"Kin to the Shadows"
I am one who goes between
the night and the day,
the shape and the soul.
Kin to the shadows am I,
like tree-stripes in tall grass.
I wear my power as a cloak of dusk,
hiding my true form from hostile eyes.
When I take up arms, my enemies
see only what I would have them see:
I become large, elephantine, and
then they give me respect.
In that shape I can protect those
who are unable to protect themselves,
lift up burdens beyond my normal strength.
Death is lighter than a feather,
duty heavier than a mountain;
this is the secret of my endurance.
No one needs to know my hidden nature,
my hame of origin, that I am a tiger in truth,
for me to do a tiger's duty to the world.
* * *
In Quiar, tigers are anthropomorphic thylacines. Most of them possess a lot of magic, and many are shapeshifters. They use cryptic abilities to survive in a world where two whole continents have tried to wipe them out.