I slept like the dead, awakening sometime after dawn with a terrible headache, stiff in every muscle. Jamie had a few handfuls of oats in a small bag in his sporran, and forced me to eat drammach — oats mixed with cold water. It stuck in my throat, but I choked it down.
He was slow and gentle with me, but spoke very little. After breakfast, he quickly packed up the small campsite and saddled Donas.
Numb with the shock of recent events, I didn’t even ask where we were going. Mounted behind him, I was content to rest my face against the broad slope of his back, feeling the motion of the horse rock me into a state of mindless trance.
We came down from the braes near Loch Madoch, pressing through the chilly dawn mist to the edge of a still sheet of grey. Wild ducks began to rise from the reeds in untidy flocks that circled the marshes, quacking and calling to rouse late sleepers below. By contrast, a well-disciplined wedge of geese passed over us, calling of heartbreak and desolation.
The grey fog lifted near midday on the second day, and a weak sun lighted the meadows filled with yellow gorse and broom. A few miles past the loch, we came out onto a narrow road and turned northwest. The way took us up again, rising into low, rolling hills that gave way gradually to granite tors and crags. We met few travelers on the road, and prudently turned aside into the brush whenever hoofbeats were heard ahead.
The vegetation turned to pine forest. I sniffed deeply, enjoying the crisp, resinous air, though it was turning chill toward dusk. We stopped for the night in a small clearing someway from the path. We scooped together a nestlike wallow of pine needles and blankets and huddled close together for warmth, covered by Jamie’s plaid and blanket.
He woke me sometime in the darkness and made love to me, slowly and tenderly, not speaking. I watched stars winking through the lattice of black branches overhead, and fell asleep again with his comforting weight still warm on top of me.
Outlander, Chapter 25