When I returned the stranger accepted his mug graciously and continued his tale.

"In that month, when the patrols were out in force, everyone in the town was on edge. The hunters stayed close to town and didn't venture into the mountains for fear they would never return. Adventures would come seeking gold and precious stones in the cliffs but one by one they would leave, empty handed.

In that months there were no more bodies, no sightings of any beast. A meeting was called and it was decided that the threat was gone, a rogue Pteroguin or a diseased Otterbear that surely had left the area, or better yet died of its own accord.

Things slowly began to return to normal, the group of hunters called to disband and go about their usual business. As this mystery seemed solved I had a choice to make, venture back into the mountains in search of spoils, or make on my way.

I decided to try my luck one last time, to venture deeper into the mountains this time. I was no fool though, and hired a local to be my eyes and ears while I searched the crags for something of value, Gwinn was his name. We were at it for hours but to no avail. I called it in for a bad job and we began to descend back to the town.

Just when dusk was approaching though, Gwinn got the feeling we were being watched, stalked even. I'm no coward but when i started hearing things, seeing whispers of movement from the corner of my eye only to look and see nothing, my blood ran cold. I quickened my pace and ditched my pack but Gwinn just laughed at me, scared at being hunted. He was a large man, easily 6 feet and an experienced hunter. He saw this as his chance to be the hero of Greysage Hillock, to take down the man eater everyone thought they were safe from.

To me it was crazy but I didn't object I ran and left him there as he wanted, promised to bring back more men from the town.

I don't know what happened to Gwinn, but when I went back with five men from the tavern, all we found was my pack and some patches of blood.

After that I packed up and left the next morning."

The stranger took a last swig from his drink,looked me dead in the eyes and what he said next chilled me to my very core

"I didn't go back to Greysage Hillock for years after that, but found myself there by chance in the course of a trade. I asked about Gwinn and if anyone had been the one to take down the beast that plagues the town back then. No-one but an old drunkard would even acknowledge the deaths took place.

He told me more bodies had been found over the years, more still had gone missing. No-one ventured into the hills passed dark if at all. But the strangest thing of all was with the latest victims. He told me that the flesh had been torn from their bodies, thighs and back, but this time not by the claws of teeth of a beast, this time it looked like the biting and tearing of the teeth of Mann."

To me it sounded daft, but the stranger had said it with such conviction, such sincerity. I was shaken. I thanked the man for the tale and we parted ways.

The next morning I slept late and when I went down to the tavern to eat the stranger was gone.

Over time my fear has lessened about the story he wove that night and now only curiosity remains.

Maybe I could be the one to solve this mystery...