Title: Black Hand

Author: sinfalion08

Pre-reader(s): Ardel Ocampo (A friend of mine), any one else care to pre-read for me?

Format: Prose, POV

Disclaimer: I do not own Rising Force Online and is in no way affiliated with CCR inc.

Chapter 1:

Still alive...

I thought as a fuzzy sort of consciousness begins to stir me.

I try to open my still heavy eyes and am blinded by the intensity of the light.

I try to move but my body felt heavy, sluggish. My body hurts all around; every attempted movement however miniscule brings a jolt of pain.

Groaning I force my self to sit up only to vaguely feel a pair of hands pushing me down, forcefully or gently, I couldn't say. Then a sudden stab of pain and everything turns black again…

A slow, fuzzy awareness comes again, and with it the various aches my body incurred, strangely, those pains seemed duller than they where before…

Where am I?

I slowly open my eyes to try and get my bearings, I find my self lying on a bed staring up at a smooth stone ceiling, I was in a small room of sorts, my eyesight is still foggy and the lighting in the room was dim but I can make out some of the stuff inside; shelves and cabinets, and a few chairs.

Am I back in Numerus? But how did I get here? The last I remember is…

My eyes widening, the memories that followed jolted me to full awareness.

The adventuring party was small; I was with another male Warrior class, I was a Champion the other was a Knight; Two of the Ranger class, a male and female Archer; and two of the Spiritualist class, a female Caster and a male Dark Priest as the leader, I hardly knew any of them beyond their names and class.

The Dark Priest, Dimitre Marde, invited me a week before, said he was looking for another Warrior class to complete his party for a quest, he told me something about a research of his regarding Ace class Naiad Hellers. The job was simple: we were to be his bodyguards for the duration of the trip as he gathers information for his research.

Having no standing orders at the moment and thinking I could always use the extra Disena he's offering, I accepted. The journey took us deep in the Holy Forest, a few days trek from Numerus Stockade Settlement.

What I didn't expect was the ambush…

I was surveying the area with Mikhail, the Knight. Everything seemed fine so I tried to strike a conversation with him.

"Don't you find it strange Mikhail? This quest I mean…" I asked without looking at him. "What's gotten that Dimitre guy interested in Naiad Hellers anyway?" he didn't answer.

I turned to look at Mikhail and it took me a second to realize what had happened. Mikhail was face down, blood already pooling from a slit neck. An Accretian Phantom Shadow behind him already advancing towards me with a bloody dagger.

The Accretian's hand suddenly jerked forward, instinctively dodging to the side, my combat reflexes saved me from a having throwing knife stuck in my chest. It's hand blurred again and using my spear haft, I managed to block the second blade. The Accretian, producing a third dagger, lunged forward for a stab but I was ready for it, my Warrior training kicking in.

My Winged beam spear held at the ready, I did a swiping motion deflecting the oncoming stab aside, and using the momentum, I brought up the spear's butt to smash into the right side of it's head temporarily disorienting it. Not wasting a moment, I moved in for the killing strike, mustering all my strength I swung the spear in a powerful arc, this time aiming for its neck. It ended quickly; the beam blade had little effort severing its metallic head, the metal behemoth's headless body slumping to the ground.

Breathing heavily from the battle-rush, I ran to join my companions, what I witnessed then truly shocked me…

The male Archer, Owyn, had three daggers stabbed into his body whilst still attempting to draw his bow for a shot. He managed to loose one but missed after which he received a final dagger to the head from an Accretian Scout.

The Caster, Hellena, managed to release an Inferno spell on another Accretian Scout making it explode but she didn't have time to even see the Punisher that took her head off with a huge serrated sword.

The other Archer, Odette, loosed a beam arrow to Owyn's killer taking the Accretian Scout in the head. Before she could loose another shot though, a beam tipped spearhead from a second Punisher entered her back exiting at her chest.

I couldn't spot Dimitre anywhere.

A Dementer, a Phantom Shadow and a Punisher stood rigidly off to one side observing the entire scene in a passive, stoic fashion. The Dementer turned his attention to the Punisher, and said something, but I failed to hear what.

I couldn't believe it. We were wiped out! We were completely overpowered by these metal monstrosities!

The Dementer suddenly noticed me, and gestured to one of his Punishers and to the last Phantom Shadow. The two nodded and advanced towards me with weapons ready

I knew I couldn't take on two Acrretian Elites at once but as it is I have no other choice; taking an offensive stance, spear forward, with a battle cry I charged for the Punisher. The Phantom Shadow took out a handgun and shot me twice at the leg stopping my charge short, I fell forward on the ground, my face contorting in pain.

They advanced toward me, their movements clean and efficient; the Punisher exchanging its spear for a huge beam bladed sword strapped to its back. I tried to make a stab at it but it easily caught the spear's haft and with a swift slice took of my right arm just past the shoulders. I cried out in pain.

It threw my spear away, my severed arm still gripping it. But it wasn't done yet; it lifted its right foot and bought it down hard on my left forearm, breaking it. Again I could only scream out in pain. It then lifted me by my hair and delivered a hard ironclad punch to my gut, throwing me down hard on the ground the pair started to walk back to the Dementer.

A few more words were exchanged, the Dementer nodded, after which the Accretians warped out leaving.

My consciousness is starting to fade, the last vestiges of strength leaking out from my body.

I guess this is it, the Final Rest…

How come I'm still alive?

Again that question came to my mind; logically I should be dead, being seriously wounded from what I remember, without immediate rescue I should have bled to death.

But here I am, battered but alive… What is this place, this does not seem like any place in Numerus…

Groaning, I tried to sit up, the thin sheet of cloth covering me slid down to my waist. My clothes and armour was gone; I was naked from the waist up my chest wrapped in bandages my only article of clothing is my shorts. My left arm is bandaged but no longer broken it seems, my head ached like hell, out of force of habit I bought my right arm up to rub the pain away…

The act made me realize something… my right arm shouldn't be there, it was cut off…

Looking down at my right arm, my eyes widen in disbelief, instead of the slightly tan complexion of my skin, glossy black metal is all I see.

I am at a loss of what to think, I willed it to flex its fingers, and it did as commanded. I willed it to move its elbow and it obeyed. I willed it to make a fist, and it did. A mechanical arm, my right arm was replaced with a mechanical one.

I was so stunned that I didn't notice the sound of the door sliding open or the person that entered…

"Whoa! Take it easy! You shouldn't be moving around yet!" I heard the frantic voice of a young girl … I looked at the owner of the voice and saw her…she had short silvery hair with big blue eyes; she was at least 4 feet in height, her build petite.


Alarmed, I tried to get off the bed and stand, but nearly fell down hard; I was still weak and my legs felt like rubber… I tried to steady my self for a confrontation, if those Accretians weren't able to finish me off, this girl will…

"Hey, hey! Didn't you hear me? I said you shouldn't move yet!" She kept advancing while still rambling.

"Azalea! Your 'friend' is conscious! I think you should do something here!" She called back to someone outside, a companion perhaps…

The girl was unarmed but in my condition even a short knife would be enough, she tried to get hold of me, and without thinking I lashed out with a punch using the steel appendage that replaced my lost right arm, she backed off avoiding my clumsy attempt to defend my self, and made somewhat soothing gestures with her hands.

"Clam down mister… H-hey! The hell… Watch it bud! Just calm down, I'm not gonna hurt 'ya! Hurry up Azalea, he's going nuts here!"

Calm down? She's not going to hurt me? What the hell is going on here? Events keep confusing me, one after the other; I don't know what to think anymore! Then I heard her companion reply…

"What is it, Lyrica? Don't yell so loud, he's still confused as it is." the female Bellatean's companion replied from outside, approaching. The voice was also female, though more mature in tone.

Then companion of the Bellatean girl walked in where I can get a look at her. Long dark purple hair, fair skin and tall…

She's a Corite! This Bellatean's compaion is a Corite!

"So you're up I see. How are you feeling? Hmm?" She asked. "Lyrica, would you step out for while please?"

"Uh yeah, sure, be careful though, he's a bit 'cranky' right now." The Bellatean girl said and went out.

Azalea, the Corite slowly walked towards me, "Let me see your wounds" she said.

"Did you do this to me?" I growled at her gesturing to my right arm.

I had calmed down somewhat but I am still confused, I have a lot of questions that desperately needed answers.

"Well? Did you? Or was it that Bellatean?" I pressed.

Sighing she replied.

"Lyrica was the one who found you barely alive, she healed you to some extent and brought you to me. But your new appendage was my doing." Tilting her head a little she added "Why? Don't you like it?"

Enraged I shouted back.

"Like it?" I spat out. "Our bodies are sacred, it is DECEM's Will that we maintain that sacredness by preventing any unnatural modifications to it!"

"This!" I raised my metal arm to her as I continued "This sacrilege—"

I stopped, she was laughing, laughing very hard that she should have been rolling on the tiled floor. Her laughter was not of amusement though; her laughter was more of sarcastic contempt as if laughing at the ignorant blabbering of a fool. I felt my face heating up I was probably blushing hard.

"Sacred? DECEM's Will? Sacrilegious?" she spat each word disgustedly. "What makes our bodies any special compared to Bellateans? Basically we are all the same! Let me tell you, there is nothing 'special' in being a Corite, I'm not sure DECEM really exists anymore or ever had. Believe me there is nothing 'Holy' about us."

"You should be thankful you know…" she said in a more composed tone. "What do you think happens to soldiers who survive the battles with lost limbs? You don't see them around do you? No you don't, you know why? Because the Elders sends them back home to Gaia*, if they live long enough; you see some commit suicide, some die of depression, some go out to seek death in enemy hands to die as warriors, some just wander and disappears."

"We are fighting a war; a soldier who cannot fight is useless. And the fact that our society is rather unkind to 'unfortunate' ones like you, doesn't help at all, sure the Elders give out benefits, rewards, pensions, even military honours to war casualties. But the fact remains that soldiers are useful only if they can fight. There are methods to give those crippled back some semblance of their normal lives but the Elder's strict edicts prevent it, calling it heretical, against DECEM's Will. You are a soldier, no doubt you are aware of this. Would you choose to be a dependent when an option to give you back what you have lost is available?"

What she said was right, those who were badly injured in the battles, those who cannot fight anymore, they seldom want to stay long here, they all seem to board transports which are headed back to Gaia. Some of those soldiers were friends of mine; I notice others start to look at them as if they've become less because of their condition. Others look at them uneasily, with mouths covered in silent whispers.

I was stunned by her sudden out burst that I failed to notice that she was kneeling right beside me and was gently holding my bandaged left arm in her hands, examining it.

"This arm seems to be doing good, the bone is healing quite well but it will still need a sling support for the meantime." She helped me get settled back on the bed and took a sling support from a nearby cabinet; she placed my left arm in the sling and secured it. After which se pulled up a chair beside the bed and sat down. She stared at me for a moment before speaking.

"My name is Azalea, and your name is?" she asked

"Dainsleif…" I replied

"Well, Dainsleif, I know you are confused and sending Lyrica in to check on your condition is probably unwise of me, let me explain the situation to you. You have been unconscious for four days now since we found you nearly dead back at the Holy Forest. We have taken you here to our refuge. The Council will want to speak with you soon I think." She stood up from her seat. "But before that, I'm sure you are hungry, you haven't had anything to eat since we took you, let me get you something. You'll find clothes in that shelf, get dressed but do not leave this room." With that she turned and left.

Alone again, I started to think on this situation.

From what Azalea told me, clearly I'm days away from Numerus Stockade. She said something about a refuge, a settlement perhaps, but of whom? And what is this Council she spoke of? She has a Bellatean companion, which makes no sense at all. And I'm not to leave under any circumstance.

I guess I'm a captive for now… I mused to my self. Settling back on the bed trying to make more sense of things, I waited for Azalea to return.

To be continued

Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at writing fan fiction. I would like to continue writing and I probably will but I would like you readers to help me along. If you have any comments or advice, I am willing to listen. If you can point out inconsistencies and holes or if you find it lacking in some parts, please tell.

I chose to do a Rising Force Online fic for convenience: the setting/environment is already laid out and populated. A general plot, the conflict between three races, is present. The history and background story is in place as well. The only thing missing are the main characters that will interact. And that's what I did I supplied the characters gave them their personalities and motives.

I hope you readers had fun reading this fic as much as I had writing it.

Questions, comments and reviews are always welcome.