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Backwards in Time | Forwards in Time

Title: Confidence Issues
Fandom: Abhorsen Trilogy
Characters: Lirael, the Disreputable Dog, the Clayr.
Prompt: # 01 - Humility
Word Count: 995
Rating: G
Summary: Lirael had most definitely turned ‘avoidance’ into an art form.
Disclaimer: All rights belong to Garth Nix and his publishers. I own nothing.
Author's Notes: No 1 in my 7 Heavenly Virtues Series. My first ‘Abhorsen Trilogy’ FanFic.

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Confidence Issues

Lirael had most definitely turned ‘avoidance’ into an art form, of that she was certain.

Keeping herself to herself, hiding behind her head of dark hair as she mutely attended to the tasks she was set by the First and Second Assistant Librarians, it became ritual for her to work in silence, following orders and wordlessly dreaming of the day when the Voice of the Nine Day Watch would come for her, at last.

And yet even having work and responsibility to occupy herself with couldn’t keep her from dwelling on her loneliness.

On those rare occasions when she willingly left the comfort and solitude of the Library, deciding that she couldn’t go another day without eating at least something, that loneliness became even more overpowering.

She’d walk through the heated corridors of the Clayr’s Glacier with her head down, dark eyes downcast and the faint Charter Mark on her forehead hidden by her sweepingly dark locks, all the better to avoid the looks she received from her blonde-haired, light-eyed, white-robed cousins.

It became customary for her to eat alone in the Lower Refectory, too. At least there, she wouldn’t be easily noticed. She wouldn’t stand out like a needle in a proverbial haystack, a fourteen-year-old Daughter of the Clayr without the Sight. In fact, it was rare that she was even noticed at all.

Fed, watered and depressed, she’d return to the Library, avoiding as many people as she could along the way and only relaxing when she was safely barricaded in her study until her next assignments were brought to her attention.

An endless cycle.

The truth was, even having a position of her own, even having work and responsibility, even having her own study - despite its small size, it still being a space to call her own, - she still felt beneath her cousins. Almost unworthy, if her mood dropped beneath its usual desolate barriers.

And all simply because she didn’t have the Sight.

That one, simple attribute resulted in her feeling like she didn’t belong. Skilled though she may have been in fighting (though said fighting skills were probably dwindling due to her frequent refusal to attend her classes), in Charter magic, and indeed in her work as a Third Assistant Librarian, she was only recognised as being a Clayr without the Sight.

And at times like this, when even her responsibilities couldn’t quench her desire to be accepted by her ‘family’, or have at least one person to confide in, she felt particularly humbled.

Which is why Lirael kept herself to herself, working in resolute silence and making sure to stay as unnoticed as humanly possible as she went about her business, passing the days and silently wishing for her chance to be accepted as a true Daughter of the Clayr, praying for the day when she’d be Seen at long last.

Surely, her time would come soon?!

------------------------

Months later, and Lirael finally had somebody to confide in.

Granted, the Disreputable Dog wasn’t exactly a person, and was instead bordering on eccentric bizarreness, but she was enough.

Just one friend amidst a sea of 'ignorers', and yet she was enough.

But even so, Lirael was insufferably reluctant to admit to herself that she’d done a remarkable thing in creating her.

Studying the Disreputable Dog in those hours when they sat together in her study, eating whatever she’d managed to pinch from the kitchens on her evening strolls around the Glacier, Lirael could always sense the Free Magic lurking just beneath the surface, eyes trailing over the collar about her neck and reinforcing her quelled fears.

And she’d think, contemplate, remember the day she’d poured Charter knew how many marks into a small, wire frame replica of the miniature dog statuette that had later become the very creature sitting before her. She’d been hoping, that day, not for a real-life, talking companion, but a dog-sending that would serve as company and nothing else. That was what she’d been aiming for.

And yet what she’d created was far from anything she could ever have hoped to have produced knowingly, remembering all too well just how many of those marks she hadn’t known at the time, hadn’t ever even dreamed of using when she’d planned what she wanted to do.

Which is why she held no praise in her own abilities, choosing instead to marvel at the fact that the Dog existed after the events that had taken place on that fateful day.

The Dog, of course, disagreed with her, though she’d never tell her Mistress that she was being far too modest for her own good. She knew all too well that Lirael was responsible for her existence, though the girl still seemed to have convinced herself otherwise.

And it pained her, though she’d never say it, that Lirael’s life with the Clayr, growing up as she had around a family who barely had time to give her the time of day, was solely responsible for her lack of confidence.

And the Dog was more than prepared to dedicate her life to helping her Mistress see otherwise.

Something about the young girl spoke of immense power and strength, and there was a touch of destiny about her, something that, as of yet, the Dog couldn’t quite read but was certain would come in to play in the not-so-distant future.

Which meant she had that long to help Lirael prepare herself. To help give the girl the confidence she needed to accept her path, to face the dangers that would lie ahead. For there would be many dangers, of that she was sure.

And for the time being, - while the girl contented herself with exploration and expanding her knowledge of the world, of the Charter and the ways of life beyond the Glacier’s icy walls, - standing at her side every step of the way, the Disreputable Dog would muse to herself that what Lirael didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

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