Female caravaner and rune mage.
Name: Azri Gardugan
Complexion: Pale, Light facial burns. Decent looking.
Clothing Preference: Traditional, with gloves and long sleeves.
Clan: Gray Wanderer
Family Business: Caravans/Trade Routes
Parents: Torbar (deceased), Rega (deceased)
In-laws: Vor (deceased), Vonla, Tirmae
Siblings: Dorn, Thir
Children: Vor, Torbar
Clan first! Clan first is a part of every great dwarf. From Moradin to the great ancestors it was always about the clan. Not for Azri, her life was about the family. The family that she lost so very early in life. The family that she spent every part of her life trying to rebuild. She wouldn’t let family come to harm, even if that spit in the face of the clan.
My early life was filled with work, but what is life without a job to do? The Gardugan name meant you had a job; every man, woman, and child. Being eldest of my generation, it was my job to do and learn everything first and show the other kids who was best. We ran errands, fed the animals, washed the carts. Sure it was kids work, but my father Torbar would give us all extra work if even one of us was slacking. It wasn’t that Dad was hard on us, it was his job to divvy out the work, and it was our job to do what he told us to. He knew the best workers for every job. My uncles were the best foremen, and my aunts were the best animal handlers. He also knew that kids were best for filling in the gaps, and his kids were the best for any job. He always picked Dorn, Thir, or I to do a job he didn’t have a specialist for, usually me because I was the oldest. It was tough, but he made sure we did our work and learned everything about the caravan. I’d say we knew more about the whole caravan than some of our cousins knew about their parent’s job. I am glad we did because it became more important than I ever expected.
I was naught but 25 when the “accident” happened. Our family caravan was preparing for a long trip to one of the distant mining outposts. The whole family was there packing, preparing, and doing work. Just a few of us were away getting lunch, mostly us kids and a few of our mothers. We were all surprised when a gigantic boom shook our homes. We all went to check on the family when we realized what had happened. A cave-in right on top of the caravan, by the time we were close enough to help, most of the clan had already started digging. They brushed us away before there was a chance for anyone to get underfoot. No matter what how we tried to help, the adults wouldn’t let us near the caravan. We lost everything that day: family, caravan, even the sense of togetherness faded as the bad news poured in.
Being I was the oldest, the caravan fell to me. I didn’t want it, I was too upset, and didn’t want to think about the caravan after such destruction. Luckily Korin, my eldest cousin stepped forward and offered to take the burden of rebuilding the caravan. He wasn’t much younger than me, and had been training under Uncle Vor, one of dad’s best foremen. Much to the dismay of Dorn and Thir I gave him the rights to the caravan. Sure he wasn’t one of us, but he was twice their age and he still had aunt Vonla to look after him. Plus, I knew him, he was good to us and would gladly help out if we ever needed it. He knew the work and would handle rebuilding our family’s reputation.
My “job” at that point was to find out what happened to our family. I spent months asking people what had happened, but they just looked at me, shook their heads and told me how sorry they were. My brothers and I were living with the Bazkaks, one of the families nice enough to take our family in. They were good to us but they were never my family, they didn’t let me try and find what happened. Mrs. Tuli should have let me look for what caused that cave in, instead she reprimanded me and said it was too dangerous. Even with the scolding, I took every chance I could to sneak out and explore the tunnels around the prep area. I never got very far with only a few hours and no supplies, even so I kept searching for ten years.
I guess I was old enough then, Mrs. Tuli gave me a final warning and agreed to let me explore those tunnels on my own. I didn’t waste any time, I packed my bags and went to find out what happened to my family. It didn’t matter that the area was still in use by other caravans, and the paths were used nearly every day since the collapse. I was there to find what caused that cave in. Heck, that area had been used for preparing for thousands of years. Why would it cave in now? I worked my way through the old tunnels, looking for anything that could have caused the cave in. I searched for weeks hoping to find anything out of place, anything that wasn’t supposed to be there. That is when I found it, a rune, placed on the side of one of the walls. I was so dumbfounded that I did the stupidest thing I could, I touched it. It could have killed me, could have blown my face clean off. I didn’t know any better and I was lucky. It didn’t kill me, but it did knock me out cold.
When I woke, I was in a furnish building. I thought someone had brought me back to town, but I didn’t recognize anything. I took a bit to gain my senses, and then started to look about the place. There was no one about, not a single soul around, Instead, I found a magnificent forge set in the middle of the great room. It was barren except for a few ancient looking tools. I tried to approach it, but when I entered the heat was so unbearable that I had to leave before my eyes burned right out of my skull. Unable to search the great room I decided to check a small library I awoke in. It was filled with books, I glanced at a few and saw they were covered in runes. I wasn’t about to touch another rune, I had learned my lesson and decided this wasn’t the place to be. I searched for the exit and when I found it tried to make my way home. I wasn’t anywhere near that first rune, so I made a trail so I could find my way back if I got into trouble. I was in one of the deeper tunnels but luckily one much closer to the main route home. I ran home but I made sure I could find my way back.
When I got home I didn’t even have a chance to greet my brothers and tell them about my findings before I was set upon by Dorn. That brat never accepted that Korin owned the caravan now, and was so daft that he filed a formal challenge for the rights. Dorn thought because he was older now that he should inherit the caravan. He knew the elders would look into it and likely decide that we still had claim, returning the caravan to us. I was so furious with them that I turned back around and stormed out without even saying a word. Dorn couldn’t even understand what Korin had done for us, the tremendous burden that had been lifted from our shoulders. This challenge would do nothing but destroy the caravan and the little bit of family I had left. So, I did the only thing that made sense and went to talk with Korin.
The challenge had reached Korin two days prior. I couldn’t have been more upset or apologetic, but my cousin wasn’t the kid who had taken on the caravan. He was the man who had started to rebuild a family business. He shushed me when I tried to talk about the challenge, and gave me a look when I tried to retract the challenge. Instead we sat and talked about old times. We spoke of the mischief we got up to as kids, the sadness of losing the family, but mostly, we made up for lost time since the family gathering last year. It made me certain Korin was the right choice, I was glad I gave to caravan to him a decade prior. I missed the caravan something awful, but I was happy he had the caravan. It was becoming profitable again, and he was doing more that keep it alive, he was expanding. As we talked I knew what would happen if the challenge went through, and I wasn’t about to let Dorn’s blunder to separate us from the rest of our family. I stopped the fight with the only thing I was sure couldn’t be challenged, I arranged my marriage. The marriage wouldn’t stop the challenge, but if it did succeed ownership of the caravan would simply return to me as the eldest child. I could live with marrying Korin, wasn’t a bad man. He could obviously lead the caravan, and he was pretty cute.
At first I didn’t think the runes could have caused the cave-in. That was something I learned about when I started to ask about our elders about runes. Most of them said I should go talk with some of the local craftsdwarves who still used a few runes to set warning traps and strengthen foundations. It was the few that seemed angry that got my attention. They would lower their voice, mutter something, and speak about the Duergar with their cursed runes and tainted blood. I kept digging, and eventually I knew I needed to find these tainted dwarves. I had to be sure my family wasn’t killed by a bunch of evil dwarves living deep in the mountains. I needed to know the truth about runes if I was going to prove anything, so at trip to the craftsdwarves was in order. Maybe they would teach me a thing or two about runes.
I guess it became an obsession. I needed to know about runes, and the only way to learn was to apprentice under one of the craftsdwarves. I wasn’t married yet and still too young to be considered an adult, so I begged Mrs. Tuli for permission. She accepted with the slightest hint of relief in her eyes, I think she was thought it meant I would stop heading into the tunnels every few days. Thortor took me for an apprentice and tried to treat me like every other apprentice. He would set us to work on some mindless task and head out to do the real work. However, when it came time to use rune or two, I made sure I was by Thortor’s side. He could complain and yell all he wanted, but there wasn’t anything, even Moradin’s hammer, that would drive me away from that spot. It made life hard at first, he gave me extra work for shirking my duties, but when he decided to teach an apprentice the runes, I was chosen above others with more experience. I soaked up every single thing I could about runes from Thortor. Whenever I received a few days off, I would find my way back to the forge and dig through any rune book that I had even the slightest chance of understanding. Heck, I spent every copper I earned on easier books at the trading stalls.
Most of that money went to Thir, I paid him to go search for me, and I swear he overcharged me every time he found something. That was mom’s favorite though, she taught him everything she could about haggling. I don’t think there was a single market day that he wasn’t by Rega’s side, bartering with whatever pocket change she gave him. He saved me money in the long run, I would have paid anything for those book. Were as, he probably worked those vendors till they practically gave him the books. I learned a lot of languages, since the books from the traders were usually in elven, and the ones in the forge were in something other than dwarven. I even sought out any tutoring I could find.
The tutoring from the scribes cost was usually paid with Korin’s coin, bless him. He gave it to me for nothing more than a thank you. I repaid him in time, but it wouldn’t have been possible without his generosity. Slowly I started to decipher some of the books in the forge’s library. I was so excited, I could understand some of the symbols and I was able to cast a few of the simpler runes. Then I over stepped my bounds, I tried to cast what looked like a standard rune, it took to paper but it didn’t do anything. I grew impatient with testing and reached down to grab it. The rune sparked to life, caught my hand and embedded itself at the bottom of my wrist. I panicked and ran around screaming for what felt like eternity. When I managed to get a hold of my senses I dunked it in water, but the damage was done. I was left with a nasty brand and the fear that it would make me look like one of the Duergar.
I was so worried that Korin would be upset about the rune. It was odd though, he just shushed me, like so many times before, gave me something to drink and said he would be back. I must have looked the fool, for the next thing I knew he was waking me with a gift of lovely new gloves. He must have spent a fortune on them, they were beautiful cloth, inscribed with fine writing. I don’t know where he got them, but it couldn’t have been a more perfect wedding gift.
It wasn’t long after that night when Korin and I were married, and I don’t think I got back to the forge for at least a year or two. Mostly because the caravan was my business once again. I learn so much, everything I never had a chance to use, skills that were second nature to my father. Korin was patient though and took the time he could have used somewhere else to teach me. It was important though, I was about to do something I had never done before, travel with the caravan.
The trip was a short jaunt to a well-established town just outside the mountains. I hadn’t been there before but I was well aware of it. Mostly because most of our trade goods came and went through that town. It seemed simple enough, small shipment, a few guards to make sure nothing went wrong, and a simple crew of just enough to get the job done. I was brought along for the warning magic I had learned under Thortor. I wasn’t completely confident yet, there were still some issues making my runes last. Luckily some paper at the forge that seemed to keep my runes active. I grabbed a small stack knowing it was only a few days journey, and set off on my first caravan trip.
Dad always told me that camping is the most hazardous to the cargo. Something could easily get stolen by a thief, smashed by a wild animal, or both if a raiding party showed up. I figured a couple of warning runes would be enough to help deter thieves and I could help fight with my basic skills in arcane casting. Korin knew I used runes, but I wasn’t comfortable with the others knowing. So when we made camp I excused myself and got to work giving us a decent set of warning traps. As I made my rounds I could hear Korin telling a few stories, He was always very boisterous when he and his friends got to talking. So very different from the stern face he showed when it was time for work. I listened a bit while I worked and made sure to come back when some of the guard started to question how long it was taking me. Told a fib about my stomach needing to adjust to bumps of the trail. Settled in and listened till it was time to get some rest.
We made it through the night without any fuss, and the rest of the trip was just as quiet. The town on the other hand was anything but quiet. It was almost as big as the clan den back home and three times as busy. I must have seen a thousand sights and not understood a one. I would have loved the chance to explore but we only spent the night, and then set off again back home. I hadn’t even gotten time to purchase more rune paper, and even worse I didn’t realize it until we were half way back home. We were just about to set camp when I noticed my stack was low, I did a quick check and realized it wasn’t going to be enough to fully ward the camp for the last couple nights of our trip. I cast as many as I could spare with the paper, and the rest with the basic technique. I prayed to Thautam that they would last the night and offer the same level of protection.
Thautam didn’t seem to hear me though. It was that night that our luck failed, we were besieged by a raiding party that managed to sneak up and take out a couple of the guards before we were awakened by one of the runes. I jumped to my feed and tried to cast an arcane spell which just fizzled as I released it. I would have tried again but there was no time. It was insane, so many raiders, they just kept coming at us. I was sure that we were doomed with so many upon us, so I did what I could. I grabbed a nearby sword and tried to fight one off but it was just too tough. The sword was ripped from my hand and I was forced to run. I only made it a few yards before I tripped over something in the brush, and screamed as I fell. Korin must have heard me because he came running along with a few guards. Korin picked me up as I warned them of the bandit. Some guards went off to search as I was led back to camp clutching Korin’s side.
When we got back I saw the dead, two guards, and five thieves. Korin reassured me it was just a small raiding party and there weren’t any more. I started to question him about the one I had fought when one of the guards returned. Korin looked at me perplexed and asked me to wait a second. The guard came close and whispered in hushed tones. Then to my surprise, Korin’s perplexed look turned into a huge grin as he roared with laughter. He looked at me and told me they found my bandit right next to my sword. I had hacked it a great deal, the poor old tree. I couldn’t believe it but he was right, he showed me my tree and it was horrible! I swore I saw at least 100 men attacking the camp. I swore I was fighting off one of them to the best of my ability. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that Korin had laughed at me. I was so angry with him, there was no way I was going to talk with him after that. I told him so, then stormed off back to my tent letting him think about what he did. After a few minutes he came in, apologized, and did what Korin does best. Talked with me, made me happy, and made me remember why I married him. Not why I arranged our marriage, but why I married him. He made up for laughing at me and promised me he wouldn’t do it again. I made up to him for getting angry and promised him what would happen if he did. Over all it was a good night, and I think that was the night that I conceived Vor.
Life changed while I carried Vor. Korin and I agreed I would stop my rune magic research, and would stay behind from the caravans. It was nice to take some time and got reacquainted with the family. What I didn’t realize is how troublesome family life is. It was something I didn’t manage so well. The children were nothing but chaos, with the mothers continuously distracted by some catastrophe or another. It was a mess and I needed to have a place to collect my thoughts and avoid the general ninnying at home. Thus the forge came back into my routine, at least when Korin was out on a trip. It was against what we had agreed was best for Vor, but it was necessary for the family. I needed to increase my knowledge of runes, it was too important to ignore. I still held to the no rune magic agreement though. Most of my time was spent reading the books, learning the languages, researching the rune scripts, and trying to cast arcane spells.
Ever since our trip my spells seemed to fizzle unless I cast them through a rune. I thought it was the panic and the fear of fighting, but even in the safety of my forge nothing would work. Each time I cast a spell, it would fizzle without as much as a flicker. No matter what I tried to cast or how much effort I put into the spell I couldn’t make it work. I was exhausted. I sat their staring at my hands in disbelief, I didn’t know why my spells wouldn’t activate. That is when I noticed the rune was glowing, faintly, but glowing. I studied it for a few moments as it started to return to normal. I attempted another spell, keeping an eye on the rune. It flared with intense light, then quickly faded to a dim glow. That blasted rune had inscribe itself on my wrist, and now it refused to let me use magic. How could I have been so stupid? This was going to ruin everything. Most of my runes were arcane spells transferred into a rune format. I couldn’t learn the spell through arcane routes first, there was no way for me to be sure the spells were correct. Sure I could cast the runes I knew and the runes in my books, but new spells would be incredibly difficult to learn and master.
When Korin returned from that trip I told him about my findings. He was furious, that I had gone to the forge and done things that could have put me and Vor in danger. I hadn’t done rune magic, but that didn’t matter to him. It was the forge he considered dangerous, especially because he didn’t know where it was. He demanded to know its location, I refused. We argued for hours, until he got fed up and left. I just sat their fuming, so angry that he didn’t understand. That’s when I realized, I had never seen Korin so angry. He usually treated me with such patience and kindness. I knew I done something terribly wrong.
When Korin returned some hours later, I apologized. Again, He demanded the location of the forge. I refused to tell him, but I offered a compromise. If he would allow me use of a secure room, I would bring my studies here. We negotiated for a while, and he agreed to let me use a local storage room, as long as he could examine the items I brought into it. It was no secret to him that I used rune paper to cast my runes, and that was one of the items he refused to let me bring home. Studying my books was the first thing on my mind, so I could live without the rune paper.
Vor was born and life didn’t change as much as I expected. I raised him and took care of him. It was a lot of my time, but it was a quiet, comfortable time. While he was a babe, I would study with him at my side. As he grew, I found the other mothers were very happy to keep watch over him while I worked the caravan, or went to the forge. When Vor reached five, Korin agreed to let me travel again, but only if I got training in some self-defense skills. I agreed, and soon I was with the caravan, traveling to new places. While we were gone Vonla and Tirmae, my now mother and sister in law, offered to watch after young Vor for us.
Traveling gave so much to our family. I found new sources of rune paper and rune books, the caravan grew with new connections and trade, and we discovered a path to a Duergar settlement. It wasn’t the best for the caravan because it meant we needed to take a longer route for safety, but Korin and I both knew it could explain what happened to our parents. Korin wanted to report it to the military, but I stopped him. I knew that if the military got news of it, they would either wipe out the town, or prevent us from ever going there. Instead I asked for Korin to let me go. I could find out enough and be back in a few weeks’ time, then we could report it. He wanted to send some guards with me, but I refused to let anyone else get harmed if it went bad. Plus I had learned some decent self-defense at that point, enough to get away at least. He agreed, and we made plans for the next time the caravan passed near the settlement.
When the caravan stopped so I could make my trip into Duergar territory, we spent a few moments together and Korin made sure I didn’t want any guards. We talked on it and with a few reassurances plus a couple of threats, he got the picture and ordered the caravan to continue. He and I both knew that time was of the essence, I had just under four days. If I wasn’t at the meeting place by then, Korin, the caravan guards, the military, and every mercenary within 100 miles would come to my rescue. I needed to make this trip, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to let it come to that. But just in case I pulled Korin in by his beard and gave him one last kiss.
I didn’t see any, Duergar on the road into the settlement. It was quiet and felt almost deserted. When the tunnel finally opened up into a large cavern I got a glimpse of the town, if you could call it that. I was nothing but a few homes, a workshop or two, and a temple. It wasn’t enough to house more than a single family. Even a small town like this could get me killed if I rushed in, so I quickly put out my torch and tucked myself up into one of the crevasses off the path and settled in to observe for a few hours. I was too far away for even a basic study of the town, but I hoped I could observe the traveling habits and find a way into the town unnoticed. I watched and waited, but there was nothing, not even the noise of the workshops. This place had a silence about it that made the nights out on the caravan sound like a market at peak hours. Something was wrong but I wasn’t about to rush to my death. So I settled down for the night and tried to get some sleep.
Morning was no different, and after a quick breakfast I started my excursion into the town. As I entered the town’s boundary, and began to make my way towards a few of the houses. It wasn’t hard to notice that the town was deserted from this distance. I was relieved and increasingly worried at the same time. I had come here to find out more about the Duergar and their runes. If they had attacked us and why they had killed my family. I needed to find as much as I could, but I was unlikely to find anything out here. I quickly made my way to the town center, keeping alert for any signs of danger. At least the living kind. I noticed just as my foot fell, the rune inscribed on a paving stone. I expected to have my leg blown clean off or to summon all of the Duergar who were hiding away, waiting for me to enter the trap. Except… nothing happened. I carefully moved my foot and knelt down to examine the rune, and there was the reason it hadn’t gotten me killed. It was defaced, scratched out and inactive. I breathed a sigh of relief as I quickly checked my surroundings two fold.
As I looked for anyone in the area I discovered why the town was deserted, they had all been killed. I found some bodies in one of the houses near me, they died in a small room probably trying to hide from whatever attacked the village. It couldn’t have been animals because they were still recognizable and whole. I didn’t bother looking any closer considering it is bad luck to disturb the dead, they might rise up and kill me in vengeance. Instead I studied the things I knew could kill me, runes. Not just the rune I had stepped on, but the runes that were placed on every house, in every room, and all over the streets. Most had been defaced, but some were still very active. I took my time and copied every detail of the new runes into my notebook.
The next few hours I spent looking over my shoulder, half expecting something to attack me as I copied a rune. Once I realized I wasn’t in immediate danger, I decided to take the chance to study the temple and workshops. The workshops were old and unused, covered in runes, and generally contained nothing of use. The temple on the other hand was in ruins: barren walls, destroyed statues, ransacked, and left to turn to dust. It was obviously targeted by the aggressors, everything was an attempt to remove this temple from existence short of bringing it to the ground. The temple was such a mess, and I thought I wasn’t going to find anything, but I had to try. It was going to take some time so I started by clearing a room in one of the nearby houses, and set up camp.
Over the next two days I copied hundreds of runes, dug through dozens of rooms, and discovered more than I had hoped from the Duergar. As I searched the temple for any scraps of information I could, I found a decayed and crumbling facade. Whoever ransacked this place must have missed this hidey-hole, but time had not. As I moved the facade away, I found a small stack of books packed in to a space only meant to hide half their number. I was so excited that I grabbed a book and opened it, only to tear its cover and a few pages clean off. I tried my best, but few books escaped without some additional damage by my hand. They were so fragile that I had to wrap each book up in my spare clothes, leaving little room in my pack as I left the ruins behind. With my pack filled and my notes overflowing with copied runes, I made my way back to the meeting point ahead of schedule. I figured it was for the best, and knowing that my Korin would return early and worry about me if I wasn’t waiting on him, I moved quickly.
Korin was early as expected, but I still spent a few hours waiting for the caravan. I spent most of it thinking about all the poor souls that had been killed while trying to live their lives. I knew the hardships of loss and it reminded me that I had recovered my family. I was completely worked up when the caravan finally arrived, I cried as Korin came out to meet me. He hugged me and tried to make me feel better, but I just smiled, grabbed his silly beard, and kissed him. It was a long trip back and I had much to tell him. I also had so much research to do, but it could wait. I needed to spend some time back home with my family, to play with Vor, settle in to home life, and to spend some quality time with Korin. Family was first and foremost.
When we returned from out trip I took on a lot more of everything. I spent more time raising Vor, joined in with the others in raising the rest of the family. Including my newest addition, Torbar. Two children were a handful but I couldn’t afford to take it easy on the caravan. Korin took care of the day to day stuff, but it was still necessary for me to travel. The caravan needed help with handling clients both new and old. Even with all the extra work, I redoubled my efforts on learning rune magic. I would make any trip I could that might involve runes, I needed more information. The notes I took were great but I couldn’t make heads or tails of anything without practice, and I couldn’t understand the texts I found without a tutor. Lucky for me I managed to reestablish a route with one of dad’s friends. They were a family of scribes in the Ebonhall clan. It cost me my secret cubbyhole books and a discount on a delivery or two, but also managed to work out a deal for some private lessons.
Getting a grasp on Duergar language was the easy part. The way their language translated to runes was another matter. The basis of each rune was clear and precise. Much like the runes I could already cast. But there were additional markings. Markings that shouldn’t affect the rune at all. When I tried to create copies, the runes would often do nothing and in more exciting cases, backfire. It held some secret, I knew it must. It was only a matter of time until I found the truth.
I spent years digging into those runes, each time glimpsing a slight bit of their truth before I lost its meaning to their damnable language. It was always a slight twist that must have resulted from a local dialect. Each time I would go and spend precious time with the Ebonhalls digging into scriptures and finding nothing. Then knowing I would need to find something myself, I would prepare a trip off to the Underdark. Korin wouldn’t let me go without at least a squad of guards, and that was fine. These trips were dangerous, and often to places overflowing with history. That made setting up a trip so much easier. It wasn’t necessary to waste our money, when so many dwarves were willing to pay for someone to help them reclaim some of our ancestral knowledge. Artifacts and writings could make even a small find one for the history books. Plus, I could always find a few key bits on runes.
Any runes were a good find for me. Yes, Duergar runes would cause havoc, but I needed to study them so I could learn more. On a trip or two I got very lucky and found a few decrepit dwarven runes, they didn’t look like much but the chance to learn from even a single one worth all of my trips. I learned enough that I could easily help all dwarves, and especially my family with a little bit of rune magic. As for the caravan, it never made ridiculous amounts of money on any trip, but the renown the caravan earned was worth far more. We were set for a while, with people queueing for our services.
A few months ago I was approached by my Ebonhall scribes, seems they wanted to make a name themselves. Said there were some dwarves who had taken on a Moradin’s quest. The scribes wanted to send someone to record this historic event. I owed them much for tutoring me over the past years, and they were calling in my discount to fund this trip. I was wary at first, until they told me the destination. I had to bite my lip so I didn’t squeal with delight. The Ebonhalls wanted my caravan to take them directly to some of the most magic rich areas. I accepted, and offered to throw in a few of the finds if they would allow the caravan to stop and collect any ancient artifacts on the way. They seemed to like that idea, but required that my caravan act as courier for any documents their scribe produced. I couldn’t refuse their offer, but they didn’t know I had a trick up my sleeve.