They had moved halfway through the room when a piercing shriek filled the air and a group of the creatures glided into view in the skylight. Their form was wavy but distinct. A ragged black cloak was all that made up their body, while a gilded helmet crowned the creatures. Notched and rusty long swords hung at their sides, floating as if held by an invisible hand. At order from Halbard, the spear wall quickened the pace and bashed the broken furniture aside, moving swiftly towards the exit. Just as the edge of their circle reached the round open doorway, the clatter of swords on shields rang out as the Haunts struck the rearguard. While quick and strong, they were not sturdy creatures so they could not withstand sustained combat. The wide open space of the broken assembly hall would allow them to fly about as they wished, so it was pivotal that they be deprived on this advantage. The much lower ceiling in the hallway would either deter pursuit or allow the soldiers to fight on their own terms. Jace trusted Halbard to maintain the advance, so ordered him to continue as he went to join the rearguard. The soldier in front of him had to take a step backwards as a massive steel blade smashed against his shield. The Haunts eerie mask floated around the side of the shield just as the soldier retaliated with his spear. Reeling from the blow, the specter did not notice Jaces own sword descend on it. Mask split in two, the Haunts form dissipated, leaving nothing behind it but a broken metallic mask. The majority of them defeated, the specters retreated, shrieking at the soldiers as they left the building. While Halbard and his men swept the chamber, Jace picked up the strange mask. He could not determine what kind of metal it was, only that it contained a great quantity of Dust, greater than that of the armament of him and his soldiers. But Dust alone does not an armour make, and compared to the armour of Calimdar, these Haunts were practically naked on the field of battle. They fought with terror and a strange capability of flight, not by standing their ground.

He diverted his attention from the mask as Halbard stood next to him, resting the butt of his namesake weapon on the ground. ”We have driven the enemy away, sire, but we know not if they will return.”

Jace kept hold of the mask. ”Give the men a little time to rest, and then we move on. In my experience, the specters are not likely to return, and even less so while we are here.”

His lieutenant looked at him, clearly curious. ”The men need not rest, we do not tire as we used to, sire. We are ready to move on.”

Jace could not quite return his subordinates stare. ”It matters not if they do or do not need it. They will take the time to rest. I will speak with our guide, and then we can move out.” With that, Jace walked over to where the dark-skinned clanner was stood, leaving his lieutenant behind to order the men.


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