The Burning Sands - Tainted in a Foreign Land

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part IX
The Hare in the Hell Plains

1171 Month of the Snake, Day 4

Tiru-Kun won the duel, and the Unicorn wanted to throw a big feast for him. Iajitsu is such a ridiclous thing. Seriously, how is that supposed to really decide who is better. They gave him a Moto Wide Guard robe.

The Tar-Kahn explained the trip that evening. We have to ride 4 days north to the Hell Plains. We then ride for two months through them, using eight horses, most of which are just caring water. He also told us Jenmax- Alhaggar wouldn’t make it. I agreed to take to him.

Jenmax was surrounded by young ladies, so I talked him up infront of them, told him we’d be in the Hell Plains for four months, and then asked him if he was coming. I told him I wouldn’t stop him, and then gave him enough wine to get too drunk to leave with us in the morning.

Then I went to see Aruko and told her I had to leave on an important quest. She gave me her best goodbye.


Niaomi-chan walked in on Aruko-chan and I. Aruko-chan was quite upset, and Niaomi-chan said that “This was a mistake.” Then she left. It was odd, but I rejumped Aruko-chan.

Month of the Snake, Day 5

Jenmax showed up. He’s coming with us. Niaomi-chan isn’t speaking to me. She’s made about Aruko-chan. I’d like to say she missed the boat, it never leaves the dock. Not for her.

Month of the Snake, Day 9

We reached a wide open plain of sand that stretched out to the horizon. I called it Sanskatchewan, the desert that never ends.

Month of the Snake, Day 10

Taka-san showed us how to dress, keeping our heads covered, wearing robes. He taught us how to feed our horses, and make them drink. We travel only in morning and evening, because midday is too hot and night is too cold.

Month of the Horse, Day 10

Tsurichi-San hasn’t spoken to me in the last month, but she told Taka and Tiru that Jenmax was sick. He’s been sleeping on his horse too much, but he’s been breathing in too much sand. I’ve decided to wake him every hour, and make sure he’s wetting down the cloth covering his face. I hope it’s enough.

He’s in better shape than he would have been if we had just left him to follow us.

Month of the Horse, Day 12

This morning Tsurichi-san saw something in the distance. It looked like normal heat mirages to me, but when Taka-san got closer, he shouted “Run!” and started off in one direction. We reared to follow him, but Jenmax went in the other directions. I turned to follow him, and Tsurichi followed me.

Unicorn-horse sized lizards popped out of the sand. Tsurichi-san fired a few ineffectual arrows into them, and they chased us towards a ridge. I rushed forward and grabbed the reins to Jenmax’s horse, and got it under control just as I heard Niaomi’s horse goes down. I handed my reins to the kid, and jumped off the galloping horse, rolling and coming up running. The lizards snapped at me, and tried to grab me, but I was too fast. I took out all the lizards without breaking a sweat, saving Naiomi-san.

Of course, then we saw the dark wall of sand rolling towards us like a monsoon. Niaomi wanted to go back to see if we could reach Taka and Tiru. I doubted it, but she’d learned more from the Unicorn, and she was being a bitch about it, so I wasn’t going to fight her about it. The fortunes decided to prove me right, and the storm was on us on no time.

So we hunkered down together. The storm lasted for six hours, and after it ended, we threw off the sand. Niaomi fired off a whistler, and Taka and Tiru rejoined us. Jenmax didn’t, so Taka and Niaomi went after him. He was in a coma from swallowing too much sand.

Month of the Horse, Day 15

Jenmax was still in a coma, and Taka pointed out Lightening Sand, which will swallow you quicker than Osano Wo can strike. We had to walk around it, poking at the edges. It slowed us down greatly.

Month of the Horse, Day 19

We saw a fire in the distance, and when we approached we found the cart of Zaphar-sama. We begged her for help with Jenmax, and Myrial emerged from the cart. They took Jenmax inside to help him. When Niaomi checked the cart, both were missing.

Tiru started petting the Gray Ladies dog and entered a trance. He spoke to himself in a trance. When he came to he said we needed to find a man named Sai in the Jewel. Sai knew of the Ashlan, and said that they only come out at night, and offered to help us.

In the morning, Zaphar-sama was gone, and Taka left soon after. Zaphar left us with something called camel butter, which tasted terrible but stopped thurst.

Month of the Goat, Day 18

We carried on through terrible winds. We avoided lightening sand, and moved on. Then there was a light on the horizon. It glowed, and we moved closer, and when we found a hill, we saw the biggest city in the world. The glowing city sat on the banks of a wide river. It was the second most gergous site I’ve ever seen.

Until we saw the Kolat on the wall. We were very quiet, and told them we were simple travelers. The city was full of city of people. An eta child offered to guide us. As soon as he asked us, a bunch of other little buggers showed up. We hired the first one because he was the smartest. We had him lead us to the ryokan and a stable.

The innkeeper handed us the key to the room. It’s a strange metal device which keeps the door from opening, baring it even from the other side of the door.

They had a device called pump, which pulls water upstairs. We had to heat it ourselves, and it was in our room. I helped Niaomi bath, and she returned the favour.

Then I got a couple of poule from Niaomi, and headed to find a Giesha house. I learned that the Senpet women are beautiful, pale, forward and silent.

Month of the Goat, Day 19th

In the morning, we went with the Urchin, looking for jade cloth. I found a merchant who could weave jade beads into cloth. It would take a week and cost a poule, which seemed more than fair. I’ll need to pick it up on the 26th.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso VIII

Month of the Dragon, Day Twenty Three

Tiru has been melacony as we’ve travelled along the salt flats towards the Moto.

When night fell, we saw a fire up ahead. I scouted ahead, and found an old woman with a rashari wagon and an old woman in a bright cloak with a large dog Ami.. Her eyes were milky white, and she saw me, even though I was silent as a shadow. She called me forward, and said we were expected. I went back and got the others.

She introducted herself as Zaphar Groma, and when she did, Myrial whispered “The Gray woman?”

She prepared food for us. She called Niaomi little leaf, but there’s nothing little about Niaomi’s leaves. She was headed to the oasis, and she stopped to talk to us. She was heading towards the White Guard. She then offered to tell us our futures for a small fee.

Yeshpal then introduced himself to her, saying she was the head of the Rashari. Apparently, they’re beggars…

I went with Zaphar-Sama into the back of her wagon. It was dark, with colourful cloths hanging around a small glass ball. She chanted for a few moments, and then the ball burned with a bright light, and here eyes regained the colour they lost years ago. She said I may find my equal in the Jewel. She couldn’t tell me how to destroy the sword, but she said the answer awaiting in the Jewel.

Month of the Dragon, Day Twenty Four

In the morning, Zaphar-Sama was gone. So was Myrial was gone. Zaphar left directions with Tsuruchi Niomi

Month of the Dragon, Day Twenty Seven

That morning, as we headed further into the desert, six fast riders approached. They were dressed like Moto white gaurd. We introduced ourselves to Moto Santria, and told her that we needed to find passage to the Jewel, and she agreed to introduce us to the Tar-Kahn. The escorted us to a cavern in the rocky barrier mountains. In the base there was a lush river valley. A couple hundred people in the valley. They took us to a large tent in the back of the encampment.

The tent reeked of red meat. A man met us and spoke Rokagani, and we presented Tar-Kahn with our gifts. We ate with them, and the meat was delicious. They offered to help us, but we would have to wait a week. They had baths and I showed Yeshpal some kenjitsu, impressing him and all the Unicorn my swordmanship.

Month of the Dragon Day Twenty Eight

Niaomi-san started training with the battle madiens. It was … I look I could live with. That night they had a banquet, and I made friends with a pretty lady named Aruko. We’re pretty good friends at this point.

Month of the Serpent, Day Four

This morning, Aruko and I woke up to the sound of alarm bells. We found that the Moto were coming. For some reason the Moto and the White Guard here don’t get along. I couldn’t let Aruko get hurt, so I prepared to fight. The Khan needed me to scout a pass to the north, and I found a group of Moto there, so I let off a warning whistler and rode back. They tried to follow me, but Naiomi is too worried about me getting hurt, and she had shadowed me from the top of the cliffs.

I rode back to the Tar-Kahn, and we fought off some of the raiders. Then the Mot’s leader challanged them to a duel. Tiru accepted, but I couldn’t let Diagotsu Jin’s blade fall. I left before the outcome was determined. Tiru one, so I snuck back down.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso, Part VII
Ariso versus Four Armed Oni

1171, Month of the Hare, Twenty Seventh Day

We’ve been following Kenzofor a few days now. He stole most of our food and water, so I stayed to protect Niomi and Myrial while Tiru and Yeshpal of the House of the Mighty Rat went back for supplies. They caught up today, and now we can go after Kenzo faster.

Month of the Dragon, Third Day

Myrial found a campfire, and there was a burnt falcon carcass inside. I’m afraid the dumb bastard has unwrapped the sword, and it’s tainting him.
Month of the Dragon, Thirteenth Day

We came to the edge of the Western Wastes. Myrial found that Kenzo had ridden his horse to death. We left the guide and Jenmaxwith the horses, and Niomi led us after him on foot.

We climbed down the rocky hills that mark the boundaries of the Wastes. I managed to lower the others down, as they weren’t very sure on their feet. At the base, we found the ruined remains of a strong hold, and the flicker of a campfire. Niomi went ahead, while I tried to keep the clutzes quiet.

Niomi headed inside, and spoke with Kenzo for a bit, but then she shot and we rushed him. He has apparently become a shugenja, as he cast a spell and there were four of him. They took off into the ruins. Yeshpal seemed able to tell them apart, but Noimi ran after one, and I couldn’t leave her undefended.

We followed Kenzo into an old room containing a throne. He hid behind the throne, and spoke of himself as “he” and “we”. “We can’t give you the sword,” and “He wants to fight you”. Then he vanished from sight and came out as my father.

“Why are you such a disappointment?” he asked.

“We may never know,” I told the spectre and struck, trying to Freeze his Lifeblood. It shrugged it off, and I saw some glowing white eyes behind the throne. The thing that looked at my father struck at me, but I jumped back, and then leapt at the eyes, smashing it’s face with my foot. It flew back into the wall, smashing into it. It was the Four Armed Oni from the Mountain of Fire.

It surged forward, cutting into me, while the thing that looked like my father came at my back. I jumped around, avoiding the monster as best I could. Hundreds of Chibi-Four-Arms rushed out at us. Niomi fired arrows all around me, cutting down the little monsters as I smashed into the big one. When I dropped Four Arm, I noticed Niomi was under one of the Chibi-Four-Arms who had been hiding in the darkness. It slashed at Niomi with its dark claws, and hit her hard to the ground.

Four Arms was so badly hurt it couldn’t stand, so I rushed forward to protect her. I jumped at the demon, and flipped over it, and broke its neck, kicking its head clear off with only my mighty foot.

“You should be safe now, Niomi-chan,” I told her, and then beheaded Four Arms with my katana.
At the entrance we met Tiru and Yeshpal. Tiru was moping more weeping than usual. They gave Niomi a wakazashi. Tiru must have killed Kenzo. It appears the ronin was in the Shadowlands employ all along. Niomi was obviously effected, but kept her On. Yeshpal had the Obsidian Blade, and wouldn’t hand it to me. He gave me his word that he wouldn’t let it go back to Rokugan.

He’s no match for Tiru, let alone me. As long as we keep him close by, the sword should be safe.
Myrial knew Moto Tarkael, nearby. We may see them for help.

Month of the Dragon, Fourteenth Day

Few things are as pleasant as tending to Niomi-chan’s wounds.

Month of the Dragon, Fifteenth Day

Myrial and I were talking about ca-mus, and told me she’s against spitting. I like Myrial. We hope to reach the Moto soon.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso, Part VI
Wandering through the Clay Flats

1171, Month of the Hare, Day Eight

We’ve decided to leave town. We will head to the Library of Talus to see if there was any information on the obsidian blade. There may be others following Tsuruchi Niomi and we don’t have time to deal with the Vendetta they’ve declared on Kakita Tiru. He’s died his hair, and he nearly looks Bayushi. We’re hiring guides, and I’ve bought some jade to grind up with a mortar and work into some cloth. The obsidan blade is tainting the cloth, so I’m trying to make a new one.

Yeshpal of the House of the Mighty Rat decided to hire a guide named Bosco. He is a dick and I hate him. The other option was Myrial who was better, smarter, and more competant.

I judge people solely on their physical appearance.

Month of the Hare, Day Eleven

Deserts suck. We’ve been riding a few days, and we keep seeing fires behind us. They haven’t come close, and we were going to do something about it, but the winds picked up and there was a dust storm. We set up low tents, and I tried to convince Niomi and Myrial that they needed me for protection. They thought they were fine, so I’m stuck in the other tent with Yeshpal, Mopey, and Dickface.

Month of the Hare, Day Twelve

We met a group of Ra’shari. They wander around in wagons that are like huts on wheels, wearing bright colours, and doing odd jobs and entertaining. They’re kind of like a travelling festival. I’ve made friends with Shadiar, their king, and impressed their bravest warriors. I’ve also convinced some beautifulRa’shari ladies to sing me several beautiful songs.

Month of the Hare, Day Thirteen

Last night, while I made beautiful music, Naiomi and Tiru found Kenso and Jenmax- Alhaggar We’ve had them join us, and we were travelling with Ra’shari when a giant bird, called a Roc swooped down and grabbed a horse. Niomi and I shot at it, but it was the size of a house, and the best we could do was chase it off before it grabbed more horses. The Ra’shari needed to stay and bury the onethere’s the Roc killed, so we headed off on our on.

Month of the Hare, Day Twenty

We reached the Library of Talus. The monks expect us to read ourselves. I’m thinking that this might be a good place to retire, since you don’t really need to work.

Month of the Hare, Day Twenty Four

We’ve been reading for days, and the best we can find is that there’s some references to the Ashlan, an ancient race of sorcerers. We’re heading to a place called the Jewel to learn more. We’ve gotten rid of Dickface McBosco, and we’re just staying with the talented Myrial.

Month of the Hare, Day Twenty Five

Kenzo fucking poisoned us and stole the obsidian blade. That fucker is going to die.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part V

1171, Month of the Hare, Day Six

I am a man who apprecates a good sento, I’ve never had a bath like the one I had yesterday. We washed in milk, and afterwards we cleaned off and smelt like vanilla. It… I don’t know if I could really get used to it.

Al Haggar then announced someone had come looking for us. A Rokuganjin. I was astonished, and even more so when I saw Tsuruchi Niomi. She has that cruel look that makes a woman terribly beautiful. Jenmax-Haggar and I climbed through the crawlspaces to peer down through a metal grate into the baths, but unforately she lives up to the reputation her family has built for speed and marksmanship. I have the bruise to prove it.

One of Al Haggar’s advisors, Yeshpal came to find us. Apparently, Tiru had started a blood feud. While he was listening to the dragon sing, he took two women to his bed. Or maybe it was three. I was stunned by disbelief, so I don’t have the details, including the most important one — why did it happen to him and not me? Sure, he’s pretty, but he’s so busy hating everything good in life that… well, I can’t let it drive me crazy.

Yeshpal tried to lead us across the city, so that we could settle the vendetta. I assume these people know nothing of the Kakita bushi’s speed in an iajitsu duel, or they never would have called him out. Hell, I’m terrified of the day some Doji finds me making the four legged Oni with his beautiful bride. Unfortunately, we were followed.

We split off, heading in different directions. I ran along the roofs and Niomi picked off my persuers until we had lost them. When we found Tiru and Yeshpal, who had also been shot off course.

It looks like we won’t get anywhere today. Yeshpal seems to think we’ll need to leave the city.

All I can pray is that Niomi will need another vanilla bath before we leave.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part IV
The Shores of the Ivory Kingdom

1170, Month of the Tiger, Day Twentyseven

As we headed towards the city, Kenzo was bit by a snake. The posion seeped in, but we were near a monastary. They agreed to help him, and it turned out they were monks of Osano Wo, from Rokugan. I’ve actually been training with the monks, and … and their mediations and Kihos make sense. We need to spend some time here, to see if they can help.

1171, Month of the Hare, Day One

It’s New Years, and I don’t think I’ve woken up alone on a new year since I turned thirteen. Instead, I’m practicing Zanji. I miss you, Chenchen and Momo.

Month of the Hare, Day Four

Kenzo will still need some time, but the monks can’t help us. We need to move on. We have a letter of introduction to a man named Al Haggar. We should reach the city tomorrow night.

Month of the Hare, Day Six

I think I love the Ivory Kingdoms. Al Haggar is some sort of magistrate or governor or something. He has a beautiful manor, and has treated us like the most generous Scorpion lord. His son, Jenmax-Haggar is young, maybe twelve or fourteen, but he has an amazing two knife dueling style. It’s like a mix between Niten and the Ujina style. I like it, but I’m finding a strange peace when I practice the juijitsu I learned with the monks. Otherwise, I might train with Jenmax.

I like him. He reminds me of my favourite person — Usagi Ariso.

In the evening, there was a banquet. It started out familiar, but soon it became reminiscent of Tear Drop Island. It wasn’t an exact replica of the House of Foriegn Stories, but it was exotic food and strange customs. Magda isn’t from the Ivory Kingdoms, but it’s the closest I know. There were acrobats, and I showed them what I could really do. They brought out what looked like the Dragon’s Instrument. I usually refrain, but it was important to Al Haggar.

It was also funny to give Tiru some Dragon’s Breath. It hit him hard. He was flirting and dancing, and acting like he was alive. If he makes it home, I’m going to take him to the floating world.

I’m not sure who I just sent home, but I truely, truely love Al Haggar’s hospitality. I hope the women remain like that as long as we remain here.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part III

1170, Month of the Tiger, Day 12

We’ve reached the coast, and I’ve convinced a Mantis captain to take us aboard. I don’t want to record his name, not while this book is still in the Empire. After all, he may very well be defying his lord and these pages aren’t beyond Her Heavenly Excellencies boundries. I’ve been more forthcoming than I ought with him, and secured his help.

Month of the Tiger, Day 14

I’ve convinced Kenzo, a ronin in our captain’s employee, to join us. Wave men know ways to get by without a lord to provide for them, something we’ll need so far from home.

Month of the Tiger, Day 15

Last night, a group of Oni from the Shadowlands attacked our ship. They flew from the darkened forrests. Tiru went on deck, and faced them, while I protected the sword. Tiru’s blade is swift, and he’s starting to make himself useful.

Month of the Tiger, Day 20

We reached the edge of the Emerald Seas. Our Captain transfered us over to an enourmous gaijin boat. I can’t pronounce it, or the names of anyone I’ve met. It’s kind of disconcerning.

There is a girl on board, however, that makes up for all of it.

Month of the Tiger, Day 21

She’s the Captian’s Daughter. I don’t want to get on his bad side. He’s obsessed with swords. You should have seen Tiru’s face when he offered to buy the Kakita blade. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. A man who would try to buy Tiru’s sword probably knows how to use one.

But that gaijin woman would be worth the risk.

Month of the Tiger, Day 22

They have something called bakon. It’s amazing. It’s some kind of smoked meat. Tiru thinks it comes from boars. He pouted and refused to eat it. I told him that if it was from boar, I really need to get me some boar. It’s almost enough to make me stop thinking about the captain’s hot daughter. Almost.

Month of the Tiger, Day 23

Seriously, how is she resisting me? Gaijin women are strange. She’s obviously interested, but she always turns me down at the last minute. I’ve met Crane’s less concerned about what’s proper.

Month of the Tiger, Day 27

It’s the end of our trip, and I spoke to the Captain’s Daughter. I asked her what I did worng. She told me the only reason she didn’t was because she was engaged. I let her know that this wasn’t a problem, her fiance would never know.

Then she told me that it wasn’t about politics. She was getting married for love, even though she’s pretty much a samuria amongst her people. I told her she was lucky to love the man she had to marry. She told me she wasn’t, that love matters more than treaties.

I told Tiru about it and he pouted some more. I don’t know how well he’s going to do out here if he hates everything they do.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part II
Assault on the Temple

1170, Month of the Tiger, Fourth Day

Kakita Tiru is not one for travelling rough. Every night on the snowy roads he moped about the lack of acomodations. Does he think I don’t miss Tenten? I mean, it’s been a week! How am I supposed to surive?

We’re huddled by a small fire, waiting for night to fall. I think Tiru may have realized our visit to the temple is not entirely above board, but as long as I make it his duty and let him save face if we fall through the shoji screen, we should be fine.

Month of the Tiger, Fifth Day

It’s a good thing they sent me. Otherwise, this whole thing would have fallen appart. When we reached the Mountain of Fire, the Temple was under attack by Oni. On the way in, I was forced to crush an ogre’s skull with my bow. Inside, we found the Obsidian Blade on an alter.

Between it and us stood a four armed Oni. I didn’t want Tiru to feel useless, so I let him overcome his fear and face the beast. He did alright, but the thing was powerful, so before it could overwhelm him, and stepped forward and saved his life. I wrapped the blade in Jade cloth, and carried him away. We’ve been travelling most of the night, and I hope to set out to Nikesake soon, but Tiru is in rough shape.

Month of the Tiger, Ninth Day

We’ve reached Nikesake. Tiru stares strangely at the sword when it’s unwrapped, so I try to keep it from him. I’ve set him up in a Ryokan, and found the nearest geisha house.

Thank Benten for the low end geisha house. Momo understood my needs extended beyond Ocha, and with my silvered tongue and a liberal dose of kuku, I find myself truely relaxed. She’s exhausted, and is leaving me alone as I write. Today has certainly been the best of this week.

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part I
A summons to Toshi Ranbo

Month of The Ox, Fourteenth Day

I recieved a letter today from Toku Sungoku, the Monkey clan damiyo. In it, he begs me to come and see him in Toshi Ranbo. While I hate to leave Ryoko Owari unprotected, with too much sake unguarded, and the virtue of all these beautiful Scorpion girls left in their own questionable judgement, I hate to make a proud man weep. I’ll spare a few moments to go see him.

Month of The Ox, Twenty Third Day

I hope that in her divine wisdom, our Heavenly Empress Hantei XXXX, Whom We Call Tenko, on her descent, saw the roads, and the length of them. She should call in her Imperial Cartographers and discuss what she saw. After nine days, I reached the capital. Nine. Days.

I arrived and settled in to Toku-Sama’s fine estate. He’s asked me to come with him to court tomorrow. Of course, my charms will be necessary. Obviously, in a time of great need, he called in the greatest orator of our times.

For now, I’ve been left in the care of one of his servants, Zenzen-chan and I’m doing my best to get her to take better care of me.

Month of the Ox, Twenty Sixth Day

At court, it turned out they needed me not for the skills of my tongue, but those of my hands. There is this sword, owned by some villian by the name of Diagotsu Jin, and the Dragon, with all their wisdom, haven’t been able to destroy it. So of course, it falls on a Hare. Most specifically, this Hare. Unfortunately, the Great Clans are all too busy making sure to watch their backs that they’ve run into a wall. No one wants to offend the Dragon by telling them to go to Arisu.

Usagi Ozaki, the Hare Clan Damiyo has Doji Domotai and Sungoku-sama convinced. However, the Dragon are doing their damndest to drag on with this. Drastic measures time.

While no one can say it, the obvious solution is to steal the sword. Without revealing my plan, I’ve asked for the aid of the Champions. Kakita Tiru, a Crane clan, is all the support they can provide. I hope his blade is sharper than his wits.

I’m going to take the sword beyond the Empire, and see if there’s a way to destroy it out there. The crane is tainted by it, and so they hope I can help him. Aparently, he’s more than just a pretty face to someone. I let Zenzen-chan know I had to leave on an important mission, and may never come back. She cried in my arms, and wished me the fondest of farewells. I’ll probably never forget her.

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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