Gowans Grow Gay

by MourningStarsOfLakes

Tags: #cw:noncon #f/f #fantasy

An old song is given new life when a distraught woman meets a strange musician in the woods at night. What she didn’t expect was that she’d be given a new life as well.

What's the meaning of all song?
'Let all things pass away.'
- W. B. Yeats
“Fuuuuuuucccckkkk!” Daisy screamed out into the dark woods, voice trembling with anger and sorrow, “Aaaaargh!  Why am I so fucking stupid?!”
 
The shadows of the trees had no answer for her.  The small clearing was silver-green in the half-moon’s pale glow, fading to orange and brown towards the treeline where the needles and leaves of yesteryear matted the ground.  A ramshackle palisade of logs and twine was strung between a few upright posts, the remnants of a fort she’d built with a few of her friends so many years ago.  The other walls were scattered across the ground by wind and rain, time and rot; the fact any of it was still standing at all was honestly miraculous.  And there on a stump amongst memories of a time long gone she sobbed and screamed beneath a waxing moon.
 
That stupid fucking bastard Dustin had done it again, gone behind her back and cheated on her.  And she had been stupid enough to give him another chance after the last time.  And now she was here sobbing amongst snapped twine and toppled memories because she was thinking of giving him another one.  Because every time she thought about finally cutting herself loose from the miserable relationship she could only feel the fear of loss, of being unloved, of invalidation.  Those toxic whispers at the back of her mind would remind her that he was really doing her a favor, granting her validation as a woman by being with her; a facade of normality plastered haphazardly over unfulfilled desires and gaping insecurities.  And without him to tell her she was pretty and feminine and cute, the noxious thoughts taunted her, that facade would fall apart like the fort around her, leaving her vulnerable and bare to the world.
 
The sobbing gradually waned to sniffling, the sniffling to quiet contemplation and heavy breathing.  She tried to push the cruel vagaries of life from her mind for a minute, to stare up at the stars and the moon, to just enjoy for a moment the quiet solitude of the empty woods.  It wasn’t the easiest, the loathsome thoughts of inadequacy and terror nawed at the corners of her temporary serenity, but she managed for a while to still her mind and enjoy the pale moonlight on her tear-streaked face.  She cast a glance to the fallen wall ahead of her, lashings loosened and frayed, branches and limbs splayed out on the ground; bound to their old frames at one end but free at the other.  She smiled at the memory: a clove hitch, six wraps, four fraps, and a closing clove hitch; she and Robert had been some of the fastest lashers in scouts, they’d won a couple camporee competitions in fact.  Maybe that was one of the reasons she needed Dustin to tell her that she was womanly, because she had enjoyed so many things when she was a young boy and feared that still enjoying them would undermine her femininity somehow.
 
That thought caused her to choke out a sob again.  She reigned it back in and forced herself to look up at the moon, to clear her mind again, to get herself under enough control to make the short hike back to her car.  She let out a held sigh and placed her hands on her knees, ready to stand.  That’s when she heard it, a song played on strings where no song should be.  She turned her head back-and-forth to seek the sound; a soft, sad song vibrating so sweetly through the empty night air.  She found her way from the clearing to the nearby trail, then down the trail back towards the parking lot at the trailhead; the song getting steadily louder as she moved along.  She stumbled over a root, rolling forward to catch herself and springing back upright; she had always had terrible balance, but fortunately it had trained her in the oft-overlooked art of recovering from a fall.  She checked her hands for cuts or scrapes and breathed a light sigh of relief when she found no damage other than the impression of a few pine needles on her palm.  It wasn’t much farther before she saw the dim light of a campfire, a lone figure sitting beside it, nestled just off a fork between the trail she was walking and a longer loop to the summit of the small mountain the park flowed over.  Every piece of advice she had ever learned about camping and hiking, especially by oneself, begged her not to approach the lone figure; but something about the song called to her, compelled her to approach.
 
The figure was cloaked in a purple cape falling over their shoulders and pulling back inward over their torso.  Their hair shone gold in the warm light of the fire and silver in the pale fire of the moon, the undercut on one side flopping over into long locks on the other.  Their features were flickering with the light, one moment handsome, the next moment beautiful, leaving Daisy with the lingering impression of both.  They opened their eyes as she approached, unearthly purple irises smiling at her.  They stopped playing and motioned for her to sit on a log by the fire which Daisy did, spellbound by the strange musician.
 
“Greetings fair lady,” the musician began, their voice warm and gay, “I’m glad to have an audience on this otherwise silent night.  As much as the trees enjoy my playing, they are less likely to let it move them.”
 
“I…,” Daisy stared at them dumbfounded, “Who are you?”
 
“I’ve gathered a few different names in the past years,” they said with a wink, as if expecting Daisy to pick up on a joke, “But tonight you may call me Meridan.”
 
“Merry Dan?” She repeated, the name sounded like a minstrel from a fantasy novel.
 
“Not quite,” the figure snickered, “lose an ‘r’, replace the ‘y’ with an ‘i’, and run them together”
 
She saw it in her mind, the name Meridan, phonetically the same but somehow very different, more powerful.
 
“How did…” she started, not knowing quite how to ask the question.  Certainly the fiddle player couldn’t have known that she was thinking “Merry Dan” instead of “Meridan.”  Or could they?  It would be the normal assumption after all, “Merry Dan” was a title and a name that were odd-but-sensible together whereas “Meridan” was no name she had ever heard before.  Perhaps it was a common enough mistake that they felt they had to correct her preemptively.
 
“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” Meridan asked, cutting off her train of thought and ignoring her half-started question, “Certainly one to be enjoyed with the moon and the stars, a fire and some music; and not wailing lamentations and shouted expletives.”
 
“You heard that?” Daisy felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment.
 
They nodded as they responded, their words odd but comforting: “The trite saying would be that the night is darkest before the dawn.  Perhaps a better one, if a bit more verbose, would be to say that on the road to self discovery, as well as self knowledge, one must face a dark night of the soul; a time where one must wrestle with the constraints foisted on them by the world and decide what to do with each one of them.  For some the reconciliation is easy, for others it is a painful affair; but in the end after the trial of self has concluded, the rapturous light of the morning star bathes them in renewed understanding, knowledge, and being.”
 
“That’s…” Daisy searched for the words, trying not to offend the purple-clad person, “... poetic.”
 
“No need to soften your speech around me,” Meridan laughed brightly, “I know it sounds mystical and obtuse, abstract concepts trying to over-cleanly explain a complex cluster of issues.  But if I may play you just one song, I am sure you’ll find at least a spark of truth in what I said.”
 
“I… okay.” Daisy acquiesced.  There couldn't be any harm in listening to one more song, a last bit of distraction before returning to her world of problems.  Five more minutes of respite and distraction before returning to the car and making the same mistakes again.
 
“Excellent!” Meridan raised their fiddle again, bow at the ready, “This song has had many names throughout the years, but perhaps it’s most popular one is The Outlandish Knight.  It’s seen many revisions throughout time, and tonight we revise it again: excising that which it no longer is, altering what it was to what it aspires to be, and adding details where they make sense.  Enjoy.”
 
The violin played a few long, tremoring notes, ascending tones of beautiful expectation and tension.  Daisy felt them wind around her, squeezing the breath from her lungs as an odd sensation washed over her.  It felt like carbonation under her skin, an energy rushing through her; not entirely unpleasant but upsettingly unexpected and unfamiliar.  The violin melody shifted to a more steady beat, her heart pumping in time with it.  Despite the strange sensations, the fluttering feeling stretching through every fiber of her being; she didn’t dare try to escape.  She was so enraptured by the music, she could feel the notes humming through her thoughts.  She wanted to just be lost in the steady staccato voice of the violin, to let it drown out her pain and frustrations.  
 
And then Meridan sang, wisps of purple light flowing phantasmagoricaly from their mouth to coast along her body.  Each word made her feel like something was pushing outward from within her, a pressure that she tried to hold out against as purple lights climbed through her ears, eyes, and gaping mouth.
Isabella sits in her bower sewing
Aye as the gowans grow gay
When she heard that knight with his horn a-blowing
On the very first morning of May
She felt the pressure in her head too, it would almost be pleasant if it weren’t so forcefully insistent.  Her vision was nothing but purple light now, her mind absent of all thought but the words Meridan was singing.  As they finished the end of the fourth line she felt the pressure finally explode outward from her and back around her, as if someone had turned her inside-out without damaging her.  For a moment she lingered in a purple void of infinite harmony before the pressure burst again and vision returned to her.
I wish I had that horn I heard blowing
Aye as the gowans grow gay
Meridan’s words faded out as she took in her surroundings.  The music was still here somehow, flowing around her, stitched into every particle of this place; but she no longer heard the lyrics directly.  She was in the bedroom of a small keep, staring out the window at a dark rider cresting the nearby hill in the twilight.  His face was partially hidden below his helmet, his heraldry a red cross on a black background with a twisting, red serpent overlaid.  And at his lips was the horn, an impossibly curving piece of ivory trumpeting out four intertwining notes at once.  
 
As the strange noise washed over her she felt it bind itself around her mind, resonating infinitely through her thoughts.  Her jaw dropped as her eyes glazed over, the notes reverberating in her head had color, that same purple that Meridan’s song had.  The pretty shade of purple that extinguished her thoughts in it’s warm, soothing bliss.  The sound was so wonderful she needed to hear it again.
 
The knight beelined for window, Daisy, no, Isabella powerless to take her eyes off his powerful form as it approached.  She needed him here with her, she needed him to play the horn again so she could hear that beautiful sound that had wiggled its way between her ears and through her brain.  He swung down off the horse and clambored through her window, a ruckus echoing about the chamber.  She stood in shock, staring at the dark figure before her; looming so large over her even though physically they were the same height.  Her eyes drifted down to the horn hanging at his side, the purple runes on them twisting and spiraling their way along its length and befuddling her mind further.
 
A knock came at her door, then a worried voice.
 
“Miss Isabella, are you okay in there?  I thought I heard a crash.”
 
It was Pauline’s voice, her lady-in-waiting.  Sweet, demure Pauline; pretty in a way Isabella feared she’d never be, kind and caring even beyond what her job required.  Some nights Isabella wished that they could be together, that they could ride off into the sunset and enjoy each other’s company and beauty; but that wouldn’t be very ladylike.  Daisy looked to the knight for what answer to give, then down at his beckoning to the glowing purple runes on the horn spilling ethereal words into her mind.
 
“I’m okay Pauline,” she said, allowing the horn to puppet the words through her mouth and throat, “I merely dropped my needlework and knocked over my chair trying to get it.”
 
“Alright Miss.  I’ll be retiring to my chambers soon.  Have a pleasant evening.”
 
Isabella turned her eyes back up to the helmed knight expectantly.  He spoke, his gravely, rasping voice superimposed over Meridan’s sweet tenor; the spoken and sung words perfectly in time with each other.
How strange it is, oh strange young woman.  
Aye as the gowans grow gay.  
I can scarce blow my horn since I hear you a-calling 
On the very first morning of May.
Isabella knew that voice, that gravely tone; it belonged to Dustin.  She smiled ecstatically at him, he’d come back for her, he loved her.  He had heard her call, her wails of sorrow, and he had come to whisk her away, sweep her off her feet.  Her handsome knight would make her a true lady once more.
 
The knight spoke-sang in dual voices again, one coming from beneath the half-helm and the other from all around her yet centered within her head.
Go fetch you gold from your father’s table 
Deliver it unto me 
And the two fastest horses in your father’s stables 
Which number thirty-and-three
Isabella nodded slowly, purple light caressing her face.  She had to go get the gold and the horses so they could be together, so she could be a beautiful princess saved by a dashing knight.  She felt weightless as she drifted out her chamber door, letting the pretty purple runes pilot her.  She snatched the coin purse on the table by the door, bundled and placed as if it was meant to be stolen, and then glided towards the stable.  Each step was pure bliss, the notes from the horn still singing their beautiful melody in her mind as the violet lights from the runes guided her to the horses.
 
When she returned from the stables with the horses, the knight was waiting outside for her.  His own horse had vanished, as if carried off into the night by slinking gremlins and stalking goblins.  She presented him with the black horse -- 
And he’s mounted up on the black, black horse
The correction came in mauve hues to her mind, of course “black, black horse” was so much more poetic, so much more lyrical, to think than merely “black horse.”  She shivered as a jolt of pleasure stroked down her spine.  She smiled a dopey smile as she mounted the dapple grey horse she’d picked for herself, her head lolling to the side dreamily as her silent knight spurred his horse ahead.  She obediently followed, her eyes locked on to the purple glow from the horn, her mind dancing to it’s long-lingering notes.
And her on the dapple grey
They rode through meadows where yellow flowers bloomed in the darkness.  They rode through forest trails where arching branches grasped hungrily towards them, desperate to stop their eloping.  They rode through festering bogs where foul creatures scuttled and slithered into drowned land, one going so far as to stalk them for over a mile; it’s slimy splashes and trills the only thing perceivable about it.  Through all of this they rode for hours through the night, the trip blurring in Isabella’s dulled mind, until at last they crested a hill and she saw the shore of the sea stretching far in every direction.
And they rode ‘till they come to the broad sea shore
Three hours before it was day
The knight led her up a small bluff to a steep overlook, a place where one could stand precariously out over the water to see it’s glimmer in every corner of their vision.  It was a romantic spot, a place to watch the sun rise over the ocean casting it’s warm palette across the tops of the waves in unparalleled beauty.  He stopped his horse and turned to her, the dual voice of knight and singer speaking to her grinning face.
Light down, light down from your horse, he said, 
And deliver it unto me.  
For it’s six pretty maids I have drow-ned here
And the seventh one you shall be.
Isabella gracefully hopped off her horse, her face still plastered with a smile.  Internally though she felt something give, a crack in the horn’s control.  Perhaps it was merely the shock of the knight’s murderous intent suddenly revealed, perhaps it was her anger at allowing herself to be so stupid as to believe that he’d whisk her away and make her a true lady; either way she could feel a desire to do something other than follow his commands creeping back, a counter-melody to the control.  Her legs and arms still felt numb, but she could feel her blood boiling in her veins, could feel her heart pumping with panic, anger, and adrenaline.  She just needed a bit more time, and she could make her escape.
 
Something else was bothering her though, the knight’s voice was Dustin’s but his figure that had loomed so large back at the keep certainly wasn’t, it was too lanky and gaunt.  And his face, what poked out from under the helmet at least, that was wrong too; the pallid flesh of a wight with a scruffy, patchy beard.  Was the voice really Dustin’s voice?  The pitch was right, but the menace, the hatred, the anger behind it wasn’t something she’d heard from him.  He was neglectful and dishonest sure, but this contempt wasn’t something from him.  
Take off, take off your fine, gay clothes; 
And deliver them unto me.  
For they are too fine and costly robes 
For to rot in the salt soaked sea.
She gasped at the request, both at its impudence and because the pieces were clicking into place.  She looked at the heraldry on the shield again, it’s familiarity dawning on her, enraging her.  She could feel one of her legs again but her plan was no longer escape, it was revenge.  The knight waited stolidly, expectantly, as if awaiting a verbal answer at a physical request.  She looked past him, across the water, at the setting half-moon; it’s pale light tinging purple for a moment as words flowed through her mind.  This time however she was no mere puppet of the purple power, but a willing conduit.
Light down, light down from your horse, she said
And turn your back on me.  
For it’s not fitting that any gentleman 
A naked lady should see.
Somehow that worked, through the strange arcane power of lyrics and song; the knight slid off the horse and faced away from her, towards the sea.  The song that had suppressed her thoughts up to this point, had drowned them out, suddenly thrust her forward for a featured solo.  She was in control of herself again, at least to an extent.  The ballad had to play out the way it was alway meant to, but here and now she could choose to actively participate, channeling her life into the song, or to fade back and let it move her as a passenger in a dream.
 
She looked at him, the pitiful fool, almost wanting to give him mercy; but then he had never shown her any.  So many times she had tried to live in previous iterations, only for him to drown her in panic and self-loathing.  She had loved him, had hoped they could live together in peace and harmony, form some sort of concord to allow both of them existence; but the treacherous little weasel had always taken advantage of her good-naturedness, had always frightened her back into non-existence.  But this was her moment to show she had learned, that she had grown as a person.  She gleefully charged at him, shoving him roughly at the waist with all her might.  
And she catched him around the middle so small
The purple melody amended; she didn’t care.  Call it what you will, the result was the same.  He toppled forward as she ripped the horn from his side, his hand brushing his helmet and flinging it off as he made to catch himself.  They had always had such terrible balance.
 
Had this been the real world, he certainly would have toppled forward into the dark waters and vanished, armor bearing him swiftly and finally down to the bottom of the ocean.  In this world of song and poetry however he fell slowly, turning perfectly in mid-air to glare with shock and horror at Isabella as he fell.  It was the face of a lived nightmare, the ghoul that hounded her daily in the back of her mind.  His eyes were hers but devoid of joy, his mouth was hers but twisted in a snarl instead of a smile, the chin was slightly squarer under that rough patch of hair, but unmistakably slightly crooked in the same way as her own.  He was younger but somehow more decrepit, angry in all the wrong ways at all the wrong people; unloving and unloved.  She had pitied him, he was a part of her after all, but it was time to finally accept that he couldn’t be reformed, that he wouldn’t allow himself to be saved out of stubborn adherence to outmoded ideas.  It was a mercy killing really.
 
The knight thrashed in the water, dark droplets shining silver as they sprayed upward through the moonlight.  Some strange force was keeping him just buoyant enough in his heavy armor to keep his ghoulish visage above the waves. He thrust a gauntleted hand from beneath the surf, absurdly distant from practical aid given the gulf of yards between her perch on the bluff and his suspended splashing in the waves, but she was certain that in this world of symbol and song she could pluck him out if she wished.
Sometimes he sank, sometimes he swam
Aye as the gowans grow gay
Oh help!  Oh help, oh my pretty mistress 
Or drowned I shall be!
He sputtered; the brine blubbering over half the syllables of the knight’s deeper voice, now so easily recognizable as one she once owned. The violet voice of Meridan however musically enunciated each word perfectly, his violin inextricably entwined with it crescendoing to her moment of decision.  A beautiful stanza of catharsis and freedom floated in her mind, beckoning her to deliver what she intuited to be the climax of the ballad.  She could choose not to do so, to let Meridan sing the words alone.  To merely observe without participating, reacting only at the end with the polite smattering of applause one does out of etiquette.  To not allow the music to grip her soul and draw forth the buried, righteous anger now finally given a chance to voice itself in the most fantastical and resplendent way.  To drift through the rest of the song inattentive and leave this strange experience untouched and unmoved, an odd memory of no particular significance in a mundane, stagnating life.   But of course that was a false choice; she wanted this.
Lie there, lie there, oh you false young man!  
Lie there instead of me.  
For it’s six pretty maids you have drowned here 
And the seventh one is drowning thee!
A swell of music celebrated her choice as in the waters below the knight was suddenly sucked under the wind-turned waves, as if suddenly ensnared by one of the mythical monstrosities said to linger on the ocean’s floor.  She felt the blood rushing to her head and took a step back from the cliff face, laughter suddenly bubbling out of her mouth.  She sat down hard on the ground and threw her head back as she howled gales of glee at the night sky.  There were a few tears mingled in, as there are at the ends of all things we once gave a part of ourselves to, but they were outweighed greatly by the joy and promise of a future, by the freedom of a stuck anchor finally being cleaved away.  The music allowed her ample time to celebrate her victory, to enjoy the splendorous, starry sky as she felt the toxic hold the knight had of vast parts of her mind fade into oblivion with him.  She had feared most of all that those parts of herself he represented would be dragged into the dark depths with him, a final act of spite towards the person she’d become; but she found that they lived on without him, happily untarnished and eager for reconciliation now that their dark master was no more.  After a while Meridan’s violin plucked a repetitious strain in her ear, a polite reminder that there was more of the ballad waiting.  She hopped to her feet, ready to see what more they had to offer.
 
She went back to the horses, preparing herself to mount the same dapple, grey one she’d rode in on but feeling the magic of the music around her guiding her instead to the one the knight had ridden.  It felt good to move with the course of the ballad.  Good and, as it went on, powerful.  
So she’s mounted up on the black, black horse
And she’s led the dapple grey
Meridan sang as she retraced their trail back home, soon finding the world a changed place.  By lunar light and morning star the bog once full of noxious, dreadful creatures now was busy with the early morning habits of waterfowl and playful splashing of colored fish.  The woods were no longer a miserable unknown of barely concealed terrors but a verdant playground for woodland creatures, a place for children to build forts together and cavort with kind faeries.  And riding back through the meadows a palette of flowers of every conceivable color heralded her return, somehow impossibly more bright and vibrant in this crepuscular hour than when the sun shone brightly overhead.  
And she rode ‘till she come to her father’s keep
Just an hour before it was day
At last she reached the small keep an hour before dawn, her return trip faster than the one to the shore.  Despite having to lead the dapple grey horse behind her and despite slowing to watch the early-morning world come to life around her, she was so much faster, so much more energetic, so much more capable without the dark knight riding ahead of her.  She returned the horses to the stables, giving each one a pat on its muzzle to thank them for the strange and unexpected journey that night.  And striding back to the small keep she saw her final challenge silhouetted in the doorway: Pauline was awake and looking worriedly at the returning Isabella.
And her servant sitting up by the window high
Aye as the gowans grow gay
Oh where have you been, oh my pretty mistress
So long before it is day?
Isabella could hear the worry in her voice, the concern stemming not only from her duties but from the friendship they had grown over the past few years.  Pretty Pauline, as much her servant as her keeper, a beautiful young woman who existed to assist her but also to remind her of the proper ways in which a woman walked and talked and behaved.  Isabella felt a warmth in her hand, a pleasant pulsating radiance drifting partly up her arm.  She looked down and saw the horn in her clasp, the runes glowing gaily in the morning dusk.  She smiled, a bit wickedly, to herself as she looked back up at Pauline.  The thought had crossed her mind before, rather often actually, how wonderful it would be to cover the demure serving girl in kisses and run her hand teasingly up under her skirt.  She'd always held back because that's not what ladies were supposed to do; she was supposed to be married off to a lord someplace, a bargaining chip of flesh and blood consolidating fiefdoms.  But in the east the morning star merrily heralded a new dawn, a new world and new life with new rules.  She lifted the horn to her lips and blew.
 
Her breath spiraled through the ivory instrument and out the other end.  Violet and lavender hues twinkled through the air with the gentle noise, wrapping themselves around the open-mouthed Pauline.  Isabella lowered the horn and gleefully strutted towards Pauline as the other woman's eyes fluttered and rolled back into her head.  Her breaths were coming faster and more excitedly as Isabella approached; she stumbled backwards and then to the side, finally finding support against the wall.  Isabella pinned her lightly against the wall with one hand as the other slid through her hair, gripping the back of her head and steadying her gaze towards Isabella.  She felt a surge of power coursing through her nerve and sinew as she huskily sang:
Don't you prittle, don't you prattle, oh my pretty Pauline
Don't you tell no tales of me
She was breathily whispering the words in Pauline's captive ear, her song-smithed heart beating rapidly in ecstatic anticipation of what was to come.  The hand holding Pauline's head drifted down the back of her dress and began steadily hiking up the bottom of her dress, handful-by-handful.
And your cage shall be made of the best glittering gold
Your bonds with the best filagree
Her hand tossed the hem of the dress over itself as it dove deftly underneath pressing into the small of Pauline's back, pulling her tight against her own body. She hadn't known how much she had wanted this, to dominate her pretty companion in mind and body.  There had been inklings of the desire before, but she'd always buried them out of obligation to a feminine ideal that valued subservience and passivity; an ideal extrinsically forced upon her that she accepted as terms of her existence and recognition.  Her hand slipped downwards and tugged Pauline's panties with it as she nuzzled and nibbled at her neck, feeling the faint vibrations of pleasurable noises reverberating up her throat.  Things were different now, she was finally able to act on her desires without being marred by her insecurities and it was blissfully empowering.  She squeezed one of Pauline's firm ass cheeks, eliciting a sweet moan from her mouth.  As if in response a voice boomed down the stairway:
Her father sitting up in his bedroom high,
And hearing the servant did say,
“What makes you cry out, my pretty Pauline,
So long before it is day?”
Pauline's half-blank face looked to the stairs and then to Isabella, hoping to be fed an answer.  Isabella only cocked an eyebrow and bit her lip before leaning back in slowly to kiss down her neck to her breasts.  Pauline's eyes fluttered and then were magnetically drawn to the horn on the nearby table, the comforting runes providing her an alibi in exchange for obedience.
Well there come a cat to the windowside
The words were flowing in through her eyes, the music whirling about in her ears; joyfully numbing her brain.  Only a small handful of the violet words were related to telling a convincing lie, the others were harder to focus on; but every second they flowed over her mind she felt so much more compliant, so much more aroused.  Isabella slipped her hand around to Pauline's crotch, hands teasing her outer lips as she gasped out another line:
Aye as the gowans grow gay
Isabella slipped three fingers between her folds and pried them open, her middle finger swirling through the dampness she found there.  She pressed Pauline back into the wall as she kissed around the base of her neck, loving every second of her captive servant's breath racing out of control as Pauline tried to reign it in to finish her answer. 
And I was a-calling my pretty Mistress
Isabella stroked upward over her clit, sending the last syllable warbling slightly off key.  Pauline was rocking her hips, eager for her Mistress's touch, but Isabella only provided gentle teases.  She looked to the horn for help and another burst of soothing and commanding words flowed over her, her mind emptying of all but one final line.
Just to frighten that pussycaaaaaaa!
Isabella flickered her finger quickly over Pauline's nub before she could finish, causing her to yelp in pleasure.  Her jaw trembled at the aftershocks, her body wanting so badly to just fall into Isabella's embrace and surrender to her, but she needed to complete the line.  She couldn’t know the full bliss of obedience to Isabella until she did.
Just to frighten that pussycat away!
She fell forward, grinding into Isabella, ready to be rewarded for so obediently saying her lines.  Somehow they both knew that the voice from the stairs had been sated, it's question answered properly enough for it to vanish into non-being.  Isabella embraced her with her free arm, gagging Pauline's mouth between her shoulder and neck with a firmly pressed palm.  As she worked her friend and servant towards orgasm she concluded the ballad whispering heavily and hotly into her ear:
Turned well, turned well, oh my pretty Pauline
Turned well, turned well for me.
Now your cage shall be made of the best glittering gold
Your bonds with the best filagree.
A jolly violin glided through the air about them as Pauline screamed mutedly into Isabella's skin, her reward finally being granted by the magical horn and by her Mistress.  Her body shuddered out of her control, some small, thinking part of thankful to Isabella supporting her weight.  After a moment she gazed dazed at her Mistress, unable to think for herself anymore.  Isabella guided her into her bedroom, disrobing them both and rolling onto the bed with her new lover.  Then she guided Pauline's hand down between her legs to feel the small, hard member waiting for attention.  
 
She blinked a few times, unsure of what to do, before a smile drifted onto her face.  The words from the horn were bubbling to the forefront: lavender and violet, purple and mauve, instructing her how to best please Isabella.  Isabella ran a soft hand through her hair and they locked lips, Pauline lubricating her fingers with her own juices and then with a whisper touch gliding along the fleshy seam on the outside of Isabella's feminine shaft.  When Isabella moaned and gripped her hair harder, she knew she was doing the right thing.  The music swirling around them crescendoed as she focused her touches higher, Isabella's panting growing louder to match.  Pauline was finding this much easier than she had initially worried: she'd been concerned that Isabella would have to stop her and correct her into learning how to properly handle her girlcock, but as the voices had assured her a lot of the same concepts of how she herself liked to be pleased and touched transferred over.  Her fingers played over the spot right below the head, applying just the slightest amount of pressure at the commanding suggestions of pulsing purple in her head.  Isabella gasped and pulled her close, forcing Pauline's head into her breasts, moaning as she softly sucked and licked them. 
 
"Yes, yes, yes!" Isabella panted, "Just like that Pauline.  Fuuuuccck... Such a good sssssservant."
 
The music flourished in a quick cadenza as Isabella felt the orgasm building.  She watched in ecstasy as the walls around her shattered apart into quivering violet notes spinning and spiraling cyclonically around her and Pauline.  The curtains of sound pressed inward as Pauline pressed onward, Isabella's mind streaked with bliss and beauty, her mouth letting out a sustained note of primal love and lust that merged with the surrounding ballad.   The purple hurricane constricted and consumed them at the peak of her pleasure, obliterating them both in a mingled moment of bliss.
 
Daisy woke with a start as the morning's first light filtered through the trees.  She was alone in the woods sitting on a log before a long-extinguished fire pit.  Wrapped lovingly around her was a dark purple woolen blanket providing her a bubble of comfortable warmth in the cool, early hours of the day.  She glanced around from her seated position, searching for any other indication of the musician Meridan; a hair, a footprint, a scrape in the log where they had sat across from her last night.  She came swiftly to the conclusion that there was no proof other than the blanket wrapped around her that the whole thing hadn't been merely an odd dream or a stress-induced psychotic break.  Even so, even if it was no more than late-night cathartic imaginings, it had given her something to think about.  She felt relieved as she stood, her mind was finally set on making a number of decisions that she'd long avoided due to doubts that had evaporated overnight.  She was ready to be the person she aspired to be, and not merely the person she feared she had to be. 
 
A soft crunch of leaves met her ears as she stood, a weight she had been unaware of previously slipped from the dark folds of the blanket and onto the forest floor.  Puzzled, she bundled the blanket upwards into her arms, revealing the dirt and leaves at her feet.  Dirt and leaves, a small tuft of grass, and laying on top an otherworldly object of twisting ivory, runes glowing faintly but familiarly in the new morning's light.

At first she kept the horn only as a memento of her life-changing night, a totem to remind her of necessary loss in the pursuit of growth and a ward to prevent the return of the dark knight and his treacherous words.  She had moved on from Dustin, a parting that both of them acknowledged was needed, and spent a few months learning to live with herself and as herself.  Not every day was easy but on average they became easier; she volunteered a few days a month, picked back up the more mundane instrument she had learned as a child, dabbled in new hobbies and creative endeavors, and sought out new and old friends. 
 
She'd met Heidi at a Spellcraft: The Quickening event, both of them mere dabblers in the collectible card game who had shown up as singles at a doubles draft.  Paired together, they'd lost terribly but had enjoyed every minute of it; celebrating their defeat at the bar two doors down: a quiet, mostly-empty establishment with quality imported beer at rock-bottom prices.  They returned a few nights later to celebrate their new friendship, and a month later to celebrate their new relationship.  Sometime in the second month during a visit to their favorite quiet oasis of cherry sours and belgian quads, Daisy told Heidi about the musician in the forest.  She'd listened with rapt attention, at first thinking it to be a fanciful-but-meaningful dream, before her eyes and mouth popped wide at the mention that Daisy still had the horn.  She begged Daisy to show it to her, and as they stumbled home that night Daisy agreed to let her see it the next day.
 
After a nice, albeit expensive, breakfast nearby, Daisy pulled the horn off of the foam bed in the plastic tub in her closet she kept it in.  Laying it across her palms she held it out for Heidi to inspect.
 
"Wow!  It's beautiful Daisy," Heidi remarked as she brushed her fingers along the instrument, just to make sure it was real, "And you said that you found it when you woke up?"
 
"Yep.  Along with the purple blanket on the couch."  She motioned unnecessarily with her head over toward the couch.
 
"And in the dream you said that blowing it bent people to your will?"  Heidi was staring at the runes etched along the side now, faint purple flickers reflecting in her eyes as they slowly started to pulse.  Daisy could detect a growing arousal in her voice, an eager, erotic excitement.
 
"Yeah," her answer was simple, her attention drawn to the runes.  The runes that hadn't glown since the night in the woods were now pulsing faster, matching the pace of her own heartbeat. It had been merely a memento of the night and symbol of self-improvement for the last few months; powerful to her in a personal way, but not in an actual one.  Now that she was sharing it with Heidi it was becoming something more, becoming the horn from the dream, from the song.
 
"And do you think it would work in the real world?" Heidi panted out, her eyes begging Daisy for an affirmative answer, "Maybe you should try it."
 
Daisy thought for a moment about why that would be a bad idea, but stopped herself when she saw Heidi’s panting, slack jaw and pleasing eyes.  She grinned as she lifted the horn to her lips, blowing a soft note directed towards her new girlfriend.  A concerto of sound followed violet wisps of melody wrapping around an enraptured Heidi, her knees depositing her into a kneeling position as joyful music claimed her mind.  She stared upwards at Daisy with a look of gleeful wonder.  Daisy gently placed the horn on her coffee table, feeling it's power run through her, knowing that this was what both of them wanted.  She returned to her kneeling thrall and placed two fingers under Heidi's chin, guiding her face and eyes upwards, beaming kindly but commandingly down at her.
 
"Are you ready to serve your pretty Mistress, Heidi?" Her voice was sing-song in that moment, complimenting oh-so-well the music rollicking through Heidi's head.
 
"Aye as the gowans grow gay," she responded dreamily.  The words weren't hers but she was saying them, almost singing them.  They were nonsense words, but she could see how much they pleased Daisy.  The last thoughts of her own that afternoon weren't focused on resisting the control, she had been wanting this since Daisy told her the story the night before.  No, her last neurons that hadn't joined in dancing to the strange symphony of violet delights in worshipful celebration of her girlfriend were trying to remember what a gowan was.  Daisy yanked her to her feet and led her to the bed, pushing her down and stripping the both of them naked one piece of clothing at a time.  Heidi rode the winding arpegios replacing her thoughts as her body rapidly became naked, a piece of information finally connecting as Daisy kissed her way down Heidi's torso.
 
Another song, a more familiar song, a yearly song, a celebratory song but a bittersweet song; that's where she had heard the word before.  For four years during college she'd rung in the New Year with her friends, drinking and laughing and always singing Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of midnight.  And every year Ashley Walsh would sing the Scottish lyrics alongside their english ones, insisting that they sing every verse of the song.  Her drunken, warbling alto mingled from the past with the song subjugating her mind:
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
sin' auld lang syne.
And in harmony her shrill soprano fit over it, more in tune now than they ever had been after hours of drinking:
We two have run about the hills,
and picked the daisies fine;
But many's the weary foot we've walked,
since auld lang syne.
Daisy.  A gowan was a daisy.  She gasped as her Daisy, her gowan, her Mistress flicked her clit with her tongue while pulling pinning her wrists with outstretched arms against the bed.  The mystery solved, Heidi let her mind drift fully into the melody becoming a creature of pure feeling, filled with the song of her Mistress's will.  

Author's Notes:

* Although I ransacked a number of different versions of this old ballad to cobble together one I thought would be fun for this story, the version I initially listened to for inspiration can be found here.
* Meridan was supposed to be introduced in another story, but they're getting completed out of order so I guess they're appearing here first.
 
x1

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