And I open the door and I step inside. The silence that seemed so alien before now became clear. Dead bodies decorated the floor. I knew who they were. I recognized them. But my mind couldn't bring itself to identify them. Knowing was horrible enough. That man stood there. One boot was atop one of the corpses, the other was sole-deep in the pool of blood adjacent to the carcass.

"Schatten, you bastard, I'll kill you!" I yelled. "I'll make sure you pay!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I screamed so hard my voice cracked. I screamed and I cried. My vision blurred from the rapid influx of tears. Then, I heard it. It started low at first but it became louder, more boisterous. It was laughter that I heard. At first I thought it to be laughter coming from that man that stood victoriously over the dead bodies, but his mouth remained shut. Something was mocking my agony. Something poked fun at my pain.

"Make me pay, will you?" he started. "How do intend to do that? You are weak. You are aimless. My hatred is greater than you could imagine. The depths of darkness and fear that embody this pain in my inner being are depths that you could not even begin to understand. Do you feel that? You didn't before but you will now. That is hatred. That is pain. That is suffering. Feel that and have the excessive lament of the shadows take over your very being," he told me as he began to raise his hand. The air around me grew stiff and heavy and I had trouble breathing. I fell to my knees. I looked up and saw that in his hand was a swirling mass of dark and evil power with a presence so great that it shook me to my knees. He lowered his arm to my face and the mass of dark power grew bigger. "Once that happens, you will have your revenge," he finished and the mass of power encompassed everything and before my existence was reduced to nothing, I awoke.

I'm in my bed, sweating. This was the thirteenth night in a row that I've had that dream. It was so strange and surreal. There were so many questions it brought up. What was this dream? Who were those people? Who was laughing? Who is Schatten? What did these dreams have to do with me? I've never experienced anything like that like that dream in reality. Does it have anything to do with my lost memories? The memory of my past is gone, or is it that my past never existed? I'm not certain about much. I don't know where I'm really from or possibly who I really am. That's my goal in life though. I want to find out who I truly I am and what I exist for. The most I know is that my name is Schwarz Bloodfield but lately I wonder if that's even my real name. It's horrifying not knowing who you are.

I look outside of the window of my room. Looks like it's time to get ready. I go get washed up and soon after I finish that I head to my closet to pick out my outfit. I pick up a dark purple tee and a pair of black jeans and put those on. I grab my long coat and put that on as well. It's black with red trim. I look myself in the mirror and analyze my appearance. I have black hair. Well, in actuality, it's blue. It's a very dark shade of blue. My eyes, however, are actually black. I grab my sword, a black bladed long sword dubbed "Lucifer's Remorse," a gift from my mentor Riz and head out the door.

I head over to a field out on the edge of the city. This is where Riz usually tells our crew to meet, our crew being Squad 49. I'm a Connector. Connectors are people who have can tap into their mystical inner power called Link and have learned to sufficiently mold it into a usable ability. This ability is called a Bond. Once Bonds are made, they are given names which must be called out to activate their abilities.

Most Connectors work in large mercenary groups. There are five major nations; Hoy, Ner, Oroh, Gresyl, and Ocoj. Each of these nations has a major mercenary group based in their respective capitals. Our group is based in Gresyl. There are five ranks for Connectors in mercenary groups. In order of lowest to highest, they are; Trainee, Novice, Journeyman, Captain and Ace. There's only one Ace per Mercenary Group. The Ace is always the strongest member and the leader of the group. My teammates and I are Novices while our leader, Riz, is a Captain.

As I step onto the field, I notice my teammates, Grace and Steill standing there waiting. "Good morning Schwarz!" Grace greets me. Her orange hair was tied into a small ponytail which left her green eyes uncovered. She was wearing a green top and jeans. She had her Gauntlets of Zephyr already equipped. She was always very enthusiastic and bubbly when talking to me I've noticed. She's attracted to me. The way she acts around me, the things she says to me, the way she's always trying to touch or hold me. She acts just like a bunch of the other girls in the city act towards me. Personally, I find it rather annoying sometimes. I don't bother myself with trivial things like love or romance. They don't concern me. They never have and they never will.

On her right was Steill, who was, as usual ignoring me. His hair was blonde and he had blue eyes. He wore a red jacket with a yellow shirt and black pants. He was staring away from me. He always did. Sometimes, he'd glance at me for a short period of time. Whenever he looked at me his facial expression was always angry. It made sense because he didn't like me, which is fine. I don't like him either. He's obnoxious. He's also an idiot. He always talks about getting stronger and how he'll be the best mercenary the world's ever known. I think it's all just talk. He's a crap Connector with a small Link reserve and a Bond that he barely knows how to use. He's pathetic. Honestly, thinking about him and how weak he is just makes me sick.

At the border of the city, heading up to an open field, Riz stood observing a piece of paper his Ace had given him. So this is the briefing for our mission today. She's a princess? Well this might be a little tough for them. They're only Novices. Oh well, this is what I asked for. They're skilled Connectors, it won't be that bad. Riz thought to himself as he made his way up to the field. "Good morning sir," Steill and Grace greeted. Well, cold as ever I see Schwarz. Riz thought. "Good morning guys," he responded. Seeing these guys, makes me sure that everything will be alright on this job. We've got Grace, the most knowledgeable of the Novices in the Gresyl Mercenary Group, Steill the most headstrong and free-willed of any member of the Gresyl Mercenary Group, and last, but not least, Schwarz, the child prodigy. He's the most intelligent, cunning, skilled and level-headed of all the Novices. He's probably the most promising Novice I've ever seen. No matter how difficult this mission is, I have faith that we'll succeed.

Riz has finally arrived. Riz has black hair and gray eyes. He wears a white dress shirt with a black tie and black pants. Riz is the only one on the team who I think is worth any mention. However this is only because he's the Captain, so he's naturally stronger than us, but I'll surpass him one day. Other than that, he's not too great. He's just another Connector.

Riz lifted his hand and in it was a small piece of paper. "This is the briefing of our mission that the Ace gave me," Riz started. "This is important, so listen up," he said, eyeing Steill who was picking his nose. What an idiot. "Apparently the Princess of Tihs got kidnapped by some bandits a couple weeks ago," Riz began.

"The princess of what got kidnapped?" Steill asked. His face was contorted into some odd looking expression that somehow made him look stupider than usual, I that was even possible.

"The Princess of Tihs, would it kill you to pay attention?" Grace bellowed to Steill.

"Where the hell is that? I didn't even know there were places that still did monarchies anymore," Steill said.

"It's a small kingdom, but they want our help and the pay's pretty big so here's what we're going to do," Riz stated. "We're going to go in there and find the bandit's hideout, kick some ass, and save that princess," he finished. Steill and Grace began to cheer, getting excited over something so unimportant. It's just another job. There's no need to get so worked up.

"These bandits call themselves the Crown Hogs. They're about to find out what it means to get on the bad side of a mercenary crew," Riz ended.


After arriving at Tihs, Riz had our crew gather information about the Crown Hog Bandits. With all the information we gathered we managed to locate their hideout. It was a small cave in the side of a mountain close by the capital city of the little kingdom. After a short hike, we stood at the entrance and stared deep into the cave.

"So this is it I guess," Steill said, stating the obvious. He stood there standing cracking his knuckles with a stupid smile on his face. "Can't wait to kick some bandit ass!" he yelled.

"Be quiet you idiot. Otherwise the bandits will hear us," Riz scolded.

"Too late!" yelled a voice from behind the trees. Almost immediately, we were surrounded by bandits. There had to be at least fifty of them by my count. All of them were bloodthirsty and sinister. You could two things by the aura they gave off. One thing was that they were taking no prisoners. Their weapons were all at the ready. They held various swords, lances, bows and arrows, axes and a couple of other destructive weapons. They were out for blood and they were determined to get it. The other thing you could tell however was a lot easier to pick up on. And that was that they were not Connectors.

This was something that made me eager to fight. I don't normally enjoy picking on the weak but when idiots pick a fight I can't help but to get excited. I smirked and put my hand by behind my back to reach for my blade. Riz made a motion that signaled for me to stop.

"Schwarz, Steill, Grace our job isn't to fight, it's to find the princess. Go inside and get her quickly. I'll deal with these goons," Riz ordered. As we ran for the cave's five bandits came up behind us.

"Do you honestly believe we'll let you go that easily?!" they yelled.

I reached for my sword on my back again but before I could even grab the handle the bandits went down. I saw Riz looking at our direction. "Go!" he yelled at us and we ran into the cave. He must've taken those guys out but he did it so fast. My eyes couldn't even follow what he did. So that's the power of a Captain class Connector...

The bandits all stared at Riz, shocked. He had taken down their fellow gang members without even moving. The bandits began to cower and shake. Their will to fight dropped and nearly died. It seems like they're losing their will to fight. That's good, now I can go help the others. Then one bandit started to yell. "What is this you maggots? Are you so weak and feeble that you can't kill one man?" he exclaimed.

"But you saw what he did. He's definitely a Connector," one of the others said.

"So what if he is? We've killed plenty of Connectors in the past. This one will be no different," he said in loudly, rallying his fellow bandits.

Riz sighed. It seems I had too much hope in them realizing how pointless this is. Oh well it can't be helped I guess. The bandits all charged at Riz in many different directions. A lance was thrust at his face coming from his left and at the same time an axe swing to his legs came from his right. He dodged both, simultaneously disarmed the wielders of both weapons, and knocked both of them out in one swift motion.

"I'm going to tell you one thing. You may have fought Connectors in the past, but you have never fought a Connector like me. Now come on. Show me what you're worth."