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Veni Vidi Vignette   by My blue rose

A/N: A B2MEM 2015 prompt by Grey Wonderer for a story featuring: a discussion between Boromir and Faramir as Boromir prepares to leave for Rivendell for the council. Exactly 1000 words long.


Seek for the Sword that was broken:

In Imladris it dwells;

There shall be counsels taken

Stronger than Morgul-spells

There shall be shown a token

That Doom is near at hand,

For Isildur's Bane shall waken,

And the Halfling forth shall stand.

~The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond

To Seek for the Sword

“You do not have to do this, Brother.” Faramir said, crossing his arms as he prepared himself for battle.

Midday light was streaming through the Citadel windows illuminating Boromir’s chambers. The Steward’s heir was standing beside his bed which was strewn with clothes of various colors. Boromir held a crimson tunic before him and was inspecting the flowers that were embroidered upon it in gold thread. Grimacing, he tossed it aside atop a pile at the foot of his bed.

“Indeed I do, if I am to have something appropriate to wear when I reach Imladris.” Boromir replied wryly as he chose another tunic from the pile. This one was dyed a dark green, the color of pine boughs, and was embroidered with brown vines at the cuffs and collar.

 “Fortunately, I will not be required to wear anything nice on the way there. Yet I must have at least one formal tunic for when I arrive. Imagine what Mother would have said if I were to meet Elves improperly attired? I spent most of my childhood dressed in something uncomfortable that would ‘suit my station’, at her insistence.”

 “That is not what I mean and you know it.” Faramir responded sharply, forfending his brother’s tactic of deliberately misunderstanding him.

Boromir sighed. “Have we not argued over this enough?” he implored, dropping the green tunic back on the bed and holding up a black one to examine in the light.

“Apparently not, as you have yet to listen to a word I say.” Faramir answered sardonically, successfully parrying Boromir’s appeal for peace.

“I like this one,” Boromir said idly, scrutinizing the black tunic embroidered with leaves in silver thread. “What do you think? Surely in all of your reading you have come across something that will aid me in my search for clothes that will impress Elves?” he asked lightly.

“And you still are not listening to me,” Faramir sighed, refusing to fall for the feint. “The dreams came to me first. I ought to be the one to go.”

“I am listening to you. Yet no matter what you say I will not permit you to go in my stead. If the Archive maps are accurate, I will be traveling nearly four hundred leagues over Wild and dangerous lands to seek a dale in the far North, which no one save Father has even heard of.” Boromir huffed in exasperation.

“This Rivendell which is purportedly ruled by a Lord Elrond whom is Half-elven. Tell me that does not sound like the tales Grandmother used to tell us before we went to bed? This venture is perilous at best, utter madness at worse, and all for naught but a dream.” Boromir and shook his head in disbelief.               

“You do not trust the dream?” Faramir asked, truly surprised and momentarily disarmed.

“I do not put much hope in visons,” Boromir snorted disdainfully. “Especially when they say there will be counsels stronger than Morgul-spells. Have you ever seen or heard of such a counsel? Unless it means their strength is in their capacity to inspire boredom. That I might believe,” he added, chuckling.

“The dream also said that Doom is near at hand,” Faramir said softly, attempting to penetrate his brother’s defense.

“All the more reason for you to stay here where it is safe.” Boromir stated firmly, evading Faramir’s attack.

“In this I am decided. I am leaving on the morrow whether you approve or not. I did not go through all the trouble of ensuring you were brought up properly after Mother died only to have you perish in the wilderness, far from family and friend. You are my favorite Brother and I shall not let anything happen to you if I have the strength and ability to prevent it.” Boromir said, his tone gentle as he pierced Faramir’s heart.

“I am your only Brother,” Faramir pointed out wryly as he shook his head, conceding defeat.

“That does not preclude you from being my favorite.” Boromir rejoined primly, affecting a supercilious demeanor.

Faramir snorted and cast his eyes to the celling as his brother held up another tunic. This one was dyed indigo with the cuffs and collar woven of grey and silver threads. In the center of the stiff high collar was a single white stone. It was a moonstone the size of a walnut, polished to a fine sheen and set in silver. Crossing the room in several passes, Faramir put his hand on Boromir’s shoulder.

“You ought to wear that one,” he said.

“You do not think the black tunic more suitable?” Boromir asked.

“Nay, you cannot wear that. Your good fur lined cloak is black as are all your trousers. Too much of the same color does not go well together.” Faramir said authoritatively.

“I do not see why Father says I need a wife when I have you to tell me such things.” Boromir remarked dryly, then cried out in pain as Faramir punched his arm hard.

“I think I liked you better when you were small enough to sit on when you annoyed me,” he grumbled, rubbing his arm.

Faramir laughed and punched his brother again, more gently this time. Then he sobered, frowning as he gazed at the tunic Boromir was now folding.

“My heart forbids this journey, Brother.” He said softly. “Yet as I cannot dissuade you from it, I will remind you to take care.”

“You sound like Mother. She was always telling me to be more careful,” Boromir muttered.

“Perhaps because you were known for recklessness, even at a tender age. And you have yet to grow out of it.” Faramir returned dryly. “Promise me you will be safe?”

“I will not promise that which I cannot keep, Faramir. Yet whatever befalls I will endeavor to be careful, if only for your sake.” Boromir said with a twisted smile.

Faramir embraced his brother and, holding Boromir tightly as if might prevent him from leaving, he whispered. “Fare thee well, Brother.”

 

A/N: This was my first LOTR story. I wrote it when I was 18, back in 2008. To my surprise, it’s not completely terrible.


Mysterious Ways

The white stone walls of Minas Tirith gleam like true-sliver under the Moon and Stars. The air is alive with song and laughter from those who celebrate in sight of the White Tree: Men and Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits, male and female, Mortals and Immortals. Minstrels play, stories are told, food and drink are served, jokes are made, and many dance. The joy in their hearts washes away the bitterness of recent hardships from their faces. 

Though there is still much work to be done, all present are merry for the Dawn has finally come. The Darkness is banished, the Shadow, gone. For the evil that has assailed all that is good for two Ages of the world has, at long last, been defeated. Tonight is a party for the arrival of the Lady Arwen, soon to be wife of the King.

Off to the side, two Elves sit in high-backed chairs watching the dancers. One is tall with golden hair and blue eyes. He leans back in his chair, his gold embroidered scarlet robes slightly askew, taping a foot in time with the music.  The other, with raven hair and silver-grey eyes, sits strait-backed his indigo robes trimmed with silver. 

Smiling broadly at a handsome Man dancing with a beautiful Elven lady, the fair haired Elf asks, “Can you remember the last time you have seen Estel looking so happy?”

“Yes, Glorfindel,” his companion replied dryly. “When you and he conspired to misplace all my inkbottles—for a week!”

“Erestor, do you mean to tell me that you are still upset about that? We were merely concerned that you had been working too hard than was good for you. Besides, the question was meant to be rhetorical.”

“Rhetorical? Wherever did you learn such a sophisticated word?” the dark haired Elf asked sardonically.

“From you most likely. ‘Tis the fell influence you have on my vocabulary.” Glorfindel said airily.

His friend make an incredulous sound in his throat and turned to glare at him.

“It is utterly imposable to hold a serious conversation with you.”

“Oh? I believe you started it this time.”

“That was merely a manifestation of your fell influence on my conversation.” Erestor said primly.

Glorfindel laughed saying, “I concede! You win the conversation, my friend.”

 “’Tis well that you have the wisdom to acknowledge when you are defeated.” The Elf said sagaciously.

Glorfindel snorted and shook his head.

They were silent for a moment. The music now took on a furious pace and the dancers flew and twirled with it. A serving boy carrying a tray of goblets offered them drinks and they chose two filled with red wine. Erestor turned his gaze to a russet haired Dwarf and a green clad Elf, talking some distance away.

“Do you ever wonder about Legolas’ part in all this?”  Erestor asked his head cocked to the side.

His companions’ brow furrowed, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, history saw Isildur redeemed through his heir, Aragorn. I-”

“Raised by the High King’s herald, I know,” Glorfindel interjected. “Elendil himself could not have planed it better.”

“Indeed. Now, as I was saying before you interrupted me, I find Legolas’ part in this intriguing.”

“How so?”

“History saw not only Isildur redeemed through his heir, but Oropher as well, through Legolas. What do you make of that?” Erestor asked still looking at the Elf and Dwarf.

“I think,” Glorfindel began slowly “I think that none of the events in this past year have been a coincidence. That what should have happened an Age ago has now come to pass. While all the wrongs can not be righted, they have at least been made easier to bear.   

Glorfindel turned to his friend and smiled “However, most of all I think that Eru works in mysterious ways.”

“Mysterious ways indeed, Mellon nín.”

A/N: These were written for Back to Middle Earth Month 2016. The prompts are taken from the 2012 B2MEM bingo card AU: Who Lives and Who Dies?


Prompt B-15: Denethor never dies:

 “Ever have you been a faithful counselor, my friend. I cannot see why you now stand against me,” Denethor said, drumming his fingers against his desk.

His brother-in-law stood in the center of the Citadel study, dressed in the blue surcoat of the Swan Knights.  

“Yet what if he is indeed Isildur’s heir?” Imrahil asked.

“I will never yield to this Aragorn,” Denethor replied curtly. “Not to this usurper from the North. His claims to the throne are spurious.”

“This will mean war,” Imrahil said softly. “As in the days of the Kin-strife.”

“Then let there be war!” Denethor declared.

-

Prompt I-23: Finduilas of Dol Amroth never dies:

 “I must needs leave now, Father has—,” Faramir reeled as his mother slapped him, hard.

 “I will not allow my husband’s grief to kill us all!” Finduilas hissed.

 “What of Father’s orders? He holds my oath, would you have me foresworn?” Faramir asked.

“Better foresworn than dead! Denethor will not sacrifice my remaining son in a fool’s gambit!” she cried. “’Tis folly to attempt a defense of Osgiliath. Go, my son, call for the garrisons to assemble on the Rammas Echor, it was designed to withstand Mordor’s might. Do not fear the consequences, I will deal with your father.”

-

Prompt I-26: Denethor dies a few years after his wife:

 “I also fear I shall never again see my home,” Faramir confided.

“Why not?” asked Pippin.

 “I have committed treason in coming here to Rivendell. My brother, the Steward of Gondor, forbade my quest,” Faramir sighed, his features sad.

“My brother, Boromir, is a hard man,” he explained, seeing that the Hobbit did not understand “He became Steward when he was but three and ten years of age, after our Father died. Mother had already perished some years earlier. My brother will never forgive me for deserting him as I have.”

“I’m sorry,” Pippin said.

“As am I,” Faramir replied.

 

A/N: This story was an experiment that I wrote when I was 20 (in 2010!) for a creative writing class. I wrote the story entirely using the third person objective perspective. I usually write from the third person subjective and I wanted to see if I could write a short story where you can only see what an outsider would see.


Temptation

The room was light and airy built of white stone. The tall candles on the small table cast long shadows on the ceiling beams, causing the carvings upon them to dance and flicker. The roaring fire and thick burgundy drapes kept the cold outside at bay, but it did little to warm the icy cloud that seemed to hover around the small figure, swathed in blankets, in the bed at the center of the room.

In form, the figure appeared to belong to a child, but, looking at his face framed by dark curls, one could tell by the mature lines of his eyes and jaw that he was an adult. He slept fitfully, if sleep is what it was. Cold sweat dewed upon his tight brow, and he murmured unintelligibly. He lay boneless, unmoving except for his right hand which was firmly clenched in a tight fist.

 Hunched over the bed, in a straight-backed wooden chair, sat an elderly man in gray mantle. The deep lines in his face were etched with worry, his brows furrowed. Now and then he mumbled something while tenderly running a damp cloth over the forehead of the person in the bed. The door opened and in strode a tall man clad in a green tunic, his long boots clicking upon the wooden floor with every step. His gray eyes shone bright against his dark hair and beard.

“I sent Sam to get some sleep short while ago." Said the old man, glancing at his new companion.

"Sam is not the only one needs rest," the man said pointedly.

"No, indeed." The old man raised an eyebrow.

“I have come to relieve you.” At the old man's silence, he continued.

"You have not left Frodo’s side since we arrived here. Wizard you may be, but I have been your friend for many long years, and I know you are not untiring. There is supper waiting for you in the kitchens.” The man stated firmly yet kind.

The old man sighed and stood. The tall man took his place in the chair, crossing one leg over the other. The old man lingered at the foot of the bed, hands smoothing the wrinkled blankets. The man in the chair crossed his arms and nodded toward the door.

“Do not worry, Gandalf. I shall remain here until you return."

“See that you do." The man replied.

The old man had his face turned toward the door so he did not see the man in the chair shake his head and set his eyes toward the heavens at his comment. Settling more comfortably into the chair, the man cast his eyes furtively around the room. Seeming pleased with his findings, he withdrew a long stemmed pipe from his cloak and, using a stick from the fire, proceeded to light it.

Many minutes and several smoke rings later the person on the bed uttered a low moan and shuttered. The man in the chair started, his hand instinctively reaching for his left hip. Then, with a great release of breath the figure on the bed opened his right hand. The world slowed; the man, with wide eyes, watched a small golden ring tumble from the hand to the floor.

Strangely, the golden ring did not fall on its side but landed, impossibly, on its thin edge. Then, inexplicably–for the floor was even, and without slope–it rolled gradually until it hit the boot of the man in the chair. The man froze. He did not move or even breathe for several long moments.

With a sudden jolt, the man exclaimed “I will not listen to you, liar in the dark!”  

Rising, he strode to the fireplace and retrieved the black wrought iron tongs from their stand. With them he then firmly grasped the golden ring and carefully deposited it back into the sleeping figure’s hand, which reflexively resume its former death grip upon the ring.

Breathing heavily, as though he had exerted himself, the man sat back into the chair. Retrieving the wet cloth from the side table, he mopped the little person’s face, eyes unfathomable.

“I fear your journey is not yet over Frodo Baggins. Indeed it is a heavy burden you carry”

 Sighing, he leaned forward over the bed, eying the tight fist warily. Speaking softly, as though to himself, he murmured to the small hand.

“Blind I may be, Power of the Enemy,but I am not yet so blind that I can not see the dark.”

 

A/N: This story was written for B2MEM 2017.


The Perfect Gift

3002 Year of the Third Age, Steward’s Reckoning:

The beech leaves were beginning to turn. 

Traces of bright gold tinged the edges of every leaf, soon the entire canopy would be gilded in yellow and orange foliage. Leaning heavily on his walking stick, Frodo carefully picked his way down the embankment that bordered a small creek. He was a league north of Hobbiton, having left the road some time ago in favor of an overgrown game trail that led deep into the woods that formed the northern border of the Shire. The creek bed was narrow, less than a body length across, and the small stream that ran through it was scarcely wider than himself. If anyone had bothered to ask him where he was going, Frodo would have pointed to the canvas rucksack slung over his shoulder and insisted that he was going to find a brake of hazelnuts that had not yet been picked over by hungry tweens.

This was not entirely truthful.

It was his birthday in a few days and Frodo felt he needed some time to himself so he could think. He was turning 34 years old. It would be the first birthday in a long time he'd be celebrating without his uncle. A part of him did not want to have a party at all. But as the inheritor of Bilbo's estate, he was not sure he could endure the gossip he would incur by not celebrating his own birthday. He had never cared what people had said about him and Bilbo before. Yet his uncle's absence had made Frodo more sensitive to the market chattering of women and the tavern gossip of men. Ever since Bilbo had departed, he'd never felt so alone, not even when he'd lived in Brandyhall and had been often overlooked with his many cousins underfoot. 

He had never realized that he had no true friends at Bag End other than his uncle. Without his influence, Frodo had only been invited to one birthday party this year by Hamfast Gamge. Frodo had been touched by the Gaffer's gift of a rather fetching pheasant feather quill. "I thought you like it, seein' as how Mr. Bilbo was kind enough to teach my boy his letters and how you take after him with your love of learnin' and such," the old man had said. Frodo had decided to organized a small party, inviting only the Gamgee family and the Master of Buckland's son, Merry. The lad was a young cousin of his who'd taken to coming around Bag End asking questions about Bilbo's adventures and generally making a cheerful nuisance of himself.

Frodo did not know how to thank him.

He was fourteen years Merry's elder, too far apart to ever be close friends. The lad had only just entered into his tweens and Frodo was full grown. Though he had to admit that Saradoc's son had a great deal of sense for a boy his age. The new master of Bag End had rarely seen a boy so observant, even if he spent half his time causing mischief with his friend Fatty Bolger, who was around the same age. Still, whenever the loneliness seemed to be about to crush him, Frodo would find that Merry had invited himself over for lunch and to hear stories he must have heard dozens of times before. Merry had been one of many bairns to visit Bag End over the years to hear his uncle's tales and songs but he'd been one of the few that returned often so that Frodo felt he knew him fairly well.

And he was still at a loss for what to give the Brandybuck for his birthday.

The Gamgee's were easy to purchase gifts for. Their eldest child, Hamson, was appreciated to his uncle in Tightfield and would not be able to attend the party. The Gamgee's second son, Hamfast, had just come of age this year and Frodo was giving him a handsome pipe and some Longbottom leaf. To the Gamgee's youngest son, Samwise, he was gifting a pair of leather gloves and a half dozen goose feather quills. For Mrs. Gamgee and her two daughters, Frodo had bought three silver cloak clasps. They were expensive, but he wanted to thank Bell Gamgee for dropping by so often to make sure he had enough food in his pantry. The woman seemed half convinced he'd starve after his uncle left, seeing as he had no one to look after him. As for the Gaffer himself, Bilbo had always given Mr. Gamgee a firkin of the best beer from the Ivy Bush on their birthdays and Frodo had decided keep up this tradition.

Hitching his pack up higher on his back, Frodo maneuvered around a thick stand of black alder only to find himself standing in front of a large outcrop of rock, dark grey in color and covered with greenish bracken. It protruded into the creek so unless he was willing to get his feet wet, Frodo would have top either backtrack or climb over it. After a moment’s indecision, he placed his hands and feet some in the many crevasses of the rock and pulled himself upward. The craggy surface made for an easy ascent and soon Frodo was standing on top of the outcrop that rose over a body length above the embankment. He gazed at the woods, smiling at the sea of color for he was now level with the forest canopy.

In the distance he spotted a mass of brown branches that contrasted with the yellow and green leaves surrounding him. Frodo knew it must be a tree that was either dead or dying. He glanced at the Sun and then scrabbled down the rock, not back into the creek bed but onto the bank. He headed in the direction of the dead tree though he could no longer see it now he was back on the ground. Such trees were the best places to find a wide variety of mushrooms. Since Frodo knew of no other Hobbit other than Bilbo that ever ventured so far into these woods, the tree was unlikely to have been picked over. He walked swiftly, excitement driving all thoughts of his birthday out of his mind.

Before long, he saw the bare bark of a massive beech rising above him. After making a brief detour to avoid a dense patch of flowering stinging nettles, and pushing through a brake of hazel that grew between two large oaks, Frodo emerged into a small glade with the dead tree in it's center. A little gasp of surprise escaped his lips as he realized that there was a tall, lithe figure standing against the tree, reaching up to pry something white off of its trunk. The person turned at the sound and Frodo saw that it was an Elf. Clad in a leather shirt and brown trousers with chestnut hair, he almost blended in with the tree, save for the pale skin of his arms and face. Frodo had meet those of the First Born several times in his life, mostly while wandering in the wilds of the Shire with Bilbo, though he did not recognize this ellon. 

"Mae govannen," Frodo greeted, careful to enunciate properly and gave a short bow. He had not spoken the Elvish tongue since before Bilbo had left and felt a pang of guilt, knowing his uncle would be disappointed if he knew. He hoped he would not embarrass himself.  

The Elf's expression changed from surprised to delighted and he smiled, placing a hand over his heart and bowing far more gracefully than Frodo himself had managed. "Mae govannen!" He replied with a laugh. "I did not know that the Periannath had knowledge of the Noble Tongue. I am Corudir son of Gwinor. Elen sila lumen omentielvo."

"I am Frodo son of Drogo," Frodo introduced himself. "Not many Hobbits know any of the Elvish tongues, I'm afraid. My uncle Bilbo taught me when I was a child."

"Bilbo is your uncle?"  Corudir asked, surprised.

"You know him?" a bubble of hope swelled beneath his breast at the thought.

"I know of him," the Elf corrected with an apologetic smile. "He dwells in the Last Homely House. I also call Imladris my home and have heard of the Periain that is a guest of Lord Elrond."

"Then he arrived safely," Frodo murmured.

"Indeed, and as far as I have heard he is in good health," the Elf added.

"You are far from the Hidden Valley, Corudir. Or any Elvish land," Frodo commented, striving to keep his disappointment out of his voice and expression.

"I remember when this was all Elvish land," Corudir said with a half shrug. "Until the end of the last Age, all the lands west of the Branduin belonged to Lindon. We often go wandering this time of year to gather in the wild what we do not grow ourselves and to seek out that which does not grow in the east." He gestured to the large basket beside him that was full what appeared to be of various herbs, roots, bark and lichen.

Frodo nodded. That explained why he had most often met Elves during autumn. 

"I just retrieved this when you surprised me. An impressive feat for a Mortal," the Elf said with a rueful smile, holding out his left hand so that Frodo could see that it held a lump of hedgehog mushroom.

"You are fortunate!" he said. Hedgehog mushroom were rare—Frodo had only had them twice in his life—and even if one was found they often grew high up on the trunks of dying beeches, far out of the reach of a Hobbit. They didn’t look like most mushrooms. They had no cap and stem but were cushion-like with white, pendulous spines that made them resemble their namesake. They were considered a delicacy in the Shire and the most sought after mushroom.

Corudir laughed. "Indeed! It is strange that a mushroom would taste like lobster or scallops."

Frodo frowned. He did not recognize those words. “I am afraid I don’t what those are,” he said. "What are they called in the Common Tongue?"

"I do not know. Perhaps they have none for I know no Mortals that dwell by the Sea." Corudir gave another graceful but insouciant shrug.

"They are Sea creatures?"

Corudir nodded. "Scallops are much like the freshwater mussels you find in streams, only their shells are white instead of black. Lobsters are shelled creatures whose meat is much sought after. They look somewhat like woodlice only much larger, about the size of a rat, and with claws."

Frodo grimaced, wondering why anyone would try to eat anything that resembled woodlice. He had eaten some once on a dare as a lad and they had tasted much the way stale urine smelled. 

"I have never seen a Periain in these woods before," Corudir commented. Frodo couldn't help but shift under the Elf's intense gaze.

"No many of us enjoy hiking in the woods," he explained.

"Yet you do?" Corudir asked, head cocked inquisitively.

"It helps me think," Frodo answered, somewhat defensively. He'd been criticized to no end once it was clear he intended to keep up Bilbo's habit of trekking about the Shire.

"Indeed it does!" the Elf laughed. "You are a queer Periain, master Frodo."

"So everyone insists on telling me," Frodo muttered. Corudir made the words sound like a compliment but he had heard them often enough this last year, mostly in a chastising tone.

The Elf frowned at him for a moment before he picked up his basket, glancing up at the Sun, probably to check the hour. "I have tarried here too long and must depart. I am pleased to have met you. Perhaps we shall encounter each other again someday."

"May I ask a favor? Will you tell Bilbo that I am doing well?"

"Are you?" the Elf asked, features inscrutable.

"What?"

"Are you doing well?" Corudir sounded doubtful. Frodo hesitated, wondering how much the Elf had discerned about his life from their short conversation.

"I'm doing as well as could be expected," he said firmly. And to his surprise, he meant it.

Corudir smiled. "Then I shall relay your message! But only if you take this." He proffered the hedgehog mushroom.

"You don't want it?" Frodo asked, taken aback.

Corudir shrugged. "I have not the means to fry anything nor any butter to go with it. I intended to dry it for Lord Elrond, as the mushroom has medicinal uses, but that seems a sorry fate for such a delicacy. I would rather you take it and enjoy it."

The Elf placed the mushroom into Frodo's hand. He lifted it up to inspect. It was very moist, slightly larger than his fist and appeared to be quite delicate, but it was quite solid and heavy for its size.

"Thank you!" 

Corudir smiled. "Farewell, Frodo son of Drogo." Silently, he slipped into the woods and in a moment was gone.

Glancing back down at the mushroom, Frodo felt himself smile. He had found the perfect gift for Merry! 


Glossary 
Ellon (Sindarin): 
'(male) Elf'.
Mae govannen (Sindarin): ‘well met’.
Periannath (Sindarin): ‘Hobbits’.
Elen Sila Lumen Omentielvo (Quenya): ‘A star shines on the hour of our meeting’.
Periain (Sindarin): ‘Hobbit’.





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