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    • Mr. Smith knew a stacked deck against him when it was presented to him. He wasn't surprised really, the men were sticking up for the pretty gal instead of justice. It was the way of things. But he would try and get at least something out of his misery.   "Oh alright, I won't press charges but only if she pays whatever the doc here is gonna charge me for this here treatment," he answered.   "Of course, Miss Mundee here, well, she’ll have to wait on Anderson to decide her immediate fate.” Speed said. “With those others awaiting trial, have to take her to the County Sheriff’s lock up. Just about looking at a full house, well except for the basement cells.” He smiled at her.   "Fine! Not like I got any say in this do I?  Just a kindly young miss defendin' some poor innocent dog from mistreatment. Yeah, incar....incar..ser..?" Caroline was stumped.   "Throw me behind bars and lemme rot then," she shrugged.   "Hey Doc, you seem like a nice man? Can you let the saloon know where I am, please? Maybe my boss can post bail or somethin'? She is gonna need her singer/dancer tonight," she now addressed Danforth.   She pointed to herself, "That be me! You should come and hear me sometime. I admit my dancin' ain't the greatest but everyone sez I can sing real fine."   ooc: Forgot about this when I came home from my trip! We should be close to finishing it soon anyhow.   @Flip   @Bongo    
    • The good reverend had the kindness to offer to write down justwhat  it was the couple were going to have to recite from memory and scribbled the words down as he said them too. Clara was grateful for that much. Her dripping sarcasm seemingly had failed miserably on Jacob so she was stuck learning this. Fortunately it did not seem too long or so bad. That is if her nerves didn't fail her. Well, she would just have to find out. Besides, even if she bungled the vows, it could be easily sorted, nothing was going to stop them from getting married!   Hearing that all present would have to agree to the marriage gave Clara a bit of a new worry. Unanimous? So it would take only one to ....to scuttle the whole thing? A new thing to be nervous about. Afterall there would be Granny Miggins present.......oh and Arabella too. So far Arabella had been most supportive about the young couple but it was afterall Arabella. Mercurial described the child to a tee.   Clara took her copy, "Thank you, Reverend."   Then Jacob began to recite the whole thing. Now? Both Redmonds turned their gaze to watch and listen to the little performance. Strange.   When he had finished, Clara could only comment, "You are a bit early. This is not the ceremony yet."   Since Aurelian could not help with the ring, he then turned to the minister, "What is the cost of the marriage ceremony, use of the church and such? I will pay for it. It is tradition the father of the bride pay for the expenses."            
    • "Oh, really? Congratulations, then, Mrs. Soon-to-be Pike!" Lucinda smiled warmly, but her smile was tinged with sadness, as were her thoughts. This woman had found someone she liked enough to marry again, but Lucinda doubted that she ever would. Out here, anyway. Back east was a different story.   "I would be glad of the company if you could spare a few minutes," she answered. Now the question was...what would they talk about? All Lucinda wanted to know was news from the east, but it wasn't likely Emeline would know any more than she did. And as far as news went, living by yourself for six months didn't give you a lot of news-worthy things to talk about.   "Could I also have some water? I don't know about you, but stagecoaches make my throat terribly dry."
    • "White... fish?" José repeated, a little incredulous at such a name. Not that Kalispell was much better, but at least it was a name, rather than a color of aquatic creature. "No, I wasn't headed there. Why?"   "Uh, jest that it ain't there no more, an' you'd be wastin' your time huntin' her up.  Wasn't all that much anyway. I mean there was people what lived there, they had stores and all, but it jest never felt right. You know, somethin' off about the place." Carson explained as well as he could.   "Nest for outlaws mostly, a man had ta be careful what he said, an' such-like. But now Kalispell? That there's a growing concern. Most folks 'er friendly, Marshal seems to be a fair man. Yeah, a good place. So, what sortta work you looking for?" It was easy conversation for a lengthy ride across the range, pushing through the cattle when they crowded up.   "You might wanna douse that there lamp. Moon an' stars shed plenty of light out here." What he was thinking was, that a moving light crossing the Evergreen might bring on problems neither of them wanted, or needed.  @boshmi    
    • "Clara, your response is the same, merely with the first line as; 'I, Clara Redmond, take you, Jacob Lutz, to be my husband,' of course."   Jacob smiled warmly at Clara, his heart filling with joy at the thought of it, and catching Aurelian’s eye a lesser, more respectful one.   He wrote out the vow once more on a separate sheet, though with said amendment.   "Just before the vows, you will both declare intent, and I will ask the greater family if they give their blessing, at which point, Mr. Redmond, you and others of the family present must reply unanimously with 'we do.'" he told Clara's father. "Once that is sorted, you may exchange rings, or items, and say a piece of your own, if you so desire. I will bless the items, then your marriage, and finally, you will be man and wife, given that we have signed the certificate, either before or during the ceremony."   Compared to many other undertakings in life, the whole thing seemed ludicrously simple: there seemed to be only one factor that could make it go wrong; the usual one; people.   The priest took the vows he’d written and moved down from the lectern to pass them to Jacob and Clara. “They aren’t too long, so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to memorize them.”   Jacob glanced down his script, and then folded the paper, and closing his eyes intoned in a sort of sing song voice he used for memorising poems and passages of prose he liked: "So… 'Inthe nameofGod,…. I JL, take you, CR, tobemywife, tohaveandto holdfromthisdayf’rw’rd, forbetterfor worse, forricherfor poorer, in sickness and in health” for some reason he said these words more distinctly, like they were less familiar or didn’t quite fit into his mnemonic process “…toloveandtocherish, untilwearepartedbydeath. Thisismysolemnvow.In the name of God… yeah, I think I got it." He opened his eyes to see everybody staring at him.   “What?” he asked, blinking.   @Wayfarer @boshmi
Brendan Connolly

In Times of Trouble

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Caroline seemed pleased with his answer and the little bit of spirit her sarcasm had conjured in him, and even had a suggestion for where to look for a job. But her reassurance about Arabella wasn't all that assuring.

 

To avoid having to say anything, Brendan moved his arm experimentally and was relieved to find that the bandage gave him just a little bit more use of his arm. Not much, but he didn't feel like he had to hang onto it all the time now.

 

"It wasn't Cantrell," he said finally. "Wish it had been. Would'a been easier."

 

"It's never easy when it's a horse or a cow 'cause they trust you. And they've got those big eyes that tear your heart out to look at. You can't look at em' when you're doin' it. They wanna live. But Billy..." He shook his head and closed his eyes.

 

"...He knew it had to be done. He wanted me to do it. But Arabella won't understand that!" He burst out suddenly.

 

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Arabella started to come round, and at the back of her mind knew that something was wrong, something was terribly wrong.

 

Some of the saloon patrons who had gone out to see what all the commotion was about had carried her back in, in a dead faint and her apron covered in blood where she had thrown herself on Billy’s body. The had been some talk of smelling salts, but ‘Mammy Cookie’ had waddled into the bar area and ordered her put to bed immediately, the tough and scary Ralph Flandry carrying the girl’s inert form gently up the stairs and laying her on the rough bedspread in her pokey little room.

 

Now it was still light outside, she noticed. She still had her clothes on, though Cookie had removed her boots (brave woman) and her pinny, taking it to soak in cold water to get the blood of the murdered boy out. She lay there a good few minutes as it all came flooding back. The sight of Billy’s cold, white, half naked form; so like and yet unlike the body she had seen only a few weeks ago when he was still alive. She had no illusions about their 'relationship', but he had taught her something very important about herself, and he meant something to her because of that. 

 

Someone’s voice was in her head, some know-all had been speaking just before she had found herself on top of Billy, kissing his dead lips goodbye. ‘See that shot through the heart? See how that’s a different shape? Somebody’s up and shot that poor defenceless bastard right up close.’

 

She heard voices next door. She recognised them both. She listened.

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"It wasn't Cantrell," he said finally. "Wish it had been. Would'a been easier."

 

"Huh?" Caroline still didn't get it.

 

"It's never easy when it's a horse or a cow 'cause they trust you. And they've got those big eyes that tear your heart out to look at. You can't look at em' when you're doin' it. They wanna live. But Billy..." He shook his head and closed his eyes.

 

She suddenly got it, Brendan put Billy out of his misery.  He probably was in agony and so far from doctors. She really didn't know the details other than what she could squeeze out of a still shaken and injured Brendan.

 

"...He knew it had to be done. He wanted me to do it. But Arabella won't understand that!"

 

"Look if you put him out of his misery, if that's what he asked ya ta do...then you were just doin' his last wish sort of thing. But it's simple, really, just don't tell Arabella then. She won't know what went on out there," was Caroline's advice.

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Caroline finally understood what Brendan was getting at - no thanks to him. He couldn't come right out and say what he'd done, but Caroline put it into words for him. Hearing it from someone else's mouth in someone else's words made it seem...well, not so bad. Not so cruel.

 

He looked up at her, eyebrows furrowed slightly. "Yeah," he muttered finally. "It just felt...wrong. And yeah, Arabella won't know, but she's got them big eyes, too. I can't stand seein'...things...in people's eyes."

 

By things he meant things and feelings he didn't understand in people. Animals were simple, but there were so many more possibilities with people's eyes. 

 

His thoughts flashed unbidden to the even more cow-eyed - or doe-eyed - redheaded Bridget Monahan. If Arabella ever found out, Bridget would find out. And he couldn't bear for Bridget not to look at him the way she had at the dance, like he was something special. He couldn't bear for her to look at him with anything less than the admiration she had expressed that first night they had danced together.

 

He shook his head and looked back at Caroline in her underwear, realizing for the first time how close they were and how very, very beautiful she was. Not the first time for that, actually, but he hadn't realized how odd this was; being in Caroline's room with both of them in a state of partial undress, but for completely innocent reasons.

 

"D'you have to go back down?" he asked, dragging his eyes away from her figure and back to her face, which was just as lovely as all the rest of her.

 

@Javia (Whenever Arabella wants to burst in, she's welcome!)

Edited by Bailey (see edit history)

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He looked up at her, eyebrows furrowed slightly. "Yeah," he muttered finally. "It just felt...wrong. And yeah, Arabella won't know, but she's got them big eyes, too. I can't stand seein'...things...in people's eyes."

 

"Arabella is a decent soul but a bit.............overly dramatic. You are in control of this situation as long as you don't go blabbering about it," once more Caroline shared her advice.

 

"D'you have to go back down?" he asked, dragging his eyes away from her figure and back to her face, which was just as lovely as all the rest of her.

 

"Yeah...well..." she then glanced over to the mirror, "Oh...shit! I got blood on this thing too. I need to change that then also."

 

Moving over to the closet, she opened it then pulled out one of those changing screens which can hide others' views as someone takes clothing off and dons new clothes. She set that up and stepped behind it.

 

"So....are you alright then with me possibly having the boss get mad at me and fire me and me bein' out of a job then? Cuz I don't think I could replace it with a medical career," she continued talking as she was changing behind that screen.

 

 

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The leader of a modern Hostage Rescue Unit would have been proud of the way Arabella handled the operation, after she heard what she heard through the paper thin wall that separated her room from Caroline's: she burst into the room in a flurry of faded calico holding the big James I Bible in front of her for protection. The sight that met her eyes confirmed her thesis, the succubus was already half naked behind a screen and her exhausted victim half bled to death on the bed, that bed where the pair of them, Billy and Caroline as they called themselves, did their dirty, filthy, sinful business.

 

She rushed over to Brendan’s good side, a look of wild hysteria on her innocent face.

“Quick, you been tricked, we gotta get you outta here, Bren!” she panted. She had her very own sample of blood smeared on her face, Billy’s. “They’re in it together, her and Billy. Don’t worry, you ain’t killed a real person, they’re both Demons! They been sent by Satan to lure and trick us poor sinners into wrongdoin’. Billy tempted you to commit murder, and he… even though he looked dead, he got me to kiss him, kiss him like a whore right out there on the street in front of everybody … and one time, well, he got me to do awful sinful things with him right on this bed where she got you trapped right now and .. and she … SHE… she’s the worst one! She temped me to do the most awful, terrible, goddless things …” Arabella held up the Bible again as Caroline emerged.

 

“Get back Demon!” she cried. “Look at her Bren, look at her real good, real people ain’t that good lookin’. That’s how they make ‘emselves look: always blonde, blue eyes, just the prettiest perfect face and the most beautiful pale bodies. Oh, you ain’t seen her body yet! Oh, it ain’t human... it’s ….That’s what gives ‘em away see, they’re too perfect! Look at her, Spawn of Hell! Well, you’ll trick me no more Caroline Mundee, or whatever your real name is Beelzebub! I knew them things we did together weren’t right! But it was you! You … made me feel… funny. I ain’t bad really, I ain’t goin’ to Hell, it was you, it was YOU!” With this she threw down the bible on top of Brenan to protect him and flew at Caroline.

 

@Bailey @Wayfarer

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"I'd hate for ya to lose your job, 'cause then you wouldn't be around the next time I come into town," Brendan was saying, putting both his hands on his knees as though he was preparing to stand. He was temped to go over to the screen and peek over the top, but Caroline seemed like the type who would retaliate with a scratch to the eyes or something like that.

 

He jumped as the door burst open and Arabella flew in with a Bible in her hand. “Quick, you been tricked, we gotta get you outta here, Bren!”

 

"Tricked?" His first thought was that Quentin had done him dirty and turned him over to the law, but as Arabella kept babbling, he realized that wasn't what she meant. Billy and Caroline and demons and...what in hell was the girl saying? Way too much for him to understand all of it. Something about Billy and...and Arabella? Now that just seemed wrong. Billy with poor naive Arabella? It almost made his stomach turn.

 

His eyes flicked to Caroline as she emerged from behind the screen, hopefully to curb the disturbance - because who could not be disturbed by Arabella when she was like this? Arabella's description of Caroline's beauty sure did give him sinful thoughts, although now was not the time for such things. It wasn't until Arabella flew at Caroline that he realized he had to do something. Caroline would be a lot better off in a fight than Arabella, and he didn't want the girl getting hurt. He dodged the Bible and stood up.

 

"Geez-us Christ, Arabella!" He lunged after her and snatched at the back of her dress. "Stop it!" He spun her around and grabbed her by one shoulder, his eyes boring into hers. "Billy didn't tempt me, he begged me, Arabella! He was layin' there with two goddamn bullets in him and he was dyin' and this was the quickest way and he weren't a demon!" His hand was shaking again, but he kept his grip on Arabella's shoulder tight.

 

"And she ain't a demon neither!" He half-turned the girl around to look at Caroline, with her glorious golden hair and beautiful blue eyes, and then spun her back to face him again. "She's an angel," he declared more calmly as his adrenaline high began to fade. He glanced at Caroline solemnly before continuing. "Even if she don't dress like it or act like it. An' if you tell any more lies about her doin'...whatever it is you said she did...I'll...I'll stuff you in the coffin with Billy!"

 

He let go of her abruptly and covered his face with his shaking hands. The whole day had left his nerves and energy completely shot and now Arabella almost...almost had convinced him that demons were real and the two people he had been closest to in Kalispell might have been demons.

 

 

Edited by Bailey (see edit history)
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She had been facetious with Brendan though in his condition and state of mind given all that happened to the man, he might have taken her a bit seriously what with his reply. Before anything else could be said though suddenly Arabella burst into the room, not even bothering to knock.

 

"Quick, you been tricked, we gotta get you outta here, Bren!” as usual it seemed the girl was being all melodramatic, now what?

 

Caroline was still not presentable and kept changing as Arabella now launched into..........well, crazy talk.

 

“They’re in it together, her and Billy. Don’t worry, you ain’t killed a real person, they’re both Demons! They been sent by Satan to lure and trick us poor sinners into wrongdoin’. Billy tempted you to commit murder, and he… even though he looked dead, he got me to kiss him, kiss him like a whore right out there on the street in front of everybody … and one time, well, he got me to do awful sinful things with him right on this bed where she got you trapped right now and .. and she … SHE… she’s the worst one! She temped me to do the most awful, terrible, goddless things …”

 

The veteran saloon girl did not shock easily but Caroline was stunned now. Why Arabella was talking about her!

 

"Arabella, what is goin' on?" she emerged quickly then from behind the screen clad only in a slip.

 

Arabella held up the Bible again as Caroline emerged.

 

“Get back Demon!” she cried. “Look at her Bren, look at her real good, real people ain’t that good lookin’. That’s how they make ‘emselves look: always blonde, blue eyes, just the prettiest perfect face and the most beautiful pale bodies. Oh, you ain’t seen her body yet! Oh, it ain’t human... it’s ….That’s what gives ‘em away see, they’re too perfect! Look at her, Spawn of Hell! Well, you’ll trick me no more Caroline Mundee, or whatever your real name is Beelzebub! I knew them things we did together weren’t right! But it was you! You … made me feel… funny. I ain’t bad really, I ain’t goin’ to Hell, it was you, it was YOU!”

 

What the hell? What was she yammering about? And Arabella was now blaming her for what the girl initiated that night when Caroline was drunker than a skunk?

 

"See here, will you shut.." Caroline started but ...

 

With this she threw down the bible on top of Brendan  and flew at Caroline. The girl didn't reach her, luckily for her too. Caroline would have decked her with a solid punch as angry and betrayed as she felt now.

 

"Geez-us Christ, Arabella!" He lunged after her and snatched at the back of her dress. "Stop it!" He spun her around and grabbed her by one shoulder, his eyes boring into hers. "Billy didn't tempt me, he begged me, Arabella! He was layin' there with two goddamn bullets in him and he was dyin' and this was the quickest way and he weren't a demon!" His hand was shaking again, but he kept his grip on Arabella's shoulder tight.

 

So much for keeping the truth from Arabella. Sometimes Caroline wondered why she bothered giving people advice, they never listened to her.

 

"And she ain't a demon neither!" He half-turned the girl around to look at Caroline and then spun her back to face him again. "She's an angel," he declared more calmly. He glanced at Caroline solemnly before continuing. "Even if she don't dress like it or act like it. An' if you tell any more lies about her doin'...whatever it is you said she did...I'll...I'll stuff you in the coffin with Billy!"

 

"Get in line, Brendan," Caroline moved quickly now, her anger was up. She always tried her best to control it but on occasion her temper would get the best of her, mostly when she was drunk but she was not now. Just furious!

 

Seizing the little witch by her long hair, Caroline then pulled hard, leaving the girl no choice, and half flung her out of the bedroom (since the door was now wide open). She followed that move up by pressing her advantage and slapping Arabella a good one right across her cheek.

 

"So this is how you think of me? After all I've done for you, you ungrateful little bitch! You obviously haven't learned a thing. All I've preached about us folk here in the saloon sticking together and being a family for each other.....you have no idea what loyalty even means. I'm done even tryin' with you!"

 

Suddenly she walloped the girl with another hard slap, "And you stay outta my room. You ever burst inta my room like that again and I promise you here and now I will hurt you, hurt you bad. Now get outta my sight, you fuckin' snake n' the grass!"

 

With that she retreated back into her room and slammed the door then locked it. Then she turned to face Brendan was was pretty much a spent mess by now.

 

"Hey! Don't let her get the best a you. Pull yerself together. You didn't do nothin' wrong," she was trying her best here, shoving aside for the moment her own hurt from what that rotten brat had done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A couple of days later, when the fever broke and Arabella lay in bed wide awake, an attentive Mammy Cookie mopping her hot brow, she tried to piece together what had been reality in the past 48 hours, and what was just the work of an overactive, virus fuelled imagination. She had been convinced, at one point, that Caroline and Billy had both been beautiful demons, sent to tempt her and Brendan Connolly into a life of sin. Yes, that had been the one delirious repeating nightmare throughout her confinement. She dreamt it over and over and over. And the dream itself had made her even more hot and feverish than ever, it seemed at the time.

 

She reached over to the bedside table and picked up the cracked bit of silvered glass that served as her mirror and studied the black eye on the right of her face and frowned. She thought back. Had some of that been real? The first part was really hazy. Something about going into Caroline’s room and a fight, the first thing she could accurately remember was Brendan, in the dream, trying to stop her attacking the alluring creature.

-------

"Geez-us Christ, Arabella!" He lunged after her and snatched at the back of her dress. "Stop it!" He spun her around and grabbed her by one shoulder, his eyes boring into hers. "Billy didn't tempt me, he begged me, Arabella! He was layin' there with two goddamn bullets in him and he was dyin' and this was the quickest way and he weren't a demon!" His hand was shaking again, but he kept his grip on Arabella's shoulder tight.

 

Arabella just laughed hysterically. “He ain’t dead! I just kissed him! I just kissed him!” she babbled her eyes shining.

 

So much for keeping the truth from Arabella. Sometimes Caroline wondered why she bothered giving people advice, they never listened to her. 

 

"And she ain't a demon neither!" He half-turned the girl around to look at Caroline and then spun her back to face him again. "She's an angel," he declared more calmly. He glanced at Caroline solemnly before continuing. "Even if she don't dress like it or act like it. An' if you tell any more lies about her doin'...whatever it is you said she did...I'll...I'll stuff you in the coffin with Billy!"

 

“You do that, you do that Mississippi, cause that’s what I deserve, see? Cause that Hell spawned bitch turned me into a Goddamned, Goddamned…” unfortunately, she didn’t even had a word for it, especially in this out of control state.

 

"Get in line, Brendan," Caroline moved quickly now, her anger was up. She always tried her best to control it but on occasion her temper would get the best of her, mostly when she was drunk but she was not now. Just furious!

 

Seizing the little witch by her long hair, Caroline then pulled hard, leaving the girl no choice, and half flung her out of the bedroom (since the door was now wide open). She followed that move up by pressing her advantage and slapping Arabella a good one right across her cheek. 

 

Arabella gave a shrill scream as her hair was pulled and her head jerked around after it, finding herself suddenly flying out of the room like slops being flung out of a window, as she scrabbled to her feet, she only caught a quick, but glorious, glimpse of Caroline as the other girl slapped her down good. She crumpled onto the floor, stunned but cogent enough to take in the virulent diatribe that the singer now rained down upon her. She clambered onto all fours, panting, her eyes lingering on Caroline’s pretty little feet and the hem of her slip as she listened.

 

"So this is how you think of me? After all I've done for you, you ungrateful little bitch! You obviously haven't learned a thing. All I've preached about us folk here in the saloon sticking together and being a family for each other.....you have no idea what loyalty even means. I'm done even tryin' with you!"

 

Arabella, her face now stinging hot from the slap, looked up from her kneeling position at the furious Caroline. It wouldn’t take much. “I don’t wannabe in your family… you damn whore!” she bellowed, and then waited for it, longingly.

 

Suddenly she walloped the girl with another hard slap, "And you stay outta my room. You ever burst inta my room like that again and I promise you here and now I will hurt you, hurt you bad. Now get outta my sight, you fuckin' snake n' the grass!"

 

Arabella’s head swam from the fever and the slaps and the verbal abuse as she just lay there in the corridor, breathing hard. She didn’t know why that had been so good. Caroline MUST be a demon, she decided, not just because of her beauty, that special beauty as she lay asleep, her makeup gone and just her pretty little face softly snoring on the pillow, but because she knew to do that to her. She knew Arabella better than Arabella knew herself. Oh sure, they’d played at it, they’d played at Caroline being mean to her, but it had been weak and fake, this was the real deal.

 

“Jesus help me. I need to see a doctor.” She muttered to herself as she lay there, and she didn’t mean about her bruised and battered face.

 

 

 

 

 

@Bailey @Wayfarer

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About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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