The Thousand Thrones

The Crusade of the Child
The investigation begins

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Roderick Schreck sent for Carl Kell to help with an investigation within Marienburg. A new cult of Sigmar has formed, like never seen before.

Carl and his companion Margat Chaoseater also bring Luidolf Desfleuve and Argam Aldinsson to the meeting. The witchhunter throws in another companion, Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren. He will help with navigating within the city to speed up the investigation.

Late in the afternoon, they all meet the investor behind the investigation. Selena Reiva is a local merchant and follower of Sigmar, who is concerned about the Crusade.
She offers 100g as compensation and hands out her Sigil, which will cover most of the costs.

Roderick passes on the little his does know what happened. He only arrived 3 days before the Crusade left for Altdorf. The first band of investigators never returned to inform him what this was all about. He only knows that a boy with a twintailed comet on his chest, swinging a hammer single-handedly, killed off demonlike attackers in the middle of a street near the Winkelmarkt. A crowd gathered and the local priest of Sigmar, Helmut, proclaimed that the boy is Sigmars Heir. This happened about 4 weeks ago. Since then the followers were growing rapidly

To make things worse, the exiled former Grand Theogonist Esmer also gave his blessings. This poses a threat to the already tumbling Empire, which is still weak after the Storm of Chaos.

Roderick needs to know where the boy came from, so he can inform Altdorf about it. They need to know what they are dealing with.

Right next day the group sets off to investigate the blacksmith where the boy was found. They learn various rumors about the source of the boy. At the blacksmith they meet Josef Peek, who sells of “relics” of the boy. Lord Luidolf Desfleuve isnt interested in this nonsense and lectures him about the glory about the Lady of the Lake. Finally Jospeh comes forth with something real – a torn tunic. Carl identifies that the tunic belongs to a shallyan orphanage.

The group moves on to the shallyan orphanage, where they meet Abbess Gerda Lutzen. She tells them about Karl and how he killed off his attackers. Carl notices that for a shallyan priest, Lutzen speaks to furious about the recent events.

On the way out, an initiate gives Markus a small piece of paper:

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The group meets Maida Widmann. She is put in a cage, her fingers broken and gagged with rags. Guarded by Black Hats no one is allowed to speak with her. Carl tries to convince the captain of the guards, but in the end it takes the fine diplomacy (Mine’s bigger) of Margat Chaoseater to make them change their minds. Maida tells them about the boy. 7 years ago, Karl was brought to them as a babe by a witchhunter named Osric Falkenheim. Soon she found out that the child is special and “has some awful power about him that bent the will”. She ordered Abbess Gerda Lutzen to bring the boy back to the witchhunter, but Gerda hid the boy and raised him.

Maida tried to stop Helmut and tell the truth about Karl, but the angry mob almost lynched her. She was put in this cage to die by Gerda Lutzen and Father Helmut.

The group decides to return to Roderick to report about their findings. Also they want Maida released from the cage.

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The Investigation continues ...

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The group returns to the “Golden Lamb” to meet with Schreck. They update him on their investigation and ask him to speak to the Council of Marienburg to free Maida Widman, the imprisoned Shallyan priestess. Schreck tells them, that it will be difficult due to the standing of his kind within Marienburg.

Carl Kell also mentions Osric Falkenheim, the withhunter who brought the babe, Karl, to Maida 7 years ago. Schreck tells them, that Falkenheim is the withhunter he should have met when he came to Marienburg, but he had disappeared. He relates the name of the Tavern, “the Fish”, to them.

Meanwhile Markus and Lord Desfleuve engage in a bit of gambling while Margat is stuffing himself with chicken and bloodsausages (he is the best customer of the Golden Lamb).

Markus leads the group to The Fish, using a path which leads by unpleasant places of Suiddock, but this night all is quiet. The innkeeper at The Fish is grumpy since Falkenheim just disappeared a few weeks ago without paying his outstanding rent. Carl buys off the remaining equipment but doesnt find any useful items.

On their way back, Horst Breuer and his men surround the group and ask them why they are after Osric. Obviously they doesnt want him to be found, after what happened to him.
Carl Kell plays the “We have an Ogre” card and Breuer is qucikly convinced to relate the whereabouts of Falkenheim.

The group find Falkenheim at the Black Lotus Dreaming House. They barely stand the smoke within the House. Markus and Lord Desfleuve have their eyes streaming while Carl asks the owner where Osric is staying.

The weather is getting colder and colder. There will soon be snow.

They find Osric upstairs lying in a bed. He is badly wounded. The consumption of Black Lotus eases he pain. Only a bucket of cold water snaps him out of his dreams. After Carl ensures him, that they are here to help he tells them about where he found the babe.

On their way out, Luidolf Desfleuve stays back and ends the misery of Osric Falkenheim, who welcomes this gesture.

Later they meet with Schreck at the town hall. He has just spoken to the council and swayed them to let Maida go. The group tells him about the Falkenheim and he promises to pick up Maida and Osric and bring them to Altdorf.

He orders Carl to start an expedition into the Cursed Marshes to find the temple Osric was talking about.

Markus is tasked to find a swamper guide.

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Into the Cursed Marshes

op_marshes.jpg The group looks for the swampers, who assisted Osric, the witchhunter, 7 years ago.

At the northern camp, outside the Middenheim gate, they find someone who directs them to the Bretonnian gate. They should look there for a person named Jekil Sumpfmund. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren has a little fun with Margat Chaoseater and makes him eat a living bogoctopus.

On the next morning, it is freezing outside, they finally meet Jekil and hire him to take them to the temple within the Cursed Marshes. Jekil is an odd fellow – he enjoys being in the swamp and happily sells them his phamplet “Delights of the Cursed Marsh”.

Their journey takes one and a half day to the temple. On their way, during a rest, Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren encounters glowing fish with 2 childlike faces. He is stunned by this experience – the Marshes start to get to them. Luidolf Desfleuve has his problems to adapt to such a dirty environment.

Also on their journey, identified with the help of Jekils phamplet, they find Bog Flowers, which can be harvested for a sedative potion. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren learns from Jekil how to create such potions during a break.

As Jekil told them, after one and a half day they arrive at the temple. It is a triangle shaped building with a watchtower on each corner. As Margat Chaoseater moves closer and gets attacked by a mutant lookout. The group moves in to attack, while Margat climbs the damaged guard tower.

Just as the inhabitants of the temple and the group of adventurers are about to clash into each other, a sharkfaced mutant in robes emerges from one of the towers. He doesnt look to happy about the visitors.

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To Battle!

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Margat Chaoseater fights the mutant lookout up on the tower, killing it with a furious blow to the head. The mutant falls off the semi-collapsed tower. Meanwhile Luidolf Desfleuve charges recklessly into the group of cultists and engages them. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren and Carl Kell slowly advance into the battle to assist their friends.

The sharkfaced cultist leader unleashes dark magic upon the group, but does only little harm. While the battle rages on, a huge mutant joins them but Margat cuts him down with ease. Luidolf, still engaged with the 3 cultists can battle them down. The cultist leader tries to make an escape, but Markus cuts him off and soon he finds himself surrounded and slain by the adventurers.

After the dirty business is done, Margat Chaoseater lives up to his name and starts munching on a cultist corpse – much to the disgust of this new “friends”. The group searches the temple ruin and discover, next to body parts, a journal written by the cultist leader.

They discover that the babe was found 7 years ago in the arms of a dead elven woman. They took it in but during a dark ceremony, the boy was taken from them by witchhunters.

They havent heard about the boy since, but recent events in Marienburg sparked their interest. The cultists were sure that the “Heir of Sigmar” was the boy taken from them.

A month ago, the cult learned that a man named Jurgen Baer sought a boy with powers like those possessed by their missing child. The cult has discovered Baer frequents a tavern called The Jolly Boatman, in the Doodkanaal Ward of Marienburg.

They plan to capture him, find out what he knows, and learn if their child still lives after all.

Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren smirks at the name of Jurgen Baer. It was his shipment that put Markus in a cell and ultimiatly here into this wet mucky swamp.

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Where is Jurgen Baer?!

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After raiding the tower, the group travels back through the marshes to Marienburg. The journey is uneventful. beside a decayed corpse lying face down on a little island. Investigating the body reveals a small purse and a sword and shield of poor quality. Also the body releases a cloud of gases, which is a very unpleasant for all who are standing close – in particular for Carl Kell.

Back in Marienburg, Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren leads the group to the “Jolly Boatman” where they learn that Jurgen Baer is dead. He got killed by “the Hounds”, who run a gambling business. Baer was rumoured to be in some kind of cult and was feared by the thugs and cutthroats of Dead Canal District. Lately he was seen alone and now he is dead – looks like Jurgen Baer got abandoned by his friends.

At the “Hounds Den”, the gambling house, the group meets Pim de Groot, the leader of the Hounds. He invites them to a game of “Sigmar&Gertrude”. Luidolf Desfleuve and Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren team up and beat Pim. Their price – the purse of Jurgen Baer.

The purse reveals a small map, that leads them to the Burndt Bakery. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren knows the place – this is where the Black Hats jumped the Rooks while dropping their smuggling cargo.

Although it is already getting dark, the group decides to decent into the sewers through a semi-hidden trapdoor within the abandoned backery. Margat Chaoseater has a only little space to manouvere within the sewers, but soon they reach a several connected old cellars that sunk into the ground. Carl Kell illuminates the tip his staff to light their path.

Suddenly they are jumped by a pack of four ghouls. The nasty creatures go for Luidolf Desfleuve, who bravely fights them off. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren tests his looted sword and shield on one of the ghouls but gets quite a beating. Margat Chaoseater rushes in and clears out 2 ghouls, before the rest of the group finishes off the rest of the pack.

Following the map of Jurgen Baer, the are almost at the spot that is marked with an X.
What horrors will be waiting there for them?

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Protect the child!

slobber.jpg The group follows down a narrow sewer towards the X-marked spot. They need to pass an area with red mould on it, all pass through, but Margat Chaoseater disturbs the mold and spores are released. The group ventures down the sewer and find a dead end.

While Margat Chaoseater tries to take down the wall in front of them, Carl Kell notices that a gigantic slug appeared, out of thin air, behind them. Luidolf Desfleuve charges towards it and attacks while Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren searches for an opening mechanism for the secret door. Margat also turns to meet the Beast of Nurgle. The beast tries to slobber all over Luidolf, but he can dodge it. Margat gets stung by the Beast but resists its paralysing poison. Soon the creature is defeated and disappears magically as it has appeared.

Markus finally finds the locking mechanism and opens the door. They group finds a almost deserted cultist lair. One crazy old man, perhaps a former member of the University of Marienburg, is left behind.

The group retrieves a note by an unknown person addressed to Jurgen Baer. They discover that a group of Nurgle cultists are withing the Crusade of the child. Margat Chaoseater kills the old man and eats him, while the others wait outside and discuss what to do.

They rush back to the tavern and get themselves cleaned. On the next day, the meet Roderick Schreck and report what they have found. He will travel to Altdorf to deliver the information to the temple of Sigmar. He will also inform the council of Marienburg to clear the cultist lair. He tells Carl to meet with Selena Reiva in the evening to report their findings to her.

Selena_Reiva.jpg The group shows up early at the house of Lady Reiva and find that it is closed down. Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren decides to go and take a look and starts to pick the lock of the garden gate. This alerts a nearby Black Hat patrol, but Markus can explain that he is part of “her entourage”. They leave him and so they advance to the main door of the house. Again Markus easily picks its lock and the group find themselves in the dark main hall.

The head butler is alerted as Margat pushes over a vase. He throws them out and demands to come back later.

At this point the Teamspeak is full of “SHE IS A VAMPIRE!” shouts – tho out of character ;)

The group meets with Lady Reiva later that day. She is very concerned about the cultists within the Crusade of the Child. She asks them to catch up with the Crusade and protect the child. She offers them horses and a cart for Margat.

After retrieving the horses and the cart they start their pursuit of the Crusade.

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A rough night ... oh wait!

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The group decides to stay one more night within Marienburg and stock up on food and equipment. The weather is getting worse every hour. Snow is falling heavily.

On the next day, they set out to Salfen. They reach it shortly after nightfall and seek shelter in the local tavern. They learn that almost everyone joined up with the Crusade, even Baron Eldred von Stauffer and a Shallayn priestess, who visits from time to time and helps the people of Salfen.

While Margat Chaoseater helps the innkeeper with some woodchopping, Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren sneaks through the deserted village and searches all houses. He finds not much – the villagers have taken most of their stuff with them.

On the next day, they leave for Leydenhove, which they reach again shortly after nightfall. Only about 50 people joined up with the Crusade before the mob moved on towards Calden. The innkeeper tells them to make a stop at the Reavers Bounty, an imperial inn on the road to Calden.

On the next morning the group moves on. The weather is getting worse and the road is not that good in this area. Way after got dark they finally reach the inn. No smoke rises from the chimneys, so Margat Chaoseater and Luidolf Desfleuve go and investigate. Carl Kell and Markus hang back, together with Luidolfs servant.

After discovering that the whole place is deserted, they meet up in the tap room. While discussing the situation, Margat spots a wounded elf hidden on beams below the ceiling.
The elf does not speak Reikspiel very good, but he tells them about a beastman attack. He sought shelter to regroup later with his group.

father_seibolt.jpg While they are tending to the elfs wounds, a huge black coah arrives infront of the Inn. Father Johannes Seibolt of the holy order of Sigmar demands entry. He is accompanied by a young initiate and two hammer bearers. He is not pleased to learn that the Inn is deserted and the Hammer Bearers take a defensive stance. The group can clear up the situation and tell him about the Crusade. He orders his initiate to take notes. As they reenter the tap room, the elf is gone.

Nils, the initiate, gets bossed around by Seibholdt, but Margat helps him to carry heavy stuff and offer him food ingrediants to prepare a meal for his grumpy superoir. Seiboldt soon goes to bed, leaving the group to themselves to put on a guard. They have a pleasant talk with Nils, before they start with their guard duties.

Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren tries to steal from Seiboldts trunk, but fails to sneak into the room, where the trunk is located.

Later that night, Luidolf Desfleuve notices a band of mutants who tries to climb over the wall. He cuts the rope of their grappling hook and together with Margat, he makes them flee into the forest.

Not long after they flee, a horn is blown in the forest. Carl Kell identifies it as a beastman horn. Morrslieb weakly shines from above, as suddenly the elf reappears and whispers, Korska is coming!

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Korska is coming!

korska.jpg From the forests, north of the inn, a group of beastmen charges the walls. They try to cclimb the walls with grabbling hooks, but Margat Chaoseater and Luidolf Desfleuve can cut off the ropes. Still the bigger beastmen manage to scale the wall with the help of lesser beastmen. Ernst, one of the hammer-bearers, gets hurt badly while Margat and Luidolf hack the attackers to pieces.

Carl Kell “guards” the locked main gate as the beastmen attack from the north. After he is convinced that noone is attacking from the south, he runs towards the northern wall to support his friends.

Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren stays inside the inn and picks the lock of Father Seiboldts travel chest. After digging through clothes and used and unused undergarments, he finds a couple of gold rings, 3 books and 2 chalices. He packs all of it in a linnen sheet and trys to bail the inn while the fight is raging on.

Suddenly the heroes hear smashing sounds from the south, a second beastmen group try to bash the main gat open with a cut down tree trunk. Amongst the beastmen is a huge bestigor. The hammer-bearers and Luidolf form a defensive line, while Margat jumps off the northern wall and squashes the remaining lesser beastmen. Luidolf falls and hardly escapes Korskas mighty claws as he tries to grab him.

Margat charges in from the side and draws the attention of some of the beastmen at the gate, while Carl and Lorinoc pepper them with spells and arrows. Shortly after Korska is defeated, a band of 15 wood-elves appear and make short work of the remaining beastmen. They also have Markus with them (they caught him as he jumped down the wall to the east). Lorinoc greets them and all retreat into the inn, while the elves take up guarding positions.

Seiboldt is not amused about the eventful night and wants to drive to Calden. Margat stops them at the gate and soon Seiboldt notices that he cant argue with the big guy. Coriael, the female leader of the wood-elves, asks them about the Crusade and Carl notices that she hides something from them.

The wood-elves offer to escort the adventurers to Calden on the next morning.

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So close ...

Bandera_Middenland.png Some of the adventurers slept in after a night of battle. Carl Kell and Luidolf Desfleuve witness, that Seiboldt and his entourage is leaving the inn, but first they had to wake up Margat Chaoseater who slept in the door arch of the inn.

Before the group leaves, the elven leader Coriael asks Carl about the crusade and the boy, but before she could make her point they get interupted by Luidolf.

The elves offer them to escort the group through the forest, since it will take about 1.5 days to reach Calden. The group agrees and they journey on (Carl finds books about Sigmar in his backpack and wonders how they got there).

During the journey, Coriael fills Carl in about their plans to extract the child and bring it to Athen Loren – where the boy will be safe from the world, and in return, the world will be safe from him. Carl is not sure about this.

Coriael finds in Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren an ally, as she promises to get rid off his burn mark, that identifies him as a criminal. He agrees to become her eyes and ears among the humans and report to her, so the elves can extract the child.

They make a night camp somewhere on the way. Margat starts a fire to warm himself, although the elves dont like it since there are still beastmen around. The night goes by with no incident. Markus has a nightmare about being trapped in a house and Lady Reiva is watching him.

They reach Calden (the elves do not enter the small village). The group learns that half of the population of Calden joined the Crusade, which passed through 3 days ago and went to Scheinfeld. Margat Chaoseater speaks with one of the boys of the inn and learns that his mother went with the crusade – he misses her. They agree to make the days journey at once and rest on the way, but as they are about to leave, a group of Ulrican knights rides in – escorting the coach of Seiboldt.

Seiboldt is in handcuffs – the leader of the knights, Sir Arnold von Eisenbach, states that he follows orders of the Baroness von Goethe. She ordered to bring in all stranglers, especially sigmarites. A shallyan priestess was attacked and with the crusade of heretics around, they suspect it was a sigmarite. The group suspects if to was the priestess that joined the crusade near Salfen.

Sir Arnold offers Luidolf to come with them to Castle Scheinfeld as a guest of the baroness or suffer the same fate as Seiboldt. The group decides to ride with the knights. Sir Arnold tells them they will make the journey next morning since a snow storm is coming.

From Sir Arnold they learn, that his brother Sir Wilhelm, is riding to the camp of the crusade to arrest its leaders. Originally they came down to Scheinfeld to hunt down a host of beastmen.

Margat Chaoseater points out that this is not a good idea, but Sir Arnold doesnt want to hear about it – his brother is a devout follower of Ulric. They also learn that the crusade set up camp about 45 mins away from Castle Scheinfeld. The Baroness sent them a message – if they come any closer, the Castle will open fire on them!

Nils tells them that Seiboldt was eager to find the Crusade, but the coach broke down on the way and the knights picked them up. Since Seiboldt argued with the knights, he got arrested. One more bad thing that happened to Seiboldt – recently he ran into Luthor Huss who used him as an example for what is wrong with the Church of Sigmar.

NIls is happy to see Margat again. That evening Margat asks Nils to read books to him!

During night, Kite, a.k.a Markus Mudgeboren sneaks into the nearby woods to meet with Coriael. He reports where the Crusade is camping and that they will move to Castle Scheinfeld on the next day.

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Castle Scheinfeld

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Margat Chaoseater withdraws for the night with Nils, who agreed to read books to him. The books look awful familiar to Nils, so he asks Margat about their origin. He replies that he got them from Carl.

On the next day, the group rides towards Scheinfeld, but during the trip the cart of Margat breaks down and after a small discussion the ogre is tasked to pull the cart to Scheinfeld. Carl observes the forest and gets a glimpse of the wood elves.

While on the road, they spot the camp of the Crusade. A sea of tents are planted in the west of the road. The group stays on the road to Scheinfeld. Before reaching the town they pass a camp of a regiment of Ulric Swords – Sir Arnold von Eisenbach tells them that these are the men of Wolfgang Kurtz, the Howling Wolf. They ride up to the castle and get welcomed by Zacherius Lauer, the steward of Castle Scheinfeld. He informs Sir Arnold that his brother has not returned. Arnold is furious about it and storms off. Zacherius leads the group to their rooms, while Margat will get a sleeping place in the great dining hall due to his size.

They learn from him that people disappear from the Scheinfeld every night – it is rumoured that they join up with the Crusade. Zecharius leads them to the great dining hall after they got their rooms assigned.

Luidolf Desfleuve meets Sir Arnold von Eisenbach who introduces him to Wolfgang Kurtz. They have a chat about the Crusade and Luidolf learns that Kurtz would love to break the Crusade by force. In the meanwhile, Markus and Margat start a drinking contest, where the ogre gets tipsy earlier than the human. It all ends with Markus fencing a sausage as a sword in front of Margats face. Fortunately for Markus, Margat snatches the sausage with his mouth without biting off Markus arm.

On the next day, a different steward wakes the group. Zecharius has disappeared. Luidolf and Markus start to investigate while Carl and Margat look for Sister Helena, the injured shallyan priestess. At Zecharius room they discover small blood drops and an open window that leads to no obvious possibility to climb down the wall. Carl has no luck to get and audience with Helena.

As Carl and Margat are on their way back, they witness Sir Arnold von Eisenbach guiding a noble and his entourage towards Castle Scheinfeld. The heraldry gives away that the group comes from the Crusade. Ulric swords are guarding the Crusades, who bring two handcuffed men on a cart.

The noble is Baron Eldred von Stauffer. The two men are brought to the prison while Sir Arnold leads Stauffer to the dining hall. Luidolf joins them and asks von Stauffer about the Crusade. von Stauffer is happy to answer all questions and offer Luidolf to join him when he will return to the camp.

The Baroness orders a quick trial. Carl has the possibilty to interrogate the two guilty men, but does not get any useful information out of them. Meanwhile a stage is build in the courtyard. Luidolf tries to speak with Sister Helena but gets denied first. Later they have a few minutes to speak wit her, but she tells him more or less the same as von Stauffer did.

Later that afternoon, the trial is held – a great spectacle. Sister Helena is the only witness, but suddenly the two accused men burst out in tears and confess. The crowd thinks of witchcraft or that those two are dupes who were send here to calm the situation. The judge announces that they are guilty of attacking a member of an official cult and reveals the verdict: death by hanging.

The crowd is pleased, but Wolfgang Kurtz uses the moment to put some more oil into the fire and holds a speech to the townsfolk about the Crusade being a moving font of corruption that should be purged.

Baron Eldred von Stauffer and Sister Helena pass the adventurers on their way out of the courtyard. von Stauffer repeats his invitation to them to accompany him and Sister Helena, as they are leaving Scheinfeld in one hour to return to Karl and the Crusade.

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