Title: Why Pull Ye The Rose?
Author: Anon Masako
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: Sailor Moon characters are property of Naoko Takeuchi. ~sighs~ I'll get over it eventually...
The ballad and folk tale of 'Tam Lin' isn't my property either. A long time ago, someone thought it up, unfortunately I don't know who. For more information on this folktale and access to it's many versions, check out www.tam-lin.org.
Thanks: Arigato to Opal-chan, my beta! Also to Laz and Loralei, you guys are the best!
Notes: This is a songfic using the ballad of 'Tam Lin.' I've edited out a few verses because this is rather long. I've also incorporated a few of the verses into the characters speech, and I hope I have both stayed true to the tale and yet created something original in the fanfic sense. On some of the verses I have changed the spelling of words because ballad is written with a definite Scottish accent and is sometimes hard to decipher.
Here's a quick reference list:
Gowd: gold
Wad: something of value
Mantle: Cloak, outer garment
Abune: above
Kirtle: skirts
Bree: eyebrow
Syne: then, after that
Oh yeah! EMAIL ME!
~~~
["Tell us a tale, Auntie!" a small girl piped up at the sitting woman's knee.
The woman smiled; her eyes twinkled. "And what shall it be about, my young lasses?"
"A romance, Aunt!" a girl early in her teen years said in a dreamy tone.
A young lady sighed in despair at this and shook her head. "No Aunt, give us a tale with a moral."
At this the other two girls grimaced and shook their heads.
"Well," Aunt began, "I believe I have a tale with some romance and a moral. Will that satisfy you?"
All three nodded.
"Then listen closely. This is a ballad of our people, about two of your ancestors: Usagi of March and Mamoru of Murray. Be mighty quiet as I speak, for it is said that when this ballad is spoken, you can hear the whispers of this famous pair in the background, telling the story in their own way."
"Is it true, Auntie? The rumor?" the previously quiet child spoke up, looking anxious.
"Perhaps..." Aunt said in a sly tone. "I have never heard them, but maybe children only possess the ability to hear.
"Now I start the story.

"I forbid ye, maidens all,
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or go by Carterhaugh,
For young Tamlane is there.

There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
But maun leave him a wad,
Either gowd rings, or green mantles,
Or else their maidenheid.

Now gowd rings ye may buy, maidens,
Green mantles ye may spin,
But, gin ye lose your maidenheid,
Ye'll neer get that agen.

But up then spak her, fair Janet-"

"I thought you said her name was Usagi!" the youngest interrupted in a hurt tone.
"It is. But the person who set down this ballad changed her name, as well as Mamoru's. When questioned, he said he was unable to rhyme their names. Now hush, so I may finish," Aunt explained calmly.

"-Fair Janet,
The fairest o' a'her kin..."]

"Wha' about Carterhaugh?" Usagi, daughter of the Earl March asked in surprise. Her embroidery dropped to her lap, unheeded by her fair hands.
Minako giggled. "It is said that the elven spirit Mamoru resides there, and all who pass must pay a toll: gold rings or their mantles, or-" she blushed a bright red- "Their maidenheads!"
Ami blushed a deeper red than Minako and looked down at her embroidery frame, Hotaru did much the same. The others, three girls by the names of Rei, Makoto, Michiru, seemed relatively unaffected by this revelation.
Usagi's face took on an angered look. "Where do you hear such things, Minako? Carterhaugh is mine and none others!"
"I heard it from the ladies of the court, and they heard it from the servants, who heard it from the village girls," Minako informed her. "I have perfectly trustworthy sources."
Usagi sniffed primly. "Well this is all I have to say: I'll-"

["'I'll cum and go to Carterhaugh,
And ask nae leave o him.'"

There silence for a moment, before the young lady (who asked for a moral) by the name of Rhiannon broke in haughtily. "She is an idiot."
"Kat!" Esyllt, the youngest, said angrily. "You're ruining it!"
"Shush, children," Aunt said in gentle scolding. "Listen."

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little abune her knee,
And she had braided her yellow hair
A little abune her bree.

And when she came to Carterhaugh,
She gazed beside the well,
And there she found..."]

"A horse," Usagi said flatly as she stared at the steed standing un-tethered by the well. "This Mamoru cannot be a spirit, then, for this horse is quite solid. But anyway, he is not here... and he shouldn't be!"
She smoothed her dark green kirtle and mantle before flouncing calmly over to a bush of red roses growing near the wall.
"How beautiful," she whispered softly, carefully pulling three roses from their stems.
"Why pull ye the rose, Usagi?" a deep voice said from behind her. She whirled about, the roses scattering. She looked up into eyes of the darkest blue she had ever beheld.
"Why ye break the tree?" he continued solemnly. "Or why ye come to Carterhaugh, withouten leave o me?"
Just as solemnly, she pulled herself up straighter and spoke: "Carterhaugh is my own, my Father gave it to me; I'll come again to Carterhaugh, and ask no leave of thee."
He smiled, a smile not befitting to the elven specter Minako had made him out to be. And she smiled in return, ignoring a tinge of the familiar note he struck within her.

["He's taken her by the milk-white hand,
Among the leaves sae green,
And what they did I cannot tell,
The green leaves were between.

When she came to her father's ha,
She looked pale and wan;
They thought she'd dreed some sair sickness,
Or been with some leman."]

Usagi collapsed onto her bed, her mind reliving the events of the past few hours. Minako had been right, about... everything.
Except she hadn't mentioned that he would be so handsome, so gentle... and that Usagi would fall in love with him.
I suppose Minako doesn't know everything... she thought, grinning, before succumbing to sleep.

["Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess
And out there came the fair Janet,
As green as any grass.

Out then spoke her father dear,
And he spak meek and mild
'And ever, alas-"]

"My sweet Usagi, I fear ye goes with child," her father said softly after chapel as she made to go for the door.
Faltering, she turned back and seated herself next to him on the pew. "And if I be with child, father, I will bear the blame; there's not a knight about your hall who shall have my child's name." She paused, then continued with renewed strength in her voice. "And if I be with child, father, 'twill prove a wondrous birth, for I do swear I'm not with child to any man on earth. If my love is an earthly knight, as he is elven aura, I would not give my love to any of your lords."
She kept her gaze discreetly on her folded hands in her lap until she heard her father's footsteps echo from well down the hall.

["She's prinkd herself and prinned herself,
By the ae light of the moon,
And she's away to Carterhaugh,
To speak to young Tamlane."

"This is too sad," Esyllt whined. "It has too many morals. You sound like Rhiannon!"
"Shush!" the usually quite Kaytria hissed. "I can hear them!" She cocked her head slightly and closed her eyes, listening to voices no others could hear. (Except perhaps for Aunt, who watched Kaytria with a small smile.)

"And when she came to Carterhaugh,
She gazed beside the well,
And there she found the steed standing,
But away was himself."]

Usagi sighed and narrowed her eyes. He wasn't here, just his horse was here... again.
Well I know how to solve this, she thought primly, marching over to the rose bush. She pulled two roses deliberately, waiting for his footsteps behind her.
"Lady, thou will pull no more."
Despite my careful listening, he is still able to surprise me, she sighed silently as she stood and turned.
"Hello, Mamoru. I've come to talk with you."
He eyed her growing stomach for a moment before nodding solemnly. "This I see. What have you to ask?"
"Tell me true, Mamoru. Are you of the fairy race or of mine?"
"Usagi, you must remember me. My sire is the Earl Murray, we played when we were small."
Mamoru of the Murray kin...how could I not have seen it? The eyes, the nose, the hair... my lost friend, returned...
"You disappeared seven years ago, Mamoru," she said softly, moving closer. "Where have you been?"
He took a deep breath, inner struggle playing across his face. "When I was a boy just turned nine-"

["-My uncle sent for me,
To hunt and hawk, and ride with him,
And keep him companie.

There came a wind out of the north,
A sharp wind and a smell,
And a deep sleep came over me,
And from my horse I fell.

The Queen of Fairies keppit me
In yon green hill to dwell,
And I'm a fairy, lyth and limb,
Fair lady, view me well.
Then would I never tire, Janet,
In Elfish land to dwell,
But aye, at every seven years,
They pay the tithe to hell;
And I am sa fat and fair of flesh,
I fear 't will be mysell."]

"But tonight is Halloween, Usagi, and tomorrow is Hallowday, and to win me you will have no time to linger. For tonight the fairy folk will ride, and if you wish to win me you must hurry to Miles Cross."
She turned away from him to think momentarily. How dare he just assume that I would wish to win him for anything? a part of her asked angrily. But yet... as children I loved him more than anything... and I still do. This is no time to be prideful, Usagi.
"But how shall I know?" she asked softly, facing him again. "How shall I know you from your unearthly company?"

["'First let pass the black, Janet,
And syne let pass the brown,
But gript ye to the milk-white steed,
And pu the rider down.
I'll ride on the milk-white steed,
On the side nearest the town;
because I was a christend knight,
they give me that renown.
My right hand will be gloved, Janet,
my left hand will be bare ;
-And these the tokens I give thee,
Nae doubt I will be there."

The girls were spellbound.
"Was he?" asked Rhiannon in a whisper, so entranced with the story she had forgotten her quest for a moral. "Did she?"
"Shh!" the other two hissed, then turned back to their Aunt.]

"Usagi, this is not an easy task I request of you. They will turn me into many horrifying things one I am in your arms. But please do not let go, for I am your child's father.
"Finally they will shape me as a mother-naked man, cast you mantle over me, and I will be myself again."
"I will do it," Usagi said firmly, taking his hand. "Because... because I love you."
"As I also love you. A ne'er forget it, Usako."

["Gloomy, gloomy, was the night,
And eiry was the way,
As fair Janet, in her green mantle,
To Miles Cross she did gae."]

The clock in a nearby town struck the twelth hour.
The bells... but were is my Mamo-chan?
It struck her as humorous that given him a 'pet' name. She'd always saw herself as a sensible person.
Guess I was wrong about myself, she thought with a smile.
Hoofbeats.
Ducking behind a nearby tree, she watched as the company passed. A black, a brown, a bay passed by. She bit her lip anxiously, then spotted it: a horse purest white, like the rays of the moon itself.
She dashed out from cover to the horse of moonlight and pulled Mamoru from the saddle. He landed awkwardly on top of her on the ground, and she gasped as she felt the wind knocked out of her.
Regaining her breath, she clasped her arms around Mamoru and gritted her teeth, ready for whatever the fairy folk should throw at them.
A malevolently beautiful woman with hair the color of midnight rode on a raven horse to Mamoru's feet. Dark eyes flashed in contempt as she pointed a finger at the pair on the ground and uttered a single, seemingly unpronounceable word.
"Avadra."
Mamoru let out a sharp yell and Usagi suddenly found herself face to face with a deadly adder. It reared back it's head, preparing itself to strike in the vital spot. Usagi shrunk away from the fangs, remembering just in time: I mustn't let go.

["They shaped him in fair Janet's arms
An esk but and an adder;
She held him fast in every shape,
To be her bairn's father.

They shaped him in her arms at last
A mother-naked man,
She wrapt him in her green mantle,
And sae her true love wan."]

Usagi quickly wrapped Mamoru in her mantle, hiding him from the Fairy Queen.
"Lady," the Queen said in a gravely voice, "Thou hast taken the bonniest knight of my company. May shame betide thou ill-found face, and an ill-death may you die!"
Usagi suddenly found it hard to breath. I have been cursed... she has cursed me...
"And Mamoru," she Queen continued, tossing her hair back in a fall of midnight silk, "had I known what would happen this night, I would have taken out thy's two blue eyes, and put them in a tree! And had I known, Mamoru, that this would one day happen, I would have taken out your heart of flesh, and put in a heart of stone," she hissed, then signaled her company and rode out of sight.

["That's all?!" Esyllt complained when it became plain their aunt had finished the story. "What happened? Did they ever break the curse? Did they live happily ever after?"
"Esyllt, no one lives happily ever after, no matter how great their love. But just so you know, they lived as happily as two could be expected- and they had many more children. As for a curse, there never seemed to be a lingering effect of one," Aunt explained, standing. "And now, I must leave you. I have some family that I must pay visits to."
Aunt swept from the room, leaving the four silent.
"I suppose she's right," Rhiannon said finally.
"Of course she is," Kaytria responded matter-of-factly. "Aunt Setsuna knows everything."]