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Oddpositions

She Has Risen: Viviane & The Three Arches [ATN: MoN, CLOSED]

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                Ten solid years to the day. That was how long Viviane Accylon had been in the White Tower. She herself could not really believe it had been so long. Viviane had learned much and met a lot of people in that time. She had even made a few friends along the way.

 

                Her 28th nameday had passed about a month ago. Mother had sent another dress. It was breathtaking; made entirely out of imported silks from Sharra, all in shades of Blue, opalescent pearl buttons ran down the back, and a stiff boning was inserted to the bodice to cut a more slender figure. Viviane was not allowed to wear the gown, not yet. She was still a Novice.

 

               Some nights, after she was supposed to be asleep, she would slip into it or one of the others that Mother had sent along. Twirling around in her room, trying not to giggle with glee. She felt like a real Aes Sedai in those moments. Once she was properly raised, Viviane would waltz around the Tower wearing only the most beautiful cuts and cloth.

 

               Mother’s shop had rebounded only slightly. She had enough clients to support herself now, especially without Viviane around to feed or house. That was the only reason she was able to send Viviane such nice clothing. The dresses were all tucked away in a chest Viviane had to buy herself. She had to plead with the Mistress of Novices to be allowed to keep any of it. Some of the other girls despised Viviane for it.

 

                They’re all just jealous.

 

                Walking over to her mirror, Viviane gazed upon her reflection. She didn’t look that much older than when she first arrived in the Tower. Still no sign of agelessness, even though she had been working with the One Power for a decade. She had asked some of the Aes Sedai when she should expect to see it on her face, and they would always dodge the question. ‘It is different for every woman,’ was the most she had gotten out of any of them.

 

                Still. Without the agelessness, it was plain as day that Viviane was barely showing any signs of her age. Some of the Browns had said that Channelers aged slower than ordinary people, but that was entirely unrelated to the ageless look associated with Aes Sedai. That confused Viviane to no end, but still, even the Browns refused to give her a solid answer on the matter.

 

                Aging slower is something at least. I’d like to hold on to my ‘youthful glow’ as long as possible!

 

                The night was drawing to a close. She had about an hour or two before all of the Novices were supposed to be in bed, and tonight she just so happen to have nothing to do. It was a shock. She rarely ever had nights like these. Viviane didn’t even know what to do with herself, it was so rare. Boredom threatened to take hold.

 

                Perhaps I shall see what Ravenhild is up to… If she had any chores, she must be back by now.

 

                Vivane moved from her mirror and approached her bedroom door.

Edited by Oddpositions

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It is already quite late, soon the Novices will be sent to their beds. All the Novices except for one. Today is the day Viviane Accylon will be raised to the rank of Accepted. Valeri has no doubt that the girl will manage to come back through each of the three Arches. Since her arrival in the White Tower, the young Andoran has shown her enthusiasm, her dedication to the Tower and her will to learn. 

 

The Mistress of the Novices crosses the last corridor that will lead her to Viviane's bedroom. She wonders what the girl is doing. She must probably be bored, Valeri thinks remembering her years as a Novice. The last month before her raising where like hell, she felt too old to be a Novice. Too experienced as well. She craved to learn something new, something else than mastering the regular Weaves or the basics about history and politics.

 

At last, she reaches Viviane's door. She knocks two times and immediately the door opens. The girl must have been near the door. Expecting someone? Valeri wonders. Or going somewhere? She should know better at this hour.

 

"Viviane Accylon," Valeri starts her face as blank as a stone. "You are summoned for the next part of your journey. The Light keeps you whole and sees you safe." These are the customary words that the Mistress of the Novices has to repeat to each of her charges when the time has come for their Arches. However, they are usually too baffled to really understand what is about to happen. This is why she quickly adds, "Follow me, Child."

 

Edited by Chaelca

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                Viviane’s eyes bulged out of her head. For the first time in her life, she was utterly speechless. Nothing could have prepared her for this moment, even though she knew it was coming. The first Accylon woman raised to Accepted in over 500 years, perhaps longer. That is so long as Viviane passed whatever lie before her.

 

                “Follow me, Child,” Valeri said, wasting no words. Nodding, Viviane strode out into the hall, trailing quickly behind the Mistress of Novices. Off they went into the Tower, striding through the Novice’s quarters. It was a chill night, a soft breeze rippled through the well. Valeri seemed to be taking them through a shortcut, for they were on the ground floor within a matter of moments. Viviane was keeping her eyes down, so she wasn’t even sure which way they had gone.

 

                On they went, no Servants in sight. It was almost as if the Sisters had evacuated the Tower for this one night. A chill was sent down Viviane’s spine at the thought. Anything could be lurking down these winding halls. The silence did nothing for her nerves. She knew she was not allowed to speak during the walk down, so making small talk would be useless. Viviane might even be denied the test for Accepted if she spoke now.

 

                Not now. Not after I have come so far! Light, Mother just won’t believe this. Finally. An Accylon woman is one of the Accepted… or she is about to be! Just a few more years and I shall have the shawl too. I can’t believe this is happening!

 

                Before she knew it, the pair were standing before a broad set of doors. After descending so many flights of stairs, Viviane could only guess that they were in the Basement of the Tower. She had never been down here. Honestly, she completely forgot there even was a basement in the Tower. Novices and Accepted were not allowed to go wandering around, especially not where locks were covering the doors.

 

                The stone floor at their feet was free of dust, and the corridor was lined with dark wooden doors. Those doors paled in comparison to the set before them. This set was behemoth; Viviane could easily see 10 soldiers riding abreast through the gates, and still, they would have room. The doors were dark and glistening, almost foreboding. Valeri channeled flows of Air and the large door before them swung open, silently, as if it sat on brand new hinges.

 

                Viviane followed Valeri into a large, domed chamber. Stand-lamps were lit around the perimeter of the room, throwing light upon the inhabitants and casting shadows upon the white stone walls. Her eyes had to take time to adjust to the sudden brightness, after such a dark journey through the Tower. Valeri did not break stride, however. She was marching right to the center of the room, where a large, strange Ter’angreal stood.

 

                The Ter’angreal was bigger than any Viviane had seen before, however limited that comparison may have been. It was a thing made of three rounded silver arches, each tall enough for someone to walk through. The edges of the Ter’angreal seemed… off… to Viviane. There was no other way to put it. Where each of the three rings touched, an Aes Sedai sat on the floor. Three on the ground, and one behind a wooden table off to the side. Viviane only recognized Gwenfar Sedai, the White Sister that had brought Viviane to the Tower; she was one of the Sisters sitting on the floor, around the Ter’Angreal. There was also a Blue, a Brown, and a Yellow.

 

                The Sisters sitting on the ground were each staring intently at the Ter’Angreal. Viviane didn't need to check if they were channeling, she just knew it. The Yellow Sister was the one behind the table; on it sat three silvery chalices, presumably filled with some liquid or other. All four of the Aes Sedai and the Misstress of Novices were wearing their shawls.

 

                Valeri suddenly spun on Viviane and announced in a no-nonsense tone, “Two things that no woman hears until she enters this room: Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on, no matter your potential, and you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter’angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they – were – not – there. They were never seen again, thereafter. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to failure.”

 

                Taking another breath, Valeri continued, “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.”

 

                Viviane felt no fear. She threw her head back, arched her spine, and announced in the same tone as Valeri, “I have waited ten years for this, though it seems like a lifetime. Yes, Valeri Sedai, I am ready.”

 

                That seemed to satisfy the Mistress of Novices and the other Sisters in attendance. The Yellow Sister beside the table called out, “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?”

 

                “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister,” Valeri Sedai called back.

 

                “Is she ready?”

 

                “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.”

 

                “Does she know her fears?”

 

                “She has never faced them, but now is willing.”

 

                “Then let her face her fears.”

 

                Valeri turned to face Viviane once more and said, “Remove every article of clothing off of your person. You have come into this world clothed in nothing but the Light, and so shall you come into the next life. Now. Disrobe.”

 

                Viviane flushed but did as she was told. She had memorized most of this litany. Breaking with it now would be the same as talking on her march down here. It just simply wasn’t done. Not if you wanted to continue with the test. Viviane shrugged off her belt, dress, and shift. They lay at her feet, Valeri Sedai scooping them up and turning from Viviane.

 

                Valeri lead Viviane to the first arch, Gwenfar Sedai sitting close by. A soft white glow emits from the archway and Valeri says to Viviane, “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

 

                And with that, Viviane stepped through the first arch.

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                “So, I told her, you can take your ten gold pieces and shove it where the sun don’t shine!” Grandmother said before breaking out into a gale of hearty laughter, smacking her knee in the process. Mother was shaking her head while pinning some fabric on a dressform.

 

                “Honestly, Mother, I don’t know why anyone hasn’t had you killed yet; the way you talk to people sometime… And you spent time with the Queen of Andor, just last week! I pray to the Creator you didn’t say such things around her,” Mother said, a slight flush to her apple blossom cheeks.

 

                Grandmother was still laughing, even wiping a tear from her eye, “Oh, of course not, Dearie. Though your hair might turn white if you heard some of the things that have come out of our Majesty’s mouth!”

 

                “Mother!”

 

                “Oh, stop. It’s nothing Viv hasn’t heard before. Give you a couple tankards of wine, and we will see who is the one in the house with the filthiest mouth!”

 

                Mother!”

 

                Grandmother’s laughter reached a crescendo at Viviane’s mother’s admonishment.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                It was not Viviane’s own voice that she heard in her head. It was an androgynous voice, without emotion. Against all rationality, it seemed right to Viviane.

 

                “Oh, come off it, Mother,” Viviane announced, completely ignoring the voice in her head, “I am a woman grown now, learning the ways of the shop and the city. I’ve been to a few taverns, oh, don’t give me that look. You knew about that. I am not ignorant. Please, let Grandmother say as she wishes. Light knows we wouldn’t be here without her!”

 

                “I couldn’t have said it better myself, sweetling,” Grandmother said to Viviane.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                It was at that moment that the front doors to the shop burst open. They flew entirely off their hinges, splintering in the process. Grandmother swore an oath and Mother jumped nearly out of her skin.

 

                Four women, dressed all in red, strode into the shop. The one at the front held up a hand, and a bar of hot white light streaked from her palm. It collided with a wall lined with dresses on hangers. As the bar of light met the wall, everything disintegrated into ashes. The woman in red began laughing, deep and menacing.

 

                Grandmother was on her feet in an instant. Fireballs seemed to appear out of nowhere, surrounding Grandmother as if they were fireflies. “Down! Now!” She shouted at Mother and Viviane. The pair dropped to the ground, both crying and screaming.

 

                Viviane risked lifting her head to gaze upon the scene. The fireballs flew from the space around Grandmother, meeting the flesh of one of the four strangers. That unfortunate woman fell down to the ground, screaming and covered in flames. The woman at the front sneered at Grandmother and held out her palm towards Grandmother.

 

                Viviane’s eyes bulged, and she screamed, “No!!!!!!!!!!”

 

                White light streamed from the woman’s hand, colliding with Grandmother. In an instant, she was nothing but a pile of ashes, carried away by an unseen wind.

 

                Viviane was on her feet, but Mother beat her to it. Shoving Viviane back down, Mother charged at the three women. Screaming, her arms were flailing in the air. Grandmother had been right, Mother did have the filthiest mouth in the house. Viviane did not know half the words Mother was now shouting at the strangers.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                Without knowing why, Viviane looked to her left. There, in the wall, was a large silver arch; white light pouring forth from it.

 

                Mother was now a couple of paces from the strangers. Viviane knew what would happen, yet she couldn’t make herself move!

 

                The woman in the front said, through clenched teeth, “This shall teach you! NO Accylon woman may call herself Aes Sedai! Judgment has been passed upon your house! Now you shall die!”

 

                That same white light shot from the woman in red's hand and Mother dissolved into a cloud of ash.

                Viviane’s screams tore at her vocal chords. It was a harsh, guttural cry. Without thinking, Viviane ripped herself from the ground and rushed through the silver arch.

 

 

 

                Viviane stumbled out of the arch and fell upon the cold stone floor. Panting, she glared up at the Yellow Sister behind the wooden table. Viviane was about to say something truly nasty, but the Yellow Sister was now walking towards Viviane, a silver chalice in hand. When she came to stand at Viviane’s side, the Yellow Sister poured the contents of the cup over Viviane’s head.

 

                “You are washed clean of what sin you may have done and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul,” The Yellow intoned in a ritualistic manner.

 

                Oh! So all you’re saying is that if Mother had been taken in by the Tower and raised to the Accepted, my family would not be impoverished!? When I have the shawl, these Sisters will wish they never… No. No, Viviane. Stop. That is past. Just. Stop.

 

                Viviane rose to her feet and looked at Valeri Sedai before nodding to her.

 

                Valeri announced, “The second arch is for what is. The way will come but once. Be Steadfast.”

 

                Before she knew it, Viviane was stepping through the second arch.

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                Viviane clutched at her white skirts. She was one of the Accepted! The first Accylon women in over five hundred years to wear the ring. All should be right in the world, yet it was not. Before Viviane sat the Amyrlin Seat. A callous woman with fire in her eyes.

 

                “And why should I not send you from the Tower, child?” The Amyrlin Seat asked, not even looking in Viviane’s direction. The Keeper of the Chronicles sneered, raising a hand to half cover the expression. Although it was clear she meant for Viviane to see it.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                “I-“ Viviane was at a loss for words. She had been doing so well. The last few years she had all but mastered her control of the One Power. She had even taught a few Novices. Those same Novices had risen to Accepted shortly after Viviane began teaching them. Surely, that had to count for something.

 

                Stammering, Viviane finally said, “I am a credit to the Tower, Mother. Speak with any of my teachers or any of the Novices I have helped, and they will tell you that I am the most diligent Accepted in the Tower! No woman here wants or deserves the Shawl as much as I do… Mother.”

 

                The Amyrlin Seat actually yawned as Viviane was speaking. Yawned! What under the light had gotten into her? She wasn’t a joyous woman, but still, she had never treated Viviane, nor any Accepted, in such a manner! It just wasn’t fair!

 

                “Bored now,” was all the Amyrlin had to say.

 

                The Keeper suddenly had a vicious glow to her eyes. Viviane squirmed at the expression. She didn’t know what was going through the woman’s head, but whatever it was, it couldn’t be good.

 

                “Oh, I know just the thing to spice things up, Mother! Our guests are in the other room! Shall I call them in?” The Keeper asked all sunshine and rainbows in her voice. It was a complete contrast to the evil look on the woman’s face.

 

                “Yes. I think I would very much enjoy that, daughter,” The Amyrlin responded.

 

                Sweat formed on Viviane’s brow as she spun to see the doors to the antechamber burst open. Thirteen Myrddraal and Thirteen women dressed all in black were now marching into the Amyrlin’s study.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                Viviane heard that strange, yet comforting voice again.

 

                “Take her,” The Keeper announced.

 

                “NO!” Viviane shrieked as two of the women in black hauled Viviane to her feet, restraining her arms.

 

                “Now, Mother… What do you think would happen if these thirteen women linked up with the thirteen Myrddraal in the room?”

 

                “Why, daughter, I just do not know! Am I right in assuming that you are about to show me?” The Amyrlin said with hunger to her voice.

 

                “Now, Mother, that would ruin the surprise!”

 

                The thirteen women in black all embraced Saidar. Viviane cried out again, struggling against the two restraining her. A silver arch appeared off to Viviane’s left, set into the wall of the study.

 

                “Now, hold still, Viviane… This will only hurt for a moment… Oh, who am I kidding!? This will hurt forever! And it will hurt more than anything you can imagine! Now, be a good girl and hold still!” The Keeper said, menacingly, as she pointed her staff at Viviane.

 

                It was at that moment that Viviane mustered up enough strength to break free of the grip that held her. The two women stumbled back, shouting for the Myrddraal to grab Viviane. Without thinking, Viviane rushed from the women and through the arch.

 

 

 

                Viviane crashed to the stone floor once more. She was shivering now. The Mistress of Novices stood over Viviane, a worried expression clouding her face.

 

                “I-is it real? I-is this a vision of things to come?” Viviane stammered out.

 

                Valeri Sedai closed her eyes and said, “Every woman who has passed through these arches has asked me the same question, and unfortunately, I have the same reply: We do not know.”

 

                Women dressed all in black and shadowspawn... Light! Does the Black Ajah truly exist?!

 

                Viviane banished the thought. Valeri Sedai's response was enough for Viviane. She had finished the first two, just one more to go. These experiences were horrendous, to say the least, but Viviane had dealt with a lot of hardship in life. The things she saw tonight were nothing worse than what she had seen in the back alleys of Camelyn.

 

                Nodding, Viviane stood as the Yellow Sister approached once more with a chalice. She upended the contents onto Viviane’s head and intoned, “You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul.”

 

                Valeri Sedai looked at Viviane again, searching for an unasked question. Viviane had asked what she needed. Without a second look for the Mistress of Novices, Viviane stepped through her third and final arch.

 

                As Viviane entered, she heard Valeri Sedai announce, “The third time is for what will be. Be steadfast for the way back will come but once.”

 

                And with that, everything was lost in a rush of white light.

Edited by Oddpositions

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                “Thank you, Mother,” The peasant said to Viviane.

 

                It had been over two hundred years since Viviane had come to the Tower, and now she was the Amyrlin Seat. Light, what a journey it had been. Upon arriving in Tar’Valon, Viviane couldn’t have guessed that she would end up here. The most powerful woman in the world.

 

                Tarmon Gai’don had come and gone. No more than an ink stain on the annals of history. For all the worry it had caused the Tower, it had ended remarkably quickly. The Dragon Reborn had been slain in the process, of course, but Viviane wasn’t the Amyrlin during the Final Battle, so it was of little concern to her now. The battle was won, and the White Tower remained to clean up the world after. That wretched man had left everything a mess, and here Viviane was to set it right.

 

                This was a pleasure for her. She had come from humble beginnings herself, and so, after the Final Battle, when she was raised to the seven striped stole, she began her humanitarian work. There were so many people to be fed, so many orphans needing homes, so many in pain. The Tower was there for them, however. The Tower would always there.

 

                “Of course, my child. Go in the Light. Raven, dear, see that this woman get extra grain. Her child is far too thin for his age,” Viviane said to her Keeper. Raven obliged, silently.

 

                “You are too kind, Mother! Surely! Honor to the White Tower! And honor to the Amyrlin Seat, Viviane Accylon!” The peasant woman shouted.

 

                Viviane blushed. As the Amyrlin Seat, she should be used to such praise; but still, she tried to remain humble.

 

                “Send forth the next petitioner, Raven,” Viviane announced in a stately manner.

 

                “As you command, Mother,” Raven responded. The woman had come so far from the girl Viviane had met two hundred years ago.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be Steadfast.

 

                “Did you hear something, Raven?” Viviane asked, confused.

 

                “Nothing but the wind, Mother. Are you feeling well?”

 

                “Yes… I just thought… No matter. Bring forth the next petitioner!”

 

                “As you command, Mother.”

 

                A tall man with flaming red hair kneeled before Viviane. He almost looked Aiel, from what Viviane could remember of the people. They had come over the Dragonwall before Tarmon Gai’don and retreated back after the fighting was over. This man could not be related to them, yet the resemblance was striking.

 

                “Why do you come before me today, son?” Viviane asked.

 

                The man before her started laughing maniacally.

 

                “You witches of Tar’Valon think it is over.”

 

                “I beg your pardon?”

 

                “It has only just begun… You think the Dark One gone…. But I know… I know all of his tricks.”

 

                “Raven, do have this man escorted off-“

 

                “Do not interrupt me, woman!” The man was now shouting, his eyes were bulging from his skull.

 

                The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

 

                “Did you hear something?” Viviane asked Raven, completely ignoring the madman before her.

 

                “Mother, I think there is something wrong with him…” Raven responded, completely disregarding Viviane’s question.

 

                “Did you hear me daughter? I asked if you had heard something?”

 

                The man was now laughing loudly, doing something strange with his hands. Viviane ignored him and focused her attention on Raven, “Daughter, are you well? I said-“

 

                Viviane was cut off by Raven’s screams, which were also cut off as a bar of white-hot light collided with the Keeper. The woman disintegrated into a flurry of ashes as the white bar met flesh.

 

                Screaming, Viviane shot up from her throne, knocking it back in the process.

 

                “Wha- Who- Whatever you have done, I command you, in the name of the Light, to stop this instance! Guards! Attend!” Viviane shouted.

 

                A silver archway materialized out of nowhere, inset to the wall on Viviane’s lefthand side.

 

                “You cursed witches of Tar’Valon think you control the world,” The madman said, hot white light streaming from his hand and seeking out the other people in the chamber. Within moments, the air was clogged with ashes. Only the madman and Viviane remained in the hall.

 

                “You have taken everything from me! Well, I won’t be cowed so easily! You witches shall learn your place! Bow before me! Bow before the man that shall break the White Tower!” The madman shouted. White light gathered at his palm, forming into twin bars.

 

                Viviane looked from him to the archway. Shaking her head, Viviane plowed head first into the madman; white light disintegrating into nothingness. Without missing a beat, Viviane pushed herself up off the ground and bolted for the archway. The insane man was up, almost immediately, white bars of light shooting from his hand in every direction.

 

 

 

                Viviane fell from the arch, this time she thrust her hands out, bracing her fall.

 

                “Now…” She spat out between panted breathing, “I know that was false. I am not strong enough to be the Amyrlin… and who was that man? I suppose there will still be male channelers gone mad after Tarmon Gai’don.”

 

                Valeri Sedai cocked an eyebrow at Viviane. The Yellow Sister ran from behind the table, yet not towards Viviane. No. She was running to the Amyrlin Seat, who was now in attendance. In fact, there were many Aes Sedai now in the room. If Viviane was right, there were at least two from every Ajah in the room. The Yellow handed the final chalice over to the Amyrlin, who took it impatiently.

 

                Viviane stayed on the ground as the Amyrlin came over to her, pouring the water upon Viviane’s head and announcing, “You are washed clean of Viviane Accylon of Camelyn. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul. You are Viviane Accylon, Accepted of the White Tower.”

 

                The Amyrlin took a moment to smile warmly at Viviane. It was completely different from her second trip through the arches. The Amyrlin seemed almost motherly now. She went on, “You are sealed to us, now. Welcome, daughter.”

 

                Handing the chalice back to the Yellow, the Amyrlin Seay brought out a Great Serpent ring from her sleeves. She grabbed Viviane’s left hand and slipped the ring on her third finger. Pulling Viviane to her feet, the Amyrlin announced, “Welcome, Daughter.” As the Amyrlin kissed both of Viviane’s cheeks, each Aes Sedai in attendance announced, “Welcome.”

 

                Viviane almost swayed on her feet.

 

                Light!

 

                I did it!

 

                The first Accylon woman in over five hundred years!

 

                I am one of the Accepted!

 

                And with that, the ceremony drew to a close.

 

                Viviane Accylon, Accepted, raised her head up high.

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