Passing through the secret passage behind the false treasury, they move to open the double doors to the west. Their movements are anticipated. Beyond the doors lies an old belfry, converted to a barracks of sorts — and a small group of armored men, wearing the castle livery, awake and alert.
The band of Count Invar’s men fight with the same ferocious bloodthirst as the black-tabarded men the heroes fought outside Spurwall. At five to four, with the same supernatural strength, the outcome would be in doubt. But the slayers have a particular edge — Abbron’s magic flows powerful in the narrow corridor so high off the ground, and his spells hit with particular force. The slayers divide and conquer, and leave the Count’s men slain on the stones.
Mindful of the elven seer’s words — the place of rest being guarded by the blades of the master’s faithful — they search the room for more hidden doors. They find one, that leads into an enclosed room filled with wealth — heaped chests of gold, old maces from the days before Kingsfall, suits of Brelindian masterplate. They transfer a good portion of the Count’s riches into Baden’s magical haversack, Abbron taking an odd enchanted dagger with an eight-sided die set into its pommel. Bralta confirms that the room is thrice warded with spells to keep out wandering eyes, and that it’s probably as safe a place as any to rest. Exhausted and aching, the group works out a watch rotation and drops off to sleep.
They wake before sunrise to continue the hunt through the castle. The relic that can injure or overthrow the Gryphon weighs on their minds, and they assume that the fallen prince’s resting place is probably a crypt. They stop by Ingriva’s bedroom as they set out, in case she needs food, but she asserts that her needs are well taken-care of. They then pass through the hall of whispering statues to take the stairs down.
On the next floor, they meet the next living thing — a maid, dusting the furniture in a servants’ bedroom. The young woman is frightened to see them, and claims she’s been taken to serve the Count against her will. They ask her about what she sees of the castle, but her information contains little they haven’t already seen, and she has never visited the crypts.
They leave the maid behind, and move to explore the large northern tower. The massive structure is open at the center, and halberds stand at every landing. But as they set foot on the first landing, a tremor runs through the tower. Above, a red light begins to glow, and a deep heartbeat echoes through the building. The staircase — the entire tower — shakes as they walk carefully down the stairs, attempting to throw them off.
They make it to a lower landing safely before the wraiths attack. A pair of wraiths rise up from below and throw themselves at the slayers. In the middle of the melee, the maid Diela emerges from one of the walls, coalescing out of shadowstuff and baring fangs. Honora is thrown from the landing during the brawl, falling twenty feet — but Abbron leaps down after her and with a surge of wind brings her back into the fray. The vampiric maid and the wraiths are more dangerous together, but once the group focuses fire, they’re brought down. The group then continues its careful march down the stairs into the lower parts of the castle.