Title: Tarnished Gold

Author: Radiant Sea Serpent

Rating: Pg-13

Genre: Angst/Drama

Disclaimer: I don't own anyone, not even Jeirdon who belongs to a friend.

Summery: Jander Sunstar learns the price of disobeying his master, Cassiar.

Author's Note: ok well I have to say this, this takes place when Jander had just barely become a vamp so he's not nearly as jaded as he was in all his stories...yet anyway.

******

The gold elf watched with sad eyes as the sun dipped below the horizon, the last fading rays splashing across the freshly fallen snow like the retreating tide on the shore. Jander took a deliberate breath, blood stained tears forming in his silver eyes as he once again said farewell to the light he would never again see.

He remained standing there long after darkness had descended. The stars emerged and the moon cast waves of silvery light across the glittering snow, yet Jander gained no comfort from these wonders, no amount of beauty would ever be able to relieve him of the curse placed upon him.

"Jander."

Jander gasped then stiffened and turned as the voice called him. He struggled to hide his surprise; he had yet to get used to how silent vampires could be. The other vampire snorted slightly, "You jump as that of a rabbit caught unawares by a wolf, friend." The vampire, broad shouldered, bearded man named Gideon, sneered, his voice taking a sarcastic edge on the word friend.

Jander flinched inwardly turning away and crossing his arms over his chest. He and Gideon had indeed been good friends long ago. The two had met as hellriders of Elturel and had been through much together. They had been together when the god Illmater had called Gideon into service and through countless other dangers. Both had saved the others life hundreds of times and neither could have predicted that it would lead to this.

The two had been caught between a group of vampires and a too trusting village. Half the village's population was killed before the vampires were discovered and Gideon disappeared. Thinking his best friend slain Jander left for home, to full of sorrow to think of continuing his adventures without him. Three days away from home he was surprised in his sleep by a Gideon seemingly brought back form the dead. Perhaps Jander was foolish for letting his guard down but the elf couldn't bring himself to believe anything other than that his friend had been returned to him, but Jander's logic was flawed and Gideon was a Vampire. Gideon had killed him; lured him into a trap and then made him into a vampire. Now the home he so longed for was gone, it's sacred shores forever beyond his reach.

Jander shook his head, it all seemed so long ago, it was hard to believe it had barely been a week.

"Cassiar wants to see you." Gideon continued, pulling Jander from his thoughts.

"I'm coming." Jander sighed though he doubted Gideon heard, as he was already heading back to their lair.

Jander gave the distant horizon one final glance before turning and following Gideon back towards their cave in the woods.

****

The cave was pretty much the typical hideout for a vampire group. Deep, dark, dry, and well hidden in a ravine only 3 or 4 miles south of the Waterdahavien border. It was simple, unfurnished and bare save for a few torches and baubles collected from the vampires' past raids or left over from his mortal years. Jander noticed that Cassiar didn't seem to come here often. The once gold and copper torch sconces were tarnished and dull, what treasure was left no longer resembled anything of value. In many ways Cassiar himself seemed to resemble his lair. Nearing three centuries in age Cassiar still wore the clothes form his mortal days, the years leaving them frayed and worn. His short auburn hair cut in a style no longer seen on Faerun. The Soft glow of the torches cast a ruddy glow across the master vampire's usually milky complexion, the young almost boyish looks creased with impatience.

Jander hesitated a long moment before bringing himself to approach the vampire.

Cassiar turned to face the elf as he entered, the lines smoothing and his lips curving into a smile that never reached his eyes. "Jander, how nice of you to show up." He said coldly.

Jander swallowed uneasily, he had a bad feeling about this. "You called for me?" he asked cautiously.

Cassiar turned away, absently removing some dust from a long unused golden goblet, "Yes, I did. You have been neglecting your duties again, Jander." He said calmly.

Jander straightened, alarmed. How had he.? "Master?" he stuttered over the word, still trying to adjust to his new position.

Cassiar spun around with such ferocity that Jander was forced back a few steps by the rage that radiated form the Vampire lord like a physical force. His eyes glowed like hot coals and the goblet bent and twisted under his hand. The lump of metal then went flying across the cavern and Cassiar grabbed the stunned Jander by the scruff of the neck with one sharp nailed hand, yanking his head back so sharply that it drove Jander to one knee with a pained cry. "Do not play ignorant with me, fledgling!" Cassiar snarled. His words sounding distorted around his suddenly lengthened fangs.

Jander squirmed in his grasp gasping as Cassiar only tightened his grip and jerked him forward so that Jander's arched neck was barely an inch from his face. Jander grimaced, "Cassiar!" he cried.

Cassiar growled and abruptly released Jander who tumbled into a heap on the ground.

Jander looked up at Cassiar uncertainly, not sure what to think about this unexpected turn of events.

Cassiar glowered down at the cowering fledgling vampire elf, "You have disobeyed me, elf! You will learn never to do so again!"

Jander looked confused and remained motionless for a long moment, "Master, please, how have I displeased you?" Jander asked trying to somehow relieve the pressure of the moment.

"What have you been doing during your days, my day walking friend?" Cassiar asked crossly.

Jander blinked. It was true that his elven nature allowed him to move about when it was light out unlike others of his kind but there was little he could do. He could not go outside, for the sun he had once worshiped had become fatal to him and Cassiar had ordered him to guard the lair anyway. Jander halted his line of thought there; he had indeed been neglecting those orders. The lair was well hidden and not yet found even for the three centuries it had existed. Jander had figured it safe enough without him and often wondered away form hi vigil. But, how would Cassiar know of this.

"You left us defenseless last night, Jander." Cassiar growled.

"No! I." Jander tried to protest.

Cassiar seemed to calm, "So, you say you did not leave your watch?"

Jander nodded.

"Really? Perhaps you would like to explain this then!" Cassiar suddenly shrieked grabbing Jander by his hair and half dragging him to another cavern and throwing him roughly onto the stone floor. Before he could recover Cassiar was already there grabbing him by one arm and the back of his hair. It was only as he was pulled to a sitting position by his master that he noticed the obvious cause of his masters' ire. Chained to one of the walls was a young man probably barely in his twenties and clothed in what was typical of most adventurers.

"He and his friends decided it would be fun to visit us this evening while you were away." Cassiar hissed next to Jander's ear, "His companions were smart enough to flee but Gideon managed to take this one."

Jander flinched at the mention of Gideon, "Cassiar, I."

Cassiar jerked Jander's head back again to silence him, "Silence! I have heard enough of your lying tongue!"

Jander winced in pain at the strain Cassiar was putting on his neck. Cassiar shook him sharply, "I have been lenient with you up until now! I have given you more freedom then I usually give my slaves, but no more! It is time you learned your place!" he snarled and grabbed Jander by the arm dragging him to a wall and clamping one of the chained manacles onto Jander's wrist.

"You say you do not wish to be like us? Do not wish to feed? Then so be it, you will not." Cassiar said calmly before turning and walking away.

******

TBC

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