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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:25 pm

"Nice work people!" Jorelon beamed as the... thing seemed to melt back into the stone it came from. Elric's mouth only tightened into a distracted grimace.

"What's wrong?" The ever-observant elf asked cautiously. Elric simply stepped silently back into the room and poked around the area with his sword. The creature had melded back into the stone and whatever was left was simply gone.

"Hmmm??" Elric answered snapping back to the present. "I don't know.... I.... I'm not...

"Let's just... Keep on our toes." The elf simply nodded at the unnecessary advice and went to the next door.

Elric was confused... What the arm showed him, made no sense. Dead magic... Not dead magic... Items had all gone dead, even their 'Whispers' weren't working... Why could he still see magical emanations here and there... Not for the first time, and undoubtedly not the last, he really wished Therogeon was here to make sense of this mystic 'stuff'.... Kaldric would have worked in pinch too...

About now, he'd even settle for old Halimvor.

The next room contained an dropped unlit torch. Adaldo seemed to believe that others had been through here, but Elric noticed nothing unusual.

They searched for any sign of other traps... but the room seemed safe enough. Finally they approached the next door.

The next room had a set of double doors to the south, and a single door to the east. A broken sphere lay shattered and lying on the ground. Old magic still glittered in Elric's eyes as he looked at the strange thing.

"Any ideas?" he asked as he took a wide berth around it.

"This looks familiar." Jorelon said as he picked up a broken fingernail sized stone.

"Ioun stone" Adaldo answered. Seeing the confused look on Elric's face. "Mages use them to increase their power.... Some make you smarter. Some store spells... I'm not entirely surprised to find some in the 'gem-mages' vaults.

"This one's inactive though... probably why it's been left behind."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:22 pm

"Hold on to it," Ashara suggested. "A seemingly broken ioun stone may still retain some of its magic." Her eyes swept over the large double doors. "Guess we'll find out when we get out of here."

A gentle sigh masked the tension that was building in her muscles. It was close... She could almost smell it, and while normally that knowledge alone would be enough to spur her on, there were a lot of unknowns in this particular battle. Too many unknowns!

They were conjecturing that their enemy was alhoon. They knew of the molydeus, and Ashara was now firmly convinced that in their first encounter with it, that it was being controlled as the mezzoloth had been. "Soon you'll all belong to me..." "You steal MY puppets..." The words that the molydeus had threatened them with all made more sense coming out of the mouth of the ilithilich. THAT frightened her! This thing was powerful enough to dominate such a demon that was nearly immune to all forms of magical attack. More evidence of psionics...

Thank Lathander for the Arm of Valor! At least Elric would be safe from mental intrusions, she thought, and that gave her no small amount of comfort.

Ashara clasped her jeweled holy symbol in her hand and breathed a short prayer. Its light had been put out, and she was certain the divinely imparted enchantment on it had been as well. A gift from the Morninglord to help ensure she would never fall victim to a mind affecting curse again. It would have come in handy down here... But the magic wasn't gone, she reminded herself. Just suppressed.

Suppressed...

"Elric," his wife asked softly, afraid to speak too loudly in this place, "you said you could still see the magic on Tirtero's sword, yes? What about Dawnspeaker? What about my holy symbol?

"It seems pretty clear that this isn't a classic dead magic zone. Maybe our enemy has found a way to use the Mythal to suppress the magic in this area...the Machine perhaps...and is slowly expanding it."

Ashara shook her head. Not like there was much they could do about that problem at the moment, but they knew someone who would be terribly interested in that information if it were true...

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:03 pm

The half-elf shrugged as he stared intently at the holy symbols. With a confused look he simply nodded questioningly.

"Remember when we tried to destroy the Shade's axe?" He said as the scene flashed past his eyes. "The magic was making it indestructible... but when Therogeon took it in the Anti-magic shell... we thought we had shot."

Truth was he was still a bit confused at the result there. They had stripped it of it's protective enchantments. Then they had bombarded it with all the destructive magic they had. The result... There was a MASSIVE explosion. Therogeon was nearly destroyed... Killed may not have been an apt enough description there... Destroyed would be better. At the end of the day though... the axe was gone. Whether destroyed or simply 'taken' by Shar was a matter of some debate to this day.... but it was more than they had been able to do without the anti-magic...

"I don't believe Dawnspeaker is in that kind of jeapordy melamin... It... The enchantments are still THERE... in SOME form or other... Same with my ring and the holy symbols...

"Why they aren't working... THAT I have no answers to....."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:01 am

"Let's just get this over with then... Once our job is done here, then we can leave it to the mages to figure out the whys and hows."

Ashara set her jaw and squeezed Elric's shoulder before making room for those who would take point. It was frustrating not knowing exactly what was going on, but sometimes you just have to act on faith. Or at very least beat something until the frustration was vented. Lathander sent them down here with the tools to stop this thing and that's exactly what they were going to do! For her part, she intended on getting a little frustration out in the process...

She wondered with a grin, if she wasn't still being influenced by the half elf's personality from last year's Memory Read.

"Suggestions on which passage we should take, Adaldo?" The priestess turned to the elf, a tiny smirk playing on her lips. "I think if I were an ilithilich mastermind bent on domination and the amassing of wealth, I would definitely be behind some big double doors in my secret underground lair..."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:22 am

Elric grinned as Adaldo nocked an arrow. Unlike some, this door didn't swing right open. With unspoken Agreement, Tirtero stepped up and both he and the half-elf threw their weights into the ancient barrier. It swung open with a crash.

"That could have gone quieter." Tirtero muttered under his breath.

"Could have been louder too." Elric disputed as he gazed down the long corridor.

"I doubt that..." Adaldo said with a cringe. Bowstring held taut, he seemed almost eager for a sign of movement. "Let's move..."

"Hold on!" Elric said swinging his arm out to stop the others from passing him. "I don't like this..."

The long corridor was lined with twelve stone statues of wizards on one side, and sorceress' on the other, their arms raised as if casting spells. They faced inward, nearly 10' apart, and virtually BURNED with magic.

"This... this is a bad hallway." He said after a moments examination. "Those things are designed to keep people from getting down there..." He said indicating the far door.

"But... Dead magic? Your seeing the enchantments that are still there right?" Adaldo asked scanning the room but seeing nothing more ominous than the rest of them did. "Do you think they still work?"

"I don't know..." He said cautiously...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:57 am

From Ashara's perspective, in the meager torchlight they had, the end of the great hall was simply swallowed by blackness. It made the statues that emerged from it to line the walls just that much more intimidating. She really missed her infravision...

Following a little grimace, the priestess spoke up. "If all the death wards and explosive runes In the burial chambers of the two mages we visited weren't functional, than I'd like to think that these aren't either.

"I'd like to think that anyway. We may want to be more concerned about mundane traps that could have been included in the protections here. You know...falling into pits of infernal blackness and all, or the ceiling caving in. That would really ruin our day."

Ashara stepped up closer to the entrance of the hall and peered in intently, daring anything to move.

"I volunteer myself to take point on this one. Since casting isn't an option, I may as well be good for something, and we can't risk losing..." she pointedly glanced toward the Arm of Valor, "our advantage."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:53 am

Blood drained from his face as the half-elf's lips pressed tightly together. A slight twitch was the only emotion he showed as Ashara moved to the front of the line. He wanted to stop it. Having already sampled some of the gem-mage's traps, he'd had not intention of his heavily armored and mildly encumbered wife chancing similar pitfalls. However, she'd put him on the spot.

The 'arm' was too valuable to lose, that was a fact. The others were nearly as encumbered as she was... There was no magic, so the old adage of keeping 'the healer' safe didn't apply... and even if there was magic.... they had two other morninglords with them. The five of them were a team, supposed to share the risks and dangers equally, and the only reason he had to rebuke her offer was pure and total selfish favoritism.

That was almost enough.

After a few moments of awkward silence more than it should have, he finally nodded. "Just, be careful Love ... " he whispered as she walked past him.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:29 pm

"Amin karnuva sina de a'lle <I will make this up to you>," she replied softly, as she met his eyes only briefly.

Ashara was hardly unaware of the difficulty of his agreement. It was like watching your heart go walking around outside of your body and directly into harm's way. For her, it was entirely too familiar a sensation...

Peering once more into the blackness, she turned behind her and motioned toward Jorelon. "Mind if I borrow your torch, brother? I'm going to need you all to give me a bit of space, and I seem to have left my infravision in my other cloak."

The Seeker scowled. "Fine, but if you get yourself killed, I'll be seeing you shortly in the Halls." He pushed the torch into her waiting grasp. "The Abbess will have our hides if anything happens to you, you know that right? She has not mellowed with age if you catch my meaning!"

Ashara feigned a pained expression. "A little faith would be nice brother... You can tell her I twisted your arm."

"Won't matter..." Grumbling, the priest fell back in line.

Hearing Elric start to fidget a bit, she realized that maybe the tongue-in-cheek discussion of potential death may have been pushing her luck, so Ashara wasted no more time and moved into the hall.

The looming statues cast eerie shadows in the dancing torchlight, but none of them jumped out to meet her as she slowly made her way between them. No explosions, no gouts of flame, no collapsing ceilings... Not yet anyway! The priestess, though still checking every nook and cranny of every block of stone, was feeling a bit better about their safety in this particular area.

With her companions following about a dozen feet behind her, Ashara continued to pick her way along with torch in hand and shield at the ready.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:18 pm

His heart pounded in his ears, as he watched Ashara moving down the hallway. Ever alert eyes never left her. Then Adaldo called out about the secret door to his left.

"Ashara... Hold on a moment." He called as she approached the halfway mark. He turned to watch the elf's dexterous fingers find the hidden latch and spring the door open. "Anything interesting?" he started to ask, when all hell broke loose.

The double doors behind them, slammed shut hard. Jorelon turned immediately but couldn't get them to budge. "Trouble!" the priest yelled out in vain. Elric pointed towards the secret door, but Adaldo cried out at the same time that the passage in front him was not the safe refuge the half-elf had hoped for. Inside, struggling to get at the elf were two gargoyles.

"Magic needed over here!!" The Elf cried as he tried to force the door shut.

Elric spun toward Ashara and the far side of the hall, the only potential escape... but stopped suddenly in his tracks. Where the hall was once empty save for the statues... that was no longer the case. The double doors stood wide open and there was a small horde ready to greet them. Four humans... Obviously the remnant of a former adventuring party. Still alive as far as he could tell... at least they weren't the obviously reanimated remains that they had fought earlier. All three held weapons comfortably in their hands, but Elric's stomach turned when he saw the markings of Lathander on two of them. One wore chain and held a mace similar to Jorelon's... the other was decked out full in plate mail and carried a large sword. A paladin... a paladin of Lathander... Dull listless eyes were starting to look familiar to the half-elf after so long in the city....

Behind them was the one they'd been expecting. Ancient mauve skin, once slimy and wet, was now dry and cracked. Pale dull eyes watched them as if bored, and three withered tentacles flailed around where it's mouth should be. The fourth.. seemed to have been lost years ago. The alhoon had finally arrived... and had not arrived alone. Behind him... breathing heavily and with the scars of their earlier battle barely healed, stood the molydeus.

"That is as far as you go morninglords.." a wispy voice seemed to echo through the room... or perhaps through their minds. "I grow weary of your interference."

Elric didn't have a chance to shout a warning as he saw electrical energy spark all around them bouncing from one to the next, as the undead monstrosity tried to end the battle immediately.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:17 pm

The stench of ozone filled both lungs and nostrils of the priestess as she opened her mouth in a silent scream of agony. Lightning ripped through her body, arching around her metal-encased frame. Electrocution was becoming more common than she would've hoped and while the bandit wizard in the forest had stung her with his magic, this...this was something altogether more powerful!

Teeth chattered. Armor rattled. Then a voice echoed in their minds; the now familiar whispery voice ordering his minions to attack!

It was only then, as the mindlessly obediant human thralls began to move toward them, that Ashara saw the holy symbols still displayed boldly on the chests of both priest and paladin as if in mockery of Lathander himself.

"No..."

Horrified, she gurgled out the word over numbed tongue and dropped the torch, reaching into the satchel containing Kaldric's alchemical weapons.

First the Hawksong, now the faithful of Lathander? The only thing that mitigated her rage at that moment, was fear. They were trapped. As she looked upon their enemy, the impossibly powerful demon at his side, and the dominated contingent, Ashara couldn't help but wonder if she'd ever see the dawn again on this plane.

Perhaps she wouldn't, but she was going to help see to it that this thing never did either!

A vial of freezing air was heaved over the front line, to break at the rotting feet of the ilithilich, immediately transforming all moisture in a nine foot area into shards of ice. Frost crawled over the enemy and three of his guards. While Ashara hated harming those innocents, this was no time to be holding back...

The paladin of Lathander came rushing at her, long sword poised to strike and the grim-faced priestess set her shield to receive it.

Everything erupted in a cacophony of sound. Crossbows fired, glass shattered, steel rang against steel and Adaldo shouted for assistance as he tried desperately to hold close the secret door so that the gargoyles didn't get the opportunity to join the fray.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:03 pm

Elric's teeth ground together as his muscles convulsed. Ashara had taken the first blast of the lightning... but he'd been following close behind. The plan was a simple one. His job was to take out the Alhoon. He was the only one protected from psionic control... Ashara would distract the demon till he could come back...

That was the plan.

The plan changed fast.

The Alhoon staggered forward with tentacles flailing, but despite what it had appeared... the lightning had not originated from the lich. Invisible and lurking in the corner, was a form that the half-elf had known all too well. None who had been in Evereska that summer would ever forget it. The power of the arm showed him what the true puppet master was.

Phaerimm.

Ancient.... Powerful... Each of the cone-shaped creatures could challenge an archmage without concern. Even the chosen of Mystra spoke of them with respect. Always seeking magic for their own purposes, the presence of a Phaerimm answered many questions... but raised so many more.

"Little help here!!!" Adaldo cried as he slammed his shoulder into the stone door, trying for all his elven frame to brace it against the oncoming gargoyles.

Elric's heart sank. The Phaerimm alone would have been an epic battle. The Champion's had already seen two dead, but they had an elven army backing them at the time. That experience only deepened the growing pit in his stomach. Phaerimm . Molydeus. Alhoon. Any of the three was bad. All three at once... with no magic...

He heard Adalado cry out, and knew what the elf needed. He needed a magic weapon. Elric also knew that he possessed the only one that worked. Adaldo needed him to kill the Gargoyles, Ashara needed him to kill the Illithid. HE wanted to kill the Molydeus. But the Phaerimm was the true threat.

Torn, he tried to shut out his elf companion's call. It went against everything he was to ignore and ally like that. He heard Tirtero add his muscle to the task of keeping the door shut... One more of their team on the sidelines...He hoped it would be enough.

Like it or not, they would have to make do without him for a moment. Breaking into a sprint, he raced toward his target. Leveling his mystical arm he fired a blast of pure force from it, slamming into the thornback and knocking it to the ground.

Phaerimm are conical little tornado shaped creatures... with the wide end a gaping maw of razor teeth. Four arms grow out of it's head, and it's tail is a deadly barb that inject eggs into the unlucky host. As such, it is difficult to read 'facial expressions' on the creatures... but as the gloating thornback's invisibility failed to protect it, Elric memorized every muscle spasm for future reminiscing.

If there was a future of course.


*********************************************************


It was here... It had seen him!! Zix scuttled across the floor after the punch had slammed him. This was inconceivable. This place was HIS! He had worked too long... to hard to be stopped now!!

Who were these morninglords... who was this half-breed??

How was he doing what he was doing! The half-breed had MAGIC!! Powerful magic... something unbound by the mythal... He had to HAVE it!!

Silently he moved his pawns into place. The master of magic made a decision then. He was more interested in stopping the unknown then he was about keeping his promises.

"Kill him!" the silent command went out. "Kill them all.... but Bring me that ARM!!!!"

Besides... they could always be brought back as undead....


******************************


Before Elric could press the advantage, the puppets obeyed their master's commands. Swords and maces came flying in, and before the half-elf could react he was surrounded by minions. The two fighters swung wildly, but never came close.

The Molydeus even came in for a piece of the action. He stepped in front of the wounded Phaerrim and took up a defensive pose. If the warrior wanted the grub dead... he had to deal with it first.

Sensing more than seeing, he heard Ashara fighting the paladin. Under normal circumstances, he'd have liked to take that burden from her... fighting her own brethren was hard enough, but those without control of their actions... However he had to be honest, his plate was a bit full at the moment. One more fighter may be one fighter too many for him...

As he blocked and parried, he desperately tried to call out the true nature of the threat.

"IT's not...." was as far as he got before a spinning mace slammed into his gut dropping him to one knee. Ironically, he was had enough sense left about to him to notice that the strike seemed familiar. Ashara had used the same move on him in the past during training. Though... not with such 'gusto.'

Apparently this mysterious morninglord had common training with Ashara's own mentor, Josiah...

Which was as far as he was able to let that thought go, before five beams of mystic force shot from the Phaerimm and tore through him.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:29 am

Without reservation or emotion, the expressionless paladin rained blows down upon the shield which Ashara was successfully keeping between herself and that sword. It broke her heart to see what had been done to this man. This defender and promoter of the faith... It was far too similar to what had been done to her, but fortunately there was no time to dwell on such thoughts, for he was currently under the order to kill!

As the two would-be allies faced off, the alhoon suddenly lumbered into melee as well! Ashara nearly smiled when the true subject of her ire approached. If they could kill it, then there would be no need to fight the Lathanderian thralls since their mind control would be broken!

But something wasn't right...

The Champions had met a few illithid before, never an undead one, but still she had enough experience with intelligent undead to realize that something about this creature was off. Why would it wade into battle instead of attack from afar with psionics, magic and thralls? There was no need for it to put itself in that kind of danger, not when it could have just hidden behind the hulking molydeus! In spite of her doubts, Ashara wasn't about to look a gift-squid in the tentacle.

With the paladin pressing the attack, she could only parry the withered hand that reached out for her, and though she was successful in that particular deflection, the true attack, three writhing, dessicated tentacles shot out towards her face! Two of them struck solidly home.

They were unnaturally cold, slimy and smelling of rot, and one tentacle began worming its way through her eye socket and over the eyeball in search of brain, while the other took an alternate route through her right ear, punching through the ear drum. Nearly crippling agony rolled over her and Ashara's scream reverberated through the narrow kill zone.

There wasn't much time, and she was desperate. At that moment she didn't care if she killed herself in the process, but she was not going to have her brain eaten by this thing!! Sightlessly the priestess dropped the cold iron mace, fumbled for one of Kaldric's vials and upon grasping one, shoved it up into what she guessed was its mouth, and slammed it hard in the jaw. Glass shattered and bottled lightning arched around the alhoon's face as well as down her arm. It stung but Ashara hardly cared at that point. The creature absorbed the brunt of it and the two tentacles slackened, oozing out of the priestess's head.

Her right eye slowly filling with blood and now deaf and bloody in one ear, Ashara backed away, stunned herself for a moment but still somehow able to deflect another wicked slash from the paladin. Thankfully the companions weren't about to leave her to fight them on her own! Two arrows suddenly sprung from the alhoon's side. While elvish skill assured they hit solidly, the creature didn't react to the pain at all....instead, it mindlessly continued to pursue the kill.

Now Ashara was scared. Truly and legitimately scared for the lives of her friends...her husband! They'd missed some huge piece of the puzzle somewhere along the line because she realized only now that the alhoon itself was a thrall! By the DAWN! What had THAT kind of power!? She didn't see anything else here, so maybe the true puppet master was elsewhere in the dungeon.

The state of her ear prevented her from hearing the sound of the vial smashing at the creature's feet, but ice crystals suddenly formed again over the damp, withering skin, doing more damage to the decaying flesh. This wasn't over yet. Bolstering her courage, the priestess adopted a defensive stance and moved back in to do battle with the two thralls. If they were on her, then they weren't on her companions. She could at least hold on and give them some more time.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:02 am

Elric spun fast at the sound of her scream. A scream of agony the likes he'd never heard from her before, The sight of the tentacles crawling through her caused him to miss a step, and a blow to the head staggered him back to the floor.

Dazed he tried to desperately to shake the stars from his sight, and barely make a parry from one of the fighters. Suddenly he was blinded again as the lich leaped back from Ashara's lightning attack. She was safe enough for the moment...

Growling in fury he unleashed a torrent of blows on those around him. Face, elbows, knees, Any weakness he saw he struck at, but they still wore armor, and even his strongest blows rarely discounted the metal skin.

One warrior was head and shoulders better than the rest. He held a certain grace, a smoothness to his moves that persisted regardless of who was pulling the strings. Somehow the blasted Morninglord kept getting lucky. Or else he was pulling his punches...

Grim determination set in as he turned his more serious attentions toward the controlled priest. This time the blade came back red. The priest moved slower, but didn't seem to feel the new wounds.

Worse yet, the snapping of fangs that nearly hit him, quickly informed him that the Molydeus had joined the party...

********************************

Corded muscle braced against the door as Tirtero tried to keep the gargoyles back. He knew his place. His weapon wasn't magical here, and Adaldo would be more useful with his bow.

A heavy thud against the wall caused his feet to slip and quickly he scrambled back just in time.

One of the warriors looked familiar. He imagined they all probably should... but he paid little attention to those who came and went in this city... something he swore he'd rectify if he made it out of here. It was hard not to want to cross swords with his enemies... to stand here like a doorman... Even if it wasn't their fault, they still worked for the enemy. They still drew his allies' blood...

But, he knew his place...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:15 am

After all her training with Elric, Ashara was no slouch with a mace but battling multiple opponents was his forte not her own, and here in the dead magic zone without Dawnspeaker's power to aid her, that weakness was showing. The paladin wasn't so much the problem. He was a skilled fighter certainly, but he moved in predictable patterns that she could anticipate for the most part. The alhoon's melee attacks however, were totally alien. When the paladin slammed her with his shield, throwing her off balance, the lich side-stepped smoothly behind her and latched on to her head with all three of his tentacles!

Ashara twisted and flailed against the serpentine intruders that began to bore once again into her already susceptible eye and ear, all to no avail, while the third writhed into her mouth and began digging upward through her soft palate.

This time her scream was more of a gurgle...

As sudden as that strike had been, the priestess found herself free once more as lightning streaked from person to person without exception. The undead illithid slumped to the floor in true death and Ashara slumped to the floor feeling just this side of it herself.

Where had that come from?! The real threat, she assumed. The unknown enemy... It must be in the room with them, but between the chaos and the red haze of her eyes she couldn't see it. Did Elric know??

Through the fog she saw her beleaguered husband battling four opponents at once which normally wouldn't be much of a concern had it not been for the fact that one of those opponents was the molydeus himself. It was supposed to fall to her to keep the demon off of him so he could end this! The alhoon was dead...enemies were still enthralled and the entire plan had gone to the Abyss.

The priestess scrambled awkwardly to her feet, determined to salvage what she could of this mess. Shrugging off the lightning, the paladin pursued her. He ignored the wild, warding swings of the mace as she backed closer to the molydeus, and his sword found its mark once, drawing blood just before an arrow flashed past and sheered through his armor to pin his foot to the stone floor.

Thanks to Adaldo, Ashara was free from that threat for now, so she rushed in to gain the attention of another. She had to give her husband some breathing room. "Elric!" She cracked the molydeus in the hip with the cold iron, and rasped out his name as blood dribbled freely from her wounded mouth. "Alhoon was...just a thrall!"

She hoped he heard... Her voice sounded strangely muffled in her throbbing ears.

**************

The Chain Lightning rippled to the end of the hallway where the struggle to keep out the gargoyles raged on. Elric was the only one who could injure these things and by the looks of it, he had his hands more than full at the moment. The shock of electricity stunned Tirtero long enough to cost him some ground and the gargoyles shoved hard against the door, making just enough space for them to get their wicked claws through. The warrior cursed through gritted teeth. He knew he wouldn't be able to hold on much longer alone.

"I need some muscle here!" He shrieked toward Jorelon who was leveling a crossbow at Elric's less demonic opponents.

It was a female voice that spoke up. "Hope I'll suffice!" The mailed shoulder of Mairlen slammed into the stone door, lending aid to the struggling man.

"More than..." Tirtero cracked a hint of a grin as the pair barred the door, attempting to avoid the reaching claws as they bought precious seconds for their companions in the front.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:17 am

Quickly the warrior dove between the priest and one of the fighters, eager to catch the Phaerrim as it floated towards the door. The warrior was whirling dervish of fists and blade, but he was taking as good as he got. Once again he was able to parry away a deadly sword thrust only to take a mace in the ribs.

"That one hurt..." he admitted through gritted teeth as he wondered what was broken and what was just bruised. The momentary distraction cost him though as he felt large fangs pierce his shoulders and fling him into the air. He didn't fly high, but he was helpless for the moment it took for that massive battle axe to slam into his chest. The molydeus just grinned with two sets of mouths. A grin that didn't reach it's hollow eyes...

That should have killed him. Elric knew that instinctively as he crawled to his feet. whether his arm had deadened the blow, or just the grace of Tymora, he didn't know. But the front of his shirt was coated in blood now. Suddenly he wasn't altogether unhappy that there was no magic here... Somehow he knew if the demon had it's enchantments... he'd be dead now.

The axe wasn't his only concern. Once again, he'd taken a bite from the snake-head. The bite that turned mortals into demons... in time. He didn't know if he'd been infected or not... it didn't matter. He had to get to that Phaerimm!

A cry of frustration left his lips as the wounded thornback flitted to the door, and with a gesture floated to safety. Parrying another attack from one of the fighters, he turned back to the minions.

"Ok... We'll do this in order than...."

**********************************************************

"Get.... Back!!!" Tirtero cried as a claw scratched against his shield. He pushed as hard as he could, but could feel the door giving way.

Even with Mairlen's help he didn't think they'd hold back the creatures for much longer...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:31 am

Jorelon cursed loudly in pained frustration as another bolt flew wide and skittered off the stone walls. His fingers were simply not obeying him. The second blast of electricity from whatever had cast it, had done some serious damage to the young priest and had left his hands numb and trembling. He was outclassed by these opponents and he wasn't too proud to admit it. Actually, he had some concerns that all of them might be outclassed in this situation, but if the Everdawns had achieved half of the accomplishments that they claimed to have, then they'd be making it out of here. And he was going to be here to see it happen, by jove!

But not like this. In this condition he wasn't of much use with a weapon.

"Mair!" Jorelon called out as he rushed to take her place at the secret door. At the very least, he could push, and while the gargoyles were slowly making their way out of the passage, they weren't out yet!

"Get some of the heat off Elric," he instructed his old friend, "I'll help hold these guys off!"

********

Ashara swung her cold iron mace furiously at the molydeus, desperate to try to get its attention off of Elric but the demon had apparently taken exception to their earlier battle and the wounds which it still bore. Her nightmares flooded her mind again. The snake-head struck him a second time in the back. Black poison oozed freely from the wounds. And that axe...

The salk-sirra master was weaving and spinning avoiding every strike now that the human thralls chanced at him and dealing them out liberally in return, but the demon was a different story. Its aim was true. When Elric went flying, the priestess' heart sunk in her chest thinking that it was over right then, but somehow he managed to scramble to his feet after the wicked blow. In spite of his legendary endurance, she knew that Elric wouldn't be able to take another shot like that and walk away.

Fear and desperation drove her to more drastic measures in order to save her husband, and in doing so...save them all. Dropping the dwarven shield to the ground, Ashara threw herself onto the back of the molydeus, climbing it like the old gnarled tree at the back of the Rosemorns' house in Impresk. It reeked of death and blood. Whether that was its own stench or the company it kept, she didn't know or care but unfortunately her sense of smell was one of the only senses that she yet had a good command of.

With mace in hand, Ashara held a precarious perch on its back near its shoulders and lashed out at the canine head with one of the few weapons that had that could injure it. She prayed it would be enough...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:33 am

***************************************************

Adaldo grinned in spite of the horrific situation around them as the paladin tried to yank his leg free of his arrow... and failed. When the Elf stuck someone, they stayed stuck!

Unfortunately he was still to dangerous for the archers tastes. He didn't want to kill if he could avoid it, but fortunately for someone of his skill, he didn't often NEED to. Quickly nocking another arrow he fired at the armored wrist swinging the sword.

Unfortunately for all his other sins, pride was towards the top. The arrow went wide, and the paladin kept trying to hit the priestess dangling precariously on the demon.


*******************************************************

Mairlen however, was having little more luck than Jorelon had. Foregoing the sling or crossbow, the priestess went straight for her most powerful tool. Water blessed by Lathander.

Few things could actually hurt the Molydeus... Holy water could. Not by much.... but every little bit helped. When it hit. Unfortunately Mairlen had rarely been in a situation THIS dire, and her aim faltered. The vial smacked against the armored back of the priestess clinging to the demon, and not the demon itself.

*****************************************

Ashara's assessment of Elric was fairly accurate. He was in trouble and he knew it. He was now out of reach of the demon, but the two mortals were still pressing him hard.

The enchanted arm swatted back and forth parrying powerful strikes and returning the blows with interest. His arm was hanging limp and bleeding freely, but that was the least of his troubles. If Ashara's didn't distract the beast well enough... he'd be lucky if he didn't just lose the arm. If she DID draw it's attention too long, he may well lose more than that!!

He saw in horror as the Molydeus reached back and tried to grab his wife those rending claws, and even the snake head spun around trying to snap down on her. Dwarven armor held strong though as she clung stubbornly on.

Fury pushed him on as he swatted away a fighters longsword and stabbed out at the morninglord. This time the blade came back a lot redder then it went in, and despite whatever domination was forcing him on... this time he collapsed to the ground and lay very still...

Without sparing time for a thought to the deceased, Elric turned his attention back to the two fighters still coming in...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:28 am

For better or for worse, Ashara had gotten exactly what she'd asked for. The full attention of the molydeus was focused on her and now she just had to stay alive! That would be the tricky part...

The snarling dog head didn't have the mobility to reach around and snap at her, but that snake head had no issue at all, as it darted in repeatedly with fangs dripping that insidious black venom. Clinging for her life to the back of the demon's breastplate, Ashara desperately parried the incoming strikes while bludgeoning the canine head again and again. She knew she couldn't kill it. Even wounded as it was, without her spells or Dawnspeaker (neither of which would likely work on this monster anyway) she was essentially thwacking a giant over the head with a little stick. But the young morninglord knew her place. It was to give her allies the best chance for survival. While normally this meant using her divinely granted spells, today it meant being a pesky fly on a hulking demon's back! Whatever was necessary.

A sharp crack and subsequent snarl told Ashara she'd found a sweet spot with her cold iron mace, but the minor victory was short lived as she felt large fangs punch through the mithril chain at her joints. Her shoulder burned cold from the injected poison. The demon thrashed and grabbed at her, but somehow she kept her hold on it and swung again, connecting less solidly this time, but still...connecting.

So violent was the battle to keep her seat and her wits about her, Ashara hardly registered the gash she took at the back of her leg from the paladin's sword.

**********

Adaldo took aim once more. Frustrated by his previous failed shot but remaining ever cool, the elf set his sharply angled jaw, inhaled a quick breath then loosed the arrow on the exhale, sending the shaft hurtling through the flesh and bone of the dominated paladin's wrist. There was no cry of pain, but the sword clattered to the stone floor too far away for the pinned man to reach.

Allowing himself a little smirk of pleasure, he carefully picked out his next target.

********

Things were not going so well at the secret door. Though the gargoyles still hadn't managed to rake either of the men that were trying to pin them in, Tirtero was quickly being worn to exhaustion as the creatures pushed relentlessly forcing the door open inch by inch as the strength of the weaker humans gave way. They couldn't hold them back much longer...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:21 pm

A whistling sound caught Elric's ear. Faster than should have been possible, he spun around and repositioned and enemy between them. Mairlen's stone flung true and smacked hard into one of the fighter's head staggering him to the side. Elric spun around and swept his legs out from under him, while swinging his sword hard at his partner.

The cold iron blade dug deep into the side of the fighter, but the warrior gave as well as he got. A cry of pain escaped the half-elf's lips as the blade cut into flesh. He staggered a bit himself as he heard a rustling to his left. The phaerimm had returned!

The burns it had taken from Ashara's initial attack had faded and it looked as primed an healthy as any they had encountered in Everska. Four arms dancing in magical gestures no human could physically compensate for it didn't take long for Elric to feel the mystical energy wash over him.

How this thing was casting magic, he didn't know. Nor did he pretend to understand the full ramifications of it... but he felt his mind deaden and fog for a moment before fear rippled through him. It had sworn to use him as a puppet... a sad puppet in his condition to be sure... but he may still be able to hurt his friends... but the ones who made the Arm of Power had their own paranoia about it's power falling into the wrong hands. As the domination struggled to seep into his mind, he felt a surge of power explode from the armor and shattering the powerful spell.

The conical monster hissed in fury. "Hooooooooooow!!!!!!" the windsong echoed determinedly in their brains.

*************************************

"Phaerrim!!" Tirtero screamed out at the sudden appearance of the new enemy. That would explain why the minions were still fighting after the alhoon had dropped. Though not how it had controlled them to begin with...

"Stay close to it's puppets!! don't let it get a clear shot aaaaghhh....." the warrior grunted as the door gave way, and a stone claw crashed against his armor.

"INCOMING!!" He called in warning as the first of the Gargoyles made it's way into the room. This was NOT where he wanted to be. Knowing that his weapon wouldn't hurt them, he quickly adopted a defensive stance and hoped he could stall them long enough to matter...
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Post  Penelope on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:40 pm

Tirtero's shout cut through the din of battle and the dull pounding of blood in Ashara's one good ear. Then the howl of rage echoed in her mind. Phaerimm... The word alone was enough to make her blood run cold. It also brought back the few unpleasant memories of their honeymoon which they'd chosen to spend aiding the elves during the Siege of Evereska.

A hazel eye snapped up from the demon and toward the hideous funnel-like monstrosity that controlled it. The salk-sirra master had noticed the entrance without doubt and was already in fluid motion in that direction. The death of the phaerimm could end this fight immediately and if there was anyone up to the task of getting that done, it was her husband.

While it bolstered Ashara's hope to see the true enemy finally reveal itself and Elric rushing in to intervene, her distraction provided the molydeus the opportunity to strike true and sink snake fangs deeply into her shoulder...again, and nearly cost her her life when a huge clawed hand reached back to grab her, missing by less than inches. Too close. She still had to worry about the venom flowing through her veins of course, but if the molydeus got a hold of her...well...she wouldn't need to worry about turning into a demon...

********

At the other end of the hallway, as Tirtero and Jorelon defended themselves against the onslaught of gargoyle claws, Adaldo and Mairlen were reacting to the new and greatest threat that had entered the room.

Elvish arrows were nocked at loosed at impossible speeds, thrumming a single determined note as the shafts sped toward the phaerimm. More than one sunk deeply into its leathery hide.

Unfortunately for Mairlen, she had to maneuver to get a good shot on the thing. She was no archer, and couldn't thread missiles through multiple friendlies and hope to still strike the intended target, so the morninglord positioned herself to get a clear line of sight. Taking in hand the final vial of Kaldric's concoctions, she hurled it toward the gaping maw of the phaerimm and struck it solidly, shattering glass and splashing caustic acid all over the creature! How it howled as its flesh began to dissolve! Mairlen couldn't help a small cry of victory, so pleased she was to be the source of that pain, and she reached for her sling and bullets to see if she couldn't cause it a bit more.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:46 pm

Elric's sword slashed back and forth as the half-elf tried desperately to get to the monsters side. His heart leaped as he watched the arrows and acid strike home and he knew that he wasn't alone in the fight. Obviously the others had seen a target they could hurt and leaped at the chance. The two warriors steps faltered as the phaerimm howled in agony but soon they were again doing everything they could to hold back Elric from his target. A slash of his sword later, and there was only one in his way.

Tirtero heard Mairlen's shout of victory and raised his voice to join hers. That cry stopped as suddenly as it began.


***************************************************************

Zix was not pleased. Whatever these little vials were, they hurt. Badly. He still had the spells to heal himself, just as he'd done the last time he'd fled to the room beyond. That was merely and annoyance though. Back when he still had faith in his minions. Unfortunately they were dropping all around him. The Demon was still doing fine... though it hadn't done well last time he'd repelled these intruders.

Arrogance came as easily to phaerrim as breathing, as did rage. He decided then and there, that regardless of the cost they had taken on his army, none of them would be allowed to flee this time. First, the woman who had hurt him personally. A thin green beam shot from one of it's many hands to strike the young priestess full in the chest. The look of joyful excitement turned to confusion for just a moment. Then her body collapsed into a small cloud of dust and scattered at Adaldo's feet.

******************************************************

"NOOOOOOOOOOoooooo!!!!" Tirtero's cry broke the silence as his attention was diverted entirely to the wispy remains of what had been the object of his affections. The gargoyle cared little for the reasons however, and merely took advantage as the shield in front of him slumped in despair. Tirtero's next cry was one of pain as the stony claws ripped into his armor. The force of the blow sent the man spinning and Jorelon had no chance to keep the door shut on his own. Now both Gargoyles were in the fight!

Elric fared little better. His breath caught in his chest as he watched another ally simply die. There would be no debating this time... no loopholes or such. There was no coming back from disintegration and the cold chill of terror ran down his spine. As the remaining warrior slashed hard against his side, he realized that it may be a moot point. Mairlen's fate may soon be all of theirs. Or worse...

His hand snapped hard to the sword before it could be withdrawn. Elric grimaced as the sword jerked with the warrior's pull, but the Salk-sirra master wasn't finished yet. Stepping to the side, he twisted the sword out awkwardly, and drove his fist hard into the warrior's throat. A kick to the chest sent the man stumbling to the ground, leaving the path clear to the source of all their pain.
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Post  Penelope on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:59 pm

While her impaired vision prevented her from knowing exactly which target behind her the phaerimm had chosen, Tirtero's scream told her enough. It wasn't the first time she'd seen that terrible green beam. Once, down in Dagadar, the Shade had leveled it at her and the other was when Therogeon used it to great effect against the Most Hated Wyrm. Ashara had hoped never to see the horrific spell used again, for good or for ill...

There was hardly time to think about such things at the moment!

Hoping to help end this sooner rather than later, in one fluid motion the priestess slid the mace into her belt and reached into the satchel Kaldric had provided. Her target was the phaerimm. If it could be killed then the thralls might turn to their side and attack their former master! A quick peek between the molydeus' heads and Ashara attempted to toss the vial...almost successfully, as the demon reached back and finally was able to grab a hold of the tenacious woman.

The vial of lightning clattered to the ground harmlessly. She yelped in surprise and fear as the strong claw grabbed her by the plated shoulder and flung her hard to the ground at his feet. Suddenly, all the world was pain. Her head swam as it cracked violently against the stone floor and ribs were broken, but Ashara didn't cry out as she feared the distraction it might cause her husband. Blinking through a blood-filled eye, she saw the enormous demon hulking over her and raising that terrible axe, and honestly wondered if she'd ever see Elric again in this life.

********************

Adaldo was not a young elf. He'd seen death in so very many forms and living in Myth Drannor as he did...he saw it often. That didn't mean he didn't care, nor that having an ally turned to a cloud of dust in front of him didn't threaten to shake his stalwart spirit. No, what that meant was that it didn't deter him from from getting the job done.

There were two more combatants on the field now. Gargoyles which in their current magic dead area, he could do nothing about, so he trusted the two men to hold that threat back while he helped to deal with the one he could do something about!

Drawing back his bow, the elf loosed two more arrows into the body of the phaerimm, and quickly breaking line of sight as he put the molydeus between it and himself. Mairlen's death may not have deterred him, but that didn't mean he was going to stand there and hope he wouldn't get the same treatment...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:09 am

Elric fought hard to block the pain from his many, many wounds. Years of training helped, but he was in bad shape. His body wasn't responding as well or as quickly as he'd hoped.

Pushing through the difficulties he leaped at the hovering phaerimm slashing with all his might. Unfortunately 'thornback' was more than just a derisive nickname, the thick leathery hide was better protection than it looked. It didn't help that his sword was losing it's edge either.

Cold Iron had the added benefit of harming many fey or other planar creatures... however, that was it's only benefit. It was typically more brittle, and had a hard time keeping an edge. Maces and other bludgeoning weapons could sometimes work around that limitation... but finding a cold iron sword was a rarity in any country that had discovered steel. While magically created... this sword was not magically 'enchanted,' and he had put it through a lot of work today. Nicks and dull spots were beginning to show, and the added weight was throwing off his strikes.

Still... strikes were strikes! This was not the first thornback he'd helped kill and he knew a few things for certain. One: it would NOT run out of spells before they all shared Mairlen's fate, and Two: He could NOT let it cast!

That was harder than it sounded. Therogeon had tried explaining to him the how important the combination of material, somatic, and verbal components were. They younger half-elf was a poor student in that regard. He still didn't understand the connection between a finger wiggle and the ability to manipulate the basic forces of the universe. He just knew that it was necessary. Stop any of the three, and you stop the spell.

Or at least that was before Evereska. Phaerimm were quite simply better than Therogeon or any other mages for that matter. The used no verbal components, (not that their 'throat' was a viable target anyway), and they used no material components. Attacking the hands were an option, but as the Phaerimm had FOUR of them, even that wasn't as much a weakness as the average mage.

Still, Elric pressed on. Every time he saw a fingered claw move, he slashed at it with his sword, and every time he hit, another hand would start up.

As powerful as these creatures were in magic, Elric forgot that it wasn't the only tool they had. As one wiggling hand drew his attention high, a barbed tail shot out from beneath the conical monster and drove deep into the half-elf's gut.

Elric gasped in horror as he realized what he'd allow to happen. The tail barb was one of the worst things that could happen. He felt the Arm of Valor surge once as he resisted the paralyzing effects of the poison, but that was just one of three possibilities. Soon he felt his feet floating off the ground as he slowly started levitating in front of the creature.

Paralyze, Levitate helpless. These were the first two effects of the barb. The third was an egg that was sometimes implanted in a victim. He'd seen the results twice before... a small larvae that would grow quickly... A little tiny that Phaerimm that would eat it's way of his body in under a ten day...
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Post  Penelope on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:42 am

Hopelessness tugged at Tirtero's legs and pulled as if leaden weights had been fastened to his arms. Their end was all but assured in his mind, so why did he keep fighting? What was the point? His limbs responded to the mental despair, slowly dropping their defensive position, moving more sluggishly with every parry. One of the gargoyles easily found an opening, raking the warrior along the jawline with its wicked claws. Tirtero hardly reacted.

"Wake UP!" Jorleon shouted angrily as he battled beside him. "We've got this! They only need a little more time, so just pull it together! I need your help here!"

The Seekers never demanded Tirtero's service for all they'd done for him but he'd required it of himself. He owed them everything. After all, they saved his life, healed his wounds, showed him kindness...not just Mairlen, but a great many of them. Giving up now wouldn't honor her sacrifice nor those at the tower. Whether he was to live or die....whatever happened, Tirtero decided that here, today his self-proclaimed debt to the Seekers of the Dawn would be paid in full.

****************************************

At the other end of the hall, Ashara rolled to the side just in time avoid the bifurcating downward chop but wounded as he was, the molydeus showed no signs of slowing. Wrenching the axe from the stone floor, he struck at her in a descending angle hoping to split the vexing female shoulder to hip. She managed to get the mace up in front of her, deflecting the attack but it hit with such force that Ashara wasn't able to keep her grip on her weapon. The mace went flying, clattering against the wall to her left.

Weaponless, spell-less and shieldless, she scrambled backwards grasping for some holy water, but just as the molydeus...and possibly her doom...was upon her, it came to a sudden halt! The dull haze in his eyes lifted and it blinked in confusion.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:50 am

Adaldo watched in awe as his arrow thudded into the Phaerimm's thick hide. He immediately nocked another, but it wasn't necessary.

The archer watched as the hovering half-elf slashed his iron sword with desperate fury. Three solid strikes in the time it took between bow shots. One pierced a clawed hand that was grasping for him, the next sliced the barbed tail off with a screeching wail... the final cut sliced the master of all things mystical from tail to gaping mouth. It hovered a few moments in shocked silence before plopping unceremoniously to the ground.

"They're out!!" Jorelon shouted, drawing the elf's attention. The spell was broken. The puppets had their minds back... and the gargoyles just woke up in a place they didn't want to be. Whether it was the chaotic violence all around them, or simply recognizing the presence of the Molydeus would be debated often. Regardless of the cause, the gargoyles had enough of this fight and scurried back through the secret door.

"ASHARA!!!" The priest called as he recognized the peril his new friend was in. "Let's GO!" he slapped Tirtero on the shoulder, pushing him toward the confused demon. The morninglord only paused a moment to scoop up the cold iron mace that had been stripped from Ashara.

Adaldo saw recognition and anger in the twin glares of the demon. Despite the presence of iron weapons... despite the confusion it was feeling... This Molydeus did not flee from a battle. The fact that it had actually been controlled... was an indignity SOMEONE was going to pay for!

All this was registered as he dropped his arrow and reached for the cold iron arrows in the quiver. Now that the telepath's were gone... he could help with the new biggest bad guy!

Elric however, could do little. While the phaerimm was dead, the poison... or spell... or whatever caused the half-elf to levitate was very much active. He desperately tried to move towards his imperiled wife, but to no avail. He saw one move that may be of help...

"Tirtero!! SWORD!!!"

The warrior looked up from his charge and saw Elric hurl his blade towards him. A grim smile crossed his face as he swatted it from the air and scooped it up. Elric's Armor made this sword magical... But against the Molydeus, it only needed to be Iron!

Suddenly a suicide charge held a glimmer of actual hope.
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