| Sleeper in the Cave
, a Morrowind fanfic
Aug 18 2010, 06:37 PM
Joined: 13-December 09
From: that island north of France
I was dreaming.
Most people cannot tell when they are dreaming, and I admit I am usually inexcusably lax when it comes to this matter as well. Why, just a few weeks ago I had dreamt of being Archmage of the Mages' Guild and ordering all my underlings to pick cats from trees when they were ripe because we needed new apprentices... and not realised the impossible nature of it all until after I'd woken up. Shameful! However, this time there were several things that led me to cleverly deduce I was, in fact, asleep and my current situation a product of my subconscious mind.
First of all, I was in the middle of a mountain range, looking at a large volcano. The ground was grey and ashy, the only vegetation twisted trees, black branches grasping at the sky. Lava pools dotted the landscape, giving the whole scene an eerie glow.
Now, although it all looked rather fantastic I was perfectly happy to accept this place might exist somewhere, but my presence in it was another matter. I should not be seeing anything except my own personal cell in the Imperial City prison, and very occasionally my jailer - much though I'd rather forget that sight. Let me just say the sloppy gruel I was served twice a day, with its unidentifiable lumps and disturbing tendency to seem to move every time I looked away, was infinitely more attractive and charismatic. And although I'd told him I'd appreciate a change of decor, I'd more been thinking of wallpaper and maybe a potted plant.
Secondly, the sky was red. And by that I don't mean some poetic exaggeration of a sunset - the entire sky was a bright, vivid, uniform crimson. It looked as if someone had spilled a sea of blood among the stars. Wisps of grey clouds raced across it, forming strange patterns. For a moment, I thought I saw a face, screaming...
Apparently, I'd been so occupied keeping my track of my conscious thoughts that I'd sorely neglected my unconscious. If it was going to throw blood skies and clouds in agony at me, we were definitely going to have to have a talk.
I looked down. Several hundred feet below me, a tree looked as if it was about to rip itself out of the ground and hunt unwary passersby for dinner.
If I could fly, I really thought I would have noticed that earlier.
"You know," I said out loud, "If I'm going to dream, I would like to dream about something pleasant. Something like... Summerset Isle." I'd seen a drawing of it in a book once and been struck by the beauty. "Although I suppose it must be full of snooty Altmer. Or I could dream about managing a daring escape from prison underneath the guards' noses. Or... I know! A secret tunnel built into my cell and a bunch of... Blades, yes, Blades need to use it, and I escape behind them." That seemed the right sort of incredibly improbable fantasy for a dream.
I closed my eyes, focused on the image of the wall of my cell swinging back and a group of Blades and... why not, if you're going to fantasise you might as well do it properly... the Emperor dashing through it. Opened them again.
I shook my head at it sadly. "This really won't do, you know. You seem to be misunderstanding something here - I'm the one that makes the rules. I'm sure you're a very nice volcano, but I'd like to see daring escapes. This is my dream and I don't hold with rebellion."
I shrieked. The voice was just a sibilant whisper, but it seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere at once, seemed to be composed of thousands of voices all layered on top of each other, and even after it had finished speaking the echoes lingered in the air.
"This is not your dream, foolish child. I am the one that has brought you here and you. Will. Listen." The voice kept growing, filling the air like a gong. I clapped my hands over my ears, but to my horror it didn't do anything - it was as if the sound was coming from inside my head.
"I'm listening! I'm listening!" I screamed. My voice sounded tinny and hollow compared to the... other one.
"Good." The voice paused for a moment. My panting breath echoed loudly in the stillness.
"Wake up!" Another voice, this one, as hollow as mine - a pebble compared to an avalanche, impossible to focus on.
"The preparations are complete. You have been taken from the Imperial City, to the east, as it should be. Fear not, for I am watchful." I could barely think, but managed to dimly wonder how exactly that last sentence was supposed to make me feel less afraid. "Soon, you will arrive. Soon, you will fulfill your promise."
That was too much. "What promise?" I shouted, hands dropping from my head to ball into fists at my side. "I haven't promised you anything! I don't make promises as a matter of principle, it can't possibly have been me who, who did whatever you're talking about you have the wrong person-"
"It has already begun." Despite the sheer overpowering alien nature of the voice, I could tell there was a strange note of satisfaction in it.
A soft crackling noise made me glance down - then I stared in horror. My hands were changing. The very bones were shifting, cracking and then rehealing as they grew in ways nature had never meant them to. My skin was writhing, puffing outwards and its colour was slowly, ever-so-slowly growing lighter, yellowish, metallic-
"You're dreaming, wake-"
I came awake with a start, still caught in the dreamworld. That changed when I jerked myself into a sitting position and-
I let myself fall back onto the floor with a groan and rubbed my head with one hand - although on the whole stars were preferable to volcanos, I'd prefer not to see either when I closed my eyes. Apparently, my cell had suddenly gained a very low ceiling.
"Typical. Sleeps through the entire voyage, including the storm last night where I thought the ship was about to go under, and then decides to get up the precise instant I'm leaning over her. Just typical." Or maybe it wasn't the ceiling I'd cracked my head against.
Or, for that matter, my cell I was in.
"Sorry about that," I croaked. My throat felt as though I had screamed myself hoarse.
"You almost broke my nose," the voice complained. Dimly, I recognised that it was the second voice from the... dream. "Do you know how long it took me to get it into this shape? Just crooked enough to be mysterious and give me the look of a proper, dashing rogue straight out of the romance novels without being disfiguring. You almost ruined it!"
"Are you saying," I asked weakly, "that you break your nose regularly? For the sake of... attracting ladies?"
"And now you're insinuating I'm crazy enough to break my nose on purpose!" A pause. "I got a friend to do it."
The stars were gone, so I felt quite justified in carefully opening an eye and gauging the appearance of my new, eccentric, roommate. Immediately after, I opened the other one to stare.
The man – no, the mer – was leaning against a wall. His head was bald and covered in tattoos, his nose slightly crooked without being offputting, giving him – I admit – a rather debonair look, even if the rough clothes detracted from it somewhat. His eyes-
And here came the reason I was staring. His eyes were as red and his skin as grey as my own.
Fragmented images from the nightmare swirled back into my mind and I stopped gawking in order to chance a quick glance down at myself. Yes, my skin was still grey, my hands the same shape they'd always been. Gawking could resume presently.
"Your judgement of the matter, m'lady?" the other dark elf said, and I realised he thought I'd been staring at his nose.
"It suits you," I told him quickly. Considering how fed up I'd always become when people stared at me, I didn't want to do the same to anyone else. Especially considering he was the same race I saw every time I looked in the mirror, even if I didn't often see it outside of one. How embarrassing! "Good look, although the clothes don't exactly scream 'storybook hero'. And if you really got someone to break your nose for it, you're mad."
"Unfortunately, prisoners have never been given the finest selection of clothing. It's always 'sack, sack with holes or sack with more holes – take your pick.' Terrible shame, that," he answered, his face falling mournfully. "And as for the nose, well... I did – in a way. A friend certainly did break my nose, and he informed me later that I had been asking for it. Namely, by saying what I said about his sister, and by being too drunk to dodge."
"What you said about his sister? If it was some slander, I may have to stop speaking to you," I said, raising an eyebrow.
"I was perfectly courteous!" he protested. "Well, perhaps a bit too courteous, if you understand what I mean. My friend has always been a bit... overprotective, and when I expressed interest..."
"Say no more." I could imagine the scene very clearly in my mind's eye, and suddenly had a difficult time suppressing laughter.
"Indeed, I shall stop dwelling on such past flames and give proper attention to the present one." He bowed, a gesture that looked particularly ridiculous given his clothes, my clothes (in no better condition than his) and our surroundings, which, although not my cell, were just as bare of any amenities - I sadly noted the lack of wallpaper and potted plant. I'd really wanted that potted plant. "My name is Jiub. What would yours be, oh fair lady Nosebreaker?"
"Adryn. And I didn't break your nose!" I protested.
"Came very close, if my chin hadn't been in the way... anyway," Jiub sighed, the comedic manner dropping away, making him look much older and more tired. "We should be reaching Morrowind soon. I'm sure they'll let us go."
It was my second big shock in as many minutes. "Excuse me, did you just say Morrowind?"
"Well, obviously, since that's where the ship's bound for – oh wait, you've been asleep since before you boarded, haven't you?"
"There may have been some magic involved," I said defensively.
"Oh, I was sure that there was magic involved. Or possibly that you were on the brink of death. We've been travelling for three days now, you see."
The news that I'd slept for three days – at least – wasn't nearly as disturbing as it should have been; I suppose three shocks in as many minutes were where my mind went on strike.
"Anyway, yes. This ship is headed for Morrowind."
Morrowind. I stared – past Jiub this time. It was a place I knew next to nothing about. I knew it was in the far north-east of the Empire, one of the remotest provinces. And, of course, I knew one other thing, one that had always fascinated me deeply – it was the home of the dark elves.
I hadn't the faintest idea why I was on a ship – and now that Jiub had told me, I realised the shape of the room we were in and the rocking motion should have told me immediately that was where I was; I blamed grogginess from the long sleep – heading to Morrowind of all places.
I shivered as the words from my dream floated to the top of my mind... you have been taken to the east. You will fulfill your promise. then shook my head, trying to drive them out of my thoughts. It wouldn't matter at all where we were heading, I told myself. One Imperial prison was much like another, after all, and as for the dream? I'd probably just reacted badly to the magic they'd used to induce sleep.
It has already begun...
Just my imagination, I told myself firmly.
This post has been edited by Kazaera: Aug 20 2010, 09:25 PM
Aug 18 2011, 06:32 PM
Joined: 13-December 09
From: that island north of France
...so is anyone still reading this?
Last installment, Adryn had a nightmare, learned that this was both common and a terrifying symptom associated with people vanishing, and had breakfast.
She was also told to ask for Caius at the South Wall Cornerclub, and is now off to find him - except that her search runs into obstacles...Chapter 2, part b
By now, the city of Balmora was waking up. Some of the shops were already open, and I spied several people waiting impatiently beside ones that weren't. A group of children – mostly Dunmer, but I saw several from the human races as well as one Orc and one Khajiit – were playing tag in the street, occasionally tripping up a passing guard in the process. Their laughter mixed with the sound of clangs and thuds coming from the lower doorway of the Fighters' Guild; clearly someone was already training. The Mages' Guild, on the other hand, was entirely silent and the door was still closed. Apparently they liked to sleep in.
On the east side of the river, things looked very different. The buildings were smaller and more run-down and the streets dirtier - I had to pick my path carefully if I didn't want to step straight into something that I never wanted that close to my skin. The people wore simple, ragged clothes, and I could spot several who looked to be homeless. What I couldn't spot, however, were guards.
Now, this would be the part where some rich person would probably run away or act as if they were surrounded by hungry wolves. I, however, relaxed. This sort of area was more familiar to me and somewhere I fitted in much better than the nice clean guard-ridden streets with fancy shops and manor houses of the west side - and honestly, I'd take pickpockets and beggars over guards every day! After all - and this is something we all work to keep away from the rich - the easiest way to get through this sort of area without a fuss is to look as though you know what you're doing and not look as though you have anything worth stealing. With my rough clothes and purse tucked out of sight inside my shirt, I fulfilled both conditions beautifully. Guards, on the other hand, are a plague on Nirn.
So I made it to the South Wall Cornerclub unmolested, with most people not giving me a second glance. It was quite noticeable that near the South Wall, the people looked more... purposeful. It wasn't anything overt, they looked just as poor as any other person living this side of the river, but there was something about them and the way they moved, something familiar...
Warning bells were going off in my head, but I couldn't quite pin down what it was.
Inside the South Wall, it was surprisingly busy; there were a few people coming and going and I could hear a great deal of conversation and activity downstairs. I blinked in surprise. I'd actually expected that no one would be up yet and I'd have to come back later. This bustle was... odd. Odder was that apparently – judging by the snippets of conversation I caught here and there – most of the people here were just 'finishing up business' before heading home and to bed.
Very nocturnal business, apparently.
The warning bells were very loud now. In just a moment, I'd-
"'Scuse me, are you Guild?"
I stared at the Nord girl who'd spoken, mind whirling. Of course. Of course, it had been so obvious, all the signs had been there, how could I have been so unbelievably stupid
Clearly, my mouth was smarter than my brain; even as the latter was busy with self-recrimination, the former was working at getting me out of this situation.
"Guild? But this isn't a guild, I mean the Mages' and Fighters' Guilds are on the other side of town." I affected an expression of honest confusion. "I'm not a member of anything, I'm just looking for a person – have a package to deliver-" I hefted my pack. Harmless errand-runner, that's me. "Someone told me I should ask here."
Apparently my act of ignorance had worked. "No, of course we're not a guild of anything, we just, uh, have special discounts for, um, Mages' Guild members sometimes! Um, who are you looking for?"
"Caius Cosades," I told her, heart rate finally slowing down. Clumsy fool, that girl. First she just asked like that. After all, there were signs. Codes. Ways to make delicate inquiries such as that one without immediately arousing the suspicion of any innocent passerby. And the way she tried to backtrack... well, the less said of that the better! Why, if I were her-
Don't go down that line of thought, Adryn. You know where it leads.
"Never heard of him. You could ask Bacola Closcius, he owns this place. He knows a lot of people."
I could ask him, yes. Of course, what I really wanted to do was start running now, never come near here again, and figure out something else (such as knocking on every door in Balmora, or throwing the damn package in the river and being done with it.) Unfortunately I couldn't think of a good excuse for leaving now, and appearing suspicious was a very bad idea. So asking him it was - and sending up a prayer to Stendarr that I wouldn't be noticed by anyone else. "That sounds like a good idea," I lied. "So where can I find him?"
"Oh, right." She blushed. "His office is upstairs."
I thanked her and made my way upstairs, trying not to look as if I was running. Apparently, some small measure of luck was with me after all; judging by where all the noise was coming from, Guild business seemed to be downstairs rather than upstairs. This made avoiding them easy and meant that Closcius was probably a front for the Guild rather than an active member or – Stendarr forbid – the Mastermind of this town.
I was in even more luck – Closcius was engrossed in what looked like an account book and didn't seem to be very interested in me. He reminded me of Sellus Gravius, in a way – elderly Imperial, probably very smart and very dangerous but with his mind someplace else. (I wasn't complaining about that last part.) He didn't even ask me why I was looking for Cosades, just absently gave me directions to the man's house and then ignored me entirely. I think he'd forgotten my existence before I even left the room.
I nodded to the Nord girl as I left the building, turned a corner and collapsed against the wall.
That had been close. That had been much too close, and I silently cursed Gravius for suggesting I "ask around" in town, and Dulnea for telling me to ask here
of all places. And I hadn't got away with it yet – if the Nord girl told the Mastermind about the odd messenger who'd wandered in, if they were in contact with the Skyrim guilds... I hadn't given my name, but it wasn't as if I were particularly inconspicuous...
Then it hit me, and I almost laughed out loud.
inconspicuous. For once in my life, I blended in with the crowd perfectly. I was a Dunmer in a land full of Dunmer. The only thing about me that was even remotely unusual was my hair colour, a coppery orange-red, and even there I'd seen another person with the exact same shade on the street.
I was safe.
"Oi, this's my spot! Y'can't sleep here!" A foot prodded my side, none too gently.
...well, safe in a general sense.
I apologised to the surly-looking local, dodged a second kick and got out of there. I'd run this gauntlet; now it was time to find Cosades.
Posts in this topic
Kazaera Sleeper in the Cave Aug 18 2010, 06:37 PM hazmick Hello, this a really good start to what I hope is ... Aug 18 2010, 07:09 PM haute ecole rider Though I've never played MW, I've read eno... Aug 18 2010, 07:56 PM treydog Already I am in love with this story. And it usua... Aug 18 2010, 09:31 PM Helena Ah, another humorous Morrowind story! I have c... Aug 18 2010, 09:39 PM SubRosa A fun start to what looks like a very enjoyable ro... Aug 18 2010, 10:24 PM Kazaera @everyone - thank you for the feedback! :D I... Aug 18 2010, 11:32 PM haute ecole rider To answer your question, I update mine every other... Aug 19 2010, 12:59 AM Acadian Welcome to the Arena, Kaz. Nicely done. I enjoy ... Aug 19 2010, 02:00 AM hazmick I posted my first 3 installments in quick successi... Aug 19 2010, 02:01 AM SubRosa As h.e.o. said, I also update mine every other day... Aug 19 2010, 02:04 AM Olen Excellent piece, another funny one which is nice t... Aug 19 2010, 08:35 PM Kazaera Thanks for the info, everyone! I think I can m... Aug 20 2010, 06:46 AM Helena The bureaucrat, an elderly Imperial, started talki... Aug 20 2010, 08:36 PM Olen But Adryn is missing the point... beaurocracy is f... Aug 20 2010, 11:03 AM hazmick A brilliant depiction of the guards. Olen is right... Aug 20 2010, 01:33 PM haute ecole rider Your description of the whole arrival on the islan... Aug 20 2010, 03:53 PM treydog Note to self- remember to NOT read this at work... Aug 20 2010, 04:09 PM SubRosa Another fun episode. Ergalla and legionary really ... Aug 20 2010, 04:37 PM mALX A fun read! I know very little about Morrowin... Aug 20 2010, 07:38 PM Acadian Let me ask your forgiveness and thank you for you... Aug 20 2010, 11:22 PM Kazaera @Olen - Adryn doesn't agree with you, I'm ... Aug 22 2010, 10:27 PM hazmick brilliant, Adryn is left alone for a few minutes a... Aug 22 2010, 10:55 PM haute ecole rider And I'm sure a lot of senior NCO's share ... Aug 23 2010, 12:05 AM treydog You skewer yet another inconsistency perfectly- th... Aug 23 2010, 12:47 AM SubRosa Clever plan by Adryn to rob the Census office blin... Aug 23 2010, 01:40 AM Acadian So THAT's why she should be guarded and escort... Aug 23 2010, 01:58 AM Olen :D I laughed numerous times.
Adryn is a great ch... Aug 24 2010, 11:41 AM mALX Really good character development !!! Aug 25 2010, 01:36 AM Kazaera Am home! Home home home! (Am also jetlagge... Aug 25 2010, 06:35 PM hazmick Brilliant, I think Adryn has made quite an impress... Aug 25 2010, 06:47 PM haute ecole rider Welcome home! Now get better!
The verb te... Aug 25 2010, 07:00 PM treydog First- get well soon! 'Cause if you'r... Aug 25 2010, 07:55 PM Olen I liked this, I even liked Fargoth, if that's ... Aug 25 2010, 09:12 PM Acadian What better foundation for a story could there po... Aug 26 2010, 02:34 AM SubRosa I couldn't very well grab the sack and walk st... Aug 26 2010, 05:13 PM Kazaera All right, there might be something of a wait befo... Aug 31 2010, 12:18 AM SubRosa Lots of fun, and a clever plot by Arille and Fargo... Aug 31 2010, 01:32 AM mALX This gets better with each chapter! Your char... Aug 31 2010, 01:34 AM treydog First- Adryn and Maxical- together? :blink: :... Aug 31 2010, 01:36 AM haute ecole rider You had me at Then it only got better.
I see tre... Aug 31 2010, 03:01 AM Acadian Yes, still bubbly delightful. :P Aug 31 2010, 03:24 AM hazmick Hilarious, my laptop is now covered in tea. :lol: Aug 31 2010, 11:48 AM Olen Well all my favourite lines have been quoted so I ... Aug 31 2010, 12:11 PM Remko I love your interpretation. Can't wait for her... Sep 1 2010, 11:55 AM treydog It has come to this- I am reduced to rhyme. The o... Sep 15 2010, 01:04 PM Kazaera Remember me?
...thought not. :-/ :-/o I am real... Aug 7 2011, 08:07 PM treydog Remember? Did you say “remember”? I am thrilled... Aug 7 2011, 10:03 PM haute ecole rider ninja'd by treydoggie again!
Course I rem... Aug 8 2011, 12:04 AM Grits Oh my gosh, hilarious. I love Adryn’s tone. I woul... Aug 8 2011, 05:45 PM Kazaera @everyone - thanks for reviewing, and I am honoure... Aug 8 2011, 06:25 PM haute ecole rider Hey! I wanna know why it took Adryn ten whole ... Aug 8 2011, 08:45 PM Kazaera @Haute - you'll see in this post! She woul... Aug 10 2011, 11:16 PM haute ecole rider Tell me about the backlog! I wrote the first 2... Aug 11 2011, 12:48 AM treydog First- the greatest hits. Well- no. Actually, th... Aug 11 2011, 01:37 AM Kazaera Hmm. This is tricky because I also don't want ... Aug 12 2011, 11:42 PM haute ecole rider I see that Adryn is capable of finding beauty in t... Aug 13 2011, 12:13 AM Kazaera @Haute - yep, Adryn was very lucky! Although p... Aug 15 2011, 07:23 PM haute ecole rider Oh, don't worry! I'm still reading... Aug 18 2011, 09:13 PM Kazaera Oh, no worries, especially as I can hardly throw s... Aug 21 2011, 11:50 PM Grits You haven’t lost me! It’s just a particularly ... Aug 22 2011, 12:04 AM haute ecole rider :blink:
Well, that's certainly a very diffe... Aug 22 2011, 12:22 AM Kazaera @Grits - glad to know you're still enjoying it... Aug 25 2011, 12:02 AM Grits I'd been expecting an enchanted carpet at the ... Aug 26 2011, 01:57 AM Kazaera @Grits - Well, Adryn has certain *expectations* of... Aug 27 2011, 11:26 PM Grits Now, I admit I was judging on first sight so maybe... Aug 29 2011, 02:08 PM Kazaera @Grits - yeah, I think Adryn is really starting to... Aug 30 2011, 11:07 PM haute ecole rider I have soooo enjoyed Adryn's induction into th... Aug 31 2011, 01:48 AM Grits I took a moment, then realised that 'the Dunme... Aug 31 2011, 06:23 PM Kazaera @haute ecole rider Adryn is ecstatic that for once... Sep 2 2011, 10:53 PM haute ecole rider You're entitled to some leeway! After all,... Sep 3 2011, 12:03 AM Kazaera @haute: Adryn has this amazing ability to screw up... Sep 5 2011, 08:17 PM haute ecole rider An all-too-familiar feeling after seven years of ... Sep 5 2011, 10:11 PM Grits I surprised myself with how intensely I enjoyed th... Sep 6 2011, 02:33 PM Kazaera @haute: Not something I can say from experience, b... Sep 8 2011, 09:52 PM Grits "She says it is a secret recipe."
... Sep 10 2011, 12:41 AM Kazaera @Grits: Two kindred spirits have found each other,... Sep 11 2011, 09:13 PM haute ecole rider Hey! Never apologize for spending time on what... Sep 11 2011, 09:54 PM Grits Most of my favorite episodes in peoples’ stories c... Sep 12 2011, 04:14 PM Kazaera Glad to know everyone is enjoying this and I'm... Sep 14 2011, 11:27 PM haute ecole rider That old Dunmer's about as adept at navigation... Sep 15 2011, 02:07 PM Grits I'd really hoped to be able to stay in town fo... Sep 17 2011, 02:41 PM Kazaera @Haute: Trust me, Adryn wishes she were that nice.... Sep 17 2011, 11:44 PM Grits Argh! Well at least Adryn didn't get an op... Sep 19 2011, 11:52 PM Kazaera @Grits - ...I should probably point out here that ... Sep 21 2011, 11:27 PM Grits And some rocks thrown into the lake, although I di... Sep 24 2011, 01:46 PM Kazaera @Grits - yeeaaah, Adryn doesn't do outdoors ve... Sep 25 2011, 06:53 PM haute ecole rider I truly hate these "Special" powers... Sep 25 2011, 09:10 PM Grits "Do all the work for me while I take a nap s... Sep 28 2011, 02:54 PM Kazaera @haute ecole rider - I know! I'm dreadful ... Sep 30 2011, 08:39 PM haute ecole rider Hey! It's okay to hijack NPC's! If... Sep 30 2011, 09:52 PM Grits I imagined a really big bumblebee the first time I... Oct 1 2011, 12:10 PM Kazaera @haute ecole rider: Oh, I'm not apologising... Oct 4 2011, 08:21 PM Grits I heartily endorse cooking any dead animal that lo... Oct 5 2011, 10:52 PM Thomas Kaira Ah, I love me some humorous Morrowind storytelling... Oct 9 2011, 03:45 PM Kazaera @Grits: I'm sort of undecided as to whether ma... Oct 10 2011, 09:53 AM Grits I had the same thoughts about how to write element... Oct 10 2011, 11:52 AM Thomas Kaira Yes, my stab at the dreugh who walks of land was a... Oct 10 2011, 08:42 PM Kazaera Thanks for the links on land dreugh! And - I a... Oct 14 2011, 01:13 PM
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