Fable - Ask The Futures of Fae [Spring Court]

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Out of the Forest
Character Biography
Southern Falwood
Domain of Nairth San'Seya

West had not been the direction Eske thought to travel when preparing to deliver the Futures Tome to the King of the Spring Court. Northeast to the Taagi Baara Steppes is where she'd always planned her path. It was often a long and tiring journey and the lands there were never so lush or verte as those of her own home grove. In this yearly ritual she often collected beautiful flowers for King Oberon, fruits and vegetables that did not readily grow in his lands. A new feather quill gifted from a pegasus for him to write his letters. Fine-pressed mushroom leather boots expertly crafted by the Duskirae for his long travels. And, of course, the most delicious duskberry wine Mirlorne had to offer.

Yet the arrival of a missive just a day before her departure had dashed these tailored gifts and plans to pieces. King Oberon was not, exactly, to her taste but he was not without his charms. A socialite and a terrible gossip, he did so love the arrival of the Futures Tome for his own enjoyment. But the King had taken ill - a fact that had either been hidden or very recent, for one such as Eske to not be at least somewhat aware was mildly unsettling. Seers didn't see everything, but subjects of such high priority did not often escape her knowing.

So she was to travel west and south, deep into the Falwood forests, and she wondered if it might not have been better that Asemir had taken the Spring Futures after all. Though on his north doorstep, he was away to Winter Court with their Futures and much too far gone now to return on such short notice.

Eske arrived along the leylines well into the evening hours. Not a sliver of gold was left to the sky - truly a boon to her and her own lunar alignment. A moment spent to bask in the light of the moons was enough to rejuvenate lost energies, though she would be weary for the rest of the evening after such a journey. Not so much that she could not enjoy the home within which she entered: that of Nairth San'Seya. All manner of greenery and foliage greeted her, a welcome sight to the heradryad. The flora sang peacefully under the silver night sky, leading her inward along a footpath following a stream. She traveled lightly just inches above the ground, the wings at her back humming like a nest of bees, and all along her route the flowers and plants bent in. A path of tiny blooms, clover, and nettle remained in her wake.

As she found herself drawing up the shores of a glistening lake, Eske gently dropped her roots to the ground and folded the wings at her back. The Patron of the domain was near - that much she could sense - and she meant not to offend by drawing too far in unaccompanied.

There had been a time, long ago and forgotten, that Nairth San'Seya had made no qualms about his desire for a position of sway and power. The fiery ambition of youth had driven him for generations towards the goal of attaining a status which would allow him to to enact his vision of peace, of oneness with Arethil. Of course, not all Fae were so fond of such an idea; there were many who would claim that the common creature, humanity included, were beneath Fae. Too often those with power believed themselves responsible for passing down judgement on those lesser of strength and mind.

Nairth did not think himself such a saint, for he had made great and terrible mistakes in his time. He had committed atrocities that even eons from now, as what remained of him turned to dust, he would never truly forgive himself. In more recent years, these feelings of remorse and self doubt precluded him seeking the power he once thought himself meant for; if he was not able to trust himself, how could others be expected to trust him? That one as powerful as he could face such inner turmoil troubled him, but also granted him some sense of amusement. Weren't duanann supposed to be confident? It was quite unlike a Fae of his level to doubt themselves...

He was becoming more like her every day, wasn't he?

The tall silver-haired duanann leaned back in his seat, a notch in a great tree that rose up high above the rest in this forest, cushioned by moss and leaves. The elven Fae's face bathed in the rays of the sun peeking down in small beams from the treetops, his eyes closed in thought as he allowed the symphony of nature around him to guide his mind. Despite his misgivings about his candidacy for leadership, it seemed he was on the precipice of it. Oberon was in declining health, and most of his duties had already been quietly reassigned to Nairth, with only the most essential of his kind knowing about this subtle change. If knowledge about the supposedly impending exchange of hats became widely known, the ensuing Chaos would be difficult to contain. Though he did suppose he knew one woman who would likely revel in that.

The bare-skinned Fae opened his golden hues, tracking a stunningly white dove as it descended through the treetops and landed atop his knee. The bird spread it's wings with a cry, and Nairth offered it a soft smile as he reached out to gently run a thumb along it's feathers. "A guest? Likely here on business, no doubt. Perhaps they have deemed it neccesary for me to recieve the Tomes? If so, it would mean that they do not expect Oberon to recover..." He spoke to the dove as though it were an old friend, with warmth and affection in every word. "Thank you, my friend. Return to your watch now, and allow our visitor through. I shall need to make myself decent."

With another cry, the dove took flight from Nairth's knee, soaring back into the sky blue overhead. San'Seya rose from his seat, bare feet stepping carefully down the remainder of the great tree's trunk before his soles sank into the water of the lake it sat at the edge of. This was but a shallow stream; Nairth would often bathe himself in the pristine waters that it flowed into at the center of his Grove. For now, he outstreches and arm and grips something unseen, a thin string that ran from the water to the treetops, not dissimilar to a spider's webbing. Tugging it gently, the garment he'd strung up high to dry in the sun slowly descends to Nairth's arms.

It was a beautiful cloak, the ambercloth wear that Nairth now draped around himself to hide his modesty. The emerald trim matched well with the land around him, yet the amber stood out, making him look every bit the ruler of these forests that he was. Nairth did not entirely mind others seeing him immodestly, but it would be quite rude to strike strangers with his visage, especially on business. He didn't need to search for his visitor; every step taken in this forest echoed through the ground, reaching his ears. The trees and plants were his eyes and ears, and he saw and heard all.

So it was with a prepared greeting and a kind smile that he greeted Eske, walking slowly along the shoreline of the lake with his hands locked behind his back, head tilted slightly in curiousity. "The most humble of welcomes to my Grove, noble Dryad. This place is always welcome to beings of nature, who respect all that it has to offer. To what do I owe this honor?"

Seemed she did not have so long to wait. With a whisper of the winds and an echo of a dove, he was there. His feet left a path of footprints along the soft shoreline of the lake and his figure cut as striking a silhouette as she'd seen. As all duanann tended to, the ethereal halo of gleam that surrounded his presence in the thicket reminded her faintly of the sun. Eske smiled calmly and bowed her head in return to his greeting.

"I am Eske, High Omnia of the Duskirae, Lady of Mirlorne. I come at the behest of the King of the Spring Court, seeking his Hand to which I am tasked to deliver the Futures Tome from the Dusk Court."

There would be no need to correct his mislabeling of herself. Eske bore no ill-will for such an innocent slip where a Duanann might have stricken the offender for mistaking them an elf, a Heradryad such as herself found no slight in being mistaken for her more common kin. Instead, Eske gently leaned as though a tree might in a heavy wind, to set the carved wooden chest in her grasp upon a risen knotwork of tangled vines and roots produced by her whim.

"As well," she hushed, swaying green fingers through rising blooms around the chest to unlock the hatch and lift it open, "as the customary gifts that I hope you might pass on to your King," eyes of gleaming emerald lifted to the duanann briefly, knowingly, "or perhaps you will find them of appropriate size and use for yourself, Chamberlain."

Within the chest, nestled comfortably within a bed of lush and layered ferns and leaves, rested the Futures Tome at the center with the gifts carefully arranged along either side. This years Spring Futures was particularly thick, a notion the High Omnia held near to her own awareness of just what might be in store for the Court and more specifically...for Nairth San'Seya
The nature around Eske seemed to react to Nairth's presence, swaying gently towards him as though some invisible pull drew life to his flesh like a calm breeze. There was such an innate peace about him; an aura surrounded him that felt as though it calmed the very air of any disharmony. The entire grove was alive, and the strings of its existence connected to Nairth San'Seya

Realization slowly dawned on the face of the duanann as she introduced herself as High Omnia, proclaiming that she had come to deliver him the tomes in Oberon's stead. It indeed was already time for the Tomes to be presented. Ever since he'd attended that ball some months ago, time seemed to be moving so quickly. He raised a hand, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration with himself before offering Eske a small bow. "My sincerest apologies, Lady Eske. It would appear I've lost track of time in my steadily increasing duties. Elsewise I'd be far more prepared for such an important exchange."

To be caught by surprise by such a striking creature, and when something so important was involved... It was more embarrassing than Nairth usually would consider acceptable. He could only offer his most humble of apologies for his unreadiness, and he tucked some of his silvery hair behind his ear with an apologetic smile. "It's been decided then? I am to bear the Tome?" Oberon's condition was steadily worsening, but he did not know how much Eske had been told. "Is the Dusk Court very concerned with The King's condition?" He prodded gently, locking his hands behind him once more as he leaned over to get a better look at the chest she'd brought. nestled in te vines and roots that only seemed to grow the closer Nairth leaned towards it.

Her comment to the use of the gifts meant for a King by a Chamberlain were out of place, and this did not go unnoticed by the Hand of Oberon. No, his eyes were drawn away from the Future of Spring, and his golden hues rested on Eske herself for a moment more. "Speak freely, noble Omnia. This is not Spring Court land, after all. This is -my- grove. Anything you choose to say to me here is quite off the record, I assure you." He had always considered his personal Grove to be a neutral ground, away from the childish ideas of competing courts. "As Chamberlain of The Spring, I ask your opinion. Why is it that these Futures are so unusually sized?"

Nairth had an inkling, but this High Omnia, this Eske... Speaking to one with a duty such as hers was a rare treat. The large duanann cracked a soft smile. "For that matter, I would endeavor to deliver any and all gifts to my King before even considering taking anything for myself. Would that not be most appropriate?"

Heavens forgive him for playing games with the High Omnia.

But he needed to know what she knew. Or, what she didn't.

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Eske waited calmly, patiently, while the other worked out his surprise and lack of preparedness. A small but warm smile returned to his apology and a nod of understanding. Truly, these were curious and challenging times for his Court and would be for any Court where the leader was set in such a precarious state of being.

"It's been decided then? I am to bear the Tome? Is the Dusk Court very concerned with The King's condition?"

Her smile persisted, "It is decided by your King, I am here at his advisement. As for the Dusk Court..." the heradryad took her time to consider her response, "as watchers of all fae realms, we are concerned about a great deal many things."

"Speak freely, noble Omnia. This is not Spring Court land, after all. This is -my- grove. Anything you choose to say to me here is quite off the record, I assure you. As Chamberlain of The Spring, I ask your opinion. Why is it that these Futures are so unusually sized? For that matter, I would endeavor to deliver any and all gifts to my King before even considering taking anything for myself. Would that not be most appropriate?"

But of course, everything was on the record. Omnia especially had to take care what they say given the responsibility they carried and the reputation they engendered. Many fae took their word as law of fate, when it was rarely ever so. Eske was well enough experienced in the art of delivering her words so as not to give the wrong impressions or ideas. It was imperative that the Dusk Court maintained its respect of the other, larger Courts.

Eske disentangled herself from the web of plying curiosities by stepping away from the chest and the duanann, making her way closer to the shoreline and the waters of his lake where her roots implanted themselves eagerly for a drink. It had been a long journey here and she did not travel the Ley as often as the Triumvirs. It was a blessing that his grove was such a place of sanctuary for someone such as herself.

"Fates and futures are an imprecise art," Eske admitted openly and liked to preface any conversation of this nature as such, "what the Omnia see and what comes to pass are rarely perfectly aligned. So many factors play into what can be seen that it does not always necessitate priority or value. We can as easily derive the spring bloom or drought as we can the death of a beetle or ruler." Brows lofted, Eske let her green eyes travel the glimmering lines of the lake's surface, watching dragonflies weave and skate across - sometimes falling prey to the fish lurking just below.

"Do not take the breadth of your Tome to mean anything at all other than the elements were particularly well aligned to see more greatly into the Spring's futures. As for the gifts," the Lady's head turned to quietly peer over her shoulder at him, "regardless of your choice, it does not change what may yet come to pass for you."
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The Omnia expertly avoided his attempts to pry further into her personal opinions of his court's future. Of course, he hadn't expected his efforts would yield much reward, but in such a time of trial, Nairth was of the belief that any slight gain was better than none at all. It could have been that there were things he was not yet to know, but it was equally plausible that perhaps the lovely creature wished to emphasize the fallibility of fate itself; One thing Nairth had learned in the most difficult manner was that nothing was ever certain, no matter how many signs pointed to it being so. Her next words seemed to support this...

"Fates and futures are an imprecise art. What the Omnia see and what comes to pass are rarely perfectly aligned. So many factors play into what can be seen that it does not always necessitate priority or value. We can as easily derive the spring bloom or drought as we can the death of a beetle or ruler."

Nairth stood quietly for a moment, digesting what she'd said. Then, he would slowly drop to one knee before the chest, a cool breeze suddenly whistling through the trees as though echoing the trepidation in his own movements. A large hand would reach out, his palm pressing against the cover of the tome "An outline, and not a complete story. Even the Omnia are not without flaw. The future itself is the ultimate decider of our outcome..." He understood her words, and his fingers slowly curled around the spine of the book, lifting it from its resting place within the chest. Despite its weight, Narith pulls it out with one hand, resting it across his knee.

Nairth had thus far been displaying his naivete regarding the processes and protocols followed by the court, an unfortunate side effect of his indifference about the politics of his people for so long. Now, even though the Omnia did not wish to say anything which may confirm his suspicion, he felt as though he was being so suddenly thrust into more responsibility than he'd ever experienced before. He was a Duanann who had always lived his life free and unworried about the matters of the courts, his only policy to advocate the health and prosperity of life and the world around them.

He felt like a clueless child. It made his stomach churn.

"I accept the Tome, and the gifts you bring with it, on behalf of the noble King Oberon of Spring."

Slowly he would rise to his feet, the Tome in his arms. There was much to digest, and much to ponder about what came next. Regardless, he did not forget his hospitality. As Eske's gaze travelled out over the water, so too did his own. Moving one hand from the precious book to extend out towards the lake, luminous plants beneath the surface would light, illuminating the water in such a way that one could see all the way to the bottom of the deceptively deep waters.

"This place... It's beautiful, is it not? I realize sentimentalism may be considered beneath one of my standing, but... I don't know what I would do should harm come to this grove. I've spent my life as a Fae cultivating these plants, raising these trees from saplings. This is home."

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"I accept the Tome, and the gifts you bring with it, on behalf of the noble King Oberon of Spring."

There came a motherly expression of warmth at the fae's decision. The High Omnia gave a gentle nod before returning her attention to the lake and enjoying a short moment of reprieve from word or worry.

"This place... It's beautiful, is it not? I realize sentimentalism may be considered beneath one of my standing, but... I don't know what I would do should harm come to this grove. I've spent my life as a Fae cultivating these plants, raising these trees from saplings. This is home."

Eske's tall frame swayed gently in the breeze, a certain sense of appreciation and kinship in the Chamberlain. It was not a rare thing to find among the fae kind, but his devotion was exceptional. For a moment she almost believed he was like herself.

"You have created a true sanctuary, Chamberlain," Eske husked over a soft laugh and lifted a verte hand to stroke beneath the man's chin, "one that I am grateful to visit. It is like arriving home. Will you show it to me?"
Nairth nodded his head lowly in respect and appreciation for her compliment. Pride was far from uncommon amongst his people, but Nairth was particularly proud of the place he had created here. It warmed him to know others shared such a sentiment.

There had been a time in Nairth's life that a sanctuary was exactly what he needed most. When the skies of his mind were stormy and grey, when his mind was twisted and unsure. Through it all this place brought him some measure of solace. "In my darkest days, this grove was all that I had. This forest comforted me, healed me. The trees protected me when I could not do so myself."

It was somewhat a betrayal of his own pride to admit such a fact, but he doubted that he could say anything the Omnia did not already know to some extent. Even beyond that, she seemed in tune with the nature around them in a similar fashion to Nairth.

The wind seemed to ebb and flow with the duanann's breathing, slowing as he calmed himself, blowing softer against his emerald robe. "I am ever so glad to hear you find this place as soothing as I. I implore you to stay as long as you desire." He tilts his head softly against her touch, before stepping back to lead her further into the Grove.

The lake rested at the center, with trees forming a steadfast wall around a majority of the grove, while also providing a home for creatures of wing, tail and claw. The treetops offered a blanket over the grove, which Nairth often shifted to control the sunlight over the meadows of rare flora that he cultivated in the fertile soil of his home. Vines hung down, and a large leaf-like bed was supported by them, suspended over the lake.

Animals small and sometimes large wandered past, paying Nairth no mind as if he were one of them. This was a safe place of sanctuary for all life, including Eske herself. "My vision is that someday we will see past these petty squabbles between our courts and learn to exist with our world. Naive of me, I know..."

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The High Omnia trailed silently at her host's side, taking in the sights with an open and warm gaze. Delighted by the myriad colors of flora and the healthy, calm presence of fauna, she found in the Chamberlain's grove a certain sense of belonging. This was a rare thing - to find a place of such richness in magic and life as that of her own making. In their wake a bed of fresh and tiny flowerbuds bloomed, babe vines unfurled, and leaves spilled upward as if to take their first breath of life; a natural response to the presence of the Heradryad and the father of the grove.

"Naive," Eske hushed with a demure smile, settling her roots down as he came to a pause, "no. Unorthodox, yes. Peace and coexistance is not impossible. The Dusk Court is proof enough of that," the Duskirae wanted for many of the same things as the Great Erlking, it was only in their approach that they differed.

"But it is not easy, either. Would that the Fae could so kindly accept their many brethren without judgement. We are ages away from such things ... progress is small, but promising. It is ones like you that will make it possible."
"In my youth... I often preached such beliefs. I believed that the only path forward for us, the only way we would ever truly become one with this world and live on forever, was if we learned the value of harmony." He smiled wistfully, peering at the creature beside him, the lovely being comprised of nature and life itself. In some manner, her very presence was intoxicating to a duanann tuned to life, such as himself. "You know who I am. You know what I've done. I allowed my passion to overtake me, my anger to drive my hand forward. Ever since that day, I withdrew from the stage of political play and social gatherings."

And yet, somehow Oberon had selected him to be his Chamberlain. The reasons behind such an appointment were a mystery to Nairth to this very day, but it would have been the greatest disrespect were he to turn down such a request. "Now I find the politics are coming to me. I'm being called upon to do things I have never thought myself worthy of doing. And yet... I cannot help but feel ready." The two of them had come to a stop at the base of a great tree, the tallest in the grove. A large piece of fabric was draped over a knot in the side of the trunk, a spot Nairth often sat. The wind seemed to embrace both of them as they approached, like an old friend greeting them with a kind hug.

Nairth slowly turned to Eske, no longer hiding the admiration in his eyes. The markings painted across his forehead seemed to glow warmly in the sunlight that peeked through the leaves above their heads. "Ones like me... Surely, you are too kind. There are those who I disapprove of. I certainly do not agree with the Erlking's methods, nor am I fond of the way that many of my brethren treat lesser mortals. Changing the way people think will not be easy. Indeed, it may be nigh impossible." Slowly, a hand reached out, resting on Eske's shoulder. "But when I am reminded that such beauty exists, that life can take such forms, make such wonders..." His fingers trailed down her arm. "I realize that I too am a wonder of life. That I can bring about the change I seek, should I only grasp it and never let go."

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It was not the soft skin of a duannan that Nairth's hand rested upon when he touched the heradryad, but the veined and textured velvet of a layered flesh that felt much more akin to leaves. There at her shoulder they were broad and thick, growing in long fern-like tendrils and sweeping back into the larger chorded wings at her back. As his hand traveled the length of her arm he would feel the many layers gently and smoothly folding and bending beneath his touch, alive and responsive to the warmth and the eddies of magic his presence engendered.

In this form Eske did not often allow others close enough to touch her. This figure, composed of the soft nature of green, woven together as braided stalks, vines, shoots, petals and leaflets was fragile - delicate. An embodiment of life, peace, and harmony. It was the sort of form that the Summer Court scoffed at and turned away from in repulsion. The sort of form that the Dawn Court lauded as a joke. She did not wear it often beyond the boundaries of her own Court or Grove, rarer still in the company of duannan. It was simpler to appear as they were, in a form they could respect even if they knew it was a farce.

She chose this form because she knew it was the one he would respect the most. He was a being of life, and while she knew he had done terrible deeds in his life, Eske felt no need to fear him.

The High Omnia offered him a quiet, peaceful expression, verdant gaze shifting briefly to follow the progress of his hand. Humor touched her gaze, "A world where everyone agrees seems dreadfully boring, don't you think?"

Eske shifted her arm, turning her hand palm up to offer it to him. As his hand shifted down to meet it, she took his own in both of hers, gentle and aware of the point of her taloned digits, to turn his palm up as well and quietly gaze down upon it, reading it.

"So much possibility for one so full of life," a thorn-shaped claw carefully traced his lifeline, "that which may effect a great deal of change. But you must take care, dear Chamberlain, not to waver in the choices you make. Your convictions will mean the world to the countless many, but they will not come without a price. Your regrets of what you have done will come to bare again and you will need compassion and resolve to see them through to this peace you desire."
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Nairth hummed, his tongue sliding underneath his lower lip. Of course, the Omnia made a valid point. "I suppose that could grow rather dull. Still, there is much quarreling between our various courts and sects that serve little purpose. At least removing some of the more mindless conflicts would be ideal, would it not?"

It had not been his intention to appear so forward towards a creature of such importance. Given both of their position, especially what his position was soon to be, it would be considered unseemly of him to even appear as though he had more than a passing interest in the High Omnia herself. It was true, this form spoke to Nairth, appealed to his nature in a way that few of his fellow Fae were capable of. It was an odd, yet exhilarating feeling, and perhaps before his fateful encounter with Isiell, that chaotic creature of enigma and madness, he would have been warier.

Instead, Nairth did not retreat, he watched as she took his hand in both of hers. He knew what she was doing, although he had not had it performed on him in quite a long time. It had been before his first child had been born in fact, when Nairth was but a young Fae, still full of fire and eager to make his mark on the world. The duanann had been warned then, told that his burning passion would one day lead him down a road fraught with darkness and sorrow. At the time he'd ignored it, dismissed it as nonsense.

Bearing in mind what had happened after that... he took extra care to pay close heed to Eske's words as her pointed tip slowly drew across the lines of his palm. To be read by the High Omnia was a rare honor. "My regrets never truly leave me. They are a burden I will carry for the rest of my existence." He replied softly. He would never truly forgive himself, but that did not mean he would allow such sorrow to weigh him down any longer. "However, they are a burden that I will bear openly, without shame. I will lead not in spite of my past, but because I have learned from it."

Sliding his eyes closed, he hummed as he focused on the sensation of her hand against his. It was oddly comforting, a source of companionship before what would be the most important period of his life. "After the Wild Hunt festival, I will announce a public coronation. It is there I will reveal myself as the new King of the Spring Court. I do trust you will attend?"

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The High Omnia maintained a passive silence during his words that seemed tethered by the knowledge of her own visions. So rarely did she interact with the world beyond Mirlorne that it struck her as a treat to see the paths the Chamberlain actively take in her presence. While his future and all futures could never be said to be pre-determined, they were to Eske at the very least, pre-ordained in all their infinite possibilities.

She knew his choices, she could see what paths his decisions could take, but she could never fully know the conscience of a future actively playing itself out of its own accord.

It was a relief to her that he chose what he did.

Eske folded his hand within her own and offered the man a gentle nod, "It would be an honor to attend such a momentous event. Rarely do we witness the passing of a crown among the fae people. You can count on my presence and support."
Eske's soft assurance that she would be present for his coronation was simple, and yet the meaning it held to Nairth was quite indescribable. The duanann felt it very possible that not even the Omnia could fathom what San'Seya had in store for this dormant court or the sheer extent of his ambition. She would, in time. He only hoped that she would remain his ally when it was all said and done.

"This will be more than a passing of the crown, High Omnia. I intend to breathe life into this court, to give it a purpose and the means to pursue said purpose. To defend nature is not enough. If I truly wish for this world to flourish, I must take action to ensure life remains uncorrupted."

With a final bow, he gently pulled his hand from hers. Her words had offered him much to ponder and reflect upon. Truly, Eske was an incredible being. He only hoped they would someday be able to speak in a much less formal setting. Perhaps at the upcoming festival of the Hunt?

"Until we meet again, Eske. It has been both a pleasure and an honor to make your acquaintance."
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