born in the caul

anonymous asked:

Is there any way to make a plot twist in a way where it doesn't seem like it came out of nowhere? That's my biggest problem, people always tell me that my plot twists feel weird and unnatural.


There definitely is – foreshadow. Drop subtle but clear hints about what’s coming all throughout the novel, so that when your readers look back it will be clear that those hints indicated your plot twist.

As an example, I’ll use The Shining by Stephen King (one of my favorite books ever). *SPOILER ALERT!*

Danny Torrance, the protagonist, is a five-year-old with telepathic powers. He has a visitor (his parents call it his imaginary friend, but it’s not) named Tony who sometimes shows him things: Tony once showed him where to find a trunk containing his father’s manuscripts; Tony also shows him horrible things happening in the hotel in which his family will be spending the winter (up in the mountains of Colorado, so they’ll be snowed in). After Danny has a semi-catatonic episode, his parents take him for a medical checkup, just to be sure of his health before they’re snowed in for three months.

The pediatrician, of course, speaks to Danny during/after his checkup, and acts somewhat as a psychiatrist; he then speaks to his parents about his diagnosis (which is nothing serious – only stress). His opinion on Tony is that he was created to deal with hard times (moving, and Danny’s parents considering divorce), and Danny no longer needs Tony, because the family is rebounding; however, Tony isn’t leaving easily, hence the nightmares Danny complains of, and the fainting spell he had. Then the pediatrician says to Mr. and Mrs. Torrance something along the lines of “And of course, you know why he’s named Tony and not Michael or Greg”, and during my first time reading, I didn’t understand what he meant. After the plot twist, it clicked.

Also, it is mentioned that Danny was born with a caul over his face, which superstition says signifies a child gifted with the second sight (in other words, the child will be able to see the future). At the time, this – and what it implies – seems like a secondary detail. Again, at the plot twist it is clear that it actually means more.

The plot twist occurs during Tony’s last visit, which takes place during the novel’s climax. During his last powow with Danny, he comes closer, into Danny’s field of vision – Danny has never seen Tony’s face before, so this is a significant event. Tony looks just like Danny, but older – still young, but maybe 11 instead of 5. Then, in the prose, Stephen King writes Danny’s full name, middle name included, which doesn’t happen at any other place in the novel: his full name is Daniel Anthony Torrance, or in other terms, Danny “Tony” Torrance. The conclusion drawn from this is that Tony is actually Danny from the future, and that Danny has both telepathy and second sight.

This plot twist grows roots throughout the book: how Danny never sees Tony’s face, how Danny was born with something said to promise the second sight, the psychiatrist’s comment on Tony’s name. Basically, Stephen King lays everything on the table without giving us the one detail everything stems from – if it was drawn as a chart, all these small details would surround one big box in the middle, and until the plot twist, that big box would be blank. After the plot twist, that box would be filled in with TONY IS AN OLDER VERSION OF DANNY AND DANNY HAS PRECOGNITIVE VISIONS. That’s what you need to do: lay everything out for the reader except the actual plot twist itself.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask! - @authors-haven

The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs

Once upon a time, there was a poor kind woman who gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. Her child had a caul, which had been prophesied long ago to mean that she would marry the King’s daughter the moment she turned fourteen. But, the King was selfish, greedy and wicked, and did not wish the prophecy to come true if the child came from a poor background. When he heard of the girl born with a caul, he visited the poor woman and persuaded her to allow him to take her daughter to his castle so that she could be raised there.

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anonymous asked:

Reading your post about Jamie's "sight" reminds me of Bree. Did she ever tell her parents she saw and spoke to them in her dreams when they were in Jamaica? I remember her telling Roger about it and she thought it was only a dream. I don't remember if she ever to Jamie or Claire.

No, Brianna never tells them about her dream. Which in retrospect I think is a missed opportunity to develop everyone’s understanding of Brianna’s abilities - which, given the talents that Jem and Mandy develop, provides a stronger justification for why they have those talents in the first place.

Especially since we know that Brianna was born with a caul:

It was Brianna who had been born with a caul.  

  A “silly hoo,” the Scots called it; a lucky hood. A fortunate portent, a caul offered—they said—protection from drowning in later life. And some children born with a caul were blessed with second sight—though having met one or two of those who saw with the third eye, I took leave to doubt that such a blessing was unmixed.  

  Whether lucky or not, Brianna had never showed any signs of that strange Celtic “knowing,” and I thought it just as well. I knew enough of my own peculiar form of second sight—the certain knowledge of things to come—not to wish its complications on anyone else.

– Drums of Autumn

I suppose that this detail helps us better understand Brianna’s talent - whatever it may be. Especially because this is the only time Claire mentions it in the entire series.

✨I just read that less than 1 in 80,000 babies are born in the amniotic sack: En Caul Birth✨ what a magical little being!!
When I started pushing there was a little green balloon coming out of my yoni that gradually kept getting bigger and bigger. None of us knew what it was, at first we thought it was the head… Then realized it felt like a water balloon. I got on the ground in squat position and in a few big pushes Pueo came out fully in the sack all at ONCE!

((Will share the full birth story soon!!!))
So excited to empower women and couples to feel confident in home birthing!! Trusting our bodies and divine orchestration. Choosing love over fear always! Rebirthing the planet. Creating Heaven on Earth with Sacred Birthing.


[continued from here]

There was nothing terribly special about the house itself, or at least, not the outer part of it. It was a nice, respectable enough house, with two stories plus a basement, hardwood floors, and a good-sized kitchen. It was mostly clean, but not comfortably lived in, and contained a great deal of plants and some interesting wall hangings. It was not very old, even by human standards, and to the knowledge of the owners nothing particularly grisly or historical or even mildly interesting had ever happened there before. 

They did not know that their nice respectable modern house had old, old bones, old as the hills. They did not know that the land their home had been built on had a History: not the human sort that got written down and engraved on plaques and discussed very serious by academics, but the Folk kind of history, a history of hauntings and grudges and legendary deeds, a history which left no mark upon the earth but was known deep-down and never forgotten. They did not know-how could they know?-that long, long before the settlement and construction, before the concrete and asphalt, before roads and cars and shopping malls and neat suburban neighborhoods, there had been a Hill, a gateway from which the Folk came out of their twilight realm to work mischief of one kind or another. The humans did not know, but the land remembered, others remembered, and the memory came up out of the past and rested heavily on the nice respectable house and made it older than it was.

There were things in that house, things that remembered. Sprites nesting in the houseplants, pictsies who made away with knickknacks and spare socks to line their nests, goblins rustling through the patterns in the wallpaper. The ghost of a bard who had wandered through the Hill and never made it all the way out. A house-hob living in the closets and a boggart under a little girl’s bed.

And, of course, him.

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Ways to become a werewolf

-be bitten or scratched by a werewolf

-having a werewolf father or wifwolf mother

-picking flowers

-drinking water from a wolf’s pawprint

-drinking water from a very small pool

-swimming across certain bodies of water at certain times

-having a vampire for a father

-being cursed by a witch

-being cursed by a god

-being blessed by a god

-being a cannibal/murderer

-breaking Lent 7 times

-being born on Christmas

-being a witch

-being a vampire

-being the 7th son of a 7th son

-wearing a wolfskin garment + a magic ritual

-rubbing the skin with a special salve + a magic ritual

-drinking a specially prepared beer + a magical ritual

-sleep outside on a summer night under the light of the full moon

-a pact with Satan

-a pact with the Devil

-being cursed by a Saint

-being cursed by the Devil for ticking him off

-dying in mortal sin and reviving as a vampire-werewolf

-being abused as an infant by one’s parents

-passing 3 times through an arch made of birch and/or wild rose

-being born with hair

-being born with a weird birthmark

-being born with a caul

-being possessed by a werewolf spirit/ghost

-getting an organ transplant from a wolf

-getting a blood  transfusion from a wolf

-having unprotected sex with a werewolf

-being descended from a god or spirit

-’scientific’ experimentation and/or accidents

-getting an organ transplant from a werewolf

-getting a blood transfusion from a werewolf

-being descended from a fairy

-being cursed by a fairy

-being a fairy

-stepping over a grave unknowingly

-surviving a wolf attack

-being a woman who commits a fuckton of sin

-being a really horrible person

-wanting to be one really fucking hard

-holy shit becoming a werewolf is easy

anonymous asked:

Hello! How many different types of werewolves are there, and what do they look like? Please and thank you! <3

Are the roles werewolves play in different myths, or any were-like creature, the same was what we think in modern times? I’m curious about how they were perceived in different cultures.

This is a second as we got that we feel is also answered by the Chorus here so we are adding it in and answering both at once. Now for the glorious Chorus’ answer!!

Ok, so, the thing is, most werewolves you see in media these days bear little resemblance to werewolves in folklore, aside from the becoming a wolf bit. Being bitten did not spread the curse/virus/whatever, wolf’s bane wasn’t considered a deterrent/poison, silver as a surefire kill was a very late addition in the early 1800’s in Germany, and they weren’t usually bound by the cycle of the moon. Werewolves as we know them now were mainly inspired by movies like An American Werewolf in London and The Wolf Man, so much so that the movie lore has been taken as folklore and it can be difficult to find accurate information. Lucky you, you’ve got us!

~ Readmore here if you think it’s necessary ~

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Day 11: Ghosts, Spirits, and Haints

The Hillfolk’s relationship with the spirit world is a delicate balance often kept in equilibrium through certain beliefs and taboos about ghosts and “haints” (haint being another word for a ghost or spirit. It comes from “haunt” or “haunted.”) Many of these beliefs show signs of European folk tradition, others come from Native American or African folklore. Regardless of where they come from, people in the Ozarks used to take their beliefs about ghosts very seriously. Most of the quotes below are from “Folk Beliefs from Arkansas” by folklorist Mary Celestia Parler who recorded many folktales and beliefs about ghosts.

Beliefs about Ghosts:
“During the dark of the moon, ghosts will appear.”

“Ghosts can be seen more easily at the time of the new moon.”

“When a rooster crows in the dawn, all spirits depart for the spirit world.”

“When a person is dying and a whippoorwill starts calling outside the house, that whippoorwill is trying to catch the soul of the dying person to keep it from reaching heaven.”

“If you bury a body before it’s been dead three days, the soul will be trapped and may never leave.”

“It is wise never to mention the names of dead people in the vicinity of a grave yard, for the attention of ghosts would perhaps be attracted to the speaker.”

“An elderly Indian woman lived alone in Prairie Grove. People use to ask her if she wasn’t afraid to live alone. She said no, because she always put food out at night and when she went out in the morning, it was gone. So she knew she was protected at night.”

“If you sweep the floor after midnight, it will stir up the spooks and ghosts.”

This belief is also noted by Vance Randolph in his “Ozark Magic and Folklore” where it seems sweeping should be avoided at night altogether:

“An old-time Ozark housewife seldom sweeps her cabin after dark, and she never sweeps anything out at the front door. Otto Ernest Rayburn observes that ‘one of the most progressive merchants in Arkansas will not permit his janitor to sweep dirt out through the door after dark.’ A woman in Madison county, Arkansas, told me that ghosts and spirits are accustomed to stand about near cabins at night, and it is dangerous to offend these supernatural beings by throwing dirt in their faces.”

“The Indians also believe that you should never pass a grave without tossing a stone or twig on the mound. Should you omit this rite, you will incur the anger of the ghost, a serious matter, resulting probably in your illness or death.”

I’ve seen examples of this belief in several graveyards where rocks and sticks had been piled up on top of tombstones as sort of votive offerings. I’m not sure about the accuracy of this coming in from the Native Americans, it might have been partially influenced by them as the Osage and Caddo both were, if I’m not mistaking, mound builders. I’ve seen examples of this folk belief elsewhere as well. One example I can remember is from the novel “Independent People” by Halldór Laxness where the protagonist Bjartur adds stones to the cairn of the evil woman Gunnvör to appease her spirit. It wouldn’t surprise me if this tradition came into the Ozarks from multiple sources.

People who can see ghosts:
“A person born in January can see ghosts.”

“People born on Halloween are able to see and talk to ghosts.”

“People born with a veil [caul] over their face are able to see ghosts, spooks, and things of that sort.”

Dispelling ghosts:
A well trained Power Doctor not only knows how to avoid ghosts and spirits, but also how to dispel them if need be. In the Ozarks dispelling ghosts falls under a few categories: preventing, appeasing, or manually sending them away. 

Preventing ghosts involves the use of certain plants or objects, often hung or scattered around the house, in order to keep ghosts away from the house or family.  Examples of these preventatives include the color blue, often called “haint blue” because when painted on doors or porches it keeps haints away from the house. I’ve also heard that ghosts can’t cross over new boards, so new planks of wood are often used at the front door to keep out ghosts. Also with the front door, a lot of people keep a screen door, not only for practical purposes, but also because it’s believed a ghost has to count every hole in the screen before it can enter into the house. By the time the ghost is finished it’ll be daytime and the ghost will be scared off by the Sun. Here are some examples:

“To keep ghosts out of your house, hang mustard seeds in a cloth sock at all doors and windows.”

“Always keep some kind of light burning in your home cause the evil spirits will not come around light.”

“If you hang a horse shoe over your door it will keep the ghosts away.”

“If you put a nail in the doorstep and a horseshoe over the door ghosts can’t get into your house.”

“Don’t let the fire go out on Christmas morning or the spirits will visit you.”

“Keep a buckeye in your pocket to ward away evil spirits.”

“Put sand on your front porch or steps at night to keep the evil spirits away.”

“If you have a crow’s foot in your house, it will keep away evil spirits.”

“When in the woods at night if a owl hoots, turn your pockets inside out to keep off bad spirits.”

“Fuzzy chickens in the yard keeps away the haints.”

“Wear a string with eight knots in it around your ankle to keep the haints away.”

“If a person whistles while he is walking at nighttime, it is supposed to attract all the bad spirits in the vicinity.”

“Turn the mirrors toward the wall so that the ghosts will not stop and admire themselves.”

Or the opposite:
“Put mirrors in a room or house where ghosts live and they will see themselves and scare themselves away.”

There’s a belief about water cancelling out certain black magic and witchcraft, this belief also can apply to ghosts as well, as seen in the examples below:

“A ghost cannot follow a person over running water.”

“If you have any enemies that are dead and there ghosts are bothering you, move by a river because ghosts can’t cross rivers.”

There’s also a belief among certain Power Doctors that their healing can’t be done remotely for a person if they are across water from the Doctor. As long as there’s no water between them the healing can be done. There’s a similar belief among Cajun Traiteurs or Treaters.

It’s said that the reason why people at a funeral have to wear black is to make them inconspicuous to the ghosts that may be in the graveyard. There’s also the belief, that most likely comes from Old World Halloween beliefs, that a bonfire must be lit outside the house on Halloween in order to keep the wandering spirits away. An interesting note about the bonfire, the word originally comes from the combination of “bone” and “fire” because a bonfire was originally a fire in which bones were burned. It’s interesting to see that Ozark bonfires often have animal bones thrown in to “keep the spirits away from the fire” as I’ve heard it said.

Appeasing a ghost means leaving out food or drink for the ghost to either prevent their entry into the house or draw them out of a place they’re already residing in. Here are some examples:

“Better not venture abroad at night without a light and if you must travel through a dark forest scatter bits of food as you go.”

“When followed by a ghost while walking at night, pour a little whiskey on the ground and they will stop following you.”

“If you think there are bad spirits in the house, leave a jug of whiskey in the corner of the room. The next morning the spirits and the whiskey will be gone.”

A similar tradition as the above involves leaving a bottle of alcohol open in a haunted house over night. Go in the next day and the alcohol will have changed color. Stop up the bottle along with the spirit. This bottle can be kept and used in cursing your enemies, or the spirit can be dispelled by pouring the alcohol into a bonfire. I’ve used this bottle technique many times with great success, although I was taught certain prayers to accompany the work that seem to be integral to its success.

Manually dispelling is when the Power Doctor uses certain means to physically remove a ghost from a place or “kill” the spirit. Here are some examples:

“You can kill a ghost with a silver bullet.”

There’s this idea of “laying a ghost” meaning that you are preventing the ghost from manifesting or rising up out of its grave. One example, people used to put a large stone directly over the head of the buried person. This was supposed to “lay the ghost.” You can also use white chicken feathers on top of the grave to “lay” the ghost of your enemy.

“Sneezing is a good omen because it is believed that the sneeze makes a bad spirit leave the body.” I’ve often seen Power Doctors make their clients sneeze using various powders because of this belief.

Sulfur or Juniper (and in some cases corncobs or tobacco) is often burned inside the house to drive out evil spirits.  Asafetida is also hung around people’s necks to keep away ghosts and also certain diseases.

While many of these folk beliefs have died out over the years, there is still this underlying fear and respect for the spirit world in many Ozark people. As a modern day Power Doctor I’ve helped many people with hauntings and the occasional unruly spirit, and I can personally attest to the survival of this belief among people around here, both young and old. I can also attest to the effectiveness of many of these old folk beliefs, the fact that many people consider them “superstitions” doesn’t change the fact that many people used them for a very long time. They’ve survived in memory because they work, if they didn’t people would have forgotten them years ago. Anyway, that’s a soapbox best left for another day.


-One of Oran’s first cases with his division was a woman manipulating a ghost to break and enter, thus unlocking the doors for her to go in and steal stuff. (Part of me is tempted to make this Devi actually. Let’s not lie, she would make a good necromancer now that I think about it. Damnit, I have the other two to work on still)

-Selkie children that are born human are not always immune to drowining. There’s quite a few tales that recount how their children have drowned trying to follow their mother. Ailbe was spared because she was born with a caul, which meant she was more selkie then human to begin with, just lacking the ability to change.

-However, Oran was born mostly human, so Gormlaith used a yet to be determined magic to give him the same immunity. It cost her some of her life force, but at the time, it seemed like a minor sacrifice, because what was five years less when you’re 80? But then she got cancer and passed much sooner, because she struggled to fight it.

-Oran has no idea what his mother did for him, and would probably hate himself if he knew.

I was born en caul – aka, still in the amniotic sac, my mother never felt her water break. It happens to like, one in eighty thousand babies. Because I was in there, I ended up drinking ammonia - what you shit out while in the womb - and had to be monitored after birth.

Usually en caul ends in a c-section, but I guess I didn’t want to worry my mother or something. Not only was I born the normal way despite being still in the sac, I was born in beneath an hour.

Other current star wars recs

no one can stop me, not even gravity or nasa — by magneticwave

Leia is pregnant, and Han wants to marry her for reasons she doesn’t understand. (That’s not true, she understands them, she just thinks they’re idiotic.) 

I love this one because it really nails the dynamics while being so goddamn funny. You get Han and Leia in all their snarky snarling determinedly-fond glory, with a lot of unhelpful asides from Luke (who has taken up residence in his sister’s office in Her Time of Need.) Plus, you get some EU backstory and one of the best Leia voices I’ve read, one that doesn’t shortchange or soften her. 

wearer of the veil — by englishable

I’m always a sucker for some good “Ben Organa’s nightmares” fic, and the image of ben born in the caul is so terrible and heartwrenching and perfect, I’d give anything to have come up with myself.

home out in the wind — by bomberqueen17

This is (agonizingly) a work in progress, but in five chapters it’s done a lot of extraordinarily beautiful character work—it’s got to be the best depiction of complicated traumatized touch-starved ex-”easy lay” smarter-than-he-wants-you-to-realize Poe Dameron I’ve read.

Plus, it delves into Academy-trained Poe and what that means and signifies in a way that feels very real and visceral. (Poe as career military isn’t talked about much in fics, so I love how this fleshes that out.)

……….if you’re in the mood for more excellent Poe, I also recommend ready for flight, by kvikindi.

fonder — by disco_vendetta

Poe and Rey, being very gentle in the aftermath. (Featuring such immortal lines as “it’s the best rock he’s ever had, he’d fight and kill for this rock.” which in context is tender and endearing because Poe.)

The Benandanti

The Benandanti (which roughly translates to Good Walkers) were active during the 16th and 17th centuries, in Northeastern Italy.

Between 1575 and 1675, in the midst of the Early Modern witch trials, a number of Benandanti were accused of being heretics or witches under the Roman Inquisition, and their beliefs assimilated to Satanism.


The Benandanti, who included both male and females, claimed to travel out of their bodies while asleep to struggle against malevolent witches (streghe) in order to ensure good crops for the season to come.

The Benandanti reported leaving their bodies in the shape of mice, cats, rabbits, or butterflies, but most sources state wolves. The men mostly reported flying into the clouds battling against witches to secure fertility for their community; the women more often reported attending great feasts.

They were seen as having innate powers marked out at birth. Specififcally, it was a widely held belief that those who in later life became benandanti were born with a caul, or amniotic sac wrapped around their heads. In the folklore of Friuli at the time, cauls were imbued with magical properties, being associated with the ability to protect soldiers from harm, to cause an enemy to withdraw, and to help lawyers win their legal cases. In subsequent centuries, a related folkloric tradition found across much of Italy held to the belief that witches had been born with a caul.

From surviving records, it is apparent that members of the Benandanti first learned about its traditions during infancy, usually from their mothers. 


Although these were described by the Benandanti as spirit journeys, they believed that these were real occurrences.

On Thursdays between the Ember Days, periods of fasting for the Catholic Church, the Benandanti claimed their spirits would leave their bodies at night in the form of small animals. The spirits of the men would go to the fields to fight evil witches (malandanti). The Benandanti men fought with fennel stalks, while the witches were armed with sorghum stalks (witches’ brooms were made out of sorghum). If the men prevailed, the harvest would be plentiful.

The female Benandanti performed other sacred tasks. When they left their bodies they travelled to a great feast, where they danced, ate and drank with a procession of spirits, animals and faeries, and learned who amongst the villagers would die in the next year. In one account, this feast was presided over by a woman, “the abbess”, who sat in splendour on the edge of a well. Carlo Ginzburg has compared these spirit assemblies with others reported by similar groups elsewhere in Italy and Sicily, which were also presided over by a goddess-figure who taught magic and divination.

The earliest accounts of the benandanti’s journeys, dating from 1575, did not contain any of the elements then associated with the diabolic witches’ sabbath; there was no worshipping of the Devil (a figure who was not even present), no renunciation of Christianity, no trampling of crucifixes and no defilement of sacraments.

Ginzburg noted that whether the benandanti were themselves witches or not was an area of confusion in the earliest records. Whilst they combated the malevolent witches and helped heal those who were believed to have been harmed through witchcraft, they also joined the witches on their nocturnal journeys, and the miller Pietro Rotaro was recorded as referring to them as “benandanti witches”; for this reason the priest Don Bartolomeo Sgabarizza, who recorded Rotaro’s testimony, believed that while the benandanti were witches, they were ‘good’ witches who tried to protect their communities from the bad witches who would harm children. Ginzburg remarked that it was this contradiction in the relationship between the benandanti and the malevolent witches that ultimately heavily influenced their persecution at the hands of the Inquisition.

anonymous asked:

Seymour, how do you like to celebrate the holiday season?

1. Worsetchire Sauce
2. Put On Leave’s
3. ?
4. Munch
5. Kill Old Year And Watch As New One Borned
6. Remove Sidereal Caul From Head Of New Year
7. Nap

Ghostly Superstitions.

- A person born with a caul over his face will have the gift of second sight, and be able to see and converse with spirits and ghosts.

- The seventh son of a seventh son will also have increased psychic abilities and be able to converse with spirits.

- A person who never meets their twin will have psychic abilities.

- Never rock an empty rocking chair; you’re inviting ghosts in.

- If you would happen to encounter a ghost or spirit, ask the spirit “In the name of the Lord, what is it that you want?” They have to tell you why they are there.

- Since animals can see ghosts and spirits, removing the inner eyelid from a dog and wearing it like a contact lens will give the wearer this ability as well. For a more humane (and less disgusting) method, simply crouch down behind a dog, and look between its ears to see what it sees.

- If you hear your name being called and no living person is around, do not answer - It’s a spirit with bad intentions.

- However, if you hear your name being called while you’re asleep, it means you slipped too far into unconsciousness and too close to death. The angels were calling you back.

- When someone dies, all mirrors and reflective surfaces must be covered with black cloth so that the person’s spirit does not become trapped in those items.

- The funeral procession must take a different route home from the one they took to the cemetery so that the ghost of the deceased cannot follow them. 

Past Grateful

This ficlet is part of the Claire returns early with Bree AU which begins with A Ringing Phone and a Folder.

This ficlet is a direct continuation from Adventurous Young Ian

My Fanfiction Master List

Available on AO3 as The Nature of Choice.

This Outlander canon divergence AU ficlet alludes to information/events that appear in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager.

As always, let me know what you think.

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Byron: The Vision of Adolescence, Little Geordie

January 22, 1788

The birth had taken place in the back drawing room of a rented apartment on Holles Street (No. 16, which is now Oxford Street, Cavendish Square). It was a long and arduous winter Tuesday for Catherine Byron. She was not accustomed to London visits, in fact it was her first, and though the room was filled with a doctor, a nurse, and an accoucheur (male midwife), it was missing an integral guest that Catherine had been waiting for since mid-December: her husband. Captain Jack Byron was indeed absent but for the sensible reason of any debtor with a child not born on the Sabbath day (granted debtor’s amnesty): decidedly truant. The baby was born with a caul and a malformed right foot.

She had nicknamed the babe “Geordie.”

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