soul of a barbarian

the whole scene

He stood quite still, face turned upward to the stars. Fought back the surge of fury as it mur­mured in his ear, the pulse of mem­o­ry in his blood. Then made him­self sur­ren­der, let it come. He trem­bled with remem­bered help­less­ness, and clenched his teeth in rage—but stared unblink­ing at the bright­ness of heav­en over­head, invok­ing the names of the stars as the words of a prayer, aban­don­ing him­self to the vast­ness over­head as he sought to lose him­self below.Betelgeuse. Sir­ius. Ori­on. Antares. The sky is very large, and you are very small. Let the words wash through him, the voice and its mem­o­ries pass over him, shiv­er­ing his skin like the touch of a ghost, van­ish­ing into darkness.The Pleiades. Cas­siopeia. Tau­rus. Heav­en is wide, and you are very small. Dead, but none the less pow­er­ful for being dead. He spread his hands wide, grip­ping the fence—those were pow­er­ful, too. Enough to beat a man to death, enough to choke out a life. But even death was not enough to loose the bands of rage.With great effort, he let go. Turned his hands palm upward, in ges­ture of sur­ren­der. He reached beyond the stars, search­ing. The words formed them­selves qui­et­ly in his mind, by habit, so qui­et­ly he was not aware of them until he found them echoed in a whis­per on his lips.“ ‘…For­give us our tres­pass­es as we for­give those who tres­pass against us.’ ”He breathed slow­ly, deeply. Seek­ing, strug­gling; strug­gling to let go. “ ‘Lead us not into temp­ta­tion, but deliv­er us from evil.’ ”Wait­ed, in empti­ness, in faith. And then grace came; the nec­es­sary vision; the mem­o­ry of Jack Randall’s face in Edin­burgh, strick­en to bare bone by the knowl­edge of his brother’s death. And he felt once more the gift of pity, calm in its descent as the land­ing of a dove.He closed his eyes, feel­ing the wounds bleed clean again as the suc­cubus drew its claws from his heart.He sighed, and turned his hands over, the rough wood of the fence com­fort­ing and sol­id under his palms. The demon was gone. He had been a man, Jack Ran­dall; noth­ing more. And in the recog­ni­tion of that com­mon frail human­i­ty, all pow­er of past fear and pain van­ished like smoke.His shoul­ders slumped, relieved of their burden.“Go in peace,” he whis­pered, to the dead man and him­self. “You are forgiven.”The night sounds had returned; the cry of a hunt­ing cat rose sharp on the air, and rot­ting leaves crunched soft under­foot as he made his way back toward the house. The oiled hide that cov­ered the win­dow glowed gold­en in the dark, with the flame of the can­dle he had left burn­ing in the hope of Claire’s return. His sanctuary.He thought that he should per­haps have told Bri­an­na all this, too—but no. She couldn’t under­stand what he had told her; he had had to show her, instead. How to tell her in words, then, what he had learned him­self by pain and grace? That only by for­give­ness could she forget—and that for­give­ness was not a sin­gle act, but a mat­ter of con­stant practice.Perhaps she would find such grace her­self; per­haps this unknown Roger Wake­field could be her sanc­tu­ary, as Claire had been his. He found his nat­ur­al jeal­ousy of the man dis­solved in a pas­sion­ate wish that Wake­field could indeed give her what he him­self could not. Pray God he would come soon; pray God he would prove a decent man.In the mean­time, there were oth­er mat­ters to be dealt with. He walked slow­ly down the hill, obliv­i­ous to the wind that blew the kilt about his knees and bil­lowed through his shirt and plaid. Things must be done here; win­ter was com­ing, and he could not leave his women here alone with only Ian to hunt for them and defend them. He couldn’t leave to search for Wakefield.But if Wake­field did not come? Well, there were oth­er ways; he would see Bri­an­na and the child pro­tect­ed, one way or anoth­er. And at least his daugh­ter was safe from the man who had harmed her. Per­ma­nent­ly safe. He rubbed a hand across his face, smelling blood still on his skin from the calving.Forgive us our tres­pass­es as we for­give those who tres­pass against us. Yes, but what of those who tres­pass against the ones we love? He could not for­give on another’s behalf—and would not, if he could. But if not…how should he expect for­give­ness in return?

Edu­cat­ed in the uni­ver­si­ties of Paris, con­fi­dant of kings and friend to philoso­phers, still he was a High­lander, born to blood and hon­or. The body of a war­rior and the mind of a gentleman—and the soul of a bar­bar­ian, he thought wry­ly, to whom nei­ther God’s nor mor­tal law stood more sacred than the ties of blood.Yes, there was for­give­ness; she must find a way to for­give the man, for her own sake. But he was a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.“ ‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.’ ” He whis­pered it to him­self. Then he looked up, away from the safe small glow of hearth and home, to the flam­ing glo­ry of the stars above.“The hell it is,” he said, aloud, shamed but defi­ant. It was ungrate­ful, he knew. And wrong, for­bye. But there it was, and no use to lie either to God or to him­self about it.“The hell it is,” he repeat­ed, loud­er. “And if I am damned for what I’ve done—then let it be! She is my daughter.”He stood still for a moment, look­ing up, but there was no answer from the stars. He nod­ded once, as though in reply, and went on down the hill, the wind cold behind him.

All rights for the Pic­ture from Out­lander go to the right­ful own­er Starz/Sony
Quote and Excerpt by Diana Gabal­don from “Drums of Autumn”
I own noth­ing but the edit­ing

Heike Ginger Ba Written by:

|Human|Woman|Mother|Wife|Friend| Photographer| Blogger| |TV-Junkie|Photoshop-Beginner|Art-Lover|Cologne-based|Outlander-addict |Sherlockian |TWD-devoted

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