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The eruption of Mount Garben has forced the people of Landing to evacuate north. Under a storm of ash and Thread, the colonists make the perilous journey to Fort Hold. The riders fulfill their duty at last, and a new era dawns for the Pernese--join the plot here.

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 Basking, [05.09] for Sada/Calico
Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: Feb 10 2018, 02:01 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

The sun was very bright in the sky, and warm on Eleanor's face as she and Chioneth settled themselves down for lunch. Maggie, Penny and Hawk pressed in close, draping themselves over Chioneth's broad back, and Eleanor grinned at the sight. It never failed to warm her, to see them all getting along so well.

Their first flight together had happened only days before, and it was still constantly on Eleanor's mind. She wanted to take to the sky again, though they haven't, since.

I still don't understand why, Chioneth grumbled, and Eleanor sighed. It was a familiar grumbling, now. Once Chioneth had a taste of them flying together, she did not want to let it go. She did not forget it. Eleanor reached up to drag her head close and pressed a kiss to her nose.

"I want to, too," she said. "But we promised we wouldn't until proper straps are created."

But I didn't let you fall last time, Chioneth whined. We know we can do it.

Eleanor was firm, though. She'd gotten off lightly, for how reckless she and Chioneth had been, and Eleanor did not want to tempt fate--she didn't want to risk ruining their good fortunes.

"It won't be long," she promised. "Then we'll fly together all the time. I promise."

Chioneth heaved a great sigh, and Eleanor added, "Look, the sun is lovely today. Let's enjoy it. Maybe we'll go swimming together later, too." That seemed to lift Chioneth's spirits a little, and she bobbed her head eagerly.

But first, it was time for food, and Eleanor tucked into the sandwiches she'd brought for herself, slipping a little to the fire lizards when they crowded close. Chioneth wanted a bite, too, and when she snapped up a whole sandwich in one big gulp, Eleanor was glad that she'd brought more than one with her.

Eleanor was just finishing when Chioneth lifted her wedge-shaped head. Someone's coming!

It was someone Eleanor knew, and she smiled and waved. "Hello, Sada! Would you like to join us? We're just enjoying the sun!"


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: Feb 11 2018, 05:02 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

Aegis and Braig flitted about Sada’s head like incessant children. Their bright cheeps were raucous as they chased one another in her immediate vicinity. “Hey, hey you two,” she called quickly. “Take your game somewhere else.” Sada wasn’t exactly in the mood to handle her two rambunctious pets. Her day helping out at the office had been a long one, and she was keen on getting some time to relax. Heading back to her parent’s place for a bit seemed like the best bet, and as she walked the well-worn paths Sada wondered if she could purloin a meal out of them before she went back to the barracks.

She had made it about halfway when she caught sight of one of the dragons lounging with her rider. It was very clearly a gold, her hide bright and glittering in the afternoon sun. Amidst a familiar pang of envy Sada noticed how much larger the female looked next to her rider. When in the world had they gotten so big? She had seen them flying about in the distance several times over the last few weeks, but it was one thing to see them from so far away and another to realize their actual size on the ground.

Suddenly, her two flitts reappeared near her head, bringing with them gusts of cold air that were so particular to their method of teleportation. Aegis clung to Sada’s shoulder, folding his wings as he pressed his cold face to her cheek. “You needy thing,” Sada murmured, though not unkindly. A hand came up to scratch at the bronze’s eyeridges, but her attention was stolen a moment later when a voice called out to her.

She recognized Ellie immediately, and understanding settled into place as she recalled her gold’s name, Chioneth. “Hey Ellie, Chioneth!” Sada called, angling towards the pair. “Sure, I’ve got time to spare.” Picking her way across, Sada couldn’t help but find her eyes lingering on the gold dragon. Chioneth was beautiful, just like all the other golds the first clutch had produced. Her hide was a deep burnished color, almost flame-touched if Sada were to describe it. “How are you two?” Sada asked, letting her gaze fall towards Eleanor.

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Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: Feb 13 2018, 10:00 AM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

"As good as can be," Ellie said with a wry grin, which widened as Chioneth thrust her head forward hopefully, eyes pleading for a scratching from Sada.

No, it's excellent! But, oh, I am so itchy and Ellie only has two hands. Her voice was bright and imploring. While it seemed that many dragons did not like to talk to anyone other than their riders, Chioneth was happy to speak to anyone who would listen to her.

Eleanor laughed a little, ducking her head. "We flew," she said. "Together, I mean. Chioneth's been zooming about on her own for months now. But I climbed onto her back and tried it for the first time."

It was wonderful, Chioneth said dreamily. And no one expected us to do it first! Chioneth seemed pleased by that fact. She liked being first, and she liked doing unexpected things. It didn't occur to her at all that they could get in trouble for their recklessness.

"It all worked out in the end, but we'll be staying on the ground for now," Ellie said firmly, more to Chioneth than to Sada. It was obvious that Chioneth had been trying to wear her defenses down in that respect.

She settled back against Chioneth, who curled around her, and patted the space beside her. "Chioneth doesn't mind if you'd like to lean," she offered. "But only it you keep petting her." Chioneth rumbled in agreement, her eyes brightly blue-green.

"How have you been, Sada? It's been awhile, hasn't it?" She'd dated Eleanor's brother briefly, and she'd been a candidate with Eleanor too. She was looking forward to catching up.


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: Feb 14 2018, 03:42 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

Sada bit back a noise of surprise as Chioneth thrust her head forward. So much larger than any firelizard’s could ever be, Sada was momentarily transfixed by the intense color of her swirling eyes, like some jewel pried from straight from a crown. She would have thought that the gold wouldn’t want anything to do with her, on a count of not being her rider and all. But, Chioneth clearly thought otherwise, and the bubble of her voice in Sada’s mind sealed the deal.

It had been a long time since the Hatching, since they had all been shoved into that sweltering incubation room to await the birth of their saviors. Back then, the only dragon voices she had heard had been ones made in pleading, in desperate search of their one and only bondmate. Chioneth’s voice, while still searching in nature, lacked the raw, scared edge that her newborn siblings’ had. It still felt odd though, having another mind against hers. It provided a frame of reference for how much… space there actually was in there. Sada wasn’t entirely sure that was a good thing either. Still, the woman managed to suppress the shiver that wanted to cascade down her spine, moving instead to fulfill the gold’s request.

Chioneth’s hide was supple and warm from the sun, and it felt soft and luxurious underneath Sada’s fingertips. “Really?” She exclaimed softly, brows arching at Eleanor’s admission. “That must have been heavenly,” Sada breathed, feeling a smile pull at the edges of her lips. To see the world from a dragon’s back, it must have been marvelous! Chioneth echoed as much, with her pride in their achievement radiating off her in waves.

“I would happily do so,” Sada smiled, taking a seat next to the gold’s rider. Was it wrong of her to relish this opportunity? To drink in every sensation as her fingers pressed against a dragon’s warmed hide? At the very least she hoped that her envy didn’t show through too much, but it was hard. Who wouldn’t want to be bonded to one of these loving creatures?

“I’ve been fine,” Sada mused, glancing between Eleanor and Chioneth. “It’s mostly the same old routine: drills, lessons, and whatnot. I help out in the labs when I can, though that’s probably going to taper off the further along this clutch gets. How have you been? What’s life as a dragonrider like?” She smiled, eyes shining playfully.

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Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: Feb 18 2018, 06:46 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

Chioneth rumbled low in her throat as Sada scratched her, her eyes closing in bliss. She loved to be pet, and stroked, and scratched, and she hardly minded who was doing the patting.

Ellie watched them both with a grin. It always made her happy to see how well Chioneth got along with others. She adored the dragon so, and all she wanted to do is share her with the world. She reached out to scratch Chioneth's hide herself, face soft with affection.

Then she turned back to Sada with a dreamy sigh. "Oh, it was wonderful! But probably--not the smartest thing we've ever done." Ellie looked sheepish then, embarrassed by her recklessness. She rarely did things without thinking about them first, but she had gotten caught up.

Chioneth opened her eyes and turned to look at Ellie. It was what we were meant to do, Chioneth said, including Sada in her words. They would have kept us grounded for too long, because they would not let us try. But we cannot do our duty without taking risks. Her voice was uncharacteristically serious, a hint of gentle chiding in the tone.

"Yes, I suppose that's true," Eleanor said, sighing. "We'll be smart about it next time, though. We won't go up again without straps. It's too dangerous." She needed something to help her hold on when her fingers went numb.

She offered Sada a smile. "Honestly, life as a dragonrider has mostly been the same. Just also with a lot of oiling and feeding these bottomless pits." She patted Chioneth's dappled hide, and the affection was clear in her voice. "I don't think that it'll really be much different till we can start really learning how to fly Thread. We still haven't tried to flame." Her smile widened. "Hopefully you'll join us soon! A baby dragon is sort of like caring for a baby human, or so I've heard."


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: Mar 11 2018, 06:16 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

Sada could hardly contain the smile that pulled at the edges of her lips as she watched Chioneth’s eyes close. She never thought she’d get this close to a dragon, at least not before she’d met her own. Part of her was still holding out hope that the next hatching would finally be her chance, but it was a constant struggle to believe between that and the pessimism that reared its ugly head every now and again.

The candidate turned back to Ellie, curiosity shining in her deep brown eyes. “Sometimes progress requires risk,” Sada commented, tilting her head. She couldn’t very well say that she’d have been much better, had she been in Ellie and Chioneth’s position. How long had the dragonriders been waiting to fly with their partners? It was such a natural inclination to want to have that experience that Sada couldn’t find it in herself to blame either of the goldpair. “You won’t get anywhere if you just play cautiously all the time. And hey, you two know each other better than anyone else. You know what you’re capable of.”

When the subtle ring of Chioneth’s voice chimed in Sada’s mind once more she found her head nodding in approval. “See?” Sada asked. “Chioneth agrees with me!” At the mention of straps, Sada’s brows tilted upward in question. Straps? Would that be sort of like a saddle was for horses, except for dragons? “Now that sounds exciting,” Sada breathed. “Do you have any designs ready to test out?”

The fondness in Ellie’s voice reigned in the candidate’s attention. “I hope so too,” She smiled. “I’m staying hopeful. Besides, if I can take care of those two knuckleheads,” Sada interjected, pointing to Aegis and Braig who were still chasing each other, “then I think I can definitely handle taking care of a hatchling, especially if she’s as well mannered as Chioneth is.”

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Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: Mar 17 2018, 05:23 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

Chioneth rumbled in agreement, and even Ellie nodded. "I was always--" She paused, and laughed a little. "As a kid, I was always a bit of a goodie-two-shoes, I guess. Never really did anything but what I was told and all." She patted Chioneth lightly and grinned a little. "Chioneth has changed that. But it's good to have a dragon who pushes you, I think."

Ellie likes to say that we balance one another, Chioneth mused, and Eleanor laughed again. Chioneth barely understood what balance was; she threw herself headlong into everything.

"She keeps me on my toes, and I temper her enthusiasm a bit," Eleanor said. She hoped that Sada would find a dragon who'd do the same for her, or who would mirror and amplify the parts of her that she wanted to grow.

Eleanor grinned. "Well, I can't say that Chioneth was always well-mannered," she teased, nudging the dragon again, even as Chioneth grumbled indignantly. "But she is always kind. And curious. She and the fire lizards got into all sorts of trouble when she was small."

Her fire lizards had taken it upon themselves to show Chioneth the ropes, so to speak.

"It was hard to imagine what Chioneth would be like, even after the touching," Eleanor added. "It's the strangest thing, to have someone in your head all the time. But it's not bad." Her expression was fond when she recalled how Chioneth came to her.

"I think part of the problem, with regards to dragon milestones, is that the scientists leading the program just--well, they can never know what it's like, or know our dragons like we do." She felt a little pensive as she continued, "Someday, we'll have to be the ones to figure out these things for ourselves."


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: Mar 19 2018, 10:23 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

“Don’t I know the feeling,” Sada mused with a smile. If there was anything she understood, it was bowing to the wishes of a parent. Like Ellie, she had done that for most of her life – hell, she was still doing it in a way. She could certainly make the argument, at least privately, that her whole reason for signing on as a candidate was to fulfill her parent’s wishes. At the very least Sada was able to mask their desires with the veil of reason that she was doing this for herself, because she wanted a dragon. Slowly, she turned to look back up at Chioneth. Would a dragon change her the way the gold had changed Ellie? She could only hope so, she’d been stagnant for way too long.

“That’s a good thing,” Sada admitted, smiling. “It’s not healthy to be the same for too long. Everything changes, and I don’t think people should be the exception.” She tried her best to live by that rule. At first, the candidate program had seemed like enough of a change, but, inside, the worry sometimes crept up in her stomach that she was spiraling down the same old path, headed towards the same old type of mediocre complacency.

The candidate’s eyes softened when she glanced back at the goldrider. “Really?” She asked, voice mirthful. She supposed that it made sense. Firelizards could be mischievous creatures, it only made sense that some of the dragons would display that same fanciful behavior, being engineered from them and all. “What kind of trouble did she get into?” Sada asked innocently. She could only imagine firelizard antics amplified to the size of a newborn, growing dragonnet. Having a hatchling really would be like taking care of a child then!

As Ellie continued Sada found herself nodding in understanding. The Touching had been eye-opening for them all. None of them had ever encountered the feeling of another mind against theirs, so strong and fully-formed even in the shell. Secretly, Sada yearned for that feeling again, and not a day went by that she thought about the next clutch that the scientists were currently working on. “I can only imagine,” Sada said finally. “Is it worlds away from how a firelizard feels?” She wondered. It had to be from what she could see. Braig and Aegis were always in her mind in some form or another, but the way Ellie talked about experiencing Chioneth, the way any of the riders talked about their dragons for that matter…

“Well then it’s a good thing there’s so many of you!” Sada added enthusiastically. “You all have each other, bound by bonds no one else can even begin to understand. I’m pretty sure it’s a solid fact that 18 heads are far better than one.” Sada chuckled. Reaching over, she nudged Ellie playfully. “I know you’ll all figure it out,” she began, “and even if you don’t, there’s more of us coming your way!”

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Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: Mar 30 2018, 11:28 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

"I hadn't thought of it like that," Ellie mused, turning to grin a little at Sada. "You're right though. It's no good if we can't change with the times." They had to be flexible if they were going to survive Threadfall, too. "It's being open to change that brought us all here to Pern in the end, isn't it," she added. Or, at least--her parents' openness. Eleanor would have been too young to make that choice when they left Earth.

Chioneth rumbled softly and turned to regard Eleanor. Well, I am glad that you came here, she said to both her rider and Sada. What a terrible thought--if you hadn't come, we would not be here together.

Eleanor reached out to run her fingers over her dragon's soft hide, smiling. "Yes, you're right about that. And even if Thread is frightening, I am glad for that."

Thread will not be so scary when we face it together, Chioneth declared, and Ellie's smile grew.

"Yeah. Yeah, I guess you're right. Things are always better when you're not alone." And with Chioneth around, Eleanor was never alone. She hoped sincerely that Sada, too, would experience that.

Eleanor laughed then, and turned her mind to Chioneth when she was smaller. "Oh, when she was still cat-sized, we would visit my parents and she would try to jump off of the furniture and fly. But she was still too small, and she was not very graceful. She accidentally pulled a table cloth down, and knocked a chair over, and fell into a pile of laundry." Eleanor snickered at the memory. "My father wasn't very happen when she got tangled in his trousers and shredded the leg accidentally."

Chioneth lifted her head, snorting, but her eyes whirled with amusement. "She liked splashing in the bath, too. I always had to clean water off the floor." But it was obvious that Eleanor didn't mind so much: everything was more fun with Chioneth around.

"Yes," she continued, leaning back against Chioneth. "Their minds are very different. Fire lizards seem to communicate more with emotions. The dragons use words. And they understand more. Fire lizards seem much more animalistic, I think."

But there were things that Eleanor simply couldn't explain, things that Sada would only understand when she Impressed herself--and Eleanor was sure that she would, when the next clutch came. Eventually she laughed again. "I think we'll need all the help we can get. Pern's a big place, and people will want to spread out again."


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: Apr 1 2018, 05:12 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

Like Ellie, Sada couldn’t help but smile as Chioneth’s supportive words rang in her mind. Thread was scary, it was dangerous, and it had already killed hundreds of colonists, razing their homes and their livelihoods to the ground. But, with other people, with dragons, teamwork could lighten the burden and save lives. You already know how to work a flamethrower, Sada reminded herself. She knew the ins and outs of their repair and maintenance like the back of her hand, had used one several times to burn leftover Thread to a charred, smoking crisp. What would dragonriding be but doing that at several thousand feet? She’d have others beside her, and a dragon that would share a bond with her for the rest of her life. Put in those terms, and couched in the framework that Ellie and Chioneth had provided, recognition swept over Sada. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad in the end. Even someone like her could succeed at Threadfighting, given enough time.

When the conversation turned to Chioneth’s earlier days Sada happily listened. A light laugh bubbled from her throat as she tried to imagine a hatchling Chioenth’s antics. She could see it in her mind’s eye, a flurry of golden wings and limbs as silverware clattered to the floor, the squeak and scrape of a table chair, once folded clothes now in complete disarray, and a pair of pants that would never again see the light of day. When Chioneth snorted Sada only found herself chortling even more. “That really does sound like having a child,” she smiled.

Leaning back, Sada brought her knees to her chest. Ellie’s words sank in like a sponge, and she nodded her head in clear understanding. All of that made a lot of sense. The dragons had been designed to be more intelligent after all, and even though she had two firelizards of her own she could feel a clear delineation in her mind of where she, her self as Sada, was, and the space that Braig and Aegis occupied. But, still she was curious. There was no telling how much left there was for them to learn about the dragons, besides the obvious matters of teleportation and fire-breathing. Were there more secrets for the riders to uncover?

“Yeah, you’re right,” Sada said, nodding her head in agreement. Letting her head fall back, she fixed her eyes on the pale blue sky above. She’d always found it beautiful, in a sort of nebulous way. It was vast and open, stretching from one corner of the world to the other. All one sky above this one, singular planet. “I think we’ll get there one day,” she began. “To a place where we can be happy, truly, not just living from one victory to the next.”

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Eleanor Winters
 Posted on: May 6 2018, 04:12 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Chioneth | #f9ba3a
134 posts | 100 marks
written by Otterly

Calico

"But now she's mostly grown up," Ellie said thoughtfully. "Strange how fast they grow. Now she's old enough to ride and fly all on her own." She tilted her head to look over Chioneth's bright hide. She was thrilled with how well Chioneth was growing, but she still missed the days when she was tiny. She supposed that Sada was right--it really was like having children.

Chioneth lowered her head and rested her cheek against Ellie's shoulder, and Ellie was silent for awhile as Sada continued.

"I think you're right," she agreed. They were gloomy words in some ways; it was hard not to live day-to-day, ever fearing the possibility of being devoured by Thread. "It makes me feel helpless, though."

Such a thing was unavoidable though. "I'm dying to be able to do something," she sighed. "But we're still a ways away. It wouldn't be good to rush the dragons; you wouldn't rush a horse, but--how much longer will the civilians go along with all of this, without tangible results? That's what I'm most worried for. We aren't drains on society, but it's hard to fault people from wondering if we are."

Chioneth rumbled lowly, as if trying to comfort her rider, and Ellie smiled a bit. Then she looked around and realized with some surprise that the sun had began to lower in the sky.

"Oh! I hadn't realized it had gotten so late," she murmured. "We've been sitting here awhile, huh?" But it was easy to chat with Sada, and she counted the other woman among her friends. Time flies when you're with people whose company you enjoy.


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Sada Crosswell
 Posted on: May 9 2018, 09:37 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Eyath | #F8BD53
66 posts | 190 marks
written by Calico

“Bet it went by in the blink of an eye,” Sada commented, glancing from Ellie back towards the sky. That was the kind of thing her mother said when she talked about her and Sam as kids. She said that she missed it sometimes, watching them run around, not a care in the world except for waking up, learning something new, and having fun. Briefly, Sada wondered if Ellie had similar feelings. Her description of Chioneth as a hatchling had been heartfelt and endearing, and she could certainly imagine missing such playful youth, especially given their current situation. Whatever came after definitely wouldn’t be easy on them or any of the other dragonriders.

Silently, Sada listened as Ellie’s concerns poured out of her. She could relate, all too well, to feelings of helplessness. Even now as a candidate there were still some days when Sada was afraid that she wasn’t doing enough to help, either herself, the program, or the colony. Those feelings of inadequacy always lingered in the back of her mind, threatening to swallow all of her hard won progress.

“I think they’ll wait however long they have to,” Sada shrugged, letting her gaze settle on the distant view of the treeline. “They’re not the ones who’re going to be fighting Thread, that’s you and the other dragonriders.” The statement was more than a little brazen, but Sada didn’t really care. She had no time for those who pushed their notions of productivity or usefulness onto others. “You said it yourself, rushing won’t do anyone any good. We have to save lives, not try to Impress people.” And that was the bottom line in Sada’s opinion. They weren’t here to win the favor of the colonists, they were here to protect them from the parasite that rained down from the ever-loving sky.

“But – what do I know? It’s easy for me to say that kind of thing,” Sada said sheepishly, “I’m not a dragonrider.” Yet. Hopefully.

Chioneth’s rumble drew Sada’s attention easily enough and from there she followed Ellie’s gaze to the setting sun. Lord she was right, when had it gotten so late? “Yeah we have,” she finally laughed. Sada breathed a heavy, lengthy sigh as she gathered her feet under her. They were slightly stiff from all the sitting, but feeling quickly returned as she brushed the grass from her pants. “I hate to do this, but I should probably get going,” she remarked sadly. “You know how it is being a candidate, early mornings and all.” Sada spared one last look at Ellie and Chioneth before whistling for her firelizards. “Thanks so much for chatting with me Ellie, you too Chioneth! Hopefully I’ll have a dragon of my own sometime soon, and you’ll get to meet them!” With that, Sada turned to head off in the direction of the candidate barracks, more sure than ever of the path she had chosen for herself.

[End]

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