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Looking for matches

Fri Nov 25, 2022 8:50 pm by Void Effect

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Looking for fun Fights

Wed Nov 23, 2022 1:55 pm by Leon564

Hi hiiiii
Hope you are well my fellows! Happy holidays to those that celebrate. Though some of you may indeed be busy, some of you might be bored and alone. Well I'm here as well bored and alone 😅 So same boat. But not always the same tastes.

Anywhoooooo I've got my two characters available for some battles. James is decently flexible on whom he fights. But Melanie is strictly for the men. She can't get enough of'em 😆

Take a gander at them and hit me up either with a …

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Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:11 pm by Void Effect

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Seeking the respite of clarity

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Seeking the respite of clarity Empty Seeking the respite of clarity

Post by Iceman Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:15 am

Seeking the respite of clarity ZG4ufyAl

The monk in the shrine:

There was this spot in the middle of the countryside. Arriving there required a train trip of more than half an hour, and then around forty-five minutes of walking down a dirt path in the middle of the forest, but after all that work there was some wonderful reward to the sight. Resting against the mountainside was a very small shrine, just one small offering altar with a small and gentle waterfall and a little pond of running water. Maybe on someone else’s eyes that place was nothing special and only had some some tourist attractive, but for Natsumi Ozora that was a piece of the heavens in the Earth, and one so private and well secluded that she could selfishly claim for herself. That was her little spot to find peace whenever she was feeling tired of the contamination and the stress of the big city, where she could go to have some silence and talk to the spirits at their home.

Natsumi removed the ashes from the censer, the remainings of her last offering, and replaced them with fresh incense before bowing in front of the altar, clapping her hands and sending her silenced prayer to the kamis. The woman had practised that ritual so many times that for her it was easy like breathing. Before even approaching the shrine she had rested in the pond, and after getting rid of her clothing she bathed in the fresh waters as she came to this world, spending some time in there so the clear crystal water could purify her body and dissolve all of her worries. Once her body and mind were ready she got out of the water and got her body dry, slipping inside her prayer clothing. That was when she practised the ritual of offering which she was doing at the moment.

The final part of Natsumi’s routine was the one she liked the most. After presenting respects she would sit legs crossed in a straw mat she had placed there and meditated. It felt right after talking to the gods spending some time to talk to herself and maybe, if she was lucky, hear the voice of the spirits talking through her meditation. As she basked in the sensation of reaching out to the kamis, Natsumi’s chest would slowly rise and fall to the rhythm of her slow and deliberate breathing. It was at that moment when Natsumi felt like her spirit abandoned her body and trascended into the spiritual realm, achieving illumination and clarity in the process. It may be true that she abandoned the dogmatism and stiffness of her former monastery, but she was still a servant of the gods, following her path in the way they devised. It was meant for her to abandon the monastery and to find that small spot in the mountains to reach out to them, to be their humble servant. Natsumi allowed herself to smile, since for her physical expression wasn’t at odds with spirituality. It was at moment like those when she felt whole, complete, and that was why she decided to remain there and meditate a little longer, see if the gods would communicate with her that beautiful morning.

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Post by Berial Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:51 pm

Far above in the rustling leaves, one expects to find the wind and the free call of birds. The beauty of the lush green so near to their heads, they never consider the vibrant life carried by its strong branches and betwixt the shade of its leaves. Ants march in unison back to their nests, eagles on high scout from their perch, and, once on a cool Saturday afternoon, a leaping shadow would dash through the sunbeams in the direction of a certain temple far in the distance. In summer's serenity, an uncharacteristic tune emitted faintly.

“Now all you sucker DJ's who think you're fly
There's got to be a reason and we know the reason why
You try to put on those airs and act real cool
But you've got to realize that you're acting like fools...”


The shadow dashed from tree to tree, leaping from branch to branch, covering several hundred feet in a matter of seconds. The apparition moved with a startlingly majestic quality through the brush and leaves. As the temple finally came into view the shade leapt from on high and landed gracefully at the foot of the stone path. As it slowly rose from the ground, the fierce shadow revealed itself to be the carefree silhouette of a young woman. Her hair was tied back and her shoes were laced tight. She nodded along with her headphones as she strutted her way up the path.  

“Word up (Up, up), everybody say
When you hear the call you've got to get it underway, ow.”


The Ninja Wearing Beats:

God, Yae loved Saturdays. Why shouldn’t she? The weather was usually nicer in Tokyo which meant getting outside was almost always a good experience. The nightlife reached its busiest this time of the week, which meant plenty of drinks and plenty of defenseless wallets to swipe and spend. But best of all, it meant that this shrine was vacant. Not that she came to pray. Fuck no, gave that up years ago. This was just the one place she could think of where...Yae stopped immediately only steps from exiting the brush. Was someone here?

Yae raised a brow as the scent of freshly burnt incense passed her by. In a violet flash, she leaped straight up into the air and stood tall on a thin, but sturdy tree branch. Her eyes peered through the treeline and into the opening of the thicket where the shrine was erected. Right in front of it was a woman she didn’t recognize. Just sitting there, praying. “Hm.”

She held a foot out as she stepped off the edge of the tree branch and in the blink of an eye Yae was beside the meditating monk with her hands at her hips. The kunoichi slipped her headphones down around her neck. Her head tilted to the side, trying to peek past the brim of the woman's hat. A lifetime of looking over her shoulder taught her a lot about the threats that lurked in the shade underneath the brim of a hat. It had been a while since someone had tried to kill her. Wouldn’t that be a delight?

“Afternoon. This place doesn't usually get visitors.” Yae slowly knelt and folded her legs into a comfortable seiza as she sat. Her ebony eyes looked the stranger up and down, lingering on some of the more interesting bits. Easy on the eyes for a monk. “Can be dangerous out here all by yourself.”

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Post by Iceman Mon Jun 28, 2021 3:06 pm

Natsumi breathed deep, taking great inhales and then making a long drawn exhale, letting her mind’s eye open while her normal ones remained closed. Soon enough everything surrounding the shrine became the only thing breaking the silence, but in being aware of all those little sounds of nature brought some peace and clarity to the monk who was communing with the spirits. Each small rustling sound of leaves blown in the wind, every single twig snapping under the feet of small forest creatures, the constant murmur of the water which flowed from the pond iniciating a descent from the mountains, all that was in some sort of way the way the kamis responded to Natsumi. Of course it wasn’t going to be a clear as day response, it was one the monk had to interpret, to decypher. That was why she liked that shrine, it was easy to listen to the gods in there, and since she discovered that small place of peace she would visit it often.

In between deep breaths, Natsumi started feeling something amiss in the air. Her eyes were still closed but it started to be clear to her. She couldn’t point it out because this strange anomaly was pretty elusive and knew really well how to hide its presence, but for Natsumi it was as if the forest itself was speaking to her and telling her that something was out of the ordinary. Still, the monk wasn’t capable of pointing the exact source of that disturbance, so she set out to find her balance again, breathing slowly and finding her center.

It wasn’t until the very last moment, when that woman was just behind her, when Natsumi noticed the rustle of human movement. Then a very obvious hum of some sort of headphones confirmed her suspicions of a person being behind her. That woman kneeled besides her and greeted Natsumi before starting conversation with a strange statement of that place being dangerous. The monk bowed to the altar a final time before opening her eyes and turning herself in her sitting position. That was the first time she saw Yae: she was lean and packed tight clothing in dark colors with the contrast of bright red headphones. She could notice how that woman was curious about her, maybe she was a faithful and wanted to pray with her, but in some way that woman’s tone was a little more grim than the one with peace on their mind.

Natsumi spoke with soft voice: “Good afternoon. Why do you say that? This place is a haven for prayer and peace. The only danger or darkness here is the one we bring with us, don’t you think?” She was curious about what guided that woman’s words. She never got to act as guidance in the past since the male monks did that at her monastery, but she followed her own rules now, and if that woman was anguished in some sort of way she wanted to give her solace, that was why she signalled the mysterious woman to get closer to her by tapping with her hand besides her.

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Post by Berial Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:17 am

Interesting answer from an interesting woman.

Yae had been made to read up on the ancient myths and legends circling Japanese history from the Gempei period forward through her tradition-bound tutelage. Yokai, spirits, and animism were as much the basis of her education as were the practices of murder and deception. Folk tales and rumors provided many key insights into popular fears and beliefs regardless of the era.

She had a certain respect for places of worship because of that. Her entire village was essentially one sprawling temple. A shrine was never more than ten feet from her at any given time. The melodious ring of Suzu accompanied the blooming flowers at the beginning of spring and welcomed the falling snow at the dawn of the new year. Old Lady Fuu had her run the floorboards and ceiling tiles of their towering pagoda so many times she’d head home with blisters on her fingertips. Yae herself was never one for faith, but she could understand it.

This woman wasn’t as easy to wrap her head around. She’d seen monks from almost every region of Japan. If there was a temple out there that let their attendants show this much skin, Yae would have discovered it a long, long time ago and made it a point to pilgrimage once a week. As curious as it made the kunoichi, she nevertheless kept her guard up and the white-clad woman in her periphery. Only until she could be absolutely certain.

Yae couldn’t help but regard her with a slightly crooked brow and chuckle a bit at some of her vernacular. It was reminiscent of some Buddhist literature she dredged up, but not like the standardized stuff they teach in the urban areas. Her mannerisms evoked someone raised in the country. Maybe even more remote than that. Anyone that came this far away from civilization to seek communion was someone who had done it plenty of times before.

"I’ve walked every inch of this country from head to toe, miko. You would be surprised how many ‘havens’ exist in name only." Yae faced forward and clapped her hands together, emptying her mind for a moment as she spoke clearly and concisely. The first words she spoke seemed to echo from the thoughts of another. "Darkness exists everywhere there is light. Danger is the same way. Everyone deserves peace of mind. Just don't kid yourself. Your last breath could come at any time and the gods definitely couldn’t give a crap either way."

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Post by Iceman Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:41 pm

Natsumi listened to everything that mysterious woman had to say. The ninja-looking woman had some grim view of the world, but the monk wouldn’t blame her for it. Some people lived under lots of stress and anguish, and not being capable of venting that inner darkness was the path to cynical thinking like the one she was expressing, but Natsumi wasn’t there to judge her but to help her find clarity. The monk was adamant about that resolve: the spirits had put that woman on her way so she could help her enlighten some, and she would take that task to the best of her ability.

Closing her eyes for an instant and deep breathing, Natsumi’s mind raced around what to answer to that grim statement the woman just made. She thought of her monastery’s master, a man who was so upright and strict, but also was undeniably wise and his words were some of the best pieces of advice she had ever seen. However, sometimes the advice he was giving was so harsh on the listener, and that was one of the reasons she left the monastery. She wanted to fill the world with love and comfort, not to coerce people.

Opening her eyes, Natsumi faced the woman and then signalled in front of her, inviting Yae to sit in front of her. Then, she spoke and when she did it it was with a soft and comforting voice. “I can try and understand why would you say something like that, but take a moment, close your eyes and listen.” The monk would remain silent for a few seconds. “What did you hear? Birds chirping, maybe some squirrel running around, the rustling of the leaves and the murmur of flowing water. None of those bring agression or pain, only peace and balance. You see, you warned me about the threat of damage and even death, but the only disturbance in this place is the one humans bring with themselves. There is absolutely nothing in here that would try to harm us but the hand of man, but we must keep faithful and visit the places of respite and peace so we can bring our spirits closer to the spirits.” Natsumi smiled warmly as she found interesting how it was the first time she was using all the wisdom and insight she found during her meditations to actually help someone else find comfort. Only remained to see how Yae would take her words.

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Post by Berial Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:09 pm

It had been some time since Yae had enjoyed meditating. Growing up she was filled with boundless energy that bred all sorts of inattention and wayward thoughts. A moment of peace was seldom found between all of them. When she started killing, somewhere along the way Yae found she needed something to keep her grip on reality. To make sense of the blood and sweat that stained her kunai. She had to know the world was still living and rotating.

Then, at some point, she became ennuied. And not long after that, she started to enjoy it. Before she realized it, her work had become her anchor. The sight of blood calmed her nerves, the light fading from another's eyes was a fascinatingly magical thing to watch. In truth, nothing in this world made her feel more connected, more in control than swinging a blade at a clean neck. That became her faith. Her Zen.

But right here, beside this curious monk that met her with welcoming eyes full of life, Yae felt oddly...compelled. She turned to face the monk and listened to what she had to say. The flowing stream behind the shrine, the whistling of the leaves, the shadow of a sparrow passing by overhead. Honestly, it all made sense. There was an inherent innocence to the natural world. Her village in Iga was closer to the mountains and earth than you could find anywhere else in Japan. Though she had never looked back since the day she had left, the one thing she could say she missed was the peace found beyond the modern world. Whatever the answer, Yae may have been outmatched. The monk had come from a place where she could ruminate on these realities often.

Though personally, Yae found her eyes drifting lower to a pair of more interesting, heavier assets peeking out at her. The kunoichi made a mental note to find out what temple this woman came from. Her unique attire invited wandering eyes and the fine body underneath made them linger. Curvaceous, supple, lush. The corner of her lip twitched and threatened a devious smirk.

Yae brought her attention back to the monk before she started giving the monk the impression that she was being ignored. She had to chuckle at that last notion of hers. “You’re pretty interesting for some monk, I’ll give you that. Ignorant, but interesting.”

Her eyes looked off into the distant sky. Through the swaying leaves, an infinite blue hummed back at her without a cloud in sight. It was a gorgeous day, much like back then in the time she recalled.

"Three hundred years ago, off to the west in central Japan, Oda Nobunaga set fire to the greatest temple in the land. He marched across the land with a thousand spears and massacred the Sōhei of Mount Hiei. Then he burned alive the monks inside the temple, and then he killed every man, woman, and child running for their lives at the base of the mountain. Tens of thousands lost their lives on hallowed ground. Eleven years after that, Nobunaga himself was the one surrounded by the flames at his retreat in Honnō-ji. He slit his belly and bled to death into a sack of rice.”

Yae looked the monk back in the eyes. Her eyes reflected a morbid detachment from the serenity of the birds and sunlight all around them. “And that was that. Both temples, both sides. Everyone died and the world kept turning. You might sing the songs of majestic birds and rivers. But really? We’re all just blades of grass waiting to be stepped on. Some of us are grounded and stuck in our ways, then some of us take up our roots and fly away. Perhaps to the lands we’re destined to visit. Either way, when it’s time for you to be harvested…”

Yae’s hand reached down to clutch a fistful of grass and plucked them free from the soil. She held them aloft before Natsumi before tilting her hand and letting the reeds drift lifelessly and weightless back to the ground. “...no one will be there to pick you up.”

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Post by Iceman Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:39 pm

Back in her old monastery the monks’ position when their precepts were openly challenged like that would have been to raise one hand in an extremely passive-agressive polite gesture and that way command silence before start rambling and postulating without even allowing for a retort of any question, but that wasn’t Natsumi’s style. She wasn’t going to take that woman’s comments in a bad way since every word spoken by Yae moved the monk towards the truth that mysterious woman hid inside, and that would allow her to understand why she spoke the way she did. That was why Natsumi patiently listened with a calm demeanor and a soft smile on her face. Not even when she was openly called ignorant she changed her face, taking that as a new piece of information to work with.

Yae knew her Japanese story pretty well, and none of the facts she stated were wrong or imprecise, so that was why Natsumi listened patiently. It wasn’t until Yae was done with her argument that Natsumi cleared her throat with a low sound and then started talking. “You brought a very interesting topic of conversation, and maybe without knowing you brought what troubles you. You have openly spoken about the darkness in the world, about danger and violence and without knowing you have brought everything that ails your soul to the conversation.” Natsumi didn’t want to be harsh to that woman, but now she felt like a true monk, like one of those who could help people. “Nothing you said before about Nobunaga’s deeds is untrue, but there is a pretty simple truth that I should point out to you: everything dark and scary you invoked in your tale was brought by the hand of men and not the world you pin the blame in. All the bloodshed, betrayal and massacre was brought by Nobunaga and his enemies. You speak of how we are blades of grass waiting to be stepped on or sickled. I say that is a sad way of thinking.” Natsumi signaled with one hand. “Look at the nature around you and tell me what is menacing in the natural flow of life. Sure, some creatures’ end comes before than others, but no one ends in tragedy if they lived in balance. It was only in those trying times of blodshed and the inner darkness of men when the balance was disrupted and all that sadness spread through the world. And isn’t that the reason why you are here? I can see you are troubled, and you came here to soothe your pain and regain your balance, didn’t you?” It was funny for Natsumi thinking of herself as some kind of mentoring figure because surely the elders in her monastery would disapprove, but she was choosing her path now, and she wanted to help that woman, to soothe her soul.

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Post by Berial Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:01 am

Natsumi had quite the poker face. And Yae didn't say that just because it was quite a face to look at.

It was...interesting, for lack of a better word. Yae wasn’t getting the impression that she was being ignored or that her words weren’t sticking to their intended target. Quite the opposite, Natsumi was hanging onto every word. The kunoichi could tell. She’d made a living off of the simple ability to read faces and being able to tell exactly what anyone was thinking from a glance. Natsumi was hanging on to every word and absorbing them most curiously.

Her face didn’t move aside from nodding and acceptance. It was like speaking with one of those temple statues, a living manifestation of those rocky, ancient guardians that stood stoic and powerful just beyond her village gates. All of that omnipotent knowledge, that spiritual disconnection from the rest of the world. Natsumi’s eyes reflected a connection to the universal truth.

Yae heard her reasoning and understood it completely. It made sense. Humans were greedy and ostentatiously brutal for often no reason at all. The people of her village understood that better than anyone else in the world. It was how they made their coin after all. Although, for Yae, it seemed like Natsumi was suggesting that this was some sort of exception to the rule. As if that wasn’t simply the way of the world. Did she honestly place that much faith in hearts and minds?

"Is that why you're out here? Hoping for a chance encounter with wayward souls to turn to the light? Or are you seriously praying to that offering box with scented candles and expecting a reply?" Yae chuckled. It was a bit mean, she had to admit. “Is the cruelty of men not just one of the many gifts bestowed by the divine to this shithole of a world they’ve made? That’s the thing, Natsumi. Where you monks see darkness, we see comfort. Your eyes see evil, we see the way things are.”

Yae leaned forward and curled her lips into a cruel leer. “Is that how you see me? 'Troubled'? Tormented? Lost? A bit of advice, miko: you don't know shit about me.”

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Post by Iceman Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:29 pm

Natsumi couldn’t feel but relate with Yae in some sort of way. It had nothing to do with the woman’s grim opinion on the world or the natural order, but it had more to do with how the shinobi was actively trying to resist any kind of approach from the monk. That reminded Natsumi of how impervious she used to be to any lesson coming from her elder monks back in the monastery. It may be true that some of their dogma proved to be toxic for her in a way, but there also were very profound and wise tenets to learn and at first Natsumi fought against them with a fierce will. The monk saw that reflection of herself in how Yae reacted in a violent way to any attempt from Natsumi of unravelling the mystery that was the shinobi. There was one thing clear from what Yae said though: she was in pain and under a veil of darkness no matter if she wanted to admit it or not.

Breathing deep, Natsumi armed herself with the patience and understanding she lacked in the past when she was just a novice. She really wanted to help Yae but not out of pity but the compassion of a monk. It was her sword duty to help people ease their souls and she would devote to those principles. “Well you are right about something you said: it would be cynical to assume that lighting a candle would solve your problems or the darkness in the world, but that’s not how the gods work. When I come here to pray and meditate I leave a different person while the gods remain the same. I’m not asking the spirits to get rid of the issues that trouble me because the spirits remain unchanged, fixed in place. What I pray for, what I meditate for, is to find the inner strength and wisdom to think of a solution. By offering my respects, I pray for the spirits to give me the enlightenment to learn something about myself and leave this place with peace of mind so I can dissipate the darkness in my life. Because if you were wrong about something it was about darkness being part of the natural order. Darkness is brought by us humans when we lose our center, and that leads to negative emotions and actions. Would you say that a fox is evil or vengeful for eating a rabbit? I don’t think so, but we can agree on a person being twisted because they killed their neighbor to steal from them. I think there is a clear difference in there.”

Natsumi had some rest to clear her throat and let her words sink in. She felt some sort of fulfillment inside and wondered wether her elders felt the same when teaching her. Then she spoke once more. “There is also something you were wrong about: even if it is true I don’t know any detail about you I know something. You are here. Among anything you could be doing in this beautiful morning you took your time to travel here in search for something. What you came seeking I must discover yet, but you came for a reason, because there was something you needed from this place. Am I mistaken in this assumption?”, she finished with a warm smile.

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Post by Berial Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:43 am

Why was she here?

It was kind of ridiculous that she’d forgotten the reason for even half of a second. Yae was a woman that lived in the moment, but she was more than capable of laser-focus when necessary and today was no exception. Today was an occasion that she wouldn’t have missed even if it were her last day on this earth.

Perhaps that was a testament to just how interesting Natsumi was. Aside from that chance encounter with Kozue Kaburagi, Natsumi was the first person Yae had met in years that she felt she could see herself in. Yae felt herself staring at a reflection of her younger years, looking into the waters of a tiny pond and watching the years of isolation call back to her from her ebony eyes beneath the ripples. Natsumi came from a world much like her own. Maybe that's why talking to her felt so natural. She couldn’t agree with a single thing she was saying and couldn’t feel more at home.

In all the excitement she had almost forgotten why she even came out all this way.

Yae simply smiled back at the priestess. She stood up and walked past her towards the shrine at her back.

"I come from a village high in the mountains of Iga.” She stopped and leaned down in front of the shrine, tapping underneath the wooden surface. Her hand finally pressed against the false bottom that she pushed in and shifted away into an empty pocket. Yae reached inside the small opening and pulled out a wooden box that she brought to the ground and slowly pulled it out from underneath the shrine.

“An old fable of a shinobi named Genta who was fishing on the river when he suddenly caught the scent of sage and wisteria. He traveled upstream and, through the dense fog of the mountain pass, he chanced upon a waterfall teeming with dancing carp along the headwaters. They were trying to climb the waves. The sight bewildered him, and he looked for a way to ascend the falls.” Yae reached into her back pocket and pulled out a key, pressing it into the lock and opening the ornate box with a simple turn. The kunoichi dug through the contents as she continued with her story.

“When Genta reached the summit the fog began to dissipate as if heralding his arrival. The morning sunlight pierced through the mist and its rays illuminated the spring waters at his feet. The water was still, tranquil and endless as the eternal sky. Within the coiling clouds forming at the water’s edge, his eyes just caught a glimpse of the great, fleeting shadow of a dragon’s tail disappearing high over the roaring falls. All that was left behind was the spring sunlight, the roar of the falls...and the mountain waters.” She stood up and turned around to reveal a brass bottle in her hand-tied with a silk, velvet cord around its neck. Its face was inscribed with an ascending carp. A shuriken over the eye was a sign of premium quality.

"Dragonspring Sake. This little shrine is one of two dead drops in the entire country that are still open to me. It's the only place in the world where I can still get some. I collect once every three weeks.” Yae turned around and smiled at Natsumi, dangling the bottle in one hand and shrugging with the other.

“You’re not gonna get on my ass about a stiff drink now, are ya?”

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