The adventurers, particularly Kathryn Dùmas had a brush with death as they fought a particularly powerful member of the Black Guard and some of his lackies, but eventually triumphed over them, acquiring a keyring and a magical bracer with the symbol of a nightshade on it in the process.
As they continued exploring the first floor of the castle, they came across a mysterious figure who agreed to help them in their quest by using his powers to remove some of the Black Guard in return for information on Ankshi. He also provided the party with some information on the twins and Seronel, in particular their location and their weaknesses, and gave them four magical gems, two red, two blue, which are meant to overcome one of the twins’ defenses each. Then he disappeared.
The adventurers found some ledgers that might be of interest as well, but other than that, the search of the first floor proved fairly fruitless, and no stairs up were to be found at first glance. However, three statues turned out to have levers for arms, and after some trial and error and some more thinking, the adventurers found the right combination, which opened a secret door leading to the stairs up.
On the top floor, a corridor led to a single room with a small garden in it, an altar at the center, with a book and a golden bowl, as well as a locked door. The adventurers noticed signs of a trap and were careful, but eventually decided to open the book, which read “Place within the only thing that truly matters.” After some discussion, the Cyl Morrow decided to let a drop of blood fall into the bowl, which unfortunately triggered the trap, but after some frantic scrambling at the door and wracking their brains for a solution Namyra dropped the magical nightshade bracer in the bowl, and the doors opened.
Beyond was the twins’ sanctum, a room with two coffins, one surrounded by pillows, the other by burning candles, with a magic circle in between. Cyl carefully made her way inside, stealing a few items to use for a possible future confrontation with the vampire twins, but something woke one of them, and the party only just managed to flee the scene. Curiously, the vampire seemed to be unharmed by sunlight as it chased them out of the castle.