The party looks up into the rustling trees just in time to see a manticore landing in the tree. It appears angry that the group is poking around in its territory so it attacks, whipping a volley of spikes from its tail at John. A battle of projectiles ensues, with John firing arrows, Crunch throwing javelins, and the manticore raining down volley after volley of spikes. The constant attacks quickly drain all the healing Viktor and Block can provide, and John falls. The others rally to finish off the creature, and manage to wound it enough to drive it into the swamp. Unwilling to let it flee after it hurt his friend, Crunch grabs John’s bow and fires an amazing shot, severing its wing tendons, and driving it face first into the water, dead.
John proves to still be alive, so Block brings him around with rebuke death and they continue their investigations. Fagut notices that six of the graves have likely been disturbed, as their burial mounds are decidedly sunken in. Knowing that the boneyard has been abandoned since the villagers were unwilling to bury their kin where the Beast’s blood was spilled, he exhumes the graves, finding them empty. The group discovers the remains of a campsite, at which they find a discarded vial with the remnants of a strange substance. They also find a set of footprints that appear to change in size.
Nearby, hidden among underbrush they find a boat. A rope dangles from the boat into the water so they haul it up. It leads to a bag, which contains a gag, several knives, and what appears to be a severed human face. Near the boat, Mike finds a bag of surgical tools nearly covered by the muck. The tools are well made and have a maker’s mark, so he believes they may be traceable.