Claire [Thinking]: I almost stayed in my room. I had no desire to see that mixture of awe and suspicion that seemed to follow me everywhere now. It only heightened the feeling of hopelessness about my situation that had come crashing down on me. I had performed what has been called a miracle, but instead of buying me my release, it had tightened my bonds to this place. And even if I did get away, get back to the stones, I had no guarantee it would work again, whatever it was. And if it did work, there was no guarantee that I would get back home. Couldn’t I just as easily be hurtled back in time yet again to the middle ages or even the Roman occupation? What finally brought me out of my room was the oblivion promised by Colum’s rhenish.
Jamie: Over here. You dinna see me waving? Nearly reinjured my arm. Stay low and quiet, or they’re likely to stone us.
Jamie: [listening to the singing in Gaelic]: ♪ Now this one is about a man out late on a fairy hill on the eve of Samhain who hears the sound of a woman singing sad and plaintive from the very rocks of the hill. [eerie music and Gaelic singing continues]
“I am a woman of Balnain.
“The folk have stolen me over again, ‘
“the stones seemed to say.
“I stood upon the hill, and wind did rise, and the sound of thunder rolled across the land.”
“I placed my hands upon the tallest stone
“and traveled to a far, distant land
“where I lived for a time among strangers who became lovers and friends.”
“But one day, I saw the moon came out
“and the wind rose once more.
“so I touched the stones
“and traveled back to my own land
“and took up again with the man I had left behind.”
Claire: She came back through the stones?
Jamie: Aye, she did. They always do.
Claire [Thinking]: It was a folktale, madness to take as fact, and yet half of what Gwyllyn had described had actually happened to me. Why not the other half, the part where the woman returned home? What had Geillis said? “As I told you, there’s many things in this world we can’t explain.” My heart suddenly lightened, and I knew in that moment I could no longer wait for permission or assistance. I must escape Castle Leoch and get back to the stones as soon as possible or die trying.