My father was a horsetamer on the edge of Hali Plain.
His work was good and his horses fine, but we 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 grandam 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 you’re poor but free, and you are not living then.”

My father had no sons at all, nor could he pay the fee
For hireling 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.

When I rode out on Hali Plain, I would set my mind a-fly
Till I felt the grass below my feet and the 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—about every one in ten.
But 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.
I always chose that ruined tower as my favorite place to play.
I’d daydream long of my grandam’s songs and the tales of the ancient days.
The stones breathed wondrous tales to me of the power within the ground,
Till, amid the stones of the tower’s bones, a magic mirror I found.

The mirror in its iron frame was black as a winter sky.
Never a sight did it show to me till I set my mind to fly.
Aye, then it showed me wondrous things! A window on the world!—
The Plain, the town, the land around for as far as the ocean curled.
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.

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.

As we rode down to Hali Town one summer market day,
We saw the folk in turmoil run, and I heard an old man say,
“Go back! Go back, you horsetamer! The wizards come again!
They come, I fear, for the children here—they’re taking one in ten.
“Go back! Go back, you horsetamer, 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 mirror’s deeps to see what might befall,
And close at hand saw the wizards’ 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 straightaway at me.

“What is this power I feel,” said he, “so clear, and raw, and strong?
Rise up and ride, my sisters all! My gods, 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, without our will, that tower will awake again.
’Twas an ill-trained Keeper’s mind I met, and 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 o’er the Plain. 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 of the claiming of our land.
For if they should rule this land once more we will 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 ones’ minds, and I called as I never did call,
Till seven mares and a stallion bold came into the ancient hall.
Seven mares, a stallion bold, a magic mirror and me
To stay the hand of the wizards’ band and keep the plainsfolk 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 wizards' 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 light, through 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 in one! Only tell us what we’ve found.
How did your starstone 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 sea.
And you fought with never a man this day—just eight wild horses and me.
I am the horsetamer’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 you should go away and should 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 duel till we all are dead.
With a Circle made of 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.
’Tis plain your breed is of Hastur-seed. Oh Child, keep away from me!”

So Hali Tower is tenanted now; fresh straw lies on the floor.
Tall wild horses come and go free through the open door.
The Hali folk bring corn and cloth, and wood for the winter’s chill.
The tales they tell are spreading well, and I fear they always will.
I’m just the horsetamer’s daughter, but they love me for my power.
They’ve made of me what I feared to be: the Keeper of Hali Tower.

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.


Lyrics submitted by Anomalocaris

The Horsetamer's Daughter song meanings
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