At the Castle's main lobby awaited the spirit of Chancellor Wellager who gave more backstory to the now missing King Vendrick. Apparently the King loved his Queen so much that he brought his entire kingdom to war against the giants some time in the past to take something of theirs. I love how vague this all is. Anyway, the war resulted in many deaths and the king walking away from his throne.
"Interesting, you don't mind if I look around and loot the place do you?"
"I don't but the lightning knights might."
The ghost told me to go right ahead. Turns out the statues decorating the halls also doubled as the guards, coming to life when trespassers such as myself were detected. Fortunately by going slow, I could cull them one at a time as I made my way up the castle - throwing an invader called "Nameless Usurper" off a balcony before reaching a higher landing where I was introduced to the Queen, Nashandra.
Given how the balconies are constructed, she must like yelling?
She was sitting too far away to get a good look at, but she claims Vendrick never took the throne and that I should take it myself. She also suggested I go find Vendrick first for answers. "Could you maybe call your guards off then?" She just smiled and didn't reply. Fantastic. Not far off I met up again with Pilgrim Bellclaire and got her help in taking down two dragonrider knights (one being the guy who jumped into the water before). It's an easy victory and while I rest up at the next bonfire, Bellclaire continues her exploration. Inexplicably, Benhart is resting here too - swearing to assist me as I helped him.