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Author Topic: when dreams become reality  (Read 376 times)

Description: [ for Em: Jer ]

Offline Alina Cardei

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when dreams become reality
« on: Apr 16, 19, 04:51:44 PM »
( Winter, 194 | Following nothing breaks like a heart & don't usually play this game. )

There were many days when she retreated to this spot. Most of those days consisted of lessons that tired her, or people that she had to trip over herself to please while navigating through the complexities of conversation. She had to make herself care when a part of her only wanted to crawl away and hide among the trees and the wind rustling through their leaves. Years ago, too many years to remember exactly now, her mother had said it was because she was shy.

Her sister had snorted very loudly and rolled her eyes, proclaiming with much enthusiasm that it wasn't shyness that kept Alina at the fringes, but good sense. She watched and she listened rather than inserting herself directly in the middle. Besides, it was hard enough already to separate herself from all the others whose emotions she sensed. They bombarded her and pushed inward, threatening to drown her always. Learning to shield herself from it had been one of her main priorities, and those lessons had turned to shielding her mind in other ways as well in the past year and a half.

Had it almost been two years since she had talked to Alexandra about those visions she'd had before the Decimation? She'd loss track of time there too. It all came together, twisting and tangling, more difficult to pull apart in the last year than any other time she could think of. So much had happened. So many choices pulling the future in different directions. They had been put to pen and paper because there was no other way for her to get them out of her head. Even weaving them as Tangled Webs didn't help.

It only gave them a beginning. It provided a place to enter her mind and sink into her until it was hard to pull herself away. So, she had written until her hand ached. When that wasn't enough, she drew. The scratch of charcoal or graphite on paper had become so familiar to her that it was its own kind of lullaby now. It soothed some part of her that felt restless and sore. The visions had stopped coming so furiously, but they still came. They always would. It was her curse, or perhaps her gift. She wasn't sure which it was anymore, but she knew which it felt like more often than not.

The charcoal dust coated her hand as she lifted it to scratch at her cheek and left a shadowed smear across her skin. One image had been haunting her for a while now. It wasn't from her webs. Never in all of her time weaving had she seen it there, but it was in the Twisted Kingdom after whenever she crossed over, stumbling into its mist from either lack of caution or exhaustion. Now and again she would see it again as if in the corner of her eye. The figure was humanoid almost. Twisted and shadowed. Eyes glowing bright like embers smoldering still in the shift of midnight.

Wind coaxed a soft song through the branches above her head, tugging at her hair to whisper in her ears. She watched it take a sheet of paper that came free of her notepad, turning to watch its path whip past a figure that was all too familiar. A sigh escaped her then. Of course, it would be now. She had seen a litany of ways in which they could have met. Sometimes it was in a court. Other times it was always in the Twisted Kingdom and never in person. A bookstore. On some random street. A thousand ways of running into someone, but it was always the same once she recognized him past the memory of shifting features and the smell of witchblood.

She didn't get up from where she'd sat down in front of the little cafe in town, yet her head tilted all the same with a small smile. "I was wondering when this would happen." The stick of charcoal was set down as she wiped at her hands, her feet moving off of the free chair to nudge it from the table for him to sit. "You have a moment?"




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #1 on: Apr 20, 19, 03:01:23 AM »
There were better paths to see him returned to the Territory Court. Ones that would have him there in half the time but this day, Jeremiah followed the gentle murmur that said it was time to take this particular path. His sleep had not necessarily been quiet--it often never was--but he was at least finding rest in it.

Part of him liked to think it was because of the lines and whirls, the craft-created ink that now decorated his shoulder. The Black Widow Warlord Prince still worried about his Healer but there were fewer concerns when he knew that if he reached then the other was there. The same could be said in reverse, the tether reformed. He had promised, after all, that where the other went he would follow.

Not that he was following Lisichya today though he had a loose awareness of him all the same. It was that that enabled him to sleep easier, only pulled to the dreaming when it called to him strongly or when he knew he was needed by the Healer. Said Healer that he would see again, come the evening and the eventual return to the Territory Court. Before that, however, Jeremiah needed to deal with the Widow's path that had stretched itself out before him. It was touched by the dreaming, which hovered at the edges, and cast a strange overlay to the world that he had to blink away and clear.

If he closed his eyes, Jeremiah knew that he would hear a tune that he was familiar with. He did not, however, and continued walking until a piece of drawing paper flitted by carried by the wind. His hand snapped out, catching it between his thumb and forefinger without letting it crumple anymore than it already had. Even as his eyes followed the path that the sheet of cellulose had traveled he knew who it was that he would see. Jeremiah smiled, head inclined just slightly in greeting.

"Exactly when it is meant to," answered Jeremiah, "as all things do." He moved towards the table she was sitting at, the runaway sheet offered back to her to be slid under the drawing pad so that it would not escape once more. Queerly bright blue-green eyes--the color still unearthly, even in the waking--flicked to what she was drawing, noting its familiar shape of that which lurked in the Black Widow's dreams before he took the offered seat.

"I've time yet before I am to be back." So he did have a moment. "Which is rare for me but I am meant to be taking breaks." A soft chuckle escaped, Jeremiah unbuttoning the jacket of his suit as he settled into the chair. "Have you been fairing well?"

Offline Alina Cardei

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #2 on: Apr 22, 19, 12:28:03 PM »
Silver.

Silver like the stars that she loved to gaze at during the expansive night. Silver like the last gleaming light of the moon overhead. Silver like the lining around a difficult truth that she wanted to ignore.

Her smile was kind as she looked up at the Black Widow Warlord Prince and offered him a seat across from hers with a nudge of her foot on the chair. As one might have expected, he knew her as she knew him; recognized by scent and face, and perhaps something more as well. It would be hard to mistake this male for anyone else, even if she hadn’t caught glimpses of himself shifting in that strange form he took within the depths of the Twisted Kingdom.

“I am told that breaks are good.” A tilt of her head shifted the earrings she wore as they chimed softly in greeting. “And that I don’t take nearly enough myself. Usually.” The area around the cafe was peaceful though, and she supposed that this was as much a break as any. Even if she had been pulled here by some sense of otherness that tugged from that other place, it was a favorite for the way people mingled amicably among the shade and little shops.

Regardless of why they had both arrived, however, they were here now and for a reason that was apparent as they settled into their seats. He unbuttoned the suit he wore - a finely crafted thing that she took note of quietly - before making himself comfortable. Everything about this male spoke of importance from the way he carried himself and spoke, to the way he was dressed. That did not surprise the Black Widow though, Alina had sensed something monumental about him the first time they had met in the Twisted Kingdom.

He existed as if to be an anchor for many possibilities to be tied to, especially back then, when the Decimation had still just been a whisper in the Darkness speaking to many Black Widows through their Tangled Webs. “Better than many have in the last several months,” she replied to his question, expressioned saddened with the bleakly hopeful outlook that she’d taken in the time since the Healer had taken his Offering. “I’ll be a Journeymaid soon I expect. Then - well - I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go from there. More lessons probably. There’s always more lessons.”

It was as if the depths of her Caste’s knowledge was never reached now matter how she tried. There was always something else that she didn’t know, and perhaps that was part of why she enjoyed the academic pursuit of it all. There were questions to be asked and answers to be found, and through it all, Alina could not help but wonder what it was all for. Knowledge for the sake of pursuing knowledge was not something she was interested in for all that it made her happy as a pastime. That happiness was all too fleeting.

Blinking as if to clear her mind more than her vision, the Black Widow turned to look at him again before tugged one corner of her mouth upward. “It’s Alina, by the way. Alina Cardei. We never have gotten around to introducing ourselves before.”




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 19, 12:37:03 AM »
"I have learned," said Jeremiah, "that either we take breaks as necessary or we break." It was frankly said, clearly a story there, but then it was also a given. When one walked the winding paths of the Twisted Kingdom one had to be prepared to take a moment to breathe. To not do so was unwise and often lead down darkened paths that would not have outcomes that were wanted.

The Black Widow before him was steeped in the Twisted Kingdom. Young, he knew, and now with her Offering at last. How many times had he found her, he wondered. There were likely more than he did not remember, too many years of wandering the Twisted Kingdom in his dreams unknowingly. She wandered frequently, chasing the fragments within the Queendom that needed to be found so that sense could be made.

It was merely a fact of life for her, one Jeremiah understood well. The difference was that he could not afford to let himself wander as much as he might actually like to do so. (Sometimes, however, he had no choice. When one's mind was close to a great Abyssal sea sometimes being swept away was inevitable.)

"You do look better," replied Jeremiah. "Scattered still, but you've a better hold; not slipping away to mist." Here, in the waking, her form would shift if he tilted his head just right. That was the mark upon Jeremiah that showed for all that he was here part of him was forever within the Twisted Kingdom. "I don't think there is ever an end to lessons, though I enjoy mine when I am not agitating my mentor. Just as I know I will be considered a Journeymaid until she is satisfied with my growth." Considering the limited amount of Mind Healers in Dena Nehele, however, he was content with that.

There was an impish glint to his queerly bright blue-green eyes as Alina introduced herself. Truthfully, not so long ago he had gone looking out of curiosity. Once he had been assured that Alina was not in regular danger he had simply let things be.

"Introductions matter little when you are within a place that shows you as you truly are," said Jeremiah, his head inclining just slightly in greeting. "In any case, I am Jeremiah Mercer." Where she might not have known who he was by his silver hair--though that was certainly one of the things that saw him easily identified--his name said a great deal. Which was why there was at least one person that was peeking out from the inside of the cafe at the pair. Mostly because the Steward of Dena Nehele had stopped by and sat down.

Offline Alina Cardei

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 19, 05:30:12 PM »
“I suppose that people like us must learn to be more malleable?” Those who shifted to fill the void that they encountered always seemed to do better than those who stayed frigid, or worse, brittle. Still, her resilience only went so far as her abilities as a Black Widow. She’d acquired that trait to keep herself safe in the Twisted Kingdom and during her time weaving the webs of dreams and visions that sent her there. More mundane and typical things were harder for her to adjust to.

It seemed as if every time she encountered that part of herself - the part steeped in her Caste’s true nature - that she recoiled from it in fear of what she’d find. So, what was she really then: malleable and resilient, or brittle and afraid? The truth shouldn’t have stung as bitterly as it did. She’d been wandering paths in that other place for years now. Sometimes she felt as if she were just a hair’s breadth away from it at any given time. In some ways, it was a matter of choice to stay in the current reality rather than the surreal version that accompanied the branching paths that she saw.

Sometimes it wasn’t this life that felt the most real to her, and other times, it was some other possibility that felt so right to her, Alina’s heart ached to know that it would probably never come to pass. So few of those visions were about her specifically, but they were still beautiful. Too many were tragic, but others were beautiful and she lived for those webs. As easily as if she’d been weaving, however, her mind had slipped into its own space of thought rather than clinging to the present.

She blinked and let it come back to her, anchoring herself in the sounds of people nearby and the courtesies that she new best. She introduced herself with silent laughter that sang in her ears like wind chimes, though it only showed in the twitch of her lips and the way her voice chirped with that soft melody. Her breath came out in a hum as her fingers traced the edge of her cup. He was right. She hadn’t known him exactly, but the name did not surprise her, nor did the connotation and the reaction of the few people who were eavesdropping well enough to hear it being spoken.

“And what does Dena Nehele’s Steward have to do here on a day like this?” The sky was mostly clear of clouds. The birds were singing in the trees. A light breeze teased the shops, and although it was still cold, she felt as if Spring was a promise that it tried to give them. “I only know that it must be time. I never see the why. That’s always too obscure. It’s too much in the past.” She wore a saddened smile as she looked down into her cup, but the moment of playfulness had passed and turned melancholy. “Would you humor me for a moment, Prince Mercer? I keep wondering if we are drawn to places, to people and paths because we’ve been given a purpose. Do you think that’s true?”




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 19, 10:14:08 PM »
"Exactly so," said Jeremiah, "because if we cannot give, if we cannot be malleable, then we cannot see all that we are meant to see." The Twisted Kingdom was not a place of rigid, hard boundaries. It was ever flowing, always changing--what was, what is, what would be--waiting for the moment that those that walked its paths realized what was before them. Even then those meanings were different things for different people, no Black Widow seeing things as another did.

That was something that had only been reinforced in those moments when he had looked within webs with Claudia. For all that they could come to similar conclusions, their perceptions were different and the meaning pulled from portents not the same. The same could be said of Arkadie and himself, though Jeremiah recognized that there was a fair measure of influence from both Black Widows that was mirrored in him.

Or they brought it out.

Not that it particularly mattered. Jeremiah tilted his head, studying Alina. She struggled still, he knew that and found it a touch worrisome that a Black Widow was so at odds with what she was. With one hand she clutched everything that she was to her chest, held it close and dear to her. With the other she was trying to push it all away, keep it from pulling her into the deep. Where was the balance? There were the beginnings of it, of course, but ...

He blinked, focusing upon her properly. "Nothing at all," said Jeremiah, "for I was merely following my whims." A Widow's whims were fickle and capricious but they were particularly loud this day and so he gave heed to them. His head tilted, the Black Widow Warlord Prince feeling the ebb and flow of her emotions keenly. Somber now, not so impish anymore in her mood.

It made his own expression even out, bright blue-green eyes focused upon her. "It is true if we believe it," replied Jeremiah, "but that is not the answer you asked for." No, she asked if he thought it was true. "Perhaps not a personal purpose, no. That would imply a great deal of importance upon oneself that may not be there but ..." The Black Widow Warlord Prince was humble. This was another statement of such.

"There is reason for it. Loathe as I am to admit it, we cannot do everything. Just like knowing as much as we do is not enough either. I choose to believe that there is reason that draws us to the places and people we visit with." His fingers twitched, thumb brushing along his fingertips as if he was rolling a piece of thread between them. "It may be something as simple as sitting down and having a cup of tea," the glint of brief amusement in his eyes, "catching sight of a butterfly as it flits past, or merely passing one another by." There was a small smile on his face, soft and somber. "Even the smallest interaction can have the greatest impact. Recognizing that, knowing what it is, is not always easily discerned."

Offline Alina Cardei

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 19, 05:34:49 PM »
What was it that they were meant to see? What about her? What was it that she was meant to see in all of her branching visions and the winding possibilities? They spiraled off onto paths unknown, dead before they even had a chance of life being breathed into them. She saw them anyway. She saw the lives never lived and the people never met. Her heart ached for so many of them while hoping that one would find her that would lead her to happiness.

It was why she tried so fervently to keep away from visions of her own future. Sometimes they seeped in anyway and sought her out as whispers in the Darkness, but for the most part she repressed the urge to delve into her own fate. Then again, she repressed a lot of the urges that were natural for her Caste. The people walking on the streets and mingling in the shops were enviable to the Black Widow.

He said that Blood like them - the ones who walked the Twisted Kingdom and saw the future - needed to be malleable to be able to truly see. She wondered if it was her reservation that made it difficult for her to control the visions and when they came. It was something to think about another time, but her lips pressed together in thought before she tried to let the conversation carry itself to something lighter.

It didn’t stay that way. Of course it didn’t though, because it never did with her. Somehow, someway, Alina always found herself drawn back to the morbid and philosophical. Fun was something that simply eluded the young witch. His reasoning for being here was as solid as her own, meaning that it was simply a feeling.

She’d had a better understanding of why she had needed to come, but the when usually got jumbled up - lost to the tide of changing whims and shuffled around until her webs were little more than macabre decoration. “I agree. The smallest things can create ripples and become waves large enough to take down entire civilizations.” Something glossed over the way she looked off though, and she fought the shiver that worked its way down her spine.

The Decimation had been like that. One possibility after another had collided into each other until it had come rushing in on them all. Daintily, she picked up the cup and took a sip, allowing herself to breathe for a moment and come back to herself. A part of her hated this habit of hers with a fervent passion. Right now, that disdain for herself was tucked away though, kept behind a closed door like so many other things she chose not to deal with.

“So, how is it that a Warlord Prince came to study the Twisted Kingdom? When we first met, I thought you were some vision, or creature there that came to visit me. I didn’t realize you were an actual person for a while, yet here you are.” Her eyes gleamed for a moment as she tilted her eyes and looked at him. It was so strange to see a face that didn’t shift as it did in that other place. “I’ve heard rumors, but I prefer hearing things from the source. Everyone’s interpretation can be so different.”




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 19, 01:27:14 AM »
Within Jeremiah were memories of a life lived where his Queen died and so much more. He had knowledge of things that were him but not him. Someone that had walked as he did but followed a different path to reach where he was meant to be. At first, once he recognized the knowledge for what it was, he had been disturbed by it, by what he saw and learned.

Now he made use of it. Turned what would have pushed him to insanity into knowledge that helped him navigate the world. It informed his decisions more often than not, sometimes without him ever realizing it. That was much preferred to his being overwhelmed, scared of what lurked in his mind as he wandered unable to understand just why everything was so vivid. Why paths stretched outward, leaving him with no choice to follow until they swept him under.

That was no longer the case but it did not mean he had forgotten the heavy fear of dreaming that he once held.

Jeremiah studied Alina as she spoke, watching the way her eyes were no longer were focused upon the here and now. Was it like that with him? Caught as he could be, finding himself within what was and what would be and what is with his mind working to understand. (In some ways he wanted to thank Seiha Inoue but only because her penchant for shunting other Black Widows off onto unfamiliar paths within their visions had helped him grow even more.)

His forefinger tapped against the table. The rhythm was deliberate, one meant to draw attention and bring her back. In the dreaming where he had often found her, he might have simply reached for her but here, within the waking, it was not appropriate. It was simply hard to not notice it, even as the Opal-Jeweled Black Widow's emotions fluttered, scattering to the winds like a flock of startled birds.

The Black Widow Warlord Prince blinked, head tilting just so. It was an action that was likely familiar, especially when his queerly bright blue-green eyes--not nearly as luminescent as they had been in the Twisted Kingdom but still far too bright--sharply focused upon her face.

"The rumors do not hold much, if anything at all, about the truth." When it came to the rumors of his being a Black Widow, there were barely any. It simply amounted to that it had been hidden, quite well, until one day it was not. None of the rumors explained why, though the tales of the Mercer family having a penchant for being resistant to Black Widow webs was something. Who knew what, though.

"Just as I can say that my truth--my interpretation--is not necessarily the truth either." One could not invalidate something flat out for that exact reason. Without the whole image, discrediting another could lead to many issues.

"Which is to say," continued Jeremiah, "that you likely saw what I once was: something not quite human, a vision of what has been and could be." As in he could have been something else, unable to control himself as he did not. "The Twisted Kingdom has touched my life--my dreams--for over a decade. To study and walk its paths was born of that, though I did not consciously do so until the winter before last summer." It was why he had such fine control. Why when it came to dreams, Jeremiah was capable of so much that others might not be. To him it was all malleable, finding it easy to twist and pull what was wanted forward to guide or otherwise as necessary.

Offline Alina Cardei

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #8 on: Jul 08, 19, 10:30:46 PM »
She blinked. At first it was purely out of reaction, barely known as she did so to try and clear her mind, but then the subtle sound of his finger tapping drew her attention out of that ether, away from the wayward paths she could have traveled down. Her head tilt curiously like a bird catching onto something intriguing before she realized he had done much the same, though it seemed so different on him, as if he traveled a line between that of a predator and someone terribly amused.

In that moment, she envied the way he held that look as much as she wondered what it meant. She'd seen it before, far too many times to count in the Twisted Kingdom, but it had become so familiar that she'd barely thought about it anymore. Usually there was something else to think about anyway. Alina found herself looking down again, falling into depths of her cup and hoping to find some sort of answer there to a question she hadn't even asked.

"It's all the same," she said softly, "and it's all different. What we are. What we could be. What once was, and what still is to come." She blinked again, seeing so much more in that moment, but they were the dreams that anyone could see, so long as they held a yearning heart. "I think it's what could have been that bothers me the most, but living in the past leads to wondering about too many different now's than I can keep up with, and they never stay the same anyway. Always changing, like ripples in a lake. It's all happening at once."

A soft hum broke through as she closed her mouth on whatever else she might have said. Already, she had begun to wonder what would have happened if she hadn't chosen to come here, if she'd just kept walking, or never gone out at all. Would this meeting still happen eventually because it was destined to, or would it be one of those many chances lost to time, never to be seen again? What was the significance and what was the difference? "So, do you believe you were meant to be a Black Widow?" She looked up at him finally, curiosity breaking through the mist.

"Whether in that other life, or the one you lead now? Some other life entirely? Perhaps this was just how it was meant to be, whether naturally or by someone's intervention. There's no rhyme or reason to Caste as it is; just the place that the wheel stops when she spins it... or perhaps it's kinder than that. Chosen specifically the day we are born." Did Mother Night spin her web for every Blood child and see what their future held? What all their possible futures held, and how they all merged together, and where it was best to lead them?

Sometimes she wasn't sure what brought her comfort, thinking that it really was all set out for them, or that somehow it was their own choices that led them to such strange fates.




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: when dreams become reality
« Reply #9 on: Jul 15, 19, 08:33:25 AM »
"Perhaps accept that it will come, no matter what. That we are always in transition: from what was, to what is, to what will be." Once Jeremiah had been in a similar place, afraid of what would be and unable to recognize that it was holding in place. Quite literally so as the case had been. He had been afraid of taking the wrong step, of not doing what was right, and in that fear, he had held himself back.

It was in his acceptance of himself--the flaws and everything else that came with--that he had been able to truly move forward as a Black Widow. "... though I suppose when I walk the winding paths of the Queendom," as sometimes, yes, he did call the Twisted Kingdom a Queendom, "I have learned how to filter through everything and not let it overwhelm me." Instead of being rushed, of being swept under the great Abyssal sea of the space he knew, he flitted between what was needed at the time. "... and that trying to know everything will only lead to me being crippled by indecision and hurt those I wish to protect."

Jeremiah studied Alina, a silver eyebrow raised upward as queerly bright blue-green eyes fixed upon her face. He knew all too well that she was wandering again, that he could do--did--the same often enough, at the other paths that she might've traveled this day. "Has anyone ever asked which you would rather be? The keeper of knowledge and foresight or devoured by those very same things?"

At her question, however, Jeremiah was silent. He remained so for a smattering of heartbeats as she finished speaking before finally answering. "I do," he answered. "I believe this is the path I was meant to walk, that this is what I am meant to be. In this life, in another life, in any life where I do not lose myself to madness--to the dreams that could devour me--this is the path that is mine to walk.

"But ..." Here, Jeremiah smiled, and it would become apparent that he had been raised by a Priestess. "I do think Mother Night has something picked for us, chosen just for us, and it is our choice to follow that or to use those as a guide and reach for something else." There was a gentle pulse of his Rose, the brief scent of fresh winter's snow as he raised a hand to touch where the chip of it rested in the vine of sweetbrier necklace he wore.

"The Summer Sky waited for me on the day of my Offering. It was just there, she had put it there for me, but I had already lived a life with it in dreams. Held those memories as painful as they were, and so I turned for the warmth of my Rose to walk a path that would likely be harder and less known." His hand fell back down, Jeremiah's fingers curling gently around the slope of his tea cup's handle. "So I believe in both: chosen or guided, our choice as to what path we wish to take." It was as Black Widows that they held a more intimate knowledge of the paths available to them.

 

 

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