The Horse-Tamer's Daughter
by Leslie Fish

My father was a horse-tamer on the edge of Hali Plain
His work was good and his horses fine, but he got little gain
For few folk come now to Hali town, the trade has gone away
And the distant glower of the ruined tower makes few folk care to stay
So poor we were but free we were as the wild herds on the plain
And I was a child as free and wild as the wind in my tangled mane
My grand-dam told me cradle tales of the great days long ago
When the wizards ruled and the land was taxed and the lords would come and go
"But the land was torn by war," she said- "The tower was broken down-"
"And the lords appear no longer here to rule over Hali Town"
And neither do the wizards come take our children one in ten
So grateful be that we're poor but free and you are not living, then
My father had no sons at all nor could he pay the fee
Of hiring men to help his work so he turned to mother and me
We helped him run the wild ones down to catch and tame and train
And we lived thus free and merrily on the edge of Hali Plain
So well I loved the whispering grass and the children of the land
That in time I learned as the seasons turned to call them into my hand
As I rode out on Hali Plain I would set my mind to fly
Till I felt the grass below my feet and birds high in the sky
I'd feel the wild ones running and I'd bid them turn again
And a few I'd see would come to me- 'bout every one in ten
I never called them to the rope for their trust I'd not betray
And willingly they would carry me on the plains to run and play
There is a lake beyond the town, the tower stands on its shore
Close by the holy castle looms where none may pass the door
But I always chose that ruined tower as my favorite place to play
And I daydreamed long of my grand dam's songs and the tales of the ancient days
The stone breathed wonderous tales to me of the powers within the ground
Till within the stones of the tower's bones a magic mirror I found
The mirror in its iron frame was black as a winter's sky
Never a sight did it show to me till I set my mind t'fly
Why, then it showed me wonderous things, a window on the world-
The planes, the town, the land around, for as far as the oceans curl
I wore it tied about my neck so's to keep it always near
Besides the land and my wild horse band 'twas the treasure I held most dear
But I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free
When I send my silent call
WIld horses come to me
As we rode down to Hali Town one summer market day
I saw the folk in termoil run and I heard an old man say,
"Go back, go back you horse-tamer. The wizards come again!"
"They come, I fear, for the children, dear - they're taking one in ten"
"Go back, go back you horse-tamer and your daughter hide away!"
"Go conceal your child where the land is wild till the wizards have gone away!"
Back I rode to Hali Plain as fast as a horse could run
And I hid myself in the ruined tower, away from wind and sun
I gazed into the mirrors depths to see what might befall
And close at hand saw the wizard's band so fierce and fair and tall
Then one of them raised up his eyes and he said, "Who can this be?"
And he turned his head with its hair so red and he looked straight away at me
"What is this power that I feel" said he, "so clear and raw and strong?"
Ride up, ride up my sisters all - My god, we've been searching wrong
More power's here than we thought to find, the gods so jest with men!
It may be still that within our will that tower will awake again!
Twas an ill-trained keeper's mind I met but I've rarely felt such power
We dare not wait lest we come too late - make haste for the Hali Tower!
As soon as I thus heard their plan I turned my mind away
And I sent it flying over the planes, to the wild ones I did say,
"Oh, come to me, my free friends, all - Oh, come to my right hand
We must prevent these lords intent at the claiming over our land
For if they should rule the land once more we shall all be servant men
And you, my dears, will be captives here and will never run free again!"
I bound my mind to the wild one's minds and I called as I never did call
Till seven mares and a stallion bold came into the ancient hall
Just seven mares, the stallion bold, the magic mirror and me
To stay the hand of the lords' command and keep the plains' folk free
So I bound my soul to the wild ones' souls as I'd never done before
And we raised our might in a ring of light to fight in a wizard's war!
For I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free
When I send my silent call
WIld horses come to me
We raised a shield about the tower all made of wind and thought
With hooves of might thought the mirror's sight, we battered, thrust and fought
The wizards flinched, the wizards fell and they cried up from the ground,
"Have done, have done ye nine and one only tell us what we've found!
"How did your star-stone hold intact when it should have burned away?
"What kind of men can stand up again through the fires that we threw today?!"
"I have no stone at all" said I, "Just a mirror like the see
And you fought with never a man this day, just eight wild horses and me!
I am the horse-tamer's daughter, the defender of the land
And I know my kind never were inclined to live at a lord's command"
"So it is my wish ye shall go away and shall leave us as we've been-
"Leave us free as we choose to be. We will never be ruled again!"
Up then spoke the wizard lord, "it shall be as you have said"
"Better to make us an eighth domain than to dual till we all are dead
With a simple maid and wild beasts and a plain first level screen
You've all the power of any good tower and much more than many I've seen."
"You are the living matrix then- that's all that you can be!
"It's clear your breed is of wizard's seed. Oh, child- keep away from me!"
So Hali Tower is tennented now, fresh straw lies on the floor
Tall wild horses come and go, free through the open door
The Hali folk bring corn and grain and wood for the winter chill
The tales they tell are spreading well and I fear they always will
I'm just the horse-tamer's daughter but they love me for my power
They've made of me what I feared to be- the keeper of Hali Tower
But I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone
The ancient tower stands no longer quite alone
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free
When I send my silent call
Wild horses come to me