Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Kasrkin » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:40 pm

Anakwanar wrote:you done them right, and not like indomitable shit from new Codex


I actually thought that the new Codex wasn't too bad in that respect. Sure it paints the Tau in a favourable light (as all Codices do with their faction), but I never thought it went into Matt Ward levels of fanboyish Mary Sue-ness. It actually shows them getting defeated on a number of occasions! :o And that whole thing about O'Shaserra destroying an entire splinter fleet without losing any ships doesn't seem to have been mentioned, which is a relief.

Anyway, back on topic. Don't want to be hijacking Peter's thread.

I've just read back over my earlier post, and thought it would be best if I clarified a few things. When I say that I thought the ending left many questions unanswered, I really just meant one, namely

Spoiler: the Iverson issue. The ambiguity around pretty much everything else works no problem. The nature of Phaedra itself, the ghosts/voices/visions, the temples and so on are more interesting since we don't know the answers, and so this contributes to the sense of madness that surrounds the characters in the book. It also raises the question as to just how much of this stuff IS real, or just imagined by the characters in their shell-shocked/feverish/shroom-addled minds. Also it makes sense that we, the reader, don't know all these secrets about Phaedra because none of the characters do. We are, after all, seeing this story unfold through their eyes and are thus limited to their knowledge and descriptions of things. With the Iverson question though, at least two characters (Cutler and Skjoldis) DO know, or at least think they know, just what he is and why he is such a threat.

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:26 pm

Hi Kasrkin,

as promised, I have a few answers for you. And where I’d rather not offer straight answers, some thoughts instead.

1. New Tau Codex - The novel was finished long before the new codex was made available and I wasn’t privy to any of it. Because the tau weren't the novel's focus and the events were limited to a very specific and unusual campaign I don't think there are any significant contradictions.

2. Who is Iverson? – There is no quick answer to this one and I’m not sure it’s a good idea for me to even write about it. This is a key enigma, but one that I believe can be interpreted reasonably (if not definitively) from the novel alone, but this is my take…
Firstly, Iverson is at the heart of the story and his personal arc was always my true focus. I really wanted to get into the head of someone trying to make sense of the demented tangle of the 40k universe and a guilt-ridden commissar had tremendous potential. As several characters point out, Iverson thinks far too much. He’s too empathic and obsessed with truth to bend with the inherent brutality of his role, yet too tough and loyal to break. These contradictions are the root of his insanity, yet he might have found some kind equilibrium if he hadn’t ended up on Phaedra - a place almost diametrically opposed to his hunger for absolutes.
I'll mark the rest as a spoiler...

Spoiler: On Phaedra everything is muck and shadow: A seemingly pointless meatgrinder war without end… A world that’s more alien than the alien foe… An enemy commander who’s an elusive ghost and an Imperial commander who’s little better… Not to mention an atmosphere steeped in psychotropic narcotics!


So far so ‘Nam, but what makes this scenario so exciting for me are the twisted metaphysics of the 40k universe itself. This is a place where powerful emotions (typically insane emotions) are echoed in the Immaterium, potentially to the point where they acquire sentience and independent existence as daemons.

Spoiler: Essentially this is the explanation Skjoldis offers for the entity that haunts the 19th Arkan – it was born in the death agonies of Trinity, a town that was already deeply tainted by Chaos. It is also the basis of Iverson’s doom.


Spoiler: The key is Phaedra Herself, a world that intensifies and darkens emotions, effectively acting as a magnifying lens to the Immaterium. Minds and events that might otherwise have stirred only the smallest ripples in the warp become significantly more potent on Phaedra, especially within the Dolorosa Coil. Whether this means the planet itself is tainted by the warp and any of the other manifestations (like the ghost sentinel) have any substance is another question (that I won’t go near), but it certainly acts as a crucible for Iverson’s guilt. By the end of the novel (and particularly after one crucial turning point…) he has given up hope of redemption. Though he follows his journey through to the bitter end he sees himself as a monster who deserves to suffer… and the warp being the warp, reflects and amplifies this, transforming belief into being. Iverson has effectively damned by himself, becoming the heart of darkness.


Spoiler: This is never made explicit in the text because, as you point out, we never know more than any of the characters themselves do. Had Cutler met Iverson, he would have recognised him as the Dark Man, but he wouldn’t have had a clue how that could be possible. Skjoldis, being wise to the perverse traps of the warp, suspected some twist of fate would damn Iverson (and carry him back through time and space to Trinity), hence her determination that he should die. In truth, I doubt she was confident that such a thing could actually be done, but she is a very determined lady. I was very fond of her! Iverson himself didn't really know what he was getting himself into...



Spoiler: 3. Jhi’kaara – I do hope to write more about her. Out Caste was her origin story, while A Sanctuary of Wyrms was an oblique prologue to Fire Caste, but I’d like to explore how she ended up on Phaedra, then perhaps pick up her tale after the events in the novel.



Spoiler: 4. Joyce the Betrayer – I’m pretty certain Joyce would have slipped all the way down the path of the Blood God, though he'd have called him the God Emperor to the bitter end. I actually agonised about killing him off because I would have enjoyed taking him all the way to the top/bottom. Joyce was very refreshing to write and I had a lot of fun with him. :)




5. The Greater Good – Iverson’s view of the Greater Good is much simpler and more cynical than my own (never forget that he is a [i]deeply
unreliable narrator) so I can give you a categorical ‘no’ on this one.
While I don’t buy into the tau propaganda machine, the Tau Empire is undeniably more rational and reasonable than the Imperium. Moreover the tau aren’t xenophobic fundamentalists, which is a big point in their favour. I do believe there’s a ruthless, deeply authoritarian aspect to the Tau Empire, but that’s almost certainly unavoidable in the 40k universe. Weighing everything up, life would probably be better as a gue’vesa than a guardsman, but there’d be a nagging sense of guilt and an awareness of being a second-class citizen of the Empire.
Truthfully my views tend to coincide with those of the Sky Marshall. There’s a lot of practical sense in the Greater Good when you’re up against irredeemably destructive forces like the Tyrannids, Orks and Necrons.[/i]

Sorry, this became pretty epic, but I hope it was helpful.

LOTN - I promise I'll reply to your questions next time round. Please bear with me!

Anakwanar - If English isn't your first language then you did damn well to finish the book as I know it's not the most straightforward read! The style is pretty experimental and jarring in places. You'll have to take my word on it that this was entirely deliberate. I appreciate your willingness to stick with my writing regardless.
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Kasrkin » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:53 pm

Peter, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions in such detail. :)

Regarding point 1, having been through the new Codex a few times you'll be pleased to learn that there don't seem to be any contradictions between it and Fire Caste. The only thing I really noticed was how the Broadsides seem to be of the old type (railgun on each shoulder) rather than the new (heavy rail rifle held in the suit's arms), but this can be chalked up to the empire's technology marching on as it does.

Can I assume that the

Spoiler: "crucial turning point" you refer to in Iverson's arc would be his killing of Reve?



Oh, one more thing. Why "O'Seishin" as your profile name here on the Bolthole?
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:36 pm

Kasrkin,

I like the idea that the Broadsides on Phaedra are older, outmoded tech. I guess the new codex helped me out there!

Regarding the turning point, you are correct. I tried to make the character notably colder and more ruthless after that event.

As for choosing O'Seishin for my handle... He was an ambassador in the book, so it seemed appropriate for a forum. And I like the sound of the name! I definitely don't see myself as that character. I'm not quite that old yet... :?
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Mossy Toes » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:21 am

If Herr Werner can name himself "Carandini," I think it's safe for you to name yourself after one of the characters in your book.
What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator!
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:39 am

LOTN, first of all I’d like to thank you for the thoughtful and detailed review on the Founding Fields. I particularly appreciate you going out on a limb to read an I.G. novel when they are not really your scene and I’m glad you found it worthwhile. As you say, Fire Caste won’t be for everyone, but hopefully enough people will enjoy it to justify a few more ‘weird’ tales!

Secondly, to address some of your questions…

Spoiler: 1. Iverson’s fate – My answer to Kasrkin’s ‘Who is Iverson?’ explains much of my thinking on this subject (i.e. Iverson effectively damns himself), but the details are deliberately left enigmatic. All we know for certain is that Iverson will travel back through space and time to Providence, where he becomes the Dark Man that corrupts Trinity. It’s implied that his journey will be long and twisted (and presumably through the warp), but quite how it plays out and how much of Iverson will survive to journey’s end is left to the reader’s imagination.
I originally planned an epilogue that did explain it all and ended with the Dark Man walking into Trinity, but I felt it took too much away from the reader. What matters is that the story is internally consistent and there are enough clues in the text to build a valid, if not definitive theory around. I feel this makes it a more personal experience, though I appreciate that some will simply find it irritating.

2. The fate of the Requiem – Probably…

3. Kircher – Your interpretation of Kircher’s plan is essentially correct, though it was more about enabling both sides to save face without fighting an all-out war than tying down forces. Most of the troops sent to Phaedra (including the few tau) were considered second-rate and expendable. The sham war allowed both the Imperium and the Tau Empire to concentrate on more immediate concerns without backing down from each other. Kircher had the Imperium’s covert consent in this, but the Imperium didn’t realise that his sympathies had drifted off course. He is not a straight convert to the Greater Good, but sees merit in it. As to his deeper goals and ethics, I believe it’s best to draw your own conclusions based on the evidence, including his own words. Personally I believe Kircher was the sanest person in the book, but I might have read him wrong!

4. Jhi’kaara – She definitely survived. One day I hope to pick up her story after the events of Fire Caste, possibly along with the stories of some other survivors – the Admiral, Modine, Mister Fish and the sinister Magos Caul (who is only hinted at), along with various mad generals and other strange folk!
Following the conspiracy’s failure Phaedra was abandoned, along with most of the dodgy forces down there, so a whole new power struggle would begin – one entangled with the nature of Phaedra Herself. During the writing of Fire Caste I mapped out several of the Coil’s ‘mysteries’, but only used a handful, so it would be great to return to Phaedra sometime, even if it’s just through occasional shorts.

5. The Temples – They did hold back the jungle and I seem to recall at least one character theorising about them, but none of the cast really knew the truth (with the possible exception of Gurdjief, who actually discovered a lot, but lost the plot in the process). The temples are one of the core mysteries of Phaedra. Forgive me if this is beginning to sound as labyrinthine as Lost!

6. The Admiral – Originally I planned for Iverson to wipe him out with an orbital bombardment from the Requiem of Virtue, tying up a loose end and making good on his promise to Modine, but in the event that felt contrived and tacked on. Karjalan's disease definitely would not kill him, but it would make him more monstrous. And of course, his daughter is still ‘alive’ somewhere in the bowels of that battleship, so it would be cool to revisit the Puissance and see what’s become of them.

7. The Dark Man – The Dark Man is still loose on Providence, which is already a powder keg world closely scrutinised by the Inquisition, so there’s huge potential for a major crisis. As with Phaedra, I did a huge amount of background work on Providence and the Arkan culture, but only used a fraction of it, so it’s a place and people I’d relish writing about. Such a story would probably revolve around Kharter, (the investigator who scoured Trinity), tracking the Dark Man’s trail of corruption across Providence, with Inquisition and Chaos agents somewhere in the mix.

8. O’Seishin’s Scheme – You’re correct, except there was no Wintertide. The infamous commander was a bugbear invented by O’Seishin to demoralise the enemy and inspire the deserters. The dissenter who sabotaged the conspiracy was Aabal (or Abel). Incidentally, it’s important to remember that O’Seishin and Aabal are both very individualistic (and arguably borderline insane) so shouldn’t be seen as good representatives of their castes or indeed The Greater Good. They are extreme examples of their castes gone sour.

9. The Broadsides – Written pre-Codex. I love that the tau on Phaedra ended up with outmoded, hand-me-down models – much like the infantry themselves!

10. Post Fire Caste – The loss of O’Seishin and Kircher, along with the Requiem, will probably cause the conspiracy to unravel within a few months. In this case both sides would abandon Phaedra as open, sector wide war broke out. Anakwanar would almost certainly get his Riptides vs Terminators.

11. Audie Joyce – Audie was young, naïve and indeed somewhat intellectually challenged, yet he still prospered mightily among the Arkan – the living proof that in 40k faith and fire can be enough to get ahead. In such a universe, self-belief and passion can change the world around you, particularly in an unstable place like the Coil.
Stylistically I wrote all his scenes like a 40k kids’ book (and not for very bright kids), which made the violence all the more shocking. It was a lot of fun to do, but I couldn’t help worrying that someone out there might think I was illiterate. Templeton was conceived to be Audie’s intellectual and stylistic opposite, justifying some extremely florid prose, all the way to OTT poetry.

12. Reve – Iverson never found out the truth about Reve so neither can we. This is my favourite of all the loose ends because it feels so real to me, forcing a terrible choice upon a man who’s already drowning in doubts. Despite his almost pathological distrust, Reve was the closest thing he’d had to a friend in a very long time so her death (murder?) was the final straw for his failing sanity. He hungers for truth and absolutes, but sometimes (often…) they are nowhere to be found and a best guess is the best you’ll get. Along with insanity, to which it’s intimately tied, this is the key theme of the novel and why it ends the way it does.



13. Phaedra – …

I hope these thoughts were useful, even if they are rather long. As you can probably tell, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to map out Phaedra and she’s pretty close to my heart!

PF
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:44 am

Mossy Toes wrote:If Herr Werner can name himself "Carandini," I think it's safe for you to name yourself after one of the characters in your book.


Thanks M.T.!

Somehow the idea of joining a forum under my own name seems borderline heretical.

Yet I still find myself signing everything with...

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:29 pm

Hey Peter,

I really enjoyed Fire Caste - I hadn't got a hold of anything of yours before then and a trusted friend of mine raved about how "40k" the book was in terms of grim-darkness, so I picked it up one morning on the way into college. I finished it that same night, and I have to agree with his assessment: it was very VERY "40k".

About the style - I quite enjoyed the way it was structured; it added to the feeling of phaedra's craziness and the plot's convoluted-ness.

Character-wise I enjoyed the portrayal of the Tau main players; without making them completely different from what everyone would see as "classic" Tau you definitely gave them each their own individuality and made them your own - bravo for that.

I'd love to see you branch out to other xenos; I'd be interested to see how you would tackle Necrons specifically.

Thanks for an awesome book, and I look forward to your future works.
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:01 pm

Hi Corrigan,

thanks for taking a chance on the novel! I'm glad you enjoyed it and felt it was true to the spirit of 40k.
There's an almost indefinable quality to 40k that runs deeper than the gothic grandeur and epic scale - something to do with madness - and that's what I was trying to tap into.

The eccentric style was a gamble and I'm immensely grateful to my editor (Lindsey) for believing in it, especially since I'm a new writer.

It was interesting to explore how insanity might manifest recognisably, yet distinctly in the tau and how it might differ between the castes. I regret that I couldn't do the tau full justice in the novel, but despite the title this was never planned as a tau book. This is one reason why I jumped at the opportunity to write the two shorts on Jhi'kaara.

I'd love to get inside the head of a Necron - particularly a Pariah!

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:50 pm

O'Seishin wrote:I'd love to get inside the head of a Necron - particularly a Pariah!

PF

Shame those aren't part of the Necrons anymore.

Thanks for the interesting answers Peter. I do hope you get to write that story set on Arkan, would be great to see a domestic 40k story focused on fighting Chaos. And with that twist of madness that Fire Caste had. :D

Also Modine lived?? I didn't see that coming. Perhaps he will be the one who gets to kill Karjalen and put his daughter out of her torment.


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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:47 am

Thanks for the reply Peter - that is a very good point, and I look forward to your further explorations on the 'madness of 40k'.

I look forward to your next works! Someone's probably already asked, but what are you working on now?
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:06 pm

LOTN - So the Pariahs are gone? I'm probably at least one Necron Codex behind, but that saddens me as I always felt they had enormous potential for stories. There was something particularly disturbing about them.

Spoiler: Yes, Modine lived, if you can call it living! And you're quite right - if anyone had a debt to settle with the Admiral it was him.

Thanks for the encouragement. Providence is where I'd like to pick up the Dark Man's story, but it might prove too peripheral for BL, so perhaps it'll just be the occasional short here and there, which would still be fun to do.



CORRIGAN - I submitted another tau related short a couple of weeks ago, but nothing's been signed off yet so probably best not to jinx it by talking about it. Beyond that nothing but ideas up in the air for the moment.

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Kasrkin » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:01 pm

It's not that the Pariahs have been retconned out of existence, they're just not mentioned in the current Necron Codex, most likely due to the C'tan being somewhat sidelined.

I therefore see no reason why they can't continue to make appearances in the fiction, and indeed they remain one of the most interesting aspects of Necron lore if you ask me. I still love this quote from Tomas Macabee, Necron Pariah and emissary of the silent Necron Lord of Kronus.
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Major Rawne » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:08 pm

Fire Caste has got to be the most bizarre Imperial Guard novel I have ever had the pleasure to read. And you know what I think I might have loved it. In any case it was certainly a fantastic and different read from BL. Looking forward to whatever you got coming next. Hopefully it will be something just a little different from traditional BL fare.

Until then I have your story in Xeno Hunters to keep me occupied.
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:13 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Major. I confess that watching the reactions to Fire Caste come in over the past couple of months has been an emotional roller coaster ride. A veteran writer at BL Live advised me against trawling the net for reviews and responses - 'It can be soul destroying, especially when you're starting out,' they said, but obviously trawling the net for reviews and responses has been exactly what I've been doing. Hellfire, I challenge any new writer to make their Will roll against that particular temptation. I'd wager it's near impossible.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that I'm grateful for the positive responses. They are like void shields against the ones where the reviewer is apopleptic at my heresy.

I hope you enjoyed the story in Xenos Hunters. I'm very aware that my particular niche appears to be writing stories that don't entirely (cough...) fit the title of the book...

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:36 pm

Everybody's looking forward to seeing more from you PF, any chance you could tell us what we can expect from you in the near future? Aside from the Jhi'kaara novella you've already mentioned.


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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Pyroriffic » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:42 pm

O'Seishin wrote:Hellfire, I challenge any new writer to make their Will roll against that particular temptation. I'd wager it's near impossible.


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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:50 pm

Just had to pop back and say how enjoyable A Sanctuary of Wyrms was. Much less of the bizarre oddness that you gave us in Fire Caste, but still very much giving us the eerie feel of Fi'draah. Or should I say Phaedra. It was also a Deathwatch story much in the way Fire Caste was a Tau story. And that is to say not very much :lol:
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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby O'Seishin » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:36 pm

Hello LOTN,

I submitted the novella a few months back, but the BL team are intensely busy, so it's still adrift in the Coil and we've not really discussed much beyond that.

While the new story takes place in roughly the same region of space and time as Fire Caste, the two are only loosely connected. This one isn't set on Phaedra and none of the characters overlap, but the plot continues the themes of conspiracy, deception, madness and a darker angle on the tau. There are also some other 40k factions woven into it, which were fascinating to write about.

Hopefully it will see the light of day eventually, but it might ultimately be deemed too eccentric.
Which may well be true!

Regarding further Jhi'kaara/Phaedra/Arkan tales, those are only hypothetical at the moment. I've done a lot of background work on them and there are some stories I'd love to tell, but I'd be moving further and further away from the core 40k mythos, which is what BL is really about.

I very much appreciate the interest and will keep you posted if anything comes up.

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Re: Ask... PETER FEHERVARI

Postby Lord of the Night » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:10 pm

O'Seishin wrote:Hello LOTN,

I submitted the novella a few months back, but the BL team are intensely busy, so it's still adrift in the Coil and we've not really discussed much beyond that.

While the new story takes place in roughly the same region of space and time as Fire Caste, the two are only loosely connected. This one isn't set on Phaedra and none of the characters overlap, but the plot continues the themes of conspiracy, deception, madness and a darker angle on the tau. There are also some other 40k factions woven into it, which were fascinating to write about.

Hopefully it will see the light of day eventually, but it might ultimately be deemed too eccentric.
Which may well be true!

Awesome, I hope it does come to light, anything involving more of the same themes of Fire Caste is definitely a must-read for me.

O'Seishin wrote:Regarding further Jhi'kaara/Phaedra/Arkan tales, those are only hypothetical at the moment. I've done a lot of background work on them and there are some stories I'd love to tell, but I'd be moving further and further away from the core 40k mythos, which is what BL is really about.

I very much appreciate the interest and will keep you posted if anything comes up.

PF

Good to know, and I do hope that it'd be possible for you to do that hypothetical novel you mentiond about Kharter hunting the Dark Man on Arkhan. If it does have Inquisitors and Chaos agents then I don't think it'd be too far from the 40k mythos, the Eisenhorn books were all about a man hunting down heretics on Imperial worlds.

Actually though I meant anything from you in general, not just Arkhan/Phaedra/Jhi'kaara stuff. Frankly Fire Caste has gotten me eager to read anything from you, no matter the subject matter. Like I do with ADB, I dig your prose and narrative and ideas.

I look forward to hearing more from you.


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