Yeah, Something Blew Up

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds
Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.

That black column of cloud rises in blue skies, lingering before the upper level currents carry it off inland, pointing an accusing finger at the location of the explosion. As if that's not enough, occasional muffled reverberation can be heard as intermittent, smaller explosions can be heard. Rounding the bluff and leaving the Weyrling Beach for the 'Grounds, the sight of smoke, less of it and not as black, escapes from the face of the cliff that rises beyond the Weyrling area, some of it drifting downslope, spreading a haze over the area. The scent of sulfur is pervasive. V'dim is out there, frowning at what looks like a gaping hole in the rock. Despite the fact that the barracks are intact, he… does NOT look happy.

The Weyrwoman is likely at this point at or near the back of the group, but she steps forward, eyes locked upon the scene. "What happened?" she snaps the words at poor V'dim. Yeah, he gets her question since it's obvious the ancient Weyrlingmaster did not just sprint from the gather. Pale blue eyes swing towards her, including Ka'el in his salute, respectful even as he grunts, his taciturn answer a dry, "Something exploded." His wrinkled cheek twitches, "That's all I know, Sir, Ma'am." Another crackled explosion rattles within the cliff followed by the sound of falling rock.

There's a feeling of relief once Soriana is spotted, but it's a briefly lived thing. She's okay, as is everyone who was at the gather. But anyone who wasn't? Anyone who might've been within the vacinity of the … whatever the heck it was that rattled the ground? Ka'el's relief vanishes with the possibilities of the unknown, and the continued sounds of rumbled mayhem in smaller versions does nothing to ease the Weyrleader's worries. Galaxy has been alerted. First responder dragonriders are nearly ready. Kanekith calls again from above them all, his mind a brisk and cool breeze on those of the rescue dragons, urging them to be at their ready. A cool breeze towards visiting dragons, assuring them that all is handled. Poor Ka'el's mind is going in three places at once. Dragon. To Dragon. To human. He slows only when they arrive on the Weyrling grounds, eyes on V'dim. V'dim, safe and sound! Eyes jump to the empty barracks, unharmed and untouched. "Exploded?" He looks at the smoke again, brows furrowed bothin concern andmconfusion. What randomly…explodes? "Could it be the Miners? Can the dragons reach any of the whers?"

That Gather can continue… well, not unabated. The crack-boom of it probably means it's well and truly rattled, but at least unharmed. Soriana stares as she arrives, not looking away as Thea interrogates V'dim. "…shards," she mutters in an undertone, and the cliff puts action to words with the explosion. She drags her eyes away from the site and looks to Ka'el. "They're not mining here…" A glance to Thea. "…right?" And Soriana trails off again, returning her gaze to the brand new and blackened crevice in the earth. "Luraoth says the whers aren't panicked." But, well, whers. They're better than firelizards, but it's a lucky day when you can get three words in a row from them, and Luraoth's attention is rather divided at the moment, her main focus on reassuring a couple of the weyrling dragons and reminding visitors that they don't need to investigate.

Kiena rushes forwards, skirts hiked up as she follows after Ka'el and Thea, then Soriana too as the goldrider joins them. Her expression is grim and tense, her eyes constantly scanning the sky for a glimpse of that smoke. Her mind drifts from Ujinath and then to her own thoughts and back again as she struggles to keep the blue down and out of the way. She's heading towards the danger, not away from it and it has both rattled in their own ways. At last they are approaching the Weyrling Grounds and Kiena slows to a stop, blue eyes scanning that cliff face. There's a muffled curse as another crackled explosion rattles off and her nose wrinkles at the smell of sulphur. "Don't think they'd be. Not this… close?" Kiena asks a touch breathlessly as she darts a look to Ka'el and Soriana, then to Thea and V'dim, as if the answer may yet come from any of them. "What IS up there or by there that could explode?"

Though Thea isn't totally winded, she does need to catch her breath somewhat before answering anyone. "Right," she answers Soriana because Soriana has answered Ka'el and one word is easier than 'there are no mines up there'. The smoke dissipates somewhat as her breathing slows and so she manages, "Ka'el, can Kanekith try and see through the smoke? See if there's anyone up top or on the ground below? Seryth's landed at the point between the main beach and the weyrling beach to keep curious people from passing." Her attention shifts to V'dim. "Are all Weyrlings accounted for? Seryth says all hatchlings are fine and most are in the meadow or on the beach." Her eyes remain, despite continued sounds from that cliff, upon the aged man until his sharp nod confirms that, then she flicks a glance at the weyrsecond. "I've no idea, but I'm going to find out." Grim, that's what she is. Aaand the sounds up there continue, taking on a different note. Sharp, rapid, pop-pop-pop-pops, the pwhewwwww-rowwwwrrrr? followed by a crackle-boom. Now that the smoke has cleared somewhat sparkles of color can be seen both at the front and the top of that cliff. Thea continues to stare, a growing suspicion. "I don't want anyone up there until those explosions stop," she says firmly. "Miners and whers first to be sure the area is stable. Then we can send… someone in to investigate." One guess who that'll be. Someone familiar with chemicals and explosives.

No one thought a cliff would sporadically explode in the middle of a gather either, but hey, random things apparently happen! Maybe the miners were investigating something, off the record. What else would cave in rock? It's a mystery! Ka'el looks to Soriana at her answer, but turns his eyes to the smoke soon after, frowning towards the plume. Things certainly still do sound active… Just how dangerous is this situation? To Thea, he nods quickly. "Yes, he can. Kanekith!" The conversation is then taken mentally, his dragon swooping in to investigage. Close, but not too close, as instructed. Aaw, c'mon! He can get closer than this. He's not afraid of a little smoke. He's exhaled firestone smokier than this! "We don't see anyone…" reports Ka'el, whose eyes are narrowed as if he himself is trying to see through the haze. "Or anything.." Meaning, no dead bodies? Hopefully. "But is that.." Browarch. ".. He says there are stars that come and go."

"I have no idea," Soriana says to Kiena's question about what might explode. She's back to staring at it again, though as various people report in safe, there's a touch of awe in her expression. It smells like… well, explosives… and it might yet be dangerous. "…is it going further?" Like, toward that gather meadow or the caverns? Her expression turns thoughtful as she tries to listen for that, then she turns to Ka'el again. Stars? She stares at him for a moment, but this time she doesn't say anything, just frowns slightly and turns her head away, looking once more into that cleft. Her eyes pass the barracks along the way, and she's just as glad for the detour of thoughts. After a few moments, she says, "…we can bunk the weyrlings someplace else tonight." Like… where? "Back in the candidate barracks. The dragons can sleep on the sands." The humans, well, that's going to depend what their dragons are willing to accept, but at least it'll be dry and non-kaboomy.

Kiena's sidelong look to Thea is a bit on the sharp side. Going to find out? As in literally? The Weyrsecond's eyes drift upwards again and she utters some low disgruntled sound. "We're just sharding lucky that no one was injured." Or worse. "And that it was far enough away from the Gather." So there's an upside to all of this! Kind of. Still doesn't discount that there is smoke and explosions. One's that appear to still be ongoing. Kiena twitches a bit for all that sharp and rapid fire popping and her grimace twists. "Dunno about further," she mutters to Soriana, eyes still fixed on the situation above. "But it's not done. What was that about Stars?" Ka'el is focused on now and she frowns heavily. Why does that sound… familiar? "Explosions… chemical smell…" The bluerider mumbles under her breath but her thread of thought is lost by the suggestion of keeping the Weyrlings in the Candidate barracks. "Couldn't hurt? Seeing as there's no way to bring 'em back here… Not any time soon anyways."

All this frowning going on between her weyrleader and junior. Thea might otherwise note it, but it's a frowny situation. See? She's even getting one - or at least a sharp look - from the Weyrsecond. She makes no move towards that new crater-cavern, simply watching as Kanekith swoops down. Her shoulders relax fractionally as the answer is given. No bodies, check! That was her biggest worry. To Ka'el and Kiena, she says, "We can station Galaxy to the perimeter to keep people away. I don't think the radio tower is in danger. We might want to off-limit the starstones." Both are close because they're on the other side of that monolith of rock above the weyrling grounds. "Some of us can return to reassure the people at the gather." As for the Weyrlings, "Yes, please, Soriana. I don't want them anywhere near here. Arrange that will you?" The dragonets will likely love the warm sands. Thea? She has a junior to account for yet and so, off she goes, this time refraining from bellowing Esiae's name. But barely.

Yup. Stars. Or something akin to stars, as seen through dragon's eyes and comprehended through a dragon's mind. Ka'el blinks a few times to refocus his gaze to the here and now. Perplexed but … he's seen those stars before. He's sure of it! .. Uh, spewing out from the face of a cliff? Nope, that's definitely not in his memory, but somewhere. He turns his attention to the conversation at hand. WHere the weyrlings should stay, and their lifemates as well. Eyes flit to Soriana. "Will there be enough room for them all?" A dozen or so eggs and clutchparents, sure. A dozen or so halfgrown dragons? Maybe. Probably. But.. "It's summer. Some of the bronzes and Kairo could sleep outside. More space for them." And if any of those dragons are anything like Kanekith, sharing space may be an issue! He looks skyward again, then turns his eyes to Kiena. "Looked like stars, but …not really. Was hard to see through the smoke, but they might've been sparks." But it couldn't've been an electrical thing. Thea is nodded to. "Galaxy's already mobile. I'll send word through Kanekith." He salutes her as she heads off.

Soriana puts her hand vaguely in the vicinity of her forehead as she nods to Thea about making the weyrling arrangements. It's like a salute, but far, far less so. But sometimes even the worst of salutes can say, "I'll get on that." The words are just there for added bonus, because the salute mediocre as it was, already said that. Soriana looks to Ka'el, and she's quiet for a moment, watching him in the wake of his objection. "…there'll be room." She'll make it so, but her tone is curiously flat, not argumentative. "I'll borrow some gather tents if I have to." Because weather-stained canvas will be… "Or it's survival camp early." Because everyone just loves that part of candidacy. "I'll figure it out." A shrug, another salute, and then… she's off as well, to meet with Luraoth and get things arranged at the sands and explained to the weyrlings. Stars, indeed. Shells and shards and stars and… whatever other curses you'd like.

Kiena nods her head and tips off a salute as well to Thea and then uses that same hand to run the fingers through her hair. "Got it." she confirms, mouth still quirked into a strained grim line. Perimeters and Starstones. Weyrling relocation and Gather goers. It all tumbles around in her head but she's keeping things relatively organized. Not thinking on the dark things. Like where her daughters are. Nope. Not going to go there. "So long as the weather holds, they should be alright out in the open? Summer, like Ka'el said." Kiena glances back to Soriana and then snorts. "Or it's their survival camp… kind of." Certainly a change in routine! A dip of her head and a quick salute to the weyrwoman as she departs and she exhales heavily. Almost frustrated as she fidgets at the sleeves of her outfit. A Gather outfit, not something meant for her to go investigating rock and stone and explosion sites. "So what now, Ka'el?" she drawls, only to hastily tack on. "Sir. What do we tell them?" There's a thumb jutted over her shoulder back towards the beach. She means the Gather goers and Xanadian residents from that gesture. What's the story?

Ka'el doesn't argue about space on the sands. If anyone is to know just how many dragons can fit there, it'd be a goldrider. He only nods, relenting that easily enough, watching as Soriana heads off. He forgets to salute back. That, or he doesn't bother to. The frown on his face is subtle, but lasting. The smell of .. something is heavy in the air. Maybe they should all give this place a wide berth, else risk being the only casualties of some belated explosion. He's pulled out of his thoughts by Kiena, and he blinks towards her. "Them?" He stares for one uncomprehending second. Then.. oh right. The gather. The races. Weyrleaders and Weyrwomen visitors. Worried (and nosy) people. He pinches the bridge of his nose briefly. "Tell them to stay within the meadow area for now, please. Tell the bigknots thank you for their concern and their … willingness to help. We appreciate it, but the situation is being handled and there is no immediate danger." Right? .. Right? "Galaxy will keep us posted if that changes," he adds in an undertone. "Kanekith'll keep circling and keep an eye on things overhead for a while. The races should continue, if they haven't already. They were on the third race, I think? Have them continue and finish. I'll be there in a moment."

[DTU/Project] Kanekith projects to Luraoth . o O ( A rumble of thunder. Distant and rolling. Accompanied by the scent of rain brought by a cold passing breeze. "Mine wishes for yours to wait." A danced message that slips away with another low rumbling. )

Kiena listens carefully to Ka'el, even though her eyes drift back to that crater. Another nod and then a steadying breath. Shoulders roll back and skirt or no skirt, she's slipped into her role as Weyrsecond. "I'll take care of that. One of us should be back among the crowds." Even if she's not really the best at the whole social aspect. But she'll try! No one better mob her with questions though. There's a faint snort at the 'big knot' terms. "I'll pass word to my brother. At the least, have Ujinath speak to Velokraeth and Kayeth." A frown and Kiena's shoulders shrug minutely. "I believe it was the third? Dunno if the runners are sound though… I'll check with those in charge of that. Figure something out." Whatever it may be. Kiena prepares to leave, taking a step forwards only to pause and then reach out in an attempt to clasp Ka'el by the shoulder. Briefly but the gesture is reassuring all the same. "We'll get this sorted. You'll see. If things are getting bad out there, I'll have Ujinath relay to Kanekith, Seryth and Luraoth." With that, she salutes briskly and walks off back down the beach and back to the Gather to do another sort of damage control.

They're the ones in charge of those weyrlings, they can change their mind about things like survival camp! Soriana nods slightly to that 'sort of' from Kiena - some things aren't worth being exact about - and while she waits for Ka'el to see if he's got any other objections, when he doesn't… she departs. She's about three dragonlengths down the beach when she stops again. Her head lifts, regarding the sky above. Such a sunny day, no stars… though Galaxy dragons are already slipping into position to hold that perimeter. Soriana frowns slightly, and… she stands there, not even glancing to Kiena as the weyrsecond walks past.

[DTU/Project] Kanekith senses that Luraoth is a swirl of dark tawny-gold, a shade too dull for lightning, too warm for storms. « I have told her. »

Ka'el gives Kiena a grateful smile, nodding in response to both her words and touch. It's good to have a Weyrsecond. Especially one who happens to be a friend. He watches her off, though his eyes stray to and linger on Soriana, who has paused. He glances up. Kanekith it up there, high above and at a distance, keeping watch. Making sure the Galaxy dragons are in correct positions. A breath is released as he turns his eyes downward again. Upon Sori. HIs frown returns, as light and distant as Kanekith's thunder. He approaches her, diminishing the distance between his presence and hers by yards. Feet. Inches. Inches away, he stops, expression clouded. "You should've been with me."

Soriana's expression slips toward a frown - a troubled one. Her head lowers, from looking to the sky to looking to the sands. She can hear Ka'el's footsteps approaching, then slowing. He's here, she can hear him breathing. He speaks, and her eyes flit to him, opening wider with surprise. Her brow furrows between them. "What?"

"Today," Ka'el says, with a nod to the Weyrling beach…the main stretch of golden beach…the meadow beyond thatand the gather that hopefully is getting back into festive times. "With them. You should've been with me. The Weyrleader and Senior Woman. I'd never met her before. Nyalle. Her escort, whoever he was. Th'ero and his weyrmate. We were all together, doing all the things Weyrleaders are supposed to do at Gathers. Shell, I think I like them all, what little I met of the newer ones. But you weren't there. You were supposed to be there." He trails, brows furrowing. "This was our first gather together as weyrmates. As admin."

Today, Ka'el says, and the frown reasserts itself. "Oh." She's quiet to listen to his complaints. Of course… Sorrin and Esiae weren't there either, were they? They might have been doing something else, meeting and greeting other figures of importance. Then again, so might Soriana. She could have been doing any number of diplomatic things. She wasn't, but that's not the point. The frown deepens, because yeah, that probably counts as failing her duties. (And she's supposed to be the one teaching Innes how to do this stuff. Ha.) That Ka'el likes them, those people she wasn't there to meet, makes her nod… but it also makes her eyes steal away from him, drifting off over the beach. Supposed to be there. Supposed to… oh, but weyrmates isn't the word she expected to hear, and it brings her gaze back to Ka'el. Just in time for… "You going to put me on disciplinary?" For failing as admin. "I'm not sorry." For that. "…but I'm sorry." For the other. That's why her gaze drops from his face to about the level of his chest.

Disciplinary? "I should. For not bein' there." For him. Not for them. He wanted her there. He wanted to introduce her to them, for the first time, as Soriana. Junior Weyrwoman of Xanadu. Rider of Luraoth. His weyrmate. It would've been the last thing tacked on. The least important of all of those titles of hers, probably. But still one that he wanted to boast. That moment he wanted. But, that's not even what's important here. It's not what's bothering him the most, even if it is the first thing he's brought up. He stands there for a good long moment, looking at her, frown still in place on his face. Frown on her face. Awkward silence stretching on. Even those random sounds of explosions have stopped by now. Whatever it was has burned itself out, perhaps. Finally, there's movement from him. He extends a hand swiftly, as if to catch her from a departure that hasn't been started. He clutches at her arm firmly, and his eyes seek her wayward ones. "You can't do that again. You can't not come back and leave me wonderin' where you'd gone or if you're ok or.. or if you'd come back."

And maybe he should. Derelict in her duties. Except… the important ones aren't the ones have anything to do with the color of her dragon. She didn't have to be there because of Xanadu or Luraoth. Maybe the Fortians were even grateful. One fewer introduction. The silence stretches, the quiet that's louder because of ears straining for the explosions that don't come. And Ka'el reaches out. This time, Soriana doesn't turn and walk away. This time, she doesn't evade the arm that comes reaching for her. Can't? Her jaw sets with a familiar stubbornness. She can do what she sharding well pleases, and who is he to tell her that… oh. Right. He's her weyrmate. The one that loves her. The one that she loves, the one that wondered (and worried) and… her gaze lifts again, settling on his. "I was mad," she says. No duh. "I just…" she shakes her head. "I didn't want to yell." Did a pretty good job of it though, didn't she? But… that's why she left. To walk until she wasn't mad anymore, to sit and think and… "I fell asleep."

"Shards, Sori. Outside?" Or was she with a friend? In her office? In the guest weyr? She fell asleep, where? Wherever it was, it wasn't at home. He would've preferred being banned to the very uncomfortable to sleep on couch knowing that she was safe and sound in bed. Their bed. Even if he wasn't in it with her. His hand on her remains, fingers pressing. "I don't care if you're mad. Shards, be mad. Yell. Shout, scream at me. Call me every shardin' name in the book if you want, but don't do that again. Don't leave. I couldn't…and I didn't know…" His frown deepens, and he gives up on trying ot formulate sensical words for the moment. Instead, he steps close and brings himself upon her, arms curling around her, not caring if she wants him there or not. Not caring if she pushes away from him or scowls or frowns or fights his grip. He hugs her, tightly, brows furrowing and eyes closing. "I'm sorry. She didn't mean anything, and she wouldnt've meant anything. I don' even know who she was. I don't care who she was. I was trying to come to you, but everything got mixed up and … I'm sorry."

Soriana shakes her head slightly. No, not outside. She had that much sense, at least - or was it that outside was too uncomfortable? "The archives." In that one more or less comfy chair, back among the records in the place where casual visitors never think to go. Probably put there by an old harper who liked his naps. Not that it's important where Soriana was, really. Not more than that she was… gone. Out. Not dead, because Luraoth (and the whole Weyr) would have known, but other than that, anything could have happened. Because Soriana… she frowns, as Ka'el tells her to be mad. It's almost petulant; she doesn't want to yell. She doesn't want to say things she'll regret. She's frowning, but she doesn't pull her arm away. "I just…" she begins as he trails off, and then he's stepping in and circling her with his arms. Her eyes close, and while there's a tension in her body, it's one that brings her arms up slowly to go around him in return. "I…" She swallows, and her arms tighten. "I don't… I know Kanekith chases. I know it's… that's flights. I do know." Really she does. Knows it in her head. In her heart, though? "…it's hard. Because you… I know you don't want her." Now. "But you wanted her. And it.. hurt." She leans in, her head to his shoulder. "I'm sorry."

Relief is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing the feeling that he feels when her arms come around him. There's no writhing away, which he half expected. No push of palms to his chest, which he mostly expected. His body feels heavy as he holds hers to his, half hugging, half clinging her to his chest. Kanekith chases. Flights. Wanting someone else.. He turns his head enough to kiss at her, lips pressing to her hair. "I wanted you. She was just a compli-fuckin-cation that got in the way. I'm sorry. I don't want him to chase. I can keep him from goin' after the greens mostly. I wasn't focused on him. Wasn't paying attention." Too worried about his dinner and being with her to keep tabs on his dragon. Which .. is life? He won't always be able to deter his bronze, and he knows it. But that won't keep him from trying. Unfortunately, he was too late then to even try. He lifts a hand from her back, placing it instead gently upon the back of her head, fingers slightly splaying against her hair. "I love you. Only you. It hurts you when he chases.. when I chase. Just know it hurts me too when I wake up and it's not you with me. I slipped this time, and I'm sorry. I'll keep a better eye on the greens." He kisses her again. "Let's go home. Make a quick round in the meadow, then go home. At least for a little while."

Ka'el, Kale, he wanted her. Even if his judgment was shot until it looked like a porcupine and there was a coil of lust in his eyes that wanted, well, anyone.. he wanted her. "So you came home." Because that's the thing. This wasn't premeditated whatever. Any part of him operating on a level higher than instinct clearly wasn't involved. Soriana saw the near-mindless lust in his eyes, but she's seen it before. Not on him, not when she wasn't also swept away beyond reason, but she's seen it. She knows what it is. Flight-lust. This was a flight. Ka'el can (and will) try to stop Kanekith, but. "He's going to, sometimes." The dragon demands, and the rider must yield. Or, well, not must. Soriana would think (wants to think) that it's must (at least sometimes), but there's another option. Marel demonstrated that. It's just… not an option she'd want Ka'el to take. Even if it means seeing him woken up next to… complications. She turns her head, nuzzling to his cheek with a touch of lips that form into the shape of a kiss, then relax into a sigh. "…I love you too." Her arms tighten around him for that kiss, and then she looks up to him from that close position. "We've got - I have to deal with the weyrlings." She frowns slightly, not letting him go as she thinks it through. "At least so the weyrlingmasters know. And I've got to send someone to the sands." Going herself, well… she doesn't have to, as long as it gets done. They're allowed to delegate, and it's early yet. There'll be time to work out the details of it, as long as Soriana gets things started. "Come with me while I do?" He can be distracted with coordinating things through Kanekith. She's just got to have some quick chats, and while they're at it, they can reassure people that all's well. With the weyr, yes - that's the important duty that comes with their important ranks - and also… with them. Though really, it's just each other they want to assure of that. Doesn't mean it's not important. (To them.)

He came home. To her. He'll always come home, won't he? Any future flights, any future wins or losses he'll always come home to her. Isn't that destined to be the truth? Isn't that what that ring he so carefully crafted represents? His loyalty to her. His unwavering devotion to her. In the end, it will be her that he wants, despite what drunken words may say or actions may reveal. .. Right? Right now, he knows that must be truth, because right now, he can't remember the color of that girl's eyes. He doesn't know the length of her hair or the texture. He has no idea if her smile is crooked, or toothy, or coy. He could've passed her three times at the gather and knew her as nothing more than a face in the crowd as he was looking for Sori's face within the crowd. Flights ruin things sometimes. He's heard the stories. He knows the hearts that have been broken and relationships as strong as theirs torn because of the lust that comes with the thrill of the chase and triumph of a catch. Flights complicate things, and flights will complicate things again in due time, most assuredly. The test is getting past it. Getting through it. Getting over it. This is the life they chose. With their dragons and with each other. Ka'el nods to her as she speaks sensible words of things that must be done. Duties to take care of…together. Yes, he'll come with her. He nods to that, stealing another kiss after and slipping his hand into hers before heading off with her. They both have things to do. Kanekith has things to do. And all of them will get these necessary things done. Assure those who need to be assured, coordinate what needs to be coordinated. And eventually, however long later, once the sands are prepped and dragonlets situated, Galaxy riders scheduled preventative shifts and later plans to investigate somewhat finalized, he will drift with her back home. Home, where he will always go, to lock doors and shade windows and seal himself away with her for a time, a long time, to convince her in many ways that his want, his true desire, will always be for her.

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