Everyone watched on in shock. V knelt panting heavy, blood dripping from his claws, a massive gash in his side from where Stroth’s antlers had taken a chunk out of him, his axes still hanging from his belt. The drool dropped from his jaw as he panted, trying desperately to catch his breath. So many times he had challenged Stroth, so many times he had been beaten down, but never before had he been wounded in such a way. Never before had Stroth, the king of the Kobalds, the giant buck with antlers that sat like a crown above his head, taken such drastic action against him. Never before had Stroth fought back in such savagery. V could only smile now as the king lay splayed on the floor, the claw marks that tore out his throat still gushing red liquid into the pool slowly growing around him. Things had been different this time. The poison V had gotten from Tsuna and coated his claws in had worked fast to slow the stag down. Stroth must have realized but it was too late. As the power was sapped from his body he had tried a final attempt to end V’s life, but it had been in vain.
‘Shoulda done that the first time we fought’ V thought. ‘Only a fool leaves an enemy at their back and that is what you were Stroth, a fool!’
The crowd couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Most had come to see V get beaten down again and for a good show, none had expected this... well none except V and Tsuna.
Slowly the wolf Kobald got to his feet, clutching his side to stop the flow of blood.
“Your King has betrayed you!” He called out to the crowd, slowly looking around taking in the faces covered in shock.
“Your god has betrayed you!” He held out his arm addressing them all.
“They promised you this land, promised you would be free from persecution, promised you they would keep you safe. And they lied!”
He let his words hang in the air.
“Lyssa would have you believe she created you, and looks after you, but where is she now? Helping the skin walkers! The humans, the dwarves, the elves, the orcs, all of them! The Skin walkers who hunt you. The Skin walkers who killed your families. The skin walkers that drove us from this land that was promised to us! Our promised home!”
He has their attention and he cannot stop smiling. “And Stroth!” He spat the words. “Would have you continue to follow her, this fake god who abandoned you! He..” he pointed to the body on the ground. “Would have you be a slave to the Skin walkers, become their pets, and live a life of subservience!”
He could see the look of anger building on their faces, he was winning them over. “Well I say NO!” He drew the axe from his belt and held it high. “I say NO to a life of servitude! I say NO to a life of persecution! I say NO to a life being hunted and driven from our homes. I say NO to our fake God Lyssa...” he turned to stand above the downed body of Stroth.
“...And I say NO to your claims of leadership!” He brings the axe down hard and in one heavy chop, Stroth’s head comes clean away from his body.
V raises the axe again the blood dripping from its edge. The faces in the crowd a mix of fear and anger. Some parents cover the eyes of the younger ones. “I AM V! I WILL LEAD YOU TO A WORLD WHERE THIS LAND BELONG TO US! I WILL LEAD YOU TO A WORLD WHERE THE SKIN WALKERS FEAR US! I WILL LEAD YOU TO A WORLD WHERE WE TAKE OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE AS THE DOMINANT SPECIES! I ...WILL LEAD THE KOBALDS... TO VICTORY!!”
He thrust the axe into the air again, and half the crowd started to cheer for him. He lowers his axe to hang by his side. “Those of you who wish to join me, I welcome you. Those of you who do not, i wish you safe travels from Neolysium. For you will find no danger from us, but we will not protect you from the Skin walkers...” he paused for a moment, letting the next phrase stand clear. “... and by my axe nothing will save you if you choose to side with them.”
He turned making eye contact with as many as possible. He saw many heads nod in agreement, but he also saw many look away in fear.
“Tonight we burn Stroth’s body.” His voice was less aggressive now. “Tomorrow, anyone still here will be considered part of our army, and any who are not... we wish you safe travels.”
With that V turned and headed to his hut. His wound was beginning to throb and he would need to see to it quickly, before anyone had any ideas and tried to take the advantage. As we walked he couldn’t help but let the smile hang on his face. So many years, and he had done it, the wait had been worth it.