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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Turn back! The plague will take you!" the lead woman screamed. Her young son pulled on her dress urgently, trying to get her sitting back down on the wagon's seat. "Awad's fate is sealed! Don't go near!" The following wagons raced pell-mell around the merchant's caravan you were escorting, sweeping by on either desperate to pass. Steer and cattle began sweeping by followed by what seemed like half the village, evacuating. The menfolk shot dirty looks at you as they drove the beasts onward with stinging sticks. Shortly, the merchant you were escorting decided that he would follow his deserting customers and turned tail after throwing you payment at your feet. With full pockets, you decided that a doomed village was a proper distraction and strode forth.

    Entering Awad's town square, you found a lynch mob in progress. An older gentleman was being berated and judged the cause of the curse by the ruffians remaining in the town. Mad hysteria over a elven curse that had killed hunters and children and farmers had pushed them into a hanging frenzy. Not until you stepped forward, spoke reason, and promised to peruse the matter personally did calmer, more peaceful heads prevail. Mostly. Those heads that were less peaceful should be returning to consciousness shortly.

    So now you find yourselves traveling to the old man's archaeological dig on foot. The noonday sun is reaching its high point in the sky on this clear and sunny day in the Western Heartlands. Following the Chionthar River's northern bank along its meandering path, you pass wild buckthorn and hear plenty of thrush and shrike out catching their meals. Quite a morning it's been. There, three turns up the path, you see in the distance your destination resting on the cliff overlooking the river, the legendary elven fortress, Jawal Avignon. Soon you will face the Mystery at the Citadel.
    Last edited by WaffleLord; 2015-07-20 at 03:40 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Crommard, the old man, takes the lead, heading west along the rough cobblestone path. While mostly overgrown, you can see signs that some have travelled on this way recently, most likely Crommard and his band of diggers.

    Crommard bobbles around, talking to anyone within earshot with almost a teenage giddiness, straying from the path every once in a while catching his pants in the thorny bramble of wild buckthorn. Even taking a moment to free himself from the thorns does not stop his running monologue.

    "Thank you for promising to escort me back to the ruins to prove that we are not the source of their problems. Finding my friend along the way would be helpful as well. He showed up this morning, ill or something, but wandered back away from town. Before I could speak to him, these...ruffians" he says, glancing back at Awad,"bundled me up and hustled me into town for a goblin's court of kill first, ask questions later. If you had not helped me, I would have been strung up or burned alive," he gasps with visible relief.

    "They seem to think we released some sort of ancient elven curse. Sure, the elves lived there thousands of years ago. Jawal Avignon is an ancient fortress town built overlooking the river. As peace came to the Heartlands, it was given to the elves as a trading post. They traded with all who came and did quite well until an orc army destroyed them. Killed every last one. But the conquerers didn't last long. Legend says they all died from a horrible plague, a curse from the mass of dying elves. Superstitious villagers claim the place has been cursed ever since." He pauses with a snort of derision. "My diggers say they've seen nothing wrong anywhere. We've been excavating for two weeks with absolutely no problems." He takes a moment, wipes his brow then continues. "Suddenly early this morning, while I'm in town ordering new stock, Sethus, my partner, comes shuffling towards town, looking bad, green splotches every where. Hands, feet, face. He wouldn't come all the way into town. Said they were digging and a shadow loomed up from the ground and struck them." He looks nervously from one to another. "It's impossible, I know. Doesn't it sound silly? Well, it didn't take long for over cautious people to panic. Families packed and fled. Business barely even boarded up, just dropped shades and left. Some smaller-brained thugs stayed to 'exact justice' on me. Like I had done anything remotely wrong!?" he finishes, indignantly.
    Last edited by WaffleLord; 2015-07-20 at 03:41 AM.
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    Muirella
    "Well,Crommard, T'is part of why I came to accompany you on your search." Muirella reassured while feigning knowledge of the historic site and it's meaning."Once we prove that there be no curse, you could return innocent and excavate much more easily." Muirella smiled, listening to the old man's story attentively. Suddenly, she hesitated. "--But I would not be foolish as to deny the curse so quickly. Spirits speak to me every now and again, if there be haunting spirits or curses in Jawil Avganon, then I will know of them."
    Last edited by Prince Zahn; 2015-07-22 at 01:43 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Ye can't expect folks ta be reasonable when their lives and homes are at stake. And especially when they live in the shadow of an old citadel. But they'll forgive and forget once it's all blown over." Kaedra had been humming to herself most of the trip, a smile playing across her lips at how much more absurd the story seemed to become with each passing moment. "As for spirits and curses, there are plenty of those across the land. It's not unlikely that those that died here, died hard and full of malice. Even a bit of anger can be like poison in the air." She said these last words sadly, shaking her head with regret.
    Last edited by Haliax; 2015-07-20 at 06:17 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Corbin considers his studies as Crommard carries on, hoping that he might manage some diagnosis of this "curse" (Arcana (1d20+4)[15]). Perhaps this affliction was less "vengeance beyond the grave" and more "a magical piece of insurance by these long-dead elves"?

    "The important thing is, nobody has gotten permanently injured as far as we know," he commented nonchalantly, "And so long as that remains the case, any caution is worth taking. Wouldn't you agree?"

    This last phrase is uttered as though assuming the rejoinder could not be any other than "yes, of course!"

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Indeed. Resolving the problem before any permanent harm comes to anyone should be our highest priority," interjects Rhiannon. Her hand has been almost permanently on the hilt of the sword at her hip for the duration of the group's march to the citadel. "For what it's worth, I wouldn't be surprised if there actually was a curse of some kind. Jawal Avignon was an elven fortress, and all it would take is for one of those defending the fort as it fell to have just enough fey in their veins for a death curse to actually stick."

    A brief smile flashes over her features before she continues.

    "Of course, Unseelie magic is what I'm familiar with. This could be something else entirely."

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    Orin travels along with the group, quietly in thought. He offers a grunt of agreement at Corbin's words, but otherwise stays silent.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Kaedra grinned and reached up to punch Rhiannon lightly in the arm. "An opportunity for us to learn then! Experience new wonders and delve into tha ancient past, with all it's glory and all it's horror. Can't think of a better story than this." Kaedra laughed, smiling from ear to ear again. "And once this curse is beat, who knows? The Citadel might even become a place of light, laughter and love once again. Oh to see it shining in the sunset must have brought tears to many an eye."
    Last edited by Haliax; 2015-07-20 at 01:06 PM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Jawal Avignon restored. That would be a sight to behold. Sadly, I think it will take more than a desire to see the citadel restored to break the curse," Rhiannon chuckles. "Assuming, of course, that master Crommard is incorrect in his assumptions, and this isn't all just some horrible misunderstanding."

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "A place o' war and massacre becomin' a fortress o' light..." Muirella closes her eyes, begging the spirits (in spirit) to see if she could grasp such poetic fate. She opens her eyes again gently.
    "we be the lone candle in the corridors o' darkness, we shall face our nightmares, be them o' dreams or material, and the fate o'our small yet powerful light depends on us - yes, only us, and our unity when we are most afraid." Muirella's smile quickly turns into a blank gaze, her voice becoming more whispered and earnest, her eyes fixed on Barlan for an inexplicable reason.
    She feezes there, a little lost in thought, until finally...
    ....
    Muirella sneezes; quietly, elegantly.
    "Uggh, So much dust!" the soothsayer exclaims. "Surely we be approachin' the digging site!"
    Last edited by Prince Zahn; 2015-07-22 at 01:42 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Mmmm," Corbin purses his lips at Muirella's sudden segue to saying sooth, remembering the rumors 'round her ruse, "I note that the, ah, prophecy might as easily apply to a night of bad dreams as to some slumbering evil awakened among the ruins of this citadel."

    So saying, he turns to Rhiannon and Kaedra.

    "You two speak with some authority around curses. Do you think us likely to suffer any ill effects? Or are those that first triggered it the only ones in danger?"

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Kaedra shrugged before patting the spot over her heart. "I can't be saying anything for elvish curses, but Dwarven ones last long and hard, affecting those who enter our tombs. I should hopefully be able to learn more once we actually see it's effects rather than listen to them secondhand. It also depends on the context of a curse. If it was to be thrown at 'defiliers'..." Kaedra jerked her head at Crommard, "And the like, then we could fall under it if we take from this place without cleansing it first. But, again, we should be able to learn more later."

    She took a swig from the water pouch at her side, before brushing a few locks of hair out of her eyes and a bead of sweat. "Krist, it's almost as hot as a forge in the sun with this armor. Crommard, how much longer 'till we reach the dig?"
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    "Be that a grain of salt I taste from your words?" Muirella glared at Corbin. "When I hear a message, I deliver it, don'tcha know. Such is part of a higher calling, and You of all people ought not to turn a blind eye to forces greater than yourself, come to think of it."
    Last edited by Prince Zahn; 2015-07-22 at 01:44 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    As he seems to be the only one of their little group bringing a mount, Barlan feels kinda silly riding his pony and very early on their journey dismounts and walks beside the rest of them, leading the pony as well as his packmmule along. While he listens intently to the old mans exposition, he doesnt add anything on that subject himself. He only wearily looks at Gareth as the man talked about that orc army. Were those relatives of this guy? He still didnt know much about his new traveling companions and trust is something that doesnt come easy to Barlan.

    Instead of speculating about their mission, Barlan uses the time on the road to talk with Muirella. He doesnt get to use his native halfling language as often as he would like, so he really enjoys simple smalltalk with her. In time he mixes in jokes about their traveling companions, which are pointy but not really malicious, and eventually the talk becomes borderline flirty.

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Corbin raises a single eyebrow at Muirella.

    "And I will let you know if I encounter one, madam. Until such time . . ."

    He turns back to Kaedra.

    "So you would say a good rule of thumb is 'only leave footprints, only take pauses', then? Or something similarly pithy?"

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Kaedra giggled slightly at Corbin. "Something like that. At least until we can tell whether it discerns us as friend or foe. Best way to do that is to, as you said, 'Only leave footprints, take only pauses.' If it turns out to be uncaring and regards us as only something to affect, then of course I'm not going to tell you to not defend yourself. Just be respectful. There's beauty to be found in everything. Even long dead spirits and ancient curses."
    Last edited by Haliax; 2015-07-20 at 08:24 PM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    On the road to the Citadel

    "This is cursed, that is cursed," the sage says mockingly. "I tell you, there is no curse! They've used it as a cautionary tale for their children for generations. we have worked there for a week with no noticeable effects whatsoever. I left them at dawn this morning and everyone was fine. Sethus himself was already up and marking today's dig when I left for town with Harkin. I can't believe that anything happened in the four hours between sunrise and when we spotted Sethus that would cause such problems." He takes a kick at the nearing buckthorn in frustration but ends up tangling his pant leg instead. Bending over to release himself, he tugs twice before ripping the fabric free. "Look!" he calls out, pointing to the dusty ground. "That's got to be Sethus' footprints there. See how they stagger about? My goodness, he certainly was affected by something." This quiets the sage, who moves along the path a bit more quietly towards the not so distant citadel.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "If you say so, mister Crommard, but your associate was clearly afflicted with something," Rhiannon says, pausing briefly to look over the footprints. "If not a curse, then perhaps a poison or mundane disease? I don't know of any examples of either that would leave him with those green blotches, though. Not really my forte."

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Corbin nods approvingly at Rhiannon's rejoinder and picks up the pace somewhat.

    "Curse, disease, or poison, we ought to ensure that everybody at the Citadel stays there and anyone outside stays outside. Limit the scope of whatever malady this represents, and then work to find a cure. Perhaps the more godly of our party ought to take the lead in that regard."

    He matches his pace to Crommard's, and mentally begins preparing to do something drastic. Experience has taught him that he's comfortable going to what others might consider "extremes" when addressing a problem, and he's not expecting to be particularly popular by the end of this caper.

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    Muirella laughs at Barlan's jokes, even though she is more than a little nervous. Though she wasn't surprised to see the rugged Halfling talking with her, perhaps trying to get friendly for one reason or another. his pleasant demeanor, however, caught her off-guard (not that she would ever admit that). In their tongue, she, too, couldn't help but share a few details she learned about her crew. Good heavens, Muirella thought as she read the signs - his last remark certainly packed innuendo behind it. She smiled, her cheeks flushed at some point, but she pretended to blame the weather.
    Last edited by Prince Zahn; 2015-07-22 at 03:50 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "Just be aware that sometimes a cure may not be found. All things flower with beauty, but it is not a permanent state. All things must come to an end, as sad as it might be. We can stave off such things for a short time, but it does come. If Sethus truly is affected by something deadly, we may not be able to help him. Are you ready to accept that Crommard, if that becomes the case? Is your work worth the life of your comrade?" Kaedra's eyes flicked over the ground at the footprints, which seemed more like a drunkard's than of someone knowing where to go, before they moved to watch the old man. "Because if you wasted his life on some foolish venture, you and I will have words."

    The knuckles on one hand popped audibly as she clenched a fist before letting it relax again with a sigh. "How far have you progressed in your dig site? Breached any chambers, removed any artifacts? Touched any old blades? If it's not a curse, but a poison or disease, we should be made aware of anything that might cause open wounds." She turned her gaze back to ahead of them, hoping to catch a sight of the dig.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    On the road to the Citadel

    The old man is unsettled at the brusque tone coming from the blue-eyed cleric. "No... ah... no, we've found nothing. Nothing new. Weathered pieces sitting on the surface, sure. Nothing deer haven't snorted through for centuries. We marked them and cataloged them but we've taken nothing! We have yet to break through to any sub-chambers of any kind. And, no," he says, his voice and confidence returning slightly, "our work is not useless and Sethus believed in it completely. He was the one who funded us, dug up hidden facts, and kept us motivated when it looked like there was nowhere else to go. He was our driving force, our guiding light! He was more committed to finding Alkarg than any of us! Would he give his life for it? Well,... maybe not... but he really wanted to find it."

    Spoiler: Gareth, Barlan, Orin, Kaedra
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    As you've been walking, you notice the footprints Crommard pointed out become very erratic and staggered. The person making them seems to have stopped, the prints much deeper, but move on towards the citadel with even, long strides as if the person began running with great determeination.


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    You recognize the word "Alkarg." Mondru IV, leader of the orcish armies of the west nearly three hundred years ago swept through these lands down the river taking all in their path. Buildings, villages, lands, and citadels. Nothing was left behind them. They stormed nearly to Baldur's Gate before being turned away by combined forces of the Western Heartlands and the Sword Coast. He was presumed killed in the final skirmish but his weapon, his totem, his rod of leadership was not found. Alkarg: The Elf-Slayer. A barbed spear of unknown origin that was said to have melted any of the woodland folk who stood against it. Could Mondru have survived and made it back to the citadel? Did this sage stumble upon Alkarg's resting place? This could be trouble if the orc clans suspect it could be found.
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Corbin wheels over to Crommard, a look of deep-set incredulity firmly affixed to his face.

    "You are telling me," he says, in the tones of one refraining from an outburst of temper only by a leviathan force of discipline and willpower, "that you are excavating this fortress NOT for the gain of historical knowledge or for cultural patrimony, but to find and plunder something possessed both of unknown power AND extreme cultural importance to orcs and elves alike. Am I understanding you correctly, sir?"

    To be of the Hollow family is to know the importance of history and cultural heritage. Regardless of Corbin's thoughts on the orc clans or their ways, he DOES recognize the importance finding Alkarg would have from a social (and, possibly, military) perspective. Likewise, there would be precious few elves indifferent to the rediscovery of a symbol of countless defeats and attacks upon their race (particularly one within living memory for no small number of them). And this is to say nothing of the various kingdoms, fiefdoms, towns, and what-have-yous that still bore scars from Mondru's invasion all these years later. Knowingly or not, Crommard and Sethus and whomever else just kicked a political hornet's nest, and Corbin could only hope that nobody else was going to get stung.
    Last edited by herodofcows; 2015-07-24 at 02:14 AM.

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "If he tries, I can always gut him." Gareth had been silent, but he was just as disturbed as Corbin now.
    Last edited by r2d2go; 2015-07-24 at 08:18 AM.

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    "Now, Now," Muirella sensed the heating discussion and interjected."Let's try to avoid "gutting" one another, if it can be helped." Muirella raised her to hands in a separating gesture. "If the Alkarge be found in Jawell Avganon, then it be better uncovered and retrieved than it's secrets be lost to the ages, as the ramifications might be grand, but the outcome be necessary for both the past AND the future." she proceeds, pretending to be informed about the subject. "But that, as today stands, be a big "if".
    Last edited by Prince Zahn; 2015-07-24 at 08:40 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jette View Post
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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "So, now we have either a curse or a disease or a poison, plus potentially dire socio-political ramifications?" Rhiannon sighs, gripping the hilt of her sword more tightly. "How utterly delightful."

    She glances at Corbin and Muirella with a look of concern.

    "I am no student of history. If master Crommard and Sethus have uncovered this 'Alkarg', how... delicate a situation are we in?"

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    "There would be war." Gareth looks grim, irritated. "My idiot brethren would fight tooth and nail over it, and the warlord who held it would take it as divine providence to crush his foes." He spits on the ground, hand drifting to his obsidian-black greatsword. "Better it be sealed away. Or kept in check. Offered to a being of pure good."
    Last edited by r2d2go; 2015-07-24 at 10:05 AM.

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    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Kaedra nodded at Gareth in agreement, then scowled at Crommard. "Which is most likely what it was until you tried to play dwarven and dig it up. That may actually have been what the curse is protecting. To keep everyone away from that... thing." She wrinkled her nose at the thought of the artifact and all that it would imply. She roughly pushed past Crommard and doubled her pace, usually pleasant face set in the grim tone and scowl of a dwarf that is now fully intent on getting something done quickly.
    Take life by the horns and live it to its fullest. But stop once in a while to bring aboard some guilty pleasures and to enjoy a sunset.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Corbin gives an appreciative nod to Gareth. He is, admittedly, somewhat surprised to see one of such stock and . . . breeding . . . grasp the subtleties of the issue as quickly as he. Not that he thinks of those of orcish descent as lesser, but . . . well . . .

    Well, he doesn't, that's all. And they weren't. So there is no problem.

    "You speak well, sir, and to the point. Do you know of anyone or anything that you might trust to hold it?"

    He now turns to Rhiannon, and anyone else who might have expressed some confusion over what Alkarg might be.

    "This thing poses a twofold threat: that of great power and historical significance. The former might turn a soldier into a champion, or a champion into something nigh-unstoppable. The latter might turn a peaceful land to war and terror. Combine the two, and I shudder to think what might occur.

    "Fortunately, this threat is as intangible as sovereignty: only as powerful as those that know of it, and only as deadly as the actions of those that perceive it. Which is why, as of right now, this little expedition's purpose just became a closely-guarded secret. Nobody besides us is to know about the . . . thing, lest word reach the wrong person."


    A thought strikes him, and he turns back to Crommard with all of the imperious ferocity of his blood etched into his face.

    "Which is PRECISELY why you are going to tell us who else knows of the purpose of this dig, besides yourselves and us. NOW, if you please . . . sir."

    Intimidate: (1d20+6)[24]

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Troll in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: [IC]Mystery at the Citadel (5e)

    Gareth's eyes narrow slightly - he knows that tone of voice well. Withdrawing his chess piece from under his shirt, he displays it with a challenging gaze. "I left my tribe because I had already become the most intelligent, and what was left was to become the strongest. I trust none of my tribe but myself, and until I best the warchief, I trust myself only to hold Alkarg for the time until it can be given to a being of pure good. I expect this is better than most" - here, his intonation makes it clear he means "you highfaulting nonorcish humanoids" - "would do."

    However, after seeing Corbin's method of intimidation, he grins ferally. "Or don't. That just means we get to... interrogate you."
    Last edited by r2d2go; 2015-07-25 at 11:38 AM.

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