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Akhôrahil

What are dreams?

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The thought in the subject line struck me, and I realized I don't have the faintest idea what dreams are in Glorantha. Given that it's a mythical world, they probably should be important!

Dreams frequently seem to be associated with dragons - we have Dream Dragons and the Dragonewts' Dream. Moon seems to be the element most closely associated with dreams. Apparently, bad dreams dwell in the Underworld and some inspired dreams come from Luathela ("dreams that plague madmen and poets"), broken dreams (not sure that these are actual sleeping dreams or just failed aspirations) live in the spirit world, and if you have nightmares - especially consistent nightmares .- you're probably under some kind of spiritual attack. We have the Tower of Dreams in Dorastor where Arkat fought Nysalor, dreams can be prophetic, and so on.

What I'm primarily thinking about is the metaphysical status of dreams. Does your mind go to another realm when you dream (to experience it), or are dreams external entities that come to you when you dream? Could you do things with your dreams, like dream-questing? What are the mythic context of dreams, apart from prophetic dreams? Are dream-catchers something that could work, and if you catch a dream, what might you do with it? Since some dreams are prophetic, how does this work - what brings you the information?

The simplest solution might be to just consider dreams as spirits that come to you in your sleep, but that seems a little... simplistic?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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It might be an outdated concept, but there is a possibility that dreams are gateways into Short Worlds, Otherworldly realms that have no direct access to the Source of magic but that feed on reality (and the dreamers) to manifest themselves. As temporary reality, they are expressions of the Illusion rune, and may be collapsed by confrontation to the Ultimate.

Revealed Mythologies tells us about the reign of Avanapdur (Lord of Nightmares) in the East as their expression of the Greater Darkness, and of Thella (Theya) who took care of cleaning up the aftermath.

Spirits can send messages, and possibly can enable transition into a dream reality. No idea about the actual mechanics involved, though.

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Could these "short worlds" be potential realities/evolutions exiled in the Underworld under the yoke of Yelm? This  god (at least in the Orlanthi's vision) always struck me as some kind of bonsai gardener, keeping growth under control to preserve and perpetuate an initial perfection. In this case, the dreams could have crept back to the surface during the Great Darkness and thrived in a world where/when Humakt had still not divided things clearly, possibly finding homes in the  hearth of survivors by giving them hope. The advent of the Dawn would have forced them to flee before the Emperor, going back to the Underworld during the Day and exiting at night. But as they always flee before him and as his course embodies time, dreams actually exist ahead of the present, i.e. in the future, hence prophetic dreams. That's the kind of things I can imagine a shaman explaining  to his apprentice for example (independently, obviously, of any Truth). 

Ok, I confess, I have been bitten by an Eurmali. Poor guy  had not enough rune points to swallow me whole...

EDIT: @Akhôrahil Great topic!! Thanks!

Edited by Minlister
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45 minutes ago, Minlister said:

Could these "short worlds" be potential realities/evolutions exiled in the Underworld under the yoke of Yelm?

A case could be made for manifested nightmares to be (one-directional) accessways into various hells. Getting out probably requires a form of Shamanic guidance or weaker form of Resurrection rite short of getting a heroquest rescue.

 

I like the idea of Yelm even oppressing the dreams of people. But then, there are far worse imaginable hells than the rather cosy one Yelm conquered in Wonderhome.

 

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If you're in some alternate state of existence when you dream, it stands to reason that you should be able to quest it somehow. For most people, their dreams are probably far too flimsy and fleeting for this to happen, but a powerful and proficient dreamer should be able to extract magic from it in a way somewhat similar to a heroquest. Going by The Other Chaosium Game, we might call this Dream-Questing.

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On 9/5/2019 at 2:57 PM, Akhôrahil said:

If you're in some alternate state of existence when you dream, it stands to reason that you should be able to quest it somehow. For most people, their dreams are probably far too flimsy and fleeting for this to happen, but a powerful and proficient dreamer should be able to extract magic from it in a way somewhat similar to a heroquest. Going by The Other Chaosium Game, we might call this Dream-Questing.

That is indeed the theme of the DreamQuest, the first of the SoloQuest adventures for RQ2:

DreamQuest - Once upon a dream, your god appears to you. You are offered the opportunity to serve your god by defeating four foes in mortal combat. Step-by-step solo-melee combat rules for the detailed RuneQuest combat sequences are provided.

https://www.chaosium.com/soloquest-classic-collection-pdf/

SoloQuest_Classic_Collection_-_Front_Cover__61832.1544328892_500_659.jpg.3b06012afe20f91b5993e1501eece682.jpg

 

Edited by Scotty

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

If you're in some alternate state of existence when you dream, it stands to reason that you should be able to quest it somehow. For most people, their dreams are probably far too flimsy and fleeting for this to happen, but a powerful and proficient dreamer should be able to extract magic from it in a way somewhat similar to a heroquest. Going by The Other Chaosium Game, we might call this Dream-Questing.

I'd assume that learning to actively interact with one's dreams (ie. lucid dreaming of some kind or other) is something that many traditions, including shamans, mystics*, sorcerers and probably various theists develop - though which ones I couldn't tell.

(*Mystics are arguably developing lucid dreaming abilities within the waking world, if they cosmos can be seen as just another layer of dreams to escape to achive Liberation/Stillness/Nothingness, etc.)

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33 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'd assume that learning to actively interact with one's dreams (ie. lucid dreaming of some kind or other) is something that many traditions, including shamans, mystics*, sorcerers and probably various theists develop - though which ones I couldn't tell.

I can now see every power-gamer drooling at the notion of putting sleeping hours to productive uses like training with a dream teacher. :-)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I can now see every power-gamer drooling at the notion of putting sleeping hours to productive uses like training with a dream teacher. :-)

Hell, I’m dreaming about finding mycopy of CoC Dreamlands and introducing it to Glorantha (complete with a Red Moon for the cats to leap up to).

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5 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Hell, I’m dreaming about finding mycopy of CoC Dreamlands and introducing it to Glorantha (complete with a Red Moon for the cats to leap up to).

Although I would think the trick is to not do it like the Dreamlands. CoC Dreamlands are already pretty similar to the Hero Realms, and at least personally, I would have Gloranthan dream lands far more wispy, fleeting, and amorphous. I like the idea that they're heavy with the Illusion rune.

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I wonder how Hallucinate and dreams interact with one another.

Is it possible to enter a dream as a party? Or do dreamers have to meet at dreamside landmarks, as in Wheel of Time?

The stairwell that Randolph Carter is using for his entry to the Dreamlands is something I could do very well without... and the nightmare intrusion is something I am a bit unclear about. World of Darkness players might associate this with provoking the Umbra, or the Technocracy through paradox effects.

Shamans and other spirit world travelers ought to be able to enter dreams laterally, from the Spirit plane.

As dreams usually don't connect to the Ultimate, they leach their magic from adjacent realms - the dreamer and his environs, or the spirit world. Entering a dream would be moving with the flow, leaving it would be against the flow, thus harder.

Dragon dreams are different - they do connect with the ultimate. So does draconic meditation.

There may be a way to separate from the dream abruptly, possibly causing damage of some kind to everyone affected by this separation (including those remaining dreamside).

To a mystic, dreams are a form of entanglement.

 

Both the heroplane and intensely magical places (like the City of Wonders) have been described in psychedelic terms. In order to make the dreamside different, maybe a different approach should be thought up?

Most people appear to dream in grayscale. Maybe that old Wizard of Oz trope might be inverted for entering dreamside. When things take on color again, you might be reaching the far side of the dreamside, the Hero Planes, Hell, or other such realms. Insertion there throuh dreaming means that you have at best a hard upstream struggle to return through the dream, but as likely to be lost on the Other Side without (much of) a path to follow.

The question is whether dreamers can manifest the world around them after their demand, and whether there is some currency they need to invest to keep their desired features up and running.

 

Dreamside experiences should not carry over magic like hero plane experiences do. They might carry over insights or inspirations, or they might allow transition into a mythic realm which effectly is a hero plane (including all manners of nightmarish hells).

 

If the Ultimate makes dreamside reality fade away, how does dreamside reality interact with Chaos, or with Glamours?

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There may be a couple of different mystical standpoints on dreams - you could argue that dreams are unusually unreal even compared to regular reality and therefore a problem, or that since everything is ultimately real, dreams are no less real than anything else. 

It also seems reasonable to think that dream logic would apply, which will drive sorcerers bonkers until they can figure out how the dream logic works.

It's easy to imagine problems like being separated from your dream-self, and so on.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

There may be a couple of different mystical standpoints on dreams - you could argue that dreams are unusually unreal even compared to regular reality and therefore a problem, or that since everything is ultimately real, dreams are no less real than anything else. 

It also seems reasonable to think that dream logic would apply, which will drive sorcerers bonkers until they can figure out how the dream logic works.

There's the old Taoist parable about Zhangzhu who dreamt he was a butterfly, then woke up. Then he expressed doubt about whether he was a man who dreamt he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly currently dreaming he was a man.

Centuries later, Decartes touched on some of the same inherent unreliability of the experienced world, by focusing on a systematic discrediting of senses as proofs of reality. He even, much to the chagrin of Brithini I would argue, discredited fundamental mathematics, as the universal proportions of geometry might just be illusory.

Dragon's dreams manifest as baser, more primitive aspects of themselves. In order to ascend to a higher (less entangled, less particularistic too perhaps?) plane of existence, they commit suicide.

Death as the ultimate awakening from the dream that is the cosmos?

There's certainly a lot to work with here if you want to. ;)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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I think dreams are totally an Illusion power, and as Illusion is a core rune not particularly associated with any particular deities (though there are deities associated with Dream Magic, which is a specific Eastern tradition). 

I don't like to think too much about the Short World idea. The Dream magic material in Revealed Mythologies has a lot of controversy over whether dreams are pure Illusion and falsity, or whether dreams can provide insights to deeper Truths, and want to keep that ambiguity - can dreams connect to the Ulimate? Maybe. 

I definitely prefer the dream world as more shifting and amorphous than like Lovecrafts Dreamlands - except I think Lovecrafts Dreamlands might be a good fit for the time of Avanapdur, dream and reality flowing into one another.

Dream magic doesn't only have to be from Illusion/dream deities - its part of everyone. But dreams that cross over into the real world is unusual magic, mostly only for Eastern dream magic practitioners. Who are not all good guys - things can get a bit Freddy Krueger I think. Specters are native Illusion beings, and can be very dangerous. 

If I ever get around to running my planned East Isles game, this is what it will be about. Dreams crossing over to reality and the return of Avanapdur. 

 

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In my Glorantha, the Dragonewt Dream was a HeroQuest event that was possible to reach by HeroQuestors, but so was the Dragonkill. 

For me, dreams in Glorantha can be caused by many things. Deities can pass along instructions, warnings and general feelings through dreams. Apostates can be plagued by nightmares as punishment. The Ancestors can warn people in dreams, or call them to action. 

PCs with Dreaming Magic or skills can enter the dreams of others, effectively interacting with their dreams in a form of lucid dreaming. This could be in the form of a dream scenario, where you perform actions in the dream, or it could just be shaping the dream or giving instructions in the dream.

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In my Glorantha, dreams border (or perhaps are part of) the Spirit World (and that of course in turn borders the God Time).  As with Discorporation, the body when sleeping is inert, but the mind/soul wanders off into a realm where things can readily shift and transform.  Sometimes you find a familiar place, yet different. Sometimes, you encounter strange beings (spirits, demons, the dreaming thoughts of others, nightmares, etc.) or situations. Typically, you travel unconsciously, i.e. in a undirected manner, but I suspect that shamans might well be able to traverse the dreaming lands more readily and know what to avoid.

Potentially you could learn to travel the dream world, or even enter other's dreaming spaces (but much more dangerous as you might be trapped there, or find they can keep you from leaving). The dreams of gods and demons are likely very dangerous to interact with.

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On 9/5/2019 at 10:03 PM, Joerg said:

Most people appear to dream in grayscale

Studies say that only people who have watched black and white tv sometimes do this.

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Dreams get some coverage in Revealed Mythologies, and there are Dream magicians in the East.

The goddess of dreams is Thella, better know to you and I perhaps as the White Moon goddess. And the Black Moon is the god of Nightmares. From Revealed Mythologies:

 

Quote

Misool Pulau, who is the second founder of Thellan reverence studied Seram Ambon’s method and met Thella in his dreams. He learned of the Net that protects the dreamer from succumbing to the Dream World. The Net makes it safe to dream, because it stops the dreamer from descending into the lower consciousness from which she cannot return. Misool Pulau learned that revering Thella is the way to keep the Net strong. Thella’s symbol is the White Moon that spreads gentle light and reveals the true path. But Avanapdur still lurks in the Dream World, in the dangerous realm beyond the Net. Avanapdur’s symbol is the Black Moon that sheds unlight and leads astray. He is now the god of false dreams and nightmares.

The text goes on to explain that the dream magician can bring things from the dream world into this. This sounds a lot like illusions of course. In HQG, Lunar Magic is described as Glamours effectively illusions, so there is a connection between Moon->Dreams->illusions

Also there are dangers of becoming a Dream Wraith from overextending yourself.

And of course reality is but an illusion

 

Quote

Thella then taught the mortals that truth lie in dreams. The universe is a sequence of dreams within dreams. Only by passing through all levels can the spirit reach Durapdur and become one with the world spirit.

 

 

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On 9/5/2019 at 4:23 AM, Akhôrahil said:

What I'm primarily thinking about is the metaphysical status of dreams.

The "short world" hypothesis is pretty good as far as it goes (haha) but it begs the question of what makes some worlds shorter than others. How do you even measure that meaningfully?

In my Glorantha (which is to say, the version of the setting that resides in my head and scattered notes) it revolves around a micro/macrocosm distinction. Some dreams contain true information. Others are bewildering psychic trash left over from spirits, madness, the wrong light of the moon, illusion, disorder, unfulfilled desire, etc. etc. etc. Random encounters of the night. And some will be of one kind disguised as the other.

The same is true of people and phenomena you meet in the day. When your eyes are closed, the encounter originates within your soul (or "sorb" as the hippies say) where distinctions between self and others blur. When your eyes are open, it's the macrocosm communicating with you. Because the individual soul is commonly perceived as smaller than the world, we say the world within is "shorter." It fits inside the larger world you inhabit with your eyes open.

Because divination is available, you can put your dreams to the question and interpret them just like they were external phenomena. Some dreams are actually someone important tapping on the inner door of perception but the Compromise ensures that very few of these communications make it back out here to the waking world without serious distortion. But if you have the divination points, even a garbled dream provides a hint of what to ask about. Then when you ask the question in the proper ritual context, you get the right answer.

Some people who are trained or talented in the workings of the micro/macrocosm can concoct dreams for other people. When the eyes are open we call them illusions. At night when sensible people are in bed it becomes glamour. Naturally it's in these people's interest to blur the distinction between the world within and the world without. If they tell you the right things, they control your experience. If they tell the world the right things, they change the world. Many mystics at least dabble with this stuff. The macrocosm persists so far between eye blinks. Call that persistence "truth."

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If the Short World hypothesis was true, and the world of dreams has no link to the Ultimate, there would be many dream magicians and mystics in the East who claim that may have been true when it was the kingdom of Avanapdur, but it seized to be true once Oren Parond, who is a creation of Mashunasen and thus a being of mystic truth incarnate, entered into the dream world, bringing a connection to the Ultimate with them (and becoming Thella in the process). 

In other words, the world of dreams is a world of falsity and lies (of course it may be temporary reality, but its fault is not being untrue in the moment, but of being transient - Adpara is able to pass through the Gate of Truth, but is destroyed by the Gate of Tranience), but mystic insight and a connection to the ultimate can be found there, only through Thella/Oren Parond/mystic practice. Oren Parond gives Truth magic that can disperse Illusions, but also teach great truth. 

The multiple approaches to dreams come through different Eastern sages and magicians.

Seram Ambon says true mystic knowledge can come from dreams and sleep, as through understanding dreaming and sleep we can understand the levels of consciousness and unify our consciousness into one. It is pure mystic technique.

Misool Pulau learnt that Thella keeps us safe in the dream world, and that revering her keeps the dreamer safe. It is a theist technique of reverence for a deity, but it is also about learning the art of lucid dreaming, eventually leading to dreaming within a dream, to reach the deepest level of dream, dreams of a higher consciousness. 

Engano Palopo taught that dreams can be brought back into the waking world. He creates dream magic. I don't know how we would classify Dream magic in RQ terms. Perhaps as related to shamanism. Dream magic is dangerous - overextending turns one into a dream wraith. 

Tangan Sorong is opposed to dream magic. He says Thella is just Avanapdur in a new form, and dream magic is dangerous. He says we must awaken from the dream, and this will involve waking the other deities from their dream, instead. 

Oolen Sorong goes further - he wants to destroy Thella herself, by travelling through the Gates of Dream. They are the Gatherers and they want to destroy Thella, Thellas Net, and dream magic itself. I wonder what their methods are - they seem to be anti-dream magicians who use dream magic only to fight the power of dreams? Instead of being reunited with the gods by waking the gods, we must be reunited by waking ourselves, permanently, by destroying dream. 

Sula Mangole says that wanting to destroy Thella, and dream magic, is to fight an illusion, and in so doing, fall prey to an Illusion. They are the Dividers and they want to unravel Theya's Net little by little. These would seem to be fanatics of Truth, opposed to dream magic and to dreams themselves. By unravelling the net of dreams, they eventually will reawaken Thella. 

Of course the Thella dream magicians think these last three are deluded, and they are deluded victims of Avanapdur. I want to keep this controversy real - no Gloranthan product should say whether the Thella magicians or their various opposition is correct. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

the world of dreams has no link to the Ultimate

Not sure this is the case even in short world models. There's a back passage in every dreaming head where it opens up again to the sea and responds to those tides. Gloranthan theoreticians forget this to their sorrow. "Or so it is said."

(East Islands fragmentation as metaphor for the archipelago of consciousness . . . or vice versa.)

The sectarian distinctions can draw on "sober" versus "intoxicated" forms of earthly mysticism, although transformed of course for our hobby. Some are engaged in waking up. Others are engaged in finding the waking insight within the illusions night as well as day. "A particular dealing of [god] with my soul." 

MGF. Meantime of course we interact with them as dreams within a dream since the setting itself is one elaborate artifice and our point of view is limited, which makes the thing complicated when we look at it too close. Too many complications generate stress points, and then we wake up.

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I always thought it was interesting that most people are unable to read while in dreams or text is viewed as nonsense characters.  I wonder what the mythic association for that would be.

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2 minutes ago, Jolt said:

I always thought it was interesting that most people are unable to read while in dreams or text is viewed as nonsense characters.  I wonder what the mythic association for that would be.

The real-world explanation is that the brain runs on slow and doesn't have the brain-power to make up text. 

Mythic explanation might simply be that nothing is stable enough in the dreamscape? Or, if you think writing is associated with Truth, that there is so little Truth in this realm of Illusion.

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On 9/5/2019 at 9:23 AM, Akhôrahil said:

The simplest solution might be to just consider dreams as spirits that come to you in your sleep, but that seems a little... simplistic?

Given that this is the way the Horned Man chooses shaman, it's pretty near the mark (RQG p353):

Quote

Shamans are often awoken during childhood. The Horned Man whispers his knowledge into their sleeping ears and they are forever changed.

However I think dreams are an uncontrolled innate ability (ignoring lucid dreaming). Depending on who, what or where you are affects the process and outcome. So there is no single Dream world and structure. In real world shamanism, dreams are seen by some as accessing the spirit world with no "mission" (hence understanding them is difficult as there's no objective) - this in Glorantha would be the form of dreaming most common in animistic cultures and occasional theistic ones (that include spirits). Whereas most theistic cultures would most often be dreaming inside their mythology, which can of course overlay the material world. Dreamers are protected in their dream state by their associated spirits if they have them or by an appropriate god that disengages them before anything too bad happens.

So Thella is a lunar god of dreams who messes with Orlanthi (conflicting mythologies)...

Spirits maybe the source of some dreams - they may enter you as intrusions and your dreaming ability manifests their world - have a look here in the Encyclopaedia of shamanism by Christina Pratt at Intrusions: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HltJMMq1_60C&pg=PA160&lpg=PA160&dq=spirit+intrusions&source=bl&ots=_jEAZKHEeV&sig=ACfU3U0YGDNUz16kIBfsYdqTqBiPd-ytew&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjeje2bicTkAhVOThUIHXONCm0Q6AEwHHoECBwQAQ#v=onepage&q=spirit intrusions&f=false

In RQG terms they'd be low POW spirits, with higher POW ones being nightmares.

I think Lucid Dreaming is rare in Glorantha as it will overlap into other magical practices or even be form of magic itself in some cultures. In HQG I'd allow Lucid dreaming to be broken out from an appropriate Keyword with a good backstory.

On 9/5/2019 at 7:29 PM, Akhôrahil said:

I can now see every power-gamer drooling at the notion of putting sleeping hours to productive uses like training with a dream teacher.

Which is great, except you are just as tired from it as normal training. (You can't double up except with a time turner and that's also tiring, although timer turners aren't so appropriate for Glorantha)

 

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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:
7 hours ago, davecake said:

the world of dreams has no link to the Ultimate

Not sure this is the case even in short world models. There's a back passage in every dreaming head where it opens up again to the sea and responds to those tides.

As should be clear, I don't agree that dreams have no connection to the ultimate either. 

3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

The sectarian distinctions can draw on "sober" versus "intoxicated" forms of earthly mysticism, although transformed of course for our hobby. Some are engaged in waking up. Others are engaged in finding the waking insight within the illusions night as well as day. "A particular dealing of [god] with my soul." 

Greg directly links the Seram Ambon point of view - sleep and dreams are states of consciousness that are necessary to master for mystic attainment - with the yoga sutras of Patanjali, that for a long time was his core text for understanding mysticism. 

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