(1311-04-27) Day of Eisheth: Performance Contest
Summary: The performance contest, held in honor of Eisheth’s Day.
RL Date: Sat Apr 27, 2019
Related: Days of the Companions
adrien armandine bastien clementine desarae emory helene jehan-pascal ortolette philomene rosalyn roxane theodosia yves 

Auditorium — L’Opera de Marsilikos

The auditorium, the heart of l'Opera Marsilikos, is as opulent as the foyer. Seating in the stalls and circle is upholstered in tones of crushed grape and gold, this matching the safety curtains of the stage and the draperies wound about gilded stucco columns. Several private boxes are available for those that are willing to pay for the privacy and better views of the stage that sitting within one provides, though the grandest of these is reserved for the Ducal family and favoured guests, easily recognised by the de Mereliot Crest it displays. Chandeliers glitter against a backdrop of a night-painted ceiling, and further illumination is provided by crystal sconces affixed to the walls.


In honour of the day's event, Spring flowers have been brought in abundance into the auditorium. They wind in bursts of colour about the floor to ceiling columns, and a garland of them forms a gorgeous swag across the front of the ducal box. To either side of the stage, small steps painted white have been placed to allow the competitors easy access from the floor, and the rails of these are twisted about with further garlands of the pretty spring flowers.


The Companion Day of Eisheth has arrived, and l'Opéra Marsilikos has once again thrown wide its doors to host the event that's being held in her name. Spring flowers have been brought in abundance into the auditorium in honour of the day's event. They wind about the floor to ceiling columns, and a garland of them makes a colourful addition to the front of the ducal box. Small sets of steps have been placed to either side of the stage which allow easy access to the stage from the audience seating, and the rails of these are twisted about with further garlands of spring flowers. A unique celebration of talent and art, it draws it's contestants from near and far, and is a contest that anyone can enter, and usually does. Poets compete alongside musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers for the honour of being judged above and beyond all others on that day.

As the time draws nigh for contest to begin, the music that'd been provided by a string quartet, drifts to a close. The musicians put down their instruments as a woman whom is dressed in the sea blue robes of the High Priestess of Eiseth climbs the flower-wreathed stairs that lead from the audience to the stage.

Even among the exalted throng of patrons here tonight from the gilded opulence of the ducal box and the gathered nobility within to the pockets of comtes, vicomtes and barons, dressed in their finery and displaying proud house colours and devices, there's something about Philomene d'Aiglemort de Chalasse that always stands out. Not just the odd way she walks, although that is in itself a distinction that would pick her out of any crowd, but the way she holds herself, shoulders back, jaw set and stormy grey-blue eyes blazing above an exquisite set of cheekbones that could have been sculpted from marble. Far from her usual comfortable set of riding gear today, however, she's resplendent in a perfectly tailored green velvet court frock coat over a long, ivory waistcoat, both meticulously and elaborately embroidered with gold and silver thread. Even her tall riding boots have been polished to a bright gleam, spurs picking up the light whenever she limps forward. If this weren't enough, even if you couldn't see the Vicomtesse de Gueret herself, the way people instinctively seem to part the way before her as she moves forward to find a seat is enough to set a few tongues wagging. So this is what she looks like when she puts her mind to it, and it's a striking sight indeed.

Amongst the audience members is Helene Verreuil, dressed up for the occasion in a fine gown of grey-blue silk dotted with pearls. For once she is the image of elegance and nobility, and moves comfortably through the gathered throng. She looks around for a moment before inclining her head to the Viscomtesse de Chalasse, and moving to take a seat quietly next to the elder woman. She does not speak, merely makes eye contact once more before settling her hands upon her lap, and turning her green eyes forward towards the stage.

There was no fanfare for the arrival of Roxane nó Eglantine de Mereliot. There was, barely, any arrival at all, save for the woman making her way inside, and towards where she might stand comfortably and wait for her turn at the competition. The instrument case she had brought with her was large enough that attempting to find a seat, and then having to rise again when it was her turn would have been a serious disruption to the gathered audience and so the woman avoided it entirely.

A young woman with short cut dark hair and a shimmery red lace dress walks in, Theodosia de Fhirze looking almost demure, with a large fan to cover most of her face as she allows a servant to guide her to the seating, then she sits, looking around for people she might be acquainted with, dark blue eyes wide and shining with the excitement of the event.

The arrival of Rosalyn le Blanc no Eglantine is a quiet one. The regal red haired woman glides in through the doors. Her gown today is one of soft white silk with black swirling patterns across the fabric. It fits her form nicely with a slight off the shoulder cut. She does not have an instrument but she still takes up a place near Roxane, smiling softly to the woman. Apparently she too is performing.

In the back of her mother's box gleams dimly, veiled in shadows, the blonde-braided head of the Invalid Mereliot, Ortolette, having been carried aloft and set somewhere she will hardly serve as a distraction even if her head nods. Her man Girard, as ever, stands behind her in service to the young Lady, and she is silent, unblinking, her witch-hazel eyes following the progress of the High Priestess up the stairs.

Walking in with much energy and excitement, is a young man dressed in a velvet doublet of emerald green. The lacings of which are golden, matching the color of his breeches. There is an exuberance in his eyes, as Bastien Aubrey de Mereliot makes his way into the Opera House. His smokey grey eyes darting over the multitude of faces. He arrives with no entourage accompanying him, save an abundance of youthful energy.

Amongst Armandine's entourage tonight is the heiress to the marquisate of Chavaise, Desarae Mereliot. Unlike her cousin Ortolette, she chooses to take a seat towards the front of the box; a seat that affords her a wonderful view of the stage and those that are seated within the stalls below her. She wears gown of ivory and gold brocade silk for the event, colours that do much to complement the warm Mereliot tones of her skin and darkness of her hair. Floral diamond studded combs hold back those heavy tresses from the sides of her face, and further pins and combs keep them confined within an elegant updo. Elbows fold along the edge of the box, and green eyes glint with anticipation as they focus on the stage upon which the High Priestess has just appeared.

It is the Day of Eisheth, and so it goes without question that Her Grace, Lady Armandine Mereliot, attends the contest of today. The Duchesse of Eisande is known to be a connoisseur and supporter of the arts, and she smiles as she lets her gaze drift over the stage and towards where various people are finding their seats, eager for the spectacle of performances that is about to commence. The Duchesse wears a fashionable gown of dark blue, with golden fish ornaments running diagonally from her shoulder over her front to the skirts. Her blonde hair is done in old Tiberian style, gathered and held in place by an enigma of hair needles, with a few deliberate stray curls framing a face that is still stunning. Seated as she is in the Ducal Box with some close relatives, Armandine seems to be content to be spectator tonight, leaving the spotlight to others, for once.

The High Priestess lifts her hands to quieten the chatter of the audience.

"My lords and my ladies. My friends. Today we celebrate the joy that the gifts of Eisheth bestows upon us. We pray that She will grant inspiration to each of our competitors. It is you, the audience, whom will judge the winner amongst them, but I should like to remind you that there are truly no winners today, but yourselves. For are we all not fortunate indeed to live here in Marsilikos, the capital of the province that was claimed and so loved by Eisheth Herself." A pause as her hands slowly lower and clasp before her. She closes her eyes, and a hush falls through the theatre as the High Priestess leads them in a prayer for blessing.

"And now," she finishes, a smile on her face as she lifts her eyes to look out to the audience, "I call upon Lady Clémentine Delaunay, our very own Songbird of Marsilikos, to come and take her position on stage as our host for day's proceedings."

Clémentine steps onto the stage from the right-hand wings, the flame-bright red of her hair made to appear even more so by the aubergine hue of her gown. She wears the Eisandine Delaunay family's colours to perfection, the high-waisted gown that's designed to accommodate a growing midriff glittering with silver and black embellishments where caught in the theatre's lights. Amethysts and jet sparkle at her throat and ears, and within the heavy curls of her pinned up hair. She thanks the High Priestess with a light embrace, then turns to curtsey to the ducal box before addressing the audience.

Her voice is rich and warm, and her face is lit by a smile when she speaks. "You'll be happy to know that I shan't bore you with words upon more words when you're here to be entertained by our wonderful contestants, so I'll simply say welcome, and good luck to them all." She glances to the wings, and a young man in his twenties, dressed in the colours of l'Opéra Marsilikos, walks out and gives to her a sheet of parchment upon which the names of the competitors are carefully scribed. "First," she checks the name, "is Adrien nó Coeur de Lavande. If you could make your way to the stage?"

Roxane glanced aside, as a fellow Eglantine settled herself beside her. Though the woman was not one she knew, Roxane offered an answering smile to Rosalyn, before the High Priestess drew her attention, and the soft words of her prayer. Only once that was finished, did she take the time to cast her eyes about the room, before she once again looked to the stage to see the owner of the opera house take the stage and announce the beginning of the competition.

A young man approaches the stage from the audience, and then climbs the stairs to take the stage, once he is announced. He is clad in a fine lavender shirt and breeches of dark purple color, not exactly an attire fit for courtly occasions. But competitions during the Days of Companions are open to everyone, commoner and noble alike, so it will probably do. "My name," he declares towards the audience, "is Adrien nó Coeur de Lavande. And the poem, I am going to present to you, is called 'For Her'. I wrote it some time ago, and only recently have rediscovered it among my notes. For the performance, I have decided to put it into song. That's why I have brought Victorine along. She will accompany me on the lute." Adrien's voice is a soft and warm baritone, and his features light up in a smile when he gestures towards the Lis d'Or courtesan that sits down on a chair beside him, while Adrien remains standing.

Ortolette moves her lips along with the prayer to Eisheth, lowering her pale lashes in the doing. Whether she makes any noise, one would have to have ear closer to her even than Girard's to tell for certain, but, for the rest, it's only between the invalid and the angel who has blessed her. She remains in an attitude of prayer until the name of the first competitor is spoken, and then she lifts her chin slightly to take in the courtesan's visage from a distance.

As he begins, she accompanies his delivery with light runs over the strings of the lute that rests in her lap. But it remains mere accompaniment, never moving out of the shadow of the performance of the other courtesan, but instead, providing a groundation for his song poem to blossom.

"Afternoon.

My heart jumps and flutters.
And I catch myself shivering.
Shivers of anticipation.

That longing.
So intense that it tears me apart.

When I live and breathe,
For her.

Evening.

Waiting, eager and torn, so restless.
Till she arrives.
Like the rays of the sun,
She warms my heart.
It burns so hot that it smolders.
A melting lump of flesh.
Beating all the harder.
So loud, that I can't hear her words.
Words she addresses to me.

The kiss.

Almost accidentally, her lips touch against mine.
And I am lost, whirled away.
Dizzy, I reach for her to hold her close.
Needing to hold onto something,
Like a sailor drowning in the heavy tide.

But I cannot help it,
I lose track of time.

The night.

A rush of feelings, sensations and intimacy.
A union of souls.
The whisper of touches.
Her and I, caught in a realm of our own.
Time does not matter.
There will be no morning,
As we don't crave for one.

And yet…

The morning.

Awakening from a night shared.
I reach out, and feel her laying beside me.
A bliss, so much grander.
A heat, so much hotter,
Making my cheek blush,
As my heart beats in tune with her own.

Two hearts in tune.
Two bodies entwined.
Two souls united.

There cannot be a greater miracle than,
This gift of Elua,
We call love."

<FS3> Adrien rolls Poetry+Reaction: Good Success. (8 6 3 8 4 4 4 3 8 3 5 2)
<FS3> Adrien rolls Poetry+Presence: Good Success. (5 1 8 7 4 1 1 4 4 3 5 5 7)
<FS3> Adrien rolls Singing: Good Success. (4 1 3 4 7 5 4 6 1 8)

With the performance finished, Adrien offers a deep bow to the audience, and then turns towards Victorine. Leaning in, he offers her a kiss to the corner of her mouth before he straightens and helps her to her feet. His eyes gleam with relief and gratification, as he leads Victorine off the stage, then to resume his place in the audience, curious for the next performances.

Wearing something appropriately fancy but sturdy in a manner that any native of Camlach might approve of a combination of wool textiles and red and white of the house Valliers, Yves enters and makes his way to a spot to sit and be part of the gathered throng. Blushing furiously that he might be noticed, he ducks his head and whispers a few, 'Excuse me' as he makes his way to a seat, trying not to be noticed or interrupt the proceedings with his late arrival. As he takes his seat, he is in time to hear the beginning of the first poem and he listens attentively.

Theodosia had clasped her hands excitedly as the first act was announced, but then she listens with rapt attention, the girl's eyebrows raising, her mouth opening wider, chest trembling with emotion. She even has to wipe a tear. from the corner of her eye as she stares, through the gentleness and the dedication of the verses. She manages to hide a little sniffle, but her cheeks are red like polished apples.

Rosalyn lets her gaze drift to the stage, watching with interest as Adrien performs his poem. It brings a smile to her face and she regards the man with respect and admiration. She seems to enjoy the poem turned song if her gentle smile is anything to go by.

Desarae claps quietly for Adrien's performance. Perhaps love songs and poetry aren't exactly her thing, but she's enjoyed his performance immensely. Her head turns and her eyes find those of her cousin's. "Rather beautiful, don't you think?" Whether she refers to the song, or the courtesan himself, is up for interpretation, and a smile quirks the corners of her mouth as she glances back to the stage and the now departing courtesan and his companion.

Roxane stood in respectful silence, as she watched the man take to the stage along with his accompanist, hands folded lightly on the top of the case of her cello. Her expression was warm and engaged, as she listed to the song, though she seemed to pay as much attention to the lutist as she did to the singer. She too, raised her hands in a polite clap as the performance came to an end. A fine showing indeed.

Offering Adrien applause, Bastien claps with depleting energy, as the realization that sooner or later, it will be him up on that stage. His excitement begins to transform into nervous energy. He expected the quality of his competition to be high, but the young noble was not prepared for the callibre of competitors.

Having removed herself from the stage whilst Adrien performed, Clémentine now reappears from the wings; her hand coming together as she claps for his rendition. "And I think we have our standard for the event. And it's high. Thank you, monsieur." She's all smiles as he climbs back down the stairs to reclaim his seat in the audience. "Next, I call to the stage Lady Roxane nó Eglantine de Mereliot." Another clap of her hands is given as she leads the applause that welcomes the next of the contestants.

Roxane stepped gracefully towards the stage, the case she carried in her right hand simple, rather than ornate, old enough to have developed a delicate patina on the leather, but oiled so deeply and so well, it was obvious how much care the woman took with the housing for her instrument alone. In her left, she carried the stand for her instrument. Once she had made the stage, she settled herself onto the seat she had requested, or perhaps that seat that had been set of her in anticipation for the performance, set the stand at a comfortable distance and retrieved her cello from its housing. It was a fine instrument, a masterwork of craftsmanship, adorned only by its own beauty, and the delicate golden gems which decorated the center of each curl of the scroll. The endpin she secured to the instruments body, before she set it on its stand. Having set the cello to rights for her performance, she took the time to remove the case to the side, where it would not distract, and returned to her seat. Slim hands reached for the shirts of the fine, sleeveless multi-layered silk dress she wore, the fabric a pale, delicate sea green that was a fair accent for hair and skin, drawing up the hem until the fabric pooled in a wave across her knees, leaving slim shins and calves exposed, as well as the matching soft silk slippers she wore.

Only once she had arranged herself to her own liking, did she take up the instrument and its bow, setting the cello between her knees, allowing only the lightest pressure to hold it in place. There was a moment of absolute stillness, before she began to play, holding the bow aloft, as she plucked the strings, setting the tempo of the first lilting phrased of the melody. The bow she set to string after only a few moments, the richness of the instrument, and the delicate fingerwork filling the room with bright melody as she played.

The thundering waves are calling me home to you
The pounding sea is calling me home unto you

Seamlessly the lilt became something softer, rich and full with melancholy, her voice rising above the accompaniment of her instrument. The addition of the second of her instruments was effortless, a testament, or perhaps, fairer to say, a tribute to the blood of the Companion that flowed through her veins.

On a dark new year's night
On the west coast of Clare
I heard your voice singing
Your eyes danced the song
Your hands played the tune
T'was a vision before me.

We left the music behind and the dance carried on
As we stole away to the seashore
And smelt the brine, felt the wind in our hair
And with sadness you paused.

Melancholy as well, in the sound of the cello, as her voice fell silent, allowing the emotion the music sought to evoke to linger, before Roxane's voice once again lifted carrying the song into its second verse and third verse.

Suddenly I knew that you'd have to go
your world was not mine, your eyes told me so
Yet it was there I felt the crossroads of time
And I wondered why.

As we cast our gaze on the tumbling sea
A vision came o'er me
Of thundering hooves and beating wings
In clouds above.

The cello now, became something almost ethereal, as Roxane's voice lifted above the sound of its accompaniment, her face upturned towards those witnessing the performance, the limning of tears in her eyes. And still, her voice was bright and rich with emotion.

Turning to go I heard you call my name,
Like a bird in a cage spreading its wings to fly
"The old ways are lost," you sang as you flew
And I wondered why.

The thundering waves are calling me home unto you
the pounding sea is calling me home unto to you

The final chorus rose once, twice, thrice, a fourth time, before the cello reclaimed pride of place, Roxane's head falling, a wave of her hair half-obscuring her face as the melody drifted slowly to its final note. And in the space after the last note fell, she sat entirely still, her lips trembling, as though caught in the murmur of a soundless prayer, before her face rose, and she offered a glance and the faintest of smiles to those in the audience.

<FS3> Roxane rolls Cello+2: Amazing Success. (4 7 8 7 4 2 7 8 4 7 6 3 3)
<FS3> Roxane rolls Voice+2: Success. (1 3 6 7 1 1 4 6 5 5 1 3 1)
Roxane spends 1 luck points on Trying to finish strong!.
<FS3> Roxane rolls Voice+7: Great Success. (7 1 5 6 2 7 3 4 4 1 4 4 3 6 8 3 6 7)

Roxane dipped her head, offering the audience a show and sign of respect, as she rose, her skirts falling back down to kiss the floor, before she rose from her place on the stage, reclaiming her cello in her right hand and the stand in her left as she stepped away to where she had set her case, not wishing, perhaps, to delay the other performers offering their gifts to the Companion today.

Finally settled into his seat and comfortable that he is in no way an object of attention, the young Lord Yves raises his hands in applause at the completion of the second showing. He doesn't know what makes for a good performance in these sorts of events, but he recognizes a good aesthetic when he hears it, and he hears some of that here. Plus there is also the whole applause for the sake of being appropriate and it seems appropriate here. As he finishes clapping, he looks around at the others nearby, curious to see if he recognizes anyone. The few he does seem to be busy with being good audience members, so he doesn't say hello.

Bastien applauds more exuberantly than he did for Adrien. A former courtesan in the Merliot. Now this bears his attention. He definitely must find the opportunity to speak with her. Perhaps this Roxane might understand the turmoils that he is going through. If nothing else, he applauds with enthusiasm for his kinswoman.

And again, Desarae claps for the performance. "Wonderful…" she breathes, leaning forward on the railings. She probably should have been a little more careful, for a small box of candied dates and orange peel that she'd been sharing with one of Armandine's ladies-in-waiting gets dislodged from where she'd earlier placed it, and is sent toppling down and onto the heads of those that sit beneath. She quickly sits back!

Ortolette applauds neither performance, but she is far back enough that this lack of exertion on her part is not a visible insult; it isn't to say she doesn't enjo them, only that her arms feel very heavy and she prefers to breath out a soft sigh of appreciation when the singing stirs and the cello lows. A faint shiver in her shoulders is enough indication to Girard that he should draw her coverlet further up her arms.

There's a stillness throughout the auditorium as the strains of Roxane's cello die away. (Except, that is, for a few indignant squawks by people suddenly showered by candied fruits.) Once more Clémentine takes to the stage. "Sublime…" she murmurs quietly to the young Mereliot lady as she vacates the stage. And then the spell is broken, a ripple of applause gathering pace amongst the audience that will carry her down the stairs and back to their bosom. One hand resting lightly on her midriff, she waits for the noise to abate, her eyes cutting briefly to someone in the wings, before they're cast back towards the audience. There's a blush on her cheeks as she calls the next of the contestants to the stage. "And next, we are to be delighted by Lord Bastien Mereliot. If you could come up, please?"

Bastien walks out onto the stage. He carries no instrument. His lithe form standing at center stage. He whispers a soft prayer to Eisheth, before he gazes out at the audience, "Hello. I am Bastien Aubrey de Mereliot. Today I will be singing for you. You could say that this is my debut performance. I hope you enjoy it."

The young scion of Eisheth's voice is soft with youth, a delicate and pure tenor. As he sings, the audience can almost find themselves feeling the delight and excitement of the experience of falling in love.

What is a youth
Impetuous fire
What is a maid
Ice and desire
The world wags on
A rose will bloom
It then will fade
So does the youth
So does the fairest maid

Comes a time when one sweet smile
Hasn't seasoned for awhile
Then loves in love with me
Some they only think to marry
Others will tease and terry
Mine is the very best perry
Eisheth she rules us all
Caper the caper sing me the song
Death will come soon to hush us along
// Sweeter than honey and bitter than gall
Love is the pasttime that will never pull//

Sweeter than honey and bitter than gall

Eisheth she rules us all.

A rose will bloom, it then will fade
So does the youth…
So does the fairest maid.

His voice trails of softening until nothing. As Bastien's voice softens, his gaze lowers. He then looks up, offering the audience a soft smile, before making his exit from the stage.

Bastien spends 1 luck points on To not make a fool of himself on his first public performance.
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing+5: Good Success. (1 3 3 8 3 5 6 3 3 6 5 8 3 1 2 3 3)
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Great Success. (8 5 8 4 5 7 1 8 7 4 6 5)
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Good Success. (8 2 5 4 4 2 2 5 7 4 1 1)

Rosalyn smiles and claps for her fellow Eglantine, smiling warmly at Roxane's performance. She watches as Bastien is called up and smiles softly watching his performance eagerly now as well.

With each offering from the scene, Theodosia is getting more and more emotional, a hand over her chest, her eyes wide, and she's called a servant for a glass of wine, which can both help with soothing her nerves and hiding her face, which is blushing even more now.

Engrossed in the performance, Yves' reflexes are untested as he finds himself getting hit on the shoulder by a small box full of dates and orange peels. The small wooden tray cracking audibly against his shoulder and he lets out a yelp that punctuates the end of the performance, and despite himself he starts applauding to the performance even as he cleans off his shoulder and collects the mess with frequent glances up towards the balcony. Trying to catch sight of any guilty looking faces.

Roxane made her way as delicately as she could, for now the competition was underway, back to where she she had been waiting at the onset. Rosalyn's smile she once again returned, but there was no time for words, for her attention was wholly focused on the young Baron making his way to the stage. Her smile, though, only widened as she heard his clear, true tenor fill the room with a delicate, beautiful melody, and when he finished, she lifted her hands in a resounding round of applause.

"Did she say… Bastien?" Ortolette dares to lean a few centimeters forward to address to the back of Desarae's head as she inches backward. "I see." And she does see, in fact, and hear, and attend with all assiduousness. She admires the dark edge of the lyric immensely; it calls to mind her fleshless room-mate, and wonders— can't help but wonder— whether it does for him, as well. And his singing has decidedly improved since her first meeting with him; at times it rather astounds her. She even betakes her hands from under her coverlet to place her fingertips silently together in applause.

Guilty faces? There's no guilty faces to be found in the ducal box, for Desarae is now sitting perfectly upright and composed in her seat, gloved hands folded neatly in the cradle of her lap. "Did you see whom it hit?" she whispers in an aside to the lady on her right, but her enquiry is met with a sober shake of the head. Thank goodness for Ortolette! Her head turns cousin-wards, and if there were guilt to be discerned in the colour of her cheeks, it's perhaps due to the beauteous performance they'd both just been witness too. "It was Bastien, yes. I feel terrible that I've not spoken with him since he was pulled from Lis d'Or. I know exactly what he is going through."

"Thank you, Lord Mereliot. That was truly moving." And indeed, it must have been, for Clémentine lifts one hand to sweep the corner of one eye before she clears her throat. "But, moving on. And I know that we must. I call to the stage Lady Rosalyn le Blanc nó Eglantine. And with a name like that, I know that we're in for something special. Lady Rosalyn?"

Rosalyn takes her place on stage with smooth graceful steps. She carries no instrument, intending to sing it would seem. Her white and black patterned silk gown trails behind her as she walks fluttering softly as she moves to center stage. Facing the crowds she dips into a graceful curtsey. Smiling softly she bows her head low. Slowly a melody begins to rise from her lips, soft and haunting at first. It speaks of pain and loss, the notes filled with deepest sorrow.

"Once there was a man who had a good life.
Wealth, a good home and a lovely wife.
However one day disaster struck him down.
Raiders came, took his wife and wealth, burnt his house to the ground.
Now a man with nothing to his own save his life and his hope.
He went to war to fight and help himself cope.
Injury came swift once he arrived on the field.
He would have died if not for the lady who healed.
This lady sweet, kind and filled with grace.
She helped him find his peace
He would see her whenever he had a chance.
Seeking to make the most of a blooming romance."

Here the notes Rosalyn sings take on a more hopeful tone, softly reflecting hints of what might be blooming love. Her voice is expressive, sweet and gentle as she continues her song.

"The war at last came to an end
And this man sought to court the lady who healed him.
He met her family and her father did reply to his request.
If you wish my daughter's hand you must make her happy, give her the best.
The man went out with the money he saved from war.
To build a place his beloved would adore.
A house of healing tranquil and calm
A place to heal others to suffered wars great harm.
The man who lost everything got everything back.
Together he and his new bride found peace and were happy at last."

Rosalyn lets her voice shine here as she sings, the story's end unfolding in her melody with each echoing note. The song rises higher and higher here until it peaks, the uplifting notes driving away what was previously a tragic and haunting melody. It comes to conclusion on a single drawn out note meant to uplift the spirits. Rosalyn bows low as she finishes her song, eyeing the crowd curiously to see how it was received. Then she will step off the stage.

<FS3> Rosalyn rolls Singing+4: Good Success. (1 5 6 3 5 1 6 3 1 4 6 4 6 2 7 8 4 2 6)
<FS3> Rosalyn rolls Singing+4: Great Success. (1 7 4 2 3 5 8 5 8 3 5 4 4 7 4 4 2 5 1)
<FS3> Rosalyn rolls Singing+4: Great Success. (6 5 7 7 6 7 2 2 3 1 5 1 5 8 6 2 3 6 8)

With the whole of the tray somewhat put back together, and its contents replaced Yves takes the tray in hand and heads to the aisle when the performance ends. Clapping with one hand against his side, he makes his way towards the ducal box's staircase in a roundabout manner, "Returning this," he mentions as he walks around to the back of the box in a roundabout manner that takes a bit of time. Arriving at the box, he looks to catch someone's attention, even just a servant or a bodyguard and hands it over. "This was dropped on me, I thought whoever it belonged to might want it back," he mentions. Perhaps a touch cool.

Returning to his seat, Bastien is slightly shivering as the adrenalin is pumping through his body. As he listens to Rosalyn's performance, he is silent, barely drawing a breath. Once she finishes, he is still for a moment, almost forgetting to applaud. Then suddenly he is a small explosion of clapping.

Roxane, retired or no, took great pride in all of those who, like her, had earned the marque of Eglantine, and she watched Rosalyn's performance with rapt attention, marking the perfection of work and tone, and inflection, as caught up in the tales as any other in the audience. She clapped as soundly for that performance as she had for the others, and if the young courtesan did return to her place not far from her, Roxane would offer her a fair smile and a nod of appreciation.

"He comes to my chamber; I help him with some administrative details on which he is still unclear," Ortolette to Desarae, rather breathless, either due to the singing, or else due to her effort to maintain the conversation while sitting at this angle. "You ought to come the next time he is due; we will have tea together," she suggests before falling back and listening silently to the next singer, whose voice makes the goose flesh rise on her arms and neck. "Oh, how lovely," she whispers, before looking aside to the door when it opens. She looks up at Girard, who steps to the door to take the tray. He doesn't retire with it, or give any indication whose it might be, he only holds it.

Emory has been here for a while, quietly observing and giving up his applause. He lifts his hands to applaud Rosalyn's performance from where he sits. While not a performer, himself, he holds a great appreciation for those who can perform. A smile is offered to Bastien when he returns to his seat, and he moves to murmur something quietly to him between performances.

What's that? Desarae's head screws around as catches a word here or there that takes place beyond the curtain that separates the ducal box from the corridor beyond. A lesser person might shrink down in their seat, or feign innocence — as she had just done. But, the unfortunate recipient of her unintended benevolence is plainly returning the gift, so she rises from her seat and makes her way towards the back. "I shall," she notes to Ortolette, her mouth skewing as she looks at the decimated contents of the small wooden dish that Girard now holds. "Excuse me one moment, cousin." And taking the dish from the cassiline, she steps out of the box.

"Mmh," Ortolette will certainly let her cousin her leave, and rest her head back against the rest of her seat. And maybe just rest her eyes for a moment.

It takes a moment for the audience to settle in the wake of Rosalyn's performance, and as the clapping and cheers fade away, Clémentine steps happily back onto the stage. "Should I fear for my title? I think that I should! Thank you Lady Rosalyn, that was beautiful. I see only great things for you in your future." Her hands are still applauding the young songstress as she leaves the stage, and it's only after another minute or two, that she consults the parchment in her hand to find the name of the next contestant. "Lord Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol. Please cheer him onto the stage!"

Yves doesn't loiter when the servant takes the tray from him, and after just a glance around to see if he can figure out the responsible party he departs. Striding down the stairs with a bit less awkwardness than he'd felt when he'd first arrived at the auditorium at the wrong time and moves with more purpose. Despite his steady pace he finds himself caught up with by Desarae on the stairs, and glances back at the approach of footsteps behind him. He comes to a stop, looking at her curiously and greets her with a short bow and moves to the side to let her pass, in case she is headed somewhere.

Jehan-Pascal has, for his part, been hiding off back-stage, and, as he's summoned by name, he bounces on the balls of his feet a few times to work out the nerves, then, collecting himself, he steps onto the stage toe-first, then heel.

His foot is held by the thinnest of brown leather cords to a sandal-flat below his sole, the only thing separating him from the stage. The cords wind up his lissom, feminine calves, and, above the knee, he's covered only in a reddish-purple cloak of a stylishly asymmetrical border embroidered with a gilt ivy scrollwork. He walks in silence to mid-stage, his profile lowered with an excavation of every ounce of his lungs' air past his softly pursed lips, and then—

He turns, lifts his chin to look up to the audience in the balconies. An arm rises to throw his cape back over his shoulder; below it, he wears a distinctly d'Angeline take on an ancient Tiberian garment, a pure snow-white toga, but scant, that sweeps his torso and loin and sways against his supple thigh in a manner that would cause certainly a scowl among those severe Tiberian scholars. In his hand, newly thrown forward, is a scroll held erect toward the Duchesse's box in salute, finely buffed parchment with a gilt-ebony knob.

"I read… a selection from my new work, De Quiete: a vignette on the nurturing arete of springtime. In Tiberian Hexameters," he introduces the work, which must be quite scholarly in nature, since his introduction included phrases both in Tiberian and in Hellene, as well. As to the scroll, it is a prop, for he leaves it unopened and simply brings it in to rest at the center of his half-bared chest and brace his pounding heart to a modicum of stillness before he begins to recite.

The hexameters, twenty three in number, rise and fall fluently in conflict and confluence of accent and ictus, a tribute to the verse of the Tiberian classics, of Vergil and Statius and Lucretius, highly allusive and polished as finely as the parchment itself with long, love-lorn labor.

Springtime, of such good for all of the leaves in the grottos!
Springtime, of such good for woodlands, for groves and for fields!
In springtime the earth swells and calls for rich, procreant seed.

It is then Father Heaven, all-able with childing rains
settles at peace in the lap of his bounteous wife,
great, mingling in body, and nourishes all manner of shoot.

Then sound the pathless branch-thickets with bird and with song!
Then find the herds and the flocks to new Naamah to throng!
The fields, too, give birth; coaxed by warm-breathéd Zephyrs
they loosen to loam and they gleam with a rich, fertile dew.

Then into the light of sun first now dares the young grain-bud
itself to entrust, nor now do the tenderest tendrils
fear frosts or the harsh, driven rain from the northeastern sky,
but now they swell buds like cut gems and unfurl every leaflet.

I never believed that a sun any different from this one
shone warm on the very first day that the universe dawned:
that great spring which smiled upon the whole sphere of the soils
and spared, in its infancy, the world from the bitterest gales,
when first came the herds to drink with their eyes the first sunlight,
and first raised its head from the soil the earth-born race of men,
and the forests were filled with new beasts, and the new sky with stars.

Nor could ever these tender new things have been able to thrive
and to carry to fruit the great work of life in the world,
if no such great moment of rest were allotted to rest
between cold and heat; if with no such indulgent a smile
as spring did the sky fold the world in a mother's embrace.

<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry+Presence: Amazing Success. (8 8 6 6 8 6 4 7 3 7 7)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Great Success. (1 7 7 4 8 1 2 1 1 8 4 5)
Jehan-Pascal spends 1 luck points on For My Muse <3.
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry+5: Success. (5 1 5 5 4 6 2 6 5 7 1 3 5 4 5 1 5)

"You have a piece of peel in your hair…" Desarae's voice cannot help but hold that slight hint of mirth as she catches up with Yves. They're missing the performance, but there's etiquette, and then there's etiquette! "For that, I apologise. It was an accident, and I was careless. May I?" She lifts a hand and deftly removes the offending sliver of orange from Yves' hair, dropping it neatly onto a tray of glasses being bourne swiftly. "Why don't you come and sit with me in my aunt's box? The view is wonderful from there."

Olive branch offered.

Bastien dabbles with poetry himself. He realizes that he is just a dabbler, but Jehan-Pascal's piece puts anything that he has ever written utterly to shame. The young baron offers his applause to the poet.

Emory listens with interest as Jehan performs his piece in a language with which he is not familiar, his attention on the performer for the duration. And once the performance is complete, he once more applauds from where he sits, expressing appreciation for the skill of the performer.

Roxane leaned lightly against her cello case, not seeming to much mind that she was standing for the duration of all of the performances save her own. And in the case of the Baphinol Lord, she did not even seem to mark the passage of time, for the recitation was fine and fair. And her applause as high as before, perhaps a bit more. One should recognize a truly great performance, even amidst the splendor she had seen and heard today.

Yves nods his head once and bows his head so that she can pluck the missed speck of orange peel from his hair. Seeing it between her fingers, he actually manages to laugh very lightly and then, not about to stand in the hallway and debate the matter with Desarae, he nods back in the direction of the box. "If it isn't putting anyone out, I suppose," he replies and follows her back towards the Ducal box. As they walk, he straightens out his jacket a little and moves to her side. "I have to apologize for not being in touch," he asides in the back hallway, hearing the sound of applause beyond the box ahead, he walks on the tips of his toes to try to get a better view of the performer. "Wonder what we missed.."

Jehan-Pascal barely remembers how he got off of the stage in the afterglow of the event. But here he is, on the opposite side from that on which he'd started. People are cheering and his lips are a little numb and tingly.

The High Priestess had said that the winner of the contest would be decided by the audience, but it appears that the audience are split. There are those that cheered loudest for Roxane's performance with her cello, and those that preferred the scholastic delivery of Lord Baphinol. The auditorium is alive with the unspoken thrill of expectation as Clémentine once more arrives upon the stage in a swish of aubergine coloured silks. "Well it seems that we're unable to decide! I therefore request that both Lady Roxane nó Eglantine de Mereliot and Lord Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol rejoin me on the stage please. I am going to request that you both give another rendition of your choosing, and may Eisheth bless you both. Lady Roxane will perform first, and then Lord Jehan-Pascal. Thank you." A hand lifts, and she gives a small fan of her fingers to her face. Such excitement!

"Something in Tiberium, I think…" Desarae murmurs quietly to Yves. She gathers her skirts neatly as she deposits herself in her seat, and waits for him to claim the one to her left-hand side. "I don't speak Tiberium however. Do you?" She gestures for one of the servants who's duty it is to see to the comfort of the ducal party tonight, and requests refreshments to be brought. Her eyes cut to the stage and the announcement now being given. "Ah. We get to enjoy the cello again. How lovely."

Roxane lifted her head, as she was recalled to the stage. This time, she did not take the case with her, nor the stand, but being unwilling to make the audience wait her preparations, and perhaps wishing to offer them something different for the performance, she turned to one of those of the opera house's staff and bade them keep watch over her instrument, as she lifted her skirts and made her way back to the stage. She did not call for a chair, but rather, moved to the center, clearly having chosen to showcase only her voice as her competitor had his. "Thank you, it is an honour to perform in honour of the Companion, and for our fair audience.

Her voice, as she settled into the performance, was softer now, plaintive and sad, conveying the wistfulness and sorrow of the words.

Upon a darkened night / The flame of love was burning in my breast / And by a lantern bright / I fled my house while all in quiet rest / Shrouded by the night / And by the secret stair I quickly fled / The veil concealed my eyes / While all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide / Oh night more loving than the rising sun / Oh night that joined the lover / To the beloved one / Transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night / In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight / Without a guide or light / Than that which burned so deeply in my heart / That fire t'was led me on / And shone more bright than of the midday sun / To where he waited still / It was a place where no one else could come

Oh night thou was my guide / Oh night more loving than the rising sun / Oh night that joined the lover / To the beloved one / Transforming each of them into the other

Within my pounding heart / Which kept itself entirely for him / He fell into his sleep / Beneath the cedars all my love I gave / From o'er the fortress walls / The wind would brush his hair against his brow / And with its smoothest hand / Caressed my every sense it would allow

Oh night thou was my guide / Oh night more loving than the rising sun / Oh night that joined the lover / To the beloved one / Transforming each of them into the other

I lost myself to him / And laid my face upon my lover's breast / And care and grief grew dim / As in the morning's mist became the light / There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair / There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair / There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

Her song concluded, Roxane stepped to the side, allowing her fellow competitor to step to the stage to take his turn.

<FS3> Roxane rolls Voice+2: Good Success. (8 5 1 4 3 6 2 8 1 2 1 6 7)
<FS3> Roxane rolls Voice+2: Failure. (3 5 5 6 5 5 4 5 4 2 2 4 4)
<FS3> Roxane rolls Voice+2: Good Success. (3 4 4 4 4 1 6 8 1 5 8 2 8)

"Just a touch of Skaldic," Yves answers Desarae quietly as he joins her and takes a seat, situating himself for comfort and looking around at the others gathered in the box but trying not necessarily to be noticed by them. The mention of the cello provokes a question of the young Lord from Camlach, "That's the one.." and he pantomimes playing a cello, since he wasn't sure which instrument it was among those that'd been played. His answer is shortly delivered when Roxane starts playing and after listening attentively, he applauds again.

Bastien applauds for Roxane. Though her first performance was far better, the young nobleman still offers up a loud round of applause. He knows all too well that any performer can have a bad performance. He is still beating himself up over the one he had with Lady Ortolette, which was absolutely miserable and humiliating.

Jehan-Pascal peeks back onto the stage, a little baffled by this turn of events— it's his good luck that Roxane is called first to perform, and anyone who can take their eyes off of her will see his mind spinning in the background, his lips moving a little bit in impromptu preparation of another selection, his eyes pinned on the edge of the stage. Soon enough… she's allowing him forward, and his feet are taking him to the edge of the stage. He glimpses the edge of his gilt-red cloak and gives a sardonic smile before he lifts his eyes and his voice once more. "From the same piece," is all the introduction he gives.

How blessed by fortune, too blessed by fortune, farmers,
if only they knew the blessings of their lot,
how far from civil strife and the waging of wars
that most just Earth pours them forth their easeful feed.

And yet, perhaps, from out no lofty halls
they pour no wave of adulating crowds,
and yet they gape not after tiled rooves,
nor garb inlaid with gold or Ephyrian bronze.

Perhaps their wool's not stained with Assyrian dye,
nor the useful oil of olive corrupted by lovely cass.

Yet care-free peace; a life unknown to lies,
rich in //work, and calm in the wide plains,
caves, and nature's fonts, and shady meadows,
the lowing of cattle and sweet sleep beneath a tree —
these are theirs — theirs the grottos, homes of beasts,
and the young ox, made tame and patient to his work,
the sacred rites of gods and of their ancestors,
and the last footprints of Justice upon the earth.//

<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry+Presence: Good Success. (3 1 5 7 5 2 8 5 5 6 3)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Great Success. (5 5 1 5 8 6 7 4 4 8 7 3)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Great Success. (4 7 6 6 3 1 3 7 3 3 7 8)

Adrien had been here all the while, listening to the other performances, and applauding to each. Now, that there is a tie to be decided, he glances from Roxane to Jehan-Pascal, and then turns to Victorine at his side, to exchange a few murmured words with her. There is an air for creativity all around, of true artistry, and it is seldom to be found in such intense concentration.

There is no questioning when you hear a great performance. Bastien applauds the winning performance by Jehan-Pascal. There is no shame in losing to a superior opponent, and the poet is certainly more talented than he is. The young man applauds having been impressed and inspired by the performances.

Desarae clearly has found her own favourite in the form of Roxane, either with our without her cello. Her applause for her is louder than it is for Jehan-Pascal, perhaps because she's still not entirely sure the exact content of his recitation. Not that she doesn't clap for him too, it's just that it's not quite so ebullient. "That was wonderful, wasn't it?" she asks of her impromptu companion as a sip is taken from her newly delivered glass of Kusheline red.

Roxane, not far from the stage now, seemed quite pleased with her competitor's performance, which, far outshone her own. That she had not surpassed him did not seem to bother the woman at all. Rather, she did as her blood and her training and her own inclination demanded and she raised a hand in admiration for the performance he offered, and the clear victory he had taken. "A fine performance, my Lord and more than fine. Even if the audience spoke against you, I would not accept the honour, for it should be yours."

The performances of the evening had been truly delightful, and that same delight still shimmers in the grey-blue eyes of Her Grace, Armandine Mereliot. She stands when Roxane concludes her second performance, and applauds to her as well as to the Baphinol heir. "Is it not wonderful, to see so much talent on this stage tonight?", the duchesse remarks towards Ortolette and Desarae, and anyone in their vicinity.

Jehan-Pascal falls back a step or three, then looks sideways to Roxane with a more boyish smile than before, looking almost shy in the aftermath of his second recitation. He holds out a hand to her. "Oh— why— thank you, you performed… magnificently, as well. We will see how the consensus settles," he issues softly along with a squeeze if she grants him her hand.

Like Desarae, Yves applauds for the second recitation in a foreign tongue, but doesn't understand a word of it, so is mostly just doing so in a polite manner. "I liked the one that I understood more, but sir has an excellent melodic delivery, you can tell he knows how to read poetry, even if I can't understand it," he is saying and nods to Armandine in agreement when she looks around in their general direction. He wasn't attentive enough to have caught the names, even on the return performance.

There's a certain excitement in a tie that needs to be broken with another performance, and Emory settles in to watch both, to see how they fair in their second round. At the completion, he applauds each in turn, speculating on which might be the ultimate winner of the competition.

It's a closely contested thing, but it would seem that the audience's mood this year is for the cerebral over the celestial, and Jehan-Pascal's performance tips the balance in his favour. Clapping (as she has been throughout most of the event), Clémentine emerges once more on the stage. "I believe that we have our winner this year, and our winner is Lord Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol." The auditorium erupts in another wave of noise, and Clémentine lifts her eyes to the ducal box and flashes a brilliant smile in that direction before a graceful curtsey is dipped. "And that, I believe," she says on rising, "concludes this year's contest. I encourage you all to linger and enjoy the hospitality of l'Opéra Marsilikos."

Once the winner, and deservedly so, was announced, Roxane joined the entirely of the opera in her applause and fair wishes for the performance. She did not, however, linger, for she had her cello to retrieve, and a meeting she was, perhaps, already a bit tardy for. That did not, however, stop her from offering a second round of congratulations to any of her fellow performers, if she encountered them, before she departed the opera house.

Jehan-Pascal lets his hand slip free once more when his name is called, and he covers over his mouth with it, brows lifted as tough making a break for his hairline. He composes himself, however, and gives Clementine a look of watery-eyed gratitude, then follows her example in sending a beaming smile up to the Duchesse's box, and then lowering himself in a bow, with the prop scroll held once more to his chest.

Bastien glances up at the ducal box. Hopefully he has redeemed himself in the eyes of Lady Ortolette at least. He glances about the audience for a second, as if looking for someone or someones. His eyes settles on one, as a smile eases across his lips as he nods his head towards Emory. He gets up and moves off to make his congratulations to the victor. He heads over to Jehan-Pascal. Offering the man a slight bow, "My Lord, I would like to thank you for both of your performances and to offer my congratulations on your winning."

Emory rises from his seat once the performances are over, and the crowd begins to disperse to take part in the provided refreshments, linger, or depart. He sees Bastien approaching and joins him near Jehan-Pascal to offer up his own congratulations to the victor of the evening. "Two stunning performances." He inclines his head to the man respectfully but doesn't linger there long, knowing that there will be many in the opera who wish to bid their own congratulations.

Bastien is coming up to him, and Jehan-Pascal isn't at all sure why until he bows and begins to speak, then, "Oh! Goodness! Why, thank you. I found your song thoroughly moving— you have a philosopher's heart, haven't you?" he smiles warmly to him, and, thinking a bow not hardly enough, he opens his arms to give his fellow-competitor a hug. And, heck, one to Emory, too! "Thank you, thank you," he gushes a little, still a little stunned by the victory. He'd thought his work might be a little nerdy for the room, but it turns out it was just nerdy enough!

With an inhale flaring Adrien's nostrils, he excuses himself from Victorine, to make his way over to the winner of the contest. "Accept my congratulations," the former Heliotrope courtesan intones towards Jehan-Pascal. "You were magnificent. And you as well.", this he adds towards Bastien. "A young talent, and I believe we shall hear more from you in the future."

Bastien blinks momentarily at the hug, but he returns almost immediately. "Thank you." He blushes just slightly and chuckles. "I don't know about that. I never really considered myself all that intellectual, but I will take that compliment to my heart and see if I can make myself worthy of it." He grins over at Emory, then to Adrien. "I am most pleased that you enjoyed my performance. It was my first public performance. I was so very nervous." He adds to Adrien, "I certainly hope that you are most correct. I quite enjoyed your performance as well."

Emory smiles a little curiously in surprise when Jehan-Pascal hugs him as well, though it doesn't truly break his composure. He returns the hug in kind and chuckles, "Don't seem so surprised. Everyone who performed tonight did a fantastic job. This type of performing has never been my particular area of expertise, but I have nothing but appreciation for those who can sing and compose." This, he offers to both JP and Bastien for their mutual performances. He gives a nod of greeting to Adrien as well when he comes to join them.

"Oh, I do, thank you," Jehan-Pascal accepts them with a wilting of his posture and then another opening of his arms for victory hugs, if Adrien is apt to grant them. "Your love-song was so heart-felt. Love poetry is the hardest type of poetry to do well; that's why I have never yet tried it. But I'll have your lyric in my heart a while, yet, I think," he smiles boldly in his compliment, then looks back to Bastien and Emory each in turn for their kind responses. "I think that I shall take myself home and change from this costume. But there deserves to be wine had tonight, and in plenty, if any or all of you will join me at the Cellar?"

Those local to Marsilikos, and especially those familiar with the Night Court will realize, that Adrien must be a very recent addition to the Salon de la Coeur de Lavande. When Bastien comments on his own performance, and then Jehan-Pascal as well, Adrien's eyes alight. "Thank you, this means very much to me. Poetry has been a calling, but not one that had much emphasis in my training. So my verses come out rather raw, inspiration unfiltered by considerations about… meter and style." Emory's nod is met with a smile. And then Adrien replies to JP, "I would very much like to."

Bastien smiles, "We will see, but I believe I have some other obligations that require my attention as well." He looks to Emory somewhat questioningly before turning his attention back to J-P, "But first I must find the other competitors and offer them my compliments."

Emory inclines his head to Bastien and says, "Let's go find the others then, so that we can both offer our congratulations, and then we can see what obligations must be met." He smiles to Jehan-Pascal and says, "Perhaps we will see you later this evening. The Cellar, you said?" He confirms the location, and then departs with Bastien.

"The Cellar, yes," Jehan-Pascal confirms, "I hope that I shall see you all there, if your evening allows," he smiles, then looks back to Adrien, "I did notice your verses were rather… solute," he crooks a shy grin. "I don't know what I would do to sit down and spin a verse with no meter attached. The meter, to me, is the hearbeat and soul of the thing. Look to the crowd here— I doubt a third of them know Tiberian enough to have followed the whole of the verses, though many more could probably get he jist. But the hexameters speak for themselves, in a way, and you saw the response yourself."

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