He remembers getting up in the morning, having breakfast with his wife and son, gathering up the papers he'd graded the night before, and driving himself and his son to school for the day. The next thing he remembers is coming to sitting in his car covered in blood with an officer tapping on the driver's side window.

Magan, believing Jensen is lying or in denial, becomes intimidating and begins yelling and breaks the cell mirror with his fist. Jensen immediately responds with fear and begins babbeling and pleading with Magan and Jonus.

Magan continues to yell and opens his sight. The image he sees of Arthur Jensen is that of a small, cowering child holding his knees to his chest and crying into his jeans. Magan notices a small trail of green liquid trailing from young Jensen's ears. When young Jensen looks up with his tear streamed face, there is a perfectly circular gaping hole of utter blackness bored into young Jensen's forehead. To Magan, an experienced magic user, Magan recognizes these are likely signs of some form of mind control and magical amnesia.

Magan storms from the cell as Jonus attempts to use his emotional control powers to calm Jensen to a consolable state. It takes Jonus a great effort to do this but he does manage to get Jensen back to a calm state.

Ezekiel decides to make contact with local emmassaries of Winter to attempt to garner some information about supernatural activity in town. He leaves the Sheriff's station and wanders his way through town, letting his connection to the realm of Fey guide him.

Elsewhere
Miss O'Farrel and her bodyguard Connel, make some phone calls and learn of The Breakers and their leader Edward "Big Ed" Bowman and that the local Breakers operate out of a local bar called Josie's Place. Connel is able to contact the Breakers and set up a meet with Big Ed for later in the day.

In An Abandoned Alleyway
Ezekiel turns down an alleyway between two buildings. As he approaches the dead end of the alley the air turns bitterly cold and an unseen icy wind cuts through him. He hears movement behind a nearby dumpster and goes to investigate. He bangs on the dumpster's lid, attempting to flush out the creature within.

From behind the dumpster leaps a lynx sized, grey furred feline. It's ears are pinned back and it's bright, wide yellow eyes are fixed upon Ezekiel and it grins a too wide human-like smile as it leaps up to remove Ezekial's head with it's powerful claws.

After a short scuffle the Malk suddenly stops it's assault. It lowers itself to it's stomach and in a human-like voice, appologizes for attacking as it failed to recognize Ezekiel. After a brief chat Ezekiel learns that the Malk had been tracking prey, a brood of Fey Spiders, that it had been tasked to cull. But something drew the spiders from the Feywild into the human world. Unfortunitly, after crossing into the human world, the Malk's incredible sense of smell became confused by the terrible stench of humanity and it quickly lost track of the spiders. It has since been guarding this Way into the Feywild to prevent any further incursion of spiders.

Ezekial, satisfied with this information, dismisses the Malk who opens the Way and vanishes into the realm of Winter. Ezekial decideds that something needs to be done about Rufus' cup of spiders before they grow into full sized monsters and returns to the Sheriff's station under the cover of his Glamour. While invisible Ezekial sneaks into the Station and retrieves the spiders before making his way back out to the parking lot.

Moments later the Sheriff returns to his underling and requests the sample of spiders only to find that they are missing. The station goes into a mild panic as they attempt to find the missing spiders. Clay, not interested in taking any risks, pulls another bug fogger grenade from his pack and orders everyone outside as he pulls the pin and tosses it into the middle of the station.

After the station has been evacuated Ava and Clay are talking while Clay is gearing up to fight Fey creatures. Jonus and Guillaume decide to put their computer research to good use and go antiquing in search of old, mythic tomes that they believe may have been used to summon these creatures into the human world.

Just as Ezekial is about to make good his escape a poorly timed text from Rufus sets off his Ariana Grande ringtone at full volume. Ava and Clay immediately recognize the ringtone.

Ezekiel retreats at an increased pace, ducking between two cruisers and ditching his phone underneath before moving away from the Sheriff's station. Clay and Ava retrieve Ezekiel's phone. Ava is convinced that Ezekiel just dropped it as he was leaving. Clay in unconvinced as he realizes he heard the phone moving away from them as it rang.

Ezekiel ducks into an alley a couple of buildings over and notices that the coffee cup isn't making small movements, but instead one larger spider leg in starting to poke it's way out of the cup. The leg begins poking and prodding the evidence bag it's stuck inside. Realizing he's holding a serious threat in his hand Ezekiel begins rummaging through a dumpster for any flammable material he can use to burn the cup and spider with. As he's rummaging around the spider's leg punches through the plastic bag and begins ripping and tearing itself free. Ezekiel dumps the spider, cup, and material onto the concrete and lights the pile on fire.

The spider, reacting to the fire, leaps up and attempts to bite off Ezekiel's face.

Ezekiel's startled cry draws the attention of Ava, Clay, and Rufus from the next street over. The trio rush into the alley to find Ezekiel struggling to remove what appears to be a burning plastic bag from his face.

Rufus approaches to help Ezekiel, covering his fist in clay and hardening it to punch the spider off Ezekiel's face. The spider proves the quicker and leaps onto Rufus, sinking it's fangs into him and subjecting him to it's insidious mind control. As a result Ezekiel, barely recovered from his ordeal, takes a solid shot to the jaw from Rufus.

The spider leaps away and attempts to escape but is seriously wounded by a few well placed shots from Ava and Clay. The spider is about to escape over the ledge of the building when Ezekiel, wounded and angry, pulls an oversized roman candle from his jacket and lights it off covering the side of the brick building, spider included, in hellish phosphorus fire.

The four return to the sheriff's station. Clay returns Ezekiel's phone to him and Rufus takes a seat on the tailgate of the SUV and begins crafting and shaping clay into a very accurate approximation of the spider the group just fought. Clay uses his phone to snap pictures of the sculpted spider from every conceivable angle and uploads them to the Hunter's Network. In The Antiques District
Jonus and Guillaume visit a few Antique stores before they find one that seems to have what they are looking for. One store in particular seems to have a large selection of old books.

Guillaume notices a young woman who stands out in the store. She is a teenager with dyed hair, half pink and half blue, dressed in stockings, a frilly tutu, and hooded sweatshirt all in black. She is reading what appears to be a really old, leatherbound tome.

Guillaume encourages Jonas to go talk to the manic pixie dream girl. Jonas introduces himself and the young woman immediately takes notice of him. She tells Jonas that this store has a number of these super interesting books on weird subjects. Joans convinces the young woman to surrender the book she's looking at. Jonas walks away with the book, and the woman's phone number. Meanwhile, Guillaume speaks to the shop owner regarding the books and the young woman. Guillaume learns that the young woman is named Melissa and that her and her friends often come into the shop looking at old books. The shop keeper beleives they use them to play some silly game. Guillaume asks the shopkeeper where he got the books and finds out that they came from an estate sale dealer. The shopkeeper is happy to provide Guillaume with the dealers contact information and shoots the dealer a quick email.

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Black Venom Casefile -- Official Review (Part 1)

The investigating party (from here out referred to as the (Party) each received a text message from their Gotham Knight Investigations contact Gerald Schuler. The message is an offer of a job. Schuler requests to meet them at the agreed upon location at 10 pm Thursday evening.

Jonas Jones arrives an hour before the meet time. There are a number of patrons still at the diner. Jonus approaches the counter and requests to pay the outstanding bills of everyone present. The waitress is happy to ring out the total for him.

Twenty minutes before the meet time an exhausted looking Rufus Lynch arrives, chooses a booth in the rear of the diner and promptly falls asleep in his seat.

Clay Wells, Guillaume Gabbiani, and Ezekiel Frost (travelling incognito) arrive shortly before the meeting and almost at the same time. Guillaume is greeted by the party and, not for the first time, reminds them that they've all met him before even though they cannot place him.

Just after 10 pm Miss Ava O'Ferral arrives, dressed for a formal evening out, in a Roles Royce. The car parks out front and Ava's bodyguard opens the door for her but, per her instruction, waits with the car.

Schuler arrives and greets the waitress who hands him the keys to the diner and leaves the group to their meeting.

Schuler provides the party with Bus Tickets to Fenton, Reservations at a Local Motel, A Police Report of a brutal attack on a store clerk, and the autopsy report of said clerk. Schuler advised the party of where they are going and tells them that an old friend and former colleague of his and Kreed's has asked to have a case looked into. According to the police report, and surveillance footage from the convenient store, 63 year old high school math teacherArthur Jensen entered the store and during the course of stealing 24 cases of beer beat the store clerk to death for attempting to stop the theft.

Ava and Ezekiel are less than thrilled with the idea of a 21 hour bus ride from Gotham to Fenton, and instead opt for a faster method of travel. Ava returns home and tells her father she'll be taking the family helicopter up to the Hamptons for a weekend shopping trip. Meanwhile, Ezekiel informs his mother that he and some friends are going for a trip in one of the Wayne Enterprises company jets.

Most of the party ride with Ezekiel to the Wayne Enterprises private hanger at Gotham International airport. Jonus, however, chooses to take public transit and walk, stopping here and there to perform random acts of kindness for people along the way.

Once Jonus is aboard the party is in the air and make the trip to Bishop International Airport in Flint Michigan, from there a two hour car ride brings them to the small town of Fenton.

Despite having to stop to refuel, Ava and her ever present bodyguard, arrive in Fenton around the same time as the rest of the party. The bodyguard leaves Ava waiting at the landing site while he "procures" a vehicle for them and drives them the rest of the way into town. Ava is less than impressed with the small town charm of Fenton.

The party arrives at the Cadillac Motel, Fenton's best (and only) lodging. Ava's bodyguard drops her off and proceeds to find a place to park their newly acquired transportation out of sight of passerbys or the authorities.

Clay heads inside and acquires keys for each of the party's rooms while the other wait outside. As Clay returns and passes out keys the party hears the roar of powerful engines as six chopper motorcycles roll into the parking lot, each carrying a grotesquely overweight biker in extremely tight fitting jeans, t-shirts, and leather vests.

The bikers drop their bikes smashing to the ground and charge the party head on.

The party are forced to defend themselves. While the rest of the party is distracted by the Bikers Ezekiel takes the opportunity to step back a few feet and use his fey heritage to veil himself, disappearing from sight. Clay, Ava, Jonas, and Guillaume are forced to defend themselves in more traditional ways as Rufus uses his innate magic to create a momentary wall of asphalt to stop the Biker charging down on him.

Ezekiel, now unseen, produces a technically legal (in some states) high voltage taser that he procured previously at great expense to zap one of the bikers, putting him down. Rufus continues to use "subtly" use magic to unbalance his opponent while Jonas goes toe to toe with the biker attacking him. Ava and Clay resort to their guns; Ava pulling a modified, silenced derringer-like pistol from her clutch while Clay opts for his (MUCH) noisier, unsilenced .44 Magnum. Guillaume is put on the defensive by the sheer might of the biker.

Rufus gets caught off guard by one of the Bikers and is thrown 20 feet onto the grass, spilling his coffee all over himself in the process. Very angry, mostly at losing his caffeine source, Rufus retaliates by shaping the parking lot into a wave of asphalt sending the Biker that attacked him flying over a privacy fence to land, smashing a car in the adjoining parking lot. The Biker seems to stay down.

Guillaume, unable to regain his footing after the initial charge, decides it's time to put some distance between himself and the Biker. He runs through the Motel's main office and up onto the second floor landing. Unfortunately, the Biker follows him, with disastrous effects on the Motel's main office.

Clay, Ava having Garroted the Biker trying to smash his skull, takes careful aim and kneecaps the Biker chasing Guillaume, sending him stumbling sideways and plummeting to the concrete below. Dead.

Moments after death the bodies of all of the dead bikers begin to convulse and foam a green liquid from their mouths. As suddenly as it began it ends and six disgustingly bloated bikers lay dead in a cheap Motel parking lot.

Clay, performing his civic and responsible duty, contacts the authorities immediately. Jonas goes to check on the Motel manager who came stumbling out of the carnage of his office and Ezekiel appears as if just returning from the restroom asking "What did I miss?" Ava's bodyguard comes squealing to a halt out front and they both hightail it before the cops show up.

The Fenton Sheriff's department respond in force. They "detain" the party for questioning while they try to sort out what has transpired. After almost an hour Sheriff Allen Jessup arrives on scene and apologizes for the party being held up. He chats with them, his main concern being, did they know or have any previous dealings with these bikers. The party introduces themselves and reveals who they are and that they've just arrived in town. Jessup recognizes them and hadn't expected them until the next day at the earliest. Bringing up an interesting point in the process, How did the Bikers know where to find them?

One of the deputies reports to the party that he recognizes one of the Bikers from a tattoo on the corpses' arm. While the party is observing the tattoo the corpse of Jimmy (the dead biker) seems to return to life, grabbing Ezekiel by the leg. (And causing him to jump only a little.) The deputies call for EMTs to immediately try to resuscitate Jimmy. The corpse groans out an eerie sound as a solid wave of hundreds of thousands of tiny spiders rush from the corpses' gaping maw. The other five bikers follow suit a moment later.

One of the EMTs, caught completely off guard, stumbles and is engulfed by the moving wave of spiders as many of the deputies forget their training and begin panic firing into the mass of moving spiders. Jonas rushes forward and bodily pulls the EMT from overwhelming wave, depositing both of them onto the roof of the nearest ambulance. Ezekiel flees from the oncoming mass.

Rufus calls on his magic, causing hundreds of holes to open in the asphalt parking lot before closing them again, turning the whole field into a fairly effective spider grinder. Clay scrambles onto the roof of the ambulance with Jonas and the EMT, producing a small canister grenade from somewhere on his person. He pulls the pin and lobs it into the remaining mass of spiders. Everyone is relieved when the grenade starts spewing bug-fogger rather than exploding in a hail of shrapnel and spider parts.

The remainder of the spiders flee into the grass and under the privacy fence separating the parking lots. A layer of dead spiders covers the parking lot along with a great dead of squished spider mass from Rufus' spell. Rufus, having spend a good deal of his magical energy, climbs into the back of Ezekiel's SUV and promptly falls asleep.

Meanwhile, across town Ava and her bodyguard, having patched Ava up as best they could without going to a hospital, sit in a quaint local diner having a passable lunch.

The Sheriff asks to speak to the party privately and reveals that he realizes something REALLY strange just happened and demanded to know what was going on. The party explained to the best of their ability but had little pertinent information. The Sheriff tells the party they will have full access to investigate the case, within the confines of the law, and that they can start out at the precinct where they can speak to Arthur Jensen and he can pull up any pertinent information on the Breakers Biker Gang and why they might want the party dead.

Since the party's current lodging (and the only motel in town) is closed for the foreseeable future the Sheriff tells them they can bring their belongings to the precinct until the department can find another place for them to stay. Before that however the party opts to obtain sustenance at a local diner. Jonas prefers to walk, or rather run at preternatural speed, to the diner where he once again opts to pay for all of the outstanding bills. He then proceeds to sit, uninvited, at Ava's table and fill her in on what she missed out on.

The rest of the party arrive in short order. They sit and rest while Clay has conversations with both Rufus and Jonas regarding their use of their supernatural talents in front of normal people. In both cases, it was less than well received.

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