Terrible screams rose from the castle amid flashes of white light. Amid this chaos a trio of figures appeared from one of the towers, running along the battlements as they searched for an escape route. Finally finding a weak point in the wards the first two leapt, meeting a brief resistance before they broke free. Unfortunatly the third was a moment too slow and was hit by one of the flying beams of light.
As the beam snared him the figure began shouting something that sounded like a curse from the tone but was unintelligible as he was yanked backwards and vanished down into the castle courtyard.
The remaining pair turned and floated off toward the lights of town in the distance. "That was everyone you had left you fool." One of the figures said with contempt. "The Committee trusted you and you led us into a trap!"
"Quiet! You have no right to question my decisions. I am Ghost Master here, not you." The second figure shouted in reply.
"Much to everyone's misfortune it would seem. I don't understand how you ever got assigned a city to haunt. You're completely blind to the obvious and it has continually cost us haunters." The first continued, ignoring the Ghost Master's reply. "I for one am not going to be trapped…or worse, captured by Ghostbreakers. I quit." With that the figure broke away, flying quickly off in the opposite direction and leaving the Ghost Master to rant alone…
"I'm afraid I am bringing bad news to the table." Balam said as his gaze traveled over the members of the Haunter Committee. "We've lost Nightmare Hill."
"What do you mean lost Balam?" Drycha asked.
"According to the report the entire team was either captured by the Ghostbreaker's or trapped in the mortal realm." Balam replied, already raising a hand to halt the flood of questions he knew was coming.
"If we know this then someone obviously got away!" Shouted an apparition from the far end of the table.
"You're right, the scout assigned by the Bureau of Astral Affairs is the one who turned in the report. He only made it out of the city because he doesn't haunt so the mortals never had a chance to capture him." Balam said with a nod to the ghost.
"What about the Ghost Master?" Rakarth questioned.
"I'm afraid that the Ghost Master is the cause of the whole problem." Balam replied slowly.
"The scout reported that Ghost Master Baugh proved completely inept in the field. He lost three haunters to a group of witches just securing his headquarters. After that he went through a series of bad plans which cost him dearly. Finally he attracted the attention of the Ghostbreakers and made his final stand at the castle. The only ghosts to get out of Nightmare Hill were Baugh and his scout." Balam continued before he could be interrupted.
"What happened to Baugh?" Drycha asked curiously.
"He disappeared. The scout said he was still trying to assert his authority as a Ghost Master when he left. We aren't sure where he went or whether he's avoided being captured himself." Balam answered.
"I should have suspected something would go wrong." Rakarth whispered to himself before raising his voice. "Baugh did well in training, passed his field training well enough to earn his place as a Ghost Master. I never expected it would go to his head. This is as much my fault as Baugh's"
"No Rakarth. He made the decision to ignore your teaching and haunt how he felt best. That is what caused this. You can teach a student everything about how to haunt but if they ignore it then they are the only ones to blame. Baugh made his choice and now he's paid the price." Drycha said.
"What we need to do now though is decide on a way to fix this mess. Drycha, who do we have near there?" Balam said, all thoughts of Baugh vanishing from his mind.
"Last I heard from the Department of Clairvoyance we had three Ghost Masters deployed near Nightmare Hill. Soulscreech, The Nightmare Chef and Azrael." The Elemental representative replied immediately.
"Can any of them be spared from their campaigns?" A poltergeist asked, floating lazily over his seat.
"…No." Drycha replied as she looked over a sheet of paper she had conjured from her office. "The Chef and Azrael are already stretched to the limit and Soulscreech has been fighting off a stubborn and well-protected shaman who keeps banishing her ghosts."
"Then what do we do! There is nobody left who isn't already in the field!" Growled a large white cat who served as a gremlin representative.
"What about Gravenville?" Drycha asked warily, knowing she was about to suggest something unusual.
"What about it!" The cat growled again. "Gravenville is not the town we're discussing, Nightmare Hill is!"
"Quiet." Balam said, before the cat could continue. "What are you thinking Drycha?"
"Well…The last report from Zulban said that Gravenville has been rather quiet since the Ghostbreakers fled and the witches left to avoid the bombs." Drycha said after a quick glance around the table. "If that is true then could we not reassign Gravenville's Ghost Master and send her to fix the damage done in Nightmare Hill?"
"A decent proposition." Balam said slowly after taking a minute to think. "Rakarth, what do you think?"
"It's a brilliant plan. I believe I said it before we sent her to Gravenville but Monzel is one of my top students. Plus she made an amazing showing in Gravenville."
"Alright then." Balam said, happy to have a plan. "Is anyone opposed to Drycha's plan?" When no one spoke up the head of the Haunter Committee continued. "Then that is what we will do."
"Rakarth, go and tell Monzel the news…"