The village continued their preparation, growing more and more under the priest's control as the night went on. Before sunrise even colored the sky gray, the entire village was split into hunting parties, their shouts and torches marking the places that they were searching.
Claw went out to meet them. He raced through the trees, his agile form cloaked in darkness, his camouflage unneeded. The first group of villagers that he encountered were armed with blow darts, spears, and swords. Many had their faces painted, and a few wore headdresses and amulets. Claw dropped to a branch low enough above their heads so that he could see them well, breaking branches on purpose on his way down to gain their attention.
The entire group heard him and looked up in unison, their eyes burning with a supernatural glow. They sounded their cry, a demonic voice rising from their throats, "SARCON!SARCON KHAN!" The other hunting parties heard the cry and ran to aid them. The group then began making a circle around Claw's perch, testing him with their torches, and watching him for a move.
Claw did little, waiting for his prey to make the first move, for prey they had become. At the group leaders command, they hurled poisoned spears at him, attempting to flush him out into an area where they would have the advantage. They also hoped to weaken him with the poison, but a spear point never touched him. Claw lept from his branch, brandishing both sets of knives. He landed in the middle of the fray, villagers thrusting and jabbing at him with their spears, daggers and swords, treating him like any other hunt.
Claw was far too experienced however. The form that the villagers were in made it so that he was surrounded by them with limited maneuvering space, but there were so many that they had a hard time reaching him. They moved as a mob not as a hunter, the anger that the priest had whipped into them had turned otherwise skilled hunters into mindless killers, with little defense against strategy. Claw cut his way through the mass easily, receiving cuts and scratches here and there, but the mob was doing more harm to themselves than to him. When the rest of the hunting parties arrived to try and help, Claw was done, the carnage left behind a warning to the rest of the village. Claw had taken no trophies as the party was not his real target. He moved his way toward the center of the village where Khan stood, waiting for the village to return with the Sarcon's head.
Claw approached the priest boldly, without stealth or camouflage to shield him. Khan turned to meet him, his eyes glowing red, as though they were consumed by embers. As the priest turned to face Claw directly, he made a gesture with his hands, forming great black wings on his back by forming the smoke from several fires that burned around the village. His feet grew into scaled talons, and his body became covered with red scales, rimmed with gold and black. Horns grew out of the long black hair that now formed spines along the rim of his back, and his wings solidified into great bat wings. Khan stood with his challenging eyes, burning into Claw's memory.
Claw crouched, letting his opponent make the first few moves. He knew nothing about this hunt, so it was a much greater challenge. If he waited and dodged the first few attacks, he could see what his opponent was like.
Khan took the chance, advancing on Claw with a full on attack, lashing his newly formed tail from side to side, challenging Claw to fight back. Khan first attempted to strike with the talons on his fingers, but Claw dodged it, moving to release his spear at the same time. Khan grabbed Claw's arm with his tail, stopping him from releasing the weapon. Claw reacted fast, cutting a deep gash in Khan's tail just as he went for his other arm. Khan reacted by throwing Claw behind him, giving him much needed time to release his spear. In the split second Khan's back was turned to him, Claw charged him with the spear, managing a deep shoulder wound. When Khan turned around, Claw went with him, the spear still stuck fast in his shoulder. Claw used the grip to spin around, landing with a foot on either side of Khan's head. The monster roared, launching several feet in the air, spreading black wings that covered what was left of the moon. Claw was thrown from his shoulders, and barely had time to grab one of the spines protruding from Khan's back before he would have fallen to the ground. Khan attempted to climb higher into the sky, but Claw's weight on his back was too much. As Khan sped for the ground, Claw extended both sets of knives, gripping Khan's back with his legs, and struck, raking deep wounds into his back and sides. Khan went blind from the pain, reeling and roaring in the air, twitching and rolling. When he was near the ground, Claw let go, flipping backwards to the rock in the center of the village, landing heavily. Khan, unable to control his flight, fell to the ground a moment later, his wings returning to smoke, and his talons to hands and feet. The priest rolled on to his back, drawing a shuddering breath, then going still. Claw bent over him, taking a dagger from Khan's belt. The blade was made of pure blood diamond, the hilt a shimmering jade. Claw slipped it into his belt, the body dissolving into mist and ash once the dagger left his side. On Claw's way back to his tree, the hunting parties scattered, their eyes nothing but those of frightened humans now.
Dianara and her father had followed Claw's instructed path, and found themselves with a village that received them well. When Dianara explained what they were running from, the village grew wary, but their chief stepped out, saying that they were turning no one away. Dianara and her father were given food and a hut to stay in. The chief came by to personally tell them that they would be accepted into the clan as members the next day. Dianara, happy as she was, never forgot Claw, and she stared out in the direction of her village the entire night. Just as dawn was breaking, Dianara heard a rustling in a tree close by her father's new hut. She looked up, a smile spreading her face as she saw the new light of the sun illuminate a figure crouched in the tree. Claw's helmet reflected the sun, making his eyes glow briefly in what was left of the darkness. Then he was gone.