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Entry 35: Dancing with the Beast


EnragedBard

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It's Destana.  Time for me to get back in the saddle.  Runa's caught up with her leaving Skyrim and she has more to tell, but that'll have to wait.  Last time, Runa and I joined the Companions (as a favor to Ysgramor) and I'm pretending I'm not who I am so they can actually test me and make me a little stronger.  It was 4 weeks until the invasion, minus three days and I was making good time so far.  Let's see... I just became an official member of the Companions.  As I understand it, to advance in the Companions, I needed to do a job or two for them.  

So that night, after getting molested by Etrienne (I got her name wrong last time) and subsequently killing her and listening to Runa talk for a couple hours about herself, I went into Farkas' room and poked him til he woke up.   
"What?" He spat. 
"Got any more jobs for me?" I asked. 
"Blast it, woman, are you coming on to me again?" 
"No, no no.  For real, are there any more people who need beating up or anything?  Preferably somebody who is difficult to beat up this time." 
"Shor's Bones, I need to sleep.  Check on my dresser," he turned over. 
  
I picked up a missive.  Vulwulf Snow-Shod, a resident of Riften, had been kidnapped by Forsworn.  Luckily, the Forsworn are not unified and this will would most likely not effect my planned attempt at peace with them later on.  I poked Runa, laying in her bed, "I hope you got some sleep today.  Wanna go questing?" 
She sighed, "Sure.  Sounds good." 
I decided that since it was in the same general area, I would go to the Thalmor Prison and save Thorald Graymane while I was out.  The Prison was north of Solitude in the mountains and it took us the rest of the night to get through the difficult terrain.  In the morning, we got within sight and both stealthed (Gods, I love Runa's ability to stealth along with me, unlike SOME people).  And the Thalmor drew their weapons. 
  
"Dang," I whispered.  But they started aiming their bows at the sky, and shooting arrows.   
"A dragon," Runa whispered back, "No, two dragons!"  
"I have never been so happy for a dragon attack," I smiled.  As they ran around the walls and shot arrows at them, we snuck up behind them and stabbed them in their backs.  Once we'd taken out most of the Thalmor, we walked in the front door, leaving the rest to keep the dragons busy.  Avulstein mentioned the option of peacefully negotiating with the Thalmor for his brother's release.  But I had a better idea:  complete and utter annihilation of them so they can't bolster the Thalmor invasion in a few weeks.  We made our way forward, sniping them as we went (Runa had a hunting bow and was okay with it at this point, still not her primary attack mode).  Then when the Thalmor got wise, and alerted their brethren, they came in force.  Runa took point with her heavy armor and toughness while I continued to snipe them and Unrelenting Blast them away from overwhelming her.  About that time a dragon soul started to flow into me.  Alright.  The battle continues outside.  We eventually eradicated them and let Thorvald out.  He grabbed a woodcutter's axe, expecting a fight, but there were no Thalmor left.  Not too bad.  When we got back outside, I suddenly remembered there were dragons.  But all the Thalmor were dead in a heap beside a set of dragon bones.  The other dragon attacked us, and a group of reinforcement Thalmor with green elven armor and claws (upgrades!) engaged, but the crossfire and the three of us meant they got dead. 
  
Thorvald gave me a message to give to his mother, and that he was going into hiding.  Apparently, he'd also heard about the news of an invasion from his jailors.  We traveled south to a tower connected to a set of caves in the mountain, which was where Vulwulf was being held.  Three Forsworn guards.  Two in the tower, one guarding the bridge to the caves.  I smiled, ready to test out new and old skills.  I took careful aim with my bow, and aimed for the tiny dot on the bridge.  Seconds later she was falling from her perch, dead.  We snuck up to the tower and found there were locked grates that could only be opened from the inside.  I imagined there was some convoluted way of getting to the top, but I knew what I needed to do instead. 
  
"Hold here for a minute," I said.  Instead of relying on dumb rope arrows, I casted my Flight spell.  Thank you Serana.  I hovered to the top of the tower, and seeing one milling about at the highest level, I dropped onto her, stabbing her through the neck.  Then I walked down the stairs and pulled the chain, opening the way for Runa.  The last guard turned stupidly, finding my form invisible via me hot-swapping to my bow, and Runa walked up on her and bisected her.  EASY.  We walked back up the stairs and found the topmost door to be barred from the other side.  
  
We went through the middle door, and found a Hagraven in a cage.  She said, "Pretty, pretty flesh... let Melka out!" 
"Who put you in there?" Runa asked. 
"Petra.  Evil Petra put me here stole my tower.  Hate her, chew her bones!  Let me out, kind meat.  You're a pretty Breton, correct?" 
"What?  Neither of us are Breton," I replied. 
"Oh, yes.  You all look the same," Melka said. 
"What do we get?" I asked. 
"Ah, I have a pretty staff.  We wring her neck together.  Take my prize staff.  I just want my tower back," she replied. 
I pulled the chain. 
"Mom!  She's a Hagraven," Runa said, "Can we trust her?" 
"Meh, probably not.  But haven't had a lot of bad experiences with their kind... yet," I said. 
She took the lead.  In the next room she pulled the middle lever, opening the correct passage and not blasting us with fire, "Press only middle!  Clever trick, yes?  Nobody ever thinks of middle." 
We fought our way through a few forsworn, but with Melka blasting with spells and me with arrows it was pretty easy.  I got the drop on Petra and backstabbed her.  Then I pulled a chain to let Vuwulf out and I looted the place.  
She tried to offer me her staff. 
I shrugged, "I don't really need it.  We'll be going now." 
"Thank you, pretty Bre~ humans.  I tell my friends not to eat you," Melka said. 
  
We let the man go back to Riften and we headed back to Whiterun.  It was afternoon when I walked up to Fralia Graymane, "Thorald is safe." 
"Oh, thank you!  Where is he?" 
"He told me he was going to lie low until after the invasion.  He said, suffer the winter's cold wind," I said. 
"For it bears aloft summer's seeds," Fralia said, back, "That's my boy.  Thank you.  Here, I was going to give this to Thorald, but you take it."  
She handed me a sword, and I figured they're rich, so I threw it in my pack. 
I walked up to Vilkas, "I rescued Vulwulf." 
"So I hear.  You've brought honor to us.  You're taking to this like a pro.  Destana... that sounds familiar," Vilkas replied. 
"Uhh... does anybody have anything else for me right now?" I asked. 
"Skjor said it was time to take the next step," Vilkas said.  At that moment, Skjor was walking down the perpendicular hallway and I turned and charged over. 
"What did you need, Skjor?" I asked. 
"Both of you, meet me tonight at the Underforge.  You've proven your worth.  What I have to tell you is not for everyone to hear," Skjor said, "It's at the base of the Skyforge." 
I pursed my lips as he walked away. 
"That's ominous," Runa said.  Then she yawned. 
"Alright, alright, we can take a nap.  We can even have a mother-daughter cuddle like we did in the old days!" I chuckled. 
"Weirdo," Runa smiled. 
"Am I embarrassing you??" I laughed even harder.  We took in a meal (me blood, her food) and slept until about 10.  
  
When we approached the Underforge, Skjor was waiting.  He pressed a rock on the formation and said, "Jorrvaskr is the oldest building in Whiterun.  The Skyforge was here long before it was.  The Underforge taps an ancient magic that is older than men or elves.  That's why Skyforge steel can only be made here." 
As the door opened, it revealed a dark passageway with a great bowl. 
"What is this?" I asked. 
Skjor walked inside, the stone sliding back behind us, "We bring you here to make you stronger, new blood." 
A werewolf was standing in the corner, eyeing us warily.  It cut its wrist, a small stream of blood at the bottom of the bowl.  This one had breasts, so by process of elimination I determined it must be... 
I waved, "Hi Aela." 
"Wait, you're a werewolf?" Runa asked. 
"They're... all werewolves." 
"All who?  The companions?" 
"No, just the circle," I said, "Try to keep up." 
"Yes, this is Aela.  She's agreed to be your forebear," Skjor said, "We do this in secret because Kodlak is too busy trying to throw away this great gift we've been granted.  He thinks we've been cursed, but we've been blessed.  How can something that gives us this kind of prowess be a curse?  So we take matters into our own hands." 
Runa looked skeptical.  Finally, she spoke, "Getting this out of the way, my mom will probably accept.  I don't know if she has a thirst for power, or just morbid curiosity.... I swear the only way they convinced her to take her 'destiny' as a dragonborn seriously was the amount of power shouts gave her."
"You're the dragonborn?" Aela spoke, and her voice was deep and gravely. 
"Yeah, well, you caught me, I guess," I said. 
"I... don't want to be a werewolf," Runa said, "I am not into transforming who I am for power or curiosity." 
"Nobody's forcing you," Skjor said, "But we're offering you a seat in the circle as well.  But you must be of the same blood as us to join.  We must be blood brothers and sisters.  That is how it has been since Ysgramor, even without Hircene's blessing." 
"What a beautiful technicality," I said, "My question is - we've been in this organization for like four days, and you're already offering us seats at your council?" 
"Well, I admit this is complicated.  A lot of the rookies have only been with us for a matter of months.  Turns out when you have a whole faction of werewolves and the Silver Hand finds out, they tend to kill your people indiscriminately." 
"So you need some powerful people to help you get rid of them," I said. 
"Not only that, Kodlak is not long for this world.  We don't just need more members; we need more members of the circle.  We need more strong members.  Also, I knew who you were from the get-go.  I was amazed you wanted to join, but I knew you'd be a good fit for the Circle if you were serious." 
I sighed, "That's exactly what I didn't want when I joined here.  Tell me, though, do you know what I am?" 
  
"Other than the Dragonborn?" Aela asked. 
"You're a vampire," Skjor said. 
"You are perceptive," I smiled. 
"She is the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, and a very skilled assassin," Skjor continued.  
Runa nodded, "He's good." 
"I am many things," I said, "Did Vidnar tell you where I went when I rode that dragon?" 
"Well, he was pretty drunk, but he told me you rode it to Sovngarde.  I figured he was pulling my leg," Skjor replied. 
"Wanna know who I met?"
"Who?" 
"Ysgramor.  He asked me to look in on the organization.  I think he thought a poison seeped into the Companions.  And I gotta tell you, this is probably what he was talking about," I pointed to the blood in the bowl. 
"Should I be insulted by this?" Aela asked. 
"Oh, make no mistake.  I'm not the one to take the moral high ground.  The girl was very much right - curiosity certainly hasn't killed me yet, but it's come damn close.  A pact with Hircine may be a little better than a pact with Molag Bal.  Or, you know, that time I married Sanguine and had a child with him.  I have no qualms against this, but it doesn't seem like a very 'Companions' thing to do." 
"You... married...?" Skjor started. 
But then I continued, "I am going to accept your gift.  Just... give me like an hour." 
"Well... okay," Skjor said as we walked out. 
Runa shrugged, "Are you sure you want to do this?  What happens when vampirism and werewolf~ism clash in your body?" 
"From what I've read, making me a werewolf will just cure me of vampirism, and vice versa.  So I can turn myself back at any time.  You almost sounded like you look down on me in there," I said. 
"No.  You do you, mom.  It's just not my way of doing things," Runa replied, "I'm going to bed." 
  
I nodded.  I loaded up 'Teleport Volkihar Castle,' and cast it.  I hit the telepad down to the common area and walked into the banquet hall.  Serana was sitting at the table with some of the New Way vampires. 
"Hey!" I shouted. 
"I missed you!" Serana said, blood dribbling from her mouth.  The vampire sitting next to her got up to make room for me. 
"Hey, I need to talk to you about something," I said. 
She tilted her head, "Sounds troubling.  What's on your mind?" 
"Well, I joined the Companions because Ysgramor asked me to.  They want to turn me into a werewolf," I said. 
She raised her eyebrows, "Are you thinking of becoming one?" 
"Well... you know me and new experiences.  I just want to know that if I do, you will still be with me.  And if I need you to, you can change me back," I said. 
She stared at me for a minute, mostly studying my eyes I think, then she smiled, "Of course.  Just don't... rip me in half or anything.  Werewolves are known for being savage." 
"No way." 
"You know what's funny?" She asked. 
"What's that?"
"When I met you, you were a vampire.  I've never seen your natural eye color.  You know what, this might actually be good," she smiled. 
"They're gray.  Nearly white or silver.  Sometimes in the sun they look golden-ish.  Not burning and glowing like this, but like a human's," I replied. 
"I bet they're beautiful.  I can't wait to see them," Serana smiled. 
"Damn, you really know how to make me not scared to try this.  I was a little bit," I said. 
Serana stared at me for another minute, "Can I talk to you about something now?" 
"Of course." 
"You remember when you first met me?" 
"Yeah." 
"Did you ever ask why you were so calm when you saw me?  Most humans attack vampires on sight.  And I saw you do that... so many times, even as a vampire.  I was like any other vampire in that cave.  Maybe a bit more attractive, but you get the point." 
"Well, yeah, because you saw me before I got the drop on you," I smirked, "And you were friendly.  There are a few vampires who are actually friendly.  I'll give anybody a chance if they actually talk to me first.  You know about my plan with the forsworn, right?" 
"You were calm, because I casted a 'Calm' effect on you," she sighed, "Look, you were the first person I saw after being locked up for thousands of years... and you were armed to the teeth!  I wasn't exactly mind controlling you, but I did mess with your head.  Deceiving you without your consent.  In that moment, I was just like my family.  Seriously not 'New Way,' material.  I manipulated you." 
"You didn't need to," I shrugged, "But I'm not mad about it." 
"Really?" 
"I'm not leaving you or anything.  I'm not exactly an Aedra myself.  And I have no regrets." 
"But everything we've done together has been for me.  Have you ever thought about that?" 
"I tend to think I get something out of this deal," I smiled, pulling her up against me, "It's ironic that an undead vampire can shine so much light on my life." 
I swear she started to tear up, and I smiled, "None of that.  I have a couple people waiting for me in a dark cave.  I need to go." 
I kissed her, hopped the portal to the tower and hopped in the one to Whiterun, which put me at the front gate.  I ran back to the yard next to the Skyforge.  That'd taken about 15 minutes.  Skjor was sitting at the bench in the yard. 
"Ready?" He asked. 
  
"Sorry," I said, "Five more minutes." 
I built a small fire with a cooking pot, and dumped out about 40 potions of blood, and 20 pieces of human meat I'd harvested. 
"Don't worry about what this stuff is," I said.  I proceeded to chug all 40 potions.  Then I cooked all the human meat into more blood potions, and drank them as well. 
"Hey, um... if you're going to watch this, you have to promise not to call the guards or whatever," I said to Skjor. 
"I'm not sure what I'm agreeing to, but okay." 
I was starting to think at this point he wanted to see. 
"Have you ever seen a Volkihar Vampire transform?" I asked. 
"No..." He said. 
I concentrated, and transformed. 
"What... the fuck!" He said, "Vampires can do that?!" 
"No.  Most of them can't.  Only like five of them I know of," I said.  I funneled the lifeblood power to my Vampire Lord form, then I reverted to my human form, "Alright." 
We went back to the Skyforge. 
"Hey, um, before I do this, am I going to uncontrollably transform?" 
"Most likely," Skjor said, "You might be more in control than a normal person your first time.  I suggest finding your way out of the city, or find a hiding place and wait it out.  I can come track you down in an hour or two when it wears off." 
"An hour... or two?" I sighed.  I drank the blood, and I blacked out.
When I came to, I was in the yard.  My heart was racing, muscles pulsing.  I felt powerful, with the claws, jaws and hunger of a wolf, and my strength was multiplied.  I got down on all fours, thinking, ‘Must get away from city…’ Over and over.  Luckily, it was night, and the only guard I saw had his back to me.  I charged out through the front gate.  From there, it’s a blur until I woke up, some distance away in the wilderness.  I was naked, and Aela was standing over me.
“Whew, how was my first time?” I asked her.
“Anything like your former power?” She asked.
“Similar, but different.”
“You gave us even more trouble than Farkas did at his first turning.  You’re strong,” Aela said, “You got a taste of the power.  The more you transform, the more foes you slay and feed upon, the stronger you become.”
“Sounds a lot like my old form, in fact, but it was much stronger in magic.  From what I’ve seen, werewolf is a lot stronger in melee,” I said, “But instead of feeding on blood, you feed on flesh, which I used to be able to get blood from.”
“The transformation doesn’t last long, though.  The blood of your foes extends the time.  Just be careful where you do it.  Some cowards in this land can’t stand the sight of the glory before them.”
I took a minute and thought about what I knew from Vampire Lord form.  It’s a magic transformation, and when you go into it your gear is shunted into an extradimensional space and spring back onto your person when you return to your form.  Sometimes I was able to conjure clothes for myself in VL, sometimes I didn’t bother.  This is similar to the ability I’d heard some Eldergleam Druids use when they transform into animals.  I could only imagine werewolf worked the same way.  I looked down, and remembered I was naked.  Maybe I would need to work on that.  On the other hand…

“Gods, are you always so hot when you transform?  I feel like my skin is burning.  I’m actually glad I’m naked right now,” I said.  
“Would you like help taking care of it?” Aela asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Sex helps,” she said, “Hircine smiles on us.”
I nodded, and she laid me down on the cold ground, strapped on a device and got me off using it like a man.  It did help.  When I got up, I made several more observations.
“Ah, gods.  I’m hungry.  I’m thirsty,” I said.
She handed me a waterskin and said, “I almost envy you.  That first time is the most… intense.”
All at once I experienced the crushing weight of mortality.  I was a little tired.  I could feel cold.  
But then again… it was like a filter had been lifted off my senses.  It was like the last few months as a vampire I’d been feeling desire, pleasure and existence like I was seeing it through a dim mirror.  And it had been so long, and so subtle at the time I’d forgotten what it all felt like.  Was it better or worse?  I wasn’t sure.  More time was required.
“We should go.  Skjor went up ahead to a Silver Hand outpost.”
We walked forward and found a barely-guarded outpost.  But it was still night, I guess.  I shot a guy with a bow, and Aela killed a woman with her maul.  
“Hmm… think I’ll give this new form a test drive,” I said.  I transformed and fed on the two corpses at my feet.  Then we walked in the building.  In the first room, I killed a guy and fed, and found us stuck at a set of bars.
“Cowards, barring our progress,” Aela said.
I looked around for the chain for a few minutes.  Finally found it, then charged through the fort for some action.  And let me tell you – werewolf form is physically powerful.  I could strongly swing my claws and launch people, or I could pounce on people and pretty much instantly rip them apart.  I was having fun.  We fought our way to the end, to a room full of Silver Hand and a man Aela called, ‘The Skinner.’

 

I ran over to him and instantly bisected him.  I cackled a deep laugh and proceeded to rip apart the rest of them then fed.  Skjor was on the dais, dead from his wounds.  Aela came over and hugged me.  She laid me down and did things to me in werewolf form with the same device she had before.  I mean, it felt good so I didn’t resist.  
“Thanks.  I needed that,” she said.  At about that time, I reverted to human form, getting the re-dressing correct this time.

Then she walked to the dais.  She sighed, “The bastards somehow managed to get Skjor.  He was the strongest among us, but they swarmed him.  Looks like he took out half a dozen, but their arrows got him.”


Aela covered him and had a moment of silence, “Now I can see why he wanted you to join.  Clearly you are strong.  You picked those guys apart.  The beast blood is as tied to our human form’s physical strength as our general spiritual strength.  Please, leave me to bury him.  I’ll see you back at Jorrvaskr.  Soon, the Silver Hand will tremble at our sight.”

I left, but I decided I would do one more thing before I returned.  It was about dawn, and I walked over to the road to call Arvak.  Before I did though, a group of Goblins attacked me on the road.  I, of course, seeing more fuel for my beast form, transformed and fed.  Then I was attacked by Dawnguard.  Man, these guys just don’t know when to quit.  Not even a vampire anymore, but I killed them too.  

 

Anyway, how I decided I would get back to Whiterun was by flying.  I had a wild hair and threw on some fur clothes and flew around a little bit to clear my head.  Also, to feel the cold and wind in my hair and really remember what it was like to be a living creature.  I accepted I probably would become a vampire again someday to artificially extend my lifespan and youth, but I figured I would enjoy this while I could.  You know what new thing I learned?  It is much MUCH easier to kill dragons while you can fly.  I have no problems using a bow while flying, and I can chase dragons over any obstacle when I can fly.  Also, the night sky is beautiful without obstruction.

At the end of day six, I returned to Jorrvaskr and slept.  Because I have to sleep now.  Ugh.  But I guess feeding in werewolf form makes me not hungry.
 

 

Spoiler

I had been gathering a stockpile of meat and blood for a long time.  There's a Sacrosanct Perk that gives you VL progress when you drink blood potions, and another that lets me change human flesh into blood potions, and the potions are useless to a non-vampire.  I figured I'd spend them now.

 

Sacrosanct advances your Destruction when you use drain spells, even in VL form (which made my Destro master level from all the use).  Growl advances the highest of your combat and armor perks, up to 100 (so your time is not wasted). Since my archery, one-handed and light armor were all in the high 90’s, they hit 100 in the first transformation at the fort, and my two-handed and heavy armors started to climb.  My thought is if they top out, I’ll just legendary them. But also, because they were so low, I advanced from around level 50 to level 52 or 53 quickly. 

 

The absolute first place I went on the Perk tree (during the first transformation) was 1 pt increased damage (because it is the gateway) then Bury the Beast – No longer forced to transform at night.

 

Thank god LL is back up. I'm hopelessly addicted. 

 

Destana35.jpg

Edited by EnragedBard

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Destana at her best I guess, though I really think werewolf is a downgrade. At any rate, great storytelling and aye, good LL is back. ^^
So does Sacrosanct/Better Vampires retain your progression? I was under the impression if you get cured and later become a vampire again you end up at starting from zero again?

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That was a fun read.

And as before: Even though, this was tagged NSFL I could not find anything offensive in this entry. Within the context of LL-Skyrim, that is. The two scenes with Aela, just like before with Farkas, where quite tame, so personally I had no problem with them.

I do expect distinctly more severe things to happen during AFS. And even then, I don't think I will be offended. Worst case scenario: I will just skim the paragraph in question and then move on.

 

I did, however, find a fair bit of humor in this chapter, which I liked.

Namely, the scene at the start, with Farkas. Now I suspect, that D. was a rather bratty girl when she was little.  Who absolutely would poke the poor carriage driver repeatedly with a wooden toy-thingy during a long and boring carriage ride. "Asking: "Are we there yet?" as she went.

 

Next in line was the scene, where Runa questioned the hagravens trustworthiness. My thought there was: "Runa, you are the Listener of the DB and have worked with all manner of suspicous characters. Seemingly without hesitation. And this is, where you have doubts? Really?" Perhaps, this wasn't the intended impression, but I found it funny regardless.

 

The scene with Serana was good, but I am not quite sure, why you felt the need to introduce this mind-control thing retroactivly. I never saw D. as so blood-crazed, to think, that she would just stab anything and everything without provocation. Even in a vampire crypt.

 

Finally, I liked the scene with Skjor. Making him out to be a perceptive one, while still giving him abit of a WTF moment with the blood-cooking and the Sanguine marrying was a good combo.

 

p.s. Is it something on my end, or is LL still kinda slow? I thought for a moment, this comment would just poof into thin air, since I had to refresh the page to get it to appear.

Edited by HM1919
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I will answer all!

 

Sacrosanct saves your progression so you pick back up if you get revampired. 

 

The NSFL tag I might need to rethink. I mean werewolf is semi-bestiality. Of course I guess it is with a sentient creature. /Shrug

 

That mind control thing is part of her Dialogue overhaul.  I didn't choose it to go there. Of course, I guess it did show how nonchalant she was about D becoming a WW.  Destana will definitely talk to anybody. If they don't attack her. Infact... the AFS/Untamed part of the playthrough is coming up.....

 

I even omitted Serana saying I was a trained vampire hunter. Yeah, but I'm also a vampire too.  

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Thanks for the reply.

 

Keep the NSFL tag, if you want to be on the safe side. It certainly doesn't bother me. It's just, that I personally did not think it was needed here. Others may diagree with that.  And AFS might end up being a different story entirely.

 

And I forgot, that you have an dialogue overhaul for Serana installed. That explains it.

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