‘These folks are like kin to you, ain’t they Lonely?’ Brother Jeroboam asked, his voice so low, Lonely had to strain forward to hear.
‘They are my family,’ he replied emphatically.
Brother Jeroboam lit his pipe and blew a smoke ring into the night.
‘What about your other family?’ he said quietly.
Lonely Looked at him uncertainly. ‘Who do you mean?’
‘The family you left behind back in Port Alveridge.’
The old hound did not look at him but the words struck Lonely in the pit of his stomach. He thought of Port Averidge less and less often now, and when he did, he mostly felt guilty.
‘I think about them as often as I can,’ was all he managed to say.
‘There is a time to think, and there is a time to act, Lonely. I have ridden over the mountains to Freedom Swamp to bring you this message, Lonely: the time to act is now!’
‘I don’t understand … Lonely’s face was a map of confusion. ‘You rode all this way to tell me to act? To act upon what?’
‘These are hard times, Lonely. The felines seek to scatter us and take over our land. The Hounds of Alveridgea need a voice, and you, my modest little renegade, might just be that voice. Your songs remind us of who we really are. It’s your songs Lonely, that’s all that makes sense in these troubled times. Don’t you realize, your message is for all of Alveridgea, Catside too!
Yours is a message of hope. It’s time to act Lonely, time for us to broadcast your message across all of Alveridgea … from the Cathedral of Rock!’