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Asuryån Caernough,
The Black Eagle

Lord High Chancellor of Lordaeron
Duke Dreadholme

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Position

Lord High Chancellor

Predecessor

Position Created


Position

Lord of Dreadholme

Predecessor

Rance Creed


Titles

The Black Eagle, The Dragon-Eyed

Arms

Caernough
Sable, in azure bend sinister three lances or, in canton an eagle argent displayed. Blazoned "To the End."

Date of Birth

5 A.P.

Allegiance

The Kingdom of Lordaeron


Ranks and Commands held

Captain-General of the Silver Company
Quartermaster-General of the Forces
Master of the Royal Ordnance

Battle Honors

The Scourge War
The Fall of New Avalon
The Valgarde Offensives
The Storming of En'kilah
The Siege of Zeramas
The Second Siege of Naxxramas
The Jotunheim Campaign
The Battle of Mord'rethar
The Fall of Icecrown
The First Gilneas Offensive
The Queen's War
The Fall of Purgation Isle
The Viscountess' War
The First Grand Crusade
The Theramore Offensive
The Siege of Lianna
Operation: Shieldwall
The Battle of Brunshire
The Siege of Thorn Hill
The Battle of Sunspring
Landing at the Scarlet Palisade
The Battle at Cold Hearth
Foray into the Undercity
Battle of Windrunner Village


Asuryån Caernough, born as Asuryån Kurnous is a soldier and statesman in service to Madelynne Albrecht, claimant to the throne of Lordaeron. Prior to his appointment as Her Majesty's Chancellor, Asuryan commanded The Silver Company, a grouping of mercenary soldiers united in personal loyalty to Asuryan's cousin, the famed Eldanesh Kurnous. Asuryån is the last known surviving member of the defunct House of Kurnous, themselves an off-shoot of a bastard borne of Helmuth Albrecht.

A conniving politican and shrewd soldier, Asuryån saw action in the final battles of the War in the Frozen North, and commanded The Silver Company alongside the Brotherhood of the Flame during then-Viscountess Albrecht's first push into Hillsbrad and Silverpine. The Company was annihilated by Forsaken forces at the Fall of Purgation Isle whilst screening the Flame's advance north into Lordaeron proper. Following Viscountess Albrecht's return south from Lordaeron, and her claiming of the fallen throne, Asuryån served as her ambassador and envoy, before finally being appointed Lord High Chancellor. For his gallant command of the assault on the Undercity's Apothecarium during the First Grand Crusade, and resolute service in the Grand Alliance's combined efforts to defend Theramore from Horde aggression, he was created Lord Kurnous of Corin's Crossing, the same title awarded his cousin by the lords of the Scarlet Crusade. Later, whilst commanding royal forces during The Dread War he was taken prisoner by Rance Creed after the Battle of Thorn's Hill and subjected to torture by Quinton Ridgewell, resulting in the loss of both his eyes before being rescued in the aftermath of the Battle of Dawnholde. The aftermath of the Dread Rebellion saw him formally renounce the name Kurnous, surrendering all claims upon Corin's Crossing and instead being rewarded by Queen Madelynne with the suddenly-leaderless fief of Dreadholme.

Though a loyal servant to Queen Madelynne's cause, and a die-hard Lordaeronian revanchist, Asuryån's martial deeds and zealous desire to see Lordaeron freed often find him comparing his accomplishments unfavorably against those of his far more lauded and puissant cousin Eldanesh. This struggle to see his purpose as something of his own and not just another legacy of The Conqueror often subsume him in bouts of anger and melancholy, which only add rigor to a constant struggle against the temptations of fel magic.

Early LifeEdit

Asuryan was born five years after the opening of the Dark Portal, the first and only offspring of Rhys and Phaedra Kurnous. The family owned a small farm outside of Andorhal and lived a comfortable, if not prosperous existence. At the age of six Asuryan became first acquainted with his first cousin Eldanesh Kurnous at a family gathering in Stratholme. In the spring of the same year, both Phaedra and Rhys were stricken with typhoid and soon passed away. Though his relatives were sympathetic to Asuryan's plight, the Kurnous lineage was a base one and none of his extended family could afford to raise another child. Asuryan was this sent to Stratholme to be reared in an orphanage.

Growing up in an urban orphanage was hardly ideal for a wide-eyed youth of only seven years. The orphanage establishment was ill-supported by the city government and Asuryan often lacked for food and simple comforts. He was frequently bullied by his peers for his bookish nature and as he grew older turned to petty crime in Stratholme's high streets, developing rudimentary skills as both a pickpocket and picklock. At age ten he was apprenticed to a local alchemist and began to learn the basics of mixology and chemical compounds.

An otherwise dreary existence was lent some hope when Asuryan was aged eleven. Eldanesh, newly anointed a novice of the Silver Hand, visited upon his cousin. Sent to Stratholme by the order to retrieve several tomes from the Grand Cathedral and see them back to Tyr's Hand, Eldanesh doted upon his little cousin and spent several days spoiling him with treats, toys, and grand and fantastic tales of the glories of the Silver Hand. When it was time to depart, Eldanesh promised Asuryan that when the time came and he was old enough, a recommendation would be secured to see to his own induction into the order.

Invigorated by the glittering hope of a better lot, Asuryan devoted himself to his apprenticeship and made good progress in mastering the intricacies of medicinal potions and understanding the properties of various herbs. Eldanesh's tacit sponsorship also saw his life grow more comfortable, as several friendly priests and paladins often called upon the shop of his master in order to secure their alchemical needs. There, they would slip him a coin or two or spirit him down the street to a local baker to enjoy a sweet roll.

This promising rise was abruptly ended at the advent of the Third War. Rumors of coming conflict began to circulate the city, and a strange malady swept through Stratholme's streets. Refugees from the countryside packed into the city, repeating tales of terrible monsters bourne from foul magics. Not a week later Prince Arthas Menethil arrived outside the city with a royal army, much to the relief of Stratholme's citizenry.

But there was to be no respite from the prince. Knowing of the brewing plague within Stratholme, and that the city would soon be but a massive incubator for the scourge blight, Arthas elected to put all Stratholme to the torch. Asuryan cowered in his orphanage as screams and shouts echoed through the burning streets and was saved from certain death only by the abrupt arrival of a strange elven woman. Allowing no time for explanations, she stormed into the orphanage, ignoring the pleas and cries of its staff and the other orphans, and spirited Asuryan out of the city and to safety. This woman was Lileath Brightspire, a magistrix of Quel'Thelas; more than that, as she soon revealed, she was mother to Rhys Kurnous and thus Asuryan's grandmother.

As she carried him from the burning city Asuryan struggled in her arms, his eyes wide as they crested a rise and he beheld the fires that swept through Stratholme, embers rising atop great pillars of black smoke that smote out the sun. "Dry your eyes, little one," she told him, "For as their story ends, yours is just beginning."

The War in NorthrendEdit

Lileath raised Asuryan in Silvermoon following the fall of Lordaeron. His upbringing there was a sheltered one, and following the prevailing anti-Alliance sentiment stewing in the streets he was kept from going outdoors unaccompanied by his grandmother. It was at this time that Lileath had the left side of his face tattooed with a black dragon, claiming that it would take away from his less-than-elven ears at a quick glance. Under the rigorous tutelage of his grandmother, Asuryan continued his studies in alchemy and was soon enough introduced to the realities of magic.

But it was not the arcane that Lileath visited upon Asuryan. The myriad energies of the Twisting Nether had an allure of power, and for a hapless youth who knew no better there seemed little wrong with exploring the possibilities found beyond reality. Encouraged by Lileath, Asuryan delved whole-heartedly into the profane magic of demonkind, his passions fueled by festering anger boiling inside since the culling of Stratholme.

Asuryan spent four years in Silvermoon, during which he became fluent in Thalassian and grew from a scared adolescent into a budding adult, confidence bolstered by the natural fire of youth coupled with a mounting mastery of the infernal. When the Dark Portal re-opened and Silvermoon declared for the Horde, Lileath knew she could no longer keep Asuryan safe and accordingly saw him to safety amongst his own kind: the Scarlet Crusade.

The Crusade that Asuryan stepped into was not the glorious army of Mograine the Ashbringer, or even Isilien the Wrathful: both were long dead, and the order stood battered and bloodied by constant attacks from the Scourge and Forsaken, their organization undermined by the Argent Dawn and hired mercenaries. Asuryan sought to find amongst their number his cousin Eldanesh, but the paladin was at this time engaged in prosecuting the first siege of Naxxramas far from Asuryan's new home in New Avalon.

Any hopes Asuryan might have had about finding lost family were shattered with the arrival of Acherus. The Lich King's new breed of death knights all but shattered the Crusade's power base in the hinterlands of Tyr's Hand, slaughtering many of its remaining champions. The redemption of Darion Mograine at Light's Hope Chapel saw many more still depart the broken order for the gleaming promise of Tirion Fordring and the Ashbringer, Eldanesh amongst them. It took Asuryan several months to reach a friendly port once he took his leave of Hearthglen, and by the time he reached Northrend the Scourge had been pushed back from the coastlines and the Siege of Icecrown was just beginning.

By this time, Eldanesh had joined the Argent Crusade and it was beneath the bleak sky of Icecrown Glacier that Asuryan finally found his cousin. Eldanesh had been changed by the wars of the scourge; he was a jaded and bitter man, obsessed with his own failures and driven by revenge unto redemption. He was no longer Sir Eldanesh, but Eldanesh the Conqueror, the destroyer of Naxxramas and risen amongst the ranks of the Crusade to stand by Tirion Fordring's right hand. When asked by his cousin what had driven him to come to Northrend and thrust himself into the fires of war, Asuryan's response to Eldanesh was to say, "I am from Lordaeron too, cousin."

Though the Argent Crusade would have never accepted an unrepentant warlock into their ranks, Eldanesh took Asuryan into his confidence and introduced him to the circle of retainers who served Eldanesh's more clandestine interests. These were Gevin Hopesfire, an old friend of Eldanesh from their days in the Silver Hand, Remington Dalson, Eldanesh's equerry, Tyladrin Starfire, a kaldorei assassin, and a grouping of various other brigands and ne'er-do-wells, united in their personal loyalty to Eldanesh Kurnous, who had either saved them from a looming death or lifted them from the gutter, exhorting them to make something of their lives.

And so Asuryan fought, for the first time in his life experience the simultaneous horror and thrill of combat. Though he might have balked at unleashing demonic power upon living beings, the undead were but automaton creations, making mockery of the Light and deserving destruction. Driven by a rising furor, Asuryan for the first time summoned a demon from the Nether and onto Azeroth, overpowering the creature and banishing its body back to whence it came, while binding its power and soul into his being. For the first time in his life, Asuryan felt a sense of purpose: there was good work to be done in the destruction of the scourge and the war against the Lich King, and the way to Icecrown soon lay open.

Eldanesh did not live to see Arthas' fall, having fallen on the field during a mad charge against the Scourge fieldworks at Mord'rethar. With Eldanesh's death, Asuryan lost not only his last known relative but a figure of motivation: Eldanesh had been one of the mightiest warriors on Azeroth, his accomplished matched by few throughout all the realms of man. More than that, Eldanesh had been the one to direct his wrath; he was a voice of experience and wisdom, acerbic as some of it may have been. Asuryan was not the only one stranded by the Conqueror's demise. All of Eldanesh's retainers felt the loss as well, Remington chief amongst them. It was to Asuryan that they began to look for guidance, for here was blood relation to their exalted Conqeror.

The Silver CompanyEdit

The Silver Company was formed in the weeks following Eldanesh's demise. Neither Asuryan nor his newfound compatriots felt much lingering loyalty to the Argent Crusade: they had served its aims out of devotion to Kurnous, not Fordring. Though privately overwhelmed by the newfound responsibility of assuming command over such a veteran group of warriors, and harboring immense doubts over his capacity to lead them effectively, Asuryan set about the task of organizing the Company into a cohesive unit with real structure and codes. For his second he took the kaldorei assassin Tyladrin Starfire, awarding the elf the rank of Captain-Leftenant beside his own Captain-General. Tyladrin was one of Eldanesh's oldest and loyal companions, and the elf's counsel was oftentimes a comforting assurance to Asuryan.

Despite Eldanesh's abrupt death, and sorrow that overcame most members of the newly-formed Company, the march to Icecrown was proceeding with all the fury of a scorned kingdom. Asuryan was quick to commit the Company to the siege, the Alliance forces stationed in Icecrown always having use for skilled bands of adventurers. Lacking the piety of the majority of the crusading army and composed in the main of individuals particularly skilled at clandestine operations, Asuryan and his men saw little action in the storming of Icecrown Citadel itself; instead their specific talents were put to excellent use in reducing Scourge outworks and bastions. It was a thankless task and one affording little glory to the tired and war-weary Company, but it was purpose nonetheless. On the day that Arthas was finally laid low by the wrath of the righteous, the Company was busily cleansing the Nerubian tunnels that infested the ice beneath the citadel.

Arthas's death should have been an immense relief to Asuryan, and indeed to his soldiers as well. Yet there was little satisfaction to be found in the Lich King's fall. Lordaeron still lay in the grasp of the Forsaken, its lands polluted by plague and its people scattered to the winds. Worse still was that Arthas had provided Asuryan a clear goal: an outcome to strive for and drive himself towards, and the fall of the Lich King sent the young man spiraling once again into the deep throes of depression. Returning the Company to Stormwind, Asuryan turned to drink and distraction, ostensibly open to the idea of accepting mercenary contracts for the Company's services but quite keen on finding reason to decline them all.

It was at this time that Amorceos Trueflame, a priest and soldier of the Company who had in seasons past served as Eldanesh's confessor and tutor during his novitiate in the Silver Hand, began to take exception with Asuryan's leadership: or lack thereof. He began to circulate amidst the ranks and indicate very vocally his displeasure with the Captain-General's malaise. This was directly contrary to the code of the Company, which dictated that any grievances were to be aired and discussed publicly in a gathering of the entire force. Asuryan was informed of this matter by Tyladrin Starfire, who despite his loyalty to the letter of Company law, also chose not to support Asuryan in the actions he was soon to take.

Asuryan confronted Amorceos in a Stormwind tavern, already drunk and full of spite and ire. The Prelate sneered at what he perceived to be Asuryan's weakness, mocking him for his doubts and for his vices. 'Eldanesh,' he told Asuryan, 'Was thrice the man you are.' Left unspoken were Amorceos' personal hatreds of Asuryan's corruption. Incensed, Asuryan repeatedly struck Amorceos with a candlestick, bloodying him and throwing him down a staircase before taking his leave in a furor.

Soon after this confrontation, Asuryan resolved to have Amorceos murdered. For this, he contracted the services of one of Stormwind's myriad criminal groups -- the so-called Sanguine Syndicate. Money was exchanged and the particulars were ironed-out. The assassin chosen was a woman by the name of Silas Blaiyre, whom Asuryan found himself fleetingly infatuated with. Knowing the end was soon upon him, Amorceos made no attempt to escape his fate when Blaiyre came calling. He was stabbed to death in one of Menethil Harbor's back alleys, and his body mutilated before being brought to Asuryan as proof. It was only when he beheld Amorceos's mutilated corpse that the full weight of his actions came crashing down on Asuryan: he wept openly and turned again to excess drink. Tyladrin Starfire, the only man of the Company to know the truth of what passed between Asuryan and Amorceos, was unsympathetic: "These are the actions you took," he told Asuryan: "Live with them."

As

The High Chancellor

The Fall of Purgation IsleEdit

There was little time for Asuryan to wallow masochistically in his grief. The Silver Company was offered contract by Eshkandar Anushirvan, Grand Crusade of the Brotherhood of the Flame. Then-Viscountess Madelynne Albrecht of Blackmarsh was mustering soldiery for a campaign against the Forsaken in Hillsbrad and Silverpine. Asuryan was quick to pledge the Company to this cause; less for coin and more for purpose: something they had all lacked since the siege of Icecrown ended. The banner of the winged ouroboros was unfurled, and for the first time since Northrend the Silver Company took the field of battle in force.

The first engagement came at the ruins of Southshore. The Brotherhood's forces advanced against Forsaken positions but swiftly found themselves pinned down by bat-riders. Astride snow-white gryphons the Company cleared the skies and afforded respite. Prior to the subsequent battle at Azurelode Mine, the Company scattered themselves to the north of the Brotherhood's main body, skirmishing with undead reinforcements and delaying their advance long enough for the Brotherhood to triumph.

Viscountess Albrecht then made a fateful decision; gains had been made, but Lordaeron still lay in the Banshee Queen's grasp. Previous campaigns had been content to secure a few victories and then return south. The Viscountess desired more. She would press deeper into Hillsbrad and across the mountains towards her home province of Blackmarsh. Asuryan volunteered the Company to remain behind as a rear-guard, even knowing the full weight of Forsaken soldiery likely to fall upon them. The Company made their garrison at Purgation Isle, off the coast of Hillsbrad. 

Though he would make many rousing speeches throughout his life, the address Asuryan delivered at Purgation Isle was curt. "I'm not asking you to stand here for any notions of honor, glory, or fame," he told his companions. "But because somebody has to. And this, at least, will be worth something."

The Forsaken came against Purgation Isle in overwhelming numbers. The Company by that point was reduced to just six effectives following the campaign in Hillsbrad: Asuryan, Tyladrin, Rowthe Willey, Neron Nero, Azgevin Hopesfire, and Remington Dalson. Though they made the enemy pay dearly for every scrap of the twisting spire, one-by-one they were overrun. A gibbering abomination rained bile upon Rowthe until nothing remained but goo. Tyladrin Starfire was torn to pieces by ghouls covering the withdrawal towards the summit. Gevin and Remington met their end back to back having finally made their peace with the Holy Light, surrounded by undead. Neron hastened towards the pinnacle, where Rowthe had packed the island's lonely tower with a massive stockpile of explosives.

Asuryan found himself face to face with commander Chillings, a champion of the Banshee Queen. His estoc in hand, man battled forsaken across the precipice of the great spire, thunder rolling in from the stormclouds on high and the great mass of the Forsaken host massing below. Though a duelist of some skill, Asuryan could never match Chillings blade-to-blade. He found himself disarmed and thrown to the ground. Chillings stood over him with his blade raised on high, the killing stroke prepared. In that instant, he knew himself defeated; he knew death was upon him. He resigned himself to what was to come.

This resignation had unforeseen consequences. Ever since Northrend, when he had shackled within his spirit the soul of a Demon, Asuryan had kept the monster chained inside his being, devoting energy and attention to ensuring it never came uncontrolled. When Asuryan closed his eyes and accepted his end, the bonds snapped. Chillings's sword came down and a hand rose to meet it -- not a hand of flesh and blood but a clawed limb of twisted, chitinous indigo, twisting and bending the steel with ease. The Demon took advantage of Asuryan's apathy and greedily seized his body, conjuring fully its form upon the island. Chillings was suddenly on the defensive, forced to give ground and reeling from the power of the Nether made manifest.

Then, cornered by a pack of plaguehounds, Nero detonated the bombs.

The resulting explosion incinerated a great mass of the Forsaken host and blew both Asuryan and Chillings off the edge of the spire. His body still under the Demon's control, Asuryan survived the fall to the rolling, frigid waves below. The power of the blast weakened The Demon's control over his body, and Asuryan was able to contest its power. Washed up on the barren shores of Gilneas, Asuryan and The Demon waged a battle of wills with one another for several days until the creature was finally brought to heel and its soul shackled once again. 

A Kingdom RestoredEdit

Left aimless and bereft the people that drove him onwards, Asuryan wandered for some time. He took brief service with the Seventh Legion in Gilneas as they struggled to push back the Forsaken advances over the broken wall. Fatefully, one day he received word that not only had Lady Albrecht's little army survived their push into Lordaeron, they had made inroads; the region surrounding Albrecht's home-fief of Blackmarsh was retained. Taking his leave of the Legion, Asuryan quickly set out to pledge himself to her service. That she proclaimed herself Queen was no issue to the young man; he'd barely been grown when Terenas perished. He saw in Madelynne the same thing he saw in Eldanesh: a person to serve; a cause to make his own and a task to give himself purpose.

Asuryan accompanied Madelynne south to Stormwind following her coronation, serving first as an aide and then an Ambassador. Taking up residence in a small manse, he began to amass a considerable network of spies and informants. This unseen horde was quick to prove its use, as Asuryan found himself dealing with a great host of local dignitaries and magnates who desired audience with the Queen. As Madelynne rarely deigned meet with those she considered of gauche bearing, it was Asuryan that attended upon these myriad matters. With more and more armsmen flocking to the banner of Lordaeron Restored, the business of administering both Blackmarsh and the various holdings and assets soon pledged to the crown became a task beyond a single person. For this reason, in recognition of his diligent service, Madelynne created Asuryan Lord High Chancellor: an extraordinary position and a grudging indication of the trust she placed in the young Kurnous.

Asuryan-macbethoff

The Duke Dread, by Macbethoff

Though all seemed well, there were matters unseen which still troubled Asuryan. In the weeks following Purgation Isle he began to suffer hallucinations. Spectres of the dead haunted his waking hours: Tyladrin, Remington, Azgevin -- even Eldanesh was there, heaping disdain upon him for his survival and mocking perceived weaknesses. Though troubled by these apparitions, and further unsettled by the constant whispers and struggle of the thing still trapped within him, Asuryan diligently set to his duties. It was not long following his appointment that the Queen, with great pomp and splendor, called upon the Undercity what would become known as the First Grand Crusade.


Personality and AbilitiesEdit

GeneralshipEdit

Though his appointment as Chancellor should have seen him removed from future battles, Asuryan Caernough ranks amongst, if not the most able of all Queen Madelynne's commanders. He continuously found employed in tasks requiring the utmost resolution and daring, especially clashes upon which the outcome hinged on the vigor and self-sacrifice of smaller hosts. Despite the knowledge that both he and his men were expendable in the grand scheme, Lord Caernough's battles are characterised by extreme caution, and his campaigns by an enduring care for the lives of his men.

Indeed, perhaps his greatest weakness as a commander as this over-identification: at the Battle of Thorn's Hill, when his vanguard became imperiled he ordered a general advance prematurely in order to relieve them, ultimately resulting in a near-disastrous rout. The reality of any campaign is that casualties are inevitable, and despite his striving to minimize them Caernough no doubt felt every loss quite keenly, causing him to have considerable doubt in his own abilities despite his own renown and great personal courage.

File:Vans.jpg

Despite receiving no formal training in the arts of war, Asuryan's experiences during the siege of Icecrown were quick to introduce him to the realities of battle. The horrible casualties sustained in Northrend soured him upon pointless frontal assaults, to the point where he was heard to remark that the great Battle of Blackrock Spire at the height of the Second War was a catastrophe, and Anduin Lothar a fool. Often forced to operate with less-than-optimal forces and in substandard conditions, Asuryan's strategies and tactics typically hinged upon preserving his forces until the time was right. On numerous occasions, the early battles of the Dread Rebellion most notable, he managed to consistently avoid destruction at the hand of both quantitatively and qualitatively superior armies. Quite fond of oblique maneuver, at both Brunshire and Windrunner Village he was able to direct decisive force against one of the enemy's isolated flanks.

Holding himself to the same high standard of excellence as demanded of his men, Asuryan refused to issue any order that he would not carry out himself if need be. During the First Grand Crusade, commanding the host's second line, he personally led the assault on the Apothecarium, heedless of wounds suffered and the risk to his own life. Even after suffering the loss of both eyes, a permanent disability which should have seen him removed forever from any command, he remained a visible figure of inspiration to the Royal Army. At Vanston Heights he led an up-hill cavalry charge against an entrenched Forsaken position, and whilst clashing with forces of the Sin'dorei in Outland, once again led the Royal Army to triumph.



Quotes

"The Queen is a radiant being. She is pristine, she is free from the follies of mere men. For hers is a Grace given by the Light, infalliable and eternal. She is above reproach and she must forever be free of dirt and grime. Secrets, too, Wald. She must forever be free of secrets. I am Her Majesty's Chancellor, but I am too the keeper of her secrets. I am the guardian of the truth. I serve The Queen and I would fall on my sword in a moment if she demand it, for she is worthy."

--to Wald Digger

"Lordaeron dies. She does not surrender."

--At the Siege of Dawnholde

"When the captain is indisposed, a good wheelman will still prevent a ship from running aground, even if he must sail in circles."

--to Eventaria Forisi

"We have been here before, soldiers of Lordaeron! We are no strangers to Brill, both in its life and in its death! Men of Lordaeron, to the crest! I shall await you at the pinnacle! Forwards!"

--At the Battle at Cold Hearth

"I would advise Your Excellency to tender more care upon his flock than his frock."

--To Eustasius Greenleaf

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