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920016 No. 920016 ID: c4c64c

You had recognized the robes immediately; flowing and sea-foam green, with a bright orange emblem on a black armband. Everyone knew the College Insignia. A scroll, depicting knowledge, clasped by five hands that symbolized the five branches of the College: Patterns, Shapes, Bonding, Substance, and Motion. You often wonder if they choose to stand out like that on purpose, or if there was a deeper meaning behind the flamboyant colors. With the College, nothing ever felt certain to you. There was no doubt in your mind about this man’s purpose, however. He was a College Seeker.

You’d heard all the stories. “A Seeker’s arrival always heralds great fortune and prestige to those they sought and their families,” they said. Seekers would travel the country to find a select elite, chosen to study at one of the prestigious College facilities. It was rare to find a political leader, heroic champion, or scholar of note who wasn’t at one point chosen by a Seeker.

The Seeker himself was a hare in his late 50s, with long gray and frazzled fur. He made for the town hall with a confident stride, barely making eye contact with anyone he passed. The doors were closed behind him, and none were allowed in. Your hometown, the small fishing village of Nilvi, was immediately filled with rumors and gossip. You joined in with your friends, each who were championing their own virtues for selection. You could see quite a few candidates among them. Any time they asked why a Seeker would choose you, you’d just shrug and change the subject.

For 3 days, the Seeker stayed locked inside the capitol building. On the evening of the third day, Council Member Adrian - elected leader of Nilvi for the 19th time just this year - called for a meeting. She sent couriers to everyone’s home, instructing them to gather in the town hall the following morning. As you made your way inside the next day, the walls of the meeting hall felt like they would burst at any moment from the number of people crammed inside. You managed to find an empty spot to stand in the back, your view of the modest hall partially obscured by a pillar. Adrian and the Seeker entered through a door on the far side of the room. The excitement, and volume, levels in the room increased threefold.

“Thank you all for coming,” Adrian said, holding her hands out and motioning for silence. She waited until the crowd settled to a dull murmur before continuing. “As you all know, Seeker Richmond from the College arrived a few days ago. He has a few things he would like say. Seeker?” she said, turning to motion for the Seeker to take her place at the front of the room. He stood, walked in front of the congregation, and scanned the crowd. All his actions were slow and deliberate. You felt your chest start to tighten. When he finally spoke, a rough baritone booming through the now completely silent hall, it was a single name: Yours.

>[input name]


Welcome to Songbirds of Eolais, a furry quest! This quest will be text only. Most of my experience with storytelling comes from being a DM in PnPRPG games, and I will be running this quest in a somewhat similar way. Suggestions will be free-form, so do not be afraid to suggest anything you want. No guarantees that this quest remains SFW. Side note that this is my first time attempting a question, so I apologize in advance for any breaches of etiquette or mistakes using the image board itself. I hope you enjoy my story!
Expand all images
>>
No. 920018 ID: 094652

Shahijilar Qualiesso
>>
No. 920020 ID: 417401

Syrra Nemive
>>
No. 920021 ID: d0ba68

>>920020
This sounds good.
>>
No. 920026 ID: 2202fb

I am going to suggest Andromeda Jay.

I am also going to suggest we be a feminine herm cuz i am shameless. I would also like to suggest we are an equine of amazonian physique but is actually really really shy, quiet and self-conscious to contrast.

this is not a fursona (esp since i dont have any), i just came up with this on the spot
>>
No. 920027 ID: 2202fb

>>920020
This is a better name, but the rest of my suggestion stands.
>>
No. 920033 ID: c4c64c

Syrra Nemive. Please step forward.”

Me? you ask yourself, slowing emerging from behind the pillar. Why me?

The room stays silent. You feel the entire room watching you as your push your way through the crowd to the front of the hall. It seems much bigger now.

It felt like hours had past when you squeeze past the last line of bodies. Seeker Richmond is there, watching you intently. He hands you a scroll, sealed with the insignia of the College. “This scroll is for your eyes alone,” he whispers, before lifting his eyes to the rest of the room, “Syrra’s potential has been recognized by the College. This decision is delivered by Richmond Arbatous, Seeker of Prodigy. We have nothing further to say.” His voice lowers and he turns back to you, “see me when you have had the time to review what has been given to you.”

Everyone is staring.

There will be an opportunity for further character development, such as species, gender, etc. shortly. Hold tight!
>>
No. 920036 ID: 2202fb

The problem, which we seem to have avoided for the most part (although to me it sounds feminine), is that name is intimately related to gender.
>>
No. 920050 ID: c4c64c

You leave the town hall through the back, and rush home to avoid the crowd of people that has begun pouring out in to the streets. When you arrive at your home, a humble single room house near the water, you close and lock the door. Taking a seat at your desk in the corner, you set the scroll down in front of you.

After a few moments to regain your composure, you carefully pry the seal open and unfurl the scroll. At the top, there is a stamp made of what appears to be gold leaf. It has text inside a circle: The bearer of this scroll is identified as a Prodigy Select of the College, with all the privileges it provides.

You keep reading.

Through careful scouting and study, the Seekers of Prodigy have identified you, Syrra Nemive. It is imperative that you visit us in Rharen so that you may understand the responsibilities and privileges that this brings. All will be made clear, in time. Seeker Richmond will be your guide. He is a close friend, and will be able to answer any questions you may have on your journey in. That is, if you can manage to get a question in edgewise! Old coot can never stop yapping about... what is it he called it? Kipes? Cates? Something like that. Once he spent 3 hours talking about a new method of braiding string that was going to “shake the very foundation of the world as we knew it” or some other nonsense. Who knows! He’s a great guy though, you’ll love him, I’m sure.

I look forward to your arrival in Rharen. Please fill out the small form on the back before you arrive. Standard procedure for records.

-College Savant, 1st, Uther Enlock


When you flip the scroll over, there are a few questions to fill out. You wonder how they managed to single you out in the middle of nowhere and not know any of this, but you fill it out anyway:

Of which heritage do you belong? (Wolf, Squirrel, Fox, Hare, Mouse, Rat)

On which path in your heritage have you been set? (Boy or girl)

[b]To what method study do you yearn?[b] (Patterns, Shapes, Bonding, Substance, and Motion)

Note: Choosing a study will have significant impact on the way the story plays out. The five Colleges are common knowledge, and can be summarized as:

College of Patterns: Music, mathematics, art, physics.
College of Shapes: Fabric working, clothier, leather-working, and historical studies
College of Bonding: Smithing, including weapons and armor. Jewelers. Also trains all forms of combat.
College of Substance: Study of plants, wildlife, domestic animals, and all known races of sentient beings. Chemistry and alchemy research. Doubles as a public zoo and arboretum.
College of Motion: Work on machines and other mechanical devices. (late 17th century era technology)
>>
No. 920056 ID: c4c64c

Going to leave this open for 24 hours to give people time to find the quest and suggest/vote on what they would like to see. Majority rule, I will roll on my end for tiebreakers if any.
>>
No. 920060 ID: 235ba5

>>920050
Hare, Male, Bonding.

Sex and species are less important to me, but
stories that involve a smith really quench my steel.
>>
No. 920066 ID: 2202fb

Fox or Wolf (whichever has more votes)

girl

Motion, specifically weaponry and/or automatons. (fine with bonding instead with the caveat that we get to work on bleeding edge tech like guns and crossbows and such)

Hoping we can take a step beyond traditional 17th century towards things like steampunk (dwemer-like) or Castle in the Sky's Laputa.
>>
No. 920068 ID: 556258

Fox, Male, Motion
>>
No. 920079 ID: c22978

Rat, Boy, Motion.
>>
No. 920080 ID: 094652

Vixen, Girl, Motion. You're known as the Grease Fox.
>>
No. 920116 ID: 2202fb

>>920080
greased lightning
>>
No. 920118 ID: 080aaf

Hare, Female, Substance.
>>
No. 920154 ID: 562771

>>920050
Fox, girl, motion.
>>
No. 920161 ID: 417401

>>920050
Fox, Girl, Bonding

We shall craft masterpieces the likes of which stories and legends are made!
>>
No. 920197 ID: c4c64c
File 154941400401.png - (877.46KB , 1920x1004 , eolais-small.png )
920197

You hastily fill in the form, clarifying for the records that you are indeed a female fox.

Selecting a College was easier than you thought. You’re great with your hands, and there wasn’t a mechanism around that you couldn’t take apart and put back together improving the design, fixing flaws, AND have several parts left over! You make a small squee of excitement as you fill in Motion. It was a shame that the most complicated thing in town was the simple pulley systems that the fishing boats used for their nets, and you could not wait to get your hands on some real equipment. The bookshelf next to your bed was positively overflowing with blueprints and books on mechanisms and manufacturing techniques, and you had managed to collect a few trinkets and small toys to keep yourself busy. You glance to the shelf where you kept most of them: several music boxes, an anatomically correct figure of the hero Amrius that could be posed, and a bracelet you had found in a cave when you were younger that contained several small gears and switches. You could never quite figure out what they did, but it sure as hell was fun to take apart.

It’s currently just after 10:00am on Saturday, and you have the whole day to yourself. You could visit anywhere or anyone in the town you wish, or head straight back to Richmond and leave for Rharen immediately. You pull out a map of Eolais from your desk and look it over. It’s about a week’s journey on the main road from Nilvi to Rharen. He didn’t exactly give you a time frame for getting back to him. You’re certain that your close friends Alice, James, and Oliver are dying to talk to you.

What do you want to do?


Link to the large version of the map as the smaller size might be hard to read: https://pub.rachni.com/img/eolais-large.png

Places of note in town:

- Town Hall
- Marius’ Landing (Tavern, inn, and general shop)
- Sanguine Trading Company shop
- Docks
- Nilvi Marketplace
- Schoolhouse
- Ardent Blacksmithing
- Krazy Karl's Kandy Kafe and Ice Cream Shoppe

Note: I am trying my best to give a feel for the setting as much as possible through the story writing, but if anyone has any specific questions on things that you feel Syrra would know, do not hesitate to ask!

>>920066
There will definitely be more fantasy aspects to the technology of the world. Not quite steampunk, but dwemer-like is a close enough approximation.
>>
No. 920198 ID: f3bc7f

>>920197
Take Ali, Oli, and Jimbo to the ice cream shop for coffee and sweets. While there, get an idea of what has happened in recent weeks that you have missed.
>>
No. 920203 ID: c4c64c

You head to the public beach down near the docks, where you know your friends will be at this time of day. As expected, James is attempting to impress Alice with one of his Triple Wind-up Rock-skipping Flings. You stay back at first and wait, slightly nervous to approach your friends. “Watch this,” he says, “I’ve perfected the technique.” He adjusts his grip on a smooth stone in his hand, rotates his arm three times and takes a step towards the water, rocketing the stone out of his hand and… straight into the sand. Alice sits up and feigns a swoon, and her and Oliver burst out laughing. You take the distraction to approach.

Alice is the first to notice you, and she immediately jumps up. The white furred hare moves towards you, grabbing you by the shoulders, “Syr! Where have you been!?” She pulls you into a tight hug. It feels warm and familiar, and for the first time since this morning, you start to relax. James and Oliver, the wolf twins, rush over to join you.

“The fuck, man?” James scoffs at you, “I thought he was after me, for sure.”

“Masturbation 18 times a day isn’t a skill, James, the College doesn’t recognize perverts,” Oliver retorts. Alice snorts.

“Shut up,” James says, waving his hands in Oliver’s bespectacled face, “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” He turns to you, “What did the scroll say?”

“Hey guys,” you say, “wanna grab a coffee at Karl’s? We can catch up there.”

“Hell yeah,” says James. The others nod in agreement.

Your quartet heads across town to Krazy Karl’s, the local ice cream and sweets shop. It takes about an hour to get there. With everyone stopping to congratulate you and shake your hand along the way, you weren’t able to get in much conversation. When you arrive, the shop is empty except for Karl himself. Karl has been running the shop since before you can remember. A rat of immense proportions, he was always making new treats and pastries for the townsfolk to try. Most were a hit, but you remember spending a weekend unable to go far from a lavatory after a certain jelly dish made from an "exotic berry, straight from Paralia!" Despite the name on the sign, he is one of the nicest and down to earth people you had ever met.

He greets you warmly, “ah! My favorite customers, and our newest storybook legend, Syrra!”

You wince a little at the title.

“What can I get for you today?”

You each order your particular beverage of choice; Alice an iced tea, James a black coffee, Oliver a latte, and yourself a cappuccino. There were a few places in town you could buy a cup of coffee, but only at Karl’s could you find Coffee. This lead to your troupe spending what seemed like collective years in his establishment. It made you sad that you would be leaving soon.

Once you have your drinks, you take a seat at the table. You take a small sip and close your eyes, savoring the warmth and taste. When you open your eyes again, the three are looking at you, waiting for you to speak.

- What do you want to tell/ask them?
>>
No. 920212 ID: 2202fb

Questions:

1. Could we get an approx. age, height, build, proportions, hair, color, and personality crashcourse for each of the group?

2.Could we get a more detailed description of the bracelet and its machinations?

3.What is the most advanced common technology (pocket watches? trains? zeppelins? clockwork computers?)and what is the main source of power(i.e. Dwemer used steam and soul gems); what makes things run?

4. How small of machinations are we comfortable working with; tiny clockwork requiring (early) microscopes or is it more macro-scale things?

5. Are there humans, elves, or dwarves in this setting (presumably in a different civilization/country/continent if they do exist)?

Sorry about all the questions
--
>What do

Start crying (just tears, not bawling) and say this may be one of the last times you see your group.
>>
No. 920246 ID: c4c64c

>>920212
>1. Could we get an approx. age, height, build, proportions, hair, color, and personality crashcourse for each of the group?

Alice is 20, 5’2”, slightly chubby. White fur with auburn shoulder length hair. Southern belle attitude, minus the accent. She has been your best friend since you were born. Has a crush on James, but likes to tease him. You're pretty sure they've already slept together, though.

James is 22, 6’1”, very athletic. He’s a wolf with dark grey fur, and short swept-back black hair. Bit of a jock, though kindhearted. Can be a bit headstrong and forget to think things through sometimes. Has been trying to win Alice’s affections for years, but is too caught up in the chase to realize he already has them. Misses a lot of big hints.

Oliver is 22, 6’ even, slender build. A wolf as well, being James’ twin, but he has silver fur in contrast to his brother. He also has black hair, but it is nearly butt-length. Wears glasses. Soft-spoken, bookworm type. Extremely sarcastic. Aptitude for painting, and sells his art across the western half of Levan. Or so he tells you. Oliver is gay.

You are 20, 5’8”, average build. A fox with orange and white fur and dark brown hair that is kept trimmed in a pixie cut. Personality is mostly up to /quest/, but you grew up in Nilvi with your parents, who were both fishers. They, and 4 others, died during a rough storm at sea when you were 16. You have been living on your own since, though you have never felt that way with with the support of your friends and other townsfolk.. You easily find steady work fixing things for people around the village, and you are generally well liked by everyone.

>2.Could we get a more detailed description of the bracelet and its machinations?

You are very familiar with the bracelet, having taking it apart dozens of times. It is made from a thick leather band, with four pockets cut in it. Each pocket contains an intricate mechanism of gears, levers, springs, and pulleys, all which are made of metals. Two of the four have a spring gear that can be wound and released, causing the single section to run through short sequence before stopping with a loud click each time. The other two pockets have sections that will move and interact when you twist gears or flip the levers manually, but not as a whole like the first two pockets. You suspect there are pieces missing, but do not have the necessary skill, materials, or tools to make replacements at this time. The bracelet fits comfortably around your wrist when you have tried it on in the past.

>3.What is the most advanced common technology (pocket watches? trains? zeppelins? clockwork computers?)and what is the main source of power(i.e. Dwemer used steam and soul gems); what makes things run?

Watches and similar clockwork devices are common, as are sailing ships of all shapes and sizes. Horse transportation is still the main method of travel, either with carriages, stagecoaches, or just on horseback. Primary power source is geothermal power plants that create electricity in abundance. Electronics such as electromagnets, switches, and simple circuits are possible, and you are familiar with their workings. A large network of cables connects all the known cities and towns of Levan. Basic light bulbs exist, though oil lanterns are still fairly common. No one has built a working computer, that you know of. You recall reading about a flying balloon machine demonstrated by the College of Motion once, though details were scarce. You're pretty sure it was just made up. The most advanced kind of weaponry is flint-lock guns (and similar, such as canons, etc.), though they are more rare than traditional martial weapons, which are widely available. Clockwork devices, such as automaton machines, would be the most advanced technology in general that you are aware of, though most of them are experiments done by the College of Motion and have limited practical application. Approximations are sold as toys that can perform simple actions such as walking.

>4. How small of machinations are we comfortable working with; tiny clockwork requiring (early) microscopes or is it more macro-scale things?

Your practice with the bracelet has you somewhat comfortable working on moderately small things, though you have not had much experience outside the bracelet itself. You are less confident with fabrication at that small of scale. You are, however, certain that with the proper tools and materials you could learn rather quickly, given your extensive research on the subject. You are very comfortable with macro-scale machines and devices, including a limited familiarity with clockwork automatons.

>5. Are there humans, elves, or dwarves in this setting (presumably in a different civilization/country/continent if they do exist)?

There are no humans, elves, or dwarves. This setting is entirely anthropomorphic animals as the dominant species. However, there are many normal animals such as cows and horses, that are present as they are IRL. It is safe to assume that if a species is not listed below, it exists as its normal animal self. (I reserve the right to introduce new anthro species, but this is unlikely for this story) Here is a brief description of the three (known) countries and their inhabitants:

Levan
The country of Levan is run by a council of democratically elected leaders, known as the Council of Nine. It is named as such because of the 19 members that comprise it. There is no single leader, though the Council is granted absolute authority, though it is rarely exercised in favor of local autonomy. Each city/town of sufficient size is allowed to elect a council member to serve for their town’s interests. Most council members stay in their home cities/towns, and only convene in the capital of Rharen twice a year, or as emergency demands. Elections are held every 3 years, and there is no maximum term. The predominant species are wolves, squirrels, foxes, hares, mice, rats, and the occasional mole.

Paralia
Levan shares an at times uneasy alliance with Paralia. The country to the east mostly keep to themselves, though a sizable presence in the form of the Sanguine Trading Company can be found pretty much anywhere free trade is, all across Levan. Paralians are made of birds species, with the most numerous being ravens, crows, vultures, sparrows, parrots, cockatoos, and various birds of paradise. Paralia is a kingdom, with the eccentric birds of paradise making up the ruling families. You have met a few Paralians, the two crows who run the Sanguine shop in your town. They always seemed amicable to you.

Varvia
There’s bugs here. Not much else is known, they keep to themselves. The borders are well defended. Any scouts that happen to make it past their borders find nothing but empty wildlands. No villages or towns have ever been discovered. The inhabitants are not aggressive, and will go to great lengths to avoid conflict, but when sufficiently provoked are fearsome fighters. This trait has lead to a common idiom to tell someone to “not test the Varvian borders” when they are being annoying or rude. Minimal trade has been established, though typically for baubles and trinkets, not resources or food. They do not appear to have any kind of spoken language, but their level of technology (rivaling Paralia or Levan) suggests comparable intelligence. You have never seen a Varvian before.

This turned out a bit longer than I was expecting, but I appreciate the questions! I hope this helps the setting make more sense. This is my first quest, and I am used to quick back and forth with my players while running a D&D campaign, so this format is still new to me. I will try to anticipate any relevant important setting information in the future. I will have a normal update in the morning!
>>
No. 920247 ID: 080aaf

Tell them of your brilliant plan to build a massive tunnel borer to dig your way under the Varvian border. We must bug the bugs!
>>
No. 920290 ID: c4c64c

The reality of the situation, sitting here with your friends for what might be the last time, suddenly hits you. You feel tears starting to well up in your eyes and you try to fight them back, with little success. Alice, sitting next to you, reaches over and touches your arm. You smile, her comforts helping you regain your composure.

You take a deep breath. “I’m going to build a drill to tunnel in to Varvia,” you say, wiping the last few tears away.

“I’m sorry… what?” Oliver says, eyes wide.

“It’s time to bug the bugs,” you finish. You feel satisfied with yourself when the pun elicits a collective groan from the group, and you giggle a little. “But no, nothing like that. All I know is that I’m going with the Seeker to Rharen to meet the First Savant, Uther. After that, I get to live at the College of Motion! At least, I think? The letter wasn’t very clear.”

Your friends spend the next few hours, and several cups of coffee, bombarding you with questions, most of which you’re unable to answer.

Are you excited? Do you know what you’re going to study? What are you feeling right now? Are you going to miss us? How much money are they giving you? Will you be able to visit home? Will we be able to visit you?

James assures you that even if they’re not OFFICIALLY allowed to visit, he’s going to find a way in anyway. They all express wishes that they could come with you. It feels good to talk about, even if you are a bit overwhelmed. Their support helps your apprehension give way to excitement.

You make a mental note to ask Richmond about money and visitation. As if on cue, you hear the small bell on the door to the shop ring, and look to see Seeker Richmond walk through the entrance. Karl greets him, he waves and looks toward your group. His demeanor has completely changed since you met him at the town hall. He has a bounce in his step that wasn’t there before as he walks toward you, and his face looks much softer. Hard to believe this is the same man you felt so intimidated by just this morning.

Richmond approaches the table and introduces himself. Alice can't stop giggling.

“I was looking for you,” he says to you, "Can I talk to you briefly? I won't keep you from your friends for long."

He motions for you to join him, excusing himself to the rest. You follow him just out of earshot of the others. He asks you, “How are you doing? I know this can be a lot to take in at first.”

You shrug, “Ok, I guess. I’m still a little fuzzy on all the details.”

“Did everything in the letter make sense? I would understand if you have questions, Uther can be rather cryptic at times,” he says.

“Well, there wasn’t much in there, I just filled out the form on the back. It said to come with you to Rharen and to ask you if I had any questions. Also something about, kipes?” you explain.

The tip of his nose twitches in annoyance. "I keep asking Uther to create a template for these things... That’s really all it said?”

You nod.

“Well, let me clarify a few things. After an evaluation by the Savants at the College of Rharen, you’ll travel to your College of choice. There, you will find your new home. Food, clothing, and anything you need will be provided to you and any family you decide to bring with. Any you don’t would be well looked after. The College takes care of those it seeks, as I'm sure you're aware.”

Your ears droop slightly. “My parents died a few years ago,” you tell him, “I wouldn’t have anyone to bring.”

“Well, what about y-”

CRASH

You turn to see three cloaked figures dash into the shop. One of them grabs Alice. The other two knock James and Oliver to the ground, pinning them before they can react.

Alice shrieks.

>Input action
>>
No. 920318 ID: 080aaf

Tackle the one tackling James.
>>
No. 920335 ID: 6ee5db

>>920290
There are a lot of things to think and do here, first and foremost is: Yell for help. Second is; can you fight, or do you have a real weapon on you? If the answer to either if those is yes then help Alice, because she was grabbed and not tackled the person who has her can easily just run away and do whatever nefarious things they have planned. this will begin your destiny as a female /quest/ character to become a lesbian Next up is, what is Richmond doing? If you can't fight but he is preparing too, just try and support him to the best of your ability. If for whatever reason you fail don't fret, these people are almost certainly doing this to get at you for some reason, so they probably wont kill your friends. So really your friends may get hurt, but these people will get dead.
>>
No. 920345 ID: 2202fb

Don't shopkeepers generally have some kind of weapon kept under the counter for this sort if situation? If you carry a dagger or small crossbow on you, use this. In the much more likely event that you do not carry a weapon, improvise. Throw hot liquid (in the absence of said hot liquid, use the heaviest thing possible) and throw it on the guy pinning James. Then rush the guy holding Alice and try to kick them in the groin. Hopefully by this point someone else will have started to react who can help Oliver.

What are these guys wearing? What color (what faction) is it? What species are they? Are they male or female?
--

For family, you could bring your friends. If they need to be actual family, you could marry Oliver (marriage of convenience) which would make you all family.

--

We need to buy some weapons. How much money do we have?
>>
No. 920351 ID: 2c4707

Is your cappuccino still hot? If so, and if their faces are exposed, throw it in the face of the one holding Alice, then punch/kick them, whichever you feel more confident in.
>>
No. 920370 ID: c4c64c

Your mind races, several thoughts filling your head at the same time. You try to sort them out.

>Yell for help

You open your mouth to shout for help, but you’re not sure you could even hear yourself over Alice. She always had a powerful voice. Someone definitely heard her, if not you too.

>What are these guys wearing? What color (what faction) is it? What species are they? Are they male or female?

They’re wearing brown cloaks with heavy hoods, but you can make out that all three are crows. You can see on the back of the asshole pinning James the rough outline of a blue bird with red eyes (see: title card!). It looks painted on, and faded. From their silhouettes, you guess they are all male.

>can you fight, or do you have a real weapon on you?

You have no weapons, and no combat training. You’ve never fought anyone before! Years of working on heavy machines and fishing boats means you are in great shape and decently strong, however. You wager from the looks of these guys you could probably overpower one of them.

>money

You have a few thousand gold coins saved up from working and fixing plenty of passing boats, wagons, carriages and such. Nilvi may be small, but it gets a fair bit of traffic as one of the only fishing ports this side of Eolais.

>what is Richmond doing?

Richmond has an angry look on his face, and he’s moving towards the assailant on Oliver with his fists raised. He is fast for an old man.

>doing this to get at you

The fuck do they want with you!? You’re just a nobody! You don’t even know why the College wants you, let alone some creeps in robes. You’ve heard a few stories of young women disappearing in some of the towns to the south near Virmo, but those have just been rumors. This can’t be happening.

>Throw hot liquid

You left your coffee at the table, and it’s cold by this point anyway. You’ve been here for hours.

>Marriage to Oliver

You did have a crush on him at one point, he’s pretty cute. He is also very gay, though you don’t feel he’s having much fun being pinned by the man on top of him as he usually would.

>Don't shopkeepers generally have some kind of weapon kept under the counter for this sort if situation?

You don’t thi--holy shit, Karl just pulled out the biggest crossbow you have ever seen. He levels it with the figure pinning James. “Don’t you FUCKING move,” he shouts.

>Help Alice

Yes, the most important thing here is to help Alice. The boys can take care of themselves. The crow that grabbed her is already moving towards the door. You inhale sharply. Does anyone else smell that?
>>
No. 920371 ID: c4c64c

As you start to rush towards Alice, you feel like the whole world is covered in molasses. The air feels thick and shimmers. Everything has slowed down around you, except the crows. The one pinning James produces a jagged looking dagger from beneath his cloak and holds it against James’ back. “Don’t do anything stupid, rat,” he practically spits the last word, “or you’ll regret it.”

Karl’s eyes narrow. He doesn’t flinch.

Richmond shoots across the room and knocks the figure on top of Oliver off with a swift strike to the side of his head. He’s moving as fast as they are, why can’t you move faster? Your legs are straining to move against nothing. He turns to the other and shouts toward you, “Syrra, don’t let him out of your sight!”

Alice and her captor are already out the door as you run by the other two crows on the floor. As soon as you hit fresh air, your mind clears and everything snaps into focus. The immense weight holding you down is gone. You follow the sound of Alice’s screaming, spotting the faded blue of the emblem on the last crow’s cloak. He’s nearly at the end of the road. You charge after him, your whole body pounding with adrenaline. As he turns around the corner, you can no longer hear Alice. A few moments later, you reach the end of the street. Several townsfolk are peeking out from their homes to check what the commotion is, but you don’t see Alice or her kidnapper.

They’re gone. You don’t know how, but they simply vanished. You shout to anyone if they saw someone dragging Alice away, but you’re only met with confusion. Nobody seems to have seen anything.

No no no, shit, this can’t be happening, you think to yourself, what did she go?

You can start searching for Alice on your own, or you can head back to Karl’s shop and help fight off the other two attackers, waiting to search once everyone is safe.
>>
No. 920376 ID: c4c64c

I've been thinking about how I'm running this, and I'm going to try to start giving shorter updates with more opportunities for suggestions, rather than the larger updates I have been. This should hopefully make things a bit more engaging. Thank you for being patient with me as I learn!
>>
No. 920377 ID: 2202fb

>>920371
Smash the shop windows and tell them to get out. They are getting gassed.

Try to prioritize either getting the chef out or taking his arbalest from him before he accidentally rips off somebody's leg with that thing.

Alice is fucked for now. The best we can do is regroup and hope she can be recovered intact. Unless she got mixed up in some secret dark crime mojo somehow, she is probably unimportant and thus disposable. I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up raped, tortured, cut up, enslaved, or just killed as soon as the captives realize she is strategically useless - as you said, they have no reason to be after you.

--

We need to learn how to use a crossbow. Crossbows can be made into repeaters(meaning either full auto, similar to the irl auto-ballista the romans had or auto-loading from a magazine but requiring priming) and can hit extremely hard without requiring extensive training. You should be able to learn how to use one in a few hours.
>>
No. 920392 ID: 7dc36a

You're not the type to easily abandon friends and the old man looks like he can take care of it himself. Should the worst happen, you would at least feel guilty about it.

You can shout for Alice, and look into hidden alleys they could be hiding in, but they're birds, right? Best advice is to always look up.
Climb up to the rooftops and if you see them, you have a chance to catch up.
>>
No. 920402 ID: 2202fb

>>920392
We have no training and we risk getting captured ourselves. Lets regroup and tell the authorities.
>>
No. 920416 ID: 080aaf

Head back to Karl's shop. Breaking the windows is overkill though, just herd everyone outside.
>>
No. 920421 ID: c4c64c

You curse under your breath and head back to the shop. You’re going to need help tracking down Alice, and you can still help your friends back inside Karl’s shop. You quickly scan the skies, though you’ve never heard of any crows being able to achieve more than a simple glide, let alone flight while holding a feisty bunny. You take note to purchase a crossbow. You’ve seen them in action before, and are familiar with their operation already, you’ve just never had a reason to own a weapon before.

You hear muffled shouting and grunts coming from inside when you get close. The front door is still open, and you can see inside James has a crow pinned on the ground with his arms behind his back. He’s still struggling and throwing every curse in the book at James, but he has a solid grip. That crow isn’t going anywhere. The other is in a heap against the wall with a bolt the size of your arm sticking out of the side of his neck. Oliver is staring towards the back of the shop with his hand over his mouth. You follow his gaze.

You see Karl kneeling over Richmond on the floor, a pool of red around them. Karl is soaked in blood; The Seeker isn’t moving.

A sudden wave of nausea hits you.
>>
No. 920425 ID: 2202fb

Swallow back the nausea.

Kick the remaining crow in the head. We need them knocked out.

Check for a pulse, it hasnt been that long. If there is no pulse, you will need to start cpr (which we can explain manually if it doesnt exist yet). Strip Richmond's top off to expose their chest along with any clothing that would be covering the wound. Order Oliver to start putting pressure on the wound, wherever that is with your shirt, his shirt, etc. Get as much cloth as you can on it. Start chest compressions and mouth to mouth. Toss the poker into the fireplace (which this place should have since that is how heating works) and get ready to cauterize the wound if you cant get the bleeding to stop. Don't worry about modesty since people's lives are on the line.

Have the cook call the guard and reload.
>>
No. 920430 ID: 080aaf

Did he drop any good loot?
>>
No. 920452 ID: c4c64c

The shitstain underneath James throws a particularly rude insult at you which catches your attention again. A rage builds inside you like never before. You barely knew this man, but he was about to change your life forever, and now he was dead or dying. They took your best friend. Fuck them. Fuck this. Choking back your vomit you approach the struggling bird and deliver a hard kick. Your boot makes a dull *thud* against the side of his head and he goes limp. James looks at you, “Damn, girl.”

You ignore him and move to Richmond’s side. When you get close, you can see he’s still breathing, but barely. There’s a gash along his midsection that you can see through his robes. It looks deep, and Karl is applying pressure where he can. “Help me get his robe off, we need to try and stop the bleeding,” he says to you, eerily calm. You tear along the slit in the rob left by what you assume was the crow’s knife and pull the scraps of cloth away, exposing the old hare’s chest. His fur is matted thick with blood and you can still see it oozing out.

>Toss the poker into the fireplace
Karl’s shop has a wood furnace in the back that heats the shop when it gets cold, but it’s the middle of the summer right now.

“Oliver, give me your shirt!” you shout. He quickly pulls it off and hands it to you. You bunch it up and lay it across the wound, applying pressure as much as you can. Richmond winces and coughs. James anticipates you and offers his as well. Both layers soak through in moments. As you try to apply more pressure, the Seeker’s eyes shoot open and lock with yours.

“Go… to Rharen,” he gasps, “find Uther. Tell him… Tell him the Songbirds have come.”

He is overcome with a fit of coughing, until his eyes close and he goes limp. Karl takes a hold of Richmond’s wrist, and shakes his head. “He’s dead. Was not’n else we could ‘ave done. Th’ bastards used Daydream dust on us. It’s a miracle I didn’t miss that'n,” he says, gesturing to the impaled corpse, “This fella, he… he saved us. Didn’t seem t’ affect him. Moved quick as lightning, but not fast enough. They were trained, real specialists.” He stands and looks down at himself, appearing to notice the blood covering him for the first time. He wipes his hands on the front of his apron, nodding toward the unconscious crow, “I’ll take care of ‘im, don’t worry. You three, find Samantha and the rest of the guard. You need t’ get Alice back. Be quick, be careful. Check in th' back room before you leave, green chest,” he says, tossing you a key.

James and Oliver both look to you.


Current Items:
- Chest key
- Your work overalls, slightly bloodstained
- 15 silver pieces
- A whole lot of anger and sadness

Mental Notes:
Samantha is the leader of the town guard. She is a dire wolf in her 30s. You never got along with her, she's too strict, but she always meant well.

Despite his disappearing trick, you're certain the last Songbird (as Richmond called them) and Alice have to be close by. They can't have made it out of Nilvi unnoticed.
>>
No. 920454 ID: 2202fb

Yell for someone to call the guards outside. They should be able to take care of it (they may be on their way already with all the commotion).

Time to switch to pragmatic mode. Search the bodies for anything useful (thank Richmond for his sacrifice and continued help for anything you may take from him), then go to the chest pronto.
>>
No. 920463 ID: 080aaf

The Songbirds had weapons, collect and distribute them.
>>
No. 920465 ID: 7dc36a

It's obvious now: They weren't after you (how could they be?), they were after the Seeker and wanted to send a message to the College. This has politics and intrigue all over it; be careful who you trust from now on. You might have wanted to take a trip to the capital with your friends (all three of them), but definitely not like this.

You could search the crow while he's unconscious before you get the guards. Does he have plans or a map for a location to regroup?
>>
No. 920565 ID: c4c64c

>Yell for someone to call the guards outside. They should be able to take care of it (they may be on their way already with all the commotion).

First things first, you need to alert the guards that there’s a kidnapper out there with Alice. A quick glance outside confirms that there is a crowd gathering. You walk outside and quickly scan everyone, noticing Terry; a squirrel that works on the docks you had a fling with once. Perfect, he was a fast runner, he should be able to track the guards down for you. You give him the quick rundown on the events so far and the best description of the Songbird who took Alice that you can. A collective gasp is heard from the crowd when you mention the Seeker’s murder. Why would anyone attack a member of the College? He nods and sprints off in search of the guards. With that taken care of, you ask everyone to please keep the streets clear and head back to their homes, and go back inside closing the door behind you.

Oliver and James are sitting back at the table that just a few minutes ago you were laughing and talking at. It feels like a life time ago. James is staring intently at his empty cup, sullen. Oliver sees you come back inside and hops up, giving you a tight hug. "We'll find Alice. I promise. We're still OK, and we captured one of these... Songbirds or whoever they are," he says, fighting back tears, "they won't get away with this."

"You're damn right they won't," you say, squeezing him back. You break the hug and scan the room again.

>thank Richmond for his sacrifice and continued help for anything you may take from him

You don't want to go anywhere near Richmond right now, let alone rob him. Thankfully, Karl has taken a tablecloth and covered him. He's sitting next to the body with his eyes closed. Maybe one of these birds had something on them that would explain why they attacked or where they might have taken Alice. You look toward the slain Songbird and that sick feeling starts bubbling up again.

“James, can you check this one for any clues to who they are or where they might have taken Alice?” you ask. He slowly looks up at the sound of his name and says, "Yeah, sure. No problem boss." He kneels down and gets to work searching through the voluminous robes. You turn your attention to the unconscious crow and search him.

Between James and yourself, you find:

- 2 kris dagger with sheath. One appears unused, still sheathed. The other is covered in blood.
- A tattered piece of parchment, found on the dead one, with nothing visible on it
- 8 copper coins
- 2 leather pouches, empty, with traces of a sickly sweet smelling powder inside.

(If you wish to take any of these items, please specify who will take what)

Mental notes:

>>920465
You're not sure what they were after, but by all accounts Richmond was collateral damage. They didn't attack him, they went straight for Alice. However, this entire thing screams cult to you, especially given the rumors from out of town lately. You'll need to be careful about who you trust going forward for sure.

I have been talking to an artist who is interested in providing art for future updates! We are working to flesh out the specifics, but you can expect some accompanying images soon. Likely after Chapter 1 completes.
>>
No. 920573 ID: 080aaf

While you wait for the guards, check the blank parchment for invisible ink. It might be the heat-visible kind?
>>
No. 920578 ID: 7dc36a

Ask Oliver if he knows anything about invisible inks, he is a painter after all, or what he could do the the parchment. It could keep his mind focused on less grisly things.

Unfortunately, unless the cultists in town are using a machine powered by virgin blood, you should feel a bit out of your depth here. On the other hand, resolve this fast enough and no one will question your acceptance to the College. Time to be a Hero and do a rescue, I guess.
>>
No. 920600 ID: 2202fb

Weapons first! You have no idea how to use a dagger or sword so the only chance you have is if you grab a crossbow from somewhere first (chef's arbalest is too big).
>>
No. 920716 ID: c4c64c

You turn over the fragment of parchment in your hands, but don’t see anything on it. You ask Oliver if he knows anything about hidden messages or inks. He walks over and takes the piece, holding it up to the light.

“Yeah, I’ve seen a few tricks before. One of the guys I write to in Rharen uses a few special kinds of ink that only show up if exposed to heat or certain chemicals for his...," Oilver trails off for a moment. "I’ll, uh... I’ll take this back to my place and see what I can find. I don’t think I’ll be much help to you, and... I kind of want to leave here,” he says, glancing toward Richmond.

You reassure him that you and James will be able to handle things. He gives you one more hug before he leaves.

You take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves. A resolve that you’re going to get Alice back, gives you a second wind. Weapons are necessary. You recall the chest Karl mentioned, and reach in to your pocket to find the key. It’s a large and heavy bronze key. The handle is shaped like the wings of a butterfly. You call for James to join you, and you both head to the room behind the long counter of the shop to search for the chest. After a few moments, you spot it in the corner, partially hidden under an old blanket. James helps toss the heavy blanket aside. The revealed chest is about 4 feet in length, 2 feet deep, and a dark green color with several bronze straps riveted to it. It takes both of you to drag it out where you can get at the lock on the front. When you kneel down to open it, you see that the lock mechanism has a pattern that matches the key. Two wings of a butterfly, though this version is far more intricate. A web of tiny lines almost dances and shifts along the inner areas of the wings. It’s beautiful. You bring the key up to the lock hole, and insert it. As you turn the key, you feel the fur all over your body begin to stand on end, electrified. The key snaps into position. The lock clicks open.

*CRACK*

The sound rumbles softly and rises into a loud crack, stopping unnaturally quick, like thunder in reverse. Your fur settles back, as if nothing had happened. The lid of the chest opens slightly. When you peak inside, you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking at.

There’s a... ladder? It leads down into darkness.
>>
No. 920717 ID: 2202fb

>>920716
Either this is magic, or this isn't just a bistro. Who the hell is this baker
...and what are the chances these pigeons were after him?
>>
No. 920736 ID: 7dc36a

Interesting...
Ask James if he is seeing what your seeing.
Drop a coin down there and see how long it takes to fall.
Feel around the walls past the chest's "bottom". Do you think it's the same as the ground outside? Do you feel any static or electricity? A fake bottom?

If there's at least a flour down there, you can go down the ladder and get whatever's in there.

Is this kind of "magic" known, recognized or studied at the College? If so, how will known is it in the public if only though tall tales?

>>920717
It seems they were only there to kidnap Alice and were surprised to find Richmond there, even if prepared for it. Yet, it's clear we do not know much about Karl. He's been helpful at least, we can ask him about it after this is over.
>>
No. 920754 ID: 2202fb

>>920736
The chest may just be an elaborate door covering a hidden basement; it isnt necessarily magic. It is surprising and unusual though.
>>
No. 920869 ID: c4c64c

>Who the hell is this baker

Karl is just a big friendly rat. He’s 43, given how many years passed when you last asked how old he was (you were 12 at the time). Nilvi has been his him for as long as you can remember. Others in town have said he opened the shop when he moved in, so you aren’t sure what else he could be other than baker and confectioner. He closes up shop and leaves for a few months to visit his family every few years or so. You can’t think of anything else relevant right now.

>Ask James if he is seeing what your seeing.

You ask James if he’s seeing the same impossible thing you are. “Yeah, boss. That ladder is leading to nowhere,” he confirms. You aren’t sure you like this new trend of him calling you boss. You elbow him playfully, “Boss? I’ll have to mull that one over.” He chuckles, and then points, “hey, wait, isn’t that the College Insignia? Looks a bit off though.” You follow his finger and see what is definitely the symbol of the College carved on the lid of the chest; a scroll clasped by fi--wait, no, only four hands? The symbol has always had 5 hands for the 5 branches. History books that talk of its founding even mention all 5. Huh.

>The chest may just be an elaborate door covering a hidden basement

You pulled it out from the corner it was tucked in. You don’t think this is a door.

>Drop a coin

Not wanting to waste one of your silver coins, you go grab one of the copper ones found on the Songbirds (7 remain in the pile of items recovered). You drop it through the entrance, and after a brief silence you hear it chime against what sounds like a stone floor. It echoes softly, and your keen ears can tell there is definitely a room with walls there. Doesn’t sound that far down.

>Feel around the walls past the chest's "bottom"

You lean in to the chest and reach under the inside edge of the bottom of the chest. You can feel the bottom edge of the sides of the chest, but when you feel around, it’s like the chest is floating. You feel a slight tingling in your fingers when you feel up the side of the chest. Your fingers should be visible from the other side, and you ask James if your hand is coming out of the floor. “Nope,” he says. Your eyes adjust a bit being partially in the chest, and you can just barely make out the floor. It’s about 12 feet down, and looks like smooth stone.

>Is this kind of "magic" known

There is no such thing as magic! Sure, you’ve heard and told stories involving various witches or wizards, performing the impossible. Those are just stories though! Yet, here you are with an impossible chest. You’ve never heard of a story of a chest or anything else with a ladder descending to darkness before.

You push back out of the chest, slightly flustered. James looks at you, “well? Karl said we should check this out, yeah?”
>>
No. 920889 ID: 2202fb

>>920869
Lets keep an open mind. Plus, they say that advanced enough technology is indistinguishable from magic to the untrained eye.
>>
No. 920958 ID: 080aaf

It could be an armory. Get some lights on in here!
>>
No. 920978 ID: 2202fb

>>920958
Exactly my thoughts.
>>
No. 920991 ID: 417401

>>920869
Well whatever's going on with the chest, time is wasting, the impossibility and reason behind it isn't important at the moment but what's inside might be.

Get in there with light.

Find whatever Karl probably wanted you to see then get out there looking for Alice.
>>
No. 921015 ID: 7dc36a

Just go in, no time to waste.

The missing hand of the Ancient College Symbol is mysterious. Which School would you think be the odd one out? How old is the College? There's good odds that it might be yours, given how reliant on tech it is.

Be sure to make a wry comeback to James for that nickname. If you need muscle for any engineering projects in the future, you'd be willing to give him a job. He IS good with his hands, so you been told.
>>
No. 921023 ID: c4c64c

You close your eyes and smack your cheeks a few times just to make sure you aren’t dreaming. You aren’t. You’ll have time to worry about the implications of all this later, Alice needs your help and Karl thinks whatever is down here can help you.

“Alright, let’s find a light,” you say to James, “I’ll go first.” There’s a small oil lantern already lit hanging from the wall. James grabs it and watches as you awkwardly climb over the edge of the chest, making sure that you have solid footing and the ladder is sturdy before beginning your descent. It looks old, but it’s secured well. He hands you the lantern saying, "Be careful, boss."

You start to descend the ladder with the lantern held above your head. A tingling passes across your body as you pass over the threshold where the bottom of the chest should have been. It's... not entirely unpleasant. Your ears buzz softly when they cross. As soon as the lantern crosses into the space beneath, the room is instantly flooded with light. When you reach the bottom, you step on to the smooth stone floor. It feels warm in here, and there is a faint floral smell.

When you look around, all you can see are rows and rows of shelving. This appears to be some kind of storeroom. Most of the items on the shelves are either wrapped or in wooden boxes, crates, or chests so it’s hard to get an idea of what’s in here. You call up that it’s safe, and James joins you. You can see there’s several shelves with various weaponry, some you recognize and some you don’t.

You hear the creaking hinge of a door and a voice calls out from behind one of the shelves, “Oh! I wasn’t expecting company. Are you friends of Karl?” A young mouse, in her late 20s by your estimate, steps out from behind a shelf to your left. She has light gray fur, and her emerald eyes shimmer in the light of your lantern. A silken dress hugs her form. The top is cut in a deep V, exposing much of her ample chest. A slit runs up her leg from her feet to her waist on the left side. A belt is strapped around her waist with a scabbard and sword hanging loosely from it. She sucks on one of her front teeth, looking you and James up and down. She catches herself and straightens her posture, a playful smirk on her face. “Where are my manners!” she exclaims, giving an elaborate curtsy, ”I am Emmeline. How may I be of service?”
>>
No. 921028 ID: 2202fb

>>921023
Lets hope you aren't a lesbian. Smack the stupefied James.

Brief le mouse.
>>
No. 921034 ID: 080aaf

"A gang called the Songbirds just kidnapped our friend and killed a College Seeker. What do you have that can help?"
>>
No. 921274 ID: c4c64c

>Lets hope you aren't a lesbian. Smack the stupefied James.

You’re reasonably sure that you’re not a lesbian, but this mouse isn’t making that easy. She just looks so soft. You catch James gawking a little, and give his shin a light kick. "Steady, slim,” you say. Emmeline giggles lightly, clearly not bothered by it.

Not one to let such good manners - even those applied a bit late - go to waste, you introduce yourselves. You then recount the events so far. Emmeline listens to your story about Richmond coming to Nilvi, your selection by the College, the sudden attack by the Songbirds, Richmond’s murder, and Alice’s kidnapping. When you first say the word Songbirds, the playfulness disappears from Emmeline and her face hardens. She clasps the hilt of her sword, which you notice has a pommel in the shape of a butterfly. She asks, “how long ago did they take your friend?”

“About an hour ago.”

“And there were three, you said? You’re certain of that?”

“Definitely. We have two up,” you pause for a moment and look up at the chest floating above your head, remembering just how bizarre this situation is, “...the ladder. One is dead and the other is knocked out. Alice was taken by the third.”

“We need to move. Quickly. Are either of you trained with weapons?”

“Not really. I know how guns and crossbows work, and James use to spar with some of the other kids when he was younger. He was never very good though.”

“Hey! I could hold my own. I mean... I was only 12,” he says, slightly annoyed.

Emmeline turns and starts walking towards one of the shelves, motioning for you to follow. Neither you nor James can resist watching her backside as she practically glides across the floor. She stops and pulls a canvas cover off of the shelf, revealing a pile of some of the most intricate and beautiful pieces of martial weaponry you have ever seen. Ornate cutlasses, long swords, rapiers, and daggers with etched designs and elaborate pommels to name a few. Polearms with carvings down the entire length. Despite their adornment, you’ve been around the town blacksmith enough to know a sturdy weapon when you see one. Finally, you spot two flintlock rifles. Yhe stocks have the same butterfly pattern inlaid in silver you have been seeing elsewhere, and they look newer than their bladed companions. Emmeline gestures to the veritable buffet in front of you, saying, “take whatever you think will suit you best, dears.”

She then watches you, studying. Her face appears to have softened again slightly.

You have your choice of weapon. As you are looking through them, you can find pretty much any kind of martial weapon you’ve ever heard of. They all appear to be of the highest quality, but are covered in a layer of dust. You suspect that none have been used before. You consider taking more than one weapon, simply on their beauty alone, but think better of it. You’re going to want to travel light. As you are looking, you have a moment to gather your thoughts.

Mental Notes:
>How old is the College?

The College is around 300 years old. While the current College of Motion is focused on modern machines and technology, they’ve always been on the cusp of research and development.

>Which School would you think be the odd one out?

You aren’t sure. As far as you know, all 5 branches were there when the College was founded.
>>
No. 921276 ID: 080aaf

Only one? Flintlocks aren't usually renowned for their rate of fire. Take a pepperbox pistol!
>>
No. 921283 ID: 5b93d3

>>921274
Look for a Wheellock.
>>
No. 921291 ID: 2202fb

>>921274
Do one of two things: either take three or four flintlock pistols or take a crossbow. You could also ask if they have any repeating crossbows. Take a shortsword as well for melee. She should understand your wanting to not be a sitting duck if someone gets close to you.
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