(1867-01-02) How to Kill a Banshee
How to Kill a Banshee
Summary: Raelyn and Emilia meet with a pair of unexpected visitors to Roseguard. And learn from the Prophet Hashim that banshees aren't as indestructible as once thought.
Date: 1867-01-02
Related: Things concerning Emilia and Banshees
Players:
Emilia  Hashim  Raelyn  Sirrah  

Secret Room - Roseguard Castle - Ironhold

Lo and behold, it seems the rumors of certain "irregularities" during the construction of Roseguard have no small basis in truth. This chamber runs well beneath the castle, reached only after descending a long staircase from either the Church or the Viscountess's chambers in Roseguard itself. It's a large room, bearing not only a full alchemy lab (and a couple of cabinets that seem to be filled with various concoctions already), but a wall that's loaded with a variety of weapons that appear to be made (or at least the metal bits of such weapons are) from brightly-polished silver. Sword, axes, arrows, spears…the whole gamut seems available here. A couple of shelves bear old scrolls and books of uncertain provenance, while a few locked cabinets and chests contain…who knows what?

Just in case one thinks there might be some sinister purpose to this location, one corner of the room bears a small shrine to the One that looks like it sees at least semi-frequent use. One might almost believe it's some sort of gathering place for the Inquisition, but there's a remarkable lack of "questioning" equipment present. Still, it must have something to do with the church, as one of the stairways that leads out of here actually levels out into a long passageway that eventually opens into a small room in the back of the Iron March church.

1867-01-02

The message came a few days ago. Enciphered in a code now-familiar to Raelyn as one of the Vigil. A simple enough request…for her and Emilia (and Devlin if she so chooses) to meet in the hidden sanctum that lie between Roseguard Castle and the Church of Iron March. There's really only two people that would send such a missive…either King Jaren Tracano or the Archbishop Sirrah Lancella. In either case, it's likely an imperative that is likely to be followed. Devlin Cassomir will miss this particular meeting, though…not being quite as read in to some of the deeper secrets of his family, he is instead conveniently tasked with taking the new Count Stephen Cassomir out with a couple of Huntresses to hunt a bit of the land surrounding Iron March, a perfectly reasonable excursion that will not only give the two men time to become better acquainted but will give Stephen the beginnings of greater familiarity with the land itself. And thus the two gentlemen's potentially inquisitive eyes are well away from the events transpiring here today.

Meanwhile, within the Sanctum, globes of Everlight have been shaken to give the hidden chamber a surprising degree of light. It's deep enough below ground that winter's chill doesn't fully touch it, though it retains a slightly cool temperature. Enough that thick clothing might be appropriate. The light gleams off of the array of Lightsilver weapons stored here…it seems Jaren took none save those he personally owned with him…and seated within is indeed the Archbishop, a pot of tea sitting on the table she rests beside, with one cup already held in her hands to warm them as she awaits the arrival of Emilia and Raelyn.

When the appointed time came, Emilia had gone to meet with Raelyn to make their way down that castle side path to the hidden sanctum. Curious perhaps about the summons, even if such did not show upon that stoic face. The glow of the Everlight making it easy enough to transverse into the room. Dressed within simple trappings as was her custom, though more the winter version with thicker fabrics. Rightly, it was unlikely Emilia would know if Jaren had taken anything or not, the fully inventory of the room was not something she had taken stock of. A bow of her head offered to Sirrah upon spying the older woman,"Your of Excellency, good of day…What of blend it is of today? The of usual or of something of new?" Some minor inquiry to the nature of the tea as she moves towards the table.

Raelyn had read the missive with some surprise, it coming unexpected after so long a quiet soujourn in Sunsreach. Still, she conveyed the request to Emilia expediantly and took the journey with her, following her sister down. "Sirrah," Raelyn greets, warmly to the Archbishop. She, too, gravitates towards the tea, though her expression is a cautious one. Afterall, the last time Raelyn had a meeting such as this, she wound up in a flesh-growing cavern of chaotic nightmares.

Sirrah smiles towards the two ladies, gesturing to the other chairs at the table, of which there are…three actually. "It's a new blend, Emilia. I think you'll rather like it." She actually pours two cups as the two women approach, clearly taking an informal tact. "It is a favorite of mine, but its' leaf grows only in the Alhazred Empire's southern reaches…so a rare treat. Fortunately…I do have a friend who occasionally manages to get some to me…." And with that, she glances over her shoulder, and a tall, dark-robed man with a well-weathered face steps into view, also already holding a teacup in his hands, though one releases it to touch his forehead and lower the hand perpendicular to his body.

"I greet you in peace, Your Excellency, Milady." The Prophet Hashim Nejem's voice is warm, and despite the well-worn features the smile that touches them seems to belong there. "Please forgive my uninvited arrival. I do fear Sirrah has a bit of a flair for the dramatic." With that he turns his gaze to the Archbishop, and that look carries volumes in terms of warm, lightly teasing affection. The kind seen between very old friends.

"Hashim is my counterpart within the Church of the Prophets." Sirrah explains, setting the teakettle back down and quite nonplussed at the teasing or the Prophet's "arrival." "He accompanied the Shahzadhe's delegation at my request. He has news that will be of interest to you both. Your brother has already been informed, and sends his regards…A King cannot move so freely unnoticed as a Viscount, even a famous one."

"It is of rare that I have not found of some way to like the teas you choose, Sirrah," Emilia easily enough dropping into the more informal address after the initial greeting. A mild cant of her head coming when the origin of the leaf is spoken of,"Of thanking for sharing of such a favoured and rare of treat with of us." Emilia's own gaze going behind Sirrah with that glance and apperance of the robed man in tandem.

Just what the younger Cassomir thinks of the arrival, or prescence of the Prophet…the One only knows. "Of Greetings, Your of Holiness," is managed smoothly enough, Emilia bowing towards him before she does settle into a position at the table. Those dark eyes perhaps studying him a moment. But her gaze does drift back towards Sirrah with the explaination that comes. "Jaren was of finding this of news, much of interesting of then?" Though there is a look back towards the Prophet.

"It is well to see you, Sirrah. Thank you, for remembering Emilia's penchant." Raelyn tone is still warm, friendly. She seats herself and then listens, watches, as the Prophet joins the group. He is considered, then, in a new light from when Raelyn first observed him in other social events. "I welcome you to Ironhold, Your Holiness. And would I think you here longer, I would see to it personally that you saw the best our land had to offer. But, clearly, you would not be here if it were not of import." To this, Raelyn's line draws into a small slash, wary, but clearly interested. "What news do you bring?"

"I thank you for your hospitality, particularly in unexpected circumstance." Hashim replies to both Emilia and Raelyn. He glances briefly to Sirrah, who gives him a slight nod, before he speaks again, "Let me begin by saying I would not wish for you to take my news as…a greater hope than it may be. But it is my wish that it will provide some hope. I will explain the details in a moment, but suffice it to say that Banshee are known to us in Alhazred, and of late…a group of my own Vigilants and I…destroyed one."

And Sirrah clearly has heard this news already, as she simply sips her tea and waits for the reactions.

"If Sirrah thinks you should be of here," there is a small shrug from Emilia,"And Destrian has spoken much of well of you." Which is likely the greater factor for Emilia. "There is always of hope," notes Emilia softly. Even if there might be a slight glance towards Sirrah, perhaps some wonder at just how much the Prophet knows about her….case. While a hand had been reaching for that cup of tea, it stops in the retrival when the topic is revealed. Her eyes widen a bit, hinting at Emilia's surprise. "You of destroyed one?" Emilia looking towards Sirrah,"I of thought they could not be of destroyed?" A beat,"Such of news was likely of much welcomed by of Jaren." Likely recalling her brother's promise to the Widow.

Raelyn's face doesn't change. Mostly because she wills it thus. She, too, seems to have forgotten that there is a cup of tea in her hand. She corrects her sister, stating, "We did not know a way to destroy them. Or have others, previously. We cannot build Faegates. But these were once built, too. A thing made can always be unmade. It's a matter of knowledge." This, perhaps, she says to herself, as much as her sister despite the calm, quiet tone she says this in. She looks to Sirrah, as if in some confirmation that she is not being decieved even though she knows Sirrah would never do such a thing. There is a slow inhale, exhale of breath as she looks to Hashim. "How?" Is the only question she asks of him.

Sirrah nods, "None believed it possible, including Hashim himself, until a few months ago." She confirms that it's not a matter of withheld information, but rather happenstance.

"You must forgive me…for ultimately my knowledge may not be complete. I can only speak of what was seen and what I have guessed at beyond that." He glances between the women and notes, "And I would note that the destruction came at great cost." He leans back a bit, sips his tea, and begins to recount the tale:

"In one portion of the Alhazred Empire, there is a great sea of sand. The winds blow heavily there, kicking up great storms that can blacken the sky for manyhours if not entire days. Sometimes, when these storms pass, they reveal ruins long forgotten. Some that may well date to Ages only remembered now in Myth. So it was that a large ruin was seen after a great storm, several months ago. When my Order hears of such ruins, we try to be quick to secure them, for they often hold creatures, long-forgotten secrets, or some mixture of both. However there is competition in this regard."

Hashim pauses just long enough to take another sip before continuing, "There is a loosely-collected group of tribes that live in this dry sea. We call them the Sandriders. They are…bandits and scavengers who resist the will of the Shahanshah. The closest comparison you have would be your Myrned…or perhaps the people of Brodlund or Tiria in the far north. Barbarians. But when the ruins are uncovered, they often seek to occupy them as strongholds. This particular fortress was…quite large. And they got there first."

Raelyn soon remembers her tea, especially as Hashim begins to recount the tale. She listens, attentively, and nods her head with some understanding. She's observed, firsthand, how the barbarians would like such ruins. Or abuse their power for the will of chaos, destruction. And Emilia, at least, would be able to tell the tightening of her expression is in memory to such. She is nothing if not respectful, though, not questioning, not speaking, and allowing the Prophet to speak his story, in his own time. His own way.

Emilia gives a small nod to what Sirrah says…and in turn her sister, adding softly,"And of consequence." There was always a consequence, a cost. It was a matter well learned, and reinforced of late to Emilia. A question actually perhaps about on her lips for the Prophet when he speaks of ther ebeing a cost. But her lips merely twitching, perhaps deciding it best to hear the tale and what is to be told first. The tea is recalled and Emilia moves to take a taste of it as the tale is recounted. Even if she does not quite relax, for there is interest in this tale and Hashim does have her full attention. Even if it might be difficult to grasp a land of so much sand! A nod, understanding why the Alhazred Vigiliant would wish to secure such things. There is a mild rise of her brows to hear these Sandirders got there first, murmuring faintly,"Not of their luck of then." Afterall..this was a tale involving a banshee.

"No, it was not…" Hashim agrees towards Emilia, before returning to the tale, "Our scouts saw the ruins, and that they had been occupied. We began to plan a way to re-take the ruins, but the process was slow. Our Vigil is…larger than Sirrah's, in some ways more open, but we have much more area to span, as well." Hashim explains, "But as we gathered forces, we received reports that the scouts had heard the Banshee's wail, and that after a few days…there was no sign of habitation in the ruins. So instead we equipped a smaller, more focused party, and girded with the black steel of the Sidhe and the rituals and wards we set forth to bind the creature. Much as Sirrah and hers did here." Hashim's face looks a bit grave, "When we arrived…we found not the remains of a few dozen…but of hundreds. An entire tribe of Sandriders had claimed the ruins…or perhaps multiple tribes banding together, but regardless…they were all consumed by the Banshee's hunger."

Hashim looks sorrowful at that, a touch of compassion even for the Barbarians. Or perhaps for his next words, "It did not stop with them. Four of our sixteen fell in the battle that followed. But as we fought, we noticed that it was…more solid than other such creatures had been reported to be. Our weapons still passed through, but it was as though hacking through a thick mud rather than insubstantial mist. Also, the creature did not seem to be able to pass through the walls of the structure as they are known to do." Hashim sips his tea once more, though it only provides a brief pause before he continues, "When the fourth of our number fell…the next strike that fell upon the creature…removed its' hand. The appendage still clawed upon the floor, but I think the Banshee was as surprised as we were."

"There is not much more in the details…several more blows were struck upon it with Sidhe-Steel, until the creature seemed to become…weak. Tired. Immobile. We bound it as a Banshee would normally be bound. With the circle of Iron. But…on the hope…we also burned the creature before we departed, and when it caught fire, it let out one more great wail that chilled all present to their bones…and in a great plume of flame and smoke…was no more."

There is briefly a far off look to Emilia's gaze as Hashim speaks of what was found within the ruins once they did arrive to them. Likely memories stirred of having witnessed just what a Banshee's hunger could do. A flutter of her hand to press for a moment at her temple has her forcus returning to th emoment and the tale being told. "I am of sorry for the lose of so of many," is softly murmured. There is a blink though as the tale continues, talk of the Banshee becoming more like mud..the lose of a hand. "As if was becoming so of full..it was of making it to be of solid?" Her dark eyes looking into her tea as she takes on the news. It was good to know that a Banshee could be destroyed. But at the cost of so much life? "It is of interesting to of hear, this of news…..It was of a great of cost." To great. "There have not of been additional of consequences in of the after?"

Raelyn is … quiet, for a long time. So long that one might think the speech gone out of her, and longer than, perhaps, Emilia has known her usual vocal self to be so quiet. She only sits, watching, or perhaps staring at Hashim as her mind processes the information freely given. The story. Perhaps an entire minute goes by, before the words pass her lips. She turns, to regard Emilia as if to remind herself of what she thinks ought to be said, or some other factor. Then, her eyes shift to Hashim and Sirrah each.

"It would seem," says she, quietly, "There is purpose to all things. Whether malevolent, or charitable. I am certain you and yours have already come to, or at least considered the obvious, then, Honored Prophet. Sirrah. And that is, the hunger of the banshee is not something out of simple cruelty. But, it, itself, knows not why it hungers. Feed. It is, perhaps, to replenish it's flesh. It's form. And in so doing? Can be undone." She exhales, sadly. "But what a cost." A brief tick of her smile. Emilia came to the same realization she did.

"There has been no sign of the creature itself, nor of the…presence…often associated with them. However there was one oddity." Hashim's expression is still a bit grave as Raelyn and Emilia realize the cost, "For a few weeks after the incident…other creatures arrived at the Ruins as we explored and cataloged them. I do not know what they are known by in these lands, but the closest translation for what we call them would be the "Weeping Child of Shadow." We have long suspected a link between these and the Banshee…in any case…over the span of nearly two months, five of the creatures came to the ruins. Separately. Thankfully no more of our brethren were lost, though several took wounds in eliminating them. Sadly, we were not able to fully explore the ruin before another great storm forced us to depart, and buried them anew."

Hashim looks genuinely apologetic, and actually reaches a rough, leathery hand across the table to briefly cover Emilia's in a warm clasp, "Forgive me…I so dearly wish that I could have brought easier tidings and more certainty. Sirrah has…" He glances towards the Archbishop, then back to Emilia, "Told me a fair bit of the trials you have faced. Know that I sit in awe of your strength, little one. Surely none in the memory of this age have been so tested."

"Weeping Child of Shadow?" Emilia flickers a look towards Sirrah,"What you were of telling me of before? The Children of Judgement…Banshee Spawn?" The quetions being posed to the older woman. Did Raelyn know about these things yet? Then there is a blink, some connection perhaps made in her mind…she was drawn…wasn't she? "Have of such of known of creatures been of watched of before? Where they are being of bond, not just of checked of upon," as Emilia knew Jaren only occasionally went to check the bonds,"but of watched of continually to see if such of things ever of comes?"

Emilia inclines her head to Hashim,"I am of glad no further of your brethren were of lost. And while the ruins are being of buried of again, least they are of known should of another of strom un-of-cover of them again." Her head tilts a little as his hand clasps over her's. "There is nothing to be of forgiving, your of Holiness. I am of sorry for the lose that has of come to gain of such information. It is of sad to hear of such. But it does not remove of hope, and I am of sure mine-brother and sister of gain of hope in of hearing of this, that one of day the Widow, our of Banshee, might meet such of an end." Emilia dips her head, a bit humbly as such words. "I would of hope, of pray, that none of had to of be so of tested. NOr will of be so of tested."

"I think I begin to understand," Raelyn offers, speaking again much to herself, as the others gathered. She nods, once, a hand outstreching to touch Emilia's own, whether it be with Hashim's hand or not. What that is, however, she does not relate. Instead, she nods, "My sister is rather amazing, Honored Prophet." Raelyn smiles, pridefully, thus. She exhales, then, some. "It gives us more hope that there is a way to purge this seed from my sister." A thankful smile, then, is given to Sirrah. Then to Hashim. "I am pleased that you were able to make your lands safe. Though I am sorry for your loss. There shall be fewer Weeping Children of Shadow, now, and in the years to come. And that is a good future for all." Still, her lips press and she looks now over to Sirrah.

"With hope, however little, comes further strength." She nods, on the words of her sister spoken. She says, steel-voiced, "The banshee wishes, I think, to instill, implant, the same hopelessness, the same wretchedness within others. It seeks, perhaps, to know the world, to affect the world yet from such children. Like strings, on a puppet. This one sought to create hopelessness within my sister. My brother saw to it, that day, that such would not happen. And it shall not." Conviction, there. "If this is true. Then." She pauses, thus. Exhales. Nods. "I wonder if - all banshees are not aware that one of them is gone. And if it is thus known they -can- die. And forever be forgotten."

Sirrah nods to Emilia, "It sounds much the same, from Hashim's descriptions." Sirrah notes, "It is known that the areas where Banshees are bound often seem to…accumulate more occurrences and creatures than others. Your Ironhold is no different in this regard, though it has been well-patrolled and thus may no longer seem so." The shadowy reputation of the deep woods sprang from truth, after all. And it's not like there weren't a pack of Werewolves on the fringes until relatively recently. "But the Children of Judgment…we have not yet noticed any greater occurrence of these arriving than any other creature. Though certainly some, and they are oft-found in closer proximity to the Banshee than others."

"Child of Judgment? Banshee-Spawn?" Hashim's look to Sirrah is mildly admonishing, "You've been holding out on me."

Sirrah shakes her head, "They were but recently brought to my memory, dear friend. And you are not the easiest fellow to contact." There's a sharp edge to Sirrah's tongue at that, but it's still laced with that long-standing affection. One might almost get the idea there's a tiny glimpse of "young" Sirrah found in the retort.

Hashim looks to Raelyn then, shaking his head slightly, "I truly do not know if what you speak may or may not be true. None know the mind of a Banshee beyond its' hunger." He pauses, giving Emilia a mildly apologetic look, "Well, perhaps save one." He pauses, "I do not know what help I can offer beyond the knowledge I have imparted, but while I remain here in Rivana, I offer what little I can."

Sirrah looks a bit thoughtful as she sips her own tea, then smiles towards Hashim, "You have done more than enough, my friend. But then again it is not my place to refuse an offer made to the ladies of House Cassomir." She chides Raelyn and Emilia gently, before looking, bemused, back towards the Prophet.

"You are being of biased," is Emilia mildly humble mutter to being called amazing. Raelyn's words do have Emilia glancing to Sirrah,"Are you of thinking that such of an end to of a banshee would of impact of the seed..the shadow within of me?" Though she nods when Sirrah does say the creatures are the same. She does add on to Sirrah's retort, or really..supports it,"it was of a recent of remembering, renewing of such of knowledge and name for of these of creatures." Though that retort from Sirrah might have had Emilia also studying Sirrah just a bit.

Emilia's eyes do drift to Raelyn as her sister speaks about what the banshee sought to do with her. Saying softly,"She sought to make of a daughter…not of sure she was much of thinking about of hopelessness or of not." There is a mild incline of her head to Hashim, she could not claim to know the mind of the banshee, least not fully. But there were certianly glimpses. "She has called of me daughter." Not something Emilia has been entirely…open about. A brow raises slightly at the chiding from Sirrah,"I might not be always of willing to be much of open and of talking, but I had not of thought I was of refusing of help." Especially given Sirrah knows just what odd source Emilia is getting help from these days. Though to Hashim Emilia does look,"I do not know of what may of help, what may of not, mine of…condition is of being…unique. I would be of open and of honored to have of your aid." Pausing a moment before she adds,"And to answer of questions if you are of having of them," a look towards Sirrah briefly before back to him,"unless you are likely to be of askingas of many as of the Sirrah…then I might have to be of limiting the of answers."

Raelyn laughs, just a little, at her sisters gentle jab at Sirrah's ability to question. She nods to Hashim, "We are truly honored for the offer," she says, sincerely. "And if we can find further hope, or information that we have not yet had access too, all the better. You are welcome and friend in any of my families lands," she declares. An honorific, if nothing else. "And I thank you, for letting us know this. And being willing to share it so freely."

Then, she looks to Sirrah. "Even if we are - unable to duplicate this event spoken of. It changes things. And I am even further confident that there is hope. The One is guiding us. Watching over us. The events that have played out over the last year and more need no further explination. Thank you, Sirrah. For taking your time to bring the Prophet here. We know you have your hands full."

"I have no questions for you, Lady Emilia." Hashim replies with a gentle smile, "I will simply cajole Sirrah into giving me the answers you have already provided her." He glances towards Sirrah, clearly amused, but she's no less quick to retort.

"Hah! You don't have the map to the vault this time." Sirrah replies, though a hand reaches over to briefly clasp the Prophet's upper arm. "But I might let you convince me nevertheless. Especially if it means more of this tea."

"Arendra was many years and many hard-travelled roads ago." Hashim replies fondly, "But I think arranging for more tea is within my power." He looks to Raelyn and Emilia and inclines his head, "You are most welcome."

Sirrah nods as well, and finishes off her cup of tea, "I fear we cannot tarry. Hashim's absence will be noted if he is gone too long." She pauses, smiling, if a bit thinly, to the Cassomir ladies, "Things remain…unsettled in Sanctum. I do not know the shape it will take before the end. But know that you and yours are ever foremost in my thoughts, and my prayers go with you…as well as any blessings I might have left to give."

A nod occurs in turn with Raelyn's words of welcome and thanks to Hashim. Though ya…Emilia just doesn't speak about what is or isn't watching over her…let alone guiding. She has a shadow of something older than the One in her head after all! Emilia cants her head just a little, a flicker of her dark eyes first to Sirrah for that report to come so quickly. Perhaps even amused by it…not that such would readily show upon Emilia's features. "But what of the answers not yet of given to Sirrah, to the of questions yet of unasked, perhaps even un-of-thought of yet?" It might be a turn of that deadpan Cassomir humour showing up, least where it comes to Sirrah not thinking of a question.

But Emilia is looking to Sirrah not long after, speaking with a hint more seriousness,"I am of sure you saw of the report about the gate of mishap? You should be of knowing that…They have been of different of since. Less of patient…." Not They were ever truly patient and pleasant.

A small bow of her head when Sirrah speaks of the need to not tarry overlong. Looking to Hashim,"I am of thanking for of the time of given to bring of this news your-of-self, Your Holiness. It is much of appreciated, especially for of the added of hope it brings to my siblings." Seeming to assume Jaren found similiar as Raelyn has to the tale. A nod to Sirrah,"The future is of always of shifting and changing til it is of fully of formed, even of the best cannot see of the true of end before it is of here. I am of always of greatful for the help and of prayers you have given to of me, my family. Know of well that you are in of mine-prayers as of well."

"Of course," Raelyn nods to Sirrah, and Hashim. "I hope to see both of you before you depart back home. And," she looks to Emilia, curving a smile towards Sirrah, "If Sirrah does not claim all this lovely tea, I'm certain my sister would not mind some. I'm sure we can come to some amicable arrangement." She rises, thus, to incline her head in formal fashion to both. "Be safe. One keep you."

Sirrah does glance towards Emilia at her admission, frowning a bit, "I…was concerned there may be aftereffects. Are your lessons helping?" Sirrah doesn't mention who or where the lessons are coming from, so whether Hashim knows or not remains a mystery for the moment. He doesn't seem to show any undue interest in the statement though, instead looking towards Raelyn and chuckling softly,

"I fear if you seek a trade arrangement, you may have to speak with the Shahzadeh…or perhaps the Shah Kabede Aman, for his Kingdom is among those where the leaf grows." Hashim adds, "Though your brother seems to have found a friend in the Shahzadeh's husband."

Emilia nods a touch,"Of aye, they are of helping. There are of situations that of yet remain outside of their ability to of help with…is hard to put of such to use when of sleeping." A minor tugging at the corners of her lips, after all it was hard to put any lesson to use while sleeping…right? "But the lessons do of help. I did not figure much could be done about of the change, but thought you would wish to of know that there has been of one." Not offering up the source of lessons or what they are even about herself. Or even exactly the nature of the mishap itself. Hashim can ply Sirrah with more promises of tea for that information!

A glance between the Prophet and her sister at the bit about trade and tea. Noting to Raelyn,"Seems of perhaps there is something you can of press Jaren about yet after of all."

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