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A Gathering of Mages


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Parkhurst Hotel, Lantern Hill, Freedom City

11 pm October 31st

For the last few nights, every magician and sorcerer could feel it, something was clawing its way up through the deepest and darkest dimensions. It created a sense of dread that something very bad was going to happen and soon and it didn’t take a genius to figure out when Samhain or Halloween was when the barriers between worlds were at their weakest.

 

So quickly a plan was quickly put together all of those with suitable magical gifts were summoned, mostly by text and e-mail, to the Parkhurst Hotel to carry out a ritual (at midnight of cause) to hopefully sealing whatever this creature was within the spaces between worlds.

 

That was at least an hour or so however so everyone was gathered in the grand hall with its sweeping staircases doing one of the other favourite things that mages loved to do network and gossip.

 

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Blackstaff

 

The runes carved into the the long solid staff of black wood are barely visible under the hotel's lighting as it leans against bar's counter. Beside it, Christopher sat on a stool with a tall glass of a local IP. The wizard had come to town on family matters and had been ready to return to Emerald City, but on the night before he had been planning to return something scratched at the edge of his magical sense. Was it something familiar? He couldn't be sure, but with each passing day he could feel it's presence more and more. He had sent his secretary/office assistant that had come with him home while he stayed to look into whatever it was that was setting him on edge.

 

Asking around it was easy enough to learn about the meeting at the hotel tonight so Christopher had taken it upon himself to invite himself. He hadn't been sure what kind of reception to expect coming from out of town, but the other wielders of magic gathered for the evening were friendly enough.

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Effigy

 

Wilona Tabana loved Halloween. Spooky monsters came out to play and she got to burn them. It was, quite frankly, a very fun night. But this one felt different. She didn’t have magical super senses, really. But she’d asked around a little in the street community, and heard the rumor of Freedom’s magical types gathering at Parkhurst. And, of course, she knew that anything interesting would happen near or at midnight. So, she’d done two things. 1. Get dressed in her Effigy Robes and domino mask. 2. Walk out the front door of her dorm, cast Libertas, and fly away. Bold as brass, and ignoring the hell out of anyone who tried to stop her.

 

Invisigirl

 

Naomi, of course, tagged along but wasn’t really paying attention. Not being mystic in any way, she felt no attachment to Halloween. Well. Aside from all the spooky riffs on popular characters people posted on social media. She had just posted the last of her own, when Wilona changed clothes and asked if she wanted to go out with her. Naomi had nothing else to do tonight but sleep, and she could do that any time. Like tomorrow in class. The teachers rarely noticed her to begin with, and if she was quiet and still they really tended to just not see her. So when WIlona walked out the front door and took off in a roar of Libertas wind, Naomi was right behind her on a silent invisible platform. Going unnoticed in Wilona’s flashy wake, as usual. She turned invisible and changed into her costume, such as it was, on the way.

 

Effigy and Invisigirl

 

And so, the two young heroes were hanging out in Parkhurst’s lobby. Wilona was scrolling social media on her battered old phone with one earbud in. The other, dangling, was playing the heaviest of metal, Naomi had plucked a pencil from behind her ear and pulled out a sketchbook. She was sketching the architecture of the grand old hotel. The people in it seemed nice enough, they both thought in their own ways. But Wilona would have no patience for anyone who tried to tell her how to do magic, and Naomi was a mundie. So they had not yet actually said more than basic pleasantries to anyone.

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Veronica Danger

 

"So far things are going well at the Sorbonne and I am settling in. Also starting to explore some corners of Paris I have not visited before." Veronica Danger stated to her two friends from Claremont Academy, Abigail Eldritch and Elizabeth Grey as the trio made their way into the grand hall of the Parkhurst Hotel from one of the side rooms.

 

The teenage Danger was dressed in her typical attire, a pair of brown cargo pants, a tan long sleeve shirt and a pair of well worn-in hiking boots. She took a moment to look about the large hall, her mystical sight taking in the wide range of mystical power of those gathered there.

 

As casual as Veronica seemed, she was only too aware of some approaching mystical threat that seemed to be trying to use tonight to break through to Earth Prime. Her mystical sight was able to see the fluctuations in the mystical fields that passed through this location, not a reassuring sign.

 

With a more serious expression on her face, the Danger scion looked over to her friends. "So, it won’t be too much longer before things start. You ready?"

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No one expected Phantom to show up, but show up she did. Of late, Earth's current master magus had been even more remote than usual. Some attributed that to the burden of her position although certainly there were rumors that there was more to it than that. She showed up with no fanfare or showmanship, simply ghosting into existence between one breath and the next. Her ragged cloak spilled out from the shadows between the world, wrapped around the tiny sorceress although it slithered and moved like a living thing along the ground as she floated from the shadows to be a more visible presence. Phantom's chin tipped up enough to reveal the silver of jaw and her stern-set mouth below the hood's shadow. 

 

She offered a small nod to one of the gathered guests, one of the few faces that was familiar before floating silently through the crowd - in some cases literally as she remained insubstantial; more shadow than woman as she made her way to the bar. It must be bad if Phantom was actually making in an appearance. On Halloween, nonetheless. 

 

Or maybe she was just running from memories. 

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"I mean, as ready as I'm ever going to be," admitted Elizabeth Grey. Or, rather, admitted Masque - given the company they were likely to be keeping she'd gone for her full costume, white cloak and all, its hood framing the full mask that kept subtly changing its painted expression every time nobody was looking directly at it. She even had her crook-staff, though Veronica and Abby would know her well enough to guess that the worn, unfinished wood and cloth bindings were mostly just to keep her hands busy.

 

Doing card tricks in front of a room full of actual magic people was probably some kind of faux pas. Would they be impressed? They probably wouldn't be impressed.

 

Still, she rarely ran low on optimism and she wasn't going to start now, even as more people arrived. "....is that the Master Mage? Please tell me it is. Do you think she'd give me an autograph? Or, y'know, a picture. I'm not picky. It's a big night."

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Looking decidedly more rumpled than even usual and with dark circles under his eyes Ouroboros quietly slipped into the room brushing a hand quickly through his hair and shaking his wrinkled black duster somewhat straighter at the sight of certain luminaries unexpectedly in attendance.  

 

The thinning of the barriers were a tough time to be a guardian of the dimensional byways, and that was without some sinister force trying to claw it's way free.  The Eye of Heshem glinted at his wrist where the orichalcum chain held the artifact of his office in place as he made his way across the room sizing up his fellow magi.  

 

"Never know till you ask."  he murmured with a mischievous half smile showing just hint of elongated canine.  Yes it had been a long night already indeed, and it was very possible he was significantly late for other engagements, he'd have a bit of fun at his mothers expense for the trouble.

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica had just been about to confirm Phantom's identify to Liz when Ouroboros had moved up near them. "Good to see you again Ouroboros." The teenage Danger stated with a warm smile as she turned toward the Dhampir. "Have not seen you since Phantom passed the title of Guardian of the Void to you." She added.

 

Huang had been in his last year at Claremont when Veronica and Liz had begun. But he and Veronica had been on Green Team together that year. And of course, they had all been recruited by Nicole when she had needed some help in removing some mystical malware from her Salvo armor.

 

"I imagine that has kept you rather busy?"

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Effigy and Invisigirl

 

Wilona was now bored with social media and bored with music. So she was playing with mana. She knew magic could teleport people, manipulate electromagnetism, or control gravity. It was just a matter of figuring out how to do it. So her left glove glowed aquamarine and her fingers traced lingering blue lines through the air. There was a lot of mana in this hotel. It was a very good opportunity to practice. This did not mean she was meeting with any success. Still, every failed attempt was a learning experience. Why was she not talking with anyone? Well, they were all older than her. And if there was anything her reading had taught her about older magicians, it was that they loved telling the younger ones how to do magic. No, thank you.

 

Naomi, meanwhile, was still sketching. Her work had taken a turn from the mundane to the fantastical and disturbing. Non-Euclidean geometries. Alarming creatures just out of sight. Even some of the people who were visible in the hotel. They seemed normal enough, except for the eyes. It was psychologically intense stuff, all told. Then she sighed, finished sketching. She put her sketchbook down, stretched like a cat…and pulled out the colored pencils. It was time to lay the sketches out and fill them in. She wasn’t happy, exactly. This was the bone deep satisfaction of having done one’s work well. She sorted her sketches, discarded a few. There was no apparent commonality between the discards. With that done, she colored and shaded. The wonder on the part of a potential viewer as to exactly what was going on in her head increased. Because the coloring only enhanced the otherworldly effect of her drawings.

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Artificer

 

Heroditus would not refer to himself as a "mage," not in the conventional sense.  But since Atlantean "technology" -- which he was quite skilled with -- was a weird hodgepodge of Earthly scientific principles, Atlantean magic, and weirder things, he certainly knew more about magic than most.  Plus, he had the ability to see magical energies, and he had been seeing some very disturbing things of late.  Nothing major, no gaping holes in reality or shredded ley lines, more like things just on the periphery of his vision, but he had a feeling those things would be getting bigger and more noticeable.

 

And so, the Claremont Senior had snuck off-campus to attend the gathering.  His magic vision made for a visual thrill in Parkhurst, and it took him a moment to adjust before he started looking for familiar faces.  He recognized a few attendees, by reputation if not from personal meetings, but most were unknown to him.  "I wonder if any other Atlanteans will be here," he murmured to himself.

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There was a great wet swirling in the air as a circular shape appeared near Heroditus, one outlined by suckered tentacles like the pieces of a metal iris. Then the tentacled gateway opened and out stepped a vision; a figure wrapped in shining pearlescent armor from the depths of space, wielding the dark trident of Great Mother Hydra herself, and bearing on her amphibious body the marks of the blood of Dagon, Hydra, and Lost Lemuria. 

 

The Sea Devil peered about with big froggy eyes, then jumped in surprise when she realized who she had arrived next to. "Atlantis-Man!" She had met Heroditus before and the meeting had not gone well. "Is-" She thought desperately of Surfacer pleasantries and croaked awkwardly, "how fares your sister?" She waved with her trident to those she knew. "Behold! It is Phantom, the mightiest mystic of the Surface! And her male child, the one with the teeth!

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Simon was not a mage. He did not have magic powers, but, he was a creature of magic. He managed to sneak in, in cat form, behind one of the people. He climbed up on to a chair, still in his cat form, and curled up a bit. His yellow eyes were the only thing that belied his intelligence, as he was clearly watching the conversation. Anyone who could sense magic, however, would know him for what he was.  

 

He did not understand magic, but wondered, perhaps, if he should try to learn it.

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"Kept busy indeed," a clarion voice answered Veronica Danger with an exaggerated pout. There were those present who could not have been caught unawares by Set stepping through shadows to slip into the hotel lobby ahead of the crowd but magic practitioners, as a rule, respected the need to make an entrance. Those unaided by supernatural senses suddenly saw a young woman sitting with one leg crossed over the opposite thigh atop the tall back of the chair the black cat had curled up in, a voluminous mane of thick brick red dreadlocks arranged to cover one storm grey eye.

 

Her outfit could only have been described as 'drugstore season aisle sexy witch costume but make it couture'. Glossy black pumps over striped thigh high stockings in alternating black and dayglo orange topped in spiderweb shaped lace. A flared black skirt designed to look like overlapping bat wings, supported by layers of crinoline and ending a good handspan and a half over the tops of the stockings. A vivid purple corset laced in the same bright orange performed its own sort of magic while more strips of spiderweb lace formed a pentacle around her neck and shoulders. A hat with a impractically large brim sat far back on her head to create a sort of halo, its tall point curving to one side in an irregular spiral, a jewelled scarab hanging ornamentally from the tip.

 

Set's usual eye markings had been done in neon lime green with purple eyeshadow and matching green lip colour and one hand covered in a black lace glove balanced an ostentatious wicker broom while the other casually held a smart phone. She gave the group of younger mages a grin with perfect ivory teeth that crinkled her nose. "Tis novel to see 'unspeakably powerful entity desperately barred from entering the mortal plane' from this side! No party compares to a narrowly-avoided-the-end-times adrenaline rush party!"

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Phantom's voluminous cloak and mask hid a great deal of her expression but someone close enough might catch the faint sigh or the slight hunch of her shoulders. Should have stayed home and enjoyed movies with JJ and the ghosts, clearly, instead of putting in an appearance. Things would probably have been fine without her presence, right? Certainly. 

 

But she had promised herself that she'd stop hiding and moping. Phantom DID love her son and she was even fond of his on again, off again paramour - but finding herself navigating a public gathering - something she had NEVER been fond of - while trying to keep an eye on Huang and Set and their potentially explosive interactions just sounded like a headache. 

 

I could have been in fuzzy socks and leggings instead. Eating candy.

 

"This isn't a pending-apocalypse situation. At least not yet," Phantom offered to Set, her voice echoing ghostly and unnatural as it did when she was less than solid. "It's not a likely scenario. Not this Halloween, at least. Good evening, Set. Ouroboros."

 

Phantom tilted her head to take in the knot of young mystics that were standing together before he gaze skimmed past and landed on Aquaria. A small smile flickered across her features. "Sea Devil. I hope your recent hunts have been fruitful."

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"To say the least."  Ouroboros replied to the Danger scion.  "Particularly this time of year."  he admitted with a touch of weariness, "I'm sure you're familiar with the difficulties of fulfilling familial expectations."  He surveyed the gathering of the magically inclined with curiosity as the familiar energies or Atlantis and their foes manifested carefully positioning himself to interrupt any potential conflict before it might start.

 

Of course another arrival took his attention from the rest as he quickly ran through his mental schedule and prepared for the fallout if he had missed an engagement.  "A memorable entrance as always."  the young mage complemented a hint of a frown ghosting across his features before he shooed the cat off the chair below Set.

 

"Master Mage good of you to join us I expected your duties would keep you occupied."  he answered with a small nod to his mother with uncomfortable formality.  But at least he hadn't said moping.

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Oz

 

Content to have remained quiet and listen to goings on from a plush overstuffed armchair that hadn't been there before his arrival Oz had decided that it wasn't his place to be a driving force in the affairs of this dimension but he had attended to offer whatever council he could to those whom the decisions fell too.

 

Giving a tip of his top hat to the master mage upon her arrival and putting a pause on his progress through that delightful candy smashing game the kind young store assistant had recommended to him.

 

Things it seemed were now in motion.

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Blackstaff 

 

Christopher set his half empty glass on the counter and turned on his stool to look over the gathered magic-users. Sitting there, he felt a powerful presence join them and his attention found the young looking Asian-American woman. He had never laid eyes on her and it took him a moment to recognize her from descriptions he had heard.

“Phantom.” He raised an eyebrow. “I guess this really is going to be an eventful evening.”

 

He attention drifted from the most powerful mage in the world right now. She didn’t look like she really wanted to be there, and he couldn’t blame her. Slipping off the stool he took up his staff and casually began to work his way across the room. Three more women stood together speaking among themselves before a young man joined them. The young man looked a little pale but seemed to known by the girls. He moved along without butting in.

 

With all the magic in the air he almost missed the small workings coming for off to the side of the hotel’s lobby. A pair of young girls were keeping to themselves. They were even younger then the trio and for a moment was concerned about their attendance. Especially after he noticed the one sketching in a book wasn’t a magic-wielder. He was about to approach the two when the arrival two new magical auras joined the gathering.

 

Though only one was obviously not human, and it’s entrance wasn’t exactly subtle. For a instant Christopher had begun to gather his magic, but when no one else reacted to the appearance he hesitated. The other’s magical aura radiated nonhuman magical influence and it quickly became obvious that the two knew each other. The boy didn’t look much older then the two girls and at least one of them seemed to recognize the master mage.

 

“I suppose it was only a matter of time until there was an influx of magical youths.” Christopher commented off handedly to no one in particular as he stopped beside a large comfortable looking armchair containing to one familiar face in the crowd. Another powerful entity slipped from the shadows and engaged Phantom in conversation. He eyed the new arrival cautiously and amended his thought.

“Of course there comes times when it’s difficult to tell the old from the young at a glance. Wouldn’t you agree?” He chuckled as he addressed the mage that had been busy crushing candy on his phone.

“Or maybe I’m just not in the loop, being from out-of-town and all.”

He gave Oz a friendly smile.

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica had given Huang a small nod as he had mentioned her understanding the difficulties of meeting family obligations. "Yes, I am familiar with that. I still have a personal assistant following me around constantly trying to schedule ever second of my time. Thankfully she has taken the night off."

 

It was then that Set made their entrance. The young Danger looked over toward them as her mystical true sight studied the newcomer a moment. Veronica could see the ancient magic that permeated from Set, but also the complex web of rules which governed the obviously other dimensional being. This had her wondering from a moment about Set's presence, but given that Huang seemed unbothered by it, she expected that everything was generally within the bounds of the Pact.

 

Veronica's attention was briefly distracted by Aquaria calling out, as she glanced over toward the Deep One and saw Heroditus. Making a mental note to be sure to get over to see her former classmate and Green Squad member, Veronica focused back on Set. "Well, hopefully this event lives up to that expectation." She replied with a grin at Set's comment about what had brought this gathering about. "But, we have not had the pleasure of meeting before, I am Veronica Danger." She then added in greeting, just as her gaze fell on the cat Haung has shooed away from Set, noting that it was not at all what it seemed.

 

It was then that Phantom had drifted over to the group. "Good evening Madame Master Mage, it is good to see you again." Veronica said in greeting.

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"Oooh?" said Masque, turning to watch Set's entrance and costume and...deal. "She looks like trouble."

 

The words might have sounded more sincere if her mask hadn't, the instant it was unseen, taken on a wide and cartoonish toothy grin.

 

Liz waved her hand in front of it a few times, giving it just enough cover to return to normal passivity. This was going to be fun, and it would be more fun if she could hold her cards a little closer to her chest, or all the way up her sleeves. "It's kind of funny to see everyone just milling around while we wait, but it makes sense. Where's the fun in the end of the world if you can't have a little party first?"

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Set didn't even attempt to hide a teeth clenching wince at the interaction between Huang and his mother. "Ahah, well! As the saying goes, the difference twixt a pending cataclysm and a pending apocalypse tis only a can-do attitude. A most pleasant Hallow's Eve to you, Master Mage." The godling slid smoothly to her feet and curtsied so deeply it might have seemed facetious coming from someone less naturally dramatic.

 

Rising back up with a truly gratuitous bounce that sent her skirt fluttering for a moment Set turned to Veronica with a winning smile. "One of those Dangers? Truly, all mortals should have such bombastic appellations, tis good branding if nothing else." She glanced in Masque's direction and paused ever so briefly with slightly narrowed eyes and a sly smile ghosted over her painted green lips. "Speaking of timeless fashion, here be one with exceptional accessorizing game. My compliments, trickster." She brandished her phone. "Selfie, ladies?"

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Artificer

 

Heroditus nearly jumped out of his skin when Aquaria appeared, and had to focus on slowing his breathing before responding.  "Theodora is... adjusting to her circumstances."  His sister had been changed into a Deep One, and while Heroditus and others got to her before the transformation had completed, and managed to save her mind, her body had completely changed.  "She has kept up with her studies, as have I.  And you?  You are... well?"

 

Ancestors, give me strength.

 

He turned aside in time to see a cat that was not quite a cat saunter by, a witch who seethed with Egyptian magics, and the Master (Mistress?) Mage herself.  He bowed to her and recited a traditional Atlantean greeting given by a student to an honored master, ending with, "I am called Artificer, and am a student at Claremont's Academy."

 

He looked again to the gathering mages, seeing energies coming off the man in the overstuffed armchair that reminded him faintly of Pan the Forever Boy, was relieved to see familiar faces in Veronica Danger and Masque, then stopped to admire the assorted implements of the staff-wielder who had just approached.  "Oh, those are exquisite!  Did you make them yourself?"

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Veronica Danger


Veronica smiled slightly at Liz's comment about how strange it seemed that everyone was currently just waiting around, given the approaching danger that several present had been sensing. "Well, certainly never hurts to get a last bit of fun in if it might be your last." The young Danger stated.


The brunette then gave a small nod and grin in response to Set asking Veronica to confirm her connection to the famous Danger family. "We certainly have not been shy about branding." She added.

 

When Set held up her cellphone, Veronica’s smile widened slightly at the god/goddess' question. "Absolutely!" She stated as she moved over to stand to one side of Set.

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"oh if it isn't my friend from the escapade with the cockatrice!" Oz remarked as he slid his phone into a pocket on his blazer.

 

"have you been keeping well since we last saw each other?" he asked in earnest interest as he conjured up a second seat and a small table with a basket of baked goods and homemade halloweenish treats upon it.

 

"hah, it does a old heart well to see youngsters that have dedicated themselves to the winding paths of magic; old age oft underestimates youth and im glad that the current generation is getting a chance to speak their part in matters such as this."

 

"Come sit with me and let us catch up a little whilst we puzzle out what to do about this shadow in the space between."  he offered his friend Blackstaff first pick of the basket before sending it off to float around the room at a leisurely and accessible pace and height for any other interested parties.

Edited by Exaccus
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"Well! That is good!" said Aquaria nervously, hoping she wasn't going to get into another fight with the Atlantean. "I hope she remains well. I am well! And very strong!" she added, striking her trident against the ground. 

 

Phantom's arrival made things a little less awkward. "Yes!" exclaimed Aquaria, excited to be noticed by such a powerful shaman as Phantom. "Behold!" she shoved an arm inside her armor and fished around wetly for a moment, then produced a large, succulent-looking Atlantic blue crab whose limbs were flailing about in surprise. "An auspicious blessing!" she added, handing it either to Phantom or to her well-toothed son, depending on who looked the most interested in taking it. 

 

"If anyone is worried about anything," she added loudly, "it is not anything Deep Ones are doing! There are no Deep Ones around this city! Except for me!" She hesitated a moment, then started sniffing around the drinks table. 

 

 

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Ouroboros remained impassive as his mercurial sometime paramour greeted the master mage and moved on to the Danger girl and her clique.  However the way his eyes followed her across the room suggested he was far less unmoved than he wished to appear.

 

All in all he welcomed the distraction of the writhing crab being presented and neatly grasped it, "Auspicious indeed!"  he agreed and neatly deposited the very confused crustacean into the yawning void that filled his coat where it would float until he had need of it or remembered to remove it.  Luckily time flowed differently there.

 

"Yes, this looming presence does not have the touch of lemurian sorcery to it."  he agreed politely.  "Of course this time of year the possibilities while not endless are certainly voluminous."  

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