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
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