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Old 09-13-2017, 09:58 PM   #1
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Post An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

So, a bit of a history lesson, first. In my game thread, I mentioned that I was busy working on a novel. Well, I managed to write up a Prologue for the story that introduces the conflict and world in a way. This novel and the game that I'm making share the same story, so I'm basically taking my game idea and putting it into words. Don't worry, though, I still plan on working on the game itself, it's just that I thought that I'd write a novel based off of it for advertisement purposes, and also to provide people with a way to enjoy the story without having to be a smart and tactical RPG gamer.

I would like some feedback on this. The prologue is short, but I'd say that it sets things up nicely in my personal opinion.

Word of warning: This story is fairly mature and dark, after all of the story revisions I've done in the past. I'm estimating that this would only be suitable for readers that are 18+, because there is quite a bit of blood, gore, and alcoholic references in this short Prologue. The faint-of-heart and most children should read at their own risk.

Also, there are no indents, because the Pav's message system doesn't know how to process them or something. Therefore, paragraphs will be separated differently. Other than that, here we go...



Advent of Elysium
A WORLD OF BEASTS
Written by Devon Flynn ("Redeye")



MANKIND'S BURDEN

The wilting autumn leaves crunched under a young boy’s leather boots as he promenaded throughout the woodlands. His twin sister, Felicia, was strutting a distance away from him.

“Come on, Felix! Why do you have to be so slow? We’re almost there,” Felicia exclaimed in an attempt to rush her brother.

Felix panted heavily. It has only been several minutes since they sneaked out of town, and he was already beginning to grow tired. He only grunted in response to his sister’s mockeries. Felix never truly understood how she had so much energy.

“Come on! I’ll race you there, even!” Felicia began sprinting. She didn’t even bother to count down.

Felix couldn’t go on anymore, so he decided to rest by a dying tree to catch his breath. He watched as Felicia descended into the woods, unaware that her brother ceased to follow.

“Felicia, wait!” Felix could barely get the words out of his mouth with his constant panting.

He felt his throat tingle soon before letting out several coughs. A sharp pain overcame him as small drops of blood shot out of his mouth. Felix grimaced as his sickness began to slowly intensify.

“Felicia, come back,” Felix said pathetically, nearly choking on the phlegm and blood lodged in his throat.

His sister was obscured by the rotting leaves blowing in the wind. Soon after, not even her footsteps could be heard. Felix could only stand there, coughing up sanguine water all over the maroon-colored grass. The annoying screeches of crows echoed from above, and a bitter chill blew past the boy, nipping at his pointed ears. It was a shame that his elven blood couldn’t protect him from the winds of the north. Felix clutched his simple leather tunic, immediately regretting his choice of clothes.

The howls emanating from the autumn winds boomed in his elven ears, but no sound could possibly muffle the piercing scream that erupted from the distance. Felix looked up, realizing that the blood-curdling cry came from his sister, whom was well ahead of him.

“Felicia!?” Felix cried out in concern. He dashed around the rotting trees, nearly tripping on a stray root. Blood trickled from his lips as he pushed through his limits.

“Felicia, where are you!?”

Even after several minutes of nonstop sprinting, there was no Felicia to be found. Felix’s head bolted from side to side in a vain attempt to find her. The freezing winds were as loud as a nearby explosion, and Felix could almost feel his spine beginning to rattle in the cold. He glanced further down the leaf-covered path to see an unusual lump in the ground, shaking softly.

“Felicia?” he called out in fear. He slowly approached the mass of leaves, breathing heavily. The cold air brushed into his throat with every inhale.

Felix jumped back as a loud, vehement hiss shot out from the mass. His eyes widened with terror as the head of a gargantuan serpent rose from the ground. Its scales were as green as envy, and its eyes were pitch black with glowing red slits in its pupils. The terrifying creature bore its fangs and let out another hiss. Its teeth were smeared with crimson. Without a second thought, Felix dashed in the other direction; He had to get to his parents as soon as possible.

He could hear the serpent rushing in from behind. Glancing past his shoulder, he noticed that the snake now had eight heads, and it was quickly slithering in his direction. Felix’s heart was racing as rapidly as he was sprinting. The sun was slowly setting in front of his eyes as he looked forward. The sky was about as red as the blood scattered across the serpent’s teeth.

Eventually, Felix came across a large gap in the ground: A ravine. A maple tree on the verge of collapsing hung over the abyss. It was barely enough to act as a bridge, but Felix assumed that if he could make it across, the gap would slow down the mighty snake behind him. He tried to keep his balance as he climbed the diagonal timber. He held his breath, looking down upon the ravine below, and leapt. As his feet collided with the greyish soil, Felix felt his left little toe crack. He collapsed to the ground, wincing in pain before he looked behind him. The serpent stopped in its tracks, but it knew better than to end its chase. Immediately afterward, it began to circle around the ravine, continuing its pursuit.

Felix had no time to writhe in pain. He rose from the decaying leaves, embracing his broken toe as he ran away. He needed to return to Southgrove to warn the townspeople.

Several minutes flew by as Felix ran without rest. Eventually, he came across a set of small, wooden abodes leading to a much larger village. Felix glanced behind him once more, and was relieved to see that the snake was no longer in sight. However, his throat began to tingle once more as he began to cough mercilessly. Blood spewed from his mouth, and soon after he began to let out vomit as he hurled all over the dirt road.

“Felix!” exclaimed a mature, feminine voice. The boy looked up to see his mother. She was covered with simple leather clothes and a long skirt that reached her ankles. She had long, auburn hair and pointed ears just like him. When she noticed the vomit smeared all over the ground, her eyes shot wide open.

“Just where have you been?” his mother inquired, “And where’s Felicia? Don’t tell me she challenged you to another race. Your asthma is too dangerous for that sort of thing!”

Felix could barely say anything, “A Fiend … I saw it … Felicia …”

The boy reminisced about the old horror stories he had heard. The Fiends, creatures born from the dark, preyed on and assimilated men into their ranks. His old nan once told him that new Fiends are born every time a person is killed by one.

“I know about the Fiends,” his mother replied, “The watchguards spotted an entire horde of them coming this way. We need to find your sister before they get here, so where is she?”

“I … don’t know …” Felix coughed once more.

He could see the fear in his mother’s eyes. He had never seen her this pale before in his entire life.

“Come on,” she said, grabbing Felix’s hand, “We need to find your father, he can help us look for Felicia.”

Felix was on the verge of fainting due to his illness. As his mother hauled him through the streets of the small town, he watched as the townsfolk clamored and hustled to prepare for the incoming attack. Merchants were packing their bags with their goods, fathers were grabbing their muskets for battle, and the elderly were trying as hard as possible to hurry to their homes in vain. Every man, woman, and child in Southgrove were bewitched with paranoia. Even the watchmen sitting atop Lord Hill were rushing to fend off the approaching horde, but Felix could see the terror in their movements.

Felix’s mother swung open the door to their house, hauling the boy inside with her. Inside, the mother and son came across a burly man in a sleeveless shirt and worn pantaloons. His beard and short hair were in shambles, and his stature was disfigured by his intoxication.

“We need to find Felicia, she’s gone missing!” Felix’s mother told his father.

“We don’ have time for games, I’ve gotta go help the watch,” the father replied coldly.

“Are you insane!?” the mother shouted, “Our daughter is nowhere to be found, and you’d rather help out these defenseless scoundrels than protect your family?”

“Find ‘er yourself, if the watch dies, we all die!” Felix’s father stumbles as he struggled to hold on to his musket.

“Oh god,” Felix’s mother said in disgust, “You’re drunk again, are you?”

“Mom …” Felix tried to say, “Felicia —”

“How could you be drinking at a time like this!?” his mother interrupted.

“Oh shuddup, I have a town ta’ protect …” his father cocked his musket, even after nearly collapsing to the floor in his haze.

“Do you not care what happens to your own —”

Bellows of anguish and terror chaotically blasted from outside. All three folks turned around in the sudden uproar, staring at the front door. It was too late.

Felix’s mother swept the boy behind her as the father slowly approached the door. His hands were trembling, and he could barely walk. Felix was about to lose consciousness despite everything going on around him. His father’s arm reached for the knob hesitantly. Felix could almost see his heart racing faster than a steed.

To his father’s dismay, the front door to the house was not only flung open, it was kicked down by a ferocious beast. The drunken man was bashed to the ground by the force of the maple wood door as Felix’s mother screamed in horror. The beast standing in the doorway was taller than any other man. It was a wolf standing on its hind legs, with razor sharp claws and gnashing fangs smeared with the blood of innocents. A terrible Fiend; A creature born from mankind’s folly.

Felix’s father—in the middle of the chaos—aimed for the beast’s snarling face with his musket, only to have it smacked away with one superhuman strike. Felix watched as the lycanthrope descended upon his father, sinking its teeth into his neck within a fraction of a second. The drunken man’s wails of agony echoed throughout the house as streams of sanguine seeped from his vicious wounds. The werewolf dug into his neck ever so tightly the more he screamed, eventually tugging backward, tearing the flesh from his head. The boy and his mother could only witness the Fiend ripping out his throat, watching his blood spew onto the maple floor. He choked on his own innards, and his gurgles were even louder than the noises of discord erupting from the outdoors.

Felix looked to his mother, whom was as pale as a cloud. He turned back to the werewolf gnawing on his father’s adam’s apple, and the old man himself lying motionless on the floor. Strange black mist rose from where his throat once was. His corpse jolted suddenly, possibly rigormortis, but then true horror came upon Felix as the man who was once his father slowly stood up. His blood turned pitch black, and his eyes were completely blank and emotionless. It was almost as if he never died in the first place. Both Felix and his mother shrieked.

The werewolf snarled as it finished tearing away at its meal. The two Fiends stared into the souls of their prey, ready to attack. In an act of desperation, Felix was thrown out of harm’s way by his unfortunate mother. He crashed to the floor as he watched his beloved relative get pounced by both creatures at once. He could only listen to her screams and the sounds of flesh being torn asunder. He could only sit there in disbelief as his world came crashing down in a single, terrible night. He could only watch as a giant eight-headed serpent crashed through his home, inching towards him with its murderous intentions. It was then when Felix understood the grim truth of the world he once loved: That mankind was nothing but a menagerie of prey, livestock, and puppets. Their duty in life was to be fed on by the beasts that roam the wilds. Their duty in life was to attempt to defend themselves, but to no avail, for that is mankind’s curse.
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Last edited by Redeye; 10-20-2017 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Okay, so after a month this thread didn't get even a single view. Can we maybe change that?

Anyways, I actually did a revision of the prologue. I gave it a more focused perspective, and made it a little more in-depth. Hopefully now it will pique some interest. Still keep in mind that this story is 18+, not for the faint of heart, unless you enjoy seeing someone's throat being torn out of their neck, you sick buffoon.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:18 PM   #3
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

I read it last month but didn't say anything. XD
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:17 PM   #4
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Might not see this, but actual advice:

1. Don't post first drafts for people to critique because first drafts are universally garbage. Mine generally have bull**** like this:

Quote:
He looked up at her with a smile and his eyes were as ****BLUE? NEED OTHER WORD?*(*** as the storm,*(bagged dark) and when they met hers, she couldn't help but smile back, *(maybe move model/dopefiend thoughts here) at which he turned without a word. He moved through the racks, pulling out shirts and coats and cardigans, scrunching (furrowing?)* his brow and giving each a little frown before moving onto the next,

Lacey clacked her nails on the counter. *drummed? *watching him?*
It's not done, is not very good, and is littered with notes because I hate editing as I go. It's literally just me getting words on the page so I have something to work with later. I leave asterisks so that I can ctrl+f during revision.

3. Don't post excerpts unless they're really, really good.

2. Don't look for affirmation while in the process of writing. Personally, showing off unfinished work releases some of my steam. Save the stroke jobs for once its polished.

4. If you want actual critique, I'll do the first paragraph:

Quote:
The wilting you mean wilted? autumn leaves crunched under a young boy’s just use his name leather boots as he promenaded throughout the woodlands. you mean "walked through the woods"


His twin sister, Felicia, was strutting this might be OK normally, but after "promenading" it made me groan a distance away from him.
"a distance away from him" is so vague that I have no idea where she is in the scene. Strutted ahead of him.

If I was aiming to rewrite/edit this, I'd start by setting the scene, describing him growing/being tired, then have his sister tease him for being out of breath while blatantly not exhausted.

Show, don't tell. Use active, energetic verbs to describe her in contrast to him: danced v. trudged, etc. You don't need to tell me about how felix doesn't understand how she has so much energy. If you're going to do that, you may as well just say "felix was a lazy fat ****er and his sister cheetahesque in her grace" because at least the telling is succinct.

I'm not trying to discourage you from writing, but a lot went wrong in two sentences. I think you need to work on the fundamentals. Writing is hard.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."

Last edited by Garr123; 10-22-2017 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Two other things:

This isn't a prologue. It's a mislabeled first chapter. Lots of people do this, but don't unless your really understand the purpose of a prologue and can articulate why your story needs one.

Quote:
This story is fairly mature and dark, after all of the story revisions I've done in the past. I'm estimating that this would only be suitable for readers that are 18+, because there is quite a bit of blood, gore, and alcoholic references in this short Prologue. The faint-of-heart and most children should read at their own risk.
You need to read more YA if you think violence, rape, drug use, etc isn't rampant. Anna Dressed In Blood, for example.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."

Last edited by Garr123; 10-22-2017 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 10-23-2017, 05:52 AM   #6
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Quote:
The autumn leaves crackled beneath Felix's increasingly heavy boots as he trudged after his sister. She had bounded far ahead, dancing between the trees, occasionally twirling about to chide him for falling behind.

“Come on, Felix! Why do you have to be so slow?"

Felix panted, cold air scratching at his lungs. He bent over, hands rested on his knees, then closed his eyes a moment to steady himself. When he opened them, he saw a plump little centipede mistaking his boot for a hidey-hole and trying to wriggle into its seams. He let out a panicked yelp, then frantically flailed his boot about until the tiny beast relented and went tumbling helplessly through the air. For an instant, he felt the pride of the victor after a pitched battle. Then his sister giggled.

"Felicia, don't even--" he began, but before he could finish she had spun and sprinted away, leaving a flurry of auburn in her wake as she kicked up the leaflitter.

"Come on! I’ll race you, even!" she shouted over her shoulder.

Felix squinted after her. Absurd, he thought. She knows well she'll be the victor in that contest. A pang of irritation sizzled in his chest as he considered turning back to the village and leaving the silly girl to muck about in these dreadful, frigid woods on her lonesome.

Her pondered for a brief, serious moment as she shrank into the distance and then, with a deep sigh, marched after her.
This is a rush job and certainly not quality by any measure, but I'm genuinely trying to help you out and give you some ideas as to what might be done to improve the prose. Characterization, texture, scene setting, etc.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."

Last edited by Garr123; 10-23-2017 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:55 AM   #7
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

On top of Garr's suggestions, I'll point out that you drift between past and present tense with regularity, which is generally a no-no unless you have a good reason for it and suggests you haven't given this any proper editing phases.

To add on to Garr's comment:

Quote:
1. Don't post first drafts for people to critique because first drafts are universally garbage.
I get the desire to have feedback on the story, but you're doing yourself no favors by posting a chapter/snippet that has a lot of core issues in it. If you want feedback on plot/character/world etc., you'd be better off asking for that specific feedback, and providing brief descriptions of characters or a synopsis of the story's major plot beats.

That way you're asking us to read a condensed version of what you want feedback on, which takes less time and causes less frustration, and doesn't predispose us to your first draft writing.

Also to add on to Garr:

Quote:
Writing is hard.
The initial writing is the hardest part until you do it; then it's the easiest thing in the world. The hardest part is then figuring out how to take what you wrote and make it worth reading. It will take you a long time to refine that sense, and the worst part is that until you start to get a feel for it, everything you wrote before is basically garbage that would be better off being completely rewritten rather than simply "fixed".

That's not to say you should give up. It's a long road to travel, but the benefits of a well-honed writing skill can take you quite far in other areas of your life.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:03 PM   #8
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Aye, thanks for the advice, guys. I'll wait til I get the whole thing done before looking for proofreaders. I don't imagine that this book will be terribly long, the story only goes up until what would be the 6th dungeon in the video game this is based on. Hopefully I can get all of that done sometime before or after New Years.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Don't have people proof read a first draft. I cannot stress how bad first drafts are. No one wants to read them unless its an editor that you're paying.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:03 PM   #10
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Oh God, it can be so terribly easy to find yourself switching back and forth into the past and future tenses. That can happen more frequently the longer you are typing stuff out in a sitting. I, for one, try to take a good fifteen minute break when I feel that the gears are starting to slow down. If after that time passes and those gears don't get to moving, it might be a good idea to spend a little time reading over what you had written and change inconsistencies.
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:24 PM   #11
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Can someone point out an example the tense shifting? I skimmed it again, but didn't notice any.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

I think I found one example, but I'm not sure why it's such a bad thing to do something like this. It kind of makes sense to me.

Quote:
Felix watched as the lycanthrope descended upon his father, sinking its teeth into his neck within a fraction of a second.
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Quote:
Felix watched as the lycanthrope descended upon his father, sinking its teeth into his neck within a fraction of a second.
I'm no English major and my study of grammar stopped at Elements of Style, but I don't think this is a tense shift. A tense shift would be:

Quote:
Felix watched as the lycanthrope descends upon his father
That said, it's not structured well.

Quote:
Felix watched as the werewolf sunk its teeth into his father's neck
or
Quote:
Felix watched the werewolf sink its teeth into his father's neck.
or
Quote:
The werewolf sunk its teeth into his father's neck as he watched.
is a bit more to the point. You have thesauritis and really want to emulate fancy writers, but unless you know what you're doing it comes off as affectation. I went through a period where I kept trying to ape Cormac McCarthy; none of it sold and it was some of the most embarrassing crap I ever produced.

As its written, the sinking happened as Felix watched. The verb tense is in the past, but the action was underway when it occurred.

"I walked off, leaving the corpse behind."
"They fought at dusk, whirling and striking in the half-light"

Maybe I'm wrong and have been ****ing up for years without editors mentioning it, but I don't see any problems. I might be misreading it, though.
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"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."

Last edited by Garr123; 10-23-2017 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:19 PM   #14
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

That is my bad. There appears to be only one instance and I was conflating it with all the "ing" words. And the one instance looks more like a typo than tense shift.

My biggest gripe is how everything is passive. Could only watch, so much "was" when it would be trivial to give more action just by rearranging or using different, simpler words and sentences.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:41 PM   #15
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress

Its still a great story though.
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:53 PM   #16
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Re: An excerpt from my novel-in-progress



What I was driving at, better articulated.
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