Lifesblood
frederike anna von schleswig-holsteinΒ of germany duchess of mecklenburg-strelitz. Points
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johannaofleuchtenberg‌:

In many ways, Johanna only wished for Friedi’s happiness, but she found herself wrought with anxiety during her sister’s wedding day, hoping and praying that she would find a good match in Bayezide, and that he would give her the love that she deserved. The truth was, the Landgravine hardly knew anything about the man but from what she had observed, and indeed what Friedi herself was advocating for now, he seemed to be rising up to the role of being a good husband for her, and for that her mind and worries could settle ever so slightly. “Everyone had a wonderful time,” she assured her, glad that Friedi seemed to have fond memories of the day, for those were the memories of joy that would carry her during difficult times in years to come – at least that is what happened with Johanna, as she looked back with happiness on the blissful joy she felt when she married Matthias. 

“It will come back to you in bits and pieces over the years, and I hope that those returned memories will bring that amazing smile to your face,” she said, her hand fondly patting Friedi’s as she smiled. “I still catch myself on occasion smiling like a fool remembering the smallest things about my wedding like… oh I don’t know, a look that I remember Matthias giving me from across the dance floor or something as frivolous as that,” she said, a faint trace of the smile ghosting her lips as she recalled the memory again. Laughing at Friedi’s assurance that they would never be without each other, Johanna took her sister’s arm and sighed as if she was releasing all the burdens on her shoulders for a moment of happiness with her sister just reminiscing and gossiping like they would when they were younger. “I suppose I should tell your brother that we will be needing a summer home in the Ottoman Empire then,” she teased, though the thought of getting to see Friedi often made her feel a lot better. “I’m so glad to hear it… if he is as good as you say he is then I suppose he truly does deserve you… even if I had half a mind to object on the grounds of him taking you away from me– which we’ve clarified, is not going to happen.” 

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Friedi knew that her upbringing had been far from idyllic. It was no easy feat to be the child of King Maximillian, but if there was any light in the darkness, it was her siblings. Her elder brothers were no less a part of her than her other half-siblings were (obviously, she could not claim the same of Claudia), and only slightly less than her twin. Johanna had fit into their family with ease, even before she had become an official part of it. “That is a relief,” The better the event went, the more the Ottoman’s would like her, and from what others had told her, it went very well indeed. 

“I hope so. I often wonder if I was even there at all,” She smiled fondly, a roll of her eyes indicating that she knew it was all a joke. Whether the day came back to her or not, she didn’t think she much cared. It was her future that mattered now. The past was of little consequence. “Though if that is the key to a marriage as stable as yours with Matthias, I cannot say I would mind.” Matthias and Johanna. Yekaterina and Dmitry. If not for them, she did not think she would have had any hope for her marriage whatsoever. “You must! Tell I’m that I ordered you to ask,” she let out a cackle of laughter. The idea that she would order anybody to do anything was preposterous, no matter what title went with her name. “I think I can be happy now, Johanna. I will miss you and my family - but now I have thought on it, I don’t think I will miss Germany, nor it me.” 

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nagasanis‌:

“we can, of course, we must.” friederike is the closest to a friend nagasani had in russia. the tsarevich’s sisters are kind and warm, yes, but they are his sisters nonetheless and the sense of loyalty to him doesn’t allow her to trust them wholeheartedly. irina is the one people assume she sees as a foe, though she is more indifferent to the woman than anyone would expect. that leaves friederike, a friend who would come and go. nagasani admires her freedom, envies, even. “we will have plenty of time to spend together, i am sure.”

nagasani is glad for her friend, she truly is. she hopes friederike is honest in her words, not just attempting to keep her husband’s respectful reputation alive, but unlike tsarevich yuri, sehzade bayezide has always seemed to not need anyone’s assist in giving himself clear of bad reputation. “i am very happy to hear that. perhaps i will meet him personally eventually.” she nods, a smile on her face with the mention of her daughter. “she will be turning two later this year, but she is very smart already. a runner, that one. i can see she will be hard to keep up with.”

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Friedi nodded. This was why she had come to Switzerland, to reunite with those she cared for. Nagasani counted in that number. Surely, Switzerland would be a happier place for her than Russia. Friedi knew her true family were around, and surely, that would be of some comfort? “Of course. If you are not to busy, that is. There must be plenty here who would love to speak with you, Nagasani. Have you encountered your family yet?” 

In truth, motherhood worried Friedi. She had never had a mother herself. Agneta of Sweden had died to bring her daughters into the world. It was all a terrifying thought, and if Friedi could help it, she preferred not to think about it at all. “I am certain that you will. I have been told he has made an effort to speak to all of my friends.” It had been very touching to learn that he had sought out those she cared about, a small gesture that had endeared him to her endlessly. “You can tell him all my most embarrassing stories, and I will content myself with playing with your little one.” 

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herzoginxfmecklenburg‌:

As Kiki’s head rested on her shoulder, the other twin placed a gentle kiss upon her crown before resting her forehead against her soft hair. They might not have been identical, but in height there was little difference. Eleonora recalled the endless discussions about her being just a small bit taller than her sister, and Kiki refusing to believe so. Blaming it on her shoes, or downright cheating by standing slightly on her toes. A bold claim, which may or may not have been true half of the times she was accused of it. The discussions seemed silly now and even if they still were a thing it was clear who had won the game of ‘tallest sister’. It was neither them or Dottie. It was a new German princess - “He shall never be sick of you, Kiki. Such thing is simply impossible. And if he does, he is not worthy of your time nor presence. Let it be known.” Friedi raised her head off Nell’s shoulder and broke the moment of peace and togetherness as she invited her to come along. A tug at her arm and an invitation to fall in step were eagerly accepted, for she had waited too long for another one of their adventures together. 

“Of course I enjoyed the wedding, meine liebe schwester. I understand that you only had eyes for your new husband, but I almost would have expected the radiance of the smiles of me and Dot to reach you at some point during the ceremony. - I was… am so proud of you, Kiki. Switzerland and it’s guests have never seen such a beautiful bride as yourself.” It had been an unique experience to watch her sister be wedded, speak her vows before countless people convert in faith. Not that she had expected the latter to be much of a discussion point. Friedi had never been the most faithful, and Ella doubt if she would ever be. Her sister did not need the Lord most of the time when she had so much faith in her own self. The stinging pain of being the one left behind had faded for the most part, as had the fear of losing her that had almost completely paralyzed her before. There was no way back now, only acceptance could be a solution to her aching heart. And to enjoy the time that they could now spend together.   

“I will not tell Lorrie that you took a small amount of credit for showing me this secluded hiding place. The two of you were always more of the rebellious kind. I could have expected as much.” Ella chuckled, as she found that her feet already turned at the right passageways to reach the garden. Her mind and senses used to the corridors of their Swiss home by now. - Normally, the eldest might have rejected such ‘foolishness’ by laughing it away. If they were at their home, in Germany, she had feared the talk of the court ever since she was old enough to notice it. But now, with so little time to spare together, she accepted her sister’s wild invitation with a twinkle in her eyes. “We should slip past the laundresses and grab a blanket or two. It’s not cold at night, but it’s nice to cover up slightly is it not?” The clothes she wore today were all but practical for such adventure but she did not care. 

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The kiss pressed into her hair was so natural, that if Friedi hadn’t been separated from her sister for so long, she may not have even noticed it. But they had been. It had been so difficult to make time for her family of late, and she missed it dearly. She breathed in her twin’s scent, so familiar and comforting, and tried not to think about how, when they finally left this place, she may never inhale that lovely scent again. “I don’t know. I heard it’s quite common when the novelty of marriage wears off. Wives lose their husband’s affections, they take up with another. It is not so impossible.” It was highly likely Bayezide would take other wives down the line, and she still had not figured out how she felt about that - though at least, she figured she had time before she had to deal with such things. She laced their fingers, holding her twin’s hand tight in hers. She could not think about how much she had changed lately. Even her name was not hers anymore. She barely recognised the person she was becoming, but sharing that contact with Nell made her feel wholly and utterly like herself once more. 

“You will be surprised. I barely saw him on my wedding day. There was too many people to speak to. You will see, when it is your own. She had bought them time. Time for all of her sisters, and time for Lorrie, too. But it would not last long. Maximillian would place his demands on them once more, and she would not be there to protect Nell when that happened. Not anymore.  A flicker of worry passed through her. It was not that she did not have faith in her sister - but when it came to their father, they both knew Friedi was the only one comfortable enough to say no. “Proud,” she repeated, softly. She wished it didn’t still niggle at her, that her marriage was the only thing she had ever done to make everybody proud of her. “I still think Yekaterina was the prettiest bride I have seen.” 

 “You will have to be Lorrie’s rival in rebellion now, Ella. There are far too many eyes on me these days, and I have to try and be good, all of the time!” Friedi put on a show of horror, clutching her chest and rolling her eyes about dramatically. It was her natural instinct to push back against authority, but she could not make an enemy of the Sultan. It was on her now to win the Ottoman’s over, but nobody told her how exhausting it would be. Only a second of thought followed Nell’s suggestion, before Friedi diverted them, hurrying down the corridors of the castle in search of blankets. “We shall get some blankets, and something to eat a little later on. It will be a wonderful night.” 

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weavng‌:

A brow rose with the revelation. So the girl before her had found herself married by the Swiss courts; another girl of pure heart and eager mind sold to a man from another land. With each new woman, she found she thought herself lucky to be the wife of a man who had not came from such a different culture or background - ah, to tell young Gulbadan that she had found herself lucky to be sold by her father to a man she had not known. “I hope you see past my ignorance, but where are you from? Ah, were you the new bride presented to the Ottoman Empire?” Gulbadan asked with interest, her lips puckered. “Would you rather be called by this name or your birth name, ma chérie?” She asked out of respect, hands pressed together as she practised her basic French. 

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“Germany,” she responded. She would not insult the woman by presuming that she had not heard of her father’s country. Hindustan may not have been their closest ally, but they were allies all the same, and she was certain that she would have, at the least, heard of them. Her cheeks coloured, for the way it was worded made her sound like a passive bystander in the matter. If she hadn’t have wanted it, she would not have gone, though she supposed Gulbadan was not to know that. “I was. We married last month.” The buzz surrounding her wedding was beginning to die down, though some still spoke of it with wonder in their eyes, for it had been an extravagant affair. “If you would not mind, I would rather be called neither. Most of the people in my life call me Friedi.” Perhaps it was a little too familiar, but that was the duchess all over. Not so much had changed that she was not still that kind of people. “And what would you prefer that I called you?” 

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nagasanis‌:

in one way or another, nagasani and friederike had become family. the duchess’ aunt was her in-law and, despite not having a proper name to call the german, she feel fond of her. after all, familial ties aren’t what dictates one’s affection, she’s too well aware of that. unfortunately, friedi wasn’t a constant in russian court, having duties in germany far too often for nagasani’s taste, which only made seeing her again a larger delight. 

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“i would have liked to have attended,” she nods firmly, much honest in her words. her own wedding wasn’t joyful. she hopes friedi’s was different, and from what she’s heard, it was quite the celebration. the right fusion of ottoman and german customs, food, dance and drink. nagasani wishes she could’ve seen it. “very well then, friedi. how is he treating you, the sehzade? i hear he is a kind man.” and for her friend’s sake, she hopes that to be true. 

Seeing Nagasani at her wedding would have brought Friedi much joy, but she did not hold it against her. She shook her head, dark curls flying about her face. “At least you are here now. We can make up for lost time, yes?” Friedi wasn’t responsible for Nagasani’s unhappiness, but it did not stop her from feeling as though she was. Russia had welcomed the duchess with open arms when she had needed it the most, but they had not done the same for one they should call kin. If Friedi could make up for that in any way, she would. 

“He has been very kind to me. I have a lot of hope that this is the start of something wonderful.” She wondered if she was being insensitive, rubbing it in that things had worked out far differently for Friedi as they had for Nagasani. “But there are more important things to speak of, like that beautiful daughter of yours. How old is she now?”

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johannaofleuchtenberg‌:

The pressure of Friedi’s arms around her made Johanna smile as she hugged her back just as tightly. There were so many things that could go wrong in integrating with a new family after getting married, and Johanna had been lucky enough to know Matthias’ family quite well before they were even in talks of being betrothed. Genuinely loving his siblings like they were her own, she was grateful to have them as her family.  Friedi had never faltered in her love or support of her and Jo loved the woman just as much - she would do anything for her and hoped that her sister knew that. 

“Yes I do know that but it was your wedding day… I wanted you to relish in being a bride,” Jo said, tucking her arm into Friedi’s as they walked together towards the gardens. Johanna smiled as she recalled her own wedding day, “I felt the exact same way when I married Matthias,” she said nodding as she remembered how she had been shaking like a leaf in the moments before she walked down the aisle. “– the trick is to never let them see those nerves, and you did exactly that because you took everyone’s breath away,” she said with a gentle squeeze of Friedi’s hand. If anyone had any insight to Johanna’s pain other than Matthias, it was definitely Friedi, and Johanna could tell that she had worried her sister through the way that her laugh had faded so quickly, so she wordlessly nodded and carried on, actively trying to lighten the weight in her heart as she faced forward with a tight hold on her sister. “I do not know how I’m going to survive without you mein liebster Friedi… of course we will visit, but I hope that Bayezide knows what a treasure he has married– how is he? Does he treat you well?” 

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Say what you wanted about King Maximillian - he obviously had a knack for matchmaking. Yekaterina and Dmitry, Matthias and Johanna, both were, in Friedi’s eyes, loving successful marriages, even if she knew that Matthias and Johanna’s had not been quite a fruitful as either would hope. In Friedi’s eyes, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Her own mother had been lost to childbirth, after what she had later found out to be a long struggle to conceive. Matthias may have disagreed with her, but she would rather see Johanna safe and sad then gone from her life. 

“I thought I would remember more about my own wedding,” she let out a self-deprecating chuckle, shaking her head at the notion of it. “But it all went by so fast that I cannot recall a thing. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves, and that is all I could have wanted.” The wedding had been a show of the best the newly-joined countries had to offer. It had served its purpose, and now it was time for Friedi to serve hers. “Don’t you worry about that.” She was happy to leap upon the change of subject, to pretend as though the two of them were nothing but the happiest of young women. “You will never be rid of me. In fact, when you are not visiting me, I shall make sure I am visiting you, and you will wonder when I will hurry up and leave.” She laughed, and then she nodded. “It is all still so new, but he has been perfect. I can only hope that it is a sign of what is to come.” 

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tsarevnascphia‌:

≠ — Speaking the truth about how she felt would do her no good, the fear she felt, the lack of knowledge she possessed in regards of being a wife and of the world as a whole, left her feeling that the betrothal would be a mess, and that perhaps, should Louis not take a liking to her, lead to a sham of a marriage. “I trust the Tsars judgement, and that he has chosen a fine man to be my husband. It is daunting, but I look forward to it.” She stated, the smile on her face not quite reaching her eyes. She was still coming to terms with the betrothal, and thought she would for some time. 

If Friedi had been nervous, she did not seem it. That gave Sofya an ounce of hope, that perhaps things would go well for herself and that she had a good future to look forward to. For it seemed that Friedi was excited for her new future with her husband. “I am sure you two will fall into one soon enough, married life may be different, but I have an inkling that it may as well suit you fine.” She mused, a mischievous glimmer in her gaze. 

It was a relief to know that they had spoken of their wishes for the union, it made more sense to Sophia that Friedi should be at least now, having been married and said “I do.” A small hum escaped from Sophia at her cousins question, and she shook her head. “No, I have not, but we do have a meeting planned. We were writing one another before I left Russia, and so a date has been set for us to finally meet… I am as nervous as I am excited.” 

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She nodded her head. She could see that Sophia’s smile did not quite meet her eyes, and knew just how daunting it could be. Perhaps more so than most, given that the ink had barely dried on the German-Ottoman alliance that determined her fate before she had been thrown into marriage preparations. “The tsar is a good man. He would not do you wrong, Sophia.” She had far more confidence in him than she had in her own father at times. He had been good to her aunt, and Friedi was as fond of him as she was of his siblings. 

“Perhaps it will, though I have long had a habit of doing the opposite to what people expect,” her eyes glimmer. Her behaviour had been perfectly pristine of late, but there were still glimmers of the Friedi-of-old under the surface, waving and winking at those who knew her best, assuring them that her capability for mischief was not all that diminished. 

Tying together the more Western countries of the Ottoman alliance was a good idea. Friedi knew that logically, but when it came to people she cared about, she could not help but wonder if matters of the heart could factor in at all. “You shall have to let me know how it goes.” She offered what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “I am certain there is nothing to be nervous for, though. How could he not adore you?” 

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nagasanis:

starter: @duchessfriederike
location: common room, sasso corbaro ; evening 

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it is unlike nagasani to venture into the common room. she hasn’t been in bellinzona for long, sure, but even before she arrived she was sure she would most likely keep to herself - be it in her russian chamber or in hindustani chambers, alongside her sisters and sisters-in-law. she was didn’t expect was to spend so much time in the common room, a book in hand. 

she has never been an avid reader, that is the thing. in hindustan, she kept books mostly exclusive to times of studying, and in russia, she hasn’t had the freedom to read what she desires. the language is foreign, and so is the alphabet. it has been hard to learn to listen and to speak, and she hasn’t been able to read nor write it well. a book in urdu is found amongst the collection in sasso corbaro, and so nagasani sits comfortably, coddled by her mother tongue. 

friederike’s presence isn’t announced, but she can feel one entering the room. she isn’t bothered by her company. the duchess had been one of the few to be kind to her in moscow, and she knew she was a kind hearted lady. “i am sorry to have heard i have missed you wedding, friederike.” she finds herself at easy to be casual, while still not being intimate. her tone isn’t filled with emotion, but she truly is sorry for not having been there. specially to see friedi married to an ottoman. “or is it fahriye now, from what i’ve heard?” a german converting for a man of the east. the tale isn’t much different from that of her mother’s, and a worrying feeling rises in her stomach. however, she should not give friederike anxiety over her own personal experiences. 

Friedi had been friends with Yuri and Irina since the day her aunt had wedded Dmitry Rurik. She had always known the type of people they were, but she had embraced them all the same, not always agreeing with their choices, but laughing about them later all the same. It was different with Nagasani. Her fate was unfortunate, but one that could have so easily befell any of them, Friederike herself included. 

It wasn’t just that which nagged at Friedi. Once she had spent time with Nagasani, she found she liked her. She was beautiful, everything a wife should be, and she had long hoped there may come a day when Yuri might recognise that. But then, Irina had informed her of her son’s true parentage. If even Friederike felt guilty, just for knowing what was occurring under Nagasani’s nose, how could the pair of them carry on like they were? Perhaps now with Pyotr gone, Irina would change. Or perhaps, if she killed Pyotr, she would be worse. 

“I would have liked to see you there.” She answered in Persian, a language not yet familiar to her, her German accent heavy as she spoke. Since her engagement, she had been tasked with mastering the common languages of the Ottoman Empire, and now she had Arabic under her belt, she had turned to Persian. Perhaps Nagasani would not welcome it, but she needed to practice where she could. “My proper name will be Fahriye, now, but those who knew me before may still call me Friedi.” 

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@ferdinandlorraine

Scarcely a day went by in Germany where Friederike did not play music. It had been her brother, Ferdinand, who had taught her to play her first instrument - the harpsichord. From there, she had taken a vested interest, seeking tutors to teach her to play whatever she could get her hands on, writing songs of her own creation, writing poetry to accompany the melodies. That was all down to Lorrie. He had given her the gift of music, one of many little joys he had planted in her life. 

In Switzerland, however, it felt as though she had barely had a moment to breathe. She was not the same woman who had arrived here, only a few months ago, and she did not know what awaited her in the lands of her husband. But for now, it seemed, there was a chance for the dust to settle, for routine to fall on the duchess, and part of that routine would always include music. 

She sat at the harpsichord, fingers dancing over the keys. She had spent the last hour attempting to get the blasted thing in tune, and by now, she was finally satisfied. But just as she prepared to play, a shadow fell across the door. She raised her gaze, meeting Ferdinand’s eye, and a merry grin broke across her face. 

“Come on then, brother! Have you come to play a special song, just for me?” 

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johannaofleuchtenberg:

[ 𝐂𝐋𝐎𝐒𝐄𝐃 ] 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐚 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐤𝐞 @duchessfriederike

𝐓𝐇𝐄  second that she saw Friedi from across the courtyard, Johanna was taking large strides towards the woman that since her own marriage felt more like a sister than her actual sisters related by blood. Throwing her arms around Friedi, she held her in a tight embrace. “Friedi!” she exclaimed, unbridled joy filling the golden haired woman’s face for the first time in weeks. She knew that Friedi had been busy with the wedding and settling into her marriage, so she had not wanted to further burden her with any problems, but even just a hug and being close to someone she loved so dearly was doing wonders by the second. “liebste Schwester, it is so good to finally see you,” she said, holding Friedi an arms length apart. 

“𝐏𝐋𝐄𝐀𝐒𝐄 𝐓𝐄𝐋𝐋 𝐌𝐄 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐓𝐎𝐎 𝐁𝐔𝐒𝐘 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐀 𝐖𝐀𝐋𝐊 𝐀𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐀𝐑𝐃𝐄𝐍𝐒? I want to hear everything about how married life is treating you. You were busy on the day and I did not want to interrupt your celebrations but I just want to make sure you know how beautiful you looked… the most beautiful bride!” she said, taking a deep breath as she held on to her sister’s arm almost like Friederike was a crutch for Johanna to depend on, “Distract me from my thoughts… please,” she said, letting through a slip of sadness around the Landgravine’s eyes which was quickly covered up by a determined smile, thinking instead of her hopes for Friedi’s happiness. 

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“My dear Johanna,” Friedi did not hesitate to reach out for Matthias’ wife, bring her toward her in a tight embrace. And why should she not? She had known Johanna since they were young, and adored her almost all of that time. She was the type of woman Friedi had always longed to be more like, beautiful and graceful and perfect as it was possible for a woman to be. She would miss her just as much as her own blood siblings, and as they pulled away from one another, she pressed a kiss to each of her cheeks. 

“I am never to busy for you, and you know that well.” a fond smile followed the words. “You could have interrupted me at the altar itself and I would not have minded.” She glowed a little at the compliment, the novelty of such praise upon her still not wearing off. “I may have looked well, but I swear I thought I was going to faint.” She laughed, but it faded when she noticed the look in Johanna’s eyes. The blonde often wore sadness in a way that would make one almost envious for it. “I hope you and Matthias will visit me when we finally leave this place. Lorrie has already promised to.” 

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