Monthly Archives: April 2015

Just What IS this “Radiant Chronicle” Anyway?

An interesting project

桜花ワークス

Introduction

It’s about time that I explain my project. In this post I lose my mind and talk to myself in an attempt to present to you the meaning behind this madness. We’ll discuss what makes the Radiant Chronicle Project special especially its contrasts to traditional styles of writing especially when it comes to high-fantasy style fiction.

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What is the Radiant Chronicle Project, in my own words?

“The Radiant Chronicle Project” (a.k.a. “Radiant Chronicle,” or simply “RC”) is the name of the entire project base on which I plan to release various types of media, particularly stories, art, and even music.

To do this I had to build and define several aspects of the fantasy world on which the entire thing is set, often in great detail. I like to think of it as “RPG style fantasy.”

What is “RPG Style Fantasy?”

RPG stands for Role-Playing Game. It’s a type…

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Soniferious Ether

‘Soniferious Ether’ or is a pervasive field that contains universal knowledge and experience from members of the species. For ethereal beings, they serve as an inter-network that can be used for local communication similar to telepathy, and ultimately store long term semantic memory as collective memory of the species.

Morphic field analog

It provides a force that guided the development of an etheric organism as it grows, making it take on a form similar to other species. DNA is not the source of structure, but rather a “receiver” that translated instructions in the field into form. Once a new morphic field – a new pattern of organization – has come into being, its field becomes stronger through repetition. The same pattern becomes more likely to happen again. The more often patterns are repeated, the more probable they become. The fields contain a kind of cumulative memory and become increasingly habitual. Fields evolve in time and form the basis of habits that are stored for the next generation.

Records

The Akashic records that make up the ether are the personal life file recordings of each individual being of their species.
A species ether can record long term memories retained by others. It can store their semantic memories, which concerns facts taken independent of context. It can also store procedural memory, which guides the processes performed and created through repeating a complex activity over and over again until all of the relevant neural systems work together to automatically produce the activity.
Unlike memories stored in minds, those in akashic records don’t degrade with time but they can’t store very personal memories like episodic, visual, or autobiographical memories or memories that weren’t collected due to lack of attention. Attention plays a key role in storing information into long-term memory; without proper attention, the information might not be stored, making it impossible to be retrieved since it was never there.

Access

An individual accessing their species specific ether will require a level of meditation to recall another’s memory. For some, emotional events or even attempting to recall their own memories can cause them to accidentally find a soniferious memory but most require conscious effort.

Check out this website for readers of all ages! (And parents and teachers, too!)

The Book Ant

This week we celebrated UNESCO’s World Book Day “to recognize the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.” The Bookant and friends can get behind that, so I did some checking. There is a website for readers, teachers, and parents and I found some treasures there. Check it out at http://worldbookday.com.

For very young readers, there is a delightful set of video books by Rod Campbell, whose chunky cardboard books feature flaps that open to advance the simple story. Campbell’s stories of animals and children are narrated and animated simply. Videos run about two or three minutes long and feature pictures and words right from the books along with sound effects and a lovely British-accented voice-over. My favorite was Dear Zoo, the story of a child who asks the zoo to send a pet. There is a gentle…

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Monster Monday: Peri

Write Wrote Written

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Peri.

Peri, 1875 Kalighat painting. Peri, 1875 Kalighat painting.

A peri is a usually winged, fairy-like creature in Turkish folklore borrowed from the Persians. Peris fulfill a similar role to fairies in European folklore in that they are often depicted as spirits that can be either good or evil, helpful or harmful to humans.

In some stories, they are fallen angels who must do penance before they are allowed to reenter Paradise. In other stories, they are more akin to the djinn, and sometimes the term peri is used to distinguish good djinn from…

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Uncommon diverse relationships

One day on a bus ride, I was thinking about the relationships of the parents of the characters from my projects, mainly Vanessa Fly Trap. So I thought to myself, there are a lot of mixed relationships that I don’t see very often in media that I view, whether it’s books, television, comics, video games. So using the major races I’m aware of, I made a list of the relationships I see the least, whether it is the main focus of a story or in the background.

  • Black woman and East Asian man
  • Black woman and Middle Eastern man
  • Black woman and South Asian (Indian) man
  • Black woman and Pacific Islander man
  • Black woman and Amerindian (Native American) man
  • Pacific Islander woman with an ethnicity besides White (Black, East Asian, South Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern)
  • Pacific Islander man with an ethnicity besides White (Black, East Asian, South Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern)
  • Amerindian men and women with an ethnicity besides White (Black, East Asian, South Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern)
  • Hispanic/Latinos with East Asian men and women
  • Hispanic/Latinos with Middle Eastern men and women
  • Hispanic/Latinos with South Asian men and women
  • Hispanic/Latinos with Pacific Islander men and women
  • East Asian woman with Hispanic/Latino man
  • East Asian woman with South Asian man
  • East Asian woman with Middle Eastern man
  • East Asian woman with Pacific Islander man
  • East Asian men with an ethnicity besides White and East Asian (Black, South Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern)

Keep in mind that I made this with a mainly American view of ethnicity so there may be a few groups missing depending on how your country views ethnicity. I am also aware there are regions of the world and one or two shows or books but I think my point is that there are a bunch of untapped potential in (American) fiction. That’s why in my stories in all of my projects, I will start to put more like these, for young couples, old couples, families, and childless couples. And no, I’m not eliminating same race couples but you can go outside to find those and they get plenty of representation. Of course I feel the best approach would be to start with them not in the main focus, as to not point them out as something “weird” or “other”. What are some ways that you think could get more representation for mixed race couples in media, or do you think we are at good balance right now and should take it slower? Let me know in the comments!

History is Written By People: Conclusions on Building Fictional History

Sociologist Novelist

I read quite a bit of history, both real and fictional. In the last couple months, the historically oriented books that I’ve read and enjoyed have included (in no particular order) Diana Gabaldon’s Outlanderseries, the edited volume Wastelands 2: More Stories of the Apocalypse, Kim E. Nielsen’s A Disability History of the United States, Bruce Levine’s The Fall of the House of Dixie, N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the fictionalized history text by George RR Martin, Elio M. Garcia Jr. and Linda Antonsson, The World of Ice & Fire. With all of this stuff floating around my head, and especially after talking about Jemisin and Martin’s work in my book group this weekend, I’ve been reminded of a conclusion that’s good to restate from time to time. That conclusion is this:

History is complicated.

A lot of what I mean by that…

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Where can I find an illustrator for my children’s book?

Touchwood Press

A big part of the magic of any children’s book is the artwork. But if you’re not Beatrix Potter, you’re going to need to collaborate with an illustrator. If you don’t have one lined up, it can be daunting to try and find one whose style fits with what’s in your mind’s eye and who is affordable and congenial.

Enter Fiverr and other sites such as guru, odesk, and elance, where freelancers hang out. There’s even ChildrensIlllustrators.com, as you knew there would be.

Make sure your illustrator has verifiable references, is willling to work under a written agreement (good ones will have their own), and that you have no lingering doubts before committing a lot of time and money to the partnership.Also make sure you retain all the rights you need to use the illustrator’s output in the ways you may need to, i.e. for…

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Crash Course in Magic# 6

The Drawbacks of Magic:

  • Unlocking this highly active and continuous brain state heightens the mage’s nervous system. In their altered state of mind the mage becomes super sensitive to everything around them.
  • Consequently while their senses speed, and reaction time dramatically increases, their pain tolerance dramatically lowers. A mage stubbing his toe may feel as if someone had taken a hammer to it. The heightened sensitivity is a double edged sword.
  • Extensive dosing of ingested reagents can leave a mage with a struggling immune system, leaving them susceptible to serious illnesses. Psychological effects, can include minor depression, mood swings, and increased paranoia. Losing one’s focus while under the influence of sacred mushrooms or herbs can cause a mage to be lost temporarily in a hallucinogenic haze.
  • An advanced spell may kill a mage if the mage’s body is not strong enough to adequately handle the amount of physical stress that certain spells can impose on the body. An injured (or ill) mage should be wary of expanding large amounts of energy less their body succumb to the injuries.
  • Additionally it is generally recommended that a mage who is injured at least numb their pain before altering their state of mind, less their heightened senses amplify their pain which usually results in making concentrating and thus spell casting very difficult. A mage must be able to maintain a certain degree of focus to complete or maintain a spell, an interruption of a mage’s concentration will almost always cancel any spell under a mage’s management.
  • For most beings advanced magic requires crystals. These can be stolen or destroyed or lost. Many magic users are fairly limited without gemstones (or items bejeweled with crystals), they can make very small changes happen around them but they don’t have anything close to precise control over magic.  Mages get fatigued after extensive use and have been known to fall into a temporary comatose due to spiritual exhaustion if spell casting past their bodily limits.
  • Spell effects are generally temporary. Attempting to create a spell with a permanent effect such as in item enhancement will cost a tremendous amount of energy that can take a mage’s life.
  • Nothing appears from thin air, you can manipulate things that already exist (set them on fire, move them, explode them), but you can’t conjure anything that isn’t here (make wall of brick appear). Remember, though, that turning water into ice is not turning one thing into another and collected mana can be turned into other things, but then you run into the problem of…
  • Places have a finite amount of magic available. When one uses magic, they draw mana out of the environment to power it but there is only so much mana in a given area, some more than others. If one were to use up all of this mana, they would have to wait a while for it to replenish. The same would apply for magic techniques that uses one’s inner magoi or mana capacity, which can also be depleted until the being is able to draw more into iteself.

Crash Course in Magic #5

Special Aspects of Magic: Pick a Magic, Any Magic

Rule Magic


This type of magic is based on rules of sort, like incantations or rituals, which are required before casting it. It’s a very stable type, the easiest to reproduce and teach, and has increasingly become the most used on Kaf and most other worlds. If you draw on magic following these rules in a normal environment, then nothing unexpected can happen to you. If you don’t follow these rules, one of three things happens : The magic doesn’t work, it backfires horribly on you, or you invent something new and get to name it after yourself.

Rule-based Magic is heavily traditional, with most spells being developed through centuries of trial and error. The only people who break the rules are the maverick wizards who wind up eventually discovering something new and/or blowing themselves up. Extensive experimentation is usually socially acceptable among mages, but the “Hey, you know what would be cool?” approach to things tends not to go over well with stuffy archmage councils. The advantages of using Rule-based Magic is it’s totally reliable and, generally, more advanced than other types. When most people think of “mages” or “wizards”, they are imagining some form of rule-based magic. The same is true for shamanism, but to a lesser extent, as shamans tend to combine it with other types of magic as well. While Rule-based Magic is reliable, the problem is that it also becomes easily predictable. Most potent wizards know it usually won’t be enough to defeat an opponent in a magical duel and that it must be combined with other types.

Common examples include but not limited to:

  1. Hexing/cursing: Typically a curse or hex is a harmful magical spell that will develop slowly and gradually. A tremendous amount of energy is required for what is essentially the art of creating magical traps or for the lack of better word landmines. Magical diseases are included under the umbrella of hexing.
  2. Repudiation/Meta-magic is a magic art that involves the manipulation of magic itself. It includes wielding spells that absorb, reflect magic, dispelling curses or removing the effects of magical items.
  3. Restoration arts: These spells allow mages to heal and boost their allies. Dedicated Church clerics, mages who are inclined to healing, and bards are those who use techniques that employ a great level of refined magic control to simultaneously activate and maintain certain biological functions in a person’s body. Church clerics and healers use magic on themselves or patients willing to accept their magic. The healing arts temporarily cause a body to exponentially increase its healing capabilities and repairing itself by healing damaged tissues and bone structures, and conquering diseases and infection. Mages cannot recreate tissue; if a finger is missing a mage cannot grow another one. If the finger is found and it hasn’t been too long it can be reattached. Magical healing requires significant rest afterwards and it is not uncommon for those healed magically to pass out for hours or days at a time. Miraculous as it is, speeding up the body’s healing process will exhaust the body. There is also speculation rapidly healing critical injuries, such as a damaged lung can shorten one’s lifespan by weakening other organs. The mage must be in close proximity to its target to effectively use restoration arts. The magical songs of bards can induce minor healing in willing targets and also encourage the release of adrenaline and endorphins in the body.
  4. Elementalism: controlling the elements of nature such as fire, water, air, sound, electricity, etc.

Alchemy & Magitech


Potions, elixirs, transmutation, reinforcement and enhancement of physical objects, is what involved in Alchemy. Alchemists were at the forefront of science and technology, and they essentially invented modern chemistry and discovered important laws of physics such as Equivalent Exchange during their unorthodox experiments. Alchemy is seen as a sort of scientific magic; when crafting items like potions involves distilling the ingredients (by extracting the “latent mana” from them rather than more mundane chemical compounds) and generally enchanting raw materials with magical properties. As such, alchemy is still a profession on Kaf, although their jobs are producing restorative and buff potions, transmute gems into more valuable gems and metals into more valuable metals,  giving specific permanent magical enchantments to nonmagical items of high enough quality.

The big drawbacks to any form of Alchemy is that it tends to require a lot of preparation. Trying to gather the reagents is never easy so alchemists prefer to let their assistants do this part of the job.

Another advancement from traditional alchemy besides chemistry is the creation and use of magic technology.  Artifact based magic tends to be a bit more complex and… well, more “scientific” than other types of magic. Magitek, specializes in controlling or improving existing technology with magic but can also be used to create magical machines, devices or “artificial” creations such as golems/robots. Spells can be imbued into objects which can then be used to influence reality. Imbuing items with magical effects is called “enchantment”

Enchanted Items: Permanent and Temporary — Mages who are inclined to wrought iron or steel can create temporary enhanced magical armor, shields and swords for warriors who do not have the ability to use magic. Those without magical affinities can still use these objects. Objects imbued with magic often have limited uses, eventually expiring/losing the magical effect or falling apart when the magical energy within it is spent. Mages of Holy Churches in the past and present when facing certain death by natural or unnatural cause have been known to give their lives to “blessing” or permanently enhancing a magical weapon or armor so the item can be used by the Church’s paladins for the greater good.
Talismanic or enchantment magic: One can take an object, charge and load/enhance it for magical purposes. Item enchantment magic takes time and effort and it is usually mage blacksmiths who dedicate themselves to putting this skill to consistent use. Mage blacksmiths are generally commissioned by the armies of a magocracy to create or recharge magical items to be used by non-mage infantry. A mage may create amulets and talismans to imbue with specific spell effects to save time.
An amulet is an item that works passively it may be imbued with a counter spell or specifically activates in reaction to a certain trigger whilst a talisman is more active item. A mage may create an amulet that senses negative energy; a mage may create a talisman that casts a low level shield of energy around them. Both items continuously drains a portion of a mage’s magoi,  the amount varies based on the function of the item. Talismans or amulets can be imbued to work for only a specific person or persons. In this way they can be dangerous objects, it is was not unheard of for dying mages of long ago to create magical weapons that can only be used by those whom share his or her blood line and curses everyone else.

The major advantage of magical artifacts is that they are reliable and solid, assuming you know what the item does and how to use it. Typically, there’s no chance of botching a spell, so long as the sword/wand/staff/whatever is used properly. They are often usable by everyone as well, although if the artifact is damaged or cursed, you are basically playing Russian Roulette every time you use it. The downsides to artifact-based magic are the breakage, like previously mentioned; in addition, it tends to take a lot of preparation and hard work to craft magical items, particularly if they are of any significant power. Finally, the power isn’t actually yours, you’re just borrowing it. If something happens to the item (misplaced, stolen, broken, destroyed, develops a mind of its own), then you are in trouble.

Innate Magic


The point is, it isn’t so much that you know magic, as it is that you are magic. For whatever reason, there’s something about you that has magical qualities/properties; maybe your eyes can see in absolute darkness as though it were noon on a sunny and cloudless day. Whatever the case, the abilities granted by Innate Magic can not be taught or granted to others, unless there are specific mitigating circumstances.
Innate magic is an ability everyone of your species has, or a genetically inherited trait, or the organ or biological feature responsible for the ability is somehow transplanted in to another person. Innate Magic is always rooted in a particular feature of a person; their soul, their eyes, their heart, their genes, etc. merfolk, jinn or succubi are good examples of this. Innate Magic often involves specific abilities rather than defined spell casting abilities, sometimes this can be a rare type of magic that can only be used by a specific group of people (for example, a portion of the magic performed by angels is unique to them).  So, you were born with awesome powers which is great of course, but there are some downsides as well.
Most people where your particular set of skills will envy or fear you. Passive-aggressive hostility and resentment is livable, but not angry mobs with a penchant for bonfires and pitchforks. Some people may take a step further and decide to take your power for themselves like evil cults, priests of dark gods, body harvesters, and pretty much anyone else who might want to ritually sacrifice you, cut you up for spell components, or slice out your organs and extremities so they can implant them in their own body. Moreover, most spells affecting magic will hurt you badly. A simple dispel magic will become painful and you may not be able to enter warded areas.

It should be noted that while Innate magic is second nature the the majority of supernatural and preternatural, natural creatures (like humans) lack any innate magic unless one considers using “raw sorcery” as their innate magic. Also they can have typical innate magic abilities if the have  a spirit, faye, or the like as a recent ancestor…

Theurgy


Also known as “Let’s Make a Deal” magic.  Whatever the case is, therugy is done entirely by spirits, gods and cosmic entities with whom you make deals . Sometimes it involves a rigid contract, spiritual bond, a pledge to look out for the spirit/god/demon’s interests on your plane of existence, or maybe you just asked politely and they thought you were cool. Or it was the opposite and you’re a black-hearted bastard with enough power to make them do your bidding. The upside to Theurgy is that it can be incredibly powerful, assuming you know what you’re doing, stay on the good side of your patron(s), and they are willing to back you up. The downside is you are only as powerful as your patron(s) lets you be. And there’s no such thing as a “no strings attached” deal in Theurgy so expect to be inconvenienced at their leisure.  Moreover, even if the spell says that you can summon the Lord of Destruction to smite your enemies doesn’t mean that you can control him, or understand his ancient language, or even survive long enough to introduce yourself. Think about what waking up an ancient being of unimaginable power actually entails, and why getting an unsolicited phone call when you thought your number was unlisted ticks people off. The highest level of this type of magic is Summon Magic, in which the caster summons the entity itself to wherever he is and bosses it around. As one might imagine, this can easily lead to a scenario where the entity turning on its would-be temporary master if done wrong.


Terms to know
Invocation is the art of calling upon powerful entities, spirits, beings and intelligences from separate planes. Evocation is forcefully summoning such beings. Exorcism is essentially the art of controlling, or dealing with hostile spirits.

Mentalism


This is a school of thought regarding spells that are mind-affecting: divided into two subsections: Compulsion and Persuasion. Persuasion, affect the target(s) attitudes, making them act more favorable toward the caster’s suggestion. Compulsion can temporarily force the target(s) to act in a certain way or affect the targets’ emotions or affect the targets’ minds in other ways. The magical songs of bards can induce confusion on its targets and blood lust in allies. Illusion typically consists of manipulating the mind and senses of the enemy: Creating artificial sensations, altering a target’s sensory properties, creating insubstantial images which affect the minds of the viewers, and causing hallucinations.

Nature


 This magic is about communing with the natural world and gaining the ability to manipulate the forces of nature and elements connected to it. User is connected directly and can communicate, influence, manipulate and control nature: all living beings and plants and natural phenomena, such as the weather and geology of the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed.Because user can communicate with nature itself, they become instantly familiar with his surroundings, the connection is so deep that the earth can respond to one’s emotions and desires (blossoming with flowers and calming weather when happy, making skies stormy when angry, shifting the landscape to gain the advantage in a fight, etc.)

The user can purify, heal and generally influence the health of nature. And considering the fact that they’re helping the environment, plants and animals act favorably towards user. Users have access to near every living species of animal, plant, and similar being and can also draw strength from them and acquire their abilities.

Necromancy


Yes, Necromancy, the magic of interrogating the dead, to summon spirits for divination than armies of rotting zombies. Historical and ethical attitudes of the practice has waxed and waned, revealing a possible two sides of the art. necromancy was found as magic over life forces referred to as “positive energy” and the state that lacks this known as death. The main reason most necromancy has a bad rap is because it did lead to the an unnatural parasitic version called “negative energy” animating the undead that leeches of positive energy to sustain itself yet can be countered and negated when its opposite force is willing directed towards it.

Necromancy Spells that help or reanimate the dead. Zombies raised by necromancers have no will of their own or any memories of their former lives. They are simply animated corpses who are extensions of the Mage who raised them. This spell allows for the Mage to control the separate zombie bodies as though they were his own. The zombies are kept active by the Mage’s spiritual energy.
A few, however, embrace the discovery that true necromancy involves tapping the powers of life as well as those of death and “undeath” and thus pursue it under the label of white necromancers, life mages, or mediums. White Necromancers are also specialists in the restorative arts, to the point where experiences ones can use the ambient mana to convert into and regrow certain amounts of tissue. Many also see it as a service or duty to help wayward spirits of any deceased to find peace and protect the living from them and vice-versa.

Specializations of magic


 As mentioned before, the mind and body of all sentient beings has an energy field around it consisting of their life-force/spiritual energy. This is a natural and unconscious barrier to certain types of energy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and force of will to bypass the natural barriers of an unwilling target. Thus it is very difficult though not impossible for cleric/healers and bards to bypass this natural barrier and affect a target unless they are willing to be affected. This is the true also for those casting mind affecting spells (more on this later) therefore it would take the skills of a highly advanced mage to perform such feats. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and force of will to bypass the natural barriers of an unwilling target unless the target itself is unusually weak of will.
Non-mages can form spiritual pacts with Mages. With a pact formed a mage no longer has to bypass the energy field surrounding the non-mage. Under such circumstances bards or cleric/healers will expand little to no energy in affecting those with whom they formed the pact with, if willing the non-mage can have a gem(s) magically embedded into their body. The mage at any time can imbue the gem with a single spell. For example a gem loaded with a minor regenerative spell that will automatically heal the minor wounds of a non-mage consistently as long as it has the required energy.
Group Effects:
  • Mages are especially powerful when working together as a large group of willing participants can combine energies.
  • Blood magic or sacrifice magic is the use of other creatures or beings life energy in substitute of your own to harness and control magic.
  • The vitality of living things is distributed throughout their bodies but is concentrated in the blood and to a far lesser extent semen.
  • Mages can be “blessed” by spirits after making a pact with them. They can then use a portion of the spirit’s power as their own. This universally comes with a price. A price may include a mage becoming a servant of the spirit and in doing so is subject to being temporarily possessed by the spirit whenever the spirit wills it.
  • Extensive use of controlling the element will leave the mage with magical energies that surround them for a while after use. Examples extensive use of elemental forces such as controlling the wind will leave a mage with leaves and papers fluttering around them, fire magic leave a magic hot to the touch, random sparks of electricity can shock others after a mage doles out lightning.

Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read – Reading

Moline Public Library Kids

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Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of reading with your child.

Reading to your child is a fun and easy way to help prepare your child to read. Even the act of opening a book is teaching your child how a book works and what you do with it. Reading to your child will increase your child’s vocabulary, their general knowledge, prepare them for what letters and punctuation look like, as well as help create a bond between you and your child. Children enjoy reading because they are spending time with you and children who enjoy being read to are much more likely to be interested in learning to read on their own when they are older.

Things to Keep in Mind When Reading to Your Child:

Read to your…

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