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Autumn 1372

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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:51 am

Ashara was likewise winded, though she suspected that the half-elf's gasping was more for her own benefit. She had a fair chance of keeping up with him in a sprint over level ground, but there was no way she should've beaten him on the stairs, that much she knew. The thought of calling him out on his deception flitted through her mind but only briefly. She enjoyed the game too much.

"Different?" The priestess' mouth turned up in a cocksure grin. "Are... Are you sure, Yaaraer? Perhaps next time I shouldn't slow up for you then... But you're well advanced in years now so I thought I would be kind!"

With her eyes sparkling in excitement and merriment, Ashara put her hand atop her husband's and pushed open the door to the top of the Dawnspire.

Rosy light flooded from the room washing the Everdawns in spirit-warming radiance. It was as if they'd stepped out of the cold, dark hallway and onto a warm, sunny beach. The light of the Dawnstone tingled over her skin and Ashara did the same thing she'd done every time she approached the holy relic. Close her eyes and take a deep, relaxing breath. To be before the Endless Dawn was to be at peace. To be home.

It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the brightly shining sphere in the center of the room, but when it did she found the Everdawn blade hovering there just above the altar as it had been for the previous ten days. Nothing appeared to have changed.

Ashara knelt in her usual position before the altar and briefly brushed her hand over the stone which bore indentures from a century of priests kneeling in that very spot. It gave her a beautiful sense of family and community with the Seekers of the Dawn. Those heroes, forebearers and friends in the faith...

Far below in the courtyard, they could hear the priests gathering together for Dawnsmeet, but even without that indication she could feel it.

"The Dawn is close..." Looking up toward Elric, she knew that this time he could feel it too.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:40 pm

And feel it he could. The warm glow drove the chill of morning to a distant memory. Instinctively he joined Ashara on his knees. Sometimes it surprised him how easily this came to him. Even with Vailis' influence... organized religion had never had much interest to him. Not till the ship to Dagadar, where a special young priestess had helped her terrified friend find a home for his soul.

Rarely did a Dawnmeet come and go that he didn't think of those early talks.

Slowly the true dawn crested through the surrounding trees, As the first rays of the sun struck the brilliant orb there was a fhash of light that blinded the half-elf senseless. A startled cry next to him told him that he wasn't alone in this.

Slowly... ever so slowly, he eyes started to open. Tears blurred his sight, but a rustling near him told him they were not alone.

"Rise." a deep voice said.

As he blinked away the tears he saw a large figure before him. Bright wings flowed around him like a cloak and long hair billowed behind him. A Deva, Ashara had identified after their last supernatural encounter in this room... A servant of Lathander. A different one that they had met before, but this one was wielding his father's sword, The Everdawn blade. It's gleaming metal bright as the sun.

"You have pleased the Morninglord." The messenger said with a bright smile.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:35 am

In silent awe, the Everdawns did as ordered and rose before the angelic figure. He commanded such presence that although he wasn't much taller than Elric, Ashara felt completely dwarfed and had some difficulty keeping her rubbery knees steady.

Strangely out of place was the heady scent of lily of the valley, a spring-blooming flower that she remembered growing in the dappled shade of the little copse of trees they used as a hiding place when they were small. The priestess didn't register the source of the scent until days later. It wasn't a memory or sudden inexplicable presence of the flower itself. It was the deva!

Arturo's sword had always been an impressive sight. A great, golden tree studded with gems wrapped it's powerful branches about the leaf shaped blade as if it were the true wielder. But now... That beautifully crafted hilt grasped a blade of light! In the hands of the deva it looked every inch a holy weapon of terrible and righteous power!

His were not the hands she longed to see it in however.

Ashara found the hand she sought in the rough and encompassing grasp of her husband's as she blindly reached for him.

You have pleased the Morninglord...

A simple statement that sent chills to every extremity.

"To his service I have given my life," she uttered in what sounded to her as a disembodied voice, "for without him I would have none. His pleasure is my Dawn."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:33 am

"Your devotion is never in doubt young morninglord" the Deva said with a smile that was bright enough to cause Elric to wince under it.

"Your petition has been heard, and it has been granted. Take this blade, and use it as you see fit for the glory of Lathander.

"Now rise... Rise and receive your reward."

Elric felt an encouraging squeeze of his hand and knew that this was his turn. Slowly he rose, and took a step forward. He could feel his heart practically beat out of his chest and his hands shook as raised them up. He struggled to maintain his breathing but in the presence of such a divine light, he only had moderate success.

The sword leaped amongst the Deva's hands as it spun through a dazzling display that the hand-to-hand fighter could never hope to duplicate, ending with the handle pointed toward it's rightful owner.

As his hands closed around the faux-wooden handle he laughed at the knowledge that even such divine celestial beings as what stood before him... creatures who sole purpose was to serve the gods... still had some flair.

"The sword suits you well Elric Everdawn." The winged messenger spoke. "See that it is never misused."

"I will..." Elric said solemnly.

Then the blinding light faded and they were alone once more. In Elric's hands the blade no longer shone like the sun, but it still felt, right somehow. Turning toward Ashara with wonder in his eyes, he brought the sword of their future family up into a salute he'd learned from her Paladin brethren in Waterdeep.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:04 pm

With the shimmering sword raised before him, the tiny leaf-emeralds sparkled with a colorful intensity matched only by the half-elf's eyes.

Ashara's breath caught in her throat. The deva had been right. The sword suited him well... This image would be yet another that would have to be committed to canvas!

After a moment spent memorizing the details for later, the priestess wiped the collected moisture from her eyes and smiled up at Elric brightly. Not...Deva brightly but respectable none the less.

"Well then! Whatever our first vision here might have been, there's no doubt that that one really happened!" Chuckling, she wrapped her hands around her husband's as he held the sword before them.

"Our family's sword. Our family..." Ashara smiled and met Elric's eyes as she breathed a blessing upon the sword. "May generations upon generations of Everdawns hold this very blade in their hands in memory of who they are, where they came from and what is worth fighting for.

"May it never be used in a way that would bring dishonor to the family for which it was created or fall into the hands of evil. Let this blade and the name we have chosen, be seen as a symbol of light amidst the darkness and a beacon of hope for those that have none."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:24 am

So many emotions were bubbling over in him he didn't know how to put his thoughts in words. As he had learned in the past year, when words fail... Actions tend to speak louder and clearer. He held her tightly and all the joy, love, excitement and hope for the future.. .all the competing emotions that tugged at his soul were conveyed in the passionate kiss that quickly followed.

"Our family..." he whispered in agreement as his eyes danced. His grin spread from ear to pointed ear. "I have to tell you Melamin... This is one of my all time best mornings ever! How is the rest of the day gonna live up to THIS!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:33 am

"I don't expect that it can." Ashara exhaled a sigh of complete contentment and rested her head comfortably on her husband's chest. "This has definitely been top five on my list of mornings, but this is Myth Drannor after all... Anything is possible!"

As they held each other, her eyes drifted toward the window and the city beyond. Their mission here was finished. Aside from needing another day or two to complete the scribing of the Seeker's history here, there was little more that the Everdawns intended to do. Part of her was reluctant to leave. Whether it was the Dawnstone, the friends they'd made, battles won, or the promise of adventure, Myth Drannor had left an indelible mark on the young priestess. It was a mark that she would carry with her through her life and one that would carry her through many trials.

That was the true treasure of Myth Drannor.

Speaking of treasure... She lifted her eyes to meet Elric's and grinned. "So, A'maelamin, since anything is possible in this place, perhaps you'd like a rematch of our earlier race?" Ashara batted her eyes innocently. "Beat ya to breakfast!"

With that, she bolted from their embrace and dove headlong out of the open window. But Ashara hadn't intended on some miraculous feat of agility to save her life, but the delicate charm bracelet they'd found on their first day in the city. She waggled her fingers at her husband in a teasing wave as the Feather Fall slowly lowered her safely to the ground.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:56 pm

*********************************************
20th Nightal 1372

"Then what did you do?" A rich laughter echoed through the Vailis' humble living quarters.

"Well... If my memory serves correctly.... I believed I yelled CHEATER, as loud as I could out the window. I heard it was a bit distracting to the quickly dressing morninglords on the other side of the tower... but I think they exaggerated." Elric said with a wink to his wife.

"We didn't stay much longer... Long enough to say our goodbyes, Identify a few loose items, and collect any letters for family that we could... Jorelon had a decent sized scroll he wanted us to drop off in Cormyr on our way back.

"We met Tirtero and shared a drink or two in memory to fallen comrades... and started back. Caravans were done for the season, and the snow was getting a bit treacherous at times, so we did use magic a bit more then we'd preferred. Chariot when we could... wind walking the rest... Got to see a bit more of Cormyr this way too... so that was nice!"

They sat comfortably in some down filled chairs that Vailis had sitting next to a glowing hearth. Elric had made certain to remind Ashara the oddity behind that. Since elves rarely felt the cold, and weren't fond of fires, Light and Heat was strictly a 'courtesy' shown to the non-elven guests. Many in Everska didn't even have a hearth to light for such reasons.

Though any doubts about they could possibly have had of his feelings were banished from the warm embraces and kisses that had been lavished on them both at the sight of their return, safe and sound. The fuzzy kodragon was curled up basking in the warmth and enjoying the elf's hospitality even more than the Everdawns did.

Despite the long journey and unexpected arrival, Vailis had immediately prepared a feast and questioned them for hours. A tale that Elric had been happy to relay, and Valis devoured every word eagerly.

Elric couldn't remember a time that he had talked more than his old mentor.

"It sounds like the two of you had quite the adventure..." the priest grinned wistfully. "Memories for a lifetime..."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:04 am

"Hopefully to be relived from time to time as well!"

Ashara remained mostly quiet through the conversation, curled up in the soft chair and staring into the fire's flickering flames as she listened, adding in flavorful bits here and there while allowing her husband to spin the tale. No real 'spinning' was actually necessary. This one didn't need much embellishment to make it edge-of-your-seat interesting... Now that she thought about it, most of the Champions' tales could be deemed fantastic to those who didn't know the truth of them!

The priestess had been noticeably distracted since morning prayers that day. A small smile a permanent fixture upon her face.

Once the tale had been told, Ashara turned her attention more fully to the elvish father-figure. "But don't think we returned to you with merely stories, dear Vailis!" She pulled the borrowed Haversack to her feet and rifled through it for what she was looking for.

The staff of curing was the first to emerge. "Thank you for it's use," she said handing it to the priest. "All charges remain to it, but it was very useful in identifying what was magic and what wasn't. As you've heard, the Mythal was quite...temperamental, so casting was kept to a minimum." Fishing around another moment, she pulled out a radiating orb. "And this will help keep it charged if you like. It's a glowstone, made by the dwarves to help recharge magical items.

"Are the elves here still familiar with their use?"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:16 pm

"Well..." The priest muttered in awe as he examined the glowstone. "I can't speak for all elves everywhere... but I personally have never seen or heard of such a thing.

"In fact... given the dwarves' 'difficulties' with magic items... the fact they developed such a thing boggles my mind!"

"Yeah... that crossed my mind too." Elric said with a chuckle. "But apparently they did indeed. The Seekers were quite adamant about that."

"Oh my..." The priest started as the stone snapped into place with the rod and the glow flickered. "What now?"

"Now... you cure till your hearts content." Elric explained as best as he could. "The stone is basically 'charges in a bottle', While attached like that the rod will draw charges from the stone, and NOT whatever you had in the wand."

"I can think of many times I wish I had such a thing..." The priest said thinking back over the years. Elric nodded along.

"But wait.. there's more!" Elric said as he rooted in the bag that Ashara held. With a gleam in his eye, he produced one of the Alliance daggers. "Do you recognize this?" The priest took the dagger and turned it slowly over in his hands.

"I think.. I think I have seen these before, but it's been a long time."

"Craftsmanship of dwarves, halflings, and Elves all in one item... Rare these days, huh?"

'Very rare... and very valuable. Are you sure you wish to part with it?"

"We found one for ourselves too." The Half-elf grinned widely.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:35 pm

"I wish that all of our gifts might lift your spirits, A'maelatar <beloved father>," Ashara offered tentatively, trying out the familial term that she felt so strongly in her heart, just to gauge the elf's reaction. Vailis took no offense that a human might address him so...at least not in this circumstance. The old priest's smile simply widened affectionately at the remark, though her comment caused concern to crease his ancient brow ever so slightly.

"If you'd brought me back nothing but yourselves, my spirits could be lifted no higher. From this vantage, any troublesome news can be taken in proper perspective."

The young woman nodded and smiled sadly as she reverently removed the sword and shield bearing the Hawksong crest and presented it to the rightful owner.

"The... The phaerimm," she stammered, not sure exactly how to begin, "controlled many creatures alive and dead. One of the skeleton warriors that we faced in Gemblaunt was wielding these items and Elric and I... Well, we thought perhaps they should be returned to the hands of his family and your kinsman's remains," she patted the Haversack, "given proper burial."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu May 03, 2012 4:25 am

The priest was silent as he brushed his hands over the ancient weapons. They seemed familiar to him, but not overly so. Mixed emotions washed over his face as realized all the implications of the news. Despair that his family tombs had been desecrated, Relief that the Everdawns had survived unscathed the attack, and Fury that someone had used one of his own to attack those so close to him.

Distracted and silent, he rose from the table and left the room. Elric cast a worried glance at Ashara. He had suspected that the priest wouldn't take the news too well... but they HAD done everything that they could in the situation. He began to run through the situation in his head again... wondering what they had done wrong... When Vailis returned carrying a worn leather tome.

"What is..." Elric stopped suddenly as the priest raised a hand in a silencing movement he remembered too well. Soon he was flipping through the tome. Within moments he let out a happy sigh and spun the book for his guests to see. On the page was a beautifully rendered picture of an elven warrior, his armor gleaming in the sunlight with his gleaming sword raised and his winged shield prepped for battle.

The same sword and shield that currently rested on the table before them.

"Nimeleth Hawksong." The priest stated proudly. My Grandfather's-Brother's-Eldest Son.

"He fell in battle some time prior to the Weeping War, but he fell with honor defending his home. What you described weighs down my heart... but there is some comfort in knowing that you did right by him. All the Hawksongs before and after me thank you for that."

He took the sword in his hand and his eyes sparkled. Thank you again for returning these... these weapons do belong with family." Elric noticed him glancing the Everdawn blade that still sat on display before him.

"This blade will be returned to our armory, should it ever be needed to vanquish our enemies again." Carefully he sheathed the sword and wrapped it in cloth for later.

The shield he turned over and grinned widely, presenting it to the young priestess.

"This shield however has a different purpose. It's meant to protect those the Hawksong's care for... And I think it would make a very fitting, if belated, Wedding gift. You lost your own shield to the Xavers, and I have little doubt that this will do a finer job keeping you and yours safe than what you found to replace it."




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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu May 03, 2012 10:54 am

Ashara sat in stunned silence for a long moment before slowly reaching out to take the shield into her hands. "Vailis, I..." Emotion choked out further response.

It was a beautiful tool, as much offense as defense, with the blade running along the bottom edge of the hawk's wing. The shape lent itself most admirably to a sword and shield type of fighting, though the old elf was right about it being more effective than the well-crafted but cumbersome and awkward shield she was now carrying and it's magic made it more protective than even the one the Xavers' ate!

Now her turn to glance over at the Everdawn Blade, tingles skittered up the priestess' spine as she thought of that sword and this shield one day being used in concert by one of their family.

Ashara had some difficulty knowing exactly how to behave around elves. She was far too self-conscious, only made worse by the racist memories lived through Elric's eyes. Many elves, especially the older ones, seemed to express their feelings subtly. Lighting in a room... Fire in a fireplace... Meat at a meal... She was more of a straightforward kind of girl and with Vailis at least, she could get away with it.

Setting the shield to the side, Ashara rose suddenly and wrapped the still half-seated elf in a warm embrace.

"Such a gift! Thank you, Vailis... We will cherish it! Perhaps before we return home you could tell us more of Nimeleth Hawksong so his name could travel always along with his shield?"

"You know very well that I enjoy telling the tales of my family." The elven priest laughed and pulled himself to a less awkward, fully standing position as he returned her enthusiastic response to his gift. "Whether you are simply pandering to an old windghost or not," he quipped, "I'll take you up on that!

Vailis glance out of the open window at the stars above. "Not tonight though, I'm afraid. It's quite late and you two have traveled far. You should get your rest."

From his seat, Elric choked on the wine he was sipping.

Ashara chuckled at what had become a private joke between husband and wife. "Tomorrow then if you're so inclined," she replied to the priest, "or Spring Festival at the latest."

"Oh? You intend on returning sooner than expected then?"

Before they left for Myth Drannor, the Everdawns had mentioned visiting Evereska again during the summer, but the change in plans caught Vailis (and Elric) off guard, if pleasantly so.

Ashara's eyes drifted to her husband's as she straightened and smoothed the creases from the soft green dress she chose for the evening. No one in Evereska cared a whit for what human deity she might serve, so the holy symbol was representation enough.

"It might be best if we visited earlier," she offered. "Something has come up that may change our plans for the summer. You see, there was one more treasure we took away from Myth Drannor..."

The radiant smile that Ashara had been forcibly containing all day, was finally allowed to burst forth.

"I'm pregnant."

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Re: Autumn 1372

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 04, 2012 5:37 am

The sound of Elric's wine glass shattering was drowned out by Vailis cry of glee.

"That's WONDERFUL my dear!" he cried as he returned her earlier embrace twice fold. "How long have you know?" Though children were rarer amongst the elves then they were amongst humans. Vailis only knew one reaction to such news. He turned toward Elric and the look on the young half-elf's face was priceless.

Wine trickled down his twitching hand unnoticed, his eyes simply stared wide at his wife. He couldn't breathe. So many thoughts and emotions bouncing around for supremacy. Joy, Fear, Worry, Excitement, Amazement... it was an experience not unlike standing before the Dawnstone. He could see his whole life flash before him... Everything that had brought him to this place in time. All the trials, the dangers, the joys.

He saw the future, Ashara and him, Surrounded by little ones... Family... He... A father!? Was he ready?! Would he ever really be...

His mind blotted out the sound of his mentor's laughter.All he could see was the glowing smile on Ashara's Face. His mouth slowly twitched up into a silly lopsided grin of his own.

"A baby..." He somehow found the voice to ask. "Really?!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri May 04, 2012 7:54 am

"Really!"

Ashara laughed lightly at her husband's endearing reaction and moved over to him, carefully pulling the broken stem of the goblet from his trembling hand and setting it to the side.

"As much as I enjoy playing the occasional practical joke on you, Melamin," she grinned, "I would never tease about something so precious!"

Taking his calloused hand, the young woman pressed it gently against her abdomen which had yet to show any signs of her condition.

"It was revealed to me just this Dawn and it's very early yet, but sometime this summer," Ashara's smile only widened as she pushed a lock of brown hair over his pointed ear, "you're going to be a father!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 04, 2012 9:26 pm

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

That evening there was no sleep. After the celebrating at Valis' ended, they roamed through the Elven city seeing the sights and simply talking. Talking about the past, the present and now their future. All the hypothetical scenarios they'd thought of were suddenly reality.

Whether by fate or chance, few elves crossed their path that night, and those that did let them be or simply offered friendly waves. Ashara was able to see many of the landmarks legendary for their beauty without any 'unpleasantness' to mar the experience. The Singing Springs, The Dawn's Glory Pond, and finally they watched the sun rise at the 'Fountain Heart of Shimmering Gold,' the Evereskan temple/garden maze of Hanali Celanil, the Elven goddess of love and weddings.

He even showed her Hanali's statue... one of the few examples left of the truly ancient elvish religious sculptures. While many elven works of art lasted ages... The retreat had a detrimental effect on it, as their latest adventure had made too clear, and this was actually pre-Nethril. Rarely had Elric ever considered praying to this particular goddess, but that night he did pray for a blessing on his new family and unborn child.

It felt right somehow.

This was not the first night that the Everdawns had shunned sleep in favor of talking till dawn, nor would it be the last. It was however a night that Elric would remember all his long years.

They did not spend much more time in the Elven city of Elric's youth. While he still had memories there, and it would always hold a piece of his heart... it wasn't home anymore. Home was in Impresk. And with the news of the baby, it was agreed, that it was finally time to go home again.

Elric was concerned about the travel arrangements. Concerned about the winter.. about Ashara using magic... Truly the expectant father was concerned about nearly everything. Ashara soon informed him that while the constant doting was 'Cute' at first... she could certainly still walk on her own!

The half-elf reluctantly agreed. Heren simply chuckled in the background.

Their travel was a mixture of traditional and magical, and before two weeks had passed, they once again spied the glittering water of Impresk lake. Ashara was eager to tell her parents the good news, while her husband debated which he'd rather face... Ebbard after hearing the dangers of their last year... or that Molydeus again!

The stories were carefully toned down enough, and truth be told, the Rosemorn's were just happy to see their family reunited again, safe and sound.

Soon husband and wife were resettled into the house that had been constructed for the Champions of the Red Dawn, though at the moment (and for much of the time they'd soon discover) they were the only two there.

Except for guests...

The Everdawns and the Champions had made quite a name for themselves, and with Arryn bragging every chance she could, the word of their return and the upcoming child prompted more well-wishers and story seekers than they ever could have expected. Even Bradwen Talltales requested the tale 'in their own words'...

The kodragon grew quickly weary of all the attention. This was not how he had expected his retirement to be... Some of the small children were fun to play with, but when things got too crazy the fuzzy dragon would disappear. Sometimes for hours... Sometimes for days. Everytime Ashara would start to get concerned he wasn't coming back, they would find him curled up in front of the fireplace. He also it seemed had chosen his home.

In whatever free time they could manage, they decorated their house the best they could... So many rooms, so little time. The meeting room was the easiest to start with. Soon there were souvenirs of Myth Drannor, Artwork of Ashara's, and even the head/spine weapon of the golem monster they had fought in Dagadar... Memories of everywhere they had gone, and everything they had done...

Still plenty of room for more adventures though

Even the Rosemorns had a souvenir they wished to add to the collective. Within a week of their return, Arryn and Ebbard arrived with two gifts of their own. A hot apple pie, and a worn rosewood cradle that was nicked from years of use... but polished lovingly, as if brand new. Where Ashara herself had once slept, soon enough their own child would lie.

It was good to be home.

NOT The End....
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