Every day stone cats stand guard
Against the burning rat pack horde.
The flame grows deep, Earth’s heart is charred.
It gives rats life and so is lord.
Rats climb up with flame aboard
To face their fierce feline reward.
Koral was a sharp clay kitten,
No longer sand but still forbidden
From showing claws and so stayed hidden
When lands were rampantly rat-ridden.
As it stood, the storm was paused,
But fire follows hungry laws,
So it rose on burning paws,
The only warning came because
Koral smelled their smoking jaws.
Illustration by Yemm.
Drawn by Eva G.
On this day two red suns rose,
One brought dawn, the other flows
Of molten minded flaming foes
Who tore up from their volcanoes,
Rats of fire ran in droves
Towards those guardians opposed.
The stone cats purred and waited
Aware they were absurdly fated
To always be the herd of hated
Hardened wardens there unaided
Against the fire as rats raided.
Koral watched this out of sight,
Stone was chipped, flame burned bright,
Stone need not win but must not lose the fight.
Then a draton (a giant rat that mastered flight)
Bloomed from lava to unite
All the world in heat and light.
The draton came, flame burned black and
Stone cats turned back to sand,
Back to dust, a glassy land
Of rats and ash at hand,
So Koral fought her stay command.
She had to help, she had to act,
She ran on rats from back to back,
Flame turned her paws to stone, soot black.
She reached the draton and attacked,
Sparks flew off, an ember cracked,
A blaze blew out of that smokestack.
Fury made fire struck back like lightning.
The draton titan sent Koral flying
Down a rat hole where flame was still rising,
As she fell she felt her skin tightening,
Koral was stone before she stopped sliding.
Some falls are good and this was that,
Koral withstood some true combat
And now she stood a new stone cat.
But what was this? She hissed and spat!
Before her was a rough stone rat,
Who said, “You know not where you’re at.”
Then a purring growl from deeper down
Came ripping through the seething ground –
“Rat abandoned fire, he’s stone aligned.
Now we care for these burning mines.
Against the flaming fates we hold the line.” –
There stood an ancient iron lion.
Lion said, “Rat will help you get along,
Back to the top where you belong.
Keep your faith, you’re young and strong.
Ahead are many teaching wrongs.
Whatever comes, you must keep on.”
And with that, Lion was gone.
Stone rat led Koral up through the furnace.
Cat asked Rat, “Do me a service?
I haven’t earned your trust in earnest
But you must help me in this skirmish
Or only flame will walk the surface.”
Rat ran out and hit like a blizzard.
Koral followed and quickly blistered.
Her claws went snicker-snack like scissors
And with a flicker off went Draton’s whiskers.
It coughed, dropped to all paws and quivered.
Fire rats paused, silent before the howl –
A still growl sparked a foully scowling yowl,
The spell-like yell swelled as Draton fell.
With all enthralled the brutal brawl stalled.
Draton sank with a winter sun’s chill
And fire fled back under the hill.
And that’s how stone and fire goes.
Flame can’t be frozen, it doesn’t doze.
Even a mountain slowly grows.
They’re both at peace until opposed,
Then bronze smoke keeps all enclosed
As each meets their chosen blows.
Stone Rat watched with silver eyes,
“One day, you know, you must try to rise
Above battle, or, no surprise,
War, more war, is your demise.
You’ve been good. You must be wise.”
Koral’s first wisdom done was dull.
She listened to what Stone Rat told –
Made an iron lion’s words a goal –
She’d keep her faith against the pull
Of the fire burning in the hole.
She’d hold her faith in her golden soul.