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Bonus Material: "Cast List for Fiorenza the Wisewoman" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Bonus Material: "Cast List for Fiorenza the Wisewoman"
This is the perk for the January 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $200 donation goal.  Thank you all for your support!

Below is the cast list for the poetic series Fiorenza the Wisewoman. You can find the published poems via the Serial Poetry page. This fantasy series features a young woman taking care of people in an Italian village, using her herbalism and her wits to deal with various mundane and mystical challenges. The descriptions may contain spoilers for some poems.


Agostina -- First mentioned not by name, but only by relationship, she is a witch and the wisewoman of Faggiola.  When she grew too old to travel, her son Giacinto took her place in Fermo's market, where he met Fiorenza in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son."  In "The Talk of Faggiola" she sympathized with Giacinto about the village gossips.  She was mentioned again in "Walking with the Witch-son" as someone who needs Giacinto, a reason why he cannot leave his village.  Introduced in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son."

Alberto -- Zola's husband and Fiorenza's uncle. He was mentioned in "Winter Apples," having decided to retire the old bull and raise a male calf as replacement. He appeared, sneezing, in "Pigeon Soup." In "To Its Own End," he found Don Candido after the brothers Orfeo and Ovidio tried to kill him, and brought the injured man to Fiorenza for healing. Introduced in "Winter Apples."

Alfonso -- Not mentioned by name at first, but only as "the brewer's brother," this man was charmed by one of the fate in "The Daughters of Befana." He is noted for having a roving eye. He left the village when a caravan of soldiers passed through, in "From the Free City." Introduced in "The Daughters of Befana."

Annalisa -- A woman in Fiorenza's village. While pregnant, she stole prezzemolo from the fairies in "Prezzemolina." Marchesa Micia, the talking cat, mentioned her having no more wits than a hen in "Marchesa Micia." Introduced in "Prezzemolina." Introduced in "Prezzemolina."

Arrigo -- A bread-man created by Bettina to be her husband, with Fiorenza's help. He was mentioned in "Cups and Coins" when Fiorenza thought about making him with Bettina. Introduced in "Husband by Hand."

The baker -- He was first mentioned in passing when Fiorenza brought herbs to him in "From the Free City." He let Fiorenza and Bettina use his big oven, in exchange for some of Fiorenza's almond buns, in "Husband by Hand." He appeared briefly in "Pigeon Soup." He is fond of Fiorenza's baking. Introduced in "From the Free City."

Befana -- According to folklore, she is an old woman of the Fey who delivers gifts to good children on Epiphany Eve, also associated with the historic goddess Strenia. When Befana's fey daughters catch three village men, Fiorenza reveals the men's vices, and Befana makes the fate release them all. Introduced in "The Daughters of Befana."

Bettina -- The younger daughter of Otoniel the merchant. She asked for Fiorenza's help in creating a husband. She was mentioned in "Cups and Coins" as Fiorenza thought about baking Arrigo. Introduced in "Husband by Hand."

Bianca -- The older daughter of Otoniel the merchant. She was said to be prettier than her sister Bettina, but also lazy and greedy. She tried to steal Arrigo from Bettina in "Husband by Hand." She appeared, sneezing, in "Pigeon Soup."

The brewer -- He was mentioned only in connection with "the brewer's brother" who fell under enchantment in "The Daughters of Befana." Later he was mentioned in "From the Free City" where Fiorenza was bringing herbs to him. He appeared briefly in "Pigeon Soup." Introduced in "The Daughters of Befana."

The butcher -- Not mentioned by name, but only as "the butcher," this is where Fiorenza gets scraps for the griffins in "The Truth in the Tower." He had enough scraps to feed one family of griffins, but not two, in "To Its Own End." Introduced in "The Truth in the Tower."

Captain Marino -- A ship captain known for trading in the Fermo market, bringing spices such as peppercorns. Introduced in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son."

Carine -- Zola's youngest sister. She supervised the little girls sorting apples by size in "Winter Apples."

Carmela -- Fiorenza's grandmother and Marietta's mother. She had graying hair. She was the village wisewoman until her death ("when Fiorenza was three years a woman" (ref. "A Knot of Thyme") at which point Fiorenza took over. She taught Fiorenza how to garden, harvest herbs for medicines, and bake. Introduced in "A Knot of Thyme."

The cobbler -- Not mentioned by name, only as one of Tabagnino's cruel parents. Introduced in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk."

Constantino Fortunato -- Mentioned by name, but not featured in person, he was the first master of the talking cat Marchesa Micia. She left him after he made peace with his brothers Dusolino and Tesifone. Introduced in "Marchesa Micia."

The dark beauty -- A strange woman who came to Fiorenza's village wanting to buy a perfect red apple from Zola and some poisonous herbs from Fiorenza. She was disguised as an old woman, but Fiorenza saw through it. Introduced in "Winter Apples."

Death -- A powerful spirit personifying a natural force, Death is also Don Candido's godfather. They share a close, positive relationship. Introduced in "The Godfather."

Delanna -- A shepherdess in Faggiola.  Introduced in "The Talk of Faggiola."

Desideria -- A young woman in Fiorenza's village. She was mentioned, but did not appear, in "Winter Apples." She was with child, unmarried, blaming Pasquale down the lane.

The Devil -- Mentioned by name, but not portrayed in person, he figured in various poems. Don Candido described tomatoes as "the Devil's fruit" in "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?" Later in "Marchesa Micia," Don Candido said that the Devil must be in the cat because she was (mostly) black. Introduced in "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?"

Don Angelo -- The village priest before Don Candido. Introduced (in a flashback) in "The Godfather."

Don Candido -- The village priest. He and Fiorenza have mixed feelings about each other, mainly respect and exasperation. They both hold positions of authority in the village, but they are also both relatively new and younger than usual for said roles. This makes them protective of their own status, which can cause clashes when they need to deal with each other. But despite the sparks that fly, they aren't actually enemies. Don Candido takes his job very seriously (sometimes a little too seriously) and tries to uphold the social order as well as religion. His gruff exterior and pugnacious personality cover a surprisingly soft heart. His compassion is as powerful as his temper.

Don Candido performed the funeral service for Fiorenza's grandmother Carmela, then advised Fiorenza to marry, in "A Knot of Thyme." When the village had vampire problems (in "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?") he blamed tomatoes ("It's the devil's fruit.") instead. He preached about the symbolism of griffins in "The Truth in the Tower," and asked Fiorenza for help raising the grifflets after someone killed the mother. Interestingly, Don Candido could hear the angels speaking to the mother griffin and singing to the grifflets. The same poem also referenced Fiorenza helping him with the parish herb garden and usually bringing him eggs. He scolded Fiorenza for wearing breeches into the village, and urged her to find a husband, in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son." He brought soldier boys into the church, and laid out the corpse of one who had died, in "From the Free City." Fiorenza brought him half a bag of gold "for the village" at the end of "A Small Separation." "Farm and Field" revealed his tolerance for Fiorenza getting messy while caring for the village livestock, and his decoration of the church with a crèche scene at the year's end. He balked when Bianca brought Arrigo to the church and demanded a wedding without her father present, but when Bettina fetched Otoniel and straightened things out, Don Candido agreed to marry Bettina and Arrigo. He figured out a key reason behind the illness in "Pigeon Soup." He told Fiorenza about his personal background in "The Godfather." At first he quarreled with the talking cat in "Marchesa Micia," saying that the devil was in her; but later she saved him from an ogre, and they made up. He was mentioned in "Walking with the Witch-son" as someone needing Fiorenza, a reason why she could not leave her village. In "A Princely Abode," he started by delivering small private sermons to the frog prince, but eventually convinced Fiorenza to bring him to church. In "To Its Own End," Pasquale confessed to helping kill the mother griffin, whereupon Don Candido dragged him out of the confessional and punches him in the face, injuring his own wrist in the process. The villagers scolded Don Candido, but nothing worse. Later the brothers Orfeo and Ovidio, who had actually killed the mother griffin, attacked Don Candido. He was saved by the griffins, who killed Orfeo on the spot. Alberto then found Don Candido and helped him back to Fiorenza's cottage. Don Candido felt guilty for having failed the two brothers, but Fiorenza reminded him that their choices were their own, and the priest wasn't to blame for their wicked nature.

Introduced in "The Truth in the Tower," but the poem "A Knot of Thyme" flashes back to an earlier time. "The priest" is mentioned, though not by name, in the poem "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?"

Don Pio -- The priest of Nocciolaia in Carmela's time. He dragged a man out of the confessional and strangled him, because the fellow confessed to murdering Don Pio's niece. When Don Candido punched Pasquale for helping to kill the griffin, four different villagers told Don Candido the story of Don Pio, Fiorenza being the last of them. Introduced in "To Its Own End."

Don Pio's niece -- Not mentioned by name, she was murdered by a man later confessed to her uncle, whereupon Don Pio dragged him from the confessional and strangled him. The story was repeated in "To Its Own End" as a cautionary tale to Don Candido after he punched Pasquale for helping to kill the mother griffin. Introduced in "To Its Own End."

Duke Francesco -- Duke Francesco -- The Duke in charge of Urbino. He sent for Fiorenza to deal with magical problems in the Palazzo Ducale in "A Small Separation." He also mentioned that the glass house in the garden was a gift from his grandfather. Fiorenza wrote to him and asked him to recommend some princesses in "A Princely Abode." Introduced in "A Small Separation."

Dusolino -- Mentioned by name, but not featured in person, he is the oldest brother of Constantino Fortunato, former master of the talking cat Marchesa Micia. She left after the brothers made peace. Introduced in "Marchesa Micia."

Ercole -- After a cannonball cracked his skull during the siege of Fermo, he was no longer able to take care of himself. Nicilo later placed Ercole with Fiorenza, who discovered his sensitivity to some mystical things, in "From the Free City." Fiorenza took Ercole to see Agostina and Giacinto in "The Talk of Faggiola."  He watched Fiorenza settling the naiads in "Plumbing the Depths." When Fiorenza went to Urbino, she asked her aunt Zola to watch over Ercole, in "A Small Separation." He gave Fiorenza the idea to look beyond her own remedies in "Pigeon Soup." He made a bargain with a talking cat in "Marchesa Micia," offering her the field mice in the garden. He was mentioned in "Walking with the Witch-son" as someone in Fiorenza's care, and a reason she could not leave her village. He discussed Giacinto with Fiorenza in "Cups and Coins." He found the frog prince in "A Princely Abode." He was the first to notice the returning griffins in "To Its Own End." Introduced in "From the Free City."

Fiorenza -- The hera of the series. She was born "on the day of spring's first flower" (ref. "A Knot of Thyme"). She grew up in her grandmother's cottage and later inherited it. She is tall and slim. She has long and wildly curly black hair, a long nose, and olive skin. She has quick wits, deft hands, and a sharp tongue. She is the best gardener, the best baker, and the best herbalist in her village. She pays respect to the Pagan shrines and the Christian church, making occasional visits to both. Her orchard includes ox muzzle apples.

Fiorenza solved the vampire problem by developing garlic pizza (ref. "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?"). She does some trading in the city of Fermo and talks with the sea captains there; she also dealt with a Spanish vampire at the Fermo Fair (ref. "Fair Maiden Meets Fierce Villain"). She freed some village men from the fate in "The Daughters of Befana." She could hear the angels singing to the grifflets in "The Truth in the Tower." She scolded the three brothers arguing over their bequest in "Three Brothers and a Bull." She kept the fairies from taking Annalisa's daughter in "Prezzemolina." She met Giacinto in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son." She took charge of Ercole in "From the Free City." She brought Ercole to see Agostina and Giacinto in "The Talk of Faggiola."  She settled down the naiads in the fountain in "Plumbing the Depths." She traveled to Urbino to deal with mystical problems in the Palazzo Ducale in "A Small Separation." "Bittersweet Preserves" told about a treasure of her family. She took care of the livestock in "Farm and Field." She dealt with a village-wide illness in "Pigeon Soup." She visited her aunt Zola to pack apples in "Winter Apples." She helped Bettina create a husband from bread dough in "Husband by Hand." She visited the church to help Don Candido clean the candle holders, and they spoke about their respective roles in the village, in "The Godfather." She killed both the beanstalk and the giant in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk," and gave Tabagnino enough treasure to support himself. She considered the influences of her parents in "Fiorenza and the Sea." She acquired a talking cat in "Marchesa Micia." She went walking with Giacinto in "Walking with the Witch-son," wherein they lamented how their duty to their respective villages kept them apart. Giacinto sought her help to slay a werewolf in "Fiorenza's New Hat." In "Cups and Coins," the Zingara told Fiorenza's future, and Fiorenza later talked about Giacinto with Ercole. She helped the frog prince settle into her garden in "A Princely Abode." She brought food to the griffin families and worked to keep them safe in "To Its Own End." She also dealt with the injuries when Don Candido punched Pasquale for helping to kill the mother griffin (with more sympathy for the priest than the village lout) and when the brothers Orfeo and Ovidio attacked Don Candido.


Introduced in "Can She Bake a Scary Pie," but the poem "A Knot of Thyme" flashes back to her earlier life. Fiorenza appears in all the poems of this series.

The fountain-tender -- He repairs the fountain after Fiorenza settles the naiads. Introduced in "Plumbing the Depths."

The frog prince -- Not mentioned by name, he is a prince transformed into a frog. Mad Ercole found him asleep in the manure pile in "A Princely Abode," and Fiorenza made a home for him in her garden. At first he wanted to regain his human form and return to his palace, but he later changed his mind. Introduced in "A Princely Abode."

The frog prince's brothers -- Not mentioned by name, they quarreled with the frog prince, making him unwilling to return home. Introduced in "A Princely Abode."

The frog prince's parents -- Not mentioned by name, they only talked about marrying off their son, so that the frog prince chose to remain a frog in Fiorenza's village. Introduced in "A Princely Abode."

Giacinto -- The witch-son or striòs, from a village near Fermo. He also trades in the Fermo market, bringing such goods as walking sticks, bandages, and potted herbs. His mother is the herbalist for their village, but has grown too old to travel, so he's taking over for her now since she never bore any daughters. Giacinto wears women's skirts to help people feel more comfortable with him in this role. He has smooth black hair that reaches his shoulders, a cleft chin, and a shy smile.

Fiorenza met Giacinto in the Fermo market, where they got into a discussion of herbs, in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son." They also discussed the respective challenges in their villages -- vampires in hers, werewolves in his. Fiorenza found Giacinto more intriguing than the louts in her own village. He watched Fiorenza settling the naiads in "Plumbing the Depths." He flirted gently with Fiorenza in "Walking with the Witch-son," and they shared their regrets that duty kept them apart. He sought help from Fiorenza to slay a werewolf in "Fiorenza's New Hat." In "Cups and Coins," Fiorenze talked about Giacinto with Ercole. Introduced in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son."

Giacinto's mother -- Not mentioned by name, only by relationship, she is the wisewoman of Faggiola. When she grew too old to travel, her son Giacinto took her place in Fermo's market, where he met Fiorenza in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son." She was mentioned again in "Walking with the Witch-son" as someone who needs Giacinto, a reason why he cannot leave his village. Introduced in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son."

The giant -- Not mentioned by name, he came down the beanstalk and menaced the village in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk." Fiorenza killed him. Introduced in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk."

Giordano -- Fiorenza's father. He went on a sea voyage prior to Fiorenza's birth and never returned. He was mentioned in "Fiorenza and the Sea" when Fiorenza considered her parents' influences on her life. He was mentioned in "Cups and Coins" as Fiorenza insisted that she would not tolerate an absent husband, as her father left her mother. Introduced in "A Knot of Thyme."

Graziella -- Zola's middle sister. She supervised the older girls discarding damaged apples in "Winter Apples." She also told a story about her husband's mother Vanna losing her glass eye in a jar of marbles.

Marchesa Micia -- A black cat with white paws, able to talk. She appeared in Fiorenza's garden after her former master Constantino Fortunato made peace with his brothers Dusolino and Tesifone. At first Don Candido thought she was a devil cat, but later she saved him from an ogre, and so they made peace. Introduced in "Marchesa Micia."

Marietta -- Fiorenza's mother. She only lived for about an hour after Fiorenza's birth, then was buried in a grave marked with a single flower. She was mentioned in "Fiorenza and the Sea" when Fiorenza considered her parents' influences on her life. She was mentioned in "Cups and Coins" when Fiorenza refused to repeat her mother's mistake of choosing a man who would leave. Introduced in "A Knot of Thyme."

The messenger -- He traveled from Urbino at Duke Francesco's command, bringing Fiorenza to deal with magical problems in the Palazzo Ducale. Introduced in "A Small Separation."

Miller-up-the-hill -- He was mentioned only in reference to "the son of miller-up-the-hill" who fell under enchantment in "The Daughters of Befana."

The murderer of Don Pio's niece -- Not mentioned by name, he confessed to killing her, whereupon Don Pio dragged him from the confessional and strangled him. The story was told in "To Its Own End" after Don Candido punched Pasquale for helping to kill the mother griffin. Introduced in "To Its Own End."

The musicians at the Palazzo Ducale -- They are mentioned in passing, although they don't appear, in "A Small Separation."

The naiads -- They caused problems with a fountain in "Plumbing the Depths."

Nicilo -- He left the village to become a soldier, returning wounded after the siege of Fermo in "From the Free City." He asked Fiorenza to take charge of Ercole. Introduced in "From the Free City."

The ogre -- Not mentioned by name, he posed as the Pope's tithe collector in "Marchesa Micia." The talking cat, Marchesa Micia, engaged him in a riddle contest, taunted him into becoming a mouse, and then ate him. Introduced in "Marchesa Micia."

Orfeo -- A young man in Fiorenza's village, the brother of Ovidio. He and Ovidio killed the mother griffin, after their friend Pasquale pointed her out to them. In "To Its Own End," Don Candido found out about what they did. Orfeo and his brother later attacked the priest and tried to kill him; Orfeo hit him over the head with a cudgel. The griffins then tore Orfeo to pieces. Introduced by name in "To Its Own End," but the first action appeared in "The Truth in the Tower."

Otoniel -- A merchant in Fiorenza's village. He was mentioned, but did not appear, in "Winter Apples." He was said to urge his daughters to marry, although they didn't want to. In "Husband by Hand," Otoniel's daughter Bettina created a man from bread dough and marries him. Marchesa Micia, the talking cat, mentioned him being greedy in "Marchesa Micia." Introduced in "Winter Apples."

Ovidio -- A young man in Fiorenza's village, the brother of Orfeo. He and Orfeo killed the mother griffin, after their friend Pasquale pointed her out to them. In "To Its Own End," Don Candido found out about what they did. Ovidio and his brother Orfeo attacked the priest, intending to kill him. Ovidio then ran off, and is presumed fallen to the wrath of griffins and angels. Introduced by name in "To Its Own End," but the first action appeared in "The Truth in the Tower."

Pasquale down the lane -- A young man in Fiorenza's village. He was mentioned, but did not appear, in "Winter Apples." He was said to have gotten a child on an unmarried girl, Desideria. Marchesa Micia the talking cat mentioned him as a skirt-chaser in "Marchesa Micia." He reappeared in "To Its Own End," where he confessed to helping kill the mother griffin, whereupon Don Candido punched him in the face. Pasquale did penance for his thoughtless act, such as helping the butcher gather scraps for the griffins nesting in the church. Introduced in "Winter Apples."

Prezzemolina -- The daughter of Annalisa, a beautiful girl with silky black curls. She was nearly taken by the fairies in payment for their stolen crop, before Fiorenza intervened. Introduced in "Prezzemolina."

The priest at the Palazzo Ducale -- When Fiorenza senses a shift in the Palazzo Ducale, she runs to find Duke Francesco with a priest in the vestibule before the Chapel of Absolution and the Temple of the Muses. Introduced in "A Small Separation."

The priest's young cousin -- Not mentioned by name, but only as "the priest's young cousin," this man is charmed by one of the fate in "The Daughters of Befana." (The priest in question is Don Candido.) This cousin often plays Sandrone in the Commedia dell'arte and makes a griffin puppet for Don Candido and Fiorenza in "The Truth in the Tower." Introduced in "The Daughters of Befana," also mentioned in "The Truth in the Tower."

The shepherds who kept the little stone shrines -- They were mentioned, though not shown in person, in "A Small Separation." Fiorenza distributed about half a bag of gold to them on her way home from Urbino. Introduced in "A Small Separation." Another poem, "Old and Older Ways," also mentioned the shrines and people's continuing attention there.

Sienna the potter -- She makes the crockery for Fiorenza's villages. Fiorenza asked her to make a frog palace in "A Princely Abode," essentially a fancy pot with several inner chambers. Introduced in "A Princely Abode."

Silvano -- A woodcutter in Faggiola.  Introduced in "The Talk of Faggiola."

The son of miller-up-the-hill -- Not mentioned by name, but only as "the son of miller-up-the-hill," this man is charmed by one of the fate in "The Daughters of Befana."

The Spaniard -- A Spanish vampire working as a trader. He sells herb plants, such as Spanish lavender, and other spices. He has very pale skin. Although he can move around during the day, he weakens noticeably as the sun grows hot. Fiorenza vanquished him with a garlic pizza. Introduced in "Can She Bake a Scary Pie?"

Tabagnino -- The son of the cobbler, Tabagnino is hunchbacked and half lame, unable to work. He procures magic beans, but is unable to cope with the result, in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk." Fiorenza restores order and gives Tabagnino enough treasure to support himself thereafter. Introduced in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk."

Teodosio the rag-and-bone man -- He collects animal parts and rubbish in the village, using it to make such things as glue, horsehair cord, horn tools, and linen paper. In "To Its Own End" he provided scraps for the griffins in Zola's apple barn. He also warned Fiorenza that Orfeo and Ovidio were up to no good. Introduced in "To Its Own End."

Tesiphone -- Mentioned by name, but not featured in person, he is the middle of three brothers, the youngest being Constantino Fortunato, former master of the talking cat Marchesa Micia. She left after the brothers made peace. Introduced in "Marchesa Micia."

The three brothers -- Not named individually, the two older brothers are rude and foolish, while the youngest is more polite and sensible. Introduced in "Three Brothers and a Bull."

The three fate -- The fey daughters of Befana. They dress in fanciful robes -- one red, one green, one blue -- and hennin hats. They enchant three men from Fiorenza's village, but after hearing the men's flaws, beg to be sent back to their mother. Introduced in "The Daughters of Befana."

Timoteo -- A young man in Fiorenza's village, son of Zola and Alberto, cousin of Fiorenza. He helped Fiorenza with her barrel of apples in "Winter Apples."

Vanna -- Graziella's elderly mother-in-law. She was mentioned, but did not appear, in "Winter Apples." Graziella told a story about Vanna losing her glass eye in a jar of marbles.

Vitalia -- The baker woman in Faggiola.  Introduced in "The Talk of Faggiola."

The werewolf -- Not mentioned by name, he killed livestock and a little girl in the village of Faggiola where Giacinto lives, as described in "Fiorenza's New Hat."  Giacinto then sought help from Fiorenza to kill the werewolf.  Introduced in "Fiorenza's New Hat," although "werewolves" in general were mentioned near Giacinto's village in "Fiorenza and the Witch-son."

The witch -- Not mentioned by name, she gives Tabagnino some magic beans in "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk."

The Zingara -- A old woman of the gypsies, she is skilled with the Tarocchi cards. She visited Fiorenza's village in "Cups and Coins" and predicted Fiorenza's future. Introduced in "Cups and Coins."

Zola -- An older woman in Fiorenza's village, Alberto's wife, Timoteo's mother, and Fiorenza's aunt. She keeps the largest orchard in the village, including Binotto and Decio apples. Before leaving for Urbino, Fiorenza asked Zola to take care of Ercole in "A Small Separation." Fiorenza visits Zola's kitchen to pack Decio apples in "Winter Apples." A griffin nests in the dovecote of Zola's apple barn in "To Its Own End." Introduced in "A Small Separation."

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