Interview with the Vreeland
(Crossing, Zoluren: 173 Uthmor 362)
I had long been sitting inside the warm comforts of the Bard Guild commons when the sudden topic of conversation turned to the subject of ‘The kitties.’ In my naivete I asked,
"Who are the Kitties?"
"You know," a particular guild mate replied, "Those Cats that call themselves the Vreeland Pride. They are supporters of Sorrow, you know. I heard a rumor that they have a new leader."
Interesting. I had long heard of a group of Prydaens beyond the northern gate of Crossing, but had never thought to seek them out. Gathering my courage and any knowledge of Prydaen history, I set off to the Brambles. Nothing could have prepared me for the nervousness that plagued me when I reached the makeshift ladder that marked the entrance of their tree house.
"Hellllooooo?" I said in my best Prydaneese as I made my way up from the base of the ladder. I was met by four or five Prydaen who all sat in a rather rustic-looking tree house.
"Hello and welcome traveler. Come, sit." a rather soft-spoken Prydaen told me.
I was rather surprised by the warm welcome and I did not hesitate on her request to settle myself on the hard floor. For three days I came to the place affectionately called ‘The Vreeland,’ almost forgetting my original purpose for this trek, to speak to the new Prydaen leader. Discreetly, I asked around the pride as to who the leader was, they all pointed me toward the direction of Chroa Remynar, a rather attractive male Prydaen donned in a double steel-spiked tailboard and full chain armor.
After the crowd had dispersed on a hunt on the fourth day, I gathered the courage to ask him about his new leadership with Vreeland and their supposed alliance with Sorrow. "What is the purpose of this place?" I asked in reference to the Vreeland Pride. Still trying to remain composed, Chroa smiled at me and replied,
"To keep the old traditions of our western lands alive, and to never forget our true history as a race."
Keeping my knowledge of how this group was viewed as being racist and prejudice I asked, "Oh, so the leadership does not welcome non-Prydaen at Vreeland?"
Chroa gave a long pause and stated, "The other leaders became bogged down with matters of the furless…non-Prydaen if you wish to call it…that kept them from keeping the ways alive. That leadership has changed since then…there was a time Vreeland was unwelcoming to non-Prydaen. The only time we ask them not to be present is during meetings."
I questioned him on how the others in the pride felt about this change. Chroa whispered, "Well, some see it as a progressive movement towards teaching kindness for the other races…which is important, but I am not to tell others how to think."
"Why do you think you were elected leader of one of the largest prides in the realms?" I asked him. I could see his posture relaxed as he recanted with great fondness,
"You know…I really wish I knew, but it is most likely because I was so adamant about being true to my kin. As well as personality, I suppose…I always seem to get good reactions. I always try to respect others. And members seemed to gain a fondness for me."
Moving cautiously towards a large crate in the tree house, I cleared my throat and asked him, "So, how do YOU feel about the Vreeland Pride?"
Chroa smiled at me, his tail curling against himself. "I feel that it has a strong bond between its members, and that it is quite full of caring Prydaen who look out for one another. I myself joined for kinship, and being someone important in my own race…just not another face in the crowd. It’s a roundtable sort of thing we have here…only eldership and leadership above all else. And I’m sure you noticed I am quite free-loosed as a leader, I just wish for organized discussion, which we have." Just then a concerned expression crossed his face. "But it worries me that I cannot be as true as I’d like…my late birth, after the time of our own kin being hunted…leaves me without experience and understanding I could use."
"So affinity is an important virtue here at the Vreeland Pride?" I said shooting him a questioning glance.
He sighed and leaned back. "I find it nice to have a place where our kin is who have dealt with what I have. Kinship is important to me; I would hope it is to others as well." Chroa smiled warmly at me. "All Prydaen are welcome to find solace here, unless they intend violence. The Pryde is always glad to see other kin."
"What about you personally?" I said. "Does the leader of such a large pride have room for a personal life?"
"Yes, I have plenty of room for one. Just this morn I was able to take a trip to Shard to get this new armor, without disturbance." Chroa said tapping the full chain armor he was wearing.
"So, are you a family man?"
"Yes, one, a daughter. Ilakus." He remarked. "Her mother, my mate was slain by an ogre long ago."
"Oh, I’m sorry. What about now? Is there anyone special in your life?" I could see him growing visibly uneasy at the question.
Chroa gave me a guarded stare and quietly told me, "I fear you’ve hit my limit…for right now…on where I will go on that matter. I apologize."
With my foot already in my mouth, I decided that this would be an ample time to ask him about the alliance with Sorrow. As one who was touched by the slaughter that Sorrow brought I found it hard to believe that those who had been so kind in sharing their history with me would be affiliated to such an evil in the realms.
Chroa then took me aside and explained that because of an oath the Vreeland Pride has with Darkensi they have pledged to remain totally impartial in all affairs dealing with Sorrow. "We are completely neutral…Vreeland has agreed through channels not to take part in the affair…whether on Sorrow’s side, or on the side of Zoluren."
With a thankful word for his time and patience I bid Chroa Remynar and the Vreeland Pride a final good bye. As I made my way back to the familiar haunts of the Bards Guild, I was a bit sad to leave the place that had hosted me so graciously those past four days, but I was reassured and grateful there was a place open for all wayward Prydaens to learn, to grow, to be one of the pride.