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 Rendezvous with Miya Keppon

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kpsmith
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PostSubject: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:51 am

Ashidaka Koutetsu wrote a letter to Miya Keppon. Doji Ejio had informed him that the flighty Imperial liked to be entertained. So, in his efforts to woo the Miya he attempted to catch her attention if he had any hopes of courting her.

To the fairest Miya Keppon-dono,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I apologize that we have not been able to meet sooner. Ejio-san scolds me for putting off the opportunity to meet with the esteemed lady he boasts so much about. I found myself quite busy during the fall serving as the governor of the Juramashi district. My transition into Chisei has been no less eventful. However, between my duties and practice of my family traditions, I have moved the weight of the Inner City so I might afford time to enjoy your notable company. If you might honor me with a walk so we can enjoy the lingering warmth of summer together, I would be quite happy with the opportunity. I hope to hear from you soon.

Your friend,

Ashidaka no Kakita Koutetsu
[CHOP]


On the opposite side of the letter, a haiku is written.

The heart of winter,
Beats with promise of summer,
For a brighter spring.


The letter is written on a square of vibrant gold leaf paper, folded as an origami crane and delivered to Keppon's residence.

Calligraphy 36, 2 Raises
Origami 31, 2 Raises
Poetry 36, 2 Raises
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:59 pm

To the Regent of the Ashidaka House,

The Lady Keppon has requested me to respond to your letter. I am the assistant to the hatamoto of her household known as Seppun Gusai. It is my humble duty to respond to lords and ladies of significance such as yourself.

My lady wishes me to convey her deepest respect for the Lord Ejio. She is enamored with the prospect of attending the upcoming Turqouise Championship and hopes Ejio’s controversial works will be put on full display.

The Lady Keppon unfortunately did not have the time to review your poem, but the work has not gone unappreciated. As a connoisseur of fine calligraphy, poetry, and origami, I offer my humble critique that your work is suitably passable in the High Courts of the Imperial Capitol. So many samurai these days lack talent in the finer arts and it warms my Lady’s heart that yours is not so cold.

The Lady Keppon will attend to you, but has requested that your walk take you and her entourage outside the bound walls of the Ekohikei. The Lady Keppon has become intimiately familiar with the Inner City and its beauties and desires a fresh take on Otosan Uchi. Her chief travel advisor informs me that the Lady has recently expressed an extreme interest in revisiting the infamous Candle House.

Finally, my Lady grants me the pleasure of offering my own insights regarding potential suitors. You must know that the Lady Keppon is a woman of fine taste and grand intellect. She becomes quite bored, quite easily, with the repetitive pleasures of the Imperial City. She constantly seeks out unique and daring new enterprises and people with which to share them. It is my most humble opinion, my Lord Ashidaka, that you may be best served by regaling the Lady Keppon with unique and dangerous tales of your time as the Blade of Execution. Or, perhaps the finer details of your interactions with the grand sensei known as Kakita Chi-Yomi.

We would not wish to bore a Princess of the Miya House.

Seppun Gusai
Chief Assistant to the Hatamoto Miya Zerachi
Household of the Imperial Princess
[Chop of Miya Keppon]

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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:52 pm

To the Office of Seppun Gusai,

Greetings and salutations from House Ashidaka. I wished to convey my sincere gratitude of your reply to my letter to the fairest Miya Keppon. I thank you for your appreciation of my work. I feel as a Crane many fine arts are naturally borne of my hand. If you or perhaps Keppon-dono appreciates my work, I would be compelled to practice my calligraphy and refine my poetry. What is art if no one is to witness its beauty?

I would be most pleased to escort your Lady to the Candle House in the northern Juramashi district. I am on good authority to arrange for a private visit as my dear friend Kitsune Sojin will soon become steward of the estate. Let your Lady know the Commander of the Mondai Ketsu will be soon acquiring the Candle House and I will captivate her with the tales surrounding the infamous locale. I hope she will be intrigued by the harrowing tales I have to offer.

Your insight is deeply appreciated and I thank your Lady for affording you the opportunity. It is my hope she is not faint of heart - the Blade of Execution is a grisly tale and I would hope not to upset her. However, if she is excited by the prospect of war stories, ghost stories and every daring feat inbetween I will ensure she is thoroughly entertained. I will additionally arrange for a display of my late masters swords to be displayed if she wishes insight into the mastersmith Kakita Chi-Yomi.

I will strive to keep your Lady quite pleased. Inform her I look forward to her company.

Signed,

Ashidaka no Kakita Koutetsu
The Blade of Execution
[CHOP]


Calligraphy 40, 2 Raises
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:32 am

To the Regent of the Ashidaka House,

The Lady Keppon has seen fit to inform my lord hatamoto, Miya Zerachi, to arrange for the pleasure of making your acquaintance at the Candle House upon your leisure on the morrow.

My Lady will be accompanied by four honored servants of the Seppun house in her time outside the Ekohikei. These men stand ready at all times to defend the honor and life of the Miya Princess.

Further, my Lady will travel by palanquin with the duly required servants. Her favorite three handmaidens will stand by for the sake of propriety.

My Lady's chief travel advisor, Miya Oronokimi, has granted me leave to attend both her and the Lady Keppon.

Under this meager entourage shall the Lady meet you and be entertained. She wished me to inform you that she does not shy from war stories, ghost stories, or the likes of the Commander of the Mondai Ketsu. On a personal note, I must remind my lord Ashidaka again that my Lady gets quite bored with the standard fare of the Imperial City.

Be prepared to be exotic and unique.

Seppun Gusai
Chief Assistant to the Hatamoto Miya Zerachi
Household of the Imperial Princess
[Chop of Miya Keppon]

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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:20 am

The Crane lordling reasoned that Miya Keppon would be bringing four manservants to carry her palanquin, four Seppun guardsmen to protect her personage, three handmaidens to attend her, two personal advisors and herself to their walk. Ashidaka Koutetsu was playing the game at Ejio's suggestion - that was to say, he'd attempt to woo the Imperial for the sake of finding a suitable bride. He agreed with his friend: he needed allies, wealth and people invested in his well being. With Bayushi Akedare wearing down his family he needed every friend he could manage. It was a lonely feeling being in the Imperial City, lonelier yet if you had no one to lean on.

So, Koutetsu waited for the Imperial entourage at the Candle House the day following the letter from Seppun Gusai. Admittedly, the Ashidaka expected little out of the Imperial. As rumor dictated, she was a spoiled Imperial with too much time on her hands. What was more important was that she was a wealthy and well-connected Imperial, which would be a boon for himself. So, going into the ordeal he was anticipating playing the game.

How hard would it be to woo Miya Keppon?

The Crane swordsmith waited in front of the Candle House, a large estate that was as intimidating as it was storied. After Ide Tenseko relinquished the estate to Kitsune Sojin and the Mondai Ketsu, the building had become renovated. While it still possessed its grisly charm, it was becoming less the local haunt than the newest garrison of the Fury of the Hantai. At the top of a flight of stairs before two sliding doors Koutetsu stood dressed in the trappings of a warrior. He wore a haori and kosode with a pleated hakama. At his left hip was a pair of swords and a fan was tucked into his belt. His hair was simply tied up into a ponytail, lacking the more formal appearance of a samurai topknot.

He did not wear silks but practical garments appropriate for the field opposed to court. After all, they were about to spend an afternoon in a place soaked with blood. Koutetsu knew the Candle House very well.

"And so the game begins," Koutetsu murmured to himself.

He watched as the Imperial entourage finally arrived. The Candle House had been prepared for her arrival, a stark silhouette against the gilded cityscape. He hoped she'd be entertained with stories of monsters and ghosts, blood and honor and curses and blessings.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:27 am



Rollin' Up Hard


Seppun Gusai had grossly misrepresented the entourage's expected size.

As Koutetsu watched, more than two dozen individuals in slow procession made their way to the front doors of the Candle House. Instead of four palanquin bearers, there were six. The four Seppun Guards, Seppun Gusai, and Miya Oronokimi were all present as well, but all around them were young maidens of all ages.

It looked as if Miya Keppon had gathered together all the available maidens of her house to come with her on this outing.

The entourage stopped abruptly as Koutetsu finished counting the group for the second time. The doors to the palanquin slid open, but his attention was drawn away to the fast-approach of the youngest Seppun Guard who raced up the steps. The man bowed sharply, hands held tight to his own blades, and spoke without preamble.

"The Lady Miya Keppon wishes to attend you at the Candle House with her cousins, nieces, and advisers." The Seppun glanced down to Koutetsu's swords with an unreadable expression. "The presence of weapons will not be tolerated before the Imperial Personage."

Koutetsu glanced back to see that Keppon had already made her way halfway up the stairs. A trio of young girls, no more than seven or eight years of age, trailed her, each carrying their own little fans.

The Seppun continued to stare at the Ashidaka's blades as if the stare alone would make them vanish.

Seppun Gusai raced up to speak.

"The Lady Keppon, Imperial Princess of the Miya House, Flower of the Forbidden City, Glorious - " Keppon rolled her eyes and held up a hand cutting off the Seppun's words.

She looked directly into Koutetsu's eyes and finished the last three steps and stopped, easily within reach of his swords. Without breaking eye contact, she smirked in coquettish fashion and tilted her head.

"I think the Blade of Execution has earned the right to keep his swords. I wonder at what he would be without them, in fact. You don't intend to harm me, do you Kouetetsu-san?"



Miya Keppon Image Link

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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:19 pm

The Ashidaka had given the Seppun a pointed look, the look that suggested he doubted the seriousness of his request. It amused him as he wondered if the longer the Seppun stood before him, would his daisho disappear sooner for it. Koutetsu made no indication to remove his paired swords. In fact, his day with Keppon would involve a fair number of swords. He was not about to scrap his plans for his Imperial guest. It was clear Koutetsu was surprised by the breadth of Keppon's entourage as he stood counting the maidens in her employ. He had a look of resignation, overwhelmed by the ludicrousness of her entourage. When Keppon presented herself before him he offered a bow appropriate for her station.

"What would I be without my swords, my Lady? Consider this: A sword is just a tool. It is the hand that delivers death," the swordsmith spoke in eloquent suggestion. Koutetsu smiled at the Imperial Princess - a dark, daunting look - and inclined his head. "I have no reason to harm you, my Lady, I assure you. Though you are quite trusting to be standing within the reach of a man with a reputation as bloody as my own."

With a sweeping gesture he indicated to the door of the Candle House. "Now, just this way. I have prepared the Candle House for your arrival," Koutetsu spoke. He purposely rendered her entourage the minimum attention required; appropriate bows for Imperial advisers, nods of recognition for her dutiful guardsmen and otherwise indifference towards the train of handmaidens in her company. On a level he was appalled by the girth of her entourage yet he knew he had to play the game. So, he carried a charming smile on his lips and sought to entertain Keppon with his sincerity. Koutetsu was if anything an honest man.

The Crane escorted Keppon into the foyer of the estate. The interior had been renovated to serve the needs of the Mondai Ketsu: the motif of the Fury of the Hantei was emblazoned on the wall within the foyer, a silent announcement to the presence of the Emperor's personal corps of samurai.

"Since you last arrived, my Lady, the Mondai Ketsu have acquired the Candle House to serve as a barracks outside of the Ekohikei. It is here new recruits are trained and quartered," the Ashidaka explained to the Imperial and her entourage. "Due to certain parties seeking to move against the Mondai Ketsu in the absence of the Emperor, their numbers are being bolstered as the Emperor has many enemies, my Lady."

He nodded and slid open the sliding door leading into an adjacent chamber for Keppon.

"Kitsune Sojin-sama found the acquisition of the Candle House agreeable to the Mondai Ketsu. After the grisly attack during the Night of 100 Candles and the execution that later took place, the house carried a stigma he liked. There is surely more blood soaked into the floors of this estate than perhaps any other in the Imperial City."
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:31 pm

Keppon’s knowing smirk remained as Koutetsu made his introductions to her entourage. Her chief yojimbo leaned in to suggest, once again, that Koutetsu be removed of his blades. The Miya scoffed and threw back her hand.

“I am not afraid, Seppun-san. Koutetsu would not harm me. He wouldn’t even consider it because a Crane would know that to harm one such as me would bring utter ruin down upon himself and his house. I might be dead, but his entire family line would be stricken from the Imperial Records.”  Her eyes drifted lazily about the Candle House as she spoke. Finally, she locked eyes once more with the Ashidaka.

“It would simply be as if you and yours never even existed.”

Seppun Gusai coughed politely into his fist and the entire entourage moved forward. Keppon extended her arm and rested her hand gently upon Koutetsu’s much to the chagrin of her yojimbo.

The Miya princess listened in rapt attention as Koutetsu explained the recent acquisition of the Candle House, but as they went inside she held up her free hand and leaned over to speak in a stage whisper, easily loud enough for her followers to hear.

“Oh, Kou-chan, this history is exciting, but I want something more. Wonderful Ejio promised me that you would entice and entertain, not bore me to death with grisly details of some violence. If I wanted to hear tales of violence, I need never leave my home. Give me something more. Please me.”

Koutetsu felt the Miya’s hot breath on his neck, her soft flesh beneath the layers of robes against his body, her fingers tighten on his forearm, and the mischievous smile in her eyes.

Filth. Imperial filth.

The words echoed so clearly in Koutetsu’s mind that he suffered a brief misstep.

She will lie. She will steal everything you hold dear. She will demand that you give her more. Disgusting, Imperial filth!

It was Chi-Yomi, but the snarling, hateful voice dripped with a venom Koutetsu had never heard her use in life.

Take her to where I died and shove her stinking Imperial nose in my blood. Rub it in until she squeals!

“Kou-chan, are you ok?”


OOC:
- Keppon Intimidate (Control) / Awareness (3 Raises) vs. Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. You may add Honor to the end result of your roll.
- Keppon Temptation (Seduction) / Awareness (3 Raises) vs Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. You may add Honor to the end result of your roll.
o If successful, her purpose is to throw Koutetsu off his game and cause him to make mistakes. She is testing him and if he fails, she will grow bored.
o Let us say that if she succeeds in double your Willpower worth of Raises on either tact (Fear or Seduction) she causes you to make a Minor Breach of Etiquette in response. We’ll work from there to make it more dangerous and difficult.
- As a note, Keppon is VERY good at what she does, but she can be distracted away from her tactic. If you successfully impress her or draw her attention away, she will lose focus.
- Finally, also roll for resisting Haunted (Kakita Chi-Yomi)


Miya Keppon Intimidation and Temptation
- Temptation (Seduction): 43 - 15 (3 Raises) = 28
- Intimidation (Control): 71 - 15 (3 Raises) = 56


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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:18 pm

"I am well, my Lady. Merely... Considering how best to keep your rapt attention."

The Crane swordsmith was not pleased at all by the means in which she spoke down to him. After having struggled against Bayushi Akedare for months, he was not willing to simply let her suggest he would dishonor himself and destroy his own house. He regarded her with a stoic look yet his eyes flickered with a seething fury that burned as hot as his forge. No matter how soft her flesh might feel or how sweet her perfume might smell, he would not stand for her machinations. He proceeded to escort her into another chamber to deliver a point. She wanted to be entertained? So, he politely patted her hand as he cut his eyes to her; all poise and grace, Koutetsu bowed his head.

"Seppun Gusai-san informed me of your interest in the late Kakita Chi-Yomi," Koutetsu spoke as he gestured to the room before her.

They stood within the heart of the Candle House, the chamber in which the Game of 100 Candles took place; the chamber in which Koutetsu slayed his sensei. The room was since converted into a storage chamber for the Mondai Ketsu and he had lit candles within to chase away the pervasive darkness. Of note there were a number of Kakita Chi-Yomi's swords he had donated to Kitsune Sojin, beautiful weapons on racks that lined the walls. Despite the change of the tatami and change of purpose of the room, it still held a haunting quality.

"You'll know I'd never harm you, my Lady," he assured her, feeling daunted by her suggestion despite his own courage. "Yet, you must know the danger I pose. I still marvel by you taking my company... So, excuse me one moment to ensure my... Sincerity. I will remove my sword to assure you - and your entourage - I mean no harm."

With an inclination of his head he pulled himself away from her. He stepped four paces ahead, out of clear range of Keppon and turned. In the distinct Kakita style he performed a flourish and a draw; the Twilight Mountain Blade leaped from its saya and he planted the blade into the floor with a quiver. It was faster than a Seppun could react to. The ruddy red sword stood planted before the Imperial and her entourage, its color that of blood and death. Its sight could wrench the heart and inspire an unnatural fear, no doubt sending maidens to gasp and choke on their silence. He then bowed to her, knowing full well the dark ability of the sword.

"You might know, my Lady, the sword before you was the first sword I forged for my late sensei. It is said the ore was mined from beneath the Yugure Yama (Twilight Mountains), the haunted mountains where the ancient Boar Clan were lost to history. Did you know Kakita Chi-Yomi murdered Seppun Kossori with my sword? I later brought her to justice with the very same blade. Then again that same night, the mad Kaiu Metsumoto was felled with the Twilight Mountain Blade. I should note this sword killed samurai of equal position to your own, yet the Emerald Champion pardoned me and the Seppun family have since dropped their charges. This sword hungers for vanquishing the corrupt, the guilty and the wicked, my Lady."

Though he was not done as he attempted to ensnare her with his grisly tale.

"And this very room, my Lady..."

He returned to her side with his eyes burning with the fury of a hungering spirit. He took her arm again and gesture to a distinct spot before the silent sword. It was there Koutetsu kicked up the tatami. Beneath the clean woven mat was the blood stained wood where Kakita Chi-Yomi had died. A gripping silence fell before them he looked her in the eyes; the fire fire there burned cold and he ever so casually stepped on the back of her kimono. When he leaned forward and indicated to the stain on the wood flooring, she would likely stumble to bring herself uncomfortably close to the bloodied floor.

"Is where she died," he whispered into her ear as he knelt by her side. He held her arm yet to offer support but his intent was to inspire fear and woe; the Candle House was more than a ghost story. It was a dark reality, a stain on the Juramashi district. "And that sword helped take it."

"Oh, but don't worry, my Lady, I would never harm you."

Etiquette (Courtesy) 50 vs Intimidation

Etiquette (Courtesy) 45 vs Temptation
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:28 pm

The Imperial Princess fell hard on her knees to the floor of the Candle House and stared down at the blood-stained wooden floor.

She was transfixed by the violence.

Koutetsu saw that her eyes, once locked, did not waver for even an instant. She placed her hands on either side of the tatami, careful not to touch the blood, and leaned in to inspect it closer. Koutetsu saw her eyes widen, her pupils dilate, her lips part and curve back in a grin of pure joy.

"That will be quite enough!" Koutetsu's eyes shot up as another Imperial, another Miya, strode forward between two Seppun guards. All three gave Koutetsu a baleful glare. The two Seppun had their fists gripped tight about their swords.

Miya Oronokimi knelt down and slid her arm under Keppon's. She whispered in her ear, but Koutetsu could hear.

"My Lady, we must go. We have passed the bounds of propriety. This one will be reprimanded for his harsh behavior." Oronokimi glared up once more at Koutetsu as if daring him to speak.

A soft whisper escaped Keppon's lips and Oronokimi paused.

"My Lady, I did not understand what you said."

"I said," Keppon planted her palms and pushed herself to stand. Her eyes locked with those of her Miya cousin. "No."

The princess turned to Ashidaka Koutetsu, eyes glittering with an inner fire and keen interest. He saw her glance down at his blade and her lips parted once more.

"Get me a blank scroll. Ink. A quill. You," she pointed at one of the handmaidens, a girl of perhaps fifteen, "kneel."

The girl knelt and in short order Keppon placed a scroll upon the girl's back and proceeded to write furiously. She twisted the paper back and forth as if sketching, but Koutetsu could see kanji on the page. Finally, as she finished, she handed the paper to one of her four yojimbo.

"Kyodai, give this to him. On second though, Orono-chan is right. We must leave."

As the guard handed over the paper, Koutetsu saw Keppon's eyes flicker from the floor to his sword and finally back up to his eyes. There was a deadly interest in them now, awakened, vibrant, and dangerous.

The Imperial entourage departed with as much fanfare as when it had arrived. As Koutetsu watched, the familiar voice spoke again.

She will consume you. She thinks she owns you. She is refuse. She is the garbage of the world. Use our blade upon her, her guards, her family. Kill her before she ruins you.

OOC:
- The Sincerity roll was to determine who, if any, in Keppon's entourage also felt moved by your speech. TN was 20. With 2 Raises you have successfully gained the interest and attention of:
--- Seppun Gusai
--- Seppun Kyodai (one of her four yojimbo)

The Scroll
- Ciphered: requires a Calligraphy (Cipher)/Intelligence Roll at a TN equal to what she used to create it to break it. So you don't know how skilled she is until you succeed (or get someone else to do so) I have rolled her Cipher in secret.

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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous with Miya Keppon   Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:58 am

Koutetsu took a grim satisfaction in provoking the Imperial house and he didn't quite understand why. He had risen to the challenge Keppon had issued and determined not to be cowed and treated as some plaything, he spark something he didn't understand. That look she gave him intrigued him. Her eyes flashed with a fire he was intimately familiar with which stoked his own sense of curiosity. So, he regarded her with modest intrigue as she ordered a handmaiden to kneel and wrote something down. Whatever it was, Koutetsu had little understanding. All the while he watched her, ignoring the baleful eyes of her entourage.

"Leaving so soon? Very well then," the Ashidaka remarked. He plucked the sword from the floorboard and sheathed it in an elegant flourish. He bowed his head deeply to Keppon as she took her leave with the same pompous fanfare she had arrived with. "It was an honor to treat your company, my Lady." He didn't understand then and there what exactly had happened. He merely reveled in the fact he silenced her mockery of his personage and house.

Koutetsu accepted the scroll from Kyodai and gave it a discerning look. He blinked. And blinked again. What is this nonsense? The swordsmith scrutinized the ciphered words but found nothing meaningful within them. He quirked his mouth and slid the letter into his kosode as he followed the entourage out to see them properly depart. All the while his mind began to spin, confused by the intent of the letter. For all his presumptions, he had not considered her capable of writing something so... Complex.

It perked his interest.

The Crane swordsmith was rarely challenged on an intellectual level. "This was a victory for today, Chi-Yomi-chan," Koutetsu whispered. He imagined the outline of her from the wall. He sensed her spirit was stalking him. In the previous months he thought he saw glimpses of her... But he began to realize then the closeness of her soul. He gaze blankly ahead, dazed by the thought of his sensei.

"I'm sorry I can't appease you... But I won't make the mistakes you made."

He shook his head and sighed.

Koutetsu took his leave of the Candle House, his mind reeling with thoughts.

END SCENE
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