Dateline - Sharn. Dispatches from the Lower Towers


First Post

Hello everyone, and welcome to my 2nd story time here at ENWorld. Many of you may recognize me from my first story hour, Posy's Diary (found below in my .sig). That campaign, unfortunately petered out as the demands of family and the challenges of daily life eroded our game time together, and our inability to keep a steady DM. I had more difficulty writing it as time went on, and finally, to my disappointment, *I* petered out.

Posy does play every once and a while, but the chemistry our group had is, sadly, not what it once was.

I've joined another gaming group and have decided to start a story hour for it, since my main character is a bard and the premise for the campaign really fits a Story Hour format.

Campaign Premise

You (and all the other characters in the party) have been thrown together to be an adventuring group. Your patron is the Korranberg Chronicle. They gathered you together at the home office in Korranberg and have sent you, as a group, to the city of Sharn. They have provided you with modest living quarters in the lower section of one of the main towers (each of you have a private room there).

They only ask that you report to them of whatever adventures you have while together. They tell you that the better the story, the more you will be compensated. They also give you a contact with the local House Sivis in the message station in Barmin Tower through which to make your reports. They also suggest you get in touch with Bonal Geldem, and elderly human scholar from Morgrave University. They tell you he has been researching some very interesting things and might have a job for you.

The campaign will be the Eberron chain of adventures, at first. I hope I can keep you interested, as you may know the plots already. The beginning adventures are, of course, the Forgotten Forge, Shadows of the Last War, and Whispers of the Vampire's Blade, so there were be spoilers spinkled throughout. You may notices that the introduction does not quite follow the premise. I do take a little artistic license here and there. :)

On with the adventure!
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First Post
Sul, 1st of Rhaan - Part I

Journal of Tharkhad, correspondent to House Sivis

A Journal of the events chronicled by Tharkhad, Sharn correspondent to House Sivis for the Korranberg Chronicle. Included are the dispatches sent for publication, and the events and people encountered which led to those events.

Sul, 1st of Rhaan

Part I

A representative of House Sivis has contacted me to be part of an investigative team to report to the Korranberg Chronicle on events of interest in Sharn. As Gormliss d’Sivis put it, “Our readers hear so many exciting and fascinating things about the City of Towers that it is our duty to give them tales of life in Sharn. See what you can do to spice it up, but we need adventure, excitement, and mystery. Give us details of locales, interesting personalities, and what it is like to be alive in Sharn.”

I’ve lived my 47 years in Sharn, in a small, isolated community that didn’t interact much with the rest of the city. I suppose I need to discover this excitement as much as anyone else. My name is Tharkhad, and while I’ve spent a lot of time learning about people, I don’t know that I have the rest of the skills necessary to even have an adventure in Sharn.

Not to worry. As Gormliss said, “I’ve gathered together a team to work with you which should be well-rounded and sufficient for your needs. You have all been given a room in an apartment in the XXXXX district of Sharn. You can go meet them after we discuss the details of transmitting your reports.” After we talked about giving my missives to the local House Sivis in Barmin Tower, he gave me the address of the apartment. He also told me to contact Bonal Geldem, a scholar at the Morgrave University. “He has been researching some interesting things that might lead to a story or two,” added Gormliss.

The apartment is in what I would call a “hardworking poor” section of Sharn. It’s in a lower level, but it’s not dirty, and there are plenty of everbright lanterns set close enough together to provide a comfortable level of light. I’ve noticed that there is a correlation between the distance between lanterns and the prosperity of the neighborhood. As the higher towers block much of the sunlight in the lower levels, the lanterns provide the only illumination in many parts of lower Sharn. This must be one of those “Sharn details” that Gormliss was talking about.

The building itself looking like at one point it was a barn or stable of some sort. Someone had decided to convert it into housing, so they took what the barn had to offer and made a nice big apartment building out of it. The ground floor is a large, high ceilinged common area with a kitchen and dining area to one side, and a sort of living room with tables and chairs on the other side. Stairs lead up to the balconies which face each other on the long side of the barn, each with four doors which lead to the private rooms on the second floor. All in all, it’s clean, allows for privacy, and has a large area to relax in. Better accommodations than I expected, really.

When I got there, I saw that the rest of the team had already arrived and were unpacking. In the common room was an adamantine-reinforced warforged talking to a sturdy-looking human. Upstairs was a slim elven woman who was trying to bet a shifter that she could jump from balcony to balcony across the common room. Poking around the kitchen area was a human dressed in furs and feathers with odd tattoos.

“Any rooms left?” I asked with a smile, and the human talking to the warforged broke off his conversation and introduced himself.

“I’m Gear d’Cannith, and you must be Tharkhad?” the raised inflection in his voice indicating a question.

I nodded.

“Well, up there is Samia, talking to the shifter, Rand. In the kitchen is the shaman, Baldon d’Tharashk. Our male personality warforged here doesn’t have a name, and he wants to know what we should call him.” Gear made the introductions by pointing and waving to the different members of the group. “Everyone, this is Tharkash, the guy Gormliss was talking about.” Individual members of the group waved or ignored me, depending on their level of attention.

“He needs a name?” I asked, looking at the powerfully built warforged.

Gear nodded. “Often, warforged don’t have an identifier other than a number when the come out of the foundry. 32927-90210 here feels that we would be better at picking out a name than he would. We’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with something that makes sense, but so far we’ve had too many silly suggestions and none that he likes.”

At silly, Gear rolled his eyes up at Samia, who impishly yelled down, “What’s wrong with Daffodil, anyway?”

Gear laughed.

Seriously, the warforged asked, “What is wrong with Daffodil?”

Gear smiled at him and said, “Daffodil is the name of a flower, which really isn’t sufficiently, well, martial for a ‘forged of your prowess.” He clapped a hand on the ‘forged’s shoulder. “We’ll come up with something, don’t worry.”

“Perhaps his deeds will point the way to a name,” I ventured.

Rand had made his way down the stairs, getting ready to watch Samia’s leap. He nodded and said, “That’s always the best way. Nicknames are often bestowed based on a deed that shows a person’s true soul. So it should be with your name, ‘forged.”

“Wheee!” Samia shouted as she leapt across the common room, grabbing the balcony railing with her hands ash she reached the opposite side. “That’s one gold from you, Rand!”

I looked at Rand, who smiled and shrugged. “It seemed important to her.” He then tossed the gold piece up towards Samia’s perch, whereupon she dropped from the balcony, deftly caught it, and landed cat-like on the floor.

Gear indicated the three rooms still left available, and I went upstairs to pick one, and drop off my meager supplies. Afterward, I called a meeting for a chance for all of us to talk about our assignment and get to know each other.

Rand was a shifter who had been a tracker and scout in Xen’Drik. He and his father and fought the degenerate giantkin there until Rand decided he wanted to see more of the world. Upon arriving in Sharn, he saw a House Sivis poster asking for adventurous spirits.

The warforged was one of a thousand or so ‘forged created near the end of the war, and turned loose on society with nothing but his martial skills. The gnomes of House Sivis had found him while he was looking for some way to use his skills.

Samia said she came from Aerenal, the elvish island-continent. Her mentor had received a letter, and shortly after had advised her to come to Sharn and contact House Sivis.

The shaman Baldon was a member of House Tharkash from the Shadow Marches, new in town and rounded up with the same advertisement that caught Rand and Samia’s attention.

Gear d’Cannith said he was a local House Cannith involved with working on warforged schemas, but hadn’t had much practical experience outside of the foundries. His dragon mark flowed up his arm from wrist to mind-bicep, and he said it allowed him to repair ‘forged. He was referred to House Sivis by a supervisor who thought he should, well, get out more. Gear spent almost all his time at House Cannith, and was really interested in the impact of warforged on society as a whole. I thought it was a good thing that the ‘forged in our group was not sensitive, because in his enthusiasm he sometimes referred to the ‘forged as if they were objects. He obviously liked our ‘forged though, so perhaps I’m being overly sensitive myself.

I introduced myself as a local who had been trained in writing and who knew a little bit about Sharn. I have some training in performance, also, as a storyteller, and perhaps that would be useful to the group.

“When do we start?” Samia asked.

“Any time, I guess.” I said. “If everyone’s stuff is packed and we are all ready, we could head out to Morgrave University this afternoon to find Bonal.”

It all sounded so simple.


First Post
Sul, 1st of Rhaan - Part 2

Part II

As soon as we reached the upper levels of Sharn, the skies opened up and deluged us with rain. If rain wasn’t falling directly from the sky, it was falling in sheets off roofs, walkways, and bridges, and we could barely see ahead of us. It was a warm rain, so it didn’t chill us and make us miserable, but it made us need to navigate from lantern to lantern, as the rain obscured our vision much past about 60 feet.

As we approached a skybridge, some of us noticed a cloaked figure slip away, avoiding the lanterns and slipping over a barrier and out of sight. In the middle of the bridge, there was a body lying in a pool of rain mixed with blood, swirling in a pool around it.

We ran to the body, but it was too late. The shaman tried to staunch the bleeding, but the figure was already dead. It was an elderly man dressed like a scholar with a satchel clasped tightly in his hands.

Samia slipped the satchel out and peeked in it. “Paper, quills, an apple, and a book!” she exclaimed.

Suddenly, the cloaked figure whipped up from under the skybridge and attacked our warforged friend, viciously snarling “Flesh-loving traitor!” Her battle-axe cleaved through the moist air to clang heavily on our ‘forged adamantine-hardened body, knocking him back. The blow uncovered her features to reveal a female-personality warforged face eager for the kill.

In seconds, we had swarmed about her. First came Gear, whose heavy morningstar pounded against the war-forged body. Rand whipped out a long sword and cut deeply into her side. Baldon, the shaman, brought fire into his hand and tossed it onto her. Our ‘forged whipped out a huge great sword, and stepping back, nearly cleaved the other ‘forged in two.

A tiny form lifted out of the ‘forged, and, with a whirr, sped off into the night. We couldn’t stop it, or even see it after a few feet. The final messenger had flown off to inform its owner of what had happened.

Gear cursed. “We should have caught that thing! I might have been able to look at it; maybe figure out where it came from!”

Samia looked up from the first body. "He's got a money pouch!" she grinned, hefting a small leather bag. She turned to further examine the body.

The sound of running boots made us turn around. Sam quickly moved away from the body.

“Olladra’s bloody nose!” said a stocky figure wearing the green-and-black of the City Watch.

Facing us was a powerfully built dwarf with a close-cropped beard, leveling a crossbow. Two humans wielding halberds, a male and a female, stood to either side ready for anything. “By the order of the Watch, drop your weapons and explain yourselves!”, the dwarf bellowed.

I stepped up to speak. “Thank goodness you are here! We found this body, and while we were looking at it, this warforged attacked our warforged friend…” At a loss for a name, the first thing that popped into my head was “… Target!” Samia hid a grin and the warforged, somehow, looked pleased.

I explained what happened, outlining the fact that we discovered the body and that the apparent attacker attacked us. We showed him the body of the scholar and the body of the warforged. Something, however, made me decide not to reveal the presence of the satchel and the book. If we were going to do this House Sivis thing right, we were going to have to get some answers ourselves.

A few locals came out and added that they had seen everything, and that our version of the events was accurate.

The dwarf, who introduced himself as Sergeant Dolom, gruffly allowed as to how we’d done well, but that we should things like this up to the watch. We agreed and wished him well, and left in order to avoid answering any more questions.

“Target?” Rand asked at the same time that Samia laughed “Target!”

I looked over at the warforged, who said “It seems… right. I like it!”

“Target it is!” I said, smiling. Everyone laughed, partly in relief for surviving the attack, and partly because, in the end, we all enjoyed ourselves. Target. He’s big enough, and he can sure take a hit.

While we were walking, a cloaked figure stepped from the shadows and showed a House Cannith signet ring. “If you would know the truth of Bonal Geldem’s murder, go to the Broken Anvil Tavern at dawn,” he said, and walked away.

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First Post
Sul, 1st of Rhaan, part III

Part III

“Bonal Geldem!” Baldon said. “That’s who we were supposed to contact at Morgrave!”

“Interesting…” I pondered. “We’d better do some asking around. I wouldn’t mind some confirmation that he is our dead body. While were at it, let’s also see what we can find out about this journal. ”

While Samia and I went ‘round the taverns around Morgrave University and the local watch hangout, Gear and Baldon went back home with the rest of the group to examine the book.

While we were able to find out that Bonal did work at the Morgrave University, specializing in Pre-Galifar studies, there was no news of his death at the Morgrave taverns. Since he had so recently died, I didn’t really expect anyone there to know.

At the local Watch hangout, we had to wait around until the shift changed. We asked about Sergeant Dolom’s latest case, and all we were able to get was that it was a provost at the Morgrave University.

We returned home to find Gear yanking the book out of Target’s hands, and frantically slapping at it as if it was on fire and he was trying to put it out while Rand and Baldon looked on.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

Rand chuckled. “Well, Gear was trying to figure out what the book wouldn’t take a mark, and Target here thought we’d see if would catch on fire. He kind of threw it into the fireplace.”

Gear looked relieved. “Well, it won’t catch on fire, either. Target, you need to tell me before you try stuff! It nearly stopped my heart.”

Target looked, if anything, penitent.

Samia said, “Awww, it’s ok. You meant well. Gear just got a little upset.”

Baldon said, “I tried to identify the magical properties of the item, but was unable to.” He raised an eyebrow significantly, and I wondered if his House Tharkash heritage had anything to do with his attempt. The House of Finding had unusual powers in the area of information retrieval. Could he have a dragonmark?

I took the book in my hand. It was a small book, about 3 inches by 6 inches and 1 inch thick. It had a dark brown leather cover with strands of mithral woven in a strange pattern. It had no title, just the mithral-thread icon on the front cover.

Gear said, “Well, it looks like it’s an ancient journal of House Cannith. This sigil on the front is an old design of House Cannith. The sigil is magic, but we’re not sure what it does. There is some sort of transmutation magic on it, which means that it changes something. My guess is that it would change the pages into something readable. You can’t write on it, you can’t burn it, and you can’t change it in anyway. The paper feels odd, like it’s not paper but it could be magicked.”

“What do you think is in it? Does your knowledge of House Cannith or maybe some things you’ve seen around the foundry give you any ideas?” I asked.

“It could be anything, from a diary to instructions. Or both. If this was someone’s work-book, where they kept a running journal of their work, it could have sketches, instructions, personal notes, shopping lists, anything. As far as we’re concerned, though, it’s a blank book.”

I reported to the group what we had discovered about Bonal, and we discussed the day’s events. Gear repaired Target using his dragonmark, and it was fascinating to watch the mark shimmer and move and tendrils o magic wrap around Gear’s arm and flow into Target’s damaged body.

I was exhausted from the day’s travails, and headed up to bed to sleep. Everyone else began yawing, so I mentioned that we had to be up at dawn.

“Target, since you don’t have to sleep, could you wake us at first light?”, Gear asked.

“Yes,” Target said seriously.

On her way up, Samia said, under her breath, “We need to loosen that boy up a bit.”

With that, we called it a night.

Any questions? Comments?


First Post
Mul, 2nd Rhaan Part IV

Part IV

Mul, 2nd Rhaan, 998
Since I had grown up in Sharn, I knew that the Broken Anvil was in the Mason’s Tower, and was a House Gallanda establishment. We wanted to get there early, to reconnoiter a little before our meeting, but the halfling matron escorted us back immediately, saying, “My Lady, your guests have arrived.”

The human female seated at the table had delicate features, dark blue eyes, and sleek black hair bound with turquoise and silver ornaments. She wore a House Cannith signet ring, indicating an individual of some standing in House Cannith.

“Thank you for coming. We have important business to discuss that relates to the unfortunate death of Bonal Geldem. Please, sit down.”

The table was large enough for all of us to be seated, so I took the seat across from her so I could see her clearly. The other party members arranged themselves around her. Arranged on the table were mugs and three pitchers containing wine, ale, and water.

As I sat down across from her, I realized that I recognized her as Lady Elaydren of House Cannith. I knew she was a minor, but important member of the house, perhaps a cousin. We waited for her to continue.

“I have been working with Provost Geldem, to recover a family heirloom”, she explained. “We were to meet earlier tonight, but as you know, he won’t be able to make that meeting. I learned from the Watch what had happened, and so sent one of my men to track you down.

“ The heirloom, according to family legend, was locked away in a foundry that dates back to pre-Galifar Sharn. Poor Bonal believed he discovered the location of the foundry in an ancient journal of House Cannith. I was going to fund an expedition to go to the site, but without Bonal…”

Her voice trailed off. Glancing at each of us, she leaned close. “Perhaps you would be willing to recover the heirloom for me. For a generous reward, of course.”

“Do you have the journal?” she asked.

Gear nodded and took the book out of the satchel.

She took the book in one hand and placed her signet ring against the sigil. A glow came from both the ring and the sigil, light chasing up the mithral threads and suddenly chasing through the book pages. As she opened the book, delicate script and line drawings appeared. She turned to a specific page, studied it, and then pulled a folded map from her cloak.

“The location of the lost foundry is deep within the Dorasharn Tower,” she proclaimed. “Fifty-seven levels below the tower’s present-day sewer system. I offer you one thousand gold pieces and the goodwill of my house if you recover the heirloom and return it to me. Will you help me?”

I slid my chair back, but didn’t stand. I had been watching her for signs of duplicity. I’m unusually sensitive to deception, and in her recounting of her goals and the opening of the journal and map, I had not seen any signs of prevarication.

“You say the goodwill of your House. Which House Cannith do you refer to? We know there is currently a little dissension in the house,” I probed.

She nodded. “Those issues are matters for the upper echelons of the House, and would not apply to a service of this type.” She knitted her hands together over the tabletop.
“You are from Aundair. How does the Sharn House feel about this project?” I pressed her further.

She acknowledged my emphasis with s small smile. “House Cannith’s leadership has been disjointed since the destruction of Cyre. I am loyal to the leader of my portion of the family, which operates out of Aundair. I have nothing against the Sharn-based family, but I am here to further the efforts of Baron Jorlanna ‘dCannith of Aundair.”

““What more do you know about the death of Bomal?” I changed the subject.

“We think he was murdered be a servant of the Lord of Blades. The warforged prophet wants the schema for his own dark purposes.”

I leaned forward. “What more do you know about where we are going? I know you want us to succeed, so any help you give would improve our chances of success.”

“This map shows you the way to reach the sewers of the Dorasharn tower. Somewhere beyond the E-213 valve cluster you’ll find a sealed door with the same mark as the one on Bonal’s Journal. Open the seal and the tunnel beyond will take you to the long-forgotten level far below, where the foundry resides.”

She continued. “Other than the Lordof Blades, who may have other agents seek the schema, who knows what lurks in the hidden places beneath the city? Now that I think about it, Bonal did say that he would definitely need to bring fire on the expedition.”

“When we slew the female war-forged, a final messenger was released,” I informed her. “We should assume that the Lord of Blades knows of our progress.?

She looked troubled, and nodded. “You may be sure that he is aware. If you are careful, I’m am confident you will succeed.”

“Let us speak together a moment, my lady,” I said.

We gathered at a corner of the tavern. “What do you think?” I asked the group.

Gear frowned. “I’m troubled by this Lord of Blades. I hear he is a dangerous fanatic who hates all living creatures.”

Target stirred. “He does not speak for us all.”

Samia said excitedly, “This is why we are here in Sharn! Intrigue, adventure! She paused. “And gold, too!”

Rand nodded. “It certainly sounds interesting. I think we need to be careful of her motives, but it looks pretty straightforward.”

I looked at Baldon, who said, “Let’s do it.”

“Are we all agreed?” One by one, the group nodded, and I returned to the table.

“We will take on this task for you,” I stated. “However, we will need some funds to help equip us. Could you advance us some of the fee?”

She nodded and gave me a pouch. “Here is one hundred gold. I can be reached through the matron here at the Broken Anvil.”

We left, all eager, some apprehensive, but ready to do something worthy of our hire.



First Post
Part V

Mul, 2nd Rhaan, 998 Part V

After stopping at a nearby alchemist’s shop to purchase some of those volatile vials known as alchemist’s fire, as recommended by the late Bonal, we went home to gather our supplies and equipment. I made sure I picked up my previously purchased alchemist’s fire, so we all were able to have one vial each.

We were able to follow Elaydren’s map to the lowest levels of the Dorasharn Towers fairly easily, using bridges, walkways and stairs. As we went down, light from the morning sky gradually faded and was replaced by the dimmer light of the everbright lanterns. Tunnels and corridors at this lower level were narrow and dark.

Dorasharn Tower is one of the more ancient towers in the city. It is inhabited from the middle levels on up, and the lower levels are separated from the middle levels by a complex sewer system, which was effectively, though noisily, removing the water the tower received from the previous evening’s downpour. The lower levels, through window slits and small balconies, only occasionally allow a glimpse of nearby towers. Even further down, there were no everbright lanterns, just the sputtering glow of smoky torches.

One tunnel opened into a large chamber, where a mix of goblins, humans, and shifters were gathered around a small pile of garbage spread across three rotting blankets. Of course, as it turned out later, it wasn’t garbage, but merchandise. We had somehow succeeded in finding one of the fabled “Rat’s Markets”.

Rat’s Markets are a movable scavenger hunt with haggling. They spring up when there are enough people and enough scrounged loot in the same place at the same time in the lower towers of Sharn. The “merchants”, to use the term loosely, are unscrupulous sorters through garbage and refuse, who find the occasional item that has value and sells them at a discounted price, usually a small household item or trinket. Growing up, I was always fascinated with the industry of the merchants, who would look for hours to find one or two items that they knew had value to someone. The Rat’s Market was somewhere everyone, with enough energy and time, could find necessary items, even if they were slightly soiled.

One of the vendors was a goblin, who was shouting “No pushing! No pushing! There’s always enough for everyone at the Rat’s Market!”

We walked over and began to look at the merchandise on the blankets. The goods were typical of a Rat’s market: a bell, a scratched steel mirror, 50 feet of rope, a little worn, and an unused sunrod. Samia decided to buy the sunrod, and she and the goblin, whose name was Skakan, haggled for a bit, and she finally bought it at the bargain price of 25 coppers. Sunrods, the alchemical equivalent of a bright torch, usually sell for 2 gold or more. Quite the deal. It smelled a little like rotting garbage, but she wrapped it in a sack to use for later.

Watch Skakan haggle and deal gave me an idea. He wasn’t having a lot of success, and those desultorily pawing through the blankets were obviously not interested in what he had.

In Goblin, I asked Skaakan, “Do you the way to valve cluster E-213?”

“If I could point the way to valve cluster E-213, what would it be worth to fine explorers cush as yourselves? One hundred silver?” he replied with a smarmy grin.

“I wouldn’t think your time was that valuable, Skakan.” I laughed. “In the last ten minutes, you’ve mad 25 copper, from her.” I pointed to Samia. “How about 5 silver?”

Skakan’s face fell, and he blustered a little, but we eventually agreed on the bargain price of 10 silver. It looks like learning Goblin might have saved me some money.

Skakan folded up his blanket, slung it over his back, and growled, “Follow me!” as he made to lead us further down the towers.

Samia tugged at my sleeve. “Don’t look now, but that shifter by the pillar over there is watching us.”

I glanced at the pillar, but the shifter had already disappeared.

“Everyone, watch for that shifter again. SKakan’s taking us to the valve cluster,” I said.

Skakan grunted, irritated. “Me show you now, not later. Skakan has important business.”

We trooped along behind, heading more deeply into the sewers of the lower towers.


First Post
Well, we play tonight. I'll post up the conclusion to this episode in bits and pieces as the week goes on.

My idea for this story hour is to have a narrative of the events from the perspective of our bard, Tharkhad, followed by the dispatch he sends to be the story for the Korranberg Chronicle. Our DM intends to take us through the Forgotten Forge, Shadows of the Last War, and Whisper of the Vampire's Blade adventures. Some of those adventures are long enough that they might require several dispatches, but the Forgotten Forge is quick enough to be only one dispatch.

So! More to come...


First Post
Oghma said:
Well, we play tonight. I'll post up the conclusion to this episode in bits and pieces as the week goes on.

My idea for this story hour is to have a narrative of the events from the perspective of our bard, Tharkhad, followed by the dispatch he sends to be the story for the Korranberg Chronicle. Our DM intends to take us through the Forgotten Forge, Shadows of the Last War, and Whisper of the Vampire's Blade adventures. Some of those adventures are long enough that they might require several dispatches, but the Forgotten Forge is quick enough to be only one dispatch.

So! More to come...

Looking forward to it :D

I like the start, your writing is (still) strong. And I definitely like the first person perspective, it bring much more life to the story. And I have not read any of the Eberron adventures, so it'll be all new to me :cool:


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