The Moon of Xxene

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Definitions and Pronunciation Guide: [Adewemimo – “Ah-deh-weh-me-moh”]* [Agaenaye ("Ah-gay-nah-yeh") – third rank of palace Maidens]* [Aye (“Ah-yeh”) – first rank of palace Maidens]* [Emeravwe –
“Eh-may-rahv-wey”]* [Oghene (“Uh-geh-neh") - God]* [Omote (“Uh-muh-teh”) – fourth and lowest rank of palace Maidens]* [Orori (“Oh-roh-ree”) - “Lord”, title used for first and second rank officials,
and lords from prominent families]* [Ovye ("Ohv-yeh") - “King.” Ovye is a stand-alone title used to address the reigning king.]

Chapter 1 (v.1) - First Phase.1

Submitted: July 02, 2019

Reads: 1124

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Submitted: July 02, 2019

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Emeravwe walked silently beside the tall man as they passed through towering iron gates into a vast, bustling courtyard paved with smooth yellow cobblestones and encircled by soaring walls of imperial gold granite. Though it had not been long since daybreak, the court clamored with horses, carts, and people; merchants with goods, workers, and officials in stately attire. Guards in deep orange uniforms marched about, directing individuals to different lines in which both their goods and person were checked before they were allowed further entrance. Emeravwe stuck fearfully to her guide’s side. He walked calmly and unobstructed through the commotion, but she jumped and started as carts clattered by and guards shouted instructions. She quickened her anxious steps to stay close to him, unnerved at the sight of so many people and so much bustle.

At the end of the enclosure, the man led her through another set of dwarfing gates and onto a wide passageway hedged by the imposing gold granite walls. The walls were perforated intermittently by archways on either side, and as they continued down the passage the noise of the courtyard faded behind them till all that was audible was the soft tapping of their sandals on the cobbled ground.

Emeravwe distanced herself from the man again, fearful tears pooling in her eyes. Where is he taking me? Where is Mother? And Father? And… She winced, the tears spilling. She cried because of the chronic pain which had been throbbing in her head for months, and because she was afraid. She missed her mother and father, but whenever she tried to recall them only faint images appeared, and they were always followed by memories of screams. She shook her head, willing away these memories, and the throbbing worsened. She cried out as a wave of pain rippled through her skull—she did not want to remember.

Hearing the cry, her guide stopped to face her. He was clothed in a long silken brown robe, a rich yellow cloth brocaded with golden suns flanked by crescent silver moons wrapped around his head and forehead. The long ends of the headcloth were wound so they covered the lower half of his face. Walking to her, he loosened the cloth from his face and unfolded a hand from within the sleeves of his robes. Reaching down, he gently touched the sheer yellow headscarf which covered her head, and Emeravwe flinched. She looked up through big, terrified gray eyes.

“Fear not, my lady,” the man said softly. “You are safe here.”

Emeravwe stared nervously at him. At the long face and dark brow; the notable hazel eyes. He was the one who had taken her from her family. He had taken her to an inn and left her in the care of the owners until this morning. She tried to remember who he was, but her headache intensified and the pain blurred the man’s image. He turned from her and continued on.

The passage opened onto an extensive circular courtyard laid with concentric smooth slabs of alternating white and yellow stones. At the center was an island of green lawn fringed by clear crystal ponds shaped like crescent moons, in the middle of the island a great spherical fountain of gleaming yellow marble. Arranged around the perimeter of the yard were stone benches and long stretches of neat flowerbeds bordered by palm trees.

As they emerged from the passageway, Emeravwe’s eyes moved around the immaculate courtyard, pausing on the imposing golden gates that loomed just beyond the green island. Adjacent the gates, on either side of the island, were two smaller gateways which perforated the tall granite walls. She followed her guide around a crescent moon pond to the gates on the left. The iron doors stood open, and they stepped through onto a walkway of flagstones that snaked through an expansive compound.

The compound was one of neat lawns and gray stone buildings on either side of the main walk. A cool morning breeze whistled through the leaves of the plumeria and ponytail palm trees that dotted the grounds. At the far end of the premises, rising above the earth, was a mounded stone pavilion, and all around bustled women and girls clothed in blue, pink, and green garments. They walked mostly in groups, according to the color of their apparel, their backs straight and steps even, their voices filling the air with a pleasant hum.

Emeravwe looked around with awe and apprehension. As she continued down the walk with her guide, they encountered several of these ladies who respectfully stepped aside to allow the man passage. They bowed their heads and bent their knees, uttering the greeting, “Miguo,” to which the man answered, “Vrendo,” and gestured for them to rise as he and Emeravwe walked by.

They came to a building with a wide patio flanked by a robust ponytail palm and low, trimmed bushes. On the patio, girls attired in pink stood patiently in groups of threes, their arms folded in the diaphanous sleeves of their outer robes. One girl in pink stood on the stone landing before the building’s double doors. As the man and Emeravwe approached, the girls all bent their knees and bowed their heads, pronouncing, “Miguo, Orori,” in unison.

The man responded, “Vrendo. Rise,” and addressed the girl at the doors, “Inform the Rode Aye that I request their audience.”

“Yes, Orori,” the girl bent her knees in response and entered the building.

As Emeravwe and the man stood waiting on the patio, some of the girls noticed her glued to his side. They gasped and turned to their peers with whispers, causing more of the girls to notice her, and Emeravwe heard exclamations of “A valued child!” She did not know what they meant, but their eyes and whispers unnerved her, and she unwittingly drew closer to the man, hiding herself in the soft folds of his robes.

The double doors of the building opened, and a group of women emerged from within. They were dressed in identical deep blue garments consisting of inner blouses, long skirts, and sheer outer robes fastened in place with gold and silver brooches in the shape of a sun flanked by crescent moons. Atop their heads were matching sheer blue headscarves with wide bands which covered their foreheads. At the sight of them, the girls in pink immediately ceased their whispers and composed themselves. The women, noticing the man on the patio, greeted him as the girls had done, then each triplet of pink-clad girls rallied behind one woman and made their way from the building.

“It is quite rare that you are seen in the Outer Palace, Orori,” a portly woman addressed the man as she and her triplet walked past him, “much less in the Maidens’ Compound.”

The man responded stoically, “My duties have expanded for the time being, as the palace is yet unsettled.”

“Unsettled?” The woman breathed deeply. “Indeed, there is no softer way to describe our current state of upheaval. May Oghene guide Ovye and the Royal Queen Dowager.”

“So we pray.”

Presently, the girl who had entered the building to deliver the man’s message reappeared to announce, “Orori, the Rode Aye will see you now.”

The woman bowed her head, “May you go in peace,” and departed with her triplet of girls.

Emeravwe and her guide entered a wide hall and were greeted by another slim girl in pink. She opened a door, indicating for them to proceed within. They entered with Emeravwe clinging timorously to the man’s side. She had heard him say they were in the palace, but she did not know anyone in the palace. She did not want to be there; seeing so many people rushing around frightened her.

The room they entered was simple; a row of windows lined one wall and a long table surrounded by chairs sat at its center.

Miguo, Orori Odirin,” the three women who stood before the table greeted, paying obeisance when the man entered. They were dressed in the same deep blue garments as the women Emeravwe had seen earlier, but unlike the clothing of the other women, their robes and headscarves were also brocaded with the golden sun and crescent silver moons design that adorned their brooches and the man’s headcloth.

The man gave a slight bow of his head, answering, “Vrendo. You may rise.”

Orori, we are honored to have you grace us with your presence this morning,” the woman in the middle addressed him. Though short and slight of frame, her sharp brown eyes and air of authority made her seem as tall as the other two women who flanked her on either side and stood a head taller.

The man nodded politely, tucking his hands into the sleeves of his robes. “A meeting with the Rode Aye, whether by Oghene’s design or with human purpose, is always a pleasure.”

The short woman indicated the table. “Let us sit and discuss what human purpose has brought you here. For, surely, you did not find yourself in the Maidens’ Compound by providential whims.”

The man shook his head. “I shall simply thank you for your gracious reception, Aye Adewemimo, and remain standing. This matter must not be further forestalled by formalities.”

“As you wish,” Aye Adewemimo nodded.

“Tell us, Orori, what is this matter with which you seek our assistance?” said one of the other Rode Aye, a gangly woman with deep-set eyes.

“Honored Maidens,” the man unfolded a hand from his robe, reaching to his side to gently guide Emeravwe forward, “it is she.”

The Rode Aye looked upon the child with large, fearful gray eyes. She was six years of age and dressed in a yellow blouse and skirt. Around her was draped an outer robe of sheer yellow cotton with floral trimmings, and on her head was a headscarf to match. The floral trimmed band of the headscarf rested at her hairline, revealing the large red ruby embedded in her forehead.

“Her name is Emeravwe. I have come to implore you to receive her into training to become a palace Maiden,” the man informed the Rode Aye.

The Rode Aye looked curiously to one another, then to the man. “But, Orori,” the gangly woman protested, eyeing Emeravwe’s forehead, “the child is bejeweled.”

“You are aware that the foreheads of palace Maidens and Eunuchs must be unadorned,” said Aye Adewemimo.

“It is a circumstance I hope you can overlook,” the man pleaded, looking from one Rode Aye to the next. “She is the daughter of an acquaintance of mine who recently became impoverished. He took great pains to ask this favor of me, now I humbly ask the same of you.”

This gave Aye Adewemimo pause, concern darkening her features. “An impoverished acquaintance? Might I ask whom?”

The man answered steadily, “Indeed you might, but I am not at liberty to reveal his identity. Let it be sufficient that I, personally, am making this request.”

Aye Adewemimo’s brow knit as she looked warily from the man to Emeravwe. Her voice was skeptical, and a bit hesitant, when she said, “Surely he had naught to do with the recent incident?”

The other two women eyed Aye Adewemimo with alarm.

The man lifted his chin, his voice cold with reproach. “That is a matter whose utterance has been forbidden! Do you doubt I would break the law by harboring the daughter of renegades?”

Emeravwe started at the severity of his tone, shrinking back.

Aye Adewemimo lowered her head penitently, the other two Aye following suit. “Please be at peace, Orori.” She appealed, “I simply sought to exercise caution in these troubled times. It was not my intention to offend you.”

There was silence as the Rode Aye awaited the man’s response.

He replied smoothly, “You are excused,” and the Rode Aye raised their heads. He continued mildly, “Rest assured, Honored Maidens, I would jeopardise neither your positions nor mine with so treacherous an act. I come to you simply with this humble request.” He placed a hand on Emeravwe’s shoulder, drawing her again from her hiding place in his robes. 

The Rode Aye settled scrutinizing eyes on her, their gazes betraying, still, hints of reluctance.

“As you can see,” the man began, indicating the ruby in Emeravwe’s forehead, “she is of noble birth, and is thus worthy to serve as a palace Maiden. I expect no further partiality beyond that you accept her into the palace’s service, and I shall not meddle in the affairs of the Maidens beyond this. As the Rode Aye it is, of course, your right to decide who shall and shall not be accepted into the Sun’s Court. Yet,” his tone deepened, infusing the air with an aura of superiority, his voice resounding with authority, “we must not neglect the fact that the Sun which reigned hitherto has set, and a new Sun has risen in the skies of Xxene.” He looked intently at each woman. “And I assure you, this Sun promises to shine for many years to come.”

The Rode Aye regarded the man with understanding and respect, then looked to one another and seemed to come to a consensus.

“Though unusual, it is not unheard-of for a jeweled child to serve as a palace Maiden,” said the third Rode Aye, a tall, shapely woman with deep blue eyes.

“Not at all,” said the gangly Aye.

Aye Adewemimo turned a skeptical eye on Emeravwe. “While it is not unheard-of for a jeweled child to be accepted into service, one of unknown background has never yet been accepted.” She faced the man, her expression grave. “Know that we make this exception only because you have personally requested it. She may be allowed to spend her life here as a palace Maiden, but unless you can disclose from what family this child hails, her life in the palace will not be an easy one, and she may be forced to live in obscurity.”

The man regarded Emeravwe sympathetically, saying to the Rode Aye, “I am aware these circumstances are unusual. But as I said, I wish no further partiality where she is concerned. It is enough that she is accepted into the palace.” Seeing the Rode Aye’s looks wane doubtful, he added, “I assure you, when the time comes for the Lunar Bloom to appear once again in the skies of Xxene, you will look favorably on the decision you have made this day.”

Aye Adewemimo eyed him curiously at his words but bowed her head. “We shall rest our faith in you, Orori. Agaenaye Addana,” she called to the girl who stood outside the door and instructed upon her entry, “Take this child to the quarters of the Omote-in-training and inform Aye Omojewe that she is to be educated alongside the other Omote.”

“Yes, my lady,” the girl answered. She walked to Emeravwe and extended her hand. “Come.”

Emeravwe walked silently beside the tall man as they passed through towering iron gates into a vast, bustling courtyard paved with smooth yellow cobblestones and encircled by soaring walls of imperial gold granite. Though it had not been long since daybreak, the court clamored with horses, carts, and people; merchants with goods, workers, and officials in stately attire. Guards in deep orange uniforms marched about, directing individuals to different lines in which both their goods and person were checked before they were allowed further entrance. Emeravwe stuck fearfully to her guide’s side. He walked calmly and unobstructed through the commotion, but she jumped and started as carts clattered by and guards shouted instructions. She quickened her anxious steps to stay close to him, unnerved at the sight of so many people and so much bustle.

At the end of the enclosure, the man led her through another set of dwarfing gates and onto a wide passageway hedged by the imposing gold granite walls. The walls were perforated intermittently by archways on either side, and as they continued down the passage the noise of the courtyard faded behind them till all that was audible was the soft tapping of their sandals on the cobbled ground.

Emeravwe distanced herself from the man again, fearful tears pooling in her eyes. Where is he taking me? Where is Mother? And Father? And… She winced, the tears spilling. She cried because of the chronic pain which had been throbbing in her head for months, and because she was afraid. She missed her mother and father, but whenever she tried to recall them only faint images appeared, and they were always followed by memories of screams. She shook her head, willing away these memories, and the throbbing worsened. She cried out as a wave of pain rippled through her skull—she did not want to remember.

Hearing the cry, her guide stopped to face her. He was clothed in a long silken brown robe, a rich yellow cloth brocaded with golden suns flanked by crescent silver moons wrapped around his head and forehead. The long ends of the headcloth were wound so they covered the lower half of his face. Walking to her, he loosened the cloth from his face and unfolded a hand from within the sleeves of his robes. Reaching down, he gently touched the sheer yellow headscarf which covered her head, and Emeravwe flinched. She looked up through big, terrified gray eyes.

“Fear not, my lady,” the man said softly. “You are safe here.”

Emeravwe stared nervously at him. At the long face and dark brow; the notable hazel eyes. He was the one who had taken her from her family. He had taken her to an inn and left her in the care of the owners until this morning. She tried to remember who he was, but her headache intensified and the pain blurred the man’s image. He turned from her and continued on.

The passage opened onto an extensive circular courtyard laid with concentric smooth slabs of alternating white and yellow stones. At the center was an island of green lawn fringed by clear crystal ponds shaped like crescent moons, in the middle of the island a great spherical fountain of gleaming yellow marble. Arranged around the perimeter of the yard were stone benches and long stretches of neat flowerbeds bordered by palm trees.

As they emerged from the passageway, Emeravwe’s eyes moved around the immaculate courtyard, pausing on the imposing golden gates that loomed just beyond the green island. Adjacent the gates, on either side of the island, were two smaller gateways which perforated the tall granite walls. She followed her guide around a crescent moon pond to the gates on the left. The iron doors stood open, and they stepped through onto a walkway of flagstones that snaked through an expansive compound.

The compound was one of neat lawns and gray stone buildings on either side of the main walk. A cool morning breeze whistled through the leaves of the plumeria and ponytail palm trees that dotted the grounds. At the far end of the premises, rising above the earth, was a mounded stone pavilion, and all around bustled women and girls clothed in blue, pink, and green garments. They walked mostly in groups, according to the color of their apparel, their backs straight and steps even, their voices filling the air with a pleasant hum.

Emeravwe looked around with awe and apprehension. As she continued down the walk with her guide, they encountered several of these ladies who respectfully stepped aside to allow the man passage. They bowed their heads and bent their knees, uttering the greeting, “Miguo,” to which the man answered, “Vrendo,” and gestured for them to rise as he and Emeravwe walked by.

They came to a building with a wide patio flanked by a robust ponytail palm and low, trimmed bushes. On the patio, girls attired in pink stood patiently in groups of threes, their arms folded in the diaphanous sleeves of their outer robes. One girl in pink stood on the stone landing before the building’s double doors. As the man and Emeravwe approached, the girls all bent their knees and bowed their heads, pronouncing, “Miguo, Orori,” in unison.

The man responded, “Vrendo. Rise,” and addressed the girl at the doors, “Inform the Rode Aye that I request their audience.”

“Yes, Orori,” the girl bent her knees in response and entered the building.

As Emeravwe and the man stood waiting on the patio, some of the girls noticed her glued to his side. They gasped and turned to their peers with whispers, causing more of the girls to notice her, and Emeravwe heard exclamations of “A valued child!” She did not know what they meant, but their eyes and whispers unnerved her, and she unwittingly drew closer to the man, hiding herself in the soft folds of his robes.

The double doors of the building opened, and a group of women emerged from within. They were dressed in identical deep blue garments consisting of inner blouses, long skirts, and sheer outer robes fastened in place with gold and silver brooches in the shape of a sun flanked by crescent moons. Atop their heads were matching sheer blue headscarves with wide bands which covered their foreheads. At the sight of them, the girls in pink immediately ceased their whispers and composed themselves. The women, noticing the man on the patio, greeted him as the girls had done, then each triplet of pink-clad girls rallied behind one woman and made their way from the building.

“It is quite rare that you are seen in the Outer Palace, Orori,” a portly woman addressed the man as she and her triplet walked past him, “much less in the Maidens’ Compound.”

The man responded stoically, “My duties have expanded for the time being, as the palace is yet unsettled.”

“Unsettled?” The woman breathed deeply. “Indeed, there is no softer way to describe our current state of upheaval. May Oghene guide Ovye and the Royal Queen Dowager.”

“So we pray.”

Presently, the girl who had entered the building to deliver the man’s message reappeared to announce, “Orori, the Rode Aye will see you now.”

The woman bowed her head, “May you go in peace,” and departed with her triplet of girls.

Emeravwe and her guide entered a wide hall and were greeted by another slim girl in pink. She opened a door, indicating for them to proceed within. They entered with Emeravwe clinging timorously to the man’s side. She had heard him say they were in the palace, but she did not know anyone in the palace. She did not want to be there; seeing so many people rushing around frightened her.

The room they entered was simple; a row of windows lined one wall and a long table surrounded by chairs sat at its center.

Miguo, Orori Odirin,” the three women who stood before the table greeted, paying obeisance when the man entered. They were dressed in the same deep blue garments as the women Emeravwe had seen earlier, but unlike the clothing of the other women, their robes and headscarves were also brocaded with the golden sun and crescent silver moons design that adorned their brooches and the man’s headcloth.

The man gave a slight bow of his head, answering, “Vrendo. You may rise.”

Orori, we are honored to have you grace us with your presence this morning,” the woman in the middle addressed him. Though short and slight of frame, her sharp brown eyes and air of authority made her seem as tall as the other two women who flanked her on either side and stood a head taller.

The man nodded politely, tucking his hands into the sleeves of his robes. “A meeting with the Rode Aye, whether by Oghene’s design or with human purpose, is always a pleasure.”

The short woman indicated the table. “Let us sit and discuss what human purpose has brought you here. For, surely, you did not find yourself in the Maidens’ Compound by providential whims.”

The man shook his head. “I shall simply thank you for your gracious reception, Aye Adewemimo, and remain standing. This matter must not be further forestalled by formalities.”

“As you wish,” Aye Adewemimo nodded.

“Tell us, Orori, what is this matter with which you seek our assistance?” said one of the other Rode Aye, a gangly woman with deep-set eyes.

“Honored Maidens,” the man unfolded a hand from his robe, reaching to his side to gently guide Emeravwe forward, “it is she.”

The Rode Aye looked upon the child with large, fearful gray eyes. She was six years of age and dressed in a yellow blouse and skirt. Around her was draped an outer robe of sheer yellow cotton with floral trimmings, and on her head was a headscarf to match. The floral trimmed band of the headscarf rested at her hairline, revealing the large red ruby embedded in her forehead.

“Her name is Emeravwe. I have come to implore you to receive her into training to become a palace Maiden,” the man informed the Rode Aye.

The Rode Aye looked curiously to one another, then to the man. “But, Orori,” the gangly woman protested, eyeing Emeravwe’s forehead, “the child is bejeweled.”

“You are aware that the foreheads of palace Maidens and Eunuchs must be unadorned,” said Aye Adewemimo.

“It is a circumstance I hope you can overlook,” the man pleaded, looking from one Rode Aye to the next. “She is the daughter of an acquaintance of mine who recently became impoverished. He took great pains to ask this favor of me, now I humbly ask the same of you.”

This gave Aye Adewemimo pause, concern darkening her features. “An impoverished acquaintance? Might I ask whom?”

The man answered steadily, “Indeed you might, but I am not at liberty to reveal his identity. Let it be sufficient that I, personally, am making this request.”

Aye Adewemimo’s brow knit as she looked warily from the man to Emeravwe. Her voice was skeptical, and a bit hesitant, when she said, “Surely he had naught to do with the recent incident?”

The other two women eyed Aye Adewemimo with alarm.

The man lifted his chin, his voice cold with reproach. “That is a matter whose utterance has been forbidden! Do you doubt I would break the law by harboring the daughter of renegades?”

Emeravwe started at the severity of his tone, shrinking back.

Aye Adewemimo lowered her head penitently, the other two Aye following suit. “Please be at peace, Orori.” She appealed, “I simply sought to exercise caution in these troubled times. It was not my intention to offend you.”

There was silence as the Rode Aye awaited the man’s response.

He replied smoothly, “You are excused,” and the Rode Aye raised their heads. He continued mildly, “Rest assured, Honored Maidens, I would jeopardise neither your positions nor mine with so treacherous an act. I come to you simply with this humble request.” He placed a hand on Emeravwe’s shoulder, drawing her again from her hiding place in his robes. 

The Rode Aye settled scrutinizing eyes on her, their gazes betraying, still, hints of reluctance.

“As you can see,” the man began, indicating the ruby in Emeravwe’s forehead, “she is of noble birth, and is thus worthy to serve as a palace Maiden. I expect no further partiality beyond that you accept her into the palace’s service, and I shall not meddle in the affairs of the Maidens beyond this. As the Rode Aye it is, of course, your right to decide who shall and shall not be accepted into the Sun’s Court. Yet,” his tone deepened, infusing the air with an aura of superiority, his voice resounding with authority, “we must not neglect the fact that the Sun which reigned hitherto has set, and a new Sun has risen in the skies of Xxene.” He looked intently at each woman. “And I assure you, this Sun promises to shine for many years to come.”

The Rode Aye regarded the man with understanding and respect, then looked to one another and seemed to come to a consensus.

“Though unusual, it is not unheard-of for a jeweled child to serve as a palace Maiden,” said the third Rode Aye, a tall, shapely woman with deep blue eyes.

“Not at all,” said the gangly Aye.

Aye Adewemimo turned a skeptical eye on Emeravwe. “While it is not unheard-of for a jeweled child to be accepted into service, one of unknown background has never yet been accepted.” She faced the man, her expression grave. “Know that we make this exception only because you have personally requested it. She may be allowed to spend her life here as a palace Maiden, but unless you can disclose from what family this child hails, her life in the palace will not be an easy one, and she may be forced to live in obscurity.”

The man regarded Emeravwe sympathetically, saying to the Rode Aye, “I am aware these circumstances are unusual. But as I said, I wish no further partiality where she is concerned. It is enough that she is accepted into the palace.” Seeing the Rode Aye’s looks wane doubtful, he added, “I assure you, when the time comes for the Lunar Bloom to appear once again in the skies of Xxene, you will look favorably on the decision you have made this day.”

Aye Adewemimo eyed him curiously at his words but bowed her head. “We shall rest our faith in you, Orori. Agaenaye Addana,” she called to the girl who stood outside the door and instructed upon her entry, “Take this child to the quarters of the Omote-in-training and inform Aye Omojewe that she is to be educated alongside the other Omote.”

“Yes, my lady,” the girl answered. She walked to Emeravwe and extended her hand. “Come.”


© Copyright 2019 OE. All rights reserved.

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