Jerea, Ree, and Saitomi spent several days in town spending their hard-earned wealth on armor, weaponry, and small magical trinkets. Given their status as outsiders to the area, it only took a few minutes of asking around for the dwarf blacksmith to track them down. Jerea was the first to be found, the young woman seated by the town square's fountain while she entertained the local children with stories of her adventures. The blacksmith approached with a stern nod.
"I have a favor to ask you," he grumbled.
Jerea shushed the excitable children, then smiled at the dwarf. "What can I do for you?"
"A friend of mine needs some help," the blacksmith explained grimly. "His ship has been commandeered by a giant and his followers."
"Who your friend and where can we find him?" Jerea asked, her smile fading to a frown.
The dwarf sighed in relief. "Gildas is at the lighthouse keeping an eye on his ship. The giant's men have been loading crates on-board."
"Don't worry, my friends and I will help him out," Jerea said determinedly, rising to her feet. "Are there any crewmen on the ship that need to be rescued?"
"I don't know. There certainly could be," the blacksmith answered.
With a smile of confidence, Jerea left to search for her friends, promising to tell the children more stories when she returned. Saitomi and Ree were easy enough to find. Neither had much creativity, so both had been hanging out in the tavern for the past few days. Ree sulked in the corner, while Saitomi sat at a large table with a group of locals, happily losing his money to them while playing cards. He stood up and waved excitedly at Jerea as she entered the tavern.
"Hi Jerea!" he cried out, smiling widely.
"Hello Sai-Sai," Jerea replied, using the pet name she had for him. "We have a mission."
Ree knocked her mug of ale to the floor as she staggered to her feet. "It's about time. What are we doing?"
"The blacksmith's friend's ship has been stolen by a giant," Jerea explained. "Gildas is at the lighthouse, so he'll probably have more information for us."
"A giant?" Saitomi gasped.
Jerea nodded sagely. "According to my research, giants are powerfully strong creatures capable of inflicting massive damage and hurling boulders as easily as we could throw pebbles."
"Anyone who's flipped through the monster manual knows that," Ree grumbled. "Let's get going. Taverns are boring."
The trio followed the merchant's road to the beach, their journey uneventful save for a brief skirmish with a band of goblins. The beach was a pristine white, the dark ocean waters glittering in the afternoon sun. A lighthouse overlooked the sandy shore, and much farther down the beach the three adventurers could see hurried activity taking place near a massive galleon warship.
"Let's go see if we can find Gildas in the lighthouse," Jerea suggested.
The three walked casually across the sandy beach toward the white-stone lighthouse. Suddenly the sand beside them erupted as a figure burst forth from hiding. A wicked barbed chain shot out and pierced into Ree's back, the chain ripping out through her chest. The figure wrenched the chain back out of Ree's body, and with a gurgling cry the sorceress collapsed to the ground.
The figure was a tall, nimble creature garbed in a long hooded cloak almost identical in color to the sand. What at first appeared to be metal armor quickly became apparent as the creature's body as it stalked toward Jerea and Saitomi with murderous purpose, the bloody barbed chain clutched tightly in its metallic hands.
"Sorcerer Ree eliminated," it droned out, its speech occasionally interrupted by whirs and clicks. "Mage Slayer mode activated. Primary target: Cleric Jerea."
Jerea barely had time to ready her maul before the warforged struck with deadly accuracy. It lashed out with its barbed chain and yanked her feet out from beneath her, sending her crashing into the sand. With blinding speed it smashed its clawed foot into her chest, effortlessly cracking her ribs and knocking the wind out of her. Saitomi drew his blades and furiously attacked, but the metallic assassin nimbly evaded the clumsy attacks.
"Fighter Saitomi assessment: minimal threat," it droned.
Jerea staggered to her feet, but another barrage of attacks from the warforged sent her to the ground again, and this time she could not find the strength to get up again. Saitomi struck again and again, but his twin blades could not find purchase.
"Stop hurting Jerea!" he cried out furiously. "Attack me! Attack me!"
"Mage-Slayer mode deactivated," the warforged droned. "Target: Fighter Saitomi. Stealth mode initiated."
The hooded assassin suddenly vanished from view. Saitomi looked around in a panic, but he could do nothing but scream as he felt the warforged's barbed chain rip through his body.
"Targets eliminated. Objective complete," the assassin droned as he dropped Saitomi's lifeless corpse to the ground.