So, I don’t do songfics very well. So, I have made a poemfic. The story is inspired by “The Tiger”, a poem by William Blake. This means that the italic poem stanzas in between the paragraphs belong to William Blake, not me. The rest of the story is from my mind. Some of you may remember this story from the archives of BZP. It’s pretty much the same, but I have edited it. The only major change is that it doesn’t take place in a forest now. I realized that since the setting is in Le-Metru, there probably aren’t any forests. There are a few other minor changes, like descriptions and grammar. I made up Shasta and the Rahi.
Word count: 1,526 (not including Blake’s poem)
Setting: after the Mask of Light saga, when everyone’s just gotten back to Metru Nui
Original story: The Tiger
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright,
In the forest of the night;
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Le-Matoran Shasta scolded himself for deciding to walk home through some abandoned alleys of Le-Metru instead of taking the chutes. A change of pace, I said, he thought miserably. New scenery, I said. See the things I will never remember-recall. Now he was running for his life from some predatory Rahi.
At one point, he stopped running because he was out of breath. He strained to hear his pursuer over the sound of his heart pumping and panting. He could faintly hear the soft padding of the Rahi as it followed him. Shasta realized from the gait that it was walking after him. This brought more terror to the Le-Matoran. It knows I cannot escape-lose it, he thought. Shasta first noticed his stalker when he saw its red eyes watching him from the shadows of an alley. Suddenly the Rahi came into view, and Shasta’s eyes went wide with terror as he caught a clear glimpse of the creature.
In what distant deeps or skies
Burned the ardor of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire
What the hand dare seize the fire?
It was larger than a Toa, much larger. Its metallic armor was brown with black stripes. The red eyes burned with the fire of a killer on its armored, feline head. The muscles protruded from the armor, speaking of its immense strength. The limbs showed off its steady and disciplined strength as it strode towards Shasta. Each paw was decked with sets of four identical, dreadful claws. The tail and spine demonstrated a flexibility seen in few Rahi. The maw was filled with white, sharp teeth with two larger fangs on the upper row. The two ears on its head, the only thing small on its body, swiveled around constantly, catching the sounds around skillfully. Suddenly the dull brown armor turned to a bright, burning crimson. Shasta gasped, unable to take his eyes off the Rahi. There was something hypnotic about the creature. He fought with himself, trying to continue his vain flight but wanting to continue staring at the Rahi’s dangerous beauty.
And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand forged thy dread feet?
Finally, Shasta broke off those hypnotic eyes and bolted. He did not dare look back for fear of tripping. He could hear the Rahi gaining on him. The Rahi’s pace changed. It was getting faster. What-do-I-do? he thought, his mind working rapidly for an escape route. He was surrounded by abandoned buildings and debris. His mind could not work with this. He was used to the trees and vines of Le-Wahi. I wish I were home.
Then he saw some cables draping down into the alley…like vines. Shasta did not miss a beat as he deftly shimmied up the cable. The Rahi leaped after him, scratching the bottom of his foot but leaving him intact. The Le-Matoran continued his ascent. Suddenly, the cable snapped. As Shasta fell, he caught a glimpse of Rahi tearing the cable apart.
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil! what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
Shasta screamed as he fell, imagining the Rahi eating him alive. However, one of the cable lengths had dropped on its face, keeping it from seeing where he would land, and he landed on the Rahi’s back. He knew he could not outrun the Rahi from such a short distance. I’m-dead-dead-dead, soo dead-gone. It seemed like eternity as he waited for his fate. He gripped the Rahi tightly as it roared and shook itself, trying to dislodge its meal.
It was then that Shasta realized that he was still grasping the remainder of the cable, a decently lengthy section too. Amidst the shaking and jerking, he managed to make a lasso out of the remainder of the cable. He glanced up at the craggy, broken rooftops. There, he thought, spotting the perfect precipice for this trick. He braced himself for the toss. Then he remembered what happened last time. He tied the loose end of the cable around his left wrist. Here it goes. Please-please-please!
The lasso shot over the rooftop and latched onto the crag. As the Rahi jerked to the side, Shasta used the momentum to launch off and away as he swiftly raced up the cable. As the cable arced back toward the Rahi, it leaped at him, jaws open wide. With a roar denying his fear, he kicked the Rahi in the snout. The feline dropped to the ground with a growl of annoyance. By the time it recovered, the agile Le-Matoran had reached the top of the building. The vertical building. The caved in vertical building with no steps for the Rahi to climb. It was practically just a wall now. Unless the creature grew Matoran hands, there was no way for it to reach him now.
“Yes! I’m alive!” he whooped. He laughed, both at the Rahi and from relief. Now he just had to wait for a rescue. He watched the burning red Rahi prowl in frustration. Its menacing growls still brought a shiver to Shasta’s spine. The Rahi watched him with bright eyes that burned with determination and hate. Then the Rahi approached the wall.
I’m fine. No need to worry-fear, he reminded himself uncertainly.
He would feel much better once he was home. Then the Rahi stuck its forepaws on the wall. Its claws melted into the metallic material that made up the smooth surface. Then it began to climb.
“No, nononono.” Shasta started looking around for another plan. He was tired of this, and very scared. He still had his cable. I could jump-cross to the other building. He groaned. But it will just follow me. It will follow me everywhere. Just leave me alone-peace. Shasta decided that his best bet would be to keep running away until help arrived. As he loosened the lasso from its perch, he searched the other buildings for another sturdy outcropping.
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?
Shasta tugged on the cable to ensure it was stable before leaping off the building. As he swung down, the Rahi made a grab for him. He could feel the wind from those black claws as they just barely missed him. Destiny seemed to be on his side still as he made it safely to the opposite building. He immediately went to work loosening the lasso so he could use it again when the time came. T
he Rahi released the abandoned building. With one fluid motion, it touched down and leaped onto the second building. The impact shook the unstable building, causing Shasta to lose his footing. He caught a small ledge before he fell completely, but it still put him closer to the Rahi. Luckily the end of the lasso was still attached to his left hand, but he had removed the other end from its anchor. Both his hands were occupied as he tried to keep a hold of the very small crack in the wall. The sharp, broken metal was cutting into his fingers. He tried in vain to grab the cable with his mouth so he could pull it up to his hands and use it.
Suddenly his vision went red. Twin evilly glowing eyes stared at him. He felt himself go cold. The Rahi had reached him. Its growl vibrated through the metal and through his body. He prepared to let go of the ledge, hoping but knowing this was it. He let go, felt the impact of a large body, and thought, Why me? He heard the roar of the Rahi, but it was strangely farther than it should have been.
Shasta realized that he had closed his eyes. He also realized that he was in the embrace of arms, not claws. He opened his eyes and stared in shock into the face of Toa Nuva Lewa. He glanced down and saw the Rahi just in time for it to get a new ice coat from Toa Nuva Kopaka. The fearsome Rahi was stuck with its face contorted with an angry roar. Shasta shivered as Toa Lewa lowered them to the ground with his Kanohi Miru, closer to his dread assailant.
“Are you all right-fine, little-brother?” the green Toa queried in concern, setting him on the ground.
“Yes, great Toa,” Shasta replied, his voice quivering from the ordeal. He was badly shaken from the numerous near-death experiences so close to each other. But he did not want his Toa to see him so weak. “Thank you.”
“Well, brother,” Toa Onua’s voice rumbled, startling Shasta who had not noticed the dark Toa’s presence. “I think that the archives will want its denizen back.” The stocky Toa picked up the large Rahi, ice and all, and started walking away. Shasta gave it one last look. Even imprisoned, the beast’s bearing was so terrible and majestic that he had to shudder.
Toa Lewa escorted Shasta home. By the time they reached the more populated areas, both were laughing and at ease, as was their nature. The next day, Shasta started telling his story, with only slight exaggerations, of course. He even took some of his friends to the archives to see the great Rahi he had outmaneuvered. The Rahi was still a monarch, even in stasis. With an eternal snarl placed on its frozen face, eyes still burning even behind the special encasing, and the armor still a bright crimson, it stood with regal bearing at the entrance of its Archive wing for all to see.
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright,
In the forest of the night;
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?