Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by DruSM157
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DruSM157

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Tell her this
And more--
That the king of the seas
Weeps too, old, helpless man.
The bustling fates
Heap his hands with corpses
Until he stands like a child
With a surplus of toys.”

-Stephen Crane, The Ocean Said To Me Once

It is said that no one knows when the Mother Ocean took her anger upon mankind. And yet, our calendar tells us it has been over 1600 years After the Flood. Who decided when the year after the flood was? Do we even know how ancient these cities below us are? We all are raised hearing stories of the ancient world, of Gaea and it’s immeasurable wealth of power and knowledge. But even the ancients were swallowed by the sea. And yet we are told, as children are always told, that still the city lies hidden inside the bosom of the ocean, waiting for the brave boy or girl to find it and uncover its secrets. Secrets to raise land, to cheat death and to rule the world. These are simply stories for children, and yet every diver, every soldier, every monarch dreams of finding this lost city and grasping the power to change the world in their hands. I sit and wonder, is this dream of a city truly real, or is it simply a story meant to cow our minds into pressing on further, as the land continues to run out and the waters continue to rise.
-From the Journals of Kelman Vallis, 1640 AF.

In Search of Gaea
Act 1: The Storm on the Rock




Praetor Jorrus

• The Floating Palace, Galma. Imperial Seas •

The reflection of the sun’s light cast countless rays amid the silvered halls of the floating palace as Jorrus Faultspire, 2nd Praetor to his Majesty Emperor Gaius Starwind walked across the smooth stone floors of the floating palace towards the Consol room. Jorrus was pushing forty, with tinges of grey flecking both sides of his hair and his beard, which was immaculately groomed as any high ranking officer under his Majesty’s Service would keep it. His metal backed boots clacked loudly against the stones as he rapped the wood and iron door that led into the chamber of the Consol. The floating capital city of Galma was exquisite in its own right, but the size and immaculate detail of the Floating Palace stretched beyond the city as well. High aqueduct walls surrounded the palace, water rushing up and down the thick stone walls, creating a neverending cascade of mist and rainbows around the white walls of the palace. The halls were less grandiose, especially in the small chambers where the Consol met. These were halls for important business, not grandstanding and fancy feasts. A place where the real diplomacy happened.

“Come in Praetor,” a gravely old voice from beyond the wood called, slightly muffled by the thick door. Jorrus, always a dog of the Empire, did as he was told.

“My lordships,” he began, as he stepped into the center of the room; face to face with a large arched table with seven figures sitting at it. He knelt down to one knee, his red cape dragging against the dusty floor and he lowered his head, removing his silvered helm and caressing it against his chest.

“Rise, Praetor. We have much to discuss with you.” The man sitting in the middle, the oldest member of the Consol and the emperor’s uncle, Delphus Starwind stared at Jorrus with wizened grey eyes. “We have heard your expedition into the Lost Sea was successful. And yet you have brought no treasure or key with you.” The elderly man crossed his gnarled hands together. “What did you find in the cursed locker?”

“Only riddles, my lordship. But riddles which speak about the lost city, and its treasures beyond.”

“Riddles need answers, Praetor. We pray that you have some.”

“With time, I belie-”

“We do not have the luxury of time, Praetor!” The old man rose in his chair, shaking with the rise of his voice. He slammed his ancient fist against the wooden table, shocking some of the younger members of the Consol. “Right now endless Divers search for Gaea, aiming to be the ones who will plunder its secrets and treasures. The man who finds the lost city will have the power of the gods, as the old texts say.”

“Yes your lordsh-”

“I am not finished, Praetor.” The old man sat back down. “Secrets weapons to destroy any army. The power to harness the sun and moon. The power to staunch even death itself…” Delphus starred Jorrus down, and in that moment the Praetor who had fought in countless battles, seen the most horrifying monsters of the deep, and had led countless men to their deaths suddenly felt very afraid.

“You will answer these riddles, or we shall find a Praetor worth more than war medals. After all, Praetor Alexia has not failed us in her investigations of the North.”

“Y-yes my lordship.” Jorrus tightened his eyes and tried not to feel the heavy burden of shame now cresting above his shoulders. He was beginning to understand his father’s words when he had become a member of the Palace Guard fifteen years ago. The burden of duty may one day become a noose around your neck, my son. Be careful you do not let it become too tight, nor lose your footing. He was now feeling as if he was on a precarious ledge, and this noose of duty was squeezing too tight for him to breathe.


Marlowe Vallis

• Windward Island, Palm Grove. Southern Seas •

“You don’t have a chance against me, foul beast!” The young man spun a large, awkward blade around in his hands, facing off against a foul, three headed creature. The blade shone with a bright light against the hot sun, reflecting off its carefully crafted metal. The thin blade curved upwards, like a normal saber, but the tip of the blade was different. Instead of a solid tip, it curved back into a sharp tip like a harpoon’s. The blade itself seemed to be an oversized fish-hook, albeit one with quite the sharp edge. The man charged forward, his mop of shaggy brown head blowing back as he spun the blade in a wide slash; carving off one “head” of the beast.

A thick brown coconut head flew into the air, and was then pierced by the tip of the blade. “Ha!” The man bellowed, grasping the fruit and pulling it from the blade. He took a swig of the bitter milk, then smiling, turned to his young onlookers, grinning like a madman. “See? I TOLD you I could do it!”

Mala, a young dark-haired boy laughed. “Wow Mar!” He said. “You were like the old heroes from Chief Talu’s legends!”

“Oh, i’ll be better than a bunch of dusty old heroes!” Marlowe turned back to the now two-headed coconut beast, running towards it. “It’s time for my finishing move!” He bellowed, before tripping on an outstretched vine, sending him careening through the air and into the dirt, at the straw “feet” of his beast. His sword landed with a loud clang near him.

“Annnd Mar is killed by the beast.” Mala muttered, shaking his head. “You always screw up your moves by yelling them out!”

“Thanks Mala,” Marlowe muttered with thick embarrassment in his voice as he pushed himself off of the sandy ground. He brushed off flecks of thin grass, dirt and sand from his blue shirt, and knelt down to pick up the fisherman’s saber, placing it firmly back in its leather sheath.

“Why do you practice all the time anyways? Do you want to be a Diver or somethin’? There’s nothing worth Diving for in the southern seas, that’s what Chief Talu says!”

“I don’t care about what’s in the Southern Seas,” Marlowe muttered, picking up one of the coconut “heads” from his false-monster. “There’s a huge world out there, ready to be explored!”

“But...doesn’t everyone already know what’s in the seven seas?”

“No! That’s the exciting part. We’ve lived on the seas for thousands of years, right? But there’s still so much that’s unknown to people!”

“How can people NOT kno-” a loud boom erupted over the island, and a huge gust of wind nearly blew the children off their feet. This was not the first or second big explosion they had experienced this week. Ever since the huge storms appeared over Gullspire Rock, every day large thunder claps, accompanied by gusts of wind and even minor earthquakes shaking the small island. The children on the island were terrified of the once quiet rock in the far distance now creating such a cacophonous display; any many of the village elders moaned that a new calamity was coming; that Mother Ocean was unhappy with their sacrifices to her name and she would now destroy their peaceful home.

During the first week, Chief Talu was calm. “It’s fine,” he began, talking to many of the frightened people at a Chief-meet. “It is simply a storm, it will blow over as soon as the breezes come.” But many breezes had followed in the days thereafter, and the storm continued to circle around the rock. Windward Island was a moderately sized island in the Southern Seas, and they were known in the local islands as a wonderful place for Krayfish spearing and for their various fruits. Every year they even hosted a Krayfish Spearing contest; something that Talu had told Marlowe of when he was younger. His mother had been a champion in the contest for many years before meeting his father, and the necklace he wore was a symbol of her skill. The island itself was roughly fifteen miles in acreage, and the village was built around the natural curved bay of the island, where their “port” was found. The port was small like many of the village ports, big enough to handle a monthly visit of skiffs and barges from the other island and the occasional merchant vessel, but nothing so grand to bring in visitors from too far.

“Let me take a small skiff out there, Talu!” Marlowe had fussed in the days after. “If it’s too dangerous, I can turn around. But there could be something there causing this storm!” Marlowe had spent much of his youth sailing a small skiff, and he’d traveled around Gullspire Rock countless times. But now it seemed to an alien; the font of a grand adventure wrapped around a dangerous cloak of a storm.

“Don’t be suicidal, boy,” Talu muttered incredulously. “Even our sturdiest fishing boats would be torn apart in a storm like that. After a few more days of no changes, Talu sent a gull with a request to Sun’s Rest, the largest island in the southern sea and the home of the local Diver’s guild.

An odd storm has appeared near Windward Island. It is unnatural and may be caused by some ancient device. Windward Island hereby requests any divers brave enough to travel to Gullspire Rock and to end this unnatural storm. Payment: 500 shelma, plus any artifacts found... It was a pittance of a job. In the Imperial Sea, 500 shelma was the reward for slaying three Razorshark or finding some trifle in a dive. And the southern sea was not a place well known for its treasures. This was the most shallow of all the seven seas; the only sea without an immortal Leviathan stalking its waters for unwary divers. Talu knew they would not get many who would brave the trip.

Still, on the 3rd day of the season of Meera, the small port of Windward Island was full of ships. People of the village were standing shoulder to shoulder to see who would step out onto one of the port’s four docks; which already seemed crowded and crushed together due to the different ships. Marlowe found himself behind those much taller and those even older than he; and realized with a sigh that he would not have a chance to see who was coming to explore the tall rock that he had sailed around in a skiff in his younger years. He still could see the ships from his position: none were ironclads, of course. Some were transport and merchant ships, others were diver ships, ran by rookies or by old fools, or simply those who thought they could find an easy job with a chance at nice salvage. A reward allowing all artifacts to be kept was always a boon. Most cities demanded 40 to even 60% of the salvage, arguing that they were entitled to it through their contracts. Towns would feed, sell gear at cost, and give places of rest to divers. The salvage was their take, of course.

Marlowe was busy rubbing his shins, wiping of the dirt and sand from his fall. He didn’t need Marea seeing he’d hurt himself again. He felt bad, as if he was always worrying her due to his antics. He was, after all, older than her. He should be the one worrying, the one responsible. And yet, Talu always left her in charge, always put his trust in her.

She wasn’t born cursed. Marlowe let the younger children run by him as they made towards the docks to see who had come to the island, hoping to see heroic divers, merchants peddling wares from the far-off dragon sea, and as they ran, Marlowe could see the small marks on their upper shoulders. Blue and orange, marking of the sun and the moon. And in that moment he felt naked in the knowledge that he would never have such a mark. After all, when he was born, there was no sun or moon. Mother Ocean had not blessed him.

He sighed and continued on, running faster to push the dark thoughts from his mind. Now was the time to see who had come to the island, and who would end these storms.

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Hidden 4 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Inkarnate
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Inkarnate Clichéd Tsundere™

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Windward Island
Port Harbor, The Sunken Shepherd


An odd storm has appeared near Windward Island. It is unnatural, and may be caused by some ancient device. Windward Island hereby requests any divers brave enough to travel to Gullspire Rock and to end this unnatural storm. Payment: 500 shelma, plus any artifacts found.

Marina Watercrest looked over the contract she held in her hands, thinking on the prospects of such a venture.

The purple-haired young woman had come to The Southern Sea only a few months prior, looking to start things anew. She hadn’t joined any crews in her time, preferring to remain independent for reasons she never fully explained to the faction leaders in charge of the diver’s guild that operated in the Southern Sea. She insisted she had her reasons and that the ‘right’ crew hadn’t come along yet. It was a bold-faced lie, but Marina had her reasons for not telling the truth.

Five hundred shelma? Are you serious? Whatever artifact I find on the dive better be worth it.

She took a light breath as she put the piece of paper down on the table in front of her. She was already sworn to the contract so she supposed she had little choice. Besides, it wasn’t exactly like any of the other possible contracts in the area were any better. At least with this contract she could come out with a treasure of some sort that she could either pawn or barter with in an exchange. She grabbed the glass of coconut milk in front of her as she leaned back, the fruit’s liquid emptying from the glass before her reddish-brown eyes looked back toward the skies above. The heat was awful and the storm a few leagues away was no doubt effecting the abhorrent and humid weather. The Imperial Sea wasn’t exactly frozen or brisk, but Marina was still undoubtedly getting used to the southern heat.

It was one of the reasons she had taken to the harbor tavern of The Sunken Shepherd – a place where diver’s gathered before they left for assignment. It wasn’t quite like the guild halls she had been used to, but it was a decent enough replacement. Especially considering Windward Island was basically a nowhere island that didn’t really deserve a guild hall proper.

I wonder what kind of divers I will be working with...


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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Mcmolly
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Mcmolly Faceroll Extraordinaire

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S o l i a


Windward Island
Port Harbor



A small fleet had amassed in the crystal waters around Windward Island. To a place of more commercial repute, this would not have been so exciting, and in fact a more refined port might have found itself vexingly inconvenienced.

None who had come did so in gilded galleons and warships, rather, the ports bulged with a ramshackle collection of schooners and the odd caravel of a small-fortuned merchant. Many who disembarked onto the docks, were just reflections of their crafts. Their hulls were gnarled and beaten by Mother Ocean’s ire, and some who had clearly rotted past the point of restoration were easy to pick out. They hobbled on patched boots, or wooden legs, and wouldn’t last. Others though, were made of more resilient stuff. Their bodies had weathered hurricane winds, clashed against the scaly hides of dangerous beasts, and survived. Their demeanors were grizzled and jaded, but intrinsic to their personal brine was hope for the people of Windward. Hope that some among the newcomers could help them.

This was what had drawn Solia here. The message Windward had sent out was not a cry for help in the way she most often encountered them, but it was one nonetheless. Something troubled the people who lived there, something they didn’t understand, with the potential to bring them harm. If there was something she could do to stop it, or help them in anyway, she had to try. She always had to try.

As she stepped onto the dock, the boards whined and bent beneath her. She would have to be careful here. Windward was not some buoy-port cobbled of driftwood and hope, but even still, if she wasn’t delicate, or at least mindful of her actions, she might step right through the wood, and be plunged into the waters beneath the isle.

As the most eager adventurers stormed from the docks, her slower pace spared her from the brunt of the islanders’ attention. She had donned more layers than perhaps was necessary for the climate, but stone did not sweat. Only weeks ago, the sight of her broken face and grainy chips had nearly driven a crew to toss her overboard. Now she favored discretion, to an extent.

She was not ashamed of her being, as of late it did perplex her, but she would never deny what she was to anyone. Father had built them to be proud of their elegant forms; she was a masterwork, a creation unlike any Maelstrom had ever produced, unlike anything Aruth had ever produced. Some of the Spire’s own residents were chary of calling upon their aid, or even approaching them. Such was the way of new and strange things.

There were children among the crowds of onlookers, that brought a smile to her. Maelstrom had few children for its prodigious size, but they’d been among her favorite. Minds, untethered with reason or tragedy, conjured the most fantastical tales, and these stories often passed about the ranks of her siblings, shared in their off-time. As she watched Windward’s children gather and gawk, she wondered, briefly, where the children of Maelstrom were. Briefly, because she knew the answer already.

Not keen on frightening them, she keep her head low, and her face shaded beneath the hood of her cloak. Her clothes were damp and salted from the weeks of travel, but the bandages wrapped ‘round her head and arm were still fresh, and firm. Undamaged she could pass for pale at a glance, but such was not the case. As it was, the clear skies did her no favors, and she sought out a place less bare.

An open tavern caught her eye, “The Sunken Shephard,” and she hesitated. Shelter it was, but sure as the tides would rise, sailors would flood a bar. Perhaps it was best to avoid company until companionship was unavoidable, until they were out at Gullspire and protests could not stop her from being there. This was the logical decision. Solia chose to ignore it.

Beneath the pavilion, she found a small table, small enough that she was confident the others would fill before anyone thought to join her, if they did. This decision, she decided, was close enough to reason. Runner-up. It granted her the discretion she desired, but also allowed her to keep an eye on the dock’s proceedings. Skiffs making ground at the shores, more divers and adventurers embracing the awed welcomes of the islanders. It was a pleasant sight, and she settled into it. Solia had been used to stillness, spent many hours on Maelstrom as a statuesque sentinel. The tavern was comfortable, at least, and for the most part empty.

Among the patrons, she spied a few who might be divers, and one about whom she had no doubts. Short, pink-haired, very proper, but this was not what stuck out most about her, not to Solia. What struck her most about the woman was her uniform. Clean, sharp, and above all undeniably, unmistakably Imperial.

If she had breath, it would have caught. What she had instead was a spark, an impulse, to do something. Exactly what, she didn’t know, and that itself was curious. She thought, gravely, that she wanted to hurt this girl. It was not a difficult thought to repress, the impulse just as easily smothered. She sat, quietly, and watched her for a time until she was certain that if their eyes met, there would be trouble.

To think of terrible things now, just before the call to action, would not do. So she returned her attention to the ships and crews, then further on, the sea and the distance Gullspire rock, and tried to busy her mind with more pleasant things.
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Fading Memory
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Fading Memory The Final Flame of a Fiery Bird

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An odd storm has appeared near Windward Island. It is unnatural and may be caused by some ancient device. Windward Island hereby requests any divers brave enough to travel to Gullspire Rock and to end this unnatural storm. Payment: 500 shelma, plus any artifacts found.

"I don't understand a word of it, but oof did all these fellows get up and outta there in a hurry." Terhikki groaned, staring at the doodles on the paper in front of her. "For all I know this is one big prank and I'm the butt of everyone's jokes again." She crumpled the note in her hand and tossed it aside on the ship she rode in on, leaving it littered on the deck. She looked at the crowded docks and piers of Windward isle, and frowned as she rubbed her jaw.

"I...am definitely not waiting to get off this boat." She concluded, before nodding to herself and leaping up onto the railings of the ship she was on and doing a rather precarious tight-rope esque walk along the docked ship. She laughed as she did so, not caring whose way she got in, not caring who saw her or stared at her- she knew she stood out and she didn't care one bit about it. Her revealing attire- little more than a ragged skirt and vest, her bow slung about her shoulders, her quiver at her hips, and her various climbing tools hooked upon her belt and backpack save for the long knife on her thigh- did little to hide her, and the bright, floral, tattoos she wore only made her stand out all the more.

She then did a comical salute to the crowd of people on the docks-

before the Frozen Sea-lander hopped backwards off the ship and into the waters, sinking into the waves with laughter. Terhikki allowed herself to be pulled to-and-fro by the waves, before she surfaced and smiled brightly at those who watched her somewhat childish display. She then almost lazily swam up alongside to the shore and strode out of the waters and onto the island proper.

"Ah! That felt great! This heat is gonna kill me!" She called out as she stretched. The threat of storms and uncertain weather hadn't seemed to intimidate her at all, and as the soaked woman tossed her hair and wrung it out she looked about idly. She knew there was trouble of some flavor, but she didn't wanna eavesdrop or ask for help on reading the note. All she'd grasped so far was that there were bad storms and they wanted Divers to fix the problem. Terhikki was quick to answer the call- but now that she was here on Windward and she saw the relatively sizeable group of Divers assembled, she felt a bit disheartened.... There were so many people to compete against for the loot, for the adventure!

She fixed her hair in quick motions, crushing the disheartening feelings within her breast just as quickly.

"Alright Terhikki, you've got the will but who has the way- Bah, I'm sure it'll all work itself out." She stopped her worrying and simply moved to get away from the sea and the crowds, giving herself some personal space as she got her bearings on the dock of this small island. She didn't seem all that interested in being in the crowds- the openness of the Frozen Sea had left a distaste for being in hot, sweaty, masses in her mouth. She simply observed the docks for a few moments, before setting her mind on absorbing the area about her.

Ultimately she found her gaze drawn to the storms in the distance, and she set her jaw.

"...Yeah those look nasty, but you'll be fine. Get a good ship and a good crew, then find something amazing to take home for the Snow Hares. You got this."

She would never break that habit of talking to herself, it'd seem.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by May96
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Marea stumbled as she felt the entire island shake as the air was flooded by the sound of an explosion. Gripping the basket she held tightly, the girl did her best to make sure none of its contents spilled out onto the ground. Once she was sure it had steadied out, Marea looked off into the distance at the stormy clouds that seemed to cause all these troubles. Her gaze locked onto it, and a distant air seemed to permeate from her. Hopefully the Divers can resolve this before Marlowe tries to get involved.

Letting out a long sigh, she pressed on for a few steps before having a moment of pause, blinking a couple of times. Several long seconds passed as the blue-haired lady just stared off at nothing in particular as she receded into her thoughts. Actually...Knowing him, he's probably planning to try and get in with the first group that leaves.

Marea then took off, hurriedly delivering the basket and starting to quickly walk around the island, searching for Marlowe. Finding his usual training grounds empty, she went to the next place he could be: the docks where all these fresh Divers could be seen milling about and unloading.

Hunting for that familiar brown hair flopping about, Marea mostly ignored the newcomers until she began picking up on those in unmistakably Imperial garb. Those individuals would get a wide berth from her and express effort to avoid eye contact as she picked up her pace to hurry past.

Spotting her mark, the blue-haired girl's shoulders would droop slightly as her gaze softened. Quickly walking towards Marlowe, she remained silent save for her approaching footsteps. If he seemed to spot her, Marea would offer a slight wave to him as she closed in.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by AGenericUser
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AGenericUser Stay-At-Home Astronaut

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Eliza Rebargo


Windward Island,

The Docks


Not even a day had passed since Eliza had arrived on the small Windward Island - located in the Southern Seas of Aruth. Eliza hadn't set foot on the island before, yet she'd always had a vague interest in it. And the reason for such an interest was simple - what manner of lost artifacts from the old world laid in wait, cloaked by the deep blue veil of the seas? The very possibility of such things intrigued Eliza Rebargo.

Eliza stared longingly at the sea ahead of her, her mind still on the treasures the sea could hold. She did spy dark clouds looking overhead in the distance, but they didn't really hold her attention... at first. What did catch her attention, though, was a rather loud noise ringing through the island that was quickly followed by powerful gusts of wind. "W-whoa?! What's this all about?!" Eliza yelled out in utter surprise, having been caught off-guard, quickly drawing her shield from her back. But by that time, the unusual event had ceased. "I've seen storms, but nothing like that...! That was... a mega storm or something...!"

But at that time, a young voice rung out from behind Eliza. "That's the rock... Gullspire Rock. It's been like that for a while..."

Eliza turned to face the source of the voice - a young boy with jet black hair, and a bandage on his arm. "Hold on, little guy! You alright? That was a pretty scary storm and all!" She questioned, quickly crouching down to meet the boy's height. "If it happens again, just stand behind me! Nothing gets by my mighty shield!"

"I'm not a wuss, you know," The boy scoffed. "I'm not scared of it... it's happened a lot of times already. They're calling out divers to stop it... somehow." He added as he glanced over at the rock - and the storm clouds above in the distance.

"Wait, for real...? I didn't hear anything about this. What a time to drop by this place, huh?" Eliza laughed - it was quite the coincidence. "That'd explain all the diver-looking guys I saw, though... since I'm here, though, I should probably help out. It'd be wrong not to... I wouldn't be able to call myself a diver if I just ignored something like that."

The boy looked up at Eliza with a neutral expression, then reached into his pockets. A few moments passed as he sorted through various things, only to eventually pull out a small note. Taking steps towards Eliza, the boy reached out and passed the note to Eliza, who accepted it and began to read it.

Eliza's eyes darted over the text. An odd storm has appeared near Windward Island. It is unnatural and may be caused by some ancient device. Windward Island hereby requests any divers brave enough to travel to Gullspire Rock and to end this unnatural storm. Payment: 500 shelma, plus any artifacts found... It was a rather interesting note, though certain things piqued her interest more than others - in particular, the artifacts... yet that was nothing compared to the 'ancient device' mentioned.

It was an interesting explanation for these storms, which'd apparently been racking Windward Island as of late. They didn't seem to be any ordinary storms, at least to Eliza. She'd never experienced a storm so powerful that it caused such powerful wind gusts and even quaked the earth... so, what if the source were that of an ancient device, capable of causing such things?

'It's only a possibility, but it's an intriguing one... Eliza thought to herself, pressing a finger to her chin. 'A device that's causing these storms... could the ancient people make something like that? That'd be pretty advanced... but that just adds the question of why they'd make something like that. I can't just let this go unfound. I was already planning to tag into this diver thing, and now? There's nothing in Aruth that'll get my mind off this! I need to know the truth behind these storms, now!'

"Uh... I'm still here." The black-haired boy spoke. "Why're you just staring off into space?"

Eliza smiled. "Well, I was just thinking about these storms and all..." Eliza paused. "Anyways, thanks for that note - I didn't have a clue that stuff like that was going on here. It's some pretty neato stuff, so I'm gonna have to give it a peep. That's my duty as a diver, after all."

"You're a diver? I've always wanted to be a diver, but... I'm not a good swimmer." The boy explained, tilting his head downwards - as if ashamed. "Can't be a diver if I can't swim, right? I just wish I could."

"'You just wish you could?'" Eliza repeated, looking at the young boy. "Y'know, you don't have to wish - if you put your mind to it, then you can definitely do it. That's what I reckon, and I reckon I'm right. So you go out there - and work towards becoming a diver! Sure, you mightn't be able to swim, but neither did I - and here I am now. So, you go out and train yourself... and you'll be a diver sooner than you'll think!"

Looking up, the boy nodded. "I'll... I'll try my best."

"Rightio - that's the spirit!" Eliza replied, and made a thumbs up gesture with her right hand. "Anyways... I'd better be off, if I want to help out with this storm problem. You'd better remember what I said, too! You'll become a diver in no time if you listen to it - I'm sure of it!" And with that, Eliza headed off at a somewhat slow, relaxed pace, hoping that she'd inspired the boy in his endeavors to become a diver.

Eliza's travels eventually led to the docks of the island, which were positively buzzing with activity. Numerous divers from all across the world had set foot onto Windward Island, no doubt seeking to be the ones who solved the whole situation with the storm. Some looked a little fresher to the whole diving business, while others seemed quite a bit more experienced, to say the least.

'Dang... this storm stuff is interesting, though. I'm just dying to know if some device is causing it... because if that's the case, then I'll have to snag it before anyone else!'
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by DruSM157
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Bron Cirrus

• Windward Island,The Skullfish. Southern Seas •


The port’s size was as anticipated. Too small to handle any good ships. The Skullfish was a hardy vessel; any Diver Crews who were recognized by the Guild in the Ancient Seas had to be a hardy vessel. But she was meant for exploration and marking important sites for the larger vessel to haul up. Bron knew that no other Guild divers would show up. The shelma wasn’t worth this trip, and the chances of artifacts were…well…minuscule at best.

No, Bron was here because he’d made a promise. He scanned the bright island, squinting his small, grey eyes at the sea of people standing near the docks. He was still on the bow of the Skullfish looking. “Of course he wouldn’t still be here,” the burly man muttered. Bron was a tall, broad-shouldered man, draped in leather gear with his own thick ornate rebreather wrapped around his neck. Resting on top of his brow (he’d been bald for roughly fifteen years now) were a part of brass goggles. An artifact he’d found in his youth that had helped him in countless expeditions.

The Skullfish’s other crewmen, Martin, was busy checking the small aether engine of the ship. The wizened middle-aged man called to his boss, “We can still pull anchor and head back to Sun’s Rest! There’s better treasure to find north of here. Half a days sailing, we could be in the sea of stars, find a small wreck and make-“

“You remember Kelman, don’t you Martin?”

“Of course I do. Damn-fool researcher under Jerrah’s crew, right? You used to sail with him.”

“Aye. He had a family in the southern sea.”

“You don’t mean-“

“Kelman was not a foolish man, Marty.” He walked back to the engine room. “He was also not a man keen on retiring.”

“Jerrah said he was dead. Found his sword and everything.”

“And maybe he is. But did you ever wonder why he spent so many years in the seas that everyone claims has no research merit?”

“He liked the weather?”

Bron sighed. “If the mission isn’t worth it, we’ll scuttle it and be in Goldhold by tomorrow noon, alright?”

“Now you’re talkin’ boss!”


Marlowe Vallis

• Windward Island, Port. Southern Seas •




“Marlowe, I can’t see!” Mala was tugging on Marlowe’s arm now. The young adult sighed, kneeling down to lift the smaller boy up onto his shoulders. Mala wiggled with excitement as he could see those getting off the ships. “Wow! Look at that ship! It has so many boxes! And that fellow there! He’s got such weird clothes! A-ha! Look, look, that girl leaped into the water!”

Marlowe of course, was unable to see any of the events transpiring. But, at least Mala was exited. Besides, seeing all of these divers and merchants from far off would do nothing but to fuel that desire to leave the island again and again. He’d had a chance, roughly two years ago when a small crew came from Sun’s Rest recruiting anyone with sailing experience. Marlowe had actually gotten to show his skills with a skiff, and his ability to sail around the island with some skill. Then came the questions…

“So, what aether sign are you? I noticed people in the Southern Seas wear their sign on their shoulder. But…you don’t? Are you not from here originally?”

“No, I-“ Marlowe looked down at the question. He already knew how it would end. “I was born during an eclipse. I don’t have a sign.”

“I’m sorry,” The man muttered, his voice dropping. “It’s just…well, you know the story. Sailors born during an eclipse are-“

“I know.”


Marlowe was so lost in thought, he almost jumped when he was Marea in his peripheral vision. “S-sorry Marea,” He muttered, as Mala kicked him on the shoulder for nearly losing his grip on the boy. “You know me: head in the clouds.”

He tried not to grimace at the thought of her finding out that he’d been out training again. She’d always supported him, but he hated to see it go back to her with Talu. The Chief was never angry at her, nor did he punish her. But he always remembered that slight disappointment Talu seemed to have any time Marea helped him out at all. For Marea, Talu was a father. Even if they weren’t related by blood, he’d been a father to her, ever since they’d found her encased in ice. Talu had always treated Marlowe with some distance, like many of the adults in town had. He had his own hypothesis why they treated him with such distance: they blamed him for his mother’s death.

“It’s exciting though, isn’t it? Even on feast-days or on important holidays we never see such people.” He smirked at the girl he was raised alongside. “It feels like something is brewing in the air. Not just that storm around the rock, I mean. Something big is happening!”

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Marea responded to Marlowe's initial reaction with a simple, knowing nod. Focusing her attention ahead, the girl did what she could to try and see over and around all the others, pushing up onto the ends of her toes and leaning every which way. Even with her looking, however, her expression remained unchanging and distant. For a few moments, she seemed to not even register what he was saying to her.It's not a crime to dream, Marlowe. You just need to get past the eclipse and find the hidden sun.

Then, blinking rapidly a couple times, she stopped trying to peer over everyone and focused back onto Marlowe as she responded, "Mmm. I can feel it as well. All these new people and that storm have stirred up quite a lot of energy. Do you really think they'll be able to fix it, though? I don't think any of these Divers come from the area, so they won't know what all to look out for, especially with their thoughts occupied by treasure."
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Terhikki soon tired of gazing off at the storms; the rumblings of those clouds were nothing compared to the rumblings of her stomach at this very moment. She frowned a bit as her reverie of analysis was interrupted by her body's form of reminding her that she hadn't eaten since the day before, and well- it needed food. She rested her hands on her stomach and groaned--

"I can't fish with all these people on the docks!" She whined, before whirling around in a predatory style. "But wait- where there's a port, there's bound to be...Bingo." She grinned to herself as she approached tavern whose name she couldn't read, and strode ever-confidently into it. She wore a massive grin, her wet hair wild and salty, the rest of her still veritably soaked, and barely had to look around before she forgot her hunger. Her eyes fell upon a violet haired imperius woman- the way she carried herself screamed to Terhikki that she was someone the Frozen Sea-lander gal probably wouldn't enjoy being around... But diving is diving, and she grinned wider as she eyed the woman over in a rather appraising manner.

"Oh ye. You'll do nicely." She said to herself in appraisal of Watercrest, nodding as she stared at the imperial woman. It was earnestly a very unsettling thing to witness- the tall, wet, and far too excited gal wringing her hands in excitement as she stared at another woman across a tavern- but Terhikki didn't seem to notice the obscenity of her situation, and briskly made her way across the tavern to deposit herself in a seat at Watercrest's table.

"Oi. You look like you'll make a good Diving Buddy, and I don't have one. Name's Terhikki Veps- bah, I don't expect you to remember my last name. Terhikki'll do."

She made herself comfortable and relaxed in the chair without so much as asking Watercrest's permission.

"I picked you...well...because you look like you've done the ol' 'sink and 'splore' routine a few times. I'm no slouch, but I know to grab someone experienced when I have the chance. Err...I just assumed you didn't have a partner yet, the crazy 'Holier than Thou' vibes you give off would probably scare most people away." She explained quite unecessarily. "But...not me. So what's your name, I won't take 'no' for an answer."

She concluded her ramble by flashing Watercrest a massive smile.
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Windward Island
Port Harbor, The Sunken Shepherd


Marina smirked as she was apparently approached by a brown-haired insane person whom sought her out to “partner up” for the upcoming dive.

It was an amusing notion, but Marina didn’t reject it with a scoff or roll of the eyes – in her mind the character that had just stolen one of her table’s many chairs was a wild character that reminded her of fairy tale heroines and their eccentric sidekicks. Marina held her glass in her hand as she looked her over, letting her speak the many sentences she chose to utter. The purple-haired noble wasn’t expecting the stranger to ask for her name, refusing to take no for an answer in her request to partner up.

“Marina.” She responded as her interest widened in the young woman. “Though, what makes you think I want you as a partner? Hm?”

The woman was correct to be interested in the great Marina Sorellia Watercrest of the Isle of Galma, though Marina’s ego was often tempered by her almost flirtatious curiosity. She wasn’t one of those nobles who demanded people to address her by title, rank, and full name. No, that kind of grandiose was a bit absurd and Marina had no interest declaring herself in such a way in a scummy port that would take advantage of such things. Besides, why would you announce such things when the person in front of you obviously knew you were of high birth? As far as Marina was concerned, the wild sidekick woman in front of her already knew where she stood and obviously knew Marina wanted someone to prepare to join with her. The contract on the table was obvious enough that she was a diver. But Marina wanted to play with her food, even if it was for a moment.

“What can you offer?”

She took a final drink from her glass.


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Terhikki's smile twisted into a grin and she folded her arms over her chest as she closed her eyes and adopted an incredibly smug expression. The words she spoke next came in a distinclty overdramatized tone. The kind one would usually associate with a hype-man trying to peddle a ware.

"Terhikki Vepsalainen is a Snow Hare, Violet." She said, clearly disregarding Marina's name seconds after asking for it. "You've probably heard of 'em. The best divers of the Frozen Sea. Well, I happen to be the best of the best- second only to my own teacher." She chuckles and opens her eyes, resting her gaze on Marina. It was a weighty gaze, made a bit comical by the wet hair clinging to the young woman's face. She blew upwards with her lips, trying to dislodge the hair on her face once she realized it was tampering with her intended look, but she resolved herself to just having hair in her face since she was too stubborn to uncross her arms and fix it again after beginning this cocky tirade.

"So that explains why I'm the best choice for a crewmate..." Terhikki began, her grin falling into a more subtle smirk. "But this is why you're gonna work with me; I'm not in it for the loot. I just want one thing- one special thing with a cool story- that I can take home to my tribe. Anything else I haul is yours."

Soaking wet and with her hair falling back into her face, somehow Terhikki manages to keep up her cocky and confident demeanor.

"And that aside- I look out for my friends." At these words, her eyes harden into ice as she holds Marina in her gaze. Hard, jagged, ice that pierces into Marina. "With me at your back, you won't have a thing to worry about." When she said these words, it was with such conviction that it seemed to be a vow.

"So... How about it, Violet?"

Her eyes softened again and she returned to her smug expression, eyes closing as she awaited Marina's response.
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Windward Island
Port Harbor, The Sunken Shepherd


“Heh.” She scoffed, her smile widening as the northern woman closed her eyes in satisfaction. Marina could feel her stomach growl in hunger, not for food or anything of the sort, but something else entirely.

She could hear her father’s pride puff up inside her, insulted by the fact that this Terhikki Vepsalainen would dare refer to her by such a common nickname. But at the same time her mother’s playfulness was making Marina ignore it utterly and completely. As she placed her now empty glass on the table, she wondered what exact truths were to Terhikki’s wild claims. “The best of the best.” was a large claim to make and the antics she made suggested something of a bluff. It was hard to tell after just meeting a person. For Marina it was the first interesting meeting of a person she had made since she arrived in the Southern Sea several months ago and she was recklessly excited. What was the special thing Terhikki wanted? How much of her skill was simple boasting? How far was she willing to go?

There was so many questions.

“My, my. How could I refuse such a cute, precious thing?”


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Marlowe Vallis

• Windward Island, Port. Southern Seas •

“Do you really think they'll be able to fix it, though? I don't think any of these Divers come from the area, so they won't know what all to look out for, especially with their thoughts occupied by treasure.”

Marea’s words struck true to Marlowe, as they usually did. She was terse but to the point and that was something Marlowe needed in his life. She was a grounding force that he didn’t have when it was just him and Chief Talu. Still, it was hard to truly gauge her feelings—beyond what she explicitly stated. Marlowe did not believe that any one person could truly be so calm and neutral always. The irony was lost to him, of course.

“It’s Chief Talu’s request, though. He won’t let anyone from the village sail out to Gullspire in a skiff.” Not that anyone besides Marlowe had requested to sail into the storm. He’d called it suicidal. Marlowe simply thought it would be dangerous. He never expected to die from such an endeavor.

For good reason as well. ” The stern chilly voice was deep and well-known to everyone in the village. Chief Talu stood behind Marlowe and Marea, his arms crossed. “Marlowe, I thought I told you earlier to get the contracts from the meeting hut and to bring them to the tavern.” Even though Marlowe was fully grown, Talu still stood a head taller than the young man, his skin dark tan and his hair neatly shaven. He was not wearing his ceremonial garb; there would be time for that later; for now, he simply dressed nicer than most of the fishermen. “Marea, thank you for delivering the food.” He smiled at the girl, and turned to walk towards the tavern. “You should strive to learn from her, Marlowe. Marea works hard and is well respected. She’s like your mother.”

Marlowe sighed, kneeling to let Mala down, and started walking towards the meeting hut, his attitude now sullen. Whatever excitement that was building in his chest was now deflated by Talu’s words.

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Terhikki's eyes opened and a brief look of bewilderment crossed her features. That was not what she had anticipated as a response at all. On the one hand, it was an affirmative. On the other, it was such blunt flirtation that Terhikki couldn't quite handle it. So she settled for deflection and moving forward.

"Precious thi- Cute- sure, sure, why not. Whatever" She huffed nonchalantly.

She cleared her throat once. A blush flittered to her cheeks, but it faded relatively quickly. The girl wasn't easy to embarrass, but Marina had caught her off guard. Terhikki relaxed back in the seat once more and finally unfolded her arms, lifting a hand to meticulously fix her hair and clear her face up once again.

"Awesome. Violet and Terhikki: Divers Extraordinaire."

She fidgeted for a few seconds, before Terhikki suddenly leapt up and ran around the table to embrace Marina in a massively strong, wet, and overly friendly hug. Terhikki's unquestionable strength and amazing physical power is likely revealed to Marina via this veritable bear hug- the hug itself not enough to crush the woman, but it was clear Terhikki could probably throw Marina clear across the room if she put forth the required effort.

"Sorry-- I just get so excited when I make new friends! They all get hugs!"

She then set Marina back down and returned to her seat, the brief excitement of the hug seemingly having helped her regain her composure.

"So...Uh...Can you read what that note says to me- I don't actually know specifically why I'm here. I uh...can't read." She said lamely.
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Marea remained silent and still through through the scolding, resting her gaze between both of them. As it ended, and they both went their own ways, the girl moved to follow after Marlowe. Won't let a village skiff out...Hm. Perhaps...

She would then find herself bumping into one of the visiting Divers, stumbling as she shook her head. Realizing that she had fallen behind the Aide, Marea picked up the pace and quickly caught back up to walk alongside him. Her eyes were looking straight at him, locked on to his face as she maintained her usual neutral expression.

"My father only said that people from the village couldn't sail to the island on a skiff." That should be enough to spur his imagination.
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Windward Island
Port Harbor, The Sunken Shepherd


And now I am all wet. How lewd.

Marina looked down to her soaked travelers cloak and let out a slight giggle at the randomness that Terhikki showed. Being impulsive herself, she understood what it was like to act before thinking. It was relatable. She wondered how many people Terhikki unknowingly offended just by being herself. Through Marina's point-of-view, she was fortunate that a great noble diver like Marina was here to be forgiving and accomodating.

“It’s fine. You’re excited. But you really should keep that contained to the bedroom. This is a public place.” She remarked at the woman's apologetic tone, giggling at the whole insane situation.

As Terhikki took her seat again Marina began to realize how correct she was in that Terhikki had no idea what she was doing and often leapt before looking. Her eyes moved up to meet the northerner’s own as she grabbed the paper in front of her. Marina had been one of the first people available to volunteer to aid in Windward Isle’s particular problem. But she was told they didn’t want just her services but one of a independent team of sorts so that she would have to wait until the ships of divers came into the harbor. That all had come to pass and now the very cute, impulsive, and illiterate woman who wanted ‘in’ sat across from her anxiously awaiting their soon-to-be-had adventure.

“It’s a diver’s contract for Gullspire Rock. I’m sure you’ll get your own very soon, especially if you want to work with me. Don’t worry about reading it. I have no problem helping you out as long as you don’t mind a little intimacy.


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Marlowe Vallis

• Windward Island, Chief’s Estate. Southern Seas •



Marlowe remained silent as they approached the Meeting Hut. It was a large, circular hut next to the Chief’s house, where the three lived. The hut was simple, with a large pallet in the far corner for Talu to sit, and places for up to twenty to sit around the room. It was usually for monthly meetings of the tribe; for those to discuss the health of crops, the best fishing spots, and to settle disputes from families. Marlowe and Marea, since they still lived with the Chief, were only permitted to bring things to the meetings, but never allowed to actually sit in or bring their own grievances.

“When you get your own home and start providing for the village, that’s when you get to participate,” Talu’s words echoed in Marlowe’s ears as he walked over to the Chief’s pallet to find a large stack of handwritten papers. Carefully and meticulously worded in the Chief’s own hand, Talu had spent sleepless nights writing them out for any divers who would arrive. One woman had already arrived, and Marlowe wanted to meet her, but Talu had approached her himself, going over the contract.

“Well…” Marlowe muttered, turning to Marea with a mischievous grin. Talu said to get the contracts, so that means he must need someone to give them to the Divers as well, right?” His mind was racing with Marea’s words as well. “This is my chance!” He exclaimed to her. “Maybe I can impress some divers with my knowledge about Gullspire rock, and they’ll want to bring me along on this mission. Then I can prove myself by fighting monsters, overcoming dangers and helping them find incredible lost treasure!” He was now too excited and too far into his fantasy.

He haphazardly stuffed the papers under an arm and dashed past the girl. “Come on! Talu’s probably talking to some of the villagers right now, plus he’s got to get dressed in his goofy outfit! Now’s the time to make our mark!”

Marlowe dashed back into the town, dodging pods of people standing around talking about the merchants and divers, and finally ducked his way into The Sunken Shepard. He started handing out the contracts to some of the strangers, knowing they had to be divers. He finally made his way to the table with two women talking closely, handing one to the girl dressed in…barely anything. He did his best to keep his eyes on the level, his mind constantly reminding him to stay on course. He turned to the violet-haired girl sitting across, nearly handing her a contract. “Wait-“ he stopped. “You’ve already got a contract, right?” Even if he was forbidden to try and hop on board with these divers, he’d still snuck around the tavern and scoped out anyone new for the past few days.

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Windward Island
Port Harbor, The Sunken Shepherd


“Signed, sealed, and delivered.” She replied, motioning to the contract that was in her hands.

Marina looked at the man – he looked familiar, like someone that she had seen when she spoke with Winward Isle’s leader about employment on the island. She hadn’t interacted with him, but Marina never forgot a face. Especially a face she had yet to taunt.

Normally she would wave off a person if they were asking obvious and redundant questions with a sarcastic quip, but in this case Marina did think he had a particular use after Terhikki had admitted that she couldn’t comprehend written language. It was a concept that Marina was still amused by and knew that the man in front of her was able to pass out contracts he was able to explain them for the inept. Marina smiled warmly as she raised a hand, in her noble way, to imply she had more to say and for him to not interject.

“However, there is something I need from you. My partner here is unfortunately illiterate, so could you do me a favor and explain it to her so I don't have to? I’d really appreciate it.”


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As Marlowe dashed off, Marea kept her pace. She just watched him run off before, for a brief moment, a smile broke on her face. This is how you should be, Marlowe. And I'll make sure you stay like this.

Rushing to catch up, she made her way into the Sunken Shepard and rejoined Marlowe's side. As her gaze fell upon the woman he was speaking to, her jaw clenched slightly as she stared straight ahead, away from the violet-haired girl.
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Terhikki's eyes widened a bit at Marina's final statement.

What exactly does she mean by that? Intimacy can mean a lot of things- I'm intimate with all my friends in that I don't keep secrets and can be pretty hug-happy. But does she mean like-- Terhikki, just ask, don't let things confuse you! she chastised herself at the end of ther thought process, before retaking control of her eyes.

"What do you mean by 'Intim'---"

She found herself cut off by Marlowe and Marea, but mostly by the contract being handed to her. She took it with mild confusion.

"What's thi- Contract, right." she mumbled to herself, letting the others talk over her. She even flipped it upside down in her hands as if that might somehow help her achieve literacy through some miraculous ephiphany. Sadly, no such sudden realization came. She lifted her head when Marina spoke and asked the two to explain the contract, before she shut her eyes and adopted a smug expression.

"She called me partner, tch. Guess it's official." She giggled to herself, before opening her eyes and looking up at Marlowe and Marea.

"Can I just sign with an 'x' and someone else verify my signature? That worked when I passed through the Imperial Sea." She elaborated as she nodded, her eyes lingering on Marea due to her blue hair but eventually settling on Marlowe as she awaited his explanation. But before he got started, her eyes widened a bit and she grinned.

"Oh dude, you should be on our crew. I can see it in your eyes- the sea's in your blood, you're really excited." She then glanced at Marina and lifted a hand over her own mouth as if to shut herself up as she gestured with the other hand for Marlowe to actually explain the contract. She understood she could be a chatterbox at times and wanted to actually hear the details of this contract before more spontaneous thoughts escaped her mouth.
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