Caryn sat quietly in the darkened library with her back pressed against the smooth marble of the pedestal. Around the room she knew her gargoyle companions were sitting just as quietly, each lost in their own thoughts or contemplation. No one spoke or made the slightest sound that would indicate that the library was anything other than deserted. As she waited, Caryn's mind worried at the strange event with Taryn a few days past. Over time, many had admired the pendant she wore, but never had it reacted to another living soul's touch as it had with Taryn...as it did with her. When this was over, when Donal was free, she knew she would have to find answers. She simply wasn't sure where to start seeking. Perhaps Donal could help? Perhaps Taryn herself knew something to explain this strangeness. For now, however, she tried to clear her mind and keep focused on the task at hand. A furtive sound penetrated the dark silence and Caryn held her breath, waiting to see if this was more than a small animal rummaging for crumbs. As every sense came alert, Caryn heard the sound of stealthy footsteps. This was no small creature. Her muscles tensed as she knew the muscles of all the hidden gargoyles were tensing, waiting for the perfect moment. Caryn silently sent up a prayer, counted down and prepared to spring the carefully baited trap. Suddenly the room was filled with light and the sounds of weapons being drawn as the watchers exploded into view like a well oiled gear. Standing in the middle of the gargoyles was a bent, trembling figure dressed in worn, tattered clothing. Caryn stepped into the middle of the circle and gazed into the terrified eyes looking back at her, surprised to note the advanced age of the person before her. She felt a moment's confusion at the stark fear displayed on the face but quickly hardened her resolve as she spoke. "Welcome to the Royal City. Were you looking for something in particular?" She asked harshly. Caryn feared the old man would shake apart before he managed to gulp in enough air to speak, "P-p-please, it tweren't my idea. I didn't want to do this," he managed to stutter as tears streamed down his face. In spite of herself and all the recent troubles, Caryn's heart was touched at the old man's obvious distress. She instructed the guards to put away their weapons but remain on alert just in case. "We only want Donal returned safely. What is your part in this sir?" Caryn asked softly. The old man hesitantly looked around the group and then turned his eyes back on Caryn. With a defeated voice, he started his tale. "My son was enthralled with plants from the time he was a small boy. He seemed to be able to convince any seed to grow even in the most inhospitable soil. One day a fine gentleman was riding by as my boy was in the fields and they struck up a conversation. Jacob was an impressionable young man and was swayed by the fervor of the man's apparent love for plants. Before we knew what had happened, Jacob had joined with the man and left us, leaving behind his wife and wee baby girl. It was like he was possessed and nothing we could say would sway him. We don't know what happened to him over the months or exactly what this Order of Rowan is that he fell in with. We only know we didn't hear from him for an eternity. Several days ago, my only son's lifeless body was returned to me with a note. The note read, there is a job for you to perform in honor of your son's memory. It went on with flowery language about the hero he was and instructions for me to come here and retrieve certain things. It even had descriptions of what I was to look for and how I was to gain entrance to deliver the items. From the instructions, it sounds like their main compound. I had no intention of helping the ones who led to my boy's death. I may be old, but I'm not senile. I loved my son but whatever led to his death was not noble. But the last line...." the old man paused and looked pleadingly at Caryn, "the last line said if I failed to honor the request, they would come and take my granddaughter and raise her in their beliefs and I'd never see her again. She's only a child and innocent. After the condition of my son's body when he was returned, I can't let her fall into their hands." Caryn carefully pondered what the old man had told her as a plan began to form. "You say they left instructions for delivery of the items. If we promise to protect your family, will you tell us what you know and how to find them?" With tears in his eyes once again, the old man looked at Caryn and softly whispered, "I only want what's left of my family safe. Help protect them and I'll lay down my own life to help you." Placing a gentle but firm hand on the old man's shoulder, Caryn looked into his eyes and said, "If you've dealt fairly with us, you and your family have nothing to fear and will find safe harbor and loyal friendship here. However, if this is another lie of the Order..." Caryn turned to the guards. "Quietly but quickly, go, gather this man's family and bring them to the palace. Make them safe and comfortable. Protect them as the most valuable treasures. Send word to Taryn. Once the family is safe, we'll make a "delivery" but perhaps not what they expect. Something in my heart tells me, we might just find where they are holding Donal."