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Through Dragon Eyes by Catherine Milos (Excerpt)

Novel: Through Dragon Eyes by Catherine Milos<br /> Art by Jestin Troughton

Through Dragon Eyes

by Catherine Milos

Even after centuries, the twists and turns of the caverns and passages still felt strange, no matter how many times Earthana’s clawed feet walked them. Dragon Peaks was not quite home.

Over the years, she tried to make herself comfortable here. She’d decorated her chambers with comforting trinkets and soft rugs. She took regular flights down the mountain range and into the fields to familiarize herself with the terrain. She spent many hours wandering the ever-growing caverns. Still, she felt like she didn’t quite belong. But, it was impossible to go back. Maybe that was why nothing ever felt quite right. Perhaps, too, it was because of her age. The cricks and tenderness of her body always made her uncomfortable. Her once-gleaming emerald scales had faded to a dull mossy glow.

Today she had been summoned by the most important members of the dragon race and she couldn’t be late. Her shoulders rolled and her bones creaked as she ambled down corridor after corridor.

A small, lean dragon blocked her path. His voice sliced through her thoughts as a high-pitched squeak that bounced around inside her head. It made the scutes on her nose itch.

Wise One. Might I trouble you for your insight? Arl had the characteristic tuft of fur and crystalline scales of an Ice Dragon, along with stocky Earth Dragon features.

Since the dragon clans joined forces and cohabitated in Dragon Peaks, more and more hatchlings exhibited combined features. Earthana was pleased, it was long overdue. She wondered what Paxara might think of it.

Earthana had learned silence was always the best answer to inconvenient questions. There were so few dragons left, it was unwise to ignore their needs, no matter how inconvenient. Especially since the dragon speaking with her was on the Council. Arl had recently been included in Council meetings as an honorary member. His scaler had been elected as the newest voice for all scalers. Since the invitation to attend, the number of audiences with Arl grew. He was a young dragon, not much older than Earthana was when they first came to this new home.

Arl continued his request.

I was thinking we could decorate the Council Chamber with indications of each season, fresh plants to scent the room. You know, he squeaked in excitement as his thoughts raced through Earthana’s mind, brighten the place up. We spend a great deal of time in there and it can be rather bland.

Earthana’s left wing cramped up so she opened and closed it to stretch and work the muscles.

The idea wasn’t bad, actually. Earthana’s lips curled up, baring her teeth and wrinkling her snout. A lovely idea.

Arl. What would you think about starting a small committee to help? Take into account anything like allergies or restrictions. The Water Dragons might have some suggestions. Maybe the Ice Dragons could assist with decorating the higher parts. Ichabor’s seat is closest to the sky after all. The last thing she needed was to deal with another tiff over non-inclusive Council activities. The dragonlings shared and included each other better than the adults, most of the time.

Arl’s eyes half closed, and the scales on his cheeks lifted and bunched. He was pleased with her suggestion.

Perhaps, Earthana added, you might organize and chair that committee?

Arl’s ears perked up, making the fan of spikes that stretched down the middle of his pearlescent head larger. As always, you offer a wise decision. Arl dipped his long neck in a bow.

She was the Wise One, after all. Earthana patiently waited for Arl to leave. It was clear after a few seconds that she would have to take matters into her own claws.

If you’ll excuse me, I am late for an engagement.

Arl straightened and backed up to allow room for Earthana to pass. Of course, my apologies.

Earthana moved past Arl. Arl backed up into the adjacent passageway to let her by.

Have a lovely day! She said hurriedly as she disappeared around a corner. She hoped no more interruptions would stall her.

Deeper and deeper she wound down the corridors. The deeper she got, the more precious the treasures she passed. The most precious treasures of all were stored in the heart of Dragon Peaks. It was quiet in this part of the Peaks; only the Great Treasure Chamber was quieter. She walked past hollows and cavities that housed stores, family treasuries, and the Council Chamber. She stopped to appreciate the Chamber doors. At their peak, a female form, a harmony of elven and human features, held her arm outstretched and beams of light shone over Dragon Peaks. To one side of this inspiring figure, the Black Dragon. To the other side a likeness of Earthana’s predecessor, Paxara.

Her heart ached with grief. The kind a dragon learns to carry with her, but can never get over. She closed her eyes. Oh Great Ouroboros… her prayer began. She concluded her short supplication and resumed her journey. She began to hear the noises of dragons, scalers, and the other elves, merfolk, and humans that helped out as they went about their daily work.

A string of greetings brushed against her mind and tickled her ears. She excused herself twice from conversations that delayed her too long: a request for a visit from the Wise One to the village, and someone’s indecision over how to arrange the barrels of pickled fish and eggplant in a store room. She committed to the first and delegated the last to Crulan. She wondered how long the eggplant stores would last in his claws.

Finally, laughter filled the air. The joyful sounds of dragonlings at play warmed her heart and relaxed her old, stiff muscles. The future of dragon kind. New perspectives, new ideas. New problems. She hoped none of them would have to face the kind of darkness their grandparents witnessed.

Earthana noted a good turnout at the Dencare today. There were even a few Ice and Fire Dragonlings in the new specialized climate controlled areas. Why they hadn’t thought of something similar ages ago? Now the dragonlings could learn from each other.

A pool in the centre of the den allowed Water Dragonlings, under the care of the merfolk, to play alongside the others. One of the Fire Dragonlings hogged the lava pool. A snowball fight erupted between small parties of tiny Ice Dragons. Earthana dipped her head to avoid a loose snowball which puffed as it hit the cavern wall behind her. She gave the dragonling who had tail-tossed the ball of snow a look of part-scolding and part-amusement.

Oops, sorry… The little dragonling apologized, ears and tail tucked.

Gather near children, she said. She kept her voice quiet but firm inside their minds. Earthana settled down at the back of the story cave.

The dragonlings gathered around her. Still-leathery wings fluttered in anticipation. Wide eyes stared up at her in wonder and nervousness. The sound of fins splashing and a small, melodious voice greeted her. The singing voice of a Water Dragon is a balm in a world of noise.

What story will you tell us today, Earth-I mean Wise One? Perhaps of the very first exchange between dragons and the Ouroboros? Or maybe about the first Dragonstone and scaler and how the scaler made a saddle so he would stop falling off? Azaria’s granddaughter, Aseah, lifted her serpentine body and twitched her whiskers. Her long body undulated to keep her afloat. Aseah’s special gift manifested early. Earthana spent extra time with the young dragon to help hone her story-keeping magic. A debt of time long owed to Azaria.

Earthana watched as a barely-hatched Earth Dragonling stared at Aseah. How do you move around without feet? It asked Aseah, who giggled a crystalline trumpeting noise.

A few of the youngest dragons fidgeted, restless, as the rest of the dragonlings found their places.

Today, Earthana would tell the story of Dragon Mountain. She had told this tale a great number of times.

Long ago, the land was one big mass. Creatures born of the oceans climbed upon the shores, but another type of creature was forged in the depths of fire.

Dragonling eyes widened, hypnotized by the Wise One’s calm voice.

Yes, little ones, dragons. Our ancestors climbed out of the molten earth. And where they first stepped foot and claw on the cool surface, they made the first Dragon Mountain. Eventually the land broke apart and new lands were formed, but the Land of Origin remained home to the Earth Dragons.

Wise One? A dragonling interrupted. What about the Ice Dragons and the Water Dragons?

And the Fire Dragons, another added.

Earthana smiled. The old dragon adjusted her posture to try and alleviate some of the tension in her haunches. We are all from the Land of Origin. The Ice Dragons climbed from the depth, taking a different route than us. Where we stepped foot and claw and cooled into Earth Dragons, Ice Dragons burst from the top of the Mountain and lived in the frigid snow of the peaks, like they do here. The Water Dragons couldn’t climb. Much like the Fire Dragons, they had long bodies without legs. Instead they swam from liquid stone out into the oceans. Their fan-like wings functioned better in the water, where they glided with ease. They too found their domain and built a big city to live in in that watery Realm. The Fire Dragons were content to stay deep inside Dragon Mountain and the other mountains and make their home amidst the molten heat we all came from.

But there is something more you must know. That first step of our kind left a magical imprint, deep and ancient, inside the Land of Origin.

As you know, dragons are made of magic, too. Sometimes magic can be difficult to see, but it is everywhere. There is magic in the skies, on the ground. From the growth of a plant, to the birth of a dragonling, Earthana nuzzled her grandson gently who giggled, to a breath of air or fire. We are magic. It’s in your bones and blood. You will feel it in the air each time you fly. It may not feel like it now, but trust me, one day soon, you will fly. And we use magic when we exchange with the Great Ouroboros.

But our magic was feared, even hated. That fear is why we are here now. This is the story of our birthing place. A story you must heed. A reminder against the power and reaches of fear. One you must remember. This is the story of our home.

One of the dragonlings, a little dull orange thing, piped up, But I was hatched here, in Dragon Peaks.

Earthana chuckled.

Yes, little one. What I mean to say is, this is the story of the Land of Origin. To where we can no longer return. The land of the humans, merfolk, and the elves.

But there are humans, merfolk, and elves here, a white dragonling who was only beginning to develop her opalescence commented. That little dragonling reminded Earthana so much of her dear friend Oporia. She and Oporia escaped Dragon Mountain together long ago: youthfully seeking trouble, playing jokes on Rubin… That would be a good place to start this story.

You are right, Essence. But they came here with us, giving up their land forever. The few scalers that remain can never return home.

The dragonlings shifted and swallowed nervously.

Why was the birthing place so bad? A pinky-rose coloured dragonling asked.

Before Earthana could reply, a rich-brown dragonling asked, Yeah, why did we have to leave?

Dragon Mountain wasn’t bad. The dragonlings relaxed with her assurance. A great many people loved us there. They once sought us out to learn about the mysteries of magic. There were many scalers, one for every fifty Dragons or so. Now those who may have become a scaler have had their fates forever changed.

What is a scaler? The dragonling the colour of buttercups asked.

Earthana made a mental note to talk with the parents and denkeepers. The little ones should have been taught the basics tenements of history and dragon culture alongside hunting and foraging techniques. A dragon never knew when they might stumble upon their scaler. It didn’t matter the probabilities. Hope must live on.

That’s a very good question. Does anyone know what a scaler is?

Dragonlings began shouting and wriggling excitedly.

They are non-dragon people.

They get to fly –

Or swim on our backs! Aseah interrupted

They learn dragon magic! Essence said.

Elder Soran is a scaler. Her grandson said enthusiastically, his blue spiked tail flopping.

Earthana nodded and continued. Scalers are humans, merfolk, or elves who have access to The Great Treasure Horde of the Ouroboros. They are magical apprentices to us, but, more importantly, they are our friends and allies. Most dragons never have one. There are only about a hundred Scalers in Dragon Peaks right now. I have had the pleasure and sorrow of having two.

One day, one of these dragonlings might be the next Wise One and would have two scalers, just like her, but at great cost. It worried her that the Ouroboros remained silent regarding the dragon that would take her place. These old bones of hers could give out at any moment. Still, she trusted the Ouroboros’ judgement.

This, my little ones, is the story of the Wise One Paxara’s Age. The tale of the exile of dragon kind.

 

Learn more about Earthana and Paxara in Through Dragon Eyes by Catherine Milos

Through Dragon Eyes received a five star review from Readers Favorite

A Chronicle of Dragons

Originally posted on Catherine Milos’ blog © 2017 Catherine Milos

On my journey to write Through Dragon Eyes I thought I would share with you the Dragonologist’s research I uncovered.

Through Dragon Eyes considers the question “why are there no longer the Dragons of myth on Earth”. While it’s difficult to prove the existance of Dragons now, there are traces of their majesty everywhere.

“Dragon images have been found on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, on scrolls from China, in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Ethiopian sketches, on the prows of Viking ships, in bas relief on Aztec temples, on cliffs above the Mississippi River and even on bones carved by Inuits in climates where no reptile could live.” –  Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times

Where Did Dragons Originate?

Long ago the land on Earth was one big mass. Creatures born of the oceans climbed upon the shores, but another type of creature was forged in the depths of fire. Our ancestors. Where they first stepped foot and claw on the cool surface was the land now called Dragon Mountain.” – Earthana, Wise One, Through Dragon Eyes by Catherine Milos

There are a number of theories on where the ideas, myths, and legends surrounding Dragons originated.

Fossils

Stanford Scholar, Adrienne Mayor believes dragons were the result of discoveries of dinosaur bones. I tend to agree with her conclusions, after all, myth is often based on reality. The skeleton of Dinosaur Dracorex hogwartsia looks very much like the Euro-Western’s common depiction of a Dragon and possesses all the facial features of traditional Asian Dragons.

Animals

Amphibians, Reptiles, and Birds all hold characteristics of your typical Dragons. Smithsonian.com posits “A giant, lumbering croc? Might be easy to mistake for a dragon.”

There are real-life Dragons: 10 AMAZING REAL-LIFE DRAGONS – BBC EARTH. They don’t breathe fire, but one of them does fly.

 

What are Dragons Like?

“None of the animals is so wise as the dragon. His blessing power is not a false one. He can be smaller than small, bigger than big, higher than high, and lower than low.”

–Chinese scholar Lu Dian (AD 1042-1102) via The American Museum of Natural History

Temperament

The temperament of a Dragon is varied, depending on source, circumstance, and the Dragon’s mood.

In myth, literature, and legend, they range from gentle, wise, giants to fearful embodiments of evil. More fearful descriptions like that of Grendel (Beowulf), Fáfnir (Fáfnismál) and Smaug (The Hobbit) often herald a message like the mythical figures and stories they represent.

Appearance

The form of a Dragon is left up to the imagination. Serpentine, clawed, whiskered, finned, sitting on top of a pile of gold. I tried to take advantage of the wide ranging shapes, while staying in the traditional scaled Dragon frameworks. Some of my Dragons can fly, some can swim in the ocean or in molten lava.

There are even depictions of feathered Dragons (as some Dinosaurs are known to be). Some Dragons are a mashing of elephants, lions, eagles, bears and other animals too.

 

Types of Dragons

The types of Dragons are as varied as the number of books that exist. Okay well maybe not that varied, but almost. Some of those include:

  • Humanoid Dragons like those made popular in Dungeons and Dragons (which has surprisingly few Dragons) and television shows like Supernatural
  • Hydra
  • Lochness
  • Leviathans
  • Lindworm
  • Wyrm/Wyvern
  • Ouroborus
  • Feathered Dragons
  • Water Dragons
  • Frilled Dragons
  • Fire Drakes
  • Amphiptere / Amphithere / Amphitere (winged serpents)
  • Basilisk
  • Cockatrice
  • Hybrid
  • Reptillian
  • and even the unicorn occasionally falls under ‘Dragon’

For more comprehensive lists of Dragon types and races see:

AllAboutDragons.com

American Museum of Natural History

 

Tracking Dragons

Some claim Dragons exist, they’ve seen them. More often than not these claims are debunked. When they aren’t it’s because there is no proof or access from outside parties to alleged proof, however, for fun, you might be interested in:

On the Trail of the Warsaw Basilisk

Real Dragon Captured by Fisherman

Real Dragon Found

Dragon Corpse Found by Scientist in Spain Explained

5 Dragons Caught on Tape

 

Dragons in Myth, Literature, and Movies

10 Best Dragons in Literature

10 Favorite Movie Dragons

List of Dragons in Mythology and Folklore

Personally, I believe in Tad Cooper and you should too.

 

The Farloft Chronicles – A Dragon for All Ages!

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If you haven’t Read the Farloft Chronicles,
Why not check out a Dragon for All Ages?
…FARLOFT!

James & the Dragon – Volume 1
What would you do if you were adopted by a dragon?
When ten-year-old orphan James nearly drowns in a bog, he finds himself rescued by Farloft,
a centuries old dragon with a glittering collection of treasures and an even richer collection of stories.
But, dragons and boys are not meant to live together – or are they?
When Laval – a wizard harboring a secret hatred for Farloft finds out about James, he sees his chance for revenge.

Kingdom of the Last Dragons – Volume 2
The Healer, Theresa, has returned to the Kingdom after a ten year journey to the Far East.
She brings with her new knowledge of healing and spells unlike anything the Kingdom has seen in the past.
James is learning how to fly, which isn’t easy even with newly sprouted dragon wings.
Farloft is trying his best to teach James what he needs to know to survive in his new role as a young dragon.
But everything will not be all star-fire and smooth dragon flight.
Laval, the Wizard, still has the Zonguldak Ruby and it is out to seduce the wizard and throw the whole kingdom under its spell.

Dragon Deception – Volume 3
In a misguided attempt to thwart a takeover of the Kingdom by the King of Baldar, Farloft and James are accused of treason.
They are forced to flee their home.
The two dragons, and Adrian, are pursued by three malevolent dragon hunters,
but are the hunters all they seem, or is there magic involved?

Too Many Dragons – Volume 4
A messenger from the Far East has come to retrieve a valuable item from the Healer, Theresa.
But, is he all that he seems?
Should Theresa trust him with the talisman given to her for safe keeping?
The foreigner is accompanied by Thrax, an Eastern dragon, with a history that dates back to Farloft’s younger days.
Were they friends, or mortal enemies?
Will the Healer and Farloft survive this encounter,
or will the visitors from the East leave the Kingdom victorious over their dead bodies?

Three & a Half Dragons – Volume 5
Farloft is grumpy.
Clearair’s stomach aches.
James’ has been forced to find a new home.
And, there is a baby on the way that will throw the entire Kingdom into chaos.

Dragon Memories, Dreams & Reflections – Volume 6
This volume is Farloft’s recollections of his early life with the Healer, Theresa.
A life filled with magic, adventure, intrigue, deception, and murder …
All woven together by the love of a boy, a girl and a dragon.
Come sit with us and read Farloft’s tale of how he met and came to love a tiny,
chestnut haired child who grew to be the finest Healer in the land.

And for your Hatchlings…

Farloft’s Storybook
Farloft’s Storybook was written for your hatchlings.
A six year old will love to read it.
The younger ones will enjoy having these nine short stories read to them over, and over, again.
The delightful illustrations by Bluekite-Falls will engage and hold their interest,
while each story is followed by a coloring page for their enjoyment.

Ferryman of the Damned


The sound of pelting rain, it never failed to fall when it was most unwelcome. Curt tugged up his collar of his jacket in a gruff. Giving a heavy sigh, he ran through the streets of the coastal city of Davenport. The streets barren of anyone living that didn’t have to be out in the pouring rain, soon he would be out of this mess and back to his ship. The new goods had come so quickly from the seller, his crew had hardly set foot onto land before they were wanting to shove off again.

His thoughts yanked back as he mistepped and sank ankle deep in mud. Falling forward, his right arm met another puddle as the mud oozed through his fingers. With a growl, Curt wrenched free his arm and foot. The rain making it no easy task and further soaking his clothing.

“Great… juuuust great.” muttering as he shook off the muck. The squishing of his boot sounded just above the din of the falling rain. Home after warm home and inn he passed, tempting him with a place to hole up until this mess of wind and rain was over. But, duty called and he wasn’t getting paid to sit comfortably on his ass in a warm hut. After rounding yet another switchback in the streets, the port was in view, his ship, Mari Toth, bobbed in the waves.
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Through Dragon Eyes Novel Available Now

Originally posted on Catherine Milos’ blog © Catherine Milos 2017

It is ready now. That’s right, you’ve been following me on this journey since November 2016 or before and waiting eagerly for the dragon novel I kept talking about. You pined, you begged, you cried and still the wait dragged on. Wait no more! You can now purchase the paperback through Amazon sites, most online eBook retailers, and select book stores.

Through Dragon Eyes is a young adult novel told through the perspective of the Wise One Earthana and her scaler Zoe. As Zoe discovers who she is and where she comes from, Earthana must learn to become the next Wise One of Dragon Mountain. Earthana must face something no dragon has experienced before, war. A mystical artifact holds the possibility of salvation from the growing force of King Warrick’s army, but the elves watching over it have lost it. Zoe’s friends – Soran the elf, her human brother Caden, Lily the blacksmith’s finisher, and a merman named Nymen – help her search for the missing Gauntlet of the Realms.

This novel was written as part of my first National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo (2016) experience. It was a difficult journey, although not as long as it seemed to take in retrospect, to grow from that first draft into the book which you will hold in your hands. I almost gave up after that NaNoWriMo draft. This book almost did not happen. Thanks to the careful scrutiny and advice of my editor Liz, an amazing wizard with words, the book actually happened.

The talented Jestin Troughton did a commission for the cover. I suggest you visit his website and grab one of his beautiful prints. Here’s his piece:

The cover designer I was using recommended a different route, and that’s the cover you see in my shop and other stores. It’s unfortunate Jestin’s art didn’t get used, but don’t fear, there will be promotional items like bookmarks included with giveaways on goodreads.com, available to Patreon.com patrons, and available at events.

What’s next for books and writing projects?

A return to the Angels and Avalon universe to complete a few more books. Newsletter subscribers got a little secret about the next two books I’m working on in that universe. Want to sign up for my newsletter? Contact me and let me know. Just make sure to provide your email address and let me know you’d like to receive the newsletter I send out one to four times a year.

I’d also like to strengthen some of my online presence and content. That means more blog posts, interviews (characters on catherinemilos.com and authors on inglenook.catherinemilos.com), and random ramblings. Who knows, maybe I will even inteview a character or two from Through Dragon Eyes!

Well, there’s lots of work to do. I’ll let you get to reading that dragon book now.

 

A Letter from an Outside Researcher

Hello, I would like to inform you of a very important aspect of young dragon’s development that I have noticed you might not have seen, or just never mentioned. As dragon’s young brain develops it is common for them to posses a specific character trait that dominates the personality. This trait can be affected by genes and social pressure, most commonly being bravery, greed, or deep fascination about one particular object or phenomenon, with latter found in high dragons more often than in low dragons, but rarely it can take other, less obvious forms. As time goes on this trait starts to fade, manifesting itself less often, dimmed out by logical thinking and other feelings accumulating and interacting with each other inside. Upon reaching adulthood it usually disappears completely. Sometimes in low dragons and wyverns however it can still manifest itself later in life.

A Dragonologist’s Journal

Dragonologist: June 14, 2014 (First publication of this dragonologist’s search for a live dragon and the revealing of the red dragon, Keensight.)

I did not see a dragon at all today even though I am in an area where there was a reported sighting. I did find some burn marks that might indicate this is a hunting area of a dragon with a breath of flame. However, I am unable to verify at this time. This area is rife with mosquitoes and other irritating pests. While this would not deter a dragon, I am finding myself quite uncomfortable and smelling of a great deal of bug spray. Fortunately I thought to pack my mosquito net and will be able to sleep without such irritations.

Dragonologist: June 16, 2014

I have entered more dangerous terrain. There is more evidence of flaming here even among the rocks. I think I am getting close and will proceed with caution. A soot test revealed that some of the marks were as recent as within the month.

Dragonologist: June 17, 2014

I have left trails and in some instances have had to use climbing gear to proceed. I do not expect a dragon cave to be easily accessible by hikers and have come prepared for such challenges. I only have a week of rations and water was not available today to refill water supplies. If I don’t find water tomorrow, I may be forced to turn back.

Dragonologist: June 18, 2014

It is raining today. While I have put my bottles out to slowly refill, I am forced to stay within the confines of my tent. I am on a ledge and the wind has kept this small tent snapping. It is very cold. I would not recommend this route in any inclement weather situation, especially in winter.
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Necessary Items for a Dragonologist’s Laboratory

As dragonologists go, Dr. Earnest Drake is the primary authority. In fact, The Society of Enlightened Dragonologists was to build on Dr. Drake’s work and carry on his research. Today, we are going to cover the necessary items for a dragonologist’s laboratory.

Please note as we begin this exploration of required equipment, that we are speaking of already deceased dragons. There are so few dragons left in the world today that it is important that they are not killed for harvesting of parts. Animals should never be harvested for supposed cures and trophies. Most of these alleged cures are nothing more than hype and falsehoods.

 

Hand drawn science beautiful vintage lab icons sketch set

As far as the laboratory itself, the normal equipment is indicated and only one special tool is needed. The most useful will be the pestle and mortar, as making potions and elixirs from dragon components and herbs is useful in experimentation. A good Microscope is also needed. A diamond drill is the one thing I would recommend as a special tool. Dragons differing anatomy and parts are very hard and difficult to pierce.

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