Closed Face It (Madeira)

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Martini Elwood on December 12th, 2019, 8:35 pm

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88th, Winter, 519


Dressed in pants not skirt Martini felt out of place. The women around her matched with cloaks, capes, or boots but their expensive dresses with exotic colors and patterns had her staying to herself. She pulled the leather of her cloak tighter around her shoulders as she watched others dance around and enjoy themselves with an envious gaze. With her face concealed she found herself a bit more open with herself. For whatever reason not being recognized or acknowledged gave her a small boost of confidence - it allowed her to be slightly bolder than she would normally have.

Ah, but her mask wasn't impressive either - it was simply a sheet of paper with cutouts for her eyes. She would have painted it, but the decision to celebrate with everyone had been sudden. Adjusting her gloves again, she shivered slightly as a breeze flowed past her. Snow… she had come to miss the frozen rain in Morwen's absence. She held out her hand to watch the flakes melt on the palm of her glove and smiled slightly. Martini would have loved to share this moment with someone.

Alas, she had no one to share it with because of her reclusive habits - she wouldn't doubt that those she had met considered her some kind of hermit. She barely spoke to anyone and when she did she was clumsy and awkward. Reaching out had never been something she was good at - especially when it fought with her own feelings of worth and confidence. Why would anyone want to spend time with her if all she did was stay silent?

The thought of staying in her apartment all day wasn't pleasant either. The ghost… no, her father hadn't emerged from the easel since her first use of it. In a way it was like she dreamed it - if not for image hidden away under her bed she would have believed it so. She hadn't been able to convince herself to go back and use it again despite the pull she felt. Sometimes after she woke she could swear she felt chilling lips on her forehead.

She steeled herself and hoped it was her father - if not for those cold kisses she would have long stopped thinking her father had returned. She was hardly over his return and she was still a bit fearful. But even if it was hallucinations Martini was still clinging to the hope that she had a part of her father to live with.

"Would you care to dance?"

She jumped, whipping around to find a man offering his hand to her with a cheerful smile. She blushed, more than one reason behind it as she nodded. It couldn't hurt to try to take her mind off her troubles right? She hesitantly slipped her hand into his as she spoke.

"Only if you don't mind aching feet." She forced a smile and he dragged her to the town center where everyone else was dancing to the music around them. After a small introduction he bowed and put a hand just above her waist as she clasped a hand on his shoulder.

In no way was Martini a good dancer. She was pretty sure she'd stepped on his feet more than five times but he laughed good naturedly and continued to spin and dip her as they shook with the music and the people around them. Somewhere along the line he let go of her so they could dance together but separately and Martini found herself enjoying the time. Even with the night barely stretching over the sky it was a bit dark.

She laughed with him, but it ended in a gasp as her foot slipped under her. She attempted to reach out but only succeeded in grabbing something.. Someone, before she went down and taking them along. She let go in an instant to rush out an apology as she tried to roll off her stinging bottom to stand.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't see the ice, are you alright?"
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on December 30th, 2019, 3:23 am

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Zintia Peak was alive with celebration. Pious dress robes were traded for silk and satin and hymns of praise turned into shouts of joy as Syna set. But the darkness never truly arrived, when between the coloured lanterns and sparkling snow it felt like the Diamond of Kalea must for tonight be just as bright as the stars it worshiped. But no stars could make such a racket as this. Musicians played on every street corner, vendors hawked down every street, and everywhere people were dancing and singing in a constant din. Streamers and banners hung from between eaves and above every doorway, and artists lined the streets with dazzling paintings and sculptures that looked half alive in the flickering lights. This was a night of extravagance, to drink and dance and sing the praise of the beloved Alvina that ruled them, while the sky above them was clear and cold and full of stars. It was a perfect night for a party.

Madeira stood in the middle of the cobbled street with her head tipped back, letting people push their way around her. She smiled, full of awe, as she watched the stars pulse and dance above her.

The Azure Festival had always made her so painfully homesick. It was as close as she had ever seen to Alvadas' Illusion Festival, without that most crucial of Alvadan culture; illusions. But thanks to Wind Reach and a small man in a tiny vest, she had found a way to combat the rise of melancholy that always seized her this time of year and take a step closer to home. When one got right down to it, illusions born from a god and hallucinations born from drugs were not really that dissimilar. She traced the outline of the hollow talon and extra dose of Winger in the pocket of her dress and sighed with satisfaction, smiling as her frosted breath shivered into strange colours above her.

She had left her children, her ghosts and everyone behind to celebrate as they chose. Tonight she was unburdened and completely alone. She wore black velvet from throat to floor, the dress embroidered with the stars that the Lhavitian's so loved. Her drug-blown pupils were hid behind a mask made entirely of faceted black diamonds, her silvery gloves were pristine and her rings and bracelets flashed in hues of black, blue and bone. From her shoulders sprouted a fountain of feathers, her last precious gift from Alvadas. The cloak moved in elegant and unnatural ways, its magic feathers rippling in half a hundred different colours.

Suddenly, as if pulled on a string, the Spiritist dropped her stargazing and moved dreamlike through the crowds of the Surya Plaza, drunk on celebration and a true feeling of home. There were people dancing ahead, as a popular musician began a new, jaunty tune. The wall of moving bodies fascinated her, and she drifted closer. She was not a good dancer, but the combination of anonymity and a fierce, drug-fuelled feeling of confidence made her certain that this icy and very public dance floor was the perfect place to try.

But as she shouldered her way through the ring of clapping spectators, she saw a flash disturbing blankness and stopped short. In the wash of extravagant dress and creative masks there was something that stood out like ink on a fresco: nothingness. She shook her head minutely, fighting the teetering edge of her tripping thoughts, and squinted into the crowd. There it was, a blank sheet of white paper with dark holes for eyes that hovered like a ghost in a sea of colour. It was attached to a woman in a leather jacket. The pulsing of the scene and the overwhelming taste of the music made it had to think, but she was sure that that silhouette was familiar. But in her mind it seemed to fit with sad brown eyes and the smell of charcoal.

She was pressing closer without realizing it, stepping out onto the impromptu dance floor as the paper mask wheeled around it. She didn't see the ice, and neither, it seemed, did the woman. She slipped, and automatically reached out for anything to save her fall. Madeira croaked as the woman's hand seized her cloak, strangling her and throwing them both to the ground.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't see the ice, are you alright?"

Madeira found herself watching the pulsing stars again, but the sight wasn't as pleasant as before. She groaned and she sat up, massaging the back of her head. The woman was brushing snow off of herself and struggling to stand, and for a moment they were nearly nose to nose as they sorted themselves out. Madeira noticed the woman's messy unwashed hair, and the black powder beneath her nails, and from behind the paper cutouts she saw a rich colour halfway between honey and whiskey.

Seized by a sudden certainty, Madeira reached out and snatched the paper mask off her face.

"Elwood?" she gasped. She groped with her own mask, unfastening the silk ties and pulling it from her face. The fist and last time she saw her the artist was haunted, and Madeira was heavily pregnant. At the Spiritists insistence she was going to explain her reluctant problem and why her forehead was printed with layers of soulmist, but she never did. Half way to their destination the woman passed out from stress, and she was whisked away to the Catholicon. Madeira had left all her contact information, expecting the woman to seek her out, but she never did.

Madeira felt stone cold sober as she rose to her feet. "Martini Elwood", her voice cut clean and hard through the music. "Where the hai have you been?"
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Martini Elwood on January 18th, 2020, 8:14 am

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Martini legs were sore as her right hand were she had tried to stop the fall, but she was quick to release the cloak of whomever she had brought down with her. Gods what price did she have to pay for a normal day? She dusted herself, almost nose to nose with the woman as they sorted themselves. The first to stand, Martini offered her hand but quickly retreated when her impromptu mask was ripped from her face. Was it in her to yelp? Yes, because she did so. She covered her mouth behind her hands as the woman said her name and removed her own mask. The woman seemed certain, and with no way to hide herself with her mask lost there was little to be down but gaze back as she grasped for any words that could fix the damage.

Still, shocked or otherwise Martini’s arms fell to her sides - the imminent nervousness made her wring her hands together and fiddle with her fingers. She looked at the ground in shame, ears tinged with embarrassment even in the biting cold. Before her, a thin, frail body stood blocking her escape with pale blue irises that kept her rooted to the spot. Her figure had shaped though admittedly not enough to hide the structure underneath. The last time the irises had been kind and encouraging, now though they spoke of anger and determination to seek truth.

A previously pregnant Madeira Craven stood before her, resolute authority threatening to burn her alive even in the chill. This was the woman who was to help her… The woman she’d been avoiding. Ghostly figures and troubles aside, the least the brunette could’ve done was contact her after the whole incident… The stress of unanswered questions had overcome her, and she’d fainted on the stairs leading to the Solar Winds. And even if she told herself it wasn’t intentional she knew that putting the Craven off had been. Waking up at the Catholicon with her contact information was a blessing and a curse - she had someone to reach out too, but now she had to decide what she wanted to do and that caused her more problems…

But her thoughts were spiraling - her fathers ghost, the memory of the past on the easel, magic flowing through her finger tips… None of it made sense to her and none of it she wanted to deal with. Alas the world had other plans, placing her in tight spots had never been hard. She opened her mouth, but closed it when she found there were no words that matched what she was feeling. The ghost, her father, hadn’t emerged from the easel in her time awake. Every morning like clockwork she’d wake to the feel of lips on her forehead but no one in the room - nightmare or not it was becoming common and she was adapting.

“M-miss Craven I...” She what? With every thing that happened her goals seemed so muddled and lost… For what reason was she becoming an artists? For whose sake was she living on? What exactly was her legacy? She had no idea anymore. Was she scared of the ghost? Did she want it to leave? She didn’t know. What did she know anymore? Absolutely nothing. What could she possibly say? That she’d been avoiding the topic and problem? No, she doubted the truth would fix the problem any more than a feeble lie. Her dance partner seemed to have read the mood - she realized in this enclosed moment it was simply her and Madeira. No room for escape then.

“I’m sorry… I’ve- a lot has been going on. I know that's a terrible excuse to be missing for seasons but gods know its true- I haven’t- I’m not sure about anything anymore,” She bit her lip forcefully to stop her ongoing tangent, breath visible as she spoke. This wasn’t the place for a breakdown, Hai, this wasn’t the place for such a private matter to begin with. If Madeira wasn’t going to let her go, and if she couldn’t face her mistake here… well, she’d had enough running. Turning her gaze back to the pale blue eyes staring her down she spoke.

“This isn’t… I’d rather not have this discussion here. Surely you agree that we have a lot of sensitive subjects to discuss, would you mind accompanying me somewhere warmer? Preferably somewhere less crowded. Apparently there's a teashop somewhere in Zintia Peak with good hot cocoa, perhaps we could talk there.”
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on January 22nd, 2020, 12:55 am

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"Miss Craven I..."

So she did remember her name. That was a small comfort, that this woman hadn't been driven completely insane in her months of hiding. Madeira's eyes flicked to the press of soulmist upon Martini's forehead.

Madeira was angry, and she wasn't sure why. Surely part of the blame fell upon herself. She knew, roughly, where Martini lived. It would have only taken the better part of an afternoon to sniff her out. So why, when the woman didn't contact her, did she not try and seek her out herself? It wasn't laziness. That was one sin that had never applied to the driven Spiritist. Perhaps it was forgetfulness. Or worse, apathy. There was nothing in it for her, so other things took priority over the haunting of an obviously tormented young woman. She would need a hard drink before she unpacked just what that said about her.

Martini was still stumbling over her excuses, and the music was jangling around them. Dancing people were still spinning past, barely missing the two women on their knees at the edge of the crowd. The Winger in Madeira's system was still roaring through her veins, twisting the world in ways she thought delightful several chimes ago. Now she could feel herself slipping sideways as she tried to sort out the sights and the sounds and the shock. She rubbed her fingers into her temples.

"I’d rather not have this discussion here", Martini was saying. "Surely you agree that we have a lot of sensitive subjects to discuss." She asked if she would accompany her to the Teahouse further into the peak.

Madeira raised her left hand and snapped her fingers. On the middle finger was a gold band set with a gruesome token, a human tooth. The Riot Ring glinted with a oily yellow light and slowly people stopped dancing. Piece by piece, alone or in groups, people still celebrating and laughing began to file their way out of the square as if they suddenly had better places to be. Musicians packed up as thoughts of more generous corners popped into their head, spectators saw something interesting further down the street, and dancers ducked into bars to wet their thirst before continuing their night. In chimes Madeira and Martini were completely alone in the once busy square, listening to the party continue on the next street over.

Madeira recentred the maledicted fetish on her finger and finally stood. She was still wavering slightly, as the drugs turned the solid stone to liquid under her feet, but the sudden muted quiet did much to tame the strange anger. She breathed deep and felt her head clearing.

"There, much better." She held out a hand to pull Martini to her feet. "You're still haunted", she stated factually. "But I still don't know who by or what it could possibly be doing to you. We can either do this right here, or we can find that teahouse if you'll feel more comfortable."

From her pocket she pulled out a hollow eagles talon and a square of brown paper with a yellow, powdery dose of Winger Inside. She pressed both in the brunette's hands.

"Take this. It'll make you much more open. Then I want you to tell me everything, from the beginning. I can help you, Martini. Stop running away."
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Martini Elwood on January 22nd, 2020, 8:59 am

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Martini knew, somewhere that Madeira could do... Unusual things. That said her snapping drew Martini's eye - and suddenly she was hit with the urge to leave. The crowds seemed to have the same idea, moving singularly or in groups to better places. She chalked her want to move locations to her suggest of warmth and cocoa at the tea house.

She took Madeira's offered hand but she could feel the unbalance the woman had herself. She stood quickly and steadied herself if not to cause more problems for the Craven.

By who... Could she really say her father at this point? As is she had refused to believe it immediately, but if anyone would she supposed an alleged ghost hunter would. She fumbled to take the packet and... Claw, was it? Well whatever it was she took it into her hand and looked observed it.

Once again those words whipped against her face, the unintentional bite colder than the winds nipping her cheeks. Running away. She was running away, just like always. No, she wouldn't be won over by her cowardice again!

But the powder in her hand.. what was it? It had a unique smell. It was odd, but she opens the packet and sniffed it, the powder causing her a faint bout of dizziness as it traveled through her. She shivered - was she truly that cold? And then she realized she'd inhaled too deeply, the powder substance was a drug.

Gods, she'd never even tried liquid courage, much less an actual drug! Excitement and fear, but she mellowed out to numbness and finally she felt like she could conquer the world. Maybe even the sky! The sky seemed to distort around her and the ground seemed to absorb her before she steadied herself again.

"What was that?" Martini's mind seemed to clear just enough to ask in shock. But her mind was still focused enough to want to leave, talking in the open wasn't ideal in case someone was listening...

She turned to walk as Madeira's words finally seemed to click in her mind. She nodded enthusiastically - she needed help and there was nothing wrong with asking for it!

A sudden pusle of her temple made her stumble, but she giggled through it - why was she laughing? Ah, was this an effect of the powdered drug? She felt strong for once... She began to lead the way, and seemingly a bell later the drug had fully rooted into her system as she pushed herself through the doors. She barely registered a welcome from someone in the teahouse... Oh well. She smiled and moved to sit at an empty table before patting the seat next to her.

"Should we order?" She slurred slightly, rolling the s on her tongue. She'd mentioned cocoa earlier - she wondered if it was good as people claimed. She had to blink away her spotted vision but she rubbed her temples to try and clear some of the haze.

She hummed as she tried to think back to the square. Ah, right... Her father. The thought alone was enough to clear her mind, a frown and a bitter taste on her lips as her body tried to shake the chill from outside. She pulled the cloak tighter around her shoulders - the beginning, death, and returning... How was she supposed to word it? She hadn't talked to anyone about it in ages. It was a rough subject for her.

"I..." She shook her head slowly and smiled sadly. No more running, she reminded herself. Painful as it was talking to someone about it might help. "I lost my family to the djed storms, both directly and indirectly."
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on January 22nd, 2020, 7:35 pm

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Martini sniffed at the open packet of powder in her hands and shivered, blinking rapidly as a small bit of airborne narcotic traveled up her nose. Well, that was good enough, Madeira supposed, taking the talon and the rest of the dose back. It seemed to be affecting her at any rate. Winger had a delightfully dangerous quality of over confidence. If this wouldn't get her to talk, nothing would.

"It's called Winger, from Wind Reach. They make passable hallucinogens when Alvadian drugs are unavailable." It never occurred to the Spiritist that this could be Martini's first time partaking in recreational drugs. But by her confusion and how she was handling the open powder it was clear she was. Madeira wondered how it would affect her. "Hold my hand while we walk, I don't want you wandering off."

Martini led the way, Madeira still gripping her hand. Beyond their halo of quiet the party continued in a whirlwind that would last all night. But towards the back of the peak, on its own little plot of land away from the busy city center, the Mhakula Teahouse enjoyed its little oasis of calm. Madeira had participated in their more underground service of combat training with Chiona, but could count the times she had stopped for a pot of tea on one hand. It was a cozy little place, made in gentle hues of green, yellow and white. The fragrance of tea had soaked into every corner, but just underneath it was a new and richer note of chocolate that immediately made Madeira's mouth water.

Martini wove her way to a table and patted the seat beside hers, smiling beatifically up at the Spiritist. "Should we order?" she slurred slightly. Her pupils were huge and black, pushing the iris back to nothing but a sliver of warm brown. But to Madeira they were as big as wells. She chuckled, amused by the hallucination, and had to restrain herself from reaching in. Her drugged mind was convinced she would be able to find all this woman's guarded thoughts inside.

Madeira waved down a waiter, who took one look at the two obviously high women and sniffed huffily. Perhaps thinking he was thinking he would have to babysit them all night. "Two cocoa please", Madeira smiled and shooed him away.

When Martini did finally speak, she did not start where Madeira expected her to.

"I lost my family to the djed storms, both directly and indirectly."

The Spiritist's head tipped to the side, as if draining water out of her ear would make that non sequitur make more sense.

"You're an orphan", the Spiritist nodded sadly. "Do you mean they died in the storms?" Madeira was either fifteen or sixteen during the dijed storm, but she wasn't sure which, because she didn't remember the storm. It was an earth shaking event and the world was still getting on its feet in the aftermath, which was why it was so strange that the actual storm was a blank space in her mind. She assumed Ionu played a part in protecting her, as she was largely uninjured afterward, and looked no deeper. She had no wish to remember.
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Martini Elwood on January 27th, 2020, 9:58 pm

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Empowered by the Winger and sobered by the subject of the night Martini supposed starting with the storms was a good point. She'd lost nearly everything - family, friends, home... There was surely nothing left for the storms to claim, was there? She would speak her mind and nothing would stop her. Yet Madeira's words still made her mouth taste bitter. She swallowed around the dryness in her throat, the beginning burn of tears settling into her eyes. She willed them down. "Yes... They- no, my father was lost to the storms and my mother couldn't handle that and eventually followed."

Her father made his decision, he chose the very stem of magic that killed him over his family. Djed was such a horrible thing, magic was such a horrible thing. Despite everything he'd stopped pushing her forward and instead left her and her mother to drag themselves. She was young then, believing his reasoning would be sound. That he wouldn't abandon his family for something he'd taught her dangerous. But his return and that painting...

She was more mature and she could feel the betrayal and bitterness swelling within her heart.

"I suppose he had something he thought was more important than his family," bitter, bitter, bitter. Martini was aware of how hurt and angry she sounded. She didn't even look up when the waiter Madeira had waved down placed the two steaming mugs of cocoa on the table they were seated at. She pulled one closer to herself, inhaling the rich aroma to hopefully calm her frazzled nerves. It smelled delicious, and the warmth of the cup on her fingertips felt amazing. She exhaled and continued as she kept her eyes trained on the swirling liquid.

"He turned back, left us as we fled to shelter and he never made it back. I've always thought I'd be his legacy, that I would continue where he left off because he'd tried so hard for us," Martini scoffed but continued a bit quieter. "Something happened and now he's- he's back. I don't know what to do anymore, if he died he should've stayed dead, right? He shouldn't... He shouldn't be back, he shouldn't be here to cause more problems than his death did."

For this she searched Madeira's eyes. Did she find her strange? Surely not, she'd been accompanied by a ghost herself... Did she find it wrong? Martini hadn't been sure but now she was positive it would've been better if Lenard had stayed dead. So why did her heart hurt at the thought? If she hadn't have gotten the easel she'd still be perfecting her craft and striving to be the best artist she could... For their sakes. Knowing the truth had her questioning everything - what was his legacy? Was she capable of continuing it? What was she fighting so hard for?

She didn't know. In their first meeting Madeira had offered her help, even now there was a level of concern from her. Martini moved her gaze back to the cup of cocoa, her lips tugged downwards. Bitterness settled into her mouth again as she spoke as a few tears spilled over. "He should've stayed dead... Everything was fine until he came back. I've started questioning everything- nothing seems right anymore. I don't know what he wants, hai, I don't know what I want."
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Face It (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on January 30th, 2020, 10:34 pm

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Martini's every word was building the story in the Spiritist's head, but even when she was done the story was rough and patchy and probably not up to code. She spoke purely with emotion, the words falling hot and molten from her lips. Madeira watched as they burned swirling patterns of grief onto the table. She sipped her chocolate as she listened. Hallucinogens did strange things to her perception of taste. The drink tasted... furry. Grimacing, she set the mug aside.

Martini wanted to pick up where her father left off, him that turned back into the storm instead of seeking shelter with his wife and daughter. But pick up what? Painting? Was he an artist? Maybe he was a mage. That could account for his running back into the storm of chaotic dijed. As unadvised an activity as that generally is, mages never tended to be the play-it-safe types. Perhaps she had intended to take up the mantle of magehood like him, and that's why she scoffs at the idea now. In her eyes he chose to die rather than stay with her.

"Have you asked him?" she prodded. "Asked him what he wants, I mean." People tended to forget, when confronted with the dead, that they're people too. The last mad shadows of people, but still people, and capable of reason and judgment if handled carefully. It was Spiritism 101.

"Martini, ghost's don't just... happen. It takes an unbelievable amount of concentration and willpower to simply exist once the body and soul separate. Not every soul can do it and the ones that can don't last long. If your father is back, and he's back for you, then he has something to do. Something so important he has defied death, life, reincarnation just to get the chance to tell you. And I doubt he'll move on until he does."

She hesitated briefly, then reached out and held the crying woman's shoulder.

"Forgive him, if you can. If you can't you need to fake it. And if you can't fake it you need to be resigned to being haunted forever. This isn't about if he should or should not have come back. He's here now and you need to put aside this anger and face it. Can you think of anything, and I mean anything, that he could have left undone? Anything he wants you to say, or wants you to do?"

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