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A year. Nearly a year since I have last been in Foothold.

Familiar memories locked in his subconcious began to press to get out, and Sam silenced their cries and mentally slapped them back into their cages.

It had been pleasing to see the folks at the Red Dragon again. It helped him for a time to forget. Kel was still the fiesty, indominable, beauty she had always been. Portales was, well…Portales. I seem to have some difficulty suffering fools now, despite the fact that I am one, Sam thought to himself.

The two newcomers, a she-elf from the East named Cheng, and a narcoleptic beer-cured dwarf named Traudek were pleasant enough. Cheng seemed to stir something inside him, but Sam paid it little attention.

He could still hear them, Cheng, Keli and Portales in the private room of the Dragon. Sam himself had slung into the darkest corner table he could find after leaving them, ordered a strong wine, and pulled his hood up over his face. He watched as two of the local whores glanced in his direction as they walked by from the water closet. Sam recognized the one, but paid their inviting smiles no heed. As the wine did it’s numbing job, Sam slipped into a fugue of unrest and remembered.

Barrelgore’s rough shove brought him around again. Sam’s hand flew to the ornate handles of his rapiers, and then relaxed recognizing the minotaur. “Sod off, Sam” he said in his gruff manner, “Ye ain’t paid for no room. Time to get out afore I throws you out”.

Sam nodded, reached into his pocket and placed a stack of coins on the table, and assented to Barrelgore’s ‘request’ by adjusting his hood and walking out into the cold night of Foothold. Alone. More than half a year alone.

As the guard by the gatehouse motioned Sam to come over – it was late after all and this one was walking about hooded – Sam took a breath and dropped his easy mask into place. The guard recognized him, and returned Sam’s smile.

“Samirez the Entertainer, wasn’t it? Good to see you again! Where in Thrym’s Cold Desert has you been, man?”

“Out in the wide and wonderful world, my good sentry, out in the wide wonderful world. You know, wine, women…song?” Sam flashed his trademark grin and winked to the man. A short conversation later Sam left through the West gates, and into the Narlynwik – her favorite place – to try and find peace.