More tortured musings from me. Bleh. Obviously I can't write. :stabs all the flamers out there: Unedited, unbetaed, unrated, unfinished. Enjoy.

Oh yea... Ravenloft belongs to TSR and Wizards of the Coast. What DON'T they own!
But the story is mine. No stealie!


Chapter One

Jander Sunstar gasped and jerked awake, his golden mane of hair falling about his shoulders and face. His breathing hard, he sat up and tucked a strand of hair behind one gracefully pointed ear. Jander looked around and his silver eyes widened with surprise. Everywhere he could see the pink and gold robes of priests of the Morninglord, Lathander. His eyes got even wider when he realized he was in a temple of the Lord of the Morning. He slowed his breathing down and looked around himself. It had been nearly 600 years since he had set foot in a temple of any kind. Not because he didn't want too, but because he couldn't.

Jander was a vampire. But he had died in Castle Ravenloft in the battle against Strahd, hadn't he? He closed his silver eyes and remembered..

He held the Holy Artifact of the Raven, the piece of sun that Shasha needed to defeat Strahd. He gritted his teeth against the pain and burning in his hand.
Strahd was going after Shasha. Shasha needed him. He held the piece in his hand and prayed to Lathander...

"Ah, so you're awake. I was wondering when you would return to the land of the living. You didn't look so good when your horse came trotting in. We thought you were dead." Jander's eyes snapped open. He saw the young man in pink robes that made the jest.

Jander smiled weakly and replied, "It'll take a lot more than a band of bandits to kill me, Payatoes."

"Ah, so that's what happened. We had wondered." The young man grinned. "It's good that you remember me.
When we brought you in, you were mumbling all kinds of things. Some we didn't recognize, the rest was oaths"
Payatoes's grin got bigger. "Where did you learn such an extensive vocabulary, Jander? You swore until the air turned blue, and then you swore some more. All different. The priests were shocked; you should have seen their eyes!"

Jander chuckled a little tucked a strand of golden hair behind his ear and tried to get up. The young man saw and rushed to help him. With Payatoes's aid,
Jander was able to get up and walk around a bit.
"Where is Lyria?"

"Hmm? You mean that lovely woman you were with?"

"Yeah, that's her. Where is she?"

"The courtyard" the young priest answered. Leaning on Payatoes he limped into the main courtyard.

"Twig Finger! There you are. We were worried about you, and the priests wouldn't let us see you!" Lyria "the Lovely" came and embraced him, just as his other companions did. Gideon of Waterdeep, Trumper Hillhollow, Kellian Graycloud, and Alinora Malina. "When we had heard you were ambushed we came.
Obviously you didn't really need us." The mage smiled.
"We are glad to see you still in one piece!"

"Oh aye! Who else would try to drink me under the table?" The halfling, Trumper, wanted to know.

Jander laughed. "What would I do without you guys?"

"Seriously? Nothing!" The andventuress Alinora teased him.

"Let's take a look at you Jander. You seem different somehow," said Gideon, a priest of Ilmater. He came forward and took Jander's head in his large hands and closed his eyes. Gideon growled a curse.

"What's wrong with Jander, Gideon?" asked Kellian, a ranger and follower of Melieki the goddess of the wood.

Gideon grunted. "Nothing essentially. Something seems to have changed, but I can't tell what and if it's for the good."

Lyria's green eyes narrowed. "Jander. Would you like to explain?"

Jander flexed his hands, noticing that a slight ache was in his right hand. He took a closer look, but could find nothing, no scars, and no burns. "I.." He hesitated slightly before shaking his head and continuing, "I had a hard time with the bandits and I had a nightmare while I was sleeping here." Jander smiled. "I'm fine."

7 years later.

Jander kneeled over the joint graves of Trumper,
Alinora, Gideon and Kellian. They had all died in Merrydale, defending it from the vampires. Gideon's body he could not find, but he deserved a grave anyway. A salty tear from his silver eyes dripped onto the grave. He sniffed and Lyria gently touched his shoulder. Jander got back up and raised his face to the sun as it rose above the mountains. His gold hair was like a halo and his golden skin seemed to glow in the morning sun. The moment passed as the sun rose further, ending the magic moment.

Lyria seemed to hold her breath for a moment, then shook her own blonde tresses. "Come Jander. We have to go." She threw a nervous look over her shoulder in the direction of the town, Daggerdale, formerly Merrydale. Jander nodded and collected the reins of his golden charger, Alexi. Alexi was named after the priest in his dream all those years ago. He frowned and flexed his right hand. The ache had never gone away, and now he could see a slight pinkness and tenderness in his hand, as if he had lightly burned the palm.

"Jander?" Her voice was slightly accusing. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"No, just an old ache acting up a little."

"I see." Her tone told Jander that she wasn't convinced. "Did you want to tell me about it?"

Jander shook his head. "It's not anything I can explain. Not right now at least."


Read and Review as Inspiration Strikes You.