Abbron and Bralta go combing Broadrows and the Drifts for rumors of the Stoic Man. They find little; the name doesn’t seem to refer to a criminal noteworthy. They move further up the hill, and gradually catch a lead that the Stoic Man refers to some sort of bogeyman or guardian spirit of the hospital. Visiting the hospital late at night, they hear that he’s rumored to be a harbinger of death, or perhaps a benevolent spirit — tales are that he’s been seen at the bedside of dying people, but nobody Abbron talks to can provide a firsthand or secondhand witness account.
The next morning, the group decides first to investigate Broadrows to see if there’s any word of the remaining Trappers leaving the catacombs (presumably after discovering the corpses of their fellows). While some witnesses report seeing extra laborers enter the underground, nobody remembers seeing them leave. The next order of business is determined to be reentering the crypts. Baden is fairly sure he can track anyone who discovered the corpses.
The four reenter the catacombs in the Three Towers entrance. Bralta and Baden easily find the way to the tomb where the Trappers were encamped. However, the corpses are now missing. By all signs, they were simply picked up and carried away — there are no telltale marks of ghoul feeding or dragging. Baden tracks the occasional spatter of old blood, and for some distance it doesn’t even appear that the laborers bothered to set the bodies down for a rest.
In a gallery, the trail divides: three separate paths lead away, down branching corridors. As near as Baden can tell, all three trails show signs of the bodies being carried away. They opt to choose the central of the paths to follow.
The path leads down deeper into the older dwarf works, away from the levels that have been converted to catacombs. When they reach an old house of healing, Baden hears the sounds of meat being torn and rent. They slowly approach, but are noticed by the creature responsible — an eight-foot humanoid monster, apparently stitched together from a variety of bodies. It releases a garbled roar and attacks, backed up by an eclectic mass of bones bound together in a roughly humanoid shape.
The golems are perhaps the most vicious monsters the group has ever faced. The osseous construct lashes out with sharpened bone stakes, nearly felling Bralta and badly wounding Honora. The flesh creature is even more powerful, trampling and smashing anyone who stands in its path. The more they wound it, the angrier it gets, until it smashes Baden into the stones. Only Abbron’s quick application of a precious healing elixir restores the Amaelite to his feet. Every strike against the monster causes it to lash out blindly, and each of the hunters is barely on his or her feet by the time both golems are badly hurt. Finally they receive a stroke of luck when a nasty shot from Baden enrages the corpse-amalgam to the point where it seizes and destroys its rattletrap bone compatriot like a child in a tantrum tearing apart a favorite toy. While it’s distracted, Abbron musters up some of the last of his strength and blasts its remaining joins until it can no longer hold itself together, and its vital spark fades.
Battered and exhausted, the group prepares to return to the surface and lick their wounds. They confirm that four of the bodies of the Trappers were carried here, and the monster was apparently deboning them like so much gamefowl, accumulating the bones for another project like its previous companion. They also find an odd drawing on the far wall — a massive, muscular figure extending its hands in benediction. Beneath its feet is scrawled the word “FATHER.”