The Reckoning

Jamie rescues Claire, and the MacKenzies return to Castle Leoch where they face Colum’s wrath.

Jamie and the MacKenzies are meeting Horrocks. The news they receive is disappointing. Horrocks provides the disappointing news that it was Captain Randall who killed  the man Jamie is accused of murdering. They are all considering the value of this news when Willie runs up to them with news that Claire has been captured by Redcoats. They set off for Fort William.

At Fort William, Jamie faces Black Jack who has Claire in his grip. Jamie demands that the Captain release his wife. Unfortunately, Randall is able to make Jamie lay down his musket on the nearby table. The soldier pushes Claire at the highlander, taking the musket from where Jamie had left it. He laughs, having Jamie in his line of fire, telling him he plans to molest his wife, and that he is welcome to join him. However the gun is unloaded, and Jamie is able to swiftly get the better of Randall, knocking him to the floor. With explosives, rigged by the MacKenzies, going off outside the fort, Jamie and Claire are able to make it past distracted guards and out of the prison,

However, Claire’s suffering isn’t over. Jamie is angry with her for endangering everyone’s lives by seemingly wandering off and allowing herself to be caught by the Redcoats. He continues, suggesting that she may even be trying to punish him for  his inaction during the earlier attempted rape. A heated exchange results. Eventually, both apologise to each other, and all seems well.

However the MacKenzies are less forgiving. The believe that Claire, having put herself in a position that led to her capture and caused them to risk harm to rescue her, that she needs to be punished.  Jamie agrees, a man doing the same would be flogged. Under pressure from his comrades, Jamie explains this to Claire, stating that he intends to live up to his friends’ request. She is livid! A struggle results, with Jamie eventually beating her with a belt.

The following morning Claire eats with the clansmen. They have forgiven her, now that she has been punished, and the atmosphere has lightened. They set off for the journey back to Castle Leoch. When they arrive at the castle Jamie and Claire receive a mixed welcome. Mrs Fitz is happy to find out they are now married. However, Colum and Laoghaire are less pleased.

Colum orders a meeting with “weasels” Dougal, Jamie and Ned. He is far from pleased. The clan chief wants to know who is responsible for the raid at Fort William. Jamie is quick to accept responsibility. Colum, however, has other concerns, accusing them of collecting money for the Jacobite cause. This leads to a vicious verbal exchange between Colum and Dougal that quickly descends to Dougal crushingly reminding his brother that he is the true father of the chief’s son. Colum tells his brother to get out of his sight.

As Ned makes his leave, Colum sets his wrath on Jamie. He is gravely disappointed by Jamie having married a sassenach, especially after all he and the clan have done to protect him from the British. Colum is also annoyed that Jamie will no longer be able to succeed him – having married and English woman, he will never be able to gain the support of the clan. Jamie apologises, but Colum simply tells him to get out.

That night Jamie and Claire discuss, Dougal’s comment about Hamish’s paternity. Claire is not overly surprised. She recollects when she saw Dougal and Hamish playing together in the courtyard. Jamie agrees, telling Claire that most people guessed that Dougal was Hamish’s father, but this is the first time that Dougal has ever stated it categorically. Although in agreement about this, Claire refuses to let Jamie in their bed.

Outside, the MacKenzies are quarrelling. Rupert and Angus are showing Willie their anger at him having told Colum about the Jacobite money. They are of the opinion that the boy needs punished. Willie counters that he must answer to the Laird. Jamie agrees. Rupert tells Jamie that it is MacKenzie business, and that Frasers should mind their own business. Dougal arrives, saying that they were hunting stag. He asks “who is with me?” Murtagh spits his disapproval while Angus and Rupert head of with Colum’s brother.

Murtagh suggests Jamie and he leave Castle Leoch. He reckons the atmosphere has become too unfriendly and that they any unrest at the castle is not their concern. Jamie raises the matter of how they will live. Murtagh suggests that they live off the land, asking Jamie if he has gone soft. Jamie, however, has no desire that he a Claire be sleeping under trees in the winter. Murtagh simply suggests that he leave her. They can send for her when they have decent shelter. Jamie scoff at this, telling Murtagh that he is speaking like an unwed man.

Instead of leaving, Jamie visits Colum with a plan to quell the discontent. He advises Colum to gift the Jacobite gold to Dougal. Colum is initially reluctant. However, Jamie tells him that he believes that such a gift will placate Dougal and those who agree with him. This will keep the clan united, and it will do nothing to diminish Colum’s sole right to call for war. Dougal will have his ‘victory’, while Colum keeps his authority over the clan. The laird appears calmed and asks Jamie to bring him Dougal and Ned.

Colum is with Jamie, Dougal and Ned. He asks Dougal about the oath of loyalty he made to him a month earlier, and what it is worth. “A bag of gold, perhaps?” Dougal angrily says that it was also an oath to Scotland, and that he hasn’t broken it, and has no intention of ever doing so. After a moment, Colum throws Dougal the bag of money raised for the Jacobites, telling him to go play the rebel. Dougal thanks him. Before dismissing them all, Colum asks Ned to send out an invite asking the Duke of Sandringham to a dinner in his honour. Ned applauds Colum’s plan to gain an understanding of the Duke’s intentions. Colum makes Ned well aware he isn’t going to be impressed by such compliments.

Near Castle Leoch, while considering how to heal the rift with Claire, Jamie is approached by Laoghaire. She tells him how he has always excited her. She adds that she applauds what he has done to save Claire from the Redcoats, but doesn’t believe he is happy. Laoghaire also reminds him of the moments that they have shared. Then she offers Jamie her virginity. He refuses her, and she runs off.

Jamie returns to the Castle to apologise to Claire. He tells her how his forefathers all expected their wives to obey them, and how they would punish the for not doing so. He says that he believes they should follow a different path. Pulling out his sgian dubh, Jamie pledges himself to Claire, promising not to strike her again. After some hesitation, Claire accepts the pledge. Jamie also lets Claire know that her wedding ring is made from the key to his home, Lallybroch, and that  it is her’s as much as his. They make love.

When done, Jamie asks Claire what she meant when she once referred to him as a “fucking bastard”. While she is explaining, Claire finds a knotted pile of twigs under their bed. She ask what it is. Jamie explains that it is an ill-wish, intended to bring harm or death. He concludes it must have been put there by Laoghaire.

 

blacknessCastle5
Blackness Castle / Fort William – location for Jamie rescuing Claire from Black Jack.