Cold Beach Gathering

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

Later that same day… Mur'dah has shuffled his way down to the beach. Kalsuoth is fed and bathed and oiled, the brown pampered by his guilty rider, especially because of those scrapes and scratches to his hide. "Going to have to cut down some trees so you can walk," Mur'dah mutters to his lifemate, rubbing his narrow muzzle. The sun is sinking towards the horizon, the weather cold and snow blanketing the ground. Not /really/ a good time to be outside, but Mur'dah wants the fresh air. And he hasn't started a fire. Nope. He's huddling with Kalsuoth to keep warm.

*CRUNCH* *CRUNCH* *CRUNCH* No, it's not a dragon chewing firestone, it's a huddle up apprentice ignoring the cleared path and choosing to make her own meandering dotted ribbon through the blanket of deep snow. Who knows how long she's been going back and forth the large area, sometimes her steps cross here or there over her previous steps. Every so often, Kera stops and looks along where she has already been. With all the crunching noise she makes with every step, she probably doesn't even hear a dragon approach, keeping her hodded head down to keep track of whee she is going, sometimes with long exaggerated steps.

Atop Kanekith's back rides Ka'el, who slumps more than sits upon his strapped bronze. Logically, the only sensical thing one could do after being released from the infirmary from hallucinogenic inhalation is exert himself, right? And so, after having been reunited with Kanekith, whose hide was in about the same condition as Kalsuoth's (thank you, forest!), and tending to him, Ka'el disappeared to the training grounds. Watchful AWLMs didn't allow the weyrling to over-exert himself .. there's been enough drama for their tastes already, and it was a combination of them plus the incoming darkness that has Ka'el returning towards the barracks. The barracks? "We're goin' the wrong way.."

The cold weather has not kept others from wandering, Idrissa and Tahryth would be another pair that are slowly roaming along the beach. Tahryth sticks closer to her rider, rather sure that if she was to let Rissa out of her sight that something could perhaps happen again, and mostly that the green wouldn't be around to join in the fun than anything else. As for the moment they are ever wandering towards an area of the beach where others seem to be.

Soriana had a more sensible idea… sort of. She went home, and curled with Luraoth in her couch for… oh, hours. And then she had a bath. Now, though, she's discovering that a night and day of dozing around infirmary and barn leave one restless, and so she's out for a walk along the beach. She meant to leave Luraoth behind to let her rest, but, well, her dragon's not wanting to let rider out of her sight, so there's a golden shadow trailing some distance behind as Soriana roams along where the water laps up at the shore and melts the snow. So far. It'll freeze over at some point this winter, she supposes.

Kalsuoth lifts his head swiftly at the approach of others, rumbling low in his chest in a quiet greeting that carries over the frozen snow. Looking up, Mur'dah also squints into the fading light. "Kera," he says with a frown, shaking his head a bit. "What're you doing out here?" Then brown eyes flick up to Ka'el and Kanekith, wincing at the sight of the bronze's sides. "Him too, huh? Why don't they make the paths large enough for a dragon to walk?" The brown then extends his thoughts towards Tahryth, welcoming her to this little section of sand and snow. And then to Luraoth again, and Mur'dah finally pushes to his feet. "Hey," he calls to clutchmates and Healer alike. "Should we start a fire to keep warm?" It's supposed to be a joke, but who knows if they'll find it amusing.

Kera frowns at the snow after a few more steps, surely she can't possibly be making /that/ much noise when walking through snow. Stopping with her foot still in the air, she listens and sure enough the snow-crunching continues. Lowering her foot as she peers around and spots the dragon pairs gathering a way down the beach. Hugging herself against the breeze coming off the water, Kera considers the gathered group before backtracking her steps til she can make little jumps over, not messing up her little design in progress. The Apprentice approaches the group in a wide circle. Staying well clear of the large dragons, the girl offers a wave towards the Weyrlings, staying a several yards away from Mur'dah as she offers a foggy breathed greeting and wave. "Hi."

« I am not, » answers Kanekith to his rider, and Ka'el is far too exhausted to argue. Where ever the bronze is taking him, he'll let him take him. He could walk him straight into the ocean and drown them both for all he cares, though Kanekith isn't quite so morbid. The bronze merely follows the sun until the lapping water pauses him, leaving him to gaze near wistfully at the fading light of day. Ka'el too watches, though his is more of a tired look than longing, and it is soon turned Mur'dah's way, only now noticing that the beach is hardly empty. "Yeah," he says, looking towards Kalsuoth and his scrapes. "Dragons aren't meant to take long walks in the woods, are they?" said as he rubs a neck ridge. Mur'dah's quip is met with a vague smirk. "Only fire I'm trusting are ones that burn on coal." Eyes stray to the girls now, weyrling and non, and he lifts a hand. "Hey."

Tahryth lets out a soft greeting warble towards her clutch siblings while she continues forward towards where about Kalsuoth is and proceeds to sprawl out upon the sand covered snow. The green casts a glance towards the brother eyeing the scrapes curiously. « Can call them battle scars. » Idrissa follows along in the steps of her dragon, a glance is sent to Kera whome gets a slight wave before she looks up to Kanekith and Ka'el. "Hey guys.." At the talk of a possible fire, she makes a slight face for a moment before grinning. "Naw, I think we're pass on that.." Up until they are close to freezing at least.

Oh. There are other people here. A frown briefly passes across Soriana's face, because… she'd meant for time alone with her thoughts. Who goes out onto the beach on a winter evening? … everyone and their dragon, apparently. Maybe she should have gone out walking somewhere more desolate, but… well. Maybe she didn't quite want to go somewhere quite that alone. Luraoth's thoughts brush back to Kalsuoth's, a diffuse burnt orange speckled through with pink, and then to Tahryth and Kanekith in turn. Hello, my friends. Her touch is affectionate, but not prolonged, because her focus must return to her rider. Soriana pauses her steps, and Luraoth steps up beside her and touches her head to the young woman's shoulder. Sori reaches up, stroking her fingers along the golden muzzle. "…hey." A belated greeting, and then silence. She'll come up with more words once she finishes putting a smile on her face, and if the smile's slow to come, well, she'll just lean against Luraoth until then.

Mur'dah looks at Kera for a moment and exhales. "I didn't say you smelled like my grandmother, just so you know." Then he's looking at Ka'el and Kanekith, shaking his head. "He's okay though, right? Nothing too bad?" Leaning against Kalsuoth's muzzle, he needs the brown's support to help him stay upright. "Coal or firestone or just regular wood from now on…" Mur'dah has been sleeping in the barracks, still, along with any other weyrlings whose homes need repair or who just aren't ready to move out yet. If any of those still exist. Extending his muzzle, Kalsuoth offers Tahryth a little nudge of greeting. « Battle scars. That's good. » Running fingers through his hair, Mur'dah gives Soriana a concerned look. "How's everyone feeling?"

Kera offers waves to the weyrlings. Peering to Mur'dah, eyeing him briefly before smirking a little "Well, I'm certainly not about to argue the point. But might I suggest you choose better wording next time you /compliment/ someone?" She finally chuckles and shrugs off the whole incendent before shiving her hands in her pockets. Nodding to the people she has already met, Ka'el, Soriana, the apprentice shuffles towards Idrissa. "I'm glad you're all feeling better now. I'm Kera. We sorta met earlier." She keeps her gaze flickering around, watching how the dragons react to each other was well as the riders.

What was that about grandmother smell? Ka'el glances from Mur'dah to Kera questioningly, but…well, does he dare question? He's so tired. But at least he's not high anymore and the headache from earlier has faded to a memory. He leans forward til he's more laying upon Kanekith than sitting, and the large bronze seems to have no issue with that. He turns from the water, slowly, and angles his walk towards the others…ish. Not too close, but he does bring Ka'el near enough to be considered part of the conversation before Kanekith himself settles down onto the snowy sand, laying upon his stomach. "Yeah, he's alright," he answers Mur'dah. "Says he'll go through worse before his time is done." A vague smirk, though it lasts not long as he follows his eyes to the quiet Soriana. "Remembering things," he answers to Mur'dah, looking back at him, "now that my head doesn't feel like it's about to shardin' burst. Thanks for that, Kera, by the way," he adds to the apprentice. "Tendin' to us probably wasn't the best night you've had so far."

Idrissa still has to wonder about the whole 'smelling like someone's grandmother' bit but she isn't going to ask. "I'm alright, sort of tired but not enough to sleep." Which is why she is wandering on a snow covered beach! Tahryth croons out softly and gives Kalsuoth a soft nosing back. « Of course it is good, no one will question this. » The green turns her attention over towards her golden sibling, a soft welcoming warble escaping her. Rissa offers a wave to Soriana as she leans back against Tahryth to try and avoid some of the cold breeze that is coming off the waves. "How are you feeling Mur'dah?" As Kera comes over to her there is a pause, bright green gaze rests on the other. "Nice to meet you. I'm Idrissa and this is Tahryth." Upon hearing her name Tahryth tilts her head and looks down at Kera curiously.

Smile, yes, come on smile and… there we go. Soriana has one now. Okay so it's not entirely a real one, but she can pretend. It does quirk a little more genuinely at Mur'dah's question. "Tired," she says - which is true, as far as it goes. "I'm tired. Just… out for a walk." Because she's so tired, you see. Doesn't everyone go for walks when they're tired? …evidence would seem to indicate, yes. Soriana - now that she's found her smile - edges closer to the group, taking the side of it toward Ka'el and Kanekith. Luraoth follows her.

Mur'dah shakes his head a bit at Kera, but in the end he just sighs. They'll clearly never agree on what transpired that fateful day in the garden shop. So he'll just let it go. But grudgingly. Nodding at Ka'el, the brownling runs his hand over Kalsuoth's muzzle and chuckles softly. "I'm sure that's true," he agrees with a little smile. "What do you remember? My thoughts are still really fuzzy…" Gaze flicks to Idrissa with a warm smile and little nod. "I'm doing okay. Just sitting before we go back to the barracks." Then he looks at Soriana, and the concern returns a bit. He did that. And it weighs heavy on his shoulders.

Kera grins to Idrissa, offering a polite dip of her head to the green pair. "Nice to meet you both." Shifting her feet to keep them warm, Kera peers back around when she hears her name, brain takes about a second longer to catch up and she nods "It wasn't the calmest of nights. Not with you.." She points right at Mur'dah "…rantin and raving at me, tryng to incite the whole infirmary in an uproar cause I was gonna hurt everyone…" The apprentice merely starts snickering around the group, doubly so when her gaze comes to Soriana. "And you, trying to mess up the trays and refusing to let go the equipment.." Looking to them all she seems still very amused "It wasn't the dullest shift I've had to do. That's for sure."

Wordless phrases are spoken to Kanekith as Ka'el lingers on his back for a time longer, fingertips rubbing at the smooth bronze hide. Eventually though he does sit up and, with one last pat to his lifemate, he slides off of him and onto the cold sand below. "Cake," he answers with a look over to Mur'dah. "I remember cake. I really wanted cake, and we talked about cake. Or maybe it was sweetbuns. And.. hotness? And…ugh.." He makes a face now, brows furrowd and features twisted into a look of utter disbelief. "Your ma. .. Oh shardin' eggshells an' crackdust .. She's gonna ban me from Xanadu. I might as well start packin' my bags now." Both hands are slid down his face at the memory, unfocused as it may be. Hopefully it was just a hallucination! As for Kera's input, he has less memory of the Infirmary, as by then he was faaaar too gone. Arms dropping, he moves towards Soriana with Kanekith's eyes tracking him the whole time.

Idrissa offers a faint smile and nods to Kera, though she doesn't try to keep the other girl's attention on her in the least as well she really isn't in a talking sort of mood. Her bright gaze flicks towards her friends before she glances back to Kera. "Well.. Can't say that I blame him. I mean.. You all did sort of strap us into the beds after all." She would remember that part, which gives her another reason to not like the infirmary, her list just keeps growing. She nods to Mur'dah. "Yeah.. I can understand that." Hearing Ka'el her gaze flicks over to him, as for what is said she is remembering only bits and pieces of the crazy conversation.

Soriana curves her lips up into that smile as Kera reports on her… behavior. Her eyes still aren't exactly with it, but it's actually more convincing now than it was before - at least if you're not that familiar with her expressions. "I'll be sure and reorganize a few trays for penance." See? A joke. Ha, ha. Soriana takes another few steps toward Ka'el, coming to meet him. "I don't think I want cake now." Ever? Yeah maybe not. It's… cake. Ugh. Her hand reaches out for Ka'el, though she keeps her eyes on the others.

Mur'dah frowns at Kera, shaking his head and about to reply…only to snap his mouth shut and look firmly at Ka'el. Thea would be proud. "Ooooh, yeah. Cake…I remember cake." And then he blinks again, and then laughs. "You said my mom was hot. She's not going to ban you, Ka'el. I rule Xanadu, remember?" he teases his friend with a wink. "I'll make sure she doesn't." Shuddering then, he nods at Idrissa. "That was horrible. We should've been sent to the dragon infirmary, not tied to our cots." Glancing over at Soriana and Ka'el, he smiles a bit to see them approach each other, and then he looks up at the sky. "I'm going to go back to the barracks. See you guys in drills." And just that abruptly, he and Kalsuoth are wandering off, back 'home'.

Kera looks between the Weyrlings and gives her head a little shake, focusing on Idrissa for now "The Weyrhealer only had you restrained because you were all behaving very oddly. And could have very well hurt yourselves without know what were doing." Giving up trying to explain the Weyrhealer's actions, the apprentice simply shrugs and waves when to departing weyrling pair, then turning her attention around the others with a grins to Soriana "How about we leave the trays as they are and call it even. Hmm?" A quick glance is passed to al the gathered dragons and she shuffles her feet some. "I guess I'll get out of the weather and get some studying done." Offering everyone a wave and adds with a smile "I'm glad you're all better now." Another little nod around the group and the apprentice starts meandering her way back to the Weyr.

"There's always time for cake." Poor cake will have a bad rep for a while with a few of the weyrlings. Not Ka'el. He can never hate cake. It is, after all, a delicious treat. Sweetbuns, on the other hand, he can do without for a while. He winces at Mur'dah's confirmation that the whole Thea thing wasn't a mind trick at all. He called her hot. But was that the worst of it? There was no actual physical touching involved.. was there? Asking out? That's the fuzzy part, though he dare not ask. Upon reaching Soriana, he does take her hand, though only for a moment to squeeze before letting go to slip an arm around her waist instead. "Good to know who really runs the weyr, Mur'dah," he says to the other guy before he takes his leave. He nods to him, eyes shifting to Idrissa, then Kera as she too starts heading off. "See you."

"Would have been better if he tryed a different approach.. I don't tie animals down like that." Idrissa offers softly to the thought. Well some /are/ but there is a rason for it. In the end she slips quiet, mind wandering it seems over bits of conversation that is brought up while she recalls a few things that did happen. "She won't make you leave Ka'el." This said with a soft tone while she shifts and is soon turning to move off, though instead of heading to the barracks she is heading home to her weyr. "I'll see you all later." Tahryth is up, wings given a shake and she warbles to the gold and bronze that are staying before she is off following her rider. Looks like the two lovebirds get to have the snowy beach all to there own with everyone leaving.

Thea, the hot. Soriana's smile turns rueful, but it doesn't go away as she recalls those bits of things. She glances sideways to Ka'el as she nestles in against his side. "…not that I'd blame you if you avoid her for the next turn or seven," she murmurs to him quietly, then looks back to Mur'dah. Dragon infirmary, huh? "They'd get our dragons to sit on us." A pause, and then a smile. "Works for me." She waves to Mur'dah as he departs, then looks back to Kera. The smile is more tenuous. "I see." Idrissa's comment about the animals gets a quirk of her lips, and then Soriana nods to Kera and Idrissa both as they depart in turn. Luraoth bids farewell to Tahryth, and Soriana… stays where she is, here with Ka'el.

Kanekith watches humans and dragons depart til there are only two pairs left. His tail idly sways a patters in the sandy snow. Or is it snowy sand? No matter. His head swings back Ka'el's way, keeping a watchful eye on him. But things are back to relative normal. The haze is gone. The confusion and separation. The headache. The worry. The girl is here, as she sometimes is. The only difference is a guarded feeling, slight yet noticed. But it is slight enough that it is not a bothersome chance to him. It's good to be on guard, besides. Ka'el says nothing for a while, content to watch Idrissa leave with Tahryth, glad that everyone is with their lifemates. "Seven turns seems about right.." he agrees belatedly, nodding once. "No eye contact. Ducking around corners. I can live with that til I'm … twenty-five." He looks at her now, lips half quirked though eyes revealing the same concern showed by Mur'dah. "Sure you're alright?"

Soriana is glad for the silence. For the others departing. Her smile departs with them, though she stays leaned against Ka'el. Luraoth's nearby; a warm presence in the snow and cold, curled mentally against her rider even if they're not touching at the moment. Soriana's smile returns with Ka'el's comment. "Makes sense to me." Not that she's got the same option, really. She's got weyrwoman lessons to go to for wing shadowing, and Nova is not exactly a big enough wing that she can avoid an entire third of it. There goes the smile fading away again, and this time, she doesn't bother chasing it. She tilts her head, looking up at Ka'el. "No," she says. Blunt… now. "I'm not."

"I didn't think so." Ka'el's answer is soft though his expression is not. Though not exactly "hard", it shows a stiffness that comes with disquietude, and the arm around her tightens vaguely in a squeeze that's slow to lessen. "I can walk you home," he offers, "and make sure you get there alright even though I know you will because you have Luraoth with you. But it'll make me feel better to see you off myself. And I'll stay and let you tell me what's botherin' you. Or I can stand here with you and Kanekith and Luraoth and have you tell me what's botherin' you right here an' now. Or you can tell me it's none've my business or that you don't want to talk about it, an' I won't bother you about it any more today, but I can't promise that I won't tomorrow."

Soriana leans against Ka'el's side, her own arm resting around him. Not really squeezing him - not like he is her - but there. Welcoming the touch, the presence of him. "Come on," she says, and starts to turn with him to head back along the shore, back along the road that leads to the home she shares with Luraoth. It's back the way Ka'el came, too, back toward the training field. She's moving slowly, because she doesn't want to hurry and, even more, she doesn't want to let go of Ka'el, and it's slow moments before she says anything more. "I ran out of jokes," she finally says. "I ran out of… of everything. And everyone saw."

Ka'el moves with her as she walks, keeping himself close and his arm curled. As the two move, Kanekith rises to his feet with some effort. He is a large one, after all, but once he's up, he follows as loyally as a canine a few lengths behind the two of them. Ka'el walks in silence, not pressing her, assuming option three is what Soriana has settled for. It's fine. There's always tomorrow. Today he'll be a silent presence. A physical assurance that he is there for her whenever she needs him, and til then he'll keep quiet and watch the darkened landscape change around them. Until she speaks. His brows furrow at her chosen words, knowing them far too well. But.. "It wasn't time for jokes. Nobody was laughing. We were really sick. Nobody has to keep together when it's like that." … "And nobody saw anything."

Luraoth follows as well, bronze and gold both trailing their riders in relative quiet. Soriana shakes her head to Ka'el's assurances, though she keeps close against his side. Disagreement. Not displeasure. Not with him, anyhow. "No. We weren't." Not in the infirmary. Before then… oh, they were laughing. Such laughing. "But… she was laughing now." Kera. She doesn't say the name, but there's a tilt of her head, back toward where the healer apprentice went. "I was the joke. Being stupid. Grabbing for things. Crying."

Laughing? Who was laughing? Ka'el watches her with a look of misunderstanding on his face .. til the nod back, which his eyes follow. The direction that the apprentice went off to. Dawning touches his features, though it's soon overpowered by a vague frown. But before he can retort … crying? The word slightly takes him aback. He remembers no crying whatsoever. Least of all from Soriana. Of the turns he's known her, he can't remember ever seeing her outright cry. Yumeth's clutch? … not crying. Worried and distant, yet. But tears? "Soriana, we were all bein' stupid. Every single one've us. None've us saw you cry." And if they did, good friends would surely keep that fact to themselves, yes? "That apprentice is an apprentice. If she goes around poking fun at patients for things that happen when they're sick, so won't be one for long. You're not a joke."

Soriana gives a slow, long sigh, because… she knows what she did. She remembers. Stupid memories. Memories of being stupid. Same thing. The same memories. She gives her head a shake, side to side. "I don't mind you knowing," she says. Evidently not, given she's just told him. "Or Mur'dah, or even Idrissa. You… you were all there." There-mentally. There in the stupid place. "You understand. It's just…" She frowns. "How am I supposed to be… a goldrider, in charge of things, if I can't even be in charge of myself? I was…" She trails off for a moment. "I'm going to have to see Thea again." Far sooner than seven turns from now. "What am I supposed to tell her? That, oops, guess I went crazy, sorry about that? I'll try not to do it again?" She laughs, a brief and self-derisive snort. "Kera doesn't matter." Or so Soriana tells herself. "She just… reminds me." Of a self-determined failure.

If laughing wasn't the problem here, Ka'el would laugh now. Or at least, snicker. As it is, he only allows himself a slither of a smirk as he regards her with an elevated brow. "From what I'm gatherin' so far? It's pretty often that we're not in charge of ourselves. Sharin' your mind with a dragon? At best I'd say we're only half in charge half of the time." But that's not the real problem, and Ka'el knows this, and so he slows their walk further until they come to a pause somewhere down a road. "Sori, look at me. I can't say I know what it's like to feel the pressure you do being a goldrider, but you can't let this one accident shake you. That's all it was. An accident. Thea ought to know this by now. She's not gonna hold that against you. Think've day one til now. How many times have you lost control've yourself?" He raises his brows expectantly then holds up his free hand to make a number 'zero'. "You see Thea again and you tell her that you're sorry that it happened, but now you know. No burnin' shit from the forest. Lesson learned."

"Maybe." Soriana agrees about being only half in charge with half a smile. Oh, dragon-minds and how they entwine with human minds… but really, that's not the problem, which explains how easily the assent (partial as it is) comes. If it had been a dragon-problem… well, V'dim asked, didn't he? He asked if Luraoth was glowing. She wasn't, but that's an expected sort of thing. It happens. It's just… just… Her steps slow as Ka'el's do, coming to a stop. She turns to him, slowly, and lifts her gaze to meet his. She listens, with a frown and a twist of her mouth and a sigh. "It's… I know it was. I just… I'm trying. I'm trying to do this goldrider thing, to get it right," even if she doesn't really want to, some of the time, "and it's just… I'm not scared of Thea. I just… I want to get it right."

"Baby, if you weren't getting it right … Weyrwoman Thea's the type that's not going to sugarcoat anything, especially when it comes down to Xanadu. You'd know. You'd've known before today. Before the forest and the smoke, she would have told you if you were doing something wrong. And if you really fucked up?" Ka'el smirks marginally, "Do you think you'd even be out here? She'd have you holed up somewhere with Seryth all over Luraoth, keeping you both in check." His brows lift, eyeing her meaningfully. "But that's not happening, is it? She trusts you. You're gonna get this goldriding thing, Soriana. .. But uh, you might look twenty turns older than you are if you keep stressing."

Okay, so… Ka'el kinda has a point. Several of them, in fact. They draw a smile on Soriana's face. A real smile, one that starts in her eyes and brings the lips along as an incidental. "I dunno," she says, and there's a tone of humor in her voice. Teasingness. "I might just be stupid." But she doesn't mean it. Not anymore. Maybe tomorrow she'll have to argue with herself again, but for tonight… "Come on," she says to Ka'el, and turns back to face forward, her arm around him and his around her. "Let's walk me home." And so they will… though she might not let Ka'el walk himself home, after that. Luraoth's barn has room for Kanekith, and Soriana… well, she's got a couch, but she's also got a bed, and it's large enough for two worn and tired weyrlings to collapse into. Soriana could use an arm around her for a while longer yet, tonight.

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