Mental roster

The whole Scene:

Dur­ing his time with the French army, years before, one of the sergeants had explained to the younger mer­ce­nar­ies the trick of falling asleep the night before a battle.“Make your­self com­fort­able, exam­ine your con­science, and make a good Act of Con­tri­tion. Father Hugo says that in time of war, even if there is no priest to shrive you, your sins can be for­giv­en this way. Since you can­not com­mit sins while asleep—not even you, Simenon!—you will awake in a state of grace, ready to fall on the bas­tards. And with noth­ing to look for­ward to but vic­to­ry or heaven—how can you be afraid?”While pri­vate­ly not­ing a few flaws in this argu­ment, Jamie had found it still good advice; free­ing the con­science eased the soul, and the com­fort­ing rep­e­ti­tion of prayer dis­tract­ed the mind from fear­ful imag­in­ings and lulled it toward sleep.He gazed upward into the black vault of the sky, and willed the tight­ness of neck and shoul­ders to relax into the ground’s hard embrace. The stars were faint and hazy tonight, no match for the near­by glow of the Eng­lish fires.His mind reached out to the men around him, rest­ing briefly on each, one by one. The stain of sin was small weight on his con­science, com­pared with these. Ross, McMur­do, Kin­caid, Kent, McClure…he paused to give brief thanks that his wife and the boy Fer­gus at least were safe. His mind lin­gered on his wife, want­i­ng to bask in the mem­o­ry of her reas­sur­ing smile, the sol­id, won­der­ful warmth of her in his arms, pressed tight against him as he had kissed her good­bye that after­noon. Despite his own weari­ness and the wait­ing pres­ence of Lord George out­side, he had want­ed to tum­ble her onto the wait­ing mat­tress right then and take her quick­ly, at once, with­out undress­ing. Strange how the immi­nence of fight­ing made him so ready, always. Even now…But he hadn’t yet fin­ished his men­tal ros­ter, and he felt his eye­lids clos­ing already, as tired­ness sought to pull him under. He dis­missed the faint tight­en­ing of his tes­ti­cles that came at thought of her, and resumed his roll call, a shep­herd treach­er­ous­ly lulled to sleep by count­ing the sheep he was lead­ing to slaughter.


But it wouldn’t be a slaugh­ter, he tried to reas­sure him­self. Light casu­al­ties for the Jaco­bite side. Thir­ty men killed. Out of two thou­sand, only a slim chance that some of the Lally­broch men would be among that num­ber, sure­ly? If she was right.He shud­dered faint­ly under the plaid, and fought down the momen­tary doubt that wrenched his bow­els. If. God, if. Still he had trou­ble believ­ing it, though he had seen her by that cursed rock, face dis­solv­ing in ter­ror around the pan­ic-wide gold eyes, the very out­lines of her body blur­ring as he, pan­icked also, had clutched at her, pulling her back, feel­ing lit­tle more than the frail dou­ble bone of her fore­arm under his hand. Per­haps he should have let her go, back to her own place. No, no per­haps. He knew that he should. But he had pulled her back. Giv­en her the choice, but kept her with him by the sheer force of his want­i­ng her. And so she had stayed. And giv­en him the choice—to believe her, or not. To act, or to run. And the choice was made now, and no pow­er on earth could stop the dawn from coming.


His heart beat heav­i­ly, pulse echo­ing in wrists and groin and the pit of his stom­ach. He sought to calm it, resum­ing his count, one name to each heart­beat. Willie McNab, Bob­by McNab, Geordie McNab…thank God, young Rab­bie McNab was safe, left at home…Will Fras­er, Ewan Fras­er, Geof­frey McClure…McClure…had he touched on both George and Sor­ley? Shift­ed slight­ly, smil­ing faint­ly, feel­ing for the sore­ness left along his ribs. Murtagh. Aye, Murtagh, tough old boot…my mind is no trou­bled on your account, at least. William Mur­ray, Rufus Mur­ray, Geordie, Wal­lace, Simon…And at last, had closed his eyes, com­mend­ed all of them to the care of the black sky above, and lost him­self in the mur­mured words that came to him still most nat­u­ral­ly in French—“Mon Dieu, je regrette…”

All rights for the Pic­ture go to the right­ful owner Starz
Quo­te and Excerpt by Diana Gabaldon from  “Dragonfly in Amber”
I own not­hing but the editing
Heike Ginger Ba Written by:

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