Serpent's Skull in Eberron

Shines On Me Again

Heh! That was amazing. Everyone came together and did their part in fighting that fiendish, dire, flying ape monster, Dadak almost gave his LIFE! He definitely has what it is that heroes are made of. Twice that monstrosity only focused on him, raining down destruction in the form of bites and two claws, and battering Dadak to the ground, but Dadak survived. Leif, shield held over his head in protection, was actually able to overcome an attack with no consequences; amazing! With mighty swings, Leif held his own, and then some.

I, of course, had my moment. I called down the first attack onto myself by taunting the beast, “Come at me, you damned dirty ape!” and although I was not able to parry any attack on me, I was able to survive its first swoop. I knew I had to keep the beast busy so that Leif could drink some potions and enter the battle and so that Dadak could cast some last second needed buff spells. A quick thrust of my blade scarred the beast and I retreated to a more favorable position near to my allies. But the thing wasn’t done with me yet! It charged forward attempting to bulrush me but its growl of frustration indicated it was not as successful as it could have been. I moved forward, trying to attract its fury onto myself, and I counted on dipping and dodging under any attack. Although I was unsuccessful (and received a bad rent in my clothes) I was in a position to flank with the lions Dadak had summoned from those figurines we had found earlier. Once again, I sunk my blade into its tough hide but it towered above me and with its next swing of its mighty arms, it delivered an awesome blow that launched me ten feet into the air, over a small wall and at least twenty feet down the stairs of the ziggurat.

I missed part of the battle as I picked myself up and rushed back up the steep stairs. I stopped for a moment to heal myself with my wand one last time and then continued upward. As I reached the highest level of the ziggurat, where the battle was continuing without me, I was able to witness Dadak wade into reach of the beast wielding a gigantic axe. Then the punishment from the ape’s onslaught battered my friend to the ground. No! Leif strained against the monster as I sprang forward, within its reach, struck its flanks, and moved away. Another mighty stroke of Leif’s club seemed to stagger the fiendish monster and it retreated, attempting to fly away – I could not let this happen, allowing an enemy the chance to return later is unacceptable. With the last of my spell enhanced speed, I charged towards it, bound into the air with a mighty leap and skewered it with my outstretched blade. It was marvelous! The last time I attempted such a maneuver was on Smuggler’s Shiv when I leapt off a cliff and onto the back of the flying Chupa-cabra that had been menacing us there.

With the sickening sound of coconuts crashing to the ground, the monster fell and silence fell over Saventh-Yi. The crowds of ketches and apes that were rushing the ziggurat stumbled to a halt. Wisely, Leif dragged the fiend’s corpse and threw it over the edge in plain sight of them all. Leif let out a mighty roar and the mob, clearly intimidated, quickly fled into the forests and, I am sure, continued running to whatever safe hole they could find.

The district is most definitely ours. Swordplay and glorious battles won, we rule the day. I am content.

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Faith and Guidance

A missionary trip to Saventh-Yi. “We can think of no one better to spread knowledge of Honor and Valor,” they lied through their teeth. The truth, of course, is that I’ve been pushed out of the order by rivals. I’m under no illusions.

Still, I believe this situation will work strongly in my favor. The new city gives me the perfect opportunity to not only spread the worship of the most Just deity, but also of building a new order. One that properly renders devotion and can be guided – strongly if necessary – by my learned hand.

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The Light of the Sun
Great Wings

Wow. That thing casts quite a shadow.

Sword in hand, I look up into the skies above Saventh-Yi and I see something I never expected to see. There, about 60 feet away is a huge, monstrous ape with wings and its intentions are quite obvious: fly down and squash the interlopers (us!). Oh, it’s certainly not as large as that winged dire bat that almost made a meal of Leif, but it is impressive.. It blocks out the sun and its shadow lies upon all of us, Dadak, Leif, Kailia, two summoned lions and, most importantly, me. There’s a light of intelligence in its black eyes and malice seems to gather in an aura about it. I have no way of telling who it’s going to pounce on first!

The day didn’t start off this way. As we neared the ziggurat from the north eastern side we saw and heard a guttural chanting from high above and as we crept closer there was a gust of wind and the sound of a great many apes moving towards the east. Perfect! We’ll take advantage of this distraction. As we skulked higher, we continued to hear a rhythmic chanting, but nowhere near as loud as before. Once we reached the crest, we witnessed several apes and one priest changing over the body of one of their own. If Leif could froth at the mouth in anticipation of rushing the crowd to begin smashing them, he would be dripping foam. That was our sign so we quickly dashed to battle.

The apes outnumbered us. The priest they had with them was formidable. Blood, sweat and tears were shed. Leif was determined. Kailia was a whirlwind of teeth and claws. Dadak entered the fray, a force to be reckoned with. I, of course, nimbly danced through and between the participants, dealing death with the tip of my sword. The battle was gloriously long; long enough that whatever had drawn the monkey and ape forces away from the heights of this ziggurat had been dealt with.

That may have been a bad idea. Waiting for them to finish and return, that may have been another bad idea.
That brings me back to now. The winged monstrosity looks eager to take us on. Although I am in perfect health, after some generous uses of my wand of cure moderate wounds and Dadak’s spell of vigor, I fear the rest of the group is not doing too well. Sap is oozing from several wounds Leif has hacked into him. Dadak and Kailia are doing well, but some of the blood covering them is their own. A pair of lions, summoned from their normal statuette state, are growling in mindless anticipation; they will make a good buffer. But, I stand alone, apart from the rest. I can feel the strength of several buff spells that Dadak has cast upon me, but it may not be enough. This thing is HUUGE!

Well, time to dance.

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Glorious Battle

We’ve come all this way to kill serpentfolk and monkey men, but getting my companions to do so has been difficult at times. Today was no exception. I urged them to summon the courage neccessary to attack our enemies. We were well-rested and ready. Eventually, my exhortations provoked them into action. We charged up the steps of the ziggurat and crashed into the midsts of those monkeys, disrupting their foul magics. Well, at least I crashed into their midsts. I-Daa-dack opted to stay back. Perhaps leading by example is not enough to extract the bravery I was hoping he would find. I did however, have a positive impact on Iyum Kreshton who entered the fray with me. We reveled in the milieu. I took a few hits, but deflected 10 times more. When the battle was over, about a dozen monkeys lay dead, including their evil sorcerer whom I dispatched with great joy. For my efforts, I had been subject to nearly 50 attacks and the great ponds of my sap, pooling on the stone floor, broadcast my heroic sacrifice to all present.

It’s a Bird! It’s a plane! Wait… what’s a plane!?!
Sap drips from my branches. The sun beats down on my bark. I have given it my all and triumphed. The Commander would be proud of me. I feel his spirit is near.The wind, rustles through my leaves and tickles my nuts. I hear the panicked cries of my companions from the top of the ziggurat. I trudge back up the stairs. As I reach the top, I see a winged beast high in the sky, diving towards me. Memories of the dire bat flood my mind. I must get away. I see Iyum Kreshton and I-Daa-dack forming a defensive circle. I run towards them just as Iyum Kreshton breaks ranks and runs towards me. I tell him to run. He must not see the great bird that is moving to eat us. I remember that during the fight with the monkey men, I-Daa-Dack kept saying he was staying out of the fight because he wanted to save his strength for something more dangerous. That something is here. I hope he is up for the challenge. I run past him and shelter behind the great spear. Our fate is now in his hands. I pray that his boasts are well-founded.

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There's "Lucky" and there's _"Lucky"_
Lucky

Olladra, sometimes I wonder why I chose you to worship. Goddess of Luck, they call you, and you certainly fit the bill. But I sometimes question the luck you send my way. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome surviving the wreck of the Jenivere and enduring my time on that accursed island, Smuggler’s Shiv; if that had not happened, I would not have met my friend Dadak. The trek we took far across Xen’drik was also full of good fortune (though I’m not too happy about what happened in Kalabuto). Finding the location of Saventh-Yi in a few short days, when adventurers have been searching for it for millennia, was also fortunate. But when you “drop” me in the middle of a parley session between the Emerald Claw faction and what I assume to be the ruler of the Charukai here, with a companion who is bent on eradicating any ape it sees, you make it hard to accept “luck” as something to be gained.
Still, my group prevailed. Our old companion from Smuggler’s Shiv, Sasha and her group The Emerald Claw, has retreated back to their camp and this overgrown, six legged monstrosity lays dead. It was a glorious fight. Leif rushed the closest dire ape and I followed him deftly while Sasha and her companions (Chivan?) retreated from the room, their plans of an alliance dashed to bits. I danced to the other side of the chamber and stuck another dire ape. The gorillion stood little chance after Dadak called flames down upon it and Leif and I closed for the kill. Now all that is left is to search from some well-deserved treasure I’m sure is laying about.

Seeing that every creature we’ve encountered in this section of Saventh-Yi seems to be an ape of some kind, I think Dadak and I are going to have a hard time holding back Leif from slaying any he sees. It took some convincing, and a bit of a Bluff, to get Leif to let the other faction leave; the charm spell they put on him was benevolent enough, I made sure of that. He has reasons for hating the apes, though the specifics are a bit hard to get out of him. Oh, he’s eager to tell us, but his slow, elongated speech takes a bit of concentration to understand; I’m sure it’s the same for him – he still calls me “IymKreshton” from when we first introduced ourselves. I gather his eons guarding that demolished tower outside of Tazion has dulled his wits from inactivity. Either way, I have no doubts that Leif will continue to follow my lead in respect to the other factions; his hero worship of me is understood and I try not to take advantage of him by using it.

Dadak seems wary of the Emerald Claw and he seems to have given up all trust in Sasha as well. I expect that we may need to sabotage and cripple their camp in some way before they steal the glory of being known the world over as the discoverer and tamer of Saventh-Yi. He’s already made a sortie or two against them, and now them showing up in audience with the gorillion shows they are committed to exploring and conquering. I would welcome one less faction in Saventh-Yi. In fact, I’m sure if we showed up at the Pathfinder’s camp with the journal we found the first day here, they would listen and accept my – our – offer to team up in an assault.
__
With a little luck, the secrets of Saventh-Yi will be mine.

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Treachery

The Military Quarter
I was excited to venture into the military district of Saventh-Yi. The buildings and their layout all seemed vaguely recognizable and that brought with it, a feeling of nostalgia. Compared to the ruins of the mercantile district, this group of once-proud buildings still held on to some of their dignity. The pride of the Azlanti army once occupied these barracks, and I was honoured to walk in their shadows.

Monkeys
With great disgust, I found that a group of monkeys had turned a barrack into their private cesspool. The stench from their unclean living spurred me forward to rid this sacred place of their foul presence. I charged in to action, followed closely by Iyum Kreshton. We dispatched the monkeys – a trio of small monkeys leading one large monkey – in short order. They made quite a ruckus during the fight, but we chased them down and shut them up in less than a minute.

I searched the surrounding for more monkeys, but found none. It’s strange, they usually live in large packs. There must be more of them somewhere around here.

The Great Fortress of Saventh-Yi
Excited to visit the fort overlooking the city, I traversed the steep and windy path with great haste. A couple of monkeys inhabited the gatehouse, but we rid them of their worthless lives in mere seconds. Ahead, I could see the fires burning in the Great Hall of the Emperor, Overlord of the Azlanti Army. My passions were inflamed as I bounded up the stairs. Could there be members of the 5th army still in residence here? Or, were there more monkeys squatting here? Alas, the truth would turn out to be far worse than I could have ever imagined.

The Return of the Thessalonians
When I entered into the great chamber, what I saw filled me with despair and then anger. A false king sat upon a throne, holding court over a gathering of monkeys and men. At first, I thought the men were prisoners, held captive to entertain the monkey king’s gross indulgences. Then, shock set in. These men were here to join with the despoilers of Saventh-Yi. Righteous vengeance filled my heartwood and I charged forward into their midsts. As I bashed the nearest monkey with my Azlanti morningstar, I heard one of the men exclaim, “he’s my enemy too”! Any doubts I might have had about these men being Thassalonian interlopers, was quickly fading.

As the monkeys fell, one after another, the Thassilonian leader disappeared into the darkness. Seeing him vanish without a trace reminded me of a story the commander once told me…

Before the commander joined the Azlanti army, he lived on a farm bordering the northern frontier of the Empire. Across the border, the great enemy lay in wait. The Thassalonians, ruled by a cabal of dark magicians, had a need for more souls to power their runewells. So they came, on a moonless night, to capture the peaceful farmers of the Azlanti frontier and sacrifice them. The commander escaped with a childhood friend to the south. There were no other survivors.

He warned me to be ever vigilant against the magic of the dark. And here before me I see a man, making peace with the defilers of Saventh-Yi and then becoming one with the darkness. Also, this man was quick to identify me as his enemy. Why, when we had never met before? I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. Of course, if this man was indeed a Thassilonian spy, he would have instantly recognized my Azlanti armour and knew I was his enemy. This must be it… I must be ever vigilant.

Strange Behaviours
During the battle, Iyum Kreshton assisted me greatly with killing the monkeys. However, at the end of the fight, he persuaded me not to attack the Thassilonians. I had concerns about his intentions. In the past, he has given me reason to suspect he might not be an Azlanti surveyor. Certainly, the fact that he can’t speak Azlanti troubles me, but it’s possible he’s just joking. I never did understand Azlanti humour. Even more troubling, the Thassilonian warlock used his dark magic against me and Iyum Kreshton did nothing in response. He continued to insist that we not harm them. Very strange indeed.

Stranger still, was the behaviour of I-Da-Dak. He seemed entirely uninterested in fighting the monkeys, or aiding us in that fight. He instead offered assistance to the Thassilonians and at times appeared interested in leaving with them, as they all backed away together toward the door. He appeared quite familiar with one of them, even addressing him by name. Extremely strange behaviour indeed.

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Reflections In Firelight
A Fine Blade

I’m beginning to suspect that my Uncle Saleron was less than truthful when I spent those winters at his knee and he told me of his exploits in and around Khorvaire. Oh, I don’t think that he lied about everything, but I’ve realized something. He was a great man, but I think his sword – my sword – elevated him into an OUTSTANDING man. There is much to this sword other than the jewels which bedazzle its hilt.

I knew this sword was special when I first saw it proudly displayed over his hearth in the apartments that my parents gave him in Zilargo. Just looking at it reflecting the firelight, filling the room with beams of yellow and sliver light filled me with wonder. When I slinked into his dusty and unused rooms several days after his death and removed it from its display it felt good in my hands. Even though my heart was filled with excitement as I moved down to the docks and onto the wooden deck of the Jennivere, I could feel something in the back of my head creating a bond with the blade.
During the time I was stranded on Smuggler’s Shiv with Dadak, Chydak, Joffa, Pol and the others I felt myself grow into the blade. Several nights I dreamt of the previous owners of the blade and I shrugged it off as stories I may have been half asleep while Uncle Saleron continued with his tales; it took me a while to realize that was not true, that the sword was imparting me with knowledge. The images gave me a name: Mischief’s Blade. A more apt name would be hard to come by.

Previous owners were jokesters or rebels. One singer, a Joban Whool, was both. When his prized lyre was destroyed he commissioned the blade and used it to lead others to victory against the radical sect of Aureon that had been lording over his town. He invoked Lady Luck, the goddess Olliandra, in the forging of the blade, and it served him well. Enzio was tricked into assisting in a robbery against the mayor of his city during the city’s Freedom Festival and only through Enzio’s lithe acrobatics and other abilities of the sword he grabbed from a wall – Mischief’s Blade – was he able to escape. The luck imbued in the blade was all the help he needed. Uncle Saleron quickly moved up the ranks of the Beland Navy once he acquired the blade and his “Luck” was well known to his shipmates.

Now, I have Mischief’s Blade. Last night new abilities I was unaware of came unexpectedly to my thoughts. I look at the sword and I wonder what the future holds for us. I look at my companions, new and old, and I smile Time will tell… time will tell.

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Megafauna

Everywhere we go in Saventh-Yi, animals of great size seem to dominate. We fought a giant bat, a giant mantis and today, a giant crocodile. We have a druid with us, but he has not been able to deal with the animals in a favorable fashion. I don’t blame him, plants are the superiour expression of nature. If I had to pick one over the other, I’d choose the same as him. Still, the lack of acumen makes the journey difficult and treacherous. The giant bat flew off with me and almost ate me for dinner. Today, the giant crocodile almost ate our druid and his pussy. There has to be a better way to proceed. However, these titanic creatures have thus far eluded our detection. We somehow miss them, despite looking specifically for them… that is, until they are lunging for our branches. Hiding in plain sight appears to be a common trait amongst these beasts, as objects larger enough to conceal them are few and far between. Faced with a deck so heavily stacked against us, I suppose our only hope is that we will soon bludgeon the last of these beasts to death.

Speaking of bludgeoning beasts to death, the monkey men of Saventh-Yi have now learned the lesson I taught to those in Tazion. Do not disturb the Leif.

On a side note, the Thassilonian tribe known as the Pathfinders appeared recently. We had encountered one of their number at a bug-infested campground a couple of days ago. At that time, Iyum Kreshton entered into a familial spat with the lone camper. However, he later denied knowing the man. I found this strange. Now, a whole family of Pathfinders appear and they sent a special invitation to Iyum Kreshton. His claims to not be a member of this Thassilonian spy ring seem less and less credible with every sunset. I may have to take matters into my own hands to prevent these Thassilonians from despoiling the remnants of Azlanti pride in this lost city. Oh how I wish Captain Severus still patrolled these lands!

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Crocod-Isle

Sar, the 21st of Vult
The group, still waiting on their, rowboat completed their inspection of the district to the South of camp. After exterminating a wandering Giant Jungle Mantis, they checked out on of the bridges to the central district, and found that a 30 foot section had dropped into the water. They decided that they’d need a boat to get across.

They found at the south end of the district a large plaza had sunk beneath the water. On the far side of the plaza a structure stood on an island near the cliff face. Agin they decided to wait for their rowboat. The rest of their day was uneventful and they returned to camp with the few places left to explore in the district all requiring a water crossing to reach.

The Quartermaster unable to provide them yet with a boat or the wand they had ordered, was able to get the wizard who was making their wand to agree to take a few minutes to identify the ring.


Ring of Seven Virtues
Aura moderate transmutation
Description
This bronze band is covered in geometric shapes and studded with tiny pearls. The wearer of the ring gains a constant endure elements effect and a +5 competence bonus on Survival checks made in jungles. The Seven symbols are somehow in tune with the city and seem designed to act as a conduit or amplifier of some other magic.

Sul, the 22nd of Vult
After having the ring Identified, the party returned to the pyramid the next day to see if they would discover anything new with Kreshton wearing the ring. They noticed no change, but Kreshton noticed a pattern in the layout of the runes on the pyramid that made him certain that the spire must have some way of being activated, though how to activate it and what it might do were still unclear.
They then returned to camp to retrieve the rowboat. Declining any assistance from the camp, they dragged the boat to the small teardrop shape lake just south of camp. Wary of crocodiles hiding in the reeds on the island, they cautiously rowed over to the small island with a monument of some sort at its northern end, Kreshton’s expertise guiding Dadak and Leif in rowing their new boat. Warily they began to explore the island, and immediately they noticed a large number of bones piled amongst trampled reeds on island. Their caution was well warranted and Dadak’s sharp eyes sighted an extremely large crocodile just moments before it attacked.
Despite his wariness and keen eyes, the gargantuan crocodile was able to snatch Dadak in its mouth before he could get cover. Luckily by tranforming himself into a fire elemental he was able to force the crocodile to release him. The crocodile quickly switch to easier prey grabbing Dadak’s cat companion Kalia and preparing to swallow her whole. Only a heroic effort by Dadak, literally diving back into the mouth of the beast was Kalia’s life spared. Meanwhile, Kreshton and Leif had set themselves up to attack the crocodile from behind cover.

Kreshton began to harry the massive beast, rushing in and out of its reach before it could attack, and drawing back towards the monument. Then while dadak began to summon creatures to attack the crocodile’s flank, Keshton and Leif took turns striking at the crocodile while it battered at the stone columns protecting them from its wrath. Eventually the crocodile was able to knock down one of the columns and made to attack the now exposed Leif, but with much of its blood already spilled, its attempts were feeble and easily rebuffed by the well armored warrior, and then in moments it was defeated and lifeless.

The party once again returned to camp, but this time bearing the news that as long as researchers stayed clear of the two unexplored building, the Mercantile District was safe for exploration and prolonged study.

Camp Notes:

  • 2 Discoveries Made (3 Total):
    • The symbols on the ring are runes for what the Azlanti called the Seven Virtues:
      • Righteous Anger – the ability to stand up for oneself and others against wrongdoers
      • Wealth – the ability to provide for oneself and one’s family
      • Honest Pride – the ability to know when one does something well and value that work
      • Rest – the ability to put aside unimportant distractions and take time for quiet contemplation
      • Eager Striving – the ability to push oneself to ever higher acheivements
      • Abundance – the ability to appreciate when times are good and save for when times are bad
      • Fertility – the ability to grow healthy crops and large families
    • Each of the districts and spires is associated with one of these virtues. The mercantile district is associated with the virtue of Wealth
  • Wand of Identify should be available by the end of Sul-22

Rumors:

  • Somebody in camp has a cache of Maple syrup but isn’t sharing. Everybody else has to eat their biscuits dry.
  • A ranger from another faction tamed one of the pteradons from the bridge. The river crossing has now been cleared of all dangers.

XP:
Giant Jungle Mantis – 800XP
Sarcosuchus – 6400XP
Securing the Mercantile District for study – 9600XP

16800 XP/3 = 5600 XP each (Dadak, Kreshton, Leif)

Dadak – 54182/75000 XP
Level 8

Kreshton – 51059/75000 XP
Level 8
Leif – 51000/75000 XP
Level 8
Chydak – 35000/51000 XP
Level 7

Loot:
none

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That Pleases Me
Kreshton Rel'Astra, Discoverer of Saventh-Yi

Well, I felt useless today. There we were, exploring the ruins of a ziggurat, when from out of the darkness above us, what I can only call a dire bat attacked; it was much, much larger, though. Something caught my attention and I was able to throw my axe and hit it right between the eyes just as it began its swoop. But that was it. The thing pounced on Leif and grabbed him so quickly it was just a blur in the darkness. I had a chance or two to hit it before it tried to escape with Leif but I was unsuccessful. It was only through Leif’s fortitude, and quite a bit of the luck surrounding one who takes up the life of an adventurer, that Leif was able to withstand the savage beating he took. I still have the image in my head of Leif dangling in the bat’s maw while he furiously beat at it with his weapon. Dadak’s timely summons of a large eagle did quite a bit of good too!

No matter. This first section of Saventh-Yi that we’ve explored has more secrets to find. The whole city is quite large and I expect each section will have its own surprises. I will have many more chances for swordplay ahead of me. I have noticed a lack of ranged attack capabilities in our small group. I have several axes but as they get lost or damaged they are difficult to replace. Sure there’s the camp’s quartermaster, but he seems more intent in his gaining wealth from our sweat, blood, and tears. I see that we are also lacking in detecting and determining the properties of magical equipment which is the life blood of successful adventuring. I’ve taken action to remedy that, by purchasing a wand, but my abilities in such endeavors is just a bit better than Dadak’s. Well, at least the quartermaster will not be able to mislead us and say something is not magical or not and then give us a lower price in exchange.

That bat did a number on us, I swear I can still sense the sound of its wings beating through the air over the great lake that makes the center of Saventh-Yi. Either that or some dragon hunts the area. Ah, unlikely.

I am eager to continue not only to explore this one great city but for two other important reasons. First, somewhere in this city, I suspect is that priestess of Yderious we encountered in the temple beneath Smuggler’s Shiv. She must pay for what she has done and what evils she may yet bring to this world. Her trap of a serpentfolk wizard in Tazion was unsuccessful but the mere fact that she placed him there shows that she knows we’re on her trail. Second, I want my name prominently displayed to the whole world that Kreshton Rel’Astra was responsible for discovering Saventh-Yi after centuries of failed attempts. All of Khorvaire will know my name; that pleases me.

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