The Founding Precepts in the Year of the Harvest 617

TO HER MAJESTY, QUEEN BEAH OF EIRE
TO THE COUNCIL OF PALADINS
TO THE ASSEMBLED LORDS OF OUR NEW NATION


In this the year 617, we have earned a great victory. After years of darkness and struggle, we stand once again the rightful sovereigns of our own native country. The invading armies of Caryth have collapsed beneath their own folly, and their remaining forces have been driven out by force of arms. Let us give thanks to the leadership of our beloved Queen Beah and the Knights of her Council of Paladins!

But lo, though we have retaken our nation we must now face the grim truth that our land is not as we once knew. The continent has been forever sundered, and the force we call the Withering now holds sway over the forests and fields of our birth. The earth itself lies in the grip of evil and undeath, and it is in this dark new world that we pick up the mantle of our forefathers, and set ourselves the task of rebuilding the once great nation of Eire. It is upon us to marshal forces and reclaim our lands from the armies of the undead. It is upon us to provide for the commons who have struggled most bravely and survived against all odds. It is upon us to heal the lands of Laerthan!

Great Bastions of hope have been discovered across the expanse of Laerthan. Even in the midst of the greatest of blight, our people survive behind the protection of the realm’s last permanent Earth Circles. Emissaries have traveled across the perilous Deadlands to reach the strongholds of Finn Castle and North Fortress to confer about the future. A great alliance has been proposed for the formation of a new kingdom. Eire will be united, and a new Harvest Kingdom will be born to safeguard and uplift the peoples of this once great land. As Dian and Mire re-forged themselves to cast off the oppressive hand of Carythite rule, so too must all our people stand together to free ourselves from the black taint of the Withering!

It is the judgment of the Queen Beah, sole sovereign of her people and the lands of Eire, and her Council of Paladins, that the remnants of old Syraander and Caledon be embraced as our brothers. Each of the once protected races are to be given equal rights within our new nation, and the lords of their remaining peoples given equal honor and respect. The people, as the land, will be united and we shall prove the stronger for our integrity.

But there are grave questions before us as we begin our great reformation of a new Eire. Food is scarce as most of the land lies in death and decay. Riots have spread throughout the land as father falls on son for the barest scrap of bread. The question of common law darkens our lords’ courts, as the great body of our people is comprised of disparate cultures with conflicting doctrine. Each of these people have held to differing codes under varying systems of governance, rank, and title all vouchsafed and inviolate by tradition. This sundered and motley collection of laws will not stand, and will only serve to undermine our foundling nation before she has even begun.

Therefore, our first task as we commence our great endeavor is to unify our new peoples under one code of law, and one noble hierarchy. To that end, a meeting of lords comprised of barons and knights has met to devise and propose the following articles, to be confirmed and adopted as the foundation of our new law by her Majesty, Quean Beah of Eire, and the Council of Paladins.

The Three Ruling Bodies of the Harvest Kingdom

We the people and nobility of Eire first and foremost reaffirm our loyalty to Queen Beah of Eire, sovereign monarch of the Harvest Kingdom. We affirm that she is the living host of our great nation and she rules us all without reservation. We affirm that she herself is the servant and embodiment of the Crown, which is the heart and soul of our nation. The Crown of Eire is the indisputable leader of the Harvest Kingdom and we, the assembled gentry, affirm our vow to serve the Crown and whoever wears the aegis of leadership within Eire.

The Crown shall be the single undisputed ruler of the realm. Upon their shoulders lies responsibility for the governance of our country in its entirety. All matters of the military, politics, economy, law, the harvest, and the general well-being of the people fall within their judgment. Their word, their judgment, their decision, once given, shall be as law. Upon ascension to the throne the Crown pledges their life and their service to the nation. They pledge to rule justly, fairly, unselfishly, and agree to take the Council of Paladins as their most trusted advisors. The Crown shall have sovereignty over the Council of Paladins, the Justicars of the Bastion, the Knighthood, and the assembled Barony. There is naught beneath the auspice of the Harvest Kingdom the Crown cannot review, naught upon which the Crown cannot decree.

The Council of Paladins shall stand as the next highest authority of the Harvest Kingdom, second only to the Crown. The Council shall act as one and be the Crown’s greatest Judiciary body. They will preside and pass judgment over all matters of law, confirmations of Knighthood, and the dispensation of resources in national conflicts, such as the effort to reclaim the lands of Laerthan. Each Paladin will serve as an advisor to the Crown and possesses supreme authority over all Knights of the realm. Individual Paladins shall not have authority over the Justicars of the Bastions within their respective domains. Paladins are appointed to the Council by direct order of the Crown. Once appointed, they will serve upon the Council of Paladins for the term of their natural life or until they choose to step down. To forcibly remove a Paladin shall require an edict of the Crown and a unanimous vote by all other members in good standing of the Council of Paladins.

The Council of Paladins shall be the one body with legal authority to Challenge and Overturn the judgment of the Crown. If the Council chooses to Challenge a ruling of the Crown, they must do so by unanimous vote. An edict, thusly Challenged, may either be accepted as overturned or the Crown may present the matter for Appeal to a combined Assemblage of Barons and the Justicars of the Bastions. In the event of such an Appeal, all Barons of the kingdom and Justicars of the Bastions shall make immediate haste to gather in a Grand Convocation. Decision to accept the Crown’s Appeal or the Council of Paladin’s Challenge to Overturn shall be made by simple majority vote after a suitable period of discussion and debate. The Grand Convocation’s final rendering is indisputable. This shall represent the end and final recourse of all judgment in the Harvest Kingdom.

The Council of Paladins as a unified body shall retain authority over the Justicars of the Bastions. If a Justicar or his judgment is brought before the Council for review, his authority shall only be overturned or altered by a three quarter’s majority vote of the Council. In all other matters, the Council of Paladins shall render judgment by simple majority vote. Challenge of a Justicar’s judgment must be delivered by formal petition directly to the Council of Paladins or the Crown.

The Justicars of the Bastions shall be considered the soverign authority within the bounds of their protected lands, beholden only to the Crown and the Council of Paladins. . They shall have authority over all nobles and commons within their domain. Justicars shall have power to enact and preside over all matters of common and low law within their Bastion and may conduct trials and levee punishment within their Bastion. The Justicar is also empowered to determine his own code of law within the domains of their Bastion. Such powers are restricted to matters of common and low law as High crimes are matters of the Kingdom, and shall be common to all Bastions.

The Justicars of the Bastions are to be considered a noble personage, of commensurate ranking to a Knight, outside of their Bastion. They retain their powers of command over the soldiery and commons, as all Knights, and may hear trial and issue judgment with same authority as all Knights errant of the realm. They shall not retain authority over matters of trade or coin, or distribution of another’s harvest anywhere save their home Bastion.

Such shall be the three great ruling authorities of the Harvest Kingdom! So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!
The Three Great Divisions of Nobility

As the ruling class of Eire is forged in a triangle of honour and duty, so shall the nobility of the Harvest Kingdom be forged into three orders of presiding Lords.

It has been the custom of our former nations to bestow titles in inordinate number. These titles often served no clear purpose, lacked meaningful distinction, and created nothing but confusion. Few are the scholars who could delineate the differences between Barons, Earls, Dukes, Viscounts, Marquis, ad nauseam. This practice of legal gerrymandering and its ultimate products, nepotism and malfeasance, cannot stand any longer! We live as a fledgling nation born into a state of war and we cannot abide such weakness. Our circumstance demands a clear chain of nobility and command.

In order to meet the needs of our new world and overcome the mistakes of the old, the Assembled Barons and Knights of Eire, with the blessings of Queen Beah, supreme ruler of all Eire, recognize three distinct divisions of nobility, each with a clearly defined purpose and responsibility of office.

The Knights of Eire shall be the ennobled leaders of our military forces. Their primary duties shall be to enforce the laws of the Kingdom, and to lead our soldiery against our enemies, the Withering, or any who would seek to destroy the Kingdom. It is within their right to conscript soldiers, command troops on the field of battle, exercise powers of arrest, conduct trials, and execute sentencing for all crimes, low and high. Being granted the title of Knight does not grant ownership of land. The Knights of our Kingdom are Knights errant, and are expected to carry out their duties wherever they reside or are directed. Once a Knight’s title is confirmed by the Council of Paladins or the Crown she will retain her power and noble standing throughout the domain of Eire, without limitation. There shall be no distinctions between “nobles of the cloak” or “nobles of the blood”. Knights of Eire are distinguished by their honor and their action. They are ordained by the Kingdom regardless of standing and swear fealty to serve Eire and their code of chivalry.

The Knights of Eire may also be granted authority for the formation of a noble house under their name. Permission for the formation of such a noble house must be given directly by the Crown. The Knight may pen a Charter Oath of fealty and service to be sworn by members of her new house. The Charter Oath is to be delivered to and approved by a sitting member of the Council of Paladins. Once the Charter Oath has been approved, the Knight may then induct laymen and soldiers into her house as she deems fit. She need not acquire approval for individual members of her household, but the Knight must provide the Order of Seneschals with a list of her house’s membership, along with a copy of its Charter Oath for court records.

The Knights of Eire who form a noble house may be granted a parcel of land for the nourishment and governance of their new house. The Knight and her house shall have the right to dwell, build, and farm upon the land. These estates are not part of any Barony, nor do they confer upon the Knight the privileges of a Baron. These estates remain the legal property of the Crown, and are subject to her laws and taxes. If the Knight dies, her spouse shall take ownership of the land as gentry with the same authority that belonged to the Knight, within that estate alone; if the spouse dies their child shall inherit the land. If there are no children the land returns to the Crown, to be dispensed as is proper.

The Knights of Eire may also be granted land if they succeed in a military campaign to reclaim and fortify a territory lost to the Deadlands. Should a Knight secure that territory in such fashion that it is again habitable by the commons, and defensible by the common soldiery, the Crown shall reward that Knight with ownership of settled land. Should such reward be given, the Knight shall then assume the title of Count. With his elevated title, the Count shall assume the responsibilities of both Knight and Baron, and likewise receive the privileges of a Baron and a seat within their Assemblage.

The Barons of Eire shall be the noble land owners of the Harvest Kingdom. Each Baron will be parceled a piece of land, its boundaries to be stated clearly and confirmed by the Crown and the Council of Paladins. Their titles thereafter are to be a hereditary fief, secured for their legitimate children of noble blood. The chief duty of a Baron and her house is the protection and distribution of the harvest within her territories. To fulfill that duty, the Baron is granted the power to levy taxes, hire soldiers, and commandeer resources in times of need. Matters of commerce and trade within her territory are also the purview of the Baron. If her land is under threat, a Baron shall have the right to call any Knights within her domain to service. How that service is rendered on the field shall still be left to the judgment of the ranking Knight. A Baron shall possess the power to render legal judgment for all common and low crimes within her domain. A Baron’s powers of taxation and command are limited to the defined boundaries of her territory. Outside of her land a Baron is still to be shown the respect due a lord.

The Barons of Eire are responsible for returning a portion of their taxes back unto the Crown for the use of public works and the betterment of the Kingdom. One fourth of their collected coin and one third of their harvest are to be delivered every two months to the court in Authenrai.

The Barons of Eire are required to convene thrice yearly in an Assemblage of Barons. The purpose of the Assemblage of Barons shall be to: make collective reports to the Crown regarding the finance and harvest of the realm; to hear new edicts from the Crown regarding the distribution of the harvest; to discuss and vote upon new and ongoing public works which overlap Baronial fiefs; and to hear report upon the ongoing military campaign against the Withering and the creatures of the Deadlands. The Assemblage of Barons will also convene to review and forward any petitions to the lord Seneschals of Eire.

The Seneschals of Eire shall preside over all matters of state. The negotiation of treaties, matters of scholarship and research, the oversight of our commoner guilds, and all matters of general diplomacy shall all be the foremost duties of the lord Seneschals. Disputes which cross Baronial borders and grievances against Baron, Knights, or Landed Knights are to be brought to a Seneschal’s attention by formal petition. The Lord Seneschals shall act as arbiters in all disputes between baronies, and shall review all legal complaints brought against titled nobility, presenting summary and recommendation to the Council of Paladins. The Seneschals shall report directly to the Council of Paladins or to the Crown. Seneschals shall serve as counselors to both Knight and Baron, but shall have no personal powers of command over the soldiery. As all lords, they are expected to uphold the laws of Eire, but shall enact no powers of arrest or trial whilst the matter could be brought before Knight or Baron. The rank of the Seneschal shall know no distinction between nobles of the cloak and nobles of the blood. The office of Seneschal shall be granted by appointment alone, although their immediate children will receive the lesser honorific of Lord and shall still be given a modest pension from the Crown.

The Seneschals of Eire may be appointed to serve a particular Barony, or Bastion, or sent as Ambassador into foreign lands. All Seneschals shall serve where appointed, and shall send written report each month to the Crown and the Council of Paladins. Wherever circumstance allows, Seneschals shall make all effort to present themselves twice yearly in person before the Queen and Council in Authenrai.

Nobles of all orders are required to swear an oath of fealty to the Crown. Furthermore, Barons and Seneschals shall give their oath according to the Kingdom’s code of chivalry and virtue. Their oaths of fealty and conduct are to be given at the time of their confirmation, before either a majority of the Council of Paladins, or before the Crown itself.

Such shall be the three great orders of presiding Lords in the Harvest Kingdom! So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!

The Knightly Measure, Codes, and Virtues

We are set upon the reclamation of a grim and unfriendly world, and in this dark time all Lords and nobles must be held to a higher moral standard. Thus we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire, present the Measure, Codes, and Virtues which all nobility will swear and by which all nobility will be judged.

The Virtues of a Knight:

Courage: Being a Knight means choosing the more difficult, the most personally demanding path. Be prepared to make sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value. At the same time, a Knight must seek wisdom to see that stupidity and courage are cousins. Courage means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than seeking the expedient lie. Seek the truth whenever possible but remember to temper justice with mercy for pure truth can bring grief.

Defense: Being a Knight means swearing an oath to defend her liege and all those who depend upon her. Seek always to defend your nation, your family, and those whom you have sworn to protect.

Faith: Being a Knight means standing firm in herself and in her ideals for faith roots her and gives hope against despair.

Franchise: Being a Knight means submitting to the code as sincerely as possible, not for the reason of personal gain, but because it is right. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world but seek to infuse every aspect of your life with these qualities. Success in even the tiniest measure resounds throughout the Kingdom and infuses all with your quality and virtue.

Humility: Being a Knight means valuing the contributions of others before your own. Do not boast of your own accomplishments; let others do this for you. Tell the deeds of others before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through virtuous deeds. In this way the office of Knighthood is well done and glorified, helping not only the gentlest among us but all those whom may be called knights.

Justice: Being a Knight means always seeking the path of right, unencumbered by bias or personal interest. Recognize that the sword of justice can be a terrible thing, so it must be tempered by humanity and mercy.

Largesse: Being a Knight means being generous in so far as your resources allow. Largesse used in this way counters gluttony.

Loyalty: Being a Knight means unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you value. There are many places where compromise is expected, loyalty is not amongst them.

Nobility: Being a Knight means accepting that great stature of character is not in the realization but in the pursuit of the virtues and duties of Knighthood. Your spirit will be ennobled through constant pursuit of perfection, not through audacious deeds or awe inspiring glory. You must remember that Nobility will influence others and must personify the best of what can be done in the service of rightness.

Prowess: Being a Knight means seeking excellence in all endeavors expected of a Knight, martial or otherwise. You must always use strength in the service of justice rather than personal glory.

The Code of a Knight:

Thou shall respect the weak and constitute thyself their defender.

Thou shall love the land to which thou hast sworn fealty.

Thou shall not recoil before thine enemy.

Thou shall make war upon evil without cessation.

Thou shall scrupulously perform thy noble duties be they not contrary to the laws of the land.

Thou shall be generous and give freely to everyone.

Thou shall never lie and shall always remain true to thy word.

Thou shall be forever and always the champion of the right and the good against injustice and evil.

The Measure of a Knight:

A noble is sworn to Justice.
Her heart must know only Virtue.
Her perfect blade must defend the Helpless,
And her Might uphold all the Weak.
Her breath shall bring a word that speaks only Truth,
And her Justly Wrath shall undue the wicked.

Such shall be the Measure, Codes, and Virtues by which all shall know the nobility of the Harvest Kingdom! So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!

Nobles of Common Rank and Protection

For the further administration and protection of the Harvest Kingdom we recognize the following additional positions within and in service to our three great orders of nobility, and grant unto them these appropriate powers of authority.

The Order of the Sworn Sentinels, a tradition of Eire past recently resurrected in our war against Caryth, shall again be recognized as loyal servants and legal representatives of their sworn lords. Sworn Sentinels shall take upon themselves a personal vow of service to an individual noble, be it a Knight, Baron, or Seneschal. Though they have sworn no oath of Chivalry, they are of noble rank, equal to a Knight, and are considered the word and hand of their avowed lord. Their lord’s vows are to be as their own. Their actions are to be that of their lord. In this the Sworn Sentinel and her governing Lord are bound by oath and law. As such, Sworn Sentinels are exempt from all prosecution of the courts, and none shall have the right of Trial and Punishment over a Sworn Sentinel, save her promised Lord. Should a Sworn Sentinel be found to be offending of the law, it is his noble who shall stand before the court, and accept judgment for the offense as though the deed were performed by her own hands. Should a Sworn Sentinel betray her oath and her lord, her punishment shall be immediate banishment into the Deadlands, with a Mark of Hostility upon her brow. It shall be as a crime to give the banished comfort or refuge, and beyond even the Crown’s power to forgive her trespass.

The rank of Squire shall be created and entrusted to our noble order of Knights. Knight and Baron alike shall have the authority to create Squires from the ranks of both nobility and common laymen. Squires shall not be claimed or taken into personal service by Lord Seneschals. Knights and Barons may choose their Squires without approval by the Council of Paladins or the Crown. Squires must swear fealty to the Crown and to the lord who has accepted them for tutelage. At such time, the Squire is henceforth considered a student of his sworn noble, to be trained in the law, use of arms, and the Code of Chivalry that he may one day swear it as a Knight himself before the Crown and the Council of Paladins. The length of a Squire’s study is subject to the discretion of her sworn Lord and she shall be presented for Knighthood only when it is her Lord’s judgment that she is ready. All Squires are trained to be Knights. Once initiated, a Squire’s ranking Knight or Baron must present them before the Court in Authenrai within one year’s time that they may be officially recognized by the Crown and the Council of Paladins.

The rank of Squire shall have limited power of arrest, trial, and military command. They are empowered and obligated to take any charged with a crime into custody. They are empowered to resolve all matters considered to be low crimes, and are permitted to dispense appropriate fines. Squires may not conduct trial for Common or High Crimes, as it is deemed they do not yet have sufficient knowledge of the law.

The rank of Squire may also issue command to the common soldiery upon the field of battle, if the field lacks the presence of a Knight or Baron. They shall honor their obligation to combat the enemies of the Crown and are empowered to gather any force of arms required to do so. A Squire is in all things considered to be representative of the noble to which she has sworn her service. She is to be respected and heeded by the commons as a member of the noble’s house.

The lesser title of Lord may be granted to laymen and court officials who distinguish themselves through particular training or service. Such appointments are given only by the Crown or the Council of Paladins. Such Lords are to be considered of noble achievement and bearing, and are henceforth entitled to be addressed by their honorific. Such Lords shall have authority over the commons in their area of expertise, and shall be given the respect and obedience due any personage of noble bearing. Such Lords are subject to the will of those of greater rank, including Squires and Sworn Sentinels.

Such shall be the codes and titles of nobles of common rank and protection for the Harvest Kingdom! So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!

The Laws of The Harvest Kingdom

In order to build a virtuous and ordered Kingdom, we shall henceforth divide all offenses against the people and kingdom of Eire into three great categories of import: High Crimes, Common Crimes, and Low Crimes.

The Laws and Courts of Eire and Her Bastions recognize twelve citizen races of the kingdom and afford these races all rights and protection of the law. These races are: Human, High Orc, High Ogre, Gypsy, Hobling, Biata, Sarr, Elf - to include all known Elven bloodlines: Stone Elf, Wild Elf, Dark Elf, and High Elf - Barbarian, Dwarf, Mystic Wood Elf, and Wylderkin.

Any member of the protected races charged with a crime must be given fair hearing before punishment may be exacted. They are entitled to hear all testimony and evidence against them and to retain counsel or present their own defense.

Any person branded with The Mark of Hostility, regardless of race or heritage, is henceforth stripped of all protection of law. To bring harm upon them is no crime and no charges shall be brought against the offender.

Those bearing the Mark of Necromancy shall retain the protection of Law once sentence for their crime has been carried out to fulfillment.

High Crimes of The Harvest Kingdom and their Due Punishments

High Crimes are the most serious offenses to the Crown, the Kingdom, and to the life of our land itself. They shall be mandate throughout the Kingdom and across all Baronies and Bastions. These High Crimes and their obligatory punishments shall never be mitigated and are always statutory in nature.

All High Crimes are to be tried before a Knight, Justicar, sitting member of the Council of Paladins, or the Crown. Barons, Seneschals, Squires, and Lords do not have the authority to hear trials for High Crimes. Before a charge for a High Crime can be brought to trial due cause must be shown in a preliminary hearing before the noble who is to hold sway over the trial. So severe and abhorrent are these crimes against the Kingdom, that once charge for a High Crime is brought to trial the accused shall be considered Guilty until proven of her Innocence. To ensure the fairness of his trial, those accused of a High Crime are entitled to engage a sufficiently trained noble as the barrister for their defense. If a sufficiently trained and ranking noble is not present or willing to act as counsel for the defense, the trial may be deferred until an appropriate barrister can be appointed.

The High Crimes of Eire and their requisite punishments are:

Murder - Death

Low Necromancy - Casting of Chaos natured battle magic. 1st offence: a year of service to the Crown or Death and Marking of the Twice-Born. 2nd offence: Death or Obliteration and Banishment of the Twice-Born.

High Necromancy - Creation, controlling, or healing of the Undead. 1st offence: Death or Death and Marking of the Twice-born. 2nd offence: Obliteration and Banishment.

Consorting with the Undead - Equivalent to High Necromancy.

Desertion of Duty - One year of service to the Crown or Death

Treason - Banishment to the Deadlands with the Mark of Hostility

High Treason – Death or Death and Banishment to the Deadlands with the Mark of Hostility for Twice-Born.

Theft or Destruction of the Harvest - Treated as High Treason

Conspiracy - The punishment for Conspiracy to commit a crime will be the punishment for the crime itself.

Common and Low Crimes of The Harvest Kingdom

Common and Low Crimes are to be subject to the will of the Justicar within his Bastion. The Justicar is free to decree and enact a code of law as he deems fit. Likewise, the Justicar shall have sole discretion over the mandated punishments for said crimes. The Justicars of each Bastion are encouraged to adopt a common code guided by the Knightly Virtues to which all have sworn oath. To protect their sovereign rights, such a code shall not be mandated by the Crown or the Council of Paladins. Justicars are required to provide an official record of their laws and punishments to the Crown, the Council of Paladins, and the order of Seneschals. Such laws may be challenged only by official petition before the entirety of the Council of Paladins or before the Crown itself.

Trials for Common and Low Crimes may be heard by anyone of noble rank including Lords. In the matter of all Common and Low Crimes, the accused is to be considered Innocent until proven Guilty. The accused shall be entitled to select a barrister for her defense, or to speak on her own behalf.

Such shall be measure, litigation, and punishment of all crimes be they High, Common, or Low in the Harvest Kingdom! So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!

WE, THE CONVENED NOBLES OF YOUR LEGAL COUNCIL, submit these articles to Her Majesty, Queen Beah of Eire, Her Council of Paladins, the Assemblage of Barons, and the Justicars of the Bastions for confirmation into Law. We cite the assertion of a noble hierarchy, their clearly stated duties of office, and the dispensation of Law, as the first and necessary step toward the reformation of our new Harvest Kingdom! That adherence to a common law, while maintaining a respect for noble and sovereign rights, shall provide the foundation on which Eire and her individual Bastions will build a new and lasting Kingdom from the ashes of the Sundering. So say we, the assembled Barons and Knights of Eire!

Authored by,
BARONS Landon, Kace, Tiernan, and Doyle
SERS Karlow, Eolian, and Shaw
COUNT Vigilance
LORD CHAMBERLIN Southkin
PALADINS Brunswick, Norhelm, and Malblik

Scribed by
Master Connor, Son of Julius
 
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