*This is not an introduction chapter, just to warn you all!*

There was no god that watched over the raging seas. Anything to happen upon the waters was wild, and impossible to predict at all times. As much as the great ocean signified freedom and opportunity to those seeking solace, it also was a raging animal, an untamed creature just waiting to be lash out at any who dared to challenge it.

Truth be told, the pirates lived on the face of a monster. Whether the beast be peaceful in slumber or raging in chaos, change was always inevitable.

It had been an ordinary day of ordinary plundering and not-so-ordinary calmness when the metal ship had appeared behind the ship of pirates. The shiny gray metal appeared out of nowhere, as if the boat had just ascended from the ocean itself. It was a menacing sight. For one second, the shadow of the metal ship remained behind the solid wooden one, as if stalking its new found prey. The next few moments that had ensued were pure chaos on The Riser.

As if time were going by in slow motion, Yama Acardi saw the shadow of a ship suddenly out of the corner of his eye. The young pirate captain began to turn around just as utter pandemonium proceeded. In that moment his crew of pirates, one by one, clutched at their stomachs as they all fell to the ground, some spewing vomit out of the side of their greening faces. The utter horridness of pirates living off the sea encountering seasickness for the first time.

Yama stumbled forward and caught himself along broken rum bottles, one shard piercing the palm of his hand. Wincing, his stringy black hair fell over his tanned skin as the twenty-seven year old tried not to cry out in annoyance and fear. This situation was new to him, being weak while on The Riser. If only he could get a hand on the pistol…

Darkened blood smeared across rotten wood as Yama steadied himself against the ship. His hand hurt like hell, and his head began to feel more like a heavy weight pushing down on his body then anything else. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, the swaying motion of The Riser nearly made the pirate want to vomit over the edge of the ship and collapse into a weakened mess. It didn't make the slightest of sense, a pirate becoming seasick after an entire lifetime living on the seas.

His futile attempt at walking to the magical pistol lying just below him in the Captain's Quarters turned into a pathetic attempt to crawl which turned into a slow attempt to shuffle onwards which then turned into a hopeless, detached attempt to slowly inch forwards. His previously consumed food doing flip flops within his body, Yama opened his eyes one last time to see the red ship arrive at the side of The Riser and hundreds black figures moving slowly towards him before completely succumbing to the nausea and letting his world black out.

"Saunders!" Erick Saunders looked up at Commander Montgomery as the man began to shout orders at his men. The captain was clearly aging, and only knew there was only so much he could do to possibly keep the young, unruly Terran soldiers in order. As the men rushed forwards onto their recently captured pirate ship, Erick stayed back a moment to hear out his special orders.

Montgomery gave Erick a look, a look that could have been interpreted in thousands of different ways, a look that sent chills down his spine, as only Erick knew what it truly meant. The twenty-five year old nodded to his commander, and just by one firm look, the two shared a conversation that only they themselves could ever know about. Finally, after long years of waiting for this moment, it was time.

"Go, Erick." Montgomery sounded nearly regretful, but Erick paid no attention to the sad tone of his mentor's voice. The man he had trained with, sailed with, and even grew up with might never see him again after this day. Assessing the situation, Erick decided he might as well tried to be remembered well by the Terran navy.

"Don't worry. It will be accomplished." Erick shook Montgomery's hand goodbye, and then left to cross over into the pathetic little pirate ship that The Dardanelle had recently acquired. Pushing past his crewmates carrying sick and unconscious pirates on their backs, Erick made his way to the other ship.

The Riser. Another one of Sterilin pirate's sad attempts at naming their ships to be in a revolutionary theme. Stepping onto the creaky board, Erick pushed back his brown, carefully gelled hair instinctively to make sure it was still in place.

He needed to find the pirate captain known by the name of Yama Acardi; this was the first step in his mission. A man infamous on the seas, a young pirate not much older than he himself who was always being hunted down by those around him. Climbing up deck towards the wheel, he blinked as he saw a bleeding, unconscious, dark-haired man lying only a couple feet away.

This man, lying helpless and weak only a short distance away from Erick, was notoriously known for escaping out of every situation he found himself in. The reward price over this captain's head was not too shabby. It would be so easy to gain that nice amount of money now; the sneaky captain himself was completely vulnerable…

No. This mission was more important. All the money in the world wouldn't get Erick to back down from this special duty. The brown-haired soldier tied the sleeping, filthy pirate's hands and feet together. He and Yama were the only two left on the ship now, and there was no way the shabby wooden ship could operate without at least ten other people. The Riser had to be abandoned.

The only thing Erick had brought aboard the ship was a compass. And even that would be gone after Part One of his mission was completed. He sighed a little bit at the dullness of his mission as he dragged the still sleeping Yama to the edge of the boat. The seasickness was bound to wear of soon, the nausea magic of The Dardanelle had left along with the navy ship not long ago. Back to Terra Aliena, his homeland, and land he had grown up in and finished with a while ago.

In now more than ten minutes, the two men were in the small portable boats found on the side of The Riser. Lowering the boat into the now violent ocean with a splash, Erick checked his compass to see which way was north. His destination: Bonum Annulum.

The clever crew of Terran sailors had plotted when to intercept the course of the pirates, and planned to intercept them so that they were not far away from the ring. According to Montgomery's careful calculations, the journey to the ring would take no more than thirty minutes. Yes, Erick would sail straight into the ring. No hesitations would be made.

One could say that it was either convenient or an annoyance that Yama awoke from his coma about half an hour later, right as Erick was approaching the ring of light. It was a benefit to Erick that Yama knew a little of what he was becoming involved in before he was thrust into the situation, but disadvantage that he had tried to maim Erick when he realized what was happening. As the two beat at each other blindly, Yama in a wild state of panic and Erick not knowing whether to laugh out of amusement or snap in annoyance, the blinding bright light of the ring drew closer and closer.

"That light be goin' t' kill us! What th' hell do ye think ye're doin'?" Yama screamed out at Erick, but it was too late. The light began to engulf the small excuse of a boat that the two men were in. Soon, Yama could see nothing but white, and a strange sense that his entire soul had been intruded upon by some strange force. The judgment.

Yama closed his eyes and braced himself. As the magic completely filled the entirety of his very being, he felt one word uttered from the strange light magic. Invalid.

After that, all the two men could feel was a utter sensation of heat searing through their very veins as the light began to tear them to pieces. There was only pain as the men sailed straight into the light that was becoming their own watery graves.

Far away from the perilous scene of young Erick and Yama, another ship sailed across the raging seas. Aboard the maroon navy boat of Bonum Annulum existed a mystery. Though the red, shiny navy ship looked average to most outside onlookers, inside the ship was quite the secret.

Down below the average steel on top of the ship, below the first twenty-three decks (the vessel had a magical charm to increase its size vastly within the ship), through the doors of Bunker Room 41, existed not a room of bunking at all, but inside a cramped, well populated areas of prison cells. The guards were told to keep the area secure, but were not allowed to even look within the cells themselves. In fact, only one person aboard the Faith knew about the reason of capturing the prisoners in the first place, and they were in no place to tell.

Most prisoners slept, only the outline of their faces visible to others in the shadows. The only light let in the room came from the crack near the bottom of the closed door trapping them within the room. There was a strange aura to the room, and it seemed to drain all of the energy straight out of the prisoners themselves. Out of the twenty-six people held within the dark quarters, only three were currently awake.

"W-w-what's happening?" A voice, presumably of a very young boy, chocked out in the darkness.

"We… I don't know. We'll be alright, though." Another male voice, although older, answered not far away. Even in the current dire situation the strange group of prisoners seemed to be in, the tone of his voice sounded as if it was still trying to make the best of the situation.

"Those damn pirates. I bet they're looking for a ransom…" Now a female voice, seemingly the same age as the second male voice, spoke out. She sounded quite irritated, but then again, it could have really just have actually been her normal voice.

There was a pause as the three strangers adjusted to the situation. The bleakness of it began to sink in. Being out on the seas in an unknown ship being held captive was bad enough, but they were sailing in the middle of a world war. Things couldn't get much worse, really.

"I'm scared." The young voice of the boy spoke out, starting to break down in tears by the sound of it. Truthfully, the older two felt the same way, but admitting fear was no was to comfort the seemingly shaking little boy.

"You'll be fine. You'll have me." The older male voice spoke out. The girl huffed, but nodded in agreement. Realizing quickly that nobody could see her, she spoke out.

"Don't worry. We'll keep you safe. I promise that."

"What's all of your names? Might as well know. I'm Evander. Evander Jones." The older male voice asked, trying to shuffle forwards towards the sound of the sniffling boy.

After a short silence, minus the sound of sad sniffling coming near the small boy, the little one answered, "T-T-Tommy."

"Sidara. That's all you'll need." The female voice answered gruffly, keeping her distance yet allowing them to at least know that she would be there to help, too.

As Evander approached the whimpering Tommy, he blindly began to wrap his arms around the shaking boy. Evander knew how to make others smile, that was one of his main joys and passions in life. All he could do now was hold Tommy tight, as he both assured the child and he himself that they would come out of the situation unharmed.

The captain smiled as one of his men informed him they were nearing the ring. Yes, he was the only one who knew of the Aether Project. Yes, he was the only one to carry this heavy burden of a secret on his chest, to have to sail the world knowing that what he was doing was for a cause not even he knew for sure was good itself. He felt pity to those down on the Twenty-Third Deck, in Bunker 41. If only they knew what was in store…

"They're coming. Loads of them."

"How many?"

"Twenty-five, I think. Maybe one more or less."

"I heard there was an intrusion today though. This morning. Might be more, now."

The International Prison of Phoenicia, Carcerem, was abuzz with the news of the newly captured prisoners. It had been awhile since more than a dozen prisoners had all been brought in at once. And the past prisoners at least had some sort of background. The information of these new arrivers was kept as hushed as possible, and it seemed to most as if the prisoners held some sort of dark secret. Maybe they were a secret cult? A strange gang of international thieves? Or maybe, an attempt to cross the through the ring?

And there was an intrusion. It had been the first on in months. Once again, the guards of Carcerem were left in the dark when it came to information about these certain intruders. The one thing they did know, however, was that this intrusion was a rare case. Rather than being ripped to shreds, the judging light of the ring accepted them. Of course, they still went through a great deal of pain after being judged faulty, but the light, for some incredible reason, didn't annihilate them. The only news the guards had heard was that the unconscious intruders had washed up upon the shores of Brit unconscious, and were to arrive at Brit any moment.

The excitement and anticipation seemed to be contagious. Iris Mereva tried not to get caught up in it as she sat across from a gigantic looking fellow guard, face scrunched in concentration as she placed her elbow on the table. A line behind the male guard was forming, with one purpose in line: to win against the undefeated Iris in an arm wrestling match.

Iris chuckled as she slammed Kenny's hand down in less than half a second. The impact of the sudden slamming down cracked the wooden table the two Carcerem prison guards sat at. Not even a drop of sweat on her forehead, she nodded for Derek, the next man in line, the tenth challenger so far on this particular day, come forward.

She shook her dark haired head to ruffle him up, her confidence and love of fighting shining through her blue eyes. As the two set their elbows down on the table, a grunt was heard from behind them. Their boss, the Head Guard, had arrived. Iris didn't even know his name, as he was so secretive and anonymous from within the prison. She hadn't even known what he had looked like until this very moment.

"Iris. We have a special job for you." The man motioned, two of his henchmen coming out of nowhere to grab the twenty-one year old by her shoulders and lead her quickly out of the door.

Iris loved to fight. She loved to dive headfirst into scary and dangerous situations. Her job itself was considered scary itself, and yet she had never once been afraid working within Carcerem. Until now.

For once, as she and the men crossed through the dark and abandoned corridors of the prison and weaved throughout the maze of hallways, Iris felt real fear.

Fear or not, there was nothing to stop the girl from slowing walking down the hall, walking down the path that would lead her to her new, incredible fate as well.

A special job requested on a special day by a more than special guard. Whether it be absolutely horrible or amazingly wondrous, one thing was for certain. This would be life-changing.

Brave. What Iris needed to be, what she already knew she was. Courageous the girl was, and deep within was a toughened heart and mind of an unbreakable build.

Whatever the special task was, Iris Mereva was more than ready to challenge it head on.

Iris never noticed the second of absolute nothingness as she continued strolling down the dark corridors of prison cells. One second had been taken out of her life.

One second of darkness was all it took.

* Review! Yes, I'll edit it later, I end up not being able to reread these as I publish so late at night. Oh, and for Evander and Sidara, don't be mad that your characters have had a weird start! Soon you will get explanations. Submitters of the characters are: Bookiie, yours truly, InfatuatedCritic, Simbeswore, and InkedGirl! This was not an introduction, to clear up confusion. Sidara's introduction will be up next. R & R! Bye!*