"And will you rape me as well?"
The words were softly spoken but had the impact of thunder in the crowded room.
He-o sat somewhat to the right of his leader, a disgusted look on his face, while Jihi sat against the far wall of the war hut. Both of them stared out over the large group of warriors arguing amongst themselves like a group of cubs.
It was almost shameful the way they spoke over one another, yelled and screamed their points while contributing to the overall chaos that filled the small area.
But as the impact of the words was felt, the din began to calm.
"Rape?" one overly large, impressively marked male asked, looking confused.
"Rape." The intensity of the word was felt as Kobaye eased out of his relaxed stance, glaring as he faced his men. "Is my word not understood? The forcible taking of something that is not yours, stealing power that you haven't earned and don't deserve, totally ignoring the wishes of your victim? Rape, Kaza. Rape the likes of which I have not experienced since the Others landed on this planet and murdered my people."
As he spoke, his markings began to swirl angrily around his body, traveling over his muscled flesh as he glared out over his warriors. "Rape, Kaza. Do you deny this?"
"I deny this, Alpha." The large warrior was clearly upset as he formally addressed Kobaye, confused by his leader's words.
"You deny that you and your followers have seemed to disregard every word that I have spoken? You deny plotting, even as I stand here, to take my sister and force her to show you the Others' strongholds, even though she had repeatedly told you that she knows nothing, was a pampered pet, nothing more?"
Kaza sputtered where he stood, looking to his cronies who, moments before, were all for taking the Liger female and forcing her to show them what she knew. No one supported his threats and opinions now.
"If you wish to be leader here, then please, by all means, Kaza, lead."
An even thicker silence fell, the silence born of confusion at their leader's words. Saying nothing, Kobaye turned and moved to exit the hut.
"No!" Kaza finally shouted, as if the words were forced from his mouth, his hands reaching out to their leader in appeal. "No! I don't want the mantle."
Growling, Kobaye turned, his calm exit halted before he made it to the doorway. In place of his usual quiet demeanor, a wild, savage male intent on defending his territory stepped up.
Before Kaza could move, Kobaye's clawed hands were at his throat, his nails breaking the flesh of his neck, a ribbon of red blood draining down over Kaza's chest.
"Rape will be the least of your worries if you ever think to challenge me again," Kobaye snarled, his fangs exposed, as he made sure that Kaza understood each word he spoke. "Another incident and I will assume you are making a bid for leadership. If that is the case, after I tear your cock from your body and force it down your throat, I will leave this place with my loyal followers, and your remaining followers can make of this pride what they will. It will no longer be my concern."
"NO!" The shouts of the other warriors, frightened by the prospect of not having a strong Alpha leading them, filled the recently silent air.
"No?" Kobaye hissed, spinning to stare at the now frightened warriors. "No? You threaten my leadership, you deem yourselves fit to give me orders and defy my rulings, and you still tell me nay?"
Kobaye was now visibly shaking as he struggled to pull his anger under control. His markings danced angrily around his body, almost raising a slight wind as he glared at his people, his warriors. The markings pulsed with his anger, making him appear larger than life.
As his gaze passed over them, the fighting men of his pride dropped to their knees, heads tilted to the side exposing their vulnerable necks, a show of subservience as they silently pleaded for their leader not to abandon them.
Turning back to Kaza, Kobaye released him with a shove, making the large man fall on his ass. Kaza stared up at his leader, cowed, before he, too, scrambled around to his knees and prostrated himself.
"See to it that no one ever questions my words again!" Kobaye snapped, his tail whipping almost as wildly as his markings as he turned and strode from the hut.
He was nearly to the borders of his territory when the shouts of his best warrior caught his attention.
"Kobaye! Will you wait?" Exasperation was clearly evident in He-o's voice as he raced to catch up to his friend.
Growling, Kobaye whipped around and snapped, "What?" His eyes were narrowed still in anger and he was in no mood to play games with his bond-brother.
"Go sit in a river, cub," He-o growled back. "Get it under control before you hurt someone. Or do you really intend on skewering me where I stand?"
His friend's rough words caused Kobaye to blink and then reassess his position. He was indeed standing in a warrior's stance, ready to attack, his claws unsheathed and his markings starting to rise from his flesh like knives. He was reacting as if he was in the middle of the jungle and under attack. Never could he remember being so ... so jumpy!
Kobaye forced himself to relax and took a few deep breaths to ease the tension that still knotted his neck muscles, ignoring the ache growing from the base of his skull. His tail ceased its mad whipping and settled gently against his thigh as he calmed.
"Better," He-o decided with a grin. "So are you going to tell me what that was all about?"