The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Qahsoud.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a massive tome bound in dragonskin on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Qahsoud' scribed in dull blue ink.


Author:    Qahsoud        
Date:      Tue Oct  1 11:18:29 2013
Subject     Another Aul for Her Majesty part 1

Qahsoud was more quiet then silence as he waded through the murky swamp. He could hear every movement, every breath of the rest of his aul to either side of him. To him, it seemed a blind ogre could move more silently then this lot. The loudest of all was his murza, a large hobgoblin named Wrackfist who liked to claim he could sneak up on an elf, steal its weapons and then kill it before it knew what was happening. Qahsoud doubted his murza could sneak up on a blind and deaf aghar. Up ahead in the distance, through the hanging vines and hunched trees, Qahsoud could make out the large campfire that was tonight's target. A goblin scout had seen it a few hours earlier and had returned to Wrackfist. The aul had set out immediately to let whoever had started the fire know that they were trespassing, but more importantly, to relieve them of their lives and whatever goods they were carrying. Up ahead, Qahsoud saw Wrackfist motion for the group to stop. Qahsoud stopped immediately. Wrackfist motioned Qahsoud forward, a wry grin on his face. Qahsoud came forward silently, his eyes on his murza's face. "{oHe's getting weaker, " thought Qahsoud, "{owon't even make his own kills. Soon it will be my turn to lead the aul." "Come Qahsoud, " whispered Wrackfist sarcastically in the goblin tongue, "you are always so eager. Find out for us how many are there and what do they carry." Qahsoud nodded and waded quietly up to the small rise of moist ground in the center of which blazed the campfire.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 1 12:51:10 2013 Subject Another Aul for Her Majesty part 2

There looked to be about a dozen of them sleeping around the fire; six looked to be human, a pair of hobgoblins, the rest goblin. Mercenaries hired by one of the humans no doubt, which meant they'd be carrying coin, possibly a lot of it. With his keen night vision, Qahsoud could make out 4 sentries positioned around the camp. The one closest to him looked alert, but not alert enough. Qahsoud lowered himself into the water, only his head sticking out as he approached the first sentry. He circled around it, slowly pulling himself up from the muck and onto the damp ground. As quickly but quietly as a fox, Qahsoud moved to the goblin, covering its mouth and in the same motion driving a dagger up under its ribcage and into its heart. He slowly lowered the body to the ground. "{oA Blood Stone. They'd sell out their aul for a few coppers, " he thought. Qahsoud sank slowly back into the water, keeping his eyes steadily on the next target, a hobgoblin, as he moved around the small island. As he approached, he gently lifted a rock from the swamp and lobbed it at a tree beside the sentry, distracting it. When the sentry turned his head, Qahsoud quietly rose from the water, grabbing an axe from a shoulder strap and hurling it at the sentry. The sentry slumped slowly to the ground as the axe buried itself in his skull. Stepping up out of the water, Qahsoud knelt down to retrieve his axe. As he pulled the axe from the hobgoblin's skull, he stopped, troubled. "{oA Black Fist!?" he almost audibly mumbled, "{oThey would never betray their aul, and I helped my murza push them from this area months ago.. what is one of them doing here?" From beside the campfire came a strong, confident human voice that said: "Waiting for you, Qahsoud."

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 1 14:33:13 2013 Subject Another Aul for Her Majesty part 3

Qahsoud hesitated. "Come, Qahsoud. If She had wanted you dead, you'd be dead already. No harm will come to you, " said the voice again. Qahsoud saw that the remaining two sentries had returned, and the others of the party were now standing, straining to see him in the darkness. In their midst stood a human who looked to be their leader. He wore blackened chain mail, and a solamnic longsword hung at his side. There was something about this human's composure that made Qahsoud feel uneasy. "{oWhat you want, Solamnic scum?" said Qahsoud in his broken common as he stepped cautiously into the light of the campfire. The other humans were from one of the barbarian tribes that eeked out their existence on the fringes of the swamp. As Qahsoud approached, the group seemed to close in on their leader, but the human, with a slight flick of his hand, waved them away in irritation. "It's not what I want, Qahsoud, but what SHE wants.. I am merely her voice. Tell the rest of your aul to come as well, She has need of them as well, " said the man as he motioned in the direction of Wrackfist. Qahsoud laughed, a disgusting mix between a snort and a cackle. "{oStupid Solamnic. Black Fist not Qahsoud's aul." Even as he said that, Qahsoud knew that it should and would be his aul; that Wrackfist was slow and weak.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 1 15:51:56 2013 Subject Another Aul for Her Majesty part 4

Qahsoud put two fingers to his mouth and let out a loud whistle. His hands instinctively went to his sword hilts as he looked out into the darkness, waiting for the rest of the aul to arrive.. not "the" aul, HIS aul. They came in slowly, hugging the rim of the campfire's light, the goblins hanging slightly further back than the hobgoblins. Finally, Wrackfist strode out of the swamp water, anger seared onto his face. "What game is this, Qahsoud? They were supposed to be dead!" said Wrackfist in the goblin tongue. "{oNo, Wrackfist, you said to find their numbers and posessions." said Qahsoud, confidence welling up inside him. "{oAnd I did, then brought you here. It is more then you have done for the aul in months. I don't think anyone in the aul can remember when you last did your own killing." Qahsoud's hands remained on the hilts of his swords, the itch to use them growing. Wrackfist laughed, a hint uneasily. "This again Qahsoud? You have no business speaking to your murza like that." He glanced at the humans and goblins and hobgoblins from other auls. When his eyes fell upon their leader, the uneasiness inside him seemed to grow. "{oNot again, Wrackfist. Finally, " said Qahsoud. Qahsoud's eyes also fell on the human, but while the sight of the human seemed to dampen Wrackfist's confidence, it instilled it in Qahsoud. "{oYou are not fit to lead the Black Fists. Step forward and fight me if you think I am wrong."

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 1 16:48:12 2013 Subject Another Aul for Her Majesty part 5

Wrackfist glared at Qahsoud, his nostrils flaring "HOW DARE YOU!" he screamed and pulled his large battle axe off his back. Wrackfist let out a loud cry and charged Qahsoud. Blinded by anger and his own feelings of inadequacy, he made an easy target. Qahsoud quickly drew his swords from their scabards and grinned as his soon to be late murza neared him. With his left sword, Qahsoud deflected Wrackfist's wild swing. Off-balance, Wrackfist made an easy target as Qahsoud thrust his right sword into the murza's gut. Wrackfist fell to his knees, disbelief etched on his face. Qahsoud pulled his sword from Wrackfist and kicked the gasping hobgoblin onto his side before spitting on him. Resheathing his swords, Qahsoud turned to the human. "{oYou! Who you is, Solamnic dog? How you know Qahsoud?" As the rest of the Black Fists seemed to come to terms with the fate of their former murza, they stepped closer into the light cast by the campfire, their eyes cautiously flicking from Qahsoud to the human. The other party remained calm as their leader stepped forward confidently. The human cleared his voice and spoke: "My name is Khariif uth Creditus, and while I may be of Solamnic blood, Qahsoud, I have nothing but loathing for those that even Paladine would turn his back on. I serve only Her, as you will now come to do." Qahsoud snorted and said "{oWhy I do that? Black Fist mine now. Why we fight for you?" "Because She has need of you. She told me this morning. Why else would I build a fire big enough to draw a dragon if not to draw you here?" Khariif took a step forward, his hands raised peacefully. "She showed me the greatest aul in all of Abanasinia. She showed me the havoc you will wreak across Krynn and that your name will be spoken in all the auls until the end of time. Let me show you as she has shown me." As Khariif took another step forward, Qahsoud, a bit curious took a step toward him. Khariif gently reached up to Qahsoud's face and placed it on the new murza's temple, uttering a small prayer. Qahsoud's eyes stared off into space as seconds turned into minutes. Finally, Khariif withdrew his hand and looked into Qahsoud's eyes. Qahsoud nodded firmly and turned back towards his aul. "{oWe follow this human to the shattered temple to the east!" shouted Qahsoud to his aul, his fist raised in the air. The Black Fists grunted acceptance in unison as Qahsoud turned back toward Khariif. "Welcome to Her Majesty's Army, Qahsoud of the Black Fists, " said Khariif, placing his hand firmly but gently on Qahsoud's shoulder.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 8 09:15:24 2013 Subject The Darkness C...

Qahsoud had pushed his group hard after their two day's journey across Newsea and around the Newcoast Peninsula had found them at the mouth of a river on its eastern shores. The sailors who had brought them here had quickly unloaded the carefully marked barrels into the canoes they had brought with them and then departed back to Abanasinia with little more then a stiff salute. Three days on the river, the hobgoblins rowing all day and taking shifts by night, saw the group at the tower of Tarn. There, part of their group had met up with a group of Khurish mercenaries with wagons who led them through a barely noticeable pass in the mountains west of Bloten. Four dozen of his troops as well as the Sivak, Krestak, had been secretly following a half-day behind Qahsouk's group, following the signs he had left as they made their way up the meandering path. The first two days with the mercenaries were uneventful, but on the second night a small skirmish had broken out when a pair of the mercenaries had tried to sample the contents of one of the barrels Qahsoud's group had brought. The fight had left one of the mercenaries dead and Qahsoud and the mercenary leader had agreed to sharing the watch between the two groups, while the other would-be thief began acting a little strange; Qahsoud knew the reason. After three more days, the group came to the top of the pass. Far in the distance, they could see the light given off by Bloten a few days away. "All downhill from 'ere, " said the mercenary leader, "you 'n yer own'd do well by a full nigh's sleep.. le' me boys co'er the watch t'night." Qahsoud snorted and shook his head. "{oQahsoud not think so. You boys not watch tonight. My men watch fine." As he spoke, three of the mercenaries walked up to join the two leaders, one of them the men who attempted theft a few nights before. "Well ya see.. we'll be watchin' regardless.. tha's a lotta fine wine 'n spirits ya boys got there.. it'll sell fine wa with war on the 'orizon, " said the mercenary leader. "Secure this one, men, da 'obgoblins would'n fight withou' 'im." Qahsoud smirked and put his hands to his swords. Two of the men approached, quietly drawing their weapons as they did. As they were about to reach Qahsoud, one stopped, surprised. Through his gut, a sword peeked out, blood welling from the fresh wound. Behind him stood the third man, a wicked grin on his face. The captain turned suprised, "Wha's this, Beldan? You..." As the mercenary leader spoke the man in the rear slowly began to change, his flesh filled out and turned scaly; his face changed, becoming reptilian. "{oQahsoud could handle, Krestak, " Qahsoud sighed before putting his hand to his mouth and letting out three whistles. The camp became a scene of chaos as hobgoblins leaped from shadows, descending on the improperly prepared humans. A group of twenty or so ran up from behind the group, yelling with a bloodthirst only the goblin tongue can enunciate. The fight was over in minutes. A few of the hobgoblins had suffered minor injuries, one a bad gash across his face. The mercenary leader barely clung to life after a well place thrust from Qahsoud had left him alive intentionally. "{oYou see.. barrels not only wine and spirits.. no one can know we here. Now, no one will, " Qahsoud said, leaning down close to the mercenary leader. He spit in the human's face and kicked him where he had stabbed him for good measure. "{oSweep them up. Watch by sixes and no more fires until Bloten, " Qahsoud yelled out to the men in Goblin, before nodding once to Krestak.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Mon Oct 28 10:14:21 2013 Subject The Darkness Co...

The loud bang from the opening door echoed across the vast hall where Brak'kta kept audience. Qahsoud walked in slowly, flanked by another hobgoblin and a human, all three clothed in dirty, blackened light armor. Brak'kta looked down on them disdainfully, and snorted a slight greeting. As they got closer, the two hobgoblins and the humans stopped, saluted and kneeled before the Red Highlord. "{oGreetings, Highlord. Commander Khariif sends his respects and support." Brak'kta snorted again: "And how much support was he willing to send and not offend this wouldbe 'Emperor?'" Qahsoud remained kneeling, his head turned down. "{oAbanasinia far, Highlord, and Commander Khariif's forces small. 4 dozen hobgoblins, Highlord. But Commander Khariif's best soldiers. We are fast, quiet, ruthless." Brak'kta looked down, unimpressed: "Only 50? And all cowards no doubt." Qahsoud ignored the insult and continued: "{oWe yours to command, Highlord. We first in battle if you wish. We ready tomorrow, travel long, need one night rest before battle." Brak'kta nodded and waved the members of the black wing away. "So be it, rest tonight, but be ready for orders tomorrow morning. I'll grant you your desire to be the first in battle." Qahsoud nodded again: "{oOne more thing, Highlord. On way we run into traders going to Neraka. They want deliver elven wine and dwarf spirits to enemy army. We thought better take and give you. Qahsoud and sergeants want share drink with you tonight. Sign of good faith." Brak'kta's eyes narrowed on Qahsoud, and he beckoned the hobgoblin forward. Qahsoud rose and slowly approached the Highlord. As he neared, Brak'kta pulled his hand up and backhanded the hobgoblin across the face. "I won't share your gift to me with you.. but I will let you test it for me, to prove your good intentions. Return here tonight with your gift, " said the highlord, before waving Qahsoud and his companions away. Qahsoud bowed low once more, saluted and turned on his heel. A faint flicker of a grin appeared on his face as he nodded to his companions and the three took their leave.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Mon Oct 28 10:33:46 2013 Subject The Darkness Con...

The three members of the black wing approached the highlord's quarters just after the sun dipped below the peaks to the west of Bloten. Each had two barrels strapped to a pole they held on their shoulders. As they approached the large wooden door leading into Brak'kta's dining hall they could hear that a small feast was already underway. The two guards at the door, both ogres, nodded and opened the door, ushering the two hobgoblins and the human into the dining hall. Qahsoud and his two companions walked into a large, warm and well-lit dining hall. A dozen ogres and a couple humans sat around a table eating, drinking and laughing. Stationed around the room were the highlord's guards, an even mix of ogres and humans. The highlord seemed in good spirits and looked to have already had enough to drink to warm his bones. He looked up as Qahsoud walked in and roared out: "Ah, so our brothers in black came with my gift after all!" "{oYes, highlord, " said Qahsoud bowing but not removing the heavy barrels from his shoulders, "{otwo of wine, four of dwarf spirits." The highlord waved Qahsoud and his companions forward. "Come, come, lets have it! But remember, the first sips are for you! I don't know this "Khariif" enough to trust the gifts he sends." Qahsoud and his companions walked to the foot of the table, unshouldering their loads. Qahsoud lifted one of the barrels onto the table. "{oWine first. Not Qahsoud's taste, but maybe highlord's, " said Qahsoud, grabbing an empty cup from the table, knocking off the barrel's cork and filling the cup. "Not always to my liking either, but it might suit some of my smaller officers.. drink up, hobgoblin, " said the highlord, his eyes narrowing on Qahsoud. Qahsoud raised his cup to the highlord and downed the drink in one large gulp. "{oNo tricks, highlord. Red wing has Commander Khariif's support." The ogre smirked and beckoned one of his bodyguards to fill a cup. The bodyguard filled a cup from the barrel and brought it to Brak'kta, who also finished the cup in one swig. "Too sweet, " said Brak'kta spitting, "Lets try those dwarf spirits." "{oYes, highlord, " said Qahsoud. The hobgoblin hoisted another barrel onto the table, uncorked it, filled part of the cup and downed it once more. His head swam slightly as the potent dwarf spirits worked their way into his blood stream. Brak'kta laughed uproariously, "Not a drinker then, are you hobgoblin?" Qahsoud gasped out: "{oI drink, highlord, but traders not kind enough to leave us ale." The ogre laughed again and boomed out "I like you, pity you are a hobgoblin! When we finish off this 'emperor' I'd have asked you to stay here instead of returning to that swamp you currently call home." Qahsoud bowed his head, hiding his smirk. He motioned to the keg of spirits and took a step back from the table. A different bodyguard came forward with the highlord's cup, filled it with dwarf spirits and returned it to Brak'kta who, once again, drank the whole cup with one gulp. "Much better! It has been long since I've had spirits this good.. Tillian, Brusk, fill the cups of the officers.. no spirits for you humans." Brak'kta turned back to Qahsoud and muttered "There is no room at the table.. but you may stand and eat if you are hungry." "{oThank you, highlord, but we eat already, " Qahsoud said and backed away from the table. "Suit yourself, hobgoblin, " said the highlord and returned to drinking with his officers. Before long, the two opened barrels were finished and the process was repeated for another barrel of spirits and wine, although Qahsoud drank less this time, wanting to keep his mind clear. Before long, Brak'kta had invited the bodyguards to drink, though not all did, and all six barrels were empty. "{oMuch more barrels at camp.. we go get 6 more?" said Qahsoud. "Yes, but more than six, take some of the humans and fetch all you can carry. Tillian, go with them and check their stocks, " said Brak'kta. "{oYes, highlord, " said Qahsoud who motioned to his companions and walked out into the cool, crisp air, followed by a few of the highlord's men. Qahsoud made eye-contact with his human companion and moved his gaze to the one Brak'kta had called "Tillian," smiling knowingly.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Mon Oct 28 11:20:59 2013 Subject The Darkness Cons...

The three members of the black wing worked their way through the streets of Bloten towards their encampment against the northern wall, followed by 6 of Brak'kta's men. Qahsoud had chosen to set up his camp inside Bloten's walls near a section of the wall that crumbled from negligence. Despite the section of wall being little more then a heap of rubble, it still stood at an impressive 10-15 meters high. Qahsoud led the small procession through the light of his unit's campfires to the wagons wedged between the wall, the rubble and Qahsoud's troops. He immediately began barking out orders in goblin, causing a few of the soldiers resting around the fire to rise quickly and unload 18 barrels from the wagon. The barrels were hung in pairs from poles and doled out to Brak'ta's men, Qahsoud and his two previous companions. Barrels shouldered, the procession began the trek back. About 50 meters away from the black wing's camp, the human in Qahsoud's unit bumped into the one Brak'kta had called "Tillian," causing both to drop their loads, the barrels breaking on the paved street. Tillian, eyes calm, drew a dagger and turned to the other human. "You did that on purpose." The other human raised his hands apologetically, ready to speak, before Qahsoud walked up to them and said "{oWas mistake.. go back, get 4 more. Not keep highlord waiting." Tillian kept his dagger drawn for a moment, eyes on the other human, before sheathing it and collecting his pole, grumbling. The two set off back towards the black wing's camp, but not before Qahsoud and his human companion met eyes and Qahsoud gave a barely perceptable nod. "{oThey catch up. We go." Qahsoud walked more slowly then usual on the return trip, allowing time for the two stragglers to catch up. No one seemed to notice that Tillian arrived alone, his uniform in slight disarray. As he walked up, his eyes briefly met Qahsoud's in an unspoken communication. The group finished its way to the highlord's dinner and was ushered in by the highlord's door guards. Brak'kta looked up angrily as they walked in. "Took you lot long enough.. leave them there, " he said, motioning to the foot of the table, "Tillian, pour us more. As for you hobgoblins, your gift is acceptable.. I'll send some of my men to get the rest of the barrels tomorrow." "Pardon me, highlord, but shouldn-" began Tillian, before being cut off by the highlord "Silence, Tillian, or would you like to join the ranks again?" Tillian bowed his head, stepped up to the table and began pouring drinks for the officers. "{oWe leave, highlord, wait for your men tomorrow, " said Qahsoud, before bowing and exiting the hall with the other hobgoblin.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 29 13:32:49 2013 Subject The Darkness Consumes

The humans guarding the door wore the uniforms of Brak'kta's personal guard. The loud snoring from behind the highlord's door had grown more steady, indicating that the highlord was asleep. Hearing this change in the highlord's breathing, the bodyguard known as "Tillian" turned to the other guard and snorted quietly: "If he gets much louder, maybe this Emperor Saige won't be able to attack us due to lack of sleep." The other guard chuckled silently for a moment but stayed at attention. As if on cue, the snoring from the highlord's room grew louder, causing both guards to smile. "Hey, whats that on your chin?" The other guard reached up and rubbed his chin. "I don't feel anything.. still there?" Trillian stepped up quietly to the other guard, saying: "Here let me get-" as he brought a dagger up under the guard's jaw and into his brain, "that." He slowly lowered the body to the ground, taking off his own cloak and throwing it next to the body to soak up some of the blood. He began walking quickly but quietly down the hallway, removing his cumbersome uniform as he went. As he walked, his body slowly began reverting to its true form; draconic features began to replace the human ones. He grew taller and wings unfolded slowly from his lower shoulders. At the end of the hallway was a small balcony from which he hurled a rope, barely clearing the wall around the highlord's palace. He secured the rope and moments later felt it go taught as the other end was also tied down. After a few moments, he could make out the shadows of a dozen hobgoblins climbing hand over hand up the rope, a heavy barrel strapped to each one's back. He turned and went back down the hallway to the top of the stairs to keep watch while the hobgoblins did their work. "{oGood work, Krestak, " Qahsoud whispered, before using hand gestures to order 4 of the hobgoblins to leave their barrels by the highmaster's door and help Krestak watch the stairs. Qahsoud slowly pushed the highmaster's door open and entered, followed by the remaining 8 hobgoblins. Once inside, they fanned out around the bed of the slumbering highlord. Qahsoud silently pulled the axe off his back, looked around at his men who nodded back at him, and swung it back. He brought the axe down swiftly and strongly, catching the snoring ogre square in his neck. The axe bit into the highlord's windpipe, causing Brak'kta to wake up, a ghastly, bubbling hiss issuing from his fresh wound. Fire in his eyes, Brak'kta swung out at Qahsoud, catching him across the face and knocking him 4 meters back into the wall. The other hobgoblins plunged their swords into the highlord, but not before the ogre had grabbed two by their heads and crushed their skulls bare-handed. After a few moments, the ogre's thrashings slowed, and his last breath gurgled from his throat. "{oDamn ogres.. skins thicker than I remember, " said Qahsoud in goblin, rising unsteadily and retrieving his axe. "{oGood work. Quickly take the lids off the barrels." Qahsoud reached down to his belt, grabbed a pair of thick leather gloves and pulled them on. The other hobgoblins did the same after bringing the barrels into the room. "{oCareful with that, it'll burn to the bone if you aren't careful." "Where'd we get this stuff anyway, Sergeant?" said one of the hobgoblins quietly as he worked. "{oObsidian.. she gave it to us in exchange for this, " said Qahsoud, grabbing a necklace set with a jet-black stone that Brak'kta had worn as a bracelet. He dropped the necklace into a bag carefully and wrapped the bag into a fold of his armor. "{oStrip Griptusk and Zegrul, they go on the bed with the highlord and his bodyguard." The hobgoblins worked efficiently, stripping the two slain hobgoblins and Brak'kta's one bodyguard of their clothing and placing them on the bed. Once this was done, each barrel was picked up one at a time by two hobgoblins and poured slowly over the 4 bodies. Acrid, noxious fumes mixed with the sickening smell of burnt flesh as the acid ate away at the soft tissue of the corpses. The hobgoblins pulled their uniforms up over their noses to avoid coughing. When all the barrels were empty, all that remained of the four bodies and the once glorious bed of the highlord were their scattered bones in an acid etched indentation in the floor. The hobgoblins set to work collecting the bones and leftover clothing and weapons, placing them in the glass-lined barrels and resecuring the barrels' lids. Once this was done, the hobgoblins strapped the barrels onto their backs and headed back towards the small balcony. Qahsoud returned to Krestak and the four hobgoblins watching over the stairs, tapping them on the shoulders to go. The four remaining hobgoblins and Qahsoud grabbed their barrels and strapped them onto their backs before heading for the rope. As the last of the hobgoblins slid down the rope, Krestak and Qahsoud turned down the hallway to make sure no one had seen them, then looked at each other, giving a silent nod of approval. Qahsoud grabbed the rope and swung himself over the balcony dextrously. When Krestak felt the line go slack, he untied his end, spread his wings and lept from the balcony, hissing in amusement.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Feb 11 15:03:31 2014 Subject Idleless Hands pt 6

Qahsoud watched with a grim look of determination as Highmaster Khariif set off into the swamps surrounding Xak Tsaroth. Qahsoud had tried to persuade the highmaster to take a few guards, but Khariif had insisted it would be safer to travel alone. Qahsould motioned to the hobgoblin and two goblins beside him and the four re-entered the ruins and descended into the city. "{oI must speak with Commander Krestak. Have the men gathered in the central plaza in two hours." The others nodded, saluted and walked off. Qahsoud grunted and turned on his heal sharply, setting off towards where Krestak was quartered. Qahsoud had come to respect the Sivak, especially since their mission in Bloten. He was glad Krestak would be leading the extermination of the aghar in Xak Tsaroth. Qahsoud knew he was smarter than most hobgoblins: smart enough to realize he wasn't very smart at all. After some time, Qahsoud found himself in the draconian area of the ruins. Baaz sneared, kapaks stared at him and everywhere else fights broke out between drunk draconians. If he was here Khariif would not have allowed such behavior, but Krestak, like Qahsoud, was aware how tightly wound the highmaster had his troops; it was important to let them blow off some steam. Qahsoud turned down the street and approached the commanders headquarters. Two baaz stood guard outside, one of which ducked his head in the door to announce Qahsoud's arrival. "He will sssee you, " it hissed as it withdrew its head. Qahsoud entered and immediately saluted. Krestak was with two bozaks who saluted Qahsoud back, although seemingly less respectfully. "Come in, Sssergeant, " hissed Krestak, "would you like a drink?" "{oQahsoud fine, no, " Qahsoud said, taking a few steps forward, "{oQahsoud come to talk about gullies." Qahsoud wanted the extermination done quickly. There was no telling how long the highmaster would be gone or how long it would take to wipe out the aghars, but Qahsoud had told the highmaster it would be done before his return and he meant to keep his promise. "Patienccce, sssergeant. It will get done. You know asss well asss I do that a few days will not make a differenccce. When the highmassster returnsss we will have no time to be idle. I think it bessst our men get a day or two to relax, consssider it cccelebration. The monthsss of training and drillsss are now over and sssoon the real work will begin." Qahsoud grunted and nodded. Krestak was correct that the men needed a break, but he did not understand goblins and hobgoblins; once a goblinoid's discipline began to decline it became difficult to reestablish. Discipline was enforced by fear and a hint of respect. "{oOkay, two days, then we begin, " Qahsoud said firmly. Krestak nodded once and saluted. Qahsoud saluted back, turned to the door and left to address his men.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Feb 11 16:59:52 2014 Subject Idleless Hands pt 9

So far everything had been going according to plan. Krestak and Qahsoud had expected more resistance from the gully dwarves, but after a few hours of the aghar crying, cowering and pleading miserably for their lives, Qahsoud and Xak Tsaroth's goblinoid forces had driven most of the gully dwarves down into the sanitation district. Once there, the Black Wing's soldiers began ordering the aghar to construct walls and barricades at the entrances, essentially closing the district off. "Thisss wasss done sssmoothly, sssergeant.. I commend you, " said Krestak as he stepped up to Qahsoud who was surveying the construction of a wall to block off one of the district's entrances. Only a few entrances were being left open for when the Black Wing would go in and round up the few survivors. It was Krestak's idea to make sure there were some aghar left in the end to help clean up the corpses of the others. Qahsoud snorted. "{oToo smooth. If they not gully dwarves I think it trap and they know we coming." Krestak smiled slightly and turned back to the aghar working on the wall. Krestak couldn't help but smile maliciously at the thought of these aghar working so diligently to construct the instruments of their own demise. One of the aghar working on the wall tripped, dropping the large marble block he was helping to carry on his leg and shattering it. His scream of pain caused other gully dwarves to stop what they were doing to rush to help. "What che doin?!" shrieked one of the goblins and began to whip the three dwarves indiscriminately, causing the two able-bodied dwarves to abandon their companion and return to work. The injured gully dwarf tried to rise but collapsed as he put weight on his leg, causing a few of the goblin overseers to erupt in laughter. "{oPut it out of its misery and stop wasting time, Grilthak!" barked Qahsoud in goblin, "{oI want this wall finished tonight and the remaining ones by tomorrow." The goblin nodded, unsheathed his short sword and ran it up under the protesting aghar's ribcage, killing it quickly. Krestak smirked as he watched the scene. Occasionally, a goblinoid could be like Qahsoud: clever and driven, but still stupid. Most however, were more like this Grilthak: mean, cowardly and about as smart as the gully dwarves they lorded their power over. Hissing a sigh, Krestak saluted Qahsoud and turned to leave.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Wed Mar 19 21:38:50 2014 Subject Idleless Hands pt 10

Krestak smiled as Qahsoud looked at the letter from Highmaster Khariif, struggling to read it. "You can read it out loud if that would help, " Krestak said, smirking at the hobgoblin. Giving up, Qahsoud handed the letter back to Krestak and snorted. "It says that the Highmaster has arrived in Sanction but is still unsure how long it will take to conclude business there." Qahsoud snorted again. Although the gully dwarves had been walled up for almost two months they showed no sign of dwindling in numbers. Qahsoud had tried to have all the exits walled up or guarded but the damned aghar seemed to be finding new ones. "{oSo what we do?" Qahsoud grunted. "The Highmaster will be gone for some time yet.. he may be adept, but navigating the politics in Sanction and Neraka is no easy feat. We continue as we have.. the aghar vermin are cornered and to do more would invite too much risk." "{oI tell Highmaster gullys all dead before he come back. I do that!" Qahsoud snarled. While Qahsoud respected Krestak, the sivak seemed too cautious for Qahsoud's taste. They were only gully dwarves.. they would as likely kill themselves in a fight as hurt one of the dragon army troops. "I said we wait!" Krestak almost shouted, "there is no sense in putting ourselves at any risk when time can do the fighting for us." The sivak turned on his clawed feet and began pacing across the room. "Continue to search for the secret tunnels the aghar are using, or would you prefer I dispatch some of the draconian troops to help you?" Qahsoud snorted and grumbled something in goblin. "{oNo, sir, " he muttered and stood up from his chair. As we walked to the door he began thinking about how he would bypass Krestak's orders. Krestak had said to find more of the tunnels the gully dwarves had been using.. no one could argue if Qahsoud's soldiers had killed a few aghar as they were doing this and none would complain if Qahsoud's soldiers followed tunnels deeper into the santitation district. Qahsoud smiled at this idea as he walked down the shadowed streets, flanked by two hobgoblins.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Tue Oct 27 02:15:43 2015 Subject Removal pt. 1

"The Dark Scars have gotten more meat because there are more of them!" Ilk shouted, slamming his fist on the table. The other murzas around the table were also shouting, egging on one side or the other. "If the Flat Tusks want more, they can get it themselves!" Ortek, murza of the Flat Tusks roared and slammed his fist dagger into the table. "The Black Fists seem to be doing fine - better even than when Qahsoud was still here!" The chorus of support for this statement was loud, drowning out any of Ilk's supporters. Those that had tried to support Ilk Dark Fist as Murza were few; only a fraction of those who had supported his bid since Qahsoud had first disappeared into the Highlord's cells. Ilk, seeing things spiraling out of his control, drew his own dagger and leapt across the table at Ortek with a cry. The two crashed onto the floor, fighting for Ilk's dagger. The other murza all stood up and crowded around the fight, cheering and jeering. The fight twisted back and forth, but Ilk eventually found himself under Ortek, arms pinned under the Flat Tusk's knees. Ortek grasped his hand around Ilk's neck and began to squeeze. Suddenly, in a spray of blood, brain and skull fragments, a thrown axe clove Ortek's head in two. "Who interfered!?" Ilk roared, throwing the lifeless form of the Flat Tusk murza off him. The other murza turned their eyes to the hobgoblin standing on the table, a long dagger in his off-hand. "How dare you! I will kill you myself!" Ilk sputtered, oblivious to the newcomer. The room was silent as Ilk looked up into the eyes of his former Murza standing on the edge of the table. "Qah.. Qahsoud?" Ilk asked. The Murza of the Abanasinian auls looked like a terrifying ghoul of his former self. Leaner and paler, Qahsoud seemed to be moving with an unholy strength not his own. He hopped off the table and approached Ilk maniacally. "I.. I had him." Ilk managed as Qahsoud put his right hand on Ilk's shoulder. "{oNo." Qahsoud stated, as he drove the dagger up under Ilk's rib-cage and into his heart. "{oYou didn't." Qahsoud looked around the room, a hunger in his eyes, now bereft of many of the principles he had entered the Highlord's cells with. "{oThis aul-grum is over until sunrise tomorrow. GO!" Qahsoud shouted, sending the other murza scurrying. A few stared at Qahsoud a few seconds before departing, still wondering if Qahsoud was actually alive. When they had cleared out, Qahsoud turned quickly to the table, grabbed a drink and finished it off. Shaking his head, Qahsoud place both hands on the table to steady himself. It had only been a minute, but it had left Qahsoud exhausted. Where the strength to do what he had done had come from was beyond him, but he would need a lot more of it in the upcoming months. Tomorrow would be the true trial: telling the aul's of their relocation to the frozen wastes of Icewall Glacier.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Sun Nov 1 02:55:03 2015 Subject Removal pt. 2

Qahsoud grunted in approval as the last of the canoes was tightened to the side of the ship. With the last of the canoes tied down and their contents safely secured below-decks, all that remained to load were the auls themselves. It was only two days sail to the mouth of the Torath River, which marked the real start of the auls' journey. The logistics of loading the supplies needed for the hundreds of goblinoids taking the voyage pushed the limits of Qahsoud's already burdened mental capacity. But the auls were, figuratively, on board and would literally be tomorrow. They had done well under Qahsoud's leadership five years ago; the surrounding areas made for easy raiding and resources had been in abundance. During the years of Qahsoud's incarceration, however, the uncontrolled undead that the Highlord kept in reserve had encroached ever closer on the auls' territory, and the Highlord's own advances outward had made mounting raids lengthier, more costly and less rewarding. Qahsoud had known none of this when he first confronted the other murza at the aul-grum held the morning after his release. Word had already spread to the auls of his return and he had little trouble convincing the other murza to go along with their immediate migration to Icereach. It was only later that he found out how severely conditions in the region had deteriorated. The murza once again behind him, Qahsoud had departed from the tent in which the aul-grum had been held to find what felt like hundreds of goblinoids waiting outside at a distance. As he exited, he could hear a chant begin to swell. At first he could not make it out, but it soon became clear: Sag Kalan - the Survivor. In time, there would be those who would challenge his leadership of the auls. For now, however, his promise of a new land (however untrue it was) would make any thoughts of treason suicide. More importantly, he alone had survived the Highlord's personal cells. He alone was Sag Kalan.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Mon Feb 29 22:08:52 2016 Subject The First Wave

Qahsoud inhaled deeply through his nostrils, filling them with the smell of burning wood and flesh. Before him, the few remaining Que-Fallan were lining up their fallen brethren in orderly rows while a smattering of goblins watched lazily. The majority of the auls were getting their fill of looting, having been cooped up in the swamps around Xak Tsaroth for too long. Qahsoud made out Gorick, murza of the Stone Teeth, making his way up the hill. Gorick saluted Qahsoud as he approached and set down the sack of spoils he had collected. Turning, Gorick looked out over the town and grunted as he turned back to Qahsoud: "These humans would be worth a lot in Khur, " he muttered loudly. Seeing the look on Qahsoud's face, Gorick looked down quickly, regretting his boldness. Qahsoud fixed his eyes on Gorick, his lips curled back in a snarl. "{oWe do as the Highlord commands.. the auls need a fight, not gold." he said forcefully as he folded his arms over his chest. Gorick's eyes flashed briefly to the insignia of the White Wing on Qahsoud's arm, then back into Qahsoud's. "This was hardly a fight, Murza." Qahsoud snorted and nodded. "{oThey were not ready for us.. the other tribes will be. I will give the Stone Teeth the honor of leading us into future fights.. as a reward for their murza's {Iloyalty." Qahsoud looked back out over the village and smiled. Gorick shuffled his feet slightly and looked down at the ground. Qahsoud's strength and influence had returned quickly since his release from the prisons of Xak Tsaroth. Following through with his promise of war and spoils only solidified his hold over the auls further. "And what do we do with the survivors?" Qahsoud shook his head slightly, as if coming out of a dream. "{oSurvivors?" Looking back over the rows of dead humans, he grumbled: "{oOh yes, have them lay down next to their brothers before you kill them, it will save time."

Author: Qahsoud Date: Thu Mar 17 21:35:36 2016 Subject The Second Wave

Qahsoud had been right: the Que-Mont {Iwere ready. The auls had not moved quietly - quite the opposite in fact - and the Que-Mont had time to prepare. Qahsoud muttered something indecipherable as he looked out over the fields of wheat the auls had crossed to reach the town. Most of the crop was now trampled, revealing the hundreds of fallen goblinoids with arrows sticking from them like freshly grown shoots. Gorick and the Stone Teeth had born the brunt of the Que-Mont arrows and their valor would be talked about for generations to come. Qahsoud thanked the gods Gorick had fallen in the assault; he had continued to show signs of rebelliousness. He turned back to look over the town. It had been far too long since most of the auls had seen a real battle and this one had reignited the bloodlust inherent in all goblinoids. Those humans lucky enough to have fallen in the fight lay scattered around the walls and town square, more than a couple dismembered. Those that had survived were still being tortured, beaten and, on rare occasions, raped. Qahsoud whispered to himself in goblin: "{oLet them have their fun. Khariif will have plenty of corpses to work with." "Murza?" came a hobgoblin's voice behind him. Turning, Qahsoud saw that the group he had left behind in Que-Fallan had returned. All but one of them looked on edge. The collected one was scanning the town and its surrounding fields, most likely envious of having missed out on the violence and looting. "{oWell? Has the Black Wing arrived?" "Yes, Murza, in numbers greater than ours. With them at our backs this island will be ours." Not ours. Hers. "{oGood, carry on. Pass on word that our dead are to be buried." "Buried?" the curious hobgoblin let slip. Qahsoud's eyes narrowed on him. There was something off.. he seemed too confident among the others. The hobgoblin hastily bowed. "Forgive me, Murza." He mumbled as he shuffled back into the group. There was even something strange about the way he spoke; too formal. There was an awkward pause before Qahsoud shrugged. The group saluted Qahsoud and went back to pass on Qahsoud's orders. Qahsoud watched them go, hiding a worried look. He did not like the situation he found himself in: the humans of Schallsea before him, the Black Wing behind him and the auls reliant on the Black Wing's fleet for any chance of leaving the island.. unless...

Author: Qahsoud Date: Sun Sep 3 17:51:31 2017 Subject A Caller in the Night

Qahsoud squatted beside a small campfire with a few of his lieutenants, a chunk of salted beef in his right hand and a wineskin in his left. The smoke within the tent was thick, but what little escaped would be harder to detect from the outside. Though there had been little to no disturbances along the coast of Schallsea Island, Qahsoud had learned it always better to be prepared - it's when you stop being alert that something gets you. Though the hobgoblins laughed, joked and bragged of their exploits during the past 3 months, their boisterousness was subdued. The Schallsea Campaign had been all the auls had been promised and more - worthy opponents, total destruction of the enemy, plenty of spoils - but the goblinoids had not been given the time to celebrate their victory. The undead units of the Black Wing, raised, controlled and supported by draconians, had moved in behind the auls with ruthless efficiency. Now, the aul's patrolled the Northern coast of Schallsea Island. Their task essentially consisted of monitoring and recording the passing of ships through the northern fork of the Straights of Schallsea. On occasion, they had chance to put out in longboats when a smuggler came too close to shore. More frequently, a zombie or ghoul not controlled by the bozaks would wander in. Alone, they were no problem for the battle-hardened goblinoids, but most likely the undead were the reason Qahsoud and the other goblinoids dined discretely. There was a quiet but terse exchange outside the tent and a goblin ducked in, carrying a letter. Qahsoud and the other hobgoblins dining with him snarled slightly at the goblin as he approached the Murza. Qahsoud grabbed the missive from the trembling goblin, who saluted sharply and scampered out. Qahsoud broke the letter's seal (that of a lowly commander from the Black Wing's headquarters in the Barren Hills) and read slowly, mouthing the words in concentration: "The bearer of this note is to receive a longboat and crew for an extent of time of his determination. - Commander Sinaeth" Qahsoud snorted and stood up. "{oIt WOULD come to this camp.. let's see the gully liver Commander Sinaeth has sent us, " he muttered in goblin as he made his way to the tent's entrance. Stepping out into the foggy moonlight, Qahsoud easily found the human standing at the camp's innermost perimeter. It was not so much that he saw the human soldier - a hobgoblin's dark vision was good even in total darkness - but that he {Ifelt him. The unholy, powerful aura given off by the man standing arrogantly twenty meters away was tangible and Qahsoud knew he had felt it before but he remembered not where. The man, who Qahsoud did not recognize but nevertheless thought that he did, looked straight at Qahsoud and curled his lip slightly in a sneer. "{oOlam, tell Daerg he and his squad will be taking this soldier wherever he asks in their longboat. Tell Daerg that he should treat this soldier's commands as if they were coming from me, " Qahsoud said, his eyes locked with the humans. The goblin, Olam, saluted and walked up to the human, seemingly unaffected by his pernicious presence, and motioned for the human to follow. The human stepped forward to follow the goblin assuredly, his eyes lingering on Qahsoud's for a few moments as if to say: "Make sure that, if you ever figure out what is happening, you do not reveal it to anyone."

Author: Qahsoud Date: Sat Sep 16 05:03:50 2017 Subject Surging Tides pt 1

Qahsoud clutched the gunwale of the ship in anticipation as he looked out at the walls of the city of Schallsea. Hordes of undead clammered at the walls as auraks, hidden in the moaning mob, hurled spells that caused the walls to shake and crack. Qahsoud knew that it was a race between the fangs and the rest of the Dragonarmies to take the city - once the fangs' undead had penetrated the walls, the bozaks would release their control over the zombies and ghouls who would ensure no living thing in the city survived. Looking out over the churning waves, Qahsoud grunted in respect at the tenacity of Highlord Khariif's logistical planning. Even without him to lead, ships swept into the bay and the docks of Schallsea in such numbers as to roil the sea into a seeming boil. The vast majority of the ships flew the black dragon skull sigil of the Black Wing, but banners of the Red, White and Green Wing could be made out - most of the Blue Wing had reinforced the Dragonarmy's strategic holdings such as Neraka and Sanction. Qahsouds gaze was pulled back to the docks. Sporadic fighting had already broken out where some of the fleet's faster ships had unloaded their troops before tacking around to return for more. Qahsoud's snarl at the thought that he had not been among the first to land turned into a guffaw as a stone hurled from one of the city's defending catapults smashed into a troop-laden ship far up ahead. The armored humans who wore the uniform of the Red Wing disappeared into the waves, an offering to the Dark Queen's daughter. The catapults had maintained a constant rate of fire at first, but the rate slowed noticeably as the troops from the first ships to land had put them to the torch. Although the defenders had delivered some accurate hits, usually sinking the ships they struck, the sheer number of ships either built or taken by the Dragonarmies made the damage negligible. "Murza!" a hobgoblin shouted down to Qahsoud with a salute, "the captain says 'five minutes.'" Qahsoud nodded, saluted back and looked around the ship. The fiercest of the Black Fists had been chosen by Qahsoud to join him on the ship, which would be unloading where the docks met the city's southern wall. They were to take the wall and push east along it. The helmsman shouted out a few orders to the ship's crew, who scrambled up the rigging and brought in the sails. "{oThis is it!" Qahsoud roared in goblin to his men as he made his way to the port gunwale. Soldiers of the city guard lined the quay and archers were already firing arrows with minimal success. Goblins returned fire with more success - the stationary city guard made easier targets. With a blood-curdling howl, Qahsoud leapt to the dock, releasing two hatchets as he did. Both found their marks, one sinking deep into a guard's chest and the other cleaving a guards skull. The rest of his men followed suit, overcome with bloodlust. Qahsoud and his men made short work of the city guard defending the docks. While the city guards were decently armed and armored, they were untrained, undisciplined, exhausted and terrified. Those in the frontlines quickly broke rank, turning and pushing their allies into the crimson water in their desperation to survive. Some of the defending archers had gotten better at finding their marks before their allies on the front lines crashed into them, eyes wild in terror. Qahsoud, blades and arms soaked in blood and face and chest splattered with gore, cleaved his way through the helpless guards. "{oThe tribesmen fought better than this, " Qahsoud snarled, kicking an impaled soldier off his sword and into the sea. The remaining guards were choosing between begging unavailingly for mercy, diving into the water or trampling their brethren in a futile attempt at escape. The loud blare of a horn split through the din of the battle as Qahsoud and the best of the Black Fists reached the cobblestones of solid ground. A dejected, halfhearted cheer rose up from the defenders as, in the distance, the resplendent banners of Solamnic knights fluttered into view. "{oFinally, " Qahsoud grinned.

Author: Qahsoud Date: Sat Sep 16 05:21:18 2017 Subject Surging Tides pt 2

Finishing off one last fleeing guard, Qahsoud turned to face his men. "{oHere they are, Black Fists, the best the humans have to offer, " he yelled in goblin. A ripple of laughter spread through the disorderly ranks. "{oDon't leave any alive, " he continued, before turning and pointing towards the emptying avenue leading to the knights of Solamnia, "{oFOR MWARG!" A cry rose from the Black Fists as they stormed forward. In reply, a horn sounded from the Solamnics and the front ranks spurred their horses into a charge. The shoes of the Solamnic horses thundering on the cobblestones nearly drowned out the knights' cry of "Est Sularus oth Mithas" as they lowered their lances in perfect unison. Arrows soared from behind Qahsoud over the cavalry and into the Solamnic footmen behind them. The two sides met with a crash to rival a strike from Reorx's hammer. Lances splintered, horses whinnied and hobgoblins roared their last curse. Qahsoud spun around a knight's lance, causing it to pierce the Black Fist behind him. Swinging his scimitar upward in a savage slash, he sliced through the horse's throat in a spray of blood. The horse, dead on it's feet, threw its rider as it collapsed into Qahsoud, pinning both of his legs below its corpse. Qahsoud looked up in time to avoid a horse's hoof to his skull, but felt one of his ribs crack as a second horse trampled him. Quickly drawing his bow and notching an arrow, Qahsoud fired a few arrows into the oncoming knights, the first clattering harmlessly off a knight's helmet but the second finding its mark, burying itself deep into the human's eye socket. The knights' charge had already turned into a melee and Qahsoud continued to fire arrows as he could. His arrows finally spent, Qahsoud grunted through the pain as he struggled to free himself from the dead horse. As he was doing so, he heard an unmounted knight call out a salute to him. Finally pulling one leg loose, Qahsoud grasped for his sword and turned to see a knight approaching him, stance ready to swing the large two-handed sword he wielded. Qahsoud tugged once more on his ensnared leg, failed, then faced the knight, sword up to defend himself. The knight brought down his sword with such strength that it knocked Qahsoud's own sword from his weakened hand. Qahsoud spat at the knight, more blood then phlegm and mustered a roar as the knight raised his sword for a final swing. As the knight's killing stroke was at its zenith, he lurched forward, blood pouring from his mouth. His sword clattered to the ground as he slumped to his knees, revealing a goblin behind him. The goblin pulled his dagger from the chink in the knight's armor. Sparing little time except for a quick salute, the goblin leapt back into the fray. Qahsoud pulled himself free and shook his head slightly before rising slowly. Looking around, he saw the knights' charge had been their only one - there was no room for them to circle around and charge again. The remaining knights were reforming for an organized retreat despite the jeers and attacks of the Black Fists. They pulled back down the avenue, knowing their retreat would cost them the southern wall and that they were surrounded. Qahsoud braced himself on his sword and shouted out to the Black Fists in goblin: "{oContinue up the walls.. we must show the Highlord and Mwarg that we are still better than what they have created." With a swift salute, the hobgoblins made their way towards the large stairwell that ascended the city's wall, a few stopping occasionally to finish off a wounded Solamnic. A lone hobgoblin, recently inducted to the Black Fists from a different aul, approached Qahsoud, a greedy gleam in his eye. "It seems Murza, " the hobgoblin said in goblin, "that you aren't in any position to fight. Perhaps your usefulness to the auls and Mwarg's forces has faded." He walked up to Qahsoud, tossing a dagger in his hand. With a swift lunge Qahsoud closed the distance, surprising the hobgoblin. Qahsoud grabbed the would-be usurper with such force that the latter dropped his dagger. With a powerful flick of his wrist, Qahsoud broke the subversive hobgoblin's wind pipe. "{oIt would be better for whichever of my men vouched for you to have died in this fight then to meet me when the battle is won, " the Murza said, watching the life drain from the hobgoblin's eyes, "{oyou aren't even fit to fight {Iagainst{o me."

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