The Annoying Journey - Sam

"We can visit too, after we make the bad lady go away," Tabitha said eagerly, craning her neck to look up at Sam. "Toby says we can't go into the dreams until then, though. Don't worry, Toby'll handle it. And Amanda - she's nice. I like her."

"Toby probably knows best about the bad lady." Sam loosened her grip a little. "I like Amanda too. There's a lot she can teach if you listen, and she has cares. Shall we wake the others?"

Tabitha grunted in agreement and, together, they woke the crow-touched. Most came awake immediately and, while a few whined, soon they were up and moving, protesting Sam leaving them.

Samantha was expecting some unhappiness at her departure, which is why she estimated several hours. She hugged all of the children and said what she could to ease the separation. After quite a while they all went down to make some breakfast together. Karthias spoiled the meal by announcing that it was time for her to leave, or she'd be late. It was met with several long mournful sighs, but Sam got up and gave the man a hug and a thank you and an appology for the mess in the kitchen.

At the door she had to extricate herself from Tabitha. "I love you guys. Take good care of each other."

"We will," Tabitha cheerfully, giving Sam a tight hug that was almost enough to squeeze the air from the paladin's lungs. "Don't worry. We don't die nearly as easily as we did before."

Toby coughed and glared at the girl when she looked his way, but it didn't seem to have the intended effect as Tabitha laughed. Karthias pushed a small bundle into Sam's hands as she stepped away from the hug. "For the road," he murmured softly. "Look long at this place, Sam. It'll be a time before you see it again." He bowed, then walked quickly from the room toward the kitchen.

"Thank you again Karthias!" She called after the man and then turned to Toby. "I like that guy." She pointed over her shoulder and tucked the package into her bag to look at when she was alone. "Let's go before I change my mind."

Cold Harbor was awake and busy, and Sam waved to people as they crossed the street to avoid Toby. Shelton and the others were waiting with the horses in front of the inn. "Morning!" Bree trilled as she bounced forward to say hello in her usual manner.

"Hey there," Sam pried her friend off and she immediately sprang to hug Amanda instead. "Sorry to make you pack up and leave on such short notice." She was joking of course. Cold Harbor was rarely a welcoming place for outsiders.

"He's alright for a stuffy adult," Toby sniffed, tagging along. If he even noticed that people avoided him, it didn't seem to bother him in the slightest.

Amanda noticed and Sam could tell she was glaring at them, her back stiff. Bree's hug caught her off guard and she squeaked, nearly going down. Thankfully, the Helminite woman was solid on her feet and kept them up off of the dirty street. Toby disdainfully sidestepped any such greeting.

"It was good to check in on the temple," Shelton said diplomatically, though a small grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. "I don't know how they do it, running the circuit year in and year out. I dropped off the packages that we were sent with, so that duty is discharged. I was thinking about making Bree stay, do a few circuits. It'd be good for her."

Bree said, whirling to give him a sharp poke in the side. "You'd miss me and you know it."

"It's a sacrifice that I'd somehow manage to make."

Sam chuckled, "Bree would never forgive me if she didn't get to come along and meet everyone. She comes." The woman also wasn't prepared for the punishment the Roughlands could put out and Sam wasn't going to leave her there to find out. "Now, all we're missing is one Avatar."

Journey showed up as if his name called him, snow clinging to his clothes and boots. From the large splotch on his shirt and the snow clinging to his hair, it looked like someone had hit him in the face with a snowball, then shoved more down his shirt. The Avatar grinned broadly, brushing some of it off of him. "Well then, we all ready?"

Toby arched an eyebrow. "What happened to ya? Fall down a hill?"

"Nothing so complex. Now then, Toby, you have a choice. You can come with us now, or you can go find Derek and invite him. Conner wanted me to grab him as well, but I won't. As someone who can actually find him, you can choose to or not."
Journey shrugged, indicating that he didn't care one way or another.

Toby, however, changed dramatically and glared daggers at him. "Bastard," he hissed, then went crow and flew into nothing.

Sam didn't say anything until Toby had gone, and there was a strained silence until the paladin sighed. "Not the most tactful approach Journey. You could have asked me to go with you to speak with Derek, or asked me to ask Toby. Keep it in mind should you have to deal with either of those two again." She nudged the Avatar playfully. "We're ready whenever you are."


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